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Issue No : 117

Email: editor@canadianparvasi.com Contact Number : 905-673-0600 November 15, 2019 | Toronto | Pages 12

550th PARKASH PURB

9/11: CORRIDOR OF PEACE OPENS

Sultanpur Lodhi/Dera

Baba Nanak/Kartarpur

(Pakistan): Stating that Pakistan

should have shown magnanimity

by granting visas to the

Punjab government’s 31-member

delegation, chief minister

Amarinder Singh said, “By denying

visas to the delegation,

Pakistan has shown its chhotapan

(pettiness).”

Prime Minister Narendra

Modi and his Pakistani counterpart

Imran Khan on Saturday

inaugurated the Kartarpur

corridor, which connects

Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s

Gurdaspur district with Darbar

Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan’s

Narowal district, ending

the 72-year-long wait of Guru

Nanak’s devotees.

Modi, who wore an orange

turban for the occasion, flagged

off the first jatha of over 500

pilgrims — including former

prime minister Manmohan

Singh and his wife, chief minister

Amarinder Singh and

his MP wife, Union ministers

Hardeep Singh Puri and Som

Parkash, former Punjab cabinet

minister Navjot Singh Sidhu

and Akali Dal leaders Parkash

Singh Badal, his son Sukhbir

and daughter-inlaw Harsimrat,

an Union minister.

“I feel blessed that I am dedicating

the Kartarpur corridor

to the country. At the moment,

I am getting the same feeling

which you get at the time of

doing kar seva (religious service),”

said Modi, who was conferred

the Qaumi Seva award by

the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak

Committee (SGPC).

Modi, who started the day

by paying obeisance at Gurdwara

Ber Sahib in Sultanpur

Lodhi, in his speech at the rally

in Shikar Macchian village

thanked Imran, saying: “He

understood India’s feelings on

the Kartarpur corridor issue,

gave them respect and worked

accordingly.”

Modi, who saw the Beri tree

and the Bhaura (underground

closet), where according to the

legend Guru Nanak used to

meditate in Sultanpur Lodhi,

emphasised on the importance

of Guru Nanak’s message of

‘kirat karo, nam japo and band

chakko.’ After opening the

state-ofthe-art passenger terminal

building, designed in the

shape of ‘Khanda’ — the symbol

of Sikhism, Modi had langar

with Punjab governor V P Singh

Badnore, Amarinder, Punjab

Congress president Sunil

Jakhar and other dignitaries.

In Kartarpur, the spotlight

was totally on Sidhu as Imran

inaugurated the corridor after

the arrival of the Indian jatha.

Both Imran and his foreign minister

Shah Mehmood Qureshi

talked about Kashmir in their

speeches.

Imran said ensuring ‘justice’

to Kashmiris will bring

about improvement in the relationship

between India and Pakistan,

adding: “Hope one day

Sultanpur

Lodhi MLA

seeks road links

Chandigarh: Sultanpur

Lodhi MLA Navtej Singh

Cheema on Saturday requested

Prime Minister Narendra

Modi to connect Sultanpur

Lodhi with Ludhiana-Amritsar

via an 8-lane national

highway.

Cheema said besides being

a holy city, Sultanpur Lodhi

was once a central trade

point between Delhi and Lahore.

Cheema also submitted

a letter to the PM regarding

the requisitions for the overall

development of the city

connected with Guru Nanak

Dev.

The MLA also requested

the PM Modi to sanction a

multi-specialty hospital-cummedical

college and research

centre in order to improve the

health facilities in the region.

our relationship will improve.”

Sidhu, who got a rapturous

welcome, addressed Imran as

‘Sikandar,’ ‘Sohna Yaar,’ ‘Yaar

Dildaar,’ and thanked him for

the corridor. “Not much can be

done in 10 months but you have

turned this place into heaven in

this period. You proved to be a

true friend. For the first time,

the barbed wires have fallen after

the Partition.”

The Congress MLA also

thanked Modi by “sending a

Munnabhai MBBS-style hug,”

saying “we have to rise above

politics.”

Referencing the anniversary

of the fall of Berlin Wall,

Qureshi said: “If the Berlin Wall

can be demolished, if the Kartarpur

Corridor can be opened,

then the temporary boundary of

the Line of Control can also be

ended.”

Qureshi also objected to the

timing of the Ayodhya verdict,

telling DawnNewsTV: “Could it

(verdict) not have waited a few

days? I am deeply saddened at

the insensitivity shown at such

a joyous occasion.”


The International News Weekly Canada

November 15, 2019 | Toronto 02

HSBC Bank Canada employees proudly celebrated alongside their customers

at a South Asian Mela last week in Brampton. HSBC values and celebrates

diversity in all its forms. This is one of many events throughout the year

where we express appreciation for our customers.

HSBC Bank Canada Mela client

event: Lighting of the Diya by

Larry Tomei, EVP and Head of Retail

Banking and Wealth Management,

HSBC Bank Canada with Steve Ho,

SVP and Head of Branch Network

HSBC Bank Canada

HSBC Bank Canada clients and staff celebrate Mela at a

special client event in November at the Lion Head Golf

and Country Club.

HSBC Bank Canada Mela client event,

November 7: David Kuo, Head of Branch

Network - Ontario of Retail Banking and Wealth

Management, HSBC Bank Canada, Kainaz Ladha

Regional Area Manager - Ontario HSBC Bank

Canada and HSBC staff celebrate HSBC Mela

B.C. Chief Ed John faces

historic sex charges

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER : A British Columbia

Indigenous leader and outspoken

advocate for children is facing

sex-related charges dating back

more than 40 years.

The B.C. Prosecution Service

says Ed John, a former leader of the

First Nations Summit and former

B.C. cabinet minister, is accused of

having sexual intercourse with a

female without her consent in 1974.

The service says in a statement

released Thursday that special

prosecutor Michael Klein was appointed

in February to look into allegations

of sexual offences in and

around Prince George involving

one person.

Klein has approved four counts

against John for incidents are alleged

to have occurred between

March 1 and Sept. 15, 1974, it says.

His first court appearance is set for

Dec. 10 in Prince George.

John could not immediately be

reached for comment.

The service says it delayed announcing

the appointment of the

special prosecutor pending the

completion of the charge assessment

and approval of charges.

“Following consultation with

the special prosecutor and considering

the specific circumstances of

the case, the (service) concluded

that issuing a media statement

announcing the appointment was

appropriate at this time,” the statement

says.

John is a hereditary chief of

Tl’azt’en Nation in northern B.C.

and a lawyer who holds honorary

doctor of laws degrees from the

University of Northern British Columbia

and the University of Victoria.

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OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer

is calling on the prime minister to open Parliament

on Nov. 25. That’s five days after Justin Trudeau is

scheduled to swear in a new cabinet following last

month’s election.

Scheer’s spokesman Simon Jefferies says the

country is more divided than ever and Trudeau

needs to bring the House of Commons back immediately

to address urgent issues.

Asking for that to happen on Nov. 25 will be

one of the Opposition leader’s requests of Trudeau

when the two meet on Tuesday.

Jefferies says Scheer will also outline specific

items Conservatives want to see in the throne

speech, saying they’ll be based on the party’s own

priorities for the next Parliament.

The Liberals won 157 seats in last month’s vote,

forming a minority government, with the Conservatives

in second place with 121 MPs.

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The International News Weekly Canada

November 15, 2019 | Toronto

03

Singh and Trudeau discuss NDP’s priorities

in meeting ahead of throne speech

THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA : NDP Leader Jagmeet

Singh says he believes

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s

only options to pass legislation

in a minority parliament are to

work with his New Democrats

or the Conservatives, dismissing

the idea the Liberals could work

with the Bloc Quebecois because

the Bloc isn’t concerned with national

interests.

Singh met with Trudeau in

Ottawa today to try to leverage

his party’s position in a minority

government. The Liberal leader

is meeting opposition leaders

one by one to assess what he’ll

have to do to gain and maintain

the confidence of the House of

Commons.

It appears part of Singh’s

strategy is to suggest that the

votes of Bloc Quebecois MPs

aren’t enough, even though they

and the Liberals together hold

more than half the seats in the

Commons.

Speaking to reporters following

the meeting, the New Democratic

leader said he believes his

party is in a good position to get

Liberal buy-in for NDP priorities

in part because of the two parties’

shared progressive perspective

on many key issues.

But he also suggested

Trudeau does not have many

other options.

“If they want to pass something

national that really benefits

all Canadians, they’ve got

really two options for a national

party. They can choose to work

with the Conservatives or they

can work with us,” he said.

“If they want to pass a bill

they need to work with a party.

If they want to pass a bill that’s

progressive, that puts in place

something that’s national, something

that benefits all Canadians,

they have to work with New

Democrats.”

When asked why he doesn’t

believe Trudeau could seek support

from the Bloc Quebecois,

Singh said he believes that is

simply not an option for the Liberals,

because the Bloc is not a

national party.

“Mr. (Yves-Francois) Blanchet

has made it really clear that

he’s not interested in working

on national programs that benefit

all Canadians. That’s not his

goal, that’s not his party’s goal,

and frankly that’s not his job. He

was elected in Quebec, for Quebecers,

and that’s fine,” Singh

said. “If Mr. Trudeau wants to

pass something that’s national,

something that’s national and

progressive that benefits all Canadians,

he’s got really just two

choices, he can work with us or

the Conservatives.”

During their meeting, Singh

listed the top three priorities

he hopes will make it into the

throne speech laying out the

Liberals’ governing plan in December,

the primary one being

the immediate creation of a

universal, single-payer pharmacare

program. He also pressed

Trudeau to drop the government’s

legal challenge of a recent

Canadian Human Rights Tribunal

ruling that ordered Ottawa

to pay $40,000 each in compensation

to Indigenous children who

were wrongly placed in foster

care after 2007, as well as to their

parents or grandparents.

He mentioned dental care, affordability

and housing as other

topics that were discussed. In addition,

he said Trudeau acknowledged

that Singh would continue

to oppose the Trans Mountain

pipeline project, but Singh would

not say whether Liberal backing

for the Alberta-B.C. pipeline

could lead him to vote against

the Liberals in a confidence vote.

During a photo-op before

their official meeting, the two

leaders shared a warm handshake

and appeared friendly and

at ease with one another.

Trudeau said it was a pleasure

to welcome the NDP leader

to his office, adding that it would

offer “an opportunity to talk

about the many things we have

in common in our perspectives.”

“Canadians expect us, as always

in the House, to work together

to serve them according to

their priorities and desires and

that’s really something we’re

very much focused on, working

with all parties in the house,”

Trudeau added.

Singh has said he’s not issuing

ultimatums, but his party

would be willing to vote against

the throne speech if it doesn’t

acknowledge the NDP’s requests

somehow.

He reiterated those sentiments

following his meeting

with Trudeau Thursday, saying

he will be looking for concrete

commitments that show the Liberals

are willing to work toward

shared goals if they want NDP

support.

“I have no interest in blindly

working with the Liberals, if

they want to deliver on the real

things that help Canadians out,

absolutely we’re going to work

together,” Singh said.

“I want to be constructive,

but by no means does that mean

I’m beholden in any way to working

with the Liberals. I have a

job, which is to fight for Canadians,

and that means fighting

for better health care, fighting

for better housing, fighting for

Indigenous communities. I’m going

to do that and I’m not worried

about having to do something because

of any political exigency,

I want to do this because it matters

to people and I’m ready to do

that.”

With silence and salutes, Canadians

mark Remembrance Day

OTTAWA : Eleven tolls

from the Peace Tower filled

the air around Parliament

Hill on Monday morning,

marking the start of two

minutes of silence in which

Canadians paused to remember

and honour those

who took up arms — and

in some cases paid the ultimate

price — to defend this

country and its way of life.

Similar scenes played

out across the country at

cenotaphs and memorials

as the clock struck the 11th

hour on Remembrance

Day.

A crowd of thousands

lined the wind-swept

streets around the National

War Memorial in Ottawa

for the national ceremony.

They arrived early, standing

and watching a parade

of veterans arrayed before

the monument unveiled 80

years ago by King George

VI.

Prime Minister Justin

Trudeau and Gov. Gen.

Julie Payette were among

those laying wreaths in

memory of those who died

serving Canada.

“They fought for the

ideals of peace and to defend

our liberties,” Payette

said in a video message.

“Many were wounded

in their body and in their

soul. Too many paid the ultimate

price. We owe them

an immense debt of gratitude.

We must never forget

their sacrifice and the

terrible costs of war. Let

us never take freedom for

granted and stand up for

equality and tolerance.”

Trudeau echoed those

sentiments in a separate

statement as he credited

those who served in uniform

with having built

peace, defended democracy

and enabled countless

people to live in freedom

in Canada and around the

world.

“Today, we pay tribute

to our veterans, to those

who have been injured in

the line of duty, and to all

those who have made the

ultimate sacrifice,” he said.

“They stood for liberty,

and sacrificed their

future for the future of others.

Their selflessness and

courage continue to inspire

Canadians who serve today.”

Also present for the

morning’s national ceremony

was this year’s Silver

Cross Mother, Reine Samson

Dawe from near Kingston,

Ont. Her youngest son,

Capt. Matthew Dawe, was

killed in Afghanistan in

2007 alongside five other

Canadian soldiers and an

Afghan interpreter.

She was to lay a wreath

during the ceremony on behalf

of all Canadian mothers

who have lost children

to war.

As the official ceremony

came to a close, Payette,

Trudeau and Veterans Affairs

Minister Lawrence

MacAulay shook hands

with veterans, some of

whom had red blankets

draped over their laps and

legs to stay warm in the biting

cold.

The leaders thanked the

veterans for their service,

echoing a message from

the ceremony in which veterans

young and old were

called “authentic heroes,”

deserving to be celebrated

and thanked at every opportunity.

“We are grateful to

them for being the unifying

inspiration of selflessness

and dedication, reminding

us of what being Canadian

is all about,” Rabbi Reuven

Bulka said during the ceremony.

This year’s Remembrance

Day ceremony followed

a major event in

France earlier this year

marking the 75th anniversary

of D-Day, when thousands

of Canadian stormed

the beaches of Normandy

with their British and

American allies to fight

Nazi Germany.

It also comes exactly

101 years after the end of

the First World War.


The International News Weekly November 15, 2019 | Toronto 04

PM opens Kartarpur corridor, thanks Imran

Dera Baba Nanak: Prime

Minister Narendra Modi on

Saturday inaugurated the Integrated

Check Post (ICP) at Dera

Baba Nanak and flagged off the

first batch of pilgrims travelling

to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur

Sahib in Pakistan via the

newly-constructed Kartarpur

corridor.

The gurdwara is about 4.5

km inside the Pakistan territory

from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur

district of Punjab.

Before inaugurating the corridor,

he interacted with the

members of first jatha (batch)

to Pakistan via the corridor and

took a guided tour of digital installation

on life of Guru Nanak

Dev and the passenger terminal

building (PTB) at the Dera Baba

Nanak ICP.

Earlier, addressing a gathering

at Shikar Machhian village,

nearly 7 km from ICP, Modi emphasised

on the importance of

Guru Nanak’s message of “kirat

karo, naam japo and vand

chhako”. He said Guru Nanak

taught the importance of living

by true values and also gave an

economic system based on honesty

and self-confidence. Stating

that he felt honoured to dedicate

the Kartapur corridor to the nation,

he called for upholding the

teachings and values of Baba

Nanak.

On the occasion, he also released

a commemorative coin

celebrating 550th birth anniversary

of Guru Nanak. The

Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak

Committee (SGPC) honoured

Modi with “Qaumi Seva

Award”, which he dedicated to

Guru Nanak.

For completing the Kartarpur

corridor in a short time

frame, he expressed gratitude

towards the Punjab government

and the SGPC, and also hailed

Pakistan PM Imran Khan for

understanding the sentiments of

Indians and acting accordingly.

He also expressed gratitude towards

those involved in the construction

of the corridor on both

sides of the border.

Modi also talked about abrogation

of Article 370 in Jammu

and Kashmir and how it benefited

Sikhs. “Removing of Article

370 from J&K will now help

the Sikh community in J&K and

Leh, as they will get the same

rights as other citizens of the

country,” he said, adding that

now the Citizenship Amendment

Bill would also make it

easy for the migrant Sikhs to

become citizens of the country.

“Besides being a guru, Guru

Nanak Dev is a thought, the basis

of life. Our values, culture,

our thoughts, our thinking, our

upbringing, our reasoning, our

speech, all of these have been

honed by pious souls like Guru

Nanak,” he said.

Sidhu sends Modi

hug from Pak

Kartarpur (Pakistan): As he hogged the limelight at the

inaugural function of Kartarpur corridor, former Punjab cabinet

minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Saturday sung paeans of

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. He also thanked Prime

Minister Narendra Modi, by sending him a hug.

“I am thanking Modi ji also, it doesn’t matter if we have political

differences, doesn’t matter if my life is dedicated to Gandhi

family, and I am sending a Munnabhai MBBS style hug to

you Modi sahib for this. We have to rise above parties,” said

Sidhu in an emotional speech loaded with couplets.

Referring to him as ‘Sohna Yaar’ and ‘Yaar Dildar’, Sidhu

hailed Imran Khan as a ‘Sikandar’, who has won the hearts of

14 crore Sikhs. “I have brought a trolley-full of good wishes for

you. It’s not about the corridor but about giving a message. Not

much can be done in 10 months, but you have turned this place

into heaven in this period. You proved to be a true friend. For

the first time the barbed wires have fallen after partition,” he

said. Without naming Gen Bajwa, Sidhu sought to clarify his

controversial embrace to him during the swearing in of Imran

Khan. “My corridor is love and my embrace is also ‘muhabbat’

love. We should keep embracing and resolve all issues. Then

why would mothers lose their sons at the borders in vain,” he

said in his trademark style, cheering the crowds with 'Thoko

Talli'.

“You have brought solace to the wounds of partition when

both Punjabs were drenched in blood,” said Sidhu, adding “People

say your credit, my credit. It is Guru’s grace that did it. It is

a noble and courageous PM who did it. No one did it in 72 years,

no one listened to the Sikhs. The embrace has paid off,” he said.

The Kartarpur corridor, connecting Dera Baba Nanak

shrine in India’s Punjab with Darbar Sahib in Narowal district

in Pakistan’s Punjab, was thrown open today.


The International News Weekly November 15, 2019 | Toronto

05

Jathas via Wagah still popular as

10-day pilgrimage costs `2,000

Amritsar: As much as

the corridor was hailed,

devotees are beginning to

realise that it is perhaps

most cost effective — as

well as adventurous — if

they skip the corridor

route and take the regular

crossing via Attari border.

The $20 service fee

has hiked up the expense

so much that devotees feel

that it does not make sense

to pay more than Rs 1,400

for five to six hour, popin,

pop-out trip, when they

can pay obeisance in over

a dozen Sikh shrines in 10

days on little less than Rs

2,000, with the added attraction

of visiting Lahore

and other cities.

“Pakistan visa fee is

Rs 120 and return train

fare from Attari to Lahore,

Nankana Sahib and Hassanabdal

is Rs 1,870. Pilgrims

can stay free of cost

in gurdwaras and partake

langar,” Swaran Singh

Gill, president of Nankana

Sahib Sikh Teerath Yatree

Jatha, told media.

Pakistan has levied $20

(Rs 1,438) as service fee for

using the Kartarpur corridor

to reach Gurdwara

Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur

Sahib. “Only Sikh leaders

and rich people can afford

to pay $20 for pilgrimage

of few hours to one gurdwara.

Middle class families

or poor people can’t afford

that,” said Surjit Singh, a

resident of Delhi, who had

gone to Pakistan along

with a Sikh jatha (delegation)

to celebrate the 550th

birth anniversary of Guru

Nanak Dev.

He said before applying

for visa to travel to Pakistan

via Attari along with

a Sikh jatha, he had compared

the cost and found

that travelling through Attari

was not only cheap but

one gets to pay obeisance

in over a dozen gurdwaras.

“One-way taxi fare

from Amritsar to Dera

Baba Nanak is around Rs

2,000 and every pilgrim

has to pay $20 to visit Kartarpur

Sahib. We are not

allowed to go beyond the

gurdwara complex and

return by evening, which

means one can’t even participate

completely in religious

rituals,” Surjit said.

He is of the opinion that

people may go via Kartarpur

corridor just out of curiosity,

but once the hype

settles down, they would

see merit in taking the Attari

route. For Bikramjit

Singh, the fact that one

could pay obeisance in at

least 14 historical gurdwaras,

including Gurdwara

Darbar Sahib, if travelling

with jatha, sealed

the deal. “Then there is the

charm of visiting Lahore,

which is famous for its

street food, and interacting

with locals. These are not

possible while travelling to

Pakistan via the Kartarpur

corridor,” he said.

But with the suspension

of train services, pilgrims

faced a tough time,

they alleged that Evacuee

Trust Property Board

(ETPB) officials exploited

their zeal to celebrate

550th anniversary of Guru

Nanak.

According to a few pilgrims

from a jatha that

returned on Thursday,,

on reaching Wagah (Pakistan),

they were made to

pay exorbitant bus fares.

“From Wagah to Nankana

Sahib, we were charged

Rs 1,200. From Nankana

Sahib to Punja Sahib and

Kartarpur Sahib, we were

charged Rs 2,200 and Rs

2,000 respectively. From

Nankana Sahib to Lahore

and Wagah, we were made

to pay Rs 1,200 to the ETPB

officials, who had set up

a special counter for the

purpose,” alleged Amarjit

Singh, a pilgrim.

Bikramjit said, for the

first time, ETPB officials

openly asked pilgrims to

pay bus fares. “We also

approached the Pakistan

Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak

Committee, but they

chose to ignore us,” he

added.

Meanwhile, ETPB

public relations officer

Amir Hashmi dismissed

the allegations. “This is

not true,” he insisted,

adding that around 1,200

Indian pilgrims returned

on Thursday, while about

2,000 had retuned to India

on Wednesday.

Prez attends Pb govt, SGPC

events, even speaks Punjabi

Sultanpur Lodhi:

Grand celebrations to

mark the 550th Parkash

Purb of Guru Nanak Dev

culminated on Tuesday,

with President Ram Nath

Kovind attending functions

of both the Punjab

government and the

Shiromani Gurdwara

Parbandhak Committee

(SGPC), which is under

the control of Shiromani

Aali Dal (SAD).

After paying obeisance

at Gurdwara Ber Sahib,

the President, accompanied

by wife Savita Kovind,

first attended the Punjab

government function.

In his brief speeches at

both the places, he emphasized

on life and teachings

of Guru Nanak and said it

was a privilege for him to

be in Sultanpur Lodhi, the

land where Guru Nanak

Dev attained enlightenment.

He spoke in Hindi at

the Punjab government

event. Though he started

in Punjabi at the SGPC

event, he switched to Hindi

after a couple of minutes.

He focused on the

first Sikh Guru’s message

of universal humanism,

egalitarianism and a

casteless society, and also

recalled the principle of

‘Kirt Karo, Naam Japo,

Wand Chhako’. “True followers

of Guru Nanak

work for the welfare of

all, live in harmony and

do their job with diligence

and honesty,” he said.

In his speech, Punjab

chief minister Amarinder

Singh announced that he

would speak with Prime

Minister Narendra Modi

and ask him to prevail

upon Pakistan to grant

Indian devotees open access

to other historic gurdwaras

across the border.

Expressing gratitude

to Prime Minister Narendra

Modi and Pakistan

PM Imran Khan for helping

realise the Sikh community’s

dream of visiting

the Kartarpur gurdwara,

Amarinder hoped this

would be followed by free

access to Indian devotees

to more such gurdwaras

in Pakistan.

“I shall take up the

matter with PM Modi ji

and urge him to raise the

issue with Imran Khan to

facilitate the realisation

of the Sikh community’s

dream to visit those gurdwaras,”

he said.

Unlike his address at

Dera Baba Nanak, CM did

not speak anything negative

about Pakistan. The

CM also acknowledged the

support given by the central

government in making

the historic celebrations

a success.

His was the first speech

after the Bhog (conclusion)

of Sehaj Path (recitation

of Guru Granth Sahib

with intervals) and Gurbani

Kirtan and then he

invited the President to

speak. Punjab governor

V P S Badnore and Rajasthan

CM Ashok Gehlot

were also present.

Amarinder also announced

his government’s

decision to honour Punjab

Police personnel who

served during this grand

and extended celebration

with ‘Parkash Purb

Tagma (medal)’ for their

service.

He also announced

that the 550th Parkash

Purb celebrations, which

commenced last year,

would continue till November

2020.

Addressing a religious

congregation after the

bhog of ‘Sri Sehaj Path’,

the CM said as per his government’s

decision to release

550 convicts prematurely

to mark the historic

occasion, 450 had already

been freed, while others

would be released over the

next few months.

The CM underlined the

importance of following

Guru Nanak’s message on

respecting nature.


The International News Weekly Edit

06

November 15, 2019 | Toronto

The

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Publisher & CEO

Associate Editor

Editor (India)

Online

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Hasty Move

President’s rule in Maharashtra

too soon, Sena should be given

more time to form coalition

Maharashtra took a dramatic turn on

Tuesday with governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari

imposing President’s rule. After BJP and

Shiv Sena failed to deliver on a power-sharing

arrangement, the latter was given a bare 24

hours to put together a viable alliance with

NCP and Congress. While talks between the

three parties did take place, the Sena requested

more time from the governor which was

denied. Next, it was NCP’s turn to request for

time. But governor Koshyari appears to have

convinced himself that government formation

isn’t possible in the current scenario.

If a stable coalition between Shiv Sena,

NCP and Congress is to form, this will require

some time to hammer together a power sharing

formula and a common minimum programme.

Koshyari’s giving minimum time to

both Sena and NCP to cobble together such a

coalition – before precipitately declaring President’s

rule – will be seen as an attempt to preclude

precisely that. Not surprisingly, Sena

has approached the Supreme Court against

the governor’s move.

More broadly speaking, the standard criticism

of such a diverse coalition as the Sena

is seeking to form now is that it is a ‘khichdi’

one that is bound to be inherently unstable.

However, it is by no means clear that an absolute

majority for a single party – or a coalition

where one party is clearly dominant – always

delivers superior results. In India this often

creates a top-down, centralised style of governance

– one that BJP in its current avatar also

seems to favour.

This kind of government has been touted

as decisive and action-oriented, and that may

indeed be true in some instances. Take, for

example, the quick reactions to provocations

from Pakistan at the level of the central government.

In other areas, for example in complex

arenas such as the economy and development,

a top-down model can stall initiative or

decision making at the grassroots, as well as

lead to a talent deficit in administration. In a

vast, complex and diverse polity such as India

power sharing arrangements may work better,

as long as they can work out a suitable coalition

dharma that ensures stability. Which

is why if Sena, NCP and Congress do indeed

eventually form the government in Maharashtra

they would do well to thrash out all important

issues beforehand, including the post of

chief minister. TNN

Momentous Judgment

On Ayodhya

SC’s adjudication of Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri

Masjid dispute represents a new dawn for India

Ravi Shankar Prasad

Lord Ram is also known

as Maryada Purushottam.

Dignity and ethics are

central to his conduct and

philosophy. His story for

the last thousands of years

continues to animate and

inspire the psyche of ordinary

Indians and remains

a proud narrative of our

civilisational, cultural and

spiritual heritage.

It was only fitting and

appropriate that the long

pending dispute for last

hundreds of years about

his place of birth “Ram Janmabhoomi”

at Ayodhya,

was finally settled by the Supreme

Court after an elaborate

hearing of more than

40 days by a unanimous

verdict of five judges. An issue

which was contentious,

full of competing claims and

interests many times giving

rise to conflicts and hostility,

could be resolved in a

perfectly lawful manner

consistent with the Maryada

of our constitutional

polity.

It is equally reassuring

that the entire country

has accepted this judgment.

There is no discord

or hostility on the ground

and a rare amity, brotherhood

and understanding

has been witnessed. Prime

Minister Narendra Modi as

a leader deserves full praise

for his appeal which played

a cardinal role in this amity

as also the requisite administrative

arrangement.

It is indeed a new dawn for

India.

There were basically

four suits. One filed by a

worshipper Gopal Singh

Visharad, second by Nirmohi

Akhara, third by UP

Sunni Central Waqf Board

and fourth by the deity itself

“Ram Lalla Virajman”,

who claimed a declaration

of title to the disputed site

coupled with injunctive

relief. The Allahabad high

court gave relief to the Hindus

with the right to pray

in the main area and also

allotting it to them. It further

proceeded to partition

the disputed area one-third

each to Hindus, Nirmohi

Akhara and Muslims.

The judgment of the Allahabad

HC was challenged

in the Supreme Court,

which led to the decision of

the Supreme Court. There

was voluminous evidence

on record – both oral and

documentary – consisting

of thousands of pages.

The Supreme Court in the

judgment elaborately considered

the interplay of all

these evidences. It would

only be appropriate to recall

some of these.

Joseph Tieffenthaler

was a Jesuit missionary

who visited India in 1740.

He notes the sacred character

of Ayodhya, which he

called Adjudea. In particular,

he mentions a “Bedi”

– a cradle – where Beschan

(Vishnu) was born in the

form of Ram. Alexander

Cunningham, director general

of Archaeological Survey

of India, refers to Ayodhya

in his 1862 report as the

birthplace of Lord Ram. P

Carnegie, commissioner

and settlement officer of

Faizabad, mentions in his

1870 report that “Ajudhia is

to Hindus what Mecca is to

Mohammedans”.

The court concluded

vide para 786 that travelogues

of foreigners provide

a detailed account both of

the faith and belief of Hindus

based on the sanctity

which they ascribe to the

birthplace of Lord Ram

and to the actual worship

by Hindus of the Janm Sthan.

Very significantly, the

court further noted that for

a period of 325 years from

the date of the construction

of the mosque until installation

of a grill wall by the

British, no evidence has

been adduced by the Muslims

to establish the exercise

of possessory control

over the disputed site.

The court held that

the oral and documentary

evidence shows that the

devotees of Lord Ram hold

a genuine longstanding and

profound belief in the religious

merit attained by offering

prayer to Lord Ram

at the site they believe to

be his birthplace. Significantly

the court mentioned

the acknowledgments by

Muslim witnesses about the

presence of Hindu religious

symbols like Varah, Jai-Vijay

and Garud outside the

threedome structure. The

court further held, “They

are suggestive not merely

of the existence of faith and

belief but of actual worship

down the centuries.” Quite

clearly, what was brought

down was not just brick and

mortar but a vibrant and

active symbol and place of

worship for millions of Hindus

through centuries.

While decreeing the

suit in favour of Ram Lalla

plaintiff of the Hindus in

substance, the court also decided

to provide restitution

to the Muslim community

by directing the government

to allocate five acres

of land to the Sunni Waqf

Board. The central government

has been directed to

formulate a scheme envisaging

the setting up of a

trust for the management

as also construction of a

temple. It has also been given

the liberty to hand over

the rest of the acquired land

for development in terms of

the scheme. The order of the

Allahabad HC was set aside

and the suit of Nirmohi

Akhara was dismissed.

Significantly the court

observed the practice of

religion, Islam being no exception,

varies according to

the cultural and social context.

Cultural assimilation

is a significant factor which

shaped the manner in

which religion is practised,

because cultural assimilation

cannot be construed as

a feature destructive of religious

doctrine. Surely the

heritage of Kabir, Rahim

and Raskhan stands vindicated

today.

For me it was an honour

and privilege to argue

this case on behalf of Ram

Lalla and Hindus in the Allahabad

HC.

Source Credit: This article

was first published in The Times

of India. The writer is Union

Minister for Law & Justice,

Communications and Electronics

& IT

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The International News Weekly November 15, 2019 | Toronto

07

New Strict Surrogacy Bill On

The Anvil, Clinics Shut Shop

The Bill, To Be Tabled

In Rajya Sabha, Aims To

Regulate The Industry But

Some Couples Are Heading

To More Expensive Clinics

In Ukraine, Georgia

Shutters are coming

down on surrogacy in

India, with several fertility

clinics across Mumbai,

Hyderabad and New Delhi

refusing fresh cases as the

new Surrogacy (Regulation)

Bill, 2019, is set to be

tabled in Rajya Sabha during

winter session starting

November 18. Lok Sabha

has already passed the Bill.

Aimed at prohibiting

commercial surrogacy, the

Bill has had doctors and

clinics rethinking surrogacy

cases. Doctors across

India handle about 2,000

surrogacy cases every

year, the majority of which

go unrecorded.

The National ART

Registry of India (NARI)

maintained by the Indian

Society for Assisted Reproduction

(ISAR) is the

nodal agency tasked with

recording surrogacy cases.

But infertility expert Dr

Nayana Patel, known for

handling Asia’s first surrogacy

case in 2003, said

this data is partially accurate

as it reflects only the

information voluntarily

uploaded by clinics across

India, many of which are

not registered with ISAR.

With the Bill, IVF clinics

are in limbo on their

surrogacy cases. “The

Bill lacks clarity, so we

stopped accepting new

cases since September,”

Dr Samit Sekhar, owner

of Hyderabad’s Kiran Infertility

Centre, said. “The

Bill’s clauses are fraught

with issues impossible to

adhere to. The onus of verification,

for instance, lies

entirely on us. How can we

ascertain if the surrogate

is indeed a close relative

of the couple or is a firsttimer

— two main criteria

in the Bill,” he said.

But there are others

who feel the Bill is a must.

Author and activist Pinki

Virani, who has been calling

for a stop to the “unethical

trade”, had told

TOI the Bill has loopholes,

but these are “pluggable”.

What is important to understand

is that “the abetted

human reproduction

industry involves high

stakes, made higher by a

failure rate of 75%”. “Practitioners

set themselves

up as benevolent fertility

fairies even as they perpetuate

patriarchy, making

a woman feel worthless

if she doesn’t have a

child. Many feel the need

to believe them. They don’t

seem to mind the higherthan-average

risk of cancers

afterwards. It doesn’t

seem to matter that more

convoluted the process of

starting a tiny human in

a lab, more complex is the

after-effect on that child,”

she said.

Until August, Sekhar’s

centre handled 15 to 20

cases of surrogacy every

month. “We have to refuse

couples though for many

— including women battling

cancer or who’ve undergone

hysterectomy —

surrogacy is a real option,”

he added.

Doctors spoke to media

in Mumbai and Delhi said

the situation was much

the same. The count of

surrogacy cases, which reduced

to a trickle since the

drafting of the new Bill,

has tapered off, claimed

a specialist at a reputed

hospital in Mumbai. “For

us, it isn’t logistically possible

to accept new cases

as preparation takes two to

three months.

Since chances are the

Bill will become law by the

year-end, we don’t want to

take a risk,” said the doctor,

on the condition of

anonymity. He added, “If

those couples don’t fit the

bill under the new guidelines,

we might have to

terminate the process midway.”

Couples who are set on

surrogacy and can afford

it are looking to Ukraine

and Georgia for surrogacy

services. There are also

pockets in the US where

commercial surrogacy is

still legal.

While charges in India

range between Rs 12.5 lakh

and Rs 15 lakh, overseas

it may cost anything from

Rs 25 lakh to Rs 31 lakh,

travel, accommodation

and other expenditures not

included.

“We spent the last few

weeks working out the

finances. We have connected

with some clinics

in Ukraine. Nothing is

less than $45,000 (about Rs

32 lakh),” said Manav (36)

from Hyderabad. “Worse,

this is the cost of a single

cycle, which means if the

embryos from the first attempt

don’t lead to a successful

pregnancy there’ll

be no second chance. In

India, the total cost covers

multiple cycles.”

Doctors themselves

have been suggesting the

new destinations to couples.

“At Bengaluru centre

too we have couples

who are now mulling going

abroad for surrogacy,”

Sekhar said. In Gujarat, Dr

Patel said tie-ups were the

only option. “We have no

choice,” she said.

Among couples affected

are 36-yearold Krishna

(name changed) and his

wife whose multiple attempts

at conceiving, even

with IVF treatment, failed.

In a letter to the Union

health minister, they

wrote that the Bill may be

well-intended but has distressed

them. They shared

their fear about the “altruistic

surrogacy” clause

that they said would encourage

“secret financial

arrangements within family

(and) malpractices”.

Such stories are aplenty

at International Fertility

Centre in Delhi as well,

said Dr Rita Bakshi. She

either turns down new

patients or asks them to

sign a mandatory affidavit

before even considering

their case. “We are making

an exception only in very

dire cases. But they are all

being asked to sign an understanding

that states we

may not be able to proceed

with the surrogacy if the

Bill is passed,” Dr Bakshi

said.

Dr Bakshi disagrees

with parts of the Bill, but

acknowledges the need for

regulation. “It could have

been drafted to ensure surrogate

mothers are not exploited

and couples opting

for it follow due diligence,”

she said.

“On the one hand you

decriminalise Section 377,

and on the other you deny

LGBTQ people the right to

a child. It is absurd,” she

added.

According to the Bill,

only couples married for

at least five years can opt

for surrogacy. There is no

room for single parents either.

Their only option will

be adoption, once Rajya

Sabha passes the Bill. But

adoptions in India aren’t

easy.

Srikanth and Sandhya

(names changed) may well

be among the last surrogate

parents in this country.

Waiting for their child

to be delivered by April

2020, the software engineers

are grateful for the

window they got.

“Though the new Bill

provides for a 10-month

breather — for those like

us who opted for surrogacy

before August — we are

still jittery,” said 42-yearold

Srikanth. “My wife

has undergone multiple

abortions and failed treatments,

even via surrogacy,

in the past. This is our absolute

last shot. If something

goes wrong along the

way, we’ll be left with no

hope.”


The International News Weekly November 15, 2019 | Toronto 08

Prez rule imposed in Maha after NCP

seeks and is refused 48 hours more

New Delhi/Mumbai:

In a notso-unexpected development,

Maharashtra was

placed under central rule on

Tuesday after governor Bhagat

Singh Koshyari made

a recommendation to the

effect, citing the inability

of political parties to form

a government. Koshyari’s

recommendation came after

the NCP, which had been

asked to produce proof of

having the requisite numbers

by Tuesday evening,

sought two more days in the

morning.

While it was the third

time President’s rule was

imposed in the state, it was

the first time it was done because

of the inability of political

parties to form a government

after an election.

The newly elected legislative

assembly will be kept

in suspended animation for

now. The assembly may be

revived and President’s rule

lifted as and when some party

works out a combination

that is able to offer a stable

government.

A cabinet meeting which

PM Modi chaired before

leaving for Brazil for the

Brics summit on Tuesday afternoon

considered the governor’s

report. It said in view

of the situation and ground

realities, the governor was

satisfied that no party was

in a position to form a stable

government. Congress-NCP

and Shiv Sena leaders condemned

the “haste” shown

by the Maharashtra governor

in declaring President’s

rule, accusing him of acting

at BJP’s behest to deprive

them of an opportunity to

form a government together.

However, both sides

stopped short of declaring

support for each other,

choosing to buy time for

talks that would enable

them to form an alliance.

Congress leader Ahmed

Patel, who held a press

meet along with NCP chief

Sharad Pawar on Tuesday,

confirmed “Uddhavji” had

spoken to his party chief, Sonia

Gandhi, on Monday and

sought her support.

JJP’s Dhanak rewarded for his loyalty

Chandigarh: JJP’s Uklana

MLA Anoop Singh

Dhanak, who was inducted as

minister in state government,

has been awarded for his loyalty

to Dushyant Chautala.

Dhanak was first INLD MLA

who stood by Dushyant when

he was expelled from INLD by

his grandfather and former

CM O P Chautala. Although

a petition seeking his disqualification

from the membership

of the state assembly

was also filed against him by

INLD leader Abhay Chautala,

he continued his support to

Dushyant. Later, he was even

disqualified from the House

by the speaker for joining Dushyant’s

camp.

Dhanaka has been elected

from Uklana (SC) seat of

Hisar district for the second

time consecutively. A native

of Rajli village in Hisar, he

was once selected for constable’s

post but he joined

politics and remained a loyal

soldier of Dushyant’s father

Ajay Chautala. A graduate in

humanities from Jat college

in Hisar, he had also served

as INLD’s general secretary

and at various other posts.

Dhanak has been inducted

as minister of state and

would be allotted one of the

departments allocated to his

leader and deputy CM Dushyant

Chautala. With his elevation

as minister, Dushyant

has also tried to give representation

to scheduled caste

community, as four of his 10

MLAs belong to the community.

Sources, however, said

two of JJP’s MLAs — Ram

Kumar Gautam and Ishwar

Singh — were unhappy over

their non-inclusion in the

cabinet. Gautam, who had

defeated former finance minister

Capt Abhimanyu was

highly confident of his inclusion

in the ministry for being

“Brahmin” face of JJP and because

of his seniority. Source

said Dushyant was in favour

of Gautam’s inclusion in the

cabinet but there were some

strong dissent on his name

from senior BJP leaders, including

Captain Abhimanyu.

Ishwar Singh, a former

MP who has been representing

JJP from Guhla (SC), was

also expecting a ministerial

berth on account his seniority.

Sources also confirmed

that Tohana MLA Davinder

Babli, who defeated state BJP

chief Subhash Barala is also

expecting some position in

the government.


The International News Weekly November 15, 2019 | Toronto

09

Supreme closure to row,

Ram mandir within site

New Delhi: A five-judge

Supreme Court bench on

Saturday settled the centuries-old

Hindu-Muslim

dispute that had been in

courts for 70 years through

a unanimous verdict and

handed over the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri

Masjid

disputed land for construction

of a Ram temple. It

also allocated five acres at a

“prominent place” in Ayodhya

for a mosque.A fivejudge

Supreme Court bench

on Saturday settled the centuries-old

Hindu-Muslim

dispute that had been in

courts for 70 years through

a unanimous verdict and

handed over the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri

Masjid

disputed land for construction

of a Ram temple. It

also allocated five acres at a

“prominent place” in Ayodhya

for a mosque.

The bench said the verdict

weighed in favour of

deity Ram Lalla because

the Hindu parties could

produce better evidence

to substantiate their right

over the disputed land.

However, the bench was

also unanimous that the

Muslim parties too had

established a competitive

right over a part of the disputed

land. Hence, it used

its inherent powers under

Article 142 of the Constitution

to direct the Centre/

UP government to allot five

acres of land at a prominent

place in Ayodhya for the

construction of a mosque.

The bench ordered framing

of a scheme and its implementation

through a trust,

to be set up by the Centre,

within three months for the

construction of the temple

and its management.

The bench of Chief

Justice Ranjan Gogoi,

CJI-designate Sharad Arvind

Bobde and Justices

Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud,

Ashok Bhushan and

S Abdul Nazeer took just

23 days to author a common

judgment running

into 929 pages. The bench

had reserved its verdict on

October 16 and delivered it

on November 9. CJI Gogoi

read out a 26-page summary

of the judgment for close to

40 minutes. “Jai Shri Ram”

chants from advocates in

black robes echoed immediately

after the pronouncement

of judgment.

The judgment was

along anticipated lines. After

parsing the hearings,

legal eagles were expecting

the bench to turn in a verdict

favouring the construction

of Ram mandir at the

disputed site. But the 5-0

score came as a surprise.

The SC set aside the September

30, 2010, verdict of

the Allahabad high court,

which had divided the

core disputed area of 1,487

square yards, including the

disputed 2.77 acres of plot,

into three equal parts and

allotted one part each to

Ram Lalla (the area under

the central dome of the demolished

mosque), Nirmohi

Akhara (outer courtyard

including Ram Chabutra

and Sita Rasoi) and the rest

to Sunni Waqf Board.

Nirmohi Akhara became

the biggest loser on

the day as the SC dismissed

its 1959 suit staking claim

to the site as time barred

and refused to even recognise

its right as a ‘shebait’

(priest), thus robbing it of

any major role in the to-beconstructed

temple.

The SC ordered that it

would get “appropriate representation”

on the trust,

but that would be like a

participation certificate,

with the court leaving it to

Centre to determine what

would constitute “appropriate

representation”.

The directive that construction

of the temple be

assigned to a trust to be set

up by the Centre comes at

the cost of Ram Janmabhoomi

Nyas, which was

set up by the VHP in 1985

to construct and manage

the proposed Ram temple.

However, the Sangh Parivar

constituent, which

spearheaded the temple

movement, should still get

to play a key role in the

matter, considering that

the court has given the Centre

a decisive say in determining

the composition of

the proposed trust.

The verdict was celebrated

by temple votaries.

Those arrayed on the opposite

side were, obviously,

not satisfied, but there were

signs suggesting an acquiescence,

if grudging, into

the outcome: Something

that raised the prospect

of an awkward closure of

the vexed mandir versus

mosque question that has

left an indelible imprint on

politics and society.

Political parties also restrained

their impulse. BJP

and Sangh Parivar, starting

from PM Modi, RSS chief

Mohan Bhagwat and BJP

chief Amit Shah, exercised

restraint. Political parties

and other outfits, who had

opposed the mandir campaign,

also calibrated their

reaction to suit the need for

peace.

In its order, the apex

court said, “The central

government shall, within

three months, formulate

a scheme pursuant under

Sections 6 and 7 of the Acquisition

of Certain Area

at Ayodhya Act, 1993. The

scheme shall envisage setting

up of a trust with a

board of trustees or any

other appropriate body under

Section 6.

The scheme shall make

necessary provisions in regard

to the functioning of

the trust or body, including

on matters relating to the

management of the trust,

the powers of the trustees,

including the construction

of a temple and all necessary,

incidental and supplemental

matters.”

The SC told the governments

at the Centre and the

state that handing over of

the disputed site to the trust

must coincide with the

handing over of five acres

of land at a prominent place

in Ayodhya to the Sunni

Waqf Board for construction

of a mosque.

“The Sunni Waqf Board

would be at liberty, on the

allotment of the land, to

take necessary steps for the

construction of a mosque

on the land so allotted together

with other associated

facilities,” the bench

said, adding that till the

scheme and allotment of

alternative five acres to the

Waqf Board was worked

out, possession of the disputed

land would continue

to remain with the Centre.

Author of verdict not named, but it bears Chandrachud’s imprint

New Delhi: The unanimous

Ayodhya judgment,

written at express speed,

broke three conventions

that have been followed

in the Supreme Court for

70 years — a verdict always

bears the name of

the author, he/she alone

reads it in open court and

the main judgment isn’t

accompanied by an “addenda”.

Though CJI Ranjan

Gogoi read out the judgment,

it did not carry the

author’s name. Ditto for

the addenda. But it was

clear from the judgment’s

printed version that the

author was Justice D Y

Chandrachud. It was a

valid surmise. SC judges

have their styles and use

distinct fonts.

For those familiar with

Chandrachud’s style, the

matter was settled almost

beyond reasonable doubt.

No other judge subdivides

issues involved in

a case into chapters. Be it

Aadhaar, right to privacy

or Sabarimala, Justice

Chandrachud has followed

the pattern. In the

Ayodhya case, the judgment

had 17 chapters from

‘A’ to ‘Q’.

A comparison of the

fonts used by judges in

their judgments also indicated

that the 116-page addenda,

attached to the 929-

page unanimous verdict,

was authored by Justice

Ashok Bhushan. Though

Justice Bhushan signed

the unanimous judgment,

he preferred to write an

addenda.

The addenda was in

the shape of a complete

judgment and could well

have passed off as a separate,

although concurring,

judgment. However, the

CJI and his colleagues “decided

to speak to the nation

in one voice on such

an important and historic

issue” and prevailed upon

their colleague to christen

his concurring judgment

as “addenda”, a new concept

in the SC’s history.

The addenda, which

extensively quoted Hindu

scriptures and Puranas,

said, “The sequence of

events... clearly indicates

that faith and belief of

Hindus was that birthplace

of Lord Ram was in

the threedome structure

mosque which was constructed

at the Janmasthan.


The International News Weekly November 15, 2019 | Toronto 10

Rafale gets wings, Rahul gets

sting in unanimous SC verdict

New Delhi: The Supreme

Court on Thursday

said no case was made out

for a CBI inquiry into the

Rafale deal and threw out

petitions seeking review of

its December 14, 2018 clean

chit to the NDA government

in procuring 36 fully

loaded Rafale fighter jets

through an inter-government

deal with France.

Noting that the price of

the basic Rafale jet negotiated

by the NDA government

was, contrary to allegations

by the opposition

and others, marginally

cheaper than that considered

by the UPA government,

a bench of Chief

Justice Ranjan Gogoi

and Justices Sanjay Kishan

Kaul and K M Joseph

unanimously dismissed

the review petitions filed

by three advocates — M L

Sharma, Vineet Dhanda &

Prashant Bhushan — and

former BJP leaders Yashwant

Sinha and Arun

Shourie.

Justice Kaul, writing

also on behalf of CJI Gogoi,

dismissed the review petitions

in an eight-page judgment

and said, “We cannot

lose sight of the fact that

we are dealing with a contract

for (fighter) aircraft,

which was pending before

different governments for

quite some time and necessity

for those aircraft has

never been in dispute.”

The bench also dismissed

the allegation —

the mainstay of Congress’s

“crony capitalism” charge

— that the government

was responsible for the

inclusion of industrialist

Anil Ambani’s Reliance

Defence as an offset partner.

The bench said the

choice of offset partners

was left to the manufacturer

of Rafale.

Justice K M Joseph, in

a separate 75-page concurring

judgment on Rafale,

agreed that the review petitions

deserved to be dismissed.

However, he gave

a consolation to the petitioners

and the opposition

when he said the SC’s dismissal

of the PILs would

not preclude a preliminary

investigation into the case

and that a regular case

(FIR) could be lodgedif

substantial materialwas

discovered. “Discovery of

facts by an officer carrying

out an investigation is

completely different from

findings of facts given in

judicial review by a court.

Theentire proceedings are

completely different,” he

said.

Significantly, CJI Gogoi

and Justice Kaul reiterated

the SC’s earlier

decision not to embark on

a “roving and fishing inquiry”,

and said the court

had elaborately examined

the documents after rejecting

the Centre’s claim of

privilege over them and

did not feel necessary to

direct registration of FIR.

“It is not the function of

this court to determine the

prices nor for that matter

can such aspects be dealt

with on mere suspicion of

persons who decide to approach

the court.

The internal mechanism

of such pricing would

take care of the situation.

On perusal of the documents,

we had found that

one cannot compare apples

and oranges.

Thus, pricing of basic

aircraft had to be compared

which was competitively

marginally lower.

As to what should be loaded

on the aircraft or not

and what further pricing

should be added has to be

left to the best judgment

of the competent authorities,”

it said.

The petitioners had cited

the dissent expressed by

the minority group in the

negotiation team to allege

that the PMO had forced

the decision to buy Rafale

fighter jets on the defence

ministry.


The International News Weekly November 15, 2019 | Toronto

11

Bigger bench for

Sabari, open to

women for now

New Delhi: The Supreme

Court on Thursday

did not alter its ruling allowing

women of all ages

to enter the Ayyappa

temple at Sabarimala but

asked a seven-judge bench

to evolve guidelines to

decide cases involving a

clash between the right to

equality and the right of

denominations to follow

their customs — a tussle

that has been brought to

the fore by the campaign

to let women into temples,

mosques and Parsi agiyaris

(fire temples).

A five-judge bench

of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and

Justices R F Nariman,

A M Khanwilkar, D Y

Chandrachud and Indu

Malhotra, by a 3-2 majority,

said the seven-judge

bench would evolve a

comprehensive judicial

policy to guide the court

in future adjudication of

cases of conflict between

citizens’ right to equality

and a believer’s faith

in religious practices

and customs CJI Gogoi,

in a ninepage judgment

also written on behalf of

Justices Khanwilkar and

Malhotra, said reference

to a sevenjudge bench

was needed as the possibility

of a collision between

fundamental rights

— between the right to

equality on the one hand

and the right of individuals

to practise their faith

and of denominations to

follow their affairs on the

other — went beyond the

Sabarimala temple entry

case.

The conflict has also

inspired petitions “regarding

entry of Muslim

women in dargah/

mosque, Parsi women

married to a non-Parsi in

agiyaris and the practice

of female genital mutilation

in the Dawoodi Bohra

community”.

The majority judgment

said the seven-judge

bench would also decide

if the Kerala Hindu

Places of Public Worship

(Authorisation of Entry)

Rules, 1965, mandating

the entry of all Hindus

into all temples, applied

to Sabarimala. It said the

bench would “grant fresh

opportunity to all interested

parties” and consider

their arguments.

But in their minority

opinion, Justices Nariman

and Chandrachud

responded with a 59-page

dissent criticising the CJI

for raking up future cases

of likely faith versus

fundamental rights scenarios.

Justices Nariman

and Chandrachud said

the case in hand related

to the entry of women

into Sabarimala temple,

comprehensively decided

on September 28, 2018,

and the present five-judge

bench should notbeconcerned

about pending petitions.

They said the previous

judgment must be

implemented in letter and

spirit and any attempt to

thwart — or encouragement

tothwartit— “cannotbecountenanced”.

Thetwojudgestold the

Kerala government to

evolve a consensus by

holding talks with various

stakeholders in the

Sabarimala case to ensure

the entry of women of all

ages into the temple.

CJI Gogoi, however,

raised a seminal

issue — the power of

constitutional courts

to tread on questions

such as those involving

a particular custom

which,whileessentialto

a religion, happens to be

violative of fundamental

rights.

“It is time that this

court should evolve a

judicial policy befitting

its plenary powers to do

substantial and complete

justice and for an authoritative

enunciation of the

constitutional principles

by a larger bench of not

less than seven judges,”

he said.

“It is essential to adhere

to judicial discipline

and propriety when more

than one petition is pending

on the same, similar

or overlapping issue in

the same court for which

all cases must proceed together.

Indubitably, a decision

by a larger bench

will also pave the way to

instil public confidence

and effectuate the principle

underlying Article

145(3) of the Constitution

(adjudication of constitutional

questions by a

bench of not less than five

judges),” he said.

In 2018, then CJI

Dipak Misra and Justices

A M Khanwilkar,

Nariman and Chandrachud

had all veered to the

conclusion that women

of all ages be allowed to

enter Sabarimala as the

custom barring females

in the 10-50 age group

smacked of a gender bias

that violated the right to

equality.


The International News Weekly November 15, 2019 | Toronto 12

Mr Gandhi Needs To Be More

Careful: Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Supreme

Court on Thursday

chided former Congress

chief Rahul Gandhi

for going overboard in

making statements that

the SC had endorsed

his Rafale deal-linked

‘chowkidar chor hai’ jibe

at Prime Minister Narendra

Modi during election

campaigns and said “certainly

Gandhi needs to be

more careful in future”.

While the decision on

the contempt petition initiated

by BJP MP Meenakshi

Lekhi was rendered

by CJI Ranjan Gogoi and

Justice Sanjay K Kaul,

Justice K M Joseph in a

concurrent 75-page judgment

did not utter a word

about contempt proceedings

against Rahul except

saying: “I agree with Justice

Kaul.”

Justice Kaul, also

writing on behalf of CJI

Gogoi, dealt with the contempt

case against Rahul

in less than four pages

and dropped contempt

proceedings against him

by accepting his belated

unconditional apology.

Earlier, Rahul had said

that ‘chowkidar chor

hai’ jibe was hurled in a

“rhetorical flourish in the

heat of the moment” and

that his statement had

been used and misused

by his political opponents

to project that he had deliberately

attributed the

utterances to the SC. But

he soon followed it up by

tendering an unconditional

apology and said

the attribution to the SC

was “unintentional, nonwilful

and inadvertent”.

It is the latter affidavit

which saved Rahul from

contempt.

The apex court said:

“It’s unfortunate that

without verification

or even perusing as to

what is the order passed,

the contemnor (Rahul)

deemed it appropriate to

make statements as if this

court had given an imprimatur

to his allegations

against the prime minister,

which was far from

the truth.

This is not one sentence

or a one off observation

bit a repeated

statement in different

manners conveying the

same.

New Delhi: The Supreme

Court’s clean chit to the Rafale

deal is a major win for PM Narendra

Modi who made transparency

in defence contracts a major

poll issue while attacking the

Congress regime’s controversies

like AgustaWestland and Pilatus

besides 2G and Coalgate.

The battle over Rafale, a key

issue raised by Congress MP Rahul

Gandhi before and during

the Lok Sabha campaign, was a

concerted effort by the main opposition

to dent Modi’s sheen and

allege favouritism to industrialist

Anil Ambani, subversion of

procedures and cost escalations.

The charges of wrongdoing

gathered more momentum than

anticipated and the government

hit back, saying the claim that a

UPA-era “deal” was cheaper was

out of place as UPA failed to seal

a contract despite years of negotiations

while the IAF’s need for

a new fighter grew more urgent.

The matter was heard threadbare

by the SC, which, after initially

saying that it will not look

at the cost, did so with the government

providing an itemised

break-up in sealed cover.

The court upheld the deal on

procedures too with the government

detailing negotiations and

pointing out that UPA failed

to resolve differences between

Rafale maker Dassault and

HAL over man hours and costs

for production of the fighter in

India.

The CAG too held that the

Modi government’s claim to a superior

deal with regard to costs

was correct even though savings

— as compared to terms under

negotiation (which were not

completed) during UPA — were a

shade under 3% and not the 9%

as claimed by the defence ministry.

Congress’ case was hurt by

Rahul’s claim of a three-fold cost

escalation as compared to UPA,

a charge that would always be

hard to sustain.

Not all in Congress ranks

were convinced of the utility of

the claim and some leaders saw it

as an “overpitch”, but the opposition

leader insisted on making

it his punchline, holding up aircraft

models during roadshows

to emphasise the point.

Modi attacked Congress and

the Gandhis, saying “every middleman

is linked to one family”.

The PM’s poll rallies were generously

peppered with references

to UPA scams and often linked

alleged corruption in defence to

“politicisation” of action against

terror.

“Tensions were deliberately

No doubt the contemnor

should have been

more careful.”

The three-judge bench

said Rahul compounded

his problem by filing a 20-

page affidavit rather than

simply accepting the mistake

coupled with an unconditional

apology. “We

do believe that persons

holding such important

positions in the political

spectrum must be more

careful.

As to what should be

his campaign line is for a

political person to consider.

However, this court or

for that matter no court

should be dragged into

this political discourse

valid or invalid, while attributing

aspects to the

court which had never

been held by the court.

Certainly, Mr Gandhi

needs to be more careful

in future,” it said.

Accepting the unconditional

apology tendered

in his second affidavit,

the court said since better

sense has prevailed,

“we would not like to continue

these proceedings

further and, thus, close

the contempt proceedings

with a word of caution for

the contemnor to be more

careful in future”.

Court’s second clean chit on Rafale a big boost for Modi

created in organisations such as

IB and RAW,” he said, pointing to

investigation of the Ishrat Jahan

encounter case which almost led

to a senior RAW officer’s arrest.

The case for a review of SC’s

Rafale order was based on documents

such as dissent notes by

members of the negotiating team

and concerns over parallel track

followed by the PMO.

The redaction of then defence

minister Manohar Parrikar’s

comments hurt the arguments

while the Centre pointed out that

the same team members finally

signed off on the price negotiations

sent to the CCS.

The CAG in its report emphasised

that the cost analysis

was necessitated only because

the negotiating team was given a

political directive that the price

needed to be improved.

The SC on Thursday repeated

its imprimatur, upholding that

the reworked Rafale deal for purchase

of 36 fighters was indeed a

better buy.

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