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Anil Baijal takes oath as Delhi Lieutenant Governor

Sat, 31 Dec 2016-11:32am , New Delhi , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former union home secretary Anil Baijal on Saturday took oath as the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi at Raj Niwas. The oath was administered by Delhi High Court’s Chief Justice G Rohini.President Pranab Mukherjee earlier on December 28 accepted Najeeb Jung’s resignation and approved Baijal’s name as the next Lieutenant Governor of the National Capital Territory. Baijal, a 1969 batch India Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Union Territories cadre, was removed as union home secretary when the UPA government assumed power in May 2004.The former bureaucrat has also been the vice-chairman of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and had headed key public sector companies like Prasar Bharti and Indian Airlines.Jung had submitted his resignation on December 22, ending a nearly three-and-half-year-long eventful tenure, mostly marked by bitter confrontation with Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government.

Home Secretary met Najeeb Jung two days ago, was unaware of his resignation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The sudden resignation of Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung seems to have caught the Home Ministry unaware with Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi saying Jung had given no indication two days ago when he had a meeting with him. “The LG met me day before yesterday but he did not give any indication of submitting his resignation. Another meeting of mine with the LG is scheduled for tomorrow (Friday)… I have come to know about his resignation only from the media,” Mehrishi told reporters as soon as the news flashed in TV channels.Delhi being a Union Territory, the LG looks after the Delhi Police and he reports to the Union Home Ministry. Jung regularly meets senior Home Ministry officials for various official works and in his recent interactions he had given no clue about his impending resignation from the post. Official sources said whenever the political leadership of the Central government wants to remove a Governor or LG, the onus of conveying the message, asking the incumbents to put in their papers, usually rests with the Union Home Secretary.In the case of Jung, Mehrishi had not conveyed any such message, sources said. It came as a surprise for the Home Ministry officials that Jung has decided to put in his papers without giving any hint in advance. In fact, sources said the LG had intimated the Home Secretary that from December 25 to January 1 he will be visiting Goa on a private tour.
ALSO READ Despite bitter-sweet experiences, we did a good job in Delhi with Najeeb Jung: Manish Sisodia Sources said there is no fixed tenure for a LG of any of the Union Territories even though a Governor is normally appointed for a period of five year or till further order “whichever is earlier”. The LG is appointed without specifying any tenure, sources said.

Centre seeks info on violence outside banks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Facing mounting pressure from opposition parties, who continue to blame demonetization measures for the prevailing chaos at banks and ATM facilities, police departments in states and Union Territories have been asked to urgently send comprehensive details of ‘violent incidents’ that have occurred since November 8.The development comes days after the Winter Session of Parliament was washed out amidst protests by opposition parties which accused the Central Government of creating a chaotic situation resulting from demonetization measures announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.A communication to the effect was sent by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to Directors General of Police (DGPs) and Commissioners of Police (CPs) on December 19. It asks the police chiefs to treat the matter most urgently. The communication, accessed by DNA, says, “Personal attention to DGPs and CPs from Special Secretary. Please intimate the number of violent incidents along with details occurred since November 8, 2016, ie after demonetization at ATMs and banks or any cash outlets (.) Kindly send the details by return fax to MHA control room.” The development comes more than a month after the PM announced demonetization measures under which old notes of 500 and 1000 denomination were taken out of circulation. The move subsequently resulted in a shortage of currency as 500 and 1000 rupee notes formed close to 86 per cent of the total currency in circulation.As a result, banks – both private and government – as well as ATM facilities had seen massive number of people queuing up to either exchange old 500 and 1000 notes in their possession or to simply withdraw money for daily expenses. The deadline to exchange the old currency notes , as per the guidelines issued by Reserve Bank of India, was set to December 30.Official government sources told DNA on Tuesday that the move to ask for details of violent incidents was due to reports emerging from multiple states that indicated a breakdown of law and order.There have been a number of violent incidents reported from outside banks that includes pelting of stones by bank customers, lathi-charge by police forces. Last month, more than a hundred people were booked for pelting stones and clashing with the employees of a bank in Sujru village in Uttar Pradesh over exchanging of old currency notes. While violent incidents outside banks have grabbed the news headline, opposition leaders had forged a union during the Winter Session of the Parliament attacking Modi government for the move.

Supreme Court directs ban on sale of liquor on all National Highways

A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur on Thursday directed to ban liquor on all National Highways. The apex court in its order said all the licenses of liquor shops in and around the National Highways in all the states would be closed.

A week ago, concerned about the over 1.5 lakh fatalities every year in road mishaps, the Supreme Court said it may direct closure of liquor shops on national and state highways across the country, besides removal of signages indicating their location.

The apex court, while reserving verdict on a batch of pleas seeking a direction to amend excise laws to ensure that no liquor is sold alongside highways, came down heavily on the Punjab government for seeking relaxation and permitting liquor shops near highways if they are “elevated” ones and the vend are under or near it.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“Look at the number of licences you (Punjab) have given. Because the liquor lobby is so powerful, everyone is happy. The excise department is happy, the excise minister is happy and the state government is also happy that they are making money. If a person dies due to this, you give Rs one or 1.5 lakh. That is it. You should take a stand which is helpful for the society,” the bench headed by Thakur had said earlier.

Reminding the state government of its constitutional obligation to prohibit liquor sale, the bench, had said, “You are speaking the langauge of liquor vendors. Is this your endeavour to seek prohibition? Nearly 1.5 lakh people die every year. We are asking you to do something for the general public.”

The bench also expressed its unhappiness over alleged inaction by various states in removing liquor shops alongside roads which give rise to drunken driving and consequential fatalities. It said that revenue generation cannot be a “valid reason” for a state or a Union Territory to give licence for liquor shops on highways and the authorities should adopt a positive attitude to remove the menace.

The court also rapped the Centre for not doing anything concrete leading it to “step in”. “The Government of India is now saying that the liquor shops (on the national and state highways) should be removed. For the last 10 years, nothing has happened and that is why we have stepped in,” the bench said.

Earlier, the court had sought the response from the Centre, states and Union Territories on the pleas seeking a direction to amend excise laws to ensure that no liquor is sold alongside highways.

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 11:19 IST

Modi App Demonetization survey: 10.20 lakh people spread across 684 of 687 districts gave feedback

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Against the backdrop of questions raised by the Opposition over the survey on Narendra Modi App, an article on it on Thursday said the sample size of the poll was 10.20 lakh spread across 684 of 687 districts of the country, making it the “first” such exercise on a “policy or a political issue”.While giving statistics of the survey, the article said the Prime Minister had decided to personally respond to the “vast majority” who supported his move as also those who voted against the move. Each response was read and analysed and the comments and suggestions were bucketed under two broad categories — Suggestions and Issues, it said.These were then forwarded to the Union Ministry of Finance and NITI Ayog which used them as an important input in framing their policy tweaks and responses and the communication outreach respectively, it said. “The sample size of the survey is 10.20 lakhs. Such a large sample size on a policy or a political issue a first in India,” the article said. “Responses have been received from 684 districts of India (out of total 687). Each of the 36 states and Union Territories have been represented. In terms of width and scale, this is a staggering response,” it added. It said the survey was open for anyone to take and there was no entry barrier.The statistics were released against the backdrop of questions raised by the Opposition over the veracity and extent of the survey launched on November 22. Next day, it was stated on the App that in just over 24 hours of the survey, more than 5 lakh people have participated and expressed their opinion.More than 93% people supported the move to demonetize the old 500 and 1000 rupee notes and only 2% have rated the move as ‘very poor’ or ‘one star’, the survey result had said. More than 90% of the respondents felt the government’s move to tackle black money was above four-star rating, the survey result had said. 73% of them give it five-star rating of ‘brilliant’, it had added.On the overall fight against corruption, more than 92% of respondents either rated the government as ‘very good’ or ‘good’ while 57% of them rate the fight as ‘very good’, the result on the App had said. “As high as 86% people believe that some so- called anti-corruption activists are now actually batting in support of black money, corruption and even terrorist financing!”, it had said.The article on Thursday said Modi had decided to conduct the survey on his App after “every attempt was made to suggest that the Prime Minister’s decision was out of sync with the ground realities.” It added that “This survey was in spirit with his consistent belief in participative governance.” Citing the good performance of BJP in Parliament, Assembly and local bodies polls in various states after demonetization, the article said, “it is thus not surprising that the survey on the Narendra Modi App gave the numbers it did.” Contending that the “response to the survey, state wise, makes for compelling reading”, the article said “the BJP does not have any historical presence in many of the states represented in the survey. Yet, the level of support for this move, as can be seen in the below graphics, is same or even higher than the national average.”Writing to those who supported the drive, the Prime Minister said, ‘your opinion and insight is a source of great strength. I thank you for the faith you have placed in me and the Government.’ To those who disagreed with him, Prime Minister wrote: “I value the insightful feedback that you have shared. It inspires us to work even harder in fulfilling the dreams and aspirations of the people of India. The views and feedback that you have shared will help us strengthen aspects of the implementation of this very important step taken by the Government with regard to high value currency notes.”

National anthem file should be attached in movie torrents: Twitter mocks SC verdict

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court t directed that cinema halls across the country must play the national anthem before the screening of a film and people should stand up as a mark of respect. The court also directed that the national flag should be shown on screen when the anthem is played. “People must feel this is my country and this is my motherland,” a bench of justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy said while stressing that it is the duty of every citizen of the country to show respect to the national anthem and the flag. “At the root of protocol for national anthem, is respect for national identity, integrity and constitutional patriotism,” the bench said while directing the Centre that the order should be given effect in a week’s time and be circulated to all States and Union Territories through chief secretarie Twitter had a field day mocking the judgment which many strongly disagreed with.Remember the time you illegally downloaded a movie?Caramel popcorns are heavenly though. No comments. Jab dhai kilo ka hat girega Vicco Turmeric ads- Good ol’ DD days May well become reality UN anthem? Yeah…quarter time zaroori haiRemember the outrage about Hindi? Demonetization post effect? Justice Lodha may get a chance to head a committee again With agency inputs

Hate politics practised in south India: Madras High Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Madras High Court on Thursday observed that politics of hate is practised by parties in south India without being cordial and friendly unlike politicians of the north.The observation was made while hearing a plea by president of Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam, Logu Iyyappan of Puducherry related to bypoll campaign.He had sought quashing of an Election Officer’s order disallowing his outfit to campaign against Congress nominee and Puducherry Chief Minister V Naryanasamy who is contesting from Nellithope Assembly segment.”Only hate politics is practised by political parties in the south unlike the north politicians. The contention of the petitioner that they intend to make campaign against the Congress itself is an exhibition of hate politics,” the court said.It also said that if the petitioner intended to favour any political party, “they are at liberty to do so, but aversion to a political party is not good for our democracy.” Bypoll is scheduled to be held on November 19 and the plea was filed challenging rejection of his petition to undertake campaign against Narayanasamy.Dismissing the plea, the high court said according to clause 5.4 of Hand Book of Candidates, permission for election campaign should be obtained only through the candidate or his agent. The court in its order said, “The petitioner cannot be independently allowed to campaign for any candidate.” Further, it said if independent campaigners were allowed to campaign, the candidates would be excluding such campaign from their poll expenditure.Holding that in such a scenario, the very purpose of clause 5.4 will be frustrated, the court said, “Therefore, permission has been rightly denied by the authority.” Giving liberty to the petitioner to apply through candidate in whose favour he intends to campaign, the court said, “The politics in our states and Union Territories is not cordial and friendly and that has been exhibited in various incidents.”The present proceedings were the result of hate politics, the court said, adding it was constrained to incidentally consider that aspect.”The political parties can be opposing parties and they cannot be enemy parties. Such animosity is being cultivated…losing sight that they represent people’s cause.” On the petitioner’s claim that his outfit was apolitical, fighting religious superstitions in a secular fashion, the court said in reality, they do not give such an impression.

Police Commemoration Day observed today, Rajnath Singh pays tribute

Fri, 21 Oct 2016-09:30am , Beijing , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Police Commemoration Day was observed across the country on Friday as Home Minister Rajnath Singh paid homage to the police martyrs at the Police Memorial Ground, Chanakyapuri in Delhi. The day commemorates the sacrifices of ten policemen while defending the borders with China in 1959.On 21st October 1959, Chinese Army personnel opened fire and threw grenades at the police party of 20 personnel.Ten of them died and seven were taken prisoners by the Chinese and the remaining managed to escape. The Annual Conference of Inspectors General of Police of States and Union Territories held in January 1960 decided that 21st October will be observed as Commemoration Day in all Police Lines throughout India to mark the memory of these gallant personnel. Since 1961, more than 33,000 police personnel have sacrificed their lives for security of the nation and service to the society.

Delhi has worst working conditions for women in India, says study

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tiny northeastern state of Sikkim has the best whereas national capital Delhi the worst working conditions for women, according to a report.The report brought together jointly by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a top American think-tank, and Nathan Associates, gave Sikkim the highest possible 40 points while Delhi received just 8.5, reflecting the state of affairs in the capital.The states were ranked according to four main factors: legal restrictions on women’s working hours in factories, retail, and the IT industry; the responsiveness of the state’s criminal justice system to crimes affecting working women, such as sexual harassment; the number of women workers in the state as a percentage of total workers; and the number of incentives the state’s startup and industrial policies offer women entrepreneurs.”But the tiny northeastern state of Sikkim is the breakthrough state for women in the workplace, thanks to its high rates of female workforce participation, lack of restrictions on women’s working hours, and high conviction rates for workforce crimes against women (albeit on a small sample size),” the report said. Sikkim is followed by Telangana (28.5 points), Puducherry (25.6), Karnataka (24.7), Himachal Pradesh (24. 2), Andhra Pradesh (24.0), Kerala (22.2), Maharashtra (21. 4), Tamil Nadu (21.1) and Chhattisgarh (21.1). Four states (Sikkim, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu) have removed all restrictions on women working at night in factories, retail establishments and the IT sector, the report said.In Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu, these restrictions were removed as a result of a court judgment. Maharashtra just missed a perfect score; it only allows women to work until 10 pm in retail establishments.On the other end of the spectrum, nine states and Union Territories do not formally allow women to work at night in any sector. Fifteen states and Union Territories did not offer women entrepreneurs any special incentives in their business-promotion policies, it said. “In something of a surprise, Delhi came last in our Index, due to its relatively low justice and workforce participation scores; its continued formal restrictions on women working at night in a wide range of sectors; and its lack of any incentives for female entrepreneurs in its industrial policies,” the report said.India has the world’s lowest rate (24 per cent) of female workforce participation.This is a serious drag on growth. a 2015 report by the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that India could add 16 per cent to its GDP in ten years if women participated in the workforce at the same rate as men.But many states have laws limiting women’s working hours, and Indian women face harassment in the workplace and while commuting, it said.

Nirbhaya fund not enough, frame national compensation policy: SC

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre to formulate a national policy for providing adequate reliefs to rape survivors as setting up of a separate fund like the ‘Nirbhaya fund’ was not enough and amounted to “just a lip service”.”Different states have different schemes. There is no national plan as how the rape victims are to be compensated. Setting up of the Nirbhaya Fund is not enough and it is just paying a lip service. The Union of India must ensure that adequate relief is being provided to the victims of sexual offences,” a vacation bench of Justices P C Pant and D Y Chandrachud said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bench also issued notice to the Centre, all states and Union Territories and sought their responses on the effective implementation of Section 357(A) of the CrPC and status of victim compensation schemes, alongwith the number of victims of rape who have been compensated.
ALSO READ Nirbhaya Fund: SC asks Centre why Rs 2,000 crore corpus not being disbursed among sexual offence victimsDuring the hearing on a batch of petitions, senior advocate Indira Jaising, who is assisting the court as an amicus curiae, said that the implementation of the “Victim Compensation Scheme” is a matter of concern as only 25, out of 29 states, have notified the scheme.”There is complete lack of uniformity in the said schemes and the States have not yet indicated whether appropriate funds have been allocated in pursuance to the notification of the said schemes, as well as the number of rape victims that have been compensated under the said schemes,” she said adding that some states pay Rs 10 lakh as compensation while few others pay as less as Rs 50,000 to such survivors.The bench, while prima facie agreeing to the plea that there was lack of uniformity in such schemes, said that there are some states, which even provide compensation to victims of sexual offences just on registration of the FIRs.”Some states even provide interim compensation to sexual offence victims of particular class just on registration of FIR. Delhi has different scheme, UP has different. There has to be some national model on this,” the bench observed.Six petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court between 2012-2013 after the Nirbhaya gangrape in Delhi on December 16, 2012 raising various concerns on safety and security of women.All the petitions were tagged by the apex court and several directions have been passed from time to time in this regard.

Supreme Court approves Centre’s guidelines to protect Good Samaritans

The Supreme Court on Wednesday approved the Centre’s guidelines to protect Good Samaritans, who help road accident victims, from being unnecessarily harassed by police or any other authority.A bench comprising justices V Gopala Gowda and Arun Mishra asked the central government to give wide publicity to these guidelines so that people who help others in the time of distress are not victimised by any authority.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier this month, the apex court had said it will pass an order on the recommendations of a committee headed by its former judge on road safety which advocated that people saving lives of road accident victims need not fear harassment by police or other authorities.The bench also took on record the guidelines placed by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways which were based on the recommendations of the three-member committee headed by former judge K S Radhakrishnan.The committee, also comprising former Secretary of Road Transport Ministry S Sundar and Nishi Mittal, ex-chief scientist, had given 12 major recommendations including setting up of State Road Safety Councils, evolving a protocol for identification of black spots, their removal and monitoring to see the effectiveness of the action taken.The apex court-appointed committee had also suggested strengthening of enforcement relating to drunken driving, over-speeding, red light jumping and helmet or seat belt laws.The ministry had said in a statement that in the absence of any statutory backing, it was proving difficult to enforce these guidelines and therefore the government had approached the apex court to consider issuing these guidelines, through an order binding on all states and Union Territories, until the Union government enacts a law to this effect.The apex court had in 2014 appointed the three-member committee to monitor steps taken by the Centre and state governments to ensure road safety.

Ram Vilas Paswan urges Assam to speed up Food Security Act implementation

Union Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Friday urged the Assam Government to speed up implementation of the Food Security Act so that 84% of rural and 60% of urban population in the state can get rice at Rs 3 per kg and wheat at Rs 2 per kg.Implementation of the Act was delayed in Assam as mandatory digitisation of records of beneficiaries was not done by the state, Paswan told reporters after inaugurating the official building of the National Test House in Guwahati.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Finally it has come into force in Assam in December and over 2.52 crore people of the 3.11 crore population in the state now will be benefited with subsidised foodgrains.The Central government has decided to share 50% (75% in the case of Hilly and difficult areas) of the cost of handling and transportation of food grains incurred by the states and the dealers’ margin so that it is not passed on to the beneficiaries.To make the system transparent and leak proof, online allocation of food grains has been implemented in 20 states and Union Territories, he said.Toll free help lines have been installed in 32 States/ UTs and online grievance redressal mechanism implemented in all 36 States/UTs, the minister said.Supporting demands for subsidised food grains to tea garden workers, Paswan said benefit of heavily subsidised food grains should also be passed on to the tea garden workers who were earlier not getting direct benefit of PDS as bulk allocation of food grains was made to garden management only.”That is why for the first time, tea garden workers also have been made eligible to receive food grain under PDS. 17.97 lakh tea garden workers have started receiving food grain under the NFSA”, he said.”Monthly allocation of 12,590 tons of food grains to the State Government is being by the Central Government for distribution among tea garden workers,” Paswan said.Stating the N-E region is a priority area for his ministry, he said adequate supply of food grains was ensured using multi-modal transport in N-E States during disruption in rail route due to gauge conversion from Lumding to Badarpur.Roads and river routes are used for the purpose and storage capacity has been increased, he said.Inaugurating the National Test House building equipped with advance facilities for testing civil engineering and chemical materials, he said it will be upgraded with new facilities to cater to demands of the industries located in the North-East at a lower rate than private testing centres.The NTH with its headquarters at Kolkata is a laboratory to test materials of engineering branches except Food, Pharmaceuticals and Arms and Ammunitions.

Govt to have ‘grand’ Yoga Day celebrations this year: Ayush

The international Yoga Day will be celebrated on a “grand scale” this year with the government issuing an “improved” common protocol of asanas, besides holding other events to attract people specially students.Ayush Minister Shripad Yesso Naik on Friday said the Ministry of Human Resources Development has also been asked to organise a Yoga Olympiad to popularise the practice among students.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Ayush Ministry has decided to celebrate the International Yoga Day on a grand scale as compared to last year. A 45-minute common yoga protocol has been developed by experts committee of the yoga gurus, which is an improved version of last year’s event. We are requesting various yoga institutions to provide necessary technical support and guidance to the state for the event,” Naik said.He was addressing the ministers and senior bureaucrats of states and Union Territories. June 21 is celebrated as the World Yoga day.”In addition, we have also requested Ministry of Human Resources Development to organise a Yoga Olympiad involving school children,” Naik said.Anil Kumar Ganeriwala, Joint Secretary in the Ministry, said “we are requesting important yoga institutions to provide technical guidelines to a group of states within their states so that there will be collaboration between the state governments and yoga institutions.”The Centre for Support for Yoga and Naturopathy will give funds to NGOs in each district of the country to organise a one-month training programme.

Forcing transgenders into beggary may soon be treated as atrocity

Forcing a transgender person into beggary may soon be treated as an act of “atrocity and violence” against them.In a significant move, a chapter detailing a series of offences which shall be treated as atrocity and violence against transgender people has been added to the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2015, redrafted by the Social Justice Ministry.The offences include forcibly removing clothes of a person of the transgender community, parading them naked or committing any act that is derogatory to human dignity, and compelling or enticing a transgender to beg or do similar forms of forced or bonded labour other than any compulsory service for public purposes imposed by government.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It also includes wrongfully dispossessing a transgender from his or her land or premises and forcing or causing a transgender to leave house, village or other place of residence.Intentionally insulting or intimidating with intent to humiliate a transgender person in any place within public view, assaulting or using force on them to dishonour or outrage their modesty, denying the right of passage to a place of public resort and preventing them from using such a resort which others members have a right to use or access will fall within the ambit of atrocities.”The Bill has been redrafted and new chapters and provisions have been included following inputs from stakeholders concerned during the pre-legislative consultation meeting held on January 18. The Bill will now be sent to Law Ministry,” said a senior official of the Social Justice Ministry.Besides, as per the redrafted Bill, the Union government will, by a notification, constitute a National Council for Transgender Persons to advise central and state governments on the entire gamut of issues related to transgenders for improvement of their quality of life.The Council will advise on policies, programmes and legislative measures to be adopted for the promotion of physical and financial security, health, independent and productive living, awareness generation, and community mobilization for the welfare of transgenders.The council shall consist of Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, who will be its ex-officio chairperson, MoS in the Ministry (ex-officio vice chairperson), while Secretary and Additional Secretary in the Ministry will be ex-officio members.It will also have representatives not below the rank of Joint Secretaries from the Ministry of Health, Labour, Rural Development, Home Affairs, Human Resource Development and Department of Pension and Pensioners Welfare and NITI Ayog as ex-officio members.Several provisions of the previous draft bill have been retained. As per the Bill, transgenders, who by birth do not belong to Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes, may be declared members of Backward Class and would be entitled to reservation under the OBC category.As per the bill, transgenders will be declared as the third gender and would be given the option to identify themselves as man, woman or transgender irrespective of whether they had undergone surgery or hormonal therapy.Also, transgenders would be issued a proper identification certificate by a state-level authority, duly designated or constituted by the respective states or Union Territories, on the lines of Tamil Nadu Aravanis Welfare Board.The certificate so issued will have to be accepted by all authorities for indicating the gender on official documents including ration card, passport, birth certificate and Aadhaar card.Other benefits to the community include scholarships and entitlements like education fee waiver, free textbooks, free hostel accommodation and several other facilities at subsidised rates.

Supreme Court to wait for government’s stand on euthanasia

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it will await the government’s stand in its endeavour to examine a plea to legalise passive euthanasia by means of withdrawal of life support system to terminally-ill patients. “Is the government making its stand clear in a reasonable time,” a five-judge Constitution Bench, headed by Justice A R Dave, asked Additional Solicitor General PS Patwalia, who sought some time to get instruction from competent authority.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The law officer apprised the bench about the 241st report of the Law Commission which has stated that passive euthanasia should be allowed with certain safeguards and there was a proposed law — Medical Treatment of Terminally Ill Patient (Protection of Patients and Medical Practioners) Bill, 2006. He said his contention will also be based on 6.7 regulation of 2002 under Medical Council of India Act which says that practicing euthanasia shall constitute unethical conduct. However on specific occasions, the question of withdrawing supporting devices to sustain cardio-pulmonary function even after brain death, shall be decided only by a doctors’ team and not merely by the treating physician alone.Taking note of his submission especially that the Law Commission’s 241st report was under government’s consideration, the bench, which also comprised Justices Kurian Joseph, Shiva Kirti Singh, A K Goel and R F Nariman, said it will await the outcome of the report which is under the Centre’s consideration and posted the matter for hearing on February one. The bench was hearing a PIL filed in 2005 by NGO Common Cause which said when a medical expert opines that the person afflicted with a terminal disease has reached a point of no return, then he should be given the right to refuse being put on life support system as otherwise, it would only prolong his agony. The apex court had two years ago issued notices to states and Union Territories on the issue, even as the Centre had strongly opposed the petition saying it is a form of suicide which cannot be allowed. The NGO had prayed for declaring the right to die with dignity as a fundamental right and sought a direction to the government to adopt suitable procedures to ensure that those with deteriorating health or the terminally ill should be able to execute a living Will and attorney authorisation for termination of life.Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, explained that there are three types of euthanasia — positive, passive and living Will. He said his emphasis was on the category of living Will in which a person makes an advance declaration that if during his treatment, it becomes clear that there is no chance of revival, he should not be put on life support system or ventilator. The bench, which had several queries on the practicability of the issue, also deliberated as to how putting a patient on ventilator has now become a commercial medical practice. “It (putting a patient on ventilator) is also a torture for the family. It is very expensive,” the bench said when the ASG spoke about the commercial angle. While referring to 6.7 regulation of 2002 under Medical Council of India, the bench wanted to know about the implication of the regulation if the four words ‘even after brain death’ is deleted from it. Patwalia said questions relating to euthanasia and decriminalising attempt to suicide by deleting Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code were raised in Parliament. The ASG said “the Central Government has taken a decision to delete the same from the statute and some state governments have ratified it but it has not gone from the statute book.” The apex court on July 16, 2014, had issued notices to states and Union Territories on the issue, even as the Centre had strongly opposed the petition saying it is a form of suicide which cannot be allowed. At that time, another five-judge bench had said that states must also be heard as the issue pertained not only to the Constitution, but involves morality, religion and medical science.Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had submitted that the issue should be debated and decided by the legislature and it was not a matter to be adjudicated by the court. The bench had appointed senior lawyer and former Solicitor General T R Andhyarujina as amicus curiae to assist it in the case relating to legalising euthanasia.The Constitution Bench, hearing the matter, was set up after a three-judge bench had on February 25, 2014 referred the matter to a larger bench saying it was extremely important to have a clear enunciation of law in view of inconsistent opinions in its previous judgement.It had said that its verdict of 2011 allowing passive euthanasia was delivered on a “wrong premise”. “In view of the inconsistent opinions rendered in Aruna Shanbaug case and considering the important question of law involved which needs to be reflected in the light of social, legal, medical and constitutional perspective, it becomes extremely important to have a clear enunciation of the law. Thus, in our cogent opinion, the question of law involved requires careful consideration by a Constitution Bench of this court for the benefit of humanity as a whole,” the court had said.It had said that its earlier Constitution Bench verdict, which was wrongly relied in Aruna Shanbaug case, had held that the right to live with dignity will be inclusive of the right to die with dignity, but the judgement did not arrive at a conclusion on validity of euthanasia. The present PIL has contended that a person whose life was ebbing out should be allowed to die as the continuance of the life with the support system was an unnatural extension of the natural life span.