The Asian Age – Government rejects move for judge elevation

Collegium urged to reconsider Justice K M Joseph; CJI feels government ‘within rights’

J Venkatesan

New Delhi – India, 27 April 2018. In a buildup for confrontation between the government and the judiciary, the Centre on Thursday returned to the Supreme Court collegium its recommendation to elevate Uttarakand high court’s Chief Justice K M Joseph as a judge of the apex court on the ground that he is 42nd in the list of seniority of high court judges.

Justice Joseph headed the high court bench that had quashed the Narendra Modi government’s decision to impose President’s rule in the Congress-ruled hill state in 2016.

The disagreement over appointment of the top judge comes at a time when the judiciary has been blaming the government for failing to appoint enough judges to deal with the huge backlog of over 2.75 crore pending cases.

On Wednesday, the government cleared the elevation of advocate Indu Malhotra as a Supreme Court judge and put on hold the elevation of Justice Joseph though both the proposals were sent at the same time in January this year.

“The proposed appointment of Justice K M Joseph at this stage does not appear to be appropriate. It would also not be fair and justified to other more senior, suitable, and deserving chief justices and senior judges of various high courts,” said a letter law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad sent to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Thursday.

The government returned the proposal on Justice Joseph’s elevation and asked the collegium to reconsider it, saying the proposal was not in accordance with the top court’s parameters and there was adequate representation of Kerala in the higher judiciary from where he hails.

Under the memorandum of procedure on appointment of judges, once the proposal is returned for reconsideration, and if the collegium reiterates the appointment, the government is bound to accept the same but there is no time limit on such appointment.

The NDA government’s decision to return to collegium its recommendation came after almost three-and-half-months after Justice Joseph’s name was cleared on January 10 by the five-member collegium, the highest decision-making body of the SC comprising CJI Dipak Misra and Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph.

In the recent weeks, members of the collegium had expressed concern over the government sitting over their recommendation to elevate Justice Joseph.

The latest communication on the delay was made to the CJI by Justices Gogoi and Lokur, a day before Rajya Sabha chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu rejected the notice of impeachment moved by Congress-led MPs against the CJI.

Justice Joseph, who will turn 60 in June, has been the chief justice of Uttarakhand high court since July 2014. He was appointed a permanent judge of the Kerala high court on October 14, 2004. A high court judge retires at the age of 62 while the retirement age for an apex court judge is 65 years.

Though it was widely perceived that Justice Josep-h’s elevation was put on hold by the Centre because of a judgment given by him in 2016 quashing President’s rule in Uttarakhand and restoring the Congress government, the Centre has denied this charge.

The government said that the objection to his elevation was mainly on the ground that he is 42nd in the list of seniority among high court judges and 11 in the seniority among the chief justices of high courts.

Sources pointed out that if Uttarakand judgment was the reason, then on the same yardstick the government ought not to have accepted the appointment of Justice J S Khehar as the CJI who prior to his elevation as the CJI had given a verdict quashing the National Judicial Appointments Commission law.

The now-quashed NJAC law sought to give politicians and civil society a final say in the appointment of judges to the highest courts replacing the current system of “judges appointing judges”.

Law minister Mr Prasad, in an informal meeting with journalists, said that it would be appropriate to mention that Kerala high court has adequate representation in the Supreme Court and among the chief justices in various high courts, namely Justice T B Radhakrishan, chief justice of Chhattisgarh high court, and Justice Antony Dominic, chief justice of Kerala high court.

Mr Prasad said, “From our records it is evident that to ensure regional representation, seniority may not have been taken as an important consideration but in case where the high court concerned is adequately represented in the Supreme Court and also as chief justices in different high courts, then this consideration cannot be and should not be ignored altogether to the detriment and prejudice of other senior judges” and urged the SC collegium to reconsider the move to elevate Justice Joseph.

The collegium’s January 10 resolution had earlier said it “considers that at present Justice K M Jose-ph, who hails from Kerala high court and is currently functioning as chief justice of Uttarakhand HC, is more deserving and suitable in all respects than other chief justices and senior judges of high courts for being appointed as judge of the SC”.

The Tribune – Granthi held for thrashing boy

Tribune News Service

Sangrur – Panjab – India, 27 April 2018. The police arrested a granthi (priest*) of a gurdwara on Friday after a video of a nine-year-old boy with injury marks on his back alleging that he was beaten up by the priest* for not washing his hands went viral on Thursday evening. The Sunam police had registered a case on Thursday against Granthi Sher Singh.

The victim on Thursday showed injuries to his teachers at Government Primary School, Surajkund. He alleged that the granthi of a gurdwara on Kacha Paha Road, Sunam, Sher Singh, thrashed him with a wire for not washing his hands before the morning prayers in the village gurdwara.

Teachers prepared a video clip of the boy showing his injuries and uploaded it on social media. Sunam-based social worker Jatinder Jain, after seeing the video, took up the matter with the city police station, Sunam.

“After seeing the video, I along with locals went to the gurdwara, where Sher Singh said he slapped the boy, but failed to give any satisfactory reason for it,” said Jain.

Jain said the boy and his elder brother, after the death of their father three years ago, were left in the gurdwara for religious education by their mother, who is a resident of Ajnaunda village as she did not have required financial resources to provide them education and other facilities.

The police after medical examination of the victim, sent both brothers to Pingalwara on Thursday evening. On Friday, their mother reached Pingalwara and brought both of them to her house.

“I had left both sons at the gurdwara because we did not have required resources to provide education and other facilities to them. Now I have decided that they will stay with me,” she said.

Sunam SHO Bharpur Singh said they had arrested Sher Singh. “We have registered a case against Sher Singh under Sections 323 of the IPC and Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice Act-2015,” he said.

* A granthi is like a protestant minister and definitely not a priest
Man in Blue


28 February 2018

Zwijdrecht Dorp

Level crossing

De Lijn Tram 3 – Melsele to Merksem

Tracks to/from Antwerpen

Zwijndrecht Dorp tram stop

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Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Daily Times – Sikh community express their issues at open court for minorities

For security, locals suggested that the personnel withdrawn from VIPs in KP should be provided to them instead

Peshawar – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – Pakistan, 28 April 2018. The Sikh community in the metropolis got a chance to put forward the issues they were facing, at an open court organised for the first time for minorities by the district administration at Gurdwara Bhai Joga Singh on Friday.

During the session, locals told Peshawar Deputy Commissioner Dr Imran Hamid that they lacked certain facilities in the area such as those pertaining to security.

They demanded security for their community school, saying it has been attacked in the past but still lacked proper security and safety measures. They were talking about the gun attack on the school that happened a few months back.

For security, locals suggested that the personnel withdrawn from VIPs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa should be provided to them instead. They were referring to the security claimed to have been withdrawn from influential people in KP over Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar’s directives during his visit to Peshawar on 19 April.

Sikh community members also spoke about hindrances they were facing in obtaining national identity cards, saying no officer attested their documents when they go for their NICs.

Besides, they added, the provincial government did not provide them the Sehat Insaf cards. The cards were issued to people of the province by KP government under its two-year health insurance scheme called Sehat Ka Insaf.

The locals also said stipend should be provided to caretakers of their gurdwaras just like a sum is allocated for prayer leaders of mosques. They also demanded a safe cremation ground to perform final rites of their deceased. “Even if it is a land of 20 marlas, we would accept it,” said one of the locals.

Participants at the open court said they were facing issues in getting basic facilities despite being regular tax payers.

They also demanded that the Sikh marriage bill be passed in the KP Assembly as well, just like it was done in Punjab. The Punjab Assembly passed a bill on March 14, making Sikh community marriages legal.

Other than stating their grievances to the deputy commissioner, locals expressed their pleasure at his arrival for the first time to the gurdwara.

After listening to locals’ concerns, the deputy commissioner promised their issues would be solved and formed a five-member community comprising district administration officials and Sikh community members.

The deputy commissioner said they would try their best to address the grievances as soon as they are communicated.

The open court was held at Gurdwara Bhai Joga Singh in Peshawar’s Mohalla Jogan Shah, one of the famous Sikh neighbourhood’s in the city.

Dawn – Two Hazara men shot dead in fourth ‘targeted’ attack this month in Quetta

Syed Ali Shah

Quetta – Baluchistan – Pakistan, 28 April 2018. Two shopkeepers belonging to the Shia Hazara community were killed in a drive-by shooting in Quetta on Saturday, police said.

According to police, unidentified assailants opened fire at an electronics shop in Quetta’s Jamaluddin Afghani Road area, killing two Hazara men on the spot.

The assailants managed to escape unhurt from the scene after the attack, while the bodies of the deceased, identified as Jaffar and Muhammad Ali, were shifted to the Civil Hospital in Quetta.

A police officer who requested anonymity said the attack appeared to be an incident of targeted killing.

Police and personnel of other law enforcement agencies reached the site as an investigation into the incident went underway. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

Activists of the Hazara Democratic Party staged a protest against the killings at Quetta’s Bacha Khan Chowk. They set tyres alight, chanted slogans against the administration and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits.

Attacks against Hazaras in Quetta have seen a spike recently, with today’s incident being the fourth this month alone.

Two members of the community were killed and another was injured in an attack in the Western Bypass area of the city last Sunday. A shopkeeper was gunned down on April 18 while another Hazara man was killed in the beginning of the month.

Sectarian terrorism in Balochistan has disproportionately targeted people from the Hazara community.

A report by the National Commission of Human Rights (NCHR) released last month claimed that 509 Hazaras were killed in various incidents of terrorism in Quetta in the last five years.