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JK High Court affidavit tears apart Bar Council’s report

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Srinagar, Apr 27: The highly controversial ‘inquiry’ report of the Bar Council of India, giving clean chit to the rowdy lawyers of Jammu and Kathua, has been torn into pieces by none else than the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, which has told the Supreme Court that the special investigation team of the Crime Branch of the state police was “not allowed” to file the charge sheet in the Kathua gang rape and murder case by protesting lawyers.
In an affidavit filed in the apex court by the registrar General of the state High Court, Sanjay Dhar has affirmed that on April 9, though the police team had arrived in the Kathua Chief Judicial Magistrate court around 3.45 pm to file the charge sheet, “they could not do so due to sloganeering by the lawyers”.
He said that some of the lawyers had barged into the chamber of the CJM and there were attempts to threaten and humiliate the police officers to leave the court.
It may be mentioned here that Jammu and Kashmir is not having any independent bar association and instead the High Court functions as the bar Council for Jammu and Kashmir and registrar general of the High Court discharges the functions of the Secretary of the State Bar Association.
The affidavit said that on April, 9, the court received the reports that ‘some advocates of Kathua Bar Association had caused hindrance at the time of presentation of challan” in the gruesome ape and murder of an eight year old girl of Bakerwaal community.
The state Bar Council (High Court) sought a detailed report of the matter from the principal district and sessions judge Kathua who “confirmed that obstruction was caused by advocates of Bar Association of Kathua at the time of presentation of the challan” before the court of CJM. In view of this, the accused were then produced before the CJM at his residence after 7.45 PM.
The High Court has meanwhile sought the details of advocates including their names “who participated in the massive demonstration protest and raising slogans etc the affidavit said and added that as soon as the identity of protesting lawyers was ascertained , the State Bar Council (High Court) ‘will proceed further in the matter in accordance with the law”.
In support of his statement, Secretary of the State Bar Association produced a copy of the statement submitted by the principal district and sessions judge Kathua, which confirms it beyond any doubt that a group of Kathua lawyers indulged in hooliganism and prevented the Crime Branch team to present the challan against the accused rapists and murders before the CJM court.
In his report, the principal district and sessions judge, Sanjeev Gupta has said that: As soon as the Crime Branch team arrived in the premises outside the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kathua, a groups of lawyers resorted to massive and intense protest demonstration. The lawyers, numbering about 40 to 50 raised slogans against the Crime Branch and in the meanwhile some people from media also reached at court premises and they started giving coverage to the protest demonstration of the lawyers. Other members of the Bar also joined the protest demonstration.
The team of Crime Branch comprising head of the SIT Mr Ramesh Kumar Jalla, senior superintendent of police, another member of the team of the rank of superintendent of police and chief prosecuting officer of Crime Branch, accompanied by two/three ministerial staff members somehow managed to enter in the court of CJM.
The accused seven in number were brought in custody in a police vehicle but they could not be produced before the court because of continued protest demonstration by the lawyers. In the meantime the court time was over but the demonstration of the lawyers continued. The team of Crime Branch made a hasty retreat from the court premises and took accused with them. The learned CJM remained in his office chambers till 6 PM and scrutinized the challan. The lawyers also remained standing outside the court of CJM raising slogans and demonstration.
In view of the sensitive nature of the case the Crime Branch officials were advised to bring the accused to the official residence of the CJM at 8 PM where after accepting the challan, a committal order was passed by him, committing the case to court of principal sessions judge.
It may be pertinent to mention that some lawyers assembles outside the official residence of CJM upto 7.45 PM along with media persons but thereafter left the place.
The district judge Kathua, in his report, categorically stated that “Almost all the members of the Bar Association, Kathua, have assembled in the premises outside the court of CJM and they were protesting vociferously against the production of challan”.
The conduct of Jammu lawyers in the events surrounding the investigation into the Kathua rape and murder case had drawn the ire of one and all, after reports emerged that local advocates had attempted to obstruct justice.
Taking exception to the lawyers’ conduct, the court also issued a notice to the Bar Council of India in the matter, following which the Council had sent a fact-finding committee to Jammu to inquire into the charges against the lawyers.
However, on Thursday, the Bar Council of India in its report submitted to the Supreme Court had given a clean chit to the Kathua lawyers and exonerated them of all the charges of obstructing the Crime Branch team in filing the challan before the court of CJM.
A Committee of the Bar Council of India (BCI) claimed to have found that these reports were false, and that lawyers of the Jammu Bar Association and the Kathua Bar Association did not restrict officials of the Crime Branch from submitting the chargesheet in the case to the Chief Judicial Magistrate, as was reported.
Besides giving clean chit to Jammu lawyers, the committee went a step further expressing the view that the calls for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the case are justified.
Further, the Committee said that lawyers did not restrain Deepika Rajawat from appearing for the victim’s family in the Jammu & Kashmir High Court. This, after noting that Rajawat’s appearance was recorded in every hearing before the Court.
The Committee also came to the conclusion that the media had misreported the entire episode, and that reports stating that lawyers in Kathua and Jammu were siding with the accused were false.
However in view of the affidavit filed by the Registrar General of Jammu and Kashmir High Court, before the Supreme Court, the claims made by the Bar Council of India have fallen apart and same has proved to be a bundle of lies and fabrication to save the rowdy lawyers who made all out attempts to obstruct the justice in the said case.


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Imran dials Modi, pushes for better Indo-Pak ties

PM stresses on ‘creating environment free of terrorism’

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New Delhi, May 26: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and expressed his desire to work for peace, Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesman Mohammed Faisal said.

During the phone call, Modi underlined the importance of creating trust and an environment free of “terrorism” for peace in South Asia.

“PM spoke to PM Modi today and congratulated him on his party’s electoral victory in Lok Sabha elections in India. PM expressed his desire for both countries to work together for betterment of their peoples,” Faisal said in a Twitter post.

 

“Reiterating his vision for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia, the Prime Minister said he looked forward to working with Prime Minister Modi to advance these objectives,” Faisal’s second post said.

According to a release from the Indian foreign ministry, Modi “thanked the Prime Minister of Pakistan for his telephone call and greetings”.

“Recalling his initiatives in line with his government’s neighbourhood first policy, Prime Minister Modi referred to his earlier suggestion to the Prime Minister of Pakistan to fight poverty jointly. He stressed that creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism were essential for fostering cooperation for peace, progress and prosperity in our region,” the release stated.

Khan had on Thursday posted a congratulatory message on Twitter saying he looked forward to work with Modi on furthering peace in South Asia. “I congratulate Prime Minister Modi on the electoral victory of BJP and allies. Look forward to working with him for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia,” Khan said in the post.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday scored a major win by snaring 303 seats in the 545-member Parliament.

In his response to Khan’s post congratulating him on Thursday, Modi tweeting:” Thank you PM @ImranKhanPTI. I warmly express my gratitude for your good wishes. I have always given primacy to peace and development in our region.”

In a recent interview, PM Modi had said the “way ahead” with the neighboring nation Pakistan depends on the action it takes against militancy. Modi’s Balakot air strike in Pakistan before the polls soared his popularity in India. The IAF air strike and action against Pakistan featured many times during Modi’s Lok Sabha election campaign.

Before the elections began, Khan also batted for a second-term for BJP saying there may be a better chance of peace talks with India if the incumbent government is back.

The exchanges between the two leaders came after a period of heightened tensions between the two countries earlier this year after the 14 February suicide attack on a paramilitary convoy that killed 40 paramilitary personnel in Pulwama.

With Jaish-e-Mohammed claiming the Pulwama bombing, India on 26 February launched a “pre-emptive” strike on a militant training facility in Pakistan’s Balakot region.

Pakistan retaliated a day later launching an air raid on Indian military facilities in Kashmir, thus deepening tensions between the two countries. Pakistan also shot down an Indian Air Force jet and captured the pilot of the downed aircraft, who was handed back to India two days later.

Talks between the two countries have been at a standstill since 2013 but there has been speculation that the two sides could explore possibilities for engagement after the polls in India. Modi is set to come face to face with Imran Khan at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting in Bishkek in June. Last month, Khan told a group of journalists that there may be a better chance of peace talks with India and settling of the Kashmir dispute if Modi’s party — the Bharatiya Janata Party — won the general elections a second time.

Pak ready for talks with new Indian Govt: Qureshi

Press Trust of India

Islamabad, May 26: Pakistan is ready to hold talks with the new Indian government to resolve all outstanding issues, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said.

Addressing an Iftar dinner in Multan on Saturday, Qureshi said both India and Pakistan should sit on negotiation table to solve issues for the sake of prosperity and peace of the region, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.

His remarks came two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday led his Bharatiya Janata Party towards a victory for a second term in office.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday congratulated Modi on his electoral triumph and expressed desire to work with him for peace and prosperity in the region.

“I congratulate Prime Minister Modi on the electoral victory of BJP and allies. Look forward to working with him for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia,” Khan tweeted in both English and Urdu.

In April, Khan said he believed there may be a better chance of peace talks with India and settle the Kashmir issue if Modi’s party wins the general elections.

The results of India’s general elections are very significant for Pakistan as the new government in New Delhi will determine the course of Indo-Pakistan ties, which were pushed to a new low after the Pulwama attack.

Just a day before the announcement of results, Qureshi and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday exchanged pleasantries on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

He conveyed to her Pakistan’s desire to resolve all issues through dialogue.

Tensions flared up between India and Pakistan after a suicide bomber of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) killed over 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14.

Amid mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried air strikes in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26. The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combat and captured an IAF pilot, who was handed over to India.

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Balakot was to ensure ‘terrorists’ don’t act against India: Gen Rawat

Press Trust of India

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Ezhimala (Kerala), May 26: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Bipin Rawat has said the Balakot attack in February was to ensure that ‘terrorists’ trained across the border do not survive to carry out action against India.

“Coordinated efforts are being made by various government agencies to tackle cross-border terrorism,” he said.

“Through the coordinated efforts of various government agencies, now the NIA has stepped in, the Enforcement Directorate has stepped in and all are trying to ensure financing and funds available to terrorists are cut off,” he said, responding to a question on insurgency in Kashmir at a media interaction here.

 

He also said the “situation there has been brought under control.”

Rawat said the country has been facing “terrorism” since Independence and that security forces and all agencies supporting them have met these challenges head on.

“We have been able to ensure that the insurgency has been brought under control. Of course in the Kashmir Valley, we have been witnessing ups and downs of insurgencies.

“That’s because they got support from our western neighbour. At the same time many (people) are misguided due to a misinformation campaign spread by terrorists. But we have brought the situation under control,” he said.

The Chief of Army staff was interacting with the media here on Saturday after reviewing the passing-out parade of 264 trainees, comprising midshipmen and cadets of the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and 10 international cadets.

Asked about the radar comment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rawat said some types of radar cannot see through clouds because of the manner in which it is operates.

“There are various kinds of radars working with different technologies. Some have the capacity to see through, some don’t have the capacity to see through.

“Some kinds of radar cannot see through clouds because of the manner in which it is operating. Sometimes we can, sometimes we can’t,” Rawat said.

In a television interview aired recently, Modi had said he used his “raw wisdom” to dispel doubts of defence experts, who wanted the air strike to be deferred due to bad weather.

“The weather was not good on the day of air strike. There was a thought that crept in the minds of the experts that the day of strike should be changed.

“However, I suggested that the clouds could actually help our planes escape the radars,” Modi had said while talking about the cross-border strike on terror camps in response to the Pulwama attack that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel.

The prime minister’s comment drew widespread ridicule and condemnation from various quarters, including a large number of memes on the social media.

The cadets who passed out Saturday marked the culmination of their training at the Indian Naval Academy (INA) here.

The passing-out parade was reviewed by General Rawat and meritorious midshipmen and cadets were awarded medals after the ceremonial review.

INA Commandant Vice Admiral R B Pandit and Director of the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, Anurag Kumar, were in attendance at the parade.

The parade also saw 15 female cadets marching shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts to join the ranks of the Indian Navy, a release issued by the Academy said.

There were 10 trainees from various friendly nations, including two each from Maldives, Myanmar and Seychelles, one from Tanzania and three from Sri Lanka.

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Process begins to fill 6 LC Seats from Panchayat, ULB quota

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, May 26: The State Election Authority has begun a process for conducting elections to six vacancies in the Legislative Council – four from the quota of Panchayats and two from the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in the state.

The Legislative Council membership is limited to 40 seats. However, as per Section 50 of the State Constitution, the Legislative Council has strength of 36 seats.

Presently, there are 14 vacancies in the Legislative Council, taking its strength down to 22. Eight members had retired in March this year and these vacancies would be filled only when the Legislative Assembly is in place.

 

Similarly, there are four seats earmarked for Panchayats and two for municipalities to be filled by the electorate of Panchayats and ULBs.

The Chief Electoral Officer has written to the Governor administration to form Electoral College and submit list of designated returning and assistant returning officers for conduct of elections to six vacancies.

“Once the process of Electoral College and appointment of officers is completed, we will announce the dates for elections,” Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Shailendra Kumar said.

In absence of State Election Commission, the Chief Electoral Officer has designated powers of State Election Authority.

The Panchs and Sarpanchs form the Electoral College for elections to seats from Panchayat quota while municipal councilors form Electoral College for elections to two seats from the quota of ULBs.

Of the four Panchayat seats, two seats are reserved for each Kashmir and Jammu regions. Similarly, both regions get one each seat under Municipal quota.

The seats of Panchayat are vacant since Shehnaz Ganaie, Ali Mohammad Dar of National Conference and Sham Lal Bhagat and Ghulam Nabi Monga from Congress completed their term in December last year.

Out of 22 members in Legislative Council, the BJP has 10 members followed by PDP (8) National Conference (3) and Congress (1).

Earlier in February this year, the State Administrative Council (SAC) under the chairmanship of Governor, Satya Pal Malik approved taking up the matter with the Election Commission of India (ECI) regarding the proposal for holding of elections to the six vacant seats in the J&K Legislative Council.

The Panchayat elections were conducted in November-December 2018 for 4483 Panchayats with a Sarpanch for each Panchayat Halqa and 35029 Panchs in the state. The Urban Local Bodies Election were held in October last year after a span of 13-years.

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