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ਮੁੱਖ ਖ਼ਬਰਾਂ 

Spain to dismiss Catalonia

government, call elections


Madrid, October 22- Spain said today that it will move to dismiss Catalonia’s separatist government and call fresh elections in the region in a bid to stop its leaders from declaring independence.
Speaking after an emergency cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said his government had no choice after the administration of Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont acted in a way that was “unilateral, contrary to the law and seeking confrontation” in holding a banned independence referendum in the northeastern region.
Taking Spain into uncharted legal waters by using Article 155 of the constitution, which allows Madrid to wrest back control of rebellious regions, Rajoy said he was asking the Senate to give him permission to dissolve the Catalan parliament and “call elections within a maximum of six months”.
He is also requesting that all of Puigdemont’s government be stripped of their functions, which “in principle will be carried out by (national) ministers for the duration of this exceptional situation.” The national Senate will now have to agree to these unprecedented steps - a process that will take about a week.
Rajoy’s conservative Popular Party holds a majority in the Senate. As the measures enjoy the support of other major parties, they are highly likely to pass.
Catalonia sparked Spain’s worst political crisis in decades with the chaotic referendum on October 1, which Puigdemont said resulted in a 90 per cent vote in favour of breaking away from Spain.
But turnout was given as 43 per cent as many anti- independence Catalans stayed away from the vote, which had been ruled illegal by the Constitutional Court, while others were hindered from voting by a police crackdown.

Sex with minor wife is rape,

rules Supreme Court

New Delhi, October 11- The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that sexual intercourse with a minor wife would amount to rape.
A Bench of Justice Madan Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta read down exception under Section 375 of the IPC that defines rape.
The Bench said the age of consent (which is 18 years) can’t be lowered.
A minor wife would have to file rape complaint within a year of the alleged crime, the top court said.
The ruling harmonises the definition of rape under the IPC with POCSO which treats sex with a minor as crime irrespective of her consent.
Ironically, child marriage is prohibited in India but such marriages, if solemnised, are not void. Child marriage is voidable at the instance of the minor who can exercise the option of repudiating it.
The court had already clarified that it was not dealing with marital rape in general, which women’s rights activists have been demanding to be declared a crime.
The order came on a PIL filed by Independent Thought, an NGO, in 2013, demanding to declare Exception 2 to Section 375 of the IPC unconstitutional. The NGO had contended it violated Articles 14 (right to equality), 15 (right to non-discrimination) and 21 (right to live with human dignity) of the Constitution.
The exception permitted intrusive sexual intercourse with a girl child aged between 15 and 18 only on the grounds that she has been married, the petitioner pointed out and requested the court to declare that the age of consent for sexual relationship should be treated as 18, irrespective of the marital status of the girl child.
The petitioners contended that since the legal age for giving consent for sex is 18, sex with a girl between the age of 15 and 18 in the case of child marriages even with her consent would amount to rape.
Citing the Constitution Bench verdict declaring triple talaq unconstitutional on the grounds of arbitrariness, petitioner's counsel Gaurav Agrawal had argued that Exception 2 to Section 375 of the IPC was arbitrary and, hence should be declared unconstitutional. “It’s arbitrary because all the other laws except Section 375 treat girls below 18 as a child,” Agrawal had submitted.
Citing various reports, the petitioner had said that sexual intercourse with minor girls could lead to physical and mental health hazards.
Maintaining that the general age of consent was 18, the petitioner pointed out that the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, made it an offence to solemnise the marriage of a girl below 18, though the marriage itself was voidable at the instance of the child and not void.
There was a  disparity in the age of consent under the law, that is, the age of consent is 18 years for a girl who is not married, while the age of consent is 15 years for a girl who is married, the petitioner had pointed out.
The law should not encourage sexual relationship with a girl child less than 18 years under any circumstance and simply because the girl is married, she cannot be subjected to such a violation, the NGO had contended.
Women’s rights activists have been demanding that marital rape in general to be made a criminal offence on the grounds that it forces women to suffer the worst form of sexual violence silently within their matrimonial homes.
But in February 2015, the top court had refused to entertain an MNC executive’s plea to declare marital rape a criminal offence, saying it wasn’t possible to order a change in the law for one person. It was for the legislature to take a call on it, the top court had said.

 

2 IAF personnel killed in

gunfight with militants in Kashmir

Srinagar, October 11- Two IAF personnel were killed in a gunfight with militants in Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, an army official said.
The IAF personnel were part of the operation for training.
Two militants were also killed in the operation in Hajin area of Bandipora, the official said.
He said the two Indian Air Force Garud personnel who were injured in the gunfight with militants later succumbed to their injuries.
The operation was going on reports last came in, he added.

Mining row: Probe exposes

cover-up bid by Rana’s men

Chandigarh, October 9- Power and Irrigation Minister Rana Gurjit Singh’s front men made an attempt to cover up the sand mining scandal with a bogus partnership firm after the expose, but they “failed miserably”, Justice JS Narang Commission’s report has brought out.
The Tribune had reported on May 25 that how four employees of Rana Gurjit had bagged mining contracts. Taking cognisance, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had constituted a judicial commission of inquiry under Justice JS Narang (retd).
As per the report, when the commission started inquiring into the money trail of around Rs18 crore deposited with the government for bidding for mines at Mehadipur and Saidpur, Sanjit Randhawa (son of minister’s election agent Capt JS Randhawa) and Sahil Singla (son of minister’s chartered accountant Triloki Nath Singla) claimed that it was their partnership firm Rajbir Enterprises which actually placed the bid and deposited the money. They also claimed that besides others, the minister’s former cook, Amit Bahadur, and Kulwinder Pal Singh were partners in the firm and owned 5 per cent shares each.
When the commission asked Randhawa if he supplied the partnership deed to the firm’s bank branch where the account was opened, he answered in negative. Later, he said the firm did not have a bank account. “It is correct that in the partnership firm, Rajbir Enterprises, no money could be deposited as no bank account was opened. Also no money was deposited with the firm in cash as no contribution was made by any of the three partners in the capital account,” he said.
He also failed to produce the registration record of the firm. He accepted that in his earlier statement, he had “mistakenly stated” before the commission that it was a registered firm. “I had mistakenly given the statement,” he accepted.
When the commission was constituted on May 30, both Singla and Randhawa tried to cover up the money trail by floating Rajbir Enterprises, which they claimed was formed in April. They tried to show that the money came from other partners of the firm. But the commission caught their lie. In its report, the commission concluded: “A miserable effort has been made to project that the bid was given by Amit Bahadur and Kulwinder Pal Singh as partners of the firm which was created on April 10-11, 2017, in the name of Rajbir Enterprises.”
It further said: “Rajbir Enterprises does not have any bank account. Another miserable attempt was made by all of them for creating another partnership firm on June 10, 2017, again under the name of Rajbir Enterprises Mohali. This firm too could not open any bank account. ”
Amit Bahadur had accepted before the commission that “new partners were inducted in this firm after the setting up of the commission on May 30”.

Ram Rahim has renounced world, not able

to pay Rs 30 lakh costs, counsel tells HC

Chandigarh, October 9- Acting on the appeal filed by jailed Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh against his conviction and the 20-year jail sentence in a rape case, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday put the prosecution—the Central Bureau of Investigation—on notice.
As the case came up for hearing, Ram Rahim’s counsel told the Division Bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Sudhir Mittal that the Dera head had “renounced the world” and was not in a position to pay the Rs 30 lakh costs imposed by the trial court to be paid to the rape survivors.
Appearing for Ram Rahim, senior advocate SK Garg Narwana said the Dera properties had been “attached” and the Dera head was not in a position to pay the amount.
Taking up the matter, the Bench admitted the appeal filed against his conviction by Ram Rahim. Another appeal filed by the rape victims was also admitted by the High Court Bench.
The Bench asked Ram Rahim to deposit the compensation amount, awarded by the trial court to the victims, as FDR in a nationalised bank in the Panchkula court’s name. The amount would be disbursed only after the court order.
The directions by the Division Bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Sudhir Mittal came on Ram Rahim’s appeal filed by counsel Vishal Garg Narwana. The Dera chief was seeking directions for setting aside the August 25 order vide which he was convicted of raping two dera followers and the subsequent order of August 28 sentencing him to 20 years.
Challenging the CBI special court verdict, Ram Rahim has submitted that the prosecution—the CBI--had not conducted his potency test. Ram Rahim had claimed before the trial court that he was not virile since 1990, much before allegations of rape were levelled against him.
“The prosecution did not get the medical examination of the accused-appellant done to prove that he was capable of performing sexually. The finding of the trial court that the plea about his incapacity after 1990 is not substantiated because of his two daughters is totally erroneous. The trial court has presumed that because he is father of two children, therefore his plea was not correct without ascertaining the age of his two children, especially when the plea of accused-appellant recorded under Section 313 is after a year,” Ram Rahim’s counsel SK Garg Narwana has submitted before the High Court in the appeal.
Delay of more than six years in recording the statements of the women victims by the CBI after the incident was another ground taken by Ram Rahim in his plea.

 


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