Thursday, January 31, 2013

Indian govt Govt seeks proposals to review its fight against corruption

Govt seeks proposals to review its fight against corruption
  The government has decided to
conduct a study to assess its fight against corruption as part
of a mandatory obligation under a UN convention.
 The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has
floated a request seeking proposals to conduct a self
evaluation study by independent experts on India's compliance
on United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).
 Last May, the DoPT had invited expression of interest to
undertake the study. However, it was decided in October to
"close" the offer for want of a minimum of three qualifying
 UNCAC, which acts as a universal legal instrument to deal
with the menace of corruption globally, was ratified by India
on May 9, 2011.
 The convention requires states parties to provide in
their domestic legal system, measures, legal and
administrative, for prevention of corruption; for making
certain acts relating to corruption as criminal offence and
providing for sanctions against them and for facilitating
recovery of assets in trans-border corruption.
 Besides, it calls for promoting widest possible
international cooperation in combating trans-border corruption
through measures facilitating, mutual legal assistance,
extradition and joint investigations.
 According to the RFP, the task to be performed by a
selected agency would essentially involve collection,
compilation and analysis of information on UNCAC and relevant
domestic laws.
 The assignment will also involve interaction with the
Ministry of Home Affairs, Department of Economic Affairs,
Department of Revenue, Department of Expenditure, Ministry of
External Affairs, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Ministry of
Commerce, Ministry of Law and Justice, Directorate of
Enforcement, Central Vigilance Commission, CBI and National
Crime Records Bureau among others.
 India is among 164 nations which have either ratified or
acceded to the UNCAC provisions.
 An interested firm can send in its technical and
financial proposal by March 5 to the DoPT.
 India has been slotted to be reviewed in 2013-14 by the
governmental experts of two other member countries of UNCAC
under the review mechanism.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

'RBI may cut policy rate by at least 0.25 pc on Tuesday'

'RBI may cut policy rate by at least 0.25 pc on Tuesday'
The Reserve Bank is expected to

cut its policy rate by a minimum 0.25 per cent in its third

quarter review on Tuesday as there are increased concerns over

contracting industrial output and falling growth, bankers have


       Oriental Bank of Commerce Chairman and Managing Director

S L Bansal said, "We are expecting 25 basis points cut in repo

rate and Cash Reserve Ratio by similar percentage points".

     State Bank of India Chairman Pratip Chaudhuri, last week,

said, "CRR cut is more important and repo rate cut, if it

happens, will be very useful. 50 basis points (0.5 per cent)

repo rate cut would be useful. CRR, I would request for a

50-100 basis points cut".

       "Only then, the rate of interest environment can come down

significantly," he added.

       RBI in its last policy review had hinted at moderating its

policy rate in the January policy to stimulate growth.

       Earlier this week in Hong Kong, Finance Minister P

Chidambaram had said RBI must strike a balance between needs

of pushing growth and controlling inflation.

       Inflation based on wholesale prices declined to a three-

year low of 7.18 per cent in December. However, retail

inflation rose for the third successive month in December to

10.56 per cent.

       Industrial output contracted by 0.1 per cent in November.

The economy grew by 5.4 per cent in April-September this

fiscal, as against 7.3 per cent in the same period of 2011-12.

It is estimated that the year-end GDP would be 5.7 per cent, a

10-year low.

     ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar, last week, also

said that RBI may lower its benchmark interest rates in the

coming months as inflation has eased, pursuant to which banks

may also lower their rates to some extent to pass on the

benefit to customers.

       "With inflation easing, I think that we would see policy

rate cuts in the coming months," Kochhar said.

     According to Punjab National Bank CMD K R Kamath, banks

would reduce interest rates if RBI cuts policy rates in the

coming policy.

       "If the rate of interest is reduced, probably the

transmission will happen. Bankers have already been saying

that transmission will happen if there is a rate cut," Kamath


       "While inflation concerns remain, growth is a bigger

concern ... so, while we understand the issues related to

inflation at this point of time, it was our recommendation

that there should be a rate cut so that growth comes first,"

HDFC Bank MD Aditya Puri said.

       RBI had last reduced short-term lending (repo) rate in

April, 2012 and stands at 8 per cent. In October, the RBI had

reduced cash reserve ratio (CRR) -- the portion of deposits

banks have to mandatorily park with the central bank -- by 25

basis points to 4.25 per cent

Rs 20 hike in Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto fares likely

Rs 20 hike in Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto fares likely
 Another round of fare hike in
premier trains looks imminent with Railways revising food
tariffs for Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi trains.
 "It will be a minor hike ranging between Rs 15 and Rs 20
for Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto passengers after the
revision of catering charges of the premier trains," a top
Railway official involved with the decision making process
 The revision will be announced shortly and the hike will
be implemented as soon as the software is updated accordingly,
the official said.
 Once the revision is announced, fares of premier trains
will witness hike for the second time after the latest
increase on January 22.
 Food tariff was revised for mail and express trains last
month after 10 years, but it did not include catering services
of Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains.
 Passengers in premier trains are entitled to meals and
snacks for which charges are included in the price of the
 Railway Ministry had constituted a committee to study and
suggest revision of tariff and menu of standard meals in
premier and other mail and Express trains.
 "The decision to revise the tariff was taken after
examining the committee's recommendations as well as
suggestions from the Railway Board," the official said.
 Cash-strapped Railways has announced a slew of measures
to improve catering services in all trains. While some items
like cold drinks and chocolates are to be removed from the
menu of premier trains, ice creams and curd will be supplied
from reputed brands only.
 "We are working out details which include changes in the
menu in Rajdhani and other premier trains with the aim to
provide good quality food to passengers," he said.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Maha Kumbh now a Harvard case study

 Maha Kumbh now a Harvard case study

 The Maha Kumbh Mela, considered
the largest public gathering in the world, will be the subject
of a case study at Harvard University, which will study the
logistics and economics behind it and the "pop-up mega-city"
that comes to life in Allahabad during the religious event.
     A team of faculty and students from Harvard's Faculty of
Arts and Sciences (FAS), School of Design, Harvard Business
School, School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School,
Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Global Health Institute
would travel to Allahabad for the project 'Mapping India's
Kumbh Mela'.
     They would undertake different researches at the Maha
Kumbh, which draws millions of pilgrims from across the world
every 12 years.
 Harvard said a temporary "pop-up mega-city" is created
for the Kumbh Mela that would house pilgrims and tourists for
the over month-long duration of the religious gathering.
 "This city, laid out on a grid, is constructed and
deconstructed within a matter of weeks," it said.
     Creating this huge encampment entails multiple aspects of
contemporary urbanism, including city planning and management,
engineering and spatial zoning, an electricity grid, water
lines and sanitation systems, food and water distribution
plans, hospitals and vaccination centres, police and fire
stations, public gathering spaces, and stages for
entertainments and plays, the university said.
     "This is probably the first time that Harvard is doing
something like this, where we've pulled together ... different
disciplines in a way that all faculty and students are going
to be together to look at a phenomenon," Associate Director of
Harvard's South Asia Institute, Meena Hewett, said in a
     The Harvard team would seek answers to the "question of
'How on earth is an event of this size possible'," city-based
writer Logan Plaster, who would be part of the team visiting
the Kumbh Mela, said. "To fully grapple with this question,
the scale of the Kumbh needs to be put in perspective."

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

PMO declines info on Shunglu's recommendation on CAG, CVC

PMO declines info on Shunglu's recommendation on CAG, CVC
 The Prime Minister's Office has
declined to share information on recommendations made by the
Shunglu Committee, which went into alleged irregularities in
2010 Commonwealth Games projects, saying it was being
examined by a Group of Ministers (GoM).
     The High Level Committee led by former Comptroller and
Auditor General V K Shunglu had in March 2011 written to Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh suggesting changes in CAG, Controller
General of Accounts (CGA), Controller of Accounts under Delhi
Government, Central Vigilance Commission and Delhi Development
  "The said letter dated March 29, 2011 from V K Shunglu
former CAG and Chairman of High Level Committee has been
referred to a Group of Ministers... to look into issues
relating to the reports of the High Level Committee and
consider the views expressed on the findings and
recommendations by the concerned ministries or departments,"
the PMO said in reply to an RTI query filed by PTI.
 It declined to share information including details of
action taken on the HLC's recommendations citing an exemption
clause of the transparency law.
     "In terms of rule 6 (4) of the Government of India
(Transaction of Business) Rules, a Group of Ministers is an ad
hoc committee of the Cabinet.
     "As such, the information sought is exempt from
disclosure in terms of Section 8(1)(i) of the Right to
Information Act," the reply said.
     The Section bars disclosure of information including
cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the
Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other officers.
     A Group of Ministers led by Defence Minister A K Antony
is looking into six reports by the HLC pointing out acts of
alleged omission and commission by officials and lack of
oversight by the government. Besides, the GoM is also
examining the recommendations by the HLC on CAG, CVC and other
government departments.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sensex hits 20K-level in opening trade

Sensex hits 20K-level in opening trade
 The BSE benchmark Sensex today
breached the 20,000-mark in the opening trade after two years
on sustained buying by funds, driven by better-than-expected
third quarter earnings by Tata Consultancy Services amid mixed
Asian cues.
 The 30-share index, however, immediately slipped to
19,938.01 on profit-booking, still up by 31.60 points, or 0.16
per cent, from yesterday's close.
 It touched a high of 20,007.09 by gaining over 100 points
in opening trade, led by gains in IT, tech and consumer
durables sector stocks.
 Similarly, the wide-based National Stock Exchange index
Nifty inched up by 3.35 points, or 0.06 per cent, to 6,027.40.
 Brokers said sustained buying by funds and retail
investors after country's largest software exporter TCS
posted 26.7 per cent jump in net profit for the October-
December quarter buoyed the trading sentiment here.
 Stocks of TCS shot up by 3 per cent to Rs 1,374.35, while
Wipro gained 0.67 per cent to Rs 420.70.
 Besides, a mixed trend in the Asian region also influenced
the sentiment, they said.
 Meanwhile in the Asian region, Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed
0.26 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei was up 1.26 per cent in
early trade today. The US Dow Jones Industrial Average ended
0.14 per cent higher in yesterday's trade.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Govt likely to hike levy price of sugar by Rs 2/kg for this yr

Govt likely to hike levy price of sugar by Rs 2/kg for this yr
 The government is likely to raise
the levy price of sugar -- the rate at which it buys the
sweetener from mills to sell through ration shops -- by over
Rs 2 to about Rs 22 per kg for the current year.
For the 2011-12 marketing year (October-September), the
levy price of sugar was 19.04 per kg.
"We have proposed increasing levy price of sugar by over
Rs 2 from last year," a senior government official told PTI.
The proposal is under the consideration of the Finance
Ministry. The rise in levy price would entail additional
subsidy of Rs 400-500 crore, the official added.
The sugar sector is under government control. Sugar mills
are obliged to sell 10 per cent of their production to the
government to meet the demand of ration shops.
The levy price of sugar is calculated on the basis of
Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP), which stands at Rs 170 per
quintal for the 2012-13 marketing year.
The government buys at a below market price from sugar
mills and sells at a much cheaper rate of Rs 13.50 per kg
through ration shops. The government sells 2.7 million tonnes
(MT) of sugar every year to poor through ration shops.
The official said the levy price of sugar is increasing
every year but the retail price has been unchanged since 2002.
     The government has pegged sugar output for the current
year to be 23 MT, as against 26 MT last year. However, the
production is expected to be sufficient to meet domestic
demand of 21-22 MT.
The official said the government is expected to revise
the sugar output estimates after taking into account the
second advance estimate of sugarcane production in the next

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Raj police submits rape charge-sheet in eight days

Raj police submits rape charge-sheet in eight days

Amid demands for speedy trial in cases

of sexual offence, the Barmer police in the state have set an

example by submitting charge-sheet in a rape case withing

eight days of the crime.

            The charge sheet in the rape, which took place on December

27, was submitted in a local court today.

            "As the victim is a minor, we have invoked Protection of

Children from Sexual Offences Act, besides Sections 366 A,

365, 376 (G) of IPC," said barmer SP Rahul Barhat.

            The 13-year old girl was gang-raped by three men in

Rawatsar area when she was returning home with her aunt.

            All the three accused in the case, identified as Manohar,




All 166 Delhi police stations to have 2 women SI, 7 constables

  All 166 Delhi police stations to have 2 women SI, 7 constables

Each of the 166 police stations in

Delhi will have two woman sub-inspectors and seven woman

constables in the backdrop of gang rape of a girl in the

national capital.

    A special drive for recruiting female constables and

officers and appointing more women personnel in police

stations will also be undertaken soon to instill confidence

among women.

    "I have signed the file for appointing two woman

sub-inspectors and seven woman constables in every police

station in Delhi," Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told

reporters here today.

    The Home Minister's order comes in the backdrop of public

outrage over the gang-rape of a 23-year-old girl in the

capital on December 16. The girl died in a hospital in

Singapore on December 29.

    Delhi has 166 police stations and police strength of

around 83,000 of which nearly 6,000 are women personnel.

    The special task force, which was constituted to review

the functioning of the Delhi Police on a regular basis, also

decided at a meeting held here today to increase the women

personnel's strengthen in Delhi Police.

    The government has already taken a series of measures for

security of women in Delhi and appointed a committee to review

the anti-rape law for proving speedier justice and enhanced

punishment for criminal involved in sexual assault cases.

    It has also appointed a Commission of Inquiry to find out

various aspects of the shocking gang rape incident, identify

the lapses, if any, on the part of the police or any other

authority or person that contributed to the occurrence.



Crime against women: Govt to chalk out strategy tomorrow

Crime against women: Govt to chalk out strategy tomorrow


 The Centre is likely to chalk out

a strategy to deal with crime against women and atrocities

against Scheduled Castes and Tribes at a high-level meeting

here tomorrow.

            The conference of Chief Secretaries and Director Generals

of Police of all states and Union Territories has been

convened in the wake of the gruesome gangrape of a girl in

Delhi and subsequent public protests across the country.

            Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Minister for Social

Justice and Empowerment Kumari Selja, Minister for Women and

Child Development Krishna Tirath besides top senior officials

of the central government will take part in the day-long


            Issues relating to safety and security of women and

challenges and strategies to eliminate violence against them,

atrocities against SCs and STs besides an analysis of recent

statistics of various crimes against women will be discussed

threadbare during the meeting, officials said.

            Female foeticide, so-called honour killings, acid attacks

on women and victim compensation schemes and institutional

mechanisms and capacity-building will also figure during the

discussions, they said.

            Standard operating procedures (SOPs) to deal with crime

against women, proposed amendments in the Scheduled Castes and

the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and

Criminal Law Amendment Bill, 2012 are also likely to come up.



Delhi suffers power cuts due to coal shortage to plants

Delhi suffers power cuts due to coal shortage to plants


Several areas in the city faced

intermittent load-shedding today following cut in power supply

by a number of generating stations due to shortage of coal.



The coal supply to many generating stations, which supply

power to Delhi, has been hit by cancellation and rescheduling

of goods trains carrying the fuel due to dense fog.


           Coal shortage at NTPC' Dadri power plant in neighbouring

Uttar Pradesh has resulted in reduction of 300-500 MW of power

to Delhi in the last two days, officials said.

          A number of other coal-based power stations have also

curtailed supply to Delhi, they said.



            Technical glitches in a number of thermal power

generating stations have also compounded the problem, the

officials said.

            They said the Damodar Valley Corporation has curtailed

supply to Delhi by 320 MW due a snag in its Mejia thermal

power station today.

            The Chandrapura power plant in Jharkhad has also reduced

supply of around 200 MW power to Delhi due to "congestion in

its transmission corridor", said the officials.

            The maximum power demand in the city in the last 24 hours

was recorded at 3,955 MW.

S Korean court orders 1st chemical castration of child rapist

S Korean court orders 1st chemical castration of child rapist

  In a landmark ruling, a South Korean
court today sentenced a 31-year-old pedophile to 15 years in
jail and ordered the country's first ever chemical castration.
          The ruling is the first since the country passed a law in
2011 that allows hormonal treatment or chemical castration for
convicted child molesters, who are at risk of repeating their

          The defendant, only known by his surname Pyo, was charged
with having sex with five teenagers whom he met through a
smartphone chat service six times between November 2011 and
May 2012, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

            Pyo then threatened to circulate online video footage of
them engaged in sexual acts and nude photos of the minors, and
also raped them by threatening them with deadly weapons.
            "(Pyo) committed the crimes against multiple victims for
a long period of time. (The court) deems that he has a
distorted sexual awareness and excessive sexual desire, which
makes it impossible for him to control sexual impulses by
himself," Judge Kim Ki-young of the Seoul Southern District
Court said in his ruling.
            The court also ordered Pyo's information be made
available to the public for 10 years and that he wear an
electronic monitoring anklet for 20 years after his release
from prison. Pyo was also ordered to undergo 200 hours of
therapy to treat his sexual impulses, the court said.
            South Korea was the first country in Asia to adopt this
type of treatment, although Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Poland
and the US state of California have used it for years, the
report said.
            The country's Justice Ministry, meanwhile, said Pyo would
be administered the first medication designed to reduce sex
drive, compulsive sexual fantasies and capacity for sexual
arousal two months ahead of his release from the prison.
            The Seoul court's verdict came at time when India is
debating whether to introduce punishment like chemical
castration to check crimes against women in the wake of the
horrific gang-rape of a 23-year-old girl in Delhi, who died in
Singapore last month.

SC to hear PILs on rape cases, women safety tomorrow

SC to hear PILs on rape cases, women safety tomorrow

 The Supreme Court would tomorrow
hear matters related to setting up of fast track courts for
speedy trial in rape cases and effective implementation of
existing laws for safety of women.

          "We understand the importance of the matter. We will hear
it tomorrow," a bench comprising justices K S Radhakrishnan
and Dipak Misra said.
          The petition filed by retired lady IAS officer Promilla
Shanker was listed before the bench following yesterday's
order of another bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir,
which had agreed to give the matter an urgent hearing.

            The bench headed by Justice Radhakrishnan decided to hear
the matter tomorrow as it had received a report from the apex
court registry that an identical matter relating to the safety
of women was already pending.
            The judges were of the view that they would like to know
the details of the other pending matter.
            Senior advocate Pramod Swarup and advocate Pareena Swarup
said there may be some overlapping issues in the two petitions
but the PIL by the former bureaucrat raised other issues
including the need for speedy trial for the offences against
            The apex court will also hear another PIL related to the
issue which was filed by an advocate and social activist Omika
Dubey in which directions have been sought for appointment of
additional judges to adjudicate the matters of crime against
women and for providing compulsory compensation to victims of
            The PIL filed through advocate Ravi Prakash Gupta also
sought an order to restrain print and electronic media from
publishing and telecasting obscene pictures of women

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Will implement SC judgement on Lokayukta soon: Gujarat govt

Will implement SC judgement on Lokayukta soon: Gujarat govt

 With the Supreme Court today
upholding Governor Kamla Beniwal's decision to appoint Justice
(retd) R A Mehta as Gujarat Lokayukta, the Narendra Modi
government said it would soon implement the apex court
"We will soon implement the Supreme Court judgement on
Lokayukta," state Law Minister Bhupindersinh Chudasama said
"The Supreme Court has accepted Gujarat government's
contention that Governor has to act as per the advice of the
Council of Ministers," he added.
A detailed reaction on the issue could only be given after
reading the judgement, Chudasama said.
In a setback to the Gujarat government, the Supreme Court
upheld Mehta's appointment as the state Lokayukta, saying it
was done in consultation with the Chief Justice of Gujarat
High Court.
The Governor was bound to act under advice of Council of
Ministers, but in this case the appointment was not wrong
since it was done in consultation with the High Court Chief
Justice, the apex court said.
Governor Kamla Beniwal had on August 25 last year
appointed Justice Mehta to the post of Lokayukta, which had
been lying vacant for the last eight years.

'Centre to ensure harsh punishment for crimes against women'

'Centre to ensure harsh punishment for crimes against women'

Terming the Delhi gang rape case as
a "horrendous incident" Defence Minister A K Antony today said
the Centre would bring out a law ensuring stringent punishment
for culprits involved in crimes against women immediately on
getting the Justice J S Verma Committee report.
          "What has happened in Delhi is brutal. The accused should
get harshest punishment. This is my view and demand of the
public as a whole," Antony said.
          "Let the protests and reactions of society against the
Delhi incident open our eyes. I don't think the public outcry
would subside soon," he said while inaugurating the 136th
birth anniversary celebrations of Mannath Padmanabhan, social
reformer and founder of Nair Service Society at Perunna near
            Asserting that the Centre would implement the
recommendations of the Verma Committee as soon as it gets the
report, he said law, court and police alone were not enough
but a social movement was needed to prevent crimes against
            The government had on December 23 constituted the
Committee under the chairmanship of Justice (retd) Verma,
former Chief Justice of India, to look into the possible
amendments of the criminal law so as to provide for quicker
trial and enhanced punishment to criminals in such cases.
            "It is the duty of every citizen, both men and women, to
create an atmosphere where women are totally safe at home,
schools, public places and work places," Antony said.
            "Ensuring safety of women not only requires legislative
measures but a strong social movement. This has already
started in India. Not only political parties but social
organisations and NGOs have also a vital role to play in this
movement to cleanse the society from the impurities that have
accumulated and tainting it," he said.
    Lauding the role of Mannath Padmanabhan in reforming the
caste-ridden Kerala society in the last century, Antony said
it was unfortunate that communal mistrust was becoming a cause
for concern in the state again.
    If this was allowed to grow unchecked, Kerala would again
become a "lunatic asylum" of rigid casteism as said by Swami
Vivekananda over a century back, he added. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Naming anti-rape law after girl will be an honour: Family

Naming anti-rape law after girl will be an honour: Family

 A day after Union Minister Shashi
Tharoor favoured naming the revised anti-rape law after Delhi
gang-rape victim, her family members today said they have no
objection to it and the move would be an honour to the girl.
            The family members of the 23-year-old girl said that "if
her name is made public for this purpose, they have no
objection to it".
            Talking to PTI, the father and brother of the girl said
that "if the government names the revised anti-rape law after
her, they have no objection and it would be an honour to her".
            Tharoor had yesterday favoured making public the
identity of the gang-rape victim wondering what interest was
served by keeping her name under wraps.
            Tharoor, the Minister of State for Human Resources
Development, had also said the revised anti-rape legislation
should be named after the victim if her parents do not have
any objection.
            "Wondering what interest is served by continuing
anonymity of #DelhGangRape victim. Why not name&honour her as
a real person w/own identity?" he asked on micro-blogging site
            "Unless her parents object, she should be honoured&the
revised anti-rape law named after her. She was a human being
w/a name,not just a symbol," Tharoor, who is known for
speaking his mind, said.
            On reports of Telugu filmmaker Ramana Gaddam planning to
make changes in his upcoming film to highlight the brutal
gangrape, the girl's brother said before doing so he should
meet them and give information about the storyline.
            He said the director would have to clarify what he wants
to portray in the movie.
            Asked about the financial assistance of Rs 20 lakh
announced by the Uttar Pradesh government and assistance of Rs
15 lakh and job announced by Delhi government, the brother
said though announcements have been made, they are yet to
receive the assistance.
            However, the girl's father said he was satisfied with the
announcements made by the government.
            The family members termed as misleading reports in the
media that the girl was about to get married.
            On a question regarding police charge sheet in the case,
the brother said they do not want to comment on the issue and
only want justice

SC to pronounce verdict on Gujarat Lokayukta appointment

SC to pronounce verdict on Gujarat Lokayukta appointment

The Supreme Court will pronounce
tomorrow its verdict on Gujarat government's plea against the
appointment of retired judge R A Mehta's as state Lokayukta,
done unilaterally by Governor Kamla Beniwal without consulting
the government.

A bench of justices B S Chauhan and F M Ibrahim Kalifulla
is to pass the order on the state's appeal against the order
of the Gujarat High Court which had upheld the governor's
decision last January.

The high court's verdict had been delivered by Justice V M
Sahai after a division bench gave a split judgement on the
legitimacy of the governor's action in Justice Mehta's
appointment as Lokayukta.

Justice Sahai, who decided the matter as a third judge,
had also pulled up Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for
creating a constitutional crisis and held that the governor
had the discretionary power to make the appointment. He had
said the "pranks" played by the chief minister on the
Lokayukta issue "demonstrates deconstruction of our

Challenging the high court's order, the state government
had contended that the personal discretion exercised by the
governor in unilaterally issuing the warrant of appointment of
Lokayukta was "unwarranted."

It had also objected to the use of "very harsh expressions
and language" against Modi by the high court and had sought
expunction of those remarks.

The governor had on August 25, 2011 appointed Justice
Mehta to the post as Lokayukta, which had been lying vacant
for the last eight years.

Earth to be closest to Sun tomorrow

Earth to be closest to Sun tomorrow

 Stargazers will get a celestial
treat on New Year with Sun coming nearest to our planet

  The Earth will be at its nearest point from the Sun
at 10:10 AM tomorrow at a distance of 147 million km,
Planetary Society of India General Secretary N Sri Raghunandan
Kumar said today.

            Every January, the Earth is at perihelion, the closest
from the Sun for the year, and in July it is at aphelion, the
farthest to the Sun for the year, he said.
            This year the earth will be at aphelion on July 5.
            The word perihelion comes from the Greek words "peri"
(meaning "near") and "helios" (meaning "sun").
            All planets, comets and asteroids in our solar system have
elliptical orbits. Thus, they all have a closest and a
farthest point from the Sun -- a perihelion and an aphelion,
he said.
            Explaining the reason why the temperature does not rise on
Perihelion Day even when the sunlight is more, Kumar said,
"There are many reasons for it. Blame it on the tilt of the
Earth's axis. Actually, our seasons are determined by the
tilt of the Earth and not by how close the Earth is to the