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1400 HRS

20th September, 2017


  • Madras High Court says, no floor test in Tamil Nadu Assembly till further orders; Hearing in the case challenging disqualification of 18 dissident AIADMK MLAs on.
  • Death toll in the Mexico earthquake rises to 248; Dozens of buildings severely damaged in Mexico city and nearby states; Emergency declared.
  • Indian Meteorological Department withdraws warning of heavy rainfall in Mumbai and nearby areas.
  • Union Home Ministry gives final chance to IGNOU, Mumbai University and ICMR to retain their licences for foreign funding on disclosure of annual income and expenditure by 18th October.
  • Supreme Court directs Unitech to pay litigation cost to home buyers who have succeeded before the grievance redressal commission.
  • And in Badminton,  K. Srikanth, H.S. Prannoy and Sameer Verma enter second round of Japan Open Super series.


In Chennai, in the case challenging the disqualification of the 18 dissident AIADMK MLAs, the Madras High Court adjourned the case to October 4th as more time was sought from the Speaker’s side to file a detailed reply. The court also asked not to notify that the constituencies occupied by the disqualified MLAs are vacant. The direction has restrained the Election Commission from initiating the process of bye-elections in those constituencies till the court makes any further direction. It is also being interpreted by legal professionals as restraining any trust vote till October 4th, the date of next hearing. The court in another related case earlier restrained the Speaker from going ahead with any move to conduct floor test. However, the disqualification of the MLAs by the Speaker has not been stayed by the court today.

The bunch of petitions filed by the disqualified MLAs came up for hearing today before Justice Duraisamy. On behalf of the petitioners, senior counsels Dushyant Dave and Salman Khurshid appeared and said the Speaker’s action is not in conformity with the provisions of the Anti-Defection law. They pointed out that in the AIADMK, Mr O.Panneerselvam and his faction MLAs before the merger with the Edappadi K Palaniswamy camp voted against the Government in the House during the February trust vote. They said no action has been initiated against them. Rather, Mr Panneerselvam has been accommodated in the cabinet as the Deputy Chief Minister. The counsels said their clients approached the Governor only against the Chief Minister adding, they were not against an AIADMK Government. They also said the Speaker’s decisions can be subjected to judicial review as has been done in many occasions in the past. Countering the averments, Mr Arima Sundaram, the counsel to the Speaker said irrelevant claims are being made in the Court that are not pertinent to the case at hand.


At least 248 people have been killed in a powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Central Mexico, including 21 children, who were crushed under an elementary school building that was reduced to rubble. Major Jose Luis Vergara of the Mexican navy said another 30 to 40 people remained trapped inside, while 11 children have been rescued so far. Civil Protection  Agency said the deaths were reported from the capital Mexico city, Morelos,  Puebla, and in Guerrero. Dozens of buildings have been severely damaged in densely populated parts of Mexico City and nearby states. Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said buildings fell at 44 places in the capital alone. A state of emergency has been declared in Mexico City. 3.8 million households are reported to be without electricity, and gas services have also been cut off in some areas. President Enrique Peña Nieto said priority at this moment is to keep rescuing people who are still trapped and to give medical attention to the injured people. The US Geological Survey said, the epicenter of the latest 7.1 quake was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 123 kilometers southeast of Mexico City.

The destruction revived horrific memories in Mexico on the anniversary of another massive quake in 1985, the disaster-prone country's deadliest ever. Mexico City's international airport closed for more than three hours following the quake. The stock market was forced to shut.


Hurricane Maria, the second maximum strength storm to hit the Caribbean this month, killed at least one person in the French island territory of Guadeloupe and reached the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said, a rare Category 5 storm Maria, churned in the Virgin Islands with maximum sustained winds of 280 kilometer per hour. It will cross Puerto Rico today and pass the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic tomorrow. 3.5 million people of Peurto Rico have been asked to go to safer places. The storm is moving roughly along the same track as Irma, the other category five hurricane of the season.



Indian Meteorological Department has withdrawn the warning of heavy rainfall for Mumbai and nearby areas. IMD has informed there will only be intermittent rains for the next 48 hours at a few places. The downpour accompanied by thunder and lightning started yesterday afternoon.

"According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's disaster management cell, no untoward incident has been reported so far. State government has instructed schools and colleges in Mumbai Metropolitan Region to remain closed today. Flight operations at the Mumbai airport remain affected for the second day today. Due to the downpour, five long distance trains of the Western Railways have been cancelled. While the vehicular movement on both the Eastern and Western Express Highways is normal, traffic snarls are witnessed on few roads of the city in low lying areas, where water-logging can be seen. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's disaster management cell informed that the weather station at Colaba in south Mumbai recorded 210 mm rain from 8.30 am yesterday to 8.30 am today, while the observatory in suburban Santacruz recorded 303.7 mm rain during the period. With Prarthna, Pooja Pal , AIR News Mumbai."


As the south west monsoon weakens in Kerala, the state is still reeling under  rain related disasters. The meteorological department predicts widespread rain in the coming 2 days across the state and strong rain is expected after the 25th of September. Our correspondent reports certain areas of the northern districts of Kerala are receiving rain. Efforts are on in the landslide hit Attapady region to repair the damaged road  and restore connectivity. The water in Kuttanad region in Allapuzha is receding. Authorities have started the process of estimating the extent of damage caused by the recent rain in the state.


Union Home Ministry  has given a final chance to IGNOU, Mumbai University and ICMR to retain their licenses to receive foreign funding if they disclose to the government their annual income and expenditure statements by October the 18th after paying penalty. These are among 4,842 institutes and organisations which have been granted permission to retain their Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, FCRA licenses.

Official sources said FCRA registration of 18,681 organisations and institutes were cancelled for not filing returns for five consecutive years, 2010-11 to 2014-15, despite being served repeated notices.      

No organisation is allowed to receive funds from abroad unless it is registered under the FCRA. It is mandatory under the law for such organisations to submit income and expenditure statement to the government annually else their registration is cancelled. 


In a first of its kind order, the Supreme Court today directed Unitech to pay litigation cost to home buyers who have succeeded before the grievance redressal commission in their lawsuit against the real estate major. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and  Justice D.Y. Chandrachud directed the real estate major to pay Rs 80,000 each as litigation cost to 39 flat buyers in one of the developer's projects.The court directed Unitech to pay the amount of the litigation costs within four weeks to buyers who have succeeded before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) in getting their principal amount and interest.


The Supreme Court today put an end to the old practice of allowing senior lawyers to mention cases seeking their out-of-turn listing and hearing. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also made clear that now onwards only Advocates-on-Record (AoR) would be authorised to mention cases for out-of-turn hearing. Yesterday, the court had expressed annoyance after a lawyer complained that while his senior colleagues were being allowed to mention matters for urgent hearing, junior members of the bar were denied such opportunities.


In Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistani troops today opened fire at an Army patrol along the Line of Control in Keran sector. An Army official said that necessary and adequate response has been given to the Pakistani firing. However, according to police sources four jawans were injured as Pakistani troops targeted a foot patrol of the Army at Gogaldara. One of the jawans who was airlifted to Army's 92 Base Hospital is in a critical condition.


A delegation of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, (GJM) led by Union Minister S S Ahluwalia yesterday met Home Minister Rajnath Singh and called for tripartite talks to resolve the Gorkhaland issue. Speaking to the media after the meeting GJM Central Committee Member  Swaraj Thapa said, they have demanded tripartite talks adding that they expect a positive development within a few days. He said, the tripartite meet should involve the Centre, the West Bengal government and the GJM. The five-member delegation also  sought central intervention in ending the ongoing crisis.


President Ram Nath Kovind today said, the real goal of education is to provide best human beings and doing so will be a great service to entire humanity. He was speaking on the occasion of the Golden jubilee celebration of New Delhi's Jesus and Mary College. He said, the Christian community has a special role in academic excellence of the country. He appealed to the students to use knowledge to enhance welfare of the under privileged in society.

"The goal of education is not just to acquire knowledge , that is only a starting point. It is much more critical to use the knowledge one gets from education to enhance the welfare of the less privileged among us. The truly educated are not those who collect degrees but those who use these degrees to underline his  policy to become nation builders in our society." 


Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu has said the dream of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas is incomplete unless the fruit of development reaches everyone.  Addressing a National SC/ST Hub meeting in New Delhi today, he said government is working in multi-dimensional manner for the development of the nation.  He said there is a need for a special focus in integral approach to increase the number of micro, small and medium enterprises. The Vice-President asserted that there is no dearth of skill in the country, the need of the hour is to give people an atmosphere and a helping hand to hone their skills.  Union Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot, Jual Oram, Giriraj Singh and Shiv Pratap Shukla were also present on the occasion. 


At the stock markets, after a positive opening, the Sensex at the Bombay Stock Exchange gave up all of its initial gains in afternoon trade, and had declined 16 points, to 32,386 a short while ago. The Nifty at the National Stock Exchange had dropped 9 points, to 10,139. Other key regional bourses in Japan, China, Hong Kong, south Korea and Singapore were trading mixed. And at the forex market , the rupee had weakened one paise, to 64.34 against the dollar in afternoon deals.


Indian shuttlers were off to a good start at the Japan Open Superseries in Tokyo with top players Kidambi Srikanth, H.S. Prannoy Sameer Verma and Saina Nehwal sailing through to the second round of  their singles matches. While eighth seeded Kidambi overcame a strong Chinese opponent Tian Houwei, the World No.10, H.S. Prannoy defeated Anders Antonsen of Denmark. Sameer Verma made it to the second round defeating Kosit Phetpradab of Thailand in straight games. However, It was the end of the road for Sourabh Verma and B. Sai Praneeth in their respective men’s singles openers. Ace  shuttler Saina Nehwal also began her challenge in the Japan Open with a victory. In the first round, Saina defeated Thai Pornpawee Chochuwong. In mixed doubles, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa also advanced to the second round as they beat Thai pair Tinn Isriyanet and Pacharapun Chochuwong.


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