N Gopalaswami: Gunning for Chawla
The CEC's allegations against has colleague has stoked controversy
In a move guaranteed to stir up institutional and political
controversy, Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami
has suo motu sent a recommendation to the President that
Election Commissioner Navin Chawla should be removed
from office on the alleged ground of 'partisanship.' The
President has forwarded the CEC's missive to the Prime
Not since the days of the pugnacious TN Seshan — barring a
short spell of government-Election Commission standoff when James Lyngdoh was Chief
Election Commissioner (CEC) — has Nirvachan Sadan been so much in the news.
The CEC's allegations of political partisanship on his colleague and would be successor
Navin Chawla has created a stir in the echelons of political power in the capital.
Gopalaswami has alleged that Chawla is close to the Congress and this is
likely to affect his impartiality in decision making as the new CEC when he
leaves office in April. The CEC has made a suo motu reference to the
By virtue of being a constitutional authority, the office of CEC must be free
from any taint of political association.
Gopalaswami was widely regarded as a model civil servant. An Indian
Administrative Service officer of the Gujarat cadre he joined the service in
1966. He has held various top-level posts including that of the managing director, Gujarat
Communication and Electronics Limited; member (administration and purchase) in the
Gujarat Electricity Board; secretary to the government (science & technology) in technical
education; and secretary, department of revenue.
Posted in Delhi between 1992 and 2004, he was the Union Home Secretary and, prior to that,
secretary in the department of culture and Secretary-General in the National Human Rights
Commission. His discharge of duties in these positions has been free from controversy.
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His critics say the CEC does not have the moral stature to point a finger at Chawla as he
himself had been close to the BJP in the past. During his as Home Secretary he served Home
Minister and Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani. The CEC's action against Chawla is based
on a complaint filed by the BJP. Gopalaswami's detractors say this is not mere coincidence.
The fact is that concerns about Chawla's credentials were first raised by BJP leader Jaswant
Singh. BB Tandon, the CEC at that time, said he did not have the authority to recommend suo
motu action against a colleague. In doing so, he avoided a controversy.
In March 2006, BJP Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani and 204 MPs submitted a petition
to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam seeking the removal of Chawla as Election Commissioner
under Article 324 (5) of the Constitution. The President sent it to the Prime Minister's Office,
who in turn directed the Law Ministry to give an opinion. The law ministry replied that the
CEC could not make a suo motu reference to the President. If Gopalaswami had taken that
route to keep the CEC and Nirvachan Sadan out of controversy, no one would have objected.
But he chose the other path.
Panel for civil service option after class XII
Moily headed ARC wants a three-year course for students post Class 12
The second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC), which is headed by Veerappa
Moily, has suggested formulating a three-year course for students who have completed Class
12 to train civil service aspirants.
In its report, "Refurbishing of Personnel Administration," the ARC has suggested that Class
12 students should be selected for the course, which is designed to meet the requirements of
the "modern and responsive civil service".
The ARC head believes that if the school pass-outs are selected for career in civil service,
they will come with more commitment and a right attitude to serve. A national-level test
conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), on the lines of the test for
admission into the National Defence Academy (NDA), will be held to select the best of the
candidates. The existing age criteria would be accordingly lowered.
The report says candidates would have to pursue a three-year course drawn up by National
Institutes of Public Administrations (NIPA), which must be set up to conduct bachelor's
degree courses in public administration or management. Yearly assessment test would be
conducted and candidates awarded graduation degrees. In the long run, these centres would
evolve as sources of civil services aspirants. Moily added that the candidates' commitment
and attitude can also be assessed in such a set-up.
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"Those who do not want to pursue a career in civil services will be permitted to exit and
pursue their interest elsewhere," said Moily. Those who wish to continue would be given
service allotments and would undergo a two-year service-specific course in Sardar
Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy (SVPNPA) for Indian Police Service (IPS) and
National Academy of Direct Taxes (NADT) for Indian Revenue Service (IRS).
At the end of the course, the candidates would be given cadre allotment on the basis of merit
and preference. "The new system would help recruit potential civil servants at a young age
and groom them when they are still in their formative years," said Moily. This would also
enable the government to tap into a much bigger resource pool than the present recruitment
system. It would also end the present "undesirable" system of coaching institutes that have
sprung up across the country to prepare aspirants, he said.
Cr.PC Amendment Bill gets President's assent
The Bill is based on Justice Malimath Committee report, Apex court guidelines
President Pratibha Patil has given assent to
the Criminal Procedure Code
(Amendment) Bill, which restrains the
police from arresting a person for criminal
offences for which the maximum sentence
is up to seven-year imprisonment.
The Bill, passed in the last session of
Parliament, has now become a law and it
will come into force from the date of notification by the government. It incorporates the
recommendations of the Law Commission, the Justice Malimath Committee report and
guidelines issued by the Supreme Court from time to time to prevent overcrowding of jails
The amended Section 41 of the Cr.PC. says: "No person concerned in a non-cognisable
offence or against whom a complaint has been made or credible information has been
received or reasonable suspicion exists of his having so concerned shall be arrested except
under a warrant or order of a magistrate."
However, arrest can be made without a warrant, after recording the reasons in writing, if the
police officer is satisfied that it is necessary for proper probe, or to prevent the person from
committing any further offence or making any inducement, threat or promise to anyone
acquainted with the facts of the case.
For non-cognisable offences a person can
be arrested, without warrant, for proper
Police should issue "notice of
appearance" for any offence punishable
with jail up to 7 years
Police officer arresting a person will have
to bear identification badge
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The provision says the police, instead of arresting the accused, will be obliged to issue
him/her a "notice of appearance" for any offence punishable with imprisonment up to seven
years. The person can be arrested only if he/she does not appear before the police in response
to the notice. The amended law says a police officer who is making an arrest will have to bear
his identification badge or tag. Besides, a memorandum of arrest shall be prepared, witnessed
and countersigned. The person arrested shall be told that he/she has the right to inform a
relative or friend. The new law mandates the State government to establish police control
rooms at the district and State levels and display on notice-boards kept outside the control
rooms the names and addresses of the persons arrested, and the names and designations of the
police officers who made the arrests. The law provides for payment of compensation to
victims for illegal arrest and police harassment.
Padma Vibhushan for Kakodkar, Madhavan Nair, Nirmala
133 personalities comprise Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri
Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission Anil Kakodkar, who played a key role in finalising
the India-U.S. civil nuclear cooperation agreement; Indian Space Research Organisation chief
G. Madhavan Nair, involved in the first Chandrayaan mission; Sister Nirmala, Superior
General of Mother Teresa's Kolkata-based Missionaries of Charities; and noted
environmentalist Sunderlal Bahuguna are among the 10 distinguished personalities honoured
with Padma Vibhushan, the country's second highest civilian award, on the 60th Republic
Day. In all, 133 personalities from various fields were named, including 10 for Padma
Vibhushan, 30 for Padma Bhushan and 93 for Padma Shri. India's first individual Olympic
Gold winner Abhinav Bindra, cricket captain M.S. Dhoni, Bollywood actors Akshay Kumar
and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan figure among the awardees.
The following is the list of winners of Padma Awards 2009:
1. Dr. Chandrika Prasad Srivastava, Civil Service (Maharashtra)
2. Sunderlal Bahuguna, Environment Conservation (Uttarakhand)
3. Prof. D. P. Chattopadhyaya, Literature & Education (West Bengal)
4. Prof. Jasbir Singh Bajaj, Medicine (Punjab)
5. Dr. Purshotam Lal, Medicine (Uttar Pradesh)
6. Govind Narain, Public Affairs (Uttar Pradesh)
7. Dr. Anil Kakodkar, Science & Engineering (Maharashtra)
8. G. Madhavan Nair, Science & Engineering (Karnataka)
9. Sister Nirmala, Social Work (West Bengal)
10. Dr. A.S. Ganguly, Trade & Industry (Maharashtra)
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1. G. Sivarama Krishna Murthy alias Krishna, Art (Andhra Pradesh)
2. Prof. Ramanlal C. Mehta, Art (Gujarat)
3. Shamshad Begum, Art (Maharashtra)
4. V. P. Dhananjayan & Smt Shanta Dhananjayan (Duo), Art (Tamil Nadu)
5. Dr. Vaidyanathan Ganapathi Sthapati, Art (Tamil Nadu)
6. S. K. Misra, Civil Service (Haryana)
7. Shri Shekhar Gupta, Journalism (Delhi)
8. Prof. Alappat Sreedhara Menon, Literature & Education (Kerala)
9. C. K. Prahlad, Literature & Education (NRI/ PIO)
10. D. Jayakanthan, Literature & Education (Tamil Nadu)
11. Dr. Isher Judge Ahluwalia, Literature & Education (Delhi)
12. Shri Kunwar Narain, Literature & Education (Delhi)
13. Prof. Minoru Hara, Literature & Education (Foreigner)
14. Ramachandra Guha, Literature & Education (Karnataka)
15. Dr. Brijendra Kumar Rao, Medicine (Delhi)
16. Vaidya Devendra Triguna, Medicine (Delhi)
17. Dr. Khalid Hameed, Medicine (NRI/ PIO)
18. Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Satish Nambiar, National Security Affairs (Delhi)
19. Dr. (Smt) Inderjit Kaur Barthakur, Public Affairs (Meghalaya)
20. Dr. Kirit Shantilal Parikh, Public Affairs (Delhi)
21. Dr. Bhakta B. Rath, Science & Engineering (NRI/ PIO)
22. Shri Conjeevaram Srirangachari Seshadri, Science & Engineering (Tamil Nadu)
23. Dr. Gurdip Singh Randhawa, Science & Engineering (Delhi)
24. Sam Pitroda, Science & Engineering (Delhi)
25. Prof . Sarvagya Singh Katiyar, Science & Engineering (Uttar Pradesh)
26. Prof. Thomas Kailath, Science & Engineering (NRI/ PIO)
27. Dr. Naganath Nayakawadi, Social Work (Maharashtra)
28. Dr. (Smt) Sarojini Varadappan, Social Work (Tamil Nadu)
29. Abhinav Bindra, Sports (Punjab)
30. Anil Manibhai Naik, Trade & Industry (Maharashtra).
Eleven chosen for Ashoka Chakra, 13 for Kirti Chakra
Martyrs of Mumbai 26/11 attacks figure in the list of awardees
Maharasthra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief and Mumbai Joint Police Commissioner
Hemant Kamlakar Karkare, Mumbai Additional Police Commissioner Ashok Marutrao
Kamte, National Security Guards (NSG) Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and Delhi Police
Special Cell Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma are among the 11 persons selected
posthumously for the Ashoka Chakra, the highest peacetime gallantry award. The awards
were presented by President Pratibha Patil on Republic Day.
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The Ashoka Chakra is awarded to an individual, uniformed or civilian, for the most
conspicuous act of bravery, or an act of daring or a pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice
away from the battlefield.
While Mohan Chand Sharma was selected for his fight
against "terrorists" at Jamia Nagar in Delhi on
September 19 last, the others have been awarded for
their sacrifice during the terrorists attacks in Mumbai on
November 26 last.
Mumbai Anti-Extortion Cell (Crime Branch) Inspector Vijay Sahahdev Salaskar, Mumbai
police Assistant Sub-Inspector Tukaram Gopal Ombale and NSG Havildar Gajender Singh,
who too laid down their lives in the Mumbai terror attacks, have been named for Ashoka
Chakra. The other awardees of the Ashoka Chakra are (all posthumous): Orissa Armed
Police's Special Operations Group Assistant Commandant Pramod Kumar Satapathy and
R.P. Diengdoh of Meghalaya police; Col. Jojan Thomas, Jat Regiment, 45 Rashtriya Rifles;
and Parachute Regiment (Special Forces) 10th battalion Havildar Bahadur Singh Bohra.
Kirti Chakra is an Indian military decoration awarded for valor, courageous
action or self-sacrifice away from the field of battle. It is awarded to civilians
as well as military personnel. It is second in order of precedence of peacetime
gallantry awards; it comes after Ashoka Chakra and before Shaurya Chakra.
Thirteen personnel, six of them posthumously, have been named for "Kirti
Chakra." Naik Tape Yajo, 1 Assam Regiment; Nitya Nanda Bora, loco-pilot
in charge of the pilot special (Railways); constable Arun Raghonath Chitte, Anti-Extortion
Cell (Crime Branch), Mumbai police; constable Ambadas Ramchandra Powar, Security
Branch, P 1, Maharashtra Police; Inspector Sashank Chandrasen Shinde, Maharashtra Police;
and Maharashtra home guard Mukesh Bhikaji Jadhav have been named for Kirti Chakra
The other Kirti Chakra awardees are: Lt.Col. Saurabh Singh Shekhawat, 21 Parachute
Regiment (Special Forces); Lt.Col. Osiris Das, Kumaon Regiment, 13 Rashtriya Rifles;
Captain Zala Ajitkumar Arshibhai, 2 Parachute Regiment (Special Forces); Captain Paras
Limboo, Assam Regiment, 59 Rashtriya Rifles; Subedar Indira Bahadur Pun, 4 Parachute
Regiment (Special Forces); Havildar Rale Santosh Tanaji, Maratha Light Infantry, 56
Rashtriya Rifles; and Sapper V. Satish, Corps of Engineers, 51 Special Action Group (NSG).
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Dominic Emmanuel, Anjuman selected for Harmony award
'Phool Walon ki Sair' is a symbol of solidarity amongst Hindus and Muslims
Dominic Emmanuel, who has been working on inter-religious dialogue, and Anjuman Sair-e-
Gul Faroshan, known for its annual "Phool Walon ki Sair," have been selected for the
National Communal Harmony Award for 2008.
The jury, headed by Vice-President M. Hamid Ansari selected Delhi-based Emmanuel in the
individual category and Anjuman Sair-e-Gul Faroshan, in the organisation category.
Emmanuel, 57, has been working for communal harmony for the past two decades. He has
been involved in resolving conflicts/differences between different communities. His works
include 14 books on subjects covering value education for schoolchildren and communal
Anjuman Sair-e-Gul Faroshan has been working for communal harmony since its inception in
1964. It has been organising every year 'Phool Walon ki Sair' in Delhi for more than 40
years. The festival is a symbol of solidarity amongst Hindus and Muslims.
The 'pankhas' of 'Phool Walon Ki Sair' are presented to the President and Vice-President of
India besides other dignitaries. The award includes Rs. 5 lakh and Rs. 2 lakh as cash prize for
the organisation and individual categories respectively.
CNN-IBN award for Madhavan Nair
Dilip Kumar was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award
Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation G. Madhavan Nair
and Team Chandrayaan were declared the CNN-IBN Indian of the Year
2008. Nair and his team also bagged an award in the Public Service
Veteran actor Dilip Kumar was presented the Lifetime Achievement
Award. Late Assistant sub-inspector Tukaram Omble and the Mumbai
police – 'The Mumbai Bravehearts" — were also honoured for
Extraordinary Service to the Nation during the Mumbai terror attacks.
HDFC Bank MD Aditya Puri, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, shooter Abhinav Bindra
and actor Aamir Khan won the awards in the business, politics, sports and entertainment
categories respectively. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit was presented a Special
Achievement Award for her contribution to bringing a change in Delhi.
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Music maestro A.R. Rahman was felicitated with an award in a stand-alone Global Indian
Category for putting India on the global entertainment map with his award winning music for
The winners were chosen through a unique four-tier selection process audited by Ernst &
HC upholds order calling Maharashtra DGP's appointment illegal
Seniority norms were overlooked
The Maharashtra government faced embarrassment after the Bombay High Court upheld a
Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) order
terming the appointment of Director General of
Police (DGP) A. N. Roy as illegal.
The tribunal's order was challenged by Roy and the
state government in the high court. However,
quashing both the writ petitions, a Division Bench
comprising Chief Justice Swatantra Kumar and
Justice SV Bobade observed that Roy's appointment
was a mindless act on the part of government.
It may be recalled that after the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, the opposition parties had
targeted Roy and Mumbai Police Commissioner Hasan Gafur and sought their removal.
Suprakash Chakravarthy, director general of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), had filed an
application in the tribunal challenging the appointment on the grounds that Roy superseded
three officers senior to him.
"The entire decision-making process and the decision of the state government has been taken
with undue haste and is not in conformity with accepted administrative norms", the court
Earth Heroes 2008 awards
The awards recognise conservation efforts of individuals and organisations
Fateh Singh Rathore, ex-field director, Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, got the Lifetime Service
Award at the Earth Heroes 2008 awards announced recently. He got the honour for his work
in for helping bring back tigers to the reserve. The awards, sponsored by the Royal Bank of
Scotland and Sanctuary Asia, are conferred upon conservationists, NGOs, government
officers, lawyers, journalists and academicians.
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Other award winners include:
Dr Y.V. Jhala and Dr Qamar Qureshi, for their work on behalf Wildlife Institute of India
to enumerate India's tiger population
Ranthambore–Sariska Tiger relocation team, headed by the Chief Wildlife Warden of
Rajasthan, R.N. Mehrotra
Vishwas Katdare for protecting nature in Maharashtra's Konkan region
A.T. Poovaiah for fighting against poaching and timber syndicates as part of the
Karnataka Forest Department
Sevaram Parihar for his help in protecting the Demoiselles Cranes of Kheechan in
Bahar Dutt of CNN-IBN was conferred The Wind Under the Wings award for her work
towards wildlife conservation.
Chain Dayma got the Green Teacher award for his work towards reducing the menace of
'Prosopis Juliflora', a thorny shrub in Rajasthan.
First 'model solar city' planned in Nagpur
10% of energy consumption will be met through renewable energy
Nagpur, in Maharashtra will be developed as the first solar city in the country under an
ambitious programme for utilisation of solar energy being launched tomorrow by the ministry
of new and renewable energy.
The ministry proposes to develop 60 such cities
during the 11th plan period. At least one city in
each state to a maximum of five cities in a state
will be supported by the ministry, a government
press release said.
The plan is to meet the peak electricity demand
of cities, to reduce dependence on fossil fuels
and expensive oil and gas for energy and to
promote increased use of renewable energy, the release said.
Nagpur will become model solar city by 2012 under the scheme. Up to 10 per cent of energy
consumption of this city has been targeted to be met through renewable energy and energy
efficiency measures. Fifty per cent of the cost will be shared by the ministry where Rs50 lakh
will be provided for master plan, solar city cell and promotional activities. Major solar energy
system, including street lights, garden lights, traffic lights, hoardings, solar water heaters etc,
will be set up in Nagpur. Energy-efficient green buildings also will be promoted on a large
scale in the city.
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Pension scheme expanded
National Social Assistance Programme will now benefit 4 mn people
The Union government has decided to expand the scope of National Social Assistance
Programme to include about 4 million poor widows and persons with multiple disability for
providing them a monthly pension of Rs 200, which is likely to put a burden of Rs 1,691
crore on the exchequer, annually.
The expanded National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) will provide pension at the
rate of Rs 200 per month per beneficiary (to widows and persons with severe and multiple
Widows aged between 40-64 years and persons with severe and multiple disabilities in the
age group of 18-64 years belonging to below poverty line (BPL) households will now be
covered under NSAP.
The scheme is estimated to put an additional burden of Rs 1,691 crore annually on the
exchequer. For the remaining period of the current fiscal, the scheme is likely to cost Rs
About 25 lakh widows in the 40-64 age group in the BPL households are likely to be
benefited from the scheme. Persons with severe and multiple disabilities in the required age
group in BPL families are estimated to be at 15.65 lakh. The current scheme covers only
persons aged 65 years or higher, estimated to be around 1.57 crore.
Centre clears UP govt's Ganga Expressway project
GEP will complement Golden Quadrilateral
India's two major highway projects — Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) and Ganga Expressway
Project (GEP) — will not compete, but complement each other in the process of
development. "Earlier, there was a belief that GEP would rival GQ. However, after the Uttar
Pradesh government submitted its reports to the Planning Commission, the Centre is fully
satisfied and has already given GEP a green signal," Union Surface Transport Secretary
Brahma Dutt told the media here last evening.
While, GQ is being developed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and is
nearing completion, GEP is the flagship project of the state government. GEP, estimated to
cost Rs 30,000 crore, was awarded to Jaypee Group last year after bidding. The process of
land acquisition for the 1,047 projects has already started after some delay. GQ is India's
largest expressway project and consists of developing roughly 5,800 km of expressways
connecting Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai — forming a quadrilateral at a cost of Rs
60,000 crore. GQ will have a total length of about 754 km in UP.