NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today directed political parties to upload on their website details of pending criminal cases against candidates contesting polls.
An order was passed in response to a contempt plea, which has raised the issue of criminalisation of politics and claimed that the directions given by the apex court in its September 2018 verdict relating to disclosure of criminal antecedents of political candidates were not being followed.
A bench headed by Justice RF Nariman also directed that political parties will publish these details on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and in one local vernacular and one national newspaper.
The court directed political parties to submit a compliance report in this regard to the Election Commission within 72 hours of selecting candidates having pending criminal cases against them. In case of failure, the EC shall bring it to the notice of the apex court, the SC added.
“If parties fail to comply with its directions on candidates with pending criminal cases, Election Commission (EC) shall bring it to notice of apex court,” the top court said while adding that there has been an alarming increase in criminalisation of politics in last four general elections.
“The reason to select candidates should be based on merit and not winnability. Winnability can’t be the only justification,” the apex court added.
The apex court further said that parties will have to submit a report of compliance to EC within 74 hours of selecting a candidate with pending criminal cases.
It also directed that the EC shall bring it to the notice of the apex court in case of failure of political parties to comply with its directions.
The Election Commission had earlier told the apex court that 24 per cent of MPs had a criminal record in 2004 which had gone up to 34 per cent in 2014.
A study by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a non-government organisation working on electoral reforms, had shown that nearly 43% of the members of the Lok Sabha face criminal charges.
The study showed that a total of 462 more candidates contesting in Lok Sabha elections 2019 had declared serious criminal cases, including cases related to rape, murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, crimes against women, as compared to 2009.
“Out of the 7,928 candidates analysed in Lok Sabha 2019, 1,500 candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves,” the report had stated.
In September 2018, a five-judge constitution bench had asked the central government to immediately enact laws to ban those involved in serious crimes from contesting elections and becoming party officials.
BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay had filed a contempt petition against the central government and the Election Commission, alleging that no serious efforts were made to stop the criminalization of politics despite the court order.
The Election Commission had said during arguments that the court order to publish criminal details of the candidates was not having any impact and political parties must be directed not to give tickets to people with criminal cases.
The court had earlier even ordered that candidates publish their criminal details in the newspaper thrice after filing their nomination. The petitioner had alleged that the Election Commission had not attempted to implement this order effectively.
It is hard to tell whether today’s order on “merit over winnability” can be realistically enforced, say political leaders, referring to years of attempts to clean up politics.
Joint Military Commands By 2022, Separate Theatres For J&K And Maritime Threat: CDS Bipin Rawat
Theatre commands, which will include Army, Navy and Air Force personnel, will be out by 2022.
NEW DELHI: The Western and the Eastern Command of the Indian Navy will be merged into a single command, to be called the Peninsular Command, and theatre commands will be rolled out by 2022, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat said Monday as he outlined his military vision for India.
Noting that threats of another 2008 Mumbai-style attacks remain, Gen Rawat said the security of peninsular India should remain under one command.
“Our plan is to create a Peninsula Command with the merger of Navy’s Eastern and Western Command. The area of the command is planned to start from Sir Creek area in west and Sunderbans in east and downwards,” he said speaking to reporters at South Block which houses his office in the capital.
A peninsula command under the Navy that will deal with maritime security should come in earlier as a directive for a study is expected to be out by March 31. “The study should be completed within three-four months and by the end of next year, the command under one naval commander should start functioning,” General Bipin Rawat said. Gen Rawat said the commands could vary from two to five commands.
“By the end of the year, a study for theatreisation or joint commands will be in place. The study is to be completed within three months. By 2022, theatre commands should roll out. The number of theatre commands could vary from 2, 4 or 5,” Gen Rawat added.
The Navy chief will have operational control of the command, which will have “some” assets of both IAF and the Navy, said Gen Rawat, adding that the order for the implementation of the command will be issued by year-end.
As India’s first CDS, Gen Rawat is tasked with improving the integration between the three services.
He informed that a study has been ordered under the Air Force Vice Chief, on the Air Defence Command, which will be helpful in avoiding fratricides and timely implementation of orders in case of aerial attacks.
General Bipin Rawat added that the shape of different theatre commands would be clear after the studies to be ordered in this regard are completed.
He said India is looking at overseas bases for logistics.
Air Force To Lead New Air Defence Command:
The Air Force will be the lead agency for Air Defence Command that has already been announced. By March 31, the study will be completed and the report should be ready by April 10. The implementation order for the air defence command is expected by year-end, Gen Rawat said.
“All air defence assets, including the long-range surface-to-air missiles will come under this command. This would include the coast air defence too,” the CDS said. The move, Gen Rawat said, is to avoid any confusions, friendly fire and timely implementation of orders in case of aerial attacks.
He also said joint training, and uniformity in procurement procedures will be a key priority.
Theatre Commands By 2022:
Theaterisation means putting specific units of personnel from the three services — Army, Navy and Air Force — under a common theatre commander so they fight as a cohesive unit. Both the US and China follow a theatre command doctrine.
The study will look into several issues, such as having one command or two separate ones to tackle China — one East of Nepal and another West of Nepal, or whether the Northern Command could be split into two while keeping Jammu & Kashmir as a single unit.
“The study will delve into all these issues. However, it is felt that Jammu and Kashmir should be a separate theatre, including the IB (International Boundary) part. Right now the LoC part comes under the Northern Command, but the IB part is under the Western Command,” he said.
“We plan to complete the study by 2021 and start issuing directives. The aim is to start theatreisation by 2022,” he said.
There are about 19 military commands in the country and only two of them are tri-service commands – Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) and the Strategic Forces Command, which looks after nuclear assets.
It is felt that reducing the commands and making them function under one umbrella with representation from all three forces, depending on the region and threat assessment, will make the military more effective.
China and the USA function under this model, and there have been suggestions that the Indian military follows a similar tri-service command system.
India Is The World’s First Country With 100% Digital Process For Haj 2020
Govt fulfilled the dream of “Ease of Doing Haj” for Indian Muslims: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
MUMBAI (Maharashtra): The Union Minister for Minority Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has said that 100 per cent digital/online Haj process in India has fulfilled the dream of “Ease of Doing Haj” for the Indian Muslims. He was addressing a training of trainers programme for Haj 2020 at Haj House, in Mumbai today.
Naqvi said that the unprecedented reforms taken by the Modi Government have ensured that while on one hand, the entire Haj process has been made digital and transparent on the other hand Haj has become affordable.
He further said that making the entire Haj process 100 per cent digital/online has removed middlemen ensuring Haj pilgrimage become affordable in comparison to last several decades.
Even after removal of Haj subsidy, no additional financial burden has been put on the pilgrims, he added.
The Minister for Minority Affairs said that India has become the first country in the entire world which has made the entire Haj 2020 process 100 per cent digital. Online application, E-Visa, Haj mobile app, “E-MASIHA” health facility, “E-luggage pre-tagging” providing all information in India itself regarding accommodation/transportation in Makkah-Madinah have been provided to Indian Muslims going for Haj.
He further said that for the first time facilities have been provided for digital pre-tagging of the baggage of pilgrims. This will ensure the Indian pilgrims will get information in India itself about building along with the room allotted to the pilgrims and transportation like details of the bus to be taken by the pilgrims after reaching to the airport in Saudi Arabia, he added.
Naqvi said that even SIM card has been linked to a mobile app which will ensure Haj pilgrims immediately getting all the latest information regarding Haj in Makkah-Madina on their mobile phone.
While on one hand health card is being provided to Indian Haj pilgrims in the country, on the other hand, “E-MASIHA” (E-Medical Assistance System for Indian Pilgrims Abroad), an online system to create and maintain the complete health database of Indian pilgrims along with doctors’ prescriptions, medical treatment as well as medicine disbursals, has been developed to deal any emergency in Makkah-Madinah, he said.
Naqvi also said that Haj Group Organisers (HGOs) have also been connected with 100 per cent digital system which has ensured transparency in their functioning and it has also ensured better facilities to Indian Haj pilgrims.
For the first time, a portal of HGOs – http://haj.nic.in/pto/ (Portal for Haj Group Organisers) has been developed which contains all the details of HGOs, their packages etc.
The Minister for Minority Affairs said that the Indian Government, in coordination-cooperation with Saudi Arabian Government, Indian Consulate and various concerned agencies in Saudi Arabia, is working to ensure safety and better facilities, medical facilities for the pilgrims during Haj 2020.
He further said that in 2020, a total of 2 lakh Indian Muslims will perform Haj that too without any subsidy and about 1 lakh 23,000 Indians Muslims will go through Haj Committee of India and remaining through Haj Group Organisers.
This year more than 2100 Muslim women will go to Haj without “Mehram” (male companion), he added.
A total of 650 trainers participated in this training programme. They will provide training to Haj pilgrims in their respective states regarding Haj pilgrimage, accommodation in Makkah and Madina, transport, health facilities, safety measures etc.
These trainers include a large number of women trainers also.
Officials from Haj Committee of India, Customs, Air India, Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation, various banks, disaster management agencies and other departments informed the trainers about the entire Haj process.
On the occasion, Naqvi also inaugurated Civil Services Learning Centre, Guest Rooms, Training Hall etc in Haj House, Mumbai.
First Inter-City Electric Bus Service In Maharashtra Inaugurated By Nitin Gadkari
The 43-seater capacity bus, manufactured by Mitra Mobility Solution, runs 300 KM on a single charge.
PUNE (Maharashtra): Union Minister for Transport, Highways, and MSMEs, Nitin Gadkari on Friday inaugurated the first inter-city electric bus service, between Mumbai and Pune in Maharashtra.
The 43-seater capacity luxury electric bus, manufactured by Mitra Mobility Solution, has a range of 300 kilometres on a single charge and would be operated twice daily between the two cities, the operator Prasanna Purple Mobility Solutions said.
The company, which claims to already have around 1,300 electric buses in operation, is also looking to extend these services in other parts of Maharashtra and adjoining states, it’s Chairman and Managing Director Prasanna Patwardhan told reporters.
“This new move in the electric vehicle space gives us yet another opportunity to serve our customers. We also plan to extend this service to other routes within Maharashtra and adjacent states,” Patwardhan said.
Speaking at the event Gadkari said his efforts in the last 4-5 years have been to see that electric buses run in large numbers on the country’s highways. He also said various corporations, state government corporations and private operators might order some 10,000 electric buses this year.
“We are also planning to build e-(electric) highways,” he said.
Recently, we had reported that the minister had urged industry players to join hands with the government for the proposed electric lane on Rs 1.03 lakh crore Delhi-Mumbai Expressway while promising to provide policy support to serious players.
“Indian investors should come forward for investing in electric lane stretch of the Delhi-Mumbai expressway to be built at a cost of Rs 1.03 lakh crore within three years,” the Minister had said while addressing a conference on ‘Developing a Roadmap for Low Carbon & Sustainable Mobility in India’ by FICCI.
The minister had also said that the government is ready to provide policy support to serious investors and also appealed them to come forward in the field of alternative fuel including bio-CNG and electric vehicles. This could cut India’s huge Rs 7 lakh crore crude imports, he said. Stressing on modern transport infrastructure, he said he will also take up the issue of electric highways during his ensuing visit to Sweden this month.
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