New Delhi [India], February 20 (ANI): ‘To hold a person guilty of an offence, without the same being tested in the crucible of trial, is against the rule of law’ said senior advocate Geeta Luthra, while commenting on the recent judgment of a Delhi court acquitting journalist Priya Ramani in the criminal defamation case filed by former Union Minister MJ Akbar.
“A woman has a right to put forth her grievance however, the same has to be before the appropriate/proper forum. There has been no complaint against Akbar till date despite the existence of an established legal redressal mechanism,” Luthra told ANI, who represented Akbar in the closely watched legal battle arising out of the #MeToo movement.
On Wednesday, the Delhi Court rejected Akbar’s criminal defamation suit against Ramani noting that, “The woman has a right to put her grievance at any platform of her choice and even after decades”.
The court additionally accepted Ramani’s contention that Akbar “is not a man of stellar reputation” on the basis of her testimony and that of senior journalist Ghazala Wahab, who also testified against Akbar for sexual harassment.
Senior advocate Luthra, however, contended that her client’s case was of criminal defamation and not one of sexual harassment.
“Even the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, 2013 provides a limit of three months of making a complaint and at the very most a limitation of six months,” she said.
“Resorting to social media to put forth such grievances and to hold a person guilty of an offence, without the same being tested in the crucible of trial, is against the rule of law. In such a situation, the aggrieved only has the remedy to approach the court under civil/criminal defamation,” she added.
“The reputation of a person is built by a lifetime of hard work and dedication, step by step, brick by brick. The reputation of a person has been held by the courts to be dearer to him/her than their life itself,” the senior advocate said citing judgments of the Supreme Court.
She said that the court has held that the contents of the tweet dated October 8, 2018 and Vogue article dated October 12, 2017, read together, are defamatory in nature and once the ingredients of defamation stand established, the finding that Akbar did not have a stellar reputation is untenable.
“A witness who has not deposed to the effect that Akbar did not have a stellar reputation cannot be said to have established the same. If any inference has to be drawn from the evidence, the witness has to be questioned on the said line,” the senior advocate said.
“I am not here to criticize the judgment. I am here to say that to a large extent Akbar’s stand is vindicated. The defamation has been held to be established,” the senior advocate added.
MJ Akbar, the former Minister of State for External Affairs, had filed a defamation case against the journalist Priya Ramani for accusing him of sexual misconduct.
Ramani was the first woman to accuse Akbar of sexual harassment during the #MeToo campaign. The allegations levelled against him forced him to resign from the Union Cabinet on October 17, 2018. (ANI)
The Daily Guardian is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@thedailyguardian) and stay updated with the latest headlines.
For the latest news Download The Daily Guardian App.
Delhi Cabinet approves constitution of own school board
New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): The Delhi Cabinet has given approval for the constitution of its own school education board – the Delhi Board of School Education, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal informed on Saturday.
“In today’s cabinet meet, we have given approval to the constitution of a Delhi Board of School Education. Our education system focuses on rote learning. This has to change. Our focus will no longer be on rote learning but on understanding,” Kejriwal said at a press conference.
In the coming 2021-22 academic session, 20 to 25 schools will be under the new board, the Chief Minister added.
“The Board will have a Governing Body, chaired by the Education Minister. It will also have an Executive Body for day-to-day functions and will be headed by a CEO. Both bodies will have experts – from professional industries, the education sector, principals of government and private schools, and bureaucrats,” he added.
At present, there are about 1,000 government schools and 1,700 private schools in Delhi, nearly all of which are affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
In July last year, the Delhi government had constituted two committees to prepare the scheme and framework for the formation of the state education board and curriculum reforms. (ANI)
Customs to quiz Kodiyeri’s wife for receiving iPhone from Santosh Eapen
Kochi (Kerala) [India], March 6 (ANI): The Customs department served notice to Vinodini Balakrishnan, wife of former Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, asking her to appear before it in Kochi office on March 10th.
The Customs alleged that she used an iPhone which was given by Unitac Builders’ MD Santosh Eapen which was brought as a gift for guests who attend UAE National Day celebrations on December 2, 2019.
It was bought on the suggestion of Swapna Suresh, accused in the Gold Smuggling Case.
Santosh Eapen had earlier submitted an affidavit in Kerala High Court which said five iPhones were bought as gift to guests who attended the UAE National Day celebrations, which was held on December 2, 2019.
The Kerala gold smuggling case, which is being probed by the National Investigation Agency along with the Enforcement Directorate and the customs department, pertains to the smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels.
The matter had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crores, smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage, was busted by customs in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5.
The Customs Department had also arrested Unitac Builders MD Santhosh Eappen also in a US Dollar smuggling case.
He was later granted bail by the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) Court in Kochi, hours after the arrest. The Customs Department did not oppose his bail plea in the court.
Earlier this month, the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) Court had granted bail to the former principal secretary to the Kerala Chief Minister’s office, M Sivasankar, who was in judicial custody for over three months in Kerala gold smuggling case. (ANI)
UP Police attaches properties of ‘liquor mafia’ in Amroha
Amroha (Uttar Pradesh) [India], March 6 (ANI): Uttar Pradesh Police has attached the properties of a “liquor mafia” in Amroha district on Friday.
“The property of the liquor mafia, Shivraj from Moharka Patti village in Gajraula police station limits has been attached under the Gangster Act. The valuation of the total properties is Rs 22,67,000,” Ajay Pratap Singh, Assistant Superintendent of Police Amroha told ANI.
According to police, three buildings and land belonging to the accused have been attached during the drive. (ANI)
Marigold oil production doubles income of farmers in Himachal’s Chamba
New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): The farmers of Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh, who traditionally grew crops like maize, paddy, and wheat, have greatly benefited from the cultivation and processing of aromatic plants.
The farmers now extract essential oil from the improved variety of wild marigold (Tagetes minuta) and the profits have nearly doubled their income.
The farmers who used to earn Rs 40,000 to 50,000 per hectare from traditional crops now earn about Rs. 1,00,000 per hectare from the cultivation and extraction of wild marigold oil.
The change in the fortune of the farmers has been brought about through interventions made by the Society for Technology and Development (STD), Mandi Core Support group, SEED Division, DST.
The STD initiated the cultivation and processing of aromatic plants in the farming community in technical collaboration with the Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology – CSIR, Palampur, in Parwai village.
A self-help group (SHG) consisting of 40 farmers called Green Valley Kissan Sabha Parwai has been formed and linked to Himachal Gramin Bank in Parchhod for further financial help and a distillation unit of 250 kg capacity installed at Parwai village.
The farmers trained in agro-technology of wild marigold, extraction, packing, and storage started cultivating wild marigold and distilling oil from it. The extracted oil is sold at Rs 9,500 per kg and used in preparing perfumes and essences by pharmaceutical industries.
In another initiative, farmers have also improved pollination by adopting mud hive beekeeping technology which has enhanced apple production resulting in an increase in the income of apple growers 1.25 times.
A common facility centre (CFC) has been established in the village, and farmers have been trained in processing and packing honey. They are selling honey from Rs 500 to 600 per kg at the local level. (ANI)
BJP names Pon Radhakrishnan for Kanyakumari LS bypoll
New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday announced the name of senior party leader Pon Radhakrishnan as their candidate for the April 6 by-election to the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha constituency in Tamil Nadu.
The by-election was necessitated in Kanyakumari as H Vasanthakumar passed away after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Radhakrishnan had won from the constituency in 1996 and again in 2014. He was the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Shipping between May 2014 and May 2019.
However, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, he was defeated by Congress’ Vasanthakumar.
The BJP central election committee’s meeting was held on March 4 under the chairmanship of BJP President JP Nadda.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari and other members of the central election committee attended the meeting.
Tamil Nadu assembly elections are also slated to be held on April 6. (ANI)
Delhi Police uses social media for public outreach, follows four-pronged strategy to bust ‘fake news’
New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): Delhi Police has been effectively using social media for better public outreach and redressal besides following a four-pronged strategy to bust ‘fake news’.
Devesh Chandra Srivastava, Joint Commissioner of Police (Licensing) said the new police leadership of Delhi deliberated upon a strategy to be put in place to effectively harness the power of social media for community outreach and to disincentivise its abuse by vested elements.
The first was to give professional teeth to efforts at ‘fake news detection,’ he said.
A dedicated portal was created on the Delhi Police website (www.delhipolice.gov.in) on which citizens could upload suspected media for verification of its credibility. Made user friendly and with back-end handling by server and directory level analytics operated by dedicated and trained police officers, it was the first step towards reaching out to the citizenry by attempting to inform them of the veracity of media content that they had found suspicious by way of text messages and e-mails as provided by a client at the time of uploading the suspect content.
A dedicated Cyber Unlawful Content Monitoring Control Room (Cyber UCM) has been monitoring cyberspace to detect illegal, criminal and grossly offensive posts over several social media platforms for initiating appropriate legal action, including the registration of FIRs and conducting subsequent investigations.
The Cyber UCM works on a 24×7 basis and has been very effective in creating a repository of repeat cyber offenders and in identifying malicious cyber actor by their usage patterns for taking appropriate action.
“With the social media handles of Delhi gaining substantial traction, a large segment of the citizens started reaching out over these platforms with various types of information, grievances, complaints and compliments. This set the stage for implementing the Cyber 112 initiative,” Srivastava said.
Cyber 112 monitors the social media handles of police functionaries who have a public interface and thereafter, categorises the tweets/posts addressed to the districts and units into ‘Calling Immediate Response’ and ‘Calling Deferred Response’. The Cyber 112 Control Room, functional on a 24×7 basis, informs the District/unit formations of the issues being raised who, thereafter, frame appropriate responses meant to be released on the concerned social media platform.
Srivastava said the fourth pillar of Delhi Police’s social media strategy is the Cyber Perception Management Unit (Cyber PMU).
“The Cyber PMU attempts at clearing this cyber fog by bringing out the credible, official version behind a reported incident and assisting in its mass propagation by use of cyber volunteers and right-thinking of sections of the society who have a digital presence,” he said.
“It is absolutely necessary in times of social media when anyone and everyone can create and propagate digital content that appropriate mechanisms to counter-propagate verified, credible and truthful content be also established. This is also understood as creating a ‘positive cyber space’,” he added.
Delhi police has over 5.84 lakh followers on Twitter, around 42,000 followers on Facebook. Delhi Traffic Police has over 2.84 lakh followers on Facebook and 1.3 million followers on Twitter.
Localised WhatsApp/Telegram groups have been created by District/Police Station/Beat levels to disseminate information, seek intelligence and promote public participation in good civic causes.
“These groups play an important role in resolving local issues as the office bearers of RWAs/MWAs share the grievances of the general public, which are then suitably addressed,” Srivastava said.
The Joint Commissioner of Police (Licensing) said Delhi Police is committed to widening its social media reach further in the coming days.
“We believe in evolving with the times and connecting with the times and connecting citizenry on every available platform. The creation of a symbiotic relationship between the community and Delhi police is what will make this endeavour a success and meaningful towards the objective of providing a safe secure and environment to the residents of Delhi in a spirit of ‘Shanti, Sewa, Nyay’,” he said. (ANI)
Opinion5 months ago
South Block’s mistakes will now be corrected by Army
Sports8 months ago
When a bodybuilder breaks Shoaib’s record
News10 months ago
PM Modi must take governance back from babus
News9 months ago
Chinese general ordered attack on Indian troops: US intel report
Sports8 months ago
West Indies avoid follow-on, England increase lead to 219
News7 months ago
Things don’t add up in Sushant’s suicide: Swamy
Defence8 months ago
GALWAN: CHINA’S INFORMATION WAR
Defence6 months ago
Sino-Indian logjam: Facts, risks, options and the sum of all fears