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Legal notice to CM Jairam, 7 others in controversial HPPSC appointments 

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Notice in HPPSC Appointments

The careers of students have been given in the hands of those who were handpicked and appointed to these positions illegally

Shimla: On January 23 this year, an RTI activist had written a letter to the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, Governor Devvrat Acharya, Chairman of UPSC, and Central Vigilance Commissioner seeking action against gross violations of the Supreme Court’s strict directions while making appointments of the Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission Members and Chairman.

After no action came from the PMO or others, now the activist Dev Ashish Bhattacharya has issued a legal notice to the Chief Minister, Jairam Thakur,  Virbhadra Singh, former CM, Retd. Major General Dharm Vir Singh Rana, HPPSC Chairman and its Members, Dr Man Singh, Mohan Chauhan, Meera Walia, and Rachna Gupta.

Through his counsel, the activist has sought the resignation of all HPPSC members including the Chairman within 30 days terming their appointments as illegal.

The procedure for filing a contempt petition in the apex court will be initiated on the expiry of the notice period, warned Bhattacharya.

Referring to guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court for the selection of the Chairmen and Members of the State Service Public Commissions in a case titled as Govt. of Punjab vs Salil Sabhlok, the activist said,

Through this order, the Supreme Court has expressed its concern regarding the prevalence of arbitrariness in the selection of these officials. To rule out such situations the Judges issued guidelines, which were supposed to be incorporated by 2013.

The activist argued that the order clearly states:

Given the experience in the making of such appointments, there is no doubt that until the State Legislature enacts an appropriate law, the State of (in this case) Punjab must step in and take urgent steps to frame a memorandum of procedure and administrative guidelines for the selection and appointment of the Chairperson and members of the Punjab Public Service Commission, so that the possibility of arbitrary appointments is eliminated.

 

He further added,

But very surprisingly, the Govt. of Himachal Pradesh has ignored the directions of the Supreme Court on this issue, and despite my repeated reminders to them, it failed to implement the said orders.

Earlier too, the complained was made to the former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, Governor, and the Advocate General about the violations of the said order while appointing the then Chairman of HPPSC, Sh.K.S. Tomar and Member Meera Walia.

No action was initiated by the then Virbhadra Singh Government. After it, two more members were appointed by the previous Government in violation of the settled guidelines of the Supreme Court,

the activist alleged.

Presently, the new government headed by the CM Jai Ram Thakur went one-step ahead and appointed one Rachna Gupta as the Member of the HPPSC within 15 days of taking over the power.

Although there was no vacancy, still Rachna Gupta was appointed without amending the HPPSC Act, which provides for only two Members and a Chairman.

However, because of the recent appointment of Rachna Gupta, the number of members rose to four, he said.

Again, while selecting Rachna Gupta, the Supreme Court guidelines were violated and the entire matter was dealt with in secrecy, alleged Bhattacharya.  

Therefore, now I have decided to take this matter back to the Supreme Court by way of Contempt Petition because the HP Govt. knowingly violated the settled rules and guidelines of SC India, 

he said.

He further expressed concern over the fate of aspirants/students. A great public interest is involved in this issue because the careers of students have been given in the hands of those who were handpicked and appointed to these positions illegally, he said.

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 7 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture world around him in his DSLR lens.

Election Watch

In Himachal, Over 50 Lakh Voters to Cast Vote in 7730 Polling Stations on May 19

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Polling in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla– Over fifty lakh voters are set to vote in 7730 polling stations in four parliamentary constituencies of Himachal Pradesh in the last phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha election on May 19.

Talking about the poll preparations, Additional Chief Electoral Officer DK Rattan said, “53,30,154 voters will vote in 7730 polling stations on May 19. 373 polling stations are critical, 47 companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed there.

It’s being ensured that voting takes place peacefully at all polling stations. Rattan said that polling agents have either reached their respective polling stations or are on their way

“Polling party for the remote, tribal polling station at Bara Bhangal in Kangra district was sent on May 15. In Shimla’s Dodra Kawar, teams and material were sent for seven polling stations on May 16,”

he said

“In Lahaul Spiti district, the polling station has been set at an altitude of 15,256 feet at Tashigang. This is the world’s highest polling station,”

he added. (ANI)

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Campus Watch

Nauni Varsity Scholar Selected for World Congress on Agroforestry 2019, France

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Krishan Lal Gautam of UHF Nauni in France

Solan: Krishan Lal Gautam, a doctorate student of Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni has been selected to give a poster presentation at the 4th World Congress on Agroforestry, being held in Montpellier, France from 20-22 May 2019.

Based on the abstract the scientific committee of the Congress has selected Krishan Lal for receiving 1921 euros grant for attending the event. This includes 340 euros for registration and other fees while another 1,481 euros is being paid to facilitate travel, accommodation, visa and living expenses.

Krishan Lal has completed his B Sc (Hons) Forestry and M Sc Agroforestry from UHF. He is presently pursuing his doctorate in Agroforestry from the university. The title of the poster presentation is ‘Effect of different types of organic manure on the production of Lepidium sativum under Morus based agroforestry system’.

Dr HC Sharma, UHF Vice-Chancellor said that it was a great achievement for a student to be selected for an international academic event of such high repute. He hoped that Krishan Lal will not only represent the institution but also shine at the event. The Dean College of Forestry and the faculty also wished him success at the event.

The 4th World Congress on Agroforestry will see the participation of more than 1000 delegates and leading keynote speakers from all over the world to address a wide range of key agroforestry research issues. It will gather facts and figures from developing and developed countries and support a collaborative effort with broad social participation. Special attention will be given to vulnerable countries and populations.

The overall objective of the Congress is to contribute to the progress of agroforestry science and practice in order to bridge the science-policy gap. Some of the topics which will be covered during the congress are agroforestry and climate change, agroforestry, food security and nutrition, adoption of agroforestry, agroforestry policies etc.

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Misc News/Press Release

Shimla Rape Case: An Eyewitness Confirms Part of Victim’s Statement

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Update on Shimla Rape Case Victim

Shimla-The alleged case of rape with a 19-year-old in Shimla’s Bhattakufar area has become more complicated as an eyewitness confirmed a part of the victim’s statement given to police. As per reports, this eyewitness, in his statement, told police that he was parking his car on that night (28 April) when this girl came to him rushing and asking for help.

“He claimed the 19-year-old was in a semi-nude condition and was begging for help when he came across her near the Hill Grove on the Dhalli-Bhattakufar road,”

reported News 18

She was so scared that she tried to enter his car, he said. She asked him about the name of the location. The eyewitness told her that it was Hill Groove.

This eyewitness said he told the girl to not to worry and even told her that he would call her wife if that makes her feel safe.

A few minutes later, the eyewitness told the police, two persons came on a bike. One of the boys gave his shirt to the girl and took her with him. The eyewitness also gave initials of the bike number, and said he could not remember the complete number as it was dark.

The eyewitness also identified the boy in front of police later.

The police also questioned the boy, who is said to be a friend of the girl. As per the boy, he later provided the girl with his sister’s clothes. The sister of the boy also confirmed the same, said a Hindi Daily.

The eyewitness said that on reaching home he had told about this incident to his wife as well.

Sources said the girl had mentioned in her complaint seeking help from a man after she was allegedly raped, which has been now confirmed. The girl had made a call to his friend and on the Gudiya helpline between 9:20 PM and 10 PM. Police has not revealed any further details about the call records of the girl’s phone.

However, the appearance of this eyewitness has raised questions over the claim of the police that the girl’s statement was not matching with its findings.

Earlier, police had claimed that CCTV footages of about 1.5 km area concerned to the alleged crime did not corroborate with the girl’s statement regarding kidnap. Also, police had claimed that the girl had withdrawn her statement and denied her own allegations in her statement given before the magistrate under CrPC 164.

As a contrast to it, now police said a sketch of the accused have been prepared on the description given by the girl.

The report of the second opinion on medical examination of the girl has not been made public yet.

The report of the magisterial probe into the role of Lakkar Bazaar police that was to be submitted by Thursday evening has also been delayed.

As per the English Daily The Tribune, police have questioned about 70 persons in connection to the alleged crime.

“The girl had said the accused was not known to her and was in his early 30s, wore specs and had a mole on his lower lip.

the Daily reported.

So far, police is clueless about unidentified accused.

Another striking aspect related to the case is that the family of the victim has not given any statement so far.

Family of Victim Under Pressure from BJP Govt in Haryana: Rathor

On the other hand, the President of the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee, Kuldeep Rathor, in a press conference in Solan district on Thursday claimed, the family of the girl was being pressurized to hush-up the matter. He alleged that he has received this information from credible sources. As the girl hails from Haryana, and BJP is in power in both Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, her family was pressurized to not speak of it. This is the reason that after filing an FIR, the girl had to withdraw her statement, he alleged.

Rathor has also demanded a judicial probe under the supervision of the State High Court for a fair investigation.  

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