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‘Appoint Jammu and Kashmir High Court judge in SC to hear Article 370 pleas’

Pune-based activist Asim Sarode sent a letter to the Chief Justice, the Collegium designated with the duty of appointing judges, the President and the Prime Minister.

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Supreme Court of India

Pune, Aug 13 (IANS) A Maharashtra legal activist on Tuesday said that the Supreme Court must elevate and include a sitting judge from the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to hear the various petitions filed before the apex court challenging the government’s abrogation of Article 370 and deletion of 35A.

Pune-based activist Asim Sarode sent a letter to the Chief Justice, the Collegium designated with the duty of appointing judges, the President and the Prime Minister.

“For all these years, there was no representation of judges from Jammu and Kashmir in the Supreme Court, but now since the strength of judges has been increased from 31 to 33, there are vacancies in the apex court. Hence, we have requested the Chief Justice of India to elevate the senior-most judge from the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to the Supreme Court,” Sarode said.

As per the latest developments and certain media reports, the activist said all the judges of Jammu and Kashmir High Court shall be re-administered the oath of allegiance to the Indian Constitution, and hence will be bound to uphold the supremacy of only ‘The Constitution of India’.

“We have also requested that the judge from Jammu and Kashmir, who is a local who is aware of the entire matter, besides knowing the pulse of the people of that erstwhile state, should be involved in the hearing of all matters related to Article 370 and 35A,” Sarode told IANS.

He pointed out that participation of a legal luminary from Jammu and Kashmir will add an important perspective on how Article 370 and 35A will impact the lives of people, or whether its deletion is good, and such participation will be of immense help as there are some who believe the decision may have an adverse impact.

“A judge who hails from the region and has spent his entire life there understands the ground realities, actual social, cultural, economic and political impact and significance of such decisions better, and can view issues from a wider spectrum that others may overlook,” Sarode added.

He made it clear that while this was not intended to “undermine the intelligence, sensitivity of fairness of other honourable judges”, but by including a judge from Jammu and Kashmir High Court it could make the decisions more “inclusive” and the country could derive the benefit of their first-hand experience in the matter.

As per current indications, around half-a-dozen petitions have been filed in the apex court from different parts of India, including Jammu and Kashmir, challenging the government’s move on Article 370 and 35A and are likely to come up for hearing in due course, Sarode concluded.

A lawyer since 18 years, Sarode, 48, was awarded the global fellowship of Social Change Makers from Washington for his work in judicial reforms, human rights analysis and Constitution protection.

In March this year, he was invited to address the United Nations Human Rights Council Meeting in Geneva, where he spoke on the violation of human rights in various spheres.

India

JNU student protest taking partisan hue

On Twitter, the comments around the protest march are as much around a “fascist mindset” as they are about keeping education affordable for poor students.

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JNU Students Sansad March

New Delhi, Nov 18 : The agitation by students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is getting increasingly politicised as the battlelines are now drawn on ideological lines over the “gaushala vs paathshala” debate.

Senior Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Mohammed Salim remarked on Sunday during a JNU protest that: “Paathshala mein kharcha nahin karenge, gaushala mein karenge”. He was referring to what the Left leaders are terming a threat to public funded education by raising fees in universities and colleges and instead trying to promote saffronisation.

It is becoming clear that what started as a protest on hiking of hostel fees by JNU students has turned into a political slugfest with the Opposition attacking the policies of the Narendra Modi government while the government conscious of the ideological baggage of the protesters is also digging in its heels.

CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said in a tweet: “JNU under seige; such a massive deployment of forces was not seen even during the Emergency. A peaceful protest march to Parliament against the unprecedented fee hikes is being focibly stopped by the police. Strongly condemn this denial of basic democratic right to protest”.

The JNU students march to Parliament became a huge controversy as it was stopped just before the main building by the police. The visuals of police and students clashing in Lutyens’ Delhi on a day when Parliament was on its first day of functioning led to a huge political uproar.

On Twitter, the comments around the protest march are as much around a “fascist mindset” as they are about keeping education affordable for poor students.

The Left leaders especially are seeking to attack the Modi government and the JNU administration for tactics of “Hindu Rashtra fascists” who are trying to curb democratic protests.

With the students also asking other universities to join in, it is becoming a protest against education policies of the government but also a protest against the alleged biases of the right wing.

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JNU students’ march at behest of Left leaders: Spl Branch report

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JNU protest to Parliament

New Delhi, Nov 18 : A confidential report of the Special Branch of Delhi police reveals that protesting students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) had no initial plans to march towards Parliament. “At the behest of prominent CPI and CPI-M leaders, the student group finally decided on Saturday to lead a march to Parliament on Monday,” says the report of the Special Branch sent to the Police headquarters.

On the basis of intelligence inputs, a heavy contingent of police consisting of 800 constables of local police and ten companies of Central paramilitary force was deployed at JNU while key Metro stations were shut.

On Sunday late evening, government officials held a meeting with a few student groups and requested them not to march towards Parliament where the winter session was to begin. However, the report says Left-supported student organisations, the AISA, SFI and AISF, insisted that the march to Parliament would not be postponed.

Sources said on Monday morning, a mob of students forced its way through by breaking the first line of police barricades. The students were led by a Left-wing union.

The report of Special Branch reveals that after the barricades were broken, the students were pacified. They were told that a high-power committee has been constituted to consider their demands. On persuasion of two senior IPS officers, most students seemed convinced and retracted.

However, after a while, a large group of students, suddenly turned violent and managed to break the barricades and proceeded to New Delhi area through Aurobindo Marg. The police contained the agitated groups at Safdarjung Tomb near Jor Bagh, at the border of New Delhi District.

The report says a particular student organisation again refuelled the situation by raising slogans against the government. Subsequently, over 100 students broke through the barricades and tried to march towards New Delhi district area.

The police spokesman told IANS that later these students had to be detained to prevent the situation from going out of hands. The report says that besides the Left, a few leaders of a prominent opposition party were also backing the agitating students to lead a procession towards Parliament.

(Sanjeev Kumar Singh Chauhan can be contacted at [email protected])

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Cities

Delhi govt approves 3 new hospitals

“The new hospitals will cater to over 40 lakh people, who had to travel around 5 km (or 30 minutes) to the closest government facility,” Jain said

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Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi, Nov 18 : The Delhi government’s Expenditure Finance Committee here on Monday approved the plan to build three hospitals, each having 650-bed capacity, to increase the access to secondary and tertiary healthcare. Construction is likely to start in two months.

“Each of the three hospitals is to have around 650 beds as per the initial plan, thereby, adding 1,950 beds in the Delhi hospitals,” Health Minister Satyendar Jain said.

The committee, headed by Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Manish Sisodia, approved the projects.

The hospitals will be constructed in Madipur, Hastsal and Jwalapuri areas of Delhi. “These locations have been selected given their high population density and lack of government hospital facility in proximity,” he said.

Madipur is located in West Delhi and is an urban slum area. Hastsal (near Vikaspuri) and Jwalapuri (in Nagloi) are inhabited by urban, rural and semi-urban population.

“The new hospitals will cater to over 40 lakh people, who had to travel around 5 km (or 30 minutes) to the closest government facility,” Jain said

Apart from increasing access to tertiary healthcare and reducing the expenses, the new hospitals would also reduce the burden on the existing facilities, he added.

“Analysis of the five-year data of the Guru Gobind Singh Hospital (which is 5 km from Madipur, Hastsal and Jwalapuri) shows OPD attendance had increased from 5.5 lakh in 2011 to 6.82 lakh in 2016, and has continued to rise. The corresponding increase for indoor admissions is 5,360 patients from 3,490 patients. Construction of new hospitals will lower the burden and increase beds per patient,” the Minister said.

The aim, he said was to provide free and quality healthcare to all, regardless of their income status. To achieve it, increasing access to healthcare was of paramount importance, he said.

“We want to bring healthcare close to people’s home to help them save money on travelling or on private facilities. We want to increase the number of beds so that no patient is denied treatment because of unavailability of services. Strengthening public healthcare provisions is mandatory for any state, which wants to benefit residents,” Jain said.

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