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Imran Khan writes to PM Modi, seeks resumption of dialogue

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Imran Khan

Islamabad, Sep 20: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote a  letter to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, seeking for the resumption of dialogue between New Delhi and Islamabad.

Last month, Modi had written to Khan congratulating him on taking charge as Pakistan’s 22nd prime minister.

Responding to this, the Pakistani Minister in September 14  dated letter, said “I endorse your sentiment that the only way forward for our two countries lies in ‘constructive engagement.’ It was in this spirit that Pakistan’s Minister of Law and Information attended the funeral of Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee in New Delhi”.

On India-Pakistan relations, Khan wrote ” Pakistan and India have an undeniably challenging relationship. We, however, owe it to our peoples, especially the future generations, to peacefully resolve all outstanding issues, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, to bridge differences and achieve a mutually beneficial outcome. Siachin and Sir Creek also need close attention towards resolution”.

“Pakistan remains ready to discuss terrorism. Discussion on trade, people to people contacts, religious tourism, humanitarian issues are also important”, he added.

The letter also stated “Building on mutual desire for peace between our two countries, I wish to propose a meeting between Foreign Minister, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi and External Affairs Minister, Ms. Sushma Swaraj, before the informal meeting of the SAARC Foreign Ministers at the sidelines of the upcoming UN General Assembly in New York. They can explore the way forward, especially the holding of the SAARC Council of Ministers followed by the SAARC Summit in Islamabad. The summit will offer an opportunity for you to visit Pakistan and for us to restart the stalled dialogue process. I look forward to working with you for the benefit of the people of both our countries.”

The outreach by the cricketer-turned-politician has come ahead of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), which is slated to be held in New York for next week.

The dialogue between the two neighbouring countries remains suspended since 2015 due to incidents of cross-border terrorism and  ceasefire violations by the Pakistani troops along the Line of Control and International Border in Jammu and Kashmir.

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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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