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Plea against Delimitation Commission in Jammu and Kashmir, Supreme Court seeks Centre, Election Commission response

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The Supreme Court on Friday sought reply from the Centre, the Jammu and Kashmir administration, and the Election Commission (EC), on a plea against the constitution of the Delimitation Commission to redraw the Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies in the Union Territory.

Counsel representing the petitioners submitted before a bench headed by Sanjay Kishan Kaul that the delimitation exercise, which was carried out recently, was contrary to the scheme of the Constitution, as the alteration of boundaries could not be done.

The bench, also comprising Justice M.M. Sundresh, then asked counsel why the petitioners did not challenge the constitution of the Commission, which was formed some time ago. As counsel contended it is the Election Commission, as per delimitation order, which is empowered to do any changes, the bench further queried from the petitioners’ counsel as to why his clients did not challenge the formation of the Commission itself?

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the plea contends that delimitation can be conducted only by the EC and not the Delimitation Commission.

While objecting to some submissions, the bench told counsel that Kashmir was always part of India and just a special provision was removed.

Mehta said their case is that after Article 370 is gone, the census will only take place in 2026. He further added that delimitations are of two types: one based on geography done by the Delimitation Commission, and the other, by the Election Commission in connection with reservation of seats.

The petitioner’ counsel further argued that the government will place the delimitation order before Parliament, which would further complicate the matter. To this, the bench asked why the petitioners didn’t take it up two years ago.

After hearing the arguments, the top court issued notice to the Centre, J&K administration, and the poll panel, giving them six weeks to file their response, and scheduled the matter for further hearing on August 30.

The plea moved by Haji Abdul Gani Khan and Dr. Mohammad Ayub Mattoo, both residents of Kashmir, sought directions seeking a declaration that increase of number of seats from 107 to 114 in Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir is ultra vires the constitutional provisions such as Articles 81, 82, 170, 330, and 332 and statutory provisions particularly under section 63 of the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.

The plea also urged the top court to issue to direction to declare notification issued on March 6, 2020, constituting the Delimitation Commission to take up delimitation in the UT of J&K and states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.

“In fact, in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the census operation was completed in 2001, but the delimitation was done in 1995. Even on this count, the entire process adopted is unconstitutional as there is no population census operation during 2011 at all for Jammu and Kashmir,” said the plea.

The plea argued that if August 5, 2019 was to unite the Jammu and Kashmir state with India, then the delimitation process defeats the “new order” of one nation and one Constitution in the country. It said: “While Article 170 of the Constitution of India provides that the next delimitation in the country will be taken up after 2026, why has the UT of Jammu and Kashmir been singled out?”

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Monkeypox: Trivitron healthcare develops real-time PCR based kit in India

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 Medical devices company Trivitron Healthcare on Friday announced it has developed the real-time PCR-based kit for the detection of monkeypox virus in India.

Monkeypox, once endemic to countries in West and Central Africa, is spreading at a fast pace globally — with about 200 confirmed and more than 100 suspected cases in over 20 countries.

“India has always been at the forefront of extending help to the world, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, and this time also the world needs assistance,” said Chandra Ganjoo, Group Chief Executive Officer, Trivitron Healthcare, in the statement.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Monkeypox virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae. The Orthopoxvirus genus also includes variola virus (which causes smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in the smallpox vaccine), and cowpox virus.

The PCR kit is a four colour fluorescence based, which can differentiate between smallpox and monkeypox in a one tube single reaction format within an hour.

“In this four gene RT-PCR kit, the first detects the viruses in the wider orthopox group, the second and third targets and differentiates the monkeypox and smallpox virus, respectively, and the fourth detects the internal control corresponding to human cell to address the assay performance and aid in following its epidemic spread,” the company said.

However, the kit is now available only for research-use (RUO) and based on literature search and in-silico design, it added.

For the response measures such as tracing efforts and treatment strategies, the diagnostic tools are crucial for responding to control the emerging public health challenges.

Trivitron has 15 manufacturing facilities in India, US, Finland, Turkey and China to roll out medical technology products.

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Supreme Court Collegium recommends transfer of six high court judges

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The Supreme Court Collegium has recommended the transfer of six high court judges to the high courts of Patna, Calcutta, Orissa, Gauhati, Bombay, and Delhi.

The collegium, which is headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, recommended the transfer of Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah from the Andhra Pradesh High Court to the Patna High Court and the transfer of Justice Chitta Ranjan Dash from the Orissa High Court to the Calcutta High Court.

The collegium also recommended the transfer of Justice Subhasis Talapatra from the Tripura High Court to the Orissa High Court, and Justice Lanusungkum Jamir from the Manipur High Court to the Gauhati High Court.

It also recommended the transfer of Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav from the Madhya Pradesh High Court to the Delhi High Court, and the transfer of Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur from Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court to the Bombay High Court.

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Narendra Modi to address beneficiaries of government schemes from Shimla

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 Preparations for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s day-long visit to state capital Shimla on May 31 were reviewed on Friday by the BJP-led government.

Modi will be addressing beneficiaries of the Central government’s schemes for 30 minutes and will also hold a roadshow ahead of the Assembly elections in November 2022.

The BJP is aiming to hold a rally of 50,000 people for the Prime Minister’s visit.

As many as 22 BJP mandals have been given the job to mobilise people for the occasion.

State BJP General Secretary Trilok Jamwal told the media that it is a matter of pride for the state that Modi has chosen Shimla for the rally on the occasion of completion of eight years of the Union government.

“Himachal is the second home of our Prime Minister and he is always excited to visit it. The people of Himachal Pradesh are excited to welcome Modi on his visit,” said Jamwal, who is also political adviser to Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.

The Prime Minister will hold a virtual interaction with beneficiaries of 17 government schemes from all over the country for 30 minutes.

Jamwal said plans are underway for smooth traffic movement in Shimla during Modi’s visit as there will be three entry points — one for travelling towards upper Shimla, second from Solan to Sirmaur and the third towards Chandigarh.

The Prime Minister will hold a roadshow from the Central Telegraph Office to Ladies’ Park followed by a rally at the historic Ridge.

Meanwhile, the Shimla Nagrik Sabha, a group of locals, has urged the Prime Minister’s Office and the state government to shift the venue for Modi’s rally from the Ridge to the Annadale ground in view of the sinking Ridge that has a British-era water tank beneath it.

“There’s more than a 100-year-old water tank beneath the Ridge that supplies water to 40 per cent area of the city. The tank has started developing cracks since 2017. In 2020, the cracks got wider and had to be repaired. In the light of this incident, it would be dangerous to gather thousands of people at the Ridge,” said Shimla Nagrik Sabha Convener Sanjay Chauhan, also a former Mayor of the Shimla Municipal Corporation.

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