Court grants bail to Disha Ravi who has no 'criminal antecedents', says evidence 'sketchy, scanty' - The Daily Guardian
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Court grants bail to Disha Ravi who has no ‘criminal antecedents’, says evidence ‘sketchy, scanty’

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New Delhi [India], February 23 (ANI): A Delhi Sessions Court on Tuesday granted bail to climate activist Disha Ravi, who was arrested for being involved in sharing a ‘toolkit’ on social media in connection with the ongoing farmers’ protest.
While granting bail to her subject to two sureties of Rs 1 lakh each, the Session Court of Patiala House Court observed, that there is no palpable reason to not grant bail to Disha who has no criminal background.
“Considering the scanty and sketchy investigation, I do not find any palpable reason to breach the rule of bail for a 22-year-old girl who has absolutely no criminal antecedents,” Additional Session Judge Dharmender Rana said in his bail order.
Advocate Abhinav Sekhri, the lawyer for Disha, sought a reduction of the bail amount and sureties, but the court refused to modify the order.
Delhi Police had produced her before the Magistrate Court seeking extended custody of four days for Disha citing that her presence is necessary to confront her with co-accused in the matter.
Yesterday, the same court had granted one-day police remand to the 22-year-old climate, who was arrested by the Special Cell of Delhi Police on February 13 from Bengaluru in connection with the ‘toolkit’ case as part of the police probe into violence on January 26 in the national capital during the tractor march called by farmers protesting against three new farm laws.
Earlier, Public Prosecutor Advocate Vikas representing Delhi Police had informed the court that, there are two other accused persons in this case – Nikita and Shantanu — who have joined the investigation. Recently, both of them have been granted protection from arrest by the Bombay High Court. She was one of the editors of the ‘Toolkit’ Google document.
Advocate Sidharth Aggarwal, who appeared for Disha, had opposed the Delhi Police remand application.
“Public prosecutor is arguing as if he is seeking police custody for the first time. They earlier asked for seven days but got five days. They did not inform the court about that. They did not inform the court that I have moved a bail application which was heard for three hours by the Sessions Court,” Aggarwal had said.
“Shantanu and Nikita are not in custody then why is my client’s custody being sought. She can be confronted with them even when she is in judicial custody,” he had added.
On February 3, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg had shared this “toolkit” in a tweet which she later deleted. Greta had also extended support to the protest by farmers’ unions on the borders of Delhi against the new farm laws. (ANI)

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SC to start hybrid physical hearing on experimental basis from Mar 15

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New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): The Supreme Court has decided to begin hybrid hearing (physical and virtual) on an experimental basis from March 15.
Supreme Court said a pilot basis final hearing/regular matters listed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays will be heard through hybrid mode.
The Secretary-General of the Supreme Court in a circular issued on March 5, said the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde has issued some directions and Standard Operating Procedure on commencing of the hybrid mode of hearing in the apex court amid the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic.
“On an experimental basis, and as a pilot scheme, the final hearing/regular matters listed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays may be heard in the hybrid model, as may be decided by the Bench, considering the number of parties in a matter as well as the limited capacity of the Courtrooms; all other matters, including those listed on Mondays and Fridays shall continue to be heard through video/teleconferencing mode,” the circular said.
Unless otherwise directed by the Bench, final hearing/regular matters where the number of advocates for the parties are more than the average working capacity of the Courtrooms, as per Covid-19 norms, i.e. 20 per Courtroom at any given time, shall invariably be listed for hearing through video/teleconferencing mode, it further added.
The circular said if a matter listed for hybrid hearing, the number of parties is more, then Advocate on Record (AOR) and one arguing counsel per party will be allowed entry; one registered clerk per party, as may be chosen by the AOR, shall be allowed entry to carry paper-books/journals of the counsels upto the Courtrooms.
It said that in hybrid hearing, all the counsels appearing for one party can appear either through physical presence or through video/teleconferencing.
The circular further said that wearing of a mask, frequent use of hand sanitizer and maintaining physical distancing norms is mandatory for all entrants into the Supreme Court premises, including into the Court-rooms.
Supreme Court has been hearing cases through video-conference mode for almost a year following the nation-wide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (ANI)

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West Bengal Assembly polls: TMC leader Dinesh Bajaj resigns from party, set to join BJP

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By Syeda Shabana Parveen
Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], March 6 (ANI): Weeks ahead of the polling for the first phase of West Bengal Assembly elections, Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Bajaj resigned from his party and said he will join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Bajaj’s decision came after TMC’s announcement of its candidate for the Assembly polls.
“I will join the BJP. If BJP names me as its candidate, I will make sure that the BJP wins. People know me and they will vote for my work,” he confirmed to ANI.
He said that he has resigned from the party by sending a personal message to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee itself.
“Please accept my resignation from all the positions held in Trinamool Congress and also from the primary membership of the Trinamool Congress. I am thankful to you for giving me a chance to serve the people from 2006 to 2011 as MLA,” Bajaj stated in his message.
Bajaj said he shared a good relationship with the TMC chief and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and was waiting that this time party(TMC) will give him a chance.
Listing out the cause behind his resentment, Bajaj further said he is annoyed with the way the TMC is speaking against the Hindi speaking people and calling them “outsiders”. He also raised the issue of the TMC’s protest against ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan.
“The TMC government is not taking care of Hindi speaking people. They are left behind and it is humiliating the way the party is insulting and calling them outsiders.
Asked why he did not raise the matter with Banerjee, Bajaj said: “I will not say like others that I did not get a chance to speak to her. I spoke to her every day over the phone but I understand its useless. It is the time to make decisions as I was getting several offers from BJP.”
Earlier in the day, Dinesh Trivedi, who had resigned as TMC MP in Rajya Sabha on February 12, joined BJP in the presence of the party’s national president JP Nadda in New Delhi.
Several TMC leaders had earlier joined the BJP in the run-up to Assembly elections.
West Bengal Assembly elections for 294 seats will be held in eight phases starting from March 27 with the final round of voting taking place on April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.
West Bengal is likely to witness a triangular contest this time with TMC, Congress-Left alliance and the BJP in the fray. (ANI)

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Justice should be timely, affordable and accessible: Shivraj Singh Chouhan

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Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh) [India], March 6 (ANI): Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday said that justice should be “timely, affordable and accessible”.
“The gratification of the soul derives from justice. Justice remains justified when it comes timely. So attention should be paid in the direction of how to get justice soon. Justice should be timely, affordable and accessible,” said Chouhan while addressing the All India State Judicial Academies Director’s retreat ceremony where President Ram Nath Kovind, Madhya Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and other dignitaries were present.
He cited the example of Nirav Modi, saying “London’s court has also acknowledged the esteem of Indian judiciary”.
“The judiciary owns the trust of the common people in the country. A person may have doubt that he will not get justice from the administration or the government but he never doubts the judiciary for obtaining justice. It is a matter of pride that the Indian judiciary is one of the most revered judicial systems in the world,” added the chief minister.
Chouhan further emphasised the need for the implementation of modern technologies in the functioning of the judicial system. (ANI)

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Goa Cong demands State Election Commission to suspend civic polls till SC order

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Panaji (Goa) [India], March 6 (ANI): Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) chief Girish Chodankar on Friday demanded the State Election Commission (SEC) to suspend the municipal election till the Supreme Court decides on the legality of the entire process.
In a letter to Goa State Election Commission, Chodankar said “The Supreme Court has only stayed the directives of the Bombay High Court and not ordered the resumption of the election process.”
He argued that the Supreme Court’s order, which was given on March 4, is applicable only for the Sanguem municipality.
“It is therefore requested of your esteemed office to accord due respect to the process of law and suspend the farcical exercise of election process till the myriad legal points in issue are deliberated and finally decided by the Supreme Court,” the Congress leader said.
“As a Constitutional authority, the State Election Commission is bound to be independent and bound to act fairly. However, with the Law Secretary of Goa having been appointed to hold charge as State Election Commissioner, it is but natural that given the sordid manner in which the announcement of the elections was done, the State Election Commission is not functioning as an independent authority, but behaving like a stooge of the Government,” he stated.
Chodankar said that the civic poll process cannot be halted and then restarted and if stopped, then the entire process has to be initiated all over again.
The elections for 11 municipal councils and the Corporation of City of Panaji (CCP) will be held on March 20 and counting will be held on March 22. (ANI)

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Sushant’s Case: Rhea’s lawyer terms NCB’s chargesheet as ‘damp squib’

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 6 (ANI): Advocate Satish Maneshinde, the lawyer of Rhea Chakraborty has termed the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)’s 12,000-page charge sheet in a drug-related case having links with late actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death as ‘damp squib’.
The charge sheet filed by NCB has named names 33 accused including actor Rhea Chakraborty and her brother Showik Chakraborty, sources said.
Maneshinde who also represents Showik Chakraborty, in a statement, said the 12,000-page charge sheet was expected.
“All efforts of NCB have been directed towards Rhea Chakraborty to somehow rope her in. The entire amount of “Narcotic Substances” “Recovered” against 33 accused are nothing compared to what even a constable in Mumbai Police or Narcotics Cell or the Airport Customs or other agencies recover from one raid or trap,” he said.
“The entire NCB from top to bottom was engaged in unearthing drug angle in Bollywood… There’s hardly any material against any known faces who were paraded during the investigations, I wonder why? Either the allegations were false or Only God Knows the Truth,” he added.
According to the lawyer, the charge sheet is “a damp squib standing on the foundation of inadmissible evidence and statements recorded under section 67 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.”
“The HC has found no prima facie material at the stage of Bail of alleged “Financing Drugs Trade”. We will have the Last Laugh,” he added.
The NCB filed a case in August 2020 after it received official communication from the Enforcement Directorate (ED), in which there were various chats related to drug consumption, procurement, usage, and transportation.
The ED had on July 31, 2020, registered an Enforcement Case Information Report in the late actor’s death case after a First Information Report (FIR) was filed by Rajput’s father KK Singh against Rhea Chakraborty in Bihar on July 28, last year.
Rhea Chakraborty was in a relationship with Rajput at the time of his death on June 14, 2020, when he was found dead in his bedroom. (ANI)

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Delhi HC issues notice to MHA on plea seeking to disband Central IPS Association

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New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): The Delhi High Court has issued a notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on a plea against the running of the Central Indian Police Service Association (CIPSA).
The court has directed the MHA to file an affidavit as to what action has been taken against the functioning of CIPSA.
The court issued the notice while hearing a plea seeking direction to immediately disband the said “illegal association”, freeze their bank accounts, register an FIR against the office bearers and their members as well as initiate departmental inquiries against such officers who are part of the said organization in violation of the Police Forces (Restriction of Rights) Act, 1966 as well as All India Service Rules.
The plea stated that the various members of this association are officers of the police forces, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), paramilitary forces, National Investigation Agency and the Intelligence Bureau (IB).
A single-judge bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh, in an order passed on March 3, had sought the response of the MHA along with CBI, CISF, CRPF, ITBP and others and slated the matter for May 20 for further hearing in the matter.
29 petitioners in the matters who knocked the doors are themselves serving and retired officers in various paramilitary forces. Advocate Ankur Chhibber appeared for the petitioner and submitted that they have repeatedly made representations to the MHA to take action against the said association. However, no action has been taken, the petitioner submitted.
The high court noted the reference made in a CIC order dated January 7, 2021 that the MHA has taken a specific position that this association is not a recognised association.
The plea stated that on the representation of one the petitioner, CIC communicated that “MHA has not recognised or approved Central IPS Association (CIPSA), hence, Police-I Division, Ministry of Home Affairs has no comments to offer in the matter.”
The petitioner, through this plea, has prayed for quashing the order dated January 7, 2021.
The petitioner has alleged that the respondents (despite admitting that the MHA has not recognised or approved the Central IPS association) has not taken any action against the erring officers and has simply disposed of the representation by stating that the ministry has no comments to offer in the matter.
The petitioners have prayed for the court’s direction, directing the respondents to immediately disband the said illegal association, freeze their bank accounts, register an FIR against the office bearers and their members as well as initiate departmental inquiries against such officers who are part of the said organization in violation of the Police Forces (Restriction of Rights) Act, 1966 as well as All India Service Rules. (ANI)

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