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8 letters not in order, says Karnataka Speaker

MLAs wanting to quit can send them again: Ramesh Kumar

United front: Congress MLAs staging a protest in front of the Gandhi statue in Bengaluru on Tuesday. V. Sreenivasa MurthyThe Hindu

The political crisis in Karnataka is likely to spill over into the legislature session scheduled to start on Friday, with Speaker K. Ramesh Kumar stating on Tuesday that the resignation letters of only five of the 13 legislators from the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) were in order.

“These five [letters] are [those] of Anand Singh, Narayana Gowda, Pratap Gouda Patil, Gopalaiah and Ramalinga Reddy,” he said.

“Since the other resignation letters were not in the prescribed format, we have sent them a reminder letter... if you wish, you can submit your resignations properly,” he added.

These eight legislators, many of whom are not in Bengaluru, are expected to return on Wednesday to retender their resignations in the right format.

Baig also quits

Even as the Speaker ruled on the resignations tendered by the MLAs of the ruling coalition, veteran politician and suspended Congress legislator R. Roshan Baig submitted his resignation, taking the total to 14 (three JD(S), 11 Congress and two Independents).

“Despite the [Assembly] session starting on Friday, I have asked Narayana Gowda, Prathapgouda Patil and Anand Singh to come for a personal hearing, while Gopalaiah and Ramalinga Reddy have been asked to appear on July 15 [Monday],” said the Speaker.

Mr. Ramesh Kumar said Mr. Baig’s resignation was being examined.

The Speaker said he would hold a public hearing in the light of complaints from the public against the resignations.

(With inputs from PTI)

SC to decide if illegal migrants can be given the status of refugees

Centre’s question came on petition by two Rohingya men who face deportation

The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to examine a “substantial question” from the Union government on whether illegal immigrants could even be considered for ‘refugee’ status.

A Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, was hearing petitions filed by two Rohingya men against the government’s proposal to deport their 40,000-strong community to their native land of Myanmar, where “discrimination and possibly summary executions await them”.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the primary prayers made in the petitions were to stop any proposed deportation and allow the community rights under the international law.

“But first decide whether they are refugees... Whether illegal immigrants can even be allowed the status of refugees... This is the substantial question here,” Mr. Mehta submitted. The court said it would examine the issue and asked the parties and intervenors to complete pleadings by the next hearing.

The Rohingya, who fled to India after violence in the State of Rakhine in Myanmar, are settled in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan. The petitions said the Centre’s move violated the constitutional guarantee that the Indian State should “protect the life and liberty of every human being, whether citizen or not”.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had also issued notice to the government on the proposed deportation.

Panic struck the refugee community following media reports of a statement made by the then Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, in Parliament that the Centre had directed the States to identify and deport illegal immigrants, including the Rohingya.

Saravana Bhavan owner comes to court in ambulance, surrenders

Case pertains to murder of his employee 18 years ago

No option left: P. Rajagopal arrives in ambulance to surrender before a court in Chennai on Tuesday. Special ArrangementSpecial Arrangement

Nearly 18 years after Saravana Bhavan hotel staffer Prince Santhakumar was kidnapped and murdered, the owner of the chain of hotels P. Rajagopal, the main offender in the case, surrendered in a city court on Tuesday. He was brought in an ambulance as he was not keeping well.

Rajagopal, now 73, was cited as accused number 1 in the kidnap and murder of Santhakumar, who was his employee, in 2001.

When the trial court gave a lower punishment to the convicts in 2004, the State preferred an appeal before the Madras High Court. In 2009, the Madras High Court sentenced him and five others to life imprisonment. Three others were sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and two more to two years’ imprisonment.

In March, the Supreme Court confirmed the order of the Madras High Court and gave time till July 7 to the convicts for surrendering to serve prison terms.

Rajagopal’s last-ditch effort to skip incarceration was rejected by the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Following the rejection of his plea, he was brought in an ambulance by his staff to the city civil court complex on the Madras High Court campus.

Jet founder Goyal can’t leave country, says HC

Told to deposit ₹18,000 crore

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday refused to allow Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal to leave India observing that he should first deposit ₹18,000 crore the cash-strapped airlines owes to its lenders if he wants to go abroad.

Justice Suresh Kait, however, sought the Centre’s response on Mr. Goyal’s plea challenging a look-out circular issued against him.

“I won’t name but some people are sitting outside and India is not able to bring them back. What you [Mr. Goyal] are asking today it is not possible...” the judge remarked, denying any interim relief to Mr. Goyal, even as his counsel pleaded that he has to go abroad to retain his Non-Resident Indian status.

Mr. Goyal and his wife were offloaded from a flight to Dubai on May 25 based on a LOC issued in his name. Reportedly, the circular was issued by the Home Ministry at the request of the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO).

Insolvency proceedings

Jet Airways, which was forced to ground its fleet in April due to cash crunch, has since been dragged into insolvency proceedings before the National Company Law Tribunal, Mumbai.

Additional Solicitor General Maninder Acharya told the HC that “investigation by the SFIO is going on and it is a serious fraud of ₹18,000 crore.”

Mr. Goyal contended that he had scheduled meetings in the last week of May 2019 with foreign investors, who had shown interest in infusing funds into Jet Airways.

Can producers take film reviewers to court?

Industry body threatens legal action against critics crossing limits, indulging in personal attacks

Late on Monday, a statement released by members of the ad hoc committee governing the affairs of the Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC) ruffled some feathers in the media industry.

It listed three problem points for film producers concerning their relationship with various media platforms.

Out of the three, two dealt with the ‘expenses’ producers incur during press shows (and related film promotional events).

The third problem area listed was critics reviewing films. The statement read: “In the guise of film criticism, any person who attacks films, actors, directors and producers, and crosses all limits, will attract legal action, and will be uninvited from Tamil film-related events."

No swipe at journalists

Diamond Babu, a senior PRO in the film industry, clarified: “It is not a swipe at print journalists. But these days, every Tom, Dick and Harry is doing a film review, and they're wounding people with their comments. They say things like, ‘this person doesn’t know what film-making is.’ It is a review of the film. So, don’t insult the individuals.”

Mr. Babu added that YouTube reviewers are the actual problem for Tamil film producers.

While print reviews are ‘polished’, according to him, reviewers on the video sharing platform do not deliver the message in quite the same way to their subscribers.

And it is a problem because of the huge reach YouTube reviewers seem to enjoy. For instance, Blue Sattai Maran, who hosts the channel Tamil Talkies, is edging closer to one million subscribers on his channel. A source in TFPC indicated that the statement was primarily intended as a response to Mr. Maran due to his style of reviewing films. Mr. Maran was unreachable for comment.

“It [legal challenge] is a bit far-fetched, if you ask me,” said Prashanth Rangaswamy, a YouTube reviewer, who hosts Tamil Cinema Review. “Movie is a public product. It is not private property if I’m paying my money for the tickets.” He pointed out that while one section of producers objects to the reviews, there is another that uses the YouTube review platforms to advertise films.

ILLUSTRATION: sreejith r.kumar

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