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SC issues contempt notice to UP’s DG Prisons for non-compliance on release of convicts



The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice on a contempt plea filed against Uttar Pradesh Director General of Prisons for non-compliance with court’s earlier orders directing the state government to consider premature release of convicts, who have undergone more than 16 years of actual imprisonment and 20 years with remission.

Advocate Rishi Malhotra, representing the prisoners, submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that due to inaction of the state, the petitioners continue to languish in jails despite categorial orders passed by the apex court. Malhotra stressed though most of the 48 petitioners have been granted permission for release, the remaining cases have not been considered.

In an order passed on March 14, 2022, the apex court directed the Uttar Pradesh government and the prison authorities to consider the case of the petitioners for premature release within 3 months from the date of the order as per the policy dated August 1, 2018.

After hearing arguments, the bench, also comprising Justice P.S. Narasimha, sought response from DG, Prisons. “Issue notice returnable on next Friday,” it said.

Malhotra stressed petitioners were continuing to languish in jail despite prison authorities recommending their premature release, which amounted to a violation of their fundamental right to life and liberty under Article 21.

“The petitioners continuous to languish in jail custody despite the order passed by this court which is nothing but clear infringement of their Fundamental Right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution as well as illegal detention as the petitioners have already undergone much more than the prescribed sentence in judicial custody,” said the petition.

On January 5, the Supreme Court had asked the DG, Prisons, Uttar Pradesh, to file an affidavit in his personal capacity in connection with steps taken to grant benefits of remission to convicts.

The apex court, in a judgment in September last year, had issued several directions impacting remission of nearly 500 convicts undergoing life imprisonment in Uttar Pradesh.

The UP government on August 1, 2018, issued a remission policy for prisoners undergoing life imprisonment. According to the government, for a lifer to be considered for premature release, the prisoner should undergo 16 years of actual sentence and 4 years of remission – 20 years of total sentence. The policy was amended subsequently in July 2021, 16 years actual sentence and 4 years remission was not changed, but a rider was added that to be eligible the convict must be above 60 years.

The top court had said that all cases for premature release of convicts undergoing imprisonment for life should be considered in terms of the policy dated August 1, 2018. It added that the restriction that a life convict is not eligible for premature release until attaining the age of 60 years, which was introduced by the policy of July 28 2021, stands deleted by the amendment dated May 27, 2022. Hence, no case for premature release shall be rejected on that ground, it said.

It had said that there was no requirement for the convict to submit an application for premature release, and jail authorities must consider their cases automatically.

The top court had also said that district legal services authorities in Uttar Pradesh shall take necessary steps in coordination with the jail authorities to ensure that all eligible cases of prisoners who would be entitled to premature release in terms of the applicable policies, as noticed above, would be duly considered and no prisoner, who is otherwise eligible for being considered, shall be excluded from consideration.

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CAG frowns at BMC in Special Audit of expenses during MVA rule




The Accountant General (Audit-I) Maharashtra has rebuked the country’s biggest and richest civic body, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), for certain lapses and irregularities in a Special Audit of 76 identified works worth Rs 12,000 crore.

The audit, covering nine key BMC departments, was performed for works carried out between November 28, 2019 – the day when Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) came to power in the state and Uddhav Thackeray took oath as the Chief Minister – and October 31, 2022.

Ordered on October 31, 2022 by the new government headed by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, the audit also included the expenditure on 13 Jumbo Covid Centres, 24 ward offices, five major hospitals, six specialised hospitals, 17 peripheral hospitals, one dental hospital and others.

However, the BMC had sent a legal notice to the CAG on November 17, 2022, not to go ahead with any audit of acts, works or decisions taken for Covid management or expenditure of Rs 3,538.73 crore, referring to the Epidemic Act, 1897 and Disaster Management Act, 2005.

The state government, in November 2022, rubbished the BMC’s contentions, and despite many reminders, the Mumbai civic body did not produce records related to Covid-19 management.

Accordingly, the Special Audit has omitted the Covid-19 management part on grounds that without the relevant records, no confirmation can be made in audit on the propriety, efficiency, economy and effectiveness of Covid 19 related expenditure by BMC.

“Needless to mention that non-cooperation of BMC in producing the Covid-19 management records for the purpose of Special Audit, apart from impinging on the Constitutional Aresponsibilities devolved on the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, also deprived BMC of crucial audit inputs. As per the powers and functions entrusted under Constitution and DPC Act and in keeping with legal replies filed as mentioned above, further appropriate steps, are reserved,” said the Audit Report.

Established in 1873, the BMC administers an area of 480 sq km through three divisions, seven zones and 24 Wards, that makes up the country’s commercial capital.

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Developed INDIA with efforts of every single individuals by:PM




India will emerge as a “developed” nation by 2047 with efforts of every single individual, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here on Saturday.

He was addressing a gathering after inaugurating Madhusudan Sai Medical Sciences and Research Institute of Satya Sai Ashram at Muddenahalli here.

“People ask how will India progress to become a developed nation within a short period by 2047, which marks the 100th year of independence? The answer with conviction and commitment would be “sab ka prayason se” (with the efforts of all).

The dream will turn into a reality with the hard work of every single individual of the country. The government is encouraging collective efforts. The role of social and religious institutions in this regard is also important, PM Modi stated.

There were less than 380 medical colleges in the country and after BJP took over, the number has increased to 650. Among them, 40 are located in the aspirational districts. The number of medical seats have been increased in the country considerably, PM Modi said.

Number of doctors who passed out in 75 years, will now graduate in 10 years. There are 70 medical colleges in Karnataka and a double engine government has established one in Chikkaballapur, he noted.

The previous governments were engaged in enacting games over languages. No step was taken to ensure medical and engineering education in Kannada language. No interest was shown. “Now, provision has been made to pursue medical education in all Indian languages, including Kannada,” PM Modi explained.

The opposition has treated the poor as their vote bank. But, BJP made it the highest objective to uplift the poor. The BJP is providing them with medicines at a cheaper price through Pradhan Mantri Janaushad outlets. The poor did not dare to go to hospitals and the government has made arrangements to get free treatment up to Rs 5 lakh, PM Modi stated.

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Anti-hijack drill conducted at Jammu Airport




 An anti-hijack drill was jointly conducted by different agencies at Jammu airport to validate the processes by inter agencies during such crisis, a defence spokesperson said in a statement on Saturday.

“A Full Fledged Anti Hijack Drill was conducted by NSG at Jammu airport on March 24 with activation of Anti Hijack committee at Air Force Station Jammu,” the statement said.

“This exercise involved all key stakeholders from Indian Air Force, AAI, state government, JKP, CISF, IOC and other key players.”

The drill involved entire spectrum of events including negotiations with hijackers followed by intervention and overpowering of hijackers by a potent team of NSG.

“The exercise gave a unique opportunity to validate processes by inter agencies during such crisis. An Air India aircraft which landed at Jammu in the afternoon was utilised for the realistic drill. The exercise was successfully conducted bringing valuable lessons and training for all stakeholders,” the statement added.

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