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SC to hear plea against making Aadhaar mandatory on May 17

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New Delhi , May 12 : The Supreme Court will hear on May 17 a petition against notifications making the Aadhaar card mandatory for availing benefits under government schemes, including mid-day meal and disability pension.

The petitioners have also challenged the Aadhaar Act itself.

An apex court constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar asked the petitioners Shanta Sinha and Kalyani Sen Menon to go to the vacation bench on May 17 after senior counsel Shyam Divan urged the court to hold an early hearing of the plea.

Addressing the bench, Divan, appearing for the two petitioners, referred to a May 9 order of a bench which had asked the petitioners to mention the matter before the Chief Justice as it was required to be heard by a constitution bench.

He said that though under the Aadhaar Act possessing it was voluntary but the government by a series of 17 notifications starting from February and as late as on Thursday issued orders making it mandatory.

Shanta Sinha was the first Chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, a Padma Shri recipient and winner of the Magsaysay award while Kalyani Sen Menon is a feminist researcher.

(IANS)

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Returning migrants pose huge challenge to Bihar govt

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Patna, March 30 : The migrant labourers returning to Bihar has posed a big challenge to the state government — to keep them in 14-day isolation to contain coronavirus spread.

Over 45,000 people had reached the UP towns bordering Bihar and more than 100,000 were expected by evening, said a Bihar Disaster Management Department official, here on Monday.

Pratyam Amrit, Principal Secretary of the Disaster Management Department, said, “Six camps have been set up along the Bihar-UP border. By Monday, we are expecting 1.30 lakh people to reach the borders. We are looking to provide them food and make arrangements for their stay during the quarantine period.”

The state government, he said was taking all precautionary measures even before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the 21-day lockdown on March 24. After emergence of Covid-19 cases in the state, the government had made arrangements even in the rural areas to provide food and shelter and screen villagers for infection, he added.

But the influx of workers from Delhi has created serious problem the state government. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has expressed displeasure at the migrant workers being sent back to Bihar.

“People from other states are being registered at the disaster border relief camps. Their health is being checked. After food and rest, they are being provided buses by the Transport Department in the district headquarters. Arrangements have been made to send them, ” said another official.

The process could continue for two-three days, he added.

Principal Secretary Deepak Kumar said arrangements were being made to send Biharis coming from outside to their villages. “All the Block Development Officers, Head of panchayats and sarpanches have been asked to monitor the situation and follow quarantine and social distancing norms,” Kumar said.

Those who had returned from abroad after March 10 were being investigated. The government has a list of 1,790 such people.

The Chief Minister after high-level meetings have ordered one-month’s ration free to 1.68 crore cardholders and payment of three months’ pension to all pensioners.

A control room has also been set up at Bihar Bhawan in Delhi to help people.

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Two Tablighi Jammat participants die of suspected coronavirus

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New Delhi, March 30 : Two persons have died of suspected COVID-19 in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area from a group of people who had come from various parts of the country and abroad to take part in Tablighi Jammat, a religious gathering of the Muslim community.

Of the two elderly persons who died, one was from Tamil Nadu and the other belonged to Kashmir. All the participants aged over 60 had been admitted to various hospitals in Delhi. Out of them six people have been found to be coronavirus positive.

Shoaib Ali, the spokesman of Tablighi Jamaat, however, said, “We have no information of anybody testing positive for coronavirus.”

Admitting that two persons have died, Ali said that one of them Masgir, 63, complained of fever and cough and was taken to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital on Saturday. He was from Tamil Nadu.

“But they have not given us any report whether he died of coronavirus or not,” he said.

Shoaib Ali also denied that the death of the second person was due to coronavirus.

“On March 6, an elderly person, 65, from Sopore, Kashmir, had come to participate in Tablighi Jamaat in the Nizamuddin area. He died of a heart attack in Kashmir last week,” Ali said. However, according to reports in the Kashmir media, he was coronavirus positive.

However, Ali confirmed that the entire area has been cordoned off and about 2000 people have been quarantined and are being tested for coronavirus in this thickly populated area of South Delhi.

This is the largest single group being tested for the highly contagious COVID-19, which is transmitted easily from person to person.

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DTC to allow only essential services providers in buses

Since the announcement of 21-day lockdown, only half of the DTC buses are plying.

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New Delhi, March 30 : The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), here on Monday, said only those who were involved in providing essential services would be allowed to travel in its buses.

In a March 29 order released on Monday, Managing Director Garima Gupta asked Depot Managers to ensure that buses should have a sticker — “for staff of essential services only and on government duty” — pasted on the front windscreen. The buses should not display route number or destination, she added.

“The conductors should allow only those who are involved in providing essential services after seeing their official identity cards,” Gupta said.

The Depot Managers have also been asked to issue the duty passes to all working employees for their movement between workplace and house.

Since the announcement of 21-day lockdown, only half of the DTC buses are plying.

The steps have been taken to “discourage” movement of migrants and daily wagers in Delhi. Soon after the announcement of lockdown, thousands of migrants and daily wagers started walking back home due to lack of food, shelter and employment opportunities.

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