9 more fast track courts in Punjab to curb sexual attacks on women, children - The Daily Guardian
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9 more fast track courts in Punjab to curb sexual attacks on women, children

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Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], February 15 (ANI): An inter-departmental meeting of the Punjab government on Monday decided on a slew of measures to strengthen the investigation and prosecution machinery for handling criminal offences against women and children, including the establishment of nine more fast-track courts under the POCSO Act and Sexual Assault Response Teams in all the 27 police districts of the state to deal with cases of sexual attacks on women.
The meeting was attended by Director General of Police (DGP) Punjab Dinkar Gupta, Principal Secretary Social Security and Women and Child Development Raji P Shrivastava, Principal Secretary Health and Family Welfare Hussan Lal and Secretary Home Affairs Arun Sekhri. ADGP Women and Child Affairs Gurpreet Kaur Deo, Director Punjab Police Academy (PPA) Phillaur Anita Punj and Director Prosecution and Litigation Satnam Singh Kaler were also present during the meeting.
The decisions are in line with recent directives of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh for ensuring time-bound investigations in cases of crime against women and children and improving the prosecution rate in such cases.
Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan directed officials to clear the pendency of cases related to women and children from the period 2016 to 2020 through quality investigations on priority.
She also directed the home department to facilitate the establishment of nine other fast-track courts, for which approval has been granted by the government, in addition to the three such courts which are already operational in Ludhiana and Jalandhar.
Seven fast track courts are already in functional condition and are dealing with rape cases.
DGP Punjab Dinkar Gupta told in the meeting that the police department is planning to set up sexual assault response teams in all 27 police districts to deal with sexual assault cases, besides holding weekly meetings to discuss and monitor the progress of all such cases under investigation cases.
Gupta further said that dedicated help desks, already established at all police stations and manned by women for attending to complaints of women, will be functioning from SAANJH Kendras located in close vicinity to the police stations.
The DGP also suggested that some additional district-level Special Prosecutors may be appointed to deal with cases related to sexual assault and the Nirbhaya fund will be utilised properly by upgrading forensic gadgets, mobiles and IT equipment etc in order to deal with online cyber offences against women and children. (ANI)

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Mumbai’s Oval Maidan to be closed from 26 Feb due to spike in COVID-19 cases

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 25 (ANI): As the city has been witnessing a rise in the number of COVID 19 cases, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to close the iconic Oval Maidan in Mumbai from February 26, said Chanda Jadhav, BMC Assistant municipal commissioner.
No activity will be allowed in the Maidan in south Mumbai, including sports till further orders.
“BMC to close the iconic Oval Maidan from tomorrow, 26th February due to rise in #COVID19 cases in Mumbai,” said Chanda Jadhav.
The ground is frequently occupied on weekends by cricket and football enthusiasts, however political rallies and religious functions are banned in the maidan.
Maharashtra on Wednesday witnessed a spike in coronavirus cases, with more than 8,000 new cases of infections being reported in a single day after a gap of over four months. (ANI)

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NHRC handicapped without Chairperson, DG Investigation: PIL in SC

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By Suchitra Kalyan Mohanty
New Delhi [India], February 25 (ANI): For the first time in the history of the National Human Rights Commission’s (NHRC) since its inception, the apex human rights watchdog of the country is at present, running without its full strength as it does not have a Chairperson, Acting Chairperson, two members and the Director-General of Investigation.
This was claimed by noted human rights activist and Supreme Court lawyer, Radhakanta Tripathy in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in the Supreme Court.
Tripathy filed the petition seeking the intervention of the top court to ensure the apex human rights watchdog of the country runs with its full strength.
Tripathy’s petition pointed out the vacancies of Chairperson, two members and Director General of Investigation of National Human Rights Commission as required under Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 as amended in 2019.
“The Commission cannot function without its Chairperson, members and Director General of Investigation,” Tripathy claimed in his petition.
The petition is likely to come up for hearing in the second or third week of March, as per the Supreme Court Registry.
“The NHRC has become handicapped due to the inaction of the government. The negligence, failure and inaction of the Respondents in filling up the vacancies in the NHRC violate Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India,” the petition filed by Tripahty claimed.
This situation has arisen for the first time in the history of the NHRC, since its inception, when there is no Chairperson, Acting Chairperson, two members and the Director-General of Investigation, Tripathy pointed out in his PIL.
The petition of Tripathy contended that Section 3 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 as amended in 2019 prescribes the Constitution of a National Human Rights Commission with a Chairperson and five other members.
Similarly, Section 11 of the Act prescribes for the appointment of a Director-General of Investigation. Section 7 of the Act Prescribes of appointment of an Acting Chairperson in the absence of Chairperson, the petition stated.
The posts in the NHRC have remained empty since Justice HL Dattu retired on December 2 last year as the Chairperson, and Justice D Murugesan retired from the Commission in September 2018, as a member.
A new post for membership has been created by the Amendment of the Protection of Human Rights Act in 2019. The post of Director-General of Investigation has been lying vacant since May 2020, after the retirement of Prabhat Singh, IPS, who retired as Director General (Investigation) in the NHRC, the petition said.
Tripathy, in his plea, also alleged that the non-appointment of a Chairperson, two members, and Director General of Investigation in the NHRC has made it handicapped and dysfunctional in the eyes of law.
“It is, therefore, directly connected with the administration of justice and rule of law, increasing pendency of cases and investigation of serious cases,” the petition said.
Negligence and inaction of the government in not appointing the Chairperson, members and Director General of Investigation of NHRC, in the circumstances is arbitrary, unreasonable and therefore violates Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India, Tripathy said in his petition. (ANI)

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Delhi will face water crisis if Centre closes Nangal Hydel channel, says Raghav Chadha

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New Delhi (India), February 25 (ANI): Delhi Jal Board chairman Raghav Chadha on Thursday said that the national capital will face a water crisis if the Central government stops the water flow by closing the Nangal Hydel channel.
“In summer the water consumption in Delhi has increased, but the Central government is going to stop the water of Beas river for a month by closing the Nangal Hydel Channel. This will reduce 232 million gallons of water per day in Delhi, which is 25 per cent of Delhi’s water supply,” said Chadha.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader also informed that the board has written a letter to the Central Government, Haryana Government and Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) asking them not to stop the water flow from the Beas river
He also asked Gajendra Singh Shekhawat Union Minister of Jal Shakti to call a meeting of all the stakeholders on this problem. (ANI)

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Delhi HC defers hearing to March 26 on petitions related to North East Delhi violence

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New Delhi [India], February 25 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Thursday said that it will hear a batch of petitions on March 26 related to the violence in the national capital in February last year.

A Division Bench headed by Chief Justice DN Patel listed the matter for March 26 and directed the registry to bring on record the reply copy filed by the Centre in a petition filed by a Rahul Roy.

The court was hearing various petitions seeking several directions in the matter.

Around 50 people have died in the violence in northeast Delhi, which ensued after clashes between two opposing factions over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

One of the petition was filed by Lawyers Voice, a group seeking direction to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) and register an FIR against Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Manish Sisodia, Amanatullah Khan, Waris Pathan, Akbaruddin Owaisi and Mehmood Pracha for alleged hate speech.

In a petition filed by Ajay Gautam, it was sought an investigation by National Investigation Agency (NIA) to find out the “anti-national” forces behind the protests in connection with the CAA.

He urged the court to order an NIA probe to find out the role of the People’s Front of India (PFI) which is allegedly “funding, motivating and supporting the protests”.

Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind in its plea sought to set up a special investigative team under either a retired High Court or Supreme Court Judge. (ANI)

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National security no longer limited to military, defense capabilities: Home Secy Ajay Bhalla

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New Delhi [India], February 25 (ANI): Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Thursday remarked that the gap between internal security and external threats is decreasing and that national security was no longer limited to military and defense capabilities.
Speaking at a police K9 seminar, Bhalla said: “You are well aware that in today’s time, national security on all levels has been our highest priority. Earlier, national security was limited only to military and defense capabilities, but now in today’s time it is no longer limited to that. The gap between internal security and external threats is decreasing. Terrorism, drug smuggling and arms ammunition have increased the scope of our internal security.”
He said there are some organisations that operate outside of the country, send money and train terrorists, adding that the scope of internal security of India has widened.
The Home Secretary also highlighted the important role played by soldiers in election duties, citing the recent District Development Council (DDC) elections held in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Apart from ensuring internal security, jawans also play important roles in election duties. Recently, elections were held in Jammu and Kashmir to strengthen the roots of democracy. The DDC polls were held and it was a peaceful election where the public also participated in a good number, while local police Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and the Army played an important role.”
“The voting percentage was good, it means people came out fearlessly to vote. The CAPFs play an important role and the K9 team equally played an important role,” he said.
Lauding the role of the police K9 squad, Bhalla said: “Dog squads help provide support to our efforts. They have been at our side and will continue to remain. They have proved their contribution to defense and security.”
He further said the role of dog squads has been increased at border posts and airports, adding that there has been an effort to promote breeding operations.
“In case of the Police K9, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) has been initiated by the Home Ministry. Earlier, there was no step issued for the evaluation of dog squads. Last year, an SOP was issued for this purpose. The Home Ministry has left no stone unturned in this direction,” he said.
The Home Secretary further expressed confidence in ensuring successful inclusion of the dog squads in the national security teams. (ANI)

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‘Neta’ used to denote respect but now it has become offensive term: Yogi Adityanath

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Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], February 25 (ANI): Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday said earlier the term ‘Neta’ used to denote respect but due to the unruly behaviour of some leaders it has gradually become an offensive term.
While addressing the state assembly on Thursday, Adityanath lashed out at the opposition members who make noises during the session. Yogi said, “If someone thinks that they will be praised if they are unruly in the Assembly and shout in the House, then I think they are mistaken. People don’t take it positively. It is the duty of all of us to set an example with our conduct.”
He further added that before independence, the term ‘Neta’ used to denote respect but gradually after independence it started feeling like an offensive term. “Everyone is responsible for that,” the chief minister said. (ANI)

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