Monday, July 29, 2019

Fears over Muslim parents withdrawing children from 'non-halal' flu vaccine

Muslim parents are refusing to allow their children to take part in a nationwide flu vaccine drive after the Muslim Council of Britain ruled the treatment was forbidden by Islam.
Public health officials have raised concern over the number of Muslim children expected to be withdrawn from a major programme beginning in schools next month.
For the first time, every healthy child of primary school age in England will be offered a nasal spray vaccine to protect people of all ages from the virus.
But Muslim parents across the country have been told that the Fluenz spray is not permitted because it contains gelatine derived from pigs, which are considered unclean.
In some areas the “vast majority” of Muslim parents have vowed to withdraw their children from the programme, community leaders revealed.
Tonight the Royal Society for Public Health said the situation “added to the risk of major flu outbreaks” and urged the government to offer a halal alternative vaccine acceptable to Muslims.
Since 2013 the nasal spray vaccine has been gradually introduced to healthy children, beginning with youngsters in nursery school. An injectable alternative without gelatine does exist, but is only offered to children at higher risk.
The programme has resulted in a significant reduction in flu cases, and from August the Fluenz spray will be offered to every child between the ages of two and ten.
However Public Health England documents seen by the Telegraph reveal concern that uptake in Muslim areas has already been “significantly lower” than the average.
“Vaccine uptake is significantly and independently associated with increasing deprivation, ethnicity and areas with the largest Muslim populations,” the document says.
Across England, the document adds, the most common reason for refusal given by parents was “vaccine contains porcine gelatine”.
"Religious faith is an important area for public health efforts so that the gap between these populations and baseline groups is minimised further," it says.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

How smugglers sneaked in gold worth Rs 1,300 crore

The Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of the Customs nabbed an airline employee who attempted to smuggle 24.5 kg of 24-carat pure gold worth Rs 8.2 crore through the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport.

The Customs Department this week busted what is estimated to be the biggest single gold smuggling racket in Gujarat. About 4,000 kg of gold worth Rs 1,300 crore is reckoned to have been smuggled through Ahmedabad airport in the past six years. 

Customs officials say this is only the tip of the iceberg and further probe may lead to the rise in the gold booty. The rampant smuggling of gold came to light after Jignesh Savaliya, an airline employee at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport (SVPIA) was arrested along with Lokesh, a carrier, a month and a half ago. Savaliya was nabbed by the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of the Customs while attempting to smuggle 24.5 kg of 24-carat pure gold worth Rs 8.2 crore through the airport. Lokesh, who flew in on a Fly Dubai flight from the UAE on June 4, had handed over the 22 bars of gold weighing 1kg each and 25 biscuits of 100 grams each to Savaliya. 

Their questioning led to the unfolding of the biggest gold smuggling racket in the state. Customs officials have found Savaliya to be the most important link in the chain. His unrestricted access to the different areas at the airport allowed him to carry out the operation under the very nose of multiple security agencies, including the Customs, CISF, AIU, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security who guard the entry points. Sources said that Savaliya had access in cargo as well as passenger areas – that is not even provided to Customs officials. How they operated Once a message was received that a carrier was on board a particular flight, Savaliya would go on standby on the passenger side of the international terminal, sources said. Once the carrier got out of the aircraft, the exchange would take place immediately and the gold would change hands on the aerobridge itself. Once the exchange was completed, the carrier, acting like any other international passenger, would declare nothing at the Customs desk and exit the airport. 

Meanwhile, Savaliya would exit the aerobridge from its external staircase and go through the cargo bay doors, where he also had access. Investigators are trying to figure out how this happened. Savaliya would evade Customs and would easily pass on the illicit gold to Vijay Raval, who waited outside the airport and transport it to Rutugna Trivedi, the mastermind. Trivedi would then sell it to jewellers in the local Indian market, thus legitimising the booty. Who is involved in the racket Special Public Prosecutor Sudhir K Gupta said, “Six of the 10 accused who were arrested by the Customs have been sent to judicial custody. Financiers Jitendra Rokad and Mehul Bhimani, transporter Vijesh aka Vijay Raval, carriers Divya Bhundiya and Lokesh and airline staffer Jignesh Savaliya were sent to judicial custody on July 16 for 14 days.” 

However, mastermind Rutugna Trivedi, his wife Hina who sent the gold from Dubai, accountant Nita Parmar and carrier Bhargav Tanti are absconding. 

More names are likely to crop as probe proceeds, said officials. With teams sent out to look out for the accused, Customs is working with national agencies to use diplomatic channels in an attempt to get Hina Trivedi deported from the United Arab Emirates. 

 While names of only three carriers have been revealed, there are more than seven in all who ferried the 4,000 kg of gold to India from 2013 to 2019, sources said. Divya Bhundia is accused of having ferried 1,285 kg of gold worth Rs 420 crore in 73 trips from Dubai, Customs officials are still trying to figure out how much gold each of the other six carriers ferried from the UAE. Intelligence failure.
Along with investigation into this smuggling case, two more parallel investigations are underway whose outcomes will establish how the smuggling operation continued for six years. A senior IRS official said, “It is highly unusual for an airline employee, a ground staff member, to be given access to passenger areas as well as cargo areas. The two should not be mixed and still, this was not the case here, which is why they could evade Customs.” On the other hand, an internal evaluation of security lapses and intelligence failures is underway across different forces to find out how no intelligence about this racket went undetected for six years. A senior official said, “We are trying to learn from this failure and assess why no intelligence was developed earlier in this matter.” 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

SC Order In Karnataka MLAs Case

In the name of maintaining 'constitutional balance', the Court passed an order nullifying the effect of Clause 2(b) of Schedule 10 of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court walked a tight rope to maintain 'constitutional balance' in the Karnataka MLAs' case.
The rebel MLAs wanted their resignations to be accepted fast by the Speaker and pleaded that they should not be forced to attend the House.
The Speaker said that MLAs have already incurred disqualification under Tenth Schedule of the Constitution and urged that the Court cannot direct the Speaker to take decisions within a time frame.
The MLAs raised the concern that decision on resignation is being delayed so as to force them to support the incumbent government in the trust vote, lest they will face disqualification for violating the party whip.
The matter witnessed a marathon hearing, with arguments based on Articles 190, 212 and Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.
On Wednesday(July 17), the bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose   Passed an interim   Order giving Speaker as much time as he required to decide on resignations, and permitting the MLAs to stay out of the House proceedings, if they choose to do so, until further orders.
"We also make it clear that until further orders, the 15 members of Assembly ought not to be compelled to participate in the proceedings of the ongoing session of the House and an option should be given to them that they can take part in the said proceedings or to opt to remain out of the same", ordered the Court.
This was passed after the Court observed that "The imperative necessity, at this stage, is to maintain the constitutional balance and the conflicting and competing rights that have been canvassed before us".
The seemingly innocuous portion of the order which says that the MLAs cannot be compelled to attend the house proceedings has potential for a lot of repercussions, especially in view of the trust vote of the Congress-JD(S) government scheduled to take place tomorrow.
It is relevant to note that the Court was conscious of the trust vote tomorrow, as this fact is specifically recorded in the order.

"Such an interim exercise has been prudent in view of certain time frame exercises(s) that is in the offing in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, particularly, the non-trust motion against the present Government, which we are told is due for being taken up on 18th July, 2019", the bench observed in this regard.
The liberty given by the apex court to dissident legislators will in effect enable them to defy any party whip issued to them to attend the trust vote tomorrow, and thereby to ward off any consequences of disqualification.
As per Clause 2(b) of Schedule 10 of the Constitution, abstaining from voting in House contrary to any direction issued by the political party to which the legislator belongs to will cause disqualification on the ground of defection.
Schedule X of Constitution

2. Disqualification on ground of defection.—(1) Subject to the provisions of paragraphs 4 and 5, a member of a House belonging to any political party shall be disqualified for being a member of the House—
(a) if he has voluntarily given up his membership of such political party; or
(b) if he votes or abstains from voting in such House contrary to any direction issued by the political party to which he belongs or by any person or authority authorised by it in this behalf, without obtaining, in either case, the prior permission of such political party, person or authority and such voting or abstention has not been condoned by such political party, person or authority within fifteen days from the date of such voting or abstention
The Supreme Court's order has empowered the legislators to act against Clause 2(b) of Schedule 10. In other words, the order has extinguished the impact of Clause 2(b) of Schedule 10 of the Constitution in this case, depriving the political parties of the power to issue party whips to their members to attend the trust vote session.
Acceptance of resignation a matter of Speaker's discretion.
If one examines the constitutional scheme, it becomes clear that acceptance of resignation by the Speaker is not a matter of right of a legislator. It is the Speaker's discretion.
This is clear from proviso to Article 190(3(b) of the Constitution, which says that the Speaker shall not accept the resignation if he is satisfied that it was not voluntary or genuine.
Article 190(3)
(3) If a member of a House of the Legislature of a State
(a) becomes subject to any of the disqualifications mentioned in clause ( 1 ) or clause ( 2 ) of Article 191; or
(b) resigns his seat by writing under his hand addressed to the Speaker or the Chairman, as the case may be, and his resignation is accepted by the Speaker or the Chairman, as the case may be, his seat shall thereupon becomes vacant:

Provided that in the case of any resignation referred to in sub clause (b), if from information received or otherwise and after making such inquiry as he thinks fit, the Speaker or the Chairman, as the case may be, is satisfied that such resignation is not voluntary or genuine, he shall not accept such resignation
The Speaker had argued before the Court that the enquiry into resignation is inextricably linked with disqualification proceedings under Schedule 10. The inter-connection between these two proceedings is an issue which the Court said it will consider in detail later.
Anyhow, from the plain text of Constitution, two things follow :
  • Resignation is not a matter of right of an MLA.
  • A political party has power to direct its member to be present in voting in house, and non-compliance of such a direction will lead to the member's disqualification on ground of defection.
That being so, how can a person, who continues to be an MLA with the resignation having not been accepted by the Speaker, claim a right to abstain from House proceedings, particularly in view of Schedule 10?
In the process of maintaining 'constitutional balance', the Court passed an order nullifying the effect of Clause 2(b) of Schedule 10 of the Constitution, enabling the rebel MLAs to escape the consequences of defying party whips.
According to me, the order goes against the spirit of anti-defection laws.

Accountant’s 1,700 upskirt images taken on his iPhone

A HIGH-FLYING young accountant was caught with 1,700 ‘upskirt’ images of women he had filmed on his iPhone, a court heard.
Leon Chan, who works for global giant PricewaterhouseCoopers, was found out after trying to film a customer at Top Shop in Oxford Circus, London.
A store detective saw him behaving suspiciously with his phone as the unsuspecting woman was bending over, Westminster magistrates were told. 
Chan was detained and immediately handed over his phone and its PIN. 
Police examined the device and found the vast stash of images. 
Michael Magarian QC, defending, said Chan could be ‘described as a high-flyer’ and had achieved a first-class degree in economics at Leeds University. 
Mr Magarin added: ‘He is in a very, very good job. All of this behaviour was during a short period over Christmas and he will now face professional disciplinary proceedings.’
Chan, of Whitechapel, east London, admitted one count of outraging public decency by filming or attempting to film up women’s skirts, on or before January 1 this year. He will be sentenced later at Southwark crown court after magistrate Victoria Readman told him: ‘We are very concerned in relation to the seriousness of the offence.’

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Ukraine to chemically castrate paedophiles and rapists in prison under new laws

New laws in Ukraine will see convicted paedophiles and rapists forcibly castrated by chemical injection.
The legislation will potentially apply annually to thousands of men aged between 18 and 65 found guilty of raping or sexually abusing minors.

Paedophiles will face "coercive chemical castration" under the the new system.
This "involves the forced injection of anti-androgen drugs consisting of chemicals that should reduce libido and sexual activity", reported Ukrinform news agency.
The law will apply to all child rapes including "unnatural" rape and sexual abuse of children above and below the age of puberty.
In 2017 official figures showed 320 child rapes in Ukraine but the numbers of paedophile sex abuse cases are believed to run into the thousands.
New legislation could apply annually to thousands of men aged 18-65 found guilty of sex crimes against youngsters.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

If driver of offending Vehicle does not possess the Valid licence

Full Judgment

The Supreme Court has reiterated that, if the driver of the offending vehicle does not possess a valid driving license, the principle of 'pay and recover' can be ordered to direct the insurance company to the pay the victim, and then recover the amount from the owner of the offending vehicle.
Parminder Singh, a driver, was driving a Hyundai Elantra car in which Captain Kanwaljit Singh, the then Cabinet Minister in Punjab, was being driven from Ludhiana. The car collided with the Truck which came from the opposite direction at a very high speed, and rammed into the car. Captain Kanwaljit Singh succumbed to his injuries on the same day while undergoing treatment in the hospital. The driver survived, but became permanently disabled. The High Court enhanced the compensation awarded to him by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal to Rs.21,06,000/-
In the appeal filed by him, the Apex Court bench comprising Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice MR Shah observed that the compensation awarded to him towards his medical expenses is highly insufficient given the fact that he had undergone 5 surgeries, including a surgery for a severe head injury, and 12 throat surgeries. It said:
"The Appellant was produced before us. He was in an extremely pitiable state. On account of the removal of the frontal bone of the skull, half of his head has caved in. Furthermore, a deep circular incision was made in his throat, and his body was in an unstable condition, undergoing tremors. The Appellant is further suffering from hemiplegia, due to which the left side of his body is not functioning properly.. Given the debilitated state of the Appellant, no amount of money can compensate him. He has been in this condition since the age of 22 years when the accident took place, and will remain like this throughout his life. The Appellant has also been deprived of having a normal married life with a family, and would require medical assistance from time to time. Being completely dependant, he would require the help of an attendant throughout his life."
The bench then awarded the compensation as follows:
Rs. 32,40,000/- to be awarded towards loss of future earnings by taking the income of the Appellant at Rs. 10,000/- p.m., and granting Future Prospects @50%; ii) Rs. 7,50,000/- to be awarded towards repeated hospitalizations and medical expenses for undergoing surgeries and medical treatment; iii) Rs. 10,00,000/- to be awarded towards future medical expenses and attendant charges.
The court also noted that, in this case, evidence has been produced from the office of the Regional Transport Office to prove that the drivers of the two offending trucks were driving on the basis of invalid driving licenses. The bench said:
This Court in Shamanna & Ors. v. The Divisional Manager, The Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. & Ors., held that if the driver of the offending vehicle does not possess a valid driving license, the principle of 'pay and recover' can be ordered to direct the insurance company to the pay the victim, and then recover the amount from the owner of the offending vehicle.
The bench then directed the Insurance Company to pay the enhanced compensation amount and said that it is entitled to recover the amount from the owners and drivers of the two offending trucks.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

India's 'Dosa King' begins life in jail over murder of young woman's husband

An Indian restaurant tycoon known as the "Dosa King" will finally serve his life sentence for murdering the husband of a woman he wanted to marry -- 15 years after he was convicted.
P. Rajagopal, who founded the popular Indian restaurant chain Saravana Bhavan in 1981, was convicted of orchestrating the abduction and murder of his love interest's husband. 
The case dates back to 2001, when according to court documents, Rajagopal had unsuccessfully tried to persuade the married 21-year-old daughter of an employee to become his third wife. Rajagopal lavished the woman with expensive gifts and told her false stories about her husband, including that he had HIV.
In September 2001, the couple decided to move house to get away from the restaurant mogul. Before they could leave, the couple was abducted and attacked by Rajagopal and a group of others.
The couple survived, but later that year the restaurateur hired a hit man to kill the husband, whose body was found in a forest in Tamil Nadu, the court heard. He is believed to have been strangled to death.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Passport Renewal Cannot Be Denied Citing Criminal Case If There Is Permission From Court : Delhi HC

Holding that the rigours of provisions of the Passport Act which restrict from issuance/ renewal of passport to persons facing criminal prosecution stand relaxed by a notification issued by the Centre in 1993, the Delhi High Court has directed the Regional Passport office to renew the passport of Rajiv Chaturvedi, the Chief General Manager of state-run PEC Limited. 
In so saying, Justice Vibhu Bakhru has held that nothing precludes a person facing criminal or departmental proceedings from obtaining passport facilities if he has sought permission from the court as per the 1993 notification.
While Section 6 of the Passport Act provides that travel documents can be refused to persons facing criminal proceedings, the 1993 notification provides that the same can be issued if the court seized of the matter permits.
Chaturvedi, along with other officials of PEC Limited, a PSU under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, stands charged with offences under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act following an FIR registered by the CBI last year for allegedly cheating the PSU of Rs 531 crores. 
He had moved court through advocate Gaurav Gupta after PEC Limited refused to grant him a No- Objection Certificate (NOC) for getting his passport renewed. 
The PEC had cited the Office Memorandum dated 28.03.2018 issued by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension, Department of Personnel and Training which stated that vigilance clearance and the consequent no-objection certificate needed by a Public Servant for issuance/renewal of the Passport should ordinarily be withheld if there are Disciplinary proceedings pending against him. 
Chaturvedi challenged this March 28, 2018 office Memorandum besides another Office Memorandum dated 02.08.2018 issued by PEC Limited, declining his request for issuance of NOC for the renewal of his passport. 
Gupta told the court that in keeping with the notification dated August 25, 1993 issued by the Centre requiring persons booked for certain offences to seek court's permission for passport renewal, Chaturvedi had applied before a Special CBI court at Greater Bombay seeking permission for renewal of passport and the permission for the same was granted in April, 2018. 
However, he was not allowed renewal of passport by the regional passport office. 
Before the high court, the respondents including the Centre, PEC and the passport office submitted that since charges have been framed against Chaturvedi, passport facilities have been denied to him in view of Section 6(2)(f) of the Passports Act, 1967 which provides that the passport authority shall refuse to issue a passport or travel document for visiting any foreign country if the proceedings in respect of an offence alleged to have been committed by the applicant are pending before a criminal court in India 
The counsel appearing for the PEC Limited also contended that the order dated 24.04.2018 passed by the Court of the Special Judge was conditional and permits issuance of a passport only if it is otherwise permissible as per the relevant passport rules. 
The high court, however, noted that apart from referring to Sections 6(2)(f) and 10 of Act, PEC did not draw its attention to any other rule, which would preclude Chaturvedi from obtaining passport facilities. The Court also noted that the concerned criminal court had permitted the renewal of passport.

The Allahabad High Court has notified the procedure for anticipatory bail applications.

The Allahabad High Court has notified the procedure to be followed while filing anticipatory bail applications.
Section 438 Criminal Procedure Code which had been omitted by Uttar Pradesh government during the Emergency was reinserted by the Government with effect from June 6, 2019.