Wednesday, January 19, 2005

19 jan 2005

High Court summons Advani in Babri case

LUCKNOW, JAN. 18. In a decision that may revive proceedings against him, the
Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court today issued notice to the former
Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, to appear before it on February 25 in
the Babri Masjid demolition case.

Giving his order on a criminal revision petition filed by the Central Bureau
of Investigation (CBI) and the former Faizabad District Magistrate, R.N.
Srivastava, Justice M.A. Khan also issued notices to the former Union
Ministers, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad
leaders, Ashok Singhal, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya and Acharya Giriraj Kishore, and
the Shiv Sena leader, Moreswar Save.


Wealth cases: Supreme Court rejects Jayalalithaa's plea

By J. Venkatesan

NEW DELHI, JAN. 18. A five-member Bench of the Supreme Court today dismissed
the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa's ``curative petition'' seeking
a direction to recall the earlier orders shifting the two wealth cases
against her and four others from a Chennai court to a Bangalore court.

While praying for dismissal of the transfer petition (after the orders were
recalled) filed by the DMK general secretary, K. Anbazhagan, Ms.
Jayalalithaa prayed for a stay of all further proceedings before the
Bangalore Special Court till the apex court disposed of her curative

With the court rejecting her plea, the Special Court in Bangalore can now go
ahead with the trial. The other accused in the two cases are: Sasikala, a
close aide of Ms. Jayalalithaa; J. Ilavarasi, V. N. Sudhakaran and T.T.V.


`Same sex marriages Canada's own affair'

By Amit Baruah

NEW DELHI, JAN. 18. A Canadian controversy struck the Prime Minister,
Manmohan Singh, today. Dr. Singh was perplexed by a question from a Canadian
reporter on the issue of same sex marriages. "I didn't quite understand your
question properly," he told the journalist at a press meet with the Canadian
Prime Minister, Paul Martin.

Clearly more comfortable when dealing with issues such as free trade and
pitching for greater investment, the Prime Minister had the reporter repeat
her question - what was his view about the "objections" raised by Sikh
priests in Canada to same sex marriages?

Recovering quickly, Dr. Singh emphasised that the issue had to be addressed
internally by Canada. "This is an internal affair for Canada," he said,
adding that same sex marriages in India would not have wide appreciation.

--- Pygmy elephants found in State forests?

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, JAN. 18. Wildlife photographer Sali Palode and `Kani'
tribesman Mannan encountered a small herd of five-foot-tall elephants in
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary in the State last week, sparking speculation
whether the pygmy elephants the tribesmen of the region had been talking
about were, indeed, real.

They came across five of these elephants in a clearing close to the edge of
the sanctuary. The animals scurried into the thickets on sensing human
presence, but Mr. Sali Palode snapped a few pictures of one. But for their
small size, the elephants looked like full-grown adults, according to him.
He also ruled out the possibility of these animals being calf elephants, as
calf elephants are not known to move in a herd of their own, unaccompanied
by their elders.

There were no normal-sized elephants in the herd.

`Kani' tribesmen living in the Agasthyavanam Forests in southern Kerala had
for long been talking about pygmy elephants, which they call `kallana'.

The State Forest Department and wildlife scientists, however, tended to
believe that `kallana' was an animal that existed only in `tribal folklore'.
A decade ago, well-known elephant expert P.S. Easa had spent several months
in the forests of the region looking for the pygmies reported by the
tribesmen. His mission was not successful.

As recently as in September 2003, scientists had come out with DNA evidence
establishing that the small elephants found in the forests of Borneo belong
to a new subspecies with characteristics quite different from their cousins
found elsewhere in Asia.


Salient features of senior citizen savings account

10 January 2005

My father, who is in India, is 66 years of age. My mother is in her early
50s. They want to open a Senior Citizen Savings Account with the post office
because of the higher rate of interest. Can my mother be a joint holder
since she is not a senior citizen? Can you throw some light on the other
features of this scheme? Can my mother open an account with my father's name
as joint holder and deposit additional amount upto Rs15 lakhs in her name?

- D. Baliga, Sharjah

The Senior Citizen Savings Account can be opened either with a post office
or any authorised bank. In the case of a joint account, the age of the first
applicant/depositor is the only factor to decide the eligibility to invest
under the scheme. There is no age bar/limit for the second applicant/joint
holder. The total amount of investment in an account under the scheme is
attributed to the first applicant/depositor only. Question of any share of
the second applicant/joint account holder, therefore, does not arise.

As and when your mother qualifies as a senior citizen, she can open an
account in her name with your father as second holder. The account can only
be opened jointly with spouse and not with any other person. Therefore, at
that point of time, she can deposit Rs15 lakhs in her name and enjoy the
higher rate of interest.

Income/tax rebate and/or exemption is admissible under the scheme as per the
existing income-tax provisions. The depositors can get the interest earned
on the deposits under the scheme credited to their existing savings account
at the post office/ bank where their account under this scheme is
maintained. The savings account could be a single or joint account.

Electronic credit system facility is available in computerised bank
branches/post offices and the facility of post-dated cheques is also
provided. In case the account is not closed on completion of the five years,
maturity period is also not extended; post-maturity interest at the rate
applicable from time-to-time would be paid till the end of the month
preceding the month of closure. No time limit has been prescribed.


When I go back to India, I would like to start a nursery of plants so that I
could sell them and also export certain flowers to my contacts in the Gulf
as the market is growing. I made a study and found that it is a lucrative
business to be done in India on a small plot of land which I already have in
Bangalore. Would the profits which I make in India be exempted from tax
because I am told that the exemption for export profits is now no longer

- R. Krishnan, Bahrain

You are right. The exemption under section 80-HHC for export of goods is no
longer available from the assessment year 2005-06. However, in your case,
the income earned by you from the activity of floriculture which you intend
to start after your return to India, can be treated as agricultural income
which would enjoy complete income-tax exemption under section 10(1) of the
Income-tax Act, 1961.

I have no doubt that floriculture is also agriculture and, therefore, income
derived from growing ornamental, decorative or exotic plants for sale in or
outside India would be exempt from tax under section 10 without any limit.
However, if you merely trade in plants grown by other agriculturists, the
business profits would not be exempt. It is necessary that you must yourself
undertake agricultural operations of growing plants.

Further, it is not necessary that you must grow them on land. Some people in
the city grow plants in earthen pots placed in the compound of a house or on
a terrace. So long as the activities carried out involve planting seeds,
nurturing them and growing the plant ready for sale, the income would be
agricultural in nature and you would be entitled to claim exemption of such
income even if such activities are carried on in cities or towns and not in
rural areas. There are some decided judgments of courts in India where
cultivation of flowers of artistic and decorative value has been held to be
an agricultural activity.


Chennai astrologer foresees death, commits suicide Wednesday January 19 2005
00:00 IST

CHENNAI: K. Parthasarathy, a famous city astrologer, committed suicide early
on Monday because as per his astrology he would have died on January 21. He
therefore hanged himself to death, instead of waiting for death to come.

The astrologer, who lived Thulasinga Perumal Koil Street in Triplicane, was
60 years old and was consulted by VIPs, politicians, actors and actresses
for several decades. He was famous not only in Tamil Nadu but the entire
world. Dignitaries used to come to his house from all parts of the world for

He was bestowed the title of 'Jyotida Thilagam' because of his scholarship
and social standing.


1966: Indira Gandhi takes charge in India Indira Gandhi, only daughter of
India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, is to become the country's
next leader. She was chosen at the end of a bitter leadership battle with
former finance minister Morarji Desai.

Following her win, Mrs Gandhi pledged herself to serve the Congress Party
and the country, and said she would "strive to create what my father used to
call a climate of peace."

Crowds had gathered outside Parliament House while the election was held,
and cheered Mrs Gandhi wildly as she went to the President's House to

She will not become prime minister until she submits her cabinet to the

Mrs Gandhi did not confirm she would be a candidate until four days ago,
when chief ministers from 11 of India's 16 states let it be known they would
support her to take over.

Another leading candidate, Gulzarilal Nanda, withdrew once it was clear Mrs
Gandhi would be running.

He has been acting as prime minister since the unexpected death of Mr
Nehru's successor, Lal Bahadur Shastri, earlier this month.

Mr Desai was under extreme pressure to pull out as well and avoid a
potentially damaging leadership contest, but he insisted on going to a vote.

It was predicted he would get less than 100 of the 526 votes from Congress
MPs, but he surprised many by winning 169 votes to Mrs Gandhi's 355.

Afterwards, Mr Desai pledged to cooperate fully with Mrs Gandhi. It is the
second time running he has been defeated in a leadership contest: the first
time, against Mr Shastri, he withdrew his candidacy without a vote.

Mrs Gandhi, 48, was educated at West Bengal and Oxford and has two sons,
Rajiv and Sanjay, who are both studying in England.

She gets her name not from Mahatma Gandhi, the legendary independence
campaigner and founder of the Congress Party, but from her husband Feroze
Gandhi, a lawyer who died in 1960.

The couple spent 13 months in prison for subversion after fighting against
British rule in India during the 1940s.

She has played a key part in the Congress Party since 1955, and served as
information minister in Mr Shastri's government

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