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Lok Sabha passes Bill to extend SC/ST reservation by 2030

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Parliament

New Delhi, Dec 10 : The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a Bill with voice vote to extend the reservation of Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) for the next 10 years up to January 25, 2030, with the government announcing that the reservation will “never” be removed.

In his concluding remarks, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Sixth Amendment) Bill, 2019 amends provisions related to reservation of seats for SCs and STs and that reservation is the right of these under the privileged community.

“Reservation is undoubtedly good and it should be going on further. The BJP is determined to provide reservation for SC/ST and it will be. This reservation will never be removed,” Prasad said.

The Minister said the government will bring reservation in judiciary also.

The Bill was passed with division of votes with 352/0.

The government brought the Bill in the House for its passage as the reservation provision for SCs and STs in the Constitution is to cease on January 25, 2020.

The Bill, however, did not mention about the extension of reservation for the Anglo-Indian community whose reservation will also cease on the same date.

Opposition parties across the party lines supported the Bill for extending reservation for SCs and STs, but they questioned the government why it took away the Anglo-Indian community out of the Bill and not declared extension of their reservation even after they played major roles in various fields. Over two dozen MPs participated in the discussion on the Bill which lasted over three hours.

The Minister said that Article 334 of the Constitution lays down that its provisions relating to the reservation of seats for the SCs and STs and the representation of the Anglo-Indian community by nomination in the House of the People and Legislative Assemblies of the states shall cease to have effect on the expiration of the period of 70 years from the commencement of the Constitution.

In other words, the Minister said these provisions will cease to have effect on January 25, 2020, if not extended further.

“Although the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes have made considerable progress in the last 70 years, the reasons which weighed with the Constituent Assembly in making provisions with regard to the aforesaid reservation of seats have not yet ceased to exist.

“Therefore, with a view to retaining the inclusive character as envisioned by the founding fathers of the Constitution, it is proposed to continue the reservation of seats for the SCs and the STs for another ten years up to January 25, 2030.”

The Minister said 84 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats are reserved for SCs. “In Legislative Assemblies, there are 4,120 seats and 614 of these are reserved for SCs.

“As far as STs are concerned, a total of 47 seats are reserved for them in Lok Sabha and 554 in various Legislative Assemblies.”

As per the 2011 census, the population of SCs is over 20.13 crore and STs is over 10 crore.

Talking about the Anglo-Indians, the Minister said it was decided that two seats will be reserved for them in the Lok Sabha and one in legislative assemblies. “We have not come with the Bill (for Anglo-Indian) but we are thinking.”

Meanwhile, oppositions raised objection over the issue on which the Minister said only 296 Anglo-Indians are in India as per the 2011 census. “In West Bengal, the number of Anglo-Indian as per the 2011 census is 9, Odisha 4, Chhattisgarh 3, Maharashtra 16, Andhra Pradesh 62, Karnataka 9, Kerala 124 and Tamil Nadu 69.”

“It is written in the Constitution that reservation shall be given to SC and ST but for Anglo-Indians, it is mentioned that it will be in the nominated category. Today, we did not come with that Bill. But, I request to pass the Bill to spread a message that the House is determined for the welfare of SCs and STs.”

DMK’s Kanimojhi said she was happy to support the Bill, but asked why the Anglo-Indian community is not included in the Bill. “As the number of the community is shrinking, we cannot forget the contribution of the Anglo-Indians in the country.”

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Cities

Now Mumbai gets it own ‘Shaheen Bagh’

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Shaheen Bagh
Shaheen Bagh Jamia Nagar Protest Site Picture.

Mumbai, Jan 27 : Inspired by the Shaheen Bagh protests in New Delhi, a large group of women have launched a similar style of protests from January 26-27 midnight in south Mumbai early on Monday.

Terming it a ‘Mumbai Bagh’, they are silently protesting against the CAA-NRC-NPR and by morning the crowds swelled even as Mumbai Police rushed to make tight security arrangements at the site at Morland Road-Thandi Sadak.

The protesters are mainly Muslim women from minority-dominated areas of Madanpur, Byculla, Agripada, Jhoola Maidan and surroundings who are staging a sit-in agitation, off the Arabia Hotel, near Mumbai Central station.

Senior Police Inspector Shalini Sharma told mediapersons that the protesters were asked to take prior permission but they refused to move from the site and continued to occupy the road.

Initially, surrounding the protesters around 3 a.m., by dawn the police stepped aside and the peaceful protests continued with raising of slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government, placards and posters opposing CAA-NRC-NPR, reading of the Preamble of the Constitution, singing patriotic songs and poems, and waving of the tricolour.

The protesters also sent messages to people providing regular updates and asking them to join them from their Twitter handle ‘Mumbai Against CAB’.

Besides, activists in Kalyan town in adjoining Thane district have announced a five-day Shaheen Bagh-type agitation at the Babasaheb Ambedkar Garden starting February 1.

Some of the messages today read: “URGENT. More people are needed at #MumbaiBagh right now. #IndiaAgainstCAA_NPR_NRC is for everyone and we all share equal responsibility towards sustaining this fight. The unjust & discriminatory forces unleashed by this govt must be defeated! Please join and spread the word.”

Similarly, Twitter handle ‘CAA/NRC Protest Info’, posted: “Need people to come to #MumbaiBagh or we will be detained … Please do come ASAP. Location: Mumbai Central, Next to Arabia Hotel, Opposite City Centre.”

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Kapil Sibal threatens to sue news channels making baseless allegations…….

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Kapil Sibal Speech

New Delhi, Jan 27: Amid nationwide protest over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has identified an organisation named Rehab Foundation of India (RFI), which has funded over Rs 120 crore for the protest.

The ED also alleged that the payments were made to senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal, senior advocates Indira Jaising, Dushyant Dave and a person named Abdul Samad, who is also named in National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Kapil Sibal slams link up with PFI to CAA stir. Sibal says, he received payment for Hadiya case between 2017 and 2018 only for professional services.

Senior advocates Dushyant Dave and Indira Jaising have also denied receiving any funds from the Popular Front of India in relation to protests against the newly-enacted Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Dave, who is also President, Supreme Court Bar Association, said “I have appeared in the Hadiya case, the 25-year-old woman whose marriage after conversion to Islam was first annulled by the High Court and later restored by the Supreme Court. I have no connection with Popular Front of India (PFI) in the anti-CAA protests.”

He also cited the statement by PFI, released on March 28 2018, that the organisation spent a total of Rs 99.52 lakh on fighting the case dubbed as the ‘Love Jihad’ case for Hadiya’s husband Shefin Jahan for 10 months. PFI had paid Rs 93,85 lakh as lawyer fees including to four senior lawyers – Kapil Sibal, Dave, Jaising and Marzook Bafaki – who had appeared in the apex court for Jahan.

Sibal had appeared seven times, while Jaising and Dave appeared four and three times, respectively, in the matter. Citing the Hadiya case, Dave said “It was a sad commentary on judiciary that a love marriage was given intense judicial and police scrutiny merely because the two were from different religions.”

Jaising in a statement said, “I completely and vehemently deny having received any money from PFI at any point of time, or receiving any money from any person or organisation in relation to anti-CAA protests.”

She insisted that the note showing details of transactions from the PFI account alleged to her does not contain any signature or date nor does it contain the name of the agency from where it has originated, and therefore it is wholly unreliable.

“Any motive attributed to scandalise my reputation will lead to serious civil as well as criminal legal action against such persons and media platforms,” she added in her statement.

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Plea against magisterial order in Nirbhaya case dismissed

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Judiciary Court

New Delhi: A Delhi sessions court on Monday dismissed the application challenging recent magisterial order that rejected the plea questioning the credibility of the sole witness in the Nirbhaya gangrape and fatal assault case, claiming he was tutored and his statement was not credible.

Additional Sessions Judge A.K. Jain pronounced the order on the plea filed on Thursday by Heera Lal Gupta, father of Nirbhaya death-row convict Pawan Gupta.

On January 6, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sudhir Kumar Sirohi had dismissed the application of the convict’s father questioning the credibility of the sole eyewitness in the case.

The complaint cited some recent media reports that alleged the witness charged money to appear for interviews on news channels, advocate A.P. Singh said.

The eyewitness, a friend of 23-year-old victim, was accompanying her in the bus when the incident took place. He had also sustained injuries.

“This calls for an independent investigation into the perjury that appears to have been committed by him (witness), as being the sole witness his testimony has strongly influenced the outcome of the case leading to death penalty,” the complaint said.

While citing the media reports, the advocate said, “On the basis of said facts and circumstances, it’s clear his testimony was false and fabricated. This goes to the root of his testimony. If established, it would show that the testimony is false.”

The victim was gangraped and tortured on December 16, 2012, which led to her death. All the six accused were arrested and charged with sexual assault and murder. One of the accused, a minor, appeared before a juvenile justice court, while another committed suicide in Tihar Jail.

Four convicts were sentenced to death by a trial court in September 2013. The verdict was confirmed by the Delhi High Court in March 2014 and upheld by the Supreme Court in May 2017, which also dismissed their review petition in July 2018.

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