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Resolve Ayodhya dispute amicably: SC; mixed reactions follow

The BJP, which included the construction of the Ram temple in its poll manifesto, won 312 seats in the 403-member assembly in the February-March election.

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Babri Masjid

New Delhi, March 21 : The Supreme Court on Tuesday favoured an amicable settlement to the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute in Ayodhya and offered to act as mediator, which was welcomed by the BJP but ruled out by the Babri Masjid Action Committee and others.

The apex court’s suggestion for a negotiated settlement to the longstanding dispute on the land title in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya attracted mixed reactions.

“These are issues of religion and sentiments. All of you may sit together and hold a cordial meeting,” Chief Justice J.S. Khehar, who headed the bench hearing the matter, said.

Chief Justice Khehar said the negotiated settlement is the best course for resolving the dispute and offered himself or other members of the bench to act as mediators.

The Bharatiya Janata Party — ruling both at the Centre and Uttar Pradesh — heartily welcomed it but the Babri Masjid Action Committee and the Muslim Personal Law Board, which are prominent parties to the legal battle, dismissed an out-of-court settlement.

The court was hearing BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s plea for constituting a bench to hear a batch of petitions challenging a 2010 Allahabad High Court order on the matter.

The 2010 order said there should be partition of the disputed land in Ayodhya between parties to the dispute.

The apex court’s observation comes after BJP leader Yogi Adityanath — a strong advocate of building the Ram temple at the disputed site — was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday.

The BJP, which included the construction of the Ram temple in its poll manifesto, won 312 seats in the 403-member assembly in the February-March election.

The BJP said friendly negotiations was the best way to resolve the dispute while Union Minister Mahesh Sharma, another BJP leader, said the court’s advice may pave the way for the temple’s construction.

BJP MP Vinay Katiyar said the court’s suggestion, along with the fact that the BJP had come to power in Uttar Pradesh, will have a positive effect in settling the dispute.

On the other hand, Babri Masjid Action Committee convenor Zafaryab Jilani as well as All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) member and AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi virtually ruled out an out-of-court settlement.

“An amicable solution is impossible. This has to be dealt in the court itself. If the court passes any order to that effect (amicable solution), we will think about future course of action,” said Jilani.

“We have faith if the CJI himself mediates or nominates a team of Supreme Court judges or court itself hears the matter. But we are not willing to accept an out-of-court settlement,” he added.

“Several rounds of talks on earlier occasion have failed to yield result. That is why the AIMPLB had decided that it will not go for any more talks,” Owaisi said, adding that the “case was about the (land) title which the Allahabad High Court wrongly decided as a partnership case”.

Owaisi said he hoped the apex court will decide other cases pending since the demolition of the Babri Msjid in December 6, 1992, including conspiracy charges against prominent BJP leaders like L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist too expressed dismay over the court’s observations.

“All these years, there was no possibility of an out-of-court settlement; that is why the matter is in the Supreme Court.

“In a political situation where the government at the Centre and the state (UP) is committed to pushing only one side of the case, how can the court expect an amicable settlement,” said CPI-M leader Brinda Karat.

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said a recurrence of the 1992-like situation was a possibility and depended upon the stand taken by the Yogi Adityanath government in the state.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said the apex court should stay away from matters of faith and said that only two parties — the Narendra Modi government and the Adityanath government — had the power to decide about building of the temple.

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One vote can’t change dynamics of our relations: Netanyahu on India

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

New Delhi, Jan 14 : Just one negative vote at UN cannot change the dynamics of Indian-Israeli relations between India and Israel, visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said here on Sunday, terming relations with India as “marriage made in heaven”.

“I don’t think one vote affects a general trend you can see in many other votes and everything and these visits,” Netanyahu said when asked to comment on India’s vote at UN against US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, in an interview on India Today TV channel.

“Yes, naturally we were disappointed, but this visit is a testimony that our relationship is moving on so many fronts, be it political, technological, tourism, security and so many other areas. Ultimately you see it reflected in all UN votes, not just now but soon,” he added.

In December last year, India voted in favour of a resolution brought by Turkey and Yemen in the UN opposing the United States’ decision recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The resolution was approved with 127-9 at the UN General Assembly.

“First of all there is a special relationship between the two countries, between their people and then between the leaders. The partnership between India and Israel is a marriage made in heaven but consecrated on earth,” Netanyahu said, adding he respects his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi “as a great leader” because he is “impatient to bring future to his people”.

On cooperation in counter-terrorism, he said that intelligence is the key.

“And Israel has on the whole superb intelligence. I would say none is better. And we share with you our intelligence and have stopped over the last few years some 30 major terror attacks, which we shared vis-a-vis not India alone but with dozens of countries.

“Israel protects lives of so many people. When you board a plane you want to know that plane won’t be blown up mid air. It will take off and land safely. When that happens, usually Israel has something to do with it, not on every flight but on many flights,” he said.

Asked if he approves India’s terror strikes launched across the border with Pakistan, he said that India makes its own choices and “you fight terrorism by fighting it”.

As the interviewer persisted, a smiling Netanyahu said: “Well, I am trying to be a foreign minister. I am trying to be a diplomat, because I hold two portfolios — the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister at the same time.”

Asked if Israel can use his good offices with China to persuade it to not veto a resolution against Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed, Netanyahu said: “I think these things are best discussed not on television, especially if you want to make progress.”

However, he also said: “But our defence relationship is quite significant and comprises many things. I think the key word here is defence. We want to defend ourselves, we are not aggressive nations. We are very committed to making sure that none can commit an aggression against the either one of us.”

On the bilateral trade relations, the Israeli Prime Minister said that “there is a whole world that is erupting, exploding”.

Advocating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India to boost and deepen bilateral economic relations, he said: “Israel is changing so rapidly. We are creating industries. We have just created a car industry in just last five years. We have 500 start-ups dealing with automation of car.

“And there are other areas like water, agriculture, energy, health, transportsation. There is a whole world that is erupting, exploding. Future belongs to those who innovate… Israel is an innovation nation. India has innovations. In Silicon Valley there are two dialects you hear — Hindi and Hebrew and only a little English.”

He said that when he visited the iconic Teen Murti war memorial at Haifa circle, he felt “an expression of gratitude” because it was Indian soldiers who fell down while defending the city of Haifa (now in Israel) during WW-I.

“It’s closing of a circle 100 years later,” he said.

In a sign of growing importance to the ties with Israel, the government on Sunday renamed Delhi’s Teen Murti Chowk as Teen Murti-Haifa Chowk after the Israeli city.

Netanyahu is on a six-day visit to India, the first Israeli Premier to visit India after 2003 when Ariel Sharon came. Setting aside protocol, Modi went to personally receive Netanyahu.

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Full Court expected to resolve Supreme Court crisis

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All 25 Supreme Court judges are expected to meet soon to resolve the crisis in the country’s apex court after four senior-most judges complained against Chief Justice Dipak Misra over allocation of cases.

Informed sources told IANS that a Full Court meeting of the Supreme Court judges will take place at the earliest to take a call on the issue and deliberate over the complaints highlighted in public by the four judges — Justices J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph — who are the senior-most after Justice Misra in that order.

The rebel judges criticised the Chief Justice over allocation of cases, saying the administration of the top court was “not in order”.

As there was no solution in sight, Supreme Court Bar Association President Vikas Singh met Justice Misra and gave him a copy of the resolution the Bar passed on Saturday. The resolution also suggested a Full Court meeting to resolve the matter.

Two days after the crisis began, a seven-member delegation of the Bar Council of India (BCI) on Sunday also met the Chief Justice to convey its concern over the issue. The BCI also met three of the four rebel judges.

“We hope that the issue will be sorted out amicably and no one from outside should interfere,” BCI President Manan Kumar Mishra told reporters.

“During the meetings with Justice Misra, Justice Chelameswar, Justice Lokur, Justice Joseph and other judges, each one of them assured us that the issues will be resolved. The meetings with the judges took place in a very cordial atmosphere.”

Justices Sharad Arvind Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao also met Justice Chelameswar at his residence.

As the crisis lingered, four retired judges wrote to Justice Misra on Sunday, throwing their weight behind the four rebel judges who “have brought to light a serious issue regarding the manner of allocation of cases, particularly sensitive cases, to various benches of the Supreme Court”.

The retired judges are Justice P.B. Sawant, a former Supreme Court judge, Justice A.P. Shah, former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, Justice K. Chandru, a former judge of the Madras High Court, and Justice H. Suresh, a former judge of the Bombay High Court.

They appreciated the “grave concern” raised by the four Supreme Court judges that cases were not being allocated in a proper manner and “arbitrarily” allocated to “particular designated benches, often headed by junior judges”.

“This is having a very deleterious effect on the administration of justice and the rule of law,” read the letter by the four former judges.

They said they agreed with the view of the rebel judges that the Chief Justice despite being the master of roster cannot assign cases “in an arbitrary manner such that, sensitive and important cases are sent to hand-picked benches of junior judges by the Chief Justice”.

“This issue needs to be resolved… for allocation of benches and distribution of cases, which are rational, fair and transparent. Only such measures would assure the people that the Supreme Court is functioning in a fair and transparent manner and that the power of the Chief Justice as master of roster is not being misused to achieve a particular result in important and sensitive cases. We, therefore, urge you to take immediate steps in this regard.”

Meanwhile, the Co-ordination Committee of All District Bar Associations of Delhi on Sunday condemned the four senior Supreme Court judges for going public over their differences with Justice Misra.

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Our Haryanvi Chori is Miss World 2017 !!! India’s Manushi Chillar crowned Miss World 2017

Manushi Chillar, born to doctor parents from Haryana, studied at St. Thomas School in Delhi and Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women in Sonepat.

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Manushi Chiller

Sanya (China), Nov 18 : India’s Manushi Chillar on Saturday won the coveted Miss World 2017 title at a glittering event here, ending 16 years of drought for India at the international pageant.

Priyanka Chopra was the last winner from India in 2000.

Chillar, 21, looked emotional as the crown was placed on her head by Miss World 2016 winner Puerto Rico’s Stephanie Del Valle.

She competed against 108 contestants from various countries at the pageant.

Miss Mexico Andrea Meza was announced the first runner up, while Miss England Stephanie Hill was declared the second runner up at an event held at Sanya City Area.

Manushi Chillar, born to doctor parents from Haryana, studied at St. Thomas School in Delhi and Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women in Sonepat.

In an interview during her grooming, she said: “The only thing I believe is certain in life is uncertainty, and this is what is amazing about the pageant.”

She had also said that she is confident of winning the crown.

Apart from the title, Chillar also won the Beauty with Purpose award.

Chillar had earlier this year won the Femina Miss India 2017.

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