Sunday, June 18, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Proposals on Army Act gather dust
By Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

About a year after a proposal mooted by Army Headquarters seeking several much-required changes in the Army Act were drafted, it continues to gather dust in the Ministry of Defence.

“As many as 10 amendments in the Army Act have been put forward to the Ministry for approval, but these are still pending,’’ an Army Headquarters source said.

The proposed changes assume significance in the light of the Supreme Court observing recently that the Army Act is archaic and criticising the Government for not bringing about the requisite changes in the Act.

The last major changes brought about in the Army Act were in 1992, when eight amendments were incorporated in the Act. Another significant change was brought about some time back when a glaring anomaly was pointed out by the judiciary that courts martial did not give a reasoned order in support of their conclusions even while imposing a death sentence.

“The amendments are aimed at making the procedures under the Act more transparent. While attempting to modify the Act in conformation with emerging judicial trends, it will also be brought at par with the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) which is applicable in civilian courts,’’ the source added.

While there is a move, albeit long overdue, to bring about some transparency in the administration of military justice, sources said that the modifications would not result in any drastic changes in the court martial procedures, nor would the basic structure of the Act be altered.

A three-member Supreme Court Bench had observed that even today the law relating to the armed forces remains static, requiring changes keeping in view the apex court’s 1982 observation, the constitutional mandate and changes effected by other democratic countries.

Expressing concern over the inadequacies in the Army Act, the Bench had observed that despite the lapse of about two decades, neither Parliament nor the central government appears to have realised its constitutional obligations, as expected by the court.

This view is also shared by both serving as well as retired JAG officers, who feel that the Army Act remains deeply mired in its colonial past and requires virtually a complete overhaul.

While terming the Act to be “arbitrary’’ and devoid of “reasonable transparency’’, JAG officers point out that even rules and laws governing the armed forces in the United Kingdom, on which the Army Act was initially based, have been long amended. The United States also has a uniform code, wherein the law governing the armed forces is compatible with the civil code.

Sources say that though some amendments were made in the past, these ended up in making the system more rigid and failed to introduce any transparency, or follow effectively, the principles of natural justice. “The changes were designed to plug existing loopholes and resulted in imposing more limitations,’’ a JAG officer said.

Officers say that several glaring anomalies in procedures relating to conduct of courts of inquiry and courts martial still exist, which need to be redressed.

“For instance, there are still no procedures concerning search and seizure while investigating a case,’’ a JAG officer said. “Also, the Army Act has no provisions for granting bail,’’ he added.

Officers reveal that a court martial is not bound to accept an application moved by the defence and at times these are summarily rejected, depriving the concerned the opportunity to put across a point or view. “Conscientiously, a court should accept all applications and if it may so warrant dismiss it later,’’ the officer said.

Another anomaly in court martial procedure is that, unlike in civilian trials, the signatures of the accused or his counsel are not obtained after the evidence or statements are recorded. Sources say that since the statements recorded have not been acknowledged, these become prone to tempering.

A significant anomaly in court martial procedure is the absence of any appeal to review evidence, legal formulation and sentence awarded by a court martial. This has been observed by the judiciary as a “glaring’’ lacuna in a country where a civilian convict can go in for an appeal after appeal through a hierarchy of courts.


Mookhey: I love to dance
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 17 — “I love to dance, but not in a sari,” this is what Miss World Yukta Mookhey had to say at the Four Square rain dance organised by the event managers Expressions at the Hotel Mountview lawns here this evening.

The programme was co-sponsored by a local vernacular daily. However, Ms Mookhey did promise to sing a couple of lines of her favourite song later in the evening. The Miss World stepped on the stage, dressed in a peach coloured sari, well after 9 p.m. The event was well managed and the rain dance turned out to be quite a hit with the crowd.

Adequate security arrangements had been made by the police. The SSP of the city, Mr Parag Jain, was the chief guest. Ms Mookhey was accompanied by her father — Mr I.L. Mookhey, mother — Mrs Aruna Mookhey and her grandmother.

The programme started with some excellent Hindi, English and Punjabi pop numbers by a Delhi-based singer, Vandana Wadhera.

The evening, rather hot and humid, turned out to be perfect for the artificial rain showers from a specially flown in equipment from Mumbai. The storm fan, pin-up spot lights and scanners created the right atmosphere to put on the dancing shoes.

The 1000-odd crowd went wild to the latest beats of some excellent music from a powerful sound system.

Asked to say a few words to those aspiring for a career in modelling, she said, “If you think you have it in you then you must give it a shot...”

However, she warned the youngsters not to neglect their education in the bargain. “Tap your other talents as well because the modelling career does not last for long”, she said.


Suspension of cops was wrong: Kiran Bedi
Tribune News Service and PTI

CHANDIGARH, June 17 — “The suspension of Chandigarh Police officials was a wrong move by the UT Administration and I stood against the order. Although I pointed out that suspension is a major punishment for a cop, the Administration did not budge from its decision, but rather made it a prestige issue.”

This was stated by former UT, IGP, Dr Kiran Bedi, who accused formed UT Administrator, Lt-Gen B. K. N. Chibber (retd), and Home Secretary, Mrs Anuradha Gupta, of doing injustice to the police force during their respective tenures. Dr Kiran Bedi was posted here for a 41-day period last year. She said she was devoting an entire chapter to her tenure in a book she was writing.

Incidentally, this is the first time since her return to Delhi that she commented on the controversy surrounding her brief stint as UT, IGP.

She was interacting with mediapersons at the launch of santabanta. com — which the promoters claimed was the Punjabi community channel space in the world, in the city here today.

Elaborating on the much-publicised controversy between her and Mrs Gupta — that came to be known as female IAS-IPS officers controversy — Dr Bedi said ever since I took over, the powers of the IG were diluted and were in fact exercised by the HS. In fact, she suspended two police officials who had committed no grave fault.

She said I objected to this as I had gone through the relevant files and had found no reason for the punishment, besides stressing the fact that some time should be given to me since I had taken over a couple of weeks ago.

Besides, I met the Administrator and told him that he too had been a General once and she was a “general” of the force and such acts did great injustice to my force, but instead of doing anything confirmed the suspensions.

Denying any ego clash with the HS, Dr Bedi said “I did not even know Mrs Gupta before arriving here. But as IGP I felt that it was my duty to take a stand when something was in the way of my duty.” At any cost I could not have become a slave to the then HS,” she added.

She also hinted that the entire controversy could also have been due to the fact that the “Administrator and HS were seeking extensions.”Back

Bedi’s personality distorted, says Anuradha Gupta
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 17 — “Ms Bedi’s obsession with the media publicity has distorted her personality and she is given to making utterly false statements everytime she goes wrong and instead projects herself as the sole custodian of law,” says Mrs Anuradha Gupta, a former UT Home Secretary (HS).

She was reacting to allegations levelled by a former UT IGP Kiran Bedi at the launch of a website in the city here today.

To keep the record straight, she said “the suspensions were not ordered by the HS, as alleged, but by the UT Administrator who had ordered an inquiry following a report in The Tribune. The inquiry was conducted by the Legal Remembrancer, whose integrity and objectivity and not disputed. He gave a very detailed report indicting five officers, including two DSP’s for deliberate suppression of murder investigation in two murder cases, wilful misplacement of relevant records and forging of records after the inquiry began.”

Mrs Gupta said “the administration passed the order for suspension after considering the inquiry report and after ascertaining the viewpoint of the IG. The IG defied the legitimate order of the Administration, reissued to serve the suspension orders on the guilty officers, sent them on leave and as usual rushed to the press with false and irresponsible statements.”

“This was brought to the notice of the Minister of Home Affairs (MHA) by the Adviser. At the behest of the MHA, Dr Bedi was given a show cause notice for various acts of misdemeanor. The MHA also immediately relieved her in the absence of her successor in view of the vitiation of the atmosphere in the city,” she added.

Dr Bedi alleged Ms Anuradha Gupta wanted a "puppet IG which I was not ready to become"

She said her stint in Chandigarh and the controversy formed special part of her biography I dare.

General Chubbier could not be contacted for his views on Dr Kiran Bedi’s observations.Back


UT to study AP model of e-governance
Four-member team to visit Hyderabad 
By Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 17 — A team of the Chandigarh Administration is scheduled to leave for Hyderabad to study the much publicised system of information technology adopted for "e-governance" in Andhra Pradesh.

The four-member team departs by the end of this month and will come back to submit its report before a committee formed to screen the 40 applications received by the Chandigarh Administration for its futuristic "wired city" project. Screening to examine each of the 40 "expressions of interest" is to begin by the second week of July. Some of leading giants of the information technology industry in the country have applied for the Chandigarh project which envisages a total "wired city" enabling quick access of information.

Another project for the setting up of information technology towers in Sector 47, where space will sold in advance to IT majors for software development will also run concurrently with the wired city project.

Each company will be asked to come up with a proposal and make a presentation before the committee that will examine its workability, costs, feasibility, flexibility besides adaptability with government departments. The report submitted by team going to Hyderabad will also lay down the broad parameters that need be followed in Chandigarh.

The team going to Hyderabad comprises Director, IT, Mr Vivek Atray, Chief General Manager (CGM) CITCO, Mr P.S. Gill, State Information Officer, Mr Ajay Rampal and Additional Director IT, Prof S.C. Dhawan.

The scope of examining the computer systems in Hyderabad will include studying the "cyber city" complex where major IT giants have set up software development units. The "e-governance" adopted in Andhra Pradesh even in the rural areas and the method for allowing public access to government networks and records besides information, will be studied in detail, says Mr Atray.

The CGM, CITCO, is being send to study how space in Hyderabad "cyber city" was sold or allocated to IT companies. CITCO would prepare a comprehensive plan for the IT towers project and also implement it besides inviting leading IT companies to set up their units in these towers. The team will also interact in details with officials who are part and parcel of the Andhra Pradesh IT establishing network. Back


Jacob: north-south divide to be removed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 17  — To end the "north-south" divide in the city the Chandigarh Administration will lay more stress on improving infrastructural facilities in the southern sectors to provide better civic amenities to residents of these sectors, said the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R Jacob (retd) , while inaugurating the "special sanitation drive" launched by the local Municipal Corporation.

The need to improve infrastructure in the southern sectors was due to the increase in population. The General said that sanitation standards of Chandigarh had deteriorated recently due to the influx of migrants . He said out of the nine lakh population of Chandigarh, three lakh lived in slums causing a strain on the civic amenities.

Seeking public cooperation in maintaining cleanliness in the city, he said this drive should not become a drive of the Administration or the Municipal Corporation alone but it should involve Chandigarh residents, the sector welfare associations and NGO's, who should work collectively to clean the sectors.

The anti-littering campaign started at the Sukhna lake would be systematically extended to the whole city. In view of the expansion of the Municipal Corporation, 15 tractors with trailers and 14 dumping placers, 240 garbage bins are being procured at the cost of Rs 1.80 crore. Vehicles with hydraulic power take off are being procured to tackle stray cattle menace, the Administrator said.

Earlier the Mayor, Mrs Shanta Abhilashi, welcoming the Administrator said the Municipal Corporation would organise such cleanliness drives every quarter. The General inaugurated the drive by sweeping a road of Sector 47 with a long-handled broom.Back


Guest house restrained from commercial use
By Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 17 — Allowing an application alleging misuse of a Sector 18 residence where a guest house was being run in violation of terms and conditions of allotment, a City court, in a significant judgement, has restrained the defendants “from using the premises for any commercial purpose except residential till the final disposal of the suit”.

In his application, Mr Bawa Harinder and another plaintiff had earlier alleged that the property was resumed by the UT Estate Officer “on ground of misuse” after the defendants — Rashpal Singh and two others — “failed to stop” the same even after the issuance of a show cause notice by the UT Administration.

Expressing apprehension regarding the order of resumption becoming final “after dismissal of the appeal by the Chief Administrator”, the plaintiffs had added that “they would be deprived of the property ownership and would suffer irreparable loss”.

Going into the background, they had stated that two defendants, after using the site initially for residential purpose, had sub-letted the premises to another defendant “who started running a guest house in the premises without the consent of the applicants”.

They had also stated that, according to the terms and conditions of the lease agreement, the premises could not be used “for any purpose other than residential” .

The plaintiffs had added that the premises could also not have been used “in any manner which would violate the terms and conditions of the allotment letter issued by the UT Administration”.

Pronouncing the orders in the open court, Civil Judge (Junior Division) Mr Naval Kumar observed: “Admittedly, the respondents are using the premises for commercial purpose in violation of the terms and conditions of the lease deed as well as in violation of the terms and conditions of the allotment of the site”.

The Civil Judge also observed: “A prima facie case is made out in favour of the applicant. The balance of convenience also lies in the favour of the applicant. The applicants shall suffer irreparable loss in case the final order of resumption of the premises is passed by the Chandigarh Chief Administrator on the ground of violation of the terms and conditions of the allotment of the site”.

The Civil Judge concluded: “The application is allowed.... However, none of the observations made in the order shall have any bearing on the decision of suit on merits”.


Coalition politics permanent: expert
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 17 — The two major political parties in India, the BJP and the Congress, have to rely on its regional allies, both the state and well as national level. Expressing his views on ‘Electoral dynamics in India’ at a discussion organised by the Institute for Development and Communication, Prof Paul Wallace said,” in many states of India, regional party was the dominant partner.”

Prof, Wallace is from the Department of Political Science in the College of Arts and Science, University of Missouri, Columbia. He has authored a book on Indian politics and the 1988 elections. The issues in his lecture today were based mostly on insights from his book.

Prof Wallace was of the view coalition politics was going to be a permanent feature of Indian politics. He felt that both the BJP and the Congress are highly institutionalised.”

In a lively discussion that followed the lecture many related questions were raised. The participants in the discussion included Dr Pramod Kumar, Director, IDC, Mr G.V. Gupta, Chairman, Sales Tax Tribunal, Haryana and Mr Surjit Narang from Jawahar Lal Nehru University.

In an answer to a question, Prof, Wallace said anti-incumbency factor could be due to non-performance of political parties.


Primary education ignored: Chandumajra
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, June 17 — A former Member of Parliament, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, today charged the Badal government for totally ignoring the primary-level education in the state. Speaking to mediapersons, he said the government in its attempt to streamline the education system had ignored the basic concept of imparting equal education to all.

He said a marginal budget had been reserved for improving the quality of school education in the rural areas of the state. He questioned the concept of two schools in each block where science and commerce stream would be taught at the senior secondary level. In some cases, the schools were located at distant places.

He said instead of improving the infrastructure, the government was doing the opposite. Claiming that at least 60 per cent of the schools lacked facilities at the senior secondary level, he said the reported move to withdraw certain streams from schools where the infrastructure was lacking was a wrong step.

Commenting on the expulsion of the nine MLAs by the political affairs committee of the ruling SAD, he claimed that a change in the leadership of the party was imminent.



‘Allow selective fishing in Sukhna’
By Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 17 — Fish in the rain-fed Sukhna Lake are in trouble due to man-made reasons.

The lake, part of the city life, was created as an artificial water body to strike a balance between land, water, flora, fauna and air. Its aquatic life makes it an abode for migratory birds. But due to a variety of factors, the delicate balance is getting disturbed.

The lake is home to 30-odd species of fish, including Indian major carps and a few exotic carps. Every year the Fishery Department stocked Indian major carps, and exotic carps in the lake. In addition, fish from the surrounding areas are washed into the lake during floods. Some hardy fish like Heteropneustes fossilis and Colisa fasciata have also made their entry into the lake.

However, the trouble started after 1985 when the Administration stopped auctioning of selective fishing rights in the lake.

This resulted in aging of fish, who started living at the expense of the small fish, creating food and space problems for the younger breed.

Environmentalists and experts blame the authorities concerned for this. They are worried for obvious reasons. The lake is a feeding ground for thousands of migratory birds from far-away Siberia, Iran, Iraq and Central Europe.

The annual growth rate in the first year of life in C. mrigala and L rohita is reduced to one third and half in L calbasu and C catla, according to studies conducted by the Division of fish and fisheries, Department of Zoology, Panjab University. The Head of the division, Prof M.S. Johal, says these facts indicate the hostile conditions prevailing in the wetland.

“There is a possibility that the present-day progeny of Indian major carps belongs to a few very old large sized carps,” he added.

Prof Johal said even the generations of sub-mating, the technique used by the Fishery Department, reduced the growth rate and suggested the brooders from other streams and lakes should be introduced into the lake.

The Joint Director, Fishery Department, Haryana, Dr S.C. Aggarwal, said the selective fishery should not be stopped altogether. He said the fish which had attained old age and stopped breeding should be harvested. Moreover, the large-sized piscivorous fish would compete with birds if not harvested.

He suggested that more safety pits should be dug around the lake and the existing ones should be cleared from the silt so that the pits could be used by the fish during summers. Regular monitoring of the quality of water must be carried out, Dr Aggarwal added.

The Director, Fishery Department, Chandigarh, Mr K.A.P. Sinha, said the Administration was planning to revive angling in the lake. He said as sufficient fish stock was available in the lake, angling would provide recreation to the local population and attract anglers from the neighbouring states.

The Administration is also planning to set up an aquarium somewhere near the lake and a fish market in Sector 41-C. “We are planning to stock marine and tropical ornamental fish in the aquarium along with local species”, Mr Sinha added.

The Founder Secretary of the Environment Society of Chandigarh, Mr S.K. Sharma, said, “In order to provide fish food to birds, the Administration shall take steps to stock small fish like minnows. It will serve as bird food”.

Experts feel that the abiotic and biotic aspects of the lake shall be studied regularly in order to assess its productivity and carrying capacity.


Cop dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, June 17 — A constable of Punjab Police, Jasbir Singh, was killed in a road mishap near the traffic lights in Phase 8 here last night. The deceased was attached as a gunman with the president of the youth wing of the SAD, Mr K.S. Kang.

The victim, a resident of Nayagoan village, was going home on a scooter when the accident took place. He was rushed to a hospital in Phase 5 from where he was rushed to the PGI, Chandigarh. A case under Section 304-A of the IPC has been registered.

SUICIDE: A Nepali woman, Peeri Amina, a resident of a jhuggi colony, near Phase III-A, committed suicide by hanging herself from a tree in a park in Phase 3-A here on Friday.

BODY FOUND: The body of an unidentified person in his early forties was found at Leisure Valley in Sector 62 here. A police official said it was suspected that the deceased died of some ailment.


ONE ARRESTED: The police has arrested a Bihar resident for causing the death of a factory worker in the industrial area.

According to police sources, the accused Muslim Ansari was a crane driver and was lifting some heavy equipment in a factory when the equipment fell on Ranjit. He succumbed to his injuries at the PGI.

The accused has been arrested under Section 304 - A, IPC.

TWO HELD: The police has arrested Arvinder Singh, a resident of Patiala, and Sumit Singh, a resident of Bihar, red-handed while stealing a car, CHOIU 2882, from opposite the bus stand. A case under Section 379/411, IPC, has been registered.

CAR STOLEN: Sector 19 resident Ashish Mittal reported that some-one has stolen his car, CHOIW 7868, from near the Neelam Cinema parking. A case under Section 379, IPC, has been registered.

ONE INJURED: Rickshaw-puller Shiv Bahadur was hit and injured by Ramesh Kumar, a scooterist (CHOIK 5065), near a nursery on the Khuda Ali Sher road. A case under Sections 279/337, IPC, has been registered.

CASE REGISTERED: The police has registered a case against Surinder Pal Dheer and his son, Shiv Raj, for giving a cheque in lieu of purchase of gold jewellery worth Rs 2. 85 lakh. The cheque was later dishonoured by the bank. A case under Section 420, IPC, has been registered.Back


Two “conmen” identified
From Our Correspondent

ZIRAKPUR, June 17 — The Sohana police has identified two youths who ‘‘conned’’ the local police to send a team of cops to accompany them on a ‘‘fake raid’’ on chemist shop here on Friday. Sources in the police said that identified accused were residents of Panchkula. They are said to be educated unemployed.

Sources stated that though the accused had been identified but efforts were being made for a compromise between the two parties. Four accused posed as a joint team of drug inspectors and of the CBI to raid chemist shops and decamped with Rs 20,000 on Friday evening.

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