Morning briefing: President reviews navy fleet off Vizag with 50 countries participation

GN Bureau | February 6, 2016



President Pranab Mukherjee conducted a fleet review of the Indian Navy ships amid a glittering ocean off Vizag shore on Saturday.  Around 50 navies and 24 foreign ships were participants in the International Fleet Review, the second to be held by India and largest military exercise hosted by the country so far. The president, embarked on the INS Sumitra, inspected the fleet along with prime minister Narendra Modi from INS Sumitra, an off shore patrol vessel. The upper deck of the ship has been modified to accommodate president Muhkerjee , PM Modi and other VVIPs. The fleet review has 71 of Indian Navy’s ships lined up, including both aircraft carriers, INS Vikramaditya and INS Virat.

Landslide win for TRS in Greater Hyderabad civic body polls
In a record performance, ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) unfurled its pink flag on the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) with a landslide victory bagging 99 out of the 150 divisions. The outcome of the election, which shocked not only the Opposition parties but surprised the TRS too, clearly cemented the ruling party’s place in the hearts of the electorate, a mix of people of all parts of the country, particularly those from the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. It is after a gap of a decade that one party would have a full term. In the 2004 and 2009 elections, the Congress party had to approach the MIM for outside support to bag the Mayor and Deputy Mayor’s posts.

Muslim personal law can't be subjected to scrutiny by SC, says Jamiat
Powerful body of Muslim cleric, Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind on Friday opposed the Supreme Court decision to take up the matter relating to marriage and divorce rights of Muslim women. Raising objections over Supreme Court hearing a plea on Muslim women rights, Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind claimed that Muslim personal law flows from the Holy Quran and therefore, it cannot be subjected to any scrutiny by the apex court. In its plea seeking to be made party to the case, Jamiat told the Supreme Court that it was beyond the court's power to examine the constitutional validity of practices of marriage, divorce and maintenance in Muslim personal law on the grounds that such laws cannot be challenged citing citizen's fundamental rights. The group also said that the previous judgements of the apex court have already provided adequate protection to Muslim women in marriage as well as divorce issues. The Supreme Court had recently noted, "It was pointed out that inspite of guarantee of the Constitution, Muslim women are subjected to discrimination. There is no safeguard against arbitrary divorce and second marriage by her husband during currency of the first marriage, resulting in denial of dignity and security to her."

SC begins hearing on anti-defection law
The Supreme Court on Friday commenced hearing to revisit its two-decade-old verdict on the anti- defection law by which a member elected or nominated by a political party continues to be under its control even after expulsion. The issue had cropped up after Amar Singh and cine star Jaya Prada, who were members of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha respectively, had moved the Supreme Court on their expulsion from the Samajwadi Party on February 2, 2010, anticipating ouster from Parliament. They had contended that they have landed in a piquant situation as expelled members and apprehended disqualification under the anti-defection law if they chose to defy party's whip on any issue in Parliament. Making a submission before a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Arun Mishra and Prafulla C Pant, counsel for the two former MPs, said the interpretation of the anti-defection law, as per a 1996 ruling of the apex court, does not apply to them as they did not form their own party. The bench, after hearing part arguments on Friday, fixed the matter for further hearing on February 12.

Maharashtra bans student tours to beaches, hills and water bodies
In the wake of the Murud beach tragedy that claimed 14 lives, the Pune education department has banned educational tours to beaches, rivers, lakes and hills. "In the wake of the tragic incident in Murud, we have issued a circular in which schools and junior colleges have been instructed not to take educational tours to risky and dangerous places like beaches, rivers, lakes and hills," a circular issued by education office read. "If tours are being organised, adequate teachers should be accompanying students," said Ramchandra Jadhav, Deputy Director (Education), Pune region, which comprises Pune, Ahmednagar and Solapur districts. Also, permission would not be granted for educational tours out of the state, he said, adding "consent letters from parents have been made a must". Schools and junior colleges undertaking excursion tours will have to submit an affidavit on stamp paper.

Army's specialised radars to trace soldiers in Siachen
The army has deployed specialised earth penetrating radars to locate the bodies of 10 soldiers who were buried alive in an avalanche in the Siachen Glacier. The radars are being taken to the spot, at an altitude of 19,600 feet, by Indian Air Force helicopters. The Army, meanwhile, released the names of the 10 soldiers: Subedar Nagesha TT from Karnataka, Havildar Elumalai M from Tamil Nadu, Lance Havildar S Kumar from Tamil Nadu, Lance Naik Sudheesh from Kerala, Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad from Karnataka, Sepoy Mahesha from Karnataka, Sepoy Ganesan G from Tamil Nadu, Sepoy Rama Moorthy N from Tamil Nadu, Sepoy Mustaq Ahmed of Andhra Pradesh and Sepoy Nursing Assistant Suryawanshi of Maharashtra.

Gujarat CM charged with benefiting daughter's associates
Gujarat Congress has accused chief minister Anandiben Patel of selling 245 acres of government land worth nearly Rs 145 crore to her daughter Anar Patel's business associates for a mere Rs 1.5 crore in 2011 when Narendra Modi was at the helm in Gujarat. The land in question adjoins Gir sanctuary and is located within the eco-sensitive zone in Amreli district. Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia addressed a press conference in Gandhinagar while Congress leaders Kapil Sibal and Anand Sharma addressed newsmen simultaneously in New Delhi to make these serious allegations. The Congress has demanded resignation of Anandiben, cancellation of the deal and a probe by a Supreme Court or a high court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT).

The Congress leaders alleged that as revenue minister in Modi's cabinet, Anandiben had got cabinet approval for allotment of 245 acres of government land to a newly formed company, Wildwoods Resort & Realties Pvt Ltd (WWR). The allotted land is located next to the Gir lion sanctuary in Dhari block of Amreli. The state government had given government land to WWR at Rs 15 per square metre - at a fraction of the market price - and also given permission for non-agriculture (NA) use of 176 acres of private agriculture land purchased by the company for a resort. The total land acquired by the company was almost 422 acres. The Congress further alleged that the state government gave away public land at the rate of Rs 60,000 per acre while the market price of the same land was estimated to be more than Rs 50 lakh per acre in 2011. They alleged that official documents accessed under Right to Information (RTI) Act revealed that Anar Patel had invested in WWR that was promoted by Sanjay Vajubhai Dhanak, a Dubai-based businessman who hails from Amreli.

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