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Supreme Court dismisses plea challenging Pension and other perks of former MPs

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New Delhi, April 16: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea challenging the constitutional validity of the salaries, allowances and pensions given to the former Members of Parliament. 

A bench of justices J. Chelameswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul said that it would not interfere in the issue.

The court was ruling on a plea filed by NGO, Lok Prahari demanding to scrap amendments made by Parliament to the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954.

The organisation was appealing against a verdict of Allahabad High Court dismissing a challenge to the constitutional validity of laws granting pension and other perks to former MP’s.

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Explosion in Poonch Army camp caused by Pakistan shelling

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Srinagar, Oct 23 : Pakistani troops today violated the ceasefire along the Line of Control in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir with one of the shells landing inside an Army camp that caused explosion in the brigade headquarters in the town but causing no casualties.

“Today (Tuesday), approximately at 10.30 a.m., in a ceasefire violation, Pakistan troops fired a rocket-propelled grenade and also resorted small arms firing. One round landed on a barrel-type store shelter in Poonch, causing fire,” Lieutenant Colonel Devender Anand said.

“Initial analysis indicates that calibre 105/106 mm remote-controlled launcher was used by Pakistan troops to target the shelter. No casualty was caused in this incident.

“In Krishna Ghati (KG) sector also, at 5.35 p.m., one round of 82mm shell landed at Jhalas area. One muffled blast occurred at 6 p.m. This was misconstrued as a blast in the KG garrison.”

No casualty occurred in this explosion, he said.

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Shivpal Yadav launches new party

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Lucknow, Oct 23 : The rebel Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and estranged uncle of former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has floated a new political outfit  known as ‘Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia’.

 Shivpal Yadav, the younger brother of SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav, who was also the number two in the party has announced that the Election Commission had granted his party the new name and added that he will ensure that every marginalized person in the political and social system found a voice in his party.

Yadav said that time had come to take the socialist movement forward in the form of the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party- Lohia (PSP-L).

He cautioned party workers to keep away from people who flatter and sugar-coat their words. This, he said, had led to the downfall of the SP and should be taken as a serious lesson.

He also informed that 40 small and regional parties had so far come under the umbrella of his party. Completely marginalized in the SP, a party he founded with Mulayam Singh Yadav, Azam Khan and Beni Prasad Verma some 25 years back, Shivpal has also announced his intention to field 80 candidates in the 2019 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

Yadav, who was formerly irrigation and PWD minister in successive SP government, has broken ranks with the SP after Akhilesh Yadav saw him out as the state SP chief in January 2017 and completely banished him from the party.

Shivpal waited for more than a year before he decided to carve out his own outfit, initially named as Samajwadi Secular Front.

Mulayam Singh Yadav who initially threw his weight behind Shivpal has since distanced himself from his younger brother and is inching closer to his son.

SP leaders allege that Shivpal is being propped up by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party to dent the prospects of the SP, especially in Yadav-dominated belts.

The recent allotment of a sprawling bungalow vacated by Mayawati to Shivpal is also being cited as a proof of the growing proximity between the Yadav chieftain and the saffron camp. Shivpal, however, has trashed such charges.

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Bengal Stampede: Mamata blames Railways of negligence, demands probe

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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Kolkata, Oct 23 :West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said “negligence and callousness of some people” was responsible for the stampede at a railway foot-overbridge in Howrah that killed two and injured 12 others, urging the railways to take proper care of the passengers.

Referring to the horrific train accident in Punjab’s Amritsar four days ago in which at least 59 people died and scores injured, Banerjee said the department should initiate inquiries into the matters rather than shying away from taking responsibility.

“The accidents in railways should be reduced because so many modern equipment are available. But I think there must be some negligence or callousness… I do not know from which part,” she told reporters.

The Railways should “take more responsibility and take care of coordination among various sections” of it so that coordination-gap between its various internal departments can be reduced, she said.

According to her, money has not been a constraint for the railways to construct wider railway foot-overbridges.

Banerjee also alleged that the railways did not seek any help from the state government during the festive seasons, but they “should work in liaison with the state” particularly during the festive period.

“See what happened in Amritsar. Even during the Puja time, I noticed three-four incidents in my state also. I asked the chief secretary to talk to the railway authorities to find out if they are monitoring the situation,” said Banerjee, who herself is a former railway minister.

“I do not want to blame the railways just for the sake of it. Let them investigate. Why are they not investigating the matter?” she questioned.

“When BJP called a bandh, I saw there were only four people on the tracks and they withdraw their train. But in Amritsar where 59 people died had so many people on the track… and they said they cannot take responsibility… I do not understand this,” she added.

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