|NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – SATURDAY, APRIL 21, 2018
FRONT PAGE NEWS
A Congress-led grouping of Opposition leaders on Friday met Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and submitted an impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, seeking his removal on five counts of “misbehaviour”, including alleged acceptance of illegal gratification in a certain court matter.
The Opposition submitted a motion signed by 71 MPs, seven of whom have since retired. Among the valid signatories were 64 MPs from seven parties — Congress, NCP, CPI, CPM, SP, BSP and IUML. Two other opposition parties – TMC and DMK , have for now, stayed away.
As the Congress explained the motion’s merits, Kapil Sibal said it had been moved “with a heavy heart”. He said in the event of acceptance of the motion by Naidu, the CJI should refrain from delivering judgments as per past convention.
A Judge of the Supreme Court can only be removed by an order of the President passed after an address by each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting has been presented to the President in the same session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.”
Naidu may, after due consideration and consultation, admit or refuse to admit the motion. If he does admit the motion, he will be required to set up a committee of three members: one each from amongst (i) the Chief Justice and other Judges of the Supreme Court; (ii) Chief Justices of the High Courts; and (iii) distinguished jurists. Obviously, given that the notice is against the Chief Justice himself, he cannot be a member.
The report of the committee, containing its findings on each of the charges separately, along with its observations, will be placed before the House. If the Committee absolves him of the charge of any misbehaviour, the motion will rest where it is. It will not be proceeded with.
Hours after the Congress and six Opposition parties gave a notice for moving an impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, two senior Congress leaders and former Law Ministers expressed their reservations.
While Ashwani Kumar said the move will be “counter-productive” arguing that the “the remedy cannot be worse than the malaise,” Salman Khurshid said that he was “saddened” at the developments. Another former Law Minister M Veerappa Moily, who had earlier opposed the plan to move an impeachment motion, declined to comment.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not sign the petition. Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram and AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh too were not signatories.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said Manmohan Singh was “deliberately” kept out since it was a Constitutional issue and he was a former prime minister. “As for others, we did not want them to be embarrassed since their (legal) matters are pending.”
With the BJP linking the move by seven opposition parties to initiate an impeachment process against the CJI to the Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss the pleas for an independent probe into the death of special CBI judge B H Loya, Finance Minister Arun Jatiley on Friday termed the motion as “revenge petition”.
“It is a revenge petition after the falsehood of the Congress Party has been established in the Justice Loya death case,” Jailtey wrote in a blog posted on Facebook. “It is an attempt to intimidate a Judge and send a message to other Judges, that if you don’t agree with us, fifty MPs are enough for a revenge action.
“The charges read out are issues those which have been settled by judicial orders or by precedent. Some issues are stale, trivial and have nothing to do with judicial functions.”
Jaitley also criticised the judiciary, saying “the single greatest threat” to an independent judiciary is “the divided court itself.” Asking four senior Supreme Court judges — Justices J Chelameswar, Madan B Lokur, Ranjan Gogoi and Kurian Joseph — whether they had checked the facts on Loya case before commenting on it during a press conference on January 12 on the functioning of CJI Dipak Misra, Jaitley wrote, “Is the impeachment motion filed today a direct result of the press conference? Does this impeachment set a precedent that political parties in India will use impeachment as an instrument to intimidate judges hearing controversial matters?”
In multiple tweets, Jaitley stated, “The Supreme Court judgment in Judge Loya case has exposed every fact of the conspiracy to generate falsehood as propaganda in the public and political space… It has shaken democratic conscience that national political parties, a few retired judges and some senior lawyers so closely identified themselves with the generation of falsehood that they almost come out as conspirators.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday arrived in Germany after wrapping up his visit to the UK where he attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and held a series of bilateral meetings. He met German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a brief stopover in Berlin.
Meanwhile, India’s national flag was pulled down and burnt by Pakistan-backed pro-Khalistani and Kashmiri protesters at London’s Parliament Square on Wednesday. Subsequently, the British foreign office apologised for the flag-burning incident. Indian authorities from the MEA, for their part, said they expected legal action against the people who were involved in the incident.
Another diplomatic flashpoint between New Delhi and Islamabad emerged over Prime Minister Modi’s revelations regarding the surgical strikes conducted by the Indian Army in 2016 during his ‘Bharat Ki Baat, Sab ke Saath’ programme in London. Pakistan rejected Prime Minister Modi’s remarks on the surgical strikes across the Line of Control in 2016 as “false and baseless”.
The Democratic Party on Friday sued President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the Russian government and the Wikileaks group, claiming a broad illegal conspiracy to help Trump win the 2016 election.
The multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court says that “In the Trump campaign, Russia found a willing and active partner in this effort” to mount “a brazen attack on American Democracy,” which included Russian infiltration of the Democratic Party computer network.
Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said the party’s suit “is not partisan, it’s patriotic.” “If the occupant of the Oval Office won’t protect our democracy, Democrats will. It is our obligation to the American people,” Perez said.
While the White House did not comment on the lawsuit, the Trump campaign called the lawsuit “frivolous,” and a “last-ditch effort to substantiate the baseless Russian collusion allegations by the nearly-bankrupt Democratic Party.” “This civil lawsuit is completely without merit and will be dismissed in due time,” the campaign said.
The suit prompted Trump to send a Friday evening tweet that called the Democrats “obstructionist” and promised a counterattack based on his longstanding assertion that Clinton committed a crime with her personal email server.
North and South Korea have set up a telephone hotline between their two leaders – the first time such a direct line of communication has been set up.
Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in are due to meet later this month for the first inter-Korean summit in over a decade.
Officials from both sides conducted a successful test call.
The hotline was established between the South’s presidential Blue House and the North’s state affairs commission, which is headed by Mr Kim.
Blue House officials had earlier said Mr Moon and Mr Kim were likely to hold a telephone conversation before their face-to-face meeting.
Prince Charles will succeed his mother Queen Elizabeth-II as the Head of the Commonwealth after the heads of government on Friday agreed on his succession, a day after the 91-year-old monarch said it was her “sincere wish” that her son would succeed her in the role “one day”.
“Today we have agreed that the next head of the Commonwealth shall be his royal highness Prince Charles,” British Prime Minister Theresa May said Friday evening after a day of talks with Commonwealth leaders at Windsor Castle.
“For my part, the Commonwealth has been a fundamental feature of my life for as long as I can remember, beginning with my first visit to Malta when I was just five,” Prince Charles said in his welcome speech at Buckingham Palace.
The Gujarat High Court on Friday acquitted former minister Mayaben Kodnani and 17 others in the 2002 Naroda Patiya riots case while upholding the life term for another key accused Babu Bajrangi, but with reduced period of 21 years.
The HC also held three others guilty from among the 29 acquitted by the special SIT court earlier. Unhappy with the verdict, the advocate for the victims said they would challenge it in the apex court.
On February 28, 2002, 97 people were killed in Naroda Patiya locality on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, a day after the Godhra train carnage in which 59 kar sevaks of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad were allegedly burnt alive.
It was one of the nine cases investigated by a Special Investigation Team of the CBI constituted at the behest of the Supreme Court. In August 2012, the special SIT court held 32 persons, including Babu Bajrangi and Maya Kodnani, guilty and acquitted 29 others.
Bajrangi, the former chief of the state Bajrang Dal, was sentenced to life imprisonment “till his death” while Kodnani was awarded 28 years in jail. She, however, is out on bail on health grounds for the past few years.
Maya Kodnani’s family hit out at social activist Teesta Setalvad, accusing her of falsely framing Kodnani in the massacre case.
After months of bitter division and two days of intense deliberations, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Friday omitted a contentious phrase “no understanding” from the official draft political resolution. The Sitaram Yechury camp claimed victory, as delegates from at least 11 states backed his “alternative minority view” to keep a tactical understanding with the Congress open to defeat the BJP in the upcoming general election — a proposal which was rejected by CPM central committee by 31-55 votes in January.
A faction, led by former general secretary Prakash Karat, had however maintained that though the main task of the CPI(M) was to defeat the BJP and its allies by rallying all the secular and democratic forces, but “this has to be done without having an understanding or electoral alliance with the Congress party.”
The Delhi Forensic Science Laboratory has confirmed that the vaginal swabs of the eight-year-old Kathua rape and murder victim matched with that of the accused, one of the strongest evidences in the case that sparked nationwide outrage. The Delhi lab examined 14 packets of evidence — containing vaginal swabs, hair strands, blood samples of four accused, viscera of the deceased girl, the girl’s frock and salwar, simple clay, and blood stained clay — sent to it between March 1 and 21.
A senior FSL official said the lab tested the samples and found them positive for rape. The lab also confirmed that the DNA samples of the accused matched those collected by the police. According to the official, the report of the tests had been submitted to the J&K Police Crime Branch on April 3.
Standing by his statement that Internet existed in the age of the Mahabharata, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb Friday said that the Narendra Modi government’s feat of sending “104 satellites a year to space” authenticates what is said in Mahabharata, Ramayana and Upanishads about India’s “most developed science” in ancient times.
The 46-year-old maintained that only those who don’t want to accept that “Bharat had a great civilisation” were opposed to what he had said. According to Deb, 99 per cent of India believes in the “greatness” of Bharat and its civilisation.
Left with a large number of vacant seats, engineering colleges have approached the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to reduce intake by almost 1.3 lakh B.Tech and M.Tech seats from the new academic year starting July. According to the AICTE’s provisional data, 83 engineering institutes that collectively offer 24,000 seats have applied for closure. Another 494 colleges have sought permission to discontinue some undergraduate and postgraduate engineering programmes, which would reduce the national intake by another 42,000 seats. That apart, 639 institutes have requested the regulator to reduce their intake by 62,000 seats collectively.
The AICTE hasn’t taken a final decision yet but it is likely to accept all requests for winding up of colleges. It had decided last year to facilitate closure of technical institutions even if applicants are not able to procure No Objection Certificates from the state governments.
Top Army commanders have favoured a collective approach in bringing the radicalised youth of Jammu and Kashmir into the mainstream and focus on minimising collateral damage in anti-terror operations in the state.
The commanders, at a six-day conference which began on Monday, also delved into a host of issues, including the situation along the borders with China and modernisation of the force with a limited budgetary allocation, a senior Army official said.
Director General Staff Duties Lt General AK Sharma said the commanders confabulated on the prevalent situation in the Kashmir valley and reviewed recent developments affecting the modus operandi of the operations of the armed forces deployed there. “It was felt that priority must be accorded towards ushering in peace by conducting counter-terrorist operations that minimise collateral damage,” he said.
Security forces have been facing stiff opposition from Valley residents some of whom had resorted to stone throwing at them in certain areas. Sharma said the commanders felt that radicalised youth must be brought into the mainstream by carrying out de-radicalisation initiatives and favoured a collective approach that focuses on convincing the youth to shun violence and gun culture.
Taking a u-turn, the Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that it was willing to amend the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act, 2012, to provide for death penalty for those convicted of raping children.
Earlier, the Centre had on February 1 told the Supreme Court that it was against death penalty for those guilty of raping minors.
The change in the govt’s stand comes amid nationwide agitation over the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, that has attracted national and international media attention.
Swedish DJ and record producer Avicii, one of the biggest stars of electronic dance music (EDM) in Europe, was found dead on Friday at the age of 28, his U.S. publicist said.
Avicii, whose real name is Tim Bergling, died in Muscat, Oman.
No cause of death was given, and it was not known why the musician was in Oman.
Avicii, known for international hits like “Wake Me Up” and “Hey Brother,” announced in 2016 that he was retiring from touring, but he kept making music and was nominated for a Billboard music award earlier this week.
News of his death shocked the EDM community and fans, particularly in Europe, where he was a popular attraction at festivals and dance clubs.
Skipper Sunil Chhetri led from the front with a brace as Bengaluru FC thrashed 10-man East Bengal 4-1 to win the inaugural Super Cup football tournament, in Bhubaneswar yesterday.
Chhetri converted a penalty in the 69th minute before exploiting poor marking by the East Bengal defence to head in his second in the 90th minute.
An accurate header by Rahul Bheke (40th) and a superb finish by Nicolas Fedor, popularly known as Miku, in the 71st minute brought the other goals for Bengaluru.
East Bengal striker Ansumana Kromah (28th) had put the Kolkata giants in the lead with an excellent volley. Chhetri was declared the Man of the Match while Miku was declared the Man of the Tournament.
Bengaluru had missed out on the Indian Super League title after falling in the final. Despite topping the pool stage by a big margin, the Blues were beaten in the title clash by Chennaiyin FC.
Shane Watson smashed his third IPL century as Chennai Super Kings moved to their new ‘home’ Pune in style by producing a comprehensive 64-run win over Rajasthan Royals on Friday.
CSK, forced out of Chennai due to the Cauvery dispute, were shepherded by the 36-year-old Australian, who hammered 106 from 57 balls to lead his side to a challenging 204/5 after being invited to bat.
Three early wickets pegged Royals back and they were all out for 140 in 18.3 overs.
Chennai now have 3 wins from 4 matches while Rajasthan have 2 wins from 5.
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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible. – Francis of Assisi
“Doctor, I’d like you to evaluate my 13 year-old son.”
“OK: He’s most likely suffering from a transient psychosis with an intermittent rage disorder, punctuated by episodic radical mood swings, but his prognosis is good for full recovery.”
“How can you say all that without even meeting him?”
“I thought you said he’s 13?”
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Newsletter April 21, 2018
April 25, 2018