Don’t vote for material benefits: Anna Hazare

Veteran social reformer Anna Hazare Friday urged India’s voters not to cast their ballots for material benefits.

“Don’t vote in exchange for bottle of wine, or any other material thing. Votes are priceless,” Anna Hazare said in reply to a question at a press conference at Jantar Mantar where he is on a fast-unto-death since Tuesday for a stringent anti-corruption law.

“Voting is important, and I have been telling voters continuously that they must think before voting for any one. Don’t vote for the corrupt, don’t vote for a liar,” he said, adding that he will press upon government for including the option of not voting in the ballot.

“Among the option, there should be one of not voting for any one. If all the candidates are corrupt or not good, the voter may chose the option to vote for none in the ballot. We are pressing on government to include this option,” he said.

NGO ordered to pay Rs.75,000 for transparency law abuse

The Delhi High Court Wednesday imposed a cost of Rs.75,000 on an NGO which had sought an inquiry into the role of Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) engineers in the alleged mismanagement of Commonwealth Games (CWG) projects.

The court dismissed the petition after the MCD submitted that the petitioner NGO, Pardarshita Public Welfare Foundation, had questioned the parentage of the engineers through a Right to Information (RTI) application.

Dismissing the petition, Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Manmohan said the present petition amounted to abuse of law.

‘Seeking information about the parentage of a person and his medical history is unwarranted and uncalled for. (Such) information is bound to create a storm in anybody’s mind,’ said the bench.

The bench said that the RTI law was not enacted for abusing people and seeking personal details.

While dismissing the petition, the court directed the petitioner NGO to deposit the cost of Rs.75,000 within a period of four weeks.

In its petition, the NGO alleged engineers of the MCD indulged in corrupt practices in connection with the several projects of the Commonwealth Games.

It alleged that several MCD engineers misused public money for personal gains.

‘According to the NGO, several letters were written to the officials of the MCD but no action was taken. Allegations have been made against the officials but without any grounds,’ said the bench.

The court also took strong cognizance of the RTI application filed by Har Kishan Das Nijhawan, general secretary of the NGO, asking an MCD engineer about his parentage.

He also asked whether the civic agency’s engineers were suffering from any sexual disorders, whether they had carried out a DNA test for their mother, whether their mother was a surrogate mother or step mother, and also sought the name of their biological father and step mother.

‘It’s an abuse of provisions under the RTI Act. We cannot give any type of clean chit to the MCD engineer, but the information which has been asked by the petitioner exposes vindictive attitude,’ said the bench.

The petitioner defended his move and said that the engineers were blackmailing him and also used unparliamentary language against him, so he asked certain questions through his RTI application.

The court rejected the contention saying that the petitioner could have filed a complaint against such people instead of abusing the process of law.

Apex court pulls up litigant for intemperate language

The Supreme Court Friday pulled up a litigant for using intemperate and indecorous language against judges of the Bombay High court and the apex court for allegedly denying him justice in a property dispute.

A vacation bench of Supreme Court, headed by Justice G.S. Singhvi and comprising Justice C.K. Prasad, pulled up Anil Gulabdas Shah, who is a respondent in a petition filed by a construction company, for alleging that the judges were biased against him.

Shah escaped contempt of court proceedings by a whisker as the court eventually took a lenient view but not before reprimanding him.

Shah in a letter to Chief Justice of India had asked him that judges hearing his case should recuse themselves. He also suspected mischief by the counsel of the petitioner company.

Taking note of the aspersions cast by Shah on the judges and the advocate general of Maharashtra, Justice Singhvi said: ‘This has become too much. Unless we protect the members of the bar nothing would be left.’

Singhvi said that people have a peculiar notion of justice. If verdict was in their favour, they would feel justice has been done and if not then they would attribute all kinds of motives to those who dispense justice.

‘Nobody should be under the impression that he can do it (use intemperate and indecorous language) and get away with it,’ the apex court said.

Justice Singhvi told Shah who appeared in person that ‘we (judges) are more compassionate towards the petitioner-in-person than to lawyers.’

Shah further earned the displeasure of the court when he said that the state chief minister awarded the petitioner company the project for a consideration. Justice Prasad said: ‘You can’t use the platform of the court to abuse the chief minister. You are crossing the boundary line.’

Justice Singhvi said: ‘If somebody says you are corrupt how you will feel. Don’t try to think that you are the only Harish Chandra.’

In the instant case as part of the slum development scheme by the private builders and the Mumbai Municipal Corporation, a scheme was sanctioned for the development of an area of 50,000 sq. metre and for providing houses to slum dwellers.

On the said land, Shah had two plots totalling 1,200 sq. metre which he wanted to retain by not joining the scheme. There were three rounds of litigations each culminating in the Supreme Court.

In the first two rounds, things went against Shah. However, in the third round he succeeded in securing stay by the Bombay High Court. It was against this order that the petitioner company moved the apex court.

The apex court Friday asked the high court to hear the petition pending before it and dispose it latest by August-end.