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Judiciary needs to stand upto populist forces: CJI Gogoi

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New Delhi, Jun 19: Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi Wednesday said that it was the duty of the judiciary to stand upto populist forces when the executive and legislature get swept away in the wave of populism.

Addressing Chief Justices and judges from member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Gogoi said: “In the journey of a Nation, when the legislative and executive wings get swept away from their duties and goals under the Constitution by waves of populism, it is for the Judiciary to rise and stand up to the populist forces and protect the Constitutional ethos”.

Apparently referring to criticism that this amounts to judicial activism, the CJI added “to some critics and naysayers, this situation presents a case for hoisting the classical counter-narrative – unelected judges, acting under the Constitutional mandate, get to overturn the acts of the elected majority. However, it is for us to recollect that such situations across the world have heaped tremendous pressure on the Judicial organs, and it is no surprise that in some jurisdictions Judiciary too has succumbed to populist forces.”

 

The CJI sought to stress that it was for the judiciary to rise to the occasion. “This is also an area that requires judiciary to prepare itself, to strengthen itself about such populist onslaughts on the independence of the Institution. The human agency, through which justice is sought to be administered, has to be adequately secured and fortified in ordinary times, so that it is sufficiently equipped to deal with such forces of populism in extraordinary times, lest they overrun the judicial edifice too. This would be our strongest case for strengthening the independence of judiciary,” he said.

Underlining the importance of independence of judiciary, he said: “Whatever be the political system of governance, people across nations aspire for a free and independent judicial system to serve them.”

The CJI said that “if a judicial system fails to enjoy public confidence, its deliverables would never constitute ‘justice’.

The CJI also said that “independence of judiciary as an institution is different from independence of judges as the fountainheads of justice”.

“Proponents who call for a strong and independent judiciary would assert that in the absence of institutional independence of judiciary, independent functioning of Judges cannot be assured and similarly, without strong and independent Judges, the ‘institutional independence’ of the ‘Judiciary’ would be a misnomer and futile,” he said.

Listing some of the measures to secure the independence of the judges as well as judiciary, CJI Gogoi said: “Non-political appointments, security of tenure and rigorous procedure for removal, securing the reputation of and remuneration and immunities for the Judges, in-house accountability procedures, and implementation of code of judges’ conduct.”

Elaborating, he said that “strengthening of Institutions works best when they are strengthened from within and not when strength is sought to be infused from an external source”.

“Strength that evolves from inside, touches the character and core of the Institution; in contrast, an external source could only lend ‘support’ to the Institution. Such external support would rarely strengthen the core of the Institution. That apart, independence of judiciary is not a one-time pill-it is a ‘state of affairs’ that has to remain constant, in the face of continuous and recurrent waves of onslaught aimed at disturbing such ‘state’. It is also an aspiration that the stakeholders and leaders of the judicial organ must constantly seek out and defend,” he said.

Besides this, “judiciary also needs to work on securing its independence in financial matters”, he said adding “the control of revenues and on expenditure essentially vests with Governments, however such control is more often than not seen to be exercised as a tool of arm-twisting.”

“There is an apparent lack of understanding globally that, by the dint of their Constitutional role, the Judicial organs essentially act like buffers and pressure valves, standing between the State agencies and the restive populace, absorbing all the heat and dust thrown up by the cycle of governance, or a lack thereof. This lack of understanding, coupled with the fact that Judiciary does not pander to any constituency, translates into low budgetary support for the Judiciary—including for its infrastructure and human resource components,” he said.

“It would not be surprising if data would reflect that nations which support and invest heavily in developing a strong judicial infrastructure, with sufficient financial resources and powers, would be nations with more stable governments and administrations,” he added. The CJI also lauded the separation of powers between the executive and judiciary in India and said “if one goes for a more nuanced scrutiny it becomes obvious that except for some outliers, in almost all other cases, the executive in India has historically shown deference to the judiciary in the appointment of judges to the Higher judiciary”.


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In this day and age! Five JK districts have NO blood banks

Nisar Dharma

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Srinagar, Jul 19: Five districts in Jammu and Kashmir do not have the facility of blood banks thus presenting the sorry state of basic health infrastructure in the state.
The information was Friday revealed by Union Minister of State for Health Ashwini Kumar Choubey in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.
The five districts – Bandipora, Ganderbal, Shopian, Samba, Reasi – share the poor record with 76 others in India.
As per Government of India policy, each district has to have at least one blood bank.
“Public Health, being a State subject, it is the primary responsibility of the State Government to ensure the establishment of Blood Banks as per their need,” the Minister said in his reply.
Lack of blood banks can be the deciding factor between a person’s life and death especially in J&K, which witnesses freak road accidents now and then killing more people in the state than the political conflict.
Such is the paucity of blood that the attendants of patients admitted at tertiary care hospitals in Srinagar have to, at times, resort to crowd-sourcing asking people to donate blood at the eleventh hour.
Like J&K, Meghalaya and Bihar too don’t have blood banks in at least five districts, followed by Telangana, Assam, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand respectively, wherein there are no blood banks in four districts each.
The northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh tops the list with 14 districts of not having blood banks. This was followed by Manipur wherein 12 districts, and Nagaland wherein nine districts do not have blood banks.
A total of 3,108 licensed blood banks are established in the country, with Maharashtra being on top with 333 blood banks, followed by Uttar Pradesh with 327 blood banks in the state.
In Gujarat, there are 153 blood banks and the national capital Delhi has 60 blood banks.

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Cop guarding Mehbooba’s kin shot dead

Kashmir News Service

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Srinagar, Jul 19: Unidentified gunmen Friday afternoon shot dead a Personal Security Officer (PSO) of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader and Mehbooba Mufti’s cousin brother Sajad Mufti outside the shrine in Baba Mohalla area of Bijbehara in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
The slain cop was identified as Constable Farooq Ahmad of Dirpora Khiram. A police official said that he was attacked by militants at Ziyarat Baba Naseer-ud-din Gazi in Bijbehara during Friday prayers.
Farooq was standing guard outside the shrine when he was shot dead by the gunmen.
The former chief Minister’s cousin brother was offering prayers in Masjid at the shrine when his PSO was shot dead.
The cop was immediately rushed to the Sub District Hospital Bijbehara for treatment where doctors declared him dead on arrival.
Reports said the gunmen also decamped with the service rifle of Ahmad.
Meanwhile, police paid tributes to the slain cop and expressed solidarity with his bereaved family. “We stand by his family at this critical juncture,” Kashmir Zone Police said in a tweet.
The wreath laying ceremony for the slain cop was held at District police Line (DPL) Anantnag.
Police officers led by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, Swayam Prakash Pani laid floral wreaths on his mortal remains and paid tributes to the cop. (KNS)
Senior police officers including IGP Kashmir, SP Pani, DIG SKR, SSP Anantnag and other officers from CAPF laid floral wreaths on the mortal remains and paid rich tributes to the slain cop.
Farooq is survived by old aged father, brother, wife, 12 years old son Mohsin Farooq, seven year old Faisal and two year old Zaid Farooq.
“We pay our rich tributes to the martyr for his supreme sacrifice made in the line of duty. We stand by his family at this crucial juncture,” a police spokesperson said.

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3 arrested for abusing minor girl inside Dal: Police

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Jul 19: Police Friday said it has arrested three individuals involved in physically abusing a minor girl inside Dal Lake.
A police spokesperson said that police Station Nigeen received a complaint that a minor girl has been physically abused inside Dal Lake in Hazratbal area.
“Consequently Case FIR No. 65/2019 under relevant sections of law was registered in Police Station Nigeen and investigation was initiated,” the spokesperson said.
During the course of investigation, the spokesperson said, police arrested two persons identified as Tawheed Ahmad Mir son of Showkat Ahmad Mir and Ehsan-ul-haq son of Showkat Ahmad Yatoo both residents of Sadrabal.
However, the third accused managed to escape taking advantage of deep waters, police added.
“A special team under the supervision of SP Hazratbal arrested third person after strenuous efforts. He has been identified as Bilal Ahmad Dar alias Kila son of Ghulam Nabi Dar resident of Dargah. The prompt action of police and the arrest of all the three accused in the heinous crime within 24hrs was appreciated by the community members,” the spokesperson added.

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