Staff Reporter

High Courtround-up

Kochi: The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) has informed a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court that it was not agreeable to the decision of the Government to take up road development leading to the Sabarimala temple on a build-operate-and-transfer basis through the Public Works Department (PWD).

The TDB made the submission while hearing a petition, seeking to implement the Malaysian-aided road development project, which came up before the Bench comprising Justice R. Bhaskaran and M. Sasidharan Nambiar.

The decision to entrust the road development with the PWD was taken at a meeting held on August 24, 2005.

The Bench dismissed the petition seeking to implement the road development project. The Court said that since the project was found to be not economically viable, it was not for the High Court to direct the State Government and the TDB to implement the scheme. The Government told the court that the interest rates of the Malaysian aid were too high and the project would cost more than Rs.479 crores. The court left open the question whether the road works could be taken up on BOT basis through the PWD. Since the petition did not challenge the BOT-basis roadwork, the Court said that it could be challenged in another petition.

Quota for women

A Bench comprising Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and K.T. Sankaran upheld the reservation made for women and Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe women to the post of the Panchayat presidents.

The court upheld the reservation order while dismissing a petition against the order. The Government had reserved 296 posts of presidents for women, 36 posts for Scheduled Caste women and four for Scheduled Tribes women. The court observed that the reservation had been made in accordance with the Article 243(4) and 153 of the Kerala Panchayat Raj Act.

Freedom fighters' pension

The Bench set aside a single judge's judgment directing the Central Government to grant Central Government's freedom fighters pension to certain persons. The court held that the mere fact that an application had been recommended by the State or that the State Government had sanctioned its pension was not a ground for the Central Government to grant pension. The applicants had to independently fulfil the criteria laid down by the Central Government for getting the pension.

Torture death

The State Government on Monday informed the High Court that the final report in the case relating to the torture death at Fort police station in Thiruvananthapuram would be filed soon. The Crime Branch had got all the test reports.

Ayurvedic medicines

Justice K. Balakrishnan Nair upheld the Government rule stipulating that Ayurvedic drugs containing alcohol could be sold only by the registered Ayurvedic practitioners. The court upheld the rule while dismissing a batch of petitions filed by dealers in Ayurvedic medicines.