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Tag: commission

Delhi government to impose penalty on defaulting contractors

The Delhi government will impose a fine on defaulting contractors for delaying completion of developmental work in all unauthorised colonies. Minister of Irrigation and Flood Control Gopal Rai has asked officials to take measures ensuring all the projects underway are completed well within the deadline.The move came a day after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia directed officials concerned to speed up the pace of development works in all the unauthorised colonies in the national Capital.”The department will take appropriate action against the contractors including a penalty for failing to complete the work as per deadline,” an official said.Residents of the 1,600 unauthorised colonies play a pivotal role in deciding the political fate of any party in the elections. The government directive also comes at a time when the city is likely to go to by-polls following the disqualification of 20 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs by the Election Commission (EC) for allegedly holding an office of profit. The matter, however, is sub-judice with the AAP having challenged the EC’s order in the Delhi High court.The official said that a fortnightly review meeting will be held with the chief and the superintending engineers of the concerned circle to assess the progress of projects.”On similar lines, a protocol of review of all the cases on a weekly basis will be followed up by the superintending engineer with the executive engineer,” he further said. Any laxity in compliance with the order will be viewed seriously and action will be taken against the erring officer, according to the official.”In cases, where the circumstances of delay are beyond the control of the department, a fresh timeline will be prescribed after taking into consideration all the constraints in the process of execution of the project.”It will be the responsibility of the superintending and executive engineers to ensure the project is completed within the revised timeline,” the official said.

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BJP ready to go to polls with or without Shiv Sena: Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis

The BJP was ready to fight polls with or without the Shiv Sena, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today said. He, however, added that the BJP desired that the two parties fought polls together.”I do not read or listen to anybody in the party (Sena) because there is just one person who takes all its decisions. And I have good relations with Uddhav ji (Sena chief Thackeray). I keep meeting him on and off,” Fadnavis said.He was speaking at a programme organized by a news channel here in suburban Bandra.Fadnavis further said, “I think we will fight the polls together. However, we are ready to fight it this way or that way.”To a query regarding the spate of suicides at Mantralaya despite the government’s farm loan waiver, Fadnavis said these incidents had no connection with the present government.”One person who committed suicide had complaints pertaining to the MPSC (Maharashtra Public Services Commission) paper he had answered in 2013. The other was a convict who had a written a letter to the Chief Justice to have his sentence reduced,” he said.”Dharma Patil (a farmer who consumed poison and later died in hospital) had received a compensation of Rs 3 lakh from the previous government but then said he wanted a higher compensation. According to the law, once the compensation is accepted, it cannot be changed,” he added.Replying to a query on former Congress leader Narayan Rane’s induction into the NDA despite his alleged criminal records, Fadnavis said that Rane, as per his (Fadnavis) knowledge, had no case against him. Fadnavis added that Rane would be given a ministerial berth or an appropriate position at the right time.In reply to another query on NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s praise of Rahul Gandhi, Fadnavis said that there couldn’t be worse days for Pawar if he had to praise the Congress leader.

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Maharashtra Assembly Polls 2014: Bombay HC dismisses petition by Cong leader alleging EVM tampering

The Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed an election petition filed by Congress leader Abhay Chhajed seeking annulment of the election of his BJP rival in the 2014 Assembly poll on the ground of alleged tampering of electronic voting machines.Chhajed, who lost the election from Parvati constituency in Pune to BJP’s Madhuri Misal, had alleged that his defeat was caused due to rigged EVMs.His petition said he received fewer votes than expected from booth numbers 185 and 242. Chhajed had told the court that while 89 electors from the two polling stations had sworn affidavits stating that they had voted for him, yet he received only 69 votes from there.Also readDelhi HC rejects PIL against Assembly proceedings on ‘EVM tampering’Following his plea in May last year, Justice Mridula Bhatkar had directed the state government and the Pune district collector’s office to send the EVMs to CFSL Hyderabad for forensic test to check whether those could have been tampered with.In a detailed judgement today, Justice Bhatkar dismissed Chhajed’s plea, saying there was no evidence of foul play. She also cited the CFSL report, which had said the EVMs were tamper-proof.Also readRe-election will be by EVM: Twitter reacts to EC recommending disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs”The Election Commission confirmed that the EVMs were provided by an expert committee and not chosen by any election official himself. The CFSL and expert committee reports show that the procedure followed assures complete exclusion of any kind of tampering in the EVMs. Accordingly, the petition is dismissed,” Justice Bhatkar said.She, however, added that the Election Commission must endeavour to use Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines at all polling booths in future elections so that electors know their votes went to candidates of their choice.

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Rape allegations against me politically motivated: Arunachal CM Prema Khandu

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu today termed the rape allegations made against him by a woman last week as “false” and “politically motivated” and said he has full faith on the National Commission for Women (NCW) to decide on the merits of the case.A woman had filed a complaint with the National Commission for Women (NCW) alleging that Khandu had raped her in 2008. The complaint was filed on February 15, the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the state.”I am shocked and saddened by the false allegations against me. I have always conducted myself honourably and with utmost integrity. In my view, these allegations are politically motivated and crafted by my opponents,” Khandu has said in a statement issued by his office yesterday.It is unfortunate that they have resorted to such “dirty tricks” to bring “disgrace” to political life of Arunachal Pradesh, he said.”I have full faith on the authority, before which this matter currently stands, will do justice. There is no doubt that truth will prevail over this mala fide campaign against me,” the chief minister said.Every sensible person should reject and condemn such “lowly acts” of “dirty” politics, he said.The woman had first lodged a complaint against him in December 2015, a few months before Khandu became the chief minister.Back then, the Itanagar Police made a preliminary enquiry on receipt of the complaint.The complainant then approached the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) with her allegations.The court, however, found no merit in the complaint and dismissed it by mentioning that “the complaint filed under Section 156(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code is devoid of any merit and complainant is not entitled for the orders as prayed for”.”The entire episode is in public domain for scrutiny and the chief minister’s office believes that citizens of the state can now clearly see through the conspiracy being hatched against the CM who is growing in popularity by the day for his strict decisions to root out corruption,” the statement added.

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Canadian PM Justin Trudeau should respect Indian sentiments: Sunil Jakhar

Congress leader Sunil Jakhar on Thursday said that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should respect the sentiments of the Indian government.”Prime Minister Trudeau should respect the sentiments of the Government of India, especially the people of Punjab. He is the head of state and he had assured that Canada will not support terrorism in any form to Captain Amarinder Singh,” Jakhar told the news agency.The Congress leader’s statements come after a convicted Khalistani terrorist Jaspal Atwal, who was active in the banned International Sikh Youth Federation, posed with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife Sophie Trudeau at an event in Mumbai on February 20, during the Canadian first family’s visit to India.Also read Watch: Justin Trudeau tongue-tied after he is asked why ‘he invited a Khalistani terrorist to his reception’However, the Canadian High Commission on Thursday confirmed that the invitation to Khalistani terrorist to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s reception has been rescinded.”The High Commission has rescinded Mr.Atwal’s invitation. We do not comment on matters related to the PM’s security,” Canadian Consulate in Mumbai told the news agency.Also readCanadian PM Justin Trudeau visits Delhi’s Jama Masjid, stays mum on Khalistani terrorist’s presence at his Mumbai event Jaspal Atwal was convicted of the attempted murder of Punjab minister, Malkiat Singh Sidhu, on Vancouver Island in 1986.At the time of the 1986 shooting, he was a Sikh separatist active in the pro-Khalistan International Sikh Youth Federation. He and three others were convicted in 1987 of trying to kill Malkiat Singh Sidhu.Trudeau, who is in India on a week-long State visit, has been under pressure throughout his tour to answer Indian concerns about Sikh separatism in Canada.

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Give me justice or no rape victim will believe anyone: Arunachal woman

Women and girls who get raped or molested need to be given justice on time or they will never believe anyone, person or institution, said a woman from Arunachal Pradesh, who has allegedly accused incumbent Chief Minister Pema Khandu and two others of raping her in July 2008.Addressing media in the national capital on Saturday evening, two days after she had formally submitted her detailed complaint before the National Commission of Women (NCW), the victim said, “I have filed the complaint against three men, including Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu. Till now, I have not got a proper response from either the police or the court. Both are saying it is a case of fraud, which is untrue. We (lawyer and I) have approached the National Commission for Women with the help of an NGO. If I don’t get justice here also, then victims suffering like me, will not believe anyone.””I will fight against this till my last breath because I am right. Many people on social media are saying that I am doing this to get popular or for money. But, I can?t play with anyone?s life just for money. Why would I file a fake complaint against anyone. The NCW should think about it and take action,” she added.The victim said that she was from Arunachal Pradesh’s West Siang District and that she had filed the complaint on Thursday through her lawyer Rashmi Bhati under Section 10 of National Commission for Women Act.She has accused Khandu, Phurpa Lama Thumpeen Tashi, a teacher of the Tawang Higher Secondary School, and Dorjee Wangchu of gang-raping her when she was in an intoxicated state at the Tawang Circuit House in July 2008.Bhati told ANI, “She came to us through an NGO. We heard details of her ordeal and decided to just give her a chance. We filed a complaint with NCW.”Earlier, Bhati had said, “The victim was and is very scared. This courageous woman has filed her complaint before the National Commission for Women in Delhi nearly three years after gathering the courage to do so.”NCW member Rekha Sharma who has additional charge as Chairperson of the institution said, “The NCW has received a complaint in this regard. The commission is going through the documents, and it will be seeking a legal advice, since the matter was dismissed by a court in Arunachal Pradesh. So after going through the complaint, the NCW will react on the matter.Chief Minister Khandu, however, has categorically rejected the alleged rape charge, and described it as politically motivated and crafted by his opponents.In a signed statement issued from his office on Saturday, Khandu said, “I am shocked and saddened by these false allegations against me. I have always conducted myself honourably and with utmost integrity. In my view, these allegations are politically motivated and crafted by my opponents.”He further said, “It’s unfortunate that they have resorted to such dirty tricks, bringing disgrace to the political life of Arunachal Pradesh. I have full faith in the competent authority before which this matter currently stands and believe that they will do justice. There is no doubt that truth will prevail over this malafide campaign against me. I have already initiated legal actions for making such false and defaming allegations against me.”

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Activists slam Naliya rape panel for delaying report

Questioning the delay in the hearing to be made by Naliya Rape commission, activists said the panel was to give its report within three months.”The notification clearly states that the commission was to submit its reports at the earliest, and not later than three months from the date of its first sitting,” said Gautam Thakkar, another member of the forum of concerned citizens for Naliya incident.Pradipsinh Jadeja, minister of state for law and justice, however, said it was up to the commission. “We have formed the commission, given them an office and allotted them, staff, too. Perhaps the delay is because of administrative bottlenecks on their part. The government has done its job now it is up to the commission,” said Jadeja.Meenakshi Joshi, a member of the forum who has been pursuing both the justice department as well as the commission to make a representation in the matter, said, “It has been almost a year. The commission has not even made a public announcement seeking representation in the matter”. “Usually, when a commission is set up, it makes a public announcement thro-ugh newspapers seeking representation from anyone who wishes to make one in the concerned matter. No such thing happened in this case even after a year of the commission being formed. We don’t know if the commission’s first sitting has happened,” said Joshi.She said they too have approached the commission, but all they have received is assurance that they would soon be called for representation. “This is perhaps the first commission in the history of Gujarat to have been formed and even after a year the case has not progressed to seek statements from anyone,” said Joshi. She questioned the forming of the panel in Ahmedabad when all the affected were from Kutch.MINISTER SPEAK“We have formed the commission, gave them an office and allotted sta-ff. The delay is perhaps due of administrative bott-lenecks on their part. The government has done its job. Now, it is up to the commission,” Pradipsinh Jadeja, minister of state for law and justice, said.

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Consumer forum orders insurance co to pay claim to customer

State consumer court recently ordered New India Assurance Company to grant a claim to a customer, which the company had previously rejected saying that the customer was suffering from a congenital disorder that is not covered under insurance.According to a press release by Consumer Education and Research Centre, Ahmedabad-based Natwar Patel had medical insurance from New India Assurance for his son Chintan. Later on, Chintan was diagnosed with haemolytic anaemia and spherocytosis. It results in anaemia, jaundice and enlargement of the spleen. City-based Dr Bhauman P Maniyar operated upon him in September 2009, incurring an expense of Rs 1,23,142. Natwar lodged a claim for Rs one lakh before the insurance company. Third Party Administrator – MD India Healthcare Services (TPA) Pvt. Ltd. – rejected the claim on the grounds that Chintan’s health condition was a hereditary disorder and not covered by the policy.Dr Maniyar certified that a hereditary disease is not a congenital defect and are covered by mediclaim policies. Moreover, at the time of commencement of the policy the patient’s family was unaware that he had hereditary spherocytosis. The symptoms arose only about a month before the surgery. He said the expenses were reimbursable.Natwar approached Consumer Education and Research Society (CERS) for help. A case was filed before the Consumer Forum against the insurance company and the TPA. The Forum ruled in favour of the complainant in its order dated 15 May 2013. It directed New India Assurance Co. Ltd. to pay Rs1,23,142 with 8% interest from the date of repudiation of claim till payment. The company had to also pay Rs. 4,000 as compensation and Rs3,000 towards litigation costs.The insurance company filed an appeal before the Gujarat State Commission. “The insurance company had not produced any evidence showing that at the time of taking the policy the complainant was aware that his son had the condition. So, the disease could not be said to be by birth and hence, it could not be said to be a genetic disorder,” said Pritee Shah, chief general manager of CERC. The Commission dismissed the insurance company’s appeal and upheld the order of the Forum.

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Amit Shah backs under-fire Haryana CM Khattar in Jind

Alleging that central funds used to go down the “gutter of corruption” under the Congress rule, BJP chief Amit Shah today said Haryana has got an honest and transparent government led by Chief Minister M L Khattar after a long time.”Congress people ask us ‘from where do you get so much money to give the state’. “We tell them even they used to give, but the difference is that they distributed it to their cronies and we give it to Haryana state,” Shah said addressing “Yuva Hunkar” (youth power) rally here in which besides 63-year-old Khattar, many of his ministerial colleagues, party legislators and workers reached the venue riding motorcycles. BJP leaders claimed that over a lakh bikers participated in the event, seen as an attempt by the BJP to consolidate its hold on Jind and adjoining areas including Rohtak and Sonepat, strongholds of the predominant Jat community.Jind is also considered to be the nerve centre of Haryana politics. “In this state, chief ministers have gone to jail for corruption and here is Chief Minister Khattar against whom not even a single charge of corruption has been levelled,” Shah said. Under the Congress rule, “the money used to go down the gutter of corruption. But now it flows from the Centre’s treasury into states’ coffers,” Shah said, adding that Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar needs to be congratulated for giving a corruption-free and transparent regime after a long time in the state.Hitting out at the previous Congress government, Shah alleged that “transfer industry used to flourish in Haryana, but now the entire system has been made online and jobs are given on merit.” Referring to the opposition Congress deciding to hold protests demanding that the BJP give an account of its four-year rule, Shah said, “We don’t need to give any reply to the Congress, I have come here to give account to the people of Haryana.” Shah said that Haryana had got liberal funds from the Centre under the Narendra Modi government, and the Khattar government was giving a transparent regime to ensure all-round development.Referring to former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Shah said “Listen Hoodaji, I come here with all accounts to be put before the people. “When the Congress ruled at the Centre and in Haryana, the state got Rs 14,900 crore under 13th Finance Commission and when Modi government came, under 14th Finance Commission the state got Rs 42,000 crore,” he said. “In addition, the state has got funds and grants under different schemes worth Rs 34,000 crore more under the Modi government compared to the previous regime,” Shah said. He alleged that rulers in the past exploited people over caste lines for vote-bank politics, but the Khattar government was taking every section along for all-round development in the state.”In 2014, you gave mandate to Modi ji and later to Khattar ji, I want to say both these governments gave you a corruption-free regime. “Rs 12 lakh crore worth scams and corruption happened during Congress-led governments at the Centre and in Haryana and they were shown the door by the people of this country. We have been in power for four years now, but even our opponents have not been able to level any corruption charge at us,” Shah said. Shah said the every section including the rural poor and farmers feel “that this government is their own”.He said in 2018-19 Union budget, a bold decision of fixing support prices for crops at 50 per cent higher than the cost of production has been made. He said no Congress government took such a step earlier even though they sought votes from farmers.Shah said that even ‘one-rank one-pension’ for ex-servicemen had been lingering for decades, but Modi Government took this decision within one year of coming to power. He said the Modi Government has also brought Ayushman Bharat Yojana to provide quality and affordable health care to nearly 50 crore people across the country. This scheme “Namo Care” (Modicare), billed as the world’s largest government-funded health care programme, is a path-breaking initiative of the central government which would bring a paradigm shift in the health sector, he said.Shah also touched upon other schemes and initiatives of the central government for the poor, women and other sections including insurance, rural electrification and toilet facility for all. “If one starts to talk about all schemes for various sections launched by the Modi and Khattar governments, it will require a week to do so and still that time may not be enough..,” Shah said. Praising the Khattar government, he said Haryana has become kerosene-free. The state took a bold decision to introduce minimum qualification criteria for candidates contesting panchayat elections, he said Shah also lauded the efforts of government towards improving sex ratio.He told party workers to ensure that BJP wins all the 10 Lok Sabha seats from Haryana in 2019. “Today the BJP rules 19 states. Let results (of states going to polls) come on 3rd, these will become 21,” he said.He said Prime Minister Modi wants to create an India “as dreamt by our freedom fighters, our brave soldiers defending our borders, the poor, farmers and school going girls”.Meanwhile, foundation stone laying ceremony of 16 party offices across the state was held and Shah inaugurated one office here. Shah had also camped for three days in Rohtak in August last year as part of his visit to states to strategise and find ways to strengthen the party at the grass-root level.At the outset, the BJP chief today said, “Haryana is the land of the brave soldiers, farmers, players and the youth. Brave soldiers from the state guard the country’s frontiers and have given supreme sacrifices for the sake of this nation.” He also said Haryana helps meet foodgrain needs of the nation.”Haryana tops in bringing laurels in international and national sports events including wrestling,” he said.

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Farmers want Gujarat govt to address price issues

Farmers want the state government to set up an Agriculture Commission to institutionalise the pricing of their produce, so that they are not at the mercy of market forces. This is one of their major expectations from the upcoming budget. They have also sought better electricity and irrigation facilities as well as post-harvest infrastructure to store agriculture products.Sagar Rabari, General Secretary of Khedut Samaj – Gujarat, said that it was necessary to protect the farmers in the state from the vagaries of nature and uncertainties of the market. “Agriculture Commission should be formed at the earliest to evolve scientific methodologies to determine the price of the agricultural crops,” he said. Farmers have asked the state government to set up post-harvest infrastructure in a decentralised fashion so that farmers can wait till their crops fetch remunerative prices, instead of succumbing to distress sales. “It is typical of crops that during season, they grow in plenty resulting prices to drop. Farmers need to be empowered to time the market,” said Rabari.Another major area where farmers want the government to take initiatives is the food processing sector.They want the administration to set up smaller food processing facilities in villages, rather than mega food parks. “Smaller parks will ensure that value addition of crops is done in villages itself leading to higher prices of the produce and job creation in villages to prevent migration to cities,” he added.The state farmers have also asked the government to help them get better irrigation and electricity facilities. Though the government has built the Sardar Sarovar dam, farmers are still not getting enough irrigation water because of the lack of minor canals that still need to be constructed at many places. The central government in its recent Union Budget had announced that farmers will get prices that are 50% higher than their production cost. The NGO wants the government to make the methodology to determine production cost more realistic and transparent.Other demands put forward by the farmers include Rs 10,000-crore corpus for farm debt-waiver, removal of provision of forceful acquisition of land under a plethora of laws, higher loans for farmers, re-inclusion of land that was excluded from irrigation projects, and withdrawal of police cases against agitating farmers, among others.RISE OF THE RURALRural voters had shown anger against gov-ernment during the recent Assembly elections in the state, and they expect the government to take corrective measures as the countdown to the state budget has began. Farmers want the the administration to set up smaller food processing facilities in villages, rather than mega food parks.

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Bizarre: Punjab minister flips coin to decide on posting of lecturers, Congress defends him

In a bizarre move, a Punjab minister took to flipping a coin, purportedly to decide on the right candidate, out of two nominees, for the post of a lecturer in a polytechnic institute.The incident was caught on cameras and aired by television news channels.However, a spokesperson of the Congress government in the state claimed that the minister’s intention was to allot the posts in a “transparent” manner and blamed the media for creating an unnecessary controversy.Two lecturers — one from Nabha and another from Patiala — wanted to be posted to a government polytechnic institute at Patiala. In order to resolve the issue, Punjab Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi decided to toss a coin.The incident took place on Monday when the minister had called 37 mechanical lecturers, who were recently recruited through the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) examination, for giving them their posting orders.Meanwhile, the government spokesman defended Channi’s move.Stating that both the candidates were vying for the same post, he said, “One of them said his scores were better than the other candidate, while the other one said he was more experienced.”The minister had asked them to solve the matter mutually, but they insisted that he should take a decision.The minister then asked them about flipping a coin, to which both agreed.”The spokesman also claimed that the minister’s intention was to allot the postings in a “transparent” manner.

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CBI conducts search operation at absconding godman’s Rohini ashram

A joint search operation was conducted at the absconding Baba Virender Dev Dixit’s ashram in Rohini on Sunday, in connection with the case of illegal confinement of 40 girls inside the ashram.A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team, along with the Delhi Police and Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), reached the north Delhi-based ashram, Adhyatmik Vishwa Vidyalaya, for the investigation.DCW chairman Swati Maliwal, who was present at the spot, said, “It is shameful that Virender Dev Dikshit is still underground and secondly, his ashram has not removed the word ‘University’ from its name despite the high court’s orders. The Baba should be arrested and all his buildings should be demolished.”In December last year, more than 40 girls were rescued in an operation that was carried out at the ashram, after the high court formed a panel consisting of lawyers and Maliwal.On January 30, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) conducted a demolition drive at the ashram, and three cases were registered by the CBI against Dixit, on January 3. On January 4, the Delhi High Court appointed a committee to file a status report in connection with the case.In a February 5 hearing, the Delhi High Court issued a lookout notice against Dixit and ordered the ashram to remove the word ‘University’ from its name on grounds that the University Grants Commission (UGC) prohibits the use of the term by a non-legal entity.”Look at their guts! Despite High Court order, Baba Virender Dixit ashram continues to be called ‘Adhyatmik Vishwavidyalaya’. They have no respect for High Court and law! (sic) tweeted Maliwal.LOOKOUT NOTICEIn a February 5 hearing, the Delhi High Court issued a lookout notice against Dixit and ordered the ashram to remove the word ‘University’ from its name on grounds that the University Grants Commission (UGC) prohibits the use of the term by a non-legal entity.

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How convicted persons run parties, which goes against our verdict about corruption in politics : SC

The Supreme Court today asked as to how a convicted person be an office-bearer of a political party and select candidates for elections, as it was against the spirit of one of its judgements to ensure “purity” of polls.The apex court was hearing a PIL seeking to restrain convicted persons from forming and holding posts in political parties for the period they are disqualified under the election law. “How can a convicted person be an office-bearer of a political party and select candidates to contest elections? This goes against our judgements that corruption in politics is to be ostracised from the purity of elections,” a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said.The bench said that the “pure question of law” was that following the conviction a politician is barred from electoral politics, and being an office-bearer of a party, he can contest polls through agents.”So, is it that what you cannot do individually, you can do collectively through some of your agents?” the bench asked. It said that there was no problem if convicted people open a school and do some philanthropic activities, but the issue was can such persons contest polls through others by forming a political party.The bench said it was a “huge blow to the purity of the electoral process”. Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the Centre, said she would be filing the response to the petition and sought two weeks time, which was allowed. The bench was hearing a PIL filed by lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini K Upadhyay seeking to restrain convicted people from forming political parties and becoming office- bearers during the period they are disqualified. The top court had on December 1 last year sought responses from the Centre and the Election Commission on the PIL and agreed to examine the constitutional validity of section 29A of the Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1951 (RPA), which deals with the power of the poll panel to register a political party.Senior lawyer Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Updhyay, had said that under the statutory schemes, the poll panel was empowered to register political parties, but it lacked the authority under the RPA to de-register them.The plea said convicted politicians, who are barred from contesting elections, can still run political parties and hold posts, besides deciding as to who will become a lawmaker. It has sought a direction to declare section 29A of the RPA as “arbitrary, irrational and ultra-vires” to the Constitution and to authorise the poll panel to register and de-register political parties. The petitioner has also sought a direction to the Election Commission to frame guidelines to decriminalise the electoral system and ensure inner party democracy, as proposed by the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC). The petition said currently, even a person who has been convicted of heinous crimes like murder, rape, smuggling, money laundering, loot, sedition, or dacoity, can form a political party and become its president or office bearer.The petition named several top political leaders who have been convicted or have charges framed against them and are holding top political posts and “wielding political power”. It said the proliferation of political parties has become a major concern as Section 29A of the RP Act allows a small group of people to form a political party by making a very simple declaration. “Presently, about 20 per cent of registered political parties contest election and remaining 80 per cent parties create excessive load on electoral system and public money,” the plea said. The plea also claimed that in 2004, the poll panel had proposed amendment to Section 29A, authorising it to issue apt orders regulating the registration or de-registration of political parties.The Supreme Court today listed for final hearing on March 19 the PIL seeking barring candidates from contesting elections from two seats and discouraging independents from jumping into electoral fray.The petition, filed by Delhi BJP spokesperson and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, has sought declaring as invalid and ultra-virus section 33(7) of the Representation of the People (RP) Act which allows a person to contest a general election or a group of by-elections or biennial elections from two constituencies. The PIL has also sought a direction to the authorities to take appropriate steps to discourage independent candidates from contesting Parliament and state Assembly elections, saying they were often connected with the issue of “fragmented voting” and causing instability in the electoral system.”When a candidate contests from two seats, it is imperative that he has to vacate one of the two seats if he wins both. “This, apart from the consequent unavoidable financial burden on the public exchequer, government manpower and other resources for holding by-election against the resultant vacancy, is also an injustice to the voters of the constituency which the candidate is quitting from,” the plea said.It also said that in July 2004, the Chief Election Commissioner had urged the then prime minister for amending Section 33(7) of the RP Act to ensure that a person cannot contest from more than one constituency for the same office simultaneously.

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No chance given to explain: 20 disqualified AAP MLAs tell Delhi High Court

The disqualified Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs on Monday claimed in the Delhi High Court that they were held guilty of holding office of profit by the Election Commission without giving them an opportunity to explain their stand.The MLAs, all 20 of whom have now filed a plea in the high court against their disqualification, submitted before a bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar that the poll panel had sent its opinion to President Ram Nath Kovind by “flouting the principles of natural justice”.”There was no communication to us (AAP MLAs) from the Election Commission (EC) about the hearing before it. It is in complete violation of natural justice,” senior advocate K V Viswanathan, appearing for some of the MLAs, submitted.Also readOffice of profit: Did not receive benefits as parliament secretaries, say AAP MLAsThe submissions on behalf of the MLAs came during the nearly three-hour-long day-to-day hearing of the legislators’ pleas challenging their disqualification for holding offices of profit.The AAP MLAs counsel submitted that the EC’s order is not only “wrong and erroneous”, it is also “unfortunately not acting fairly” and has failed to discharge its statutory duty.Also readCourt discharges AAP MLA Surender Singh in defacement case”It is also that even a temporary government employer cannot be removed on the grounds of miscounduct without holding a full-fledged inquiry.”However, in the present case, the members of the legislative assembly were removed without holding a full- fledged inquiry and without giving them any opportunity to explain if they ever held any office of profit,” the bench was told.Also readOffice of Profit Case: Relief to disqualified AAP MLAs, Delhi HC orders EC to not take any action before Jan 29The arguments on behalf of the MLAs, which remained inconclusive, will resume tomorrow.The high court had on January 24 refused to stay the Centre’s notification disqualifying the MLAs, but restrained the Commission from taking any “precipitate measures” such as announcing dates for bypolls to fill the vacancies.The EC had recommended the disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs on January 19. The President had accepted the EC’s opinion the very next day.The 20 disqualified MLAs include Adarsh Shastri (Dwarka), Alka Lamba (Chandni Chowk), Anil Bajpai (Gandhi Nagar), Avtar Singh (Kalkaji), Kailash Gahlot (Najafgarh) — who is also a minister — Madan Lal (Kasturba Nagar), Manoj Kumar (Kondli), Naresh Yadav (Mehrauli), Nitin Tyagi (Laxmi Nagar), Praveen Kumar (Jangpura).The others are Rajesh Gupta (Wazirpur), Rajesh Rishi (Janakpuri), Sanjeev Jha (Burari), Sarita Singh (Rohtas Nagar), Som Dutt (Sadar Bazar), Sharad Kumar (Narela), Shiv Charan Goel (Moti Nagar), Sukhbir Singh (Mundka), Vijendar Garg (Rajinder Nagar) and Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar).The Delhi High Court had on September 8, 2016, set aside their appointment as parliamentary secretaries on the grounds that they were appointed without the concurrence of the Lieutenant Governor (LG).

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REET exam: Women’s panel raps anti-cheating steps

Women aspiring to be government teachers were forced to take off their stoles and shawls before writing the REET exam at Jagatpura centre in the city. In an attempt to curb cases of cheating, the education department has taken measures that are found objectionable by the majority.The orders restrict the candidates from wearing ornaments, carrying cellphones, wallets and purses with no proper place to keep them before entering the exam hall.Rajasthan State Commission for Women (RSCW) too has found the procedure inappropriate. “The anti-cheating measures are rather harsh especially for women candidates, the commission will seek a report on these,” said Suman Sharma, chairperson of RSCW.However, most candidates abide to these clauses, but some vent their anguish out in front of the security staff.“They have no provision to keep belongings of the candidates, they expect girls from outside the city to reach the centre at an area unknown to them without a cellphone or even a purse.To ask to take off stole is no less than humiliation,” said a female candidate at REET center at Sanskar Public School.

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Lure voters by gifts: Chandrakant Patil

Maharashtra Minister Chandrakant Patil has yet again created controversy by asking BJP party workers to visit the voters’ household and offer them gifts in return of votes in the local body elections. Speaking at the party workers meeting in Sangli, he added that the same practice could be implemented in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. “We have enough budget provision,” said the BJP minister. The opposition slammed Patil and demanded his resignation. “We will complain to the Election Commission for violating the election code of conduct openly. BJP wants to win elections by buying the voters,” said Sachin Sawant, the spokesperson of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC).“In the next four months, BJP workers should visit the voters’ household at least 3-4 times. We should get their contact number and develop a relationship with them,” Patil instructed his party workers. Nawab Malik, NCP spokesperson said that the BJP had made a mockery of democracy. “Election is game for them which is to be won by hook or by crook,” he added. Malik said that while on one hand, Devendra Fadnavis emphasized on compulsory voting, the BJP minister has been trying to win votes by offering gifts. “However, voters are smart enough to understand their tricks.”

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Delhi HC asks EC about steps on compliance of norms on funding of political parties

The Delhi High Court today asked the Election Commission about the steps taken to ensure implementation of its regulations to bring transparency in the expenditure of political parties and funds received by them.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar also sought to know from the poll panel about the action it has taken against political parties for non- compliance of the norms.”What action have you taken for non-compliance of your regulations? What you are waiting for? For the next election? This writ petition is pending since 2014,” the bench remarked.The observations by the bench came after the EC’s submitted that there were regulations in place and many of the political parties had disclosed their income. The parties have also filed their tax returns, the poll panel said.Senior advocate Arvind Nigam, appearing for the petitioner, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), argued that only small and regional parties have filed their income tax returns and not the big ones.The bench asked the EC to place before it the regulations and whether the political parties were abiding the guidelines issued in August 2014 on ‘Transparency and Accountability in Party Funds and Election Expenditure’.The court fixed the matter for further hearing on April 25.It was hearing an NGO’s plea for implementation of the Law Commission’s recommendation that a provision be enacted to monitor and regulate the expenditure by political parties during elections.The petition has submitted that despite there being guidelines in place, political parties were not abiding by them.It has said that despite the Law Commission’s recommendations, there was no provision yet in the Representation of the People Act and the Election Rules to monitor the poll expenses of political parties.The plea has alleged that such a provision has “deliberately” not been enacted despite the Supreme Court having held that the EC has the power to give effect to the law panel’s recommendations.ADR has claimed that the existing law “does not measure up to the existing realities”.It has alleged that since the present political system was being “funded through various illegal means and also by the people and corporate agencies with vested interests, it (political system) does not seem to be inclined to give effect to the recommendations of the Law Commission”.

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Give action taken info on complaint against DCP: Ajit Kumar Jain

The State Information Commission (SIC) in an order has asked the state police to provide details of action taken on a complaint against a deputy commissioner of police (DCP) made by an RTI applicant. The order was passed after police failed to provide information about action taken against a DCP who had allegedly hit the complainant.The order was passed by Ajit Kumar Jain, state chief information commissioner (incharge) on a second appeal filed with the Brihanmumbai bench of SIC by Kalyan resident and appellant Kailash Govind Avhad. Avhad had filed a complaint with the state Director General of Police (DGP) on March 24, 2017. The complaint was against DCP Sandeep Palve, who as a first appellate authority had hit him on the day of his first appeal hearing.DNA had recently reported about the Konkan bench of the information commission stripping the same DCP of his first appeal responsibility in addition to ordering an inquiry. “I had filed a complaint when he had hit me repeatedly. But they had not taken any action,” said Avhad.He added, “After filing the complaint, they said that the action is to be taken by the commissioner of police office in Thane. I had already filed a complaint with them and no action was taken.” When Avhad filed his first appeal, the first appellate authority (FAA) disposed off the appeal saying the information had been provided.The order directed the PIO of the DGP’s office to take the information from the office of the commissioner of police’s PIO and provide information by February 12, 2018.

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Working on ways to let child abuse survivors lodge complaints later: Maneka Gandhi

Paying heed to the concerns and plea of a scientist — a child sex abuse survivor — who said later day complaints are not allowed under Indian law, Woman and Child Development minister Maneka Gandhi on Saturday extended her support and said the ministry will look for ways to change that. “My Ministry is looking into ways and means of how to allow survivors of child sexual abuse to lodge complaints many years after crime has been committed,” Gandhi said. “A one-time abuser can go on to become a repeat offender and target multiple children, because children don’t tend to report abuse. It gives the offender a sense of immunity that he will never be caught.” A survivour of CSA, the 40-year-old scientist met Gandhi last week with DMK MP Kanimozhi to bring the lacune to notice. The scientist told DNA that after years of silence, she found her courage to speak out because she feared that the offender, the husband of her cousin, would repeat the same abuse with a niece. But when she went to file a complaint, the police said they were helpless. After the meeting with Gandhi, the minister assured her of help and directed the matter to the Nation Commission of Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). “We are looking at whether the statute of limitation on reporting incidents such as molestation can be removed, allowing survivors to complain later in life. This will prove to be a deterrent for child abusers because they will know that they can’t get away with their crimes. We are considering the proposal to see how we can take it forward,” said Gandhi.

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Two Pak-trained LeT militants arrested in Kashmir

Security forces have arrested two Pakistan-trained Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, police said today.The militants, who had gone to Pakistan on valid Pakistani visa to obtain arms training to undertake terrorist activities in the Valley, were arrested during a joint operation by the police, Army and the CRPF, a police spokesman said here.He said the militants had obtained their passports specifically for the said purpose.”These militants of Lashkar-e-Taiba were nabbed immediately after returning via the Wagah-Attari border before they could formally join the militant ranks here in Kashmir,” he said, identifying the arrested as Abdul Majeed Bhat, resident of Kreeri, and Mohammad Ashraf Mir, from Pattan.On questioning, the duo revealed “they underwent training in Pakistan along with a large number of Pakistani boys, most of whom were from Balochistan and as young as 10,” the spokesperson said.”The said terrorist training camps are located near Burma Town, in Islamabad, and being run by a terrorist commander operating under code names Hanzala, Adanan and Omar. Other terrorists imparting training to young boys are operating with code names Osama, Naveed and Hataf,” he said.The arrested militants were given Pakistani visas by the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, the spokesperson said.”It’s pertinent to mention that in the past couple of years, police have unearthed several such modules that lure young boys to Pakistan to get trained and join militancy. In the past, several such boys have been arrested, while some of them were killed in encounters,” he added.A case was registered and an investigation underway, the official said.”Parents are requested to keep watch on their wards.Their prolonged absence from home should be immediately reported to police so that lives of these boys can be saved,” he added.

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Protests against ‘Padmaavat’ and ‘janta curfew’ will continue: Karni Sena chief
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Bribery remark: Panaji court issues notice to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal

A local court has issued a notice to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in connection with a case filed against him for his bribery remarks made during Goa Legislative Assembly elections held last year.Judicial Magistrate First Class at Mapusa town, nine kms from here, issued the notice to the AAP leader and fixed the next hearing on February 8.In January 2017, the Election Commission had ordered the police to file an FIR against Kejriwal after he publicly appealed to the voters to accept bribe offered by rival parties to vote for them during the Goa elections. The election was held in February last year.During a series of rallies in Goa between January 7-8, Kejriwal had appealed to voters to “accept money from the Congress and BJP candidates, but vote for the AAP”.The AAP had contested 39 out of 40 seats with its leader, Elvis Gomes, as the chief ministerial candidate.A complaint against Kejriwal was lodged by local Election Commission officials with Mapusa police.The returning officer had approached the judicial magistrate first class in Mapusa in December 2017 with a plea that an offence under section 171 (B) (inducement to voters) and 171 E (bribery) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) be registered against Kejriwal.

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Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan likely to expand, reshuffle cabinet today

Ahead of the Assembly elections, which are due later this year, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is likely to reshuffle and expand his Cabinet on Saturday, a senior official said here.A Raj Bhavan official confirmed that preparations for the oath-taking ceremony were underway. Names of the new Ministers are not yet disclosed, sources said.The Chouhan-led government, in its third term, has 20 Cabinet Ministers, including the CM and nine Ministers of State since December 2013.The State can have a maximum of 35 Ministers. The State Congress, meanwhile, has submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission and written a letter to the Governor saying that the BJP government cannot carry out a Cabinet expansion as the model code of conduct is in force ahead of the February 24 Assembly by-polls in Mungaoli and Kolaras.In the memorandum to the EC, State Congress president Arun Yadav has demanded that the proposed Cabinet expansion be postponed till February 28.Also readVideo shows Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Chouhan hitting security man, Congress wants him bookedIn the letter to the Governor, Mr. Yadav said, “This expansion or reshuffle would be against the Constitutional traditions. The proposed expansion, if any, is directly or indirectly a way to influence the electorate.”Chief Electoral Officer of Madhya Pradesh Salina Singh said she has forwarded the memorandum to the Election Commission of India.

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SC seeks Centre’s response after CPI(M) challenges issuing of electoral bonds

The Supreme Court today sought the Centre’s response on a plea by the CPI(M) and its general secretary Sitaram Yechury challenging the government’s decision on issuing electoral bonds.A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud issued notice on the plea and said it will be tagged along with a pending petition.Challenging the Centre’s decision, the CPI(M) said in its petition that the move undermined democracy and it would lead to greater political corruption.Yechury said the party was left with no choice but to move the apex court.He said they had taken up the matter in Parliament and sought amendments to the bill when the government moved the proposal.”Using their majority in Lok Sabha, the government overturned the Rajya Sabha’s recommendations. The no disclosure clause in electoral bonds will create opacity in funding and is bad for democracy,” he claimed.The NDA government had announced electoral bonds in the previous budget, claiming that the scheme would clean up political funding. The move was resisted by opposition parties. The Election Commission also expressed its reservations initially.It is rare for a political party to approach the Supreme Court in such matters.

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Budget 2018: Salary of President increased to Rs 5 lakh, Governors to get Rs 3.5 lakh per month

The salaries of the President and the Vice President have been increased to Rs 5 lakh and Rs 4 lakh per month respectively, in a rectification of an anomaly.Announcing the hike in their salaries in his Budget speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the emoluments of the President, the Vice President and the Governors were last revised with effect from January 1, 2006.”These emoluments are proposed to be revised to Rs 5 lakh for the President, Rs 4 lakh for the Vice President and to Rs 3.5 lakh per month for the Governors,” he said, amidst thumping of desk by the members in the Lok Sabha.As of now, the President gets Rs 1.50 lakh per month, the Vice President Rs 1.25 lakh and a Governor of a state Rs 1.10 lakh.Till now, the President, the Vice President and the Governors continued to get less salaries as compared to the top bureaucrats and service chiefs since the laws were not amended to rectify an anomaly with the implementation of the 7th Pay Commission’s recommendations two years ago.After the implementation of the 7th Pay Commission’s awards on January 1, 2016, the Cabinet Secretary, who is the top-most bureaucrat in the country, gets Rs 2.5 lakh per month and a Secretary in the Union government draws Rs 2.25 lakh per month.The President is also the supreme commander of all the three armed forces — the Army, Air Force, and Navy.However, the President’s current salary was less than the chiefs of the three armed forces, who draw a salary equivalent to the cabinet secretary.

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AAP lawmakers’ disqualification | State facts, Delhi High Court tells Election Commission

The matter was transferred to a division bench yesterday after advocate Prashant Patel, on whose plea the EC had recommended the MLAs disqualification which received the presidential nod, moved an application for transfer of the matter to a division bench. ”
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Updated: Jan 30, 2018, 02:35 PM IST<!–end of articllftpbx–>The Delhi High Court today asked the Election Commission (EC) to state the factual aspects behind its decision to disqualify the 20 AAP MLAs for holding office of profit by filing an affidavit.A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar asked the poll panel to file the affidavit after the EC said it wanted to respond to some of the allegations made in the MLAs’ pleas challenging their disqualification from the Delhi Assembly.The Commission also told the court that it would rely upon its opinion given to the President to disqualify the 20 AAP MLAs who were appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries.After the brief proceedings, the court listed the matter for further hearing on February 7 by when the MLAs have to file their responses to the EC affidavit.The court also extended till then the January 24 interim order of the single judge restraining the EC from issuing any notification announcing bye-elections to fill the vacancies of the 20 assembly seats whose legislators have been disqualified.The matter was transferred to a division bench yesterday after advocate Prashant Patel, on whose plea the EC had recommended the MLAs disqualification which received the presidential nod, moved an application for transfer of the matter to a division bench.

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Republic Day 2018 | The other side of economic growth, writes Dr Bhalchandra Mungekar

Like most post-colonial countries, India too adopted mixed-economy as a strategy of economic development. For once political freedom was achieved, immediate improvement in the living conditions was needed. This required the economy to grow fast and the task could not have been performed by private sector alone. This made the State play a leading role in the process of economic development. Thus, achieving a higher rate of economic growth, increasing employment opportunities, equitable distribution of the benefits of economic growth, and, ultimately creating a ‘welfare state’ were the main objectives of the post-independence economic policy.Thanks to Jawaharlal Nehru who realised the strategic importance of the Planning Commission, that he formed in March 1950. Notwithstanding its limitations, the commission has performed a stupendous task in fulfilling the country’s economic goals. It is an irony that immediately after coming to power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi abolished the Planning Commission on August 15, 2014. I think it was a great disservice to the nation.Performance of Indian economy in terms of realisation of objectives is a mixed bag. Whatever the critics of the Nehruvian economic strategy may say, during the first four decades, India’s growth performance cannot be dismissed. Development was accomplished with respect to agriculture, establishment of a network of heavy-large and capital-intensive industries both in the public and the private sectors along with medium-small and industrial units, services sector, social sectors.Three observations could be made in this regard. First, a little higher rate of growth was possible had some distortions in the economic policy been avoided, particularly those relating to licence-permit-quota policy. Second, though growth benefited all, the privileged sections benefited the most. Third, the pre-economic reforms growth laid the foundation of Indian economy.Thus, economic reforms certainly put Indian economy on a higher growth trajectory of around 7.5-8% annually for the entire post-1990 reforms period vis-à-vis around 5-5.5% during the 40-year preceding the reforms. After China, India is the only country to experience such growth trajectory. But while this side of the picture is gratifying, the other side is equally disturbing.First, of late, economic growth itself is decelerating. Second, during reforms, agriculture remained neglected and failed to have any major technological breakthrough. Third, the manufacturing sector, the main job-giver, has remained almost stagnant. Fourth, the micro-small and medium enterprises, a reservoir of jobs, has not received the due attention of policymakers. Fifth, education and health have not been inviting adequate investment. Sixth, every reliable evidence suggests that income and wealth inequalities are fast increasing. The country needs to address these urgently. Mere political democracy unaccompanied by social and economic democracy would not lead the Indian Republic too far.Dr Bhalchandra Mungekar is a former member Rajya sabha and Planning Commission

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Office of Profit Case: Relief to disqualified AAP MLAs, Delhi HC orders EC to not take any action before Jan 29

In a huge relief to disqualified Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Election commission of India (ECI) to not issue bypoll notification before January 29. The court issued notices to all respondents including the Election Commission on a plea filed by 8 disqualified AAP MLAs.The High Court said that no coercive step should be taken before January 29 which is the next date of hearing. Eight of the 20 AAP MLAs, who were disqualified by President Ram Nath Kovind on the recommendations of the Election Commission (EC) in the office of profit case, moved the Delhi High Court on Tuesday seeking to quash the order.Also readOffice of Profit Row: Complete list of 20 AAP MLAs of Delhi Assembly disqualified by President KovindThe plea raised questions on the manner in which the opinion and notifications were given stating that the undue haste is arbitrary, malafide and colourable exercise of power.The matter was urgently mentioned before a bench of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice A K Chawla, who posted the matter for hearing on Wednesday. The bunch of pleas would be now heard by Justice Vibhu Bhakru.Also readVictory of Constitution and people of Bharat: Lawyer Prashant Patel after 20 AAP MLAs disqualifiedOn January 21, President Ram Nath Kovind approved the disqualification of those MLAs, accused of holding the ‘office of profit’, after the Election Commission of India (ECI) on January 19 had recommended for the same.Earlier on January 22, they withdrew their plea from the Delhi High Court that they had filed on January 19 after ECI’s recommendation.The Delhi High Court, on that date, refused to pass any interim order of protection to those MLAs.

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Office of profit case: Delhi HC to hear AAP’s plea on MLAs disqualification

The Delhi High Court will on Wednesday hear a fresh plea filed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in regard to the disqualification of its 20 MLAs.Eight of the 20 AAP MLAs, who were disqualified by President Ram Nath Kovind on the recommendations of the Election Commission (EC) in the office of profit case, moved the Delhi High Court on Tuesday seeking to quash the order.The plea raised questions on the manner in which the opinion and notifications were given stating that the undue haste is arbitrary, malafide and colourable exercise of power.The matter was urgently mentioned before a bench of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice A K Chawla, who posted the matter for hearing on Wednesday. The bunch of pleas would be now heard by Justice Vibhu Bhakru.Also readAAP MLAs withdraw plea from High Court, to file fresh appealOn January 21, President Ram Nath Kovind approved the disqualification of those MLAs, accused of holding the ‘office of profit’, after the Election Commission of India (ECI) on January 19 had recommended for the same.Earlier on January 22, they withdrew their plea from the Delhi High Court that they had filed on January 19 after ECI’s recommendation.Also read20 AAP MLAs disqualified: A timeline of ‘Office of Profit’ caseThe Delhi High Court, on that date, refused to pass any interim order of protection to those MLAs. (With inputs from ANI)

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Aaditya Thackeray may help draw educated youth

Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray’s elevation as a Shiv Sena leader is an attempt by the party to reach out to the educated, cosmopolitan Marathi youth, claim party leaders. This also signals that younger leaders in the Sena will get more prominence. The elder son of Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, who was launched in active politics by his grandfather, late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray at the party’s Dusshera rally in 2010, is seen as a suave, educated face of the otherwise blue-collared Sena.Before helming the Yuva Sena, which was formed to tap into Marathi youth, who the Sena felt were being swayed by the rival Raj Thackeray-led MNS, Aaditya had successfully forced the University of Mumbai to withdraw Rohinton Mistry’s book ‘Such A Long Journey’ from its syllabus.Also, in a marked departure from the Sena’s opposition to celebration of Valentine’s Day, Aaditya had called for rooftop restaurants to be started in Mumbai and open up the city’s nightlife by allowing commercial establishments to operate round-the-clock.There are chances that Aaditya may contest the 2019 state assembly polls from a Sena stronghold in the western suburbs or the island city.In 2007, Aaditya had published a compilation of poetry. Like father Uddhav, Aaditya is said to have imbibed a love for photography.However, Shiv Sainiks pointed to how despite its penetration in Mumbai, the Yuva Sena needed to nurture grassroots-level leadership from across the state instead of confining itself to metros.MEETING MINUTES Remunerative pricing for agricultural produce, complete agri loan waiver, implementation of Swaminathan Commission recommendations Pension and social benefits for farmers, unorganised sector workers like labourers Equal opportunity for women, concern over Love Jihad, crimes against women, foeticide Concern over social churn after Koregaon- Bhima caste clash

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Supreme Court to hear Goa mining cases today

The Supreme Court will on Wednesday hear a plea filed by Goa foundation in 2011 Goa mining cases, that was allegedly carried out in conspiracy with the then UPA government in the state.On January 18, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Goa police filed a charge sheet against former chief minister and Congress leader Digambar Kamat.Kamat was the then chief minister and held the mines portfolio for that period when illegality took place. He had been questioned by the crime branch in the past.In the beginning of this year, the SIT of Goa crime branch had issued summons to him.In October 2012, the apex court suspended all iron ore mining and transportation in the state, following a report submitted by Justice M.B. Shah Commission, which found that millions of tonnes of iron ore were mined illegally.The report stated that illegal mining was being carried out in conspiracy with the state government, including the then CM Digambar Kamat, who pegged the losses to the state at about Rs 35,000 crore.In 2015, the State Government renewed 88 mining leases, all owned by the very same holders, who were accused of illegal mining.

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EC will convey concerns to govt, says Om Prakash Rawat

The Election Commission is yet to firm up its view on the BJP government’s new scheme of electoral bonds — described dangerous for the democracy by many political parties — and will soon flag its concerns to the government.”Our Secretariat is examining threadbare as to what are the imports vis-à-vis our earlier suggestions and issues on electoral bonds. The examination will be complete in a couple of days, and the Commission will then decide as to what of its concerns have been met and which are remaining. Then we will respond to the scheme accordingly,” said Chief Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat in his first interaction on Thursday.Rawat said that the Commission will not hazard initial thoughts on electoral bonds as it is dicey.”We thoroughly examine and consider all aspects in the meeting and then finalise our views. That exercise will take more time. But surely, we will respond,” he said.On the issue of discrepancy in lawful donations, where the government on one hand has lowered the limit of cash donations to Rs 2,000 but on the other has made it mandatory to reveal and seize donations of above Rs 20,000 made in cash, Rawat said the issue is being examined as it was also part of the finance bill, 2017.”We don’t opine on such issues in a hackneyed manner. Our Secretariat is already in an advanced stage of examining the full electoral bond scheme. We have written on all points, including this and many other. The commission will take a view where they are falling short and where some tweaking is needed and will respond accordingly,” said Rawat.Rawat said the government will have to do a lot of work — in the realm of bringing amendments in the constitutions and the laws and provide logistics to the Commission — to make simultaneous elections a possibility.Rejecting charges made by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that the Commission did not accord them a hearing, Rawat said, “The commission issued two notices to AAP, but they responded on something which was not in the context of the notice. The notices were very comprehensive and AAP could have said whatever they wanted to explain.”Rawat said he does not subscribe to the view of trust deficit between EC and political parties. He said expression of adverse opinions is not really indicative of a trust deficit, as politics is the art of the possibilities and politicians work on those lines.”Whereas, the EC has to have a 360 degree comprehensive information on every issue and decide objectively. So we are doing whatever is befitting to us and they are doing whatever is befitting to them,” he said.”We cannot put cart before the horse. Logistical issues are subservient to legal issues unless legal framework is replaced we cannot talk about it (simultaneous polls). The legal framework will take a lot of time, bringing constitutional amendments and making new laws. Once that is done come the logistics. The election commission is a creature of the constitution and we have to perform willy-nilly whenever the elections are to be done in whatever way prescribed by the law,” said Rawat.The new CEC said, the Commission is concerned about the practicability aspect of section 126 of the Representation of People’s Act as it is being violated by people unknowingly and innocently through social media without knowing that they have liable for prosecution and two years of imprisonment.Rawat said Commission dug out such issues came up after Lok Sabha polls of 2014 and during Bihar polls of 2015 and was examining it at the Commission level when they suddenly realised that if such a large number of innocent people need to be criminalised it was high time to revisit the section.”That is why we have set up a committee gave it three months time to submit the report and then suggest to the law minister for bringing about a change,” he said.On being asked by the DNA if how he is trying to insulate himself after seeing the case of his predecessor, Rawat said, he has always taken things on the face value and responded and acted accordingly and recused himself from the AAP’s case.”Subsequently, once commission requested him to come on board to decide this matter I agreed and came on board and decided the case. So it is a learning process you keep on learning the nuances of different environment,” he said adding that there was no question of regret or anything in life, in working.”Every such event makes you wiser or makes you amend your thinking, either way you benefit,” he added.The commission will restart seeding Aadhaar numbers with the voter ID card as soon as the Supreme Court gives a decision on its plea, Rawat said. The EC had discontinued seeding Aadhaar when the court had given its ruling last year. By then it had seeded about 30 crore Aadhaar numbers.Rejecting rumours that the disqualification of AAP had to do something with CEC AK Joti’s retirement, Rawat said, the timing was determined by the flow of events because three commissioners had heard the case — Dr Zaidi, Mr Joti and he himself.”The commission works on majority – either unanimity and if there is no unanimity then majority. When Dr. Zaidi retired only one commissioner was there so commission felt that this won’t be decided unless the second commissioner is on board so they requested me and I came on board. The same situation was arising on Mr. Joti retirement as I would have alone and issue would have again gone for a re-evaluation. As such it had taken more than two years,” said the CEC.In a message to the political parties, Rawat said, they should all work together to make India known for free and fair and credible elections world over, which is our image right now .”Wherever we go for international conferences even developed counties look up to us, how do they carry out such elections with so much of transfer of power and that is why I say the point of public perception is not very correct because so much have been done by the commission,” said Rawat.

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Speak up Delhi: Transport Min Kailash Gahlot among 20 AAP MLAs disqualified

Fresh trouble brewed for the Aam Aadmi Party on Sunday with the President Ram Nath Kovind approving the Election Commission’s (EC) disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs. The EC observed that the 20 legislators held office of profit, which was in violation of Constitutional norms.The AAP government had appointed 21 parliamentary secretaries soon after it came to power in 2015. One of the MLAs from Rajouri Garden resigned from the post to contest Punjab Assembly polls, bringing the number of PS to 20. The 20 disqualified lawmakers include popular faces like Alka Lamba, Kailash Gehlot, Adarsh Shashtri, Som Dutt, among others. Upholding the recommendation given by the top election body, the notification issued by the law ministry read, “Having considered the matter in the light of the opinion expressed by the Election Commission, I, Ram Nath Kovind, President of India, in exercise of the powers, do here hold that the aforesaid 20 members of the Delhi legislative assembly stand disqualified from being members of the said assembly.”Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in the meantime, will continue to enjoy majority in the assembly, albeit with significantly reduced numbers. The AAP rode home to power with 67 seats in 2015, which came down to 63. The party suspended cabinet minister Asim Ahmed Khan and later sacked Sandeep Kumar who got embroiled in a sex scandal. After sometime, Kapil Mishra, another legislator also rebelled against AAP. The Kejriwal government, which stares at by-elections on the 20 seats, will now have a majority of, still notches above the half mark of 35.The EC’s decision on Thursday led to crossfire of remarks from AAP and its arch rival, the Bharatiya Janata Party. AAP leaders minced no words in accusing the central government of arm twisting them and a larger conspiracy being hatched. In a sharp rebuttal, it trained guns at Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti for acting at the behest of the Narendra Modi government. Reacting to the development, Kejriwal had tweeted, “The path of truth and honesty is marred by many obstacles, which is inevitable. But the universe and almighty conspires in favour of the righteous. Time is proof that truth always triumphs in the end because we are dedicated towards serving the nation and the society, and not our personal gains.”Meanwhile, clamour for the CM to step down on ‘moral grounds’ grew across rival parties. Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken tweeted, “Kejriwal has no right to continue. Half of his cabinet ministers removed on corruption charges!20 MLAs who were enjoying ministerial perks would be disqualified! Where is Lokpal? The MLAs and Ministers enjoying perks of power and foreign travel-Where is political probity?” AAP FUMESThe EC’s decision on Thursday led to crossfire of remarks from AAP and its arch rival, the Bharatiya Janata Party AAP leaders minced no words in accusing the central government of arm twisting them and a larger conspiracy being hatched In a sharp rebuttal, it trained guns at Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti EXPERT SPEAKThis is a victory of the constitution and people of Bharat. I am a proud Hindu and an ardent devotee of Hanuman(ji). This is a matter of principles. I have nothing against Arvind Kejriwal or these AAP MLAs. I am very happy that my struggle has paid off.Prashant P Umrao, advocate who filed petition against the 20 legislatorsVOICESI support the decision taken by the EC. The AAP government was very much in the know of Constitutional rules yet it decided to go ahead with the appointments. They should keep their conscience clean before casting aspersions at others as is their trait. There is no way the 20 MLAs did not enjoy any perks that came with the post of parliamentary secretaries.—Poonam Gogia, Delhi CantonmentThe Election commission will set a new precedence by the disqualifications. Rules are the same for everyone. The AAP will cry foul because it is in the wrong. Kejriwal should not call it a political witch hunt and bringing the role of the CEC under scanner is not ethical. He should resign on moral grounds.—Shariq Ali Khan, DwarkaI have never been in favour of the way AAP government has worked or tweaked rules to suit their interests. While these lawmakers may play the victim, truth is that they took the voter who brought them to power, for a ride. The CM must display some moral propriety and probity. He is answerable to the public. As he said, truth will prevail. Truth has prevailed. His MLAs held the office of profit in gross violation.—Shaurya Pruthi, SaketOur government is being targeted for the honest work we have been doing in the city for the past three years. BJP is unhappy with the successes of AAP in Delhi. The MLAs were not given an opportunity to present evidence with them. They have a lot to tell and prove that there was no office of profit case. It is unconstitutional and illegal.—Manish Sisodia, deputy chief ministerI feel the AAP MLAs should have been given an opportunity to explain their stance. They have been shown the door all of a sudden. Unfortunately, the current politics is such that it is tough to decide what is the real truth. —Manan Kumar, VikaspuriI think it is unfair to disqualify 20 MLAs. The MLAs should have seen it coming if the government had violated Constitutional rules. Nevertheless, as another by-poll is in the offing, the tax payer’s hard earned money will be spent on it. —Sagar Sharma, Badarpur

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OP Rawat to be next Chief Election Commissioner, to succeed AK Joti

The government on Sunday appointed Om Prakash Rawat as the next Chief Election Commissioner. He will succeed Achal Kumar Joti whose term comes to an end tomorrow. According to the Union Law Ministry, former Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa has been made an Election Commissioner.Rawat, a 1977-batch IAS officer from the Madhya Pradesh cadre, was appointed to the Election Commission in August 2015. During his three-decade-long career, Rawat has served at various levels, both at state and Centre.Prior to his appointment to Election Commission, Rawat had served as Secretary at Department of Public Enterprises in the Ministry of Heavy Industries from April, 2012 till December 31, 2013 when he retired. In his first stint at Centre in 1993, he served as Director/Jt. Secretary in the Defence Ministry. Besides serving in Defence and Heavy Industries ministries, Rawat was Principal Secretary to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister from August, 2004 to January, 2006.He was deputed to South Africa in May, 1994 as United Nations election observer to oversee first post-apartheid elections in the country.Born on December 2, 1953, Rawat has a masters degree in Physics from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.

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Watch: After Prez disqualifies 20 MLAs, Cong claims BJP and EC ‘helped AAP by delaying decision’

President Ram Nath Kovind today accepted the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify 20 MLAs of Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party for holding offices of profit. A notification issued by the law ministry quoted the president as saying that in the light of the opinion expressed by the Election Commission (EC), the 20 members of the Delhi legislative assembly have been disqualified.The AAP MLAs were appointed parliamentary secretaries and their appointment was described as them holding offices of profit by a petitioner.Also readAjay Maken files objection against AAP’s RS nominee ND Gupta saying he holds ‘office of profit’ However, Ajay Maken, Delhi Chief of Indian National Congress claimed that AAP had been ‘helped by BJP and EC’. He told ANI: “AAP has been helped by BJP & EC by delaying the decision for over 3 weeks. If decision would have come before 22nd Dec, these 20 MLAs would’ve been disqualified & couldn’t have voted for RS elections.”Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken had filed an objection to nomination of AAP’s Rajya Sabha candidate N D Gupta for allegedly holding an office of profit.Also readOffice of Profit Row: President Kovind approves EC recommendation, disqualifies 20 AAP MLAs of Delhi AssemblyIn his objection filed with the retuning officer, Maken claimed that Gupta is “currently holding the office of a Trustee of the National Pension System Trust. He was appointed on March 30″.Gupta, along with two other Rajya Sabha candidates of the Aam Aadmi Party, Sanjay Singh and Sushil Gupta, had filed nomination papers on January 4. The scrutiny of the nominations is today.”N D Gupta’s nomination is liable to be rejected under Section 36 of Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 read with Article 102 of the Constitution,” Maken claimed.Meanwhile, the AAP said that Maken was trying to gain “cheap publicity” through “frivolous” objections as the law does not forbid trustees from contesting. In a blow to the AAP, the EC had on Friday asked the President to disqualify its 20 MLAs.”…Having considered the matter in the light of the opinion expressed by the Election Commission, I, Ram Nath Kovind, president of India, in exercise of the powers…do here hold that the aforesaid 20 members of the Delhi legislative assembly stand disqualified from being members of the said assembly,” the notification said.All the 20 AAP MLAs had moved the Delhi High Court challenging the EC’s recommendation but Justice Rekha Palli had refused to pass any interim order. Among the list are several prominent AAP leaders including Delhi cabinet minister Kailash Gahlot, who is also a close confidant of Arvind Kejriwal. The MLA from Najafgarh is the Transport Minister.The other big names in the list are Chandni Chowk MLA Alka Lamba and Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri both of whom have been with Kejriwal since 2011 Indian Against Corruption movement. Laxmi Nagar MLA Nitin Tyagi who is close to Deputy CM Sisodia and prominent Poorvanchali leader Sanjeev Jha are also on the list.During the brief hearing, the judge questioned the conduct of the MLAs before the ECI and said they did appear before the poll panel taking shield of the fact that their pleas were pending in the high court.Justice Rekha Palli also directed the counsel for the Election Commission (EC) to take instructions as to whether a final order of disqualification has been passed by it and if the same has been forwarded to the President.”At this stage, I am not inclined to pass any interim order. It is deemed appropriate for the respondent to find whether a final order has been passed by them and whether the same has been sent to the Honourable President,” the judge said fixing the next date of hearing to January 22.The six AAP MLAs who had moved the court are Kailash Gehlot, Sharad Kumar, Madanlal, Nitin Tyagi, Rajesh Gupta and Somdutt. They had sought to be heard by the poll panel.Appearing for the EC, its counsel Amit Sharma informed the court that he has no information about the order in question and so he cannot make any submissions or representation at this moment.The AAP claimed to be “victimised” in the wake of the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify its 20 MLAs for holding offices of profit, and asserted that it was “not afraid of elections”.AAP Delhi unit chief Gopal Rail alleged that the poll panel failed to give the party a hearing before sending its recommendations to President Ram Nath Kovind.”It is an undemocratic step. They are taking revenge from people of Delhi, the government and Chief Minister of Delhi” he said.The AAP leader said the appointment of parliamentary secretaries had come up in 11 states, but only AAP was being targeted.”This is double standard. Doesn’t the constitution apply to all? We are being victimised. It is worse than British Raj,” he said.The case of disqualification of AAP MLAs is up for hearing at the Delhi High Court on Monday.”We will go to all democratic fora seeking justice,” he said.Underlining the AAP’s connect with people, Rai said, “We are not afraid of elections. People decide our destiny”.In a blow to the ruling Aam Aadmi Party, the Election Commission had yesterday asked the president to disqualify 20 of its MLAs for holding offices of profit, setting the stage for their ouster from the assembly.The Commission said the party MLAs, by occupying the post of parliamentary secretaries between March 13, 2015 and September 8, 2016, held offices of profit, and were liable to be disqualified as legislators, highly-placed sources said.With inputs from PTI

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Office of Profit Row: Complete list of 20 AAP MLAs of Delhi Assembly disqualified by President Kovind

President Ram Nath Kovind today accepted the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify 20 MLAs of Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party for holding offices of profit.A notification issued by the law ministry quoted the president as saying that in the light of the opinion expressed by the Election Commission (EC), the 20 members of the Delhi legislative assembly have been disqualified.The AAP MLAs were appointed parliamentary secretaries and their appointment was described as them holding offices of profit by a petitioner.Also readMeet the other Prashant: A lawyer who struck a terrible blow against AAP In a blow to the AAP, the EC had on Friday asked the President to disqualify its 20 MLAs.”…Having considered the matter in the light of the opinion expressed by the Election Commission, I, Ram Nath Kovind, president of India, in exercise of the powers…do here hold that the aforesaid 20 members of the Delhi legislative assembly stand disqualified from being members of the said assembly,” the notification said.Also readAAP crisis: Kumar Vishwas hits out at Arvind Kejriwal, says his suggestions on office-of-profit case were ignoredIn a blow to the Aam Aadmi Party, the Election Commission had asked President Ram Nath Kovind to disqualify 20 of its MLAs for holding offices of profit, setting the stage for their ouster from the Assembly.In its opinion sent to the president, the poll panel said the MLAs, by occupying the post of parliamentary secretaries between March 13, 2015 and September 8, 2016, held offices of profit, and were liable to be disqualified as legislators, highly-placed sources said.Also readOffice of Profit Row: President Kovind approves EC recommendation, disqualifies 20 AAP MLAs of Delhi AssemblyAmong the list are several prominent AAP leaders including Delhi cabinet minister Kailash Gahlot, who is also a close confidant of Arvind Kejriwal. The MLA from Najafgarh is the Transport Minister.The other big names in the list are Chandni Chowk MLA Alka Lamba and Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri both of whom have been with Kejriwal since 2011 Indian Against Corruption movement. Laxmi Nagar MLA Nitin Tyagi who is close to Deputy CM Sisodia and prominent Poorvanchali leader Sanjeev Jha are also on the list.Here’s the full list of MLAs who have been disqualified:1) Adarsh Shastri- Dwarka2) Alka Lamba- Chandni Chowk3) Anil Vajpayee- Gandhi Nagar4) Avtar Singh- Kalkaji5) Kailash Gehilot- Najafgarg6) Madan Lal- Kasurba Nagar7) Manoj Kumar- Kondli8) Naresh Yadav- Mehrauli9) Nitin Tyagi- Laxmi Nagar10) Praveen Kumar- Jangpura11) Rajesh Gupta- Wazirpur12) Rajesh Rishi- Janakpuri13) Sanjeev Jha- Burari14) Sarita Singh- Rohtas Nagar15) Som Dutt- Sadar Bazar16) Sharad Kumar- Narela17) Shiv Charan Goel- Moti Nagar18) Sukhbir Singh- Mundka19) Vijendar Garg- Rajinder Nagar20) Jarnail Singh – Tilak Nagar

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Office of Profit Row: President Kovind approves EC recommendation, disqualifies 20 AAP MLAs of Delhi Assembly

President Ram Nath Kovind today accepted the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify 20 MLAs of Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party for holding offices of profit.A notification issued by the law ministry quoted the president as saying that in the light of the opinion expressed by the Election Commission (EC), the 20 members of the Delhi legislative assembly have been disqualified.The AAP MLAs were appointed parliamentary secretaries and their appointment was described as them holding offices of profit by a petitioner.Also read’AAP aaye, AAP chhaye’: Shatrughan Sinha backs Kejriwal’s party against ‘politics of vendetta’In a blow to the AAP, the EC had on Friday asked the President to disqualify its 20 MLAs.”…Having considered the matter in the light of the opinion expressed by the Election Commission, I, Ram Nath Kovind, president of India, in exercise of the powers…do here hold that the aforesaid 20 members of the Delhi legislative assembly stand disqualified from being members of the said assembly,” the notification said.Also readMeet the other Prashant: A lawyer who struck a terrible blow against AAP Among the list are several prominent AAP leaders including Delhi cabinet minister Kailash Gahlot, who is also a close confidant of Arvind Kejriwal. The MLA from Najafgarh is the Transport Minister.The other big names in the list are Chandni Chowk MLA Alka Lamba and Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri both of whom have been with Kejriwal since 2011 Indian Against Corruption movement. Laxmi Nagar MLA Nitin Tyagi who is close to Deputy CM Sisodia and prominent Poorvanchali leader Sanjeev Jha are also on the list.Also readThere was no hearing, appeal to President to listen to us too: Manish Sisodia on 20 AAP MLAs facing disqualification Here’s the full list of MLAs who have been disqualified:1) Adarsh Shastri- Dwarka2) Alka Lamba- Chandni Chowk3) Anil Vajpayee- Gandhi Nagar4) Avtar Singh- Kalkaji5) Kailash Gehilot- Najafgarg6) Madan Lal- Kasurba Nagar7) Manoj Kumar- Kondli8) Naresh Yadav- Mehrauli9) Nitin Tyagi- Laxmi Nagar10) Praveen Kumar- Jangpura11) Rajesh Gupta- Wazirpur12) Rajesh Rishi- Janakpuri13) Sanjeev Jha- Burari14) Sarita Singh- Rohtas Nagar15) Som Dutt- Sadar Bazar16) Sharad Kumar- Narela17) Shiv Charan Goel- Moti Nagar18) Sukhbir Singh- Mundka19) Vijendar Garg- Rajinder Nagar20) Jarnail Singh – Tilak NagarReacting to the recommendation, Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia claimed that AAP hadn’t been given a chance to explain its stand and said they wanted to get the President’s view and that MLAs also wanted to meet President Kovind.He had said: “There was no hearing, we were not given a chance to explain our stand. We appeal to the President to hear our view too, MLAs will meet President also.” The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to grant interim relief to six AAP MLAs, who had moved a plea seeking a stay on the Election Commission’s order disqualifying 20 MLAs in the office of profit case.During the brief hearing, the judge questioned the conduct of the MLAs before the ECI and said they did appear before the poll panel taking shield of the fact that their pleas were pending in the high court.Justice Rekha Palli also directed the counsel for the Election Commission (EC) to take instructions as to whether a final order of disqualification has been passed by it and if the same has been forwarded to the President.”At this stage, I am not inclined to pass any interim order. It is deemed appropriate for the respondent to find whether a final order has been passed by them and whether the same has been sent to the Honourable President,” the judge said fixing the next date of hearing to January 22.The six AAP MLAs who had moved the court are Kailash Gehlot, Sharad Kumar, Madanlal, Nitin Tyagi, Rajesh Gupta and Somdutt. They had sought to be heard by the poll panel.Appearing for the EC, its counsel Amit Sharma informed the court that he has no information about the order in question and so he cannot make any submissions or representation at this moment.The AAP claimed to be “victimised” in the wake of the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify its 20 MLAs for holding offices of profit, and asserted that it was “not afraid of elections”.AAP Delhi unit chief Gopal Rail alleged that the poll panel failed to give the party a hearing before sending its recommendations to President Ram Nath Kovind.”It is an undemocratic step. They are taking revenge from people of Delhi, the government and Chief Minister of Delhi” he said.The AAP leader said the appointment of parliamentary secretaries had come up in 11 states, but only AAP was being targeted.”This is double standard. Doesn’t the constitution apply to all? We are being victimised. It is worse than British Raj,” he said.The case of disqualification of AAP MLAs is up for hearing at the Delhi High Court on Monday.”We will go to all democratic fora seeking justice,” he said.Underlining the AAP’s connect with people, Rai said, “We are not afraid of elections. People decide our destiny”.In a blow to the ruling Aam Aadmi Party, the Election Commission had yesterday asked the president to disqualify 20 of its MLAs for holding offices of profit, setting the stage for their ouster from the assembly.The Commission said the party MLAs, by occupying the post of parliamentary secretaries between March 13, 2015 and September 8, 2016, held offices of profit, and were liable to be disqualified as legislators, highly-placed sources said.The Delhi BJP has begun serious parleys on the possibility of bypolls to 20 assembly segments after the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify 20 AAP MLAs for holding offices of profit.The BJP leaders discussed the issue in a meeting of the party’s core committee members last night, party sources said.”The matter was discussed in detail along with other issues like the sealing drive underway in north and south Delhi,” said a senior party leader who attended the meeting.The ruling AAP had bagged an impressive 67 seats in the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections. Since then, two by-elections were held in which the ruling party and the BJP got one seat each.”The BJP feels that the Election Commission’s recommendation for disqualifying 20 AAP MLAs is an opportunity to weaken the ruling party’s stranglehold in the Assembly,” the party leader said.In a meeting attended by Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken and AICC incharge of the state unit PC Chacko, the party functionaries discussed the emerging scenario and possible elections in the 20 Assembly segments.”The discussions centred around the disqualification of 20 MLAs and bypolls in the affected constituencies. It was decided to hold conventions in all the 20 constituencies in coming days,” said a senior party leader who attended the meeting.The Delhi Congress will also hold a demonstration against the Kejriwal government on the issue of “corruption” on Tuesday, he said.Chacko suggested focusing on booths in the 20 constituencies and strengthen party organisation at booth- level, he said.Besides Maken and Chacko, senior party leaders including Sajjan Kumar, Mahabal Mishra, and former MLAs attended the meeting. With inputs from agencies

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Shiv Sena raises questions on EC’s recommendation on disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Saturday questioned the Election Commission’s recommendation of disqualification of 20 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs from the Delhi Assembly in connection with the office of profit case.”Kejriwal began his political career by fighting corruption then what was the necessity to appoint 20 MLAs as parliamentary secretaries? To keep the MLAs connected, the need for a different position came,” Raut told ANI.”There is a question mark on the decision of the Election Commission. Questioning Election Commission is common when decisions like this come. The Election Commission is itself responsible for it,” he added.Raut Emphasised that if an office of profit is considered to be an act of corruption then all the political parties including MPs, MLAs everyone are after profit only, whether they are in a government position or not.He added that whenever there is a change of government at the Centre, the new administration appoints of the Election Commission members of its choice.The ECI on Friday recommended to President Ram Nath Kovind that the 20 MLAs be disqualified.In cases where petitions are made seeking the disqualification of lawmakers, the President sends a reference to the ECI which then sends back its opinion.If the president gives his assent, the disqualification of the legislators would pave the way for elections in Delhi.

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There was no hearing, appeal to President to listen to us too: Manish Sisodia on 20 AAP MLAs facing disqualification

In a blow to the Aam Aadmi Party, the Election Commission had yesterday asked President Ram Nath Kovind to disqualify 20 of its MLAs for holding offices of profit, setting the stage for their ouster from the Assembly.In its opinion sent to the president, the poll panel said the MLAs, by occupying the post of parliamentary secretaries between March 13, 2015 and September 8, 2016, held offices of profit, and were liable to be disqualified as legislators, highly-placed sources said.Reacting to the recommendation, Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia claimed that AAP hadn’t been given a chance to explain its stand and said they wanted to get the President’s view and that MLAs also wanted to meet President Kovind.Also readMeet the other Prashant: A lawyer who struck a terrible blow against AAP He said: “There was no hearing, we were not given a chance to explain our stand. We appeal to the President to hear our view too, MLAs will meet President also.”Also readPrashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav reject possibility of returning to AAP The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to grant interim relief to six AAP MLAs, who had moved a plea seeking a stay on the Election Commission’s order disqualifying 20 MLAs in the office of profit case.During the brief hearing, the judge questioned the conduct of the MLAs before the ECI and said they did appear before the poll panel taking shield of the fact that their pleas were pending in the high court.Also readAAP crisis: Kumar Vishwas hits out at Arvind Kejriwal, says his suggestions on office-of-profit case were ignoredJustice Rekha Palli also directed the counsel for the Election Commission (EC) to take instructions as to whether a final order of disqualification has been passed by it and if the same has been forwarded to the President.”At this stage, I am not inclined to pass any interim order. It is deemed appropriate for the respondent to find whether a final order has been passed by them and whether the same has been sent to the Honourable President,” the judge said fixing the next date of hearing to January 22.The six AAP MLAs who had moved the court are Kailash Gehlot, Sharad Kumar, Madanlal, Nitin Tyagi, Rajesh Gupta and Somdutt. They had sought to be heard by the poll panel.Appearing for the EC, its counsel Amit Sharma informed the court that he has no information about the order in question and so he cannot make any submissions or representation at this moment.In a blow to Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party, the Election Commission on Friday asked the President to disqualify 20 of its MLAs for holding offices of profit, setting the stage for their ouster from the Assembly.The development does not threaten the AAP government as it has 65 MLAs in the 70-member Assembly. Still, the BJP and Congress demanded that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal resign on moral grounds.Seven of these MLAs moved the Delhi High Court challenging the EC’s recommendation but the bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal refused to pass any interim order.In its opinion sent to President Ram Nath Kovind this morning, the Election Commission said the MLAs, by occupying the post of parliamentary secretaries between March 13, 2015 and September 8, 2016, held office of profit, and were liable to be disqualified as legislators, highly-placed sources said.Parliamentary Secretaries assist ministers with their work. The AAP insisted that despite holding the office these MLAs did not take any salaries or perks.The AAP claimed to be “victimised” in the wake of the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify its 20 MLAs for holding offices of profit, and asserted that it was “not afraid of elections”.AAP Delhi unit chief Gopal Rail alleged that the poll panel failed to give the party a hearing before sending its recommendations to President Ram Nath Kovind.”It is an undemocratic step. They are taking revenge from people of Delhi, the government and Chief Minister of Delhi” he said.The AAP leader said the appointment of parliamentary secretaries had come up in 11 states, but only AAP was being targeted.”This is double standard. Doesn’t the constitution apply to all? We are being victimised. It is worse than British Raj,” he said.The case of disqualification of AAP MLAs is up for hearing at the Delhi High Court on Monday.”We will go to all democratic fora seeking justice,” he said.Underlining the AAP’s connect with people, Rai said, “We are not afraid of elections. People decide our destiny”.In a blow to the ruling Aam Aadmi Party, the Election Commission had yesterday asked the president to disqualify 20 of its MLAs for holding offices of profit, setting the stage for their ouster from the assembly.The Commission said the party MLAs, by occupying the post of parliamentary secretaries between March 13, 2015 and September 8, 2016, held offices of profit, and were liable to be disqualified as legislators, highly-placed sources said.The Delhi BJP has begun serious parleys on the possibility of bypolls to 20 assembly segments after the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify 20 AAP MLAs for holding offices of profit.The BJP leaders discussed the issue in a meeting of the party’s core committee members last night, party sources said.”The matter was discussed in detail along with other issues like the sealing drive underway in north and south Delhi,” said a senior party leader who attended the meeting.The ruling AAP had bagged an impressive 67 seats in the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections. Since then, two by-elections were held in which the ruling party and the BJP got one seat each.”The BJP feels that the Election Commission’s recommendation for disqualifying 20 AAP MLAs is an opportunity to weaken the ruling party’s stranglehold in the Assembly,” the party leader said.In a meeting attended by Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken and AICC incharge of the state unit PC Chacko, the party functionaries discussed the emerging scenario and possible elections in the 20 Assembly segments.”The discussions centred around the disqualification of 20 MLAs and bypolls in the affected constituencies. It was decided to hold conventions in all the 20 constituencies in coming days,” said a senior party leader who attended the meeting.The Delhi Congress will also hold a demonstration against the Kejriwal government on the issue of “corruption” on Tuesday, he said.Chacko suggested focusing on booths in the 20 constituencies and strengthen party organisation at booth- level, he said.Besides Maken and Chacko, senior party leaders including Sajjan Kumar, Mahabal Mishra, and former MLAs attended the meeting. With inputs from agencies

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Disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs: Know what is ‘office of profit’

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators didn’t get interim relief from the Delhi High Court in the ‘office of profit’ case on Friday. They had moved a plea in the court seeking a stay on the Election Commission’s order disqualifying 20 MLAs in the case. This has raised the important question which is being debated in the media: What is an ‘office of profit? An office is termed an “office of profit if a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) or a Member of Parliament (MP) receives benefits from it. According to law, MLA or MP will be disqualified if he or she holds an office of profit under the central or state government. However, by law, some offices have been declared not to disqualify its holder, but such laws have been passed by Parliament or State legislatures. If more offices need to be included in the list, the procedure should be followed–Parliament or State legislatures should approve this in advance before the allotment of such offices to MPs or MLAs.In case of a State, the constitution mandates that only a certain number of MLAs can be accommodated in the Council of Ministers. For smaller states like Delhi, the size of the council of ministers should not go beyond the 10 percent of the total strength of the assembly. For some states, the ceiling is fixed at 15 percent of the strength of the assembly. According to experts, a few ruling parties in the state resort to embracing the route of “Office of profit” and extending plum posts as it can’t accommodate its MLAs in the Council of Ministers. Also readAAP alleges conspiracy, says CEC Jyoti ‘repaying debt’ to PM ModiAAP has claimed that they were not given hearing opportunity by the Election Commission and this is a political Vendetta against the party. The 20 MLAs of Aam Aadmi Party whose disqualification has been recommended are as follows: Naresh Yadav (Mehrauli) Som Dutt (Sadar Bazar) Praveen Kumar (Jangpura)Jarnail Singh (Rajouri Garden)Nitin Tyagi (Laxmi Nagar)Adarsh Shastri (Dwarka)Sanjeev Jha (Burari)Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar)Sukhvir Singh (Mundka)Madan Lal (Kasturba Nagar)Sarita Singh (Rohtas Nagar)Alka Lamba (Chandni Chowk)Rajesh Rishi (Janakpuri)Anil Kumar Bajpai (Gandhi Nagar)Manoj Kumar (Kondli)Kailash Gahlot (Najafgarh)Avtar Singh (Kalkaji)Vijendar Garg Vijay (Rajinder Nagar)Rajesh Gupta (Wazirpur)Sharad Kumar (Narela) Shiv Charan Goel (Moti Nagar)

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Office of Profit Row: Delhi HC refuses to grant interim relief to AAP MLAs seeking stay on EC order

The AAP MLAs today moved the Delhi High Court against the Election Commission’s (EC) recommendation to the President to disqualify 20 of them for allegedly holding offices of profit.The pleas by six MLAs was mentioned before a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal for urgent hearing, which was listed for today itself.However, the Delhi High Court refused to grant interim relief to AAP MLAs in the Office of Profit Case.The petition before the Election Commission was filed by one Prashant Patel against 21 MLAs who were appointed as parliamentary secretaries by the AAP government in Delhi.Also read’The end of the f***ing world’ : Anurag Kashyap slams Arvind Kejriwal’s decision to install CCTV camera in govt schoolsSubsequently, the proceedings were dropped against Jarnail Singh after he resigned as the Rajouri Garden MLA to contest the Punjab Assembly polls.BJP says Kejriwal has no moral right to continue The BJP today questioned if the Aam Aadmi Party has any “moral right” to remain in power following the Election Commission’s recommendation to the President to disqualify of its 20 MLAs and demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra claimed the Kejriwal government has become “lame duck”.He cited corruption and criminal cases against AAP MLAs to claim that the party which started its political journey from India Against Corruption movement has become “I am corruption”.The Constitution has shown mirror to the AAP government which had become “arrogant” due to its numerical strength in the Delhi Assembly, he said.Patra also said that the AAP was heading towards becoming the “most corrupt” political party.”Many of the Kejriwal cabinet members had to resign.Fifteen of their MLAs have cases against them and 12 were arrested under different charges. In this scenario, the biggest question before the people is whether the Arvind Kejriwal government has any moral right to remain in power,” he told reporters.He said that with a large number of AAP MLAs facing cases of corruption and other charges, the AAP government in Delhi has become lame duck.Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari lauded the EC’s recommendation to the President to disqualify 20 AAP MLAs for allegedly holding office of profit, saying it is a “moral defeat” for Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and that he should resign.He said the BJP stands prepared for elections any moment.”We welcome the EC decision disqualifying 20 AAP MLAs.Arvind Kejriwal should take responsibility for moral defeat and resign,” he said.Even if the MLAs are disqualified, the AAP will continue to enjoy a comfortable majority in the Delhi Assembly. With inputs from Richa Banka and PTI

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Office of Profit row: Cong asks Kejriwal to resign, AAP says EC touched ‘new low’

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has lost the right to be in power, Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken today said in the wake of the Election Commission’s (EC) recommendation for disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs.”Kejriwal has no right to continue. Half of his cabinet ministers removed on corruption charges! 20 MLAs who were enjoying ministerial perks would be disqualified! (sic),” the Congress leader tweeted. “Where is Lokpal? The MLAs and Ministers enjoying perks of power and foreign travel-Where is political probity (sic)?,” the tweet further read. The EC is learnt to have recommended to the president to disqualify 20 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs for allegedly holding offices of profit. An angry AAP today claimed the Election Commission has never “touched this low”, after the poll panel recommended disqualification of party’s 20 MLAs for allegedly holding office of profit.”The EC should not be the letter box of the PMO. But that is the reality today,” Ashutosh tweeted.”A person like me who has covered EC as a reporter during (T N) Seshan days, today I can say EC has never touched so low ever,” the scribe-turned politician added.Also readOffice of Profit Case: EC recommends disqualification of 20 MLAs, AAP moves Delhi HCIn its opinion sent to President Ram Nath Kovind, the poll panel has said that by being parliamentary secretaries, these MLAs held offices of profit and thus, were liable to be disqualified from the Delhi Assembly, sources said. The Election Commission is learnt to have recommended to the President the disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs for allegedly holding office of profit. In its opinion sent to President Ram Nath Kovind, the Election Commission said by being parliamentary secretaries, they held office of profit and were liable to be disqualified as MLAs of the Delhi Assembly, highly placed sources said. The President is bound to go by the recommendation of the Commission. In cases where petitions are made seeking disqualification of lawmakers, the President sends a reference to the EC which decides on the case by sending back its opinion.In the present case, the petition was made to disqualify 21 MLAs, but one had resigned a few months back There, however, was no official word from the Commission. When contacted, Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti said since the matter is sub judice, he would not offer any comment on the issue.

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Re-election will be by EVM: Twitter reacts to EC recommending disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs

The Election Commission is learnt to have recommended to the President the disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs for allegedly holding office of profit.In its opinion sent to President Ram Nath Kovind, the Election Commission said by being parliamentary secretaries, they held office of profit and were liable to be disqualified as MLAs of the Delhi Assembly, highly placed sources said.The President is bound to go by the recommendation of the Commission. In cases where petitions are made seeking disqualification of lawmakers, the President sends a reference to the EC which decides on the case by sending back its opinion.In the present case, the petition was made to disqualify 21 MLAs, but one had resigned a few months back There, however, was no official word from the Commission.When contacted, Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti said since the matter is sub judice, he would not offer any comment on the issue. Also read’The end of the f***ing world’ : Anurag Kashyap slams Arvind Kejriwal’s decision to install CCTV camera in govt schoolsWith inputs from PTI

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Office of Profit Case: EC recommends disqualification of 20 MLAs, AAP moves Delhi HC

The Election Commission is learnt to have recommended to the President the disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs for allegedly holding office of profit.In its opinion sent to President Ram Nath Kovind, the Election Commission said by being parliamentary secretaries, they held office of profit and were liable to be disqualified as MLAs of the Delhi Assembly, highly placed sources said.The President is bound to go by the recommendation of the Commission. In cases where petitions are made seeking disqualification of lawmakers, the President sends a reference to the EC which decides on the case by sending back its opinion.The party is however looking to challenge the EC’s order in Delhi HC. The matter was urgently mentioned and hasbeen assigned to the court of Justice Rekha Palli. AAP MLAs Madan Lal, Nitin Tyagi and Rajesh Gupta are seeking a stay against the EC’s decision, saying the EC shouldn’t have taken a call while the main case was pending before Delhi HC. They also alleged that other than CEC Achal Joti the other two EC officers hadn’t heard the matter. They also alleged there were not given an opportunity to be heard by the EC.Also readAjay Maken files objection against AAP’s RS nominee ND Gupta saying he holds ‘office of profit’ Taking a dig at Delhi Chief Minister, Kapil Mishra, the AAP rebel tweeted a short video clip. Also readIs Sidhu’s TV comedy show violation of office of profit?In the clip, he says that ‘greed of Kejriwal’ has cost 20 seats for AAP. ‘ Kejriwal is now in questionable position,’ he added.Earlier, Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken filed an objection to nomination of AAP’s Rajya Sabha candidate N D Gupta for allegedly holding an office of profit.In his objection filed with the retuning officer, Maken claimed that Gupta is “currently holding the office of a Trustee of the National Pension System Trust. He was appointed on March 30″.Gupta, along with two other Rajya Sabha candidates of the Aam Aadmi Party, Sanjay Singh and Sushil Gupta, had filed nomination papers on January 4. The scrutiny of the nominations is today.”ND Gupta’s nomination is liable to be rejected under Section 36 of Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 read with Article 102 of the Constitution,” Maken claimed.Meanwhile, the AAP said that Maken was trying to gain “cheap publicity” through “frivolous” objections as the law does not forbid trustees from contesting. “Section 3, clause (L) of Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959, gives exemption to trustee from disqualification under office of profit,” AAP leader Raghav Chadha tweeted.”Also, RO (returning officer) is not competent authority to adjudicate on OoP, EC is. Frivolous objections to gain cheap publicity by Congress,” he added.Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won a stunning victory in the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections, winning 67 out of 70 seats and thoroughly reversing a trend of unabated BJP wins in state elections over the past year. This is the biggest victory margin for any political party in Delhi since the first Assembly elections took place in 1993.(This is developing story)

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Electoral bonds step in ‘right direction’: CEC Joti

Electoral bonds will not solve all problems pertaining to transparency in political funding, Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti said today, but hoped that it will be a step in the “right direction”.Electoral bonds, which were introduced by the government to make funding to political parties transparent, will allow a political donor to purchase bonds from authorised banks and can be redeemed by parties only through registered accounts in a prescribed time frame. “There will be a banking trail of the donations which will be made. That is one step in the right direction. I have not said it will solve all the problems…Let it (bonds) be rolled out..,” he said, when asked if the usage of these bonds will address issues pertaining to transparency in funding of political parties.Responding to questions at a press conference on the possible use of electoral bonds by people to fund parties during the upcoming Assembly polls in Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland, the CEC said the bonds will “definitely” be used as the finance ministry has already notified their availability. The press conference was called to announce the Assembly election schedule for northeastern states. He also said that he was “hopeful that it will be a step in the right direction.”Also readTripura goes to vote on Feb 18; Meghalaya, Nagaland February 27. Counting on March 3Joti’s remarks come nearly eights months after the EC had told a parliamentary committee that electoral bonds introduced by the government is a “retrograde” step. Asked “what has changed”, as the commission had earlier expressed reservations on the issuance of electoral bonds, Joti maintained, “nothing has changed”. The commission, in a written submission to the parliamentary standing committee on law and personnel in May, had said changes made in the election laws after the introduction of the bonds would compromise transparency in political funding.”The amendment in section 29 C of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 making it no longer necessary to report details of donations received through electoral bonds is a retrograde step as transparency of political funding would be compromised as a result of the change,” it had said. An electoral bond can be purchased by any citizen of India or a body incorporated in India. The bonds will be issued in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh and Rs 1 crore, and will be available at specified branches of the State Bank of India.Donors can donate the bonds to their party of choice which can then be cashed via the party’s verified account within 15 days. Every party that is registered under section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and has secured at least one per cent of the votes polled in the most recent Lok Sabha or assembly election will be allotted a verified account by the Election Commission. Electoral bond transactions can be made only via that account.

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I&B Ministry shuffles many Group A officers

Jane Namchu, who was a director in the Directorate of Field Publicity (DFP) in Siliguri, has been transferred to PIB Delhi where she will handle publicity for the ministries of power, labour, new and renewable energy and minority affairs. TVK Reddy who was an ADG at PIB Vijaywada has been transferred to PIB Delhi.”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Thursday 18 January 2018 6:55 IST<!–end of articllftpbx–>Barely two months after the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting shuffled over 24 senior officers of the Indian Information Service (IIS), over 20 Group A officers of the force were transferred on Wednesday.Some of the reshuffles include the transfer of Patna director general (DG) of Press India Bureau (PIB) AK Rout to Delhi where he will handle publicity of the ministries of drinking water and sanitation, minority affairs and of women and child development.A Bharat Bhushan Babu has been made an additional director general (ADG) in PIB Delhi and will handle the ministries of home affairs, personnel public grievance and pension ministry, Northeastern Railway (NER), the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), the Department of Atomic Energy, Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Central Information Commission (CIC) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). His transfer is “under order of posting after repatriation from deputation”.Jane Namchu, who was a director in the Directorate of Field Publicity (DFP) in Siliguri, has been transferred to PIB Delhi where she will handle publicity for the ministries of power, labour, new and renewable energy and minority affairs. TVK Reddy who was an ADG at PIB Vijaywada has been transferred to PIB Delhi.

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Jind: Suspect accused in minor’s gang-rape and murder case found dead in Kurukshetra

Suspect accused in Jind rape and murder case in Haryana was found dead in Kurukshetra on Wednesday. A 15-year-old Dalit girl was brutally gang-raped and later murdered in Haryana. In a grim reminder of the ‘Nirbhaya gang rape’ on December 16, 2012, the victim in this case also suffered internal injuries after accused inserted a pointed object into her private parts. Her body had 19 injuries, largely on head, face, and chest. Also, her lungs were ruptured.Victim’s body with mutilated private parts was found on Monday. The body of the minor was found near a canal in Budhakhera village of the district. The girl, reportedly, was missing since January 9 from Kurukshetra. “The body had many injury marks, private parts were mutilated and there were a lot of internal injuries. Signs of sexual assault are visible and looks like 3-4 people were responsible. A hard and blunt thing was inserted into her, signs of drowning also found,” said Dr SK Dattarwal, PGI Rohtak.Also readJind murder and gang-rape: Minor’s genitals ruptured with blunt weapon in Haryana“My daughter was kidnapped and raped, culprits should be punished. We want justice for her. If the administration had done its job well, an incident like this would have never happened,” said the victim’s father.The National Commission for Women (NCW) on Tuesday took suo moto cognisance of the Jind incident.The NCW wrote a letter to Mamta Singh, Inspector General of Police (IPS) Crime against Women Police Headquarters in Panchkula, Haryana over the recent rape incidents.

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Manipur fake encounters probe: Supreme Court pulls up CBI’s SIT on low number of FIRs

The Supreme Court today came down heavily on the CBI’s SIT, probing alleged extra-judicial killings and fake encounters by the Army, Assam Rifles and police in insurgency-hit Manipur, for not registering the required number of FIRs as directed by it earlier.The apex court directed the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to lodge 30 more FIRs on or before January 31 this year, after the SIT informed it that it has registered 12 FIRs till date.A bench comprising justices Madan B Lokur and U U lalit directed the probe team to complete by February 28 this year, its investigation into 12 cases lodged by them and file the final reports before the concerned court.Also readManipur encounter specialist confesses to extrajudicial killingThe bench, which perused the first status report filed by the SIT, posed searching questions to it.The bench asked as to why all the FIRs have not been registered yet despite its July 14 order last year.Also readSC raps CBI, SIT over low number of FIRs in Manipur fake encounters probeIt directed that all the subsequent status reports, to be filed before it by the SIT, should have the approval of the CBI director.The bench also asked the CBI director to monitor the progress in the investigation and posted the matter for further hearing on March 12.The apex court had earlier said it appeared that matters related to the probe into alleged fake encounters in Manipur were not being taken up seriously by the SIT.The top court had on July 14 last year set up an SIT comprising five CBI officers and ordered registration of FIRs and probe into the alleged extra-judicial killings in Manipur.It had asked the CBI director to nominate a team of five officers for the SIT to lodge the necessary FIRs and complete the investigation into alleged fake encounters by December 31 last year.The apex court, which is hearing a PIL seeking probe into 1,528 alleged extra-judicial killings, had in July last year ordered registration of an FIR in 81 cases.These cases include 32 probed by a Commission of Enquiry, 32 cases investigated by judicial enquiries and high courts, 11 cases in which compensation has been awarded by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and six cases probed by a commission headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice Santosh Hegde.

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‘Harassed’ teen runs away from shelter home

A 17-year-old girl allegedly ran away from a shelter home in Andheri and called the child helpline. The helpline officials took her to MIDC police station and she was later sent to an observation/children’s home in Dongri. According to an MIDC police official, the girl confessed that wanted freedom so she ran away. However, one of her school teachers alleged this was the second time she had run away due to harassment.On November 25, Sakshi Kamble (name changed) ran away from the shelter home where she had lived since childhood. According to Kamble’s teacher, the teenager had narrated her ordeal, alleging that she was harassed at the orphanage. The teacher has also written a letter to the Maharashtra State Commission for protection of child rights, the home minister, Children’s Home in Dongri and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Delhi.The teacher, who does not wish to be named, said, “She developed health issues due to harassment at the shelter home. She alleged that officials at the shelter home used to torture her, saying she was involved in sexual activities with another girl. Fearing for her life, I gave her a phone so she could call me if she was in any problem,” said the teacher.The teacher will be writing a letter to the State Child Rights Commission soon, seeking permission to meet the girl.Senior inspector Shailesh Pasalwad, MIDC police station, said, “We initially filed a kidnapping case. Later, when she came to the police station, she confessed that she ran away from the shelter home.”Another official from the MIDC police station, who was handling the case, said, “The girl said shelter home officials didn’t allow her to use a phone. She wanted freedom, so she ran away. She did not mention being harassed by anyone.”An official in-charge of the shelter home confirmed that Kamble was living there but denied the allegations made by the teacher.FREEDOM OR TORTURE?A teacher alleges the girl fled as she was tortured at shelter home A police official said the girl wanted freedom, so she ran away. She didn’t mention anything about harasment

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Defeated Cong candidate approaches Gujarat HC over invalidation of postal ballots

He has made all the 13 candidates who contested from Dholka constituency and the Election Commission and returning officer as respondents in the case which is likely to come up for hearing next week. Chusdasama is a cabinet minister with the portfolios of education, law and justice, legislative and parliamentary affairs, among others in the new BJP government. ”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written By
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Saturday 13 January 2018 21:52 IST<!–end of articllftpbx–> A Congress candidate who lost the 2017 state Assembly elections has approached the Gujarat High Court challenging the invalidation of around 400 postal ballots which he claimed led to his defeat by a narrow margin.Ashvin Rathod, who contested as a Congress candidate from Dholka Assembly constituency against BJP heavyweight and cabinet minister Bhupendrsinh Chudasama, moved a petition in the High Court against the decision by the election officer to invalidate around 400 postal ballots. Rathod has said in his petition that he was defeated by a thin margin of 327 votes, which could have been reversed had the postal ballot been counted as he was confident of getting 90 per cent of these votes.The petitioner had managed to garner 71,203 votes, while his nearest rival and winning candidate Chudasama managed to get 71,530 votes, a victory margin of 327 votes. He prayed for the court’s directions to the authorities to hold the postal ballots as valid and order counting of these votes. He added that no valid reason was given behind the decision to invalidate these votes.Also readSpecial session of Gujarat assembly likely on Jan 20He has made all the 13 candidates who contested from Dholka constituency and the Election Commission and returning officer as respondents in the case which is likely to come up for hearing next week. Chusdasama is a cabinet minister with the portfolios of education, law and justice, legislative and parliamentary affairs, among others in the new BJP government.

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Election Commission likely to announcing voting dates for Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland today

The Election Commission of India on Friday is likely to announce the polling schedule for assembly elections in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland. As per a Zee News report, the polling is expected to be held in February and reports suggest that voting in all the three northeastern states will be conducted in a single-phase.According to the Election Commission of India’s website, the five-year term of the assemblies in Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura, with 60 seats each, would expire on March 6, March 13, and March 14, respectively.The Left Front rules in Tripura, Congress holds power in Meghalaya, while the Naga People’s Front-led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland rules in Nagaland. The Democratic Alliance is supported by BJP.Earlier, BJP president Amit Shah called for a regime change in Left-dominated Tripura as the state heads for polls. Shah said on Sunday the change was necessary in face of the multiple failures of the Manik Sarkar government, including combating crimes against women and unemployment. Alleging that many Tripura ministers were directly involved in chit fund scams, he added they would be sent to jail if the saffron party comes to power.Shah while campaigning in Meghalaya also accused Mukul D Sangma government as “the most corrupt” and asked the people to overthrow it in the ensuing assembly elections on Saturday.Shah accused the 15 years of “misrule” in Meghalaya resulting in pushing the State behind all other states in country in terms of development.The BJP had earlier appointed Union Minister Kiren Rijiju and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma as election in-charge of Nagaland and Tripura respectively.Of the eight northeastern states, the BJP already has five under its belt. It has its own government in Assam and Manipur, while in Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Sikkim, it is coalition partner with regional parties.

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War against corruption hits dead end in Jammu and Kashmir

War against corruption has hit a dead end after Jammu and Kashmir State Vigilance Commission (SVC), reported that 8,935 enquiries are pending in different government departments for the last nine years.In its fourth annual report of the SVC, which was tabled in Legislative Assembly by Public Works Department Minister Naeem Akhtar on Thursday, the Commission said the highest number of 2,163 cases is pending disposal with the department vigilance officers (DVOs) of revenue and relief department.Despite tall claims of anti-corruption mechanism, almost all the departments have the dark underbellies. According to SVC report, 1174 cases are pending in Education department, 823 Rural Development Department, 517 Police Department, 431 Social Welfare Department, 394 Health and Medicals Education, 392 Public Health Engineering, 377 Forest, 310 Municipality and 198 Consumer Affairs and Public distribution. Around 209 cases pertain to private persons.“Statements of complainants and inquiries and complaints referred to various departments from time to time by the State Vigilance Organization presented a dismal picture as hardly any complaint was found disposed of by any department”, the report said.Chief Vigilance Commissioner PL. Gupta and Vigilance Commissioner Gazanffer Hussain on Thursday Governor NN Vohra and briefed Governor about the main features of the 4th Annual Report and the special efforts being made to dispose off the pending inquiries before the Commission and to enhance the accountability of the administrative system.“Governor advised the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) to speed up the processes of the Commission to see that the corrupt elements, particularly those occupying senior echelons, are effectively dealt with, if transparency is to be introduced in the functioning of the public institutions”, said an official spokesman.

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UPSC Civil Services (Main) exam results declared. Check upsc.gov.in to know your result and interview date

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on Wednesday declared the results of the Civil Services (Main) examination. The examination was conducted between October 28 and November 3 last year.The Civil Services examination is conducted by the UPSC annually in three stages — preliminary, mains and interview — to select officers for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), and Indian Police Service (IPS), among others.The qualified candidates with will now appear for for Personality Test (interviews) for selection for final selection. Personality Test of the selected candidates is likely to commence from February 19, the UPSC said in a statement.The roll numbers of the candidates, who cleared the mains examination were made available on the commissions website– www.upsc.gov.in. The e-Summon Letter of Personality Test of candidates being called for Interview may be downloaded from www.upsc.gov.in from January 18.The mark sheets of candidates, who have not qualified, would be put on UPSC’s website within 15 days from the date of publication of the final result (after conducting the personality tests) and would be available on the portal for a period of 60 days.

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Man from Kutch lodged in Pak jail even a year after his prison term ended: RTI reply

A man from Kutch lodged in a Pakistan jail is yet to return to India even a year after the end of his prison term as his nationality has not been verified by the Ministry of Home Affairs, a Right to Information plea has revealed.Ismail Samma, 51, a resident of Nana Dinara village some 50 kilometres from the Indo-Pakistan border in Gujarat’s Kutch district, went missing in August 2008 as he strayed into the Pakistan side while grazing cattle, said Jatin Desai of the Mumbai-based NGO, Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy.Desai, who filed an RTI on this issue in August last year with the Ministry of External Affairs, recently received a reply to it from the Indian High Commission in Pakistan. Samma, arrested in Pakistan after he crossed the border, was sentenced to five years in jail for espionage in October, 2011, he said.”His jail term ended in October, 2016. But due to lack of nationality verification on the part of the Ministry of Home Affairs, he has not yet been repatriated,” Desai said.While Samma’s family had been looking for him for several years, it recently learnt that he was lodged in a jail in Pakistan.A fellow villager, Rafiq Suleman, who had returned from a Pakistan jail, told the family he had seen Samma in a Karachi prison.Desai said Indian government officials knew about Samma’s whereabouts from at least 2014, when he was provided consular access by the Indian High Commission in Pakistan.In its reply on Samma’s status, the Indian High Commission stated, “According to the records available with this Mission, Mr Mohammad Ismail S/O Mohammad Samma was provided Consular Access on February 7, 2014, and request for verification on his nationality was forwarded to the MHA on March 7, 2014.”It added, “However, the same is still awaited from the MHA due to which this Mission is unable to take up the case of release for Mr Mohammad Ismail with the Government of Pakistan.”The RTI reply also informed the petitioner that “there is no time limit for confirming nationality after the High Commission gets consular access.”Under an agreement signed between India and Pakistan, if a man is arrested across the border, he shall be given consular access within 90 days of his arrest. Once his nationality is verified, the process of expatriation is initiated.”At times, the two countries do not follow the rules. Since there is no time limit for nationality verification after consular access, Ismail, who was given consular access in February, 2014, is still in jail as his nationality has not been verified. It is inhuman,” Desai said. “We need to see that nationality is verified within three months. The government needs to be more sensitive in such cases,” he said.

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Delhi: Civic bodies, edu dept asked to examine fire safety measures in schools

In order to ensure safety of students, the Delhi Commission For Protection Of Child Rights (DCPCR) has directed the education department, all civic bodies and Delhi Cantonment Board to examine life and fire safety provisions in schools under their jurisdiction.The Commission has asked all agencies concerned to submit a status report on the issue to it by January 15.Apart from this, the DCPCR has recommended to the education directorate to rectify the loophole and issue explicit instructions regarding shifting of buildings of schools that National Building Code (2005) must be applied on all schools.The move is aimed at ensuring all fire norms in place in all schools running in the national capital in view of the students’ safety.”This commission directs the fire services department, directorate of education, East Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation, North Delhi Municipal Corporation,”New Delhi Municipal Council and Delhi Cantonment Board over students’ safety to ensure that all schools are rigorously examined with regard to life and fire safety provision and file a status report to this Commission on or before January 15, 2018,” the Commission in its recent order.It also stated that the Commission may begin the exercise of reviewing these provisions for all schools in Delhi thereafter.In another order, the DCPCR also said, “Further, as recommended in its previous directions, this Commission recommends to the directorate of education to rectify the loophole and issue explicit instructions regarding shifting of buildings of schools that National Building Code, 2005 must be applied on all schools even in cases where school that has been in existence prior to 2011 shifts to any other building whether new or old.”The DCPCR has sought the compliance report from directorate of education in this regard on or before January 31.

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Maharashtra govt sets up mechanism to implement Food Security Act

The Maharashtra government has issued a notification for creating an administrative framework for the implementation of the National Food Security Act, 2013.The notification, issued on December 13, 2017, provides for setting up the State Food Commission (SFC), creating the post of District Grievance Redressal Officer (DGRO) and a Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) whereby essential commodities will be made available to ration card holders through Fair Price Shops (FPS).The grievance redressal mechanism would consist of a call centre-based helpline with toll free numbers for registering complaints and providing information to the public, says the notification.The DGRO would hear, dispose of complaints received or take suo-moto action related to distribution of entitled food grains or meals.It would also have the powers to examine books, accounts, documents or commodities in custody of a person in matters relating to distribution of entitled food grains or meals, it says.The DGRO would take necessary action on complaints lodged with him within 60 working days. It would have the powers of a civil court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure (CrPC), 1908.The notification also provides for creation of the State Food Commission which would be headquartered in Mumbai and headed by a chairperson. The commission would have the powers to directly hear grievance or complaints.The commission would also have the powers to visit and inspect any stock and delivery point, fair price shops, school, anganwadi, local authority or office of the DGRO.As per the National Food Security Act (NFSA), under the Targeted Public Distribution System, all ration card holders, who have an annual income of Rs 44,000 in rural and Rs 59,000 for urban areas respectively, will be eligible to avail the benefits of subsidised food as priority household beneficiaries through Fair Price Shops (FPS).As per the states’ economic survey for 2016-17, the NFSA covers 62.3% of the population in the state.There were about 51,204 fair price shops in the state as on December 31, 2016 of which 5,427 were in the tribal areas and 28 were mobile ones.Under the TPDS, the eligible families are provided essential commodities like rice at Rs 3 per kg, wheat at Rs 2 per kg and coarse grain at Rs 1 per kg.

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The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notice to five states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu over alleged acts of violence and atrocities against Christians. In a statement the NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report, alleging acts of violence and atrocity against Christians in various parts of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. The commission has observed that the contents of the press report, if true, amount to violation of the fundamental right to freedom of religion for which it has issued notices to the Chief Secretaries of the respective states and they have also been directed to send a report on the action taken to prevent reoccurrence of such incidents in future.

Land records are not personal information, says Central Information Commission

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Land records, describing boundaries, ownership and extent of possession, are public records which cannot be treated as personal information, the Central Information Commission has held, directing the Delhi government to consider writing them on the walls of villages.Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said records with names of different owners giving details of boundaries, and the extent of land owned or possessed by the public authority, is neither private information nor third party information.Delhi government officials had claimed that property details of other persons from land records of the village cannot be given under the RTI Act as the law allows withholding personal information from disclosure.Rejecting the argument, Acharyulu said,”The land is open and transaction of change of ownership of a particular piece of land is registered with Registrar for being recorded as admissible evidence of that ownership for public to know.” “Registration is notification to society and evidence of the transaction and not an affair to be kept secret. If the argument of PIO (public information officer) is accepted the registration of transactions of sale and mortgage would never be available to people in general. That will defeat the purpose of recording the transaction at all,” the Information Commissioner said.Taking a cue from Telangana, Acharyulu directed the Delhi government to “explore writing of records on the walls in villages as that practically solved the land problems” in the newly-carved out state.”It is the duty of the revenue department to make all updated land records open for scrutiny of the people. Transparency is the only way by which corruption can be prevented. Transparency of the land records is mandated as per Section 4(1)(B) of the RTI Act and Public Records Act, 1993,” Acharyulu said.Quoting the Report of the Working Group on Transparency and Accountability (Central Employment Guarantee Council), the Commissioner said if the transparency and accountability provisions are not taken seriously, the entire edific will be undermined by a range of corrupt practices–from denial of basic rights to huge scams.He said revenue department is supposed to survey, map the possession, prepare and update the ownership and possession related records in villages with reference to agriculture and to be kept for various purposes including the ascertaining of land rights.

Kerala: LDF renews its demand for resignation of CM Oommen Chandy on solar scam issue

CPI-M led LDF opposition in Kerala on Monday renewed its demand for the resignation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in the wake of the Judicial Commission, appointed to probe the solar scam, deciding to take statements from Chandy on the issue.As part of its agitation, LDF would stage a dharna in front of the secretariat and in district headquarters on January 5, party Convener Vakiom Viswam told reporters after a meeting of Front’s liaison committee in Trivandrum. The Commission, headed by retired Kerala High Court judge G Sivarajan, has decided to call Chandy to testify before it as part of its inquiry.The Commission was appointed in October last year following stir by the opposition after the scam came to light in July 2013. The case relates to duping of several persons by the two prime accused Saritha S Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan after promising to install solar power panels for them.The LDF allegation is that Chandy and his office had favoured the accused. A staff member in Chandy’s office was among those arrested in connection with the case.Demanding the resignation of Finance Minister K M Mani on the bar bribery issue, Viswam said Chief Minister was protecting Mani in the case. LDF also wanted probe into the allegations levelled by KC-B MLA KB Ganeshkumar against the Public Works Department Ministry headed by V K Ebrahim Kunju of Indian Union Muslim League. LDF decided to launch a massive campaign in the state against the conversion programme organised by VHP, he said.

16 states ratify Judicial Appointments Commission Bill

Sixteen states have ratified a constitutional amendment bill which seeks to scrap the collegium system of judges appointing judges, bringing the government a step closer to put in place a new mechanism of appointments in the higher judiciary. Any Constitutional amendment bill requires ratification by at least 50% of the state legislatures.Sources said the Law Ministry has been informed by 16 of the 29 states that the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) bill has been ratified. The names of all the states which have ratified the bill was immediately not known. The Rajya Sabha Secretariat which had earlier this year sent the bill to the states for ratification is expected to receive authenticated copies of their approval in the coming days.Goa, Rajasthan, Tripura and Gujarat had last month ratified the bill. Also, UP assembly had ratified the bill last month with an amendment amid protests by BJP MLAs. Once the ratifications have been formally received, the bill will be sent to the President for his assent.Parliament had in August cleared the bill that will facilitate setting up of a commission for appointment of judges, replacing the 20-year-old collegium system, which has been under severe criticism. The bill will make way for the setting up of National Judicial Appointments Commission, which will appoint and transfer judges to the Supreme Courts and the 24 High Courts.The bill will grant Constitutional status to the NJAC and its composition. Chief Justice of India will head the NJAC. Besides the CJI, the judiciary would be represented by two senior judges of the Supreme Court. Two eminent personalities and the Law Minister will be the other members of the proposed body.

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