MADURAI THURSDAY AUGUST 4, 2022 `9.00 PAGES 12 LATE CITY EDITION OPPN TERMS SC’s PMLA VERDICT ‘DANGEROUS’, CALLS FOR REVIEW In a joint statement on Wednesday, opposition parties expressed “deep apprehensions” about the verdict’s long-term implications File picture of an all-party opposition meeting | ANI ALLEGES CENTRE WILL MISUSE THE JUDGMENT The Supreme Court had on July 27 upheld the core amendments made to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, which gives the Centre and the Enforcement Directorate virtually unbridled powers of summons, arrest, and raids. The Opposition parties said the BJP-led government, which “indulges in political vendetta”, will now increasingly target them | P7 ■ 17 AMENDMENTS VIA FINANCE ACT ROUTE ■ They expressed hope that the “dangerous verdict will be shortlived”, claiming the bench did not examine whether some of the amendments could have been enacted via the Finance Act NO . OF OPPOSITION PARTIES THAT SIGNED The Congress, TMC, DMK, AAP, NCP, SP, Shiv Sena, CPI-M, IUML and RJD were among the parties that signed the joint statement THE JOINT STATEMENT ON WEDNESDAY CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI Better law coming, data protection bill axed Govt will introduce a comprehensive legal framework; big tech won, government lost, says Congress MP Manish Tewari P R E E T H A N A I R @ New Delhi THE Union gover nment on Wednesday withdrew the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill 2019 from the Lok Sabha, saying it plans to bring in a comprehensive legislation soon. Announcing the decision, Union Information and Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the Joint Committee of Parliament has looked at the bill in detail and made 81 amendments and 12 recommendations towards a comprehensive legal framework on digital ecosystem. “Considering the JPC report, a comprehensive legal framework is being worked out. We will present a new bill that fits into this framework,” said Vaishnaw. The original bill, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2019, had evoked strong protests from Opposition parties and civil society members who alleged the proposed legislation gave sweeping powers to the government to access personal data of citizens. The bill was later referred to the JPC led by BJP MP P P Chaudhary. Among a slew of recommendations, the panel suggested a single law to deal with both personal and non-personal data. Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi, who is a member of the JPC, told this paper that he has flagged his main concerns as providing the government with powers to give blanket exemption to its probe Ashwini Vaishnaw NEW BILL LIKELY IN WINTER SESSION The government is likely to hold wide public consultation before bringing the new legislation to Parliament in the Winter session, sources said. There could be multiple bills dealing with privacy and cyber security agencies from the provisions of Act. “When privacy is a fundamental right, how can the government be allowed to exempt themselves from ensuring the privacy of a citizen?” he asked. He also said that the government should bring in the new law at the earliest. “We only hope that the government does not take too long to bring in the new Bill because Indians are still vulnerable to data theft and there is no legal framework to protect the privacy of data,” said Gogoi. Echoing similar concerns, Prateek Waghre, policy director at Internet Freedom Foundation, said the government should take JPC’s recommendations into account before bringing in a new bill. “The problem is that while on the one side we are debating the bill, the government is pushing ahead with a lot of other frameworks and digitisation programmes in the absence of a data protection regime,” he said. . Expressing disappointment, Congress MP Manish Tewari said a better legislation could have emerged had the bill been debated in the House. He said he had rejected the original data protectin bill in toto in the dissent note since it split the data universe into government, which was exempt, and the private sector where it would apply with full rigour. “Big Tech never wanted this Law. Big Tech won, India lost,” he said. JAB-O-METER TAKE YOUR SHOT Aug 2 19,90,703 doses Aug 3 34,67,924 doses TOTAL: 2,05,20,24,790 NATIONWIDE AUG 2 AUG 3 TAMIL NADU AUG 2 AUG 3 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 13,734 17,135 17,897 19,823 34 47 1,302 1,734 0 1,288 1,691 1 From Amma to Aavin: TN govt plans SC seeks ideas to set up a comeback in water bottle business panel on curbing freebies B A N B U S E LVA N @ Chennai The Young Indian Ltd office within Herald House that was temporarily sealed by the Enforcement Directorate in New Delhi on Wednesday | SHEKHAR YADAV Flutter as Cong’s Young Indian office is sealed lice has surrounded our HQ and homes of INC President and ex-President. This is the THE Enforcement Directorate worst form of vendetta politics. on Wednesday temporarily ...We will continue to raise our sealed the office of Young In- voice against injustices and dian Ltd within the premises of failures of Modi Sarkar!” National Herald, as part of its Leader of the Opposition in action in a money laundering the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun case for which both Congress Kharge terming the ED action leaders Sonia Gandhi and Ra- a “tactic to scare people”. hul Gandhi were preClarifying that the viously questioned. Kharge tied National Herald office The case pertains to within Herald House to sealing alleged financial irwas very much funcMallikarjun regularities during tional, the ED said the Kharge, the the acquisition of AsYoung Indian office principal officer alone was sealed as a sociated Journals Ltd (AJL) by the Gandhi- of the premises, temporary measure to briefly visited owned Young Indian preserve evidence that Herald House Ltd in 2010. could not be collected The ED action gal- during Tuesday’s as the authorised repraid but left vanised a section of resentative of the comthe Congress leader- without getting pany was not present the search on ship to hit back against during their raid. Young Indian the government, since Meanwhile, the Cona large police deploy- done. Whenever gress said it had rehe presents ment was parallelly ceived a Delhi Police himself, the seal letter saying its pronoticed at the party’s headquarters at 24, will be lifted, the test scheduled for AuED said Akbar Road and the gust 5 against price Gandhis’ residences at rise and the Agnipath Janpath Road and Tughlaq defence recruitment scheme, Lane. Barricades put up around would not be allowed. However, the Congress office and Sonia the party said all its MPs, and Rahul’s residences were Pradesh Congress chiefs and later removed. other senior leaders would take Reacting to the security cov- part in the protest march to the er, Congress general secretary prime ministers’ Jan Kalyan Jairam Ramesh tweeted, “Con- Marg residence and Rashtrapagress is under siege. Delhi Po- ti Bhavan. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi NEARLY a year after stopping the sale of Amma Kudineer drinking water bottles, the State government is planning to sell potable water in 1,000 ml and 500 ml bottles under the Aavin brand. Milk and Dairy Development Minister SA Nasar announced this on Wednesday . “We are examining the feasibility of setting up a drinking water bottle plant near Aavin dairies or in places owned by Aavin,” N Subbaiyan, milk commissioner and managing director of Aavin told TNIE. Aavin has three dairies at Sholinganallur, Ambattur and Madhavaram, and milk-product manufacturing units at Ambattur, Tiruvannamalai, and Erode. In addition, dairy plants at 25 district cooperative milk producers’ societies process milk and produce milk products. Sources in Aavin said the groundwater level and water quality are being tested in multiple places to set up water bottling plants. Amma Kudineer bottles were launched on September 15, 2013, by the then chief minister late J Jayalalithaa. Onelitre bottles were sold for `10 each at bus stands across Tamil Nadu, and production and distribution were managed by the State Express T r a n s p o r t C o r p o r at i o n (SETC). After the lone water bottling plant at Gummidi- 500 & 1,000 ml bottles likely to be sold. The plan is to set up bottling plants near Aavin dairies or in units owned by Aavin TO combat stigma against the SC community, Chief Secretary V Irai Anbu on Wednesday directed Collectors to stop using ‘thandora’ for public announcements, and warned of action against violators. He said loudspeakers and vehicles can be used to make announcements in interior areas. “Science has developed. Technology has flourished. So there is no need to continue the practice of thandora,” read a handwritten letter from Anbu, in which Collectors were told to pass on the instructions to village panchayats. Thandora is a traditional percussion instrument made of bamboo and cowhide. It’s an ageold practice to engage a thandora player to make important announcements. A few government departments, especially the revenue department, follow the system to alert people about floods and tax payments. But concerns have been raised since only members of the SC community are engaged to make thandora announcements. Villupuram MP D Raviku- EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @New Delhi THE Supreme Court on Wednesday sought suggestions from all stakeholders, including the Centre, Niti Aayog, Finance Commission and the RBI on the formation of a panel to brainstorm on curbing freebies announced by parties in the run up to the polls. A bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ram a n a a n d j u s t i ce s Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli said, “The Election Commission and the government cannot say that we cannot do anything about this.” The Centre, through Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, changed its position and supported the ban on freebies. He said, “The distribution of freebies inevitably leads to future economic disaster and the vot- MAAN KI BAAT: LUCK AND PLUCK F I R OZ M I R Z A @ Chennai SOMETIMES providence plays a different sport. Tulika Maan was not supposed to be there at the Commonwealth Games as her weight category was not selected by the federation. She had to deal with fate that had been flirting with her destiny. It was cathartic when the 23-year-old judoka on Wednesday stormed into the +78kg final to assure herself a CWG medal. Tulika was three when her parents separated and then her father was shot dead over business rivalry a few years later. Her mother, Amrita Singh, who is now an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) with the Delhi Police, raised her alone. Given her round-theclock job, she was forced to send Tulika to a hostel in Rewari. “I am in police, and be- cause of my job I can never be sure when I will retur n home,” mother Amrita, who is posted with Crime Branch, Fingerprint Bureau of Delhi Police, told this daily . Time passed and Tulika started practising judo and later trained with coach Yaspal Solanki. However, her choice of sport was bound to burn a deep hole in her mother’s pocket. “Most of the time, I sponsored her foreign trips. Those events were ranking tournaments and she had to compete there to earn points. My GPF (general provident fund) is already finished financing her Chief Secy shuts ‘thandora’ box to combat stigma S K U M A R E SA N @ Chennai poondi became dysfunctional owing to depletion of groundwater, the transport department permanently halted production of bottles last August. Initially the plan was to pro, duce three lakh bottles per day , but SETC managed to manufacture only about 95,000 due to the poor groundwater level and resistance from locals. Water bottles sold by SETC were popular among commuters since sale of fake branded water bottles was rampant at major bus stands. These ‘branded’ products were sold for `20 a litre. “The quantity of water bottles to be produced is yet to be decided. The bottles may be sold at Aavin outlets in bus stands and temporary parlours in public places,” said an official. REPRESENTATIVE PICTURE mar welcomed the move. “This is a historical step, and will help eradicate the social stigma against the community I have . been raising demands for this in the Assembly and the public domain for more than 15 years,” Ravikumar said, and urged the CM to pass a government order (GO) on the matter. Aranga Gunasekaran, president of Tamilaga Makkal Puratchi Kazhagam, said, “We welcome the move, but the government should say what penal action violators will face.” Professor A Marx, president of the National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations, said the government should use technology to delink certain other jobs from caste since many such practices are prevalent in villages. trips,” said the mother. Amrita still rues that she couldn’t see her daughter grow up. “I was not there when she needed me the most.” With the Games round the corner, the weight category in which Tulika competes was not included in the six quotas (3 men and 3 women). After a long fight, Tulika’s weight category was included and she cleared the selection trials. As fate would have it, she won India a medal at the Games. MORE ON: P11 ers also cannot exercise their right to make as an informed, wise decision.” The Centre had earlier sought to pass the buck to the poll body saying the ques, tion of freebies needs to be dealt with by the EC. The court, while listing the PIL of lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay for further hearing on Thursday said all stakeholders , should think on it and give suggestions. The PIL opposes the practice of par ties promising freebies during elections and demands that the EC invoke its powers to freeze their election symbols and cancel their registration. During the hearing, the bench said no political parties would like to debate it in Parliament as everybody wants this practice to continue, while reacting to a suggestion by senior advocate Kapil Sibal. IN THE SC BOXING High Court order for CBI probe against EPS axed Medals assured E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi LOVELY MOMENTS Nitu Ganghas beat Nicole Clyde in women’s 48kg to assure India first boxing medal. Mohd Hussamuddin ensured one more later WEIGHTLIFTING Medal for Lovepreet India’s Lovepreet Singh won a bronze in men’s 109 kg to continue the country’s medal rush in weightlifting Shuttlers win silver India lose to Malaysia in the mixed team event final EXPRESS READ Six TN sites among 10 in India to get Ramsar tag Law ministry asks CJI to recommend successor Chennai: Ten more Indian sites have got Ramsar recognition. Six are in TN — Koonthankulam Bird Sanctuary, Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve, Vembannur Wetland Complex, and Vellode, Vedanthangal, and Udhayamarthandapuram bird sanctuaries | P4 New Delhi: Chief Justice of India N V Ramana, who is set to retire on August 26, on Wednesday received a communication from the law ministry urging him to initiate the process to recommend his successor. Justice Uday Umesh Lalit is next in seniority to Ramana Locals to be exempt from paying toll: Gadkari New Delhi: Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said on Wednesday that when GPS-based toll collection starts, people living in the vicinity of the toll plaza won’t have to pay user fee. “In the new system, we will see that the city area will be eliminated and there will be no charge on the local people,” he said in the Rajya Sabha | P7 THE Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside a Madras High Court ruling ordering a CBI probe into allegations of corruption against former chief minister and AIADMK leader Edappadi K Palaniswami in awarding road contracts. A bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli asked the HC to decide on the complaint against Palaniswami without being influenced by earlier observations or orders passed in the matter. The Madras HC, after taking note of the plea of DMK leader RS Bharathi, had in October 2018 passed the order transferring the probe on his complaint of tender irregularities to CBI for “fair, reasonable and transparent probe”. “We don’t want CBI. We want an independent investigation,” senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Bharathi, told the apex court on Wednesday Sen. ior advocate Aryama Sundaram, appearing for Palaniswami, said a report filed by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) had P2 exculpated Palaniswamy . OPS plea on GC meet case AIADMK’s O Panneerselvam and P Vairamuthu have asked the HC to spare Justice Krishnan Ramasamy from hearing the case against the July 11 GC meeting, saying the latter handles the matter with a pre-concluded approach | P2
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