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Updated: December 24, 2011 14:13 IST

Court’s ‘no’ to Team Anna

Staff Reporter
Comment (19)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
Anti-corruption activists Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Anna Hazare after a meeting in New Delhi. File photo
PTI Anti-corruption activists Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Anna Hazare after a meeting in New Delhi. File photo

Bench can’t consider request for allotment of MMRDA grounds free of cost

The Bombay High Court on Friday did not give any relief to Team Anna in hiring the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) ground on the Bandra-Kurla Complex here free of cost for Anna Hazare's three-day fast beginning on December 27 on the Lokpal issue.

The court also rejected Team Anna's plea for a directive to the State government to open all the gates of the Azad Maidan for the protest, saying it did not have the jurisdiction to do so.

Disposing of a petition filed by Jagrut Nagrik Manch and Praful Vora, an activist of India Against Corruption, a Division Bench of Justices P.B. Majmudar and Mridula Bhatkar said it could not consider the plea for allotment of the ground free of cost.

“This organisation is not even a registered institution [as a charitable trust],” the Bench said. The MMRDA said the petitioners' application could be considered only if they applied again in the name of a registered trust.

The petitioners wanted the court to direct the authorities to give the MMRDA ground free of cost for Mr. Hazare's protest.

The court said it could not even ask the government to open all the gates of an alternative venue at Azad Maidan.

The petitioners prayed that alternatively, the government be directed to open all the gates of Azad Maidan to accommodate more than 50,000 protesters. The Mumbai Police was willing to allot 1,200 metres of the ground for the protest, but the area was sufficient only for around 3,000 people.

Assistant Government Pleader Uma Palasule Desai said that since the rest of the area was managed by the Mumbai Cricket Association, if the permission was given, the protest would cause an irreparable damage to the 22 pitches there. She also showed a letter from the Deputy Director of Sports Authority, denying permission for allowing Team Anna to use the rest of the ground.

The court asked the petitioners why they changed the venue from the Ramlila Maidan in Delhi, where the protest was earlier held. Mahendra Ghelani, advocate for the petitioners, said Delhi was too cold, and the people of Mumbai also needed to get involved in the protest.

The court said it could not direct the public authorities to grant concession when a debate was going on in Parliament. “It is doubtful if it is a justifiable petition… When there is a constitutional debate going on in Parliament, we cannot encourage [the authorities] to give the Maidan to you free for parallel canvassing.”

“You can influence people even when the debate is going on [in Parliament], but you can't ask the court to interfere,” the Bench said, when the petitioners submitted that they, as citizens, had the right to educate other citizens.

When the court asked whether their argument was only about excessive rent being levied on them, the petitioners replied in the affirmative. “If 50,000 people are with you, Rs.11 lakh is not an issue for you,” it said.

The petitioners will have to pay roughly Rs.19 lakh to the MMRDA of which Rs.7,69,000 will be refundable. The MMRDA, which has already given permission for the allotment of the ground at commercial rates, told the court that it had to satisfy itself that the trust was a bona fide body. “Moreover, they don't even want concession. Their prayer is, they want the ground free of cost,” counsel for the MMRDA said. The application could be processed if they applied in the name of a registered organisation.

India Against Corruption volunteers said they would re-apply in the name of the Public Cause Research Foundation, a trust formed by Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal.

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The observations of the judges are correct as for as the denial for the usage of MMRDA ground for fasting by Anna. On the other hand, the other observations made by the judges are uncalled

from:  suhas narkhede
Posted on: Jan 2, 2012 at 19:20 IST

It was reported in the media that they had collected nearly 1 crore in New delhi as donations; they should pay and show these guys.

from:  RGKrishnan
Posted on: Dec 25, 2011 at 07:13 IST

Every one want a Janlokpal

from:  Prof. Suhas J. Narkhede
Posted on: Dec 25, 2011 at 01:52 IST

We must salute to team anna who is fighting on behalf of us to save india.now time has come to give our 100% contribution for this movement(war against corruption.)

from:  Subhash pacharne
Posted on: Dec 24, 2011 at 23:04 IST

The court's observations (50,000 people and INR 19,00,000) is uncalled for. Any sane mind would see the sarcasm engaged in this observation. I do not remember any judiciary ever commenting about the financial powers of a ruling coalition. The honourable judges are free to have an opinion, but to document them in a ruling, is uncalled for. A lot of people (including eminent judges) have below than average opinion about the Indian judiciary system and the common man refrains from commenting in open, given the fear of contempt of court. Ridiculuous!

This article makes me wonder, who do we trust in this nation?

from:  Amol
Posted on: Dec 24, 2011 at 19:51 IST

ha ha ... Even judges think that if they staunch the movement here they
will not be under Lokpal ...This shows total encouragement for people
from bureaucracy to do corruption including these judges .Should we
take it as tacit approval ??
Good thinking to save themselves by judges !
But Anna can do fast in jail ...who can stop him ?

from:  Nilesh Salpe
Posted on: Dec 24, 2011 at 19:25 IST

Ma'm S Saraswathi...I agree with U, but we have to understand, the court acted as per Law,thats what the courts are for.Annaji created an awareness, thats also true,and it has got so many citizens emotionally involved in this noble cause, it is also very true. I just have a small question for you since you asked the judges to be responsible for the loopholes in Lokpal. Why were we so foolish in electing them again in the first place., do you know the percentage of MPs and MLAs we elected again even after they having cases of corruptions,murders,thefts,etc,?.We could have easily thrown them away even without a lokpal. Lokpal will be just an additon to our system of Law, But the the main change has to be in us.Just give it a thought.Lokpal will put the corrupt politicians in jail, but why we elect them again and agian, and give them a chance 'AGAIN' to be corrupt,even after we know that there are cases pending in the court against him/her. I think you will know now, who is at fault.

from:  Jaya Prakash
Posted on: Dec 24, 2011 at 18:51 IST

I am not a legal expert but I believe that the judgement can be
successfully challenged.
“It is doubtful if it is a justifiable petition… When there is a
constitutional debate going on in Parliament, we cannot encourage [the
authorities] to give the Maidan to you free for parallel canvassing.”
It seems from this statement that the court is withholding from us the
right to protest against a piece of legislation the details, albeit
early, of which are available in the public domain. The govt version
of the Bill has already been presented to the general public. Hence we
can, and I believe it is a fundamental duty to, make our "sense" known
to the Parliament.
Maybe the canvassing part will stay, but with a few cosmetic changes
to his form of protest I believe that he can successfully challenge
the judgement, and at least get the part about parallel canvassing
expunged. That part is totally uncalled for, sort of like Reversed
Judicial Activism. Maybe a legal person could elaborate?

from:  Aritra Gupta
Posted on: Dec 24, 2011 at 18:42 IST

Judges gave their decision. People will give theirs too. At the time of writing our Constitution, there probably was no pressing need to have an independent Anti-corruption agency. After 60+ years, we feel a strong need for an idependent Anti-corruption agency which can go after even the Prime Minister. No exceptions.

from:  Rahul Bobba
Posted on: Dec 24, 2011 at 16:35 IST

1) All expenses of the Lokpal shall be charged to the Consolidated fund of India(This fund consists of revenues from TAXEs)
(2) The Board shall finalise the Lokpal’s budget in such a manner that it is less than ¼ % of the total revenues of the Government of India(budget for our Defnses forces is 1.3% of GDP n 2011).
Lokpal shall not need any administrative or financial sanction from any government agency to incur expenditure(Article 114 of constitution clearly states no withdrawal of fund from consolidated fund of India(CoFI) without approval from parliament.)
3.There shall be paid to the Chairperson and each member a salary equal to that of the Chief Justice of India and that of the judge of the Supreme Court respectively. This as well charged to CoFI.
Team Anna & Mr Kejrwal have little faith in constitution is amply clear when they want money from CoFI but not accountable and answerable to anybody/Parliament.They want budget which is in excess of our defence budget.

from:  Vidhu
Posted on: Dec 24, 2011 at 12:59 IST

The Courts seem to be waylaid.. I cannot understand what was being contended- whether the fast was unethical/illegal/immoral or whether rents could be reduced for a public cause. If the Courts finally stated that they had no authority on the government's decision, they could have passed the judgement in the first minute that they have no authority. Period. What was the need for this kind of frustration to be displayed by a judicial office. Also, by this judgement is the Court questioning that the Parliament is the only body which can think good for India? Or that the only place to debate is the Parliament? In which case, they should shut down the TV channels which day in and day out discuss issues of national and public importance. I think the Court had pre-judged a simple case, and that's where they made a historic blunder. I am sure the Congress supporters will see this as a moral victory against Team Anna, but that doesn't make an iota of a change in the whole situation.

from:  Rakesh
Posted on: Dec 24, 2011 at 12:15 IST

It is good that the Team Anna has got a dose of judicial wisdom. They have been masquerading as the saviours of the nation as if their version of Lokpal, if passed, would stamp out corruption from the country. True, there are deficiencies in the UPA bill (like CBI not being made independent) as there were excesses in the Anna’s bill- like the Lokpal being made the investigator, prosecutor and the judge. Let the parliament deliberate and decide. If one doesn’t respect the parliament it would result in anarchy. As Anna claims he has the overwhelming support of the Jan Sansad, in the next elections he can choose such parties/candidates who would implement his version of Lokpal and then enact the law. Otherwise it is a hollow claim that he has support of the vast majority of the countrymen. Maharashtra municipal elections have shown that Anna had no influence on the voters in his home turf, as the ruling coalition won the vast majority of seats.

from:  C S JACOB
Posted on: Dec 24, 2011 at 07:31 IST

Correct advise from the court.Three Cheers.Anna's team should now know what others feel about its programme. All are against corruption and want it to stop but one must follow the constitutional process.

from:  P.Tauro
Posted on: Dec 24, 2011 at 06:43 IST

Thanks to the Court., atleast some sense has been brought in. We need to drive the rats out of the house. But burning the whole house for that would be foolish.Let us clean our Country, Politics and Parlaiment from corruption, but lets us not break them in that process. We will fight for a Lokpal, and we need to get Lokpal,within our rights.

from:  Jaya Prakash
Posted on: Dec 24, 2011 at 06:34 IST

It was unwarranted comment of the judges to comment on the allotment of the maidan.. All that the judges should have said is " You are not a registered social organisation and we do not have jurisdiction to direct the mumbai govt..to allot the land. The whole universe is looking forward for relief in indian Corruption and is eagerly looking for a change in Corruption..

from:  Aravind Kumar
Posted on: Dec 24, 2011 at 02:42 IST

the ground would have been given free had it been some silly cricket match or a michael jackson show or a nasik festival or some such jamboree for which some politicians sanstha would already have taken crores as donation and others would have made money . of course the public gets fooled everytime .this appears to be some new form of democracy where you must pay to protest, pay to gather for awareness, pay to express legitimate collective grievances. . otherwise better play gulli dunda . now we know it is for nothing that institutions are kept out of lokpal bill.

from:  shailendra kumar
Posted on: Dec 24, 2011 at 00:54 IST

The High court has almost censured Hazare and his weired ways of confrontation with the highest seat of our democratic nation. If he has any shame he must respect the vedict of the honourable court and desist from the further confrontation. He is now being seen as a destructive power centre.

from:  veekay
Posted on: Dec 24, 2011 at 00:32 IST

I can't believe the judges, P.B. Majmudar and Mridula Bhatkar, have said this: “If 50,000 people are with you, Rs.11 lakh is not an issue for you". Do the judges even understand what a Democracy is? Are they saying to us, the citizens, that we cannot demonstrate and protest unless we can pay a ransom? Do the judges know that the cricket grounds on the Bandra-Kurla Complex, managed by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), is PUBLIC LAND - not a private estate? "petitioners will have to pay roughly Rs.19 lakh to the MMRDA of which Rs.7,69,000 will be refundable" -- The citizens of this Democratic Republic of India have to pay NINETEEN LAKHS so they can gather at a public place and protest? think we are going bonkers.

from:  Subhash C Reddy PhD
Posted on: Dec 24, 2011 at 00:08 IST

The observations of the judges are correct as for as the denial for the usage of MMRDA ground for fasting by Anna. On the other hand, the other observations made by the judges are uncalled for or it was not in the purview of the court. I humbly bring to the notice of the court that, but for the effort of Anna Hazare, the Lokpal bill would not have been debated today in parliament. An old man at his sixties fighting for a noble cause should not be humiliated like this. Will the judges take responsibilities for the loop holes in the Lokpal bill after its passage in parliament and go for fasting even for one day? Will the court give guarantee for the strong Lokpal, corruption free government and judiciary? The elected representatives failed miserably to act to bring the legislation for past seven years. The Satyagraha giving nuisance to some factions, would bring great relief and prosperity to the toiling mass and pride to the nation.

from:  S Saraswathi
Posted on: Dec 23, 2011 at 23:25 IST
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