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Poll code ‘breach’: Gujarat HC rejects plea against PM Narendra Modi

The case pertains to then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi clicking a ‘selfie’ with the party symbol ‘lotus’.

Upholding the lower court’s verdict, the High Court rejected the review petition filed by former Aam Aadmi Party activist Nishant Varma.

The Gujarat High Court has rejected a revision petition seeking to admit a plea against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for alleged breach of the Model Code of Conduct during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Earlier, two lower courts and an investigating agency of the Ahmedabad Police crime branch had already given clean chit to Prime Minister Modi. The case pertains to then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi clicking a ‘selfie’ with the party symbol ‘lotus’, and addressing the media near the polling booth in Ranip area here soon after casting his vote during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On October 27, Justice JB Pardiwala had completed the hearing on the petition and reserved the verdict for Thursday.Upholding the lower court’s verdict, the High Court rejected the review petition filed by former Aam Aadmi Party activist Nishant Varma. The case had assumed special importance as in case of admission of the revision petition, a summon would have been issued to the Prime Minister.

BJP petitions EC for cancelling Aam Admi Party’s registration

Ashwini Upadhyay, a spokesperson of Delhi BJP, has filed the petition before the ECI for deregistering AAP for not “fulfilling” its poll promises of passing Janlokpal Bill and Swaraj Bill, in violation of Model Code of Conduct and Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951.

PTI
Delhi BJP on Wednesday filed a petition before the Election Commission of India seeking deregistration of Aam Admi Party for “violation” of Model Code of Conduct and Representation of Peoples Act.Ashwini Upadhyay, a spokesperson of Delhi BJP, has filed the petition before the ECI for deregistering AAP for not “fulfilling” its poll promises of passing Janlokpal Bill and Swaraj Bill, in violation of Model Code of Conduct and Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951. “During entire election campaigns in 2015 and 2013, AAP leaders including present Chief Minister of Delhi promised to pass Janlokpal and Swaraj Bill within 15 days if AAP gets full majority but after coming to power, AAP government is conveniently ignoring both Bills,” he said in his petition before ECI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Janlokpal Bill and and Swaraj Bill were part of AAP manifestos in 2015 and 2013 but despite the thumping 96 per cent majority in Delhi assembly, both Bills are not enacted into law, he said. Delhi Cabinet passed Janlokapl Bill on February 3 and Swaraj Bill on February 13, 2014 and both Bills are property of Assembly. There is no constitutional or legal impediment in passing them, he stated in his petition.Upadhyay claimed to be actively associated with Janlokpal movement of India Against Corruption.”Petitioner is one of the founder member of Aam Aadmi Party and had been National Council member too. During the 2013 Delhi state election, petitioner was authorised signatory of AAP for election related matters,” Upadhyay stated in his petition. Upadhyay had joined the BJP in last November.

Bihar: AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi arrested for Model Code violation, gets bail

Owaisi, however, denied that he had gone to the place for canvassing and claimed he went there only to offer prayers and not for campaigning.
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dna Research & Archives
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi was on Wednesday arrested on charge of violation of Model Code of Conduct and later released on bail in Bihar’s Purnia district, an official said.Owaisi was allegedly making an election speech at a religious place when a police team from Baisi police station arrested him and brought to the respective police station where he was booked in a case for holding public meeting without prior permission from the authorities and under loudspeaker act, District Magistrate Balamurugan D confirmed.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Owaisi, however, denied that he had gone to the place for canvassing and claimed he went there only to offer prayers and not for campaigning.The AIMIM president was later released on bail on personal bond of Rs 10,000 after spending about an hour at Baisi police station where he was questioned by police for the purpose of his visit to the place, he said.The AIMIM leader was on a visit to Purnia district to campaign for Gulam Sarvar, his party’s candidate from Baisi assembly constituency. He later left for Kishanjganj.

No red-flag from Election Commission, PM Modi to do ‘Mann ki Baat’ this Sunday

It has not found any violation of model code in Modi’s previous episode of the programme in September, they said.

Prime Minister should avoid referring to the Bihar elections or make political statements in the programme: EC

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the country this Sunday with a fresh episode of ‘Mann ki Baat’ as the Election Commission is said to have not red-flagged its broadcast in the wake of model code of conduct imposed in Bihar.Sources in the EC on Thursday said that as of now there was no “black and white” order issued to Information and Broadcasting Ministry on the broadcast of Prime Minister’s radio programme. It has not found any violation of model code in Modi’s previous episode of the programme in September, they said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The sources, however, said that the Prime Minister should avoid referring to the Bihar elections or make political statements in the programme as the state is going through Assembly polls and it would be a violation of the model code.The Election Commission had in September given the go-ahead to the airing of Modi’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme on September 20 provided nothing is said that may be construed as inducement to voters or having an impact on poll-bound Bihar where model code of conduct is in force.Representatives of the ‘grand alliance,’ including RJD and JD(U), had approached the EC seeking suspension of the programme till Bihar polls were in progress, raising doubts that it might be used it to influence voters. The programme was aired even during Haryana, Maharashtra and Delhi Assembly polls.The Congress had accused the PM of violating the model code in his October 3, 2014 episode. But the Commission “did not find anything” in the broadcast which constituted violation of the model code of conduct.

Bihar polls: EC should punish BJP leader Giriraj Singh for violating Model Code of Conduct, says JD (U)

The JDU on Saturday condemned the remarks over beef made by senior BJP leader Giriraj Singh, saying that he has a habit of making provocative remarks and thus the Election Commission should take cognizance and strict action against him.

The Janata Dal (United) on Saturday condemned the remarks over beef made by senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Giriraj Singh, saying that he has a habit of making provocative remarks and thus the Election Commission should take cognizance and strict action against him.”Giriraj Singh is the same leader who said that those not voting for BJP should go to Pakistan. The Election Commission should take cognizance of his statement and should take strict action against him for repeatedly violating the Model Code of Conduct,” JD (U) leader K.C. Tyagi told ANI.Earlier, Giriraj Singh made another off-the-cuff, bizarre remark by saying that the difference between beef and mutton is the same as the difference in the relationship with wife with sister.His comment came after a forensic test confirmed that the meat found in Mohammed Akhlaq’s house, who was beaten to death over rumours that he had stored beef at his residence, was mutton and not beef. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Bihar Polls: Election Commission to review poll speeches of PM modi

Additional Chief Electoral Officer (ACEO) R Lakshamanan said the model code conduct committee under the Munger district magistrate would look into the PM’s speeches.
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PTI
Election Commission will review Prime Minister Narendra Modi speeches on Thursday to see if anything has been said which violates the model code of conduct.Additional Chief Electoral Officer (ACEO) R Lakshamanan said the model code conduct committee under the Munger district magistrate would look into the PM’s speeches. He was replying to questions whether Election Commission would probe words like ‘shaitan’ and ‘Yaduvanshi’ used by the prime minister during his speeches in Munger and other places today.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is a standard practise to review speeches of all political leaders to see if there is any violation of model code of conduct,” Lakshamanan added.Addressing an election rally at Munger during the day, the prime minister had said RJD chief Lalu Prasad cannot absolve himself of his controversial beef remarks by claiming that it was the “shaitan” (devil) on his tongue which made him say it.”I want to know how the shaitan got the address (of Prasad) … He recognises that it was the shaitan in a manner that is similar to people recognising their relatives.”Ridiculing Prasad’s remarks that it was the ‘devil’ under whose influence he made the beef remarks, Modi said “So far we were fighting (political rivals) human beings. Now a shaitan has entered a human body which is after us.” The PM also blamed RJD chief for insulting “Yaduvanshis” by his utterances.”What all did he (Prasad) eat? It (the remarks) insulted the Yaduvanshis … Laluji these Yaduvanshis helped you to come to power. Was it not an insult of Yadavs and Bihar?” he said.The PM made similar reference in his speeches at Begusarai and Samastipur too.

Bihar polls: EC show cause notice to Sushil Modi for poll code violation

Modi had allegedly made these promises to dalits and mahadalit voters on Monday during an address to an election meeting in favour of a candidate.

The Election Commission tonight issued a show cause notice to Sushil Modi for allegedly offering freebies to voters in Bihar and said in its opinion the BJP leader has violated the model code in force in the poll-bound state. An FIR has already been lodged on Monday against the former deputy chief minister of Bihar for allegedly inducing voters by promising colour TVs to ‘dalits’ and ‘mahadalits’, laptops to students and money to buy dhoti-saris to the poor.Sushil Modi had allegedly made these promises on Monday during an address to an election meeting in favour of BJP candidate Anand Bhusan Pandey. “Whereas the Commission is prima facie of the opinion that by making the aforesaid statement you have violated the above said provisions of Model Code of Conduct; Now, therefore, the Commission gives you an opportunity to explain your stand in making the above said statement by 3 pm of October 6, 2015 failing which the ECI shall take a decision without further reference to you,” the notice read.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The EC reminded him that giving any gift, offer or any promise to any person with an object of inducing to vote or refrain from voting at an election is an offense of bribery under section 171 (8)1171(E) of IPC and corrupt practice under section 123 (1) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. In the notice, Sushil Modi has been referred to by the EC as a ‘star campaigner of BJP’.

Bihar polls: Election Commission summons Lalu Prasad Yadav for casteist remarks

An FIR was lodged against Lalu on Tuesday in Bihar for allegedly making casteist remarks.

The RJD supremo had described the assembly elections as a direct fight between “the backward castes and forward castes”

The Election Commission on Thursday slapped a show cause notice on RJD chief Lalu Prasad, saying prima facie he had violated the model code of conduct by allegedly making casteist remarks in the run up to Bihar assembly polls. “…the Commission is, prima facie, of the opinion that by making the aforesaid statements, you have violated the… provisions of Model Code of Conduct…the Commission gives you an opportunity to explain your stand in making the above said statements on or before 3 pm of October 6, 2015, failing which the ECI shall take a decision without further reference to you,” the notice said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An FIR was lodged against Lalu on Tuesday in Bihar for allegedly making casteist remarks. Read more here.Launching his campaign from Raghopur, the RJD supremo had described the assembly elections as a direct fight between “the backward castes and forward castes” and gave a call to Yadavs and other backward castes to rally behind the secular alliance to defeat BJP-led NDA. While issuing the notice, the EC reminded him that “promoting feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes of citizens on the ground of religion, race, caste, community or language” is an electoral offence under section 125 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and also an offence under section 153A and section 505(2) of the IPC.The notice is based on a report submitted to the EC by Bihar Chief Electoral Officer Ajay Naik.

Bihar polls: Sinking BJP resorting to offering freebies to stay poll relevant, says JD(U)

Janata Dal United JD(U) spokesperson and former diplomat Pawan Verma on Wednesday described the Bharatiya Janata Party unit in Bihar as a sinking political ship that was offering freebies to the people of the state to stay poll relevant.

Janata Dal United JD(U) spokesperson and former diplomat Pawan Verma

Janata Dal United JD(U) spokesperson and former diplomat Pawan Verma on Wednesday described the Bharatiya Janata Party unit in Bihar as a sinking political ship that was offering freebies to the people of the state to stay poll relevant. He was responding to the filing of a case against Sushil Modi, the president of the Bihar unit of the BJP for trying lure voters by promising them free laptops, colour TVs and sarees during his public address ahead of the state assembly polls. “An FIR was lodged against Modi on the charge of alluring voters on Monday at his public meeting in Bhabhua, the district headquarters of Kaimur,” a district police official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Modi, who was Bihar?s former deputy chief minister, had reportedly promised the freebies during his public rally at Bhabhua. “Sushil Modi is resorting to such tactics, because he knows the desperate condition in which the BJP is in Bihar today, and therefore, is deliberately utilising every means available in order to somehow, save their electoral ship from sinking. This kind of action by Sushil Modi is direct evidence of both the sinking fortunes of the BJP and a clear and direct violation of the Model Code of Conduct,” Verma told ANI. “What Sushil Modi is doing is an open violation of Model Code of Conduct. To lure the illiterate by blatantly giving away laptops and other gifts; it doesn’t even need an enquiry. It is a direct violation of the Model Code of Conduct. There is verifiable evidence; the Election Commission should take action,” he added.Elections in Bihar to elect the 243-member assembly will be held in five stages between October 12 and November 5. Counting of votes will take place on November 8.

No special concessions for special trains in Bihar: EC tells Railway Ministry

The EC has asked the chairman of Railway Board to ensure that no special concessions are allowed for any special train leaving or entering to any station in Bihar without prior permission of it.

The Election Commission (EC) has warned the Railway Ministry against giving special concessions for special trains being run to and from poll-bound Bihar till the Model Code of Conduct is in force.The EC was responding to complaints made by the Congress-RJD-JD (U) alliance that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is using state machinery to seek political gains in Bihar. The EC has asked the chairman of Railway Board to ensure that no special concessions are allowed for any special train leaving or entering to any station in Bihar without prior permission of it.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It also sought to know why no special permission was taken regarding such movement even after the model code came into force at 2.30 p.m on September 9, when EC had announced the Bihar election schedule. The term of the 243-member Bihar assembly comes to an end on November 29. Polls in the state will begin on October 12 and end on November 5. Counting of votes will take place on November 8.

No bar on PM Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’, says Election Commission

Seeking permission, the ministry of information and broadcasting clarified on September 17 that the subject matter of Mann Ki Baat in no way violates the poll code as it is being addressed by the PM in his official capacity.

In a decision that is bound to receive flak from the opposition parties, the Election Commission has found nothing objectionable in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann Ki Baat to be broadcast on September 20.Several parties, including the Congress, the JD(U) and the RJD, had approached the Election Commission on Wednesday seeking suspension of PM’s radio address ‘Mann ki Baat’ until completion of the Bihar elections. In a letter to the poll watchdog, they said that permitting Prime Minister to use the official mass media would give him and the BJP an unfair advantage.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seeking permission, the ministry of information and broadcasting clarified on September 17 that the subject matter of Mann Ki Baat in no way violates the poll code as it is being addressed by the PM in his official capacity.Responding to the secretary of ministry of I&B, the EC said, “the commission has no objection to the broadcast of the programme Mann Ki Baat over All India radio and Doordarshan subject to the condition that nothing be said therein that may be construed as inducement to voters or as having any impact in election bound state of Bihar where the Model Code of Conduct is in force from September 9 to November 12, 2015.”However, in a related matter the ECI has pulled up the ministry of railways on movement of special trains. Responding to a complaint by several MPs and leaders of opposition parties including K C Tyagi and Pawan Verma of JD (U), KTS Tulsi and Randeep Singh Surjewala of Congress and Manoj Jha of RJD for running special trains between Patna – Mumbai and Patna-Raipur at the behest of RSS functionary Sharad Joshi on 60% concessional fare, the EC has asked the secretary, Railway Board why permission was not taken in this regard even after the enforcement of MCC and ensure that no special concession be allowed in respect of any special train leaving from any station in Bihar or coming to any station in Bihar without prior permission of the EC until November 12, 2015.

JD(U) joins Congress in objecting to PM Modi’s next ‘Mann ki Baat’

Anwar further said that at least during the elections, Prime Minister Modi should stop doing this or else everybody should be given the equal opportunity on radio.

The Janata Dal (United) on Wednesday backed the Congress Party’s move to approach the Election Commission (EC) to stop the broadcast of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ before the Bihar elections, saying the latter would endorse his agenda during the programme.”Prime Minister Narendra Modi would endorse his ideas, his government’s policies during the ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme. He doesn’t discuss issues that are related to the people during the programme,” JD (U) leader Ali Anwar told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister propagates his own agenda and interests via this medium and this must be stopped,he added.Anwar further said that at least during the elections, Prime Minister Modi should stop doing this or else everybody should be given the equal opportunity on radio.The RSS chief’s (Mohan Bhagwat) speech gets directly broadcast on radio. This is a misuse of power. They are adopting wrong means of promotion, and this should be banned at least till the elections, he added.The broadcast of Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme is scheduled for Sunday.According to reports, the Congress is citing the Model Code of Conduct, which is presently in place for the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections as the reason for opposing the ‘Mann ki Baat’ program.

Rs 1.65 cr cash, liquor seized in Bihar ahead of Assembly elections

Patna: As part of intensive drive to check the use of money and violation of Model Code of Conduct, Rs 1.65 crore unaccountable cash, 10,386 litres of liquor and 100 kg marijuana were seized on Monday from different parts of Bihar ahead of state assembly elections .

Additional Chief Election Officer R Lakshmanan told reporters that Rs 1.38 crore cash was seized from a car in an area under Rampur police station area of Gaya.

Representational image. Image courtesy: AFP

Representational image. AFP

Senior Superintendent of Police Gaya Manu Maharaj told reporters at Gaya that preliminary probe revealed that a Mumbai based company’s vehicle was carrying Rs 1.65 crore for ATMs of two PSU banks.

But, the cash was being carried in violation of norms laid down under model code of conduct, the SSP said adding Income Tax department officials have been involved in the probe into the matter.

Elsewhere, Rs 13 lakh unaccounted cash were seized from under Kotwali police station in Patna, Lakshmanan said.

Besides, Rs 6 lakh were seized in Vaishali, Rs 1.40 lakh in Madhubani, Rs 2.70 lakh in Bhojpur and Rs 2.90 lakh in Nalanda among others, he said.

Lakshmanan said seizures were made during intense search of vehicles on a regular basis in accordance with model code of conduct.

The Additional CEO said that during raids 10386 litres unlicensed liquor was seized from across the state. Besides, 100 kg of marijuana was seized in Khagaria district, he added.

Giving more details, he said a total of 27 cases were registered under Defacement in Public Property (wall writing, posters, banners etc), 24 under Defacement of private property and 22 of misuse of vehicle (beacon, light and flag).

On law and order front, seven unlicensed arms/weapons were seized and also 12 cartridges.

In addition, 769 non-bailable warrants were executed and a sum of Rs 4,15,133 collected as fine in vehicle checking.

Proper frisking of passengers and luggage was carried out at Jayprakash Narayan Airport in Patna, he said.

PTI

Jitan Ram’s son Praveen Manjhi gets bail, continues to be interrogated by IT dept

Praveen Manjhi was detained by the police in Bihar’s Jehanabad region on Sunday after Rs 4.65 lakh was recovered from him.

Praveen Manjhi

Photo Courtesy: ANI Twitter
Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi’s son Praveen Manjhi was granted bail on Sunday, but is still being interrogated by the Income Tax Department at the Makhdumpur Police station.Manjhi was detained by the police in Bihar’s Jehanabad region on Sunday after Rs 4.65 lakh was recovered from him. Praveen has been detained as the Model Code of Conduct is effective in Bihar ahead of the assembly polls. A spokersperson of Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha has told ANI that the money was for paying a contractor as some construction work was going on. He has also asked Election Commission to probe if this police action was taken on behest of the Bihar government. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also read: Jitan Ram Manjhi’s family targeted because he is dalit, says partyFormer JD(U) leader Jitan Ram Manjhi had a bitter fallout with his political mentor Nitish Kumar. He was stripped of the post of CM, and Manjhi later formed a new outfit. Currently he is in an alliance with the BJP and looking to finalise the seat sharing deal for the upcoming Bihar elections .

Dr.Subhash Chandra speaks at world’s largest residential youth conference

Indian International Model United Nations 2015 is the world’s largest residential youth conference.

Taking the Dr. Subhash Chandra (DSC) Show to the next level, Essel Group & ZEE Chairman, Dr. Subhash Chandra, addressed over 3000 students from 30 different nations at the 4th Indian International Model United Nations (IIMUN) at Aamby Valley on Thursday, August 20. IIMUN 2015 is the world’s largest residential youth conference and is run completely by students in the age group of 16-22 years. It provides the youth a platform to voice their opinions by forwarding their drafted resolutions to the United Nations.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hosting a mega-episode on the topic ‘There is no shortcut to success’ at IIMUN 2015, Dr. Chandra said, “All of us want to become capable enough to give back to society. To do that, we need to work with passion, purity and patience. Purity, for me, is living in the present. If we do this, our actions are dynamic and we get a positive reaction. Often, when we are working, our minds are distracted by either the past or the future, with the result that the action at that moment is neither pure nor dynamic. Hence, the first key to success is to live in the present.”Elaborating on the topic, Dr. Chandra said, “Sometimes, in our lives, despite our best efforts, we meet with failure. However, failure is a part of success. We feel failure only when we accept it and make it a part of our lives. At times, we need to realize that certain things are not going to be successful and just move on with our lives. Failure, in fact, teaches us more than success.”Dr. Chandra further added, “When we study the success stories of different people, we notice that there are certain qualities like happiness, dedication, punctuality, alertness, positivity, honesty and humility that they all possess. When these important qualities work together, they make the person successful in every sphere of life.”Dr. Chandra’s DSC Show has successfully completed over 50 episodes travelling to various cities across India, including Mumbai, New Delhi, Noida, Kolkata, Jaipur, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Ghaziabad, Pune, Jalandhar, Chandigarh, Manipal, Gurgaon and now Aamby Valley.The show is aired every week on Saturday at 10 pm on Zee News and 7pm on Zee Business and on Sundays at 11 am on both Zee News & Zee Business. The show is also aired on other channels of Zee Media Corporation Limited.

Skill India Mission: Govt plans to launch initiatives to promote entrepreneurship among youth

The Skill Card will be given to those certified under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) — the government’s flagship scheme to impart skills training to people.
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dna Research & Archives
Pushing ahead with its ambitious Skill India mission, the government is planning to launch on July 15 a number of initiatives aimed at developing skills and promoting entrepreneurship among youth. These include a redesigned Model Skill Loan Scheme, Skill Card for persons certified under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana and the new National Policy for Skill Development.Prime Minister Narendra Modi will formally launch the programmes at a mega event on July 15 — the World Youth Skills Day. The government has set a target of skilling 40.2 crore people by 2022, and the initiatives are aimed at realising this objective.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The initiatives to be launched include the recast Model Skill Loan Scheme; National Skill Mission; the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana; a Skill Card; etc.” a senior official said.”The Model Skill Loan Scheme has been simplified to make the process for sanctioning loans easier. We are also going to link it with the credit guarantee fund so that banks’ risk on giving small loans is reduced,” said the official.The Skill Card will be given to those certified under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) — the government’s flagship scheme to impart skills training to people.”When you receive a skill certification it is in the form of a paper. You cannot carry that. So it will now be in the form of a card which you can carry in your pocket. There is a QR code on the card. You can read the QR code on the mobile device for the purpose of authentication, whether it is genuine or not,” the official said.Earlier this month, the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister had cleared an institutional framework for the National Skills Mission, and also approved the first integrated national policy for developing skills and promoting entrepreneurship.The mission will have a three-tiered, high powered decision making structure, with its governing council being chaired by the Prime Minister.The new National Policy for Skill Development policy is the country’s first integrated national scheme for developing skills and promoting entrepreneurship at a large scale and was recently approved by the Union Cabinet. It acknowledges the need for an effective roadmap for promotion of entrepreneurship as the key to a successful skills strategy.The previous National Policy on Skill Development was formulated by the Ministry of Labour and Employment in 2009 and provided for a review after five years to align the policy framework with emerging national and international trends.

Swaraj, Raje ‘taken care of’, is RSS next on radar, tweets Digivjay Singh

“By celebrating Yoga Day on Hedgewar’s death anniversary, is Sangh on his radar ? You never know. I won’t be surprised.” “He has already taken care of Sushma ji and Vasundhara ji. This is the Gujarat Modi Development Model ! My way or the Highway !”, the Congress General Secretary said in a series of tweets.

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PTI
Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Thursday wondered whether the RSS was now on his “radar” as he had already “taken care” of Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje.”By celebrating Yoga Day on Hedgewar’s death anniversary, is Sangh on his radar ? You never know. I won’t be surprised.” “He has already taken care of Sushma ji and Vasundhara ji. This is the Gujarat Modi Development Model ! My way or the Highway !”, the Congress General Secretary said in a series of tweets.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Swaraj has been at the centre of a row for helping tainted former IPL chief Lalit Modi in getting British travel documents, while Raje is accused of pushing for his immigration plea. Singh cautioned Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Home Minister Rajnath Singh that they could be targeted next.”Hiren Pathak and then Advaniji who saved him from being sacked Murli Manohar Joshi. Arunji and Rajnathji pl beware you may be the next!”, he said in a tweet. “I am not surprised. He sincerely believes in removing the ladder on which he climbs up. Vaghela Keshubhai Kashiram Rana Hiren Pandya,” Singh tweeted referring the BJP veterans in Gujarat.Noting that Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, the RSS founder, died on June 21st 1940, Singh said, “Modi celebrates his death anniversary as Yoga Day to promote himself”. Singh also claimed that Modi has already started “burying” Sangh Economic Policy by going extreme Right. “Ask Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh Kisan Sangh and Swadeshi Jagran Manch”, he added.

Can’t act against parties not fulfilling poll promises: Election Commission

“On the issues of parties failing to fulfil their manifesto pledges, the EC has no constitution power. But on the Supreme Court’s order it has, after consultation with all recognised political parties, framed guidelines to be followed for election manifesto,” the election body said in an RTI reply.

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The Election Commission has said that it has no power to take action against political parties if they fail to deliver on their election promises even as it urged them to desist from making such commitments.”On the issues of parties failing to fulfil their manifesto pledges, the EC has no constitution power. But on the Supreme Court’s order it has, after consultation with all recognised political parties, framed guidelines to be followed for election manifesto,” the election body said in an RTI reply.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the direction on the election manifesto in part 8 of the Model Code of Conduct, it has been stated that the Supreme Court had on July 5, 2013 ordered the EC to frame guidelines in this regard in consultation with all recognised parties.The SC had said that a separate head for manifesto guidelines could be included in the ‘Model Code of Conduct for the Guidance of Political Parties and Candidates’.The EC had thereafter discussed the issue with the representatives of all political parties. While some of the parties had agreed to the idea of framing guidelines on poll manifesto, others had dismissed it, saying that they have the right to make manifesto pledges in a democracy.The EC has in principle agreed to the political parties’ assertion that drafting a manifesto is their right but said that for the fair conduct of elections and to accord a level playing field to all parties and contesting candidates, it can’t disregard the effect of poll promises and freebies.The election body has also asked all the political parties to desist from making promises that bear consequences on the poll outcome.

Mumbai model’s rape in police custody: Blame it on the defects in Indian law

The recent report of the arrest and alleged rape of a Mumbai model by a police officer is yet another instance of the outrageous country-wide misuse of the ambiguity of prostitution in Indian law. Although in this case three cops and five others, reportedly informers, have been arrested, in most cases such incidents end up victimising or even blighting the lives of the accused.

The in-custody ordeal of the model, as reported by Indian Express, is a classic case of how policemen with wrong law and order priorities and wilful intent of exploitation can target women with impunity. They can indulge in assault, shaming, extortion and even rape as they wish. The consequence that the victims suffer are often lifelong and irreversible.

Representational image: ReutersRepresentational image: Reuters

Representational image: Reuters

According to the Indian Express report, the model had gone to a city hotel to meet the producer of a movie and was coming out with a male friend when she was intercepted by a six-member team in the parking lot declaring that it was a “raid”. She was subsequently taken to a police station where she was raped and assaulted and robbed off her valuables. She was finally let out with a petty fine for creating “public nuisance”. She claimed that her male friend had to pay Rs 4.35 lakh.

Such raids in hotels in which “models” and “actresses” are arrested for “immoral activities” is quite routine in India and make media headlines. However, nobody knows what happens next – whether they are found guilty or not. But what’s certain is that that victims, and often their families, are maligned for life.

The recent sensational arrest of a prominent Telugu actress on such grounds from a luxury hotel in Hyderabad is a case in point. While she was in a rescue home following the arrest, some sections of the media published her alleged submission of guilt, which was denied by her on her release. While the media went after the prurient details of her alleged rendezvous and the arrest, nobody cared for the rights of the actress and if any law was misused by police. Unless the police had unimpeachable evidence of an organised racket and proof that she resorted to “prostitution” close to a “public place”, there was no chance of any illegality. In fact, under Indian law, it’s mostly third parties who can be deemed guilty. However, the summary of her story was that her career was more or less finished with this single incident.

The alleged conduct that empowers the police to arrest and harass women is prostitution. But the funny fact is that prostitution is not illegal in India and only certain activities that surround it can justify police and legal action. The clause that the police can use is solicitation by the woman and acts of pimping, running a brothel, trafficking etc. In a hotel, if a man and woman meet and have sex in their privacy, there is absolutely no violation of law even if money changes hands. Still the police target “actresses” and “models”, go out of their way to raid hotels, and and engage in naming and shaming through the media. In a bizarre case in 2013, local police had rounded up 56 couples from a hotel in Ghaziabad and kept them in police custody.  Similar raids and “arrest of actresses” are also common in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.

The only legal instrument the police can use on cases related to alleged prostitution is the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA), which incidentally does’t allow their intervention in situations like that of the Mumbai model even if she indeed had some liaison with the producer. But, what the police use are the clauses on trafficking, solicitation, brothel keeping etc which are cognizable offences in which they can raid without a warrant. In almost all such cases, they find no illegality and finally charge the victims with silly offences under the IPC. In the case of powerless women, including sex workers, they charge solicitation and get them remanded. In the case of the Mumbai model, reportedly, after the arrest, abuse and rape, she was finally charged with the petty offence of “public nuisance”.

The written submission of the Lawyers Collective to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Amendment Bill 2006 illuminates such pitfalls and vividly captures the situation that the Mumbai model was trapped in. It said: “It is well known that powers conferred on law enforcement officials; both under the ITPA as well as local police enactments such as Bombay Police Act are grossly misused to threaten and extract favours from sex workers either in the form of bribes or free sex.”

It also highlighted the risk of allowing lower level police officers in pursuing such cases. “Reduction in the rank of the Special Police officer will only aid police personnel in lower ranks to abuse statutory powers, flout legal norms to violate fundamental rights and civil liberties.” In the case of the Mumbai incident, it appeared so true that the victim got relief only when she directly reached out to the city commissioner. Lawyers Collective further noted: “It is a cardinal principle of law that where such powers are conferred they should be vested in high officials so that the possibility of misuse is minimal.”

The plight of the Mumbai model, and that of many others who end up in police custody, is the one of the reason why legal experts and activists have been asking for comprehensive amendments to the ITPA. An Amendment Bill was introduced in the Parliament in 2006, which proposed to decriminalise soliciting, while inserting several other clauses that would have continued to aid the harassment by police in the name of search, raid and rescue to prevent trafficking as well as prostitution close to public places among others. However, the Bill lapsed. The Bill would have rectified a few issues, but would have continued to cause trouble.

The problem is legal and conceptual clarity. In fact, prostitution was not illegal in the original Indian law – Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act (SITA) – itself. When it was amended in 1986, it was further clarified that only “sexual exploitation or abuse of persons for commercial purposes” was illegal. In a 1995 judgement, the Delhi High Court had also made it unambiguous that “prostitution itself is not a criminal offence. What is punishable under the Act is sexual exploitation of abuse of persons for commercial purposes….”

Still, the police lay traps to nab women in hotels and violate their rights because there are still enough loopholes to suspect cognizable illegality. At the end of the day, the victim may walk out free, but not before life-altering traumatic experiences as the Mumbai model has reportedly suffered.

“In Delhi, civilians rape women… In Mumbai, it’s the police,” is what she model has reportedly said.

The ITPA needs urgent revision, and most importantly, the powers of the police must be vested only with senior and responsible officers.

Kashmir headed for Governor’s Rule as Omar decides to quit as caretaker CM

Srinagar: The political impasse in Jammu and Kashmir has taken a new turn with Omar Abdullah deciding not to continue as caretaker Chief Minister, arguing that the state needed a full-time administrator to deal with the situation along the border with Pakistan.

Caretaker CM of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah. PTI

Omar met state Governor NN Vohra in Delhi last night soon after his return from London after a 12-day visit to his ailing parents and is understood have conveyed that he wished to be relieved of the position of caretaker Chief Minister.

He was asked to continue as caretaker Chief Minister on 24 December after his resignation in the wake of defeat of his party, National Conference (NC), in the Assembly poll on 23 December. NC could manage only 15 seats. PDP emerged as the single largest party with 28 seats followed by BJP with 25 in the 87-member House.

Following the hung verdict, BJP has been in touch with both NC and PDP for government formation but nothing concrete has emerged so far to break the deadlock. NC does not appear to be in favour of joining hands with BJP and PDP is struggling to convince its cadres for a tie up with the saffron party.

The new government is required to be constituted before 19 January when the term of the current Assembly expires failing which Governor’s rule looks inevitable. Omar’s decision means such a rule may have to be imposed earlier.

The Governor, according to the sources, will now be submitting a report to the President in which he may recommend a spell of Governor’s rule to avert a Constitutional breakdown.

Omar is believed to have told Vohra that it was not possible for him to provide relief as a caretaker Chief Minister to the people along the border in Jammu where constant shelling has led to loss of houses and migration to safer places. He was not in a position to help people affected by the floods in the Valley who are facing a harsh winter.

Sources said Omar has conveyed to the Governor that nearly 10,000 people have been dislodged along the International Border and Line of Control due to escalated tension between Indian and Pakistani forces.

Omar reasoned that the state effectively did not have a government since October last week after the Model Code of Conduct came into force for the Assembly polls, the sources said.

Omar has already put the onus on his arch-rival PDP for pushing the state to a Constitutional crisis. “I don’t envy the @jkpdp having to explain the imminent imposition of central rule when they’ve had a credible offer of support from @JKNC,” Omar had tweeted on Wednesday.

The state is witnessing such a stalemate for the second time in 12 years. A similar situation had arisen when Farooq Abdullah had asked the then Governor G C Saxena to relieve him of being a caretaker Chief Minister as PDP and Congress were taking a lot of time in cobbling up numbers to form the government.

Despite intervention by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Abdullah refused to continue as the caretaker Chief Minister and the Governor’s rule had to be imposed for a fortnight from October 18, 2012.

PTI