Connect with us

India

Supreme Court quashes NGT order on ‘silence zone’ at Amarnath shrine

Published

on

Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, April 16: The Supreme Court on Monday set aside an order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that declared a “silence zone” in front of the ice stalagmite resembling the “Shivalinga” at the Amarnath cave shrine in Jammu and Kashmir.

A bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta stayed the December 13 order of the NGT while hearing a plea filed by the Amarnath Shrine Board against the order on the ground that a decision in a case could not be based on grounds outside the pleading of the parties.

The Amarnath cave shrine is considered one of the most holy by Hindus. The cave itself is covered with snow most of the year barring a short period of time in summer when it is opened for pilgrims.

Appearing for the Amarnath Shrine Board, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi told the bench that the NGT had taken up the Amarnath issue on its own while dealing with a plea relating to stopping the use of horses and ponies in Vaishno Devi shrine premises in Jammu.

The bench asked petitioner and environment activist Gauri Mulekhi to file a proper petition on the issue relating to the Amarnath shrine.

During the hearing, Rohatgi told the bench that the NGT had barred chiming of bells, offering of “prasad”, chanting of mantras or saying “Jai Bholenath” in the areas surrounding the famed cave shrine to preserve its eco sensitivity.

Hearing this, the bench quipped: “What does it (NGT) want to say?”

Rohatgi added: “How can they ask that you can’t take ‘prasad’ with you? People have religious sentiments.”

On the NGT’s order of banning carrying of “prasad”, the bench suggested that Amarnath Shrine Board could provide the “prasad”.

On December 13, the green penal had declared the cave shrine a “silence zone” and prohibited religious offerings beyond the entry point to help prevent avalanches and maintain its pristine nature.

A day later, following protests by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which termed its order as a “Tughlaki fatwa”, the NGT clarified that it had not declared a “silence zone” at the Amarnath cave shrine but due silence had to be maintained only in front of the “Shivalinga”.

The apex court stayed another order of the NGT where it had imposed a cost of Rs 50 lakh on the Jammu and Kashmir government for not finalising a rehabilitation plan for horses and mules which have been barred from plying from Katra to the Vaishno Devi temple.

The tribunal had earlier said that a new path should be created to the shrine exclusively for pedestrians and battery-operated cars and directed that no horses or mules would be allowed on the new route to the shrine.

The apex court was on Monday informed that the scheme for rehabilitation had been finalised and would be placed before the state cabinet for its approval.

IANS

India

PNB fraud: Mehul Choksi seeks cancellation of NBW over threat to life on TV

Published

on

Mehul Choksi

Mumbai, Sep 21 (IANS) Gitanjali Group owner Mehul Choksi, wanted in Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, on Friday moved a special CBI court claiming danger to his life after his return to India and sought cancellation of a non-bailable warrant issued against him.

In an application filed through his lawyer Sanjay Abbott, Choksi said his “apprehensions over his safety are based upon what transpired during a recent television debate on the fraud”.

In his application, Choksi informed the court that he was shocked to watch a TV debate on July 27, 2018 in which two callers on live television suggested that a special team consisting of special agents should be formed and suggested that the team should track the whereabouts of the present applicant and he (Choksi) should be “shot down”.

Choksi further said that the anchor also did not criticise the comment made by the caller and tactily agreed to it without any retaliation or without condemning the comment, “he laughingly said ok”.

Choksi said the caller also declared that the applicant (Choksi) is guilty and said that “killing of one person will set an example”.

“The above facts make it clear that the present applicant (Choksi) has serious threat to life on his return as if a person is having the audacity to suggest to shoot the applicant on national television, then one can easily imaging the threat that the applicant (Choksi) is facing if he returns to India,” it said.

Choksi, who had acquired Antiguan citizenship ealier this year, through his lawyer also sent some audio and video CDs claiming that they contained the cited footage from the news channel debate.

He has urged the court to make his submission a part of the court records and, in light of the same, to cancel the non bailable warrant issued against him.

On May 22 this year, the court had issued the NBW against Choksi after taking cognisance of the second charge sheet filed in the PNB fraud case by the CBI.

Choksi’s lawyer speaking to IANS said, “The court has directed the CBI to file reply on the submissions made by Choksi by October 3 which is the next date of hearing.”

Earlier in June this year, Choksi had filed a plea claiming that he had been advised bed rest on account of his ill health following a “heart operation”.

In his plea Choksi also said that he feared that once in India, the probe agencies would not help him secure the kind of medical treatment and supervision he required.

He had also raised the issue of “trend of mob lynching” in the country, and he feared that he might become a victim of such lynching.

Choksi and Nirav Modi are under probe by both the CBI and ED. The ED had on May 24 and 26 filed the chargesheets against both. The court took cognisance and issued non-bailable warrants against them.

Nirav Modi left India along with his family in the first week of January, weeks before the scam was reported to the CBI. His wife Ami, a US citizen, left on January 6 and Choksi on January 4.

Continue Reading

India

Women continue to be casualties of paternalistic traditions, mindset should change: Sonia

Published

on

Sonia Gandhi

St. Petersburg, Sep 21 : Former Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Friday said women in India continue to be the “casualties of paternalistic traditions” and still suffer the brunt of discrimination and gender inequality. She said her party is striving to fight these forces and called for a “change in mindset”.

Gandhi said her party has always championed the rights of women and maintained a strong commitment towards empowering them as it is committed to introducing reservations for women in one-third of the seats in Parliament.

“In the 70 years that have passed since we gained our Independence, women in India have fought against poverty, disease, discrimination, and patriarchy. Yet, they continue to be the casualties of paternalistic traditions that dominate many of our communities,” said Gandhi.

“Women still suffer the brunt of discrimination and gender inequality, even violence. While we strive to work against these forces in India, I am struck by how common are the challenges that women across the world face today in impediments to a life of dignity and equality,” she added addresing the second Eurasian Women’s Forum here.

Gandhi recollected how Russia in 1941, Hitler’s blitzkrieg of mighty tanks and armies was stopped in its tracks not just by the men of the Krasnaya Armiya, but by the combined effort of over one million women who were on the front line as soldiers, fighter pilots, doctors, tank drivers, aircraft gunners, partisans, and snipers as well as support staff.

Gandhi also said the integral role that women will play in the future of humanity is well recognised in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. “We all understand that these goals will only be attained if we ensure the full participation, and even leadership of women,” she said.

The Congress leader also said: “We will not be able to reverse this reality overnight. But it is my hope that in alliance with progressive male counterparts, we can help open up this space.

“In our country, it is a matter of pride for me that the Congress party is committed to introducing reservations for women in one-third of the seats in the national parliament. Such legislation will be an important stepping stone for our women,” she added.

Stressing that mindset should change, Gandhi said: “As we all know, laws alone do not change the world. It is far more important to change mindset. This is the challenge before us as we embark on our discussions today.”

She further said: “We must also pay tribute to women elsewhere who were in the political frontline of earlier battles, to the powerful ideas unleashed by women’s movements that have changed society’s outlook across the world.”

“we must recognise that, as women who have been able to exercise political authority and privilege, we have a moral obligation and duty to ensure that we help give voice to women across the world, who have been kept silent so far,” said Gandhi.

Gandhi also said the movement to advance and secure the lives of women must be one that is inclusive of all sections and accepting of all differences.

“We must also recognise that the majority of women continue to remain victims of oppression, violence and discrimination. All too often, inequality has been imposed on women in the name of ‘tradition’ within the family and community. That needs to change. We cannot accept recurring mistreatment, as a way of life,” said Gandhi.

“We must work to create a climate where women are given an equal share in the workplace and in public office,” she added.

Continue Reading

India

Shock, anger in India after French Prez’s revelation on Rafale deal

Published

on

Kapil Sibal

“It’s a significant revelation. A website in France disclosed that French President Hollande made a statement that Dassault didn’t choose Mr Ambani’s company and it was GOI which insisted on choosing him as a partner with Dassault. It contradicts what GOI has been saying,” ANI quoted senior Congress leader and former Law Minister Kapil Sibal as saying.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular