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Demonetizing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 Currency Notes did not violate Fundamental Rights of People, Centre tells Supreme Court

It has only imposed reasonable restrictions in pursuance to its objective of eliminating black money and counterfeit currency, claims govt

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People standing outside ATM (representative Image), VOA
New Delhi, Dec 2, 2016: The central government on Thursday said that its decision to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes did not violate the fundamental rights of the people as it has only imposed “reasonable restrictions” in pursuance to its objective of eliminating black money and counterfeit currency.

“The respondents (Centre’s) act of cancelling legal tender character of existing series of Rs 500 and Rs 1m000 bank notes is only a reasonable restriction and regulatory in nature. Merely because there is restriction on the public to use the old high denomination notes, the regulation cannot be held to be illegal or unreasonable restriction as there is no infringement of fundamental rights for the citizens,” it said in its reply filed before the apex court.

The government cited the Section 26 (2) of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, to defend its decision.

The section says: “On recommendation of the Central Board the (Central Government) may, by notification … , declare that, with effect from such date … , any series of bank notes of any denomination shall cease to be legal tender ….”

It also defended its decision to introduce Rs 2,000 denomination currency notes, saying that it was done in view of the erosion in the purchasing power of the rupee on account of inflation.

Pointing out that currency note of Rs 1,000 denomination was reintroduced in year 2000, the Centre said: “Barring short-lived exceptions, Indian has consistently seen moderate to high inflation since then, thus progressively eroding the value of money in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms,”

The government said this in its affidavit filed by the Union Finance Ministry before the apex court which is set to hear a batch of petitions challenging the decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.

The court will also hear the government’s plea seeking the transfer of cases filed before different high courts and subordinate court challenging the demonetisation either to top court itself or Delhi High Court.

Making a distinction between regulation and deprivation, the government on Thursday said no one has been deprived from using the notes of different denomination or issuing cheques or e-transfer. All that has happened, that too for a limited period, is the restriction on the withdrawal of the money from their accounts.

The government has also sought to describe these restrictions as “reasonable”.

This appears to be the government’s response to senior counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for one the petitioners before the top court, asking under what law people could be restricted from withdrawing their own money from their bank account.

As in its first affidavit, the government on Thursday give details of the steps it had taken to ameliorate the hardships being faced by the people and to encourage them to take recourse to cashless transactions. (IANS)

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Haryana Police conducts raids in Delhi for Honeypreet, Aditya Insan

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honeypreet & gurmeet singh ram rahim insaan
Image: ians

Chandigarh, Sep 26 (IANS) The Haryana Police on Tuesday conducted raids in the national capital in a bid to arrest fugitive Honeypreet and Aditya Insan, close aides of jailed Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

Police sources said here that the raids were being conducted in Delhi and nearby areas of the National Capital Region (NCR).

One raid was being conducted in a house in Greater Kailash-II in south Delhi.

The move came a day after Honeypreet, whose real name is Priyanka Taneja, moved the Delhi High Court seeking anticipatory transit bail.

A court in Panchkula, adjoining Chandigarh, on Monday issued arrest warrants against Honeypreet, Aditya Insan and Pawan Insan.

All three were booked by the Haryana Police on charges of sedition, inciting violence and being involved in the conspiracy to help the Dera chief escape after his conviction by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on August 25 on two counts of raping female disciples in 1999.

The Haryana Police had sounded an international alert against all three.

Honeypreet, in her mid-30s, is on the run since August 25, hours after Ram Rahim was convicted.

She has been the closest aide of Ram Rahim since 2009. The police is on her trail for nearly a month and raids have been conducted in Nepal, Rajasthan, Bihar and Haryana.

Honeypreet, who used to claim that she was Ram Rahim’s “adopted daughter”, starred as the main heroine in five films he directed, produced and acted in, in three years.

Last week, Honeypreet’s former husband, Vishwas Gupta accused her and Ram Rahim of having illicit relations and said their father-daughter relationship was a sham to fool followers.

Ram Rahim has been sentenced to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of over Rs 30 lakh.

His conviction led to violence in Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana, leaving 38 people dead and 264 injured. Isolated incidents of violence were also reported from Delhi and several other places in Punjab. (IANS)

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Snapchat blocks Al Jazeera in Saudi Arabia

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Social media platform Snapchat has blocked access to Al Jazeera content in Saudi Arabia
Image: IANS

Riyadh, Sep 18 (IANS) Social media platform Snapchat has blocked access to Al Jazeera content in Saudi Arabia, the media reported on Monday.

The popular photo-sharing app said it was asked by the Saudi authorities to remove the Qatari-backed broadcaster’s Discover Publisher Channel because it violated local laws, reports the BBC.

“We make an effort to comply with local laws in the countries where we operate,” a Snapchat spokesperson said in a statement.

Qatar is in an ongoing dispute with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The four countries cut ties with Qatar earlier this year, accusing the country of supporting terrorism.

After the start of the dispute, Saudi Arabia had also demanded the Qatari government to shut Al Jazeera altogether as one of 13 conditions to remove sanctions against the country.

However, those conditions were later withdrawn. (IANS)