The National Human Rights Commission on Wednesday had an interesting visitor. Robert Badinter, a renowned French lawyer, academic and politician, well-known for advocating a complete ban on the death penalty, met NHRC Chairperson Justice K G Balakrishnan and other members to plead that India abolish the death penalty. Badinter, who was Minister of Justice and later President of the Constitutional Council when François Mitterrand was President of France, however, didn’t get a positive response from the NHRC. He was told that in view of terrorism and other crimes against humanity, the death penalty had many supporters in India.
After months of uncertainty, Railways finally has a full-time Financial Commissioner, who is the Member (Finance) in the Railway Board. Rajalakshmi Ravikumar, currently Director General, National Academy of Indian Railways in Vadodara, had been eligible to take over the post of Financial Commissioner in May, but Railways had moved to give the FC’s charge to Additional Member (Finance) Rashmi Kapoor. This had raised many eyebrows in the ministry. Finally, after five months of suspense, Ravikumar is being given the post, while Kapoor is taking voluntary retirement for a post in Railway Claims Tribunal.
Space crunch caused by tonnes of case papers lying in the record rooms for months, even after the case has been disposed, has finally attracted the attention of the Supreme Court. In its bid to make some space, the Supreme Court has decided to change the 2012 rule that mandated authorities to wait for three months after disposal of a case to weed out the records. Published on October 10, the new rule states that records of a case will be preserved for two months only and will be immediately discarded afterward. The period for preservation of records for transfer cases has been shortened to only one month from the date of decisions in such matters.
Following the Supreme Court’s direction last month to the UGC, asking it to conduct physical verification of the deemed universities identified as being unfit for the status by the Tandon committee, the commission is now likely to set up an inspection committee to conduct the verification. The commission will meet on October 17, during which it is expected to discuss the Supreme Court order at length and also set up a committee to conduct such inspections. Meanwhile, the Human Resource Development Ministry is yet to articulate its view on the UGC’s report that reviewed the 41 ‘C’ category deemed universities and recommended seven of them be disqualified.