India News HIGHLIGHTS: LG cannot act as an obstructionist, says Supreme Court

India News HIGHLIGHTS: LG cannot act as an obstructionist, says Supreme Court

India News HIGHLIGHTS: Follow this space to track all that is happening across India today. Get the latest news here

The AAP government also accused the L-G of sitting on files. (Express photo/Praveen Khanna)

The Supreme Court, in its verdict, on Wednesday said that the L-G has no independent decision-making power and that he is bound to act on the advice of the cabinet. Adding that Delhi cannot be granted full statehood, the five-judge bench headed by CJI Misra said that both the state and the Union must act in harmony and enjoy a healthy relationship. “Neither state or LG souls feel they are lionised but realise they are serving Constitutional obligations,” the bench said in its verdict.

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PM Modi’s ‘magic’ bullet train will never become a reality: Rahul Gandhi

Congress President Rahul Gandhi Wednesday stepped up his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of playing in the hands of select industrialists at a time when the middle class, the poor and the small-time traders were facing distress due to government policies.

“Narendra Modi has broken the backbone of the traders and is playing in the hands of five-10 industrialists,” Gandhi said and claimed that Modi did nothing for the farmers and instead his government wrote off bad loans worth Rs 2 lakh crore in 15 elite businessmen favour. Read more

Tackling mass circulation of fake messages not ‘rocket science’: Ravi Shankar Prasad tells WhatsApp

Demanding greater accountability from social media platforms like WhatsApp in the wake of recent mob violence across the country, fuelled by fake posts, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday said finding technological solutions to identify mass-circulation of messages on a particular issue in a particular area cannot be “rocket science”.

“If in any state, any part, on a particular subject, if there is a movement of large volumes of messages on WhatsApp, it is not rocket science that can’t be discovered by application of technology,” Prasad said on the sidelines of a conference in New Delhi. Read here

WhatsApp reveals 25 per cent India users not in groups

WhatsApp has revealed that over 25 per cent of its user base in India is not part of Groups — this also means a third of WhatsApp users here are exposed to groups in some way. The Facebook-owned messaging app revealed this information in a letter written to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY), in response to reports that WhatsApp was extensively used to spread videos, which have led to lynchings across the country. Read more

WhatsApp reveals 25 per cent India users not in groups

WhatsApp has revealed that over 25 per cent of its user base in India is not part of Groups — this also means a third of WhatsApp users here are exposed to groups in some way. The Facebook-owned messaging app revealed this information in a letter written to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY), in response to reports that WhatsApp was extensively used to spread videos, which have led to lynchings across the country. Read more

IGNOU fake degree scam: 4000 students were issued bogus degrees without appearing for exams

The crime branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police claimed on June 30 to have exposed a major scam at an IGNOU centre in Kathua district. At this place, nearly 4,000 students were issued bogus degrees without appearing in the examinations.

The scam at the Indira Gandhi National Open University centre was unearthed after the police received an input that a person identified as Prashant Bandari and his associates were involved in fraudulently conducting examinations and giving admissions to students at the centre established in Billawar town in 2014-15, a crime branch spokesman said. Read here

SC verdict on Delhi: Narayanasamy hails decision, says it’s relevant to Puducherry too

“I welcome the verdict, and it is totally applicable for the government of Puducherry which is also a Union Territory,” Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy told reporters.

Engaged in a running feud with Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi, Narayanasamy on Wednesday hailed the Supreme Court judgement on the powers of an elected government and insisted it was “totally applicable” to the Union Territory too. The veteran Congress leader warned he would file a contempt petition if the Lt. Governor failed to act in accordance with the apex court verdict. Read more here

AMU is not a minority institution: Chairman of UP SC/ST Tribe Commission

Asserting that AMU is not a minority institution, the Uttar Pradesh Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Commission on Wednesday issued a notice to the University asking it to explain why it does not give reservation to the SC/ST communities. “We have asked (AMU) as to why SC/ST communities have not been given benefits of reservation. Under what circumstances it has been done,” Chairman of UP SC/ST Commission Brij Lal was quoted as saying.

The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) Chairperson Ramshankar Katheria too had yesterday directed
the AMU to clarify its stand on reservations for scheduled caste community, failing which it may lose central funding. Read more here

Telangana: At least 10 persons charred to death in fireworks factory explosion

At least 10 persons were charred to death when incendiary material caught fire and exploded on Wednesday at a fireworks factory in Warangal, Telangana. At least 15 others suffered severe burn injuries. The incident occurred at the Sri Bhadrakali Fireworks factory at Kashibugga on the outskirts of Warangal.

“There were 21 people in the factory preparing fireworks when a spark appears to have ignited the raw material which immediately exploded. Five of the dead were completely charred,” a police official said. Read more here

NASA to soon start testing ‘quiet’ supersonic flights over Texas

NASA has announced of testing “quiet” supersonic flights over Texas that could revolutionise air travel. If NASA’s experimental project — formerly known as the X-plane or “Low-Flight Flight Demonstrator” but recently renamed X-59 QueSST — works, it should help make supersonic flight more economical. From November, the US space agency will use supersonic F/A-18 Hornet jets over Galveston to mimic the sonic profile of the X-59 while a group of around 500 residents document the noise levels. Read more here

Government announces highest ever increase in MSP for paddy crop

Announcing the highest ever single-year raise in the minimum support price of paddy, the government raised the amount by Rs 200 per quintal. The decision, taken at a Union Cabinet meeting headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, is expected to put an additional burden of an estimated Rs 12,000 crore on the exchequer. The announcement of higher MSP coupled with the forecast of a normal monsoon this year could further boost foodgrains output. However, the higher support price could also fuel food inflation. Read more

AAP welcomes SC verdict, says L-G was slowing down development, asking unnecessary questions

Reacting to the Supreme Court judgment that the Delhi Lieutenant Governor was “bound by aid and advice” of the cabinet, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia explained the implications of the judgment: services would no longer be under the LG, allowing them to transfer officials and take disciplinary action against them and that the cabinet would not need the approval of the LG for its schemes.

Sisodia cited the Supreme Court’s confirmation that the “LG is duty bound by the aid and advice” of the Cabinet and said that this meant that the government no longer need to send files for the LG’s approval. “This is good because the LG was slowing down development, stopping work because the LG was asking unnecessary questions.” “The people of Delhi voted AAP, a new party and gave it 67 out of 70 seats. That was a historic day, as is today. The way that elected government was being stopped from working…the way wrong interpretation of the Constitution was utilized to stop development…that will stop now. The people of Delhi have been held supreme. We are reading the judgment but the SC has said that people of Delhi are supreme, power can’t be with one person and needs to be with the people of Delhi,” he said. Read more

WhatsApp responds to govt letter, says it’s horrified by violence, lists measures taken

WhatsApp has responded to the Government of India’s letter to it on rumours spread via the messaging app by explaining its two-fold strategy to tackle the issue. “Like the Government of India, we’re horrified by these terrible acts of violence and wanted to respond quickly to the very important issues you have raised. We believe this is a challenge that requires government, civil society, and technology companies to work together,” says the letter addressed to Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

On July 2, the government had asked WhatsApp to take urgent steps to contain the spread of “irresponsible and explosive messages” through its platform. It listed three heads in the mail — Product Controls, Digital Literacy and Fact-Checking and Proactive Action to Tackle Abuse — as measures it was taking to counter the spread of misinformation on its platform. Read more

Malayalam TV actress, mother, sister held in Rs 57 lakh fake currency racket

A Malayalam TV actress has been arrested along with her mother and sister for allegedly printing counterfeit notes at their home near Kattapana in Idukki district of Kerala. The local police clarified that — Surya (36), Shruti (29) and their mother Ramadevi (56) three were arrested after an active counterfeiting operation was discovered on the second floor of their house. Three others had earlier been arrested for running the fake note racket. Police said fake notes of Rs 500 denomination were being printed in the house. They estimated that counterfeits worth Rs 57 lakh could have been printed here over the past eight months or so. Read more

Sonali Bendre diagnosed with cancer

Bollywood actor Sonali Bendre on Wednesday revealed that she has been diagnosed with cancer. Releasing a statement, Sonali, famous for her roles in films like Hum Saath Saath Hain, Sarfarosh, Kal Ho Na Ho, said, “Sometimes when you least expect it, life throws you a curveball. I have recently been diagnosed with high-grade cancer that has metastasized, which we frankly did not see coming. A niggling pain led to some tests, which led to this unexpected diagnosis. My family and close friends have rallied around me, providing the best support system that anyone can ask for. I am very blessed and thankful for each of them.” Read more

The Accidental Prime Minister: Anupam Kher introduces reel life Lalu Prasad Yadav and LK Advani

Anupam Kher today introduced the remaining cast of his film The Accidental Prime Minister. After the reel Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, now we get to meet the actors who will be essaying the role of politicians like LK Advani, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Shivraj Patil. Sharing a collage of images on his Twitter handle, Kher wrote, “Introducing Avtar Sahni as #LKAdvaniJi, Vimal Verma as #LaluPrasadYadavJi and Anil Rastogi as #ShivRajPatilJi.:) #TheAccidentalPrimeMinister @tapmofficial @sunil_s_bohra #VijayGutte.” The film, an adaptation of Sanjaya Baru’s memoir of the same name, is a political drama which will present the story of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Read more

Police complaint filed against Kim Sharma for mistreating her house help

Kim Sharma, known for her debut film Mohabbatein, has landed in trouble after her house help Esther Khes filed a “non-cognisable offence” complaint against her. According to a report in Mumbai Mirror, this happened after Esther forgot to separate the whites from the laundry.Esther said that Kim flew into a violent rage, hurled abuses at her and allegedly pushed her out of the house. Esther also claimed that the actor did not settle her pay as well.

Kim has a different side to the story as she told the publication, “Khes has been told that her dues would be cleared on the seventh. I did not beat her. She ruined my clothes worth over Rs 70,000. I only asked her to leave after she did that.” Read more

Emirates to discontinue ‘Hindu meal’ from in-flight menu

Dubai-based air carrier Emirates is discontinuing the ‘Hindu meal’ option from its in-flight menu. The airline, in a statement, said Hindu passengers will still be able to choose between vegetarian and non-vegetarian options from a host of meals tailored to local tastes. Its updated menu now offers options like Vegetarian Jain Meal, Indian Vegetarian Meal, Kosher meal and Non-Beef non-vegetarian. The airline’s decision to withdraw the ‘Hindu meal’ option from the menu was taken following a review of its onboard products and services. Read more

Sanju box office collection day 5: The Rajkumar Hirani film is a shot in the arm for Ranbir Kapoor

Ranbir Kapoor starrer Sanju has hit the box office ball out of the park. The Rajkumar Hirani directorial has overshadowed Race 3 and Padmaavat with its terrific figures. On its fourth day, the Sanjay Dutt biopic collected Rs 25.35 crore, which has further taken its total to Rs 145.41 crore.

The Sanjay Dutt biopic is the only film apart from the Telugu blockbuster Baahubali to have the highest non-holiday opening. Rajkumar Hirani films have always done well at the domestic as well as the international box office. Be it Munnabhai MBBS, Lage Raho Munnabhai, PK and 3 Idiots, all the movies have tasted commercial as well as critical success. Read more

Burari deaths — Among final notes: Earth will shake but don’t be scared… I’ll come and save you

The Delhi Police Crime Branch, investigating the death of 11 members of a family in Burari, Tuesday found that the family had been performing the “same rituals for six days” in the run-up to the day they allegedly committed suicide. A police source also said that through the diaries recovered from the house, it appears that the family worshipped the banyan tree, and had “practised” trying to hang themselves in the preceding days — without their hands tied.

A police officer said, “The diary was maintained by one of the girls, either Priyanka or Maneka… there are two handwritings, and it is believed that whenever Lalit thought his father’s soul had entered his body, he would speak in his voice and dictate what to write”. On Tuesday, the Crime Branch recovered another diary from the house, with several entries dated between March 27, 2013 and December 4, 2014 — with cryptic messages in Hindi such as “apna dhyaan rakhna”, “apni galti sweekar karo” and “acha samay dur nahi hai”. The entry on June 30 mentions: “The earth will shake but don’t be scared… I will come and save you.” The police source said, “Family members may have been under the impression that on the seventh day, Devi’s husband Bhopal Singh, who died in 2008, will appear.” Read more

Gul Makai motion poster: Reem Shaikh as Malala Yousafzai fights for education

The first look of Gul Makai, which is inspired by the life of Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, has finally been revealed. The film has been directed by Amjad Khan. Amjad says Gul Makai is a tribute from his side to everything that Malala represents and has achieved as a young and inspiring icon. The movie’s name is derived from the pseudonym that Malala had used while writing blogs about her life in the Swat valley for BBC Urdu.

The poster features TV actor Reem Shaikh as the Nobel prize winner with a book in her hand which upon opening, explodes. In the motion poster, one can hear Kabir Bedi’s voice booming in the background, introducing Malala’s character with the words, ” This is about those times when the Taliban was destroying Pakistan and Afghanistan in the name of Jihad and religion. When from a very small village in Pakistan, a voice arose.” Read more

FIFA World Cup 2018: England end penalty curse to reach last eight

England finally overcame nearly 30 years of penalty pain when they beat Colombia 4-3 in a shootout on Tuesday after drawing their World Cup last-16 clash 1-1 following extra time after the South Americans had equalised in the 93rd minute. Beginning with their 1990 semi-final heartache against West Germany, England had previously lost all three World Cup shootouts and three out of four in the European Championship and they looked on course for another nightmare when midfielder Jordan Henderson saw his spot-kick saved by David Ospina.

If England gets past Sweden they face a potential semi-final against hosts Russia or Croatia for their first appearance in a final since winning the World Cup for the only time in 1966. Read more

Inter-faith couple row: Lucknow RPO clears woman’s passport

The passport of Tanvi Seth, who was allegedly “harassed” by an official at the Lucknow Passport Seva Kendra last month, was cleared on Monday. The Lucknow Regional Passport Office (RPO) said clearance was granted as the Local Intelligence Unit (LIU) did not file any adverse report related to the six points mentioned in the new passport verification rules. Read more

AAP vs LG: Supreme Court to decide on Delhi's administrative head

The high court, in its August 4, 2016 verdict, had said that LG is the administrative head of National Capital Territory and AAP government's contention that he is bound to act on advice of Council of Ministers was "without substance". While  P Chidambaram, Gopal Subramanium, Rajeev Dhavan, Indira Jaising had argued for the Arvind Kejriwal government, the NDA government at the Centre was represented by Additional Solicitor General (ASG), Maninder Singh in the marathon proceedings.

The AAP government had argued that the LG has been taking many executive decisions and a "harmonious interpretation" of Article 239AA of the Constitution was needed to fulfill the constitutional mandate for a democratically-elected Delhi government. The article deals with power and status of Delhi. The Centre had contended before the bench that Delhi government cannot have the "exclusive" executive powers as it would be against national interests and referred to the 1989 Balakrishnan committee report that had dealt with the reasons for not granting status of a state to Delhi.

Welcome to the live blog. Follow this space to track all that is happening across India today. Get the latest news here

Accusing L-G of making a “mockery of democracy”, the Kejriwal government had taken the stand that the Chief Minister and the council of ministers had the power to make laws as well as the executive authority to enforce the enacted statutes. The state government also accused the L-G of sitting on files.

Meanwhile, the Central government, taking notice of the recent spate of mob violence incidents in the country, has sent a letter to the WhatsApp senior management calling for “necessary remedial measures” and “immediate action” against the misinformation circulating on its platform in India. Representatives of social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, sources said, will also be called for a meeting to be convened soon by the Home Ministry.