SC hauls up Medha, Arundhati

By Our Legal Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to Narmada Bachao Andolan activists Medha Patkar, Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy and lawyer Prashant Bhushan on a petition seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against them for staging a demonstration before the apex court against its judgment in the Sardar Sarovar Dam case and also for allegedly using derogatory language to lower the dignity of the court.

A Bench comprising Justice G B Pattanaik and Justice B N Agrawal issued notice after attorney general Soli Sorabjee said one could ignore the general conduct of the protestors but if the language alleged to have been used in shouting slogans was true, it prima facie constituted contempt of court.

Sorabjee, however, said that he wanted to be excused from the case and added that one of the law officers would assist the court in this case.

Petitioner J R Parashar alleged that when some lawyers intervened during the rally dissuading the activists to desist from using abusive language, they were assaulted.

The court on October 18 had given green signal for construction of the controversial dam on the Narmada river up to a height of 138 metres as per the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal award.

Prashar said NBA counsel Prashant Bhushan had allegedly led the rally on December 13. The NBA activists had staged a dharna before a gate of the court to protest against the judgment.


Afghanistan quake due to seismic activity in Indian plate: Expert

The Times of India News Service

AHMEDABAD: An senior scientist in the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) in Hyderabad, Dr J G Negi, has said the increased seismic activity in the Indian plate was a disturbing phenomenon and showed tremendous amounts of energy being released in these frequent earthquakes.

Dr Negi, who is an emeritus scientist in NGRI, said the earthquake in Afghanistan on Sunday was due to the seismic activity in the Indian plate The epicentre of the earthquake was somewhere in the Hindukush mountains. Similarly, the earthquake in Sumatra on February 13 was also linked to the activity in the Indian plate because of the sea floor spreading towards the east.

Dr Negi also said the depth of the epicentre in Afghan earthquake was about 192 kilometers. This is the reason there was not much damage and it was felt as far as Delhi and other parts of India. However, he pointed out that the epicentre of Kutch earthquake on January 26, was only 22 kms deep. So, the damage was large.

Dr Negi explained that the quakes in Kutch, Afghanistan and Sumatra were taking place because of the sea floor spreading at the rate of 5 cms per year. This has been causing continental subduction between the Indian plate and the Euroasian plate. It is this subduction which had created the Himalayan, Hindukush and Arkanyama mountains.

Two previous earthquakes on August 9, 1993 and May 30, 1998 measuring 7.0 on Richter scale had their epicentre in the same Hindukush site. In each of these earthquakes about 4000 people were killed.