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SC notice to Gujarat on plea against release of 11 convicts

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New Delhi: On Thursday, the Supreme Court sought a response from the Gujarat government over a plea challenging the release of 11 men convicted of the Bilkis Bano gang rape and multiple murders during the 2002 Gujarat riots, while clarifying that it did not grant permission for referral to convicts, but asked the government to consider it.

One bench, headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana and made up of Justices Ajay Rastogi and Vikram Nath, said the question is whether the remission could have been granted to convicts and whether it was within the parameters of the law.

The Gujarat government released the convicts on Independence Day, causing a lot of political controversy.

Judge Rastogi asked lead counsel Kapil Sibal, representing the petitioners: “Day after day, life sentences are given remission, what is the exception (in this matter)”.

After hearing the arguments, the high court issued a notice to the Gujarat government and published the next hearing after two weeks.

He clarified that his May 2022 order simply held that the referral or premature release must be considered in terms of the applicable policy in the state where the crime was committed. “I read somewhere that the court has granted permission for the referral. No, the court said just consider it,” the court noted.

The court asked the petitioners’ lawyer to make the convicts in the case part of the guilty plea together with the Gujarat government.

The highest court orally observed: “Any act that has been committed; the defendants have been sanctioned and convicted.”

Nor did it allow a request from a lawyer for one of the convicted to hear him first about the preliminary objections against the upholding of the writ petition.

The Gujarat government attorney opposed the petition on maintainability grounds. “Writ is not maintainable. They are strangers,” the lawyer said.

Sibal, on behalf of the petitioners, recounted the grim facts of the case in court.

The bank was listening to a petition submitted by former MP Subhasini Ali of CPI-M, journalist Revati Laul and Professor Roop Rekha Verma.

Eleven convicts, serving life sentences, were released from Godhra sub-prison on August 15 after the Gujarat government allowed their release under its diversion policy. The convicted had served more than 15 years in prison.

In January 2008, a special CBI court in Mumbai sentenced the convicts to life in prison for gang rape and murder of seven members of Bilkis Bano’s family. The Bombay High Court upheld his conviction.

Bano was 21 years old and five months pregnant when she was gang-raped while fleeing the violence that erupted after the Godhra train fire.

The PIL attacked the order of the competent authority of the Gujarat government whereby 11 people who were charged with a series of heinous crimes were allowed to go free on 15th August 2022 in accordance with the remission extended to them.

Petitioners contended that the granting of the referral solely by the competent authority of a state government, without any consultation with the Center, is inadmissible under the mandate of Section 435 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1973.

Citing the facts of the case, the brief held that no sensible authority applying any test under any existing policy would see fit to grant remission to individuals found to have been involved in the commission of heinous acts.

(IANS)


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When India was celebrating Constitution Day, terrorists attacked Mumbai 14 years ago: PM

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that 14 years ago, when India was celebrating Constitution Day, it faced the biggest terrorist attack in Mumbai, in its history, by the enemies of humanity.

The prime minister spoke at Constitution Day celebrations at the Supreme Court. Recalling the dark day in Indian history as the country celebrated the momentous occasion of Constitution Day, the Prime Minister recalled that on November 26, 14 years ago, India faced the biggest terrorist attack in its history by the enemies of humanity. .

He paid tribute to those who lost their lives in the cowardly Mumbai terror attacks.

The Prime Minister recalled that in the current global scenario, the world looks with hope to India amidst its growing economy and international image. He said that defying all initial apprehensions about its stability, India is moving forward in full force and taking pride in its diversity and credited the Constitution for this success.

He referred to the first three words of the Preamble, ‘We the people,’ and said: “’We the people’ is a call, a trust, and an oath. This spirit of the Constitution is the spirit of India, which has been the mother of democracy in the world.” “In modern times, the Constitution has encompassed all the cultural and moral emotions of the nation,” she added.

Underlining the youth-focused spirit, the prime minister said that the Constitution is known for its openness, for being futuristic and for its modern vision. He recognized the role and contribution of youth power in all aspects of India’s growth story.

The prime minister expressed his happiness that, as the mother of democracy, the country is strengthening the ideals of the constitution and pro-popular policies are empowering the country’s poor and women. He added that the laws are becoming easier and more accessible for ordinary citizens and the judiciary is taking many steps to ensure timely justice.

The prime minister said that within a week, India will attain the G20 presidency and stressed the need to promote India’s prestige and reputation in the world as a team. “It is our collective responsibility,” he said, adding: “India’s identity as the mother of democracy must be further strengthened.”

Emphasizing the need to raise awareness of the Constitution among youth for a better understanding of issues such as equality and empowerment, the PM recalled the time when the Constitution was drafted and the circumstances the country was facing. “What happened in the Constituent Assembly debates at that time, our youth should be aware of all these issues,” he said.

Naming the Amrit Kaal as ‘Kartavya Kaal’, the Prime Minister emphasized that in the Azadi Ka Amrit Kaal as the nation is completing 75 years of independence, and as we embark on the journey for the next 25 years of development, the mantra of duty to the nation is first and foremost. “The Azadi Ka Amrit Kaal is the time of duty to the country. Whether they are individuals or institutions, our responsibilities are our first priority,” the Prime Minister commented. He stressed that by following one’s ‘kartavya path’, the country can reach new heights of development.

The Prime Minister set the example when India had 15 women members in the Constituent Assembly and singled out women like Dakshayani Velayudhan among them, who came from a disadvantaged society to get there.

The Prime Minister said that the contributions of women like Dakshaini Velayudhan are rarely discussed and reported that she made important interventions on many Dalit and worker related issues. She gave examples of Durgabai Deshmukh, Hansa Mehta and Rajkumari Amrit Kaur and other women members who also made significant contributions to women’s issues.

Since 2015, Constitution Day has been observed on 26 November to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of India by the Constituent Assembly in 1949. The Prime Minister also launched several new initiatives under the e-court project during the program , including Virtual Justice Clock, JustIS 2.0 Mobile App, Digital Court, and S3WaaS websites.

The event was attended by the Chief Justice of India, Dr. DY Chandradud, Union Minister for Law and Justice, Kiren Rijiju, J. Sanjay Kishan Kaul and J. S. Abdul Nazeer, Minister for State for Law and Justice of the Union, Prof. SP Baghel, Advocate General of India R Venkataramani, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Vikas Singh, together with the High Court Judge and members of the Bar of Lawyers.

(IANOS)


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‘Need to do something for poor people’, President raises issue of overcrowding in prisons

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New Delhi: President Droupadi Murmu raised the issue of prison overcrowding on Saturday, stressing that something needs to be done for the poor in prisons.

In her farewell speech at the Constitution Day celebrations organized by the Supreme Court, the President said: “I come from a very small town. Where I was born, people considered three people to be God: teachers, doctors, and lawyers.”

He added that in order to overcome their problems, people were even willing to give away all their money and property to doctors and lawyers.

“It is said that the prisons are becoming overcrowded and that it is necessary to set up more prisons,” said the President.

“Are we going towards development? What is the need to set up more prisons? We have to reduce their number. The poor people imprisoned for many years for petty crimes need help,” said Murmu.

He pointed out that people are even jailed for slapping someone or for some other minor offense, while there are people who do many things, even kill others, but walk free.

The event was attended by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Minister of Justice Kiren Rijiju, Attorney General of India R. Venkataramani, Attorney General Tushar Mehta, Supreme Court Justices and members of the Bar Association.

The President emphasized that there are poor people in prisons and something must be done for them.

“You have to do something for these people. Who are these people in jail? They don’t know fundamental rights or fundamental duties,” said Murmu, who recommended decongesting prisons.

The President said that people do not act to free their relatives, who are languishing in jails, because they feel that they would have to sell their utensils and goods.

The president said the legislature, executive and judiciary must have “one thought” for the country and its people, adding that the checks and balances must be there, but somewhere “we need to work together.”

“Our job is to think about the people (poor defendants who languish in prisons). We all have to think and get out somehow… I leave it all to you,” she said.

(IANOS)


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India successfully orbits Indo-French collaborative EOS 6/OCEANSAT, 8 other satellites

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Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh): India successfully placed the Indo-French EOS 06 ocean observation satellite and eight other nanosatellites into orbit on Saturday with its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle rocket numbered PSLV-C54.

Announcing the success of the mission, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Space Department Chairman and Secretary S. Somanath said all the satellites have been launched.

He also said that the EOS 06 satellite’s solar arrays had been deployed and the satellite was in the precise orbit as expected and congratulated the ISRO team.

The XL variant of the PSLV rocket carrying the 1117kg EOS-6 as the lead passenger and eight others lifted off from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Center (SDSC) here at 11:56am.

Overlays include satellites from two Indian startups: Syzygy Space Technologies Pvt Ltd, commonly known as Pixxel (Anand-16.51 kg), and Dhruvaspace’s two Thybolt satellites: 1.45 kg, Spaceflight USA’s Astrosat (four number 17 .92 kg) and ISRO’s INS-2B ( 18.28 kg).

Approximately 17 minutes into the flight, the rocket ejected EOS-6. The orbit was then changed using two orbit change thrusters inserted into the ring of the rocket propulsion bay. The passengers in tow were ejected on Orbit-2.

The entire mission lasted about two hours.

With this, the PSLV rocket has put 349 foreign satellites into orbit to date.

If you factor in the 36 UK-based OneWeb satellites that were launched into orbit by another LVM3 rocket this year, the total number of foreign satellites launched by ISRO would rise to 385.

At the end of the final countdown, the four-stage, 44.4m-tall expendable XL variant of the PSLV rocket weighing 321 tons slowly rose into the skies with a thick orange flame on its tail.

The rocket gained speed as it ascended while making a rolling thunder sound.

The PSLV rocket runs on solid (first and third stage) and liquid (second and fourth stage) fuels alternately.

The rocket that flew Saturday was PSLV’s 56th mission and the 24th mission with the PSLV-XL variant that has six auxiliary engines with six tons of fuel.

ISRO said the Indo-French EOS-06/Oceansat collaboration will provide continuity services from the Oceansat-2 spacecraft with enhanced payload capabilities and application areas.

EOS-06 payloads include Ocean Color Monitor (OCM-3), Sea Surface Temperature Monitor (SSTM), Ku-Band Scatterometer (SCAT-3), and ARGOS, a French payload.

According to France, ARGOS will reinforce the existing fleet of Indo-French satellites working in meteorological monitoring that are already in orbit (MEGHA-TROPIQUES and SARAL-ALTIKA), thus enhancing the contributions related to the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

The Indian space agency said the satellite will ensure continuity of ocean color data and wind vector data to support operational applications. It will also improve applications, accommodating some additional data sets such as sea surface temperature and more bands in the optical region for fluorescence and in the infrared region for atmospheric corrections.

The satellite will also develop/improve related algorithms and data products to serve well-established application areas and to enhance mission utility.

INS-2B is ISRO’s second nanosatellite for Bhutan with two payloads, namely NanoMx and APRS-Digipeater. The NanoMx is a multispectral optical imaging payload developed by its Space Applications Center (SAC). The APRS-Digipeater payload is jointly developed by DITTBhutan and ISRO’s UR Rao Satellite Center (URSC), ISRO said.

Bhutan’s Information and Communication Minister Lyonpo Karma Donnen Wangdi, who had witnessed the mission from here, said ISRO’s commendable record in launching satellites leaves no doubt about the mission’s success.

He said the mission is another key milestone of the close relationship between India and Bhutan.

Wangdi said that the satellite was built during the covid-19 pandemic.

Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishakar said ISRO is working to set up a ground station in Bhutan.

Pixxel’s Anand Nanosatellite is a technology demonstrator to demonstrate the capabilities and commercial applications of a miniaturized Earth observation camera for Earth observation using a microsatellite in low Earth orbit. This is a three-axis stabilized satellite consisting of a satellite bus, which accommodates all subsystems such as telemetry, telecommand, electric power system, Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS), on-board computers and others and a unit of payload, ISRO said.

Dhuruvaspace’s Thybolt satellites have a communication payload that enables rapid technology demonstration and multi-user constellation development. It also demonstrates Store-and-Forward functionality for authorized users on the amateur frequency band.

Astrocast, a 3U spacecraft, is a technology demonstration satellite for Internet of Things (IoT) payload.

(IANOS)


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