Friday, July 30, 2010

Indian Institute of Banking and Finance (IIBF) is beyond RTI ambit: Delhi HC

Indian Institute of Banking and Finance (IIBF) is beyond RTI ambit: Delhi HC

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today said an organisation cannot be forced to disclose information under the RTI Act just because it is substantially financed by PSUs and held that the Indian Institute of Banking and Finance (IIBF) is not a public authority.
IIBF is a professional body of banks, managed by a board comprising members from PSU banks, with its membership of over 700 banks and financial institutions as its institutional members.

The court said an organisation should be funded by the appropriate government in order to make it liable to public scrutiny under the transparency law.
The court passed the order while setting aside the order of Central Information Commission of declaring Indian Institute of Banking and Finance(IIBF) a public authority.

"It is possible that the member banks, for instance, the State Bank of India, is itself a public authority. However, substantial financing by the SBI would itself not make it a public authority. It would have to be shown that the appropriate government itself directly or indirectly finances or has financed it," justice S Muralidhar said.
The CIC, in its order, had justified declaring IIBF as a public body saying the executive bodies of the Institute are substantially manned by senior executives of public sector banks and the bulk of its finances also come directly or indirectly from those banks.
"The Institute, a non-governmental organisation, being substantially financed by public sector banks directly and indirectly, is nothing but a public authority," the CIC had said.
Setting aside the order, Justice Muralidhar said "this Court is not able to concur with the impugned order of the CIC dated February 9, 2010 which is hereby set aside".

Sexual harassment at workplace bill-gender neutrality demanded-NewsX discussion


1/2- Sexual harassment at workplace bill-gender neutrality demanded-NewsX 29072010






1/2- Sexual harassment at workplace bill-gender neutrality demanded-NewsX 29072010




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Hey! We need harassment protection too, we’re men


New Delhi, July 28: Disclosure on its mind, an umbrella group of male rights NGOs has demanded that the sexual harassment at workplace bill be rewritten and made gender-neutral to protect men from harassment.

The Save Indian Family Foundation claims the bill has been prepared on the flawed premise that “women never lie and all the men are born a criminal” at a time men are also becoming victims of sexual exploitation.

The argument has echoes of the 1994 Hollywood thriller in which Michael Douglas’s character sues a colleague, played by Demi Moore, over sexual harassment.

The bill, prepared by the women and child development ministry and in the pipeline for the past five years, is to be introduced in the current session of Parliament.

The male rights NGOs under the foundation want the bill discarded and a fresh gender-neutral draft prepared. They have alleged that the women and child ministry, now headed by the Congress’s Krishna Tirath, is “sexist” and should be taken out of the picture. The new blueprint should be jointly drafted by a group of ministries, the NGOs have said and even demanded a separate ministry for men’s welfare.

“The bill must be reviewed and amended immediately to make it gender-neutral. In its present form, it is a violation of Article 15 (of the Constitution), which prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion or sex,” said foundation general secretary Niladri Shekhar Das. He plans to write to the Prime Minister with the demands.

The main grouse of male rights activists who are part of the foundation is that women have been given “unnecessary legal powers” and that the bill is in its current form is “unacceptable for a sane and just society”.

The bill says offices must have committees on sexual harassment, with the majority of their members women, including the chief. But the activists want such committees to have equal number of men and women. Such panels already exist but were set up following a Supreme Court judgment over a decade ago. The bill seeks to put in place the legal framework for the committees’ formation and functioning.

Students, research scholars, patients and women in the unorganised sector have been brought within the ambit of the proposed law. These segments were not specifically listed in the apex court order.

The activists have objected to one of the pre-qualifications required for a person to be a member of the office sexual harassment panels: that he or she shall be committed to the cause of women. “How can a male expect justice when he is being judged by a bunch of feminists,” asked Bishnu Pradhan, who is part of the foundation.

According to Pradhan, the bill overlooks the fact that women can be perpetrators too, and absolves them from prosecution for committing the same offence that it seeks to prevent men from committing.

Men are increasingly becoming victims of sexual crimes by women and drafting laws based on hallucinated assumptions can lead to disastrous social consequences, the activists have contended.

They have criticised the women and child development ministry’s stance that “the overwhelming nature of sexual harassment is against women and that the harassment of men cannot be put on the same footing, character-wise or incidence-wise”. “Since the laws drafted by the women’s ministry will only lead to gender imbalances, it must be removed from the process,” another activist said.

Delhi High court stays lower court order on child custody

Delhi High court stays lower court order on child custody

2010-07-29 20:30:00

The Delhi High Court Thursday put a stay on a trial court's order allowing interim custody of two minor children to their father after the mother alleged it was being forced on the children.

The direction came on a petition filed by Mandira (name changed), working as a director in the cabinet secretariat, against the lower court order alleging that the court passed the order despite the explicit unwillingness of the children to see their father.

The Mandira's children had earlier thrice recorded their statement in the court stating their disinclination to meet their father. Mandira married Sunil (name changed), an industrialist in 1996.

The couple have two children, aged 13 and 6, from their marriage. Mandira had filed a Domestic Violence Act case against her husband in May 2008. The court handed custody of the children to their mother, but allowed the father to see the children on Sundays for two hours. Later the court handed interim custody of the children to their father.

Prabhjit Jauhar, counsel for the petitioner, said: 'The court did not consider the wishes of the children and handed over custody to the father.' He cited that earlier an Additional District Judge had interviewed the children for the purpose of grant of visitation rights and the children showed their disinclination to meet their father.

'The judge noted that there is no finding that the children were either tutored or turned acrimonious by the mother. Three times the children have recorded their statement before a judge,' contended Jauhar.

Thereafter, Mandira moved the court alleging that her daughter has developed suicidal tendencies as she is unhappy meeting her father on visitation. She even placed a psychologist's report as record

Delhi HC PWDVA - No Domestic relationship of Bahu if she, husband live separate from his parents

Delhi HC PWDVA - No Domestic relationship of Bahu if she, husband live separate from his parents

A woman cannot book her in-laws under the Domestic Violence Act if she, along with her husband, had stayed abroad at the time of matrimonial dispute, the Delhi High Court held.

"There can be no domestic relationship of the wife of the son with the parents when the parents are not living along with the son and there can be no domestic relationship of a wife with the parents of her husband when the son, along with the wife, is living abroad, maintaining a family there and children are born abroad...," said Justice Shiv Narayan Dhingra.

"In order to constitute a family and domestic relationship, it is necessary that the persons who constitute domestic relationship must be living together in the same house under one head. If they are living separately, then they are not a family but they are relatives related by blood or consanguinity to each other...," said Justice Dhingra in a judgement.

"Once a son grows up and he starts earning, marries, makes his separate home and sires (fathers) children, the burden of his wife cannot be put on to the shoulders of his father or brother on an estrangement between husband and wife...." the court said.

The Court also pulled up a family court judge for directing the in-laws, who stay in India, to pay jointly Rs 50,000 towards the monthly maintenance to their daughter-in -law, Payal Malik.

"I am surprised that the court below did not give weight to the judgment of New Jersy, USA, court where parties lived for seven and half years but assumed jurisdiction under the Domestic Violence(DV) Act because of the pure temporary residence of the wife in Delhi who is otherwise a resident of Hissar...," said the court and set aside the lower court's July 27, 2009, order to pay maintenance to the woman.

The Court's ruling came on an appeal filed by Harbans Lal Malik, father-in-law, Neelam (mother-in-law) and Varun Malik, brother-in-law besides Nagesh Malik, the husband, challenging the lower court's order.