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Archives for : June2018

Hapur lynching- Police says due to ‘road rage’, lawyers rally round the accused #WTFnews

Nadeem, brother of mob lynching victim Qasim and Mehruddin, brother of another victim Samayuddin speaks to media at Press Club of India, on June 22, 2018 in New Delhi, India

With the Hapur Bar Association rallying round the accused for lynching a cattle trader and the police lodging a dodgy FIR, the stage is set to ensure that the case collapses in court

The FIR lodged by Uttar Pradesh police in the case related to the mob lynching of a cattle trader in Hapur (Uttar Pradesh) says it was a case of road rage. The FIR claims that the deceased Qasim Qureishi (45) and Samiuddin(65) critically injured by the mob, were set upon by a mob after they hurled stones at an unidentified vehicle which had hit them.

The FIR bears the thumb impression of a younger brother of the deceased. The police apparently detained the family and made them go on a wild goose chase in search of Qasim , who was already dead, in various hospitals till they agreed to put their thumb impression on the FIR.

The police also resisted their attempt to lodge an FIR by saying that there couldn’t be two FIRs in the same case.

It is a case of a dodgy and false FIR registered by the police after putting the complainants under duress, asserts Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves. It is incumbent upon the police to register a fresh FIR. He also called for an investigation by an independent agency because the UP Police, he said, had lost all its credibility.

Samiuddin’s brother Mehruddin said that his brother had gone to collect fodder from the fields when he noticed a group of young men thrashing another man. When Samiuddin tried to intervene, the mob pounced upon him, and while showering him with abuses, beat him up.

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India – Even basic info under RTI is being denied, right, left and center!

It is now 12 years since the Right to Information (RTI) Act came into force, to make transparency an essential element of public discourse. However, instead of growing stronger and more citizen friendly due to the powerful provisions of Section 4 disclosures, transparency in increasingly coming under a threat. Accessing even basic information that should be ideally and pro-actively be uploaded in the public domain by the public authorities under the Act, is getting tougher by the day.

It seems as if the public information officers (PIOs) and appellate authorities are getting bolder and bolder to deny or give out only a portion of the information that is convenient to them, thus compelling citizens to file a second appeal with the Information commissioners. And here too, pendencies are only piling up, thanks to vacancies of Central Information Commissioner (CIC) posts that are not being filled up for months on end, for which a petition has been recently lodged in the Supreme Court. But that is another story.
Even well-known RTI activists are being stone-walled for seeking simple information, so one can imagine the plight of ordinary citizens. Recently, former CIC and RTI activist, Shailesh Gandhi, filed an application with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). He asked this simple information: “During the last five years, what is the total number of fresh passports issued; total revenues earned from issuing these passports and; and total amount paid to private contractors in this period.’’
Shockingly, the PIO of MEA replied that the government does not keep such information! The PIO’s reply on 15 June 2018 states: “the sought information is not maintained by the public authority. Also, as per Section 7 (9) of the RTI Act, 2005, an information shall ordinarily be provided in the form in which it is sought unless it would be disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority or would be detrimental to the safety or preservation of the record in question.”
Mr Gandhi was not even asking for the names of passport holders or any other personal information. Information sought on the public-private partnerships falls under the RTI Act and details sought by Gandhi are clearly information retrievable under Section 4.
What could be the reason for the denial of such basic information? Mr Gandhi says, “This appears to show that either all pretense of respecting the RTI Act is being given up. Or else, there is something very fishy which might be exposed like multiple passports being given to some people or more payment being made to contractors compared with revenues. It is absurd to believe that this information would not be available.”
Similarly, Commodore Lokesh Batra, also a well-acclaimed RTI activist based in Delhi, was stonewalled for seeking information about foreign tours of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. At various public authorities as his RTI application went round and round, after he applied in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) seeking details of the PM’s foreign tours. The information he sought included foreign visits undertaken by PM Modi, the Indian Air Force (IAF) aircrafts used by him and also the expenditure incurred over these visits for the period from 26 May 2014.
While Cmde Batra was given information about the countries visited by the PM (which is cool to part with), the CPIO replied that information on other two points was not available. Also, since Cmde Batra’s RTI application was forwarded to other departments like Airforce HQ and then the Ministry of Defence, it took seven months to deny him information. He had filed a second appeal.
While CIC Divya Prakash Sinha directed the PIOs to supply this information to Cmde Batra, here is how the inordinate delay by the PIO and AA was condoned. The order states: “…nonetheless, from the facts and circumstances of the instant case, the Commission does not find any malafide intention on the part of the Respondents in having delayed the provision of a reply and in having provided inappropriate information…In the absence of any material on record to prove that the transfer letter was deliberately delayed or was misplaced, the Commission does not find any reason to initiate action against either of the Respondents. Similarly, the fact that appropriate information has not been provided by the Respondents is attributed to the gross lack of knowledge or perhaps limited knowledge of the process of debit on account of various expenditure components of foreign visits of the Hon’ble PM.”
And shockingly, the CIC actually states in his order that “the Complainant (Batra) has not explained as to what detriment has been suffered by him due to the non-provision of information regarding the total expenditure incurred from foreign visits of Hon’ble PM within the stipulated time frame.”
This, when the RTI Act clearly states that you cannot question the citizen on why he is invoking RTI!
Last week, well-known RTI research scholar and coordinator of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) Venkatesh Nayak was denied information by the Reserve Bank of India (RB) regarding information on minutes of the meeting held before the announcement of demonetisation. The RBI denied information quoting Section 8 (1) (a) of the RTI Act. This section allows denial of information that “would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the state, relations with a foreign state or lead to incitement of an offence.”
Mr Nayak told PTI that, “While confidentiality prior to the making of the demonetisation decision is understandable, continued secrecy after the decision is implemented is difficult to understand when crores of Indians have faced difficulties due to the shortage of cash in the economy.”
RBI has also mentioned in a reply to another RTI applicant that revelation of such information could be life threatening to certain individuals. Scores of RTI applications regarding details of decision of demonetisation and other dimensions of it are regularly rejected.
Thus, besides the central government threatening to amend and dilute the RTI Act, public information officers, appellate authorities and sometimes even the information commissioner are playing a large role in nullifying our powerful transparency law, by denial of information or being lenient to the PIOs and AAs. Does this signal a bleak picture for this citizen-friendly law.

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Study: Male political reporters retweet other dudes 3 times more than their female colleagues

A new study reveals why female journalists are so much less influential on Twitter than men.

Anyone that follows Beltway Twitter knows it’s a deeply insular and self-involved world dominated by men who almost exclusively speak to each other. But now there’s research to prove it.

“When male journalists reply to other beltway journalists, they reply to another male journalist 91.5% of the time,” according to a study to be published in the the International Journal of Press/Politics, titled “Twitter Makes It Worse: Political Journalists, Gendered Echo Chambers, and the Amplification of Gender Bias.”

Of the 25 reporters who received the most replies from male political reporters, zero were women. Full data sets, including names of individual reporters, are available here and here.

The study also identified the 25 political reporters who male political reporters retweet the most. Of the 25, just three are women.

“We found that male journalists, indeed, were more likely to retweet other male journalists— in fact, when male journalists retweet, they retweet men almost three times more often than they retweet women.”

The top three women, no surprise here, are stars: Seung Min Kim, 11th on the list, Hadas Gold, 20th, and Kasie Hunt, 21st.

(Disclosure: I’ve worked with all of them along the way. Kim, who I edited at Politico, is a dominant Hill reporter, now at the Washington Post, who does not seem to eat or sleep. Gold covered media at a frenetic pace for Politico, where I worked with her on a story or two, and now reports from Europe for CNN. Hunt is one of the best political correspondents on TV, in my expert opinion. She’s works for NBC and was a colleague of mine at Politico in 2011.)

“I’ve never seen statistical significance like this before,” said lead author Nikki Usher, who conducted the study while a professor at George Washington University.

The study includes every reporter (print, digital, radio and television) with a public Twitter account who is credentialed to cover Congress for an English-language outlet, including some British publications, like the Economist and the Guardian.

Congressional hard passes are a decent way to establish a peer group of Washington reporters. News organizations must show they are actual news outlets and individual reporters must demonstrate they are actual journalists. And the list is public, unlike at the White House. Though White House reporters are also typically credentialed in Congress, too.

In all, researchers looked at the accounts of 2,292 journalists, 57 percent of whom were men and 43 percent women.

“If you have a hard pass to cover Congress and a Twitter account and you were current as of start of data collection (June 1, 2017), you’re in our sample,” said Usher, who is transitioning to a professorship at the University of Illinois.

Under Congressional credentialing rules, reporters must live in the Washington area, which is why top political reporters based in other states, like New York, were not included. (Or negligent journalists, like me, who let their passes expire.)

Usher and her co-authors Jesse Holcomb and Justin Littman write that the patterns “suggest that men live in a gendered echo chamber that promotes other male journalists at the expense of female ones.” Women end up, too, in their own gendered silo, tweeting more often with other women, but their corner of Twitter is far less influential.

Women have far fewer followers than men total and inside Beltway Twitter women are followed less by other reporters of both genders. Of the 25 journalists followed most by other journalists, male and female, only four are women.

Christina Animashaun/Vox

The authors point out that one reason women have fewer followers is that they tweet less than men. Women tweet less for all kinds of valid reasons. As in any industry, there’s the straightforward matter of time for career women with children. And then there’s the platform itself, widely documented as a less-welcoming (at best) place for women.

The authors conclude, “This is not about algorithms, but about the behaviour of journalists, especially male journalists, and structural inequalities in the journalistic profession.”

In a moment when questions about gender and power are erupting in politics, Washington journalism Twitter is important. Not only is #MeToo itself a movement that lives on Twitter, but the platform shapes who is seen as important by influencers in political journalism and whose ideas become the news. It tells us who matters. And right now, women don’t matter much.

“The women’s voices just don’t get heard,” Usher said.

Twitter is a fun place for men; a hellscape for women

Men in the study have several advantages on Twitter that build up their stature and legitimacy among journalists, even without the friendly exchanges among themselves:

  • Male journalists in the study sent about two-thirds of all the original tweets (not retweets or replies), while women tweeted just the remaining third.
  • Men were slightly more likely to be “verified,” a special status granted to known-quantity users, which Twitter signals with a small blue icon. Verified users tend to attract more followers than other users.
  • Men had a rate of about twice as many followers as women.

All three of these differences, the authors argue, give male journalists an upper hand on media Twitter. In particular, followers are important. “If journalists are making an assessment about which of their peers is worth paying attention to on Twitter, this huge gender asymmetry in aggregate followers may well have a disproportionate impact in the perceived legitimacy of their peers,” the authors wrote.

One reason men have more followers is tweet volume. The more you tweet, the more likely you’ll get a retweet, a reply, or a new follower. “Original tweets are the wellspring of engagement and amplification by other Twitter users, and if women tweet less, they will be heard less,” the authors write.

Even men who want to help fix the gender bias against women face a challenge by the fewer tweets: “One can only reply or retweet if one has something to respond to,” the authors write.

There are a number of likely reasons why women tweet less — from the time-crunch many career women face doing double-duty at home to working hard at proving themselves again and again at work (when men do not have to).

But the platform itself is also a factor: it’s a more-hostile place for women than it is for men. Amnesty International looked at how all women are treated on Twitter and went so far as to say the platform violates women’s basic human rights. “Instead of strengthening women’s voices, the violence and abuse many women experience on the platform leads women to self-censor what they post, limit their interactions, and even drives women off Twitter completely.”

I agree with New York magazine’s summary of the study:

To put it more bluntly, Amnesty International published a giant study detailing what most women who actively use Twitter could have already told you: Twitter can be a hostile and dangerous place if you’re not a man.

For women in powerful positions, like media, the situation is worse. A Forbes contributor described a study commissioned by a communications firm of 50 million tweets that 152 powerful women (in business, politics, entertainment, and other prominent fields) received over six months:

Powerful women not only experienced a high volume of online harassment but also broad range of abuse such as, gender specific slurs, attacks on individual intellect and ability, body objectification, sexual harassment and even threats of sexual violence.

When women try to get Twitter to help them out, the company has, historically, not been great. In the case of Maura Quint, a writer for outlets including the New Yorker who submitted a complaint over a dick pic, the company sent her three different responses.

Women even boycotted Twitter when Rose McGowan’s account was suspended after she tweeted about Harvey Weinstein and sexual assault, even though countless women receive threats of sexual violence from men and Twitter does nothing. (There was some back-and-forth about the wisdom of leaving a platform over a woman being silenced, but that’s neither here nor there.)

The authors of the study argue that “the nature of the platform itself, the hostile and toxic environment women face online … and implicit gender bias sets women up to be less represented on the platform, and may well create an even greater structural disadvantage for female journalists, given how this platform is so critical to success in beltway journalism.”

Why don’t male journalists like to tweet with women, anyway?

It’s a bit of a mystery why men in media speak almost exclusively to each other. What’s not to like about tweeting with women?

I’m told, anecdotally, some men worry about appearing flirtatious or inappropriate. They don’t want to make a woman feel uncomfortable, either. So they just steer clear. But this act of perceived chivalry (or self preservation) has the same effect as purposeful gender bias.

It’s hard to argue that deciding not to tweet at someone is as bad as male members of Congress opting never to take private meetings with female staff, but it sets women up the same way. When women are excluded from the informal customs that advance careers, they’re left behind. Twitter is fun, it’s jokey, but it’s also where careers are built. “This is how work happens here,” Usher said, describing the significance of Twitter in Washington journalism.

Women’s exclusion from political conversations isn’t unique to Twitter. In 2013, Media Matters showed the stark gender discrepancies on the Sunday politics shows. Two years later, the data, if anything, looked worse.

In news, women are behind, too. According to the Women’s Media Center annual report from 2017, men dominated every news platform: They accounted for 74.8 percent of broadcast news, 61.9 percent of newspaper articles, 62.4 percent of wire service copy and 53.9 percent of online news articles. (This data is not specific to political news, but news as a whole.)

We’re used to leaving women out of the conversation.

Men control Twitter amid #MeToo

It’s difficult to say what it means that our political conversation is dominated by men on a platform so hostile to women. My colleague Ezra Klein raised a similar question last year after Mark Halperin of ABC and Leon Wieseltier of the New Republic fell from prominent posts over accusations of sexual misconduct and, for Halperin specifically, sexual assault.

What does it mean that these men — and so many others liked them — held the power to literally shape America’s political narrative? What does it mean, as New York magazine’s Rebecca Traister noted on Twitter, that the story of, say, Hillary Clinton’s public career was told by these sorts of men?

It’s a question still unanswered. And now that we also know men are dominating Twitter, where the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements continue to fuel a cultural awakening around sexual abuse and harassment, to what extent are even those successful movements being stunted?

“Women operate at a disadvantage,” Usher said. “The power to control the dialogue is still in the hands of men.”

Meanwhile, women are building networks among themselves. This instinct isn’t new to women in political journalism, either. The Washington Press Club started out in 1919 as an all-women’s group of six journalists, the alternative to the men’s-only club they couldn’t join. Their founding promotional pitch was simply: “The other day, when a few of us happened to be together, it occurred to us that it might be both pleasant and profitable for the newspaper and magazine women of Washington to have some means of getting together in informal and irregular fashion.”

Ninety-nine years later, on Twitter, women in Washington media are again trying to find a way to get together in an informal fashion and start their own club. But maybe it’s time to say, hey, let us in.

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Sudanese Teen who killed rapist husband shares her story #JusticeForNoura

Sudanese teenager Noura Hussein, who is on death row for killing her 35-year-old husband, in a case that has sparked international outrage, has spoken out for the first time about her forced marriage, and the rape and struggle that happened when she stabbed him.
CNN obtained a first-hand account from the 19-year-old, who is currently awaiting retrial in an Omdurman prison cell after appealing her death sentence.
The teenager’s story has put a spotlight on forced marriage and marital rape in Sudan, where the legal age to enter into marriage is 10 and marital rape is not a crime.
Noura’s family made her get married at 15, but allowed her to finish school. Three years later, after a public marriage ceremony, her husband tried to consummate the marriage. After refusing to have sex with him on their “honeymoon,” she says he raped her as members of his family held her down. A day later her husband tried to rape her again, and she stabbed him to death. When she went to her parents for support, they turned her over to the police.
The Sudanese government has not responded to CNN’s requests for comment on the case.
Noura’s first-hand account was obtained by CNN. It has been translated, and lightly edited for clarity and length.
Noura Hussein: 
He told my parents that he wanted to marry me when I was in the 8th grade.
They fooled me after I sat the secondary school exams at the end of that year.
And the first time I even saw him was a week after he proposed the marriage to my uncle.
And from the first time they told me I refused. I told them I don’t want to marry, I want to study.
I spoke to him directly and said, “I don’t want to marry you.”
I fled to Sinnar to my aunt’s house, but two days later they brought me back and the religious ceremony took place, two weeks after he first proposed, in our house.
Afterwards I had no communication with him. If he visited the house I left. I told him, I don’t want you.
The wedding ceremony was three years later after I sat my school leaver exam. They did all the usual rituals for the wedding, his family are well off, but in all that time I didn’t take anything from him — not a single penny.
I was overwhelmed with anger, I didn’t want this man.
I sat in the hairdressers contemplating suicide.
I cried sitting next to him. In the car he kept coming closer to me and I kept moving away. We arrived at the honeymoon flat, I locked myself inside one of the rooms and lay down fully clothed.
This went on — I refused to eat, I refused to leave my room. On the third day he told me it’s time you open the door so I don’t break in. I refused but while he slept I crept out and found the door to the flat was locked.
On the ninth day his relatives came, his uncle told me to go to the bedroom. I said no so he dragged me by my arm into the bedroom and his cousin slapped me. All of them tore at my clothing. His uncle held me down by my legs and each of the other two held down my arms. He stripped and had me while I wept and screamed. Finally, they left the room. I was bleeding, I slept naked.
The next day he grabbed me, threw me on the bed and tried to climb on top of me. I was fighting back and my hand found a knife under the pillow. We began grappling over the knife. He cut my hand and bit down on my shoulder.
I ran to my parent’s house. I had no idea how I got there. I was still carrying the knife.
I was hoping to finish studying law and then marry, my dream is to be a judge.

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Justice J. Chelameswar- ‘I Kept Speaking While Others Didn’t’


The proverbial rebel of the Supreme Court of India, Justice J. Chelameswar officially retired on Friday after a nearly seven year long tenure at the Supreme Court.



Would like to be known as judge who upheld constitutional values & who loves democracy and liberty, says the ‘dissenter’ SC judge who retired on Friday
Supreme Court Judge Justice Jasti Chelameswar, referred as “a sanyasi in court” by ex-CJI Venkatachalaiah, retired on Friday. The following are excerpts of his exclusive interview to Ajmer Singh:

What do you plan to do now?

I will go back to my village…I will not accept any post-retirement job. As far as judiciary is concerned, I have expressed in my NJAC judgment, that the system is opaque. Opacity is antiquated to democratic governance. Therefore, what I did, I believe, was to bring in more transparency.

Is the higher judiciary getting too politicized? Is it affecting its fairness?

Judges are human beings, not divine creatures. They will certainly be influenced by current events. But by virtue of training, judges are expected to look at problems dispassionately.

Can judges be politically influenced?

It will be dishonest to say judges are not touched by politics. I am not talking party politics. The issue is how dispassionately judges can handle current political events. Once a judge takes the oath to uphold the Constitution, your past connections or inclinations should not weigh in decision-making.

Is there more political pressure now?

No direct pressure, but there are subtle ways of pressuring.

Has it increased in the last few years?

It has always been there. They try subtly, sometimes even crudely. I can’t say it is more or less.

What would be a durable way to move forward on judicial appointments?

When I was confronted with the question, while hearing the NJAC case, I gave an opinion that it’s constitutionally permissible to have this kind of a system.

Is NJAC more suitable?

I can’t object, but who am I to say when the majority declared it unconstitu-

Do you think the MoP (Memorandum of Procedure) or amended MOP can offer a solution?

Where is the MoP? It would improve working of the collegium system. But if both the sides disagree on the content, where’s the solution.

Is it stuck with the government or judiciary?

Any country is run by the government, not judiciary, subject to constitutional checks and balances. It is for the government to decide.

Should the government have a say in judges’ appointment?

How can an elected government be kept away? The question is whether it should have an absolute say. The Constitution says it should not have an absolute say. It says consult the Chief Justice. Now what does consultation mean? It means due weight should be given to me. When the CJI and SC Collegium says a man is good and the government has a different opinion, there must be some objective consideration to determine the truth.

What are your views on the government contention that the judiciary doesn’t take its views on appointments seriously?

That is its opinion. I have given my reasons as to why I don’t agree in the Uttarakhand case (Joseph) or Karnataka case (Bhat). Merely because the government liked my opinion in NJAC case doesn’t mean it can expect me to say yes to whatever it says. When I wrote the NJAC judgment, some people believed I was trying to support the government. If that’s the way one looks at events, there cannot be a serious democratic debate.

In case of a disagreement over appointment of judges, who should have the final say?

The Second Judges Case makes it clear that there are areas where the opinion of the collegium is conclusive like suitability for the job. The government can’t decide that. Now, one can be a brilliant lawyer, but a scoundrel, debauch, undischarged insolvent. On such matters, it’s for the government to take a view.

There is a suspense on whether Justice Ranjan Gogoi will become next CJI…

The law minister has made a statement. I don’t want to enter into that controversy.

Do you apprehend that Justice Gogoi could be superseded?

I don’t apprehend anything. Let’s see what happens. I don’t want to presume or speculate.

Do you think the judiciary has been undermined in the case of Justice Joseph and judge Bhat?

Why don’t you go and ask this question to the law minister? In spite of all campaign against me, I kept on speaking while others didn’t speak. Well, some spoke, some didn’t. I have already put my views on record. Draw your conclusions.

Could you explain your January 12 press conference when you said 20 years later some wise men shouldn’t say judges sold their souls? Is the integrity of the institution intact?

Are you not a citizen of this country? Can’t you make a decision for yourself? Why do you want somebody to speak and have fun at his cost? If you are a citizen of this country observing its events closely, you should be able to draw your inferences. May be I am right, maybe wrong. If I am wrong, then tell me I am wrong.

Is the public faith in higher judiciary misplaced?

The trust is not misplaced. I pointed out something that I perceived was not right. That doesn’t mean the institution should be discarded or discredited. On the other hand, if the institution is discredited, democracy is not safe. All my effort was to preserve the institution and strengthen it by creating a greater degree of credibility which can only come through transparent functioning.

How would you like to be known as?

A man who loves democracy and liberty; a judge who tried to uphold constitutional values.

What about the Master of Roster controversy? Has the CJI tried to streamline the system?

The four judges did not dispute the fact that in a court which consists of a number of benches, the Chief Justice has the authority to allocate work. The issue is about following a rational pattern. Ultimately CJI’s power is to create a more efficient, transparent functioning of the system.

Is it transparent now?

I don’t know, you tell me is it transparent now? I never asked any Chief Justice to assign any particular case to me, I am not dying for any case…the CJI is most welcome to handle all cases.

Do you think you achieved your objective by going public with your dissent?

Certainly! It achieved its purpose to some extent.


I will answer that question later.

What is the state of judicial corruption in the country?

Justice Verma made a statement; Justice Bharucha made a statement; did anything happen? None of the ‘₹1 crore per day lawyers’ spoke up. They have appeared before all judges whom they condemned subsequently. So, what’s the point talking about it?

Are you disillusioned?

I am not disillusioned. I know reality.

Are you then disappointed?

I am not disappointed either. I don’t expect utopia to descend overnight, it’s a long process. But corruption exists. Why was Quddisi arrested? A former judge of a high court was arrested.

Isn’t that a reason to say judiciary should not ‘run’ medical education or even cricket?

I don’t see anything wrong in the judiciary dealing with problems presented before the court, legal problems. If regulations are not implemented strictly in accordance with law, courts are bound to take note of it and make appropriate arrangements for proper regulation of these bodies. But day-to-day management of affairs is certainly not judiciary’s business.

What happened after you wrote letters suggesting a full court meeting?

Nothing happened but they couldn’t ignore what I said. They could have rejected Krishna Bhat’s case. Why did they not? Why do they want formal approval from the collegium?

Did the CJI ever agree to a full-court meeting?

I said convene full court meeting on the judicial side. I wrote a letter on the administrative side because I can’t pass the judicial order.

Are you referring to the Krishna Bhat case?

Yes! This kind of correspondence by the law minister to the chief justice of a high court after the Supreme Court clears a name. I am not saying the law minister shouldn’t write to the chief justice, but bypassing the Supreme Court, to write to the chief justice of the high court is dangerous to the system. That’s what I wrote in the letter. I said let the Supreme Court hear the matter on the judicial side. But this was an administrative communication by me.

How did the CJI react to it?

He doesn’t react. I am entitled as a member of the court to my views on the administrative side. Therefore, I put it in writing. It’s for you people to decide who is right.

It appears from the outside, there is a confusion on the role and primacy of the CJI…

I am already on record saying that CJI is first among equals. Nothing more, nothing less.

But a screening process may allow people a fair opportunity, not children and relatives of judges…

It is a fact that some of the children became judges. But my father was not a judge, nobody in the family was a judge. Yet, judges’ children also become judges, question is whether they deserve. Now, if you are promoting somebody who is son or daughter of a judge, you must make sure that person is 10% more efficient than others who are in the zone of consideration. You can’t totally rule out a judge’s son because ultimately the purpose is to get a good candidate.

Is the zone of consideration big enough?

It all depends upon who is doing the exercise, there is nothing like a ‘do it yourself’ manual.

Shouldn’t judiciary have a selection-cum-interview process like every institution?

Interview process is not suitable for everything. I’m all for a system where judges to constitutional courts are subjected to a scrutiny by a public body.


Source ET

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Mumbai- People’s Convention Vows to Challenge Undemocratic & Destructive Global Finance


Resolves to Build Political and Economic Alternatives


Mumbai, June 23 : “The international financial institutions like AIIB (Asia Infrastructure and Investment Bank) must function in a deeply democratic manner respectful of national sovereignty; or else be shut down for they constitute a threat to the nation’s economic and political security. These financial institutions are harbingers and promoters of the neo-liberal reforms responsible for hijacking of the democracy itself; regressive changes to environmental, labour, land, accountability laws; promoting privatisation and cartelisation; and burdening every citizen with huge debt; and destruction of minimal welfare measures.”

This was unanimously conveyed by over 1000 delegates from 200 organisations who gathered from all over India at the three day Peoples’ Convention on Infrastructure Financing, organised in the backdrop of the forthcoming AIIB Annual General Body meeting hosted by India in Mumbai. The Convention debated, discussed and challenged in 20 parallel workshops, the functioning of the international financial institutions and complicity of the Indian ruling and political class in pushing big and unnecessary hyper inflated infrastructure projects like industrial corridors, bharatmala, sagarmala, bullet trains, smart cities and others.

In the political resolution adopted at the end of the Convention delegates resolved to challenge the undemocratic and economically unsound functioning of IFIs including AIIB, World Bank, IFC and others. The Convention also resolved to push for people-centered alternatives in all sectors of the economy, and to advance an inclusive model of development in which finance and infrastructure support the vulnerable and the poor communities, instead of supporting primitive accumulation of natural resources and maximising the profits of the multinational corporations and global elite further contributing to the increased inequality in the society.

Delegates vowed to return to their communities to build massive resistance to the ongoing destruction of the environment and livelihoods of the poor and the working classes, and to work to create decent jobs, promote sustainable farming, equitable access to public services, advancement of the entrepreneurial skills of artisanal and natural resource dependent communities, and of labour intensive small and medium enterprises. The Convention reasserted its belief in democratic decision-making and the advancement of cooperative federalism as a method of resisting prevailing hegemony of undemocratic and unaccountable financial institutions such as the AIIB.

Speaking to the media, prominent activist and Goldman Environment Awardee Prafulla Samantra said, “The Peoples’ Convention is further strengthening our strategies and vision to oppose and reject international finance which does not confine to the democratic principles and causing immense and irreversible damange to people, depriving of their livelihood and snatching away their resources and causing damage to environment, accelerating climate change”.

The three day convention was attended by different trade unions, networks of hawkers, fishworkers, slum dwellers, adivasis, dalits, farmers organisations and peoples movements. The convention was attended by senior activists, academics and financial analysists including Medha Patkar, economist Prof. Arun Kumar, financial analyst Sucheta Dalal, activists Ulka Mahajan, Com. Roma, Shaktiman Ghosh, Leo Colaco, T Peter, Dr Sunilam, Ram Wangkheirakpam, Leo Saldanha, Rajendra Ravi, Gabriele Dietrich, Surekha Dalvi, Sanjay M G, Ashok Chaudhary, Gautam Bandopadhyay, Bharat Patel, Jesu Rethinam, Seshagiri Rao, Meera Sanghamitra, Maglin Philomin, Soumya Dutta, Awadhesh Kumar, Umesh Nazir, Raju Bhise, Prof H.M. Deserda and many others.

“Financial institutions have declared a war on people, land, water and coasts. Workers rights are sacrificed at the alter of development. We are left with no option than to reject and oppose this onslaught by the financial institutions, both national and internationall” said Jesu Rethinam of National Fishworkers Forum.


Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the two-year-old multilateral bank, is investing in all major sectors, including energy, without robust policies on environmental-social safeguards, transparent public disclosure and an accountability/complaint handling mechanism. Out of the total 24 projects, it has financed, USD 4.4 billion has already been approved. India is the biggest recipient from AIIB with more than 1.2 billion USD supporting about six projects including Transmission lines, Capital City Development at Amravati, rural roads etc. with another 1 billion USD in proposed projects.

About Us:

WGonIFIs, a network of movements, organisations and individuals to critically look at and evaluate the policies, programmes and investments of various International Finance Institutions (IFIs), and joining the celebration of the people and communities across the world in resisting them. A list of the network is available here.

Last year, when the Asian Development Bank completed 50 years, the WGonIFIs observed it by holding actions of protests in over 140 locations spread in over 21 states in India against the investment policies of ADB and other International Financial Institutions.

For further details, please contact:

Working Group on IFIs |



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TN- ‘900 tonnes of sulphuric acid removed from Sterlite plant’

‘900 tonnes of sulphuric acid removed from Sterlite plant’

Material being transported to various industries, says Collector

Nearly 900 tonnes of sulphuric acid have been removed until Thursday evening from the Sterlite Copper plant after a leak was detected at one of its storage units.

Collector Sandeep Nanduri said that 40 tankers carrying the acid had left the plant to various industries in Thoothukudi, Coimbatore, Salem and northern parts of Tamil Nadu. Sources said that nearly 200-300 tonnes of acid remain to be evacuated.

Meanwhile, a senior official with the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board toldThe Hindu that the material stocked inside the plant should be removed as soon as possible. “If you leave a house locked for a long time and if there’s an LPG cylinder, there are chances of an accident. So, the material should be removed,” he said.

Vedanta, the parent company of Sterlite Copper, in a petition submitted to the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court seeking immediate restoration of power supply and access for maintenance personnel to the plant, had said that it would lead to a “catastrophe” if inflammable material were not removed immediately.

The company claimed that there were a number of chemicals in the plant, including phosphoric acid, resins and other material, which if left unattended, could prove to be hazardous.

‘Don’t restore power’

K. Kanakaraj, state executive council member of the CPI(M) and one of the petitioners in a case filed in the Madras High Court seeking closure of the Sterlite plant, said the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Company need not restore power supply at the company to evacuate the material.

“Every industry will have diesel generators. That should be sufficient to evacuate the chemicals,” Mr. Kanakaraj said.

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Open Letter to Trump – Former Ambassadors on Family Seperation at Border

We, former U.S. Ambassadors, urge the Trump Administration to follow through on the
President’s announced plans — under substantial public outrage and pressure — to end its policy of forcibly separating children from their parents at the border.

This cruel and inhumane practice, including placing toddlers and babies in “tender age” facilities, is inflicting an unimaginable level of emotional suffering and permanent scarring on the most innocent.

It does not serve our national security interests nor the values we were sworn to uphold and defend.

Stopping the abuse will not be adequate. Separated families must be quickly reunited and assistance offered to help the children, where possible.

Signatories to this letter have represented America’s interests and values at many embassies, consulates, foreign missions and federal agencies in Washington and around the world.We have served Republican and Democratic presidents, always with the goal of advancing America’s interests and supporting its values, including keeping our borders secure and ensuring that immigration into our country is orderly, safe, legal and fair.

Separating children flies in the face of the work many of us have done as Ambassadors to bring families together. Working with officials in other countries, our consular officers serving abroad often work to reunite children with their parents and families. For example, in Mexico, the destination for the largest number of “absconding parents” who travel there with their children to evade judicial decisions, the U.S. Embassy has reunited hundreds of legally entitled American parents with their minor children with the help of Mexican authorities.

We are also deeply concerned that headlines around the world about children in “cages” and the United Nations human rights chief’s condemnation of the acts as “unconscionable” are diminishing our reputation across the world, particularly given America’s long history of standing up strongly for the protection of universal human rights and rule of law. The Administration policy of pulling children from parents will ultimately generate more anti- American sentiment and make it harder to persuade other countries to join us in pursuing common goals that benefit American citizens’ security and prosperity.

Moreover, the policy of forcibly separating children turns back the clock to some of the ugliest chapters in our nation’s history. It was common to break up families when slaves were sold at auction, and children of slave mothers were often taken when their fathers were white slave masters. Frederick Douglass is the most famous example of this despicable practice. Children in Native American families were also taken from their parents and put into Christian schools.

We look back on these practices with great shame–as we will those of today.
Beginning immediately, the Administration should ensure its Immigration practices at the border no longer involve traumatizing children. But to address the source of the problem, the United States must develop a policy that enlists countries in the region, including Canada and Mexico, in a common effort to improve conditions that are driving these desperate migrants, many of whom are mothers seeking to escape gang violence and domestic abuse. Efforts such as these have proven effective in the past.
As foreign policy professionals, we urge President Trump and members of his administration to end the barbarism now underway, return children to their parents and engage in a serious debate about how to ensure that government agencies carry out immigration policies in a manner that adheres to our values and standards of decency.


Nina Hachigian, former Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ret.)
Vicki Huddleston, former Ambassador to Madagascar and Mali
June Carter Perry, former Ambassador to Lesotho and Sierra Leone
Nancy McEldowney former Ambassador to Bulgaria and Director of the Foreign Service Institute
Heather Hodges, former Ambassador to Moldova and Ecuador
Beth Jones, former Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, former Ambassador to
Robin L. Raphel, former Ambassador to Tunisia
Pamela Hamamoto, former Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva
Mary C Yates, former Ambassador to Ghana and to Burundi
Linda Jewell, former Ambassador to Ecuador
Suzan LeVine, Ambassador to the Swiss Confederation and the Principality of Liechenstein (Ret.)
Robin L. Raphel, former Ambassador to Tunisia
Prudence Bushnell. Former Ambassador to Kenya & Guatemala
Teresita C. Schaffer, former Ambassador to Sri Lanka
Laura E. Kennedy, former Ambassador to Turkmenistan and to the Conference on
Susan E. Rice, former National Security Advisor and U.S. Permanent Representative to the
United Nations
Mosina H. Jordan, former Ambassador to The Central African Republic
Wendy Chamberlin, Ambassador retired
Harriet L. Elam-Thomas, former Ambassador (Ret.)
Mattie R. Sharpless (Ret.), Former U.S. Ambassador, Central African Republic
Crystal Nix-Hines, former Ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO)
Laurie S. Fulton, former Ambassador to Denmark
Dana Shell Smith, former Ambassador to the State of Qatar
Elinor Constable, former Assistant Secretary of State and Ambassador to Kenya
Robin L. Raphel, former Ambassador to Tunisia
Linda Thomas-Greenfield Former Assistant Secretary for African Affairs and former
Ambassador to Liberia
Denise Campbell Bauer, former Ambassador to Belgium

Deborah K. Jones, former Ambassador to Kuwait and Libya
Janet A Sanderson, former Ambassador to Algeria and to Haiti
Deborah McCarthy, former Ambassador to Lithuania
Carmen Lomellin, former Ambassador to the OAS
Diane E.Watson, Former Ambassador to Micronesia
Michelle D. Gavin, former Ambassador to Botswana
Tim Broas, former Ambassador to the Netherlands
Karen Kornbluh, former Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD)
Mark D Gilbert, former Ambassador to New Zealand and the Independent State of Samoa
Betty King, Former Ambassador to UN Geneva
Michael A. Battle, former Ambassador (ret.)
Alan Solomont, former Ambassador to Spain and Andorra
Noah B. Mamet, former Ambassador to Argentina
Barry B White, former Ambassador to the Kingdom of Norway
Alexa L. Wesner, Former Ambassador to the Republic of Austria
Bruce Heyman former Ambassador to Canada
Michael A. Battle U.S. Ambassador to the African Union (2009-2013)
Daniel B. Shapiro, former Ambassador to Israel
Robert A. Sherman former Ambassador to Portugal
Ruth A. Davis (Ret.) former Director General of the Foreign Service and Ambassador to the
Republic of Benin
Eileen A. Malloy, Former U.S. Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan
Samuel D. Heins, Former Ambassador to Norway
Theodore Sedgwick, former Ambassador
Derek Sheaer, former Ambassador to Finland
Miguel H. Diaz, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See
Kevin F. O’Malley United States Ambassador to Ireland (ret.)
Lisa Kubiske, former US Ambassador to Honduras (ret.)
Azita Raji, former ambassador to Sweden
Pamela Hamamoto, former Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva
Robert S. Gelbard, former Ambassador to Indonesia and Bolivia
Frank Almaguer, former US Ambassador to Honduras
Aurelia E. Brazeal, former Ambassador to The Federated States of Micronesia, to Kenya and to
Mary Burce Warlick, former Ambassador to Serbia
Lee Feinstein, former Ambassador to Poland
Eleni Kounalakis, former US Ambassador to Hungary
James (Wally) Brewster, former US Ambassador to the Dominican Republic
Maureen Quinn, Ambassador (ret.)
Fay Hartog- Levin, Former Ambassador to the Netherlands
Bruce Oreck, Former United States Ambassador to Finland
Gordon Gray, former U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia
Bruce Heyman, former Ambassador to Canada

Jeff Bleich, U.S. Ambassador to Australia (ret.)
Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, former Ambassador (ret.)
Daniel Yohannes former Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Barbara Bodine, former Ambassador to Yemen (ret.)
Keith M. Harper, United States Ambassador (ret.) and Permanent Representative to the UN
Human Rights Council
John L. Estrada, former US Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago (ret.)
Thomas Krajeski, former Ambassador to Yemen and Bahrain
Derek Mitchell, former Ambassador to Burma (Myanmar)
Nancy Ely-Raphel, former Ambassador to Slovenia
Norman Eisen, former Ambassador to the Czech Republic
A. Peter Burleigh, former Ambassador to the United Nations, Sri Lanka and the Maldives and
Coordinator/Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism
Melanne Verveer, former U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues
Marcelle M. Wahba, former U.S. Ambassador to the UAE (ret.)
Anne Slaughter Andrew,former Ambassador to Costa Rica
A. Ellen Shippy, former Ambassador to Malawi
Ertharin Cousin, former Ambassador to the U.N Agencies for Food and Agriculture
Patricia M. Hawkins, former Ambassador to the Togolese Replubic
Colleen Bell, former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary
Davis T. Killion, former U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO
Judith Cefkin (Ret.), former Ambassador to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu
James Keith, former Ambassador (ret.)
Sue K. Brown, former US Ambassador to Montenegro (ret.)
Kirk Wagar, former Ambassador to the Republic of Singapore
Cynthia H. Akuetteh, former Ambassador to Gabon and Sao Tome and Principe
Cynthia Stroum, former Ambassador to Luxembourg
Leslie Bassett, former U.S. ambassador to Paraguay
Dawn Liberi, former U. S. Ambassador to Burundi
Mark Childress, former Ambassador to Tanzania
Joseph R. Paolino ,Jr. former US Ambassador to Malta
Laurence Pope, former Ambassador to Chad
Jo Ellen Powell, former US Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania
Helen Reed-Rowe, U.S. Ambassador (ret.)
Andrew H. Schapiro, former Ambassador to the Czech Republic
Doria Rosen, former U.S. Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia (ret.)
Robert F. Cekuta, former Ambassador to Azerbaijan
Joyce E. Leader, former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Guinea
Daniel Baer, former Ambassador to the OSCE
David Mckean, former ambassador to Luxembourg
Dwight L Bush, former Ambassador to The Kingdom of Morocco
Sylvia Stanfield, former Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam
Peter F. Romero, former Ambassador to Ecuador and Assistant Scretary of State

John Feeley, former US Ambassador to Panama
Robert M. Orr, former U.S. Ambassador to the Asian Development Bank
Janice Jacobs, former Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs and Ambassador to Senegal and
Guinea-Bissau,Diplomat in Residence, Princeton University.
Dr. Robin R. Sanders, former US Ambassador Nigeria, Congo, ECOWAS
Eric J. Boswell, former Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security
James Costoa, former U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Andorra

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Student Activist Richa Singh arrested for protesting against Hindi Exam paper leak granted Bail

Despite a Biased UP Admin I am Free: Richa Singh

Former president of the Allahabad Students Union, Richa Singh was released on bail around 6 p.m. today after the Bar association lent weight to her plea for freedom

The former Student Union President of Allahabad University was arrested on June 19 for protesting against the Hindi exam paper leak along with several other Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission (UPPSC) aspirants yesterday and accused of burning a public transport bus.

The fiesty student leader who had created history by not just being the first woman presdient of the AUSU but also ensuring that Adityanath (thereafter to become chief minister) was kept out of the campus on account of his virulently anti-minority views, spoke to Sabrangindia exclusively just as she was reaching home after completing all formalities. She was the only one of those eight detained who was kept in jail.

“The administration is very biased and did all it could to scuttle the bail application. Many stood by me and the Bar association ensured that I was released today, : she said. “We are all going through difficult times and need to stand up for each other,” said Richa. “I am just about to meet my mother who is upset and angry at all that has happened!” Richa has stood for the staunch values of Constitutionalism and modernity.

She  was arrested for protesting against the Hindi exam paper leak along with several other Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission (UPPSC) aspirants yesterday.

The Hindi paper was to be conducted in the morning and an essay exam was to conducted in the afternoon. The papers were mixed up and the aspirants received the essay paper first instead. The students started protesting against the mix-up and asked for the exams to be cancelled. Sources say that they were pressurised to write the paper even though the wrong exam paper was distributed. They have also accused the police of using brute force in the form of lathi-charge after a public transport bus was set on fire nearby.

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