QBullet: Kafeel Khan Booked Under NSA; SC Rebukes Govt in AGR Case

1. Dr Kafeel Khan Booked Under NSA for Speech Against CAA

Hours before his scheduled release on Friday, 14 February — four days after he was granted bail on 10 February in an alleged hate speech case — the Aligarh district administration used the stringent National Security Act (NSA) against suspended BRD Hospital pediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan, extending his detention by a likely 12 months (the maximum allowed under NSA).

“Yes, Dr Kafeel has been booked under NSA,” confirmed Aligarh district magistrate (DM) Chandra Bhushan Singh.

Khan was booked for his alleged hate speech made during protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in Aligarh on 12 December.

He was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) from Mumbai on 30 January and shifted to Mathura jail. The police feared Khan’s presence in the Aligarh jail could have worsened the law and order situation in the city in view of the ongoing protests against CAA.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: ‘Trying to Frame Me Again’: Kafeel Khan on Arrest by UP Police  

2. Govt Directs Telcos to Pay Rs 1.5 L Cr After SC Rebuke

The government on Friday, 14 February set a minute-to-midnight deadline for telecom companies, including Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel, to pay the Rs 1.47 lakh crore they owe towards spectrum charges and licence fees, after a livid Supreme Court took the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and cellular operators to task over the non-enforcement of an October ruling by the top court.

“...you are hereby directed to make the payment of outstanding dues of LF and SUC (license fee and spectrum usage charges) by 14.02.2020, 11.59 pm positively,” read one DoT order sent to telecom operators, shortly after it withdrew a 23 January order that no coercive action be taken against the defaulters. The orders were sent from DoT offices at each of India’s 22 telecom circles.

The twin moves came in response to the Supreme Court warning of contempt action against the chiefs of defaulting telecom companies as well as the DoT desk officer responsible for the order that was issued in the backdrop of extreme stress in the telecom sector.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

3. EU for Swift End to All Curbs in Kashmir

The European Union (EU) has called for swift removal of communication and political restrictions in Kashmir. The organisation was in touch with the Indian authorities for continuing dialogue regarding the situation in Kashmir, a spokesperson for the EU said.

“Some restrictions remain, notably on Internet access and mobile services, and some political leaders are still in detention. While we recognise the serious security concerns, it is important that the remaining restrictions are lifted swiftly”, said Virginie Battu-Henriksson, EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The statement was issued a day after a delegation of 25 diplomats that included the EU Ambassador to India Ugo Astuto and several other European envoys visited Kashmir and Jammu from 12 to 13 February. The delegation was not part of the earlier team of diplomats that visited Kashmir in January as they had insisted on meeting jailed political leaders.

(Source: The Hindu)

Also Read: EU Parliament Debates Anti-CAA Motion, Voting Delayed Till March

4. Peaceful CAA Opposers Not ‘Traitors, Anti-Nationals’: HC

People wanting to agitate in a peaceful way “cannot be called traitors, anti-nationals only because they want to oppose one law”, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court has said in an order on a petition challenging denial of police permission to an agitation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

“The submissions made show that there will be no question of disobedience of provisions of CAA by such agitation. Thus, this court is expected to consider the right of such persons to start agitation in a peaceful way. This court wants to express that such persons cannot be called as traitors, anti-nationals only because they want to oppose one law. It will be an act of protest only against the government for the reason of CAA,” the bench of Justices T V Nalawade and M G Sewlikar said.

The bench on Thursday quashed and set aside two orders passed by the additional district magistrate of Beed district and Majalgaon city police in Beed. Police had cited the ADM’s order as the basis for refusal of permission.

(Source: Times Of India)

5. In Muzaffarnagar Protest Case, ADM Is Prosecution, Jury and Judge Combined

It is a case of the judge, jury and prosecution rolled into one.

On Wednesday, the Muzaffarnagar Additional District Magistrate (ADM) ordered 53 people to pay a total of Rs 23.41 lakh for damage caused to property during an anti-CAA protest on 20 December. ADM Amit Singh issued the orders a month after he had issued notices seeking replies from them.

Of the 53, 50 had responded to the notices but records accessed by The Indian Express show glaring gaps in due process.

For one, the ADM did not allow the defence to cross-examine the police on explanations and evidence submitted by those asked to pay up. Neither did he detail the evidence placed on record by the accused. Instead, the ADM’s final executive order only states that the accused have refuted all the allegations.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: Police First Broke CCTVs, Then Assaulted Us: Muzaffarnagar Locals

6. In a Surprise Move, Most Senior Judge of Bombay HC Resigns

The Bombay high court’s senior-most judge resigned on Friday, 14 February making it only the second such resignation from any HC in the country in two decades. Justice Satyaranjan C Dharmadhikari, whose resignation is effective from Saturday, said that his action was on “purely personal” grounds and that he wanted to continue living in Maharashtra for his family’s sake.

A Bombay HC judge for over 16 years, he had since October been considered for elevation as the chief justice (CJ) of another high court.

The options given to him, reportedly, were the Madhya Pradesh, Madras, Jharkhand and Orissa high courts. After he reportedly turned them down, chief justices were appointed to the first three HCs, and also the Meghalaya HC (not an option given to Justice Dharmadhikari) in November. At the Orissa HC, Justice Kumari Sanju Panda was appointed acting chief justice on 5 January.

(Source: Times Of India)

7. SC Seeks J&K Govt’s Response to Plea Against Omar Abdullah’s Detention Under PSA

The Supreme Court on Friday, 14 Februaru asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to respond to a petition filed by Sara Abdullah Pilot against the detention of her brother and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah under the Public Safety Act.

A Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee then listed the case for hearing next on 2 March.

The court refused to heed to fervent pleas made by Ms. Pilot’s lawyer and senior advocate Kapil Sibal to list the case next week.

“No. Next on 2 March. It cannot be next week. You have waited for so long to file this petition...” Justice Mishra said categorically.

“He (Omar) was under detention for the past six months... This is someone else, his sister, who has come,” Mr. Sibal replied.

(Source: The Hindu)

Also Read: SC Issues Notice to J&K Govt Over Omar’s PSA Detention

8. Tributes, Political Barbs Mark One Year of Pulwama

Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to the 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers who died in the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir a year ago to the day on Friday, 14 February as the Congress and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) engaged in a political slugfest.

“Tributes to the brave martyrs who lost their lives in the gruesome Pulwama attack last year. They were exceptional individuals who devoted their lives to serving and protecting our nation. India will never forget their martyrdom,” Modi wrote in a Twitter post.

The CRPF joined the prime minister in recalling the victims of the attack, in which a man drove an explosives-laden car into a truck carrying the troopers in Pulwama. “We pay our heartfelt tribute to all the martyrs. CRPF is a brave fighting force on the federal grid and remains undeterred by any untoward incident,” CRPF director general AP Maheshwari, said.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

9. Gujarat: 66 Bhuj College Students Made to Strip for Menstrual Check, Principal Booked

A day after 66 girl students of Shree Sahjanand Girls Institute in Bhuj town of Kutch district staged a protest after they were reportedly forced to strip to “prove” they were not menstruating, police booked college principal Rita Raninga, hostel coordinator Anita Chauhan, hostel supervisor Rameelaben and peon Naynaben for sexual harassment, extortion, criminal intimidation and other charges Friday.

Students and officials have confirmed that the institute has followed a discriminatory practice of physically isolating girls during their monthly period but this is the first time that they were asked to strip.

“A team of our women’s police station went there along with a woman counsellor. After counselling, one student filed a complaint that they were not only made to strip but were also made to write an apology. Based on that complaint, we have booked the principal, the hostel coordinator, hostel supervisor and peon under IPC Sections 354-A (sexual harassment), 384 (extortion), 506 (2) (criminal intimidation) etc,” Saurabh Tolumbia, Superintendent of Kutch (West) Police told The Indian Express.

Also Read: Gujarat Hostel Makes Girls Strip to Check If They Are Menstruating

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