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PIL filed for scrapping Hindustan Zinc-Vedanta deal

 

The PIL filed in the Supreme Court stated that properties of HZL were undervalued and the company sold to Vedanta in 2002 at a throwaway price

Twelve years after the government sold its stake in Hindustan Zinc Ltd (HZL) to Vedanta group during the previous NDA rule, a PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday seeking quashing of the deal.

The petitioner mentioned the case before a bench headed by Justice Vikramajit Sen which refused to give an urgent hearing and listed the matter after vacation.

The petitioner M.L. Sharma, an advocate, alleged that the properties of the company were undervalued and sold to Vedanta group at a throwaway price.

“Issue writ of mandamus to declare/quash impugned undervalued sale transactions of equity shares of HZL dated April 2002 and August 2003 by the disinvestment ministry being illegal, fraudulent within criminal conspiracy,” the petition said.

Vedanta group company Sterlite Opportunities and Ventures (SOVL) holds around 64 per cent stake in HZL. SOVL had initially acquired 26 per cent stake in HZL in 2002.

Subsequently, it bought 20 per cent public holding in the company. In 2003, it acquired additional 18.92 per cent stake from the government exercising call option.

 

Read mor ehere – http://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/pil-filed-for-scrapping-hindustan-zincvedanta-deal/article6126504.ece?homepage=true

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Somnath Bharti of AAP threatens to file PIL to reveal the politicians’ love affair #WTFnews #moralpolicing

Expose-king’

Dailybhaskar.com|
AAP Meeting (on water supply) in Arjun Nagar, ...

AAP Meeting (on water supply) in Arjun Nagar, New Delhi. (Photo credit: New Delhices)

 

New Delhi:  Aam Aadmi Party leader Somnath Bharti has said that he will file a PIL to reveal all the cases. Bharti was speaking in the context of Digvijay Singh‘s acknowledgment of his relationship with a television journalist, Amrita Rai.
‏@attorneybharti
He knew many such relations, if he doesn’t expose on his own, I will file a PIL after the election gets over for him to reveal all such cases.
He alleged that BJP leader Arun Jaitley had earlier said that a characterless politician is the most dangerous weapon in the hands of enemies to the nation and hence he knew about ‘such cases’. He said that he will file a PIL in public court asking him to reveal all such cases.
Terming the relationship as ‘disgusting’ and ‘dangerous’ he said-
‏@attorneybharti
It’s disgusting n dangerous @digvijaya_28 in affair with 43 yr old married woman and TV anchor @amrritarai, how many such politicians r there?
He also said that a ‘characterless politician is the most dangerous weapon in the hands of the enemy. He said that a politician possesses lots of secret information that can be misused, if he indulges in ‘immoral’ activities.
‏@attorneybharti
A politician when in power gets 2 much of authority in hand, lacs of crores worth of contracts get decided by him, secret info he possesses.
‏@attorneybharti
Citizens, other than politicians, can have leisure of getting into such relationships but not a politician for reasons stated earlier.
He cited the example of former US President Bill Clinton and his affair with the White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
‏@attorneybharti
As an ordinary citizen one has more freedom than someone who gets into politics, recall what Bill Clinton had to go through for Monica issue.
‏@attorneybharti
There was one Pamella Bordes in UK who had got many Politicians there trapped and country’s many secret info was compromised. Plz think.
‏@attorneybharti
Friends, plz understand that a politician has to live a very stricter life, morally, than an ordinary citizen for reasons as stated earlier.
‏@attorneybharti
Friends who r siding w @digvijaya_28 ji, plz understand that he has violated law as well of adultery and don’t know when this affair started.
‏@attorneybharti
AAP as a party doesn’t accept any1 in its fold unless s/he is found to possess character, honesty and integrity to say the least.
Read more here — http://mdaily.bhaskar.com/article/referer/4444/t/320/NAT-TOP-expose-king-somnath-bharti-threatens-to-file-pil-to-reveal-the-disgusting-and-da-4598401-NOR.html

 

 

 

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PIL filed in Bombay HC against deletion of 2 lakh voters’ names

 

 

Bombay (Mumbai) - The High Court from afar wit...

Bombay (Mumbai) – The High Court from afar with Oval Maidan in the foreground (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Apr 30, 2014, 11.54PM IST TNN[ Shibu Thomas ]

 

MUMBAI: A public interest litigation has been filed before the Bombay high court, challenging the deletion of over two lakh names from the electoral rolls, and urged it to allow Mumbai residents whose names were “illegally” deleted to vote in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.The PIL, filed by city-based NGOs AGNI and Birthright, also challenged the constitutional validity of the provisions of the Representation of the People Act that bars deleted voters from voting. Alleging either a political conspiracy or dereliction of duty, the PIL sought that a special investigation team (SIT) be appointed to check if the names were deleted after following proper procedure. The PIL was mentioned before a division bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah and has been scheduled for hearing on May 6.Over 2.10 lakh names were reportedly deleted from the electoral rolls for the 2014 elections.

As per the law, a voter’s name is deleted after he dies or if he is not a resident of that constituency. A name can be deleted only after issuing a show-cause notice to that citizen. The PIL claims that while some were deleted due to death or change of residence, many were deleted without following procedure. Advocate Archit Jaykar, who is part of Birthright, they received over 6,500 complaints from voters that though they had voted in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections and 2011 civic polls, they last week found their names were illegally deleted.

“The right of the deleted voters to cast their votes has been taken away illegally and arbitrarily, without following due process of law,” the PIL said, adding, “A mere admission of mistake by the Election Commission cannot compensate for the fact that deleted voters’ names were wrongly deleted, nor can it absolve them of the onus and responsibility for the wrong done to the voters.”

The PIL sought directions to the EC to hold a special ballot before May 16. It also said guidelines must be framed for deleting a voter’s name.

 

 

Read more here — http://m.timesofindia.com/city/mumbai/PIL-filed-in-Bombay-HC-against-deletion-of-2L-voters-names/home/lok/sabha/elections/2014/PIL-filed-in-Bombay-HC-against-deletion-of-2L-voters-names/articleshow/34437828.cms?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=TOIMumbaiNews

 

 

 

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#RIP – ‘Mother of PIL’ ​Kapila Hingorani dies at the age of 86

 

 

NEW DELHI: Pushpa Kapila Hingorani, the lady behind many movements;one of the first legal luminaries of India;a pioneer in the use of public interest litigation on behalf of women’s movements; an indefatigable and militant advocate for women’s rights, took her last breath on 31st December morning.

 

Kapila Hingorani, who more than three decades ago became the first woman lawyer to file a public interest litigation on behalf of voiceless under-trial prisoners in Bihar to earn the title ‘Mother of PIL’, has passed away.

She was 86. In her nearly 60 years practice as advocate, she and her three practicing lawyer children – Aman, Priya and Shweta, have fought more than 100 cases in the Supreme Court voicing concern through PILs for the poor, tortured and remedy-less before the judiciary.
Pushpa Kapila attended the University College Cardiff in 1947 to study English, Economics and History before embarking on her pioneering work as a lawyer in India. But her journey to a UK University was not an easy one. ‘I was born in a community where the question of girls going abroad was not even considered. My mother thought I should get married and settle down, but, my father, a social reformer, who was educated himself, encouraged me to apply to Cardiff’, she once said.
At one time, Hingorani had petitioned on behalf of 11 victims of dowry cases registered with the police. The fight culminated in the court directing the setting up of special police cells to deal exclusively with crimes against women. She also fought for the prohibition of the devadasipractice in Karnataka in 1983, setting up family courts in India and was a spokesperson for theaamjantaof Bharat.

In a landmark case which saw the emergence of Public Interest Litigation in India, later known to every law student in India as Hussainara Khatoon case, was the first PIL in India. 31 years hence, she cascaded the apex courts with PILs.”The success of the Khatoon case was so widespread that the Supreme Court in the 1980s opened a new section in the Registry devoted to PILs. Officers used to sift through the incessant bombardment of letters or petitions from citizenseveryday and choose the ones which should be brought to the court’s attention,” Hingorani had said.

In her words, “I petitioned for them in court, alongside my husband, and as a result some 40,000 were freed. Then, there was the horrific case of the Bhagalpur Blindings where the police had blinded 33 suspected criminals using needles and acid. The Supreme Court directed prosecution of the erring officers for this ‘barbaric act for which there is no parallel in civilised society’, terming it to be a ‘crime against the very essence of humanity’.”
The court in 1979 laid down important guidelines on under-trial prisoners in Khatoon case. It had said: “A procedure which keeps large number of people behind bars without trial for long,cannot possibly be regarded as ‘reasonable, just or fair’ so as to be in conformity with the requirement of Article 21 (right to life). It is necessary, therefore, that the law as enacted by the Legislature and as administered by the courts must radicallychange its approach to pre-trial detention and ensure ‘reasonable, just and fair’ procedure.”

“Speedytrial is of the essence of criminal justice and, therefore, delay in trial by itself constitutes denial of justice,” it had said. Importantly, the apex court for the first time talked of the necessity of free legal aid to poor persons to make the justice system mount a meaningful protection of their rights.

It had said: “Free legal services to the poor and the needy is an essential element of any ‘reasonable, fair and just’ procedure. A prisoner whois to seek his liberation through the court’s process should have legal services available to him.”

Eight years after the judgment, the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) was constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free Legal Services to weaker sections
of the society and to organize Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.

The second most important PIL, which Hingorani herself filed in the SC, related to denial of salary to thousands of employees of Bihar government ranging from 4 months to 94 months. She alleged that hundreds of government employees have died of penury actuated poverty.

If in Hussainara Khatoon case, the intervention of the apex court was swift resulting in release of thousands of under-trial prisoners, Hingorani had to wage a long legal battle pro bono to convince the Supreme Court to force the Bihar government to pay salaries and its arrears.
She worked extensively in areas as diverse as human rights and Constitution. Her career involved fighting nearly a 100 cases, many of them dealing with police torture, dowry crimes, gender discrimination and child labour, that brought relief to millions. She was restless with a spirit which never lacked motivation. After a successful career, when askedwhether she is looking forward to retirement, she had famously said, ‘Lawyers never retire! I will continue my work in Public Interest Litigation and have yet to finish my book on this subject’. And as she said, her work never retired for the movements she led and the causes she mothered.

When she breathed her last on Tuesday, the ‘Mother of PIL’ may have died, but she left behind a rich legacy of self-less pro bono fight for the under-privileged through PILs.

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Snoopgate: PIL challenging legality of enquiry panel in Gujarat HC

Snooping of Mansi Soni in focus again, PIL before Gujarat High Court

 December 7, 2013

The Government of Gujarat appointed the Inquiry Commission presided by Sugnya Bhatt with the hope that the atrocious stalking of Mansi Soni by the Gujarat Anti Terrorism Squad under the orders of Modi and Amit Shah would be swept under the carpet for sometime. This attempt by Modi may also prove futile with a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by an advocate before the High Court of Gujarat challenging the very reference made to the Commission. Can a commission be appointed for inquiring into private snooping as the Government tried to make out initially? Is this issue a matter of definite public importance which would fall under the Commission of Inquiries Act?

While the Gujarat High Court is going to decide this all important question, it is the Government itself which is responsible for reducing the Mansi snooping case into a private security arrangement for a young lady who had to attend to her mother’s operation in Ahmedabad at odd hours! After the snooping scam broke out, BJP procured a letter from Pranlal Soni, the father of Mansi Soni which was read out by Rajnath Singh at Delhi. Pranlal had stated that as the mother of Mansi had to be operated at Ahmedabad (at Sterling hospital) and that’s why he had requested Modi to provide Mansi with security as she had to travel at odd hours.

We recently found the discharge certificate of Mansi’s mother Hasumati Soni which clearly states the dates she was admitted and discharged from Sterling hospital.The certificate shows that Hasumati was admitted on 11th August, 2009, and discharged on 13th August, 2009. The scanned copy of the relevant part of the certificate is given herein below:

Hasumati-Soni-Mansi-Soni-Pranlal-Soni-Discharge-SummaryMansi Soni’s Mother’s Discharge Certificate Shows Exactly 2 Days of HospitalizationThus the number of days spent by Mansi’s mother in the hospital was just 3 days! The snooping was done from 4th August to 6th September, 2009. Would Modi explain why ATS was following her for a full month and more? Would this be a private issue or a horrendous misuse of Government machinery?

II/III.

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-12-06/news/44864555_1_cbi-inquiry-probe-panel-gujarat-congress

Snoopgate: PIL challenging legality of enquiry panel in Gujarat HC

PTI Dec 6, 2013, 04.21PM IST

AHMEDABAD: A PIL, challenging the legality of Justice Sugnya Bhatt inquiry commission, set up by the state government to probe the alleged snooping incident, was today moved before the Gujarat High Court here.

The PIL, filed by lawyer Girish Das, said that the inquiry panel will investigate a single incident pertaining to illegal surveillance of a young woman ordered by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi‘s close aide Amit Shah.

However, under Section 3 of the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, under which the probe panel was set up, does not fall under public importance because it pertains to a single individual, he argued.

The petitioner further sought CBI inquiry into alleged illegal phone-tapping of 93,000 persons carried out by the state government in the last six months.

Two investigative news portals, Cobrapost.com and Gulail.com had claimed on November 15 that Amit Shah, then minister of state for home, had ordered illegal surveillance of a woman at the behest of one “Saheb” in 2009.

They had released taped conversations between Shah and suspended IPS officer G L Singhal to support their claim, but said that its authenticity could not be confirmed.

Civil society organisation and Opposition Congress had raised furore over the alleged snooping incident and demanded a CBI inquiry.

Suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma, who was also allegedly snooped by the police, had in a petition in the Supreme Court, said, “the reasons for his victimisation were his knowledge of the ‘intimacy’ shared by Modi with the young lady architect who worked in Bangalore but was originally from Bhuj in Gujarat.”

The state government had, on November 25, formed a two-member commission, comprising Justice (retd.) Sugnya Bhatt and former IAS officer K C Kapoor, to probe the alleged snooping scandal. Opposition Gujarat Congress has termed the probe panel as an “eyewash”.

A division bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala in the Gujarat High Court posted the matter for further hearing for next week.

III.
Eyewash on Snoopgate
The mandate of the two member commission set up by the Gujarat government to probe Snoopgate is a limited one. It will not look into Amit Shah’s or his principal’s motives for ordering the spying, but focus rather on clichéd areas such as whether the ‘timing’ of the release of tapes reveal a conspiracy. One wonders whether the real aim is to pre-empt Supreme Court supervision of the matter.

 

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#India- PIL Congress, BJP, AAP get ‘foreign’ funds from #Vedanta and others

Buttered Greenback
PILs say

Donation High Table

  • Rs 6 crore: Sterlite to Congress
  • Over Rs 1.6 crore: Sesa Goa (Vedanta) to Congress, BJP
  • Rs 25 lakh to BJP from Honda Siel Cars India Ltd; Rs 5 lakh from Honda Siel Power Products Ltd (BJP claims it returned the money in 2012 as it’s a ‘foreign’ company)
  • Rs 5 lakh: Hyatt Regency to Cong
  • ‘NRI’ donations worth crores to Aam Aadmi Party

***

It’s something that unfailingly raises the spectre of the ‘foreign hand’. Now,  foreign funding is being debated hotly again. This time around, it’s our political parties that find themselves in the crosshairs. Two PILs at the Delhi High Court have questioned donations made by ‘foreign’ entities to leading political parties, incl­u­ding the Congress, the BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party. They claim these donations contravene the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010 and its earlier 1976 version, which both prohibit funding of political parties from a ‘foreign source’.

The first PIL was filed earlier this year by the Association of Democratic Refo­rms (ADR) and former bureaucrat E.A.S. Sarma, challenging contributions made by Vedanta’s Indian subsidiaries and other firms to the Congress, BJP and oth­­ers. The other one, filed last month by advocate M.L. Sharma, questions ‘NRI’ donations AAP claims to have received.

Some of the controversial donations men­tioned in the first PIL include large­sses running into several crores from Sesa Goa Ltd between 2004 and 2010, Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd, the Madras Alu­minum Co Ltd (all part of the Vedanta Res­o­urces empire and whose 2012 ann­ual report cites political donations worth $2 million in India), Honda Siel Car India Ltd, Dow Chemical Intl Pvt Ltd, Nippon Investment and Finance Pvt Ltd, Hyatt Regency and Adani Wil­mar Ltd. The inf­o­rmation has been gat­hered using declarations filed by the par­ties and other sources. The fact that the authorities failed to check statutory violations by Vedanta’s arms such as Ste­rlite or Sesa Goa is being suggested as a possible quid pro quo for these donations by the PIL. It also calls for a “court monitored investigation”, citing a “clear situation of conflict of interest”, given former Union home minister and finance minister P. Chidambaram’s past association with Vedanta. (He resigned as its non-executive director in May 2004.)

After the court issued notices to the government and the parties, the home ministry—in sync with arguments presented by parties such as the Congress and the BJP—argued in August that eight of the nine companies mentioned cannot be classified as ‘foreign’. This is because either the majority stakeholder is an Ind­ian (Anil Agarwal in the case of Ved­anta Resources) or because they do not violate Sec 591 of the Companies Act, 1956, that defines a foreign company as one that has been incorporated outside India, with a place of business in India.

“The home ministry is acting in bad faith because the same parties that violated the law run the government. This is also the same ministry that cracks down on NGOs in Koodankulam…for allegedly using foreign funds for political purpo­ses,” says Pranav Sachdeva, advocate for the petitioners. According to their rej­­o­inder, the FCRA defines an Indian sub­si­diary of a foreign firm or MNC as a ‘for­­eign company’. The next hearing in the case is slated for January. Sachdeva is an associate of lawyer and AAP leader Pra­shant Bhushan, also an advocate for the petitioners in this case and whose party, ironically, faces a similar PIL.

In response to advocate M.L. Sharma’s petition, the court instructed the Centre to inquire into AAP’s accounts for any FCRA violations and, if any, act by the next hearing in December. AAP, which rece­ived donations from several NRIs, says it is ready to submit itself to any investigation. Sharma, whose 2012 petition in the Supreme Court concerning the allocation of coal blocks also que­stions donations made by Vedanta to political parties, argues that even NRIs donating to AAP ought to be considered as foreign sources if they aren’t residing in India for over 180 days every year and filing tax returns in India as per the IT Act. “They cannot cha­llenge the country’s law and claim no one can take any action against them,” says Sharma. Can the broom sweep away the charges littered around AAP?

 

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Bombay High Court – 16 year old PIL disposed off in first hearing and a overstressed litigant collapses

The following is Bhagvanji Raiyani’s first person account of the concluding day of his 16 year old Public Interest Litigation, sent my email

 

OVERSTRESSED LITIGANT COLLAPSES IN THE BOMBAY HIGH COURT.

MY 16 YRS OLD PIL HEARD FIRST TIME: TERMED IRRELEVANT NOW AND DISPOSED OF.

It was Friday 3-30 P.M. 27th Sept. 2013.

Bench : Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud and Justice M.S.Sonak.

I was waiting for my matter to reach for hearing and a big thud was heard from the chair just behind me. The full court room rose on its feet and looked behind. Judges got up and came down.

What happended?

A man collapsed with his chair upside down. Judges left for a while to their chambers. People around turned to help. Doctor was summoned from High Court clinic. Registrar General was standing tense. Patient was in coma. It took 20 minutes for the doctor to bring him back to the senses. Judges came to soothe him.

He was crying with folded hands before the judges in prayer posture who couldn’t assure him when his matter would be heard. They appeared helpless. Judges went out for few minutes and resumed work again. Meanwhile I asked the unfortunate litigant: ‘Since How many years are you fighting you case?’ ‘six years’ replied the man still crying while being taken out.

Immediately thereafter my PIL No. 902 of 1998 reached and I started argument. I was interrupted by the bench stating that my PIL on the irregularities and corruption in junior college admissions was based on 1997 GR (Government Resolution) and subsequently several judgements of the Supreme Court were pronounced on the subject, hence my PIL couldn’t be entertained.

I was appearing in person and said that I could argue the matter in lieu of those judgements and justify every contents and prayers in the petition and prepared to take the utmost risk even at the cost of its dismissal.

I said I was not at fault in delay of 16 long years! But the judges prevailed on their stand and ‘allowed’ me to file another PIL! I argued in vain that it involved lot of reworking and receiving info. through RTI and waiting for days and days for the information to be received. Judges said, they couldn’t help. I further submitted that during last 16 years I would have urged hundred times to all Chief Justices to hear this PIL but in vain.

My heart cried from within for not geting justice to the poor and merited students but judiciary as usual stood insensitive. If this is the fate of the Public Interest Litigations what about private and government litigations pending since 20-30 years in almost all courts across the country? WILL INDIAN CITIZENRY RISE IN REVOLT?

(Bhagvanji Raiyani)

Chairman & Managing Trustee, Forum For Fast Justice.

contact-  [email protected]

 

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Gujarat HC serves notice to state on poor condition of roads #Feku

English: Ahmedabad BRTS

Express news service : AhmedabadFri Sep 13 2013, 14:55 hrs
The Gujarat High Court on Thursday issued notice to the state government’s Roads and Buildings (R&B) Department as well as other authorities concerned over the poor quality of roads in the state.

Concerned over the condition of roads in the state, including the ones recently repaired or resurfaced, especially in Ahmedabad city, the court asked the state government if there were any guidelines on maintenance standards of the roads and whether there was any mechanism to hold a person responsible for bad roads and to take steps against that person.

A division bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala was hearing a PIL of Vadodara, in which a petitioner group had raised the issue of unworthiness of a 10-km stretch of road near Chhota Udepur that started tearing off within four months of its laying.

The petitioner contended that the road was laid by a contractor at the cost of over Rs 5 crore. The contract to build the road was awarded by the district panchayat. However, the road, which had been primarily made for heavy vehicles’ traffic, has been badly damaged within four months of its repair.

Hearing the PIL, Justice Pardiwala said the “condition of 90 per cent of the roads in Ahmedabad was poor”.

Notice was also issued to the contractor who built this 10-km stretch, the district and taluka panchayat and the panchayat secretary.

Justice Pardiwala asked if there was any mechanism to maintain quality of the material used to build roads and if there were any guidelines in that regard. “Inspections must be conducted (of such roads),” Justice Pardiwala said, and asked “…and what steps are being taken to hold these persons (contractors) responsible?”

After the monsoon, several roads across the state were potholed or broken. Government pleader Prakash Jani said that following the questions raised by the court, the Roads and Buildings Department could be made a party to the petition.

Jani said that the R&B Department has been accordingly added as a respondent to the petition. The court has issued notice to the respondents in the petition and posted it for further hearing after three weeks.

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#India- Radiation leak a national secret? #mustread

Union minister hints at radiation leak, scientists and fishermen confirm ecological damage; but no PIL or RTI query has managed to get BARC to release reports on radiation levels around Thane creek.

Sunday, Jul 7, 2013- DNA
Dilnaz Biag

In the third week of June, while tackling the issue of oil spills along Mumbai’s coast, Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jayanti Natarajan told dna that steps had to be taken to curtail the radioactive waste leaking into Thane Creek from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).

“Yes, at times radioactive material escapes and ports have to ensure that radiation doesn’t spread to the people and the environment,” Natarajan said.

Going by the past trends, the rare admission from the Union Ministry is possibly the closest the public may get to knowing the truth behind the radiation leak.

Citing national security as the reason, BARC for decades has vehemently refused to make public the weekly test reports on radiation levels around nuclear plants where people reside. The plea of environmentalists and scientists demanding independent investigations by third parties and transparency in testing have also been rejected.

The threat 
To most people, even the ones living in Mumbai, looking at “minor leakages” into the Thane Creek as a major threat may seem too far fetched. However, Kiran Koli, the president of Mumbai Machhimar Kruti Samiti, says that it’s not just the the fisher folk who are bearing the brunt of the environmental degradation around nuclear plants. “It’s not just Thane Creek that is affected, it’s also the sea near the Tarapur plant.

We have raised our voices for so long but it has fallen on deaf ears. The poisoned fish in the seas will ultimately be consumed by Mumbaikars, so they need to ask the government to be accountable,” he said.
Marine biologist Sashi Menon feels that previous studies by the BARC that traced Caesium 137 and Polonium 210 contamination are inadequate.

BARC’s Environmental Assessment Division’s research revealed that Caesium 137, a radioactive isotope that has been found in soil, water and vegetation on the Trombay coast and Polonium 210 that is one of the rarest elements and has been found in the Thane Creek. Caesium 137 can cause long-lasting damage to humans.

Exposure to it for prolonged periods through contaminated food or air may cause acute radiation sickness that includes symptoms like nausea, fatigue and hair-loss. Polonium 210 is also extremely lethal even in very small doses. Also,  its common knowledge that anaemia, bone cancer, leukaemia, miscarriages due to foetal radiation, still birth, spontaneous fractures and genetic disorders are also some of the manifestations of exposure to radiation.

Government bodies in relation to various nuclear sites have debated with protestors citing the permissible levels of radioactivity. However, experts say that there exists no permissible level of radioactive exposure. “There is no safe level of radiation exposure. It’s poison, no amounts can be safe. Establishments like BARC should be away from the population.

An independent examination of the bed soil, soil on shore, sea plants, water, fish and air must be carried out and the results must be made public,” said Retired Navy Captain and a nuclear expert Dr BK Subbarao. Explaining the dangers associated with radiation and exposure, he added, “Fish travel afar, water also travels in the ocean and the creek, we don’t even know how far radioactivity has already spread.”

Tamil Nadu-based nuclear expert Dr V Pugazendhi, who is renowned for his studies on the health impact of radiation around the Kalpakkam nuclear site, said that the rate of cancer, infertility and anaemia in a particular area should be compared to the national average in order to gauge the damage. “Abroad, if someone living next to a nuclear plant falls sick they are compensated. There is no need for the victims to prove the correlation or cause.”

Need for third party assessment 

The BARC has so far denied allegations of radiation leak. On being contacted, the head of Public Awareness Division of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) SK Malhotra told dna, “We have no reports on radiation leak but I will have it checked.”

Experts on the issue say that a thermal mapping of the area needs to be done by an independent body  to assess the nature of radioactive contamination.

“So far, there has been no study that addresses these issues in totality. Most importantly, the results should be in public domain. We don’t want to see figures, we want to see images as they cannot be manipulated,” Menon said.

Stressing the need to study the hazard in detail, scientist Pradeep Indulkar (see story below), says that even a single micro gram of Polonium is dangerous for humans. “Any dose is highly toxic and its effects on the environment will last for centuries.”

Where PILs and RTIs don’t work
Dr Subbarao said that BARC, in response to a PIL filed in the Bombay High Court by an NGO in 2005, filed affidavit confirming the presence of radioactivity in the Thane Creek from Dhurva reactor. But they so far have refused to release the any test reports citing it to be a threat to national security.

Even RTI applications filed by activists have borne little fruit. “After so many complaints, we got access to a few paragraphs of the Chaturvedi report on Jaitapur. People have a right to know how these projects will affect them. Why should it be a national secret?” asked activist Grish Raut.

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Bombay HC- PIL demands speedy trial for Naxal/ Maoist suspects

TNN | Mar 14, 2013,

NAGPUR: A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed on Wednesday before the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court seeking judicial intervention and relief into the various aspects of Naxal undertrials. The petitioner, Soma Sen is a member of the Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights and associate professor of English Department at the Nagpur University. She is engaged in social work for more than two decades.

The PIL deals with the plight of the several farmers and other residents of Naxal-affected Gadchiroli who had been nabbed during various operations launched by the government forces in the district. Following their arrest, the petitioner has claimed that the trials are often delayed on numbers of pretexts including not providing escort guards to enable undertrials to remain present before the court.

The petitioner has also claimed that delayed trial of the victims has been aggravated by the violation of the fundamental rights of the prisoners and other laws pertaining to present them before the court. Sen has also prayed before the court to discourage videoconferencing facilities which do not allow the undertrials to have access to their lawyer

 

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