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Animal Welfare Board wants annual Buffalo race in Karnataka to be cancelled

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The inspection reports explained the apparent violations of the specific conditions set by the Karnataka High Court under which it allowed Kambala, the letter said.

Buffalo Race also known as ‘Kambala’ event. Image Courtesy: Flickr.com

The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has written to Karnataka Chief Secretary and Deputy Commissioners of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, asking them to take immediate steps to stop the ‘Kambala’ (annual Buffalo race in muddy fields) events in the current season.Acting on a complaint from People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), India, AWBI said that the Supreme Court judgement of May 7, 2014, banning all bull races in the country was still in force. AWBI had inspected three Kambala events in 2014-15, resulting in filing of 65 non-cognisable offence complaints and one First Information Report at a local police station. The inspection reports explained the apparent violations of the specific conditions set by the Karnataka High Court under which it allowed Kambala, the letter said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Kambala events are inherently cruel and are no different from bull races and jallikattu, which are banned by the Supreme Court in the entire country,” it said.However, district administrations of Udupi and DK have decided to allow the events under strict supervision of police and revenue officials with video recording to detect ill treatment of animals, like it was done last year.Kambala season in the coastal region begins in November and lasts till March. Five events have already been held this year starting with Surya Chandra Kambala at Bangadi in DK on November 21.

PM Modi-led panel finalises Chief Information Commissioner; suspense over announcement

The Central Information Commission is working headless, for the second time since the BJP Government came into power in 2014, after Vijai Sharma completed his tenure on December one.
File Photo
PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Committee on Wednesday met and is understood to have decided on the new Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), a post lying vacant for about a fortnight.The meeting of the Committee, held in the Prime Minister’s office in Parliament, was attended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Leader of the Congress Party in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjuna Kharge, official sources said. The name of the next CIC has been finalised, they said. However, the name was not disclosed.The Central Information Commission is working headless, for the second time since the BJP Government came into power in 2014, after Vijai Sharma completed his tenure on December one. The transparency watchdog was without its chief for nearly 10 months after completion of the tenure of the then Chief Information Commissioner Rajiv Mathur in August 2014.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At present, there are seven Information Commissioners– Basant Seth, Yashovardhan Azad, Sharat Sabharwal, Manjula Prasher, M A Khan Yusufi, Madabhushanam Sridhar Acharyulu and Sudhir Bhargava– in the Commission. As per convention, the senior most Information Commissioner is chosen as chief. Presently, Seth is the senior-most Information Commissioner. The Commission comprises of one chief and ten Information Commissioners.A total of 33,724 complaints and appeals are pending in the Commission as on today, as per official data.

BJP moves Election Commission to withdraw FIR against Amit Shah

A delegation of party leaders, led by Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, drew EC’s attention to alleged hate speeches of Prasad and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi and sought strong action against them for their remarks.
File Photo
PTI
BJP on Thursday approached the Election Commission seeking immediate withdrawal of an FIR against its chief Amit Shah for his “Chara chor” (fodder thief) remarks against RJD chief Lalu Prasad and demanded action against officials working “under pressure” of the state government.A delegation of party leaders, led by Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, drew EC’s attention to alleged hate speeches of Prasad and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi and sought strong action against them for their remarks.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In Bihar, an unnecessary FIR has been registered against BJP President Amit Shah. We feel it is done under pressure from the local government…An FIR has been registered against the president of a national party. It is very objectionable. We have brought it to the notice of EC and pur forth the facts and requested EC that they should hold an immediate inquiry and this FIR should be withdrawn,” Naidu told reporters after the meeting with EC.”We have also asked EC to probe the action of all those officers working under the pressure of the state government. We have requested them for taking action against them,” he said, adding that the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners have assured the delegation of looking into the matter.Naidu said Shah has in general talked about ‘chara chor’ and referred to only what the court has done and he did not say anything new. Prasad has been convicted and “it is a fact and it is true that it is a court verdict,” he said.Naidu said the delegation has also brought to the notice of EC that while on one hand FIR has been registered against Shah, on the other leaders like Lalu Prasad and Owaisi are making “hate” speeches that are aimed at allegedly communalising the Bihar assembly elections and no action is being taken against them.”Everyday, objectionable, communal, offensive and defamatory statements are being made against our party, our leaders, our Prime Minister, our party President and no action is taken against them,” he said.Naidu was accompanied by Union Ministers Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Nirmala Sitharaman, besides other BJP leaders.

Make pavements encroachment free, orders BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta

In a move that would facilitate the pedestrians, Mumbai Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta has ordered the officials to remove encroachments on the footpaths across the city.

Brihanmumbai Municipal Commissioner

In a move that would facilitate the pedestrians, Mumbai Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta has ordered the officials to remove encroachments on the footpaths across the city.In the order issued yesterday, Mehta has asked all the 24 ward offices in the city to make the footpaths free of encroachments by unauthorised hawkers, hotels, furniture shops, among others.Confirming the move, Mehta told PTI, “Yes, I have issued an order to this effect and I feel with the support of citizens, we should be able to make a difference.” A senior BMC officer said that ward officers have been instructed to prepare a list of encroachments on a priority.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”All the assistant commissioners of the 24 wards have been given a stern order to create an inventory of unauthorised structures on footpaths across the city and demolish them,” the official added.Another senior officer said, “Assistant commissioners will conduct a survey of illegal structures by keeping it’s photograph as record and then chalk out a plan to remove them.”The survey will be carried out with the help of a special team formed by ward officers at each ward level, he added.After the footpaths are cleared, the Additional Municipal Commissioners have to keep checking that there are no encroachments on the pavements again.Welcoming BMC chief’s order, RTI activist Anil Galgali, said, “Let’s hope and do our bit to support Mehta to implement the decision, which no other BMC commissioner had taken.

Bihar polls: EC chief on two day visit to check preparations

Election Commission (EC) chief Nasim Zaidi, along with his team, is going on a two-day visit to Bihar to review the preparations for the first, second and third phase of assembly elections in the state.The team includes Election Commissioners Achal Kumar Jyoti and O.P Rawat. Zaidi will hold meeting with the representatives of different political parties today afternoon.EC would also review meetings with Commissioner, Inspector General and SSP of those districts where 1st, 2nd and 3rd phase of elections are scheduled to be held. Zaidi will also meet the Chief Secretary, Home Secretary and Director General of Police, Bihar before returning to Delhi. The first phase of elections will be held on October 12, while the second and third phase will take place on October 16 and October 28. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Delhi government asks civic bodies to undertake door-to-door measures to tackle dengue

New Delhi: The Delhi government on Monday asked the three municipal corporations to undertake door-to-door preventive measures and awareness campaigns against dengue on a war footing by asking people not to panic by rising cases of the disease.

Health Minister Satyendra Jain, in a meeting with the Commissioners of the three civic bodies, said that there is an urgent need to dispel panic from the minds of people about the spread of dengue as the number of cases is rising by the day.

Representational image. Image courtesy: AFPRepresentational image. Image courtesy: AFP

Representational image. Image courtesy: AFP

According to a senior official, the Health Minister has directed the three Commissioners to ensure that field workers reach every home to put medicines in all possible sources of stagnant clean water and carry out fumigation in residential areas and market places.

Expressing displeasure with the slow pace of fumigation, Jain said “government is receiving complaints about lack of fumigation and this lapse will not be tolerated any further.

The Commissioners should take strict action against those responsible for this lapse.” The Health Secretary will be the nodal point of contact for coordination with the civic agencies – in case they require anything – ranging from medicines to awareness
material, the official said.

Jain directed the civic agencies to send out bulk SMSes to people that dengue is curable and there is no cause for panic. The minister also asked the health department and the Commissioners to prepare a daily report about the number of dengue cases in all hospitals across the national capital.

This includes all Delhi government, municipal corporations, central government and private hospitals. The report will be tabled before the Health Minister on a daily basis.

PTI

Jammu and Kashmir govt reviews progress on 4-laning of National Highway

The officials worked out on strategies to remove bottlenecks hampering smooth execution of these prestigious ventures.

The minister stressed upon the authorities to ensure timely compensation to the people who have been affected due to the said project, the official said (Representational Image)

The Jammu and Kashmir government is working on the strategies to remove “bottlenecks” which have been hampering the smooth execution of the four-laning of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. The minister for Revenue, Javaid Mustafa Mir, directed Deputy Commissioners Jammu and Udhampur to take immediate steps for the “removal of bottlenecks” hindering widening of National Highway to ensure speedy execution and completion of the project, an official spokesman said. “Mir yesterday convened a high-level meeting of officers to review the progress on four-laning of National Highway from Srinagar to Jammu and worked out on strategies to remove bottlenecks hampering smooth execution of these prestigious ventures,” the official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said that Divisional Commissioner of Jammu, Deputy Commissioner of Jammu, Deputy Commissioner of Udhampur and Project Director of NH1A besides other senior officers of Revenue and departments concerned attended the meeting. The minister stressed upon the authorities to ensure timely compensation to the people who have been affected due to the said project, the official said.

Punjab has become ‘drug haven’ due to SAD-BJP: AAP

Wearing their signature caps and bands, the AAP activists carried placards shaming the ruling SAD-BJP coalition for being “hands in glove with drug traffickers”.

Protesting against the drug menace in Punjab, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday claimed that the state has become a “drug haven” due to “connivance” of ruling SAD-BJP coalition.”Punjab has become a drug haven due to the connivance of both the partners of this corrupt SAD-BJP ruling coalition,” Zonal Incharge of AAP, Col C M Lakhanpal (retd) said.Earlier fingers were being pointed on Shiromani Akali Dal leaders for being part of Drug mafia but the recent arrests have “proved” that BJP leaders are equally involved in this menace, Lakhanpal said. Punjab’s youth is getting destroyed due to the “highly criminal and nefarious activities of these so called leaders”, he alleged.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is the greatest misfortune of the state that those who were supposed to be caretakers have become the devils themselves who are devouring an entire generation of Punjabis for their insatiable greed,” he said.The people of Punjab are now aware of the duplicity of their politicians and will teach them an unforgettable lesson in 2017 assembly polls, the Zonal In-charge claimed. The party activists held silent protests in front of the Deputy Commissioners’ offices in various places in the state, a party spokesperson said here.Wearing their signature caps and bands, the AAP activists carried placards shaming the ruling SAD-BJP coalition for being “hands in glove with drug traffickers”, the Spokesperson added.Earlier, in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme on radio, Prime Minister had said the drug menace is a “national pain”. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had earlier claimed that 70 per cent of youths in the state were into drugs Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal also said that his government was fighting a “war” on drug menace in the state.

Lt Guv Najeeb Jung talks for concerted efforts to make footpaths pedestrian-friendly

In a meeting with the Municipal Commissioners of all three civic bodies, chairman of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), Special Commissioner of Police (traffic), representatives of Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and PWD, and senior officials of the state government, the Lt Governor gave two weeks to make footpaths pedestrian-friendly.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
With Delhi recording 45% of fatal road accidents involving pedestrians, Lt Governor Najeeb Jung on Wednesday directed all three civic agencies, Public Works Department (PWD) and Delhi Police to identify road stretches where footpaths need to be cleared from hindrances for creating more walking space.In a meeting with the Municipal Commissioners of all three civic bodies, chairman of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), Special Commissioner of Police (traffic), representatives of Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and PWD, and senior officials of the state government, the Lt Governor gave two weeks to make footpaths pedestrian-friendly.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”A review meeting will be held at Raj Niwas at the end of two weeks to chart out a date wise, time bound plan for joint action by Municipal Corporations, NDMC, PWD, Delhi Police along with its traffic unit to remove hindrances on the footpath to make them pedestrian-friendly. This campaign will run in the city in the next two months and reviewed thereafter,” a statement from the LG House said. The LG’s office has also advised shopkeepers and vendors to remove their belongings, cars parked on footpath to escape any kind of penalty of prosecution. On November 21 2014, the Lt Governor had written to all civic agencies, PWD, DDA, Commissioner of Police to ensure at least one-metre dedicated footpath on all roads of Delhi which should be free from encroachment and should be made more user friendly. In 2014, a total of 742 pedestrians had died in road accidents in Delhi, which constitutes 45 per cent of total fatal accidents.”The pedestrians are the most vulnerable category on Delhi roads. We need to work concertedly to offer safe and user friendly transit to them on Delhi’s footpaths,” the statement said, quoting Jung.

Land Boundary Agreement: India, Bangladesh swap 162 enclaves, 14,000 Bangladeshis become Indians

Bangladeshi enclaves in India and Indian enclaves in Bangladesh stand physically transferred to the other country with effect from the midnight of July 31.

PTI photo
India and Bangladesh swapped 162 enclaves at midnight, bringing the land swap agreement into force. With this act, 14,000 Bangladeshis have become Indians, reported NDTV.Earlier, New Delhi termed it as a “historic” day which will mark the resolution of a complex issue that has lingered since independence.Bangladeshi enclaves in India and Indian enclaves in Bangladesh stand physically transferred to the other country with effect from the midnight of July 31.”July 31 will thus be a historic day for both India and Bangladesh. The day marks the resolution of a complex issue that has lingered since independence,” a statement issued by the External Affairs Ministry said on Friday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There were 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh and 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in India which were to be exchanged pursuant to the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement and 2011 Protocol and instruments of ratification of which were exchanged during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh on June 6-7, 2015.It also marks the day from which enclave residents on both sides of the border begin to enjoy the benefits of nationality of India or Bangladesh, as the case may be, and thus access to civic services, education, health-care and other facilities provided by the two Governments to their respective nationals.Following Modi’s visit to Dhaka, much work has gone into ascertaining the nationality options of the enclave residents. The Registrar General of India, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics and District Magistrate, Cooch Behar and Deputy Commissioners of Lalmonirhat, Panchagarh, Kurigram and Nilphamari worked systematically and in a coordinated fashion to collect the options from the residents.The actual option taking exercise was carried out by 75 teams operating in the enclaves in India and Bangladesh from July 6-16, 2015. 30 observers from Indian and Bangladesh governments were also present in the enclaves during this survey period. Data from this joint exercise is now being verified by the Registrar General of India and Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.After successfully completing the exercise of ascertaining nationality options of enclave residents, the ground has been prepared for the movement of residents who exercise the option of moving from an Indian enclave to Indian mainland.Both governments are working closely together to facilitate trouble-free movement of these residents before the stipulated date of November 30, 2015.Other steps with regard to implementation of the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement and 2011 Protocol are underway in accordance with agreed modalities between governments of India and Bangladesh.According to an estimate, around 37,000 people are living in Indian enclaves in Bangladesh while 14,000 people are staying in Bangladeshi enclaves in India.The Centre has already sanctioned a Rs 3,048-crore package for rehabilitation of the people affected by the exchange of enclaves under the LBA implementation.Between July 31, 2015 and June 30, 2016, the entire process, including physical exchange of enclaves and land parcels in adverse possession along with boundary demarcation, is expected to be completed. India and Bangladesh will print, sign at plenipotentiary level and exchange the strip maps of un-demarcated sectors.Both governments will facilitate “orderly, safe and secure passage” to the enclave dwellers along with their “personal belongings and movable property” to Bangladesh or India through proper “travel documents”, according to a letter exchanged by the two countries.India and Bangladesh have also outlined the modalities of a complex process of settlement of immovable property. The dwellers will have to provide “details of the records and specifications of immovable property” to the local district administration.

End of the road for Yakub Memon: President rejects 1993 blasts convict’s mercy plea

Yakub Memon, facing gallows in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, is all set to be executed on Thursday morning at 7 with the Supreme Court on Wednesday clearing all legal hurdles by holding that there was “no legal fallacy” and “fault” in the death warrant issued against him.

Yet another last-ditch attempt by the lone convict in the blasts case, that killed over 257 people and injured hundreds, by filing a mercy plea before the President failed after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected Memon’s mercy petition. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also advised the President to reject the mercy plea.

TV reports further said that Memon’s lawyer has moved the Supreme Court against the rejection of mercy plea by Maharashtra Governor. The petition, according to NDTV, urges the President not to decide on the plea tonight.

In Mumbai, Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao also rejected his mercy plea that was filed last week. Ending the suspense and uncertainity over the fate of Memon, who was held guilty in the terror case, the apex court said his last legal remedy by way of curative petition was “correctly” dismissed by the three senior-most judges.

Image courtesy: CNN-IBNImage courtesy: CNN-IBN

Image courtesy: CNN-IBN

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra held that his second mery petition will not come in way of his execution on Thursday when he turns 53 as he did not challenge the rejection of his first mercy petition by the President last year.

While clearing the decks by holding that the condemned prisoner has availed all legal remedies, the bench, also comprising Justices Prafulla Chandra Pant and Amitava Roy, rejected the plea that proper procedure was not followed in issuance of death warrant by TADA Court on 30 April for his execution on 30 July.

Further, the bench differed with his counsel that mandatory 14 days notice was not given by Maharashtra Government in communicating to him about his date of execution. “Issuance of death warrant is in order. We do not find any kind of legal fallacy. In view of that, we conclude that the curative petition was decided by three senior-most judges of this court cannot be faulted.

The issue of death warrant by TADA court on 30 April for the execution of death sentence on 30 July cannot be faulted. In the result writ petition sans merit and stands dismissed,” the bench said after a day-long hearing. While rejecting the contention that the death warrant was wrongly issued and without hearing Memon, the bench noted the sequence of events to demonstrate that he did not challenge the rejection of his first mercy petition by the President.

“After first mercy petition was rejected, he did not challenge it. On July 22, 2015, he filed another mercy petition. Whether he was entitled for such second mercy petition or not during the pendency of the curative petition. “How the mercy petition has to be dealt we are not inclined to go,” the bench said.

“As far as compliance of 14 days for execution of warrant from scheduled date of execution is concerned, it meets the time limit,” the bench said while accepting the submission of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who said Memon did not take legal remedies of curative petition when his first review petition was dismissed.

The condemned prisoner did not move the apex court even when the President had rejected his mercy petition on 4 April, 2014 which was communicated to him on 26 May, 2014.

While maintaining that a convict after his conviction can, at any stage, make representation to a constitutional authority like Governor and President for pardon and remission of sentence, the bench said the mercy petition on behalf of Memon was moved to the President of which he had knowledge.

“In the instant case, Suleman, brother of the convict, on his behalf, submitted a mercy petition to the Governor which was later decided by President on April 11, 2014 and communicated to Memon on May 26, 2014,” the bench noted.

It said it was not going into the second mercy plea in which grounds of him suffering from schizophrenia have been raised along with the fact that new evidence in the light of an article by a RAW officer has been taken for grant of leniency which was disputed by the Attorney General.

The bench noted the sequence of events since the rejection of the second review petition on 9 April, to the dismissal of the curative petition on 21 July, 2015. Memon’s senior counsel Raju Ramachandra submitted that there was a procedural violation in the issuance of death warrant on 30 April by a TADA judge in Mumbai for his execution on 30 July.

They said that the death warrant was issued while the curative petition was yet to be filed. Further, while the TADA court had granted 90 days notice for his execution, Memon was served with the notice about his execution on 13 July by the Maharashtra government giving him just 17 days time before his execution, which suffers from incurable procedural irregularity, Ramachandran said.

The counsel for Memon also submitted that the second mercy petition to the Governor was filed on 22 July and until it is decided, the death warrant cannot be executed. While holding that there was no legal fault in the TADA Court issuing the death warrant, the bench said the 27 May, 2015 judgement in the Shabnam case, laying the guidelines for it, was not applicable with retrospective effect as the warrant was issued before the verdict.

Memon’s lawyer had contended that non-application of the guidlines was in violation of Article 21 of the constitution. However, the bench said the “postulations laid in the Shabnam case held that sufficient notice has to be given to the convict before issuance of death warrant so as to enable him to consult his advocate.

“That being the purpose, it has to be seen in the proper perspective of the case,” it said and added the state government informed him about the execution on 13 July and the curative petition was filed on 22 May and therefore, “he cannot take the plea that he did not had the legal remedies.”

Noting that the curative petition was dismissed on 21 July, the bench said “in our view the purpose behind the said mandate has been complied in the case.”

The SC order prompted on many reactions from the family members of Yakub and political leaders.

The verdict rejecting Yakub’s plea was met with “extreme disappointment” by AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi who said it is a “setback”. He demanded that capital punishment be also given to those who committed the “original sin”–demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992. It drew mixed reactions from the legal fraternity with some questioning the procedure adopted in issuance of death warrant while others as also the victims hailed the refusal.

Political leaders like Manishankar Aiyar(Congress), Prakash Karat and Brinda Karat, both CPI-M, who were among the eminent persons including retired jurists who submitted a fresh mercy petition to President Pranab Mukherjee said he had the powers under Article 72 of the Constitution to commute Yakub’s death sentence notiwithstanding the court verdict.

Branding those who opposed the death sentence to Yakub as “mentally challenged” in need of treatment, BJP said it was wrong for “some people to have politicised the whole issue or for giving it a communal colour”.

Image courtesy: IBNLiveImage courtesy: IBNLive

Image courtesy: IBNLive

“We welcome the SC judgement. Ultimately justice has been delivered to all the victims of the 1993 Mumbai blasts. People of the country have faith in the judiciary and with this verdict, their faith has been strengthened further,” BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said.

BJP national spokesperson Nalin Kohli said the SC verdict brings finality to the entire legal process and that it would not be proper to try and go behind the decision and attribute anything to it. Another BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra said it is a “big day” for the victims of the 1993 Mumbai blasts and a sense of justice prevails today and termed it as a “victory” of law.

Congress saw a “conclusion of a judicial process” in the Supreme Court’s decision, noting that full justice would be done to Mumbai blast victims when the government brings back Yakub’s brother Tiger Memon from Pakistan. “Indian National Congress looks at it as shape of conclusion of a judicial process as also partial justice to the 1993 Bombay blast victims. Full justice woould be done when the government of the day is to bring back Tiger Memon from Pakistan where he has been given shelter,” party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.

Hailing the verdict, Shiv Sena noted that all have said in one voice that Memon should not be given mercy because it is the voice of the citizens of the country.Senior advocate Indira Jaising expressed displeasure and said, “Justice has not been done. I criticise the Supreme Court’s failure to recognise that the right procedure has not been followed.”

Former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee said finality has come from the Supreme Court as Yakub has exhausted all his legal remedies.

Meanwhile, the police have tightened security in Mumbai. According to police sources, senior police officials here have requested the Muslim religious and community leaders not to make any public statement or speech about Memon after the hanging.

If an inflammatory speech or a remark is made, the police would take prompt action, sources said. All Deputy Commissioners, Additional Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners of Police have been deployed in sensitive areas in the city.

The Quick Response Teams of police, formed after the 26/11 terrorist attacks, have also been deployed at a few places including the Al Hussaini building in Mahim area where the Memon family lives. As a preventive measure police have also rounded up several miscreants especially those who have police record.

Law will take its own course on the issue of execution of Yakub Memon, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said while speaking to the media. “Law will take its own course. I appeal to everyone to maintain restraint,” Fadnavis told reporters at Vidhan Bhawan.

Meanwhile, a top government functionary said, “So far, we have not received any instructions not to go ahead with it (Yakub’s execution).” Yakub’s lawyer also added that the sole convict has not prepared a will yet. “Yakub was hopeful of some kind of relief from the Supreme Court and also from his mercy petition with the President. He probably thought he would survive and will not be hanged which is why he did not prepare any will,” Gedam told PTI.

After his execution as per the TADA court verdict, Yakub’s mortal remains are most likely to be claimed by his family tomorrow, Gedam said. Quoting Chapter XI of the Jail Manual, he said the Jail Superintendent of Nagpur Central Prison has been vested with powers to decide with regard to the body of a death row convict.

The PTI report further added After the inquest, post mortem will be conducted by a team of doctors including a forensic medicine expert from the Government Medical College, Nagpur, following which the Jail Superintendent can bury the body in the prison premises itself.

In case the family wants to take possession of the body, they should give an undertaking to the authorities that they will not make an issue and will not hold any demonstration with the body and that there will be a quiet burial. But the Maharashtra government has to take a final call and can decide the place for his last rites, Gedam said.

Also, this purely depends on the law and order situation in the city and elsewhere in Maharashtra, the lawyer added.

With PTI inputs

Bihar polls: Election Commission team visits Patna to assess preparations

“All District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police were called to Patna to attend the meeting. They were asked about their inputs regarding polls to 243 Assembly seats which are expected to be held in September-October this year,” an EC official said.

A high-level Election Commission (EC) team on Wednesday arrived in Patna on a two-day visit and interacted with senior administration officials to take stock of the preparations for the upcoming Bihar Assembly polls.The team, led by Deputy Election Commissioners Vinod Zutshi and Umesh Sinha, as well as Director General (Election Expenditure) P K Das met Bihar Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ajay V Naik, Additional CEO R Lakshmanan. EC officials said Bihar Police Additional Director General (Headquarters) Sunil Kumar, Inspector General (Operations) Sushil M Khopde, CRPF IG Arun Kumar, senior officials from Income Tax and Excise Departments were present at the meeting as well.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”All District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police were called to Patna to attend the meeting. They were asked about their inputs regarding polls to 243 Assembly seats which are expected to be held in September-October this year,” an EC official said.The EC team will meet senior state officials on Thursday also to discuss poll related strategies and preparatory work. It will identify security issues related to holding of elections as several districts in the state are affected by Left-Wing Extremism. Bihar shares a 552-km long border with Nepal.

SC agree to hear plea on appointment of CEC, ECs to poll panel

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a plea seeking a direction to the Centre to constitute a “neutral and independent selection committee” to recommend names for the post of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.

A bench of Chief Justice H L Dattu and justices Arun Kumar Mishra and Amitava Roy, however, asked lawyer Anoop Baranwal to make certain changes in the prayer of his PIL and posted it for hearing on 13 July.

Supreme Court. Agencies

Supreme Court. Agencies

The plea has sought a direction to Centre “to make law for ensuring a fair, just and transparent process of selection by constituting a neutral and independent collegium/ selection committee to recommend the name for the appointment of member to the Election Commission”.

It also sought direction to the Centre for constituting “an interim neutral and independent collegium/selection committee to recommend the names for the appointment on the vacant post of members to the Election Commission”.

The plea alleged that the Centre’s practice in appointing the member of Election Commission was discriminatory and violative of law, which obligate executive/legislature to make law for ensuring a fair, just and transparent selection process for Election Commission.

“The practice of appointing the member to the Election Commission without making law for a fair, just and transparent process of selection by constituting an independent and neutral collegium/selection committee to recommend the name, is in violation of Article 14 and 324(2) of the Constitution of India and is in vogue continuously since adoption of the Constitution,” the plea said.

“Under the Constitution of India, the independence and integrity of the Election Commission is of paramount importance for ensuring a free and fair election to strengthen and maintain the life of the democracy,” it said, adding that in the absence of a proper law, “the independence and the integrity of the Election Commission is being jeopardized and thus public injury is being caused.”

PTI

CEC favours collegium to choose ECs

He was responding to a question on the recent recommendation of the Law Commission that the appointment of Election Commissioners, including the CEC, should be made by the President in consultation with a three-member collegium.

Nasim Zaidi

File Photo
Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi favours a collegium type set up to choose the CEC and Election Commissioners who he says should have equal protection under the Constitution in the matter of removal. He, however, hastened to add that the present system of selection of Election Commissioners and the three-member Commission is working fine. “I would say that the (present) system has also worked well. But if there is a consensus going forward that this system needs to be replaced by a consultative system, I think the Commission would live with that and work well.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Even in the absence of this consultative process, CECs and ECs have acted very neutrally, very independently,” he said. He was responding to a question on the recent recommendation of the Law Commission that the appointment of Election Commissioners, including the CEC, should be made by the President in consultation with a three-member collegium. The collegium should consist of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition of the Lok Sabha (or the leader of the largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha) and the Chief Justice of India, it had said.Zaidi recalled that a committee had some years ago recommended a collegium system for appointment of Election Commissioners. “They focused on Election Commissioners. By seniority, the EC becomes CEC, unless there is something extraordinary. They said the EC should enjoy the confidence of the entire political arena. A bill was also brought, but it did not succeed,” he said.Asked whether he supports the demand raised by his predecessors that all the Commissioners be made equal even in matter of removal, Zaidi said he is in “total agreement with all my predecessor Commissioners. The Commission had been taking it up with Law Ministry. Law Commission has reiterated it and this recommendation has merit”.

India can’t be micromanaged: Omar Abdullah to PM Narendra Modi

Omar recalled Modi’s stewardship of Gujarat and said, “Running a state and running a country are two very different things. It’s tough enough to micro-manage a state, even a state like Gujarat. It’s impossible to micro-manage a country and a country the size of India you can’t do it.”

Omar Abdullah

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It is impossible to micro-manage India or run it as a “one man show”, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah commented on Sunday as the Modi government completes one year in office. Omar recalled Modi’s stewardship of Gujarat and said, “Running a state and running a country are two very different things. It’s tough enough to micro-manage a state, even a state like Gujarat. It’s impossible to micro-manage a country and a country the size of India you can’t do it.”And therefore if every decision has to be sort of looked at a micro level right up to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), it’s not going to happen,” Omar said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When asked about the perception that PMO was micro-managing the affairs, Omar said, “Look I am not sitting in PMO. I am not in the Cabinet. I am just telling you that the perception one has talking to friends in government and in business picking up from what the media has to say, there is no doubt that decisions that needed to be taken are not being taken. And the general perception is that’s because the PMO…very heavy PMO is involved in all these decisions.”On the performance of the Modi government, he said, “…The Prime Minister and his ministers are victims of their own campaign. They raised expectations to a place where delivery was always going to be difficult and impossible.” He said people had lot of expectations especially because after a long time, a single party had come to power. “People expected a lot more in terms of delivery on some tricky issues that he has been promising and clearly that has not been happening. “Whether it is the economy, whether it is areas to do with defence and other governance related issues. Simple matters like putting a right person in right place for bodies like vigilance commission and information commission,” he said.”It’s actually surprising how such a Chief Minister, who was known to be decisive, has allowed a situation where he has allowed a perception where his government is seen indecisive on crucial areas,” he said.The posts of CVC and CIC have been lying vacant since September and August last year. “And that’s why as I said this perception that crucial decisions are held up on statutory bodies whose leadership needs to be put in place, it’s a telling sign. “That one year into the government you don’t have the Information Commissioners. Till recently we had one-man Election Commission. Other organisations also require to be taken care of,” the former Chief Minister said.He made it clear that a country like India cannot be run “as a one man show. It simply can’t”. Omar said a year was enough time for them to realise that it doesn’t work. This government and the Prime Minister in particular “is very sensitive” to what people say, particularly on social media, and it will be not long before Modi picks up that “it’s not working and needs to go back to the drawing board.” On the internal front as far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, he expressed clear disappointment saying, “For me the biggest test of this Prime Minister was helping the people of Jammu and Kashmir affected by the floods of last year. And in that this government has single-handedly failed the people of the state.”

PM Narendra Modi to chair meeting to decide CIC, CVC appointments

Names of Information Commissioners in CIC and Vigilance Commissioners in CVC will be finalised during the meeting

PM Narendra Modi

File Photo
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Saturday chair a meeting to decide on the appointments of chiefs of Central Information Commission (CIC) and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). The meeting will be held at 7, Race Course Road. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Minister of State for PMO Jitendra Singh and leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha Mallikarjuna Kharge are expected to attend themeeting.According to reports, the names of Information Commissioners in CIC and Vigilance Commissioners in CVC will be finalised during the meeting. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, which saw the Congress reduced to just 44 seats, the lack of a Leader of Opposition presented a hurdle in the appointment of members to statutory bodies that require a bipartisan selection panel. The government then decided to allow the Congress to join the selection panels as the single largest opposition party.Earlier this month, Congress President Sonia Gandhi slammed the Modi government in Parliament. She bemoaned the government’s “deplorable lapse” in keeping posts vital to transparency and good governance vacant while showing “extraordinary urgency” in introducing bills.”The PM in the election campaign made many fraudulent promises about transparency. And continues to do so. In a blatant U-turn, his government, through the absence of a Chief Information Commissioner, has made sure that the highest offices are not accountable under the RTI Act,” she said in the Lok Sabha. She accused the government of “brutally weakening” the Right to Information Act, and urged it to “match its words of fighting corruption with action.”

Nasim Zaidi set to become next Chief Election Commissioner

New Delhi: Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi is set to become the next Chief Election Commissioner later this month.

The Law Ministry has initiated the file to appoint the next CEC as present incumbent HS Brahma retires on 19 April.

Nasim Zaidi in a file photo. Image courtesy: Election Commission websiteNasim Zaidi in a file photo. Image courtesy: Election Commission website

Nasim Zaidi in a file photo. Image courtesy: Election Commission website

Highly-placed sources in the government on Wednesday said that the Law Ministry has cited convention of appointing the senior-most EC as the CEC.

Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leaving on a foreign tour on Thursday, there is sense of urgency to clear the paperwork on Wednesday as the file will travel to Rashtrapati Bhawan for the President to appoint the CEC.

After Zaidi’s appointment, the government will set in motion the process to appoint two Election Commissioners to fill vacancies in the three-member body. “But as of now, we are appointing a new CEC. A decision on ECs will come later,” a senior government functionary said.

After VS Sampath demitted office in January, Brahma was elevated as CEC. But the post which fell vacant after Brahma’s elevation has not been filled up so far.

After Brahma retires on 19 April, Zaidi will be the only member of the three-member poll watchdog.

Zaidi will have a tenure up to July, 2017 when he attains the age of 65.

An EC or a CEC has a tenure of six years in office or 65 years of age, whichever is earlier.

A 1976 batch IAS officer, Zaidi has worked in the Civil Aviation Ministry for a long time.

PTI

Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remains closed for 4th consecutive day

Srinagar: The 300-km long Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, the only surface link connecting Kashmir Valley with the rest of the country, continued to remain closed for the fourth consecutive day on Friday following landslides triggered by heavy rain in the area.

Representational image. Agencies

Representational image. Agencies

“The national highway is closed for traffic and the road is being cleared of the debris due to the landslides at some places,” a Traffic Department spokesman said in Srinagar.

He said, the heavy rains and snowfall on Monday caused landslides at some places which forced the closure of the road.

“Landslides have occurred at Gumroo in Banihal and other places which led to the closure of the highway,” he said.

Authorities are involved in relief work including clearing the debri from the road and a decision to open the highway would be taken later, official said.

Meanwhile, the Meteorological Department has said, the weather would be freaky for one another week with increased precipitation from 8 March. The department predicted light rains or snow at some places in the plains with heavy falls in the higher reaches.

The divisional authorities have also issued a medium danger avalanche warning in some areas for today. “The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir has has issued a weather advisory in the districts of Srinagar, Baramulla, Anantnag, Bandipora, Baramulla, Kupwara and Kargil and people are advised not to venture in avalanche prone areas during the said period,” an official spokesman said.

He said, people are advised to temporarily evacuate those locations which are under fall line of avalanches during heavy snowfall.

The concerned Deputy Commissioners are also asked to take all precautionary measures to avert any untoward incident, the spokesman said.

PTI

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