Supreme Court acknowledges wife’s plea for justice of army man jailed for 27 years.

The Supreme Court has taken note of a woman’s plea that her husband, an Army man, has been languishing in jail for 27 years without a final decision on the death penalty awarded by a Court Martial for killing two of his colleagues.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar took note of the plea of Mithilesh Rai, wife of the jailed Army man Lance Naik Devendra Nath Rai and issued notice to the Ministry of Defence, the Chief of Army Staff and others and asked them to respond within four weeks.

Rai, 60, whose mental health suffered due to the long incarceration, was awarded the death penatly by the General Court Martial (GCM) in 1991. The Centre confirmed the noose.

The Army man appealed in the Allahabad High Court which, in 2000, upheld the conviction, but set aside the death penalty saying no special reason was accorded by the GCM which also did not do balancing of mitigating and aggravating circumstances.

The Central government challenged the verdict in the Supreme court which, on January 10, 2006 remanded the case back to the High Court and asked it to decide it afresh.

The high court dismissed the plea of Rai on May 8, 2007 due to non-prosecution as the lawyer could not appear.

The plea for restoration was filed compounding the woes of Rai and his wife as the case files remained untraceable in the High Court Registry from 2007 and 2013 and finally, the case got revived.

However, the high court, despite the specific order of the top court, transferred the case to the Armed Force Tribunal (AFT) to decide the case of Rai by scrutinising the 1991 findings arrived at by the General Court Martial (GCM), the plea said.

The AFT, which adjourned hearing on four occasions, dismissed the plea of Rai for non-prosecution in 2015.

Ultimately, the wife of the jailed Army man moved the top court through senior lawyer Shekhar Naphade and advocate Amartya Kanjilal seeking enforcement of the fundamental right to life. The top court has issued notice to the Centre and others recently.

The Lance Naik was allegedly involved in the murder of two Army personnel on June 15, 1991 and was immediately taken into custody.

His wife alleged that during last 27 years of incarceration, Rai has not been released even once either on bail, parole or furlough.

The plea has sought quashing of the order of the sentence passed by the General Court Martial way back in 1991.

Alternatively, the plea has sought Rai’s release after awarding the jail term already undergone by him.

Govt moves Supreme Court for road along Indo-China border in Sikkim

For permission to construct 139 km road on Indo-China border in Sikkim the government has been moved to the Supreme Court for carrying out operational preparedness and maintaining troops deployment along the Sino-Indian border.
The Ministry of Defence in its application has submitted that the proposed road was necessary since National Highway 31A was the only road available connecting Sikkim to the rest of the country.

Out of 139 kms length of road, 33 km of the road is to pass through the Neora Valley National Park and the Pangolakha Wild Life Sanctuary in the east district of Sikkim.

The Flag Hill-Log Bridge Madhubala Dokala road to be built by the Border Road Organisation(BRO) will pass through the sanctuary and construction through forest area and sanctuary cannot be undertaken without the prior permission of the Supreme Court.

The government in its application has stressed that the construction of the road will help in building up of the infrastructure in border areas for repulsing enemy incursions as well as to carry out combat operations.

According to China Study Group which carried out review of international border with China has recommended high ‘operational preparedness’ and one of the recommendations was laying down a communication network of roads to ensure faster mobility and operational preparedness.

The application further says ‘the construction of roads would provide an alternative access to east Sikkim and enhancing the operational and logistics support of the troops in the area and the alternative access to Sikkim is crucial for the Indian Army to reach high altitude posts along the Tibet border.

The army’s 33 corps based in Sukna, north Bengal covers Sikkim with division level presence in Gangtok, Binaguri and Kalimpong. It is also important for Siliguri corridor connecting northeast with the rest of India. The new proposed road would provide a shorter avenue of approach to reach east Sikkim and reduce the time required for troop deployment.’

The application may come up for hearing before the special forest bench tomorrow.

139 km road on Indo-China border in Sikkim, Indo-China border, Supreme Court of India, China Border, Ministry of Defence, Neora Valley National Park, Pangolakha Wild Life Sanctuary, China Study Group, Indian Army,

For permission to construct 139 km road on Indo-China border in Sikkim the government has been moved to the Supreme Court for carrying out operational preparedness and maintaining troops deployment along the Sino-Indian border.

The Ministry of Defence in its application has submitted that the proposed road was necessary since National Highway 31A was the only road available connecting Sikkim to the rest of the country.

Out of 139 kms length of road, 33 km of the road is to pass through the Neora Valley National Park and the Pangolakha Wild Life Sanctuary in the east district of Sikkim.

The Flag Hill-Log Bridge Madhubala Dokala road to be built by the Border Road Organisation(BRO) will pass through the sanctuary and construction through forest area and sanctuary cannot be undertaken without the prior permission of the Supreme Court.

The government in its application has stressed that the construction of the road will help in building up of the infrastructure in border areas for repulsing enemy incursions as well as to carry out combat operations.

According to China Study Group which carried out review of international border with China has recommended high ‘operational preparedness’ and one of the recommendations was laying down a communication network of roads to ensure faster mobility and operational preparedness.

The application further says ‘the construction of roads would provide an alternative access to east Sikkim and enhancing the operational and logistics support of the troops in the area and the alternative access to Sikkim is crucial for the Indian Army to reach high altitude posts along the Tibet border.

The army’s 33 corps based in Sukna, north Bengal covers Sikkim with division level presence in Gangtok, Binaguri and Kalimpong. It is also important for Siliguri corridor connecting northeast with the rest of India. The new proposed road would provide a shorter avenue of approach to reach east Sikkim and reduce the time required for troop deployment.’

The application may come up for hearing before the special forest bench tomorrow.

Supreme Court seeks response from Centre on Kargil Hero’s case

Response from the Centre on Kargil martyr Capt Saurabh Kalia’s father’s plea has been sought by the Supreme Court seeking its direction to the government for raising the case of his son’s torture at the hands of Pakistan Army at the International Court of Justice.

Notice has been issued by a Bench headed by Justice R M Lodha to the Centre and sought response within ten weeks on a petition filed by Captain Kalia’s father N K Kalia.

The Bench, sympathising with Kalia’s agony, however, said it would examine whether it can direct the government to raise this issue at the international forum before passing such an order.

It, however, said the Centre is free to raise the issue on its own before any international forum.

“We fully share your agony. But what is the role of the court? Can we direct India to take up with the International Court of Justice?

“It is the highest court and our orders should be within the four corners of the Constitution. This is an important issue. If the government wants it can take up the issue with the ICJ and there is no need for our interference,” the Bench said.

Advocate Arvind K Sharma, however, pleaded that the government should be asked to respond on what actions it has taken during the last 13 years.

The Bench then issued notice to Ministry of Defence, Home Affairs and External Affairs and sought their response within 10 weeks.

Earlier on November 27, N K Kalia had moved the apex court seeking its direction to the government to raise his son’s case at the International Court of Justice at the Hague.

He had alleged that his son Capt Sourav Kalia, posted with the 4 Jat Regiment (Infantry), was captured as a prisoner of war but was killed in a gruesome manner in violation of the Geneva Convention.

Capt Kalia and five other soldiers of his patrolling team were captured alive on May 15, 1999 and kept in captivity where they were tortured and their bodies mutilated.

No sanction needed for cognisance of charge sheet: CBI

CBI on Monday said the special court, hearing the Adarsh Society scam, did not need a government sanction to take cognisance of the charge sheet filed against former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan.

 The agency’s statement came upon a query by the special CBI court. Special Public Prosecutor Ejaz Khan argued that no sanction was needed as Chavan was now only an MLA.

 “Offences were allegedly committed when Chavan was a minister but now, when the matter is for taking cognisance, he is not a minister,” he argued.

 There was no legal impediment even otherwise as the Bombay High Court, which is hearing two PILs on Adarsh case, had not stayed the proceedings or passed any order of restraint, Khan said.

 The special court today scheduled the next hearing for August 30. On July 4, CBI filed a 10,000-page charge sheet against 13 accused, including Chavan. CBI had started the probe in November 2010.

 During the hearing of PILs, the Society as well as the Maharashtra government recently filed affidavits in the High Court, challenging the CBI’s jurisdiction.

 The land on which Adarsh stands belonged to state and it had not sought the CBI probe, so the central agency had no jurisdiction, they said.

 Ministry of Defence has opposed the claim, saying ownership of the land was in dispute. The PILs are yet to come up for hearing.

Source: PTI

Army chief General V.K. Singh : Tejinder moves Supreme Court for CBI probe

Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh Wednesday moved the Supreme Court seeking a CBI probe into the role of Army chief General V.K. Singh into the alleged incident in which the Army was reported to be spying on Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials.

Lt Gen Tejinder Singh was accused by Gen. V.K. Singh of offering him a bribe to clear a deal for the all-terrain heavy duty Tatra trucks. The retired Lt Gen has also sought direction to the CBI to search Gen. V.K. Singh’s residence and seize all the documents which may put his life and liberty under threat. He sought legal action against Gen. V.K. Singh of gross misuse of office, misconduct, offences against the state and against the petitioner.

The retired Lt Gen has alleged that Gen. V.K. Singh had, in violation of service rules, made political statements about the Maoist problem being the creation of the government when it sought to requisition the army for operations in Maoist-infested areas.

The retired Lt Gen also sought guidelines for media on reporting any accusation by a public servant against a private citizen before even a complaint or a legal action has been initiated.

In this case, Gen. V.K. Singh had gone to the media making allegations against Tejinder Singh even before filing a complaint and this, the retired Lt Gen said, violated his fundamental right and, therefore, he asked the court to go into the question of law.

 

Constructions in Delhi Ridge: court notice to ministries

The Delhi High Court has issued notice to the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) and the ministry of defence (MoD) on a petition seeking a stay on the construction of staff quarters by cutting trees in Delhi’s green Ridge area.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna Wednesday issued the notice seeking their response by Aug 17. It has also sought a reply from the government and the Border Roads Organisation.

The court issued notice while hearing the petition filed by Ashok Kumar Tanwar, a Delhi resident, who said the construction work was in complete violation of environmental norms.

“Direct the concerned respondents to protect the forest land and waste land surrounded at west by Inderpuri road and Naraina Industrial Area,” said the petition, adding that they should also be stopped from illegal activities of quarrying, mining, felling of trees and raising apartments in the Ridge area.

On noticing the environmental degradation around their village, Tanwar wrote to the MoEF in 2005 complaining about the illegal activities under way in the central Ridge area, but nobody took action.

A forest officer of the Delhi government had visited the site and submitted a report in September 2005. According to the report, heavy machinery is being used to take out stones from the area.

“The authorities are failing to perform their statutory duty in protecting the reserve forests and knowingly allowing illegal activities in the area,” the petition adds.