SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Kalam presents awards to 313 teachers

New Delhi, September 5
Presenting national awards to teachers here today, the President, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, choose to pay tributes to his own teachers who helped him in shaping his destiny by giving him the impetus to move in the right direction.


President APJ Abdul Kalam at National Teacher award presentation ceremony organised at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi on Tuesday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

President APJ Abdul Kalam at National Teacher award presentation ceremony organised at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Near-total bandh in MP
Protest against Prof Sabharwal’s killing
Ujjain/Bhopal, September 5
Most educational institutions and business establishments remained closed across Madhya Pradesh on Teachers’ Day today, barring mild tension in some places during a Congress-sponsored bandh to demand a CBI probe into Prof. H.S Sabharwal’s death in Ujjain last week.



EARLIER STORIES




Punjab for setting up “green” Bench in high court
New Delhi, September 5
Punjab today demanded the setting up of a special “green” Bench in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and expert law officers and counsels to overcome legislative constraints in realising objectives of the National Forest Policy in the state.

This dog is a yoga freak!
Ranchi, September 5
A dog performing yoga? Sounds implausible, but this is just what a dog in Jharkhand does with no less skill than a human and eats vegetarian fare to boot! Hritik, a three-year-old German Shepherd, practises ‘surya namaskar’, ‘bhujanga asana’ and other ‘asanas’ (yoga postures) under the watchful eyes of his trainer in Ranchi.

Revival of forestry board on the cards
New Delhi, September 5
The Ministry of Environment and Forests is trying to revive the Central Board of Forestry on the lines of the National Board for Wildlife to ensure that forestry, too, emerges with multi-disciplinary dimensions.

UN citation for Indian battalion
New Delhi, September 5
The Fourth Battalion of the Sikh Regiment deployed on an UN Mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was today awarded with UNIFIL Force Commander's Unit Citation for carrying out extraordinary humanitarian operations and saving of hundred of lives.

Mattoo Case
Trial court ignored vital proof, CBI tells Delhi HC

New Delhi, September 5
Contending that the trial judge overlooked two crucial and irrefutable pieces of evidence, the CBI today told the Delhi High that even otherwise various other evidence produced by the prosecution firmly established accused Santosh Singh's involvement in the rape and murder of Priyadarshini Mattoo.

SC begins hearing on MPs expulsion
Cash-for-query scam
New Delhi, September 5
A constitution bench of the Supreme Court today commenced hearing on the crucial question of Parliament’s power to end the membership of its MPs for “misconduct” in the wake of the expulsion of 11 members for allegedly taking bribe for asking questions.

Govt to crackdown on “goonda banks”
Patna, September 5
The state government has decided to crackdown on the “goonda banks” being operated by gangsters.

Mother Teresa remembered
Kolkata, September 5
The ninth death anniversary of Mother Teresa was observed today at Missionaries of Charity here as her ‘Feast Day,’ even as sources in the order said the possibility of the Vatican conferring sainthood on her appeared distant. At the MC’s global headquarter Mother House here, the day began with an early morning mass attended by the nuns and a large number of MC cooperators and Mother Teresa’s admirers.





Catholic nuns from the Missionaries of Charity order gather for a special prayer during the ninth anniversary of Mother Teresa’s death in Kolkata on Tuesday. — Reuters photo
Catholic nuns from the Missionaries of Charity order gather for a special prayer during the ninth anniversary of Mother Teresa’s death in Kolkata on Tuesday.


From left: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda at a meeting of Chief Ministers in New Delhi on Tuesday.
From left: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda at a meeting of Chief Ministers in New Delhi on Tuesday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

Amend CrPC, Haryana asks Centre
New Delhi, September 5
The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr. Bhupinder Singh Hooda today urged the Centre to amend the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to ensure signed statements of witnesses in their own handwritings, evolve measures to cut short trial periods and lay emphasis on improving the rate of conviction.

DNA testing facilities in Shimla set up: CM
New Delhi, September 5
Himachal Pradesh Government has set up test facilities for DNA under ND&PS Act at state forensic laboratory Junga (Shimla), disclosed state Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh while speaking in Chief Ministers conference on law and order and internal security here today.

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh at a meeting of Chief Ministers in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh at a meeting of Chief Ministers in New Delhi on Tuesday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

Book Capt for keeping rare birds: SAD
New Delhi, September 5
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, came under Akali fire today over the reported recovery of rare birds from his farm house near Shimla as the Opposition party demanded he be booked under the Wildlife Protection Act.

Jagat Singh expelled for misconduct
Jaipur, September 5
Jagat Singh, who along with his father and former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh has been indicted in the Iraqi oil-for-food scam, was today expelled from the party for indiscipline and misconduct.

Cong trying to destabilise Munda govt, says BJP
Hyderabad, September 5
The BJP today accused the Congress of trying to destabilise the Arjun Munda government in Jharkhand and divert public attention from the failures of the UPA regime. Even as the fall of the 18-month-old NDA government appears imminent, the BJP exuded confidence that its government will be able to prove majority on the floor of the Jharkhand Assembly.

Law catches up with woman after 25 yrs
New Delhi, September 5
After a long drawn legal battle, the Supeme Court has upheld the imposition of Rs 5 lakh fine on a woman for getting admission to a medical college nearly 25 years ago by forging her college marks-sheet. She had showed that she had secured far higher marks than the actual to make herself eligible to get admission.

Stranded passengers flown to Frankfurt
New Delhi, September 5
The over 300 Air India passengers, stranded at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport for more than two for lack of availability of a replacement aircraft after the original flight could not take off due to technical snag and subsequent non-availability of spare parts, were finally flown to Frankfurt and Los Angeles by a relief plane today.

Ceasefire in Assam extended
New Delhi, September 5
The Centre tonight extended the ceasefire with banned ULFA till September 15, saying that “some communication” on whether the insurgent group would participate in the proposed talks directly was expected within a fortnight.

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Kalam presents awards to 313 teachers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 5
Presenting national awards to teachers here today, the President, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, choose to pay tributes to his own teachers who helped him in shaping his destiny by giving him the impetus to move in the right direction.

The President recalled how, beginning with his primary teacher who helped him realise “the mission of my life”, all his teachers contributed to his success. “My primary school teacher in a Rameshwaram Panchayat school at 10, gave me the mission of my life,” he said.

Urging teachers to organise and conduct their life, in such a way that their life itself became a message for their students, the President said, apart from the mother and the father, a teacher is the only person who is genuinely happy when a child becomes successful. “Teaching is the only profession you will be proud of if your student becomes the Prime Minister of the country or if your student becomes an ace scientist...,” he said.

Pointing out that he himself is a teacher, the President urged the awardees to read out a 10-point oath, which among other things spoke of the love for teaching.

Dr Kalam said he had learnt from his teachers to succeed in life and achieve results. One must understand and master ‘‘three mighty forces—desire, belief and expectation,’’ he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh said the government was committed to give opportunities for good education to all students.

Making a veiled reference to the decision of implementing quotas, he said there cannot be different kinds of education for different sections of society.

Out of 313 teachers awarded today, 29 are from Maharashtra, and 28 and 25 teachers from Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, respectively.

Recipients of National Award this year include 77 lady teachers, eight Sanskrit teachers, three Arabic and Persian teachers and 14 teachers who have promoted education of children with disabilities.

The awardees received a medal, a citation and a cash prize of Rs 25,000. Down the road, the awardees receive facilities such as retirement age extension and rail travel concessions.

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Near-total bandh in MP
Protest against Prof Sabharwal’s killing

Ujjain/Bhopal, September 5
Most educational institutions and business establishments remained closed across Madhya Pradesh on Teachers’ Day today, barring mild tension in some places during a Congress-sponsored bandh to demand a CBI probe into Prof. H.S Sabharwal’s death in Ujjain last week.

As rest of the country celebrated the day, Congress and NSU (I) activists fanned out in Bhopal, Gwalior, Indore, Jabalpur and Ujjain asking shop owners to down their shutters, accusing the ruling BJP in the state of trying to ‘‘shield’’ those responsible for the professor’s death on August 26 during a college election.

Barring stray incidents of skirmishes between ABVP supporters, opposing closure of shops, and NSU (I) activists in Jabalpur and adjoining areas, the day-long strike remained peaceful amidst elaborate security arrangements to prevent any untoward incident.

‘‘The situation is peaceful and no violence has so far been reported from any place in the state,’’ police said citing reports reaching Bhopal from different districts.

Commercial centres, business hubs and market places in Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior and Jabalpur wore a deserted look as Congress workers were seen mobilising support in favour of the bandh and raising slogans against the state authorities.

Schools, colleges and other educational institutions, barring those run by the government, remained closed. There was hardly any attendance in government-run schools as students stayed home fearing trouble.

While government offices reported thinner attendance, several banks opened in the afternoon. Essential services like hospitals, railways and public transport were kept out of the bandh's purview.

Claiming that the bandh was a success, state Congress spokesman Manak Aggarwal said “it is complete and peaceful throughout the state”.

Meanwhile, taking a lesson from the Sabharwal episode, teachers of Lucknow University have refused to participate in the forthcoming student’s union elections process.

Meanwhile, according to a UNI report the Madhya Pradesh Governor, Mr Balram Jakhar, today sought from the state government ‘latest update’ on the investigations into the death of Prof Sabharwal in Ujjain last week, official sources said.

Official sources said the Governor had earlier sent a letter urging Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for a prompt and impartial inquiry into Prof Sabharwal’s death, which drew nation-wide condemnation. Mr Chouhan had since met the Governor twice. — PTI/UNI

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Punjab for setting up “green” Bench in high court
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 5
Punjab today demanded the setting up of a special “green” Bench in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and expert law officers and counsels to overcome legislative constraints in realising objectives of the National Forest Policy in the state.

It also suggested a “green” cess of two per cent on the lines of education cess to be imposed on petroleum and 50 per cent of the excise duty from wood-based
industries to be diverted back into forest development to overcome the financial constraints the state forest department was facing.

Punjab, represented by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), Mr B.C. Bala, at the PCCFs’ conference on forestry policy issues in the Capital, also asked for setting up of special courts for adjudicating forest and environments cases, regional forest forensic laboratories for forest and wildlife cases and a statutory inter-state coordination committee for dealing with inter-state issues of forest and wildlife protection to overcome legislative constraints it appeared to be facing.

The state, incidentally, has no separate state forest policy and follows the national policy formulated in 1988 by the Centre.

As per Mr Bala, Punjab, under the state forestry action plan 1997-2017, is trying to bring 15 per cent of its total geographical area under the forest and tree cover by 2017.

It, however, was facing legislative, including the conflict between the Punjab Panchayati Raj Act and the JFM resolution, financial and operational constraints in realising objectives of the national policy. Incidentally, the policy mandates all states to achieve forest and tree cover in 33 per cent of geographical area.

He said it was not possible to bring one-third of the area in the state under forest and tree cover as 85 per cent area in Punjab was under agriculture.

“Therefore, the only way is to increase tree and forest cover is to promote farm forestry on private lands and afforestation of other institutional lands, besides urban plantations,” he added.

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This dog is a yoga freak!

Ranchi, September 5
A dog performing yoga? Sounds implausible, but this is just what a dog in Jharkhand does with no less skill than a human and eats vegetarian fare to boot! Hritik, a three-year-old German Shepherd, practises ‘surya namaskar’, ‘bhujanga asana’ and other ‘asanas’ (yoga postures) under the watchful eyes of his trainer in Ranchi.

Hritik is a follower of yoga guru Ramdev’s style. He is totally vegetarian.

According to his trainer and master Nanda Dulal, the dog started imitating him since he was a year old.

“He started imitating me two years ago and now he sits besides me when I perform yoga. He follows my asanas, including my breathing system,” said Dulal.

“When I found that Hritik wants to do yoga I started training him. Now both of us do yoga together every morning,” the proud master said.

Like a typical vegetarian and a Ramdev follower, Hritik loves to eat ripe papayas, cucumber and other vegetarian food.

The dog even helps his master in small everyday jobs like keeping the bag of vegetables and meat in the right place.

“Hritik does not eat mutton, but he never hesitates in carrying the mutton bag,” Dulal said.

“He was weak when he was born. We took special care of him and he gradually became strong after his yoga lessons. He has won many prizes at dog shows and he recently won the medal for best health,” said Dulal.

Asked if Dulal would train other dogs to practise yoga, he said: “Right now I have no such plans. If people come to me with such proposals, I can consider.” — IANS

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Revival of forestry board on the cards
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 5
The Ministry of Environment and Forests is trying to revive the Central Board of Forestry on the lines of the National Board for Wildlife to ensure that forestry, too, emerges with multi-disciplinary dimensions.

The existing institution of the forestry board was constituted on June 19, 1950, and later revised on February 5, 1973, with the Union Minister for Agriculture as chairperson. However, there has been no meeting of the board since 1987 and it has since been converted into forest ministers’ meet that has proved to be more or less ineffective in achieving the objective of sustainability.

According to ministry officials, an umbrella institution, specifically chaired by the Prime Minister and that meets at least once in a year, will ensure sharp focus on forestry like wildlife is enjoying ever since the National Board for Wildlife came under the supervision of the Prime Minister.

The re-framed board, with the Union Environment Minister as its vice-chairman, will advise the Centre, states and UTs on all matters concerning forest conservation and management as well as other related matters.

Forest policy, biodiversity, legislation, inter-state matters, identification of broad areas of research and development, training and education, Indian Forest Service and appointment of committees and sub-committees and working groups will be some special concerns of the forestry board and the standing committee will monitor the implementation of its recommendations.

Another issue that is under serious consideration by the MoEF is revisiting the existing National Forest Policy, 1988, especially pertaining to issues relating to forest and tree cover in hill states.

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UN citation for Indian battalion
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 5
The Fourth Battalion of the Sikh Regiment deployed on an UN Mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was today awarded with UNIFIL Force Commander's Unit Citation for carrying out extraordinary humanitarian operations and saving of hundred of lives.

Seventythree soldiers of the unit have been conferred with UNIFIL Force Commander's Citation for their outstanding contribution during the recent 34 days long conflict between Israel and Lebanon.

The Battalion was located between the two warring factions and many occasions munitions fell very close to its positions. On July 24, 2006, the Battalion popularly known as "Saragarhi Braves" was called upon to undertake rescue and search operations in PB Khiam area.

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Mattoo Case
Trial court ignored vital proof, CBI tells Delhi HC
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 5
Contending that the trial judge overlooked two crucial and irrefutable pieces of evidence, the CBI today told the Delhi High that even otherwise various other evidence produced by the prosecution firmly established accused Santosh Singh's involvement in the rape and murder of Priyadarshini Mattoo.

Appearing for the CBI, Additional Solicitor General A Sara stated that trial judge G P Thareja, while ignoring the two vital evidence, completely agreed with the other circumstantial and material records produced by the agency pointing to the involvement of Santosh Singh in the heinous offence.

The two crucial and irrefutable evidence related to the DNA findings and seizure of broken helmet visor pieces from the scene of offence which the trial judge ignored on mere technical grounds to acquit Singh son of JP Singh a top IPS officer, the CBI told the High Court during hearing of the appeal.

According to the CBI, the DNA test conducted at the Hyderabad-based CDFD (Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics) had stated that semen samples collected from the undergarments of the deceased matched with those of the accused.

Similarly, the blood stains collected from the broken pieces of helmet visor purportedly belonging to Santosh Singh matched with the blood samples of Priyadarshini.

The CBI complained that the trial judge chose to ignore the DNA findings on the specious plea that eight milli litre (ml) of blood samples out of the total 12 milli litre collected from the accused were found missing from the exhibits produced by the prosecuting agency.

The ASG maintained that the trial court's findings on the said ground were erroneous as a portion of the blood samples apparently got evaporated while being taken by air from Delhi to Hyderabad.

However, the ASG said the trial court did not dispute the other findings of the CBI which proved "beyond reasonable doubt" the alleged involvement of Singh in the rape-cum-murder.

But all these evidences were ignored by the trial judge, Saran complained. "You mean to say barring two grounds, the entire evidence and the findings of the learned trial judge is in your favour?" the Bench queried to which the ASG replied in the affirmative.

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SC begins hearing on MPs expulsion
Cash-for-query scam
S S Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 5
A constitution bench of the Supreme Court today commenced hearing on the crucial question of Parliament’s power to end the membership of its MPs for “misconduct” in the wake of the expulsion of 11 members for allegedly taking bribe for asking questions.

The Supreme Court is hearing amidst strong objection taken by Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on the Court taking cognizance of the matter as he had taken a stand that the judiciary has no jurisdiction to intervene in the legislative business of Parliament.

Noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani, defending some of the expelled MPs, opened the arguments before a five-judge Bench, headed by Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal, questioning the constitutional validity of the decisions of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha expelling their 10 and one member respectively in December last year

He said the law was clear that there was no provision in the Constitution giving power to either House of Parliament to end the membership of any of its member. These MPs were expelled by passing resolutions by each House.

Jethmalani said each House had violated the Constitution by “arbitrary” use of their power to end the membership of these persons merely by passing resolutions, which in fact was not available to Parliament as the MPs privileges under Article 105 were far wider.

The membership could only be ended by the President under Article 103 in due consultation with the Election Commission, he said

“The power of Parliament under Articles 102 and 103 together is confined only to lay down laws to create disqualification for a member if found guilty by the House to which he belongs of conduct unworthy of an MP, but it cannot simply be done by a resolution of the House,” the noted constitution expert said.

“Members of both the houses cannot sit in judgement of their own colleagues. If they exercise such a power that will be a function which is the power of a constituent assembly and it is not available to House of People as is available to the House of Common in England. If that power is taken upon themselves by the two houses, it will mean that they can decide the composition of the House, which the Constitution does not permit” he said.

It was a settled law by now with various pronouncements by the Supreme Court that after implementation of the Constitution, the House of People is only a legislative authority not a constituent authority. “We must ignore the other acts (than making laws) of the House of People as a past history,” he argued.

To bring home his point, the noted lawyer in during his day-long arguments cited the apex court constitution Bench ruling in JMM bribery case on the issue of members’ privilege as it had allowed the “bribe taker” MPs to go scot-free, finding even the courts handicapped to prosecute them for taking money to vote in the House in favour of the Congress party to save its government in 1993.

The powers and privilege under Article 105 were so wide that even those could not be made subject to the restrictions on freedom of speech listed in Article 19. He, however, said that there was of course need to make law on privileges of the MPs to prevent them to misuse their position for the purposes not remotely connected with their legislative duty.

“Unfortunately Law Ministers in successive governments have stated that they don’t want to pass a law arguing that it will violate fundamental rights. The result is that we have too many rights under Article 105,” he said adding the position of law today was that each House has no power to expel its members.

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Govt to crackdown on “goonda banks”

Patna, September 5
The state government has decided to crackdown on the “goonda banks” being operated by gangsters.

Sources said the Chief Minister, Mr Nitish Kumar, took strong exception to the suicide by Sunanda Devi, a middle-aged schoolteacher, on Saturday, who had brunt herself to death following threats from members of a “goonda bank”.

Sunanda, a resident of Naugachaia in Bhagalpur, reportedly could neither pay the huge interest nor repay the principal amount being borrowed by her from the “goonda bank”.

The police has already registered a case in this regard against Sunanda’s colleague, Manoj Yadav, alleged to be known as an agent of the “goonda bank”.

The “goonda bank” charged 50 to 100 per cent interest on the principal amount every year by forcing borrowers like Sunanda to commit suicide after failing to repay the debt. — TNS

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Mother Teresa remembered

Kolkata, September 5
The ninth death anniversary of Mother Teresa was observed today at Missionaries of Charity here as her ‘Feast Day,’ even as sources in the order said the possibility of the Vatican conferring sainthood on her appeared distant.

At the MC’s global headquarter Mother House here, the day began with an early morning mass attended by the nuns and a large number of MC cooperators and Mother Teresa’s admirers.

Later, MC novices presented a brief cultural programme in front of her tomb, which was decorated with candles and had the words ‘Happy Feast Day Mother’ arranged with flowers.

“Since her beatification, this day is being observed as her Feast Day. Today we celebrate Mother’s birth in Heaven,” Sister Nirmala, her successor as superior-general of the Missionaries of Charity, said.

MC sources said they were yet to hear from Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which looks into petitions for sainthood, about any immediate possibility of canonising the Nobel laureate nun. — PTI

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Amend CrPC, Haryana asks Centre
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 5
The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr. Bhupinder Singh Hooda today urged the Centre to amend the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to ensure signed statements of witnesses in their own handwritings, evolve measures to cut short trial periods and lay emphasis on improving the rate of conviction.

Speaking at a conference of Chief Ministers on Internal Security here today, the Chief Minister also took up the issue of seperate high court for the state saying that it was necessary to provide justice speedily.

He said although the Centre has already amended the CrPC recently, it should be further amended to ensure signed statements of witnesses in their own handwriting so as to tackle the problems of witnesses resiling from their statements made before the investigating officers.

Also, it would help in checking the fall in conviction rate in criminal cases. At the same time, he said, there was a need to protect the witnesses and prevent them from turning hostile. There was also an urgent need to evolve measures to cut short trial periods, which have lengthened beyond reasonable limits.

Instead of making existing laws more harsh, emphasis should be laid on improving the conviction rate by plugging the loopholes in the present system. Apart from this, there was a need to increase the amounts of fine prescribed in the Penal Code for various offences to make them more punitive.

He said the CrPC has recently been amended to provide a separate Prosecution Department. He pointed out that the separation of prosecution from the police has not yielded any fruitful results.

It was evident from the fact that the conviction rate which was above 50 per cent two decades ago, had considerably fallen down. The Government of India might think of reverting to the old system. Justice Malimath Committee has recommended many steps to tone up the criminal justice system which needs to be implemented, he added.

Hooda also drew the attention of the Centre towards the demand of the state government to have a separate high court for the state so as to provide speedier justice to the people.

While pointing out that there was a provision of a separate high court for every state under Article 214 of the Constitution of India, he said that the Haryana Vidhan Sabha has already adopted a resolution for bifurcation of Punjab and Haryana High Court and for creation of a separate High Court for Haryana.

The same existing infrastructure could be used on the pattern of Civil Secretariat and Vidhan Sabha which were being shared by Punjab and Haryana in the ratio of 60:40, he added.

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DNA testing facilities in Shimla set up: CM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 5
Himachal Pradesh Government has set up test facilities for DNA under ND&PS Act at state forensic laboratory Junga (Shimla), disclosed state Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh while speaking in Chief Ministers conference on law and order and internal security here today.

He said the state government is setting up forensic laboratories at range level in the first phase and all district headquarters will be covered with such facilities in the near future in phased manner.

Virbhadra Singh said illicit drug production and trade has become major problem in five districts of the state due to huge influx of foreign tourist and added that state police in co-ordinations with central narcotics control bureau destroyed cannabis plants in 5384 bighas of land during the year 2005 and registered 242 cases under ND&PS Act in which 260 kg of charas and 12 kgs of opium was recovered.

Urging the need for adopting multi-pronged strategy in affected areas, Virbhadra Singh asked the Centre to start “alternative development options” in affected areas and requested the Centre to accord high priority to sanction development schemes submitted by state govt in drug affected districts of the state.

He sought for continuation of grants for modernizations of police forces in the states beyond the year 2007 and further requested the Central government to release the balance share of 23 crore rupees to the state government

The Chief Minister said the state government had deployed eight companies of state armed police and one battalion of ITBP in 35 border check posts along the 225 kms border at the higher altitude of Chamba district bordering Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir to combat the terrorists threat and plugging the incoming routes and added that communications system has been strengthened on entire border areas of the state.

He demanded that entire expenditure being incurred by state on anti-terrorists duty in Chamba district should be reimbursed by the Centre under scheme for Security Related Expenditure (SRE) being a spill over problem from neighboring state.

Virbhadra Singh requested the Centre to withdraw the proposal of withdrawal of ITBP battalion deployed in Chamba district and demanded full central funding to raise another IRB battalion and also meet the operational expenditure of this battalion and other battalions deployed in border areas under SRE scheme of Central Government.

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Book Capt for keeping rare birds: SAD

New Delhi, September 5
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, came under Akali fire today over the reported recovery of rare birds from his farm house near Shimla as the Opposition party demanded he be booked under the Wildlife Protection Act.

In a letter to the Environment and Forest Ministry here, SAD general secretary Sukhbir Singh Badal sought immediate action against the Chief Minister for “violating” wildlife laws.

News reports said forest officials in Himachal Pradesh found exotic birds at the Chief Minister’s farm house near Shimla. The farm house has been issued a 15-day notice to give an explanation.

“If actor Salman Khan can be booked, why not a Chief Minister if he breaks law,” Mr Sukhbir Badal said. — PTI

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Jagat Singh expelled for misconduct

Jaipur, September 5
Jagat Singh, who along with his father and former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh has been indicted in the Iraqi oil-for-food scam, was today expelled from the party for indiscipline and misconduct.

Acting on the recommendations of a disciplinary committee headed by senior leader Pradhyuman Singh, the party decided to expel Jagat, the sitting MLA from Lakshmangarh, after he failed to reply to the show cause notice issued to him on August 18 when he was suspended from the party following his indictment by the Justice Pathak Authority.

“Defying the show cause notice after suspension from the party on August 18, Jagat not only involved in the pro-Natwar Swabhiman rally but also openly assailed many senior Congress leaders from the dias on August 23 which was highly deplorable,” PCC President Dr B.D. Kalla told reporters here.

The PCC executive committee had on August 23 approved the suspension of Jagat, and now after considering the recommendation of disciplinary committee, he was expelled, Kalla said.

He said that a letter notifying Jagat about the expulsion from the party has already been issued.

The Pathak authority had indicted Natwar Singh and Jagat for misusing their positions to favour some people close to them in procuring oil contracts from the Saddam Hussein regime in 2001.

Following their indictment, both of them were suspended from the party. — PTI

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Cong trying to destabilise Munda govt, says BJP
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, September 5
The BJP today accused the Congress of trying to destabilise the Arjun Munda government in Jharkhand and divert public attention from the failures of the UPA regime. Even as the fall of the 18-month-old NDA government appears imminent, the BJP exuded confidence that its government will be able to prove majority on the floor of the Jharkhand Assembly.

“We are keeping a close watch on the situation. It has now become a number game and we are confident of overcoming the crisis and prove our strength,” senior BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu told reporters here.

Questioning the role of Governor Syed Sibte Razi in the latest development, Mr Naidu accused him of wilfully allowing himself to be part of the “destabilisation game” being enacted by the Congress, the RJD and the JMM.

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Law catches up with woman after 25 yrs
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 5
After a long drawn legal battle, the Supeme Court has upheld the imposition of Rs 5 lakh fine on a woman for getting admission to a medical college nearly 25 years ago by forging her college marks-sheet. She had showed that she had secured far higher marks than the actual to make herself eligible to get admission.

Since a long time had passed in getting the finality in the case of accused Beena Philipose from Kerala at different courts before the appeal was filed in the apex court, a Bench of Mr Justice Arijit Pasayat and Mr Justice Lokeshwar Singh Panta reduced her sentence of six months imprisonment to 70 days period she had already undergone.

Philipose and her father, who was also an accused, had undergone 70 days’ sentence each before their appeal was admitted earlier this year. The court said it was ending it at that level taking a lenient view considering the fact that the offence was committed a quarter of century ago.

The abnormally time consuming proceedings in the case were confined to the trial court and the Kerala High Court as the matter reached the Supreme Court only earlier this year.

Besides, an official of Kerala University and a contractor were also accused in the case, while one person who conspired in forging the mark-sheet had turned an approver.

“The fine amount, imposed, however, shall remain unaltered,” the court said while directing her to deposit it within two months before the trial court.

The apex court said as far as the factual and legal position on the prove of the guilt of the accused persons in the case, it would not interfere in the trial court and the High Court judgement and uphold the same.

She had actually got 513 marks out of 1000 in BSc exams but by forging the mark-sheet, she had made it to 787 with substantially increasing her score in mathematics and chemistry.

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Stranded passengers flown to Frankfurt
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 5
The over 300 Air India passengers, stranded at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport for more than two for lack of availability of a replacement aircraft after the original flight could not take off due to technical snag and subsequent non-availability of spare parts, were finally flown to Frankfurt and Los Angeles by a relief plane today.

The Boeing 747-400 aircraft, which was flown in from Mumbai to carry the 290 passengers to their destinations, finally took off from the Indira Gandhi International Airport at about 2 am in the morning after reaching here at about 1 am. Air India officials said that about 100 more passengers travelling to Frankfurt and Los Angeles were also accommodated in this flight.

The passengers were stranded at Delhi airport as the aircraft which was to carry them developed fault. 

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Ceasefire in Assam extended
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 5
The Centre tonight extended the ceasefire with banned ULFA till September 15, saying that “some communication” on whether the insurgent group would participate in the proposed talks directly was expected within a fortnight.

“We are expecting some communication from the banned group within 10 days,” the Union Home Secretary, Mr V.K. Duggal, said after his meeting with ULFA mediators Indira Goswami and Rebati Phukan, who handed a letter from People's Consultative Group (PCG) for the Prime Minister.

In the meantime, the Centre has decided to extend the suspension of Army operation till September 15 as requested by the PCG, mediating on behalf of ULFA, Mr Duggal said.

This is the third time that the government has extended the suspension of operations against ULFA, which was announced for the first time on August 13 for 10 days and again for 15 days on August 23.

“Chances of talks (direct) are very good. Things are moving in the right direction. There are few rough edges which have to be smoothened,” the Home Secretary said after the meeting that was chaired by the National Security Adviser, Mr M.K. Narayanan, and the Intelligence Bureau chief, Mr E.S.L. Narisimhan.

But the word of caution was again echoed by Mr Duggal, who said the government may reconsider suspension of operation if the outfit indulges in activities of “violence or extortion or carrying of weapons by ULFA cadres”.

Asked about the release of ULFA leaders, Mr Duggal declined to give a direct reply saying that the process should be “simultaneous” from both the sides.

Mr Phukan, who is a childhood friend of ULFA commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah said: “There is a good chance of direct talks between the government and ULFA.”

Noted Assamese author Goswami appreciated the government’s decision to extend suspension of the Army operation.

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