Women’s Panel Asks BJP Leader To Explain Insulting Remarks On Mayawati


Sadhana Singh on Saturday alleged that Ms Mayawati has traded her dignity for power.

New Delhi: 

The BJP lawmaker from Uttar Pradesh, who called Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati “a blot on womankind” among other things, has been asked to explain her insulting remarks by the National Commission for Women (NCW).

Sadhana Singh alleged that Ms Mayawati has traded her dignity for power. “She (Mayawati) has no self-respect… she was almost molested earlier and yet… in history, when Draupadi was molested, she took a vow to seek revenge… but this woman, she lost everything, but still sold her dignity for the sake of power. We strongly condemn Mayawati ji. She is a blot on womankind. A woman who gulped insults for comfort and power… is a blot on womankind,” the legislator from Mughalsarai, said at a rally on Saturday.

“Such derogatory statements are unbecoming of a leader and highly condemnable,” NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma said.

We condemn the “extremely offensive, irresponsible and unethical” remarks, the women’s commission said. Ms Singh has to provide a “satisfactory explanation”, the note added.

The UP lawmaker’s insensitive comments were an apparent reference to the infamous episode when Ms Mayawati was assaulted by Samajwadi Party workers at a guest house in Lucknow in 1995 that triggered decades of animosity between the two parties. The leaders buried the hatchet last year and formed an alliance earlier this month to beat the BJP in the national elections.

Amid widespread criticism, Ms Singh apologized saying “she had no such intention to hurt anyone….”. “I regret what I said. I just shared a woman’s pain, and didn’t want to insult anyone,” Ms Singh said in a statement.

However, the BSP has already filed a complaint against her. “They have lost their mental balance in fear of losing the election in Uttar Pradesh,” said the BSP’s Satish Chandra Mishra.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, who had declared that “insulting Mayawati ji is like insulting me” shortly after formalising their alliance, added that the “objectionable and filthy terms” used against Mayawati ji are deplorable. “They are a sign of BJP’s moral bankruptcy and frustration. It is also insulting for the women of this country,” he said.





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Top Court Panel Considering 4 Lawyers For Elevation To Delhi High Court


Supreme Court’s decision on advocates Krishnendu Datta and Saurabh Kirpal was deferred

New Delhi: 

The Supreme Court collegium has considered four advocates for elevation to the Delhi High Court and has deferred decision on two of the recommended names while the other two have been sent back, according to a resolution posted on the Supreme Court website on Friday.

The four — Krishnendu Datta, Saurabh Kirpal, Priya Kumar and Sanjoy Ghose — were among nine advocates whose names were recommended for elevation by the collegium of the Delhi High Court on October 13, 2017.

As per the January 16, 2019 resolution of the collegium comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices AK Sikri and SA Bobde, its decision on advocates Krishnendu Datta and Saurabh Kirpal was deferred for now and would be taken up after two-three weeks.

However, it said, “having regard to all relevant factors and material on record, the collegium is of the considered view that the proposal for elevation of Priya Kumar and Sanjoy Ghose, advocates, deserves to be remitted to the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court. The Collegium recommends accordingly.”

The Collegium had earlier cleared the elevation of five of the nine advocates whose names were recommended.

However, on September 4, 2018, it had decided to defer consideration of the proposal for elevation of these four advocates.

“For purpose of assessing merit and suitability of the these recommendees for elevation to the High Court, we have carefully scrutinised the material on record as well as the observations made by the Department of Justice in the file,” the resolution said.





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PM-Led Panel To Meet On January 24 To Decide On New CBI Director


The selection panel on Alok Verma met last week.

New Delhi: 

A special panel led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet next week to pick the successor to Alok Verma, whose controversial removal from the top post of the premier Central Bureau of Investigation last week has created a huge political storm.

The decision comes a day after Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge wrote to PM Modi, asking him to bring key documents related to the sacking in public domain.

The meeting of the special panel – comprising the prime minister, the Chief Justice of India and the leader of the opposition – will be held on January 24.

It is not known if Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi will attend the meeting. He had recused himself from the January 10 meet – where the decision was taken to remove Mr Verma from the post – as he was part of the Supreme Court bench that passed an order reinstating the officer.

The panel had based its decision on a report by the anti-corruption watchdog the Central Vigilance Commission on allegations against Mr Verma.

Mr Kharge, who put up a dissent note flagging how the main allegations against Mr Verma were unsubstantiated, wrote to PM Modi yesterday, asking that the government make the vigilance report public, along with the one by Justice AK Patnaik, who monitored the investigation. The report had been submitted to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover.

Alok Verma was removed from the CBI top post last Thursday, barely 48 hours after he was reinstated by the Supreme Court. The official, who was retiring by the end of this month, quit the next day, refusing to take charge as the Chief of Fire Services.





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PM-Led Selection Panel to meet on January 24 to decide on new CBI director


नई दिल्ली:

CBI के नए डायरेक्टर (CBI Director) की नियुक्ति पर फैसला लेने के लिए 24 जनवरी को सेलेक्शन कमिटी (Selection Panel) की बैठक होगी. बैठक पीएम नरेंद्र मोदी (PM Natendra Modi) के नेतृत्व में होगी. बता दें कि आलोक वर्मा (Alok Verma) को सीबीआई चीफ (Cbi Chief) पद से हटाए जाने के बाद से ही यह पद खाली है. बैठक में चीफ जस्टिस और लोकसभा ने नेता विपक्ष मल्लिकार्जुन खड़गे भी मौजूद रहेंगे. बता दें कि आलोक वर्मा के हटाए जाने के बाद एम नागेश्वर राव को अंतरिम निदेशक बनाया गया है. बता दें कि एक दिन पहले ही मल्लिकार्जुन खड़गे ने प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी को पत्र लिखकर मांग की थी कि वह आलोक वर्मा को सीबीआई के निदेशक के पद से हटाने से जुड़े सभी महत्वपूर्ण दस्तावेजों को सार्वजनिक करें और नए निदेशक की नियुक्ति के लिए चयन समिति की तत्काल बैठक बुलाएं.

आलोक वर्मा को हटाने वाले पैनल का हिस्सा नहीं बनना चाहते थे जस्टिस एके सीकरी : सूत्र

मल्लिकार्जुन खड़गे ने साथ ही केंद्रीय सतर्कता आयोग यानी सीवीसी की रिपोर्ट और 10 जनवरी को उच्चाधिकार प्राप्त चयन समिति की बैठक के ब्यौरे को भी जनता के बीच लाने की मांग की थी, ताकि जनता खुद फैसला करे और किसी निष्कर्ष पर पहुंच सके. खड़गे ने बिना किसी देरी के, नए निदेशक की नियुक्ति के लिए चयन समिति की तत्काल बैठक बुलाने के लिए भी कहा था. उन्होंने यह भी दावा किया था कि इस मामले में सरकार के कदमों से यही संकेत मिलता है कि वह नहीं चाहती कि सीबीआई एक स्वतंत्र निदेशक के तहत काम करे. दरअसल, गत 10 जनवरी को हुई चयन समिति की बैठक में खड़गे ने आलोक वर्मा को सीबीआई निदेशक के पद से हटाए जाने का विरोध किया था. 

VIDEO: सीबीआई चीफ पद से हटाए गए आलोक वर्मा

 



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17 Sexual Harassment Cases Pending With All India Radio: Women’s Panel


As many as 17 cases of sexual harassment filed by employees of All India Radio are pending.

New Delhi: 

As many as 17 cases of sexual harassment filed by both regular and casual employees of All India Radio (AIR) from all over India are still under probe, the National Commission for Women (NCW) said on Monday.

A meeting was held at NCW’s office where a hearing was conducted on the complaints of sexual harassment filed by All India Radio Casual Announcer and Comperes Union (AIRCACU) along with representatives of All India Radio including CEO (Prasar Bharati), DG (AIR), concerned ADGs, members of ICC and NCW members.

According to NCW, AIRCACU members stated that their union was formed in July 2017 and thereafter they have been receiving such complaints all over the country.

“The complainants stated that there are some cases in which a re-screening test was passed by the employees concerned, but they have not been given further assignments because of complaints filed by them or on their behalf,” NCW said.

About action taken on various complaints, the complainant also expressed grievance that they had not been updated. 

However, the representatives of AIR said that due action has been taken in all such cases, such as constituting high-power committees, issuing warnings, transferring the accused, levelling pecuniary punishment and penalties.

“And in one such case, AIR has also taken action to terminate a regular employee and offered to discuss such cases separately and provide a list,” NCW added.

AIR also offered details about the action being taken and said it would provide these reports to the complainants separately.

“DG, AIR will hear other grievances of complainants separately. Gender sensitization programme will be conducted for all the employees at regional and zonal level,” NCW said.





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Hardik Pandya-KL Rahul Controversy: E-Mails Fly In Huge Cricket Panel Rift Over Probe


“In my view, the CoA is duty bound to follow the new constitution and what you are suggesting is neither in consonance with the constitution nor is it as per the legal advice received. It cannot be the case that we follow legal advice only when we consider it, “justifiable”. I can’t be party to this decision and process. In the circumstances, please go ahead with your suggestion. You and AS (acting secretary) please conduct the inquiry. I cannot be a party to such an inquiry as I will not go against a Supreme Court direction/constitution.

“Also please note that since you do not want to follow the suggestion of legal to have an ‘ad hoc ombudsman your suggestion runs the risk of your committee being ‘judge, jury and executioner’. Please go ahead and take it forward. I will keep away and leave it to you,” Rai wrote.

Replying to Rai’s mail, Edulji wrote, “CoA can’t be duty bound in selected matters and that’s what I have been highlighting all through, that we should act as per the rules and regulations being the new constitution at all times. Your point of not going against a Supreme Court Direction / Constitution is what I have been time and again warning about as you have acted against the Supreme Court Direction/Constitution in the matter of Women’s team Head Coach where a committee was appointed inspite of CAC being there and also in the case of sexual harassment matter of Rahul Johri, you unilaterally appointed the independent committee which is not as per the Constitution and I had opposed for that also. Your point of “your committee being ‘judge, jury and executioner” is exactly what you followed and did in the sexual harassment case, which I had opposed and you took the decisions unilaterally.

“My point of having a legal view in players matter was only to take a informed and correct decision. As there is no provision for appointment of an ad hoc ombudsman as per the new Constitution we cannot go ahead with that. As the SC hearing is scheduled for 17th Jan, let the court be informed about this situation and let an Ombudsman be appointed by the court instead of taking a wrong step of appointing the ad hoc ombudsman, which is not as per the new constitution.”

Last week, Edulji had warned the CoA chief of any “cover up” in the Hardik Pandya-KL Rahul inquiry. According to news agency PTI, Vinod Rai in his reply wrote that conducting an inquiry was “not a desire to cover up”.

“Please be assured that the desire to conduct the inquiry is not a desire to “cover up”. The interest of cricket in India has to be kept in mind. The off the ground act of the players was deplorable. It was crass as I said immediately after reading the comments,” Rai wrote in an e-mail to Edulji. 

“It is our responsibility to reprimand them, take corrective action, sensitise them of their misdemeanour and then get them back on to the ground once they have suffered the consequences,” he said.

Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul on Monday tendered “unconditional” apologies.

“Yes, Hardik and Rahul have submitted their reply to the fresh showcause notices that were served to them. They have tendered unconditional apology. The CoA chief has instructed the CEO to conduct an inquiry as per clause 41 (c) of the new BCCI constitution,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul had appeared on TV show Koffee with Karan, where the all-rounder had made controversial comments about women, eventually kicking up a social media storm. Pandya later apologised on social media, after which the BCCI suspended the duo from cricket.

(With inputs from Rica Roy and PTI)



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Justice AK Sikri Didn’t Want to Be Part Of Panel On Alok Verma: Sources


Justice AK Sikri was appointed to panel on Alok Verma by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. (File)

New Delhi: 

After a political controversy that drove Justice AK Sikri to turn down a post-retirement job offer, sources have told NDTV that the Supreme Court judge did not want to be part of the three-member selection committee that decided to remove Alok Verma as CBI chief. Justice Sikri, sources say, had conveyed his reluctance to the two other members of the high-powered panel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, the opposition’s representative.

He reportedly told them it was a “pure executive function”. Opposition leaders have questioned why he agreed to be on the panel despite the possibility of conflict of interest.

“In future, no judge would like to be part of this process of appointment. All judges will recuse themselves from this process,” said sources close to Justice Sikri, whose vote was the decider in the sacking of Alok Verma from the CBI just two days after he was partially reinstated by the Supreme Court.

Justice Sikri, 65, has now turned down the post of president/member of the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal, the arbiter of disputes among 53 countries in the Commonwealth. He was to take up the job after his retirement on March 6. Sources say Justice Sikri told the centre he had decided to withdraw his candidature to the London job as “he was pained”. He had already made it clear, say the sources, that this was not a post with remuneration.

“The government had approached him for the assignment last month. He gave his consent. The job required attending two to three hearings in a year and came without any remuneration,” sources close to the judge said.

Questions were raised on such an offer lined up for the judge who voted with PM Modi to remove Alok Verma. Mallikarjun Kharge was the dissenting member on the panel, who argued that the Central Vigilance Commission’s report made it clear the main corruption allegations against Mr Verma were unsubstantiated.

Justice Sikri was the nominee of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who had recused himself as he was part of the Supreme Court bench that passed an order on Mr Verma.

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted an article by news website The Print on Justice Sikri being offered the post-retirement job.

Mr Gandhi alleges that PM Modi was desperate to throw Mr Verma out and didn’t want him in CBI for “even 15 minutes” as he would have ordered an investigation into the Rafale jet deal.





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Of 670 Judges In Various High Courts, Only 73 Are Women: Centre To Panel


There were 24 high courts when the committee had prepared its report. (Representational)

New Delhi: 

Only 73 judges out of the 670 judges serving in various high courts are women, the government has informed a parliamentary committee.

The government also pointed out that against the sanctioned strength of 1,079 judges as on March 23, 2018, only 670 judges are working in 24 high courts of the country, leaving 409 vacancies.

“There are 73 women judges working in different high courts as on March 23, 2018, which in percentage terms is 10.89 per cent of the working strength,” the Department of Justice in the Law Ministry informed the department-related Standing Committee on Law and Personnel.

Responding to the concerns of the parliamentary panel on inadequate representation of women and people from marginalised communities, the ministry said the Centre had been requesting chief justices of high courts that while sending proposals for appointment of judges, “due consideration” be given to “suitable candidates” belonging to scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes, minorities and women.

“This is being done to ensure a fair representation of different sections of the society in the higher judiciary,” the government said.

It, however, made it clear that there was no proposal to amend Articles 124 and 217 of the Constitution to allow reservation in the higher judiciary.

“The committee feels that a timeline of six weeks given to chief minister/governor may be reduced to expedite the process of appointment of judges. It also feels since there is no proposal to raise the retirement age of judges in higher judiciary by the government, unnecessary delay in recruitment of judges should be avoided at any cost,” it said.

As of now, Governors and chief ministers are given six weeks to recommend proposal received from the chief justice of the high court to appoint a candidate as a judge.

There were 24 high courts when the committee had prepared its report.

From January 1, the number of high courts have gone up to 25 with Andhra Pradesh and Telangana getting separate high courts.
 





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Justice HS Bedi Panel Finds 3 Out Of 17 Gujarat Encounters Fake; Recommends Action Against 9 Cops


The panel has indicted nine police officials, including three inspector rank officer. (Representational)

New Delhi: 

The Justice HS Bedi committee, which investigated several cases of alleged fake encounter in Gujarat from 2002 to 2006, has recommended prosecution of police officials in three out of the 17 cases probed by it.

In its final report filed in the top court, Justice Bedi has said three persons — Sameer Khan, Kasam Jafar and Haji Haji Ismail — were prime facie killed in fake encounters by the Gujarat Police officials.

The committee has indicted a total of nine police officials, including three inspector rank officer.

It has however not recommended prosecution of any IPS officer in these cases. The court had appointed Justice Bedi, ex-Supreme Court judge, as chairman of the monitoring committee probing 17 encounter cases from 2002 to 2006 in Gujarat and the panel had submitted its report to the top court in a sealed cover in February last year.

On January 9, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had rejected the Gujarat government’s plea to maintain confidentiality of the final report of committee and ordered that it be given to petitioners, including poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar.

Dealing with the case of Sameer Khan, the committee has recommended prosecution of two inspectors K M Vaghela and T A Barot for the offence of murder and other relevant offences.

According to the police, Sameer Khan along with his cousin had stabbed a police constable, who had died on the spot in May 1996. While his cousin was arrested, he had fled from spot.

The police had alleged that later he went to Pakistan and took training from terror organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and re-entered India via Nepal. The report noted that as per police, after the 2002 Akshardham Mandir attack, Sameer Khan was directed by a Pakistan-based JeM operative to go to Ahmedabad and kill the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

It noted that Sameer Khan was arrested by the Crime Branch in a case related to waging war against the country and when he was taken at the spot where the constable was stabbed in 1996, he snatched the loaded revolver of inspector Vaghela and fired at him and ran away.

As per police, the other two inspectors — Tarun Barot and A A Chauhan (since dead) — fired at him and he was later taken to a hospital but was declared dead.

However, the panel has found that he was killed in a fake encounter by the police.

Referring to the medical and other reports, the committee has said, “It is, therefore, obvious that the police officers were close and towering over the deceased and he was probably sitting on the ground and perhaps cringing for his life.”

“I am, therefore, of the opinion that inspector K M Vaghela and inspector T A Barot at the first instance be prosecuted for murder and other relevant offences and if it is found during the trial that there is evidence against others as well, they too should be brought in as per law,” the panel has said.

It said since inspector Chauhan has passed away, no proceeding against him was possible.

Besides, the panel has also granted Rs 10 lakh compensation to Sameer Khan’s family.

In Kasam Jafar”s case, the police had alleged that he was picked alongwith 17 other persons from a hotel in Ahmedabad on April 13, 2006.

According to police, he was being taken to a police station and during the transit, he escaped from custody and a day later, his body was recovered underneath a bridge. “The effort of the police officers to dub the deceased and his companions as criminals has also not been successful as no evidence whatsover has been produced to show that they had been involved in any crime. The very detention on the April 13, 2006, from Royal Hotel was thus not justified,” Justice Bedi said in his report.

He concluded that sub-inspector J M Bharwad and constable Ganeshbhai were prima facie involved in the killing and they were needed to be prosecuted for the offence of murder. 

The committee, by its order on November 21, 2013, had also awarded Rs 14 lakhs as compensation to the widow and children of the deceased.

Similarly, the committee noted in its report that as per police, on October 9, 2005, they had received an information that notorious smuggler Haji Haji Ismail would be going to a place in his Maruti Zen car.

Ismail came out of his car and opened fire at the police party which retaliated in self defence and fired 20 shots at him leading to his death at a government hospital.

The panel took note of the post-mortem report and said that out of the six wounds of entry, five had blackening round them and it meant that these shots were fired from a close range.

The panel belied the claim that the fire exchanges between Ismail and police party had taken place from a distance of 15-20 feet. “It is, therefore, crystal clear that firing on the deceased was from a distance of two feet or less completely falsifying the police version and being suggestive of a custodial killing,” the panel concluded.

The panel recommended prosecution of five policemen in this case — inspector K G Erda and sub-inspectors L B Monpara, J M Yadav, S K Shah and Prag P Vyas.





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Why PM Modi-Led Selection Panel Removed Alok Verma As CBI Chief


Shortly after he was removed as CBI chief, Alok Verma was appointed Director General, Fire Service

New Delhi: 

CBI chief Alok Verma, just two days after he was reinstated by the Supreme Court, has been shunted out again, this time by a high-level selection committee, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The three-member committee also had leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge and Supreme Court judge, Justice AK Sikri, on it. Justice Sikri, who joined the panel after Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi dropped out since he was on the bench that reinstated Mr Verma, voted in favour of removing the CBI chief. Mr Kharge dissented with the decision.

Sources say the panel decided against Mr Verma on the basis of the findings of the country’s top anti-corruption watchdog, the Central Vigilance Commission or CVC, which said certain accusations of misconduct against the CBI chief are substantiated and others need to be examined.

“The panel was of the view that being the head of a very sensitive organisation, Mr Verma was not functioning with the integrity expected of him,” sources said.

“In the IRCTC case, the CVC felt that it can be reasonably concluded that Mr Verma deliberately excluded a name from the FIR, for reasons best known to him,” sources said.

Sources say the panel felt that as a detailed investigation was necessary, including criminal investigation in some cases, Alok Verma continuing as CBI chief was not desirable, and he should be transferred.

Shortly after the meeting, Mr Verma was appointed Director General, Fire Service. His tenure as CBI chief was to end on January 31.

The accusations against Mr Verma was levelled by his number 2, Rakesh Asthana, in October, when the two officers traded corruption charges in an unprecedented public demonstration of rift within the country’s premier investigating agency.

As the government sent Mr Verma and Rakesh Asthana on immediate leave and appointed an interim chief in a midnight swoop on October 23, the officer approached the Supreme Court.

The top court’s order on Tuesday reinstating him is seen as a major loss of face for the government, which is under opposition attack over allegations of using the investigating agency as a tool against political rivals.





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