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The Supreme Court asked a petitioner who had approached it over the issue of land subsistence in Uttarakhand’s Joshimath to move the state High Court which is already looking into a similar plea. A bench told the petitioner there is a “substantial overlap” between the proceedings before it and those before the Uttarakhand High Court. The bench pointed out that the High Court had on January 12 passed an order in an application highlighting the Joshimath land subsistence. This application was filed in an already pending petition of 2021 which was moved following the February 7, 2021, flash floods in the aftermath of a glacial burst, which left several areas inundated and led to widespread death and destruction. That application, said the SC, “specifically highlighted the situation as it has emerged in Joshimath”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the first batch of Agniveers on being the pioneers of the Agnipath scheme, asserting that it is a transformative policy and a game changer in strengthening the armed forces and making them future-ready. Virtually addressing the new recruits, he said this “path-breaking” scheme will further empower women. Addressing the Agniveers, the prime minister said technologically-advanced soldiers will play a “key role” in our armed forces, and added that the current generation of youth especially has this potential and Agniveers will play a leading role in the forces in the times to come.
Meanwhile, the Opposition hit out at the Centre after Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju wrote to Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud “suggesting” the inclusion of a government nominee in the decision-making process for shortlisting of judges. The Opposition, especially the Congress, had been accusing the government of trying to capture independent constitutional institutions. The Congress believes Rijiju’s repeated attacks on the judiciary, coupled with Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar’s criticism of the Supreme Court for striking down the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act and the reference to the Kesavananda Bharati case, is part of a larger plan to intimidate the judiciary.
Representatives from all eight recognised national parties and 40 state-recognised parties were in attendance for the Election Commission’s discussion on remote voting that was scheduled to be followed by a demonstration of the prototype Remote Voting Machine on Monday afternoon, an EC official said. As per the Election Commission’s communication to the parties, the meeting includes a presentation on remote voting and demonstration of the RVM, besides taking feedback from participants.
In other news, the India Meteorological Department has forecast that cold wave to severe cold wave conditions will persist over parts North India till January 18, until western disturbances provide some relief starting Thursday. There will be a fall in the minimum temperatures by about 2 degrees Celsius over parts of Northern and Central India till January 17 and a gradual rise by 3-5 degrees Celsius during January 18 to 20, the weather department said. Dense fog is expected during the early morning hours in parts of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh over the next five days. Fall in minimum temperatures by 2-3 degrees Celsius very likely over East India till 17th and gradual rise by 2-3 degrees during January 18 to 21.
“The Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra resumed from Adampur in Punjab, with scores of people marching along with Rahul Gandhi despite biting cold. The march started from the Kala Bakra area and several Congress leaders, including state party chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, were seen accompanying Gandhi.
The yatra entered Hoshiarpur district later in the day as part of its journey in Punjab and will halt for the night at Urmar Tanda. Among those to join Gandhi during the march were departed Congress leader and musician Sidhu Moosewala’s father and retired fighter pilot Rajiv Tyagi and Major General (retired) Sheonan Singh, nephew of Shaheed Bhagat Singh. Cricketer-turned-politician and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu’s wife Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu joined the evening leg from Kharal Kalan in Jalandhar district.”
In some international news, a spokesman for Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority says a flight data recorder and a cockpit voice recorder have been retrieved from the site of the crash of a passenger plane that went down on approach to a newly opened airport in the tourist town of Pokhara. Jagannath Niraula said the boxes were found, a day after the ATR-72 aircraft crashed, killing at least 68 of the 72 people aboard. He said they will be handed over to investigators. Rescuers are still searching the debris, which is scattered down a 300-meter (984 feet) gorge. It remains unclear what caused the crash, the country’s deadliest airplane accident in three decades, which took place amid mild, non-windy weather.
Lastly, a prominent Pakistani lawyer and human rights activist known as a vocal critic of both the military and Islamist militants was shot dead at a court in the northwestern city of Peshawar, police said. Afridi, a renowned human rights and political activist, has been a vocal critic of the powerful military’s alleged interference in Pakistani politics and of Islamist militancy. Security arrangement at the court have previously been questioned, especially after a teenage boy shot and killed a U.S. national of Pakistani origin who was on trial on blasphemy charges inside the courtroom in 2020.
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