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News update 10th June 2018

  1. Pakistan’s Supreme court wants ex-PM Sharif’s trial in graft cases completed in a month

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar rejected Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Haris’ petition for completing the trial in six weeks, ordering that the final verdict in the case be announced within a month.

PROCEEDINGS AGAINST PM NAWAZ SHARIF

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Sunday directed an anti-corruption court to wind up within a month proceeding against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family.

Three cases were launched against Sharif, 68, and his family members in September last year post his disqualification as the premier by the Supreme Court in July. The court had also set a six-month deadline to complete the cases but later extended it by two months.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar rejected Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Haris’ petition for completing the trial in six weeks, ordering that the final verdict in the case be announced within a month. He also asked the trial court to proceed on daily basis and conduct hearing even on Saturdays.

But, in a relief to Sharif, the court allowed him and his daughter Maryam to visit his ailing wife Kulsoom Nawaz in London where she is battling a throat cancer. The Accountability Court is hearing the corruption cases against Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law captain (retd) Safdar.

THREE CASES OF CORRUPTION FILED

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed three cases of corruption and money laundering against Sharif, his sons – Hassan and Hussain, daughter -Maryam, son-in-law – Safdar, and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the Accountability Court in Islamabad and Rawalpindi last year.

The Supreme Court had disqualified Sharif last year, forcing the three-time prime minister to resign. Sharif has dismissed the corruption charges as politically motivated. If convicted, he could be jailed.

  1. At SCO summit, India again says ‘no’ to One Belt One Road project

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made it clear that New Delhi was all for connectivity projects but could not compromise its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

India on Sunday said “no” to China’s Belt and Road project, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain merely shook hands on the final day of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Qingdao city.

India, which participated at the Chinese-led security bloc for the first time. Modi made it clear that New Delhi was all for connectivity projects but could not compromise its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

India strongly opposes Beijing’s multi-billion dollar project, which aims to connect Asia with Europe through a network of roads, ports and sea lanes.

OBJECTION RAISED BY THE MODI

New Delhi’s objection is to the key artery of the project – the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which goes through the Kashmir held by Pakistan and claimed by India.

  1. Chinese President accepts India invite as PM Modi, Xi keep up Wuhan spirit, say armies should talk

At Qingdao, PM Modi also met the SCO general secretary, Rashid Alimov, and participated in delegation-level talks with other members of the organization, on the sidelines of the summit. He held bilateral meetings with the Presidents of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

WUHAN SUMMIT

In their 14th meeting in four years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday carried forward the Wuhan spirit and decided to strengthen communication between the militaries of the two countries. This comes six weeks after they had decided in Wuhan, at an informal summit, to issue “strategic guidance” to the militaries to avoid another Doklam-type situation.

 

VISIT INDIA

Xi also accepted an invite from Modi at their hour-long meeting, on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Qingdao, to visit India for an informal summit in 2019.

CAPACITY BUILDING PROJECT IN AFGHANISTAN

Apart from this, the two sides formally agreed to undertake a joint project in Afghanistan, pertaining to “capacity building”. This had been hinted at after the Wuhan meeting.

BILATERAL TREATIES

Two bilateral agreements were signed at Qingdao by the Indian and Chinese sides. After a year of strained ties, when Beijing did not share hydrological data on the Brahmaputra river, a pact was reached to share the hydrological data in 2018. The Brahmaputra originates from Tibet and flows into Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. The pact will lead to regular data sharing between May 15 and October 15. India can use the data to prepare for floods in the Northeast.

TRADE AGREEMENT WITH RESPECT TO RICE

On the trade front, New Delhi agreed to the Chinese President’s request to allow opening of a Bank of China branch in Mumbai, while China said it will let Indian pharmaceutical companies register for high-quality pharma products in the Chinese market and to allow India to export non-Basmati rice to China. Beijing had earlier denied access to non-Basmati rice saying it failed to meet its norms.

 

India is the world’s largest rice exporter but sends only a minuscule proportion to China, which imports nearly five million tonnes annually for domestic consumption.

Addressing the press, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said, “The Chinese side has accepted the Prime Minister’s invitation to President Xi Jinping to have an informal summit in India in 2019. The dates will be worked out.”

About Saturday’s meeting, he said, “It was a substantive meeting and both leaders began by making a very positive assessment of the Wuhan summit. President Xi said that it was a very successful summit and the discussions with agenda in a relaxed setting had allowed both leaders to discuss a number of issues. He stated that it was a new starting point in our bilateral relationship.”

WUHAN SUMMIT IS A MILESTONE

Modi is also said that have acknowledged the Wuhan summit as a “milestone in the relationship”, one which would help develop mutual understanding and trust and take the relationship forward.

DEVELOPMENT OF PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE MECHANISM

The two leaders also spoke about ensuring greater people-to-people contact, with Xi talking about the popularity of Indian films like Dangal, Bahubaali and Hindi Medium in China. “In that context a new people-to-people mechanism will be set up, headed by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on the Indian side and by State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Their first meeting will be held this year

WUHAN AS A FRESH START FOR STRENGTHENING THE RELATIONS

In his remarks, Xi recalled the meeting with Modi in Wuhan, how well it had been received, and said a positive atmosphere was taking shape to support China-India relations. China is willing to work with India to see the Wuhan meeting as a “new starting point” and to cooperate so as to push ties in a faster and steadier manner, Xi was quoted as saying by China’s state-run Xinhua news agency. Modi and Xi are again expected to meet next month during the BRICS Summit in South Africa.

At Qingdao, the PM also met the SCO general secretary, Rashid Alimov, and participated in delegation-level talks with other members of the organization, on the sidelines of the summit. He held bilateral meetings with the Presidents of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

The SCO Summit is scheduled to take place on Sunday, and counter-terrorism and security in the region are expected to dominate the discussions. The SCO member countries are also expected to arrive at a decision on counter-terrorism military exercises, which will mean that Indian and Pakistan’s militaries will participate in joint exercises.

FIRST TIME INDIA PARTICIPATED IN THE SUMMIT

This is India’s first participation in the summit as a full-time member of the organization. India, along with Pakistan, became full-time members at the summit in Kazakhstan in June 2017.

  1. Women’s Asia Cup Final: Credit to bowlers for keeping us in the fight, says Harmanpreet Kaur

Harmanpreet Kaur admitted the batters failed to handle the nerves which resulted in a small total to defend for the bowlers in the Asia Cup final.

When Bangladesh women’s team beat India in the league stages of the Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur, they’re first over the sub-continent neighbors across formats, it came as a jolt for the team which had been going all guns blazing through the tournament. On Sunday, in the final, India’s hold over the tournament was snatched away by the same team on the final ball. As Bangladesh finished two runs on the final ball, Bangladesh won their maiden Asia Cup titles and India’s record of six-straight titles was ended by a poor throw from the outfield.

But the fact that the match continued till the last ball is the testament of the effort that the bowlers put after the batters contributed with just 112 runs when put in to bat first. Captain Harmanpreet Kaur acknowledged the bowlers in making 113 a fighting total. “There was hold on the wicket, and there were very few areas for the medium pacers. But the spinners did a good job for us. It was not a decent total, but we fought till the end so the credit goes to the bowlers,” said Harmanpreet who was adjudged the Player of the Tournament.

  1. ‘Forcible sex’ in marriage ground for divorce, rules Punjab and Haryana High Court

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that “forcible sexual intercourse” in a marriage and “adoption of unnatural means which are forced upon the other spouse” are valid grounds to seek a divorce.

BRIEF FACTS

The woman, a postgraduate diploma holder in Computer Application, had married the Bihar resident in 2007 and had a male child after her wedding. A sum of four lakh rupees was spent on the marriage and dowry had also been allegedly paid. According to the woman’s plea, her family had been told that the man is an engineer in a private company but it later turned out to be a false claim. Alleging that she was humiliated and harassed by the family members of her husband allegedly over insufficient dowry, the woman had told the court that her husband “committed forcible sexual acts against her wishes and moods” and “after taking liquor committed sodomy forcibly”.

 

OBSERVATIONS OF THE HIGH COURT

Almost four years after the lower court turned down her plea saying it was for her to establish that her husband had committed oral and unnatural sex against her, and ruling that there was no medical evidence for it, the High Court in the judgment said the nature of allegations was very serious but same cannot be proved by any corroborative evidence as “the acts of sodomy or unnatural sex or oral sex forcibly committed during difficult periods” can neither be witnessed by any other person or proven by medical evidence.

“We find that the claim of the appellant has been wrongly rejected. The act of sodomy, forcible sexual intercourse, and adoption of unnatural means which are forced upon the other spouse and result in unbearable pain to the extent that one is forced to stay away would certainly be a ground to seek separation or decree of divorce,” the division bench of Justices M M S Bedi and Hari Pal Verma said in the judgment passed on June 01.

Observing that a court has to be always cautious before accepting such allegations, the division bench said the marriage can be dissolved in case it is established by evidence and circumstances that one of the spouses has indulged in unnatural acts.

“It is not that in every case such allegations leveled would be deemed to be true. In the present case, there are allegations of demand of dowry, beating, the commission of unnatural sex, creating such circumstances that the appellant was compelled to leave Bihar eight years back,” the judgment reads, adding the wife had been treated with the cruelty of both physical and mental nature by her husband.

HELD

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that “forcible sexual intercourse” in a marriage and “adoption of unnatural means which are forced upon the other spouse” are valid grounds to seek a divorce while allowing a plea filed by a Bathinda woman for dissolution of her marriage.

 

  1. ‘A person’s name in the suicide note not enough to charge him for abetment’

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that merely a person’s name in the suicide note is not enough to conclude that the individual is guilty of abetment of suicide.

OBSERVATION OF THE COURT

Stating that the person who died by suicide was a coward and “perished like an unsuccessful man in life foolishly,” the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that merely a person’s name in the suicide note is not enough to conclude that the individual is guilty of abetment of suicide while quashing a 2011 FIR against four lawyers and two employees of a private company.

“Merely because a person, who has committed suicide, has left a suicide note, one cannot immediately jump to a conclusion that it is enough to mulct the accused with criminal liability under Section 306 IPC,” Justice P B Bajanthari has said in the judgment. “One has to analyze and examine the contents of the suicide note to find out whether it contains any incriminating information in the nature of instigation, provocation, forcing the victim to commit suicide.”

Justice Bajanthari, in the judgment, has further said that both the contents of the suicide note and circumstances surrounding the case have to be examined to probe the abetment accusation and observed that another person cannot be blamed for suicide “for the wrong decision taken by a coward, fool, idiot, a man of weak mentality, a man of frail mentality”.

ANALYSIS

“The overall analysis is required to be examined with the following incidents like if a lover commits suicide due to love failure, if a student commits suicide because of his poor performance in the examination, a client commits suicide because his case is dismissed, the lady, examiner, lawyer respectively cannot be held to have abetted the commission of suicide,” the judgment reads.

In the case adjudicated by the single bench, the victim, who was a manager (taxation) at a Gurgaon-based company, had committed suicide on March 23 in 2011 and claimed in his suicide note that the four lawyers and two officers of his own company had forced him to commit suicide. While Gurgaon Police had registered a case in the matter, the accused had moved High Court against the FIR.

The victim, in his last note, had written that the accused had compelled him to commit certain illegalities in the drafting of a company-related lawsuit which was filed at the Allahabad High Court. “Suicide note states that petitioners are responsible, which is very vague, and that too in his absence, it is impracticable for investigating officer to extract what was the real compulsion made by the petitioners while preparing and presenting the petition before the Allahabad High Court against the interest of the company,” the judgment reads.

HELD

The High Court single bench further said that no “cogent material” has been collected against the accused during the probe. “The offense of abetment requires ‘mens rea’ (guilty mind). There must be intentional doing/aiding or goading the commission of suicide by another. Otherwise, even a mere casual remark, something said in routine and usual conversation will be wrongly construed or misunderstood as ‘abetment’,” the judgment reads.

 

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