WHAT WAS MECHANISM TO PICK ELECTION COMMISSIONER ARUN GOEL: SC TO GOVT
The Supreme Court yesterday asked the Centre to produce before it today the file related to the appointment of retired IAS officer Arun Goel as an Election Commissioner a day after he took voluntary retirement.
“What is the mechanism by which this officer was picked?” a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Justice KM Joseph asked Attorney General R Venkataramani.
A 1985-batch Punjab-cadre IAS officer, Goel was due to retire on December 31, 2022. He, however, took voluntary retirement on November 18 and was appointed Election Commissioner a day after. He took charge on November 21.
The Bench – which also included Justice Ajay Rastogi, Justice Aniruddha Bose, Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice CT Ravikumar – sought to know if there was any “hanky-panky” in Goel’s appointment after advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing one of the petitioners, raised the issue to highlight the manner in which appointments to the Election Commission were made.
“I take serious objection to this and have my reservations to the court seeing the file amidst the hearing of a Constitution Bench,” Venkataramani pointed out, saying there was no order against making the appointment.
“But an application was there... We are not sitting on judgment over the appointment… If everything is hunky-dory… everything is going on smoothly, as you claim, you have nothing to fear…” Justice Joseph told the Attorney General. As Venkataramani said “we are in the framework of a larger question”, Justice Joseph said the issue of the new appointment was interlinked.
During the hearing, the Bench suggested that the inclusion of the Chief Justice of India in the consultative process for these appointments would ensure independence of the Commission. Any ruling party at the Centre “likes to perpetuate itself in power” and can appoint a “yes-man” to the post under the current system, it said.
As the Bench insisted on the file of Goel’s appointment being produced before it on Thursday, Venkataramani wondered if it was trying to suggest any underlying malice about the accountability of the Council of Ministers. “No, we just want to know for our satisfaction. Let’s know the mechanism you adopted,” the Bench responded.
MANY NATIONAL HEROES DENIED FAIR SHARE OF HISTORY BY PAST GOVTS: NIRMALA SITHARAMAN
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said India had not had a fair share of history of national heroes who deserved to be on the top of agendas and books.
Speaking on the eve of the 400th birth anniversary of the legendary Ahom general Lachit Barphukan, whose life and times the Assam Govt is celebrating at a three-day event that commenced here today, the FM said the Lachit Barphukan-led Ahom military repelled 17 attempts of invasion and created a strategic threshold that protected not just Assam but entire South East Asia.
“In 70 years, we have not had a fair share of history for those who deserved to be mentioned at the top of the agenda, top of the books, top of the chapters of what kind of contribution, remarkable strategic experiences these people have had. The Ahom kings have been extraordinary in making sure that Assam and its neighbourhoods are kept safe from invasions. Between 1228 till 1671, they held fort and repelled 17 attempts at invasions under Lachit Barphukan’s leadership. It was not easy at all,” the FM said, urging the Assam Govt and the Union Culture Ministry to display the exhibition on the general’s exploits across Indian universities.
RAHUL GANDHI JOINED BY PRIYANKA IN YATRA THROUGH MP
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was today joined by sister and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra this morning as his Bharat Jodo Yatra moved through Madhya Pradesh.
The Yatra, which started on September 7, completed its Maharashtra leg and entered the BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh yesterday.
Today, Congress supporters led by the Gandhis started the march from Borgaon in Khandwa. They will visit the birthplace of Tantia Bheel, freedom fighter and tribal icon, before proceeding to Khargone.
PAK GOVT-ARMY STALEMATE OVER NEXT MILITARY CHIEF ENDS
The Shehbaz Sharif-led govt in Pakistan confirmed on Wednesday that it had received from the defence ministry a summary on the appointment of the next army chief, days before Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa is due to retire. The announcement laid to rest speculation, claims and counter claims about a deadlock between the govt and the army over who would get what is arguably Pakistan’s most important post after the prime ministership once the incumbent bows out on November 29.
In possibly his last public speech as chief of army staff before retiring on November 29, Gen Bajwa said, “Our army, which day and night serves the nation, is often made the subject of criticism. A major reason for this is the army’s interference in politics for the last 70 years, which is unconstitutional.” The general claimed that under him, the army made a conscious decision to move away from that template. “This is why, in February last year, the army decided not to interfere in any political matter. I assure you we are adamant on this and will remain so,” he said. Gen Bajwa rued that instead of welcoming the military's decision, “many sectors used very inappropriate and undignified language while making the army the target of severe criticism”.
SUPREME COURT OKS HANDOVER OF TRUMP TAX RETURNS TO US CONGRESS
The US Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the way for the imminent handover of former President Donald Trump's tax returns to a congressional committee after a three-year legal fight.
The court, with no noted dissents, rejected Trump’s plea for an order that would’ve prevented the treasury department from giving six years of tax returns for Trump and some of his businesses to the Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means Committee. Alone among recent presidents, Trump refused to release his tax returns either during his successful 2016 campaign or his four years in the White House, citing what he said was an ongoing audit by IRS.
It was Trump’s second loss at the Supreme Court in as many months, and third this year. In October, the court refused to step into the legal fight surrounding the FBI search of Trump’s Florida estate that turned up classified documents. In the dispute over his tax returns, the treasury department had refused to provide the records during Trump’s presidency. But the Biden administration said federal law is clear that the panel has the right to examine any taxpayer’s return, including the president’s.
POLICE FIRING MAY’VE BEEN ‘UNPROVOKED’: ASSAM CM
The Assam cabinet issued an order on Wednesday restraining cops from using “lethal weapons” in situations involving civilians, coinciding with CM Himanta Biswa Sarma conceding that the police firing in which five Meghalaya villagers were killed in a border area the previous day may have been “unprovoked”.
The CM’s statement and the cabinet’s move, including its decision to request the CBI to probe the incident, appeared to be part of a firefighting strategy after Sarma’s Meghalaya counterpart Conrad Sangma warned that “things are not going to be the same” when the neighbours resume talks to settle disputes at the last six border flashpoints.
Sarma said the clash had nothing to do with the decades-long border dispute that was partially settled in March through talks under the direct supervision of Union home minister Amit Shah. His counterpart Sangma had also delinked the clash that led to the firing from the border issue, albeit suggesting that the deaths had “affected the overall situation” along the still disputed portions of the inter-state boundary.
PILOT DISMISSES ‘GUJJAR THREAT’ TO CONG YATRA IF HE IS NOT MADE CM
Rajasthan Congress leader Sachin Pilot distanced himself Wednesday from Gujjar politician Vijay Bainsla’s warning that his community would oppose Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra when it reaches the state if the former deputy CM isn’t made the CM.
Instead, Pilot diverted the attention to BJP, saying the party is worried about Gandhi’s national unity march and its politicians want to disrupt it. But the people of Rajasthan and Congress will make it a “historic” yatra in the state, he said. Pilot attended the yatra’s state coordination committee meeting presided over by CM Ashok Gehlot in Jaipur Wednesday morning, but left early. He said he was scheduled to go to Madhya Pradesh to join Gandhi there. The uneasiness between Gehlot and Pilot was perceptible.
Bainsla, who heads the Gurjar Arakshan Sangharh Samiti, has threatened to oppose Gandhi’s yatra in the state unless his demands—including making Pilot, a prominent Gujjar face, the CM— are accepted. Bainsla is the son of the late Col Kirori Singh Bainsla. He has also accused the state’s Congress govt of not fulfilling the promises made to the community.
WHY IS YOUR FACE TURNING INTO SADDAM? HIMANTA SARMA ASKS RAHUL GANDHI
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s comparison of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has triggered a sharp response from the Congress, which condemned Sarma for being a “petty troll”.
During a public rally in Ahmedabad Tuesday, Sarma spoke of Gandhi who has been sporting a beard during the ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra.
He said: “I just saw that his looks have also changed. I said in a TV interview a few days back that there is nothing wrong with his new look. But if you have to change the looks, at least make it like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel or even Jawaharlal Nehru will do. It is better if it looks like Gandhiji. But why is your face turning into Saddam Hussein?” “This is because the Congress culture is not closer to Indian people. Their culture is closer to people who have never understood India,” he added.
At a press conference in Ahmedabad on Wednesday, Congress leader Manish Tewari said, “I would not even like to dignify this diatribe with my reaction. I think it is very important that we maintain the decorum of language in public and maintain some propriety. The CM of Assam unfortunately sounds like a petty troll when he articulates sentences of this type.”
ADITYA THACKERAY PAYS COURTESY VISIT TO NITISH KUMAR AND TEJASHWI YADAV
Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray) leader Aditya Thackeray on Wednesday called on Bihar Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav. Aaditya was accompanied by Rajya Sabha MPs Anil Desai, Priyanka Chaturvedi and other leaders of the party, the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) faction said in a statement.
Talking to reporters after meeting Thackeray, Tejashwi said he also had plans to visit Mumbai but it could materialise due to his busy schedule. "Everyone saw what happened in Maharashtra... together we destroyed BJP in Bihar, our only agenda is peace in the country. May the country progress, there should be discussion on the issues of development and taking everyone along," he said.
"I used to talk to Tejashwi ji earlier too when our govt was in power. Nitishji's govt is doing good work in Bihar. If everyone who wants to work for the constitution, development, industry, employment and development in the country, if they keep talking, they will be able to do something good in the country," said Thackeray.
SC AGREES TO LIST PLEA AGAINST GOVT FOR NOT CLEARING COLLEGIUM RECOMMENDATIONS
The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday agreed to list a petition seeking direction to the Centre to immediately notify recommendations made by the Collegium for the appointment of judges.
A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud agreed to list the matter after advocate Prashant Bhushan mentioned it for urgent listing.
Alleging the Centre had been “indefinitely sitting” on the names recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium for appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and high courts, the petitioner, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, urged the top court to direct the Centre to notify all pending appointments unanimously recommended/reiterated by the collegium. The govt must notify recommendations for the appointment of judges to various high courts made by the Collegium that had not been responded to by the Centre for more than six weeks. Important constitutional positions can’t be left vacant merely because of the “inaction” of the govt and its “politically motivated interference in the judicial appointment process”, it contended.
AFTAB WILL KILL ME, CUT ME INTO PIECES, SHRADDHA TOLD POLICE IN 2020
Shraddha Walkar had two years ago complained to police in Maharashtra that her live-in partner Aftab Poonawala, who is accused of brutally murdering her, tried to kill her and she feared he would cut her into pieces and throw her away, an official said in Mumbai on November 23.
In the complaint letter dated November 23, 2020, Walkar also alleged that Poonawala used to beat her up and his parents were aware of it.
Poonawala (28) allegedly strangled his live-in partner Walkar and sawed her body into 35 pieces which he kept in a 300-litre fridge for almost three weeks at his residence in South Delhi’s Mehrauli area before dumping them across the city over several days past midnight. The murder occurred in May this year.
She had later withdrawn her complaint.
PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMAL ACT: DRAFT PROPOSES SEVERAL CHANGES
In a move to overhaul the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act-1960, the Centre has proposed to introduce 61 amendments in the six-decade-old law, including provision of three-year jail for committing “gruesome cruelty” and five-year imprisonment for killing an animal.
The draft Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, (Amendment) Bill-2022 has been prepared by the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying. The ministry has made public the draft Bill and sought public comments till December 7, 2022.
“Gruesome cruelty…shall be punishable with a minimum fine of Rs 50,000 which may be extended up to Rs 75,000 or the cost may be decided by judicial magistrate in consultation with the jurisdictional veterinarians whichever is more or with the imprisonment of one year which may extend up to three years or with both,” reads the draft proposal.
The draft proposes a maximum 5-year imprisonment, along with a fine, for killing an animal. For this, a new clause, Section 11(B) has been proposed.
The draft also proposes insertion of a new Section 3A, which provides ‘five freedoms’ to animals. “It shall be the duty of every person having charge of an animal to ensure that the animal in his care or under his charge has: 1) Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition; 2) Freedom from discomfort due to environment; 3) Freedom from pain, injury and diseases; 4) Freedom to express normal behaviour for the species; and 5) Freedom from fear and distress.
UAE BARS ENTRY OF SINGLE-NAME FLYERS: AI
People who go by just a single name, without a separate first/given and surname, will no longer be allowed to enter the UAE on visit, employment and temporary visas or visa on arrival, according to new guidelines of the country. They will not be issued a visa and in case the same was issued previously, then such passengers will be treated as inadmissible by immigration with immediate effect, says a circular issued by Air India and AI Express on November 21. This change will not affect UAE resident card holders.
The UAE decision could spell trouble for a large number of Indians who go by a single name only and have only that one name on their passports.
AXE ‘TOXIC BEHAVIOUR’ CHAPTER IN CLASS IX ENGLISH TEXTBOOK: DELHI CHILD RIGHTS BODY
The chairperson of Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has written aletter to the NCERT director and sought removal of the chapter-III titled ‘The little girl’ of Class IX English textbook. “It normalises violent masculinity, perpetuates patriarchy and promotes toxic behaviour in the family,” DCPCR chief Anurag Kundu claimed.
The chapter is based on a young girl called Kezia who is portrayed to be scared of her father. On grandmother’s suggestion, Kezia makes a pin-cushion for her father’s birthday gift. However, the girl stuffs her case with some papers on which her father has written a speech that he is about to give. Her angry father beats her with a ruler.
“In the story, grandmother and mother are unable to stand up to the father when he beats Kezia. The mother mentions that being a good girl means she needs to serve her father. This portrayal of women is at odds with the kind of gender-equal society we aspire to build. Secondly, it teaches children to accept violence at home,” says Kundu.
FOOTBALL WC: JAPAN STUN GERMANY 2-1
As if taking a cue from Saudi Arabia who shocked Lionel Messi-led Argentina on Tuesday, Japan stunned Germany 2-1 in Group E of the World Cup.
Japan's Bundesliga players took matters into their own hands, giving their opponents a taste of their own medicine.
In the days before the match the Japanese waxed lyrical over the contribution of Germany and its coaches for helping to develop the game in the country in the decades after World War Two. But when they left the pitch at Doha's Khalifa stadium as sensational winners they had clearly outsmarted their teachers.
Strikes from Freiburg's Ritsu Doan and VfL Bochum's Takuma Asano, who struck from fellow Bundesliga player Ko Itakura's deep free kick, gave the Asians their first ever win over Germany.
It was the two scorers, both substitutes, who woke their team up from their first half slumber.
In true German tournament fashion, Japan refused to surrender even after a one-sided first half in which Germany had 16 efforts on goal and possession of over 70%. Japan won the game with just 26% possession.
In the other matches yesterday, the results were thus:
Morocco 0-0 Croatia (Group F)
Spain 7-0 Costa Rica (Group E)
Belgium 1-0 Canada (Group F)
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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
I've grown to realize the joy that comes from little victories is preferable to the fun that comes from ease and the pursuit of pleasure. - Lawana Blackwell
People are going on dates now to coffee bars. This is the worst idea. Unlike in a regular bar, four cappuccinos later, your date still doesn't look any better.