Search engine’s director moves HC over obscenity charge

Mumbai- A director of the ‘’ has moved the Bombay High Court seeking to quash a criminal complaint which alleges that the website, through the search engine linked to it, disseminates obscene material.

Sunil N Phatarphekar, one of the non-executive directors of Rediff, filed the petition after a lower court issued process against the website and its directors, despite experts’ report that it would be impossible for a search engine to censor results of any search.

The High Court is scheduled to hear the case after two weeks. Abhinav Bhatt, a law student based in Pune, filed a complaint with a Magistrate’s court in June 2000, alleging that Rediff has committed offence under section 292 of IPC.

Supreme Court contempt notice to four officials

The Supreme Court asked Maharashtra Chief Secretary and three top officials why it should not launch contempt proceedings against them for installing gates at a barrage over the Godavari river in violation of its April 2007 order.

A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan issued notices to Joseph, secretary V.V. Gaikwad, chief engineer B.N. Kandarphale and superintending engineer R.K. Netturkar of the water resources department, besides the owner of a Hyderabad-based private construction firm.

The move came on a lawsuit by the Andhra Pradesh government, which pointed out to the court that its neighbouring state has installed five gates at the Babhali barrage over the Godavari.

The apex court in April 2007 had prohibited the Maharashtra government from installing gates at the barrage on another lawsuit by the Andhra Pradesh government, which held that the execution of the project would impede the flow of the river water to its territory.

Though Maharashtra was building the barrage over Babhali, within its territory 10 km from the inter-state border, Andhra Pradesh had objected to the project as it was being built upon the water spread area of its own Pochampad (Sri Rama Sagar) project.

The reservoir of the Pochampad project had spread up to 55 km within Maharashtra but within the two banks of the Godavari and had not submerged any adjoining land.

As per an agreement between the two states before the Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal in October 1975, Andhra Pradesh had adequately compensated Maharashtra for the spread of its Pochampad water area in the territory of the neighbouring state.

Guidelines for PIL

As per the information furnished by the Registry of the Supreme Court, the guidelines for entertaining Public Interest Litigations (PIL) have been laid down by the Supreme Court in judicial pronouncements. Administratively, the Registry has generally defined matters of public interest to include

 (i) bonded labour matters,

(ii) matters of neglected children,

(iii) exploitation of casual labourers and non-payment of wages to them (except in individual cases),

(iv) matters of harassment or torture of persons belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and economically Backward Classes, either by co-villagers or by police,

(v) matters relating to environmental pollution, disturbance of ecological balance, drugs, food adulteration, maintenance of heritage and culture, antiques, forests and wild life,

(vi) petitions from riot victims and (vii) other matters of public importance.

Entertaining of any litigation, including a PIL, being a matter entirely within the domain of the judiciary, it is not incumbent on the Supreme Court to consult the Government while framing any such guidelines.

This information was given by Dr. M.Veerappa Moily, Minister of Law and Justice, in the Lok Sabha today in a written reply.


Mumbai suspect trial to continue

The trial of the main suspect in the Mumbai attacks will continue despite his admission of guilt, the judge has ruled.

Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab’s confession will go on record but it does not address all 86 charges he faces, Judge said. The trial has now resumed as normal and prosecution witnesses have started giving evidence in court.

More than 170 people were killed in the attacks, nine of them gunmen.
Mr Qasab, who is a Pakistani, faces 86 charges, including waging war on India, murder and possessing explosives. In May, he pleaded not guilty to all charges. Prosecutors say he changed his plea to secure leniency.

As the trial resumed it was confirmed that Mr Qasab’s defence lawyer, Abbas Kazmi, would continue as his counsel. He had earlier offered to withdraw from the case, after which the judge asked Mr Qasab and Mr Kazmi to “speak to each other and sort out your problem”.

Private intellectual property rights in India

The intellectual property rights are private rights and the right holder can assign, license, transfer or sell the rights to others depending upon his commercial and other interests.

During 2004-05 to 2008-09, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has assigned / licensed 11 patents to United States (US) based companies. The information in respect of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and the Indian Institutes of Technology is being compiled.

This information was given by Shri Jyotiraditya M Scindia, Minister of State for Commerce & Industry, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.


Gujarat HC reserves order on petition against SIT probe

Ahmedabad- The Gujarat High Court today reserved the order on the petition challenging post-Godhra probe by special investigation team (SIT) against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 62 others, till July 24.

Justice D H Waghela was hearing a petition from former BJP MLA from Lunavada, Kalubai Malivad, against the probe by Supreme Court-appointed SIT into a complaint by Zakia Jaffrey, whose husband ex-MP Ehsan Jaffrey was killed during the 2002 riots in Gulburg society along with 39 others.

She has alleged in her complaint that Modi, his cabinet colleagues, police officials and senior bureaucrats aided the post-Godhra riots of 2002.

Malivad’s lawyer S B Vakil today submitted that Zakia’s complaint was “vague where allegations have been made against high profile people”.

He said that SC had ordered SIT to “look into” the complaint which does not empower it to conduct investigation.

NHRC notice to Madhya Pradesh on virginity test

 The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Tuesday said it has issued notice to Madhya Pradesh on the virginity tests conducted on brides at a mass wedding there.

The commission, taking suo motu cognisance of media reports, issued a notice to the chief secretary of the state on July 17 and sought a factual report within four weeks.

“Media reports allege that 151 girls who participated in a mass wedding conducted by the Madhya Pradesh government at Shahdol were forced to undergo virginity tests. This is a violation of human rights,” an NHRC official said.

The incident took place June 30 but was reported in the media only on July 13. Just before the mass wedding ceremony was to begin, a bride went into labour pains, shocking those present.

The state government then ordered virginity and pregnancy tests and 14 of the brides were found to be pregnant.

As many as 138 couples from various religions tied the knot at the function held under the Mukhyamantri Kanyadan Yojna, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s pet scheme aimed at providing financial help to poor families for marriage of girls.

High Court reduces Sanjeev Nanda’s jail term

NEW DELHI: In a major relief to Sanjeev Nanda, prime accused in the BMW case of 1999, the Delhi High Court converted his offence from culpable homicide not amounting to murder to a simple case of causing death by rash or negligent act and reduced his sentence from five years to two years.

Sanjeev Nanda is the son of arms dealer Suresh Nanda and grandson of former Navy Chief Admiral S. M. Nanda. The Court gave the relief in a judgment on an appeal by Nanda against his conviction by the trial court.
The Delhi police had charged-sheeted him under Section 304 Part-II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code, and the trial court had upheld it last year, sentencing him to five years’ rigorous imprisonment. With the reduction of his sentence he is likely to come out of Delhi’s Tihar Central Jail in about two months from now as he has already undergone more than 20 months of the sentence. The police had charged him with running his BMW car over six persons, including three policemen, on Lodhi Road here in the early morning of January 10, 1999.
The investigating agency had charge-sheeted him for culpable homicide not amounting to murder alleging that he was drunk and driving well beyond the stipulated speed limit. The trial court had upheld the charge. The High Court rejected the trial court’s reasoning for accepting the police case and reduced his offence as well as the period of sentence.
“Now taking into consideration the totality of the circumstances — evidence of the two hostile witnesses, court witness and the circumstantial evidence — I do not find myself in agreement with the finding of the learned trial court that the offence committed by the appellant attracts Section 304 part II and not Section 304-A of the Code”, the Court said in the 274-page verdict.
“No doubt….the appellant caused the accident in which six persons died and one was injured but it was not a case where the appellant had any knowledge of the presence of those persons on the road and therefore no parallel can be drawn between the circumstances of this case and the observations of the Supreme Court that if a person wilfully drives into a crowd then the case cannot be taken to be one under Section 304-A of the Code”, the Court said.