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SC rejects plea for SIT probe, says image of top court damaged

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New Delhi, Nov 14: The Supreme Court on Tuesday junked a petition, terming it as “scandalous”, for seeking an SIT probe into the allegations of graft involving a retired Orissa High Court judge and observed that the whole controversy has damaged the image of the top judiciary and created doubts about its integrity.

“Unnecessary doubts about the integrity of the institution have been created,” the bench of R.K. Agrawal, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar observed, as it deprecated the petition by lawyer Kamini Jaiswal.

Observing that nobody, including the judges of the top court, were above law, Justice Mishra pronouncing the judgment also said ‘No’ to contempt against the lawyers – Prashant Bhushan and Jaiswal – with a hope that “all will unitedly work for the welfare of the institution (top court)”.

Saying that “none of us” in the higher echelons was above law, the court said, “It is the duty of both the Bar and the Bench, to protect the dignity of the entire judicial system”.

“We find that filing of such petitions and the zest with which it is pursued, has brought the entire system in the last few days to unrest. An effort was made to create ripples in this court; serious and unwanted shadow of doubt has been created for no good reason whatsoever by way of filing the petition which was wholly scandalous and ought not to have been filed in such a method and manner. It is against the settled proposition of law,” said Justice Mishra speaking for the bench.

In case “majesty of our judicial system” has to survive, the court said that such kind of petitions should not have been preferred that too against the settled proposition of law laid down by this court.

Regretting that “unnecessary” aspersions were cast without proper verification of the facts, the court took a dim view of the plea for recusal of Justice Khanwilkar from the bench on the grounds that he along with Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud had heard the matter relating to a Lucknow-based private medical college linked to the admission scam.

Saying that it was “far fetched and too tenuous” that any judge of this court, much less Justice Khanwilkar, has any interest in the subject matter before them, the court said: “There is no room for reasonable suspicion even in remote, and the argument is simply too derogatory to be made, probably that has been made anyhow, for somehow to protect the case and to bring disrepute to this court.”

“We cannot fall prey to such unscrupulous devices adopted by the litigants, so as to choose the benches, as that is a real threat to the very existence of the system itself and it would be denigrated in case we succumb to such pressure tactics,” the judgment said.

Pointing to the scenarios created by two petitions as “disturbing”, which has “unnecessarily brought into disrepute” the entire judiciary for “no good cause whatsoever”, the court said: “It passes comprehension, how it was that the petitioner presumed, that there is an FIR lodged against any public functionary.”

Referring to averment that FIR was against the highest judicial functionaries, the court said, “We do not find reflection of any name of the Judge of this Court in the FIR.”

Recalling its earlier judgment, the court said, “There is no question of registering any FIR against any sitting Judge of the High Court or of this Court as it is not permissible as per the law laid down by a Constitution Bench.”

IANS

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Pakistan leader threatens nuclear war against India over Kashmir issue

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Nov 13 : President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Sardar Masood Khan issued a threatening statement against India saying that Indian “obstinacy on the Kashmir issue” could trigger a nuclear war in South Asia.

There is no possible military solution to the Kashmir issue and India will have to initiate dialogues with Pakistan to find a ‘peaceful’ resolution to this conflict, he said.

“India and Pakistan have fought three wars over Kashmir and Indian obstinacy on the Kashmir issue, along with inhuman atrocities in Kashmir and Indian shelling on the civilian population living along the Line of Control (LoC) could bring both nuclear-armed states to the brink of another devastating war,” Khan threatened.

Khan criticized Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Public Safety Act (PSA) and called them ‘draconian’, alleging that “an Indian soldier can shoot to kill any at will and he will not be accountable to anybody or any agency for prosecution”.

 

Speaking to a delegation of 48th Pakistan Navy Staff Course participants in Muzaffarabad, Khan said Pakistan always sought peaceful resolution on Kashmir through dialogues but India “is adamant to settle the issue through military might by suppressing the voice of Kashmiri people for their internationally recognized right to self-determination”.

“It is high time for the United Nations Secretary-General to take a step forward and appoint a special representative to explore a viable solution to the conflict of Kashmir and to ensure peace and stability in the region,” he said.

“The United Nations and world powers need to intervene in setting a stage for the resolution of Kashmir before the two nuclear states of India and Pakistan indulge in a full-fledged war which will be a monumental disaster that will engulf not only the region but large part of the world,” Khan emphasized.

The  recent report of the United Nations’ Commission for Human Rights on Kashmir followed by similar report compiled by All Parties Parliamentary Kashmir Group reflects that world is now realising the gravity of unresolved Kashmir dispute. He added that another report on the state of human rights in Kashmir is being compiled by a committee of the European Parliament, the Express Tribune quoted him as saying.

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Congress files complaint against BJP before Chief Electoral Officer for violation of model code of conduct

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Bhopal, Nov 13 : Madhya Pradesh Congress has filed a complaint before Chief Electoral Officer against a BJP advertisement published in newspapers  on Tuesday (Nov 13)  that  depicts misleading picture of an 8-lane road.

Congress has accused  the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government of “misleading the people as the  road is nowhere in MP” and the advertisement is a clear  violation of model code of conduct.

“BJP has violated model code of conduct and published misleading ad to influence voters’,” the Congress charged BJP.

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Govt removes Air India Director of Operations Arvind Kathpalia ,AI orders Probe into his conduct

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New Delhi, Nov 13 : Air India pilot Captain Arvind Kathpalia was sacked from the position of Director of Operations on Tuesday, a day after he was barred from flying for at least three years on charges of failing an alcohol test before a scheduled international flight.

The  chief vigilance officer of the airline will carry out a detailed inquiry into the incident, besides the administrative and disciplinary aspects of Captain Kathpalia’s conduct and how it would have impacted passenger safety.

The Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA), earlier today, had demanded the senior pilot’s immediate termination because he was a “repeat offender who endangers the lives of passengers”

 

In a letter to the Minister for Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu, the ICPA said Kathpalia continuing in the top post was “demoralising” for the cadres.

Referring to Kathpalia failing the BA test on November 11, the ICPA said he endangered the lives of innocent passengers.

“The flight was delayed and the passengers were left stranded. Kindly note this is a repeat offence. The said incident resulted in extremely bad publicity to the national carrier,” the ICPA said.

“He has repeatedly tarnished the image of Air India and we request his immediate termination from the board,” the ICPA said in the letter sent on Monday signed by T Praveen Keerthi, general secretary.

The ICPA said it does not want officials with dubious track records heading operations.

The letter was sent when the Indian aviation regulator the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) suspended Kathpalia’s license for three years after he failed a pre-flight breath-analyser (BA) test on November 11 before captaining a New Delhi-London flight.

The ICPA in its letter also said an enquiry against Kathpalia is still pending as on January 19, 2017 in Delhi where he operated flight AI-174 and AI-173 without undergoing BA tests.

“The Delhi High Court has ordered a disciplinary enquiry in the conduct of Captain A. Kathpalia with regard to making an entry in the pre-flight medical examination register and ante-dating the same and to take appropriate action in accordance with law.

“To our knowledge, till date the enquiry is still pending,” the ICPA letter said.

“While pilots in Air India are charge-sheeted for skipping the BA test, the company refused to charge-sheet Kathpalia so as to facilitate his promotion as a board member,” the letter added.

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