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New Chief Justice of HP High Court Justice Mohammad Rafiq Takes Oath

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New Chief Justice of Himachal PRadesh High Court justice mohammad rafiq

Shimla-The new Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court, Justice Mohammad Rafiq, was today administered the oath of office by Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar in a ceremony held at Raj Bhawan.

Justice Mohammad Rafiq was born on 25th May 1960 at Sujangarh in the Churu district of Rajasthan. He completed B.Com in 1980, LL.B in 1984 and M.Com in 1986 from the University of Rajasthan.

He, later on, joined the Bar and practised as an Advocate after enrolment with the Bar Council of Rajasthan on 8th July 1984. He practised exclusively in Rajasthan High Court at Jaipur in almost all branches of law and specially conducted constitutional matters, service matters, land acquisition cases, land revenue cases, preventive detention cases, customs & excise matters, railway claims cases, tax matters, company matters and criminal matters before the High Court.

He worked as Assistant Government Advocate for the State of Rajasthan from 15th July 1986 to 21st December 1987 and Deputy Government Advocate from 22nd December 1987 to 29th June 1990. He appeared before the High Court as panel advocate for various Departments of the State Government for five years i.e. from 1993 to 1998.

He also represented the Union of India as Standing Counsel from 1992 to 2001 before the High Court. He also represented the Indian Railways, Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board, Rajasthan Board of Muslim Wakfs, Jaipur Development Authority, Rajasthan Housing Board and Jaipur Municipal Corporation before the Rajasthan High Court.

He was appointed as Additional Advocate General for the State of Rajasthan on 7th January 1999 and worked as such till his elevation to the Bench. He was appointed as Judge of the Rajasthan High Court on 15th May 2006. He also worked as Acting Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court twice; from 7th April 2019 to 4th May 2019 and from 23rd September 2019 to 5th October 2019. He was also the Executive Chairman of the Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority and the Administrative Judge of the Rajasthan High Court before elevation as the Chief Justice. He was the Chief Justice of the High Court of Meghalaya from 13th November 2019 to 26th April 2020. Justice Mohammad Rafiq was administered the oath of office of the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court on 27th April 2020, on being transferred from the Meghalaya High Court. He was administered the oath of office of the Chief Justice of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh on 3rd January 2021, on being transferred from the Orissa High Court.

The ceremony took place at the Darbar Hall of Raj Bhawan, where Chief Secretary Ram Subhag Singh conducted the proceedings of the oath ceremony and read out the notification issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Law and Justice regarding the transfer of Justice Mohammad Rafiq as Chief Justice of the HP High Court.

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HP By-Polls 2021: Read What An Online Survey Says About Impact of Crucial Issues on Results

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hp by polls 2021 survey

Shimla- The cacophony of the political campaign for the Himachal Pradesh Bye-Elections 2021 is getting louder as the date of polling nears. While the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is creating noise over nationalism and self-proclaimed achievements in the name of development, the Indian National Congress is targeting BJP over inflation, price hike of fuels and essential commodities, neglect towards protesting farmers and their interests etc. The remaining statements comprise personal and sarcastic attacks. But what do the voters think about real issues? How do they see these crucial issues and their impact on the election results? An online survey throws some light on the perspective of the public with help of some questions.

This online survey was conducted in October 2021, to understand the voting behaviour and general opinion of the people of Himachal Pradesh on the forthcoming bye-election for a Lok Sabha Seat (Mandi) and three Assembly Seats (Jubbal Kotkhai, Arki and Fatehpur). The survey was led by Dr. Devender Sharma, from the Department of Political Science, Centre of Excellence, Government College, Sanjauli, and Dr. Baldev Singh Negi, from the Department of Inter-disciplinary Studies, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla, in 12 districts of Himachal Pradesh.

Total 566 respondents participated in the online survey and shared their opinion on pre-designed questions. The objective of the survey was to analyze the impact of contemporary national issues like, price rise of LPG, Petrol, Diesel and other basic commodities, economic slowdown along with state-level issues like farm crises and farmers not getting appropriate prices of apple and other farm products on the voting behaviour. Since there is a popular discourse in public and political circles that these bye-elections will prove as the semi-final of the assembly elections to be held next year, the objective was to establish this discourse and to check the validity.

In this online survey, the participation was across the districts in the State. There was 51.4 percent Shimla District, 9.7 percent from Mandi, 9.5 percent from Solan, 9.2 percent from Chamba, 8.8 percent from Kullu, 0.7 and 0.7 percent from Kinnaur and Lahaul & Spiti respectively, 0.2 percent from Hamirpur and 1.1 and 1.1 percent from Bilaspur and Una respectively.

Respondents represent almost every section of the society 72.1 percent was from the general category followed by 15.5 percent scheduled caste, 7.8 percent scheduled tribe and 4.6 percent from other backward classes. As far as professional background is concerned there were 54.8 percent students, 29.3 percent employees, 8.5 percent farmers and 7.4 percent were unemployed youth.

The respondents who participated in the present online survey were having the educational qualification graduate or more 78.1 percent followed by 20.1 percent secondary and 1.8 percent high schools.

Question.1: Whether constantly rising prices of LPG, petrol, diesel and other basic commodities will affect voting behaviour?

Responses: 61.5 percent respondents responded that certainly this will highly influence the voting behaviour. 26.1 percent have the opinion that it will affect voting reasonably and 7.8 percent responded that this will not affect these elections.

Question.2: Whether Ongoing farmers’ protest will affect voting behaviour? Evidently, farmers are in grim crises and they are not getting appropriate prices for apple crops and other vegetables. So, will these crises get manifestations in these elections?

Responses: 43 percent responded that farm crises in Himachal will make the unity of farmers and they will join hands with the farmers protest and this may definitely affect the voting behaviour.

Question.3 Will demand of OPS and implementation of new pay commission recommendations and mobilizations of employees affect the voting behaviour or not?

Responses: 33.2 percent said that this will certainly affect voting behaviour. 32.5 percent responded that it will affect to some extent and 24.7 percent responded that there will be no impact of the issue.

Question.4: Are these elections like the semi-finals of the next year scheduled assembly elections?

Responses: 70.3 percent of respondents have the opinion that definitely these elections will turn up as semi-finals for coming assembly elections and 29.7 percent of respondents have a contrary opinion.

Question.5 Whether these elections are the battleground for a few reputed politicians like Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and Pratibha Singh as these elections will decide their political future?

Responses: 76.7 percent of respondents agree with this statement and 23.3 percent rejected this preposition.

Question.6 To what extent internal dynamics and contradictions among political parties would impact the results?

Responses: 84.5percent responded that the cost of these conflicts would have to pay by the parties and 15.5 percent have the opinion that these conflicts will hardly affect the results.

Question.7 Will the demise of two stalwart leaders Sh. Vir Bhadra Singh and Sh. Narendra Bragta and the sympathy wave roused after their death make plus to the votes of both the parties in Mandi and Jubbal Kotkhai?

Responses: 66.8 percent of respondents endorsed the opinion and 33.2 percent rejected this argument.

Question.8 Will rebels contesting elections harm the party candidates or not?

Responses: On this question 31.1 percent of respondents that largely it will cause losses to the party candidates. 57.2percent said that it will not affect that much and 8.8 percent rejected the preposition out rightly.

 

About the Survey Coordinators

 

devender

Dr. Devender Sharma: Assistant Professor in Political Science, presently serving at G.C. Sanjauli prior to this he has served at GC Kumarsain and in one UNDP projects at Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS) Shimla. (Mobile No.8988376808)

 

baldev negi 1

Dr. Baldev Singh Negi: Working as Project Officer cum Faculty, Rural Development at Himachal Pradesh University. He has been trained at many national and international organisations as attended training programme with LOKNITI, International Political Science Association (IPSA) etc., (Mobile No.9418485352)

 

 

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Kinnaur: Ban on Trekking, Mountaineering in District After Two Horrid Tragedies

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Shimla-Following two separate tragic incidents where 10 tourists, who had undertaken trekking expeditions into high altitude areas of Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district, went missing and were later found dead, the district administration has decided to put a complete ban on such activities in the region for the time being.

The Deputy Commissioner, Kinnaur district, Apoorv Devgan, on Monday issued a notification regarding the same.

“A large number of trekking enthusiasts scale the treacherous mountain treks/peaks of the district, making it a hotspot for these adventure activities. However, during the onset and peak of the winter season, the climatic conditions tend to change quickly, which poses a great threat to the life of the trekkers,” the notification said.   

“Also undertaking search and rescue missions in such conditions are very risky which makes it necessary to restrict the trekking and mountaineering activities in the season,” the notification said.

Citing these reasons, the DC, under Section 34 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, ordered the imposition of ban on trekking and mountaineering on all the treks in the district till further orders.  He said legal action would be taken against violators.

It’s pertinent to mention that in two separate instances, 10 such tourists have died during the past week. On October 13, a group of 11 trekkers with six Nepalese porters had left from Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand, to Chitkul, on a trekking expedition. They were supposed to reach Chitkul on October 19. However, as the weather took a turn and led to heavy snowfall in the region, the trekkers got stuck at Lamkhaga Pass in Kinnaur district. While the porters decided to keep going and reached Chitkul on October 20, the trekkers decided to camp at the Pass. Later, during an ongoing rescue operation, two tourists were rescued alive in wounded condition, and dead bodies of seven of them were recovered. Two of them are still missing. These tourists included persons from Mumbai and guides from Uttarakhand.

In the second instance, 13 tourists left from Janglik of Rohru, Shimla district, on a trekking expedition to Sangla, Kinnaur district, on October 19. However, by October 24, they got stuck in bad weather conditions. Three of them died while the rescue team of police rescued 1o of them safely. Most of these tourists hailed from West Bengal.

Travel/trekking agencies have also been blamed for these two tragedies as they ignored warnings issued by the Meteorological Department and led these tourists into death traps. Moreover, the governments haven’t set any strict criteria for granting licenses to such agencies/guides. Often untrained and novice youth organize these expeditions, resulting in such disasters.

While the tough mountains of Himachal’s higher altitude regions lure tourists who wish to satisfy their appetite for adventure, many of them tend to be unaware of the lethal risks they pose, especially with untrained guides. The two tragic instances have aptly proved it.    

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Rs.18 Crore Mandi Shiv Dham Project Tender Allotted for Rs. 36 Crores, Alleges Sudhir Sharma  

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Mandi Shiv Dham Project Tender

Shimla-Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jairam Thakur, and Mandi Shivdham project, which he claims to be his dream project, has landed in controversy ahead of the polling for the by-polls scheduled to be held on October 30.

AICC secretary and former minister, Sudhir Sharma, on Saturday released a statement in which he alleged HP Tourism Development Corporation of indulging in corruption in allotment of tender for the Mandi Shivdham development project. He alleged that against the sanctioned limit of Rs. 18 crores, the tender for the development of the first phase of the project was granted to a Mumbai-based company “Generic Engineering Construction & Projects Limited” in February this year.

The project involves structural construction of replicas of 12 Jyotirlings, site development etc., as per the tender.

He also said that the Chief Minister himself holds charge of the Tourism Department.

Sudhir also furnished some documents related to the tender allocation to support his allegations.

He further informed that the tenders were first invited for the first phase between November 24 and 25, 2020. At that time, the estimated cost was mentioned to be Rs. 18 crores. Four companies responded to the invitation and participated in the tendering process. However, by February this year, the tender was allotted to the above-mentioned company for Rs. 36 crores.

Sudhir questioned the state government over doubling the cost and asked the Chief Minister to provide the public with an explanation for this.

“This money belongs to the State and it should be spent on public welfare,” Sudhir said in a statement released on Saturday.

He also demanded action against those involved in this alleged act of corruption.

Sudhir further alleged that instead of taking care and undertaking beautification of already existing temples and religious places in Mandi – also known as Choti Kashi- Chief Minister jumped to a new location with his dream project. He also alleged that the government didn’t even obtain forest clearance for this project and several trees were axed.

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