Citizens' Issues
ISRO enters big league with MK-III rocket launch
With the successful launch and completed test of the re-entry module on-board the MK-III rocket, ISRO has taken a big step towards manned missions
 
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) test-launched its heaviest launch vehicle, code-named the GSLV Mk-III X/Care, in the morning today. The purpose of the launch was to test the ability of the vehicle to carry heavy payloads and to test the ISRO designed crew re-entry capsule.
 
On both counts, the test was a success today and it propelled ISRO into an elite league of space agencies capable of sending heavy payloads into space. This means that from now on, India can attract business for launching much heavier satellites than before, and is also on track to be able to send India's first manned mission planned for the early 2020's.
In technical terms, an ISRO statement said, “Also known as LVM3-X/CARE, this suborbital experimental mission was intended to test the vehicle performance during the critical atmospheric phase of its flight and thus carried a passive (non-functional) cryogenic upper stage.”
 
ISRO said, the mission began with the launch of GSLV Mk-III at 9:30 am IST from the Second Launch Pad, as scheduled, and about five and a half minutes later, carried its payload - the 3,775 kg Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE) - to the intended height of 126 km. Following this, CARE separated from the upper stage of GSLV Mk-III and re-entered the atmosphere and safely landed over the Bay of Bengal, with the help of its parachutes, about 20 minutes 43 seconds after lift-off. The total budget for the mission was Rs155 crore.
 
"This was a very significant day in the history of Indian space programme for the development of the advanced launch vehicle that could carry a 4-tonne class of communication satellite into orbit,” ISRO Chairman, K Radhakrishnan said.
 

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Know the Doctrine of Clean Hands

This legal maxim demands that a litigant must not wilfully mislead the courts and justice

 

“In its order, the apex commission also said that ‘it is well settled that if any litigant approaches any judicial fora by making false assertions in its complaint and tries to mislead the judicial fora, then such litigant is not entitled to any relief in equity.’ Such petition should be thrown away at the threshold itself.” — a news report.

 

Hallelujah! If only more courts had the guts that the Delhi consumer forum has shown.
 
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), has been giving such orders against frivolous and lying litigants. We had carried a story of tampered receipts, by two aspiring Delhi beauticians, who were caught red-handed. It is called the ‘Doctrine of Clean Hands’. A person who approaches a temple of justice cannot do so with wrong or evil intent.
 
Unfortunately, the situation is not uncommon. Plenty of false and frivolous litigation continues to be filed everyday, clogging up our courts. Senior advocates, who should know better, openly admit that they will lie in court for the sake of their clients. Worse, litigants expect their lawyer to lie. It is justified by the argument that the other side is also lying.
 
One client said to this author that he would give a false statement in court. When warned that he would be stopped from doing that, he rebelled vociferously. He wanted to know why his own lawyer would not side with him!
 
For those who want to know what happened next; I had to give up the case, even though we were winning.
 
This, we are sure, must come as a shock to most readers. But the explanation is simple. A court of law is constituted to pass judgements, or orders, or convictions, or acquittals. It is, however, most importantly set up to find the truth. That is the court’s primary duty. 
 
Now, you be the judge.
 
In the instant case before the NCDRC, the aggrieved party, or so he pretended, made perjurious statements. He had purchased a machine. He found it not in working condition. He approached the consumer court (district forum). An award was passed ordering a replacement and a fine of Rs55,000/-. The supplier appealed (state forum) and was ordered to pay only the fine. That meant the machine was with the complainant, who then went to the NCDRC and blamed his advocate for averring that the machine was repaired, when he still had the original.
 
NCDRC was not amused. There were too many contradictions in the complaints. Even though the man may be entitled to some relief, he was not telling the truth. Should he, therefore, be punished or not? He was fined Rs50,000/-.
 
There is a feeling that going to the consumer courts is to surely win a case against the supplier.
 
Maybe, it has something to do with the court’s common language title. ‘Consumer Court’. It is misleading. This appellation evokes the sense that the court belongs to the consumers. And where else but one’s ‘own court’ to get what one wants? No one calls it a forum for redressal and understands that the other party can, and will, be allowed to have its say.
 
Another angle to the argument is the complaint against the advocate. The advocate is the representative of his client. He pleads as per the instructions given to him. The countersign and oath mean that the client has read the papers, understood them AND that they tell the truth.
The moral of the exercise, then, is this. Go to court with clean hands. Tell the truth. Hide nothing, even if it is inconvenient; it will come out later, rest assured. The other side is no fool. If you are lying, then it is his neck you are putting on the line. And he will do his damnedest to save it.
 
(Bapoo Malcolm is a practising lawyer in Mumbai. Please email your comments to mail@moneylife.in)

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CBI questions P Chidambaram in Maxis-Aircel deal investigation

P Chidambaram's questioning was in relation to his inappropriate clearance to the Aircel-Maxis deal, which he was not authorised to clear, according to the CBI

 

A PTI report said that CBI examined former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in connection with the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to Rs3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006.
 
The Finance Minister was competent for giving sanction only up to Rs600 crore and the Aircel-Maxis deal was way above that limit. The CBI had sought to examine ex-FM Chidambaram in this regard.
 
A deal of this size could only have been cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs headed by the Prime Minister and yet Chidambaram did not refer the deal to the CCEA.
 
When contacted, Chidambaram told PTI “they (CBI) took a brief statement from me on the FIPB approval. I repeated what I said in my press statement earlier. Nothing more than that.”
 
Chidambaram had said in September that the file regarding the case was put up before him by officials and he had approved it "in the normal course."
 
“In the Aircel-Maxis case, the FIPB sought the approval of the Finance Minister in accordance with the rules. The case was submitted through the Additional Secretary and Secretary, DEA. Both of them recommended the case for approval. Approval was granted by me, as Finance Minister, in the normal course”, Chidambaram had said in the statement.
 
He had said “I understand that the officials of FIPB who dealt with the matter have explained to the CBI that under the rules, as they stood then, the case required only the approval of the Finance Minister.”

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