CJI Misra meets 4 rebel judges

Chief Justice Dipak Misra is meeting the four dissenting judges, Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, today in an attempt to resolve the Supreme Court crisis.

The meeting comes nearly a week after the four senior-most judges went public with their concerns regarding "selective" allocation of sensitive cases to certain benches.

It was expected that Chief Justice Dipak Misra would meet the four dissenting judges over lunch yesterday (Wednesday) but Justice Chelameswar had taken a day off and therefore the meeting could not take place.

On Tuesday, Chief Justice Misra met the four judges over a 15-minute coffee meeting which was mediated by three top court judges. According to sources, CJI Misra and the rebel judges discussed all outstanding issues, point of contentions and differences at the meeting.

At today's meeting, the four dissenting judges are likely to reiterate their demands, and present a draft memorandum to Chief Justice Misra. CJI Misra may also present a plan of action to the dissenting judges to resolve the deadlock.

CJI Dipak Misra's plan may include how mentioning of cases takes place and how crucial cases are allocated to Supreme Court benches.

The major sticking point in the crisis within the top judiciary is the allocation of cases, especially those with far-reaching political implications, like the Judge Loya death case or the Aadhaar matter.


DU students block roads demanding dissociation of 7 colleges

DU students block roads demanding dissociation of 7 colleges

Around 1,000 students of different departments gathered at the foot of Raju Memorial Sculpture around 10:00am and took part in the demonstration, creating huge jam on the adjacent roads.

Later, the students took position in front of the vice chancellor’s office and were continuing their agitation till 3:40pm when the report was filed.

Students of most of the department have boycotted the classes for today in support of the demonstration, Tahmed Munir Tayiff, a student of Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, told The Daily Star.

Some students (of the seven colleges) often involve in various immoral and illegal activities identifying themselves as Dhaka University students,” Tayiff alleged while talking with our DU correspondent.

Earlier, DU students claimed that they are suffering from identity crisis as the students of the seven colleges are introducing themselves as students of Dhaka University.

On February 17, 2017, the government affiliated Dhaka College, Eden Mohila College, Government Shaheed Suhrawardy College, Kabi Nazrul Government College, Begum Badrunnesa Government Mohila College, Mirpur Government Bangla College and Government Titumir College with Dhaka University.

Under the arrangement, their curriculum was brought under DU.


CJI, judges feud sorted out: AG

The four senior-most Supreme Court judges, who had on Friday held an unprecedented press conference and attacked Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra over the allocation of cases, today attended the court and took up their routine work.

The four judges - Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph - have taken up their respective business on the first working day of the Supreme Court after the unprecedented and "extraordinary" January 12 press conference.

In a related and significant development, Attorney General KK Venugopal today claimed the Supreme Court crisis has been resolved. Everything has been sorted out. Now it's over," he said.

1. In the Friday presser, which had sent shockwaves across the nation, these judges had flagged serious administrative problems in the Supreme Court, including the assigning of cases by CJI Misra.

2. On Sunday, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra met a seven-member delegation of the Bar Council of India and Supreme Court Bar Association President Vikas Singh, and had assured them that the crisis would be sorted out soon and congeniality would prevail.

3. CJI Misra, however, is yet to reach out to the four rebel judges. In his meeting with a Bar Council of India delegation on Sunday, CJI Misra had assuerd that the crisis in the Supreme Court resulting from a virtual revolt against him by four colleagues will be sorted out soon.

4. All 25 Supreme Court judges are expected to meet soon to resolve the crisis. Sources said a Full Court meeting of the Supreme Court judges will take place at the earliest to take a call on the issue and deliberate over the complaints highlighted in public by the four judges.

5. As the crisis lingered, four retired judges wrote to Justice Misra on Sunday, throwing their weight behind the four rebel judges who "have brought to light a serious issue regarding the manner of allocation of cases, particularly sensitive cases, to various benches of the Supreme Court".

6. The retired judges appreciated the "grave concern" raised by the four Supreme Court judges that cases were not being allocated in a proper manner and "arbitrarily" allocated to "particular designated benches, often headed by junior judges". This is having a very deleterious effect on the administration of justice and the rule of law," read the letter by the four former judges.

7. Meanwhile, on Sunday, Anuj Loya, son of special CBI judge BH Loya, said in Mumbai that his father died of natural causes and not in suspicious circumstances. Anuj said his family was "pained" by the recent developments surrounding his father's death. He claimed NGOs and politicians should stop "harassing" his family members over the issue.

8. My father died of natural causes. Our family is convinced that it was a natural death," 21-year-old Anuj told reporters, adding that although he and his family had earlier been suspicious about his father's sudden death three years ago, they no longer harboured doubts. I had an emotional turmoil, hence I had suspicions about his death. But now we don't have any doubts about the way he died," Anuj said. Earlier, my grandfather and aunt had some doubts about his death, which they shared. But now neither of them has any doubts," he said.

9. Loya's death, while he was hearing the politically sensitive Shohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, is the subject of a PIL in the Supreme Court that was one of the triggers for the revolt against Misra. The deceased judge's father and Anuj's aunt had alleged foul play in his death.

10. Judge Loya, who was hearing the sensitive Sohrabuddin Sheikh "fake encounter" case, had allegedly died of a cardiac arrest in Nagpur on December 1, 2014, when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague's daughter. BJP chief Amit Shah was an accused in the enccounter case, but has been discharged.


Gas crisis hits capital again

Gas crisis hits capital again

Farhana Nasrin cradled her one-and-a-half-year old daughter with one hand and tried to light the stove with the other. The baby was crying for food and the mother wanted to cook something to calm her down.

But every time Farhana lit the stove, there was hardly any fire there, much to the frustration of the 30-year-old.

Adults can eat anything after bringing it from outside. But it's extremely difficult to calm babies with just milk," said Farhana, who lives in Pargandaria of the capital's Jatrabari. We couldn't cook anything in the last two days due to a severe crisis of gas.

Many areas in the city, including in Mohammadpur, Bosila, Adabar, West Agargaon, Shewrapara, Kazipara, Kafrul, West Dhanmondi, Lalbag, Sobhanbag, Indira Road, Tanti Bazar, Shakharibazar, Kamrangirchar, Uttara, Dakhinkhan, Uttarkhan, South Banasree and Moghbazar, have been going through the same for the last couple of days. It has made the residents of those areas use alternative means to cook or buy prepared food.

During winters, gas crisis is common in the city. An increase in demand, faulty supply lines and illegal connections are the major reasons for this, according to officials concern.

An official from the Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited said the crisis would be gone, once the winter ended.

Sabrina Akter, who lives in Indira Road area, cooks her family's lunch and dinner the night before. She tries her best to finish up cooking by midnight before going to bed because of poor supply of gas from morning until afternoon.

Gas crisis is an every-day suffering for us, but it has taken a turn for the worse since this winter began," she said. It takes more than an hour just to boil water during the daytime.

Jubaida Rahman of Banasree says she too cooks for her family the night before. We can't cook anything in the morning. We need to store our food in the refrigerator.

Banker Sayedur Rahman, who lives in Talbagh area, said he went to his office without having breakfast at home yesterday. He had to go to a local restaurant to have food.

The restaurants, which were using alternative means like wood-burning earthen stoves to cook, were having an increased number of customers in the last couple of days, said their owners.

Shahed Alam, a businessman who lives in Kaderabad Housing in Mohammadpur, said he had to stand in a queue to buy breakfast from a local restaurant.

Contacted, H M Ali Ashraf, director (operations) at Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited, said the consumption of gas in the capital has increased this winter, leading to the gas crisis.

Asked why gas supply varies in different areas, he said many areas developed rapidly, but the gas pipelines there remained old and narrow, aggravating the gas shortage.

He also said the government seemed indifferent to modify the pipelines.


Former CJIs: Govt shouldn’t interfere

Expressing “shock” over the unprecedented press conference Friday by the four most senior judges of the Supreme Court, former Chief Justices of India said the government should not “interfere” in the matter, and that the CJI should “resolve the crisis with statesmanship”.

Saying he was “pained” by the developments, former Chief Justice R M Lodha questioned how such an issue could have remained pending for two months.

I am disturbed by today’s development. What happened today is unfortunate and painful for a person who presided over an institution like the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the letter (made public) reveals that certain grievances were raised by the most senior four judges about two months ago. Obviously, the Chief Justice ought to have discussed it with them and addressed those issues. of the institution, has to show statesmanship and ensure that grievances are resolved. There is no role for the executive. This matter is exclusively within the judiciary and should be resolved within the judiciary,” Justice Lodha told The Indian Express.

The important thing is that the institution is bigger than the individual. And all of them should collaborate and collectively ensure that no further damage is done. And the issues that have been raised should be resolved by the CJI. It goes without saying that the CJI is the master of the roster but transparency is always maintained. But if there was a very specific issue raised in this regard – that had to be discussed and resolved… the issue should not have remained pending for two months. e way forward is that they must sit together and openly discuss the issue. They should be no constraint and they should collectively find a solution,” Justice Lodha said.

Former CJI K G Balakrishnan said the press conference Friday will “erode the credibility” of the Supreme Court in the eyes of the people, and that if the crisis continues, it will “cut the root of democracy”.

It is a very unfortunate situation. No other top court in the world has acted in this way. If at all there was any problem, they should have discussed and sorted it out. The Supreme Court is the highest court of the land. They are the top most judges of the country. If at all there were differences, they should have discussed the problems. What is the use of taking it to the public? has no role in the functioning of judges. great institution. Any erosion of the people’s faith (in the Supreme Court) will cut the root of democracy,” he said.

The CJI is the master of the roster. But there are moral and ethical issues that have to be kept in mind (by the CJI). The decision should not be motivated. It should be with a clear mind. of work. The executive cannot interfere in the matter. At the most, the Attorney General can express his views as he is the leader of the Bar,” Justice Balakrishnan said.

Former Chief Justices of India said the government should not “interfere” in the matter, and that the CJI should “resolve the crisis with statesmanship”.

Former Supreme Court judge K T Thomas said judges holding press a conference “should not become a precedent” and if the “executive is reasonably wise enough” it should keep away from the crisis.

This is a very unusual and unprecedented step (by judges) to hold a press conference, highlighting something against the Chief Justice. I hope this will not become a precedent. This is a matter that should have been resolved in the full court meeting. judges meet and this (issue) can be raised there,” he said.

The CJI is the master of the roster and it is a time-tested convention among constitutional courts. His power is like that of a captain of a team. To say that some cases should be allocated to one judge and not another judge - I don’t understand. How can one judge be disqualified from hearing any case? This dispute should be resolved by the full court. And if an executive is reasonably wise enough, they should keep away from it. This is an internal matter of the Supreme Court,” Justice Thomas said.

Former Attorney General K Parasaran said, “It is a very sad day for me. I never thought I will come across such a situation in my 67 years at the Bar. The judges are there to resolve disputes of all others - but there is no court to resolve their disputes. The matter should have been resolved by judges in a full court. There are other methods that could have sorted this out. It has caused a dent in the image of the Supreme Court.

that four senior judges react in this unprecedented manner. It is clear that they have done so after much thought and much pain. They probably felt that they had no option but to do so.

of lying low, of not standing up and speaking the truth. But these four judges have shown us that it is still possible to stand up and be counted. That is the important thing,” he said.

Former Solicitor General Soli Sorabjee told the India Today news channel: “The public shouldn’t see that the judiciary is a divided house.


Pre-paid food card for refugees, locals

Pre-paid food card for refugees, locals

The World Food Programme has planned an e-voucher programme for 12 lakh people -- 10 lakh Rohingyas and 2 lakh locals -- in Cox's Bazar by September of this year. It is hoped that this will help improve their nutritional intake and check any possible socio-economic instability.

When we just distribute rice, lentils and oil, they are not getting all the nutrition they need. As we introduce the new programme, they feel dignified. It also gives them choice," said Rehan Asad, chief of staff of WFP, in an interview on January 9 at the UN office in the capital.

Under the programme that begins in February, each family will receive a monthly amount on a pre-paid debit card, which can be used in designated shops to purchase 19 different food items, including rice, lentil, fresh vegetables, chillies, eggs and dry fish.

The debit card will be loaded with Tk 750 for each person in the family per month. Rehan said that there is also hope that this system will help bring down rising food prices by reducing wastage.

Presently, the WFP provides 50 kgs of rice, nine kgs of lentils and yellow split peas, and four litres of vegetable oil per month for over one lakh households consisting of some seven lakh Rohingyas. It has also been running an e-voucher programme for 90,000 Rohingyas who arrived before the latest influx last year.

The plans come on the heels of a new study by WFP released on January 5 which says that the major concern is limited access to a well-diversified and balanced diet for the Rohingyas, 656,000 of who fled violence in Myanmar's Rakhine State since August 25 last year and joined around 300,000 other Rohingyas who had fled violence in the previous years to Cox's Bazar.

Malnutrition level is alarming, especially among the women and children, but not uncontrollable," said Rehan, who came to Dhaka from the WFP headquarters in Rome on January 6 to assess the Rohingya crisis and decide the next course of action in regards to food and nutrition.

We will do everything we can and nobody will die from starvation. As we move from the emergency phase, we will make efforts to stabilise the situation," said the UN official, a Bangladeshi by birth, who left for Rome on January 10.

The comments come at a time when there are concerns over rising food prices in Bangladesh and fears that the Rohingya crisis has adversely affected the food situation and contributed to a lowering of labour wages in Cox's Bazar and its adjacent districts.

Import of rice in the country stood at 22. 59 lakh tonnes in July-December of the 2017-18 fiscal year, the highest since 1998-99. In Dhaka, retail prices of coarse and medium quality rice range between Tk 44 to Tk 56 a kg, according to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh.

Rehan said during his visit to Cox's Bazar, locals raised concern over the high food prices and low wages. It is important to ensure that local people don't suffer as the authorities respond to the Rohingya crisis, he said.

Rehan said the e-voucher programme is going to help in a big way in improving food and nutrition scenario as well as alleviate concerns of the locals about food prices in Cox's Bazar.

While operating the e-voucher programme, WFP will assess the local food production, market prices and level of inflation. Based on that, it will procure food either from local markets or from abroad, so that the local economy is not hampered.

If we have funding and we buy too much, then the local population will suffer due to inflation," he said.

Presently, the food is purchased locally, but as the programme is extended, WFP would assess supply of each item it buys, level of inflation and the local economy on a quarterly basis before deciding whether to make purchases locally or from abroad, Rehan added.

The UN Food Agency will select who to procure food from, he said.

Asked about the funding, Rehan said WFP in Bangladesh has received 90 percent of the $77 million it sought for the first six months until February.

For the next phase of March-December 2018, WFP would require $240 million for 12 lakh people, including two lakh from the host community, in Cox's Bazar, said Christa Rader, country representative of WFP in Bangladesh.

She said WFP is also beginning a two-year cash grant programme for 40,000 poor female-headed households.

Each of the households would be provided with Tk 1,050 a month and once they have a business plan, each of them would be given a grant of Tk 15,000. Such programmes worked well in the past and are expected to works well this time too, she said.

This is very important for maintaining a balance between the Rohingya refugees and the locals," Rader said.

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