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For pollution-free Yamuna, Arvind Kejriwal in Seoul for cleaning lessons

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Seoul | Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has visited Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon stream that has been transformed from a polluted water body to a popular tourist spot, which his Aam Aadmi Party said can be an example for reviving the Yamuna River.Mr Kejriwal, accompanied by Urban Development Minister Satyendar Jain is currently visiting South Korea, his first bilateral visit to a foreign country after becoming chief minister.

Mr Kejriwal also attended a leg of the ongoing India Festival in South Korea – ‘Sarang 2018’ at Yonsei University, and praised the Indian Embassy in Seoul for showcasing India’s heritage to Koreans.

“I am extremely pleased to participate in this festival and happy that the embassy has taken initiatives to showcase India’s culture to Korea… And, this music fest is being launched today. I am very pleased, and I am here to attend a conference, to sign an agreement between Seoul city and Delhi city,” he said in his address.

Cheonggyecheon is an over 8 km-long stream flowing west to east through downtown Seoul, and then meeting Jungnangcheon, which connects to the Han River and empties into the Yellow Sea.

Several decades ago, Cheonggyecheon was an eyesore and the stream was covered with concrete for roads and even public transportation system was later built over it.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government undertook a restoration of the stream in 2005 and renewed it.

The Cheonggyecheon restoration project had the purpose of preserving the unique identity of the natural environment and the historic resources in the central business district of Seoul, and to reinforce the surrounding business area with information technology, international affairs and digital industries.

Mr Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party also posted pictures of his Wednesday’s visit on Twitter.

“Delhi CM @ArvindKejriwal & Urban Development Minister @SatyendarJain visit the Cheonggyecheon stream in downtown Seoul. Cheonggyecheon stream was a dirty polluted stream stretched around 11 km, said to be urban regeneration marvel as it is now a tourist hotspot,” AAP tweeted.

“CM @ArvindKejriwal is in Seoul for Twin City Agreement b/w Delhi & Seoul on Pollution, Water, Public Transport, Education & Urban Devp. If Cheonggyecheon stream in downtown Seoul can be regenerated to a tourist hotspot, why can’t river Yamuna & drains in Delhi be revived ?” the party said.

A Carnatic music concert was also held at the Yonsei University on its 100th anniversary on Wednesday.

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Tandoor case: HC asks Delhi govt why Sushil Sharma not released after 29 years of incarceration

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Sushil Sharma

New Delhi | The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the city government why former youth Congress leader Sushil Kumar Sharma, serving life term in the 1995 murder case of his wife Naina Sahni, has not been released after having undergone 29 years of incarceration.

Terming the issue as “serious”, the court issued notice to the Delhi government and sought its stand on Sharma’s habeas corpus plea seeking release from custody in the case on the grounds that he has been jailed for 29 years, including the period of remission, and his continued incarceration was illegal.

A bench of justices Siddharth Mridul and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal asked the Secretary, Home Department and Secretary of Law and Justice department to be present before it on the next date of hearing, December 18, with the original records of Sharma’s application to the Sentence Review Board (SRB) for premature release and the reasons for rejecting it.

The bench said that “life and liberty of any individual is of paramount consideration” and asked the Delhi government how someone can be kept in custody “indefinitely”. Sharma, in prison since 1995, has contended that he has already undergone the maximum prescribed sentence as mandated under the SRB guidelines.

According to his plea, the guidelines on premature release state that life convicts sentenced for a single offence are to be released after completion of 20 years of incarceration and those who had committed heinous crimes are to be granted the relief after 25 years.

The petition, filed through advocate Amit Sahni, has said even though Sharma’s case falls in the first category, he has also undergone 29 years of incarceration, with remission, and 23 years and six months, without remission.

Now 56, Sharma had shot dead his wife in 1995 objecting to her alleged relationship with a male friend. He had then chopped her body into pieces and attempted to burn it in a restaurant oven. Known as the tandoor murder case, it is one of the landmark cases in India in which DNA evidence and a second autopsy were used to establish the guilt of the accused.

In his plea, Sharma has contended that his conduct in prison and while out on parole has been “exemplary” and he has never misused his liberty. Apart from that, he has also argued that even the Supreme Court, while commuting his death sentence to life imprisonment, had held that he was not a confirmed criminal and there was no evidence to indicate that he was likely to revert to such crimes in future.

Another ground on which he has sought release from custody is that both his parents are over 80 years old and suffering from various ailments and there is no one to look after them.

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Army to extend support to disabled war veterans: General Rawat

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Hyderabad | The Army is taking efforts to compile data on war veterans who suffered disability so as to provide them support, including prosthetic limbs in needed cases, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said on Friday.

Gen. Rawat, here to attend the Convocation Ceremony at the Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering (MCEME), said the aim was also to motive the disabled soldiers that disability does not mean they cannot do anything. “What we are doing is, firstly we are identifying these people. There are disabled soldiers some of them are in the village. Some are elsewhere. Some got disabled in the 1965 war. Some in the 1971 war. They are now very, very old. So, the idea is to first identify and see how their condition is,” he told reporters here.
He was replying to a question on the Army’s plans to extend the support system to soldiers who suffered disability
in the line of duty.

Gen Rawat said the Army was looking at compiling data on the present condition of the veterans. “And once we have compiled the data… then we have to work out the kind of support we have to give them… It is not just monthly support and some people need prosthetic limbs,” he said. The army was now providing very good artificial limbs and artificial systems which can help the affected lead a near-normal life, he said.

Noting that there were two distinct types of people who get disabled while serving the army, the General said some, who lost parts like an eye or a hand, need the support of family members and there were others who were disabled because of service conditions, stress and even lifestyle diseases, but can take care of themselves. Hence, there should be distinct support for the two types of disabled persons.

Earlier, Rawat, in his convocation address, said the graduating officers need to harness the latest technologies. “As technology refines and research throws open new vistas, your challenge would be to harness the latest technologies for the benefit of our great Indian Army,” he said.

He also said future battlespace would be dominated by guided missiles, Artificial Intelligence, unmanned platforms, robots, and network-centric operations.

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Have ‘constricted power’ to review government decisions pertaining to nation’s security, says SC

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New Delhi | The judiciary has “constricted power” to review the decision of procuring 36 Rafale fighter jets as it was crucial to the nation’s sovereignty and the government has far “more leeway” in such matters, the Supreme Court said on Friday.

The top court, which junked pleas challenging the deal between India and France for procurement of Rafale jets, dealt extensively in its verdict with the scope and ambit of judicial review of such decisions, including on defence procurement, taken by the government.

Holding that the apex court has “constricted power of judicial review”, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, “the scrutiny of the challenges before us…will have to be made keeping in mind the confines of national security, the subject of the procurement is crucial to the nation’s sovereignty”.

The bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, said the deal in question did not pertain to the construction of road or bridges. “We also cannot lose sight of the tender in issue. The tender is not for construction of roads, bridges, etc. It is a defence tender for procurement of aircraft. The parameter of scrutiny would give far more leeway to the Government, keeping in mind the nature of the procurement itself.

“The triple ground on which such judicial scrutiny is permissible has been consistently held to be ‘illegality’, ‘irrationality’ and ‘procedural impropriety’,” it said. The top court said however that the scope of judicial review would vary with the subject matter of the contract and there cannot be any uniform standard which could be understood as an “across the board principle to apply to all cases of an award of work or procurement of goods/material”.

Referring to various judgments, it said the award of contracts is essentially a commercial transaction and such decisions are “not open to judicial scrutiny unless it is found that the same have been tailor-­made to benefit any particular tenderer or a class of tenderers”.

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