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Prashant Bhushan plea listed before another SC bench, explanation sought

The matter was listed before a bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and K.M. Joseph on August 10, but now has been deleted.

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Prashant Bhushan Lawyer

New Delhi, Aug 8 : In yet another lapse by the Supreme Court registry, some of its officials are in the dock for listing a petition jointly filed by Prashant Bhushan, N. Ram and Arun Shourie challenging the validity of criminal contempt before a bench other than the one headed by Justice Arun Mishra which has already taken up similar matters.

According to sources familiar with the development, the issues connected with the wrong listing of the case have been taken up by officials concerned in the top court.

The matter was listed before a bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and K.M. Joseph on August 10, but now has been deleted.

According to a senior official, as per practice and procedure in use, the matter should have been listed before the bench, which is already seized with a similar matter, but, had been listed elsewhere by ignoring established practice and procedure. “In this regard, explanation of officials concerned have been called for,” said the source.

Senior journalist Ram, former Union Minister Arun Shourie and activist-lawyer Bhushan moved the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of Section 2(c)(i) of the Contempt of Courts Act, contending it violated Articles 19 and 14 of the Constitution.

The petitioners argued that this sub-section is unconstitutional, as it is incompatible with values in the Preamble and basic features of the Constitution and violates Article 19(1)(a). They claimed the sub-section is unconstitutionally and incurably vague and is manifestly arbitrary.

This petition was filed after the apex court took cognisance of criminal contempt against Bhushan for his two tweets. All the matters were heard by a bench headed by Justice Mishra. The bench had reserved its verdict in the contempt case earlier this week.

However, the bench had dismissed Bhushan’s petition against the Secretary General of the court for initiating the proceedings.

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Sonia Gandhi, Son Rahul Return From US After Her Medical Check-Up: Reports

Sources had said her medical check-up was overdue and was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Sonia Gandhi and Rahul

New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi returned from abroad early today, sources said.

Mrs Gandhi, 73, had gone to the United States for her routine medical check-up on September 12, two days ahead of the Monsoon session of Parliament. Rahul Gandhi had accompanied her during the visit.

Sources had said her medical check-up was overdue and was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sonia Gandhi had cleared the Congress’ organisational restructuring before leaving for the US.

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After military talks, India and China announce slew of decisions to bring down tensions in eastern Ladakh

The decisions were mentioned in a joint statement issued by the two armies late Tuesday, a day after the sixth round of Sino-India Corps commander-level talks that lasted for 14-hours.

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New Delhi: Announcing a slew of decisions to bring down tensions in eastern Ladakh, the Indian and Chinese army have decided to stop sending more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground, and avoid taking any actions that may further complicate the environment.

The decisions were mentioned in a joint statement issued by the two armies late Tuesday, a day after the sixth round of Sino-India Corps commander-level talks that lasted for 14-hours.

The two armies also agreed to strengthen communication on the ground, avoid misunderstandings and misjudgments and earnestly implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries.

“The two sides had candid and in-depth exchange of views on stabilising the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the India-China border areas,” said the statement released by the Indian Army.

It said the two sides also agreed to take practical measures to properly solve problems on the ground, and jointly safeguard peace and tranquillity in the border areas.

It said both sides also resolved to hold the 7th round of military commander talks as soon as possible.

“They agreed to earnestly implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, strengthen communication on the ground, avoid misunderstandings and misjudgments, stop sending more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground, and avoid taking any actions that may complicate the situation,” the statement said.

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Lok Sabha passes Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill, 2020

As per the Bill, Kashmiri will be the official language along with four other languages — Dogri, Hindi, Urdu and English.

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Lok Sabha

New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill, 2020 with voice vote, allowing Kashmiri, Dogri and Hindi, apart from the existing Urdu and English, to be official languages in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Speaking on the Bill, Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy said that it was a demand of the people of Jammu and Kashmir that the languages they speak should be official languages of the UT.

Since 53.26 per cent of people in Jammu and Kashmir speak Kashmiri, there was a need to include it as the official language of the state, he said.

The minister added that people in Jammu and Kashmir speak as well as write Kashmiri, so there is no problem in including it as an official language.

As per the Bill, Kashmiri will be the official language along with four other languages — Dogri, Hindi, Urdu and English.

Reddy said that 26.64 per cent of the people in the UT speak Dogri, while Urdu, which is currently an official language, is spoken only by 0.16 per cent the population.

The minister said while the government is not against any regional language, the Bill gives importance to those 70 per cent people who speak Kashmiri and Dogri in the UT.

For the last 70 years, Urdu has been the official language of Jammu and Kashmir, he said, adding that 2.36 per cent of the population in the UT speaks Hindi.

Opposing the Bill, Hasnain Masoodi of National Conference said the Central government did not have the legislative competence to frame a Bill in this regard.

He said it is not a fact that only 0.16 per cent of the population in J&K speaks Urdu which is a link language between the Jammu region and the Kashmir Valley.

Masoodi asked that if only 0.16 per cent people in the UT speak Urdu, why would the government include it as an official language. No other state has five official languages, he added.

Participating in the discussion, Union minister Jitendra Singh said that he was surprised as the National Conference is opposing the inclusion of Kashmiri as an official language because his party ruled in the region for almost 60 years on the name of “Kashmiriat”.

“You have exposed yourself in front of Kashmiris by going against the language,” he said.

The Bill was later passed by a voice vote with Masoodi as the only Opposition member who objected to the draft legislation.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah later said in a tweet that it was a momentous day for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. “With this historic Bill…Long-awaited dream of the people of J&K comes true! Kahmiri, Dogri, Urdu, Hindi and English will now be the official languages of J&K.”

Under the Bill, Shah said that special efforts will be made for the development of major regional languages like Gojri, Pahari and Punjabi.

Along with this, the Bill will also strengthen the existing institutional structure for the promotion and development of regional languages.

Lauding the efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his commitment towards restoring the culture of Jammu and Kashmir through this Bill, Shah said that he wants to assure his sisters and brothers in Jammu and Kashmir that the Modi government will leave no stone unturned to bring back the glory of the erstwhile state.

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