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Substantive right accrued to a litigant should not be defeated citing procedural defects capable of being cured: SC

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Don’t compare Turban, Kirpan with Hijab: SC

Without mincing any words, the Supreme Court has in an extremely laudable, learned, landmark and latest judgment titled M/S Ramnath Exports Pvt Ltd vs Vinita Mehta & Anr. in Civil Appeal No. 4639 of 2022 [Arising out of SLP (C) No. 30216 of 2018] cited in 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 564 and pronounced as recently as on July 5, 2022 minced absolutely no words in holding unequivocally that substantive right accrued to the litigant should not be defeated citing a procedural defeat capable of being cured. The Bench of Apex Court comprising of Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice JK Maheshwari minced just no words to hold that, “It is a trite law that the procedural defect may fall within the purview of irregularity and capable of being cured, but it should not be allowed to defeat the substantive right accrued to the litigant without affording reasonable opportunity.” Very rightly so.

To start with, this refreshing, robust, rational and recent judgment authored by Justice JK Maheshwari for a Bench of Apex Court comprising of himself and Justice Indira Banerjee sets the ball rolling by first and foremost putting forth in para 2 that, “This appeal arises out of the judgment dated 04.07.2018, passed by High Court of Uttarakhand at Nainital in First Appeal No. 50 of 2008, preferred by appellant herein against the ‘common judgment’ dated 16.04.2008 passed by Trial Court in Suit No. 411 of 1989 (filed by respondents herein joining appellant as defendant) and Suit No. 419 of 1993 (filed by appellant herein joining respondents as defendant). In Suit No. 411 of 1989, respondents sought ‘permanent injunction’ against appellant restraining it from interfering in the right of use of concerned passage or causing any interference or putting any obstruction in the usage of the said passage and not to make any septic tank, soakage pit or raise any other construction. The respondents also prayed for grant of ‘mandatory injunction’ against the appellant, making prayer to remove and demolish the walls on the concerned passage and restoring the passage to its original width of 13 ft. and filling up the ditch near the gate of plaintiff no.2 (respondent no.2 herein). In Suit No. 419 of 1993, appellant herein prayed for ‘permanent injunction’ restraining the respondents/defendants from providing or creating any passage through the property of appellant after demolishing the existing passage. Since both the suits involved grievances pertaining to the passage of the same land, therefore by consent order dated 18.08.2006 both were consolidated. The common issues were framed by Trial Court to facilitate disposal of both suits by same evidence. Consequently, the aforesaid consolidated suits were disposed off by the Trial Court by a common judgment dated 16.04.2008, though two separate decrees were drawn on 30.04.2008. The Suit No. 411 of 1989 was partly decreed in favour of plaintiff no. 2 (respondent no.2 herein), whereas Suit No. 419 of 1993 was dismissed.”

As it turned out, the Bench then mentions clearly in para 3 that, “Being aggrieved by the common judgment, appellant preferred First Appeal No. 50 of 2008 before the High Court challenging both the decrees. On filing appeal, at the initial stage, appellant also preferred an application being CLMA No. 4365 of 2008 (in short be referred as “CLMA”) and sought permission to file a single appeal assailing the common judgment dated 16.04.2008 alongwith two separate decrees dated 30.04.2008. The first appeal was admitted by High Court vide order dated 18.07.2008 and by the same order, two weeks’ time was granted to file objections on CLMA and further two weeks to file rejoinder. It was further directed to list the application after lapse of the said period.”

To put things in perspective, the Bench then envisages in para 4 that, “The High Court without passing any order on the said CLMA, at the time of hearing of the appeal, accepted the preliminary objection regarding maintainability of single first appeal without entering into the merits of the case. The Court said that the case is restricted to the question of applicability of principle of res judicata and, taking into consideration the material placed and the contentions raised by both the parties, the appeal was dismissed holding that one appeal is not maintainable and barred by res judicata. In the impugned order, the High Court has considered the full bench judgment of Allahabad High Court in the case of Zaharia Vs. Dibia & Ors., ALR (1910) Allahabad 51, and also the case of Narhari & Ors. Vs. Shanker & Ors., AIR 1953 SC 419 in which full bench judgment of Lahore High Court passed in case of Mt. Lachhmi Vs. Mt. Bhulli, AIR 1927 Lahore 289 was relied. The Court distinguished the full bench judgment of Mt. Lachhmi (supra) of Lahore High Court and also the judgment of this Court in the case of Narhari (supra) and placing reliance upon the judgment of Lonankutty Vs. Thomman & Anr., (1976) 3 SCC 528, said that the case in hand is similar to the case of Lonankutty (supra) which was dismissed on the ground of res judicata alone. The High Court further relied upon the judgment of this Court in Sri Gangai Vinayagar Temple & Anr. Vs. Meenakshi Ammal & Ors., (2015) 3 SCC 624, wherein, this Court was dealing with the concept of res judicata discussed law on the point of applicability of res judicata and observed that losing party must file appeals in respect of all adverse decree founded even on partially adverse or contrary speaking judgments.”

As we see, the Bench then observes in para 5 that, “In impugned order, the Court held that separate appeals ought to have been filed by appellant against the decree given in Suit No. 411 of 1989 as well as in Suit No. 419 of 1993. Failure to file separate appeals would invite the applicability of principle of res judicata. The Court in the order concluded that one appeal against both the decrees is not tenable in terms of clear stipulation as per Section 96 of CPC. As separate appeals have not been filed against both the decrees, res judicata would operate as against the findings given in another suit even after consolidation. Thus, held that, the cause of appellant is foreclosed by applicability of principle of res judicata.”

Simply put, the Bench then reveals in para 6 that, “Being aggrieved, the appellant preferred instant appeal and learned counsel present has contested the same on following grounds –

a) The appellant had assailed the findings recorded by Trial Court by mentioning both the suit numbers alongwith payment of requisite court fee for the purpose of valuation on the basis of consolidated value of suits;

b) The first appeal was admitted by High Court vide order dated 18.07.2008 , but the same was dismissed after a decade without entering into the merits of the case;

c) While admitting the appeal, notice was issued on CLMA, i.e., application to seek permission to file single appeal impugning the common judgment and two decrees, but without deciding the said application, the preliminary objections raised by the respondents has been maintained causing serious prejudice to it;

d) The essence of rule of res-judicata is that the two proceedings should be so independent of each other that the trial of one cannot be confused with trial of other suit, but where two suits having common issue were tried together and disposed-off vide single judgment, can they be said to be two distinct and independent trials;

e) In effect, only one judgment was passed in the trial and suits were not clubbed but were consolidated for all purposes;

f) In support of the said contentions learned counsel would rely upon –

i. State of Andhra Pradesh & Ors. Vs. B. Ranga Reddy (thru LR’s) & Ors., (2020) 15 SCC 681;

ii. Sri Gangai Vinayagar Temple & Anr. Vs. Meenakshi Ammal & Ors., (2015) 3 SCC 624;.”

No doubt, the Bench then rightly points out in para 7 that, “Per contra, the counsel for the respondents has argued in support of the findings recorded in the impugned judgment and made the following submissions –

a. The appellant unilaterally preferred single appeal and paid the Court fee on the basis of consolidated value of suits, whereas, separate Court fee was to be calculated on each decree and affixed accordingly;

b. Appeal against decree in Civil Suit No.411 of 1989 can be filed before District Judge, having a limitation of 30 days as per Section 8 of Suits Valuation Act, 1887, whereas, looking to the valuation, appeal against decree in Civil Suit No.419 of 1993 lies before High Court having a limitation of 90 days. No such appeal against decree in Civil Suit No.411 of 1989 before District judge was preferred by appellant;

c. The judgment and decree passed in Civil Suit No.411 of 1989 has attained finality inter-se parties since it was not challenged within the prescribed period of limitation;

d. Consolidation of suits was done only for evidence and it does not mean that one appeal can be preferred since suits still retain their separate identity. Even assuming that the consolidation was for all purposes, yet the procedure for preferring an appeal cannot be waived or by-passed;

e. Since the day of notice in first appeal, objection has been raised for filing only one appeal and still the said defect was not rectified by the appellant;

f. Learned counsel placed reliance on following judgments to substantiate the submissions –

i. Sri Gangai Vinayagar Temple & Anr. Vs. Meenakshi Ammal & Ors., (2015) 3 SCC 624;

ii. V. Natarajan Vs. SKS Ispat & Power Ltd. & Ors., Civil Appeal No.3327 of 2020)

iii. B. Santoshamma & Anr. Vs. D. Sarla & Anr., 2020 SCC OnLine SC 756;.”

Quite pertinently, the Bench then observes in para 8 that, “After having heard learned counsel for parties and on perusal of the material available, we have read the provision of Section 96 of CPC, which provides for filing of an appeal from the decree by any Court exercising original jurisdiction to the Court authorized to hear appeals from the decisions of such Courts. It is also settled that an appeal is a continuation of the proceedings of the original court. Ordinarily, in the first appeal, the appellate jurisdiction involves a re-hearing on law as well as on fact as invoked by an aggrieved person. The first appeal is a valuable right of the appellant and therein all questions of fact and law are open for consideration by re-appreciating the material and evidence. Therefore, the first appellate court is required to address on all the issues and decide the appeal assigning valid reasons either in support or against by re-appraisal. The court of first appeal must record its findings dealing all the issues, considering oral as well as documentary evidence led by the parties.”

Be it noted, the Bench then hastens to add in para 9 that, “In the instant case, it is not disputed that appellant herein filed CLMA, i.e., application seeking permission to file single appeal against the common judgment as well as the two separate decrees passed in consolidated suits. Further, as is evident from the record, especially from the order dated 18.07.2008, the High Court at the time of admission of the appeal specifically directed that CLMA be listed for disposal after expiry of four weeks’ time given to both parties to file counter as well as rejoinder affidavits.

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Policy&Politics

Election Commission declares 253 RUPPs as inactive, bars them from availing benefits of the Symbol Order, 1968

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Election Commission declares 253 RUPPs as inactive, bars them from availing benefits of the Symbol Order, 1968

Additional 86 Non-existent RUPPs shall be deleted from the list and benefits under the Symbols Order (1968) withdrawnAction against these 339 (86+253) non-compliant. RUPPs takes the tally to 537 defaulting RUPPs since May 25, 2022

In continuation of the earlier action initiated on May 25, 2022 for enforcing due compliances by Registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPPs), the Election Commission of India led by Chief Election Commissioner, Shri Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioner Shri Anup Chandra Pandey today further delisted 86 non-existent RUPPs and declared additional 253 as ‘Inactive RUPPs’. This action against 339 non-compliant RUPPs takes the tally to 537 defaulting RUPPs since May 25, 2022.

As per statutory requirements under section 29A of the RP Act, every political party has to communicate any change in its name, head office, office bearers, address, PAN to the Commission without delay. 86 RUPPs have been found to be non-existent either after a physical verification carried out by the respective Chief Electoral Officers of concerned States/UTs or based on report of undelivered letters/notices from Postal Authority sent to the registered address of concerned RUPP. It may be recalled that ECI had delisted 87 RUPPs and 111 RUPPs vide orders dated May 25, 2022 and June 20, 2022, thus totalling the number of delisted RUPPs to 284.

This decision against 253 non-compliant RUPPs has been taken based on reports received from Chief Electoral Officers of seven states namely Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana & Uttar Pradesh. These 253 RUPPs have been declared inactive, as they have not responded to the letter/notice delivered to them and have not contested a single election either to the General Assembly of a State or the Parliament Election 2014 & 2019. These RUPPs have failed to comply with statutory requirements for more than 16 compliance steps since 2015 and are continuing to default.

It is also noted that of the above 253 parties, 66 RUPPs actually applied for a common symbol as per para 10B of the Symbol’s Order 1968 and did not contest the respective elections. It is pertinent to note that privilege of a common symbol is given to RUPP based upon an undertaking for putting up at least 5 percent of total candidates with regard to said legislative assembly election of a State. Possibility of such parties occupying the available pre-election political space by taking benefits of admissible entitlements without contesting elections cannot be ruled out.

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Coastal clean-up campaign receives a huge response: Dr. Jitendra Singh

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Coastal clean-up campaign receives a huge response: Dr. Jitendra Singh

The 75-day long ongoing Coastal Clean Up Campaign is receiving a huge response from across the sections of society and besides others, Governors, Chief Ministers, Union Ministers, celebrities, film and sports personalities, civil society groups etc. are joining the campaign with overwhelming enthusiasm and pledging their support to the longest and largest beach cleaning campaign in the world titled “Swachh Sagar, Surakshit Sagar”, coordinated by Union Ministry of Earth Sciences with collaboration from all the other Union Ministries, departments as well as governments of the coastal States.

Addressing a press conference today, three days ahead of “International Coastal Clean-up Day” on 17th September, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology, Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh said, he will join the campaign at Juhu beach in Mumbai on 17th September and informed that Governor Maharashtra Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis, BJP MP Poonam Mahajan and several personalities as well as NGOs will also join at Juhu.

The Minister also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his support through social media. The PM has stressed on keeping India’s coasts clean as he praised efforts of volunteers to remove garbage from the Juhu beach in Mumbai. Responding to a video posted by Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh about the clean-up at the beach, Modi tweeted, “Commendable… I appreciate all those involved in this effort. India is blessed with a long and beautiful coastline and it is important we focus on keeping our coasts clean”. The Minister said, “A cleanathon was organised at Juhu Beach in Mumbai, saw participation in large numbers especially by youngsters and Civil Society.

Dr Jitendra Singh informed that Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan will take a lead in the clean-up campaign at world famous Puri beach, while Pratap Chandra Sarangi, former union minister will be at Chandipur. BJP MP from Hooghly, West Bengal Ms Locket Chatterjee will be at Digha on D-Day. R.K.Mission head will lead the campaign at Bakkhali in southern Bengal.

Chief Minister of Gujarat Bhupendrabhai Patel will be at Porbandar (Madhavpur), while Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Parshottam Khodabhai Rupala will join the clean-up operation at Jafrabad, Amreli.

Governor of Goa P. S. Sreedharan Pillai and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant will take part in beach cleaning campaign in South and North Goa beaches on 17th September.

Similarly, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan will be at Kochi, while MoS External Affairs V. Muraleedharan will be at Kovalam beach at Thiruvananthapuram.

Governor of Karnataka Thawar Chand Gehlot will join the campaign at Panambur beach in Mangalore, while the Governor of Telangana, Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan will lend her helping hand at Puducherry beach.

Governor of Mizoram Dr. K. Hari Babu will take part in Vizag beach while L. Murugan, Union MoS, Information and Broadcasting will join the event at Chennai

Dr Jitendra Singh informed that the campaign has entered the mode of whole of Government approach plus whole of nation participation.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, apart from active cooperation of Ministries of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Jal Shakti, Health and Family Welfare, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, External Affairs, Information and Broadcasting, organisations and associations like National Service Scheme (NSS), Indian Coast Guard, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Seema Jagran Manch, SFD, Paryavaran Sanrakshan Gatividhi (PSG), along with other social organizations and educational institutions are participating in the clean-up campaign.

The MPs of coastal states have also pledged full support to the first-of-its-kind and longest running coastal clean-up campaign in the world and they also advised the Ministry of Earth Sciences to undertake a variety of activities by involving local NGOs.

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DASHBOARD TO BE SET UP SOON TO SHARE THE BEST TECH PRACTICES AMONG THE CENTRE & THE STATES: UNION MINISTER JITENDRA SINGH

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DASHBOARD TO BE SET UP SOON TO SHARE THE BEST TECH PRACTICES AMONG THE CENTRE & THE STATES: UNION MINISTER JITENDRA SINGH

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today announced setting up of a Dashboard to share the best technology practices among the Centre and the States.

Presiding over the concluding session of the two-day “Centre-State Science Conclave” at Science City in Ahmedabad, Dr Jitendra Singh informed that a high level mechanism will be developed by the Department of Science and Technology to monitor and coordinate the follow up action of the conclave. The Minister also asked the States to appoint a Nodal officer in each of the States to coordinate and cooperate with the Special Committee for knowing and sharing the best practices.

Giving the example of heli-borne technology launched from Jodhpur, Rajasthan in October, 2021, Dr Jitendra Singh said, to start with, the States of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana were taken up for this latest heli-borne survey.

The Minister pointed out that if the same technology is uploaded on Dashboard, other States may join and share this CSIR technology from source finding to water treatment and thus benefit millions of people across the country.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, it will also positively contribute to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Har Ghar Nal Se Jal” as well as “doubling farmer’s income” goals. He said, the latest state-of-the-art technology is being employed by Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) for mapping groundwater sources in arid regions and thus help utilise groundwater for drinking purposes.

The 2-day ‘Centre-State Science Conclave’ was formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Science City, Ahmedabad, yesterday. Dr Jitendra Singh expressed satisfaction that important plenary sessions with State S&T Ministers discussed in detail on issues like Agriculture, Innovation for producing portable drinking water including application of technologies like Desalination, Heli borne methods developed by DST, Clean Energy for All including S&T role in Hydrogen mission, Deep Sea Mission of MoES and its relevance for Coastal States/UT, Digital healthcare for All and Synergizing Science with National Education Policy.

A special session with the CEOs of over 100 Start-Ups and industry at the Centre-State Science Conclave’ in Ahmedabad came up with scientific solutions in the field of agriculture, drone, artificial intelligence, biotechnological solutions, single-use plastic alternates, irrigation and digital health amongst others.

Many of the State governments have shown keen interest in some of the technologies and agreed to partner with some of the startups for State-specific technological solutions.

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Floods, economic crisis and political bickerings: A saga of Pakistan’s mismanagement & insensitivity

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Floods, economic crisis and political bickerings: A saga of Pakistan’s mismanagement & insensitivity

The worst floods in several decades have wreaked havoc in Pakistan, one of the most populous countries of South Asia. The floods have touched the country’s 220 million people’s lives directly or indirectly. More than 1,300 people have died with 81 out of 160 districts directly affected by the floods, leaving at least 33 million people homeless.

The heat waves followed by rains and glacial melting has been a global trend this year bringing out the stark reality that despite all talks and conventions, the world community has failed to contain and reverse climatic change. But Pakistan’s case is unique.

Beyond the human losses, the country’s economic managers have the most challenging task ahead as floods ravaged the country’s road and communication network, damaged an incalculable number of houses, and destroyed millions of hectares of crops.

Niaz Murtaza, a political economist, describes present crisis as “a triple whammy”, putting together economic, political and natural. “The poor had been suffering the first two months because of inflation, job loss and political paralysis. Now the floods have pushed millions into ruin,” he said.

Despite this, the political masters are not only busy in bickering and allegations against each other, but have also triggered a blame game on social media as usual, pointing fingers on India for the flood havoc. The bombardment of propaganda, nevertheless, cannot change the reality that Pakistan government and its institutions have utterly failed in fulfilling their duties towards its citizens.

Ludicrous as it is, it cannot absolve the leadership of Pakistan that has failed people in terms of economic mismanagement, entrenched corruption and naked cronyism in the system. Added to these are the wrong policies and priorities of Islamabad which have been instrumental in bringing economic crisis and political instability. The floods have only abetted it.

The natural disaster has struck Pakistan while economy is passing through the difficult phase of multiple challenges including Balance of Payment (BoP) crisis, heavy debt burden and solvency-related issues. The protracted economic crisis is likely to deepen further despite conclusion of talks with the IMF for release of Extended Fund Facility credit.

While Finance Minister Miftah Ismail estimates that the country has incurred a total loss of “at least $10 billion”, independent analysts, including Uzar Younus, Director of the Pakistan Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia centre and economist Ammar Habib Khan, put the figure between $15-20 billion, and expect it to rise further as information is coming with a great lag.

Existing infrastructure is collapsing with the flooding submerging one-third of the country, pushing 37 per cent of population into poverty. Pakistan is literally and figuratively under deep water, writes Nasir Jamal. It may take a few more months before the damages can be assessed. Even before the flooding, 60 per cent of the population was suffering from hunger, malnutrition and related diseases and the figures are bound to shoot up now.

In view of the mammoth loss, the IMF’s $1.2 billion credit now seems to be a peanut. Pakistan was earlier wounded and now it is bleeding. Floods will exacerbate the economic crisis that had shown initial signs of abating with the IMF deal. Twin deficits, growth prospects and inflationary expectations will be worsening, inflicting misery on the poor. Despite increasing gravity of the situation, saving people’s life and livelihood have not still become the priorities among the political class who are revealing in an ugly slugfest.

The real cost of the natural calamity is being borne by millions of poor kids, pregnant women, elderly and sick persons crowded under the open sky or tents, prone to hunger, diseases and insecurity as they wait for aid. It will be weeks before many can even return to their villages as the land drains and dries. It will take months, even years, to recover from the loss of housing, animals, crops and cultivable land.

Covid-19 had only disrupted economic exchange without damaging the economic base. But the flood has destroyed crops, land, animals, bridges, etc. negatively impacting deeper on the poor and the economy. And the insensitive political class in Pakistan is still deeply engrossed in political maneuver and cunning tricks against each other rather than presenting a united face at the time of calamity. That is the character of Pakistan’s politics.

In view of the contribution of agriculture to the extent of one fourth of the GDP, the country would have to face major revenue loss due to crop losses. As per the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s August 29 report, almost 80 per cent of crops in Sindh, which produces roughly 30% of Pakistan’s cotton output, were destroyed.

Close to 70 per cent of Pakistan’s textile industry, an important source of employment and foreign exchange, uses the cotton produced in the country. Floods are likely to cause severe shortage of cotton, said Abdul Rahim Nasir, Chairman of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association. He added that instead of earlier average import of cotton estimated at about 4 million bales, Pakistan would now need to import just the double of that figure, at a potential cost of $3 billion.

Shahrukh Wani, an Oxford economist, says the flood will make it terribly difficult for the government to reduce the trade deficit because while the country will need to import food to “compensate” for lost crops, the textile sector will find itself struggling due to “potential shortage” of cotton crop.

The biting inflation which rose to 25% in the month of July from a year earlier, the highest since May 1975, is taking its own toll on the living conditions of masses. The flooding would further push up the inflation and accentuate the scarcity of even essentials.

Amreen Soorani, Head of Research at JS Global Capital Ltd, said that “the main concern from the floods is the impact on inflation”. Even the IMF warned that the runaway inflation could trigger protests and instability.

Islamabad secured funds from the IMF for immediate bailout of the economy from the saturating forex crisis. However, the problems would be far from over for Islamabad. As the advanced countries are focused more on the impact of Ukraine-Russia war and trying to cope with recessionary pressures while some of the development partners including Middle Eastern countries and China are down with donor fatigue, Islamabad has scant probability to get any major international relief.

For now, the immediate challenge that government will face is to fulfil the conditions of raising taxes and applying austerity measures as part of its agreement with the IMF for its bailout package. This might turn out a politically unpopular move and could flare up the political bickering. The condition is rife for mass protests in view of increasing cost of living for many months now, which opposition could take advantage of. Anger is rising across Pakistan over the slow pace of government relief efforts.

The catastrophic floods have put a downward pressure on growth prospectus. Initial estimates suggest that the economic growth rate may slow down to just 2 per cent. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that the recent floods caused more damage than the 2010 calamity wherein the economic losses had been estimated at $9.7 billion. The floods have already caused supply chain-related issues.

Even during natural calamity, politicians are concerned about their political agenda rather than allowing international aid agencies to import essential food items from the neighbouring country. Cases after cases of corruption are cropping up, “you reveal mine, I will reveal yours”, an unending slugfest continues.

Instead of fighting the fallout of the devastating natural calamity united, they are engrossed in manoeuvre and cunning tricks and a regressive thought process whether or not to allow aid flow from India. Some of the government top officials have suggested importing essential commodities such as food and medicine from India, while others are still the victim of the old rigidities and anti-India mindset.

India is an undoable reality of being the most potent vehicle of South Asia’s growth vision as it is a responsible regional power and the fastest growing economy of the world, which offers a big market for exports and sourcing imports. Islamabad needs to understand that cooperation with neighbours does not reduce the stature of a calamity hit country.

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Separated in 1947, Sikh brother meets sister reunite

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Separated in 1947, Sikh brother meets sister reunite

The Kartarpur Corridor has once again reunited another family after a man who separated from his parents when he was only a few months old in 1947, finally met his sister in Pakistan.

Amarjit Singh was left out in India along with his sister while his Muslim parents came to Pakistan. All eyes went teary as they saw the emotional scenes of the brother-sister reunion in Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, Geo News reported.

Amarjit Singh arrived in Pakistan via the Wagah border with a visa to meet his Muslim sister and to remain as her guest.

His sister, 65-year-old Kulsoom Akhtar, could not control her emotions after seeing Amarjit.

Both hugged each other and kept crying. She had travelled from her hometown in Faisalabad along with her son Shahzad Ahmed and other family members to meet her brother.

Kulsoom said that her parents came to Pakistan from the suburbs of the Jalandhar region of India in 1947, leaving behind her younger brother and a sister, Express Tribune reported.

Kulsoom said she was born in Pakistan and used to hear about her lost brother and a sister from her mother. She said that her mother used to cry every time whenever she remembered her missing children. Kulsoom said that she did not expect that she would ever be able to meet her brother and sister. However, a few years ago, a friend of her father Sardar Dara Singh came to Pakistan from India.

Kulsoom’s mother told Singh about her son and daughter she left behind in India. She also told him the name of their village and the location of their house in the neighbouring country.

Amarjit then visited her house in Padawan village of Jalandhar and informed her that her son was alive but her daughter was dead. Her son was named Amarjit Singh who was adopted by a Sikh family back then in 1947, The Express Tribune reported.

After getting the brother’s information, Amarjit and Kulsoom Akhtar contacted on WhatsApp and using the Kartarpur Corridor and the meeting between the two siblings became a reality.

Now an elderly man, Sardar Amarjit Singh came to Gurdwara Sahib in a wheelchair. Kulsoom Akhtar also could not travel due to back pain, but she showed courage and reached Kartarpur from Faisalabad along with her son. Both the siblings kept crying while embracing each other and remembering their parents.

Amarjit said that when he first learned that his real parents were in Pakistan and were Muslims, it was a shock to him. However, he comforted his heart that many families were separated from each other in addition to his own family.

Many Muslim children became Sikhs and many Sikh children became Muslims, Express Tribune reported.

He said that he always wanted to meet his real sister and brothers. He said that he is happy to know that three of his brothers are alive. However, one brother who was in Germany has passed away.

He said he will now come to Pakistan via the Wagah border with a visa and spend time with his family. He also said that he will take his family to India as well so that they could meet their Sikh family. Both the siblings had brought many gifts for each other.

Shahzad Ahmad, son of Kulsoom, said that he used to hear about his uncle from his grandmother and mother. He said that all of the siblings were very young at the time of Partition and no name was given to Amarjit or perhaps, after so many years, the name had slipped out of mind.

“I understand that since my uncle was brought up by a Sikh family, he happens to be a Sikh, and my family and I have no problem with this,” he added.

Shahzad said that he is happy that even after 75 years his mother has found her lost brother.

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22 officers of different cadres to serve in J&K

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The Centre has relaxed Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) deputation rules to encourage IAS and other all-India service officers as well as those of the Central Services get posted in Jammu & Kashmir, in a bid to address the shortage of officers in the Union Territory.

Union Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh said that due to relaxation of DoPT rules, 22 officers belonging to various services and different cadres have been posted in Jammu & Kashmir at various levels at a crucial time.

He said that DoPT has played a major role in facilitating induction of Jammu & Kashmir Administrative Services officers into the IAS by coordinating with UT administration, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the UPSC.

As a result, recently 16 officers from JKAS have been inducted into IAS and another 8 such vacancies will be filled up shortly giving opportunities to the JKAS officers to become part of prestigious IAS service after a long gap of 12 years.

The Minister added that mid-career training of JKAS officers of various seniority was carried out in collaboration with the LBSNAA and this has provided a new level of exposure to the JKAS Officers and more than 200 offices. Some other initiatives by the Ministry include special concessions or incentives to the Central government employees working in the Kashmir Valley in attached and subordinate offices or PSUs falling under control of the Central government.

They have been extended special concessions for a period of 3 years with effect from August 1, 2021 and the incentives include an additional house rent allowance, composite transfer grant, per diem allowance, incentive for period of temporary duty, messing allowance, and facility to draw pension at place of settlement in relaxation of relevant provisions.

Besides, facilities for retention of general pool accommodation available to officers who have served in the Central government has also been extended to officers posted in Jammu & Kashmir on the pattern of northeastern states.

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