Fri, 15 November 2019
Lawyers in Delhi district courts end strike
23:28 Lawyers in Delhi district courts end strike
Lawyers, who went on a strike on November 4 after the Tis Hazari Court complex clashes between them and police, called off the agitation on Friday, with a body representing them saying the advocates would resume work on Saturday.
The strike was called by lawyers of all six district courts in the national capital after the violence on November 2 left at least 20 police personnel and several advocates injured.
Lawyers will resume work in the district courts from Saturday, the Coordination Committee of All District Courts Bar Associations (CCADCBA) announced this evening.
In view of the Delhi high court order granting relief to two police officials on Friday, further course of action will be decided after taking the view of the members of the Bar, the association said.
The high court has directed authorities not to take coercive action against the police officials who were booked in connection with the clashes. It adjourned the matter for December 23.
"In a general meeting held today, the view of the members of the bar were obtained and it has been unanimously suggested that in view of the order of the high court the abstinence of work should not be continued and recalled for the time being, and our agitation in other modes be continued effectively," CCADCBA chairman Mahavir Sharma said.
"The fight for an advocates protection act will continue," the association said.
On Friday, a proxy counsel appeared in courts to take dates in matters and assist litigants.
Thousands of Delhi Police personnel had also laid siege outside the police headquarters for 11 hours on November 5 and staged a virtual revolt sparked by two attacks -- at Tis Hazari on November 2 and at the Saket district court complex on November 4 -- on their colleagues by the lawyers. -- PTI
23:21 SC extends ban on felling trees in Mumbai's Aarey Colony
The Supreme Court on Friday extended the interim order by which it had stayed further cutting of trees in Mumbai's Aarey colony for setting up the Metro car shed.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta said it will hear the matter at length in December.
On October 21, the top court had clarified that there is no stay on the construction of the Mumbai Metro car shed at Aarey Colony but the status quo order is only applicable on felling of trees there.
It had asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to submit a report on the number of trees cut, afforestation and trans-plantation being carried out in lieu of felling of trees at Mumbai's prominent green lung.
The civic body had assured the top court that no further felling of tree will be done in Aarey colony area and complete status quo will be maintained following the apex court's order.
The top court asked the BMC to submit a status report on the activities proposed in the Aarey forest area.
The top court also asked the Mumbai Metro to submit pictures of the afforestration, transplantation, measurement of girth and height of trees planted, and tree felling done in the area.
Mumbai Metro had claimed that they have transplanted over 5,000 of trees and assured the court that absolute status quo is being maintained with regard to felling of trees in the area.
The felling of trees is being opposed by green activists and local residents.
The apex court had earlier directed that if anybody is still under arrest for protesting the cutting of trees, they should be released forthwith on furnishing of personal bonds.
The PIL petitioners had told the bench that the Aarey forest was deemed as an 'unclassified forest' by the state government and felling of trees was illegal.
However, after perusing the notification issued by the Maharashtra government, the bench had said, the Aarey area is a no development zone and not a eco-sensitive zone as claimed by the petitioner.
The apex court had decided to register as PIL a letter addressed to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi by law student Rishav Ranjan seeking a stay on cutting of trees.
The Bombay high court had on October 4 refused to declare Aarey Colony a forest and declined to quash the Mumbai municipal corporation's decision to allow felling of over 2,600 trees in the green zone to set up a metro car shed.
The law student in the letter said that 'as we write this letter to you, Mumbai authorities continue to kill the lungs of Mumbai i.e Aarey forest by clearing of trees near Mithi river bank and according to news reports 1,500 trees have already been cleared by authorities'.
Students have moved the apex court as the high court has rejected the bail plea of 29 activists who had participated in the 'peaceful vigil' against the tree-felling and have been detained by Mumbai Police, the letter stated.
The Aarey forest is located adjacent to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and has five lakh trees, it said.
The trees were proposed to be cut for Mumbai metro-3 project and specifically for construction of a car shed, it said and added the high court refused to recognise Aarey as a forest or declare it as an ecological sensitive issue because of jurisdictional limits. -- PTI
22:22 Maha situation: Sonia, Pawar to meet on Nov 17
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar will meet on Sunday to discuss the next course of action about the government formation in Maharashtra, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said in New Delhi on Friday.
Kharge, who is the Congress in-charge for Maharashtra, said that his party alone cannot take decisions about government formation in the state.
"Congress alone can't decide things. NCP chief Sharad Pawar and AICC president Sonia Gandhi will sit together on November 17 and discuss the next course of action.
"They will decide how to solve this problem. After that only the other actions will follow," Kharge told ANI.
He said that once they both sit and discuss, only then will the political strategy be prepared.
"That will be followed and implemented," he said.
The Congress and the NCP, which fought the assembly polls together, along with the Shiv Sena have prepared a draft common minimum programme (CMP), which will be discussed by senior leaders of three parties.
The three parties are having talks for the formation of the non-BJP government in the state where the President's Rule was imposed earlier this week.
Shiv Sena and BJP, who had fought the polls together, could not form the government due to differences over power-sharing. -- ANI
22:18 Sena to join Cong, NCP meeting with Guv
Amid the parleys between the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and the Shiv Sena for government formation in Maharashtra, a delegation of the three parties would meet the Governor on Saturday to seek relief for rain-affected farmers.
Earlier it was announced that a Congress-NCP delegation would meet the governor, but Sena sources said their leaders too would join them.
It triggered speculation that the meeting with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari could be for staking claim to form government, though leaders of the Shiv Sena and Congress maintained that it was only about farm distress.
The delegation will meet the Governor at Raj Bhavan around 4 pm, a Sena source said.
Former chief minister and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said they would demand expeditious disbursal of the special package of Rs 10,000 crore, announced earlier.
They would also demand that the government, now headed by the Governor as the state is under President's rule, should declare how much compensation farmers would get per hectare, he said.
Crops over 54.22 lakh hectares in 325 tehsils were damaged due to unseasonal rains last month. Earlier this month, the outgoing BJP-led government had sanctioned Rs 10,000 crore to provide immediate relief to the farmers.
Non-Bharatiya Janata Party parties, including the Shiv Sena, had dubbed the package as insufficient, and demanded assistance of Rs 25,000 per hectare for farmers.
The state was placed under President's rule on November 12 after no political party staked claim to form the government following declaration of assembly election results on October 24.
Talks are on between Congress, NCP and Sena for government formation, after the Sena's alliance with the BJP fell apart over sharing of the chief minister's post. -- PTI
21:36 Govt to table Citizenship bill in Parliament
The Modi government is set to push for the passage of the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, a key Bharatiya Janata Party plank which is aimed at granting nationality to non-Muslim immigrants from neighbouring countries, in Parliament's Winter Session starting from Monday.
The government has listed the bill in its items of business for the session, official sources said.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government had introduced the bill in its previous tenure as well but could not push it through due to vehement protests by opposition parties, which criticised the bill as discriminatory on religious grounds.
The bill had lapsed following the dissolution of the last Lok Sabha.
The legislation seeks to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan if they have fled their respective country due to religious persecution.
There has been opposition to the bill in Assam and other Northeastern states Student organisations, political parties and socio-cultural bodies have been protesting on the grounds that it seeks to grant nationality to non-Muslims, mostly Hindus, who have come into India up to December 31, 2014, thereby increasing the deadline from 1971 as per the Assam Accord.
The BJP and its Hindutva affiliates have insisted that minorities, of whom Hindus are in overwhelming numbers, from these countries should be granted Indian citizenship.
The session is scheduled to be held between November 18 to December 13. -- PTI
21:30 Ayodhya verdict: Jamiat forms panel to decide on filing review
Prominent Muslim body Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind's executive committee has been unable to come to a consensus on whether to file a review petition on the Supreme Court's Ayodhya verdict and formed a panel on Friday to decide on it after consulting with lawyers and experts.
The panel comprises Jamiat chief Maulana Arshad Madani, Maulana Asjad Madani, Maulana Habibur Rahman Qasmi, Fazalur Rahman Qasmi and advocate Ijaz Maqbool.
An emergency meeting of the working committee of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind was held to review the recent Supreme Court verdict under the chairmanship of Maulana Arshad Madani at the central office of the Muslim body in New Delhi, a statement said.
'Babri Masjid was a mosque in the eyes of law and justice and it is still a mosque according to Shariah and will remain so till the Day of Resurrection regardless of its structure and name,' the Jamiat executive committee said in a statement.
'This is because no individual or party has the right to withdraw the claim of mosque in return of an alternative piece of land,' it added.
It was decided at the working committee meeting that a panel should be constituted which, after consulting with lawyers and experts, would decide whether to submit a review petition or not.
Sources said most of Jamiat office-bearers were not in favour of filing a review petition on the Ayodhya judgment, but some were insisting that it was important to challenge the decision.
Maulana Arshad Madani had on Thursday said the Sunni Waqf Board should not accept the five-acre plot, which the Supreme Court in its Ayodhya judgment has directed the Centre to allot for a mosque.
He had said the Jamiat had asserted that the apex court verdict in the Ayodhya case, based on evidence, will be respected by it.
Maulana Arshad Madani, however, had also said the judgment was 'beyond understanding'. -- PTI
20:18 CBI raids Amnesty's Bengaluru, Delhi offices
The Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday conducted raids at the Amnesty International India's Bengaluru and Delhi offices.
Yes, raids were carried out. Details are awaited, a CBI officer told PTI.
An Amnesty International India executive, speaking on condition of anonymity, said about half-a-dozen CBI sleuths arrived at about 8.30 am at the Bengaluru office and carried out searches till 5 pm.
In a statement, the human rights watchdog said, "Over the past year, a pattern of harassment has emerged every time Amnesty India stands up and speaks out against human rights violations in India. It said that it stands in full compliance with Indian and international law."
"Our work in India, as elsewhere, is to uphold and fight for universal human rights. These are the same values that are enshrined in the Indian Constitution and flow from a long and rich Indian tradition of pluralism, tolerance, and dissent," it added.
About a year ago, the Enforcement Directorate had raided the Amnesty International India office in connection with a foreign exchange contravention case.
The searches were in connection with alleged violation of foreign direct investment norms linked to a previous case of revocation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence of the NGO by the Home Ministry in 2010. -- PTI
20:15 Gambhir defends skipping meet over pollution
After missing the Parliamentary Standing Committee meeting, Bharatiya Janata Party MP Gautam Gambhir on Friday said the people will judge him by his work and not by the propaganda spread by the 'minions of the honest chief minister' of Delhi.
On Friday Gambhir, also a former cricketer, issued a statement after he missed the meeting of Parliamentary Standing Committee of Urban Development, called for discussing the problem of air pollution in the capital.
The meeting was finally called off.
'My commitment to my constituency and my city should be judged by the work that is happening there. I have complete faith in the people of my constituency, my city and my country. They will judge me by my work and not by the propaganda and false narrative spread by the minions of the 'honest chief minister' of Delhi,' said Gambhir.
He stated that from getting high-end compost machines installed for clearing Ghazipur landfill to reform EDMC schools by providing digital classes and infrastructure, installing sanitary pad vending machines for the benefit of women and providing free food to poor, he has not left any stone unturned in the past six months in making sure that people who voted for him get the best.
"This is not even one per cent of what I intend to do in the next four and a half years. I sit in my constituency office in East Delhi from 11 am and leave only when all the people who had come are assured that their grievances have been addressed," said Gambhir.
"I have even pledged my salary as an MP to get things done, which do not come under the ambit of MPLAD funds as they are earmarked for macro-level things. We are also in talks to install giant air purifiers with cutting-edge technology, across the constituency which will substantially reduce pollution," he added.
The BJP MP further said that making his commercial engagements (which were entered into before I had become an MP) issues to mask the 'incompetence' and 'political greed' of their leader, is the saddest thing that the party, which claims to represent the honest people, could do.
Earlier today the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Atishi made a scathing attack on Gambhir for skipping the meeting.
'A week is a long time in politics, but not for Gautam Gambhir who clearly needs more time to get out of his primary commitment -- cricket. He was notified of the Committee on Urban Devt meet on air pollution exactly one week ago. Very unfortunate that the Hon MP couldn't make time,' she tweeted. -- ANI
19:20 Maha BJP chief says party will form govt soon
The Bharatiya Janata Party will form a government in Maharashtra soon, the party's state unit chief Chandrakant Patil said on Friday, claiming that it can count on support of 119 MLAs in the 288-member assembly.
Patil's statement came even as its estranged ally Shiv Sena and rivals Congress and Nationalist Congress Party appeared to be inching closer towards finalising an alliance to form government.
Patil claimed that the BJP, which won 105 seats in the October 21 elections, has the support of some Independents, which takes its tally to 119.
Addressing a press conference, he said, "BJP is the single largest party, and with the support of Independents our tally reaches 119. With this tally, BJP will form the government.
"We are keeping a close watch on every political development in the state," he added.
The BJP-Sena alliance, which won 161 seats, fell apart over the Sena's demand of sharing of chief minister's post.
Speaking about the BJP's performance in the assembly elections, Patil said it secured 1.42 crore votes, and was in 'number one' position, with the NCP second with 92 lakh votes and the Shiv Sena following with 90 lakh votes.
Except the BJP, no party had been able to win more than 100 seats in Maharashtra since 1990, and his party had done it on a trot in 2014 and 2019, Patil pointed out.
"Our performance on all fronts is number one, as we won 105 seats after contesting 164 seats. On 52 seats, we came second," he added.
The BJP also boasts of highest number of women MLAs (12) along with seven Scheduled Caste and nine Scheduled Tribe legislators, he said. -- PTI
18:19 Delhi lawyers call off strike
The Delhi District Bar Coordination Committee has decided to call off their strike which had officially begun from November 3. Lawyers to resume work from tomorrow. The lawyers were on a strike following the clash between police and lawyers at Tis Hazari Court on Nov 2.
18:14 Mehbooba shifted to warmer location in Srinagar
PDP leader and former CM Mehooba Mufti has been moved to the government quarters in Srinagar from the Chashme Shahi hut in Srinagar where she has been detained since early August.
On November 5, Mehbooba Mufti's daughter had asked the administration to shift her mother to a place equipped to deal with the Valley's harsh winters given Mehbooba Mufti's health issues.
"The Centre will be responsible if anything happens to Mehbooba, the president of the PDP," Iltija Mufti had written in a letter to the Srinagar deputy commissioner.
"As you are aware my mother Ms Mehbooba Mufti, former CM J&K has been jailed since 5 August. A doctor recently ran multiple tests on her as she was not keeping well. As per those tests, her Vitamin D, hemoglobin and Calcium levels are low," Iltija Mufti had written in the letter.
"The accommodation she is currently lodged in is not equipped for Kashmir's harsh winters. Keeping in mind these points, I would like to request you to shift her to another location more suitable. I hope you will address this problem urgently," the PDP leader's daughter had said.
18:06 Crisis-hit Gammon India delays Q2 results
Infrastructure firm Gammon India on Friday said the publication of its financial results for the quarter and half year ended September 30, 2019 has been delayed as it was undergoing a financial crisis and was facing difficulties in hiring employees.
"The company is also undergoing financial crisis and as a result the company is facing difficulties in attracting/hiring employees. This has delayed the preparation and finalization of accounts and hence publication of financial results for the quarter and half year ended 30th September, 2019 has also delayed," Gammon India said in a filing to BSE. -- PTI
18:01 Rupee extends gains for 2nd day
The rupee appreciated by 18 paise to close at 71.78 against the American currency on Friday, extending gains for a second day on the back of easing crude oil prices and positive trends in equity markets.
At the interbank foreign exchange market, the rupee opened at 71.80 against the US dollar. It fluctuated between a high of 71.68 and a low of 71.87 in day trade. On Thursday, the rupee had closed at 71.96 against the American currency. On a weekly basis, the local unit lost 50 paise.
"Rupee has been retracing its losses for last two sessions. From the low of 72.25 registered on November 14, the rupee has retraced back to 71.80 levels. However, we believe that primary trend of the rupee is bearish and it is likely to find resistance around 71.50 odd levels," said V K Sharma, Head - PCG & Capital Market Strategy, HDFC Securities. - PTI
17:49 Ayodhya's Muslims offer first Friday prayers after verdict
Amid heightened security, Muslims offered their first Friday prayers at mosques in the district since the Supreme Court verdict in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case.
Security forces have kept a hawk-eye vigil over the holy town since November 8 evening, a day before the landmark judgment.
"The Friday namaz was offered by people at various mosques in Ayodhya district. Security was stepped up today and will continue to be for the remainder of the day. Everything went off peacefully," Ayodhya District Magistrate Anuj Jha told PTI.
No untoward incident was reported from any part of Ayodhya town or the district, he said. A senior official said the Ayodhya-Faizabad twin towns have about 36 mosques, big and small.
"The DM and the district SSP took rounds to see the arrangements. People offered their 'jumma namaz' in peace," he said.
Settling a fractious issue that goes back more than a century, the Supreme Court on November 9 backed the construction of a Ram temple by a trust at the disputed site in Ayodhya and ruled that an alternative five-acre plot must be found for a mosque in the holy town.
By late Thursday night, vigil around important religious sites such as Hanuman Garhi, Kanak Bhawan and Ram ki Paidi was stepped up and security personnel also guarded other important public places.
A high alert remained around the Janmabhoomi site too even as thousands of devotees streamed in to offer prayers to Lord Ram.
Security personnel are deployed throughout the town since November 8. Check-posts have been set up, and patrols intensify vigil at night.
The nearly four-kilometre stretch from the symbolic Ayodhya Dwar bordering Faizabad town to the main Ayodhya city remained under strict watch on Friday.
Movement on many side streets also remained restricted on Friday with intersections barricaded and police personnel allowing only pedestrians to pass through.
Manzar Mehdi, a Faizabad resident who offered 'namaz' in the morning at the city's main Jama Masjid, said, "Everything felt normal."
"Tight security arrangements have been made for the day. Many people offered prayers at Chowk Masjid and at Markazi Jama Masjid Tatshah, or at imambaras and in open fields," he said. -- PTI
Image only for representation.
17:02 Sena will change Cong's Hindutva stance: Savarkar
Ranjeet, Veer Savarkar's grandson, on the Shiv Sena joining hands with the NCP-Congress: As far as I know Uddhavji, he won't ever leave his Hindutva ideology and back off from demand of Bharat Ratna to Veer Savarkar just for the sake of power. I'm confident, Shiv Sena will change Congress' stance on Hindutva.
The Shiv Sena has long demanded a Bharat Ratna for Veer Savarkar and said it was "unfortunate" that the icon of the country''s freedom struggle has been neglected even in the "Modi era" and not honoured with the Bharat Ratna.
16:46 Give 10-day notice to Shehla Rashid before arrest: Court tells cops
A court Friday directed Delhi Police to give 10-day pre-arrest notice to Jammu and Kashmir People's Movement leader Shehla Rashid, booked for sedition over her controversial tweets on Kashmir, in case the need arises to arrest her.
The court passed the order while disposing of her anticipatory bail application, after the investigating officer (IO) submitted that the probe was at a primary stage.
"Keeping in view the nature of allegations and also considering the submissions of the IO that investigation is at a primary stage, anticipatory bail application is disposed of with directions to the IO that if the need arises for the arrest of the accused, she be issued a ten days pre-arrest notice," Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora said.
The court had on September 10 directed her to join the investigation conducted by Delhi Police as and when called by the IO. The counsel for Rashid had said she was ready to join the probe and would cooperate with the police. Rashid had posted controversial tweets on Kashmir on August 17.
16:39 Outgoing CJI Gogoi declines requests for interviews
Outgoing Chief Justice India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi on Friday expressed his inability to have one-to-one interview with scribes and lauded the press for its "maturity" and "character" in preventing "canards and falsehood" in "trying times" of the judiciary. Justice Gogoi, the 46th CJI and the first from a north-eastern state, said it was not the requirement of the Supreme Court that judges "reach out to our citizenry through the press". "Such outreach (to the press) ought to be symbolic of an extraordinary situation demanding an exception to the norm," said Justice Gogoi who would demit office on November 17, a Sunday. Justice Gogoi and three other senior most apex court judges -- Justices J Chelameswar, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph had held an unprecedented press conference on January 12, 2018 alleging that the administration and allocation of cases in the apex court, then headed by the then CJI Dipak Misra, was "not in order".
In a three-page common letter to journalists, the CJI declined the request for interviews and said:
"I would not be able to meet your request for a one-to-one meet." The letter said: "I am keen that you would appreciate that the ordinary freedoms are finely balanced in our institutional functioning - while you have the Bar whose members can exercise their freedom of speech to the extent of even pushing the boundaries of such freedom, the bench requires its judges to maintain silence, while exercising their freedoms. "This is not to say that Judges do not speak. They do speak, but only out of functional necessity, and no more. Bitter truth must remain in memory." The CJI lauded the role of media for its reportage during the "trying times" of the apex judicial institution. "Good press is also a parameter amongst others that is known to be indicative of our institutional health. In such view, I do wish to put on record that by and large, the press corps has been kind to my office as well as to our institution during my tenure at the helm of the institution. "Even during trying times. When our institution was keeping an ambush or two at bay, most members of the press displayed maturity and character ad exercised exceptional discretion to prevent canards and falsehood from clogging the news space," the letter said. Justice Gogoi said that as a public functionary, who was entrusted with onerous Constitutional duties to perform, the idea of "courting the press" never came as a choice for him in the interest of the institution. "I chose to belong to an institution whose strength lay in public confidence and trust earned not through good press, but through our work as Judges on the bench. "In fact, our work-places are, by our functional necessity, required to be public places as justice is ordained to be delivered in presence of ordinary citizens to ensure that it is never far removed from them. In that view, our institutional connect and interface with the citizenry is proximate."
Though the CJI is officially retiring on November 17, a Sunday, Friday was his last working day.
16:21 People getting married, so economy fine: Minister
Union minister Suresh Angadi on Friday dismissed the opposition's criticism over the state of economy, asserting that "airports and trains are full and people are getting married" and this indicates that the country's economy is "doing fine".
Noting that the economy slows down every three years but it will pick up soon, the Minister of State for Railways said "some people" are trying to malign the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"Airports are full, trains are full, people are getting married. Some people are doing this for nothing else but to malign the image of Narendra Modi," Angadi told reporters during an inspection of the soon to be commissioned Tunda Khurja eastern dedicated freight corridor.
"Every three years there is fall in demand in economy. It is a cycle. Then the economy picks up also," he added. Opposition parties including the Congress have been criticising the government over the state of the economy and plans to raise the issue in the upcoming Winter Session of the Parliament. -- PTI
16:15 Sensex ends 70 pts higher; Airtel rallies 8%
Market benchmark Sensex ended 70.21 points higher on Friday, led by gains in Bharti Airtel and SBI, amid positive cues from global equities. The 30-share index, which opened on a firm note, witnessed a sell-off at the fag end of the session as investors turned cautious tracking concerns over slowing economic growth.
After rallying over 363 points during the day, the 30-share Sensex ended 70.21 points, or 0.17 per cent, higher at 40,356.69. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty rose 23.35 points, or 0.20 per cent, to end at 11,895.45. Bharti Airtel was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rallying 8.42 per cent. The telecom operator had on Thursday posted a massive Rs 23,045 crore net loss for the September quarter due to provisioning of Rs 28,450 crore in the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling on statutory dues.
However, experts said consistently strong operational performance underscores the company's ability to execute amidst a challenging environment. Other gainers included SBI, Kotak Bank, Sun Pharma, Tata Motors, M&M and Tata Steel, rising up to 5.19 per cent. On the other hand, Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto, Maruti, ITC, Vedanta, NTPC and Tech Mahindra fell up to 1.85 per cent. -- PTI
15:30 HC denies bail to Chidambaram in INX Media case
The Delhi High Court Friday denied bail to former finance minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media money laundering case filed by the ED, saying prima facie allegations against him are serious in nature and he played active and key role in the offence.
Justice Suresh Kait said that wrong message will be sent to the society if bail is granted to Chidambaram in this case. "I am not inclined to grant bail," Justice Kait said. While pronouncing the verdict, he said the material collected by the ED in the money laundering case is distinct, different and independent with that collected by the CBI in the corruption case. Even the investigation done in this case is different from the CBI's case, the court said, adding that in cases of economic offences, the entire community gets affected.
"I am conscious that bail is rule and jail is exception but a wrong message would be sent to the society, if bail is granted in this case," the judge said. The high court had reserved the order on November 8 on the bail petition after hearing the arguments of counsel for Chidambaram and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The ED had arrested him in the money laundering case on October 16 and presently he in judicial custody till November 27 under the order of a trial court. Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI on August 21 in the INX Media corruption case and was granted bail by the Supreme Court on October 22. -- PTI
15:20 SC holds former Ranbaxy promoters guilty of contempt
The Supreme Court Friday held former Ranbaxy promoters Malvinder and Shivinder Singh guilty of contempt for violating its order that had asked them not to divest their shares in Fortis Healthcare Limited.
The apex court had earlier asked the Singh brothers to give it a plan as to how they would honour the arbitral award of Rs 3,500 crore granted by a Singapore tribunal against them, in favour of Japanese drug manufacturer Daiichi Sankyo.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta held them guilty of contempt of court and said that they had violated its earlier order by which the sale of their controlling stakes in Fortis Group to Malayasian firm IHH Healthcare was put on hold. The apex court said it would hear the Singhs on the quantum of sentence later. -- PTI
14:58 Fadnavis to hold meet with party leaders today
Amid the political turmoil in Maharashtra, former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and state BJP chief Chandrakant Dada Patil will hold a meeting with all party leaders in Mumbai on Friday.
"Former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Dada Patil will hold a meeting with all the party leaders in Mumbai today. From district to booth leaders, MPs and MLAs, all will attend the meeting," Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Bandra West Ashish Shelar said in a press conference.
He said that the party will be reaching out to 90,000 booths of the BJP in order to strengthen them. The party's MLAs and MPs will be meeting farmers to provide them immediate relief, he added.
Shelar further hit out at Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut for his remark that BJP president Amit Shah did not tell Prime Minister Narendra Modi about Sena-BJP's 50:50 formula, which was decided for the Assembly polls in Maharashtra. -- PTI
14:49 BHU backs Muslim professor's appointment in Sanskrit department
The Banaras Hindu University on Friday backed the appointment of a Muslim professor in the Sanskrit faculty, saying it is committed to provide equal opportunities to everyone irrespective of religion, caste, community or gender.
The clarification comes after the RSS students' wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad opposed the appointment of Firoz Khan as an assistant professor in the Sanskrit literature department.
In a statement, the BHU said the administration had already made it clear that the selection committee unanimously recommended the selection of the said candidate on the basis of prescribed guidelines of the University Grants Commission and the central government.
The selection committee, chaired by Vice Chancellor Rakesh Bhatnagar, had met on November 5 and recommended the most suitable candidate for the said position on the basis of the applicants' performance in the interview, it said. Some students have been staging a sit-in outside the vice chancellor's office against the selection of Khan in the Sahitya department of the Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vijnan.
The vice chancellor and other senior officials had on Thursday held discussions with representatives of the protesters for over two hours. The vice chancellor assured the students that the administration is committed to achieve the objectives of the university in providing equal educational and teaching opportunities to everyone irrespective of religion, caste, community or gender.
14:39 AAP report: Party funds rise from Rs 6 cr to Rs 10 cr
While on AAP, some good news for the party.
The AAP's total funds rose from Rs 6.06 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 10.11 crore in 2018-19 with donations to the party nearly doubling in the same period, according to its annual audited accounts submitted to the Election Commission.
Under the 'donation and contribution' section, the report showed that the party's income went up from Rs 10.61 crore to Rs 19.31 crore. The AAP's election expenditure also rose from Rs 33.21 lakh in 2017-18 to Rs 4.30 crore in 2018-19, the report said. Under the 'cash and cash' equivalent that includes details of savings bank accounts, fixed deposit accounts, cash in hand and cheques in hand, the amount increased from Rs 3.85 crore to Rs 7.94 crore. The AAP's total funds rose from Rs 6.06 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 10.11 crore in 2018-19, the report said. PTI
13:48 Big Little Book Awards announced
The Big Little Book Awards 2019 have been announced at the 10th Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai Litfest.
Prabhat has been judged the best childrens author and Priya Kuriyan has been announced as the winner of the Big Little Book Award 2019 for the best childrens illustrator.
13:37 CMP being worked out to ensure 5-yr-term: Pawar
Update on Sharad Pawar's press briefing on Maharashtra power-sharing.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Friday said a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government will be formed and it will complete five-year term as he ruled out the possibility of mid-term polls in Maharashtra which is currently under Presidents rule. He said the three parties want to form a stable government which will be development-oriented. There is no possibility of mid-term polls. This government will be formed and it will complete five years. "We all will ensure this government runs for five years, Pawar told reporters in Mumbai.
Asked whether the BJP was holding discussions with the NCP over government formation in the state, the former Union minister said his party was holding talks with only the Sena, the Congress and its allies and nobody beyond these.
He said the three parties are at present working out a common minimum programme (CMP) that will guide the actions of the government being planned in the state. Representatives of the three parties met in Mumbai on Thursday and prepared a draft CMP.
Pawar took a dig at former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis remark that the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government will not survive for more than six months. I know Devendra ji for some years. But I did not know he is a student of astrology too, Pawar quipped.
Pawar took a jibe at Fadnavis over his mi punha yein (I will come again) remark. "It is alright he said it. I was thinking something else all the while: I will come again, I will come again, I will come again. Now, you (the reporter) is giving some other information," he added. PTI
13:05 Lata Mangeshkar doing much better, says team
Update on Lata Mangeshkar's health: "We are as happy as you are to inform you that with all your prayers and best wishes, Lata Didi is doing much better."
Mangeshkars spokesperson requested people not to pay heed to the rumours as she is getting better. The spokesperson, in a statement, said, Lata Didi is stable and getting better. Request to please do not heed to needless rumours and react. Let us all collectively pray for her long life instead.
Mangeshkar, 90, was admitted to the Breach Candy Hospital after she complained of difficulty in breathing in the early hours of Monday.
12:50 Sena-NCP-Cong to meet at 3 pm tomorrow over farm distress
NCP leader Nawab Malik says Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has given the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress leaders time for a meeting tomorrow at 3 pm, to discuss farmers issue.
12:37 CJI Gogoi sits in bench for last time
Outgoing Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi sat on the bench for the last time in court number 1 of the Supreme Court on Friday. Court number 1 of the apex court is the courtroom of the Chief Justice of India.
Justice Gogoi sat in the bench with chief justice-designate S A Bobde for just four minutes, during which Supreme Court Bar Association president Rakesh Khanna expressed gratitude on behalf of the Bar to the chief justice. Justice Gogoi will demit office as the Chief Justice of India on Sunday.
An apex court official said Justice Gogoi would visit Raj Ghat to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi. He had also visited the Raj Ghat on October 3 last year after taking oath as the CJI. Later in the day, Justice Gogoi will likely to have a video conference with 650 high court judges across the country and 15,000 judicial officers. He is likely to deliver his message to all the judges and judicial officers. ---PTI
12:25 SC slams ED for CtrlC-CtrlV in Sivakumar's plea
The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the Enforcement Directorate's plea challenging the Delhi High Court order granting bail to Karnataka Congress leader D K Shivakumar in a money laundering case. A bench comprising Justices R F Nariman and S Ravindra Bhat rejected the request of the Solicitor General, appearing for the Enforcement Directorate to issue a notice to the other side on the appeal. The court also slammed the ED for copy-pasting the arguments from former finance minister P Chidambaram's arguments. The Delhi High Court had on October 23 granted bail to Shivakumar. PTI
11:36 JNU files complaint over 'vandalism' at administration block
The Jawaharlal Nehru University administration has filed a complaint with the police in connection with the "vandalism" at the varsity's administration block. Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar said a complaint was filed at 11 pm on Thursday along with all video and photographic evidences. Police said on Friday they had received a complaint and were examining it.
On Wednesday, students had painted various messages for the vice chancellor inside the administration block as they barged inside the building to talk to him about the hostel fee hike. Objectionable messages, mostly directed towards right-wing outfits, were found written on the pedestal of a yet-to-be-unveiled statue of Swami Vivekananda at the campus on Thursday. Students are agitating inside the administration block against the increase in hostel fees even as the JNU announced a partial rollback, which the protesters have dubbed an "eyewash". PTI
Image: Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad members light lamps around the platform of the statue of Swami Vivekananda, inside Jawaharlal Nehru University which was defaced by miscreants yesterday.
11:15 Maharashtra CM will be from Shiv Sena: NCP
And a confirmation from NCP's Nawab Malik that the Maharashtra CM will be from Sena: "Sawaal baar-baar poocha ja raha hai ki Shiv Sena ka CM hoga kya? CM ke post ko leke hi Shiv Sena-BJP ke beech mein vivaad hua, toh nishchit roop se CM Shiv Sena ka hoga. Shiv Sena ko apmanit kiya gaya hai, unka swabhimaan banaye rakhna hamari zimmedari banti hai.
Questions are being raised over and over again whether the CM of Maharashtra will be from the Shiv Sena? It is because of the CM's post that there was conflict between the Shiv Sena and the BJP, so obviously the CM will be from the Shiv Sena. The Shiv Sena has been insulted and it is our duty to see that their self-respect is maintained.
11:06 Sena CM likely for full 5 years; Cong, NCP Dy CMs
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut is back in the hot seat after a brief hospitalisation for angioplasty this week. On being asked if a Shiv Sena CM will be for 5 years or shared with the NCP party for 2.5 years each, Raut parried the question saying, "Hum toh chahte hain aane wale 25 saal tak Shiv Sena ka CM rahe, aap 5 saal ki baat kyun karte ho? We want a Shiv Sena CM for the next 25 years and you are talking about just 5 years?"
India Today reports that the NCP has agreed to a Shiv Sena CM for a full term.
This means the Shiv Sena will get a full-term chief minister in a prospective coalition government with the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress.
The Congress and the NCP will get to appoint one deputy chief minister each from their ranks. The Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress will get 14, 14, and 12 ministers, respectively, reports say.
10:34 Rajasthan bird deaths due to Botulism
Around 1000 birds including many migratory species were found dead around Sambhar Lake in Jaipur on November 12. AK Katariya, Professor, Apex Centre for Animal Disease, Bikaner seems to have found the answer to their deaths. He says the symptom of paralyses in wings suggest the birds died to Avian Botulism.
10:34 Rajasthan bird deaths due to Botulism
Around 1000 birds including many migratory species were found dead around Sambhar Lake in Jaipur on November 12. AK Katariya, Professor, Apex Centre for Animal Disease, Bikaner seems to have found the answer to their deaths. He says the symptom of paralyses in wings suggest the birds died to Avian Botulism.
10:16 India voices concern over compromise in peacekeeping op issues
India has voiced "serious concern' over compromises being made in peacekeeping operational issues to reduce costs and stressed the need to develop a culture of no national caveats in the UN peacekeeping. Peacekeeping is a multistakeholder enterprise available to the UN for the maintenance of international peace and security, Military Adviser in India's Permanent Mission to the UN Colonel Sandeep Kapoor said.
Speaking at the General Assembly debate in the Fourth Committee on 'Comprehensive Review of the Whole Question of Peacekeeping Operations in all their Aspects', he voiced India's "serious concern' over instances of compromise in peacekeeping operational issues to reduce costs.
"This will have a direct bearing on the safety and security of peacekeepers," he said, citing the example of one peacekeeping mission, where in order to save money, it was decided there will not be any overlap between the incoming and outgoing troops.
"This would mean that the incoming troops will have no first hand understanding of the existing operational situation, thereby impacting the implementation of the mandate," Kapoor said. He also stressed that the impact of caveats on performance cannot be ignored.
"There is a need to develop a culture of no national caveats in the UN peacekeeping," he said. Kapoor further highlighted the financial management issue related to peacekeeping operations. Taking note of reduction of pending arrears to troop and police contributors, he said while there has been considerable progress in addressing the pending issues of delayed payments, it needs to be further addressed, especially those related to Closed Peacekeeping Missions.
He also pointed out that policy documents prepared by the UN Secretariat, particularly the Department of Policy Evaluation and Training (DPET) play a major role in the day-to-day functioning of peacekeeping operations.
Yet, the consultation process in preparing some of the policy documents is not broad-based and only select Member States are approached in the last stage of document finalisation, he said.
"The Secretariat should engage with all the stakeholders from early stages in the preparation of all policy documents. This would bring in transparency to the process and also create value addition by bringing in best practices from the stakeholders' experiences," he said. -- PTI
10:07 Sensex rises over 200 points on firm global cues
Equity benchmark BSE Sensex jumped over 200 points in early trade on Friday tracking gains in banking, auto and energy stocks amid positive cues from global markets. The 30-share index was trading 206.79 points, or 0.51 per cent, higher at 40,493.27, while the broader NSE Nifty rose 55.05 points, or 0.46 per cent, to 11,927.15.
Top gainers in the Sensex pack included SBI, Tata Motors, Bharti Airtel, Vedanta, ICICI Bank, Kotak Bank, Tata Steel, M&M, HCL Tech and Sun Pharma, rising up to 3 per cent. On the other hand, HDFC, NTPC, Axis Bank and Bajaj Auto fell up to 0.43 per cent. On Thursday, the Sensex ended 170.42 points, or 0.42 per cent, higher at 40,286.48. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty rose 31.65 points, or 0.27 per cent, to end at 11,872.10. Foreign institutional investors offloaded shares worth Rs 562.05 crore in the capital market in the previous session, while domestic institutional investors purchased equities worth Rs 82.74 crore, data available with stock exchange showed.
Globally, bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul were trading on a positive note amid reports that the first-phase of trade talks between the US and China is in its final stage. Stock exchanges on Wall Street ended on a mixed note on Thursday. On the currency front, the rupee appreciated 14 paise (intra-day) against the US dollar to trade at 71.82 in early session. Brent futures, the global oil benchmark, rose 0.45 per cent to USD 62.56 per barrel. -- PTI
09:55 India 2nd-highest in child pneumonia deaths
India had the second-highest number of deaths of children under the age of five in 2018 due to pneumonia, a curable and preventable disease that claimed the life of one child every 39 seconds globally, according to a new report by the UN.
The United Nations Children's Fund said that globally, pneumonia claimed the lives of more than 800,000 children under the age of five last year - or one child every 39 seconds. Most deaths occurred among children under the age of two, and almost 153,000 within the first month of life.
The report said just five countries were responsible for more than half of child pneumonia deaths: Nigeria (162,000), India (127,000), Pakistan (58,000), the Democratic Republic of Congo (40,000) and Ethiopia (32,000). This "forgotten epidemic" is now responsible for 15 per cent of deaths in children under the age of five, and yet, just three per cent of global infectious disease research spending is allocated to the disease, the UN agency said.
In addition, the strong link between child pneumonia deaths and poverty is undeniable. Lack of access to drinking water, inadequate health care, and the burden of undernutrition and indoor air pollution are major drivers of vulnerability to the disease. Around half of all pneumonia-related deaths are associated with air pollution. -- PTI
Image: Around half of all pneumonia-related deaths in children are associated with air pollution
09:28 Raut is the Goebbels of Uddhav Thackeray: Ram Madhav
Taking a swipe at senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav described him as the Joseph Goebbels of [party chief] Uddhav Thackeray.
He made the comment in an exclusive interview to CNN-News18s Anand Narasimhan.
Goebbels was German dictator Adolf Hitlers minister of propaganda when the Nazi Party was in power.
Like Goebbels, Raut is a fierce party loyalist he is also the voice behind the Senas mouthpiece Saamana and enjoys the implicit trust of the Thackeray family.
08:56 You feel you're losing match, but...: Gadkari
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari refused to comment on Maharashtra's political fate, saying that he would rather not hazard a guess at something that's as unpredictable as cricket.
"Anything can happen in cricket and politics. Sometimes you feel you are losing the match, but the result is exactly the opposite," he said, before issuing a disclaimer that he relates more to politics in Delhi than Maharashtra.
The Union minister dismissed concerns that the establishment of a non-BJP government administration would affect projects launched by the Devendra Fadnavis administration. "I feel there will be no difference. In our democracy, governments change but projects continue without any problem. No matter which government comes now, it will take ahead positive policies and development projects that have already been launched," he said.
Gadkari, however, refused to predict which party would come to power in the end. "This is an appropriate question to the wrong person," he said with a smile, adding that those planning to form the government would be in a better position to speak on the matter.
The Union Minister's comparison between politics and cricket holds just as true for the Congress-NCP as any other political entity. While the alliance did not stand any chance of forming the government after the Maharashtra elections, considering that they won a total of just 98 seats, the dispute between the BJP and the Shiv Sena has given them a realistic shot at taking over the state again.
08:15 Last day of odd-even in Delhi; AQI hovers around 500-mark
While Delhi-NCR continues to struggle for fresh for the third consecutive day of increasing air pollution, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party remains undecided on extending the odd-even rule in the city, even after the current situation in the capital being declared as a public health emergency.
Delhi-NCR battled severe pollution for the third consecutive day on Thursday with thick smog stiffening its choke as several children wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to take measures to ensure clean air for them.
Friday is unlikely to be any better with weather experts predicting a similar situation due to the influence of a western disturbance, the reason behind the dense cloud cover and a dip in wind speed.
The overall Air Quality Index in the national capital on Friday was recorded at 482 which falls under the "Severe" category with PM10 being 504 and PM2.5 -- 332, according to the government of India's air quality information service SAFAR.
The AQI recorded near Mathura Road in Delhi was 524 at 6:07 am on Friday, while near the Indira Gandhi International airport, the AQI stood at 505.
Chandi Chowk, one of Delhi's busiest areas, recorded an AQI of 476.
07:44 Pak has DNA of terrorism: India on J-K at UNESCO
India gave a befitting reply to Pakistan over its false claims and propaganda on Jammu and Kashmir, saying the cash-strapped nation itself is "a DNA of terrorism".
"Pakistan's neurotic behaviour has resulted in its decline to a nearly failed state with its weak economy, radicalised society and deep-rooted DNA of terrorism," Ananya Agarwal, who led the Indian delegation to the UNESCO General Conference being held in Paris.
"We condemn Pakistan's disappointing misuse of UNESCO to spew venom against India and politicise it," she added.
Agarwal noted that Pakistan, in 2018, ranked 14th on the fragile state index.
Pakistan is home to all shades of darkness; from extremist ideologies and darker powers of radicalisation to the darkest manifestations of terrorism, she told the panel.
Exposing Pakistan further on the grounds of spreading and breeding terrorism, Agarwal said that Pakistan is a country, whose leader uses the UN platform to openly preach nuclear war and issue a call to use arms against other nations, referring to Prime Minister Imran Khan's remarks at the UN General Assembly session in September whereby the leader had warned India that if it if there's face-off between two nuclear-armed neighbours, the consequences would be far beyond their borders.
"Would this gathering believe if I told them that one of Pakistan's former president's General Pervez Musharraf recently called terrorists such as Osama Bin laden and Haqqani network as Pakistan's heroes," she questioned the panel.
Agarwal stated that Pakistan has been engaging into such diabolic rhetoric to malign India in front of the international community irrespective of the deplorable conditions of human rights suffered by the minority community on its own soil.
00:14 1962 conflict damaged India's standing: Jaishankar
Asserting that past handling of Pakistan raises many questions, external affairs minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said the 1972 Simla agreement resulted in a "revanchist" Pakistan and continuing problems in Jammu and Kashmir, as he hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "bold moves" in dealing with the neighbouring country.
The minister also said that "holding the feet to the fire" is very important in dealing with Pakistan and asserted the neighbouring country has built "an industry of terror".
Delivering the fourth Ramnath Goenka memorial lecture, Jaishankar advocated a foreign policy that appreciates change and is not status quoist as he cited key past incidents in Indian history such as the defeat in the war with China in 1962, the Simla agreement, the "inaction" after the Mumbai terror attacks to contrast it with India's more dynamic stance post-2014.
Giving a historical perspective to geopolitical issues, Jaishankar said, "For years India's position on the world state seemed assured, but the 1962 conflict with China significantly damaged India's standing."
"India's record includes dark moments like the 1962 defeat against China. Or tense ones like the 1965 war with Pakistan. There are enough dichotomies in our past to generate a spirited debate on successes and failures," the minister said.
"Two decades of nuclear indecision ended dramatically with the tests of 1998. The lack of response to 26/11 is so different from the Uri and Balakot operations. Whether it is events or trends, they all bear scrutiny for the lessons they hold," he said.
Jaishankar asserted that the purposeful pursuit of national interest in shifting global dynamics may not be easy, but it must be done.
The real obstacle to the rise of India is not anymore the barriers of the world, but the dogmas of Delhi, he said in his lecture on the topic 'Beyond the Delhi Dogma: Indian Foreign Policy in a Changing World'.
"There was also little awareness in the 1950s that we were dealing with a battle-hardened neighbour to the North. Or of the strategic significance of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. This approach to world affairs continued even thereafter," Jaishankar said while explaining six phases in Indian foreign policy.
"Thus, in 1972 at Shimla, India chose to bet on an optimistic outlook on Pakistan. At the end of the day, it resulted in both a revanchist Pakistan and a continuing problem in Jammu & Kashmir," he said.
The Simla Agreement was signed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Pakistan President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1972 seeking to reverse the consequences of the 1971 war.
It was a comprehensive blue print for good neighbourly relations between India and Pakistan. -- PTI