Court notice to airlines, DGCA on high fares

Allahabad High Court Monday issued notices to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and the management of Jet Airways, Kingfisher, Go Air, IndiGo and other private airlines for fleecing passengers by suddenly hiking air fares.

The petitioners, comprising some local activists and advocates, had sought the court’s intervention to restrain the private airlines from indiscriminately raising their fares whenever they chose to. They cited the recent case of the steep increase in air fares to Chandigarh just before the World Cup semi-final in Mohali. ‘Fares were raised even up to 800 percent, which was a blatant move to fleece passengers,’ advocate Ashok Pande said.

Taking serious note of the petition, Chief Justice F.I. Rebello issued notice not only to each of the concerned airlines but also to DGCA.

Notice issued to MCD on community hall site

The Delhi High Court Wednesday sought a response from the Muncipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) after it failed to identify a site for the construction of a community hall in a posh south Delhi colony.

Issuing notices to Delhi’s civic agency and also the builder DLF Universal, a division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Reva Khetrapal sought their replies by May 11.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by V.N. Channa, a retired defence personnel and a resident of Greater Kailash-I, who said the MCD had signed a memorandum of understanding with DLF in 1989 to build a community hall in the area.

He said that a 3,000 sq ft plot was earmarked for the hall and DLF was supposed to hand it over to the civic agency in 1989, but nothing has been done so far.

The petitioner also claimed that he obtained details of the case through an RTI application and approached the civic agency last year.

In September 2010, the chief town planner had passed an order in the case, but the MCD still failed to select a suitable spot.

The bench also sought an affidavit with details about the architectural design of the community hall within 15 days

NHRC notice to Chhattisgarh over attack on Swami Agnivesh

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notice to Chhattisgarh’s chief secretary and police chief over the alleged attack last week on social activist Swami Agnivesh by members of the Salwa Judum civil militia.

“The commission has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report alleging that a large group comprising special police officers of Chhattisgarh police and members of the Salwa Judum attacked Swami Agnivesh on March 26, 2011 as he attempted to deliver relief to a village reportedly torched by the security forces in Dantewada district,” a statement said Wednesday.

“Considering the issues raised in the report, the commission today observed that the entire incident is a matter of great concern, and issued notices to the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police, Chhattisgarh calling for their factual reports within four weeks in the matter,” it added.

The report referred to the aftermath of an incident in which three men were killed, three women were sexually assaulted and about 300 homes, granaries and woodsheds were torched by the security forces during a five day anti-Maoist operation in the villages of Tarmetla, Timapuram and Morpalli in Dantewada, an NHRC official said.

Swami Agnivesh had gone to the affected villages to deliver clothes, blankets and other relief material, when he was attacked twice in six hours by a mob at a Salwa Judum camp at Dornapal, the official added.

Salwa Judum is an anti-Maoist movement supported by the Chhattisgarh government.

Notice to government on plea for appointments in RTI ambit

The Delhi High Court Monday sought the central government’s response on a petition challenging a single judge’s ruling that information pertaining to the appointment of top bureaucrats cannot be revealed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna issued notice to the department of personnel and training (DOPT) and sought its reply by July 14 on an appeal filed by RTI activist and Magsaysay Award winner Arvind Kejriwal against the single judge’s order, given in July 2010.

Kejriwal had requested the government to provide him the information on the ground that people had the right to know the grade assigned to an officer who was empanelled.

In his petition, he said that he was allowed to inspect files pertaining to appointment of secretaries, deputy secretaries in different ministries but he was not supplied with photocopies of the documents.

Kejriwal had approached the Central Information Commission (CIC) which had rejected the the government’s argument that the disclosure would amount to invasion in the privacy of an officer, and June 12, 2008 asked the DOPT and the cabinet secretariat to disclose details pertaining to selection of officers for the posts of secretaries and additional secretaries.

However, the central government approached the Delhi High Court against the CIC’s order.

The single judge had set aside the order and rejected Kejriwal’s plea that information relating to appointment of secretaries in different ministries falls within the ambit of the transparency law and justice.

‘This court holds that the CIC was not justified in overruling the objection of the centre and directing the government and the DoPT to provide copies of the documents as sought by Kejriwal,’ the single judge had said.

Delhi Police issued notice on Vikas Yadav’s bail plea

The Delhi High Court Friday issued notice to Delhi Police on a plea for an interim bail of Vikas Yadav, who is undergoing life imprisonment along with his cousin Vishal for killing Nitish Katara in February 2002.

Justice B.D. Ahmed issued tne notice to Delhi Police, seeking their reply by April 7.

Vikas, in his application, has sought an interim bail for three months, saying that his younger brother Kunal’s marriage is fixed for April 29 and the rituals would start April 14 when the engagement ceremony is scheduled.

Delhi issues notice to schools on fees hike

Delhi’s directorate of education (DoE) Friday informed the Delhi High Court that notices have been sent to 25 private schools in the city over fee hike.

The notices come after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report to the high court termed as ‘unreasonable’ the fee hike by 25 private schools, including Modern school and Delhi Public School (DPS), and indicted them for accounting irregularities.

A bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Sidhharth Mridul has fixed March 29 for hearing the plea that challenges the Delhi government’s decision to allow the schools to hike tuition and development fees.

Counsel Ashok Aggarwal, representing the Delhi Abhibhavak Mahasangh, sought criminal investigation by an agency like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into alleged irregularities pointed out by the CAG in the report.

Aggarwal said: ‘The CAG report reveals not only several accounting malpractices but commission of criminal offences. Some agency like the CBI be asked to investigate into it.’

‘The schools did not follow the accounting standards while preparing their final accounts. There was no prescribed accounting format,’ said the 64-page CAG report submitted to the bench Thursday.

The report for 2006-09 was filed on the court’s direction over a parents association’s petition that questioned the Delhi government’s sanction to the private schools to hike their tuition and development fees.

‘There was no evidence of scrutiny of annual accounts and other returns to ascertain that the receipts and expenditures of the schools were in consonance with the projected budget estimates of the schools and any fee hike was not unreasonable,’ read the CAG report.

The audit report was against the accounts of only 25 of the 1,211 private city schools.

The CAG said the schools, which earned profits, prepared accounts showing losses by transferring the surplus funds into the next financial year.

‘The total cumulative revenue surplus as on March 31, 2009, was Rs.93.79 crore and the average cumulative revenue surplus per school during 2004 to 2009 ranged from Rs.2.51 crore to Rs.4.42 crore.

‘Schools build up deficits when they overspend their budgets and carry forward the overspend to future years,’ the report said.

It suggested proper monitoring by the government of the accounts of the schools which were not only shying away from giving admission to poor children but also paying salaries to their staff and teachers on the lines of their counterparts in government schools.

The CAG also pointed out lapses of chartered accountants who audited the accounts of the schools.

‘Our scrutiny of audited accounts of the unaided private schools revealed that none of the auditors had qualified the audit reports in significant cases of non-compliance with the directions of the DoE and provisions of the DSE (Delhi School Education) rules by the schools.’

‘As this amounts to professional lapse, the matter may be taken up with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India for suitable deterrent action,’ the report said.

The schools had recently enhanced fees by 15 percent without assessing the actual requirement, it said, adding the parents were not apprised of the actual demand arising out of the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission.

They should have first considered their surplus money and then, if required, raised the fees, it said.

Binayak Sen case: Apex Court issues notice to Chhattisgarh

An apex court bench of Justice H.S. Bedi and Justice C.K. Prasad issued notice after counsel appearing for Sen mentioned the matter in the court.

The notice is returnable in four weeks. Sen was convicted for the offences involving sedition, waging war against the state and hatching a criminal conspiracy.

He was convicted and awarded life imprisonment by the trial court in December last year and his plea for bail was rejected by the Chhattisgarh High Court in February this year.

 

Court notice to UTV reality show ‘Emotional Atyachaar’

The Delhi High Court Wednesday issued notice to the ministries of information and broadcasting and home affairs, chairman of UTV and team of the reality show ‘Emotional Atyachaar’ following a plea seeking a ban on the show due to its ‘vulgar’ content.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Sanjeev Khanna asked all the concerned parties to reply within four weeks on the plea filed by NGO Indraprastha People.

‘All the respondents should file their reply by April 7,’ the bench said.

The court was hearing the petition seeking cancellation of channel licence and to ban the programme ‘Emotional Atyachaar’ for the programme content which is ‘vulgar, sends a wrong message to the society, is harming the people at large and mentally disturbs people’.

Supreme Court issues notice to Yeddyurappa

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa and assembly Speaker KG Bopaiah on a petition by seven rebel legislators of the Bharatiya Janata Party who were disqualified from the house for expressing their lack of confidence in the chief minister. An apex court bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Cyriac Joseph issued the notice after senior counsel Rohinton Nariman told the court that an important question of law was involved in the matter.

The petition by Gopala Krishana Belur and six others has challenged their disqualification by the speaker and the Karnataka High Court’s Oct 29 decision to uphold it.

The legislators attracted disqualification after they met Governor H.R. Bhardwaj and expressed their lack of confidence in Yeddyurappa.

Taking cognizance of their action, Bopaiah disqualified them from the house.

Court notice to police on Geelani, Arundhati speeches

A city court on Wednesday issued notice to Delhi Police over a plea seeking registration of criminal cases against separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani and writer-activist Arundhati Roy for their remarks on Kashmir at a seminar here on October 21. The court asked police to respond by Nov 16 on the complaint filed by a group of Kashmiri pandits, Roots in Kashmir (RIK).

On Monday, RIK filed a complaint in the court against Geelani, Roy and others for speaking in favour of Kashmir’s “azadi” at a seminar held here Oct 21.

“The government has until now remained a mute spectator to the vicious and seditious speeches made by the separatists. Since they’ve remained inert, we’ve decided to shoulder the responsibility,” said RIK member Aditya Raj Kaul.

Members of RIK Oct 28 filed a complaint with the Tilak Marg police station demanding that a First Information Report (FIR) be registered and action be taken against “those who spoke in the favour of ‘azadi’ and separation of Kashmir”.

“We expect the police to inform us about the reasons of not filing an FIR in this case. We demand an FIR for the speeches made on Oct 21, and a thorough investigation into the case,” Vikas Padora, lawyer for RIK, told .