Bombay High Court asks Maharashtra government about steps taken to tackle drought

The Bombay High Court has sought to know from the Maharashtra government what measures it proposes to tackle “serious” issues like drought in the state.

A vacation bench of Justices Ajey Gadkari and N J Jamadar was hearing a petition filed by activist Sanjay Lakhe Patil, seeking setting up of independent disaster management committees in each district of the state.

Patil sought for implementation of the 2016 disaster management guidelines which listed several measures to be undertaken by the state government to tackle natural calamities and disasters, including drought.

When the petition was heard on Monday, Patil produced records before the court to show that water levels in dams and other resources had gone down in the state’s Vidarbha and Marathwada regions.

“The issue is serious. We want some lawyer from the state government to inform us what measures the government proposes to take (to tackle the issue),” the court said.

The bench then posted the petition for further hearing on May 20.

HC refuses to grand relief to actor Mithun Chakraborty’s wife, son

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today refused to grant any interim relief from arrest to actor Mithun Chakraborty’s wife and son in a complaint of rape and cheating filed by a woman in Delhi.

A court in Delhi had earlier this week said that prima facie there are sufficient grounds for registration of an FIR against Chakraborty’s wife Yogita Bali and their son Mahaakshay aka Mimoh and to proceed further in accordance with the law.

Following the Delhi court order, Mahaakshay and his mother approached the Bombay HC seeking pre-arrest bail or an interim relief from arrest till the time they approached the concerned court in the national capital.

Justice Ajey Gadkari today dismissed the pleas and refused to grant them any interim relief.
He said the duo could approach the court concerned in Delhi for pre-arrest bail.

In her plea, the complainant had alleged that Mahaakshay had cheated and raped her after being in physical relation with her for around four years on the pretext of marriage.

The woman alleged that when she became pregnant, Mahaakshay had given her some medicine which led to an abortion.
In her complaint, she claimed that Yogita Bali had threatened her of dire consequences if she continued the relationship.
The complainant also said in the court that she moved to Delhi from Mumbai as she feared for her life in view of threats made by Bali and her son

High Court rejects restaurateur’s bail plea: Kamala Mills fire

The Bombay High Court today rejected the bail plea of Yug Tuli, the co-owner of the Mojo’s Bistro restaurant and an accused in the December, 2017 fire incident at the Kamala Mills compound here, in which 14 people were killed.
Justice Ajey Gadkari dismissed Tuli’s bail application and said he would pass a detailed order later.

Tuli, who was arrested in mid-January, had approached the high court after his bail plea was rejected by the sessions court.

In his plea, Tuli had claimed that the tragedy occurred due to the “mistake” of the staff at “1 Above”, the other restaurant that was gutted in the blaze on the intervening night of December 28-29.

His counsel Shirish Gupte argued that while as per the police inquiry, the fire did start at Mojo’s Bistro, none of the guests at the restaurant was among the dead.

Prosecution lawyer Prakash Shetty, however, opposed the bail plea and said there was gross negligence on the part of Tuli and all the other accused.

Shetty told the court that as per the inquiry reports of the police as well as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the fire was caused by the flying embers emanating from a hookah being served illegally at Mojo’s Bistro.

Tuli claimed that he had no role in the day-to-day operations of the hookah parlour.

A total of 14 persons have been arrested in the case and booked under various sections of the IPC, including those related to culpable homicide not amounting to murder and causing death by negligence.

The accused include the owners of the Kamala Mills compound, Mojo Bistro and 1 Above and two BMC officials.

On the fateful night, a massive fire had swept through the two resto-pubs at the Kamala Mills compound in central Mumbai, resulting in the death of 14 people.

LBT and octroi can be levied on Sodexo meal vouchers: Bombay HC

Sodexo meal vouchersObserving that Sodexo meal vouchers are utility goods, which are capable of being sold, delivered and possessed, the Bombay High Court has held that octroi and Local Body Tax (LBT) can be levied on them.

A division bench of justices A S Oka and Ajey Gadkari on March 20 refused to grant relief to Sodexo SVC India Private Ltd, which had claimed that octroi and LBT cannot be levied on it as they are not selling goods.

According to the petitioner company, they have obtained authorisation certificate from RBI to operate a payment system for issue of meal and gift vouchers in the form of paper-based vouchers and smart meal cards from 2009.

Senior counsel V V Tulzapurkar, appearing for the petitioner, urged that the Sodexo vouchers are a medium to acquire any article for consumption, use or sale and they are not capable of consumption, use or sale by themselves. The vouchers are only payment instructions or instruments.

“The vouchers are meant to acquire the goods which can be consumed, used or sold. The vouchers are only a medium of payment. Under both the Octroi Rules and the LBT Rules, taxes can be collected only on goods,” he argued. The court was, however, of a different view and held that it was unable to take a view that the vouchers are not goods for the purposes of levy of LBT and Octroi.