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Manipur fake encounters: Supreme Court dismisses police plea on judges’ recusal

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Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, Nov 12: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea by several Manipur Police personnel seeking recusal of judges of a bench hearing extra-judicial killings in the state.

A bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice U.U. Lalit dismissed the plea holding that it was without any basis.

Reiterating its earlier directions, Justice Lokur ordered that the investigating authorities should go ahead without being influenced by any of the observation made by the court by its July 20 order.

Earlier, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, on behalf of the Centre, supported the petitioners saying the armed forces face difficult situations in areas like Manipur and have to adopt various methods to deal with situation at hand.

Venugopal had said the reported remarks of the bench that the security personnel were “murderers” had “completely shaken” the morale of the police and armed forces.

Besides the personnel of Manipur Police, the court has also been moved by over 300 serving Army officers and personnel against the dilution of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) that gives immunity to the military from prosecution for actions in disturbed areas where it is in force.

The court has been hearing the main case which was a PIL seeking a probe into as many as 1,528 cases of extra-judicial killings in Manipur.

On July 14, 2017, the apex court set up a Special Investigation Team comprising CBI officers and ordered registration of FIRs and investigation into the alleged extra-judicial killings in Manipur.

The court had ordered the registration of FIRs in 81 cases, including 32 probed by a Commission of Inquiry, 32 investigated by judicial authorities, 11 in which compensation was awarded and six probed by a Commission headed by former Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde.

IANS

India

Supreme Court grants anticipatory bail to former Punjab DGP Saini in murder case

Bench asks him to surrender his passport, co-operate with probe and not to influence witnesses in the case

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Sumedh Singh Saini

New Delhi, December 3: The Supreme Court on Thursday granted anticipatory bail to former Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini in the 1991 Balwant Singh Multani murder case.

A Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, however, asked Saini to surrender his passport, co-operate with the investigation and not to influence witnesses in the case.

If arrested, the former Punjab DGP would be released on bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh with two sureties in the like amount, the top court said.

The Bench had reserved its verdict on November 17 after hearing arguments from senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi for Saini and senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, representing Punjab Government.

Even during the hearing the Bench had questioned the need for custody of the accused after 30 years of the crime observed that it was prima facie inclined to grant anticipatory bail.

Multani — a junior engineer with Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Corporation — was allegedly picked up by the police in December 1991 after a terror attack on Saini that left three policemen killed. Saini was injured in the attack.

Saini’s troubles started in May when he was booked at a police station in Mohali along with six others for the alleged kidnapping of Multani in 1991. Murder charge was added in August after two of the accused policemen spill the beans.

The Punjab government had opposed Saini’s plea. Granting anticipatory bail to the accused at this stage would hamper the probe, Luthra had argued.

The Supreme Court had on September 15 granted interim protection from arrest to Saini and posted his plea for anticipatory bail for hearing after four weeks.

Earlier, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had on September 7 dismissed his anticipatory bail plea.

“This case is of 1991. After 30 years what is the hurry to arrest him… We will grant you time to file a reply,” the Bench had said, adding he will not be arrested till further orders.

However, the top court had asked Saini to co-operate with the Punjab Police in the investigation of the case.

Rohatgi had earlier contended that Punjab government was after Saini because he had filed two charge sheets in which current Chief Minister Capt Amarinder was an accused. “This is why they are after me,” he had submitted.

In a separate petition, Saini has also challenged a Punjab and Haryana High Court order dismissing his plea for quashing of the FIR in the case.

He is also facing trial in a Special CBI Court in Delhi along with three others for alleged abduction and disappearance of automobile businessman Vinod Kumar, his brother-in-law Ashok Kumar and their driver Mukhtiyar Singh in 1994.

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RBI asks HDFC Bank to temporarily stop issuing new credit cards

Furthermore, the filing said that these measures shall be considered for lifting upon satisfactory compliance with the major critical observations as identified by the RBI.

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HDFC Bank

The Reserve Bank has asked HDFC Bank to temporarily stop all launches of the ‘Digital Business generating activities and sourcing of new credit card customers.

The RBI’s order dated December 2 comes after outages in the bank’s online facilities or payment utilities occurred over the past 2 years, including the recent incident in the internet banking and payment system on November 21, 2020 due to a power failure in the primary data centre.

In a regulatory filing, HDFC Bank on Thursday said: “The RBI vide said ‘Order’ has advised the Bank to temporarily stop i) all launches of the Digital Business generating activities planned under its program – Digital 2.0 (to be launched) and other proposed business generating IT applications and (ii) sourcing of new credit card customers. In addition, the Order states that the Bank’s Board examines the lapses and fixes accountability.”

Furthermore, the filing said that these measures shall be considered for lifting upon satisfactory compliance with the major critical observations as identified by the RBI.

“The Bank over the last two years has taken several measures to fortify its IT systems and will continue to work swiftly to close out the balance and would continue to engage with the Regulator in this regard.

“The Bank has always endeavoured to provide seamless digital banking services to its customers. The Bank has been taking conscious, concrete steps to remedy the recent outages on its digital banking channels and assures its customers that it expects the current supervisory actions will have no impact on its existing credit cards, digital banking channels and existing operations.”

In addition, the bank said these measures will not materially impact its overall business.

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Board exams 2021: CISCE writes to all CMs to allow partial reopening of schools from January for classes 10 and 12

The Chief Executive and Secretary Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) has written to all chief ministers to allow schools to reopen partially from January onwards, especially for students of classes 10 and 12 who will be appearing for board exams.

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students in examination hall

The Chief Executive and Secretary Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) has written to all chief ministers to allow schools to reopen partially from January onwards, especially for students of classes 10 and 12 who will be appearing for board exams.

The council has also written to the Chief Election Commissioner of India to share the poll schedule of the states where elections are due in April and May so the datesheet for board exams can be finalised accordingly.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all schools have been closed from March 2020 till date. However, despite the closure, most of our schools have continued with the teaching and learning process in an online, offline or blended manner, as indicated by a survey conducted by CISCE on the status of online teaching, assessment and completion of syllabus,” said Gerry Arathoon, Chief Executive of CISCE.

“For the final run-up to the examinations, CISCE has requested the chief ministers of all state governments and UTs to allow schools to reopen partially, specifically for the students of classes 10 and 12 from January, 2021,” he said.

“With the students physically attending school, this time will be utilised for practical work, project work, SUPW work and for doubt clearing lessons. This will be extremely beneficial to the students who will now get the time to interact directly with their teachers,” he added.

Arathoon asserted that if allowed to reopen, the schools will be informed to follow the directives of the state government regarding COVID-19 and to conform to the safety guidelines and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) of the health department to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“CISCE has also requested the Chief Election Commissioner of India to share the election dates of the states that are due to have their elections in the months of April – May next year,” he said.

“This will enable CISCE to finalise the schedules for ICSE (Class 10) and ISC (Class 12) year 2021 examinations and to ensure that there are no clash of dates, interruption of the examinations or any inconvenience that may be faced by the candidates taking these examinations,” he added.

Schools across the country were closed in March to contain the spread of COVID-19 and partially reopened in some states from October 15. However, a few states decided to keep them closed in view of a spike in infections.

The board had to cancel its pending exams in March view of the spike in COVID-19 cases and the result was declared on the basis of an alternative assessment scheme.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) too is yet to take a decision on the schedule for conducting board exams next year. However, the board has ruled out conducting online exams and has clarified that the board exams will be in pen and paper mode only.

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