Tuesday, December 17, 2013


By sagarmedia on December 17, 2013 | Edit

Rupesh Paul’s Kamasutra 3D makes a proud entry at the prestigious contention list of the 86th Academy Awards, with selection in the three categories – Best Motion Picture, Original Score and Original Song with 5 songs. It is the only movie from India contending in the music category lists. The results were announced on December 16, 2013 by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences on its official website:
Presented by Dr. George John (GJ Entertainments) and produced under the house of Rupesh Paul Productions Ltd. (RPPL), in co-production and project design by Sohan Roy, Kamasutra 3D is the only movie with 5 songs after The Great Gatsby to be selected in the Original Song category. The songs include – Aygiri Nandini, Saawariya, I Felt, Of Soil and Har Har Mahadeva – composed by Chennai based music directors, Sachin & Sreejith while its lyrics are penned by Rupesh Paul and Pratyush Prakash. Also scripted and penned by Rupesh Paul, the movie is set in the backdrop of the real historical milieu portraying the journey of a soulful love embodied with betrayal and war. It weaves the transformative changes in body, mind and soul by the forbidden world of sexual love and sensuality.
Recently, with the release of its work-in-progress trailer, Kamasutra 3D critically came out to be more of a Hollywood war based epic movie than a classic erotica, it hyped to be with the sensuous Sherlyn Chopra, initially. Director Rupesh Paul however confirmed that though the trailer portrays a mismated story now, he would not disappoint his viewers expecting the movie to be a classic erotica. Speaking on the Oscar entry, he stated, “Probably now we have an answer for all of them who claimed the movie to be a soft porn. Hopefully, they know that soft porns are not eligible for the Academy Award nominations”. He also claimed that he would like to genre his movie as musical than epic or erotica as he assures that Kamasutra 3D is influenced with its melody over the drama.
After creating the best of pre sale records at the Cannes Film Festival 2013 and the American Film Market 2013 with its sale in most of the territories, Kamasutra 3D is all hopeful to make it in the final nominations of the categories in the 86th Academy Awards to be announced on January 16, 2014 in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.
Kamasutra 3D has been slated for a May 23, 2014 release after its premiere.

Parliamentary bloopers; Judiciary ailing from ‘Uncle Judges’ Syndrome

National Social Watch releases 7th Citizens’ Report on Governance and Development 2013

NEW DELHI, 17th December:
The National Social Watch Report on Governance and Development 2013, released today in Delhi, highlighted that 31% of MPs in Lok Sabha has pending criminal cases against them. The average salary package of each MP is 68 times higher than the percentage income in the country and total value of assets of 4 MPs is Rs. 29.2 billion. 

In a continuing effort to make the governing institutions more accountable “7th CITIZENS’ REPORT ON GOVERNANCE AND DEVELOPMENT 2013 evaluates all four apex institutions of governance namely the Parliament, the Executive, the Judiciary and local governing bodies.

This report was released by Honorable Justice Ananga Patnaik, Supreme Court of India and Shri Satyanand Mishra former Chief Information Commissioner, Central Information Commission.

Chief Guest Justice Ananga Patnaik said ““The Supreme Court (SC) is increasingly acquiring the character of a general court of appeal by routinely entertaining special leave petitions (SLPs) which do not involve important constitutional and substantive legal issues. As on date more than 50% of pending cases in SC are SLPs’.

Guest of honour Shri Satyananda Mishra said that RTI people are watching government. More than 4 million people have applied for information from government institutions and organizations. He further pointed out “What is government? We say government is Ministers, but in reality  government consists of more than 30 lakhs of government employees.”

NSW spokesperson Amitabh Behar said, “The value of Indian MPs’ pay and perks is higher than their counterparts in Singapore, Japan, Italy and Pakistan. In terms of the ratio of pay package to national per capita income, India ranks second after Kenya and pays almost double than the US. Political parties work less for and in Parliament to perform their designated functions as people’s representatives and legislators. Increasing resort to ‘street politics’ within the two Houses has compromised its efficiency as crucial Bills remain pending for years, or passed without sufficient deliberations. This work culture has only a negative impact on institutional effectiveness and its relevance as an institution of change that keeps the government on its toes.”

Shri Jagadananda, President of NSW said that the Social Watch process is a proactive engagement of citizen groups towards building active citizenship in the country and thereby improving the efficiency and effectiveness of these institutions.

John Samuel founding member of NSW, mentioned “It is an effort to reclaim institutions of governance to people”.  He further added that the finding of the report points out that there is a huge gap between the promises of democratic institution and the real performance.

The key highlights of the report are as follows:
  • 577 hours and 442 hours lost in disruptions and forced adjournments in the 15th Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha sessions respectively
  • MPs pay package 68 times higher than the per capita income of the country;  paid higher than Japan, Singapore, Italy and Pakistan amongst others
  • 48420 and 32742 unstarred questions asked in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha sessions
  • Only 10% of starred questions were answered orally
  • Only 23% bills were passed as compared to the planned 94; 18% of bills passed in less than 5 mins in Parliament in the year 2011; Sensitive bills pending over a long time
  • Parliamentary committees unproductive too
  • 152 MPs (31%) with criminal cases in the 15th Lok Sabha; Nearly 17% of women MPs of the 15th Lok Sabha have criminal cases pending against them
  • Total value of assets of 542 MPs (Lok Sabha) is 29.2 billion, with an average of 53.8 million each
  • Stagnation in social sector spending from the union budget
  • One farmer committed suicide in every 32.75 minutes (half an hour); 256,913 farmers committed suicides between 1995 and 2010
  • Total Expenditure from Union Budget would shrink from 14.9 percent of GDP in 2012–13 (Budget Estimates/BE) to 14.6 percent of GDP in 2013–14
  • CAG Scrutiny of PPP; estimate 3,84,000 crore being implemented and no one to monitor?
  • Reach of the Judiciary remained low due to huge backlog and complicated processes
  • The number of pending cases has increased from 2.81 crore in 2004 to 3.17 crore in 2011
  • Rajya Sabha has longer pendency of bills which accounted for 37 pending bills in 2012
  • The amounts Rs.5,799.3 cr. in 2010-11 and Rs.9,963.9 cr. in 2011-12 allocated for about 2.5 lakh Local Governing Bodies looks peanuts compare to about Rs.4,000 cr. per annum allotted to about 800 MPs (as pocket money) under the local area development (LAD) programme

The parliament in India has emerged as an institution that fosters political competition that has over the years paved the way for the marginalized to obtain a share in political power. Yet, its efficiency, effectiveness and relevance has been compromised to an extent due to the developing parliamentary culture of disruption, which is considered the only effective method of drawing attention of the government by the opposition parties.

According to the report, budget-sessions, monsoon-sessions and winter-sessions each – saw the Lok Sabha working for an average of less than four hours of work per day during its 227 sittings in 852 hours, that is, less than two-thirds of scheduled six hours per day, losing in the process about 577 hours in disruptions and forced adjournments.  These nine sessions witnessed 4,224 starred questions and 48,420 unstarred questions being admitted and answered. While during the proceedings 139 government Bills were introduced and 119 were passed, 514 reports of the Parliamentary Committees, including Departmentally Related Standing Committees (DRSCs), were presented.

 About National Social Watch (NSW)
National Social Watch (NSW) is a research and advocacy organization that monitors the functioning and efficiency of key governance institutions; their commitment towards citizens and practice of democratic values. As the national secretariat of the National Social Watch Coalition (NSWC), it steers a broad-based network of civil society organizations and citizens spread across the country. It also collaborates with Social Watch International.

For further information please contact:
Neeraj Shorya, neeraj@impactpr.in, 9310333595
Parul Kohli, parul@impactpr.in, 8010133598
Impact Public Relations Pvt. Ltd.

Neeraj Shorya
Sr. Media Associate
Impact Public Relations Pvt. Ltd.
Mobile- 9310333595

Corporate Office Address:
D – 464, Palam Extn. Sector 7
Dwarka, New Delhi – 110 075
email: neeraj@impactpr.in

SC asks UP Police not to take coercive action against Taslima

SC asks UP Police not to take coercive action against Taslima
In a relief to controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasrin, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked Uttar Pradesh Police not to take any coercive action against her in connection with an FIR lodged by Muslim cleric Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan. 
In the meantime, no coercive action be taken,” a bench headed by Justice B S Chauhan said after brief arguments advanced by senior advocate K K Venugopal on behalf of the author that the issue pertains to human rights and her interest be safeguarded. 
Seeking response from UP administration, the bench, however, made it clear that so far as the quashing of FIR is concerned, this plea cannot be entertained at this stage.
It also said that the plea seeking scrapping of Section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act can be clubbed with other similar pleas which are pending hearing in the apex court. 
Section 66 (A) of the IT Act provides for arrest of a person hurting the sentiments of others through offensive remarks or information through electronic media, including social networking sites. 
During the hearing, Taslima’s advocate said that an FIR has been lodged without any preliminary enquiry by UP Police on a complaint based on a news report. 
“The FIR has been lodged by a person who has issued a fatwa, putting Rs five lakhs as bounty on my head,” he said. 
Referring to the contents of the FIR, he said her twitter posts were related to the meeting of Aam Aadmi Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal with Khan for seeking support of Muslims in the elections. 
“Why did he (Kejriwal) go to a person who had issued a fatwa against me for seeking support. He did not go to common Muslims,” the counsel said. 
The court, which said it may consider any plea seeking transfer of the case outside Uttar Pradesh, has now fixed the matter for further hearing in the second week of Januar


Antony : Face-offs between Indian, Chinese troops can occur

Face-offs between Indian, Chinese troops can occur: Antony
Not ruling out the possibility of incidents such as face-offs between their troops, Defence Minister A K Antony on Monday said India and China have now decided to resolve such issues amicably through the existing mechanisms. 
On the incident where five Indian nationals were apprehended by Chinese troops inside Indian territory, he said the Indians apprehended by PLA troops were civilians and not Army personnel and the matter was resolved amicably. 
“Now our decision is to maintain peace and tranquility. Whenever any incident takes place, that possibility cannot be ruled out as the boundary is very long….both sides should come together and resolve its amicably,” the Defence Minister said. 
He was asked to comment on the situation along the Line of Actual Control in the sidelines of the Vijay Diwas to mark Indian victory in the 1971 war with Pakistan. 
On the boundary talks with China, the Minister said the country should not “expect miracles” in these parleys. 
“Don’t expect miracles in resolving the issue. What we are trying is that till a satisfactory solution on boundary issue is found, whenever incidents take place on border, through discussions and official mnechanism, resolve those issues. Of late, we have been able to resolve the issues without much delays. That is an improvement,” he said. 
On the impact of the newly-signed Border Defence Cooperation Agreement, he said, “After the agreement, by and large, whenever any issue arises, we are able to resolve it as quickly as possible. It does not mean that there would not be any issues as long as the India-China border issue is unsettled, there can always be possibility…” 
He said during his and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to China, both the countries had decided to mantain peace and tranquility along the LAC. “We have been able to take a decision, till we find a peaceful solution to the boundary issue,” he said.


India asks US diplomats to return IDs

Diplomat row:
Diplomat row: India asks US diplomats to return IDs
In an escalating diplomatic row, India has asked the US to return IDs issued to all its consular officers posted in the country, a move which may be a precursor to reviewing immunity and benefits enjoyed by them as a protest to the treatment meted out to India’s Deputy Consul General in New York. 
“Government has asked the US to return the ID cards given to their consular officers posted in India,” Government sources told. 
It is understood that the government intends to review the immunity and benefits enjoyed by US diplomats. 
Significantly, the review comes after India reacted sharply to Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade being arrested and handcuffed in public in New York on visa fraud charges last week by summoning US Ambassador Nancy Powell and issuing a demarche in this regard. 
The displeasure was also evident among leaders and officials of Indian government.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde today cancelled his meeting with a senior US Congressional delegation ostensibly as a mark of protest against the treatment meted out to Khobragade. 
On Monday, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had cancelled her meeting with a senior US Congressional delegation due to the same reason. 
National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, who also had a scheduled meeting with the five-member US team, did not meet them, apparently for the same reason. 
The delegation comprised Congressmen George Holding (Republican – North Carolina), Pete Olson (Republican – Texas) David Schweikert (Republican – Arizona), Robert Woodall (Republican – Georgia), Madeleine Bordallo (Democrat – Guam). 
39-year-old Khobragade, a 1999-batch IFS officer, was taken into custody last week on a street in New York as she was dropping her daughter to school and handcuffed in public on visa fraud charges before being released on a USD 250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.


Srinagar experiences coldest night



Dal Lake Onto freeze  
Parts of Dal Lake freeze, Srinagar experiences coldest night
Parts of the famous Dal Lake and other water bodies froze in Srinagar as the cold wave continued in Kashmir Valley where Srinagar city witnessed the coldest night of the season at minus 3.7 degrees Celsius. 
Srinagar city, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, witnessed the coldest night of the season as mercury dipped to minus 3.7 degrees Celsius as compared to Friday’s minus 3.5 degrees Celsius,a MeT Department official said in Srinagar.
The subzero temperature in the city for nearly a week now has resulted in partial freezing of Dal Lake and other water bodies. 
Leh, in the cold desert of Ladakh, recorded a drop of over one degree in the minimum temperature from the previous nights seasons lowest of minus 13.0 degrees Celsius to settle at a low of minus 14.2 degrees Celsius. 
This was the season’s lowest temperature in Leh which continues to remain the coldest place in the state. 
The night temperature in the nearby Kargil town also decreased slightly to register a low of minus 10.8 degrees Celsius as against the previous nights minus 10.4 degrees C. 
The minimum temperature in the tourist resort of Pahalgam settled at minus 6.6 degrees Celsius as against the previous nights minus 7.2 degrees Celsius.
The famous ski-resort of Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 2.4 degrees Celsius, an increase of three degrees from the previous nights minus 5.4 degrees Celsius. 
Qazigund, the gateway town to Kashmir, recorded a minimum of minus 4.8 degrees Celsius as compared to minus 4.3 degrees Celsius the previous night.
Kupwara town in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 4.3 degrees Celsius as against minus 5.1 degrees Celsius the previous night. 
Kokernag in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 3.6 degrees Celsius as against the previous nights minus 3.8 degrees Celsius. 
The weather in Kashmir continues to remain dry except for a light snowfall at some places in the higher reaches on Wednesday and the MeT Department has said there would not be much change in it. 


Arab League chief to push for more cooperation in India

Arab League chief to push for more cooperation in India
The chief of Arab League Nabil el-Araby will arrive in India on Tuesday where he will meet top leaders and will sign a Memorandum of Cooperation to deepen economic and cultural relationship between the two. 
Araby will meet External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Vice President Hamid Ansari during his visit. 
This will be Araby’s first visit to India since assuming the post of Secretary General of the Arab League.
Araby, former Foreign Minister of Egypt, was the Egyptian Ambassador to India in the early 1980s. 
The new MOC and Executive Programme (EP) will represent a significant upgrade in the relationship between India and the Arab League.
Under the proposed EP, there will be an annual senior officials meeting in which senior diplomats from the 22 Arab members states will meet with their counterparts from India and every two years. 
A Ministerial meeting between the Arab League and India will also be held under the new programme.
It also proposes an Arab-India Partnership Summit in the field of trade and investment, an Indo-Arab Cultural Festival, cooperation in the energy sector, agriculture, education and human resources, as well as the media. 
A conference of the Presidents of prominent Indian universities with their counterparts in the Arab world is also being planned in Kuwait in 2014.
The Arab world is one of the largest partner of India with over USD 110 billion in trade


Lal Thanhawla sworn-in as Mizoram CM

Lal Thanhawla sworn-in as Mizoram CM<br />
Lal Thanhawla, who steered Congress to a landslide victory in Mizoram, was sworn-in as Chief Minister by Governor Vakkom Purushothaman on Saturday.
He was sworn-in and administered oath of office along with his 11-member council of ministers at the Raj Bhavan in Aizawl.This is Lal Thanhawla’s second consecutive term and the fifth overall term as Chief Minister. Of the 11 Ministers sworn-in on Saturday seven are of cabinet rank and the rest are Ministers of state.
Two cabinet Ministers R Romawia and John Rotluangliana are new faces.
They served as speaker and deputy speaker respectively in the previous Ministry.
The other cabinet Ministers are R Lalzirliana, Lalsawta, H Rohluna, Zodintluanga and P C Lalthanliana.
The Ministers of state are Lalrinmawia Ralte, C Ngunlianchunga, Lal Thanzara and B D Chakma are Ministers of state.
Lalthanliana was a Minister of state in the previous Ministry, while Lal Thanzara, who is the brother of the Chief Minister, was a parliamentary secretary as was Lalrinmawia Ralte.
The other two ministers of state are fresh faces in the house.
Mizoram bucked the trend in the last round of assembly elections in five states with Congress retaining power by winning 34 of the 40 seats in the house, polls for which were held on 25th November.
Thanhawla first became the chief minister in 1984 when the party swept the polls defeating the then ruling People’s Conference Party led by Brig Thenphunga Sailo.
In the later part of 1986, he vacated the chair to enable erstwhile underground Mizo National Front leader Laldenga to be installed as chief minister in the MNF-Congress coalition interim government.
Thanhawla returned to power for a second time in 1989 when the Congress and MNF (Democrats) formed the government.
In 1993, he became Chief Minister for the third time when the Congress and Mizoram Janata Dal formed the government.
The Congress was defeated by the MNF in 1998 and in 2003. Thanhawla became Chief Minister for the fourth time in 2008.


Kapil: Homosexuality ruling: Govt promises urgent steps

Homosexuality ruling: Govt promises urgent stepsUpdated on : 14-12-2013 08:32 AM
The Govt on Thursday promised urgent steps to overturn the Supreme Court ruling declaring homosexuality as illegal amid indications that it could file a curative petition in the apex court.
“We will have to change the law. If the Supreme Court has upheld that law, then we will certainly have to take firm steps. Change has to be made fast and any delay cannot take place. We will use all means available to make changes at the earliest,” Law Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters in New Delhi on Thursday in the wake of an uproar over the ruling. 
Asked whether government could bring a legislation to amend section 377 of the IPC, he said at this stage “time is of the essence. We must decriminalise adult consensual relationships.” 
Responding to questions on the options available with the government, he said “one of the opinion could be to bring it to Parliament at the earliest. The other opinion could be to approach the Supreme Court or take any other route. We will adopt the approach which will give us quick results.” 
Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the Supreme Court ruling was wrong and all options would be looked at to set right the apex court order. 
Terming the judgement “disappointing”, he said the court should have applied “current social and moral values” in the case. 
He said the government should file a review or curative petition and that the matter should be heard by a five-bench judge. 
Chidambaram, the former Home Minister, said the Delhi High Court judgement was a well-researched one which the Union government accepted and did not challenge in the Supreme Court. 
He noted that the bench that gave the order, should have referred the matter to a five-judge bench and that the interpretation of law cannot be static. 
When asked why the government did not amend section 377 while amending the rape laws in the wake of Delhi gang-rape incident, Chidambaram said the High Court judgment laid down section 377 only in a limited manner. 
“They decriminalised homosexuality only among consenting adults and in private. Therefore, there was no need to amend section 377…section 377 can remain, because between two non -consenting adults it still remains a crime. 
“So, there was no occasion to amend the section. And the amendment of the section was necessary only after the final announcement of the judgment. The case was pending in the Supreme Court and there was no occasion to amend it,” he said. 
He said the government’s decision of not opposing the High Court judgement in the Supreme Court was also his party’s view. 
Expressing similar views, Sibal said millions of people are effected by the judgement. 
“And I don’t think we should expose those millions to section 377 of the IPC and we are very firm about this.” 
He said in 21st century archaic laws of the nature that are reflected in section 377 should stay as part of the penal code. 
“I think these laws must be reversed and contemporaty world do not accept the values of the 19th century.” 
Responding to suggestions that flip flops by the government in the past had resulted in the SC verdict; Sibal insisted that there was absolutely no flip flop. 
“In fact, the Attorney General appeared for us in the Supreme Court. He made elaborate arguments supporting the judgement of the High Court. He also filed written submissions and the Government of India took a very firm position that the judgement of the High Court needs to be sustained and this law is anachronistic and there is absolutely no flip flop as far as the Government of India is concerned.
“There will no flip flop in any event because we are absolutly firm on decriminalisation of adult consensual relationships,” he said. 


Centre’s approval not required in court-monitored probe: SC

Centre’s approval not required in court-monitored probe: SC 
The Supreme Court on Tuesday held that no approval from the Centre is required by CBI to prosecute senior bureaucrats in court-monitored corruption cases, strengthening the arms of the agency to go ahead against the officials without taking prior sanction from government. 
A three-judge bench headed by Justice R M Lodha cleared the deck for the agency to prosecute bureaucrats allegedly involved in coalgate scam without waiting for government’s sanction. 
The bench passed the order in one of the applications filed in coal blocks allocation scam seeking its direction to do away with the provisions of prior sanction of the Centre in cases monitored by court. 
“Sanction is not necessary under section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act when the case under the Prevention of Corruption Act is monitored by court,” the bench said. 


SC ruled that same sex couples could face life in prison

Dear friends,
India’s top court has just ruled that same sex couples could face life in prison. But outrage is building and if we show how far the judges are out of step with society, we can help get a successful review of the case, and set love free again! Sign the petition:
Two judges have just made same sex love illegalILLEGAL!! But if we act fast we can help reverse this backwards ruling. 
Adults in India now face life imprisonment just because of who they love. Outraged, several groups are rushing for a review, and as one judge just retired, they could win. But only if enough people across India raise our voices before the review request is filed in the next few days. 
Let’s help love conquer fear in India and demand that our justices recognise how far attitudes in India have come since the law was passed in 1860! Sign and share the petition below to make love legal, when 100,000 have signed we’ll take out prominent adverts to be sure we get the judges’ attention: 
In 2009, the Delhi High Court made a landmark decision saying that sex between two consenting adults in private could not possibly be an offence. People rejoiced, hailing this as the beginning of a journey where love and identity would no longer be attacked.
But this week the Supreme Court shocked the country by overturning this ruling in an shocking and endorsing the 1860 colonial era law which says that gay sex is “unnatural, immoral and a reflection of a perverse mind.”
How can love be a crime? This ruling is regressive and many fear the law will be used to target the some of the most vulnerable people in India. Now that one of the decision-makers is to be replaced, it’s possible the court would reverse its ruling. Sign the petition and embrace love! 
In most of the world, gay rights have gone through a watershed decade. People everywhere are realising, if they hadn’t already, that love is love and deserves respect and protection. But this didn’t happen by accident — it happened because of conscientious communities like ours who called out injustice wherever we saw it. India is now the next frontier — let’s join together to stand up for love.
With hope and determination,
Meredith, Shreya, Alice, Alex, Dalia, Ricken and the entire Avaaz team

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