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Army doctor’s cashiering: SC says abusing position of trust not condonable

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New Delhi: In 1986, an army officer working as a medical specialist at Base Hospital Lucknow was charged with allegedly misbehaving with two women during a check up by touching their private parts. After 34 years, the Supreme Court restored the sentence of cashiering from service of the army officer saying abusing a position of trust being a doctor is not condonable.
A bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and S Ravindra Bhatt taking into account the reprehensible conduct of Lt. Col S S Bedi said, “We restore the punishment of penalty of cashiering by taking into account the reprehensible conduct of the appellant abusing a position of trust being a Doctor which is not condonable.”
A complaint was made by two women against Bedi on May 15, 1986 that he misbehaved with them during check up by inappropriately touching their private parts. He was commissioned in the Indian Army Medical Corps on July 24, 1966. The Armed Forces Tribunal upheld Bedi’s conviction but converted the punishment of cashiering to a fine of Rs 50,000.
The Centre filed an appeal in the apex court against this order. The Centre’s counsel argued that the conversion of sentence by the tribunal was unwarranted. “The appellant had misbehaved with two patients and the expert evidence also shows that there was no necessity of the appellant touching the private parts of the complainants”, the Centre argued.
The top court said a perusal of the evidence of the complainants makes it clear that the appellant misbehaved with them during the course of their physical examination. “There was no motive for false implication of the appellant by the complainants; therefore, we are in agreement with the conclusion of the General Court Martial and the Tribunal that the Appellant is guilty of the charge of using criminal force against two women patients”, said the bench.
Bedi’s counsel argued that even if the penalty imposed by the Court Martial of cashiering from service is upheld, forfeiture of all the pensionary benefits of the appellant is not automatic. “He submitted that no order as contemplated in Section 71 (h) of the Army Act, 1950 forfeiting his pension has been directed by the General Court Martial. Therefore, the appellant is entitled for payment of pension”, the bench noted.
“The Tribunal found the imposition of the punishment of cashiering from service shockingly disproportionate. The Tribunal also highlighted the delay in the complaint made against the Appellant. We are not convinced with the reasons given by the Tribunal for converting the sentence from cashiering to imposition of fine of Rs.50,000”, the bench observed.
However, the top court directed the Centre to consider the entire record of service of the appellant and his advanced age while taking a decision to initiate proceedings under the Army Pension Regulations.

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Alarming rise of crime against women in Assam: Congress

Assam Pradesh Congress Committee General Secretary Bobbeeta Sharma highlighted incidents of rape and violence in the recent past, including the alleged rape and killing of a teenager and her aunt in Dibrugarh district.

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Guwahati: The Assam Mahila Congress on Monday expressed concern over the “alarming increase” of crime against women during the last few years under the present BJP government.

The state has reported “the highest rate of crime against women for the last three years consecutively” and the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics reveal that it is constantly increasing, Assam Mahila Congress president and MLA Nandita Das told reporters here.

Incidents of registered violence against women were 20,869 in 2016, which increased to 23,082 in 2017 and to 27,728 in 2018, while in 2019, it again reported the highest crime rate “at 177.8 per lakh population”, she said.

Assam Pradesh Congress Committee General Secretary Bobbeeta Sharma highlighted incidents of rape and violence in the recent past, including the alleged rape and killing of a teenager and her aunt in Dibrugarh district.

The girl was sleeping with her aunt, who was killed, and the girl was dragged out of the house, raped and then killed by the miscreants, Sharma alleged.

“A house is considered to be the safest place but under this government, even the four walls are not safe for women in Assam,” she said.

Sharma said the fact that such cases are increasing proves that the state government and its agencies have failed to instil fear among the perpetrators.

She added that the Congress in its manifesto for the forthcoming polls will include several measures for the protection of women, including a woman police battalion force and women cell in all police stations.

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India

Has China constructed village in Arunachal? Chidambaram latches onto BJP MP’s ‘allegation’ to corner Modi govt

BJP MP Tapir Gao has claimed that China has built a 100-house village in the “disputed area” deep into the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.

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Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram demanded answers from the government on BJP MP Tapir Gao’s “claim” that China has built a 100-house village in the “disputed area” deep into the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. He said if the allegation made out by the BJP MP is true, will the government again give a clean chit to China or blame previous governments for it.

Arunachal Pradesh is an Indian state, but China illegitimately considers it as a part of south Tibet which is under illegal occupation of the world’s most populous country.

There is a border dispute between the two neighbouring countries and there has been a troops build-up in eastern Ladakh after a bloody clash between the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation of Army (PLA) of China in June last year. India lost 20 soldiers in the Galwan valley clash. China also lost many soldiers but did not disclose the number of casualties.

Chidambaram, who was the home minister in the UPA government, also alleged that the Chinese have altered the status quo in Arunachal Pradesh.

“Mr Tapir Gao MP, belonging to BJP, has alleged that deep into Arunachal Pradesh, in a ‘disputed area’ within Indian territory, the Chinese have built a 100-house village, a bazaar and a two-lane road in the last year. If this is true, it is clear that the Chinese have altered the status quo by converting a disputed area into a permanent settlement of Chinese nationals. What has the government to say about these startling facts?” he asked.

“Will the government give another clean chit to China? Or will the government give a convoluted explanation blaming previous governments?” the senior Congress leader asked in a series of tweets.

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Downfall of the BJP govt has started with the farmers protest: Kisan Congress VP

Hitting out at the BJP government, he said that after coming to power in 2014 the government has started to distribute the certificate of fake nationalism.

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New Delhi : With the farmers agitation continuing for the 54th day and the crucial 10th round of talks of the farmers with the government scheduled on Tuesday, Kisan Congress Vice President Surendra Solanki on Monday said that the downfall of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government will start from this farmers agitation, as it is the first protest in 73 years of Independent India which has gone strong even during the Covid pandemic.

The Kisan Congress has been standing shoulder to shoulder with farmers by lending their hand for providing food and other materials to the farmers at several borders of the national capital, where the farmers have been agitating since November 26 last year demanding repealing of the three farm laws.

In an interview to IANS, Solanki alleged the motives of the government are not good, as it has already made up its mind “not to repeal” the three farm laws.

He said, “Somewhere the government is under pressure from its capitalist friends. And for the first time in the history of Independent India in last 73 years, such a huge number of farmers has been sitting on protest in this chilling winter and in this pandemic era.”

He said that the motives of the BJP are questionable as on number of occasions government has clearly said it will not repeal the farm laws.

“So once you are not in mood to listen to farmers then from where a solution can be expected?” he quipped.

To a question about the farmer leaders being called for questioning by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and many leaders describing the farmers as Khalistani, Solanki, who hails from Haryana, said, “There is a famous saying in Hindi ‘Vinash kale viprit Buddhi’, the brain of the government has stopped functioning in right direction.”

“They need to understand the fact that even during the nationwide lockdown, the farmers kept on supporting the GDP of the country,” he said, adding that even the sons of the farmers are part of the armed forces fighting for the country on borders.

Slamming BJP’s leaders, Solanki said: “Who are BJP leaders to distribute the certificate of nationalism to farmers? This is unfortunate and condemnable. Their decline has started now with the farmers agitation.”

When pointed out that the farmers were not allowed to enter the national capital, he said that it shows that they are not willing to “find a solution”.

“If the government had reports that the condition can deteriorate then they should have found a solution immediately instead of delaying it for more than 54 days. Why they have taken such long time? There are number of examples when the Supreme Court has held hearings and the government has taken decisions at midnight,” the Kisan Congress leader said.

Hitting out at the BJP government, he said that after coming to power in 2014 the government has started to distribute the certificate of fake nationalism.

“They need to tell the country about their contribution in the Independence movement and why the tricolour is not hoisted at the RSS headquarters at Nagpur,” Solanki said.

To a question that Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi hitting the streets in the favour of farmers on Friday, almost after a delay of 52 days and many of the Congres leaders missing on the front, the Kisan Congress leader said, “Rahul Gandhi has led from the front on the farmers issue and he has won the trust of farmers.”

He said that Rahul Gandhi has taken a stand for ther farmers in Uttar Pradesh, when then Chief Minister Mayawati decided to acquire the land of farmers in Bhatta Parsaul.

He highlighted that it was the Congress-led UPA govt that brought in the Land Acquisition Bill. “And after the Modi government came to power and it brought changes in the land acquisition bill, Rahul Gandhi opposed it in Parliament and fought it fearlessly and all of use got inspiration from him,” he said.

Talking about the role of the Kisan Congress against the three farm laws, Solanki said: “We were the first to oppose the ordinances when they were brought last year during the Covid pandemic. I even went to President Ram Nath Kovind and also staged a protest outside Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar’s residence during the nationwide lockdown amid the Covid pandemic to oppose the farm ordinances.”

Solanki also said that before participating in the protest in the national capital last Friday, Rahul Gandhi had held talks with farmers across the country virtually three months ago. “Rahul Gandhi also spoke to the traders in different mandis across the country to understand their grievances,” he said.

“Rahul Gandhi has also made it clear that if the government does not repeal these three farm laws, if voted to power, the Congress will repeal these laws,” he said

He also said that the Kisan Congress was the first organisation to demand compensation of Rs one crore to the families of the farmers who died during the protest and a government job to their kin.

Asked about the farmers’ planned tractor parade on Republic Day, Solanki said, “We are extending all supoort to the farmers for their planned Republic Day tractor parade. I am a farmer first. And I am associated with the party later.”

He also said that now the farmers agitation fight is about self-esteem for farmers and farmers have decided not to return home until the three farm laws are repealed.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Harayana and western Uttar Pradesh have been protesting against the three farm laws at several borders of ther national capital and over 60 farmers have died. The farmers are demanding the repeal of the three farm laws.

(Anand Singh can be contacted at [email protected])

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