Monday, 9 June 2014

The Kids Aren't Alright

Why are children from Bihar and Jharkhand catching the train to God's own country? Jeemon Jacob uncovers the sordid racket of child trafficking in the name of charity

Jeemon Jacob


2014-06-14 , Issue 24 Volume 11

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Stranded Policemen note down the details of the children trafficked from Jharkhand


Foul play Orphanages in Kerala are using trafficked children to garner state funding


I want to go back home," whispers Hazeena as she stares out of the window. Nearby, a group of children talk among themselves in hushed tones. Their faces are filled with gloom and eyes flash with fear. They don't want to answer any questions. Little do they know that they have kicked up a political storm in Kerala.

Neither Hazeena, 8, who hails from a nondescript village in Jharkhand's Godda district, nor the other 167 children feel at home inside the large campus of the Noorul Huda Orphanage in Palakkad. They are tired after the long journey and fed up of answering inquisitive strangers.

The drama began on 24 May, when the Patna-Ernakulam Express screeched to a halt at the Palakkad Railway Station. A batch of 455 children under the age of 12, accompanied by 33 adults, stepped out. At the exit gate, the Railway Police detained the children and their caretakers as many were travelling without tickets.

When the Railway Police issued a fine of 1.27 lakh for ticketless travelling, the caretakers paid up. On further questioning, they spilled the beans. The children hailed from Bihar and Jharkhand and they were on their way to join the Mukkam Muslim Orphanage in Kozhikode district. Suspecting foul play, the Railway Police produced the children before the Child Welfare Committee, which sent them to local orphanages.

As the caretakers were unable to provide valid documents for transporting the children, the police registered a case of child trafficking under Section 370(5) of the Indian Penal Code. On the suspicion of smuggling minors, the police arrested four people — Moulana Faidullah, 26, and Abdul Haji Ansari, 32, both residents of Bhagalpur in Bihar, and Muhammed Alamgir, 24, of Godda and Muhammed Idrish Alam, 31, of Khola in Jharkhand. However, three other caretakers managed to escape.

The very next day, a batch of 123 children from Malda district in West Bengal arrived with four caretakers in the Thiruvananthapuram-bound Guwahati Express. The Railway Police detained and interrogated them. Later, they were produced before the Child Welfare Committee, which sent them to a different orphanage in Kozhikode.

The preliminary investigation revealed that the children were headed to the Anwarul Huda Orphanage, located at Vettathur in Malappuram district. Just like the previous batch, they had no valid documents to prove their claims.

The caretakers revealed that 64 out of the 123 children were already studying at the AMUP School in Vettathur, which is run by the Anwarul Huda Orphanage, and 59 children were going to join the orphanage in the new academic year. All the children were under the age of 14.

The new batch of 59 children who had come to join the orphanage were carrying certificates issued by their panchayat presidents and village officers and photocopies of their parents' electoral ID cards.

Soon, the manager of the Anwarul Huda Orphanage appeared before the Child Welfare Committee with his lawyer and demanded the release of the children. Established in 1998, the Anwarul Huda Orphanage is run by the Sunni Yuvajana Sangam.

'We Can't Turn A Blind Eye Towards The Violation Of Child Rights'

But the officials refused to budge and asked the government to conduct a detailed investigation regarding the child trafficking. On 26 May, 48 children were released after their parents produced valid certificates.

As the Railway Police invoked the anti-trafficking clause in the FIR, the orphanage managements sensed trouble. They started to put pressure on the state government with the help of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), which is an ally of theCongress- led UDF government.

Initially, IUML leader and Social Welfare Minister MK Muneer tried to justify the orphanages' moves. But Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala took a hard stand against the IUML's bid to dilute the trafficking charges.

"I will not interfere in the investigation into the Palakkad incident," Chennithala told TEHELKA. "I have directed the Crime Branch to probe the case and submit its report within a week. The investigation is going on and I am awaiting the report. We will initiate action based on the report."

Angry IUML leaders hit back at his remark that "orphanages worried about poor children in Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand should do charity work in those states rather than bringing them to Kerala to fill the orphanages".

The Kerala Police's intelligence wing, which has been tracking similar cases, had recently submitted a report about agents who are trafficking poor children from other states to Kerala. The police suspect that a well-oiled network is canvassing parents to send their children to Kerala.

"Children belonging to poor families from other states were brought in as orphans and admitted to various orphanages run by charity organisations across Kerala," says the intelligence report. "These orphanages are registered under the Charitable Society Act and recognised by the Board of Control of Orphanages and other Charitable Homes and are receiving a monthly grant of Rs 900 per child from the social welfare department. The orphanages are bringing children from other states to claim the grant and list them as destitute children from Kerala. The state government is losing a huge amount of money in this regard every year. So, a multi -level investigation is needed to check the menace."

The report adds that many orphanages are also running government-aided schools and the shortage of students in those schools have forced them to cut teaching staff.

"In order to create more teaching posts, they bring children from other states and enrol them in their schools," says the report. "As the posts are auctioned to the highest bidder, each one can fetch as much as 10 lakh for a primary school teacher and 20 lakh for a higher secondary school teacher. In aided schools, the government pays the salaries of all the staff members."

Interestingly, TEHELKA found that both the Mukkam Muslim Orphanage and Anwarul Huda Orphanage brought children from other states for enrolment in their schools where the medium of instruction is Malayalam.

A cursory glance at the ID cards issued by the Anwarul Huda Orphanage, which also runs the AMUP School at Koduvathur in Malappuram, is enough to expose the tricks used to inflate the number of students. The cards don't indicate in which class the student is studying.

"None of the ID cards indicate which class the student is admitted to or studying in," says M Binu, the Railway Police inspector who detained the children. "We suspect that it has been done deliberately as the children can be put in any class where the number of students is falling short."

In another trick, the card issued to Emmadul Haque, son of Ishank, who resides at Chanchal in West Bengal's Malda district, has the details of his father's residential address and cell phone number. The card issued to Injamamaul Haque, son of MD Najrul Islam, also bears the same residential address and cell phone number.

On top of that, the phone number listed on the ID card was found to be that of the Government Higher Secondary School in Vettathur. When TEHELKA contacted the school authorities on the telephone number (04933 245704), the headmistress in charge, Beena, confirmed that the number belonged to the government school.

Beena adds that though many inmates from Anwarul Huda Orphanage are studying there, no student from other states was studying in the high school classes.

The destitute certificates produced by the orphanages from Jharkhand and Bengal indicate that they were forged, as around 30 destitute certificates issued by different village officers have the same handwriting.

Initial probes show that the destitute certificates issued by the village officers are fake, says Manish Sinha, assistant director of the labour department in Jharkhand.

Dying Malnourished In The IT Hub

Three children died from malnutrition this year in Bengaluru, while the government was caught napping. Imran Khan reports

Imran Khan


2014-06-14 , Issue 24 Volume 11

Killed by neglect Six-year-old Meghala's death from malnutrition last July exposed the miserable state of the ICDS programme in Bengaluru

Killed by neglect Six-year-old Meghala's death from malnutrition last July exposed the miserable state of the ICDS programme in Bengaluru

The people of Karnataka are no longer shocked by news of children dying from malnutrition in the interiors of the state, where one child on an average dies every day due to lack of adequate nutrition. However, there was a time when no one could have anticipated that children living in the heart of the it hub Bengaluru could die from malnutrition. That was before the grim reality hit the headlines last year.

No wonder, the revelation led to a huge public uproar, forcing the state government to promise measures to ensure that no child in the city dies from inadequate nutrition in the future. Six months later, however, nothing has changed on the ground. Not only did the state fail to live up to its promise, it actually went two steps back and shockingly rolled back what it had been delivering earlier.

Anganwadis ('courtyard shelters'), started by the Central government in 1975 under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme, are supposed to play a key role in combating hunger and malnutrition among poor children. But, according to activists and parents, mid-day meals were not served in any of the anganwadis in Bengaluru for three months from January to March. Activists allege that this led to the death of three children in Devarajeevanahalli, better known as DJ Halli, which is a large contiguous locality comprising several slums inhabited by low-income families in the northern part of the city. Muslims constitute a majority of the around 1 lakh population of DJ Halli.

When TEHELKA sought to verify the claims of the activists, a Primary Health Centre (PHC) official confirmed these deaths, but could not divulge more details as she was on leave.

Incidentally, DJ Halli is the same locality where the first case of death by malnutrition in Bengaluru had come to light last July. Meghala, the six-year-old child who died, reportedly weighed just 12 kg. A number of activists and civil society groups had then taken up the issue, which was also highlighted in the media. This had drawn the attention of the then newly-formed Siddaramaiah-led Congress government to the miserable plight of the people living in the area.

On 29 August 2013, Karnataka Minister for Women and Child Development Umashree convened a meeting in her office, where several decisions were made on the steps to be taken to combat malnutrition. Among these was a plan to open 40 new anganwadis in DJ Halli, a special drive to provide BPL cards to the families of all the severely malnourished children, and a Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre at the government hospital in DJ Halli. Nine months after the meeting, not a single anganwadi has been opened by the state. Not even a building has come up. Responding to a Right to Information (RTI) query, ministry officials said that they are still in the process of recruiting teachers for the anganwadis. The minister was unavailable for comment.

"The state government is yet to fulfil the promises it made to the people of DJ Halli last year," says Narasimha, a Bengaluru- based activist of the civil society group Alternative Law Forum.

Bengaluru has been divided into three zones for the purpose of administering the anganwadis across the city. While the central and northern zones are managed by the state government directly, anganwadis in the rest of city — referred to as Sumangali Sevashram — are run by a private contractor with aid from the government. Currently, there are around 1,000 anganwadis in the three zones, and the estimated number of beneficiaries exceeds 1 lakh.

On an average, the government spends around Rs 6 per day per child on mid-day meals, and around Rs 8 per day on children classified as Severely Acute Malnourished (SAM). "The anganwadis also serve mid-day meals to pregnant women and lactating mothers, on whom the government spends around Rs 5 per day," informs Narasimha. The response to an RTI query filed by Narasimha revealed that the state government has earmarked a monthly budget of Rs 80 lakh for the central zone, Rs 70 lakh for the northern zone and Rs 40 lakh for the rest of the city. "So, why were mid-day meals not served at the angwanwadis from January to March?" asks Narasimha. "The government is yet to give an answer to that. And most importantly, as the food was not served, where did the money go? The women and child development department is sitting on a financial scam in the distribution of midday meals."

Officials of the department brushed aside these questions, arguing that the food was not supplied only for a few weeks. However, they did not reveal the exact number of weeks when no mid-day meals were distributed. N Muni Reddy, joint director, ICDS, told TEHELKA, "Midday meals could not be distributed because of some gap with the food and civil supplies department."

When contacted, CS Joshi, deputy general manager for Karnataka of the Food Corporation of India, denied that there was any such gap. "We are supplying for many schemes floated by the Union government under the Food Security Act. And we do not have any shortage. If they (the women and child development department) are finding some shortage, it is because of their internal problems," says Joshi.

TEHELKA found out that three officials functioning under the women and child development department, including Deputy Director (ICDS) Ramesh Halabhavi, have been suspended recently. Joint Director Reddy acknowledged that the suspension orders were issued because "the three officials did not properly supervise the distribution of food".

Surprisingly, however, even after a month since the suspensions, the department is yet to form an inquiry committee. Reddy says the department is looking for a retired judge to head the inquiry and the department's secretary will soon take a call on that. But he refused to reveal if there was any misappropriation of funds.

The condition of children's nutrition in the Bengaluru slums reflects the situation across large parts of Karnataka. According to a 2011 report titled 'Child Malnutrition in Karnataka', prepared by lawyer Clifton D'Rozario, state adviser for the Supreme Court in the Right to Food case, 44 percent of the children under five years are too short for their age, indicating that they have been undernourished for some time; 18 percent are too thin for their height, likely to be caused by inadequate food intake for a short time or a recent illness; and 38 percent are underweight, which takes into account both chronic and acute under-nutrition.

Besides the worrying figures, activists are also critical of the government's plans to hand over distribution of midday meals to private players. In fact, the government had begun implementing it in 2012, when the mining giant Vedanta was given the responsibility to distribute mid-day meals to 2 lakh children in four districts. Recently, the government decided to involve private companies in mid-day meal distribution in three more districts — Tumkur, Dharwad and Bangalore Rural. Activists cite a Supreme Court judgment of 2004 to point out that the involvement of private players as middlemen in food distribution schemes is a violation of the law and add that such initiatives have led to disastrous results, including corruption.

For instance, in 2012, a probe by the Karnataka Lokayukta had revealed that officials of the women and child development department were siphoning off funds meant for mid-day meals in connivance with the contractor, a company called Christy Friedgram Industry.

Even as activists and the government argue over the right way to combat malnutrition, the spectre of malnourished children continues to haunt parts of the state, including the slums in the capital.

Friday, 21 March 2014


BANGALORE, March 19, 2014

Updated: March 19, 2014 23:57 IST

Drive nets 202 runaways at City railway station


BOSCO volunteers deputed rond-the-clock rescue the children from March 10 to 16

As many as 202 runaway children aged between eight months and 17 years were rescued at the Bangalore City Railway Station during a week-long special drive conducted by a city-based child helpline.

The drive was conducted from March 10 to March 16 in association with the Women and Child Development Department and railway authorities to check the inflow of runaway children at the City Railway Station.

BOSCO, a childline, had deputed 50 volunteers in and around the station round-the-clock during the drive to rescue the children. Of the rescued children, 186 are boys, most of whom fled home due to fear of exams or following quarrels with their families, executive director of BOSCO Fr. P.S. George said .

About 130 children are from Karnataka, 16 from Andhra Pradesh and 13 from Bihar. Seventy-four of the 202 children were picked up between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. Officials say this is the time when traffickers are most active.

With an average of 30 runaway children arriving at the city station every day, Fr. George said this means the number arriving in the city is far more as there are other entry points, including the state bus-stands, Cantonment and Yeshwantpur railway stations.

Though there are many helplines active in the city, their work hours are limited, which results in the rescue of only 20 per cent of runaway children.

Giving an example, Fr. George said seven runaway boys from North Karnataka who completed their first PU came to the city in search of jobs to support further studies. The boys lost their valuables. The boys said their families were poor and they left home to earn money. Ninety per cent of these boys did not have any skills and would end up as labourers, he said. “We have recommended to the government to educate the students and train the boys with some skills,” Fr. George said.

The rescued girls, 16 of them, said that too much control by their parents forced them to run away from home, he said.



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Acting U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator

Addressing Violence Against Women and Children Is Critical to Achieving an AIDS-Free Generation and the Millennium Development Goals

Posted: 03/19/2014 5:53 pm EDT Updated: 03/19/2014 7:59 pm EDT

During this week's 58th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the global community will come together to reflect on key achievements and challenges in advancing progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls. This provides an opportune moment to examine the impact of one such challenge: violence against women and girls.

Violence against women and girls has impeded progress on nearly every MDG. This includes efforts to reach the MDG 6 target of halting and beginning to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS--an epidemic that still disproportionally affects women and girls in many countries. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in three women worldwide has experienced physical and/or sexual violence in her lifetime. Women who experience violence also often face serious health consequences, including higher rates of unintended pregnancies, mental health problems, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.

Significant evidence linking violence against women and HIV has emerged over the past decade. A recent analysis by the WHO shows that intimate partner violence increases women's risk for HIV infection by more than 50 percent, and in some instances by up to four-fold. Violence also affects women's willingness to seek HIV testing and counseling or to stay on lifelong anti-retroviral treatment. Studies in multiple countries have also found that adolescent girls who experience sexual violence are up to three times more likely to acquire HIV or other STIs. These are among the many reasons why, through a new consolidated Gender Strategy, the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) will require all its country programs to report the number, age, and sex of people that they support in accessing post-gender-based-violence care, as part of a comprehensive HIV/AIDS response.

We also recognize that every year up to one billion children face some form of violence. These experiences can impede their progress toward realizing healthy and productive futures--affecting everything from their ability to succeed at school to their vulnerability to infectious diseases, such as HIV. As girls enter adolescence, they are more vulnerable to the same types of violence experienced by women--namely sexual violence and intimate partner violence. Young and adolescent girls are also vulnerable to early or forced marriages and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation/cutting.

Early marriage is devastating to a girl's health and education, and exposes her to greater risk of abuse and violence. Girls who marry young and bear children are five times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth than women over the age of 20. The UN Population Fund states that every year 2 million girls between the ages of 10 and 14 give birth, and over 90 percent of these take place within marriage or some other form of union. Further, women who experienced violence as children are more likely to be in violent relationships as adults. Boys who experience or witness violence as children are also more likely to perpetrate violence in adulthood.

Launched in 2009, Together for Girls (TfG) is an innovative public-private partnership that is supporting efforts to addresses violence against children, particularly girls, by gathering data on its magnitude, nature, and consequences, and using these data to help mobilize national governments to take greater action. TfG brings together private sector partners, United Nations agencies, and the U.S. Government--through PEPFAR and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) Division of Violence Prevention, and in collaboration with the State Department's Office of Global Women's Issues.

Working with the CDC, TfG has provided national data on violence against children through the Violence Against Children Survey (VACS). For the first time, VACS have already been completed in four countries, and are at various stages of development and implementation in seven more, including in Haiti and Malawi. Results from completed VACS reveal that 26 to 38 percent of women and girls have experienced sexual violence before age 18, and well over half of them experienced more than one such incident. Moreover, 23 to 53 percent of women and girls reported that their first sexual intercourse before the age of 18 was unwanted. This is simply unacceptable.

Due in part to these findings, countries are stepping up their efforts to address violence against women and girls. Swaziland has launched a database to track cases of violence, has established courts that are friendly to women and girls, and is increasing post-rape care through one-stop centers. Governments in Tanzania, Kenya, and Zimbabwe are scaling up national violence prevention and action plans. In Nairobi, Child Protection Centres have been expanded to reach more than 2,200 children with protective services.

The U.S. government and its partners are deeply committed to helping address violence against women and girls, including by supporting countries that want to tackle these issues head-on. This is critical not only to ensure that all individuals can participate fully and safely in their families and communities, but also can access HIV-related and other essential health services. We are pleased to see the growing momentum around these issues, and hope that additional governments and partners will take similarly strong steps so that, ultimately, we can bring the global scourge of violence against women and girls to an end.



Millions of children walking the financial tightrope to survive on India’s streets

·         3 DAYS AGO MARCH 18, 2014 12:06AM

Financial tightrope ... Indian girl Barsati, nine, goes to school a few weeks a year and spends the rest of her time performing. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

WITH a bronze pot balanced on her head and a painted bamboo pole in her hands, nine-year-old Barsati steps onto a tightrope nearly six feet above a Mumbai street.

Her midair performance varies — sometimes barefooted, sometimes in flip flops, sometimes walking inside a wheel or with a plate beneath one foot. But each time, her aunt thumps rapidly on a drum and draws in curious passers-by.

Indians on their way to work or tourists filming the spectacle with their smartphones throw rupees into a bowl on the pavement below.

Although most are amazed by her skills, Barsati, who took to the rope from the age of five instead of going to school, is nonplussed.

“Now I am used to it. People give us money,’’ she shrugged, taking a break between performances in the teeming Fort district of south Mumbai.

Barsati’s uncle Chotu Nath, who oversees the proceedings and gives his age as “about 20’’, explained that both his mother and his grandmother were tightrope walkers in their youth.

“It’s a family thing,’’ he said, adding that the children “never fall’’ because they learn from such a young age.

Barsati spends just a few weeks each year going to school during India’s rainy season, according to her uncle, but the rest of her time is spent earning for her family.

Exhausting ... Barsati spends five hours a day commuting to Mumbai from her family’s slum home to perform. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

She is one of more than 28 million Indian children estimated by UNICEF to be engaged in some form of labour.

A 2009 Right to Education Act mandates free and compulsory schooling for those aged six to 14, but an outright ban on child labour, proposed by the government in 2012, is yet to be passed by parliament.

The current law prohibits children under 14 from working in hazardous jobs — yet even this is not properly implemented, said Kushal Singh, head of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), a government body.

“The basic thing is ignorance, and the belief that the child is required to earn for the family because families are so poor,’’ Singh said.

“This is keeping them in a vicious circle. The only way out is if a child studies and gets an education.’’

While methods to measure poverty are hotly contested, a study by the McKinsey Global Institute released in February found more than half of Indians lacked the means to meet their essential needs, spending less than 1,336 rupees ($24) a month.

Making a living ... As Barsati walks the tightrope, a family member beats a drum to draw in passers-by. Picture: AFPSource: AFP

Many children are therefore encouraged into work. UNICEF says more than eight million young Indians are out of school, and more than 80 million drop out before completing eight years of education.

Barsati’s rare skills allow her to take home 1,500 to 2,000 rupees per day for her family, according to her uncle, but her job on the tightrope leaves little time for schoolwork.

At the end of her day performing, she faces a two-and-a-half hour train ride to her family’s slum home on the outskirts of the financial capital, where her parents work as menial labourers.

Other relatives join Barsati’s commute to the street. Her little brother Rajababu, bearing a painted moustache, crouches by the tightrope-propping poles while she performs and occasionally picks up the bowl to encourage donations.

A baby cousin sleeps on the pavement through it all, shaded by a cardboard sign for a recent city arts festival.

“We want him to go to school,’’ said Nath, the baby’s father.

Mismatched ... Barsati sometimes doesn’t wear shoes for her midair performance. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

Singh said attitudes towards child labour are “very slowly changing’’ in India, but much more needs to be done to alter the mindsets of both families and law enforcement agencies.

“They look on children as the responsibility of the parents. We still don’t internalise a rights-based approach to children,’’ said Singh, whose commission is launching a “From street to school’’ awareness campaign in March.

Yet there is sign of change on the streets of Mumbai, the densely-packed, so-called “Maximum City’’ in which more than half of the population is estimated to live in slums.

A survey released late last year by ActionAid India and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences found that 37,059 children were living or working on the city’s streets — down from more than 100,000 estimated by a UNICEF study two decades ago.

Some attribute the change to growing surveillance and a lower tolerance for street activity since militant gunmen launched deadly attacks on south Mumbai in 2008.

High pressure ... Barsari balances a bronze pot on her head as she walks the tightrope. Picture: AFP Source:AFP

But not all are convinced that street children are disappearing.

“The numbers are not going down, people are brushed inward into ghettos and into the suburbs,’’ said Zarin Gupta, chairwoman of the Salaam Baalak Trust for Mumbai street children.

She believes the city’s child labour force is continually replenished by migrant families from poorer parts of India, and that children trafficked into forced labour, often for domestic service or sex work, remain a huge concern.

Nirja Bhatnagar, Mumbai-based regional manager for ActionAid India, said the problem of working children could not be solved until strides are taken in improving India’s welfare system, including housing, healthcare and sanitation.

“At this point of time we don’t have any safety net, so everyone in the family has to fend for themselves.’’




BANGALORE, March 18, 2014

Updated: March 18, 2014 13:17 IST

Govt. to hold special camps to admit out-of-school children


They will be held in villages and taluks during the third and fourth week of March

The State government on Monday told the High Court of Karnataka that special admission camps would be held in villages and taluks during the third and fourth week of March to admit out-of-school children to nearby schools.

A submission in this regard was made by the government counsel during the hearing of a public interest litigation petition initiated suo motu by the court last year based on a newspaper report about children remaining out of school despite the Right to Education Act.

Meanwhile, the government also told the court that around 30,000 children had been admitted to various private schools under the 25 per cent quota of the RTE Act for the ensuing academic year.

It was also submitted on behalf of the government that the RTE Rules were being amended to bring down number of school dropouts.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna, which is hearing the petition, adjourned further hearing till April 8, while orally asking the State to ensure that the school dropout rate came down to zero. The government would have to take appropriate steps to achieve this task, it said.

Notice to government

In another case, the Bench on Monday ordered issue of notice to the State government and the Lokayukta on a PIL petition, which alleged that special deputy commissioners were illegally exercising powers on appeals and revisions about disputes on mutation entries under the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964.

In their petitions, freedom fighters H.S. Doreswamy and Suresh Chandra Babu alleged that the special DCs were illegally exercising powers even after the government in October 2011 entrusted only deputy commissioners to deal with appeals or revision under Section 136 (3) of the Act.

Despite this directive, more than 1,000 appeals had been dealt with by special DCs in Bangalore and as many as 680 appeals had been dealt with by a single officer occupying this post, the petitioner alleged.

The Bench ordered issue of notice to the Lokayukta on a oral request made by the petitioners’ counsel, while pointing out that an investigation ordered by the High Court in 2011 against special DC Ramanjaneya and others was closed by the Lokayukta in November last year citing that there was no complainant.

The court also ordered issue of notice to several officials who had occupied the post of special DC in Bangalore Urban district, including the incumbents.