New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday ordered all political parties to submit in sealed-cover details of donations received by them through Electoral Bonds till May 15 to the Election Commission.
In an interim order, a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi asked them to furnish names of donors, the amount received through Electoral Bonds along with their bank accounts to the poll panel by May 30.
It said the petition filed by Association for Democratic Reforms challenging validity of Electoral Bonds scheme will be heard in detail later.
The Centre had on Thursday defended before the Supreme Court donors’ anonymity under electoral bonds scheme, saying the new method political funding was a “policy decision” even as the Election Commission questioned it for lack of transparency.
Attorney General KK Venugopal had told a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi that the purpose behind the electoral bonds was to eliminate use of black money in elections.
“So far, as the electoral bond scheme is concerned, it is the matter of policy decision of the government and no government can be faulted for taking policy decision,” Venugopal said. The court can scrutinise it after polls, he had added.
Venugopal had earlier told the Bench, “We have no policy of state funding of elections. Funds are received from supporters, affluent persons and companies. They all want their political party to win. If their party does not win then they apprehend some repercussions and hence secrecy or anonymity is required.”
Venugopal’s submissions were contested by senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, representing EC, who had said secrecy in the electoral bonds scheme legalised anonymity.
“Anonymity must go. We want transparency. We want reforms. We cannot go one step forward and two steps backwards. We want free and fair polls,” Dwivedi had said.
He, however, had clarified that the EC was not against the scheme as such, but it had opposed anonymity in it.
ADR counsel Prashant Bhushan had termed it a “retrograde” step as it was against the concept of free and transparent elections. Electoral bonds may be the “kick backs” to the ruling political parties and referred to the replies of the poll panel underlining that the changes made in the law will have serious repercussions on the transparent funding of political parties, he had said.
The petitioner has questioned the validity of various amendments made through Finance Act 2017 and Finance Act 2016 in Companies Act, Income Tax Act, Representation of People Act, Reserve Bank of India Act and Foreign Contribution Regulations Act.
Pakistan exporting ‘terror’, stifling women’s voices for narrow political gains: India at UNSC
UNITED NATIONS: India lashed out at Pakistan for raising the issue of women’s rights in Kashmir in the UN Security Council, saying the country represents a system that has been exporting militancy and “regressive” extremist ideologies and “stifling” women’s voices for narrow political gains.
India’s strong response came after Pakistan’s outgoing UN envoy Maleeha Lodhi commented on the situation in Kashmir, revocation of Article 370 and women’s rights in the Valley during the debate on October 29.
“As everyone today focuses on collective action, one delegation rhetorically regurgitates about women’s rights in my country,” First Secretary in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN Paulomi Tripathi said Monday at a Security Council open debate on Women, Peace and Security.
Without naming Pakistan, Tripathi said the delegation “represents a system that has been exporting terrorism and regressive extremist ideologies, and stifling women’s voices for narrow political gains. This has devastated lives of generations of women and their families, in our region and beyond.”
Alluding to Islamabad’s habit of raking up the Kashmir issue at various UN forums and committees, Tripathi said the country habitually makes baseless allegations without any relevance to the agenda under consideration and this has “become a staple for this delegation.”
She referred to Lodhi’s comments on Jammu and Kashmir during the October 29 debate as well as during a previous debate on the “Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question”.
Asserting that India firmly rejects the baseless allegations, Tripathi said “the Council has not paid attention to such deceitful narratives in the past, and we are confident that the Council will continue to do so, to ensure that its agenda is not used as a ploy for furthering territorial ambitions.”
In her remarks to the debate, Tripathi underscored that violence against women and girls perpetrated by terrorists remain rampant and subjugation of women in public and in private spheres continue across situations that are on the agenda of the Council.
“It is important that the Council strives to effectively integrate women, peace and security considerations into sanctions regimes, including by listing terrorist entities involved in violence against women in armed conflicts,” she said.
Further, Tripathi highlighted the positive impacts of greater participation of women in UN peacekeeping but voiced concern that women make up only 4.2 per cent of military personnel in UN peacekeeping missions.
“We ought to encourage participation of all women units to achieve the set targets in this regard,” she said.
Tripathi pointed out that a trend in which in order to accommodate those who cannot fulfill the commitments of providing all women units to peacekeeping missions, mixed units are being given preference by diluting the policy frameworks.
“If this continues, we possibly cannot achieve the set targets,” she said as she added that India remains committed to increasing the number of women peacekeepers and has deployed a Female Engagement Team in UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) earlier this year.
MeT predicts rains,snowfall from Nov 6 to 8 in J&K
Jammu, Nov 5 : The weather department on Tuesday predicted widespread moderate to heavy snowfall and rains in the hills and plains of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh union territories for three days starting from Wednesday.
The weather system is likely to cause temporary disruptions on surface transport especially over passes like Zojila, Srinagar-Jammu, Leh-Manali Highway, Mughal Road due to landslides, low temperature and heavy snowfall.
‘There is an active Western Disturbance. Its interaction with Cyclone MAHA (currently lying over East central Arabian sea) is most likely to cause widespread moderate to heavy snowfall and rain in plains of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh during 6th to 8th November’, Director, State Met department, Sonam Lotus said.
Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan on Monday chaired a meeting of officers to review the position of winter stocks of food grains and other essential commodities in Ladakh and Kashmir division.
Besides, Deputy Commissioner Leh and officials of District Administration, Kargil attended the meeting through video conferencing.
Directing officials to ensure adequate stocks of commodities, the division commissioner said people in these areas should not face any difficulty during winter months.
The meeting was informed that all essential commodities for winter including food grains, fire wood, LPG, medicine and other items have been stocked
EU MPs in Kashmir say Article 370 internal issue, stand by India in fight against ‘terror’
Srinagar, October 30: Terming Article 370 an internal issue of India, EU parliamentarians visiting Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday said they stand by the country in its fight against global terrorism.
Addressing a press conference on the last day of their two-day visit to the Valley, the group of 23 members of European Parliament also condemned the killing of five labourers from West Bengal on Tuesday.
“If we talk about Article 370 it is India’s internal matter. What concerns us is terrorism which is a global menace and we should stand with India in fighting it. There was an unfortunate incident of killing of five innocent labourers. We condemn it,” said Henri Malosse from France.
He said the team got a briefing from the army and police as well as young activists and exchanged “ideas of peace”.
Newton Dunn from the UK described the visit, aimed at getting a first-hand assessment of the situation after the revocation of the state’s special status under Article 370, as an “eye-opener”.
“We belong to a place Europe which is peaceful after years of fighting. And we want to see India becoming the most peaceful country in the world. And for that we need to stand by India in its fight against global terrorism. This visit has been an eye opener and we would definitely advocate what we have seen on ground zero,” he told reporters.
The delegation is the first high-level foreign visit to Kashmir after the August 5 decision of the Centre to revoke the state’s special status and bifurcate it into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. Wednesday is the last day of Jammu and Kashmir as a state.
According to MEP from Poland Ryszard Czarnecki, “The international media coverage seems biased”.
“Once we go back to our countries we will inform them of what we saw,” he said.
Thierry Mariani, also from France, told the media he had been to India many times and this visit was not to interfere in the internal matter of India but to get a first hand knowledge of the ground
situation in Kashmir.
“Militants can destroy a country. I have been to Afghanistan and Syria and I have seen what terrorism has done. We stand with India in its fight against terrorism,” he said.
“By calling us fascists, our image has been tarnished. It’s better that one should know about us properly before tarnishing our image,” he added, referring to some media reports.
The team originally comprised 27 parliamentarians, many from extreme right or right wing parties, but four did not travel to Kashmir and have reportedly returned to their respective countries,
officials said without divulging any reason.
The team arrived here on Tuesday to a complete shutdown, stone pelting and clashes between people and security forces in several parts of the city and the Valley.
On Monday, the MPs met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi.
While welcoming the MPs to India, he expressed “the hope that they have a fruitful visit to various parts of the country, including to Jammu and Kashmir”.