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Delhi High Court convicts man for rape of minor wife

A letter written by a minor Hindu wife from Nari Niketan to her Muslim husband lodged in jail on charges of kidnapping and raping her, led the Delhi High Court to acquit him of the abduction of his minor wife, though it upheld the sentence for raping his below 15-year-old wife.The story is a perfect plot for a Bollywood flick where a minor Hindu girl falls in love with an adult Muslim man. Both of them decide to marry but their religions were a hurdle. Madly in love, both decide to elope.However, the parents of the girl lodged a missing complaint soon after her disappearance in 2008 and after eight months their daughter was found with the man. When asked, the duo said they married each other and also gave a Nikahnama to prove their relationship.The girl said that she had gone with the accused on her own will. She also refused to go along with her parents following which she was sent to the Nari Niketan. The man was arrested and a chargesheet was filed against him under sections 363(Punishment for kidnapping), 366 (Kidnapping) and 376 (rape).The trial court found Sunil Khan, the accused, guilty and sentenced him to seven years of imprisonment for rape among other sentences. Khan filed a plea against his conviction following which Justice Pratibha Rani found that the girl had gone with her own consent with the accused, so it cannot be called abduction. The court also found that the girl had written letters to the accused while he was in jail. It said that the girl had ultimately agreed to accompany her parents only on the condition that no harm would be caused to her husband.”Her categorical admission that she was in deep love with the convict is also reflected in the letter sent by her to the convict from Nari Niketan, expressing her love and full support to him in the situation they were placed. She even informed him that she had been medically examined to ascertain her bony age, which was estimated to be 18 years,” the court said adding that the investigating officer has not preferred to clarify the situation in this regard.However, the court upheld the sentence awarded to the convict for raping his wife, who was below the age of 15. It modified the sentence for the offence to rigorous imprisonment of two years and since the convict had already served the punishment, he was let free.”It is the case of the prosecution that on the date of leaving the house she was aged about 13 years. Thus, at best, prosecution’s case can be that the convict had physical relations with his wife who was below 15 years of age,” the court said.PARENTS COMPLAINThe parents of the girl lodged a missing complaint soon after her disappearance in 2008 and after eight months their daughter was found with the man.

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SC collegium gave age criteria a miss while clearing names

When it finalised the draft of the new Memorandum of Procedure (MoP), the document that guides appointments to higher judiciary, the Supreme Court collegium — headed by (then) Chief Justice of India JS Khehar — had decided that no lawyer below the age of 45 years and above the age of 55 years should be considered for appointment as Judge of a high court.Apart from then CJI Khehar, other members of the collegium who decided this included current CJI Dipak Misra and Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi and Madan Lokur. All, except Justice Khehar, who is now retired, are members of the larger SC collegium now.However, even as the new MoP is yet to be notified — it is pending with the government since March — the collegium has shown that it isn’t too keen to stick to its own resolution.Minutes of meeting of the three-member Supreme Court collegium show that the CJI-led panel is not immune to violating the age limit.Take for example the December 4 decision of the collegium while clearing names for Calcutta HC.The High Court collegium had recommended names of six advocates, including Sabyasachi Chaudhury and Sakya Sen, who weren’t 45 at the time their names were recommended.However, the SC collegium has recommended Sen’s name for elevation to the bench in “relaxation of the age criterion”. As for Chaudhary, he completed 45 years of age during the intervening period when his name was recommended by the HC collegium and cleared by the SC collegium.But, Madras HC lawyer AV Radhakrishnan, whose name had been recommended by the HC collegium, wasn’t so fortunate. “… He is more than 57 years of age. Even on the date of recommendation of the High Court Collegium he had crossed the maximum age limit of 55 years prescribed for Advocates recommended for elevation to the High Court Bench. Having regard to above, he is not found suitable for elevation to the High Court Bench,” the SC collegium decided on the same day when it ignored the age criteria in two other cases.Incidentally, it was on the Centre’s insistence that the SC collegium first agreed to include the age clause in the MoP. The Justice Ministry is of the view that such a cause will ensure uniformity and transparency in the appointment process and also rule out the possibility of members of the collegium adopting different yardsticks while recommending names.But it isn’t the age criterion that the SC collegium has refused to stick to while making appointments.It cleared the name of another lawyer of Calcutta HC – Ravi Krishan Kapur – who had failed to submit the undertaking from his lawyer-father as is mandated under existing rules. In doing so, the SC collegium also ignored the objection raised by the Union Ministry of Law and Justice on this subject, saying the undertaking was based on “mere administrative instructions and is not a mandatory requirement”.In yet another departure from rules, the SC collegium decided to clear a candidate – advocate Arindam Mukherjee – even though he had not submitted adequate number of reported/unreported judgments.”In our view, number of reported/unreported judgments is just one of the factors and not the only factor to determine suitability of a recommendee for purpose of elevation,” the collegium noted.

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CM Vijay Rupani retains Home, Dy CM cut to size

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani retained General Administration Department (GAD), Industries and other key departments, while his deputy Nitin Patel seemed to have been cut to size in allocation of portfolios, which was announced late on Thursday.Eight cabinet-level and 10 state-level ministers kept waiting for five hours for the CM and his deputy to arrive for cabinet meeting. The two were in a meeting for hours at the CM’s official residence.There were signs that all was not well, and there were differences over allocation of cream portfolios. The meeting, which was to begin at 5 pm, finally started at 9 pm.State BJP chief Jitu Vaghani also joined the big Two at the meeting, and it is believed that calls were made to party’s central leadership owing to differences in allocation of ministries.The Cabinet meeting ended shortly before 10 pm, after which the CM announced the portfolios.Finance and Urban Development, two key departments which Nitin Patel was handling in the previous government, were allocated to others. While Rupani kept Urban Development for himself, Finance went to Saurabh Patel, who was not a part of Rupani’s first government, and was making a comeback in the ministry.Nitin Patel has been allocated Road & Building, Health and Family Welfare, Medical Education, Narmada, Kalpasar, and Capital Planning.Not surprisingly, Patel didn’t come across very happy while sitting next to the CM when the list was made public.Giving the reason for delay, Rupani said, “All our central leaders were busy with discussions on the triple talaq bill debate which was going on in Parliament today. That is why we could not consult them on portfolios and the process got delayed. No one is disappointed nor is there any disagreement on portfolio distribution. Nitinbhai is also happy.”However, Nitin Patel avoided media persons. The CM also informed that ministers and officials, during the meeting, discussed purchase of groundnut from farmers at minimum support price and a Gujarat High Court order related to the Fee Regulation Act.Besides Urban Development, the chief minister has kept GAD, Industries, Home, Ports, Mines and Minerals, Information, Petroleum, Planning, Climate Change, and Science & Technology.Former state BJP chief RC Faldu, a first-time minister, has been given charge of Agriculture, Rural Development, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Road Transport.Bhupendrasinh Chudasama retained Education, Higher and Technical Education, Law & Justice, Parliamentary Affairs, Salt, Cow Conservation and Civil Aviation.Kaushik Patel, making a comeback to the Cabinet after ten years, has been made Revenue Minister.Besides Finance, Saurabh Patel has also been given charge of Energy, the ministry he handled for over 14 years.Ganpat Vasava has got Tribal Development, Tourism, Forests, and Women and Child Welfare.Jayesh Radadiya will be the minister for Civil Supplies, Cottage Industries, Printing and Stationery.Dilip Thakor has been assigned Labour and Employment, Disaster Management, and Yatradham Development.Ishwar Parmar, the junior-most among the Cabinet ministers, has been made minister of Social Justice and Empowerment (SC welfare, SEBC welfare).Among ministers of state, Pradipsinh Jadeja retains Home. He will also be MoS for Energy, Parliamentary Affairs, Law, Judiciary, and Police Housing, and hold independent charge of police Housing, Border Security, Civil Defence, Gram Rakshak Dal, Jail, Excise & Prohibition, NRG and Protocol.Parbat Patel has been given independent charge of Irrigation and Water Supply, while Parsottam Solanki has been given fisheries.Bachu Khabad will hold charge of Rural Housing, Rural Development, Animal Husbandry and Cow Conservation.Jaydrathsinh Parmar will be MoS agriculture, and hold independent charge of Panchayat and Environment.Ishwar Patel has been given independent charge of Cooperation, Sports, Youth and Cultural Activities. He will also be MoS of road transport.Vasan Ahir is MoS for SEBC Welfare.Vibhavari Dave, the lone woman in the ministry, has been given Women and Child Development, Education (primary and higher education), and Yatradham.First-time minister Raman Patkar has been given Forests and Tribal Development, while another debutant Kishor Kanani has got health and family welfare, and medical education.

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Afghan national to stay with wife, not Sewa Sadan: Delhi High Court

In a big relief to an Afghan national, whose visa had expired in 2007, the Delhi High Court has allowed him to stay with his wife instead of a Sewa Sadan — detention centre of the Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO) — till his deportation papers were not ready.The court’s direction comes on a plea filed by Gulfisha, wife of Khan, who had sought that her husband be allowed to stay with her rather than the Sewa Sadan, Lampur, where the foreigners awaiting deportation were kept.A bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice I S Mehta directed that Khan be released from the FRRO, Detention Centre on several conditions.The court directed that the biometric details of Khan be recorded by the FRRO. It also said that Khan will provide a local surety of Rs 50,000 along with the local address proof and mobile number.Khan had come to India on December 20, 2006, and his visa was valid till March 9, 2007. On March 22, 2007, he married Gulfisha, an Indian national, and had three children out of the wedlock. He was arrested as he had overstayed in the country without a valid visa but was later granted bail.Following this, a lower court had sentenced him to two months of imprisonment on May 31, 2016, for the offence. However, it was later reduced to a month. Another petition was filed by his wife seeking Khan’s non-deportation which is pending with the court.Appearing for the petitioner, its counsel said that Khan will abide by the orders of deportation as and when they are issued.Appearing for the Centre, its counsel contended that Khan had overstayed in India without a valid visa. It said that Khan is an illegal immigrant awaiting deportation. It also submitted that in terms of the Office Memorandum (OM) issued by Ministry of Home Affairs, the deportation can take place” only after completion of the sentence/court proceedings.While allowing him to stay with his Indian wife till his papers were ready, the bench directed him to furnish a good behaviour report and report to the SHO, Jamia Nagar on the second Saturday of every month.WHAT’S THE PLEAThe Delhi High Court’s direction comes on a plea filed by Gulfisha, wife of Zulmi Khan She pleaded that her husband, who overstayed his visa, be allowed to stay with her rather than at Sewa Sadan, Lampur It’s at Sewa Sadan where foreigners awaiting deportation are kept.

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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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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
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Sushma Swaraj’s speech in Rajya Sabha on Kulbhushan Jadhav’s family: Full text

India today slammed Pakistan for making “absurd” charges of a chip, camera or a recorder being installed in the footwear of the wife of imprisoned Indian Kulbhushan Jadhav and said Islambad was on to a mischief after showing discourtesy towards his family.Making a statement on the meeting of Jadhav with his wife and mother in Islamabad earlier this week, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said it came after 22 months and was “misused by Pakistan as an instrument to further its propaganda.”Here’s full text of her Rajya Sabha speech:STATEMENT BY EAM IN LOK SABHA ON THE MEETING OF THE FAMILY OF Mr KULBHUSHAN JADHAV WITH HIM AND THE SITUATION ARISING FROM THEREMadam Speaker,I rise to apprise the House of recent developments pertaining to Shri Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian national in the illegal custody of Pakistan. As the House is aware, his mother and wife met him on 25 December 2017 in Islamabad. The meeting was arranged through diplomatic channels.2.In April 2017, I had made a statement in this House underlining the Government’s determination to do everything possible to ensure Shri Jadhav’s well-being and secure his release from illegal detention. Since then, the House is aware that we approached the International Court of Justice and obtained provisional measures that stayed the execution of the death sentence that was passed on Shri Jadhav through a farcical Pakistani military court process. While the imminent threat to Shri Jadhav’s safety was averted as a result, we are now engaged in seeking a permanent relief, based on stronger arguments, through the legal avenue offered by the International Court of Justice.Madam Speaker,3: I had also conveyed that we were in constant touch with the family at this difficult time. It was, therefore, natural that we took up the cause of family members who sought access to Shri Jadhav with a view to ascertaining his well-being for themselves. These efforts were pursued persistently through diplomatic channels. As a result, this month, the Pakistani authorities consented to a meeting between Shri Jadhav and his mother and wife.4.While the meeting could have been a step forward, it is a matter of great concern that there was departure from the agreed understandings between the two countries in the conduct of this meeting. The emotional moment between a mother and her son, and a wife and her husband after a period of 22 months, was misused by Pakistan as an instrument to further its propaganda. The Ministry of External Affairs has stated our position in this regard publicly day before yesterday. Our concerns arising from this meeting were conveyed to Pakistan through diplomatic channels yesterday. I would like to highlight a few of them in this House:There was a clear agreement that the media would not be allowed close access to the mother and wife of Shri Jadhav. However, not only the Pakistani press was allowed to approach family members closely, but the family members were also harassed through use of offensive language by the media. The Pakistani media hurled false and motivated accusations about Shri Jadhav;Under the pretext of security precautions, even the attire of the family members was changed. Mr Jadhav’s mother, who wears a Sari only, was instead given Salwar and Kurta to wear. Bindi, bangles and mangal sutra of the wife were removed; The mother of Shri Jadhav wanted to talk to her son in mother tongue Marathi, as this is clearly the natural medium of communication between a mother and son. However, the mother of Shri Jadhav was not allowed to speak in Marathi. While doing so, she was repeatedly interrupted by the two Pakistani officials present in the meeting. When she persisted, the intercom was closed and she was prevented from proceeding further with the conversation in Marathi; The family members were taken for the meeting through a separate door without informing the Deputy High Commissioner of India, who had accompanied the family members for this meeting. Consequently, he could not see that the family members were being taken for the meeting after changing their attire and removing their bindi, bangles and mangal sutra. Otherwise he would have objected then and there. The meeting was started without his presence and he could join only after pressing the matter with concerned officials;The car for the family of Mr Jadhav and accompanying Indian diplomat was delayed after the meeting so as to give another opportunity to the media to harass them;The shoes of the wife of Shri Jadhav were removed before the meeting and she was given slippers to wear to the meeting. The shoes were not returned to her despite her repeated requests after the meeting. The Pakistan authorities have been cautioned against any mischievous intent in this regard through a Note Verbale yesterday. 5.The mother and wife, after their return, conveyed to me that Shri Kulbhushan Jadhav appeared under considerable stress and was speaking in an atmosphere of coercion. As the meeting evolved, it was clear to them that his remarks were tutored by his captors and designed to perpetuate the false narrative of his alleged activities. His appearance also raised questions of his health and well being.Madam Speaker,6.The meeting of Mr. Kulbhushan Jadhav with his mother and wife was portrayed by Pakistan as a humanitarian gesture. However, the truth is that both humanity and compassion were missing during the meeting that was arranged on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. There was a serious and gross violation of human rights of the family members of Shri Jadhav and an intimidating atmosphere was created for them during this meeting. There are not enough words to condemn the same.Madam Speaker,7. I am fully confident that this entire House and through this House, the people of India, strongly condemns, in one voice, the obnoxious behaviour of Pakistan and affirm their solidarity with the Jadhav family.

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Any immediate respite for parents?

While the recent Gujarat High Court judgment comes as a great relief to parents by upholding state governments law for regulating school fees, how soon the parents will be able to benefit of the same remains something to be watched for.At a time when many schools across the state have started collecting fees for the next academic year, there is still no clarity on the fees for next academic year. The processes of the fee regulatory committee may take some time and, hence, schools are mulling over their decision for fees in the interim period.Commenting on the judgment, Association of Progressive Schools (AoPS) said, “Now that the judgment has come we wish government will ensure that the schools can function smoothly without having to compromise on the quality of school education in Gujarat which has started improving over the last decade.”AoPS member schools range from JG International school, Udgam school, Divine Child International School. Delhi Public School, Anand Niketan school, etc.An academician requesting anonymity said, “The order seems to be a small win in a huge battle. Even today, schools can approached the Supreme Court or they can approach the FRC. If they go to the FRC in three weeks, as per law, FRC will have to pass an order in 90 days. Even if FRC passes an order early and well in time, schools can then go for revision which again would take 90 days and eventually higher court. All of this process will take a lot of time and there is no clarity on fees for next academic year.Sources said the schools may approach the government and ask to form guideliness for FRC as per the high court order. A major concern of this entire Act is that there is no upper limit of fees. As per the order, if schools can justify to the FRC, they can charge higher fees.Dharmesh Patel, one of the parents of the association of Tripada International School in Ghatlodia, said, “The decision is great, but the biggest challenge will be to see how and when the state government implements the same. Since the Act has been upheld by the court, the responsibility of the government becomes double ensuring justice to parents. Also, since there is hardly any school which had gone to the high court, FRC’s should not take a long time.”Raising an important concern, Pooja Prajapati, President, Parents Ekta Manch said, “We welcome the decision and it is a victory for the parents. However, some questions have remained unanswered. The court has allowed schools to file an appeal in six weeks regarding their concern. Then what is the point of keeping fee slabs. Taking advantage of this slab, many schools that used to charge Rs 7000 or so and if they now increase till Rs 15000, there is no clarity on the same. Our fight will go on.”Ruchi Chaudhary, Managing Trustee, Shankus Foundation, Divine Child International School said, “We welcome the high court order and follow the notifications of going to FRC for an increment of fees so as to maintain the quality of education and other quality amenities we offer to our students.”Manan Choksi, managing director, Udgam School for Children said, “We are getting a legal opinion on whether should we collect fees up to certain amount or not collect at all. While we can return post dated cheques collected from parents once the order of FRC comes, but need some clarity to plan yearly expenses.”Schools need to approach FRC in three weeks FRC to give its order in 90 days If schools are not satisfied, they can apply for revision (90 days) Eventually they can approach a higher court Aggrieved parents have no place to approach *No upper limit of fees for justification

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Didn’t consult Muslim bodies before drafting triple talaq bill: PP Chaudhary

A day before the bill banning triple talaq is going to be tabled in Parliament, Minister of State for Law and Justice PP Chaudhary, admitted that Muslim groups were not consulted before drafting the bill.Chaudhary’s admission comes days after the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) opposed the bill. “The terms set out in the proposed bill not only encroach upon the constitutional guarantees granted to religious minorities, but are also against the very essence of the verdict delivered by the Supreme Court on August 22, 2017 in instant triple divorce matter,” AIMPLB spokesman Maulana Sajjad Nomani said after an emergency meeting on the issue in Lucknow earlier this week.Responding to a question in Parliament, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad admitted that so far 66 cases against instant triple talaq have been reported since the practice was struck down.According to the list of businesses, Prasad is set to introduce The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill in the Lok Sabha.The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017, that was drafted in record time since the Supreme Court struck it down by a 3:2 majority in August, has come under fire from the Opposition and various women’s rights groups.The law proposes to empower the victim to approach a magistrate seeking ‘subsistence allowance’ for herself and her minor children. An aggrieved woman can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take a final call on the issue.This law is a non-bailable, cognisable offence and applicable to the entire country except Jammu and Kashmir.The bill seeks to criminalise instant triple talaq by imposing a prison term of up to three years and fine on husbands who violate the law. The proposed law is only applicable to talaq-e-biddat’ or the instant triple talaq through any means — spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp.In August, a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had struck down the practice of instant triple talaq in a 3:2 judgment. While three of the judges declared the practice unconstitutional, two judges wanted the practice banned for six months till the government came up with a new legislation. The draft bill — penned by an interministerial committee was released in record time on December 1.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh headed the interministerial committee that prepared the draft. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and ministry of state P P Chaudhary were on the panel that helped draft the law. However, the women and child development ministry, which drafted the Centre’s affidavit in the matter along with interministerial consultations with the PMO, finance minister Arun Jaitley, home minister Rajnath Singh and law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, said that they were not approached to be part of the committee.

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Centre allots Rs 4K cr for fast track courts

The Law Ministry has earmarked Rs 4,144 crore for setting up 1,800 Fast Track Courts (FTCs) for a period of five years (2015-2020) as endorsed by the 14th Finance Commission.Uttar Pradesh will receive a big share of the fund with Rs 488.08 crore for 212 FTCs, followed by Maharashtra and Daman and Diu who will get Rs 469.67 crore for 204 courts. Gujarat will get Rs 400.59 for 174 courts.Currently, there are only 722 FTCs handling 5,88,992 cases. Maharashtra tops the list with 97,942 cases pending in 100 courts, followed by Bihar who has 55,469 between 55 courts. Tamil Nadu has 50,641 cases pending in 69 courts.Responding to a question in Parliament, Minister of State for Law and Justice PP Chaudhary submitted that the 14th Finance Commission had endorsed the Centre’s proposal to strengthen the judicial system in states — which includes establishing 1,800 FTCs for a period of five years for crime cases involving senior citizens, women, children etc.Chaudhary also said that the Department of Justice has released Rs 1,561.15 crore for computerisation of district and subordinate courts in the country under eCourts Mission Mode Project Phase I (Rs 639.41) & Phase-II (Rs 921.7).Similarly, earlier this month, the Supreme Court accepted the Centre’s proposal to set up 12 fast track courts (FTC) to speed up trials in pending cases involving MPs and MLAs.Observing that the proposed scheme was “tentative” and at a “rudimentary stage”, a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha directed the states and the respective high courts to set up the special courts and get them functional by March 1.These 12 FTCs — combining several states in respect of which jurisdiction will be exercised by one special court, would adjudicate 1571 criminal cases pending against lawmakers.In an affidavit filed earlier this week, the Centre submitted that Rs 7.80 crore had been earmarked to set up the special courts, a move that was approved by the top court.Maha topsCurrently, there are only 722 FTCs handling 5,88,992 cases. Maharashtra tops the list with 97,942 cases pending in 100 courts, followed by Bihar who has 55,469.

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Ministerial panel’s report on Lokpal under examination: Govt

The government is still examining the recommendations of an inter-ministerial committee on the Lokpal act, two years after a parliamentary panel submitted its report on the proposed law, the Lok Sabha was informed today.The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 — that has provisions for establishment of a Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states to look into cases of corruption against certain categories of public servants — came into force with effect from January 16, 2014.However, an amendment bill was moved in the Lok Sabha in December 2014 to remove certain difficulties in the operationalisation of the Act, Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.The bill was referred to the Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice for examination and report.”The said Committee has submitted its report in the Parliament on December 7, 2015. The recommendations of the said Committee were presented before an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) comprising seven Union ministers. The recommendation of the IMC are under consideration of the government,” Singh said.

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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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Kulbhushan Jadhav’s family lands in Islamabad, to meet him shortly; Confusion over consular access

After 19 months of captivity in Pakistani jail, former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav is scheduled to meet his family in Islamabad today.According to latest reports, Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif has confirmed that Islamabad has ‘finally granted consular access’ toJadhav.New Delhi, however, has downplayed the development and said that Indian diplomat accompanying Jadhav’s mother and wife can’t be seen as consular access.In preparation for the meeting, Pakistan has deployed heavy security and traffic personnel within and outside their Foreign Office. Pakistani diplomatic sources said the meeting will last for an hour. Pakistan has offered to arrange media presence, if Jadhav’s mother and wife want to speak to media. But the offer has been rejected by India, reports said.Pakistani sources indicated that the meeting between Jadhav and his family members will not be the last, raising hopes that his death sentence may be deferred. The Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi had issued visas to Jadhav’s mother and wife earlier in the week. The visas were issued after Pakistan decided to allow Jadhav’s wife to visit him. But later, it agreed to allow his mother to join, who had originally applied for the visa. Pakistan later agreed to Indian condition — to allow an Indian diplomat to accompany the two women and also to provide a sovereign guarantee to their security and safety. After extensive deliberations, the Indian request was allowed and December 25 was proposed last week as the meeting date.Also readKulbhushan Jadhav to meet his mother and wife today in PakistanJadhav, who was reportedly captured by Pakistani security forces on March 3, 2016, in Balochistan, was sentenced to death by a military tribunal earlier this year for his involvement in terrorism and espionage. His appeals against the conviction have been rejected by the military appellate court and his mercy petition has been lying with Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.India has challenged Pakistan’s refusal to grant consular access in the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The ICJ is hearing the case and has restrained the Pakistan government from executing Jadhav till it decides the case. Pakistan had earlier repeatedly rejected India’s plea for consular access to Jadhav. India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the navy.

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A sea of emotions erupt as Kashmiri pandits use theatre to highlight their pain

Emotions ran high when migrant Kashmiri Pandit troupe staged `Rovmut Bhatta’ (Lost Pandit), a play depicting the pain and plight of the exiled community who are living as refugees in their own land.Staged by the Vomedh Rangmanch, a Kashmiri theatre troupe in the Annual Drama Festival of Jammu and Kashmir Academy for Culture, Art and Languages at Abhinav Theatre in Jammu, ‘Rovmut Bhatta’ left the jam-packed audience spellbound by the script, direction and the performance of the artists.‘Rovmut Bhatta’ is a satirical take on the journey of Kashmiri Pandits since their forced exile in 1990 after the eruption of militancy in Kashmir valley and the impact it has had on the community caught in the cobweb of terrorism and cross-cultural chaos.Also readKashmiri pandit’s sweet gesture: Candies for Eid processionThe story revolves around Tathya, a man in eighties in a coma for almost three decades whose elder son was killed by terrorists in Kashmir due to which he went into the coma and how his second son Raju shifts to Jammu along with Tathya’s foster son Jorra.One day Tathya suddenly comes out of the coma and the drama unfolds as he begins asking uncomfortable questions to his son why he or the community has not been able to get justice all these years. He finally takes it upon himself to seek justice by going on fast unto death as the leadership has failed them. He finally dies during the protest fast raising several uncomfortable questions about the political class, bureaucracy, community leadership and the confusion prevailing within the community.Also readEid-e-Milad 2017: When a Kashmiri Pandit couple stole hearts by greeting Milad procession“Rovmut Batta is a story of deep introspection. It is a story of stock-taking of what has gone wrong with Kashmir Pandit community and why? Are there only external factors responsible for all the ills that the community is faced with? Rovmut Batta is a satirical comedy with elements of introspection, reflections, nostalgia, resilience, and hope”, said Rakesh Roshan Bhat, the playwright.Director of the play Rohit Bhat said Rovmut Batta is a story of resilience and hope as the protagonist springs back into action even after being in the coma for so many years. “The optimist would say if he could do it anyone can do it, and the pessimist would say if he could not do it, no one can. They are not trying to preach anything and their intention is not to hurt anyone’s feeling but it is an attempt to pause and look back; after all isn’t this what good and meaningful theatre is all about”, he said

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Kulbhushan Jadhav to meet his mom and wife today

The Pakistan government has thrown a security blanket around the Constitutional Avenue hosting its Foreign Office and other top government offices in the wake of the arrival of Indian prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother and wife in in Islamabad on Monday.Both women are arriving in Pakistan via Dubai on a commercial flight on Monday morning and will leave the country the same evening after meeting Jadhav. The meeting will take place at the Pakistan Foreign Office and not in prison. India’s deputy high commissioner in Islamabad J P Singh will accompany them to the meeting.A Pakistan Foreign Office official will also be present during this time, as per the agreement between the two countries through diplomatic channels. India conveyed the itinerary on Saturday after Pakistan gave the deadline of Sunday to provide the requisite information about the family members’ visit or risk the meeting being deferred or cancelled.Sources said Pakistan had said they needed to put in place elaborate security arrangements for transporting Jadhav from jail to Islamabad and also for the meeting. Pakistani media reported that while Pakistan had completed the preparations to arrange the meeting India was delaying providing relevant information about the itinerary. The Indian High Commission was informed about the issuance of the deadline, the reports said. They said Pakistan needed time to bring Jadhav to the Foreign Office and for other security-related matters.In preparation for the meeting, Pakistan has deployed heavy security and traffic personnel within and outside their Foreign Office. Pakistani diplomatic sources said the meeting will last for an hour. Pakistan has offered to arrange media presence, if Jadhav’s mother and wife want to speak to media. But the offer has been rejected by India, reports said.Pakistani sources indicated that the meeting between Jadhav and his family members will not be the last, raising hopes that his death sentence may be deferred. The Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi had issued visas to Jadhav’s mother and wife earlier in the week. The visas were issued after Pakistan decided to allow Jadhav’s wife to visit him. But later, it agreed to allow his mother to join, who had originally applied for the visa. Pakistan later agreed to Indian condition — to allow an Indian diplomat to accompany the two women and also to provide a sovereign guarantee to their security and safety. After extensive deliberations, the Indian request was allowed and December 25 was proposed last week as the meeting date.Jadhav, who was reportedly captured by Pakistani security forces on March 3, 2016, in Balochistan, was sentenced to death by a military tribunal earlier this year for his involvement in terrorism and espionage. His appeals against the conviction have been rejected by the military appellate court and his mercy petition has been lying with Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.India has challenged Pakistan’s refusal to grant consular access in the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The ICJ is hearing the case and has restrained the Pakistan government from executing Jadhav till it decides the case. Pakistan had earlier repeatedly rejected India’s plea for consular access to Jadhav. India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the navy.

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Real tribute to Guru Gobind Singh is to follow his path: Manmohan Singh

The real tribute to Guru Gobind Singh would be to follow his path of harmony, religious tolerance, peace and brotherhood, former prime minister Manmohan Singh said today.Speaking on the concluding day of Guru Gobind Singh’s 350th birth anniversary commemoration celebrations here, the senior Congress leader noted that the tenth Sikh Guru never discriminated against any religion, but respected all human beings, regardless of colour, caste and creed.The real tribute to Guru Gobind Singh would be to follow his path and bring an end to gender discrimination, he said.”As true Sikhs, we should not discriminate between men and women, and should provide equal opportunities of education to both genders, thus enabling them to become ideal citizens of the society,” Manmohan said.The former PM, accompanied by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, was addressing a gathering opposite the Keshgarh Sahib Gurdwara.Manmohan said the Sikh community was never in conflict with Islam and asserted that Guru Gobind Singh and other Sikh Gurus fought against social injustice by Mughal rulers and stood for human rights regardless of race, caste, religion or gender.The economist also sought people’s cooperation to stamp out the menace of drugs from the society.Also speaking at the event, Amarinder Singh announced the revival of Anandpur Sahib Urban Development Authority, along with his government’s decision to set up Skills University at Chamkaur Sahib in the name of Guru Gobind Singh.He said he would also request the Centre to declare Guru Gobind Singh Marg in Punjab and the rest of the country as a national highway.Underlining the Punjab government’s commitment to the upliftment of this holy place, the chief minister said the revival of Sri Anandpur Sahib Urban Development Authority would pave way for upgradation of its basic infrastructure and amenities.Former Union minister Preneet Kaur, AICC leaders Asha Kumari, Harish Chaudhary and Ambika Soni, state Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, PPCC president Sunil Jakhar, Speaker Punjab Vidhan Sabha and MLA Sri Anandpur Sahib Rana K P Singh, among others, were also present on the occasion.

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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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Likely faces in Vijay Rupani’s cabinet

With the BJP all set to form the government in Gujarat for a sixth consecutive term, top party leaders are busy carryingout the cherry-picking exercise to select the faces for Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s cabinet.Including Rupani as the CM and Nitin Patel as his deputy, sources said, seven other members are likely to be picked as cabinet rank ministers, while 11 to 12 may be selected for state-level minister rank.The final list will be release on December 26, moments before the swearing-in ceremony of the cabinet members in Gandhinagar.In the meanwhile, sources said, senior party leaders, including BJP state chief Jitu Vaghani, CM Rupani and Dy CM Patel, are going to meet for a couple of times to work out a list keeping factors like castes, regions and gender in mind. Here are the names that are likely to find a place in the BJP’s final list of cabinet ministers and ministers of states:GANPAT VASAVAThe tribal face of the BJP and former minister of tribal and forests in Rupani’s government, Vasava is a promising figure. No other tribal leader from BJP of his cadre has been elected in recent polls. He can get the same portfolio again.BABU BOKHIRIADefeated Congress stalwart Arjun Modhwadia for the second time. He was a cabinet minister in last term and is a strong OBC leader in Saurashtra. He can get water supplies and water resources portfolio once more.RC FALDUA former Saurashtra BJP president and a senior leader from the Patel community, Faldu can become the agriculture minister. His clean image and docile nature can earn him a position in Rupani’s cabinet.SAURABH PATELThe industrialist had been dropped last time. But in the absence of other strong leaders, Rupani won’t be able to ignore him this time. Patel is credited with making the Vibrant Gujarat Summit successful. Finance and energy are his forte.JAYESH RADADIAHe and his father Vitthal Radadiya have good hold over the Patel community in Saurashtra region and that is needed more now to placate Patels who are up in arms against the BJP With 2019 polls nearing, can retain civil supplies.DILIP THAKOROBC leader from North Gujarat. May get a berth ahead of 2019 polls. May get social justice and empowermentKAUSHIK PATELFormer revenue minister in Keshubhai Patel’s government, Kaushik Patel is a Kadva Patel leader from North Gujarat. Likely to enter the cabinet and get the revenue portfolio.PRADIPSINH JADEJAA Kshatriya Rajput leader from Ahmedabad, can be elevated to cabinet minister from MoS. Jadeja is believed to be close to BJP president Amit Shah. May get legal and justice parliamentary affairs and urban development portfolios.BHUPENDRASINH CHUDASAMAIf not chosen for the cabinet, he can be made the speaker in Gujarat assembly, thanks to his experience and knowledge of proceedings of the House. His soft-spoken nature can also bag him the new job.

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Toyota Prius trademark case: Law versus justice

Last week, the Supreme Court decided an interesting case regarding trademark in favour of an Indian automobile spare part company and against the Japanese automobile giant Toyota. This decision, though in favour of the Indian company, is obviously following the path of strict legality and totally ignoring the fairness and justice part of the business dispute.It so happened that by the turn of the century, Japanese giant Toyota had created a new trademark Prius, which gained popularity abroad, but was not launched in India. An Indian automobile spare parts company started selling products under the brand name of Toyota, Innova, and Prius a few years later. The Japanese company did not take any action immediately at that time, and it is quite natural also that the Japanese company might not have even known about this development.Sometime later, when Toyota initiated legal action, the issue in the trial court was more about the protection given to registered versus unregistered trademarks, that is the comparison of the strength of protection to registered trademarks and the remedy of passing off under the common law. It is very well known in the legal fraternity that the protection granted to registered trademark is much more than that of passing off. However, an important consideration is that the registration itself must be genuine and without an intention of misusing already established marks, even if unregistered.In the instant case, the trial court had no problem in deciding that the Indian automobile spare part company had wrongly – in law – used the trademarks Toyota and Innova. This decision was upheld by the High Court and Supreme Court.The interesting aspect of the case was regarding the use of the word Prius. Toyota had not registered it in India and was relying on its reputation globally. Twenty years ago, the SC had decided in the landmark judgement of Whirlpool that global reputation of huge multinational corporations and the reputation spilled over transcending geographical boundaries. In that case, the court had gone ahead and deviated from the path of strict legality to decide the matter on the basis of fairness and equity so that the unscrupulous persons copying well-known marks should not get legal sanction.In the instant case, it is most surprising that the courts have completely ignored the aspect of the dishonest intentions of the Indian company, which picked up the trademarks very well-known to most of the people in the elitist circles, and definitely to those who were doing business or even remotely connected to automobiles. The SC has reasoned that at the turn of the century the Internet penetration in the country was very low, and hence, it would not have been possible to consider the global reputation and a spillover effect. This is erroneous reasoning as any reputation did not and does not transmit only through Internet. What would have happened to the cases in the pre-Internet era? Did people not travel from one continent to another? Did they not talk to each other over telephones? Typically, the top-end brands are bought and used by the rich and powerful. It would be wrong to say that the reputation of any such brand would spread only through the Internet.The SC has also ignored an important issue which pertains to the target segment of the market. While marketing to the rich and elite, any company would not focus on marketing the product to all sections of society and hence it is not necessary that most of the people in a territorial jurisdiction should be aware of the trademark which is in dispute.This ruling will be treated as landmark, however, it ignores the fairness aspects and intention of the accused party. Such decisions send wrong signals to the society as all litigants are expected to come before the courts with clean hands. India, unfortunately, does not have a very high reputation for protection of intellectual property, and this decision would not help in bettering it.

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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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A Raja and Kanimozhi reach Chennai after 2G acquittal, get rousing welcome from DMK cadres

DMK leaders Kanimozhi and A Raja were given warm welcome by party cadres in Chennai after getting acquitted by special CBI court in the 2G court. The airport was throng with party supporters donning the traditional DMK colours. There were large number of supporters also present near DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi’s house. Both Rajya Sabha MP Kanimojhi and former Union Minister A Raja met Karunanidhi.They were welcomed by party leader and Karunanidhi’s MK Stalin. The verdict has come as a huge relief for DMK which has suffered electoral reverses and relegated to sidelines after name of their party leaders got tangled in the 2G case. DMK leader M K Stalin on Friday said the verdict in the 2G spectrum allocation case has come as a “blow” to those who wanted to “taint” the party.Hailing the acquittal of Kanimozhi and A Raja, he said the party has now emerged like “gold refined by fire.” Quoting certain observations made by the special judge in the verdict, Stalin said it showed the case was “fabricated with an aim of targeting and sidelining DMK” at the national level. “The DMK, after having faced insults and slander for baseless false charges, swam through the river of fire, and after seven years has emerged as gold refined by fire,” Stalin, DMK working president, said in a letter to partymen.The DMK was always confident of telling the truth to the world, Stalin said a day after the special court in Delhi acquitted party leaders Kanimozhi, a Rajya Sabha MP, and former Telecom minister A Raja. The DMK leader said Raja as then Telecom minister, adopted “progressive measures” in allocating 2G spectrum aimed at the welfare of the poorer sections of the society. This, Stalin claimed, led to an increase in mobile phone users even while bringing the rates down. He said CAG Vinod Rai had made charges of “presumptive loss” of Rs 1.76 lakh crore in spectrum allocation and even those who were aware of the differences between “practicality and presumption blew up” the matter. “Those with political vendetta, and media known for sensationalism blew up the issue against DMK in the electoral field,” he said in an apparent reference to the 2011 Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu which the AIADMK and its allies swept.Raja was always confident of getting justice through a legal battle and he himself put forward “strong arguments” before the court even as “Kanimozhi also proved she was not guilty,” Stalin, also state leader of opposition, added. Party president and his father M Karunanidhi was overjoyed when he was told about the outcome of the case, Stalin said.With PTI inputs

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Verdict in fodder scam case will be milestone, says JD(U)

Janata Dal (United) leader Neeraj Kumar on Saturday said that the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court’s verdict in the fodder scam case will prove to be a milestone that will give a new direction to the current political scenario.”The verdict of Ranchi CBI court in fodder scam will prove to be a milestone against Lalu ji, who has become synonym with corruption,” Kumar told ANI.Former Bihar chief minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav is an accused in the fodder scam that broke in 1996.Kumar noted that Bihar is known for its fight against corruption and is the land of Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan.Hailing Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to break the alliance with the RJD, he said today’s verdict will give a new direction to the current political scenario in the state.He also expressed confidence that the verdict will be against Lalu Prasad.This is one of the six alleged fodder scam cases against Lalu.However, Prasad is confident of getting justice in the case and has urged people of Bihar to maintain “calm and peace” after the judgement is delivered.A special CBI court in Ranchi will pronounce its verdict today in the case.The fodder scam case relates to the alleged fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 95 lakh from the Deoghar treasury from 1991 to 1994.Altogether, there were 34 accused in the case, out of which 11 died during the course of the trial and one turned CBI approver and admitted the crime.Former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra has already been convicted and sentenced to five years of imprisonment in one of the fodder scam cases.

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Supreme Court refuses to stay Karnataka High Court order on tobacco warning

On Friday, the Supreme Court refused to stay an order passed by the Karnataka High Court that quashed the government regulation requiring tobacco products to display pictorial warnings covering 85 per cent of the packaging space.The Karnataka HC had last week quashed the government regulation —which increased the size of the pictorial warning on tobacco products from 40 per cent to 85 per cent — that was introduced in a bid to inform the general public about the health hazards of tobacco products and to dissuade them from consuming it. Since then, several petitions — including one filed by NGO Health for Millions — have been filed challenging the HC’s order.A vacation bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul refused to stay the order and directed Karnataka HC to upload the judgment online.The matter will next be heard on January 8 for further arguments on this appeal.On December 15, a two-judge bench at the HC had observed that the Union health ministry did not have jurisdictional powers to pass such a rule. The HC further found that the rule violated constitutional norms as it put “unreasonable” restrictions on the right to do business.However, the HC reverted the surface area for pictorial warnings to 40 per cent, that existed before the 85 per cent stipulation come in.

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VK Sasikala, Apollo Hospital’s chairman summoned over J Jayalalithaa’s death

The Justice Arumughasamy Commission that is probing the circumstances leading to the death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, on Friday summoned her aide VK Sasikala, Apollo Hospital’s Chairman Pratap Reddy and executive vice chairperson Preetha Reddy two days after a video of the late AIADMK chief sitting in the hospital bed sipping tea was released to the media.The commission has given a 15-day period for Sasikala, who is serving a four-year imprisonment in a Bengaluru prison in a corruption case, to submit her response within 15 days while the top executives of the Apollo hospitals were asked to reply within 10 days.Jayalalithaa was admitted to Apollo Hospital on September 22 last year and passed away on December 5, 2016. Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who rebelled against the Sasikala-led AIADMK, raised doubts over the circumstances leading to Jayalaltihaa’s hospitalisation and alleged that none of the AIADMK leaders and ministers including him were allowed to see her during the 75-day long stay in the hospital. After Panneerselvam merged his faction with the ruling AIADMK, the Edappadi K Palanisami government constituted an one-man commission headed by retired judge Arumughasamy.The commission, whose three months term was extended by another six months on Friday, began its hearing on November 22. Several people, including IAS officials, doctors, Jayalalithaa’s niece J Deepa and nephew J Deepak and Madurai- based DMK functionary P Saravanan have deposed before it so far.

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India is being polarised; community is losing confidence in government: Top Catholic body

The President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) Cardinal Baselios Cleemis on Friday stated that India is getting polarized due to religious affiliation, and the community was losing confidence in the government.In an Indian Express report, Cardinal Cleemis also said that the country was being devided on basis of religious beliefs, which was a bad thing for a democratic nation. “I want my country to be united in a secular fabric. But now, this country is being polarised due to religious affiliations. We should fight against it,” he added.Cleemis’ remarks comes a week after carol singers in a village near Satna in Madhya Pradesh were detained following Bajrang Dal activists alleging they were indulging in forced conversions.Also readCarol singers and priests detained in MP: Bajrang Dal claims forced conversation, Catholic organisations fumeCleemis led a delegation of the CBCI, which met Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday to express their “pain and anguish and seek justice”. Cleemis said Singh’s “spontaneous response” was positive and he assured immediate action. “He said he will see to it that justice is done. I hope he will do his best,” he said, adding that the allegations of forced conversion were baseless.He wanted the government to “decide serious measures to safeguard the interest of citizens. “Make sure that innocent people are treated properly and given protection. The culprits should be punished for their bad acts and for damaging the image of the country. We should stay together, united in diversity,” he said, while speaking to the daily.

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2G scam verdict: A Raja writes to Karunanidhi; says he places verdict at DMK chief’s feet

Former telecom minister and DMK leader A Raja on Friday wrote an emotional letter to party chief M Karunanidhi, a day after a special CBI court acquitted him in the 2G scam citing lack of evidence.”I place the 2G verdict on your feet with gratitude. I’m waiting to hear your words,” Raja said in the letter. He also alleged that the spectrum attack has tainted the DMK’s ideological movement and questioned, “Who will punish those who tainted your 80 year public life?”According to a WION report, Raja further said that as a minister in the UPA government, which was in power at the Centre when the spectrum scam happened, he gave 59 crore mobile connections against the 60 crore target set before 2012. “A shame that even UPA govt couldn’t realise it was trapped in the plot to bring it down,” Raja said in his letter.Also read2G spectrum case verdict helps boost morale of resurgent DMK in Tamil NaduThe spectrum cartel was broken to pave way for the WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter revolution, he alleged.Special court judge OP Saini, while pronouncing the verdict on Thursday, acquitted all the 17 accused including A Raja and Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi. The judge noted that the prosecution has “miserably failed to prove any charge.”Also read2G scam verdict: DMK and allies welcome verdict, AIADMK favours appeal in caseShortly after the verdict was announced, Raja said that his faith in the nations’ justice was validated.”My firm belief in the rightfulness of my actions as well as my faith in our nation’s justice system has been validated today,” he said.He said he had felt vindicated all along the case and added that results of his actions had benefitted the people.Raja also said that the matter was all cooked up. He claimed that the judge acquitted him because the prosecution case was false.Raja, surrounded by family, had wept in court after the verdict.

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Huge sigh of relief rocks the courtroom

The area surrounding the courtroom where Special Judge OP Saini was going to deliver his verdict in the 2G scam case was packed with family members, friends and supporters of the 17 accused.Even as former Telecom Minister A Raja’s supporters attempted to squeeze past the heavily guarded entryway, a loud roar from the interior momentarily stopped time. Confusion turned to happiness when advocates led by Vijay Agarwal — he represents Kareem Moranis — among a few others representing the accused, rushed out in the crowd shouting “acquitted, acquitted, acquitted” at the top of their voices.Similarly, the mood inside the courtroom shifted in a fraction once the judge pronounced his verdict. An uproar and huge sigh of relief rocked the courtroom as all the 17 accused, including former Telecom Minister A Raja and DMK leader and MP Kanimozhi, jumped on their toes moments later.Roars of “thank you” reverberated the jam-packed courtroom at Central Delhi’s Patiala House Court as Kanimozhi bowed down before the judge to express her gratitude. Raja, dressed in a white shirt, quickly climbed atop a chair once outside the courtroom and acknowledged the frenzied crowd waiting for him.Scenes of emotional outpouring of happiness could be spotted in various clusters across the court complex even as DB group founder, Shahid Balwa, broke down in the court.Not long after the verdict was known, fireworks were heard across the din of people congratulating each other, prompting the special judge to inquire about the cause of the commotion.And suddenly just like that, it was all over. After seven years, the 2G scam, which was touted as the 2nd biggest scam in the world by the Times Magazine after the 1972 Watergate Scandal which led to the resignation of US President Richard Nixon, came to an end.It seemed all the worry and apprehension that plagued the accused and their kin melted and happy smiling faces were found to be seen all around.All the prayers came to fruition, some were even found chanting and praying with rosaries inside the courtroom when the curtains fell after the brief 27-minute court proceedings. During this time the Special CBI Judge came to the bench thrice to deliver the verdict in the three separate cases registered.”Giving the record of the case, it is a very brief judgment that I have given,” Special Judge Saini said presenting the 1,552-paged judgment. He first announced the verdict in two cases, one each of CBI and Enforcement Directorate, followed by the last case pertaining to Essar.Speaking to DNA, Kanimozhi said, “Finally I got justice. I am innocent. I have been saying so from the first day.” Meanwhile, Raja could not contain his excitement and happiness as he received wishes from all corners.Karim Morani, who was accompanied by his wife, daughters and two brothers said that justice has prevailed. RK Chandolia’s family members and Raja’s erstwhile private secretary also expressed their happiness on the verdict.”It was not a 2G scam but a 2G revolution that A Raja had brought. We have finally got justice and our stand has been vindicated,” Harsha, Chandolia’s daughter said.Touted as 2nd biggest scamThe 2G scam, which was touted as the 2nd biggest scam in the world by the Times Magazine after the 1972 Watergate Scandal which led to the resignation of US President Richard Nixon.

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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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Lok Sabha clears Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill

Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill which looks at making changes in regulations on compensation payable for acquisition of immovable property by the Centre for defence and security purposes.The bill was moved by Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, who informed the house that the bill was being amended for the 12th time and was tabled for a specific purpose.The bill seeks to amend Section 7 of The Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act, 1952 to allow the Central government to re-issue the notice to the owner or such other person interested in the property so that the property’s owner gets an opportunity to be heard.As per the statement of objects and reasons of the bill there have been instances of where people interested in the requisitioned property have challenged the notice of acquisition on the ground that it has been published without giving them a personal hearing.”This may cause astronomical hike in the quantum of compensation because of the inevitable appreciation of the market value of the property between the original date of publication of notice of acquisition and the present date of publication of the same, pursuant to the orders of the courts,”it states. Speaking at the debate, Puri clarified that the government does not intend to open up cases where the compensation has already been provided.”Sometimes the enemy does not trouble (the civilians), but these (defence) officials do. The Bill will help get justice to those whose land has been taken,” BJP MP Gopal Shetty said.CPI(M) leader Mohammad Salim accused the government of trying to bring in legislations for land acquisition at a time when the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015 was under consideration of the joint parliamentary committee.The bill was first introduced in Lok Sabha in July this year.

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Cow protection: NGT directs Centre to file affidavit

The National Green Tribunal on Wednesday directed the Ministry of Agriculture to file an affidavit stating details of the minutes of a meeting held to frame a national policy to prevent the “rapid decline” in population of indigenous breeds of cattle across the country.A bench headed by Acting Chairperson Justice U D Salvi also asked the other stakeholders in the case to place on record their views along with all the material concerned within two weeks.During the hearing, advocate Sumeer Sodhi, the counsel for petitioner Ashwini Kumar, said that applicant, who was allowed by the tribunal to attend the meeting, did not participate in it and, therefore, he would like to submit his response on the livestock policy.The matter will now be heard on February 1.The NGT had earlier directed the governments of West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura to participate in the meeting to frame a national policy.The green panel had earlier directed the environment ministry and the Department of Animal Husbandry, which falls under the agriculture ministry, to hold a meeting with all the states and Union territories and come out with a common policy on the issue.It had noted that there was a nearly 80 per cent decline in the animal population in Kerala from 2003 to 2012 and claimed such a situation might lead to the extinction of the species in the state.The tribunal was hearing a plea against the “looming threat of extinction of indigenous breeds of cattle” in the country.It had issued a notice to the agriculture ministry on the petition which has also sought a nationwide ban on slaughter of cattle belonging to the indigenous breeds.It has said that Indian varities of cattle were being replaced by exotic and cross-bred cows imported from Europe, Australia and the United States.

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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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No grievance against anyone: NGT chief

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has been supportive and has cooperated with the National Green Tribunal (NGT), outgoing Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said on Tuesday. Justice Kumar was the chairperson of the Tribunal from December 2012, and passed landmark orders on cleaning of Ganga, Yamuna, Delhi’s air pollution, and coal mining in Meghalaya. He was appointed as a Supreme Court judge in December 2009, and he served as the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court before that.His last day in the Tribunal witnessed a full-bench reference that was followed by a small function, attended by lawyers of the NGT Bar Association, as well as the Tribunal’s staff and law students. Justice Kumar said that NGT, as an institution, has been able to leave international impact and that it became a star on the international map.”We have been able to give inexpensive and expeditious justice. We have been able to bring the disposal rate to 182 per cent and cases are disposed off within the same year or within two years. I feel very satisfied about these contributions,” Justice Kumar said.He added that the Tribunal has been able to create environmental consciousness and awareness among the public, which he said, was the one of its biggest contributions.Justice Kumar’s retirement comes at a time when the NGT is facing a sort of a manpower crisis. Out of its sanctioned strength of 20 members, the NGT currently has just seven members, of which five are judicial members and two are expert members. The shortfall in manpower has led to reduction in hearings, impacting its healthy record of disposal of cases.According to official data, out of the 23,720 cases filed before it, 20696 cases have been successfully disposed, leaving a pendency of 3024 cases. Justice Kumar played down the vacancies and said that it is only a matter of time before they are appointed.He added that the NGT has stepped in when development was done in violation of laws in force. “Laws have been framed by the legislators, notifications are issued by the government, so all we say is please adhere to them, don’t bypass them.Wherever they are bypassed we certainly come in the picture, but wherever they are doing development in consonance with laws, we definitely let the development happen.”Outgoing ChiefJustice Swatanter Kumar was appointed as the chairperson of the National Green Tribunal in December 2012.His retired from the post on Tuesday.

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3 years on, no third gender students in Delhi University’s regular classes

When the Delhi University (DU) decided to add the third gender category in its admission forms for undergraduate courses in 2015, the move was hailed by everyone, especially the transgender students. Three academic sessions down the line, however, not even a single student has enrolled in regular colleges under the category across the university.According to the University’s Department of Adult, Continuing Education, and Extension, no third-gender applicants have joined regular colleges in undergraduate courses as of now. The department had recently written to all colleges to seek related information.The university, however, witnessed a five-fold increase in the number of applications (83) received under the third-gender category, as compared to last year’s 15. “Every year, we receive applications from third gender students, but no one joins regular college. Most prefer DU’s School of Open Learning (SOL)” said Professor Rajesh, a faculty member at the Department.As per a recent research conducted by students on the issue, even if some third gender students study at regular colleges, they are not comfortable revealing their identity. “We came to know that some transgender students attend regular classes but they chose not to take admission under the third gender category,” said Aslam, a PhD scholar.When DNA contacted several third gender students pursuing education through distance learning, humiliation and hesitation emerged as the main reasons behind not opting for regular education. “It’s very difficult for us to attend regular classes. Neither students nor teachers are sensitive about our issues and problems,” said Rehana, 27, a transgender who recently completed her BA (programme) from SOL.Talking about her experience during the weekly SOL classes, she said: “I left attending classes there after facing lewd comments from students. Several other transgender students were also there, but none of them attended classes,” said Rehana, who is now planning to pursue masters from distance learning.Officials at the university, however, claimed that they have a “healthy” atmosphere for such students at their campuses. “We regularly organise interactive sessions to encourage more third gender students to join mainstream education. But more sensitisation is required. We need to take collective responsibility to bridge this gap,” said Anju Srivastava, principal of the Hindu College.Students, however, claimed that the university’s policy regarding name change was yet another hurdle for the third gender students. “I have been requesting the varsity to change my name in my marksheet and certificate for the last three years but to no avail. They say it needs to be changed in school,” said Akansha, a third-year BA (prog) student at SOL. “I became aware of my identity after I finished school,” she added.Recently, a transgender student had moved the Delhi High Court, challenging the DU and the CBSE over their policies on name change. According to the CBSE policy, her lawyer explained, a student has to change his/her name before the results are declared by the board.Experts, however, said an inclusive atmosphere was needed to bring these students to the mainstream right from the school level. “We need to bring attitudinal changes among these students and other stake holders from the very start. It can’t be done at graduation level,” said Professor Rajesh, who has also submitted a report on the issues of transgenders in education and employment to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.THE DISCOMFORTAs per a recent research conducted by students, even if some third gender students study at regular colleges, they are not comfortable revealing their identity. Officials claim that they have a “healthy” atmosphere at their campuses

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Centre drafting rules for artworks at airports

The Modi government is in the process of drafting a policy on installation of statues and portraits of prominent dignitaries and persons at airports of India, a reply to an RTI query has revealed.In its reply to Aneesh Bhanot, the civil aviation ministry said it is in the process of framing a policy on installation of statues and portraits at airports, and that no such installations will be undertaken until it is finalised.Aneesh is the brother of Ashoka Chakra awardee Neerja Bhanot, who sacrificed her life trying to save passengers in the hijacked Pan Am flight 73 in Karachi in September 1986.The ministry of civil aviation conferred an honour on Neerja posthumously on February 18, 2010 in New Delhi at the launch of the celebrations of the centenary of Indian aviation.Aneesh has also written to civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju requesting that Neerja’s statue be displayed at prominent places in airports of the country with a plaque which would inspire Indian and foreign passengers.”That the world recognized her immense bravery and sacrifice is obvious from the fact that she was conferred the Ashoka Chakra by India and she became the first woman recipient of the Ashoka Chakra,” the letter mentioned, highlighting other awards received by her, including Tamga-E-Insaniyat by Pakistan, awards of ‘Special Courage’ and ‘Justice for Crimes’,” he wrote.RTI RESPONSENo art installations will be undertaken until the Civil Aviation Ministry frames a policy on it. This was revealed in reply to an RTI query by Ashoka Chakra awardee Neerja’ Bhanot’s brother.

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Mumbai: TISS conference on disability marks year of new Act

The completion of a year since the Rights for Person with Disability (RPWD) Act was passed in the Parliament was marked by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences’ Centre for Disability Studies and Action with a national conference on disability, accessibility, inclusion and wellbeing at the Mumbai campus.Justice AK Sikri, of the Supreme Court who has given several landmark judgments on disability in cases like Jeeja Ghosh Vs Spice Jet and Sandeep Khanuja Vs. Atul Dande was the chief guest at the conference where Director Ministry of Social Justice and Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disability KVS Rao was also present.Rao spoke about the concerns on implementation of the Act 2016. “The government will soon release the Unique Disability Identity Card and ‘it will reduce the pains of person with disability regarding getting the Disability Certificate and its one stop scheme to provide all schemes under one card.”Senior Consultant of UDID Scheme Gaurav Gupta said: “Most relevant in availing facilities under one card including aids and appliances or pension and give hope to persons with disability”.The WHO national professional officer -Universal Health Coverage Dr Chandrakant Lahariya, stated that disability is not a mainstream agenda for them, but due to this conference he analysed few key schemes on disability under Universal Health Coverage . He presented two schemes Niramaya Scheme and Pension Scheme and highlighted: “Only 0.02% is the coverage of the beneficiary population of persons with dibsability out of 3% population, where its supposed to reach. So the disability schemes reaches less than 0.02%”The state programme officer of the Norway-India initiative Dr Dipak Ganvir who is in-charge of the new born project spoke about early intervention of neonates born with defects and also made a presentation on sickle cell anemia/disease which is one of disability under 21 categories of RPWD Act 2016. He suggested “an urgent need for training of government officials in tribal areas of Maharashtra on designing special prevention and treatment programmes on sickle cell anemia a genetic condition found in central Maharashtra Melghat region” due severe deaths of children, life threatening and extreme pain conditions of youth.Dr Vaishali Kolhe, Chairperson of Centre for Disability Studies and Action which organised this conference called the two-day conference historical since it was inaugurated by the Supreme Court Justice AK Sirki who gave landmark judgments on disability just before coming to the conference. “This conference aimed to bring best practices in the disability sector and re-imagining disability in the context of the current legislation and policy framework to design needs based intervention with rights-based approach for people with disabilities,” she said.A Journal of Disability Studies and Policy Research was also released on December 17, 2017 in presence of TISS director Prof S Parasuraman and Dean School of Social Work Prof Manish Jha with Dr Vaishali Kolhe Chairperson and Editorial board member. The inaugural theme is ‘Critical Analysis of Current Disability Laws, Policies and Accessibility.’ This first-of-its-kind journal aims to significantly look at how law can disable if not interpreted in the right context. This journal also brings the policy highlights in terms of inclusive education and UNCRPD context and implementation of new act RPWD Act 2016.

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Congress vanquished but valiant

Though Congress has lost Gujarat election, the party has got a new stalwart and an impressive poll manager in the form of AICC general secretary and state in-charge Ashok Gehlot. He masterminded the campaign under the leadership of AICC president Rahul Gandhi to give a tough fight to the BJP in its fortress. Going by what unfolded in Gujarat, the Congress is likely to reap benefits of the same in the upcoming Assembly polls in Rajasthan next year and Gehlot could be seen doning the role of Sarathi of Gandhi as well.The appointment of Gehlot as party in-charge of Gujarat campaign gave rise to speculation that he is being shunted out of state politics. A group within the party even started claiming that he has been given a charge of a losing cause as PM Modi is invincible in Gujarat. As BJP’s victory in Gujarat was a forgone conclusion, many believed it will bring down curtains on Gehlot’s political career. Moving Gehlot to Gujarat was also seen by many as clearing the field for PCC chief Sachin Pilot to take reign of the party. “Creating alliances and support base on caste lines in a state was a key move. The Congress had on its side Patidar leader Hardik Patel, OBC community leader Alpesh Thakor as it ally and support from Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani. Gehlot played a major role bringing these leaders on same platform which definitely worked to improve tally of the party. He could be seen in a greater role in the party soon,” said a senior Congress leader reacting to the results. Gehlot worked tirelessly with Gandhi and during this campaign a new chemistry was developed between the two. Although BJP retained power in Gujarat, it will not be seen as a debacle of Gehlot’s campaign because BJP could not cross the hundred mark while Congress increased its tally unlike Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.Ashok Gehlot’s performance in Gujarat will have an impact in his home state Rajasthan, which set to go for polls in 2018. BJP basks in victoryThe BJP state headquarters broke into celebration after BJP’s victory in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections on Monday. The party workers were seen dancing, bursting crackers and exchanging sweets. BJP leaders, including BJP state president Ashok Parnami, social justice and empowerment minister Arun Chaturvedi, minister of rural development and Panchayati Raj Rajendra Rathore also reached the state headquarters and congratulated the party workers. Parnami said that the hardwork put in by PM Modi and national president Amit Shah is reflecting in the victory registered in Gujarat and HP. “The BJP government has been in Gujarat for 22 years. There have been no riots in Gujarat for 22 years and the public likes development and peace,” Parnami said. While commenting on the statement of the former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot on EVMs, Parnami said that Gehlot should have faith in democracy.

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BookMyShow doesn’t have sole right over ‘bookmy’, rules Delhi HC

There is no straightforward process to determine whether a phrase is invented or descriptive, the Delhi High Court observed while dismissing a plea filed by online ticketing platform BookMyShow which sought a permanent injunction against another online portal BookMySports from using the terminology/phrase ‘bookmy’ on December 13.Big Tree Entertainment, the company that owns BookMyShow.com filed an appeal against BookMySport suggesting that the prefix ‘bookmy’ was distinctively associated with their website, and added that the defendant BookMySport was attempting to exploit the goodwill and reputation.Referring to a Supreme Court judgment, Justice Mukta Gupta observed that phrases or words that are descriptive of an industry cannot be distinctive to a particular brand.”The question of whether a phrase is descriptive or invented was considered in great depth by the Supreme Court in 1994 Supp (3) SCC 215 JR Kapoor vs Micronix India, and it was held that a word which is descriptive of the industry or market in which the concerned party operates cannot be deemed to be invented,” Justice Gupta observed.Justice Gupta added a brand name cannot claim exclusivity or monopoly over a term which is descriptive of an activity in an industry.SC OBSERVATIONThe Supreme Court in 1994 Supp (3) SCC 215 JR Kapoor vs Micronix India held that a word, descriptive of the industry, in which the concerned party operates cannot be deemed to be invented

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Prisoners need better medical aid

Lack of proper medical facilities and vacancies in the Central Jail hospital at Asia’s largest prison, housing more than 15,000 prisoners, came under the scanner of the Delhi High Court as it issued a slew of measures for the authorities.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar also expressed shock at the huge number of vacancies at the Central Jail Hospital located in Jail number 3 and the dispensaries in the prison complex.The court noted that the lack of medical facilities in the jail not only causes prejudice to poor prisoners but also affect the exchequers of the government as rich inmates are taken to private hospital for treatment.The bench said that the treatments “creates differences and also acquire a lot of cost on the public exchequer” adding that “private treatment adds to the already over-stressed machinery of Tihar”.”The prisoners have to wait for long, travel long distances and sometimes even wait for the court orders to get treated which may itself cause prejudice to the prisoners,” the court said.During the proceedings, Advocate Sumer Singh Sethi, appointed as an amicus to assist the court in a matter related to the inhumane conditions in prisons, highlighted the need for counsellors for the mental well-being of the inmates.The 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. The court was also told that there are 108 sanctioned posts for paramedical staff and 92 of them are physically filled.”A shocking state of affairs has come up regarding the vacancies in absence of medical representatives in Central Jail Complex, Tihar Jail no 3,” the court said.

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Mamata Banerjee: BJP has suffered a moral defeat

‘I congratulate Gujarat voters for their very balanced verdict at this hour. It is a temporary and face-saving win, but it shows a moral defeat for BJP. Gujarat voted against atrocities, anxiety and injustice caused to the common people,” she tweeted.”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByArshad Ali <!–end of artlbotbor–>Tuesday 19 December 2017 2:43 ISTMust read’FRDI Bill will take away people’s bank deposits’: Mamata writes to Jaitley for immediate withdrawalForget sharing your data with banks, in Goa you need to share Aadhaar for paid sex<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>After the Assembly election result for Gujarat was out on Monday, with BJP registering its sixth consecutive victory, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee congratulated the people of Gujarat for a ‘balanced verdict’ and at the same time termed it as a ‘temporary and face-saving victory.’<!– /11440465/DNA_Mobile_Article_300x250_BTF_1 –>‘I congratulate Gujarat voters for their very balanced verdict at this hour. It is a temporary and face-saving win, but it shows a moral defeat for BJP. Gujarat voted against atrocities, anxiety and injustice caused to the common people,” she tweeted.

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Himachal Elections 2017: BJP wins close to two-third majority, several top leaders including Dhumal defeated

Even as several top leaders of both the Congress and the BJP, including its chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal, today faced humiliating defeats in the Himachal Pradesh assembly polls, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh managed to register a win, albeit with a slim margin.The Congress was reduced to just 21 seats in the 68-seat HP assembly although Singh won from the Arki constituency with a margin of 6,024 votes against the BJP’s Rattan Singh Pal. Virbhadra’s son, Vikramaditya Singh, also won in his maiden attempt from the Shimla rural constituency, which was earlier represented by the outgoing chief minister. Former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal conceded defeat to his Congress rival Rajinder Singh Rana in the contest for the Sujanpur Assembly seat.The BJP’s Inder Singh Gandhi defeated Congress cabinet minister Prakash Chaudhary in the Balh constituency. Senior-most minister Kaul Singh of the Congress lost the polls from Drang and his daughter Champa Thakur suffered defeat at the hands of the BJP’s Anil Sharma in Mandi. State BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti lost to Satpal Singh Raizada of the Congress from the Una constituency seat. In Dharmshala constituency, Urban Development Minister Sudhir Sharma was defeated by ex-BJP minister Kishan Kapoor with a margin of 2,820 votes. In Bharmour constituency, Forest Minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri lost to Jia Lal of the BJP by 6,873 votes.In Dehra Constituency of Kangra, BJP leader Ravinder Ravi and Congress veteran Viplove Thakur were defeated by Independent candidate Hoshiar Singh. In Solan, the Congress’s sitting MLA and Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment D R Shandil defeated his son- in-law and first timer Rajesh Kashyap of the BJP by 971 votes. Health and Family Welfare Minister Kaul Singh Thakur lost his seat in Darang to the BJP’s Jawahar Thakur by a margin of around 2,000 votes. Arun Kumar of the BJP defeated G S Bali, the Food and Civil Supplies Minister, in Nagrota Bagwan constituency.

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You are unable to clear garbage, what education will you impart: HC raps Delhi govt, MCD

What kind of education will you impart, if you are unable to remove garbage from your schools — the Delhi High Court today asked the AAP government and the municipal corporations in the national capital.”It cannot be denied that the liability for collection, removal and disposal of garbage rests on the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, which exercises its functions under the MCD Act,” a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal said.The bench, also comprising Justice C Hari Shankar, further chided the civic bodies, saying they were “hopelessly unable to do their duty”.”Cleanliness, maintenance of hygiene in the city are your prime duties. If you are not able to do it, what kind of education will you impart? It is sad that you are not able to remove garbage from your schools,” the bench observed.”The point is inability,” the bench said and asked the counsel of the Delhi government and the three MCDs if it was not their duty.The bench directed the authorities to file their replies as regards removal of garbage generated in the schools run by the Delhi government as well as the MCDs and fixed the matter for April 23 next year.The directions of the court came during the hearing of a plea filed by an NGO, Justice for All, through its counsel Khagesh Jha, who urged the court to direct the authorities to make appropriate arrangements for daily collection and disposal of garbage from the premises of these schools.The petition claimed that multiple agencies in Delhi were busy shifting the blame on each other and that there was no coordination between these agencies as regards improving the infrastructure for the students.The petition also dealt with the “poor” condition of toilets in these schools.

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Yamuna: NGT directs Delhi Jal Board to submit plan on drains in 2 weeks

The National Green Tribunal on Monday directed the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) to submit a complete action plan with regard to the drains in the second phase of the Yamuna cleaning project and ensure that no effluent or waste enters the river.A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed the DJB to submit the plan with regard to the six drains to the principal committee, formed by NGT, within two weeks.The green panel directed the principal committee to hold a meeting to examine the action plan and submit a final plan to the tribunal within two months from Monday.The six drains are — Kalkaji, Tehkhand, Maharani Bagh, Qudsia Bagh and Mori gate, Barapulla and Shahdara drain.The meeting scheduled to be held on January 8, 2018 would be attended by senior officials of the National Mission for Clean Ganga, Delhi government, DJB and Delhi Development Authority.It also directed the principal committee, headed by secretary of Ministry of Water Resources, to submit a time- bound plan for laying of sewer networks and installation of sewage treatment plants in the national capital.The matter will now be heard on February 12.The tribunal had earlier noted that work on the Phase-I of the cleaning, christened as ‘Maily Se Nirmal Yamuna’ Revitalisation Project, was already in progress and it would now monitor the work of the next stage.The Phase-I of the clean Yamuna project aims to lower the pollution levels in the Najafgarh and Delhi Gate drains, while Phase-II deals with Shahdara, Barapullah and other drains.The directions came while monitoring the implementation of its ‘Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project’.

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15-year-old rape survivor moves Delhi HC seeking permission to abort 26-week pregnancy

A 15-year-old rape survivor moved the Delhi High court on Monday seeking to terminate her over 26-week pregnancy after the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) refused to conduct the abortion of the minor.A bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice PS Teji sought a reply from the Centre and the Delhi government following the plea. It also directed the officials of AIIMS to present before the court the medical opinion rendered by them.The bench also directed that since the co-ordinate bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice I S Mehta has been dealing with this matter, so it be listed before the concerned bench after taking orders from the Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal.Also readBombay High Court allows 26-weeks minor rape survivor to terminate pregnancyThe matter came up for hearing after it was urgently mentioned in the court. According to the plea filed through her father, the minor sought urgent directions to allow her to medically terminate her pregnancy.The plea, filed through advocate Kamlesh Kumar Mishra, said the victim was missing since March 31 after she left home following an altercation with her mother. An FIR in this regard was lodged on April 1 at the Sarita Vihar police station. A habeas corpus petition was filed on November 21 following which she was recovered on November 26.Also read12-year-old rape survivor delivers baby after abortion denied by Madhya Pradesh High CourtThe accused was arrested a day later on November 27 from Narora village, district Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh.The plea alleged that the police’s version of the minor eloping with the accused is false. On the account of the ordeals as narrated to her parents, the plea said that she was taken away by a woman who further sold her off to a family in Etah, Uttar Pradesh allegedly to be married off to a handicapped person. A fake court marriage was conducted following which she was made to live with the family.Also readSupreme Court allows 13-year-old rape survivor to abort pregnancyOn her recovery, the minor had refused to go with her parents following which she was sent to Prayas Juvenile Home. However, her parents were allowed to meet her. A few days later, she visited her parents and expressed her desire to terminate the pregnancy.On December 8, the Child Welfare Committee (South East District) recorded that the child is pregnant and wants to terminate her pregnancy and therefore referred her to AIIMS. However, it was informed to her on December 15 that she is not allowed to terminate the pregnancy.“The petitioner is before this Hon’ble court not only to seek an order directing termination of her own pregnancy but to pass a specific guideline with regard to the termination of pregnancy of any rape survivor specifically if minor whatever may be the age of the foetus,” the plea stated.

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Delhi HC dismisses plea for ‘shaheed’ status to Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru

The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed a petition seeking that freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru be given the status of martyr, saying it cannot issue such a direction.”The plea is dismissed. We cannot issue such a direction,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said.The petitioner failed to reply to the court’s query on whether there is any law under which the court has the power to issue any such direction.The plea filed by advocate Birender Sangwan sought grant of ‘shaheed’ (martyr) status to Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru who were hanged by the Britishers in 1931.”The grant of shaheed status is very much essential for a martyr and it is the legal right of a martyr to have such a status declared to them, thus it is an expression of gratitude towards them,” the plea said.Bhagat Singh and Rajguru had in 1928 fatally shot a British junior police officer, John Saunders at Lahore in present day Pakistan, mistaking him for a British police superintendent.A special tribunal was constituted by Lord Irwin, the then Viceroy of India, which had sentenced the duo along with Sukhdev to death by hanging at Lahore Jail.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: It is a face-saving win but moral defeat for BJP in Gujarat, says Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said it was a moral defeat for the BJP in Gujarat and the people of the state have “belled the cat for 2019”.Congratulating the people of Gujarat for their “very balanced verdict at this hour”, Banerjee said it was a face- saving win for the ruling party.”It is a temporary and face-saving win, but it shows a moral defeat for BJP. Gujarat voted against atrocities, anxiety and injustice caused to the common people. Gujarat belled the cat for 2019,” Banerjee tweeted.The TMC chief had recently hailed Congress president Rahul Gandhi for “putting the BJP on the backfoot”.

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Gujarat Election Results: Did NOTA cost Congress the state?

The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) will end up forming the government for the sixth term, but in some constituencies the elections saw NOTA as a key player.NOTA or None of The Above is exercised by a voter when s/he does not wish to choose any of the candidates on the ballot.The vote share of NOTA stands at 1.8%, higher than that of parties such as the BSP and the NCP. In essence, if NOTA was a party, it would have been the third most polled beside Congress and BJP. In all, 5,40,566 NOTA votes were recorded in Gujarat, the Election Commission shared on its website. According to the constitutional body, 1.8% of the voters didn’t vote for any party. BJP so far has won 49% of the vote, while the Congress has won 41% of the vote.But the question arises: given how close this election has turned out to be, has the NOTA votes cost the Congress? Data suggests that the margin of victory for the BJP was less than 10% in 33 constituencies. Porbunder was one of the seats that witnessed this. The winning margin of the BJP’s Babubhai Bokhriya is 1,855, while NOTA received 3,433 votes. There are 15 seats where the difference between winner and loser is less than 1000 votes. Also readGujarat Elections 2017: No longer a cakewalk for BJP in 2019 LS poll, says TRS leaderThus it can well be said NOTA and the fact that Gujarat witnessed a sharp drop in voting, finally helped BJP bunk the anti-incumbency trend. Interestingly, the Supreme Court said that a re-election was out of the question if NOTA was ever a majority in a general, assembly or civic election. The landmark judgment that was passed last month debunked a petition and said that conducting polls was an expensive exercise.Also read5 reasons why BJP managed to win Gujarat for consecutive 6th timeA bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra further observed that to entertain the plea, the court would have to declare that a candidate should compulsorily get 51 per cent of the votes to be declared winner.The top court termed the suggestion “unworkable” and said, “we cannot destroy our democracy just like that… holding an election in our country is a very serious and expensive business. Today we cannot say that unless a person gets 51 per cent of votes, he cannot be declared elected.”

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Bombay HC rejects bail plea of driver in bus accident that killed 37 on Mumbai-Goa highway

The Bombay High Court has rejected the bail plea of the driver of a luxury bus that plunged into a river off the Mumbai-Goa highway four years ago, killing 37 passengers and injuring 15 others.The driver, Santaji Kirdat, was convicted on charges of rash driving, negligence, and culpable homicide not amounting to murder and given 10 years in jail by a trial court earlier this year.Kirdat had filed a plea in the HC challenging his conviction and demanding that his sentence be suspended and he be released on bail till the appeal was decided.Justice AM Badar, who heard the bail plea rejected it on Friday, observing that Kirdat had been speeding on a narrow stretch of a bridge at the time of the accident, and had knowingly put the lives of the passengers at risk.The incident occurred around 3 am on March 19, 2013. The luxury bus carrying 52 people, including Kirdat and a conductor, plunged into the Jagbudi river. 37 people including the conductor were killed in the accident.Also readHP bus accident: Rs 5 lakh, Rs 4 lakh for kin of victimsPolice in their probe found that the bus was coming from Mhapsa in Goa to Mumbai and Kirdat was speeding at the time of the incident.The tyre marks of the bus revealed that even though Kirdat had applied the brakes, he could not control the vehicle and it fell into the river after crashing through the barrier of the British era bridge over the river.Also readEight killed, 25 injured in West Bengal’s bus accidentThe police probe also found that the bridge was just 20 ft wide and several passengers had gone to the driver s cabin asking him to drive slowly.Kirdat denied the charges and claimed in court that he had had no knowledge or intention to cause the death of the passengers.Justice Badar however, rejected his argument saying, “Several passengers asked him (Kirdat) to slow down but he paid no heed to them. The road was only 20 feet wide. It cannot be inferred at this stage that the applicant/accused was not knowing condition of the road on the highway and he was not oblivious of the fact that the road/bridge is narrow.” “The time when the incident took place is also relevant.Any person of ordinary prudence would not dare to drive a passenger bus at such speed at a pe-dawn hour. Therefore, it cannot be said the applicant was not having knowledge of the act that he was committing by driving the bus at such high speed and risking the lives of so many people, ultimately causing their deaths,” Justice Badar said.

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Seize assets, use for nation: Abdul Karim Telgi’s wife

Abdul Karim Telgi’s wife, Shahida, wants the government to seize the deceased scamster’s assets and use them for the welfare of the nation. Telgi was the mastermind behind the multi-crore fake stamp paper scam; he passed away on 23 October 2017 due to multiple organ failure.On Saturday, Shahida submitted an application before the MCOCA court seeking directions to investigating agencies to seize all of Telgi’s properties. Telgi was arrested in 2001 and convicted of printing fake stamp papers in a government security press in Nashik. He was lodged in a Bengaluru jail when he died.Shahida also submitted a list of immovable properties which she claims have not yet been seized by investigating agencies. “Shahida is accused number 67 in the case,” her lawyer Milind Pawar said, “According to investigating agencies, Telgi used the money earned through the scam to purchase property, some of which was bought in Shahida’s name and in the name of other relatives.”He added, “Shahida wanted to bring them to the notice of the court, and therefore she submitted the application for their seizure.”Shahida mentioned in her application that it was Telgi’s dying wish that the properties he bought using money from the scam should be used for the benefit of the nation. “Shahida has submitted a list of immovable properties, out of which seven are in Belgaum and two are in Bijapur, Karnataka,” said Pawar.Shahida claims in her application that she is a god-fearing person and this motivated her to come clean about the properties so that justice is served. “Shahida, in her application, stated that she believes that every person has to repay his or her deeds and misdeeds on the earth itself and she wanted to stay away from any sin. Her faith in God and in the judicial system compelled her to inform to the court about Telgi’s unseized properties.”The next hearing of the case is scheduled on 3 February, 2018.

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Five years of Nirbhaya case: Mamata Banerjee calls for keeping society safe

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today urged people to resolve to keep the society safe, recalling the brutal gang-rape and murder of a paramedic student in Delhi five years back.”Remembering #Nirbhaya on the 5th anniversary of brutal Delhi incident. We cannot compensate her loss but let us resolve to keep our society safe,” Banerjee wrote on Twitter.The 23-year-old woman was gang-raped on December 16, 2012 in a moving bus in Delhi, and later died in hospital.Earlier in the day, Delhi Commission for Women Chief Swati Maliwal lamented the long-winding legal process allowed the criminals to feel they can get away with such henious crimes.She urged the prime minister to bring in a legislation wherein at least those convicted of raping minors are given death penalty within six months.Nirbhaya, a para-medical student, was brutally gang-raped on the intervening night of December 16, 2012, in a moving bus in South Delhi. The incident took place while she was returning with a friend after watching a movie.She died 13 days after the incident at a hospital in Singapore.Of the six men arrested in the case, one of the accused Ram Singh hanged himself in prison in March 2013, while another man, who was a juvenile at the time of the crime, was convicted in August. Last year, he was released from the correction home after serve the maximum sentence of three years in a reform home.The other four — Akshay, Vinay Sharma, Pawan and Mukesh — were found guilty and sentenced to death by the Delhi High Court in September 2013. The Supreme Court also upheld the high court’s decision.”It’s the fifth death anniversary of Nirbhaya incident and the fact is that nothing has changed in this country.Everyday girls and women are being brutally raped in this country,” she said.Maliwal also highlighted the need for having fast-track courts in the city so that rapists are punished forthwith.Also, there is a need to upgrade the delivery mechanism of the forensic department as well as the accountability of the police, she said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”The system has made the criminals confident enough to believe that they can get away with any crime perpetrated against a woman or a child.”It is very unfortunate that even Nirbhaya herself has not got justice in this country. Nirbhaya’s mother is still running from pillar to post in order to ensure that her beloved daughter can get justice,” Maliwal said.The DCW chief said that at least in case of rape of minor girls, there should be a law in this country in which such rapists should be punished and given death penalty within six months.She also made an appeal to the prime minister to constitute a high-level committee on women’s safety in Delhi, having the Union home minister, the lieutenant governor, the chief minister, the police commissioner and the DCW representatives as its members, to take effective decisions on issues of women’s safety.Drawing the prime minister’s attention to the Nirbhaya fund, which has remained unutilised till date, Maliwal urged him to devolve the fund immediately to the states failing which the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ programme will lose its relevance.

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Prosecute officials under whose tenure Hanuman idol was constructed: Delhi High Court

Showing displeasure on the allegedly illegally built 108-ft high Hanuman idol in Karol Bagh area yet again, the Delhi High court said on Friday that it will ask the CBI to investigate the construction of the statue and prosecute officials of DDA and municipal corporation during whose tenure it was constructed.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said that while it cannot go after individual unauthorised buildings, builders, or the “hapless people” who are buying them, “the time has come” to ensure that the authorities comply with the laws.”We propose to send it (the case) to the CBI,” the court said and asked the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the municipal corporation of the area to give the names of its officials who have been posted in the area since 1995, when the construction of the colossal statue started.The bench stated that the list of names sought were incomplete and unacceptable, thereby ordering to give the list by December, fixing it as the next date of hearing.The North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) filed an affidavit stating that it has taken action to remove some of the encroachments around the statue and commercial activity outside the temple has been stopped. But the court did not seem to be satisfied and said that the NDMC has withheld vital information about when the road and pavement adjacent to the statue came under its jurisdiction.During the proceedings, Delhi police informed the court that it was interrogating the trustees running the temple and was also looking into its source of funding. It was stated that the temple has an account, containing Rs 11 lakh, in a UCO Bank branch at Model Basti area along with a fixed deposit of Rs 40 lakh.They also added that these cannot be the only funds of the trust, whose sole source of earning is the temple which has been running from 1978. The statue, however, was built completely only in 2002.Appearing for the Delhi police, its counsel Satyakam said that the general manager of the UCO Bank was seeking 30-60 days to provide information about who all deposited cheques in the trust’s account.The bench, thereafter, directed the general manager of the bank to provide the information sought by the police at the earliest and not later than two weeks. The DDA and the corporation told the court that neither the temple nor the trust was paying any property tax to them.The court had ordered a police probe after a committee appointed by it in May this year to look into illegal constructions all over Delhi had pointed to encroachments of up to 1,170 square yards on the DDA land which forms part of the Southern Ridge.

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SC extends deadline for Aadhaar linking for all services

The deadline to link one’s Aadhaar for all services including bank accounts and mobile phones has been extended till March 31, 2018, the Supreme Court ordered on Friday.Existing Aadhaar cardholders will have to furnish their details to open new bank accounts. Those who are yet to receive their unique identification number will have time until March to complete the process. Non-Aadhaar cardholders can open new accounts provided they furnish proof of application for an Aadhar card.”Those who already have Aadhaar cannot go on open a new bank account without Aadhaar. If they have Aadhaar, they will have to furnish it to the bank,” a bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra clarified on Friday.”You see, there is no question of producing Aadhaar enrollment application for those who already possess Aadhaar cards,” Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, who authored the interim order for the five-judge constitution Bench, said.On Thursday, a five-judge constitution bench that included Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan heard several arguments against the Centre’s direction for mandatory linking of one’s Aadhaar to almost 139 welfare schemes.The top court will now hear every challenge to the constitutionality of the Aadhar in January.

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Cabinet approves bill making instant triple talaq criminal act

The Union Cabinet on Friday approved the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, outlawing instant triple talaq by making it a cognisable and non-bailable offence, which will now attract a jail term of three years.The Bill was prepared by an inter-ministerial committee comprising of chairperson home minister Rajnath Singh, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, finance minister Arun Jaitley, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and minister of state in the law ministry PP Chaudhary.The Supreme Court had in August, declared the practice of instant triple talaq as unconstitutional. In a five member-bench, while three judges termed the practice illegal and unconstitutional, two judges wanted to ban the practice for a period of six months till the time the government came up with a new legislation.AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi said that the government should explain how the law proposes to enforce imprisonment and provide maintenance at the same time. In a letter of protest, Owaisi said, “It is regrettable that a constitutional value as important as gender justice is being used to merely further cynical political goals.”

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Amit Shah makes his RS debut

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah began his parliamentary debut on Friday — the first day of Winter Session. Walking in just minutes before the proceedings began; he was greeted by treasury benches. The camaraderie conventionally attached to new entrants who are greeted across the aisle, however, was missing.After walking in, he was led to occupy a seat in the front row on the treasury bench side. This seat was earlier held by M Venkaiah Naidu, who was elected Vice-President during the last Monsoon Session. He is now the chairman of the Rajya Sabha.Shah was elected to the Upper House in August. Members of the treasury benches, including Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar and I&B Minister Smriti Irani, clapped to welcome Shah. BJP MPs stood up to welcome him as Shah greeted them.After he took the seat, some members from treasury benches walked up to him to greet him. The bitterness that has cropped between the treasury benches and the Opposition was palpable as no one from Opposition benches greeted Shah.A special seating arrangement has been made for Shah. He has been allotted the aisle seat right next to the two-seat bench shared by Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Normally, first time MPs are given back benches. The seating arrangement in the House also speaks about the clout of its members.Shah shares his bench with Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan and Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot. This front row block is next to bench allocated to AIADMK and TMC leaders, which were earlier occupied by Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), Ram Gopal Yadav (SP), rebel JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, and BSP’s Mayawati till the last session.In the new sitting arrangement now the JD-U members have been moved near treasury benches.

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Winter session of Parliament: Amit Shah gets royal welcome from BJP MPs on first day in Rajya Sabha

BJP president Amit Shah today made his parliamentary debut, occupying a front row seat in the Rajya Sabha on the opening day of the winter session.Shah, 53, who was elected to the Upper House of Parliament in August, walked in just minutes before the proceedings began. Members of the treasury benches, including several ministers, stood up to welcome him. Some thumped desks and others clapped as a smiling Shah greeted them with folded hands. He then went straight to his assigned seat in the front row.Shah has been allocated the aisle seat right next to the two-seat block were Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Prime Minister Narendra Modi sit. Rajya Sabha members sit in a semi-circle, facing the Chair. The semi-circle is divided into six blocks of seats separated by aisles. The ruling side is seated on the one side of the semi- circle and the principal opposition party, Congress on the other. Other parties including allies of the ruling party or those in the opposition occupy the middle blocks.Also readWatch: Pained by falsehood and canards spread by PM Modi, says Manmohan; Amit Shah hits back Jaitley and Modi have seats in the front row of the first block. Shah has been allotted the seat in the next block where he has the company of Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan and Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot. When Shah walked in ministers including Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha, HRD Minister Prakash Javedkar and I&B Minister Smriti Irani thumped and clapped to welcome him.After he was seated, some members walked up to him to greet him.Also readWinter Session of Parliament begins, Congress seeks PM Modi’s apology over Pakistan remarkThe seat allotted to Shah was previously occupied by M Venkaiah Naidu, who after being elected Vice President in August is now the Chairman of Rajya Sabha. The front row seats in the block next of his has AIADMK and TMC leaders.The seats in the next block used to be occupied by Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), Ram Gopal Yadav (SP), rebel JD-U leader Sharad Yadav and BSP’s Mayawati till the last session. However, with the CPI(M) deciding against giving Yechury a third term, his seat is now occupied by his fellow-comrade T K Rangarajan. While JD-U members have moved near treasury benches since Nitish Kumar broke ranks with Lalu Prasad’s RJD and joined the NDA, its rebel leader Sharad Yadav has been disqualified. The BSP supremo quit the Rajya Sabha in July, complaining that her voice was being muzzled. After her resignation, her seat has been given her confidante and BSP leader Satish Mishra

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Bombay HC asks BMC to process application to hold Mumbai Marathon

Good news for participants of Mumbai Marathon, the Bombay High Court, has asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to process the application by Procam International Private Limited, seeking permission to hold the Mumbai Marathon in January 2018, without demanding previous years’ dues.A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice M S Sonak by way of relief to the organizers directed the corporation to process their application following due process of law, without insisting for clearing of arrears.The organizers had approached to the court challenging the demand of Rs 2.74 crore made by the corporation, saying it cannot be made to pay for an entire month of advertisement fees etc, when the event is only for two days. Senior advocate Ram Apte, argued that corporation has resolved to charge for the month even for a single day. He cited the example of suburban railway pass, which has to be purchased for a month even if the passenger uses the service only few times a month.However, senior advocate Vineet Naik argued that the demand is not maintainable, and demand is illegal and arbitrary. He cited that the Chief Minister is the patron of the event and social messages for Swacch Bharat and Cancer awareness, during the event. However, Apte said the event is only for-profit event and the amount demanded is correct.The court after going through the pleadings noted that interim relief already granted will continue and the civic body should process the application for permission to hold the Mumbai Marathon, scheduled on January 21. It issued rule and posted the matter for hearing on January 10, 2018, in regard to the challenge.

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Shutting hospitals randomly not in public interest, will directly impact patients, says Ficci

Closing down hospitals “randomly” due to individual errors is not in the interest of the public and nation and will directly affect the health and well-being of patients undergoing treatment, Ficci said on Thursday, asking the the media and the government not to “pre-judge” in any case.Ficci’s stand comes against the backdrop of alleged medical negligence and overcharging by two private hospitals recently.While Fortis in Gurgaon came under a cloud because of the death of a 7-year-old girl from dengue and overcharging issues, a premature baby was wrongly declared dead by Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh in the national capital.”India is already grappling with extremely low bed density at 1.3 beds per 1,000 population, as compared to WHO recommendation of 3.5 beds. Hence, it is not in the interest of public and nation if hospitals are randomly shut down due to individual errors,” said the industry chamber.It observed that such a move will only widen the gap further and directly affect the health and well-being of patients undergoing treatment in hospitals.”Rational and appropriate action is necessary in case of negligence or failure of the healthcare system based on proper investigation, validation based on the principles of natural justice and not based on emotional outburst,” Ficci said.While the chamber did not name any particular hospital, it asserted that the Indian healthcare industry is concerned and worried over the recent onslaught of negativity generated following a few unfortunate cases.”While we fully support the legal and medico-legal actions that need to be taken against those found guilty by the Medical Council or by legal authorities, our request to the government and public is to give cognisance to the good work carried out by the private healthcare industry that is now being vilified,” Ficci said.It said the need of the hour is to bridge the widening trust deficit between the private healthcare providers and the government as also between the doctor and the patient.”Under the current scenario, expeditious implementation of Standard Treatment Guidelines, Electronic Health Records and Clinical Establishments Act across the country is imperative. The affordability aspect needs to be covered with increasing penetration of health insurance through social and private health insurance schemes,” said the chamber.Max Healthcare on Wednesday moved a “government authority” against the cancellation of licence of its hospital in Shalimar Bagh in north-west Delhi, even as it appealed to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) to “reconsider” its decision.

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No permission for commercial activity at Cross Maidan: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court came to the rescue of Mumbaikars on Wednesday on the issue of commercial activity at Cross Maidan. It has restrained the city collector and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation from issuing permits for commercial activity on the over 19,230 sq mts land without prior permission from the court. A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice M S Sonak gave the order while hearing a petition filed by Organization For Verdant Ambience And Land (oval) trust, which maintains Cross Maidan and the Oval Maidan. The two open spaces in Churchgate area are used by citizens for recreational purpose. Advocate Shreya Parikh, appearing for the trust, argued that by way of a Government Resolution (GR) issued on November 6, 2017, the ownership of the land has been transferred from the government to the BMC. Parikh said that Cross Maidan is a deemed recreational ground and no commercial activity can be allowed there. It was further pointed out that the Collector has, even after the issuance of the GR, granted permission to the French Consulate from December 5 to January 2, to use the ground. However, the court noted that since the order of the Collector is not under challenge, it cannot pass any orders against the organisers of the event. Moreover, since, by the issuance of the GR, the state is not in possession and cannot grant permission to third parties. Similarly, the corporation, which has not yet received possession of the ground, cannot issue permits to third parties. There cannot be a grant of any interim relief except that authorities will not grant permissions for any event after January 2, 2018. Posting the matter for further hearing on January 16, 2018, the court asked the state and corporation to file their detailed replies.THE ARGUMENTAdvocate Shreya Parikh, appearing for the trust, argued that by way of a GR, ownership of the land has been transferred from the government to the BMC. Parikh said that Cross Maidan is a deemed recreational ground and no commercial activity can be allowed there.

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Jaya’s niece Deepa tells panel her aunt may have been attacked

J Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar today told a one man panel probing the death of the late Chief Minister her aunt “may have been attacked.” She also wanted the panel to question the entire family of V K Sasikala.After her three hour deposition before the Justice A Arumughaswamy Commission of Inquiry here, Deepa said she submitted her apprehensions over the circumstances leading to the hospitalisation of Jayalalithaa.”I told the panel that there is no chance for her (Jayalalithaa) to get indisposed and get hospitalised (after attending work till nine pm). She may have been attacked,” she told reporters here.On September 22, 2016, Jayalalithaa was in good health and till nine pm that day, attended government work, Deepa, who shot to the limelight ahead of the death of the late leader last year, said.All employees at the former chief minister’s Poes Garden residence, including long time cook Rajamma, should be questioned, she said in her deposition.”I submitted details on the circumstances under which my aunt was admitted to the hospital,” she said and added that “all the family members of Sasikala should be questioned.” Sidelined AIADMK leader Sasikala, who was a close aide of Jayalalithaa, is now serving a four year prison term at Parappana Agrahara prison in Bengaluru in a disproprotionate assets case.Jayalalithaa was admitted to Apollo Hospital here on the night of September 22 last year and passed away on December five, 2016.Deepa also said a long time neighbour of Jayalalithaa apprised her that six persons not linked to the household were made to stay in the upscale residence.This aspect should be probed further, she told the panel and added that the neighbor wanted his identity protected.The Arumughaswamy Commission of Inquiry, constituted by the Tamil Nadu government to go into the circumstances leading to Jayalalithaa’s death,commenced it’s hearing on November 22.Several persons, including doctors, Madurai based DMK functionary P Saravanan have deposed before it so far.In September 2017, the Tamil Nadu government constituted the panel under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952.The panel’s terms of reference was to inquire into the circumstances and situation leading to the hospitalisation of Jayalalithaa (on September 22, 2016) and treatment provided till her demise on December five last year.The Commission had invited all those having “personal knowledge and direct acquaintance” in the matter to furnish information to it till today.Following Jayalalithaa’s death, suspicion over the circumstances leading to her demise were raised by several persons, including present Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and his followers.Then a rebel party leader, Panneerselvam and his followers had demanded a probe into her death, either a judicial inquiry or a CBI probe.After unification of the factions led by Chief Minister K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam, the government notified constituting the panel.The probe was a key precondition put forth by the Panneerselvam faction for merger.DMK President M K Stalin had batted for a CBI probe and also raised the issue during campaigning for the RK Nagar bypoll in April, which was subsequently cancelled following allegations of bribing of voters.The bypoll will now be held on December 21.

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After Centre and Bengal’s affidavit, Delhi HC disposes of Mukul Roy’s plea alleging phone tapping

The Delhi High Court today disposed of former TMC leader Mukul Roy’s plea alleging phone tapping, after the Centre and the West Bengal government said his numbers were not being intercepted.The order was passed by Justice Vibhu Bakhru after he perused the affidavits filed by the two governments. The court, however, gave Roy the liberty to approach it again if he finds any concrete evidence substantiating his allegations.Former Trinamool Congress MP, who has now joined the BJP, had sought a CBI probe into the alleged surveillance and tapping of his phone by the West Bengal police. Roy has alleged that while he was in West Bengal, he always found that the local police were monitoring his movements.Also readBiswa Bangla row: Mukul Roy summoned by court after Abhishek Banerjee files defamation caseThe plea has claimed that similar apprehensions were put on record by several other persons, including union minister and BJP leader Babul Supriyo.

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Aadhaar case: Five-judge SC Bench to hear matter tomorrow

The Supreme Court’s five-judge Constitution bench will hear a case in connection with mandatory linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile phone numbers on Thursday.Lawyer Shyam Divan, appearing for the petitioner, sought the apex court’s intervention for an urgent hearing seeking interim relief in the Aadhaar case.On Wednesday, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Justice Dipak Misra, after hearing the mentioning in the Aadhaar case, said, the apex court’s five-judge Constitution bench would hear the matter tomorrow at 2 pm.Earlier on October 30, the apex court referred all the Aadhaar related cases to a five-judge Constitution bench to be formed by the end of November.Till the time the court sets up the Constitution bench and passes orders, the government can continue to use Aadhaar for its various programmes.Earlier the court had tagged 22 cases to be heard by a smaller bench.The cases challenge several aspects of Aadhaar, including the use of data collected under the unique identification programme.

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Will prayer reach God if you pray on illegal property?

“Will prayer reach God if you pray on illegal property? What is the sanctity in that?”, the Delhi High court asked on Tuesday while dealing with encroachments around the 108-feet tall Hanuman statue in the Karol Bagh area of Central Delhi.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar made the remarks while hearing a host of matters relating to illegal constructions in the Karol Bagh area of the national capital. The bench directed the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC)’s additional commissioner to inspect all the buildings in Old Rajinder Nagar within a week from Tuesday.”No status report filed. Additional Commissioner of NDMC to physically inspect the building in Old Rajinder Nagar within one week from today,” the court said in its order.The bench also directed the additional commissioner”to place the details and records pertaining to the construction of the Link Road and the pavement on which the encroachments have come up”. The court’s direction came when the additional standing counsel of the Delhi government, advocate Satyakam, informed the court that one paw of the Hanuman Idol at Karol Bagh is on the pavement maintained by the Public Works Department (PWD) of the Delhi government and the rest on the land possessed by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).To this the court posed a query about the ownership and maintenance of the Hanuman idol to which it was informed that the idol is maintained by a trust run by one Om Prakash Giri and his father had started the trust in 1981. It was also said that the bank statements of the trust are being examined.”Who is maintaining the idol? Who is the owner of the trust? Where do they get the authority to maintain it,” the court asked as it expressed its displeasure on the ongoing commercial activities and illegal car parking in the area.The court also said that all the encroachments “will be dealt with,” thereby stating that it will prosecute the officers under whose tenure the encroachments had come up.

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