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Repeated attempts being made to defame judiciary: SC

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday came out strongly against repeated attempts and misleading campaign being made to defame the judiciary, saying great damage is being done to democracy.

"There is a misleading campaign going across to defame the judiciary and repeated attempts have been made to spread incorrect information," a Bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha observed.

The remarks were made while dismissing a PIL seeking to declare the decision of the collegium to recommend the name of Karnataka High Court judge, Justice K L Manjunath, as Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court as non-binding.

The PIL filed in the apex court by Ram Shankar had sought that in future all recommendations of the collegium on appointment of judges should be put on the apex court website.

At the outset of the hearing, the Bench wanted to know from the petitioner as to who informed him about the name recommended by the collegium.

"Who told you that his (Manjunath) name has been recommended for elevation. Because I am the Chief Justice and I head the collegium, I am not sure and I don't know whether there is any other collegium," the CJI said.

The CJI further said that "the collegium never recommended the name of Manjunath" and there is some misleading campaign going on. "If there is a campaign to defame judiciary in the eye of public, you are doing a great damage to democracy.

"Don't shake people's confidence in judiciary. For God's sake don't try to defame judiciary," the CJI, who was heading a bench of justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman, observed.

The CJI said as an institution the collegium had its limitations in selecting persons.
"After all judges too come from the same society. But to carry on a campaign just because of allegations against one or two judges is unfair," he said. The CJI said he was one of the first products of collegium system and Nariman, who is sitting along with him, is the latest one to be elevated as apex court judge following the collegium system.

"If you say that the system has failed, then its products have also failed. If you say so, we have also failed and everybody has failed," the CJI observed.

"All judges at present are the products of collegium system," the CJI said.
He said the way a concerted campaign is being carried out to bring judiciary to disrepute, a great disservice is being done to the country. –PTI Back






























New package on anvil for Kashmiri migrants: Govt 

NEW DELHI: Keeping "past experience" in mind, a new package for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants is being "carefully" finalised in consultation with the state government and the representatives of the displaced people, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today.

He noted that the Centre had earmarked Rs 500 crore in this year's Budget for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants but a revised proposal had been subsequently received from the state government envisaging financial implication of Rs 5,820 crore.

Responding to a calling attention motion, Singh asserted that the government will not rest till it ensures return and rehabilitation of the Kashmiri migrants and wanted Parliament to adopt a resolution to endorse this commitment.

"Whenever we make a commitment, we do so after giving a full thought and strong conviction. Whether it is Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Parsi, no one will be a refugee in his own land," the Home Minister said.

While referring to the provision of Rs 500 crore for the return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants, he said revised proposal with financial implication of Rs 5,820 crore has since been received from the Jammu and Kashmir government, envisaging upward revision of the existing PM's package of 2008.

"In view of the past experience, it has been felt that the new package for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants should be carefully finalised in consultation with the state government and the representatives of the migrants. Our government has already started the process of drawing the contours of the scheme," Singh said.

He, however, did not elaborate on his contention about the "past experience".

At present, a total of 60,452 families of Kashmiri migrants are registered in the country, of which 38,119 are in Jammu, 19,338 in Delhi and 1,995 in other states.

The Home Minister rejected any link between participation of Kashmiri Pandits in the controversial Kausar Nag Yatra and their rehabilitation.

The government has announced various packages, from time to time, for Kashmiri migrants, the Home Minister said, adding at present, the Prime Minister's package amounting to Rs 1,618.40 crore announced in 2008 is being implemented.

The package provides for financial assistance for purchase or construction or repair of houses in the Valley, construction of transit accommodations in the Valley, scholarship to students, government jobs to migrant youth, assistance for self-employment, assistance for agriculture and horticulture, waiver of interest on unpaid loan etc, he said.

"The review of the rehabilitation plans and packages announced for the return of Kashmiri migrants is a continuous process," he said.

Singh said Parliament should pass a unanimous resolution that it was committed for the return of the Kashmiri migrants, making it clear "we will not rest till we don't rehabilitate them." He was responding to a calling attention by K Kavitha (TRS), Anurag Thakur, Sanjay Jaiswal (both BJP) and B Mahtab (BJD) regarding decision to disallowing Kausar Nag Yatra in south Kashmir.

A highlight of the calling attention was that BJP veteran L K Advani too participated, perhaps for the first time in this Lok Sabha, seeking implementation of the recommendations of an earlier Standing Committee during the earlier UPA rule on the issue of Kashmiri Pandits.

"As far as the government's plan for return and rehabilitation of the Kashmiri migrants to the Kashmir Valley is concerned, it will not be affected by the recent incident of 'Kausar Nag'," the Home Minister said.

The issue of Kausar Nag yatra had led to a major controversy between the Jammu-based groups and Kashmiri Migrant Committee but it has subsided for the time being, he said. — PTIBack




















2 minors, 2 BSF jawans hurt as Pak targets border 
outposts in Jammu

JAMMU: In the third ceasefire violation in less than 48 hours, Pakistani troops fired heavily with small arms, automatic weapons and mortar shells on seven border out posts along the International Border in Jammu district, leaving four injured, including two minors and two BSF jawans.

"Pakistani Rangers resorted to unprovoked firing from small arms and automatic weapons on 7 BOPs along IB in Arnia sub-sector in Jammu district from around 2030 hours late last night," a BSF officer said on Monday.

BSF troops guarding the borderline along IB took positions and retaliated effectively to the Pakistani firing which resulted in intermittent exchanges of fire, he said.

Two BSF jawans suffered minor injuries in the firing exchanges and have been shifted for treatment, the officer said, adding that exchanges continued till 0600 hours this morning.

Pakistani Rangers resorted to sniper firing in Nikowal and Bhudwar BoPs in Arnia belt and then fired at Tent Gaurd post around 2030 hours last night.

Later, they opened fire on Pittal, Pindi Charkan, Kake-de-Kothe and Chinaz BoPs. Pakistani troops also fired few mortar shells in the area before dawn and the firing ended around 0600 hours on Monday.

This is the third ceasefire violation in less than 48 hours and the first along IB after an agreement to observe peace along the border between BSF and Pak Rangers at the Commandant level flag meeting at Octerio BoP in R S Pura belt of Jammu district on August 8 during which one captured jawan was handed over to BSF by Pak Rangers.

The fresh ceasefire violation comes ahead of the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Ladakh region's Leh and Kargil districts tomorrow, where he is going to inaugurate power projects and address troops in Leh.

Yesterday, Pakistani troops had violated the ceasefire by targeting Indian forward posts with small arms and automatic weapons along the Line of Control in Mendhar sector of Poonch district.

On August 8, Pakistani troops had violated ceasefire by resorting to firing on Indian Posts along LoC in Bhimbher Gali (BG) sector of Poonch district.

On August 5, Pakistani troops targeted Indian forward posts with small arms and automatic weapons along the Line of Control in Sher Shakti forward belt of Poonch district. –PTI Back















Body found at Kumari Selja's house in Delhi

NEW DELHI: The body of a 42-year-old man was found at Congress leader Kumari Selja's house here on Monday, the police said.

The body of Sanjay, who is the husband of a maid at Selja's residence, was spotted by the maid around 8 am near the servant quarters of the Minister's house in central Delhi's Sunehri Bagh area.

Sanjay, an employee of Sena Bhawan, was found lying in a pool of blood with injury marks on his head.

"He (Sanjay) had injury marks on his head. It looks like he was beaten using a rod," an official said.

Sanjay's sister-in-law Rakhi said he was having a dispute with Selja's cook over vacating the servant quarter he and his wife were living in.

"They have had several arguments on the same issue in the past," Rakhi, 35, told IANS.

Another relative said Selja was in the house when the body was spotted by his wife, who then informed the security guard.

The police have questioned the cook, Anil, along with an official in the former Social Justice and Empowerment Minister's office.

They have also questioned Sanjay's wife and other relatives.

"Though it seems to be a case of murder, we are investigating from all possible angles," a police official said. — IANSBack















Uproar in RS over 'inconsistencies' in govt statements on WTO

NEW DELHI: The Congress today created uproar in the Rajya Sabha and targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his remarks that the previous UPA government sacrificed the interests of the poor at WTO and demanded a clarification from him in the House along with a discussion.

Accusing him of "belittling" Parliament and "misinforming" people on the issue at a time when the House is in session, Congress members attacked Modi for "contradicting" his own Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on the matter.

The House saw two adjournments on the issue during Question Hour as the Congress created uproar saying there were inconsistencies in government statements on WTO though Finance Minister Arun Jaitley asserted there was no contradiction.

Modi, while addressing the BJP National Council on Saturday, had accused the UPA of sacrificing the interests of the poor at WTO by signing an Agreement and claimed that the new government had on the contrary stood firm on food security issue at the recent Geneva round of talks.

Attacking Modi for his remarks, Congress member and former Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said, "We cannot allow a situation that Prime Minister of the country will try to belittle and misinform when the House is in session." "The charge against us is made by none other than the Prime Minister of India. It has to be clarified because it misleads the country ... It is the Prime Minister of India who has contradicted his own Minister. He should come to the House and explain," he said.

Digvijay Singh (Congress) joined him in questioning why the Prime Minister has contradicted his own Minister who claims there is no change in the government's stand at WTO.

"The Prime Minister has made disparaging remarks against the previous government," he said, adding that the Commerce Minister has stated that the government has not deviated from the previous government's stand.

"He must explain. He is contradicting the Minister," he said, as the treasury benches reacted saying he cannot cast aspersions on the Prime Minister. 

As Congress members repeatedly talked about contradiction in Sitharaman's statement and Modi's remarks, the Commerce Minister said, "Let us not give room for any kind of distortion ... PM's comments are very much in the background we have discussed."

She said the previous government had not moved for four years on the Peace Clause in the WTO agreement and "left it hanging", adding, "It is important to read the Prime Minister's statement in that context."

On Congress leader's remarks that she had said there was no deviation made by NDA government at WTO from the previous UPA government, she said, the agreement signed to by the previous regime was "not a perfect one" and Sharma, who has been a former Commerce Minister, has admitted it "gracefully".

The Minister said she had only stated in the statement that her government was not renegading on the agreement signed at WTO by the UPA and was only doing course correction.

Sharma, however, objected to the use of "Peace Clause" phrase, which he claimed is not formal and is used only colloquially in the agreement. He said the Prime Minister's statement has created confusion which needs to be clarified.

"It is a distortion to say that the entire Bali Agreement was not a perfect one. There is no Peace Clause. There is an interim agreement ... It is not hanging," he said, claiming that the UPA had re-negotiated the Uruguay round talks at WTO.

Jaitley earlier said his party BJP had in December last year raised inconsistencies in the pact the previous UPA regime had signed in WTO meeting in Bali and it stood by it.

"There is no contradiction in what the Commerce Minister and the Prime Minister have said," Jaitley said in the House.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Prakash Javadekar said there was no difference and the Prime Minister had said exactly the same thing as Commerce Minister.

The uproar led to two adjournments before noon. — PTIBack













Sachin under attack in RS for prolonged absence, granted leave

NEW DELHI: Sachin Tendulkar was again under attack in the Rajya Sabha on Monday for his prolonged absence even as the cricket icon sought to control damage by applying for leave for the entire Budget session, which was granted amid strong opposition from members.

Members cutting across party lines termed his long absence as “disrespect to House and nation” and there were demands for seeking an explanation from him, particularly when he was here in Delhi to attend a programme near Parliament last week but did not come to the Rajya Sabha.

The issue cropped up during Zero Hour as soon as Deputy Chairman P J Kurien sought permission of the House for grant of leave to Sachin who has attended the House only three times since his nomination over two years back.

Kurien said Sachin has sent a leave application expressing inability to attend the 232nd session (current session) of the Rajya Sabha on account of “professional and personal commitments and family exigencies.”

Naresh Agarwal (SP) immediately objected to grant of leave to him saying, “Sachin Tendulakar had come to Delhi to attend a function at Vigyan Bhawan near Parliament but did not come to the House. Members’ views are unanimous that he has no respect for the House.”

Sachin was at a programme in Vigyan Bhawan, nearly 3 km from Parliament, on August 8 where he said he could not attend the House because his elder brother had to undergo a heart surgery.

Responding to Agarwal’s contention, Kurien observed, “So many members remain absent for various reasons and it is for the Chair to investigate why they didn’t come. You cannot object.” — PTIBack














Lalu, Nitish share dais after 20 years for bypoll campaign

HAJIPUR: Bitter foes for almost two decades, former Bihar Chief Ministers Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad today hugged each other as they launched a joint campaign in support of their alliance candidates for the August 21 Assembly bypolls, and took on the ruling BJP at the Centre.

Kumar, who had parted ways with Lalu in 1994 and succeeded in dethroning him in Bihar in 2005 in alliance with the BJP, said the Narendra Modi government knows that it cannot fulfil the tall promises it has made and will resort to spreading religious passion to cling to power.

"They can run government. They cannot run the country. Did 'achchhe din (good days)' come?" he asked, referring to BJP's slogan during elections.

"Achchhe din will never come. But they have come for some people in the BJP. In fact, their 'apne din (own days)' have come," said Kumar, who split with the BJP last year over his opposition to Modi's elevation as Prime Ministerial candidate of the BJP, and quit as Chief Minister after his party JD(U) was routed in the recent Lok Sabha polls.

He said his alliance with Lalu, whose party RJD also fared poorly in the polls but fetched more votes than JD(U), was the need of the hour as the country was in "danger".

Hitting out at the BJP, Kumar said it is for the first time that those leaders are in power who did not spend a single day in jail during freedom struggle.

"Our forefathers sacrificed their lives. We all know the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Lohia, Vallabhbhai Patel, Ambedkar ... now those people are in the seat of power who did not spend a day behind bars," he said, in an apparent attack on the BJP's ideological mentor RSS, which mostly kept away from political movements during the freedom struggle. — PTIBack






















US gurdwaras meet to chart grassroots strategy

WASHINGTON: Representatives from more than 50 gurdwaras in the US are gathering here this week for a national meeting to chart grassroots strategy that will raise the profile of Sikhs in the country.

Organised by the newly formed National Sikh Campaign (NSC), the gurdwara leaders will strategise with Hillary Clinton's former Chief Strategist, Geoff Garin, who is already conducting a survey about Sikhs in the US.

In one of the largest effort to change the perception of the community, the meeting will explore further collaboration with AKPD, President Barack Obama's media firm.
Garin's research will help the NSC to organise a massive, well-coordinated, strategically designed campaign to put Sikhs in the most positive light possible, a statement from organisers said.

"This meeting will be an unprecedented step to organise the Sikh community in the United States towards a common goal, which is shaping the Sikh image in America," said Gurwin Singh Ahuja, the campaign's executive director and former National Field Coordinator for President Obama.

"Our community has been waiting for this opportunity for over 100 years," he added.
"This is the first time that the Gurdwaras are meeting for the single agenda to display Sikhs as vital members of American society and this has the potential to be the largest promotion of Sikhs in the western world," said Rajwant Singh, chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education and senior advisor to the National Sikh Campaign. — PTI Back




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