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Gujarat: Patel outfit members meet CM Anadiben Patel, extend support to BJP

Accusing Lalji Patel of being a “Congress agent” and “misguiding” the Patel community, around 20 leaders of SPG on Wednesday met the CM in Gandhinagar and extended support to the saffron party ahead of the rural and semi-urban local bodies polls scheduled to take place on the coming Sunday.

Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Some leaders of Sardar Patel Group, which is part of the Patel quota agitation movement, on Wednesday met Anandiben Patel and extended support to the ruling BJP even as SPG chief Lalji Patel claimed that those who met the Gujarat Chief Minister were not members of his outfit.Accusing Lalji Patel of being a “Congress agent” and “misguiding” the Patel community, around 20 leaders of SPG on Wednesday met the CM in Gandhinagar and extended support to the saffron party ahead of the rural and semi-urban local bodies polls scheduled to take place on the coming Sunday. SPG works closely with Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) to get reservation for Patel community under OBC quota.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Polling for 31 district panchayats, 230 taluka panchayats and 56 municipalities in Gujarat is scheduled to take place on November 29. Since the Patel quota agitation spearhead Hardik Patel is behind bars on sedition charges, Lalji Patel has been leading the movement, vehemently urging his community members not to give votes to BJP.However, around 20 SPG leaders from the Patel-dominated Kheda district today met Anandiben Patel in Gandhinagar and extended their support to BJP, which is being viewed as a major blow to Patel community’s “anti-BJP movement”.After the meeting, convener of Kheda SPG Tejas Patel lambasted Lalji Patel and accused him of supporting Congress.”SPG is a non-political entity, which works for the Patel community. As per our Constitution, one cannot ask people to vote in favour of or against a particular political party. But, Lalji Patel has now become an agent of Congress and misguiding our community,” he alleged.”Lalji Patel is fooling Patels by asking them to vote for Congress. He is moving away from our Constitution. Thus, people like us have decided to meet the CM to tell her that Patel community will not be misguided by such attempts,” Tejas added.However, when contacted, Lalji Patel refused to recognise Tejas Patel and others as members of SPG.”These people do not belong to SPG or PAAS. BJP is trying to create a rift in Patel community by claiming that Patel quota leaders are now with BJP. SPG is still standing strong and the community is still united,” Lalji said.

Nations should coordinate as world faces terror threats: Supreme Court

The observations were made as the bench declined interim relief to 56-year-old Marie Emmanuelle Verhoeven, currently lodged in Tihar facing extradition for her alleged role in the 1991 killing of a Chilean senator.
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dna Research & Archives
Coordination among countries is the need of the hour at a time when the world is facing terror threat, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday while refusing to grant interim relief to a jailed French woman, facing extradition for her alleged role in the 1991 killing of a Chilean senator.”You know what is happening in the world. At a time when terror incidents are increasing across the world, there should be coordination among nations,” a bench comprising Justice T S Thakur and Justice Kurian Joseph said.The observations were made as the bench declined interim relief to 56-year-old Marie Emmanuelle Verhoeven, currently lodged in Tihar in the connection with the case. Verhoeven has challenged her arrest and extradition proceedings initiated by the government at the request of Chile for her alleged involvement in the assassination of Senator Jaime Guzman Errazuriz on April 1, 1991 there.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There is no middle course. We are not going to release her for the interregnum period…she is accused of a terrorist activity,” the bench said and made clear to her lawyer T R Andhyarujina that it will finally decide the plea after hearing both sides and fixed December 8 as the next date.The bench heard brief arguments advanced by Andhyarujina and Additional Solicitor General (ASG) P S Patwalia on behalf of Verhoeven and the Ministry of External Affairs respectively before allowing both parties to file additional documents and adjourning the case.Andhyarujina said the detention of the French woman was illegal as the red corner notice, which had led to her arrest, was later withdrawn and there was no valid extradition treaty existing between India and Chile. The ASG opposed the contention saying there was a valid treaty existing between the two countries which has been acknowledged by the Delhi High Court in its judgement.Earlier, the apex court had agreed to hear the plea of Verhoeven challenging her arrest and extradition proceedings in the case. Besides seeking “immediate release”, the plea, filed through lawyer Ramni Taneja, has also sought a direction to MEA, which is pursuing the extradition proceedings on behalf of Chile, to quash the ongoing inquiry before a magisterial court in New Delhi.The French woman has sought a direction to quash the gazette notification of April 29 and the order dated April 28, issued by the MEA recording the Extradition Treaty between India and Chile on the ground that it was unconstitutional and ultra vires of the Constitution.”This case has serious and critical international implications and very sensitive and important constitutional implications under Indian law… The fundamental rights of the petitioner under the Constitution of India are gravely prejudiced by the mala fide acts of the Respondent No. 1 (MEA), who represents Republic of Chile in the extradition proceedings,” the plea said.Verhoeven, arrested on February 16 this year from Uttar Pradesh on the basis of a red corner notice issued against her, is alleged to have participated in a conspiracy leading to the assassination of Chilean Senator Jaime Guzman Errazuriz on April 1, 1991.Recently, the Delhi High Court has set aside the magisterial inquiry initiated by the Centre to extradite the French woman to Chile in the case. It not only set aside the notification of May 18 this year, by which the inquiry was ordered, but also held that an earlier February 24 order of a magistrate directing her provisional arrest under section 34-B of the Extradition Act, 1962, was “without jurisdiction” and “illegal”.The High Court, while setting aside the two orders, had made it clear that the 118-year-old treaty entered into between British Empire and Chile in 1897 was applicable to India back then and cannot be held to have automatically ceased to exist after she attained sovereignty in 1947. It had also said that the Centre’s April 28 notification, by which the Extradition Act was made applicable to Chile in view of the treaty, did not suffer from any infirmity.It, however, had said that the Act became applicable to Chile only after the notification was published on April 29 and thus the proceedings for provisional arrest of the woman could not have been ordered prior to that. It had also said a magisterial inquiry could be issued only after receiving a valid extradition request and since this was not received from Chile post April 29, the May 18 order of the government directing magisterial inquiry was illegal.The court had also said since her detention was declared illegal, it was not going into correctness of the March 5 order dismissing her bail plea.

From Anupam Kher’s criticism to Rahul Gandhi’s support: Who said what about Aamir Khan’s statement

Aamir Khan’s comments on growing intolerance have provoked mixed reactions on Twitter. While several of his industry colleagues have hit out at the actor, many people, including Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, have also come out in support of the actor.

Aamir Khan. AFPAamir Khan. AFP

Aamir Khan. AFP

Anupam Kher, Paresh Rawal and Ram Gopal Varma are among those criticising the actor for saying that he is “alarmed” by a number of incidents and his wife Kiran Rao even suggested that they should probably leave the country.

The 50-year-old spoke at at an award function on Monday evening where he said,  “When I chat with Kiran at home, she says ‘Should we move out of India?’ That’s a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make. She fears for her child. She fears about what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers every day.That does indicate that there is this sense of growing disquiet, there is growing despondency apart from alarm. You feel why this is happening, you feel low. That sense does exist in me.”

Kher, who shared screen space with Aamir in Dil, Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin among others, was vociferous in his criticism on Twitter. He spoke about his wife Kiran Rao, show Sataymeve Jayate and Incredible India, the India tourism campaign that Aamir was associated with, in a string of tweets lashing out at Khan.

Varma, who gave Aamir one of the most applauded films of his career Rangeela, wrote, “Some celebs complaining about Intolerance should be the last ones to complain because they became celebs in a so called intolerant country.”

Actor and BJP MP Paresh Rawal, who acted with him in Andaaz Apna Apna and Akele Hum Akele Tum, also hit out at Khan saying that if he believes it is his “motherland then he will never talk about leaving it”.

In an interview with Times Now, he added, “I don’t agree with him. These kinds of elements are there in all country, but to generalise it like this? I don’t agree with him.  He (Aamir) is a very intelligent and balanced fellow, so to say something like Aamir is not a patriot will be too much. Intolerance has been around since 1947. There are few things happening like fringe elements, and he is drawing our attention to them. Aamir is not one to colour it in a political hue, it’s not like him to do that.”

Even actress Raveena Tandon wasn’t taking this lightly and had her own opinion to add.

The censor board’s Ashoke Pandit had a sarcastic comment to make both on Aamir and Kiran Rao.

Meanwhile, the BJP slammed Khan’s statements insisting that some isolated extreme incidents should not be allowed to define India and took a dig at his wife’s suggestion to leave India, saying people move out for many reasons, including for saving taxes.

“Some isolated examples, however, extreme are exceptions to India’s inherent tolerant nature. It would be unfortunate to let isolated examples be taken as a norm that define India. Our Constitution guarantees freedom of expression and Aamir Khan like any citizen is entitled to his personal opinion. And any one who disagrees with him also enjoys the same freedom,” BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the Minister of State for Minority Affairs, however had a different take on the issue, saying that Aamir Khan was safe in the country. “We won’t let Aamir leave the country, he is safe. This kind of comment influenced by a politically motivated campaign insults those who have given so much honour to Aamir in India.”

On one hand, as Aamir Khan was being criticised, on the other hand, there were several people also supported Aamir Khan’s statements, chief among them being Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal. Unsurprisingly, Aamir Khan was also the top trend in India with Twitterati weighing in their thoughts on the issue. Some even called out Anupam Kher for his ‘personal’ remarks and how the outrage was evidence of the growing intolerance.

Firstpost conducted a Twitter poll to gauge the mood of our followers and over a thousand have participated in it. You can add your opinions here.

Supreme Court to examine issue of discrimination against Muslim women

The apex court, on being told that Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi whose assistance has been sought was not served with the notice, deferred the hearing saying “let it come after three weeks.”

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Monday said it would hear after three weeks a PIL, instituted by the court itself, to examine whether Muslim women were facing gender discrimination in cases of divorce or due to other marriages of their husbands.The apex court, on being told that Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi whose assistance has been sought was not served with the notice, deferred the hearing saying “let it come after three weeks.” The lawyer on behalf of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), which was also urged to be made a party, appeared today before the bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, another bench headed by Justice A R Dave had asked the CJI to constitute an “appropriate bench” to examine the question as to whether Muslim women were facing gender discrimination. It had ordered registration of a Public Interest Litigation and putting it up before a new bench to deal with the issues relating to the challenge to the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act. It had noted that the issue was not merely a policy matter but concerns the fundamental rights of the women guaranteed under the Constitution.The issue had cropped up during the hearing of a matter related to Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act and the bench had noted that “an important issue of gender discrimination which though not directly involved in this appeal, has been raised by some of the counsel for the parties which concerns rights of Muslim women. Discussions on gender discrimination led to this issue also.” The court had said, “it was pointed out that inspite of guarantee of the Constitution, Muslim women are subjected to discrimination. There is no safeguard against arbitrary divorce and second marriage by her husband during currency of the first marriage, resulting in denial of dignity and security to her.””For this purpose, a PIL be separately registered and put up before the appropriate Bench as per orders of the Chief Justice of India. “Notice be issued to learned Attorney General and National Legal Services Authority, returnable on November 23. We give liberty to counsel already appearing in this matter to assist the Court on this aspect of the matter, if they wish to volunteer, for either view point,” it had added.

PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti promises ‘new era of inclusiveness’ in Jammu and Kashmir

Srinagar: Resolution, reconciliation and development constitute the ruling Peoples Democratic Party’s core agenda and it would continue to pursue the same with unflinching consistency to ensure political stability and economic prosperity of Jammu and Kashmir, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said on Sunday.

“It is with this objective that, despite all odds, PDP entered into an alliance with BJP to revive the process of political reconciliation and economic rejuvenation in Jammu and Kashmir which was initiated by the PDP-led coalition government in 2002,” Mehbooba who is a member of parliament from South Kashmir’s Anantnag said.

Maintaining that gun is no solution to any problem, she expressed hope that the country’s leadership would take a cue from the events in the Middle East and work with a fresh resolve towards fostering a new era of inclusiveness and reconciliation in the South Asian region.

Mehbooba Mufti. AFPMehbooba Mufti. AFP

Mehbooba Mufti. AFP

“The lesson to be learnt from the death and destruction in Afghanistan and now in Middle East is that gun is no solution to any problem, whether used by the state or the non-state actors, and only way to ensure stability is through dialogue and reconciliation.

“I am sure that India’s political leadership will take a cue from the tragic events in the Middle East and work, with fresh resolve, towards fostering a new era of inclusiveness and reconciliation in the country and the region,” Mehbooba said while addressing a party workers convention.

She said in the emerging global scenario where some “dubious fringe elements” are resorting to atrocious violence in the name of Islam, reconciliation in the sub-continent has become an inevitability to keep such elements away from destabilizing the region.

“J&K can become the torch-bearer of such a reconciliatory process in the region as the State and its people have exhibited the mellowness and highest levels of religious tolerance even during the worst times of the sub-continent’s history,” she said.

She said at the time of partition, the State’s then political leadership did not accept the “two nation theory” and preferred India over Pakistan.

“In lieu of this, J&K was granted special status in the Indian Constitution which distinguishes it from the other states of the country in many ways,” Mehbooba said, adding, “While, it has been made clear in the PDP-BJP ‘Agenda of Alliance’ that the State’s present position will be maintained on all the constitutional provisions pertaining to J&K including the special status in the Constitution of India, the state government is continuing its efforts to catalyze reconciliation and confidence building process within and across the Line of Control (LoC) to create an enabling environment for sustainable peace, all round economic development and prosperity of J&K.”

Mehbooba said the reconciliatory and developmental process facilitated by the then PDP-led government between 2002 and 2005 had sparked political, economic and social activity on a phenomenal scale in the state facilitating complete transformation of the ground situation on almost
every front.

“We are looking forward and working towards facilitating a similar scenario in the State and the region so that Jammu and Kashmir could become a bridge of friendship between India and Pakistan instead of a bone of contention,” she said.

“The process of political and economic transformation in J-K has already been set into motion and the results will be visible on the ground soon with people reaping the benefits of a new era of peace and development,” the PDP leader said.

Mehbooba said the biggest challenge for the PDP is to be with the people, show solidarity with them and give them the much needed sense of security and relief on development front and the party is committed to its resolve of bringing prosperity to J-K and its people.

“We are firm in our resolve to mark a new beginning and with the support of the people end the gloomy scenario of despair, alienation and development deficit, in the state,” she said.

She said with the announcement of the Rs 80,000 crore economic package by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the State Government is going to revive the process of rehabilitation, reconstruction and economic rejuvenation on a massive scale.

“The package would not only ensure fresh relief for the flood-affected people, but also bring a turnaround in key sectors like road communication, health, education, tourism, power, urban development and employment generation with huge resources being made available for new initiatives in these sectors,” she said.

PTI

Intolerance debate to cast shadow over winter session?

File Photo
PTI
The Winter session of Parliament appears all set to begin on cold notes, with signs of government-opposition confrontation likely to surface in the first two days of special session on the Constitution and its architect BR Ambedkar. With the Opposition expected to raise the intolerance issue during the debate, government floor managers are preparing the BJP’s counter offensive.While the Opposition, united and emboldened after the Bihar election, is planning to corner the government on issues like Dadri and return of awards, the treasury side’s line of retaliation is likely to revolve around the theme that there was a “fabricated” campaign to defame the government. The ruling side was expected to argue that secularism had been misused and highlight how the Modi government had “strengthened” constitutional commitments, sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A major face off between government and opposition is likely to be witnessed in Rajya Sabha when CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury’s notice seeking a House resolution against intolerance comes up the following week. The notice, saying the “House strongly condemns the atmosphere of growing intolerance manifesting in violence and spread of communal polarisation in the country”, entails voting. If the government does not agree on a unanimous draft, the Opposition strategy will be to insist on voting, a demand which the ruling side is also unlikely to accept.”I have given a notice to move a special resolution. We want the House to condemn the growing intolerance,” Yechury told dna.The issue could polarise the House with the entire Opposition uniting against the government, which is in a minority in the Upper House.”We are ready for a debate on any issue. We want Parliament session to run smoothly and are hopeful that the Congress will play a constructive role,” said minister of state for Parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.While the government’s floor managers are identifying its team of speakers for the debate on Ambedkar, the Opposition is also gearing up to use the discussion to raise the intolerance issue.In Lok Sabha, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is expected to intervene during the debate, party sources said. However, the party is scrambling for speakers to participate in the two-day debate on November 26 and 27. The government has planned a meeting with opposition parties on November 25, a day after the BJP parliamentary party and NDA hold their strategy sessions. A heavy legislative agenda of 35 bills is on the government’s agenda for the 28-day session. Of these, 14 legislations, including GST, real estate, prevention of corruption and negotiable instruments, are pending in Rajya Sabha. While five are pending in Lok Sabha, the government has listed 16 new bills.

India draws strength from diversity: PM Modi in Malaysia

His comments assume significance as there have been allegations of ‘growing intolerance’ in the society, with questions being asked to his government over it.

About India’s external relations, Modi said these advance peace in the world.

PTI
Against the backdrop of ‘intolerance’ debate, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that India draws strength from its diversity and that the government will defend the equal rights guaranteed for every citizen under the Constitution. “India, the land of your heritage, has remarkable achievements since Independence,” Modi said addressing the Indian diaspora here on the second day of his three-day visit.”This was a nation made weaker by colonialism, torn by Partition at its birth as Independent country… There were questions whether the infant nation will even reach its teen years. There were some who did not want it to,” he said in his 45-minute address which he began with Tamil word ‘Vanakkam’ (welcome) and followed it with a few sentences in Tamil., “Today, India is not just united, but draws strength from its diversity. It is a nation, where every citizen belongs; where everyone has equal rights that the constitution guarantees, the courts protect and the government defends,” the Prime Minister said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Describing India as “a land of unparalleled diversity and vast social and political challenges”, he told the audience which included Malay Indians mostly from Tamil Nadu that they “reflect India’s diversity of languages, religions and cultures. And, you stand together in a spirit of harmony. Not just with other Malay Indians, but also with all Malay people.” His comments assume significance as there have been allegations of ‘growing intolerance’ in the society, with questions being asked to his government over it.About India’s external relations, Modi said these advance peace in the world. “The Indian Armed Forces contribute to region’s security and stability. They assist all in humanitarian disasters, without asking their nationality.” He also noted that Indian forces participate in peacekeeping missions around the world. “We have generations of our leaders to thank for bringing us this far. But, we know that we have a long way to go. The challenges we face and the goals we must pursue, are evident in villages and cities. And, my government has come into office to change that,” he said.”We are eradicating poverty, by giving our people the fruits of modern economy, such as universal access to banks and insurance; not just tie them down in endless programmes,” Modi said and added, “Where in the world will 190 million bank accounts be opened in a few months?”

Singer Kovan moves Madras HC seeking to quash FIR registered against him

The singer of Leftist arts and literary outfit ‘Makkal Kalai Ilakkiya Kazhagam’ submitted that he was engaged in building up a movement among the people on various issues faced by them and has sung a number of songs and done a number of roadshows.

Folk singer Kovan

Ultra-Left propagandist singer Kovan, facing sedition charge, has moved the Madras High Court seeking to quash the FIR registered against him. When the matter came up for hearing, Justice R Subbiah ordered notice to police and adjourned it to December 1.Kovan was arrested on October 30 for alleged sedition, uploading “defamatory” electronic content against Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and “disturbing” public peace. He was granted bail by the high court later.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The singer of Leftist arts and literary outfit ‘Makkal Kalai Ilakkiya Kazhagam’ submitted that he was engaged in building up a movement among the people on various issues faced by them and has sung a number of songs and done a number of roadshows.Claiming that so far not a single allegation had been raised against him or his songs, he alleged a “false case” was registered against him by the City Crime Branch for singing a song shutdown Tasmac liquor shop . The case was registered after seeing the song on a website. There was no material evidence and still police arrested him, Kovan alleged.The arrest was made in violation of the Constitution, human rights and other laws, he contended and sought quashing of the FIR.

Seventh pay panel questions sole right of IAS over top posts, says 11 other services to be empanelled

The Seventh Pay Commission has handed a financial bonanza to Central government employees and sent a strong message to dismantle the present hierarchy that is heavily loaded on the side of seniority over performance.

The report says “Civil servants today need to be focused on outcomes, not processes, and have to be more accountable for delivery. They have to be agents of change and to this end need to be more agile, more technically savvy and to be able to ensure the economic and public service reforms that are essential.”

A peon’s starting salary has gone up by 2.54 times to Rs 18,000 per month and topmost bureaucrat, the cabinet secretary would now draw Rs 2.5 lakh per month plus other perks costing a total of Rs 1,02,000 crore to the exchequer. But there are reasons for the most coveted of the All India Services, officers from Indian Administrative Services (IAS) to read the report carefully because it recommends a tectonic shift in the way the higher bureaucracy functioned.

The Chairman of the Seventh Pay Commission, Justice A.K. Mathur submitted its report to the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information & Broadcasting, Shri Arun Jaitley, in New Delhi on 19 November 2015. Image courtesy PIBThe Chairman of the Seventh Pay Commission, Justice A.K. Mathur submitted its report to the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information & Broadcasting, Shri Arun Jaitley, in New Delhi on 19 November 2015. Image courtesy PIB

The Chairman of the Seventh Pay Commission, Justice A.K. Mathur submitted its report to the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information & Broadcasting, Shri Arun Jaitley, in New Delhi on 19 November 2015. Image courtesy PIB

Dismantling of superiority in the officialdom has form long been demand of officers drawn from non-IAS officers. The pay panel though does not say that in as many words but talks about need for a paradigm shift.

The report says “Civil servants today need to be focused on outcomes, not processes, and have to be more accountable for delivery. They have to be agents of change and to this end need to be more agile, more technically savvy and to be able to ensure the economic and public service reforms that are essential.”

The chairman of Seventh Pay Commission justice Ashok Mathur and member Rathin Roy suggest that in the present scenario, it is keenly felt that there needs to be a paradigm shift and the methodology that has been adopted in the past, namely of a seniority driven approach within the various services, has to be revisited. With the role of government in development and in making the country a market driven, investor friendly economy, key functionaries who should be evolving policy and driving the development process should be ones who have the requisite domain knowledge and sufficient experience in the departments and areas that they are required to head.

“In this context, that the service related claims for any top position are not relevant anymore, and what is important is that the right person is selected for every job. The analysis and the recommendations in the paragraphs that follow reflect this approach,” they say.

The approach suggested by this committee was that the skills and background of officers be carefully matched to the requirements of particular positions, while not confining individual officers to narrowly defined tasks or sectors. It was recommended that eleven domains (other than IAS) be identified and as part of the empanelment process at joint secretary and additional secretary levels each officer’s domain expertise be specifically identified.

Given the complexities of modern day governance, the existing system of generalists (read IAS) manning senior policy making positions and shifting from one field to another in short spans of time, is considered not just outmoded but inimical to effective policy making.

Justice Mathur writes in his concluding note “that the main cause for resentment among services is that over a period of time IAS has arrogated to itself all power of governance and relegated all other services to secondary position. All posts covering majority of domains are today manned by IAS, be it a technical or administrative which is the main cause of grievance. It is time that government take a call that subject domain should be the criteria to man the posts and not a generalist. If fair and equitable treatment is not given to all Services, then the gap between IAS and other services will widen and it may lead to a chaotic situation and it will not be good for the governance and country.”

In the present bureaucratic set up of a total of 91 secretaries, IAS officers occupy 73, scientists 10, Indian Police Service 1, Indian Legal Service 2, Indian Information Service 1. At Additional Secretary and joint secretary level posts, the IAS virtually monopolise. The Pay Commission recommends dismantling of existing system to be more inclusive and more transparent in selection process.

A member, Vivek Rae a former IAS officer, however, disagrees with chairman and economist Member. Rae argues for continuance of IAS officers unflinching superiority in the babudom.

Rae is of the view that “the observations made by the panel’s Chairman call for a paradigm shift from a cadre based Civil Service structure to a post based structure including induction of lateral entrants from outside government. While this issue can be debated (and has been debated), it falls well beyond the mandate of this Commission.”

He extensively quotes Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to underline his argument to have IAS’s generalist superiority and then adds by himself: “It is only the IAS which has a much wider remit, cutting across various domains which figure in the Central List, State List and Concurrent List under Schedule VII of the Constitution. The IAS comprise a general management cadre, constituted to provide leadership spanning the entire spectrum of functional responsibilities and administrative boundaries of government at Central, State and Local level. It is this broad spectrum job profile which equips IAS officers to occupy senior positions under the Central Staffing Scheme. Their pivotal role in servicing Parliamentary democracy, both at the Central and State level, and keeping the wheels of the Indian Federal structure well lubricated, is also crucial.”

Justice Tirath Singh Thakur appointed as Chief Justice of India

The senior-most judge of the apex court, Justice Thakur (63) will take over from incumbent Justice H L Dattu who retires on December 2.

Justice Tirath Singh Thakur

Justice Tirath Singh Thakur, who had led the Supreme Court bench which delivered a verdict on reforming the Indian Cricket Board, was on Wednesday appointed the Chief Justice of India. He will take oath on December 3.The senior-most judge of the apex court, Justice Thakur (63) will take over from incumbent Justice HL Dattu who retires on December 2. “In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (2) of Article 124 of the Constitution of India, the President is pleased to appoint Justice Tirath Singh Thakur, Judge of the Supreme Court, to be the Chief Justice of India with effect from December 3, 2015,” a Law Ministry statement said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Justice Thakur headed the bench which had delivered the verdict on reforming the BCCI in the wake of the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal. The probe in the Saradha chit fund scam case is also being monitored by a Supreme Court bench headed by him. He is also hearing the multi-crore rupee NRHM scam, in which ex-UP minister Babu Singh Kushwaha is also an accused besides other politicians and bureaucrats.Born on January 4, 1952, he would have a tenure as CJI for a little over one year and would retire on January 4, 2017. Justice Thakur was designated as a senior advocate in 1990. On February 16, 1994, he was appointed as an additional judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and transferred as a judge of the Karnataka High Court in March, 1994.He was appointed as a permanent judge in September 1995 and transferred to the Delhi High Court in July 2004. Justice Thakur was appointed as acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court on April 9, 2008 and on August 11, 2008, he took over as Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

President Mukherjee gives message of unity in diversity

The President was speaking during a function to celebrate 500th year of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s advent in Vrindavan.

Pranab Mukherjee

Living with diversity and finding unity in diversity is practised in India over centuries and it is part of our civilisational values, President Pranab Mukherjee said in Vrindavan on Wednesday against the backdrop of debate on ‘intolerance’ in the country.”Living with diversity, finding unity in diversity is practised in India over centuries. That is why many people wonder how is it possible in India, in one system of administration, in one Constitution, in one way of legal jurisprudence and functioning. “Is it possible to accommodate, to absorb so much diversity. Many a time we are confronted with these questions,” he asked and answered himself that “the answer lies in our civilisational values.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The President was speaking during a function to celebrate 500th year of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s advent in Vrindavan. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was a revered monk and a reformer in the medieval India. Mukherjee said that (civilisational values) is the reason why we live with 128 crores of people, the second largest population of the world, with almost all major religions. Seven major religions are practised in India, more than 100 languages are spoken and over 1,600 dialects are used in India, he said.”All three major ethnic groups Dravidians, Caucasians and Mongolites. They live in one piece of land. In whole of north eastern India you will find the concentration of Mongolite people. Whole south India, you will find Dravidian people and in North and North West, people belonging to Caucasians group. All these major ethnic groups live in one state.”It had been possible because of our cultural values, civilisational values, which has taught us over centuries and which has descendant on us and we have nurtured it which is a part of life and therefore it is no cliche to us,” the President said. Ever since the Dadri lynching and subsequent events, Mukherjee has been appealing for tolerance and pluralism.Citing teachings of various spiritual leaders and poets, he asked people to accept the message of great saints and “recharge our society, retransform ourselves with love and harmony”. He said India’s civilisation is 5,000 years old. “It has been contributed by many saints various sages but all converge into one vast ocean of humanity,” Mekherjee said. Later, the President visited Sri Radha Raman Temple to pay obeisance.

President Mukherjee calls for tolerance, says unity in diversity is part of our cultural values

Vrindavan: Living with diversity and finding unity in diversity is practised in India over centuries and it is part of our civilisational values, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Wednesday against the backdrop of debate on ‘intolerance’ in the country.

“Living with diversity, finding unity in diversity is practised in India over centuries. That is why many people wonder how is it possible in India, in one system of administration, in one Constitution, in one way of legal jurisprudence and functioning.

File photo of Pranab Mukherjee. PTIFile photo of Pranab Mukherjee. PTI

Pranab Mukherjee. File photo: PTI

“Is it possible to accommodate, to absorb so much diversity. Many a time we are confronted with these questions,” he asked and answered himself that “the answer lies in our civilisational values.”

The President was speaking during a function to celebrate 500th year of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s advent in Vrindavan. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was a revered monk and reformer in medieval India.

Mukherjee said that (civilisational values) is the reason why we live with 128 crores of people, the second largest population of the world, with almost all major religions.

Seven major religions are practised in India, more than 100 languages are spoken and over 1,600 dialects are used in India, he said.

“All three major ethnic groups Dravidians, Caucasians and Mongolites. They live in one piece of land. In whole of north eastern India you will find the concentration of Mongolite people. Whole south India, you will find Dravidian people and in North and North West, people belonging to Caucasians group. All these major ethnic groups live in one state.

“It had been possible because of our cultural values, civilisational values, which has taught us over centuries and which has descendant on us and we have nurtured it which is a part of life and therefore it is no cliche to us,” the President said.

Ever since the Dadri lynching and subsequent events, Mukherjee has been appealing for tolerance and pluralism. Citing teachings of various spiritual leaders and poets, he asked people to accept the message of great saints and “recharge our society, retransform ourselves with love and
harmony”.

He said India’s civilisation is 5,000 years old. “It has been contributed by many saints various sages but all converge into one vast ocean of humanity,” Mukherjee said.

Later, the President visited Sri Radha Raman Temple to pay obeisance.

PTI

EC to approach govt to push multiple cut-off dates proposal for enrolling voters

New Delhi: Unfazed by legal hurdles in its plan to register young citizens as voters as soon as they turn 18, the Election Commission has decided to approach the government to push its proposal to have multiple cut-off dates to enrol voters.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The Commission has formally asked the Law Ministry to discuss the issue in the coming days. The meeting could be attended by top EC brass and Law Ministry officials.

“Based on the meeting, the Commission will take a decision,” said a senior functionary.

The Legislative Department in the Law Ministry is the administrative ministry for the EC.

But according to the Law Ministry, a change in rules or even an amendment to the Representation of the People Act will not help.

“It is for the policy makers to decide whether multiple cut-off dates are actually required. Less than one per cent of people are affected due to a single cut-off date,” a senior law Ministry official explained indicating the lack of enthusiasm on part of the government to have multiple cut-off dates.

The Attorney General had recently red flagged Commission’s plan to have multiple cut-off dates to enrol voters, saying it contradicts provisions of the Constitution.

EC had last year told the government that the 1 January cut-off date set for the purpose deprives several youths from participating in the electoral exercise.

The Law Ministry had opposed the move, but following EC’s persistent demands, it had referred the matter to Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi for his opinion.

Rohatgi had supported the view of the Law Ministry that the move to have multiple cut-off dates “contradicts” Article 326 of the Constitution and to have such a system is not practical.

Article 326 mentions a cut-off ‘date’ and not ‘dates’, the Ministry and the AG had pointed out.

According to the EC guidelines on enrolment of voters, for an election to be held in a particular year, only an individual who has attained the age of 18 years as on 1 January of that year is eligible to be enrolled in the voters’ list.

As a result, if a person is becoming 18 years on 2 January, he cannot be registered. Therefore, a person who is turning 18 beyond 1 January will have to wait for next year to get registered. In case elections are taking place subsequently, they will have to wait for a longer period, the Election Commissioner has maintained.

Article 326 states that every person who is a citizen of India and who is not less than 18 of age on such “date” as may be fixed in that behalf by or under any law made by the appropriate legislature shall be entitled to be registered as a voter at any such election.

“The elections to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assembly of every State shall be on the basis of adult suffrage; but is to say, every person who is a citizen of India and who is not less than twenty one years of age (which was later amended to 18 years) on such ‘date’ as may be fixed in that behalf by or under any law made by the appropriate legislature…,” says Article 326.

A proposal made in the early 1970s had suggested multiple cut-off dates of 1 January, 1 April, 1 July and 1 October for those attaining the required age to register as voters. But the proposal could not take off.

PTI

Intolerance of diversity, dissent reason for concern: Hamid Ansari

Respect for human rights includes acceptance of diversity and not merely tolerance of it, Ansari said.

Vice President Hamid Ansari on Tuesday said there was a reason for concern about “emergence of a propensity for intolerance of diversity and dissent” and pitched for evolving a social consensus around equality, justice and empowerment.Respect for human rights includes acceptance of diversity and not merely tolerance of it, Ansari said. “It is necessary to make sure that a social consensus around equality, justice and empowerment exists, more so because there is reason today for concern about this consensus and about emergence of a propensity for intolerance of diversity and dissent,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ansari was delivering a speech on ‘Social innovation and Social Harmony’ at the Pune International Centre. “This transition from tolerance to acceptance, in actual day-to-day practice, rather than as a mantra in political discourse, is critical for making society fully inclusive rather than selectively so,” the Vice President said.Underlining the need for being receptive towards various identities in a plural society lest it should remain only a majoritarian democracy that under-privileges minorities, Ansari said, “it is for this reason that the Indian Constitution has provisions for the protection of minority rights”.”Social innovation, therefore, gets linked to the levels of harmony, freedom, stability and security prevailing in a society,” he said adding that equality, equity, empowerment and justice constitute the fundamental values of democratic societies.

‘Growing intolerance’: Express disagreement through debate, discussion, says President Pranab Mukherjee

lthough the President did not refer to any particular incident, his comments assume significance as these came against the backdrop of certain cases which were seen as reflection of ‘intolerance’.

Pranab Mukherjee

Against the backdrop of ‘intolerance’ debate, President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday said disagreement should be expressed through debate and discussion without letting emotions “overrun reason”.Observing that “sensitive minds” sometimes get disturbed by some incidents in the society, he advocated a “balanced” expression of concern over such events.”Sensitive minds sometimes get disturbed by some incidents in society. But, expression of concern over such events should be balanced. Emotions should not overrun reason, and disagreement should be expressed through debate and discussion,” the President said addressing an event organised by the Press Council of India (PCI) on the occasion of National Press Day.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We must, as proud Indians, have confidence in the idea of India and the values and principles enshrined in our Constitution. India has always been able to self-correct whenever such a need has arisen,” he added while speaking on the topic ‘The impact and import of cartooning and caricatures as a medium of expression of opinion’.Although the President did not refer to any particular incident, his comments assume significance as these came against the backdrop of certain cases which were seen as reflection of ‘intolerance’.At the fuction, he paid tributes to legendary cartoonists like RK Laxman and Rajinder Puri. He also referred to Jawaharlal Nehru and said he used to repeatedly tell cartoonist V Shankar to not spare him in his work.”This open mindedness and appreciation of genuine criticism is one of the lovable traditions of our great nation, which we must preserve and strengthen,” Mukherjee said. The President also said that freedom of the press in India forms part of the freedom of expression which is guaranteed by the Constitution as a fundamental right.In a democracy, he said, various challenges will emerge from time to time and these should be addressed collectively. “We must ensure that the letter and spirit of the law always remains a living reality,” he said.Speaking at the event where Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore and PCI chairman Justice (retd) CK Prasad were present, Mukherjee also said that the growth of newspapers and agencies in the country has its roots in our freedom struggle.

Nepal PM KP Sharma Oli wants India to ‘immediately lift undeclared blockade’

Addressing the nation for the first time after assuming office last month, Oli said Nepal’s new Constitution was excellent in terms of process and content.

India has firmly denied imposing the blockade, saying truck drivers are concerned for their safety after violent protests against Nepal’s new Constitution in which over 40 people were killed.

Wikimedia Commons
Invoking the Panchsheel principles, Nepalese Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli on Sunday called on India to “immediately lift the undeclared blockade” imposed on Nepal that would help boost bilateral ties amid the recent political crisis over the country’s new Constitution. “Nepal wants to maintain relations with its neighbours on the basis of the principles of Panchsheel, Oli said. The Panchsheel doctrine is a set of principles to govern relations between states. Their first formal codification in treaty form was an agreement between China and India in 1954. Oli also asked neighbouring countries “to honour Nepal’s territorial integrity, national sovereignty and independence”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Addressing the nation for the first time after assuming office last month, Oli said Nepal’s new Constitution was excellent in terms of process and content.”The ongoing blockade is worse than the war-time situation,” he said asking India to swiftly lift the blockade. Hospitals have run out of medicines and blood bags for emergency and people are unable to cook food due to the shortage of cooking gas as a result of the transport blockade, he said.India has firmly denied imposing the blockade, saying truck drivers are concerned for their safety after violent protests against Nepal’s new Constitution in which over 40 people were killed. Calling on the agitating Madhes-based parties to end their protests, Oli assured that the Constitution would be amended and provincial borders redrawn on the basis of consensus among all to address the demands of the agitating parties.The Constitution does not discriminate between people on the basis of caste, region or any other way, he said adding that the national charter was not discriminatory. He said the unofficial blockade imposed by India was “unimaginable in the 21st century” adding that the blockade created a humanitarian crisis in Nepal obstructing supplies of life-saving medicines and fuel. Construction of hydropower development projects will be expedited and use of electric vehicles will be established in the capital city in the near future to lessen foreign dependency on energy, he said.Oli said the government has now realised it was Nepal’s weakness to depend only on India for supplies of essentials. Now the government would work to diversify trade and promote renewable alternative energies, he said.Last month, Nepal signed a memorandum of understanding with China to import fuel, ending India’s four-decade supply monopoly.

Debt trap: India’s brick kilns engage slave labour

The working hours in kilns are arduous and the principle of 8 hours a day and 48 hours a week is not followed.

Getty Images
The UK observed anti-slavery day on October 18. This year’s observance was marked against the practice of modern slavery which still persists in UK. India, too, should dedicate a day against all its traditional and modern slavery like practices. India has the largest number of slaves in the world and India’s brick kilns engage slave labour (Walk Free Report). Contrary to popular perception, slavery is still prevalent and exists in various modern forms and names such as forced labour, bonded labour, child labour, debt bondage and human trafficking among others. According to Global Slavery Index (GSI) 2013, more than 29 million people worldwide are captives of slavery. GSI estimates that India is home anywhere between 13,300,000 and 14,700,000 enslaved workers though India doesn’t have any official data on the same.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As per J John’s estimates in Labour File, brick kilns employ more than 5% of 472.9 million workers in India (NSSO 2011-12). An estimated 50,000 to 100,000 brick kilns function in India (Labour File, 2014) and the way the sector operates, promote bonded labour and debt bondage. Workers engaged in kilns are not paid a monthly wage instead; payments are made on per brick production. The Piece-Rate Wage (PRW) method is not commensurate to the value of labour input and is barely sufficient for subsistence living. Due to low wages and poverty, most workers take a loan from employers/ owners. Once the loan is taken, workers lose control over their conditions of employment and usually have no idea until the end of the season how much they are entitled to receive, or if they still owe the loan and are servicing their debt. There is also an interest component to loan disbursed, which inflates the debt rate. The loan/advance contract, oriented toward kiln owners’ profit, restricts workers’ mobility forcing them to continue working in the kiln.Under PRW, the labour management is designed in a way that production is seasonal, nevertheless continuous and the structure of advance and postponement of wages is such that workers’ economic mobility is impaired. PRW is exploitative and discriminatory in nature; no wages are paid to workers for the day when work is temporarily halted due to harsh weather conditions and bricks aren’t produced. No wages are given during days of rest or during sickness. The labour that goes before moulding of bricks, ie, carrying soil, mixing, kneading it etc, is not counted in the PRW method.The working hours in kilns are arduous and the principle of 8 hours a day and 48 hours a week is not followed. No wages are paid during non-production months. Brick kilns follow ‘family labour’ norm in payments in which women are not recognised as workers and are denied separate wages. The sector is afflicted by child labour.Debt bondage or bonded labour has been identified as an institution or practice similar to slavery (Labour File, 2014). International legal instruments such as ILO Forced Labour Convention 1930, the UN Slavery Convention 1926 and UN Supplementary Convention 1956 recognise bonded labour as a form of slavery.In 1976, Bonded Labour System (Abolition) (BLSA) Act was promulgated in India to free workers from debt bondage. BLSA Act draws heavily from Article 26 of the Constitution. However, the Act’s implementation has proved ineffective. Kilns are in the schedule of the Minimum Wages Act 1948 and various state governments publish the minimum wages of brick-kiln workers. However, a survey by Centre for Education and Communication in Punjab revealed that PRW declared by the government does not tally with what workers actually receive. The survey also identified a glaring gap between the PRW and the declared Minimum Wage Rate (MWR) where income differentials between the two is substantial in all categories of work from unskilled to highly skilled. Considering the abusive nature of piece-rate wage, it remains to be seen if the government considers abolishing it and introducing monthly wage method instead, to free the kilns of bonded labour.
The author is manager, research and communications, Centre for Education and Communication, New Delhi.

Modi in UK: PM Modi faces questions on intolerance, Gujarat violence

Cameron who was standing by Modi as to how comfortable he was feeling receiving Modi into the country given the fact that during his (Cameron’s) first tenure, Modi was not permitted to visit UK because of his record as Gujarat Chief Minister.

File Photo of PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday faced questions on intolerance in India in recent months and 2002 riots in Gujarat, drawing an assurance from him that intolerance would not be accepted in any part of India. At a media interaction here after talks with his British counterpart David Cameron, a BBC reporter referred to recent incidents of intolerance and asked why India was becoming an increasingly intolerance place. Modi replied that India is a land of Buddha and Gandhi and its culture does not accept anything that is against the basic social values. “India does not accept intolerance even if it is one or two or three incidents. But for a country of 125 crore people whether it is significant or not, it does not matter. For us every incident is serious. We do not tolerate it.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Law takes strong action and will continue to do so. India is a vibrant democracy which under Constitution provides protection all citizens, their lives and thoughts. We are committed to it,” said the Prime Minister.A journalist from The Guardian newspaper later asked Cameron who was standing by Modi as to how comfortable he was feeling receiving Modi into the country given the fact that during his (Cameron’s) first tenure, Modi was not permitted to visit UK because of his record as Gujarat Chief Minister. The reporter also asked Modi about protests during the day on the streets of London saying he did not deserve the respect that would normally be accorded to the leader of the world’s largest democracy given his record as Gujarat Chief Minister.Cameron said “I am pleased to welcome Modi. He comes here with an enoromous and historic mandate. As far as the other issue is concern, there were legal proceedings. Earlier today, he was received by the British government and I discussed with him how the two countries can work together.” On his part, Modi said about the “other issue” raised by the questioner, “I want to set the record straight.” “In 2003 when I came here I got an enthusiastic reception then also. The UK had never barred me from coming here. There was no bar. It is a wrong perception. I want to set it right.”While the US administration had denied visa to Modi after the 2002 riots, the British Government was cold to him for long. But before the 2014 elections, the British High Commissioner visited Gandhi Nagar and met Modi, in a signal that London was warming up to him as media had already projected that Modi was on the rise.India has been rocked by controversy over incidents of intolerance ever since a man was lynched in Dadri on suspicions of having eaten beef.

Government to put foot on accelerator; new initiatives coming up

After easing norms in several key sectors, including defence, construction, civil aviation and media, for foreign investment ahead of his UK visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has swung into action, ordering a new strategy to improve his government’s image.

After easing norms in several key sectors, including defence, construction, civil aviation and media, for foreign investment ahead of his UK visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has swung into action, ordering a new strategy to improve his government’s image.Close on the heels of the BJP’s defeat in Bihar, Modi at a review meeting with the officials of the PMO decided to focus on the governance agenda. The PM also talked about constituting a special team for effective implementation and constant monitoring of various programmes he has initiated.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sources said the action plan, involves giving fresh responsibilities to ministers and bureaucrats. Soon after returning from the foreign tour, the PM is planning a series of meetings with senior officers of each ministry to improve government’s performance. They said Modi has also decided to personally review all rural schemes and in particular the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) as a wrong message has gone out among the villagers that the government is trying to deny them the rights bestowed under the scheme by the previous UPA government. He is concerned that the BJP did not get enough votes in Bihar villages.Modi told the PMO officials that many steps taken by him for good governance as also “zero tolerance” regarding corruption in the government have not been understood by the people for lack of proper communication and hence he wants a new strategy to take the message to the grass-roots level. Bureaucrats have used this alibi, not to sign files or to take important decisions. The thrust of the new campaign will be that the government is working efficiently and the poor will be the biggest beneficiaries of all its schemes and programmes.There is also a plan to tackle the Opposition parties’ allegations of the government being soft on the communal elements. On PM’s advice, home minister Rajnath Singh is sending out a directive to all central ministries and departments and the state governments to observe “Quomi Ekta” week from November 19 to 25, starting with the “National Unity Day” on November 19. Officials said the idea is to revive the annual communal amity week observed by the Congress all these years to send out a message of communal harmony and national. The week-long programmes will include observance of the Minority Welfare Day on November 20, Language Amity Day on November 21, Weaker Sections Day on November 22, Cultural Unity Day on November 23, Women’s Day on November 24 and Environment Protection Day on November 25. In a bid to puncture the Congress plans to paralyse the Parliament session, the government has also thrown up an Ambedkar card, fixing the first two days of Parliament session – November 26 and 27 – for discussion on the architect of the Constitution BR Ambedkar and his contributions to mark his 125th anniversary. It was on November 26, 1947 that the Constituent Assembly had adopted the Constitution and so the relevance of starting the session remembering its drafter, said parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu.Prime Minister Modi may himself break the silence, taking opportunity of the Ambedkar debate to counter the charges of intolerance and communal strive levelled on him and the BJP and express regrets for in-tampered and abusive language used by his ministerial colleagues in the recent past, pleading that nothing should derail his agenda of the country’s growth. Congress chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala has welcomed the Ambedkar debate, saying it will give a big opportunity for the Congress and other opposition parties to put the government on the mat on the issue of the ‘government’s arrogance’ and communal agenda. He said the Congress would certainly participate in the debate on Ambedkar and the Constitution, noting that his party has been repeatedly reminding Modi and his government to follow the Constitution and Rajdharma.

India wants cordial relations with Pakistan and Nepal: Home Minister Rajnath Singh

Asked about Nepal, which has been witnessing protests by Madhesis over adoption of a new Constitution, Rajnath Singh said New Delhi wants very good relations with Kathmandu too.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh
File Photo
PTI
India wants cordial relations with Pakistan and Nepal and will do everything to further improve ties with its neighbours, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday.”Pakistan is our neighbouring country. We want very cordial relations with Pakistan. But Pakistan too has to reciprocate,” he told reporters at a ‘Diwali Milan’.Asked about Nepal, which has been witnessing protests by Madhesis over adoption of a new Constitution, Singh said New Delhi wants very good relations with Kathmandu too.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We want very good relations with Nepal too. We will do everything for betterment of our relations with our neighbours,” he said.Asked whether differences have crept in the ruling PDP- BJP alliance in Jammu and Kashmir, the Home Minister said the coalition government in the state will continue. “Alliance will continue. There is no threat to it,” he said.Commenting on the protests during the recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said such incidents had taken place in the past too.”But you should remember that only a handful people were there (in protests),” he said.Singh said law-and-order situation in Jammu and Kashmir has improved to a great extent and ever since the NDA government came to power in the Centre in May 2014, 165 militants belonging to Lashker-e-Taiba, Hizbul Mujahideen and others, were eliminated.Giving statistics about the infiltration attempts from across the border, he said in 2013, there were 277 infiltration attempts of which 97 were successful and security forces killed 67 militants during the year.In 2014, there were 220 attempts of infiltration in which 67 were successful and security forces killed 110 militants during that period. In 2015, till September 30, there were just 86 attempts of infiltration in which 86 were successful and 89 militants were killed.

Madhesi protest in Nepal: Why India needs to step back a little

by Sunil Raman

The buzz among sections of Nepal’s intelligentsia is that the Modi government encouraged Madhesi protest in the Terai Region to gain electorally in Bihar elections. This might be farfetched but it goes to show the extent of distrust among the Nepali elite about India’s role in what is essentially an internal issue for a country still coming to terms with transition to a democratic setup.

In the last few days, after signing a deal with China that ended India’s monopoly over petrol/diesel/kerosene supply to Nepal the government of Prime Minister Oli signed a deal with Bangladesh to supply ATF or Aviation Turbine Fuel to the landlocked country. On 4 November, the Chinese called on Nepal government and parties to resolve the differences over the new Constitution without “outside interference”, in a veiled reference to India.

Representational image. APRepresentational image. AP

Representational image. AP

The spokesman further said that “We hope that the Nepali government and all relevant parties will bear in mind national unity, social stability and fundamental interests of people in Nepal,” asking Nepal government and other political parties to properly address their differences. “Properly resolve differences through consultations in a peaceful manner with no interference from outside, restore stability back to Nepal as soon as possible and stay committed to post disaster reconstruction and long-term development of Nepal,” she said.

In 2006, India committed a major error in judgement when it tried to support an unpopular King Gyanendra, whose legitimacy was under question after the palace massacre of 2000 that led to the death of the then king and his family. I was part of a team from BBC that covered the developments in Kathmandu and its outskirts.

People’s protest against Gyanendra was peaking, thousands of men and women were on the streets demanding an end to monarchy and to tackle that curfew was imposed for around a fortnight. Offices, schools, universities, businesses and even shops selling products for day to day living were shut. But, like revolutions in different parts of the world a time comes when people “don’t give a damn” for their safety and security. Armed policemen and troops don’t deter people who want to change the course of history.

The point I want to make is that scores of people we spoke to and interviewed in that volatile period, many of them young Nepalis, all made one important point – they questioned Indian government’s attempts to support a tottering monarchy when the country was itself a republic. I recall a constant refrain of “why does India want to tell us what to do?” among the vast number of people who marched across Kathmandu and many other big and small towns.

Much has changed politically since 2006. Today 70 per cent of Nepal population is below 35 years of age. They have an active media and people are lot more aware of local and international politics. India impacts their daily life like no other country because of open borders and for providing a lifeline to a country with no access to sea. After years of discussions and disagreements Nepal adopted finally a Constitution that proclaims it a secular democratic country, and not a theocratic Hindu state that it was until some years ago. The youth have become more aware and conscious of politics of the country and its relations with India.

The “nationalist” streak that Indian youth have begun to reflect is lot more evident among Nepali youth when it comes to New Delhi. They believe that as a sovereign country their ties with India need to be reworked to reflect Nepal’s independence. Forced to depend on India for all imports and exports because of geography these young people do not accept that as a reality to live with. They want their political leaders to review and relook at how their ties were formulated with a big neighbour for all these years.
Therefore, China’s quick response to the looming fuel crisis by promising to supply 1,000 metric tonnes of fuel on easy terms was much appreciated.

India’s foreign office mishandled developments when the Constitution was being adopted and the ill-advised move to send foreign secretary S Jaishankar to Kathmandu sent a negative message about New Delhi’s strategy towards a country that had adopted a new Constitution. Announcement of a new Constitution on September 20 was not to India’s liking. Jaishankar wanted Madhesi demands to be addressed first. But Nepal’s response was “We’ll do it our way.”

Fears of India trying to sabotage the promulgation of a Constitution was fanned by Maoist chief Prachanda who kept insisting that delay would take away “our achievements”, namely republicanism, federalism and secularism. An alliance between the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) and the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) has grabbed all key posts in government.

These developments are more than pinpricks in a relationship that has been strained for a few years. The Oli government is politically shaky but the narrative has worked against India’s interests. Many will argue that such feelings are natural among small neighbours of India, especially Nepal with whom India and not China shares civilisational ties. After all, geography cannot be changed. Nepal shares an open border of 1,868 km with five Indian states (Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Sikkim) and 1,415 km with Tibet.

Nepal has no choice but live with India in harmony. Surely Nepal’s political leadership is not blind to these key geographical facts. On its part, India needs to step back somewhat. In its desire to ensure justice to a large Madhesi population it has overplayed its hand. Now that Bihar elections are over, New Delhi needs to recalibrate its relations with Kathmandu.

The writer is a former BBC journalist

Nepal asks India to ease supplies, calls protesters for talks

The Cabinet meeting headed by Prime Minister K P Oli passed the special resolution asking India to open the border entry points and ease supply of essentials including petrol and LPG, according to cabinet sources.

Madhesis, protesting division of their ancestral homeland in the new Constitution, have led an agitation that has witnessed the killing of over 40 people.
File Photo
AFP photo
Nepal’s Cabinet on Monday passed a special resolution asking India to open the border entry points to ease supplies of essential goods like medicines, gas and petroleum to the landlocked country, reeling under acute shortage due to blockade of key trade points.The Cabinet meeting headed by Prime Minister K P Oli passed the special resolution asking India to open the border entry points and ease supply of essentials including petrol and LPG, according to cabinet sources. The Cabinet called on the Indian government to further improve the bilateral relations and make the bond of friendship strong by easing the supplies.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) also asked the agitating Madhes-based parties to seek solutions to their demands through dialogue.Stating that the government has already initiated process for treatment to the injured agitators, withdrawal of fake charges lodged against the detained protesters, and implementation of decision to compensate bereaved family members with Rs 1 million, the OPMCM urged the protesters to end blockade at border points at the time when festivals like Chhath and Lhosar are just around the corner. The government has said it is serious about fulfilling other remaining demands through dialogue.”The government is saddened by the inconvenience caused to Nepali people at Terai and all across the country at this moment.”We express gratitude to the general public for their patience and harmony during this critical times,” it said.The special resolution came as talks between the government representatives and the Madhesi parties scheduled for today were postponed. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa, who heads the government talks team, told media that the meeting was postponed due to lack of proper home works.The development came amid a political crisis over the new Constitution opposed by Indian-origin Madhesis who have led an agitation and blockaded key border trade points of Nepal with India, bringing supplies of essential goods including fuel and cooking gas for over a month.Reeling under the pressure, Nepal has warmed up to China to open border trade points for the much-needed supplies ahead of the festive season. Indo-Nepal relations have suffered a major setback since the promulgation of Nepal’s new Constitution, which did away with identifying the Himalayan nation as a Hindu state and proposed dividing the country into seven provinces.Madhesis, protesting division of their ancestral homeland in the new Constitution, have led an agitation that has witnessed the killing of over 40 people. Consensus with the protesters has proved elusive for the new government that is still allocating Ministries to its ministers.India for the first time raking up at the UNHRC alleged conflict-era human rights violations in Nepal has also not got down well with the Nepalese leadership that hit out at New Delhi, saying the neighbour has “opened our eyes”.Prime Minister Oli had said Nepal is currently at the receiving end of the blockade which is ‘more inhuman than a war’, while Deputy Prime Minister C P Mainali has accused New Delhi of trying to disintegrate the country and annex the Terai region, triggering strong condemnation from India.Even the Maoist chief Prachanda, known for his anti-India stance, had said that if India tries to dominate, the country “should be ready to fight against such oppression”.

Anupam Kher urges PM Modi to meet film fraternity over ‘intolerance’

“We told him that there is no intolerance in the country. He told us that such things dent the image of the nation, he also hailed our march,” Kher told reporters here.

Kher said the intolerance debate is an attempt to malign the image of the country and is intended to target the Narendra Modi-led government.

Bollywood actor Anupam Kher, who led a delegation of film fraternity to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urged the Prime Minister to visit Mumbai to address the artists over the issue of ‘intolerance’. “Around 50 of us had gone to meet the Prime Minister, we also gave the names of those who support us. He listened to us. We told him that there is no intolerance in the country. He told us that such things dent the image of the nation, he also hailed our march,” Kher told reporters here.”He said that they have been fighting against this since 1947. We asked him to come to Mumbai and address the artists,” he added. The actor led a march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Saturday in New Delhi to protest against the voices being raised over “intolerance” in the country. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kher said the intolerance debate is an attempt to malign the image of the country and is intended to target the Narendra Modi-led government.After meeting President Pranab Mukerjee today, Kher said that the former told him that the Constitution must be revered at all costs and those who are returning the awards must remember that it had been bestowed upon them by the people of the nation, and not by the government.

#MarchForIndia: Govt does not bestow awards, President Pranab Mukherjee tells Anupam Kher

Kher also stated that he was going to meet PM Narendra Modi at 6:30 pm on Saturday.

President Pranab Mukherjee

AFP photo
After meeting President Pranab Mukerjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Saturday, Bollywood veteran actor Anupam Kher said that the former has conveyed to him that the Constitution must be revered at all costs and those who are returning the awards must remember that it had been bestowed upon them by the people of the nation, not the government.”As far as the Award Wapsi is concerned the President said that these awards were not given by the government, instead, it was given by the people of the country,” Kher told reporters in Delhi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The President also said that the Constitution of the country was designed on a secular fabric and we all should all respect that,” he added. Kher announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has agreed to meet the delegation in the evening at his residence.Related Read: Anupam Kher leads #MarchforIndia, alleges Award Wapsi defaming countryThe actor led a march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Saturday in New Delhi to protest against the voices being raised over “intolerance” in the country. The actor claimed that the intolerance debate is an attempt to malign the image of the country and is intended to target the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre. Kher also stated that he was going to meet PM Narendra Modi at 6:30 pm on Saturday.Earlier, countering the protests by writers and artistes against “rising intolerance”, Bollywood actor Anupam Kher on Saturday led a march to Rashtrapati Bhavan alleging that the “award-wapsi” campaign was to defame the country by projecting a “wrong” picture of the situation.”India is a very tolerant country. Some people have coined the term ‘growing intolerance’. They are very few. Not every Indian thinks like that. We are secular people. We do not believe in pseudo-secularism, selective outrage or selective patriotism,” Kher, who is the spouse of BJP MP from Chandigarh Kirron Kher, told reporters.”We had a meeting with a lot of writers, artistes, filmmakers and they also believe that there is no intolerance in the country… This march is a symbolic gesture on part of a lot of people over here who say India is one and free of intolerance,” the 60-year-old said.Many filmmakers and artistes from the fraternity including Madhur Bhandarkar, Ashoke Pandit, Priyadarshan, Manoj Joshi, Abhijeet Bhattacharya and writer Madhu Kishwar joined the march to hand over a memorandum signed by more than 40 personalities including actress Raveena Tandon.Bhandarkar, a National Award winner, alleged that those involved in the protest over intolerance had opposed Prime Minister Narendra Modi before he was elected, which raised questions about their intention.”The projection that is happening for the past few days is very sad. The people who were against Modiji during elections are the same people who are coming out right now.”The whole projection and narrative that is going abroad is wrong. It is a diverse country and of course there are incidents but we all condemn them. There is no two ways about it,” he said. Kher asserted that they were not associated with any organisation or political party. “This march is led by Indians and for Indians.” Film-maker Priyadarshan said the act of returning the awards is “childish”.”People returning awards are doing a childish act. They should use the power of pen. Instances of intolerance have always been there. It is not something that happened yesterday. Shah Rukh Khan never said he is returning award,” Priyadarshan told PTI. “They are respected people but behaving like school children,” Priyadarshan said. He, however, disapproved of those critical of Khan who had said that there was extreme intolerance in the country.At least 75 members of the intelligentsia have returned national or literary awards in an escalation of protests by writers, historians, filmmakers and scientists over “growing intolerance”, voicing fears that the country’s robust democracy might be “coming apart” in the current atmosphere.The BJP-led government has dismissed the protest as “manufactured rebellion” and “politically” motivated.

RSS for persuasion to control population, quotes Quran to drive home their message

The RSS also said that it is an favour of the current reservation policy but stressed that it should not be based on religion as it will be against the spirit of Constitution

RSS-Marchers

As a religion-based Census showed growth of Muslims was faster than Hindus, RSS on Friday said it will adopt a policy of persuasion through education to control population and quoted the ‘Quran’ to claim it favours small families for those who can’t afford to raise big ones.The RSS also said that it is an favour of the current reservation policy but stressed that it should not be based on religion as it will be against the spirit of Constitution. RSS said the issue of population control needs to be made religion-neutral and its affiliates will persuade communities including Muslims to strive for smaller families. “We want persuasion through education. Our members of the Muslim Rashtriya Manch have made studies and found quotations from the Quran, where it has been stated that if you are unable to rear your family, its size should be kept small and should be limited to what you can raise.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We feel it is a sage advice. It is a correct advice. This is the correct advice for every section of society. There is no other policy other than persuasion and we don’t want to repeat the Emergency days when things were done by force. Persuasion is the right way to do it,” RSS’s Delhi unit joint chief Alok Kumar told reporters. On the issue of reservation, he said, its aim was to lift such communities and sections that were under-privileged.”We are in favour of the current reservation. But we don’t consider reservation should be religion based and not consider it as per the Constitution,” he said.He said population policy should be religion-neutral, but steps need to be taken to check the imbalances. “I agree that population policy should remain religion-neutral. But where it has not been accepted, we feel persuasion efforts should be increased there. I want to re-emphasise that we have not raised any questions on the religion-neutral policy,” he said. “We feel there is a need to make all sections, especially the low-earning ones, understand that small family is for their good,” he said, adding that the Sangh will work on this and hoped the government will agree to its demands in taking effective steps to control population and remove imbalances.On Minorities, he said the views of RSS are very clear as it feels that all citizens of the country enjoy equal fundamental rights. He said during the three-day meet at Ranchi recently, RSS called for control on population and remove the imbalances created due to increase in population of certain sections.”Sangh is urging the governments to stop infiltration from borders, governments are working and society should be aware,” he said. He felt that infiltrators who cannot be pushed back immediately, their voting rights should be revoked so that they do not become votebanks.

Nepal PM KP Oli hits out at India for raising human rights issue in Geneva

He said the current problem of blockade is the result of an “imported agenda carried by certain elements”.

Oli went on to say that Indian blockade and subsequent violence has revived nationalism among the Nepalese people.

Wikimedia Commons
Nepal’s new Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Friday said that the blockade of key border points with India is ‘more inhuman than a war’ as he criticised New Delhi for raking up alleged rights abuse in Nepal at the UNHRC. “Foodstuff and protection come into priority under the humanitarian aspect even during a war. Neighbouring country has further troubled our country by blocking checkpoints while it is still paralysed by the April 25 devastating earthquake. This is objectionable,” Oli told a delegation of the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the current problem of blockade is the result of an “imported agenda carried by certain elements”. “Nepal is currently at the receiving end of unofficial blockade. But this is the time for us to find alternative,” he was quoted as saying by local media. Oli also expressed dissatisfaction over India for targeting Nepal at the United Nations Human Rights Council over alleged human rights violation cases. “Neighbouring country is bullying us on one hand and raising issues of impunity on the other,” Oli said. “Our close neighbour has opened our eyes. I will render efforts to bail the country out of the existing crisis, maintaining our national independence, dignity and national integrity,” he added. Oli went on to say that the blockade and subsequent violence has revived nationalism among the Nepalese people.He said that the government will resolve the problems by holding talks with the agitating groups in Terai. “I am personally very sad and sensitive for the public bearing the brunt of crisis,” Oli said. On Wednesday, India called on Nepal at the UNHRC to consolidate Constitution building by accommodating “all sections” and emphasised that problems facing it cannot be resolved through force. In its statement at the second Universal Periodic Review of Nepal, India also urged the Himalayan nation to investigate and take credible measures to prevent recurrence of “incidents of violence, extra-judicial killings and ethnic discrimination in the country”.The development came amid a political crisis over the new Constitution opposed by Indian-origin Madhesis who have led an agitation and blockaded key border trade points of Nepal with India, bringing supplies of essential goods including fuel and cooking gas for over a month. Reeling under the pressure, Nepal has warmed up to China to open border trade points for the much-needed supplies ahead of the festive season.

dna Must Reads for morning: From Chhota Rajan being brought back to India to South Sudan baby miracle

Chhota Rajan

AFP
1. Underworld don Chhota Rajan brought back to India after 27 years, taken into CBI custodyAfter being on the run for the past 27 years, underworld don Chhota Rajan was brought here early on Friday morning from Indonesia by a joint team headed byCBI officials for facing trial in various criminal cases registered against him in Delhi and Mumbai. Read more here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Bihar polls: Except Chanakya, others predict a close callExcept Today’s Chanakya, all other six exit polls have predicted a close fight between the BJP-led NDA and the Grand Alliance, comprising JD(U), RJD and Congress, in the crucial Bihar assembly elections. Real outcome will, however, be known only on Sunday when the counting of votes takes place. Read more here.3. Quran is being misinterpreted by Muslim men to have more than one wife, says Gujarat HCIn a strongly-worded order, the Gujarat High Court on Thursday said the Quranwas being misinterpreted by Muslim men to have more than one wife and the provision of polygamy was being misused by them for “selfish reasons”. The high court also stated that time has come for the country to embrace the uniform civil code as such provisions are in violation of the Constitution. Read more here.4. Karnataka minister’s wife caught on ‘sting’ allegedly accepting bribe of Rs 7 lakhA Karnataka minister was in a controversy after a ‘sting operation’ by a TV channel on his wife allegedly accepting bribe of Rs 7 lakh regarding a tender pertaining to his department. Read more here.5. Baby survived South Sudan plane crash in man’s arms: WitnessesA thirteen-month-old baby and a man who was found cradling the infant were the only survivors of a cargo plane that crashed soon after taking off from aSouth Sudan airport, killing 37 people, a witness and relatives said on Friday. Read more here.6. Terminally ill fan granted wish to see ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’A terminally ill Star Wars fan, who was given just a few months to live, was granted his wish to see the new The Force Awakens film on Thursday, nearly two months before it comes out in theaters. Read more here.

Rajya Sabha MP asks PM Modi to declare November 26 as Citizens Day

PM had announced last month that November 26 would be observed as the Constitution Day from this year onwards to make students aware of the relevance of the constitution, preamble and B R Ambedkar.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Rajya Sabha MP AV Swamy has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare November 26 as Citizens Day or National Pledge Day and on that day the student community across the country should give a written commitment in their mother tongue to shun violence.”It would be a great day in the history of this country if 30 crore students give a written commitment in their mother tongue to shun violence in any form in a piece of paper with signatures of their parents,” Swamy said. Swamy, in a letter to the Prime Minister asked him to declare November 26 as the Citizens Day or National Pledge Day.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”For the last three years I had been writing to the Prime Minister and HRD Minister for declaring November 26 as the Citizens Day or National Pledge Day as this is the most significant day in the history of this country but most people do not realise it,” he added.PM had announced last month that November 26 would be observed as the Constitution Day from this year onwards to make students aware of the relevance of the constitution, preamble and B R Ambedkar.”I feel involvement of school students in the programme across the country would be more meaningful,” Swamy, advisor to the the Build India Group said, adding that methods as followed the Group would be “very appropriate”. Build India Group, a Delhi based civil society body has been been circulating a pledge in drafted 15 languages in various educational institutions in the country for the last eight years.The pledge reads as “we reject violence in any form. We shall keep our environment clean and tidy. We promise to be good citizens and, therefore, we are taking this solemn pledge”.

No bar on collegium to go ahead with its work to appoint judges: Supreme Court

The indication that it was not interfering with the functioning of the collegium system came while the apex court decided to give nine more days to elicit suggestions to improve the functioning of over two-decade-old controversial system of appointment to bring greater transparency in it.

Suggestions received by 17:00 hours on November 13 shall be entertained: SC

The Supreme court on Thursday said there was no bar on the collegium to go ahead with its work to appoint judges for the higher judiciary, which is plagued with large-scale vacancies. The indication that it was not interfering with the functioning of the collegium system came while the apex court decided to give nine more days to elicit suggestions to improve the functioning of over two-decade-old controversial system of appointment to bring greater transparency in it. “We want to indicate that we don’t want to delay. We don’t want to say anything to the collegium. We have not said anything to the collegium and we will not be saying anything. Whatever they want, they can do. If they do not want to proceed, let them not. It is their business. Let us not delay the proceedings,” a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice JS Khehar said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Justice Khehar, who is fourth in seniority in the apex court, has kept himself away from the five-member collegium as he was heading the bench which on October 16 had quashed as unconstitutional the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) Act aimed at the replacing the collegium system of appointing judges by judges to the higher judiciary. The apex court asked the Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi to issue a public notice inviting representations and suggestions from all quarters of the public and webhost on the website of the Law and Justice Ministry by 1700 hours of November 13. It also accepted the view of Bar Council of India that the apex lawyers’ body be allowed to hold a meeting with all state bar associations and advocates’ bodies from across the nation for compilation of various suggestions.”We appreciate the efforts made by Attorney General for India. He may web-host the compilation and issue a public notice. Likewise, all those who desire to make suggestions may do so directly, on the website of the Department of Justice, Ministry of Law & Justice, New Delhi. “Suggestions received by 17:00 hours on November 13 shall be entertained. No further suggestions will be entertained,” the bench, also comprising Justices J Chelameswar, M B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Goel, said while posting the matter for hearing on November 18 and 19. It also said the hearing would be limited only those counsels who are short-listed and allowed time by a Committee comprising of Attorney General for India, Chairman of Bar Council of India and Senior advocate Fali S Nariman.

Election Commission bans ads without its clearance

Commission asks Bihar CEO to ensure no untoward incident takes place because of any inflammatory or hate advertisements

Shocked at political parties and newspapers paying little heed to its earlier order not to publish advertisements of offending nature, the Election Commission on Wednesday issued strict instructions to Bihar’s chief electoral officer not to allow publication of any advertisement on November 5 unless its contents are pre-certified by media certification and media monitoring committee (MCMC) at the state and district levels.It is for the first time that the EC has issued such a directive for the print media. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Invoking its powers given under Article 324 of the Constitution and all the powers enabling it in this behalf, the commission asked its officials to ensure that “no untoward incident takes place because of any inflammatory or hate advertisements.” It directed that no political party or candidate or any other organisation or person shall publish any advertisement in the newspapers on Thursday (November 5) unless the contents of the advertisement proposed to be published are got pre-certified by them from the MCMC Committee.The commission also directed the CEO to issue similar directions to all state newspapers to not publish any advertisement in the newspapers on final poll day on November 5 that have not been pre-certified by the MCMC.Imposing some trust in the political parties and newspapers, the poll watchdog had on October 31 orders had directed them to submit the copies of their advertisements to the chief electoral officer/district magistrate-cum-district election officer, simultaneously, with the release of those advertisements for publication in the newspapers.It had also directed the newspapers not to publish any advertisements which have the potential of aggravating the differences between different sections of the society and promoting ill-will hatred or disharmony.The commission, however, noted that despite its directions certain advertisements of offending nature were published in some prominent newspapers in Bihar on November 4.The EC move comes after the BJP advertisement questioning the “silence” of chief minister Nitish Kumar over “repeated insult” to “revered” cow by his “friends” everyday appeared in vernacular newspapers in Kishanganj, Saharsa and other areas that will go to poll in in the fifth and final round of assembly election .The ad, with the photograph of a woman cuddling a cow, referred to the purported remarks of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, his party’s vice president Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah over beef consumption and asked Kumar to “stop politics of vote bank and answer if he agrees with statements of his friends on beef.” The advertisement quoted Lalu Prasad’s “Hindus also eat beef” remark and Singh’s comment that “it is written in Vedas and Puranas that saints used to eat beef in ancient times.” It also quoted Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah’s comment that “if I want to eat beef nobody can stop me.” The advertisement in Hindi with word “beef” highlighted in red, concluded with: “jawab nahi vote nahi” (if there is no answer, no vote).Reacting angrily to the advertisement, the grand alliance on Thursday approached the Election Commission seeking action against the BJP for trying to “polarize Bihar elections by promoting communal hatred”.The BJP, however, defended its action with senior party leader Sushil Kumar Modi saying,”There is nothing wrong in our advertisement on beef issue. “We were not the first to raise the issue (of beef). It was Lalu who did. We have just responded.”—With agency inputs

Bihar Elections 2015: Taking strong exception to BJP’s cow ad, EC issues notice seeking explanation

The BJP advertisement had questioned Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s “silence” on “repeated insult” to cows by grand alliance leaders as the animal is revered by the countrymen and asked had asked him to come clean on the issue and stop playing vote bank politics.

Nitish- Modi

Taking strong exception BJP’s advertisement on beef in some vernacular dailies in Bihar on Wednesday, the Election Commission has issued notice to the party seeking explanation.”Our attention has been drawn to the said advertisements published by BJP in Muzaffarpur and Bhagalpur editions of some newspapers… These advertisements are against the EC’s instruction to political parties and newspapers,” Additional Chief Electoral Officer R Laxmanan told reporters here. Bihar BJP chief Mangal Pandey has been served a notice seeking an explanation over the said advertisement, he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP advertisement had questioned Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s “silence” on “repeated insult” to cows by grand alliance leaders as the animal is revered by the countrymen and asked had asked him to come clean on the issue and stop playing vote bank politics. The advertisement also asked the Chief Minister whether he agreed with the remarks on beef eating by his “friends” from alliance partners, including Lalu Prasad and Raghuvansh Prasad Singh of RJD and Karnataka Chief Minister and Congress leader S Siddaramaiah.
Earlier in the day, a grand alliance delegation comprising JD(U) general secretary K C Tyagi and Congress spokespersons R P N Singh and Ajoy Kumar met the EC in New Delhi, alleging that the advertisement amounted to “seeking votes in the name of religion” in the fifth and last phase of polling on Thursday in 57 seats. Laxmanan said despite the statutory direction of the EC through its letter, dated October 31, to all political parties, certain advertisements of “offending nature” published in some prominent newspapers in Bihar on Wednesday have been brought to its notice.To ensure that no such instance is repeated on the day of poll and no untoward incident takes place because of any inflammatory or hate advertisements, the EC in exercise of its powers under Article 324 of Constitution and all other powers enabling it has directed that no political party or candidate or any other organisation or person shall publish any advertisement in the newspapers tomorrow unless its contents are pre-certified, he said.Similar direction have also been issued to all newspapers in Bihar, Laxmanan said.

Relief is round the corner: BJP’s Sushil Modi confident of NDA win in Bihar

Patna: With the last phase of polling in Bihar scheduled for Thursday, BJP on Wednesday exuded confidence about NDA’s victory and claimed that it has already “crossed” magical number of 122 seats required to form the government.

Referring to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal extending support to Nitish Kumar, Susil Modi said that neither he nor US President Barack Obama, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could alter the mandate as people have voted overwhelmingly for the BJP-led coalition.

Sushil Kumar Modi in a file photo. PTISushil Kumar Modi in a file photo. PTI

Sushil Kumar Modi in a file photo. PTI

“We have already crossed the magical number of 122 seats required to form government in Bihar … By the time polling on 57 seats gets over tomorrow, our alliance will end up with staggering two-third seats if not three-fourth,” senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said.

“Relief is round the corner,” he said and appealed to the people for a decisive mandate to the NDA for political stablity in order to fulfil development aspirations of Bihar and its people over the next five years. He also slammed the grand alliance for ruining Bihar during its misrule for 25 years.

Warning the people against electing the grand alliance to power, the BJP veteran said in such an eventuality RJD supremo Lalu Prasad will run the government from the front and not from behind as he has been doing so far by lending support to the JD(U) government from outside for the past two years.

However, if Kerjiwal so wanted Kumar to retain power he should have openly campaigned for the latter, he added.

Apparently seeking to woo voters in Mithilanchal region which goes to the polls tomorrow, Sushil Modi charged Prasad with removing Mathili language from the subject list of Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) and said the language popular with students of the region could be restored for BPSC examination only after NDA came to power.

Congress could not get Maithili included in the eighth schedule of Constitution, which was done during during the tenure of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, he added.

Sushil Modi noted discordance in the Grand Alliance ranks and said Prasad and Kumar had never shared dais during entire election process in Bihar nor with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and its vice-president Rahul Gandhi to speak of their unity or commitment to the alliance.

He charged the grand alliance with indulging in unethical practice to influence voters in Seemanchal districts by distributing handbills among them carrying details of outcome of the Bihar assembly polls purportedly given by RSS, which has denied having issued any such thing for distribution among the people.

He also alleged that the grand alliance has resorted to distributing cash to the voters in Seemanchal region about which the BJP has lodged a complaint with the authorities.

PTI

Concerned over anti-India sentiments in Nepal: Indian envoy Ranjit Rae

Meanwhile, two human rights organisations — Informal Service Sector Centre (INSEC) and Democratic Freedom and Human Rights Institute (DFHRI) — registered a complaint with the United Nations Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measure.

A man rides his bicycle as stones thrown by the protesters are seen scattered on the road connecting Nepal to India during a general strike called by the Madhesi protesters demonstrating against the new constitution in Birgunj, Nepal November 4, 2015.

Reuters
India made it clear on Wednesday that it was not supporting protests by Madhesis in Nepal and expressed concern over spreading of anti-India sentiments in the country. India also stressed that it had not imposed any blockade at the border, stalling supply of essential goods to Nepal. India’s position was stated by Indian Ambassador Ranjit Rae in New Delhi in his meeting with former prime minister and senior CPN-UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal.”The Ambassador expressed concern over the spreading of anti-India sentiments in Nepal,” the Nepalese leader’s personal aide Mohan Gautam said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”He said that India was not involved in the blockade and refuted claims that the southern neighbour was supporting Madhes-based parties in their protests,” Gautam said of the meeting between the two at Madhav Kumar Nepal’s residence. The Nepalese leader, on his part, asked the Indian envoy to ease supplies to Nepal from India.Meanwhile, two human rights organisations — Informal Service Sector Centre (INSEC) and Democratic Freedom and Human Rights Institute (DFHRI) — registered a complaint with the United Nations Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measure.In their complaint, they alleged that India had imposed a unilateral coercive blockade following the promulgation of Nepal’s new Constitution.”India’s action violates the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982, Provisions of World Trade Organisation, Nepal-India Transit Treaty and Agreement on South Asia Free Trade Area Agreement (SAFTA),” they claimed.Madhesis, Indian-origin inhabitants of Nepal’s Terai region, are protesting division of their ancestral homeland in the new Constitution. The agitation close to the main trading point near Raxaul has halted supply of essential goods, causing acute shortage of fuel in Nepal.Over 40 people have died in the violent agitation that has also overwhelmed Indo-Nepal ties as transit of goods and fuel to the Himalayan nation from India via the major border trading points has been badly affected.

No close call,NDA to get 2-3rd majority in Bihar: Union Minister Ananth Kumar

The Minister said the Lalu Prasad regime had hurtled Bihar into chaos and backwardness during his party’s 15-year rule in which all institutions of governance had crumbled beyond repair

Ananth Kumar

Pooh-poohing various survey reports projecting the outcome of Bihar Assembly polls as a close call between the NDA and grand secular alliance, Union Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister Ananth Kumar on Tuesday said the NDA will get a decisive mandate with two-third majority in the state.He had noted a consistency in the voting pattern of the electorate in states and at the national level to decisively vote for a particular party or alliance during the hustings and the trend will be the same in Bihar as well and in favour of the NDA, Ananth Kumar told reporters here. He trashed the survey reports which predicted a close call between the two sides.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The people of Bihar, particularly youth and women, have voted for the NDA in large numbers during all four phases of Assembly polls and the pattern will continue in the fifth and final phase of polling in 57 seats on November 5,” he predicted. “We have no doubt that the NDA will get a decisive mandate with two-third majority that will enable us to end 25-year- rule by RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and incumbent Chief Minister Nitish Kumar,” Ananth Kumar, a key BJP strategist for Bihar Assembly polls, said.The Minister said the Lalu Prasad regime had hurtled Bihar into chaos and backwardness during his party’s 15-year rule in which all institutions of governance had crumbled beyond repair, and this came to be known as ‘jungle raj’. BJP was the only party that stood against RJD’s ‘jungle raj’ and later Nitish Kumar came on board and the two collectively ousted Lalu Prasad’s party from power in 2005, Kumar recalled and regretted that Nitish ‘betrayed’ the saffron party and went back to the same RJD for survival of his government.The Union Minister took a swipe at the RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar for maintaining a ‘studied silence’ on raging debate over reservation on religious ground and said that their silence will not help them get away from the fact that the two had backed reservation for the minorities in the past. “There is no provision in the Constitution for giving quota on religious ground, but both Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar had backed quota for the minorities in the past and have now conveniently chosen to keep silent on the issue,” Kumar said.

Arun Jaitley willing to reach out to Rahul Gandhi over GST Bill passage

Replying to a question, Jaitley also praised the RBI for slashing the benchmark interest rate, but remained non-committal on extension to Governor Raghuram Rajan.

Arun Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said he was willing to reach out to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to get the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Bill passed in Parliament.”I would try and persuade the main opposition party to help clear the Bill as soon as possible, because it is going to be one of the most important reforms in the country,” Jaitley told to a private TV channel. The GST, which will subsume more than a dozen state levies to create a single market, is to be implemented from April next year. But, the deadline may be missed if Parliament does not pass the Constitution Amendment Bill in the upcoming winter session. The Congress is opposed to some provisions of the Bill.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Replying to a question, Jaitley also praised the RBI for slashing the benchmark interest rate, but remained non-committal on extension to Governor Raghuram Rajan.

Birgunj police firing: Nepal Ambassador meets MEA, terms shooting ‘tragic incident’

Madhesi protesters, who have reportedly blocked the Maitri bridge, claimed that they were ‘baton-charged’ by the Nepal Police

Image Courtesy: Twitter (ANI)
Expressing India’s concern over killing of its citizen in the Nepal Police firing, Ministry of External Affairs Official Spokesperson Vikas Swarup on Monday said India is deeply concerned at reports of firing in Birgunj, as issues facing Nepal are political in nature and cannot be resolved by force. One person has been killed and six others injured in firing by the Nepal Police during protests at the Indo-Nepal Border near Bihar’s Raxaul town.Nepal’s Ambassador to India, Deep Kumar Upadhyaya has spoken with the MEA. Calling it firing a tragic incident, Upadhaya said, “Our concerned officers are looking into matter.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This is a bilateral issue between India and Nepal, diplomatically we have to consult each other. The peace dialogue between agitating parties and Nepal government is going on,” the Nepal Ambassador added.Earlier today, a second year BA student was killed in ‘ No Man’s Land’ when the Nepal Police opened fire. Among those injured, three were baton-charged, while the rest suffered bullet injuries. Swarup said, “Causes underlying the present state of confrontation need to be addressed by the Government of Nepal credibly and effectively. Indian freight forwarders and transporters have voiced their worries again today (Monday) about the deteriorating situation across the border. We are advising them to exercise caution and not put themselves in danger. We are monitoring the situation carefully’,” he added.According to reports, the borders have been sealed again.All trucks, including fuel carriers, have been barred from entering Nepal. Madhesi protesters, who have reportedly blocked the Maitri bridge, claimed that they were ‘baton-charged’ by the Nepal Police on Monday for blocking a bridge at the Indo-Nepal Border near Bihar’s Raxaul town. The protesting parties have demanded, among other things, withdrawal of armed police force from Terai districts and withdrawal of cases against their leader and cadres and martyrdom status of those killed during protests.According the Human Rights Watch, at least 45 people were killed during the protests in August and September. For over two months now, the Madhesi protesters have been opposing Nepal’s new Constitution. With agency inputs

AIADMK slams opposition for criticising folk singer’s arrest

The article also slammed DMK President M Karunanidhi for criticising the police action.

J Jayalalithaa

Facing opposition flak over the arrest of a folk singer campaigning against liquor in Tamil Nadu, ruling AIADMK on Monday charged him with making “unsavoury remarks” about “a Chief Minister” and hinted that inaction would mean it could set a precedence to target any head of state in the future. In a strongly-worded article, AIADMK mouthpiece ‘Dr Namathu MGR’ slammed opposition parties including DMK for criticising singer Kovan’s arrest, saying they were doing it for political survival. He “will criticise a Chief Minister (J Jayalalithaa) with unsavoury remarks; record it and spread it in social media like a virus and if action is taken against that, (opposition) will shout that democracy is affected,” it said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>
It said when action is taken for launching a “savage” personal attack against a Chief Minister (Jayalalithaa) in violation of legal principles and morality, political parties opposing it was not proper. “If people scream that democracy has been affected due to this, then degrading Chief Ministers in the future in all sorts of unsavoury terms will become a norm,” it said. It also charged the 54-year-old folk artiste, Kovan of targeting the Chief Minister with “ulterior motive at the behest” of someone and asked if it was not an “insult” to crores of Tamil people who had voted for Jayalalithaa. It said Kovan did not properly use “opportunities” provided by the Constitution of India to show his opposition. The article also slammed DMK President M Karunanidhi for criticising the police action. He had termed the arrest as “AIADMK regime’s anti-democratic action” and condemned it while demanding Kovan’s immediate release. It recalled that as Chief Minister when the Sri Lankan Tamils issue was at its peak in the state with emotions running high, Karunanidhi had used the state police to arrest activists and seize lot of related material. It alleged that he had ridiculed the death of Tamil activist Muthukumar, who had set himself ablaze in connection with this issue. Kovan, a propagandist singer of Makkal Kalai Ilakkiya Kazhagam’ who was campaigning for closure of state-run liquor outlets (TASMAC), was arrested under sedition charges last week. Opposition parties had criticised the police action and had sought his immediate release.

Bihar Elections 2015: Will Narendra Modi and Amit Shah’s reservation gamble pay off?

In the entire election campaign, which has spanned well over a month, each political party has tried different strategies to corner their opposition and drive home the agenda.

Amit Shah and Narendra Modi
File Photo

With just couple of days to go for the campaign to finally end in Bihar, all political parties are in overdrive to drive home their points and to persuade the still undecided voters. In the entire election campaign, which has spanned well over a month, each political party has tried different strategies to corner their opposition and drive home the agenda. From Modi’s ‘generous’ Rs1.25 lakh crore grant for Bihar to Nitish Kumar attacking PM’s DNA comment, the campaign has witnessed many jibes and counter-jibes, hilarity, sarcasm and low-blows in equal measure. The NDA was taken aback with a horrible self -goal when RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat made the controversial statement that reservation policy needs to be re-looked. This did put BJP’s campaign in astray temporarily in a state which still heavily votes based on caste. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP’s great plan of a non-Yadav OBC and EBC consolidation was hurt by Bhagwat’s comments with party leaders repeatedly trying to blunt opposition’s allegation that Bhagwat has revealed BJP’s actual game-plan. But mid-way through the elections, BJP-led by Narendra Modi and Amit Shah decided to change the narrative.Suddenly, Narendra Modi started attacking the Mahagatbandhan claiming that they have advocated for religion-based reservation in the past. He also asserted that no political party in the country had the power to “take away and undo” reservation guaranteed to the weaker sections in the Constitution by B R Ambedkar. The communal undertone of Modi’s speech is hard to miss and Amit Shah made it obvious when he said that firecrackers will go off in Pakistan if BJP fails to win in Bihar. The strategy is obvious, an effort to unite the caste-torn Hindus to vote en-masse for BJP, especially to counter the obvious Muslim polarisation in the 5th stage, which even Amit Shah believes is a tricky phase for the saffron party. The third and the fourth phase of the elections were undoubtedly the litmus test for BJP, as it is expected that the party will do well in those constituencies. But whether the party will do enough to offset the perceived loss for the first two phases is something we will get to know on November 8. With Modi cracking up the rhetoric over reservations, it is obvious that the saffron party is looking for the last push to cross over the line. PM Modi and his team must be aware that his comments about reservations are not very becoming of a man who holds such a high position, but it is a calculating gamble the party has taken keeping in mind the high stakes involved with this election. If BJP finally manages to pull off a victory in Bihar, the credit obviously will go to PM Modi and treading such a dangerous line in matter of reservation will pay off for them. Else this issue will be added to the long laundry list of grouses intellectuals and liberal media have against PM Modi.

Nitish-Lalu together sought religion-based quotas in 2005, claims PM Modi

Holding the promise of development, Modi while addressing poll rallies for the last phase of Bihar polls, launched a fresh attack on Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar, saying ‘jungle raj’ now has a twin brother in ‘jantar-mantar’ (black magic) and together the two will “spell doom” for the state.

Narendra Modi

Fuelling further the bitter quota debate in Bihar polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday accused his rivals Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad of having come together in July 2005 to demand a review of the policy to provide for religion-based reservation.He also asserted that no political party in the country had the power to “take away and undo” reservation guaranteed to the weaker sections in the Constitution by B R Ambedkar. “On July 23/24, 2005, when these two leaders were arch rivals and did not even see eye to eye, they had come together to demand a review of the reservation policy on religious basis, something the Constitution makers like Babasaheb Ambedkar, Rajendra babu, Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhai Patel had firmly rejected.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”…These people don’t have any issues in the election and that’s why they are raising the bogey of scrapping of the reservation every day which is totally false. No political party in the country has the power to take away or undo the reservation guaranteed to the weaker sections by Ambedkar in the Constitution,” he said, addressing an election rally in Katihar. Holding the promise of development, Modi while addressing poll rallies for the last phase of Bihar polls, launched a fresh attack on Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar, saying ‘jungle raj’ now has a twin brother in ‘jantar-mantar’ (black magic) and together the two will “spell doom” for the state.Praising the people of the state, he said, “Bihar stands for brilliant, innovative, hardworking, action-oriented and resourceful” and voiced hope that the youth and women will help usher in change. Training his guns on Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad, Modi said, “Today, when they have been caught (for purportedly having sought religion-based quotas), they are getting agitated and throwing at us the colour of communalism.”He once again attacked Nitish Kumar for his meeting with an occultist, saying, “People who practise black magic will not help you win elections. Only democracy has that power and not ‘mantra-tantra’.” In a jibe at Nitish after his video with a ‘tantrik’ went viral on social media, Modi alleged at another poll rally in Madhubani that the Bihar Chief Minister was taking recourse to “black magic as he does not believe in democracy”.”Bihar has suffered the brunt of ‘Jungle Raj’…’Jungle Raj’ now has a twin brother in ‘jantar-mantar’. Don’t let ‘Jungle Raj’ and ‘jantar-mantar’ come together, otherwise this combination will only spell doom for Bihar and its people,” he said. He also said the current election was for building the future of Bihar and those who have ruined the state over the years need to be taught an “exemplary lesson”.

President Pranab Mukherjee calls for preserving multiplicity within country

Referring to the growing “intolerance in the country” President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday once again called for “preserving the multiplicity and pluralistic character of the country” and said India has thrived due to its “power of assimilation and tolerance.”The President, who had already spoken against growing intolerance, was speaking at the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Delhi High Court here.“Our country has thrived due to its power of assimilation and tolerance. Our pluralistic character has stood the test of time. Our ancient civilisation has over the centuries accommodated our diversities.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“Multiplicity is our collective strength which must be preserved at all costs. It finds reflection in the various provisions of our Constitution,” Mukherjee said.After the Dadri lynching and subsequent incidents, the President had questioned whether tolerance and acceptance of dissent are on the wane in the country.He said the judiciary, which is one of the three important pillars of our democracy, is the final interpreter of the Constitution and laws. It must help maintain social order by swiftly and effectively dealing with those on the wrong side of the law.“As an upholder of the Rule of Law and enforcer of the right to liberty, the role of the Judiciary is sacrosanct. The faith and confidence people have in the Judiciary must be always maintained,” he said.Speaking on the occasion, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the independence of judiciary should not be compromised. He also urged judiciary for quick disposal of cases for speedy justice.Chief Justice of India H L Dattu, Chief Justice of Delhi High Court G Rohini and Lt Governor Najeeb Jung also attended the function.Asking the judiciary to “reinvent itself through introspection and self-correction system of judges’ appointment, Mukherjee said the process must operate on “well-established and transparent principles to select the best” and no one can meddle with it “.He was referring to the Supreme Court’s recent verdict on National Judicial Appointments Commission.“The appointment process must conform to the highest standards of probity. Whichever system of appointment we follow, it must operate on well-established and transparent principles to select the best. No one can meddle in the process,” he said.Prez for speedy justicePresident Mukherjee said that there was the need for quick justice delivery system which should be “accessible” and “affordable” to all. “Delay in administering justice is as good as denial.”There are over 60,000 court cases pending in the Apex Court, another over 40 lakh pending in the High Courts, and over 2.6 crore in the district and subordinate courts. The phenomenon of high pendency must change through multi-dimensional effort.”Courts must have enough resources to boost their infrastructure. Vacancies in judicial positions must be filled up on priority. Having said that, expeditious selection must be no ground for sacrifice on quality,” he said.

India would become weak if minorities feel insecure: Teesta Setalvad

Teesta Setalvad

The Centre must understand that if minorities were feeling insecure, India would become weak and divisive forces would gather strength, activist Teesta Setalvad said in Aligarh. “We are witnessing a very determined bid by fascist forces to denigrate the country’s Constitution and the entire socio-justice system which safeguards the interests of the weakest and most vulnerable sections of society,” she alleged, while delivering a lecture at the Aligarh Muslim University. Accusing BJP leaders of using words loaded with communal overtones, she said that government should know that without social justice there is no democracy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>She also said that the minorities should act with some restraint. “I urge you not to be provoked by the actions and hate speeches of the communal forces….Instead channelise energies for building bridges of understanding with Hindus and all sections of society…. This is the only way to remove the narrative of hatred.”She was speaking on Preamble to India’s Constitution and the Equality Challenger to Constitutional Government organised by AMU last evening. Delivering the presidential address, historian Prof Emeritus Irfan Habib said there was reason for hope as Indian civil society had in recent weeks “displayed an unprecedented courage by registering their concern”.”Remember that all those who are raising their voices in your defence are Hindus and if you want to strengthen their hands, then your hands too will have to be clean.” He reminded that all three rationalists and writers who had been killed in recent months were Hindus. He said that “minority communalism” would be an inappropriate response to the “communal polarisation”.

PM Narendra Modi’s world trips led to rise in inflow of foreign tourists: Ministry of Tourism

A report compiled by the marketing and research team of the ministry of tourism suggests that there has been an inflow of tourists from countries where Modi has visited in the past one year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign tours have provided dividends to the economy, if not through Foreign Direct Investment but through the inflow of tourists from the countries that he has visited. A report compiled by the marketing and research team of the ministry of tourism suggests that there has been an inflow of tourists from countries where Modi has visited in the past one year. The tourism ministry is of the view that Modi’s public addresses and connecting with Indian diaspora in the countries he has visited has helped in boosting tourism. The industry is, however, not very happy and feels that while there is an increasing trend but the targets are afar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The data compiled by the ministry of tourism suggest that tourism has increased at least by six per cent from countries where the Prime Minister has visited. Comparing the inflow of tourist between January to June 2014 with January to June 2015, ministry suggests that tourism has increased by five per cent from France, six per cent from Canada and 10 per cent from the US. A steep increase of 12 per cent has been recorded from Brazil. The report further suggests that there is an increase in tourists from countries including Germany, China and Japan. “While the overall increase in tourism has been about four to five per cent, countries where the Prime Minister has visited have seen a steep rise,” explained an officer of the ministry. Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma too attributes the increase to the Prime Minister. “Prime Minister has been our ambassador to the places he has visited. He has carried a very positive image of India to the world,” said Sharma. The industry however feels that stories on beef ban, mob lynching and intolerance towards the minorities are sending out a negative message globally. But the minister feels otherwise. “It is difficult to say whether such incidences affect tourism, but I can assure you that everything will happen within the ambit of the Constitution,” said Sharma. The industry however is not too happy with the figures and feels that much more needs to meet the target that the industry is aiming it. “We are targeting 10 million tourists by next year. To achieve the target we need an increase of at least 15 per cent every year,” said Sarabjit Singh, Vice President of Indian Association of Tour Operators.

A temporary setback, will move SC: Arvind Kejriwal on HC decision on discoms

New Delhi: The AAP government will move the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court order today quashing its decision to get the accounts of three private power distribution companies audited by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today said that the HC order is a “temporary setback” for the people of the national capital and he is “committed” to provide cheap electricity to people.

“Delhi HC order is a temporary setback for the people of Delhi. Delhi government will soon file an appeal in SC.

“I am committed to providing cheap electricity to people of Delhi. Our fight will continue (sic),” Kejriwal said in a series of his tweets.

Earlier in the day, the Delhi High Court quashed the AAP government’s decision to get the accounts of three private power distribution companies audited by the CAG.

“We have allowed the petitions of the discoms,” a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw said while clarifying that the entire audit process carries out so far as well as the draft report of the CAG would be “non-est” and would have no bearing any more.

A senior government official said that on April 17, 2014, Supreme Court had made it clear that wherever public money or resources are involved, CAG audit is “required”.

CAG is a constitutional institution under Art 148 of the Constitution of India. Once it accepts reference for an audit, it must be respected, the official said.

The discoms – Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL), BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd – had challenged the AAP government’s decision on January 7, 2014, of ordering a CAG audit of their accounts.

The discoms had also challenged an order of a single judge of the High Court, who had refused to stall the CAG audit.

The single judge, in his January 24, 2014 order, had also asked the discoms to “fully cooperate with CAG in the audit process”.

While allowing the discoms’ pleas today, the court dismissed a PIL filed by NGO United RWAs Joint Action (URJA) which had sought an audit of the discoms’ accounts by CAG.

Earlier, the city government had told the court that a CAG audit of the private discoms here was necessary as these companies discharged “public function”.

The discoms are a 51:49 per cent joint venture between the private companies and the Delhi government.

The government had said it was not trying to stop their (discoms) functioning or interfere in it, but was only trying to bring them under public audit, as 49 per cent stake in the discoms was held by the Delhi government which has also infused capital in these companies.

PTI

Lalu Prasad turned Gopalganj into a mini-Chambal, says PM Narendra Modi

Gopalganj: Taking on the grand alliance in Lalu Prasad’s home turf, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asked Nitish Kumar whether he wanted the old days of ‘jungle raj’ when the region had turned into a ‘mini Chambal’ to return and attacked Kumar over his 2005 speech in Parliament allegedly advocating subquota for Muslims.

Modi said the old days must be acceptable to Kumar but not to the people of Bihar.

PM Narendra Modi. PTIPM Narendra Modi. PTI

PM Narendra Modi. PTI

“Nitish ji says with temerity — return us the old days. You remember those days when kidnappings were the order of the day, women were dishonoured, Dalits were persecuted, robberies used to happen daily. What happened during the jungle raj. Didn’t they make this area (Gopalganj) a mini-Chambal?,” he said in a reference to Madhya Pradesh’s Chambal region where dacoits once held sway

“Here gun shots were fired indiscriminately on railway stations. There was only one thing that happened here, which was kidnapping. Do you want the area to become Chambal again? Do you want those old days? Nitishji the old days may be acceptable to you for the lust of power but not to people of Bihar,” he said.

Modi also attacked the Bihar Chief Minister over the quota issue.

“Nitish Kumar had made his intentions clear way back on 24 August, 2005. They lost cool when I alleged that they want to steal away 5 percent of reservation from the quota given to SCs/STs/OBCs and EBCs and give to a particular community. Even the makers of Indian Constitution were against it.

“I have the document of what he said in Parliament on 25 August, 2005. I challenge him to reply to this if he has the courage. He tells such big lies and engages in cheap talk. This game is not going to last long,” he said.

Modi’s portrayal of the grand alliance as being tilted towards a particular community even on reservation issue is an apparent move to take the sting out of the rivals’ attempt to portray BJP as anti-reservation after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwats’s remarks on reservation.

The Prime Minister defended the perceived change in the BJP’s campaign focus from development to identity politics as polls advanced into the final stages.

“Can I son of a backward, extremely backward and Dalits not talk about development. Now a days they are saying that Modi has changed his profile. They are saying that Modi, who earlier used to talk about development is talking about his extremely backward caste origin.

“Whether you alone have the right to talk about development. It is their arrogance, which make them say all this,” said Modi whose party has been playing on the Prime Minister’s humble origin to reach out to voters in the caste compartmentalised state.

He also read out names of the scams that were reported during the regime of Lalu and Nitish.

PTI

Dibakar Banerjee, Anand Patwardhan return National Awards: Let’s not dismiss their concern

After beef-eaters are chastised, shown their place and forced to abandon their ungodly eating habit, who? Are rationalists next on target? Or is it scientists who are prone to challenging the given? Or is it the actors and filmmakers? No one has yet mapped the mind of the apparently omnipresent yet barely visible Big Brother at work in the country. That seems to be creating a sense of panic and insecurity in several sections of the society, particularly those who think, question and create as part of their passion or living.

As this piece is being written, there’s news that nine filmmakers, including Dibakar Banerjee and Anand Patwardhan, have retuned their national awards in support of FTII students and in protest against growing violence in the society. They say a regime of bigotry, fear and intimidation has started dominating the national narrative. Before accusing them of being political, stooges of the Congress or despicable Left liberals, let’s sit back and reflect on the developments over the last some months. Clearly, something is amiss somewhere.

Harshavardhan Kulkarni, Nishta Jain, Dibakar Banerjee, and Anand Patwardhan at the press conference in Mumbai. PTIHarshavardhan Kulkarni, Nishta Jain, Dibakar Banerjee, and Anand Patwardhan at the press conference in Mumbai. PTI

Harshavardhan Kulkarni, Nishta Jain, Dibakar Banerjee, and Anand Patwardhan at the press conference in Mumbai. PTI

Behind the veneer of civilisation, India has always been an incredibly violent place. There’s nothing new about fringe groups intimidating people with incompatible ideas, nothing novel about cases of caste violence either. Expedient politics kicks in as an afterthought and no party comes out smelling of roses when it comes out the approach to such incidents. Yet, there’s some change somewhere. There’s a vague sense of fear in the air.

That explains why even scientists, not a community given to expressing itself in public, are worried about the growing culture of intolerance and communalisation in the country. “A highly polarised community is like a nuclear bomb close to criticality. It can explode anytime and drive the nation to utter chaos. This is highly unstable atmosphere and we should do everything in our hands to defuse the disparity, and enlighten society in the scientific spirit,” said a recent appeal from scientists and academicians to the President.

It called the forces of intolerance as “trespassers of reason and rights” and said their statements were not in agreement with the spirit of the Constitution which emphasised on reason and scientific temper. Scientific temper encompasses rationality, rights and responsibility.” Another appeal to the governments both at the centre and the states and people at large urged all Indians to raise their voices against such forces “so that they are nipped in the bud.”

The community of artists also has decried the trend of intolerance and growing illiberal streak in the society. What’s making all of them speak out in this fashion? When writers returned their awards, their protest was quickly given a political colour by many pundits in the media. They were accused of panic mongering. Now that the scientists and artists have joined in too, would they be branded in a similar fashion? Quite likely. But does that address the real fear or provide any solution? Like they say, you cannot have a snake in your backyard and expect it to bite your neighbour only. Someday it’s going to bring you to grief.

So, what has changed? What’s creating and sustaining the climate of fear? Well, unlike earlier there’s open moral support from sections of intellectuals to the activities of the illiberal, intolerant groups. There’s no clear, unequivocal condemnation of acts of violence and coercion or disrespect of dissenting views. In fact, there are frenzied efforts to justify such acts. You see it clearly on television and in newspapers pages. Notice how quickly matters morally indefensible get respectability through a political coating. Worse, the state does not look powerful or inclined enough to protect individuals against groups.

It’s a dangerous trend. It’s time we took politics out and treated the apprehension of the thinking class with more sympathy. The political class must find ways to tame Big Brother on the loose.

Uniform Civil Code: Government to seek more time from Supreme Court?

Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda will hold consultations with his senior cabinet colleagues and legal experts, government sources said here on Wednesday

The government is expected to seek more time from the Supreme Court on the issue of Uniform Civil Code for holding wider consultations with all stakeholders when the matter comes up for hearing next week.Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda will hold consultations with his senior cabinet colleagues and legal experts, government sources said here on Wednesday. Under directions of the Supreme Court, government has been tasked with filing an affidavit before it on the issue by next week. There is a clear view in the government that the common code can only be implemented after taking all stakeholders on board. Gowda had recently said that a Uniform Civil Code is necessary for national integration but made it clear that no hasty decision will be taken on it.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Law Minister had made these observations after the Supreme Court had on October 12 sought to know from the government whether it was willing to bring the common code in the country. It had asked the Solicitor General to seek the government’s view and posted the matter for further hearing after three weeks. “…Even the Preamble of our Constitution and Article 44 of the Constitution do say that there should be a Uniform Civil Code. For the interest of national integration, certainly a common civil code is necessary. But it is a very sensitive issue. It needs very wider consultation. Even communities, even across the party line, even various organisations…it need to have a wider consultation,” Gowda had said.He had said a decision “cannot be done in a day or two. It will take its own time.”

Samajwadi Party’s criticism ‘purely political’: UP Guv Ram Naik

Yadav said Naik’s statement was against the spirit of the Constitution and wryly suggested he be made a Union Minister so that he can fulfill his “communal agenda”.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik on Monday described as “purely political” his criticism by Samajwadi Party and said it was below his dignity to respond to it.”It’s purely a political statement made by him. And it is below my dignity to respond to political statements,” Naik said after SP National General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav today dubbed him as “an RSS worker”, miffed at his remarks over the law and order situation in the state.Yadav said Naik’s statement was against the spirit of the Constitution and wryly suggested he be made a Union Minister so that he can fulfill his “communal agenda”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Naik had on Sunday said that incidents of communal disturbances in Uttar Pradesh are due to “very poor” law and order situation in the state..Also read: Samajwadi Party hits out at UP Governor Ram Naik, dubs him ‘RSS worker’

Free Speech: Age of ban on media is over, says I&B Minister Arun Jaitley

The minister noted that while print media and to a large extent electronic media adopt discretions in their content, social media completely lacks such a mechanism.
File Photo
PTI
Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said the “age of bans” on the media is over, observing that it is “literally impossible” to implement them.Delivering the Sardar Patel lecture organised by All India Radio (AIR) in New Delhi, Jaitley, who is also the Finance Minister, noted that while the right to freedom of expression has expanded in India through successive judicial verdicts and technological advances, its misuse continues to happen.”Many believe, and I am one of those who do believe, that the age of bans is now over. It is literally impossible if not very difficult to implement them,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Should the state step in? As far as possible, no,” he said.The minister noted that while print media and to a large extent electronic media adopt discretions in their content, social media completely lacks such a mechanism. He pointed out that makers of the Constitution rightly held that freedom of speech and expression is not absolute and subject to reasonable restrictions which were specifically defined.”In a society where because of multi-religious, multi-cultural reasons there are sensitivities, what do we do if somebody crosses the Lakshman Rekha itself? What would the Indian society have done if instead of the Danish cartoonist, it would have been an Indian cartoonist? And therefore we have criminal laws in provision but then in extreme cases, very reluctantly so, some power of restraint in larger interest so that it doesn’t disturb public order, and that is where those 1950s restrictions imposed in Article 19(2) itself will have an important role to play,” he said.Jaitley said that in a changing media landscape, with the arrival of electronic media, news became more sensational.”News was what Television cameras could capture. What cameras can’t capture won’t be news. A major Africa summit will be some news, but a young girl returning home from Pakistan would be big news because the Television captures it differently,” he added.He said that there is now a difference between actual news and channel driven news.”As the marketeers of news express their right to free speech, the viewer or the reader’s right to information and knowledge itself is also getting impacted,” he said.Speaking about social media, he said while citizens have got a voice, it is an unregulated medium and there is also a large amount of false, defamatory and also damaging content. The minister said that in this situation, we have to rely on a sense of fairness of those who participate on social media.

Congress calls for ‘ban’ on Shiv Sena

“If he has given a comment against the Constitution, then his party should be banned and I appeal the Prime Minister to look in this matter,” he added.

The Congress on Friday called for a ban on the Shiv Sena after party Chief Uddhav Thackeray demanded that India be declared a ‘Hindu Rashtra’, saying that the comments are against the Constitution.”India is a secular country and the Constitution is secular, and secularism can’t be changed here. Udhhav Thackeray’s comments are totally uncalled for as the comments are against the Constitution of the country. The election commission should take a cognizance of it, and should impose a ban on his party (Shiv Sena) immediately,” Congress leader Rashid Alvi told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If he has given a comment against the Constitution, then his party should be banned and I appeal the Prime Minister to look in this matter,” he added.Shiv Sena Chief Thackeray on Thursday had said that the country should be declared a Hindu Rashtra, demanding an imposition of uniform civil code in the country.In his 45-minute speech he criticised Pakistan, Muslims and secularists. He further criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the issue of Ram Mandir and their ‘soft approach’ towards Pakistan.

Just because he made a dog’s breakfast of his ‘bite’, doesn’t mean VK Singh was wrong

The ‘stoning dogs’ remark by General VK Singh, our minister of state for external affairs, has dominated news coverage throughout a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was laying the foundation stone for Amaravati, the nation’s 29th state capital. And for the second time in recent times, a day for the Centre to be proud, became a day when it saw opprobrium heaped upon it due to an Indian Army officer-turned-Cabinet minister shooting his mouth off.

VK Singh's remark was definitely disgusting but logically sound. PTI

VK Singh’s remark was definitely disgusting but logically sound. PTI

The (relatively) young Lieutenant Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore should have sought advice before bragging to the media about what was meant to be a covert operation, but VK Singh, with 42 years of distinguished service, should really have thought twice before his politically incorrect sound bite.

But here’s the scary thing.

Beneath the insensitive, crass, reprehensible and frankly ignorant one-liner lies a fact lost on us when we picked up the cudgels to bludgeon the retired general. Besides, let’s not forget, he gave the battalions of unthinking and forever outraged internet vigilantes the term ‘presstitute’ to lazily hurl at the best of us.

But that’s a digression.

Singh’s statement accurately reflected the nature of India’s governance system – it is a federal structure of governance. And what this means is that certain issues fall under the Union list, while others are under the state list, or the concurrent list. Policing and public order are under the state list, while criminal law is under the concurrent list as provided for in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India.

In law and order situations, central police forces may assist, only if the state government requests their assistance.

Ergo, Singh’s statement – that he probably meant to make – saying that the central government is not responsible for everything that happens across the country, is factually correct. Like US President Barack Obama, Modi could, it can be argued, go from state to state addressing the aggrieved in a tragedy and express empathy. But he doesn’t have to. The office does not require that. Instead, it should have been the chief minister of the state, in this particular case, who should have tried to approach the aggrieved.

As far as the Prime Minister goes, it is his call entirely to decide whether to do that or to wax eloquent at a rally to try to gather votes ahead of a major election. It is not an obligation.

Besides, there are enough people queuing up to ‘meet the survivors’ or make the most of a photo-op, as the cynics would have you believe.

With that in mind, it is incumbent upon the holder of a public office to be judicious with the use of his/her language. Just as you would never forgive a CXO of a major publicly-traded company saying, “Joe, I’m so glad we’ve finally managed to get you to quit even though we’ve wanted you gone for a while, and I personally hope you burn in hell”, but instead be fine if the sentiment was conveyed in a much gentler, “Joe, thank you for your services, we understand your reasons for leaving us and wish you the best in your future endeavours”, you would hope for the same from a cabinet minister.

Not the insincerity, but the sensitivity.

And that sensitivity is what appears to have been lost amidst the whole hoop-la. The fact that two innocent children died seems to be lost on Singh and those who lined up to bludgeon him – for what is clearly not his first case of shooting from the hip.

And equally lost on every single person that is trying to gain political mileage from the tragedy.

Bihar poll verdict will settle reservation issue: Sharad Yadav

The JD-U leader said both the issues of “social disparity and development” are important in Bihar polls, while noting that majority of people in Bihar hail from the reserved categories.

The poll verdict of Bihar will settle the issue of reservation in favour of the quota beneficiaries permanently, according to JD(U) President Sharad Yadav.The JD-U leader said both the issues of “social disparity and development” are important in Bihar polls, while noting that majority of people in Bihar hail from the reserved categories.”Bihar election will protect the tool of reservation provided to deprived sections by our Constitution. I appeal to people to save the mechanism of reservation through their vote. Press the right button and protect it. Bihar election outcome will settle the issue of reservation for once and all. If people press the right button, nobody will be able to remove reservation,” he told PTI in an interview.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Muslims and Mahadalits constitute around 16 per cent of total votes, Yadav 14 per cent, Bania, Koiri and other Extremely Backward Castes (EBC) 8 percent each, Mallah around 7 percent, the upper caste block of Brahmin-Bhumihar- Rajput-Kayasth around 16 percent and Kurmi 4 percent. What the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said on the issue of reservation had a wide impact on all beneficiaries of quota like Dalits and backwards besides the conscious upper caste voters, who believed in social justice. It is an opportunity for those who want to save reservation. They have to just cast their vote and fail those who want to remove reservation, he said.Asked whether he is confident that the Muslim Yadav (MY) combination, which was the core strength of Lalu Prasad’s RJD that ruled the state for 15 years, is intact this time for the grand alliance of JDU-RJD and Congress, he claimed that not only his “but all the poor castes and the conscious among the upper castes are together” with the grand alliance.He also said that there is no Third Front in Bihar and the electoral fight in Bihar is a direct one.

Jammu and Kashmir: Mufti Mohammed Sayeed meets PM Modi on fast-tracking development

He referred to the kitty of Rs 6,000 crore allocated to Jammu and Kashmir under the centrally-sponsored schemes.

“Keeping in mind the multicultural ethos of J&K, the decision to go with India has proved to be the right one,” he observed.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Wednesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss fast-tracking the development agenda of the PDP-BJP coalition government in the state.Addressing a party convention here, Sayeed said that the coalition government’s ‘Agenda of Alliance’ remains the binding force that will see a new phase of equitable development in the state. “I met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi and discussed with him several important issues. He has assured me of Centre’s help in fast-tracking the development agenda of the coalition government,” he said. Elaborating on his meeting with Modi, Sayeed said the Prime Minister has a vision to speed up inclusive development in the state.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The new think-tank of NITI Aayog has assured us of our share in the Central funds as per recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission Award. We will use optimal utilisation of these funds and ensure that every penny is spent,” he said.He referred to the kitty of Rs 6,000 crore allocated to Jammu and Kashmir under the centrally-sponsored schemes. Welcoming the new office bearers, Sayeed observed that all issues indicated in the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ mutually agreed to will be implemented and special focus will be given to return of Uri and Dul Hasti hydel power projects to the state.Highlighting Jammu and Kashmir’s unique position as the only Muslim majority state in the country, Sayeed said the people need to safeguard its special status, which is guaranteed by the Constitution of India. He recalled with satisfaction the farsightedness of the leaders of the state who decided to accede with India. “Keeping in mind the multicultural ethos of J&K, the decision to go with India has proved to be the right one,” he observed.Drawing the attention of party workers towards holding elections to local-self government institutions, Sayeed said he wants to make people at the grassroot level real partners in state’s development. Referring to the recent death of Zahid in Udhampur truck attack, the leader assured that those responsible for his death will not go unpunished under any circumstance. He said the Cabinet in one voice condemned the dastardly act and vowed to defeat the nefarious designs of the divisive forces which are out to damage the pluralistic fabric of the state.The convention was presided over by PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and attended by party ministers, MLAs and office bearers. However, party’s Lok Sabha members from Srinagar and Baramulla — Tariq Hamid Karra and Muzaffar Hussain Baig respectively — did not attend the meeting.

Centre asks for transparency in collegium appointments

As per the draft suggestions, to be filed before the court on November 3 by the Law Ministry, the criteria should be displayed on the top court’s website for public domain purposes.

The Narendra Modi government is likely to suggest to the Supreme Court to make the criteria for judicial appointments public for the improvement of the collegium system. As per the draft suggestions, to be filed before the court on November 3 by the Law Ministry, the criteria should be displayed on the top court’s website for public domain purposes. Last week, a Constitution Bench of the apex court had held the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) under a new legislation to replace the two-decade old collegium system “unconstitutional” and struck down the NJAC Act as well as the 99th Constitutional amendment Act.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The court also sought the government’s suggestions on how to improve the collegium system and fixed November 3 to consider them. A highly placed source told dna “the draft suggestions were required to be approved by the law minister after consultation with the Attorney General.” It is learnt that the senior officers have informed the Law Minister D V Sadanand Gowda about the suggestions in a meeting which held this evening. In more than 10 points of suggestions, the government also seeks revelation of specific information about the performance of each judge before their elevation to superior courts which included year-wise number of adjournments and disposal of cases.For the elevation of a trial court judge to high court, how many adjournments the judge has allowed on an average during the life cycle of a case; number of cases in which trial proceedings have been stayed by superior courts, and average time for which such trial proceedings remained stayed is some of the information that the government would seek the top court to disclose for all courts and put them in public domain.
During the hearing of a bunch of pleas against the validity of the NJAC Act, Centre’s senior most law officer, the Attorney General had questioned the past selection of some of the high court judges to Supreme Court done by the collegium. Emphasising on transparency and accountability, he had argued that one judge was retired from Supreme Court without even writing a single judgment in high court and top court.

ABVP sweeps DUSU executive committee polls, bags 7 seats

The central panel of the DUSU members was elected in September when ABVP had bagged the four-crucial posts of president, vice-president, secretary and and joint secretary for second consecutive year.

After DUSU elections are held, the university holds polls for the unions’ executive committee.

File Photo
BJP-led Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) today swept 7 out of 11 seats in the elections for 13th executive committee of Delhi University Student Union. The remaining four positions in the DUSU EC polls were bagged by Congress-affiliated National Students Union of India (NSUI). “Vineet Bidhuri from PGDAV (Eve) College was elected as the Chief EC. Manish Barthwal from ARSD College, Tushar Yadav from Venkateshwara College, Monika Yadav from Moti Lal Nehru (Eve) College, Vishal Upadhyay from Moti Lal Nehru College, Deepak Rose from Shivaji College and Sanju Khari from Deshbandhu College were elected as Executive Council Members of DUSU,” officials said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The central panel of the DUSU members was elected in September when ABVP had bagged the four-crucial posts of president, vice-president, secretary and and joint secretary for second consecutive year. After DUSU elections are held, the university holds polls for the unions’ executive committee. As per the DUSU Constitution, the committee should have 11 members and not less than two out of these members should be girls. AAP’s Student Wing CYSS, which contested its debut DUSU polls this year and failed to open the account, had not fielded any candidates for the EC elections.

Sahitya Akademi row: Sharmila Tagore says recent events reminiscent of Babri Masjid and Emergency

It is a courageous act, because dissent is now violent, it is not just verbal disagreement. There is a physical assault involved. People are standing up against that and countering. I feel this a very positive and spontaneous response,” she said when asked about her view on the issue.

Sharmila Tagore

Veteran actress Sharmila Tagore backed writers, who are returning their Sahitya Akademi awards to protest against rising intolerance, calling it spontaneous and brave move. “It’s a challenging time for India. There is a conflict between modernity and serious threat of regression and there is kind of ban on freedom of speech as the Akademi awards are being returned,” the 68-year-old National Award-winning actress said at the CII Big Picture Summit 2015 here. “It is a courageous act, because dissent is now violent, it is not just verbal disagreement. There is a physical assault involved. People are standing up against that and countering. I feel this a very positive and spontaneous response,” she said when asked about her view on the issue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The rationale behind returning the awards has been questioned by some, but the “Amar Prem” star said the protest is giving us an ultimatum about the damage the intolerance will cause to the country. “…It is my personal point of view that what the writers, who are returning their awards, are doing is a spontaneous movement. What is happening is reminding us of Emergency and Babri Masjid. We are reminded that this is a serious threat to the fabric of our country. It is a spontaneous protest,” she said.Calling the Dadri mob lynching incident as “scary”, Sharmila demanded justice for the victim. “What happened in Dadri was scary. It was actually crossing the line. Nobody has condemned it strongly enough. I would like to hear some kind of justice being done, convicts being punished. Because if we do not do that, a wrong message will go out. Every time their is silence, the ambit of impunity is increasing.”The “Aradhana” actress, who started her career at the age of 13 with Satyajit Ray’s “Apur Sansar” before making it big in Bollywood, finds the entertainment industry a perfect example of India’s tradition of unity and diversity.She feels the ongoing protest is the best way to guard and take forward the image of the country.”We have a very robust tradition of unity and diversity, which I have experienced working in films, look at the titles of the movies. People from different culture work together for one future.”Many people will stand by the Constitution and not allow this robust idea of India to disappear forever,” she said.

President underlines need to preserve India’s core values and tolerance

The President said the strength of 5000 year old Indian civilization was its tolerance. “It has always accepted dissent and differences. A large number of languages, 1600 dialects and 7 religions coexist in India. We have a Constitution that accommodates all these differences,” he said.

President Pranab Mukherjee at the felicitation function of Nayaprajanma and Suri Sabujer Abhijan at Suri, Birbhum, West Bengal

PTI
In the wake of a spate of incidents starting from lynching of a 50-year-old man in Dadri in the outskirts of national capital on suspicion of storing beef, followed by two more such incidents in Himachal Pradesh and J&K, coupled with Shiv Sena protests in Mumbai, President Pranabh Mukherjee on Monday once again sought to underline need to preserve India’s core values of diversity, tolerance, and plurality of Indian civilisation. Third time over past fortnight, Mukherjee expressed apprehension about whether tolerance and acceptance of dissent are on the wane.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While addressing a gathering in Birbhum district of West Bengal during a function organised by a local weekly, in a subtle message to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government, the President said humanism and pluralism should not be abandoned under any circumstance. “Assimilation through receiving is a characteristic of Indian society. Our collective strength must to be harnessed to resist evil powers in society,” he said.The President said the strength of 5000 year old Indian civilization was its tolerance. “It has always accepted dissent and differences. A large number of languages, 1600 dialects and 7 religions coexist in India. We have a Constitution that accommodates all these differences,” he said.Earlier, a week ago, President had stressed the need to keep up core values of civilization. “Many ancient civilizations have fallen. But that is right that aggression after aggression, long foreign rule, the Indian civilization has survived because of its core civilizational values and we must keep that in mind. And if we keep those core values in mind, nothing can prevent our democracy from moving ahead,” he underscored.

PM Narendra Modi attempts to allay fears of Nepal, asks for credible solution to issues

Thapa, who holds the portfolio of Foreign Affairs, briefed Modi about developments in Nepal which has been witnessing a turmoil since the country adopted a new Constitution nearly a month back.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday attempted to allay fears within the new Nepali government, by calling a united, inclusive, stable and prosperous Nepal. He told visiting Nepali Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa that India was committed to strengthening the traditional bonds of friendship and kinship with the people of his country.Thapa, who holds the portfolio of Foreign Affairs, briefed Modi about developments in Nepal which has been witnessing a turmoil since the country adopted a new Constitution nearly a month back. “Prime Minister reiterated that India’s only desire is to see a united, inclusive, stable and prosperous Nepal, and that India is committed to strengthening the traditional bonds of friendship and kinship with the people of Nepal,” a PMO statement said.Modi also congratulated Thapa on assuming charge as the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Nepal. Nepal’s Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyay, India’s Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae, Indian Prime Minister’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and other officials were also present on the occasion.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The relations between the two countries have strained since Indian-origin people living in southern parts of Nepal, Terai have protested violently against the new Constitution. The agitation has affected supplies of essential commodities to Kathmandu. Earlier during his meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Thapa had expressed concern over the obstruction in the supplies from the Indian side especially petroleum oil lubricant.India’s position is that obstructions to the movement of men and material was on the Nepalese side by the disaffected Nepalese population. Swaraj told the visiting minister that India was looking forward to steps being taken by Nepalese government to “credibly” address the challenges faced by the country in the Terai region at the earliest. Thapa had flown to New Delhi on Saturday to hold talks over disruption of essential supplies to Nepal.The adoption of Constitution in Nepal by overlooking interests of Indian origin Madheshis is seen as single most diplomatic failure of Prime Minister Modi, who visited the Himalyan nation twice over past one-and-half year.The relations came to a boil when the Constituent Assembly of Nepal passed the new Constitution defining the Hindu-majority nation as a secular republic and divided it into seven federal provinces. The division is being opposed by people living in the Terai, especially the Madhesis and Tharus. They believe the new boundaries will lead to their marginalisation in Nepal.The Madhesis are mostly Brahmins, Bhumihars, Rajputs and people of similar clans residing in Nepal’s central Terai. They are both originally from Nepal and migrants from adjoining Indian states like UP and Bihar. They have close social and business links with people in India. Apart from the Madhesis, the Tharus in the western plains and the Janjatis in eastern Nepal are also against the new Constitution. Several people have died in violent protests across Nepal against the new Constitution. India fears this may lead to large scale exodus of Madhesis and their migration to UP and Bihar.

On Durga Puja, President Mukherjee hits out at rising intolerance in India

He said: “Our collective strength must to be harnessed to resist evil powers in society. Indian civilization has survived for 5000 years because of its tolerance. We have a Constitution that accommodates all these differences. Hope Mahamaya – the combination of all positive forces would eliminate the Asuras or divisive forces.”

Pranab Mukherjee

Speaking in Birbhum, West Bengal, Pranab Mukherjee asked: “Is tolerance and acceptance of dissent on the wane?” The official handle of President of India tweeted: “Remember teachings of Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa ‘Jato Mat Tato Path’ As there are a number of beliefs, there are a number of ways. Humanism and pluralism should not be abandoned under any circumstance. Assimilation through receiving is a characteristic of Indian society.” He said: “Our collective strength must to be harnessed to resist evil powers in society. Indian civilization has survived for 5000 years because of its tolerance. We have a Constitution that accommodates all these differences. Hope Mahamaya – the combination of all positive forces would eliminate the Asuras or divisive forces.” <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, President Pranab Mukherjee said the core values of diversity, tolerance and plurality of Indian civilisation must be kept in mind and cannot be allowed to be wasted, in remarks that come against the backdrop of the Dadri lynching over rumours of beef eating.OO”I firmly believe that we cannot allow the core values of our civilization to be wasted and the core values is what over the years the civilization celebrated diversity, promoted and advocated tolerance, endurance and plurality. These core civilization values keep us together over the centuries. Many ancient civilizations have fallen. But that is right that aggression after aggression, long foreign rule, the Indian civilization has survived because of its core civilizational values and we must keep that in mind. And if we keep those core values in mind, nothing can prevent our democracy to move,” he said.

Indian democracy cannot be a tyranny of unelected : Arun Jaitley on NJAC issue

“The Supreme Court opinion is final. It is not infallible,” he said

Jaitley said the judgement says protection of the judiciary from political persons was essential in striking down NJAC (File Photo)

PTI
Terming as “erroneous logic” Supreme Court’s reasoning for striking down NJAC Act, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said Indian democracy cannot be a “tyranny of the unelected” and that it would be in danger if the elected are undermined. Expressing “personal” views on the judgment in a facebook post titled ‘The NJAC Judgement An Alternative View?’, he said, “The judgement has upheld the primacy of one basic structure – independence of judiciary – but diminished five other basic structures of the Constitution, namely, Parliamentary democracy, an elected Government, the Council of Ministers, an elected Prime Minister and the elected Leader of the Opposition. ” The Supreme Court, by a majority opinion, last week struck down as unconstitutional the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act and also the 99th Constitution Amendment, which provided for the establishment of the National Judicial Commission to appoint judges of the High Court and the Supreme Court.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”A constitutional court, while interpreting the Constitution, had to base the judgement on constitutional principles. There is no constitutional principle that democracy and its institutions has to be saved from elected representatives. “The Indian democracy cannot be a tyranny of the unelected and if the elected are undermined, democracy itself would be in danger,” he said. Stating that “few issues” had arisen in his mind after reading opinion of five judges, he said, “Are not institutions like the Election Commission and the CAG not credible enough even though they are appointed by elected Governments?”The NJAC Judgement – An Alternative ViewThe Supreme Court of India, by a majority opinion, has struck down the 99th…
Posted by Arun Jaitley on Sunday, October 18, 2015The key rationale, he said, behind the majority opinion appears to be that independence of judiciary is an essential ingredient of the basic structure of the Constitution. “This is unquestionably a correct proposition. Having stated this, the majority transgresses into an erroneous logic,” he said. The judgment argues that the presence of a Law Minister in the Commission and the appointment of two eminent persons in the Commission by a group, which will, besides Chief Justice of India, comprise of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, will constitute political involvement in the judicial appointments. Judges appointed on this basis may feel gratified to the politicians. Political persons would be obviously guided by their political interest. The Judges warn of adverse consequences if politicians were a part of the appointment process, he said.Jaitley said the judgement says protection of the judiciary from political persons was essential in striking down NJAC.Politician bashing is the key to the judgement, Jaitley said, adding one of the judge argues that BJP leader LK Advani had opined that dangers of an Emergency-like situation are still there. Civil society in India is not strong and, therefore, you need an independent judiciary. Another argues that it may be possible that the present Government does not favour appointment of persons with alternative sexuality as Judges of the High Court and the Supreme Court. “Politician bashing is akin to the 9.00 PM television programmes,” he said.Stating that the judgement ignored the larger constitutional structure, he said independence of the judiciary is unquestionably a part of the basic structure of the Constitution. It needs to be preserved.”But the judgement ignores the fact that there are several other features of the Constitution which comprise the basic structure. The most important basic structure of the Indian Constitution is Parliamentary democracy. The next important basic structure of the Indian Constitution is an elected Government which represents the will of the sovereign,” he said. The Prime Minister in Parliamentary democracy is the most important accountable institution. The Leader of the Opposition is an essential aspect of that basic structure representing the alternative voice in Parliament. The Law Minister represents a key basic structure of the Constitution; the Council of Ministers, which is accountable to Parliament.All these institutions, Parliamentary sovereignty, an elected Government, a Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, Law Minister are a part of the Constitution s basic structure. They represent the will of the people, he said. “The majority opinion was understandably concerned with one basic structure independence of judiciary – but to rubbish all other basic structures by referring to them as ‘politicians’ and passing the judgement on a rationale that India’s democracy has to be saved from its elected representatives,” he said. “The judgement has upheld the primacy of one basic structure – independence of judiciary – but diminished five other basic structures of the Constitution, namely, Parliamentary democracy, an elected Government, the Council of Ministers, an elected Prime Minister and the elected Leader of the Opposition. This is the fundamental error on which the majority has fallen,” Jaitley said.Stating that a constitutional court, while interpreting the Constitution, had to base the judgement on constitutional principles, he said “there is no constitutional principle that democracy and its institutions has to be saved from elected representatives.” “There is no principle in democracy anywhere in the world that institutions of democracy are to be saved from the elected,” he said, adding if one leader feels that there are dangers of Emergency, there is no presumption that only the Supreme Court can save it.”When in the mid-Seventies the Emergency was proclaimed, it was people like me the politicians, who fought out and went to prison. It was Supreme Court that caved in and, therefore, for the court to assume that it alone can defend the nation against Emergency, is belied by history,” Jaitley said.On alternative sexuality, he said the Delhi High Court had decriminalized it. “The assumption that the cause of the practitioners of alternative sexuality to be appointed as judges, can only be protected by Supreme Court, is again belied by history. The Supreme Court opinion is final. It is not infallible.” The Finance Minister said the judgement interprets the provision of Articles 124 and 217 of the Constitution dealing with appointment of Judges in the Supreme Court and High Courts respectively. Both provide for the appointment to be made by the President in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.The mandate of the Constitution was that Chief Justice of India is only a ‘Consultee’. The President is the Appointing Authority. The basic principle of interpretation is that a law may be interpreted to give it an expanded meaning, but they cannot be rewritten to mean the very opposite, he said. “No principle of interpretation of law anywhere in the world, gives the judicial institutions the jurisdiction to interpret a constitutional provision to mean the opposite of what the Constituent Assembly had said.”This is the second fundamental error in the judgement. The court can only interpret it cannot be the third chamber of the legislature to rewrite a law,” he said. Having struck down the 99th Constitutional Amendment, the Court decided to re-legislate. The court quashed the 99th Constitutional Amendment. The court is entitled to do so. While quashing the same, it re-legislated the repealed provisions of Article 124 and 217 which only the legislature can do. This is the third error in the judgement, he said.The judgement, he said, falls into an error in stating that collegium system is defective. It fixed a hearing for its improvement. “The court has again assumed the role of being the third chamber. If there is a problem with the procedure of judicial appointments, have those legislative changes to be evolved outside the legislature?,” he asked.Jaitley said as someone concerned about the independence of judiciary and the sovereignty of Parliament, he believed that the two can and must co-exist. “Independence of the judiciary is an important basic structure of the Constitution. To strengthen it, one does not have to weaken Parliamentary sovereignty which is not only an essential basic structure but is the soul of our democracy,” he said.

NJAC issue: Back after 6 months, collegium stares at 400 vacancies

As per the data collated by the Department of Justice in the Law Ministry, as on October 1, there were 406 vacancies in the high courts.

No judge could be elevated as chief justice of a high court, transferred to another high court or elevated to the Supreme Court as there was no system in place for the purpose

With the collegium system staging a comeback after a gap of six months, it has its task cut out — to fill over 400 vacancies in high courts and appointing full-time chief justices in eight states. The government on its part will have to decide on nearly 120 recommendations made by the collegium before the system was overturned by the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act (NJAC) which came into force on April 13. In a landmark judgment on Friday, the apex court had struck down as unconstitutional the NJAC Act that was brought in to replace the over two-decade-old collegium system of judges appointing judges in the higher judiciary. The judgment, that will enable the collegium system to continue, also declared as unconstitutional the 99th amendment to the Constitution to bring in the NJAC Act.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As per the data collated by the Department of Justice in the Law Ministry, as on October 1, there were 406 vacancies in the high courts.The approved strength of the 24 high courts is 1,017 and they are at present functioning with 611 judges. The data states that the High Courts of Bombay, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Punjab and Haryana, Karnataka, Patna, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Gauhati have acting chief justices. While the new law scrapped the collegium system, the Chief Justice of India had refused to take part in a meeting with the Prime Minister of the selection committee of the panel under the NJAC law, thus leaving the new system in a limbo.Therefore, no judge could be elevated as chief justice of a high court, transferred to another high court or elevated to the Supreme Court as there was no system in place for the purpose. With no system in place to elevate judges as chief justices of high courts, the high courts of Gauhati, Gujarat, Karnataka, Patna, Punjab and Haryana, Rajasthan and the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana high court are at present headed by acting chief justices.According to Law Ministry officials, Article 223 of the Constitution states that when the office of the Chief Justice of a high court is vacant or when any such Chief Justice is, by reason of absence or otherwise, unable to perform the duties of his office, the duties shall be performed by one of the other judges of the court as the President may appoint for the purpose. Government had used this provision recently to appoint acting chief justices in some high courts. To overcome shortage of judges, government had also recently sought permission of the apex court to give extension to additional judges in various high courts whose tenure of two years was coming to an end. Except for Meghalaya, Sikkim and Tripura, the rest of the 21 high courts faced shortage of judges. The Allahabad High Court had a shortage of 85 judges as on October 1.

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