Moushumi Chatterjee’s daughter Payal passes away due to juvenile diabetes.

Yesteryear actor Moushumi Chatterjee’s daughter Payal has passed away. She was 45.

According to family sources, Payal breathed her last on Thursday at the city-based Hinduja Hospital in Khar.

Payal was in coma for the past two years due to juvenile diabetes. She married businessman Dicky Sinha in 2010 and was in and out of hospital since April 2017.

Chatterjee and her husband Jayanta Mukherjee in 2018 moved the Bombay High Court requesting they be appointed the guardians of their daughter over Payal’s deteriorating health.

SC dismisses pleas seeking review of Ayodhya case verdict

The Supreme Court Thursday dismissed a batch of petitions seeking review of its November 9 Ayodhya land dispute case verdict, which cleared the way for construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site.

A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde, which took these review pleas for consideration in-chamber, rejected them after finding no merits.

Bank fraud: Ratul Puri moves bail plea

A Delhi court on Friday sought response from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on a bail application filed by businessman Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, in a money laundering case related to a bank loan fraud.

Special judge Arvind Kumar issued notice to the ED and directed it to file a reply by November 30.

The ED had last month filed a charge sheet against Puri and company Moser Baer before Special Judge Sanjay Garg and the court is scheduled to take up the matter later in the day.

The ED had arrested Puri on August 20. He is currently in judicial custody in the case.

Puri is also in judicial custody in another money laundering case related to AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam.

In the chopper scam, the Delhi High Court had earlier dismissed Puri’s anticipatory bail plea, saying his custodial interrogation was “required for an effective investigation”.

Puri was arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the bank fraud case after he appeared before the central probe agency here in the chopper scam.

The latest PMLA case, filed by the ED, emerged from a CBI FIR of August 17, where Ratul Puri, his father Deepak Puri, mother Nita (Nath’s sister) and others were booked in connection with a Rs 354 crore bank fraud case filed by the Central Bank of India.

The bank had claimed that the company and its directors forged and fabricated documents to induce the Central Bank of India to release funds.

The Puri family, other individuals like Sanjay Jain and Vineet Sharma were booked by the CBI for alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and corruption.

Ratul Puri was booked in this case in his capacity as executive director of Moser Baer India Limited (MBIL), a firm promoted by his father Deepak Puri.

The company manufactured optical storage media like compact discs, DVDs, solid state storage devices.

Ratul Puri is facing criminal investigation by three main central probe agencies, ED, CBI and the Income Tax department.

Metro project: Calcutta High Court gives permission to move tunnel-boring machine up to 5 metres

The Calcutta High Court allowed the Kolkata Metro Railway Corporation (KMRC) on Monday to move a tunnel-boring machine up to five metres in the city’s Bowbazar area, where an aquifer burst in August during drilling operations, leading to several houses collapsing.

The KMRC had moved the high court seeking its permission to move the machine for maintenance work.

The court had, in September, ordered suspension of the tunnelling work for the East-West Metro corridor, following the Bowbazar incident.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice TBN Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee directed the KMRC to work in accordance with the recommendations of an expert committee on shifting of the boring machine.

The bench directed the KMRC to submit a report on completion of the work by December 16, when the matter will be taken up for hearing again.

A committee, comprising experts from various countries, submitted a report to the court on Friday, saying the shifting of the tunnel-boring machine by up to five metres was necessary for maintenance work and would be done under its supervision.

“The committee members are of the unanimous opinion that the shifting of the machine by about five metres will not result in soil subsidence and as such not affect life or property above the ground over the distance over which the machine is proposed to be shifted,” the report said.

The KMRC, which is executing the East-West Metro project in the city, had told the high court on November 8 that the boring machine was at the site since the accident on August 31 and moving it by five metres was necessary to ensure that it remained functional.

The committee has proposed that the ground around the boring machine be sealed with polyurethane grout and work be carried out under the supervision and in the presence of its chairman, Leonard John Endicott, a geotechnical expert from Hong Kong.

The other members in the committee include Guy David Christopher Bridges, a tunnel-boring machine expert from Hong Kong, Neelakantan Kumar Pitchumani, a geotechnical expert from Chennai, and Suman Dutta, a structural expert from Kolkata.

The report also suggested that additional monitoring points be installed on the surface and below to detect any ground movement.

The court is hearing a PIL seeking termination of underground drilling for metro tunnels in congested areas. The PIL has also challenged the provisions of the Metro Railway (Construction of Works) Act, 1978.

Two machines were deployed to dig parallel tunnels for the underground East-West Metro line, one of which had hit a water pocket, leading to a huge ground subsidence.

Several buildings in the congested area collapsed or developed cracks, leaving hundreds homeless.

The KMRC has told the court that work for 9.8 km of the 10.9-km-long underground tunnel has been completed for the metro corridor.

Tunnels have been bored under the Hooghly river to connect the twin cities of Kolkata and Howrah through the rapid transit system, spanning a length of 16.6 km from Howrah Maidan to IT hub Sector V in Salt Lake.

The new corridor passes through some of Kolkata’s most-congested areas, dotted by century-old buildings, several of which are in a dilapidated condition.

Court issues notice to ED on Ratul Puri’s bail plea.

A Delhi court has sought response from the Enforcement Directorate on the bail plea of Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, in a money laundering case related to the VVIP chopper scam.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar issued notice to the ED and directed it to file a reply by November 22, when the court will next hear the matter.

Puri moved the bail plea through advocate Vijay Agarwal on Saturday, saying he was not required for further investigation and no purpose will be served by keeping him in custody.

The Enforcement Directorate recently filed a supplementary Prosecution Complaint against Ratul Puri and Jaspreet Ahuja in the ?3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case.

In January 2014, India had scrapped a contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary, Agustawestland, for supplying 12 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force, over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of kickbacks worth ?423 crore being paid to secure the deal.

Delhi HC mentions another case facts in Chidambaram bail order

The facts of another case have found mention in the Delhi High Court order denying bail to former union finance minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media money-laundering case.

In his 41-page verdict on November 15, Justice Suresh Kumar Kait of the high court reproduced some paragraphs from a 2017 Supreme Court order rejecting bail to Delhi-based lawyer Rohit Tandon in a money-laundering case.

The judge also referred to a previous 2017 order of the high court in the case of Rohit Tandon versus Enforcement Directorate in which it was observed that “there is a provision of trial by a special courts in case of ‘schedule offences’ under PMLA. Possibility of joint trial would arise under Section 44 of PMLA only when charge-sheet is filed upon completion of investigation and the case is committed to the Special Court.

“Section 44 does not talk of Joint investigation or joint trial. It makes it mandatory that the offence punishable under Section 4 of the Act and any scheduled offence connected to the offence under that section shall be triable only by Special Court constituted for the area in which the offence has been committed.”

The high court, in its November 15 order dismissing bail plea of Chidambaram, mentioned the facts of Tandon’s case that “it is alleged that during the period from November 15, 2016 to November 19, 2016 huge cash to the tune of Rs. 31.75 crores was deposited in eight bank accounts in Kotak Mahindra Bank in the accounts of ‘group of companies’.”

The order says the prosecution in that case has given details of demand draft issued from November 15, 2016 to November 19, 2016 from eight bank accounts in the name of Sunil Kumar, Dinesh Kumar, Abhilasha Dubey, Madan Kumar, Madan Saini, Satya Narain Dagdi and Seema Bai on various dates. Most of the Demand Drafts issued have since been recovered.

“The statements recorded during investigation have evidentiary value under Section 50 PMLA. Prima facie, the version given by them is in consonance with the prosecution case. The prosecution has further relied upon call data records, CCTV footage. Account Trend Analysis, the high court order notes.

It added, “The stated activity allegedly indulged into by the accused named in the commission of predicate offence is replete with mens rea. In that, the concealment, possession, acquisition or use of the property by projecting or claiming it as untainted property and converting the same by bank drafts, would certainly come within the sweep of criminal activity relating to a scheduled offence. That would come within the meaning of Section 3 and punishable under Section 4 of the Act.”

Some lawyers, who are aware of the facts of Chidambaram’s case, on the condition of anonymity, said certain paragraphs in the November 15 order of the high court are similar to those of high court’s May 5, 2017 and Supreme Court’s November 2017 orders on Tandon’s bail.

Tandon, who was arrested in 2016, is an accused in the demonetisation-related money laundering case.

In the INX Media money-laundering case, the ED had arrested 74-year-old Chidambaram on October 16.

He was arrested by the CBI on August 21 in the INX Media corruption case and was granted bail by the Supreme Court in the CBI case on October 22.

The case was registered by the CBI on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007, during Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister.

Thereafter, the ED had lodged a money-laundering case in this regard in 2017.

Chronology of events in Rafale fighter jets deal case.

Following is the chronology of events in the Rafale fighter jets deal in which the Supreme Court on Thursday rejected review petitions against its verdict giving clean chit to the Narendra Modi government.
-Dec 30, 2002: Defence Procurement Procedures (DPP) adopted to streamline process

-Aug 28, 2007: Ministry of Defence issues Request for Proposal for procurement of 126 MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) fighters

-Sep 4, 2008: Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group incorporates Reliance Aerospace Technologies Ltd (RATL)

-May 2011: Air Force short-lists Rafale and Eurofighter jets

-Jan 30, 2012: Dassault Aviation’s Rafale aircraft comes up with the lowest bid

-Mar 13, 2014: Work Share agreement signed between HAL and Dassault Aviation under which they were responsible for 70 per cent and 30 per cent of the work, respectively, for 108 aircraft

-Aug 8, 2014: Then defence minister Arun Jaitley tells Parliament that 18 direct ‘fly-away’ aircraft expected to be delivered in 3-4 years from signing of the contract; remaining 108 aircraft to be delivered in the next seven years

-Apr 8, 2015: The then foreign secretary says detailed discussions underway between Dassault, MoD and HAL

-Apr 10: New deal for acquisition of 36 direct ‘fly-away’ aircraft from France announced

-Jan 26, 2016: India and France sign MoU for 36 Rafale aircraft

-Sep 23: Inter-governmental agreement signed

-Nov 18: Government states in Parliament that the cost of each Rafale aircraft to be approximately Rs 670 crore and that all aircraft will be delivered by April 2022

-Dec 31, 2016: Dassault Aviation’s Annual Report reveals the actual price paid for the 36 aircraft at about Rs 60,000 crore, more than double the government’s stated price in Parliament

-Mar 13, 2018: PIL in SC seeks independent probe into Centre’s decision to procure 36 Rafale fighter jets from France and disclosure of the cost involved in the deal before Parliament

-Sep 5: SC agrees to hear PIL seeking stay on Rafale fighter jet deal

-Oct 8: SC agrees to hear on October 10 fresh PIL seeking direction to Centre to file in ‘sealed cover’ the details of the agreement for buying 36 Rafale fighter jets

-Oct 10: SC asks Centre to provide details of decision making process in the Rafale fighter jet deal in a sealed cover

-Oct 24: Former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan moves SC, seeking registration of FIR into Rafale fighter jet deal

-Oct 31: SC asks Centre to place it in sealed cover within 10 days the pricing details of 36 Rafale fighter jets

-Nov 12: Centre places price details of 36 Rafale fighter jets in a sealed cover before SC; it also gives details of steps that led to finalisation of the Rafale deal

-Nov 14: SC reserves judgement on pleas seeking court-monitored probe in Rafale deal

-Dec 14: SC says there is no occasion to doubt the decision-making process of the Modi government and dismisses all the petitions seeking direction to the CBI to register an FIR for alleged irregularities in the jet deal

-Jan 2, 2019: Sinha, Shourie and Bhushan move SC seeking review of its December 14 judgement

-Feb 26: SC agrees to hear review petitions in open court

-Mar 13: Govt tells SC that documents filed by review petitioners are sensitive to national security

-Apr 10: SC dismisses Centre’s objection claiming privilege over documents by petitioners to seek review

-Apr 12: BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi moves SC against Rahul Gandhi for wrongly attributing his ‘chowkidar chor hai’ remarks on Rafale to the apex court

-Apr 23: SC issues contempt notice to Rahul Gandhi for his remarks on Rafale verdict

-May 8: Gandhi tenders unconditional apology in SC

-May 10: SC reserves verdict on review pleas and contempt petition

-Nov 14: SC dismisses review pleas against its verdict in the Rafale deal, rejects contention that there was need for registration of an FIR in connection with the procurement of 36 fighter jets from French firm Dassault Aviation

SC closes contempt plea against Rahul Gandhi.

Won’t issue direction to Parliament for drafting uniform civil code: Delhi High Court.

The Delhi High Court on Friday said it will not issue any direction to Parliament for drafting a uniform civil code as the matter falls under the domain of the legislature and it was not going to interfere into it.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar declined to ask the central government to file a response to the five petitions saying, “Nothing doing. The matter needs to be disposed of. We are not going to give a direction to the Parliament.”

However, it allowed the petitioners, including BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, to argue their respective cases.

The bench on Friday heard substantial arguments on behalf of petitioners Firoz Bakht Ahmed, the chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University, and Amber Zaidi, who claims to be a social activist and media personality.

It said it will continue to hear arguments on behalf of the others, including Upadhyay on Monday.

It refused to allow the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) to argue in the matter, saying “we have not yet allowed you to intervene. How can you argue then?”

When the matter came up for hearing in the post-lunch session, Upadhyay, who is also a lawyer, told the court that it had issued notice to the Centre in this matter on May 31 and till date no counter affidavit has been filed by the government.

He and the lawyers for the other petitioners urged the bench to ask the government to file its response in their respective petitions, before continuing with hearing the matter.

However, the court declined to do so and said if the government does not want to file a response, let it not.

It asked the petitioners to lay down what relief they were seeking and said that thereafter, it will pass an order.

The counsel for Ahmed, the grandnephew of India’s first education minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, and Zaidi told the court that there were several Supreme Court judgements favouring creation of a uniform civil code, but the government till date has not even initiated a consultation on the issue.

They urged the bench to direct the government to at least initiate a consultation process on whether there is a need for a uniform civil code as provided under Article 44 of the Constitution.

All the petitioners, in their respective pleas, have contended that India “urgently needs a Uniform Civil Code” to promote national integration as well as gender justice, equality and dignity of women.

Apart from Upadhyay, Ahmed and Zaidi, the remaining two petitions have been filed by lawyer Abhinav Beri and Nighat Abbass, who claims to be a social activist, media panellist and political analyst.

All the petitions have sought directions to the Centre to constitute a judicial commission or a high-level expert committee to draft the UCC while considering the best practices of all religions and sects, civil laws of developed countries and international conventions.

The petitioners have contended that gender justice and gender equality, guaranteed under Articles 14-15 of the Constitution and dignity of women, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, cannot be secured without implementing the Article 44 (the State shall endeavour to secure for citizens a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) throughout the territory of India).

The petitions have claimed that a UCC would replace the personal laws, based on the scriptures and customs of various religious communities, with a common set of rules governing every citizen of the country.

The BJP, in its manifesto before the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, had mentioned the UCC saying that Article 44 of the Constitution lists it as one of the Directive Principles of State Policy.

The BJP believes that there cannot be gender equality till such time India adopts a UCC, which protects the rights of all women, and reiterates its stand to draft UCC, drawing upon the best traditions and harmonising them with the modern times, the manifesto said.

Upadhyay, in his plea, has claimed that the issue of UCC is there in the BJP’s manifesto since the time of Jan Sangh in 1952.

He has contended that the Centre has “failed” to put in place a UCC as provided under Article 44 of the Constitution.

Beri’s petition has sought that a direction be given to the Law Commission to draft a UCC within three months taking into account the best practices of all religions and sects, civil laws of developed countries and international conventions and publish that on its website for at least 90 days for wide public debate and feedback.

In last 70 years, the Constitution has been amended 125 times and judgment of the Supreme Court has been nullified five times but the executive has not taken serious steps to implement Uniform Civil Code, the plea has said.

In December 2015, the Supreme Court bench headed by then Chief Justice of India TS Thakur had declined to hear Upadhyay’s petition in which he had sought to bring the civil code which brings all religious personal laws under one umbrella. He had then withdrawn the petition.

On October 12, 2015, while dealing with a divorce case under the Christian Divorce Act, a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Vikramajit Sen had asked the government to take a quick decision on the UCC to end the confusion over personal community laws.

On July 23, 2003, an apex court bench led by the then CJI V N Khare had said that Article 44 was based on the premise that there was no necessary connection between religious and personal law in a civilised society.

The apex court was hearing a petition challenging section 118 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925, which prevents Christians from bequeathing property for religious and charitable purposes.

The simmering debate over the UCC hit the headlines in 1985 after the Supreme Court awarded maintenance to a 60-year-old divorced Muslim woman, Shah Bano.

“A common civil code will help the cause of national integration by removing disparate loyalties to law which having conflicting ideologies,” CJI YV Chandrachud had said then. But the then Congress government reversed the verdict after pushback from the clergy and Muslim Personal Law Board.

Lawyers in all the six district courts in Delhi called off their strike on Friday.

Lawyers in all the six district courts in Delhi called off their strike on Friday, which was underway since November 4 after a clash between advocates and police at the Tis Hazari court.

The Coordination Committee of All District Courts Bar Associations took the decision in a meeting of the office bearers after the Delhi High Court order directed the lawyers to resolve the matter.

“We respect the order of the High Court so the abstinence from work is suspended, work to be resumed from Saturday. Our fight for Advocates Protection Act will continue,” said Mahavir Sharma, chairman of the organisation.

At least 20 security personnel and several advocates were injured in the clash over a parking dispute at the Tis Hazari court on November 2. Lawyers in the six district courts have been on strike since November 4 to protest against the clash.

Rafale deal: Supreme Court clean chit to Modi govt for second time

The Supreme Court Thursday gave clean chit to the Modi government on the purchase of 36 fully loaded Rafale fighter jets from French company Dassault Aviation, rejecting the plea for registration of an FIR by the CBI for alleged commission of cognisable offence in the deal.

The apex court in two separate but concurring verdicts said the review petitions were without merit and required to be dismissed.

The top court rejected the pleas seeking review of the December 14, 2018 verdict in which it had said that there was no occasion to doubt the decision-making process in the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets.

It was not satisfied with the submission that it decided the disputed questions of facts in the Rs 58,000 crore deal “prematurely” without investigation.

The court said it had examined the three aspects (pricing, decision making process, offsets) on merits and did not consider it appropriate to issue any directions, as prayed for by the petitioners which automatically covered the direction for registration of FIR.

The rejection of the review petitions is tantamount to the apex court giving the clean chit to the Narendra Modi government for the second time.

Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul, who were part of the three-judge bench, said: “There was no ground made out for initiating prosecution under section 340 of CrPC.

“We are, thus, of the view that the review petitions are without any merit and are accordingly dismissed, once again, re-emphasising that our original decision was based within the contours of Article 32 of the Constitution of India.”

Justice K M Joseph in his separate but concurring findings held that the December 14, 2018 would not come in the way of the CBI from acting on the complaint, made by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and activist advocate Prashant Bhushan, seeking lodging of an FIR.

“It is my view that the judgment sought to be reviewed, would not stand in the way of the first respondent (CBI) in…from taking action on…complaint in accordance with law and subject to first respondent obtaining previous approval under Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act,” Justice Joseph said.

CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul said that the court cannot lose sight of the fact that “we are dealing with a contract for aircrafts, which was pending before different Governments for quite some time and the necessity for those aircrafts has never been in dispute”.

Dealing with the registration of FIR aspect, they said: “No doubt that there was a prayer made for registration of FIR and further investigation but then once we had examined the three aspects (pricing, Decision Making Process, Offsets) on merits we did not consider it appropriate to issue any directions, as prayed for by the petitioners which automatically covered the direction for registration of FIR, prayed for.”

The two judges, in their 16-page separate verdict, dealt with the issue of pricing of Rafale fighter deal and said it is satisfied with the material made available.

“It is not the function of this Court to determine the prices nor for that matter can such aspects be dealt with on mere suspicion of persons who decide to approach the Court,” they said.

The CJI and Justice Kaul said that on perusal of documents on pricing issue, the court had found that “one cannot compare apples with oranges” and the internal mechanism of such pricing would take care of the situation.

“Thus, the pricing of the basic aircraft had to be compared which was competitively marginally lower. As to what should be loaded on the aircraft or not and what further pricing should be added has to be left to the best judgment of the competent authorities,” the two-judges said.

On the decision making process, they said, “We, however, found that there were undoubtedly opinions expressed in the course of the decision making process, which may be different from the decision taken, but then any decision making process envisages debates and expert opinion and the final call is with the competent authority, which so exercised it”.

Justice Kaul, who wrote the judgement for himself and the CJI, said: “It does appear that the endeavour of the petitioners is to construe themselves as an appellate authority to determine each aspect of the contract and call upon the Court to do the same. We do not believe this to be the jurisdiction to be exercised. All aspects were considered by the competent authority and the different views expressed considered and dealt with.

“It would well nigh become impossible for different opinions to be set out in the record if each opinion was to be construed as to be complied with before the contract was entered into. It would defeat the very purpose of debate in the decision making process.”

With regard to another controversial issue of Indian offset partner for Rafale fighter deal, the two-judges dealt with the averment that court had misconstrued that all the Reliance Industries were of one group since the two brothers held two different groups and the earlier arrangement was with the Company of the other brother.

“That may be so, but in our observation this aspect was referred to in a generic sense more so as the decision of whom to engage as the offset partner was a matter left to the suppliers and we do not think that much can be made out of it,” the two-judge said in their verdict.