construction halted: The Patna High Court has stayed the proposed construction of a shopping complex at the Sandies compound in Bhagalpur, Bihar, because the site lies in a green belt. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Ravi S Dhavan and Justice S K Singh also asked the district administration to remove all encroachments from the area, which was declared a green belt way back in 1947. Chief Justice Dhavan said that preservation was the need of the hour. Prior to the directive, the people of the area had organised a protest against the district administration's decision to build the shopping complex.
activists absolved: The Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court has quashed all charges against members of the Adivasi Morcha Sangathan (AMS) of Dewas district. In March and April 2001, four members of the AMS were killed in violence which was allegedly perpetrated by the Madhya Pradesh government. Subsequent to this, several criminal cases were instituted against members of the sangathan. They related to unlawful armed assembly, criminal conspiracy, attempt to murder and waging war against the state.
beef case: The US Supreme Court (SC) has agreed to decide whether the government can force cattle producers to pay for the US $1-per-head check-off that funds research and promotions. Recent lower court decisions ruled that forcing producers to pay for the beef industry's campaign violated their First Amendment rights. But the decision to hear the case will allow the Beef Checkoff Program to continue business as usual throughout the proceedings. The programme was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses US $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. It became mandatory in a 1988 national referendum vote. The final SC ruling is expected in the first half of 2005.
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