SC TO HEAR PLEA AGAINST GYANVAPI MASJID SURVEY
A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud in the Supreme Court will hear the plea seeking a stay on the survey of the Gyanvapi Masjid complex, adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, a report said on May 14. However the date for the hearing is yet to be fixed. On May 13, senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee that manages the Gyanvapi Masjid, sought an order of the status quo, saying “survey has been directed in relation to Varanasi property”. The bench, however, refused to grant status quo in the case, saying that it was not aware of the issue, as it had not seen the papers then. Earlier, on May 12, the Varanasi court hearing the petition of five women seeking right to worship without any hindrance at the Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi Masjid complex ordered the survey will continue at the disputed site.
COURT RAPS DELHI POLICE FOR ‘ACCOMPANYING ILLEGAL PROCESSION’
Denying bail to eight people accused in connection with the communal violence that broke out in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri area last month, a Rohini court on May 8 came down heavily on Delhi Police for its “utter failure” in stopping a Hanuman Jayanti procession held without permission in the area. It said that the issue “seems to have been simply brushed aside” by the senior police officers. “The liability on the part of the concerned officials needs to be fixed so that in future no such incident takes place and the police is not complacent in preventing the illegal activities,” said Additional Sessions Judge Gagandeep Singh in an order. Rejecting the bail plea of eight accused on grounds that their release may affect witnesses, the Judge said that the material investigation in the present case is still underway and several offenders are yet to be apprehended. The accused argued that they had been falsely implicated in the case and were not even present at the spot on the date of the incident.
AIR FORCE MAN ARRESTED FOR LEAKING SENSITIVE INFORMATION
An IAF sergeant at the record office in New Delhi was arrested for allegedly leaking classified and sensitive information about defence installations and personnel to a Pakistan-based “agent”, said a report on May 12. The accused has been identified as 32-year-old Devender Narayan Sharma, who was reportedly working as an administrative assistant (GD) at the Indian Air Force (IAF) Record Office at Subroto Park in New Delhi. During investigation, it was found that Sharma was allegedly “honey-trapped” by a Pakistan-based woman with whom he shared sensitive documents related to personnel, national security and defence, the report added. On the basis of a complaint received by the Indian Air Force, a case under the Official Secrets Act was registered and the sergeant was arrested on May 6 and dismissed from service.
ALLAHABAD HIGH COURT RAPS PETITIONER IN TAJ MAHAL CASE
The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on May 12 rapped the petitioner who demanded that Archaeological Survey of India open rooms inside the Taj Mahal to find out if Hindu idols and inscriptions are hidden there. Justice DK Upadhyay, in a strongly worded remark, told the petitioner not to misuse the public interest litigation system. He asked the petitioner to visit any university, pursue PhD and then come to the court, seeking directions over the matter. “When was Taj Mahal constructed, who got it constructed – read about this first… tell us if someone stops you from researching,” the court said. The court further said,” Tomorrow, you will ask us to open the chambers of the judges… file RTI, you will get to know what is inside the rooms”.
UP REMOVES DGP MUKUL GOEL FOR ‘INACTION’
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on May 11 removed director general of police (DGP) Mukul Goel from his post over “disregard for government work, lack of interest in departmental work and inaction”, a report said. Goel, who was in the state’s DGP for a little over 11 months, has been appointed director general (DG) Civil Defence. He still has almost two years of service and is due to retire in February-end 2024. Last month, Goel was conspicuous by his absence at a key meeting chaired by the chief minister on the law and order situation in the state. Goel was also not attending team meetings and was not present at important departmental presentations like that of the home department. Goel wasn’t called, the report added, for any of these key meetings.
RETAIL INFLATION IN INDIA SURGES TO 8-YEAR HIGH
Retail inflation in India surged to 7.79% on an annual basis in the month of April owing to higher edible oil and fuel prices, data from the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation showed on May 12. The headline inflation is now at the highest level since the 8.33% hit in May 2014. Analysts had expected the CPI inflation to be around 7.5%, up from 6.95% in the month of March and 4.23% in April 2021. With this, the headline retail inflation has now remained above the Reserve Bank of India’s 6% upper tolerance level for the fourth consecutive month. Rural inflation rose to 8.38% in April as compared to 7.66% in March and 3.75%% in April 2021 while urban inflation stood at 7.09% in April as compared to 6.12% in March and 4.71% in April 2021.
SC RAPS COUNSEL FOR SAYING KASHMIR BECAME PART OF INDIA…
The Supreme Court on May 13 cautioned a counsel who in the course of his arguments said that Kashmir became a part of the country after abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution in August 2019 to be careful about his language. “No, no, it has remained a part of the country for long time. These are certain special provisions. Careful in what language you use,” Justice S K Kaul, presiding a two-judge bench, told Ravi Shankar Jandhyala, while hearing a plea that challenged the delimitation exercise, which recommended increasing the number of seats in J&K Assembly from 83 to 90. The bench, also comprising Justice M M Sundresh, told the counsel, who appeared for the petitioners – Srinagar residents Haji Abdul Gani Khan and Mohammad Ayub Mattoo – that the petition appeared jumbled as it touched on multiple issues from the abrogation of the special provisions to the delimitation exercise.
KASHMIRI WOMAN PHOTOJOURNALIST WINS PULITZER PRIZE
Sanna Irshad Mattoo, a 28-year-old woman photojournalist from Srinagar, has won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography. She is among the four Reuters photojournalists who have won the prestigious award – Adnan Abidi, Amit Dave and the late Danish Sidiqqui being the other three – for their coverage of the devastating second wave of Covid-19 in India. Siddiqui was killed in Afghanistan last July while covering the clashes between Afghan forces and the Taliban. Mattoo completed her masters in convergent journalism from the Central University of Kashmir. In 2021, she became the Magnum Foundation’s ‘photography and social justice fellow’. Mattoo has extensively covered Kashmir over the last six years and her photos have been published in various national and international media outlets like Al Jazeera, Time and Caravan.