Archive for July 22, 2010

Split Wide Open

5,516 divorce cases are pending in Pune’s family court. As couples make a beeline for the family court, authorities can’t handle the load


By Tanaji Khot
Posted On Sunday, July 18, 2010 at 12:17:30 AM
New site of the family court opposite Shivajinagar court
New site of the family court opposite Shivajinagar court

Divorce is in and alimony is the new label to flaunt! You could blame the economically independent woman, major changes in lifestyle and the social value system, but if  you go by the number of divorce cases pending in Pune’s family court, the city has a new trend.

The court receives an average of ten divorce cases a day. The number of cases are so high that the family court is buckling under the pressure of having to resolve all of them. 

The number of divorce cases and other marriage disputes are increasing and the present staff of ten marriage counsellors and four judges on the panel cannot tackle the heap of cases coming in.

The State goverment officially admitted this in the Legislative Council on Thursday.

Their statements made the government promise to take appropriate steps to resolve the issue. The issue was raised by Member of Legislative Council (MLC) Mohan Joshi and Nilam Gorhe.

It is easy to understand, after going through the pending cases in the Pune family court, why the supreme Court (SC) recently said that there was an urgent need of an amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act in order to speedily dispose of family disputes. There are 5,516 cases pending in the Pune family court alone which has jurisdiction only within the PMC limits.

Vacant posts
One post in a panel of five judges has been lying vacant since August last year. The court does not have its own space and is being run in a rented building for the last 22 years.

This information was provided by Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, the Law and Justice Minister of Maharashtra in the legislative council.

Replying to a question by member Mohan Joshi and Neelam Gorhe, Vikhe-Patil said, “The court is being run in a rented space since 1988.”

A new court building
Vikhe-Patil also said that since the court has many types of cases, people come there in large numbers. He promised that a supervision of the present space will be carried out by the Minister of State Bhaskar Jadhav and legislators. He added that appropriate action will be taken according to their suggestions.

“The court has a panel of five judges. One post in the panel is vacant at present. The court had 5,516 cases pending as on June 10 while there is a stipulation of one judge per 2,000 cases.

In fact, there were two vacant posts of judges in the court, out of which one was filled this June,”  Jadhav said.

“The court is being run in a rented space since 1988. A new building will be built for the court, which is estimated to cost about Rs 10,13,00,000.

A provision of Rs eight crore has been made in the current budget and the new building will be completed within a year,” he promised

Mohan Joshi told Pune Mirror, “Since the family court is a place of hope for many women, the state is socially obligated to give them respite on time. However, the picture in Pune’s family court is very different.

A large number of women flock to the court premises, but the court cannot give them basic amenities like adequate sitting arrangements or toilets. Therefore, we raised the issue in the house.

The minister has promised to take appropriate steps to fill the vacant posts as well as speed up the ongoing work of family court building and providing adequate infrastructure to the people as early as possible.”

Divorce cases filed till June 30: 1050

Cases sanctioned (mutual consent): 377

Cases court gets each day: 10

No of judges on the panel: 4

Pending cases
Custody battles in court: 124

Categories: Other news

Sex storm rocks MIT

‘Victim’ says faculty circulated objectionable pictures on campus, faculty says ‘nonsense’, admin says both at fault


By Chaitraly Deshmukh
Posted On Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 12:51:05 AM
After receiving the student counsellor’s complaint, we
enquired into the matter. After the inquiry, we handed over Ghosh to the police. We have fired both Ghosh and the student counsellor. Ghosh alleges that she had an affair with a management student who accessed and misused certain data from her computer. She was terminated for that.

— Dr Mangesh Karad, executive director, MIT

He sent me obscene and romantic SMSes. On March 8, he showed my pictures with him taken during our Goa tour to some students and faculty members. And on the same day, he told me that I had been fired.

— The ‘victim’

I had no role in the institution’s decision of firing her. She is implicating me just to get her job back.

— Arindam Ghosh,
former lecturer and project head

The MIT College of Management is currently in the throes of a murky sexual harassment case.

A 22-year-old former student counsellor alleges that she was first sexually harassed by a lecturer and when she complained to the college authorities, she was fired. She also says that the police have not acted on her complaint.

A FIR is yet to be filed because the police claim that the victim has not given them evidence for her sexual harassment claim.

The alleged accused, one Arindam Ghosh, a lecturer and project head from the college, however, denies the charges. “I had no role in the institution’s decision of firing her. She is implicating me just to get her job back,” Ghosh said.

MIT’s Executive Director Dr Mangesh Karad said, “After receiving the student counsellor’s complaint, we enquired into the matter. After the inquiry, we handed over Ghosh to the police. We have fired both Ghosh and the student counsellor.

Ghosh alleges that she had an affair with a management student who accessed and misused certain data from her computer. She was terminated for that.”

Inspector in-charge of Kothrud PS, Chandrakanth Ghodke, said, “The victim has complained to us but we are not in a position yet to build a case. She is still in shock and has not given us evidence that she was sexually harassed. We enquired with Ghosh and he feigns innocence.”

Victim’s version
The complainant, however, insists she was harassed sexually. She told Mirror, “I know Ghosh since 2007 as he used to visit a gym where I worked as a receptionist at that time.

Ghosh first befriended me and began guiding me about career opportunities. Then I got a job with MIT and he claimed he had got me recruited.”

She added, “While Ghosh was my direct superior, he would often comment about my manners and dressing style, which I would ignore. He proposed marriage to me, but I turned him down as he was 10 years older than me. In February this year, he asked me to travel with him to Goa for an official tour.

But he kept me holed up in a hotel room for three days, which I had to share with him. He continued to make advances, but backed out when I pleaded him to leave me alone.”

She said, “After returning to Pune, he again went out on a tour, promising to talk to my parents about our marriage when he returns. However, when he returned on March 6, he refused to marry me.

Then he began sending me obscene and romantic sms. On March 8, he promised me a surprise gift and showed my pictures with him taken during our Goa tour to some students and faculty. He told them that we planned to marry soon. And on the same day, he informed me that I had been fired.”

Categories: Other news

Woman and lover arrested for her husband’s murder


Posted On Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 11:29:20 PM


New Delhi: A 37-year-old woman went to a police station to file a missing report about her husband but landed in police net for allegedly murdering him with her 23-year-old lover.

Manju Joshi, her lover Lekhraj and a Deepak Sharma (27) were arrested for their alleged involvement in the murder of her husband Dinesh Kumar Joshi, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Outer) Chhaya Sharma.

“Manju was annoyed with her husband as he was a habitual drunkard and used to beat her and other family members. His habit ruined the family. He had sold his flat and other household articles,” Sharma said. Meanwhile, she became close to her landlord’s son Lekhraj who helped her financially.

On June 16, Manju left her husband in a drunken condition with Lekhraj, who along with his friend Deepak took him to a vacant plot in Rohini Sector 23 and allegedly murdered him with blades and smashed his face with a stone.

During investigations, official said, it came to light that Dinesh and Lekhraj had a fight in the first week of May due to the youth’s relationship with his wife. After this, Dinesh started living with his sisters.

On June 15, Dinesh and his wife visited his sister’s house and returned home the next day. Four days later, Manju called Dinesh’s sister and told her that he had left them at Sector-5, Rohini on June 16 and hadn’t turned up since.

“Seema told her to wait for sometime as Dinesh used to often leave home without informing anyone in the family for several days. When he did not come return July 12, they went to Vijay Vihar police station to lodge a missing persons’ report. There they saw a photo on a notice board and identified it as being Dinesh,” Sharma said. It also came to light that Manju was initially not interested in lodging the report.

“Her children were questioned and they revealed that their father was last seen with Lekhraj. The woman and Lekhraj were questioned and they confessed to the crime,” Sharma said. 

Categories: Crime by Women

Mum held for sex with son

After giving him away two days after he was born, Aimee Sword reconnected with her 14-year-old son on Facebook and ended up in bed with him. She got 30-year sentence


Posted On Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 11:59:59 PM

Michigan: A 36-year-old Michigan woman was sentenced to a minimum of nine years and a maximum of 30 years in jail for having sex with her 14-year-old son. The Detroit Free Press said Aimee Louise Sword, 36, from Waterford Township, gave the boy up for adoption when he was a two days old.

She received an update from his adoptive family, including a photo, each year. But when she failed to receive a new photo after the boy turned 14 in 2008, she tracked him down on FAcebook, the Oakland County Circuit Court heard.

“When she saw this boy, something touched off in her — it wasn’t a mother-son relationship, it was a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship,” her lawyer Mitchell Ribitwer said. “She is searching for a reason why this happened. She can’t understand it. She will get counselling.”

Pleading guilty to a count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, the mother of six apologised for her abuse of trust. “I want to apologise to the court, my children and my sister,” she told the court. I am remorseful for everything that occurred. … I don’t understand it.”

Sword was originally charged with four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, but pleaded guilty to having sex with the boy once.

Investigators told the court they believed the pair had sex once in a hotel and also at friends’ homes in Waterford.

“It’s a very tragic case, and I’m concerned for the welfare of this young boy and what it may have done to his psyche and his future,” Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper said. “It’s the first time I’ve really seen something like that between a mother-son, but many times between a father-daughter,” the judge said.

Categories: Crime by Women

Victims to get protection officers within two months

City lawyer filed PIL regarding Domestic Violence Act after Mirror report. The HC has disposed of the case


By Chaitraly Deshmukh
Posted On Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 11:12:34 PM
Mirror report on June 8, 2009
Mirror report on June 8, 2009
Complete outsourcing of tasks of protection officers may go against the interest of women. Providing security to women is core function of the state and it may not have effective control. Care should be taken to ensure that officers are sensible, sensitive and firm enough to do justice to their duty.” — Rajendra Anbhule, lawyer
Complete outsourcing of tasks of protection officers may go against the interest of women. Providing security to women is core function of the state and it may not have effective control. Care should be taken to ensure that officers are sensible, sensitive and firm enough to do justice to their duty.”

— Rajendra Anbhule, lawyer

A report published in the Pune Mirror on June 8, 2009 which said the State government had committed to the Bombay High Court that it would appoint full time protection officers to implement the Domestic Violence Act of 2005 within two months, prompted city lawyer Rajendra Anbhule to file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the regard.

On June 26, the High Court had ordered the State government to form a high-level committee to handle this issue. On Thursday, July 15, 2010, the State government filed its compliance report before the High Court bench of Chief Justice Mohit S Shah and justice S C Dharmadhikari saying that the cabinet has taken a decision to form the committee in its meeting on May 26.

The State Government also submitted a copy of a Government Resolution dated June 8, 2010 pertaining to the formation of the high power committee headed by the secretary of the Women and Child Welfare department.

Other committee members include the commissioner, deputy secretary, deputy commiserate of Woman and Child Welfare department and representatives of the Law and Judiciary department, Home department, State Woman Commission, State Headquarters, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Karve Institute of Social Science and Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work.

The State government sought three months time to appoint full time protection officers to implement the Act. It informed the court that advertisements for recruitment of protection officers have been released but examinations and interviews of candidates are yet to be conducted.

However, the High Court instructed the State Government to complete the task in two months and disposed of the petition.

Anbhule says, “I have been struggling for this cause for the last 11 months and the court has upheld my demand. However, complete outsourcing of the tasks of protection officers may prove against the interest of women.

Providing security to women is the core function of only the state and it may not have effective control on the protection officers if their tasks are outsourced.

While appointing protection officers, care should be taken to ensure that they are sensible, sensitive and firm enough to do justice to their duty.”

Appointment of  full time protection officers is crucial for the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act because of the nature of the powers vested in them and their duties.

As per the law, the protection officer should preferably be a woman with a post graduate degree in social work.

Protection officer’s role
A protection officer (PO) works under the supervision of the court. The responsibilities of the PO are

Facilitating an aggrieved woman’s access to the court and assisting the court in discharging its functions

Service providers engaged in providing services, to women are to be registered under the Act 12. By registering under this law, they attain the status of public officers

The State is to notify medical facilities and shelter homes which cannot refuse services to aggrieved women

Police are bound to provide information on this law to women approaching them with complaints of domestic violence. This is in addition to their duties to register complaints under criminal law

The court may also order the police to assist POs in discharging their functions. POs are responsible for facilitating an aggrieved woman’s access to legal aid services

Categories: Other news

Women suffer more stress at work

BANGALORE: While women at work deliver the same results as men, across occupations, women experience “unreasonable” stress than men do, says a global survey. Payment parity, equal opportunities, career growth, fair performance assessment etc are some of the key concerns that kept working women under unreasonable stress.

Some 29,338 men and women were surveyed from India, China, Brazil, Russia, America, Britain, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

In a survey conducted by Kenexa Research Institute, an HR advisory firm based in the US, 56% of the women surveyed said their stress level was reasonable, while 26% felt they were under unreasonable stress. Across roles, more women experienced unreasonable amount of stress than men did. While doing front-line supervisory jobs, women experienced 10% more stress than their male counterparts who carried out the same kind of functions. In service and production jobs, women felt 8% additional stress while at middle and upper manager level, the stress levels were up by 6% for them, compared to men.

Factors including work-life balance, doing exciting work, having a respectful manager, being paid fairly, having a clear career path etc had a direct impact on the work stress among women, said the study.

Looking at the difference between genders, results show that women work stress is more related to managerial support and equal opportunity, whereas men’s stress drivers focus more on product quality and trust in senior leadership.

“This research may partially explain why there are fewer women in the management roles. The media and academia have substantiated the existence of the glass ceiling. Women fight the commonly held perception that they may lack the motivation to climb the corporate ladder, and our data indicate that fewer women feel that achieving career goals are likely while maintaining a balance between personal and professional lives. All these factors increase stress levels for women workers. Again, women are more open to report their stress conditions, compared to men,” said Brenda Kowske, research consultant, Kenexa Research Institute.

Categories: Other news

Rs 14,000 crore in next 5 years for trial court infrastructure: Moily

NEW DELHI: For the long neglected 16,000 trial courts operating in abysmal conditions and ill-equipped to tackle the 2.80 crore pendency, law minister M Veerappa Moily on Wednesday announced a Rs 14,000 crore package to be rolled out over the next five years.

“The money will be utilised to provide additional infrastructure and inject vitality to the existing ones, focus on training judicial officers and public prosecutors and introduce scientific case management concept for speedy disposal of cases. It will also be used to create much needed space for judges and advocates,” Moily told TOI.

This appears in line with the efforts of Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia, who had recently submitted a report on infrastructure needs of the judiciary to the prime minister and constituted a special Bench to take up the status of subordinate judiciary in each state and goad the states to improve it.

Of the Rs 14,000 crore that would be needed over the next five years, Rs 5,000 crore has already been provided in the earlier sanctions. “We have prepared the necessary proposals for the additional Rs 9,000 crore that will be needed to give the subordinate judiciary the facilities needed to tackle the pendency menace. It will soon be placed before Union Cabinet for approval,” the law minister said.

Moily’s initiative appears to be in sync with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s promise a year ago in the conference of Chief Justices that for every step taken by the judiciary, the government was ready to take two.

The law minister said of the estimated requirement, Rs 1,000 crore would be spent on setting up e-courts to decongest the lower judiciary from massive files which get bulkier during pendency. “Rs 300 crore would be spent on revamping state judicial academies to improve training of judges and another Rs 150 crore would be spent to train public prosecutors to improve their efficiency in courts,” he said.

However, what appeared radical was the proposal to introduce court managers post for every district. “They will bring in scientific management of dockets by bracketing together identical cases and introduce efficiency in disposal of disputes,” Moily said, adding the government had earmarked Rs 300 crore for this purpose.

Poor litigants will be provided better legal aid and the government will spend an additional Rs 200 crore, apart from the budgeted amount, to improve the services given to them. Not the least, the mediators, who will play an important role in settling disputes amicably between parties, will be given advanced training with a budget of Rs 150 crore.

“The government is also contemplating amending the Court Fees Act as litigants pay between Re 1 and Rs 10 for filing a petition in various courts,” the minister said.

Categories: Other news