Morning briefing: PM speaks of major reforms as Asean meet

GN Bureau | November 21, 2015



Hinting at bringing in  major economic reforms, prime minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called India and ASEAN 'natural partners', whose relationship goes back to 'ancient times'. ASEAN is India's fourth largest trading partner and India is the sixth largest trading partner for the ten member grouping.

Speaking at the summit, Modi said, "I congratulate you for this achievement. I also congratulate you on the creation of one ASEAN community which are going to sign up tomorrow. India and ASEAN are natural partners. Our ties date back to ancient times."
"By almost every major economic indicator, India is doing better than when we took office. Reform for me is just a way-station on the long journey to the destination.The destination is the transformation of India," said Modi.

Modi further added, "The GDP growth is up and inflation is down. Foreign investment is up and the CAD is down. Tax revenues are up and interest rates are down."Modi met his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang on the sidelines of ASEAN-India summit, during which the two leaders discussed bilateral ties and global issues of mutual concern.

Wife entitled to stridhan even after judicial separation
In a significant judgment, the Supreme Court on Friday held that a wife is entitled for "stridhan" from her husband under the Domestic Violence Act even if she has obtained judicial separation but not got the decree of divorce.

"It is quite clear that there is a distinction between a decree for divorce and decree of judicial separation; in the former, there is a severance of status and the parties do not remain as husband and wife, whereas in the later, the relationship between husband and wife continues and the legal relationship continues as it has not been snapped," a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said and set aside Arunachal High Court's judgment against a woman.The woman was denied the relief on the ground she could not be called an aggrieved person as she had filed an application seeking the seizure of stridhan after she had got judicial separation.

The court said though judicial separation after a certain period may become a ground for divorce, it is not necessary and the parties are not bound to have recourse to that remedy and the parties can live keeping their status as wife and husband till their lifetime.
Expressing displeasure over the subordinate courts, the bench also observed that "we have stated about the need of sensitive approach to these kinds of cases. There can be erroneous perception of law, but as we find neither the learned magistrate nor the appellate court nor the High Court has made any effort to understand and appreciate the stand of the appellant.

Centralised data on pending litigations soon
The Law Ministry has embarked upon an ambitious project to streamline litigation related data and make it available at a single point. The Legal Information Management and Briefing System (LIMBS) conceived by the Law Ministry can capture information pertaining to different courts and tribunals and categorise them into various sets of management information system reports for concerned officials to take action.
It can send reminders through SMS to official to provide alerts about particular cases coming up for hearing. Law Secretary P K Malhotra has urged other Union Secretaries appoint a joint secretary level officer as the project coordinator to implement LIMBS. "... this department (Legal Affairs) is mandated to give legal advice to all government departments on the issues raised by them and also advise them on litigation matters conducted on behalf of Union of India. "However, the court cases are monitored by the concerned departments and there is no centralised system for collecting information with regard to pendency and status of these cases... centralised data to this effect is not available," he wrote.

Madras high court stays cancellation of Greenpeace India’s registration

The Madras high court on Friday stayed the government order cancelling Greenpeace India's registration, observing that the Tamil Nadu Registrar of Societies (RoS) had not followed principles of natural justice. The Tamil Nadu RoS had cancelled the registration of Greenpeace India -- the environmental NGO that has been campaigning against air pollution and the unsustainable use of natural resources in India -- earlier this month. Justice MM Sundresh has granted an interim stay for four weeks.

NDTV gets ED notice for FEMA violations
The enforcement directorate has served a show cause notice on private broadcaster NDTV Limited, involving a sum of Rs.2,030 crore, for allegedly flouting foreign exchange regulations in availing of overseas and foreign direct investment facilities. Alleging that the company received a total of over Rs.1,113 crore in violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act rules, the directorate has issued the notice on the basis of investigations into the financial transactions made by 21 companies. Four of the companies were incorporated in the Netherlands, six in Mauritius and one each in the United Kingdom and Sweden. NDTV Limited was directly linked to 18 of the firms, while one was a joint venture and two were associates.

 
Chopping of Bond movie scenes not mine: CBFC chief
Following a controversy over his autocratic style of functioning – the latest trigger being halving of scenes with kissing in Spectre, the latest James Bond action flick -- Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chairman Pahlaj Nihalani has claimed that he is yet to see the film and the decision was taken by the examining committee of CBFC.“The examining committee has seen the film and recommended the cuts. I’m yet to see the film even once,” Nihalani told dna, adding that the producers had ‘gladly’ accepted the decision.

The censor board chief has lately been under attack by a section of the CBFC board members, as well as the social media, after reports of cuts in Spectre and the latest Salman Khan starrer Prem Ratan Dhan Payo emerged. He also came under fire for a short film that he had ‘unabashedly’ made on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s achievements. #SanskariJamesBond had been trending on twitter for several hours after the news broke.“People are going with the flow without even understanding the rules. The films are cleared and certified by the examining committee and I’m not a part of that,” Nihalani said, adding that only if a producer challenges the examining committee’s decision, the film goes to the revising committee.“I can be part of the revising committee or I can select board members who will watch the film again for a final decision, depending on the availability of members at that time,” Nihalani said.

The CBFC chief even goes on to say that unlike the previous Bond movies, Spectre will be the first movie with the maximum scenes with kissing allowed in India.Board members of CBFC, however, did not buy Nihalani’s arguments, slamming him for not consulting them on important decisions related to CBFC.

Nitish keeps home, Lalu's son is Bihar's Deputy CM
JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar who was sworn in as Bihar chief minister on Friday for a third straight term, kept the home portfolio with him while Lalu Prasad's younger son Tejaswi Yadav was named the deputy chief minister.The Chief Minister will look after home, general administration and information and public relations, highly placed sources in the Raj Bhawan said, adding that the list has been approved by the governor Ram Nath Kovind. Kumar's keeping the home portfolio with him assumes significance as law and order is considered to be the biggest challenge for Kumar, who will be heading an alliance government with RJD and Congress in the state.

27 dead after Islamists seize hotel in Mali's capital
Around 27 people were reported dead on Friday after Malian commandos stormed a hotel seized by Islamist gunmen to rescue 170 people, many of them foreigners, trapped in the building.The jihadist group Al Mourabitoun, which is based in the desert north of the former French colony, claimed responsibility for the attack and said it worked with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Mali has been battling Islamist rebels for years.

A security source said the siege was over by around 4 p.m. local time (1630 GMT) and two militants were dead.A United Nations official said U.N. peacekeepers searching the hotel had made a preliminary count of 27 bodies. The government held an emergency cabinet meeting on Friday night and was expected to give an official death toll later.

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