The Madras High Court directs removal of unauthorised flag poles in TN by Apr 1

The Madras High Court has directed election officials to remove all unauthorised flag poles of political parties in public places throughout Tamil Nadu by April 1.

A bench comprising justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad gave the direction Monday on a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a complete ban on erection of poles in public places.

Petitioner A Radhakrishnan of Salem submitted that most of the political parties “encroached” upon public places such as roadside, parks and play grounds and erect their flagpoles permanently, causing hindrance.

Claiming that there had been clashes due to dispute between rival political parties over flag poles, he said using power drilling machines while digging for temporary erection of poles during party conferences, public meetings also damaged underground telecom and power cables.

When the PIL came up for hearing, the Tamil Nadu government counsel submitted that 58,172 flag poles in rural and urban areas had been removed and another 799 were being dismantled.

The petitioner said the Election Commission has issued direction to the police and revenue officials to remove all such flag poles and hoardings put up by political parties.

Alleging that officials, however, were turning a blind eye to these violations for reasons best known to them, he contended such acts were punishable for offences under the Tamil Nadu Public Property (Prevention of Damage and Loss) Act, 1992.

Election Commission standing counsel Niranjan Rajagopalan, citing reports from 21 district collectors-cum-district election officers, said the flag poles had been removed in these districts.

Steps were being taken to remove the unauthorised poles in the rest 11 districts in the state, he added.

Recording the submissions, the bench posted the matter to April 1 for further hearing.

Madras High Court says fishermen should get maximum subsidy for transponders

The Madras High Court Monday passed an order stating that the Tamil Nadu government should give fishermen the maximum subsidy for transponders.

A PIL was filed before a division bench comprising Justice S Manikumar and Justice Subramonium Prasad by Fisherman Care, an NGO, seeking direction to the Centre to refer all cases of violation of human rights of Indian fishermen by Sri Lanka to the International Court of Justice.

Based on the PIL, the bench, in its order, said that considering the safety and security of the fishermen who land in problems day in and day out, it is the desire of the court that the government extend its maximum subsidy to the fishermen and submit a report by February 20.

The order was passed after the bench went through the report of the director of Fisheries, Tamil Nadu government, and the copy of the letter sent by the Ministry of External Affairs submitted by Assistant Solicitor General G Karthikeyan.

The court was informed by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) that it had no plans to provide satellite phones to fishermen.

The ministry, in its letter to the assistant solicitor general, said that based on the directive of the National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security, it had undertaken a proof of concept (PoC) pilot study to evaluate the transponder technology developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

In this regard, the ISRO has informed that 1,050 MSS-based transponder terminals were being installed in 20-metre fishing vessels in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat (500 terminals each) and Puducherry(50 terminals).

It further said that transponders are wireless satellite-based communication devices considered for fitment on the fishing vessels by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the ISRO.

The Ahmedabad Earth Station hub (capable of handling upto 4,000 terminals) is supporting the PoC terminals.

Subsequently, the operations would be migrated to the Delhi Earth Station.

Stating further that presently 819 PoC are installed in the field in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and Gujarat, the ministry has informed that the Home Affairs Ministry has conveyed that it has no plans to provide satellite phones to fishermen.

The MEA also informed that the transponders fitted in the mechanised boats were still in trial stage and their efficacy was being monitored by the ISRO.

Further, the development of transponder hardware and the required back-end user utility software components were also in the trial stage.

The fishermen have informed that the battery connected to the transponders drains out within 30 minutes after switching on.

Further, the fishermen have said the system was not switching on due to interference between I-Com and transponders.

Hence, it was suggested to conduct a field study at the Chennai Fishing Harbour to solve the issues.

Recording this, the bench posted the matter for further hearing to February 20

Madras High Court Asks,Centre to detail steps taken to prevent fishermen from crossing borders

NEW DELHI: A division bench, comprising Justice S Manikumar and Justice Subramonium Prasad, asked the Centre to explain the steps it has taken to prevent Indian fishermen from crossing the international maritime boundary line and enter the Lankan waters.

The bench was hearing a plea from Fisherman Care, a non-governmental organisation. Madras High Court has directed Central Government to file an affidavit explaining the needful exercise so as to secure the  international maritime boundary.

The bench asked the Assistant Solicitor General Karthikeyan why cannot the Union Government think of supplying GPS system to the fishermen enabling them to know about the area and the borders of the fishing area in the high sea.

The petitioner sought to raise the matter of human rights violations committed by the Lankan Navy against Indian fishermen, with the International Court of Justice for taking action against the Lankan Navy for allegedly violating the 1974 pact between the two countries.

The bench then posted the matter after two weeks for further hearing.

Child marriage will not automatically become void: Madras HC

child marriageThe Madras High Court in Madurai has held that a wedding between minor girl and boy will not become void automatically without either of them obtaining a decree of divorce from family court within two years of their attaining the legal age for marriage.

A division bench here comprising justices S Manikumar and C T Selvam gave the ruling while setting aside the order of a lower court in Tirunelveli in April last refusing to take on file a woman’s divorce petition on the ground that she was a minor while getting married in 1995 and hence the wedding had automatically become void then itself.
The bench said that though the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, prescribed a minimum age for marriage, the breach of the Act would render the marriage void under Section 11 or Section 12.

However, section 13 of the act, which lists out grounds for divorce, states that every child marriage shall be voidable at the option of the contracting party, provided that such marriage, whether consummated or not, was repudiated within two years of either of them attaining the marraige age – 18 for women and 21 for men. This anomaly was taken note of by a full bench of the high court, which had expressed hope that Parliament would carry out necessary amendments to avoid complications, the division bench noted. It was apparent that the Tirunelveli court was under the mistaken impression of a marriage involving a child being void. Hence, it directed the Family Court in Tirunelveli to number the divorce petition and proceed in accordance with law.