SC allows iron ore mining in Bellary by NDMC ‎

The Supreme Court in an interim order while keeping in mind the demand for iron ore has permitted the state run NMDC to operate two mines in Bellary district.
The NMDC which has been granted leases by the state and also which finds a mention in the Lokayukta report pertaining to lease violations was today permitted by the Suprme Court to extend the production of iron ore to the tune of one million tonnes per month from tomorrow onwards.
The Special forest Bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia while passing this interim order however maintained that this order does not apply to private owners and the ban on mining in respect to them shall continue.
The interim order also states that while mining would be permitted for the NMDC, no part of the ore shall be exported. Further the Bench also directed the Karnataka government to levy royalty of 10 percent of the value of the iron ore.
The Supreme Court also directed a macro level environment impact assessment  be undertaken by Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education and directed that the report be submitted in three months. In addition to this it also sought details about the rehabiltation package for Bellary in three months.

CBI probe- the Supreme court also adjourned hearing on an interlocutary application seeking a CBI or SIT probe into illegal mining in Karnataka. Senior Counsel Prashanth Bhushan said that the application while seeking a CBI or SIT probe also takes note of the latest Lokayukta report. The matter is expected to be heard next week.

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Now an application seeking CBI probe into illegal mining

Seeking a further probe into the issue of illegl mining following the report by the Lokayukta of Karnataka, an interlocutary application has been filed before the Supreme Court of India seeking an investigation through the CBI or SIT under the supervision of the court to probe all aspects of illegal mining in both Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
Further the application before the court also sought investigation by either of these agencies to probe the collusion of public servants and reprsentatives with the mine owners in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
The petitioners, the Samaj Parivartan Samudaya state that there is large scale illegal mining in the above mentioned statesparticularly in the districts of Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur. There has been a serious breakdown of governance in Karnataka state on account of the nexus between politician-miners and officials which not only raises serious concerns about ecology and environment, but also on issues concerning transparency and accountability in the functioning of the Government.
The petitioners brought to the notice of the court that anorder had been passed on January 1 2010 in which the matter was referred to the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) which in turn filed two reports in which the issue of illegal mining was dealt with in detail.
The petitioners also bring to the notice of the court that the government of Karnataka had made a referrence to the Lokayukta of Karnataka who in turn had put out a report which was also placed before the court. Now the Lokayukta has submitted the second part of his report and the petitioners say that this report is a scathing indictment of the entire “state” machinery– forest dept, mining and geology dept, transportation dept, state police etc. – and encapsulates the systemic collapse that have happened in the region. The said report brings out how the rule of law has ceased to exist under the all pervasive business-political-bureaucratic nexus which has allowed large scale illegal mining in forest areas at highly unsustainable levels. The said Lokayukta report particularly deals with the districts of Bellary, Tumkur and Chitradurga where the Lokayukta and Chief Conservator of Forest found large-scale illegal mining and violation of lease conditions.
The petitioner further submits in the application that in the second part of the report the Lokayukta mentions that no action was taken on the first report as a result of which illegal mining continues to exist. As a matter of fact…illegalities in mining have increased and there is total failure of supervisory machinery in controlling all the above illegalities/irregularities. The Lokayukta report also brings out the unsustainable nature of the mining in Karnataka. It states: “It is shocking to note that the most of the leases will be running out of deposit of iron ore…in a span of 3 to 12 years. The consent approvals from the MoEF and also the IBM have been increased irrationally without keeping in view the total deposition of the ore in the leases and environmental damages. This unscientific and unsustainable extraction has caused a serious concern, the petitoners also state while quoting the report.
Further they submit that the second report of the Lokayukta also shows in great detail the offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, Indian Penal Code, Income-Tax Act, Mining laws, Forest Conservation laws have been committed by various entities including top politicians, public servants and big companies. The Lokayukta has decoded the entire maze of financial transactions, lease deeds, sale deeds, maps, reports of forest dept, reports of mining & geology depts., encroachments, transport permits etc. and has brought forth the large-scale violation of laws by various specific entities.
The said reports also names the Chief Minister, sitting ministers, senior politicians, top public officials and also top companies like Jindal Steel and OMC, state and central public sector units, for committing various kinds of illegalities which are also serious offences. Most of these transactions are absolutely clear instances of quid pro quo amounting to a serious offence under Prevention of Corruption Act. It is to be noted that CBI is already investigating the mining scandal on the adjacent region of Bellary Reserve Forest which falls in Andhra Pradesh and the same officers can easily investigate the illegalities in Karnataka.
Under these circumstances, when the involvement of CM and top ministers is established, when big companies are involved and situation of systemic collapse is noted, it is extremely essential in the interests of rule of law to launch prosecutions and credible investigations on the basis of the reports of the Lokayukta and also the CEC reports. This cannot be done of the state government and the state police which are under the control of the same forces that have allowed this grave situation to develop. Hence it is in the interest of justice that the court orders a CBI or SIT investigation, the petitioners say through their advocate Prashanth Bhushan.

Was Moily the right choice in the first place?

First a rant and then a change in stand. Veerappa Moily who was handed over the Corporate Affairs Ministry after being shunted out as the Law Minister says he has no comments to offer regarding his infamous vested interests comment that he had made yesterday.

I am happy with this new assignment and I am grateful that the Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister have entrusted me with this job, he said when asked. I will focus on my new portfolio and this is an important ministry and I will look to take it forward by doing some very good work.

Moily’s exit from the law ministry was an expected one and as the Supreme Court began to pile on the misery on the Government of India almost all had said that the law minister will be the first target during the re-shuffle. Moily did come across as a person who was interested in judicial reforms and certain statements made by him did indicate the same. However his critics say that they remained mainly statements and even blame him for not being assertive enough when it came to taking hard decisions.

This brings us to a crucial question as to how important is the position of a law minister. Several lawyers point out that it has not been a very high profile ministry but in today’s context when there are more scams than ministers in a government, the position of a law minister becomes extremely important in nature.

Former Law Minister of Karnataka, M C Nanaiah who was the leader of the opposition when Moily was the Chief Minister has this to say about the recent development.

I personally have seen Moily functioning very closely. He lacked a crucial quality and that was to keep his team together. In today’s context, the Law Ministry is a very crucial post. The government is battling many cases and hence a strong law minister is required. The government is going through a very rocky phase as of today and Moily on the other hand had been shooting his mouth off too much which in turn has only angered the government. It looks as though by making this change, the government was looking for a more sane and competent person.

A law minister needs to be an expert and a proper aptitude is required for this post. The statements that are made by a law minister need to carry weight and I would not rate Moily very high. Even during his tenure as the Chief Minister, he did not carry the conviction that was required.

With the government facing the flak of the Supreme Court today, it is the law minister who has to coordinate the law officers and face the court. Today unfortunately for Moily who should have been more pro active it is not the vested interests who have ensured this change, it is his own vested interest which has brought about the change for him.

Just after being changed, Moily had said in New Delhi that no one likes reforms and he was doing everything to introduce a change. A lot of things are the fault of the administrative ministry and it has nothing to do with us. We are only the face in the court, he had also said. However today Moily refuses to comment on all that he had said yesterday and only says that he is looking forward to his new portfolio. My top priority today is to pass a new bill which would replace the  Companies Act. I have to see this bill through and this is a major challenge before me he also added.

Sources in New Delhi however add that the issue is not all that simple. The government found the law ministry to be a completely mismanaged one. There were dual representations in the 2G scam where Gopal Subramainam was concerned and this had led to several conflicts of interest. The ministry has come under fire several times and to add to the head ache the Supreme Court was going hammer and tongs against the Government. In New Delhi they were looking for a man with more aptitude and also who could be more assertive by nature. In Moily they found more of an academic and they were looking for someone more shrewd. Moreover he was also dealing under the shadow of a very pro active former law minister, H R Bharadwaj who on several levels was considered to be the perfect candidate for the post.

Justice Santhosh Hegde, former Judge of the Supreme Court of India says that the duty of the law minister is to advise the government on all matters before the Supreme Court of India. If the Supreme Court has taken up an issue suo motu, it is for the Law Minister to advise the government on how to go about it.

I however will not accept the argument that a law minister has to be a constitutional expert. No person can an expert on all subjects and political and legal personalities are completely different. As a law minister apart from having a fair idea of the law, he needs to be diplomatic. In the case of Moily, I think he has been changed mainly because the government did not find the representation before the Supreme Court effective enough. What Moily ideally had to do was to take stock of the situation and advised the government properly. The cases before the Supreme Court are of supreme importance and it is the job of the law minister to ensure that the government is represented properly before the court.

SIT for black money probe-its unique

The Supreme Court of India issued a very unique order today when it directed a Special Investigating Team be set up to monitor the investigation into the issue of black money.

Former judges say this order is a commendable one and the intention was obvious that it wanted to set up a body which is independent of any political interference.

Justice M F Saldanha, former judge of the Karnataka and Bombay High Court says that the Supreme Court does appoint panels to over see matters and the order that was passed was very much within the right and powers of the Supreme Court. However setting up an SIT is unusual in nature since the Supreme Court has not done something of this sort before.

However what we need to look at is that the Supreme Court has made its intention very clear. They have clearly stated through this order that it does not trust anyone but itself to monitor the investigation. Usually the Supreme Court in earlier cases has said that it would monitor the investigation directly and the investigating agency would report to it directly. However now what it has done it has set up an exclusive body which would monitor the on going investigation. This body is independent of any agency and would report exclusively to the Supreme Court of India.

In the case of black money the allegation is that each and every political party has some stake in it and the court took into account that precious little was happening because of this.

What setting up an SIT would do is that it would dedicate itself to this case. The situation where black money is concerned is grave and hence such a body was needed. It is unusual and innovative on part of the Supreme Court since such a thing has not happened before.

The SIT appointed by the Supreme Court would act as a watch dog. Although it would only monitor the investigation it would still have powers to order the investigating agency the manner in which the probe needs to be conducted. More importantly it can pull up and also question the investigating agency about the probe and also ask it to look in the direction it would want it to. It can call for records and also direct the investigating agency to speed up the probe.

However this body would have to report to the Supreme Court from time to time and can only disclose details regarding the probe to the court. However it would all depend on how the Supreme Court handles this committee. The government as we have seen in the past is quite capable of frustrating the process and the Supreme Court as well as the SIT would have to deal with these aspects.

We need to see whether this innovation on part of the Supreme Court would work or not. But I must add that it is a very important and innovative order on part of the court.

This team would be slightly different when compared to the rest of the committees appointed by the Supreme Court. The other committees have been more of fact finding institutions which go into issues by itself and also rely on the rest of the agencies. However the SIT is an independent body which will be an authority over all the agencies which are looking into the issue of black money. Basically one would have to say that the jurisdiction of this SIT is very vast.

BJP troubles over for now

All the troubles in the Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka have come to an end for now, will all 11 rebel MLAs deciding to return to Bangalore and be part of the B S Yeddyurappa government. After nearly two days of negotiations with the rebels in New Delhi, it was decided that the time had come to make up for lost time and provide stable governance for the next two years in Karnataka.
The 11 rebels had moved the Supreme Court challenging their disqualification and on Friday the court had reversed the order of disqualification passed by the speaker. The rebels today said that they had no demands and would join Yeddyurappa and provide a stable government for the next two years. OUr main priority will be to make up for the neglect of our constituencies due all these issues and we will strive hard to work for it, they also said. There have been mistakes committed in the past by both us and also the Cheif Minister. The issues are all now resolved and each one is ready to amend those flaws and work for the people of Karnataka.
Some confusion however prevails over the allocation of portfolios for these rebels. During the negotiations it was decided that they would agree to whatever the high command had to say. The high command will in the coming days decide on who should get a ministerial berth and who should be made chairpersons of boards and corporations.
All the rebels who were in New Delhi are now on their way to Bangalore. They are expected to meet with the CM and assure him that there would be trouble free governance from now onwards.

Yeddy, steady, will he go?

As B S Yeddyurappa gears up to fight yet another battle to save his seat, the 16 rebel MLAs who were given relief by the Supreme Court of India today said that their fight is against the individual and not against the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Karnataka state politics which had remained quiet for quite sometime now has erupted yet again with leaders from various groups holed up in separate meetings.
The Chief Minister Yeddyurappa was however portrayed a calm picture and said that he welcomed this result since it only boosted the party. Out of the 16 rebel MLAs 11 are from the BJP and this result means that they come back into the party. The CM said that with these 11 MLAs back in the party, the strength of the BJP has gone to 121 which includes the Speaker of the assembly and also one independent candidate. The magic number required in the Karnataka assembly is 113.
The 11 rebel MLAs who were disqualified from the party by the Speaker had moved the Supreme Court of India against the order of the High Court which had upheld their disqualification. These MLAs who are now technically back in the BJP are still at New Delhi and also held a meeting. They continue to remain adamant that Yeddyurappa should be changed. We have nothing against the party, our grouse is only against the individual, they say.
The CM who a while ago said that he welcomed the judgment is however locked up at his Dollar’s Colony private residence and is meeting with various party leaders from the state. He is discussing the verdict and how to face the problem in case the Governor or the Opposition insists on a floor test. With him at the meeting are State BJP president K S Eshwarappa, Law Minister Sunil Kumar among others. The composition of this meeting is interesting since it comprises Eshwarappa who has been openly gunning for the head of the Chief Minister. Already there are various allegations against Eshwarappa stating that he has been trying to break the party and become the CM with the help of the 11 rebels.
Yeddyurappa during the meeting has made it clear that there cannot be any leadership change, but better portfolios can be given to them.
The rebels are however in no mood to listen and continue to demand for a change in the leadership. Regarding the role to be played by the 5 independent MLAs who were also disqualified, the BJP says that they cannot comment on this and they are independent to take any decision. However the BJP also adds that it would issue a whip to all its MLAs in case they are asked to prove their majority on the floor of the house by either the Governor or the opposition.

Trouble ahead for Yeddi?

With the Supreme Court reversing the action of the Karnataka Speaker who disqualified 16 MLAs of which 11 were from Bharatiya Janata Party, the B S Yeddyurappa government finds itself in fresh trouble.
With the decision being reversed, the magic number required in the 226-member house is 113. After the Speaker disqualified the 16 MLAs the magic number was 104 and the BJP then had 106 members in the house
With the SC order, the 11 members of the BJP will have to return to the party. Their future course of action is unknown. Also it is unlikely that the five independents, who had initially extended their support to the BJP, will continue to do so.
If the 11 BJP MLAs, who were disqualified, decide to stick with the BJP then the party would have 117 members, which is four more than the majority.
What also helps the Yeddyurappa government is the fact that the BJP have won all the three bypoll seats, whose results were declared on Friday, wresting two from the Congress and one from the Janata Dal-Secular.
The issue which faces Yeddyurappa now is a leadership change being masterminded by state BJP president L S Ishwarappa.
The BJP state party has decided not to react to the apex court’s decision and will wait for the governor to direct it to prove its majority in the house. In that case, it can issue a whip asking the 11 ‘disqualified’ MLAs to vote for the government.

Show Reddy brothers the door

The Reddy brothers of Karnataka should be given the same treatment that both Indira Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi were given by the people when they were both sent back home. S R Hiremath of the Samaj Parivartana Samudaya which has been battling the issue of illegal mining the most rampant activity in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh says that there is very little one can expect from any government in Karnataka regarding this issue.
I however feel that with the right intervention of the authorities and the Supreme Court of India, the days of the Reddy brothers are numbered. In this interview, Hiremath says that they have ample documents on hand and have all been submitted to the Supreme Court and if acted upon then it would surely bring about the end of illegal mining in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Tell us about the litigation.
We have filed a public interest litigation through our senior advocate Prashanth Bhushan way back in the year 2009. Along with the PIL we have clubbed reports of the Lokayukta along with various other documents.

What have you sought in this PIL?
In this 1274 page petition that we have filed, we want action against illegal mining which the governments are unable to take. The whole idea is to bring about some control to illegal mining. The Karnataka government instead of controlling it is only helping the rise of illegal mining. Moreover there are so many reports which nail these persons involved in illegal mining but the government and its officials ensure that no action is taken.

There is already a Lokayukta report on the issue. What would be your role in the middle of all this?
The Lokayukta report nails many persons, but unfortunately has not been implemented. Our job would be to bring the executive before the judiciary in order to make them work, which unfortunately they have not been doing so far.

What is the status of the PIL in the Supreme Court?
The court has issued a directive to the Central Empowerment Committee to prepare a report on illegal mining.

There appears to be a delay in the proceedings before the Supreme Court.
When we filed the PIL, Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan headed the forest Bench. We wanted to wait for his retirement and then move the matter. We finally did it when Justice Kapadia took over.

Why were you waiting for the retirement of Justice Balakrishnan?
I would not want to mention the obvious reasons for that.

There have been many hearings before the CEC. What have you sought from them?
We have sought the cancellation of the mining leases belonging to the Reddys. We made a 499 page submission to this effect.

You speak of proof against the Reddy brothers. Can you share some of them with us?
We have put together a map which shows that the Reddy brothers encroached into the Forest area of Bellary. They have also destroyed a temple in the same area due to their greed to mine some more. The CEC was impressed with this and they had recommended
cancellation of the lease.

Speaking about official apathy, can you point out an instance please?
I had visited the Ramgad village in Sandur Taluk, Bellary. There is a Ram Malai block here where the mining is rampant. I had met with the forest department officials. A month later I met with the additional Principal Conservator of Forests regarding the same. However he refused to go ahead with this work and said he would speak with the conservator. Despite reminding him that the conservator was not doing anything, he still did not react.

Why do you think this is the case?
We all know who are the most powerful people in Bellary. The government has come to a grinding halt in Bellary and the officers are all hand picked. The CEC however visited these areas which we have been speaking about and later there was a presentation at the Vidhan Soudha in Bangalore. The presentation by the government of Karnataka was a very general one speaking about what they were doing to control illegal mining. However when they were asked for specific instances, they did cut a real sorry figure.

Could you be more specific about the case against the Reddy brothers?
I spoke about the Ramgad area. We have seen a company called Park Line operate from there. Had we not gone there they would have broken down a Rama temple over there to further their mining greed. These Reddy brothers have been saying that they have no mining in Karnataka. We have documents showing how Janardhan Reddy and his wife were brought in as partners into the Associated Mining Company which operates in Karnataka. The mining by them is rampant in the Ramgad area which has 220 million tones of rich iron ore. In addition to this we have submitted documents which speak about their complex financial maneuvering which they did with the Black Gold mines in Karnataka. We have submitted the lease deed of the Associated Mining Company as well. Further to this we have also submitted details regarding the manner in which they ship ore at very low costs in order to dodge tax when in reality the shipment reaches elsewhere are a very high price.

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa says he is serious about stopping illegal mining. Your thoughts on that.
The CM has more statements than political will. That is all I have to say.

When people speak of mining, they associate the BJP with it. Don’t you think all other parties too have their share of interest?
As I have studied for the last few years there are mining sharks in every party. S M Krishna, Dharam Singh, H D Kumaraswamy and B S Yeddyurappa all have got support from illegal mining. I feel all these persons must be held accountable. However the reason why the Reddy brothers get associated everytime is because they have taken it to a whole new level.

I have been wanting to ask you about the Sushma Swaraj link to the mining lobby in Karnataka.
The association between Sushma and the Reddy brothers goes a long way back when she contested the polls against Sonia Gandhi. I would not be able to say what her interests in mining is, but what I hear is that she is the one who suggested to the Reddy brothers to enter into mining. I must also add that she has double standards.

This is an inter state menace and even Andhra Pradesh is involved. Do you see that government to be more receptive to your demands?
After the death of Dr YSR, the Reddys here lost all support from AP. Today I can say some right noises are being made in AP. AP will at least act. They may not be perfect, but today the officers are far more assertive and have been giving better reports. In Karnataka I have no hope. Don’t forget Yeddyurappa who had transferred some corrupt officials out of Bellary had to reinstate them when the Reddy brothers threatened to withdraw support.

Do you see the issue ever being resolved?
Yes I think it would be sorted out. I feel that their days are numbered. The people should do the same thing to the Reddys what they did to Indira and Sanjay Gandhi post emergency. That day is not too far according to me and I hope the officials act in a better manner when dealing with this problem.

New online laws are a blogger’s nightmare

The draft rules drawn up by the government of India aimed at policing blogs has not gone down too well with a large section of people. The draft rules, drawn up by the government under the Information Technology Amendment Act, 2008, deal with due diligence to be observed by an intermediary.

Under the draft rules, an ‘intermediary’ is defined as any entity which on behalf of another receives, stores or transmits any electronic record. This would effectively mean that telecom networks, web-hosting and internet service providers, search engines, online payment and auction sites and cyber cafes would fall under the definition of an intermediary.

While this is one part of the story, the rules also propose to include the bloggers under the same category.

Pavan Duggal, an expert on IT laws and an advocate in the Supreme Court, explains that the proposed rules are secondary legislation which is being sought to be implemented by the Union government.

“The proposed rules are worded in largely generic terms which will require a subjective interpretation. This means that an intermediary would be subject to the discretionary interpretation of the said rules by the law enforcement agencies and hence will have no clarity of how to ensure full compliance with the law. There are huge problems since the inherent nature and scope of businesses of various businesses that fall under the same definition, get the same medicine. We are giving the same medicine to all kinds of fruits which are different in nature.

“There lies a fundamentally flawed recognition of the reality of the internet today. There is no way a blogger can be equated to a telecom company. Neither can a cyber café be equated to a search engine. Nor can an online market place be equated to an ISP. If one reads these rules then it only achieves at doing this.”

Duggal says that with these broad diverse components of stake holders which come under the term intermediary, the prudent approach would be to come out with sectoral guidelines which keep in mind the customised lines of business of various sectors.

It will be asking for much to expect a normal blogger to conduct an ISO 27001 certification. Further these rules are likely to act as impediments to the further growth of electronic eco-system in India. The need of the hour is to come across a legislation or a secondary legislation that is not only benevolent but enables and facilitates inclusive growth.

The draft rules further go on to speak about protecting minors. The parameters are too huge for minors. It talks about harming minors. If a nonsensical false page of a child is created it would be considered as harmful from all perspectives.

In that stretch, most of the websites, blogs and other online platforms will be in breach of these guidelines from the moment they are implemented. The moment these rules come in to force, they will have a very damning impact on the growth of blogging since it exposes them to high levels of compliance. This will have a negative impact in the long run.

If these rules come into being, a bloger or a tweeter would have to work as a diligent, extremely-observant policeman. To some extent it would have an impact on freedom of speech. Bloggers cannot write anything which is a violation of the IT act. It is possible that a criticism of the government could be perceived to be coming within the prohibited category depending on the peculiar nature of each case. The potential for abuse of these rules in their current form is highly probable. To a large extent, the rules possibly overreach the main legislation.

The draft rules suffer from a major flaw of the one size fits all approach. It is basically valuating intermediaries based on their compliance or non compliance of draft rules. There needs to be a more pro-active approach to recognise the inherent differences of various categories.

Pranesh Prakash, programme manager at the Centre for Internet and Society, says that the draft rules relate to intermediaries, cyber cafes and security practices.

“The laws on intermediaries and the law on cybercafés have been issued under Section 79 (Liability of Intermediaries) of the IT Act. The one on reasonable security practices has been issued under Section 43A.

“These rules do not affect bloggers alone. They affect everyone online and not just Indians.

“The IT act applies to both Indians and persons abroad. Everyone who has been classified as an intermediary including people who blog or use social networking sites could come under this law.

“Each one of them will have to display a notice and every intermediary from websites to other sites are covered under the law.

“Everyone who is classified as an intermediary is affected by the rules because intermediaries are required not to host or publish content that violates Rule 3(2).of the IT Act. This would mean that all internet users are also affected. One wouldn’t apply the same rules and regulations on the kind of diligence required to be observed by a newspaper as on the postal department, as related to the content they deliver.

“Similarly, one shouldn’t apply the same rules to a blogging service provider as one would with with an e-mail provider.

“Since the application of the IT Act and these rules isn’t limited to India, these rules might well mean that a popular website like amazon.com would have to carry a notice that nothing that “threatens the unity, integrity, defence, security or sovereignty of India” can be sold via their website, and must enforce that notice. How would we like it if American law were to  be made applicable to Indian companies?

“Sub rule 3 of the act says we can’t host anything that contravenes sub rule 2. The rule is made under the act. If someone contacts you then you have to remove the content. How on earth are we supposed to know if something violates the law. It is the judges who have to decide this. How can one find out whether the content is defamatory or not?

“These rules contradictory to the freedom of speech as mandated in the Constitution of India. The amendments need to be debated properly before they can come into force. If it is introduced in their existing form they would be disastrous,” Prakash said

Today in Karnataka

BS Yeddyurappa in New Delhi. Photo courtesy: NDTV
Karnataka is back in the headlines and this time too the key player in this crisis is B S Yeddyurappa. The crisis in Karnataka has become a repetitive issue and ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party formed its first government in South India there is been one crisis or another.

Yeddyurappa will await with bated breath to see what the Special Court will do in the cases filed against him in connection with the land scam. Two advocates had filed complaints before the special court after the governor of Karnataka had accorded sanction to prosecute B S Yeddyurappa.

Yeddyurappa’s legal team had initially decided on moving the High Court against the order of the Governor. However the team has decided not to file the case and seek a stay of the order. A member of the team told rediff.com that they did not want to jump the gun and instead wanted to see what action the Special court would take. These things take time and after much study and consultation they have found that the two advocates do not have much knowledge about the case. Moreover these advocates need to find their own witnesses and this entire process would take time.

The Special Court will also have to record the evidence, summon records and only then can it take cognizance of the case. We will wait and see what happens as this process could take at least another 20 days. When questioned whether or not it would be embarrassing for the CM if at all the Sessions Court took cognizance, the advocate from the Yeddyurappa camp said that the opposition may demand his stepping down, but by then some legal action will be planned. However we do not want to move the High Court right away.

Before the Special Sessions Court: The Special Court before which the two complaints were filed will have to deal with 15 issues. These issues were raised by two advocates and they had first petitioned the Governor. The Governor in turn accorded sanction for the prosecution of the CM following which the court was moved. The court will now have to study these allegations and if it finds that there is enough ground it could order a probe by an investigating agency into the matter. The court will look into the 15 allegations in which it has also been stated that the Chief Minister and his family gained Rs 189 crore due to these lands being denotified over the past two years.

At New Delhi: BJP MLAs and MPs would during the day meet with the President of India to complain about the Governor and also seek his recall. Yeddyurappa who was at New Delhi on Sunday discussed this issue with his party high command. Apart from this he also consulted with senior advocates and it was decided that they would file cases against the former chief ministers who also had allotted land illegally. A complaint has already been filed before the Justice B Padmaraj commission which is looking into the land scam against four former Chief Ministers including S M Krishna and Deve Gowda. This complaint running into over 500 pages was filed before the commission by a private advocate belonging to the BJP.

The rest of them: The Congress is gearing up to conduct a protest march after January 27th. They would also hold a massive rally to make public the alleged wrong doings of Yeddyurappa, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Chief, K Parameshwar informed.

The Janata Dal (s) is planning on moving the Supreme Court claiming damages as a result of the bundh call given by the BJP on Saturday.