Bombay High court rejects plea to direct his wife to undergo check-up for HIV #Womenrights


, TNN | Jun 15, 2013,

High court rejects plea for wife to undergo check-up for HIV
The HC said it was “absurd” for husband to say it was in the interest of his wife to go in for early HIV detection.
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Friday upheld a family court (FC) order rejecting a man’s plea to direct his wife to undergo a medical check-up as he strongly suspected her to be HIV positive. The court said it was “absurd” for him to say it was in the interest of his wife to go in for early detection.

Justice Roshan Dalvi heard a petition by Santa Cruz resident Joel D’Souza (name changed), who met Joan (name changed) through a marriage bureau. Both professionals, they married on December 26, 2009. In June 2010, Joan had typhoid and went to her mother’s place nearby. Thereafter, Joel stopped calling or receiving her calls. On July 7, 2010, he took her call but told her he would not take her back, without explanation. The medical test report of July 7, 2010 confirmed Joan was cured of typhoid and tests included for HIV antibodies.

On July 10, 2010, on reaching her matrimonial home, she found Joel had changed the lock. On October 22, 2010, he filed for divorce alleging impotency/non-consummation of marriage and cruelty. Pending the petition, on March 16, 2011 Joel filed an application praying for direction to Joan to undergo HIV, TB and hepatitis tests along with tests for impotency/failure to consummate the marriage as he suspected she was HIV positive.

In his application before the FC, Joel gave many reasons, including fever, tiredness, body ache, dry cough, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and headache. He said Joan had a bloated abdomen although her face, hands and legs were very thin and due to this she wore long outfits. “On an official website of HIV, it is documented that HIV is medically caused due to accumulation of fat in the stomach,” he stated. He said she spoke in her sleep using the words ‘HIV’ and ‘AIDS‘ and mentioned ‘Jack Dorsan’, who he found on the Internet was in the prostitution business. He said his wife had stored Dorsan’s telephone number and spoke to him on the day of their wedding.

He said she applied lip balm five to six times a day “as the best treatment for Herpes Simplex Virus is keeping the lips moist”. Joan said Joel’s suspicion was “reckless, wild and cruel” and he himself needed treatment.

The FC on May 16, 2012 rejected his application with costs saying, however strong his suspicion, he had to prove the allegations by furnishing evidence so that the court can grant him relief. Joel moved the high court in October 2012.

Joan’s advocate Mini Mathew argued that the July 7, 2010 report confirming she was cured of typhoid was sufficient to hold that it was not necessary to send her for an HIV test. She said Joel had been spreading rumours about her. “These allegations are stigmatizing. Her reputation is ruined,” she said.

Joel’s advocate Uday Warunjikar said, “He caught his wife taking HIV medicines. If she is not suffering from HIV, why is she afraid of the test?” he asked. Justice Dalvi remarked, “I doubt the marriage can be reconciled. Both sides must move for an amicable settlement.” She added, “Why don’t you throw her out in a little respectable way? It will boomerang on you.

 

#India – Crucial lessons from decades of campaigns by women’s groups on Rape Law #Vaw #Sexualharassment


From Mathura to Bhanwari

RAPE

EPW- Vol – XLVIII No. 23, June 08, 2013 | Laxmi Murthy

The recent law on sexual harassment at the workplace rides on the back of decades of campaigns by women’s groups, starting with the rape law in the famous “Mathura case” to the guidelines on sexual harassment arising from the fight by Bhanwari Devi to punish the men who gangraped her for opposing child marriage. Unfortunately, lawmakers have failed to heed some of the crucial lessons that can be drawn from these struggles.

Laxmi Murthy (laxmim@himalmag.com) is consulting editor, Himal Southasian, Kathmandu, and director, Hri Institute for Southasian Research and Exchange.

Mathura, the 16-year-old adivasi girl whose gang-rape in police custody in Chandrapur, Maharashtra, triggered a nation-wide campaign against rape and demands for reform in criminal law, would be 56 years old this year. Bhanwari Devi, whose gang-rape by upper-caste men in Bhateri village of Rajasthan caused immense outrage and provided the impetus for a significant ruling against sexual harassment at the workplace, is also 56 years old.

Both these icons of the women’s movement might not have benefited directly from the campaigns to reform the law dealing with rape. Mathura had faded into obscurity, having got married and was getting on with her life, completely unaware that one of the pillars of Indian democracy – the Supreme Court of India – was being challenged on her behalf. In 1980, she was in her 20s when journalists from the national media descended on her village to interview the young woman whose case had been the driving force behind changes in the rape law. Not much was heard about her after that.

Yet, the “Mathura case”1 has gone down in the annals of feminist history as a watershed in challenging patriarchal notions of the judiciary. Though she had been raped in 1972, the case came into the public domain in 1979 when, for the first time ever, there was a questioning of the judgment of the apex court which overturned the Bombay High Court conviction of the policemen, on grounds that the complainant was “habituated to sex”. Moreover, the acquittal took into consideration the fact that Mathura had not “raised any alarm for help” and the “absence of any injuries or signs of struggle” on her body. Thus began a significant debate about “consent” and “submission”, and the notion that while consent involves submission, the converse is not necessarily true.

Pointing out inadequacies not only in the provisions of the Indian Penal Code, but in the judicial proceedings, four professors of law condemned the attitude of the judges in the Mathura case and questioned the “extraordinary decision sacrificing human rights in the Indian law and the Constitution”. The letter emphasised the social context, “the young victim’s low socio-economic status, lack of knowledge of legal rights and lack of access to legal services, and the fear complex which haunts the poor and the exploited in Indian police stations”. The letter raised fundamental questions: “Must illiterate, labouring, politically mute Mathuras of India be condemned to their pre-constitutional Indian fate?…Nothing short of protection of human rights and constitutionalism is at stake”.2

Placing the crime of rape firmly in the context of power relationships and gender inequality led to major reform in the law relating to rape in 1983, when the concept of “custodial” rape was introduced and the “burden of proof” in these cases was shifted on to the accused, provision for in camera trials was introduced and the law prohibited the disclosure of the identity of the victim, and punishments were made more stringent.

No Real Change

Yet, about 10 years after these amendments, the situation had not changed significantly. In 1992, Bhanwari Devi, asathin (village level worker) in the Women’s Development Programme in Rajasthan, was gang-raped by five upper-caste men for having the temerity to stop them from conducting child marriages. As a women’s rights activist, Bhanwari was aware of the procedural requirements to report a rape, and battled indifferent medical personnel in Jaipur, 55 km away, and biased policemen at every step. It was only 52 hours after the rape that the mandatory medical examination was conducted. The law took its own sluggish course. A charge sheet was filed a year later, and in 1995, a sessions court acquitted the men on the ground that “upper-caste men could not have raped a dalit woman”. The judiciary also could not believe that an uncle and nephew could rape the same woman. The impunity of the family and caste system remained intact.

By 2007, two of the accused had died while the appeal languished in the high court. Like Mathura, Bhanwari’s life goes on. However, she has been transformed into an icon for struggling women all over the country, receiving accolades and recognition as a symbol of resistance. While the rape case has not been won, Bhanwari’s spirit of resistance is a winner through all the tribulations of dealing with the gargantuan legal machinery that has come to represent that elusive concept called “justice”. At public meetings earlier this year in Mangalore and Bangalore to mark International Women’s Day, Bhanwari’s dynamism mesmerised the audience, igniting hope that women need not be victims alone. “Only justice can fill my belly, not awards,” she declared, forefronting what for the women’s movement has been one of the most difficult struggles – to reconcile societal notions of justice and reparation with individual trauma.

While the rape case drags on, Bhanwari’s experience provided the impetus for a radical change in jurisprudence in the law on sexual harassment. This new approach which firmly embedded the concept of sexual harassment in the framework of constitutional guarantees of rights rather than notions of propriety, modesty or honour, emerged from the judicial recognition of the precarious position of women workers, especially those in rural settings. In response to a writ petition filed by women’s groups, the highest court in the land issued the Vishaka Guidelines on Sexual Harassment at the Workplace in 1997. The Supreme Court held,

sexual harassment at the workplace is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees the Right to Equality as well as Article 19 which guarantees the Right to Practise any Profession, trade or business. Since the right to work depends on the availability of a safe working environment, and the Right to Life (Article 21) means a life with dignity, the hazards posed by sexual harassment need to be removed for these rights to have any meaning.

Indeed, it is ironic that one of the most radical conceptions of ensuring the right of women workers to a safe working environment emerged out of the experience of a worker in the insecure work arrangement within the Women’s Development Programme of Rajasthan – one that the government has categorically denied is employment at all. This is particularly paradoxical, given that this programme was an outcome of the mobilisation of the late 1970s following the publication in 1975 of “Towards Equality, Report of the Committee on the Status of Women in India (CSWI)”3authored by stalwarts in women’s studies like Phulrenu Guha, Lotika Sarkar and Vina Majumdar. Following on from this realisation, the Sixth Five-Year Plan (1980-85),4 which for the first time included a chapter on Women and Development stated,

A low rate of literacy and low economic status stress the need for greater attention to the economic advancement of women. Improvement in the socio-economic status of women would depend on a large extent on the social change in the value system, attitudes and social structure prevailing in the country.

It was to redress the situation that benefits of development in post-Independence India had not reached the vast majority of women in rural areas that the Mahila Vikas Abhikaran, or the Women’s Development Project (WDP) of Rajasthan was set up in 1984. According to the Policy Document of the Project,5

Most government schemes in which the involvement of the family in the process of development is essential, have grievously suffered due to women’s isolation. This is true not only of programmes of child welfare – in which women’s involvement is well-accepted – but also those of dairy development, social forestry, IRDP, agricultural production, etc. Indeed women’s development is one of the most critical challenges for Rajasthan.

Catalyst for Change

The WDP undoubtedly acted as a catalyst for change in rural Rajasthan, and its close association with the women’s movement in the early days contributed to a radical understanding of women’s empowerment, an understanding that began to have a life of its own. The village women’s meetings (jajams) evolved as unique forums to raise women’s issues, and women began breaking out of the shackles of traditional bondage and raised hitherto taboo subjects. They began to take part in the jati (caste) panchayat, protested against domestic and other forms of violence, demanded property and other rights, etc. The information that was shared about government schemes related to health, education, public distribution, wages and measurements in famine works, minimum wages, land records, property and other legal rights became a tool to challenge social and gender inequities. Women began to be aware of their rights and soon began to spot prevalent corrupt practices and together with the Sathins raised their voices against exploitation.

Initially they had the support of WDP, but with time, women’s power that had been unleashed at the grass roots began to upset prevailing hierarchies. This then led the state to start exercising its authority and control women’s assertions. There was growing discontent and the contradictions that were built into the programme from the very beginning began to effect cleavages that had no internal remedy. As the sathin became increasingly aware of the exploitative nature of her employment and the blatant inequalities in the salary structure within the hierarchy of WDP, the ironies of the situation surfaced.6

With the stated aim of empowering rural women through “communication of information, education and training and to enable them to recognise and improve their social and economic status”, the sathins’ job was to act as a bridge between the government and the masses, essentially, implementing and making any number of government schemes palatable. They worked, and continue to work, in precarious conditions, for a monthly pittance of Rs 1,600, which was raised from Rs 200 in the 1990s, after dogged campaigning by the Mahila Vikas Abhikaran Sathin Karamchari Sangh (the WDP Sathin Union). The poor wages and job insecurity were compounded by the challenges of the work itself.

The task of “consciousness raising” or preventing “social evils” like dowry, sex selection and child marriage can be extremely hazardous, especially at the village level with deeply entrenched feudal, caste and patriarchal structures. Bhanwari was raped while attempting to overturn exactly these sorts of practices, in her own community. It takes immense courage to enter the homes of neighbours, relatives and friends, and demand that they go against prevailing customs and stop child marriage or refuse to take dowry. Needless to say, there is no job security, no benefits, no welfare measures or even basic infrastructure like transport, and no support at all from their employers – the government – while doing this risky work. The unsafe working conditions of the majority of women workers in the unorganised sector is a larger and more complex question, but the legislation that emerged from Bhanwari Devi’s struggle for a safe working environment is one step towards ensuring the rights of women workers.

Sexual Harassment Law

The Sexual Harassment at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, which was signed into law on 22 April, is a significant civil remedy that recognises women’s right to a safe work environment free of sexual harassment. The onus is on the employer, who is responsible for ensuring such an environment and is to be held liable in case of any violations. While the public sector and private sector are covered, the law also includes other work places, including the sphere of paid domestic work. Additionally, the broad definition of “employee” encompasses a range of work situations including the informal/unorganised sector:

employee means a person employed at a workplace for any work on regular, temporary, ad hoc or daily wage basis either directly or through an agent, including a contractor, with, or without the knowledge of the principal employer, whether for remuneration or not, or working on a voluntary basis or otherwise, whether the terms of employment are express or implied and includes a co-worker, a contract worker, probationer, trainee, apprentice or called by any other such name.

The challenge, of course, is in the implementation. Quite apart from the debatable legality of conferring powers of a civil court on “Internal Complaints Committees”, the proper functioning of these bodies in the organised sector and “Local Complaints Committees” depends largely on their composition. The requirement of women members as well as members “familiar with issues related to sexual harassment” is crucial for a sensitive handling of cases, since sexual harassment at the workplace must be viewed within the framework of unequal power relations within the workplace, where women at lower rungs are more vulnerable.

Indeed, the major flaw of the new law is the provision to penalise women for making “false and malicious complaints”. It is this provision, Section 14, which succeeds in pulling the rug from under the feet of any woman who plucks up the courage to complain about sexual harassment. The Indian Penal Code (Section 211) already contains a provision to protect citizens from false complaints. Therefore, the inclusion of a specific clause such as this in a law primarily meant to ensure women’s rights must be viewed with disquiet. Despite years of complaints and submissions by women’s groups demanding that this provision be dropped, the new law includes it and thereby undercuts itself.

As the Report of the Justice Verma Committee7 observes,

We think that such a provision is a completely abusive provision and is intended to nullify the objective of the law. We think that these ‘red-rag’ provisions ought not to be permitted to be introduced and they show very little thought.

Despite such a strong recommendation, the Act contains this misogynist provision which can only serve to further victimise women. Over-compensating for “misuse”, even before the law can be used, is merely writing the script for its own nemesis.

Notes

Tuka Ram and Anr vs State of Maharashtra on 15 September 1978: 1979 AIR 185, 1979 SCR (1) 810.

2 Baxi U, Lotika Sarkar, Raghunath Kelkar and Vasudha Dhagamwar, “An Open Letter to the Chief Justice of India”, SCC Journal, Vol 4, p 17, 1979.

3 Ministry of Education and Social Welfare, 1975.

4 Planning Commission, Government of India 1981.

5 Policy Document, Women’s Development Project, Rajasthan, Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Government of Rajasthan, May 1984.

6 A Sawhny and Kiran Dubey, “Justice, the State and Sathins’ Struggle”, EPW, 36(16), 21 April 2001.

7 Report of the Committee on Amendments to Criminal Law, chaired by Justice J S Verma, with Justice Leila Seth and Gopal Subramaniam as members. The report was submitted on 23 January 2013.

 

 

Bombay High Court- Liability of employee is on principal employer #Goodnews


Employment

A ruling by Bombay High Court that should interest labor activists and leftists in general. The court recently ruled that in case an employee faces an accident, it will be the liability of the principal employer, and not the contract employer. The case involved the Bombay High Court deciding that Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M) would have to pay monetary compensation on the death of a worker who was working for M GM Motors, which in turn was under Mahindra and Mahindra’s contract.

The driver Sureshkumar Parasnath Singh died in accident while working for M G M Motors on behalf of Mahindra. The case, related to the  The Employees’ Compensation Act, should serve as an important milestone for those fighting against the anti worker policies under the neo liberal regime of the Indian state. Recently, there has been a growing trend of hiring contract workers/casual workers, because this allows the corporations to avoid ensuring all worker safety and security regulations. There is a growing buzz that worker laws need to be diluted because it is these “stringent” laws that allegedly are the reason behind India’s lackluster economic performance.

Of course, we cannot forget that despite this Bombay High Court ruling, other courts or even this same court will not think twice about going against this judgment at a later date. That is after all the nature of the sham democracy that corporatized, neo liberal India is. Why, how can we forget that the same Supreme Court which ruled in favor of the gram sabhas (village councils) in their power to decide about mining projects in the Niyamgiri hills region [concerning the preposterous Vedanta project], struck down the opposition voiced against Posco steel project in Odisha?

Even so, the left must use every tool available within the system as long as it is available to increase pressure on corporations like Maruti Suzuki which is going out of its way to penalize workers who were demanding their legitimate right of unionizing and regularization of the large number of casual workers in the Manesar factory. The present ruling may be seen as a milestone in the fight against the dangerous trend of increasing ratio of contract to permanent workers in India.

 

Gulail Expose – The Squad’s Fall Guys


The Maharashtra ATS persists with the prosecution of 13 innocent Muslims by keeping the evidence of their innocence from the court. Ashish Khetan exposes a sinister conspiracy of the men in uniform.Additional reporting by Thufail PT
Not one but two acts of terror visited us on July 11th 2006. The first was inflicted by those who planted seven deadly bombs on suburban trains in Mumbai, snuffing out 188 innocent lives. The second, invisible but equally insidious, was unleashed in its aftermath. It was those sworn to uphold the rule of law, to be fair and just who launched a systematic programme of Muslim persecution.In the name of combating terror, the Mumbai police and its specialized anti-terror squad (the ATS), tortured, humiliated and stripped at least twenty innocent Muslims of all their basic human rights. Their right to live with dignity, their right to be a Muslim, their right to earn an honest living—was mercilessly taken away in one fell swoop.

Waterboarding, administration of chemicals through veins and anus, giving electric shock to their private parts, sleep deprivation, threat of raping family members were among some of the techniques of coercion that were applied to extract false confessions.

In the course of its investigations Gulail is putting out internal documents running into hundreds of pages that exposes how the anti-terror agencies deliberately misled the Indian Courts, how material facts are being concealed from both the public and the judiciary and how different versions of the same terror plot are touted before different courts. Our expose establishes how the Maharashtra ATS selectively picked and chose from the revelations made in a subsequent terror investigation. This was done to retrospectively validate the bogus 7/11 train blasts investigation. These documents reveal how one version of a terror conspiracy was circulated for the internal consumption of the agencies and another for the judiciary.

This investigation by Gulail exposes the false implication of innocent and disempowered Muslims in crimes they never committed. It lays bare the sinister and elaborate conspiracy of the Maharashtra ATS of manufacturing bogus evidence, planting explosives in the houses of innocent accused and dressing up stoolpigeons as eyewitnesses.

It shows that the Maharashtra ATS’s investigation was guided by a deep rooted and extreme prejudice against the Muslims. Anyone with a past association with the student organization¬¬¬¬– Students Islamic Movement of India was automatically deemed a terror suspect. The act of publishing Islamic books was equated with sedition. To be a devout Muslim was seen as a sure sign of extremism. Gulail’sexpose shows that the ATS instead of carrying out a methodical, in-depth or scientific investigation opted for the easiest route. They went after the usual suspects. Anyone with a past, formal or informal, association with SIMI was hauled up to the police station and tortured. And as days went by without any leads or break-through and public pressure to show results grew, the ATS implicated a set of former SIMI members who had been kept in illegal detention since the blasts. This story lays bare the absolute farcical method of ATS investigation and utter contempt for the due process of law.

More significantly, Gulail puts the spotlight on a deep crisis brewing in our democracy. It is a crisis of a loss of faith in the ideals of justice and perhaps the very idea of a secular India. Every act of police brutality and false implication not just strikes at the rule of law. It also erodes the faith of our minorities in the capacity of this nation to dispense equal justice and to live by the promise made by our founding fathers. This story exposes the deep rot that has set in in our system, one that first condones and then resolutely fails to take any kind of corrective action.

For the last seven years thirteen innocent Muslims are facing a farcical trial in the Mumbai train bombings. A good portion of their life has been spent behind the bars, their families have been forced to live a life of deprivation and hardships and their future and the future of their children has been cast with a permanent shadow.

Gulail is putting out in the public domain the testimonies of unspeakable torture and humiliation of members of the minority community at the hands of the ATS. These Muslims were tortured to extract false confessions of their involvement in the train blast case. Under the draconian law of MCOCA, confessions made before the police are admissible in court. As soon as these accused were sent to judicial custody, they all retracted their confessions, exposing the coercive tactics of the ATS.

All this material amounts to compelling evidence of the deliberate faking of evidence as well as the most inhuman torture of innocent Muslims in police custody to pervert the course of justice.  We hope that these revelations would shock the conscience of those occupying the highest echelons in the judiciary and the government.

In keeping with its promise of fighting against injustice and inequities not only in the public space but also in the courts, Gulail has filed a letter petition in the Bombay High Court and before statutory bodies like the National Human Rights Commission and the National Minorities Commission.

The Usual Suspects
The July 2006 train blasts were the biggest terror strikes in India after the 1993 Bombay blasts. Seven synchronized bombs claimed around 190 lives—an indication of an extremely sophisticated and elaborate conspiracy. So how did the Mumbai police go about the investigation? Did they turn to sophisticated investigative techniques. No, what they did do was haul up the usual suspects, that is, the ex-members or sympathizers of the SIMI to the police station and began interrogating them. These were the same people whom the police had been surveilling for the last 5 years since the ban on the SIMI. They became a familiar sight, hauled into the police station every time there was a bomb explosion in the city. In other words a lazy and malicious police machinery presumed those constantly under their radar to be suspects.Eventually 13 innocent Muslims were oimplicated in the blasts case on the basis of confessions made before police officers.

Take the case of 30-year old (age at the time of his arrest) Abdul Wahid Sheikh who was a teacher at Anjuman Islam AbdusSattarSaheb High School, MaulanaShaukat Ali Road, Mumbai. In 2001 when the SIMI was banned, the Mumbai police had registered a case against Wahid and dozens of other Muslim youth from Mumbai for being members of the banned organization.  Since 2001 the Mumbai police had been following the policy of hauling SIMI members to the police station every time there was a bomb explosion in the city. Since 2001 like other alleged SIMI members Wahid was permanently on the police radar. He was interrogated on multiple occasions after a series of blasts at Ghatkopar, Mulund and Vile Parle in 2002-2003 and the Gateway of India Blasts, 2003. Similarly, after the 7/11 blasts Wahid was detained at the ATS police stations. The ATS finally arrested him under the claim that he had been absconding since the train blasts.  During the trial evidence has now emerged of police station diary entries showing his presence on multiple occasions at different police stations after the train blasts.

Similarly,Dr Tanveer Ansari, a BUMS doctor was working as a specialist in emergency procedures at Fauzia Nursing Home in Nagpada, Mumbai. In 2001, Tanveer had participated in the medical relief work carried out by the SIMI in Bhuj in the aftermath of the 2001 earthquake.  In 2001, when the SIMI was banned, Tanveer was also arrested, accused of being a member of the SIMI. Like other associates of the SIMI, Tanveer too became a usual suspect, questioned multiple times in the aftermath of the bomb explosions. Post 7/11, after some rounds of questioning, Tanveer was illegally detained and finally arrested.
The story of the other eleven accused is more or less similar, except that some of them had absolutely no linkage with the SIMI. Still they were implicated since the ATS needed an array of characters for the fanciful story they had scripted.
The Call Data Records of the cell phones owned by these men have now revealed that they were not even present at the blast site.

Torture and Coercion 
Out of the nine 7/11 accused who were interviewed by Gulail, eight gave a detailed description of the unspeakable torture they were subjected to in police custody (all 13 accused have been behind bars for the past seven years, these interviews were obtained by Gulail with great difficulty in court corridors. Gulail couldn’t speak with the ninth accused MuzammilShaikh in detail as the police escort stopped us from interacting with him).
1
Kala Chowki branch of the ATS was the designated torture chamber. Besides inspectors and constables, senior IPS officers like AN Roy, Naval Bajaj and Jaijeet Singh also participated in torturing these men.

Waterboarding.
The extremely barbaric technique of torture used by the CIA on Guantanamo Bay detainees was used by the ATS on these 13 innocent Muslims. The accused used to be tied to a handcart with their feet up. Their faces were then covered with a piece of cloth and water was poured onto their faces so that they felt like they were drowning.

Narco-analysis in police custody
Many of these men while they were in police custody were also administered chemicals through their veins that was meant to make them unconscious and was supposedly meant to extract information. These narco-analysis tests were carried out in police custody without any medical supervision or court permission. These illegal narco tests were done in addition to the narco-analysis that was done on many of these men with court permission at the FSL, Bangalore facility.

Some of the other techniques of torture that were used:

  1. 180 degree stretching of legs
  2. Electric shock to private parts
  3. Beating with shoes and belts
  4. Chinese water torture: Victims head was fixed to a spot

 

Manufacturing bogus Evidence

The evidence lead in the charge-sheet was of three kinds:-11 MCOCA confessions made to police officers; recoveries of explosives and detonators from some of the accused and  so-called public witnesses (well known stool pigeons or those  under the thumb of the police)  who claimed the unlikely feat of recognising the faces of some of the  accused while getting in and out from the local train though they were strangers to them. However, against most of the accused, the case is based on confessions and recoveries.

Gulail’s investigation reveals the circumstances under which these accused were compelled to sign onto pre-drafted confessions. Some accused agreed to sign under extreme physical pain. But there were some who refused to give in. These men were then told that their wives, sisters and mothers would be raped in front of their eyes and their brothers and father would also be implicated. Faisal Shaikh’s 70-year old father was made to march naked in front of his son. The ATS finally got what they wanted. These men too gave in.
The ATS extracted 11 confessions on the strength of which they filed the chargesheet in the first week of December 2006.  Since then all 13 men have been in jail.


The crackdown on the ‘Indian Mujahideen’ and arrest of Sadiq Sheikh.

In August and September 2008, there were serial blasts in Delhi, Ahmedabad and Surat.  Following some leads in these blasts, the Mumbai Crime Branch arrested one Sadiq Sheikh along with 20 other accused from Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra.

Subsequent to the arrests, the Mumbai Crime Branch claimed to have recorded confessions of more than 10-12 persons including SadiqShaikh, as this was also a MCOCA investigation.
This was a crucial juncture in the terror investigations in India. In a span of a little over one year between August 2007 and September 2008, there were terror bombings in Bangalore (seven serial blasts of July 2008), Hyderabad (Lumbini Park and GokulChaat Blasts of August 2007), UP (triple blasts at Court premises in Lucknow, Varanasi and Faizabad, November 2007), Jaipur (serial blasts of May 2008), Ahmedabad (21 serial blasts in July 2008) and Surat  (aborted attempt as eighteen bombs malfunctioned) and Delhi (five synchronized bomb blasts in market places of Delhi in September 2008). The series of bombings across India hinted at a single, integral terror conspiracy and brought several investigating agencies of different states together and consequent pooling of information.

Evidence emerges that 7/11 was not done by the 13 men originally arrested

Thus, the confessions of Sadiq Sheikh and others as recorded by the Mumbai Crime Branch, are significant, because they clearly point to the fact that even the July Mumbai local train bombings of 2006 were done by this set of people newly arrested and without any reference or link to those prosecuted by the ATS from 2006 onwards!

In other words the set of men arrested following the 2007 and 2008 set of bombings across the country were interrogated by Ahmedabad, Delhi, UP, Karnataka and other police teams and were subsequently made common accused in all these 2007-2008 blasts.
Sadiq Sheikh and his alleged ‘Indian Mujahideen’ accomplices were interrogated by different police agencies on different dates. Each agency prepared detailed Interrogation Reports (IRs). Common to all is the view or conclusion that it is this set of men that were behind even the July 2006 Mumbai local train bombings.

Gulail obtains internal documents of over half a dozen agencies that show the 13 train blast accused are innocent.

Our sources in the Mumbai police and state police agencies of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka who were involved in investigating ‘Indian Mujahideen’ and its alleged involvement in the 2007 and 2008 blasts provided us the Interrogation Reports of Sadiq Sheikh and others prepared by each of these agencies (All these interrogation reports are uploaded on the website). These Interrogation Reports show the dates on which they were prepared and the computers on which they were prepared.

All these Interrogation Reports (IRs) based on ‘confessions’ record a massive and integral conspiracy. These IRs contain a meticulously detailed description of more than eight terror strikes that Sadiq Sheikh and his accomplices had plotted and executed since 2003:These are
1. DashashwamedhGhat, Varanasi, 2004 (the bomb packed in a container had failed to explode. The local police dismissed it as an accident. But Sadiq told the police that it was actually a terror plot)
2. Shramjeevi Express Blast,Jaunpur, UP, 2005
3. Diwali Blasts, Delhi, 2005
4. Varanasi Blasts, 2006
5. Mumbai Train Blasts, 2006
6. Hyderabad Twin Blasts (Gokul Chat and Lumbini Park), 2007
7. Ahmedabad Serial Blasts and the failed Surat Blasts.


Agencies accept Sadiq’s revelations in cases that were yet to be solved

The agencies have themselves claimed (both in court and in public) that Sadiq’s interrogation led to the arrest of over 70 terror suspects by UP ATS, Hyderabad CIC, Ahmedabad Crime Branch, Rajasthan ATS and Delhi Special Cell.

The content of these reports, and  ‘confessions’ etc is part of the charge-sheetSadiq and his accomplices in the alleged oufitnamed Indian Mujahideen were charge-sheeted in all those blast cases in which the investigation was still not completed. Hyderabad Blasts (Gokul Chat and Lumbini Park) of 2007, Ahmedabad and Surat (aborted) Blasts of 2008, Delhi Blasts of 2008 were some of the cases in which the alleged Indian Mujahideen members including SadiqShaikh were charge-sheeted.
At the same time all of them were equally aware that an entirely different set of persons had been put on trial for the same by the Maharashtra ATS.

But those parts of Sadiq’s revelations that go contrary to previous investigations are brushed under the carpet.

Now either Sadiq and his accomplices were responsible for 7/11 bombings or those 13 men who were originally arrested. But the agencies accepted and further corroborated only those of Sadiq’s revelations that related to the investigations in which the accused had still not been identified and arrested by the respective agencies. But revelations pertaining to blasts like 7/11 that went contrary to the police theory were conveniently ignored.

Can in a country governed by rule of law this policy of pick and choose followed by the agencies in the offences punishable with death penalty be condoned?

Thus at least after 2008 September, all the said agencies including ATS Maharashtra were privy to the nature of evidence and revelations pertaining to the July 11, 2006 train bombings and they relied heavily on these revelations in the investigations pertaining to the 2007-2008 bombings. But those revelations that related to the 7/11 Mumbai train blasts were conveniently brushed under the carpet.

The lack of bonafides is evident from the fact that no attempt was made to arrive at the truth or exonerate one set of obviously innocent persons.

But none of these agencies placed the entire relevant material before the MCOCA court trying an entirely unconnected set of 13 men for this very act. Why?

Our intent is not to pass a verdict of guilt against certain accused. But it is only to highlight the blatant discrepancies and contradictions in terror investigations. Evidence that suits a police case is considered credible and evidence that debunks bogus investigations is hidden both from the courts and public view.

HOW THE ATS MISLEAD THE 7/11 MUMBAI COURT

More here- http://www.gulail.com/squads-fall-story.html

 

The last rites of sick units


Workers wait long enough to get dues after liquidation proceedings

M J Antony  May 21, 2013 BS 

M J Antony

Winding up an industrial unit is usually followed by a swarm of creditors. Financial institutions have the stamina to withstand the laborious procedures under various statutes. But the lifespan of workers is limited. Their families are crushed under the weight of the institutional creditors. Though various laws give workers primacy in the creditors’ queue, it takes them decades to get their dues.

Early this month, the Supreme Court dealt with a case in which the company closed down in 1992, and litigation over the last rites was going on till now. The story has not ended yet. The 50-page judgment ended thus: “The Bombay High Court judgment is set aside. The Debt Recovery Tribunal and the official liquidator shall proceed further now concerning workers’ dues as indicated in this judgment.”

This case, Bank of Maharashtra vs Pandurang, ascended the judicial ladder to reach the Supreme Court, where it was gathering dust since 2005. Half a dozen statutes had to be trawled and, therefore, a larger bench was necessary. The main question was “whether the claims of workers who claim to be entitled to payment pari passuhave to be considered by the official liquidator or by the tribunal”.

The Court set 12 rules as guidelines for the future. They were largely in favour of workers – putting them at the head of the creditors’ queue. Since the tribunal and the liquidator were reviving the proceedings regarding the workers’ dues after more than two decades, the moot question is how many of the workers would be able to enjoy the benefit of the final order if it was in their favour.

This case is not unique. Many such disputes are still at the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) or the tribunal stages, and have a long way to reach the high courts or the Supreme Court. A few weeks ago, a similar dispute over the claim of workers was decided after a decade. The court ruled that their dues under the Industrial Disputes Act and the Payment of Gratuity Act shall have preference over that of the state financial corporation (Karnataka State Finance Corporation vs Industrial Workers’ General Union). Though the authorities allowed their claims, the labour commissioner, suspiciously, did not take action for a long time and the corporation sold the assets, leading to appeals up to the Supreme Court.

There are several statutes involved in such disputes. Though the Companies Act grants high priority to workers’ claims, Sections 529 and 529A dealing with disbursement of sums from the sale of assets of a failed company are couched in complex clauses, leading to long-winded litigation. Then, there are laws like the Insolvency Actthat have to be taken into account. In the constant tug of war between workers and the secured creditors, courts sway. In one case, Jitendra Nath vs Official Liquidator, the judges were divided 2:1. The Jharkhand High Court gave its judgment in favour of the banks and financial institutions. The workers moved the Supreme Court. It allowed their appeal. Hoping to end such disputes, the Court laid down a four-point formula.

Then, there are laws like the Sick Industries Act, under which the BIFR has been set up. While the board tries to revive sick units, payments of dues are usually suspended till a final decision. The law and its implementation are prone to gross misuse of various kinds, and the Act itself was supposed to give place to a new one. But the old law continues to burden the courts and the parties involved. The shrewd ones manipulate the provisions to their advantage.

Earlier judgments of the court have not put an end to the priority issue. In NTC Workers’ Union vs P R Ramakrishnan, the court had stated that there was an obligation to see that “no secured or unsecured creditors, including banks or financial institutions, are paid before the workmen’s dues are paid”. But this view was seen to have been diluted by a later judgment in the case, Andhra Bank vs Official Liquidator. That judgment stated that an earlier judgment in the case of Allahabad Bank vs Canara Bank did not lay down the correct law and its propositions were at best “stray observations”. The recent judgments show that there are several loose ends to the problems raised in winding up proceedings, amalgamation and transformation.

It is well known that there is a general dilution of labour laws in recent decades. The old and existing laws have not received a second look for long – either due to other preoccupations like rushing to the well of the Houses, or as a result of malign neglect. The fluctuating judicial decisions regarding workers’ dues when an industrial unit closes down add to their woes.

source-

 

India – Ignoring Custodial Deaths #Prisons


political-prisoner

Vol – XLVIII No. 19, May 11, 2013 | Rebecca Gonsalvez and Vijay Hiremath
EPW

There is justifiable anguish over the killing of Sarabjit Singh in a Pakistani jail but what about the thousands of deaths in police and judicial custody in India? Torture is common and rampant in police custody and deaths in so-called police encounters are routinely reported. Politicians and the media are demanding justice for Sarabjit. When will the Indian government hold the police and jail officials responsible for custodial deaths accountable and compensate the next of kin?

 

Rebecca Gonsalvez (rebecca.gonsalvez@gmail.com) and Vijay Hiremath (vijayhiremath@gmail.com) are human rights lawyers practising in the Bombay High Court.

The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.” (Article 14 of the Constitution of India)

Sarabjit Singh, an Indian prisoner on death row in the Kot Lakhpat jail in Pakistan died on 2 May, 2013, after being assaulted in custody making it a custodial death. Sarabjit has been proclaimed a martyr in India, his body was cremated with full state honours, a three-day state mourning was announced and the Punjab government as well as the government of India announced compensation amounts (Rs 1 crore and 25 lakhs respectively) to the next of kin. Political leaders demanded that those responsible for the barbaric and murderous attack be brought to justice. All this is commendable, of course. One only wishes that the Indian government would act just as swiftly in every case of custodial death in our country.

According to the report of the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), “Torture in India 2011”, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) recorded a total of 14,231 deaths in custody in India between 2001 and 2010, which includes about 1,504 deaths in police custody and about 12,727 deaths in judicial custody. The ACHR report observes that these are only the cases reported to the NHRC, and do not include all cases of custodial deaths. The report attributes the deaths in custody to torture, denial of medical facilities and inhuman prison conditions. Once a person is taken into custody, the responsibility for his/her life, health and safety rests with the authorities in whose custody he or she is, be it the police or the jail authorities.

However, so far, the government has hardly ever immediately accepted responsibility for the deaths in custody, nor has it announced compensation in such cases particularly of such large amounts as promised to Sarabjit’s kin, or taken measures to speedily prosecute the officials responsible for the deaths. Yet the very same politicians are demanding on Sarabjit’s behalf what they do not willingly give to their own citizens. Nor has the government or the opposition ever expressed any kind of outrage for the deaths of the 14,231 people in custody in India between 2001 and 2010. The media, especially television channels, termed the custodial death of Sarabjit an act of butchery, referring to his assailants as “Pak butchers”, but do not show the same passion for justice when it comes to Indian custodial deaths.

Roll Call of Dishonour

What about the police officials in whose custody arrestees die in India? What about the people regularly killed in “encounters” with the police or the army? What about Sohrabuddin, Kauserbi and Ishrat Jehan? When will those responsible for their deaths be held accountable and punished for these reprehensible acts? When will their families be compensated for their losses? Their families are regularly denied basic documents relating to their deaths, such as the post-mortem report. Most of these cases are deemed suicides. In the case of encounters, it is alleged that the deceased shot at the police/army officials involved, who somehow miraculously escape unscathed. The accused in custodial death and encounter cases are rarely prosecuted, and cases of murder are almost never registered against them. The government seldom grants sanction to prosecute the officials involved. Sarabjit is supposed to have been assaulted by fellow prisoners. What makes the cases mentioned above far worse is that they are perpetrated by the police and the army, whose responsibility it is to protect the citizens of this country from crime.

Take the case of Khwaja Yunus. The young software engineer was arrested in December 2002 by the Mumbai Crime Branch in what is commonly known as the Ghatkopar bomb blast case. He was tortured and killed in police custody, and his body was never found. Instead the police indulged in an elaborate cover-up and attempted to show that Khwaja Yunus had escaped from their custody. It was only after his father filed a petition in the Bombay High Court that the government ultimately admitted that he had died in custody and paid his family Rs three lakhs as compensation. However, though the Maharashtra State CID (Crime Investigation Department) chargesheeted 14 police officials, the government sanctioned the prosecution of only four of them. The High Court in 2011 directed the state to pay Yunus’s family Rs 20 lakhs as compensation, but did not direct the prosecution of the remaining 10 accused who had been chargesheeted. This amount was paid to his mother almost 10 years after his death. The offenders are yet to be tried and punished. Ram Singh, the bus driver, and one of the accused in the recent Delhi 16 December, 2012, gangrape case died in Tihar jail in mysterious circumstances on 11 March. Some of the media reports indicated that Ram Singh was assaulted in the jail and succumbed to the injuries. No action has been taken so far against any officials or inmates for his death. Sanaullah Ranjay, a Pakistani national was assaulted with a brick by a fellow inmate in the Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu & Kashmir on 3 May. He sustained severe head injuries, and is presently on the ventilator in the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh. What did the authorities do to protect him? What is the government doing to protect people in custody? What are the preventive measures taken? Are there medical facilities and staff in every jail in the country to provide services in emergency situations?

Sarabjit was convicted in October 1991 of espionage and for carrying out a series of bomb blasts in Lahore and Faisalabad in 1990 that killed 14 persons, and was sentenced to death. A man who in India would be termed a “terrorist” along the lines of Ajmal Kasab the Pakistani national who was convicted in the terror attack which occurred in Mumbai on 26 November, 2008, and was executed on 21 November, 2012, or Afzal Guru the Kashmiri who was convicted in the Parliament attack case and was executed on 9 Februrary, 2013. Both Kasab and Guru were executed in secrecy, and not permitted to meet their families prior to execution. Their bodies were not returned to their families for the last rites/funeral. However, elaborate measures were taken by the government of India to ensure the speedy and safe return of Sarabjit’s remains. He was given a funeral with state honours! Why the discrimination? Why the double standards?

Torture in Police Custody

India signed the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 1997 but is yet to ratify it. A toothless Prevention of Torture Bill is pending before the Parliament, and there is very little hope that it will be passed within the tenure of this government. While there are jail manuals in many states, (besides the model jail manual) which state how prisoners are to be treated and what they are entitled to in prisons, there are absolutely no rules regarding the treatment of inmates in police custody and they remain totally at the mercy of the police. Torture in various forms is rampant in police custody with the degree differing according to the crime for which the person has been arrested, his/her economic condition and social status and whether he/she has legal representation. Scientific and non-violent methods of interrogation are alien to our law enforcement agencies. The most common form of torture is depriving a person of sleep for days together. Assault is equally common, so is the threat to rape and torture the female relatives of the arrestees and use of torture to extract confessions is routine. Recent laws have made such confessions to the police admissible, making the job of the police easier. Some Supreme Court and High Court judgements, most importantly the D K Basu guidelines on arrest laid down by the Supreme Court in 1997, and now incorporated by recent amendments in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), have created a few safeguards. However, there is need for vigilant judges to ensure the strict implementation of these guidelines and provisions. It is important to note here that the Right to Life is a fundamental right in this country, guaranteed to both foreigners and Indians alike by the Constitution of India. The Supreme Court of India held in 1974 in the case of D Bhuvan Mohan Patnaik vs State of Andhra Pradesh that prisoners are not denuded of their fundamental rights including their right to life, by mere reason of their incarceration.

Make Equal Justice a Reality

While discussing the plight of Indian prisoners in foreign jails and campaigning for better conditionsis important, there is urgent need to look at the conditions of prisoners in our own jails. While the assault on Sarabjit Singh in the Kot Lakhpat jail that ultimately resulted in his death deserves to be condemned strongly and acted upon, the same must be done in every case of custodial death and extra-judicial killing in India. Our Constitution guarantees equality andequal justice to all. That guarantee must not remain only on paper. It must become a reality.

 

26 years on, HC orders fresh probe into tribal activist’s murder


Mumbai: Twenty-six years after an activist was murdered for fighting a battle against the land mafia of Vasai-Virar belt in neighbouring Thane district, the Bombay High Court has ordered a fresh probe.

The real culprits were not put on trial and instead a wrong accused was put behind the bars, the Court said.

Bombay High Court. Reuters

Bombay High Court. Reuters

Yadav Mhatre, actively involved in the welfare of the Adivasis (tribals), was killed on June 29, 1987 allegedly at the behest of the land mafia.

Police had arrested a wrong person named Dilip Tumbda who was finally acquitted by the Sessions Court in 2009 after spending 22 years in jail.

On the other hand, eight persons of a family who were named accused by the victim’s family were discharged by the Court after police filed an application seeking their release on the ground that evidence against them was deficient.

The High Court observed, “real culprits were being shielded although they are named by the prosecution. The criminal case, therefore, could not have been disposed of perfunctorily and hastily and without application of mind, when the allegations are as serious as of causing murder.

“These are not routine and ordinary criminal cases involving petty offences. The aspect of delay, though material, is not always fatal. The administration of justice can never become a casualty. Even after delay, if real culprits are brought before the Court, thereafter the Courts cannot become a silent spectator and dispose of criminal cases casually and light heartedly,” Justice S Dharmadhikari said.

The judgement rendered in this Court, therefore, falls short of the required standards. It has resulted in serious miscarriage of justice.

“In the Sessions Case, where the material placed before the Court show that the real accused were not apprehended, arrested and put up for trial, then, the learned Judge should have been cautious and careful in evaluating the material,” Justice Dharmadhikari remarked.

“Even if he (Judge) was not inclined to convict those who are arraigned as accused, still he was obliged to consider the seriousness of the matter.

“The learned Judge failed to take cognisance and note of the request of the applicant and the prosecution, that the real culprits are now traced and they be named as accused in the case and put up for trial,” the High court bench observed.

“Without deciding that application in accordance with law and straightway delivering a Judgement of acquittal has resulted in miscarriage of justice. This is complete mockery of criminal justice delivery system.”

“I would be failing in my duty as a higher court if I do not interfere with such an acquittal. In revisional powers and equally in exercise of this Court’s inherent power, such acquittals can be set aside,” Justice Dharmadhikari said.

“No doubt, powers have to be exercised sparingly and in exceptional circumstances. However, when there is a glaring defect of procedure, manifest error on the point of law and a flagrant miscarriage of justice, then, there is a obligation to step in,” he observed.

On June 28, 1987, the deceased, Yadav Mhatre, was on his way to Bhabha Atomic Research Centre where he worked as a fitter.

He was accompanied by his brother Ganghadhar, the lone eyewitness in this case. According to Gangadhar, eight persons fired shots at Yadav and escaped after committing the crime.

Gangadhar filed a police complaint and identified the accused as Govind Patil, Mahadev, Kisan, Baban Gharat, Kanti Dhumal, Atmaram Yadav, Kisan Patil and Baban Patil.

The police arrested them and also recovered the weapon. The case was then handed over to CID.

However, CID probe set free these accused and police instead arrested Dilip Tumbda, a young labourer. Dilip’s father and two brothers were also arrested but released later.

After 22 years, Tumbda was finally acquitted on June 29, 2009 by a Sessions court.

While ordering a fresh probe now, the High Court has made it clear that Dilip shall not be arraigned as an accused in this case since his acquittal has not been disputed.

PTI

 

 

#Maharashtra Undertrials get #RTI Relief #goodnews #prisonerights


political-prisoner

Maharashtra CIC asks authorities to publish info of under trials who completed 50% of their maximum prison term

Thousands of under trials, who have completed 50% of their maximum prison term, would get a major relief thanks to the activism of Shailesh Gandhi, former central information commissioner

In a significant order, the Maharashtra state chief information commission (SCIC) has directed prison authorities to display details of under trials who have completed over 50% of the maximum prison term they are liable for. Shailesh Gandhi, former central information commissioner (CIC) had filed the appeal before the SCIC under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

 

“This will facilitate the prisoners and other activists to get release of such under trials and should go a long way in giving relief to people who were denied their freedom illegally. This order will be applicable in Maharashtra and I hope RTI activists will get such orders issued in all the states,” said Mr Gandhi.

 

The SCIC passed the order in fulfilment of the Prison department’s obligation under Section 4 (1) (b) of the RTI Act. The Commissioner used his powers under Section 19 (8) of the RTI Act and has ordered that this information will have to be displayed on thewebsite and on the notice boards of the prisons before 12 May 2013.

 

Following refusal by the Public Information Officer (PIO) and First Appellate Authority (FAA) to provide information about under trials in prisons in Maharashtra without any valid reasons, Mr Gandhi had filed his second appeal before the State Chief Information Commissioner.

 

In his second appeal, Mr Gandhi had also requested the State CIC, to direct the PIO to provide the information, penalise the PIO as per provisions of the RTI Act and reprimand the FAA for a casual approach in rejecting a citizen’s fundamental right.

 

A similar query by Mr Gandhi, around six years ago had led to the release of release of some under trials by the Bombay High Court. In his additional plea before the SCIC, Mr Gandhi said, “Whereas six years back the prison authorities had provided the information without any excuses, the PIO this time directed me to approach 43 different prisons. The First Appellate Authority did a faux pas by claiming exemptions under Section 8 (1) (b), (g) (h) and (j) without even attempting to justify how these would apply. I am sorry, but it appears that in the prison department in Maharashtra there is an unfortunate carelessness and regression in adherence and respect for RTI.”

 

Earlier in February, the union home ministry told states and Union Territories that under Section 436A of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), an under trial prisoner completing half of the maximum period of imprisonment should be released by the court on his personal bond with or without sureties, with the exception of those involved in heinous crimes.

 

According to statistics provided by National Crime Records Bureau, as of December 2011, there were 2.41 lakh or 64.7% under trial prisoners out of total 3.32 lakh jail inmates across India. The occupancy rate across all prisons in the country was 112.1% or 3.72 lakh inmates against a capacity of 3.32 jail inmates, the data said.

 

Bombay HC- Reimburse unaided schools for expense on SC/ST students #goodnews


Express news service : Mumbai, Thu Apr 04 2013,

 

Bombay High Court (HC) directed the state government Wednesday to reimburse unaided schools for expenses incurred on education of SC/ST students as per RTE Act.

The money — Rs 10, 463 per student per year till standard 7 or the actual amount spent, whichever less — is to be reimbursed irrespective of incomes of parents or guardians of the students from academic year 2010- 2011.

For higher secondary school students, the reimbursment is according to recommendations made by a state-appointed committee in 2010.

For schools in Mumbai, it is Rs 350; for those under other municipal corporations, it is Rs 250 and for the rest of the state, Rs 200.

Schools are also to be reimbursed for OBC, VJNT and SBC students the annual income of whose parents is less than Rs 1 lakh.

HC clarified while RTE Act could not be invoked against the wishes of minority unaided schools, institutions admitting students from disadvantaged sections could claim reimbursement.

A division bench of justices Mohit Shah and N M Jamdar said provisions of RTE Act should be read in the light of articles 21A (right to education) and 46 (promotion of educational and economic interests of weaker sections) of the Constitution.

HC noted though RTE Act applied to elementary education, the state had been giving the benefit of reimbursement to classes 9 and 10 as well.

 

Bombay HC approves Sterlite Industries merger proposal, but ball is in Madras HC


Press Trust of India | Updated On: April 03, 2013 15:44 (IST)
New Delhi: Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd today said the Bombay High Court has approved the merger of the mining firm with Madras Aluminium Company, Sterlite Energy Ltd, Vedanta Aluminium and Sesa Goa.

“The Honourable High Court of Bombay…approved the scheme of amalgamation and arrangement amongst Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd, Madras Aluminium Company Ltd, Sterlite Energy Ltd, Vedanta Aluminium Ltd and Sesa Goa Ltd and their respective shareholders and creditors to create Sesa Sterlite,” the company said in a filing to BSE.

However, the merger is subject to approval of Madras High Court, it said.

“The scheme is also subject to approval of the Honourable High Court of Madras, wherein the hearings have been completed and the order is awaited,” the statement said.

Sterlite Industries (India) is a leading metal and mining firm which produces aluminium, copper, zinc, lead, silver and commercial energy.

Besides India, the company has operations in countries like Australia, Namibia, South Africa and Ireland.