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Rashtrapati Bhavan’s monthly phone bill crosses Rs 5 lakh: RTI revelation

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Curious to know the amount spent on the maintenance of the Rashtrapati Bhavan? So was Mansoor Darvesh, who filed an RTI seeking information about this.Rashtrapati_Bhavan-Delhi-India25

Darvesh raised several questions in his RTI. However, not all his questions were answered.

As reported by MSN news, “The ‘allowances’ sum in the last three financial years has increased from Rs 30.96 crore in 2012-13, to Rs 41.96 crore in 2014-15. This amounts to a jump of almost 33 per cent. The response (to the RTI) read: Expenditure on President’s Secretariat under Major Head-2012, Appropriation-Staff, Household and Allowances of the President for the financial years 2012-2013, 2013-14 and 2014-15 is Rs 30.96 crore, Rs 38.70 crore and Rs 41.96 crores respectively.”

pranab mukherjee

 The RTI also revealed that 754 people are employed at the president’s Secretariat. “9  private secretaries, 27 drivers, 64 safaiwalas,  and eight telephone operators work at the Bhawan. In May, Rs 1.52 crore was spent on  salaries. In the same month, the telephone bill totaled Rs 5.06 lakh, while in April and March,  the amount touched Rs 5.06 lakh and 4.25 lakh respectively.” (Credits: MSN News)

With respect to expenditure incurred on VVIP guests, the RTI said that, “No separate account is maintained. The expenditure in this regard is incurred from the annual budget allotted to the household section of the secretariat.”

Questions regarding costs incurred for electricity and security staff members were left unanswered. Darvesh calculated that the annual sum spent on the Bhavan would cross Rs 100 crore.

He said, “Being an Indian citizen, I have the right to know the amount of funds spent on the upkeep of the Rashtrapati Bhawan. The amount spent increases every year. This list doesn’t cover all expenses, though, but I am sure the total will cross Rs 100 crore.” (As quoted by MSN)

Darvesh has filed various other RTIs in the past. His last RTI was regarding the number of delegates that accompanied Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his foreign tours, and the sum spent on these trips. This, again, was left unanswered.

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Why Does 45th Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra Need ‘Z’-Category Security of Armed NSG Commandos?

Jjustice Depak Misra, who had been recommended as a successor by Justice J.S Khehar in July, becomes the 45th Chief Justice of India and was administered the oath of office by President Ram Nath Kovind.

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Chief Justice of India.
The swearing in ceremony of Justice Dipak Misra as the 45th Chief Justice of India. Twitter
  • Justice Dipak Misra was sworn in as the 45th Chief Justice of India
  • His tenure will span for the next 14 months until his retirement in October 2018
  • Justice Misra is the only CJI to have armed protection of black commandos

New Delhi, August 29, 2017: The Chief Justice of India (CJI) J.S Khehar demitted office on August 27. The next in line was Justice Dipak Misra, who was sworn in on August 28 as the 45th Chief Justice of India at a ceremony held at the Darbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

President Ram Nath Kovind administered the oath taking ceremony of Misra, who had been recommended as a successor by Justice J.S Khehar in July this year.

In his career spanning 40 years, Justice Dipak Misra ventured into most realms of the law- civil, criminal, constitutional, revenue services and matters concerning sales tax, proving his grit to take over the new position. But that is not the only intriguing aspect of his career.

Justice Deepak Misra is the first ever Chief Justice of India to have a ‘Z’-category security cover.

The 45th CJI was provided with an upgraded security cover in 2015 after he had received a death-threat letter from terrorist organizations.

Why Would A Supreme Court Judge Need Security Cover?

On July 30, 2015, Justice-Misra headed the three-judge bench in a hearing when Yakub Memon, convicted in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, pleaded for a 14 days’ stay on his death penalty just hours before he was to be hanged. The pleas were starkly dismissed in an incomparable 2:30 am hearing and the judgment went on to become a landmark in the Indian legal history.

However, shortly after the hearing, an anonymous letter enclosed in an envelope threatening Misra of dreadful consequences was delivered at his official residence following which he was provided with a ‘Z’ security cover which remains till date.

ALSO READ: Threat letter to judge who rejected Memon’s mercy plea

A protectee under ‘Z’ category gets security cover from armed commandos of the National Security Guards (NSG) along with an escort vehicle and a pilot vehicle, each having three armed personnel, for the protection of his official vehicle.

Today, Justice Misra is the only top judge to ever use a bullet-proof ambassador car supplemented with a police escort.

Chief Justice of India
CJI Dipak Misra, seen here with Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, President Ram Nath Kovind and PM Narendra Modi. Twitter

However, death threats never stalled the 63-year old Justice Dipak Misra from taking monumental judgments and he has been at the forefront of some of the landmark judgments in the recent history. We take a look at the highlights from his career,

1. In May 2017, Justice Misra doctored the long-awaited landmark ruling and confirmed death penalty of the four convicts in the monstrous 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape that shook the entire world.

2. Justice Dipak Misra also headed the bench that mandated to play the National Anthem in cinema houses before the start of every movie for which he received a lot of flak. He also ordered for the viewers to stand up in “committed patriotism and nationalism” every time the National Anthem and/or the National Flag are featured in the theatres.

3. One of the most noteworthy decisions by Justice Misra include directing all State and Union Territories to upload all FIRs registered on their websites within 24 hours of registration at the police station. The move has made the entire process transparent, allowing the accused to download complaints and seek redressal of their grievances.

4. Justice Misra was also one of the seven judges of the special bench set up by the Supreme Court for a contempt of court hearing against Justice C.A Karman who had levied corruption charged on 20 judges of the High Court. The bench defended the constitutionality of the 150-year old law on criminal defamation and sentenced Karnan to six months in jail.

5. In 2015, a Justice Misra-led bench stayed the Maharashtra government’s ban on dance bars that had mushroomed in Mumbai and other parts of the state during the 90s. However, it maintained that the government must take steps to protect and uphold the dignity of women who performed at these bars.

6. Justice Misra is also known for his strict stand against frivolous litigations. He previously rejected one such appeal that had objected to the use of the term ‘Dhobi Ghat’ in a film’s title and had warned the petitioner.

7. He was also part of the bench that rejected the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to allow for reservations in promotions and asserted that this can only be allowed if there is sufficient supportive data and evidence to justify the decision.

8. Holding chair as the executive chairperson of the National Legal Services Authority, Justice Misra introduced the facility of Legal Assistance Establishment or Nyay Sanyog in states to simplify activities to provide free and faster legal aid to the deprived people.

9. Justice Misra also headed the three-judge bench that instructed the Centre in April 2017 to conduct NEET examination in Urdu from academic year 2018-2019 onwards. NEET examinations are held for students who wish to pursue a graduate medical course or a post-graduate medical course in private or government colleges.

Justice Dipak Misra’s tenure as the 45th Chief Justice of India will span for the next 14 months until he retires in October 2018 and is expected to see judgments in some high-magnitude issues like the validity of the Aadhaar card, the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir and the Ayodhya land dispute.


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Was Taj Mahal Once a Shiva Temple? The Debate over the Tomb Continues

According to some historians, Taj Mahal was incipiently a Shiva Temple offered to the Mughals as a form of the gift by a Rajput king

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Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal. Wikimedia

New Delhi, August 16, 2017: The famous monument from the Mughal era, Taj Mahal is once more in contention as the Central Information Commission (CIC) has requested the Central government to clear up unequivocally whether it is a tomb or a Shiva Temple. An RTI came to the CIC regarding the same, in response to which the quasi-constitutional body solicited answers from the culture minister.

But where did this question come from and what is the source?

According to some historians, Taj Mahal was incipiently a Shiva Temple offered to the Mughals as a form of the gift by a Rajput king. The hypothesis says that the temple was later formed into the monument that dwells graves of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and his adored wife Mumtaz Mahal, mentioned IndiaNews.

Also Read: Firozabad Glass Industry is Declining: Is Taj Mahal to be Blamed? 

In 2015, a case was recorded in Agra by six lawyers, requesting that the tomb ought to be given over to Hindus for worship. The litigation solicited to forbid Islamic religious actions performed in the monument and remove the graves.

PN Oak, a revisionist historian also made the claim in his 1989  book “Taj Mahal” that the name Taj Mahal was procured from a Sanskrit word “Tejo Mahalay’ meaning a Shiva Temple.

The Cultural Minister Mahesh Sharma denied the claims in response to the question put forward to him that the Seventh wonder of the world was a Shiva Temple.


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

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Designed by a 19 year old Patna Girl, Adjustable Walker is a boon for Disabled and Elderly

Sahlini, a teenage girl innovates a walker with flexible legs to facilitate walking in uneven surfaces

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A disabled Person (representative image), Pixabay

New Delhi, Mar 17, 2017: Special modified walker having adjustable legs designed by a 19 year old girl to help the differently-abled and elderly to climb up and down stairs.

A resident of patna, Shalini Patwari who designed the walker is one of the 14 persons- who are currently living at the Rashtrapati Bhavan for a two-week in-residence programme as guests of the President. The team includes artists, innovators and writers.

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Shalini told the PTI that the idea struck her when she saw her grandfather struggle with the walker while climbing stairs. The traditional walkers are not suitable for walking on uneven surfaces.

“It is really difficult and sometimes impossible for the elderly, differently-abled persons or those recuperating from lower limb problems to climb up or down the stairs using conventional four-leg walkers,” she said.

Shalini noted through observations that the four-legged walkers were not flexible and failed to provide support while climbing stairs, so making them flexible was the key.

“My grandfather enjoyed walking on the terrace, but found it difficult to walk up the stairs. It was then I decided to prepare a modified walker with adjustable legs,” Shalini said.

Shalini sent her proposal to make modified adjustable walkers to the National Innovation Foundation (NIF), an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology set up to provide institutional support to innovators, and her idea was appreciated by officials who assured her all possible help in making her dream project a reality.

With the help of the NIF, the walker was finally prepared with self locking, spring loaded front legs Shalini said. For her innovation, Shalini has won a number of awards including the IGNITE award of the NIF.

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The modified walker, costing nearly Rs 3000, has an innovative self-locking mechanism which enables the front legs to be raised while climbing up stairs, and to be lowered while climbing down.

“It is very stable, light weight, adjustable to all sizes of stairs and can also be used while walking on inclined surface. This walker is useful for children, elderly people and specially abled persons,” she said.

The walker has been designed ergonomically and weighs four kilograms. The walker is suitable for use by anyone, irrespective of the person’s weight and height.

Shalini said that a number of companies had shown interest in her innovation and she hopes it will be soon available in the markets.

The participants of the In-Residence Programme said they were deeply thankful to the President as they got an opportunity to interact with prominent people, including ministers.

“It has been an amazing experience living here at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. I met President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday with the group. I feel encouraged and motivated after meeting him,” she said.

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The group includes artists Dheeraj Yadav and Rahul Shailendra Kokate, writers Dr Ashokkumar P Chavda and Prabal Kumar Basu, and innovators Surjeet Singh, Moa Subong, Girish Badragond, Mansukhabhai Prajapati, Subhash Ola, Paresh Panchal, Santosh Pachar, Ajay Kumar Sharma, Shalini Kumari and Akash Manoj.

They said that they were infused with fresh energy and enthusiasm after meeting the President and were determined to contribute to the welfare of the society in their own way.

– prepared by Nikita Saraf, Twitter: @niki_saraf