The Maharashtra government on Thursday announced that all Covid-19 related restrictions, including the wearing of masks in public places, will be withdrawn from Saturday.
“We will withdraw all the Covid-19 related restrictions from the state from Gudi Padwa. The decision has been taken today in the cabinet meeting. An order will be issued for the same. We will withdraw the order which made it mandatory to wear a mask,” said Health Minister Rajesh Tope after the cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Chief Minister Thackeray said that the Gudi Padwa festival marks the new year.
“All Covid-19 restrictions in Maharashtra will be lifted, as we bring in the new year this Gudi Padwa!” tweeted the Chief Minister. The Disaster Management Act as well as the Infectious Diseases Prevention Act which were invoked with the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic will be withdrawn.
“Restrictions like 50% capacity in buses, restaurants and cinema theatres, double vaccination compulsion in travel and buses will be withdrawn,” said Tope. However, the Health Minister advised the citizens to adhere to Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.
The Health Minister cited the decline in daily Covid-19 cases and positivity rate as the reason behind withdrawing the restrictions.
Maharashtra on Thursday reported 183 fresh Covid-19 cases, taking the number of active cases to 902. One fatality was reported in the last 24 hours, as per the bulletin released on Thursday. Meanwhile, India logged 1,233 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, said Union Health Ministry on Wednesday.
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Kapila Vatsyayan: Of dance, space and time
A MUSSOURIE-LANDOUR DIARY
THE NAME IS BOND, RUSKIN BOND
A street in LandourThe staircase to Ruskin Bond’s flatView from Ruskin Bond’s window
DEMOLITION OF HOUSES
This was amply evident in the recent demolitions that shook the placid hill-town.
AND AT THE END ARE THE CLOUDS …..
The cynical would shake off present-day Mussourie as a hill-top Chandni Chowk.
Crowded, chaotic and cumbersome.
A TRAIN TO MUSSOURIE
SSC recruitment row: CBI quizzes Partha again
Abiding by the CBI summons, senior West Bengal minister and the TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee appeared before the investigation agency on Wednesday morning for questioning about the alleged irregularities in recruitment in government-run and aided schools by West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC).
This is the second time that Chatterjee— presently the minister for industries and commerce— appeared before the central agency. Grilled by CBI officials on Wednesday last week for three and a half-hours, he was asked to come again with documents.
Chatterjee, was the education minister when the alleged malpractices took place. He was directed to present himself before CBI on Wednesday last week by Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay of Calcutta High Court.
The directive to the minister to appear before the agency came after a division bench of the Calcutta High Court upheld orders of the single bench that directed CBI to inquire into the alleged illegal appointments given by WBSSC.
Meanwhile, Chatterjee had filed a separate case in the Supreme Court against the CBI for not summoning him, and the apex court also rejected Partha Chatterjee’s plea for protection. Chatterjee had approached the apex court challenging the order of the Calcutta High Court, however, a division bench dismissed the petition citing procedural errors. Nevertheless, the apex court said Partha Chatterjee’s plea would be heard if a fresh petition was filed.
According to sources, the CBI wants to get information from him about the discrepancy in recruitment corruption, as to under whose direction was the advisory committee formed, and who controlled this committee? At the same time, the officials said that they can check the income tax credentials of the former education minister.
The former education minister of the state evaded most of the questions during the three-and-a-half-hour interrogation last Wednesday. Meanwhile, the sources said, his entire statement has been recorded.
Cooling his heels in jail, Sidhu takes up clerical job
Navjot Singh Sidhu, the celebrity jail bird now incarcerated in Patiala District Jail, has been entrusted a clerical job by the jail authorities. The cricketer-turned-commentator-turned-comedian-turned-politician was on May 19 sentenced to one-year imprisonment by the Supreme Court in a 34-year-old road-rage case.’
Navjot Singh Sidhu surrendered before the court a day after Supereme Court gave him 1 year jail due to 1988 Road Rage Case, in Patiala on Friday. ANI
Senior jail officials, on condition of anonymity, told The Daily Guardian Review that the former Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief has been asked to work like other inmates and earn for his keep. After a medical check up three days back, doctors prescribed a special diet for Sidhu. Keeping in mind his physical and medical condition, he has been assigned a clerical job by jail authorities. This would not be straining and tiring physically.
In his role as a jail clerk now, Siddhu would be responsible for maintaining inmates’ data, like recording the inmates’ work in/out time and miscellaneous expenses. Siddhu will be paid a measly sum of Rs. 90 a day for the job.
The cricketer had in 1987 hit Gurnam Singh, a 65-year-old resident of Chandigarh, which led to his death. The legal battle reached finally to the Supreme Court in 2018. Although the top court had held Siddhu guilty, he was acquitted with a fine of Rs 1000. However, the victim’s family filed a review petition and the Court handed him out one-year jail sentence. Siddhu surrendered before a Patiala court on May 20.
Popular for his famous couplets on glamorous women and coining slangs like ‘Thoko Taali’ and ‘Babji ka tullu’, life for Sidhu has been a roller coaster ride. Cooling his heels in jail, the former cricketer would now have ample time to hone his poetic skills while busying himself with the job the jail authorities have entrusted him with.
FRESH PLEA IN SC CHALLENGES PLACES OF WORSHIP ACT
The plea filed by a religious leader, challenged the constitutional validity of Sections 2, 3, 4 of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991.
A plea was filed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday challenging the constitutional validity of certain sections of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991, saying that it barefacedly violates the principles of secularism and rule of law.
The plea filed by Swami Jeetendranand Saraswati, a religious leader, challenged the constitutional validity of Sections 2, 3, 4 of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991. The plea said the sections not only brazenly offend Articles 14, 15, 21, 25, 26, 29 but also barefacedly violate the principles of secularism and rule of law, which are an integral part of the Preamble and the basic structure of the Constitution. The plea said the injury caused to the Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs is extremely large because Sections 2, 3, 4 of the Act have taken away the right to approach the Court and thus the right to judicial remedy has been closed.
Section 3 of the Act bars the conversion of places of worship. It states, “No person shall convert any place of worship of any religious denomination or any section thereof into a place of worship of a different section of the same religious denomination or of a different religious denomination or any section thereof.”
Section 4 bars filing of any suit or initiating any other legal proceeding for a conversion of the religious character of any place of worship, as existing on August 15, 1947.
The Places of Worship Act 1991 is void and unconstitutional for many reasons, the plea said, adding that it offends the right of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs to pray, profess, and practice religion (Article 25).
The Act infringes on the rights of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs to manage maintain and administer the places of worship and pilgrimage (Article 26). The Act further deprives Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs from owning/acquiring religious properties belonging to deities (misappropriated by other communities). It also takes away the right of judicial remedy of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs to take back their places of worship and pilgrimage and the property which belongs to deity, stated the plea.
The Act further deprives Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs to take back their places of worship and pilgrimage connected with cultural heritage (Article 29) and it also restricts Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs to restore the possession of places of worship and pilgrimage but allows Muslims to claim them under Section 107, Waqf Act, the plea added.
“The Act legalizes barbarian acts of invaders. It violates the doctrine of Hindu law that ‘Temple property is never lost even if enjoyed by strangers for years and even the king cannot take away property as the deity is the embodiment of God and is juristic person, represents ‘Infinite the timeless’ and cannot be confined by the shackles of time,” the petition stated.
MANN PROMOTES E-GOVERNANCE, BUDGET TO GO PAPERLESS
The Budget of Punjab will be paperless. Though many states have already adopted paperless budget, yet netizens are appreciating this move of Punjab government.
On Wednesday evening, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann tweeted that this time there would be a paperless budget. This will save Rs 21 lakh to the state exchequer of Punjab. At the same time 34 tonnes of paper will also be saved.
Mann said: “With this, we will be able to save about 834 trees. It is a big step towards e-governance. In this sense, the entire budget will now be read through the tablet.”
This will be the first full budget after the formation of the Aam Aadmi Party government.
It has been two-and-a-half month from now that the Mann government was formed in Punjab. To run the business of the government, the government had passed the interim budget. This interim budget of 3 months was Rs 37,120 crore. Of this, 4,643 crore were for education, 2,367 crore for agriculture, 2,726 crore for handling justice and administration of the police system. Rs 1,484.64 crore on social security, women and child development and Rs 1,345.61 crore on health and family welfare were passed.
Mann government will present the full budget in June. Punjab is currently in debt of about Rs 3 lakh crore. After becoming CM, Mann met PM Narendra Modi during which he had asked for a special package of Rs 1 lakh crore in two installments.
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