Supreme Court comes to the rescue of damsels in distress

Supreme Court comes to the rescue of damsels in distress

Jul 21: In the midst of screaming media headlines about women, and girls, being raped and murdered, some consoling news for these classes come from the Supreme Court of India which, in its recent judgments, has come to the aid of Indian damsels in distress. But, first the facts.

Directing family courts to dispose of divorce, custody cases expeditiously, the Supreme Court on July 16, 2014 said that it is the sacrosanct duty of the husband to provide financial support to the separated wife even if he is required to earn money with physical labour, while holding that maintenance must be enough for her to lead a dignified life.

The court said the husband is obligated to see that the wife does not become a destitute, a beggar and directed family courts to dispose of cases of maintenance, divorce, custody of child, property disputes as expeditiously as possible to ameliorate the agony and financial suffering of a woman who has left her matrimonial home.

Dealing with Section 125 (maintenance) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and V Gopala Gowda said: “It is the sacrosanct duty to render financial support even if the husband is required to earn money with physical labour, if he is able bodied. There is no escape route unless there is an order from the court that the wife is not entitled to get maintenance from the husband on any legally permissible grounds.”

The court made the observations while asking family court judges to avoid granting adjournments in a routine manner as they deal with sensitive issues of maintenance, divorce and custody of child between the estranged couple. “It has come to the notice of the court that on certain occasions, the family courts have been granting adjournments in a routine manner as a consequence of which both the parties suffer or, on certain occasions, the wife becomes the worst victim. When such a situation occurs, the purpose of the law gets totally atrophied,” the bench said.

“A family court judge should remember that procrastination is the greatest assassin of the lis (legal issue) before it. It not only gives rise to more family problems but also gradually builds unthinkable and everlasting bitterness. It leads to the cold refrigeration of hidden feelings, if still left. The delineation of the lis by the family judge must reveal the awareness and balance,” the bench said.

The court rejected a plea made by a Rajasthan man, who challenged a high court order wherein he was directed to pay maintenance from the date his estranged wife filed an divorce application in a family court. The court noted that the wife did not get anything for nine years as the matter kept on getting adjourned by the court.

In a second case, on July 18, 2014 the Supreme Court said that a child is not a shuttlecock to be tossed between the father and mother. A Bench of Chief Justice R M Lodha and Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton Nariman made this observation while hearing the case of custody of a four-year-old girl child, who, according to an order passed by the Madras High Court, had been asked to stay with the mother, G Renukadevi, for four days, and with the father, K S M Karthikeya, for three days (a week).

Referring to the order passed by the High Court on a habeas corpus petition filed by the mother, the CJI said: “This order is something which shocks the conscience of this court. We are sorry that the High Court has treated the child as a chattel, which is impermissible and unacceptable. There is no justification for the High Court to pass such an order. This is not the way a girl child should have been treated. The court has played the child like a shuttlecock between the father and the mother.” Pointing out that the welfare of the child should be of paramount concern in such matters, the CJI said, “The child can’t be put to agony and pain like this. We are not satisfied with the arrangement. This should be corrected and the child should remain with the mother.”

The case is yet to conclude, with the Supreme Court directing the father to bring the child to the court on July 21 and asking the mother to be present for the hearing. It also asked the father to bring the child on the day to facilitate mediation.

The case was argued by high profile lawyers Nalini Chidambaram for the mother and Abhishek Singhvi for the father.

What happens when you cannot afford to go up to the Supreme Court and have no resources to hire high-flying lawyers? That brings us to the third case where activists came into the picture and secured the dues of a long-suffering retired duo from Udupi. Akku and Leela had served for four decades as temporarily appointed cleaners from 1971 to 2011 in Government Women Teachers’ Training Institute at a meagre salary of Rs 15 per month. Their plea for making them permanent and get corresponding benefits finally reached the Supreme Court which on July 4,2014 issued a final warning giving one week’s time to comply with its earlier order. The State government has now issued an order which entitles them to get Rs 30 lakhs each as salary and arrears. Their case was guided and supported by the Udupi-based Human Rights Protection Foundation which has Ravindranath Shanbagh as President.

John B Monteiro, author and journalist, is editor of his website http://www.welcometoreason.com which incorporates his recently launched blog “ Monty’s Cocktails”



Bantwal: Head constable a victim of land grab, no respite even after 19 years

Bantwal: Head constable a victim of land grab, no respite even after 19 years    

Bantwal, Jul 21: Head constable Rukmayya Gowda has spent half his life walking in and out of government offices to protect his inherited 1.65 acre of land which has been usurped. Yet justice has eluded him and he ends up losing more than half his monthly salary.
Gowda, currently working in Uppinangady, has been running from pillar to post to protect his land. The land was sanctioned to his father Thyamappa Gowda, under Rule 7 (1) A of the Mysore Land Grant Rules 1969 in 1972 in Peraje village. The land for which Thyamappa was an unauthorized occupant was sanctioned after regularizing the land.

Rukmayya Gowda
Gowda claims that an individual named Venkatramana Bhat, using bureaucratic clout of revenue department, created fraud documents in the name of Parameshwara Naik in 1995 to allegedly grab part of the land (1.65 acre) under survey number 12/2 (3.60 acre), granted to his father by the government.
Gowda says Bhat, hand in glove with the then tahsildar, created fake documents to lay claim to his land. A new survey number – 13/2 was created in the year 1995 for the part of 3.60 acre of the land. The then tahsildar allegedly created fake records to claim that the land measuring up to 1.65 acre had been granted to Parameshwar Naik on 9 April, 1980.
Since 1995, the case was discussed many times at taluk and district levels and in the High Court, but to no avail. The head constable was also reportedly cornered by the police department for his legal fight against the officials of the Bantwal revenue department. According to Gowda, he also wrote a letter to the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights, in relation to the gross violation of human rights which has caused him to run from pillar to post to get justice, but in vain.
However, the then assistant commissioner of Mangalore had ordered cancellation of the document pertaining to survey number 13/2. The assistant commissioner, in the order dated 12-3-2000, ordered de-listing of the land sanctioned to Parameshwar Naik. But the tahsildar at that time failed to comply with the order. The information gathered through RTI on the action taken following the order also suggests that the tahsildar has not acted on the orders of the assistant commissioner.
Gowda filed a writ petition in the High Court. During the hearing, the authority concerned deposed before the court and said he would take swift action to cancel the land documents granted to Parameshwar Naik. But nothing of the sort happened.  
Failing to get back the land after tedious efforts, Gowda wrote a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights(UNHCHR). The UNHCHR instructed the commission functioning from Karnakata to take measures to protect Gowda’s interests. However, on learning of theland dispute, the commission told the concerned authorities to deal with the issue and provide justice to Gowda.
“Till today, Bantwal revenue department has not complied with the orders passed on several occasions,” lamented Gowda. He said that he has lost faith in the law of the land. He also claimed that there could be at least 15 more victims who have fallen prey to Bhat and lost their land.
Bhat, when contacted, said Gowda is making false claims that he had got a favourable verdict in court. The latter, when asked about the assistant commissioner’s order, contended that the case was tried in the court. He was unable to answer to the statements by the court which said the tashildar will reverse the RTC.

Udupi: 11-year-old girl Child Labourer Rescued by CWD

Udupi: 11-year-old girl Child Labourer Rescued by CWD

Udupi: An 11-year-old girl working in an apartment at Manipal was rescued on Friday July 18.
Acting on a tip-off, the labour department, revenue department, child welfare department and education department raided Irshad Ali’s house located at Manipal.

They rescued a Eleven-year-old  minor girl Naseera (Name changed) from Bihar being employed as a house maid. Later she was handed over to the Children welfare committee of Udupi district.
Udupi Tashildar Guruprasad, Labour officer R Ravikumar, Jeevan Kumar, Prabhakar Achar, BEO Nagesh Shanubhag, Madhukar, Pushpalatha and other were took part in this rescue operation.



Bangalore: Rape in school, Karnataka CM appears dozing in House during debate; denies it

Bangalore: Rape in school, Karnataka CM appears dozing in House during debate; denies it

Bangalore (PTI): Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today found himself in an embarrassing spot as video footage on TV channels showed him apparently dozing off during a debate on sexual offences against women in the Legislative Assembly.

Siddaramaiah was seen in the video grab tilting his head in the front with eyes closed as the House was immersed in an animated debate with the opposition BJP going hammer and tongs against the government over a spate of recent sexual offences and gunned for the resignation of Home Minister K J George.

The video shot was aired by TV channels but the Chief Minister said he was not napping.”I was not sleeping. Who told you?. It is not correct,” Siddaramaiah said to reporters’ question.”I was very much attentive. I was listening to that (debate),” the Chief Minister said.

The BJP had raised the issue of alleged rape of a six-year old girl student in a prominent public school in Bangalore which came to light on July 15 though it took place on July two and the alleged rape of a 22-year old woman who was sitting in a car with her friend here on July 10 midnight.

A 16-year old nun was allegedly raped here on Wednesday at a seminary where she was staying to undergo training.

The series of incidents has sparked a public outrage and protests, particularly the horrific rape of the minor girl in the school.



Mangalore: Four Arrested for Abducting Contractor and Extortion Attempt

Mangalore: Four Arrested for Abducting Contractor and Extortion Attempt

Mangalore: A few persons had accosted building contractor Dhananajaya Mijar near the PVS circle in the city and packed him off in a car on July 14.

Thereafter he was taken to the rear side of a restaurant in Kadri, threatened with the flashing of a sword. They also demanded a heavy amount from him under threat to life. Then they had fled in a Pajero vehicle.

A complaint was filed by Dhananjaya with the Kadri police. Inspector T D Nagaraj swung into action and went on a hot trail of the culprits. On receiving information that they were trying to flee to Bangalore, he and his team intercepted them near Bantwal and arrested four persons.

At the time of extortion attempt at Kadri, only two of the accused were present. They are Harish Tolar (37), of Kundapur origin, and Nagesh (27) of Manila near Vittal in Bantwal taluk. But when the arrests were made, Roshan (28) of Udupi and John Fernandes (26) were with them. They too were taken into custody.

Harish Tolar is one of the accused in the murder of builder Subba Rao and allegedly a former associate of underworld don Bannanje Raja. He had been acquitted in the murder case. He has five cases filed against him in Bangalore. He had once been arrested by the CCB of Bangalore in connection with a shootout case. Later he had reportedly joined Bannanje Raja in his extortion activities.

The Pajero car used by them, Rs 72,000 in cash, six mobile phones and lethal weapons have been seized from them. Harish and Nagesh have been charged with threat, extortion and possession of lethal weapons. Roshan and John too have been slapped with a case under the Firearms Act.

The four were produced in a court here and sent to judicial custody. The police sources said that they would seek custody of the accused for a thorough interrogation.