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Obituary
Justice Pathak, a gentleman judge

New Delhi, November 18
Adorned with numerous achievements in a distinguished career traversing international boundaries, November seems to have had a special significance in the life of former Chief Justice of India R.S Pathak. He was born in the month, joined the legal profession in the same month and as fate would have it, left for his heavenly abode on this day of November at the age of 82.

The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, with Justice R.S.Pathak at the 125th anniversary celebrations of The Tribune on September 24, 2005, at the PGI auditorium in Chandigarh The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, with Justice R.S.Pathak at the 125th anniversary celebrations of The Tribune on September 24, 2005, at the PGI auditorium in Chandigarh.
— A Tribune photograph


EARLIER STORIES


Badal, Hooda mourn legal luminary’s demise
Chandigarh, November 18
The Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today condoled the death of Justice R.S Pathak, a former Chief Justice of India and currently the President of the Tribune Trust, saying the nation had lost a legal luminary, who had very humane face in dealing with situations.

PM condoles death
New Delhi, November 18
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today condoled the death of Justice R.S Pathak and called him "a man of great learning, wisdom and unimpeachable integrity". Talking to The Tribune, Prime Minister's media adviseor Sanjay Baru said Manmohan Singh will pay tributes tomorrow morning at Justice Pathak's residence where his last remains would be brought for final rites.

Himachal Congress panel to meet again
New Delhi, November 18
The screening committee of the Congress for Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh today discussed candidates for all 65 seats scheduled to go to polls on December 19 and but did not finalise its recommendations.

Modi renominated for Gujarat poll
New Delhi, November 18
The BJP today renominated Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi from Maninagar Assembly Constituency, while fielding all 10 state ministers, as the party's Central Election Committee cleared 75 names for the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly poll scheduled for December 11.

Plea Bargain Concept
SC cuts convict’s sentence
New Delhi, November 18
When several jurists and social organisations are vigorously campaigning for enacting a law on plea-bargain, a widely accepted norm in criminal cases in the USA and some other advanced countries, the Supreme Court in an important judgement has accepted a plea of a woman victim for leniency to an accused whom she had married after conviction.

Rahul’s name not in FIR as target
Lucknow, November 18
The name of either any VVIP politician or Rahul Gandhi is not mentioned in the official FIR filed by the state’s Special Task Force in the arrest of the three Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) terrorists. The police has also not shared any information with the media. Only conjectures are floating in the air,” declared STF SP Amitabh Yash here today.

Delhi girl goes missing in Lucknow, dies in Kanpur
Lucknow, November 18
Mystery surrounding the death of 17-year-old Devyani Narang, a class Xll student of Delhi’s Bhatnagar International school may remain unravelled forever. She had come to Lucknow to participate in an educational event of a school there.

Woman held for entering Sabarimala temple
Sabarimala (TN), November 18
A 30-year-old woman was arrested here today when she attempted to gatecrash into the Sabarimala hill shrine, defying the ban on the entry of women in the temple under the 10-50 age groups.

Nearly 2.3 lakh appear for CAT
New Delhi, November 18
Nearly 2.3 lakh management aspirants today appeared for the Common Admission Test (CAT) for admission to elite management institutes, including IIMs, marking an increase of about 50,000 candidates compared to last year.

Raids in 62 UP jails
Lucknow, November 18
Simultaneous raids conducted across the 62 jails of the state once again unearthed banned items like mobile phones, chargers, lighters and even blades at various places. This was the fourth such exercise since the Mayawati government over six months ago.

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Obituary
Justice Pathak, a gentleman judge
S.S Negi
Legal Correspondent

A file photograph of the then President of India R. Venkataraman (left) at a dinner hosted in honour of Justice R.S. Pathak (centre) at Rashtrapati Bhawan in April, 1989
A file photograph of the then President of India R. Venkataraman (left) at a dinner hosted in honour of Justice R.S. Pathak (centre) at Rashtrapati Bhawan in April, 1989, after the latter had been appointed judge of the International Court of Justice at The Hague. The then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi also seen in the photograph.

New Delhi, November 18
Adorned with numerous achievements in a distinguished career traversing international boundaries, November seems to have had a special significance in the life of former Chief Justice of India R.S Pathak. He was born in the month, joined the legal profession in the same month and as fate would have it, left for his heavenly abode on this day of November at the age of 82.

His activism as a professional jurist of high standing was well recognised even at an advanced age when he was entrusted with the task of inquiring into the much controversial Iraqi oil-for-food scam, which had posed a grave threat to the Manmohan Singh government and to the image of the Congress.

Proving to be a stickler to his task, Justice Pathak, unlike several other probe panels, finished his work within the stipulated time to submit his report, which eventually helped the political turmoil on the issue to subside.

Having the distinction of being among the few Indian jurists to be a Judge of International Court of Justice (ICJ) and having been a member of various important international arbitration tribunals, Justice Pathak was born on November 25, 1924. He enrolled himself as a lawyer on November 8, 1948 after passing M.A LL.B from Allahabad 
University.

Always a brilliant student, he proved to be a lucky second son for his father Gopal Swarup Pathak, who went on to become the Vice-President of India.

The major milestones in his distinguished career as a jurist, include appointment as a judge of the Allahabad High Court in October 1962, Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court in 1972, Supreme Court judge in 1978 and finally the Chief Justice of India (CJI) in December 1986.

While heading the top constitutional post of CJI, he was called upon to adjudicate one of the most complex cases in post-Independence history; the Bhopal gas tragedy victims’ compensation from US multi-national Union Carbide when the matter had log-jammed due to diplomatic row between the Indian and US governments over the prosecution of company’s CMD.

Justice Pathak heading a Bench seized of the case, had chosen to use his persuasive acumen rather than sticking to the legal nitty-gritty and asked the Union Carbide and the Indian authorities to arrive at an amicable agreement as thousands of poor victims, who had suffered multiple health problems due to the leakage of deadly methyl isocyanate from the company’s plant, could not have waited for years for a decision on the damage suit.

The persuasive tactic of Justice Pathak yielded the desired result as the company agreed to pay $ 470 million as a full and final settlement to Indian government for payment to the victims and his Bench gave approval to it in a verdict on February 15, 1989. Had this course not been adopted by him, the case would have lingered on for years.

In recognition of his immense knowledge in civil laws, an offer came to him to be a Judge of the ICJ in Geneva a few months after the Bhopal gas case verdict and he relinquished the post of CJI on June 18, 1989 much ahead of his due retirement to join there. He made a mark there too in deciding various complex cases of international arbitration.

Two top legal brains of the country F.S Nariman and Ram Jethmalani described the passing away of Justice Pathak as a great loss to the country, particularly the legal fraternity. In their assessment, “a judge with such humility and immense knowledge of law has today become a rare species”.

In his condolence message from Mumbai, Jethmalani described Justice Pathak as a “gentleman judge” and one of the great jurists who had adorned the seat of CJI. In his assessment, Justice Pathak’s most noteworthy verdict was in the Kehar Singh case, in which a Bench, headed by him had dismissed the mercy petition of the Indira Gandhi murder case co-accused. Due to some circumstances, he was deprived of laying down what could have proved to be a great jurisprudence in the history of criminal law, Jethmalani says.

Nariman described the death of Justice Pathak as a great blow to the legal fraternity as he was not only known as one of the most talented judges in the country but his legal acumen was well recognised in the international arena as one of India’s representative to the ICJ… “where he was held in great reagard. In the past few years his work as a member of Appellate Board of Arbitration in International Sports was much appreciated. He was arguably the best known Indian judge abroad along with Justice P.N Bhagwati,” Nariman said.

Several other jurists who had the opportunity to work with Justice Pathak remember him as a thorough “gentleman judge” who had a great sense of humility in dealing with people, irrespective of their status.

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Badal, Hooda mourn legal luminary’s demise
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
The Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today condoled the death of Justice R.S Pathak, a former Chief Justice of India and currently the President of the Tribune Trust, saying the nation had lost a legal luminary, who had very humane face in dealing with situations.

Badal said it would be difficult to fill the void caused by his death. “His role as President of the Tribune Trust is laudable as the newspapers of the Trust have always been impartial. Justice Pathak was one of the most distinguished judges India has ever produced”, Badal said.

Haryana Chief Minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, also expressed shock and grief over the demise of Justice R.S Pathak, President of The Tribune Trust.

In a condolence message issued here, the Chief Minister described Justice Pathak as a distinguished legal luminary.

Son of Gopal Swarup Pathak, a former Vice-President of India, Justice Pathak was a former Chief Justice of India and a former Judge of the International Court of Justice at The Hague. He was the third Indian to be elected to the world court, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.

Justice Pathak had joined The Tribune Trust as its member in 1994 and became its President in 2002. During his tenure as the President of The Tribune Trust, the Tribune Group of Newspapers scaled new heights in the field of journalism.

Hooda said Justice Pathak would be remembered for long not only for his distinguished career as a legal luminary, but also as a head of The Tribune Trust who made concerted efforts to ensure that the newspaper continued to hold high position in the field of journalism.

He said he was a man of fine qualities. The Chief Minister also reminded that as a judge of the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice of India, Justice Pathak had delivered a good number of important judgements. Among his several laurels is an honorary doctorate from Panjab University, he said.

The Chief Minister conveyed his condolences to the members of the bereaved family.

Staff union pays tributes

The Tribune Employees Union, Chandigarh, has mourned the death of The Tribune Trust President, Justice R.S Pathak.

Jagtar Singh Sidhu, President of the union, said with the passing away of Justice Pathak, the union has lost a father figure who always treated the employees like members of his own family. He was always sympathetic to the problems of the employees.

He described Justice Pathak as a votary of peace and said he was a thorough democrat. Sidhu said The Tribune Trust, which attained meteoric heights under the stewardship of Justice Pathak, had lost a great visionary.

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PM condoles death
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 18
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today condoled the death of Justice R.S Pathak and called him "a man of great learning, wisdom and unimpeachable integrity".

Talking to The Tribune, Prime Minister's media adviseor Sanjay Baru said Manmohan Singh will pay tributes tomorrow morning at Justice Pathak's residence where his last remains would be brought for final rites.

BJP general secretary and senior Supreme Court Advocate Arun Jaitley,who went to Justice Pathak's residence in the afternoon to offer condolences to the bereaved family, said "he was a distinguished judge,who not only donned the mantle of Chief Justice of India but also brought glory to the country by his stint at the International Court of Justice".

"Distinguished son of a distinguished father, Justice Pathak was an excellent human being with humility and a huge concern for propriety", Jaitley said. Chief Justice of India K.G Balakrishnan will attend the funeral tomorrow.

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Himachal Congress panel to meet again
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 18
The screening committee of the Congress for Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh today discussed candidates for all 65 seats scheduled to go to polls on December 19 and but did not finalise its recommendations.

The committee deliberated for nearly four hours at Andhra Bhawan here and decided to meet again to prepare its recommendations that will be placed before the party’s central election committee for final decision on the candidates.

The meeting was attended by all its members, including AICC treasurer Moti lal Vora, party general secretary Mohsina Kidwai, permanent invitee to CWC R.K. Dhawan, who is in charge of Himachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and PCC chief Viplove Thakur.

The AICC leaders have sought more information from the PCC regarding candidates and caste combination on seats where there was no consensus.

Vora said after the meeting that the screening committee would meet again tomorrow or on Tuesday.

Sources said that there was broad consensus in the meeting on nearly 45 seats. Though most of MLAs are likely to be repeated, the committee has not closed its options as yet.

With rebel Congress candidates likely to find a platform in the BSP, the party leadership is evidently keen to take all factors into account before finalising candidates.

The aspirants to various seats have been meeting AICC leaders over the past fortnight to give feedback and stake their claim.

The sources said the next meeting of the screening committee might be held on Monday evening or on Tuesday. Central leaders of the party would be busy tomorrow in programmes connected with the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The screening committee is unlikely to make panel of more than three names on seats where there is no consensus. The sources said that there were a few seats on which consensus may not be easy to achieve. The Chief Minister and the PCC chief are learnt to have differing views on some seats. The sources said no dates had yet been finalised for the meeting of party’s Central Election Committee. Before the meeting of the screening committee, AICC members from Himachal Pradesh along with chiefs of frontal organisations met Congress president Sonia Gandhi for a courtesy call.

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Modi renominated for Gujarat poll

New Delhi, November 18
The BJP today renominated Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi from Maninagar Assembly Constituency, while fielding all 10 state ministers, as the party's Central Election Committee (CEC) cleared 75 names for the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly poll scheduled for December 11.

The party inducted 20 fresh faces in the list dropping 13 of the 57 sitting MLAs on the grounds of “local anti-incumbency reasons”, BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar, who is the secretary of the CEC, told mediapersons after the meeting. This effectively would mean that the party has renominated 37 MLAs. Two MLAs had opted out of the race, while five MLAs had left the party.

Modi is the only name cleared by the CEC where the elections are to be held in the second phase. The first phase of polling is to be held in south Gujarat, Saurashtra and Kutch region.

Among the 74 names cleared by the party includes 13 women, 6 Scheduled Caste, and 17 Scheduled Tribes candidates. — UNI

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Plea Bargain Concept
SC cuts convict’s sentence
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 18
When several jurists and social organisations are vigorously campaigning for enacting a law on plea-bargain, a widely accepted norm in criminal cases in the USA and some other advanced countries, the Supreme Court in an important judgement has accepted a plea of a woman victim for leniency to an accused whom she had married after conviction.

Pointing out that there were not much pre-decided cases, setting out a precedence to accept the plea of a complainant to acquit a convicted accused on the plea of a complainant who once wanted his conviction, yet there are some cases which had dealt with the “factor of compromise” while determining the quantum of sentence to person, a Bench of Justices G.P. Mathur and Altamas Kabir said.

An issue having the ingredients required necessarily for “plea bargain”, arose in a case from Assam when the Guahati High Court had reduced the seven years’ rigorous imprisonment (RI) to Hasi Mohan Barman by the trial court, to three years for forcing his lover Haleswari to abort the child they had conceived during their love affair.

Haleswari had, after the incident, snapped all ties with Barman and lodged an FIR against him and an ayurvedic doctor who helped him in terminating her pregnancy by intoxicating her.

While Barman’s appeal against the conviction was pending in the High Court, he expressed regret and proposed to marry Haleswari under pressure from his village elders.

After the marriage was solemnised, Haleswari came up with a plea before the High Court to take lenient view against her husband as they had reached a compromise on the pending dispute, for which the law in India has no provision.

The High Court though refused to acquit Barman and the doctor of the charges, which were proved against them beyond doubt, it, however, reduced their RI from seven years to three years.

But Barman was not satisfied with the High Court ruling and pleaded for acquittal after the compromise and consequently moved the Supreme Court.

Dealing with the peculiar case, Justices Mathur and Kabir said since the offence under Section 313 “is not compoundable” even if a consent was given by Haleswari for a lenient view after their marriage, her plea for his acquittal could not be accepted.

The Bench, however, said there were some decisions of the apex court in which the factor of compromise between the accused and the complainant had been taken into consideration for reducing sentence or determining its quantum.

Taking a cue from at least four such judgements, the Bench said: “We are of the opinion that the complainant and the principal accused having already married, it will be in the interest of justice if the sentence is reduced to the period already undergone.” It also exonerated Barman of the fine of Rs 5,000.

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Rahul’s name not in FIR as target
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, November 18
The name of either any VVIP politician or Rahul Gandhi is not mentioned in the official FIR filed by the state’s Special Task Force in the arrest of the three Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) terrorists. The police has also not shared any information with the media. Only conjectures are floating in the air,” declared STF SP Amitabh Yash here today.

Speaking to Tribune Yash said that these were hard-core terrorists, who have been trained for a long period and would not break down so easily. “We would need them in remand for at least 10-12 days to get any relevant information out of them. Till now they are only sharing the irrelevant details.”

According to him the only concrete information that they had been able to get out of them was about their local UP associate, who they called by his pseudonym Okasa. “This fellow reportedly belongs to UP and had provided them the logistic support in terms of vehicle etc. However, we need more time to get out more information.”

“Not that we do not have any information about who was the target was but we have no permission to share it till we have clearances from the top. That means the really top not only in Lucknow but also New Delhi,” he pointed out.

The three ultras, Mohd Abid, Yusuf and Mirza Rashid Beg, who were remanded in 14 days judicial custody, were presented in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate yesterday.

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Delhi girl goes missing in Lucknow, dies in Kanpur
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, November 18
Mystery surrounding the death of 17-year-old Devyani Narang, a class Xll student of Delhi’s Bhatnagar International school may remain unravelled forever.

She had come to Lucknow to participate in an educational event of a school there.

Missing from the venue of the function at Kanpur Road, Lucknow since Friday afternoon, she was found in a seriously injured condition near Jajmau Tilla near the Ganga Bridge on the outskirts of Kanpur yesterday.

Eyewitnesses Firdaus and Nafees, who had seen her falling, rushed her to a nearby hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.

According to the Kanpur ASP Prem Gautam it was a case of accident as she was trying to click photographs from her mobile phone when she fell from the Jajmau Tilla, which is more than 50 feet high.

Gautam confirms that post-mortem report shows fracture of hands, leg and her back that led to her death. The report has been sent to the Lucknow police, which is investigating the case as the ‘missing’FIR was lodged there by her teacher Jyoti Sahu on Friday.

However, a close friend of her Garima, while speaking to news channels, maintained that a classmate, who had been recently suspended, had been harassing Devyani. “She had called me on the evening of Friday saying that she was fed up. Later she had also sent a SMS stating that ‘I want to live in peace’, revealed a sobbing Garima.

The Lucknow police however, is neither probing why the girl suddenly disappeared from Lucknow or why or how she travelled to Kanpur. “Her body has been claimed by the family and they do not want to press any charges against anyone”, said a senior Lucknow police official.

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Woman held for entering Sabarimala temple

Sabarimala (TN), November 18
A 30-year-old woman was arrested here today when she attempted to gatecrash into the Sabarimala hill shrine, defying the ban on the entry of women in the temple under the 10-50 age groups.

The woman, later identified as Shelvi from Puducherry, managed to reach the front yard of the shrine by climbing the “18 holy steps” when the police noticed her.

Shelvi, who was part of a pilgrims’ group from Puducherry, was detained by the women police at Pampa.

She was taken into custody for violating the ban on entry of women in the 10 to 50 age bracket into the temple.

After questioning Shelvi, police said she was initially dissuaded by them from going up the hill. But she managed to evade the security and reached the shrine, where she was first spotted by a news photographer, who immediately alerted the police.

The ban on women of 10-15 age groups from entering the Sabarimala temple made headlines recently when Kannada film actress Jaymala claimed that she had visited the temple about 21 years ago, sparking a raging controversy.

While the state police investigated the incident, Jaymala's claim triggered a debate on the question of whether the ban on women should be challenged or not. — PTI

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Nearly 2.3 lakh appear for CAT

New Delhi, November 18
Nearly 2.3 lakh management aspirants today appeared for the Common Admission Test (CAT) for admission to elite management institutes, including IIMs, marking an increase of about 50,000 candidates compared to last year.

There was no change in the number of questions this year. There were 75 questions — 25 each in the sections of mathematics, language and data interpretation.

Unlike previous years, the mathematics section did not have any question from geometry, a student said. Similarly in language, the number of passages from which questions are asked, were more than last year.

“Normally there used to be five questions from one passage. But this year each passage had only three questions, because of which the number of passages were more,” Vinay Modi, a director of a coaching institute, said.

However, the section on data interpretation was similar to last year. “The questions were tough and students could not attempt all questions,” Modi said.

The exam was held in 23 cities across the country.

About 1,600 seats will be on offer in the seven IIMs. Other institutes also select students on the basis of CAT scores. This year, students can expect 120 additional seats at IIM Bangalore and the newly-launched institute at Shillong. — PTI

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Raids in 62 UP jails
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, November 18
Simultaneous raids conducted across the 62 jails of the state once again unearthed banned items like mobile phones, chargers, lighters and even blades at various places. This was the fourth such exercise since the Mayawati government over six months ago.

Speaking to Tribune DM Lucknow Chandra Bhanu said that the Lucknow jail raid led by six magistrates lasted one and a half hours. Nothing much except lighters and some cooking vessels were found here.

ADG Law and Order Brij Lal said that in Etawah jail two packets of blades, some new watches, mobiles and mobile chargers were discovered.

Describing it as a “routine checking” he said that this was being done to keep the jail administration on its toes.

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