Elgar Parishad case: Sudha Bhardwaj moves BHC to seek bail

Human rights activist and lawyer Sudha Bhardwaj, arrested in connection with the Elgar Parishad case, has moved the Bombay High Court to seek bail.

The plea was taken up for hearing on Wednesday by Justice N W Sambre.

Bhardwaj, through her lawyer Yug Chaudhary, challenged the decision of a Pune court that had rejected her bail plea in October last year.

Chaudhary told the bench that the Pune court, while denying the bail to Bhardwaj, had relied upon four letters produced as incriminating evidence by the Pune Police.

However, Chaudhary said he wanted to show to the high court that the letters could not be accepted as admissible evidence under the Indian Evidence Act.

The bench is likely to hear the plea in detail on February 18.

Bhardwaj was arrested along with several other activists by the Pune Police last year.

She and the others were booked following an Elgar Parishad event on December 31, 2017, which, the police alleged, triggered violent clashes the next day at Koregaon- Bhima village in Pune district of Maharashtra.

According to police, the event was funded and supported by Maoists.

At the event, some activists made inflammatory speeches and provocative statements that contributed to the January 1 violence, they had said.

The Pune Police also alleged that Bhardwaj played a role in mobilising party cadres and funds for the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

The police claimed it came to the conclusion after raiding the houses of several of these activists and chancing upon some letters that revealed, among other things, a conspiracy to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Cong doesn’t want resolution of Ram temple issue: Modi

Taking on the Congress over the Ram temple issue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said the opposition party was trying to impede the judicial process for resolution of the matter.

He also asked BJP workers to remind the masses about the Congress’ stand on the issue.

In his concluding address at the BJP national convention here, Modi briefly touched on the Ram temple issue, drawing cheers from thousands of party workers gathered at Ramlila Maidan, but remained confined to targeting the Congress.

“In the Ayodhya issue, the Congress is trying to impede the judicial process through its lawyers. The Congress does not want resolution of the Ayodhya issue,” Modi said.

“We should not forget its attitude and (also) not let others forget it,” he told party workers.

He was apparently referring to remarks of senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal who had said that the Supreme Court should hear the matter after conclusion of general elections this year.

Sibal is representing one of the litigants in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case.

Modi alleged that the Congress even tried to impeach former chief justice of India, Dipak Misra, to delay the hearing in the case.

Earlier this month, the prime minister had said that any decision on passing an executive order on the Ram temple issue cannot be made unless the judicial process is over.

His reaction came amid growing clamour by right-wing organisations like RSS and VHP to bring an ordinance to construct the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

The matter is pending in the Supreme Court and is scheduled to come up for hearing on January 29.

Defamation complaint filed against Shashi Tharoor in Delhi court

New Delhi: A criminal defamation complaint has been filed against Congress leader Shashi Tharoor before a court here for his alleged “scorpion” remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In his complaint, Delhi BJP leader Rajeev Babbar said his religious sentiments were hurt.

“I am a devotee of Lord Shiva… However, the accused (Tharoor) completely disregarded the sentiments of crores of Shiva’s devotees, made the statement which hurt the sentiments of all the Lord Shiva devotees, both in India and outside the country,” the complaint said.

“The complainant’s religious sentiments were hurt and accused deliberately did this malicious act, intending to outrage religious feeling of Lord Shiva devotees by insulting their religious believes,” it said.

The complaint, filed through advocate Neeraj, termed the statement as an “intolerable abuse” and “absolute vilification” of the faith of millions of people.

The complaint was filed under section 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code relating to defamation.

The matter is likely to come up for hearing Saturday.

Tharoor had stoked a fresh controversy Sunday while speaking at Bangalore Literature Festival, claiming that an unnamed RSS leader had compared Modi to “a scorpion sitting on a Shivling”.

PM Narendra Modi announces national award in Netaji’s name for disaster relief workers

A national award in the name of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose will be given every year to police personnel who do excellent work in rescue and relief operations during any kind of disaster, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Sunday.
The announcement came on the 75th anniversary of Bose’s declaration of the formation of India’s first independent government — the Azad Hind Government on October 21, 1943
“From this year onwards, we will give an award in the name of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose to police personnel who do exemplary work while rescuing and providing relief to people during the time of any disaster,” the prime minister said in his address after dedicating to the nation a police memorial and museum here
Modi said the award will be announced on January 23, Netaji’s birthday
The Prime Minister said the country cannot forget the services rendered by the National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Force personnel in rescue and relief works during the time of any disaster
“These NDRF and SDRF personnel are our brave policemen. They are from police forces. The country will not forget their bravery, dedication and sacrifice. Many people even do not know who they are, when they rescue people and provide relief during the collapse of a building, when there is a fire or when there is a train accident,” he said in a voice choked with emotions
The NDRF and SDRF are constituted with personnel from the central paramilitary forces and state police organisations respectively.

High Court asks: Is IAF protecting its land on Yamuna banks from sand mining

The Delhi High Court today asked the Centre whether the Indian Air Force (IAF) was protecting its land on the banks of the Yamuna, where the Tilpat station of Western Air Command is located, from illegal sand mining.

The query was posed by a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar while issuing notice to the Ministry of Defence and IAF on a PIL seeking a CBI probe into alleged collusion by officials of the local authorities and the air force with the sand mafia.

The court said it will decide whether to order a CBI probe after seeing what the IAF has done to protect its land. “We will ensure that IAF protects its land,” the bench said.

Central government standing counsel Anurag Aluwahlia said that 90 per cent of a wall around the site has been completed.

The court was hearing a plea filed by a man, claiming to be a whistle blower, alleging that illegal sand mining was going on at defence land located at the Tilpat Ranges 1 and 2 on the banks of Yamuna in Faridabad (Haryana) and Noida, which falls in the Gautam Budh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh.

The petitioner has said he had made representations to various authorities including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had forwarded it to the Ministry of Defence and the Indian Air Force. He has claimed that the illegal activities have caused a loss of over Rs 29 crore to the exchequer.

The plea has also sought a direction to the CBI to enquire into the serious offences of corrupt practices in compliance with a letter issued by the Prime Minister’s Office in October 2016.

According to the petition, the whistleblower had earlier filed a petition in the National Green Tribunal against the illegal mining activities of sand mafias on the defence land and the tribunal had in 2013 prohibited mining activity which was being carried out in Faridabad.

The man had earlier approached the high court seeking his relocation to the national capital from Haryana where he was allegedly facing threat to his life for raising the issue of illegal sand mining.

Constraints can’t stand in way of access to justice

modi Financial constraints cannot stand in the way of making access of the people to justice, though it may lead to lack of infrastructure and judges, Chief Justice of India T S Thakur said today.

“Financial constraints cannot stand in the way of making access to justice a reality. That is absolutely in tune with our Constitutional philosophy that access to justice should be a reality and it cannot be a reality if people have to wait for years and years for their cases to be decided,” the CJI said at a function here to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Delhi High Court.

Thakur said this after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who also addressed the gathering at Vigyan Bhawan here, assured support of his government in improving infrastructure and recruitment of more judges.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief guest at the event which was also attended by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung, Delhi High Court Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice B D Ahmed.

Addressing the gathering, the CJI said that judges should introspect about public perception regarding their rectitude as it is painful to see “aberrations occuring at some level or the other which bring disrepute to the entire justice system”.

“I think Delhi High Court has achieved much, but in terms of ensuring that such incidents (aberrations) do not happen, there is much more to be done. I only hope that brother judges at all levels take extra care not to give any room for any doubt or anything that is not in tune with judicial ethics and professional rectitude,” the CJI said.

PM raises pendency issue asks courts to highlight oldest cases

modiPrime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday mooted a novel idea of courts coming out with an annual bulletin to highlight the oldest cases being tried by them to help create sensitivity on pendency of cases in the country.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of centenary celebrations of Patna High Court, he also sought suggestions on making the bar, bench and courts tech-savvy by injecting digital technology in their functioning.

“I have to make a suggestion on an idea I just thought about and that is can our courts every year bring out a bulletin that highlights the oldest cases pending before them

Some may be 40 years or 50 years old and that could create sensitivity among people on the pendency of cases in the court.

“This would inspire others to do something about the pendency. It is not wrong to do so. This could help create an atmosphere to come out of the problem of pendency of case,” he said addressing the gathering.

Talking about advent of technology in all spheres, the Prime Minister said that earlier, a lot of time was spent on doing research in legal field whereas now one can google anything in a short time.

“Now we have something that we did not have earlier – the power of technology. How much techno-savvy can we make the bar, the bench and the courts by injecting digital technology in their functioning and help work towards improving the quality of judgments and arguments by using technology actively,” he said.

Modi shared the stage with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, with whom he had traded barbs during the assembly polls last year

The PM said the Patna High Court has in the last 100 years scaled new heights.

“I hope the best aspects are carried forward in the years to come. Though it is time to remember the good things of this High Court in the last century, it is also time to lay a strong foundation for the coming century.

“This is also a time for new resolves and to think of new benchmarks and I hope the Bar and the Bench works towards setting new benchmarks to take this institution forward. Those who have a century of heritage can surely give a lot to take the country forward,” he said.

Wishing the institution on the occasion, the Prime Minister hoped the country will get a lot from the High Court in the coming time.

Recalling his visit to a village school in the western Indian state of Gujarat that was 120 years old but where literacy level was still very low at 30-32 per cent, he said if the systems evolved are not dynamic and progressive, “we would not be able to move with time and fulfill the aspirations of people”.

Modi also recalled the important role played by legal luminaries in the freedom struggle and narrated an incident during his visit to London where he was “gifted” with the return of membership of a noted lawyer in the 1930s who was stripped of it by the Bar there for participating in the independence movement.

‘Order on application seeking notice to Prime Minister Narendra Modi likely on October 10’

A local court today deferred the pronouncement of order on an application seeking issue of a notice to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in connection with his affidavit at the time of 2012 Gujarat assembly elections.

Aam Aadmi Party member Nishant Verma had moved the sessions court after the magistrate’s court dismissed his application seeking registration of a criminal case against Modi for not disclosing his marital status in his 2012 election affidavit.
Additional sessions judge G N Rana of Ahmedabad district court said he was likely to pronounce the order on the application filed by Verma on October 10.

Verma has sought issuance of notices to Modi and Returning Officer P K Jadeja under CrPC section 401(2), which provides for giving a hearing to the accused. Modi disclosed his marital status and the name of his wife for the first time when he filed nomination for Lok Sabha election from Vadodara this year. During the 2012 assembly election, he had left the column in the affidavit seeking information about the spouse blank.

Modi gets clean chit on poll code breach in Guj

modiGiving a clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Gujarat police on Friday filed a closure report in a metropolitan court here in a case of alleged violation of model code of conduct during the Lok Sabha election.

“We have filed a closure summary report before the metropolitan court number 11 here today,” a senior officer of the Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) said.

The closure summary maintaining that no case was made out against Modi was filed in the court of Metropolitan Magistrate M H Patel.

To a question whether Modi has been given a clean chit in the case that was filed on the instructions of the Election Commission, he replied in the affirmative.

An FIR was registered against Modi, who was then the Gujarat Chief Minister, following a directive from the poll panel for allegedly violating provisions of the Representation of People Act on April 30 this year.

Modi had triggered a controversy when he addressed a press conference immediately after casting his vote at a school in Ranip area of Ahmedabad, part of party veteran LK Advani’s Gandhinagar seat, where he prominently displayed the BJP’s election symbol lotus.

Accusing him of violating the election law, the Congress party had filed a complaint with the EC.

The poll panel’s order directing lodging of a complaint/FIR said Modi had violated the provisions of Sections 126 (1)(a) and 126 (l)(b) of Representation of People Act, 1951. The maximum punishment under these provisions of RPA is up to two years imprisonment.

The EC order had said, “The commission is of the view that by holding that meeting and also by addressing the same today when the polling is going on in the entire state of Gujarat and in different parts of the country, Narendra Modi has violated the provisions of Sections 126 (1)(a) and 126 (l)(b) of RP Act 1951.

“Therefore, the commission directs … That complaint/ FIR as the case may be, should be filed against Narendra Modi and all others who were involved in the convening and holding of the said meeting,” the EC order had said.

Section 126 (1) (a) of RP Act prohibits holding of public meetings during period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for conclusion of poll.

Modi is also facing a separate case in connection with the incident wherein an Aam Aadmi Party worker has said that the police had filed an incomplete FIR in the case.

Nishant Verma, in his complaint to the Ahmedabad (rural) court, has demanded that Modi be additionally charged under sections section 130 of RPA and IPC sections 114, 171 (c) and (f).

At the last hearing in the case on August 5, Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM) M M Sheikh of Ahmedabad rural court had given the crime branch three weeks to file an action taken report.

According to section 130 of the RP Act, a person is prohibited from canvassing for votes or exhibit any notice or signs relating to the election within the polling station on the day of polls, while IPC section 114 stands for the role of an abettor present when an offence is committed.

Section 171(c) says whoever voluntarily interferes or attempts to interfere with the free exercise of any electoral right commits the offence of undue influence at an election, while relates to punishment for undue influence or personation at an election.

Violation of 171(f) is punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year or with fine, or with both.

(Source: PTI)