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NGO moves SC against appointment of Rao as CBI interim Director

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New Delhi, Jan 14: NGO Common Cause on Monday moved the Supreme Court opposing the appointment of M. Nageshwara Rao as the CBI’s interim Director and for directions for laying down specific mechanisms to ensure transparency in the appointment process.

In a writ petition, the NGO represented by senior counsel Prashant Bhushan, said it was seeking quashing of the order dated January 10 appointing Rao as the interim chief after the removal of Alok Verma because it was “illegal, arbitrary, mala fide and in violation of the Delhi Police Special Establishment (DPSE) Act” and the judgement of the apex court in the Alok Verma and Vineet Narain cases.

The NGO contended that the high-powered Selection Committee for appointment of the CBI Director has been completely bypassed by the union government which has arbitrarily, without any jurisdiction, appointed Rao as interim Director on January 10.

“The appointment of Nageshwara Rao as interim CBI Director was apparently not made on the basis of recommendations of the high powered selection committee. The order dated January 10, 2019 states that the appointment committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Nageshwara Rao ‘as per the earlier arrangements’.

“However, this earlier arrangement i.e. order dated October 23, 2018 making Rao the interim Director, had been quashed by this court vide order dated January 8, 2019 as it was made in violation of the procedure for appointment of CBI Director as defined in the DPSE Act,” it said.

The organisation contended that the government still invoked its earlier order which has been quashed to once again make Rao interim Director of the CBI even though it was not the competent authority and did not have the powers to make the appointment.

The petition also said while the high-powered committee was adequately balanced and provisions exist to safeguard the functional autonomy of the CBI Director, there has been a lack of transparency in the appointment of CBI Director which allows the government to exercise “undue influence” in the appointment process, especially at the stage of shortlisting of candidates.

“The Government of India has attempted to stifle the independence of the institution of the CBI by appointing the Director of the CBI in an arbitant and illegal manner. Further, the lack of transparency in the process of appointment prevents any meaningful public scrutiny and allows the government to exercise undue influence in the process especially at the stage of shortlisting of candidates, thereby undermining the institution of CBI,” it said.

IANS

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HAL-built light combat helicopter completes weapon trials

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HAL , Light Combat Helicopter; Image : ANI , Sanjay Simha

Bengaluru, Jan 17: The Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) developed by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has successfully carried out air to air missile firing on a moving aerial target and is ready for operational induction, the defence behemoth said on Thursday.

Other weapons on the LCH include a 20mm Turret gun and 70 mm Rockets, the firing trials of which have already been completed last year.

“During the tests conducted at integrated test range, Chandipur Odisha recently, Wg Cdr Subash P John, VM (Retd), test pilot, Col Ranjit Chitale, (Retd), Flight Test Engineer from HAL and Gp Capt Rajeev Dubey, test pilot from the IAF, executed a flawless mission and achieved a direct hit on the aerial target, destroying it completely,” said HAL spokesperson Gopal Sutar in a press statement.

According to the HAL, LCH is the only attack copter in the world which is capable of operating at altitudes as high as Siachen glacier.

The helicopter is equipped with helmet mounted sight and a forward looking infrared sighting system, allowing its pilots to detect and attack any target on ground or in the air.

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President Ram Nath Kovind offers prayer at Kumbh

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President Kovind

Prayagraj, Jan 17: President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday offered prayers at ongoing Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Governor Ram Naik were also present.

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Supreme Court allows Mumbai dance bars to reopen with restrictions

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Mumbai dance bars
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Mumbai, Jan 17: The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed dance bars to reopen in Mumbai but imposed regulations such as barring CCTV surveillance.

It said there was no need for CCTV surveillance inside dance bars as it violates privacy.

The apex court said that the performers could be tipped, but showering of cash and coins will not be allowed inside the bars.

The court added that Maharashtra cannot ban dance bars by taking recourse to regulating them, noting that since 2005 no licence has been issued.

“Since 2005 till date, no licence has been issued. There may be regulation but that does not amount to total prohibition,” said a bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan.

Pronouncing the judgment, Justice Sikri said that there could be no segregation of dance stage and that of drinking and eating space as it struck down the provision for “mandatory” installing of CCTV cameras in the dance bars holding that it violates privacy.

The court upheld the definition of obscenity given in the State law saying that it was not vague.

Holding that those visiting the dance bar could give tips, the court said no to the showering of money during dance performances.

The court held as “unreasonable” the provision that says that a dance bar should be one kilometre away from religious places, hospitals and educational institutions.

However, it left it to the state legislature to take a call on the issue.

Striking down the provision that said that the owner of the dance bar should have a “good character” and no “criminal antecedents”, the court said: “There is no precise definition of what amounts to good character and criminal antecedents.”

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