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SC Accepts Plea Challenging Rao’s Appointment as Interim CBI Chief

New Delhi

The Supreme Court today agreed to hear next week a plea by an NGO challenging the January 10 order of the government appointing IPS officer M Nageswara Rao as interim director of the CBI.

The matter was mentioned for urgent listing before a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner NGO Common Cause and RTI activist Anjali Bhardwaj, appealed to the bench, also comprising Justices L N Rao and S K Kaul, to hear the plea this Friday.

The CJI told Bhushan that it was “definitely not possible” to hear the matter on Friday and the plea would be heard next week.

CBI’s Additional Director Rao was given the charge of interim chief on January 10 till the appointment of a new director after a high-powered committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi removed Alok Kumar Verma as the chief of the probe agency on charges of corruption and dereliction of duty.

The petition has sought laying down of specific mechanisms to ensure transparency in the process of appointment of CBI director.


Most of the newspapers today carried reports and photographs of the Kumbh Mela which began yesterday on their front pages. “World’s biggest religious event opens” is the caption above a photograph in Hindustan Times of a seer from the Juna Akhada rejoicing before taking a holy dip at the sangam.

The Karnataka impasse also continuing for another day makes for front page news in most of the dailies this morning. “Karnataka on boil: 2 MLAs withdraw support, Kumaraswamy says no threat to his government” writes The Indian Express.

Hindustan Times quoting Prime Minister Modi’s scathing attack on Kerala’s Left Democratic Front government writes “Kerala government’s Sabrimala position shameful”.

The Pioneer quotes the HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar as saying “10% general poor quota from this academic session”. The paper writes that seats in higher educational institutions and universities to be hiked by 25%.

“Information and broadcasting Ministry may endorse self-regulation code for online video players” informs the Economic Times adding “But Amazon, Google, Facebook still out of code agreed to by Netflix, Hotstar, Reliance Jio”.

The Times of India quoting the Supreme Court telling BJP on its rath yatra’s writes “Address Bengal concerns on yatra”.

The Tribune reports that “Troops getting Facebook requests from fake ‘stars’. Commanders to sensitise force to avoid messages from unknown sources”.

“Under Verma, CBI tapped many phones” leads DNA adding “Delhi High Court seeks CBI government’s reply on allegation of illegal snooping”.

Govt working on domestic aircraft manufacturing policy: Suresh Prabhu


Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu has said that the NDA Government is working on a blueprint for the domestic manufacturing of aircraft and also looking at aircraft financing from within the country.

Talking to media at the Global Aviation Summit 2019 in Mumbai on Tuesday, Minister said, the country needs 2,300 new aircraft to meet the future air travel demand. He said the government would like to join hands with top players from across the globe.

Mr Prabhu emphasised on carrying out of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) work domestically. He said, if the MRO work is not carried out in the country then the government will be loosing out lot of money, besides job opportunities.

The Minister said, domestic passenger traffic has been growing at 17 to 18 per cent, adding the government is also now focusing on cargo and has for the first time unveiled a policy to boost the growth in the segment.

He also said, the government has recently launched a drone policy and would like to make sure that drone becomes one of the preferred use for many sectors such as agriculture and disaster management, among others.

The two-day summit is the first-of-its-kind event in the world with participation from more than 86 countries. With the theme ‘Flying for all-especially the next 6 Billion’, the summit has been organised by the Ministry of Civil Aviation in association with FICCI.

It offers stakeholders an opportunity to explore, deliberate and understand how technology-driven innovations will change air travel in the decades to come.

Academic staff of tech institutes to get 7th Central pay commission benefits


The government has approved a proposal to extend the 7th Central Pay Commission benefits to teachers and other academic staff of the state government and government-aided degree level technical institutes.

This will have additional Central government liability of over 1240 crore rupees. The Centre will reimburse 50 per cent of the total additional expenditure from 1st January 2016 to 31st March this year to be incurred by these institutes for payment of arrears.

An official release said, the measure will directly benefit more than 29 thousand teachers and other academic staff of state government funded colleges and institutes.

Besides, about three-and-a-half lakh teachers and academic staff of private institutes under the AICTE will also benefit.

Britain : Theresa May’s Brexit deal rejected by Parliament


Brexit: Theresa May’s EU deal rejected by Parliament. In a humiliating defeat, British MPs rejected PM Theresa May’s withdrawal deal in 202-432 vote


British prime minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal has been defeated in Parliament. It comes after Tuesday saw the prime minister’s supporters putting out an eleventh-hour appeal to win round critics.

Under the terms of an amendment passed last week, she must table a motion on her Plan B within three days. Mrs May said she would make time for a debate on the motion on Wednesday.

May’s Brexit deal has been rejected by 230 votes – the largest defeat for a sitting government in history. MPs voted by 432 votes to 202 to reject the deal, which sets out the terms of Britain’s exit from the EU on 29 March.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has now tabled a vote of no confidence in the government, which could trigger a general election.

Mr Corbyn said the confidence vote would allow the Commons to “give its verdict on the sheer incompetence of this government”.

Mrs May earlier made a last ditch attempt to win support from MPs in the Commons

Wrapping up a final debate, the prime minister predicted the vote would be a “historic decision” which would “set the future of our country for generations”.

She told the House: “I believe we have a duty to deliver on the democratic decision of the British people, and to do so in a way that brings our country together.”

Jeremy Corbyn said that Labour would be voting down the deal.

Revamp Faith Based Mental Care Healing Centers

By Syed Ali Mujtaba

The news of the Supreme Court’s intervention in freeing some twenty-two mentally-ill persons chained at a faith-based mental centre in a Dargah in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh is bit surprising.

Surprising not because the mentally ill people were freed at the orders of the Supreme Court but because the Apex Court has jumped the gun without going into the merits of chaining and taking into account only the human rights angle.

Here, the important thing to consider is the symptoms of mentally diseased and the treatment available to cure them. Sometimes mentally ill patients suffer from mood disorder, bipolar affective disorder, anxiety, depression, hypertension and schizophrenia. In such symptoms some patients are violent and uncontrollable and have to be kept in chain to administer them medical treatment.

The Badaun district authorities acting on the Supreme Court’s observations freed the 22 mentally-ill patients and handed them over to their family members. They never considered that these patients were brought by their family members to such a healing centre because they were unfit to live in the society as they were creating social tension. The mental asylums after admitting the patients had put them in chains because that’s the only way they can start the healing process.

So before pronouncing judgment on such cases, SC may have a thought how best such mentally ill patients could have been treated and in such context may have underscored the utility of faith based mental healing centre and have suggested ways and means to improve the mental health care treatment.

The Badaun Dargah is one among many much mental care spiritual centres in India. The Erwadi Dargah is another such mental health care center in Tamil Nadu. This faith based mental center hogged the limelight in 2001, where fire broke out there, burning alive some 40 mentally ill patients who were chained and unable to escape the flames.

The Erwadi Dargah is 200 years old faith based healing centre for mentally ill patients in Tamil Nadu. It is the abode of Hazrat Sultan Syed Ibrahim Saeed who died in 1792.

The Erwadi Dargah incident was one of the most horrifying tragedies in the recent times. However, much water has flown down the bridge since then and now. The Tamil Nadu government has totally revamped the treatment pattern of the mentally ill at the Dargah, while still maintaining the sanctity of the spiritual based healing process.

The Tamil Nadu government in 2013 launched Mental Health Programme at Eawadi Dargah and launched a comprehensive mental healthcare scheme called the ‘Dawa-Dua’ programme. The government while acknowledging the spiritual healing power of the Daragah, opened a psychiatric clinic to scientifically treat the patients within the Dargah premises

Initially there was some resistance for setting up the clinic in the dargah as some people believed that mental illness is due to the evil spirits captivating the body and can be freed by prayers for forgiveness by the spiritual healers.

However, after some persuasion such people were convinced that the medicines can work inside the dargah premises more better because its power may magnify by the blessings of the holy ‘Saint,’ who lies buried in the shrine.

Soon after the setting up of the psychiatric clinic under ‘Dawa-Dua’ programme, the tarnished fame of the healing power of the Erwadi Dargah increased many fold. The news of the astonishing treatment under clinical and spiritual guidance sunk well among the people who started flocking in the Erwadi Dargah once again.

The shrine receives 1000 visitors each day some being mentally ill patients. Those having violent symptoms are chained within the dargah’s premises after that they receive treatment at new psychiatric clinic, “Dawa-Dua”. Its only after their nerves get cooled they are set free to carry out the rest of the treatment till they are fully cured. There are reports that more than 1,000 patients have so far been cured since the launch of the launch of the “Dawa-Dua” programme.

So successful is the programme that it has sparked interest among other religious community especially Christian faith and they are visiting the Erwadi Dargha to study the programme to replicate in their own religious establishment.

Boyed by the successful implementation of the ‘Dawa-Dua’ programme, the state government has earmarked an additional Rs 7.5 lakh to build a 50-bed psychiatric hospital at the dargah premises.

The faith based mental centers especially the Muslim shrine are dotting the Indian land scape. In such places, the arguments over faith versus science do not work. Mostly destitute and poor flocks to the Dargah to get cured through the spiritual healing process as they believe that the evil spirit from their body can be warded off only through faith based healing process. So one can say what one want about such faith based healing system but the fact remains that the results clearly explains that it is inexplicable and to which modern science have no answers.

It is due to its social pull factor of the Erwadi dargah that the Tamil Nadu government has established a psychiatric clinic there. The mentally ill here get psychotherapy treatment and also spiritual healing at the Dargah premises.

It would be in fit of things if the Supreme Court had ordered the Uttar Pradesh government to revamp the mental centre at the Badaun Dargah on the lines of Earwadi Dargah. Even, it could have passed a suo motto order that all such faith based healing centres should be upgraded as faith and science healing centers.

However, euphemistically one can say that just like the statue of justice that is blind folded, the learned seers of justice have delivered the judgment missing the trunk from the branches of the tree.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at

10 % quota in education to EWS of Upper Caste to be implemented from 2019-20 session


Staff Reporter / New Delhi

The 10 per cent reservation in educational institutions to Economically Weaker Sections EWS of general category will be implemented in 40,000 colleges and 900 universities from the academic year 2019-20. Human Resource and Development Minister Prakash Javadekar made the announcement here today.

He said this will be implemented without impacting the existing quotas for SCs, STs & OBCs. He said the Ministry, UGC, AICTE will issue orders in a week’s time for implementation of the reservation.

He said that adequate additional seats will be created in these colleges and universities to implement the quota for EWS. The UGC and AICTE will be provided the operational mandate within a week to implement the quota.

In another major announcement, Javadekar informed that the Government has approved a proposal to extend the 7th CPC to the teachers and other academic staff of the State Govt. / Govt. aided degree level technical institutions in the country, which will have additional Central Government liability of Rs.1241.78 crore.

He said that the Central Government will reimburse 50% of the total additional expenditure (from 1.1.2016 to 31.3.2019) to be incurred by these institutes for payment of arrears on account of 7th CPC implementation.

This will directly benefit a total of 29,264 teachers and other academic staff of State Government funded institutes. Besides, about 3.5 lakh teachers and other academic staff of private colleges/ institutions within the purview of AICTE will also benefit from the approval given today, he added.

The Minister said that the implementation of pay commission recommendation in State Government Aided / funded AICTE approved technical institutes will help them in attracting and retaining the faculty of high academic standards.

Punjab, Goa in the Semi finals of Boys U-21 Football at KIYG

HSB / Pune

Trailing 0-1 till the 56th Minute Punjab staged a fine recovery to down Goa 2-1 but both the teams made it to the semi finals from pool B of the Boys U-21 football competition at the Khelo India Youth Games here on Monday.

Goa surged ahead in the 56th minute through Leny Fernandes but substitutes Gurprinder singh drew parity for Punjab in the 66th minute while Ramandeep scored the winner five minutes before the final whistle.

Punjab topped the pool winning all three matches, while Goa was second with six points (two wins and a loss).

In U-17 Pool B , Kerala and Maharashtra chalked out identical 3-1 victories over Odisha and Uttar Pradesh to make it to the last four.

For Kerala goal scorer were Joshua M Koshy, Muhammad S and Akmal Shan PP (one each) . Dula Murmu scored for Odisha.

Riding on Jay a Kamat’s brace Maharashtra outpaced Uttar Pradesh Karan R.Prajapati was the other goal getter for the hosts. Substitute Mohd F Parhan got the goal for Uttar Pradesh

In Girls U-17 Pool B Jharkhand and Manipur having already qualified for the last four stage played the last game to decide the topped of the pool Jharkhand kept their slate clean defeating Manipur 4-1 .Sunita (2) Sumati, Sharda (one each) scored for the winners, Laishram reduced the margin for the losers.

In an inconsequential match Uttar Pradesh beat Chandigarh 2-1 in the same group.

In Girls U-21 Manipur defeated Bihar 4-1 for their third successive win while Maharashtra beat Jharkhand 2-0 to complete the semi final line up from Pool B . .

H.Daya Devi (2) Sultana and Th. Babysana Devi (one each) were the scorers for Manipur .Neha Kumari scored the lone goal for Bihar

Maharashtra recorded their second win which enabled them to make the cut. Muriel Adam and Aishwaraya Jagtap scored for the hosts:

Boys U-21

Karnataka bt Manipur 2-1

Punjab bt Goa 2-0

Boys U-17

Kerala bt Odisha 3-1

Maharashtra bt Uttar Pradesh 3-1

Girls U-21

Manipur bt Bihar 4-1

Maharashtra bt Jharkhand 2-0

Girls U-17

Jharkhand bt Manipur 4-1

Uttar Pradesh bt Chandigarh 2-1

Odisha bag KIYG Under-21 men’s hockey gold

HSB / Mumbai

Odisha thwarted Haryana from completing a hockey double as they beat them 4-2 in the Boys Under-21 hockey final of the Khelo India Youth Games in a penalty-shootout at the Mahindra Hockey Stadium in Mumbai on Tuesday. Punjab edged Uttar Pradesh also in penalties for bronze.

On Monday, Haryana had beaten Punjab for the Boys Under-17 gold medal.

In a pulsating Under-21 final, Odisha and Haryana were evenly matched and put two goals each past the other in open play, but could not decide the issue, for which penalties were needed.

Odisha led 2-0 with goals from Dipsan Tirkey (11th minute) and Ashis Topno (23rd) but Haryana hit back through a brace from skipper Mandeep Mor (29th, 57th), his second goal in fact setting up the tie-breaker.

In the shootout, Ashis Topno, Gregory Xess, Shilanand Lakra and Dipsan Tirkey converted for Odisha while only Kuldeep and Yashdeep Siwach could score for Haryana.

In the bronze medal match played earlier, Punjab also needed the shootout to complete a 2-0 win over Uttar Pradesh after the two teams were tied 1-1 in full time.

Uttar Pradesh’s Samarth Prajapati gave his team the lead in the 12th minute but Punjab’s Arvinder Singh scored in the 19th minute to restore parity. In the penalty shootout, it was Punjab’s Mehkeet Singh and Karanbir Singh who converted for their team, while Uttar Pradesh missed all their five attempts.

Women’s Hockey

In the Under-17 women’s competition, Jharkhand defeated Delhi by an emphatic 11-0 in Pool A. Goals for Jharkhand came from Beauty Dung Dung (9th, 26th, 28th minutes), Poonam Mundu (34th, 42nd, 45th), Pramodni Lakra (12th), Rajni Kerketta (18th), Dipti Kullu (41st), Sanjana Horo (49th) and Prini Kandir (55th).

In another Pool A match, Punjab got the better of Chandigarh by a 4-3 margin helped by a Sneha Sabharwal hat-trick who scored in the 19th, 35th and 42nd minutes besides Mitali, who opened the scoring in the third minute itself. For Chandigarh, Kavita (13th, 30th) and Dhapa Devi (51st) got on the scoresheet.

In Pool B, Mizoram routed hosts Maharashtra 5-1 with goals scored by Lalthantluangi (23th, 36th, 58thminutes), Vanlalhriatpuii (30th) and Lalruatfeli Jr. (55th) while skipper Rutuja Pisal (51th) scored Maharashtra’s only goal.

The other match saw Haryana register a 3-2 win over Odisha. Komal Rohilla (11th), Deepika (31th) and Neelam (47th) scored for Haryana while Neha Lakra (21st) and Nimabati Singh (49th) got on the scoresheet for Odisha.

In the Under-21 Pool A games, Maharashtra and Jharkhand played out a goalless, giving the hosts top spot in the pool with five points while Odisha were held to a 1-1 draw by Mizoram with goals coming from Dipti Lakra (14th) and V.L. Hmangaihsangi (28th).

Results: Men’s Under-21 final: Odisha bt Haryana 4-2 (2-2 full time); 3rd place: Punjab bt Uttar Pradesh 3-1 (1-1 full time).

Women’s Under-17 Pool A: Jharkhand bt Delhi 11-0, Punjab bt Chandigarh 4-3; Pool B: Mizoram bt Maharashtra 5-1, Haryana bt Odisha 3-2.

Women’s Under-21 Pool A: Odisha drew Mizoram 1-1, Maharashatra drew Jharkhand 0-0.

Rajnath calls for national level debate on the issue of conversion

There is no better place in world to celebrate Festival of Peace than India, says minister


Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has called for a national level debate on the issue of conversion with an open mind by all the sections of the society. Mr. Singh was addressing the Festival of Peace programme here Tuesday. He said in countries where majority community rules, the minorities demand implementation of Anti conversion Law whereas in India the demand for such a law comes from the majority.

The Minister said that there is no better place in the world to celebrate the Festival of Peace than India. He said the country is the land of peace where all religious communities have been living together in harmony for centuries. He added that India, being the harbinger of peace and tolerance, one can find all the six sects of Christianity, 72 sects of Islam, Parsis and Jews living together peacefully.

On the occasion, the Home Minster also gave away the peace awards to the organizations and persons who worked towards it.

Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Ramdas Athawale also spoke of peace and harmony in the country. He said that it is only through peace that India can become a strong country.