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.

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Jharkhand – Tribal and Cultural Activist Jiten Marandi released from jail #goodnews


RANCHI, March 29, 2013, The Hindu

Jiten Marandi, cultural activist and one of the secretaries of Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners was released from Birsa jail in Hotwar in Ranchi on Thursday.

He was accused with 19 others in 2008 in the October 26, 2007 massacre at Chilkari in which 19 persons, including Anup Marandi, son of the former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi, were kille. While the Jharkhand High Court acquitted him in December 2011 of the death sentence given to him by a Sessions Court, he had to remain in jail as the government invoked the Jharkhand Crime Control Act (2002) against him.

“Jiten was falsely accused in all cases because he had taken active part in resistance movements going on in Jharkhand. He had to stay in jail for five years because the authorities had filed these politically-motivated cases.

“He would have got released even sooner but he chose to not appeal against the government’s order which remained in force for two years,” said Sushanto Mukherjee, Marxist Coordination Committee central committee member, who received Mr. Marandi after his release from Birsa jail in Hotwar.

 

#Jharkhand Activist Dayamani Barla gets bail #goodnews


ANUMEHA YADAV, The hIndu, Dec 22,2012

She has been in jail for over two months for leading protests related to land acquisition

The Jharkhand High Court on Friday granted bail to activist Dayamani Barla, who has been in jail for over two months for leading protests related to land acquisition and functioning of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

Ms. Barla, who was brought to the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) here, is expected to be released from Birsa jail on Saturday afternoon.

“This is of significance to our movement to save our land and water resources. This is a victory for the people of Jharkhand. Our struggle will go on,” said the award-winning activist and journalist at the court.

The court sent a property warrant against Ms. Barla on September 23 in a 2006 case against her for leading a protest march demanding that the people of the Angada block in Ranchi district be given MGNREGS job cards or given unemployment allowance. At this time, she led a successful protest against the setting up of a steel plant by ArcelorMittal at Gumla and Khunti, citing the Chotanagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act that prohibits sale of tribal land to non-tribals.

She surrendered and got bail in this case, but two days later, on October 19, she was arrested in a case of leading a protest of tribal farmers against the government move to acquire 227 acres of agricultural land in Nagri village, 15 km from Ranchi, for campuses of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Indian Institute of Information Technology and the National University of Study & Research in Law (NUSRL).

An FIR was registered against her on August 15 in the course of protests in Nagri for “leading a group of over 100-150 farmers, who entered the plot where the NUSRL and the IIM had constructed boundary walls and cultivated the land.”

On November 5, while in jail, Ms. Barla became an accused in another case. This was for participating in a demonstration organised by Jharkhand Dishom Party (JDM) leader Salkhan Murmu on October 4, in which JDM workers were accused of burning an effigy of the High Court.

Ms. Barla got bail in this case, but both the CJM court and the district court rejected her bail application in the Nagri case.

The agitation in Nagri continued while Ms. Barla was in jail. On December 15, over 100 Oraon adivasi farmers organised a protest in front of Raj Bhavan here for Ms. Barla’s release and against violation of the CNT Act.

 

#India- #Jharkhand Dayamani Barla faces government’s wrath over agitation against land grab


Edited by Sabyasachi Dasgupta | Updated: December 11, 2012

 Jharkhand activist Dayamani Barla faces government's wrath over agitation against land grab
RanchiIn Jharkhand, activist and journalist Dayamani Barla has spent the last month and half in prison. Activists in the state allege she is facing government persecution for leading an agitation of villagers near the state’s capital Ranchi. The government says her arrest has nothing to do with any particular agitation and is in line with the law, and related to her participation in earlier agitations across the state where police cases were registered against Ms Barla.

48-year-old Dayamani Barla rose to prominence in the 1990s when she led the ‘Koel Karo’ agitation, protesting against a dam that threatened to submerge 66,000 acres and displace 135,000 tribal families. The plans for the dam had to be finally shelved. Ms Barla also led agitations against all major steel giants in Jharkhand, including ArcelorMittal.

This time though, her agitation against the government seems to have proved costly for this tribal activist.

Since 2010, Ms Barla has led the agitation at Nagri, a village 25 kilometres from Ranchi, where the Jharkhand government is trying to acquire 202 acres of fertile land for building a law university, an Indian Institute of Management and another institute. Ms Barla’s troubles mounted since she began the agitation at Nagri.

On October 16 this year, Ms Barla had to surrender before a Ranchi court in a four-year-old case related to a road block she had led in Ranchi. Ms Barla surrendered after the court ordered her property attached in the case. Activists allege that before the launch of Nagri agitation there was no movement in the case for four years.

In August, Ms Barla got bail in the case within two days, but never came out of prison, as she was rearrested by the Jharkhand Police for allegedly ploughing land at the Nagri village despite government restrictions. Since then, her bail application has been rejected three times by lower courts in Ranchi.

Sushanto Mukherjee, a state member of the Marxist Coordination Committee, the organisations leading the agitation at Nagri, says, “Dayamani Barla is being 100 percent persecuted. The government feels if they keep her in jail, they will manage to grab the lands in Nagri. But we will not let that happen.’

At ground zero of the agitation, people like Kadir Kujur are defiant. He owns a few acres of land at Nagri which he says is extremely fertile and suitable for multiple crops, dismissing the government’s claims of the low fertility of this land. He says Barla’s arrest is a pressure tactic by the Jharkhand government. “Why should the government persecute activists? They are only showing us the way forward in this struggle. I don’t feed Dayamani Barla in return for her contributions to our cause,” said Kujur.

But at the Jharkhand Police Headquarters, Director General of Police GS Rath says all allegations by activists about Dayamani Barla’s arrest are blatant lies. According to Mr Rath Dayamani Barla “is a political activist and the law of the land is the same for everybody. If someone violates the law can you blame the police for acting against them.”

Activists have now approached the Jharkhand High Court in an effort to get bail for Ms Barla, and have also threatened to move the Supreme Court if necessary. But the immediate future looks bleak for Dayamani Barla, as she counts her days in jail with little hope of coming out anytime soon.

Activist Dayamani Barla has spent 45 days in jail now with three of her bail pleas rejected. She is perhaps paying the price for agitating against the Jharkhand government. Human rights activist Binayak Sen speaks to NDTV on the arrest.

http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/india-decides-9/binayak-sen-on-dayamani-barla-s-arrest/257938?v_also_see

Dayamni barla appears at teh court on 12-12-12

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=393580630725146&set=a.393575577392318.91813.373449066071636&type=1&theater

 

 

Aparna Marandi told the Jharkhand court she is being framed


TNN | Dec 11, 2012, 12.29 AM IST

RANCHI: Aparna Marandi, the wife of Jitan Marandi, an accused in the murder case of former chief minister Babulal Marandi‘s son who was later acquitted by the Jharkhand high court, was forwarded to Dumka on a transit remand on Monday.The woman was detained by Dumka police on December 8 from Hatia railway station when she was going to Hyderabad. The detention was made in a six-year-old case in which she was accused of setting fire on seven vehicles at Kantikund locality in Dumka.

The team of Dumka police had produced Aparna Marandi before chief judicial magistrate S M Hussain on Monday for a transit remand to Dumka. The woman would be produced in the civil court of Dumka.

After the detention of Aparna Marandi and others, neither the railway police nor the district police had confirmed the development. The detained persons were kept in custody at Kotwali police station.

Along with Aparna, Baby Devi, a local leader of Dhanbad, and Sushila Ekka, a social activist of Hazaribag, were also detained. They were, however, released on Monday.

 

 

Dayamani Barla’s bail petition rejected #Jharkhand


 

Press Trust of India / Ranchi November 24, 2012, 20:45

A local court today rejected the bail petition of social activist Dayamani Barla, who had surrendered before the court on October 16 in connection with a 2006 case.

The court of Additional Judicial Commissioner, which earlier reserved the order on Barla’s bail petition, rejected it on the ground that she had obstructed government work.

Barla had on October 16 gave herself up before the Ranchi court and was sent to judicial custody in connection with an agitation she had led in 2006.

Two days later, she secured bail from the court, but was re-arrested on a second warrant following an FIR charging her with obstruction of government work at Nagri when she joined the villagers in their protest in July against land acquisition by the government for setting up educational hub at Nagri, about 20 kms from here.

Along with five others, Barla is also facing contempt notice served by the Jharkhand High Court on November 8 for their role in the burning effigy of the high court building on October 4.

Barla came to lime light when she led agitations in Gumla and Khunti districts against land acquisition by the ArcelorMittal for its steel project, which the company signed with the Jharkhand government in 2005.

TVNL gets land for developing Badam coal blocks in Hazaribag #Jharkhand


TUESDAY, 02 OCTOBER 2012 16:49PNS | RANCHI

State owned power generating company Tenughat Vidyut Nigam Limited (TVNL) that is into a joint venture with EMTA has been allotted land for developing Badam coal blocks in Hazaribag district.

TUESDAY, 02 OCTOBER 2012 16:49PNS | RANCHI

About 11.92 acre of GM land would be given to the company at `40.13 lakh on renewable lease of 30 years. The Cabinet also released 19.59 acres of land at Noamundi for railway siding at West Singhbum district.

Informing about the decision taken by the Cabinet on Monday, Cabinet Secretary NN Pandey said that Value Added Tax (VAT) on PDS kerosene had been lowered form presently 5 per cent to 2 per cent. “Besides this the Cabinet also decided to up VAT from present 14 per cent to 20 per cent on tobacco products,” he said.

To deal with shortage of doctors in the State, the Government has raised retirement age of the medicos working in ESIC hospitals in Jharkhand. Now onwards, the doctors would attain retirement at the age of 65 years instead of 60 years. The Cabinet also approved Jharkhand Municipal Election guideline. It would set rules for election, provisions of operation and polling booths for the urban local bodies.

453 villages left out of the electrification by the RITES and also under RGGVY scheme would be electrified through the JSEB. The Cabinet has approved `91.58 crore for the purpose. 72 gazetted and non- gazetted posts have been created in the Jharkhand High Court besides few others to take forward the e-court project, emphasised by the Supreme Court and the Center for computerisation exercise. It will cost `12.53 lakh annually.

Cultural Activist, Jeetan Marandi languishes in Jail, his wife Aparna Marandi keeps the Battle on #mustread


 

WHO IS JEETAN MARANDI?

Jeetan  Marandi is a cultural activist from Jharkhand , a cultural activist who used to sing the folk songs and other revolutionary songs in villages of Jharkhand, to make the people aware of socio-political developments taking place in the state. He was misjudged due to his name. He is also  the secretaries of Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners.

He was arrested in 2008 and accused by the police of being involved in the murder of 20 villagers, including the son of former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi, in Chilkari in 2007.

He was sentenced to death in June 2011 by a lower court in Jharkhand. He has been an active participant in the movements against forcible land acquisitions in Jharkhand – and was actually arrested while he was on the way back from one such rally organized by the Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikash Andolan, almost an year after the killings.

In December 2011, Jharkhand High Court turned down death sentences of four person including Jeetan Marandi in Chilkar massacre case for the want of substantial evidence. The  Court had acquitted the four accused in Chilkhari murder case on December 15, 2011. Giving them the ‘benefit of doubt’ the court said that it could not punish these people on the basis of the witnesses who themselves are of criminal background. Jeetan, Chattar Mandal, Manoj Rajwar and Anil Ram were first awarded death sentence by Additional Sessions Judge at Giridih on June 22, 2011. Jeetan Marandi and other three were convicted under Sections 143, 342, 379, 149, 120B, 30, 149, Copyright Licensing Act and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act along with Section 302.

The police chargesheeted him under various clauses of the penal code, and it has also been alleged that false witnesses were brought forth during the trial, leading to the death-sentence. This case falls into the larger pattern of victimization of the cultural political activists as well as those adivasi voices who are resisting the various injustices being inflicted by the state.

He has been slapped under the draconian law Crime Control Act (CCA) , and still contnues to langish in jail.I AM JEETAN MARANDI

He has written a letter from jail in name of the Nation

Dr Binayak Sen, in a public meeting in  Ranchi  in 2011 had said “An artiste and tribal rights activist, Jeetan was known to utilise the power of music to speak against government atrocities on the common man, especially tribals. “Artistes world over have used their medium of music, song, painting, etc. to portray the wrongs of society. Jeetan was fighting against displacement, corporate and political loot among other ills. It is ironic of the state government that in the land of Birsa Munda, it has been staying mum on his case.

Please sign online petition for his release-PLEASE SIGN ON-LINE PETITION FOR HIS RELEASE

His wife, Aparna Marandi is asking us if our nation is really independent. She says when I look around so many years after independence same repression as British is continuing and there is not much progress on health, education of poor. Educated are not getting jobs. She says my husband Jeetan Marandi is an example. He was writing songs to make people aware about their rights and to fight against obscurantism,dowry etc and he is in jail on false charges. I think we are not independent. For more Aparna ji can be reached at 09771949885

http://www.cgnetswara.org/index.php?id=13006

She sings song of jeetan marandi

ये आज़ादी है कैसा, कहने वालों को हक ये मिला है कैसा?….एक गीत

ये आजादी आज़ादी है कैसा?

कहने वालों को हक ये मिला है कैसा
देखो कितने भूखे नंगे तडप रहे हैं
ये आज़ादी का हालत है कैसा
देखो कितने महल ये चमक रहे हैं
कितनी झुपडिया उजाड पड़े हैं
ये आज़ादी मिली है कैसा?

अपर्णा मरांडी

Listen to her here http://cgnetswara.org/index.php?id=13077

Here , Aparna Marandi is singing a Santhali song written by jailed adivasi cultural activist Jeetan Marandi which talks about ill effect of drinking. The song says you are drinking and your house is getting destroyed, your children are suffering, their education is getting affected. The song requests please leave drinking and take care of your family.

http://www.cgnetswara.org/index.php?id=13126

 

Jeetan Marandi still behind Bars,after being acquitted by Jharkahnd HC


THURSDAY, 29 MARCH 2012,MUKESH RANJAN , Zee News

After being acquitted from the Jharkhand High Court in Chilkhari murder case and securing bail in other three cases, Jeetan Marandi had long been waiting for his release from the Birsa Munda Central Jail (BMCJ), but the battle has not ended yet. He will have to fight more to secure his release from the jail.

The jail authorities cleared that he has not been released as his release order has not reached them yet. “Even if we get his release order, we cannot allow him to go as charges under Crime Control Act (CCA) have been imposed on him in Giridih,” said Narendra Singh, jailer of BMCJ.

The State Government has imposed CCA against him in Giridih. Now Jeetan will have to wait till he is cleared from the CCA. “Jeetan got to know about the charges under the new Act imposed on him when he was asked to sign in a document in the jail by the jail authorities. He was told that the CCA has been imposed on him,” said his friend Sushant, who met Jeetan on Wednesday at the prison.

“I met him today in jail where he told me that the Act has been imposed on him, we also checked and found it to be true,” added Sushant. Jeetan has been in jail for the last four years.

The Jharkhand High Court had acquitted the four accused in Chilkhari murder case on December 15, 2011. Giving them the ‘benefit of doubt’ the court said that it could not punish these people on the basis of the witnesses who themselves are of criminal background. Jeetan, Chattar Mandal, Manoj Rajwar and Anil Ram were first awarded death sentence by Additional Sessions Judge at Giridih on June 22, 2011. Jeetan Marandi and other three were convicted under Sections 143, 342, 379, 149, 120B, 30, 149, Copyright Licensing Act and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act along with Section 302.

According to the close associates and relatives of Jeetan, “his acquittal has made the government ‘dejected’ hence they do not want him to come out of jail. As soon as he comes out the jail, he will expose the State government,” said Sushant.

Meanwhile, Jeetan’s lawyer SK Murary said that Jeetan could be kept in jail for 12 more days as it is valid for 12 days only. “The Court will send it to the State Govt for its approval. The state government will then have to send it to the advisory board comprising High Court Judge and District Judge within three weeks to consider how justified is his detention,” said Murary.

Despite its dispatch on March 16, 2012 from the Giridh Court, Jeetan’s release order had not reached the BMCJ till Wednesday, further strengthening fears of Jeetan’s family and friends that the Government has a strong intention to keep him behind bars.


Scrap MoUs violating land act, say tribals


TNN | Feb 4, 2012
RANCHI: The Adivasi-Moolvasi Astitva Raksha Manch (AMARM), an umbrella organization of tribals and original settlers of the state, has demanded cancellation of all memorandums of understanding (MoUs) signed between the state and corporate houses as it violates the provisions of the CNT Act.

The AMARM is also opposed to acquisition of land by the government for Indian Institute of Management and law university at Kanke and Nagri. AMARM convener Dayamani Barla said the MoU signed by the government with the corporate houses was not approved by the Tribal Advisory Council and Gram Sabha. “We want that all MoUs should be cancelled as it is against the law of the land,” said Barla adding that the recent judgment of the Jharkhand high court on strict implementation of the CNT Act confirmed the violation.

Tthe CNT Act Suraksha Samiti has called a mahapanchayat here on February 19. Tribal leaders and activists from all over the state will address the gathering.