Newsletter April 24, 2018






Rajya Sabha Chairperson M. Venkaiah Naidu on Monday rejected the Congress-led Opposition’s impeachment notice against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, saying the allegations were neither “tenable nor admissible”.

He cited the Opposition’s rush to hold a news conference on Friday immediately after submitting the notice, and before it had been admitted, to justify his swift decision.

“Aware of the spate of statements in the press that seem to vitiate the atmosphere,” he said in his order, “I thought I should… expedite my decision and end the needless speculation.”

Naidu’s 10-page ruling said that having “considered the material… and reflected upon the inputs received in my interaction with legal luminaries and constitutional experts, I am of the firm opinion that the motion does not deserve to be admitted”. It said that Article 124(4) of the Constitution cites “proved misbehaviour” and “incapacity” as the grounds for considering an impeachment motion, and ruled that the Opposition’s allegations did not count as either.

Naidu said that apart from jurists, he had consulted former secretaries-general of both Houses of Parliament, former law officers and law commission members. He had also read the comments made to newspapers by former attorneys-general, constitutional experts and editors.

Ironically, Naidu cited a statement by Justice J. Chelameswar – one of the four judges who had publicly accused Justice Misra of bias in case allocations, setting the stage for the impeachment plan – in defence of his decision. After the Opposition had moved the notice, Chelameswar had said that “impeachment is not the answer to every problem” in the judiciary. Naidu even cited newspaper editorials that criticised the Opposition’s move.

He said the Opposition MPs’ act of “discussing the conduct of the CJI in the press is against propriety and parliamentary decorum as it denigrates the institution of CJI”. His order stressed that the law forbids any publicity to such a notice till the presiding officer of the House has admitted it and circulated it among the members.


Describing Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu’s rejection of the Opposition notice seeking the impeachment of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra as “illegal”, “unconstitutional” and “hasty”, the Congress Monday said MPs who had signed the notice would challenge the order in the Supreme Court. The party said it hoped the CJI would not decide the bench to hear the challenge.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, addressing a party function in New Delhi, alleged that institutions were being filled by “RSS people”.

“Whether it is the chief ministers of different states, whether it is the offices of the ministers, whether it is the courts, all of them are being filled by people from the RSS with one ideology” which, he said, runs counter to the Constitution. He accused the government of “trampling upon and suppressing the Supreme Court”.

CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, who first mooted the idea of moving an impeachment motion, told The Indian Express that the only option left is to approach the court. He said “there has not been application of mind” while rejecting the notice. Questioning the “hurry” in rejecting the motion notice, he said it “seems to be because they don’t want to morally deprive the Chief Justice of deciding on various administrative aspects of which bench will hear which case”.

Congress leader Kapil Sibal said Venkaiah Naidu’s order is “unprecedented… illegal… ill-advised and hasty”. “Never before in the history of India has an impeachment motion moved by the members of Parliament been dismissed at the preliminary stage. It is illegal because the Chairman has passed an order which is required to be passed after a full-fledged inquiry,” he said.

Yechury agreed. He said the Chairman “can take such a decision” only if the inquiry report finds the motion’s case as prima facie untenable. “Without going through that process and doing this, we think is not correct,” he said.

The Congress said it would move a petition in the Supreme Court, challenging the Chairman’s order. “We are confident that when we move that petition, the CJI has nothing to do with it so that it is heard and the serious issues which are constitutional in nature, and which will determine whether we will bring transparency to the process or not, will be decided by the court,” Sibal said.

Referring to the Chairman’s contention that the charges made in the petition do not constitute proved misbehaviour under Article 124(4), he said it was for the inquiry committee to decide whether the charges are proved or not.


The twin burning issues of Dalit rights and women’s safety were at the centre of Rahul Gandhi’s blistering attack on Prime Minister Modi on Monday at the launch of the Congress party’s “Save the Constitution” campaign. The Congress president asserted that constitutional values had been endangered under the Modi government and promised the people that his party would not let that happen.

Institutions such as the Supreme Court were being trampled on and Parliament had been shut down by the government, the Congress chief alleged, claiming that if he was allowed to speak for 15 minutes on a host of issues, including the Nirav Modi scam, Modi would “run away”.

“This country belongs to each and every one of us. It is the duty of the Congress party to protect the Constitution, the institutions and every single one of our citizens,” he later tweeted.

Gandhi said while Modi often claimed that India’s global standing had improved under his government, the reputation of the country built over decades of Congress rule had “in fact taken a beating” in the last four years.

Going full-throttle, he alleged that institutions were being packed with people who believed in the RSS’ ideology.

Gandhi started his address to Congress workers at the Talkatora Stadium, where the party’s year-long programme was launched, by quoting from what he described as a statement by the Prime Minister. Modi saw spirituality in the sanitation work done by the Valmiki community, he said, adding, that this was the “mindset” of the Prime Minister.

Amit Shah dismissed the Congress’s “Save the Constitution” campaign as an exercise to “save the dynasty” and said the party’s “Modi hatred” had turned into “India hatred”. “If there is one party that has destroyed the spirit of our Constitution, it is the Congress. They do not want rule of democracy but they want rule of dynasty. Hence this is a farce of a movement by their President,” Shah said in a Facebook post.

Shah went all out on Twitter too. “Our institutions which are an outcome of our Constitution today need to be saved from the onslaught of the Congress Party. The Congress Party has spared no institution and is attacking the EC, Supreme Court, Army for petty political gains,” he wrote.




China on Monday said President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will discuss the threat of rising protectionism and the unprecedented changes in the world in the past 100 years at their summit in Wuhan this week and the world will hear “very positive voices”.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Sunday announced that President Xi and PM Modi would hold an informal summit in the central Chinese city of Wuhan on April 27-28 to step up bilateral relations and discuss global issues of common concern.

During the meeting, the two leaders will discuss the changes that have taken place and which are unprecedented in the past 100 years to exchange views on the strategic overarching long-term issues concerning bilateral ties, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman arrived in China on Monday to attend a preparatory meeting related to upcoming summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Sitharaman is likely to meet a number of Chinese leaders. She will attend the SCO defence ministers’ meeting on Tuesday.






The killing began on a busy lunchtime thoroughfare in Toronto on Monday when a white rental Ryder van ran over a pedestrian crossing the street — then mounted a sidewalk and began plowing into people indiscriminately.

“One by one, one by one,” said a witness. “Holy God, I’ve never seen such a sight before. I feel sick.”

By the end, at least 10 people were dead and 15 were injured, said the authorities.

The driver’s actions, they said, appeared intentional, but did not seem to have been an act of terrorism. “The city is safe,” said the Toronto police chief, Mark Saunders.

The driver, who was identified as Alek Minassian, 25, was in custody after initially refusing to surrender.

“Get down or you’ll be shot,” the officers warned him after he exited the van in a scene captured on video. “Shoot me in the head,” Minassian said.

He was subdued without any shots being fired.

The carnage was reminiscent of deadly attacks by Islamic State supporters using vehicles that have shaken up Nice, France, Berlin, Barcelona, London and New York. But late Monday, Canada’s public safety minister, Ralph Goodale, said this time appeared to be different. “The events that happened on the street behind us are horrendous,” he said, “but they do not appear to be connected in any way to national security based on the information at this time.”



President Trump will come under increasing pressure from visiting French and German leaders this week not to scrap the three-year-old nuclear agreement with Iran next month as American and European negotiators make tentative progress toward a new deal to toughen the limits on Tehran.

President Emmanuel Macron of France arrived Monday at the White House for the first state visit of Mr. Trump’s presidency, intent on using his unusual bond with the American president to try to persuade him to preserve the Iran deal, at least for now. While not as close personally to Mr. Trump, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany will follow on Friday to reinforce the message.

The back-to-back visits come weeks before a May 12 deadline set by Mr. Trump to “fix” the Iran agreement or walk away from it.






The AFSPA has been removed completely from Meghalaya and its area of operation in Arunachal Pradesh has been restricted to three police stations bordering Assam and three districts neighbouring Myanmar, officials said on Monday.

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which empowers security forces to conduct operations, arrest anyone anywhere without prior notice, has been removed from all areas of Meghalaya from March 31.

The decision has been taken due to a significant improvement of security situation in the state, a Home Ministry official said.

In Arunachal Pradesh, areas under the controversial Act have been reduced from 16 police stations areas bordering Assam to eight.

There have been demands from various organisations in the north-east as well as in Jammu and Kashmir for repealing the Act, which, they say, gives “sweeping powers” to the security forces to act against “civilians”.


Two days after the Centre approved an ordinance that allows courts to award the death penalty to those convicted of raping children below 12 years of age, the Delhi High Court Monday questioned the move and asked the Centre if any scientific assessment was conducted or the view of victims taken before the ordinance was approved.

The HC also sought to know if authorities concerned had considered the consequences of the ordinance to victims. “Have you (Centre) conducted any scientific assessment or study before passing of your ordinance,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said, adding “is death penalty deterrent to rape now?”.

“Can you imagine now, how many offenders would allow their victims to survive now that rape and murder have the same punishment,” the bench observed.

“Have you been to the root cause of the crime, or it is effect of the public outcry,” the bench noted. The bench further observed that most of the offenders are close family members. “Will the family members come out and depose against their relatives family.”


Siddhartha Vashishta’s family is looking forward to seeing their son back home after 15 years jail. Sources close to the family said that Siddhartha alias Manu Sharma had completed 15 years without remissions and was entitled to be released, like other convicts as per the jail manual. At the same time they were happy that Sabrina Lall, sister of model Jessica Lall, who was shot dead by Manu, had given a “no objection” to the jail authorities.

On March 5, 2018, Sabrina wrote to Welfare Officer, Central Jail No 2, Tihar, that she had no objection to Manu’s release after serving a 15-year term “during which period, I am told, he has been doing good work for charity and helping inmates, which I feel is reflection of reforms… I would like to state I have no objection to his release, owing to the fact that he has spent 15 years in jail”.

Jessica’s sister went public through the media, saying: “In my mind, I have forgiven him. It will be like a catharsis to forgive and move on. I also need to get on with my life. I don’t want to hold on to any more anger or hurt. I feel that he has served his sentence.”

The letter was in response to a communication from the  jail authorities regarding financial assistance from the victim’s welfare fund, which Sabrina declined. “I requested them to give it to someone more needy,” she told the media, rubbishing claims of a “settlement.”

Manu’s family hopes that he would be released soon and that the era of “darkness” for both families (Jessica’s and Manu’s) would end. They felt that Manu had served the jail sentence with repentance in his heart and that he would be able to lead a normal and peaceful life once back home.


The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to spell out its stand on a petition seeking to declare unconstitutional Section 377 of the IPC that criminalises homosexual activities between consenting adults.

Asking the Centre to respond within a week to Lalit Suri hospitality group head Kesav Suri’s petition, a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra ordered tagging of the petition with other petitions on the issue already referred to a Constitution Bench.

The top court is already seized of similar pleas petitions filed by celebrities such as dancer NS Johar, chef Ritu Dalmia and another hotelier, Aman Nath, against Section 377.

Suri submitted that being part of the lesbian, gays, bi-sexual, transgender and queer community, he has suffered mentally and been stigmatised on account of his sexual orientation,  at a personal and professional front.



The Ministry of Health drew flak on Twitter on Monday (April 23) after it shared one image trying to advice good food options to Netizens. Posting a photo that featured two women — one overweight, depicting non-veg and processed food items and another skinny one with fruits and vegetables, it asked “What’s your choice?” No matter what the actual intent of the tweet was, it irked Tweeple on multiple accounts. While some said it ‘fat-shammed’ women others thought it was another form to propagate vegetarianism.

Sharing the photo on Twitter, the social media team of the ministry wrote, “Good nutrition is one of the keys to a #healthy life. Choose wisely, live well.” The photo of the obese woman also included items like alcohol and aerated drinks.

The lean woman, on the other hand, featured scores of vegetables and fruits, including some avocado and raspberries and many, slammed the ministry for advising ‘healthy options’ for the rich.

Many slammed the ministry and asked what was the basis of this projection that showed non-vegetarian food options like eggs, poultry as unhealthy eating choices. “Stupidity at highest!!! Is Egg ?? and Cheese ?? unhealthy? which scientific study proved it? Moreover where do Poor Indians get Kiwi/Avocado Fruits and Berries? Or is it meant to be for RICH People? ??

Amid all the buzz, the ministry’s Twitter handle did not issue an apology or address the concern.





The Delhi DareDevils’ first home match at the Kotla in IPL XI largely proved to be a disappointment for the fans.

The home made a mess of a relatively easy run chase and lost by four runs against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). In fact, the game overall was devoid of much excitement except the last over.

Chasing a moderate KXIP score of 143 for eight, DareDevils lost their way early in their innings. Almost half of their side were back in the pavilion by the 12th over with the score reading 76 for five. The efforts of Shreyas Iyer (57) and Rahul Tewatia (24), who had a 47-run sixth wicket partnership, was not enough in the end.

The match turned somewhat exciting when KXIP skipper Ravichandran Ashwin decided to hand over the ball to Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rehman in the last over. With 17 runs needed, Iyer made an all out effort but could not get the five runs needed of the last delivery and was caught by Aaron Finch. DareDevils thus could manage only 139 for eight in 20 overs.

This was the DareDevils’ fifth defeat in six matches and their chances of making the play-offs already appear to be bleak. KXIP, on the other hand, are riding high with five victories from six matches.


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A peace is of the nature of a conquest; for then both parties nobly are subdued, and neither party loser. – William Shakespeare


A man died and went to heaven. God was surprised to see his heart was still beating. God asked him, how come??

The man replied: “I’m dead but my wife still lives in my heart.”

The man was sent to hell for over acting.

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