Delhi: Fixed electricity charges reduced, Arvind Kejriwal says no hike for fifth consecutive year

Power regulator Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission on Wednesday announced new tariff for the year 2019-’20 and brought down fixed charges for domestic consumers with sanctioned load of up to 15 kilowatt. However, it raised energy charges. Fixed charge is a part of the electricity bill that consumers have to pay even if they do not consume any unit of power.

‘While deciding forest rights claims, due process was not followed,’ eight states tell Supreme Court

At least eight states have told the Supreme Court that proper process was not followed while deciding the claims of forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribesand other traditional forest dwellers for forest land under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act of 2006

Janata Dal (Secular) expels three rebel Karnataka MLAs for ‘anti-party activities’: Reports

Janata Dal (Secular) on Wednesday expelled three rebel MLAs who had withdrawn their support to the coalition government in Karnataka. The order for disqualification was issued by party president and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, PTI reported.

The three legislators who have been disqualified with immediate effect are AH Vishwanath, K Gopalaiah and KC Narayanagowda.

J&K elections: Chief electoral officer meets officials, BJP wants polls to be held soon

Jammu and Kashmir’s chief electoral officer on Wednesday convened a meeting with district polls officials to review the Assembly elections process in the state. Chief Electoral Officer Shailendra Kumar will hold a video conference meeting with district election officers and other staff on August 2. Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party is preparing for Jammu and Kashmir polls and has appointed its Vice President Avinash Rai Khanna as its leader in charge of the state’s Assembly elections.

Amarnath Yatra suspended till August 4, says shrine board spokesperson

The Amarnath Yatra has been suspended till August 4 after the India Meteorological Department predicted heavy rainfall in Jammu and Kashmir over the next few days, a spokesperson of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board said on Wednesday.

‘Stop telecom officials from attending Huawei conference,’ Swadeshi Jagran Manch urges PM Modi

The Swadeshi Jagran Manch, an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop telecom department officials from attending a conference organised by Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. The group sent a letter to Modi, alleging that the officials would violate service rules by attending the event.

EWS reservations: Supreme Court reserves verdict on whether to refer pleas to Constitution Bench

The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its verdict on whether a batch of petitions to examine the validity of a constitutional amendment providing 10% economic reservation in government jobs and educational institutions should be referred to a Constitution bench. The petitions said that economic criterion cannot be the sole basis for granting reservation.

AgustaWestland case: ED makes a U-turn, tells court that key witness presumed dead is alive

The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday told a court in Delhi that a witness in the AgustaWestland case who they had claimed might be dead was in fact alive. The agency’s lawyer said “a little birdie” had told investigators that KK Khosla would be available for questioning in a day or two.

Cabinet approves bill to increase strength of Supreme Court judges from 31 to 34

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to increase the strength of judges in the Supreme Court from 31 to 34 to resolve the problem of pending cases in the top court. The strength was last increased from 26 to 31 in 2009, and all positions got filled recently for the first time in over a decade.

‘Are we delivering pizzas’: Derek O’Brien questions hurried passage of bills in Parliament

Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien on Wednesday attacked the government over the hurried passage of bills in the ongoing Parliament session. “Parliament is supposed to scrutinise Bills,” O’Brien said in a tweet. “Are we delivering pizzas or passing legislation?”

Maharashtra: At least 10 feared trapped as roof of building collapses in Solapur

At least 10 people are feared trapped after the roof of a building in Karmala town of Solapur district in Maharashtra collapsed on Wednesday. Seven people have been rescued so far, said Karmala Deputy Superintendent of Police Vishal Hire.

OPDs remain closed in state-run hospitals in West Bengal and Telangana in protest against NMC Bill

The outpatient departments, or OPDs, in most state-run hospitals in West Bengal and Telangana remained closed on Wednesday as doctors stayed away from providing non-essential services for a day in solidarity with the Indian Medical Association’s protest against the passage of the National Medical Commission Bill in Parliament. Emergency services and other departments, however, remained open.

VG Siddhartha’s death: Vijay Mallya claims government agencies can ‘drive anyone to despair’

Fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya, who is accused of cheating Indian public sector banks and is facing an extradition trial in the United Kingdom, on Wednesday drew comparisons between his case and that of Cafe Coffee Day founder VG Siddhartha. Siddhartha, whose body was found in the morning, was allegedly being harassed by the tax department.

J&K rains: Child killed after house collapses in Udhampur, landslide blocks Srinagar-Jammu highway

An eight-year-old boy was killed and a teenage girl was injured after their houses collapsed in heavy rain in separate incidents in Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir late on Tuesday. The 13-year-old girl is said to be in a critical condition.

Woman killed in cross-border shelling along Line of Control in Gurez sector in J&K

A woman who was hit by cross-border shelling along the Line of Control in Bandipora district in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday night succumbed to her injuries the next morning. Another civilian who was injured is in hospital.

Maharashtra: Seven killed, one injured after car crashes into tree on Mumbai-Bengaluru highway

Seven people were killed and another injured early on Wednesday after their vehicle crashed into a tree on the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway in Satara district of Maharashtra. Preliminary inquiries revealed that the deceased were residents of Dharwad and were heading towards the Mumbai airport.

Five men booked for allegedly beating 18-year-old to death for stealing mobile phone in Haridwar

The Haridwar Police on Wednesday said they booked five men the previous day for beating to death an 18-year-old man on suspicion of stealing a mobile phone in Pathri area. On Tuesday, a video of the five men beating Mohsin went viral on social media.

India had third-highest number of deaths of people defending their land in 2018: Report

Twenty-three people were killed in India last year for defending their land and environment, with only the Philippines and Colombia recording more deaths, human rights group Global Witness said in a report on Tuesday. The report, titled “Enemies of the State”, mentioned the deaths of 13 protestors allegedly in police firing in Tamil Nadu in May 2018 during the anti-Sterlite protests.

Parliament: Opposition walks out of Lok Sabha over car crash involving Unnao rape complainant

Opposition parties, including the Congress, walked out of the Lok Sabha on Wednesday demanding that the government respond to the car crash involving the Unnao rape complainant. Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury raised the matter in the House, saying Home Minister Amit Shah has not responded to the case despite the Opposition highlighting it repeatedly.

Maharashtra: Three NCP MLAs, one from Congress join BJP a day after resigning from parties

Three MLAs from the Nationalist Congress Party and one from the Congress joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday, a day after they resigned from the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. The lawmakers joined the BJP at an event in Mumbai in the presence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and state unit president Chandrakant Patil.

Uttar Pradesh: Muslim boy allegedly set on fire for not chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ dies in hospital

A 15-year-old Muslim boy from Uttar Pradesh’s Chandauli district who was allegedly set on fire for refusing to chant “Jai Shri Ram” died in Varanasi Divisional Hospital on Tuesday, The New Indian Express reported. “I was walking on Dudhari bridge when four men kidnapped me,” the boy had said on Sunday. “Two of them tied my hand and third one started pouring kerosene. After which they set me on fire and ran away.” He later said that he was forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram”.

Supreme Court orders Centre to take steps to regulate Ola, Uber cabs

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the Centre to take appropriate steps to regulate online cab aggregators like Ola and Uber. A bench headed by Justice SA Bobde was hearing a plea related to the safety of women. The bench, also comprising Justices R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai, asked the petitioner to give a representation to the Centre on the matter of regulating the online taxi services.

Unnao rape: CJI asks SC authorities why he was not shown the letter sent to him by complainant

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Wednesday expressed displeasure over not being shown a letter that the Unnao rape complainant reportedly wrote to him two weeks before she met with a car accident. In her letter, the woman had told Gogoi of a threat to her life, reports said.

Karnataka: BJP MLA Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri elected Assembly Speaker

Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri was on Wednesday elected Speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, ANI reported. Former Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar had resigned from his post on July 29, soon after the BS Yediyurappa-led Bharatiya Janata Party government won a floor test in the Assembly.

Toll in Bihar floods rises to 130, no new casualties reported in Assam

The toll in the floods in Bihar rose to 130 on Tuesday, with three more deaths reported – two from Darbhanga district and one from Supaul town. As many as thirteen districts in the state remained inundated. No new casualties have been reported from Assam. As many as 86 people have died in floods in the state so far.

Zomato says ‘food has no religion’ after customer wants food delivered by a Hindu

Food delivery company Zomato on Wednesday refused to resolve a customer’s complaint about being assigned a Muslim delivery executive for his food order in the “holy month” of Shravan. “Food doesn’t have a religion,” the company tweeted.

CBI books MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, 10 others in car crash involving Unnao rape complainant: Reports

The Central Bureau of Investigation booked MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and 10 others on murder charges in connection with a car crash involving a woman who had accused Sengar of rape in 2017. The CBI took over the case from the Uttar Pradesh police on Tuesday and as per normal procedure re-registered a first information report. The Uttar Pradesh government had recommended a CBI inquiry into the accident.

CJI Ranjan Gogoi allows CBI to file corruption case against Allahabad High Court judge

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Tuesday gave permission to the Central Bureau of Investigation to file a case against Allahabad High Court’s Justice Shri Narayan Shukla under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Karnataka: Kumaraswamy blames ‘internal bickering’ in Congress for his government’s collapse

Former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy blamed internal bickering in the Congress for the state government’s collapse, the Hindustan Times reported on Wednesday. He added that “invisible forces” had worked to stop the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition from surviving.

Rajasthan government introduces bills against caste killing and mob lynching

The Rajasthan government on Tuesday introduced bills in the Assembly to prevent caste killings and mob lynchings in the state. The bill to prevent caste killings has a provision of death penalty for the accused, said Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. The bill against lynchings proposes life imprisonment and fine up to Rs 5 lakh for those convicted of the offence.

Delhi government bans maker of Budweiser, Hoegaarden beers from market for three years

The Delhi government has banned Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, from the market for three years for allegedly evading taxes. A government investigation found that SABMiller, which Anheuser-Busch InBev purchased in 2016, used duplicate bar codes on its beer bottles supplied to city retailers that year, allowing the company to pay lower taxes. The order will hit the sales of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Hoegaarden beers in Delhi.

Pakistani Army claims one killed, nine injured in firing by Indian troops along Line of Control

The Pakistan Army on Tuesday said that one person was killed and nine others injured in “unprovoked firing” by Indian troops along the Line of Control. However, some reports said two people died and 19 were injured in the firing. The Pakistan Army claimed three Indian soldiers had died and many were injured in the firing.

Triple talaq bill is a ‘complete charade’ and against minorities, say civil society members

Several civil society members and organisations on Tuesday condemned the passage of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, in Parliament. They called the bill a “complete charade”, and said they would petition President Ram Nath Kovind urging him not to sign it into law. “We the undersigned groups and individuals condemn the government’s attempt to criminalise Muslim men in the guise of protecting Muslim women,” the statement read.

Cafe Coffee Day founder VG Siddhartha’s body found in Mangaluru

Cafe Coffee Day founder VG Siddhartha’s body was found on the banks of the Netravati river, near Hoige Bazaar in Mangaluru on Wednesday, two days after he went missing. Siddhartha was the son-in-law of Bharatiya Janata Party leader SM Krishna. “We found the body early morning today,” Mangaluru Commissioner of Police Sandeep Patil said.

Karnataka: Congress expels 14 rebel MLAs for ‘anti-party activities’

The Congress on Tuesday expelled 14 former Karnataka legislators whose resignations led to the collapse of the party’s ruling coalition with the Janata Dal (Secular) this month. The Congress party’s action came a week after the 14-month-old coalition lost the trust vote in the Karnataka Assembly. On July 23, the JD(S)-Congress coalition got votes from 99 MLAs in favour, while 105 legislators voted against it. The floor test was necessitated by the resignations of the MLAs. All the 14 legislators had abstained from voting in the trust vote.

Supreme Court asks why should court decide on MLAs’ disqualification when Speaker has the power

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked why courts should decide the disqualification of an MLA on grounds of defection when the Constitution has given the power to the Assembly Speaker. The court was hearing a plea filed by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader R Sakkarapani challenging a Madras High Court verdict.