Babu Bokhariya, minister in Narendra Modi’s cabinet, convicted for illegal mining


Edited by Shamik Ghosh | Updated: June 15, 2013 , NDTV

 Babu Bokhariya, minister in Narendra Modi's cabinet, convicted for illegal mining
AhmedabadBabu Bokhariya, a senior minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet in Gujarat, has been convicted for illegal mining. He has been taken into custody.

Mr Bokhariya, who is Gujarat’s water resource minister, along with three others, has been sentenced to three years of imprisonment by a sessions court.

The three others convicted in the case are former MP Bharat Odedara, Bhima Dula and Laxman Dula. They all were accused of illegal mining of limestone from the land where Saurashtra Chemicals Limited holds mining rights.

#India – 17 year old abducted and Gang raped in Delhi #Vaw #Rape


RAPE

STAFF REPORTER, The Hindu . June 3, 2013

All three accused, in their 30s, have been arrested

A 17-year-old girl was allegedly abducted by three men in Nangloi while she was out for a stroll near her house on Saturday evening and gang-raped. All three accused, in their 30s, have been arrested in Delhi.

According to the police, the girl, who lives with her parents, had gone for a walk late on Saturday evening after dinner. As she reached an isolated stretch some distance away from her house, a white car came from behind and intercepted her.

The three men sitting inside asked her to get in. Upon her refusal, they allegedly dragged her inside and drove away. She tried to raise an alarm, but they covered her mouth.

“She was then taken to an empty warehouse in the area, where the three men took turns to rape her. Following this, the unconscious victim was dumped close to the spot from where she was abducted,” said a police officer.

When she regained consciousness, she returned home and narrated her ordeal to her parents. The family then approached the police and a case under Section 376 (D) of the Indian Penal Code and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences ct was registered.

Based on the description of the three accused and the vehicle, the police zeroed in on them and arrested them on Sunday. The car has also been seized.

Keywords: NangloiDelhi rapesexual assault

 

 

The Terror After The Event – Himayat Baig’s Death Sentence


Date: 1 June 2013
Subject: The Terror After The Event | Ashish Khetan in Outlook

Indian Express Archive
18th victim? Baig leaves a Pune court after the verdict, Apr 18
opinion: terror probes
The Terror After The Event
The Maharashtra ATS’s investigations into terror cases has been dubious at best. Himayat Baig’s death sentence is the latest travesty.
Ashish Khetan

I was quite settled in my career when a court in Pune sentenced Mirza Himayat Baig, a terror suspect, to death in April this year. I was working with a TV station, drawing a decent salary and covering, among other beats, internal security. A source in the Maharashtra ATS—the same organisation that prosecuted Baig for the Pune German Bakery blast—had told me soon after the arrest that Baig was innocent but was being fixed by some senior ATS officers. The latter apparently felt that their prospects for future lucrative postings would be dented if the case remained unsolved. The blast happened in February 2010, Baig was arrested in September.

The usual suspects (always members of SIMI or some other radical Muslim outfit) being falsely implicated in terror cases by our investigating agencies is not a new phenomenon. We have only to check the trajectory of the series of terror cases that have ended in acquittals over the past 10 years. Mostly, after such acquittals there is the usual criticism from civil society and journalists, but that’s par for the course for our investigation agencies. After a few critical op-eds and commentaries, all is forgotten.

For over a year, I researched several terror investigations, including the 7/11 train blasts (2006) and collected material evidence—internal documents of the agencies themselves—that showed how they were peddling different versions of the same, integral terror plot before different courts of law. It was apparent that, for our agencies, the truth had multiple versions for multiple purposes. There was one version for internal consumption of the agencies, another for the courts. Within the courts, there was one version for a court in UP, another for a court in Gujarat and yet another for a court in Mumbai. Interrogation reports of terror sus­pects were tailored in different and often contradictory ways by different agencies to suit their respective cases. I was intending to use this material to write a book. The idea of using it to intervene in a judicial process never crossed my mind then.

After Baig’s sentence was pronounced, I got in touch with my ATS source again and asked how Baig, if he wasn’t involved in the blasts, had got the death sentence? He lau­ghed and replied: “That’s the beauty of our criminal justice system. All you need to show is the recovery of some exp­losives and arms and a few tutored witnesses.”

The same day Qateel was to be brought back to Delhi, he was mysteriously found murdered in Pune’s Yerawada Jail. The man who could have testified to Baig’s innocence was now gone.

Baig was a poor Muslim who with great difficulty had completed his graduation and done a teacher’s course. In 2006, misfortune struck. Some of his acquaintances were arrested in a controversial Aurangabad Arms Haul case in May that year and he got dragged in too. (This is one of the most mysterious of terror cases. It took five years for the ATS to frame charges against the arrested accused. The last one heard, only two police witnesses had been examined).
Baig spent the next five years (till he was arrested) trying to earn an honest living. He did a diploma qualifying him to become a teacher in this period, besides various odd jobs including teaching at a private coaching class. On April 17, when the judge in Pune pronounced the death verdict, Baig broke down. “In the German Bakery blast, 17 innocent people were killed. I am the 18th victim of the blast,” Baig told the court. Barring the Indian Express, no other mainstream English newspaper reported at that time on Baig’s protestations in the court.

Six months before Baig was handed the death sentence, a terror suspect named Qateel Siddiqui, 28, was killed in mysterious circumstances in the high-security ‘anda cell’ of the Pune Yerawada jail. My source told me that Qateel’s death and Himayat’s innocence were linked. He gave me two interrogation reports of Qateel prepared by an ATS inspector. Qateel was arrested about a year after Himayat’s arrest. But there was a catch. He wasn’t arrested by the Maharashtra ATS but by the Delhi Special Cell. My source asked me to access Qateel’s interrogations reports by the Delhi Police and other agencies and compare it with the ones prepared by the Maharashtra ATS.

I spent the next few weeks procuring the material on Qateel available with other agencies. Finally, I had detailed interrogation reports prepared by not just the Delhi Special Cell but also the Bangalore police. As per these rep­orts, Qateel was not only involved in the Bangalore Chinnasw­amy Stadium blasts of 2010 but also the Pune German Bakery blast. More importantly, these reports completely contradicted the ATS theory of Baig being involved in the blast.

As per both these IRs, it was Qateel and Ahmed Siddibapa alias Yasin Bhatkal who had come together to plant a bomb at two different places in Pune. While Qateel was supposed to plant the bomb at the Dagduseth Halwai Ganesh temple, Yasin took it upon himself to plant the bomb at the German Bakery. Also, as per these IRs, Yasin and Qateel were toget­her until 2:30 PM on February 13 in a room they had rented in Katraj locality of Pune. Qateel was given the bomb by Yasin on the afternoon of February 13. Both bombs were supposed to go off around the same time, that is, between 6:45 pm and 7 pm.

But the Maharashtra ATS theory (that had already been presented in the form of a chargesheet against Baig by the time Qateel was arrested) was that Yasin was with Himayat Baig the entire day on the 13th and that the two had gone to plant the bomb at the Pune German Bakery. On the other hand, the Delhi and Bangalore Police reports had no reference to Himayat Baig whatsoever.

To smooth out these blatant contradictions, the ATS sent an officer named Dinesh Kadam to interrogate Qateel while he was in the custody of the Delhi police. In his report, Kadam made one crucial change from those by the Delhi and Bangalore Police. He twisted those portions of Qateel’s confession in which he spoke about his continued presence with Yasin on February 13. Now, according to Kadam, Qateel had told him that Yasin gave him the bomb on February 11. This was done to justify Yasin Bhatkal’s presence with Baig on the 13th. So February 13 was pre-dated to February 11 by Inspector Kadam, as the ATS had already spun a story around Baig and Yasin for February 13 and the same theory had already been presented before a Pune court in the form of a chargesheet.

On all other counts, Kadam accepted and confirmed Qat­eel’s revelations made before the Delhi and Bangalore police. Kadam also accepted the claim that Qateel eventually could not plant the bomb at the Ganesh temple and instead dismantled it and threw it away.

So Feb 13 was predated to Feb 11 by Inpector Kadam as the ATS had already spun a story around Baig and Yasin Bhatkal for Feb 13, the same which was made a chargesheet before Pune court.

Now, after interrogating Qateel, Kadam went back to Pune and filed a separate case against Qateel in a Pune court and charged him with attempting to bomb the Ganesh temple. The Maharashtra ATS took police custody of Qateel in this new case on 2.05.2012 and took him to Maharashtra. On 28.05.2012, a Pune court sent him to judicial custody and Qateel was lodged in a high security cell at Yerawada Jail in Pune.
On 8.06.2012, Qateel was mysteriously found murdered in the high security cell—the same day he was supposed to be brought back to the capital to be produced before a Delhi court in connection with the case registered against him by the Delhi Special Cell. The Maharashtra police claimed that two other inmates had killed Qateel after an angry exchange of words. According to them, he was str­an­gulated with a Bermuda pant cord. But the same couldn’t be recovered because it had apparently been burnt by the accused.

The man who could have testified to Baig’s innocence was now gone. Meanwhile, the trial against Baig continued. Qateel’s story, as recorded by the Delhi and Bangalore police, was never brought before the Pune court trying Baig. On April 18, 2013, the court sentenced Baig to capital punishment primarily on the basis of an eye-witness account of an auto driver who claimed he had ferried both Baig and Yasin Bhatkal on the day of the blast and had dropped them close to the blast site.

When the judge handed him the death sentence, Baig started crying. As per the Indian Express he told the judge, “I come from a poor family. I wanted to do something for my community, which is backward in every way. I had come to Pune on January 31, 2010, for a rally seeking reservations for Muslims. I was not on the run, as the ATS says.”

These words kept ringing in my mind. I proposed the story to the network I was working with. But they didn’t show any interest. The handing of a death sentence to a poor, innocent Muslim is not much of a story for the mainstream media. This, in many, ways was also a turning point for me. I quit the channel and with a capital of a few lakhs founded a portal dedicated to investigative journalism. Anuja Chauhan, who’s spent many years in the advertising world and is now a well-known author, gave the portal its name, Gulail (slingshot), the weapon of the dispossessed.

Another late realisation has been that mere reporting is not going to change much. In today’s disaggregated media and social networking sites, for every one fact that gets reported there are hundreds, if not thousands, of blatant lies that go viral, blunting and distorting the truth. The fight for justice and truth must thus be fought primarily in the courts of law. To this end, on May 17, a letter petition was filed with the Bombay High Court annexing dozens of original interrogation reports of terror suspects sourced from over half a dozen anti-terror agencies.

Besides laying out a case for how the Maharashtra ATS conspired to destroy the evidence of Himayat Baig’s innocence, around 10 interrogation reports of another terror suspect, Sadiq Shaikh, recorded by several anti-terror agencies, was also put before the court. These reports show that while in the internal records of all other agencies in the country (including Mumbai Crime Branch) Shaikh was responsible for the 7/11 train blasts, the Maharashtra ATS tailored those parts of Sadiq’s revelations that pertained to the narration of the 7/11 conspiracy.

There is a dangerous modus operandi in the ATS’s methods that repeats itself in every terror probe done by the agency­—and the ‘usual suspects’ mostly bear the brunt of it. If it was alleged SIMI members being implicated in the 7/11 train blasts, in the Malegaon 2006 blasts it was the followers of Ahle Hadith and through them, again, the SIMI, who were held responsible.

Before filing the petition, I decided to meet the 13 train blasts accused who have been in jail for the past seven years. All of them are young Muslims. And almost all of them are devout. The fact that they wore skull caps, kept a long beard, offered namaaz five times a day and followed other religious precepts in their daily lives were seen by the ATS as a sure sign of extremism. In police custody, the ATS officers castigated them for printing religious books, for propagating their religion and for wearing religious marks on their person.

Two months after the 7/11 blasts, when four synchronised bombs went off inside a mosque at Malegaon—all those killed were Muslims—the Maharashtra ATS had again arrested nine Muslim youth who were said to be followers of either the Ahle Hadith or SIMI. Two of the accused were kept common between the 7/11 and Malegaon cases and were shown as the suppliers of the explosives for both sets of blasts. And like in the 7/11 probe, the ATS also managed to extract confessions from these Malegaon Muslims. Indeed, in Malegaon they went a step further. They even had an approver who told the court that he was not only willing to implicate himself but also his co-accused. Under pressure from Muslim groups, the Maharashtra government finally transferred the Malegaon investigation to the CBI. But the 7/11 case continues to be with the ATS.

In the Malegaon case, the NIA filed a chargesheet last week (the probe was transferred from the CBI to the NIA) where it has named a bunch of RSS members as accused. But bizarrely, even then the NIA has not asked the court for the discharge of the original set of accused. Nor has it addressed the role of the Maharashtra ATS that had not only arrested innocent Muslims but had also shown recoveries of explosives, extracted confessions, found eye-witnesses etc.

These are not mere issues of legalities. When law enforcement agencies show absolute contempt for law, justice and truth, when innocent members of a community are falsely implicated in case after case and when the system turns a blind eye and fails to take correctives, it’s not just the idea of justice but the very idea of India that is at risk.

My petition before the Bombay High Court has asked that an independent commission of inquiry be ordered into the conduct of the ATS and direct punitive action be taken against the police officers found responsible. Part of the decision lies with the court, the rest with the people of India.

(The author is the founder of http://www.gulail.com)

Indian Tribal Women Rush to a Champion’s Defense #Womenrights


By Swapna Majumdar

WeNews correspondent

Friday, May 31, 2013

Tribal women in India are mobilizing behind a leading maternal-health advocate. Supporters say the case against Madhuri Krishnaswamy was concocted to stop her from flagging rights violations that led to 25 maternal deaths in nine months in one impoverished district.

Tribal women protesting Madhuri Krishnaswamy's arrest.
Tribal women protesting Madhuri Krishnaswamy’s arrest.

Credit: Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS).

NEW DELHI, India (WOMENSENEWS)–The May 30 release of Madhuri Krishnaswamy, a relentless campaigner for better maternal health for marginalized tribal women in Barwani, one of the most impoverished districts in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, has brought temporary peace in the district.

Angry protestors who had been gathering in Barwani included about 2,000 tribal women from different parts of India, estimates Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan, the local advocacy group that Krishnaswamy heads.

Protesters converged on Barwani, ready to face arrest unless police charges against Krishnaswamy, based on the complaint by a Barwani health official, are withdrawn.

The May 16 jailing and arrest of Krishnaswamy on charges of — among things — obstructing a public official, have drawn outcry from rights groups and activists across the country. Demonstrators have been concentrated in Barwani, but some civil society groups have also met with senior health officials at the federal health ministry in Delhi to drum up support for Krishnaswamy.

More demonstrations, public rallies and litigation strategies to hold Madhya Pradesh government officials accountable for violations of women’s rights to life, health and non-discrimination are being pursued to pressure the administration to drop the charges.

The state government turned a blind eye to the health violations that Krishnaswamy was flagging and made up a false case to muzzle her, said Jashodhara Dasgupta of the National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights, a coalition of 17 health advocacies, which has supported Krishnaswamy’s work.

Dasgupta, a member of the alliance, which is headquartered in New Delhi, told Women’s eNews that the arrest was meant to conceal the administration’s failure to implement various government programs for marginalized women.

No Comment from Local Government

The Barwani administration has not commented on the issue. The police filed a closure report in the case for lack of evidence in April. But after testimony by a Barwani health official the court summoned Krishnaswamy and sent her to prison after she refused to seek bail.

The false nature of the case was clear when some of the charges that led to her arrest included “rioting armed with deadly weapons,” said Ajay Lal, a program officer for Support for Advocacy and Training to Health Initiatives, a community health advocacy based in Pune, Maharashtra, that has been working with Krishnaswamy in Barwani.

“Krishnaswamy’s arrest is a blatant act of state reprisal against an activist who has repeatedly drawn attention to the health violations,” Lal said in a phone interview. Lal said poor maternal care in government hospitals was leading to deaths of poor tribal women.

Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan, the nongovernmental organization headed by Krishnaswamy, has staged persistent protests against the poor health services in the largely tribal area of Barwani for the past 14 years.

Barwani has the second-lowest Human Development Index among the 50 districts in the state, according to the Madhya Pradesh Human Development Report 2007. Using a 2003 government sampling, this report put the maternal mortality rate for the district at 905 deaths per 100,000 live births compared to the state’s already-high figure of 379 per 100,000 live births.

Under Millennium Development Goal No. 5 India has pledged to reduce its maternal mortality ratio by three quarters before 2015 to 109 deaths for every 100,000 live births, far lower than the current figure of 212. By comparison, the United States, a laggard among industrialized countries, has a national average maternal mortality rate of 21 per 100,000 live births.

Tribal Women Denied Care

Supporters say Krishnaswamy’s arrest is linked to the 2008 case of Baniya Bai, a tribal woman living in Barwani district.

When the nine-month pregnant Baniya Bai reached the nearest government health center after travelling about nine miles by bullock cart from her village, a local health officer demanded a $2 bribe before allowing her to be attended. When family members couldn’t pay, she was dismissed from the center and wound up giving birth outside the facility, on the street, according to Krishnaswamy’s advocacy group.

Baniya Bai and her child survived.

Vypari Bai, a resident of another village in the same district, did not. Before dying she went through a terrifying 27 hours of labor pain as she was shunted by health officials from one government health facility to another in search of medical attention.

Krishnaswamy documented both cases in a court petition she filed in 2011 that flagged health-rights violations that led to 25 maternal deaths in Barwani government health facilities during a nine-month period of 2010.

“Tribal women are still dying from pregnancy-related causes because of official neglect and apathy,” saidHarsing Jamre, chief program coordinator of Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan, in a phone interview. “Are the lives of tribal women less valuable? No action has been taken against such health officials. But our organization head (Krishnaswamy) raises her voice against this injustice, action is taken against her.”

According to the Human Rights Law Network, a Delhi-based collective of lawyers and social activists that investigated the Barwani maternal deaths, 21 of the 25 deaths from April to November 2010 in the district were women from the marginalized caste tribal group known as Scheduled Tribes, which are eligible for special benefits including free healthcare.

Sixty seven percent of people in Barwani belong to Scheduled Tribes.

Fatal Factors for Tribal Women

Krishnaswamy’s supporters say her cause and her own mistreatment show how government corruption, coupled with caste and gender discrimination are fatal for tribal women.

Disturbing correlations between social inequities and access to healthcare were identified in 2011 by health advocacies investigating maternal deaths and denial of health care in Barwani.

The report–by Sama, CommonHealth and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan — found that marginalized groups, in general, had trouble finding justice and tribal women were doubly disadvantaged by gender power hierarchy and caste.

Earlier this year, on Jan. 27, the Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court directed the state government to improve its healthcare manpower and infrastructure. The order stemmed from a public-interest suit filed by Krishnaswamy’s group and the Human Rights Law Network that documented maternal deaths of tribal women caused by negligence and denial of health care.

Activists working in Barwani say that better infrastructure and more clinicians must also be accompanied by a more humane attitude. Doctors rarely treat marginalized tribal women with empathy, they say, and long wait for service can be fatal for both the pregnant mother and child.

Swapna Majumdar is based in New Delhi and writes on gender, development and politics.

 

#Mumbai Three-yr-old raped by uncle in theatre #childabuse #WTFnews


CHILDRAPE

The accused was caught in the act by other movie goers when the girl started crying; in another incident, a 10-year-old boy was sodomised by an acquaintance

May 27, 2013
MUMBAI
Sagar Rajput, mID DAY

With one case of rape and another of sodomy reported in the city on Saturday, the city does not seem to be getting any safer for children.

In the first case, a three-year-old girl was raped by her uncle in a movie theatre on Saturday. The accused identified as Mohammad Israel had told the victim’s mother that he would take her for a movie.

As the girl kept crying throughout the movie, an alert member of the audience asked the watchman at Kalpana theatre to find out what the matter was. Deputy Commissioner of Police Dhananjay Kulkarni (zone 5) said, “When the watchman went to inquire, he saw that the crying girl was on Israel’s lap. He felt something was amiss and gathered a crowd following which Israel was taken to Kurla police station.”

After interrogations the accused confessed to raping his niece and was booked under section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code.

10-yr-old sodomised
In another incident, a 10-year-old boy was sodomised in a madrassa, where the 60-year-old accused worked as a secretary. According to police officials, the accused identified as Mohammad Hanif Noor Mohammad sodomised the victim after taking him away under the pretext of some work.

According to the police, after the accused sodomised him on May 8, the victim was not in a state to go to the madrassa. “The victim’s uncle asked him to go to the madrassa to study, but on May 10, the boy panicked. When his uncle started questioning him, he came to know about the incident,” said an officer from Dharavi police station.

Family members then filed a complaint with the madrassa authorities following which the accused was suspended.
DCP Dhananjay Kulkarni said, “The boy was sodomised on two occasions in the course of the last two weeks.

The first was on May 8 in a madrassa, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Dharavi police. We are yet to find out when the second incident took place. The father of the victim finally filed a complaint with the Dharavi police station on Saturday.”

The accused was arrested under section 377 (unnatural offence) of the Indian Penal Code. Investigations are on to ascertain when the second incident took place.

 

#India – Judges have to watch their scorecard


V. VENKATESAN

The deplorably small number of judgments by Justice Cyriac Joseph, especially when courts have a huge backlog of cases, is valid enough reason for concern at his suitability for the National Human Rights Commission

The Indian Supreme Court is an extraordinarily powerful institution in the world. It can make and unmake laws; it can keep the executive accountable, and seek to ensure the autonomy of institutions. It can rewrite the Constitution the way it wants, through its creative interpretation yet remain largely unaccountable for its omissions and commissions. Its collegium has the responsibility to choose judges to fill its own vacancies, but it sees little merit in adopting an open and transparent process while exercising it.

As a result, very little is known about the merits of a judge, before he or she is appointed to the Supreme Court, unless there are serious allegations damaging to the judge’s integrity. There is a vast pool of post-retirement jobs that awaits a retiring judge from the Supreme Court, in the form of membership of statutory tribunals and commissions, yet there is no mechanism to evaluate the suitability of former judges to these bodies.

The Government’s proposal to nominate the former judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Cyriac Joseph, to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has brought into focus the issue of performance-evaluation of a judge.

While the members representing the Government on the NHRC selection committee appear to have favoured his nomination, the two members belonging to the Opposition, Ms Sushma Swaraj and Mr. Arun Jaitley, have submitted dissenting notes pointing to an adverse report of an intelligence agency about the unsuitability of the proposed nominee on the basis of his tenure at the Supreme Court.

Facts

The facts regarding Justice Joseph can be gathered from the Supreme Court’s website.

He authored exactly seven judgments during his tenure, from July 7, 2008 to January 27, 2012. However, he was a signatory to as many as 309 judgments, and 135 orders, all authored by his colleagues on the Bench. The website lists the judgments and the orders authored and/or signed by a judge together, and it requires considerable effort to identify those which were authored and not merely signed by a judge, as the author’s name is affixed on the top of a judgment.

Thus, Justice Joseph authored concurring judgments in two cases, namely, Action Committee, Unaided Private Schools & Ors v. Director of Education & Ors (August 7, 2009), and Haryana State Warehousing Corporation v. Jagat Ram (February 23, 2011). His judgment in the Action Committee, Unaided Private Schools seems to have been necessitated because of the compulsion to resolve the disagreement between the other two judges on the Bench, Justices S.B. Sinha and S.H. Kapadia. Justice Joseph opted to agree with Justice Kapadia in order to help arrive at the ratio of the judgment.

The website also shows that Justice Joseph wrote judgments in Safiya Bee v. Mohd. Vajahath Hussain @ Fasi (December 16, 2010), State of Haryana & Ors v. M/s Malik Traders (August 17, 2011), Deepa Thomas & Others v. Medical Council of India & Others (January 25, 2012), Mohd.Asif v. State of Maharashtra (January 27, 2012), and A.V. Padma v. R.Venugopal (January 27, 2012).

Evaluation

Critics of the Government’s efforts to nominate Justice Joseph to the NHRC have pointed to the number of judgments authored and delivered by him as the factor weighing against him.

While they have a case against him, it has to be admitted that the number of judgments written by a judge alone cannot be a determining factor about his or her competence. As the Supreme Court mostly sits in benches of two or three judges, the senior-most on a bench decides once the hearing is complete, who among them will write the judgment, depending on the interest of the judge. The judge writing the judgment, then circulates the draft for the perusal of the other judge/s, who are then free to agree, or write concurring judgments, or dissents. Superfluous, concurring judgments can make the process of arriving at the ratio of a judgment challenging, and leave the litigants confused. But that cannot be an excuse for a judge to avoid judgment-writing altogether.

Scholars of the Supreme Court have never attempted to evaluate the performance of each judge, on the basis of the number of judgments and orders authored by him or her. It is probably because such a study is likely to lead to comparison, and the drawing of inferences regarding the competence of a judge, which may invite the charge of contempt of court.

George H. Gadbois Jr., who made a seminal contribution compiling the biography of the judges in his recent book, Judges of the Supreme Court of India, 1950-1989, is also silent on this aspect. He perhaps thought that compiling such data could only aim at evaluating the importance or contributions of a judge, which he has consciously avoided.

What data shows

When Justice Joseph joined the Supreme Court in 2008, the strength of the Court rose from 26 to 31, following a Constitutional amendment. Based on the number of judges, the average number of judgments and orders written by each judge could be easily arrived at, given the total number of judgments and orders in a calendar year.

Thus between 2008 and 2012, the average number of judgments and orders per judge varied from 88 (2008) to 27 (2012). The average was just nine in 1955, 14 in 1959, 25 in 1969, 17 in 1977, 15 in 1987 and 71 in 1996. During this period, the strength of the Supreme Court kept on increasing from: eight to 11 (1956), 14 (1960), 18 (1978), and 26 (1986).

Based on this data, it would be hazardous to infer the competence of a judge/judges in a particular year or era. As Gadbois would put it, some of those judges were giants who will be remembered a century from now. Others, to quote Gadbois again, are blips on the radar screen, sidebars to the history of the Supreme Court, likely to be recalled only by the closest of court watchers. In the history of the Supreme Court, some judges are celebrated merely because of their salient contributions to the interpretation of the law and the Constitution, and not because they wrote more judgments than their colleagues.

Yet, the number of judgments written by a judge cannot be dismissed as being irrelevant, especially in the context of the Court’s efforts to limit its own backlog of cases. If the number of judgments authored by a judge is deplorably and consistently below average, then it is an important factor in the evaluation of a judge. The concerns that such a judge may prove to be unequal to the demands of an institution like the NHRC are valid.

A test for government

The Supreme Court, in its March 3, 2011 judgment, set aside the appointment of Mr. P.J. Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner, even though the majority in the selection committee had recommended him. The Court quashed his appointment by emphasising the concept of institutional integrity. The key test for institutional integrity, it said, is to ask whether the incumbent would or would not be able to function and whether the working of the institution would suffer following the appointment. This test is as relevant in the appointment of Justice Joseph, as it was in the case of Mr. Thomas.

The Supreme Court held in the same judgment that if the selection committee decides to overrule any dissent while recommending a person for the appointment, it should record clear and cogent reasons for doing so.

In April, the Government appointed Mr. S.C. Sinha, Director of the National Investigation Agency to the NHRC, overruling dissent within the selection committee, pointing out that he did not have the knowledge, or practical experience in matters relating to human rights, as required under the Human Rights Act.

The reasons why the majority in the selection committee overruled the dissent have not been made public, and it is not known whether the Supreme Court’s directive has been complied with.

The appointment of Justice Joseph will constitute another test of legitimacy for the Government.

venkatesan.v@thehindu.co.in

 

Pune German Bakery Case – How the ATS conspired to destroy all evidence


BY ASHISH KHETAN
khetan@gulail.com
>

PUNE GERMAN BAKERY CASE

On February 13, 2010, a powerful bomb tore apart the  famous German bakery situated atthe posh colony of Koregaon Park in Pune. Seventeen persons were killed and 58 suffered severeto minor injuries. The Maharashtra ATS seized the CCTV footage from inside the bakeryand claimed that they  had identified the bomber.
In June 2010 the Mumbai ATS arrested one Abdul Samad, a young Muslim and a resident of Bhatkal town in Karnataka, ostensibly for the Pune Blast.
But the ATS theory collapsed when Samad’s parents held a press conference and released videos and pictures of Samad attending a wedding in his home town in Bhatkal on the day of the blast. Faced with incontrovertible evidence of Samad’s innocence, the ATS did a sudden U-turn and now said that the bomber was Samad’s brother Ahmed Siddibapa also known as Yasin Bhatkal among the agencies. Samad was instead shown arrested in a bogus Arms Act case and was soon released on bail.ARREST OF HIMAYAT BAIG In September 2010 the ATS arrested a resident of non-descript town named Udgir in Beed District of Maharashtra named Himayat Baig and claimed that it was he who along with Siddibapa had carried out the German bakery bombing. The ATS also claimed that he confessed to his involvement and also led the police to the recovery of explosives.  At the time of his arrest Baig was running a small cyber café in Udgir.In December 2010 Baig was chargesheeted. His charges read that Yasin Bhatkal prepared the bomb at Baig’s cyber café. ATS claimed that Baig and Yasin transported the bomb during the early hours of 13 February from Udgir to Pune by covering a distance of over 300 kilometers.As per the ATS theory, they left Udgir at around 5 am to reach the city of Latur at 6 am and from there they came to Pune by a private luxury bus. They reached Pune at around 2 pm and the two remained together during the day, claimed the ATS.
The ATS further claimed that the two planted the bomb at around 17:00 hours at German Bakery and the same exploded at around 18:50.

ARRREST OF QATIL SIDDIQUE In November 2011, almost an year after Baig was arrested, the Delhi Special Cell arrested a 28 year old resident of Darbhanga district in Bihar named Qateel Siddiqui. Delhi Police claimed that Siddiqui was involved in several terror strikes including the Bangalore Chinnaswamy Stadium Blasts of 2010 and the Pune German Bakery.  Both Bangalore and Delhi Police carried out a sustained interrogation of Siddiqui. The consistent and continued case of the Delhi and Bangalore charge-sheets regarding Qateel is that he was behind the German Bakery.My sources in the agencies have provided me the original Interrogation Reports prepared by both Delhi and Bangalore Police, upon which the charge-sheets are based. Thus the open position is that Qateel is the guilty party, and with no link to Himayat. Then how is it that for the Pune trial Court alone, Himayat is the guilty party, not Qateel? So much so that Himayat has been handed down a death sentence, with no evidence of his presence even in the CCTV footage?

Gulail is putting out in the public domain the Interrogation Reports reports of Qateel Siddiqui prepared by Delhi and Karnataka Police. These reports were kept away from the Pune Court that tried and convicted Himayat Baig.  As per both these IRs, it were Qateel and Yasin who had come together to plant a bomb at two different places in Pune. While Qateel was supposed to plant the bomb at a temple named  Dagduseth Halwai Ganesh Temple, Yasin took it  upon himself to plant a bomb  at  the German Bakery.  Also, as per these IRs, Yasin and Qateel were together until 2:30 PM on February 13 in  a room they had rented in Pune. But the ATS theory  is  that Yasin was with Himayat Baig through out the day on the 13th. Also Delhi and Bangalore Police reports had Qateel and Yasin as the lone figures in the plot of Pune German Bakery with no reference to Himayat Baig whatsoever. Once again, we have different courts being given different stories regarding the same incident. The helpless accused or their agents  might  never know of these conflicting versions and can seldom access the information. Justice is the uniform casualty.

ATTEMPT TO WHITEWASH THE CONTRADICTION BY THE ATS

more here - http://www.gulail.com/Pune-german-bakery-story.html

#India – She has marks but no money to realise her dream #mustshare


M.K. ANANTH, The Hindu


NAMAKKAL, May 21, 2013
S. Gayathri.

S. Gayathri.

S. Gayathri (17) of Chinnamaruthur in Pilikalpalayam panchayat, Paramathi Velur taluk, about 35 km from Namakkal town, has scored 1,129 (94 per cent) in the recent Plus Two exams. She aspires to become a doctor and she has 197/200 cut off for medicine. As she belongs to Scheduled Caste (Arunthathiyar) community, she has brighter chance to realise her dream.

But poverty has forced her to work in agricultural fields as a daily wager so that she can earn Rs. 100 a day to support her family.

When she came to know that she scored 199 in biology, 198 in chemistry, 197 in maths, 192 in physics, 179 in Tamil and 164 in English she hardly had time to celebrate as her father asked her to discontinue her studies as it would not be possible for him to support her higher education. Her mother, however, wanted the girl to pursue some degree course in a nearby government aided arts and science college.

Her parents K. Selvaraj (42) and S. Sumathi (35) have never been to school and are daily wage farm labourers. Gayathri is the eldest child and has two sisters and a brother.

The family always had trouble meeting their day to day needs as her father often fell sick and on many occasions Sumathi was the sole breadwinner of the family.

Becoming a doctor was Gayathri’s childhood dream. “I suffered from breathing difficulty and chest pain from the age of one and was badly affected till I was 13. I know the pain of living as a patient from a poor family and so I want to treat poor patients if I become a doctor. I want to specialise in gynaecology,” she adds.

She studied in the Aanangur Government High School and scored 470/500 in the Class X examination.

Her teacher Ranganathan took her to Malar Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Paramathi where she was enrolled for higher secondary. Her tuition fee was fully waived.

Teachers, who saw the girl’s interest in studies, pooled in money to pay the transportation fees.

“In 2012, the lowest cut off score for a candidate from the SC (A) community to get a medical seat in a government medical college was 188.25. With a much better cut off, Gayathri has a better chance. The school will extend support to her, but she would need more financial assistance to pursue her higher education,” M. Palaniappan , president of Malar school, said.

Persons interested in helping Gayathri can contact her father at 98436 87990.

 


  • Gayathri has

    197/200 cut off

    for medicine

  • Poverty has forced her to work in agricultural fields as a daily wager

     

Far from Delhi- 4 year old Rape victim , battling for Life #Vaw


Four-year-old Seoni rape victim airlifted to Nagpur

, TNN | Apr 21, 2013,

JABALPUR: With her sexually brutalized four-year-old granddaughter Rani (name changed) battling death for 48 hours in ICU on Saturday afternoon, after having been raped on April 17 night by a 35-year-old in Ghansaur village ofSeoni district, 180 km from Jabalpur, Himma Baifervently asked God to grant her just one wish – send down a helicopter to fly the child off to Dilli.And even as her family, especially Rani’s mother Ramkumari did not share such optimism, Himma Bai’s wish came true.

Facing flak, the government airlifted the girl to Nagpur for better treatment.

As the issue threatened to snowball into a major embarrassment for the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, putting a big question mark over his much hyped image of the savior of girl child, state government decided to alirlift Rani from Jabalpur to Nagpur, 280 km away, by late night.

Meanwhile, the police have arrested accomplice Rakesh Chaudhary while main accused 35-year-old welder from Jhabua Power Plant, Firoz Khan, is still at large. Teams have been sent to Bihar his home state and Delhi to trace Khan, Sanjay Jha, inspector general of police (IG) Jabalpur, told TOI.

Last 48 hours since they found a profusely bleeding Rani abandoned in the village crematorium clearly showed on Ramkumari when TOI contacted her in the private nursing home in Jabalpur. Watching the team of doctors flitting in and out of the room on Saturday afternoon Ramkumari looked totally lost. Apart from lacerations, tears and bruises, the child, according to attending gynecologist Dr Pragya Dheeravani, had suffered hypoxia of brain induced by suffocation. Already on life support system her condition was fast deteriorating.

While the state government has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 2 lakh, the cost of treatment is being borne by Jhabua Power Plant where the accused is working.

The main accused was known to her brother Shyam and frequented her house. So the woman had found nothing unusual to see Khan chatting up with Rani on Thursday evening. Panic struck when the child failed to turn up till late evening even as her younger brother “gone to buy biscuits with Khan” arrived home.

The family launched a hunt and finally found an unconscious Rani lying in the cremation ground. With the man of the house Ghassi Yadav, a construction worker in Pune, away, it was Shyam who rushed her to the village dai and was told the girl was raped and must be taken immediately to Jabalpur medical college. They could reach Jabalpur medical college after two hours of road journey and Rani was brought to the emergency. But soon they had to move to a private hospital.

The young mother continued to look morose and troubled as she reluctantly accompanied the sinking Rani along with the medical team to the airport to board the chopper. Reason? She has two more girls back home in Ghansaur who need to be guarded.