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Former Delhi CJ warns against anti-national, sedition charges to hammer free voice



A P Shah

New Delhi, April 20: Former chief justice of Delhi High Court A P Shah on Wednesday widely spoke against forces that are trying to “instill a feeling within one of a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism.” 

Shah was delivering a lecture on ‘free speech, nationalism and sedition’ for M N Roy memorial lecture. He questioned the government’s “acceptable view” of “nationalism” that forced one to “stand for the national anthem at a movie theatre.” He spoke against rising cult of nationalism where anyone holding a view different from the dubbed is termed as “anti-national” today.

He said nationalism is not prescribing what you can eat, see, and speak. Speaking for M N Roy memorial lecture, Shah paralleled the current discourse on “nationalism” with what eminent thinker and nationalist M N Roy said in 1942, “A parochial, selfish, narrow minded nationalism has caused so much misfortune and misery to the world. A mad and exaggerated form of this cult of nationalism is today running rampant.”

Shah said, “Unfortunately, our institutions of learning are under attack today and there is a concerted attempt to destroy any independent thought. Today, sadly, in this country I love, if anyone holds a view that is different from the government’s acceptable view, they are immediately dubbed as anti-national or desh-drohi.”

He further said the title of “anti-national” is being used to beat the voices of dissent and criticism, followed by slapping criminal charges of sedition.

Disagreeing with Supreme Court’s order regarding national anthem and said, “It is important to remember that the right to free speech and expression also includes the right not to speak or express ourselves. However, under the guise of law, the court has now stepped in and restricted our fundamental rights.”

Justice Shah cautioned against the perils of such muzzling up at university campuses and said, “We have a 21-year-old university student who is subject to severe online hate, abuse and threats only because she dared express her views.”

Shah informed the audience that his maternal grandfather was president of the Hindu Mahasabha in the 1940s and questioned RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s call for bringing up a national law against cow slaughter. “We must be wary of forcing a single ideology or way of living on the entire country, especially a country as diverse as India, where states such as Kerala, or the various states in the north-east, consider beef a staple part of their diet.”

Taking on to crackdown on slaughter houses in Uttar Pradesh, Shah said targeted action at Muslim butchers is not only bringing a havoc of fear to lakhs of people but it is also risking the stable employment of these people.

The other eminent personalities present were Law Commission chairman Justice B S Chauhan, third senior-most judge of the SC Justice J Chelameswar and other former and sitting judges of the apex court.

Justice Chelameswar related with Shah’s views and noted that bound by his constitutional obligation, he could not enjoy the same freedom of speech as Shah.

“In a democracy, freedom of speech rings hollow if the government cannot ensure the same,” said the chairman of the 20th Law Commission. He said it’s time to change the draconian Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code which deals with sedition.

Wefornews Bureau


SpiceJet announces 14 new flights starting July 1




New Delhi, June 18: Budget passenger carrier SpiceJet on Monday announced 14 new domestic flights and enhanced frequency on some routes effective from July 1.

“Effective July 1 the airline is all set to introduce new direct flights on the Pune-Patna, Chennai-Rajahmundry, Hyderabad-Calicut and Bengaluru-Tuticorin sectors,” SpiceJet said here in a statement.

The airline would also enhance its operations on the Delhi-Patna (second frequency), Bengaluru-Rajahmundry (second frequency) and Mumbai-Bengaluru (fifth frequency) sectors, it said.

The new flights introduced on the Delhi-Patna, Mumbai-Bengaluru, and Chennai-Rajahmundry sectors would be operational daily, the airline said, whereas the frequencies introduced on the Hyderabad-Calicut, Bengaluru-Tuticorin and Bengaluru-Rajahmundry routes would be operational on all days except Tuesdays.

Patna-Pune will be operational on all days except Saturday, it added. SpiceJet further said bookings for the new flights are currently open.


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Money laundering: Enforcement Directorate files charge sheet against Vijay Mallya



Vijay Mallya

New Delhi, June 18: The Enforcement Directorate on Monday filed a charge sheet against Liquor baron Vijay Mallya in connection with money laundering case. 

The 62-year-old is facing a trial in the UK Court, to rule if he can be extradited to India to face charges for financial irregularities involving a total amount of Rs 9,000 crores, as well as money laundering cases.

Earlier in May, Mallya lost a lawsuit filed in London by a consortium of Indian banks seeking to collect the amount of Rs. 10,000 crore amid allegations that he committed massive fraud.

In its order, the Court had said the consortium of lenders, including IDBI Bank, can impose an Indian court’s decision against Mallya, who was found to have willfully defaulted on $1.4 billion in loan taken by his now-defunct airline Kingfisher, news agency ANI reported.

Judge Andrew Henshaw also refused to overturn a countrywide freeze placed on Mallya’s assets.

The Businessman was nabbed by Scotland Yard on an extradition warrant in April 2017. Presently he is out on bail on a bond worth 650,000 pounds.

Besides this case, the High Court of London on February 12 ordered Mallya to pay an estimated USD 90 million to a Singapore-based carrier leasing firms in claims.

The case involves a number of aircraft leased by Vijay Mallya’s now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines from BOC Aviation in 2014. However, the business denied the allegations levelled against him and claimed they are “politically motivated”.


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Army chief General Bipin Rawat meets family of martyr Aurangzeb



Army chief Aurangzeb family

Jammu, June 18: Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Monday visited the family of rifleman Aurangzeb who was abducted and killed by militants in Jammu and Kashmir on June 15.

Gen Rawat went to the village of the slain soldier in Mendhar area of Poonch district.

“He spent 45 minutes with the bereaved family, consoling them and lauding the exemplary courage and bravery of the martyred soldier who faced death in the true tradition of a brave soldier,” a Defence Ministry statement said.

“The Army chief assured the family that the killers of Aurangzeb would be brought to justice and the death of the Braveheart would be avenged at all costs.”

Aurangzeb was brutally killed in Pulwama district in the Kashmir Valley.

He was on way to join his family on the occasion of Eid when the militants intercepted the private vehicle in which the soldier was travelling to Shopian town, from where he would take another vehicle for Poonch.

A video released by the militant group that abducted Aurangzeb showed him bravely acknowledged that he was a soldier of the Indian Army and had participated in anti-militancy operations in south Kashmir.


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