LAW RESOURCE INDIA

Parts of hostile witness’s evidence can be used: Supreme Court

Posted in SUPREME COURT by NNLRJ INDIA on May 22, 2012

NEW DELHI: Judges should not treat as totally erased the evidence tendered by a witness whom the prosecution terms as hostile during a trial, the Supreme Court has said. “It is a settled legal proposition that the evidence of a prosecution witness cannot be rejected in toto merely because the prosecution chose to treat him as hostile and cross-examined him,” the apex court bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice Dipak Misra said Monday.

“The evidence of such witnesses cannot be treated as effaced or washed off the record altogether but the same can be accepted to the extent that their version is found to be dependable on a careful scrutiny thereof,” Justice Chauhan said.

The judges said that “the law can be summarised to the effect that the evidence of a hostile witness cannot be discarded as a whole, and relevant parts thereof which are admissible in law, can be used by the prosecution or the defence”.  The court said this while upholding the Allahabad High Court’s verdict by which it reversed the acquittal of Ramesh Harijan in a case of rape and causing the death of a minor child in Uttar Pradesh in 1996.

The high court by its March 23, 2007 order reversed the acquittal decision of an additional district and session judge in Basti district Feb 2, 1999. The apex court said “even if a major portion of the evidence is found to be deficient, in case residue is sufficient to prove guilt of an accused, it is the duty of the court to separate the grain from chaff. Falsity of particular material witness or material particular would not ruin it from the beginning to end”.

“The maxim falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus (false in one, false in all) has no application in India and the witness cannot be branded as a liar. In case this maxim is applied in all the cases it is to be feared that administration of criminal justice would come to a dead stop,” the court said. The judgment said “it has to be appraised in each case as to what extent the evidence is worthy of credence, and merely because in some respects the court considers the same to be insufficient or unworthy of reliance, it does not necessarily follow as a matter of law that it must be disregarded in all respects as well”.

Referring to the evidence tendered by three hostile witnesses in Harijan’s case, the apex court said: “Undoubtedly, there may be some exaggeration in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses… however, it is the duty of the court to unravel the truth under all circumstances.”

“A reasonable doubt is not an imaginary trivial or merely possible doubt, but a fair doubt based upon reason and common sense”, the apex court said, upholding the high court’s verdict setting aside the acquittal of Harijan by the trial court. In Harijan’s case, the five-year-old victim was first buried by her family under the belief that she died of paralysis. But her body was later exhumed and sexual assault and death due to shock was confirmed in a medical test.

Harish Salve explains SC powers on contempt

Posted in CENSORSHIP LAW, MEDIA ETHICS, MEDIA ISSUES, MEDIA LAW by NNLRJ INDIA on April 20, 2012

DHANANJAY MAHAPATRA IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

NEW DELHI: If a person is found guilty of committing contempt of Supreme Court, will the apex court’s constitutional power to punish him be circumscribed by the Contempt of Court Act (CCA) provisions?

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing in the application filed by Vodafone complaining about misreporting during the hearing of its case, said CCA only provided the guiding principles and would in no way limit the apex court’s power on quantum of punishment, which in appropriate cases could exceed what is provided in the statute. The response came to a query from a five-judge bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices D K Jain, S S Nijjar, Ranjana P Desai and J S Khehar whether Article 129 of the Constitution, which provides that “the Supreme Court shall be a court of record and shall have all powers of such a court including the power to punish for contempt of itself”, meant it was bridled by the CCA.

After hearing Salve’s view, the CJI said though the bench had not taken any final view, it was of the opinion that provisions of a statute could not limit the Constitution-vested powers of the apex court. In the midst of long deliberation on the necessity of framing media reporting guidelines to protect right of an accused to reputation and dignity as well as preserve sanctity of fair trial, the bench asked for Salve’s view on restricting press freedom derived from right to free speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution and whether it could only be done through parameters specified under Article 19(2).

The senior advocate said, “The Supreme Court need not deal with the restrictions specified under Article 19(2) because it is only engaged in an exercise to define the contours of press freedom in reporting pending investigation or trial of a case and balancing it with the right of the accused to dignity and reputation.”

Salve said these days it was common to find TV channels standing outside a house being raided by investigating agencies and telecasting minute by minute details of the search operation. “This surely besmirches someone’s reputation. What happens if the agency does not find any incriminating material or does not press any charge at the end of the investigations? Can he not move the constitutional courts seeking relief on the ground that such reporting was destroying his reputation,” he asked.

“The media should be beyond government regulations except acceptable censorship. But to argue that media is beyond all regulation is the limit,” he said. Salve also objected to media using unnecessary hyperboles to describe intense questioning by a bench in serious issues.

He said, “Judges ask sharp questions to get the best out of lawyers. There is no pulling up, tearing into or lambasting involved in the oral argument-based judicial scrutiny system in India. There is a talk of restraining judges from making comments on institutions. If anyone has to exercise restraint, it is the reporters who cover the courts, not the judges nor the lawyers who must not be inhibited in any manner from free and frank exchange of views.”

Counsel Nitya Ramakrishnan said the investigating agencies had been regularly leaking information to media to prejudice an accused branding him as a terrorist though ultimately he might get acquitted in a trial. Appearing for Rajasthan government, counsel Manish Singhvi said a state producing clear and cogent evidence of consistent media misreporting could seek temporary deferment of publication for a limited period.

“However, the order for postponement of publication must be direct, proximate with investigation and must be least intrusive to the freedom of press/electronic media. Thus, the press has a right to report even criminal sub-judice matters as long as they do not impair or destroy fair investigation,” he said. Singhvi said subordinate courts had sovereign power to dispense justice and hence, they had inherent powers to pass appropriate orders to secure the ends of justice.

Judiciary can’t regulate press freedom: Jethmalani

Posted in MEDIA ETHICS, MEDIA ISSUES, MEDIA LAW by NNLRJ INDIA on April 19, 2012
Ram Jethmalani (born September 10, 1923) is an...

Ram Jethmalani (born September 10, 1923) is an Indian politician and a famous and controversial criminal lawyer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DHANANJAY MAHAPATRA IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

NEW DELHI: Former law minister, MP and senior advocate Ram Jethmalani on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it would be unconstitutional to curtail or regulate press freedom through judicially evolved guidelines because Parliament alone was competent to undertake this exercise through legislative route.

Appearing for a media association before a five-judge constitution bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices D K Jain, S S Nijjar, Ranjana P Desai and J S Khehar, the octogenarian lawyer suggested that the best method to evolve guidelines for reporting subjudice matters without infringing the rights of the accused was to seek consensus through meetings between judges, lawyers and leaders of the media.

“The guideline evolved through this process could be recommended to Parliament for appropriate legislative action. I can assure you that Parliament would act on such a recommendation,” he said.

Though the bench had doubts about the efficacy of normative guidelines in protecting fair trial because of excessive reporting intruding into the domain of judges in certain cases, it said, “If we have to recommend, we will do so. There is no problem at all. But the limited question is what should the court do when a person approaches it complaining against media’s blatant breach of his right to presumption of innocence till pronounced guilty? Would the court be breaching Article 19 if it protects the right of the accused by ordering deferment of reporting for a short period.”

Jethmalani was unrelenting. He said, “A pre-publication ban is ultra vires. A guideline to this effect is unconstitutional. Even if the Supreme Court has some legislative power, when the issue involves Article 19, restrictions must come from a statute made by Parliament.”

However, he agreed that if a constitutional court was convinced that a newspaper report compromised the right of an accused and jeopardized fair trial or administration of justice, it could surely put a ban on subsequent publication of the matter.

Jethmalani said the malady of misreporting or biased reporting could be controlled if the judges shed their populist approach and sent a couple of errant journalists to jail under contempt of court law.

“Contempt of court law is not invoked as much as it should be to invoke the fear of god in journalists. The court will not have to worry about media guidelines if contempt jurisdiction is invoked and sent a message that press cannot get away with contemptuous reports,” he said.

Appearing for the Statesman newspaper, counsel Madhavi Goradia Divan argued against court-framed media guidelines saying mere reporting of trial proceedings would not vilify anyone as the public was aware of the cardinal principle ‘presumption of innocence till pronounced guilty’.

On the flip side, she said well-intentioned guidelines could be taken out of context and attempts would be made to achieve something which was completely different from what the court was intending to do. “The trial courts are well aware of the powers conferred on them to control reporting of proceedings in a criminal case,” she said.

The bench clarified, “Our effort is not to punish but to prevent. This exercise is an awareness process for everyone. We want to put in guidelines to avoid certain situations by deferring reporting for a limited period of time. We are not going into reporting of other wings of government but of a limited restraint on reporting as far as court proceedings are concerned.” The arguments will continue on Wednesday.

Judiciary can’t regulate press freedom: Jethmalani

Parks, sanctuaries on mining no-go list soon

Posted in ENVIRONMENT by NNLRJ INDIA on April 14, 2012

NITIN SETHI IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

NEW DELHI: A panel set up to review norms for no-go areas that will protect certain areas from commercial activity is likely to recommend mining should be disallowed in all national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in the country.

Sources in the government told TOI that the committee, headed by the Union environment and forests secretary, is likely to close the debate over no-go areas as it is not inclined to reassess protected areas in view of existing legal protection provided to national parks and sanctuaries that has been supplemented by orders of the Supreme Court.

The committee was set up after a Group of Ministers (GoM) on coal asked the environment ministry to reconsider parameters for no-go areas, where mining is not permitted. They were renamed inviolate areas and the ministry asked to set new norms to be put before the GoM.

The panel’s decision can make it difficult for any relaxation of a policy that has come under pressure from some central ministries and state governments. While ministries like coal and mining have been keen that the no-go policy be made less rigid, the committee does not seem to favour any dilution.

The panel, sources said, feels that parks and sanctuaries provided a higher level of protection under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1976, should not be re-evaluated for their forest value. The head of the Wildlife Institute of India, Forest Survey of India and other senior forest officers from the Centre and select states are the other members of the committee.

There are 661 such protected areas comprising of 100 National Parks, 514 Wildlife Sanctuaries, 43 Conservation Reserves and 4 Community Reserves that add up to roughly 5% of the country’s geographical area. This includes the tiger reserves as well.

The committee is likely to recommend that patches of forest be measured for their forest cover as well as biodiversity values. The panel has not considered the implications of the Forest Rights Act as yet. Under the existing rules, the ministry cannot allocate forest lands to development projects until the rights of the people under the FRA have been settled and the village councils of the affected area agreed to the diversion of forest.

Once the committee’s recommendations are considered by the GoM and approved, the ministry would be asked to again demarcate the no-go zones for mining, but this may happen only after the cases of Mahan and Chhatrasal blocks in Madhya Pradesh, which the GoM has pushed hard for clearing, are reassessed.

Reporting guidelines: Supreme Court expands scope of deliberations

Posted in DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, MEDIA ETHICS, MEDIA ISSUES, MEDIA LAW by NNLRJ INDIA on April 7, 2012
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

DHANANJAY MAHAPATRA IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

A petitioner has pleaded the Supreme Court to frame guidelines and norms for coverage of criminal cases pending investigation “so that the right of privacy and to live with dignity is not at the mercy of irresponsible press or media as has been done in the case of the recent Aarushi murder case”.

 NEW DELHI: The purview of the Supreme Court’s deliberations to frame guidelines for how media should report sub-judice matters, which arose from indignation over a news report on “leaked” privileged communication between the counsel of Sahara Real Estate Corporation and Sebi, has now been expanded to include related cases which had been pending in the apex court since 1999.

While hearing Sahara’s application, a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia had directed that “any party, who desires to make submissions in the matter, may do so by way of intervention”. This prompted several public spirited lawyers and organizations to intervene in the deliberations.

During the discussions, the court had appeared to narrow down the issue before it to a debate on the framing of guidelines for reporting of criminal trials to guard against violation of Article 21 guaranteeing right of an accused to reputation and dignity and to ensure that his trial does not get prejudiced, and the witness protection mechanism is not impacted.

However, on April 4, the court ordered inclusion of four more media guideline-related petitions, two of which were pending since 1999 and 2000, within the zone of consideration by permitting the parties involved to make submissions on “framing of guidelines for reporting of cases in media” when the matter is taken up for hearing on April 10. This at once broadened the scope of the exercise.

The issues raised in these four petitions include norms for news coverage in electronic media, norms and guidelines to minimize presentation of sexual abuse and violence on TV channels, contempt proceedings against journalists for publishing confessional statements of accused before police and making police liable for damages for tarnishing the reputation of an accused by releasing details of investigation into a case.

In Criminal Appeal No. 1255 of 1999 titled PUCL vs State of Maharashtra, the News Broadcasters Association had desired to intervene and assist the apex court on the issue of “what norms should govern news coverage by the electronic media”. On November 5, 2008, a bench headed by Justice Dalveer Bhandari had issued notices to all state and Union Territory governments.

The writ petition (civil) No. 387 of 2000 titled Common Cause vs Union of India last came up for hearing before the court in July 2009. The relief sought by the NGO was to “prescribe definite norms and guidelines for minimization of presentation of scenes of violence and sexual abuse in serials and programmes telecast by TV channels for avoidance of undesirable mental impact on the viewers, particularly children”.

In the transfer case 27 of 2011, NGO Anhad had sought initiation of contempt proceedings against two senior journalists for “publishing confessional statements of accused before police and thereby prejudicing or tending to prejudice the due course of judicial proceedings of those accused”.

Ban sought on cops leaking case information

Anhad had also sought a direction to the government to lay down guidelines “to be followed by both police and media regarding release of evidence or information and its publication against the accused claimed to be obtained by police during interrogation or investigation when the matter is sub-judice”.

The fourth petition included in the list was a writ petition filed by Dr Surat Singh in 2008 in the aftermath of media reporting of UP police’s version of the Aarushi murder case and the role of the accused. He had sought a complete ban on police leaking any information to media about pending investigations. He had also requested the court to make police officers personally liable for rushing to media and “making adverse comments or character assassination of an accused or his family members/friends or about the victim”.

Singh had sought framing of guidelines and norms for coverage of criminal cases pending investigation “so that the right of privacy and to live with dignity is not at the mercy of irresponsible press or media as has been done in the case of the recent Aarushi murder case”.

Related articles

Cannot ban news as it is perishable, Supreme Court told

Posted in CENSORSHIP LAW, MEDIA ISSUES, MEDIA LAW by NNLRJ INDIA on March 29, 2012

NEW DELHI: As Supreme Court Wednesday explored the option of postponing the publication of court proceedings in sensitive matters, including criminal cases, it was told that news was a perishable commodity which lost its value, if banned.

“We are not banning but are invoking the doctrine of postponement. It is a question of the timing” of the reporting of court proceedings, Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia told counsel Anup Bhambhani who appeared for News Broadcasters Association ( NBA).

While evaluating the option of postponing the publication of the court proceedings, the court indicated that it may frame guidelines as had been done in some specific cases. The postponement of the publication of the ongoing court proceedings in a case would amount to ban for a certain period thereby rendering it useless, Bhambhani told the apex court‘s constitutional bench of Chief Justice Kapadia, Justice D.K. Jain, Justice S.S. Nijjar, Justice R.P. Desai and Justice J.S. Khehar.

“News is a perishable commodity. If its publication is banned then it would lose its news value,” Bhambhani told the court adding that the “practical effect of what the court is contemplating would be something it had not even thought of”.

The court asked “can media analyse the evidence even before the court had done and prejudice the case of the accused facing trial”. The judges said this on an application by the Sahara India Real Estate Corp agitating its grievance over a news channel reporting its proposal made to the Securities and Exchange Board of India on securing the money it had mopped up from the market.

On an application by Sahara, the court said it would frame guidelines for reporting of sub-judice matters. Bhambhani said an accused facing trial in the 2G case could in future approach the court saying the media should be restrained from reporting the court proceedings in his case as it was affecting his business interest. “It (postponement) will open a Pandora’s box.”

He favoured putting in place guidelines as the broadcasters had already done for themselves under the stewardship of former chief justice J.S. Verma. Senior counsel Fali Nariman, appearing for Sahara, told the court that under Article 19 of the constitution people had a right to know and the right to be informed.

He said that live telecast of parliament proceedings were the satisfaction of the right to know and the right to be informed. Every citizen has a right to know what their elected representatives were doing in parliament even if they were staging a walkout, Nariman told the court, suggesting that the court proceedings could not be shielded from the people.

Addressing the court’s option of postponement of publication of court proceedings, Nariman said that there could not be any preventive relief.

He said that courts were not empowered to make such guidelines nor was there any statutory empowerment for then to do so. The court asked Nariman if he could suggest how to balance the freedom of press with the right of an accused facing trial. The court said that in Canada they do have some law and Ireland has guidelines that restrain one-sided reporting that causes prejudice to the accused.

No more leniency to govts in delayed appeals: SC

Posted in SUPREME COURT by NNLRJ INDIA on February 26, 2012

Supreme Court of India

TIMES OF INDIA

NEW DELHI: For long, government and its departments have been getting away lightly in the judiciary as courts have been lenient in viewing the delay in filing of appeals by them. But, the Supreme Court on Friday put an end to it and decided to treat government with the same yardstick used for other litigants when it comes to filing of appeals after the statutory deadline. Dismissing an appeal filed by the chief of the Post Master General against Living Media India Ltd; after 427 days of the statutory period of limitation, a bench of Justices P Sathasivam and J Chelameswar said the apex court was no more willing to buy the stock response of government departments – delay was due to red-tape and pendency of file on a bureaucrat’s desk for long.

“The law of limitation undoubtedly binds everybody including the government,” the bench said refusing to accept the contention that delays in filing of appeals by government departments are due to impersonal machinery and inherited bureaucratic methodology of making multiple notes. “Why the delay is to be condoned mechanically merely because government or wing of the government is a party before us?” the bench asked.

“It is the right time to inform all the government bodies, their agencies and instrumentalities that unless they have reasonable and acceptable explanation for the delay and there was bona-fide effort, there is no need to accept the usual explanation that the file was kept pending for several months/years due to considerable degree of procedural red-tape,” said Justice Sathasivam, who wrote the judgment.

This could hit governments hard as they are the biggest litigant before the judiciary accounting for about 40% of total cases pending in various courts either as petitioner or respondent. The sheer volume of work and lack of enough equipped manpower often leave the decision of whether to file an appeal in a limbo till higher-ups take a view of it. Besides, the decision to reduce government litigation has not trickled down.

Justice Sathasivam said: “The government departments are under a special obligation to ensure that they perform their duties with due diligence and commitment. Condoning of delay is an exception and should not be used as an anticipated benefit for government departments.”

He said the law must weigh every litigant on the same scale and “should not be swirled for the benefit of few”. On the case at hand, the court slammed the postal department, saying “From day one the department or the persons concerned have not evinced diligence in prosecuting the matter to this court by taking appropriate steps”.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/No-more-leniency-to-govts-in-delayed-appeals-SC/articleshow/12039556.cms

Employees can’t be forced to work under new management: Supreme Court

Posted in WORKERS RIGHTS by NNLRJ INDIA on November 21, 2011

Supreme Court of India

PTI NEWS

NEW DELHI: Employees cannot be compelled to work under a new management and are entitled to retirement or retrenchment benefits, the Supreme Court has held.  The apex court rejected the argument of Philip’s India Ltdthat since the employees had neither retired nor retrenched, hence they were not entitled to the benefits. “It is settled law that without consent, workmen cannot be forced to work under different management and in that event, those workmen are entitled to retirement/retrenchment compensation in terms of the Act.”In view of the same, we are of the view that the workmen are entitled to the benefit of such direction and it is the obligation on the part of the management – Philip’s India Ltd., to comply with the same,” the apex court said. A bench of justices P Sathasivam and J Chelamewar passed the judgement upholding the appeal filed by aggrieved workers of erstwhile Philip’s India Ltd which had sold its consumer electronics factory at Salt Lake, Kolkata to Kitchen Appliances India Ltd.

The aggrieved workers were not keen on continuing with the company and instead sought VRS from new management which was turned down by the company on the ground that the earlier scheme had lapsed in 1997. The Calcutta high court while upholding transfer of the ownership however, on October 10, 2001, directed the management to pay retirement, retrenchment benefits to the workers who were not keen to continue with their association in the company. As the management failed to comply with the direction, the workers appealed in the apex court.

Draft Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Bill, 2011, Draft Model Property Rights to Slum Dwellers Act, 2011 and Central Legislation for Street Vendors

Posted in REAL ESTATE by NNLRJ INDIA on November 11, 2011

Draft Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Bill, 2011, Draft Model Property Rights to Slum Dwellers Act, 2011 and Central Legislation for Street Vendors

Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation notified the `Draft Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Bill, 2011`, The Draft Model Property Rights to Slum Dwellers Act, 2011` and Central Legislation for Street Vendors at a Press Conference in New Delhi.

I.  Draft Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Bill, 2011

 The Draft Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Bill, 2011 seeks to establish a regulatory oversight mechanism to enforce disclosure, fair practice and accountability norms in the real estate sector, and to provide adjudication machinery for speedy dispute redressal. This Act is in pursuance of the powers of Parliament to make laws on matters enumerated in the Concurrent List namely, transfer of property other than agricultural land; registration of deeds and documents, and contracts including partnerships, agency, contracts of carriage, and other special forms of contracts, but not including contracts relating to agricultural land.  The Bill aims at restoring confidence of the general public in the real estate sector; by instituting transparency and accountability in real estate and housing transactions.  Currently, the real estate and housing sector is largely unregulated and opaque, with consumers often unable to procure complete information, or enforce accountability against builders and developers in the absence of effective regulation.  The sector, in recent years, has also emerged as a source of black money and corruptions in the economy. The Bill is expected to ensure greater accountability towards consumers, bring transparency and fairness in transactions and reduce frauds and delays significantly. All of these factors would make sizable dent in the corruption in this sector.

 The Bill is also expected to promote regulated and orderly growth through efficiency, professionalism and standardization. It seeks to ensure consumer protection, without adding another stage in the procedure for sanctions.

 The salient features of the Draft Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Bill are:

  1. Establishment of a ‘Real Estate Regulatory Authority’ in each State by the Appropriate Government (Centre for the UTs and State Governments in the case of the States), with specified functions, powers, and responsibilities to facilitate the orderly and planned  growth of the sector;
  2. Mandatory registration of developers / builders, who intend to sell any immovable property, with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority as a system of accreditation;
  3. Mandatory public disclosure norms for all registered developers, including details of developer, project, land status , statutory approvals and contractual obligations;
  4. Obligations of promoters to adhere to approved plans and project specifications, and to refund moneys in cases of default;
  5. Obligation of allottee to make necessary payments and other charges agreed to under the agreement and payment of interest in case of any delay;
  6. Provision to compulsorily deposit a portion of funds received from the allottees in a separate bank account, to be used for that real estate project only;
  7. The Authority to act as the nodal agency to co-ordinate efforts regarding development of the real estate sector and render necessary advice to the appropriate Government to ensure the growth and promotion of a transparent, efficient and competitive real estate sector; as also establish dispute resolution mechanisms for settling disputes between promoters and allottees/ buyers;
  8. Authorities to comprise of one Chairperson and not less than two members having adequate knowledge and experience of the sector;
  9. Establishment of a ‘Real Estate Appellate Tribunal’ by the Central Government to hear appeals from the orders of the Authority and to adjudicate on disputes.  Tribunal  to be headed by a sitting or retired Judge of Supreme Court or Chief Justice of High Court with 4 judicial and at-least 4 administrative/technical members;
  10. Chairperson of the Tribunal to have powers to constitute Benches, for exercising powers of the Tribunal;
  11. Establishment of a Central Advisory Council to advise the Central Government on matters concerning implementation of the Act.
  12. Council to make recommendations on major questions of policy, protection of consumer interest and to foster growth and development of the real estate sector;
  13. Penal provisions to ensure compliance with orders of the Authority and Tribunal;
  14. Jurisdiction of Civil Courts barred on matters which the Authority or the Tribunal is empowered to determine;
  15. Both Centre and States to have  powers to make rules over subjects specified in the Bill, and the Regulatory Authority to have powers to make regulations;
  16. Powers to Central Government to issue directions to States on matters specified in the Act have also been specified.

 II.  Draft Model Property Rights to Slum Dwellers Act, 2011

The Ministry of HUPA proposed the strengthening of its Slum redevelopment strategy by working towards a slum free India, and assigning property rights to Slum Dwellers, under the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY). RAY proposes decisive action for inclusive urban development that acknowledges the presence of the poor in cities, recognizes their contribution as essential to the city`s functioning, and redresses the fundamental reasons for inequity that ties them down to poverty.

 The conferment of property title is a new direction for national policy that aligns national approach to the global practice. It sees ownership of property as the best investment in democracy, by creating for the household due space within the formal system, and thereby a vested interest in peace and legal order.

 The Model law is aimed at bringing within the formal system, those who are forced to live in extra-formal spaces and in denial of right to services and amenities available to those with legal title to city spaces, and at correcting the deficiencies of the formal system of urban development and town planning that have failed to create conditions of inclusiveness and equity, so that, henceforth, new urban families, whether by way of migration or natural growth of population, have recourse to housing with civic amenities, and are not forced from lack of options to create encroachments and slums and live extralegal lives in conditions of deprivation of rights and amenities.

 The Model law intends to enable the household to access the formal channels of credit; it draws the entire extralegal economy of slums out of the informal market; it enriches the slum dweller by giving him access to mortgageable rights for housing construction, and the formal economy by enabling a quarter of its population to participate in its growth. The importance that Central Government gives to this measure for inclusion and equity may be gauged from the decision to link central support for slum redevelopment with the empowering of the slum household with property rights.

The salient features of the Draft Model Property Rights to Slum Dwellers Act, 2011 are:

  1. Facilitation of inclusive growth and slum-free cities, to provide assured security of tenure, basic amenities and affordable housing to the slum-dwellers.
  2. Every landless person living in a slum area in any city or urban area on 4th June, 2009 shall be entitled to a dwelling space at an affordable cost.
  3. Every Slum dweller or the Collective of the Slum Dwellers shall be given a legal entitlement, which shall be in the name of the female head of the household or in the joint name of the male head of the household and his wife.
  4. Every slum dweller eligible shall be provided with basic civic services until the site for the dwelling space has been developed.
  5. The dwelling space so provided shall not be transferable but allowed to be mortgageable for raising housing loan, or in need to sell- but only to the Government or the Collective as the case may be.
  6. The dwelling space may be provided in-situ as far as possible, provided in cases on public interest they shall be resettled elsewhere.
  7. Constitution of a Grievance Redressal Committee for the purposes of resolving disputes in relation to matters about identification of slum dwellers.
  8. State Government shall prescribe and notify participative and transparent procedures for identification and periodic survey of slum dwellers for purpose of granting legal entitlement to slum dwellers.
  9. Establishment of City / Urban Area Slum Redevelopment Committee for implementing the provisions of the Act namely- to survey and make a list of slum dwellers, make an inventory of existing position regarding slum areas, formulate schemes for slum redevelopment/up-gradation/resettlement and for rental housing (including dormitories and night shelters) for the urban poor and slum-dwellers in-eligible etc.
  10. Establishment of a State Slum Redevelopment Authority (to be headed by the Chief Minister) to continuously monitor implementation of the Act and to recommend corrective measures wherever necessary.
  11. Emphasis on Community Participation by providing for establishment of Slum Development Committee for each slum area comprising of members for plan preparation, implementation, monitoring & evaluation, and post project maintenance.
  12. Power to acquire land for redevelopment/up-gradation and for resettlement under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 as amended from time to time.
  13. Responsibility of the Government to prevent encroachment or of construction of illegal structures towards which necessary amendment to the Municipal and other Acts need to be undertaken.
  14. Civil courts not to have jurisdiction on matters for which the City/Urban Area Slum Redevelopment Committee, State Slum Redevelopment Committee, Grievance Redressal Committee, or the Tribunal is empowered.
  15. Power of the State Government to make rules on matters specified in the Act.

  III.  Credit Risk Guarantee Fund

 To address the issue of credit enablement of EWS and LIG households, the Ministry proposes to create a Credit Risk Guarantee Fund Scheme (CGFS) under Rajiv Awas Yojana. The salient features of the proposed fund are as follows:

Under the Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme (CGFS) the Government of India will provide credit guarantee support to collateral-free / third-party-guarantee-free housing loans up to Rs. 5 lakh extended by lending institutions for Low Income Housing. The CGFS will cover the housing loans to EWS/ LIG borrowers for the purposes of repairs, home improvement, construction, acquisition, and purchase of new or second hand dwelling units, involving an amount not exceeding Rs. 5 lakh per loan. The guarantee cover available under the scheme is proposed to be to the extent of 90% of the sanctioned housing loan amount for a loan amount of upto Rs.2 lakh. And 85% for loan amounts above Rs.2 lakh and upto Rs. 5 lakh. To administer and oversee the operations of the Scheme, provision has been made for establishment of a Credit Risk Guarantee Fund Trust for low income housing (CGFT). Rs.1000 crores has been earmarked as an initial Corpus for CGFS.

  IV.  Central Legislation for Street Vendors

The Ministry of Housing & urban Poverty Alleviation had come up with a new National Policy on Urban Street Vendors in 2009 after a comprehensive review of the previous policy. The Policy underscores the need for a legislative framework to enable street vendors to pursue an honest living without harassment from any quarter. We had drafted a Model Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2009 and circulated to all States/UTs, requesting them to take a cue while legislating on the subject. The progress on state legislation has not been encouraging.  We are receiving continuous representations from the individual street vendors and their organisations to bring a central legislation which would be uniformly and mandatorily applicable to all the states and UTs. We are working to evolve and effective and practical central legislation for protection of livelihood rights and social security of street vendors in consultation with all concerned stakeholders including State Government.

 The bill would be based on the following basic principles:

  1. Legitimate street vendors are protected from harassment by police and civic authorities.
  2. Vending zones/spaces are demarcated for the street vendors. While demarcating the concept of traditional natural markets to be kept in mind.
  3. Adequate representation to street vendors and women in particular, is provided in the institutional structures created for ensuring proper implementation of the proposed law.
  4. A robust, effective and quick grievance redressal and dispute resolution mechanism is established.

 

REAL ESTATE BILL 2011   

NewReservationofLand-FAR

Draft-prop-rights

Draft policy ready, better stop exploiting domestic helps

Posted in DOMESTIC WORKERS by NNLRJ INDIA on November 3, 2011
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ECONOMIC TIMES

NEW DELHI: The labour ministry has readied a national policy that confers rights, such as minimum wages and defined work hours, to domestic workers, bringing into the formal economy millions of people who have for long existed beyond its fringes. Domestic workers, estimated by the government at around 6.4 million and by non-government agencies at 10 times that number across India, could also be entitled to annual leave and sick leave, normal hours of work and compensation for overtime and social security coverage under the draft national policy prepared by the labour ministry.

“The draft will be circulated for inputs from other ministries and state governments, following which the labour ministry will prepare a note for the Cabinet,” director-general for labour welfare, Anil Swarup, told ET. The policy also includes rights such as making it mandatory for employers to provide healthy accommodation and sufficient food for live-in workers, a safe working environment, protection against sexual harassment, social security coverage including maternity benefits and formal registration with the labour department.

To make the proposals legally tenable and ensure their enforcement, the policy calls for amendments to legislations such as the Trade Union Act, the Payment of Wages Act, the Minimum Wages Act, the Maternity Benefit Act, and the Contract Labour Act. The policy has the backing of welfare agencies. “At present, domestic workers have nothing to fall back on. The national policy will establish a regulatory framework that will give them certain rights, including minimum wages, social security and protection against trafficking,” said Father Chetan of the Jharkhand-based National Domestic Workers Movement. He is also part of the taskforce that framed the draft legislation.

The policy is in line with employment standards recently adopted by the ILO for domestic workers, which mandates fixed work hours and minimum wages. While the proposed policy falls short of a national legislation for domestic workers, its effectiveness would depend on the Centre’s involvement. “There are seven states including Jharkhand that have brought domestic workers under minimum wages and many more that have implemented the health scheme, RSBY Act, after the labour ministry wrote to them,” Father Chetan said.

However, some warned that the policy would need to be properly implemented to ensure it does not just stay on paper. “It could be a toothless policy if necessary legislations are not changed and proper monitoring and enforcement is not done,” said a member of the task force who did not wish to be named. The labour ministry proposes to set up a monitoring committee comprising officials from the labour and women and child development ministries, representatives of domestic workers and employers.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/draft-policy-ready-better-stop-exploiting-domestic-helps/articleshow/10586528.cms

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