Morning Digest | Rajya Sabha passes Delhi Services Bill; Home Ministry seeks eighth extension to frame CAA rules, and more

Here is a select list of stories to start the day

August 08, 2023 06:19 am | Updated 06:19 am IST

Rajya Sabha MPs cast their votes for the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023 during the Monsoon Session of Parliament on August 7, 2023. The Bill was passed with 131 members voting in favour of the Bill and 102 voting against it.

Rajya Sabha MPs cast their votes for the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023 during the Monsoon Session of Parliament on August 7, 2023. The Bill was passed with 131 members voting in favour of the Bill and 102 voting against it. | Photo Credit: ANI

Rajya Sabha passes Delhi services Bill with support of 131 MPs

The Rajya Sabha passed the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill in New Delhi on August 7, four days after the Lok Sabha cleared the Bill. According to the Centre, the Bill is for the “maintenance of democratic and administrative balance in the governance” of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. The Bill was passed with 131 members voting in favour of it and 102 voting against it. Apart from the NDA constituents, the Bill got the support of the members from BJD and YSRCP.

Home Ministry seeks eighth extension to frame CAA rules

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has sought yet another extension to frame the rules of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA). The legislation that fast-tracks citizenship to non-Muslim undocumented migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh has been ineffective since its passage in Parliament four years ago. The Ministry has written to the parliament committee on subordinate legislation in the Lok Sabha, seeking time till end of September to frame CAA rules, a government official said, adding that the committee had granted the extension. This is the eighth extension sought by the government. The last such request was made by the MHA in January to extend the deadline till June 30. 

Manipur Government note in Supreme Court shows one case of rape and murder till July 31

A note presented by the Manipur Government in the Supreme Court on August 7 shows that only one case of rape and murder was registered in the State during ethnic violence from May 3 to July 31. The note presented by the State said a “disaggregation” of 6,523 First Information Reports (FIR) shows that one case of rape and murder (the victim was allegedly raped and murdered), three cases of rape/gang-rape, six cases of assault on a woman with intent to outrage her modesty, and 72 cases of murder had been registered as on July 31. Compared to this, the cases registered for arson, looting, and destruction of house property mostly numbered in four figures.

Armed with SC order, ED takes Senthilbalaji into custody for interrogation

The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) on Monday night took V. Senthilbalaji, jailed Tamil Nadu Minister without portfolio, in its custody in an alleged money laundering case after the Supreme Court earlier in the day allowed the agency to interrogate him for five days. Mr. Senthilbalaji, who was arrested on June 14, could not be interrogated earlier as he was admitted to hospital following complaints of chest pain. Subsequently, he underwent a heart bypass surgery at a private hospital in Chennai and upon being discharged, was lodged at the Puzhal Central Prison, Chennai.

WHO medical product alert: one batch of Indian-made combination syrup found contaminated in Iraq

One batch of COLD OUT — paracetamol and chlorpheniramine combination syrups used to treat symptoms of the common cold and allergy — manufactured by Fourrts India for Dabilife Pharma Private Limited has been reported to the World Health Organization (by a third party) as substandard or contaminated. In a medical product alert issued on Monday, the WHO said: “COLD OUT syrup (Paracetamol and Chlorpheniramine Maleate) identified in the Republic of Iraq and reported to the WHO on 10 July 2023 by a third-party sample was found contaminated.”

BJP flays Opposition, news outlet over ‘foreign links’

On a day when Congress leader Rahul Gandhi returned to the Lok Sabha, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey and Union Ministers Anurag Thakur and Rajeev Chandrashekhar cited a report in The New York Times to accuse the Opposition of being hand in glove with a foreign government and a media outlet to peddle influence in India. In remarks in the Lok Sabha, Mr. Dubey said the article in the newspaper detailed how the news website NewsClick had received ₹38 crore in funding and that money had been used to create an “anti-India” atmosphere. He also accused the Opposition of stoking that atmosphere and that it too had received funding from the Chinese government. Significantly, the Lok Sabha Secretariat had first expunged some parts of Mr. Dubey’s speech which were later reinstated.

Opposition pulls all stops, crosses 100 mark in division in RS on Delhi Services Bill

In a keenly contested vote on the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023, the Opposition fell short by 29 votes, but sees it as a psychological victory where the coalition stood united keeping its ranks intact. This is the first defeat for the newly formed INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) coalition. By some estimates it could also be the first time an Opposition bloc has crossed the 100 mark in a division in the Upper House. The last time the Opposition came this close to the government in the Upper House was in July 2019, when The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, better known as Triple Talaq Bill, was put to vote after a lengthy debate.

He saved three men from the mob in Nuh. Six days later, a bulldozer came visiting

As communal clashes broke out on July 31 during Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Brijmandal Jalabhishek Yatra, the lives of Ravinder Phogat of Hisar, and his two friends travelling through Nuh got intertwined with that of a local resident, Anish. He gave the trio shelter, offered food, words of comfort, and then escorted them to safety. Six days later, bulldozers tore into Mr. Anish’s house. Mr. Phogat, the grateful guest, made frantic calls to the police to attest that it was a place they took refuge in, not one from which stones were pelted. But the damage had been done. “Anish did not have even 1% involvement,” rued the Hisar native.

Bengal Panchayat Election | Adhir writes to Mamata seeking intervention over ’abduction’ of elected Opposition candidates

West Bengal Pradesh Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has written to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee requesting her “urgent intervention to stop the intimidation and abduction of the elected Opposition candidates prior to the formation of the three-tier panchayat boards”. In the letter, Mr. Chowdhury said despite violence in the panchayat polls, wherever Congress candidates have won in panchayat polls ,”police/political leaders/ goons are threatening them by slapping murder & other charges thus compelling themselves to save their lives through surrender by accepting Trinamool Congress membership”. 

Parliamentary Panel says provision to ensure representation in higher judiciary should be mentioned in MoP

A Parliamentary Panel on Monday called for Supreme Court and High Court Collegiums to recommend an adequate number of women and candidates from SC/ST/OBC backgrounds for judicial appointments, adding that “this provision should be clearly mentioned in the Memoranda of Procedure (MoP), which is currently under finalisation”. The report on Judicial processes and reform was tabled on Monday by the House panel on Personnel, Public Grievances and Law and Justice, headed by BJP MP Sushil Modi. 

Former CJI Ranjan Gogoi says basic structure of constitution debatable

Former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, a nominated member in Rajya Sabha, said on August 7 that the basic structure of the Constitution has a “debatable jurisprudential basis”. This was Mr. Gogoi’s maiden speech in the Upper House. He was participating in the discussion on the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023. Four women members - Jaya Bachchan (Samajwadi Party), Priyanka Chaturvedi (Shiv Sena-UBT) Vandana Chavan (NCP) and Sushmita Dev (TMC) walked out of the House to protest his speech as he had faced allegations of sexual harassment during his stint as the CJI in 2019. Mr. Gogoi had denied the allegations and a Supreme Court panel had given him a clean chit. 

William Friedkin, Oscar-winning director of ‘The Exorcist’ and ‘The French Connection,’ dies

William Friedkin, the generation-defining director who brought a visceral realism to 1970s hits “The French Connection” and “The Exorcist” and was quickly anointed one of Hollywood’s top directors when he was only in his 30s, has died. He was 87. Friedkin, who won the best director Oscar for “The French Connection,” died on Monday (August 11) in Los Angeles, Marcia Franklin, his executive assistant for 24 years, told The Associated Press on behalf of his family and wife, former studio head Sherry Lansing. His son Cedric Friedkin told the AP he died after a long illness.

Parliament proceedings | Lok Sabha passes National Research Foundation Bill

The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the Anusandhan National Research Foundation Bill, that proposes to establish the National Research Foundation (NRF). The new body aims to direct research, innovation and entrepreneurship in “strategic” areas, ranging from science to humanities and involve the private sector, which currently contributes only around 36% to research and development expenditure, in a bigger way. The NRF replaces the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), established in 2008, and will be presided over by the Prime Minister of India and the minister of science and education as ‘vice presidents.’

Israeli air strikes near Damascus kill six fighters, says war monitor

Four Syrian soldiers and two Iran-backed fighters were killed Monday in pre-dawn Israeli strikes near Damascus, a war monitor said, in the latest deadly Israeli air raid to hit war-torn Syria’s capital. The air strikes targeted Syrian regime forces, and military positions and weapons depots used by armed groups supported by Tehran, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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