‘JUDGE’S DUTY IS TO PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS’: RAJASTHAN CJ KURESHI

The outgoing chief justice of the Rajasthan high court, Akil Kureshi, who was denied a position in the Supreme Court despite being the senior-most chief justice in the country, laid emphasis on the role of an independent judiciary in protecting the rights of common citizens in his farewell address on March 5. He also made a pointed reference to the misuse of sedition law to target dissent. “As a judge of the constitutional court, whose most primary duty is to protect the fundamental and human rights of the citizens, I consider it a certificate of independence,” Justice Kureshi said. Justice Kureshi first came to limelight in 2010 when, as a judge of the Gujarat High Court, he had remanded the then state home minister and BJP leader Amit Shah to CBI custody in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case. Later, he ruled against the Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government in the Lokayukta appointment case. Observers believe adverse judgments against governments have affected Justice Kureshi’s otherwise unblemished judicial career.

CORRUPTION OF CRORES OF RUPEES IN POLICE TRANSFERS: BJP MLC

Labelling serious allegations of corruption against the Karnataka government, its own MLC member TM Muniraju Gowda has said that the police transfers in the state are scammed. Speaking in the Council on March 8, he added that every police transfer in the state yields lakhs and crores of rupees. “Every police transfer in the state costs from Rs. 10 lakh to crores of rupees. Police co-operate with the anti-social elements as they have already paid a huge amount for their transfer. To get back that money they are making favours to the anti-social elements.” he said. “The cops who should be maintaining law and order in the state including the Bengaluru city are paying huge sums of money and are getting transferred to places of their choices. How can we expect transparent governance from such police officers?” he questioned. Senior Congress leader CM Ibrahim lauded Gowda for bringing up the issue in the Council. Leader of Council for the government Kota Srinivas Poojary also assured that he would seek a response from the Home Minister.

DALIT CHILDREN BEATEN UP FOR TOUCHING UTENSIL

Two Dalit children were allegedly brutally beaten up by members of the Lodhi community for touching a water utensil, in Madhya Pradesh’s Damoh. Eight people have been booked in connection with the case, police said. According to a complaint lodged by the victim’s father, Manohar Ahirwar,  “On Friday (March 4) evening my son and daughter had gone to grocery shop owned by Devi Singh Lodhi to purchase biscuits. My son mistakenly touched a water utensil. Devi Singh thrashed my children. Later, when my mother confronted them, Lodhi and a few others beat them up too,” adding that later, Lodhi along with seven others came to my house and thrashed us, including my elderly parents.

PANEL DISPELS MYTH ON MUSLIM POPULATION

If Muslims have a high birth rate, Hindus are a close second; fertility of all communities is dependent on socio-economic factors, like literacy, income and delivery of family planning education; fake news by propaganda machinery of the right-wing organisations must be countered by facts. These were the talking points in a panel discussion on ‘Population: Are Muslims Overtaking the Hindus in the city’ on March 11. Panellists included former chief election commissioner of India S Y Qureshi, RS Trinamool MP Jawahar Sircar, former deputy chief of Indian Army and ex-VC, Aligarh Muslim University, Zameer Uddin Shah, former mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya and cardiac surgeon Kunal Sarkar. “There has been a sustained campaign propaganda by rightwing organisations on the growth of Muslim population. This has given rise to various myths, which in turn stoke majoritarian fears of a skewed demographic,” said Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP.

‘REGISTER FIR AGAINST ASSAM CM OVER INFLAMMATORY REMARKS’

A local court in Guwahati has directed the police to register a case against Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on the basis of a complaint by Lok Sabha MP Abdul Khaleque, who alleged that the CM made inflammatory remarks over an eviction drive. The Congress MP had approached the court after the Dispur police station did not register an FIR against Sarma, his advocate Shamim Ahmed Barbhuyan said on March 7. The court of Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Biswadeep Baruah, directed the Dispur police station to file the case on the basis of Khaleque’s complaint that Sarma had stated that the eviction exercise at Gorukhuti in Darang district was a revenge for the incidents of 1983 – when some youths there were killed during the Assam Agitation. Barbhuyan reportedly said that Khaleque had filed the complaint on December 29 at Dispur police station, but it did not register any FIR.

KASHMIRI JOURNALIST BOOKED UNDER UAPA FOR SECOND TIME

Jailed Kashmiri journalist Fahad Shah who was booked under UAPA a month ago, has been booked under the same draconian act for the second time, his counsel Umair Ronga said on March 11. Ronga said that the editor-in-chief of news portal The Kashmir Walla was remanded to police custody for five days in a case filed against the news portal in Srinagar for its reporting in May 2020. Shah was arrested in the Srinagar case on March 5, hours after he was granted bail by a Shopian court in a separate matter. This was the third time that Shah has been arrested since February 4. In February, 57 publications, press freedom groups, and human rights organizations including CPJ wrote a letter to Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha demanding Shah’s release, along with Sajad Gul, Aasif Sultan and Manan Gulzar Dar.

HC GRANTS BAIL TO AZAM KHAN IN LETTERHEAD CASE

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on March 8 granted bail to Samajwadi Party leader and former Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan in connection with a case of misusing official letterhead and seal. His plea for bail was allowed by Justice Ramesh Sinha. Khan, however, continues to be in jail in other cases. It was argued on behalf of Khan that he has been in jail for quite a long time and that the offences of this case are triable by the magistrate. The FIR was registered at Hazratganj police station (in Lucknow) on February 1, 2019. The High Court granted bail considering the petty nature of the case.

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