Citizens' Issues
Rain fury claims 73 lives in North; over 73,000 stranded

Heavy rains have wreaked havoc in the hill states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, leaving 73 people dead and over 73,000 stranded, while several parts of Haryana were flooded after water level in the Yamuna rose alarmingly


Heavy monsoon continued to wreak havoc in hill states Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday as well. So far the rains have claimed 11 more lives in the North, taking the death toll to 73. About 71,440 pilgrims bound for the Himalayan shrines remain stranded in the monsoon-ravaged Uttarakhand besides around 1,700 people stuck in Himachal Pradesh.

With a let-up in the rains and decrease in water level in the Ganga and its tributaries, rescue efforts picked up momentum in the flash floods and landslide-hit areas of Himachal and Uttarakhand. However, the situation remains grim in Uttarakhand.

Flash floods, cloudbursts and subsequent landslips have claimed 44 lives in Uttarakhand and left as many injured and fully damaged 175 houses across the state.

Rudraprayag was the worst hit, where 20 people perished and 73 buildings, including 40 hotels along the banks of the Alaknanda, were swept away by the swirling waters of the river.

About 71,440 pilgrims, who were bound for the Himalayan shrines of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, are stranded in Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Uttarkashi districts with the famous char dham yatra still suspended due to massive damage to the road network.

About 27,040 devotees are stranded in Chamoli, 25,000 in Rudraprayag and 9,850 in Uttarkashi, disaster management authorities said. Officials said that the water level of Bhagirathi in Uttarkashi and Ganga in Rishikesh had begun to recede.

In Himachal Pradesh, chief minister Virbhadra Singh, who was stranded in tribal Kinnaur district for nearly 60 hours due to landslides triggered by incessant rains, was evacuated this morning even as 1,700 people remained stranded at various places.

In Uttar Pradesh, four persons were killed in rain-related incidents even as the state government issued a high alert in the wake of unexpected increase in discharge in major rivers, including Ganga, Yamuna and Shrada.

People from low-lying areas along the Yamuna in and around Delhi were evacuated as the water level in the river crossed the danger mark.

The water level of the Yamuna in Delhi crossed the danger mark of 204.83 metres and reached 205.24 metres at 2:30pm. Officials in the Flood and Irrigation Department said  the water level in the river is expected to rise further as Haryana has released 1.54 lakh cusecs of water into the Yamuna this morning.


Uptrend broken; Sensex, Nifty in no man’s land: Tuesday Closing Report

A close above today’s high would be needed for the market to head higher. A decline may take the Nifty to around 5,680


The market snapped its two-day winning streak and settled lower on selling pressure from banking, consumer durables and PSU stocks. A close above today’s high would be needed for the market to head higher. A decline may take the Nifty to around 5,680. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) reported a volume of 52.88 crore shares and advance-decline ratio of 691:688.

 The market opened marginally lower on nervousness ahead of the outcome of the two-day US FOMC meeting, which begins today. The meeting achieves significance as clues to the future of the US bond-buying programme are likely to emerge. The cautiousness was reflected in the Asian markets which were mixed in morning trade.

The Nifty opened eight points lower at 5,842 and the Sensex started the day at 19,329, down three points from its previous close. Pressure from capital goods stocks kept the market range-bound in the negative terrain in early trade.

Select buying was seen in IT, realty and healthcare stocks, but the gains lacked strength resulting in the benchmarks staying in the red till the noon session.  

The market made a laboured effort to bounce back from the lows with help from metal and realty stocks. The gains helped the market indices hit their highs shortly after 2.00pm. At this point the Nifty rose to 5,863 and the Sensex inched up to 19,384.

However, the benchmarks could not sustain the gains and slipped into the negative once again on selling pressure from the banking sector and healthcare major Ranbaxy on news that the Supreme Court will hear a public interest litigation on the 24th June seeking directions to cancel the company’s manufacturing license and prosecute its directors for allegedly selling adulterated medicines.

The decline led the market to its low in late trade with the Nifty falling to 5,804 and the Sensex retracting to 19,191. The benchmarks finally snapped their two-day winning streak and settled lower.

The Nifty fell 36 points (0.62%) to 5,814 and the Sensex closed the day at 9,223, a loss of 103 points (0.53%).

The broader indices outperformed the Sensex today, as the BSE Mid-cap index rose 0.03% and the BSE Small-cap index gained 0.25%.

BSE Metal (up 0.75%); BSE TECk (up 0.67%); BSE IT (up 0.57%) and BSE Healthcare (up 0.05%) were the sectoral gainers. The main losers were BSE Bankex (down 1.20%); BSE Consumer Durables (down 1.09%); BSE PSU (down 0.91%); BSE Capital Goods (down 0.86%) and BSE Power (down 0.64%).

Out of the 30 stocks on the Sensex, 10 settled higher. The top gainers were Tata Steel (up 2.89%); Tata Power (up 1.15%); Bajaj Auto (up 1.09%); Infosys (up 1.08%) and Hero MotoCorp (up 1.02%). The major losers were NTPC (down 2.20%); Bharti Airtel (down 1.67%); GAIL India (down 1.59%); HDFC Bank (down 1.48%) and ONGC (down 1.47%).
The top two A Group gainers on the BSE were—Reliance Communications (up 11.14%) and Piramal Enterprises (up 5.64%).
The top two A Group losers on the BSE were—MMTC (down 4.98%) and Ranbaxy Laboratories (down 3.56%).

The top two B Group gainers on the BSE were—GG Dandekar Machine Works (up 20%) and Kilitch Drugs India (up 19.95%).
The top two B Group losers on the BSE were— Blue Chip India (down 15.56%) and KBS India (down 15.36%).

Of the 50 stocks on the Nifty, 14 ended in the in the green. The main gainers were Tata Steel (up 2.65%); Infosys (up 1.38%); Sesa Goa (up 1.11%); Bajaj Auto (up 1.01%) and Kotak Mahindra Bank (up 0.93%). The key losers were Ranbaxy (down 3.90%); NTPC (down 2.69%); IndusInd Bank (down 2.49%); Punjab National Bank and UltraTech Cement Co (down 2.47% each).

Markets in Asia settled mostly higher on hopes of a positive outcome from the two-day FOMC meeting. News of the world leaders at the Group of Eight (G-8) meeting in Northern Ireland supporting Japanese initiatives to boost its economy also supported investor sentiment.

The Shanghai Composite rose 0.14%; the Jakarta Composite surged 1.38%; the KLSE Composite gained 0.11%; the Straits Times climbed 1.45%; the Seoul Composite advanced 0.93% and the Taiwan Weighted settled 0.23% higher. On the other hand, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.20% and the Hang Seng settled flat with a negative bias.

At the time of writing, two of the three top European markets were trading higher and the US stock futures were seen with modest gains.

Back home, foreign institutional investors were net sellers of equities amounting to Rs165.09 crore on Monday whereas domestic institutional investors were net buyers of stocks aggregating Rs361.52 crore.

Readying Religare Enterprises for a banking licence, its promoters billionaire brothers Malvinder Mohan Singh and Shivinder Mohan Singh have decided to sell nearly 23% stake, currently worth over Rs 1,000 crore, to meet the RBI eligibility norms for new banks. The stock declined 1.86% to close at Rs16 on the NSE.

Water treatment player Va Tech Wabag, in a joint venture with Pratibha Industries, has bagged a Rs262 crore order from Melamchi Water Supply Development Board, Nepal. The scope of the work comprises construction of water treatment plant at Sundarijal, Nepal with an initial capacity of 85MLD, Va Tech Wabag said in a statement. The stock surged 3.35% to close at Rs456.05 on the NSE.

Viceroy Hotels has secured its shareholders’ nod for sale of the company’s Chennai Property Division. The company had decided to sell the division to Chennai-based Ceebros Hotels Pvt Ltd for a cash consideration of Rs480 crore. Viceroy Hotels declined 1.40% to Rs17.60 on the NSE.


You Be The Judge

Love thy neighbour

Let’s see how the law applies to neighbourly relations. The biblical injunction of ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ is, unfortunately, not a common occurrence. Probably, because familiarity often breeds contempt. Two neighbours, Mr 1 and Mr 2, could not see eye to eye. No talk. No visits. Now, while one neighbour, Mr 1 is away his house catches fire. What is neighbour Mr 2 supposed to do?

The choices before him would be:

a)    Call the fire brigade
b)    Rush into the house by breaking down the door if necessary and save the belongings
c)    Make sure his own house and those of others are safe
d)    Try to contact the neighbour
e)    Call for all the possible help he can muster
f)    Do nothing. After all, it’s not HIS house.

What would you advise?
In law, neighbour 2 would be correct in taking any or all of the first five options. It is the duty of every citizen to protect property, his or anyone else’s. And neighbour 1 would not have a case against him... Even if he did not thank his enemy! We, often, hear of bystanders not interfering in a felony. It is very common and it is wrong. Each citizen is duty-bound to assist another human in need. Remember how, a few years ago, four passengers in a local train, including a journalist, stayed put while a mentally retarded girl was raped?

Good fences make good neighbours? Not always

Ardeshir Katrak was a lawyer practising in Bombay in the small causes court, mainly on Rent Act matters, protecting poor Parsis from rapacious trustees. As is our wont, we had asked him the question we ask every advocate. “Which is the most interesting case you have ever argued?” We repeat Ardeshir’s story.

Once upon a time, there were two farmers. They were neighbours. They shared a common boundary and they fought. Over what? A coconut tree.

Farmer A planted a coconut tree near the common fence. Now, trees have a mind of their own. They are living things, after all. So the tree in question decided to visit the neighbour, farmer B. As it grew, it bent over and entered the air space of the neighbour. It bore fruit. The fruit hung above the neighbour’s land. And so the neighbour laid claim to it. To whom did the fruit really belong? Now, you be the judge.

The decision was in favour of neighbour B. The law says that all the air, and beyond, over your land is yours. So, if one were to sleep on one’s plot of land and look up, straight up, that entire atmosphere is his or hers. The moral of the story: Do not plant tall trees close to the fence.

Let us think further.
1)     What if farmer A cuts down the tree out of pique, or quietly poisons it?
2)     How does farmer B reach his fruits?
3)     Who pays the taxes, if the owners are charged per tree as prevails in some districts?
4)     Will farmer A be charged with trespass, if he climbs the tree all the way to the top? We believe he would be trespassing.
Isn’t law fascinating? They say the law is an ass. But it definitely is not a donkey. You be the judge.

Please email your comments to [email protected] or
[email protected].

A New Column on Real-Life Legal Situations

Laws that govern our rights, life and liberty are complicated. We become aware of them only when we have a brush with them. One way to increase our awareness of the various laws is by discussing real-life cases. This is exactly what Bapoo Malcolm, a conscientious practising lawyer in Mumbai, will do—beginning with this issue. We invite readers to share their thoughts on each of the items because, as Bapoo says, “You be the Judge”. Email us at [email protected] or [email protected] – Editor


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