03 November 2020
A) A-G declines consent for contempt proceedings against AP CM, aide.
Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal on 2 November has declined his consent to initiate contempt proceedings against Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy and his Prinicipal Advisor Ajeya Kallam. Mr. Venugopal, however, said the timing of the Chief Minister’s letter to the Chief Justice of India containing allegations against Supreme Court judge, Justice N.V. Ramana, and the subsequent public release of the document could certainly be said to be suspect. Mr. Venugopal said Reddy’s letter on October 6 and its release by Mr. Kallam at a press conference held on October 10 was suspect because they came in the background of the order passed by Justice Ramana dated September 16, directing pending prosecutions of elected representatives to be taken up and disposed of expeditiously.
B) SC stays ECI order revoking ‘star campaigner’ status of Kamal Nath.
The Supreme Court on 2 November has stayed the October 30 order of the Election Comission of India (ECI) revoking the ‘star campaigner’ status of former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath. Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde, heading a three-judge Bench, said the Commission had no power to determine who should be ‘star campaigner’ of a political party. Mr. Dwivedi said Mr. Nath’s petition against the October 30 order was already infructuous as the campaigning for by-polls to 28 Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh was already over and polling is on November 2. The ECI revoked his name on the basis of a complaint from the BJP that Mr. Nath derogatorily referred to its candidate, Imarti Devi, as an item during a campaign rally at Dabra in Gwalior district. Mr. Nath, represented by senior advocate Kapil Sibal and advocates Varun K. Chopra and Gurtejpal Singh, said it was the prerogative of his party and not the ECI to remove his name as a ‘star campaigner.
C) SC refuses to extend security of former judge who pronounced Babri verdict.
The Supreme Court on 2 November has refused a plea made by former CBI judge S.K. Yadav, the author of the Babri Masjid demolition case verdict, to allow him to continue with his personal security. Mr. Yadav had acquitted top BJP and Sangh Parivar leaders such as L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and others in the case on his last day in office. He had written to the Supreme Court on September 30 to permit him to continue having a security cordon around him considering the sensitivity of the case. They do not consider it necessary to continue the security, a Bench led by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman concluded. The acquitted BJP and Sangh Parivar leaders were accused of criminal conspiracy which led to the demolition of the 16th century Babri Masjid by kar sevaks in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.
D) Bihar elections: 89% of constituencies have 3 or more candidates with criminal records: ADR.
In Bihar, 89% of the assembly constituencies have three or more candidates who have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits for the ongoing elections, an analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) found on 2 November. The ADR analysis of election affidavits of 3,722 of the 3,733 candidates found that 32% of them had declared criminal cases. The affidavits of the remaining 11 were not available at the time of compiling the report, the ADR said. Releasing the report at a virtual press conference, ADR founder Jagdeep S. Chhokar said the Bihar elections were the first general elections to be held after the Supreme Court directions to parties on February 13 to publish the reasons for choosing a candidate with a criminal background. The court had directed the parties to give reasons why a candidate without criminal antecedents could not be chosen. As per these mandatory guidelines, the reasons for such selection have to be with reference to qualifications, achievements and merit of the candidate concerned. Therefore, such unfounded and baseless reasons given by political parties like popularity of the person, does good social work, cases are politically motivated, etc. are not sound and cogent reasons for fielding candidates with tainted backgrounds, the report said. The report also found that the assets declared by the 201 re-contesting MLAs had increased by ₹2.02 crore, or 71% on average, from the 2015 Assembly polls.
E) Poet Munawwar Rana booked for remarks on France attacks.
Renowned Urdu poet Munawwar Rana was booked by the Uttar Pradesh police for allegedly spreading enmity between groups with his recent comments in which he purportedly provided a justification for the murders in France by extremists over caricatures of Prophet Muhammad. In an interview to a Hindi television channel last week, Mr. Rana condemned the person who drew the caricatures of the prophet. In the same breath, however, he said that persons who committed the murders over the caricature had committed even more deplorable acts. What landed him in a soup was the part where he said that if someone had drawn a cartoon of his parents or even of Hindu gods and goddesses, he would have done the same (murder). Mr. Rana went on to say that he would also feel like killing a person who makes disgusting, obscene and objectionable cartoons of Sita, Lord Ram or other gods and goddesses. A case was lodged against Rana at the Hazratganj police station on the complaint of a sub-inspector. The FIR accuses Mr. Rana of justifying the murders and spreading communal discord. Talking to a news agency after the FIR, Mr. Rana said he stood by his statement. Talking to other media, he said his remarks were taken out of context and that he only meant to provide the perspective for acts committed in the name of religious fanaticism.
A) Trump, Biden search for last-minute support.
U.S. President Donald Trump hunted for support in four battleground States on 2 November, while Democratic rival Joe Biden focused on Pennsylvania and Ohio during the final day of campaigning in their race for the White House. The Republican Mr. Trump trails Mr. Biden in national opinion polls ahead of Tuesday’s Election Day. But the race in the swing States is seen as close enough that Mr. Trump could still piece together the 270 votes needed to prevail in the State-by-State Electoral College that determines the winner. Mr. Trump, aiming to avoid becoming the first incumbent President to lose re-election since fellow Republican George H.W. Bush in 1992, will hold five rallies on Monday in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. He won these States in 2016, but polls show Mr. Biden is threatening to recapture all four for the Democrats.
B) Chennai-born Priyanca is New Zealand’s new Minister.
Priyanca Radhakrishnan on 2 November has became New Zealand’s first-ever Indian-origin minister after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern brought five new ministers into her executive. Born in India, Radhakrishnan, 41, went to school in Singapore before moving to New Zealand for higher studies. She has spent her work life advocating on behalf of people whose voices are often unheard women survivors of domestic violence, and migrant workers who have been exploited. She was first elected first as a Member of Parliament belonging to the Labour Party in September 2017. In 2019, she was appointed the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister for Ethnic Communities. Her work in that area helped her build the base for her new role of Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities. In addition to this, she has become the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector and Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment. She has become New Zealand’s first-ever Kiwi Indian Minister, the New Zealand Herald newspaper quoted Indian Weekender as saying.
C) Manipal Hospitals to acquire Columbia Asia in 2,100-cr. Deal.
Manipal Hospitals, a multi-specialty healthcare provider, on 2 November has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 100% stake in Columbia Asia Hospitals Private Limited (Columbia Asia). The deal is valued at ₹2,100 crore, as per market sources. This effectively makes Manipal Hospitals the country’s second largest healthcare chain, after Apollo Hospitals. The deal is valued at Rs. 2100 Crore, a person with knowledge Of the transaction, who declined to be identified, said. On completion, Manipal Hospitals would become India’s largest healthcare chain after Apollo Hospitals. Columbia Asia started operations in India in 2005 in Hebbal, Bengaluru, and presently operates Il hospitals across the Country including in Mysuru, Kolkata, Gurugram, Ghaziabad, Patiala and Pune. The network comprises more than 1,300 beds, 1,200 clinicians and 4,000 employees. This combination of Columbia Asia and Manipal Hospitals is very exciting because of the strong cultural alignment between the two companies and the opportunity it provides for continued growth,” Dan Baty, Chairman, Columbia Pacific Management, said.
The combined entity will have 27 hospitals across 15 cities with more than 7,200 beds and 4,000 doctors.