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Right to education law, spectrum scam top apex court's agenda

Sunday March 13, 2011 07:55:02 PM, IANS

New Delhi: A suit challenging the right to education law, the investigations into the 2G spectrum scam and the black money stashed away by Indians abroad will figure prominently in the Supreme Court this week.

A request to transfer the investigation into Gujarat's Tulsiram Prajapati shootout killing case from the police to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is also scheduled to come up before the court.

An apex court bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice K.S. Panickar Radhakrishnan and Justice Swatanter Kumar will Tuesday hear a challenge to the provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act that provides for reserving 25 percent seats in schools for students from the economically weaker sections (EWS).

The unaided and minority institutions are opposing the reservation for poor students on the grounds that the law infringes upon their fundamental right to practise any profession, trade and business.

The schools are arguing that the reservation dents their autonomy and the state had no right to impose reservations on them.

On the other hand, the apex court has asked these schools to rise to their corporate social responsibility in imparting education to poor children.

The court has also said that the private unaided schools were not just questioning a scheme of the government but were questioning the wisdom of parliament.

The provision (for 25 percent reservation for poor students) flows from a statute enacted by parliament, the court said.

Also on Tuesday, the CBI will submit before a bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice A.K. Ganguly a status report on its investigations into the 2G spectrum scam.

The investigating agency is also expected to apprise the apex court of its preliminary findings into the union home ministry's security concerns surrounding two telecom operators.

While hearing a petition seeking cancellation of 2G licences granted to telecom operators, the apex court earlier queried the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on how could it issued the letter of intent and granted licences within 45 minutes, without going into the security clearance of these companies.

The telecom operators will continue with their arguments opposing the petition seeking the cancellation of their licences. The plea has been moved by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy.

On Tuesday itself, an apex court bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan will continue the hearing on a petition by Narmada Bai - mother of Tulsiram Prajapti - seeking the transfer of investigation into the shootout killing of her son in Gujarat to the CBI and the transfer of trial in the case outside Ahmedabad to Mumbai.

Prajapati was killed in an alleged staged shootout in Gujarat Dec 26, 2006.

The petitioner argued that since the case involved high profile politician and former Gujarat minister Amit Shah and other senior officers of Gujarat Police there were doubts if free and fair investigations would be held.

The central government is likely to face some tough questions in the court Friday when the apex court bench of Justice B. Sudershan Reddy and Justice S.S. Nijjar will hear the petition by jurist Ram Jethmalani seeking directions to the government to take steps to bring back black money stashed away in overseas tax havens.

This will be the first apex court hearing after the release of stud farm owner Hasan Ali Khan, accused of stashing nearly $8 billion abroad, from the custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

A Mumbai sessions court Friday granted conditional bail to Khan, saying the ED had failed to establish any case against him and criticised the agency for lack of preparedness.

At the last hearing, Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium told the apex court that its "concerns" on the lackadaisical investigations "were completely justified".

Subramanium also submitted a status report on the activities of Khan which apparently pointed to his connection with arms dealers.

This status report prompted the court to observe why he (Hasan Ali) was not being booked under the stringent laws to curb his activities instead of hauling him merely for the violation of the Income Tax Act and the Foreign Exchange Management Act.

The court will also be given a status report by the director of enforcement on the agency's investigations into Khan's activities.

The central government will also tell the court if it agreed with (court's) suggestion to handover the investigation into a passport forgery case against Khan to the CBI.






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