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Umashankar’s suspension smacks of victimisation:: JAYA

Posted by egovindia on August 5, 2010

“Umashankar’s suspension smacks of victimisation”
Special Correspondent News » States » Tamil Nadu
CHENNAI, August 5, 2010
AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa has alleged that suspension of IAS officer C. Umashankar smacked of victimisation by the DMK government.
In a statement here on Wednesday, Ms. Jayalalithaa questioned the powers of the State government to place an IAS officer under suspension on the pretext that he had entered the Civil Services using a bogus community certificate.
“All civil service appointments in the country are done by the Union Public Service Commission. It is the responsibility of the UPSC to vet the antecedents of every recruit and verify their certificates,” she said.
She said the DMK government’s claim that Mr. Umashankar, belonging to Dalit community, had entered the service using a forged community certificate had given room for speculation on the reasons behind this.
Ms. Jayalalithaa recalled the government’s decision to launch Arasu Cable Corporation and the appointment of Mr. Umashankar as its Managing Director, and said the real motive behind it was to pose a challenge to the Maran brothers’ Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV).
Ms. Jayalalithaa said after an agreement was suddenly reached between the warring cousins of Mr. Karunanidhi’s family, the IAS officer was made the scapegoat and shunted out.
She alleged that though Mr. Umashankar was appointed as the MD of Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu (ELCOT), he was removed from the post because he questioned the disappearance of ETL Infrastructure Ltd., a subsidiary of ELCOT, along with Rs. 700 crore assets.
Explanation sought
Demanding an explanation from Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on what happened to ETL and the fate of the Rs. 400 crore invested in Arasu Cable Corporation, she wanted to know why was a Dalit officer in government service being victimised.
Keywords: C. Umashankar, AIADMK, DMK


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‘Karunanidhi family and government harassing me’

Posted by egovindia on July 27, 2010

‘Karunanidhi family and government harassing me’
T S SekaranExpress News ServiceFirst Published : 27 Jul 2010 03:42:33 AM ISTLast Updated : 27 Jul 2010 09:30:35 AM IST

CHENNAI: Suspended IAS officer C Umashankar has moved the National Commission for SC/ST in New Delhi, to protect him from the illegal harassment by the Tamil Nadu government, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi’s family and the powerful Maran brothers, who are closely related to the CM.
In his complaint against the State government, Umashankar, who was suspended last week while holding the post of Commssioner, Small Savings, alleged that he was subjected to frequent transfers as he was honest and sincere in his duties and worked bearing in mind the public interest.
He said the TN government was free to institute any disciplinary proceedings against him in accordance with the provisions of the All India Service Act, Public Servant Enquiries Act, the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Code of Criminal Procedure. But the government was not competent to conduct any enquiry against him on the allegation that he had produced a false community certificate. The CM was insisting on the police to register an FIR against him. “The State government, headed by the present CM, is intolerant and vindictive against me because I recommended penal action against the Maran brothers and made public the scam in ETL Infrastructure, where the hand of MK Alagiri, (CM’s son) and a central minister of the DMK is involved. Thus, the State power is being misused against me,’’ Umashankar contended in his complaint.
He also urged the Commission to ensure that enquiry, if any, regarding his caste certificate was conducted by the Central Vigilance Commission or the Central Bureau of Investigation or any other central agency not under the control of the TN government. Appropriate action might also be initiated to allow him to work under the central government or any of the agency of the central government not under the control of the TN government, the complaint said and also requested the Commission to ensure proper security to him and his family members through the central security force.

Posted in Administrative Reforms Commission ARC, Blogroll, Corruption in egovernance, COURTS in INDIA, DIT - MIT -, eGovernance issues, Tamilnadu eGovernance | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

‘Indian laws have failed to keep pace with change’

Posted by egovindia on November 30, 2007

‘Indian laws have failed to keep pace with change’
30 Nov 2007, 0132 hrs IST,Anubha Sawhney,TNN

NEW DELHI: In an instance of the law taking its own time to catch up with prevalent social norms, the Supreme Court last week said, “there is nothing wrong in a girl eloping to get married according to her choice if she has attained 18 years the legal age for marriage.”

Nothing wrong with that, barring for one small thing: Once a girl is 18, she automatically attains legal sanction to get married. So whether she elopes for matrimony or chooses a partner to live in with, it comes to the same thing.

Explains lawyer Arvind Jain, the author of Hindi bestseller Aurat Hone Ki Saza : “Indian laws are contradictory in nature and conflict with each other at every step. According to Section 375 of the IPC, for a girl, the age of consent for sex is 16. By making the legal age for marriage 18, the law is — in effect — encouraging pre-marital sex.”

Jain also claims the law commission has made many a recommendation to amend existing gender-related laws, but to no avail.

Granting bail to a boy from Karnataka who was jailed for a year by the high court on a complaint of the parents of the girl with whom he had eloped, a bench comprising Justices C K Thakker and Markandey Katju sent out a warning to all parents with daughters of marriageable age. They cannot threaten, coerce or keep in illegal confinement their daughters who have crossed 18 years of age, it said.

The ruling also recounted from the Mahabharata the tales of chivalry embodied in the elopement of Krishna with Rukmini. Social commentator Shiv Visvanathan believes there could be many a social implication of such an action.

“Myth and law cannot and should not be confused. Time was when myths were considered religious sanction but confusing them with laws is not such a good idea,” says Visvanathan.

Adds Futurebrand CEO Santosh Desai, “As for the law, there’s always a dichotomy between reality and what ought to be. I believe if there’s an agreement between both generations (parents and children), it’s quite okay.”

According to author Shobhaa De, “The fact that homosexuality is still considered ‘criminal’, says a lot about our archaic laws. In a rapidly changing society such as ours, we need to address issues in a far more progressive way. An 18-year-old girl is legally in charge of her life and all decisions pertaining to herself. Given that, the ruling seems redundant and absurd. There are far too many contradictions in our social system. Unfortunately, the law has failed to keep pace with change.”

Commenting further on the SC ruling, Jain explains, “There is actually a law in India that says if a girl is married off at the age of 6 months, the marriage is valid and neither void nor voidable. Also, according to the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, if they are married, a 1 year old boy is the legal guardian of a 6-month-old girl. So where does the question of a girl eloping at 18 arise at all?”

And what elopement are we talking about? Gone are the days of knights in shining armour sweeping damsels off their feet. “In today’s context, a girl decides who she wants to be with,” says Rakshanda Jalil, media and cultural coordinator at Jamia Millia Islamia. “The notion of beguilement and the whole ‘damsel in distress’ idea is a thing of the past. Today’s girls make informed choices. And that’s the way it should be.”

Posted in COURTS in INDIA | Leave a Comment »

‘Judiciary equally to blame for backlog’

Posted by egovindia on November 30, 2007

‘Judiciary equally to blame for backlog’
30 Nov 2007, 0144 hrs IST,Manoj Mitta ,TNN

NEW DELHI: A close scrutiny of the recent performance report made public by CJI K G Balakrishnan on the status of the judicial system shows that the judiciary itself is not blameless for prolonged vacancies in the judiciary that has heightened the larger problem of delay and arrears in the disposal of cases.

The reports shows the vacancy situation is bad not only in the subordinate judiciary, where the appointments are made by the respective state governments, but also in the high courts, where the superior judiciary calls the shots in the appointment of judges.

Consider the latest available figures cited by CJI himself — out of the sanctioned strength of 792 judges in the 21 high courts across the country, the working strength was 586. This works out to 26% vacancies against sanctioned strength in the high courts. Out of the sanctioned strength of 15,399 subordinate judges in the country, the working strength was 12,368 — with vacancies accounting for 20% in the subordinate judiciary.

In other words, while in absolute terms, a larger number of judges have to be appointed in the lower courts, a higher percentage of posts of judges are lying vacant in the high courts. Justice Balakrishnan also gave the data on the manner in which the arrears had gone up over seven years at the two levels of the judiciary. He ended up showing that the rate of increase in the arrears was more in the high courts than in the subordinate courts.

According to the CJI’s report, the arrears increased in the high courts from 27.5 lakh cases in 1999 to 36.5 lakh cases in 2006. In the subordinate courts, the arrears increased over the same seven-year period from 2 crore cases to 2.48 crore cases.

Thus, the arrears grew by 33% in the high courts while they grew by 24% in the subordinate courts.

So while the CJI made a case against the executive, facts would show that both the government and the judiciary are to blame. Obfuscating the distinction in the systems of appointment to the subordinate judiciary and the high courts, Justice Balakrishnan claimed: “That takes us to the selection and appointment process where the government has a greater role than the judiciary.”

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Govt needs to invest in infrastructure of courts

Posted by egovindia on November 30, 2007

Govt needs to invest in infrastructure of courts
30 Nov 2007, 0147 hrs IST,Dhananjay Mahapatra,TNN

NEW DELHI: Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan has worked out a figure of additional judges that would be required to clear the judicial backlog. According to him, if 1,539 new judges were added to the existing 792, all pending cases in high courts would be cleared in a year. And if they are to be cleared in two years, 770 additional high court judges would be sufficient.

Likewise, the Chief Justice has calculated that if all pending cases in the lower courts were to be cleared in one year, all existing 15,399 posts must be filled up and an additional 18,479 judges should be appointed. If the backlog were to be cleared in two years, 9,239 additional judges would be required.

Would this involve an unacceptably high cost? Certainly not. In the model worked out by TOI , the cost is just Rs 1,426 crore but at existing levels of salary, it is a meagre Rs 180 crore if Rs 15,000 is taken as the average salary and 10,000 new judges are appointed.

The government has to invest more in the infrastructure of courts. Most of them, especially the lower courts, are in a shambles. The buildings need repair and expansion. The courts need to be fully computerized so that old files don’t eat into half the court space. Also, court rooms should be air-conditioned to increase efficiency in extreme weather conditions.

Who is responsible for filling up vacant posts? Actually, both the superior judiciary, and the state and central governments. For the lower courts, it is the government. And for the high courts, it is a collegium of judges headed by the Chief Justice which forwards the name of the new judge for ratification by the law ministry and the PMO.

Law minister Hans Raj Bhardwaj was quick to point out that “not a single file regarding appointment of judges to the high courts is pending with the government.” In other words, the collegium has been tardy in recommending judges for the high courts. Justice Balakrishnan has said, “The backlog cannot be wiped out without additional strength, particularly when new filings are likely to increase and not come down in the coming years.”

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Timely justice at Re 1 per head per month–3_crore_cases_pending_in_Indian_courts

Posted by egovindia on November 30, 2007

Timely justice at Re 1 per head per month
30 Nov 2007, 0129 hrs IST,Dhananjay Mahapatra,TNN

As many as 37.1 lakh cases were pending in India’s 21 high courts as of June 30, 2007.

On the same day, 2.5 crore cases were pending in lower courts.

Of the 792 posts of judges sanctioned for high courts, 206 are vacant. Of the sanctioned strength of 15,399 judges in lower courts, 3,031 are vacant.

NEW DELHI: People spend a lifetime in courts. Cases often take more than a decade to be decided. The judges are overworked, the infrastructure is shabby and the judicial system is creaking at several levels, especially in subordinate courts. Judiciary — the one institution that still commands the people’s respect — is straining to deliver justice.

Who is responsible for this? Is it the judiciary or the government? TOI took a close look at different aspects of the judicial system and found that while there might be a modicum of truth in the popular refrain of courts not working to their potential, the bulk of the blame for unfilled lower court posts and the creaky infrastructure lies with the government.

Not just that, the government is also responsible for fixing pathetically low salaries for judges. It starts at Rs 9,000 per month for judicial magistrates and goes up to all of Rs 35,000 for the Chief Justice of India. If the best legal talent doesn’t want to join the judiciary, it’s hardly surprising. And if there’s corruption in the courts, it is not surprising either.

TOI would like the salaries to be much higher to ensure an efficient and corruption-free judiciary. It worked out a model in which judges would get a respectable salary and it hiked the number of judges to the level required to clear the backlog within two years, and found the additional cost would be Rs 1,426 crore (see Times View). This works out to Re 1 per Indian per month — a small price to ensure quality and timely justice.

The government, however, has simply not focused on how to pull the judiciary out of the mess. Each passing year, Parliament and state assemblies pass more and more laws, yet no one in government appears to give thought to the obvious — that the number of judges should be increased to cope with increased number of litigants and that retraining of judges in new laws should be mandatory.

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SC panel to suggest measures to weed out corruption in PDS

Posted by egovindia on July 17, 2006

SC panel to suggest measures to weed out corruption in PDS

New Delhi, Jul 12: The Supreme Court today set up a a two-member panel headed by a former judge of the apex court to examine the maladies afflicting the public distribution system (PDS) in the country and suggest remedial measures.

A Bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice S H Kapadia, which asked the committee to submit a report to it in four months, observed that it was an accepted fact that there was widespread corruption in the PDS and the foodgrain was not reaching the common man.

The former Judge to head the panel would be named by the Chief Justice of India while N C Saxena will be the other member. Saxena is the court’s Commissioner in another case filed by PUCL relating to starvation and right to food.

Apart from examining the issue of corruption and diversion of foodgrains and kerosene at the level of ration shops/dealers, the panel will also go into the issue of transparancy in the system.

It will examine as to how vigilance committees set up under the Public Distribution System (Control) Order were functioning.

The order came on a PIL filed in 2001 by People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), which alleged widespread corruption in PDS and diversion of foodgrains from ration shops to open market.

The petitioner urged the court to direct the Government to initiate criminal proceedings under the Essential Commodities Act against the guilty officials and register FIR on the information provided by an aggrieved person or any recognised consumer organisation.

It also wanted an effective monitoring mechanism to be in place to check diversion of foodgrains and kerosene.

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Judiciary should maintain public faith: Sabharwal

Posted by egovindia on July 15, 2006

Judiciary should maintain public faith: Sabharwal
Hyderabad | July 15, 2006 10:38:14 PM IST

Supreme Court Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal today said the Bar Council and Bench members should maintain ‘public faith’ which was imperative to strengthen ‘rule of law’ in the country.

Speaking at a function organised by the Andhra Pradesh High Court, after unveiling the ‘Golden Jubilee Commemoration Arcade’ at its premises here, Mr Sabharwal said ”our duty should be to ensure that public faith is maintained and preserved. It should also be kept in mind that the rule of law will be adversely affected once the public faith eroded.’ The Chief Justice pointed out that adherence to rule of law was the primary responsibility of the Judiciary to deliver justice to the poor on the basis of socio-economic and political conditions.

He called upon the budding lawyers and junior Bar Council members to equip themselves well with the court proceedings.

Stating that the number of legal professionals were more than ten million in the country, he said the senior Bar Council members should assist the juniors to improve their skills.


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