|N A T I O N|
Declare cyclone national
Orissa: An aerial view of part of Paradip damaged and water-logged by the super cyclone that hit Orissa on Friday. PTI photo
BJP executive meeting
Church wants quota for Dalit
Rajiv case accused move HC
Restore trust through actions,
India tells Pak
Withdraw hike in diesel price: BKU
Memorial to 84 riot victims
CPM to take up Basus
Declare cyclone national calamity,
NEW DELHI, Nov 2 The Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, today urged the Centre to immeditately grant funds to Orissa for cyclone relief and also to coordinate relief activities being mounted by various state and international agencies.
Mrs Gandhi, who headed a three-member delegation, met the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, and said the super cyclone of the millennium should be declared as national calamity of rare severity.
"This would make the state eligible for direct grants from the National Fund for Calamity Relief she said in a four-page memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister.
The Congress delegation which included Dr Manmohan Singh, Congress leader in the Rajya Sabha and Mr Madhavrao Scindia, Deputy Chairperson of the Congress in the Lok Sabha gave their impression of the havoc and damage caused by the super cyclone.
Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Mr Scindia had visited Orissa yesterday to have the first hand account of magnitude of devastation caused by the natural calamity.
Mr Scindia told TNS that the Centre had so far released Rs 100 crore which was out of the funds earmarked for the State. He said the delegation impressed upon the Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha who was also present to convert the relief as a grant.
The Congress said the magnitude of the damage was such that the state government alone could not undo it and that it would be necessary to organise, rescue, relief and restoration measures through defence forces in a big way.
Apart from the Prime Minister, the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes and Minister of State for Agriculutre, Mr Satyanaraian Rao were also present at the meeting.
Meanwhile the Spaker of the Lok Sabha, Mr GMC Balayogi has donated one months salary to the National Relief Fund for the cyclone victims in Orissa, an official release said.
The Lok Sabha Secretariat Staff Officers Forum has also decided to donate one days salary towards the National Relief Fund, the release added.
The Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS), under the Ministry of Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports, has contributed Rs 5 lakh to the Chief Ministers Relief Fund for the cyclone affected people of Orrisa.
British Queen Elizabeth II has expressed her concern over the loss of life and destruction caused by the cyclone in Orissa.
In a message to President K.R. Narayanan, she said: "I was saddened to hear of the loss of life and destruction caused by the cyclone which hit the state of Orissa over the past few days. My sympathy goes to you, the Government of India and the state of Orissa at this difficult time."
Relief and financial assistance from various quarters have poured in for the cyclone ravaged people of coastal Orissa, who were still reeling under the aftermath of the super cyclone that hit the area on Friday.
As relief operations with the help of armed forces continued, several state governments have come forward with help, both financial and in kind. The Maharashtra Government has pledged to give Rs 5 crore for the rehabilitation of the affected people. In addition to this, a months salary of the Council of Ministers would be contributed to the relief fund, Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh announced at a post-Cabinet press briefing.
The Uttar Pradesh Government has decided to send five teams of specialist doctors equipped with medicines to the cyclone-hit areas, where fear of epidemic looms large.
The West Bengal Governor Justice Shyamal Kumar Sen, has donated Rs 1 lakh to the Orissa Chief Ministers Relief Fund.
Madhya Pradesh has marked Rs 50 lakh, after a delegation of state senior officials visited the areas today.
The CPI-M in Kerala has launched a fund-raising campaign. It contributed Rs 1 lakh for the same.
Andhra Pradesh State Council of the CPI has sent Rs 40,000 to Orissa State Council of the CPI towards the cyclone relief.
HC turns down plea on Sonia's citizenship issue
NEW DELHI, Nov 2 (UNI) The Delhi High Court today dismissed a public interest petition (PIL) seeking the cancellation of the Indian citizenship of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and removal of her name from the electoral rolls with an appeal that the courts should not be used as a platform for political battles.
The PIL filed by the Rashtriya Mukti Morcha (RSM), a voluntary NGO, claimed the government had acted improperly, illegally and unconstitutionally in registering Sonia Gandhi as a citizen of India and the Collector has failed to hold a proper statutory inquiry after she applied for grant of Indian citizenship.
But the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice S.N. Variava and Mr Justice S.K. Mahajan said Sonia Gandhi was registered as an Indian citizen on April 1, 1983. There was no substance in the petition which contained vague allegations, they said dismissing the petition.
"This is a politically motivated petition which has garbled and mixed-up facts. Do not make courts a political platform to fight your battles," the judges told RSM counsel P.N. Lekhi.
In the heated arguments that followed Mr Lekhi retorted saying the court was politically motivated. He eventually retreated from his portion.
The judges said Sonia
Gandhi had been voting in general elections for past
several years which was a matter of public knowledge. She
had been staying in India for over a decade which was
more than the period prescribed for becoming an Indian
Confession no ground to cut penalty: SC
NEW DELHI, Nov 2 (PTI) In a significant ruling, the Supreme Court has held that a confession of committing a crime by an accused is no legal ground for the courts to reduce the sentence awarded to him.
Mere acceptance or admission of the guilt should not be a ground for reduction of sentence, a Division Bench comprising Mr Justice K.T. Thomas and Mr Justice M.B Shah said while setting aside an Allahabad High Court order.
One Chandrika was convicted by a sessions court at Ballia under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC and was sentenced to undergo eight years of rigorous of imprisonment.
Chandrika appealed before the high court but at the time of hearing opted not to challenge the findings of conviction recorded by the trial court with a view to bargain on the question of sentence.
The high court accepted the bargain and allowed the appeal by observing that as the incident had taken place long time ago and since the appellant had been in jail for sometime, both as undertrial prisoner and as a convict, it was desirable to substitute his remaining sentence awarded by the trial court and altered the sentence to the period of imprisonment already undergone.
The Supreme Court, in its judgement pronounced on Friday last said it is apparent that the order passed by the high court is, on the face of it, illegal and erroneous.
It appears that the high court has overlooked the settled law that the concept of plea bargaining was not recognised and was against public policy under our criminal justice system.
Section 320 of the Criminal Procedure Code provides for compunding of certain offences with the permission of the court and certain others even without permission of the court.
Except the above, the concept of negotiated settlement in criminal cases is not permissible. This method of short circuting the hearing and deciding the criminal appeals or cases involving serious offences requires no encouragement, Mr Justice Shah, writing the judgement for the Bench, said.
He said Neither the state nor the public prosecutor nor even the judge can bargain that evidence would not be led or appreciated in consideration of getting flee bite sentence by pleading guilty.
The approach of the
court in appeal or revision should be to find out whether
the accused was guilty or not on the basis of evidence on
record, the apex court said and added if the accused was
found guilty, appropriate sentence was required to be
imposed or maintained.
BJP executive meeting today
NEW DELHI, Nov 2 A two-day national executive meeting of the BJP, beginning tomorrow, will review and analyse the results of the just concluded Lok Sabha elections and the assembly elections but will avoid the leadership issue in UP.
The party spokesman, Mr M.Venkaiah Naidu, told newspersons here that the issue of changing or retaining the UP Chief Minister, Mr Kalyan Singh, was not there on the agenda of the national executive.
Mr Naidu said the party would take corrective steps only after the exercise on the poll outcome was complete and at an appropriate time. He dismissed reports about Mr Kalyan Singhs removal as mere speculations.
Meanwhile, the UP Chief Minister met the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K.Advani, here today triggering off speculations about his continuance.
Mr Naidu clarified that Mr Kalyan Singh and the Home Minister had discussed the political situation, administrative matters and other routine matters during their meeting and nothing more should be read into it. He said it was common for Chief Ministers to call on the Home Minister.
Party sources said while Mr Kalyan Singhs future was not on the agenda, the partys debacle in the general elections in UP would be debated at the meeting.
Mr Naidu said all state units would present reports on the partys performance in their respective states and the national executive would discuss them thoroughly. The political situation after the completion of the elections would also be taken up at the meeting, he said.
The meeting would also discuss broadly the organisational election schedule for next year, membership drive, and time table for elections etc.
Church wants quota for Dalit
NEW DELHI, Nov 2 The Catholic Church today appealed to the government to provide reservations to Dalit Christians.
Addressing newspersons, the Executive Secretary of the Catholic Bishop Conference of India (CBCI) Commission for Schedule Castes and Tribes, Mr S. Lourduswamy, said Dalit Christians had been deprived of the benefits of reservation for the past 50 years.
We also appeal to the government to render justice to Dalit Christians, Mr Lourduswamy said.
When asked if the Pope John Paul II would take up the issue of reservation for Dalit Christians with the Indian Government during his official talks, Mr Lourduswamy said we are the citizens of India and we are appealing to the government to give us reservation and we dont expect the Pope to take up the issue.
Meanwhile, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) today accused the Catholic Church of doing business in the name of service saying that its affiliate Sanskriti Raksha Manch (SRM) would continue its agitational programme against alleged atrocities committed by the Church in the past.
Even the clergy and ordinary laymen feel that majority of the Catholic educational institutions have become commerical, the VHP General Secretary, Acharya Giriraj Kishore told reporters.
Rajiv case accused move HC
CHENNAI, Nov 2 (UNI) The four condemned prisoners in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case today moved the Madras High Court challenging the rejection of their mercy petitions by Tamil Nadu Governor M. Fathima Beevi.
When the petitions filed by the four accused Nalini, her husband Sriharan, alias Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan came up for admission, Mr Justice K. Govindarajan adjourned the hearing to November 4.
The accused sought a declaration to the effect that the Governors October 27 order rejecting their mercy petitions was ultra vires of the Constitution, null and void and inoperative.
Referring to Chief Minister M. Karunanidhis statement at a press conference here on October 26 that no remarks had been called for from the state government by the Governor, the accused said this meant the Governor had rejected their mercy petitions without getting the advice of the Council of Ministers and the same was illegal, arbitrary and violative of the Constitution.
The condemned prisoners contended the Governor could not act at her will. Her action must be in conformity with some principles which met the test of reason and relevance.
The power of the Governor under Article 161 to grant pardon to them was executive in character and the same had to be exercised within the constitutional framework, they said.
There was nothing to debar the Governor from reconsidering the relevant circumstances, including worldwide opinion against capital punishment, irrespective of the findings given by courts of law, they submitted.
The condemned prisoners, in their mercy petitions, had appealed to the Governor to exercise her power under Article 161 and grant them pardon taking into account the hardships suffered by them for the past eight years while remaining in solitary confinements.
The couple, Nalini and Murugan, had stated their seven-year-old daughter would be orphaned if both were to be executed. This fact was noted by one of the Supreme Court judges who dealt with their revision petition and had opined that Nalini be spared from the death penalty.
The condemned prisoners also cited Mr Karunanidhis observation that he was totally opposed to death penalty and his view was applicable to this case also.
However, they were shocked to receive a communication that the Governor had considered their mercy petitions and rejected the same, they said.
They also said many
organisations having different socio- political
viewpoints had launched a campaign against death penalty
and appealed to the authorities to commute the death
sentence into life term.
Restore trust through actions,
India tells Pak
NEW DELHI, Nov 2 Responding to Pakistan Executive Head Gen Pervez Musharrafs remarks on Indo-Pakistan ties, New Delhi today asked Islamabad to restore trust through actions for an eventual resumption of the bilateral dialogue.
In response to a question, a spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs said here that India had an abiding desire to build a relationship of peace and friendship with Pakistan based on principles but Islamabad must, therefore, facilitate a restoration of trust through actions, abandon its state-sponsored cross-border terrorism against India in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere, and it must also cease hostile anti-India propaganda.
India harbours no
enmity towards the people of Pakistan. India has always
taken the initiative towards improving relations, as it
did again last year by putting in place the composite
dialogue process to build confidence and trust, establish
a stable structure of cooperation and address all
outstanding issues, the spokesman said.
Withdraw hike in diesel price:
NEW DELHI, Nov 2 Farmers owing allegiance to the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ambavata), held a demonstration in the Capital today demanding rollback in the diesel prices as the hike had increased the cost of production. With the procurement prices fixed by the government, it would be very difficult for them to produce enough to sustain and continue farming in the next season, they added.
Stating that the procurement price should be increased in view of the hike in diesel prices, the kisan leaders said the government should take steps for the welfare of the farmers as they constituted majority of the population.
Memorial to 84 riot victims promised
NEW DELHI, Nov 2 (PTI, UNI) The government will construct a national memorial for those killed in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in the Capital, the All-India Riot Victim Relief Committee (AIRVRC) said today.
Home Minister L.K. Advani has given us the assurance of constructing a memorial structure (for the victims), the AIRVRC President Jathedar Kuldip Singh Bhogal, said after meeting the minister at his residence here.
Mr Bhogal, who led an AIRVRC delegation, said Mr Advani also assured the members that examine the pros and cons of waiving the loan given to the riot victims for rehabilitation.
Meanwhile, the Shiromani
Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) head, Bibi Jagir
Kaur, has promised a Rs 32 lakh grant for erecting a
proposed memorial in the Capital for the victims of the
1984 anti-Sikh riots.
CPM to take up Basus retirement
CALCUTTA, Nov 2 (PTI) CPM General Secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet today hinted that the issue of Jyoti Basus retirement from chief ministership might be taken up in the party, but refused to say if the octogenarian leader would be relieved of his post.
When newsmen asked him if Basus retirment issue would be on the agenda of the next politburo meeting, Surjeet said anyone can discuss any issue.
|Cloth traders observe
JAIPUR: Cloth traders in Rajasthan observed a days taken strike on Tuesday to protest against the imposition of entry tax on cloth. Both wholesalers and retailers put up their shutters on a call given by the Rajasthan Kapada Vyapar Mahasangh, which alleged that the new tax would breed inspector raj and corruption.
LPG waiting list
to be cleared
Award for Jagjit
HC extends ban
in driving out ULFA
JNU to get
Borooahs book collection
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