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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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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

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

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

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

Two weeks after showdown with Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Rajeev Dhawan retracts statements; to resume practice

Senior Supreme Court advocate Rajeev Dhawan has written to Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, retracting his statement that he would be giving up legal practice.The move comes two weeks after Dhawan said he would give up practice, following a showdown with Misra.Earlier, upset over a “humilitating” exchange in the Supreme Court between him and Misra during the hearing on Delhi Vs Centre on statehood case early this month, Dhavan, in a strong worded letter, had announced that he has given up court practice.In the letter, he said: “After the humiliating end to the Delhi (vs Centre) case, I have decided to give up court practice. You are entitled to take away the Senior Gown conferred on me, though I would like to keep it for memory and services rendered”.Two recent run-ins of Dhavan with the Chief Justice were widely reported in the media. During the Ayodhya case, Dhawan, Kapil Sibal, and Dushyant Dave pleaded that the Supreme Court defer hearing in the Babri-Ram Janambhoomi case until after the 2019 Lok Sabha election.Also read’After humiliating end to Delhi case,’ SC lawyer Rajeev Dhavan quits court practiceAccording to reports, Dhavan shouted at CJI Misra during the arguments. In another matter of Centre vs Delhi, Dhawan while representing the Arvind Kejriwal government, wanted to further a few more arguments even though Supreme Court had reserved its order in the case.After these two instances, CJI Misara said the trend of lawyers raising their voices showed their “inadequacy, incompetence and the fact that they are not even eligible to become seniors”.CJI Misra said: “If the Supreme Court Bar Association does not regulate such members, we will be forced to regulate them”.CJI further said: “When lawyers argue in a manner, not in tune with Constitutional language, we will tolerate it, but for how long? ”

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Lakshmi Villas to re-live its hotel glory

After being out-of-business for several months, the Lakshmi Villas is headed for a comeback in hotel industry. A public property for now, the Lakshmi Villas will once again be lost in private hands in the process.”It has been decided that the Lakshmi Villas will be auctioned for being developed in hotel, a good hotel,” said Urban Development, minister Shrichand Kriplani after a meeting at the department on Wednesday.The one time motor garage of erstwhile rulers of Jaipur, the building located in heart of Central Park had stood as a heritage hotel for decades till few months back, when the Jaipur Development Authority took its possession following orders of Supreme Court. A royal stable adjoining Lakshmi Villas that in due time developed as Kanak Bhawan was also taken possession of by JDA.The six bighas of land under the hotel and another 1.5 bighas of land of adjoining Kanak Bhawan were considered to be assimilated in the Central Park and were not to be used for commercial purpose again. However, on Wednesday at a meeting the Urban Development Department decided to hand it over in private hands for being pushed in hotel industry again.It has also been decided that the Kanak Bhawan will be used a JDA guest house. Even as the Central Park and common public is to lose its claim over these, the department upheld their environmental relevance.”We acknowledge that these properties are also important for the city in respect to environment and we will ensure that the environment will be conserved at these,” said the minister.The development Authority has acquired possession of these after a long legal battle that lasted for almost 44 years. It was finally earlier this year that Supreme Court cleared all objections on JDA possession of the land.It was in 1973 that 322 bighas of land was acquired at the Rambagh Complex by the Urban Improvement Trust (UIT). The Lakshmi Villas spread over six bighas and Kanak Bhawan on another 1.5 bighas were also part of the acquired pocket. These at the time were in possession of erstwhile maharaj Bhawani Singh who sold it off in 1986.A LOOK BACKThe one-time motor garage of erstwhile rulers of Jaipur, the building located in heart of Central Park had stood as a heritage hotel for decades till a few months back, when the Jaipur Development Authority took its possession following orders of Supreme Court. A royal stable adjoining Lakshmi Villas that in due time developed as Kanak Bhawan was also taken possession of by JDA. The six bighas of land under the hotel and another 1.5 bighas of land of adjoining Kanak Bhawan were considered to be assimilated in the Central Park and were not to be used for commercial purpose again.

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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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BJP MPs to Chidu: Stop discussions on Aadhaar in panel

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

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Yet to receive proposal to fill up judges’ vacancies in SC: Govt tells Parliament

There are six vacancies of judges in the Supreme Court, while nine high courts are working without regular chief justices, but the government has not received any proposal from the apex court collegium to fill up the slots, the Rajya Sabha has been informed.Union Minister of State for Law PP Chaudhary, in a written reply, has informed the Upper House of Parliament that the “government has not received any proposal for filling up of the six vacancies of judges in the Supreme Court and for appointment of chief justices in the nine high courts, which are functioning with acting chief justices”. The approved strength of the Supreme Court is 31, including the Chief Justice of India (CJI).The high courts of Andhra Pradesh/Telangana, Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Karnataka and Manipur are working without regular chief justices. As per the procedure for the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the 24 high courts, the apex court collegium recommends the names of candidates to the government which, in turn, either accepts the proposal or returns it for reconsideration. The collegium comprises the CJI and four seniormost judges of the apex court.

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Muslim Women Bill that criminilises triple talaq to be introduced in Parliament

A bill seeking to criminalise the practice of instant triple talaq among Muslims is set to be introduced in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill is listed for introduction in the Lok Sabha by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on December 28, according to the list of business in the Lower House.The bill, prepared by an inter-ministerial group headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, makes instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat in any form — spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp — “illegal and void” and provides for a jail term of three years for the husband.It was cleared by the Union Cabinet earlier this month.The bill was listed for introduction last week, but Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar later told reporters that it would be introduced this week.As per the provisions of the bill, the husband could also be fined and the quantum of fine would be decided by the magistrate hearing the case.The bill is being introduced as the practice still continued despite the Supreme Court striking down ‘talaq-e- biddat’.The proposed law would only be applicable to instant triple talaq and it would give power to the victim to approach a magistrate seeking “subsistence allowance” for herself and minor children.The woman can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take a final call on the issue.

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

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

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Centre likely to table Triple Talaq Bill in Parliament today

The Centre is likely to introduce a bill on Triple Talaq in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had, on December 15, said that the Cabinet approved a proposal to introduce the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, to make instant triple talaq void and illegal.The Supreme Court, in August, by a majority of 3:2, had ruled that the practice of divorce through triple talaq among Muslims is “void”, “illegal” and “unconstitutional”.Once the law is made to make triple talaq an offence, the victims will have the option of approaching the police and the legal system for the redressal of their grievances and for action to be taken against the husband.Meanwhile, activists working for the rights of Muslim women hope that the Bill will further help stem instances of instant triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat).Also readMuslim bodies not consulted on triple talaq bill: Govt tells Parliament In fact they say, since the Supreme Court’s August verdict declaring instant triple talaq illegal and unconstitutional, the instances of such talaq have gone down.Noorjahan Deewan, a social worker who works with Muslim women in the city said since the verdict, they have received three such complaints. “In two of them we managed to convince the husband that instant talaq was not valid and they agreed. Unfortunately, in the third case the religious leaders and others too got involved and said the divorce was valid,” said Deewan.Also readCabinet approves bill making instant triple talaq criminal actShe said overall the number of complaints about triple talaq have gone down considerably after SC verdict. There has been considerable awareness among Muslims about what is acceptable and not acceptable form of divorce.”It is not that it has stopped completely, but earlier we would receive so many cases but now they have gone down. Earlier, not many knew of the divorce but now many realise that instant triple talaq is no more valid,” she said.Also readQuestions on triple talaq in BHU examsZakia Soman, founder of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) and a co-petitioner in the triple talaq case in SC, said the bill once passed will definitely act as a deterrent. But she fears it may not be enough. “The SC verdict was welcome but it did not lay out a procedure for divorce. The bill is yet to be made public but we want it to be just and fair. The wife should also have a say in divorce, maintenance and efforts to reconcile,” said Soman.(With input from ANI)

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

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

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

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

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Full-time DG in eight weeks: Gujarat high court tells state

The Gujarat high court has ordered the state government to appoint a Director General of Police (DGP) by following the regular procedure within eight weeks of time. The order comes after a public interest litigation sought directions to the state government to appoint a regular DGP instead of running the police department with an in-charge DGP. The state had cited assembly elections as a reason for the step. Former IPS officer Rahul Sharma had moved the petition challenging the state government’s decision to continue to appoint in-charge DGP. While passing the order, first division bench of chief justice R Subhash Reddy and Vipul Pancholi on Monday has concluded, “As per the Supreme Court order in Prakash Singh Vs Union of India, and even the Bombay Police Act and the Gujarat Act, the state government is bound to appoint DGP on regular basis. So, there is no reason for the state government for not filling the post with regular DGP. Though the state government has claimed that as the elections are going on it can take any steps, but it is the state government’s obligation to appoint regular appointment. The state government should initiate the process of the selection of the regular DGP and appoint within eight weeks of this order.”The petitioner’s advocate IH Syed had submitted that since 2016 there has been no regular DGP and the state police department is run by the in-charge officer, which is affecting its operations. And though there are rules for appointing regular DGPs, the state is not discharging its duty by doing so.Petitioner’s contention was that in-charge DGP can be influenced by the ruling party, as his/her tenure in office is at the mercy of the ruling party.GOVT’S EXCUSEThe state showed its helplessness in the name of the election notification It claimed that the entire force was busy with the elections It said it couldn’t take any decision of transfer or appointment without the EC’s permission

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Centre defends Special Court move to try politicians

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley supported the Supreme Court’s recent direction to the Centre to set up special courts to deal with criminal cases involving legislators and politicians, as Opposition MPs raised concerns on “singling out” elected representatives.Jaitley said “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion” and urged political parties to rise and set an example. As elected representatives, can lawmakers say that their trial should be delayed? he asked.”You are class apart… you are lawmakers. You should set the example,” he said, responding to Opposition parties led by the Congress and the Samajwadi Party on the issue.CM Ramesh from TDP also came out in support of fast-track courts. SP leader Naresh Agrawal was the first to express his concerns, stating that Article 14 of the Constitution provides for equality before the law, and that elected representatives are at par with other citizens.”While there are no special courts for criminals, setting up one for elected representatives would create misleading perception about politicians,” he said.He also questioned the government’s affidavit supporting setting up of fast-track courts.Congress leader Anand Sharma also joined in but clarified that there is no question of delaying prosecution of anyone. It would tantamount to profiling and excessive vilification of lawmakers if a perception is created that fast-track courts are needed for elected representatives alone, he said.The government, he said, should ensure that enough funds are allocated to set up enough courts for fast-track trial of all.”But singling out only elected representatives will create a public perception that would otherwise have an inherent potential of being abused by the government of the day,” he said.Majeed Memon from NCP said if a certain section is treated separately, it may be bordering on infringement of Article 14 of the Constitution that assures equality to all.Lawyer KTS Tulsi, a nominated member, asked who would do justice to undertrials languishing in jail for 10-15 years.Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC) asked if the government would also set up special courts to prosecute those who have defrauded the country of Rs 8.5 lakh crore.Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said he would give a ruling on the point of order at an appropriate time.

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Parsi community mulls Supreme Court order on mixed marriage

A recent interim order by the Supreme Court (SC) which allowed a Parsi woman married to a non-Parsi to enter the Tower of Silence in Valsad has got Parsi community talking about the issue.In a letter to the newspaper Jam-e-Jamshed, some members of the community have written that Goolrookh Gupta, who is allowed to enter the Tower of Silence, on the event of her parents’ death, should submit an affidavit that she has not converted.As per Parsi community’s unwritten rules, women married outside the community are allowed to enter the Tower of Silence across India only if they submit an affidavit stating that they will continue to practise their faith.Dinshaw Mehta, former chairman of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) wrote a letetr demanding her to submit an affidavit to prove that she has not converted.”The BPP is an apex body here and they should discuss the issue. Community rights cannot be given to her,” said Nadir Mody calling Goolrookh as Neha.”Since 1982 they allow Parsis married to non-Parsis to enter the fire temples if they give an affidavit that they practice the faith,” said Viraf Kapadia

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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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Gujarat Elections 2017: Hardik Patel puts blame on EVMs, vows to continue ‘struggle’

Young Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Monday alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been able to win in Gujarat Assembly elections only because of money and EVM tampering.Talking to reporters as trends showed BJP’s win in the Assembly polls, the 24-year leader said, “There has been tampering in EVMs in Surat,Rajkot and Ahmedabad, hence the gap is very less wherever tampering happened. EVMs are hackable.”He also vowed to continue his “struggle” for the people of Gujarat.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Key candidates and their fateAs per the official trends provided by the Election Commission at 3:30 pm, the BJP has already bagged 46 seats while it is leading on 63 others. Congress has won in 42 Assembly constituencies while its candidates are leading on 35 other seats.Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convenor urged all opposition parties to take this concern against EVMs forward. Also readGujarat Election Results 2017 LIVE: Rajnath Singh takes a dig at Rahul Gandhi, says ‘sar mundwate hi ole pade’ “If ATMs can be hacked, why can’t the EVMs,” he repeated his earlier remarks. Patel also congratulated the BJP for the win in a sarcastic tone. “I congratulate the BJP which wins the elections by tampering with the EVMs,” he said. On Saturday, Patel had also questioned Supreme Court’s decision to reject Congress’ plea, seeking cross-verification of Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trails with votes cast with Electronic Voting Machines and asked why they were used in the Gujarat elections.He had also said if EVMs were not tampered with then the exit polls’ results, which showed BJPs’ victory, would be proven wrong.Hardik Patel, who led the Patidar quota agitation last year, had extened his support to the Congress and had extensively campaigned against the ruling BJP.

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Leaders at NDA meet seek all India judicial service

Some leaders of the BJP-led NDA have pitched for an all India judicial service on the lines of the civil services and sought a discussion on the matter in Parliament.The issue, which involves the demand for reservation in the judiciary for Dalits and backward classes, was raised in the meeting of top NDA leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, on Friday, the first day of the Winter Session, highly-placed sources said.A senior BJP leader told PTI that the matter was raised in the meeting by some members, who sought a discussion on the issue in Parliament.They said there should be all India judicial service like the Indian Administrative Service or the Indian Police Service, he said on the condition of anonymity.The sources, however, declined to name the leaders who raised the issue at the meeting.A large section of politicians, especially those drawn from disadvantaged classes, has been vocal over the issue, citing minuscule presence of these communities, especially Dalits and STs, in the higher judiciary.The matter was in the limelight recently after President Ram Nath Kovind expressed his concern at a public event over “unacceptably low” presence of women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes in the higher judiciary.Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha had demanded recently that gates of higher judiciary be opened for women and disadvantaged classes, claiming that most high court and Supreme Court judges have come from 250-300 families.”Not only for Dalits and backward castes, the door is closed even for people from general castes. Members of over 250-300 families have been becoming judges in high courts and the Supreme Court since Independence. Doors are closed for all others. They must be opened,” he had said at a public meeting to mark the death anniversary of B R Ambedkar.Dalit members of Parliament have long been raising the issue and saying that an all India judicial service will pave the way for reservation for the traditionally deprived sections of society in higher judiciary.

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Activists hope bill on triple talaq will further reduce its instance

Activists working for the rights of Muslim women hope that the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 set to be introduced in the winter session of Parliament will further help stem instances of instant triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat).In fact they say, since the Supreme Court’s August verdict declaring instant triple talaq illegal and unconstitutional, the instances of such talaq have gone down.Noorjahan Deewan, a social worker who works with Muslim women in the city said since the verdict, they have received three such complaints. “In two of them we managed to convince the husband that instant talaq was not valid and they agreed. Unfortunately, in the third case the religious leaders and others too got involved and said the divorce was valid,” said Deewan. She said overall the number of complaints about triple talaq have gone down considerably after SC verdict. There has been considerable awareness among Muslims about what is acceptable and not acceptable form of divorce.”It is not that it has stopped completely, but earlier we would receive so many cases but now they have gone down. Earlier, not many knew of the divorce but now many realise that instant triple talaq is no more valid,” she said.She believes that the introduction of the bill that makes instant talaq a non cognisable offence with provision of imprisonment will help further reduce such cases.Sharifaben Chippa, another activist of Aman Biradari too agrees about the drop in cases of instant talaq after the SC verdict. “Earlier, we used to get so many cases and it was difficult to convince people but with the verdict the cases have gone down,” said Chippa.Zakia Soman, founder of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) and a co-petitioner in the triple talaq case in SC, said the bill once passed will definitely act as a deterrent. But she fears it may not be enough. “The SC verdict was welcome but it did not lay out a procedure for divorce. The bill is yet to be made public but we want it to be just and fair. The wife should also have a say in divorce, maintenance and efforts to reconcile,” said Soman.BETTER TIMES?Since the Supreme Court’s August verdict declaring instant triple talaq illegal and unconstitutional, the instances of such talaq have gone down.

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May oppose triple talaq bill if it violates SC verdict: Congress

The Congress may oppose a proposed legislation criminalising instant triple talaq if it is in violation of a Supreme Court judgement on the matter, party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said today.He said the party would support the bill if it was within the Supreme Court’s verdict. “If, however, the Act or the Bill seeks to violate and transgress the limits of that Supreme Court judgement, we may well have to do a rethink and let us see that,” he said. He said the party was yet to see the content of the proposed legislation, which is yet to be made available in Parliament. “Any bill which seeks to criminalise human action, which is what this bill is supposed to be doing, must be within the four corners of the five judgements written in that case,” he told reporters.Also readCentre should have consulted Muslims on triple talaq law, says AIMPLBA draft law which seeks to make the practice of instant triple talaq “illegal and void” and provides for a jail term for the husband was cleared by the union cabinet today. The nod paves the way for its introduction in Parliament during the winter session which began today. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad confirmed that the Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill has been approved but refused to share details as Parliament is in session.According to the draft law prepared by an inter- ministerial group headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, giving instant triple talaq will be “illegal and void” and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband. The husband could also be fined and the quantum of fine would be decided by the magistrate hearing the case. The bill is being introduced as the practice still continued despite the Supreme Court striking down ‘talaq-e- biddat’ (instant triple talaq).

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SC suggests series of measures to remove hurdles for disabled at public places

The Supreme Court today suggested a series of measures required to be taken by the state authorities for removing obstacles which prevent differently- abled persons from accessing public places in the country.A bench comprising justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan referred to the provisions of the Disability Act, 1995 and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 and noted the measures which were needed for its effective implementation. The apex court said that gates to public places should be made by incorporating necessary accessible standards and they must be made wide enough to allow wheelchairs to pass or turn around easily.”At places like airports, railway stations etc passengers must be clearly informed about the details of their flight/train such as the gate number for boarding etc via public announcement systems (this practice is, surprisingly, gradually declining),” the bench noted in its verdict. It said that a minimum of three to five parking spaces near the entrance of a public place must be reserved for persons with disabilities and should be clearly indicated by showing the international symbol for disability — the wheelchair symbol.”All unnecessary obstructions must be removed, and all access ways must be well lit. Moreover, clear signposts, along with their Braille equivalents should be put up,” it said, adding, “Elevators must have clear Braille signs and auditory feedback. The buttons of elevators must be accessible from a wheelchair.” The bench said that pictograms must be put up near elevators and other important places such as toilets and employees working at public places must be provided necessary training to enable them to understand the unique set of challenges that persons with disabilities face.”Wheelchairs and mobility scooters should be available at every public place,” the court said. The top court emphasised on the need to provide proper and safe access to roads, transport, buildings and public places to differently abled persons. “It is a well-known fact that persons with visually impaired disability, with which we are concerned, represent far more ‘vulnerable section of society’ and ‘at-risk cases’ vis-a-vis their present surroundings which also becomes evident from the well-known fact that insurance companies charge a higher premium on insurance policies extended to the visually disabled as compared to the other persons,” it said.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: SC dismisses Cong plea seeking cross-verification of VVPAT

The Congress had moved the top court earlier in the day and were represented by lawyers Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal in the top court. The voting for the two-phase Gujarat Assembly election ended on Thursday and counting of votes will be held on December 18. ”
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Friday 15 December 2017 15:48 ISTMust readAfter Saudi, now Kashmir wants cinema halls reopenedMinor set ablaze by neighbours for opposing molestation in UP’s Mainpuri<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the Congress Party’s plea seeking directions to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to count and cross verify at least 25% of voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) with votes cast with Electronic Voting machines (EVM).The apex court said that it finds no merit in Congress’ plea and asked that the Gujarat Congress could approach it through filing a writ petition for electoral reforms. It further maintained that electoral process in a democracy is of utmost importance and the Supreme Court cannot interfere only to allay apprehension of a party. The Congress had moved the top court earlier in the day and were represented by lawyers Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal in the top court. The voting for the two-phase Gujarat Assembly election ended on Thursday and counting of votes will be held on December 18.

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New Year revelry without fireworks in Delhi NCR as SC refuses to lift ban

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to lift the ban on bursting of firecrackers in Punjab, Haryana & Chandigarh.The apex court added that itwould hear the case against the ban on January 5.Earlier, the court had banned the bursting of firecrackers in the National Capital Region (NCR) during Diwali.The court gave the verdict on a plea seeking restoration of the apex court’s last year order.The top court, through its November 11 order last year, had suspended all licences which ‘permit a sale of fireworks, wholesale and retail within the territory of NCR’.The apex court had last month temporarily lifted its earlier order suspending licences for sale of firecrackers, saying a complete ban would be an ‘extreme step’ and a graded approach was needed to curb pollution caused by them.The court, however, had said its order lifting the ban on sale of firecrackers might require a ‘review’ after Diwali depending on the ambient air quality after the festival.

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Delhi HC orders probe into trust which built famous Hanuman statue in Karol Bagh

The Delhi High Court on Thursday ordered a probe into the trust which built the famous Hanuman statue in the busy Karol Bagh area of the city, saying the 108-feet structure could not have built overnight without the “active connivance” of the local authorities.Had the authorities done their duty, something like this would not have happened, a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar observed while ordering a probe into the trust that built the idol and was maintaining it.”Nothing would have happened, if we (civic agencies and the government) would have been doing our job,” the bench said, adding that “this structure could not have been built overnight without connivance of the public authorities”.It said the land belongs to the city and not the individual sitting in the government office, so it has to be returned to the public.Annoyed over the illegalities surrounding the Hanuman statue, the bench directed the Delhi Police to find out the details and the money deposited in the bank accounts of the trust running the temple.It sought to know from the Municipal Corporation about the property tax paid by the trustee of the temple, which is allegedly on the right of way of vehicular traffic.It asked the Delhi Development Authority to provide the details of officials responsible for the construction of the huge structure on the public land.The bench directed the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) to also provide the full particulars of the persons responsible for erection of the idol.The court ordered an enquiry 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 1170 square yards on DDA land which forms part of the Southern Ridge.”This is clearly in the teeth of the orders of the Supreme Court regarding protection of the Ridge Area and is completely impermissible,” the committee had said.It had also said that apart from the Hanuman statue, there was unauthorised construction of multiple small and big buildings of up to four floors including a residential complex there.The bench had then directed the authorities to take action against the unauthorised construction on public land and ensure that all encroachments on the Southern Ridge are removed immediately and the Ridge is secured in terms of the orders of the Supreme Court.

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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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NCLT should have asked us before passing order: SC

The Supreme Court Tuesday said the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) should have taken its leave before allowing the Centre to take over the management of debt-ridden real estate company firm Unitech Limited.On December 8, the NCLT had suspended all the eight directors of the firm over allegations of mismanagement and siphoning of funds and had authorised the Centre to appoint 10 nominees to the board.”The leave of this court, which is seized of the matter, should have been taken by the NCLT,” the bench observed and posted the matter for hearing tomorrow.Today, the Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud also weighed in on the request of Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that one day be given to him to seek instruction from the authorities on the appeal of Unitech against the order of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).The bench also took note of the submissions of senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the firm, that the NCLT had passed an interim order without hearing the company and its directors who are in jail.The NCLT order had come after the Centre moved the panel with a view to protect the interest of nearly 20,000 home buyers.Sanjay Chandra, head of the real estate group, was asked on October 30 by the SC to deposit Rs 750 crore with it by December-end for the sake of the homebuyers.The NCLT, in its order, has said the government must give name of its nominees by December 20 and restrained Unitech’s eight suspended directors from selling their personal and company properties.The tribunal’s order had come after the government filed a petition arguing that Unitech was a fit case for winding up, but considering the interest of thousands of home buyers and small depositors, it wanted to take over company management.The company has over Rs 6,000 crore debt and over 16,000 undelivered units from a total of nearly 70 projects.On October 30, the top court had said Sanjay Chandra, currently in jail, would be granted bail only after the real estate group deposited money with its registry by December-end.The top court had earlier directed the jail authorities to facilitate Chandra’s meeting with his company officials and lawyers so that he could arrange money to refund the home buyers as well as for completing the ongoing housing projects.Chandra is seeking interim bail from the apex court after the Delhi High Court on August 11 had rejected the plea in a criminal case lodged in 2015 by 158 home buyers of Unitech projects’ — ‘Wild Flower Country’ and ‘Anthea Project’ — situated in Gurugram.

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12 special courts to try cases against politicians: Govt to Supreme Court

The Centre Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it will set up 12 special courts to speed up trials in pending cases involving MPs and MLAs in the country.These special courts would adjudicate 1571 criminal cases pending against lawmakers. The scheme for establishing these special courts is ready, the court was told. Decisions regarding requirement of additional courts will be taken in due course.According to the affidavit, more time was required to compile the nationwide data on pendency of cases against MLAs and MPs.According to data compiled by Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), affidavits filed by politicians at the time of submitting nomination papers for 2014 general election and Assembly polls showed that 1,581 cases were pending against politicians. Ten cases were later dropped due to death of the politicians named in the cases.It may be recalled that the Supreme Court had asked the Centre and the Election Commission for their response to a PIL seeking to restrain convicted politicians from holding any posts in political parties.The PIL sought directions to the Centre and the Election Commission to frame guidelines to decriminalise the electoral system and ensure inner-party democracy as proposed by the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC).The petition also named several politicians who have been convicted or have charges framed against them but continue to hold posts in political parties and “wielding political power.” It points out that now even a person who has been convicted for heinous crimes like murder, rape, smuggling, money laundering, loot, sedition, or dacoity can form a political party and become its president.

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SC raps Centre for not acting on orders over extradition of fugitives

The Supreme Court on Tuesday pulled up the Centre for “not even bothering about” its orders on extradition matters and questioned the government’s will in getting persons evading law back from foreign countries.The remarks were made by the top court in the matter relating to extradition of a businesswoman, who is facing criminal trial in India but was allowed to travel to London on apex court’s direction in January, 2016.The apex court had earlier forfeited Rs 86 lakh deposited by her as security and directed for revoking of her passport as well as initiated contempt proceedings against her.”What is this attitude? You don’t even bother about the orders of the Supreme Court. We have been virtually extending threats to the officers in the Ministry of External Affairs but you still don’t act,” a bench of justices Arun Mishra and M M Shantanagoudar said.The top court said that “somebody has ran away from the country but the government isn’t doing anything about it”.It asked Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh and senior advocate V Mohana: “We have been issuing orders in this case for last eight months but you have done nothing. You should tell us what is going on and why are you (Centre) not acting?”The bench even expressed its annoyance over different government lawyers on different dates in the matter and said “We think we will now call the secretaries in the MEA. They will be called to court to explain. That seems to be the only way forward now.”The bench posted the matter for further hearing after the ASG assured it of taking instructions on the issue.The court directed the ASG that all formalities relating to the extradition of the woman be completed by then.Ritika Awasty, a promoter of Bush Foods Overseas Pvt Ltd, is facing criminal trial in Uttar Pradesh on charges of cheating, forgery and criminal breach of trust.She had challenged the Allahabad High Court order refusing to quash FIR lodged against her but was granted bail and allowed to travel abroad by the apex court on an undertaking for looking after her husband and daughter in London.She had given an undertaking to return to India by March 31, but she did not. The court further extended her stay in London on her request till May 31, but she again did not return.This compelled the top court to initiate contempt proceedings against her and revoking of her passport.On September 12, the Centre and Uttar Pradesh had told that they have agreed that State shall initiate procedure relating to extradition and they are agreeing that Uttar Pradesh will take effect steps within three weeks.The court directed the Centre to take appropriate steps within two weeks thereafter, for extradition with the Crown Prosecution Services and sought details of her properties in India.Earlier, the top court had asked Awasty to furnish her current address in the UK by the next date of hearing and the state had assured the court appropriate steps for extradition of the woman will be taken.The apex court had also asked the Centre to file the income tax returns of Awasty and of her husband.On August 29, 2016, the apex court had said that it is “prima facie satisfied” that Awasty has “committed contempt of this court by breaching the directions issued by the court, as also, violating the undertaking given to this court”.It had issued notice to Awasty to show cause why contempt proceedings be not initiated against her.The top court said that “in order to ensure, that the petitioner does not flee from justice, we consider it just and appropriate, to direct the passport authority concerned to revoke the passport issued to the petitioner forthwith”.It had said that the Indian High Commissioner at London, shall initiate action for the return of Awasty to India, so as to face the judicial process, which is pending consideration before the apex court.

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Supreme Court to refer to constitutional bench pleas against allowing Jallikattu

The Supreme Court today said it would refer to a five-judge constitution bench a batch of pleas challenging Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra laws allowing bull-taming sport ‘Jallikattu’ and bullock cart races.A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice R F Nariman, while reserving its order, said the larger bench would decide whether states have the “legislative competence” to make such laws on grounds, including that ‘Jallikattu’ and bullock cart racing fell under the cultural rights enshrined under Article 29(1) and can be protected constitutionally.Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have amended the central law, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and allowed Jallikattu and bullock cart racing respectively in their states. The state laws have been challenged in the apex court.Also readPost Jallikattu protest, Chennai police in crackdown modeThe apex court also said that it would hear separately the pleas challenging the Karnataka Ordinance allowing Kambala (buffalo races) in the state and issued notice on the petitions filed by parties including PETA and fixed them for hearing after six weeks.The bench said it wanted to “put an end to the controversy” in view of the fact that Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have been asserting that the laws were enacted to protect the cultural rights of a section of society.Also readPETA moves Supreme Court against amendments in law to allow JallikattuThe larger bench would decide whether state legislatures have legislative competence to make law on the subject, it said.The issue whether the state laws were in “consonance with the basic tenets” of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, a central legislation, would also be tested, it said.Also readViolence in pro-jallikattu protests;Commission tenure extendedThe top court referred to Article 25 (right to freedom of religion) and Article 29(1) (protection of cultural and educational rights) of the Constitution and said they may not enable states to make such laws.”The interpretation will have far-reaching consequences,” the bench said, adding that it would deliver a judgement and refer the matters to a larger bench.Senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra respectively, argued in support of the state laws and said the law-making powers of state assemblies cannot be curtailed.”There cannot be fetters on the legislatures on making laws,” Rohatgi said, adding that bulls are taken care of as family members and moreover, Jallikattu has been part of cultural tradition for over 2,500 years. Rules have also been framed to ensure that bulls are not hurt during Jallikattu.Naphade sought an interim stay on a Bombay High Court order holding that the Maharashtra’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act will not come into force for the time being.”Can state law be stayed by the high court in this manner,” he asked.Every year, after Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, bullock cart racing in great numbers are organised in Maharashtra.Jallikattu, also known Eruthazhuvuthal, is a bull-taming sport played in Tamil Nadu as part of the Pongal harvest festival.The apex court, on November 6, had sought the response from the Tamil Nadu government on a plea of animal rights body PETA, challenging the state law that allowed bull-taming sport Jallikattu there. After issuing notice on the PETA’s plea, it had tagged it with other pending petitions on the issue.PETA has assailed the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Bill 2017 passed by the state assembly on grounds including that it circumvented apex court verdict holding the bull-taming sport as “illegal” in the state.PETA alleged that Jallikattu was a blood sport in which the bulls were subjected to various types of cruelty.Prior to this, the apex court had dismissed the plea of the Tamil Nadu government seeking a review of the 2014 judgement banning the use of bulls for jallikattu events in the state and bullock cart races across the country.The court in its 2014 judgement had said that bulls cannot be used as performing animals, either for Jallikattu events or bullock-cart races in the states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country and had banned their use across the country.

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SC slams Delhi government over over solid waste management issue

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Delhi government to take necessary and effective steps to manage solid waste in the city.Slamming the government over mismanagement of solid waste, the apex court has asked the Delhi government to make a plan within four weeks to solve the issue.The top court has asked the Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain to urgently call a meeting on solid waste management with an expectation of a definite plan of action to be prepared for Delhi which could be replicated in other cities too.Earlier on November 15, the Delhi High Court had asked the Delhi government to notify the solid waste management bye laws.

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Nirbhaya gang-rape case: SC adjourns review petition of convict till January

The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned the review petition filed by one of the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case till January.Mukesh, who has been sentenced to death along with three other convicts in the case, had filed the petition.The apex court, in May, upheld the order of Delhi High Court, which had sentenced the four convicts – Akshay, Pawan, Vinay Sharma and Mukesh – to death.On December 16, 2012, six people gangraped a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern in a moving bus in Delhi.The woman succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital on December 29, 2012.Also readNirbhaya case: Supreme Court to hear mercy plea filed by accused tomorrowOne of the accused, Ram Singh, had hanged himself in the prison, while another person, who was a juvenile at the time of the crime, was convicted in August last year and is serving the maximum sentence of three years in a reform home.

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India Tamil Nadu: Six face death penalty for Dalit murder

The victim was hacked to death on a busy road in broad daylight for marrying an upper caste woman.

Indians question daytime condom ads ban

The government says condom ads are inappropriate for children but Indians are split on the issue.

Give details on action taken against those violating Government Resolution: SIC to cops

The State information commission (SIC) has directed the Mumbai police to give details on action taken against officers who have violated a 2015 Government Resolution (GR). The GR asked for action against erring officers due to whom cases were lost in court and accused acquitted.The state government had issued the GR in order to implement a Supreme Court (SC) order. To improve prosecution and investigation, the SC in 2014 had directed state governments that a mechanism be put in place to take action against officers because of whom the prosecution fails to prove its case in the court, resulting in the acquittal of an accused. The order aimed to infuse seriousness in the performance of probes and prosecution and crystallise mistakes so that they form part of a refresher training program for senior officers and prosecutors. The SIC gave its order following a series of RTI applications filed by DNA.The order was passed by Ajit Kumar Jain, state Chief Information Commissioner (additional charge) on November 27. DNA had filed RTI applications to know the supervision by senior officers of the police force and the action taken in cases where the GR had been violated as the government’s response was tardy in implementing SC order.DNA had got to know about the SC order when the state was already in contempt of it. An NGO looking to check on its implementation wanted the details of compliance of the SC order from the state government.Only after the SIC order, did the government come out with a GR on the subject. “They did not even know of the order and asked for it,” said Bhaskar Prabhu, whose appeal with the information commissioner resulted in the government issuing the GR on October 17, 2015.WHAT THE GR SAYSAs per the GR, the Mumbai police formed 18 committees, each of which was to be headed by the zonal Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCPs). The GR stated that each zone or unit head was to take the meetings once every three months and implement the SC order rigorously. In its November 13, 2016 edition, DNA had reported that despite being in contempt, the response from the authorities continued to be tardy to the SC order.

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Ex-SC judges believe use of torture is prevalent in criminal justice system

Several former Supreme Court judges believed that the practice of torturing an accused was rampant in the criminal justice system, according to a report released by the Centre on Death Penalty of the National Law University, with one judge even pointing out that hardened criminals would not yield to “mere casual questioning”.In the report — “Matters of Judgment” — a study on the criminal justice system and death penalty in India, one of the judges said he was in dismay when during an event at the National Judicial Academy, Bhopal, he found out that the majority of the participating judges were of the view that the truth behind a crime would not come out unless the police had the power to torture.”Five of 12 former judges, justifying torture, said the police resorted to it because the investigating agencies worked under strenuous conditions, without adequate time and independence to investigate cases,” the report said.The study also records the acknowledgement and concern of the former apex court judges about the “crisis” in the country’s criminal justice system, on account of the widespread prevalence of torture, fabrication of evidence, the abysmal quality of legal aid and wrongful convictions.Of the 39 former judges, who discussed the prevalence of torture in the criminal justice system, 38 believed it to be rampant, while one former chief justice of India was of the opinion that there was no torture.”Seasoned criminals…They will not yield to mere casual questioning,” said a judge, who has served in appellate courts for 22 years. Another former judge said the mindset of the police was affected by how poorly they were treated by VIPs when they were deployed on law-and-order duties.”This, in turn, affects them (police) as when it comes to crimes, they will pick up small men and adopt third-degree methods to elicit a confession and make them accused, whether they have committed the crime or not,” he was quoted as saying in the report.The probe agencies either being “lazy” or “not having enough manpower” or “not knowing the methods of scientific investigation” were also cited by some of the judges to explain the prevalence of torture in the criminal justice system.However, 17 of the judges believed that torture undermined the system and said they were inherently opposed to it, irrespective of its utility.They also felt that the use of torture was an unreliable way of getting to the truth and recalled that it had led to undesirable results at times.A former chief justice of India said because of the prevalence of torture in the criminal justice system, he would tend to take the recovery statements (recorded by the probe agencies) “with a pinch of salt”.Of 58 judges, 38 were of the view that the investigating agencies abused section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, which dealt with the recovery of evidence.Twelve judges were aware that the provision was used to subliminally increase the use of torture as an investigative technique and therefore, were cautious of such recoveries as torture was often the starting point of an investigation.”We have mentioned the names of the judges but have not disclosed who said what. This is to ensure that the focus stays on the issue and does not shift to the person,” Anup Surendranath, the director of the centre, said while releasing the report.The 60 judges interviewed by the study have adjudicated 208 death penalty cases between them, from 1975 to 2016.

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SC stays Madras HC order on thumb impression of ex- TN CM J Jayalalithaa

The Supreme Court on Friday stayed a Madras High Court order directing Bengaluru jail authorities and the UIDAI to produce records containing the thumb impression of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa.The high court, while dealing with an election petition, had on November 24 sought Jayalalithaa’s thumb impression details which is available with Bengaluru’s Parappana Agrahara Jail and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). The former AIADMK chief had died on December 5 last year. The high court had asked the authorities to give the fingerprint details by today in a matter relating to an election petition filed by P Saravanan, a DMK candidate for the November 2016 Thirupparankundram Assembly bypoll, challenging the election of AIADMK’s A K Bose.The matter came up for hearing today before a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, which also issued notice to the petitioner before the high court and asked him to file a reply within eight weeks. The bench said there would be “stay of operation” on the high court’s order. Bose has moved the apex court against the high court’s direction claiming it intruded into the fundamental right to privacy.Also readJayalalithaa death anniversary: Scores of people pay tribute to their ‘Amma'”Her death does not make any difference as right to privacy is available to every citizen during his/her life time and even after the death of that person,” the plea said. “The personal details of a third party which will undoubtedly include the finger print could not be divulged by the authorities holding the same without consent of the person to whom it belongs,” the plea claimed while seeking an ex- parte stay of the interim order of high court. During the pendency of petition before the high court, Saravanan had filed an additional affidavit, questioning the validity of the election documents.He had alleged that thumb impression of Jayalalithaa was obtained without her consent and knowledge while she was unconscious, with the “connivance” of the doctors and others who were attending to the former chief minister. Jayalalithaa was lodged in the jail after her conviction in the Rs 65.66 crore disproportionate assets case in 2014.Also readA year after Jayalalithaa’s death, AIADMK suffers without a strong leaderShe had subsequently secured bail from the Supreme Court and was released on October 18, 2014, after spending 21 days in the prison.The Karnataka High Court had later acquitted her and three of her associates of all charges, but the Supreme Court on February 14 this year had set aside the order. However, since Jayalalithaa died on December 5 last year, the apex court had abated the proceedings against her.

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World Cultural Festival: NGT holds Art of Living responsible for damaging Yamuna floodplains

The National Green Tribunal today held the Art of Living Foundation of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar responsible for the damage caused to the Yamuna floodplains due to holding of the World Cultural Festival organised by it in March 2016.A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, however, refused to impose any further environment compensation on the AoL and said the amount of Rs 5 crore which was submitted by it earlier would be used for the restoration of the floodplains. “We hold AoL responsible for the damage caused to the Yamuna floodplains in terms of the report submitted by the expert committee,” the bench said.The bench also comprising Justice Jawad Rahim and expert member B S Sajwan directed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to assess the damage caused on floodplains and compute cost of restoration in line with the recommendations of the expert panel. The tribunal said that in case if the expenditure of the restoration crosses the cost Rs 5 crore then it would be recovered from the AoL. However, if the costs is less than Rs 5 crore, the remaining amount would be refunded to the foundation, it said.Also readWorld Culture Festival: Art Of Living terms NGT panel report on damage to Yamuna floodplains ‘unscientific’The NGT also said that Yamuna floodplains should not be used for any activity which can cause damage to the environment. However, it refused to decide whether AoL was authorised to hold the festival on Yamuna floodplains or not saying it is beyond its jurisdiction. The NGT also rapped the DDA for failing to exercise its duty to protect the Yamuna floodplains but refrained from imposing any penalty on it. Before the pronouncement of the judgement, it was informed that Justice R S Rathore, who had earlier heard the matter had recused from the bench.The AoL counsel said that they will approach the Supreme Court against the verdict. “We are not in agreement with the verdict. The Art of Living is disappointed with the decision taken by the NGT for damaging Yamuna floodplains during its World Culture Festival. “We do not agree with the verdict. Our submissions have not been dealt with/considered. We will appeal to the Supreme Court. We are confident that we will get justice before the Supreme Court,” AoL said.Also readWorld Culture Festival: Decomposed body found at site of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s eventThe NGT had on November 13 reserved its order on the issue of damage caused to the Yamuna floodplains where a cultural extravaganza was organised last year by the Art of Living. The expert panel had told the NGT that a Rs 42.02 crore would be required to restore Yamuna floodplains which was ravaged due to the cultural extravaganza held from March 11- 13, 2016. The Green Panel was hearing a plea filed by Manoj Misra who claimed that severe damage was done to the river and the floodplains and it must be restored by authorities concerned.
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Gujarat High Court issues notice to EC

Arjun Khatariya, Congress candidate in the Gondal assembly constituency, has alleged that he is unable to find polling agents in about 15 villages due to the muscle power of BJP and its former MLA. In a petition before the High Court, Khatariya claimed his opponent BJP candidate Geetaba’s husband Jayrajsinh Jadeja’s criminal history is keeping his polling agents away. He has prayed the HC to direct the ElectionCommission to allow him appoint polling agents from other villages.After hearing his primary submissions, the third division bench of justice Akil Kureshi and justice AY Kogje on Wednesday, has issued notice to the Election Commission asking it to file reply by Thursday, when the matter is kept for further hearing.Khatariya has also alleged that another person named Aniruddhsinh Jadeja, who too has long criminal history, is out on parole in election days, despite Supreme Court orders on the subject and he was roaming freely in his constituency spreading fear among his voters. He requested for the court to seek report if he was genuinely out on parole. He further sought deployment of paramilitary forces in all sensitive areas and installing of CCTV cameras.
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Gujarat elections 2017: In Dhandhuka, PM Modi attacks Cong with ‘Tanker Raj’ jibe

In a direct attack to Congress party leader and lawyer Kapil Sibal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lashed at him for linking 2019 Lok Sabha elections with Ram Mandir issue. He was speaking in Dhandhuka on Wednesday.While the rally started two hours late, due to extreme weather, Modi not just mentioned about ‘Vikas’ but also said that one family did great injustice to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and Sardar Patel. When Pandit Nehru’s influence of the Congress was complete, the Congress ensured that Dr Ambedkar found it tough to join the Constituent Assembly.Further talking about ‘Tanker Raj’, Modi said, “Ambedkar was passionate about ensuring proper irrigation facilities to every part of India. BJP in Gujarat has ended the ‘Tanker Raj.’ Tanker business was firmly in the hands of Congress leaders and their families.” “We are in the process of installing solar pumps in farms and rooftops. In near future you will be given free electricity. It is not a lollypop and one time benefit but will have an effect to coming generations,” he said. Referring to what Sibal submitted in the Supreme Court on Tuesday Modi said, “Yesterday in Supreme Court, Sibal was arguing for the Babri Masjid. He is entitled to do that but is it right for him to say postpone hearing till 2019? Why does he have to link a Ram Mandir with elections. Is such thinking proper. Now, Congress links Ram Mandir with elections. They are least bothered about the nation.” Raking up the issue of triple talaq, Modi reminded the people of Dhanduka as part of the Gujarat Vikas Rally, that when the matter was in Supreme Court and the central government had to put their stand in an affidavit, many commented that Modi will remain silent for UP elections.”People told me not to speak on the matter or else it would have an impact on elections. But I said that I will not be silent as everything is not about elections. When it comes to the rights of women, I will speak. The issue was pending since the time of Rajiv Gandhi but it was for BJP, that now we have brought a law too.” In India, every now and then elections are there. If we take decisions based on polls, how will India progress. I would say let us have elections of LS and Vidhan Sabha together,” he said.
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Wait for Rohini residential plan allottees gets longer

The 37-year-long wait for the over 14,000 allottees of Rohini Residential Scheme 1981 is going to get even longer, as the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on Wednesday said it will be issuing demand-cum-allotment letters once the development work in the area is complete.The DNA had reported last week about the indefinite delay in the handing over of the plots, even as many of the allottees have passed away while others have turned senior citizens.“The developmental activities in 1981 residential scheme are to be completed shortly. The issuance of allotment-cum-demand letters to the remaining 14,352 allottees can be issued once the developmental activities are completed,” the urban body said in a statement issued to the media on Thursday.The DDA is the government’s housing authority. Even after the Supreme Court order to hand over the said plots to applicants by 2016, there is still no clear deadline for the allotment.The plots of various sizes measuring between 36 square meters and 90 square meters are located in northwest Delhi’s Rohini’s sectors 34, 35, 36, 37 and 38.“Demand-cum-allotment letter in respect of 14,352 allottees of Rohini’s Sector-34 (Part-II, Pockets A-4, C-5 and C-6) Sector 35, 36,37 and 38 are yet to be issued in view of delay in development of land, which is likely to be completed shortly,” a senior DDA official said.The allottees had moved the SC after DDA failed to comply with Delhi High Court orders in 2009. The scheme had offered 1,17,000 plots for which 85,000 people had applied. Of these, 25,000 were allotted the plots in 2015 after intervention from the apex court.indefinite delayThe DNA had reported last week about the indefinite delay in the handing over of the plots, even as many of the allottees have passed away while others have turned senior citizens. The DDA, the government’s housing authority. Even after the Supreme Court order to hand over the said plots to applicants by 2016, there is still no clear deadline for the allotment.
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Civic body floats fresh tender for Hancock Bridge as per GST rate

The construction of a new bridge in place of the demolished Hancock bridge in Byculla is likely to start in a month as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has started to invite fresh tender for the project as per the new Goods and Service Tax (GST) rate. Earlier, the process of awarding the contract was put on hold due to change in GST rate.According to an official from the Bridge department of BMC, GST rate has been revised to 12 per cent from earlier 18 per cent. “With the change in GST rate, the overall price of the tender will also change,” the official said. So, the fresh tender has to be floated to award contract.SO Kori, chief engineer (Bridge) of BMC, said, “We have invited tender as per the new GST rate… We are expecting that the tender process will be complete in one month or a maximum of two-months time.”Earlier, the Supreme Court had given permission to carry out construction for a new bridge with a new contractor after taking account of the trouble faced by motorists and pedestrians.The construction of the new bridge was put on hold following a Bombay High Court order. The BMC had reportedly awarded the contract for construction of four bridges, including the Hancock Bridge, to a blacklisted contractor.The contractor was blacklisted for carrying out shoddy roadworks. After HC stayed the construction of a new bridge, the contractor approached the Supreme Court. However, the civic body managed to lift the stay.It is almost one and half years the 135-year-old Hancock bridge was demolished in November 2015.The British-era bridge near Sandhurst Road Railway station was deemed dangerous by the CR in 2013 and was demolished. The Railway overbridge was connecting Byculla and Dadar.ABOUT THE BRIDGEThe 135-year-old British-era bridge near Sandhurst Road Railway station was deemed dangerous by the CR in 2013 and was demolished. The Railway overbridge would connect Byculla and Dadar.
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RERA is constitutional, valid and legal, says Bombay High Court

There’s good news for home buyers as the Bombay High Court on Wednesday upheld the constitutional validity of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) act, 2016 (RERA)and the authority formed under it.A division bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice Rajesh Ketkar, in their 330+ page judgement, upheld various provisions of the act and the Constitution of the Maharashtra RERA authority. It said, “RERA is not a law relating to only regulating concerns of the promoters but it’s object is to develop the real estate sector, particularly the incomplete projects, across the country. The problems are enormous and it’s time to take a step forward to fulfill the dream of the Father of the Nation — To wipe out tears from every eye.”The court passed the order while deciding on a bunch of petitions filed by developers and plot owners challenging the validity of several sections of the RERA act. It said, “Having a careful scrutiny of the relevant provisions, we have harmoniously construed the provisions, and hold them to be constitutional, valid and legal.”However, the court partially struck down section 46 (1) (b), which relates to qualification of appointment of judicial members to the authority. The court has directed that the two member bench of the tribunal should always consist a judicial member and majority of the members shall always be judicial members, instead of bureaucrats, as is the formation now.Across, a few states, several builders moved high courts to question the Act, especially provisions saying it applies to projects not completed by May 31, 2017 and its “draconian” penal provisions with possible imprisonment for breaches.Among others, DB Realty Group, Real Gem Buildtech, MIG (Bandra) Realtors and Neelkamal Realtors had moved the high court.RERA came into effect on May 1, a year after both houses of the parliament passed it. Supreme Court had in September, on a Union government application, sought to club all petitions filed across the country. It also further urged Bombay High Court to decide first on the petitions, within a period of two months.As per the Act, developers, projects and agents had time till July 31 to compulsorily register their projects with the Authority. Any unregistered project would be deemed to be unauthorised by the regulator.Under RERA, each state and union territory will have its own Regulatory Authority (RA) which will frame rules and regulations as per the Act.THE JUDGEMENTDivision bench of Justices Patil and Ketkar upheld various provisions of the Act Judgement said: RERA is not a law relating to only regulating concerns of the promoters, its object is to develop the real estate sector It added: The problems are enormous and it’s time to fulfill Gandhi’s dream — Wipe out tears from every eye.
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Uttar Pradesh becomes first state to endorse Centre’s draft bill on triple talaq

The Yogi Adityanath Cabinet gave its nod to the Central government’s draft bill banning instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat. With this, Uttar Pradesh has become the first in the country to endorse the Centre’s draft bill.Presided over by the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Cabinet which met late Tuesday night approved the draft Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill 2017 and sent it back to the Centre for tabling it during the forthcoming winter session of the Parliament.Significantly, the Yogi Cabinet did not suggest any alteration and amendments into the draft bill while endorsing the Centre’s proposed law unanimously.The proposed bill provides a maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment and fine to men pronouncing talaq-ebiddat. Under the new proposed law, instant triple talaq will become a cognizable and non-bailable offence. It has also made provisions for providing maintenance allowance and custody of minor children to the aggrieved Muslim women.The draft bill says that triple talaq in any form – spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS, Whatsapp – would be bad, illegal and void. The provision of maintenance and custody of minor child has been incorporated to ensure legal and financial protection in case husband forcibly throws the victim out of the house. It would empower women to approach magistrate seeking maintenance and custody of minor childThe BJP Spokesperson Dr Sidharth Nath Singh said that a law on the contentious practice of instant triple talaq among Muslim men necessitated following the Supreme Court landmark judgment on August 22 banning the practice. “Even after the landmark verdict, there were cases in which Muslim women were made subject of harassment by their husbands by pronouncing instant triple talaq,” pointed Dr Singh.“There were 177 reported cases of instant talaq before the Supreme Court verdict and 66 after the apex court order. Unfortunately, Uttar Pradesh tops the list,” he added.“The proposed law would not only protect marital rights of Muslim women in the country but will be a big step in the direction of empowering them. We hope that new law will give a big relief to Muslim women in improving their status in the society,” said Srikant Sharma, another BJP Spokesperson.Though All-India Muslim Personal Law Board is yet to react to the Centre’s darft bill a few Muslim clerics have already dubbed it as interference in their religious and personal matters. “Triple talaq is made by Allah and we cannot overrule or do away with it,” reacted Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali.
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Minorities Commission forms committee over demands of minority status to Hindus in 8 states

The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) on Wednesday formed a three-member Committee to study the matter regarding demands seeking minority status to Hindus in eight states where their population is less than 50%. On Sunday, the commission had sought the the Law Commission’s opinion on the issue.Last month, a PIL was filed in the Supreme Court stating that Hindus in these eight states have been denied their basic rights. The petition filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, a lawyer and a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), sought minority status for Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Lakshdweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.”According to the 2011 Census, Hindus are in monitory in eight states — Lakshadweep (2.5 %), Mizoram (2.75 %), Nagaland (8.75 %), Meghalaya (11.53 %), J&K (28.44 %), Arunachal Pradesh (29 %), Manipur (31.39 %), and Punjab (38.40 %). “But, their minority rights are being siphoned off illegally and arbitrarily to the majority population because neither the Central nor the state governments have notified Hindus as a minority under Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Act,” the petition stated.As per a 1993 notification by the Centre, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Parsis were granted minority status in India, and Jains were added to the list in 2014.The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has called for the abolition of the minority status in the country altogether. “The Supreme Court has observed in a case pertaining to the status of Jains as minority that minoritism must be done away with. In India, we must have equal rights according to our Constitutional status as citizens. We warn the Minority Commission that nothing like this must happen, or we shall campaign for the commission to be scrapped. The Congress is trying to divide the Indian society once more,” VHP’s international joint general secretary Surendra Jain said last month. With agency inputs
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India 10-year-old raped girl’s baby adopted

The harrowing case of the 10-year-old who was raped by her two uncles shocked the world.

Didn’t represent Sunni Waqf board in SC, PM should be more careful: Kapil Sibal

Senior Congress leader and lawyer Kapil Sibal on Wednesday clarified that he never represented Sunni Waqf Board in Supreme Court during the Ayodhya hearing on Tuesday. This clarification comes after both PM Modi and Amit Shah attacked Kapil Sibal for trying to delay the hearing and demanded Congress party to make their stance clear. Amit Shah post Sunni Waqf Board’s statement that they want the case to be hear soon, said that Kapil Sibal was representing Congress view in Supreme Court on the behest of ‘High Command’.However, this is what Kapil Sibal, the man in the eye of the controversy has to say. Speaking to ANI, Sibal said, ” Our PM comments without knowing things sometimes. Amit Shah & he said I represented Sunni Waqf Board. I was never a Sunni Waqf Board lawyer”. Regarding the entire controversy, Sibal said that, ” Will discussion on my going to the court & representing someone solve serious problems in the country? If yes, then PM should say so. Issuing statements won’t help India in anyway, it’ll just take the nation towards controversies”.Kapil Sibal urged PM Modi to be ‘more careful’ and further went on to say, Also readPM Modi attacks Congress, Kapil Sibal for linking Ram Mandir with Lok Sabha electionsRegarding the timing of building a Ram temple in Ayodhya, Sibal said, ” We believe in the Lord, we don’t believe in you Modi ji. You are not going to build that temple, it will be done when God wants it. The court will decide”. Sibal on Supreme Court said that since the court’s decision in the case would have “very serious ramifications”, the hearing be deferred till July 2019 by which time the general election would be over.His contention was, however, not accepted by the court which decided to hear the matter on February 8 next year.Prime Minister Narendra Modi today castigated senior Congress leader and lawyer Kapil Sibal for seeking deferment of hearing of the Ram Janmabhoomi- Babri Masjid title dispute till after the 2019 general elections, and wondered if such an issue should be kept unresolved for political gains and losses.On the campaign trail in Gujarat, Modi recalled how his government decided to oppose ‘triple talaq’ in the Supreme Court risking a possible backlash in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.He also pitched for simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies. “Yesterday, Sibal advocated the cause of the Muslim community. He has the right to do it and we do not have any problem with it. You can present your argument quoting all facts and laws to save Babri Masjid.”But you dare say that the case should not be heard till 2019 elections. You want to stop the hearing of Ram temple (issue) in the name of elections,” Modi told a well attended election rally here in Ahmedabad district. Modi said now he understands why the Congress kept many issues unresolved, without elaborating but implying that it was done to derive political mileage.”Does the Waqf Board fight elections? Are these thoughts of delaying the hearing for elections that of the Waqf Board? The elections in the country are being fought by the Congress party. You want to keep the issue unresolved for political gain and losses in the elections?” Modi asked the Congress. He, however, noted that the Congress has said the views expressed by Sibal, who represents the Sunni Waqf Board in the case in the Supreme Court, were his own.With agency inputs
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‘Politics of deception’ was accepted as mainstream after Babri Masjid demolition: Lalu Yadav

Rashtriya Janata Dal​ (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav on Wednesday said the demolition of Babri Masjid 25 years ago in Ayodhya was the beginning of the era in India when “politics of deception” was accepted as a mainstream. In an open letter to “fellow citizens” on the 25th Anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition, Lalu wrote, “I do not need to remind you that this was no demolition of a mere mosque. It was, in its effect, a beginning of the era in India when politics of deception and trickery of the Sangh Parivar and the BJP was accepted as a mainstream way of doing politics. the day was the “beginning of the era in India when politics of deception and trickery of the Sangh Parivar and the BJP was accepted as a mainstream way of doing politics.””The ideology that killed Bapu has an innate relationship with the Hindu right and has wreaked havoc on the social fabric of India,” the former Bihar Chief Minister wrote. He said the people “will eventually see the ruling ideology of hate for what it is.” Also readBabri Masjid demolition day: Centre issues advisory, VHP to ‘celebrate’ in Ayodhya Lalu alleged that the Bhartiya Janta Party(BJP) leader Lal Krishna Advani had given his word that the mosque would not be damaged but he went back on it. “He was truer to his political ideology of hate and violence than to the Constitution of India and to the good of the nation. His ecstatic happiness and euphoric hugging of his colleagues as the Babri Mosque demolition was perpetrated has been captured in iconic photographs of the cataclysmic event,” Lalu wrote in thehinducentre.com. Also readResponsible for razing Babri Masjid, 3 guilt-ridden karsevaks have embraced IslamSpeaking of the events leading up to December 6, when the disputed structure in Ayodhya was demolished by karsevaks, Lalu said the then Prime Minister Narsimha Raoji and his government did not deem it necessary to take preventive or even precautionary measures as they “chose to trust Advaniji’s word.” Of Kalyan Singh, who was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh at the time of the incident, Lalu said he dishonoured an affidavit he filed in the Supreme Court of India. “The will to dishonour the constitution runs deep in BJP’s culture and ideology,” Lalu said. Lalu said that the demolition of Babri Masjid is a “potent symbol of the failure of social contract of the Indian state with its Muslim citizens.” “Today, if Muslims feel that they have been rendered redundant in the Indian politics, it is a sad day for our democracy,” he added. Also readAyodhya case: Firm Supreme Court schedules Feb hearingHe said it is not just that Muslims are being attacked and lynched but that opposition, judiciary, NGOs and media have all been “threatened to fall in line.” Urging people “not to repose all your trust, unquestioningly, in one political party,” Lalu said, “Absolute submission to one party’s vision—no matter how good it sounds to your ears—is the sure path to authoritarianism. A healthy opposition is important for a democracy to survive.”
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PM Modi attacks Congress, Kapil Sibal for linking Ram Mandir with Lok Sabha elections

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday attacked the Congress party and senior leader Kapil Sibal for linking Ram Mandir issue with politics.Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who is appearing for one of the parties in Supreme Court, had appealed that the matter be heard in July 2019 after completion of the next Lok Sabha polls as the atmosphere at present was not conducive.However, reacting to that, Modi said, “Yesterday in the SC, a Congress MP Kapil Sibal was arguing (which is his right) for the Babri Masjid. He is entitled to do that but is it right for him to say: postpone hearing till 2019? Why does he have to link a Ram Mandir with elections? Is such thinking proper,” the Prime Minister asked while addressing a rally in Gujarat’s Dhandhuka.Also readGujarat Elections 2017 | Congress visited calamity-hit areas a week later: PM Narendra ModiHe further added, “Now Congress is linking Ram Mandir with elections. They are least bothered about the nation.”Coincidently, today is the 25th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya.Supreme Court has decided to hear the civil appeals filed by various parties challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi- Babri Masjid title dispute on February 8 next year.Also readGujarat elections 2017: A day after manifesto, Rahul Gandhi says Modi has no plans for Guj’s futureBJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao also tried to corner the opposition Congress over Sibal’s submission in the apex court.”By seeking deferment of the Ayodhya case until after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Kapil Sibal has politicised the legal dispute. The Congress must clarify if Sibal is representing it or the Sunni Waqf Board? Or, is it the case that the board and the Congress are working in tandem?” he asked.The Congress, however, distanced itself from Sibal’s argument in the court.”Congress has nothing to do with it as it’s Kapil Sibal’s personal matter who he represents in court,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.Also readAyodhya case: Firm Supreme Court schedules Feb hearing
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Is Kapil Sibal Congress party’s counsel? BJP questions lawyer’s plea to hear Ayodha case after July 2019

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Sunni Waqf board in Supreme Court on Tuesday urged that Ayodhya dispute matter should be heard only after July 2019. He said, that whenever this matter is heard, there are serious repercussions outside the court and to preserve the decorum of law and order, and that he personally requests court to take this matter up on July 15, 2019, once all the pleadings are complete. However the Supreme Court overruled his plea and fixed February 8, 2018 as next hearing date. However Sibal’s attempt to somehow delay the hearing post 2019 general elections attracted strong rebuke from BJP leaders on Twitter. Sambit Swaraj said, ” What has the Sunni Waqf Board to do with 2019 Elections? Kapil Sibal totally exposed ..represents the Congress’ views more than the Waqf Board’s view?Other Twitter users too slammed Kapil Sibal and he soon started trending on Twitter. Interestingly Congress leader Kapil Sibal was attacked by PM Modi for trying to ‘mislead’ people about Patidar quota. Modi said that whenever Congress had to mislead people, Kapil Sibal is roped in. Earlier, Sibal read out in the apex court the details of exhibits filed by the contesting defendants before the Allahabad High Court. He told the three-judge bench of the court that all the exhibits were not filed before this cour Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, representing the state of Uttar Pradesh rebutted the averments of Kapil Sibal. The ASG also told the Supreme Court that all the related documents and requisite translation copies were on record.Sibal raised the doubts over the assertions of ASG Mehta and told the Supreme Court that ‘he and other petitioners have not been served relevant documents of pleadings.’According to reports, the top court was hearing a total of 13 appeals filed against the 2010 judgement of the Allahabad High Court in four civil suits. The stakeholders in the case had moved the apex court after the Allahabad HC directed the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and the Lord Ram Lalla to settle for a three-way division of the disputed site.With ANI inputs
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BMMA welcomes draft law to criminalise triple talaq

Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), one of the petitioners in the triple talaq case in the Supreme Court has welcomed the draft law of the government that looks to criminalise instant triple talaq. The move comes days after another group stated that the issue should not be criminalised and that it would affect the issue.”While we welcome the criminal provisions that the new draft Bill on instant triple talaq mentions of which we have been getting glimpses in the press, the bill leaves a lot to be desired. While the Bill pronounces triple talaaq as an offense, it has not given any other alternative method for divorce. All civil laws are in a way connected with the IPC and if there is no penal provision, then it will not be any different than an court order. Laws are effective only because they have penal provision,” said Noorjehan Safia Niaz, convenor of the BMMA.BMMA suggested that Ahsan method where arbitration should last for minimum 90 days and is also mandatory be introduced even before the beginning of divorce process. “This method of divorce is applicable to both men and women. Unless arbitration before divorce proceedings is not made mandatory, this proposed law will only criminalise a certain method without providing an alternative. Justice to Muslim women also includes a divorce process where she has an equal participation in the proceedings and has an equal say in the settlement of other rights, if at all the divorce happens,” added Noorjehan.The group also demanded that other “discriminatory practices like halala, muta marriage, under age marriage and polygamy” must also be addressed in the Bill. “All these issues are linked to triple talaaq. Polygamy should be banned otherwise without divorcing, people will remarry. If marry underage people, that too should be punished. There is no reason if a Hindu man is being punished for multiple wives or under POCSOA, a Muslim should go unpunished,” said Niaz.
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Kerala ‘Love Jihad’ case: Before marriage, Hadiya’s husband was in touch with ISIS men, says NIA

A week after the Supreme Court freed Hadiya, the Kerala woman at the centre of alleged ‘love jihad’ case from her parents custody, an NIA report has said that her husband was in touch with the ISIS before their marriage.According to a report by the Times of India, the National Investigation Agency’s probe said that Shafin Jahan, Hadiya’s husband, was in touch with Manseed and P Safvan from ISIS via Facebook.The men are key accused in the Omar-al-Hindi case. The NIA said that the Facebook group was involved in activities of the Popular Front of India’s political arm SDPI.Also readHadiya case | Brinda Karat slams NIA for interrogating couples in inter-community marriagesThe probe agency said that it was Manseed and his associate Muneer who brought Shafin and Hadiya together. The finding is contrary to what has been claimed by both Hadiya and her husband that they came together via the matrimonial website ‘waytonikah.com’.Last week on November 27, the Supreme Court had freed Hadiya from her parents’ custody and directed her to continue her education in a Coimtore college.Also readHadiya says she wants meeting with ‘husband’, more ‘freedom’Earlier on October 3, during a hearing, the Supreme Court had questioned about role of a father in his adult daughter’s life. The top court, in fact, had questioned how the Kerala High Court annulled the marriage of Hadiya and Shafeen Jahan under Article 226.Shafin Jahan married Akhila Ashokan in December last year after she converted to Islam and rechristened herself as Hadiya.Also readLove Jihad case: Can’t have terrorist in the family, says Hadiya’s fatherHer father moved the Kerala High Court and claimed his daughter was indoctrinated and forcibly converted. He, in fact, said that his daughter would be be sent to Afghanistan or Syria.The High Court annulled the marriage. But Jahan approached the Supreme Court against the annulment.Earlier in August, the NIA began investigation into the case following the top court’s orders.In compliance with the orders of the apex court, the case was re-registered by the NIA and an investigation was taken up.The Kerala Government had said that if the apex court wants an NIA probe, it has no objections. However, later ina u-turn, the state government said that the policer probe is sufficient and that there’s no requirement of an NIA probe.
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Thumping majority for BJP in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh a foregone conclusion: ML Khattar

He was speaking on the sidelines of ‘Pravasi Haryana Sammelan’ organised here by his government for people who have origins in the northern state but have settled down in Bihar.”The country-wide BJP wave is there for all to see. The party’s stunning performance in the local body elections in Uttar Pradesh is the latest example. A thumping majority in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh is a foregone conclusion,” Khattar told reporters here.The chief minister also ridiculed Uttar Pradesh leaders Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav for crying foul over their defeat in the recently held civic polls and demanding the return of ballot papers.”Haryana and Bihar share an old relationship and I want both the states to prosper. Faridabad has a large population of Biharis and the Chhath Puja was recently celebrated there with great fervour,” he said. Khattar also claimed that Haryana was among the fastest growing states in the country with a per capita income higher than the national average.Referring to his three-year-old rule, Khattar said, “In terms of ease of doing business we have moved from the 14th to the sixth position. We have also worked on the social front and the sex ratio in the state has risen from 840 to 937.” Khattar said his government was criticized by political parties when it laid down minimum educational qualifications as an eligibility criterion for panchayat polls but the Supreme Court later lauded the decision.”Our decision to introduce education qualification was hailed by the Supreme Court. Now we have suggested the Centre to introduce similar criteria for MLAs and MPs,” he added.
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Bhopal Gas Tragedy: 33 yrs on, survivors still wait for adequate compensation, medical treatment

Thirty-three years after the Bhopal gas tragedy, survivors are still fighting for adequate compensation and proper medical treatment for ailments caused by the toxic leak.Families of the deceased and people who bore the brunt of the industrial disaster are now signing a petition, to be sent to the Supreme Court, requesting it to start hearing a curative petition of the government filed in December 2010 for more compensation.The US company which then owned the chemical plant here, from where the poisonous gas leaked in 1984, has not yet adequately compensated the victims, a Madhya Pradesh minister said.Also readBhopal: Remove toxins in Union Carbide under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, NGOs tell PM ModiThe victims of the “world’s worst disaster” had not been paid adequately by US-based Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) now owned by Dow Chemicals, MP’s Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vishwas Sarang told PTI.He alleged that the then Central government led by the Congress was more interested in helping the multi-national company rather than bringing it to book.Also readBhopal gas tragedy victims move higher US court against Union Carbide Corporation”The Central and the state governments, both led by the Congress, helped the then UCC chairman, Warren Anderson, who had come to Bhopal after the tragedy, to escape to the US,” Sarang claimed.He said the curative petition seeks compensation of more than Rs 1,000 crore from the UCC (now owned by Dow) for the welfare of the victims.Abdul Jabbar, the convenor of the Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sanghathan, who has been working for the survivors for over three decades, said the UCC gave a compensation of USD 470 million (Rs 715 crore) after the toxic gas leak from the Union Carbide factory on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984, killed 3,000 people and affected 1.02 lakh others.”We all challenged the meagre compensation in the Supreme Court saying that the number of victims was ‘too high’ and the compensation given by Union Carbide was ‘too small’ in 1989,” Jabbar said.He added that the claim courts for the tragedy started work in Bhopal in 1990 and completed it by 2005.The Rs 715 crore-compensation was paid to the families of 15,274 deceased and 5.74 lakh affected by the leak, he said.Jabbar said the signature campaign for more compensation was launched by those whose health had been affected by the gas leak.”We moved the apex court again in 2005 saying that the number of victims had swelled five fold,” Jabbar said.On December 3, 2010, the Centre and the state government filed a curative petition in the apex court seeking more compensation for the victims from UCC, Jabbar said.”But nothing has happened after that. So now the sufferers are signing the petition, with a request to the Supreme Court to hear the curative petition and decide the matter at the earliest,” he added.The survivors were suffering from many diseases, including cancer, tumours and lung problems, caused by the inhalation of the poisonous gas three decades ago, he said.”They are not getting proper medical care as they don’t have money,” Jabbar said.He accused the Congress government and the BJP-led NDA rule of not doing enough to bring Anderson to book.”Anderson escaped from the country after the Congress government as the Centre buckled under US pressure in 1984,” he claimed.The CBI, when the NDA was in power in 2002, tried to “dilute the charges” against Anderson which made the extradition of the US national difficult, he added.On June 7, 2010, a Bhopal court convicted seven executives of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) to two years’ imprisonment in connection with the incident.Anderson was the prime accused in the case but did not appear for the trial. On February 1, 1992, the Bhopal CJM court declared him an absconder.The courts in Bhopal had issued non-bailable warrants against Anderson twice — in 1992 and 2009.Anderson died in September, 2014.
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National Commission for Minorities seeks Law Commission’s opinion on minority status to Hindus in 8 states

The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) on Sunday sought the Law Commission’s opinion on minority status to the Hindus in eight states on the representation given by the petitioner, Ashwini Upadhyay.The Supreme Court had, earlier, asked the petitioner to approach the NCM as he urged the court to declare that Hindus were a minority community in eight states including Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.Upadhyay has referred to December 18, 1992 resolution of the UN General Assembly and a judgement of the top court to back his plea.Also readMuslim helpline: VHP for scrapping of NCM, Minority AffairsIn his plea, the petitioner sought the Hindus be declared minority in the eight states including Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Lakshdweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.
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Hadiya case | Brinda Karat slams NIA for interrogating couples in inter-community marriages

CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat has accused the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of being out on a “fishing expedition” in Kerala and interrogating couples in inter-caste or inter-community marriages.The party’s politburo member said instead of celebrating inter-caste and inter-community marriages as “symbols of India s open and liberal approach”, there was a campaign against them.”The NIA is on a fishing expedition having already interrogated 89 such couples in Kerala,” Karat said in the latest issue of party organ ‘People’s Democracy’, while referring to the Hadiya case.Also readKerala love jihad case: Hadiya was very happy after talking to her husband over phone, says college deanShe was critical of the central agency’s role in probing such marriages, referred to as “love jehad” by Hindutva forces.”An agency whose proclaimed mandate is to investigate offences related to terrorism has now expanded its mandate by order of the Supreme Court to unearth so-called conspiracies of Muslim men luring Hindu women into marriage and forcibly converting them with the aim of joining the Islamic State,” she said in the article.Also readWant to meet my husband, hope authorities will allow: Hadiya after reaching collegeThe underlying assumption, she said, was that Hindu women who married Muslims had “no minds of their own”.”Her (Hadiya’s) case reveals how deeply the current climate created by sectarian ideologies based on a narrow reading of religious identity has pushed back women’s rights to autonomy as equal citizens. From the government to the courts, to the strengthening of conservative and regressive thinking and practice, it’s all out there in Hadiya’s case,” Karat wrote.She also hailed Hadiya’s unequivocal stand in court.”It was the courage of her conviction that stood out. She wanted to be treated as a human being. She wanted her faith to be respected. She wanted to study. She wanted to be with her husband. And, most importantly, she wanted her freedom,” the former Member of Parliament said.Karat said she appreciated the Supreme Court “for not allowing itself to be converted into a khap panchayat” and charged the NIA counsel supported by the legal counsel of the Central government with portraying it as a case of “indoctrination and brainwashing in a conspiracy of ‘love jehad’ which they claimed rendered Hadiya incapacitated and invalidated her consent”.”The NIA wanted the court to study the documents it claimed it had as evidence before they heard Hadiya. For one and a half hours, this young woman stood in open court hearing arguments about herself, against herself and her chosen partner. It was shameful, humiliating and set an unfortunate precedent,” she said.The Left leader emphasised that Hadiya’s case brought into focus the right to practise and propagate the religion of one s choice under the Constitution.Karat expressed the hope that the apex court would “act in a way which strengthens women s rights unencumbered by subjective interpretations of tradition and communal readings of what constitutes national interest”.Hadiya had said in the apex court last week that she wanted to go with her husband, Shafin Jahan.The 24-year-old Kerala woman had converted to Islam, changing her name from Akhila to Hadiya, and married Jahan.The marriage was challenged by her parents in court.Jahan moved court after their marriage was annulled by the Kerala high court and against the high court court s order directing the NIA to probe the case.The Supreme Court last week allowed Hadiya, till now in the custody of her parents, to resume her studies at a homoeopathy college in Salem, Tamil Nadu.
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Wrongly incarcerated people not being properly compensated: Delhi HC

People who have been wrongly incarcerated are “left to their devices without any hope of reintegration into the society or rehabilitation since the best years of their life have been spent behind bars, invisible behind the high prison walls”, the Delhi High Court has said.A bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice I S Mehta expressed concern over non-presence of a legal scheme for compensating these people who, at various instances, have been acquitted by the High court or the Supreme Court after many years of imprisonment.“There is at present in our country no statutory or legal scheme for compensating those who are wrongfully incarcerated. The instances of those being acquitted by the High Court or the Supreme Court after many years of imprisonment are not infrequent.“They are left to their devices without any hope of reintegration into society or rehabilitation since the best years of their life have been spent behind bars, invisible behind the high prison walls,” the bench said.The court said that even though there is a provision of compensating the victims through Sections 357 and 357 A to C of the Code of Criminal Procedure, its effective implementation hinges upon the concerted efforts of legal services authorities and governments.“As far as compensating ‘persons groundlessly arrested’, Section 358 Cr PC offers some token relief. This provision, however, fails to acknowledge the multiple ways in which not only the prisoner, who may ultimately be declared to be innocent, but the family of the prisoner faces deprivation and hardship. Particularly poignant is the plight of the spouse, children and aged parents of the prisoner who are unable to find legal redress for their losses,” the court held.It stressed on “an urgent need for a legal (preferably legislative) framework for providing relief and rehabilitation to victims of wrongful prosecution and incarceration”.“Whether this should be an omnibus legislation or scheme that caters to both the needs of the victim of the crime, as well those wrongfully incarcerated, including the family and dependants of the prisoner, or these have to be dealt with in separate legislations or schemes is a matter for discussion, deliberation and consultation with a cross-section of interest groups.The observation came while dealing with three wide issues which had come up while hearing a criminal appeal. The court had directed GS Bajpai Professor of Criminology & Criminal Justice and Registrar, National Law University, Delhi to be the amicus curiae and submit a report on the three issues.The other two included Fines and default sentences and Suspension of sentence.The court also requested the Law Commission of India to undertake a comprehensive examination of the issue of incarceration and make its recommendation thereon to the Government of India.The report submitted by Prof Bajpai had referred to the practice in the United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK). He had pointed out that there are 32 states in the USA including District of Columbia (DC) which have enacted laws that provide monetary and non-monetary compensation to people wrongfully incarcerated. There are specific schemes in the UK and New Zealand in this regard.
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UPA govt had denied existence of Lord Ram, so what does ‘Shiv Bhakt’ Rahul think: Meenakshi Lekh

BJP Lok Sabha MP Meenakshi Lekhi on Saturday questioned Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s claim that he was a “Shiv bhakt” and asked him to clear his stand on Lord Ram.The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had, in an affidavit on the Ram Setu filed in the Supreme Court in 2007, denied the existence of Lord Ram, she said.Talking to newspersons here, the MP from New Delhi said Gandhi should first accept the existence of Lord Ram before claiming to be a Lord Shiva devotee.”What is the stand of Rahul Gandhi on Lord Ram because the UPA government, in an affidavit on Ram Setu in the Supreme Court, had denied the existence of Lord Ram who is a devout Shiv bhakt?” the lawyer-politician asked.She questioned the Nehru-Gandhi family’s past in relation to former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s alleged objection to the reconstruction of the Somnath temple.Lekhi said she opposed the “note ban” announced by the UPA government in January 2014 as it would have hit the common citizens, many of whom did not have access to banking services.The UPA move pertained to the withdrawal of currency notes issued before 2005. It had asked the people to exchange these notes for newer ones till March 31, 2014.Lauding the Narendra Modi government’s decision to demonetize high-value currency, Lekhi said it was done only after 27 crore bank accounts were opened for the poor under the Jan Dhan scheme.She said this decision by the NDA government has been vindicated by way of poll results in states like Uttar Pradesh.The BJP leader criticised the Left Democratic Front government in Kerala for “failing to contain” the killing of RSS workers in the southern state.
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Triple talaq: India considers jail for ‘instant divorce’

The Indian government is proposing a three-year jail sentence for men who use “triple talaq”.

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