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Assam: 1.5 Crore people wait to know citizenship status

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Nearly 1.5 Crore People in Assam are eagerly waiting to know their Citizenship Status as the government is set for the release the final list of Indian citizens living in Assam on Monday . The National Registry of Citizens was envisaged in view of illegal migration into the state from neighbouring Bangladesh.

The update of Assam’s National Register of Citizens is seen as a move to target Assam’s Muslim population on the pretext of weeding out Bangladeshi migrants. Security has been strengthened and the Centre has rushed troops in Assam to maintain law and order.

The first draft of the ongoing NRC process was released on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1, wherein the names of 1.9 crore of the 3.29 crore applicants were incorporated.

The draft will be published at noon at all the NRC Sewa Kendras (NSK) across the state and applicants can check their names in the list which will include the applicant’s name, address and photographs, NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela said.

The NRC will include the names of all Indian citizens who have been residing in Assam before March 25, 1971.

Meanwhile, security has been beefed up across the state to maintain law and order, with district deputy commissioners and superintendents of police being directed to maintain a strict vigil, a senior police official said.

Vulnerable areas have been identified by superintendents of police in their respective districts and the situation is closely monitored to prevent any untoward incident, specially those arising out of rumour-mongering.

The Centre has despatched 220 companies of the central armed police forces to gear up security in Assam and the neighbouring states.

Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal held a high level meeting recently on the NRC draft release and directed officers to remain alert and to help and explain the process of claims and objections to people whose names would not appear in the draft.

The chief minister has also directed the officials not to refer any case to the Foreigners Tribunal based on the NRC draft list.

If a person’s name does not appear in the draft then he or she will have to apply in prescribed forms in their respective Sewa Kendras and these forms will be available from August 7 to September 28 and the authorities will inform them about reason for their names being left out.

The next step will be to file the claim in another prescribed form which will be available from August 30 to September 28 next and these claims will be finally disposed of after proper hearing.

The applicants can check their names in the draft by visiting their respective designated NRC Sewa Kendra (NSK) which will be available on all working days from 10 am to 4 pm from July 30 to September 28.

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Bihar DGP Gupteshwar Pandey Steps Down from Service, Likely to Contest Upcoming Polls

Sanjiv Kumar Singhal, the Director General of Civil Defence and Fire Services, has been given the additional charge of DGP Bihar till further orders.

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Gupteshwar Pandey IPS

Bihar Director General of Police (DGP) Gupteshwar Pandey on Tuesday stepped down from his post after taking voluntary retirement from the services. His request seeking VRS was approved by Governor Phagu Chauhan.

Pandey is likely to contest the upcoming state Assembly polls.

Sanjiv Kumar Singhal, the Director General of Civil Defence and Fire Services, has been given the additional charge of DGP Bihar till further orders.

Pandey, who was involved in the investigation of actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, found himself mired in controversy after his sexist comment aimed at Rhea Chakraborty. Hours after the Supreme Court last month ordered a CBI probe into Rajput’s death, Pandey had said that Chakraborty did not have the “aukat” (stature) to comment about Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Pandey had later apologised for the remark.

Earlier this month, Pandey had hailed Chakraborty’s arrest by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) as a big win for Bihar.

Pandey has been an Indian Police Service officer since 1987. He was selected as Bihar DGP in February last year out of 12 IPS officers recommended by the state government to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

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Facebook India moves SC seeking to set aside Delhi Assembly Panel Notice

The case will be heard by a 3-judge bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul tomorrow.

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New Delhi, Sep 22 : The Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear a plea by Ajit Mohan, the India head of social media giant Facebook, challenging a notice sent to him by the Delhi Assembly.

The petition stated that the subject matter under investigation by the Delhi assembly falls within the exclusive domain of the Union government and a state legislative assembly cannot compel witnesses to appear and provide evidence on such subjects.

“The Committee seeks to compel petitioner No. 1 (Ajit Mohan) to provide testimony on subjects within the exclusive domain of the Union of India. Specifically, the Committee is seeking to make a “determination of the veracity of allegations levelled against Facebook” in the Delhi riots, which intrudes into subjects exclusively allocated to the Union of India,” the petition said.

Regulation of intermediaries like Facebook falls within the Union list of the Constitution under the Entry “Communication” (Entry 31) in the said list. The Parliament, in exercise of that power enacted the Information Technology Act, 2000 to regulate intermediaries. Therefore, any assessment of the veracity of allegations against Facebook as an intermediary is exclusively a Union subject, it was submitted.

Besides, it was contended that the summons violates the right of the petitioner to remain silent and right to privacy which are fundamental rights under Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution.

“By targeting Facebook – a platform that allows users to express themselves – the summons create a chilling effect on the free speech rights of users of the Facebook service,” the plea added.

The case will be heard by a 3-judge bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul on Wednesday.

Mohan was first summoned by the committee for its meeting of September 15 in connection with the complaints alleging deliberate omissions and inaction by the social media company in removing hateful content and posts. The committee had earlier said that in its meeting of August 31, it had prima facie found Facebook India was allegedly complicit in aggravating the communal violence in north-east Delhi in February that left at least 53 people dead and over 400 injured.

A notice was issued to Facebook officials on September 10 based on that finding asking them to appear before the panel on September 15 but Facebook officials had failed to appear for that meeting after which a second notice was issued on September 18.

In its summons issued on September 18, the committee had said that it is empowered to make suggestions to the central government and it is in line with co-operative federalism which “encompasses a large number of areas including making recommendations to the union government when the same is required.”

The committee is investigating the matter based on several complaints received from the public after an article was published in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on August 14.

The WSJ report titled ‘Facebook hate speech rules collide with Indian politics’ had alluded to the role allegedly played by top Facebook officials, particularly its public policy head Ankhi Das, by citing business imperatives to refrain from applying hate-speech rules to at least 4 individuals and groups linked to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), though the groups and individuals had been internally flagged for promoting or participating in violence.

Meanwhile, Facebook had written a letter to the Delhi assembly’s panel on September 13 stating that the matter was already under consideration by a parliamentary committee and the subject matter relating to content regulation is outside the scope of state assembly.

This stance was reiterated by Facebook and Mohan before the top court with the petition stating that a state legislative assembly cannot compel non-members to appear before it for an investigation into a subject matter which is beyond its jurisdiction.

“The Constitution of India, in conferring powers upon Parliament and State Legislatures endows them with the power to hold a non-member in breach of privileges, but only if that non-member has impeded or obstructed the body’s legislative functions. The Committee’s powers do not extend to compelling non- members to appear when the non-member has not impeded or obstructed legislative functioning,” the plea said.

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Approach Supreme Court for extension in Tarun Tejpal trial: HC to Goa govt

The former editor-in-chief has been accused of sexually assaulting a junior female colleague in the elevator of a hotel in north Goa during an event in November 2013.

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Tarun Tejpal

Panaji, Sep 22 : The Goa government which is representing the victim in the rape case filed against former editor-in-chief of Tehelka news magazine, Tarun Tejpal, will have to approach the Supreme Court of India to seek an extension in the deadline set by the apex court for completion of the trial.

An order by a single judge bench of the Bombay High Court in Goa on Tuesday follows a request by the victim, who has sought time to appear before the trial court in Goa, stating that she was unable to travel to Goa from Delhi in the wake of the pandemic citing health concerns.

“Unless the petitioner approaches the Apex Court and seeks extension of time fixed earlier, there is nothing much either this Court or the trial Court could do,” says the order issued on Tuesday by Justice Dama Seshadri Naidu.

In December last year, the Apex Court had directed the trial court in Goa to complete the much-delayed trial within six months.

Last month, the trial court had issued a bailable warrant to be served on the victim, after she failed to turn up for successive hearings citing health concerns in the wake of the pandemic. The victim is currently residing in the national capital.

The victim then approached the High Court bench pleading for suspension of the warrant and was subsequently granted relief.

“As seen from the record, the trial Court is in a predicament. It has been tasked with completing the trial in this case in a time-frame: by December 2020. And that time-frame was fixed by the Supreme Court,” the Court order said.

“So we cannot blame the trial Court for the procedure it has adopted and the directions it issued to secure the presence of the petitioner, “the victim and principal witness,” the order said.

The former editor-in-chief has been accused of sexually assaulting a junior female colleague in the elevator of a hotel in north Goa during an event in November 2013.

Tejpal faces charges under Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 354 (b) (criminal assault with intent to disrobe) and 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code.

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