Blaming government for judicial vacancies unfair: DV Sadananda Gowda

Union Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda has described the criticism heaped on the Modi government for “inaction” in filling up judicial vacancies as “unfair and factually incorrect”. Making a careful comment on Chief Justice of India (CJI) Tirath Singh Thakur’s “outburst” blaming the Centre for delay in appoint of judges, the minister, in an interview to Raghav Ohri, said, “there’s no truth” in the charge.

On the ratio of the number of judges to the population being “grossly inadequate”, the minister said the Law Commission has twice concluded that it did not consider the judge-population ratio to be a scientific criterion for determining the adequacy of the judge strength. Underlining the need for liberalisation of legal services, Gowda said entry of foreign firms and lawyers “on reciprocal basis” is crucial. For a “better” crop of Judges, Gowda said the legal education needs to be “geared up” to produce quality lawyers who can go on to become better judges. On politics, Gowda minced no words in stating that “nobody can revive Congress” regardless of whether a Gandhi leads the pack or not.


Nitin Gadkari’s home state Maharashtra to get most road projects

Maharashtra, the home state of Union highways minister Nitin Gadkari, will get the lion’s share of road projects this year, which will be executed by the road transport and highways ministry.

According to an official order issued by the ministry on Friday, officials have been allowed to sanction projects with expenses up to Rs 20,000 crore for Maharashtra during this year. The total approved sanction ceiling for building highways for 2016-17 for all states is pegged at Rs 42,208 crore.

These works don’t include projects that are undertaken by National Highways Authority of India.


Source: ET

Funeral prayers offered for slain activist Khurram Zaki

KARACHI: Funeral prayers for slain rights activist Khurram Zaki were offered Sunday evening outside the Chief Minister House in Karachi. His body was brought in a coffin outside the CM House in the form of a rally.

Several relatives, supporters, and activists had gathered near the CM House for the funeral prayers of the prominent civil society activist and social media campaigner who was shot dead in a targeted attack by unknown gunmen in North Karachi late Saturday night.

According to latest reports from law enforcers, a forensics report had been prepared of the used bullet shells recovered from the scene of the crime.

Police officers said two separate 9mm bore pistols were used in the gun attack on Zaki and his friends.

The weapons have not been used in any previous crimes, said the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Arib Mehr. “We are carrying out further investigation,” he said.

The murder case was registered earlier today at the Sir Syed police station.

Campaigner against extremism

Zaki was a research scholar, former journalist, blogger, and human and civil rights activist. He was popular on social media as the editor of the website Let Us Build Pakistan (LUBP), an online forum which claimed to “spread liberal religious views and condemned extremism in all forms”.

Zaki and a friend were sitting at an outdoor restaurant in Sector 11-G of North Karachi when attackers on two motorbikes sprayed him with bullets and fled.

“Zaki was sitting at a cafe where he was targeted by four armed men arriving on two motorcycles,” Muqadas Haider, a senior police official said.

The two friends along with a passer-by, identified as Aslam, were wounded and taken to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. Zaki was later moved to the Aga Khan Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

SHO Iftekhar of the Sir Syed Police Station said Zaki had recently shifted to North Karachi from Gulistan-e-Jauhar. The victim was also a Zakir, who delivered sermons at Majalis.

Calls for justice

The murder of the social activist was condemned by several politicians, with several people posting messages on social media website Twitter with the hashtag #JusticeForPeaceActivist to condemn the killing.

Speaking to reporters, Zaki’s widow said that her late husband received several death threats due to his criticism of banned outfits and campaigning against extremism.


Gunmen kill eight in suspected Egypt terror attack

The officers were travelling in a minivan in the Helwan district when they were ambushed, the ministry announced.

Gunmen blocked their path using a pick up truck and then sprayed the vehicle with automatic rifle fire.

It is not known who was responsible but Islamic State has killed hundreds of police in terror attacks, mostly in the Sinai peninsula and in some tourist haunts.

The ministry said those killed included a lieutenant and seven lower ranking officers.