HC Asks why the state govt cannot hand over to CBI the probe into the police firing

Chennai: The Madras High Court today wanted to know why the state government cannot hand over to the CBI the probe into the police firing in Tuticorin during the anti-Sterlite protests in May which left 13 people dead.

The First Bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice P T Asha directed officials to furnish by July 9 all documents and materials related to the violence and firing on May 22 and 23.

The bench was hearing a batch of petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the firing.
In his counter affidavit, Tuticorin Superintendent of Police Murali Rambha, submitted the investigation by the CB-CID was progressing in a fair and impartial manner and hence there is no need for a CBI probe.
He said the Supreme Court had observed on many occasions that courts must self-impose limitations while considering such pleas for CBI inquiry.

Rambha also submitted that besides the CB-CID probe, a one-man commission of inquiry, headed by retired High Court judge Aruna Jagadeesan, was also seized of the issue.
Additionally, the national and state human rights commissions were also probing the matter, the counter said.
Opposing the prayer for filing murder cases against revenue officials concerned (who issued the order for firing), he said they had acted pursuant to the lawful orders issued by the competent authority and in good faith for upholding public order.
During a previous hearing, the chief justice had orally observed that since the state police was involved, it was a fit case to be investigated by the CBI.

Madras HC: Relief for 18 AIADMK MLAs

CHENNAI: The case will now be referred to a third judge,nine months after 18 AIADMK MLAs were disqualified by the Tamil Nadu Speaker P Dhanapal, the Madras High Court delivered a split verdict Today.

The first bench of the High Court led by Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar came out with differing judgements. While CJ Banerjee upheld the disqualification of the 18 AIADMK MLAs, Justice Sundar quashed the disqualification order by the Speaker.
Justice Bannerjee said she found the Speaker’s decision reasonable and therefore did not find a reason to interfere with the order. Justice Sundar meanwhile, said the Speaker’s decision was violative of the principles of natural justice which is why it should be subject to judicial review.

The second most senior judge, Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh, will now take a call on who the third judge will be.The verdict, which was widely predicted to threaten the Edappadi Palaniswami-led government, will now buy the ruling AIADMK more time.

This also means that status quo will be maintained. There will be no bye-elections for the 18 constituencies, nor will there be a floor test for EPS.

18 AIADMK MLAs were disqualified by Speaker P Dhanapal on September 18 and a gazette notification was issued declaring that vacancies to their seats have arisen due to the Anti-Defection Act.


Black Money Case: Karthi Chidambaram gets anticipatory bail

Chennai: The Madras High Court granted anticipatory bail to Karthi Chidambaram, son of former Union Minister P Chidambaram in connection with the warrant issued against him by the Income tax department under the Black Money Act for allegedly not disclosing foreign assets in a late night hearing.

The court on Saturday also directed the I-T department to keep in abeyance the warrant issued against him until he returned from his trip abroad.

Karthi Chidambaram gave an written undertaking to appear before the concerned IT official on June 28.

Apprehending arrest following issuance of warrant, Karthi Chidambaram’s counsels, A R L Sundaresh and Satish Parasaran, knocked on the doors of the official residence of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee late last night.

However, they were instructed to approach the concerned portfolio judge with the anticipatory bail petition.

On being informed that a bail application has been filed before Justice A D Jagadeesh Chandra, the IT department’s counsel AP Srinivas appeared at the judge’s residence along with an IT official.

During the midnight hearing at the judge’s residence, the I-T department said three summons had already been issued to Karthi Chidambaram directing him to personally appear before it to record his statement in connection with the probe into alleged non-disclosure of assets abroad.

Since he did not do so, a warrant was issued by the department under Section 8(1) of the Black Money Act, the counsel said.

The warrant was served by the city police to secure his presence and to appear before the concerned IT official.

Hence, Karthi Chidambaram moved the High Court at around midnight seeking anticipatory bail.

A copy of the bail plea was served to the counsel for the I-T department, as well as the official who accompanied him.

The counsel for I-T dept then submitted that Karthi had already got permission from the Supreme Court on May 18, 2018 to travel abroad.

He had already filed an affidavit before the Apex Court stating that he would like to go abroad on Sunday (today).

Referring to the top court order, Karthi Chidambaram submitted that he had already made arrangements to go abroad with his wife and daughter, but that the warrant was issued by the I-T department in the meantime.

To this, the I-T department submitted that the warrant was issued as he has not appeared pursuant to the summons issued.

The department said it would keep the warrant in abeyance if Karthi Chidambaram gave an undertaking to appear before the official concerned on his return on the stipulated date.

Accordingly, Karthi Chidambaram gave a written undertaking that he would appear before the official on June 28.

Recording it, the judge directed the I-T department to keep the warrant in abeyance and ordered it to inform the police station concerned of the same and closed the petition.

The income tax department had slapped the Black Money Act on Karti last year after it found that assets created by him abroad were in alleged violation of law

The new anti-black money law deals with cases of overseas illegal assets, which till recently were probed under the Income Tax Act, 1961.

The new legislation has provisions for a steep 120 per cent tax and penalty on undisclosed foreign assets and income, besides carrying a jail term of up to 10 years.

Madras High Court: Seven newly appointed judges sworn in

CHENNAI:  Seven newly appointed judges of the Madras High Court were sworn in today.

Chief Justice Indira Banerjee administered the oath of office to them.

With this, the total strength of the Madras High Court has reached 63 out of the sanctioned strength of 75.

All the judges are from the Bar. The Law Ministry had on June 1 appointed 14 judges to the three high courts.

While seven additional judges were appointed to the Madras High Court, two were appointed to the Karnataka High Court and five judges to the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

Plea in High Court seeks to re-allot exam centres for NEET candidates in TN

A petition was filed in the Madras High Court today seeking a direction to the CBSE for re-allotment of NEET examination centres for candidates from Tamil Nadu who were assigned centres outside the state.

First Bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose posted it for hearing tomorrow before a bench headed by Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh after a mention was made for taking up the matter urgently.

Petitioner S Kalimuthu Mylavan, an advocate, submitted that candidates who applied from Tamil Nadu were allotted NEET examination centres in other states and not according to their choice within the state as mentioned in their applications.

The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) is scheduled to be held across the country on May 6.

Stating that at the time of applying, candidates are required to prefer three examination centres of their choice, the petitioner submitted most of them had chosen three centre situated nearby in their respective states.

The petitioner further said candidates from southern districts of the state had been allotted centres in neighbouring Kerala.

He contended that most of the candidates who had applied were from rural areas and from poor families and may not be able to afford to spend for their stay in other states.

He prayed the court to quash the April 18 public notice issued by Central Board of Secondary Education, which conducts NEET, and for subsequent direction to re-allot examination centres for candidates from Tamil Nadu to those nearest to their residences within Tamil Nadu.

Madras High Court directs Tamil Nadu government to give relief to kin of manual scavengers

The Madras High Court today directed the Tamil Nadu government to pay due compensation to the families of three manual scavengers who died while cleaning a septic tank at a hotel in Kancheepuram district last week.

The first bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose gave the direction when A Narayanan, representing Change India NGO, made a mention of the death of three persons while performing manual scavenging at the hotel in Sriperumbudur, 50 km from here, on February 14.

To this the bench said, “They must be compensated immediately.”

Requesting the bench to take up the public interest litigation (PIL) with regard to manual scavenging, Narayanan submitted that despite awareness being created about the social evil, the employment of manual scavengers continued.

On his part, the government counsel submitted that already two persons were arrested in connection with the incident and more arrests are likely to be made

HC dismisses PILs challenging bus fare hike in Tamil Nadu

The Madras High Court today dismissed two PILs challenging the Tamil Nadu government’s recent order increasing bus fares, saying it cannot interfere in policy decisions.

The First Bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose before which the PILs filed by V Munikrishnan and George Williams, an advocate, came up, refused to interfere in the issue stating that it is a policy decision.

However, the bench directed the government to take immediate steps to display fare charts in all government and private buses prominently.

The bench in its order said, “There is no doubt that any price hike, including the bus fare hike would affect the people. However, fare fixation is a matter of policy, in which the high court cannot interfere.”

One of the petitioners Munikrishnan submitted that he came to know through the print and visual media that the state government has increased the bus fares from January 20, citing various reasons like hike in prices of diesel, spare parts, maintenance of buses and transport employees salary, etc.

The other petitioner William contended that the hike was unjustified, arbitrary and has been made without following procedures.

Referring to a statistical report, he said 80 per cent of the people used buses to travel, particularly the poor and middle class people adding the state government has been spending huge public money for achieving their political goals and shifting the burden on the public.

Munikrishnan said when people were already suffering due to GST, demonetisation and hike in prices of other basic needs, the state government has hiked bus fare.

In his plea, Williams wanted the court to interfere immediately by passing an interim order restraining the government from collecting the revised fare which he claimed was adversely affecting the people and student community.

Advocate General Vijay Narayan, who appeared on behalf the state submitted that for the past seven years the government has not increased bus fares.

The bench which refused to interfere in the issue, said matters like bus fare hike were purely under the government’s domain and and dismissed the petitions.

6 new Madras HC judges sworn in

6 new Madras HC judges sworn in
6 new Madras HC judges sworn in

Six new Madras High Court judges were today sworn in, taking the total strength of the court to 55 against the sanctioned 75.

Chief Justice Indira Banerjee administered the oath of office to Bhavani Subbaroyan, A D Jagdish Chandira, G R Swaminathan, Abdul Quddhose, M Dhandapani, and Daivasigamani Audikesavalu, all from the Bar.

Earlier, Registrar General Sakthivel read out the Warrant of Appointment of the judges.

Tamil Nadu Advocate General R Muthukumaraswamy, Madras High Court Advocates Association President G. Mohanakrishnan and Madras Bar Association President Vijay Narain, Women Lawyers Association chief V. Nalini and Law Association President Krishnakumar were among those present.

( Source – PTI )