Telangana Rashtra Samiti rules out merger with Congress but Open to alliance.
- Supreme Court refuses to intervene to stop politicians from making hate speeches.
- Allahabad High Court orders Uttar Pradesh government to withdraw security cover of persons with criminal background within ten days.
- Heads of governments of BIMSTEC member nations to meet in Myanmar capital; Prime Minister holds bilateral meetings with Nepal and Myanmar.
- Sahara chief Subrata Roy to be produced before Supreme Court today.
- All England Open Badminton Championships gets underway at Birmingham this evening.
The Telangana Rashtra Samiti, TRS has ruled out its merger with the Congress. However, the party is open to an alliance with the Congress for the coming Lok Sabha elections. The TRS has decided to form a committee of senior leaders headed by Keshav Rao to look into the issue of alliances. This was disclosed by the Party President K Chandrashekhar Rao in Hyderabad last night after a day-long meeting of the General Body of the party. Mr Rao said, the general body meeting unanimously decided not to merge the TRS with the Congress. He also criticised the Congress and the UPA government at the Centre for bringing in an ordinance giving a special category status to the residuary state while denying the same to the new state of Telangana. Mr Rao said, this is an undemocratic move which will be challenged in the Supreme Court. He has also opposed making Hyderabad the joint capital.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi has asked party MPs to go to the Lok Sabha polls with confidence. Addressing MPs at a dinner she hosted at her residence last night, Mrs Gandhi asked MPs to be battle ready for the next Lok Sabha polls. At least 100 MPs talked to Mrs Gandhi during dinner. Due to hectic engagements over Telangana issue, Mrs Gandhi was unable to have an interaction with party MPs during the just-concluded winter session of Parliament, as there was no valedictory dinner meeting of the parliamentary party . It was, therefore, a kind of farewell meeting with Lok Sabha MPs as Sonia and Rahul Gandhi walked up to the dinner tables of MPs and chatted with them.
Former Supreme Court Judge K T Thomas has turned down the offer to head the Lokpal Search Committee. Speaking to a news agency over the phone, Mr. Thomas said he has written to the Prime Minister's Office, expressing his disinclination to head the Lokpal Search Committee.
The former Judge said, the Search Committee was to recommend names to the Select Committee which may or may not accept those names. So, it was not worthwhile having this Search Committee and that is the reason why he turned down the offer.
I don't have any ideological difference. I thought work can be done by the Selection Committee directly, why should it be routed through a search committee. I also mentioned that inviting applications for this post is not appreciable by me.
Meanwhile, the BJP described the resignation of Justice Thomas from the Lokpal Committee Search Panel as an embarrassment to the government. Refuting the BJP's allegations the Congress said the resignation is in no way an embarrassment to the Centre as the Lokpal is a statutory body not an executive one. Congress party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said Justice Thomas should have registered his resentment during the last Parliament proceedings when the Lokpal structure was discussed.
Giving or not giving consent has no connection or no comment on the government in any manner, for the simple reason that if they were to say yes, they would be numbers, not any government body, but over statutory body.
Supreme Court has said it will not intervene in the bid stop politicians from delivering hate speeches. Hearing a PIL, the apex court said, India is a country of 128 crore people and there may be 128 crore views. This is the maturity of a democracy. For a person making such a speech, it may not be a hate speech. The PIL had sought the Supreme Court's direction to the Election Commission to stop politicians from making hate speeches and promises designed to influence voters. The apex court said that an order from them on hate speeches would amount to an infringement of the right to free speech.
The Supreme Court has issued notices to the Centre and all the states on a PIL to declare HIV affected children as disadvantaged group under the Right to Education Act. The notices come in order to ensure that such children get education without discrimination.
A Bench headed by Justice B S Chauhan also sought a response from the government on the plea of an NGO seeking framing of guidelines to prevent any kind of discrimination towards students due to their HIV status or that of their parents or guardians. The petition said, the confidentiality of the HIV-positive status of the children is being routinely breached, leading to violation of their right to privacy.
The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has asked Uttar Pradesh government to withdraw the gunners provided to all 288 persons with criminal antecedents within ten days. The bench comprising justices Imtiyaz Murtaza and DK Upadhyaya said that after withdrawal of security cover, separate orders may be passed for those persons who have actual threat of any nature. Acting on a PIL, the court advised the state government to refrain from giving security to those having an arms licence. The court directed the state government to make its position clear in the matter. The case will come up for further hearing on the 7th of next month.
Heads of governments of BIMSTEC nations will meet in Myanmar's capital Nay Pyi Taw this morning. They will adopt the 3rd BIMSTEC Summit Declaration. Three Memoranda of Agreements are expected to be signed. These are establishment of a Permanent Secretariat at Dhaka, establishment of a Weather and Climate Centre in India, and a Cultural Industries Commission in Bhutan.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Nepalese counterpart Sushil Koirala had a bilateral meeting last evening. India promised all possible assistance to Nepal in the areas of economic development, institution building and consolidation of democracy. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told reporters that India has offered to train the doctors at the trauma centre in Kathmandu which is going to become operational very soon.
Dr Manmohan Singh also held meeting with Myanmar's President Thein Sein. Dr. Singh reiterated the priority and importance that India attaches to its relations with Myanmar.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has harshly criticised threats of sanctions and boycotts over his country's role in the crisis in Ukraine. Mr Lavrov said at the opening of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that those who try to interpret the situation as a type of aggression and threaten sanctions and boycotts, are the same ones who have consistently encouraged Ukrainians to refuse dialogue.
Meanwhile, US Vice President Joe Biden called on Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The Vice President urged Russia to pull back its forces, support the immediate deployment of international monitors to Ukraine, and begin a meaningful political dialogue with the Ukrainian government.
India has made oral polio vaccination immunization mandatory for travellers coming from seven polio affected countries with a view to prevent polio virus from entering the country. These countries are Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Syria, Kenya, Somalia, Nigeria and Pakistan. An official release said, all travelers coming from these countries to India would need to take the Oral Polio Vaccine six weeks before departure from their country.
In Uttar Pradesh, the agitating medicos have refused to end their stir unless cases slapped against doctors are withdrawn and action against SSP Kanpur and MLA Irfan Solanki is taken. A court in Kanpur had granted bail to all the arrested doctors on Monday. More from our correspondent.
Due to ongoing strike, twenty six patients have reportedly lost their lives in the state so far because they could not get medical aid on time. More than three hundred serious patients had to return from King George Medical University of Lucknow on Monday where OPDs and operation theaters were locked by junior doctors. The stir is all set to intensify more from today as private doctors and Indian Medical Association have said to shut down the services in solidarity with their agitating counterparts. With the report of Merajuddin from Lucknow, this is Vasundhra for AIR News .
Sahara chief Subrata Roy will be produced before the Supreme Court at 2 PM today. He was brought to Delhi from Lucknow yesterday for this purpose. The order to arrest Roy was issued on February 26 for his failure to appear before the apex court in a contempt case arising out of non-refund of 20,000 crore rupees to investors by two of his companies. Roy surrendered last Friday and was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police.
The government has set up a tribunal headed by Delhi High Court Judge Justice Suresh Kait to examine the validity of the ban imposed on the Student Islamic Movement of India, SIMI. As per the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the ban has to be approved by a tribunal headed by a sitting High Court Judge within six months of the government notification. The first hearing is scheduled today in the Delhi High Court. The tribunal will travel across the country to examine evidence against the organisation. The government has said that the SIMI cadres are involved in anti-national activities in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
The prestigious All England Badminton Championships begins at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham today. Saina Nehwal is the only Indian to be seeded in the 400,000 US Dollar Super Series Premier tournament. Saina will look to do one better after her semifinal finish in last year's Championships, in which her campaign was cut shot by Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon.
Saina, seeded seventh, is confident of a good show as she opens her campaign against Kirsty Gilmour of Scotland. Saina's younger colleague, P V Sindhu will begin with a clash against Yu Sun of China.In the men's singles, Parupalli Kashyap and Kidambi Srikanth got a direct entry into the main draw.
Sri Lanka have booked their place in the final of the Asia Cup cricket tournament, now under way in Bangladesh. Playing their third match at Mirpur yesterday, Sri Lanka defeated Afghanistan by a huge margin of 129 runs. Set to score 254 for a win, Afghanistan were all out for 124 in 38.4 overs.
- Most newspapers this morning highlight the blow to the government after the Supreme Court Judge K. T. Thomas rejected the offer to head the Lokpal panel. This is the second exit after Fali Nariman who also refused the position earlier.
- The Oscar ceremony with photographs of prominent hollywood personalities is the other major headline in most newspapers. The movie '12 Years As A Slave' won three Oscars including the best picture.
- After ordering a CBI probe into the alleged kickbacks, and the use of unauthorized commercial adviser by Rolls Royce, the Ministry of Defense put on hold all deals with the British Engine manufacturer, writes the Hindu. "Rolls Royce admits to paying kickbacks", writes the Pioneer.
- After a protracted legal battle, Veteran Congress Leader N.D. Tiwari accepting his biological son, is another major story covered by most newspapers this morning with photographs. "With a hug Tiwari accepts his son" writes the Indian Express.
- The Reserve Bank of India has extended the deadline for exchanging pre 2005 currency notes to January 2015 from the existing deadline of March 2014. The Times of India, Business Standard and other papers have highlighted this story.
- The Time of India writes that data from the National Bomb Data Centre shows, that there were 212 bomb blast in India in 2013 - more than double the blasts in Afghanistan, making India 3rd amongst the most dangerous countries in the world only next to Iraq and Pakistan.
- And finally, as part of the new list of measures initiated by the Nepal Government to rid the worlds highest peak, Mt. Everest of tons of garbage accumulated over the years, every climber, who ascends beyond the base camp from April, will have to bring back at least 8kg of trash besides his own waste, writes the Hindustan Times and Asian Age.