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Delhi HC notice to Centre, Delhi govt to provide laptops, internet to EWS students

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Delhi High Court

New Delhi, May 8: Delhi High Court on Friday issued notices to Centre and Delhi government on a plea seeking to provide laptops, smartphones with high-speed internet connection to students belonging to economically weaker sections (EWS) to attend online classes as schools are forced to shut due to coronavirus imposed lockdown.

A bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Sanjeev Narula also asked the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to file its response on the plea filed by NGO Justice For All through advocates Khagesh B Jha and Shikha Sharma Bagga.

The court observed that the schools and the government must ensure that no child could not be deprived of online education for the lack of teaching equipment.

It said that schools may procure the equipment for the EWS and can ask for reimbursement, if any, later from Central governemnt.

The matter has been listed for further hearing in the court on June 10.

The petition said that over 50,000 students belonging to the economically weaker sections (EWS) are not able to afford laptops, phones and other electronic gadgets and hence are deprived from attennding online classes being conducted by private schools.

India

Supreme Court notice to Centre, Assam on plea opposing delimitation

The petitioner has urged the apex court to defer the delimitation exercise until the Covid-19 pandemic is over.

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Delimitation Act 2002 in North East

New Delhi July 10 : The Supreme Court on Friday sought a response from Centre and Assam government on a plea by the state”s AIUDF party, seeking to defer the delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies in the state.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices R. Subhash Reddy and A.S. Bopanna, after brief hearing, issued notice.

“The decision to conduct the pending process of delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies, is not only an arbitrary and hasty decision, but stands contrary to the very idea behind conducting delimitation inasmuch as the present delimitation exercise is sought to be conducted on the basis of Census 2001, while Census 2011 has already been conducted and Census 2021 is underway,” said the plea filed by the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF).

The petition sought quashing of February 28 order which rescinded the February 8, 2008 notification that had deferred the process of delimitation in Assam. The petitioner has urged the apex court to defer the delimitation exercise until the Covid-19 pandemic is over.

The plea contended that the NRC for Assam is yet to be completed and the delimitation process was earlier deferred in 2008 on the grounds that the 2001 census was outdated. The process of delimitation in Assam, in 2008, had invoked strong opposition in the state, with apprehensions of breakdown of public order.

“Because this exercise has a direct impact on all the citizens of the state of Assam and if an election is held based on a flawed delimitation, it would be very difficult to reverse the damage that it will cause. Because there is no reason for the urgency shown on behalf of the respondents, that although the next census is due, the respondents prefer not to wait for the fresh data but instead insist on relying upon outdated data for delimitation,” said the plea.

The petitioners argued that delimitation is a complex procedure which impacts citizens rights to vote for their preferred candidates for a long time and unless the data is up to date, delimitation of constituencies and redrawing them will cause a large number of voters to be left out. “Delimitation proposed to be carried will change the constituencies and will have an impact on the voting rights and preferences of large number of voters and have great impact on candidates,” said the plea

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AIIMS JPNATC MS replaced after report on journo’s death filed

The journalist worked for a Hindi daily and lived with his wife and two children in northeast Delhi”s Bhajanpura.

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Harsh Vardhan

New Delhi, July 11 : Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan ordered immediate replacement of Medical Superintendent of AIIMS Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre (JPNATC) after a 4-member inquiry committee constituted to examine the suicide of journalist Tarun Sisodiya submitted its reported.

The report submitted by the committee on Friday said that no malafide intent was found in the death of the journalist.

“Directed that an expert committee be constituted to suggest suitable changes in administration, for AIIMS as well as JPNATC. The report, along with its recommendations, shall be submitted before me by July 27, 2020,” Harsh Vardhan tweeted.

“The committee did not find any malafide intent in the death of Mr Sisodiya. It also did not find any lapses in the treatment protocol of #Covid19,” he said.

Earlier, a 37-year-old journalist undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at the AIIMS Trauma Centre in Delhi since June 24 died after allegedly jumping off the fourth floor of the hospital building on July 6.

The journalist worked for a Hindi daily and lived with his wife and two children in northeast Delhi”s Bhajanpura.

Following the incident, Union Health Minister then asked the AIIMS Director to set a panel to probe the matter.

He was making significant recovery from COVID symptoms. He earlier underwent a surgery for frontal lobe meningioma (a type of brain tumour) at the G B Pant hospital in March 2020.

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United Nations chief wants Sathankulam killings in Tamil Nadu investigated

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Antonio Guterres

United Nations, July 11 : UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wants the death of a father and a son from Sathankulam in Tamil Nadu while in police custody with alleged signs of torture investigated, according to his Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

“Every death of all these cases as a principle need to be fully investigated,” Dujarric said on Friday when he was asked about the deaths of P Jayaraj and his son J Fennix, allegedly due to torture by police after their arrest on June 19.

Human rights organisations have called for ensuring police accountability in India.

Human Rights Watch South Asia Director Meenakshi Ganguly said, “As the world responds with horror at the killing of George Floyd, it is important for authorities in India to also embark upon robust efforts to ensure police reform, accountability, and putting an end to the culture of impunity.”

The killing of Floyd by police in Minneapolis has sparked a nation-wide movement in the US that has brought out into the open long-standing tradition of police brutality against minorities. The protests have spread to several countries around the world leading to an examination of police conduct, particularly towards minorities, and demands for reforms to end impunity.

Ganguly said about the Sathankulam case, “Despite numerous court directives and arrest procedures, the two recent deaths in Tamil Nadu has exposed yet again how police officers believe not only that they have the right to ‘teach someone a lesson’, but as was reported in the magistrate’s inquiry, that they will not be held accountable.”

Amnesty International India Executive Director Avinash Kumar said, “The deaths of Jayaraj and Fennix once again signal towards India’s continuing failure to hold its police accountable.”

He noted that “according to the 2018 National Crimes Record Bureau data, Tamil Nadu accounted for the second highest deaths in custody”.

“The Tamil Nadu State government cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the torture meted out by its police officers. It must show firm resolve by punishing the police officers involved and ensuring that Jayaraj and Fennix’s families get justice.”

Although torture has been outlawed in international law for over three decades, they are still not recognized as distinct crimes under Indian law, he said.

“India signed the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment in 1997, but has not yet passed domestic legislation that will enable it to ratify the Convention,” he said.

The Prevention of Torture Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in 2010 but has lapsed without the Rajya Sabha passing it.

The arrest of Jayaraj and Fennix, who ran a mobile phone shop, was reportedly related to the COVID-19 regulations on store closings.

They were taken to jail in Kovilpatti and Jayaraj died on June 21 and his son the next morning with signs of torture.

Merchants in Tamil Nadu held a one-day protest and there were other sporadic protests in Tamil Nadu but demonstrations were dampened by COVID-19 restrictions.

The Madras High Court has ordered an inquiry by police and six police personnel have been charged, with at least six arrested.

(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)

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