C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PU convocation today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Woman power will shine in its full glory at the 55th annual convocation of the Panjab University, to be held at the PU campus here tomorrow.

Over 80 per cent of the university toppers who will be given degrees by the Chief Justice of India, Mr Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, are women.

At least 190 students will be given PhD degrees and another 670 students will receive Masters degrees.

Only those students who have got first three positions in university examinations in various subjects are given degrees during the convocation.

A total of 253 students will be given medals, out of which 69 are gold medallists.

Certificates of merit will be given to at least 20 students.

Twentytwo students will be awarded prizes for winning various declamation contests.

Thirtyseven students will be given cash awards.

Students of two sessions will be given degrees and the convocation is expected to be longer than usual.

Mr Justice Y.K. Sabharwal will deliver the convocation address and inaugurate the building of the University Institute of Legal Studies.

Mr Kapil Sibal, Union Minister for Science and Technology, and Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, will be conferred D.Litt degrees.

Rehearsals for the convocation were held this morning.



Convincing win for Nanda as Bar association chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Mr N.K. Nanda was today elected president of the Chandigarh District Bar Association, when he defeated his nearest rival, Mr Davinder Singh, by a margin of 219 votes. With this victory, Mr Nanda will occupy the coveted post for the fifth time.

Among the other lawyers who were declared elected for various posts are Mr Arun Dogra (vice president), Mr K.S. Lamba (secretary), Ms Harpreet Kaur (joint secretary) and Mr Sanjay Gupta (treasurer).

Though no panel was officially announced, sources said most of the winning candidates had the backing of the Nanda group. All the winning candidates took a lead of over 100 votes from their nearest rival.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Nanda said he would use his experience to strengthen the relation between the bench and bar. Better facilities for the lawyers and more chambers would be other areas of concern.

According to the returning officer, a total of 1080 votes were polled during the day-long polling. The names of the executive members would be declared tomorrow.

Despite a near-unanimous move to keep the elections free from unethical practices, complaints of bogus votes being cast by supporters, many of them non-members of the association, were levelled by candidates. In fact, one of the polling officials also caught red-handed a lady while she was trying to cast the vote in the name of a lady advocate who is out of country.

During the day-long polling, tempers ran high as the supporters of different candidates crowded the passage leading to the Bar room, the venue of the polling. The voters were given pamphlets of different candidates. Since the Bar had given a notice that the work would remain suspended due to the elections, hearing in most of the case was postponed.

To avoid any untoward incident, police men had been deputed in and outside the court complex.

As soon as the results were announced, beating of drums marked the celebration mood.

Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana member Lekh Raj Sharma and former secretary of the Punjab & Haryana High Court Bar Association Munish Jolly were also present during the poll proceedings.

The results: president — N.K. Nanda (639); vice-president — Arun Dogra (646); secretary — K.S. Lamba (484); joint secretary — Harpreet Kaur (554); and treasurer — Sanjay Gupta (363).



CTU starts trial run of GPS on buses
System aimed at ensuring accountability, public convenience
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The Chandigarh Transport Undertaking(CTU) has started the trial run of the Global Positioning System(GPS) in a bus which is equipped to track down the buses and timing all over the region. The GPS will also work out the exact distance travelled by the bus, speed and the fuel consumption.

The technology will have an updated system for communication which will enable Control Room to have a direct conversation with the drivers on buses spread all over the city, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, besides other states.

Reliable sources said that a trial run is being conducted on a bus running between the city and Jammu and showing “very good” results. “Entire data of the travel time and stoppages is being maintained. With slight changes in the technology specifications, the CTU is releasing a tender to choose the highest bidder shortly”.

The CTU is running the trial with assistance of the Hi-Techpoint Technology Ltd. Mr Vinod Chauhan the director said” The trail run has shown excellent results. A report has already been submitted to the CTU.”

“Alterations in the system specifications are being done to incorporate the latest service available. The buses in the earlier specifications needed to be able to communicate with the control room, which was possible only from or within 100 metres of the specified bus stands on the route. Under the new specifications, bus drivers will be able to communicate directly along the entire way. We are working on the details of the communication service with mobile phone service providers”, a senior official said.

It was pointed out that the GPS was already being used in the bus service in Bangalore and had shown positive results. “There are frequent public complaints about irregularity of bus service and there are several instances when the drivers and conductors have treated the travel time very casually. Buses were often parked at unspecified destinations. There have also been cases when the routes of the buses had been altered according to the whim of the staff. The new technology was aimed at ensuring greater public convenience and greater accountability of the bus staff”.

Pointing out cases of route irregularity, the senior official said: “Recently, we came across a case where the driver instead of going to the specified destination at Delhi returned mid-way from Karnal. In several cases, buses arrived over one hour later than the scheduled time. Delays are possible, however, in case of an emergency on way, the drivers can ask for help with assistance of new communication system.”

Details of the Control Room, data processing and subsequent action on ground are being worked out, sources added.



Law Institute: High Court reserves orders on pleas
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 3
Mr Justice J.S. Khehar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today reserved his judgement on the applications filed by Chandigarh Law Institute Private Limited and the Chandigarh Administration, praying for referring the two judgements delivered in the PIL filed by Mr Neeraj Sharma of Jalandhar to a third Judge for opinion.

The two Judges - the then Chief Justice, Mr Justice B.K. Roy, and Mr Justice Surya Kant - constituting the Division Bench that heard the PIL had delivered two different judgements while disposing of the PIL filed by Mr Sharma challenging the allotment of prime land in Sector 38A to the Chandigarh Law Institute Private Limited at throwaway prices.

While both the Judges had found the allotment to be irregular and illegal, they had differed on the issue of locus standi of the petitioner in filing the PIL. Also, while Chief Justice Roy had ordered open auction of the land, Mr Justice Surya Kant had ordered that the land be re-advertised and allotted afresh by inviting applications. Citing alleged “conflict of opinion” between the two Judges who constituted the Bench, the applications pray that the case be reviewed by a third Judge.

Today during resumed hearing, advocate Ajay Kaushik, counsel for the petitioner, told the court that even though the two Judges had differed on the issue of locus, they had nevertheless held that the issues raised in the PIL merited decision.

When the senior standing counsel for the UT Administration stated that since the two Judges had not signed each other’s judgements, there were two judgements and the UT did not know whose orders to implement, Mr Kaushik said that the fact that the two Judges had agreed on the issue of illegality of the allotment could not be ignored.

Senior Advocate R.S. Cheema, appearing for the Chandigarh Law Institute Private Limited, told the court that since the old Bench could not possibly give an opinion on the points of conflict as one of the two Judges has been shifted out, the best recourse would be to constitute a fresh Bench to adjudicate the issue.

It may be recalled that the High Court had set aside the allotment of the prime land to the company last year. The Directors of the company include two sons of a sitting Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Dr. V.K. Bansal, former Chairman of the Department of Laws of Panjab University, and advocate Shailendra Jain, who is Central Government standing counsel for UT.

Interestingly, Mr Jain was assisting Mr Cheema during today’s hearing.

During an earlier hearing, petitioner’s counsel had said that since the February 14 judgement of the High Court had not been challenged in the Supreme Court, it had achieved finality and hence the fresh applications were liable to be dismissed.

He had also stated that as per the provisions of the Civil Procedure Code, a judgment once signed cannot be amended later except to correct clerical mistakes.

Incidentally, on May 22 last year, a Division Bench of the High Court had dismissed an application by the UT Administration. The application had prayed for review of the February 14 judgement of the High Court. The UT Administration’s plea for seeking review was based on its assumption that some directions given in the judgement issued by Mr Justice Surya Kant cannot be implemented without ignoring other directions in the same order.

However, the plea did not find favour with the Bench of Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice Surya Kant, which dismissed the application. In its order, the Bench had observed that said no further clarification was required.



Strike hits flight schedule
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
“We are not opposed to work. However, we will oppose privatisation,” was the war cry of the day at the city airport today as the members of the Airports Authority of India Employee Union protested for the second day today against the Union Government’s decision to privatise airports.

Thankfully for the passengers, however, the city airport was a far different sight from the Delhi and Mumbai airports. The members of the AAIEU are only supporting the nationwide strike with protests of about three hours in the afternoon when the flights landed in the city.

Jarnail Singh, president, AAIEU, informed: “As the ATC is not controlled by us, we really can’t do much but have a token protest. We are, however, fully supporting the nationwide strike. Moreover, it is a local station and the strength of the employees is less. So we really can’t do anything but raise slogans.”

Members of the union informed that it was the union in Delhi which was actually pulling the strings. “We will do as Delhi people tell us too,” they stated. As of now however, the strike has not affected the city airport. However, if the strike intensifies, things could change.

Meanwhile, all the three flights to and from Delhi to the city were delayed even today due to the ongoing strike. Officials at the Chandigarh Airport informed that the flights of Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and Air Deccan were delayed by more than an hour each.

Sources said that flights were expected to be delayed if the strike continued. Officials though refusing to come on record did not rule out the possibility of flights being cancelled if the strike carried on for many days.



MC issues notices for attachment of rent
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The Municipal Corporation (MC) issued notices for attachment of rent of certain booths in sector 32 for non-payment of their property tax today. The notices have been issued to booth numbers 320, 284, 322, 307 and 285 in sector 32-D. According to MC officials, despite repeated reminders, the owners of these booths failed to deposit their property tax. The notices were issued to them from the past eight months.

This is the second case, where in, the MCC has attached the rent of commercial property. Previously, they had attached the rent of Indian Coffee house. The MCC collected about Rs 7.10 crore as property tax last year.

It may be mentioned here, in the house meeting of MCC last week, it was decided that for the time period of 2006-2007, the MC would collect property tax between April 1 and April 30. Individuals, who deposited the property tax in the said time period would be given a 10 per cent rebate. However, individuals who failed to do so would be fined 25 per cent of the MCC’s assessment of their property tax. 



Traders file objections to ban on polythene bag use
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The ban on use of plastic bags may run into rough weather, with the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) filing objections to the recent notification of the Administration.

In a representation to the Finance Secretary-cum-Environment Secretary, the CBM demanded withdrawal of the notification as the ban on use of plastic bags would adversely affect the whole modern packing system because certain goods were supposed to be stored or carried in plastic bags only in the absence of any suitable alternative.

Picking holes in the argument of the Administration that plastic bags choked drains and the sewerage system, it said since most city areas had been declared bin-free and the total waste collected at Sehaj Safai Kendras was segregated for further garbage disposal, the question of choking drains did not arise.

According to the CBM, the defect was with the poor waste management, garbage collection and bad littering habits, which needed to be monitored, rather than banning the use of plastic carry bags.

Plastic was being freely used for packing almost all goods, including household items, which protected those from moisture and adverse affects of weather.

It would be appropriate to continue with it till any other alternative environment-friendly material was available for packing and storage of goods in the market, it added.

The representation suggested that the Administration tie up with traders, NGOs and the general public to launch an awareness campaign for the proper use of polythene.



Sodomy case: victims’ statements recorded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
In the alleged sodomy case of five youths by the Junior Scientist of the CFSL, the Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Mr M.D.S. Dhillon, today recorded the statement of two of the victims under Section 164 of the CrPC. The proceedings were done by the JMIC in close door after the police moved an application for getting the statements recorded. The statement of the victim has been kept in a sealed cover.

Though officially the content of the statement made by the victims could not be ascertained, it is learnt that they have retreated their earlier versions.

The victims in their earlier statement to the police had alleged that the scientist had performed unnatural acts with them and had tried to sodomise them. They had been sent by the Crime Branch to the CFSL for a lie detector test in connection with the investigations in a case of death of a boy, Naresh, due to drowning.

The scientist had claimed that he had been falsely implicated due to certain vested interests. He also claimed that he was going to give report against the suspects for their involvement in the death of the boy. The police has, however, refuted the claim of the scientist. The postmortem of Naresh had revealed no injury mark and death due to drowning in the Sukhna Lake. A police officer said there was no chance of tampering with the porn CDs as they had been recovered in the presence of the Deputy Director of the CFSL. The CDs were put under seal. While the scientist had taken the lie detector test of Rajwinder and Gurdeep on January 3, the test of Naveen was conducted on January 30. The test of Vikas and Yadvinder was done on January 31. All youths had complained of similar unnatural behaviour on part of the scientist. After investigating the matter, the police had registered a case under Sections 292, 377 and 511 of the IPC at the Sector 36 police station.

Legal luminaries said the case would stand against the scientist if the victims did not retract from their statements in the court.



Documentary on Jassi murder case screened
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The Murdered Bride-Part Two, a new CBC Fifth Estate documentary was today screened at the Press Club, Sector 27. The documentary will be aired on Canadian Television next week and reveals shocking new details about the five-year-old Jassi murder case.

According to the Fifth Estate team and associate producer, Akhil Gautam, two of the men who took part in the murder conspiracy, including the infamous police officer, Joginder Singh, have been tracked down.

The documentary reveals that the woman who had accused Mithu of rape was closely connected to one of the convicted killers. Mithu’s lawyer, Ashwani Chaudhary, has stated in the documentary that the rape charges are definitely false and the girl’s family was paid off.

Also Mithu, who has been in jail for a year and a half now, in an exclusive interview to Fifth Estate from the jail, has said that the people who had earlier killed his wife have now framed false charges against him and have also been threatened. The Fifth Estate reported a controversial new Canadian Film that is based on the Jassi case. Mithu’s mother, Sukhdev Kaur and brother Rana, were also present at the screening.



Jean visits anganwaris
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
With a view to monitoring various child development programmes, Ms Jean Rodrigues, wife of Governor of Punjab and Vice-President of Indian Council for Child Welfare, today visited eight anganwari centres in Maloya colony and Ram Darbar, that have been transformed into model anganwari centres, with the help of the Rotary Club.

Ms Rodrigues took stock of the infrastructure available at these centres, uniforms of children, learning aids, reading material, dietary chart and the quality of food being served. She interacted with the children, who recited poems, counting numbers and basics of learning process.

Interacting with anganwari teachers and senior officers of the Social Welfare Department, Ms Rodrigues said the empowerment of these children is a crucial tool for bringing about a social change. She emphasised on the need for concerted effort to equip them with various learning skills, painting, colour identification, clay modelling, paper toys, cleanliness awareness, basic values and behavioural and attitudinal changes. Ms Rodrigues also visited Kajheri village and assessed the training programme for beauty culture procedures. She interacted with girls undergoing training of various skills to empower them to undertake self-employment ventures.



Dalits seek Rs 150 as daily wage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The Dalit Welfare Federation, Punjab, held a rally at the Matka Chownk in Sector 17 here today. Members of the federation pressed for their demands for equal rights.

The federation members are demanding reservation for the people belonging to the Scheduled Caste and the Scheduled Tribes according to the Constitution. The members demanded that the scholarships for the poor should be increased. They further demanded that the daily wage earners should be paid Rs 150 per day and should be insured for Rs 1 lakh each. The poor and the aged too should get pension and the vacancies in government offices should be filled.

The members of the federation demanded that the government should stop its biased attitude towards the people belonging to the SC/ST and the BC.



Man dies as car skids into gorge
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 3
A local businessman was killed and his friend was seriously injured when the car they were travelling in skid off the road and fell into a gorge at Theog near Shimla this morning.

Mr Rajiv Joshi, 40, died on the spot, while his friend, Mr Dalip was seriously injured.

The latter has been admitted to a hospital in Shimla. The duo were going to Theog, when the accident took place. Mr Joshi is survived by his mother, wife and two children. 



Eminent maths scholar dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Prof V.C. Dumir (62), an eminent mathematician and a distinguished scholar, Department of Mathematics, Panjab University, died here this morning.

He is survived by his wife and two sons - Sanjeev and Neeraj, both of them engineers. A condolence meeting was held at the university auditorium which was attended by the faculty, the staff and students.

His funeral procession will start from his residence, House No. 879, Shivalik Apartment, Sector 49-A, Chandigarh, on Sunday.

Prof Dumir had received many honours during his career. The notable ones are the Srinivasa Ramanujan Birth Centenary Award by ISCA (2004) and the Indo American Fellowship by the UGC. He was elected Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy and National Academy of Sciences. His area of specialisation is Number Theory.



Income tax raids

Income Tax sleuths of Range II today conducted survey at Bharat Medical Store, Bharat Medical and Surgicals, Sector 16, and Dharam Hospital, Sector 15, here, today.

The surveys would continue till tomorrow. The premises have been sealed and inventory of the seized items was being made.



Woman, son killed in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
A woman pillion rider and her child were today killed and another critically injured when a CTU bus near the roundabout of Sectors 27 and 30 here hit the scooter on which they were riding.

The bus was coming from the ISBT and was going to Industrial Area when the accident took place. The driver of the scooter, Mandeep, has been admitted to PGI with serious injuries.

The women, Renu, sister of Mandeep, and her son Varun were declared brought dead to the hospital. The driver of the bus, Mahavir, has been arrested and a case under Sections 279 and 304 of the IPC has been registered.



Frankfinn Expo

A two- day exhibition “Frankfinn Expo 2006” was inaugurated by Director Tourism, Chandigarh, Mr Vivek Atray here today. The expo provides an insight into the aviation, hospitality and travel industry. Students showcased various aspects of their curriculum by way of models and charts and role play. The expo got a good response.


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