|N A T I O N|
Naval controversy turns
Centre: TN had no power to
transfer Jaya case
HC rejects plea on use of
force on demonstrators
to ratify amendments today
Naval controversy turns murkier
NEW DELHI, Dec 17 With the Government hesitating to take a decisive action in the controversy surrounding the appointment of the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (DCNS), the issue is turning murky with the seniormost Vice-Admiral in the force filing a complaint against the Chief of the Naval Staff and another issuing a court notice to him for defamation.
While in the first comments, after the Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, refused to implement the decision of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, to appoint Vice-Admiral Harinder Singh as the DCNS, the Defence Minister Mr George Fernandes, said that efforts were on to find an amicable solution to the issue. Vice-Admiral Sushil Kumar, seniormost in the ranking and one in line to be the next Chief of Naval Staff, has filed a Redressal of Grievance (RoG) application with the Minister of Defence.
Talking to a news agency, the Defence Minister said that he was concerned about the issue and that it had to be settled within the ministry and the Government.
The ACC is the highest decision making body as far the appointments in the government were concerned and was headed by the Prime Minister with the Defence Minister and Home Minister being its other two members.
The Prime Ministers Office (PMO) refused to comment today on the simmering controversy.
The ACC had on December 9 decided to appoint Vice-Admiral Harinder Singh as the DCNS, a decision which the Naval Headquarters had refused to implement on the grounds that the Government could make the appointment only on the recommendation of the Chief of the Naval Staff and that the appointment made violated the the Navy Act passed in 1957.
Meanwhile, after filing three statutory complaints with the Naval headquarters seeking an operation command, Vice-Admiral Sushil Kumar has now filed a complaint with the MoD seeking redress of his grievances.
In another turn to the controversy, Vice-Admiral Harinder Singh, presently the Fortress Commander at Port Blair, has sent a legal notice to the Chief of the Naval Staff, seeking Rs 50 Lakh as damages and compensation for levelling wrong allegations against him in the contempt application filed by Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat in the Calcutta High Court. The petition had been dismissed by the high court as wholly misconceived and totally devoid of any merit and the ruling said that the allegations were very grave and serious but unsubstantiated.
2 travel racketeers of Lanka
NEW DELHI, Dec17 With the arrest of two Sri Lankan Tamilians, the Special Cell of the Delhi Police claims to have busted an international travel racket involving the use of fake visa stickers and immigration and custom clearance stamps.
Parmeshwaran and Benzamin of Jaffna were arrested yesterday by sleuths of the Special Cell from Raj Nagar while they were going to meet their Indian contact. Their Indian contact, a travel agent, has also been arrested. He has been identified as Narender Singh Hooda.
Nine forged blank visa tickets of Canada, three of England and one of Australia along with several stamps of immigration and custom clearance, two Indian passports, one Kenyan and one Malaysian passport and two passports issued from Washington to stateless citizens by the United Nations Commission for Human Rights have been seized.
A map of the immigration counter at Indira Gandhi International Airport was also seized from their possession.
Manipur plunges into darkness
IMPHAL, Dec 17 (UNI) Manipur has been suffering a statewide power cut since last night, plunging even Raj Bhavan and the Chief Ministers official bungalow into darkness, following the "ceasework" resorted to by the All-Manipur Electricity Employees Union.
The AMEEU joined the "ceasework" strike launched by the joint administrative council (JAC) of the All- Manipur Trade Union Council (AMTUC) and the All-Manipur Government Employees Organisation (AMGEO) yesterday demanding implementation of the fifth Central Pay Commission report.
All private and public industries and entrepreneurs stopped their production due to non-availability of power supply. As a result all economic activities were affected. Some of the local newspapers and news agencies had to stop their publication and services.
The JAC appealed to the people to bear the hindrance caused by this strike. It blamed the state government for all the happenings.
Meanwhile, Manipur Chief
Minister W. Nipamacha Singh has asked the agitating
employees to review their stand in view of the financial
constraints faced by the state government. He said the
fifth central pay scales would be adopted for the state
employees with effect from April 1.
HC rejects plea on use of
NEW DELHI, Dec 17 The Delhi High Court today rejected a plea of the Delhi Pradesh Youth Congress (DPYC) seeking direction to the Centre to lay down guidelines on use of force by the police to control assembly of people during demonstrations.
A Division Bench comprising Mr Justice Y K Sabharwal and Mr Justice K S Gupta, dismissing the petition after a short hearing, said Considering the facts and circumstances of this case, we do not think this is a matter to be entertained as public interest litigation.
During arguments, the Bench reminded senior advocate Ashwani Kumar, appearing for the DPYC, that there were ample guidelines to the police on the issue. Everything cannot be made water-tight, the court said.
Political issues should not be made matters of PIL and be left to the politicians to take a decision, it observed.
Mr Kumar, submitting newspaper reports and photographs of alleged police lathi charge on Youth Congress activists here on June 8 and September 30 this year, sought the courts intervention, saying that there should be specific guidelines to the police on use of requisite force against the demonstrators.
The police cannot be
allowed to use blatant and brutal force against
defenceless people, he said, adding that the petition was
not politically motivated but sought general
guidelines to the Home Ministry which should be
applicable throughout the country.
Centre: TN had no power to transfer Jaya case
NEW DELHI, Dec 17 (PTI) In a significant development, the Union Government today informed the Supreme Court that the Tamil Nadu Government had no power to transfer the corruption cases against AIADMK supremo Jayalalitha to three special courts.
Attorney-General Soli Sorabji submitted before a Division Bench that Union Government reserved its right to pass appropriate orders "in accordance with law" regarding the transfer of corruption cases against Ms Jayalalitha.
The Bench comprising Mr Justice G.T. Nanavati and Mr Justice S.P. Kurdukar recorded Mr Sorabjis statement without expressing any opinion on it.
Section 4(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, empowers only the Union Government to transfer cases from one court to another.
The Tamil Nadu Government by orders dated April 16 and 17 of last year had constituted 28 special courts. It had passed an order on April 30, 1997 transferring all corruption cases registered against Ms Jayalalitha, some of her erstwhile Cabinet colleagues and senior IAS officers to three special courts.
The AIADMK supremo also
moved an application seeking stay of the April 30 order
of the Tamil Nadu Government. But when the Bench observed
that it was not going to stay the trial proceedings, the
application was not pressed by counsel.
AICC to ratify amendments today
NEW DELHI, Dec 17 The one-day special session of the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) here tomorrow is expected to give its nod to some significant changes in the party constitution for the first time after Mrs Sonia Gandhi took over the mantle of leadership.
The day-long session at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium, primarily called to ratify the amendments as suggested by the Karunakaran Committee and adopted by the Congress Working Committee, is to put in place, among other things, 33 per cent reservation for women and 20 per cent for backward classes and weaker sections in the party organisation.
Although the main agenda is constitutional amendment, the session which is being held in the backdrop of the recent electoral successes by the Congress in assemblies is expected to dwell upon the political scenario.
Senior CWC member Arjun Singh said here that the party would also adopt two political resolutions at the session, one thanking the Congress President for her leadership and second expressing gratitude to the electorate for reposing faith in the party in the recent assembly elections.
The other important amendments to the constitution are increase in the term of office-bearers from the present two years to three, raising the strength of Congress Working Committee from 21 to 25 and of the Congress Parliamentary Board from seven to nine members, creation of an independent central election authority and of a trust to take charge of immovable properties of the Congress all over the country.
The Chairman of the AICC media department, Mr Shivraj Patil, termed the session as important, specially in view of the amendment providing for reservation for women and weaker sections in all echelons of the party organisation.
Most of the amendments emanated from the suggestions that emerged at the Pachmarhi brainstorming session of the party during September this year. While a few were adopted at the session, those requiring amendment to the Constitution were referred to the Karunakaran committee which was appointed to review it.
As per the present term, the Congress President and all other office-bearers are to hold office for two years and as per existing provisions, the term concludes this month.
Since the Election Commission insists that all political parties practise inner-party democracy as enshrined in their respective constitutions, the Congress too is bound by it.
Significantly, while an amendment seeks to limit the holding of office of the Pradesh Congress Committee President and other office-bearers for not more than two consecutive terms, it has excluded the office of the Congress President.
On the CWC, the present composition is the Congress President, leader of Congress party in Parliament, and 19 members, 10 of whom are elected and nine nominated by the President.
The amendment seeks to raise the total strength to 25 raising two each in the elected and nominated category. At present the Congress President is also the Chairperson of CPP and the CWC has 17 other members.
There is also a proposal to establish an independent central election authority with at least three to five members. These members will be barred from holding any other post in the party.
The Chairman of this authority will also be ex-officio returning officer to conduct elections to the office of Congress President, CWC. The body will also be the dispute redressal machinery and decide on the timing of enrolment etc. This body will also be responsible for setting up similar units in States.
The idea behind the move is to remove the criticism the party attracted for the manner in which the last organisational elections were conducted during Mr Sitaram Kesris time.
There are suggestions to
raise the annual membership fee, authorising the Congress
President to create any cell or department in the AICC
and compulsory subscription by all members to periodicals
brought out by the party.
Teacher beats 2 kids to death over home work
BHOPAL, Dec 17 (PTI) Failing to do homework cost two children their lives at Uska village in Shahdol district on Wednesday.Official reports reaching here said the two children of a primary school at Salaiyya were beaten to death due to their failure to complete home work.
Another teacher Lalita Devi who intervened to save the children was injured after being beaten by the teacher.
Suraiya to get Bimal Roy award
MUMBAI, Dec 17 (PTI) Actress and singer of yesteryear Suraiya, film producer Ramgopal Verma of Satya fame, cinematographer R.D. Mathur and veteran photographer R.M. Kumtakar have been nominated for Bimal Roy Memorial Awards.
The awards, instituted in the name of the late film maker and director Bimal Roy, would be presented here on his 33rd death anniversary on January 8.
The awards comprising
trophies and a citation had been instituted by Roys
daughter Rinki Bhattacharya to recognise pioneers in
their specialised fields in the film industry, senior
trustee of the Bimal Roy Memorial Committee P. Jairaj,
told reporters here last evening.
DDA to set up task force
NEW DELHI, Dec 17 The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) will set up a task force for the finalisation of its Master Plan-2021 for the city, its vice-chairman, Mr P K Ghosh, said here today.
The force would interact
with various groups on seven issues such as the Master
Plan-2000 review, privatising the housing sector,
transportation, jhuggi jhopri resettlement, water and
sanitation, health, hygiene and infrastructure funding,
Fog disrupts life in Delhi
NEW DELHI, Dec 17 Normal life in the Capital was disrupted today for the second consecutive day as thick fog cover disrupted air, rail and road traffic.
Most of the domestic and foreign flights were delayed for over five hours with the first flight taking off only after 11 a.m.
Only four domestic flights took off from the city,while three arrived this morning, Indian Airlines officials said.
School children, dressed in thick uniform woollens, were early ones to hit the road to catch their buses in time. But with visibility reduced to just over 100 metres, vehicles with their headlights on moved at a very slow speed.
Judges' salary hike Bill passed
NEW DELHI, Dec 17 (PTI) The Lok Sabha today passed a Bill seeking to increase the salaries of the Supreme Court and High Court judges.
The High Court and the
Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service)
Amendment Bill, 1998, seeking to improve the pay
structure of the judges in the context of the Fifth Pay
Commission recommendations, was adopted by a voice vote.
|New vaccine carrier
NEW DELHI: An Indian researcher had developed a new kind of vaccine carrier by combining the principles of thermoelectric cooling and evaporation of water. The vaccine carrier, developed by Sujoy K. Guha, Professor at the Centre of Biomedical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and All-India Institute of Medical Sciences here, can store vaccines at sub-zero temperatures. Thermoelectric cooling (TC), based on the peltier principle, had been observed in the early 20th century but the effect was too weak to have practical applications, Guha said. PTI
Plea dismissed in Priyanka
Rs 21 lakh looted
in two incidents
decline in Gujarat
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