Maharashtra Violence News

Over 64 lakh women above 18 yrs in state counselled against tobacco, drug addiction
The Indian Express | 1 day ago | |
The Indian Express
1 day ago | |

Over 64 lakh women above 18 years from eight districts in Maharashtra have been counselled against tobacco, drug and alcohol addiction in the last two months. There has been a “strong link” between alcohol abuse and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) — particularly cancer, cardiovascular diseases, liver diseases, pancreatitis and diabetes.Around 1.56 crore women have been screened under the ongoing statewide medical checkup of adult women — ‘Mata Surakshit Tar Ghar Surakshi‘ — which started in September this year. Out of this, 64,55,475 women from eight districts —Thane, Pune, Nashik, Kolhapur, Beed, Nagpur, Aurangabad and Latur — were counselled on tobacco, drug and alcohol addiction which leads to diseases like cardiovascular issues, hypertension and diabetes.The maximum number of women being counselled were in Pune (11.8 lakh), and then Nashik (10 lakh).“This includes women with addiction issues who suffer from high blood pressure and hypertension. We counselled them on how such habits could lead to NCDs, including cancer and cardiovascular issues, in the long run… The programme is a part of preventive measures against NCDs,” said Dr Padmaja Jogewar, Joint Director (NCD Cell), Directorate of Health Services.As smoking remains a strong factor in the emergence of NCDs across India, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified the prevention of tobacco and alcohol consumption as key strategies to curb or stop NCDs and fatalities. “It is important to counsel women, especially the younger ones, about the adverse effects of such consumption… before they get addicted or grow such habits,” Jogewar added. Maharashtra has also counselled around 7 lakh women on several key topics including domestic violence, stress and mental health issues. “We usually approach women who visit our out-patient department (OPD), identifying if they require counselling. Many are hesitant due to the stigma attached to it, but they open up upon insisting,” said an official from the Public Health Department (PHD), on the condition of anonymity.Dr Harish Shetty, a city-based psychiatrist, said, “Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the real mental health in this age of millennium has come to the focus. So, other than just focusing on the urban population, there is a need to focus on the rural areas also,” Shetty said.

Over 64 lakh women above 18 yrs in state counselled against tobacco, drug addiction
Maharashtra: 7 lakh women sought mental healthcare in govt centres
Times of India | 2 days ago | |
Times of India
2 days ago | |

PUNE: In the past two months, since the state government started basic health check-up for women, close to 7 lakh women have sought counselling and mental healthcare. The state government initiated 'Mata Surakshit Tar Ghar Surakshit' programme on September 23 under which women of all ages above 18 years can avail free diagnosis and treatment for mental and physical ailments. The programme commenced during Navaratra to specifically cater to women's health. As per the state health department data, a total of 1.56 crore women have been screened in the past two months for various non-communicable diseases and close to 69,40,299 women above the age of 30 sought treatment for mental ailment and sought counselling from psychologists. Dr Aniruddha Deshpande, assistant director, family welfare and planning department, who is monitoring this programme, said, "We are asking patients coming to our OPDs if they need any help or assistance with regards to mental ailment. This also includes substance abuse, domestic violence, stress and any mental health-related ailment. Depending on their condition, we give them further advice on therapies or medications." Dr Soumitra Pal, director, Centre For Mental Health Law And Policy said, "Recently, the government announced that it would train doctors at rural levels to provide mental healthcare. If they are trained well, they can provide mental healthcare at the preliminary level. While there is a shortage of psychologists and psychiatrists, it cannot be pinpointed how much of a deficit we have currently as there is no exact data on the number of counsellors we have for mental healthcare because no registration is required for the same."

Maharashtra: 7 lakh women sought mental healthcare in govt centres
Maharashtra reply sought to plea against protest FIR on Thackeray Sena leaders
The Indian Express | 3 days ago | |
The Indian Express
3 days ago | |

The Bombay High Court on Monday directed the Maharashtra government to reply to a plea that sought the quashing of an FIR registered against Ambadas Danve, leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council; MP Arvind Sawant; MLA Bhaskar Jadhav; and other leaders of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena who protested against the government.Vitthal More, Navi Mumbai district president of the Sena, approached police on October 17 seeking permission for a protest on October 19 against the Eknath Shinde-led government. Police refused permission and said that in view of the “current political scenario” and the “previous political protests”, a gathering would lead to “violent situations and possible breach of the law and order situation”.However, over 600 party workers gathered on October 19 and raised slogans against the BJP-Shinde Sena government and police. Police stopped the protests, according to the plea, creating “traffic nuisance” on the road and an FIR was registered at Navi Mumbai’s CBD Belapur station on the complaint of Chetan Ahire, a constable. The FIR mentioned offences punishable under Sections 143, 145 (being a member of unlawful assembly) 188 (disobedience to an order by a public servant) and 341 (wrongful restraint) of the Indian Penal Code along with provisions of the Maharashtra Police Act.Advocate Shubham Kahite, representing the Sena leaders, told a bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and R N Laddha that the protest was not illegal and that the FIR was registered without proper application of mind but with the “sole intention to stifle the voice of the Opposition, which is fundamental to functional democracy”. He also said police had failed to show even a hint of violence, unrest or breach of peace during the protest.Kahite also submitted that besides the Belapur case, another FIR was registered at the NRI Sagari police station against the same set of accused with the same offences.The bench questioned how there were two FIRs for a single cause of action and directed additional public prosecutor J P Yagnik to file a reply before the next hearing on December 15.

Maharashtra reply sought to plea against protest FIR on Thackeray Sena leaders
Elgar Parishad case accused Anand Teltumbde released from Navi Mumbai prison
Times of India | 6 days ago | |
Times of India
6 days ago | |

MUMBAI: Scholar-activist Anand Teltumbde, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, was on Saturday released from the Taloja central prison in Navi Mumbai, a day after the Supreme Court rejected the National Investigation Agency's (NIA) plea challenging the bail granted to him, an official said. Teltumbde, 73, who spent two-and-a-half years behind bars in the case, walked out of the jail around 1.15pm, he said. "On Friday, the apex court had dismissed the NIA's plea challenging the Bombay High Court's order giving bail to Teltumbde. Accordingly, he was released after the completion of bail formalities," he said. On November 18, the high court had granted bail to Teltumbde, who was arrested by the central agency on April 14, 2020, after he surrendered before the NIA, the official said. Teltumbde is the third of the 16 accused arrested in the case to be released on bail. Poet Varavara Rao is currently out on bail on health grounds while lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj is out on regular bail. The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial on the outskirts of the western Maharashtra city. Pune Police had also claimed that the conclave was organised by some persons with alleged Maoist links. A First Information Report was lodged by Pune Police on January 8, 2018, under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The NIA later took over the case. Teltumbde had claimed he was not present at the December 31, 2017 Elgar Parishad event held in Pune city, nor made any provocative speeches.

Elgar Parishad case accused Anand Teltumbde released from Navi Mumbai prison
  • Elgaar Parishad case: SC rejects NIA plea against bail for Anand Teltumbde
  • The Indian Express

    The Supreme Court Friday dismissed the appeal filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) challenging the Bombay High Court order granting bail to Elgaar Parishad case accused Anand Teltumbde.A bench headed by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, and including Justice Hima Kohli, heard the matter for over an hour and said, “We will not interfere.” It dismissed the appeal with a two-line order: “The SLP is dismissed. However, the observations in the impugned judgment of the High Court shall not be treated as conclusive final findings in all proceedings.”Teltumbde, who is lodged in Taloja jail, is likely to be released on Saturday after his lawyers completed the bail formalities and a special court in Mumbai issued the release memo. He was informed about the Supreme Court’s decision by a lawyer after he was brought before the special court for a hearing along with the other arrested accused.Earlier, in the Supreme Court, Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the NIA, said the agency had in its possession documents allegedly recovered from Teltumbde’s computer as well as that of co-accused. Bhati contended that these documents established that Teltumbde is allegedly “actively involved in planning, funds transfer, conspiracy propagating, recruiting, etc.,” on behalf of CPI (Maoist), which is a proscribed outfit under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.In this context, Bhati cited a letter allegedly from an absconding accused in the case, “Comrade Prakash”, to Teltumbde. Asserting that this was seized from the computer of co-accused Rona Wilson, Bhati read out from the purported letter, saying “the CC (Central Committee of CPI (Maoist)… has agreed to allocate additional funds Rs 10 lakh yearly to organise international seminar…We have also sent funds for your upcoming… human rights convention at Paris. International campaigns can give more traction to domestic chaos. Frequent chaos and protests will lead to breakdown of law and order and this will have significant political ramifications in the coming months…”The NIA counsel also cited the statement of a protected witness that the accused’s younger brother Milind Teltumbde had allegedly said he took to Maoism inspired by Anand Teltumbde. Milind was the secretary of the Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh zone of the CPI (Maoist). He was killed in an encounter with security forces in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli in November 2021.The agency cited another document that was allegedly recovered from the computer of a co-accused Surendra Gadling in which he purportedly says he met a comrade as instructed and that the latter had appreciated his “efforts to provide information on enemy movements in Bastar and other areas of interest”.“I am consistently building contacts within the Delhi administration to further refine this process…If it was possible I would do anything to see the officers lying in pool of blood. Central and state forces are completely rattled at this time which is also evident from their decision to intensify their operations of the Cobra unit in Bastar,” said Bhati, reading out in court from the purported document.The NIA also pointed to a purported letter from Wilson to “Comrade Prakash” about Teltumbde allegedly agreeing to coordinate the activities of a fact-finding commission which the Maoists intended to set up to look into “fake encounters” by security forces.The bench asked, “What is the specific role attributable to him if you bring the provisions of UAPA into operation?”ASG Bhati responded that “the scheme of this act is that terrorist act is not required to be committed”. “Even without terrorist act, unlawful activities which are in the nature preparatory work, of association in any manner, coordinating with these proscribed organisations,” Bhati said.She contended that Teltumbde’s “academics was his front face”. Pointing out that he was delivering lectures in events by organisations that were fronts of CPI (Maoist), she said that “it is not his lectures that are the problem but what is going on in the garb of his front face is the problem…He can speak what he likes, but once there is an organisation that is proscribed, which is indulging in terrorist activities, and this kind of strong association with the ideology, with funds transfer, with organising a fact finding missions, recruiting people…”Appearing for Anand Telbumbde, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal said that the “documents shown by NIA are not recovered from me…They are recovered allegedly from Rona Wilson’s computer, not mine.”The court pointed out that there were some emails recovered by him as per the chargesheet.Sibal, however, said they were “about fact finding, these are academics”. He said, “…none of the emails have any relation to any provisions of the Act. The threshold under the Act is very high.”Stating that Teltumbde was an academic, Sibal said, “Basically, his subject is Dalits. Wherever there is an issue of Dalits, he is out there as an academician to deal with it… If in the process, there is some organisation which according to them is closly associated with some other organisation, then I am speaking there as an academician, that doesn’t make me a terrorist.”He also denied that Teltumbde had received funds from Maoists to attend international seminars. “There is no evidence of any money coming in from them… They alleged I went to Paris and the fund was paid by CPI (Maoists) but the American Institute in Paris wrote to us that all expenses are paid by the Institute. And it was an academic conference,” Sibal argued.Sibal said that Teltumbde was estranged from his brother Milind and had not met him for the last 30 years. “What they have is a Section 161 statement of a person who says somebody else told him that I had met Milind,” he said.Sibal said there is “nothing palpably wrong with the High Court’s findings that there is no prima facie evidence to connect him with Maoist activity…The High Court applied its mind and prima facie says there doesn’t seem to be any violation of the Acts itself. And granted bail”.In its order, the Bombay High Court had allowed Teltumbde to deposit a cash bail of Rs 1 lakh and furnish local sureties within a period of eight weeks. Among the other conditions were that he has to furnish his contact numbers and address, and submit his passport to the NIA.Teltumbde’s lawyer Neeraj Yadav informed the court that the passport was submitted to the NIA at the time of his arrest. The NIA told the court that the passport was in the court’s custody as it was given at the time of the supplementary chargesheet being filed. After verification, special judge Rajesh Katariya issued the release order.Among the other conditions were that Teltumbde cannot leave the jurisdiction of the special court without prior permission, and cannot tamper with evidence or influence witnesses.While Teltumbde’s wife Rama was in the Supreme Court for the appeal hearing, he was accompanied by the other co-accused and their relatives who welcomed the apex court’s decision with hugs and tears.

  • SC confirms bail for Anand Teltumbde: What is the Elgar Parishad case and the accused?
  • The Indian Express

    The Supreme Court on Friday (November 25) dismissed the NIA’s challenge to the Bombay High Court order giving bail to scholar-activist Anand Teltumbde, 73, in the Elgar Parishad case.A Bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli declined to interfere with the HC order of November 18. The HC Bench comprising Justices A S Gadkari and Milind Jadhav had said prima facie “it cannot be concluded that Teltumbde has indulged in a terrorist act”.According to a report by Live Law, on Friday, CJI Chandrachud asked counsel for NIA, “What is the specific role to bring UAPA sections into action? The IIT Madras event you alleged is for Dalit mobilisation. Is Dalit mobilisation preparatory act to proscribed activity?”The Bench, however, added that the HC’s observations will not be treated as conclusive final findings at the trial.Sixteen accused including Teltumbde had been arrested in the Elgar Parishad case — nine individuals were arrested by the Pune Police in 2018, and seven were arrested by the NIA after it took over the investigation in 2020.One of the accused, Father Stan Swamy, an 84-year-old Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist, passed away in July 2021 while in judicial custody.Telugu poet and activist Varavara Rao was granted bail on medical grounds by the Supreme Court in August this year. Lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj was granted default bail in December last year. Teltumbde is the third accused in the case to be given bail.On November 19, activist Gautam Navlakha was moved from Taloja Central Prison to house arrest in Navi Mumbai after the Supreme Court rejected the NIA’s appeal against the court’s earlier order allowing his house arrest.The other accused, including activists Vernon Gonsalves, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, and Prof Shoma Sen, remain in jail.The case dates back to the Elgar Parishad event held in Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017. A day later, violent clashes broke out between Maratha and Dalit groups near Bhima Koregaon in Maharashtra.Police alleged that the violence was instigated by “inflammatory speeches” given at the Elgar event in Pune. However, Dalit groups and many others, including NCP chief Sharad Pawar, accused right-wing leaders Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide of instigating the violence through hate speeches.The Pune Police started raiding the homes and offices of those who had attended the Elgar event and seized their electronic devices. Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Arun Ferreira, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, and Sudha Bharadwaj were arrested in 2018. Police accused them of being members of the banned CPI(Maoist), and of involvement in furthering its activities.In December 2019, a month after the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government came to power in Maharashtra, the central government transferred the case to the NIA. By then, the Pune Police had filed two chargesheets against the nine accused.In 2020, the NIA arrested Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha, Hany Babu, Jyoti Jagtap, Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor, and Stan Swamy. A third charge sheet was filed in the case in October 2020.In August 2021, the NIA submitted to the sessions court the draft charge against the accused. The draft charges include the sections under which the prosecuting agency proposes to charge the accused based on the evidence it has collected and submitted before the court. The accused face various sections, including under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

  • Elgar Parishad case: NIA moves SC against bail to Anand Teltumbde by Bombay HC, hearing on Friday
  • The Indian Express

    The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has approached the Supreme Court, challenging the bail granted to Elgar Parishad case accused Anand Teltumbde by the Bombay High Court, stating that the observations made in the HC order were contrary to what the apex court had said in the past, and that observations in the bail order “would influence the trial and investigation”.Solicitor General Tushar Mehta mentioned the matter before a bench presided by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, which agreed to take it up on November 25.In its appeal challenging the November 18 order of the Bombay HC granting the relief, the NIA said that if the accused is granted bail, “the efforts of the investigating agency…which is already undergoing great difficulty in unearthing the evidence against” Teltumbde “would suffer a fatal blow” and that he “upon being freed from the judicial custody would ensure that no evidence whatsoever could surface”.The agency contended that the HC had “erroneously granted bail” to him “by conducting a mini-trial and roving inquiry, analysing each and every document and (Section) 164 statements threadbare contrary to the settled law and judicial pronouncements of” the Supreme Court.The High Court, it said, “has made observations that would influence the trial and investigation” in the case.Teltumbde, the agency said, “is an active and senior member” of the CPI (Maoist) “working in the urban areas… regularly in contact with other co-accused… and has been actively involved in furthering the larger conspiracy and commission of various crimes on behalf of the terrorist organisation”.The accused, said the agency, was also the general secretary of Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR) and a member of Anuradha Ghandy Memorial Committee, which are “frontal organisations” of the Maoists.The appeal said he [Teltumbde] “was instrumental in organising fact-finding missions” on the directions of the party “which had allocated Rs 10 lakh for the purpose of his international campaign and visits in furtherance of the” Maoist agenda.The NIA said “his mention was found in certain incriminating letters and documents of CPI (Maoist) particularly a letter written on 2/1/2018 by his brother… Milind Teltumbde to accused Rona Wilson”. Milind was secretary of the Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh zone of the CPI (Maoist). He was killed in an encounter with security forces in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli in November 2021.It said that Teltumbde “used to attend international conferences under the guise of his academic visits to Canada, Pakistan, USA, France, etc.” and that “in the said conferences, he used to exchange literature on ideology, training, and working strategy of CPI (Maoist) with international communist organisations”.On the High Court’s observation that no prima facie case is made out against Teltumbde, the agency said this “is contrary to the observations made by this (Supreme) Court in his case while rejecting his plea for anticipatory bail. It pointed out that the SC in its order dated March 16, 2020, had said that “we are of the opinion that it cannot be said that no prima facie case is made out”.

Bombay HC refuses interim relief in plea against bandh called by MVA in 2021 over Lakhimpur Kheri and farmers’ protest
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

The Bombay High Court on Thursday refused to grant interim relief in a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by four senior citizens, including retired IPS officer Julio Ribeiro, which challenged the October 11, 2021 bandh in Maharashtra called by the then three ruling parties which were part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.The PIL had said the bandh – called by NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena to express their solidarity with the farmers’ protest over the now repealed agricultural laws and against the October 3 violence in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri district — caused a loss of nearly Rs 3,000 crore to the public exchequer. It sought that the bandh be declared ‘illegal and unconstitutional’.The division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Abhay Ahuja noted that there were “no exceptional circumstances” to pass an interim order granting relief to the petitioner at this stage and said the same would amount to granting final relief related to compensation. The court referred to police records and noted that it was evident that the bandh call had been given by the MVA and constituents of the alliance — Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress — have stayed away from the proceedings till date in court despite them being made respondents in the case.The bench then directed the respondents to file their affidavits in reply to the plea by January 9, followed by the rejoinder of the petitioners by January 18.The bench directed the state government and its police department to inform it as to what steps were taken in compliance of directions issued by the High Court in the BG Deshmukh case to avoid the bandh of 2021.In 2004, the HC had penalised the Shiv Sena and BJP for forcing a shutdown in Mumbai in July 2003 following the Ghatkopar blasts. The HC had made it mandatory for police to serve a notice on political parties calling for the bandh, inform them about its illegalityand to take criminal action against those enforcing the strike, among other steps. It noted that since the 2004 verdict was not challenged by the state government, the same had attained finality and should be implemented.Earlier this year, the Maharashtra Home department and Mumbai Police, in their affidavits, had told the HC that no decision was taken by the state Cabinet to support a state-wide bandh of November 2021,and the state government cannot be held liable for losses claimed by petitioners.Additional Government Pleader Jyoti Chavan, representing the state government, said that it had taken steps to ensure that the law and order situation was maintained and provided additional bandobast through Police Riot Control Units, among other steps.However, senior advocate Ramesh Soni, appearing for the petitioners, claimed that there was no connection between violence in UP and bandh in Maharashtra, and the bandh was organised by political parties and compensationshould be ordered for losses suffered due to the same as a deterrent measure.The bench orally remarked, “Do the lawyers not strike? A judicial order will not solve this… As part of the judiciary, we cannot give moral lessons to the state government…There is a general trend in this country that people don’t do anything but after retirement … What did he do when he (petitioner) was in office? We won’t pass futile orders. Those orders will never be implemented, then again you will file a contempt plea,” the bench remarked. It added that it could not quantify the damages mentioned in the PIL and could only ascertain as to whether the rights were trampled upon.The bench refused to grant interim relief to the petitioners and posted the matter for further hearing to January 25, 2023.

Bombay HC refuses interim relief in plea against bandh called by MVA in 2021 over Lakhimpur Kheri and farmers’ protest
  • Bombay HC seeks state reply on compliance of its 2004 ruling on ‘Bandhs’
  • Times of India

    MUMBAI: Bombay high court on Thursday sought an affidavit from the state on compliance of a 2004 order which required police to issue a notice on a political party calling for a bandh. The HC sought the state’s response after counsel R D Soni arguing a PIL filed by ex Mumbai CP Julio Rebeiro and other senior citizens cited the previous ruling while seeking Rs 3000 crore compensation from three political parties of the erstwhile MVA government for an alleged "state sponsored" bandh in Maharashtra last October to protest farmer deaths in Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh. Soni said the UP violence had no connection to Maharashtra to even suggest the need for a bandh here. The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) alleged that three parties which formed the ruling alliance then had called for the bandh and must be made to shell out the amount through a bandh loss compensation fund. A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Abhay Ahuja admitting the PIL, did not grant any interim relief at this stage, but sought to know what steps had the police taken "to avoid the bandh". The 2004 judgment by the then HC bench headed by Justice A P Shah had declaring enforcement of a bandh to be an "unconstitutional act" directed police to service notice to the political party to inform them of bandh’s illegality and its liability for legal action ad to pay compensation for loss of life or livelihood due to such bandh. The State represented by additional government pleader Jyoti Chavan referred to the state’s affidavits which denied it had called for the bandh, saying contrary to petitioners’ claim no cabinet decision was taken for the bandh. Soni said media reports indicated that the bandh was state sponsored, to which Chavan questioned the petitioners for placing reliance only on the media reports. She said the state merely expressed solidarity with the farmers’ cause. PIL sought setting up a compensation fund. The HC observed despite numerous judgment, bandhs abound and asked how did the petitioners arrive at the figure they did. It said any mechanism to quantify damages has to be through a law. Courts have to ensure that people’s rights are not trampled on. Lawyers also go on strike, said Chavan citing one example of a strike in Kolhapur. The bench said a "judicial order won't solve this (recurrence of bandhs)". it also said, “As a part of the judiciary, we cannot give moral lessons to the State Government." The police department in its reply said the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had called for it and it found support from others. It also said the police had immediately taken steps to maintain law and order in Mumbai via additional bandobast through riot control units and more personnel patrolling the streets.

Arnab Goswami’s ‘inflammatory’ comments: SC to hear Monday Maha govt plea against HC order of staying probe
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Monday a plea of Maharashtra government challenging a Bombay High Court’s 2020 order by which it had suspended probe into two FIRs filed against Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami for allegedly making inflammatory comments.The FIRs pertain to Goswami’s comments during his TV programmes about Palghar lynching incident and migrants gathering in large numbers in Mumbai’s Bandra area during the Covid-induced lockdown.A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli will hear the appeal filed by the Maharashtra government.On October 26, 2020, the top court had observed that some people are targeted with “greater intensity” and need more protection.The Maharashtra government, which was then ruled by Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi, had opposed the high court’s decision to stay the police probe against Goswami.The top court had sought response from Goswami and others on the appeal filed by the state government.In its June 30, 2020 order, the high court had noted that while Goswami’s comments targeted the Congress and its president Sonia Gandhi, he did not make any statement that would cause public disharmony or incite violence between different religious groups.Citing observations made by the Supreme Court that India’s freedom will rest safe as long as journalists can speak to power without being chilled by a threat of reprisal, the high court had said in its order that free citizens cannot exist when the news media is chained to adhere to any one position.While admitting for final hearing of the petition filed by Goswami seeking to quash the two FIRs, the high court had directed the police not to take any coercive action until the disposal of the plea.Two FIRs were filed against Goswami — one in Nagpur, which was later transferred to N M Joshi Marg police station in Mumbai following directions from the Supreme Court and another at Pydhonie police station.The one filed in Nagpur was about a news show aired on the channel on April 21 about the Palghar incident where two religious leaders and their driver were lynched.The Pydhonie case followed a show aired by Republic TV on April 29 where Goswami had referred to migrants gathering near a mosque outside the Bandra railway terminus during the lockdown.

Arnab Goswami’s ‘inflammatory’ comments: SC to hear Monday Maha govt plea against HC order of staying probe
Maharashtra Congress Backs Rahul Gandhi Amid Row Over Savarkar Remark
Ndtv | 1 week ago | |
Ndtv
1 week ago | |

Buldhana: Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole on Saturday said those criticising party leader Rahul Gandhi for his remarks on V D Savarkar, should first explain why the Hindutva ideologue was getting Rs 60 pension from the British.Mr Gandhi has kicked up a row with his remarks on Savarkar made earlier this week during the Maharashtra leg of his Bharat Jodo Yatra. He has claimed that Savarkar had helped the British and wrote a mercy petition to him out of fear."Those who criticised Rahul Gandhi for his comments on Savarkar should first reply why the latter was getting a pension of Rs 60 from the British,'' Mr Patole said in response to a query about criticism of Gandhi for his remarks against Savarkar and Shiv Sena's stand that such comments will hamper MVA alliance.He said the Bharat Jodo Yatra received an overwhelming response in Maharashtra and the Congress was united and energised.Mr Patole said his party wants an ideological debate and it wants to unite people. The Congress believed in non-violence, he said.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comCongress general secretary in-charge of the party's communication and publicity wing, Jairam Ramesh, said the the grand old party was celebrating November 19 as 'Kisan Vijay Diwas' as it was on this day last year that the three farm laws were withdrawn by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after protests. ''November 19 is a historic day and we are celebrating it as Kisan Vijay diwas. The only long-term solution for welfare of farmers is upgrading irrigation facilities in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, where farmers are committing suicide,'' he said.Women elected representatives and members of self-help groups (SHGs) joined the yatra with Rahul Gandhi to mark the birth anniversary of late prime minister Indira Gandhi, he added. PTI MR NP NPFeatured Video Of The DayWith Video, BJP Claims AAP Minister Satyendar Jain Gets Massages In Jail

Maharashtra Congress Backs Rahul Gandhi Amid Row Over Savarkar Remark
Those targeting Rahul Gandhi should explain why Savarkar got pension from British, says Maharashtra Congress chief
The Economic Times | 1 week ago | |
The Economic Times
1 week ago | |

Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole on Saturday said those criticising party leader Rahul Gandhi for his remarks on V D Savarkar, should first explain why the Hindutva ideologue was getting Rs 60 pension from the British.Gandhi has kicked up a row with his remarks on Savarkar made earlier this week during the Maharashtra leg of his Bharat Jodo Yatra. He has claimed that Savarkar had helped the British and wrote a mercy petition to him out of fear."Those who criticised Rahul Gandhi for his comments on Savarkar should first reply why the latter was getting a pension of Rs 60 from the British,'' Patole said in response to a query about criticism of Gandhi for his remarks against Savarkar and Shiv Sena's stand that such comments will hamper MVA alliance.He said the Bharat Jodo Yatra received an overwhelming response in Maharashtra and the Congress was united and energised.Patole said his party wants an ideological debate and it wants to unite people. The Congress believed in non-violence, he said.Congress general secretary in-charge of the party's communication and publicity wing, Jairam Ramesh, said the the grand old party was celebrating November 19 as 'Kisan Vijay Diwas' as it was on this day last year that the three farm laws were withdrawn by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after protests.''November 19 is a historic day and we are celebrating it as Kisan Vijay diwas. The only long-term solution for welfare of farmers is upgrading irrigation facilities in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, where farmers are committing suicide,'' he said.Women elected representatives and members of self-help groups (SHGs) joined the yatra with Rahul Gandhi to mark the birth anniversary of late prime minister Indira Gandhi, he added.

Those targeting Rahul Gandhi should explain why Savarkar got pension from British, says Maharashtra Congress chief
Those who faced violence, feel no fear or hatred, says Rahul
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday accused the BJP of spreading violence, hatred and terror in the country.Rahul, who has witnessed violent deaths of his grandmother Indira Gandhi and father Rajiv Gandhi, said that anyone who has suffered violence in life will never feel fear and hatred in his heart.He was addressing a mammoth rally at Shegaon of Vidarbha’s Buldhana district on the 72nd day of his Bharat Jodo Yatra.“Fear, violence, hate divides but love unites everything. The aim of Bharat Jodo Yatra is not to achieve ‘Mann ki Baat’. Violence and hatred will never benefit the country. Anyone who has suffered violence in his life will never feel fear and hatred in his heart. All those who talk about violence have never faced it ever,” he said.“This journey was started against this terror, hatred and violence. The purpose of this yatra is to understand your voice and sorrows,’’ Rahul added.He was speaking in the background of threats issued to the yatra by MNS and BJP after he commented against Hindutva ideology V D Sawarkar in regard to his mercy petition to the British. Rahul, however, did not mention the controversy in his speech.The Congress MP said that he has been meeting farmers and youth, who are questioning the government. “Farmers do not get money even after paying insurance money. The Modi government is doing injustice to the farmers. There is no price for farmers’ goods. Farmers are not getting compensation.’’Rahul said that he will never let India become a country where farmers and youth are poor while a few individuals control all the wealth. He alleged that loans of thousands of crores of some industrialists are waived and two or three industrialists are sinking the country’s debt.Remembering Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Rahul said he was the voice of Maharashtra. “He was shown the path by his mother Rashtramata Jijau. We are following his work.”.“This land belongs to Chhatrapati Shivaji, Shahu, Phule and Ambedkar and none of them worked on dividing people,” he further said.

Those who faced violence, feel no fear or hatred, says Rahul
Thackeray-led Shiv Sena leaders move HC against Navi Mumbai protests FIR
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Ambadas Danve, Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) along with other leaders belonging to Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) including MP Arvind Sawant, MLA Bhaskar Jadhav have moved the Bombay High Court seeking FIR registered against them at CBD Belapur in Navi Mumbai.As per plea, the FIR was registered on complaint of Chetan Ahire, a police constable at CBD Belapur Police station. On October 17, Vitthal More, Navi Mumbai district president of Thackeray-led Sena had approached the police seeking permission to stage a protest on October 19 against the Chief Minister Eknath Shinde government. The police however refused permission stating that there would be law and order problems due to the large gathering. More was informed by police that in view of “current political scenario”, and the “previous political protests” a gathering will lead to “violent situations and possible breach of law and order situation”.Despite that, as per plea, over 600 party workers gathered on October 19 and raised slogans against the government and the police machinery. The plea stated that while the police stopped the protests mid-way, the same created traffic nuisance on the road and the FIR was lodged.The FIR comprised offences punishable under Sections 143, 145 (being a member of unlawful assembly) 188 (disobedience to an order by a public servant) and 341 (wrongful restraint) of the Indian Penal Code along with provisions of the Maharashtra Police Act.The three leaders in their plea filed through advocate Shubham Kahite seeking quashing of the said FIR claimed that they were ‘innocent’ and were ‘falsely implicated’ in the case and had not committed any of the offences alleged by the police.The petitioners said their fundamental right to free speech, peaceful assembly and moving freely within the country as granted in constitution and the same was curtailed by lodging the FIR.“The peaceful protest was an exercise through which the applicants was raising pertinent social and political issues and said FIR have been filed with sole intention to stifle the voice of opposition which is fundamental to functional democracy,” the plea claimedIt added that the police failed to show “even a hint of acts where violence, unrest or breach of peace occurred during the protest,” therefore the FIR be quashed and set aside as illegal. The HC will hear the plea in due course.

Thackeray-led Shiv Sena leaders move HC against Navi Mumbai protests FIR
Supreme Court junks NIA plea, refuses to recall house arrest order for activist Gautam Navlakha
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the application of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to recall its order allowing the house arrest of activist Gautam Navlakha in the Bhima Koregaon violence case.The apex court asked for Navlakha to be put under house arrest within 24-hours after shifting him from Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai.Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who sought the recall of the order of Navlakha’s house arrest told the court, “The message that goes out is that though Article 14 says all are equal, some are more than equal.”SC dismisses NIA plea to vacate its order allowing house arrest for Gautam Navlakha. @IndianExpress— Ananthakrishnan G (@axidentaljourno) November 18, 2022Justice K M Joseph, who presided over the bench which delivered the house arrest order said that all conditions that Additional Solicitor General S V Raju wanted to be incorporated were included, and “in that sense, it was an agreed order.” In counter to that, ASG Raju said that it was not an agreed order.The apex court also ordered additional security measures to be put in place where Navlakha will be lodged under house arrest, PTI reported.Navlakha is yet to be shifted from Taloja jail near Mumbai despite the top court’s November 10 ruling to this effect.Navlakha, who is facing charges under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, had initially said he would stay with his sister, Mridula Kothari, in Mumbai. But the NIA said one of the doctors who had signed the medical report submitted by Navlakha in support of his plea was Mridula’s husband, Dr S Kothari, a senior doctor at Jaslok Hospital. Following this, Navlakha said he would stay with his partner, Sahba Husain. The court allowed this.The case relates to speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017. Police claim these speeches triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial on the outskirts of the western Maharashtra city.The Supreme Court had allowed Navlakha’s request for house arrest owing to his health. It directed that he will remain in Mumbai at an address already furnished to the court. It also allowed the NIA to inspect the premises before shifting him there and imposed certain conditions, including CCTV surveillance, restrictions on phone use and no access to Internet.

Supreme Court junks NIA plea, refuses to recall house arrest order for activist Gautam Navlakha
  • No house arrest for Gautam Navlakha yet, SC to hear pleas by him, NIA tomorrow
  • The Indian Express

    The Supreme Court will Friday hear applications by activist Gautam Navlakha and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) over the top court’s order allowing his house arrest in the Bhima Koregaon violence case.Navlakha is yet to be shifted from Taloja jail near Mumbai despite the top court’s November 10 ruling to this effect.His counsel said the NIA was yet to inspect the premises where he had proposed to stay even though the court had directed the agency to carry out the inspection within 48 hours.The NIA’s argument was that the premises are the library-cum-office of the Communist Party of India.Seeking urgent listing of the plea, Navlakha’s counsel, Senior Advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan, told a bench presided by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud: “NIA has raised objections. The order of house arrest came on November 10 and they were to inspect the premises within 48 hours, which they have not. Because of their objections, the order cannot be implemented.”Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said Navlakha, who “is accused of being involved in Maoist activities”, had given an address of the library-cum-office of Communist Party of India instead of a house as the place where he intended to stay.As the house arrest order was given by a Bench presided by Justice K M Joseph, the CJI directed that both pleas be listed before the same bench.The case relates to speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017. Police claim these speeches triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial on the outskirts of the western Maharashtra city.The Supreme Court had allowed Navlakha’s request for house arrest owing to his health. It directed that he will remain in Mumbai at an address already furnished to the court. It also allowed the NIA to inspect the premises before shifting him there and imposed certain conditions, including CCTV surveillance, restrictions on phone use and no access to Internet.The court had asked his counsel then to furnish the address where he would stay. Accordingly, the court informed that he would stay on the first floor of a building which had a library on the ground floor.Navlakha, who is facing charges under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, had initially said he would stay with his sister, Mridula Kothari, in Mumbai.But the NIA said one of the doctors who had signed the medical report submitted by Navlakha in support of his plea was Mridula’s husband, Dr S Kothari, a senior doctor at Jaslok Hospital.Following this, Navlakha said he would stay with his partner, Sahba Husain. The court allowed this.

  • SC waives solvency certificate requirement for Gautam Navlakha to avail benefit of house arrest
  • The Indian Express

    The Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the hurdle for the release of activist Gautam Navlakha from Navi Mumbai’s Taloja prison, where he is lodged in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case, by waiving the requirement of a solvency certificate for availing the benefit of house arrest.The top court had on November 10 allowed Navlakha to be placed under house arrest owing to his deteriorating health.It had said that to avail the facility of house arrest, Navlakha will provide local surety of Rs 2 lakh by November 14.A bench of Justices K M Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy was on Tuesday informed by senior advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan and advocate Shadan Farasat, appearing for Navlakha, it will take a minimum of six weeks to secure solvency certificate in respect of surety to be provided as a precondition for house arrest of the activist.“Considering the submission and the circumstances, we deem it appropriate to waive the requirement of a solvency certificate for the petitioner (Navlakha) to avail the benefit of our order dated November 10, 2022. It is ordered accordingly,” the bench said.It said since other adequate security proofs such as passport, Aadhaar card and Permanent Account Number (PAN) card have been provided, the trial court should not insist on a ration card as an additional proof of identity for the benefit of the apex court’s order to take effect.“It is so ordered,” the bench said.Noting the activist has been in custody since April 14, 2020 and prima facie there is no reason to reject his medical report, the apex court had on November 10 said Navlakha does not have any criminal background except for this case and even the Government of India had appointed him as an interlocutor to hold talks with Maoists.Putting a number of conditions, including a deposit of Rs 2.4 lakh as expenses towards providing him security, the top court had said the order to place the 70-year-old activist under house arrest for a month in Mumbai should be implemented within 48 hours.“It is not in dispute that apart from this case, the petitioner does not have any criminal background at all. The petitioner has also the case that in the year 2011, the services of the petitioner was used by the Government of India as an interlocutor to mediate with the extremists for securing the release of security personnel kidnapped by Maoists,” it had said. “We would think on a conspectus of the facts that we should allow the petitioner to be placed under house arrest at least to begin with till the next date of hearing from the date on which he is actually placed on house arrest,” the top court had said.The apex court had posted the matter for hearing on December 13.The activist appealed to the apex court against the April 26 order of the Bombay High Court dismissing his plea for house arrest over apprehensions of lack of adequate medical and other basic facilities in Taloja jail near Mumbai.The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017 which the police claim triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial on the outskirts of the western Maharashtra city.

No rift in MVA over Savarkar, says Jairam Ramesh, calls for discussion with ‘unbiased mind’
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said Friday that his party and the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena “agree to disagree” on V D Savarkar, rejecting the impression that their conflicting views on the Hindutva ideologue would split the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance.“I spoke to Sanjay Raut today. We agree to disagree. He refuted the impression that it will weaken Maha Vikas Aghadi. It won’t affect the MVA,” said Ramesh. “We (Congress) don’t distort history… MVA is a three-year-old alliance. We joined the MVA on a common minimum programme. I asked him (Raut) whether this issue will destabilise MVA and he stated that both issues are different.”Thackeray, the former Maharashtra chief minister, said Thursday that the Sena did not agree with a statement that Rahul Gandhi made during his Bharat Jodo Yatra. The Congress leader had said that Savarkar had submitted mercy petitions to the British, while freedom fighters such as Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel and Pandit Nehru and his party never bowed before the British. Gandhi also said the Congress did not idolise Savarkar.Raut had earlier said Gandhi’s statement would “certainly cause bitterness” in the alliance, which was formed in 2019 when the Congress, Sena and the NCP joined hands.Asked about threats Gandhi has received over his comments, Ramesh said the public response to the yatra had irked many and that threats were being issued. “His grandmother and father have been victims of violence and we are aware of the threat to him. There will be no compromise on the security of Rahul Gandhi,” he said.In response to a question, Congress leader and former chief minister Ashok Chavan said such “small threats” as made by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) did not matter, considering the support Gandhi’s yatra had received.Ramesh, the Congress general secretary in charge of communications, said the party knew that his posters would be torn as happened in Karnataka. “But people themselves have answered it by turning out in huge numbers for the yatra,” he said.Ramesh said historical facts such as that Savarkar and Muhammad Ali Jinnah advocated the two-nation theory, the RSS opposed the 1942 Quit India movement and that Shyama Prasad Mukherjee advocated partition of Bengal could not be changed today. “This history needs to be discussed with unbiased mind. Not on social media and WhatsApp,” he said.

No rift in MVA over Savarkar, says Jairam Ramesh, calls for discussion with ‘unbiased mind’
No ‘Love Jihad’; drugs and alcohol, not live-in, to blame: Legislative Council Deputy Chairperson
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

Aaftab Poonawala, accused of murdering his live-in partner Shraddha Walkar in Delhi, used to consume drugs and alcohol which could have led to his violent behaviour, Neelam Gorhe, deputy chairperson of Legislative Council of Maharashtra, said after meeting the father of the deceased at his Vasai residence on Thursday.Gorhe said Walkar’s father Vikas did not tell her that his daughter’s relationship was a case of “Love Jihad”.“No one can say such an incident took place because she (Walkar) was in a live-in relationship and that it could not have occurred had they been married,” Gorhe said, adding Walkar was cheated upon and betrayed by Poonawala.Gorhe, a member of Legislative Council (MLC) from Shiv Sena (UBT), said she also visited the Manikpur police station where Walkar’s missing complaint was registered and took an update on the investigation. She said in Marathi: “It was a gruesome murder and probe is on. I spoke at length with the cops and her father. I will take up this issue with the speaker of Lok Sabha, Om Birla, the Union home ministry and Delhi Police, and will demand quick trial and seek death penalty for the accused.”Gorhe said since Poonawala allegedly withdrew money from Walkar’s bank account, probe was on to check if monetary need was one of the factors behind the murder.“Shraddha could not gauge that Aaftab could murder her. She was cheated by him. When we bring up our daughters, we teach them not to get cheated. But in such situations, we cannot tell that a person will do such a thing (murder). If she would not have been in a live-in relationship and would have been married, can we say the husband would not have done this (killed her)?” Gorhe said.The MLC said Walkar’s father told her that his daughter was under a lot of pressure. “He (Vikas) did not mention Love Jihad as she (Walkar) never said it was Love Jihad. But Shraddha’s father told me she was under a lot of pressure. But he does not know if the pressure was because Aaftab used to assault her or because of money. Also, he used to consume a lot of alcohol and was doing drugs so this could be a reason behind the violence,” Gorhe said.Love Jihad is a term used by certain groups to label an interfaith couple, insinuating that the relationship was a result of the man’s aim to convince his partner into changing her religion.Gorhe said despite their fights, Walkar trusted Poonawala a lot.“Her father said that occasional fights used to take place between the couple. Her father told her to come back to him but she did not want to come and continued to stay with Aaftab. May be she trusted him (Poonawala) a lot and thus, did not want to return. Her (now deceased) mother too got to know from Shraddha that Aaftab used to beat her and the (stress from the) knowledge could have contributed to her (the mother’s) death.”

No ‘Love Jihad’; drugs and alcohol, not live-in, to blame: Legislative Council Deputy Chairperson
Social media companies can make any party win election: Rahul Gandhi on Yatra Day 70
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

In an apparent jibe at the Maharashtra government led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said nobody has a clue which party the ruling side belongs to. Rahul also questioned social media companies, saying “systematic bias” is being applied by them, which can make any party win an election.“Even if the EVM is secure, Indian elections may be rigged through social media. If large social media companies want they can make any party win an election. Systematic bias is being applied there and my social media handles are a live example of it,” Rahul said, according to the statement issued by the Congress after his meeting with civil society activists on Wednesday afternoon. The meeting was attended by veteran Gandhian G G Parikh and social activist Medha Patkar, among others, on the 70th day of ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ in Maharashtra.Rahul alleged communal violence was being used as a strategic weapon to cause disharmony in society by one ideology and its leaders. “India at the moment is as per the vision of a powerful urban elite and it can only be smashed with the right way of thinking and it is our duty to refine that vision,” he said. Later in the day, Rahul addressed a meeting at Medshi in Washim district of Vidarbha region. “Our yatra seeks to take along everyone with us without hatred or violence. We don’t leave anyone behind but instead we pick up those who have fallen. On the contrary, there are those patriots sitting in power in Delhi and similarly there are a few in Maharashtra. (PM) Narendra Modi is in Delhi. I don’t know which party those in (power) in Maharashtra belong to or what I should refer to,” he said.Shinde, formerly number two in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena, rebelled against Thackeray, who was heading the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra, and formed a government with BJP’s help. Ever since, Shinde has been claiming that he is the real Sena and even claimed the right to party symbol ‘bow and arrow’. The Election Commission has now given the name ‘Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena’ to Shinde while Thackeray’s Sena is named as ‘Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray)’. The dispute between the two sides is yet to reach a final conclusion. The Congress was a part of the MVA government. Thackeray’s son Aaditya joined Rahul in the yatra in Nanded in a show of unity.Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh and Supriya Shrinate said the party will bring in the Old Pension Scheme in the same manner in which it was brought in Congress-ruled states such as Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. “…There are three lakh government employees in Himachal, all that they seek is OPS. So the governments… have to respond to the needs of people,” said Srinate. 

Social media companies can make any party win election: Rahul Gandhi on Yatra Day 70
Actor Suhasini Mulay stands as surety for Gautam Navlakha in Mumbai court
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

Veteran actor Suhasini Mulay appeared before a special court in Mumbai on Wednesday as surety for activist Gautam Navlakha, an accused in the Elgaar Parishad case, who has been ordered to be placed under house arrest for a month by the Supreme Court.Navlakha, 73, is an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case and has been in jail since April 2020.While allowing him to be placed under house arrest due to his deteriorating health on November 10, the top court had asked Navlakha to produce a local surety of Rs 2 lakh. The court also imposed certain other conditions, including CCTV surveillance, restrictions on use of phone, and no access to Internet.Suhasini told the special court that she has known Navlakha for nearly 30 years since he is a resident of Delhi where she has also stayed for some time.Meanwhile, formalities are ongoing in the special court for Navlakha’s release. The NIA also submitted an evaluation report of the premises where the activist will stay under house arrest in Navi Mumbai.On Tuesday, the Supreme Court had cleared the hurdle for the release of Navlakha by waiving the requirement of a solvency certificate for availing house arrest.The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the ‘Elgar Parishad’ conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon -Bhima war memorial on the outskirts of the western Maharashtra city.

Actor Suhasini Mulay stands as surety for Gautam Navlakha in Mumbai court
Shraddha Walkar murder: What women should know about relationship toxicity and red flags
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

The gruesome death and dismemberment of 27-year-old Shraddha Walkar — a resident of Vasai in Maharashtra — allegedly by her live-in partner Aaftab Poonawala (28) in Delhi, has put the spotlight on women’s safety once again, especially for those in toxic, abusive relationships without the means or the know-how to get out of them.The deceased’s close friends told The Indian Express that while she wanted to break up with her boyfriend, he “mentally tortured and physically assaulted her several times”. Shraddha, unfortunately, had to continue with the relationship since Aaftab “emotionally blackmailed” her, threatening to die by suicide if she left him.It has also come to the fore that Shraddha used to stay with her mother — who passed away in 2020 — and a younger brother; her father did not stay with them. In October 2019, she moved-in with Aaftab despite her family’s objections. The two stayed together in Naigaon and then in Vasai for some time, and Shraddha visited her family only once in 2020 when her mother died of a heart ailment.During the course of their relationship, Shraddha was purportedly physically assaulted “multiple times”; friends saw bruises on her. “He had too much influence on her,” they told this outlet. Shraddha, who used to communicate with her friends over the phone, had stopped doing that, too, towards May-end, days before her life was brutally ended.All aspects of this case point towards an unhealthy relationship, toxicity, abuse and other such red flags. Sadly, many women remain uninformed about their emotional and psychological rights.We reached out to Arouba Kabir, a mental health counselor and the founder of Enso Wellness, who said ‘respect’ is the most important thing in a relationship. “…respect for your boundaries, for your present, your past, your ‘yes’ and your ‘no’. If there is possessiveness and jealousy, know that it is not the right kind of relationship,” she told this outlet. Arouba said one needs to communicate and express themselves all the time. But, even after that if your partner refuses to respect your boundaries, it could indicate a major red flag.Chennai-based psychiatrist and director of SCARF Dr Padmavati Ramachandran told indianexpress.com that in Shraddha’s case, it was perhaps more about finding it difficult to come out of the abusive relationship than choosing to stay in it, coupled with the fact that she probably felt “guilty” about not listening to her family. “For a woman who is in such a relationship, they must know that they can go and talk to a friend.”Arouba stated that a toxic relationship is one wherein “you are not given the due respect, your space”. “It means you are not growing, but are instead being questioned, or asked not to do certain things that may displease your partner. Checking your phone, taking the passwords, keeping a track of your finances, asking you to let go of your friends are signs that your relationship is toxic.”So, how can a woman come out of a toxic relationship, especially if her partner is emotionally blackmailing her? She must first recognise the red flags, Dr Padmavati said, adding that these include frequent quarrels and disagreements. “A woman cannot keep nodding her head for everything. Another huge red flag is physical violence or verbal abuse. It also includes insulting her in public places, or talking negatively about her to others, whether in her presence or absence, like, ‘Oh, she does not cook well at all’, or ‘She does not dress well’. Red flag also means standing in her way for everything, not allowing her to go somewhere,” she explained.As far as threatening her is concerned, Arouba said one can only be threatened when they do not have a “support system” and are isolated. “The first and foremost thing [a toxic partner does] is, they cut you off from your most trusted people. But, if they know you can express yourself to people, they would not dare to blackmail you.”Arouba also said it is a big red flag when a person threatens to kill themselves. “They are emotionally-unstable people. You should just leave [them], connect them with someone who can help, and get out of it. [Or] figure out why you chose to stay in the relationship; what were your fears? It is important to know both the aspects, but know that their emotional journey is not yours to take care of,” she concluded.📣 For more lifestyle news, follow us on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook and don’t miss out on the latest updates!

Shraddha Walkar murder: What women should know about relationship toxicity and red flags
One woman gives up job opportunity, another performs ‘barefoot tapasya’ in long march for unity
Times of India | 2 weeks ago | |
Times of India
2 weeks ago | |

NANDED: Jyoti Pardikar, from Himayat Nagar in Nanded, stopped wearing footwear eight years ago, and she plans to walk with Bharat Jodo Yatra participants in the same way - she will be walking the entire 382km route in Maharashtra barefoot. "I gave up wearing footwear in 2014. Now, as a part of my 'tapasya' to bring unity and brotherhood in the country, I am walking barefoot in the yatra," said Pardikar, who is a Congress taluka president. There has been significant participation of women, of all ages and backgrounds, from across the country in the Bharat Jodo Yatra that began its 3,570 km journey from Kanyakumari. The Bharat Jodo Yatra passed through the Hingoli district on Monday and saw many more women joining in large numbers. Women were also seen in large numbers waiting along the yatra route, cheering on the participants. Supreme Court lawyer and party spokesperson Mahima Singh, who is participating in the yatra, said 70% of the 550 participants walking the 382 km stretch in Maharashtra are women. Nagpur's Nash Nusrat Ali, a former Ranji player, said youths need employment, farmers need MSP, and traders and businessmen are all fed up with government policies. She joined the yatra to support the efforts to highlight these issues. Five of the nine people from Maharashtra, who are walking the entire Kanyakumari-Srinagar stretch, are women. One of them is Aatisha Paithankar, an electronics and telecommunication engineer from Nashik. She was at the Mumbai airport to board a flight to Kolkata to take up a job in Air India. However, just before she was about to board the flight, she received a letter from the Bharat Jodo Yatra team - informing her that she had been selected to join them. Without a moment's hesitation, Paithankar changed her plan. "Some things are truly above one's own interest," she said explaining why she joined the yatra instead of taking up a plum job. And her mother supported her decision. Rishika Raka, a law graduate, who, at the age of 23, became one of the youngest Congress corporators in the state in 2017, is a member of the organising team. Rishika told TOI, "Love, unity and brotherhood are the antidotes for communal hatred and divisiveness. I am walking so that my countrymen become aware and avoid the trap that is threatening the Constitution." Utkarsha Rupwate, a member of the Maharashtra state commission for women, said she joined as Pradesh Yatri for the sake of women and their rights. "Unemployment and inflation have a direct impact on women and contribute to the atrocities, violence against women."

One woman gives up job opportunity, another performs ‘barefoot tapasya’ in long march for unity
Maharashtra: Street plays focus on domestic violence in villages
Times of India | 2 weeks ago | |
Times of India
2 weeks ago | |

PUNE: A team of 21 theatre actors is touring various villages in the Osmanabad and Latur districts of Maharashtra to perform street plays focusing on domestic violence, child marriage and other issues related to patriarchy, which harm the mental and physical health of women. The tour is part of a campaign called ‘Hinsa Mukta Jeevan - Anandi Jeevan’ (Violence-free life - Happy life) by Andur-based Halo Medical Foundation (HMF), which, in collaboration with the city-based Swatantra Theatre Group, has identified areas in the state witnessing a high rate of domestic violence. Basavraj Nare, project coordinator, HMF, said, “Over the last three years, we have formed groups of 20-25 youth volunteers in different villages of Maharashtra. They spread awareness about gender inequality, child marriage and domestic violence by talking to school students, senior citizens, and panchayats. They host rallies and other interactive events to involve everyone in bringing positive change in society. This year, actors from Pune are touring 30 villages via a 15-day-long campaign that started on November 11. These villages were selected because domestic violence had increased there in post-pandemic times. Changing the mindsets of people through such efforts is a slow and steady progress. We are seeing small results. For example, men in some villages now take up more household responsibilities, and there is an increased focus on the education of girls.” After the powerful 42-minute-long play, an interaction is held with the audience to convey the message. Volunteers and counsellors will also be present at the performance venues for any help and support to the audience if they are triggered by the play. Sharing an incident that throws light on the gravity of the situation, actors recalled how out of 100-150 men in the audience at Manmodi village in Sangli district, only one said that he had never raised his hands at his wife in the 15 years of their marriage. Ketaki Nimbalkar, one of the actors in the touring troupe, said, “I play the role of the wife of an abusive alcoholic husband, who beats her for putting less salt in the food or not covering her head when there is another man in the house. Many women have approached me after the performance to tell me how they have been in the same situation. They found hope in knowing there was a solution and people eager to help. In many rural parts regions, women are still afraid to raise their voices against violence as they feel it may bring shame to their families and affect their reputation.” Nimbalkar said one day after their performance at a school, a girl from Standard VIII approached her to share how her aunt’s husband used to beat her. The young girl wanted to help, but did not know how. “She also pointed out that whenever her aunt or other women family members voiced against the issue, the violence increased due to the abuser’s ego. We connected her with a local NGO that helps de-escalate such situations in families through counselling and provides support for victims of domestic violence,” she said.

Maharashtra: Street plays focus on domestic violence in villages
  • Maharashtra: NCP, BJP activists clash in Palghar district, offence registered
  • Times of India

    PALGHAR: A clash took place between activists of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra's Palghar district, police said on Friday. The incident occurred in Dahanu taluka of the district on Thursday evening, ahead of the elections to the post of chief and deputy chief of gram panchayats in the district, an official said. Complaints were lodged by both the sides following the clash and FIRs have been registered against persons involved in the incident, he said. A few members of both the groups sustained minor injuries in the incident, the official said, adding that no arrest has been made so far, the official added.

Elgar case: 4 days after SC order, activist Navlakha yet to be placed under house arrest
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

Jailed human rights activist Gautam Navlakha, who was last week allowed to be placed under house arrest for a month by the Supreme Court owing to his medical condition, is yet to walk out of Navi Mumbai’s Taloja prison, where he is lodged in connection with the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, as formalities for his release are still under process.The 70-year-old activist, who claims to suffer from multiple ailments, is in custody since April 2020 in the 2017-18 case. On November 10, the Supreme Court allowed Navlakha to be put under house arrest for a month with certain conditions and had said its order should be implemented within 48 hours.However, till Monday evening he was still in prison as formalities for his release could not be completed.According to his lawyer, formalities for Navlakha’s release from jail were initiated on Monday before a special NIA (National Investigation Agency) court in Mumbai that is hearing the case against him.Once released from prison, Navlakha will be staying at Belapur in Navi Mumbai under surveillance. The septuagenarian shall not be allowed to leave Mumbai, as per the SC order.His lawyer on Monday apprised special NIA Judge Rajesh Katariya, presiding over the case, of the Supreme Court order on house arrest and initiated the process for filing surety as per the condition set by the apex court to complete his release formalities.The SC had imposed a slew of conditions by which Navlakha would have to stay in Mumbai, deposit Rs 2.4 lakh as expenses for security, CCTV cameras would have to be installed outside the rooms and at entry and exit points of the house where he will be staying.Navlakha will not be allowed to leave the house except for walks in the company of police personnel, but permitted to meet his lawyers as per Jail Manual rules and inform cops in case of a medical emergency, the apex court said last week.It also said the activist will not be allowed to use a computer or the internet during the period of his house arrest. He will, however, be permitted to use a mobile phone without the internet provided by police personnel on duty once a day for ten minutes in their presence.Access to television and newspapers will be allowed, but these cannot be interest-based, the SC maintained in its order.It also allowed the Maharashtra police to search and inspect the residence and said the accommodation would be under surveillance.The Supreme Court has listed the matter for hearing in the second week of December by when the prosecuting agency NIA has been asked to obtain a fresh medical report on the accused.Navlakha had sought to be shifted from the Taloja prison and placed under house arrest owing to ill health.The activist moved the SC against the April 26 order of the Bombay High Court dismissing his plea for house arrest over apprehensions of lack of adequate medical and other basic facilities in the Taloja jail.The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the ‘Elgar Parishad’ conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon -Bhima war memorial on the outskirts of the western Maharashtra city.According to the Pune police, people linked to banned Naxalite groups had organized the programme.The case, in which over a dozen activists and academicians have been named as accused, was later handed over to the NIA.

Elgar case: 4 days after SC order, activist Navlakha yet to be placed under house arrest
  • Who is Gautam Navlakha, soon to be under house arrest after Supreme Court relief?
  • The Indian Express

    The Supreme Court on Thursday permitted Bhima Koregaon case-accused Gautam Navlakha to be placed under house arrest for a period of one month, taking into consideration his health and age. Navlakha had requested house arrest instead of judicial custody in Taloja jail, Maharashtra.The Gwalior-born civil rights activist is an active member of the People’s Union of Democratic Rights (PUDR). Trained in economics and political science in Mumbai, 65-year-old Navlakha worked with the digital newsportal Newsclick before his arrest. He was with academic journal Economic and Political Weekly for over 30 years. He is also the author of the book Days and Nights in the Heartland of Rebellion.According to his associates, this was the first time a criminal proceeding had been initiated against him.His extensive work on Kashmir has often riled governments. His recent works focussed on Chhattisgarh.In a paper for the EPW on the report of the Concerned Citizens Group to Jammu & Kashmir in 2018, he wrote: “In the nearly three-decade-long military suppression in J&K, there have been several attempts by public-spirited persons to visit and share their findings in the form of reports. Starting with the Committee for Initiative on Kashmir and the People’s Union for Civil Liberties-Citizens for Democracy in 1990 to the present time, a number of such efforts have tried to create an informed opinion regarding the “Kashmir Question,” the public mood in Kashmir, as well as conditions on the ground resulting from armed conflict. In contrast to the initial reports, which took a stance on the Kashmir question upfront, either supporting right of self-determination or advocating autonomy, the situation now is one where most efforts are cagey in talking about solutions.”The Elgaar Parishad case is one of the two ongoing investigations related to the Koregaon Bhima violence witnessed on January 1, 2018. This one is based on an FIR filed in Pune alleging that banned Naxalite groups had organized the Elgaar Parishad, an evening programme organised in the city on December 31, 2017, on the eve of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. Police claims that speeches made at Elgaar Parishad were at least partly responsible for instigating violence the next day.The Elgaar Parishad case became prominent because of the arrests of some high profile activists and lawyers, including Navlakha. Some of those arrested have been in jail for over a year now.

Express Townhall: ‘Awarding damages to Bombay riots victims now is like giving first aid to dead patient’
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

The Supreme Court earlier this month said the Maharashtra government had failed to maintain law and order and protect people’s rights during the 1992-93 Mumbai riots. Speaking at a townhall hosted by The Indian Express, senior advocate Yusuf Muchhala, who represented victims of the riots, about the gradual erosion of constitutional values and the judiciary’s “failure to pull its own weight”.Q. How do you look at the recent Supreme Court judgment on the Bombay riots. Have the victims of these riots received justice?Muchhala: This is a classic case of justice delayed being justice denied. Why couldn’t the Supreme Court do anything about this earlier? Why justice cannot be done expeditiously particularly in the cases where large-scale violations of human rights have happened? To award compensation now is like giving first-aid treatment to a patient who is already dead.Q. What more do you think needs to be done by the judiciary and the state to ensure there is closure for victims?Muchhala: One positive thing about the judgment is that they have interpreted section 2 of the Legal Services Authorities Act and they did not restrict the meaning of “ethnic violence” to mean only racial discrimination but expanded it to say that any kind of civil strife will be included… Otherwise, the attempt was [to claim] that communal violence is not covered and that there is no statutory obligation to render any legal aid for the victims of communal violence. The state’s duty is to maintain law and order and it was breached and therefore the victims must be given legal aid. That is a positive aspect of the judgment as I see it.Why has the delay occurred, who is responsible for the delay and how do we remedy the situation? Due to the delay and a lapse of 30 years, it may be difficult to give victims tangible benefits. In 2008, we tried our best to identify the missing persons and their legal representatives for compensation. We came to a dead end. In 2022, things have not improved.They say everything is because of delay, then it is the judiciary’s delay as well. This matter remained pending in the Supreme Court for nearly 20 years. Why have they allowed it? Why did the judiciary drag its feet? They should be bold enough to say ‘yes, we are responsible for that’.Q. Apart from the BJP-Shiv Sena, parties like the Congress and the NCP that claim to be secular also governed Maharashtra and had the chance to implement the recommendations of the Srikrishna Commission report to bring justice to the victims. Where did they falter?Muchhala: As far as previous governments are concerned, they were taking decisions for political considerations and not on the basis of constitutional values. When the Srikrishna Commission report was submitted, the then Shiv Sena- BJP government rejected it. Later the Congress-NCP government was elected in Maharashtra. Did they implement it? They did not. In one case, of the Suleiman Bakery riot incident, we had to approach courts and seek their intervention for the then Congress government to quash a false case filed against the victims.So the criticism is applicable to all parties which have not followed the basic values of the Constitution after coming to power. They have got narrow political aims. It is in such situations that civil society needs to intervene. This intervention should be in the form of a politically conscious pressure group within society. The pressure groups are totally apolitical but see to it that your representatives really work according to the Constitution. Here the fault lies in our society. We think it is just enough to vote once in five years, that’s all.Q: You have pleaded the hijab case too. How do you foresee it panning out and what’s your take on the verdict?Muchhala: I argued the case and felt that the Karnataka High Court had got it totally wrong. The matter came to a division bench of the Supreme Court, which delivered a split verdict. I felt that the entire focus of the question was wrong. The question is not whether the hijab is an essential part of the religion. The question, after the K S Puttaswamy Vs Union of India case, is that everyone of us must have personal liberty on how to dress. Somebody believes in modesty. Why can’t they have the right to say this is the way I will protect my modesty? And I want to keep one extra piece of cloth to cover my head up to my neck and my bosom. Why can’t they have the right? And why do you feel that once you enter a school’s premises you have to keep your fundamental rights outside the classroom? Fundamental rights are all-pervasive.Q. Does the HC order go against the principles of secularism?Yes, courts have got institutional incapacity to decide what is an essential part of a religion. All our scriptures are written in ancient languages—Hebrew, Latin, Sanskrit, Ardhamagadhi—with which none of the judges have any familiarity. How can you sit in judgement on scriptures whose languages we do not know how to read or understand? I have been arguing for many years that we are a court of law and not a court of religion.In the hijab case, for instance, I may have no religion but my conscience tells me I must be modest, and therefore I am wearing it. And another fault is that you cannot assess the character of any individual by what clothes they wear. If we say that because the lady is wearing a hijab, she is backward, not modern or independent, that is wrong. Another argument is that young girls wear the hijab because of patriarchy. It may be so; we cannot rule it out. But you are punishing her for it, and denying her the right of education. So who is the victim—the girl? It is a matter of double jeopardy for her. So, is the right of education or enforced uniformity more important?Q. Maybe as a society we are not yet ready for this debate. Can we argue that modesty should have nothing to do with clothing?It is about individual choice. You are entitled to say this is not necessary for modesty. But how can you impose the choice on others? It is the right of choice. A woman has a right to wear a bikini as much as she has a right to wear a hijab. My body, my right.

Express Townhall: ‘Awarding damages to Bombay riots victims now is like giving first aid to dead patient’
‘First person to get transgender ID in Maharashtra’s tribal Nandurbar’, Vijaya Vasave now gives succour to others
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

Life has been anything but easy for Vijaya Vasave. From multiple suicide attempts to questioning her own existence, Vasave, the first transwoman from the hilly and tribal district of Nandurbar in Maharashtra – has seen it all. Her transition now complete, Vasave has begun a new life and now provides succour to many others like her.Hailing from a family of farmers in the small village of Dahel in Nandurbar’s Akkalkuwa taluka, Vijaya was born as Vijay. Since childhood, Vasave always felt like a woman trapped in a male body, but struggled to understand why. After her primary education at the Zilla Parishad school, she was admitted to a residential school for tribal students. However, things took a turn for the worse, as there she became the subject of incessant bullying and violence from schoolmates. “I was never comfortable with boys and thus, in order to escape the stares, I used to have my bath late at night when everyone was fast asleep. In the mornings, I used to get ready for school before anyone woke up,” she says.The acute feeling of isolation only grew as she had no one to confide in, making school life sheer torture. Taunts and physical harassment ranged from being pushed around to male classmates taking turns to rain blows and kicks on the young Vasave with the lights turned off. “It was their idea of fun. No one came to my help. The teachers were not sympathetic and instead asked me not to behave like a girl,” she recalls.It did not take long for her to slip into depression and attempt to die by suicide. “I often slept with a bottle of Dettol to consume at night,” she remembers. Her trials continued when Vasave shifted to Nashik to complete graduation.A workshop that changed her lifeIn 2019, Vijaya’s college held a workshop addressed by LGBTQIA activist Bindumadhav Khire and a psychiatrist from Pune. “That was a turning point in my life. Earlier, I had no idea that being a transgender person is as natural as being male or female. Till then, I was under the impression that I was not normal. But that workshop helped me realise that it was not the case,” she says. After years of abuse and trauma, it was the workshop and subsequent access to medical procedures that helped her realise her true self.Post her graduation, Vasave enrolled for MSW at Karve Institute and earlier this year she finished her sex reassignment surgery (SRS). “I am the first transwoman from the Satpura region. I was also the first person to be issued a transgender identity card in Nandurbar. Post my transition, I can say I am at peace with myself.” Satpura, the hilly region between Gujarat and Maharashtra, is home to many tribes who live in remote hamlets.Vasave says her family was supportive of her change, so were her villagers. “For others, this was something they had not heard or seen before,” she adds.At present, her main concern is to ensure that she lands a well-paying government job. Her master’s degree has not helped her to get a permanent job and Vasave currently works as a volunteer with the National Aids Research Institute (NARI) project. “Whenever I go to Nandurbar, many people reach out to me, including those who want to transition or other LGBTQIA individuals. I try to help them as much as I can,” she says.

‘First person to get transgender ID in Maharashtra’s tribal Nandurbar’, Vijaya Vasave now gives succour to others
UPSC Essentials: Weekly news express with MCQs — ‘Two-finger test’, Delhi Pollution and more
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

The Indian Express’ UPSC weekly news express covers some of the most important topics of current affairs news from this week to help you prepare for UPSC-CSE. Try out the MCQs, Points to ponder and check your answers provided towards the end of the article.‘Two-finger test’ on rape victimsSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.Mains Examination: General Studies I: Social empowermentWhy in news?—The ‘two-finger test’ on alleged rape victims is regressive, has no scientific basis, and is an affront to the dignity of women, the Supreme Court said Monday, as it declared that those found indulging in the practice will be guilty of misconduct.KEY TAKEAWAYS—The so-called two-finger test or per vaginum examination is conducted on alleged victims of sexual assault and rape to determine whether they are habituated to sexual intercourse.—This is not the first time the SC has expressed its disapproval with the two-finger test. The Centre’s guidelines on examining victims of sexual assault also forbid it, but the practice continues.What is the ‘two-finger test’?—A woman who has been sexually assaulted undergoes a medical examination for ascertaining her health and medical needs, collection of evidence, etc.—The two-finger test, carried out by a medical practitioner, involves the examination of her vagina to check if she is habituated to sexual intercourse. The practice is unscientific and does not provide any definite information. Moreover, such ‘information’ has no bearing on an allegation of rape.—A handbook released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on dealing with sexual assault victims says, “There is no place for virginity (or ‘two-finger’) testing; it has no scientific validity.”—Saying it was “regrettable” that the practice was still followed, the SC stated, “Whether a woman is ‘habituated to sexual intercourse’ or ‘habitual to sexual intercourse’ is irrelevant for the purposes of determining whether the ingredients of Section 375 (rape) of the IPC are present in a particular case.”The SC’s earlier comments on the test—In May 2013, the apex court had held that the two-finger test violates a woman’s right to privacy and asked the government to provide better medical procedures to confirm sexual assault.—A bench of Justices BS Chauhan and FMI Kalifulla held that even if a woman is “habituated” to sexual intercourse, that cannot give rise to the presumption of consent in the particular case.—Invoking the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights 1966 and the UN Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power 1985, the apex court said rape survivors are entitled to legal recourse that does not re-traumatize them or violate their physical or mental integrity and dignity.What the government’s guidelines say—In 2014, the Union health ministry released a document titled ‘GUIDELINES & PROTOCOLS Medico-legal care for survivors/victims of sexual violence.—The guidelines are clear about the two-finger test, saying, “Per-Vaginum examination commonly referred to by lay persons as ‘two-finger test’, must not be conducted for establishing rape/sexual violence and the size of the vaginal introitus [opening] has no bearing on a case of sexual violence. Per vaginum examination can be done only in adult women when medically indicated.”—In fact, the guidelines state that a rape victim’s consent (or her guardian’s, if she is minor/mentally disabled) is necessary for any medical examination. Even if consent is not provided, the victim cannot be denied medical treatment.—However, these are guidelines and are not legally binding.Other recent attempts to stop the ‘two-finger test’—In April this year, the Madras High Court directed the state to ban the two-finger test. The bench of Justices R Subramanian and N Sathish Kumar observed that despite the SC’s 2013 observations, the test is being conducted, even on minors.—In August this year, the National Medical Commission (NMC), the country’s top medical education regulator, modified modules for forensic medicine, including guidelines about the two-finger test. The modified module on virginity test states that students will be trained on “how to apprise courts about unscientific basis of these tests if court orders it”.Point to ponder: ‘Two-finger test’ in rape cases is offensive to the dignity of women but a stringent legislature alone cannot fix it. Comment.1. MCQ:Which of the following statements is/are correct with respect to the union health ministry’s document titled ‘GUIDELINES & PROTOCOLS Medico-legal care for survivors/victims of sexual violence’.1. Union Health Ministry brought out detailed guidelines for the medical examination of victims of sexual assault in early 2014 after the 2013 Justice Verma Committee report.2. These guidelines are not legally binding.a) Both 1 and 2                           b) Only 1c) Only 2                                      d) Neither 1 nor 2Delhi PollutionSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate ChangeMains Examination: General Studies III: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.Why in news?—The haze and smoke over Delhi, which has become an annual event for about three weeks in October-November, has triggered a temporary ban on construction activities and the movement of trucks and diesel four-wheelers that do not comply with BS-VI norms.—The Supreme Court will hear a petition on agricultural stubble burning in the northern states, considered the prime reason for the extremely bad air quality in Delhi-NCR.KEY TAKEAWAYSIs agricultural burning the main culprit?—At this time of the year, the burning of agricultural waste in Punjab and Haryana is indeed the dominant reason for the smoke and haze over Delhi. The particulate matter from the burning contributes 30-40% of the PM2.5 concentrations in Delhi’s air during this time. It is the single largest source of PM 2.5 levels on most days during this period.—The reason is the weather, or rather, heat. Hotter air rises higher above the surface and takes the pollutants along with it. The polluting particles are lifted 2-3 km above the surface or even higher, before getting dispersed.—During October-November, however, the air is not that hot. The pollutants are trapped and tend to get concentrated at lower levels of the atmosphere, resulting in the smoke and haze situation that is being witnessed now.But why is agricultural waste burned?—This waste is the remains of the paddy crop after it has been harvested. This kind of burning is not specific only to Punjab or Haryana. However, the scale of burning in these states is much bigger than elsewhere.—Even in these states, this practice is relatively new. Even 10 years ago, the crop-burning problem was not this acute.—The burning is necessitated by the need to prepare the fields for the next crop in a very short window of time. Due to a slight shift in the cropping pattern in these states, there is now very little time between the harvesting of one crop and the planting of the next crop.—The traditional method of manually uprooting, or cutting, the stumps of the previous crop is time-consuming, and can delay the sowing of the next crop. So farmers resort to the easier option of burning these remains.So is there no remedy for this situation?—Several solutions have been suggested, and are being tried. These include suggestions to change the crop cycle, deployment of mechanised equipment for harvesting that would render burning unnecessary, and conversion of this waste into something more useful, like a source of energy, which can become an incentive for not burning.—Hundreds of crores have been allocated in the last few years to buy the necessary equipment or to try out alternative methods of dealing with this problem. But clearly, these equipment and methods have not been deployed effectively.Would the ban on construction and diesel vehicles work?—Construction has a small contribution to PM2.5 concentration. The particles released from these activities are usually larger, and add to PM10 concentrations. The banning of construction, therefore, is unlikely to have any significant impact on the prevailing situation.—Diesel vehicles, particularly older trucks, are indeed important contributors to high PM2.5 levels. And a ban on their movement can help in improving the situation somewhat.—However trucks, which are the biggest generators of pollutants in the diesel vehicle segment, are not allowed to move inside Delhi during the day in any case. In fact, the movement of trucks only at night results in a significant variation in the PM2.5 levels between day and night times.(source: The harvest of polluted air by  Amitabh Sinha)Point to ponder: Delhi’s air pollution is not a seasonal problem – it needs year-round solutions. Comment.2. MCQ:Acid rain is caused by the pollution of environment by (2013)a) carbon dioxide and nitrogenb) carbon monoxide and carbon dioxidec) ozone and carbon dioxided) nitrous oxide and sulphur dioxideHow is the Governor appointed, and how can she/he be sacked?Why in news?—Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader TR Baalu on Tuesday (November 1) urged “all like-minded MPs” to support a proposal to remove the Tamil Nadu governor, R N Ravi.—The DMK’s call for removal comes when Governors in several non-BJP-ruled states, including Kerala and Punjab, have expressed disagreements with the government on various issues.KEY TAKEAWAYSGovernor’s appointment, removal—Under Articles 155 and 156 of the Constitution, a Governor is appointed by the President and holds office “during the pleasure of the President”. If this pleasure is withdrawn before the completion of the five-year term, the Governor has to step down. As the President works on the aid and advice of the Prime Minister and the council of ministers, in effect, the Governor can be appointed and removed by the central government.—Thus, a Governor is a representative of the Union government in states. Article 163 of the Constitution says the Governor will normally be aided and advised by the Council of Ministers except in those functions which require his discretion.—While the Governor’s duties and responsibilities lie in a particular state, there is no provision for impeaching the Governor.Governor-state relations—Although envisaged as an apolitical head who must act on the advice of the council of ministers, the Governor enjoys certain powers granted under the Constitution, such as giving or withholding assent to a Bill passed by the state legislature, assenting to the convening of the state legislative assembly, determining the time needed for a party to prove its majority, and which party must be called first do so, generally after a hung verdict in an election.—All these powers have been flashpoints recently — to cite two instances, when the Maharashtra Governor had Devendra Fadnavis sworn in as the chief minister in 2019 amid a hung verdict, only for his government to fall in 80 hours; and when the Punjab Governor in September refused to allow a special session of the Assembly for a vote of confidence in the AAP government.What happens in case of disagreements?—There are no provisions laid down in the Constitution for the manner in which the Governor and the state must engage publicly when there is a difference of opinion. The management of differences has traditionally been guided by respect for each other’s boundaries.What courts have said?—Since the Governor holds office “on the pleasure of the President”, questions have been raised time and again on whether the Governor has any security of tenure, and if the President is obligated to show reasons for recalling a Governor.—In Surya Narain Choudhary vs Union of India (1981), the Rajasthan High Court held that the pleasure of the President was not justiciable, the Governor had no security of tenure and can be removed at any time by the President withdrawing pleasure.—In BP Singhal vs Union of India (2010), the Supreme Court elaborated on the pleasure doctrine. It upheld that “no limitations or restrictions are placed on the ‘at pleasure’ doctrine”, but that “does not dispense with the need for a cause for withdrawal of the pleasure”.—This ruling had come in response to a PIL filed by BJP leader BP Singhal, who had challenged the removal of the Governors of Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana and Goa on May 2, 2004 by the President on the advice of the newly formed UPA government.—In its judgment, the Bench, while noting that the President can remove the Governor from office “at any time without assigning any reason and without giving any opportunity to show cause”, the power to remove can’t be exercised in an “arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable manner”.“The power will have to be exercised in rare and exceptional circumstances for valid and compelling reasons… A Governor cannot be removed on the ground that he is out of sync with the policies and ideologies of the Union Government or the party in power at the Centre. Nor can he be removed on the ground that the Union Government has lost confidence in him,” the Bench ruled.—The Bench held that the court will presume that the President had “compelling and valid” reasons for the removal but if a sacked Governor comes to the court, the Centre will have to justify its decision.—After this, in 2014, when the BJP government came to power, it was claimed that the central government was pushing Governors to quit on their own, instead of recalling them. In August 2014, the Supreme Court agreed to examine a petition by then Uttarakhand governor Aziz Qureshi, challenging the NDA government’s push to make him quit the post.What various commissions have said—Over the years, several panels and commissions have recommended reforms in how Governors are appointed and how they function, such as the Administrative Reforms Commission of 1968, the Sarkaria Commission of 1988, and the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution, headed by retired CJI M N Venkachaliah, in 2001.—The Sarkaria Commission had recommended that Governors are not sacked before completing their five-year tenure, except in “rare and compelling” circumstances. Recommendations have also been made for a provision to impeach the Governor by the Assembly. However, none of these have been implemented.Point to ponder:  State governments and governors have been at loggerheads for half a century. Comment.3. MCQ:Which of the following are the discretionary powers given to the Governor of a State?Select the correct answer using the code given below.a) 1 and 2 onlyb) 1 and 3 onlyc) 2, 3 and 4 onlyd) 1, 2, 3 and 4 China’s Belt and Road initiative and India’s longstanding, consistent positionSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Mains Examination: General Studies II: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s Interests.Why in news?—External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday (November 1) told a virtual meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) hosted by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang that “connectivity projects should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Member States and respect international law”.— Jaishankar’s statement is seen as a reference to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a massive multinational, multi-modal connectivity infrastructure project promoted by China. India does not support the BRI, and has declined to join the project.—A joint communique issued at the end of Tuesday’s meeting said Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan reaffirmed their support for China’s BRI and to work jointly to implement the project.KEY TAKEAWAYS—The major reason India opposes BRI is because it passes through Indian territory that is illegally held by Pakistan.—The arm of the BRI project that links mainland China to the Arabian Sea runs from Kashgar in China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region to Gwadar port in southwestern Baluchistan in Pakistan. The project enters Indian territory occupied by Pakistan in Gilgit Baltistan, and traverses the entire length of Pakistan from north to south before reaching the Arabian Sea.—This arm of the BRI is called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, and consists of multiple modern highway and railway projects. It involves the planned rebuilding and upgradation of Pakistan’s National Highway 35 — the Karakoram Highway or China-Pakistan Friendship Highway — that goes from the Khunjerab Pass on the Xinjiang border to Hasan Abdal to the northwest of Islamabad via Gilgit and Mansehra, and the upgradation of the highway that links Gilgit with Skardu to the north of the Line of Control (LoC).—India has repeatedly voiced its concern and opposition to the CPEC, and flagged the violation of international law in its building by China and Pakistan.* On May 13, 2017, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs had said: “Regarding the so-called ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’, which is being projected as the flagship project of the BRI/OBOR, the international community is well aware of India’s position. No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity.”* In October 2021, speaking at the UN Sustainable Transport Conference hosted by Beijing, Priyanka Sohoni, Second Secretary at the Indian Embassy in China, said: “There have been some references to the Belt and Road Initiative or BRI at this conference. Here, I wish to say that as far as China’s BRI is concerned, we are uniquely affected by it. It’s inclusion of the so-called China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a flagship project impinges on India’s sovereignty.”* In July 2022, India took note of reports about the participation of third countries in CPEC projects, and cautioned that “any such actions directly infringe on India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”. MEA official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said: “India firmly and consistently opposes projects in the so-called CPEC, which are in Indian territory that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan.”* As far back as in 1994, India’s Parliament had resolved unanimously that the entire former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir belongs to India, and that India’s position has been clear and consistent in this regard. On March 11, 2020, the government told Parliament that India’s “consistent and principled position, as also enunciated in the Parliament resolution adopted unanimously by both Houses on 22 February 1994, is that the entire Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh have been, are and shall be an integral part of India”.Point to ponder: The G7’s infrastructure investment plan to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative. How?4. MCQ: Consider the following statements about the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation:Which of the above statement is/are correct?a) 1 onlyb) 2 onlyc) Both 1 and 2d) Neither 1 nor 2 Performing Grade IndexSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.Mains Examination: General Studies II: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.Why in news?—Kerala, Punjab, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Andhra Pradesh have emerged as the best performers in school education across indicators such as learning outcomes, equity and infrastructure in the 2020-21 Performing Grade Index (PGI) of the Ministry of School Education.KEY TAKEAWAYS—It assesses states’ performance in school education.—States are scored on a total of 1,000 points across 70 parameters, which are grouped under five broad categories: access (eg. enrolment ratio, transition rate and retention rate); governance and management; infrastructure; equity (difference in performance between scheduled caste students and general category students) and learning outcomes (average score in mathematics, science, languages and social science).—States are graded and not ranked to discourage the practice of one improving only at the cost of others, “thereby casting a stigma of underperformance on the latter”.—According to the government, the objective is to help the states prioritise areas for intervention in school education.—The Education Ministry released the first PGI in 2019 for the reference year 2017-18.—The PGI grading system has 10 levels. Level 1 indicates top-notch performance and a score between 951 and 1,000 points. Level II, also known as Grade 1++, indicates a score between 901 and 950. Those with Grade 1+ (or Level III) have scored between 851 and 900. The lowest is Grade VII, and it means a score between 0 and 550 points.—It sourced data from NAS 2017 and UDISE 2020-21.—6 states mentioned above and Chandigarh attain level-2. No state or UT attain level-1. Ladakh has significantly improved its performance in PGI. It has moved from Level 8 to Level 4 in 2020-21.—The maximum and minimum scores obtained by the states in 2020-21 are 928 (Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab) and 669 (Arunachal Pradesh), respectively.—Last year, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the UTs of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Chandigarh were on level-II, for which states/UTs need to score 901 or above out of 1,000. Gujarat, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh are the new entrants to level-II.Point to ponder: What India’s education system needs ? Discuss.5. MCQ:With respect to Performing Grade Index, which of the following statements is/are true?1. The Education Ministry releases Performing Grade Index for states’ performance in school education.2. 6 states and 1 UT attain level-1 as per 2020-21 PGI.a) Only 1                           b) Only 2c) Both 1 and 2                d) Neither 1 nor 2 Answers to the MCQs: 1 (a), 2 (d), 3 (b), 4 (a), 5 (a)

UPSC Essentials: Weekly news express with MCQs — ‘Two-finger test’, Delhi Pollution and more
Supreme Court to Bombay High Court: Speed up dormant riots cases
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

The Supreme Court Friday asked the Bombay High Court to initiate steps to speed up cases related to the 1992-93 communal riots that are dormant owing to the accused being untraceable or absconding.A bench of Justices S K Kaul, A S Oka and Vikram Nath also set up a committee to monitor efforts to compensate the families of 108 persons “missing” following the incidents.The court said this in its judgement on a 2001 petition which sought directions to the Maharashtra government “to accept and act on the finding of the Sri Krishna Commission”.The bench noted that of a total of 253 riot-related criminal cases, one was still pending while 97 are dormant, as pointed out in an affidavit submitted by the state.It directed the sessions court to dispose of the pending case at the earliest. The top court also asked the High Court to issue appropriate directions to the courts in which these cases are pending. “The High Court must ensure that the concerned courts take appropriate steps for tracing the accused. The state government will have to set up a special cell for tracing the accused,” it said.Nine hundred people died and 2,036 people were injured in the violence and police firing. The court said “there was a failure on the part of the state government to maintain law and order and to protect the rights of the people”.Stressing that they had a right to seek compensation from the state, it said “the houses, places of business and properties of the citizens were destroyed. These are all violations of their rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. One of the root causes of their suffering was the failure of the State Government to maintain law and order. Therefore, the affected persons had a right to seek compensation…”The state government had through a resolution dated July 8, 1993 decided to give financial assistance to persons affected by riots and the serial bomb blasts. On July 22, 1998, it was also decided by way of a second resolution to provide compensation of Rs2 lakh to legal heirs of the missing persons.The state had provided the top court the break-up of the compensation paid and added that while a total of 168 were missing, the families or other details of 108 persons could not be traced and therefore could not be paid.Taking note, the Supreme Court set up a committee headed by the Member Secretary of the Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority to look into the records relating to 108 missing persons and asked the state government to nominate a Revenue Officer, not below the rank of Deputy Collector and a police officer not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police as its other members.“The Committee shall monitor the efforts made by the state government to trace the family members of missing persons, whose addresses are not available and also to ensure that those eligible persons who have not made procedural compliances are assisted to make necessary compliance”, the SC said, adding it will also have to also monitor compliance with the directions issued by it as regards payment of compensation to all categories of victims.On the plea for action against erring police officials, the SC noted that in terms of the recommendations of the commission, FIRs were registered against nine police officials. Two of them were discharged and seven were acquitted, which was also upheld by the SC.Pointing out that the state did not challenge these acquittals, it said: “The state should have been vigilant and proactive in these cases. Now it is too late in the day to direct the state to examine whether the orders of acquittal deserve to be challenged.”The SC said that though the state according to its affidavit had accepted most of the recommendation of the committee on police reforms, “but what remains is the implementation part”. It added that “the state government cannot ignore the recommendations made by the Commission for the improvement and modernisation of the police force and the recommendations shall continue to guide the state government”.

Supreme Court to Bombay High Court: Speed up dormant riots cases
Bhide ‘tells journalist to wear bindi’, gets notice from women’s panel
The Indian Express | 4 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
4 weeks ago | |

Right-wing leader Sambhaji Bhide’s meeting with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in Mantralaya on Wednesday turned controversial after the Maharashtra State Women’s Commission served him a notice demanding an explanation over his comment on a woman journalist.Known for his controversial statements, a video during Bhide’s visit to Mantralaya on Wednesday went viral on social media. In the video, Bhide is seen telling a news channel’s woman journalist to apply ‘bindi’ on her forehead before coming to take his byte and refusing to speak to her. He went on to say that a woman is like ‘Bharat Mata’ and “she should not be like a widow by not applying bindi”.Maharashtra State Women’s Commission president Rupali Chakankar, in her notice to Bhide, said, “You refused to talk to a woman journalist because she had no bindi on her forehead. A woman is known by the quality of her work. Your statement is demeaning to a woman’s pride and her social stature.”Chakankar said that the commission was taking note of his statement as it has led to angry comments from across the society.“Under Section 12(2) and 12(3) of the State Women’s Commission Act, 1993, you are hereby asked to explain your position of not speaking with a woman journalist because she was not wearing a bindi,” it said.The journalist later tweeted that whether to apply bindi or not was her choice. “It is my right to decide as to whether to apply bindi or not and when to apply it. We live in a democratic country,” she tweeted, adding that one tends to respect a person due to his old age. “But that person should also be qualified for the same,” she tweeted further.Bhide, popularly known as ‘Guruji’, came into national spotlight after the then Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in January 2014 visited Sangli to meet him. He has courted controversy in the past as well, when he claimed that couples were blessed with sons after eating mangoes from his farm.In 2019, when the MVA was shaping up, Bhide had gone to Matoshri in a bid to stop Uddhav Thackeray from snapping ties with the BJP. He was denied entry and had to return.Bhide, now in his 80s, was a full-time RSS pracharak before he formed his own outfit Shri Shivpratishthan Hindustan. He was booked, but never arrested, in the Koregaon-Bhima violence and the police later said that it found no evidence against him.When asked about his meeting with Shinde, Bhide said that he was happy over the functioning of the state government and the meeting was only to extend goodwill. “I met him to wish him good and nothing else. I will continue meeting him,” according to Bhide.

Bhide ‘tells journalist to wear bindi’, gets notice from women’s panel