Bilawal Bhutto’s comments on PM Modi uncivilised: India

December 16, 2022 08:34 pm | Updated December 17, 2022 10:01 am IST

Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. File

Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. File | Photo Credit: AP

India on December 16, 2022 hit out at Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for his personal attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said it was a “new low” even for that country.

In a strong reaction to the remarks by the Pakistani leader in New York, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the Pakistan Foreign Minister’s “frustration” would be better directed towards the masterminds of terrorist enterprises in his own country, who have made terrorism a part of their “state policy”.

“Pakistan is a country that glorifies Osama bin Laden as a martyr, and shelters terrorists like Lakhvi, Hafiz Saeed, Masood Azhar, Sajid Mir and Dawood Ibrahim. No other country can boast of having 126 UN-designated terrorists and 27 UN-designated terrorist entities,” Bagchi asserted.

Scores of BJP leaders and workers staged a protest near Pakistan High Commission over Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto’s remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The protesters also demanded an apology for Bhutto’s ‘insensible’ remarks. The protesters held BJP flags and placards some of which read: ‘Pakistan aukaat ma aao and Maafi mango’ (Pakistan stay in your limits and apologise) and ‘Pakistan hosh mein aayo’ (Wake up Pakistan).

Bhutto had said, “Osama Bin Laden is dead but the Butcher of Gujarat lives and is the prime minister of India. The prime minister and foreign minister are of RSS which derives inspiration from Hitler.”

Bhutto made the comments following India’s External Affairs minister S Jaishankar’s sharp attack on Pakistan over its support to terrorism at the United Nations Security Council meeting.

No Supreme Court Benches to be available during winter vacation: CJI D. Y. Chandrachud

Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on December 16 said no Vacation Benches will be available in the apex court during the winter break. The oral announcement came a day after Law Minister Kiren Rijiju criticised the “long vacations” of the court and the inconvenience it caused to litigants.

Friday is the last working day before the court goes into winter recess. The apex court will re-open only next year, on January 2. The calendar for the year 2023 shows the court would not be fully functional for nearly 180 days, including weekends and holidays. The court’s pendency as on December 1 is 69,598 cases. There are currently six judicial vacancies in the court.

Vacation is also a time for judges to work harder, writing judgments, travelling, administrative work and preparing cases for hearings. It is also a period of recuperation. The past year had seen the court come out of hard days of the pandemic and take on the increased pendency. Judges have been hearing 80 cases, on some days, up to 100 cases a day. Many Constitution Benches have reserved their judgments and would use the winter holidays to author them.

Vacation Benches are Special Benches designated by the Chief Justice of India during summer and winter holidays to hear ‘urgent matters’, which include pleas concerning bail, habeas corpus and other fundamental rights issues.

Rule 6 of Order II of The Supreme Court Rules, 2013, provide that the “Chief Justice may appoint one or more Judges to hear during summer vacation or winter holidays all matters of an urgent nature which under these rules may be heard by a Judge sitting singly, and, whenever necessary, he may likewise appoint a Division Court for the hearing of urgent cases during the vacation which require to be heard by a Bench of Judges”.

For a long time in its history, the court had Vacation Benches only during the May-June summer break. It usually did not have a Vacation Bench sitting during the winter holidays.

However, it was the 45th Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra who broke the convention and constituted two Vacation Benches for the winter break in 2017 and went one step further by heading one of the Benches himself. He was at the time busy hearing accident compensation cases of survivors who had been waiting for a long time for justice.

It was also the first for a Chief Justice of India to head a Vacation Bench. Usually junior judges constituted Vacation Benches. The recent years have seen the court cut short the summer break by a week or so, faced by criticism that its vacations were long.

Vacation Benches of the Supreme Court have also authored historical decisions. One of the best known is when Justice Krishna Iyer, sitting singly as a Vacation Bench Judge in June 1975, refused Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s plea to stay an Allahabad High Court decision setting aside her election. A decision which triggered the Emergency. A Constitution Bench of the court heard the triple talaq case during vacation days.

Indians to get U.K. visas in 15 days, says High Commissioner Alex Ellis

Signalling an end to the problem of delayed processing of U.K. visas for Indians, the British High Commissioner on December 16, 2022 announced that travelers from India will get tourist visas within a fortnight.

“Two months ago, I said that our aim was by the end of this year to be turning around visit visas from India to the U.K. within our standard time of fifteen working days. The great news is the team have now achieved that through fantastic work here in Delhi and across the whole visa network,” said High Commissioner Ellis.

High Commissioner Ellis broke the news on his account in social media network Twitter. He also urged everyone, students included to provide correct information at the time of applying. “We have a big intake of student visas for the student session starting in January of next year. Please apply as quickly as you can as there is a lot of demand,” said the British High Commissioner.

The official said that the ease in visa processing will help in Indian citizens travel to the U.K. with “much greater ease”. “This is good news for the living bridge alongside the welcome return of E-visas for Brits coming to India. You can, of course, use the priority visa channel if you still want. We are turning that one around within five days,” said Alex Ellis.

Compulsory registration of Child Care Institutions, says Union Minister Smriti Irani

The Union government on December 16, 2022 said that all Child Care Institutions (CCIs) have to be compulsorily registered with the district authorities and if they fail to do so then they will be asked to shut down.

In order to ensure the security of children, the district authorities, including the police, have to conduct the background verification of an organisation that seeks to set up a CCI and also run checks on the criminal histories of people being hired there, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani said in the Lok Sabha.

Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani speaks in the Lok Sabha.

Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani speaks in the Lok Sabha. | Photo Credit: PTI

She said that earlier any organisation that put in an application to establish a CCI would be deemed to have received an approval by the authorities, but with the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act, these new regulations have been brought forth.

The rules mandate that even the people who are hired within such institutions as caregivers need to have a police verification certificate so that those individuals, who have a history of crime, especially crimes against women and children, are never taken into such organisations, thereby keeping our children in a safe environment, Irani said during the Question Hour.

Earlier in the day, replying to another question on nutrition, the Minister got into a spat with Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary who objected to her using the word “gentleman” to address a member.

Chowdhury said that as per parliamentary procedures, the Minister should have referred to the MP as “honourable member”. The Union Minister responded to this by saying that Chowdhury was trying to impress his “political masters” by interrupting her reply.

“I would...request the member who stands here trying to ensure that I do not speak to score political brownie points.... For him to presume that the gentleman is not a gentleman is an issue to deal (with) between the gentleman and the so-called member,” she said.

Twitter accounts of journalists who wrote about Elon Musk suspended

Twitter on December 15 suspended the accounts of journalists who cover the social media platform and its new owner Elon Musk, including reporters working for The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and other publications.

The company hasn’t explained why it took down the accounts and made their profiles and past tweets disappear. The sudden suspension of news reporters followed Musk’s decision to permanently ban an account that automatically tracked the flights of his private jet using publicly available data.

Twitter also on December 14 changed its rules to prohibit the sharing of another person’s current location without their consent. Several of the reporters suspended on December 15 night had been writing about that new policy and Musk’s rationale for imposing it, which involved his allegations about a stalking incident that affected his family on Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

“Same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else,” Musk tweeted Thursday. “Doxxing” refers to disclosing online someone’s identity, address, or other personal details.

In Brief: 

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday said more than 1,500 private hospitals have been empanelled under the Ayushman Bharat scheme in the last one year. The scheme is reviewed every month and out-of-pocket expenditure of patients under the scheme has come down, Mandaviya said, replying to a question in Lok Sabha. Under the scheme launched in 2018, the government provides health security cover to 10 crore families or 50 crore people of India. Today, 4.5 crore needy people have been empanelled under the scheme, the Minister said. He said seven-eight lakh beneficiary cards are printed daily and the ministry was working to ensure that 50 crore cards are made available in the next four-six months.

Evening Wrap will return tomorrow.

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