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J&K: Supreme Court asks Centre to restore normalcy without compromising on national interest

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J&K Situation

Centre says lockdown hasn’t affected normal life, defends prohibitory orders

The Supreme Court today – Monday, Sep 16 – directed the Centre and the Jammu & Kashmir government to ensure that normalcy is restored in Jammu & Kashmir on a selective basis and without compromising on national interest.

The order was passed in a batch of petitions filed by Kashmir Times Editor Anuradha Bhasin and political activist Tehseen Poonawalla challenging the shutdown in the J&K. The Supreme Court had tagged the two pleas together and issued notice in the matter last month.

The court granted permission to Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad to visit Srinagar, Anantnag, Baramullah and Jammu districts to enquire about the well being of his family members. In a separate plea, the top court issued notice to the Centre on the detention of former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah. CJI Ranjan Gogoi said he will visit Srinagar himself if necessary after a petition put forth allegations of inaccessibility of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

The communications blackout has been in place since August 5, when the Presidential Order revoking the Special Status granted to Jammu and Kashmir and splitting it into two Union Territories was passed.

While Bhasin and Poonawalla contended that the shutdown had affected normal life in J&K, Attorney General KK Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta countered and sought to justify prohibitory orders.

The Court proceeded to direct the Government to ensure that normalcy is restored in the J&K and that hospitals, schools and public transport are made functional. However, the same is to be done keeping in mind the national interest.

“We direct Jammu and Kashmir to make every endeavour to make sure normal life returns,” said a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

“We ask for restoration to be on selective basis keeping in mind national interest,” said the judges.

The bench, which included justices SA Bobde and SA Nazeer, said as the shutdown was in the Kashmir Valley, it could be dealt with by the Jammu and Kasmir High Court.

The petition filed by Bhasin, who is the Executive Editor of the regional newspaper, Kashmir Times, contends that the shutdown of internet and telecommunication, the severe restrictions on mobility and the sweeping curtailment on information sharing, when significant political and constitutional changes are being effected in Jammu and Kashmir, violate the freedom of speech and expression under Article 19, the right of the public to information and the right to practice one’s profession.

In this backdrop, Bhasin argued for the withdrawal of Government restrictions in J&K terming the lockdown to be an abuse of State power.

Registering his objection to the “present grim and lockdown situation ongoing in J&K”, Poonawalla had also moved the Court earlier praying for the withdrawal of restrictions imposed following the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, the release of detained leaders in Jammu and Kashmir and the appointment of a judicial commission to ascertain the ground reality in Jammu and Kashmir.

The top court also issued a notice to the Centre and state on Bhasin’s plea.

The government told the court that there had been no loss of life during the restrictions, which have been in place to avoid any backlash over the Centre’s decision.

“Not a single bullet has been fired, there has been no loss of life,” said the Centre’s lawyer, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

Restrictions have been removed in 93 police stations and there are no restrictions in Ladakh, he said, giving an account of OPDs, medical shops and Public Distribution Shops functioning across the state.  The court also directed the state government to make every endeavour for people to have access to health care.

The judges were told by the centre that all Kashmir-based newspapers were running and the government had been offering all kinds of assistance to journalists.

“Media passes are given for access to restricted areas and journalists are given access to phones and Internet,” adding that “TV channels like Doordarshan and others private ones, as well as FM networks are also working.”

“Over 40,000 lives were lost in Jammu and Kashmir since 1990. Separatists even received funding from the Pakistan High Commission,” Venugopal informed the top court, adding that there was a three-pronged attack on J&K administration before August 5. “By separatists funding stone pelters, by terrorists from across border and by businessman Zahoor Watali who was funding local militants,” he said.

Also Read: Farooq Abdullah detained under NSA night before Supreme Court heard plea to produce him

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Parliament adjourned till 2pm following protest by Opposition over Adani issue

The Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned till 2 pm, whereas, Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 2:30 pm following the uproar by opposition on Adani Issue.

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The Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned till 2 pm on Friday after the House saw opposition protesting and demanding discussion on the Adani issue. As per reports, the Opposition parties had sought a joint parliamentary committee investigation into the case of Adani Group company stocks.

According to reports, soon after the lower House started its proceedings, it saw the Opposition members on their feet sloganeering and demanding an investigation into the plummeting of Adani group scrips, as well as an investigation into the business practices of the Adani Group.

Following Opposition’s demands, Speaker Om Birla requested the members to indulge in the discussions during the Question Hour which he termed as significant. The Lok Sabha Speaker also said that the House would take up the Motion of Thanks to the President for her address at the beginning of Budget session.

Birla also suggested and said that as it was the first address to the joint sitting of the House by the country’s first tribal woman president, all members should partake in it. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla also said that he would oblige with Opposition’s demands if they gave him proper notice.

However, the Opposition continued on their protest and sloganeering which forced the Speaker of the house to adjourn the proceedings till 2 pm.

Rajya Sabha Adjournment

The Upper House saw a similar ordeal in the regular proceedings as the Rajya Sabha too was adjourned till 2:30 pm following the uproar in the House by the Opposition over the Adani Issue.
It was reported that as the House met on Friday, Chairman Jagdeep Dhankar declined the 15 adjournment notices filed by members of various opposition outfits seeking to discuss the Adani issue.

Dhankar appealed to the members of the Upper House to maintain order and let the scheduled listed matters be heard and discussed. However, the Opposition continued their protest and sloganeering after Chairman Dhankar rejected the adjournment notices by the Opposition.

Following the uproar in the Upper House, Dhankar remarked and said that the Parliament is rather a place for discussion and deliberation, not a place of disturbance. Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankar while talking about the the 15 notices of adjournment handed to him by the Opposition, said that he is unable to comply with the demand as they fail to fulfil the requirements of rule 267.

Chairman Dhankar went on to adjourn the house till 2:30 pm as the protest by the Opposition continued.

The row about Adani group in the Parliament comes in the wake of the Hindenburg report about the conglomerate that allege the Adani group of improper use of tax havens and raising concerns about debt levels.

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Form JPC to probe Adani case, investigation should be conducted under Supreme Court supervision, says Opposition

Adani Enterprises on Wednesday announced the withdrawal of its Rs 20,000 crore follow-up public offering (FPO) and return of investors’ money

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Joint Parliamentary Committee

The Congress and several other opposition parties on Thursday demanded a discussion on the Adani Enterprises case in both the Houses of Parliament and also urged that a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) be set up to investigate the matter or under the supervision of the Supreme Court.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters after Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha meetings were adjourned till 2 pm due to ruckus on various issues, including Adani and said that they want to ask why the government should give pressure to such companies in getting loan?

He further said that keeping in view the interests of the people and the investment of LIC, SBI, they are demanding a discussion. “Our demand is that it should be investigated by constituting a JPC or it should be investigated under the leadership of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. And people should be sure that their money is saved.” Earlier, the proceedings of both the Parliament were disrupted due to the uproar by the opposition parties on this subject.

Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh tweeted, “Both Houses of Parliament adjourned till 2 pm today as the government responds to the joint opposition’s demand to probe investments made under duress by LIC, SBI and other public institutions.” He claimed that the savings of crores of Indians are at risk today due to the fall in the value of such investments.

Read Also: Hindenburg effect: RBI seeks info from banks of exposure to Adani Group

Earlier, senior Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh, Trinamool Congress’ Sudip Bandopadhyay and Derek O’Brien, Aam Aadmi Party’s Sanjay Singh, DMK’s Kanimozhi, Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav, Shiv Sena ( Sanjay Raut of Uddhav Thackeray) and leaders of some other parties were present.

Opposition parties have raised the issue related to Adani Enterprises in both the Houses and demand a discussion on it. Kharge had given an adjournment notice under Rule 267 in the Rajya Sabha without directly mentioning Adani Enterprises. In the notice, it was demanded that the issue of investment of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), public sector banks and financial institutions in companies that have lost capital in the market should be discussed. In the Lok Sabha, Congress MP Manickam Tagore also gave an adjournment notice and demanded a discussion on the issue of Adani Enterprises.

Congress MP Manish Tiwari tweeted that a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) should be constituted on the Adani episode. Significantly, Adani Enterprises on Wednesday announced the withdrawal of its Rs 20,000 crore follow-up public offering (FPO) and return of investors’ money. However, the FPO of the company was fully subscribed on Tuesday. It is understood that Adani Enterprises has taken this step after the report of America’s short selling company Hindenburg. This business group had termed the report as baseless.

FBI searches US President Joe Biden’s Delaware beach house, no classified documents found

Meghalaya Assembly Election 2023: BJP announces list of 60 candidates, check the full list here

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Meghalaya Assembly Election 2023: BJP announces list of 60 candidates, check the full list here

Nagaland and Meghalaya will turn to polls on Feb 27 and results will be announced on March 2

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Meghalaya Assembly Election 2023

The Bharatiya Janata Party has announced a list of 60 candidates for the ensuing Meghalaya Assembly Elections on Thursday.

Prior to announcing the list, the party’s election committee held a meeting at party’s national headquarters in New Delhi on Wednesday to finalise the same. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP National President JP Nadda and state BJP leaders AL Hek and Ernest Mawrie were among other party top guns who attended the meeting.

Check out the full list here:

Former Cabinet Minister and NPP leader Martin M Danggi was given the seat from Ranikor.

Read Also: FBI searches US President Joe Biden’s Delaware beach house, no classified documents found

It is worth mentioning that earlier in the day, Danggo had officially joined the BJP in the Meghalaya’s state capital

The former Speaker claimed that he joined the BJP on the advice of his leaders and followers.

Danggo said that he didn’t make the choice but all of his leaders gathered and resolved that he should resign from the NPP and join the BJP. In his address to the party workers, he asked them to help in comprehending the BJP’s manifesto and constitution.

Notably, in Meghalaya, the BJP is fighting all seats along and in Nagaland it will fight the elections with cooperation of alliance party National Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), where it will contest on 20 seats out of 60 seats.

On February 27, the voting for Assembly elections in Nagaland and Meghalaya will be held in a single phase manner. The results of the same will be announced on March 2.

The Election Commission of India said that the terms of Nagaland and Meghalaya were coming to an end on March 12 and 15 respectively.

The BJP held a CEC meeting in the national capital to decide the names of the candidates for the ensuing Tripura Assembly elections, earlier on January 27.

Following the meeting, the BJP announced its first list of 48 candidates for the Tripura Assembly elections, while it fielded Union Minister Pratima Bhoumik from Dhanpur.

Parliament adjourned till 2 pm after opposition demands debate on the Hindenburg report

Uttar Pradesh: Woman beat man with slippers on busy road in Jhansi, video goes viral | Watch

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