CMYK FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 11 MAY 2018 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |` 5.00|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P10 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky with rain or thundershower and gusty winds in some places. Max-min temp 34-28 degree cels, respec P9 JESUS GETS THE BENEFIT OF CUP GUIDANCE P6 P11 Rural poll: SC stays HC order Election on 14 May, counting of votes on 17 May : SEC HC orders compensation for people hit by poll violence RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY PANCHAYAT Max.89% Min. 54% Max: 33.9°C (-1) SUN RISES 04:58 hrs MOON RISES 02.07 hrs Min: 28.2°C (+02) SUN SETS 18:08 hrs MOON SETS 14:10 hrs TEMPERATURE THE FOURTH INAUGURAL MACRON CALLS FOR DE-ESCALATION OF TENSION TRUMP-KIM SUMMIT SET FOR SINGAPORE POLLS New moon on 15 May STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA/ NEW DELHI, 10 MAY nding the uncertainty and longdrawn-out suspense over the fate of the panchayat poll due to political and legal challenges to the poll process the State Election Commission today announced the poll will be held in one phase on 14 May and the counting on 17 May. The announcement came soon after the Supreme Court directed the commission to ensure “free and fair” panchayat elections on 14 May. The Division Bench of Chief Justice Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya and Justice Arijit Banerjee of Calcutta High Court also left it to the commission to decide on security requirements in a manner ensuring that it would be held in a free, fair and peaceful manner. “The elections would be held from 7 a.m. to 5 pm. If required, repolling will be held a day before the counting. The counting would be held in 330 counting stations from 8 a.m onwards,” said SEC secretary Nilanjan Shandilya. The commission has issued a notification on counting of votes and sent subsequent directives to the district magistrates in this regard. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee welcomed the E THUMBNAILS President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday visited the Army base camp in Siachen, the world's highest battlefield, and expressed gratitude to (REPORT PAGE 3) the soldiers posted there. AFP 7 killed in Bengal Nor’wester: A total of seven people died due to disaster caused by Nor'wester that battered vast areas across south Bengal districts. Among these, five people, including a woman, hailed from Murshidabad and two were from Birbhum. As Kolkata remains dry, adjoining districts have been hit by lightning and thunderstorm. Asansol witnessed heavy rainfall accompanied by winds with a speed of 60-70 km per hour, which forced many schools to shut down. A mother and son had been reported to be killed by P13 lightning during the storm. 41 killed in Kenya dam burst: A dam burst its banks in Kenya's Rift Valley, killing at least 41 people and forcing hundreds from their homes, officials said. At least 20 of the dead were children, police said. Water burst through the banks of the Patel Dam in Solai, Nakuru County, on Wednesday night, sweeping away hundreds of homes, including those on the expansive Nyakinyua estate that borders the reservoir. “Many people are missing. It is a disaster,” said Rongai town police chief Joseph Kioko. Nearly 170 people have died since March from floods caused by rains. Clarification The name of Justice Biswanath Somadder appeared inadvertently as Justice Biswanath Somaddar in the rural poll reports on 8 and 9 May editions of The Statesman while the name of Justice Arindam Mukherjee appeared as Justice Aniruddha Mukherjee in the 8 May edition. The errors are regretted. The HC had observed "...an election process itself involves participation and to shut out an intending bona fide candidate from participarting in the process thwarts the very basis of democratic principles on which it stands." P5 While the TMC graffiti (L) blames the PM for taking India backwards, BJP says its lotus will bloom. DURGADAS KARMAKAR Supreme Court directive, saying it is good for the people. “We are in favour of democracy and elections. We want the polls to be held peacefully.” In the evening, Miss Banerjee held a meeting with the chief secretary and the DGP. In the wake of 34 per cent seats going uncontested, the commission said that voting will be held in 31,836 gram panchayats out of a total of 48,650, in 6158 panchayat samitis out of 9217 and in 622 zilla parishads out of 825. “Voting will be held in 34,962 out of 43,067 polling premises and 47,351 out of 58,467 polling booths,” the commission said. With the death of 11 candidates, polling would not be held in nine gram panchayats, one panchayat samity and one zilla parishad. The Supreme Court stayed the 8 May Calcutta High Court order asking the SEC to accept the nomination papers filed through emails for contesting the panchayat elections in the state. A Bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, termed as "worrying" the High Court's order allowing e-filing of nomination papers as well as the point that about 17,000 candidates of the ruling Trinamul party have already won the state panchayat polls unopposed. It directed the SEC not to declare such candidates as winners without the apex court's permission. The Bench, also com- prising Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice D Y Chandrachud, ordered the petitioners, the SEC and its functionaries, to ensure that the panchayat polls are held "in absolute fairness, keeping in view the concept of purity of an election in a democracy". The Bench did not agree with the submission that the poll process was vitiated and should be stayed, observing that there were many judgments maintaining that once the poll process has begun, it cannot be interfered with by any court. "The election process in respect of the constituencies shall be completed in all aspects and the results of the election can be notified as per law," the top court ordered. Counsel for the CPI-M and the BJP submitted many of their candidates were not allowed to file nomination papers, which has led to 34 per cent candidates of the TMC winning unopposed. "The High Court order has read the Information Technology Act into the Representation of People Act. Both things are worrying ~ the High Court order directing the State Election Commission to accept nominations through emails and 34 per cent candidates winning unopposed," Bench said. "There shall be a stay on the Calcutta High Court order," the top court directed, adding that the state poll panel “shall not declare the results” of those candidates without its permission, who have won unopposed. The Bench made it clear that the “singular legal question” was whether the nomination papers can be filed electronically and whether the IT Act be read into the RP Act. The Bench posted the matter for next hearing on 3 July. On 8 May, Calcutta High Court had directed the SEC to accept the nominations of those candidates named by the CPM who had filed their papers through emails within the stipulated time before 3 pm on the cut-off date 23 April. The SEC today moved the SC challenging this order. The Division Bench of Chief Justice Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya and Justice Arijit Banerjee of Calcutta High Court also observed the court was not in a position to assess security and it was for the state administration and the SEC to do it. Maintenance of law and order was a state subject, it was observed and the court left it to the state to decide on the requirements. SEC had expressed satisfaction over the security steps. But if there was violence during the election and the loss of life and property was higher than in the 2013 panchayat election, compensation would have to be paid to the next of kin of the affected people from the salaries and property of responsible officers of the state and if it was not adequate, the state government will pay it, it was directed. 16 feared killed in illegal stone quarry blast BIRBHUM, 10 MAY In all, 16 people have been feared killed after a dynamite blast in an illegal stone quarry at Lipipara in the Shikaripara Police Station area of Jharkhand, near the Birbhum border. So far three bodies have been retrieved from the debris by police and local villagers, out of which one person is from Birbhum. Rescue work is continuing. Sources said that several hundreds of villagers of Birbhum used to work in the illegal stone quarries in the Shikaripara area of Jharkhand, which are situated near the Mohammad Bazar block of Birbhum district. Last night also the labourers went for stone excavation work when the explosives kept underground accidentally blasted. The bodies of three labourers - Bimal Bhandarai of Mathmahulla village in Mallarpur block of Birbhum, Jadob Roy and Laden Sheikh of Pakur district in Jharkhand were brought to the Rampurhat hospital. The owner of the illegal stone quarry Baidynath Mondal of Kapas danga village is absconding. SNS SEE ALSO PAGE 13 Apex court reserves verdict on Collegium may discuss elevation issue Aadhaar after marathon hearing SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 10 MAY SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 10 MAY The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of the Centre's flagship Aadhaar scheme and its enabling 2016 law after a marathon hearing that went on for 38 days spanning four-and-half months. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, which had commenced the hearing on as many as 31 petitions, including one filed by former High Court judge K S Puttaswamy on January 17, was informed by Attorney General K K Venugopal that this matter has become the “second longest” one in terms of days of hearing after the historic Kesavananda Bharati case of 1973. “The Kesavananda Bharati case was heard for five months and this matter continued for four-and-half months. This is the second longest hearing of a case in history,” Venugopal told the bench, which also comprised Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan. The Kesavananda Bharati case, which was heard by a 13- judge bench, by a majority of 7:6 had propounded the doctrine of 'Basic Structure and of the Constitution' and held that the amendments which may affect this structure were subject to judicial review. At the outset today, advocate Gopal Subramanium advanced the rejoinder submissions and said Aadhaar was not an “affirmative action” on the part of state to serve the people. “Is the Act an enabler or is it in the guise of an enabler? The Act is not an instrumentality to deliver services. It is only a means of identification,” he said. “We have to read the true purpose of the law and whether the law seeks to achieve that purpose’’, he said. A crucial meeting of the Supreme Court Collegium is likely to be held tomorrow to discuss the issue of reconsidering the name of Uttarakhand Chief Justice K M Joseph for elevation to the apex court, after it was returned by the Centre. Official sources today said that the members of the Collegium have been in consultation over the issue and Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra is likely to convene the meeting tomorrow. Though there was no official word on it, the sources said it could take place any time after the completion of the matters on the board of the five judges. It is pertinent to mention that Justice J Chelameswar, the seniormost judge of the apex court, had yesterday written a letter to the CJI asking him to convene the Collegium's meeting to urgently forward Justice Joseph's name to the Centre. The government had on April 26 returned the Collegium's recommendation to elevate Justice Joseph seeking its reconsideration, saying the proposal was not in accordance with the top court's parameters and there was adequate representation of Kerala in the higher judi- ciary from where he hails. It had also questioned his seniority for elevation as a judge of the apex court. According to an apex court official, Justice Chelameswar, in his letter sent to the CJI late last evening, has conveyed that he was iterating his decision for the elevation of Justice Joseph as the judge of the top court as there was no change in the circumstances that had led the Collegium to recommend his name to the government on January 10. It is also learnt that Jus- tice Chelameswar, who retires on June 22, has responded to all the points raised in the communication to the CJI by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad expressing reservations on the elevation of Justice Joseph. The meeting of the Collegium was expected to take place yesterday but Justice Chelameswar was on leave. Besides the CJI and Justice Chelameswar (photos), other members of the collegium are Justices Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph. Justice Kurian Joseph, during his visit to Kerala last week, had also reportedly made it clear that he was in favour of iterating the recommendation of the collegium on the issue of Uttarakhand Chief Justice Joseph. Poll campaign ends in Karnataka for likely cliffhanger SNS & PTI BENGALURU, 10 MAY The vitriol-filled campaign for the Karnataka Assembly elections ended today with top leaders of the BJP and the Congress, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, making a last-gasp effort to sway the voters in a likely cliffhanger. From corruption to communalism, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's Rs 70 lakh Hublot watch to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi's foreign origin, the electoral potboiler had it all. Like all state polls since he assumed the reins of power in New Delhi, Modi helmed the BJP's adrenaline-charged campaign despite the party having declared B S Yeddyurappa its chief ministerial can- didate, while Rahul Gandhi helmed that of the Congress. Though Modi remained out of the electoral scene for a long time after addressing a public meeting in February, he launched a blitzkrieg on May 1, addressing over a score of rallies in his bid to wrest the key southern state, which BJP chief Amit Shah dubbed as the party's “gateway to south”, from the Congress. Always high on energy during elections, he adddressed at least three rallies every day when he was in Karnataka, or else interacted with workers of the BJP's different frontal organisations through the 'Namo App'. Though development remained part of the political discourse, it was overtaken by a slanging match between the two parties over corruption. The Prime Minister and Amit Shah raised the issue of the killing of RSS and BJP workers by SDPI, a radical Islamist political party floated by the Popular Front of India, which Modi said was the “abc of communalism”. Shah claimed two of the candidates fielded by the Congress were, in fact, members of the SDPI. On day one of his campaign, Modi raked up the issue of Sonia's foreign origin at an elec- tion rally where he dared the Congress chief to speak for 15 minutes about the achievements of the Karnataka government in any language, including his “mother's mother tongue”. An emotional Rahul Gandhi hit back today at a press conference where he said,”My mother is an Italian. She has lived the larger part of her life in India. She is more Indian than many, many Indians I have seen.” Modi repeatedly addressed the Siddaramaiah ministry as “seedha rupaiah government (a government that takes bribes for work) and “10 per cent commission government”. Provoked, Siddaramaiah first called the Modi dispensation a “90 per cent commission government” and then served legal notices to Modi and Shah, demanding an apology and threatening to CMYK file a Rs 100 crore civil and criminal defamation suit if they did not tender it. Rally after election rally, Rahul Gandhi targeted BJP's chief ministerial candidate Yeddyurappa over corruption when he helmed the state while BJP was in power between 2008 and 2013. “Will Modi ji tell the people of Karnataka why a man who spent time in jail for corruption is the BJP's CM candidate? Why the BJP has given 8 tickets to Reddy brothers and their associates who looted Rs 35,000 crore from the people of Karnataka?” he asked, as he sought to paint the saffron party into a corner. The Congress president frequently referred to fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi in his speeches, alleging the government allowed him to flee the country after defrauding the Punjab National Bank fraud. Modi, who has powered the BJP to victory after victory in Assembly polls in states in the last four years, also invoked nationalism and B R Ambedkar, after he was in the Congress president's firing line over a string of attacks on Dalits. He slammed the Congress for raising questions about the Army's surgical strikes in PoK. Though Modi did not campaign in Karnataka today, he addressed BJP's SC/ST/OBC and Slum Morcha workers through his Namo App and said, “There is no place for Dalits and backward classes in the heart of the Congress.” He accused the Congress of “insulting” Ambedkar, a Dalit icon. Sonia Gandhi, who avoided the rough and tumble of elections for two years after she was taken ill during a roadshow in Varanasi ahead of the Uttar Pradesh polls, also addressed a rally in the Lingayat stronghold of Vijayapura where she said “Modi is possessed by the devil of 'Congress mukt Bharat' (bhoot lag gaya hai)”. Apart from Shah, who vigorously campaigned across the state over the last two months, the BJP fielded its Hindutva mascot Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath, who toured the communally sensitive coastal belt of north and south Kannada districts.
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