Abortion Law Can't Curtail Rights of Single Women Says Apex Court; New CDS Faces Five Big Challenges
Congress race to be Tharoor vs Digvijay, PM’s poll season food subsidy OK but Mamata’s illegal, eight-year-old is chess World Cadet, ‘New India Samachar’ is full-on self-promotion
A newsletter from The Wire & Galileo Ideas | Contributors: MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sidharth Bhatia, Sushant Singh and Tanweer Alam | Editor: Pratik Kanjilal
Snapshot of the day
September 29, 2022
“The sitting on Saturday headed by then CJI Gogoi should have been avoided. It was a big no. If there was a little more consultation with other judges, which was absolutely lacking, I would have said it was not needed to respond to the press at all,” says Justice Indira Banerjee, who recently retired from the Supreme Court, on allegations of sexual harassment against former CJI Ranjan Gogoi.
“In the inquiry committee, we were not sitting to decide whether harassment had taken place or not. The question was, did the CJI commit an act for which he could be removed from the post? We were told by the chairperson of the Inquiry Committee, Justice SA Bobde, whatever you have to do, do it fast. Justice Bobde had told me to forget about Ps and Qs, about English grammar and spellings, as the report is never published.” She adds, “I wish the report was made public. It would have cleared the air for him (former CJI Gogoi) and us. If somebody makes an advance with consent, can I say it is harassment? One needs to see what she said in her complaint very carefully, since the judiciary is involved. I am not trying to suggest that anything happened with consent.”
The young woman in question was quietly reinstated with full pay after Gogoi retired, a decision that was seen as vindicating her charge of having been unfairly victimised. The interview does not indicate whether Justice Banerjee was asked about this.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, once the Congress first family’s choice for party president, has bowed out of the race, evidently reluctant to trade the job he has for one that is fraught with uncertainty. In a letter to Sonia Gandhi, he took responsibility for failing to discipline his supporters – who rebelled against the idea of Sachin Pilot taking over as CM. Shashi Tharoor remains in the fray, and will square off against former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh. Both contenders will file their nomination papers tomorrow.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that India continues to strive for a relationship with China, but one that is built on mutual sensitivity, respect and interest. “What I’ve said, to my mind, represents an accurate policy assessment of where the state of our relations are,” Jaishankar said. While Army chief General Manoj Pande had said there were still more friction points, Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong said, “Phase of emergency response since Galwan incident has come to an end, border situation is now switching to normalised management and control.”
India gets a new chief of defence staff, a supposed tri-services chief. Lt Gen Anil Chauhan has been summoned back 16 months after retirement – much of which he has spent as military adviser to NSA Ajit Doval – and put in the saddle 293 days after Gen Bipin Rawat died in an aircrash last December.
Senior Advocate R Venkataramani was yesterday appointed Attorney General of India for three years. He will succeed KK Venugopal, whose term ends on September 30. Venugopal, 91, was appointed in July 2017. Days ago, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi refused to take up the role.
But a post of election commissioner has been vacant for four months after the retirement of Sushil Chandra in May. The poll panel has been a two-member body since, with Rajiv Kumar as CEC and Anup Chandra Pandey as the other EC. The last time Nirvachan Sadan functioned below strength was in 2015, when a two-member EC conducted the Delhi Assembly elections. Any further delay could make the EC vulnerable to a deadlock when two Assembly elections are imminent. If the two commissioners are unanimous, the third becomes irrelevant. But if the serving two disagree, the third EC’s view would be decisive.
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The rupee yesterday fell by 37 paise to close at a record low of Rs 81.90 against the US dollar, after touching 81.98, reports PTI. If not for heavy market interventions by the RBI in the latter half of trade — it sold more than $1 billion in the spot market on Wednesday — it would have fallen well past 82. In 2022, the rupee has weakened 9.3% versus the dollar, falling faster since September 21, when the Federal Reserve announced a 75 bps rate hike and signalled a longer than expected cycle of hikes. Since then, the rupee has depreciated 2.7% versus the dollar, faring worse than 11 other emerging market currencies.
Banks’ dues have shot up to a whopping Rs 8.58 lakh crore, and Maharashtra and Delhi have the most defaulters, according to TransUnion CIBIL Ltd. On March 31, there were 30,359 defaults of Rs 1 crore and up. The outstanding has more than tripled since March 31, 2017 ― from 17,236 accounts facing lawsuits to recover Rs 2.58 lakh crore in 32 states.
Bloomberg reports that a hostile media bid of NDTV shows how Asia’s richest men, Ambani and Adani can align to dominate a sector. Ergo, “tycoons’ coexistence in a range of sectors hurts smaller firms.”
Canada has advised its citizens to exercise a high degree of caution in some states, including Punjab, Gujarat and Rajasthan, citing the “presence of landmines” and “unexploded devices”. The Canadian update follows the Ministry of External Affairs advisory to Indian nationals to exercise “due caution and remain vigilant in view of the sharp increase in incidents of hate crime, sectarian violence and anti-India activities’’ in Canada. It advised Canadians against travelling to Assam, Manipur and the UTs of J&K and Ladakh due to insurgency and terrorism.
The Supreme Court yesterday sought responses from the Union of India, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Election Commission of India (ECI), in a petition moved by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking to debar persons against whom charges have been framed in serious offences from contesting in elections. The plea seeks to amend the Election Symbols (Reservation & Allotment) Order 1968 to make parties debar candidates facing serious charges. A division bench of Justices KM Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy considered the matter.
Kerala is providing WiFi connections to 1,230 Anganwadis. The Nellikaparmba Anganwadi, in Kozhikode district is the first ‘WiFi-wadi’. The project has been implemented by the Department of Child and Women’s Welfare, with connections provided by BSNL. The Left Democratic Front government has sanctioned Rs 30.75 lakh to provide connections, with Rs 2,500 allocated to each, to benefit children and empower adolescent girls as part of the Varna Kootu scheme.
The Gujarat High Court has finally granted interim bail to former state Director General of Police, RB Sreekumar who was arrested by the Gujarat Police, who accused him of fabricating evidence and making false statements to frame high-ranking officials including then Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 Gujarat riots cases. Sreekumar was arrested after a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court made adverse remarks against him on June 24 while dismissing a plea by Zakia Jafri, wife of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was killed in the riots.
An FIR has been filed against an Uttarakhand RSS member over a Facebook post that appeared to blame Ankita Bhandari’s family, particularly her father and brother, for her death, the Dehradun Police said yesterday. In the now-deleted post on why he didn’t join the protests to seek justice for the 19-year-old, Vipin Karnwal described her father as the biggest culprit in the tragic turn of events for allowing his daughter to work at a resort in a forest that was known for debauchery. It was like putting raw milk in front of “tomcats”, Vipin Karnwal said.
Despite months of protests, a hunger strike and even an attempt at self-immolation, Allahabad University authorities have allegedly refused to even enter into a dialogue on the 400% fee hike which is driving some students to think of leaving.
Doctors in Muzaffarnagar, UP, have removed 63 steel spoons from the stomach of a 32-year-old patient who complained of severe pain. The man, identified as Vijay, who lived in Bopada village of Mansoorpur, is a drug addict and was admitted to a de-addiction centre. He told the doctors that he has been eating spoons for a year.
Showing remarkable composure under pressure, India’s eight-year-old chess wonder, Charvi Anilkumar has bagged the World Cadet title in Georgia.
Check out the amazing flight path of Bala, the black-tailed godwit named after renowned Bombay Natural History Society expert on bird migration Dr S Balachandran. Bala travelled 5,000 km. in 47 days from Mumbai to South-western Siberia and covered 4,200 km to reach Thane Creek in just five days.
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