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President Appoints Modi as PM-designate; Oath on June 9 at 7:15 PM

President Droupadi Murmu has invited Narendra Modi to form the government for the third time after the NDA and BJP leaders expressed their support.

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President Appoints Modi as PM-designate
(Photo | President of India/@rashtrapatibhvn)

President Droupadi Murmu on Friday invited Narendra Modi to form the government for the third consecutive time, following the submission of letters of support from leaders of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) parties and the BJP Parliamentary Party electing him as their leader. The swearing-in ceremony for the third Modi government will take place on Sunday at 7:15 pm.

“The President, having satisfied herself on the basis of the various letters of support received, that the BJP-led NDA alliance, which is also the largest pre-election alliance, is in a position to command majority support of the newly constituted 18th Lok Sabha and to form a stable government, appointed Shri Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of India exercising powers vested in her under Article 75(1) of the Constitution of India,” read a communique from the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Modi addressed reporters after the meeting, saying, “The President had just called me now, and has appointed me the Prime Minister designate.” BJP sources indicated that 30 ministers could be sworn in alongside Modi.

Earlier in the day, leaders and members of the NDA Parliamentary Party and the BJP Parliamentary Party convened at the Central Hall of Parliament to propose Modi’s name as their leader and the leader of the Lok Sabha, effectively making him the PM elect. The presence of NDA leaders underscored their collective support, and the BJP expressed appreciation for the coalition.

Former BJP Chief Rajnath Singh moved a resolution to propose Modi’s name, seconded by Amit Shah, followed by Nitin Gadkari, former Karnataka CM and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy, TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu, JD(U) leader and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde, NCP’s Ajit Pawar, Lok Janshakti Party leader Chirag Paswan, HAM’s Jitan Manjhi, Apna Dal (Sonelal)’s Anupriya Patel, and Jana Sena’s Pawan Kalyan.

In his speech to the gathering, Modi emphasized that the country had chosen the NDA, a grouping that has been in existence for the last three decades. He criticized the Congress, noting its declining presence in the Lok Sabha compared to the BJP. Modi expressed a desire for more parliamentary debate, particularly from the Opposition. Following the meeting, he visited party veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi at their residences.

Calling the NDA an “organic alliance” established by stalwarts like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Parkash Singh Badal, Balasaheb Thackeray, George Fernandes, and Sharad Yadav, Modi described it as an all-encompassing tree. He highlighted the alliance’s success over 30 years, with 15 years in power, and entering their fourth term. He noted that the NDA governs 22 states, including seven of the ten states where the tribal population is a decisive majority.

“To run a government, you need a majority, but to run a country, you need unanimity,” Modi said, asserting that the NDA government will remain in power for the next decade.

He also mentioned the BJP’s power in Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh, and the NDA’s governance in Andhra Pradesh and Sikkim. Modi expressed gratitude to party workers in southern states, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Jammu and Kashmir.

Chandrababu Naidu credited Modi’s tireless work for the success of the TDP and Jana Sena combine in Andhra Pradesh. Naidu mentioned that Modi’s rallies reassured people of the Centre’s support, which was crucial for their victory.

Nitish Kumar, with a lighthearted remark that drew laughter from Modi and others, expressed optimism about the progress of Bihar’s work. He praised the unity of the NDA and expressed a desire for immediate swearing-in, humorously alluding to minor setbacks in the term but predicting a stronger next term.

During the meeting, BJP leaders ensured Modi’s significance was highlighted, with senior NDA leaders awaiting him on the dais and welcoming him with chants of “Modi,” “Modi.” However, they adjusted their slogans from “ab ki baar Modi Sarkar” to “ab ki baar NDA sarkar” to reflect the coalition’s importance.

Before concluding his speech, Modi addressed the Opposition, stating that he does not believe they are against the nation but against the BJP. He expressed hope for more debate in this term, something he felt was lacking in the previous decade.

India

Supreme Court declines to hear plea against ‘Hamare Baraah’.

Following the court’s observation, Basha chose to withdraw the plea, which the top court allowed.

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Supreme Court declines to hear plea against 'Hamare Baraah'.
Hamare Baraah

The Supreme Court of India on Friday declined to entertain a plea questioning the alleged derogatory dialogues and scenes in the Annu Kapoor-starrer movie ‘Hamare Baarah‘. The court noted that the film was being released with necessary cuts. A bench consisting of Justices Vikram Nath and S V N Bhatti observed that they were not inclined to hear the plea on its merits, which was filed by Syed Ahamed Basha.

High Court

The bench emphasized that the movie had been screened and reviewed by the judges of the Bombay High Court. They had directed the deletion of a few scenes, shots, and dialogues which were deemed objectionable. Consequently, the court found no reason to consider the plea further. Following the court’s observation, Basha chose to withdraw the plea, and this withdrawal was permitted by the top court.

The petitioner, Basha, represented by his counsel Syed Mehdi Imam, had challenged the certification granted to the film by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). The plea asserted that the director and producers of ‘Hamare Baarah’ had targeted a specific community, portraying Muslim women in a demeaning manner as slaves and chattels exploited by male members of the community.

The plea also highlighted a specific grievance regarding the misinterpretation of Chapter 2 of the Holy Quran. It argued that the film projected a distorted view, suggesting that the Quran ordained Muslim males to treat Muslim females as chattel and exploit them in any manner. This portrayal, according to the plea, was not only a gross misrepresentation but also intended to malign the religion of Islam and the Muslim community as a whole.

Certain Muslim intellectuals had voiced their objections to the film, arguing that it grossly misinterpreted Islamic teachings and aimed to damage the reputation of the religion and its followers. The Bombay High Court had intervened on June 19, directing the producers to remove the objectionable content after they agreed to delete the controversial portions from the film.

‘Hamare Baarah’, featuring notable actors such as Annu Kapoor and Ashwini Kalsekar, was released in theatres across India on Friday, June 21. Despite the controversies surrounding it, the film hit the screens after complying with the directives of the Bombay High Court, which had seen the expunging of the disputed scenes and dialogues.

The refusal of the Supreme Court to entertain the plea signifies the judiciary’s stance on respecting the due process followed by the CBFC and the High Court in addressing concerns about the film. It underscores the balance between creative expression and sensitivity towards community sentiments.

The controversy around ‘Hamare Baarah’ brings to light the broader debate on freedom of expression versus the need to avoid content that can potentially hurt religious or community feelings. While filmmakers are entitled to their creative freedoms, they must also navigate the complex landscape of societal values and legal regulations that aim to maintain communal harmony.

As ‘Hamare Baarah’ continues to screen in cinemas, it will be seen whether the controversy affects its reception among audiences. The film industry and audiences alike will watch closely how such issues are handled in the future, setting precedents for both artistic expression and the respect for religious sentiments. The outcome of this case may influence future decisions regarding the portrayal of sensitive subjects in Indian cinema.

In conclusion, the Supreme Court’s decision to decline the plea against ‘Hamare Baarah’ while noting the corrective measures taken highlights the judiciary’s role in balancing the scales of justice, ensuring that neither creative freedom nor community sentiments are unduly compromised. This case serves as a reminder of the intricate dynamics at play in the world of film and the ongoing dialogue between art, law, and society.

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NEET-UG row: Supreme Court refuses to defer counselling

The Supreme Court rejects deferment of NEET-UG 2024 counselling despite ongoing controversies and petitions over alleged exam irregularities and paper leaks.

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NEET-UG row: Supreme Court refuses to defer counselling
(Supreme Court of India | Representational Image)

The Supreme Court of India, on Friday, refused to defer the counselling date for the NEET-UG 2024 examination, scheduled to commence on July 6. The apex court emphasized that the counselling process is not an “open and shut” procedure and needs to proceed as planned to avoid further delays.

Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court issued notices to the National Testing Agency (NTA), the Central Government, and other involved parties, seeking their responses to a petition calling for the cancellation of the NEET-UG 2024 exam due to alleged irregularities during the exam held on May 5.

A two-judge vacation bench comprising Justice Vikram Nath and Justice SVN Bhatti presided over the hearing on three pleas related to the alleged NEET UG exam irregularities. These pleas were filed by individuals named Hiiten Singh Kashyap, Floral Vyas, and Sunil Jain. They sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the alleged paper leak, the cancellation of the NEET-UG 2024 exam, and a postponement of the counselling process, among other requests.

During the hearing, a lawyer representing one of the petitioners requested the postponement of the counselling scheduled to start on July 6. The lawyer pointed out that the Supreme Court had already scheduled a hearing for the batch of petitions challenging the NEET-UG exam on July 8. However, the court refused to delay the counselling process, emphasizing its procedural nature.

“Counselling is not open and shut. It is a process. That process commences on 6th (July). It may be for four days or five days, or a week. But, afterwards, within that week, applicants have any number of options to amend/modify etc. We are allowing time not to be lost, either by this side or that side,” the Supreme Court stated in its order.

The controversy surrounding the NEET-UG 2024 examination arose from allegations of a paper leak, irregularities, and other malpractices. Various students and educational institutions approached the Supreme Court and several State High Courts, seeking directions and orders against the NTA. On Thursday, the Supreme Court stayed proceedings on related pleas filed before various State High Courts, consolidating them with pending pleas before the apex court. The consolidated matters are scheduled for a hearing on July 8, after the court’s summer vacation.

More than 35 petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court, including a recent one by a group of 20 students who took the NEET-UG exam. These petitions demand the cancellation of the NEET-UG 2024 exam and call for an apex court-monitored probe by the CBI or another independent agency into the alleged irregularities.

In response to the allegations, the NTA recently informed the Supreme Court that the scorecards of 1,563 candidates who received “grace marks” in the NEET-UG 2024 will be annulled. These students will be given the opportunity to retake the exam. The NTA explained that a committee had been formed to review the results of these candidates, who were awarded grace marks to compensate for time lost during the exam.

The Supreme Court’s decision to proceed with the counselling as scheduled highlights the importance of maintaining timelines in the admission process while also addressing the serious allegations surrounding the NEET-UG 2024 exam. As the apex court prepares to hear the consolidated pleas on July 8, the outcome will significantly impact the future of the students involved and the integrity of the examination process.

The controversy and subsequent legal proceedings underscore the critical need for transparency and fairness in national-level entrance examinations like NEET-UG. Ensuring that the examination process is free from irregularities and malpractices is essential to maintain the trust of students, parents, and educational institutions in the system.

As the situation unfolds, the Supreme Court’s forthcoming decisions will be crucial in addressing the grievances of the petitioners and determining the course of action for the NEET-UG 2024 examination. The integrity of the examination process and the future of thousands of aspiring medical students hang in the balance.

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North India Heat Wave: 143 Lives Lost, 42,000 Heat Stroke Cases

Severe heat wave in India has resulted in 143 deaths and 41,789 suspected heat stroke cases from March 1 to June 20, 2024, according to Health Ministry sources.

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North India Heat Wave: 143 Lives Lost, 42,000 Heat Stroke Cases
(Representational Image)

A severe heat wave has swept through large parts of India, resulting in a tragic toll: 143 deaths and 41,789 reported cases of suspected heat stroke from March 1 to June 20 this year, according to sources from the Health Ministry.

Impact of Severe Heat Wave

The situation escalated dramatically on June 20 alone, with 14 confirmed deaths and nine suspected deaths due to heat stroke. These numbers reflect a significant increase from the earlier reported toll of 114 deaths for the same period.

The worst affected states include Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Bihar, and Rajasthan, as per data collected under the National Heat-Related Illness and Death Surveillance by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). Uttar Pradesh recorded 35 deaths, followed by Delhi with 21, and Bihar and Rajasthan each reporting 17 deaths due to heat stroke.

In Delhi, hospitals such as RML and Safdarjung reported approximately 17 fatalities within a 24-hour period, all suspected to be related to heat-induced illnesses. Officials caution that these numbers are preliminary, as data from various states is still being compiled and verified, potentially leading to higher casualty figures.

Responding to the crisis, Union Health Minister JP Nadda conducted a review meeting where he instructed all states and union territories to submit daily reports from health facilities detailing suspected heat-related deaths. This directive comes in light of the absence of comprehensive national data on heat stroke cases and fatalities.

Furthermore, Minister Nadda emphasized the importance of disseminating timely heat wave warnings issued by the India Meteorological Department (IMD). These warnings, provided daily after 4 p.m., include forecasts for the next four days and are crucial for alerting health facilities and vulnerable populations.

To address the escalating health crisis, the Ministry of Health has issued an advisory to all state health departments for the ‘Heat Wave Season 2024’. The advisory mandates thorough investigations of suspected heat-related illnesses and deaths by qualified medical officers or epidemiologists for each case.

In addition, Minister Nadda proposed the establishment of special heat wave units within central government hospitals to provide immediate care to individuals affected by heat stroke.

As northern and eastern India continue to endure scorching temperatures, the number of heat stroke casualties is expected to rise. The ongoing heat wave underscores the critical need for proactive measures and robust healthcare responses to mitigate the impact on public health.

In conclusion, while efforts are underway to monitor and manage the heat wave’s effects, vigilance and swift action remain imperative to safeguard vulnerable populations during Heat Wave Season 2024.

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