FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 28 SEPTEMBER 2018 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P8 SENSEX 36,324.17 -218.10 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 35 and 23 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY P10 NIFTY 10,977.55 -76.25 ` vs $ 72.59 +1 PAISA SAINA ENTERS KOREA OPEN QUARTERS P12 GOLD 29,495.00 -155.00 P15 SILVER 37,550.00 +200.00 Min. 53% Max: 33.9°C (-1) SUN RISES 06:13 hrs MOON RISES 20:31 hrs Min: 22.6°C (-1) SUN SETS 18:11 hrs MOON SETS 09:56 hrs Apex court will commence hearing in the main Ayodhya title suit dispute matter from 29 October NEW DELHI, 27 SEPTEMBER THUMBNAILS SC prohibits coercive action against Salman: The Supreme Court directed on Thursday that no coercive action should be taken in any part of the country against actor Salman Khan in relation to his Bollywood movie Loveyatri , P5 slated to be released on 5 October. Lokpal search committee: The Centre Thursday constituted an eight-member search committee, headed by ex-Supreme Court judge Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, to recommend the chairperson and members of the anti-corruption ombudsman Lokpal. The committee's members include ex-SBI chief Arundhati Bhattacharya and Prasar Bharati chairperson A P7 Surya Prakash among others. BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 81.87 +0.53 SC ‘no’ to larger Bench in Ayodhya case STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE Max. 93% TEMPERATURE KAVANAUGH ACCUSER TELLS HER STORY RAJNATH: RA GA WILL END UP BEING 'RA-FAIL' DEMOCRACY’S TRIUMPH T he Supreme Court today declined to refer to a larger Bench for reconsideration of its 1994 observation that a "mosque is not an essential part of the practice of the religion of Islam", setting the stage for its hearing on the main Ayodhya title suit dispute from 29 October. Ruling that its 1994 observation was made in the limited "context of land acquisition” during the hearing of the Ayodhya case, the apex court, in a majority judgment, asserted that it was not relevant for deciding the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case. A three-judge Bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, by a 2:1 verdict, declined the plea of a Muslim group that this Ayodhya-related matter be referred to a larger Bench on the ground that it has affected the 2010 decision of the Allahabad High Court in the Ayodhya dispute case. Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for legal representative of M Siddiq ~ one of the original litigants of the Ayodhya case, who has died and is being represented through his legal heir ~ had told the top court that the the Constitution Bench's majority observation in 1994 Ismail Hindu Mahasabha’s lawyer Barun Kumar Sinha addresses the media after a hearing on the Ayodhya matter in the SNS Supreme Court on Thursday. Faruqui case that a mosque is not essential for practising Islam was made without any comprehensive examination or consideration of the Islamic faith and its religious texts. The apex court however declined the plea to refer this matter to a larger Bench. "We again make it clear that questionable observations made in Ismail Faruqui's case were made in context of land acquisition. Those observations were neither relevant for deciding the suits nor relevant for deciding these appeals," said Justice Ashok Bhushan, who wrote the judgment for himself and Chief Justice Misra. Justice Bhushan also ruled that the apex court will start hearing the appeals challenging the 2010 High Court verdict in the Ayodhya land dispute case from Sunni Waqf Board’s lawyer Shakeel Ahmed Sayeed talks to reporters after a hearing on the Ayodhya case in the SNS Supreme Court, in the Capital on Thursday. ‘We again make it clear that questionable observations made in Ismail Faruqui’s case were made in context of land acquisition. Those observations were neither relevant for deciding the suits nor relevant for deciding these appeals.’ JUSTICE ASHOK BHUSHAN WHO WROTE THE JUDGMENT FOR HIMSELF AND CHIEF JUSTICE MISRA 29 October. This will be heard by a freshly-constituted three-judge Bench as Chief Justice Misra will retire on 2 October. Justice Ranjan Gogoi will then take over as the new Chief Justice of India. Both Hindu and Muslim groups have moved the apex court challenging the High Court's verdict by which its three-judge Bench, in a 2:1 majority ruling, had ordered that the 2.77 acres of disputed land in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid complex in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among three contesting parties ~ the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla. The apex court has been seized of a total of 14 appeals filed against the High Court's judgment delivered in four civil suits in the hyper-sensitive, politically-charged Ayodhya dispute case. The third judge in the apex court Bench, Justice S Abdul Nazeer, gave a minority, dissenting verdict, favouring reconsideration of the issue by a larger Bench. Justice Nazeer said the larger Bench should decide, among other points, whether "an essential practice can be decided without a detailed examination of the beliefs, tenets and practice of the faith in question". He referred to the recent apex court's decision to refer to a Constitution Bench a plea challenging the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) among Dawoodi Bohra Muslims. He also reportedly said the questionable observation of the apex court's 1994 verdict had permeated into the High Court's decision in the Ayodhya dispute case. In his judgment, Justice Bhushan however said, "In view of our foregoing discussions, we are of the considered opinion that no case has been made out to refer the Constitution Bench judgment of this Court in Ismail Faruqui case for reconsideration." The 1994 apex court verdict had stated: “A mosque is not an essential part of the practice of the religion of Islam and namaz (prayer) by Muslims can be offered anywhere, even in open.” Justice Bhushan said the apex court's 1994 ruling was confined to land acquisition and that all religions have to be respected equally by the State. He also reportedly said that "All religions, all mosques, temples, churches... are equal," and that the top court's 1994 ruling made it clear that all religious places are liable to be acquired by the sovereign State under the secular Indian Constitution. The apex court's judgment in the main Ayodhya title dispute is likely to come after months, but the issue may charge the campaign arena in the runup to the Lok Sabha elections slated for April-May 2019. Several Muslim groups, including the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, also welcomed the top court's verdict, pointing out that it has indicated that the Ayodhya dispute case will be heard only as a title suit and not on the basis of faith. RSS hails SC decision NEW DELHI, 27 SEPT The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on Thursday welcomed the Supreme Court decision to begin the hearing into the RamjanmabhoomiBabri Masjid land dispute case from 29 October. The RSS response came after the newly formed three judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Justice Dipak Misra decided against referring the civil suit on disputed place of worship in Ayodhya to a five-judge constitution bench and decided to begin the hearing in the long pending case from 29 October. RSS all-India Prachar Pramukh Arun Kumar, welcoming the apex court decision, expressed the hope that 'a just verdict' would soon be reached in the land dispute case."Today, the Supreme Court has decided to hold hearing on the Shri Ram Janmabhumi case from 29th October by a three member bench. We welcome this decision and are confident that a just verdict will be reached at the earliest," he said. SNS SC decriminalises adultery, strikes down Sec 497 EC: Code to start in STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 27 SEPTEMBER In yet another landmark judgment, the Supreme Court on Thursday decriminalised adultery by declaring IPC Section 497 unconstitutional, archaic and manifestly arbitrary even as it said that women can't be treated as "chattel". "Mere adultery can't be a criminal offence. It is a matter of privacy. Husband is not the master of wife. Women should be treated with equality along with men," said a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra. Most countries have abolished adultery as a crime. "It shouldn't be a criminal offence, other people are also involved in it," he said, reading out the judgement. In a unanimous decision, the five-judge bench stuck down the anti-adultery Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code saying it was manifestly arbitrary, archaic and violative of the rights to equality and equal opportunity to women. Adultery was punishable by a maximum five years in jail or fine or both. The bench, also comprising Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra pronounced four sets of concurring judgments to declare penal provision on adultery and section 198 of CrPC dealing with prosecution of offences against marriage as unconstitutional. "We declare Section 497 IPC and Section 198 of CrPC dealing with prosecution of offences against marriage as unconstitutional," said the Chief Justice, who wrote the judgement for himself and Justice Khanwilkar. Adultery might not be cause of unhappy marriage, it could be result of an unhappy marriage, Justice Misra said. “Any provision treating women with inequality is not constitutional and it's time to say that "husband is not the master of woman", the CJI said. Justice Malhotra, the lone woman judge on the bench, said Section 497 is a clear violation of fundamental rights granted in the Constitution and ‘Mere adultery can't be a criminal offence. It is a matter of privacy. Husband is not the master of wife. Women should be treated with equality along with men.’ SUPREME COURT BENCH HEADED BY CHIEF JUSTICE MISRA there is no justification for continuation of the provision. Calling Section 497 an archaic law, Justice Nariman concurred with the CJI and Justice Khanwilkar, saying that the penal provision is violative of the rights to equality and equal opportunity to women. Justice Chandrachud in a concurring but separate judgment said society has two sets of morality in sexual behaviour ~ one for women and another for men. “Section 497 destroys and deprives women of dignity and is destructive of women's dignity, self-respect as it treats women as chattel of husbands," he added. The CJI said adultery dents the individuality of women and it is not a crime in countries like China, Japan and Australia. The CJI also said that equality is the governing parameter of the Constitution and section 497 of the IPC is manifestly arbitrary in the way it deals with women. Holding that adultery can still be treated as civil wrong for dissolution of marriage as there can't be any social licence which destroys a home, the CJI said that adultery should not be a criminal offence. The apex court said adultery can be a ground for civil wrong, a ground for divorce but not a criminal offence. Holding adultery as a relic of past, Justice Chandrachud said autonomy is intrinsic in dignified human existence and Section 497 denudes women from making choices. The CJI and Justice Khanwilkar held that mere adultery cannot be a crime, but if any aggrieved spouse commits suicide because of life partner's adulterous relations, then if evidence is produced, it could be treated as abetment to suicide. Antiguan govt assures Swaraj of cooperation in extraditing Mehul STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 27 SEPTEMBER Antigua has assured India of its cooperation in the extradition of fugitive diamond merchant Mehul Choksi, allegedly involved in the $2 billion PNB scam. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met Foreign Minister of Antigua and Barbuda E P Chet Greene in New York on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly and raised the extradition of Choksi, who is currently in the Caribbean island. "Greene conveyed to Swaraj the assurances of his Prime Minister for the fullest coop- Greene told Swaraj that there were certain legal angles and court procedures that needed to be examined but conveyed full commitment eration of their Government in the matter of extradition of Mehul Choksi to India," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted. Greene told Swaraj he wanted to personally inform her about the Antiguan government and its Prime Minister's "commitment on Chok- si's extradition. The bilateral meeting had been requested by Greene. Swaraj told him that there should be "expeditious resolution" of the matter. Greene said his country too would like this issue to be resolved as quickly as possible within the framework of Antigua's law and court process. He added that Antigua's government will try its best to resolve the issue. Greene informed Swaraj that there were certain legal angles and court procedures that needed to be examined but conveyed full commitment on the issue. The Antiguan minister said the extradition process itself has to to through a certain legal and court process in his country. ''They have to follow certain procedures internal to their country. At the same time, when we mentioned we would like this to be resolved expeditiously, they expressed their understanding saying they would like this to be resolved as quickly as possible within the framework of their law and court process,'' sources in New Delhi said. Choksi had fled India on 4 January this year and took oath of allegiance in Antigua on 15 January. His valid passport was revoked in February 2018. The Supreme Court verdict declaring that adultery is not a crime was widely welcomed Thursday with several lawyers and activists saying the striking down of the antiquated, colonial-era law was “a good riddance” and long overdue. A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was unanimous in striking down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code dealing with the offence of adultery, holding it manifestly arbitrary, archaic and violative of the rights to equality and equal opportunity to women. Senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan termed the verdict a fine judgement that did away with an “antiquated” law. “Another fine judgement by the SC striking down the antiquated law in Sec 497 of Penal code, which treats women as property of husbands & criminalises adultery (only of man who sleeps with someone's wife). Adultery can be ground for divorce but not criminal,” Bhushan said on Twitter. I-T raids on Telangana Cong leader HYDERABAD, 27 SEPTEMBER The Income Tax Department on Thursday conducted searches at the residences of Telangana Congress Working president A Revanth Reddy here and at Kodangal in Vikarabad district. According to sources, searches were also conducted at the residence of Sebastian Harry who was an accused along with Revanth Reddy in a case related to bribing a nominated MLA to seek vote in favour of aTelugu Desam nominee in the Legislative Council elections in June 2015. The Congress condemned the raids and termed it as “political vendetta” by the rulingTelangana Rashtra Samithi. PTI states as soon as House is dissolved PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 27 SEPTEMBER The model code of conduct came into force in Telangana on Thursday as the Election Commission said that states where legislative assemblies have been dissolved prematurely will be immediately placed under the poll code which bars governments from announcing new schemes. This is perhaps for the first time that a state where polls have not yet been announced has been placed under the model code. Telangana is the only state as of today where the assembly has been dissolved prematurely and a caretaker government is in place. In a communique to the cabinet secretariat and all chief secretaries, the EC said the model code will apply to the caretaker state government as well as the central government in matters relating to that particular state. The Telangana assembly was dissolved recently before its term was due to end in June 2019. The model code usually comes into force the day the EC announces polls and remains enforced till the electoral process is completed. “In such an eventuality ... the provisions of Part-VII (Party in Power) of the Model Code of Conduct shall come into operation with immediate effect in the state concerned and shall continue to be in force till the completion of the election to constitute the new legislative assembly,” the EC said. It said, consequently, neither the caretaker state government nor the central government shall announce any new schemes, projects in relation to that state or undertake any of the activities prohibited under the Model Code of Conduct. The commission made it clear that all other prohibitions, such as use of official resources for any non-official purposes, combining of official visit with electioneering, will be applicable on all ministers and other authorities of the caretaker state government, central government as well as governments of other states. The EC said its directions are in line with a 1994 Supreme Court verdict which said a caretaker government should merely carry on with the dayto-day governance and desist from taking any major policy decision. The poll watchdog asked the Cabinet Secretariat to bring its directions to the notice of “all concerned.” The Telangana government has decided to build a memorial for former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee here, caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Roa said on Thursday. Orders have been issued to officials, who are now on the job, he said in the Legislative Council. The former Prime Minister upheld great values in his life, Rao added. “The state government has decided to allocate one acre in Hyderabad to build his memorial building and to instal his statue as per his stature,” he said. Rao recalled that BJP member in the Council N Ramachander Rao and other BJP leaders had met him on the issue.
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