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1993 Bombay blasts case: HC refuses furlough to convict Rubina Menon

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has rejected the plea of 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict Rubina Suleman Memon, seeking her release on furlough.

“We are not inclined to release the petitioner (Rubina) on furlough as she had been convicted by a TADA court for her involvement in terrorist activities,” said a bench of Justice VK Tahilramani and AM Badar in a recent judgement.

Rubina is also sister-in-law of Tiger Memon, believed to be living in Pakistan and one of the prime conspirators of the serial blasts that had rocked the city in March, 1993, claiming 257 lives and injuring more than 700 others.

Rubina was sentenced to life imprisonment along with three other family members by a Mumbai TADA Court in 2006, while her husband Sulieman was acquitted due to lack of evidence. Her brother-in-law Yakub was sent to the gallows on terror charges.

File image of Bombay high court. IBNlive

File image of Bombay high court. IBNlive

Rubina, currently lodged in Pune’s Yerwada prison, had applied to jail authorities for furlough leave on 22 January 2015. However, her plea was rejected on 15 January 2016. Aggrieved, she filed an appeal which was dismissed in May this year. Thereafter, she moved the High Court by a writ petition seeking furlough leave, which was rejected last week.

Rubina’s lawyer Farhana Shah argued that the three co-accused, who have also been convicted under TADA in the same case, have been released from jail temporary on leave.

They are Sardar Shahwali Khan, who was released on furlough on 9 June 2014, Nasir Abdul Kadar, who was given furlough leave on 27 June 2014 and Isa Abdul Razak Memon, who was also released on furlough on 10 June 2016, Farhana said.

As the three co-accused, who were similarly placed with Rubina in the 1993 bomb blast case, had been given furlough leave, the petitioner should also be given the same facility, i.e furlough leave, Farhana argued.

Additional Public prosecutor HJ Dedia submitted that Rubina’s application for furlough was rejected under Rule 4(4) of the Prisons (Bombay Furlough and Parole) Rules, 1959.

This Rule states that prisoners whose release is not recommended by Commissioner of Police or District Magistrate on the ground of public peace and tranquility, shall not be granted furlough.

The prosecutor said that in the order jail authorities rejecting Rubina’s furlough, it was stated that the petitioner is wife of brother of Yakub Memon. She will spend her period of furlough in Mahim area in Mumbai, where people of all communities reside.

“If she is released on parole people will turn up to meet her in large numbers and there would be a law and order problem, particularly in view of the fact that during the funeral of Yakub Memon, a huge crowd had turned up,” the order stated.

The prosecutor also pointed out that as Rubina has been convicted under TADA hence under Rule 4(13) of Prison Tules, she would not be entitled to be released on furlough, as this rule states that prisoners who are convicted for terrorist crime shall not be released.

The prosecutor argued that admittedly, the petitioner (Rubina) is convicted under TADA, hence, she is not entitled to be released on furlough. He pointed out that the Bombay High court in two decisions has held that sub rule 13 to Rule 4 is not ultra virus.

Accepting the prosecutor’s argument, the high court rejected the furlough leave petition of Rubina Memon.

First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 14:10 IST

Bombay High Court to monitor probe to find killer of Pallavi Purkayastha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“It is a serious issue, how can a convict sentenced to life imprisonment abscond when released on parole leave,” the Bombay High Court observed on Friday, and called for probe records carried out to find convict Sajjad Mughal, who jumped parole after serving a small period in prison for murdering Mumbai-based lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha.A division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice G S Kulkarni, while calling for the records, has kept the hearing on the appeal filed by Mughal challenging his conviction and the state government appeal seeking enhancement of sentence for further hearing on Wednesday.Mughal, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2014, has not returned to Nashik prison where he was lodged after he was refused extension of parole in February this year. Authorities have been trying to trace Mughal but he has been elusive and efforts to track him through call records have also fallen flat. The bench will now monitor the probe carried out by the police.

Can guidelines for Muharram be implemented across state? Bombay HC asks Maha govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Bombay High Court asked Maharashtra government if it could implement in the entire state a circular issued by Mumbai police on guidelines and precautions to be taken during the annual Muharram procession.In December 2014, the city police had issued a circular on the steps to be taken during the ritual. As per the circular, senior officials of concerned police stations have to hold meetings with Mohalla Committees prior to Muharram, ensure no children participate in the ritual, no sharp weapons are used and there is videography of the entire procession.A division bench headed by Justice A S Oka today sought to know if the circular can be implemented in entire Maharashtra. The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Mumbai resident Faisal Banaraswala, seeking a ban on participation of children in the ritual. Muharram marks the anniversary of the battle of Karbala in which Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, was killed. To mourn his killing, participants flagellate themselves with sharp objects. The bench has posted the petition for further hearing in January 2017.

Calcutta, Madras, Bombay High Courts to retain their names in the near future

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The names of iconic high courts of Madras, Calcutta and Bombay may not be changed in the near future as a bill moved in this regard has run into trouble and the revised one has to be introduced in Parliament. The High Court (Alteration of Names) Bill, 2016, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 19 to allow the names of the Calcutta, Madras and Bombay High Courts to be changed to Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai respectively.But, now the Tamil Nadu government has asked the Centre to rename the Madras High Court as ‘High Court of Tamil Nadu’ instead of ‘High Court of Chennai’ as proposed in the bill. While the West Bengal government wants the Calcutta High Court to be renamed as Kolkata High Court, the high court itself “not agreed for revised nomenclature.” Minister of State for Law PP Chaudhary said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that the old bill will have to revised and a new bill will have to be introduced.”The central government has sought views from the concerned state governments and the respective high courts for finalising fresh bill. No time frame can be fixed for finalising of the fresh bill and its introduction in Parliament,” he said.The Calcutta High Court has the distinction of being the first high court and one of the three chartered high courts to be set up in India, along with the high courts of Bombay, Madras. It was formally opened on July 1, 1862. ‘Indian High Court Act’ of 1861 vested in the Queen of England to issue letters patent to establish high courts of Calcutta, Madras and Bombay.The Bombay High Court was inaugurated on August 14, 1862. The high court today has three benches at Nagpur, Aurangabad and Goa. Bombay HC is one of a few institutions in Maharashtra that continue to carry the old name of the city. The state government renamed Bombay as Mumbai in 1995 and all institutions under it altered names accordingly.The Madras High Court, which came into being around the same time, has one bench in Madurai.

80% Marathas socially, economically backward: Maha govt to Bombay HC

Mon, 5 Dec 2016-11:50pm , Mumbai , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Justifying its decision to grant reservation to the Marathas, the Maharashtra government has said an extensive study undertaken by it has revealed that 80 per cent people of the community were socially and economically backward.The state government today filed a 2500-page affidavit in the Bombay High Court in support of its decision to grant reservation to the community in government jobs and educational institutions across the state. The affidavit was filed by government counsel Abhinandan Vagyani in response to a batch of petitions challenging the government decision. The government has sought vacation of the stay granted by the High Court on implementation of the decision so that it can go ahead with it.The petitions are posted for final hearing on December 7. The HC is hearing two PILs opposing the then Congress-NCP government s 2014 decision to grant 16 per cent reservation in government jobs and educational institutions to the Maratha community and also a bunch of applications in favour of the reservation. The affidavit includes four reports prepared by Pune-based Gokhale Institute on various segments of the community including sugarcane cutters and migrant labourers, head loaders, maid servants to back the claim about their socio-economic backwardness.

Women enter Haji Ali’s sanctum

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Months after the Supreme Court passed a judgment allowing women inside the inner sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah, members of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) on Tuesday gathered to offer prayer at the shrine.At 3; pm over 60 women from different parts of India including Maharashtra, Gujarat, West Bengal, Rajasthan visited the Haji Ali Dargah and entered the sanctum sanctorum.Noorjehan Safia Niaz, who had filed the petition at the Bombay High Court, said, “We had gathered in the city for an event. We thought of coming together and seek blessing by offering prayers peacefully. We are happy that we are finally given entrance in the mazar area. We are thankful to the trustees for giving women facilities according to the SC order. But still we were not able to touch the grave (Mazar). We will soon have a national meeting of our BMMA and decide on our next step.”Noorjehan Fiaz and Zakia Soman, founders of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), had filed a petition in the Bombay High Court against the ban of women entering the inner sanctum sanctorum.On their visit, Zakia Soman, said, “Bombay High Court had given judgment in our favor by stating that women should be allowed to go inside the sanctum sanctorum. After Haji Ali Trust appealed to Supreme Court, the court also agreed to the order given by the Bombay High Court. The Trust finally had to agree with the SC order and are now allowing women to enter the inner sanctum sanctorum. Today, for the first time, all women from different states of the country who supported the petition have gathered here to offer prayer in the dargah.”According to the women who went inside, had visited to offer a çhaddar and seek blessings. “They also gave us tea and provided hospitality. We are happy to see the change,” added Soman.According to the trustees, they have to respect the apex court order and work accordingly. However, in 2011 the dargah trustees had decided to deny women access to the mazar.Abdul Sattar Merchant, chairman of the Haji Ali Trust, said, “We have now allowed women to enter since it is an order given by the SC. We don’t have problem if they come and pray. But, Islam does not allow women to visit graveyards.”After offering prayers, the group enjoyed qawwali performance in the dargah.EQUAL RIGHTSThe Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan and the Bhumata Brigade launched a movement called ‘Haji Ali for all’ in order to secure equal rights to pray at the inner sanctum sanctorum.On August 26, the Bombay High Court passed a judgement allowing women to enter the inner sanctum sanctorum at par with men. At the same it granted a six-week stay on the order at the request of Haji Ali Dargah Trust to enable it to appeal before the Supreme Court.

After 5 years of legal battles, women finally enter Haji Ali dargah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a series of legal battles that lasted for five years, women activists on Tuesday entered the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali dargah in Mumbai.Around 100 women from different parts of India including Maharashtra, Gujarat, West Bengal, Rajasthan visited the Haji Ali dargah and offered prayers.Noorjehan Safia Niaz of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) said, “We were gathered in the city for an event and thought of coming together and offering prayers. We were not stopped by any authority and this helped us pray peacefully. It is good to see the change that now allows us inside, but we were still not able to touch the grave (mazar). We will soon have a national meeting of BMMA and decide about our next step. “After offering prayers, the group enjoyed a qawwali performance in the dargah.On October 24 this year, the Haji Ali Dargah Trust had told the Supreme Court that it was ready to implement the Bombay High Court’s order to allow entry of women into the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine located in South Mumbai and had sought four weeks for infrastructural changes to make arrangements for it.A Bench led by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur was hearing a plea by the Haji Ali Dargah Trust challenging the Bombay High Court’s ruling to provide equal right of entry to both women and men in the dargah’s sanctum sanctorum.On August 26, the Bombay High Court held that the ban imposed by the Trust, prohibiting women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah, contravened Articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution and said women should be permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum like men.Noorjehan Niaz and Zakia Soman, founders of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), had petitioned the Bombay High Court against the ban, calling it unconstitutional.Bhumata brigade chief Trupti Desai had also said the Supreme Court’s decision should act as a guidance for the nation to allow the entry of women in all temples.Speaking to ANI, Desai said, “Those trustees who opposed our movement and did not allow us to enter the dargah, they had to bow down in front of us. The decision of the Supreme Court should act as an inspiration for the nation and to all temples where women are dishonored and not treated at par with their male counterparts.”(With ANI inputs)

Maharashtra tells Bombay HC it will bring its own rules on child adoption

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra government has informed the Bombay High Court that it intends to introduce its own rules on child adoption but until they are brought into force, the existing model rules framed by the Centre shall be operative in the state.This was stated in an affidavit filed by the state government on November 24 before a bench headed by Chief Justice Dr Manjula Chellur, which was hearing a petition filed by Santosh Digambar Honkarape and others. According to the state government, the Centre had its own set of rules on child adoption but Maharashtra intended to frame its own rules by bringing about modifications in the Central rules.The Centre had told Bombay High Court in May this year that within two months it will frame model rules for the states to follow before Central Adoption Resources Authority (CARA) brings out new guidelines for adoption and added that in the meanwhile, 2015 guidelines issued by CARA will continue.Thereafter, the Centre framed its own rules on child adoption and informed this to the high court which in turn asked the state government whether it would accept this or bring its own rules.Now that Maharashtra has decided to frame its own rules, it would set into motion the process for introducing this by seeking approval of both the houses of legislature, said the state government affidavit. CARA had earlier come out with guidelines after being directed by the Supreme Court in a similar case.Meanwhile, the high court, on November 24, directed CARA to come out with a set of guidelines once again so far as the adoption procedure contemplated in the 2015 Act. The matter has been posted for hearing on January 13, 2017.

Malegoan case: ATS files secondary evidence

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Anti Terrorism squad (ATS), on Thursday has filed an affidavit before the special court presided over by judge SD Tekale, pleading the court to allow the prosecution to lead with the secondary evidence, in the wake of some documents in the Malegaon 2008 blast case going missing.The agency has relied on the confessional statement of three accused in the case. Special NIA prosecutor Avinash Rasal said, “The papers in this case have traveled to various courts and thus there are certain important documents which have been missing from the file. Thus, to fill those gaps, the agency has pleaded the court to allow them to use the confessional statements of three accused which was recorded under section 164 CrPC. The ATS in its affidavit has mentioned that it is ready to show the court the track record of the confessional statement, so that it informs the court that proper procedures were followed while recording the statements.”This move of the ATS has come after the Bombay High Court had asked the Sessions court to expedite the matter and just to avoid the delay, the ATS has pleaded the court to allow the agency to use the confessional statements as the evidence.Meanwhile, accused Sankaracharya (Sudhakar) Dwivedi has filed for his bail on the grounds of merits of the case. The prosecution is yet to file its reply on the same. According to the prosecution, Lt Col Prasad Purohit had carried out a blast in Malegaon with 11 others, killing seven people.

Bombay HC issues notice to those discharged in 2006 Malegaon blasts case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court on Thursday issued notices to eight persons who were discharged earlier this year from the 2006 Malegaon bomb blasts case, seeking response to a petition filed by the Maharashtra government against their discharge.The state has moved the high court in appeal against the order of sessions court discharging the eight accused, all Muslims.In April, the sessions court here discharged these men of all terror charges after the National Investigation Agency submitted that the blasts were the handiwork of a Hindu extremist group.The state government, however, urged the high court to set aside the order.The division bench of justices R V More and Shalini Phansalkar Joshi issued notices to the eight persons and sought their replies in four weeks.In its appeal, the government said the sessions court’s order was illegal and unjust, and was contrary to the evidence on record.The state claimed the trial court’s conclusion that Muslims would not plant bombs inside a mosque was wrong and had no legal basis.The serial bomb blasts outside a cemetery near Hamidia mosque at Malegaon, near Nashik, on September 8, 2006, claimed 37 lives and injured over 100 people.

Bombay HC says efforts to curb black money should be supported

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Refusing to pass any order on a PIL regarding demonetization, the Bombay High Court on Thursday said the Union government’s efforts to act against black money need to be supported.A division bench headed by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur made the remarks while hearing a PIL filed by Akhil Chitre seeking directions to the Centre and the state government to ease the inconvenience caused to the common people following the demonetization of the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.”The government’s intention to act against parallel economy in black money cannot be said to be mala fide. Though there are problems faced by the citizens, it should be supported,” Justice Chellur said.Refusing to pass any direction, the bench said the Supreme Court was already hearing petitions pertaining to the issue and hence it would not be correct for the high court to interfere.

High court issues notice to those discharged in 2006 Malegaon blasts case

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday issued notices to eight persons who were discharged earlier this year from the 2006 Malegaon bomb blasts case, seeking a response to a petition filed by the Maharashtra government against their discharge.

The state has moved the high court in appeal against the order of sessions court discharging the eight accused, all Muslims.

In April, the sessions court here discharged these men of all terror charges after the National Investigation Agency submitted that the blasts were the handiwork of a Hindu extremist group.

The state government, however, urged the high court to set aside the order.

The division bench of justices RV More and Shalini Phansalkar Joshi issued notices to the eight persons and sought their replies in four weeks.

In its appeal, the government said the sessions court’s order was illegal and unjust and was contrary to the evidence on record.

The state claimed the trial court’s conclusion that Muslims would not plant bombs inside a mosque was wrong and had no legal basis.

The serial bomb blasts outside a cemetery near Hamidia mosque at Malegaon, near Nashik, on 8 September 2006, claimed 37 lives and injured over 100 people.

First Published On : Nov 17, 2016 21:57 IST

Bombay High Court asks Maharashtra civic bodies to follow rules on sale, storage of firecrackers

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today asked civic bodies in Maharashtra to strictly implement rules for firecracker storage in their respective ward areas and take action against those found guilty of violating the conditions.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The order comes ahead of Diwali festival later this week.

“Make a thorough check in all the ward areas and find out whether any licence holder has violated the rules of storing firecrackers and take action against the offenders,” said a division bench headed by Justice VM Kanade while hearing a petition.

The petition raised issues concerning sale and storage of firecrackers in residential areas without following rules and regulations.

“Everyone has the right to practise their religion and enjoy festivals, but they do not have any right to cause harm to others,” the bench observed while posting the matter to 30 November for further hearing.

Earlier, the high court had observed that shops storing firecrackers should not be set up in residential areas and directed civic bodies in the state to ensure strict compliance with rules related to keeping of these small explosive devices to avoid any mishap.

The court had also expressed concern over incidents of explosions in factories and shops where firecrackers are made and stored.

It had also observed that firecrackers are burst not only during Diwali but also in other festivals.

The high court had suggested that shops where crackers are stored should not be located in residential areas.

“Ideally, such shops should be located in open spaces so that damage in case of some untoward incident is minimal and it becomes easier for monitoring,” the court had said.

We will grant access to women on par with men: Haji Ali Dargah Trust tells SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Haji Ali Dargah Trust on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it will grant access to women on par with men, into the inner sanctum of the dargah.The top court has granted four weeks time to Dargah Trust to make requisite infrastructural changes for granting access to women, reported PTI.The Haji Ali Dargah Trust’s had challenging the Bombay High Court order lifting the ban on women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the renowned Muslim shrine in South Mumbai.The apex court had on October 7 extended the stay on the entry of women in dargah till October 17 after the dargah management said that it would come out with a progressive stand in two weeks.On August 26, the Bombay High Court held that the ban imposed by the Trust, prohibiting women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah, contravened Articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution and said that women should be permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum like men.Noorjehan Fiaz and Zakia Soman, founders of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), had petitioned the Bombay High Court against the ban, calling it unconstitutional. Prior to 2011, the dargah did not discriminate against women and allowed free entry of people across religions. On March 2011, the dargah’s board of trustees imposed a ban on women’s entry, calling it a “grievous sin”. On July 10, 2015, a bench headed by Justice VM Kanade set aside the previous order framing eight questions by an earlier bench of the High Court on maintainability and decided to hear the PIL on merits. The High Court had held that the Trust had no power to alter or modify the mode or manner of religious practices of any individual or any group. The High Court in its 56-page judgement had also noted that the “right to manage the Trust cannot override the right to practice religion itself”.With PTI inputs

Is using religion for votes corruption, asks Supreme Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Is seeking vote in the name of religion a “corrupt” practice? Or will an appeal by a priest or a cleric to voters of his own community to support a candidate come under the ambit of corrupt practice under the election law?These are the questions raised by the Supreme Court which began hearings to revisit its 1995 judgment on Hindutva. The apex court was looking at the misuse of religion by religious leaders during campaigning. Religious leaders who have campaigned in the past include the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid and spiritual guru Baba Ramdev.The court raised a slew of queries on Tuesday before interpreting the provision (Section 123) of the Representation of People Act (RPA) pertaining to “corrupt practice.””Can a person belonging to one community seek votes from members of his community for a candidate belonging to another community? Like a Hindu candidate may use a Muslim religious leader to solicit votes of his community for Hindu candidates by hinting that they would invite “divine displeasure” if they do not vote for a particular candidate,” the bench headed by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur, posed queries without mentioning any names.”Even a Muslim candidate may use a Hindu supporter to garner votes of the Hindu community by playing the religious card. Will a candidate be held liable for corrupt practice if he uses the inflammatory speeches of a religious leader to further his own electoral practices?” the bench asked while agreeing to examine the provisions of the electoral law.The seven-judge bench comprised Justices Madan B Lokur, SA Bobde, Adarsh Kumar Goel, UU Lalit, DY Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao. They are hearing two election petitions on the issue by Abhiram Singh and Narayan Singh.Senior advocate Arvind Datar, who began the day-long hearing, sought relief for his client, BJP leader and petitioner Abhiram Singh, citing that all others in a similar situation have already got relief from the apex court.Referring to 10 such appeals in which the election of candidates were restored, Datar submitted that the Bombay High Court had set aside his election in 1991, as it was alleged that other BJP leaders in their speeches had referred to religion to garner votes for him.Datar said that, in 1990, two such speeches were made, one by late Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray and the other by the late Pramod Mahajan in which reference to ‘Hindutva’ was made to garner votes for Shiv Sena and BJP candidates.Citing other cases like the relief secured by former Maharashtra chief minister Manohar Joshi, Datar said that his client’s election to the Maharashtra Assembly in 1990 was set aside in 1991 by the Bombay High Court.In the famous 1995 verdict, known as “Hindutva judgment”, a three-judge bench, headed by the then chief justice J S Verma had held that Hindutva/Hinduism is a way of life for people in the sub-continent and “is a state of mind.”On February 2, 2014, a five-judge Constitution Bench, led by Justice RM Lodha, posted the issue for consideration by the seven-judge Bench, along with a reference of seven judges of an appeal already made as early as in August 2002, pending adjudication.The judgment was a turning point in elections in Maharashtra after the 1992-93 Mumbai riots, when Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi had promised to turn Maharashtra into “India’s first Hindu State.”The Bombay High Court nullified Joshi’s election as by seeking vote in the name of religion, he violated the constitutional commitment to secularism. However, Justice Verma had overturned the high court verdict holding that a candidate would not be guilty of a corrupt practice if he/she appealed to persons to vote, or not to vote, on grounds of religion as long as it was not his/her religion.

Haji Ali row: Supreme Court extends stay on Bombay HC order on women entry

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Supreme Court extended the stay on Monday granted by Bombay High Court to facilitate an appeal against its decision to lift the ban on entry of women near the sanctum sanctorum of the famous Haji Ali Dargah till October 24, when it will hear the matter.As the case did not reach the board for hearing, the counsel for the Haji Ali Dargah Trust urged the bench comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur, Justice AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud to extend the stay until the next date of the hearing. The bench accepted the oral plea of senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam in this regard. The apex court had on October 7 expressed hope that the Trust, which has challenged the high court judgement, “will take a stand which is progressive”.Subramaniam had also assured the bench that he was on a “progressive mission” and said all holy books and scriptures promoted equality and nothing which is regressive in character should be suggested. The bench had also remarked that “if you are not allowing both men and women to go beyond a point, there is no problem. But if you are allowing some to go beyond a point while others are not, it is a problem.”
ALSO READ Supreme Court seeks Haji Ali dargah’s progressive stand on entry of womenThe bench, which recorded that an identical issue has been raised and was pending before the Supreme Court relating to the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala, said “the problem is not only among Muslims, but among the Hindus also”.The counsel, appearing for a women’s group which has challenged the practice of the Trust not to allow women near the sanctum sanctorum, had submitted that the position was different before 2011 than what it is today. The Trust moved the apex court challenging the Bombay High Court order lifting the ban on women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the renowned Muslim shrine in South Bombay.
ALSO READ SC extends stay on Bombay HC order on women entry in Haji AliThe High Court on August 26 had held that the ban imposed by the Trust on women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah, contravened Articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution and said women should be permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum like men.The High Court had allowed a PIL filed by two women, Zakia Soman and Noorjehan Niaz, from NGO Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, challenging the ban on women’s entry into the sanctum sanctorum of the dargah from 2012. It had granted a six-week stay on the order on a request by the Dargah Trust to enable it to appeal before the Supreme Court.
ALSO READ Haji Ali Trust knocks at Supreme Court’s door against Bombay HC order on women entryThe high court had held that the Trust had no power to alter or modify the mode or manner of religious practices of any individual or any group. The High Court in its 56-page judgement had also noted that the “right to manage the Trust cannot override the right to practice religion itself”.It had said the trust has not been able to justify the ban legally or otherwise. Hence it cannot be said that the prohibition was an essential and integral part of Islam and whether taking away that part of the practice would result in a fundamental change in the character of the religion or belief.It had also refused to accept the Trust’s justification that the ban was imposed for safety and security of women, in particular, to prevent sexual harassment at places of worship. The Trust had claimed that the ban was in keeping with an order of the Supreme Court wherein stringent directions have been issued to ensure that there is no sexual harassment to women at places of worship.The court had noted that the aims, objectives and activities of the Haji Ali Dargah Trust were not governed by any custom or tradition and held that it was a public charitable trust and hence, open to people all over the world, irrespective of their caste, creed or gender. The Maharashtra government had earlier told the court that women should be barred from entering the inner sanctorum of Haji Ali Dargah only if it is so enshrined in the Quran.

Adarsh Housing Society’s plea opposing Defence Ministry’s title suit rejected by Bombay HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court rejected a plea of scam-tainted Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai on Thursday opposing a title suit filed by the Defence Ministry regarding the land on which the building stands. A bench headed by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur dismissed the appeal filed by Adarsh Society against the order of a single judge of the high court rejecting the society’s petition.The society had contended that the officer who signed the suit on behalf of the Defence Ministry was not authorised to do so. The ministry denied this contention. The Defence Ministry filed the suit in the Bombay High Court in December 2012, two years after it came to light that the 31 storey Adarsh building was constructed in violation of several civic and environmental norms.The Defence Ministry said the land belonged to it and it should be given its possession. The ministry alleged that the building was constructed “illegally and unlawfully”. The land was transferred to the Adarsh Society through fraud, collusion and connivance on the part of the society members, ministers and bureaucrats of Maharashtra government, it said.The society opposed the suit saying that only the Defence Estate Officer can file such suits. It relied on a government order issued in 1930, during the British rule, and ‘military land manual’ to make this claim. The High Court had ordered demolition of the Adarsh building after holding that it was constructed illegally. The Supreme Court stayed the order on the society’s appeal. The matter is still pending before the apex court.

SC strikes ‘adult male’ from Domestic Violence Act, says any person can be tried under law

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court has widened the scope of the Domestic Violence Act by ordering deletion of the words “adult male” from it, paving the way for prosecution of women and even non-adults for subjecting a woman relative to violence and harassment.The apex court has ordered striking down of the two words from section 2(q) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, which deals with respondents who can be sued and prosecuted under the Act for harassing a married woman in her matrimonial home.Referring to earlier verdicts, the apex court said “the microscopic difference between male and female, adult and non adult, regard being had to the object sought to be achieved by the 2005 Act, is neither real or substantial, nor does it have any rational relation to the object of the legislation.” Section 2(q) of the Act reads: “‘respondent’ means any adult male person who is, or has been, in a domestic relationship with the aggrieved person and against whom the aggrieved person has sought any relief under DV Act.” A bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman paved way for prosecution of any person irrespective of gender or age under the DV Act, ordered deletion of the words “adult male” from the statute book saying it violated right to equality under the Constitution.The bench said that the words “adult male person” were contrary to the object of affording protection to women who have suffered from domestic violence “of any kind”. “We, therefore, strike down the words ‘adult male’ before the word ‘person’ in Section 2(q), as these words discriminate between persons similarly situated, and far from being in tune with, are contrary to the object sought to be achieved by the 2005 Act,” it said.The major verdict came on an appeal against the Bombay High Court judgement, which had resorted to the literal construction of the term ‘adult male’ and discharged four persons, including two girls, a woman and a minor boy, of a family from a domestic violence case on the ground that they were not “adult male” and hence cannot be prosecuted under the DV Act.The bench in its 56-page judgement, said the remaining part of the legislation has been kept untouched and would be operative. “We, therefore, set aside the impugned judgment of the Bombay High Court and declare that the words ‘adult male’ in Section 2(q) of the 2005 Act will stand deleted since these words do not square with Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Consequently, the proviso to Section 2(q), being rendered otiose (superfluous), also stands deleted. We may only add that the impugned judgment has ultimately held, in paragraph 27, that the two complaints of 2010, in which the three female respondents were discharged finally, were purported to be revived, despite there being no prayer in Writ Petition…for the same,” the court said.Dealing with the term ‘adult’, the bench said “it is not difficult to conceive of a non-adult 16 or 17-year-old member of a household who can aid or abet the commission of acts of domestic violence, or who can evict or help in evicting or excluding from a shared household an aggrieved person. “Also, a residence order which may be passed under Section 19(1)(c) can get stultified if a 16 or 17-year-old relative enters the portion of the shared household in which the aggrieved person resides after a restraint order is passed against the respondent and any of his adult relatives…”.The bench said that the term “adult male” contained in the Act was “discriminatory”.

Supreme Court paves way for Ex SIMI chief to seek bail in MCOCA case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a relief to Saquib Nachan, former chief of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) who is booked under the MCOCA by Maharashtra police in 2012, the Supreme Court, on Tuesday, paved the way clear for him to seek bail before the Special Court as the police failed to file the charge sheet against him within the stipulated time of 90 days.The apex court quashed the Bombay High Court order which had stayed the special MCOCA court’s order rejecting the probe agency’s plea seeking more time to file the charge sheet against Nachan.A bench headed by Justice AK Sikri allowed him to file his bail plea before the trial court which will consider his request. Soon after the top court order, Nachan’s counsel Mehmood Pracha told dna that after Nachan completed the formalities before the trial court, he will be out from jail.”Now mere formalities are left before the Special MCOCA court in Thane. This is the case in which he was in the jail. In other cases, he is either acquitted by the court or on bail,” Pracha said.”Nachan has been in jail for more than 8 years for the POTA case. Although he was convicted and sentenced to 10 years under the Arms Act, he has nearly completed the jail term. He will be released on bail soon,” the lawyer said.In August 2012, the Thane police had registered a case under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, (MCOCA) against Nachan in an attempt to murder of Manoj Raicha. Nachan was arrested on August 24,2012.After the failure to file the charge sheet against him within 90 days, the Thane police had moved an application seeking more time. The Special court had rejected the plea.Being aggrieved of the order, the police had approached the Bombay High Court, which had stayed the trial court order in July 2013. Nachan challenged the HC order in the Supreme Court.Nachan was booked in as many as 8 cases including a case under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) in the 2002-2003 triple bomb blast case. Out of these cases, he was acquitted by the court in three murder cases and in Ghatkopar blast case. He was discharged by the trial court.He is also facing trial in two criminal cases in which he was granted bail by the court.

Bombay HC to govt: Demolish illegal shrines by year-end

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>No religion encourages its followers to make illegal religious structures or offer prayers in illegal shrines built on public property, said the Bombay High Court on Saturday.”Therefore, we expect that no religion/sect or religious/political leader will oppose the demolition of illegal religious structures built after September 2009,” said a division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Amjad Sayed directing the state to complete the action by end of December.A bench clearly spelt out that the government, even after issuing a resolution in 2011 to take action against identified illegal shrines, has not gone ahead with its decision. “It’s been almost five and half years since the notification was issued by the government and still no implementation has taken place. All the directions issued subsequently show that they have remained on paper,” said the bench.The bench also noted that the government has limited itself in identifying the illegal shrines to public streets including footpaths and roads and no action has been taken against illegal shrines on public properties. Thus, the state has been directed to identify illegal religious structures built on public property, issue a government resolution (GR) by March and thereafter setting out an outer limit for demolition.The court, while holding the demolition of illegal religious structures built on footpaths as legal, referred to its earlier judgement, which held that obstruction on public roads and pavements by illegalstructures was in violation of the Fundamental Rights of Citizens. It added that the right guaranteed to practise one’s religion cannot be allowed at any and every place.The bench has also asked the police commissioners and deputy superintendents of each district to provide necessary police protection to the staff in charge of demolition of illegal religious structures and to initiate prosecution under various laws against those persons who have built them or try to obstruct demolition work.The court gave the direction while hearing a public interest litigation filed by an NGO, Society for Fast Justice, seeking implementation of the GR issued in 2011 against illegal shrines. The court has asked the government to file a compliance report on the action taken by it every month.In the pastAs per the government resolution issued in November 2015, the illegal shrines will be demolished within six months. Pursuant to an interim order of Supreme Court, a GR of May 5, 2011, and another one in 2015, had prescribed a “well-defined” scheme for appropriate action against unauthorised religious structures in terms of regularisation, relocation and removal. The GR also suggested that a three-tier committee be set up — statewise, district level and in corporations, including Mumbai, Thane and Pune — for relevant action.The GR also said that illegal and unauthorised shrines erected after September 29, 2009, had to be demolished. Illegal religious shrines before September 2009 had been classified into categories, including old religious shrines, those that can be relocated and those are illegal.As per statistics, in corporation limits 871 illegal structures were erected after September 2009 and only 225 among them have been demolished. In other parts of the state, there are 847 illegal religious shrines and only 159 of them have been demolished.

Love child gets passport after mother moves Bombay High Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a long legal battle, a child born to an unmarried woman has received passport. The woman had moved the Bombay High Court after passport authorities rejected the application of her minor girl child, contending that it was mandatory that the name of the child’s biological father be mentioned in the application form.The passport authorities informed the court on Wednesday that since the passport has now been issued to the child, the petition has become infructous. Accordingly it was withdrawn.In her plea, the woman stated that she was lured into a relationship by a man on the pretext of marriage. He also promised her that he will take care of her family. Believing the assurances to be true, she entered into a relationship with him and conceived soon. The child was born on October 19, 2010.Gradually, the man stopped visiting her and the child. She later found out that the man was already married and has a child. The woman eventually got married to another man and the couple had a boy. Things turned sour, however, when the girl’s father sought her custody. A family court heard the matter and granted access to the biological father.The HC stayed that decision, according to the petition, which further stated, “When the woman filled an application with her husband’s name in the column where father’s name has to be mentioned, the passport official demanded biological father’s name. ” Aggrieved by the authorities’ stand, the woman moved the court, seeking directions to the passport authorities to issue a passport in the name of her husband.A division bench of justices SC Dharmadhikari and BP Colabawala allowed the petition to be withdrawn and asked the passport authorities to observe caution in future, so that the authorities were not used by estranged couples to settle scores, using their minor children.

Bombay High Court refuses to stay price cap on anti-diabetic drugs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court (HC) on Monday upheld the notifications issued by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), fixing the maximum retail price for anti-diabetic and cardiovascular drugs.A division bench of Justice S C Dharmadhikari and Justice B P Colabawala, while dismissing a challenge raised by the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, said: “Given the ever-increasing number of patients, these drugs, which have to be taken throughout life… we do not feel government was exceeding its power in regulating.” The court also refused to stay its order for six weeks for the petitioners to appeal in the apex court, and vacated the interim relief of no coercive action against pharmaceutical companies for overcharging.The alliance had said that internal guidelines are, ex-facie, contrary to the law. The government has given a complete go-by to what is called the “essentially criteria”. That criteria is applicable only to schedule formulations and by including non- scheduled products, the government has basically done away with the classification of drugs on the ‘essentially criteria’, it said.Further, it said that essential drugs are under price control and would be under a controlled regime and their prices would be fixed by market forces. The notifications of July 2014 are arbitrary and violative of the petitioners’ fundamental rights and are unreasonable and against the principle of natural justice, they argued. The plea thus prayed for directions to restrain the government from implementing or enforcing the internal guidelines.The Union government had strongly opposed the petition and also argued that it was in the larger public interest that the notification was issued. The bench noted: “Exploitative prices make medicines unaffordable. Moreover, member companies who are manufacturers have not filed individually. Some members have accepted the notification. Thus to make medicines available to all, prayer for staying or setting aside of guidelines/notifications, does not survive.”

Fresh pleas in SC against Bombay HC order on beef ban

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two fresh petitions were filed on Monday in the Supreme Court challenging the Bombay High Court order upholding the ban on beef imposed by Maharashtra government through an enactment.The pleas filed by All India Jamiatul Quresh of Maharashtra and Delhi respectively alleged that politics was being played on the issue of slaughtering cows. They also said the petitioner organisations respected cows and calves but the members of Qureshi community be allowed to slaughter bulls and bullocks who have crossed the age of 16 years as they are of no use to farmers. The Bombay High Court had upheld the beef ban imposed by the state government after the enactment of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act banning the slaughter of bulls and bullocks, besides cows.The high court, however, had said that mere possession of the meat cannot invite criminal action while striking down the relevant sections of the Act. Earlier, Supreme Court had issued notice to Maharashtra government on a separate plea challenging the High Court verdict which held that mere possession of beef of animals slaughtered outside the state cannot invite criminal action.The plea was filed by ‘Akhil Bharat Krishi Goseva Sangh’ which had told the apex court that they were challenging part of the May 6 verdict of the High Court which had said provisions of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act was an infringement on the right to privacy of citizens and unconstitutional.The high court order had come on a bunch of petitions challenging the provision of the law which had said that mere possession of beef in any place in the state is a crime. As per the Act, slaughter attracts a five-year jail term and Rs 10,000 fine and possession of meat of bull or bullock leads to one-year jail and Rs 2,000 fine.

Guard who shot his colleague outside Shah Rukh Khan’s bungalow convicted to life imprisonment

The Bombay High Court recently upheld the life imprisonment handed down to a security guard who killed his colleague by firing at over a petty issue, in 2006, outside Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s bungalow in Bandra.A division bench of Justice VK Tahilramani and Justice Mridula Bhatkar while upholding the sentence of Yatendrasingh Chauhan said “He was fully aware of the consequence of his act and the injury caused is fatal and sufficient to cause death.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Singh had challenged the conviction handed down by session’s court in 2009. In his appeal he had pointed to the discrepancy in the testimony of the eyewitness Sandeep Lakhan. It was argued by him that since experts—the post mortem and the forensic expert—had said that firing was not contact shot (by placing the pistol on the body), as claimed by the eye witness and hence his testimony should be discarded. Further, the act was not premeditated and lesser charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder should be levelled against him instead of murder.However, after going through the prosecution evidence, the court overlooked the minor contradiction in Lakhan’s testimony. Regarding the lesser charge of being attracted to the crime, it said “It is true that there was no premeditation, however, it is not a case of grave and sudden provocation. The intention does not require premeditation but intention can be formed within a couple of minutes. The intention can be gathered on the basis of the act itself. In the present case, the appellant/accused was working as a security guard. He was holding licence of revolver. He was fully aware of the power of the firearm.”As per the prosecution’s case, the accused and the deceased were working in the company known as Top security and were posted as a security guard at Mannat bungalow owned by actor Shah Rukh Khan. On the night of August14, 2006, deceased Singh questioned the accused as to why he was sitting in the chair and whether his revolver is filled with bullets or not. He also asked the accused whether his fire arm was working or not.The accused, in anger, held Chandrapratap Singh with collar and then pulled the trigger of the revolver pointing at his chest, due to which the deceased fell down. After hearing the firing sound, security guards and other persons came running at the spot and shifted Chandrapratap Singh to the hospital where he succumbed to injuries.A case was registered against the accused who was arrested and tried for murder charges.

Another plea against Jayalalithaa’s acquittal in DA case to be heard by Supreme Court

New Delhi: A petition raising technical faults in the acquittal of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in assets case by the Karnataka High Court will be heard by a new bench.

Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa. PTI

Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa. PTI

When the matter came up before the bench of Justices PC Ghose and Amitava Roy, the judges referred it to another bench which is seized of the similar issues pertaining to acquittal of actor Salman Khan by the Bombay High Court.

The bench of Justices Ghose and Roy has already reserved its verdict on the main appeal filed by the Karnataka Government against the acquittal of the AIADMK supremo.

It said that the main appeal against Jayalalithaa’s acquittal said the fresh matter raising technical ground can be tagged with a plea filed on similar grounds challenging actor Salman Khan’s acquittal in a 2002 hit-and-run case.

Maharashtra Government has filed the main appeal against the actor’s acquittal.

The technical grounds in both the matters of Jayalalithaa and Salman has been raised by senior advocate Parmanand Katara which will be taken up by another bench on 5 July.

His plea seeking declaration of Karnataka HC verdict acquitting Jayalalithaa in the DA case as “arbitrary” and “void”, was earlier referred by the apex court to a bench already dealing with the matter.

It had also asked him why he had not intervened when the matter was in the High Court.

The senior advocate had said there has been increasing tendency of such appeals being moved in different High Courts and the Supreme Court should settle the issue.

Maintaining that Jayalalithaa was convicted and sentenced for four years with fine, he had said hence the law required that the revision petition should have been filed under section 397/401 of CrPC (powers of High Court to hear revision petitions) and not a criminal appeal under section 374(2).

Katara had said that under section 374 of CrPC, the appeal can be filed if the conviction is seven and more than seven years and not less.

He sought that his petition be heard by constitutional bench to decide the substantial question of law and to clarify the ambiguity.

A similar plea was filed by him in April this year seeking declaration of Bombay High Court verdict acquitting actor Salman Khan in a 2002 hit-and-run case as “arbitrary” and “void” which was earlier referred to the bench which is hearing Maharashtra government’s appeal against his acquittal in the case.

Bombay High Court set to decide on entry of women in inner sanctum of Haji Ali Dargah

The Bombay High Court is set to pronounce its verdict in the matter pertaining to entry of women in to the inner sanctum of the Haji Ali Dargah today.The high court is hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by several women activists urging the court to lift restrictions imposed on entry of women in the dargah by the Haji Ali Dargah Trust.The state government had in February said before the Bombay High Court that unless the Dargah Board is able to prove that ban is part of their religious practice with reference to Quran, women should be allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum of Haji Ali.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The trust had claimed that separate arrangements are made for women who are allowed up to a certain point from where they can offer prayers but they cannot touch the tomb of a male saint as it is a sin in Islam.Amid all this, Bhumata Brigade activist Trupti Desai yesterday visited Shani Shingnapur temple to seek blessings ahead of the verdict.”The Bhumata Brigade had taken out a protest in regard to the entry of women in the inner sanctum of the Haji Ali Dargah. The verdict in regard to the PIL in the Bombay High Court will come tomorrow. We are going to the Shani temple today to pray that the verdict comes in our favour,” Desai told ANI on Monday.The activist – who had successfully campaigned against the ban on women entering the Shani Shingnapur temple – had in April, planned to enter Haji Ali dargah, which does not allow women in its core area.However, local residents and policemen foiled Desai’s entry.

Sheena Bora murder case: Bombay HC seeks CBI’s response on Peter Mukerjea’s bail plea

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday asked CBI for its response on the bail plea of former media baron Peter Mukerjea, arrested for his alleged involvement in the murder of his wife Indrani’s daughter Sheena Bora.

Justice Revati Mohite Dere who issued notice to CBI, posted Peter’s application for hearing on 7 July.

He has approached the high court seeking bail after the sessions court rejected his plea on two occasions.

Peter, who was arrested in November last year by the agency, in his bail application on Saturday assailed the lower court orders rejecting his petition, and said there is nothing incriminating against him in the chargesheet.

Bombay High Court. News18Bombay High Court. News18

Bombay High Court. News18

Others who were arrested in the case were Indrani, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamvar Rai, who has been made an approver and granted pardon.

In his plea, Peter has questioned the lower court’s refusal to grant him bail on the ground that the probe was still on.

It said a further probe, once the chargesheet has been filed, has no fixed deadline, and merely mentioning that the investigation was still was not a fair ground to keep a man in custody indefinitely.

He was arrested on the day CBI filed its first chargesheet in the court against Indrani, Khanna and Rai, who were arrested last August.

“There is still not an iota of evidence against Peter, and he has been kept behind bars only on suspicion. An arrest on mere suspicion based only on calls at odd hours is extremely tenuous,” the application said.

According to the prosecution, Sheena was murdered on 24 April, 2012, but the crime came to light after the arrest of Rai in another case in August 2015.

Key accused Indrani, Khanna and Rai had allegedly strangled Sheena (24), Indrani’s daughter from an earlier relationship, inside a car. Sheena’s body was found in a forest in Raigad. The crime, which came to light in August last year, is allegedly linked to certain financial dealings.

According to CBI, Peter was part of the murder conspiracy.

While Peter and Khanna are lodged in Arthur Road prison, Indrani (43) is in Byculla jail.

Mumbai: Citizens term Versova beach cleaning contract ‘woefully inadequate’, seek stringent clauses

Terming the existing Versova beach cleaning contract by BMC as “woefully inadequate” and “contractor- friendly”, members of the Versova Residents Volunteers (VRV) have written to the civic body, seeking either termination of the existing contract or a new tender with additional stringent clauses.VRV initiated a citizen-led beach clean-up movement along with the help of BMC nearly nine months ago and cleared over six lakh kg of garbage. The group alleged that the reason behind the pitiable condition of the beach was the manner in which the tender requirements of a contract were drafted, as they were not in tune with the ground realities.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tendering flawsVersova resident and Bombay High Court lawyer Afroz Shah, who played a key role in forming VRV, said he studied the tender documents extending from 2014 to 2021 and found that several requirements were extremely diluted. Also, key recommendations including forming a beach monitoring committee were never implemented.”As per the cleaning contract, the Versova beach is divided into two parts – first is from Versova extension to Versova jetty, an extremely dirty 1.5 km stretch that has been assigned only eight people and no machines. The second portion is between Versova extension and Sagar Kutir, for which 10 workers and a tractor trolley in a terrible state have been allotted,” said Shah. “How can such a dirty beach be cleaned efficiently with a few people and without any machinery or supervision?” he rued.Beach monitoring committee at sea”There should have been a Versova beach monitoring committee, with BMC K/West ward officials and two citizen members. This monitoring committee was supposed to conduct regular performance monitoring,” said Shah. In fact, the committee was supposed to conduct inspections at the beach and rate the work being done by the contractor on several parameters. “The tender mentions that if the committee rates the contractor less than 70 points out of the total 100 points twice, a warning has to be issued. If the contractor scores less than 75 points four times, the contract can be terminated in a week,” said Shah, adding that with a non-existing committee and no supervision, the situation at beach was getting only worse.VRV recommendationsVRV, which has prepared a nine-page memorandum for BMC after cleaning the beach for 36 weeks, has recommended a four pronged approach. Filmmaker Neerav Ghosh, who has been an active part of VRV, said, “One of the key points that we have suggested is increasing the staff and machinery. BMC should ensure that there are two JCBs, three tractor trolleys, two digger machines and 40 workers each for both contracts.”Meanwhile the citizen body, whose beach cleaning work is finding tremendous support from all across the globe including from UN Patron of Oceans Lewis Pugh, has also started conducting surveys with the help of local fishermen in Versova to not only study the area from where the plastic and other waste is entering but also to draw plans of cleaning up the plastic in the sea as well.BMC K/West ward officials confirmed that they were studying the VRV proposal.

Mumbai: ‘Get clarification from Supreme Court on pyramid height for Dahi Handi,’ HC tells Maha govt

The Bombay High Court asked Maharashtra Government on Friday to get a clarification from the Supreme Court on its order regarding the height of human pyramids for the Dahi Handi celebrations in the state.The issue cropped up on a contempt petition filed by city-based social worker Swati Patil, who is the secretary of Utkarsh Mahila Samajik Sanstha, an NGO. Patil alleged that Maharashtra Government and others were not following earlier orders of the Bombay High Court on the height of human pyramids during Dahi Handi celebrations.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The High Court, on August 11, 2014, while hearing a petition filed by Patil, had ordered that the height of human pyramids should not exceed 20 feet and that children below the age of 18 years should not be allowed to participate in Dahi Handi functions.
ALSO READ Mumbai: Mandals confused over Dahi Handi court order, will meet to address issuesThe state government challenged the Bombay High Court order in the Supreme Court which initially suspended the high court order and later dismissed the petition. According to the state government, the apex court did not express any opinion on the restriction imposed by the high court on the height of human pyramids. Hence, they were not bound by the earlier order of the High Court.The High Court, however, was of the opinion that its earlier order would be in force unless it had been set aside by a higher court. Therefore, it asked the state government to get clarification from the Supreme Court about the same as the apex court order was silent on this aspect.Patil’s contempt petition, currently being heard by the Bombay High Court, also challenged a Dahi Handi function organised by Ganesh Pande, former head of BJP Yuva Morcha, in the city last year, saying the height of the human pyramid was above 20 feet and hence it violated the earlier court order.Patil alleged that the function was backed by Ashish Shelar, MLA and President of BJP’s Mumbai unit.A bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka issued show cause notice to Pande on Friday, who had organised the function. The notice is returnable on July 29. Shelar, who is a respondent, contended that he had merely attended the function as the chief guest and that he had nothing to do with organising the celebrations.

Bombay High Court asks MHADA to give details about tenements given to mill workers

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) to inform how much textile mill land had been given to it for real estate development in the city and the number of tenements allotted by it to mill workers so far.As large number of textile mills in Mumbai have become defunct in the past two decades, the land available with them is being considered for development. These lands are valued at a high price because of their prime location, says a petition.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka also asked the state government to inform about the rehabilitation scheme it proposes to introduce for workers of the defunct textile mills.The court observed that the government and the MHADA were not disclosing details about the textile mill lands as well as their plans for housing former mill workers, who were rendered jobless after the factories closed down.The bench warned that if details were not furnished by the authorities, they would be forced to appoint an IAS officer to coordinate with various agencies and furnish details about the mill lands to the court.The bench directed MHADA to file an affidavit within a week furnishing details about the mill lands.The petition was filed by Girni Kamgar Sanghatana, which sought rehabilitation of workers, saying they had lost their jobs after the mills became defunct.The matter has been posted for hearing on June 28.

Bombay HC restrains Sena’s ‘Saamna’ from publishing defamatory articles against BJP MP Kirit Somaiya

The Bombay High Court has restrained Shiv Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamna’ from publishing defamatory articles against BJP MP from Mumbai North-East Kirit Somaiya. The order was given by Justice S J Kathawala on Monday in a Rs one crore defamation case filed by Somaiya against ‘Saamna’ and three others in the high court.The high court asked ‘Saamna’ not to publish further articles which may be defamatory to Somaiya. The judge also restrained defendant Kalpana Inamdar from holding press conferences and defaming the BJP leader. It further asked the police station concerned to submit a report on complaints or cases filed against Inamdar by Somaiya, while posting the matter for hearing on June 27.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Somaiya had filed a suit against the Sena newspaper, its editor and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut, printer-publisher Rajendra Bhagwat and Kalpana Inamdar for carrying articles allegedly tarnishing his image. Inamdar had addressed press conference making allegations against Somaiya which were published by ‘Saamna’.Though BJP and Shiv Sena are alliance partners, their relations, ahead of next year’s Mumbai civic polls, are quite strained. Somaiya said in the suit that the articles published in the newspaper on May 15 and 21 contained “baseless, shocking and defamatory” statements against him.

After all the brouhaha, Mumbai police decides not to file FIR against Tanmay Bhat

Suddenly, it is as if there are no holy cows in Maharashtra. For, the Mumbai police have decided not to file an FIR against comedian Tanmay Bhat. No, Tanmay Bhat is not the holy cow, but the persons he lampooned: Sachin Tendulkar and Lata Mangeshkar. It was just comedy!

The police have said, according to The Times Of India, “Prima facie, after going through the video, we have come to the conclusion that the video was meant for comedy and humour. The political party’s complaint does not even attract a non-cognisable offence.” See, there is no slight.

The political party they refer to is Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. And what the world has been saying, that it was humour, even if of the low kind, but nothing more. Both the targets, Tendulkar and Mangeshkar, both Bharat Ratna recipients preferred not to complain. The latter condescendingly had asked, “Tanmay Bhat, who?”

Tanmay Bhat. Image courtesy: Facebook

Tanmay Bhat. Image courtesy: Facebook

But it is not yet a decisive stand, for the police have kept the door ajar, because of the potential for trouble from MNS. “We would have registered an offence immediately had Mangeshkar or Tendulkar approached us with a complaint,” and that the state’s law and judiciary department was yet to submit its report.

Another reason to smile is the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai’s 24-hour ultimatum to a trust to remove an art installation on Marine Drive — the country’s first-ever concrete road, generally seen as a VIP road because ministers take it to travel between Mantralaya and their Malabar Hill residences.

One cannot clutter a place which has been nominated for, but not assigned yet, and not known if it would happen – a heritage status by the Unesco. The local citizens who raised the alarm bells when the RPG Art Foundation installed it, should be pleased. It is not that they do not rejoice in the greatness of Tendulkar. They surely don’t mean to disrespect him by seeking its removal.

That installation is a tribute to – let’s use the stock terms for him – a master-blaster – and great or greater than Don Bradman etc. The installation was, the locals claim, was ad hoc though it was on a most valued precinct. That also shows that local communities care for their environment, though not across the city, at least in one pocket.

That is worthy of encouragement. Mumbai is a city where most people don’t care about the city. Even if some passionately do, the civic body does not keep the city the way it ought to be, despite the past ambitions and dreams of making it a Shanghai or  Hong Kong. The dilapidation of the city is more than what you would think the glass-fronted towers try to hide.

This, however, is backed by the Bombay High Court, because, when an open-air gym was arbitrarily opened even without the permission of the civic body, and then this installation emerged, the locals went to court. The gym was dismantled, and the fear that the promenade may get cluttered, the Tendulkar installation came up. The foundation had said it had “formal permission” to set it up.

The Bombay High Court set up a panel which ruled nothing of the sort and it would be an invitation to disfigure the 4.3 km stretch, as iconic as the Gateway of India. In fact, the lighting had to be restored after the civic body had fiddled with it to cut electricity consumption. The change had ensured that the glittering streetlights did not look like the Queen’s Necklace anymore.

Punjab government has no intention of stopping the release of ‘Udta Punjab’: SAD

With the Bombay High Court clearing the decks for the release of ‘Udta Punjab’, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Monday said it has no objection to the release of the film, adding that the people will decide the fate of the Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt starrer.”The state government has no intention of stopping the release of the film,” Punjab Education Minister and SAD secretary and spokesman Daljeet Singh Cheema said on Monday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is the people who will decide whether to see it (the film) or not,” Cheema said while asserting that the Akali government was never opposed to freedom of expression. He was asked to comment on the court verdict.The Bombay High Court on Monday cleared the decks for the release of ‘Udta Punjab’ whose makers had locked horns with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) over multiple cuts demanded by the board. The High Court ordered the makers to delete a scene where Shahid Kapoor was seen urinating on the audience at a rock concert and display a revised disclaimer.Cheema said it was up to the censor board now whether to allow the release of the film or challenge the verdict.”We have not seen the film. Whatever the court has done is right. It is up to the censor board what decision it takes. We, as government, are nowhere in the picture,” he said.Alleging AAP’s “hand” in the making of ‘Udta Punjab’, SAD had earlier asked the party’s convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to accept AAP’s role in the making of the film as “his own tweets to welcome the film’s co-producer Sameer Nair had exposed the truth that the producer was an ‘active member’ of the Aam Aadmi Party”.Meanwhile, reacting to Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh’s statement that he would eradicate the drug problem in the state within a month of Congress forming the government in the next Assembly elections in 2017, Cheema said, “It means, he knows there is no drug problem in the state. When Amarinder stops raking up the drug issue, the problem will end. Till elections, both Amarinder and Kejriwal will continue to raise this issue.”Meanwhile, Congress and AAP on Monday welcomed the court’s decision.”I am glad that the Court has cleared the film with a single cut. Otherwise, left to a partisan censor board, the film would have been bereft of its soul,” Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh said in a statement.The HC verdict, he added, has vindicated all who stood by the makers of the film as it reflected “the harsh reality of Punjab”. Besides, he hoped, it will open the eyes of those who have always “preferred to keep them shut and live in denial”.The former Chief Minister said this should come as a “lesson” for the likes of Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Badal who, in their “characteristic denial mode”, instead of admitting and acknowledging the problem, had accused the filmmakers of defaming Punjab, like the way they had accused Rahul Gandhi when he had raised the issue four years ago.AAP MP from Sangrur Bhagwant Mann and party leader Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi said, the film seems to “depict the reality of the drug menace” in Punjab and needs to be released without any delay.Mann in a statement said, “As the Bombay High Court has cleared the film for release with one cut, it clearly shows that all the hue-and-cry was being made for political purposes. Now, the Akali-BJP leaders should watch the film closely so that they could know the reality of Punjab.””Art is the reflection of any society, there should be no politics in that. The Akali-BJP should abstain from politicising institutions related to art and culture,” said Ghuggi.”How can you dictate a maker about the context and plot of any film? Is the Akali-BJP alliance above the Constitution which guarantees the freedom of speech and expression,” he added.

German Bakery blast: State to file appeal in Supreme Court against Baig’s acquittal

The state government is all set to file an appeal in the Supreme Court against Bombay High Court’s order acquitting the lone convict Mirza Himayat Baig in the 2010 German Bakery blast case in Pune.Baig was handed over death penalty by a special court for his involvement in the alleged terrorist act. The Bombay High Court had, however, found him guilty of the charge of possession of explosives and confirmed life imprisonment under sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Indian Penal Code and Explosive Substances Act but not for terror charges.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A highly placed source told dna “the draft of appeal is in the process and it will be filed once the apex court is re-opened after the summer vacation on June 29. Despite the testimonies of witnesses against Baig, the court had wrongly ignored them and granted relief to the accused.”Baig is currently in Arthur Road Central Jail, where he is currently lodged after his acquittal from terror charges.As many as 17 people died and over 50 were injured in the blast. In April 2013, when he was being awarded the death sentence, Baig had wept in court, pleading innocence and saying he was “the 18th victim of the blast”. The Maharashtra ATS had claimed he was the blast “mastermind”.The charge of IPC section 474 (possession of document, knowing it to be forged and intending to use it as genuine) was also confirmed — the maximum punishment of seven years will run concurrently.The prosecution had claimed recovery of RDX from the blast site, matching with traces found in Baig’s house.

Eknath Khadse likely to get clean chit in Dawood Ibrahim call case?

Eknath Khadse, who last week resigned from Maharashtra cabinet over multiple allegations of wrongdoing, is likely to be exonerated by the state police in connection with the charge that he received calls from fugitive mob boss Dawood Ibrahim, a senior official said.The Home Department official said on the condition of anonymity that investigation into the alleged calls made to Khadse’s cell phone from a Karachi-based land line (allegedly registered in the name of Dawood’s wife) was almost over, and the final report may come out within a week. “The Anti-Terrorism Squad (which probed the allegation) has received all the call data records… so far nothing significant has come out of the investigations into these call data records,” the official said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, crime branch of Mumbai police too had said the allegation, made by the Aam Aadmi Party first, had no substance. ATS had summoned Gujarat-based Manish Bhangale, who calls himself ‘ethical hacker’ and who had claimed to have obtained the records of a Pakistani telecom firm, for questioning last week. But he did not turn up. Bhangale has moved the Bombay High Court seeking a CBI probe; his petition would be heard on June 14. AAP had cited the records obtained by Bhangale. “The source of the information might have been fake and the agency is exploring this possibility,” the official said. Khadse has denied the allegation saying that the mobile number concerned was not even in operation for the past one year.

BJP MP Kirit Somaiya files defamation suit against Shiv Sena mouthpiece

Kirit Somaiya, the BJP MP from Mumbai North-East, on Friday filed a defamation suit against Shiv Sena mouthpiece `Saamana’, its editor and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut and printer-publisher Rajendra Bhagwat for carrying articles allegedly tarnishing his image. Somaiya has demanded Rs one crore in damages.He has also made Kalpana Inamdar, who, at a press conference, had made some allegations against Somaiya which the Saamana articles carried, a defendant in his suit which would come up before the Bombay High Court in due course.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Though BJP and Shiv Sena are alliance partners, their relations, ahead of next year’s Mumbai civic polls, are quite strained. Somaiya says in the suit that the articles published in the newspaper on May 15 and 21 contained “baseless, shocking and defamatory” statements against him. Inamdar had alleged that Somaiya, through his wife, `grabbed’ a Slum Rehabilitation Authority Project. Somaiya claims to have a letter from SRA saying that he or his family has no connection with any of its projects. Inamdar had also alleged that Somaiya and his wife invested black money in various companies in the names of his relatives. This allegation is also baseless and damaged his reputation, the BJP MP says in the suit.He has also sought a permanent injunction restraining “Saamana” from republishing the defamatory articles or any other article which may harm his reputation. Before “Saamana” published the allegations against Somaiya, the BJP MP had accused the Sena-controlled Mumbai civic body of rampant corruption.

SC declines to stop water supply to breweries in drought-hit parts of Maharashtra

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to direct the Maharashtra government to completely cut water supply to distilleries and breweries in the drought-hit regions of the state.

A vacation bench of Justices P C Pant and D Y Chandrachud pulled up the petitioner for approaching the apex court for a complete ban on water supply to the liquor manufacturers, saying the Bombay High Court has already passed an interim order in this regard.

“Why are you coming against an interim order of the High Court? The High Court has already allowed 60 per cent, now what do you want? These are all policy decisions. There has to be a balance,” the bench said.

File photo of Supreme Court. ReutersFile photo of Supreme Court. Reuters

File photo of Supreme Court. Reuters

The counsel appearing for petitioner Sanjay Bhaskarrao Kale, said the entire region is severely drought-prone and there is a policy in this regard.

To this, the bench said these are all policy decisions and the court’s interference will be like taking over governance.

The apex court dismissed the petition as withdrawn after the counsel agreed to withdraw the plea. The court, however, granted the petitioner the liberty to approach the High Court.

The Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court had recently asked the state government to curtail water supply to the liquor industry by 60 per cent from 10 May, an order which will be operational till 27 June.

The plea filed in the apex court had sought that instead of a curtailed water supply, there should be no supply at all as the entire region is facing acute water shortage.

The petition had said that people were dying in the region due to the shortage of water and there is a limited water stock available.

The counsel for the petitioner had said people were being deprived of drinking water as it is being given to the liquor industry.

Earlier, the Bombay High Court had also asked the Maharashtra government to cut supply to other industrial units in Marathwada by 25 per cent after 10 May.

Amitabh Bachchan loses income tax case in Supreme Court

The Income Tax department will reopen a 2001 tax case against film star Amitabh Bachchan pertaining to his income from the show ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ (KBC). The Supreme court on Wednesday allowed tax officials to investigate the discrepancies related to Bachchan’s re-revised tax return of the assessment year 2001-02, as tax assessing officer failed to verify sources of his expenses. The Income Tax department says the actor owes Rs 1.66 crore in taxes for KBC for the said year.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Setting aside the July 2012 order of Bombay High Court, the Supreme Court under the bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice PC Pant, allowed re-visit of the case. Bombay High Court had granted relief to Bachchan by dismissing Income Tax commissioner’s appeal to reopen the actor’s assessment proceedings for 2001-2002.Bachhan had disclosed Rs 14.99 crore as his income in his original returns filed on on October 13, 2002 for the assessment year 2001-02. He later revised his returns showing his income as Rs 8.11 crore for the same assessment year, claiming some expenses as deduction like security guard and agencies fee, etc.Subsequently the tax assessing officer raised objections as Bachchan had not disclosed names of the agencies. Bachchan immediately withdrew his revised returns on the plea that he was wrongly advised about his tax rebate claims.In his re-revised returns, Bachchan made another claim of additional expenses of 30% of the gross professional receipts (Rs 3.17 crore). His assessment officer did agree with him, but senior tax officials had some doubt about these changes, citing loss of revenue.The Income tax department then issued a notice under section 263 on the ground that tax assessment of Amitabh Bachachan’s return was ‘erroneous and pre judicial to interest of revenue’. On March 29, 2005, the Assessing Officer completed the assessment determining the actor’s income of Rs. 56.41 crore. On April 5, 2006, a notice was issued to Bachchan seeking to reopen the assessment proceedings for the year 2002-03.Among the reasons given for reopening assessment were that books of accounts kept by the actor were not examined and that although he had seven bank accounts the actor had given details of only six of them.The matter went to the court. Subsequently, the tribunal and then the Mumbai High Court gave a decision in favour Amitabh Bachchan. The Supreme Court on Wednesday set them aside and maintained that the Income Tax has the right to investigate Amitabh Bachchan’s assessment case of 2001-02.AB claimed tax deduction on payment from British Virgin Island firmAmitabh Bachachan claimed that he ‘acted’ as an anchor to the television programme show for Star India Ltd, popularly known as ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ (KBC). He received Rs.50.92 crore from KBC. This payment was received from E-Entertainment Ltd (EEL), a foreign company incorporated under the laws of the British Virgin Island. Bachachan claimed to have transferred 70% of the said amount to Amitabhh Bachchan Corporation Ltd (ABCL). He claimed a deduction under section 80RR in respect of the 30 percent of the payments from KBC which accrued to him while the rest 70% was distributed to ABCL on which he had not claimed any deduction.However, according to the Income Tax Officer, income has to be earned outside India and the claimant should go out of India and then through banking channels should bring the professional earnings. Tax officials strongly opposed that Bachachan is not entitled to claim deduction under section 80RR as he was physically working in India. But, in 2008, Bombay high court had allowed I-T exemption on 30% of Bachchan’s total income of Rs.50.92 crore from the show.What IT dept can now doFind out the reason of re-revised tax return and its changesInvestigate addl expenses of 30% of income (Rs.3.17cr)Find source of cash expenses as admitted by Bachchan

Maha govt to declare drought in over 29,000 villages

Mumbai: In the wake of acute water shortage in various parts of Maharashtra, the state government has informed the Bombay High Court that it would declare drought in over 29,000 villages in the state and all relief prescribed in the Drought Manual, 2009 would be provided.

The government in its reply to a batch of PILs on water shortage issue, has told the court that it would issue a corrigendum and clarify that wherever reference is made to a ‘drought-like situation’ and ‘drought-affected areas’, the same should be read as ‘drought’.

The affidavit said last week the government was strictly implementing various schemes and taking various measures to mitigate the water scarcity in drought-hit areas and more particularly in Marathwada and Vidharbha regions.

Bombay High Court. News18Bombay High Court. News18

Bombay High Court. News18

The court also took note of the contention of Acting Advocate General Rohit Deoit that it would not be possible for the government to supply drinking water daily to all districts but it would be supplied on a regular basis.

Deo assured the court that potable water would be supplied to all districts affected by drought regularly till the onset of the monsoon.

The government had earlier told the high court, which is hearing the PILs, that it had declared ‘drought-like situation’ in over 29,000 villages in Maharashtra.

One of the petitioners, Sanjay Lakhe Patil had alleged last week that the government has failed to implement the Drought Manual of 2009 as well as the Drought Management Plan, 2005.

He had submitted that the state government has deliberately not declared drought in Maharashtra or in the
actually affected areas.

“This was done in order to ensure that additional relief which is normally given to villages which are declared as drought-hit villages is not given and these villages have been avoided,” Patil had argued.

After perusing the affidavit, the court had noted, “Prima facie we are satisfied that the government has given a serious thought and has considered this issue in detail and is taking immediate steps for the purpose of ensuring that in the month of May and part of June this year all adequate measures as mentioned in the Drought Manual are being undertaken.”

The court posted the petitions for hearing on 24 May to ensure that the government is implementing the provisions under the manual.

NIA charge sheet in Malegaon 2008 bombings likely this month

The NIA is likely to file its charge sheet in the 2008 Malegaon bombings by alleged Hindu terror outfit Abhinav Bharat this month, the anti-terror probe agency said on Monday, days after the Supreme Court asked it to complete the investigation at the earliest. NIA Director General Sharad Kumar said the probe in the case has been completed and a charge sheet would be filed before the competent court in Mumbai “most probably within this month”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He denied there was any deliberate delay in submitting the charge sheet and said several accused arrested by Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad had filed cases in the Bombay High Court and Supreme Court. “Once the courts cleared all the litigations, we expedited our process of filing the charge sheet in the case,” Kumar said. National Investigation Agency (NIA) has listed 14 persons including Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit as accused in the blasts in Malegaon town in Nashik district of Maharashtra on September 29, 2008 in which seven people were killed when two bombs planted on a motorcycle exploded. The probe was initially conducted by the Maharashtra ATS and later handed over to the NIA.Besides Purohit, Pragya Singh Thakur, Shivnarayan Kalsangra, Shyam Sahu, Ramesh Upadhya, Sameer Kulkarni, Ajay, Rakesh Dhawade, Jagdish Mhatre, Sudhakar Dwivedi, Sudhakar Chaturvedi and Pravin Takalki have been arrested. Ramchandra Kalsangra and Sandeep Dange, who are accused in 2007 Samjhuata train blast also, have been named as absconders in this case. Malegaon 2008 blasts changed the course of many probes including the one in Samjhauta train blast case in which 68 people had been killed. It was for the first time that the role of a Hindu right wing group had come to light in a terror attack. The case was investigated initially by Joint Commissioner of Mumbai’s ATS Hemant Karkare who was killed during the 26/11 Mumbai attack.Before the NIA took over the case in 2011, Maharashtra ATS had booked 16 people but filed charge sheets on January 20, 2009 and April 21, 2011 against 14 accused in a Mumbai court. Purohit and Pragya had moved several applications before Bombay High Court and Supreme Court challenging the charge sheet and applicability of stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in the case.The accused have denied any involvement in the twin blasts that rocked Malegaon on September 29, 2008 that left seven dead and several wounded. They have also refuted being co-conspirators in any organised crime syndicate.

Minor rape case: Goa MLA Baabush Monserrate sent to three-day police remand

Expelled Congress leader and St Cruz MLA Atanasio Monserrate, alias, Baabush, who was on Wednesday booked on the charges of raping a minor migrant girl, was on Friday presented before a local court here and sent to three-day police remand.The accused step-mother of the survivor has also been sent to three-day police custody.The defence lawyer Rajiv Gomes did not object to remand petition but moved an application asking to restrain the investigating police authorities from revealing the details of investigation to the media.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the statement of the survivor was published in the newspapers today and cited a Bombay High Court judgement for restraining the police against tarnishing the image of his client. He also said the charges on his client were politically motivated. Monserrate was yesterday arrested reportedly after he surrendered before the Goa Police.The Goa Police had on Wednesday registered an FIR against Monserrate under section 8 of the Goa Children’s Act and sections 3 and 4 of the POCSO Act, besides various IPC sections of rape, assault and restraining the survivor. Earlier, police searched his properties on the outskirts of Panaji.

Beef ban: Bombay High Court strikes down criminal prosecution for possessing beef in Maharashtra

The Bombay High Court on Friday struck down three sections of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act which was enforced in March 2015, thereby holding that criminal prosecution for possessing beef is unconstitutional under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.While striking down sections, 5 (d) and section 9(b) of the Act and reading down section 5 (c), the court said it was in contravention of provisions of the right to privacy. The court has allowed the state to prosecute only after ascertaining whether the person having beef was in conscious possession of it. Technically, this means people cannot bring beef from outside Maharashtra, but if brought, authorities will have to ascertain whether it was consciously brought and prosecution will follow thereafter. Also, the slaughter of bulls/bullocks will not continue in the state. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As per the law, possession of beef was criminalised, thereby indirectly banning sale or possession of beef in any form in the state.The Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act was enacted in March 2015 and bans the slaughter of bulls and bullocks, in addition to an earlier ban on the slaughter of cows. The law makes the sale of bulls, bullocks for slaughter a crime, punishable with a jail term of up to five years and a fine of Rs 10,000.Section 5(d) of the Act says that possession of meat of a cow, bull or bullock, even if slaughtered outside the state, is also an offence which can be punished with one-year imprisonment and a fine of Rs 2,000. Petitions have challenged this section claiming that the ban on beef is a violation of the fundamental right to life and liberty. However, former Advocate general of the State Shrihari Aney had justified the ban, contending that there was no fundamental right to choice of food and or any right to eat beef. The state also claimed that making possession of beef a crime was necessary in order to ensure effective implementation of the ban.The aim and object of the Act is to preserve cattle for their undeniable utility in agriculture and drought sectors.The government affidavit said that the eating habits of a group of persons do not make that group a “cultural minority” entitled to protection under Article 29 (protection of interests of minorities). The concept of culture is far above issues like what one eats, it said. If a food habit, that too not essential food, is considered to be part of culture, then there would be thousands of minority groups in the country on this basis alone, it said. Further, it had said, “India is a vast country and people living in different parts of the country have different food cuisines…Therefore, eating a particular food does not entitle the constitution of a cultural minority.The state government had also clarified that it does not have any intention to impose a “vegetarian regime or dictate or force food habits”. “The non-vegetarians are free to have their own food choices but cannot insist, as a matter of right, on a particular type of food.The petitioners relying on Article 19 (1)(g) which deals with the fundamental right to “practice any profession or carry on any occupation, trade or business,” the state government has said that this right is subject to Article 19 (6) which permits reasonable restrictions to be imposed in the interest of the general public.

Bombay HC to pronounce verdict on Maharashtra’s beef ban today

The Bombay High Court will pronounce the judgement on a bunch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the beef ban in Maharashtra on Thursday.A division bench of Justices A S Oka and S C Gupte had reserved the ruling in January after hearing the arguments.In February 2015, the President granted assent to the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act. While the original 1976 Act banned slaughter of cows, the amendment prohibited, in addition, slaughter of bulls and bullocks and possession and consumption of their meat.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As per the Act, slaughter attracts a five-year jail-term and Rs 10,000 fine while possession of meat of bull or bullock attracts one-year in jail and Rs 2,000 fine.During the hearing, the HC had refused to grant interim stay to the provisions penalising the possession of beef. Arif Kapadia, a city resident, and noted lawyer Harish Jagtiani have challenged the provision which says mere possession of beef anywhere in the state is a crime.This is arbitrary and undermines the cosmopolitan nature of the city which houses people from all religions and communities, they contend.Other petitions have been filed by Vishal Sheth, a lawyer, and Shaina Sen, a student, contending that the ban on beef violates fundamental rights of citizens.

Bombay HC dissatisfied with probe in Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare murder cases

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday expressed dissatisfaction over slow progress of investigations into the murder cases of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and activist Govind Pansare.A division bench, headed by Justice SC Dharmadhikari, after perusing the probe reports submitted by CBI probing the Dabholkar case, and the state CID which is investigating the Pansare case, said the investigations were not satisfactory. The bench directed both the agencies to continue their probe and sought progress reports on June 23. “We hope that at least now the agencies will show real and concrete progress in the probe,” the high court said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We expect the agencies to show promptness while investigating such cases. Both are premier agencies and should demonstrate vigilance. If you (CBI and CID) are facing any difficulties or any direct or indirect obstacles, then be candid and say so,” the court said.The high court also suggested both the agencies get in touch with the victims’ families as they might have some valuable information and also the police officers who were first probing the cases before they were transferred to independent agencies. Public prosecutor Sandeep Shinde, appearing for CID, told the HC that it has already filed chargesheet against the lone arrested accused Sameer Gaikwad in the Pansare case. Dabholkar was killed in August 2013. Pansare was shot at on February 16 last year. He succumbed to his wounds four days later on February 20. CBI and CID have been submitting periodical progress reports to HC.Earlier, CBI had told the high court that it was probing the role of right wing organisation Sanatan Sanstha in the murder of Dabholkar.

Adarsh won’t tower over Colaba as symbol of graft, Bombay High Court wants it razed

Holding that the scam-tainted 31-storey Adarsh apartments at Colaba here – originally meant for Kargil war heroes and war widows – was illegally constructed, the Bombay High Court, on Friday, ordered its demolition and sought criminal proceedings against politicians and bureaucrats for “misuse” of powers.However, on a plea made by the Adarsh Housing Society, a division bench stayed its order to raze the building, close to the sea in South Mumbai, for 12 weeks, to enable it to file an appeal in the Supreme Court, despite the Maharashtra government opposing it.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The division bench asked the Union ministry of environment and forest to carry out the demolition at the expense of petitioners (Adarsh Society).Seen as a symbol of corruption, the Adarsh scam kicked up a huge political storm after it surfaced in 2010, leading to the resignation of the then Congress chief minister Ashok Chavan.The order was delivered in an open court by a bench of Justices RV More and RG Ketkar on a bunch of petitions filed by Adarsh Society challenging the demolition order of the Union ministry of environment and forests and a title suit filed by the defence ministry claiming that it owned the land on which the building was constructed.The court asked the Centre and state government to consider taking departmental proceedings in accordance with law against bureaucrats. “The disciplinary authority shall take decision in accordance with law without being influenced by the findings of the high court,” said the bench.The bench placed on record its appreciation for the complainant Simpreet Singh, a member of National Alliance of People’s Movement. “But for his intervention, perhaps the gross violation by the petitioners (Adarsh Society) would not have been detected,” the court observed.The court also asked the Adarsh Society to pay Rs one lakh as cost to each of the six respondents including Bharat Bhushan, director of ministry of environment and forests, Nalini Bhat, advisor and competent authority, MoEF, Sitaram Kunte, former commissioner of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and three others.Chavan parries queries Ashok Chavan, who had to resign as Maharashtra chief minister, following the multi-crore Adarsh scam controversy, refused to comment on the Bombay High Court’s historic decision. “Unless I get it in my hand the copy of the order, I cannot comment on the issue,” Chavan said. It was in February this year that the Maharashtra Governor accorded sanction to the CBI to prosecute Chavan under the provisions of the IPC in the case.

Complainant cheers HC verdict in Adarsh case, but fears dilution of laws

Reacting to the Bombay High Court’s scathing judgment directing the demolition of the Adarsh housing society in Cuffe Parade, an activist who helped expose the alleged scam said that the verdict is a very positive one.

Simpreet Singh of the National Alliance for People’s Movements (NAPM), said, “The Adarsh society has irregularities and illegalities on several fronts. The environmental issues involved are very important. We had been demanding the demolition of the society for several years, and I am very happy with the court’s order.”

The Adarsh building . Image courtesy: IBNLiveThe Adarsh building . Image courtesy: IBNLive

The Adarsh building . Image courtesy: IBNLive

In August 2008, the NAPM had filed a complaint with the department of defence, government of Maharashtra, Union environment department and Mumbai civic authorities alleging irregularities in 31-storey Adarsh society structure in the plush Cuffe Parade area in Mumbai. Subsequently, Simpreet Singh had filed a petition in the Bombay High Court, demanding that it should supervise investigation of the case. The plea was part of a group of petitions which were jointly heard by the high court.

Speaking to Firstpost, Singh said, “The Environment Protection Act, 1986 provides for both civil compensation as well as criminal proceedings for people responsible for causing ecological damage. At present, the FIR in the Adarsh case deals with the aspects of fraud. However, the people responsible for the environmental damage also need to be taken to task.”

In its judgment, the Bombay High Court recorded its appreciation for Singh, saying that if it weren’t for him, the ‘gross violation’ by the Adarsh society would not have been detected.

However, to a question whether the Adarsh case would lead to better compliance with environmental regulations, Singh said, “The present government is trying to dilute the very laws which are aimed at protecting ecology. The present environment minister takes pride in stating how many projects he cleared in how many days, rather than how he has taken steps to protect the environment. This is very unfortunate and in such a scenario, I am not very hopeful.”

The Adarsh housing society is mired in controversy for alleged environmental violations, conflicts of interest, a dispute over ownership of land and benami transactions.

IPL 2016: Bombay HC should have maintained earlier stand and not allowed Pune match on 1 May

Bombay High Court should not have allowed the BCCI to hold an IPL fixture in Pune on 1 May, after earlier having ordered that all matches be shifted out of Maharashtra after 30 April. The state was reeling under acute water scarcity and HC allowing leeway to BCCI does not bode well for the state. The BCCI’s plea was that after a 29 April match, it was not “practical” to shift to another venue within a day.

Had it remained firm on its earlier order asking that 13 matches scheduled to be played in Mumbai, Pune, and Nagpur be shifted, it would have enforced respect for water-scarcity across the country, which has affected 33 crore people. It cannot be that water is treated as a commodity to be wasted.

Marathwada has been suffering from severe drought conditions. aajlatur.com

Marathwada has been suffering from severe drought conditions. aajlatur.com

The very fact that the BCCI did not approach the Supreme Court with an urgent special leave application could well have been the fear of being blasted off their feet. The apex court is in the midst of hearing a case regarding the drought situation in some dozen states, including Maharashtra.

Despite the High Court’s order, the politicians themselves seem to have no problem with water being wasted in their sake. At least three cases have emerged of water being used to spray make-shift helipads for ministers. One is of course the infamous spraying in Latur district, where water is being sent by trains from Western Maharashtra so people can have something to drink.

Here are the other brazen use of water in drought-hit parts of the country: One, what was done for Eknath Khadse in Latur, the same was done for Karnataka’s chief minister, Siddaramaiah. The CM was to garland a statue while on a tour to study drought in Bagalkot district. The district administration deployed two tankers of 5,000 litre capacity to spray the road so the visiting VIP doesn’t have to encounter dust.

Uttar Pradesh too has regions under water scarcity conditions. Akhilesh Yadav, chief minister, took a helicopter to Bundelkhand’s Lalitpur. The spot where he was to land, a helipad was prepared, and you guessed it right, sprayed with water. Bundelkhand is, according to reports, running a water conservation project to save, what else, water. It is as if there is an epidemic of defiance of the concept of respect for water which Bombay High Court was enforcing.

On Monday, union agricultural minister Radha Mohan Singh visited Bhiwandi, just an hour’s drive from Mumbai in a fast car with police escort, to attend Kisan Gram Sabha on Tuesday as chief guest. He chose to use a helicopter, despite the sharp public reaction to the insensitivity displayed in Latur. These politicians defend the use of helicopters by saying that choppers are time-savers. Right now, the urgent need is to save water if it could be found. But that does not seem to have been understood by the VIPs.

However, our very important community of leaders who time and again visit drought-hit areas to study its impact, fail to understand that unavailability of water is the reason for the situation. They needn’t go there to know this, but if they have gone to study how well the administration was handling measures to ameliorate the impact, we don’t know if that was their priority at all.

If Khadse and politicians like him explain the use of helicopters, and therefore implicitly the use of water to keep them dust-free, chances are the district administrations are not going to knocked on their knuckles from the state’s headquarters. Imagine any chief secretary from Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Lucknow marshalling the gumption to pull up the district collectors who were, after all, keeping the chief ministers happy.

And they are the people who have to facilitate water to the people. It is one thing that Latur has become the image of water scarcity, but any number of villages are in dire straits. And the ministers haven’t helped their cause one bit.

Bombay HC should have stuck to its earlier stand and disallowed Pune IPL match

Bombay High Court should not have allowed the BCCI to hold an IPL fixture in Pune on 1 May, after earlier having ordered that all matches be shifted out of Maharashtra after 30 April. The state was reeling under acute water scarcity and HC allowing leeway to BCCI does not bode well for the state. The BCCI’s plea was that after a 29 April match, it was not “practical” to shift to another venue within a day.

Had it remained firm on its earlier order asking that 13 matches scheduled to be played in Mumbai, Pune, and Nagpur be shifted, it would have enforced respect for water-scarcity across the country, which has affected 33 crore people. It cannot be that water is treated as a commodity to be wasted.

Marathwada has been suffering from severe drought conditions. aajlatur.com

Marathwada has been suffering from severe drought conditions. aajlatur.com

The very fact that the BCCI did not approach the Supreme Court with an urgent special leave application could well have been the fear of being blasted off their feet. The apex court is in the midst of hearing a case regarding the drought situation in some dozen states, including Maharashtra.

Despite the High Court’s order, the politicians themselves seem to have no problem with water being wasted in their sake. At least three cases have emerged of water being used to spray make-shift helipads for ministers. One is of course the infamous spraying in Latur district, where water is being sent by trains from Western Maharashtra so people can have something to drink.

Here are the other brazen use of water in drought-hit parts of the country: One, what was done for Eknath Khadse in Latur, the same was done for Karnataka’s chief minister, Siddaramaiah. The CM was to garland a statue while on a tour to study drought in Bagalkot district. The district administration deployed two tankers of 5,000 litre capacity to spray the road so the visiting VIP doesn’t have to encounter dust.

Uttar Pradesh too has regions under water scarcity conditions. Akhilesh Yadav, chief minister, took a helicopter to Bundelkhand’s Lalitpur. The spot where he was to land, a helipad was prepared, and you guessed it right, sprayed with water. Bundelkhand is, according to reports, running a water conservation project to save, what else, water. It is as if there is an epidemic of defiance of the concept of respect for water which Bombay High Court was enforcing.

On Monday, union agricultural minister Radha Mohan Singh visited Bhiwandi, just an hour’s drive from Mumbai in a fast car with police escort, to attend Kisan Gram Sabha on Tuesday as chief guest. He chose to use a helicopter, despite the sharp public reaction to the insensitivity displayed in Latur. These politicians defend the use of helicopters by saying that choppers are time-savers. Right now, the urgent need is to save water if it could be found. But that does not seem to have been understood by the VIPs.

However, our very important community of leaders who time and again visit drought-hit areas to study its impact, fail to understand that unavailability of water is the reason for the situation. They needn’t go there to know this, but if they have gone to study how well the administration was handling measures to ameliorate the impact, we don’t know if that was their priority at all.

If Khadse and politicians like him explain the use of helicopters, and therefore implicitly the use of water to keep them dust-free, chances are the district administrations are not going to knocked on their knuckles from the state’s headquarters. Imagine any chief secretary from Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Lucknow marshalling the gumption to pull up the district collectors who were, after all, keeping the chief ministers happy.

And they are the people who have to facilitate water to the people. It is one thing that Latur has become the image of water scarcity, but any number of villages are in dire straits. And the ministers haven’t helped their cause one bit.

‘Haji Ali sabke liye’: NGOs, activists come together to seek women’s entry at dargah

Mumbai: After the successful right-to-pray campaign centred around the Shani Temple in Ahmednagar district, a similar public-backed movement has been launched to seek entry of women into the core area of the Haji Ali Dargah in the city.

Over 20 outfits, NGOs and human right activists on Wednesday announced formation of ‘Haji Ali Sabke Liye’ to peacefully campaign against the ban on entry of women into the interiors of the 15th century Sufi shrine, located on a small islet in the Arabian Sea and visited by hundreds of people everyday.

The forum was launched at a press conference which was briefly disrupted by a group of people who said the move was against the Sharia.

Addressing the meet, its convener Javed Anand said, “The forum is of the firm view that women’s entry in the Dargah is not a religious issue, but something to do with customs and traditions. This is why the forum is appealing to the trustees of the Haji Ali Dargah to immediately withdraw the restriction imposed on entry of women.”

Haji Ali dargah. File photo. ReutersHaji Ali dargah. File photo. Reuters

Haji Ali dargah. File photo. Reuters

The Bombay High Court is hearing a petition challenging the Haji Ali Trust’s decision to ban the entry of women into the sanctum of the shrine.

“We are sincerely requesting the trustees to withdraw the ban before the HC gives its final order,” said Anand.

Anand said he has full faith in the judiciary but is appealing to the management of the dargah to uphold the right to equality of women at religious places.

Representatives of the forum will try to meet the trustees to convey their sentiments on the issue. The new body would soon hold a peaceful dharna outside the shrine, which houses the tomb of a Sufi saint and also a mosque, he said.

Trupti Desai of Bhumata Brigade, who successfully spearheaded the agitation seeking entry of women in Shani Shinganapur’s sanctum, said fighting for women’s right was part of her mission and she would proactively take part in this movement too.

Mariam Dhawale, state president, All India Democratic Association, said after the Haji Ali Dargah row is solved, the forum would launch a similar movement to demand entry into other religious places where such a ban is in place.

Surge pricing during odd-even: It’s trouble when demand-supply dynamics starts looking like extortion

The market place is ultimately about the interplay of demand and supply, the elementary forces in economics, isn’t it? If demand outstrips supply, prices soar and they dip if the case is the opposite. So what is there to complain when app-based cab aggregators take advantage of a high demand-low supply situation during Delhi’s odd-even drive? It’s business as usual. Well, it isn’t. It’s extortion; the same way demanding abnormally high prices for water in a drought-hit area is.

One cannot call ‘surge pricing’ — when fares increase depending on the availability of drivers vis-a-vis demand for them — unethical strictly on the principle of business. Price inflation is not unusual in the periods of high demand and low supply. However, surge within a band is acceptable and is not likely to meet with resistance. If it goes beyond the reach of most and appears unreasonable then it is perceived as exploitative. When procurement of water in water-scarce regions in the country start taxing family budgets heavily it does not stay normal business; it becomes extortion.

Representational image. IBN LiveRepresentational image. IBN Live

Representational image. IBN Live

To get over the problem of inadequate public transport and auto rickshaws acting pricey, many citizens had booked cabs through the app-based aggregators. But the prices they had to pay, they complained, were in some cases five times above normal. There were calls from angry commuters to Delhi government’s helpline through the major part of the day. Not only was the fare steep but also the service was poor in some cases.

Delhi government took serious note of overcharging by cab service providers, including Ola and Uber, and issued them notice to desist from it. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted that the taxis found indulging in overcharging would be impounded and their licenses would be cancelled. Earlier, the Bombay High Court had expressed concern over the practice of ‘surge pricing’ followed by the aggregators during the implementation of the odd-even formula in the capital state and questioned the government’s lack of action over it.

The concept of surge pricing has become problematic of late. Initially believed to be a respite from regular taxis that fleeced passengers and offered poor services, the aggregators – they call themselves technology service providers not taxi services – have started demanding more from users under the surge pricing clause. While they claim that it is an automated process, the latter complain that it is no more a matter of demand vs availability of cabs; it has become a regular feature where they are charged surge rates in non-peak hours also.

After a big public uproar and sustained public campaign, the Karnataka government recently banned such pricing by the aggregators. Now it’s Delhi taking note of the problem. After the government’s intervention, both Ola and Uber have suspended surge pricing and will charging passengers normal rates. However, questions have now started emerging on the sustainability of their business model.

For the Delhi government, there’s lesson in it. When the odd-even is in place, virtually keeping half the private vehicles off the roads every day, it must ensure that public transport is efficient. If auto rickshaws and taxis start acting pricey and causing inconvenience to people then there will be resistance to odd-even itself sooner rather than later.

Mumbai: Citizens remove 22,500 kg of trash from Versova beach

In a marathon clean-up exercise that started on Friday and ended on Sunday evening, Versova citizens, who were tired of seeing their beach littered with trash, cleared as much as 22,500kg of garbage from the beach.Versova resident Afroz Shah, who is also a Bombay High Court lawyer and played a crucial role in forming the group named Versova Resident Volunteers, started the campaign called Clean-Up Versova Rock Beach. The group has been cleaning the Versova beach every Sunday for the last 26 weeks.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”On Thursday, we were shocked to find that suddenly there was a huge amount of trash and plastic waste on the beach. It must have come from the sea. Knowing well that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) cleaning drive was far below the standard, we decided to call for the citizens’ participation for a massive clean-up drive,” said Afroz, adding that they learned that the biggest problem was pulling out plastic and other trash stuck in several inches of sand. Hence, they hired a “digger” as well, which loosens the top level of sand.Along with 10 labourers, a BMC tractor and 60-odd volunteers, including locals, regular walkers and citizen groups such as Beach O Beach, which has been similarly cleaning up the Juhu beach, the group finished the exercise while braving the blazing sun since Friday.”We collected 12,000kg of trash on Friday and Saturday. So we decided to put all the force behind and invited more people to join in for the Sunday clean-up. It went on from 2-5pm, and we collected 10,500kg of trash,” said Afroz, adding that the total tally of garbage collected by the citizens in 26 weeks was 72,500kg. The group ensured that they weighed the trash after every clean-up, so that they could maintain a record and show it to the BMC to seek more involvement from their side.Filmmaker Neerav Ghosh, a Juhu resident, who has been a part of another citizen-initiated beach clean-up project, also participated in the Versova clean-up on Saturday and Sunday. Ghosh said it was heartening to see so many concerned citizens cleaning up the Versova beach.”We have been cleaning the Juhu beach for several months now. The situation at Versova is completely different. Versova beach seems to be completely ignored, as compared to the ‘glamorous’ and popular Juhu beach,” he said, adding that citizens needed to put pressure on the BMC to get the Versova beach cleaned efficiently.Even as plastic constituted the maximum share of the trash collected, volunteers were surprised to find a huge quantity of cement bags, clothes and alcohol bottles as well.Beach trash removed:Friday: 4,000kgSaturday: 8,000kgSunday: 10,500kgTotal trash collected in three days: 22,500kgTotal trash collected by citizens at Versova beach in the last 26 weeks (every Sunday): 72,500kg

Allow atheists to take oath in the name of Constitution: PIL

Two Pune residents have filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court (HC), seeking directions to lower courts and its staff to allow atheists to take oaths while deposing in court by keeping their hands on the Indian Constitution.Sunil Mane and wife Laxmikanta Mane, in their petition, cited two court incidents, in Bhiwandi and Pune, where two government officers had wanted to take oath by putting their hands on the Constitution, but were not allowed to do so.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Under the Oaths Act of 1969, which is still in force, a witness can swear by Universal God without referring to any religious denomination, the petition said.The format prescribed is: “I do swear in the name of God, solemnly affirm that what I shall state shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”Further, it says that inside courts ‘the Constitution of India’ is the only holy book. The petitioners wish to assert that the Constitution is, in fact, the only modern sacred book and the democratic values in the society are real progressive thought of religion to be followed. A person of any religion cannot object to taking oath on the Constitution as it is our duty to abide by the Constitution. This will help in unnecessary flaring of communal thoughts, and also not create problems for people who are atheists.The petition states that cases like those of the two public servants are happening in various courts, but in the absence of any legal provision, the courts are not allowing the witnesses to depose.People who are not believers but have full faith in the Indian Constitution are being denied permission to depose during judicial proceedings at various levels in Maharashtra when they request that they will administer oath in the name of the Indian Constitution.The liberty of thoughts, expression, belief and faith is inclusive of not keeping any belief on concept of God and all such persons also have the right to follow their belief and faith.The petition, which will come up for hearing in due course, prays for directions from the court to declare that those, who are not willing to take oath in the name of God or by putting their hands on any religious book, shall be allowed to take oath in the name of Indian Constitution. Guidelines are issued to all courts in Maharashtra with respect to The Oaths Act 1969 and Indian Constitution. All courts in Maharashtra are given instruction on taking suo moto action proactively against the people giving false affidavits

IPL-drought conundrum: Pools and lawns aside, BCCI showed utter lack of sensitivity

Anurag Thakur, BCCI’s Secretary, may have a point. He asked, after some matches after 30 April were ordered out of Mumbai and Pune, “How many swimming pools of 5 star hotels have been shut? Have people stopped watering their lawns?”

Of course, not all homes have lawns, neither do many apartment complexes in Mumbai or elsewhere. But the fact that a lawn is a water guzzler is known to all, just like the grass on the outfield of cricket venues. But, BCCI has shown utter lack of sensitivity.

It is headquartered in Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra, a state whose large chunks are reeling under acute water shortages. There isn’t enough for drinking, and yet it needed a PIL in Bombay High Court for BCCI to wake up to the issue.

“Send water” here apparently does not mean cart what was likely to be used in Mumbai’s stadium, but facilitate transport of the elixir of life. BCCI has the financial muscle to do something by way of its corporate social responsibility.

That CSR inclination ought to have come without a court case, much as the “willingness” of two franchises, Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants, to contribute Rs 5 crore each to the chief minister’s relief fund. From the narrative that has emerged, these entities did not even think of it before they found their heads on the chopping block.

The state is facing a major water crisis. AFP

The state is facing a major water crisis. AFP

Even then, the explanatory talk was about how the franchises would lose money. It must have been a shock that the emperors of the game had to be told where to get off. Mint, the financial daily had quoted a BCCI official a year ago: “Cricket will always be a recession-proof sport (in the country), simply because it is the single most important game in India”.

This time, they wanted to prove they were monsoon-proof too.

A year ago this month, Mint had reported, “2013-14, was not a great one for the economy”. But, “not the enterprise in charge of cricket”. BCCI had posted a profit of Rs 526 crore “proving how cricket was “slowdown-proof”, that BCCI was “an economic engine that chugs along smoothly, come rain or shine, almost independent of the performance of the Indian cricket team”.

Given this reality, Anurag Thakur asking whether lawns have ceased being watered, does not square well. It actually illustrates how a law maker – he is a member of parliament – knew what was happening, and what was happening was wrong, and yet had not asked for it to end earlier.

This attitude of using the last drop that can come via one’s tap, or sucked out of the ground, and never mind the consequences that would emerge later shows the myopic Indian approach. Jab tak milte rahega, tab tak lete rahenge. Uske baad? Dekha jayega (As long as it’s available, it’s there for the taking. Whatever happens is for later)

Even the city government did not know, till the BCCI itself told the Bombay High Court the source, where the daily tankers were coming from. But that is par for the course.

Long ago, BMC’s officials had conceded that water was being wastefully used in the city by bathing in bathtubs. They are illegal, and despite empowering statutes, the city government does not act for want of manpower. An official had told DNA, they require around 200 litres for a bath compared to 25 litres in a bucket. But they are“pretty common in residences in posh areas”.

Now that Anurag Thakur has raised it, it may make eminent sense to survey the lawns that the official residences of ministers and the municipal commissioner have in their palatial accommodations. Are they being watered? If so, from where does the water come? And especially since Mumbai has officially reduced water supply due to dried up reservoirs, what has happened to the swimming pools?

But yes, that official who pleaded inadequate manpower had a suggestion. “The citizen needs to be responsible. The BMC cannot do things beyond a limit.” So would you please turn off the tap when you are brushing, or shaving? Thin the flow in the kitchen sink? And avoid a shower and opt for a bucketful, as long as you get that bucketful?

IPL 2016: Bombay HC allows matches in drought hit-Maharashtra till April 30, remaining matches to be shifted outside

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday said that it will allow Indian Premier League (IPL) matches in Maharashtra until April 30 after which the rest of the matches must be be shifted out of the state.The hearing was in respect to the petition filed by an NGO asking that IPL matches be shifted out of the drought affected state.The BCCI on Wednesday in a reply to a plea in Bombay High Court asking the cricket body to shift IPL matches out of drought-hit Maharashtra said that the cricket body and three IPL franchise teams are willing to pay money for the CM’s Drought Relief Fund and supply over 40 lakh water to affected areas.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A division bench of justices V M Kanade and M S Karnik in the Bombay HC asked yesterday the BCCI to inform them if it was willing to donate to the chief minister’s drought relief fund and if it would provide around 40 lakh litres of water to areas where there is scarcity. It further asked the BCCI to consider shifting a few IPL matches, to be held in Pune, out of the state.The BCCI replied to it saying, “We are ready to supply more than 40 lakh litres of water to the drought hit areas, be it Latur or any place. We’re paying Rs five crores directly for the drought relief and the RWITC has given in undertaking that they will not back out.” The Mumbai and Pune team franchises are willing to give Rs five crore each towards CM drought relief fund, the BCCI told HC.BCCI also said that it will consult Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA )to shift Nagpur matches somewhere else. It also reiterated that the RWITC has given undertaking about supply of required recycled sewage water for Mumbai and Pune stadiums.The HC ordered the government to monitor the promised water (by BCCI) and see that it has supplied it to affected areas. “We propose to monitor state water policy,” said HC.Hitting out at the state government, HC said, “The state Govt files affidavit, says they have no objection if the matches are shifted out of the state but on the other hand they are saying that shifting matches will not solve the problem, but the court can’t close eyes from the plight of millions.Bombay HC observes that Maharashtra Govt is passing bucks to municipal corporation”Tickets are sold, there are many other people involved who are benefited by IPL, so the IPL should be allowed,” says BCCI. The cricket body also said, “There are many ways to find long term solutions for water scarcity.”As far as BCCI or MCA is concerned, they just get the rent of the stadium, rest is franchise’s profit.”The Pune franchise lawyer bfore the hearing had opposed shifting of IPL matches outside Pune, saying “If the matches are shifted our local support benefit will go and we will suffer financial losses.” The Pune franchise’s lawyer also said that large part of what the court and the petitioner suggested is being done and that they were ready for something more as suggested by petitioners and court.The petitioner that asked whether money can be substituted for water, in response to the Pune franchise lawyer statement about facing losses over shifting of venue. “In 2009 also, IPL was shifted to South Africa,” the petitioner said. During the hearing, petitioner’s lawyer said, “We have report confirming that RWITC was penalised in past for illegal usage of water.”The Bombay High Court had on Tuesday asked the cash-rich Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) if it would compensate the state by donating money and providing water to drought-affected areas for holding the Indian Premier League (IPL) in Maharashtra, and using non-potable water for maintaining grounds and pitches. The state is facing a severe drought, and as many as nine IPL matches are to be played in Pune and eight in Mumbai.Petitioners also informed the court that Kings 11 Punjab and VCA have been served notice through email to be made party in the matterThe direction was given after BCCI informed the court that it would henceforth use treated sewage water, provided by the Royal Western Indian Turf Club (RWITC) in Mumbai and Pune, to maintain its grounds and pitches.The directions were given during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by NGO Loksatta Movement, seeking directions to the government to shift IPL matches outside Maharashtra. The petition claimed that around 40-60 lakh litres of water will be used to maintain pitches, which instead could be diverted to people facing severe shortage of water in Vidarbha and Marathwada.Royal Western Indian Turf Club (RWITC) to provide around 70,000-80,000 liters of treated sewage water to stadiums in Mumbai and Pune.BMC provides 22,000 liters of potable water to Wankhede stadium every dayWith agency inputs.

Now, Kolhapur Mahalaxmi temple allows women to enter inner sanctum

Breaking an age-old convention, a few women were allowed to enter the inner sanctum of the historical Mahalaxmi temple in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur district.In the wake of Bombay High Court’s ruling that women cannot be stopped from entering the religious places and subsequent decision by trustees of Shani temple at Shingnapur to allow women to enter its core area notwithstanding the ancient taboo, some women’s organisations here had made similar demand for Mahalaxmi temple.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Though the temple was always open to men and women alike, women were not allowed inside the inner sanctum of the temple.Inspector Anil Deshmukh of Juna Rajwada police station told PTI that police today held a meeting with representatives of various organisations, the Paschim Maharashtra Devsthan Samiti (which manages this and various other temples in western Maharashtra) and the temple priests.After the Samiti as well as the priests said that they were not opposed to women entering the inner sanctum, eight women on Monday went into the sanctum and performed a puja, the police officer said.

SC deplores ‘extremely unfair’ treatment to DU prof GN Saibaba, grants him bail

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to Delhi University professor G N Saibaba, who has been arrested and is facing trial for alleged Maoist links, saying Maharashtra government has been “extremely unfair” to him.

A bench, comprising justices J S Khehar and C Nagappan, also pulled up the counsel for Maharashtra for opposing the bail plea of Saibaba.

“You have been extremely unfair to the accused, especially looking at his medical condition. If material witnesses have been examined, then there is no point in putting him in jail,” the bench said.

The counsel for Maharashtra government said some crucial prosecution witnesses need to be examined.

The bench, however, refused to agree with the contention and granted bail to the wheelchair-bound DU professor, who is lodged in the Nagpur jail.

Supreme Court. File photo. ReutersSupreme Court. File photo. Reuters

Supreme Court. File photo. Reuters

On 29 February, the apex court bench comprising justices J S Khehar and C Nagappan had said it may consider granting bail to Saibaba after the trial court examined key witnesses, and had directed day-to-day hearing in the case.

It had said that of the total of 34 witnesses cited by the prosecution, eight were yet to be examined.

Earlier, the court had asked the Maharashtra government to look for an alternative arrangement to house the jailed professor.

“We want the state to make him comfortable,” the bench had said, while directing the state to provide sufficient medical facilities to him.

Prior to this, the apex court, on a plea of author Arundhati Roy, had refused to stay a criminal contempt notice issued by Bombay High Court against her for an article in a weekly magazine questioning the continued incarceration of Saibaba.

The Bombay High Court had on 23 December, 2015 issued the contempt notice against the author for her views on Saibaba’s arrest and rejection of his bail plea early last year.

Gadchiroli Police had arrested Saibaba in 2014 for his alleged links with Maoists. He has been on bail since June last year.

Roy had expressed her views on the arrest in an article published in a weekly magazine last year.

2002 hit and run case: Supreme Court to hear appeal against Salman Khan

The Supreme Court will next week hear an appeal which seeks to sett aside to Bombay High Court order in the 2002 hit-and-run case involving Bollywood actor Salman Khan on ground of legal lacunae.The appeal has been filed by lawyer named Parmanand Katara. In the appeal, Katara has alleged that Salman has approached the high court in the wrong legal way”He should challenge the trial court order through a revision petition in the high court (not file appeal as Salman did),” he said in his appeal.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 50-year-old actor had earlier moved the apex court, saying he should be heard before any hearing on the Maharashtra Government’s petition challenging his acquittal in the case.The Maharashtra Government had on January 22 filed a petition in the apex court against the Bombay High Court’s judgement acquitting Salman of ‘all charges’, overturning the trial court’s order sentencing him for five years.Earlier, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had announced that his government would challenge the high court’s verdict on merit.On December 10 last year, Salman was given a clean chit in the case with the court observing that the main witness was ‘wholly unreliable’ and that there were discrepancies in the case.The actor is accused of driving a car under the influence of alcohol and killing one and injuring four others in Bandra, Mumbai, in 2002.

Maharashtra: Govt gives go ahead to continuation of 100 fast track courts for next 5 years

To help curb pendency of cases in Maharashtra courts the government has given a go ahead to continuation of 100 fast track courts for next five years in the state. These courts will primarily be dealing with cases of heinous crimes like murder, rape and kidnapping that have been pending for a long time.Highly placed sources confirmed that the decision was taken by the department of law and judiciary on Thursday in the backdrop of recommendations of 14th Finance commission that has advised the state to have at least 219 new fast track courts.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This is just a start. There are a lot of recommendations of the finance commission for judiciary like holding more lok adalats, re-designing existing court complexes to make them more litigant friendly, scanning and digitalisation of all court records, training and capacity building of judges, public prosecutors, mediators and lawyers, among others,” said a senior officer.However, the detailed plan of executing the finance commission findings is under preparation by the Bombay High Court and is expected to be completed soon. As per the December 2015 data, Maharashtra has a total sanctioned strength of 1,988 judges of which 1,738 posts are filled. For the remaining posts, the government is in process of issuing approvals for appointment.As per the finance commission recommendation, the temporary courts will be provided particularly in the districts where disposal per judge is less than 500 cases. “These courts would be run by retired judges/contractual staff in rented premises for court building and a small flexi grant of Rs 5 lakh per court per annum for operational costs will be granted until the pendency is brought under control,” reads the finance commission report.The one-year-old BJP government has been boasting about taking significant steps to improve the conviction rate of the state. On completion of one year in the government, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis claimed that the rate of conviction in crimes in the state was improved to 42% from previous 8% after his government came to power last year.”On the account of various measures taken by the government, the rate of conviction of crimes which was just eight per cent before this government took over has now gone up to 42%. We should also make further efforts to improve the conviction rate further. At this conviction rate (42%), Maharashtra stands fifth in the country,” Fadnavis said at an event earlier.Judicial factsTotal number of sanctioned courts in Maharashtra: 1,988Total number of working courts at present: 1,738Number of courts awaiting judged: 250Number of proposed fast track courts: 219Number of temporary courts recommended by 14th finance commission: 18(December 2015 data)

At another Shani temple, Maha minister Pankaja Munde enters chauthara, offers prayers

Maharashtra minister Pankaja Munde on Saturday offered prayers at a Shani temple in Ahmednagar district on a day when women activists were prevented by locals from venturing on to the sacred platform of the famous Shani Shingnapur temple.Rural Development Minister Munde went up on the ‘chauthara’ (platform) of the temple at Pathardi and offered oil to the idol. The daughter of the late BJP leader Gopinath Munde later tweeted about her visit to the temple.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thus far, women did not offer oil at the temple, said a local in Pathardi.The development comes a day after Bombay High Court directed the state government to take pro-active steps for ensuring compliance with the law for the prevention of discrimination against women vis-a-vis entry to places of worship.Earlier today at Shingnapur, which is also in the same district, activists led by Trupti Desai of the Bhumata Ranragini Brigade tried to enter the famous Shani temple and go up to the platform in the core area but were prevented from doing so by villagers.