|Thursday, March 30, 2000,
expert groups to study core issues
agreement between Centre, BLT
protection for Ilyasi in jail
of Karunakaran soon
reforms a priority
flays govt on HC posts
not bound to accept RSS decisions
to give visas to Sikh NRIs
PM arrives on Friday
held for forging travel documents
condemns clearance to FBI office in India
against Rao, Buta proved: CBI
remand for Dara Singh
10 expert groups to study
NEW DELHI, March 29 (PTI) The National Commission for Review of working of the Constitution today announced setting up of 10 expert committees to go into core issues, including enlargement of fundamental rights and electoral reforms.
Emphasising that the commission would review the working of and not rewrite the Constitution, its spokesman Justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy said of these expert groups, two or three were expected to prepare background papers and a questionnaire for nationwide circulation by April 22.
Justice Reddy told reporters that while he would be the co-Chairman of the committee on the strengthening of the institution of parliamentary democracy and its accountability, Attorney-General Soli J.Sorabjee would co-chair the committee on the enlargement of fundamental rights.
The committee on electoral reforms would be co-chaired by former Lok Sabha Secretary-General Subhas Kashyap while Justice K.Ramaswamy had been appointed as the Chairman of the committee on pace of socio-economic change and development and removal of poverty.
The latter, co-chaired by former Andhra Pradesh High Court Judge K. Poonaiah, would stress on rights and guarantees provided by the Constitution to Scheduled Castes, tribes, other backward classes and minorities, Justice Reddy said.
The lone active politician in the commission, Mr P.A. Sangma, who had raised the controversy over barring persons of foreign origin from holding high public offices, would co-chair the expert group on strengthening of Panchayati Raj institutions, Justice Reddy said.
He said the expert committee on Centre-state relations would be co-chaired by Justice R.S. Sarkaria, who had already dealt with the issue and given a report to the government in the 1980s.
The Editor of English daily The Statesman, C.R. Irani, would co-chair the expert panel on effectuation of the fundamental duties while former Attorney-General K. Parasaran would co-chair the expert committee on the enforcement of directive principles for the achievement of preambular objectives of the Constitution.
Former bureaucrat Abid Hussain would co-chair the expert body on legal control of fiscal and monetary policies and would be assisted, among others, by the Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor Y. Venugopal Reddy and Solicitor-General Harish Salve.
The lone woman member of the commission, Ms Sumitra Kulkarni, would co-chair the expert group on promoting literacy, generating employment and ensuring social security, Justice Reddy said.
Justice Reddy said the commission would elicit the responses of statutory bodies such as the National Commission for SC/ST, OBCs and Minorities and various organisations and research institutions.
The expert panel on socio-economic change and development would also have former Union Welfare Secretary P.S. Krishnan and Mr Sukumar Alikozhe as members, he said, adding that the services of the Bangalore-based Institute of Social and Economic Change would be used as a resource centre.
Ceasefire agreement between
NEW DELHI, March 29 The Union Home Ministry and the Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) have agreed to set up a joint monitoring group (JMG) to oversee the suspension of operations by security forces against the BLT announced earlier.
The Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, had made the announcement of suspension of operations by security forces against the BLT in Parliament on March 15. The suspension is initially agreed upon for six months and could be extended thereafter by mutual agreement.
At the end of a two-day meeting here today between a team of representatives of the Union Home Ministry led by its Additional Secretary, Dr P.D. Shenoy, and a team of the BLT led by its Vice-Chairman, Mr Chimang Brahma, the two sides agreed upon ground rules.
It includes that the BLT will completely abjure the path of violence, not engage in violent or unlawful activities like killings, kidnappings, extortions etc and agree to abide by the Constitution of India and laws of the land.
The rules include that the security forces, including the Army, paramilitary forces and the stage police, will not launch operations against the BLT.
Briefing reporters, Dr Shenoy said the JMG would comprise the Joint Secretary (North-East) in the Home Ministry who would be its Chairman and Convener, two representatives each of Home Ministry, Government of Assam and the BLT and a representative each of the Army and the CRPF.
The JMG meeting would be held once in two months in routine or could be held even earlier in case of emergency, he said, adding that the Chairman was authorised to decide upon the venue of the meeting.
The BLT is one of the three extremist groups operating in Assam with the United Liberation Front of Asom and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland being the other two.
The BLT is said to have been responsible for nearly one-fourth of the violent incidents in the state, especially incidents of attacking vital and strategic installations like oil pipelines and bridges.
Special protection for Ilyasi in
NEW DELHI, March 29 The producer of Indias Most Wanted, Suhaib Ilyasi, has reportedly been given special protection in Tihar Jail for security reasons.
Ilyasi reportedly had threats to his life from dreaded criminals arrested after his TV serial was aired on a private channel.
Special arrangement has been made inside the jail complex to provide him security sources in the jail said.
Ilyasi was arrested yesterday on charges of harassment for dowry, dowry death and tampering with the evidence. He was sent to jail on judicial remand for 14 days by a Metropolitan Magistrate in the Karkardooma court.
He was arrested after an inquest report was submitted by a Subdivisional Magistrate to the Delhi Police.
The sources said Ilyasi was under the special protection of Tihar security officers and all precautions were being taken to ensure his security.
Ilyasis programme aired on the private channel was the first of its kind in India.
Trial of Karunakaran soon
NEW DELHI, March 29 (UNI) Decks were cleared for the trial of former Kerala Chief Minister K. Karunakaran and others in the controversial palmolein import case when the Supreme Court today dismissed their plea for quashing the FIR in the case.
The plea raised in an appeal was dismissed by a Division Bench comprising Mr Justice G.B. Pattanaik and Mr Justice R.P. Sethi observing that Mr Karunakaran and other accused persons shall be at liberty to raise all such pleas of law and facts as are available to them during trial of the case before the court concerned.
The appeal was directed against an order of the Kerala High Court dismissing Mr Karunakarans petition seeking quashing of the FIR in the case.
After going through the pleadings of the parties and keeping in view the rival submission before us, we are of the opinion that the registration of the FIR against the appellant and others cannot be held to be result of mala fide or actuated by extraneous considerations. The menace of corruption cannot be permitted to be hidden under the carpet of legal technicalities, the judges observed.
The allegations made in the FIR were stated to be based on the report submitted by the CAG for the year ending on March 31, 1993. Mr Karunakaran laid down his office as Chief Minister in March, 1995, whereafter elections to the state assembly were held in which the party and the front of the appellant lost and the Left Democratic Front government came into power on May 20, 1996.
On June 18, 1996 the Commissioner Secretary requested the Director of Vigilance (Investigation) to submit the enquiry report to the government at the earliest after conducting a preliminary enquiry into the allegations raised in the legislative assembly pertaining to a palmolein deal in which corruption worth crores of rupees had been alleged.
The Superintendent of
Police (Vigilance) is stated to have conducted a
preliminary enquiry up to March 1997 whereafter a
criminal case at the vigilance cell, Kowdiar, police
station, Thiruvananthpuram, was registered under Section
13 (1) (D) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and under
Section 120 B of the Indian Penal Code against seven
persons, including the appellant.
Judicial reforms a priority
MUMBAI, March 29 (PTI) Union Minister for Law, Justice and Company Affairs Ram Jethmalani has declared his resolve to improve the judicial system to remedy the delay in the dispensation of justice.
I will use my expertise to bring about judicial reforms which, ultimately will help the common man in the speedy dispensation of justice, Mr Jethmalani said at a dinner meeting hosted by him last night to mark his victory in the Rajya Sabha elections.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Jethmalani said, I hope the lawyers will realise that I am espousing a public cause (of litigants) and shall support the reforms. I am not at all angry with the lawyers but only concerned about their well-being and welfare.
I am prepared for a dialogue with the lawyers, he told reporters later.
He said the proposal to introduce written test for practising lawyers for reviewing their registration every five years was just like a refresher course for them.
The proposal had been suggested by the Law Commission and shall be implemented only after the lawyers agree. Moreover, the noted lawyer said that the Bar Council of India had mooted the same proposal way back in 1977 and it was certainly not his brainchild.
On Chief Justice A.S. Anands demand for financial autonomy to judiciary, Mr Jethmalani said his ministry was ready to meet the administrative expenditure needed for effective functioning of the courts.
Mr Jethmalani also favoured granting more privileges to judges and said he had recently upgraded the facility of air travel for judicial officers from economy class to executive class.
Introducing judicial reforms to modify the legal system would be my topmost priority. However, if I am unable to achieve my goal within two years, I shall accept my defeat gracefully and retire from active politics.
In that event, I shall not practise (law) but devote the remaining period of my life in teaching students in law colleges. Improvement in legal education is another area for which I shall earnestly make efforts, he said.
The Law Minister said he believed in espousing the cause of Hindutva and added he would advocate the social and economic policies of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in the state.
UNI: The century-old Indian Penal Code still holds good, eminent criminal lawyer and Law Minister Jethmalani asserted yesterday, trying to silence demands that the code drafted during British rule be scrapped.
Just because it was a foreign product or drafted by the imperialist power you cannot do away with it, Mr Jethmalani told a meet-the-press organised by the Press Guild of India here. He described the IPC as a great monument of learning.
When a questioner
pointed out that it was drafted in 1861 during the time
of Lord Macaulay, the Law and Justice Minister countered:
show me any of the 511 Sections of the code that
are not valid today.
CJI flays govt on HC posts
NEW DELHI, March 29 (PTI) Chief Justice of India A.S. Anand today criticised the executive for delay in filling in a large number of vacancies in various High Courts and said despite his clearing names of judges, the appointments were delayed.
Chief Justices of various High Courts enquire from me about the appointments and my reply to them is that the names have been cleared by the Chief Justice of India, but the appointments are not cleared. There is something wrong somewhere, Justice Anand said while speaking at the closing ceremony of the Supreme Courts golden jubilee celebrations, organised by the Supreme Court Advocates-on-record Association.
He said with 159 vacancies out of a sanctioned strength of 608 in various High Courts in the country, the judiciary was handicapped in disposal of cases.
Had all vacancies been filled the number of disposed cases would have definitely gone up, he said adding that at an average over 1,300 cases were disposed of by a judge annually.
He said in 12,000 subordinate court, nearly 1,000 posts of judicial officers always remain vacant and a proposal for creating 5,000 more posts had been gathering dust for years.
Referring to disposal rate in Supreme Court, he said as on March 1 this year, the pending cases had come down to less than 20,000 from 34,000.
Reiterating the need for
financial and administrative autonomy to judiciary,
Justice Anand said only 0.2 per cent of the GNP was spent
on judiciary by the government and 50 per cent of it was
generated from its own sources.
BJP not bound to accept RSS decisions
BHOPAL, March 29 (UNI) BJP president Kushabhau Thakre today said the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre was not bound to accept the decisions of the RSS.
The RSS is not our (BJP) parental organisation. Both have their separate cadres, he said in an interview with UNI.
He denied the reports that the RSS had expressed concern over the economic policies of the Centre. I have gone through the economic resolution of the RSS. There is nothing of that sort, he added.
Stating that the RSS did not influence the policies of the BJP-led coalition government at the Centre, Mr Thakre said the Opposition, including the Congress, was giving undue leverage to such issues to create wedge among the coalition partners.
He said the policies and the programmes of the Centre were being conducted without any interference from the RSS.
Plea to give visas to Sikh
NEW DELHI, March 29 The Vice-Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities has appealed to the Union Home Minister to provide visas to Sikhs living abroad to enable them visit Punjab and assess the situation there.
In a statement issued here on Tuesday, the Vice-Chairman, Mr Tarlochan Singh, said once the Sikhs were given visas, they would be able to visit Punjab and feel assured of peace prevailing there.
Mr Tarlochan Singh has denounced Sikh NRIs who staged black flag demonstrations against the Indian Government in front of the Indian Consulates in Vancouver and New York. He has said such persons should get in touch with the Indian Sikh leaders before taking negative steps that harm the Sikh community. He is of the view that Pakistani agents are always trying to misguide the Sikhs settled abroad by fabricating stories to defame the Indian government.
The Vice-Chairman has
also hailed the statements of former Shiromani Gurdwara
Parbandhak Committee chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, and
Member of Parliament, Simranjit Singh Mann that the
Pakistan-trained mercenaries were responsible for the
massacre of Sikhs in Chatti Singhpora village in Anantnag
district in Jammu and Kashmir.
Turkish PM arrives on Friday
NEW DELHI, March 29 Indo-Turkish relations are poised to enter a period of consolidation and positive growth with the arrival of Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit here on Friday on a three day official visit.
With the signing of three important Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and a joint statement during Mr Ecevits stay in New Delhi, the visit is likely to pave the way for strengthening bilateral economic relations.
A senior official of the Ministry of External Affairs told reporters today stressing that the Turkish Prime Ministers talks with the Indian leaders is expected to provide a strong impulse to the strengthening of cooperation particularly in the economic and commercial spheres and fight against international terrorism.
During his stay in the capital, Mr Ecevit will hold talks with the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, and will call on the President, Mr K.R. Narayanan, the Vice-President, Mr Krishan Kant and the leader of the Opposition, Mrs Sonia Gandhi.
Mr Ecevit has translated
parts of Bhagavadgita and Rabindranath Tagores
Gitanjali into Turkish language and would be
visiting Shantiniketan where he will be conferred with an
honorary degree of D. Litt by Visva Bharti.
Suicide capital of the
SRIGANGANAGAR, March 29 Ashok Kumar, a resident of Shrivijaynagar town of this border district of Rajasthan ended his life after consuming poison following a dispute between his mother and wife. His mother, Shiela Devi, also ended her life by consuming poison when she came to know that her son had taken poison.
On March 21, Partap Singh of this town set himself afire after his mother refused to give him Rs 20 to buy drugs.
Last year, on September 6, one Shankar set himself afire at Dasehra ground in broad day light. Another youth committed self-immolation in the Purani Abadi area of this town on the next day. Another elderly woman ended her life by jumping before a running train on the same day.
Suicides seem to have become a common occurrence in this border district which has earned the dubious distinction of having the maximum number of suicide cases in the region.
Sources said that in 1999, about 170 persons ended their lives through various modes of suicides. Males outnumbered females.
More than 95 persons ended their lives in 1998, 134 in 1997, more than 95 in 1996 and 95 in 1995. Those who committed suicide used different methods the most common being consuming poison, jumping before a train and hanging themselves from ceiling fans.
While females showed a preference for self-immolation, males favoured poison. Most males who committed suicide were in the 20-25 age group.
Police authorities say breaking up of the joint-family system, unemployment, drug-addiction and flashy life styles are the main reasons behind the spate of suicides. In the past two years, this trend has caught on so much that locals now threaten self-immolation even to get petty demands fulfilled.
The district police
booked 45 persons in 1998 for issuing threats of
self-immolation while more than 30 persons were booked in
1999. In the past two years ten persons, including a
municipal councillor, set themselves afire in public.
4 held for forging travel
NEW DELHI, March 29 The Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police arrested four persons on charges of forging travel documents, including visa forms of the USA, UK and Canada.
The accused, Anil Bajaj, Director of Tanveer Tours and Travels, and his accomplices Vinod Dagar, Devi Sachdeva and Anil were arrested from different places in the Capital, the police said.
The accused used to file
applications of prospective clients with forged documents
at the Embassies and charged as much as Rs 4 lakh for
each visa. Eighty passport copies, 12 rubber stamps,
letter heads of over 80 companies, some fixed deposit
receipts and a printer were recovered from them, the
CPM condemns clearance to FBI office in India
NEW DELHI, March 29 (PTI) The CPM today condemned the reported moves by the Vajpayee government to give clearance to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to set up an office in India and said it would endanger national security and infringe upon the countrys sovereignty.
There is no reason for an internal security agency of another country to be allowed to set up shop in India, particularly if it is infamous FBI, which is known for its espionage and subversive activities, CPM Politburo said in a statement here.
It said that in the past many US intelligence officials had been caught collecting information from their Indian contacts and added such anti-national activities are now sought to be legalised by the Government of India.
Charges against Rao, Buta proved: CBI
NEW DELHI, March 29 (UNI) The charges of conspiracy and abetment of crime have been proved against former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and former Union Home Minister Buta Singh during the trial in the MPs bribery case, the CBI told a Delhi court today.
The charges against nine other accused, including former Union Ministers Ajit Singh and Satish Sharma and former Chief Ministers Bhajan Lal of Haryana and M. Veerappa Moily of Karnataka, could not be substantiated as witnesses had turned hostile, CBI counsel R.M. Tiwari said in a 175-page synopsis submitted to the trial court of Additional Sessions Judge Ajit Bharihoke.
Mr Tiwari submitted the synopsis as part of the final phase of the trial in the case, upon which the court directed the CBI to supply copies of it to all accused within two days and posted further hearings for April 17.
The five other accused against whom no witnesses had made any statement in the court were former Karnataka Ministers H.M. Revenna and Ramalinga Reddy, Bangalore-based liquor barons Thimme Gowda and D.K. Adikeshavalu and V. Rajeshwar Rao.
According to the CBI synopsis, the alleged conspiracy had three limbs the happenings at Andhra Bhavan where Rajeshwar Rao was residing and at the residences of Ajit Singh and Buta Singh here.
CBI remand for Dara Singh
BHUBANESWAR, March 29 (UNI) Dara Singh, the prime accused in the murder of Australian missionary Graham Stewart Staines and his two minor sons was today remanded to CBI custody till April 10 by a special CBI Judge here. Dara Singh, was brought to the court here from Baripada Circle Jail amid tight security and produced before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate-cum-Special CBI Judge, Mr Sukumar Sahu.
Shakeel aide killed
ULFA ultra shot
21 die of
diarrhoea in TN
2 held for
|| Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
| Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
| 119 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |