Provident Fund: EPFO promises online information. Some hope for subscribers


     Keeping track of your PF account has always been a problem. Getting the PF account settled without paying bribes was a near impossibility.

It is to the credit of Chidambaram & Indira Gandhi that govt servants could get their pensions and PPF in time.

Even now PPF accounts are not regularly updated. Millions of entries have not been made in the last few years. Posting information on line will make life easier for subscribers who wish to know the balance in their accounts.

This is a very good move by EPFO.

Track PF account online soon

Abantika Ghosh TNN

     New Delhi: Within three months, you will be able to track your provident fund account online and take it up with your regional office if it has not been updated. In the first phase of the initiative, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) has already put the entire details of the status of accounts of all its 120 offices around the country on its website.

       Following the run-in with the finance ministry on the 9.5% interest rate when the ministry had insisted that accounts should be updated before calculating interest rates, a circular was issued on Wednesday asking all regional offices to complete updation of accounts till 2009-10 by June 30 and till 2008-09 by May 31.

        The list shows that there are 1.82 crore accounts that are not updated till 2008-09 and 2.42 crore accounts that are not updated till 2009-10. Rules say that PF account statement for a financial year should reach the company in question by September of the next year.

         He explained that once the system is in place, one would only need to key in the PF account number and the regional office to get the details of the account.

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Andher Nagari: Bihar slipping back to old times?


Bihar MLA held for pouring petrol into youths’ rectums

In the badlands of Bihar Kidnapping for ransom was an ‘organised profession’  during Lalu Paswan days. So were blindings and murders.Rule of Law had ceased to exist.

     It was hoped that things would improve during Nitish period. They did, for some time. Now is Bihar slipping back to old times?

Ed:


Alok Mishra TNN

Gopalganj: JD(U) MLA Ramsevak Singh, his brother, three bodyguards and a driver were arrested on Tuesday for allegedly assaulting four youths and pouring petrol into their rectum at Asmat Gola in Bihar’s Gopalganj district.

        Singh is an MLA of Gopalganj’s Hathua constituency. Police said Singh’s bodyguards assaulted Afroz and Tabrez, relatives of a winner of the just-concluded panchayat election. On Tuesday, the bodyguards also beat Vishal Singh and Rakesh Dubey after taking them to the MLA’s house and poured petrol into their rectum. Gopalganj district magistrate Pankaj Kumar Pal and police superintendent K S Anupam visited the victims.

      Vishal and Rakesh were rescued by a police team from the MLA’s house. ‘‘The SP and I met the Hathua MLA and heard his version,’’ Pal said. The medical report confirmed petrol was poured into their rectum, he said. An FIR was lodged against the MLA, his brother Ramashray Singh, three bodyguards and a driver.

      Villagers said the wife of the MLA’s brother contested the election for the post of mukhia, but lost. Though police were yet to probe the motive, prima facie, it appeared to be related with the panchayat election, Pal said.

        The JD(U) leadership in Patna did not defend its MLA. ‘‘Wrongdoers will not be protected even if they belong to our party,’’ JD(U) state president Vashishth Narayan Singh told TOI.

NRIs Property Owners : Beware


     NRIs who own properties in India should be very careful in disclosing details of ownership or parting with their documents.

    Please note that the system of police investigations and judicial process is biased against the innocent persons and protects knowingly or unknowingly the crooked.


Ed:


Singh used to visit NRIs abroad and get details of their land

         At first glance, Dheeraj Singh appears to be just a successful real estate developer operating in Delhi.
However, the secret behind his success was a flourishing business of crime–grabbing properties owned by NRIs. Singh’s dream run came to an end on Sunday when the police arrested him.

       Singh used to visit foreign countries, befriend the NRIs living there, collect information regarding their properties in India and later grab them using forged documents.

      Upon his return, he and his accomplices would prepare forged documents regarding the properties of the NRIs and grab them.

     Singh runs two companies–DS Industry and Himland Real Estate in Punjab.

        He has recently undertaken a project to develop land and build flats at Baddi, Himachal Pradesh.

         “The accused, his wife and brother Ram Niwas, were earlier arrested by the anticorruption branch, CBI, Chandigarh, for cheating crores of rupees from PNB, Chandigarh Branch, by taking a loan for the said project on forged documents,“ Chhaya Sharma, DCP (south) said.

      Singh was arrested after one Surender Malhotra lodged a complaint in January that Singh and Ram Niwas had allegedly usurped the property of a UKbased NRI.

      “The complainant Surender told us the NRI had given him the power of attorney,“ police said. During the investigation, police found that Singh and Ram Niwas were out on bail.

      Singh had visited UK last year and met Raj Rani in Birmingham and got photocopies of the documents of her property located at R-4 Green Park Extension.

         After that he prepared a forged `Receipt-cum-Possession Letter’ by forging the landlady’s signatures and one of the witnesses and took possession on the second floor of the property. Raj Niwas is yet to be arrested.

excerpts from HT of 23 June 2011

Judicial Delays: You can cry, laugh, or fight


          Judicial System in India is crumbling under the weight of 25,000,000 cases.

       Why blame the Judicial system?

          The blame must squarely rest on the Government, Investigating agencies, Lawyers, and not the least,the Judges themselves.

     Mr Bhagvanji Raiyani has for many years been fighting a losing ? battle against the sloth and inertia of the persons who run the Judicial system.

Self explanatory excerpts are placed below.

FORUM FOR FAST JUSTICE, MUMBAI

        (This write up cum letter is widely circulated through thousands of e-mails to citizens and being posted to the CJI and the Chief Justices of all the High Courts)

Union Law Minister Dr.Veerappa Moily’s well meaning plans do not percolate to the Judiciary.

Today’s (11th May)newspapers flashed the news on his admission that the target to reduce the life of any case in the court from 15 to 3 years (many cases older than 30 years) may not be met but when we met him last month on 15th and said so, he was a bit annoyed. Our letter dated 19-4-2011 addressed to him for an appointment to discuss further the delays, causes and remedial measures remained unreplied so far. We reproduce the same verbatim as under:

Date : 19-04-2011

Re : Judicial Reforms & Accountability.

Respected Moilyji,

Thank You very much for the courtesy extended to both Shri Ashok Arora and myself, when we visited your office on  15th March 2011. As suggested by you, I wish to bring to your kind attention few facts and figures, which will highlight our plight, in spite of  your zeal , drive and commitment towards implementation of Judicial Reforms, which unfortunately have not percolated down to the courts.

The inordinate delays in pendency of cases across the country, can be better understood from the cases listed below ( both Private Suits and PILs ) There can be no better example than quoting my own pending cases, where I am a petitioner / respondent or applicant / defendant. I argue my PILs in person in the High Court and at times in Supreme Court. I have filed 99 PILs so far and still counting, out of which about two dozen are still pending.

S.No.

PRIVATE SUITS

Pending Since

1

A property case in Bombay High Court being Suit No.1437 of 1981

30 years

2

A property case in Bombay High Court being Summary Suit No.1743 of 1983

28 years

3

A property case in Baroda District Court being Regular Civil Suit No.282 of 1986

25 years

S.No.

PILs

Pending Since

1

W.P. No.902 of 1998, expedited in 1998 itself, part heard is pending in Bombay High Court

13 years

2

W.P. No.2879 of 1999 admitted

12 years

3

W.P. No.2871 of 1999 admitted

12 years

The above are just the sample cases, where I myself am suffering, in my individual capacity.

Some of the common problems that I regularly encounter even today are:

1) Cases not heard inspite of listing on the Board: I normally argue my PILs in person. The board of the concerned bench may show at times some 100 odd matters, where my 2 to 3 PILs are also listed. The bench could hear 30-40 matters or even less and none of my PILs reaches, I wait for the whole day and return empty handed, dejected and disappointed. This happens to lacs of lawyers and their clients all over the country. What a colossal waste of manpower and material resources.

Time and again, I, a senior citizen keep pleading before the bench, to list the matter high on board, they fix the date but on that day the matter doesn’t appear. There exists no system or case management and that too, inspite of e-connectivity of the courts, and the best intention and efforts of yours and those of Hon’ble Chief Justice of India.

2) Adjournments:  These are available for asking, without any concern of its ramifications or implications for the other parties. Also only rarest of rare cases the cost is levied for adjournment as laid down under Order XVII of the Civil Procedure Code.

3) Long winded arguments / judgments / vacancies: Some judges do not read the next day case papers in advance.  On the contrary they waste lot of time of the court,  in understanding the matters, for having not done their homework in advance, then allow long arguments and even in matters of delivering judgments, it is again longwinded which can be easily simplified and use that time to dispose of more cases. To compound to the above miseries, many a time, the courts remain headless and vacancies of the judges are not filled for months. But unfortunately the above cited incidents are the order of the day in all the courts across the country.

4) My PIL W.P. (Civil) No. 122 of 2008 (Janhit Manch V/s. Union of India & Ors) on clearing the backlog in lieu of the specific directions in the judgement in All India Judges Association (2002)4 SCC 247 for increasing judges strength from 10.5 per million population to 50 judges per million population with commensurate increase in infrastructure is pending in the Supreme Court. Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan is arguing this PIL.

5) I have gone through the draft of The Judicial Standards And Accountability Bill, 2010, which is perfect except the provisions of Section 47 and 48 which may almost result in impractical situation like impeachment proceedings of a judge.

6) I have also gone through the booklet given by you to me titled as ‘Innovating for tomorrow, giving wings to tomorrow’s dreams’.

       It is beautifully drafted and many milestones are planned with specific deadlines. It deals with Procedural Holdups, Access To Justice, Judicial Reforms, Under Trials, The Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008, 13th Finance Commission, E-Courts, Judicial Standards And Accountability Bill, Enhancement Of retirement Age For High Court Judges, The Commercial Division Of High Court Bill, 2009,  All India Judicial Service, Legal Education, Vision Statement For Improvement In The Equality Of Legal Education In India, Bills Drafted For The Improvement Of Legal Education, National Litigation Policy, 2010, Limitation: Delayed Appeals, Central Agency Section At HT Building And National Arears Grid, Amendments To The Arbitration And Conciliation Act, 1996, Law Commission Of India, Legal Aid Movement In India, Notary Reforms, Indian Legal Service, Introduction Of The Protection Of Children From Sexual Offences Bill, 2010, Introduction Of Women’s Reservation Bill in the Parlament, Electoral Reforms, The Representation Of The People (Amendment) Act, 2010 and Gender Neutrality Of The Laws. This booklet is the outcome of your determination to carry out the mega plan on judicial reforms.

       The success depends on the co-operation from the Parliament, the governments at the centre and the states, the judiciary and the lawyers fraternity.

7) I am enclosing herewith the copy of our said Pil W.P. (Civil) No. 122 of 2008 which has chronicled lot of lacunas in the current judicial system. My suggestion is to deal with them point by point to the logical ends.

8) My concern is that the time is running out fast and your balance remaining term in office is 3 Years and your dream and commitment of reducing the backlog from 30 years to just 3 years, in the aforementioned current scenario, calls for some drastic herculean urgent plan of action, since all our hopes, dreams and aspirations are pinned on you.

I request you to give me an appointment for about an hour or so to discuss the issues raised in this letter when I will request Shri Prashant Bhushan also to remain present. It will be also appropriate if the Officers of the Secretary or Jt.Secretary grade of Ministry of Law and Justice remain present.

Thanking you,

Yours faithfully,

(Bhagvanji Raiyani)

Chairman & Managing Trustee

09820403912


Under Trials : An Uncaring system


    There are over 70 Lakh prisoners in Indian Jails. Many languishing far beyond even the maximum sentence period.

Cases are postponed and pending for decades. Individuals languish in jails since they have no money to pay the bail account.

Tihar’s kid now a man: Free, but not home

Ambika Pandit TNN

New Delhi: This is a tumultuous tale of a runaway boy trapped in poverty in Bangladesh, who surreptiously crossed the border into India and took the train to Delhi. But, soon he lost his freedom, his youth — wallowing behind bars in Tihar. He was barely into his teens then, but has spent over 11 years in prison on charges of murder. And this, despite being a juvenile.
Now, Farooq is out of Tihar, but freedom is still a far cry. He has now been dumped into a foreign regional registrar office (FRRO) camp, waiting for deportation.
Last month, the Delhi High Court ordered his release after a bone ossification test done by AIIMS revealed he was actually a juvenile, when he committed the offence.
But even a fortnight later, he is languishing at the FRRO camp at the Shastri Nagar area of north Delhi. The High Court order may have spelt relief, but uncertainty has made him nervous. He is 25 years old now. He is confined to a dormitory with dozens of others like him, waiting for deportation. Tight security at the camp makes it appear like jail.
It’s a hellhole cramped with men. And there’s another dingy room occupied by women and children. There is little activity at the camp. All they do is to wait for the authorities to pack them off to the border.
Farooq wants to go back to Bangladesh and begin life afresh. He is carrying back the goodwill he earned at Tihar. He was even awarded three certificates last year for clearing competency test in carpet making. The certificates granted by the National Council for Vocational Training of the ministry of labour are Farooq’s prized possessions. He also learnt English and Hindi and hopes to use these skills for enhancing his career once back in Bangladesh. Farooq remembers the day he crossed over to India in 2000. “There was poverty at home and I decided to cross the border in search of livelihood. I reached Kolkata and from here I took a train to Delhi. After wandering around for a few days, I landed in a slum in the Govindpuri area and was hoping to get work,” he said.
But immediately after his arrival, Farooq was caught and put behind bars along with other Bangladeshis. He was charged with murder. The trial followed and in 2009, he was convicted. An appeal against the conviction was filed by the Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee in 2009 in the High Court. The court was perturbed to find that the youth has spent over a decade in jail, when as per law he should have been released after three years.
Relying on the ossification test done by the medical board, a division bench of Justices B D Ahmed and Veena Birbal said that Farooq was right in his defence that he was a minor at the time of the offence. But home seems to be near, yet so far for Farooq.