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Justice Gogoi appointed as new CJI

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New Delhi, Sep 13: Justice Ranjan Gogoi was Thursday appointed as the 46th Chief Justice of India, according to the Law Ministry.
He would assume office on October 3 after present incumbent Dipak Misra retires a day before.
Justice Gogoi will have a tenure of a little over 13 months and would retire on November 17, 2019.
President Ramnath Kovind signed warrants of appointment of Justice Gogoi following which a notification announcing his appointment was issued.
Born on November 18, 1954, Justice Gogoi was enrolled as an advocate in 1978. He practised in the Gauhati High Court on constitutional, taxation and company matters.
He was appointed as a permanent judge of the Gauhati High Court on February 28, 2001.
On September 9, 2010, he was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He was appointed as Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court on February 12, 2011 and then a judge of the Supreme Court on April 23, 2012.
Justice Misra had earlier this month recommended Justice Gogoi as his successor as per established practice of naming the senior-most judge after the CJI for the post.
Speculation over Justice Gogoi’s appointment as the next CJI arose after the court’s four most senior judges, including Justice Gogoi, called a press conference in January and criticised Justice Misra on various issues, especially the manner of allocation of cases to certain benches.
Justices J Chelameswar (since retired), Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph were the others who addressed the press conference, perhaps a first in the history of the Indian judiciary.
According to the Memorandum of Procedure, which governs the appointment of members of the higher judiciary, “appointment to the office of the Chief Justice of India should be of the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court considered fit to hold the office”.
It stipulates that the law minister will, at an appropriate time, seek the recommendation of the outgoing chief justice of India for the appointment of a successor.
Under this process, after receiving the CJI’s recommendation, the law minister puts it before the prime minister who advises the president on the matter.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had recently said the government’s intention on the appointment of the next chief justice of India should not be questioned. He had also said the executive will take a call when the incumbent names the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court as his successor as per convention.
Prasad was responding to a question at the Law Ministry’s annual press conference on whether the government would follow laid-down conventions and procedures to appoint Justice Gogoi as Justice Misra’s successor.
“The question is imaginary…as far as the appointment of the Chief Justice of India is concerned, the convention is clear…the sitting chief justice names the senior-most judge (of the top court) as his successor. When the name comes to us, we will discuss it,” he had said.


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At Live Wire: Lack of training, safety gear bringing more deaths to PDD employees

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Sep 22: Lack of training and reluctance to use the safety gear is bringing more deaths to the Power Development Department (PDD employees by electrocution in Kashmir Valley.
Official reports reveal that since 2014, more than 70 PDD employees and contractual labourers died on-duty due to electric shocks.
More than 25 people have become disabled and while 30 others have sustained severe burn due to electric shocks in the same period.
In the last two weeks, two deaths have been reported in Anantnag district alone.
On September 2, two employees of PDD where repairing a snapped conductor in the morning when it came into contact with a live, overlying feeder due to which one person died on spot and other received burn injuries.
In yet another incident on September 14, a 29-year-old man in Anantnag district was installing an electric transformer when he got electrocuted, and the person assisting him received burns.
An official in the PDD, who wished to be anonymous, said the main reason of the accidents was the department’s recruitment policy.
“The department is hiring men on contract based for installing poles and LT (Low Tension) and HT (High Tension) lines. They do not have proper training of the field due to which the incidents occur,” he said.
Earlier, he said, the department used to give proper training to the men responsible for field work.
The other reason was the unavailability of safety tools for the men working on poles, he said.
The department provides compensation to the families of electrocuted and injured workers from the welfare fund but that is not enough for them, he said.
The workers who suffer serious injuries at work may be unable to bear the medical expenditure, even as many have become permanently disabled.
The president of the PDD employees association, Zahoor Ahmad, said, “A daily wager from Eidgah area lost both his arms due to electric shock. He has to live with a lifelong disability.”
“The LT poles that are installed by the department should have only LT network, but unfortunately one pole have two to three feeders installed that is life threatening.”
He also claimed that department does not provide sophisticated equipment to the workers.
“No worker will risk his life and go without wearing safety equipment, if is available,” he said.
Chief Engineer PDD, Qazi Hashmat, said, “Sub-divisions are well equipped with safety gear like helmets, gloves, and boots, but having them in our division is not enough. We have to build among our employees the culture of actually using them.”
“People get very casual and take chances, and the accidents happen.”
He said they have made people well aware of fatal deaths due to electric shocks. Moreover they have shown them how people die due to electrocution so that they would get to know about it.
“We are working very hard to bring the culture of wearing proper safety measures. We are also trying to train our employees.”

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JK MLAs are among most paid legislators in India

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Sep 22: The average annual income of Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in Jammu and Kashmir is nearly Rs 13 lakh, a study by National Election Watch (NEW) and Association of Democratic Reforms stated.
The sum is more than what the legislators in, at least, 11 other states get including New Delhi, where the annual income of an MLA is Rs 9.3 lakh.
As per the study, the data collecting NGOs have analysed the annual income of almost 57 MLAs in the state. The remaining 30 have not revealed their income.
The total annual income of the MLAs in Jammu and Kashmir adds up to Rs 7.25crore.
Karnataka, as per the study, has the richest MLAs in India, with its 203 MLAs having an annual income of Rs one crore each.
The average annual income of MLAs in India is Rs 24.59 lakh.
Sixty-three MLAs of the Chhattisgarh Assembly have the lowest annual income of about Rs 5 lakh.
The states where the MLAs have lower income compared to Jammu and Kashmir include Bihar, Jharkhand, Odhisa, Uttarakhand, Assam, Arunchal Pradesh, Tripura, and Pondicherry.
The study has also mentioned about the valley’s two MLAs including National Conference leader Nazir Ahamd Gurezi and Peoples Democratic Party’s Noor Muhammad Sheikh, who have an income of below Rs 60,000 per month.
Government recently in June doubled the salaries and allowances of legislators (both MLAs and MLCs) from Rs 80,000 per month to Rs 1.6 lakh per month.
It included a massive hike in the salaries of the Chief Minister, Ministers, and Ministers of State.
It also increased pension of former legislators from Rs 28,000 per month to Rs 50,000 per month, which too was close to the 100 per cent hike.
The erstwhile report of NEW in January this year mentioned that former Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah owned property worth less than Rs 65 lakh.
While Mufti has declared her movable assets of worth Rs 10,96,854 and Rs 45,00,000 immovable assets, Omar assets include Omar assets include Rs 1.10 lakh in cash, bank balance and deposits worth Rs 46.59 lakh, gypsy and motorcycle valued Rs 3 lakh and jewellery worth Rs 15 lakh.

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Govt seals 170 illegal clinics across Kashmir

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Srinagar, Sep 22: On the directions of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan, Directorate of Health Services Kashmir (DHSK) has sealed 170 illegal and un-authorized clinics across the valley.
Consequent upon the daily reports received by the Divisional Commissioner office, regarding the operating of un-authorized clinical establishments in different areas across Kashmir Division, the Divisional Commissioner had already directed all Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) to constitute teams comprising of members from Health Services and Revenue department to conduct daily inspection of all clinical establishments and diagnostic labs across the valley including Leh and Kargil districts.
He had also directed them to take necessary action against such establishments which are operating in violation of rules, norms, laws and without licenses or run by incompetent persons in all districts.

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