The Rajya Sabha passed the Constitution (44th Amendment) Bill by 191 votes to nil. Winding up the six-day debate on the bill, the Law Minister H. R. Gokhale said, “We have changed the Constitution. But this not an end in itself. After this, we have to begin work on achieving the goals for which the Constitution was changed.” It gives Parliament power to amend any part of the Constitution without judicial review. During the final reading of the bill, Bhupesh Gupta (CPI), said there were several clauses in the bill to which his party had objections. But, despite the “blemishes and drawbacks”, his party had supported the bill.
South Africa Arrests
South Africa’s human rights committee secretary, Sheika Weinberg, a white woman aged 31, was today ordered to be placed under house arrest for 12 hours daily and banned for five years from leaving the district of Johannesburg. She is also forbidden to receive visitors, to make public statements or to be quoted in the press. A warrant signed by the Police, Justice and Prisons Minister, Jimmy Kruger, said Weinberg was “engaged in activities which endanger or are calculated to endanger the maintenance of public order.” The president of the Human Rights Committee, Mohamed Timol, has been in prison for two and a half months under the Internal Security Act which allows indefinite detention without prosecution.
Press censorship, which has been relaxed, will be lifted at an appropriate time, Union minister for I&B, V.C. Shukla said. He said that the response of the press to the censorship has generally been good. Now the accent should be more on development oriented journalism and not on sensationalism. The role of the press should be educate and inform the public — rather than entertain them with exaggerated reportage. He said circulation of newspapers had gone up.