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Court directs Dikshit to appear before it in defamation case

NEW DELHI, Oct 12: Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit was today directed by a court here to appear in person before it on November 9 in a defamation case filed by her against city BJP chief Vijender Gupta....more

Maha to drop sedition charge against cartoonist Assem Trivedi

MUMBAI, Oct 12: Bowing to public pressure and criticism from the court, the Maharashtra government today informed the Bombay High Court that it has decided to drop sedition charge against cartoonist Aseem Trivedi for allegedly insulting national symbols.....more

CVC to train vigilance officers on probing cases of fraud

NEW DELHI, Oct 12: CVC will train vigilance officers on issues relating to money laundering and commercial frauds to enable them handle better investigations in such cases. Over 100 Chief Vigilance Officers (CVOs) working with various government ministries and public sector units will be trained by CBI and CIC..more

Kejriwal demands Khurshid’s resignation

NEW DELHI, Oct 12: Arvind Kejriwal along with disabled people today marched towards the Prime Minister’s residence here demanding dismissal of Law Minister Salman Khurshid and his arrest following allegations by India Against Corruption of financial....more

Pak clerics issue fatwa against Taliban’s bid to kill Malala

LAHORE, Oct 12: Declaring as "un-Islamic" the bid on the life of teenage rights activist Malala Yousufzai, over 50 Sunni clerics in Pakistan have issued a fatwa terming the Taliban’s interpretation of Islam as "repugnant" to the teachings of the faith....more

Army gets control over attack helicopters

NEW DELHI, Oct 12: Nothwithstanding stiff opposition from the Air Force, Government has decided to give the control of attack helicopters to the Army. "We have received a letter from the defence ministry and we have been given the attack helicopters by the Government," Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh told here...more

Can change of uniforms prevent dengue in school children?

CHENNAI, Oct 12: Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today advocated changing school uniforms of children to full sleeves shirts and long pants to protect them from contracting dengue....more

Kejriwal, activists detained

NEW DELHI, Oct 12: Arvind Kejriwal and some activists were today detained by police after they were stopped from marching towards the Prime Minister’s residence demanding resignation and arrest of Union Minister Salman Khurshid over allegations of irregularities by an NGO run by him....more

CPI-M slams Haryana Cong leader for controversial rape remark....

Campaign for return of children held under draconian laws...

UPA Govt has become symbol of heartless Govt: Jaitley...

Menon to release joint working group report on cyber security ...

 

Court directs Dikshit to appear before it in defamation case

NEW DELHI, Oct 12: Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit was today directed by a court here to appear in person before it on November 9 in a defamation case filed by her against city BJP chief Vijender Gupta.

Metropolitan Magistrate Navjeet Budhiraja made it clear to the counsel appearing for the Delhi Chief Minister that he should ensure her presence on the next date of hearing or else the case will be dismissed, saying she has not appeared before the court since recording of her evidence on May 30.

"Considering the fact that complainant has not appeared since recording of her statement against Gupta, therefore, she is directed to appear in person otherwise the case of the complainant (Dikshit) shall be dismissed," the Magistrate said.

Dikshit’s counsel, Mehmood Pracha submitted that the complainant was following the Delhi High Court’s direction that she could take exemption from personal appearance on valid grounds by moving appropriate application.

He also said, "Today we are seeking exemption as she is busy in performing her duties as a public servant."

Brushing aside the submission, the court said, "She (Dikshit) is also like other complainants who have lodged complaints against an accused, so she needs to appear before the court.

"If she seeks regular exemption then you will only face delay in the case being decided," the court added while directing Dikshit to appear on November 9.

The counsel for Gupta, Ajay Verman, Ajay Digpaul and Neeraj Kumar opposed the Delhi Chief Minister’s application for exemption from personal appearance, saying, "For every hearing, she is seeking exemption since filing of the case. She in her application has not mentioned any valid ground for her absence."

Dikshit had filed the criminal defamation case against Gupta alleging that the BJP leader used "uncivilised" language against her before the April 15 MCD polls.

During today’s proceedings, Gupta’s counsel also said that on the last date of hearing, they had filed an application for making "corrections" in the court’s earlier order of August 31.

The court had issued notice to Dikshit and Gupta after the filing of the application. Gupta had appeared before the court today.

"Gupta is here in court as per the court’s directions, but we cannot understand why the Delhi Chief Minister is not present," Gupta’s counsel contended.

On August 31, the court during the hearing had directed everyone, except the arguing counsel for the two parties, to vacate the court room, which Gupta’s counsel had taken objection to and had sought its "correction".

"After the lawyers’ uproar in the court room, the case is adjourned for October 12," the court had said in its order, adding that the "crowd" should move out of the courtroom.

On that date, the court had also granted bail to Gupta in the defamation case, after he had appeared in person before it in response to the summons issued to him earlier in the case.

The summons were issued by the court against the BJP leader on Dikshit’s allegation that he had used "uncivilised language" to defame her before the MCD polls.

The Chief Minister had also filed a civil suit in the Delhi High Court demanding a token damage of Rs one from Gupta for erecting hoardings across the city in which her government was accused of conniving with private discoms and indulging in corruption in fixing power tariff.

Gupta, however, had contended in the High Court that "fair" criticism is part and parcel of a healthy democracy.

The Chief Minister had testified that she had sent legal notices to Gupta after the civic polls but the BJP leader did not apologise and rather stood by his remarks. (PTI)

Maha to drop sedition charge against cartoonist Assem Trivedi

MUMBAI, Oct 12: Bowing to public pressure and criticism from the court, the Maharashtra government today informed the Bombay High Court that it has decided to drop sedition charge against cartoonist Aseem Trivedi for allegedly insulting national symbols.

"After having a close look at the case, it can be seen that there is clearly no case under section 124(a) of IPC for sedition. Hence the government has decided to drop invocation of the charge against Trivedi," Advocate General Darius Khambata told the court.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice N M Jamdar was hearing a public interest litigation filed by a lawyer Sanskar Marathe against the arrest of Trivedi for sedition for drawing cartoons that allegedly insulted national emblem and Parliament.

The court had at earlier hearings granted bail to Trivedi and come down heavily on the police for arresting the cartoonist on "frivolous grounds" and "without application of mind".

The court had observed that the police action "breached" the political cartoonist’s "freedom of speech and expression".

Khambata, however, told the court that out of the seven cartoons drawn by Trivedi the state had found violations in three cartoons.

"Three cartoons we still find are violative of the National Honour Act and Information Technology Act. Proceedings in this will continue against him," Khambata said.

He further said that the police action against the cartoonist was a "bonafide knee jerk reaction" to the numerous complaints received by them against the cartoons.

"Arresting him was bad enough but police sought his custody also. That was more shocking," Chief Justice Shah said.

The bench said had the arrest not been made no one would have known about those cartoons and the cartoonist.

"In order to prevent such cases in the future the court should hear this matter on scope of section 124(a). The state government has proposed to come out with a circular indicating the limitations and parameters of the said section," the court said.

The bench has directed the government to submit a draft circular by October 19.

"The circular is required as it will percolate to lowest rung of police. Our judgments on the sedition charges are not read by them," Chief Justice Mohit Shah said.

The police in an affidavit submitted today said the action was based on legal opinion provided to them.

"Opinion was sought by the Bandra Kurla police station from the assistant director of public prosecutors on whether an offence is made out against Aseem. The assistant director in a letter dated January 10 advised invocation of section 124 (a)," the affidavit filed by assistant commissioner of police Ganyansingh Padwal said.

Hearing the matter on September 14, the court had said it intended to lay down certain parameters for application of the law of sedition.

"If there are no parameters there will be serious encroachment of a person’s liberties guaranteed to him in a civil society," it had said, adding the sedition law was a pre-independence provision when government wanted protection from its own citizens.

Directing the police to file a comprehensive affidavit by October 12 explaining the grounds on which the charge of sedition was applied, the court had said, "Today you attacked a cartoonist, tomorrow you will attack a filmmaker and then a writer. We live in a free society and everyone has freedom of speech and expression."

The Kanpur-based cartoonist, associated with Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement, was arrested on September 8 for allegedly posting seditious content on his website and insulting national symbols.

Amid mounting public outcry, he was remanded in judicial custody on September 10 till September 24, after police said it no longer required his custody and Trivedi refused to seek bail.

However, the high court granted him bail two days later. The city police had come under fire from activists and politicians including BJP leader L K Advani who likened his arrest to conditions prevailing during Emergency. (PTI)

CVC to train vigilance officers on probing cases of fraud

NEW DELHI, Oct 12: CVC will train vigilance officers on issues relating to money laundering and commercial frauds to enable them handle better investigations in such cases. Over 100 Chief Vigilance Officers (CVOs) working with various government ministries and public sector units will be trained by CBI and CIC officials on probing corruption cases and matters pertaining to Right to Information Act, a Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) official said.

CVC is organising a five-day extensive training course beginning October 15 in this regard, he said.

CVOs, who act as extended arms of CVC, are joint secretary-level officers in central government departments and organisations.

"The aim of the training course is to help CVOs in dealing with various new criminal and economic crime-related matters. There will be a special training by Enforcement Directorate officials to brief and train them on matters related to money laundering," the official said.

CVOs will also be briefed on handling and processing of corruption complaints, functions of CBI, common pitfalls in public procurements and anti-corruption strategies and ethics.

"Training on criminal prosecution, framing of charge sheet, conduct of inquiries, Right to Information Act, provisions of United Nations Convention Against Corruption and other international conventions and banking and commercial frauds will be imparted to the officials during the programme," he said. (PTI)

Kejriwal demands Khurshid’s resignation

NEW DELHI, Oct 12: Arvind Kejriwal along with disabled people today marched towards the Prime Minister’s residence here demanding dismissal of Law Minister Salman Khurshid and his arrest following allegations by India Against Corruption of financial irregularities in a trust run by him.

The activist had sought time from the Prime Minister but his office refused to give him and the disabled people an appointment, Kejriwal said.

The march was organised by Rashtriya Vikalng Party and supported by Kejriwal-led India Against corruption.

The march started from Janpath but was prevented by police after 100 metres at Rajpath crossing.

"Khurshid has insulted the office of Law Minister. B R Ambedkar was once in this seat. A case should be registered against Khurshid and his wife.Till he is declared innocent, he should be out of the Cabinet," he said.

"Both Khurshid and his wife are very powerful people.They will be able to cleanse the evidence.They can put pressure on witnesses. They should be arrested to prevent this," Kejriwal said.

Kejriwal said, "Now let’s make this place another Tahrir Square (centre of anti-regime protests in Egypt). Now people should take leave and join the protest.Now its a fight to finish.Prime Minister will have to meet us and accept our demands. Khurshid has to resign.He should be arrested," he said.

The IAC activists are now sitting on a protest near the National Archives on Janpath.

An IAC spokesperson said they would continue their dharna till the time the PM meets them or Khurshid resigns.

Rashtriya Vikalang Party president K K Dikshit demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh dismiss Khurshid from the Cabinet and register a case against him.

Acting on the request of the Law Minister’s wife Louise Khurshid, Uttar Pradesh government has begun the process of verifying the handicapped welfare examination report of Zakir Hussain Trust run by the couple for 2009-2010.

In a communication to Louise Khurshid on October 3, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav told her that he has forwarded her letter in this regard to the Chief Secretary of the state’s Handicapped Welfare Department and she will be apprised of the action taken there of.

KhurshId’s wife yesterday came out with a strong denial saying the allegation is "devoid of any merit, and is false, malicious and baseless".

In a statement, she said she herself had requested the UP Chief Minister on September 17 to conduct an inquiry so that "truth is revealed and it is established that the Trust has not forged the signatures of any officers of the state of UP". (PTI)

Pak clerics issue fatwa against Taliban’s bid to kill Malala

LAHORE, Oct 12: Declaring as "un-Islamic" the bid on the life of teenage rights activist Malala Yousufzai, over 50 Sunni clerics in Pakistan have issued a fatwa terming the Taliban’s interpretation of Islam as "repugnant" to the teachings of the faith.

In the religious decree issued here, the clerics appealed to the country to observe Friday as "Condemnation Day" to express solidarity with the 14-year-old girl, who is currently in a critical care unit of a military hospital in Rawalpindi after being shot in the head.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attempt on Malala’s life in the former militant stronghold of Swat Valley on Tuesday, saying she was targeted for backing "pro-West" views and a secular government. The Taliban has warned it will attack her again if she survives.

The clerics, belonging to the Sunni Ittehad Council, said in their combined fatwa: "Islam doesn’t prohibit women from getting education. The attackers transgressed the Islamic Hudood (principles)."

The clerics, who belong to the moderate Barelvi school of thought, described the interpretation of Islam by Taliban as "repugnant to the teachings of Islam" since the religion not only makes it obligatory on its followers to seek education.

Islam also strictly forbids taking the life of any innocent person, they pointed out. Former federal Religious Affairs Minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi said the decree had come at the right time.

"Islam holds the killing of even one innocent person equal to the killing of the whole of humanity. It also forbids executing a woman who has even reneged on her religion. Men are punished with death for the same offence," Kazmi said. (PTI)

Army gets control over attack helicopters

NEW DELHI, Oct 12: Nothwithstanding stiff opposition from the Air Force, Government has decided to give the control of attack helicopters to the Army. "We have received a letter from the defence ministry and we have been given the attack helicopters by the Government," Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh told here.

The Army had been demanding control over attack and medium-lift helicopters saying they are mainly used for its operations and that is why they should be under it. The IAF has been strongly opposing the demand.

Army had been maintaining that the induction of tactical and attack choppers into the force was an "inescapable operational necessity" as infrastructure along the borders with China is "far from satisfactory" and such assets would be required to cut down on the time for movement.

The tussle between the two Services over the issue had come out in open when IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne said the country cannot afford to have these "little air forces" doing their own things.

Defence Minister A K Antony had played down the tussle, saying it was a "family problem" and the Government was in the final stages of resolving the matter.

As per its plans, the Army wants to raise attack chopper squadrons as part of its strike corps and then raise them at every corps level. (PTI)

Can change of uniforms prevent dengue in school children?

CHENNAI, Oct 12: Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today advocated changing school uniforms of children to full sleeves shirts and long pants to protect them from contracting dengue.

Azad contended that children are more "susceptible" to dengue by virtue of their uniforms, which include half-pants and half-sleeves, exposing them more to the risk of mosquito bites leading to dengue.

"Therefore, my submission would be that at least for the next two-three months till this thing (anti-dengue efforts) is over, schools should be advised to tell parents to see that their children are fully dressed," he said.

He was speaking to reporters after chairing a review meeting over dengue with health ministers of four southern states, besides Puducherry.

Boys were especially prone to mosquito bites as they wore shorts and half-sleeves, he said.

However, it was left to Education Ministers of respective states to issue guidelines but it has been decided children should not be exposed to mosquito bites, he said.

"This can be a personal protection and even elders can adopt this," he suggested.

Azad said the Centre and the southern states are seriously working to bring dengue cases down but "that doesn’t mean our coming here (is due) to a panicky situation."

Decisions taken in today’s meeting included involving local bodies more in ensuring cleaner localities and fogging and spraying activities as part of anti-larva efforts to hit at the sources of mosquito-breeding, he said. (PTI)

Kejriwal, activists detained

NEW DELHI, Oct 12: Arvind Kejriwal and some activists were today detained by police after they were stopped from marching towards the Prime Minister’s residence demanding resignation and arrest of Union Minister Salman Khurshid over allegations of irregularities by an NGO run by him.

Kejriwal along with about 70 activists of Rashtriya Vikalang Party (RVP) marched from Janpath to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Race Course residence, a few kilometres away, but were stopped at Rajpath crossing by police. They were later detained when they refused to disperse and staged a sit-in.

The activist announced that his day-long protest will now continue for an indefinite period. Kejriwal said they will not leave the venue till the Prime Minister met them or Khurshid resigned from the Cabinet.

Kejriwal said now this is a fight to finish and "now let’s make this place another Tahrir Square".

Kejriwal-led India Against Corruption has been maintaining that it was a protest programme by RVP and they were just guests. But after Kejriwal’s protest IAC started sending text messages asking people to join the protest.

"IAC in support of disabled people is sitting on protest near National Archives, Janpath. PM refused meeting. Would sit on dharna unless PM meets or Salman Khurshid resigns," an IAC spokesperson said.

Kejriwal claimed he had sought time from the Prime Minister but his office refused to give him and disabled people any appointment.

The IAC had alleged financial irregularities in the functioning of Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust run by Khurshid and his wife Louis, a charge denied by both. Khurshid has also threatened to take Kejriwal to court. (PTI)

CPI-M slams Haryana Cong leader for controversial rape remark

NEW DELHI, Oct 12: CPI(M) today slammed as "utter hypocrisy" the statement by a Haryana Congress leader that 90 per cent rapes in the state were "consensual" and said the party has given licence to its leaders to "defend the indefensible".

Party leader Brinda Karat also condemned statements by ruling and opposition parties in Haryana condoning the views of khap panchayat that girls should be married off at 16 years.

"It shows utter hypocrisy of the Congress and the Haryana Government. On one hand Congress President Sonia Gandhi visits the home of a Dalit girl to express solidarity, while on the other hand party has given license to leaders to defend the indefensible act on young women in Haryana," she said.

She was responding to comments by Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) member and Congress Hisar district spokesman Dharambir Goyat that "90 per cent of rape cases are (a case of) consensual sex between the girl and boy."

Goyat, however, later retracted his comments after his statement led to a public outcry. (PTI)

Campaign for return of children held under draconian laws

NEW DELHI, Oct 12: Against the backdrop of incidents of Indian children being forcibly taken into custody in western countries, a group of eminent citizens today launched a campaign demanding establishment of a mechanism to ensure return of the children held under "draconian" laws.

While appreciating India’s "robust intervention" in the Norway case where two Indian children were separated from their parents, the eminent personalities cautioned that the absence of an institutional mechanism puts such children at risk of spending their entire life away from their families.

Demanding that an intervention like the one in Norway be institutionalised, they denounced child confiscatory laws in countries like US, UK and Norway as "utterly draconian".

CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat, former Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Mukul Mudgal, former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court A P Shah and Suranya Aiyar approached the National Human Rights Commission asking it to recommend to the Government to come out with a mechanism that would pave way for the return of such children to India.

Not just children from India who live in western countries are at the receiving end, but also those from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other Asian countries, they said.

"The NHRC has powers to recommend to the Government asking it to establish a mechanism. We expect that the Government of India intervenes urgently and raise this issue at UN fora. Let India become the voice of the children who are snatched away," Karat told a press conference.

"How can the Indian child be confiscated from extended family? It is an utter violation of minimum right of a child. Such laws are draconian in nature," she said.

India had intervened in the Norwegian case resulting in Abhigyan and his sister Aishwarya eventually placed in the foster care of their uncle Arunabash and brought back to India in April this year.

Justice Mudgal alleged that people from developing countries who go to developed countries are put to such ordeal and that there is no transparency in child care.

"The Norway case got publicity. But the same cannot be said about every case. So, this calls for an institutionalised mechanism to deal with such cases," he said.

Agreeing with Mudgal, Justice Shah quoted reports in British media which said that around 90,000 children were confiscated in the UK and blamed "cultural bias" in western countries for such moves.

"It is an insensitive and inhuman approach. Child confiscatory laws in Europe and western countries are very prevalent. The unfortunate things is these child care units get monetary incentives," he said.

Karat demanded that India should put a permanent mechanism to help children and protect their human rights and stressed the need for sensitising Indians living abroad on such issues.

She also said there was a need to appeal to other countries to challenge these "utterly draconian laws". (PTI)

UPA Govt has become symbol of heartless Govt: Jaitley

NEW DELHI, Oct 12: The UPA Government has become a symbol of "heartless Government" as it has failed to understand the pains of inflation borne by the common man, BJP leader Arun Jaitley said today.

"The UPA government was brought to power by the common man but today it has failed to understand their pains. The Government is hiking prices of petrol, diesel and has put a cap on LPG cylinders to six. This shows that it has become a symbol of heartless Government," Jaitley said, addressing a demonstration by Delhi BJP Mahila Morcha on the issue of price hike of LPG and power tariff.

The Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha said the decision of putting a cap on the number of subsidised LPG cylinder to six per family shows that the Manmohan Singh government was far removed from reality.

The BJP leader also criticised the Delhi government for hiking power and water tariffs. He alleged that the government was looting the common man to provide benefits to private companies.

Asking people to root out the UPA Government in the next general elections, Jaitley said as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said that money does not grow on trees, now the electors will tell him that votes also does not grow on trees.

At the same venue, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said the allies of the government were slowly leaving them and it is not going to last after winter session of Parliament.

There were no problem of supply of LPG cylinders during the NDA regime, she said.

Common man had got reprieve from rising inflation only twice—first during Morarji Desai Government and during the NDA regime, Swaraj said.

"They have CWG scam, 2G spectrum scam and scam in coal block allocation. The Government is not worried about rising inflation and its effect on the common man," she said.

Among those who addressed the gathering include Delhi BJP President Vijender Gupta, BJP leader Vijay Goel and Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly V K Gupta. (PTI)

Menon to release joint working group report on cyber security

NEW DELHI, Oct 12: National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon will release the report of a joint working group (JWG) on engagement with the private sector on cyber security on Monday here.

The JWG has identified the principles and objectives that would underpin the overall framework and roadmap for PPP on cyber security.

India’s current economic, social and infrastructure development process is making greater use of ICT for bringing transformation. However, this dependence on ICT makes the country vulnerable to cyber attacks that can have serious implications for both, the nation and economy. This underlines the urgent need to address

the risks emanating from operating in cyber space.

Given that the private sector leads the development and adoption of ICT, a need was felt that the government and private sector collaborate and work together to overcome the challenges of cyber security.

Keeping this in view, the government had set up a JWG under the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) to work out the details of the roadmap for engagement with the private sector on cyber security.

This JWG included representatives of both the government and the private sector. The JWG had constituted sub-groups with representatives of government and the private sector to flesh out the details of such engagement.

Based on the inputs from these sub-groups, JWG finalised its recommendations.

The JWG has recommended a roadmap for PPP on cyber security which includes setting up of an institutional framework, capacity-building in the area of cyber security, development of cyber security standards and assurance mechanisms, augmentation of testing and certification facilities for IT products.

The government would work collaboratively with the private sector in successful implementation of the above JWG recommendations to strengthen the cyber security in the country. (UNI)



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