Rajasthan High Court asks Robert Vadra and his mother to appear before ED on Feb 12

The Rajasthan High Court Monday asked Robert Vadra and his partners in Skylight Hospitality Private Limited, including his mother Maureen Vadra to appear before the Enforcement Directorate on February 12 to respond to allegations of money laundering by the firm.

A Jodphur bench of the high court gave the direction after vacating its earlier order that prevented the agency from taking any coercive action against Vadra and others.

A bench of Justice P S Bhati, while asking Robert Vadra and others to appear before the agency, however, refused to vacate the stay on their arrest and denied liberty to the ED to take them in custody.

Justice Bhati clarified that if the need arises, the ED will have to move the court separately to seek permission for arresting them.

Appearing for the ED, Additional Solicitor General Rajdeep Rastogi told the bench that the agency has initiated an inquiry against the owners and partners of Skylight Hospitality Limited on a complaint of money laundering against the company.

The company moved the court against this inquiry and obtained an order that no coercive action would be taken against them during investigation, said Rastogi.

The ED then moved the court seeking vacation of this order on the ground that there was neither any FIR lodged in the matter nor there was any accused named.

It is just a fact-finding inquiry which is at an initial stage, so the court should not intervene in the matter at this stage, Rastogi argued in the court.

Admitting the additional solicitor general’s arguments, the court removed the No Coercive Action clause from its earlier order.

On the basis of a mutual consent of the lawyers from both sides, the bench also ordered firm’s owner and partners, including Vadra and his mother to appear before the ED and cooperate with it in the inquiry.

The court, however, refused to vacate other part of the order, which had stayed their arrest. It asked the ED to obtain a separate order if the firm’s owners and partners are required to be arrested after the initial inquiry.

The ED had earlier received a complaint alleging involvement of Vadra in purchase of the 275 bighas of land in Bikaner’s Kolayat.

The complaint alleged that the land had been purchased in the name of the driver of the mediator Mahesh Nagre using a cheque given by Robert Vadra.

Explaining about the allegations of money laundering in the deal, Rastogi told PTI that an ECIR (Enforcement Case Information Report) against the Skylight Hospitality Limited had been registered by the ED.

The primary evidence in the case prima facie indicated that the Skylight Hospitality Limited was involved in money laundering.

ED had subsequently issued summonses to Robert Vadra and firm’s partner partner Maureen third time in November last year but none of them appeared before the ED and instead moved the high court seeking No Coercive Action order and stay on arrest.

Supreme Court: Woman can file complaint against ex-husband for cruelty even after divorce

A woman can lodge a complaint under the domestic violence law against the excesses committed by her ex-husband even after the dissolution of marriage, the Supreme Court has said.

The top court refused to interfere with the order of the Rajasthan High Court which held that the absence of subsisting domestic relationship in no manner prevents a court from granting relief to the aggrieved woman.

The high court had passed the order while adjudicating a matrimonial dispute.

A bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi, R Banumathi and Navin Sinha dismissed the appeal against the high court verdict, saying it was not inclined to interfere with the order in the facts of the case.

During the hearing, advocate Dushyant Parashar,appearing for the estranged husband, said that the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, which came into force on October 26, 2006, could not be applied retrospectively.

He submitted that if the provisions of the domestic violence law were allowed to be used retrospectively, then it would be subjected to gross misuse.

Parashar contended that husband-wife relationship often ends on an acrimonious note and if the provisions of the Act were allowed to be used retrospectively, then it would further increase the acrimony and rule out the possibility of any compromise.

He said that legislature’s purposive interpretation has to be kept in mind while interpreting any provisions of the law.

The bench, however, refused to agree with the contention of Parashar and declined to interfere with the high court order in the facts of the case.

The high court had held on October 30, 2013 that the subsistence of marriage or domestic relationship was not a condition precedent for an aggrieved person to invoke the protection orders and other reliefs under the provisions of the Act.

“If the aggrieved person had been in domestic relationship at any point of time even prior to coming into the force of the Act and was subjected to domestic violence, the person is entitled to invoke the remedial measures provided under the Act,” it had said.

The high court had said cited an example saying that even after the dissolution of marriage between the parties, if an ex-husband attempts to commit an act of violence such as entering the place of employment of the divorced wife, trying to establish contact with her or causing violence to her dependents or other relatives, she is not precluded from seeking protection orders under the law.

It had said that likewise, if the divorced husband attempts to dispossess the woman from the shared household or property jointly owned, she can approach a court for appropriate relief.A woman can lodge a complaint under the domestic violence law against the excesses committed by her ex-husband even after the dissolution of marriage, the Supreme Court has said.

The top court refused to interfere with the order of the Rajasthan High Court which held that the absence of subsisting domestic relationship in no manner prevents a court from granting relief to the aggrieved woman.

The high court had passed the order while adjudicating a matrimonial dispute.

A bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi, R Banumathi and Navin Sinha dismissed the appeal against the high court verdict, saying it was not inclined to interfere with the order in the facts of the case.

During the hearing, advocate Dushyant Parashar,appearing for the estranged husband, said that the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, which came into force on October 26, 2006, could not be applied retrospectively.

He submitted that if the provisions of the domestic violence law were allowed to be used retrospectively, then it would be subjected to gross misuse.

Parashar contended that husband-wife relationship often ends on an acrimonious note and if the provisions of the Act were allowed to be used retrospectively, then it would further increase the acrimony and rule out the possibility of any compromise.

He said that legislature’s purposive interpretation has to be kept in mind while interpreting any provisions of the law.

The bench, however, refused to agree with the contention of Parashar and declined to interfere with the high court order in the facts of the case.

The high court had held on October 30, 2013 that the subsistence of marriage or domestic relationship was not a condition precedent for an aggrieved person to invoke the protection orders and other reliefs under the provisions of the Act.

“If the aggrieved person had been in domestic relationship at any point of time even prior to coming into the force of the Act and was subjected to domestic violence, the person is entitled to invoke the remedial measures provided under the Act,” it had said.

The high court had said cited an example saying that even after the dissolution of marriage between the parties, if an ex-husband attempts to commit an act of violence such as entering the place of employment of the divorced wife, trying to establish contact with her or causing violence to her dependents or other relatives, she is not precluded from seeking protection orders under the law.

It had said that likewise, if the divorced husband attempts to dispossess the woman from the shared household or property jointly owned, she can approach a court for appropriate relief.

Salman Khan Convicted & Sentenced To 5 Years Imprisonment In Blackbuck Poaching Case

A Jodhpur trial court today convicted Salman Khan, in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case. However, the other accused, Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam and Sonali Bendre have been acquitted.

Salman has been convicted under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, and has been sentenced to 2 years in jail. However he is likely to be granted bail today itself.

It should be noted that blackbuck is an endangered species protected under Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife Act.Apart from the actors, there are two other accused in the case – travel agent Dushyant Singh and Dinesh Gawre, Salman’s assistant at the time. Gawre is still absconding.

Back in 2006, Salman was convicted in one of the cases and was sentenced to five years in jail. While the actor spent a week in jail, the sentence was suspended by the Rajasthan High Court.

As reported, Bishnoi Sabha, which had filed the blackbuck poaching case, has now decided to appeal against the acquittal of the four co-accused in the case.

 

Rajasthan HC wants cow to be declared national animal

Rajasthan HC wants cow to be declared national animal
Rajasthan HC wants cow to be declared national animal

The Rajasthan High Court today directed the state government to coordinate with the Centre and take necessary steps to declare cow as a national animal.

A single-judge bench of Justice Mahesh Chand Sharma said the chief secretary and advocate general of the state will be the legal custodians of the cow.

“Nepal is a Hindu nation and has declared cow as national animal. India is a predominant agriculture country based in animal rearing. As per Article 48 and 51A (g) it is expected from the state government that they should take action to get a legal entity for cow in this country,” he said in his order.

While Article 48 of the Constitution says the State should take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle, Article 51A(g) speaks of protecting natural environment and having compassion for living creatures.

“It is expected from the government that it should declare cow as national animal and for this purpose the Chief Secretary and Advocate General of state are declared legal custodians of cow,” the judge said in a 145-page order.

The direction was made while the court was hearing the Hingonia Gaushala matter. Over a hundred cows had perished at the government-run cowshed in Jaipur last year.

The bench also granted liberty to any person or class of persons to approach court with a plea in a PIL to declare cow as a national animal.

The direction comes at a time when many states are protesting the government’s decision to impose ban on the slaughter of cattle, primarily cows, for commercial purposes.

( Source – PTI )

Rajasthan HC tells official of Vadra-linked firm to appear before ED

Rajasthan HC tells official of Vadra-linked firm to appear before ED
Rajasthan HC tells official of Vadra-linked firm to appear before ED

Rejecting his plea for relief, the Rajasthan High Court has directed a representative of Skylight Hospitality, a firm linked to Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, to appear before Enforcement Directorate (ED) which had summoned him in connection with a controversial land deal in Bikaner.

The representative had move the high court challenging the summons issued by the ED to him earlier this year.

Dismissing his plea, Justice P K Lohra said last evening that the representative of Skylight Hospitality will have to appear before ED but allowed the presence of his lawyer “at a reasonable distance” during questioning.

Opposing the plea, ED’s counsel Rajeev Awasthi argued that the summons was issued to a specific person and he is supposed to appear before the agency instead of challenging the same in the court.

The (ED) had issued the notice to the firm under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The probe is related to the purchase of 275 bigha land allegedly by the company in the Kolayat area of the border town of Bikaner in Rajasthan.

The central probe agency had registered a criminal case of money laundering in this case last year on the basis of FIRs filed by the state police after the local tehsildar had made a complaint.

The ED has not mentioned the name of Vadra or any company linked to him in the FIR but it named some state government officials and some e “land mafia”.

While filing the case, it had also taken cognisance of reports that had referred to a firm allegedly linked to Vadra which had purchased some of these Bikaner located lands.

Vadra has denied any wrongdoing even as Congress has maintained that the action is “sheer political vendetta”.

Rajasthan government had in January last year cancelled the mutation (transfer of land) of 374.44 hectares of land, after the land department claimed to have found that the allotments were made in the names of “illegal private persons”.

The tehsildar had said in the complaint that the government land in 34 villages of Bikaner, to be used for expanding the army s firing range in the area, was “grabbed” by the land mafia by preparing “forged and fabricated documents” in connivance with government officials.

ED suspects that huge amounts of money was laundered in this case by people buying land at cheap rates through forged documents.

The state government had, while cancelling the mutations, said these were not issued by the Commissioner, Colonisation, Bikaner.

The state police had also filed charge sheets in 18 cases in a court in Kolayat last year.

( Source – PTI )

18 new judges likely to be appointed by next week

18 new judges likely to be appointed by next week
18 new judges likely to be appointed by next week

Nearly 18 new judges are likely to be appointed by next week, days after five judges were elevated as chief justices.

Sources said files relating to fresh appointments have been cleared at the highest level and may reach Rashtrapati Bhawan in the coming days.

While most of the fresh appointments relate to Madras High Court, some others belong to Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh high courts.

There are nearly 74 recommendations of the collegium under process at the government’s end. Most of the recommendations are likely to fructify into appointments by the end of September, barring “a few” cases where the executive and the judiciary have “difference of opinion,” they said.

Usually, the process of appointing judges takes between 60 to 75 days.

Some 35 files related to elevation of judges as chief justices of high courts and those related to fresh appointments are pending in the “advanced stages” with the government.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had on Wednesday last told the Supreme Court that “there is progress in the appointments… We will see more progress”.

Judiciary and executive have seen at variance over appointment of judges in the recent past.

( Source – PTI )

Debate on practice of ‘santhara’ continues

Debate on practice of 'santhara' continues
Debate on practice of ‘santhara’ continues

The debate on ‘Santhara’, a Jain ritual of fasting unto death which was held illegal by the Rajasthan High Court, is far from over on the question of whether it is glorified suicide or a religious practice.

While ‘Santhara’ was held illegal in August last year by the High Court which made it punishable under section 306 (abetment of suicide) and 309 (attempted suicide) of IPC relating to abetment of suicide, some legal experts say the practice is a “humungous canvas” covering “two cosmologies (of life and death)” which required protection under the constitutional provision.

Within days of the High Court verdict, the Supreme Court had stayed the order after several religious bodies of the Jain community approached it claiming the Rajasthan HC had not appreciated the basic philosophy and tenets of the Jain religion.

The controversial issue was the topic of discussion at a recent seminar organised by Jindal Global Law School (JGLS) here in which MP and senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who professes Jainism, said Santhara is “indeed a humungous canvas”.

His views got the endorsement of Shiv Visvanathan, Vice Dean of JGLS, who said “the real basis of ‘Santhara’ is a meditation on two cosmologies” of life and death.

The High Court judgement was stayed by the Supreme Court and the matter is still sub judice, Khagesh Gautam, Associate Professor and Assistant Dean at JGLS, vouched for protection of the practice under doctrine of essential practices under Article 25 of the Constitution on the grounds that it was an important aspect of Jainism.

“While this theme is very unusual, it is quite exciting and interesting, because it stands at the crossroads of so many diverse sub-themes. It stands at intersecting crossroads of law, religion, constitutional law and sociology. It is indeed a humungous canvas,” Singhvi, who has been appointed as adjunct professor of JGLS, said.

Terming Singhvi’s speech as incomplete, Visvanathan drew a sociological perspective on the practice and observed that “a cosmology of death and a cosmology of life; and the cosmology which puts, because of its philosophy of time, a continuity between death and life.

( Source – PTI )

HC rejects bail application of Asaram Bapu

HC rejects bail application of Asaram Bapu
HC rejects bail application of Asaram Bapu

The Rajasthan High Court today rejected the bail application of self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, who is facing rape charge.

This was the ninth regular bail application of Asaram to be rejected. An interim bail plea was rejected by the high court last month.

While rejecting the bail application, Justice Nirmal Jeet Kaur said since the trial of the case has reached its fag end, it was not appropriate to grant the bail.

Prosecution counsel P C Solanki said the court also rejected the argument of defence that the trial of the case was taking long.

A teenage girl had accused Asaram of sexual assault at his ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur. The girl belonging to Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh was a student at the ashram.

Following her complaint against Asaram, he was arrested by Jodhpur Police on 31 August, 2013 and has been in jail since then.

(Source : PTI)

Rajasthan HC orders Asaram’s examination by medical board

Rajasthan HC orders Asaram's examination by medical board
Rajasthan HC orders Asaram’s examination by medical board

The Rajasthan High Court has directed that a medical board be constituted for examining self-styled god-man Asaram who is in jail since August 2013 in a rape case after he sought interim bail on health grounds.

The counsel for 74-year-old Asaram, who has been denied bail on seven occasions in the past, submitted that the accused has been suffering from about a dozen ailments since long and that his condition has been deteriorating in absence of proper treatment.

“We have also submitted reports from different hospitals on his health condition in support of our plea,” the counsel, Neel Kamal Bohra, said.

After hearing the arguments, vacation judge KailashChandra Sharma here ordered setting up of a medical board comprising a neurologist, an orthopaedist, a urologist, a physician and a radiation oncologist.

Bohra said the report of the Board would be submitted in the court on July 5, when the next hearing on the bail plea will be held.

Asaram’s bail plea was rejected by the trial court in Januray. He was sent to jail in August, 2013 for allegedly sexually assaulting a 16-year-old school girl.

Earlier, four bail petitions of Asaram were turned down by lower court. He had twice unsuccessfully approached the High Court and was also denied relief by the Supreme Court.

( Source – PTI )

Implement larger pictorial warning on tobacco products: SC

tobaccoThe Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the tobacco companies to immediately implement larger pictorial warning on tobacco products.

The apex court lifted the stay on the Centre’s order for 85 percent warning granted by the Dharwad Bench of the Karnataka High Court.

The Supreme Court also transferred all cases challenging the tobacco product warning rule to the Karnataka High Court.

The apex court directed the Karnataka High Court to decide the case in eight weeks.

The Supreme Court stated that no order is valid until the matter is fully disposed by the Karnataka High Court.

Karnataka Health Minister U.T. Khader had earlier in his letter to Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda appreciated the Union Government for the steps it has taken to battle the tobacco menace, but demanded that the government should not step back on its decision on the pictorial warnings displayed on the cigarette packs and other tobacco products.

Earlier, the Centre had ordered that tobacco products would carry 85 percent pictorial warnings.

The Health Ministry’s notification of September 24, 2015, for implementation of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2014, came into force from April 1 onwards. These prescribed larger pictorial warnings on tobacco products.

Earlier, the Health Ministry had made a commitment to the Rajasthan High Court on March 28 this year that all tobacco products manufactured from April1onwards would carry larger pictorial health warnings. (ANI)