Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Peoples Conference led by former minister Sajjad Gani Lone has filed an application in the Supreme Court on Monday seeking an early hearing in the batch of petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370.
Most Kashmir-based political parties, including the National Conference, many civil society groups and other individuals have challenged the abrogation of Article 370 in the Supreme Court. In a tweet on Monday, Peoples Conference said, “J&K Peoples Conference moves SC, seeks early hearing of a batch of Petitions challenging abrogation of Article 370 and reorganisation of J&K.”
People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration in the recent meetings has decided to go for the acceleration of the judicial process in the Supreme Court as these petitions are now pending before the constitution bench.
According to the Peoples Conference, their plea before the Supreme Court for the early hearing has cited many laws and decisions taken by the Central government not only to change the status quo but also the demography of Jammu and Kashmir.
The party, in its petition, has said, “Notwithstanding the foregoing, pending the final hearing of these petitions challenging the abrogation of the special status of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir and the abrogation of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, and notwithstanding the prevailing pandemic conditions, sweeping changes are being brought about by the Centre that impact the rights of a large number of people, including dilution of the safeguards earlier available to the permanent residents of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir.”
In the plea it has further said that the recent changes and laws will have an “irreparable impact on the rights of the citizens of J&K, including creation of domicile rights and third-party rights in land ownership”. It is in place to mention that on 5 August 2019, both houses of Parliament abrogated Article 370 and also 35A. Political parties and many civil society groups have claimed that the decisions taken on 5 August, were illegal and unconstitutional and they presume that they have a case to fight in Supreme Court and get it reversed.
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Approached court to prevent hit-and-run smear campaign, says Karnataka minister
Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], March 6 (ANI): A day after six Karnataka ministers moved to a local court here in connection with a sex tape case, Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar on Saturday said there is a big political conspiracy to defame opponents by misusing media and have approached the court to prevent this hit-and-run smear campaign.
Speaking to the media, the minister said that these kinds of hit jobs tarnish the image of individuals and destroy the goodwill gained from years of good work.
“It is necessary to put an end to this kind of conspiracy. The government is also thinking to bring a law to check this kind of mischief, he added.
“It is not confined to only politicians. Celebrities from various walks of life are subjected to this kind of conspiracy. Both mainstream media and social media platforms are being misused to broadcast misinformation and fake news,” he said.
A total of six ministers in the B S Yediyurappa government on Friday moved a Bengaluru court seeking a stay against media outlets from publishing or broadcasting anything defamatory against them.
The six Karnataka ministers have moved to Civil Court here in connection with a sex tape case allegedly involving Ramesh Jarkiholi, who recently resigned as minister. A case was registered against Karnataka Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi on Tuesday for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman.
Sudhakar further claimed if there is truth in allegations then no one can be protected but a smear campaign to tarnish image and goodwill is not acceptable.
“If there is truth in allegations, no one can be protected. Culprits must be punished. No one is above law. But smear campaign to tarnish image and goodwill is not acceptable. Those who feel they are victimised can go to court and seek justice. But there is a new trend to indulge in hit-and-run allegations. This is unethical, immoral and illegal,” said Dr Sudhakar.
He further said that the only reason to move the court for the injunction is to prevent any attempt of defamation.
“The victims have not come forward to lodge compliant or approached courts for justice. There must be a thorough investigation in the case,” the minister added.
“In the recent case, it is being reported that videos have been uploaded from Russia and other countries. Isn’t it sounding weird? There seems to be a deliberately planned conspiracy behind this. It is quite natural for those in public life to be cautious about their image and goodwill. Any defamatory content must be checked for its veracity. If found true I have no objection to broadcast it 24 hours,” he said. (ANI)
Centre rushes expert teams to Maharashtra, Punjab to help manage surge in COVID-19 cases
New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): The Central Government has rushed high-level multi-disciplinary public health teams to Maharashtra and Punjab in view of the increase in the number of daily new COVID-19 cases being consistently reported by these states, the Union Health Ministry informed on Saturday.
The teams are being deployed to assist the State Health Departments in COVID-19 surveillance, control and containment measures.
“The high-level team to Maharashtra will be led by Dr P Ravindran, Sr CMO, Disaster Management Cell, MOHFW. While the public health team to Punjab will be led by Dr S K Singh, Director, National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), New Delhi,” the ministry said.
The teams will visit the hotspot areas in the States and ascertain the reasons for the surge. They will also brief the Chief Secretary and Secretary (H) on their observations and remedial measures to be undertaken by the State Health authorities.
“The Union Government has been leading the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic with a ‘Whole of Government’ and ‘Whole of Society’ approach under the umbrella strategy of ‘Cooperative Federalism’. As an ongoing effort to strengthen efforts of various state and UT governments for COVID management, the Central Government has been deputing Central teams from time to time to visit various states and UTs,” the ministry added.
These teams will interact with the state and UT authorities and get a first-hand understanding of the challenges and issues being faced by them so as to strengthen their ongoing activities and remove bottlenecks if any.
The ministry further said that the reports of central teams will be shared with the states for further follow-up action. The follow-up and compliance on part of states are monitored by the Union Ministry of Health.
As many as 18,327 new COVID-19 cases and 108 deaths were reported in India in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry informed on Saturday.
The country’s overall COVID-19 cases tally has reached 1,11,92,088, including 1,80,304 active cases while the death toll has mounted to 1,57,656.
According to the health ministry, a total of 1,94,97,704 people have been vaccinated against coronavirus so far. (ANI)
No need to handover Mansukh Hiren’s death case to NIA: Shiv Sena
Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 6 (ANI): Slamming the Opposition for demanding a National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe into the death of Mansukh Hiren, the owner of the explosives-laden vehicle found outside Reliance group chairman Mukesh Ambani’s residence, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Saturday said that no one should try to capitalise on Hiren’s death.
“If there are any issues raised by the Opposition in the Hiren death case, it should be investigated. If the Opposition provides information on the case, it should be investigated. But I do not think it is right to put the government in the cage of the accused before the investigation is completed. But no one should try to capitalise on his death,” Raut said while interacting with reporters.
“This death of a key witness during the investigation is shocking and unfortunate. There is a public suspicion of whether Hiren was murdered or committed suicide. This doubt needs to be dispelled. What is the reason for his death? Who is responsible for it? The sooner the Home Ministry reveals the truth about all this, the better it will be for the image and reputation of the government,” he added.
Asking about the Opposition’s demand of handing over the case to the NIA, Raut said, “There is no need to hand over this investigation to NIA. Mumbai police are capable. Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has handed over the probe to the ATS. All the officers are good.”
Deshmukh on Friday said that the case has been transferred to the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Maharashtra Police.
On Friday, BJP leader and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis demanded a probe by the NIA in the case.
Addressing media persons here, Fadnavis said, “I had demanded the security for Hiren in the Legislative Assembly today along with the NIA probe in the matter. Now after the suicide of Hiren, the suspicion intensifies. I demand an NIA probe in the matter.”
The Maharashtra Police on Friday said that an unknown male corpse was found in Retibunder Creek on Retibunder road in Mumbra (w). Later the corpse was identified as Hiren, a resident of Thane whose vehicle with gelatin sticks was found parked on Carmichael Road near Ambani’s residence Antilia. Police said prima facie it appears that Hiren died by suicide.
According to sources, a handwritten “threat letter” in “broken English” addressed to Ambani and his wife Neeta was also found in the vehicle with explosives on February 25.
The suspect who parked the car (near Ambani’s house) was seen in the CCTV footage but has not been identified as he was wearing a face mask and his head was covered with a hoodie, said the Mumbai Police.
The city police has deployed its personnel outside Ambani’s house after explosive materials were found. (ANI)
Tamil Nadu Assembly polls: 2nd round of talks between CPIM, DMK over seat-sharing remained inconclusive
Chennai (Tamil Nadu), March 6 (ANI): The second round of seat-sharing talks between CPI (M) and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) for Tamil Nadu Assembly polls remained inconclusive.
CPI (M) state general secretary K Balakrishnan, other party members G Ramakrishnan and Mahendran met DMK leaders at the DMK headquarters in Arivalayam on Saturday.
“CPI (M) and DMK delegations have discussed the seat-sharing in today’s meeting. Both parties have asked for their required number of seats”, Balakrishnan said after the meeting with the DMK leaders.
He further added that the CPI (M) will inform the DMK leadership after consulting with their leaders about the DMK’s offer.
“DMK offered us a particular number of seats but we demanded more than that. We said we will discuss it with our party members and inform them,” Balakrishnan said.
Sources said that the DMK offered 6 seats but the CPI (M) demanded one extra so talks were inconclusive.
The third round of talks over seat-sharing between CPI (M) and DMK is likely to take place.
Later in the day, an executive meeting of CPI (M) also took place.
“Talks are underway on seat-sharing with DMK. Two rounds have over and soon we will have the next round of talks with DMK. They have come forward to increase seats but we demand a bit more than they offer.
Taking a jibe at the AIADMK-BJP alliance, Balakrishnan said: “It came in media that Amit Shah threatened them (AIADMK) for seats. AIADMK is afraid of him. Their alliance is an old garage alliance and it has many factions. The BJP is joining them. Their alliance is a waste alliance.”
Tamil Nadu assembly elections will be held in a single phase on April 6 and the counting of votes will be done on May 2. The term of the 15th legislative assembly in Tamil Nadu is ending on May 2. (ANI)
WB Assembly polls: With only 92 seats Congress sees ISF’s demand for more as ‘problematic’
Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], March 6 (ANI): The discussions between the Congress, Left and the Indian Secular Front (ISF) on seat-sharing and alliance ahead of the assembly polls in West Bengal is yet to be concluded, said Congress Leader Pradeep Bhattacharya on Saturday.
After getting 30 seats from the Left, the ISF is asking for more seats from Congress. However, with only 90-92 seats, Congress believes offering more seats will be ‘problematic’.
“It is true that our discussion has not yet concluded. The Left Front and Congress had a discussion and we arrived at a solution. But ISF appeared in the scene and the question of leaving them some seats arose,” Bhattacharya told ANI.
“Though I told them repeatedly not to give them so many seats because it’s a new party and we do not know their organisational strength, the Left offered them 30 seats. Now the problem is that they (ISF) are asking Congress for more seats. We have only 90- 92 seats. How we are going to offer them more?” Bhattacharya added.
The Congress party believes that giving them seats means cutting down on their own, and if they cannot get more seats from the Left front, it will be difficult.
“To resolve this problem, the party president Adhir Ranjan Choudhury should talk to the Left Front chairman directly. We have narrowed down some seats but we don’t have much time left and we have to solve this at the earliest,” Bhattacharya said.
The candidate list of the Sanyukt Morcha consists of the Left front, the Congress party and Furfura Sharif’s Indian Secular Front (ISF). They announced their candidate list for the first two phases on Friday at Alimuddin.
However, crucial seats of Nandigram, Pingla and Egra, Daspur is on hold and yet to be announced.
Chairing the press conference on Friday, Left Front chairman Biman Bose said that there were a few lists where the final decisions are yet to be taken.
The elections for the 294 Assembly seats in West Bengal will begin on March 27. The state is going to witness eight-phase Assembly polls this year.
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 state is likely to witness a triangular contest this time with Trinamool Congress, Congress-Left-ISF alliance, and the BJP in the fray.
The counting of votes in the state will take place on May 2. (ANI)
SC to start hybrid physical hearing on experimental basis from Mar 15
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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