Two days after both Houses of Parliament cleared the reading down
of Article 370 and the reorganisation of the State of Jammu and Kashmir into
two separate Union Territories, Prime Minister NarendraModi, in a televised
address to the nation on Thursday said it was a historic move and a new
beginning for Jammu and Kashmir as well as Ladakh.
Mr Modi, however, stressed that the Union Territory status for J&K
from being a full State, was a “temporary” situation and that at some point
statehood would be restored. Ladakh, he added, would remain a Union
He also said Assembly polls, held in a transparent manner and with
a process that had integrity, will take place soon, and that MLAs and the
chief minister will be from among the people of the Union Territory.
He also pointed out that those who had settled in J&K after
Partition could only vote in LokSabha polls and not the Assembly or local
body polls. With the reading down of Articles 370 and 35A, this was now
over, he said.
Mr Modi urged political parties who had opposed the Bills in
Parliament to put national interest front and centre going forward on this
He said the Union Territory status for Jammu and Kashmir and
Ladakh also meant that the State police and administrative staff would get
pay parity with the staff in other Union Territories. All vacancies in
government jobs at both the Central and State levels will be filled soon, he
Supreme court questions validity of birth place as a criteria for juristic
On the third day of the hearing on Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid
land dispute, the Supreme Court on Thursday queried whether the birth place
or ‘Janmasthan’ can be regarded as a ‘juristic person’.
A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice
RanjanGogoi made the query to ‘Ram LallaVirajman’, one of the parties in the
The Bench said that as per Indian law, Hindu deities had been
treated as ‘juristic person’ which could hold properties and initiate
litigation, but queried how ‘Janmasthan’ came to acquire similar rights.
Mr.Parasaran said that in Hindu religion, idols were not necessary
for a place to be regarded as a holy place of worship.“Rivers are
worshipped. Sun is not an idol but is also worshipped as deity,”
Mr.Parasaran said, adding birth place in itself could be treated as a
Changes in PMLA empowers enforcement directorate
The Centre has issued a notification on certain changes in the
Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), some of which tend to treat money
laundering as a stand-alone crime and also expand the ambit of “proceeds of
crime” to assets that may have been derived from any other criminal activity
related to scheduled offences.
Under the Act, the Enforcement Directorate is empowered to conduct
money laundering investigation.
The most crucial amendments are the deletion of provisos in
sub-sections (1) of Section 17 (Search and Seizure) and Section 18 (Search
of Persons), doing away with the pre-requisite of an FIR or chargesheet by
other agencies that are authorised to probe the offences listed in the PMLA
Another important change is the insertion of an explanation in
Section 44. “The jurisdiction of the Special Court, while dealing with the
offence under this Act, during investigation, enquiry or trial under this
Act, shall not be dependent upon any orders passed in respect of the
scheduled offence, and the trial of both sets of offences by the same court
shall not be construed as joint trial,” it says.
The scope of “proceeds of crime”, under Section 2, has been
expanded to empower the agency to act against even those properties which
“may directly or indirectly be derived or obtained as a result of any
criminal activity relatable to the scheduled offence”.
Government assures no punitive action against companies not following CSR
The government has given an assurance that it will not initiate
punitive action against companies not following the Corporate Social
Responsibility (CSR) norms as mentioned in the recent amendments to the
Companies Act, industry leaders said, following a meeting with Finance
The Finance Ministry will also be looking into ways to ensure that
the rate cuts undertaken by the Reserve Bank of India are passed on to
consumers by banks
The recent amendments to the Companies Act mandate a jail time of
up to three years and a possible fine for those companies and its officials
that do not comply with the stated CSR norms.
UN chief invokes Shimla agreement on India-Pak dispute
U.N. chief Antonio Guterres on August 9 urged India and Pakistan
to exercise “maximum restraint” and refrain from taking steps that could
affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir, as he highlighted the Shimla
Agreement which rejects any third-party mediation on the issue.
The Secretary-General’s remarks came after India on August 5
revoked Article 370 to withdraw the special status to Jammu and Kashmir and
bifurcated the state into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir and
Pakistan termed the Indian action as “unilateral and illegal”, and
said it will take the matter to the U.N. Security Council.
Guterres’ spokesman StephaneDujarric specifically said that the
Secretary-General “also recalls the 1972 Agreement on bilateral relations
between India and Pakistan, also known as the Shimla Agreement, which states
that the final status of Jammu and Kashmir is to be settled by peaceful
means” in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
India seeks change of status of several species in CITES
India has submitted proposals regarding changes to the listing of
various wildlife species in the CITES secretariat meeting, scheduled later
this month in Geneva, Switzerland.
CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species on
Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international treaty to ensure that trade in
wild animals and plants do not threaten their survival.
The proposals submitted are regarding changes in the listing of
the smooth-coated otter, small-clawed otter, Indian star tortoise, Tokay
gecko, wedgefish and Indian rosewood.
The country seeks to boost the protection of all the five animal
species as they are facing a high risk of international trade.
India is among the parties proposing the re-listing of the star
tortoise from CITES Appendix II to Appendix I. The species faces two
threats: loss of habitat to agriculture and illegal harvesting for the pet
With regard to the two otter species, India, Nepal and the
Philippines have proposed that the listing be moved from CITES Appendix II
to Appendix I for the more endangered species. A similar proposal has been
made to include the Tokay gecko in Appendix I.
World archery suspends Indian archery association for defying guidelines
The World Archery (WA) today suspended the Archery Association of
India (AAI) for defying its guidelines by electing two parallel bodies,
asking the federation to put its house in order by the end of this month.
The decision is effective from Monday and the last event in which
the archers can participate under the Indian flag is the World Archery Youth
Championships in Madrid from 19th to 25th of this month.
The AAI had to find a solution by the end of last month as per the
deadline given by WA's executive board and since no progress has been made,
the world governing body implemented the suspension order.
Olympic quota places will be up for grabs at the Asian
Championships and Asian Para Championships, to be held in Bangkok in
November. India so far have three men's places secured for the next Olympics
but has yet to win a women's spot.