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Help fulfil the dream of a safe, modern, inclusive nation: PM

Congress missed opportunities to establish true secularism, he tells Lok Sabha

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called upon all parties to move forward together to fulfil the dream of a safe, modern and inclusive country, a call reflected, he said, in the positive mandate that his government received in the last election.

He was speaking in the Lok Sabha, replying to the debate on the motion of thanks to the President for his address to both Houses of Parliament. Mr. Modi criticised what he termed the Congress’s “missed opportunities” in the past to establish true secularism. He said the mandate that his government received was a validation that it was moving in the right direction, a direction, he said, that valued both welfare and progress.

He extensively quoted from the speeches of Mahatma Gandhi, Ram Manohar Lohia and Jawaharlal Nehru, and said his own government’s direction, including in the field of sanitation and water, emanated from their words.

Mr. Modi made a strong rebuttal of the Opposition’s accusations that he was not mindful of those who came before him. Instead, he accused the Congress of only promoting the Nehru-Gandhi family at the expense of other leaders. “I challenge you to find a single instance, in any function of the past UPA government which remembered any contribution by late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, whereas I have, twice from the ramparts of the Red Fort, said all those who came before me contributed to where we are today as a nation. So, Vajpayeeji may have been from the BJP, what about the contributions of P.V. Narasimha Rao or even Dr. Manmohan Singh? Former President Pranab Mukherjee was in another party all his life, but it was the NDA government that acknowledged his contributions and awarded him the Bharat Ratna. The contributions of leaders other than those belonging to a particular family are undermined,” he said.

The Congress hit back, saying the Prime Minister was still in campaign mode. Its leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary said the party was glad that Mr. Modi at least had been compelled to quote Pandit Nehru.

Antigua not providing Mehul safe haven, says its PM

‘His citizenship will be revoked; he will be extradited once he exhausts his legal options’

Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne has said diamond merchant Mehul Choksi, a prime accused in the ₹13,578 crore Punjab National Bank fraud case, will be extradited to India after he exhausts all his legal options there.

As reported by Antigua Observer, Mr. Browne also said Choksi’s citizenship would be revoked in “short order”.

“His citizenship was processed; he got through but the reality is his citizenship will be revoked and he will be repatriated to India; so there is recourse. It’s not a case that we are trying to provide any safe harbour for criminals, for those who are involved in financial crimes,” he was quoted as having said over the weekend.

Mr. Browne said: “We have to allow for due process. He has a matter before the court and as we said to the Indian government, criminals have fundamental rights, too, and Choksi has a right to go to court and defend his position. But I can assure you, after he has exhausted all of his legal options, he will be extradited.”

Asked about Antigua’s decision to revoke Choksi’s citizenship, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Tuesday told the reporters: “I do not have information on this matter. I would not like to comment on it.”

According to a source in the Ministry of External Affairs, nothing has been conveyed officially to New Delhi by the Antiguan government on the issue.

(With agency inputs)

SC declines plea for CBI probe into lawyer’s murder

Issues raised in the petition should be heard by ‘jurisdictional High Court’: Bench

Darvesh Yadav

The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to entertain a petition seeking a CBI inquiry into the murder of advocate Darvesh Yadav, who was allegedly shot dead on the Agra court premises during a victory procession after her election as Uttar Pradesh Bar Council president.

A Vacation Bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and B.R. Gavai said the issues raised in the petition should be heard by the “jurisdictional High Court”, that is the Allahabad High Court.

“All prayers are pertaining to the incident and U.P. Bar Council...Move the Allahabad High Court…This is a specific matter, let’s not generalise the whole thing,” the Bench said.

Ms. Yadav, the first woman president of the State Bar Council, was shot thrice by another lawyer Manish Sharma, who allegedly had been her long-time acquaintance.

Mr. Sharma reportedly shot himself immediately, said the petition filed by advocate Indu Kaul.

“Ms. Yadav succumbed to her injuries on the spot. Mr. Sharma was taken to the hospital where he died later,” the petition said.

Police security

Ms. Kaul sought direction for providing police security to women advocates on court premises and for women-friendly amenities beyond court working hours throughout the country.

She highlighted other incidents of suffering by women advocates in the Supreme Court, the Delhi High Court and districts courts in Delhi.

‘File separate writ’

To this, the Bench said the petitioner could file a separate writ petition on the issue.

Ms. Kaul argued that safety of women lawyers on court premises and at chamber blocks should be paramount or else incidents like these could be discouraging for the new woman entrants in this honourable profession.

She had sought a direction to the U.P. Bar Council to pay a compensation of ₹25 lakh to the family of Ms. Yadav.

High Court nod to screen Patwardhan’s film

Centre had denied permission to screen ‘Vivek’ at the Kerala film festival

Patwardhan’s documentary deals with the rise of ultra-nationalism in the country.

The High Court on Tuesday allowed the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy (KSCA) to screen Anand Patwardhan’s documentary Vivek (Reason) at its ongoing International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK) in Thiruvananthapuram.

Justice Shaji P. Chaly granted the academy permission, subject to clause 2(1) of the guidelines for the certification of films for festivals.

As per the clause, exemption from certification can be granted for screening at film festivals of non-commercial nature and before delegates which should include film-makers, media students, critics, film theorists, film-lovers, and all those associated with the production and business of films and members of the media duly registered with the festival authorities.

The court made it clear that the academy and the film-makers had not been granted permission to screen the film at any other place without the certification or consent of the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

‘Provide protection’

It also directed the State government to provide protection for the screening in case any law and order problem arose at the venue.

The order was passed when a writ petition filed by the KSCA and Mr. Patwardhan, challenging the action of the Centre in denying permission for screening the documentary, came up for hearing.

Vivek talks about the murders of rationalist scholars such as Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, the rise of ultra-nationalism in the country, the oppression of Dalits and Muslims, caste-based discrimination, and the suicide of Rohith Vemula.

The petitioners said the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had turned down a request of the academy for exempting the film from certification under Section 9 of the Cinematograph Act.

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