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Present situation in Supreme Court disastrous: Former CJI RM Lodha

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Image: PTI

New Delhi: Former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha on Tuesday described the prevailing situation in the Supreme Court as “disastrous” and said though the CJI is the master of a roster, the allocation of cases has to be “fair and in the interest of the institution”.

Stating that “the independence of the judiciary is non-negotiable”, Justice Lodha said it was for the CJI to take the institution forward by showcasing “statesmanship qualities” and taking his colleagues together.

“The phase we are seeing at the Supreme Court today is, to say the least, disastrous. It is high time that collegiality is restored. The judges, though with their different approaches and different viewpoints, must find a common ground that takes the Supreme Court forward. That maintains the independence of the judiciary,” news agency PTI quoted Justice Lodha as saying.

He came with this statement at the launch of a book by former union minister Arun Shourie.

Without making any reference to the incumbent CJI Dipak Misra, Lodha asserted: ” I always felt that independence of the judiciary is non-negotiable and it is for the CJI, who is the leader”.

Former Delhi High Court Chief Justice AP Shah and Shourie, shared the platform with Justice Lodha and also criticised the functioning of the CJI Dipak Misra.

Shah termed the recent verdict of the top court on the death of special CBI judge BH Loya as, “utterly wrong, and jurisprudentially, incorrect on so very many counts”.

He said that the Supreme Court in the judge Loya case judgement had called it as a veiled attempt to attack on the judiciary and asked “How is asking for an investigation an attack on the judiciary?”

“The system as a whole has evolved into something cold-hearted. Even with all this, the judiciary is still one of the last institutions that are respected, but that is changing,” he stated.

Shah furthere said “The press meet held by four senior judges of the Supreme Court earlier this year made allusions, in no cryptic terms, to the charge of selective allocation of cases, and the misuse of the power of master of the roster. This is a very serious issue and is nothing short of an allegation of bench packing,” he said.

“We cannot function without a judiciary that is independent, or without a justice system that is self-reflective, and is aware of its faults and wants to improve them,” he added.

Meanwhile, Shourie said if CJI Misra has to “say repeatedly that he is the master of the roster … this already means that he has lost the moral authority”.

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Delhi riots: Opposition leaders meet President, demands independent probe into police role

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Delhi Roits Judicial Enquiry

Opposition leaders met President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday and demanded an independent probe by a commission headed by a retired or sitting judge into the role of the Delhi police in the February riots and the ongoing probe into the incident.

Congress Treasurer and MP Ahmed Patel, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI general secretary D. Raja, DMK leader and MP Kanimozhi and RJD leader and MP Manoj K Jha were part of the delegation.

The Delhi police have set up special investigation teams, and its Special Cell has been probing the aspect of conspiracy behind the riots, in which 53 people lost their lives.

In a memorandum, the leaders voiced concern over the probe being conducted by the police. “The entire investigation appears to be aimed at arriving at a pre-meditated theory about a conspiracy propounded by the Home Minister in the Lok Sabha in March 2020, before any investigation had even begun into the riots,” it said. The memorandum said the investigation by the police did not inspire confidence as there were serious questions about its “impartiality”.

“A credible and unbiased probe is crucial to restore public trust in the law and order machinery of the State. The investigation cannot be allowed to become a fishing and roving expedition aimed at causing a chilling effect on dissent and protest in the country. We, therefore, urge you to call upon the Government of India to institute an inquiry into this investigation under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, headed by sitting/retired judge(s),” the memorandum said.

It criticised the police for the reference made to Mr. Yechury in a supplementary charge sheet, citing disclosure statements made by the accused. “This is a disturbing trend that raises serious questions over the manner of such investigations,” it said.

The leaders said there were several publicly documented accounts and videos of the police being “complicit in the violence, directing mobs pelting stones or looking the other way when mobs were indulging in violence”. “During the violence, a disturbing video emerged showing uniformed policemen assaulting young men lying injured on the road and forcing them to sing the national anthem while repeatedly beating them with lathis. One of the men, Faizan, succumbed to his injuries a few days later,” the memorandum said. It also highlighted other such instances, including the one in which the “DCP stood quietly next to a BJP leader who was instigating violence against the protestors, warning that if they did not vacate the road, he would do it himself”. The memorandum said that despite several complaints about the involvement of police officials, no action had been taken.

The leaders also criticised the police for being a mute spectator to the alleged hate speech of BJP leaders and turning a blind eye to the role of its own personnel in the violence. The probe appeared to be pursuing a line of inquiry “criminalising the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and portraying them as a conspiracy which resulted in the riots in Delhi,” they said.

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India

Congress Leader Ahmad Patel Raises Digital Divide Issue in Rajya Sabha

Digital India should not increase the barrier between students. The government should regulate it for the poor and help the poor : Ahmed Patel on students facing difficulties in online classes

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Ahmed Patel Rajya Sabha Online Education

Congress leader Ahmed Patel raised the issue of digital divide amid online schools during the pandemic while BSP’s Rajaram raised the issue of reservation for Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Classes in the Jammu region in the Upper House.

It is causing financial and mental trouble to some weaker sections of the society. Digital India should not increase the barrier between students. The government should regulate it for the poor and help the poor.

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3 LeT men arrested in J&K, weapons sent by Pak drones recovered

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Three suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists have been arrested by the security forces from Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir with a large cache of arms and ammunition they had received through drones, officials said on Saturday.

All three belong to South Kashmir’s Pulwama district and have been identified as Rahil Bashir, Amir Jan and Hafiz Younis Wani. Police said they had gone to Rajouri to receive the weapons sent by drones from Pakistan.

IG Police Jammu Mukesh Singh told IANS that the three belonged to the proscribed terror outfit LeT. The weapons recovered include two AK-56 rifles, 6 AK-Magazines with 180 rounds, two Chinese pistols, three pistol magazines with 30 rounds, four grenades and Rs 1 lakh in cash.

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