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NRC draft final, Assam on alert

With Assam on the edge ahead of the publication of the state citizens’ list’s first draft, the home ministry officials allayed fears, saying that Indian nationals whose names don’t figure in the list will get adequate opportunities to prove their credentials.The Central government has asked the Army to remain on stand-by, while deploying 45,000 security personnel to prevent any untoward incident. The first draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be released around midnight. Intelligence inputs have suggested possible tension in some parts of the state, where names of doubtful citizens might be excluded in the draft list.”No one should have any notion that anyone or any particular community could be discriminated against. Everyone is treated equally and all Indian nationals will get adequate opportunities to prove their credentials, in case their names are excluded in the first list,” the official said.Last week, Union home secretary Rajiv Gauba spent two days in the state, reviewing the preparations for the publication of the part draft of NRC. Following a series of meetings between the Central and state governments, and the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), it was decided to update the NRC in 2005.The exercise got a major push after the BJP came to power in the state, which had a major poll plank of driving out the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. The Supreme Court had also ordered that the first draft of the NRC be published by December 31, after completing the scrutiny of over two crore claims, along with those submitted by nearly 38 lakh people, whose documents were suspect. Of the 3.28 crore applications submitted, there was confusion over the inclusion of 29 lakh people, who had submitted certificates issued by ‘gram panchayats’ as proof of identity, after a Gauhati High Court order in February had deemed ‘panchayat’ certificates invalid, the official said.The SC set aside the HC order and upheld the validity of the certificates as identity proof, if they were followed up with proper verification. The Apex Court also asked the authorities to stick to the original deadline for publication of the draft NRC and include names of those whose claims were verified.When the NRC was first prepared in Assam way back in 1951, the state had a population of 80 lakh. A six-year agitation, demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants, was launched by the AASU in 1979. It culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord on August 15, 1985, in the presence of the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal also sought to dispel apprehensions and said “genuine” Indians missing from the citizenship register would get enough opportunities to incorporate their names. “No one should have any apprehensions. If the name of a genuine Indian citizen is missing in the part draft of the NRC, he or she will get proper chance to incorporate it,” he said. “There is no need for panic. Genuine Indian citizens will not be deprived of their rights,” he added.

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Activists file police complaint against bullock cart race

An animal rights activist has lodged a complaint with Kashimira police station after a video of bullock carts racing on the Mira-Bhayander Road went viral on social media. The 28-second long video was shot on December 25.”I was shocked on watching the video as the race was being carried out on the busy Mira-Bhayander road at around 4.30 pm. It was fortunate that an animal lover who saw this happening decided to shoot the video otherwise there would have been no proof. What is even more appalling is the fact that the police had no information about it,” said Shakuntala Majumdar, President of Thane Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Animals (TSPCA) who submitted a formal written complaint on Sunday.The video captures two bullock carts racing on the stretch of road between D-Mart towards Silver Park signal, while the audience shouts and cheers. One cart has three men riding it while the other has four. As they ensure that the bullocks run as fast as they could, the cart with four men skids and one by one all the four fall even as the bullock with the cart swerves left.Majumdar said that the entire act is not only a violation of the order dated October 2017 of PIL No 23132 of 2017 of Bombay High Court which bans bullock cart racing in Maharashtra unless permissions have been granted by the authorities.”Apart from being a contempt of court, this activity is completely illegal as per the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960. Going by the fact that there is evidence that the bullock cart slipped and people fell off, I have also asked the cops to register a case under Section 188 because the race on a public road could have caused danger to human life and safety,” added Majumdar and stated that the cops now need to investigate the matter and take action as per law.A cop from Kashimira police station said that they were busy with security deployment for New Year’s Eve and would investigate the matter from Monday.

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No New Year celebrations for people in Assam as they wait for first draft of NRC with bated breath

At the stroke of midnight today, the Assam government will release the first draft of the much-awaited National Register of Citizens (NRC) with names of 2.24 crore bona fide Indian citizens.Of the 3.28 crore people who had applied for inclusion in the registry, 2.24 crore have found a place in the first draft following verification of their documents. The rest will be considered in the next two drafts, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal told mediapersons yesterday.”As per hon’ble Supreme Court’s order, there will be two more drafts of the NRC and the names of all genuine citizen claimants whose names do not feature in the first publication will be included in it after verification of the pending documents,” Sonowal said.Also read’Indian citizens excluded in draft NRC will get enough chance to prove credentials’ Dispelling apprehensions over security, Sonowal said no untoward situation is expected to arise as the district administrations have been conducting public meetings and campaigns to explain to the people the updation procedures.The chief minister also said the media have an important role to play in disseminating correct information to the public.Also readAASU demands error free NRC, says ‘no Bangladeshi coming to Assam after 1971 will be allowed to stay'”Social media will be monitored closely for misinformation on the NRC draft and strict action will be taken against those attempting to create trouble,” he said.Asked about a tentative date for release of the final draft, Sonowal said, “The Assam government is conducting the NRC updation process with the state government machinery, the district deputy commissioners’ offices mobilised for it on the orders of the Supreme Court… The complete draft will be published after verification of all documents of those who had applied for inclusion.”The state coordinator for NRC, Prateek Hajela, asserted that “genuine” Indian citizens need not panic if their names have not appeared in the first draft as verification process is yet to be completed.”If the name of any genuine Indian citizen does not appear in the first draft, it means the verification process of that person is yet to be completed,” Hajela said, adding there will be scope for making claims after the final draft is published.Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, during his visit to the state, had also said there will be an opportunity for claims and objections after the release of the third draft.”Those who do not find their names in the first draft need not worry as there will be opportunities for subsequent investigation and document verification,” Gauba had said after reviewing the NRC updation process in Assam.The office of the State Coordinator for NRC has made elaborate arrangements for people to check their names in the first draft at NRC sewa kendras across the state from 8 am on January 1. They can also check for information online and through SMS services.Assam, which faced influx from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC, first prepared in 1951.According to the Assam government’s official website, “The NRC is a register containing names of Indian citizens.The only time that a National Register of Citizens (NRC) was prepared was in 1951 when after conduct of the Census of 1951.”It was prepared by recording particulars of all the persons enumerated during that Census, the website said.The issue of updating the NRC of 1951 was first raised by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) more than three decades ago. The students’ body had submitted a memorandum to the Centre on January 18, 1980, two months after launching the anti-illegal foreigners Assam Movement.On November 17, 1999, at an official-level tripartite meeting to review the implementation of the Assam Accord, a decision was taken that the NRC would be updated and the Centre sanctioned Rs 20 lakh for the purpose and released Rs 5 lakh of it to start the exercise.The final decision to update the NRC was taken on May 5, 2005 when the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chaired a meeting to review the implementation of the accord.Thereafter, the government created a directorate for updating the NRC and the process of computerisation of the voters’ list up to 1971 and the NRC of 1951 began.A pilot project that was launched in two revenue circles of Barpeta and Chaygaon was suspended after a violent protest by a few organisations. The state government then formed a group of ministers (GoM) to hold talks with different organisations to draft modalities for updating the NRC.The updation process finally gained momentum after the Supreme Court started monitoring its progress and set December 31 midnight as the date for publication of the first draft of the NRC.

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Harassment takes ex-MNC staff to Gujarat High Court doorstep

The High Court issued notice to the state government and officials of a Kadi-based multinational company on Wednesday over allegations of sexual harassment at the company.A 52-year-old woman knocked at the doors of the high court, alleging that a senior employee at Johnson Controls–Hitachi Air Conditioning (India) Ltd, sexually harassed her and when she refused to give in to his demands, she was forced to resign in November.After hearing the primary submission of the petitioner, single bench justice AJ Desai issued notices to Roopesh Jain, assistant vice-president (legal) of the firm; Gurmeet Singh, managing director; Sanjay Kumar, vice-president (Human Resource); and the state government, directing them to file their replies by January 22, 2018, when the matter comes up for further hearing.The petitioner has submitted that her termination order should be set aside and a criminal and civil complaint be filed against Jain for sexual harassment and others for putting pressure on her to resign or withdraw the complaint against Jain.The petitioner, a graduate in English literature and Law, was a practising lawyer in Gujarat High Court. She joined as a manager at Hitachi Home and Life Solution’s Kadi branch in Mehsana district in 2006.In her complaint, the petitioner claimed that after Johnson Controls Inc. and Hitachi Appliances joined hands, a new firm Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air conditioning (India) Ltd came into existence in August 2016.In February 2017, Jain joined the company as assistant vice-president (legal). He soon started making advances at the petitioner. On a number of occasions, he invited her to go out with him.When she did not give in to his demands, Jain wrote to the Global president (legal) — seeking permission to replace her — and vice-president (HR) and another woman colleague to pressurise her to resign in June.The petitioner alleged that when she refused to resign, Jain resorted to severe mental harassment at work and, earlier this month, the company terminated her services.GIVE IN OR MOVE ON According to the complainant, her superior made several advances at her, and when she refused to give in to his demands, he began mentally harassing her In her petition to the court, she said the superior wrote to the company’s global head, seeking permission to replace her, and also asked an HR official to put pressure on her to resign

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28-year-old labourer dies after roof caves in

Ram Gopal resided in Janta enclave area and was working at the under-construction one-storey building for the last few months.”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Friday 29 December 2017 2:46 ISTMust readPM Modi’s Noida visit: 2 cops suspended for negligenceControversy around vaccine gets muckier<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>A 28-year-old man working at an under-construction building lost his life after a portion of the newly constructed roof caved in at Prem Nagar area of Outer Delhi on Thursday morning. The incident created panic among the residents and other labourers who were working on the site.According to the police, a case of negligence has been registered against the supervisor and he is being questioned. The incident occurred around 10 am on Thursday when Ram Gopal alias Guddu was working inside the under-construction building while the other labourers were working outside the building. Gopal had removed the wooden logs of the lanter and the roof suddenly caved in. The labourers working outside the building heard his cries and rushed inside but he was buried deep under the debris.The police were informed and the rescue teams recovered him. He was rushed to Sanjay Gandhi Hospital where he was declared brought dead on arrival. The other labourers informed the police that they were carrying out the work in order to fix the lanter when it collapsed. While Gopal had removed the wooden logs to fix it, the others were repairing it from outside.Ram Gopal resided in Janta enclave area and was working at the under-construction one-storey building for the last few months.

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1,600 to retake exam to legitimise engineering degrees

More than a month after the Supreme Court disallowed technical education through distance mode, 1,600 people whose degrees became invalid after the order have registered for re-examination with the government. Most of the applications are from working professionals with over 10 years of experience.The institutes affected through the apex court’s order are JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Institute of Advanced Studies in Education (IASE), Rajasthan, Allahabad Agricultural Institute (AAI) and Vinayaka Mission’s Research Foundation, Tamil Nadu. Students who pursued their engineering degrees through distance mode in the academic term 2001-2005 are the ones at the receiving end.The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) had launched a portal to help those who have been affected by the court order in taking a re-examination. As per the data shared by the council, 1,600 people who are from the affected institutions have registered themselves on the portal so far.The number however will go up as the registrations are open till January 30. And apart from the online registration through AICTE portal, the affected people have been sending their information through individual institutes as well.“So far, on the AICTE portal, 1,600 people have registered There is another month to go for it,” said an official.According to government sources, the re-exam which aims at validating the degrees of those affected will be done through a single exam.

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Negligence of authorities made Delhi a polluting city: Delhi High Court

Had the authorities kept their eyes open, the national Capital would not have become a “polluting city”, the Delhi High Court said on Thursday while coming down heavily on the authorities.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar expressed displeasure over the connivance of officials of the municipal corporations in allowing industrial units in residential and non-conforming areas.”If the authorities would have kept their eyes open, Delhi would not have become a polluting city. The hospitals here would have less patients,” the bench said. The court’s direction came while hearing a PIL filed by the Bawana Factory Welfare Association, which highlighted the failure of authorities to relocate industries from residential areas.It asked the three civic bodies to conduct an inquiry and inform the court about zone-wise details of the industries, before February 19 next year. It also asked the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (DSIIDC) to ensure strict action against 1,706 industrial complexes, which failed to construct or shift to that site despite it being allotted to them.Appearing for the DSIIDC, its counsel informed the court that they have appointed a committee for maintaining and providing facilities in these industrial complexes. Following this, the court observed that “in addition to the huge impact on account of illegal industrial activities continuing in non-conforming areas and usage of the residential property for illegal industrial activities, public money is spent for maintaining these industrial complexes developed at a huge cost to the public exchequer”.”Additionally, these continued illegal industrial activities are putting a huge constraint on every resource of the city unreasonably and also putting a pressure on the available infrastructure and impacting the pollution levels,” the bench added.The plea had highlighted as to how the plots allotted to these industries in industrial areas remain unused while factories continue to be operated from non-profit conforming areas.

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Declare my area as Silence Zone: Sumaira Abdulali

Anti-noise pollution activist Sumaira Abdulali has written to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Chief seeking that the Nargis Dutt Road in Bandra West, where she resides, be declared as a Silence Zone and a No-Honking Zone. This has come after the BMC failed to take any concrete steps to begin re-notifying silence zones in the city, four months after the Maharashtra State Government de-notified all the existing silence zones of Mumbai.Explaining her stand she said that under the existing Noise Pollution and Motor Vehicles Rules, citizens can apply to have their residential or mixed areas be declared as Silence Zones/No-Honking Zones.”I have recommended this road as its a residential area and the people living in various buildings here including me are getting affected by the high decibel levels and hence I have decided to take a lead. I have also made it clear that this should be done after proper consultation with the residents living here,” stated Abdulali. She has been urging citizens to make similar applications to the BMC for a declaration of their areas as Silence Zones/No Honking Zones and that authorities should realise that citizens need their silence zones back.As per State Government’s interpretation of the Noise Rules amended on August 10, 2017, silence zones earlier identified and declared by the BMC were no longer in operation as they had not been specifically notified by the State Government. “In the period from August 2017 till date, silence zones have remained unprotected and there is not even clarity about whether loudspeakers can be used or needs to be removed and in all there is lot of confusion, which has been causing great hardship to residents of Mumbai and making them vulnerable to health issues caused due to noise pollution,” shared Abdulali.Several other anti noise pollution activists also alleged that they have no clue about steps being taken by BMC doing about notifying silence and no honking zones in the city as the civic body seems to have completely forgotten about this issue.The silence zone rules were first implemented in September 2, 2003 after Bombay High Court ordered the police to verify and certify before granting any loudspeaker permissions in a Silence Zone as defined under the Noise Rules.Infact on July 18, 2005, the Supreme Court of India ordered other noise sources such as honking to be added to the prohibitions in Silence Zones. In February 2009, the Court ordered the Government to identify and put up Silence Zone boards within one week after which the Ward offices of the BMC identified more than 1200 Silence Zones in Mumbai and put up boards on site with the help of citizen groups.

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Was Prasad Purohit doing his duty, asks NIA

The court held, "During the course of arguments Col.Purohit submitted that Military intelligence officers have their own style of functioning unlike other civilian government officials. In short, according to him he was discharging his duties while doing these acts. To which the court observed that it may be true that military intelligence doesn't not work like other government agencies, but it has to be ascertained whether the official status of Purohit furnishes only the occasion or opportunity for doing the alleged acts or whether he was really doing his duty."”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByPranali Lotlikar Chindarkar <!–end of artlbotbor–>Friday 29 December 2017 1:05 ISTMust readOn Day 2, Mumbai commuters warm up to AC localMumbai: Man evades arrest for 15 years, found hiding inside washing machine in his apartment<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>The Special NIA court has reasoned in it’s order copy as to why it refused to grant discharge to the prime accused Sadhavi Pragya Singh Thakur in the Malegaon blasts case, even after the NIA had claimed that there was not enough evidence against her, while replying to her bail application which was filed before the Bombay High Court. The court also reasoned why it didn’t consider claim of Lt.Col.Prasad Purohit.The court held, “During the course of arguments Col.Purohit submitted that Military intelligence officers have their own style of functioning unlike other civilian government officials. In short, according to him he was discharging his duties while doing these acts. To which the court observed that it may be true that military intelligence doesn’t not work like other government agencies, but it has to be ascertained whether the official status of Purohit furnishes only the occasion or opportunity for doing the alleged acts or whether he was really doing his duty.”

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School fees: State welcomes HC ruling, asks schools to comply

Day 1 of the new government in Gujarat turned out to be a celebration as the Gujarat High Court on Wednesday upheld the state government’s law to regulate school fees. Rejecting around 40 petitions opposing it, a division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi upheld the Gujarat Self Financed Schools (Regulation of Fees) Act, 2017. The Bill was introduced by the BJP government early this year.Welcoming the judgment, senior minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said, “This is a historic judgment. We will implement the judgment with immediate effect. We are happy that the court has also not entertained any kind of stay in this order.””Under the leadership of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, the state government was firm to implement the Bill since the beginning. Now that the judgment has come, we will not let schools charge a heavy fee as per their wish,” Chudasama said.Through this judgment, middle-class families and students will benefit a lot. Schools who were pressurising parents for higher fees will be in docks and parents will get respite from all sorts of pressure, he added.After the Act was passed in April, the state government had formed zone-wise fee regulation committees (FRC) and had started the process. As per the judgment, schools that did not approach the FRC will have to approach the FRC with a proposal in three weeks from the date of the judgment.As per a statement released from the state government, 1,101 schools did not increase any fee for the 2016-17 academic year in Ahmedabad zone. Of the 12,402 schools that had filed affidavits, order for 9,453 schools has been passed. Nearly 2,987 schools had approached high court out of which 584 are primary and 2,403 are secondary and higher secondary schools. Those schools whose hearing has been over, order will be pronounced soon.Nearly 80 schools reduced more than Rs 10k fee:As result of the Act, 77 schools including 74 from Ahmedabad and 3 from Rajkot reduced more than Rs 10,000 in their fee. Speaking about the same, senior minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said, “37,60,112 students will be benefitted. I am grateful to the schools that reduced their fees after this Act. Due to good intent of many schools, they had reduced their fees sometime back.”KEY FACTSOrder on schools approached FRC soon Schools will have to give refund, if any, in 15 days If disobeyed, 1% inte-rest will be levied every day

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Gujarat HC upholds GSFS Act, but fees can be revised

In a big jolt to all self-financed schools, the Gujarat High Court upheld the Gujarat Self Finance Schools (Fees Regulations) Act, 2017 (GSFS) and its rules on Wednesday.The First Division Bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice Vipul Pancholi, while dismissing more than three dozen petitions of 2,500 private schools, concluded that the state government was competent to pass and implement such Acts and decide the administrative matters of schools affiliated with the central, international and the ISCE board. The Bench also said that the special status of minority schools was not violated by the Act.Though the court concluded that the Act was legal and constitutional, it also kept a window open for private schools’ associations to approach the competent authority for a review of the current fee structure.The associations can also ask for a hike against the services they provide to their students. However, the competent authority will have to take a decision witihin six weeks from the date of filing proposals. But, such proposals should not amount to exorbitant fees or profiteering.Court also rejected all schools’ request to stay the operative part of the judgment so that they can approach the Supreme Court and challenge the order. Those schools which have submitted their proposals and want to add any further information seeking review can submit the same within three weeks.Advocate General Kamal Trivedi while defending the state action had submitted that the RTE Act permits self-financed school to notify any fee, whereas the state Act under challenge seeks to put restrictions on these schools to charge any fees. RTE Act prohibits the capitation of fees.Appearing for parents Advocate Amit Panchal had submitted that the whole intention of the Act is to prevent commercialisation of education in all the schools, including the self-financed schools. He further submitted that the court should direct the state to implement the Act at the earliest.OPERATIVE PART OF THE JUDGMENTThe Act is not in violation of the equality of the Constitution The rules of the Act are not in the violation of the Article 30 of Constitution with regard to the minority institution Constitution of Fees Regulatory Committee and Fees Revision Committee under the Act are not unconstitutional as alleged by the petitioners Schools can put proposals within three weeks to the competent authority, which will take further action in accordance with the law.

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BJP MPs to Chidu: Stop discussions on Aadhaar in panel

In a controversial move, on Wednesday, several BJP members in the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs asked its chairman P Chidambaram to stop discussions on the subject of privacy and national security of Aadhaar.A united opposition strongly objected to the BJP’s move in the committee meeting on Wednesday, highly-placed sources said.”The Committee was strongly divided on the issue with BJP members on one side and all the opposition parties’ members on the other side. The opposition was unequivocal in its stand that the subject matter on Aadhaar cannot be set aside or withdrawn. The meeting ended without any headway,” the source said.A BJP member was of the opinion that the subject can also be taken up by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, but the opposition members refused the proposition.Before taking up the issue in the meeting, about five to six BJP MPs — all members of the standing committee — had written a letter to Chidambaram, asking him to recuse himself from the matter, since he represented Jairam Ramesh as a counsel, who has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court on Aadhaar, sources added.A committee member said, the committee already has had four meetings on the same subject matter of privacy and security of Aadhaar, but did not face any issues by the BJP.

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More trouble for Max Hospital: Man dies on Christmas Day; family alleges hospital negligence

The family of a 58-year-old man, who was taken to Max Hospital in Shalimar Bagh on Christmas Day for treatment of a heart condition, today alleged that he died due to the hospital’s negligence, a charge the upscale facility has denied.The allegation came weeks after the Court of the Financial Commissioner stayed an order of the Delhi government cancelling the hospital’s licence for wrongly declaring a newborn dead.Sarika, 35, daughter of the deceased, Kamlesh Chander, said: “We are devastated by the incident. Tomorrow, we will try to reach out to Health Minister J P Nadda and the chief medical officer of Delhi. We want justice.”Also readMax hospital case: Probe to be delayed in twin baby case as police still waiting for DMC’s reply”My father was on his feet when he visited the hospital on December 25. He was sweating, so they took him to the emergency ward and an ECG test was conducted. The test revealed that he had blockage in his arteries,” she said.Sarika said an angiography was performed on his father and the doctors told the family that Chander would need a bypass surgery.Also readFamily approaches court day after Max Hospital reopens”While we discussed the matter, they came and informed us that stents have been put in his body. They did that without even asking us. More so, my father was admitted under the supervision of a doctor who was on leave. This is fraud and negligence,” she alleged.”A few hours later, my father died… We demand justice. We are waiting for the autopsy and after that we will organise the funeral, she said.The family said the hospital billed them Rs three lakh.”We have submitted all relevant details and registered a complaint with the police,” she said.A police official said inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC was initiated based on the complaint.”A medical board will be constituted to carry out the autopsy. On the basis of the autopsy, further action will be taken,” the official said.Max Healthcare in a statement said: “The patient was brought to the emergency (ward) in the afternoon of December 25, with complaints of chest pain and breathlessness. Initial ECG confirmed acute STEMI.”ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) is a type of heart attack during which one of the heart’s major arteries is blocked.”Further investigation revealed Triple Vessel Disease blockage in three major arteries. The patient was 58 years old and had a history of diabetes, hypertension and smoking. Despite due efforts by the medical team, the patient could not be saved,” it claimed.Sarika, however, countered the hospital’s claim, saying, “My father was a vegetarian, non-smoker and non-alcoholic.”Max Healthcare authorities said, “We are really disturbed by the false allegation that the body was held pending payment. It is a part of our ethics charter to peacefully hand over the body under all circumstances.”Sarika has claimed that her father’s body was first taken by the police to Babu Jagjivan Ram Memorial Hospital, and from there to Safdarjung Hospital for post-mortem.

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2008 Malegaon case: MCOCA dropped against Sadhvi Pragya and Col Purohit, to be tried under UAPA and IPC sections

Special NIA court in Mumbai has dropped MCOCA charges against Sadhvi Pragya, Col Purohit and two others in connection with the 2008 Malegaon case. However, they will be tried under UAPA section 18 and other IPC sections. Six people were killed and nearly 100 were injured in a bomb blast in Malegaon on September 29, 2008. Both Purohit and Pragya are currently out in bail and that will continue, ordered NIA Court. The next date of hearing is January 15. The court also let off three accused Shyam Sahu, Shivnarayan Kalsangra and Praveen Takalki as innocent. Malegoan case was described as Hindu terror planned by group Abhinav Bharat. Pragya and Purohit were accused of being part of the conspiracy which lead to the blast. On April 25, the Bombay High Court had granted Thakur bail on the grounds that prima facie, there was no evidence against her and thus she deserved bail. It, however, said that it was only passing an order with regard to the bail application and not on the merits of the case against her. On being granted bail by the High Court, Thakur had then filed an application before the special NIA Court seeking discharge from the case on the ground that the High Court had already given her a clean chit in its bail application order. Purohit also got bail from SC later.

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Gujarat High Court stays arrest of newly elected MLA Kandhal Jadeja

Gujarat High Court’s single bench justice AG Uraizee heard the special criminal application moved by recently elected MLA from Kutiyana, Kandhal Jadeja, late on Monday after court hours and stayed his arrest in a case in which he was alleged of creating ruckus at a petrol pump on December 24.The court stayed his arrest till December 27. The petitioner’s advocate Harsh Surti’s submission was that the allegation made by the complainant against Jadeja of damaging property at a petrol pump and creating ruckus was baseless. He stated that in the CCTV footage, petitioner was found standing at the petrol pump and not involved in the act at all.State had opposed the petition citing his background. Petitioner’s another ground was that he was recently elected, and if court does not protect him from arrest, he would not be able to take oath as MLA. Earlier, the petitioner and the original complainant both were booked by the Ranavav Police for creating ruckus at the police station on December 21. He was granted temporary bail till December 27. The Porbandar court has granted Jadeja regular bail on Tuesday.TEMPORARY BAIL TILL DECEMBER 27Earlier, the petitioner and the original complainant both were booked by the Ranavav Police for creating ruckus at the police station on December 21. He was granted temporary bail till December 27. The Porbandar court has granted Jadeja regular bail on Tuesday.

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Fast courts off track?

It has been five years since Nirbhaya gang rape stirred the nation, following which the victim’s mother demanded creation of fast-track courts and a law to hang juveniles in heinous crimes. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the state governments vide his letter dated April 23, 2015 to allocate funds for this activity, it is shocking that at present there is not a single fast-track court functional in the state.On the contrary the 83 functional fast-track courts in the year 2005 have been reduced to zero now.A total of 83 FTCs were approved in the year 2000, following the report of the 11th Finance Commission. Out of these, all were functional till 2011, the year when this experimental scheme was supposed to end. The central government in 2005, decided to continue its support for the next 6 years (till 2011).This is also the year when the central government stopped financial support to the FTCs, after that the states were supposed to continue FTCs with expenses met from their own funds. The 14th Finance Commission has also endorsed the proposal of establishing 1,800 FTCs for a period of five years for cases of heinous crimes; cases involving senior citizens, women, children, disabled and litigants affected with HIV AIDS and other terminal ailments and civil disputes involving land acquisition and property/rent disputes pending for more than five years at a cost of Rs 4,144 crore. The 14th finance commission has allocated 214 crore rupees to Rajasthan government for the establishment of fast track court.Pendency of casesAccording to government data till December 2016, more than 14 lakh cases are pending across all the courts in the state. As per an estimate close to 2/3rd of these cases are more than 3-years old and more than 2/3rd of these cases are pending in the district & sub-ordinate courts. ‘Justice Delayed is Justice Denied’ is used whenever there is an undue delay in disposal of cases.Prime Minister’s appealThe Prime Minister vide his letter dated 23rd April 2015 urged the state governments to allocate funds for the activities mentioned in the 14th FC recommendations from their state budget from 2015-16 onwards. This issue was also discussed in the CM/CJ Conference on the 05th April 2015 and 24th April 2016, wherein it was resolved to strengthen the existing coordination and monitoring mechanism between the state government and the Judiciary for effective implementation of the recommendations of the 14th FC. The Minister of Law and Justice has further urged all the Chief Ministers of the States and the Chief Justices of the High Courts to implement the resolution of the Conference vide letters dated 03rd June 2015, 26th September 2016 and 2nd May 2017 respectively.Supreme Court’s takeIn its judgment in the Brij Mohan Lal case, the Supreme Court has endorsed the position of the Central Government and held that the continuation of FTCs is within the domain of the states with their own funds.Purpose of fast-track courtsFast track courts are meant to expeditiously clear the colossal scale of pendency in the district and subordinate courts under a time-bound programme. A laudable objective of the five-year experimental scheme is to take up sessions and other cases involving undertrials on top priority.

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Gujarat HC lets love win against all odds

In what could be a scene from Sunny Deol’s hit Gadar: Ek Prem Katha, a couple was reunited following court’s intervention despite the girl’s parents having her remarried to separate them.Prathamesh, a resident of North Gujarat fell in love with Prakruti who was from Kutch (names changed to protect their identity) and both got married in March earlier this year and stayed as a married couple in Kutch. But as the girl’s parents were opposed to the marriage, they fled to North Gujarat.Prakruti’s parents traced them in their new abode, beat Prathamesh and forcibly took Prakruti home. Prathamesh filed a Habeas Corpus as the parents refused him to meet Prakruti. He also alleged in his petition that both were beaten up and were forced to sign a divorce deed.He submitted to the court that he had filed an application with a local police station about this, but he was again beaten up and was forced to withdraw the application as well. He pleaded with the court to reunite him with his legally wedded wife.The court ordered Prakruti to be present on December 19 where she told Justice Abhilasha Kumari and Justice BN Karia that she was beaten by her parents and was forced to sign on divorce deed. She also revealed she was forcibly married to another person but had returned to her parental home as she could not live in the new marriage. She confessed for her love for Prathamesh but told the court she was scared her parents would beat her again and may separate them again.Prathamesh told the court both were adults and he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Prakruti as his wife. The court accepted his plea and allowed Prakruti to go with Prathamesh. The court also directed the police to provide protection to the couple and asked them to take action against the girl’s parents if they created trouble again

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Army for stricter scrutiny to weed out tainted during promotions

The Indian Army has put in place a stringent disciplinary policy for stricter scrutiny, when it promotes officers, to ensure those tainted do not move up in its hierarchy.The regime will keep a record of even minor offences, including misconducts of at least 10 years, and in some cases, the entire service duration, if the condemnation has been awarded by the Chief or the Central government.This is in wake of senior officers found involved in cases of misbehaviour or un-officer like acts early in their careers and reaching high ranks. Land scams, involving senior officers, scandalous affairs and sexual misconduct in some cases have dented the Army’s image.Sources said several cases at higher levels showed officers who had committed serious misdemeanours managed to go past scrutiny and got promoted. This triggered a change in the Army’s policy.”An in-house review suggested that more scrutiny is needed to make sure serial offenders don’t rise in service as many such cases were identified recently,” said an Army source.There were many instances when wrongdoings of the past were not detected and officers went on to hold high offices.”The change in policy will make sure that an officer’s shady past will not go unnoticed,” the source added.The disciplinary policy is divided into two: Court Martial for serious offences, including criminal acts, and Administrative Action in the form of a Censure, which till now was recordable and non-recordable.Non-recordable offences were minor in nature and were not part of Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) or a dossier maintained for every officer.”The customs of service of the Army demand the highest standards of personal conduct and respect for military law. The selection of officers now requires the past disciplinary and administrative record of officers to be placed before the selection boards,” a letter circulated to all sections of the Army said.With the new policy in place, non-recordable offences are a thing of the past. Every censure will be part of records for a period of at least 10 years and will reflect in ACRs that could impact future promotions.Censures are awarded for acts considered “minor in nature” and don’t involve criminality or moral turpitude. According to the new policy, cases that do not fall under the minor offence category but are not criminal acts to be tried under a Court Martial can be forwarded to the headquarters for award of a censure by the Army Chief.Censures will be of two types: severe displeasure or displeasure.While the award of a censure will not debar an officer from being considered for promotion but it will be taken note of as part of the overall record of service in assessing the credentials of the officer. This will ensure that the entire record of the officer will be placed before the selection board.

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Gurjars, 4 other communities to get 1% reservation in NBC category

Thousands of unemployed youths can look forward to getting a government job now. Thanks to a timely and wise decision by Vasundhara Raje government of granting one per cent separate reservation to Gurjars and four other communities in Most Backward Class (MBC) category. Gurjar community may be skeptical about the move but it has paved way to fill up 72,000 posts in the government; the recruitment process for which was stuck because of reservation tangle.For last two years, 72,000 posts in 13 different categories and departments could not be filled because of OBC reservation act. Among them 55,000 posts were those for which notification had been issued. In fact, the government had to extend application deadline five times for level 2 of REET teachers’ recruitment 2016, whereas second grade teachers’ recruitment result was not declared for six months.The recruitment process was stalled only because of reservation issue but now everything is clear as Raje government has made a provision by which Gurjars and four other communities will enjoy one per cent separate reservation in MBC and continue to receive OBC reservation benefits as well.Though, the Gurjar community is still not convinced and threatening to launch stir once again.Notably, the SBC reservation got stuck in the court. The state government had to cancel it. After that, Raje government brought OBC bill to give 5 per cent reservation to Gurjars but before a notification could be issued the matter reached court.Since the overall reservation limit went up to 54%, Supreme Court quashed the bill reiterating its stand that reservation cannot go beyond the cap of 50%. The government discussed the matter with Gurjars and tried to convince them to agree to accept MBC but they refused.However, the government released notification of MBC. Now, the unemployed are eagerly waiting for opening up of the recruitment process.Social justice and empowerment minister, Arun Chaturvedi hailed the decision claiming that MBC will restart stalled recruitment process at speedy level.State president of Berojgar Ekikrat Mahasangh, Upen Yadav, however, demanded that the government should not lose time to restart recruitment process at the same time appointments in old recruitments should be given immediately to fulfill its promise.But, Gurjar leader, Himmat Singh alleged cheating. “The government has duped us. The one percent reservation was available even during the Gehlot government. Instead of keeping youths unemployed, the government could have given this benefit earlier. Our agitation is for 5 per cent reservation will continue. We will oppose the government in upcoming by polls and in assembly elections,” he said.

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Gurjar leaders consider getting Hardik Patel to campaign against BJP

Gurjars leaders in Rajasthan, who are angry with CM Vasundhara Raje-led state government for its decision of giving 1 per cent reservation to the community as opposed to the 5 per cent that they demanded, have started drawing up strategies to beat the saffron party in Ajmer and Alwar and Mandalgarh bypolls. In a step towards this direction, they intend to bring Gujarat’s Patidar leader Hardik Patel — whose alliance with the Congress had damaged BJP’s poll perspective in Gujarat’s major Patel belt — to campaign in the desert state.”We have a thought to bring Hardik here and do campaigning against the BJP which cheated the Gurjars by not giving them 5 per cent reservation which it promised in its Suraj Sankalp Patra. I will get to meet him on December 30, and then will decide further strategy on how to run the campaign here,” said Himmat Singh Gurjar, spokesperson of Gurjar Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti.Both the leaders — who ran quota movements for their castes Patel and Gurjars respectively — have been in touch for months. Himmat, on Hardik’s call, had also campaigned for the Patel reservation in Gujarat. And Hardik, who was in exile in Udaipur, had met Gurjar leaders including Kirori Singh Bainsala, who spearheaded the agitation for over a decade, regularly supporting their cause.Hardik’s landing in Rajasthan hints that on the line of Gujarat he would seek votes for Congress which he had alliance in Gujarat when the party promised to give the community reservation. His popularity may attract voters, but it is yet to see how much his campaign remains successful in consolidating Gurjars who trusted BJP in previous assembly election and Lok Sabha election making it a visible sweep. His campaigning with Gurjars leaders make an impact in election, particularly in Ajmer bypoll where Gurjars voters in a sizable amount.Singh adds that there is legal hurdle before Hardik to campaign in Rajasthan on the request of Gurjars as in accordance to the court orders he can’t leave Gujarat state. “We are hopeful he would get relief in this matter and campaign against the BJP here.” DNA tried to reach Hardik over the development on phone, though he did not respond to the calls.Notably, Gurjars demanded 5 percent reservation for itself and others four castes and run also a violent movement . The government, meeting their demand, had tabled a bill in recent assembly session. But, it was stayed by the Supreme Court which ordered the government not to exceed 50 percent legal ceiling in quota. A couple of days back, the government, hence, has notified 1 percent reservation to the castes meeting 50 percent ceiling.

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Rajasthan High Court allows Raj govt to tackle doctors’ strike

Evoking restriction on arrest of agitating doctors, the Rajasthan High Court on Monday extended a free hand to the state government for tackling the strike of government doctors. The court has previously ordered a hold on the arrest while instructing them to resume duties. However, the previous orders were revoked at a special hearing called on public holiday of Christmas in consideration of an instant petition moved in public interest. “The strike of doctors is illegal,” held the court in its order on Monday. “The state authorities would be entitled to proceed ahead in accordance with law, which obviously would mean that since RESMA has been invoked, the striking doctors can be apprehended.” State health department had submitted at the court that 50 per cent of the in-service doctors have been boycotting duty following the strike. It was prompt to issue a 24-hour notice to the doctors to return to work in light of the court orders. Doctors at Rajasthan have been on strike since December 16 following transfer of office bearers of All Rajasthan In-Service Doctors. The doctors body held it suppression and violation of a previous agreement between doctors and the state health department. However, as thousands of doctors refrained from duty and private hospitals warned to keep services suspended for a day, the strike had pose to put public health at risk. In consideration of the possibility of a total health shutdown, advocate Abhinav Sharma moved a petition ahead of chief justice of Rajasthan Pradeep Nandrajog requesting immediate intervention.

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Doctors strike: Rajasthan HC to open today

Despite being a winter vacation, Rajasthan High Court will open on public holiday of Christmas for the hearing of ongoing government doctors strike. It is probably for the first time that the high court will open on a public holiday during winter vacation. The issue is, however, concerned to public health and large and same was pleaded before the court by advocate Abhinav Sharma.The lawyer submitted to the court that the government doctors have not returned to work despite court orders and now the private doctors too have warned to keep services suspended for a day in support of them. This has created a major concern for public health as patients needing medical assistance will be devoid of due treatment.”It’s just due to whims of a doctor leader that is responsible for the suffering of patients at state, this should not be allowed and I have requested the court regarding the same,” Abhinav Sharma said to DNA.Chief justice of Rajasthan High Court, Pradeep Nandrajog in consideration of the appeal has constituted a special bench that would hear Abhinav Sharma’s plea on Christmas morning this Monday. Even as the court will discuss out merit’s of the plea, the court has already shown its consideration to the gravity of the situation.Nearly 80 per cent of the government doctors at Rajasthan have been boycotting work for over a week following differences with the health department. Implementation of Rajasthan Essential Services Maintenance Act (RESMA) has also been unable to bring doctors back on duty. Meanwhile, the doctors association have been blaming the health minister for backing out of the agreement reached after the previous agitation.Abhinav Sharma, meanwhile, also claimed that government doctors willing to return to work are being threatened by the leader of the agitation and claimed to produce evidence of the same at court during the hearing on Monday.

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Two Delhi judges suspended after graft complaints

The Delhi High court has suspended two judicial officers of the Dwarka district courts – Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Naveen Arora and Jitendra Mishra, Presiding Officer, Labour Court – on corruption charges. According to sources in the Delhi High Court, the issue was discussed at a full court meeting on Thursday, following which a team was sent from the High Court to Dwarka court to examine documents in the chambers of both the judges.It was later in the evening that the orders of suspension of Arora and Mishra were sent to the District and Sessions Judge for compliance.“A full court reference took the decision to suspend both the judges. An enquiry has been ordered and both the judicial officers will continue to be under suspension till the probe is complete,” a source said.Also readDel ADJ under scanner for disrespecting HC JudgeIt is alleged that Mishra, who was earlier posted as the Presiding Officer, Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Dwarka, had accepted a bribe for premature encashment and release of a fixed deposit. The charge against Arora is that he went on a foreign trip which was funded by an accused in a case pending case in his court. Documents accessed by DNA showed that there were three complaints against Mishra in the current year. In May this year, two verbatim unsigned complaints of Ram Lal, advocate, regarding unnecessary delay in disposal of cases were received and the same are pending before Inspecting Committee for the year 2017 headed by Justice Vipin Sanghi. In another instance, two complaints were filed by one Virendra Lamba, where he alleged that he was threatened by Mishra. The enquiry in the complaints is pending before the Vigilance Committee for DHJS & DJS headed by Justice S Muralidhar. The third and the last affidavit-cum complaint was filed on August 10 by advocate MP Shalli, alleging misbehaviour, and the probe in this case is pending with the Vigilance Committee headed by Justice S Muralidhar. Attempts to reach Mishra for his comments failed.

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A dialogue with JC | Manoj Sinha on his way to realise Modi’s Digital Dreams

Q: You are implementing Prime Minister’s vision of digital India. How do you view the entire campaign?A: Our ministry is providing infrastructure for ‘Digital India’. The UPA government had launched BharatNet known as National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) in 2012. It was supposed to be completed in two phases. Between 2012 and 2014, only 328km optical fiber lines were laid. However, during three years of Modi government 2.48 lakh km lines have been laid. First phase target was broadband in one lakh gram panchayats, which has been achieved of which 86% work was done by the BSNL. In the second phase, the target is to cover 1.5 lakh gram panchayats by 2019. We are careful in the second phase. Eight states have come forward to do the work and we have signed MoU with four of them. We will definitely achieve the target of providing broadband to six lakh villages.Q: How did you transform BSNL into a profit making PSU?A: BSNL’s growth was hampered due to some reasons but now there is improvement in technology. BSNL is at present there, where no one else is. It is there where money can’t be made. It works in every circumstance and performs its social responsibility. The credit goes to its officials and workers. In the future, BSNL would do even better and fulfill expectations of the country.Q: How will you improve financial health of public sector telecom companies?A: BSNL’s financial condition is not bad. At least in the last three years it has improved. In last one and half year, there is churning in telecom sector. Other service providers have been losing market share but our share is increasing. MTNL has certain problems, which I do not want to discuss here. Merger of MTNL with BSNL will cause problems for the latter. We are discussing about improving MTNL’s condition. Indian telecom industry will turn into black from the next financial year; this is a surprisingly positive news for the country.Q: What is the status of new telecom policy which is in the offing?A: We are working on it. It will be out in March 2018.Q: Do you think Jio’s launch is a big move in direction of PM’s digital India?A: Digital India has benefitted immensely from Jio. Yes, Jio has contributed but there are other factors as well. We welcome new service providers.Q: But Jio has brought cut throat competition in the telecom industry? Other telecom companies are facing the heat and incurring losses? Are they satisfied? Are they thinking of giving incentives to them?A: This happens whenever a new entrant comes. This is business competition but the government is neutral and it will take decision in the interest of consumers. For the government ‘customer is king’.Q: What is your opinion about CBI court’s verdict in 2G spectrum case?A: One should see this judgment from a different perspective. If I kill someone and no one comes up in the court to testify against me, I would be acquitted but this is true that I have murdered a person. The Supreme Court had ruled that there was irregularity in allocating spectrum licence. The apex court said that those who got licence had proximity with those in power. So, their acquittal doesn’t mean that Congress starts giving certificate of honesty. The country is aware that there was huge corruption in it. When the judgement came and the auctions took place for the first time, you just add up the amount: in 2015, Rs 1.09 lakh crore and Rs 65,678 crore in 2016, which comes to Rs 1.76 lakh crore. I think that the country knows that some people escaped for lack of evidence. It is up to investigating agencies to appeal against it. The apex court had said that “first come, first pay” policy was based on valuation of 2001 but spectrum were given in 2000. What it means is that they were served first. Understand this difference, it would have made sense if targets of 2001 and 2009, were set in 2000.Q: Will it be an issue for the Congress in 2019?A: No, we do not want to contest election on this issue. We will go to people with what we have done in five years, which did not happen in 50 years. We will contest on change in lives of the poor. There is prosperity in the country and we will contest in the name of development.Q: What do you feel about forming government in Gujarat for the sixth time?A: A large section in the country wants to see Modi ji as PM. Only Modi ji could have made it possible to win in Gujarat despite being in power for 22 years.Q: After Gujarat and Himachal are you hopeful of regaining power in Karnataka?A: Not just Karnataka but we will form governments in the North-East states wherever we are not in power at present.Q: Do you think that Modi ji is now a global leader?A: Undoubtedly and this is a matter of pride. Modi ji is counted among the strongest leaders in the world.Q: Do you have any godfather in the politics?A: I do not have a godfather. BJP’s policies and principles are my godfather. Other parties may have godfathers. I was an ordinary worker who has reached this stage.Q: How is Yogi government’s performance in the UP?A: The government is doing a good job in Uttar Pradesh. Our government is working as per our ‘Sankalp patra’.Q: What are your thoughts about party president Amit Shah’s work?A: Amit Shah has killer instinct. He works on war footing to ensure victory. We have been performing well even in those areas where the BJP’s support base is weak.

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Ashok Chavan may get second term as MPCC chief

The Bombay High Court’s rejection of the Governor’s prosecution order in the Adarsh scam has brightened Ashok Chavan’s chances of getting yet another term as the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) supremo.The state unit has already completed the election process, authorising the party high command to decide Chavan’s fate. However, insiders in the party admit that the court order has come as a major slap on the BJP’s face which will have to rework its strategy to target Chavan.This apart, Chavan was instrumental in organising protests against the BJP-led government in November and December in six revenue divisions, where he travelled extensively. By and large, the party leaders say Chavan had brought factions together to take on the BJP on issues such as farmers plight, lapses in the implementation of crop loan waiver, deteriorating law and order and finances.Subsequently, the state Congress unit and the state Nationalist Congress Party jointly took out a march and organised a rally at Nagpur on the second day of the winter session on December 12 hinting at an alliance in the run-up to the next Assembly elections slated for 2019.Further, Chavan’s stock soared after Congress won 73 of 81 seats in the Nanded Municipal Corporation, where BJP had made it a prestige issue and cornered him in his home town.MPCC spokesman Ratnakar Mahajan told DNA,” Clearly, Chavan will now strive for the responsibility bestowed upon him with renewed vigour as the Bombay high court has set aside the Governor’s sanction to act against him in the Adarsh case. The party’s high command is expected to continue with him as the state unit president for another term.”Newly-anointed All India Congress Committee president Rahul Gandhi is soon expected to take a call in this regard.Already, the party high command has given a green signal to Chavan to organise a mass contact programme in all 288 Assembly constituencies across the state in January. Chavan had already begun preparations for the same.The party MPs, legislators, party office bearers will address public rallies, hold protest marches and reach out to voters at the booth level in a bid to further strengthen the party’s organisation to take on the BJP.Congress had won 42 Assembly seats and bagged only two seats in the 2014 elections. Thereafter, the party has been struggling to regain its stronghold and come second in successive elections held for civic and local bodies in the state.Past protestsAshok Chavan was instrumental in organising protests against the BJP-led government in November and December in six revenue divisions that he travelled.

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Case has reached logical conclusion, says IPS officer who probed fodder scam

With the conviction of former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and 15 others in a fodder scam case, 21 years after it had surfaced, an IPS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre, who had probed the case, said the matter has reached a logical conclusion.Varun Sindhu Kul Kaumudi, who was on deputation to his home state Bihar at that time, had closely supervised the case as CBI SP of Animal Husbandry Scam Unit, Patna and had also filed the charge sheet in the case.Recalling the more than two decades-old case, Kaumudi said, “A truckload copies of documents was submitted to the special CBI court in Patna for providing to the accused within the time-frame fixed by the Supreme Court.” Kaumudi, a 1986-batch IPS officer, handled the the fodder scam probe before he was transferred back to Andhra Pradesh in 1998.Also readFrom Tejashwi Yadav to Ravi Shankar Prasad: Who said what after Lalu Yadav’s conviction in fodder scam”I was asked to arrest Lalu Prasad in another related case, but he surrendered in the court,” Kaumudi told PTI.Also readEven Mandela, Ambedkar are villains for some: Defiant Lalu Yadav after fodder scam convictionHe expressed happiness that the case has reached its logical conclusion after these many years.Kaumudi, currently an Additional Director General of Police in the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in New Delhi, also headed the investigation into another sensational case the Satyam Computers fraud as Inspector General, Crime Investigation Department of united Andhra Pradesh in 2009.Also readTimeline of fodder scam case which rocked Lalu Prasad Yadav’s political careerA special CBI court today convicted Lalu Prasad and 15 others in a fodder scam case, while acquitting six others including another former chief minister Jagannath Mishra. The court will pronounce the quantum of sentence on January 3.

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Today father, next who?: Sushil Modi on Lalu Yadav’s conviction

As you sow, so you reap — this was Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi’s reaction to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad’s conviction in a fodder scam case by a CBI court in Ranchi today.Modi was one of the petitioners, on whose PIL the Patna High Court had, in 1996, ordered a CBI inquiry into the cases relating to the fodder scam.In a series of tweets, Modi pointed at the money- laundering cases slapped against the “whole family” of Prasad and hinted that the RJD president’s son and former deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav could be the next in line in the “process of going to jail”.”Jo boya so paya. Boya ped babul ka to aam kahan se hoi. Yeh to hona hi tha (As you sow, so you reap. If you plant a Babul tree, how will you get mangoes. This had to happen),” the BJP leader said in his first tweet after the court verdict.This was followed by another tweet: “I was one of the petitioner in fodder scam PIL which resulted in CBI inquiry & and monitoring by Patna H Court (sic).”Also readFrom Tejashwi Yadav to Ravi Shankar Prasad: Who said what after Lalu Yadav’s conviction in fodder scam”Process of going to jail started. Today father, next who? Lalu knows? Whole family involved in corruption. Either fodder scam or benami property? Today chara Next LaRa? (sic),” read another tweet.Modi also came down heavily on RJD national vice- president Shivanand Tiwary, who was a co-petitioner in the PIL which led to the CBI inquiry into the fodder scam, saying he was “defending the indefensible” by coming out in support of Prasad.Also readEven Mandela, Ambedkar are villains for some: Defiant Lalu Yadav after fodder scam conviction”Lalu had to go to jail because of PIL filed by Shivanand, Lalan Singh and myself but now Shivanand defending the indefensible (sic),” he said.Lalan Singh, a JD(U) leader, is currently a state minister.Also readTimeline of fodder scam case which rocked Lalu Prasad Yadav’s political careerTiwary, who was expelled from the RJD shortly before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls for anti-party activities, had told a news channel that he felt he had “committed a sin” by filing the PIL, “which paved way the for Nitish Kumar to come to power in the state”.”Lalu enjoys a mass support, which nothing can erode. He has already been convicted and sentenced in one of the fodder scam cases. He is being sent to jail again and again as a part of a conspiracy,” he said.Meanwhile, senior RJD leader Jagdanand Singh said the party was united and waiting for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, when its workers and leaders would fulfil the dreams of Prasad, who fought for social justice.”The party will continue with its fight and struggle for social justice, right from the streets to Parliament, under the leadership of Tejashwi Prasad Yadav,” he said, while appealing to the partymen to register their protest in a peaceful manner.Singh also alleged that those who could not vote Prasad out of power had hatched a conspiracy against him.

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Congress-RJD tie up, an alliance of corruption, says JP Nadda

Hours after a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ranchi pronounced former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad guilty in a fodder scam case, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said that its alliance with the Congress party is an “alliance of corruption”.”The alliance between Congress and Lalu Yadav’s party is an alliance of corruption, connivance and cheating the people of India, it is clear from the verdict of the court,” said Union Minister JP Nadda on the fodder scam verdict.The Union Minister further slammed Lalu Prasad for not accepting the verdict on the infamous fodder scam.”Lalu Prasad Yadav is even now politicising the issue instead of accepting the verdict, just to deviate his corruption he is leveling allegations of conspiracy on BJP”, added JP Nadda.Moreover, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey welcomed the verdict that has been pronounced by the Court.”We welcome the verdict that has been pronounced by the court in the fodder scam case. We want that the people of Bihar should be given their money back that was looted from them,” said Choubey.Besides Lalu, fourteen others have also been found guilty, while seven accused have been acquitted, including former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra.The court is scheduled to pronounce the quantum of sentence on January 3, 2018 for the 15 guilty including Lalu Prasad.Lalu has been convicted in the case relating to embezzling of more than Rs. 89 lakh from the Deoghar Treasury between 1991 and 1994.Apart from Lalu, Mishra and 20 others accused were present in the court of special CBI judge Shivpal Singh.The fodder scam involved the embezzlement of about Rs. 900 crore from the Bihar exchequer.

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From Tejashwi Yadav to Ravi Shankar Prasad: Who said what after Lalu Yadav’s conviction in fodder scam

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav was on Saturday convicted in second fodder scam case by a special CBI court in Ranchi. The former Bihar Chief Minister was among 16 accused who were convicted by Special CBI court judge Shivpal Singh.The court, however, acquitted six people including another former chief minister Jagannath Mishra.The case pertains to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from Deoghar Treasury between 1991 and 1994.A charge sheet was filed against 38 persons on October 27, 1997. Eleven of them died and three turned approvers while two other accused confessed and were convicted in 2006-07, a CBI official said.Here is how politicians reacted to Lalu’s conviction:Also readRJD cries foul over fodder scam verdict; alleges ‘conspiracy’ against Lalu PrasadLalu Prasad YadavTruth can be made to appear as a lie, as ambiguous or a half lie by concerted onslaught of bias driven propaganda. But blurred layer of bias and hatred will still be removed, come what may! In end Truth will win.Also readEven Mandela, Ambedkar are villains for some: Defiant Lalu Yadav after fodder scam convictionHad people like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Baba Saheb Ambedkar failed in their efforts, history would have treated them as villains. They still are villains for the biased, racist and caste-ist minds. No one should expect any different treatment.Tejashwi Yadav, RJDAlso readTimeline of fodder scam case which rocked Lalu Prasad Yadav’s political careerWill challenge judgement in HC. We have already appealed against conviction in Chaibasa treasury case in HC. Bail procedure would take place only after HC’s opening. Nitish Kumar, BJP kept trying to malign Lalu Ji.Manoj Jha, RJDI believe in the judiciary, but in this case, the CBI was arranging prosecution. Legally admissible evidence provided by us were set aside.Kind of evidences we have, we’ll get redressal at a higher court. Politically I know this regime, they have this typical Standard Operating Procedure-Try to make a deal with your opposition, if you fail…scare them. Want to tell them-Your end has begun.Manish Tewari,CongressLalu Yadav has been fighting this legal battle since 1996. It started when BJP leaders filed PIL against him in Patna HC. He & his lawyers are capable of fighting this case. I want to ask BJP why Srijan scam is not being investigated?Neeraj Kumar, JD(U)The verdict of Ranchi CBI court in fodder scam will prove to be a milestone against Lalu ji, who has become synonym with corruption.JP Nadda,Union MinisterLalu Prasad Yadav is even now politicizing the issue instead of accepting the verdict, just to deviate he is leveling allegations of conspiracy on BJP.The alliance between Congress and Lalu Yadav’s party is an alliance of corruption,connivance and cheating the people of India, it is clear from the verdict of the court.Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union MinisterLesson of today’s conviction of Lalu Prasad is that law will catch up with you if you commit corruption.For me, it is a matter of some personal assurance that I had the privilege to argue the PIL in Patna High Court in the early 90s leading to the institution of CBI inquiry which was strongly opposed by the then state govt headed by Lalu Yadav.

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RJD cries foul over fodder scam verdict; alleges ‘conspiracy’ against Lalu Prasad

Moments after Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav was found guilty by a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in connection with the fodder scam, the party expressed its disappointment in the verdict, alleging conspiracy against him.”I believe in the judiciary, but in this case, the CBI was arranging prosecution. Legally admissible evidence provided by us were set aside,” RJD leader Manoj Jha said in a press conference here.Jha emphasised on the fact that some of the shreds of evidence they provided were set aside.”We believe in the judicial architecture and this is not the end of the road. The kind of evidence we have, we’ll get redressal at a higher court. Politically I know this regime, they have this typical Standard Operating Procedure: Try to make a deal with your opposition, if you fail, then scare them”, added Jha.Speaking about the “two most powerful people in India”, Jha asserted, “They are trying to scare and intimidate us and I want to tell them- Do whatever you want, your end has begun.”He also said the CBI has become a motorized parrot and the control mechanism in the hands of two most powerful people in the country.He claimed that Lalu became a victim of a well-webbed conspiracy, adding, “We believe the judiciary system and we will go in the court and clear everything and the truth will prevail.”The former Bihar chief minister was brought to Birsa Munda Central Jail after a special CBI court’s verdict.Fourteen others have also been found guilty, while seven accused have been acquitted, including former Bihar CM Jagannath Mishra.The court is scheduled to pronounce the quantum sentence on January 3, 2018, for the 15 guilty, including Lalu Prasad.Lalu has been convicted in the case relating to embezzling of more than Rs 89 lakh from the Deoghar Treasury between 1991 and 1994.Apart from Lalu, Mishra and 20 others accused were present in the court of special CBI judge Shivpal Singh.Justice Singh had completed hearing the case on December 13 and asked all accused in the case to remain present in court for the judgment.

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Delhi HC suspends two district court judges over corruption charges

The Delhi High Court on Saturday suspended two judges of a district court over corruption charges. <!– /11440465/DNA_Mobile_Article_300x250_BTF_1 –>Jitendra Mishra and Naveen Arora were additional district judges at the Dwarka district court. The evidence, which formed the basis of allegations, has already been handed over to the court, ANI reported.(With ANI inputs)

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Antrix-Devas deal case: Ex-ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair granted bail by court

Former ISRO chairperson G Madhavan Nair on Saturday was granted bail by a Delhi court in the sensational Antrix-Devas deal case in which a loss of Rs 578 crore was caused to the exchequer.Special Judge Santosh Snehi Mann granted the relief to Nair on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and two sureties of the same amount.During the proceedings, the CBI informed the court that two accused could not be served summons as they had settled in the US, and the process was still on to execute the summons to them.The court, meanwhile, took a strict view over the non-appearance of accused Veena S Rao, a former additional secretary in the Department of Space (DoS), on the ground that she had a meeting with the Karnataka chief minister.”She (Rao) should be careful about her decisions…Since it is her first appearance after the summons, she is exempted,” the judge said.The probe agency opposed the bail plea, saying they were high profile people and may flee if released on bail.However, except three accused, the court granted bail to the rest who appeared before it, including A Bhaskar Narayana Rao, the then director in ISRO and K R Sridhar Murthy, the then executive director of Antrix.The court had on September 16 summoned Nair and others as accused while taking cognisance of the CBI charge sheet which alleged that Nair and other officials of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Department of Space (DoS) wrongfully leased out S-Band, a restricted wavelength of the INSAT satellites, to Devas Multimedia by Antrix.The cognisance of the final probe report was taken after the CBI apprised the court that it had secured the requisite sanction from the authorities concerned to prosecute the former officials of premier space organisations.The FIR was filed on March 16, 2015 against Nair and others accusing them of facilitating “wrongful” gain of Rs 578 crore to private multimedia company Devas by Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO.The probe agency had on August 11 last year filed a charge sheet against the accused, alleging they had caused a loss of Rs 578 crore to the exchequer by abusing their official position to favour a private company.The case relates to leasing of S-Band, a restricted wavelength of the INSAT satellites to deliver video, multimedia and information services to mobile receivers in vehicles and mobile phones to Devas Multimedia by Antrix.

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Live Updates | Fodder scam verdict: Lalu Yadav, 14 others convicted by CBI court, Jagannath Mishra acquitted

A special CBI court here will pronounce its judgment today around 3 pm in the fodder scam case in which former Bihar chief ministers Lalu Prasad Yadav and Jagannath Mishra along with 20 others are accused.The case pertains to an alleged fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from Deoghar Treasury between 1991 and 1994.Here are the LIVE updates: 03:55 pm: Quantum of sentence to be pronounced on January 3, 201803:53 pm: 7 accused including former Bihar CM Jagannath Mishra acquitted ​Also readED files charge sheet against Lalu’s daughter Misa Bharti03:52 pm: 15 people including Lalu Prasad Yadav have been found guilty.03:48 pm: Lalu Prasad Yadav found guilty by Special CBI Court 03:20 pm: Heavy security outside Special CBI court in Ranchi ahead of verdict on fodder scam. 02:50 pm: Lalu Prasad Yadav reaches special CBI court in Ranchi, son Tejashwi also with him. ​”The court will pronounce the judgment at 3 pm,” one of the Mishra’s advocates said.Yadav, who arrived here yesterday accompanied by younger son Tejaswi Prasad told reporters today, ” have full faith in the judicial system.” Tejaswi expressed confidence that his father and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad, an accused in the case, will come out clean. Interacting with the media, Tejashwi said the entire matter was a part of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) propaganda to pull the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) down.Lalu Prasad faces three other cases related to the fodder scam.The RJD chief also appealed to his supporters in Bihar to maintain peace and order irrespective of the verdict.Former MP R K Rana, three former IAS officers — Phoolchand Singh, Beck Julius and Mahesh Prasad — are also among the accused in the case.A charge sheet was filed against 38 persons on October 27, 1997. Eleven of them died and three turned approvers while two other accused confessed and were convicted in 2006-07, a CBI official said.

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2G scam verdict: Court raps witnesses for ‘evasive response’

As a Special court pronounced the acquittal of the 21 accused, including former Union Telecom Minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi, Special Judge OP Saini ripped apart the witnesses who had given ‘evasive response” and “skirted the real issues”.Of the several witnesses examined by the prosecution during the seven-year-long trial, the court came down heavily on the officers namely D S Mathur, AK Srivastava, K Sridhara, Nitin Jain, PK Mittal, RJS Kushvaha and D Jha.The judge also raised questions in the manner in which the witnesses propped up just days before the filing of the chargesheet.”It is surprising as to how many witnesses suddenly acquired all the knowledge of the case and became virtual goldmines of information. This puts a question mark on the credibility of the prosecution case and lends credence to the theory of pressure on witnesses…In the end, pressure on witnesses cannot be ruled out and this puts a question mark on fair investigation,” the court said.The court also held that the witnesses were in the witness box and they could have expplained all the circumstances.”…..Prosecution must have afforded an opportunity to the witnesses to explain the deficiencies in the documents, but it remained silent at that time and is now endeavouring hard at the bar to condemn the witnesses and documents executed by them, behind their back,” the court added.The court termed it ‘surprising’ as to how many witnesses suddenly acquired all the knowledge of the case and became virtual goldmines of information.”This puts a question mark on the truthfulness of the prosecution case and lends credence to the theory of pressure on witnesses,” the court said.The court also said that the officials in the Department of Telecom had created the entire mess in the matter of processing of application for UASL and grant of licences was created by the officers.”It is the result of their lack of sense of responsibility and clarity about the way official business is to be conducted. Not only this, most of the officers have exhibited fickle mindedness and timidity by disowning the written official record. They even disowned the record prepared by them and tried to shift the blame to others by making oral statements contrary to official record,” the court said.”The conclusion is apparent that everything happening in the DoT was conveyed by concerned officials to each company in advance. Everything was leaking in DoT. There was no secrecy or sanctity. Who is responsible for it? There is no evidence. In such a situation, no blame can be cast on any of the accused alone,” it adeed.”This is clear from perusal of their testimony. The prosecutor was hesitant in putting straight questions and witnesses were equally evasive and hesitant in their reply,” the court said”The witnesses from DoT were either highly guarded, and if I may say so hesitant, in their deposition, and also went against official record rendering themselves unreliable,” the judge said.

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Adarsh scam: Ashok Chavan alleges BJP indulged in vendetta politics

After the Bombay High Court decided to set aside Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao’s decision to sanction his prosecution by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), former chief minister and state Congress chief Ashok Chavan charged that the BJP government was indulging in vendetta politics.”The Bombay High Court has decided to set aside and squash the decision of the incumbent Governor to allow (the CBI) to prosecute me,” said Chavan, who is also a Lok Sabha MP from Nanded, while speaking after the HC’s ruling on Friday. No new material and evidence had been found to justify the overturning of previous Governor K Shankarnarayanan’s decision to the agency to disallow prosecution, he added, stating that Rao’s predecessor had noted that there was no evidence to allow prosecution against him.Chavan alleged that the decision of the BJP-led government to suggest his prosecution smacked of “political vendetta.” “This was done with an intention of revenge, to finish off political adversaries,” he charged.Also readAdarsh scam: Big relief for Ashok Chavan, Bombay HC sets aside governor’s sanction to prosecute him”The prestige of the office of the Governor has been restored. Otherwise, this would have set a wrong precedent… I have not done anything wrong and today’s decision has made it clear. The truth shall prevail” noted Chavan.

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2G spectrum case verdict helps boost morale of resurgent DMK in Tamil Nadu

For the resurgent Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the acquittal of its leaders A Raja and Kanimozhi by the CBI special court in Delhi in the 2G spectrum allocation scam cases is a morale-boosting victory for the party to get rid of the “corruption” tag which haunted it in three successive elections since 2011.The CBI court’s verdict has come at a favourable time for the DMK when the opposition parties in the Tamil Nadu are consolidating towards it and the ruling AIADMK is in shambles following the demise of Jayalalithaa last year. Free from corruption stain, the DMK under the leadership of its working president MK Stalin would launch an effective offensive against AIADMK government which is reduced to a minority government after the disqualification of its 18 rebel MLAs owing allegiance to VK Sasikala-TTV Dinakaran faction. Once the Madras High Court decides on the petitions filed by the disqualified MLAs, the Edappadi K Palaniswami government would be asked to prove its majority on the floor of the House. The ruling AIADMK’s proximity with the BJP has helped the DMK to rally opposition parties together. Apart from its allies Congress, IUML and MMK, DMK has got the support of MDMK, CPI (M), CPI and VCK in the RK Nagar bypoll. A senior DMK leader said that there is a good possibility of this grouping emerging as an electoral alliance for the subsequent polls. “Palaniswami government will certainly fail the floor test and the assembly election may come at any time next year. We will win the election whenever it is held,” he said. Also read2G scam verdict: Court pulls up then SG for dithering in caseWhen asked about the prospects of DMK joining hands with BJP, the DMK leader dismissed it saying, “There is no chance of joining hands with BJP. We are very clear on it.” He added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling on party chief Karunanidhi last month triggered talks of such an alliance. “This verdict is a moral victory for the DMK. It will improve the prospects of the DMK. DMK will be a much sought after ally and more parties will join its alliance,” political commentator Gnani Sankaran told DNA. On the prospects of DMK ditching Congress and joining BJP alliance, he said that the saffron party would be more interested to woo the DMK whose prospect is bright in the election. “You cannot rule out an alliance between BJP and DMK,” he said.Also read2G scam verdict: DMK and allies welcome verdict, AIADMK favours appeal in caseThe corruption had become a major political plank for opposition parties, except for AIADMK and DMK, in the 2016 assembly election with both the major Dravidian parties caught in the corruption charges. After defeating DMK in the state assembly in 2011 and Lok Sabha polls in 2014 using the 2G scam, late AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa found herself targeted by opposition parties on corruption charges after her conviction and subsequent acquittal in the disproportionate assets case in 2014-15. After Jayalalithaa’s death last year, the Supreme Court in February this year upheld the conviction in the assets case and jailed her close aide VK Sasikala and two others.

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Family approaches court day after Max Hospital reopens

A day after Max Hospital in Shalimar Bagh reopened after 10 days, the family of the victims approached Rohini Court seeking direction to the concerned investigating agency to file status report and monitor the police investigation.”How can they allow the hospital to function? We want to have all details about the case and how the files have moved so far,” said Ashish Kumar, the father of the premature twin.The hospital had presented its case to the Finance commissioner on Tuesday. “The operation of impugned order is stayed till the next hearing,” says the order by Finance Commissioner. The next hearing is on January 9.”Max Hospital Shalimar Bagh has resumed its operations from today, following a stay order issued by the appropriate Appellate authority to whom an appeal was made. We are fully focused on providing quality care to all our patients and honouring our commitment of ensuring free treatment to the economically weaker sections of the society,” the hospital said in its statement on Wednesday morning.The Delhi government on December 8 had cancelled the license of the hospital’s branch in Shalimar Bagh for wrongly declaring a baby dead. A preliminary report submitted by a panel of doctors to the Delhi government had found the hospital guilty of not having followed the prescribed medical norms in dealing with a pair of newborn twins.The three-member panel had submitted the report after scrutinising hospital records and meeting with the staff concerned. After the infant’s death, investigation into the alleged medical negligence case was transferred from the northwest district police to the Crime Branch.”In compliance of the cancellation order, planned procedures, including 171 chemo therapies, 63 surgeries, and 241 dialysis sessions had to be cancelled, rescheduled or transferred,” the hospital had said in a statement.The Max hospital in Shalimar Bagh, on a monthly basis, attends to nearly 14,000 patients in the OPD, over 1,600 emergency patients, and an additional 3,000 in the inpatient wards.

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CBI, ED to appeal against verdict

Shocked over the special court’s judgement to acquit all the accused, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) stated that they had been filing monthly status reports before the Supreme Court and the investigation was appreciated at every step. However, sources said they fail to understated why the judgement went against them. The agency decided to appeal against the court order.Also Enforcement Directorate decided to appeal against the order. ED said the Special Court appears to have failed to appreciate the money laundering offence that probed by it should have held ground and not linked to CBI’s corruption case.”Besides the observation and findings of the Supreme Court in this case appear to have not been considered by the Special Court,” the ED added.Sources in the CBI said, “Our key contention was not taken into account by the special court. We are going through it for as it is lengthy judgement. The key points which struck us immediately was that there written and documentary evidence and it was not given due to importance.”Sources further pointed out that the court has relied on oral evidence of the accused and also failed to see the bribe trail wherein Rs 200 crore ‘pay-off’ happened wherein a company take loan on 14 percent and given at 5 percent. “We had documentary evidence running into lakh of pages, the court relies on accused statements,” the source said.CBI in a statement said, “The judgement relating to 2G scam case today has been prima facie examined and it appears that the evidence adduced to substantiate the charges by the prosecution has not been appreciated in its proper perspective by the Learned Court. CBI will be taking necessary legal remedies in the matter. In due course, CBI will be filing an appeal.”In the meantime, ED pointed out that the Special Court prima-facie appears to have failed to appreciate the offence of money laundering as defined under Section 3 is, based on the term proceeds of crime.ED also said the special court has appreciated the material evidence qua offence of money laundering at the time of framing of charges against the accused persons but the same material appears to have not been considered while deciding the prosecution complaint under PMLA and the accused persons have been acquitted from the offence of money laundering only on the basis of no commission of offence and not the occurrence of criminal activity.”We have decided to move in appeal against the judgement of the Special Court on a number of grounds based on the facts as well as legal provisions,” the ED said in a statement.

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Bill on two-fold salary hike of Supreme Court, High Court judges tabled in Lok Sabha

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday introduced a bill in the Lok Sabha that allows for a two-fold hike in the salaries of judges in the Supreme Court and in all the High Courts across the country. If passed, the High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2017 could increase the monthly salary of the Chief Justice of India from the present Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2.8 lakh.The bill, which will have a retrospective effect from January 2016 will benefit the 21 judges currently in the Supreme Court and over 682 judges in over 24 High Courts. The hike will also benefit over 2,500 retired judges.Currently, SC judges and High Court chief justices draw Rs 90,000 per month. If the Bill comes into legislation, they will earn Rs 2.5 lakh per month. HC judges, who now earn Rs 80,000 will earn Rs 2,25,000 per month.When Prasad introduced the bill in the House, Mahbubnagar MP Jithender Reddy took exception to the legislation and opposed it. “I oppose the introduction of the Bill. We have been fighting for the bifurcation of Telangana High Court,” Reddy said.Speaker M Thambidurai, however, said that for Reddy to oppose, he will need to file a note first.

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2G case verdict: Political slugfest breaks out after all accused acquitted by special court

A Special CBI court today acquitted former telecom minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and all other accused in the 2G scam case that had rocked the Manmohan Singh-led UPA-II government, holding that the prosecution “miserably failed” to prove any of the corruption and money laundering charges.The stunning verdict came as an anti-climax in a case that had been repeatedly highlighted by the BJP during the 2014 general election campaign as the hallmark of corruption in the then UPA regime. The BJP turned the arbitrary award of radio frequency to telecom providers into a major political issue and put the UPA-II government on the mat.”I have absolutely no hesitation in holding that prosecution has miserably failed to prove any of the charges against any of the accused,” Special CBI Judge O P Saini said in his verdicts in three separate cases related to the 2G scam in a packed courtroom at the Patiala House premises.Also read2G verdict good news for Congress, but UPA has enough scams to worry aboutDealing a body blow to the CAG’s and CBI’s estimation of huge loss in grant of 2G licences, judge Saini in his 1,552- page verdict in the main CBI case held that some people “artfully” arranged few selected facts and created a scam “when there was none”. In all, there were 17 accused, including Raja and Kanimozhi, both leaders of Congress ally DMK, in this case that also included three corporate entities.The three judgements, which together ran into 2,183 pages, included the one that stemmed out of the Enforcement Directorate (ED)’s money laundering case.Also readCBI, ED to challenge special court’s verdict on 2G scamThe ED and the CBI said they will challenge before the Delhi High Court the verdicts, which also unleashed a political slugfest between the BJP and the Opposition. There were 19 accused in the ED chargesheet some of whom figured in the CBI chargesheet filed in its main and offshoot case.Buoyed by the verdicts, the Congress and the DMK said “truth” has finally prevailed and that justice has been delivered while the ruling party asked the Congress not to treat them as a “badge of honour”.Also readFull text of special CBI court’s judgment in 2G spectrum allocation case The Congress demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and other BJP leaders apologise to the nation for their alleged “propaganda and lies” on the issue.Manmohan Singh said the court judgement needs to be respected as it has “pronounced that the massive propaganda” unleashed against his government was without any foundation.”Will all those people, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley and other BJP leaders, who for years made false propaganda and lies their stepping stone to come to power, apologise to the country?” asked Congress communications incharge Randeep Surjewala. “Today is the day for fixing accountability and responsibility.”In a counterattack, Finance minister Arun Jaitley said the Congress should not treat the 2G verdict as a “badge of honour.” The party’s “zero loss theory” was proved wrong when the apex court squashed spectrum allocation in 2012, he added.A number of supporters of DMK leaders Raja and Kanimozhi, who were anxiously waiting outside the jam-packed court room, broke into loud cheers as soon as the verdict was pronounced.”There is no evidence against me and justice has been delivered,” Kanimozhi, daughter of DMK supremo M Karunanidhi, told reporters. A beaming Raja said, “You see everybody is happy.”In a statement in the evening, Raja said the court acquittal showed that the presumptive loss in allocation of 2G spectrum was “cooked-up”. He also debunked the presumptive loss theories in the allocation.Raja, who was the Telecom minister in the Congress-led UPA government when 122 spectrum licences were issued to 8 companies in 2008 on first-come-first-serve basis, said his actions were for the benefit of masses.Raja remained in jail for over 15 months while Kanimozhi was in prison for six months before they were granted bail.Other accused persons were also in jail for varying terms.The trial in the three cases relating to the 2G scam began after the then Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai in his report alleged 122 2G licences were given to telecom operators at throwaway prices when the UPA was in power and pegged at Rs 1.76 lakh crore the loss to the national exchequer.The CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of licences for the 2G spectrum which were scrapped by the Supreme Court court on February 2, 2012.Former telecom minister Kapil Sibal demanded an apology from Rai, saying his stand on loss from the 2G spectrum allocation stands vindicated. Sibal had contradicted the CAG report, maintaining there was “zero loss” to the Government as a result of giving 2G licences to new players in 2008.The verdict also echoed in the Lok Sabha where senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily demanded that Rai quit all posts. Rai heads the Supreme Court-appointed four-member panel of administrators to run the affairs of the BCCI and is also the Chairman of the Banks Board Bureau.Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, the other accused who were given a chit in the main CBI case included former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja’s erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra and three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) — Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair, Asif Balwa, Rajiv Aggarwal of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, film producer Karim Morani, Sharad Kumar, Director of Kalaignar TV were also acquitted in the money laundering case.Three companies–Swan Telecom, Unitech Wireless(Tamil Nadu) limited and Reliance Telecom limited–listed as accused in the main case were also acquitted.The acquittal of all the accused brought to end the trial that lasted nearly seven years in one of the most controvesial corruption cases that involved politicians, bureaucrats and a host of businessmen and corporate executives accused of conspiracy in the allocation of spectrum or radio waves used to offer mobile servies.Raja and Kanimozhi were also let off in another case lodged by the ED under the money laundering law arising out of the 2G scam.

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Max hospital case: Family of twin babies seeks CBI probe

The family of the twin babies, one of whom was wrongly declared dead by Max Hospital in Shalimar Bagh, on Thursday demanded a CBI probe into the case after an appellate authority stayed the Delhi government order cancelling the hospital’s licence.At a press conference held here, 48-year-old Kailash Kumar, grandfather of the baby boy, who later died at a nursing home in Pitampura while his sister was still born, alleged that the family was not even “informed” about the stay order.”We tried to silently protest in front of Max Hospital in Shalimar Bagh, but police asked us to move from there. The Delhi government had taken the decision that would have served as a warning to other hospitals.”But, now the cancellation order has been stayed. We are running for justice. We want justice and so we demand a CBI probe into the whole case so that things get clear,” Kailash told reporters.He said they have hired an advocate to pursue the case and claimed that on Thursday a plea was filed by him in Rohini court for a status report in the ongoing investigation in the case.The Court of Financial Commissioner stayed the cancellation order issued by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) till January 9, when the next hearing will be held.Rishi Pal Singh, counsel for the aggrieved family, said “if the appellate authority summons us, we will present our case or else we may move the high court”.Meanwhile, the father of the babies, Ashish Kumar, and about 10 other family members, picketed on a dusty pavement right across the facility in Delhi’s Shalimar Bagh, demanding justice.”We’ll not move and we’ll not relent, till we get justice,” asserted Ashish Kumar, 24, father of the infants, one of whom was wrongly declared dead by the hospital on November 30, where they were born.”We are demanding a CBI probe because we feel that is the only way we will be able to get justice,” he said.The premature baby boy had died on December 6 at a nursing home in Pitampura after battling for life for nearly a week since he was found alive on the way to be cremated by family members.

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Rajya Sabha adjourned after repeated disruptions by Congress MPs

The High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2017 was introduced in Lok Sabha on Thursday.The Bill seeks to revise the salaries of judges as follows: (a) Chief Justice of India – from Rs 1,00,000/pm to Rs 2,80,000/pm; (b) Judge of Supreme Court – from Rs 90,000/pm to Rs 2,50,000/pm; (c) Chief Justice of High Court – from Rs 90,000/pm to Rs 2,50,000/pm; and (d) Judges of High Court – from Rs 80,000/pm to Rs 2,25,000/pm. The revision is effective from January 1, 2016.Lok Sabha also took up discussion on the Supplementary Demand for Grants. The demands for grants include a gross additional expenditure of Rs. 66113 crores. During the discussion, members highlighted several concerns about the overall economy.Also readAfter Naidu’s intervention, Rajya Sabha stalemate over PM’s remarks against Manmohan likely to endMembers raised questions about the impact of GST, challenges in its implementation, impact of demonetisation on employment in the organised and unorganised sectors, falling growth rate, among other issues.With the government’s introduction of the supplementary demands and increased expenditure, members asked if the government will be able to meet its fiscal deficit target.Also readCongress disrupts Rajya Sabha over PM Modi’s remarkThe Rajya Sabha, on the other hand, had to be adjourned, owing to repeated disruptions by the opposition over a demand for the Prime Minister, to come to the House, to give a clarification on his remark that his predecessor, Dr. Manmohan Singh, was conspiring with Pakistan to ensure the Bharatiya Janata Party’s defeat in the recently held elections in Gujarat.Dr. Singh has rejected the charge as “innuendos and falsehoods”, and added he was deeply pained by the prime minister’s “ill thought transgression”.Addressing an election rally in Palanpur, Gujarat, earlier this month, Modi suggested that Pakistan was trying to influence the assembly polls in the state. He claimed that some Pakistani officials and Manmohan Singh met at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house over dinner on December 6. This was a day before Aiyar’s “neech” jibe against Modi.

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2G scam: Top leaders voice mixed reactions on social media

A number of top leaders expressed their opinion after a special CBI court acquitted A Raja and Kanimuzhi in the 2G Spectrum scam on Thursday.The court had acquitted the DMK leaders, citing lack of evidence. While several people hailed the verdict, others, such as Subramanian Swamy have asked the Centre to file a petition with the High Court.Here’s how people reactedEarlier in the day,a special CBI court on Thursday acquitted, who was the telecom minister in the first UPA government, along with DMK leader Kanimozhi and 17 others in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.The special court judge OP Saini pronounced his verdict as ‘not guilty’ for all accused due to lack of evidence.The case relates to alleged below-market-price sale of lucrative telecoms permits bundled with airwaves in 2008, which a federal auditor said may have cost the government as much as Rs 1.76 lakh crore in lost revenue. The scam came to light following a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India during the second term of the UPA government headed by Manmohan Singh.DMK working president MK Stalin has issued a statement after the 2G verdict. “The CBI court has given a historical verdict. The 2G case was filed in 2009. In the political history, the 2G case was foisted to defame and destroy DMK. It is a false case made up of goofed up figures. In such a case, the special court has acquitted all of them. We are very happy over the order. The court order proved that the DMK has not done anything wrong. I request the media to show the same enthusiasm of how it sensationalized the 2G scam when the case was filed. In the same way, you should take this news of acquittal to all the people,” he said. DMK’s RS Bharathi also hailed the CBI court’s verdict, saying that the case to begin with was a false case. “For the past 2 assembly elections, the case was used against us, now it has been proved to be wrong,” he added.

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Congress taking 2G verdict as a badge of honour, zero loss theory already proven wrong: Arun Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said the Congress is treating 2G verdict as a “badge of honour”, but there is a need to recollect and check the facts that led to an investigation in the case. The party’s “zero loss theory” was proved to be wrong when the apex court squashed spectrum allocation in 2012, the minister said after a special court on Thursday acquitted all accused in the 2G spectrum scam allocation case.Though the trial court verdict says nobody was guilty of corruption, investigating agencies will study the case history and look into it, the minister asserted.Also read2G propaganda against UPA without any foundation: Manmohan Singh”The Congress is treating 2G verdict as a badge of honour, but its zero loss theory was proven wrong when the Supreme Court quashed spectrum allocation in February 2012,” Jaitley told reporters.”The fact that policy has caused loss was proven by subsequent auction. The policy was arbitrary to promote corruption which caused loss to the exchequer. Auctioning gave higher prices, look at the amount collected in auctions. The special court has said nobody is liable for this loss. The chargesheet was filed under the direction of the apex court, Jaitley added further. Former telecom minister A Raja and DMK leader Kanimozhi were on Thursday acquitted by a special court in the 2G spectrum scam case. All other accused and three companies were also acquitted in the case.Also read2G spectrum verdict: All you must know about the case(With PTI inputs)

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2G verdict: Allegations were never true says Chidambaram; government should file appeal tweets Subramanian

All accused in the 2G spectrum allocation scam cases – including former telecom minister A Raja and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP Kanimozhi – have been acquitted by a Special CBI court. Former finance minister P Chidambaram has welcomed the 2G scam verdict, saying the allegations of corruption were never true and it has been vindicated after the verdict. “Allegation of a major scam involving the highest levels of the government was never true, was not correct and that has been established today,” ANI quoted Chidambaram as saying.“Clearly the court found that innocent people have been wronged. Justice has worked as it is supposed to work in our country,” said another party leader Shashi Tharoor.Also read2G spectrum verdict: All you must know about the case”We are saying that the PM should come to the house and give a clarification, this govt was formed on the basis that UPA was embroiled in 2G and other scams, but now it has been proved that it was just a scam of lies by the opposition,” said senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal. Reacting after the verdict, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said the government must immediately file an appeal against the acquittal of all accused in the nearly decade-old case. Swamy took to Twitter to air his thoughts on the judgment. “Government must prove its bonafides by filing an immediate appeal in High Court,” he tweeted.The special CBI court on Thursday acquitted former telecom minister A Raja, DMK leader Kanimozhi and 17 others in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

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Delhi High Court directs Delhi Govt to stay order on private school fee hike

The Delhi High Court directed the Delhi government on Wednesday to stay the order of a hike in private schools’ fees in the name of the 7th Pay Commission till further orders.Hearing a petition filed by 100 students of ASN Public School, Mayur Vihar, the bench directed the Delhi government to do the needful.Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister Manish Sisodia also took to Twitter saying that he has been receiving parents’ complaints in the fee hike matter. “I’ve been getting complaints of excessive fee hike in the name of 7th Pay Commission, that schools are misusing loopholes in the govt order. I assure parents we will protect their interests,” he said.”Delhi govt committed to fighting financial malpractices in pvt schools, haven’t let fees be hiked in 2 years! We will not let pvt schools hike their fees illegitimately in the future too,” he added.The development came days after Kejriwal warned the private schools in the national capital of “strongest action” for allegedly harassing parents by arbitrarily increasing fees in schools. Earlier, there were reports suggesting that private schools substantially increased their fees to comply with the seventh central pay commission (CPC) recommendations.Several schools also moved the court, challenging the committee’s recommendations as well as a May 29 order of the Delhi government, directing refund of the excess fees charged by them and warning of de-recognition or takeover by the Directorate of Education in case of a failure to do so.Following this, the court had directed the private schools return 75 percent of the excess fees charged by them if they wanted protection from the coercive action. Later in September, several schools had claimed before the court that they have complied with the direction to deposit 75 percent of the excess fees charged by them.SCHOOLS’ CLAIMLater in September, several schools had claimed before the court that they have complied with the direction to deposit 75 per cent of the excess fees charged by them.

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Hanuman idol land: Delhi High Court orders probe

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to find out how the 108-feet Hanuman idol in central Delhi’s Karol Bagh was built encroaching public land.The HC bench has asked the investigating agency to find out civic officials under whose tenure the structure came up. Also, the court stressed that the enquiry be taken up in a fast-track manner and that officials of all concerned agencies, including municipal corporation, Public Works Department (PWD), Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Land and Development Office and Mandir Marg police station, must join the probe.The court also asked the Delhi Police to handover to the CBI the documents of the enquiry conducted so far. “The fact that you (officials) have done nothing shows your culpability. It is high time that all public officers are held accountable,” the bench said.The trustees running the temple must not be permitted to reap the benefit of money derived from the public land, the court said and directed the concerned bank branch to freeze the accounts of the trust. The court further said the bank should only allow deposits and not withdrawals from the account.

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Suhaib Ilyasi kept trying to explain away wife’s murder as suicide

Celebrity husband, strained relations with the wife followed by her murder are all elements of a Bollywood thriller. But this plot was very much true to real life, and more particularly the life of TV serial producer and anchor Suhaib Ilyasi.Ilyasi, who shot to fame from the crime drama show India’s Most Wanted, had murdered his wife at their east Delhi residence in 2000 and tried to cover it up as a suicide . The theories he put forth could have been taken from the many real life crime stories on his show.However, the court found several loopholes in the suicide theory given by Ilyasi thereby convicting him and sentencing him to life imprisonment on Wednesday.After the judgment was announced the TV anchor shouted “Injustice” in the courtroom.According to the theory given by Ilyasi, he had an altercation with his wife Anju on the day of the incident following which she took out a revolver and threatened to kill herself. But Suhaib snatched it and threw it on the bed.He then claimed Anju rushed to the kitchen and brought out a knife and stabbed herself. The court however was unimpressed and stated that if Ilyasi had snatched away the revolver then why had he offered no resistance when she was stabbing herself.”If accused could have snatched the revolver from the hand of deceased, he could have also snatched the knife, which was brought by deceased from the kitchen. During inquest proceedings, the revolver was found on the shelf,” the court said.Ilyasi also claimed that the suicide bid had come after a quarrel. But the court kept in mind the evidence of two barbers who had come to the house of the convict to cut his hair. The barbers stated that they did not hear any noise or sounds of fighting between the couple.The court also found that Ilyasi tried to hide his wife’s critical injury when she was taken to Virmani Hospital. It said the accused did not tell the doctor about the injury on the abdomen and just said “isne kuch kha liya hai” (she has eaten something)”In his statement he had said that there was a white mark on the abdomen, there was no blood. However there were blood spots at different places inside the house, which Ilyasi stated was ‘menstrual blood’ but the forensic report contradicted this.”The accused had given a statement to an officer as being a complainant, that the blood did not come out of the wound and instead a white liquid was seen. However, when the officer reached there, he saw the blood on the abdomen of the deceased, whereafter, he tied an old vest on her wound,” the court said.The judge held that no logical explanation was offered by the accused as to why he did not inform the doctor as to the exact facts regarding her injuries.”As per medical evidence, there are two stab wounds on the abdomen of deceased. Why did the accused not stop the deceased from stabbing herself before giving the first blow and even thereafter, when she gave the second blow, are the further questions, which were required to be answered in clear terms, however, no explanation regarding this has ever been offered by the accused,” the court said.TIMELINEJanuary 10, 2000: Anju Ilyasi was found dead at their East Delhi residence with multiple stab wounds and was rushed to a Virmani Hospital and then to AIIMS with stab wounds. She was declared dead on arrival. The couple had allegedly fought before her death.Anju’s autopsy report, however, couldn’t establish if it was a suicide or murder. Her death was treated as a suicide.March 2000: Anju’s sister Rashmi Singh and her mother Rukma accused Ilyasi of torturing Anju for dowry and also filed an FIR against him. Her sister and mother allegedly told the investigators that Anju was driven to suicide by her husband.2003 Trial court frames charges under Section 498A and 304 against Ilyasi.May 2003 Trial began.Ilyasi was also arrested for dowry harassment but he vehemently denied these charges at the time.Later, Rukma moved an application in the trial court seeking inclusion of murder charges against Suhaib but it was dismissed in 2011. She then moved the high court, which ordered framing of murder charges against Suhaib in August 2014.Dec 16: Ilyasi was was convicted for murdering his wife.Dec 20: He was sentenced to life imprisonment

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Disclose hospital fees upfront: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday suggested to private hospitals that they discuss a patient’s financial condition during the admission process and make him or her aware of the estimated cost of the treatment. This will avoid any payment discrepancies or complications later. This would not be applicable to emergency cases.A division bench of Justices Naresh Patil and N W Sambre said, “This is a sensitive issue, but some remedy has to come out. If this method is adopted, then a filter can be put in place in the initial stage only. This way, both (patient and the hospital) will benefit; and also, the bond between a patient-doctor will not break.”The court has also suggested that the Association of Hospitals and Medical Insurance companies to come out with new policies to suit patients. “Like we take travel insurance for a month or 15-days, why can’t insurance be provided to patients when (s)he enters the hospital, taking into consideration the kind of illness. This would comfort the patient.”Advocate Mankuwar Deshmukh, appearing for the State, argued that a draft policy has been formulated by the government and is yet to be finalized.To which the court replied, “All stake-holders should come to a consensus and then only proceed.” The court has now asked the director of Health Services to file a reply by next month as to what steps it plans to take to regulate hospital treatment charges.The suggestion came while the court was hearing a public interest litigation filed challenging the purported practice of detainment of patients by hospitals for recovery of dues.A Kurla resident, 54-year-old Trevor Britto, alleged that Prachin Healthcare Multi-specialty Hospital at Panvel refused to discharge his injured bus driver, Chandrakant Pawar. Another petition is filed by a Santacruz-resident alleged that Seven Hills Hospital at Marol had refused to discharge his brother for not paying disputed dues of Rs 1.80 lakh. Both the hospitals have refuted the allegations.Court suggestsMedical insurance companies invent new short-term policies to suit patients The pre-discussion of treatment fees would not be applicable to emergency cases

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MHADA yet to recover 13K sq m area from builders

The Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority (MHADA) is yet to recover around 13,000 sq m area from developers who were permitted to redevelop cess buildings, mostly situated in south and central Mumbai.While replying to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by activist Kamlakar Shenoy alleging that the authority has now recovered around 30 lakh sq m causing a loss of around 14,000 crore to the exchequer, it was said that the petitioner had misread the surplus due and arrived at a wrong conclusion.Relying on a chart of the number of projects completed under rule 33 (7) of the Development Control Rules, the authority said in 17 cases redevelopment work has been completed and 5734.26 sq m which is due is yet to be received. Similarly in 33 cases, MHADA has initiated criminal proceedings against the developers who have not surrendered surplus area, which is around 7392.88 square meters.The authority also informed the court that since 2011 developers are told to give an undertaking that surplus land will be surrendered to MHADA on completion of the project.On a question by the Bombay High Court, whether it has any mechanism to recover the surplus area, it said “It was helpless and did not have any mechanism of its own but it only writes to the collector asking him to attach the concerned area. The entire process is cumbersome.”The court then asked MHADA to give suggestions on the next hearing about the ways in which the state can delegate some powers to the authority to recover the surplus and also issue a policy to ensure that in future such a situation does not arise.Box: Expressing displeasure over the reasoning given by the government that the Maharashtra Assembly Sessions was ongoing and so a reply could not be filed, the court said “So have you locked Mantralaya?” and asked a responsible officer to be present on Thursday.

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SC rejects plea seeking nationwide liquor ban

The Supreme Court has found ‘no merit’ in a plea seeking a ban on liquor across the country claiming that it caused death, health problems, rise in crime graph and financial loss to the people.The top court rejected the plea and also imposed Rs 1 lakh as costs on the petitioner NGO Chaitanya Sravanthi, a Vishakhapatnam-based organisation . A bench of justices R F Nariman and Navin Sinha said that there was ‘no merit’ in the plea and it was dismissed with the costs to be deposited with the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee within four weeks.Advocate Sravan Kumar, appearing for the petitioner, said that the court should also direct an audit of the manufacture, distribution, supply, sale and consumption of various types of liquor in the country.He said that the ill-effects of consumption alcoholic beverages were contrary to the Right to Life enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution, besides being contrary to the fundamental principles of governance under Article 37 and 47 of the Directive Principles of State Policy.Also readSunburn Music Festival: Bombay HC asks state govt to ensure ‘no alcohol’ for underage youth The plea also sought an action plan with regard to creation of awareness on the ill-effects of consumption of liquor and stringent action against the suppliers of alchoholic bevarages by strengthening the investigative mechanism, besides seizure and confiscation of stocks. “The availability and access to liquor have deleterious effects on both physical and psychological well-being of individual, besides having serious societal implications,” it said, adding that the free availability of liquor was correlated to crime, accidents and fatalities.It also sought a direction for a review of the regulation policy for the manufacture, supply and sale of liquor in various states for the purpose of bringing about uniformity. The plea also sought strict implementation of restrictions and regulations on sale of liquor to minor, setting up of liquor shops near schools and temples and conduct of awareness campaign regarding ill-affects of liquor at par with that for tobacco.

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Muslim bodies not consulted on triple talaq bill: Govt tells Parliament

Muslim organisations were not consulted before the government framed a draft bill to criminalise the practice of instant triple talaq, the Lok Sabha was informed today.Law Minister Ravi Shankar said the government believed that the proposed bill would help ensure gender justice, gender equality and dignity of women.The government has maintained that since the practice of instant triple talaq or ‘talaq-e-biddat’ continues despite the Supreme Court striking it down, there is a need to bring a law. To a written question on whether the government consulted Muslim organisatons before framing the draft law, Minster of State for Law P P Chaudhary replied in the negative.In a separate written reply, Prasad said, “The government is of the view that the issue arises from the humanitarian concept of gender justice, gender equality and dignity of women and not arising from faith and religion.” He said that since the Supreme Court struck down the practice of instant triple talaq, nearly 66 cases of husbands divorcing their spouses through this method were reported. On December 15, the union cabinet cleared the Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill, which seeks to make the practice of instant triple talaq “illegal and void” and provides for a jail term for the husband.Also readCabinet approves bill making instant triple talaq criminal actThe husband could also be fined and the quantum of fine would be decided by the magistrate hearing the case. The proposed law would only be applicable on instant triple talaq or ‘talaq-e-biddat’ and it would give power to the victim to approach a magistrate seeking “subsistence allowance” for herself and minor children. The woman can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take a final call on the issue. Under the draft law, instant triple talaq in any form — spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp — would be bad or illegal and void.

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Tarun Tejpal rape case: Bombay HC dismisses former Tehelka editor’s petition challenging trial

The Bombay High Court branch in Goa on Wednesday dismissed a petition filed by former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal that challenged the rape trial against him.Public prosecutor Francisco Tavora told news agency ANI that the plea had been rejected.Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had given the Bombay High Court to decide whether Tejpal should be exonerated of sexual assault charges.Following the High Court’s decision, Tejpal will now stand on trialOn September 7 this year, Tejpal was charged for rape under various Sections including Sections 341, 342, 343, 354 A, 354 B and 376 subsection 2 of the Indian Penal Code.Also readTarun Tejpal, former Tehelka editor, charged with rape by Goa court; next hearing on November 21Tejpal is accused of raping a junior woman colleague during an event organised by the magazine in Goa on November 7, 2013.A day later, Tejpal allegedly assaulted the same colleague in the hotel lift again.Ten days later, the journalist wrote an email to managing editor Shoma Chaudhary on November 18, 2013.On November 22, the Goa Police filed a formal FIR in the case. Three days later, on November 25, the victim resigned from the magazine stating that she was deeply traumatised and that nobody from the magazine stood by her.

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Supreme Court’s decision helps drop case pendency

Supreme Court’s decision to hold Lok Adalat in every two months has immensely helped in reducing pending court cases. In 2017, five Lok Adalats were organised in which a number of cases resolved are more than cases disposed of by all courts in the state in last five years.The current year will be remembered for quick disposal of pending cases in the courts. The Lok Adalats were organised in February, April, July, September and December. On a call given by RALSA executive chairman Justice KS Jhaveri, even sitting judges of high court also heard matters in Lok Adalat. The move resulted in the clearing of 2.57 lakh cases in which awards to the tune of Rs 944 crore were passed.Apart from Lok Adalats, district legal service authorities have also contributed in a major way to reduce cases pendency. Cases were resolved in a speedy way in lower courts in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Tonk, Ajmer, Udaipur, Alwar and Kota. In Jaipur alone, five Lok Adalats decided 40,000 cases and passed awards of Rs 126 crore. Justice KS Jhaveri, who has taken a keen interest had also put in efforts in a big way, which have now begun to show results.

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The ‘queue’less case of Jaipur Development Authority

Not so long ago, Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) used to be crowded and one of the busiest government offices. Of late, its corridors wear a deserted look. Gone are the days when chambers of officers and engineers were full of people coming in droves regarding work. There used to be a long queue of people waiting to meet officers with an application or request to resolve their problems. It was impossible for the officers to look up from the files as they would be busy in meetings. Now, there is a paucity of work that it has become tough for the officers and subordinate staff to pass the day in office. It seems as if people have stopped coming to the JDA.However, it has nothing to do with the change in weather rather the blame should go to financial crisis followed by recent court verdicts. Majority of footfalls in the JDA used to be in relation to regularization of colonies. However, since the court stay, there has been no work of regularization since November 4.The court’s ban on regularization gave a convenient excuse to lethargic officials to stop doing work. They have also stopped doing other works like name transfer, ZLC and 90A. They simply cite court order to deny work, which has been creating a problem for the public especially people in Prithviraj Nagar are unable to get water and electricity connections due to lack of patta. In the absence of regularization camps, a major source of JDA’s income has dried up having an adverse impact on the payment of salaries to the employees.Just when JDA was trying to overcome high court ban on regularization, another jolt came as Supreme Court’s ban on sand mining. It has literally stopped development works in the city. Except Dravyavati river and elevated road, at least a dozen development projects have come to a halt. Engineers have no work yet the JDC has not been able to decide on relieving engineers who came on deputation. Around a dozen engineers have been taking salaries and other facilities without work, which is only adding to its financial woes. JDA contractors too have been severely affected as their payments have been stuck since Deepawali. But, there seems to be no solution in sight.Those days!There used to be a long queue of people waiting to meet officers with request to resolve their problems. It was impossible for the officers to look up from the files as they would be busy in meetings.

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Furore in Delhi High Court after cops assault lawyer

High voltage drama was witnessed in a courtroom at Delhi HC on Tuesday after the Bar Association members moved the court against the arrest and subsequent assault on a 60-year-old woman lawyer.The Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA) members called for a strike after lunch, partially stalling the work, after lawyer Deepa Arya was arrested and allegedly assaulted on Monday, despite the additional public prosecutor’s (APP) assurance of not taking any coercive action against her.According to the plea filed by advocate Avadh Kaushik, Arya, who was in another advocate’s, R K Saini’s, house, was arrested and dragged out of the house.A bench of justices Siddharth Mridul and Deepa Sharma then directed the SHO, Paharganj, to give adequate protection to Arya. “In view of the gravity of the alleged incident, we find it appropriate to direct the SHO, Paharganj, to give adequate protection to Deepa Arya,” the court stated.During the course of hearing, the court expressed its concern regarding the incident and also noted that an FIR has been registered against Arya under Section 354 (D) of the IPC, which pertains to stalking. “How can you (police) lodge a stalking case against a woman? It cannot be done. This cannot be countenanced. We want the officers concerned here. We are not a banana republic. We want immediate action. If we permit the police to function in this manner, then God help us,” the bench stated.The court said it was “pained and disappointed” by the conduct of the police and added that if this was the practice followed in bailable offences, “then what would happen in non-bailable offences”. The DCP was also directed to keep in its custody all the relevant records pertaining to the FIR in question and the incident that took place on December 18, when the woman was dragged out of her house. The petitioner, who has about 35 years of experience as a lawyer, came to the court on a wheelchair as the concerned deputy commissioner of police, SHO, and the erring officials were called.The matter was urgently mentioned in the court of the acting chief justice, who then referred it to a bench of justices Siddharth Mridul and Deepa Sharma for hearing. After considering the matter, the court directed Romil Baniya, DCP (south), to conduct an inquiry and file an affidavit.Notices were issued to the Centre and the Delhi government, which were directed to file a status report, after both Anil Soni and Rahul Mehra, counsel for the Centre and Delhi government (criminal), assured that action would be taken against the officers involved. The matter has been listed for January 5.

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Give consent for abortion in writing: Delhi High Court to minor

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the 15-year-old rape survivor, who had moved the court seeking to terminate her over 26-week pregnancy, to give in writing about her consent to conduct the abortion.The directions were given by a bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice I S Mehta after the authorities of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) submitted in the court that the minor had refused to undergo the abortion.However, she had filed the present petition to abort the pregnancy. The bench, while observing that the minor is”prevaricating”, said that it wanted to assure that the girl would not change her mind again.”The court directs that the petitioner, through her parents, should file an affidavit before this court by tomorrow clearly stating the circumstances under which she changed her mind between December 8 when she appeared before the CWC and December 13 when she went for her medical examination to AIIMS and thereafter again today while appearing before the court.”The petitioner should unambiguously state in the affidavit whether she consents to the termination of her pregnancy,” the court said.The minor was examined at the AIIMS on the basis of an order passed the Child Welfare Committee (CWC). The reports of the examination stated that the petitioner is”not willing for abortion and her pregnancy is a result of marriage”.The report, which was enclosed with a status report filed by the SHO, Sarita Vihar, also stated that “she is not willing for the abortion of baby as she is married with her own consent and wants to continue her pregnancy”.However, in the twist of events, the minor expressed her willingness to abort the child and filed the petition on Monday.The judges spoke to the victim in their chambers where she reiterated her wish to terminate the pregnancy as she wished to continue her studies. She admitted that she earlier wanted to carry on with the pregnancy but now has changed her mind.According to the plea filed through advocate Kamlesh Kumar Mishra, the victim was raped on the pretext of a marriage with a man who was arrested a day after the recovery of the girl.

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Gujarat HC issues notice to Cong leader

The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi in a defamation case filed by the Anil Ambani–led Reliance Group. The company had filed a Rs 5,000-crore defamation case against Singhvi for making “false and defamatory” statements while talking about the Rafale fighter jet deal.The single bench justice Paresh Upadhyay has issued notice to the Congress leader and legal practitioner Singhvi asking to file reply within fifteen days. The court is hearing a petition filed by the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group for making baseless and false allegation against the company.Group’s Reliance Naval and Engineering Ltd has filed the defamation case with the Amreli District’s Rajula civil court. Allegation against the respondent is, “false, defamatory and libellous statements” in connection with the contract awarded in the Rafale deal.” The petition was returned by the Rajula Court citing reason that it is not it jurisdiction and hence the petitioner had to approach the high court challenging the order.Respondent Singhvi on November 30th in Delhi had alleged that Union Finance Minister is fooling the nation by making false claim that it has not waived loan of big defaulters. He had added that, “We all know that top 50 corporates owe Rs 8.35 lakh crore to banks and of those, the three top Gujarat-based companies — Reliance (Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group), Adani and Essar — owe Rs 3 lakh crore.”In the said allegation Singhvi had also dragged it group’s defence arm in the allegations, which had nothing to do with the government.

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Mumbai: HC stays cutting of 5236 trees in Thane

The Bombay High Court has till further orders stayed a decision taken by the Tree Authority appointed by the Thane Municipal Corporation allowing the cutting of around 5236 trees in the city for various development projects.A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice M S Sonak while prima facie holding that the constitution of the tree authority was illegal, has stayed the authority from giving any further permissions.The court passed the order while hearing a public interest litigation filed by Thane resident Rohan Joshi.In his petition he has highlighted how the councilors and other special invitees appointed to the tree authority are not educated adequately in allied subjects related to trees to be appointed as the members. Further it was argued that only three members of the committee comprising of over 6 members only three are graduates in science/botonay/agriculture fields, while others have lower educational qualification and mostly have political patronage.The PIL also argued that in order to achieve the object of the Act, it is incumbment that the tree auhotiy be reconstituted. The decisions taken by it in October are not in conformity with law. A local developer who was given permission to cut 1506 trees, who had intervened in the proceedings told the court that he had paid around Rs 4 crore as chares. Following the stay order, he told the court that he would seek return of his paid amount from the corporation.The court has now posted the matter for further hearing in January 2018, and asked the members of the tree authority to file their personal affidavits, replying to the PIL.

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Ensure prisoners’ kids get money

The Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi government to look into the aspect of providing compensation to children whose parents are incarcerated in Delhi’s jails.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar directed the Centre and the Social Welfare Department, government of NCT, for the speedy implementation of the Scheme for Financial Sustenance, Education and Welfare of Children of Incarcerated Parents, 2014.The court’s direction comes after it was informed about the issue of children not getting financial assistance, as they had not resided in the Capital for five years. According to the scheme, the children should have stayed in the city for at least five years before availing of compensation.”We expect the government of NCT, Social Welfare to look into the matter specially the need for bringing a scheme where the children whose parents or any other dependant member are lodged in the jail,” the court said.The court directed the Delhi government to file its response in this regard within six weeks from Monday. The court was hearing a host of matters pertaining to prisoners lodged in Tihar jail.During the course of hearing, advocate Rahul Mehra appearing for the Delhi government, informed the court that a new amended jail manual is already underway and 13 out of the 16 chapters have been drafted.”Thirteen out of the 16 chapters of the new amended jail manual have already been finalised and the rest will be done as soon as possible. This new jail manual will also address the issue of discrimination of women prisoners of not being entitled to open and semi-open jails,” Mehra said.Following this, the court noted that the respondents, including the Delhi government “are rectifying the discrimination of women”. It directed that the court be informed about the completion and implementation of the new jail manual.Earlier, the court had directed the DG (Prisons), city government and the police to implement a system which would let one know about the records of undertrials lodged in the jail.VACANT POSTSThe court was informed that there are 110 sanctioned posts for doctors in the jail premises out of which just 47 of them are filled up. There are 108 sanctioned posts for paramedical staff and 92 of them are physically filled.

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