Author: Thomas Geeverghese

Advocate, Ernakulam

Stamps in NCLT

First question that popped into my mind when a client engaged me to appear in National Company Law Tribunal, Chennai, was how to I procure local stamps required to file my Vakalath. Each state have their own court-fees stamps and advocate/clerk’s-welfare-stamps. So, will NCLT Chennai accept Kerala Stamps? Answer is YES..! They will.

The NCLT court-registry is totally ignorant about the required Vakalath Stamps. They are concerned only with the fees prescribed in the Schedule to the Tribunal Rules. All other legal formalities are beyond their comprehension. All you need is a colourful Vakalath, with lot of stamps, affixed all over it.

If this issue is examined on the legal side, stamps should be affixed as per the State Rules where the document is executed. But when the same document is taken to a different State, one has to provide for the differential stamp-value as well, or else the document will be impounded. In Kerala, the court fees stamps and other stamps required in a Vakalath are of much higher in value than that of Tamil Nadu. So, even legally speaking, Kerala Vakalath with Kerala Stamps, should be accepted in Tamil Nadu as well !

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Kerala Investment Promotion and Facilitation Act, 2018

When the Ordinance became an Act, half of the provisions regarding investment promotions and all, got lost in transit. Typical Kerala Style!

Click Here

 

B Kamal Pasha – Oru adaar judge

It was during my initial years of practice that I first met Justice B Kamal Pasha, when he was officiating as Principles Sessions Judge, Ernakulam. It was an appeal against conviction under S. 379IPC (Crl App 687/11), and I was seeking suspension of sentence within 5days of imprisonment. He said – nothing doing, that appellant/accused will steal again. I submitted that the accused is recently married, showed the wedding card, and stated that he is expecting a child within 7months – a reformed man. This moved the judge, and he immediately suspended the sentence, without even seeking the report of the prosecutor. (Years later, his brother – B Kalam Pasha J, allowed that appeal and set aside the conviction). The rare empathy showed by Justice Kamal Pasha, in the form of interim suspension of sentence, saved the appellant’s marriage, and my career in criminal law (I am more of a civil guy).

Thereafter, I have consistently appeared before Justice B Kamal Pasha, in Sessions Court and after his elevation, in High Court. J Pasha is a man of simple common sense. He will decide cases on logic and fairness, rather than on strict letters of law. Because of this, in High Court, it was dangerous to appear before him in criminal matters, and more easy to handle in civil jurisdiction. Bold, outspoken and upright, he loved dictating judgments in open court – like a king. Though he had a questionable affinity for limelight and newspaper-recognition, he was a good judge overall.

On his day of retirement, I write this, because he has avowed that he will not take up any government posts hereafter. That is a decision, many good judges shy away from taking, but is a need of the hour to protect the system. He also retired with a blast. In his retirement speech, he criticized the collegium nominees sent for elevation to the Kerala High Court. I had goosebumps, when he said that aloud, in full court reference. It is a matter which many lawyers whispered to each other but never dared to air it in public. Pasha was classic Basha, the character Rajanikanth portrayed, on his day of retirement.

Anyway, I wish Justice B Kamal Pasha, all happiness and peace in his retired life.!
(I am sure he is not done yet, and we will hear more from him)

I eat, what i reap..!

Growing vegetables on roof top was mooted as a solution to beat the summer heat, in a situation where I could not find funds to do the tress work for my new house at Ernakulam. I started with five growbags, eight months back. Now there are 75plastic-cans growing different varieties of vegetables. It is so easy, relaxing and refreshing, according to me, everyone should practice roof-top farming. One can avoid buying vegetables from the market, with just 25grow bags. It will not take more than 10mins a day to water and care the plants. Another up-side is one can grow exotic vegetables like Amara-payar, Chathura-payar, Valan-Payar etc which are not commercially available in the market. Free from pesticides, and fully organic and garden fresh, when I eat what I reaped, the food tastes all together differently.

NGT Chennai, moved to a swanky renovated palace

National Green Tribunal, Southern Zonal Bench at Chennai is moved from TNPCB’s old office to KalasMahal, Ezhilagam, Chepauk from 1st September 2017. The building is an architectural brilliance, an old palace renovated artistically. 

Here is the google map location of the place, which is otherwise difficult to find.
https://goo.gl/maps/keXAaYzLE9u

No water for Ducks – Practically and Legally!

Duck-farming

One of my clients who is engaged in rearing of duck, wanted to know the various licenses he should have, to conduct his duck farm, legally. He had none at present. But, during the dawn of Goods and Service Tax, he wanted to know the details of other licenses required to conduct duck farming .

In Kerala, duck farming is regulated under the Kerala Panchayat Raj (Licensing of Livestock Farms) Rules, 2012. According to the Rules, one can rear 15 poultry birds in one cent of land. In addition to that, based on the number of birds reared, there should be Fertilizer Pits (വളക്കുഴി), and burial pits (if there are more than 5000 birds), for the farm. The license is to be issued by the Secretary of the concerned Grama Panchayat. The certificates from the Pollution Control Board and District Medical Officer, are necessary, though it can be exempted by the Secretary, if it is so felt by him, on basis of location of the farm.

However, there is a catch to all these. The farm cannot be operated in a paddy land. This is because, according to Kerala Conservation of Paddy land and Wetland Act, 2008, the Panchayat is prohibited from issuing any license in any property classified as Paddy Land. My client was operating his duck farm in a paddy land. Although his land is only partially reclaimed, the entire land is included in the data bank as paddy land. So he cannot get any license from the Panchayat.

This is an anomaly in the law as ducks are traditionally reared in paddy fields.  Although I suggested to my client to file a writ petition, to cure the anomaly, he declined to proceed with a case. He rather preferred to do his business under the radar of law, having done so, peacefully, for the last several years. When I pressed him for the real reason for his hesitation, the answer astonished me.

Conventionally, although ducks require amble amount of puddled water for growth; in poultry farms, they are reared in cages, without taking them to water. My client has vast extent of wetland but none of his ducks have the fortune to swim in it. So according to my client, if a case is filed to cure the anomaly in law, it may backfire, questioning his very method of duck farming.

One thing is very clear. Ducks in Kerala are in a state of Catch 22.

If one rears ducks in paddy fields, then he will not get license, and it is rather illegal; and if he rears ducks in dry land, then ducks will not get water. Other alternatives are not commercially viable. So in short, there is no water for ducks, practically and legally, in Kerala.

RSS on codification of Hindu Personal Laws, in the 1950s

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh threw its weight behind the agitation (against codification of Hindu Personal Laws). On 11 December 1949, the RSS organized a public meeting at the Ram Lila grounds in Delhi, where speaker after speaker condemned the bill. One called it ‘an atom bomb on Hindu society’. Another likened it to the draconian Rowlatt Act introduced by the colonial state; just as the protests against that act led to the downfall of the British, he said, the struggle against this Bill would signal the downfall of Nehru’s government. The next day a group of RSS workers marched on the Assembly buildings, shouting ‘Down with Hindu code bill’ and ‘May Pandit Nehru perish’. The protesters burnt effigies of the prime minister and Dr Ambedkar, and then vandalized the car of Sheikh Abdullah.

      India after Gandhi, by Ramachandra Guha.

It is curious to note that RSS objected to codification of Hindu personal laws in the 1950s. But by year 2017, it is advocating for the enactment of Uniform Civil Code. An irony, it is.

Would it be the same with the Muslim Personal Law Board, as well, in the matter of abolition of Talak and other reforms? I guess so.