Friday, 31 March 2017

Only 13 Days for Responding to MCGM's Property Tax Valuations. Hurry!

Mumbai, 31st March, 2017: Unknown to most Mumbaikars, MCGM issued a circular last week giving notice that the Capital Valuation for the forthcoming years has been completed for determining property tax applicable to property owners and that "they will be available for inspection at the office of the Asstt. Assessor and Collector in the respective wardsbetween 23rd March 2017 to 13th April 2017." It added that "complaints against the Capital Values... must be made in writing by the property owners themselves or by the persons duly authorized by them under a power of attorney."

BMC’s notice may be downloaded from this link:

Sometimes, the assessment department makes mistakes in fixing the capital value, which results in huge disputed dues. If the window of opportunity given under the circular is not promptly availed, then property owners such as housing societies are left with the costly option of going to small causes court against excessive billing.

It is quite easy to verify the capital valuation from BMC’s website, by entering the Property Tax Account Number and other details. However, it is difficult to draft a proper complaint in case of mistakes in capital valuation are discovered. To assist Cooperative Housing Societies in exercising this right, Andheri-based NGO Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association (MSWA) has created a downloadable format with the help of Property Tax Department insiders.

Download the complaint format:

In case, the capital valuation of their property is excessive, office-bearers of housing societies may download this useful format, fill it up and submit it before 13th April 2017.  

CA Ramesh Prabhu, chairman of MSWA, remarked, "It is unfair that only three weeks time is given to citizens for verifying the new capital valuations, on the basis of which lakhs of rupees are charged to more than 30,000 cooperative housing societies and other property owners. But we will do whatever we can to facilitate citizens of Mumbai to respond to this circular," he said. Mr Prabhu appealed to office-bearers of housing societies to take the circular seriously, as the impact of wrong valuation be lakhs of rupees.

Housing societies may contact MSWA's helpline number 022-42551414 and also Whatsapp no. 7045599702. MSWA Members will receive free-of-charge assistance in assessment of valuation, submission of this complaint and follow-up.

Krishnaraj Rao

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Activist Sulaiman Bhimani fears assault by his co-religionists

Email received from Sulaiman Bhimani is reproduced below, to ensure his physical safety today evening, OR, in the eventuality of assault on him in Aurangabad, to point towards the culprits.

The Commissioner of police
Aurangabad City
Respected Sir

  • Apprehension of physical assault and criminal intimidation by Ramzan Charania (9850560505) staying at Fazalpura near collector office opp  Gulshan Mahal
  • Request to take preventive action under Crpc 151 as I am from Mumbai and have come to perform last rites of my uncle Abdul Aziz Bhimani.
Ramzan charaniya had yesterday abused me and threatened me while I was performing last rites of my uncle in Padegaon JK and there is apprehension he will do the same today evening @ 7 pm while performing my religious ceremony after the burial of my uncle I need police intervention if he does it today also kindly go through the message send to our President.

Ramzan Charaniya
Ya Ali Madad President Saheb 

This is to inform your kind self yesterday our family members had gone to attend ziyarat dua of my uncle Abdul Aziz Bhimani in Padegaon Jamat Khana with relatives who had come from Canada and other centres of India during that time The maji mukhi started abusing and threatening me with dire consequences in the JK itself and he even had the audacity to say I keep Jalallmukhi  in my pocket as Jalallmukhi  is under his obligation, the present Mukhee  did not intervene, As Mukhee and Leaders of Ismaili  Jamat you are expected to bring unity in the Jamat but here the division and partition  is encouraged 

What an awful impression was created in the minds of relatives who came from Canada they were shocked how can a Maji Mukhee behave like a Gundaa in JK that too abusing and using filthy language like a street chaap tapori in front of ladies.

If the Maji Mukhee wants to have dialogue I am ready for it at the appropriate forum and not when the family is in deep grief and performing last rituals in the JK or if he  wants to prove that he is a big goonda of Aurangabad and even council is afraid of him I do not mind to face him alone at the place of his choice but it should be at appropriate time and place.

Today chaliswa dua is kept in Padegaon JK after telephone conversation with Mukhee that the Maji Mukhee will not create any scene or else we will keep chaliswa dua in fazalpura JK but Mukhee has assured no unpleasant situation will arise by maji Mukhee.

But to be on the safe side we are informing the police to take action if any law and order situation arises as an Indian and as an Ismaili we are law abiding citizen.

Even after the assurance of the Mukhee and informing the president if any harm or misbehavior is done to any member then the entire leadership will be held responsible.

Kindly listen to the clip of my phone conversation with the Mukhi (main priest) of Padegaon Jamat Khana to understand the gravity of  the situation.

Ya All Madad

For more details about the cause of this threat, read this article in Afternoon newspaper.

Also read this blog about How Aga Khan followers are being exploited by their priests.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Fire Brigade withdraws clearance to Golden Chariot Restaurant at Hub Mall, Goregaon

Mumbai, 14 March, 2015: Planning to kill yourself and your family after a tasty meal? Go to Golden Chariot Restaurant. Blocked fire-exits and various other dangerous practices makes this restaurant at Goregaon's Hub Mall your best bet at achieving a fiery death. Although activists like Shaikh Fakhruddin Junaid, Sulaiman Bhimani and myself have repeatedly pointed it out to Mumbai's Municipal Corporation and Mumbai Fire Brigade, the ability of Golden Chariot to bribe the powers-that-be and also abuse judicial processes has helped it to survive. But orders passed by MCGM and Fire Brigade in 2017 suggest that Golden Chariot's goose is being slowly cooked. After the restaurant finally caught fire on 29th December, 2016 (read newspaper reports here and here), civic authorities are finding it difficult to dodge their responsibility to ensure public safety by sealing it.

Planning to kill yourself and your family after a tasty meal? Go to Golden Chariot Restaurant. Blocked fire-exits and various other dangerous practices makes this restaurant at Goregaon's Hub Mall your best bet at achieving a fiery death.

Deputy Municipal Commissioner Kiran Achrekar and Deputy Chief Fire Officer V N Panigrahi have ordered the closure and sealing of Golden Chariot. Five days days after the fire, DMC Kiran Achrekar wrote in his remark to the official report, "Ask Dy.CFO to seal the premises for failure in safety measures."


The report indicates that because of the recent fire, the excuse that MCGM's previous notices and orders were subjudice at Dindoshi Court fell apart. Despite the DMC's instructions, the Deputy Chief Fire Officer dragged his feet for two months, but finally he wrote in his official recommendations on 6th March 2017, " seems there are discrepancies in the area, encroachment, unauthorized addition / alteration, construction of loft, etc. in the said premise... In view of the above, the NOC/requirement letter issued under no. FBL/S/106/1076 dated 01/11/2006 by this department stands cancelled."

While this is a encouraging, the fine print betrays the reluctance of MCGM and Mumbai Fire Brigade to take actually seal the restaurant. The last line of the CFO's recommendations hints that Golden Chariot may seek an escape route by contacting the MOH-P/S Ward for "fresh remarks from the fire-safety point of view after verifying the above facts". Many municipal and fire-brigade officials appear to have gotten used to getting their share of gold from Golden Chariot. So, public safety isn't exactly a priority. As the wise saying goes, "Apna kaam banta, toh bhaad mein jaye janta."

Krishnaraj Rao

Friday, 10 March 2017

Tobacco case: Advocate tells Judge BS Patil to recuse himself

Bangalore, 11th March, 2017: Advocate K. V. Dhanajay yesterday filed an application in Karnataka High Court seeking the recusal of Justice B S Patil from Writ Petition No. 4470 of 2015 (GM-RES). He pointed out that Justice Patil was disqualified from hearing the tobacco cases as his daughter Monica Patil was an Advocate with Poovayya & Co., the law firm representing the leading tobacco companies. Poovayya & Co lists Monica Patil, daughter of Justice BS Patil on its website. 

Read Recusal application to High Court of Karnataka:

Advocate Dhananjay and others appearing on behalf of various NGOs propagating stricter controls on tobacco, have questioned the way in which tobacco manufacturers from various states have all filed before Karnataka High Court seeking relief from 85% graphic warning on tobacco packaging.

Advocate Dhananjay, Activist Ravi Krishna Reddy, and many others, alleged that the bench headed by Justice B S Patil openly displays bias towards the tobacco lobby in the conduct of hearings. The nexus between the law firm, Poovayya & Co, representing tobacco manufacturers and Justice BS Patil, casts further doubt on the judge's intentions. Why didn't Justice Patil declare his close connection to this case, asks Advocate Dhananjay? Why didn't he recuse himself from hearing this case? Isn't the conflict of interest evident to the honourable court?

Krishnaraj Rao

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Activist seeks Criminal Contempt against ITC Ltd & other Tobacco Cos for treating Karnataka HC as their safe haven

This is the text of the impleadment application of Activist Ravi Krishna Reddy as an opposing Respondent in the matter referred to in my recent post titled 

The below impleadment application was recently heard in open court. The application describes how the tobacco lobby, led by ITC Limited, is abusing the judicial process.

"The case above is part of a batch of cases. This batch is currently being heard by a Bench of this Hon’ble Court. Tobacco companies and tobacco trade groups have questioned the legality and constitutionality of the 85% pictorial warning on tobacco packs – the Cigarettes And Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling Amendment) Rules, 2014. The case above was filed in the Karnataka High Court itself.

The 85% pictorial warning on tobacco packs alerts about the inherently dangerous, harmful and toxic nature of tobacco to the unsuspecting public. Consequently, the tobacco companies were mortally worried that a well-informed public would shun tobacco products – leading to drastically lower profits and eventually, closure of several tobacco businesses.

This impleading applicant seeks to urgently alert this Hon’ble Court to a massive conspiracy by leading tobacco companies and tobacco trade-interest groups to treat the Karnataka High Court as their safe haven – ITC Limited, the petitioner in the aforesaid case, Godfrey Philips India Ltd, VST Industries Ltd, Ghodawat Industries Pvt. Ltd and the Tobacco Institute of India (‘tobacco companies’). Alarmingly, these bodies have conspired to destroy the carefully earned reputation of this Hon’ble Court. They have publicly, knowingly, deliberately, intentionally and fraudulently invoked the jurisdiction of the Karnataka High Court when in fact, it had none at all.

These tobacco companies are registered outside the State of Karnataka and had no cause of action whatsoever to approach the Karnataka High Court. However, they have conspired with each other to forego their own jurisdictional High Court. They have fraudulently approached this Hon’ble Court, the Karnataka High Court. Thereby, these leading tobacco companies have conveyed to the public that the High Court of Karnataka is their safe haven and protects their profits and economic interests when faced with a national public health legislation. Such a conspiracy is a textbook case of criminal contempt.

The public would lose all faith when an unrelated and unconnected High Court is treated as a safe haven by tobacco companies that are eager to defeat a national public health legislation. The country would be concerned about whatever aspect it is that that motivates the leading tobacco companies situated in different States of India to fraudulently treat Karnataka High Court as their safe haven.

Hence, the impleading applicant seeks invocation of criminal contempt proceedings against ITC Limited (and its conspirators Godfrey Philips India Ltd, VST Industries Ltd, Godawat Industries Private Ltd and Tobacco Institute of India) for conveying to the nation that 1) an unconnected Karnataka High Court is ITC’s shelter and safe haven to question the 85% pictorial warnings and 2) ITC’s jurisdictional Calcutta High Court ought to be shunned in favour of the Karnataka High Court and 3) the Karnataka High Court could be deceived and made to defeat a national public health legislation and 4) of the 24 High Courts in India, the Karnataka High Court is ITC’s choice of Court to sabotage national public health.

Fraudulently, on 11-Apr-2016, ITC Limited filed a petition under Article 226 before the Karnataka High Court. It was numbered as Writ Petition No.103356 of 2016. In its prayer, it had asked the Karnataka High Court to quash the 85% pictorial warning. The cause title to this petition reads as under:

ITC Limited
A Company within the meaning of the Companies Act, 2013
Having its registered office at
37, J.L.Nehru Road
Kolkata 700 071
(Also having its operations at
Munavalli Enterprises
97/2A, Bommapur Village
NH-63 Bellary Road
Hubli 580 029

The only Respondents were policy respondents in New Delhi – the Central Government. No relief was claimed against any person, officer or authority in Karnataka; there was not even a complaint or grievance against the conduct of any person, authority or officer in Karnataka. The only Respondents were: 1) the Union of India through Cabinet Secretary, 2) Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 3) Ministry of Agriculture, 4) Ministry of Labour and Employment, 5) Ministry of Commerce and Industry and 6) Ministry of Finance – all of which are situated in New Delhi.

Except to state in bland terms that: “1… One of the locations where the petitioner carries on its business and stores the duty paid cigarettes in warehouses from where cigarettes are sold is situated at Munavalli Enterprises….Hubli-580029, Karnataka in respect of which, the petitioner has entered into a contract with M/s.Nutan Rajumani Transport Pvt. Ltd who is a warehouse service provider. The said warehouse is situated within the territorial jurisdiction of this Hon’ble Court.”, there is absolutely no averment in ITC’s Writ Petition to support a filing to this Hon’ble Court.

If only such a bland and a frivolous averment as in the above would confer jurisdiction to this Hon’ble Court, ITC could then file identical petitions in each of the 24 High Courts of India as it would have some or the other business in each of the States of India. That is, ITC Limited has offered no reason whatsoever to claim territorial jurisdiction of the Karnataka High Court.

Also, ITC Limited should have known and would know that merely having a warehouse in Karnataka does not give it any territorial jurisdiction to question a central legislation in the Karnataka High Court – any more than having such warehouses across India would give it a territorial jurisdiction in each of the States where it has such warehouses. In fact, such an absurd, bogus and a wholly frivolous theory can never be accepted by the judiciary. After all, if a mere presence of a warehouse would give ITC, the jurisdiction to invoke the High Court where such a warehouse is situated, the similar presence of different warehouses in different States would also confer to ITC, similar jurisdiction to also file in each of the other States – a thorough absurdity. Going further, in each High Court, ITC Limited could also file hundreds of more petitions – one for each shop, godown, warehouse or factory. No country of the world even entertains a discussion of such a bogus ‘forum conveniens’ doctrine, let alone, ever permitting it on its soil.

Still, ITC Limited elected the Karnataka High Court when it fully knew that Karnataka High Court had no jurisdiction whatsoever to entertain its petition. More damagingly, ITC Limited conspired with other leading tobacco companies to ensure similar petitions to the Karnataka High Court – by Godfrey Philips India Ltd, VST Industries Ltd, Ghodawat Industries Pvt. Ltd and Tobacco Institute of India, a tobacco trade group. Godfrey Philips India Ltd is a Company registered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, VST Industries Ltd is a company registered in Hyderabad, Telangana, Godawat Industries Pvt. Ltd is a Company registered in Kolhapur, Maharashtra and Tobacco Institute of India is a trade body registered in New Delhi. None of these tobacco companies had any locus whatsoever to invoke the jurisdiction of the Karnataka High Court and also, the respondents in each of these five cases are merely, the policy Respondents in New Delhi – the Central Government.

The fact that the leading tobacco companies situated in States other than Karnataka have knowingly, intentionally, deliberately and fraudulently overlooked their own jurisdictional High Courts to file a petition to the Karnataka High Court has plainly conveyed to any reasonable person that Karnataka High Court is treated by the leading tobacco companies as their safe haven. Reasonable minds that notice such filing are forced to form an impression that the Karnataka High Court has held out an unlawful attraction to these tobacco companies. Had only one or two leading tobacco companies inadvertently come to the Karnataka High Court, the situation would have been different. However, when leading tobacco companies that compete with each other still conspire with each other to overlook their own jurisdictional High Court to choose a wholly unconnected Karnataka High Court, no reasonable mind would take it to be a mere coincidence or mere inadvertence but a deliberate design by the leading tobacco companies to treat Karnataka High Court as their safe haven when faced with a national public health legislation. Such perception in a reasonable mind and the real possibility of even the lay public coming to the same conclusion renders these filings as a brazen act of criminal contempt.

This impleading applicant seeks impleadment for the purpose of seeking 1) a dismissal of each of the five petitions immediately as a brazen attempt to bring the Karnataka High Court into a real and immediate criminal contempt, 2) imposition of exemplary, unprecedented and unheard of costs upon each one of these five tobacco companies with a view to neutralize the public perception that the Karnataka High Court had held no manner of unlawful attraction to these leading tobacco companies whatsoever and 3) initiate criminal contempt proceedings forthwith against the management of each of these five tobacco companies and 4) to take such other measures as may be deemed expedient or necessary by this Hon’ble Court to protect its sanctity in the circumstances of this case.

Date: 25-Feb-2017

Place: Bangalore



Also read:

Letter to Pranab-babu: Smoking Kills… But ITC Ltd is Champion of Sustainability?!