Trust to be set up for construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya: PM

The Union Cabinet has given its nod to set up a trust for the construction of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

Soon after the meeting of the Union Cabinet ended, Modi reached Lok Sabha to make a statement in this regard.

Just before the Question Hour began, he said the trust has been named as the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Shetra.

He said the Uttar Pradesh government has agreed to give five acres of land to the Sunni Wakf Board as directed by the Supreme Court in Ayodhya matter.

Anti-CAB stir: People defy curfew, police open fire as Assam turns war zone

Thousands of people defied curfew in Guwahati on Thursday and took to the streets, prompting police to open fire, even as protests against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill intensified in Assam.

Police said they had to open fire in Lalung Gaon area in Guwahati after stones were hurled by protestors. The agitators claimed that at least four persons were injured in the shooting.

Police also had to fire in the air in several other areas of the city, including the Guwahati-Shillong Road which turned into a war zone as protestors vandalised shops and buildings, burnt tyres and clashed with security forces.

Students’ body AASU and peasants’ organisation KMSS called for a mega gathering at Latashil playground in the city, which was attended by hundreds of people.

Notwithstanding the restrictions, several prominent personalities from the film and music industry, including icon Zueen Garg, joined the gathering along with college and university students.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal have betrayed the people of Assam by ensuring passage of the Bill,” AASU advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya said at the meet.

Leaders of the AASU and the North East Students’ Organization (NESO) said they will observe December 12 as ‘Black Day’ every year in protest against the passage of the Bill in Parliament.

Kamrup district witnessed an absolute shutdown with offices, schools and colleges closed for the day. Shops were also shut, with no transport plying as all major roads, including the NH 31, being blocked.

Police said they had to fire three rounds in the air in Rangia town as protestors threw stones and burnt tyres.

Agitators were also baton-charged at several places in the town.

Police also fired in the air in Golaghat district to disperse protesters who blocked the NH 39, officials said.

Tea garden workers stopped work in Lakhimpur and Charaideo districts and also at Numaligarh in Golaghat district and some areas in Tinsukia district.

All educational institutions across the state are closed.

Five columns of the Army have been deployed in different parts of the state and are conducting flag marches in Guwahati, Tinsukia, Jorhat and Dibrugarh, officials said.

Several flights and trains to and from Assam have also been cancelled.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan after facing religious persecution there.

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.