Under fire for scrapping NET, education ministry says it took proactive action

News Network
June 20, 2024

NET.jpg

Amid the massive row surrounding the cancellation of the UGC-NET exam, the Education Ministry has said that the test was scrapped because its integrity may have been compromised and has emphasised that it won't hesitate to take action against anyone.

Govind Jaiswal, joint secretary in the Education Ministry, told the media that the exam, for which over 11 lakh students had registered, was cancelled on the basis of inputs received from the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre. The exam, which was held on Tuesday, was cancelled yesterday.

"The matter has been handed over to the CBI for a thorough investigation. A fresh examination shall be conducted, for which information will be shared soon," he said.

The ministry, he said, will not hesitate in taking action against those involved in wrongdoing. "At this level, when the investigation is underway, we can't disclose more details. NTA has its own mechanism and a lot of other stakeholders are involved. This all is under investigation," he said.

The exam was conducted by the National Testing Agency, which is under fire for alleged irregularities in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for admission to medical colleges. A total of 24 lakh aspirants took the exam. Reports of irregularities have now prompted nationwide protests and triggered demands for a re-test.

The government, he said, has taken proactive steps.

The ministry official also responded to questions on why the exam was conducted in OMR (pen and paper) mode this time -- a shift from the earlier practice. "Based on NTA's experience of four years, inputs were received from different stakeholders and this decision was taken."

UGC-NET is a test to determine a candidate's eligibility for the post of assistant professor in universities and colleges, and also for the award of research fellowships. The Education Ministry yesterday ordered that the exam -- held Tuesday -- be scrapped after inputs that its integrity may have been compromised.

The cancellation of the UGC-NET examination amid the ongoing protests against the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) has provided fresh ammunition to the Opposition parties to target the Narendra Modi government ahead of the Parliament session.

The Congress described the Narendra Modi-led NDA government as "paper leak government". Other members of the INDIA bloc, including Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress and Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) have also slammed the government over the two exams.

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
July 10,2024

muslimSC.jpg

The Supreme Court today (July 10, 2024) held that a Muslim woman is entitled to file a petition for maintenance against her husband under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The Bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih dismissed a petition filed by a Muslim man's plea against the direction to pay interim maintenance to his divorced wife under Section 125 CrPC. The Court held that the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act 1986 will not prevail over the secular law.

Justices Nagarathna and Masih delivered separate but concurring judgments.

"We are dismissing the criminal appeal with the conclusion that Section 125 CrPC would be applicable to all women and not just married women," Justice Nagarathna stated.

The bench clarified that if during the pendency of a petition under Section 125 of the CrPC a Muslim woman is divorced, then she can take recourse to the Muslim Women(Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act 2019. The bench stated that the remedy under the 2019 Act is in addition to the remedy under Section 125 CrPC.

Background

For a comprehensive understanding of the facts of the case and the issue involved, click here.

Senior Advocate S Wasim A Qadri, appearing for the petitioner-husband, raised the following contentions:

(A) The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 Act ("Act") is a special law in the nature of beneficial legislation, which provides way more than what Section 125 CrPC contemplates. Besides maintenance, Section 3 of the Act also deals with mehr, dower and return of property. Under the Act, a "reasonable and fair" provision is also made for the divorced woman's entire life, but the same is not contemplated under Section 125 CrPC. Moreover, if the divorced woman has sufficient means, she cannot file for maintenance under Section 125 CrPC, however, that is the case with Section 3 of the Act.

(B) To the legal position flowing from Mohd Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum, factum of divorce was not relevant and every Muslim woman was entitled to maintain a Section 125 CrPC petition. To upset this ruling, the Act was enacted and it codified the Supreme Court judgment. The Act is a complete code in itself and a reading of its provisions would show that it was intended to have an overriding effect over Section 125 CrPC. While it makes provisions for "divorced" Muslim women, deserted or neglected Muslim women may resort to Section 125 CrPC.

(C) It is a settled position of law that special law (the Act) shall prevail over general law (CrPC). Language of the Act being clear, there is no reason for the Court to go beyond. It must simply give effect to what is stated in the Act.

(D) Section 5 gives an option to the divorced couple to not be governed by the Act. This shows that a Muslim wife cannot resort to both remedies.

(E) As per Section 7 of the Act, a Section 125 CrPC petition pending at the time of commencement of the Act was to be disposed of by the Magistrate in terms of Section 3 of the Act. This shows that the ambit of Section 125 CrPC in these petitions was to be interpreted in light of provisions of the Act, read with Section 5 CrPC (which excludes applicability of CrPC provisions when there is a special provision).

(F) Under doctrine of implied repeal, the Parliament is presumed to know pre-existing law and won't intend to create any confusion by retaining conflicting provisions. In applying this doctrine, Court must give effect to legislative intent of the two enactments (CrPC and the Act).

Amicus and Senior Advocate Gaurav Agarwal, on the other hand, put forth the following submissions:

(A) The Act only concretizes Muslim personal law. It broadens a divorced Muslim woman's entitlement to maintenance beyond the iddat period, but does not take away the relief available to her under Section 125 CrPC because the purpose behind the latter is different.

(B) The petitioner's reliance on Section 5 of the Act is misplaced, as that provision comes into play when an application has been filed under Section 3 of the Act. In the present case, the respondent-wife had approached the Court under Section 125 CrPC.

(C) Section 7 of the Act is only a transitional provision. If an application was pending under Section 125 CrPC on the date of commencement of the Act, it was to be subsequently governed by Section 3. However, that does not mean that Section 125 CrPC petitions could no longer be filed.

(D) In Danial Latifi & Anr v. Union Of India, Supreme Court only dealt with validity of the Act. Though the validity of provisions of the Act was upheld, the Bench questioned in the said case as to how it could deprive Muslim divorced women the same right which is available to other women in the country.

(E) As per Section 127(3)(b) CrPC, if some provision has been made under personal law, a husband may avoid liability for maintenance under Section 125 CrPC. It would be for Courts to record a fact-finding in this regard.

(F) Different High Courts have taken different views, so clarity on the issue has become necessary. Judgments that are no longer good law may be declared as such. Kerala High Court has taken a view both Section 125 (CrPC) petition and Section 3 (1986 Act) petition are maintainable, but a woman has to choose between one of the two. But this position is not correct.

Before conclusion of arguments, the Amicus also pointed to a scenario where a divorced Muslim woman may accept provision made under personal law for her entire life, but later realize that it was not sufficient. In that case, she can only approach under Section 125 CrPC and not under Section 3 of the Act. As such, she should not have to choose between the two remedies and must be entitled to both.

Court Observations during the hearing

During the hearing, the Bench remarked that Section 3 of the Act begins with a non-obstante clause. As such, it is not in derogation to what is already provided under Section 125 CrPC, but an additional remedy.

Justice Masih said : "this Act does not bar...it is the choice of the person who had applied or moved an application under 125...there is no statutory provision provided under the Act of 1986 which says that 125 is not maintainable". Concurring, Justice Nagarathna said that there was nothing in the 1986 law which barred one remedy in favor of the other.

When the Bench enquired as to whether the present petitioner had paid anything to the respondent-wife during the iddat period, answer was given in the negative. The Amicus clarified that a draft of Rs.15,000 was tendered by the petitioner during the iddat period, but the same was not claimed by the respondent-wife. Taking into account the same, the Bench said that it would still have been understandable if the petitioner had made provision for the wife during the iddat period, as in that case, Section 127(3)(b) CrPC may have come into play.

Responding to the petitioner's submission that none of the judgments cited by either side had dealt with Section 7 of the Act, Nagarathna J said that the provision was only with regard to pending cases (and thus, transitory). Countering the contention, the Amicus drew attention of the Court to a Kerala High Court judgment which considered Section 7 and held that it could not be interpreted as extinguishing the right of divorced Muslim women to file petitions under Section 125 CrPC.

Notably, the Kerala High Court (in the judgment cited by the Amicus) was of the view that the transitory provision was intended to do away with the necessity of Muslim women, who had Section 125 CrPC petitions pending at the time of commencement of the Act, having to file fresh claims under Section 3 of the special law. To quote the Bench,

"If the Parliament had the intention to extinguish such rights of the Muslim woman, it would only be reasonable to expect the Parliament to speak in definite and specific language about such extinguishment. Parliament must have been aware that when 1986 Act was enacted, number of orders must have passed in favor of divorced Muslim women under Section 125...Message appears to us to be loud and clear...Both rights, under Section 125 of the Code and Section 3 were conferred on the divorced women. She has the right to choose."

As against the petitioner's submission that the provisions of the Act indicate Parliament's intent to bar entitlement of Muslim women to file maintenance claims under Section 125 CrPC, the Court expressed an opinion that the same would be unconstitutional.

If the Parliament intended for divorced Muslim women to no longer be entitled to file petitions under Section 125 CrPC from the date of commencement of the Act, it could have explicitly given an overriding effect to the Act, the Bench remarked. To quote Nagarathna J, "In the absence of such a thing, can we add a restriction to the Act? That is the point".

After hearing the submissions of both the Senior Advocates, the judgment was reserved on February 19.

Counsels for petitioner-husband: Senior Advocate S Wasim A Qadri; Advocates Saeed Qadri, Saahil Gupta, Deepak Bhati and Shivendra Singh; AOR Udita Singh

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
July 16,2024

siddu.jpg

Bengaluru: The Karnataka cabinet on Monday approved implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission’s recommendations, effecting a 27.5% increase in basic pay from August 1, 2024, and benefiting 12 lakh state govt employees and pensioners.

The commission, led by former chief secretary K Sudhakar Rao, was constituted in November 2022 with a six month mandate.

The final report was submitted to chief minister Siddaramaiah before Lok Sabha elections were announced in March 2024.

The commission’s recommendations include raising the minimum salary for govt employees from Rs 17,000 to Rs 27,000 a month.

The implementation is expected to widen the revenue expenditure of the Karnataka govt by Rs 20,000 crore annually. The most considerable expenditure will be the burden of Rs 7,409 crore for salaries, followed by Rs 3,791 crore for pensions and family pensions each year.

The decision comes after the previous BJP govt, just before the 2023 assembly elections, granted interim relief with a 17% salary hike for govt employees, leaving the remaining 10.5% for future discussions.

After Congress govt took office, it faced pressure to fulfil five poll guarantees and delayed the decision.

The employees, during an executive committee meeting held recently in Chikkamagaluru, decided to launch a three-phase protest culminating in an indefinite strike planned from July 29. This appears to have pressured the govt.

"We welcome the decision for providing employees with 27.5% salary hike," said Shadakshari, state president of Karnataka state govt employees' association.

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
July 10,2024

bharatshetty.jpg

Mangaluru: BJP leader and Mangaluru City North MLA Bharath Shetty has been booked for his alleged comments against Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Rahul Gandhi, police said on Wednesday.

At a press conference here, Mangaluru City Police Commissioner Anupam Agarwal said that an FIR has been filed by the police in Kavoor police station over the complaint lodged by K Anil, a Congress corporator of the Mangaluru City Corporation.

In the complaint, the Congress corporator alleged that MLA Bharath Shetty had made a provocative statement taking the name of Rahul Gandhi.

Mr Agarwal said an investigation is on.

Meanwhile, Congress party workers and leaders on Wednesday continued their tirade against Mr Shetty over his remarks against their party leader.

At a gathering in Surathkal on Sunday, the BJP MLA, who represents Mangaluru City North had stated that Mr Gandhi should be "arrested inside Parliament and slapped". This statement had gone viral, and Congress leaders and workers expressed their displeasure over it in the media and on social media.

Addressing a press conference, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) Working President Manjunath Bhandary took a dig at the BJP MLA asking, "How will he enter Parliament? Will he carry a weapon to attack the Leader of the Opposition? Is Shetty a terrorist?" He further said, "I am certain that Bharath Shetty cannot even talk straight to a common worker of the Congress party, let alone confront Rahul Gandhi." 

Mr Bhandary attributed the main cause of BJP leaders' and legislators' outburst at Rahul Gandhi to Prime Minister Narendra Modi referring to the Congress leader as 'balak buddhi' (childish). This term must be expunged, he added.

He said that due to the behaviour of BJP MLAs in Dakshina Kannada district in recent days, "we are ashamed to elect MLAs from the coast". He accused the BJP of plotting riots because they "cannot accept the presence of the Congress government in the state".

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.