HYDERABAD SATURDAY MAY 01, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 16 LATE CITY EDITION FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL SOLI SORABJEE PASSES AWAY Distinguished jurist and ex-Attorney General Soli Sorabjee, who appeared in many historic cases like S R Bommai, passed away on Friday SOLI SORABJEE 9 MARCH 1930 30 APRIL 2021 WAS ADMITTED IN HOSPITAL FOR COVID APPEARED IN MANY HISTORIC CASES He was admitted to a private hospital in South Delhi after getting infected with Covid-19. He is survived by wife, a daughter and two sons. A recipient of the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award of the country, the renowned human rights lawyer served as the Attorney General for India from 1989-90 and then from 1998-2004 ■ ■ Born in a Parsi family in 1930, Sorabjee enrolled at the bar in 1953 and was designated senior advocate by the Bombay HC in 1971 He appeared in many important cases including the Kesavananda Bharati matter on basic structure doctrine and the S R Bommai matter relating to invocation of President’s rule in states 2000-2006 SORABJEE SERVED AS A MEMBER OF THE U.N. WORLD COURT AT THE HAGUE FOR SIX YEARS CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI NATIONWIDE ON THE WARPATH Eatala faces Bring it on, KCR probe in ‘fighter’ Min ‘kabja’ row dares leader V V B A L A K R I S H N A @ Hyderabad IN a significant political development, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Friday ordered a high-level probe into an alleged encroachment of assigned lands by Health Minister Eatala Rajender. The CM instructed Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar to get an inquiry done by the Medak District Collector on the complaints of encroachment of lands on the outskirts of Achampet in the district. Rao directed Somesh to submit a comprehensive report on the matter. The CM also instructed Vigilance DGP Purnachandra Rao to find out if there was any truth in the allegations. He insisted that the preliminary inquiry was carried out immediately . With the CM ordering a probe into the allegations of land-grabbing against the Health Minister, it appears that the reported differences Talk of town between the duo have reached a point of no return. This eiThe news ther means that Rajender alleging Eatala’s may resign from his post in involvement in the near future or Rao may encroachment of drop him from the Cabinet. lands was It may be mentioned that covered by news Rajender’s relationship with channels, the CM has remained cold for including TRS a while now. He has been in mouthpiece the news for his controversial T-News. It comments against the governcarried the story ment, albeit indirect ones. Rawith the tagline, jender had also claimed that “Aarogya his community (BC) were the Mantriki Kabja owners of the TRS, and Rogam” strongly opposed the domination of upper-caste leaders in politics. Earlier, there were also reports that Rajender would float a new regional party though , he was quick to dismiss these claims. On Friday the CM, who is currently quaran, tined at his farmhouse in Erravalli, reacted to news alleging Eatala’s involvement in encroachment of lands, which was covered by vernacular news channels, including the T-News, the mouthpiece of the TRS. T-News carried the story with the tag line, “Aarogya Mantriki Kabja Rogam” (Health Minister gripped by land-grab disease). According to complainants Erukula Yellaiah, Chakali Krishna, and others, Rajender encroached around 20 acres of assigned lands in Achampet village. They alleged that his aides Suri and Sudhakar Reddy even threatened that P5 they would block the road to their lands. Health Minister Eatala Rajender addresses a press conference at his residence in Shameerpet on Friday E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Hyderabad HOURS after Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao ordered a probe into allegations of landgrabbing, Medical and Health Minister Eatala Rajender reacted in equal measure, daring the Chief Minister to order a probe by even by a sitting judge. “I fought, even when I had nothing. I am a fighter and will not succumb to the pressure now. My atmagouravam (self-respect) is I fought, even more important than any when I had post. But my work and dhar- nothing. I will not ma speak for themselves,” Ra- succumb to the pressure now. My jender said. atmagouravam is Terming the reports in a more important few news channels, including than any post. But T-News, as “fictitious” and an my work and attempt to assassinate his dharma speak for character, Rajender said he themselves was ready for any kind of Eatala Rajender, probe into his assets and how TS Health Minister he had acquired them by “any investigation agency on earth including the CBI”. “The truth will triumph ultimately he asserted. The Minister did not say ,” anything against the Chief Minister, but felt that the government should have sought his explanation before ordering a probe. Rajender appeared determined to take the issue to its logical end and face the Chief Minister politically “The word . dora is very cheap. I have always fought against doratanam (fiefdom),” Rajender recalled. The tone and tenor of Rajender, who spoke to the media on Friday night, indicated that he had decided to fight it out on a political plane. In a calculated move, Rajender threw the ball right back into the CM’s court by demanding a probe by any agency and indicating that KCR was in the know about the assigned lands issue. Rajender said he would not resign as a Minister, P5 till the probe unravelled the truth. No lockdown, but night curfew till May 8 in TS E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Hyderabad CONTRARY to expectations that there would be a total lockdown for a few weeks in view of the sharp rise in Covid-19 cases, the Telangana government merely extended the night curfew in force in the State till 5 am on May 8. Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar issued an order to this effect on Friday . The government took the decision after the High Court asked it to spell out what it had intended to do, with the night curfew coming to an end at 5 am on May 1. The government imposed the night curfew on April 20 for a period of 10 days, exempting hospitals, pharmacies, medical diagnostic laboratories from its purview. The Telangana High Court, which resumed the hearing of the case on Friday morning, expressed displeasure once again with the government for failing to take a decision on the extension of curfew and other measures necessary to curb the spread of Covid-19. The court said it would be forced to issue orders on the extension of night curfew if the government did not make up its mind within 45 minutes, and adjourned CONTINUED ON P2 the case to the afternoon. EXPRESS READ Covid scare hits voter turnout in ULB polls Hyderabad: Barring stray incidents, polling to Greater Warangal and Khammam Municipal Corporations, and five municipalities — Siddipet, Jadcherla, Kothur, Atchampet and Nakrekal — and casual elections for one ward in Nalgonda, Parkal, Bodhan, Gajwel and Lingojiguda, passed off peacefully on Friday. Many voters in these ULBs stayed away from the polling, owing to pandemic scare, as a result of which the polling percentage went down this time | P2 APRIL 29 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths JAB-O-METER A Covid-19 patient awaits admission for treatment at Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital in Ajmer, Rajasthan on Friday | PTI INDIA TO GET 5 MN DOSES OF RUSSIAN VACCINE BY JUNE India will get 5 million doses of Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V by June, India’s ambassador to Russia Bala Venkatesh Varma said on Friday. “We expect 1.5-2 lakh readymade vaccines to be available in the early part of May. This will be increased by the middle and the latter part of May,” Varma said TAKE YOUR SHOT APRIL 30 3,79,257 2,69,507 3,645 3,86,452 2,97,540 3,498 April 29 20,84,931 doses April 30 26,08,948 doses TOTAL DOSES: 15,48,54,096 OUR IPL SPACE A government school in Edamuri, Pathanamthitta (Kerala) is taking up veg cultivation to feed nearby villagers. The headmaster, teachers & staff have been cultivating vegetables in the one acre free land in the campus | P11 FIR on O2 appeal to draw contempt: SC K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi COMING down heavily on states that had ordered registration of FIRs against individuals appealing for help or sharing grievances on social media or elsewhere during the ongoing Covid pandemic, the Supreme Court on Friday warned that any such action will be treated as a contempt of court. A three-judge bench comprising justices D Y Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhatt said, “We will treat this as contempt of our court. Let us hear the voices of our citizens and not clampdown.” The bench was hearing a suo motu case on the national plan to manage the Covid surge. The Uttar Pradesh government had recently ordered civil and criminal action against those making false appeals over social media seeking help for Covid-19. Regarding the situation in Delhi where there is an acute paucity of oxygen and ICU beds, the bench urged the Centre to expedite plans to save lives. It also asked the AAP government to adopt a coop- erative attitude and a spirit of dialogue with the Centre. The bench posed 10 questions to the Centre, adding: “Our hearing must make a difference.” A detailed order will be available on Saturday. The next hearing is slated for May 10. The judges questioned the national vaccination programme with Justice Bhat asking Solicitor General Tushar Mehta why the Centre cannot buy 100% of the requirement. Sharing concern over the possible exclusion of the marginalised communities from the drive, the court said, “Fifty-nine crore Indians in 18-45 age group constitute a large segment. How will the poor and marginalised people find money to get vaccinated? We cannot have this private sector model.” Turning to the procurement policy, the bench said the jabs the states have to procure are overpriced. “AstraZeneca is providing vaccines at a far lower price to the US. Then why should we be paying so much? Manufacturers are charging you `150 but `300 or `400 to states,” Justice P7 Ravindra Bhat said. GOVT’S SPECIAL ROLE TO HELP DELHI Delhi represents people from the entire country, the bench said. “Centre has a peculiar role. Forget if someone wasn’t able to lift oxygen; you (Centre) have to push through to protect lives.” POSER 10 POINT Mechanism to show real time data on oxygen allocation to hospitals doable? Restrictions to curb spread of Covid; measures to ensure tankers and cylinders reach destination? How to enable vax registration for illiterates or those without internet access? Will one state get priority access over another to get jabs? How will manufacturers ensure equity? Has Centre considered invoking Section 92 of the Patents Act to grant compulsory licences in the face of an emergency like this? New variant isn’t getting detected in RT-PCR test. Medical centres are driving away patients without positive report or charging high sums. What’s the policy in place? How have testing labs been directed to track second mutant variant? How is reasonable time frame met for reports? What steps to regulate very high hospital bills? What about shortage of med staff? How are docs safeguarded and treated for Covid? How much oxygen will be made available to critical states? Sedition law under apex court lens E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi AMID rising instances of state governments slapping charges of sedition against dissenting individuals, the Supreme Court on Friday sought response from the Centre on a plea challenging the Constitutional validity of the law. A bench justices U U Lalit, Indira Banerjee and K M Joseph were hearing a plea challenging section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, which penalises sedition. The plea, filed by journalists Kishorechandra Wangkhemcha and Kanhaiya Lal Shukla — working in Manipur and Chhattisgarh, respectively — have urged the top court to declare Section 124-A as unconstitutional. The SC will give a detailed hearing in July. This comes months after a similar plea was dismissed by the court. The petition claimed that section 124-A infringes the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression, guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. FIRs were registered against them under Section 124A for comments and cartoons shared by them on Facebook. There is frequent misuse, misapplication and abuse of Section 124-A since 1962, the petition said, adding that the abuse of a law, in itself, may not bear on the validity of the law but clearly points to the vagueness and uncertainty of the current law.
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