Tenure of three additional judges of Punjab & Haryana High Court extended

The tenure of three additional judges of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana has been extended by one year, an official press release said here today.
It said that, as per a notification issued today, the President had appointed Mr  Rajiv Narain Raina, Mr Tejinder Singh Dhindsa, and Mr Gurmeet Singh Sandhawalia, as additional judges of the High Court for a period of one year with effect from 30th September, 2013. 

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First UK India Business Centre opens in Gurgaon

First UK India Business Centre opens in Gurgaon
The first United Kingdom India Business Centre was opened at Gurgaon in Haryana, near here, yesterday by UK Minister for Trade & Investment, Lord Stephen Green.
Lord Green is currently on a visit to India with a delegation of 11 British tade associations.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and UK India Business Council Chair Patricia Hewitt participated in a lamp lighting ceremony which was attended by leading UK and Indian businessmen and policy makers.
The UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and the British Business Groups (BBGs) support this initiative which is aimed at helping British companies, especially small and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs), experience a low-risk, low-cost entry into India.
This is the first such centre to open in a major emerging market since British Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement in November that the UK would go ahead with an initiative designed by Lord Green to transform the support given to the UK business overseas.
"This is an initiative which is very close to my heart. The centre will help UK small and medium sized businesses work closer with more established British businesses in India and provide them with the support needed to capitalise on the huge potential of the Indian market," Lord Green said on the occasion.
He said the network of centres across India will also drive a step change in the number of UK companies doing business in India contributing to prosperity in both countries.
The centre will act as the "hub" within North-Central India. It will also have a "spoke" in the Connaught Place area of central Delhi.
In a message on the occasion, Mr Cameron said he wanted Britain to be India's partner of choice in all those areas at which Britain excelled - from infrastructure to healthcare and education.
"Last February, I went to India with the biggest trade delegation ever to leave Britain’s shores. I chose India not just because of our shared culture, history and values, but also because of the fantastic opportunities India’s massive and vibrant economy offers to British businesses," he said.
He said the Gurgaon facility was the first of a network of centres across India run by the UK India Business Council and involving local British business groups, which will transform the quantity and quality of support available to British business in India.
He said the centre would offer British businesses a vital launch pad – providing the office space, training facilities and practical support businesses, especially small and medium enterprises, need to gain a strong foothold and quickly expand in this crucial market.
"The development of these centres reflects the ever growing trade relationship between India and Britain. In the first half of this year alone we have already seen an 18% increase in bilateral trade – a rate that will see us hit our target of doubling trade by 2015. As India continues on its path I am confident that the opportunities for UK business will continue to grow and I urge you all to take advantage of these services to capitalise on what will no doubt be one of the major growth stories of the 21st century," he added.

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Modi calls for war against poverty, illiteracy; says can't be selective in fight against terror

Modi calls for self-reliance in defence production
Two days after being named as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said today that the world could not afford to be selective in its fight against terrorism and called for a war against poverty, illiteracy and blind faith.
Speaking at a rally of ex-servicemen at Rewari in Haryana, his first public meeting after his elevation, Mr Modi urged Pakistan to embrace the path of peace and give up the "path of bombs" which had not done any good for its people, especially the youth and poor".
He said cross-border terrorism would not help India, Pakistan or Bangladesh and told the two neighbours that they could not develop with an anti-India policy.
"From the land of Mahatma Gandhi, let us give a message of peace to the world," he said.
Paying tributes to Indian soldiers, said they were always ready to make sacrifices for the nation, which was proud of them.
"One cannot imagine their courage, the courage that is there in this land," he said. He spoke of how he had wanted to join the Army but could not appear for the examination due to financial constraints. He also spoke about how he had volunteered to serve tea and snacks to soldiers during the 1965 India-Pakistan war.
Years later, he recalled, the BJP gave him the responsibility of north Indian states like Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir, when he got to visit cantonments and meet officers.
“The level of toughness with which our armed forces deal with enemy nations is same as the level of compassion and kindness with which they save lives during times of natural calamities," he said, lauding the role of the armed forces in the aftermath of the 2001 earthquake in Kutch and other parts of Gujarat and after the recent flash floods and landslides in Uttarakhand.
Mr Modi said the armed forces epitomized the true nature of secularism at a time when votebank politics had divided society.
"I want to tell those who divide the nation in the name of secularism- to see real secularism, see the army. We can learn the true essence of secularism from our armed forces and I salute our armed forces for upholding the ‘Aan’, ‘Baan’ and ‘Shaan’ of secularism," he said.
Mr Modi expressed concern about the reducing interest amongst the youth to join the army. He felt educated youngsters must be encouraged to join the forcs because the nature of war is changing and aspects like technology were assuming greater importance.
A view of the rally of ex-servicemen at Rewari in Haryana, which was addressed by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on September 15, 2013.
A view of the rally of ex-servicemen at Rewari in Haryana, which was addressed by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on September 15, 2013.
He called for a white paper on the "One Rank-One Pension" issue and said that if the Atal Bihari Vajpayee had won another term in 2004 it would have found a way of solving the issue.
He also underlined the need for welfare measures for disabled servicemen and for creating opportunities for retired servicemen so that the nation could gain from their skills and other qualities like discipline. He cited various steps he had taken to use their services in Gujarat.
Mr Modi spoke about the need for India to become self-sufficient in defence production and wondered why a technologically-advanced nation like it had to still import defence equipment.
“Delhi is not interested in Army welfare, they are more bothered about the next tender,” he remarked.
He said India should be exporting arms to the world and pointed out that becoming self-sufficient in defence production would help it to formulate an independent foreign policy.
Accusing the Centre and members of the political class of having an ambivalent attitude towards issues affecting the armed forces, he said, “When we were praising the work of our soldiers in Uttarakhand, Pakistan was killing our soldiers. And see the misfortune, the defence minister said people dressed in Pakistan army uniform came. Imagine how our soldiers would feel. Delhi remained unbothered. For them, such events keep happening. Then a Minister said people join the army to die…what can be worse? If one cannot cry for the soldiers and is stone-hearted let it be, but do not insult our soldiers please."
Mr Modi said that he always tried to celebrate Diwali with soldiers on the India-Pakistan border in Gujarat. He also mentioned about how his government had built a pipeline to carry drinking water for soldiers in Kutch. He said his government had built a war memorial and put it on the tourist map as well.
He said India now faced dangers from proxy wars in the form of terrorism and Left-wing extremism and called for a strong voice against such evils.
Mr Modi urged the youngsters to take up voter registration in a big way and requested farmers to contribute their agricutural implements for the building of the proposed Statue of Unity in Gujarat.
Former Chief of Army Staff Gen V K Singh also addressed the rally and said that a nation which did not respect its soldiers could not make progress.

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CCEA okays 4-laning of Kaithal-Rajasthan Border section of NH 152/65 in Haryana

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) yesterday gave its approval for four-laning of the Kaithal-Rajasthan border section of National Highway (NH)152/65 in Haryana.
The project will be taken up under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase IV, on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (BOT/DBFOT) basis in Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) (Toll) mode of delivery, an official press release said.
The cost is estimated to be Rs.2029.49 crore including Rs. 636.49 crore towards the cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. The total length of the road will be approximately 166 kms, it said.
According to the release, the project will expedite improvement of infrastructure in Haryana and also reduce the time and cost of travel for traffic, particularly heavy traffic, plying between Kaithal and the Rajasthan border. 
This road stretch connects Ambala with important towns such as Kaithal, Barwala and Hisar upto the Rajasthan border. The project road is part of NH-65 from Kaithal-Rajasthan border. It also provides connectivity to NH-10. 

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Sharad Kumar appointed Director General of National Investigation Agency

Mr Sharad Kumar has been appointed as Director General of the National Investigation Agency (NIA). 
Mr Kumar is an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 1979 batch (Haryana cadre) and is presently working in the cadre, an official press release added.

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Minor earthquake recorded in Jhajjar area of Haryana

An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.0 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Jhajjar area of Haryana this evening, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 28.7°N and longitude 76.6°E, occurred at 1825 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.

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Cabinet to consider Regional Rapid Rail System in NCR shortly: Kamal Nath

The Union Cabinet will take up for consideration shortly a proposal for setting up the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) for implementation of a Regional Rapid Rail System (RRTS) in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Union Minister for Urban Development Kamal Nath told a meeting of the NCR Planning Board (NCRPB) here today that the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) had recommended setting up of the NCRTC.
In the first phase, the RRTS will connect Delhi-Panipat (111 km), Delhi-Alwar (180 km) and Delhi-Meerut (90 km). 
The work on the three corridors would start soon and would be completed by 2016. NCRPB would contribute Rs. 200 crore to begin the work on one of the lines, Mr Nath said.

CBI arrests two Northern Railway officers in separate bribery cases

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today said it had arrested an Inspector of Works (IOW) (Construction) and an Assistant Divisional Mechanical Engineer, both of Northern Railway, Ambala Cantonment, in separate cases of bribery.
A press release from the agency said a case had been registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act alleging that the IOW, working in the office of the Executive Engineer, Northern Railway, Ambala Cantt., had demanded a bribe of Rs 16,000, later reduced to Rs 15,000, for releasing the bank guarantee, securities and earnest money of a businessman.
On the basis of the complaint from the businessman, the CBI laid a trap and allegedly caught the official red-handed while demanding and accepting the bribe of Rs 15,000 from him.
A search of the official's premises yielded a recovery of Rs 1.75 lakh in cash and some "incriminating documents", the release said. He was produced before the designated court and remanded in judicial custody.
In the second case, the agency arrested an Assistant Divisional Mechanical Engineer(ADME), Northern Railway, Ambala Cantt., for demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs.2,000 from a local contractor.
The contractor said in his complaint to the agency that the official had demanded the bribe for passing monthly bills pertaining to works awarded to him. The complaint said the official asked for a bribe on a monthly basis, failing which his payments would be stopped.
The CBI registered a case against the engineer and laid a trap in which he was allegedly caught red-handed while demanding and accepting the bribe of Rs 2000. Searches are being conducted at the office and residential premises of accused, the release said.

Massive rescue, relief efforts continue in rain-hit Uttarakhand, Himachal

Massive rescue and relief operations continued on Tuesday in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh where torrential rains in the past three days have wrought havoc in several areas, claiming at least 44 lives, and caused large-scale devastation of public and private properies.

60 dead due to flash floods in many states
Massive rescue and relief operations continued today in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh where torrential rains in the past three days have wrought havoc in several areas, claiming at least 44 lives, and caused large-scale devastation of public and private properies.
In Uttarakhand, which has borne the brunt of the monsoon's fury, at least 34 people have died and several more have been reported missing as rescue teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the Armed Forces, paramilitary forces and state government agencies made their way into remote parts.
Unofficial reports put the death toll in Uttarakhand at more than 50.
In Himachal Pradesh, at least ten persons were killed in landslides in the tribal district of Kinnaur in  Himachal Pradesh two days ago.
Thousands of tourists and pilgrims were stranded at various places in the two states.
According to reports reaching here, the weather had improved today and the water level in the Ganga and its tributaries had receded.
An idea of the devastation caused by the rains could be had from television pictures of multi-storeyed buildings, houses and bridges crashing, after the earth below them caved in, and being washed away by the swirling waters.
A tall statue of Lord Shiva in Rishikesh was covered upto the neck by the flooded river yesterday.
A press release from the Ministry of Home Affairs here said that the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) was asked to swing into action on June 15 and start providing assistance in conjunction with the district administrations to help the stranded travellers.
The Inspector General of ITBP in Uttarakhand was asked to get in touch with the state Chief Secretary and provide whatever assistance was required by the state government.  
It said two teams of the NDRF were already available in Uttarakhand and 12 additional teams were dispatched. The Ministry of Defence also made available helicopters at the request of the state government.
Due to bad weather, the helicopters could start operating only this morning. As many as 50 pilgrims have been rescued from Kedarnath and brought to Gupt Kashi. Further sorties are in progress to evacuate the stranded travellers.
Union Home Secretary R K Singh held a meeting with representatives of the state government, the Border Roads Organization (BRO), ITBP, the NDRF, the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Ministry of Defence here yesterday to review the steps being taken and plan for the operations.
The BRO has mobilized its personnel to try and facilitate restoration of road communication across the different routes. 
Two teams of NDRF reached Kedarnath today and have started relief and rescue operations. As many as 72 persons were rescued by this afternoon.
An advance party has reached Gaurikund to assess the requirements and intensify the relief efforts.
The Home Secretary has been in continuous touch with the Chief Secretary, Uttarakhand. Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has had a telephonic conversation with Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and assured the state of all possible support from the Centre.
About 1000 tourists were stranded in Rekong-Peo and 500 in Sangla Valley. Helicopters were dispatched to Sangla Valley this morning for rescuing the stranded. 
The BRO has been asked to assist the state public works department (PWD) in restoring the communication links to both Rekong Peo and Sangla Valley. 
One team of NDRF has reached Sangla and the other team is on way to Po to assist the district administration in relief work, the release said.
A spokesman for the Army said more than 5000 of its personnel were deployed in various parts of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to render aid to the distraught people.
In Govindghat, Uttarakhand, an Army column on Hemkund Sahib route evacuated more than 4000 pilgrims across the broken bridge and constructed a foot track for their safe passage. About 1800 pilgrims have further been moved from Govindghat to Joshimath. 
In addition, medical facilities, refreshments and lodging facilities have been extended to over 1300 persons at Joshimath. Over 200 sets of blankets, sleeping bags, combat jackets and balaclavas have been provided to the evacuated pilgrims.
Another Army column has been employed for clearing a major landslide near Patal Ganga, in order to restore connectivity.
With the road from Rudraprayag to Badasu blocked because of landslides at  Silchatti and Kund Chatti and the bridge at Rudraprayag being flooded, Badasu has been virtually cut off. One Army column has been inducted to Badasu by helicopter this morning and is presently undertaking relief and rescue work.
The Narendranagar – Dharasu road is blocked at 10 locations due to landslides and washing away of bridges and culverts. An Army column has been deployed along the road for rescue and relief work.
An Army column constructed a log bridge near Harsil and evacuated 600 pilgrims. In addition, the column opened a medical relief camp at Harsil for stranded civilians and is providing food, water and shelter. A foot track has been constructed and help provided for evacuation of 100 pilgrims stranded on Harsil-Gangotri axis.
An Army column has been deployed at Raigarhi village on the Moradabad-Haridwar road to evacuate stranded civilians.
An Army column is currently assisting civilians stranded between Badrinath and Mana, and providing them with medical aid, food and refreshments.
In Yamunanagar, Haryana, two Army columns have been working around the clock and have so far rescued 103 persons including 37 children from villages Lapra, Udhri, Kalanaur, Jathlana and Gumthala.
One Army column undertook relief work and evacuation of civilians from affected areas around Saharanpur city in Uttar Pradesh. The column is now moving to Shamli for evacuating a marooned family.
One Army column has been deployed at Rawali village near Bijnor in UP, to evacuate 150 stranded civilians. Efforts to reach the stranded persons are in progress, the spokesman added.
A press release from the IAF said it had undertaken relief operations in Yamunanagar, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Rudraprayag, Kurcham and Puh.
Air Force station Sarsawa was made the hub of the operations with helicopters converging from Bhatinda and Hindon. A number of medium-lift helicopters including the newly inducted MI -17 V5 were positioned yesterday  at Jollygrant helipad at Dehradun despite inclement weather.
A total of 17 people were evacuated from the Karnal area in Haryana by helicopters yesterday.
Another 21 people, including 15 children, were rescued from Nakud by an advanced light helicopter (ALH) operating from Sarsawa.
Today, two more MI -17 V5 helicopters were put into service along with the NDRF teams in the general area of Rampur- Rekongpeo in Himachal Pradesh. 

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Army rescues 52 marooned people in Yamunanagar district of Haryana

52 people stranded in flooded area rescued in Haryana
Army personnel rescued 52 people, including ten children, who were marooned in the Yamunagar district of Haryana today following heavy rains in the state and other parts of Northern India.
The stranded people belonged to the villages of Lapee, Udhri and Gumthala. Incessant rains in the area had led to a significant rise in the water levels of the Yamuna in the district.
The Deputy Commissioner of Yamunagar requisitioned the assistance of the Army from Ambala-based 2 Corps late yesterday.
At about 0050 hours today, a flood relief column comprising nearly 100 Army persons with essential relief equipment including pneumatic boats and motor boats was dispatched. By mid-day today,  52 persons including 10 children were evacuated to safer places. The relief operations by the Army are continuing, a spokesman for the Army said.
More troops and equipment have been kept stand by at Ambala for move at short notice to deal with any calamity, he added.

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Justice Ahmed appointed Acting Chief Justice of Delhi High Court

The President has appointed Mr Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed, senior-most judge of the High Court of Delhi, as the Chief Justice of that High Court with effect from today.
This follows the retirement of Justice Darmar Murugesan, an official press release said.
The President has also appointed Mr Justice Mool Chand Garg, Additional Judge of the High Court of Delhi, as judge of that High Court with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office. 
The release said the President had also appointed Mr Justice Paramjeet Singh, Mr Justice Naresh Kumar Sanghi, and Mr Justice Rameshwar Singh Malik, additional judges of the High Court of Punjab & Haryana, as judges of that High Court with effect from the date they assume charge of their office. 
Dr Bharat Bhushan Parsoon has been appointed as additional judge of the High Court of Punjab & Haryana with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office, the release added.

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Justice Sanjay Kaul named Chief Justice of Punjab & Haryana High Court

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul
Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul
The President has appointed Mr Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, a judge of the High Court of Delhi, as the Chief Justice of the High Court of Punjab & Haryana.
An official press release said the appointment would be with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office. 
Justice Kaul, 54, studied in Modern School in New Delhi and then graduated in Economic (Honours) from St Stephen's College, University of Delhi in 1979. He obtained LL.B. degree from the Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi in 1982.
He practised as an advocate in Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court of India, mainly in commercial, civil, writ, original and company matters. He also appeared before the MRTP Commission, Company Law Board, Debt Recovery Tribunal and Arbitrators.
He was elevated Additional Judge of the High Court of Delhi on May 3, 2001 and appointed as a permanent judge on May 2, 2003.

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GAIL clarifies on supply of gas to Haryana City Gas Distribution Ltd

The public sector Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) has stopped supplying natural gas to Haryana City Gas Distribution Limited (HCGDL) as the latter has stopped making payments to it against the gas supplied to it.
HCGDL was being supplied 0.25 MMSCMD of natural gas by IGL under Administered Pricing Mechanism (APM) through the pipeline network of the public sector GAIL (India) Limited.
"However, on 17th May 2013, IGL informed GAIL that it would not be procuring any natural gas under APM to be supplied to HCGDL from 6 AM on 18th May 2013 till further notice as HCGDL has stopped making payments to it against the gas supplied to it," a press release from GAIL said here today.
"In view of this, the APM gas supply to HCGDL has been stopped from 20th May 2013. However, GAIL continues to supply 0.025 MMSCMD RLNG for which it has a separate contract with HCGDL," the release said.
GAIL issued the clarification following media reports that it had stopped supply of natural gas to HCGDL, as a result of which dispensing of CNG had stopped at all its CNG stations in Gurgaon.
"In view of the factual position as above, it is once again reiterated that GAIL has not stopped supply of natural gas to HCGDL but only restricted it to the extent of stopping supply of APM gas as per the requirements of IGL," the release added.

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Haryana's annual plan for 2013-14 finalized at Rs 27,072 crore

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda meeting Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, in New Delhi on May 6, 2013.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda meeting Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, in New Delhi on May 6, 2013.

The annual plan for 2013-14 for Haryana was finalised at Rs 27,072 crore at a meeting here yesterday between Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and state Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

In his comments on the plan performance of the state, Mr Ahluwalia said its gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate and per capita income were amongst the highest in the country but more attention was needed to make growth more inclusive. 
He said Haryana is among the best performing states and has introduced a number of innovative initiatives to improve achievements in important sectors including health, education and infrastructure development.
Mr Ahluwalia said, that in the agricultural sector, the state must focus more on horticulture, building storage capacities including cold storages and also adoption of modern agricultural practices to enhance productivity. Agriculture policy should focus on efficient use of water, he said.
He said the Commission would shortly seek Cabinet approval for restructuring centrally sponsored schemes so as to improve efficiency and provide more flexibility at the state level. He said the states must suggest measures to improve performance of Central initiatives.
Haryana's efforts to encourage private participation in the development of social and physical infrastructure was appreciated at the meeting.
The Commission advised the state to increase its water storage capacities either through new water storage structures or rehabilitation and repair of the existing facilities.
The state government needs to take up water saving agricultural practices like System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and encourage the use of micro irrigation (drip and sprinkler) for efficient water use. Steps aimed at developing the urban and industrial centres with zero effluent discharge based on recycling and reuse of water was appreciated, it said.
The Commission also drew the state's attention to health indicators, particularly to low sex ratio. It was pointed out that the state has the lowest sex ratio at 877, woefully short of the national average of 940. Although the state has improved by 11 points in the Child Sex Ratio (0-6years) between 2001 and 2011, it is the lowest in the country at 830 points. 
The state government was complimented for its initiatives to empower women and girl children like the Ladli Scheme. However, much more needs to be done to bring about a real and substantive change in this regard, the Commission said.
Attention was drawn to the cases of violence against women and girl children and domination of Khap Panchayats, which is deeply disturbing, it said.
Mr Hooda said that, despite being a small state, Haryana contributes nearly 3.4% to the national GDP and has reached per capita income of about Rs. 1.24 lakh in 2012-13. During the last eight years, the state’s economy grew at an excellent average annual rate of 9.3%, significantly higher than the rate of growth of the national economy. 
He said the focus of 12th Plan would be broad-based but would target significant improvements in health outcomes, universal access to school , increased access to higher education, improved standards of education, including skill development and improvement in learning outcomes, and provision of basic amenities like water, electricity, roads, sanitation, housing, and so on.
Special focus would, however, continue on the needs of the Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes, minorities, women and children, he said.
Mr Hooda said that, to achieve faster, inclusive and sustainable growth in the 12th Plan, the social services sector had been given the highest priority. The second highest priority has been accorded to the development of infrastructure of irrigation, power, roads & road transport and projects under the economic stimulus package.
He said the state government has constituted the Haryana Infrastructure Development Board with the Chief Minister as its chairperson to encourage private sector investment in infrastructure development. 
He said the present system of budgetary classification of state outlays under Plan and Non-Plan is outdated and needs to be rationalized. He suggested that the Plan and non-Plan distinction may be done away with and the outlays may be classified as capital and revenue only as also suggested by the Rangarajan Committee. The recommendations of B.K.Chaturvedi Committee should be implemented at the earliest, he added.

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Minor earthquake recorded in Sonipat region of Haryana


An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.0 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Sonipat region of Haryana this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 29.0 degrees North and longitude 77.2 degrees East, occurred at 0627 hours at a depth of 5 km, an IMD bulletin added.

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Minor earthquake jolts Rohtak area of Haryana

An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale, shook the Rohtak region of Haryana in the early hours of today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

The tremor, which had its epicentre at latitude 29.0 degrees North and longitue 76.6 degrees East, occurred at 0140 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.

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Two doctors get RI for 7 years, fined Rs 60 lakh each for illegal kidney transplants

The Special Judge, CBI, Panchkula today sentenced two doctors to undergo seven years of rigorous imprisonment with fines of Rs 60 lakh each in a case relating to illegal transplantation of kidneys.

Apart from the doctors, Dr. Amit Kumar and Dr. Upender Kumar, the court also sentenced three other accused -- Manoj Kumar, Mohammed Shahid and Gyasuddin -- to undergo five years of rigorous imprisonment with fine of Rs 15,000 each.
A press release from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said here today that it had registered a case on February 8, 2008 under various sections of the IPC and the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994 against Dr Amit Kumar and others on the request of the Haryana government. The case was earlier registered at Police Station Palam Vihar, Gurgaon in Haryana.
According to the release, CBI's investigation revealed that Dr Amit Kumar and his associates had entered into a criminal conspiracy during the years 1999 to 2008, in pursuance of which they engaged themselves in illegal transplantation of kidneys by charging hefty amounts from the recipients.
The release said the accused used to fraudulently allure poor people on the pretext of giving them employment and later on fraudulently removed their kidneys through surgical operation, without their consent and without authorization from the competent authority, for huge monetary consideration and planted these kidneys in the bodies of recipients. 
Dr.Amit Kumar and his associates were clandestinely running a hospital equipped with all facilities for conducting kidney transplants at Gurgaon, it said.
After completion of investigation, a charge sheet was filed in the court of Special Judge, CBI at Panchkula against Dr. Amit Kumar; Dr. Upender Kumar; two other doctors; Manoj Kumar (laboratory technician); Mohammed Shahid and Gyasudin (both touts); brother of Dr.Amit; a nurse; a driver and a technician. The charges were framed against all the accused on 13.3.2012.
The trial court found five accused guilty and convicted them. The court acquitted two doctors; the nurse; the driver and brother of Dr.Amit Kumar. The technician expired during trial, the release added.
The court also ordered for compensation for three victims to the tune of Rs.10 lakh each.

17 Indians convicted of murder in Sharjah freed, fly back home


Seventeen Indians, including 16 men from Punjab and one from Haryana, who were convicted of murdering a Pakistani man in a bootlegging dispute in Sharjah in 2009 and sentenced to death, were freed yesterday and left for home late last night, local newspapers said.

The men had been convicted and awarded capital punishment in 2011 for the murder of Misri Khan. Two others had been injured in the incident.
All the men were working in the UAE as labourers when the incident took place.
They were pardoned after they paid 3.4 million dirhams as blood money in July 2011, but could not leave the United Arab Emirates (UAE) because of various pending cases. These included claims of compensation made by the injured persons, with whom they finally reached a settlement.
A court in Sharjah had, in Septemer 2011, after the blood money settlement, reduced their sentence from death to two years in prison, followed by deportation.
The prosecution went in appeal to the UAE Federal Supreme Court, which told the appeals court to review only the bootlegging charges. The Sharjah court then sentenced them to six months in prison, which they had already served.
"Everything got cleared only around 4.30pm," Mr S?P Oberoi Singh, a philanthropist who helped to raise the blood money with the help of other donors and flew back to Delhi with the 17, was quoted as saying by The National, an English-language newspaper. They were due to drive to their home towns in Punjab and Chandigarh later today, the report added.
Misri Khan was beaten to death in the Saaja Industrial Area of Sharjah in January 2009, in a fight over alcohol bootlegging. The men were found guilty in March 2010 of beating Khan to death. The Indians had all along maintained that they were innocent and that they had been framed.

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Minor quake recorded in Rohtak district of Haryana

An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 2.7 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Rohtak district of Haryana today.

The quake had its epicentre at latitude 28.8 degrees North and longitude 76.5 degrees East. It occurred at 1353 hours at a focal depth of 5 km, a bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

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Former Haryana CM Chautala, son Ajay, others convicted in teacher recruitment scam

Former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, son and MLA Ajay Chautala and 53 others were convicted by a Delhi court on Wednesday of illegally recruiting more than 3000 junior basic trained (JBT) teachers in the state duing 1999-2000.

Recruitment scam: Om Prakash Chautala arrested

Former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, son and MLA Ajay Chautala and 53 others were convicted by a Delhi court today of illegally recruiting more than 3000 junior basic trained (JBT) teachers in the state duing 1999-2000.

After the verdict was pronounced in the court, the Chautalas and the others were taken into judicial custody. The court has fixed January 17, 19 and 21 for hearing arguments on the quantum of sentence and January 22 for pronouncing the quantum of sentence.
Apart from Mr Chautala and his son, the Special Judge for CBI Cases, Rohini, Delhi convicted Mr Vidya Dhar, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer who was then officer on special duty (OSD) to the Chief Minister, Mr Sher Singh Badshami, then political adviser to the CM, Mr Sanjeev Kumar, IAS, then Director, Primary Education, Haryana and 50 other officials of the state education department in the case related irregularities in the appointment of JBT teachers in the state.
Pursuant to the directions of the Supreme Court of November 25, 2003 in a writ petition related to the case, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered a preliminary enquiry.
On the basis of its findings, a regular case was registered on May 24, 2004 under sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act against various accused, including then chairpersons and members of the district-level selection committees constituted for the posts of JBTs in Ambala, Bhiwani, Faridabad, Fatehabad, Gurgaon, Jhajjar, Jind, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Mahindergarh, Panchkula, Panipat, Rohtak, Rewari, Sirsa, Sonepat and Yamunanagar districts.
According to the CBI, its investigations established that the appointments of 3032 teachers were made on the basis of a fraudulent second set of interview lists prepared at the behest of Mr Chautala, his son who was then a Member of Parliament and various officials.
The original set of list of interview marks of the candidates on basis of which appointments ought to have been made were also revealed during investigation, the agency said.
The CBI filed a chargesheet in the case on June 6, 2008 under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Cognizance of the chargesheet was taken on July 16 that year and charges were framed on July 23 against 61 accused persons by the judge. One retired official of the Education Department was discharged.
During the trial, six accused persons, all retired officials of the Education Department, Haryana died.
The court had reserved its verdict in the case on December 17, 2012 after conclusion of final arguments by the CBI and the defence counsel.

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NBSA censures CNN IBN, IBN7 for "biased" reports on Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust


The News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) has issued a censure against TV18 Broadcasting Limited, which runs television news channels CNN-IBN in English and IBN7 in Hindi for "wilful violation" of the News Broadcasters' Association (NBA) Code of Ethics & Broadcasting Standards and norms of ethical journalism in the telecast of a programme related to the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT).

The NBSA, headed by former Chief Justice of India J S Verma, also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the broadcaster, to be paid to NBA within one week of receipt of the order.
The NBSA dierected the two channels to carry an apology with a prescribed text (static) on full screen in large font size with voice over (in slow speed) expressing regret for the telecast for five consecutive days at 9 pm sharp from December 24 to December 28. IBN7 will carry the apology in Hindi, it said.
The RGCT had complained to the NBSA on September 14, 2011 regarding the reports broadcast on the two channels alleging that the trust had flouted the law and that rules were bent to accomodate it in relation to the land allegedly allotted to it for its proposed charitable eye hospital in Gurgaon district of Haryana. The first report in this regard was broadcast by the channels on August 1, 2011 and subsequent reports were broadcast on various dates upto August 5, 2011.
The NBSA had told the RGCT that it should initially prefer the complaint to the broadcaster.
The RGCT then filed a complaint on October 7, 2011 with the broadcaster, which responded by denying having violated the code of ethics or any other related guidelines of the NBSA. The broadcaster said the stories emanated frm the fact that "all the inhabitants of village Ulhawas in Haryana had approached the Hon’ble High Court of Punjab & Haryana seeking to bring an end to the allegedly discriminatory approach adopted by the Government of Haryana with regard to the execution and implementation of the State’s land acquisition policy;  these villagers had alleged before the Hon’ble High Court that preferential treatment had been accorded by the Government of Haryana to a chosen few (including your Trust)”.  
The broadcaster expressed willingness to telecast additional comments on behalf of the trust on their stories should the CEO or any of the trustees be willing to speak to them on the subject. This offer was made subject to the unconditional withdrawal of the complaint by the trust.    
The RGCT declined to accept the offer and on November 1, 2011 requested the NBSA to decide its complaint against the broadcaster.
Vide its letter dated September 5, 2012, the broadcaster reiterated that, as long as the views of all involved persons had been telecast, no per se presumption of violation of the NBA Code of Ethics & Broadcasting Standards could be drawn. It also reiterated its offer to telecast additional coments on behalf of the trust.
At hearings, the RGCT had been granted a "lease" of land measuring 5 acres/3 marlas by the village panchayat for setting up a charitable eye hospital, as opposed to the allegations on the challens which spoke of “acquisition of over 850 acres for the Trust”  and “the Trust was given 8 acres of land.” 
The complainant said the the news report on the channels said that the RGCT had got 
“exemptions” to “acquire” land for setting up a hospital, as opposed to the fact that the RGCT had not sought any exemption nor had  the RGCT acquired any land.
In response, the principal defence taken by the broadcaster was that it had carried the story on its channels in “public interest”, after due diligence and verification of the facts. 
The broadcaster also submitted that considering the format of news reporting, the channels had carried the version of the RGCT to the extent possible in the very first broadcast, both on CNN IBN and IBN-7 news channels.    
The NBSA held that only some five acres and 3 marlas of land was leased by the panchayat to the trust for 33 years for setting up the hospital.
"Evidently, the RGCT did not ‘acquire’ 850 acres of land nor did the RGCT get any ‘exemption’ to acquire any land.
"Of the 65 petitions filed before the Punjab &  Haryana High Court, only one petition mentioned the RGCT and even the claim in that petition was not to the  effect that the RGCT had 'swung the deal' in relation to acquisition or release of any land.
It said well-known artist Anjolie Ila Menon had raised no objection to the lease of land to the 
RGCT but had only petitioned the High Court on acquisition of land being  done without consideration for the environment.
The NBSA held that the tweets made by the Editor-in-Chief of CNN IBN, Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai, clearly bear out the sensationalized build-up to the telecast of the story in relation to the trust on August 1 and the subsequent follow-on stories. 
"These tweets also tend to expose the motive for running the story, viz. to improve the image of the channels  at the cost of accurate, fair and objective reporting, as also the reputation of the RGCT," it said.
"It is also evident from the viewing of clippings of the various broadcasts that the entire version given by the RGCT was not duly carried in the subsequent broadcasts; and even the version carried in the very first broadcast was truncated," it said.
"The broadcasts carried on the channels were therefore clearly biased, tendentious and factually incorrect on various grounds," it said.
Even the reportage on proceedings pending in court, was  inaccurate and misleading, the NBSA said.
The NBSA observed that a broadcast had to be judged on the basis of  the overall 
impression, perception and impact that a viewer got on a plain viewing of the broadcast; and not on the basis of some elaborate and arcane submissions made subsequently before a jury.
"In the present case, from a plain viewing of the broadcast made on the channels, it is evident that an impression was deliberately created that the RGCT was involved in a dubious deal and received illegal favours from the Government of Haryana in relation to the allotment of 850 acres of land to the RGCT by contravention of law; and that illegitimate favours were bestowed on the RGCT by reason of the prominent position of the Trustees in the county’s political set-up.  It is inevitable that such reportage would cause serious  prejudice and harm to the reputation of the RGCT and to its Trustees. There was no justification for such reportage," it said.
"Accordingly, the NBSA is of the view that by telecasting the series of broadcasts relating to the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust as aforesaid, M/s. IBN18 Broadcast Limited  committed  egregious violation of the NBA Code of Ethics & Broadcasting Standards, especially guidelines relating to accuracy, impartiality, neutrality, requirement of due diligence and verification of facts prior to telecast, as also  the need to carry the version of the person affected. The news reports in question are factually incorrect reportage of the extent and status of land that the RGCT was holding. The reportage also misrepresented proceedings in several writ petitions pending before the Punjab & Haryana High Court. The reportage smacks of clear bias and lack of objectivity. The reportage is an example of sensationalization with the purpose of promoting and improving the image of the channels, which is unethical journalism," it said.

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Anna Hazare admitted to hospital in Gurgaon, under "intensive care"

File photo of Anna Hazare
File photo of Anna Hazare

Veteran social activist Anna Hazare, who has been campaigning for a strong Lokpal to combat corruption in the country, was admitted to a hospital in Gurgaon near here today and is under the "intensive care" of a team of doctors there, one of his close colleagues said.

Former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Kiran Bedi, a key member of Mr Hazare's India Against Corruption, said the 75-year-old activist was rushed to the Medanta Medicity Hospital as soon as he complained of ill-health.
"Anna hospitalised. Doctors attending to him. Thanks to Dr Trehan's support admitted in Medanta," she said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
"As soon as Anna complained of ill health no time was lost to take him to Medanta which had taken good care of him earlier!" she said.
“Anna is admitted in Medanta and under intensive care of a team of doctors. What are the health issues only Doctors can say as professionals!” she said.
Mr Arvind Kejriwal, a former member of Team Anna and now leader of the newly-launched Aam Aadmi Party, said on Twitter, "Anna in hospital. I wish I cud go to see him. I wish him fast recovery."

SC says life term is till the end of convict's life, subject to remissions

The Supreme Court has, in a significant ruling, held that a convict undergoing life imprisonment is expected to to remain in custody till the end of his life, subject to any remission granted by the appropriate Government.


The Supreme Court has, in a significant ruling, held that a convict undergoing life imprisonment is expected to to remain in custody till the end of his life, subject to any remission granted by the appropriate Government.

Such remission can be granted under Section 432 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.), which in turn is subject to the procedural checks in that Section and the substantive check in Section 433-A  of  the Cr.P.C, a bench comprising Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Madan B Lokur said in the ruling issued on November 20.
" appears to us there is a misconception that a prisoner serving a life sentence has an  indefeasible right to release on completion of either fourteen years or twenty years imprisonment. The prisoner has no such right," the judges said.
The court said that, in a sense, the application of Section 432 of  the  Cr.P.C. to a convict is limited. 
"A convict serving a definite term  of imprisonment is entitled to earn a period of remission or even be  awarded  a  period of remission under a statutory rule framed by the  appropriate Government or under the Jail Manual. This period is  then  offset against  the  term  of punishment given to  him.  In such an event,  if he  has undergone the requisite period of incarceration, his release is automatic and Section  432 of the Cr.P.C. will not even come into play," it said.
"This Section will come into play only if the convict is to be given an 'additional' period of  remission for his release, that is, a period in addition to what he has earned or  has been awarded under the Jail Manual or the statutory rules," it said.
The judges said that, in the case of a convict undergoing life imprisonment, he would  be in custody for an indeterminate period.  
"Therefore,  remissions  earned  by  or awarded to such a life convict are only notional. In  his  case,  to  reduce the period of incarceration, a specific  order  under  Section  432  of  the Cr.P.C. will have to be passed by the appropriate Government.  However,  the reduced period cannot be less than 14 years as  per  Section  433-A  of  the Cr.P.C.," they said.
The ruling said that, therefore, Section 432 of the Cr.P.C.  has  application  only  in  two situations: (1) Where a convict is to be  given  “additional”  remission or remission for a period over and above the period that he is entitled to or he is awarded under a statutory rule framed by  the appropriate Government or under the Jail Manual.  (2)  Where  a  convict  is  sentenced  to  life imprisonment, which is for an indefinite period, subject to procedural  and substantive checks.
"What Section 302 of the IPC provides for is only two punishments  – life imprisonment and death penalty.  In several cases, this Court has proceeded on the postulate that life imprisonment means  fourteen  years of incarceration, after remissions. The calculation of  fourteen years of incarceration is based on another postulate, articulated in Swamy Shraddananda, namely that a sentence of life imprisonment is first  commuted (or deemed converted) to a fixed term of twenty years on the  basis  of  the Karnataka Prison Rules, 1974 and a similar letter issued by the Government of Bihar. Apparently, rules of this nature exist in other  States as well. Thereafter, remissions earned or awarded to a convict are  applied to the commuted sentence to work out the period of incarceration to fourteen years," it said.
According to the judges, this "re-engineered calculation" can be made only after the  appropriate Government artificially determines the period of  incarceration. The procedure apparently being followed by the appropriate Government is that life imprisonment is  artificially considered to be imprisonment for a period of twenty years, it said.
"It is this arbitrary reckoning  that  has been prohibited in Ratan Singh. A failure to implement Ratan Singh has  led  this Court in some cases to carve out a special category in  which  sentences  of twenty years or more are awarded, even after accounting for  remissions.  If the  law  is  applied as we understand  it,  meaning  thereby that life imprisonment is imprisonment for the life span of  the convict, with procedural and substantive checks laid down in the Cr.P.C. for his early release we would reach a legally  satisfactory result on the issue of remissions. This makes an order for incarceration for a  minimum  period of 20 or 25 or 30 years unnecessary," it said.
The judges said a relook was needed at some conclusions that have been taken for granted and called for continuing the development of the law on the basis of experience gained over the years and views expressed in various decisions of the apex court.
"To be more specific,  we conclude:
       1. This Court has not endorsed the approach of aggravating and
          mitigating circumstances in Bachan Singh.  However, this approach
          has been adopted in several decisions.  This needs a  fresh look.
          In any event, there is little or no uniformity in the  application
          of this approach.
       2. Aggravating circumstances relate to  the  crime while  mitigating
          circumstances relate to the criminal. A balance sheet cannot  be
          drawn up for comparing the two. The considerations for both are
          distinct and unrelated. The use of the mantra of aggravating  and
          mitigating circumstances needs a review.
       3. In the sentencing process, both the crime and the criminal  are
          equally important.  We have, unfortunately, not taken the
          sentencing process as seriously as it should be with the result
          that in capital offences, it has become judge-centric sentencing
          rather than principled sentencing.
       4.  The Constitution Bench of  this Court has not encouraged
          standardization and categorization of crimes and even otherwise it
          is not possible to standardize and categorize all crimes.
       5. The grant of remissions is statutory. However, to prevent its
          arbitrary exercise, the legislature has built in some procedural
          and substantive checks in the statute. These need to be faithfully
       6. Remission can be granted under Section 432 of the Cr.P.C. in  the
          case of a definite term of sentence. The power under this Section
          is available only for granting “additional”  remission, that is,
          for a period over and above the remission granted or awarded to  a
          convict under the Jail Manual or other  statutory  rules.  If  the
          term of sentence is indefinite  (as in life imprisonment),  the
          power under Section 432 of the Cr.P.C. can certainly be exercised
          but not on the basis that life imprisonment  is an arbitrary or
          notional figure of twenty years of imprisonment.
       7. Before actually exercising the power of  remission under Section
          432 of the Cr.P.C. the  appropriate Government must obtain the
          opinion (with reasons) of the presiding judge of the convicting or
          confirming Court. Remissions can, therefore, be given only on  a
          case-by-case basis and not in a wholesale manner."
The court's ruling came as part of its verdict on the appeal by two appellants in Haryana against the death sentence penalty awarded to them in case of multiple murders, which was confirmed by the High Court.
"In  our opinion, the appellants in these appeals against the order of the High Court should  be awarded a life sentence, subject  to the faithful implementation of  the provisions of the Code of Criminal Code, 1973," it said.
After examining the circumstances of the case in great detail, the judges said they were of the opinion that, in cases such as this, there is considerable uncertainty on the punishment  to be awarded in capital offences – whether it should be life imprisonment or death sentence. 
"In our opinion, due to this uncertainty, awarding a sentence of life imprisonment,  in cases  such as the present is not unquestionably foreclosed," they added.
"Therefore, we allow these appeals to the extent that the death penalty awarded to the appellants is  converted into a sentence of life imprisonment, subject to what we have said above," he added.

Minor quake recorded in Rohtak district of Haryana


An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Rohtak district of Haryana today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 28.7 degrees North and longitude 76.6 degrees East, occurred at 1155 hours at a focal depth of 5 km, an IMD bulletin added.

Judges appointed to Madras, Punjab & Haryana High Courts

The President has appointed Ms Justice R. Mala, Ms Justice Aruna Jagadeesan and Mr  Justice G.M. Akbar Ali, Additional Judges of Madras High Court, as Judges of that High Court.

An official press release said that the appointments, in that order of seniority, would be with effect from the date they assume charge of their office. 
The President has also appointed Mr Justice Vijender Singh Malik, Additional Judge of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, as Judge of that High Court with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office, the release added.
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