SC Criticise UPSC

ISRO Spy Case: SC Cancels Anticipatory Bails Of Ex-Officials

The Supreme Court on Friday set aside the Kerala High Court order granting anticipatory bail to persons in connection with the 1994 ISRO espionage case relating to the framing of alleged scientist Nambi Narayanan.

A bench headed by Justice MR Shah remitted the bail applications back to the Kerala High Court and asked it to decide it as early as possible, within a period of four weeks.

The apex court also granted protection from arrest to the accused for five weeks as an interim arrangement till the High Court finally decides the matter.

The CBI had challenged the Kerala High Court order granting anticipatory bail to five persons. The apex court bench reserved the order on November 28.

The Kerala High Court had granted anticipatory bail to four accused — the former Gujarat Director-General of Police (DGP) RB SreeKumar, former Kerala Director General of Police (DGP) Siby Mathews, two former police officers of Kerala S Vijayan and Thampi S Durga Dutt, and retired intelligence official PS Jayaprakash — in connection with the case.

Seeking cancellation of anticipatory bail granted them, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had said the grant of anticipatory bail might derail the investigation in the case.

Earlier CBI had told the apex court that it has found in its probe that some scientists were tortured and framed in the matter due to which development of the cryogenic engine was hit and this led to India’s space programme going back by almost one or two decades.

Opposing the bail granted to the accused, CBI had said it is a “very serious matter” and there may be a larger conspiracy at the behest of foreign hands which is being investigated.

The CBI had alleged that there was a clear indication that the accused were part of a team, which had ulterior motives to torpedo the attempts of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for manufacturing the cryogenic engine.

It had registered a case against 18 persons for various offences, including criminal conspiracy, in connection with the arrest and detention of Narayanan, who was accused of spying in 1994.

The case relates to allegations of transfer of certain confidential documents on India’s space programme to foreign countries by two scientists and four others, including two Maldivian women.

CBI had earlier given a clean chit to Narayanan and said that the Kerala police had “fabricated” the case. The investigating agency stated that the technology ex-scientist was accused to have stolen and sold in the 1994 case did not even exist at that time and then top police officials in Kerala were responsible for his illegal arrest.

On September 14, 2018, the top court had appointed a three-member committee and directed the Kerala government to give Rs 50 lakh compensation to Narayanan for compelling him to undergo immense humiliation.

Terming the police action against Narayanan as a “psycho-pathological treatment”, the top court had also said that his liberty and dignity, basic to his human rights, were jeopardised as he was taken into custody and, eventually, despite all the glory of the past, was compelled to face “cynical abhorrence”. (ANI)

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Kerala HC On Univ Row

Kerala HC On Univ Row: All 9 VCs May Continue Till Final Order

The Kerala High Court on Monday held that all nine Vice Chancellors of various universities can continue in their positions until the Chancellor issues a final order following show-cause notices to them earlier on Monday.

The court also made it clear that the petitioners will be eligible to continue in their positions however in full compliance with law and regulations till such time the Chancellor issues a final order.

A special sitting was held today in this regard.

This comes after the nine VCs approached the High Court challenging the Governor’s order to tender their resignations. The Raj Bhavan had earlier sent letters directing the VCs of nine universities to tender their resignation by 11:30 am on October 24.

The court observed while dictating the order that, “the vitiating factors become attached to the petitioners, their appointment does not become untenable from October 24, 2022, but from abi initio and I cannot understand how the Chancellor could have watered it down.”

“A proper enquiry and thought have to be invested particularly when petitioners have specific cases to their factual scenarios. The argument of the petitioners that the Chancellor cannot issue a show cause notice is also left open and all the remedies of the petitioners to even impugn the same are left open. Every issue, be that the competence and jurisdiction of the Chancellor, is left open,” it added.

Earlier today, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan issued notices to the Vice Chancellors of the state universities concerned to show cause by 5 pm on or before November 3 on their legal right to continue in office.

“Notices issued to the Vice Chancellors concerned to show cause by 5 pm on or before Nov 3rd, their legal right to continue in office as Vice Chancellors and not to declare their appointment illegal and void ab initio: PRO, Kerala Raj Bhavan,” tweeted the Kerala Governor.

“For the purpose of removing the anomaly in the appointment of Vice Chancellors in the University of Kerala, the Hon’ble Chancellor has asked you to submit your resignation to initiate steps for making a proper appointment in accordance with the law. Since you have refused to tender your resignation as directed by the Hon’ble Chancellor, there is no option but to declare your appointment as illegal and void ab initio,” a letter attached to the tweet said.

Addressing a press conference, the Governor referred to the alleged heckling during an event hosted by Kannur University in December 2019.

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on Monday said that he had called the VC of Kannur University a “criminal” to “facilitate an attack” on him.

“I called (Kannur) VC criminal. I will say sorry if you find me a substitute word. What other word should I use for a person who invites me to Kannur to facilitate an attack on me? Vice-Chancellor of Kannur University, after the Kannur incident, wrote back to Raj Bhavan that I’m (VC) not a security expert, so can’t give a report,” Khan said.

He said that the VC violated the approved programme and guidelines.

“You invite me there, violate the approved programme, and violate every guideline. When you are asked to send the report of what happened there, you send this reply. Only a conspirator can do that. Who else can do it?” he said.

The Governor alleged that the political secretary of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was seen in the audience during his programme two years back at the university where he was “inciting” them to raise slogans.

“The political secretary of the Chief Minister, who was supposed to be on the stage, was there in the audience inciting them to raise slogans. I could have used even stronger language because they indulged in unlawful activities,” he said.

“How many judgements has the court issued in which it has said that I have exceeded my power in recent days? Who else exceeds his power if not a criminal?” Khan added.

This comes after Kannur University Vice-Chancellor Gopinath Ravindran on Monday said that he will not tender his resignation.

“I have received the decision of Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan but I will not submit my resignation. The resignation of the VC is based either on financial irregularities or bad behaviour and neither of these has happened here. This is a fake accusation,” said Kannur University Vice-Chancellor said on Monday.

This comes after the Supreme Court set aside the appointment of MS Rajasree as Vice-Chancellor of the APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala.

A bench of justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar allowed the appeal filed by Professor Sreejith P.S. challenging the Kerala High Court order dated August 2, 2021.

As per the UGC Regulations also, the Visitor/Chancellor shall appoint the Vice Chancellor out of the panel of names recommended by the Search Committee. Therefore, when only one name was recommended and the panel of names was not recommended, the Chancellor had no option to consider the names of the other candidates, the top court observed. (ANI)

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Kerala High Court

Kerala HC: State Govt Not To Play Hide And Seek

Kerala High Court on Monday told the State Government not to play ‘hide and seek’ with the court while hearing a case regarding the putting up of illegal flag posts, boards, and banners.

Court also asked the state government to make its stand clear on whether they want to pass a resolution regarding the issue.
Single Bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran said, “If the state government feels that this Court should not proceed further and that matters should be as it was four years ago, then we should eschew claims of creating a new Kerala and be happy with the status quo. It would not give me any pleasure to run behind my orders to have them implemented from time to time. The Court was powerless as its orders were not being implemented. When the Court directs that its orders are to be implemented, the judges are criticized and called activists. Such directions are branded as ‘judicial activism.”

The Court further observed that if political parties themselves displayed their boards and flags ‘with impunity, others will certainly be persuaded to follow.

“You say this is democracy. It is not democracy to peril another man’s life. the boards and posts raised by the entities along the sidewalks were of danger to the traffic and pedestrians. The secretaries of local self-governments were powerless to remove the same since these were vested in the NHAI and no support was received from the police either. Until the present, it had been acting with great circumspection, however to no avail. Punitive actions may have to be taken if its orders were to have any meaning,” the court further observed.

The matter has been posted again for October 19. (ANI)

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In Padmavati's shadow: S Durga makes it to IFFI

S Durga, an international award-winning film by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan which will be screened for the jury at the International Film Festival of India on Monday. S Durga has made it to the IFFI at Panaji only at the prodding of the Kerala High Court, for it was on the directions of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry that it was first dropped from the screening schedule of the Indian Panorama Section, despite the jury’s approval.

S Durga, called Sexy Durga before its makers changed the name, is a road journey film about a Muslim man and Hindu woman on the run in the middle of the night. The film, cleared by the Censor board with a U/A certificate, was made without a screenplay or script in place and has been called a marvel of improvisation by veteran reviewer Subhash K Jha who descibes it as an exploration of “the sexual dynamics of caste, gender and religious discrimination on a scarily dark desolate stretch of a road less travelled”. Hindu organisations have said the film hurts their religious sensitivities and that it will add to the Padmavati controversy. “We have been informed by IFFI that the film will be screened at 6 pm on Monday,” a jury member said on the condition of anonymity. The screening for the 10-member jury will be held at the festival grounds in Panaji. Mumbai-based director and screenwriter Ruchi Narain also confirmed the screening of the film for the jury. “We have been informed about the screening details by IFFI,” she said.
Read at Lokmarg
Padmavati row : Deafening silence of top political leadership and Bollywood

The Sanal Kumar Sasidharan film was dropped from the screening schedule of the 48th International Film Festival of India, along with another film Nude, triggering controversy. Three members, including the head of the jury panel Sujoy Ghosh, have resigned from their position in protest against the dropping of the two films, while six jury members have written to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry raising concerns over the dropping, after they were cleared by the festival jury. After Sasidharan petitioned the Kerala High Court, the court directed IFFI to screen the film at the festival, after a censored version of the movie was screened for the jury. An appeal by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to stay the court direction was also rejected by the High Court on Friday. Stalling tactics, says director Sasidharan Sanal Sasidharan, who directed S Durga, has termed as “stalling tactics” the decision of the jury of the International Film Festival Of India to watch the film on Monday evening. “The jury is supposed to watch my film on Monday evening. Only after that would a decision be taken on when it will be screened at IFFI. These seem like stalling tactics to me. I mean, the jury will watch the film on Monday evening. They will then come to their decision. The number of days left for the Festival is rapidly shrinking,” said Sasidharan. However, he sees a silver lining. “At best,my film gets to be finally screened at the IFFI. I’d see that as a big victory for independent cinema in India. At worst, whatever the IFFI does with my film it now has a much larger audience waiting to see it when it is released commercially. For that I must thank the I&B ministry and the IFFI organizers.” Ravi Jadhav whose Marathi film Nude was also ousted from the IFFI was not able to join Sanal Sasidharan in the fight against arbitrary governmental intervention in the screening process. “Ravi must have had his constraints and decided against wasting his time in the legal process. I must say it has so far been a pretty frustrating fight for me,” admits Sasidharan. The Centre on Friday suffered a setback as a Kerala High Court division bench refused to stay a single-judge order to screen a certified copy of Malayalam film S Durga at the 48th IFFI in Goa. The Centre had on Thursday filed an appeal before the division bench. Opposing the single-judge order pronounced this week, the Centre’s counsel pointed out that including the film at this point of time at the ongoing International Film Festival of India (IFFI) would disturb the schedule. But the naysayers aren’t done yet A day after IFFI reached out to S Durga director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan following a Kerala High Court rap over screening of the controversial film, a Goa-based NGO on Saturday appealed to the festival’s organisers not to screen the film, saying it may hurt sentiments of Hindus. The Goa-based Rashtrapremi Nagrik, in its memorandum to Sunil Tandon, the director of the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), said that IFFI would face ridicule if the “provocatively titled” movie if screened. “You can’t censor imagination. In the film, the rituals of appeasing Goddess Durga walking over burning coal and piercing their skin with metal have been shown as bizarre rituals when they are very much a part of worship of the Goddess,” the memorandum read. “The court may have given the direction to show this film in IFFI. We respect the court, but you can’t ignore the sentiments of crores of Hindus who worship Goddess Durga. Currently, there are issues going regarding the film Padmavati. So, showing this film at IFFI will add in more controversies,” the statement added. “At the beginning I thought I was fighting with the system. But later on I realised it is not the system, it is the petty ego between the ministry and the filmmaker. It should not be like this. Now it is like a nation declaring a war against the filmmaker for making a film,” Sasidharan said. S… Durga also represented this country at more than 50 film festivals across the globe and won 10 international awards for India and after all this hungama, our own film festival is treating the film as a hostile film and the filmmaker as an enemy. This is pathetic,” he said. (Reproduced tweets do not reflect Lokmarg editorial policy) (with IANS) // ]]>