C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


GCM jurisdiction challenged in Dimple case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The defence in the general court martial (GCM) trying Major Dimple Singla on charges of professional impropriety today challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hold the trial.

Contending that General Officer Commanding, 2 Corps, did not apply his mind objectively while assessing the evidence contained in the court of inquiry (COI) and the summary of evidence (SOE) before convening the GCM, the defence counsel, Col S.K. Aggarwal (retd) said this adversely affected the jurisdiction of the court.

Stating that the first charge against the officer was under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, he said no public servant could be prosecuted without prior approval of the government. In this case, he said relevant documents were not forwarded to the central government and hence, no sanction was accorded to prosecute Major Singla and hence the GCM lacked jurisdiction to try her.

Counsel further argued that the presiding officer of the COI had conducted the proceedings in a biased manner. The accused officer was not permitted to examine Rajinder Singh, Ambrish Sharma and Capt Kumud Maini effectively. Further, she was also not allowed to examine witnesses in her defence, resulting in provisions of Army Rule 180 not being complied with in letter and spirit.

On being subsequently attached with an Engineer Brigade, she informed her commanding officer about the said irregularities in the COI and requested him to allow her to examine witnesses during the hearing of the charge. Counsel contended that the commander failed to hold hearing of the charge and got the summary of evidence recorded in violation of Army Rule 22.

The court has fixed April 28 as the next date of hearing to enable the prosecution to file its reply to the contentions of the defence.



Cancellation of CET
Justice Garg submits report to VC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Justice G.C. Garg probing the circumstances that led to the cancellation of the common entrance test (CET) conducted by Panjab University (PU) last year has submitted his report to PU vice-chancellor. The CET scheduled for May 20, 2006, had to be cancelled at the last minute when question papers did not arrive on time.

Sources said Justice Garg had reportedly held both controller of examination (COE) Sodhi Ram and assistant registrar (conduct) S.K. Sharma guilty of negligence but had ruled out any mala fide intention on their part that led to the fiasco.

Justice Garg’s report will come up for discussion during the syndicate meeting on April 28.

Earlier, a fact-finding report submitted by Prof K.K. Bajaj into the matter had called for a full-fledged inquiry into the role of Sodhi Ram in the incident.

The report had also established the responsibility of S.K. Sharma along with the question paper printer for the “debacle”.

Stating that there has been a complete lack of responsible monitoring of the task of receiving question papers from the printer, Bajaj had termed Sodhi Ram’s behaviour as “studied and strategic”.

The Bajaj report had also called for an in-depth regular inquiry and appropriate action if deemed necessary. The report added that S.K. Sharma did not realise the gravity of the situation and merely waited for the receipt of the papers without raising the alarm till it became too late.



ITFT Careerfest
Consider options carefully, says Albuquerque
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
"After passing Class XII, students need to understand their inner strengths and qualities and also evaluate their aptitudes and interests before finally choosing a career. They should consider all career options carefully, set a time frame to achieve their goal and work towards the end with a disciplined mind,” advised well-known career counsellor Usha Albuquerque while conducting the ITFT Careerfest in Hotel Mountview, Sector 10, here, today. The fest was conducted by Usha Albuquerque and her associate Sushma Singh.

Albuquerque also advised parents to help their wards in the right selection of career. “The parents should leave the children with their choice because it would save them from unhappiness and disgruntlement which they might harbour for the next 40 or 50 years of their lives for their wrong decision.”

More than 2000 students, many of them accompanied by their parents, attended the fest organised by the ITFT Group.

She named some of the segments of the service industry, including travel and tourism, hospitality, retailing and sales and marketing, which have vast potential for job opportunities.

Besides educating the students on choosing a right career, Albuquerque also provided them essential inputs on enhancing their personality, developing soft skills such as communication and inter- personal skills, confidence building and improving their overall profile.

Executive director ITFT Dr Gulshan Sharma said the objective for organising the fest was to enlighten Class XII students about various career options available to them after completing their studies.



Committed to educating rural India
Tribune News Service

A rally being held by the Grameen Bharat Arthik Swatantrata Samiti in Panchkula on Wednesday.
A rally being held by the Grameen Bharat Arthik Swatantrata Samiti in Panchkula on Wednesday. — Tribune photo by Malkiat Singh

Panchkula, April 18
The Grameen Bharat Arthik Swatantrata Samiti, a committee of educationists, farmers, scientists and students working towards educating rural India about how to achieve economic independence, today held a conference in Panchkula to acquaint people about their aims.

The ‘movement’, which began from a village in Katra district in Jammu and Kashmir on April 8, will conclude in Dehra Dun on April 22 after covering 20 districts, 500 villages with over a 1,000 meetings with farmers, said samiti convener Jagat Ram Ramol.

The Samiti decided to commence this rally from Parthal village in Katra because it is here that the local women have converted their food grains into an economic venture by using it to make parshad.

Using this example the samiti wants to educate people that there is a need for the formulation of an agriculture policy like a forest land policy. It not only provides a share to the farmer if the land is bought by an industry instead of ownership changing hands completely but also reserve a certain percentage of land for cultivation with no industry being permitted on it.



Translated book on curriculum uncovered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The translated version of ‘National Curriculum Framework: Review of Syllabus and Text Books’ was released by the director, higher education, Raji P. Shrivastava, at Conference Hall, Sector 9, here, today.

Director public instruction (S) S.K. Setia, deputy director (C) Pahlad Aggarwal, director, State Institute of Education K.L. Sodhi, district education officer and deputy district education officer were present.

The work of translating nine books into a regional language - Punjabi - was allocated to the State Institute of Education, Sector 32, by the education department, Chandigarh administration. In the first phase, books for Classes I, III and VI have been translated into Punjabi.

According to education experts, this is a welcome step as it will form a sort of uniformity among the students studying through Hindi or Punjabi medium.

Two workshops of 20 days each were conducted in the institute during which 25 subject experts from various schools worked overtime and the book was printed by the UT Press, Chandigarh.



Principal alleges GMADA apathy

The road leading to Lawerance Public School, Sector 51, in Mohali is in poor shape.
The road leading to Lawerance Public School, Sector 51, in Mohali is in poor shape. — A Tribune photograph

Mohali, April 18
The principal of Lawerance Public senior Secondary School, Sector 51, here yesterday lambasted the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) authorities for their alleged indifference towards the state of road leading to the school.

Principal P.K. Malhotra told mediapersons that she had written many letters to the additional chief administrator, GMADA, but to no avail. — TNS



High Court
Plea against nomination
Notice to Administrator, nine councillors
High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 18
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion for August 8 on a plea seeking setting aside the nomination of nine persons as councillor of the Chandigarh municipal corporation (MCC).

Taking up the PIL filed by advocate H.C. Arora, the bench issued notice to the Union of India, the UT Administrator, the nine nominated municipal councillors.

These councillors were appointed by the Administrator on December 21 last.

In his PIL, Arora has contended that under Article 243 R of the Constitution, the Union Government has the power to make legislation for nominating some members to the MC, who must have special knowledge or experience in municipal administration.

“It is categorically stated in Article 243R aforesaid that the persons nominated as councillors in municipalities shall not have the right to vote in the meetings of such municipalities. However, the Central Government, while extending the provisions of the Punjab Municipal Corporations Act, 1976 to the UT made a provision that Administrator, UT Chandigarh, would be empowered to nominate nine persons as councillors to the MC,” the PIL said.

These nominated councillors also have the right to vote. It has also been provided therein that persons who are eminent or distinguished in public affairs or those who have special knowledge or practical experience in respect of municipal administration may be appointed by the Administrator as nominated member.

The petitioner has stated that none of the nominated councillors can claim to have any special knowledge or experience in municipal administration.

The petitioner has challenged the appointment of the nine nominated members on the ground that none of them has special experience or knowledge of municipal administration.

He has submitted that nomination of as many as nine persons as councillors with right to vote in the corporation, which only has 26 elected councillors, undermines the democratic character of the corporation and enables the nominated members to negate the mandate of the electorate and convert majority political party into opposition party, and they have actually negated the popular mandate of people in the MC.



KBC to ‘freeze’ audience today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
India’s most popular game show KBC is all set to “freeze” for this year but the grand finale to be telecast tomorrow at 9 pm on Star Plus is going to rock the audience as it features four of Bollywood biggies. While Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra crackle the hot seat in the first hour, the surprise package is Salman Khan and his beau Katrina Kaif who rock the show in the concluding hour.

Nonetheless, it is an unacknowledged coup of sorts - of bringing Salman Khan with Katrina Kaif - on the programme that is actually generating the big buzz. While Khan attributes their presence on the show to “bolstering his confidence”, the chemistry, say sources, is undeniable.

Not unusually, the stars on the show wish to donate their money to different charities but what comes as a surprise is where Salman and Katrina will put their winnings. Also making their debut on the show are two onions, courtesy Khan’s zany sense of humour.

A short tête-à-tête with Star India’s general manager, content and communication, Harsh Rohatgi, reveals that the channel seemed more than satisfied at how the show fared this season.

Did the show help foster ‘Brand Khan’ this time round as it did ‘Brand Bachchan’ when the show first began in 2000? “That was a different time and place. When KBC first launched on July 3, 2000, it was a spectacle on Indian television. This time it is more of an entertainment show,” avers Harsh.

On being asked about interesting insights on the two badshahs of Bollywood, Harsh came up with Bachchan being a director’s actor while Khan being a lot more spontaneous, an answer, he agreed, any film fan would agree to.



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