Nation
SC refuses interim bail to Asaram Bapu
In a setback to self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, accused of rape of a minor girl, the Supreme Court on Thursday refused to grant him interim bail on medical grounds.
 
The court, however, asked the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to constitute a three-member medical board to examine him for the ailments he is complaining about.
 
Asaram is lodged at the Central Jail in Jodhpur in Rajasthan since September 2, 2013, and is being tried under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).
 
The 72-year-old Asaram was arrested after a 16-year-old girl lodged a police complaint on August 20, 2013, accusing him of sexually assaulting her at his ashram in Jodhpur.
 
Refusing to interfere with the Rajasthan High Court order that rejected Asaram's plea for bail, an apex court bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice R.K. Agrawal on Thursday asked the AIIMS Director to constitute the medical board to examine him.
 
Directing for the submission of the board's report in 10 days, the bench did not accept Asaram's plea that he be released on interim bail for a month or two so that he could travel to Kerala for 'Panchkarma' ayurveda treatment.
 
The high court had said it was not a fit case for the grant of bail when the trial is almost at its fag end. Asaram had then moved the apex court.
 
Asaram's counsel Raju Ramachandran assailed the August 9 high court order, contending that it has not taken into account the ailments afflicting the self-styled godman.
 
Ramachandran told the apex court that Asaram had poor control over his urination and bowel movement and the jail doctors have said that he defecates in bed.
 
The bench was unmoved as the senior counsel urged it to keep the plea for interim bail pending so that the same could be taken up along with the report by the medical board.
 
"How can you have objection to (Asaram to be examined by the) medical board?" Justice Lokur asked as Ramachandran resisted the bench's suggestion to refer the self-styled godman to the board for medical examination. 
 
Ramachandran told the court that Asaram was earlier examined by a panel of AIIMS doctors and that the court was told on January 5, 2015, that he needed no surgery and could be treated through medications. 
 
The panel of AIIMS doctors had examined Asaram for his neurological aliment -- Trigeminal neuralgia.
 
The apex court on October 15, 2014, had asked the AIIMS to constitute a medical board to go through medical papers and reports of Asaram and, if required, clinically examine him.
 
Prior to Asaram's examination by the AIIMS doctors, the self-styled godman was examined by doctors at the S.N. Medical College at Jodhpur, who said that Asaram was suffering from age-related ailments, including Trigeminal neuralgia.
 
The medical college doctors had examined Asaram on August 19, 2014, on the directions of the top court.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

 

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COMMENTS

Ganesh Iyer

4 months ago

World always learns to follow God in which ever name or form but gullible Indians like to follow Godmen and Godwomen. Inspite of such most filthy crimes now in public exposed by evidence still there are elements who like to worship the evil.

D S Ranga Rao

4 months ago

How a ''Godman'' gets any ailments, let alone suffers from them, when he can allegedly commit rapes of minors, etc., heinous crimes and leisurely explore and exploit all the legal channels to escape, is a mystery. The Supreme Court is supremely praiseworthy in rejecting bail to this ''pious'' man so that he cannot add to his ''ailments'' any more by repeating his daring exploits with minors. The fact that this ''Divinity'' continues to take chances with law unabashedly, even at Supreme Court level, speaks volumes for the laxity and endemic delays in our justice dispensation system. When can we expect our Judiciary to put fear and respect in the minds of people for laws of the land and make them know that ultimately what prevails is rule of law, not one's status?

REPLY

Nikul Kanubhai Patel

In Reply to D S Ranga Rao 4 months ago

Have u commented same on Salman and Tarun tejpal case also?. I m sure u can not or did not

Ganesh Iyer

In Reply to Nikul Kanubhai Patel 4 months ago

Salman and Tarun Tejpal are not that organised offenders like Asaram. Deaths of children, sexual exploitation in systematic way by consuming high end ayurvedic medicines, killing of most of witnesses, land grabbing, etc are only few acts of this godman. Tarun got his case well registered in goa.

D S Ranga Rao

In Reply to Nikul Kanubhai Patel 4 months ago

Well, i have no love lost for either. May be, i have not commented in these columns, but, sure, i did not spare them elsewhere too. My worry is not about the culprits, but to galvanize our moribund judiciary and to see the rule of law prevail always and in respect of all and everyone. Of course, it may not happen at the drop of a hat, except to raise the eyebrows of people like you.

Jaitley launches online finance facilitation for MSMEs
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley here on Thursday launched an online finance facilitation portal for the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to facilitate ease of doing business.
 
“The government is committed to ease of doing business. All financial support will be provided to MSMEs to improve their competency in various fields,” Jaitley said at the 14th meeting of the national board of MSME.
 
The online finance facilitation centre will allow the MSMEs to apply for loans from the various banks on the NSIC (National Small Industries Corporation) portal. 
 
NSIC has signed MoUs (memorandum of understanding) with 33 banks, 14 of whom have agreed to associate with the online finance facilitation portal, a statement from the MSME ministry said.
 
Jaitley also launched a MSME datbabank portal that will provide real time information on various types of the registered MSMEs. 
 
The databank will eventually will be used for public procurement purposes and the PSUs (public sector undertakings) may make use of the data for procurement purposes from MSMEs. 
 
The Finance Minister said that GST (goods and services tax) will also be a step towards this (ease of doing business) direction.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

 

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SARFAESI extended to NBFCs: More power to systematically important companies
The non-banking financial company (NBFC) sector in the country crossed a new milestone, as the Finance Ministry redeemed a promise made long time back in Budget 2015. A total of 196 systematically important NBFCs, with assets of Rs500 crore or more as per their last balance sheets have been notified as ‘secured lenders’ under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (SARFAESI Act). As such, these NBFCs may now enforce security interests on assets charged to them, without having to resort to either judicial or arbitral authorities. 
 
The SARFAESI Act is due for a major strengthening, as Parliament recently passed an amending Bill 2016, which gives further strength to its provisions. The Bill has been passed by the both the Houses, and awaits the assent of the President, after which it may be given effect by a notification of the Ministry.
 
The extension of SARFAESI Act to NBFCs brings a much-needed level-playing field between NBFCs and banks. NBFCs did better than many banks in terms of debt recoveries, despite not having statutory powers; how, armed with powers of repossession, there will hopefully be more debt discipline and better recoveries than ever. Eventually, one may expect the cost of credit to come down. 
 
SARFAESI powers for facilities above Rs1 crore:
 
The Notification dated 5 August 2015, names 196 NBFCs, including most of the larger asset finance companies, and factoring companies. Several of the infrastructure finance companies had earlier been defined as ‘public financial institutions’ using section 4A of the Companies Act 1956.
 
While the whole of the SARFAESI Act has been extended to the notified NBFCs, the Notification clearly provides that sections 13 to 19 of the Act can be used only in respect of  ‘such security interest which is obtained for securing repayment of secured debt with principal amount of rupees one crore and above’.
 
As may be expected, there may be lot of confusion about the interpretation of this clause in the Notification. While the intent is clear – that new-begotten powers are not used for consumer loans, retail lending etc., the computation of the limit of Rs1 crore may be subject to questions. In the opinion of the author, the threshold limit of Rs1 crore refers to the facility, that is, the original amount of lending, which is secured. There may, for instance, be various interpretations: 
 
1. Original secured debt Rs1 crore, current amount outstanding Rs60 lakh
2. Original facility amount Rs1 crore, amount of drawdown, Rs80 lakh, current outstanding Rs60 lakh
3. Original facility amount Rs80 lakh, value of security Rs1.20 crore, current outstanding Rs60 lakh
4. Original facility amount Rs80 lakh, value of security Rs1.20 crore, current outstanding Rs1.10 crore
5. Original facility amount Rs1 crore, under which several assets (say, cars) were financed. Original principle value of all facilities adds to Rs1 crore, but individually, none of them reach that threshold.
 
Based on the above, No 1 and No 5 will be covered by the Notification.
 
Will the notification apply to existing facilities?
 
A question may arise whether the Notification is applicable only for facilities, which are granted on or after the notification date, or will it apply to existing facilities. This question arose when the SARFAESI was first implemented in 2012. There have been rulings, such as the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Mardia Chemicals, that the Act is merely a device of enforcement. It is not a new power; it is simply a new method of enforcing an existing power. 
 
Therefore, the notification will cover existing facilities as well.
 
A question may also arise – does the Notification cover existing cases pending at different stages – for example, arbitration, and civil proceedings? Generally speaking, if there is a change of law, and a party finds a better way of enforcing one’s claims, one may withdraw from an existing proceeding by seeking the leave of the forum, and then, use SARFAESI process for enforcement.
 
Non-notification cases:
 
Question also arises, what about cases, which are not covered by the Notification? This includes two types of cases:
  • NBFCs not covered by the Notification at all
  • NBFCs covered by the Notification, but the funding is not covered by virtue of the threshold amount
  • In both the cases, civil law or arbitral remedies will still exist.
 
Bankruptcy Code and the SARFAESI Act:
 
How does the SARFAESI process work in a case which is referred under the Bankruptcy Code? There is a moratorium during the period when an insolvency resolution process is going on, both in case of individuals and in case of corporate debtors, under the Bankruptcy Code. The maximum period for the insolvency resolution process is 180 days (extendible by another 90 days) in case of corporate persons. There is no overall maximum limit in case of non-corporate entities, but there are timelines for each sub-step. 
 
However, once the insolvency resolution period ends, the entity will be either put on revival, or put under liquidation. In case of revival orders, the eligibility of the lender to exercise SARFAESI powers will depend on what agreement has been struck between the lenders for revival. In case of bankruptcy, the power of the lender to use SARFAESI survives, of course, after proving for security interest before the liquidator. 
 
SARFAESI Amendment Bill
 
The 2016 Amendment Bill brings several significant changes to the SARFAESI Act. Importantly, secured corporate debentures are brought under the purview of the Act. A new necessity and invincibility is sought to be granted to registration of security interests with Central Registry of Securitisation Asset Reconstruction and Security Interest (CERSAI), with a provision stating that unregistered security interests will not be enforceable at all. At the same time, if there is a registered security interest, it will gain supremacy over all other conflicting or overlapping claims, including those of the government.
 
(CA Vinod Kothari is an author, trainer and consultant on specialised financial subjects like housing finance, securitisation, credit derivatives, accounting for financial instruments, structured finance and banking regulations. Mr Kothari through his firm Vinod Kothari and Company is also engaged in practice of corporate laws for over 25 years.)  

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COMMENTS

Ramesh Poapt

4 months ago

NBFCs are having good support to develop from Govt.?RBI.
Dr Rajan said 2 days backs that NBFCs finance where banks
not ready.They will be governed strictly.

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