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Nirbhaya: Convict moves SC on rejection of mercy plea

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New Delhi: One of the death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case moved the Supreme Court seeking urgent hearing on his plea against the dismissal of his mercy petition by President Ram Nath Kovind.

Mukesh Kumar Singh (32) submitted the plea last week. His mercy plea was dismissed by the President on January 17.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant said, “If somebody is going to be hanged then nothing can be more urgent than this.”

The court asked Mukesh’s counsel to approach the mentioning officer as the hanging is scheduled on February 1.

Mukesh had moved the mercy petition before the President after the apex court had dismissed his curative petition against his conviction and death sentence. The lower court has issued the warrant for execution of death sentence for the convicts in the case that has been fixed for February 1 at 6 a.m.

Meanwhile, a Delhi court on Monday reserved its order on the application challenging the recent magistrate order which dismissed the plea questioning the credibility of the sole witness in the case and claiming that he was a tutored witness and his statement was not credible.

Additional Sessions Judge A.K. Jain will pronounce his order post-lunch.

Heera Lal Gupta, father of Nirbhaya death row convict Pawan Gupta on Thursday filed a revision petition in the sessions court challenging recent magistrate order which dismissed the application questioning the credibility of the sole witness.

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

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

The sole eyewitness who was a friend of the victim, was accompanying her in the bus when the gruesome incident took place in 2012 and he had also sustained injuries.

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

While citing the media reports, A.P. Singh stated “on the basis of said facts and circumstances, it is clear that the conduct of him clearly shows that his testimony was false and fabricated… This goes to the root of his testimony and if established would show that the testimony is infact false.”

The 23-year-old woman was gang raped and tortured on December 16, 2012, which later led to her death. All the six accused were arrested and charged with sexual assault and murder. One of the accused was a minor and appeared before a juvenile justice court, while another accused committed suicide in Tihar Jail.

Four of the convicts were sentenced to death by a trial court in September 2013, and 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.

India

PM Modi a versatile genius who thinks globally and acts locally: SC judge Justice Arun Mishra

Justice Mishra said India is a responsible and most friendly member of the international community under the ‘stewardship’ of Modi.

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Justice Arun Mishra

NEW DELHI: Supreme Court judge Justice Arun Mishra on Saturday was all praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and termed him as an “internationally acclaimed visionary” and a “versatile genius, who thinks globally and acts locally”.

Complimenting the PM and Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad for doing away with 1,500 obsolete laws, Justice Mishra said India is a responsible and most friendly member of the international community under the “stewardship” of Modi.

Delivering the vote of thanks at the inaugural function of the International Judicial Conference 2020 – ‘Judiciary and the Changing World’ at the Supreme Court, he said challenges faced by the judiciary at the national and international levels are common and judiciary has a “significant role” in the ever-changing world.

“Dignified human existence is our prime concern. We thank the versatile genius, who thinks globally and acts locally, Shri Narendra Modi, for his inspiring speech which would act as a catalyst in initiating the deliberations and setting the agenda for the conference,” Justice Mishra, who is third in seniority in the apex court, said while expressing gratitude to the PM for inaugurating the conference.

He said India is the biggest democracy in the world and “people wonder how this democracy is functioning so successfully”.

“India is a responsible and most friendly member of the international community under the stewardship of internationally acclaimed visionary Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi,” he said.

“India is committed to constitutional obligations and dedicated to a peaceful and secure world, free from terrorism. In the process of development, preservation of the environment is considered supreme,” he said.

Justice Mishra emphasised on the need to strengthen the judicial system saying, “Now we are in the 21st century. We are looking for modern infrastructure not only for the present but also for future.”

“To strengthen judicial system is the call of the day as it is the backbone of democracy whereas legislature is the heart and executive is the brain.

All these three organs of the state have to work independently but in tandem to make democracy successful…”.

Referring to globalisation, he said, “but there is growing concern among masses of being left out and deprived of the gains of globalisation”.

“The sense of injustice and inequality being created by the same looms large on us,” he said, adding, “It has to be taken care of by all of us alike before it becomes lethal like coronavirus”.

He also referred to the contribution of an independent and robust bar and said there is no denying the fact that “bar is the mother of judiciary”.

Judges from over 20 countries are attending the conference here.

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Ex-CIC Wajahat Habibullah welcomes Shaheen Bagh protesters’ move

The “breakthrough” came after the Supreme Court-appointed interlocutors assured the protesters that their demands would be taken up before the Supreme Court.

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Wajahat Habibullah

New Delhi, Feb 22 : Former Chief Information Officer Wajahat Habibullah, who has been assisting the interlocutors in dialogue with the anti-CAA protesters at Shaheen Bagh, has welcomed the protesters’ initiative to clear the blockade.

Speaking to IANS over phone, Habibullah said, “I welcome the move by the protestors. It’s really good news.”

When asked if the interlocutors have succeeded in their efforts, the former CIC said, “At this point, it would be premaute to say this.”

The passage between Kalindi Kunj and Nodia (via Road No. 9, Okhla) which was blocked for more than two months due to the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests at Shaheen Bagh was opened on Saturday.

The “breakthrough” came after the Supreme Court-appointed interlocutors assured the protesters that their demands would be taken up before the Supreme Court.

DCP South East R.P. Meena visited the site to review the situation. However, the barricades are partially placed and the police are checking every car passing through the passage.

The passage was blocked after protests continued in the Shaheen Bagh area of the national capital against the CAA and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The move comes four days after the Supreme Court appointed interlocutors to initiate talks with the protesters at Shaheen Bagh.

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Name loan waiver beneficiaries: Cong to govt

“Despite the loan waiver of about Rs 8 lakh crore, it was not mentioned whose loans have been waived? Why this privacy,” Shrinate said.

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Supriya Shrinate

New Delhi, Feb 22 : Blaming the Narendra Modi government for the state of economy, the Congress said, here on Saturday, without improvement in the banking sector the country’s economic condition couldn’t be ameliorated.

Addressing the media at the party headquarters, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate asked the government to name the corporates whose loans had been waived in the past six years and demanded a high-level panel be set up to examine the process of loan waiver.

“The government should make public the names of those whose debt has been waived, a high-level committee should be constituted to examine the process of loan waiver and it should also assess financial viability and potential of the banking sector,” Shrinate said.

The demand has come a day after global banking group Credit Suisse said the banking sector’s impaired assets remained at Rs 16.88 lakh crore — 15.7 per cent of the advances — as of December 2019, despite a decline in gross non-performing assets (NPAs) to Rs 9.1 lakh crore — 9.2 per cent of the advances.

Shrinate said the Congress had been raising economic issues with the hope that someday it would shake the government out of slumber and “denial” and make it understand the truth of economic recession.

“According to the recent reports, the banking problem is affecting India badly. Until the banks improve, India’s economic plight is almost impossible to solve,” said the Congress leader.

“As on date, about 16 per cent of loans has become stressed assets, which is Rs 16.88 lakh crore. These are the figures for December 2019. It was 12 per cent in 2017,” she said referring to the report.

In the December quarter, new NPAs started to form and at an increased pace in sectors like telecom, real estate, MSMEs and automobile, she said.

She said the government was saying NPAs had declined from 11.7 per cent to 9.2 per cent. “It should have been good news, the economy should have improved. But has it,” the Congress leader said.

“The truth is different. Banks are actually waiving loans of big capitalists,” she said, adding since the BJP came to power in 2014, around Rs 8 lakh crore debt had been waived. The government should have recovered it from them, she said.

“Despite the loan waiver of about Rs 8 lakh crore, it was not mentioned whose loans have been waived? Why this privacy,” Shrinate said.

“Lending by banks is an indicator of a good economy. But when the demand declines, it means there is an economic slowdown. The demand today is down at 12 per cent in private banks and 4 per cent in government banks,” she said.

Shrinate said, “Whenever the BJP government is questioned on the banking sector’s condition, it blames the previous government. But repeated lying doesn’t change the truth. What it has done for banking reforms in the past six years.”

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