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Cyclone Ockhi: Time for separate ministry for fishermen, says Rahul Gandhi in Kerala

Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi today visited some places hit by the Cyclone Ochki in southern Kerala that has claimed 66 lives, most of them fishermen, and pitched for a better warning system to prevent recurrence of such tragedies.Addressing the families of fishermen who died in the cyclone and interacting with them, Gandhi said the state and Central governments need to learn lessons from the natural calamity, which has also left 95 fishermen missing.”When a tragedy happens, everyone must learn from the tragedy and avoid such a situation in future. We must have a better system of warning for the fishermen who are going to the sea,” he said speaking to affected families in coastal hamlet Poonthura, near Thiruvananthapuram.Holding that the condition of fishermen was very similar to that of farmers, the Congress leader said, “They are both facing very difficult times.” Referring to the demand of local Latin Catholic church, he said it was time a separate ministry was set up for fishermen at the Centre. “The farmers have a ministry that looks after their interests and I think it is time that we create a ministry for the fishermen to look after their interests and make sure they are protected,” he said.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Pope Francis enquires about Kerala’s fishermen communityGandhi, who is here after hectic electioneering in Gujarat, said he wanted to come to meet the families earlier. But due to prior programmes in connection with the Gujarat polls, he could not do so and expressed his apology.”Some of you have lost sons, some of you lost husbands. This loss cannot be replaced…we will try to make your life as comfortable as possible,” he said. The cyclone hit the coast of Kerala and neighbouring Tamil Nadu on November 30, claiming 66 lives and causing widespread damage besides leaving several fishermen stranded and missing.Earlier, Gandhi paid floral tributes in front of pictures of those who perished in the cyclone. He also consoled the families and interacted with them. Later, he visited nearby Vizhinjam and met the affected fishermen families and assured them that the Congress would discharge its duty as the principal opposition to bring pressure on the governments to get everyone necessary compensation. “I am confident the Congress will play its role,” he said.He also said the Congress party was committed to setting up a Ministry for fishermen at the Centre and offered all help to fishermen to overcome the present crisis.Also read750 still missing post Ockhi: Tamil Nadu fishersConsoling the fishermen community, including the women folk who broke down during the interaction, Gandhi said, “What you have lost cannot be measured in terms of value and so my words cannot replace your loss.” Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala, former chief minister Oommen Chandy and Congress MPs Shashi Tharoor and K C Venugopal were among those who accompanied Gandhi.

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Centre may amend act to give seat to judiciary

The Centre on Friday submitted that it might look into the possibility of amending the Finance Act to include a nominee for the Chief Justice of India on the selection and disciplinary committee for administrative members in the tribunals.According to the provisions of the Finance Act, 2017 that was passed earlier this year, the judiciary will no longer play a role in the selection of chairpersons on tribunals that are largely made up of retired judges from the higher judiciary.The act, which the Lok Sabha passed as a money bill, scrapped eight of the 19 tribunals and merged the rest with existing ones.Attorney General KK Venugopal made this submission when the Supreme Court expressed its concern over the rising vacancies in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) and the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC).Venugopal added that the Centre was also willing to look into suggestions made by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on fixing the tenure of judicial members of a tribunal for five years.The apex court bench that also comprised Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud advised the Centre to consider, as a temporary measure, extending the tenure of judicial members of CAT and National Consumer Commission for the next three months.To this, Venugopal responded that he would seek instructions on the suggestion and reply by December 11.The top court was hearing a batch of pleas that challenged the constitutional validity of the Finance Act, specifically pertaining to the ‘Tribunals, Appellate Tribunals and Other Authorities (qualifications, experience and other conditions of service of members) Rules, 2017’.Senior advocate PS Patwalia submitted that the NCDRC and the CAT, which were already functioning with depleted strength, would be further weakened when members retired by the end of January, 2018.The Court went on to record the same before ordering, “In view of the nature of function of the tribunals, we enquired from the learned Attorney General whether it will be in the fitness of things to allow the adjudicator who are continuing in these two tribunals for a period of three months so that things can be brought under control. Learned Attorney General prays for time till 11th December, 2017, to obtain instruction for the said purpose. Be it noted, our suggestion is only in respect of NCDRC and CAT and nothing more.”

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Triple Talaq law: Govt mulls 3-year jail term for offenders

The Modi government is planning a three year jail term with a fine for individuals giving instant triple talaq to their wives, according to the draft law. The government plans to introduce a bill in the Winter Session of the Parliament to make Triple Talaq a criminal offence. Supreme Court earlier in the year had declared Triple Talaq illegal, dubbing it unconstitutional in a split verdict. The draft bill has been finalised by the Centre and has been sent to state governments for further consultation. All states, except Jammu and Kashmir will be part of the law once it is passed in both houses of the Parliament. As per the draft bill, triple talaq victims can seek custody of minor children and also claim for maintenance for self and dependable children. The government plans to bring a law making it criminal offence, because even after SC verdict there have been cases where Muslim women have been given Triple Talaq. The government hopes that the new law will be an effective deterrent to curb the social menace. On 23rd November, Union Ministers discussed details regarding the proposed triple talaq legislation. Chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the meeting discussed various issues related to the proposed bill, which is expected to ensure that the instantaneous way of divorce will be a punishable offence. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot, Minister for Minorities Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Attorney General K K Venugopal besides others attended the meeting.In August, the Supreme Court had struck down the controversial Islamic practice of instant divorce or ‘talaq-e-biddat’ as arbitrary and unconstitutional. But there have been reports of a number of divorces by way of ‘talaq-e-biddat’ even after the judgement..
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Yogi Adityanath

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Release draft NRC by Dec 31: SC

The Supreme Court on Thursday rules that Assam must publish the draft of updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) by December 31. The top court dismissed a request for an extension, and directed state coordinator Prateek Hajela to deploy additional manpower to complete scrutiny of the remaining 38 lakh names in order to meet the deadline.”On the expiry of midnight of December 31, 2017, draft NRC pertaining to two crore claims which have been verified or likely to be verified by the said date and the additional 38 lakh claims, mentioned above, will be published,” a bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi and Rohinton F Nariman ruled.Since 2014, the top court has been monitoring the exercise of NRC upgradation and fencing along the Indo-Bangladesh border. NRC is meant to identify original residents of Assam to check illegal migration — primarily from Bangladesh.On a pointed query put forth by Justice Nariman as to whether, if extension for time is to be granted, there could be a request for further extension in the future; Attorney General KK Venugopal submitted that such a possibility cannot be ruled out and, if required, further time would be sought.However, once the order was pronounced, Venugopal submitted that fixing a date for publication of the draft NRC is really an executive function, adding that a court order to this effect would be an encroachment on the executive domain as well as a violation of doctrine of separation of powers.Venugopal added that Assam would face a law and order situation if the NRC was published before examining all the names on the list. “There will be agitation in the border state if the NRC excludes over one crore names,” Venugopal said. The Centre has already deployed additional companies to monitor and contain any hostile situation that may erupt, he added.Taking exception to the suggestion of judicial overreach, the bench contended that it had been hearing this matter for the past three years and the Centre had not yet advanced this contention before Court.(The Centre), “for the first time overlooks the fact that over a period of three years the Court has been monitoring the matter and fixing appropriate time-lines for the completion of different phases of the exercise of updating the NRC.”It is the sheer inaction on the part of the executive in dragging the matter for a period of over three years and the absence of any justifiable cause to hold back even a partial publication that has led the Court to direct publication of the draft NRC on or before 31st December, 2017,” the bench said.When the issue on border fencing came up, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that the Centre did not want India to become the refugee capital fo the world.However, the top court then pulled up the Centre on the slow pace of fencing at the Indo-Bangla border. When the committee submitted a report seeking more time, Justice Nariman asked the government why it was delaying the work that was started in 1987. Justice Nariman pointed out that the rate of fencing had dropped down to 26 kilometers per year from a record high of 381 kilometers per year at one point.”When we intervene, you tell us its separation of power,” Justice Nariman said. “We are asking for the protection of the country,” Justice Gogoi said. “Should we leave the fate of the country to your governance?” He added.The matter will now be heard on February 20.MONITORINGSince 2014, the Supreme Court has been monitoring the exercise of NRC upgradation and fencing along the Indo-Bangladesh border SC directed state coordinator Prateek Hajela to deploy additional manpower to complete scrutiny of remaining 38 lakh names to meet deadline.
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Yogi Adityanath

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Medical bribery: SC reserves SIT order

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court reserved on Monday its order on a plea seeking a court-monitored probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the medical bribery scam matter which involves judges from the higher judiciary.After hearing arguments submitted by Attorney General KK Venugopal and advocate Prashant Bhushan — who represents the NGO Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms which filed the petition, a special bench comprising Justices RK Agrawal, Arun Mishra and AM Khanwilkar reserved the order for December 1.Venugopal had submitted that the PIL as misconceived and called the arguments made by Bhushan — who said that he wanted to protect the independence of the judiciary, disingenuous.Bhushan said that all aspects were not covered by the apex court its earlier verdict — when it had junked a similar petition filed by senior advocate Kamini Jaiswal, that he has filed this petition to save the “dignity, independence and integrity of the judiciary.”Earlier this month, Bhushan’s CJAR and Jaiswal had filed identical petitions on two consecutive days causing an uproar in the apex court. During their arguments, both petitions categorically sought the recusal of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra who had deliberated on matters where Prasad Education Trust – one of the petitioners, is also an accused in the medical scam case which the CBI is probing.In short order, the top court had junked Jaiswal’s petition calling the attempts made by her and Bhushan as “forum-shopping, contemptuous, unethical, derogatory.” The bench, however, had stopped short of initiating contempt of court proceedings against them, in the interest and “welfare of the great institution.”‘MISCONCEIVED’Attorney General KK Venugopal said the PIL demanding an SIT was “misconceived”. He called the argument that the PIL wanted to protect the independence of the judiciary as “disingenuous”

Bar and bench need to work together to bring down number of pending cases: CJI Misra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra today said pending cases cannot be a “roaring tiger” before the judiciary and held that the backlog problem will be tackled if the bar and the bench worked together.The CJI asked the bar body and the lawyers to assure him that they would not seek unnecessary adjournments in cases, stressing that it was a way to resolve the backlog problem. “Let us promise each other that we shall collectively march ahead to reduce pendency. Pendency cannot be a roaring tiger before us. We will be able to tackle it if we work together,” the CJI said while speaking at a function here organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association to celebrate Constitution Day.The people, he said, must pledge to defend the dream and vision of the Constitution. “We cannot permit … anyone and I mean anyone who harbours the notion of denigrating the dignity of the institution at his whims and fancy,” he said. Speaking on the issue of pending cases, he said rotational benches of the high courts across the country were functioning on Saturdays and were taking up criminal appeals which were around 10 years old. “I must tell you in last one and a half months, all the high courts combined have disposed of around 1100 appeals and the credit goes to the judges and the members of the bar. In the Supreme Court in last two months, we have brought down pendecy by more than 3,200 cases,” he said.
ALSO READ Over 4,000 cases still pending in each subordinate court: SC weighs in on overworked lower courtsHe said that advocates on record (AoRs) of the apex court should get the privilege to mention a matter for urgent hearing and stressed that the lawyers should come prepared even if they seek early hearing. “I have told my colleagues (judges) to come prepared even if the case is listed for early hearing. If the case can be disposed of, we will sit and dispose it of,” he said. Addressing the gathering, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government had made 106 appointment in the higher judiciary this year.”In the subordinate judiciary, there are about 5,000 vacancies. The Centre has no role in it. Appointments are done by the high courts or public service commissions. We have written to the CJI,” he said. Prasad also said fresh talents should join the subordinate judiciary. “It is time to induce new blood, new talent in the subordinate judiciary,” he said, adding, “We need to collectively work together”.Attorney General KK Venugopal lamented the delay in justice delivery and said certain cases may take eight years to pass the trial court and the same in high courts and the apex court. “A total of 24 years. Only rich persons can file a case,” he said, adding that there was a need for increasing the number of judges. “We have only 18 judges for a million people. This is the root cause of delay in justice. The total number of judges needs to be increased,” he said. Since the government was party to 70 per cent cases, its early disposal would also benefit the government, he said.

Union ministers discuss triple talaq legislation in meeting chaired by Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> group of Union ministers today closeted for an hour to discuss about a legislation to put an end to instantaneous ‘triple talaq’, a Muslim way of divorce, which is said to be still in practice despite the Supreme Court striking it down.The Centre is planning to bring the legislation in the winter session of Parliament, which is likely to begin from December 15. Chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the meeting discussed various issues related to the proposed bill, which is expected to ensure that the instantaneous way of divorce will be a punishable offence, a government official said. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot, Minister for Minorities Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Attorney General K K Venugopal besides others attended the meeting.No decision was taken in today’s meeting and further deliberations will take place in coming days, the official said. The ministers also discussed whether a new legislation should be brought or the existing penal provisions be suitably amended to make the instantaneous triple talaq an offence, the government official said. According to the law, a victim of ‘talaq-e-biddat’ or instant triple talaq would have no option, but to approach the police for redressal of her grievances, as a Muslim clergy would be of no assistance to her. Even police are helpless as no action can be taken against the husband in the absence of punitive provisions in the law, another official explained.The NDA ministers have been tasked to frame a new law or an amendment bill, he said.In August, the Supreme Court had struck down the controversial Islamic practice of instant divorce or ‘talaq-e-biddat’ as arbitrary and unconstitutional. But there have been reports of a number of divorces by way of ‘talaq-e-biddat’ even after the judgement. This could be because of lack of awareness and absence of deterrent punishment, the official said. Despite advisories issued to members of the community against the archaic practice, there seems to be no decline in the cases of divorce by ‘talaq-e-biddat’, he said.Soon after the SC judgement, the government said that a law on triple talaq might not be necessary as the order was now the law of the land. They had felt that the provisions of the Indian Penal Code were sufficient to deal with such cases, the official added.

In Supreme Court, hope for those stuck with banned currency

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the last hearing of the ongoing case in the Supreme Court, where several aggrieved citizens had sought relief and directions from the RBI about their old currency to be exchanged, the Centre assured them that no criminal action would be pursued.Assuring the petitioners, Attorney General KK Venugopal cautioned that the allowance was limited to the amount specified in their pleas before the apex court.The bench, led by the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, then clarified that protection could not be extended for any other amount possessed, since the demonetization law is still constitutionally valid.The petitioners before the bench said they were unable to exchange their old notes for new before the window set by the Centre expired. The lead petitioner, Sudha Misra, alleged that for her wedding in January 2016, she was gifted some cash. However, because she was pregnant with her twins in November, she coulnd’t exchange the cash in her possession.Another petitioner, 71-year-old Sarla Shrivastava who lost her husband in April 2016, came across Rs.1,79,500 while going through her husband’s possessions, after the window for exchange had closed.Abhishek Shukla, the alleged bookie who exonerated along with S Sreesanth, filed an unusual case. In 2013, when the Delhi police booked Shukla, they seized Rs.5 lakh — in the now-banned notes. When the money was released in February 2017, however, the notes had been demonetised and the window to exchange them had closed.Though the centre has remained firm on the issue of reopening the window, the top court has allowed these petitioners to tag themselves in a matter that challenges the demonetization law.Iegality of actThe matter challenges the demonetisation law and deems it to be unconstitutional. A five-judge constitution bench will now deliberate whether demonetisation was legal.

J&K special status: SC defers verdict on constitutional validity of Article 35A by 3 months

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned the case on Article 35A, granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir, by three months. This is after Attorney general KK Venugopal on behalf of the Centre urged deferring of the case by six months. AK Venugopal said to the SC that Centre has appointed an interlocutor to talk to all stakeholders in the valley and hence hearing in this matter should be deferred for now. SC partially agreed to the request put off the case by three months. Separatists had warned of unrest if Article 35A was tinkered with. SC was hearing petitions filed claiming that politically contentious Article 35A was illegally added to the Constitution of India as the Article was never proposed before the Parliament. Four petitions, which demanded the scrapping of the provision, have been listed before a bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud.The main petition was filed by ‘We the Citizens’, a Delhi-based NGO in 2014. Three more petitions were also filed challenging the Article but were later clubbed with the main one. The issue has come to the centre stage of controversy after the Supreme Court’s indication that it may be dealt with by a five-judge constitution bench, to ascertain that, if Article 35A relating to special rights and privileges of the citizens of the Jammu and Kashmir is ultra vires of the Constitution or if there is any procedural lapse.Article 35A of the Indian Constitution is an article that empowers the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents, while article 370 gives special status to the state of J&K in the Indian Union. Article 35A was added to the Constitution by a Presidential Order in 1954 and accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of the Jammu and Kashmir. It also empowers the state’s legislature to frame any law without attracting a challenge on grounds of violating the Right to Equality of people from other states or any other right under the Indian Constitution.With Agency inputs

Bengal govt moves SC against Centre’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for welfare schemes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court would hear on October 30 a plea filed by the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government against the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing the benefits of various social welfare schemes.The plea is listed for hearing before a bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan.Senior advocate and member of parliament Kalyan Banerjee said the petition was filed earlier and would come up for hearing before the bench on October 30. He said that West Bengal government has challenged the provision which said that without Aadhaar, the benefits of social welfare schemes would not be extended. On October 25, the Centre had told the top court that the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to avail benefits of various government schemes has been extended till March 31 next year for those who do not have the 12-digit biometric identification number.Attorney General K K Venugopal had told a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that the deadline extension from December end this year till March 31, 2018, would apply only to those who do not have Aadhaar and are willing to enrol for it. However, Venugopal had told the bench that he would take instructions on certain issues on Aadhaar after which the court had asked him to mention the matter again on October 30. Several petitions, challenging the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for welfare schemes and notifications to link it with mobile numbers and bank accounts, are pending in the apex court.

Standing for national anthem in cinema halls not a measure of patriotism: Supreme Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a significant change of stance, SC on Monday indicated that it may modify its order of December 1, 2016, by which the playing of the anthem was made mandatory for cinema halls before the screening of a movie, and it may replace the word “shall” with “may”. The apex court had last year made it mandatory to play the national anthem before a movie.”Just because someone doesn’t sing the national anthem in cinema halls, they do not become less patriotic,” Justice Chandrachud said. “One doesn’t have to wear patriotism up his sleeves all the time. People are afraid of being called anti-national if they oppose mandatory singing of national anthem,” the bench remarked, according to WION. The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to consider amending the national flag code for regulating the playing of national anthem in cinema halls across the country. A bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, said the Centre has to take a call uninfluenced by its earlier order on the playing of national anthem in the theatres. During the hearing, Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, said India was a diverse country and the national anthem needs to be played in the cinema halls to bring in uniformity.The court’s directions last year had come on a PIL filed by one Shyam Narayan Chouksey seeking directions that the national anthem should be played in all the cinema halls before a film begins. It had also said proper norms and protocol should be fixed regarding its playing and singing at official functions and programmes where those holding constitutional office are present. With PTI inputs

Bengaluru pothole deaths: Rahul Gandhi seeks report from Karnataka govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday sought a report from the Karnataka Government on the issue of deaths in Bengaluru due to potholes and rains, said Congress sources.AICC (All India Congress Committee) in-charge for Karnataka, KC Venugopal is in consultation with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and concerned Ministry over the matter.Earlier last week, four people died in Bengaluru in accidents caused by the potholes.The incident has brought Karnataka Government under light over the alleged poor quality of metalling and corruption in road projects.A day after the Chief Minister instructed Bengaluru Development Minister K.J. George, local MLAs and the city’s municipal corporation to fill all 16,000 potholes dotting Bangalore’s roads within 15 days, a 21-year-old woman became the fourth victim of accidents caused by craters.All the accidents have happened on arterial roads, including a state highway.The woman died after allegedly ramming her bike into a lorry in Bengaluru?s Devanahalli.She was trying to avoid a pothole, which led to the accident.On October 2, a couple were run over by a bus when the husband, Anthony Joseph, 55, tried to negotiate a pothole on the Mysore Road flyover.He and his wife Sagai Mary, 53, died on the spot.Earlier on Thursday, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) marched to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) office demanding action against road department officials.

Don’t seek legal opinion directly from me: AG Venugopal tells ministers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Attorney General KK Venugopal has asked ministries and central government departments against seeking legal opinion directly from him saying they should approach his office through the law ministry, a senior government functionary has said.The AG’s office has written to some secretaries whose ministries had approached him directly seeking his legal opinion on various issues. Venugopal’s office has also said that a brief summary of the case should be mentioned while seeking opinion, the functionary said. His predecessor Mukul Rohatgi, on the contrary, was of the view that departments should be allowed to approach him directly for legal opinions as routing requests through the law ministry takes time.Earlier this year, Rohatgi had written to Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad saying departments and even ministers have declined to route their requests for his legal opinion through the law ministry due to urgency of the matter. Rule 8(e) of the Law Officers (Condition of Services) Rules, 1972 provides that unless a reference is received from the Law Ministry, no advice will be given to any ministry or department.Rohatgi was of the view that the rule runs contrary to Article 76 of the Constitution which states that it shall be the duty of the Attorney General to give advice to the Government of India upon such legal matters, and to perform such other duties of a legal character, as may from time to time be referred or assigned to him by the president.

Deadline for mandatory Aadhaar to avail social benefits extended till December 31: Centre informs SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that it will extend till December 31 the deadline for mandatory Aadhaar to avail social benefits.Attorney General KK Venugopal informed the Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra about the extension of deadline till December 31.This information was provided when the petitioners sought early hearing of challenges to Aadhaar based on privacy declared to be a fundamental right by the Supreme Court.AG requested the CJI-headed bench to list Aadhaar petitions before a 5-judge constitution bench instead of a 3-judge bench.The Court also said that it will hear a batch of petitions in Aadhaar- related matters in the first week of November.

Outgoing CJI Khehar hopes paperless court becomes reality

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Outgoing Chief Justice of India JS Khehar on Friday hoped that his dream of “paperless courts” soon becomes a reality and hailed the support of the bar in his endeavour to digitise the justice delivery system.Justice Khehar, who was speaking at his farewell function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), said that he served the country “in the manner of discharging a debt” and also expressed gratitude towards his family, colleagues and the motherland. “I would like to thank my country and motherland for giving me the opportunity to serve it. I served my country in the manner of discharging a debt. I feel that it is difficult to discharge a debt to your country just like you cannot discharge the debt of your parents,” Justice Khehar said.Veteran lawyer and Attorney General KK Venugopal was effusive in his praise for the CJI and credited him for taking the pioneering step of working during summer vacation to render justice to Muslim women by deciding pleas on triple talaq which could have remained undecided for years. An emotional CJI, during his speech, appreciated the support of the SCBA in his endeavour to achieve the goal of “paperless courts”.”I must place my appreciation for the tremendous work the SCBA has done during last eight months. We have not always been in agreement but they have worked hardest and pushed themselves farthest to get what they could get. “When we ventured to introduce paperless court system, they supported me solid and did not allow anyone to feel that the matter was not going right. I hope paperless courts will not be a dream and will be a reality in the near future,” Justice Khehar said. Justice Dipak Misra, who will succeed Justice Khehar as the 45th CJI, was all praise for the outgoing judge and called him a democratic person with a good heart and a great mind.”Justice J S Khehar is a man with democratic attitude. He has a good heart, a creation of a good mind which is capable of transmitting good thought and energy.”He is affectionately energetic and has the ability to energise others because of his contagious vibrance,” Justice Misra said. Venugopal, who as the government’s top law officer opposed the pleas in support of Right to Privacy, however, praised yesterday’s unanimous verdict of the nine-judge bench headed by Justice Khehar. “We have a landmark verdict in triple talaq case which otherwise would have taken years and years to be brought up for hearing. It is one of the major judgements delivered by the Supreme Court, perhaps welcomed by practically the entire population of this country where equality has been brought about to the women in this country belonging to a particular country,” Venugopal said.”We have now an extraordinary judgement which has propelled the right to privacy to be a major fundamental right which has been welcomed by every single person in this country and that I think is one of the greatest thing done by the Supreme Court of India,” he said. Deprecating recent practices of throwing muck at judges by some bar members, the Attorney General said such people are trying to dismantle the foundation of the justice delivery system.”So far as judiciary is concerned, they do not possess their freedom of speech in the same manner as we possess. They have to remain silent. The result of that is they have to speak through their judgements.”But they cannot respond to whatever is being said about them. Be it good or bad. The result is that the members of Bar can throw bricks at the judges but they can’t throw anything back at the lawyers,” the AG said. He said that lawyers cannot use “intemperate language” and throw stones at judges. “I find it very very reprehensible because what you are doing is you are bringing down the confidence of the litigant public and the general public at justice delivery system,” he said.

Right to privacy: Supreme Court to pronounce verdict on Thursday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A nine-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict on whether right to privacy can be elevated to the status of a fundamental right under the Indian Constitution. The judgment will be made tomorrow at 10.30 am.The court had reserved its verdict on August 3 after marathon day-long hearings spanning six days across three weeks. The Supreme Court on August 1 had said that that there had to be “overarching” guidelines to protect an individual’s private information in public domain to ensure that it was used only for an intended purpose.The bench, headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar, also referred to the fact that India was a signatory of a 1948 international convention which recognised privacy as a human right.The bench, which also comprised justices J Chelameswar, S A Bobde, R K Agrawal, R F Nariman, A M Sapre, D Y Chandrachud, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer, said that there has to be an “overarching” or all-embracing guideline to ensure that the private information of individuals, put in public domain, wwas used only for an intended purpose.
ALSO READ Right to Privacy case: Overarching guidelines needed to protect an individual’s privacy, says SCThe Centre in its defence of saying that privacy wasn’t a fundamental right told the Supreme Court since privacy was multifaceted, it could not be treated as a fundamental right.”There is no fundamental right to privacy and even if it is assumed as a fundamental right, it is multifaceted. Every facet can’t be ipso facto considered a fundamental right,” Attorney General KK Venugopal told the bench.

MP plea on ‘unilateral Hindi use’ in official correspondence

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior Congress MP K C Venugopal today said MPs from many non-Hindi speaking states face difficulties due to “unilateral usage of Hindi” in official correspondence from various Central Ministries. Venugopal, a former Union Minster, said he had written to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, requesting her to take necessary steps to “avoid single use” of Hindi in official correspondence from Ministries and to ensure his “privilege” to know the policies and programmes of the government. The Alappuzha MP said the “imposition of Hindi” in all official correspondence without supplementing in English, the official language which is understood by all, was “against the concept of pluralism and federalism” upheld by the Constitution also. A similar letter had been sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said. In his letter, Venugopal referred to a communication he had received from union rural development minister Narendra Singh Tomar, regarding “New India Manthan” dated August 11, written in Hindi. The MP, who is AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka, said the letter written in Hindi was “not comprehensive” to him and the policies and directions mentioned in the letter were not conveyed to him “in true sense” since it was not supplemented in English. “Popularising Hindi is a welcome move but that cannot be imposed by denying the right to know official correspondence, in a language understood by all,” he said in the letter. He said on many occasions the ministerial level replies were received in Hindi, making it difficult to understand. Venugopal said at times he had received replies from various ministries in Hindi alone despite the fact that the letters were addressed to the former in English.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Results not my day-to-day work: Mumbai University VC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>That Mumbai University Vice Chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh was taken to task by the Chancellor, Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, over the online assessment fiasco is no secret. But DNA can now reveal what proved to be the last straw on the camel’s back which eventually led to the Chancellor’s decision to ask the VC to go on leave.It was Deshmukh’s claim that the assessment process was not part of his “day-to-day job” which irked the Governor, who then set a deadline, the first of three to be breached, for the varsity to declare results. The results of all the students have still not been announced, leaving close to 1.5 lakh of them in uncertainty.In a letter, dated July 3, to the Governor’s secretary B Venugopal Reddy, Deshmukh wrote that there were a few lapses on the part of the varsity staff which were rectified after he personally monitored the process for the over 50 days even though it was not part of his quotidian work.Deshmukh has been under fire from student groups and political organisations, who earlier demanded his resignation over the failure of the On Screen Marking (OSM) system he unilaterally introduced without adequately training the assessors, leading to delays in declaration of results and breach of three deadlines set for July 31, August 5 and August 15. The VC was recently also sent a show-cause notice and asked to explain the delay.Deshmukh’s letter, which held forth on the benefits of OSM, did not go down well with the Governor, who rebuked him for implementing the OSM evaluation without the necessary groundwork, and set a deadline of July 31 for completing the assessment of 18 lakh answer books.While Deshmukh had claimed that teachers were going to be extremely happy once they were familiarised with the process, the assessment could not be completed despite three deadline extensions granted by the Chancellor. Last Friday, the government was forced to scratch the deadline, saying simply that the university would be declaring the results soon.Botched job MU VC’s letter to Governor says assessment process isn’t his ‘day-to-day work’. The university has breached three deadlines for declaring results

Pass specific directions to states on jail reforms: Govt to Supreme Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre today urged the Supreme Court to pass “specific directions” to states to conform with the orders on jail reforms, including overcrowding of prisons and improving the living conditions of prisoners.Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, told a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta that if specific directions were passed, the states would have to comply with it, otherwise they would be guilty of not adhering to the apex court’s order. He argued that the apex court could take up the prison reforms issue in six or seven states at a time and pass specific directions to them after hearing the matter.”This court should issue specific directives to each state. If that (court’s direction) is not done, they (states) will be guilty of not complying with your orders,” he told the bench, adding, “you can consider listing the matter of three states at a time. The Union of India will be there”. However, the bench said, “there would be some problem in this. If we will take matters of three-four states at a time, it will take time.””That would not be possible. There are a number of cases here. If we are going to take 3-4 states at a go, it will take time,” the bench said, after which Venugopal said the court could take up the matters of seven states at a time. The apex court also referred to various other Acts passed by Parliament and said these have to be implemented. “There are laws made by Parliment which have been discussed and debated. They have passed the law. These have to be implemented,” the bench said. The court said it was dealing with the issue of prison reforms which have four aspects — overcrowding in jails, unnatural deaths in prisons, training of staffs employed there and filling up of vacancies.It said it has already passed general directions so far as the aspect of overcrowding in prisons was concerned and it would decide on the remaining three issues. “We will consider this (on passing specific directions to states), but first finish this aspect of unnatural deaths,” the bench said and posted the matter for hearing on August 22. The top court had earlier asked the Centre and all states to implement its directions on prison reforms.Earlier, the court had pointed to the “huge discrepancy” in expenses incurred on jail inmates by various states and had asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to come out with a scheme to audit the accounts of jails across the country with the assistance of the Comptroller and Auditor General. As per the data, the expense per inmate in jails in Bihar was Rs 83,691 per annum, while that in Rajasthan was only about Rs 3,000 per annum. Similarly, in Nagaland, it stood at about Rs 65,468 per annum, while in Punjab, it was around Rs 16,669, it had noted.It had taken note of staff crunch in the prisons as the sanctioned strength of jail officers and staff as on December 31, 2014 was 79,988, out of which the actual strength stood at only 52,666. The bench is hearing a 2013 PIL on the inhuman conditions prevailing in 1,382 prisons across the country.

Drought issue: Judges can’t run govt, ask for miracles, Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Judges cannot run a government and ask it to do “miracles”, Attorney General K K Venugopal today told the Supreme Court while opposing fresh pleas being made by NGO ‘Swaraj Abhiyan’ in a PIL for relief measures in drought-hit states. A bench, headed by Justice M B Lokur, directed the Centre to set up state food commissions, as mandated under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, even in the states not hit by drought. Venugopal took strongly opposed the submissions of Prashant Bhushan, representing the NGO run by activist Yogendra Yadav, and termed them as fresh ones. “New submissions are being made every time. The issue (PIL) cannot go on forever. We have filed a detailed affidavit stating all steps are being taken by us. There has to be an end. Your lordships cannot run the government. “We cannot be asked to do miracles as this is such an enormous task. We are trying to persuade the state governments to do the best thing possible. The government is concerned with the issue and is putting the best way forward. But grant us some time, preferably six months,” Venugopal said. He said that if fresh issues were raised, then there would be no end to the grievances and moreover, the Centre was looking into the issues and has written numerous letters to states concerned. The bench, also comprising Justice N V Ramana, then told the attorney general that the petition would be confined to only three issues — delay in payment of wages and compensation, reduction in person days under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and absence of social audit. Ordering setting up of state food commissions, the bench said the provisions under the NFSA provided for such commissions in all the states and Union territories (UTs). “Although this writ petition is confined to 10 states, we have brought it to the notice of the attorney general that since we are dealing with a parliamentary statute namely the National Food Security Act, 2013, it will be appropriate if the provisions of the Act are faithfully implemented in all the states and the Union territories. “The attorney general has assured us that the matter will be taken up with due earnestness and the provisions of the Act will be implemented in all the states and the UTs. All efforts will be made by the central government in this regard,” the bench said. During the proceedings, the chief secretaries of various states were present in the courtroom. The judges were informed that state food commissions have been set up in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Karnataka. With regard to constitution of the commission in Haryana, the counsel, appearing for the state, told the bench that the matter was pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The top court also asked the states to implement other provisions of the Act including appointment of vigilance committees and the district grievance officers and conduct of social audits of government ration shops. The court made the observations when Bhushan sought relief measures for farmers in the drought-hit states under the statute. Bhushan told the court that the implementation of the NFSA still remained a major challenge and adequate work under the MNREGA was not being given by the state governments. He said there has been a one-third cut in the protected labour budget under the MNREGA and almost 67 per cent of the budget has already been exhausted by the Centre in the initial four months of this financial year. The matter would be hear again on December 5. The apex court had on March 22 summoned the Cchief secretaries of ten states for failure to implement the NFSA. It had said that with regard to the statute, the state governments have to appoint the food commissions and could not give a go by to the law enacted by Parliament. The court had also impleaded the Reserve Bank of India as a party to the case as the petition had said that the guidelines issued for loan waiver and loan restructuring of farmers of drought-hit areas were not being implemented by the banks. The PIL had claimed that parts of 12 states– Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Haryana and Chhattisgarh — were hit by drought and the authorities were not providing adequate relief. The petitioners had claimed that the directions issued by the court in the matter were not complied with by these states.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Digvijaya Singh loses further clout, now divested of Telangana charge

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The once formidable general secretary Digvijaya Singh’s role in the Congress got further diminished on Tuesday, with the party divesting him of the charge of Telangana.Singh, who was earlier the general secretary incharge of Goa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, is left today with only the charge of Andhra Pradesh. Congress president Sonia Gandhi removed the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and appointed R C Khuntia in his place. Satish Jarkiholi has been appointed the AICC secretary in the new team for Telangana. “Digvijaya Singh has been relieved of the responsibilities as the general secretary incharge of Telangana,” a statement from AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said.He was divested of the charge of general secretary incharge of Goa and Karnataka by the party chief on April 29, and replaced by A Chella Kumar and K C Venugopal respectively. This followed Congress’ failure to form its government in Goa despite having emerged as the single largest party in the Assembly election this February.The party had clinched 17 seats in the 40-member legislature, four more than the BJP, which managed to cobble together a majority with local parties to form its government under Manohar Parrikar. Singh, considered close to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, had come under severe criticism for being slow in initiating talks with smaller parties to sew up a coalition and stake claim to form a Congress-led government. Singh has been one of the most vocal Congressmen to advocate Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as party president.

Opposition attacks govt on move to do away with LPG subsidy, terms it ‘cruel’

Tue, 1 Aug 2017-08:00pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Opposition parties today attacked the government over its decision to gradually do away with the LPG subsidy, calling it “cruel” and demanding that the proposal be withdrawn.KC Venugopal (Cong) raised the issue during the Zero Hour, saying it will adversely affect the common man and there was no justification of it when the crude oil prices had gone down. “It should be immediately withdrawn,” he said. Sudip Bandopadhyay (TMC) said the steady increase in the LPG cylinder price by the government had been highest in the last six years.Describing the move as “anti-welfare”, he wondered what will be the “fate” of over 2.5 crore women given the connection for free. While Sreemathy Teacher (CPI-M) said the decision was cruel, N K Premachandran (RSP) accused the government of avoiding transparency on the matter as he said the decision was taken in March this year and was not shared publicly. Opposition parties later staged a walk-out from the House as they sought a response from the government.

Azam Khan case reopened as SC Civil Rights Act law discussion digresses

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court, while debating the merits of a law similar to the 1964 Civil Rights Act in the United States, digressed and turned to Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan’s comment in 2016 on the Bulandshahr gang rape case. Khan’s comment came back to haunt him on Monday when Attorney General KK Venugopal called his statements “atrocious”.By calling the brutal crime a “political conspiracy”, Khan chose to brand the victims — a woman and her 14-year-old daughter — as “liars,” Venugopal said before a Bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and AM Khanwilkar.Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan’s comment in 2016 on the Bulandshahr gang rape caseVenugopal called for strict action, against Khan, and added that he has not mended his ways even after rendering an apology before the top court in 2016. Khan was also recently booked for sedition for allegedly making statements against the Army, Venugopal pointed out.”Now, I am not speaking for the government, but he cannot be allowed by this court to be seen as obstructing justice and having got away with just an apology. He cannot be exonerated like that,” the top law officer submitted.Senior Advocate Harish Salve, who is an amicus curiae in this case, concurred with the AG and said he would file an application to initiate criminal action against the SP leader soon.For the Civil Rights Act, the Attorney General must frame a law where a private citizen can come forward to agitate the violation of his fundamental rights in court by another private person or corporates, eminent jurist Fali Narmian said.This discussion was stemmed after Khan made his statement in the backdrop of the Bulandshahr gang rape.Before digressing on the topic of Khan, the court was originally meant to frame questions of law on issues whether a high functionary of a State, like a government minister, can make comments that potentially create distrust in the minds of victims of a crime about the fairness of the ongoing investigation.At the previous hearing, Nariman had submitted five questions of law for the then attorney general to respond to. On Monday, adding to the list of questions given by Nariman, Salve observed whether “a principle should be set so that people who hold constitutional offices should not shoot from the hip like this.”When the debate dominated around Khan, Nariman said, “I am not interested in Khan, I am speaking about a wider picture here.”Nariman said the fundamental rights enshrined in Part Three of the Constitution provide remedy against violations by the State but not against fellow citizens or private bodies.The government must frame a separate Civil Rights Act that can be an extension of Article 21 (right to life and personal liberty) to include action against individuals.QUESTIONS OF LAWThe court was meant to frame questions of law on issues whether a high functionary of a State can make comments that potentially create distrust in the minds of victims of a crime about the fairness of the ongoing investigation.

SC seeks AG’s help on freedom of speech of public functionary

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today asked the attorney general of India to assist it on legal issues including whether a minister or a public functionary could claim freedom of speech while airing views in matters of official business of the State such as criminal investigation. A bench of justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar sought the assistance of Attorney General K K Venugopal, the topmost law officer of the central government, on questions framed by it and amicus curiae F S Nariman and Harish Salve, assisting the court, on the issue related to contours of the Freedom of Speech and Expression of public functionaries. Venugopal, at the outset, referred to the statement of former Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan terming the Bulandshahr gangrape incident as an outcome of a political controversy. He said it was not acceptable from a public functionary. Khan had on December 15 last year tendered an “unconditional apology” for the remark, which the apex court had accepted. Senior advocate Harish Salve said that such persons should be banned from public life as statements line the one by Khan, had become an “endemic” in India. Nariman said that the attorney general could be asked to “prepare a civil rights act” to protect individuals from violation of the fundamental rights by other private individuals and entities other than the State. “In India, our Constitution guarantees protection of the fundamental rights against the State and what if the private parties violates the these rights and there is no remedy,” he said. “This is a much wide question,” Nariman said, adding that in the US, the fundamental rights of individuals were protected even if they were violated by private individuals. The court, which had earlier framed some questions on the rights and limitations of the freedom of speech of public functionary, fixed the mater for hearing on October 5 and asked Venugopal to peruse the issues and revert back. Earlier, the apex court had proposed to refer to a Constitution bench the issue whether a minister could claim refuge under the right to free speech while expressing views in matters of official business. The need for authoritative pronouncement on the issue arose as there were arguments that a minister could not take a personal view and his statement has to be coherent with the government policy. The court was hearing a plea filed by a man whose wife and daughter were allegedly gangraped in July last year on a highway near Bulandshahr, seeking transfer of the case to Delhi and lodging of an FIR against Khan for his controversial statement. Salve had told the bench that ministers could not have personal views on official business matters as whatever that personwas saying must reflect government policy. The apex court had earlier said it would consider whether the Fundamental Right of Speech and Expression would be governed under reasonable restriction of decency or morality or other preferred fundamental rights would also have an impact on it. The brutal incident had happened on the night of July 29 last year when a group of highway robbers stopped the car of a Noida-based family and sexually assaulted a woman and her daughter after dragging them out of the vehicle at gun-point. The apex court had on August 29 last year taken note of the remarks of Khan that the gangrape case was a “political conspiracy”. Initially, an FIR was lodged by the Uttar Pradesh Police under various poenal provisions on July 30 last year. The CBI had re-registered the case on August 18 last year in pursuance of an interim order by the Allahabad High Court.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

SC to continue hearing Aadhaar card privacy matter

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Supreme Court will on Thursday continue hearing the Aadhaar card privacy matter. Yesterday, the Centre told the apex court that there is a fundamental right to privacy, but is a ‘wholly qualified right’. The centre made this submission before the nine-judge Constitution bench that is hearing the Aadhaar Card privacy matter. Attorney General, K.K. Venugopal told the apex court that “privacy, as a fundamental right, could have been mentioned in Article 21, but has been omitted. Right to life transcends right to privacy”. In special circumstances, government can interfere in a matter that comes under a wholly qualified right. An absolute right cannot be reduced or amended. Earlier on July 20, all the petitioners had completed their argument in the apex court. The petitioners contested that the twelve-digit biometric unique identification card raises privacy threat. On June 10, the top court had ruled that from July 1 onward, every person eligible to obtain Aadhar card must quote their Aadhaar number or their Aadhaar Enrolment ID number for filing of Income Tax Returns as well as for applications for Permanent Account Number (PAN). The Income Tax Department has stepped up its efforts to encourage people to link their PAN with Aadhar.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Congress demand action against Anurag Thakur for ‘filming’ proceedings in Lok Sabha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress today demanded action against BJP MP Anurag Thakur for “filming” the Lok Sabha proceedings during a ruckus over the recent incidents of mob lynching.In a letter to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Congress whip in the Lok Sabha K C Venugopal said filming of the House proceedings was forbidden as per rules.”We request immediate action to preserve the sanctity of the proceedings of the House. The use of the brute majority by the BJP will not prevent the Congress from raising issues of public importance,” he wrote in his letter to the speaker.Congress MP Sushmita Dev also requested for the unedited footage of the proceedings during the period in question.”The BJP government repeatedly shows the rules to the opposition, but a real democracy cannot function without the voice of the opposition. They (BJP) cannot take any moral high ground in this regard,” she said.Dev cited the case of AAP MP Bhagwant Mann, against whom an inquiry was ordered for filming inside Parliament, and demanded immediate action against Thakur for allegedly flouting the rules of the House and “endangering” its security.

9-judge bench to hear right to privacy issue from Wednesday: Supreme Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court will commence hearing from Wednesday to decide if the contentious issue of right to privacy is a fundamental right under the Constitution.Hours after referring the matter to a larger bench, the apex court today set up the nine-judge bench to be headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar. It will also comprise Justices J Chelameswar, S A Bobde, R K Agrawal, Rohinton Fali Nariman, Abhay Manohar Sapre, D Y Chandrachud, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer.A five-judge Constitution bench headed by the CJI, which was to deal with pleas challenging the validity of the Aadhaar scheme and the right to privacy attached to it, was faced with the two past verdicts, delivered in 1950 and 1962 by larger benches, holding that the privacy right was not a fundamental right.The apex court said the nine-judge bench would deal with the limited issue of right to privacy and the correctness of the two judgements. The matter challenging the Aadhaar scheme would be then referred back to a smaller bench, it said. “During the course of the hearing today, it seems that it has become essential for us to determine whether there is any fundamental right of privacy under the Indian Constitution,” the bench, also comprising Justices J Chelameswar, S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud and S Abdul Nazeer, said.”The determination of this question will essentially entail whether the decision recorded by this court in M P Sharma and Ors vs. Satish Chandra, District Magistrate, Delhi and Ors. (of 1950) by an eight-judge Constitution bench, and also, in Kharak Singh vs. the State of UP and Ors. (of 1962) by a six-judge Constitution bench, that there is no such fundamental right, is the correct expression of the constitutional position,” it said in its order.The court asked Attorney General K K Venugopal, representing the Centre, and other senior advocates, including Arvind Datar, Shyam Divan, Gopal Subramanium and Anand Grover, who appeared for petitioners opposed to the Aadhaar scheme, to submit their written briefs in the meantime. At the outset, Venugopal reiterated the arguments of his predecessor Mukul Rohatgi that there have been inconsistent views so far as judicial pronouncements on right to privacy was concerned.He said the apex court in M P Sharma and Kharak Singh cases have held that right to privacy was not a fundamental right and later, the smaller benches have said that it was a fundamental right. Venugopal also said that the right to privacy is not a fundamental right and rather it is common law right which is not recognised by the Constitution.One of the counsel for petitioners termed as “regressive” the stand of the Centre that the right to privacy was common law right and not a part of fundamental right under the Constitution.The apex court, initially, referred to the 1978 judgement in the Maneka Gandhi case and said that there was no need to revisit the judgements in Kharak Singh and M P Sharma cases on right to privacy. A three-judge bench had in 2015 referred to a larger bench a batch of pleas, including the one filed by Justice (retd) K S Puttaswamy, challenging the validity of the Aadhaar scheme and the aspect of right to privacy attached to it. The apex court had agreed to set up a bench on July 12 to deal with the Aadhaar-related matters after the attorney general and senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for petitioners, had jointly mentioned the matter.The petitioners had claimed that collection and sharing of biometric information, as required under the scheme, was a breach of the “fundamental” right to privacy. Allowing the Centre’s plea, the court had framed various questions, including as to whether right to privacy was a fundamental right, to be decided by a Constitution bench. “If yes, then what would be contours of right to privacy,” the bench had said while referring the matter to the then CJI for setting up a larger bench.At an earlier hearing, then AG Rohatgi, while backing the Aadhaar card scheme, had contended that right to privacy was not a fundamental right. “No judgment explicitly cites right to privacy as a fundamental right. It is not there under the letters of Article 21 either. If this court feels that there must be clarity on this subject, only a Constitution bench can decide,” Rohatgi had said. He had cited the two judgements, pronounced by six and eight-judge benches, which had held that right to privacy was not a fundamental right.Subsequently, smaller benches had held a contrary view and, hence the matter needed to be decided by a larger bench, he had said. “Whether right to privacy is a fundamental right guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution of India, in the light of express ratio to the contrary by an eight-judge bench in M P Sharma case and also by a six-judge bench of this court in Kharak Singh’s case has to be decided,” Rohtagi had said.

Five-judge Constitution bench to hear Aadhaar pleas from tomorrow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court would commence tomorrow the hearing on a batch of petitions challenging the validity of the Aadhaar scheme and the aspect of right to privacy attached to it.The Constitution bench would comprise Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices J Chelameswar, S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud and S Abdul Nazeer.The apex court had agreed to set up a bench on July 12 to deal with the Aadhaar-related matters after Attorney General K K Venugopal and senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for petitioners who have challenged the government’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for various public welfare schemes, had jointly mentioned the matters.The attorney general and Divan had mentioned the matter before the CJI as a three-judge bench had on July seven said that all issues arising out of Aadhaar should finally be decided by a larger bench and the CJI would take a call on the need for setting up a Constitution bench.A three-judge bench had in 2015 referred to a Constitution bench the batch of petitions challenging the Centre’s Aadhaar card scheme to decide whether right to privacy was a fundamental right.The petitioners had claimed that collection and sharing of biometric information, as required under the scheme, was a breach of the “fundamental” right to privacy.Allowing the Centre’s plea, the court had framed various questions, including as to whether right to privacy is a fundamental right, to be decided by a Constitution bench.”If yes, then what would be contours of the right to privacy,” the bench had said while referring the matter to the then CJI for setting up the larger bench.At an earlier hearing, then AG Mukul Rohatgi, while backing the Aadhaar card scheme, had contended that right to privacy was not a fundamental right.”No judgment explicitly cites right to privacy as a fundamental right. It is not there under the letters of Article 21 either. If this court feels that there must be clarity on this subject, only a Constitution Bench can decide,” the AG had said.He had cited two judgments, pronounced by six and eight- judge benches, which had held that right to privacy is not a fundamental right.Subsequently, smaller benches had held a contrary view and, hence the matter needed to be decided by a larger bench, he had said.”Whether right to privacy is a fundamental right guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution of India, in the light of express ratio to the contrary by an eight-judge bench in M P Sharma case and also by a six-judge bench of this court in Kharak Singh’s case has to be decided,” Rohtagi had said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

5-judge Constitution bench to hear Aadhaar pleas from tomorrow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court would commence tomorrow the hearing on a batch of petitions challenging the validity of the Aadhaar scheme and the aspect of right to privacy attached to it. The Constitution bench would comprise Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices J Chelameswar, S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud and S Abdul Nazeer. The apex court had agreed to set up a bench on July 12 to deal with the Aadhaar-related matters after Attorney General K K Venugopal and senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for petitioners who have challenged the government’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for various public welfare schemes, had jointly mentioned the matters. The attorney general and Divan had mentioned the matter before the CJI as a three-judge bench had on July seven said that all issues arising out of Aadhaar should finally be decided by a larger bench and the CJI would take a call on the need for setting up a Constitution bench. A three-judge bench had in 2015 referred to a Constitution bench the batch of petitions challenging the Centre’s Aadhaar card scheme to decide whether right to privacy was a fundamental right. The petitioners had claimed that collection and sharing of biometric information, as required under the scheme, was a breach of the “fundamental” right to privacy. Allowing the Centre’s plea, the court had framed various questions, including as to whether right to privacy is a fundamental right, to be decided by a Constitution bench. “If yes, then what would be contours of the right to privacy,” the bench had said while referring the matter to the then CJI for setting up the larger bench. At an earlier hearing, then AG Mukul Rohatgi, while backing the Aadhaar card scheme, had contended that right to privacy was not a fundamental right. “No judgment explicitly cites right to privacy as a fundamental right. It is not there under the letters of Article 21 either. If this court feels that there must be clarity on this subject, only a Constitution Bench can decide,” the AG had said. He had cited two judgments, pronounced by six and eight- judge benches, which had held that right to privacy is not a fundamental right. Subsequently, smaller benches had held a contrary view and, hence the matter needed to be decided by a larger bench, he had said. “Whether right to privacy is a fundamental right guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution of India, in the light of express ratio to the contrary by an eight-judge bench in M P Sharma case and also by a six-judge bench of this court in Kharak Singh’s case has to be decided,” Rohtagi had said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sending 4 more CRPF cos to Darjeeling, Kalimpong: Govt to SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre today told the Supreme Court that they are deploying four additional companies of CRPF to maintain law and order in Darjeeling and Kalimpong, which have been hit by the agitation for separate Gorkhaland. The government told a three-judge bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra that 11 CRPF companies are already deployed in Darjeeling and Kalimpong and they have decided to send four more companies to ensure the safety of citizens and maintenance of law and order there. Attorney General K K Venugopal told the bench, which also comprised A M Khanwilkar and M M Shantanagoudar, that the Calcutta High Court has today asked the government to deploy four additional companies of CRPF there and they are sending additional paramilitary forces there. The bench, however, made it clear that the 11 companies which are already deployed there and the four additional companies, which will be sent, shall be utilised by the West Bengal government only for the purpose of maintaining law and order in the Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts. The bench also asked the authorities to ensure smooth movement of traffic and safety and security of passengers travelling in vehicles on National Highway-10, the sole road link connecting West Bengal’s Siliguri with Sikkim. “Needless to say, the citizens of these areas must understand that sustenance of law and order and living in peace is the hallmark of progressive civilisation and therefore, they shall also see that free flow of life is not in anyway disturbed or affected,” the bench said. The apex court’s order came on a petition filed by Sikkim for a direction to ensure safety of vehicles plying on NH 10 which connects the state with the rest of the country.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

SC says its verdict on SYL canal issue has to be respected

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today said the orders passed by it on the Satluj-Yamuna Link canal issue have to be “respected and executed” and the governments of Punjab and Haryana have a duty to obey them. The court also directed the two states to ensure that no agitation take place on the issue. Haryana has been witnessing protests over the SYL issue with main opposition INDL blocking roads and holding demonstrations. “Authorities of both the states (Punjab and Haryana) must remember that decree passed by this court has to be respected and has to be executed,” a three-judge bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said. During the hearing Attorney General K K Venugopal told the bench, also comprising Justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar, that the Centre was doing its best to bring both these states to a reconciliatory stage so that decree can be amicably executed. Venugopal told the bench that the Union Minister for Water Resources has conducted a number of meetings with competent authorities of both these states and the Central government was hopeful that there would be a settlement between Punjab and Haryana on the SYL issue. At the fag end of the hearing, the bench was informed that some agitations were going on in these states over the issue. “When the matter is subjudice before this court and we have granted time to the Central government to proceed with the settlement, we direct that there should be sustenance of peace in the states of Punjab and Haryana and it would be the obligation of the state authorities to see that no such agitations happens there,” the bench said. The bench has now fixed the matter for hearing on September 7. The controversial 1981 water-sharing agreement came into being after Haryana was carved out of Punjab in 1966. For effective allocation of water, the SYL canal link was conceptualised and both the states were required to construct their portions within their territories. Haryana constructed the portion of SYL canal in its territory. However, Punjab, after the initial phase, stopped the work, leading to spate of litigations. In 2004, the Congress government in the state came out with the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act with an intention to terminate the 1981 agreement and all other pacts relating to sharing of waters of rivers Ravi and Beas. The apex court had first decreed the suit of Haryana in 2002 asking Punjab to honour its commitments with regard to water sharing in the case. Punjab had challenged the verdict by filing an original suit that was rejected in 2004 by the Supreme Court which asked the Centre to take over the remaining infrastructural work of the SYL canal project.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Don’t say India is concentration camp, media will start repeating: AG to activists during Aadhaar hearing

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government took strong exception in the Supreme Court when the parties challenging Aadhaar scheme said the country was creeping towards becoming a “concentration camp” and a “totalitarian state”.The high-voltage hearing before a bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar saw Attorney General K K Venugopal strongly objecting to the use of these phrases by senior counsel Shyam Divan who appeared for those having reservations over the policy relating to the unique identification scheme.Divan contended that the policy to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of all welfare schemes “invades upon the right to privacy of a citizen since birth” as even minors are compelled to part with their biometrics.”We are creeping into a situation where the entire country will become a concentration camp,” Divan argued before the bench which also comprised Justices A M Khanwilkar and Navin Sinha.He said the Centre cannot compel anyone to give his or her biometrics as this will enable the government to have a “complete control over citizens, right from birth … which means it will be a totalitarian state”.”It will be a totalitarian state as each and every movement is tracked since your birth and the entire country becomes a concentration camp,” he asserted.The Attorney General intervened at this stage and said Divan was ignorant about the Aadhaar scheme as the people below the poverty line were going to be the beneficiaries of the welfare measures.Venugopal, whose view was sought regarding the issue being finally decided by the apex court’s constitution bench, said he had objections to Divan’s submission as the media would tomorrow come out with reports that India is a concentration camp.At this juncture, the bench intervened and said it cannot control the language of a lawyer unless he or she is using an “unparliamentary” word.”We have no control over the language unless it is unparliamentary. Hyperbole is always part of the Indian system,” the bench observed.However, Divan stuck to his stand and said “It is not hyperbole. It is an under-statement”.After this exchange, the bench deliberated on the issue of referring the matter to a constitution bench and asked the parties to urge the Chief Justice to set up a larger bench to decide on the issues relating to Aadhaar.

KK Venugopal rescues himself from TN assembly trust vote case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Attorney General K K Venugopal today rescued himself from a matter in the Supreme Court related to the February 18 trust vote in the Tamil Nadu assembly won by Chief Minister E K Palaniswami. The plea filed by AIADMK MLA K Pandiarajan, considered to be close to former chief minister O Panneerselvam, sought to set aside the trust vote in state assembly on grounds that MLAs had voted “under distress”. Venugopal told the court that he had given legal opinion to the AIADMK faction led by Panneerselvam.A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar then asked Venugopal to inform Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar. “Inform the solicitor general about the rescual. Ask him to assist in the matter,” the bench said, and posted the matter for further hearing on July 11. The apex court had on July 5 sought the attorney general’s assistance to examine the AIADMK MLA’s plea after senior advocate Gopal Subramanium claimed that MLAs had voted in the trust vote under distress and members of opposition were evicted by marshals from the assembly.Subramanium had said there should have been a secret ballot but the Tamil Nadu Speaker, P Dhanapal, had rejected this demand from MLAs during the trust vote won by Chief Minister E K Palaniswami. The AIADMK MLA has challenged the decision and sought a direction for quashing the speaker’s decision rejecting their demand to determine the outcome of the floor test. Besides, the petitioner sought the setting aside of all consequential actions, including the February 18 resolution of the Assembly “expressing confidence in favour of council of ministers headed by Edappadi K Palaniswami, as the same are illegal, capricious, discriminatory and violative of the principle of ‘secrecy’ which is the essence of democracy, free and fair elections.”He also sought a direction to the speaker to conduct a fresh floor test through a secret ballot in the presence of “independent and impartial” observers nominated by the Supreme Court. On February 18, jailed AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala loyalist E K Palaniswami had won the trust vote with an easy 122-11 margin. He was helped by the eviction of the main opposition DMK and a walkout by its allies, amid stormy scenes during which mikes were uprooted, chairs toppled and sheets of papers torn and hurled around. Pandiarajan claimed that 122 MLAs belonging to AIADMK were “forcibly held hostage” at the Golden Bay Resort from February 8 till right before the voting on February 18.He said Panneerselvam had given a representation on February 19 to Tamil Nadu governor, requesting him not to approve the February 18 resolution and urged him to fix another date for a fresh vote of confidence by secret ballot.

KK Venugopal takes over as new Attorney General of India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior lawyer in the Supreme Court of India and constitutional expert KK Venugopal on Monday officially took over as the new Attorney General of India, replacing Mukul Rohatgi.Venugopal was appointed by the Royal Government of Bhutan to serve as the Constitutional adviser for drafting of the Constitution of Bhutan. In 2015, he was conferred Padma Vibhushan award by Government of India. This is the second-highest civilian honour in India. He had previously received the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian honour.President Pranab Mukherjee has approved Venugopal’s appointment. Venugopal held the office of Additional Solicitor General in Morarji Desai’s Government.He also appeared for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L K Advani in the Babri demolition case.

K.K. Venugopal replaces Mukul Rohatgi as Attorney General

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Senior lawyer in the Supreme Court of India and constitutional expert K.K. Venugopal has been appointed as a new 15th Attorney General replacing Mukul Rohatgi. Venugopal was appointed by the Royal Government of Bhutan to serve as the Constitutional adviser for drafting of the Constitution of Bhutan. In 2015, he was conferred Padma Vibhushan award by Government of India. This is the second-highest civilian honour in India. He had previously received the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian honour. President Pranab Mukherjee has approved Venugopal?s appointment. Venugopal held the office of Additional Solicitor General in Morarji Desai?s Government. He also appeared for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L K Advani in the Babri demolition case. Ends AR/mp NNNN ANI(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Only performers to get Cong tickets for 2018 Karnataka polls: Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today decried the trend of “outsiders” walking away with party tickets and made it clear that “performance” would be the main criteria in the choice of candidates for the 2018 Karnataka Assembly polls.He expressed reservations about ‘outsiders’ getting tickets through “helicopter system”. “We have elections before us; I have told Venugoaplji (General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka) that whoever stands with the people and is working for the Congress, whether it is a leader or a worker, only they get the tickets,” he told a KPCC meeting here.”…party workers work, leaders work, but sometimes some other people get tickets through helicopter system just ahead of elections. Some time even people from other party get tickets through helicopter system,” he said. Gandhi said he had sought a list of MLAs actively working for the party.”You still have time…go amidst people, raise their issues and find solutions for them. Whoever works well, whoever is seen amidst the people, Congress will give ticket to him or her, whether he or she is a big leader or a small worker,” the Congress vice president said.He was speaking at the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee’s (KPCC) extended general body meeting here in the presence of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, party’s state chief G Parameshwara and other leaders. The party has already announced that Siddaramaiah will be the party’s face in the state Assembly polls.In an attempt to maintain balance, the party has retained G Parameshwara as the PCC chief and appointed two working presidents and a campaign committee chief. On BJP trying to come to power in Karnataka, Gandhi said wherever they go, they will make one community fight with another.While accusing the BJP of winning the elections in Uttar Pradesh by dividing the communities, he said Congress believed in uniting the communities. “They divided every single community in Uttar Pradesh and that is how they won the election; when they divide, we unite. So our job is to ensure everybody in Karnataka feels that this is their government,” he said.Talking about the new AICC team sent to Karnataka under the leadership of party General Secretary In-charge Venugopal, Gandhi said the team was directed to ensure every worker and leader in the state feel that he is part of the “family” called Congress. “This is a family and every member must feel that he has a place and he is being heard. Everyone can’t be made happy, but every one can be embraced,” he said.Noting that across the country, farmers were struggling, Gandhi said there was “fear and pain” among them. He accused the BJP of abandoning and forgetting the farmers and advised the state government to assist the ryots. “Karnataka’s farmers should feel that this is their government, and I am confident that the chief minister is constantly listening to them and working for their interest,” he added.Gandhi’s statement comes at a time when there has been a strong demand for farm loan waiver, owing to consecutive years of severe drought in the state.

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah ‘dozes off’ during press conference

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah appeared to have drifted to sleep during a press conference in Bengaluru on Friday. Even as Congress member K.C. Venugopal continued to passionately berate the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government during the presser, the Karnataka Chief Minister apparently caught a few winks and could be seen dozing on and off during the press conference. Interestingly, Siddaramaiah was seated right in the front row with Venugopal. The Chief Minister has been found sleeping in many instances previously May 2017: Siddaramaiah was reportedly found asleep during legislative session. KPCC Women’s Wing President Lakshmi Hebbalkar allegedly sent a slip to the CM who was nudged awake. April 2015: The Karnataka Chief Minister was found sleeping on stage during a program. July 2014: The Chief Minister was filmed sleeping during a debate on sexual offences against women in the Legislative Assembly.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

SC expresses concerns if users rights are affected by Whatsapp’s 2016 privacy policy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today said it was “concerned” whether the citizens’ rights were being affected by WhatsApp’s 2016 privacy policy and asked the Centre what steps could it take for the “protection” of users till a regulation is framed.A five-judge constitution bench, which started hearing in detail the WhatsApp privacy policy matter, also questioned the popular instant messaging application on the sharing of user data with social networking platform Facebook when it was not being done before 2016.The apex court also said it would consider whether the court was “helpless” in framing guidelines in the absence of a regulatory regime in place to deal with the issue. “We are concerned with whether an individual’s rights are affected under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution due to this (privacy policy). They (WhatsApp) cannot say that users have agreed to it,” the bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said.During the day-long hearing, WhatsApp, which was acquired by Facebook in 2014, claimed before the apex court that it was being “targeted” because it was the most successful among various similar platforms operating in India. When the court was told that WhatsApp only shares phone numbers, device ID, registration details and the last seen status, the bench shot back, “Why do you share? You were not sharing it in 2012, then why have you done it in 2016?” “You say the name is not shared but the attributes of identity is shared. What is the need to share the attributes of identity? Now they (users) fear what you will share,” the bench said.Advocate Madhvi Divan, appearing for two students Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi who have challenged the policy, told the bench that the Centre has acknowledged in its affidavit that the regulation in place has been outdated by the technology. “You (Centre) have said you are making a regulation on this. Till then, as a citizenry, what is the protection,” the bench, also comprising Justices A K Sikri, Amitava Roy, A M Khanwilkar and M M Shantanagoudar, asked the government.”Suppose somebody has written an inland letter to X. Can Y intervene and read it? They feel your privacy clause affects their right to freedom of speech. They say fear corrodes their right,” the bench observed. At the outset, the bench was informed that senior counsel Harish Salve, who was to argue for the petitioners, was in the Hague to represent India in the Kulbushan Jadhav matter before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).The bench then asked senior advocate K V Vishwanathan, representing the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), an intervenor in the case, to start the arguments. He said that unlike several other countries, India does not have any data protection legislation and the government has an obligation to protect the rights of its citizens. “Facebook and WhatsApp are the violators according to us and how to deal with them is upto the Union of India as the government has an obligation to protect the rights of its citizens,” he said, adding that due to the 2016 privacy policy, “I am under fear and my communication is hampered”.”Life of fear, anxiety, tension and torture is not a free life. This court is not powerless to lay out a guideline for this,” he told the bench, which would continue hearing the matter tomorrow. The senior counsel also argued that there were around 160 million users of WhatsApp in India and the consent taken by WhatsApp regarding its 2016 privacy policy was “deceptive”.Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for Facebook, told the bench that “message conveyed by A to B on WhatsApp is never seen by anybody. At no time, it will be available to perusal by anybody else as it is end-to-end encrypted.” During the arguments, Divan told the court that Facebook and WhatsApp are foreign corporations having business all over the world and in some other countries, they have said they would not share the user data.”It is ironical that in India that too before the Supreme Court, which is the highest court of the land, they are saying so,” she said. When the bench asked the Centre to clarify its stand over the issue, senior advocate Vibha Datta Makhija, appearing for the government, said all the rights available to the citizens should be balanced. Vishwanathan argued that there was the issue of metadata in the matter as one can make out a pattern by reading out the messages exchanged in the WhatsApp groups. Metadata is a set of data which describes and gives information about other data and is collected automatically.”They (WhatsApp) are targeting us (users) by exploiting the data for commercial use. Without we being aware, several people will get to know about my health, my sexual preferences and other things which I don’t want others to know,” he said. “WhatsApp is now a Facebook family company. WhatsApp admits that Facebook will use WhatsApp messages. They are saying they have taken the consent of their users but the court will have to see whether this consent is valid in the eyes of law,” he said, adding that such service providers cannot make inroads into the fundamental rights of citizens.He also referred to an order passed by data regulatory authority in Germany’s Hamburg which had directed WhatsApp not to share the data of users. However, Venugopal said each of the countries have their own privacy policy, but India has no such policy. When the bench was told that the WhatsApp privacy policy hampered the right of communication, it said “but then it will be a privacy issue and not about communication alone. If you are keeping your messages apart, how is your communication affected.”The moment you are using Google, everything is available based on the search you make. This may not be an issue related to WhatsApp only. There has to be other service providers also. Is somebody forcing you to have it,” the bench said. The apex court further observed, “basically your identity which was restricted to WhatsApp till now, is used for Facebook or its family for commercial purposes. Whether individuals identity is liable to be shared for commercial exploitation? That is an issue.” However, Luthra maintained that no one can access the messages shared between A to B on WhatsApp as it is end-to-end encrypted.Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing WhatsApp, told the bench that despite having billions of users in the world, no complaint has been made ever that any part of encrypted messages has been accessed by anybody.”If anybody protects privacy in this country it is WhatsApp. It is better than the ‘Bhim’ app which has been launched by the government,” he said. During the hearing, Divan said that operation of WhatsApp here was subject to the Indian law and their business model is like an “economic espionage”.The bench was also told that the existing machinery was not adequate to deal with the situation and the government must come out with a proper legislation. The Centre told the bench that regulations to over-the- top (OTT) service providers like WhatsApp or Facebook needed to be regulated and the regulation needs to be fine-tuned to deal with it. The bench asked the Centre, “Do the rules (in the Information Technology Act) cover the issues which is before us”.To this, the Centre said, “some aspects are covered but not the entire issue. We have to show what is the existing legal umbrella internationally and in India on data protection. OTT data protection has to be customised and it has to be regulated in a different manner as there are complexities involved in it.” “We are in Digital India where there are commercial, social and political interests. All these three interests have to be balanced,” the government said, adding “this is a highly technical field and it is not about one app only that can guide the policy”.The court also heard arguments advanced by Facebook which has questioned the maintainability of the petition. The Centre had earlier said that a “regulatory regime” for data protection is in the offing while asserting that an individual’s freedom of choice needs to be protected. The apex court is hearing the appeal assailing the Delhi High Court verdict on the ground that no relief was granted for data shared by users after September 25, 2016 which amounted to infringement of fundamental rights under Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution. It had on January 16 sought the responses from the Centre and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on the plea that privacy of over 157 million Indians has been infringed by social networking sites – WhatsApp and Facebook – for alleged commercial use of personal communication.

Venugopal prepared to set tone for 2018 Karna assembly polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Newly appointed Congress general secretary in charge of Karnataka, K C Venugopal is all prepared to set the tone for the 2018 assembly election when he will arrive here tomorrow to discuss organisational issues, including proposing name for the post of KPCC president. “I am coming to Bengaluru on Monday with an open mind for discussions related to various organisational matters of our party unit of Karnataka,” he told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Digvijaya Singh removed as Congress in-charge of Goa, Karnataka

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress on Saturday removed Digvijaya Singh as party general secretary in-charge for Goa and Karnataka. The move comes nearly two months after the party failed to form government in Goa despite having secured the maximum number of seats in the Assembly elections. Senior Congress leader Madhusudan Mistry has also been removed from the position of the party general secretary.AICC secretary Dr A Chella Kumar of Tamil Nadu replaces him as in-charge of Goa, while Maharashtra PCC general secretary Amit Deshmukh (41), Latur MLA and son of late Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, has been made an AICC Secretary and deputed to assist Chella Kumar.Congress president Sonia Gandhi also named KC Venugopal as the person in charge of the party’s affairs in Karnataka. His assistant secretaries are Manickam Tagore, P C Vishnunadh, Madhu Yashki Goud and Dr Sake Sailjanath.Digvijayaa Singh was sacked as the general secretary following complaints from Goa that he failed to approach the Governor for forming a Congress government and thus gave opportunity to the BJP to form the government.

Reshuffle in Cong; Venugopal replaces Digvijay as K’taka party

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Initiating changes in the Congress, party chief Sonia Gandhi today removed senior leader Digvijay Singh as party’s general secretary in-charge of poll- bound Karnataka and Goa and replaced him with Rahul-loyalist K C Venugopal in the southern state. Gandhi also elevated AICC secretary A Chella Kumar as incharge of Goa, replacing Singh who was embroiled in a fiasco in government formation in the coastal state. Another party leader Madhusudan Mistry ceased to be a general secretary after he was made a member of the party’s Central Election Authority for holding the organisational polls later this year. “Congress President Sonia Gandhi has assigned the tasks of looking after Karnataka and Goa affairs to new AICC teams. While K C Venugopal has been made general secretary incharge of Karnataka, A Chella Kumar has been made AICC incharge of Goa,” party general secretary Janaradan Dwivedi said in a statement. Venugopal, the Lok Sabha MP from Alappuzha in Kerala and the party’s deputy whip in the Lok Sabha, is a confidante of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. He will be assisted by four secretaries to take care of Karnataka affairs–Manickam Tagore, PC Vishnunadh, Madhu Yashki Goud and Sake Sailjanath. In Goa, where the party failed to form its government despite getting 17 seats, Chella Kumar has been made the AICC incharge of Goa, while Amit Deshmukh will be the Secretary AICC of the state. As Congress’s Goa unit incharge, Singh failed in government formation while the BJP retained power after getting only 13 seats. Singh’s inaction evoked widespread criticism within the party, which had accused the BJP of creating an “artificial majority” to form its government. Though removal of Singh, considered close to the Gandhis has shocked many, he continues to be general secretary incharge of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Meanwhile, Mistry also ceased to be the party’s general secretary as he was made a member of the Central Election Authority. “The Congress president has approved the composition of the Central Organisational Election Authority of the AICC. Mullapally Ramachandran will be its Chairman and Bhubaneshwar Kalita and Madhusudan Mistry will be its members,” Dwivedi said in another statement. “Since Mistry has become the member of Central Election Authority, he will not hold any organisational post as per the party’s Constitution,” the statement said. Gandhi also formed an Advisory Committee of CEA in which Shamsher Singh Dullo, Rajya Sabha MP, Ashk Ali Taq, former MP and Biren Singh Engti, MP, have been made members. Gandhi had earlier appointed former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot as party’s general secretary incharge of Gujarat, slated to go to polls later this year, removing party leader Gurudas Kamat from the post. Some more changes are expected in other states like Himachal Pradesh which goes to polls later this year along with Gujarat.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Digvijay Singh removed as Congress general secretary in charge of Goa

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Congress party president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday replaced office bearers in charge of party units in Goa and Karnataka. A statement issued by the All India Congress Committee (AICC) member Janardhan Dwivedi, it was announced that A. Chella Kumar has been made in-charge of Congress matters in Goa, replacing veteran leader Digvijaya Singh. It was also announced that Amit Deshmukh has been appointed as the Secretary, AICC in the state. In Karnataka, K C Venugopal has been made General Secretary in charge of Congress party affairs. He will be assisted by four AICC secretaries namely Manickam Tagore, P.C. Vishnunadh, Madhu Yashki Goud and Dr. Sake Sailjanath.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Babri Masjid demolition: SC charges senior BJP leaders with conspiracy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court (SC) delivered a blow to the old guard of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) when it revived the conspiracy charges against them in the Babri Masjid demolition case. The apex court further said that the trial will commence from the point it stopped more than a decade ago.The Bench, comprising Justices PC Ghose and Rohinton Nariman, directed the trial court to frame the additional charge of conspiracy against LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiar, Sadhvi Ritambara, and Vishnu Hari Dalmia.Conspiracy charges have been filed against Champat Rai Bansal, Satish Pradhan, Dharam Das, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, Mahamadleshwar Jagdish Muni, Ram Bilas Vadanti, Vaikunth Lal Sharma ‘Prem’, and Dr Satish Chandra Nagar in the charge sheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh, who is one of the accused, enjoys immunity as long as he is in office.The SC observed that the secular fabric of the Constitution was shaken due to the alleged crimes committed 25 years ago. The Bench slammed the CBI, Uttar Pradesh and the Allahabad High Court for their conduct, which led to the delay in the conclusion of the case.”The accused have not been brought to book largely because of the CBI not pursuing the prosecution of the alleged offenders in a joint trial, and because of technical defects which were easily curable, but which were not cured by the state government,” it said.The Bench further added that the trial court was not wrong in “taking cognizance of a joint charge sheet on the ground that all offences were committed in the course of the same transaction and to accomplish a criminal conspiracy.””What is being done by us today is only to remedy what was expected by the Allahabad High Court to have been done shortly after its judgment dated February 12, 2001,” the Bench said.The SC also transferred the trial from Rae Bareilly to Lucknow, where proceedings will now take place on a day-to-day basis. Transfer of judges have also been held back until the end of the trial, which must be completed in two years.There were two sets of cases pertaining to the demolition of the disputed structure. The first involved unnamed ‘karsevaks’, the trial for which is under way in a Lucknow court. The second pertains to VVIPs in a Rae Bareilly court. In 2010, the Allahabad High Court upheld the Rae Bareilly special court ruling that dropped criminal conspiracy charges against Advani and seven others.Neeraj Kishan Kaul, Additional Solicitor General (ASG), appearing for the CBI, argued that the high court completely misinterpreted the trial court’s February 2001 judgment and confirmed the dropping of proceedings against 21 accused persons which could not be done.Representing Advani and Joshi, Senior Advocate KK Venugopal argued: “If the CBI has proof that my clients conspired with over 1 lakh karsevaks, it should have placed it before the Lucknow court.” He insisted that there could not be a joint trial without a state government notification. Venugopal also invoked the right under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution to assert that the court’s extraordinary powers could not eclipse fundamental rights.Welcoming the judgment, Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhawan, who was a CBI lawyer in the case, said: “The trial was separated only because of an error.” On rejoining the trial, Dhawan added that the case against eight leaders in Rae Bareilly was weak. However, once the conspiracy charges were added, it made sense to conduct the trial in Lucknow. “By excluding Advani from the Lucknow trial and trying them in Rae Bareilly, where the prosecution’s apparatus would be weak, it would give them de facto immunity,” he said.WHAT IT MEANSA chapter closesWith the verdict, a political saga of 30 years ends. For the party veterans, it is the end of a political journey.Prez dreams crashFor Advani, nearing 90, any hope of becoming President is now shattered. The original rath yatri is maintaining a stoic silence. A difficult verdict for MM Joshi, 83, too. He too had presidential aspirations.Modi can now decideThe PM is now free to decide on a presidential candidate without being weighed down by the aspirations of party patriarchs.Future bleak for Babri panel? With the issue going out of the political spectrum, the Babri Masjid Action Committee and Babri Masjid Coordination Committee lose their very reason for existence – keeping the Ayodhya cauldron boiling.

Motor Vehicle Bill for heavy penalty on traffic violators gets massive support in Lok Sabha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A bill to “save lives” by ushering in radical reforms in the motor vehicles law to slap heavy penalty on traffic violators, protecting good Samaritans and making vehicle-makers responsible for design defects to cut road accidents, today drew support from all sections of the Lok Sabha.The basic aim of the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 is “to save human lives”, Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said, adding that a whopping five lakh accidents took place every year claiming around 1.5 lakh lives across the country. Moving the bill for consideration and passage, Gadkari said it would bring about much-needed reforms in the transport and road sectors through ‘maximum governance with minimum government’. It also addresses issues like third party insurance and regulation of taxi aggregators.Cutting across party lines, members complimented Gadkari for taking the views of all stakeholders in drafting the “comprehensive” bill. However, many of them made suggestions on certain provisions as Congress member K C Venugopal said some of them were “very, very good”. “Even if you are a minister and you violate the traffic rules, a letter (citing a penalty) will come to your home,” Gadkari said.He said around 30 per cent of total licenses across the country were bogus and, under provisions of the new law, a transparent online system for grant of license will be put in place under which everybody will have to undergo certain tests for getting it. The bill, he said, seeks to make services like issuance of license totally transparent and online and provides for punitive action against officials in case of delay in issuing of the document to eligible applicants.The proposed legislation also seeks to put in place an automated intelligent traffic management system under which anyone flouting traffic rules will face action. Under the new system, every one — from a political leader to a film actor — will have to go to the license issuing authorities under an uniform procedure and if license is not issued in 3 days, then the RTO will have to face action, he said, adding that a learner’s license can be availed online sitting at home. The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 9, 2016 and then referred to the Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, headed by Mukul Roy.The Motor Vehicle Act was a 30-year-old instrument which has “not kept pace with the change of dynamics of road transport & information technology,” he said, adding that it specifically targets traffic offenders with stringent penal provisions. The bill has identified priority areas for improving road safety. Stricter penalties have been proposed for high risk offences such as drunken driving, dangerous driving, overloading and non-adherence to safety norms by drivers like not using seat belts or helmets. Gadkari said the process for registration of vehicles will be made transparent and people will be able to access various transport-related documents online.”If police stops you and asks for documents, you will be able to access them using your phone. It will be very convenient,” the Minister said. Expressing serious concern over the burgeoning road fatalities, Gadkari said the government has identified 786 black spots across the country and will spend Rs 11,000 crore on them to curtail accidents. Asking the MPs to resolve to ensure that no road accident takes place in their constituencies, Gadkari said there will be a committee headed by local MP in each district of the country to recommend measures for road safety.The minister said the government will set up a National Road Safety board and the states have been told to incorporate chapters in the curriculum on road safety and added that changes were also being brought about for insurance sector. “At present, there is no fear for traffic law and it is not a good sign. We have made the law studying traffic laws in the US and some other countries,” he said.Talking about loopholes in the existing licensing system, he said “India is a country, where it is easiest in the world to get a licesnse” and the new law will address these issues. Participating in the debate, Congress member K C Venugopal called some of the provisions of the bill “very very good” and said all the roads in the country should be brought under the new law. He also suggested incorporation of certain provisions in the bill like ensuring parking space for heavy vehicles and to bring doctors and nurses to treat accident victims under the ambit of good samaritan. Tathagata Satpathy (BJD) suggested that traffic signage across the country should be equalised and should be in same font, colour, shape and size. He said if people who do not wear helmet while driving bikes should be let free as they should themselves care for their life and if they do not, then they should be left to die as there is a lot of population in the country. He demanded that government should enact stringent measures for drunken driving and driving contra-traffic by impounding the vehicle and auctioning it off. Also, the licence of the driver should be withdrawn.Satpathy wanted that wherever the vehicle might be registered, there should be ‘one country, one number’ policy. Arvind Sawant (Shiv Sena) praised the Minister for bringing a holistic bill which covered all points, while Varaprasad Rao (YSR Cong) said while linking vehicle registration with Aadhaar was a good step, but linking it with driving licence can lead to inconvenience. Kirron Kher (BJP) drew strong objections to Satpathy’s remark. She said “saying that helmets should be done away with is an obnoxious statement to make and should be expunged”.She praised the Road Transport Minister for providing for in the bill for protection of good samaritans — who take accident victims to hospitals. Referring to certain court orders including the Supreme Court ruling banning liquor shops within 500 metres of highways, Meenakshi Lekhi (BJP) said while drunken driving is not an excuse, passengers in a vehicle can be drunk. Such a ban is going to affect the economy as well as livelihood of many people, she said, adding that though she does not support alcohol consumption, “I have an opinion” and the order seems bit odd.Further, the BJP member, who is also a lawyer, touched upon the Supreme Court ruling that bars the sale of certain vehicles from April 1 and noted that banning already manufactured vehicles is “injustice”. She also mentioned recent accidents involving BMW and Lamborghini cars in the national capital which had claimed some lives.Lekhi spoke about another recent order calling for farm loan waiver and said the government, the MPs, courts, the executive and the media have their own jobs to do, as she referred to instances of certain court orders.Kaushalendra Kumar (JD-U) said there has been a decline in road accidents in Bihar since imposition of ban on liquor. Pusphendra Singh Chandel (BJP) suggested that there should be some kind of mechanism like airbags on the bumpers of vehicles. In case a vehicle hits a pedestrain, the latter would not badly hurt with such a mechanism, he added.Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (Cong) said road design should be properly taken care of and stressed the need for having more trauma centres. The count of deaths in road accidents was much more than in terrorist attacks, he added. Shushil Kumar Singh (BJP) suggested that the government should consider collecting premium for third-party insurance at the time when vehicle is sold, as done in case of road tax.This will save poor farmers and other economically weaker section from paying hefty compensation in case of death of third party due to accident, he said.In order to check the menace of overloading, not only the owner of the vehicle should be held responsible but the administration of the area from where vehicle ply should be made accountable, he said. Gopal Shetty (BJP) pointed out that many vehicles have gone out of road due to recent Supreme Court order. There was increasing incidence of courts “over-reaching the executive area,” he said.BJP members Om Birla and Jayshreeben Patel, Dharamvir Gandhi (AAP) and Siraj Uddin Ajmal (AIUDF) also partcipated in the debate which remained inconclusive.

Even in the darkest of night, a single star looks bright: When opposition hailed Union Minister Nitin Gadkari

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday came in for praise in the Lok Sabha from the Opposition whose members said he is “sincere” and has “impressive performance”.During a debate on the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2016, members complimented Gadkari for doing a “very good job”. Congress leader KC Venugopal, while heaping praise on Gadkari, said he has been a very “sincere” minister who has been trying hard to address major challenges facing the road transport sector. BJD member Tathagata Satpathy said Gadkari is a “hard working person” who is hell bent on proving that good work can be done even if the government is bad.”Even in the darkest of night, a single star looks bright,” he remarked. Congress’ leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Trinamool Congress’ Dinesh Trivedi and few other opposition members also complimented Gadkari for his impressive performance, bringing broad smile on the minister’s face. Kharge, while complimenting Gadkari for his performance as a Union Minister, pointed towards empty treasury benches, suggesting there was not much appreciation for his work as they were absent when an important bill has been introduced by him.Satpathy said people in Gadkari’s home town Nagpur of the view that he is doing an excellent work. “I would like to draw his attention to Bhubaneswar. Bhubaneswar is a city which is coming up and growing and you should look at Bhubaneswar with equal love and affection,” he said.

BJP-Oppn clash in LS over political violence in Kerala

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP and the Left-Congress members were engaged in a verbal duel in the Lok Sabha after a member of the saffron party raised the issue of the “CPI(M)-sponsored terror” in Kerala and sought the state government’s dismissal. During the Zero Hour, Poonam Mahajan raised the issue of a worker of the BJP’s youth wing headed by her being “brutally attacked” by Left workers and alleged that several RSS and BJP workers have been killed by them. Taking a dig, she said the Left parties should speak on the issue of intolerance only after they start practicing it in states ruled by them. Mahajan asked the Speaker to lead a group of MPs to the southern state to assess the situation herself. Her remarks agitated the Left members and also those of the Congress from the state as they targeted the RSS. K C Venugopal (Congress) said the RSS was behind killings as well, including one last night in his constituency. M B Rajesh (CPI-M) said the Hindutva outfit workers had recently killed a youth and a Muslim priest. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said he was unable to understand why Venugopal was critical of the BJP member’s remarks as he himself had yesterday raised the issue of political violence in the state. As Kumar said political murders were happening in Kerala and it was not acceptable, Rajesh accused him of misleading the House. Yesterday, members of the Congress and the Left from Kerala had clashed in the House over an incident in Thiruvananthapuram where the police had ill-treated the parents of a student who had allegedly committed suicide. Among other issues raised in the House during the Zero Hour, Prem Singh Chandumajra (SAD) expressed concern over the menace of stray cattle and said stray dogs recently killed a woman in her constituency. He said people earlier used to cull stray dogs with “medicines”, a reference to poisonous substance used to kill them, but “our minister” has banned it. He was apparently referring to Union Minister Maneka Gandhi, a strong votary of animals rights. It is a serious issue but the government is not taking it seriously, Chandumajra said. Rajeev Satav (Congress) sought loan waiver for farmers in Maharashtra and also in the rest of the country like Uttar Pradesh. More farmers commit suicide in Maharashtra than any other state, he said seeking relief for them.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

SC reserves order on plea against BJP leaders in Babri case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today favoured a time-bound completion of trial in the Babri Masjid demolition case and reserved its order on the CBI plea for revival of conspiracy charges against BJP leaders L K Advani, M M Joshi and Uma Bharti. A bench of Justices P C Ghose and R F Nariman said there cannot be two trials — one at Rae Bareili against Advani and others and another at Lucknow against ‘karsevaks’ — in connection with the demolition of the disputed structure at Ayodhya on December 6, 1992. The court said it will be in the interest of parties that the cases, which are pending since 1992, are disposed of within a time frame while favouring shifting of the trial in the case against Advani and others from a court in Rae Bareli to Lucknow. It was also of the view that the conspiracy charges against the accused cannot be dropped on the pretext of technical glitches and that it has stepped in to examine their restoration as the serious charge was originally in the joint charge sheet filed by the CBI in both set of the cases. The conspiracy charges were later dropped by the trial court and the order was upheld by the Allahabad High Court for want of sanction from the chief justice of the high court. “What has to happen has already happened. The Supreme Court has power to transfer cases from one court to another. We are thinking of a day-to-day trial which must be completed in two years. “A person should not suffer due to litigation which has been going on for the 25 years,” the bench said. It said, “There can’t be two trials on same charges of conspiracy and both the cases have to come at one point or else what will happen if on the same facts and circumstances two courts give contrary orders. “The accused can easily contest the conspiracy charges made by the CBI in the court but no one can be allowed to go scot free due to technical glitches”. Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for Advani and Joshi, said that the apex court cannot exercise power under Article 142 of the Constitution to scuttle the fundamental rights of individuals by transferring the case. He said that the case at Rae Bareli involving Advani and other senior BJP leaders is being tried by a first class magistrate and the first appeal lies with the sessions court while in Lucknow case, it is being tried by a sessions court and the appeal lies with the high court. “If you transfer the case from Rae Bareli to Lucknow then we will lose the opportunity of one appeal which is our fundamental right under the Constitution. The court in exercise of power under Article 142 of the Constitution cannot curtail the fundamental right of an individual,” Venugopal said. To this, the bench said that it will have to weigh the contention whether in the interest of justice, the fundamental right of individual as contended can be curtailed. “In the interest of doing justice, the Supreme Court can exercise its power under Article 142 to overcome a couple of procedures that have suffered due to technical glitches,” it said. Venugopal said that to establish conspiracy charges under section 120-B of the IPC against the accused, the CBI has to establish meeting of minds among individuals for doing a criminal act. “Does this mean that I have conspired with over one lakh karsevaks to demolish the structure. If it (the CBI) had enough evidence of conspiracy charges against us it would have filed a supplementary charge sheet at the Rae Bareli court but it never did,” he said. Additional Solicitor General Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing for the CBI, said that the two prayers of the agency are that the conspiracy charges against the accused should be revived and the high court order dropping the charges be set aside. At the outset, he argued that conspiracy charges cannot be dropped and the trial against the accused in the Rae Bareli case should also take place in Lucknow. The same argument was adopted by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was appearing for intervenor one Haji Mahboob Ahmad (since dead), and said that the cases arising out of conspiracy of same transaction have to be tried together. Venugopal contended that charges of conspiracy have been “blindly fixed” and that there cannot be only one conspiracy where over lakhs of karsevaks were involved.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Cong, Left members clash in LS over Kerala police action

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Members of the Congress and the Left from Kerala clashed in the Lok Sabha today over an incident in Thiruvananthapuram where the police had ill-treated the parents of a student who had allegedly committed suicide. The issue was raised by Congress leader K C Venugopal, who said the situation in Left-ruled Kerala was worsening. This triggered protests from Left members from the state. The student Jishnu Prannoy had allegedly committed suicide following harassment by college authorities. The police action occurred when Prannoy’s parents sought to sit on hunger strike in front of the state police chief’s office on Wednesday. Describing the incident as “unfortunate” and “inhuman”, Venugopal said the police “brutally attacked” his mother. The incident should be “treated seriously” and all the members should condemn it, he said. He also waived a copy of a Malayalam newspaper that had carried pictures of the incident. Left members, including M B Rajesh, vociferously protested against the remarks and later trooped into the Well of the House. Venugopal and two other Congress members also went into the Well. As both sides raised their voices resulting in a ruckus, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House for some time.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Pak using social media to incite youth in Kashmir: Rajnath

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Home Minister Rajnath Singh today accused Pakistan of using the social media to incite youths in Kashmir to storm encounter sites to help holed-up militants, after some members in Lok Sabha raised the issue of death of three civilians in Budgam in firing by security forces. Responding to Saugata Roy (TMC) expressing concern saying the situation in the Kashmir Valley was very grave and seeking his intervention, Singh said the security forces were dealing with terrorism in a way they should and they will surely be successful. He said the strife-torn region had seen a “new trend” of late in which youths from nearby villages gather at the sites of encounter between security forces and terrorists and pelt stones to help the militants holed-up there to flee. “I will appeal to youths not to be misled by Pakistan. Some social media applications like Whatsapp and Facebook are used to gather youths at places of encounters. These groups are based in Pakistan. “Security forces are dealing with terrorists exactly the way they should and will continue to do so. I want to say that we will definitely be successful,” he said. Pakistan-sponsored terrorists are trying to destabilise not only Kashmir but entire India, Singh said. K C Venugopal (Congress) also raised the issue of deaths of civilians. Roy noted that he was a member of the all-party delegation which had visited Kashmir earlier and the situation there had again become very grave.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

AIADMK MP demands CBI probe into Jayalalithaa’s death

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An AIADMK member in the Lok Sabha today sought a CBI probe into the death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, saying any inquiry by the state government will not be able to unravel the “truth”. PR Sundaram, who has switched to the rebel group headed by former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, said the Centre must order a CBI probe into Jayalalithaa’s mysterious death. “Even if Tamil Nadu government orders a probe, hidden things will not come out. So we are demanding a CBI probe,” he said. In January, the Supreme Court had dismissed petitions filed by expelled AIADMK MP Sasikala Pushpa and a youth organisation seeking CBI probe into Jayalalithaa’s death. During the Zero Hour, another AIADMK MP Poonaswami Venugopal raised the issue of human rights violation of Tamil population during the civil war and asked the government to take a strong position on the issue. He said government should not to consider Sri Lanka as a friendly country. He also slammed the government on “maintaining a studied silence” over the UNHRC resolution on giving two more years to Sri Lanka to submit report on the killing of Tamils in the island nation. “There should be an international probe into atrocities on Tamils in Sri Lanka. We must ensure justice to Tamil people in that country,” he said. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar termed the security of Tamils in Sri Lanka as a serious issue. He told Venugopal that his concerns will be conveyed to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj so that appropriate action is taken to protect interests of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. Venugopal also raised the issue of killing of an Indian fisherman earlier this month, with Kumar saying the matter was of paramount importance for India. BJD member Bhartruhari Mahtab asked what steps have been taken for the welfare of Tamil population in Sri Lanka after the visit of Swaraj there last year as the issue was taken up by her with Sri Lankan leadership.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

LPG price hike fuels Oppn protest in LS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Members from the ruling and opposition benches clashed in the Lok Sabha on Friday over the issue of price hike of non-subsidised cooking gas cylinders.Opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge (Congress) accused the government of cheating the consumers who surrendered their subsidy based on the Prime Minister’s appeal. “Now they have been burdened with another hike of Rs 86 per cylinder, which was the highest ever,” he said. He accused the government of continuously hiking the prices of oil products, especially the non-subsidised cooking gas cylinders, despite its prices dropping in the international market.When Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar defended the price hike, the Opposition walked out in protest. The minister described the increase of Rs 86 per cylinder as a “small hike” and asserted that only 1.1 crore out of a total of 91.7 crore LPG consumers will have to pay the increased price while the poor are not at all affected.Kharge pointed out how the price of the non-subsidised LPG cylinder had been hiked six times — from Rs 467 per cylinder in 2016 to Rs 737 today. He, joined by other opposition members, wanted rollback of this burden put on the poor.In 2012, the crude oil price in the international market was $122 per barrel and the LPG cylinder was sold at Rs 345 while petrol and diesel cost Rs 58 and 37 per litre respectively. But in 2016, when the international crude oil price went down to $33, an LPG cylinder costs Rs 513 and petrol and diesel Rs 56 and Rs 46 per litre respectively.Revolutionary Socialist Party member NK Premchandran said it is an assault on the middle class people who responded to the PM’s call to give up subsidy to help the poor. He said the hike of Rs 271 per LPG cylinder was “unheard of” and accused the government of not passing on the benefits of the fall in international oil price to the consumers.When Congress member KC Venugopal said the government had cheated over 1 crore people who had reportedly given up their LPG subsidy, Minister Ananth Kumar asserted that nobody was forced to give up the subsidy and all those who surrendered did it voluntarily.He also accused the Opposition of misleading the House, noting that the crude oil prices have not gone down in the international markets but have rather gone up from $471 per metric tonne to $564. He said Kharge had happily forgotten that the UPA government in 2010 had decided to hike the LPG cylinder price by Rs 2 every month. He added that the government has provided LPG connections to over 2 crore poor households in the last two years under the ‘Ujjwala yojna’.During commotion, there were also interesting exchanges between the government and opposition benches. Former union home secretary and BJP MP RK Singh took on Kharge, for using the term ‘Modi government’ and asked him to use term ”Government of India’ or the ‘NDA government’. But Kharge said the PM was himself using the phrase “my government” and never even calls it a BJP government.

MPs concerned over killing of Indian fisherman by SL navy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The issue of an Indian fisherman being allegedly shot dead by the Sri Lankan Navy was raised in the Lok Sabha today with members demanding swift action by the Indian government. Raising the issue during the Zero Hour, AIADMK member P Venugopal said although there has been a consenus between the two countries that the fishermen will not be shot at, the incidents of Indian fishermen being attacked by the Sri Lankan navy are rising. V Elumalai, another AIADMK MP, highlighted the same issue saying the youth was killed in a “cold-blooded and barbaric” manner. He said in the past week, over 50 Indian fishermen have been arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy. A 22-year-old Indian fisherman was shot dead on March 6 allegedly by Sri Lankan navy personnel while he was fishing in a mechanised boat at a short distance off Katchatheevu islet. The incident had triggered protests by local fishermen, with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami seeking the Centre’s intervention. The Sri Lankan government, in its initial probe report, has ruled out its navy’s involvement in the killing of the Indian fisherman. Shashi Tharoor, Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram, said the fishermen from his state have also been arrested by Pakistan over the last ten 10 days. He pointed out that fishermen have also been apprehended by the foreign security forces while fishing near British Diego Garcia. “With the amount of catch declining near the shores, the fishermen have to go further deep inside the high seas which leads to such arrests. The Centre should help in skilling these fishermen so that they can explore other opportunities, and also modernise their fishing equipment,” Tharoor added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BCI Rules on lawyers verification: SC to hear universities

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today said it would hear all the universities in the matter relating to challenge to the Bar Council of India (BCI) Certificate and Place of Practice (Verification) Rules 2015, which mandate verification of lawyers. “We will hear all of you and decide it once and for all,” a bench of Justices P C Ghose and R F Nariman said after senior advocate K K Venugopal, representing BCI, said that the apex court can hear the University Grants Commission (UGC) and all the univeristies in the matter. At the outset, Venugopal said it is assumed that there are 1.7 million lawyers in the country but no verification has been done for long. “This 1.7 million is only an imaginary number. How many of them are still practising is not known,” he said. The bench also asked BCI to publish advertisements in a national newspaper and different regional newspapers asking the universities to join the matter pending before the apex court. When the counsel appearing for some petitioners told the court that process of verification being followed by BCI was never-ending, the bench said “Don’t worry, we will take care of it”. The bench asked the UGC to communicate its order to all universities and fixed the matter for hearing after two weeks. The apex court is hearing a batch of petitions challenging BCI’s 2015 Rules making it mandatory for all the lawyers to undergo the verification drive to check the professional credentials of practicing advocates. BCI, the apex bar body, has undertaken the verification drive to weed out law practitioners with fake law degrees. The BCI had in 2015 amended the rules for the verification process to filter out fake advocates among over 15 lakh practising laywers in the country. BCI Certificate and Place of Practice (Verification) Rules 2015 makes it mandatory for all lawyers to re-register in a new format where they have to compulsorily submit all their certificates starting from class X board results.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

"The political parties will have bank transacted money,

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>the donor will be giving tax paid money, if you have improvement to suggest we are open for discussion,” the Finance Minister said. While justifying the proposal for small cash donations, Jaitley said bulk of the political fund is unaccounted. He said Barack Obama, during his first election to US Presidency, also had favoured small donations through digital mode. Jaitley said the parties should have no problem with small donations as they usually have lakhs of followers. Earlier, Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD) said the proposal for issuing electoral bonds announced in the Budget was a good idea but impractical. Explaining in detail, he said, such bonds will have serial numbers which government of the day, by using its influence, can find out from issuing banks the name of the person and hence the anonymity clause is not secure. If they are without serial number, then it is prone to be misused as was done by scamsters Harshad Mehta and Telgi, the BJD member said. Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav (RJD) said the Budget had no sweetener for poor, downtrodden and farmers. He also alleged that the government has gone back on their promise as far as special package for Bihar is concerned. K C Venugopal (Cong) termed Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana as bogus scheme and said MPs are unable to implement this because government has not allocated any fund for it. Many other MPs form opposition party raised this concern. Kalyan Banerjee (TMC) demanded to know from the Government how much black money has been recovered post the demonetisation. “Budget does not reflect the vision of future. It is silent on cost and benefits of demonetisation. It does not give details of how much money is lying in foreign bank accounts,” he said. Banerjee termed the plan to infuse Rs 10,000 crore capital infusion in PSU banks as ‘cruel joke’ as the banking sector was saddled with Rs 6 lakh crore worth NPAs.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Kerala CM writes to Modi, raises concern over ‘treatment’ to E Ahamed by RML Hospital

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting an enquiry into Former Union Minister E Ahamed’s death, saying the situation should’ve been handled in “humanitarian” way. In the letter, Vijayan asserts that the protocol of treatment provided to Ahamed by the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) hospital and the treatment of the late politician?s family by the hospital administration have raised serious concerns. ?Needless to say that the situation should have been handled in a humanitarian way. To allay the apprehensions of his family, colleagues and the people of Kerala, I request that the entire matter may kindly be enquired into. I would also like to suggest that steps may be taken to avoid such incidents in the future,? Vijayan said. However, the Chief Minister appreciated the ?kind gesture? by the Prime Minister of paying his last respects to E Ahamed by visiting his residence in the national capital. Congress leader K. C. Venugopal on Friday gave an adjournment motion notice in the Lok Sabha, alleging unethical approach by the RML Hospital and government towards former union minister and his family. In his adjournment motion, Venugopal said, “The unethical approach from the hospital officials and the government towards Veteran parliamentarian Shri. E. Ahmed and his family members during his last hours has created anguish and concern among the people in the country, the same owes an explanation from the Government and an impartial investigation.” Former Union Minister and Indian Union Muslim League leader E Ahamed passed away in the wee hours of Wednesday morning at the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) hospital, after he suffered a cardiac arrest in the Parliament on Tuesday. The minister was admitted in a critical condition after suffering a cardiac arrest during the President’s address in both Houses on Tuesday.At around 2.15 PM, he was shifted to the RML trauma centre’s ICU where he was put on ventilator. Earlier, Ahamed’s family had lashed out at the administration of the RML Hospital where the veteran leader was admitted for not being allowed to meet him or even consulted regarding his medical procedures. Nazeer Ahamed, son of the E Ahamed told ANI that he and his other family members had been barred from meeting his father and were not kept in loop in regard to any medical developments.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

JD(U) backs probe of E Ahamed’s death, says it is essential to put the speculations to rest

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Aligning with the demand of probe made in the Parliament on Thursday against the unethical approach by the RML hospital and Government towards Former Union Minister E Ahamed?s death and his family, Janata Dal United has come out in fervent support of the investigation. Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav told ANI, ?E Ahamed has been a very old and established politician of the parliament. The way it was handled should be investigated. The news surrounding his treatment is puzzling. The nation deserves to know how much of it is true, how much of it is false.? Congress leader K. C. Venugopal on Friday gave an adjournment motion notice in the Lok Sabha, alleging unethical approach by the RML Hospital and government towards former union minister and his family. In his adjournment motion, Venugopal said, ?The unethical approach from the hospital officials and the government towards Veteran parliamentarian Shri. E. Ahmed and his family members during his last hours has created anguish and concern among the people in the country, the same owes an explanation from the Government and an impartial investigation.? Former Union Minister and Indian Union Muslim League leader E Ahamed passed away in the wee hours of Wednesday morning at the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) hospital, after he suffered a cardiac arrest in the Parliament on Tuesday. The minister was admitted in a critical condition after suffering a cardiac arrest during the President’s address in both Houses on Tuesday.At around 2.15 PM, he was shifted to the RML trauma centre’s ICU where he was put on ventilator. Earlier, Ahamed?s family had lashed out at the administration of the RML Hospital where the veteran leader was admitted for not being allowed to meet him or even consulted regarding his medical procedures. Nazeer Ahamed, son of the E Ahamed told ANI that he and his other family members had been barred from meeting his father and were not kept in loop in regard to any medical developments. Despite the opposition?s call for postponement of the Union Budget for a day as a respect to the departed soul, the government went ahead and presented it in Parliament.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

LS adjourned till noon over E. Ahamed death row

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Lok Sabha was on Friday adjourned till noon over the Congress? assertion of insulting former union minister and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader E. Ahamed by going ahead with Union Budget presentation. Congress leader K. C. Venugopal earlier in the day gave an adjournment motion notice in the Lok Sabha, alleging unethical approach by the RML Hospital and government towards former E. Ahamed and his family. Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge said a senior leader shouldn’t be insulted like this. Despite the opposition?s call for postponement of the Union Budget for a day as a respect to the departed soul, the government went ahead and presented it in Parliament. Earlier, Ahamed?s family had lashed out at the administration of the RML Hospital where the veteran leader was admitted for not being allowed to meet him or even consulted regarding his medical procedures. The funeral of Ahamed, who died in the early hours of Wednesday in Delhi following a cardiac arrest, was held in his native city Kannur, Kerala, yesterday.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

E. Ahamed’s death Venugopal gives adjournment motion notice in LS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Congress leader K. C. Venugopal on Friday gave an adjournment motion notice in the Lok Sabha, alleging unethical approach by the RML Hospital and government towards former union minister and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader E. Ahamed and his family. In his adjournment motion, Venugopal said, ?The unethical approach from the hospital officials and the government towards Veteran parliamentarian Shri. E. Ahmed and his family members during his last hours has created anguish and concern among the people in the country, the same owes an explanation from the Government and an impartial investigation.? Despite the opposition?s call for postponement of the Union Budget for a day as a respect to the departed soul, the government went ahead and presented it in Parliament. Earlier, Ahamed?s family had lashed out at the administration of the RML Hospital where the veteran leader was admitted for not being allowed to meet him or even consulted regarding his medical procedures. The funeral of Ahamed, who died in the early hours of Wednesday in Delhi following a cardiac arrest, was held in his native city Kannur, Kerala, yesterday.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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