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QBullet: Asaram Imprisoned for Life; Indu Malhotra to be SC Judge

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1. Asaram Gets Life in Prison Until Death

A Jodhpur court on Wednesday convicted self-styled godman Asaram of raping a teenager in August 2013 and sentenced him to life in prison until death, the maximum punishment prescribed by the law for the offence. Judge Madhusudan Sharma also convicted two other accused, Shilpi and Sharatchandra, and sentenced them to 20 years in jail. Two other accused, Prakash and Shiva, alias Sawaram Hethwadia, were acquitted.

Asaram, 79, who runs ashrams and has millions of followers in India and overseas, was convicted in a closed jailhouse court in Jodhpur where hundreds of policemen stood guard on Wednesday. He was arrested in Indore and brought to Jodhpur on 1 September 2013, to face trial in the case in which he was accused of raping a girl who was then 16 at his ashram in a village near the Rajasthan city.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

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2. Indu Malhotra ‘Cleared’ for SC, But Joseph Still on Hold

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Indu Malhotra. 
(Photo: Lawctopus/Image Altered by The Quint)

Senior advocate Indu Malhotra is likely to take oath as a Supreme Court judge on Friday, with sources saying the government has cleared her appointment. However, the name of Uttarakhand high court Chief Justice Kuttiyil Mathew Joseph, the chief bone of contention between the SC collegium and the government, remains on hold.

The collegium, headed by CJI Dipak Misra, had created history by picking Malhotra as the first woman advocate to be recommended for appointment as an SC judge. All the women SC judges, six in all, had so far been elevated from high courts.

3. Never Directed Aadhaar-Mobile Number Linkage: SC

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Image used for representational purposes. 
(Photo: Altered by The Quint)

The mad rush to link mobile phone numbers with Aadhaar supposedly to comply with a directive of the Supreme Court was uncalled for. The apex court on Wednesday clarified that it had not ordered mandatory linkage, and said the government misinterpreted its 6 February 2017 observation and insisted on doing it.

“In the Lokniti Foundation case, the SC has not directed linking of SIM with UID. But the Union government’s circular says so. There was no direction by the court...” Justice DY Chandrachud said during the hearing before a bench that included Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AK Sikri, A M Khanwilkar and Ashok Bhushan.

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4. DNA Samples Lead CBI to Shimla Rapist-Killer

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The sun rises in the Kothkai forest.
(Photo: Aishwarya S Iyer/The Quint)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday alleged that a 25-year-old lumberjack identified by DNA testing raped and killed a 16-yearold girl in Kotkhai near Shimla last year, exonerating six people arrested by Himachal Pradesh police in the case.

The rape and murder of the school girl led to widespread protests in Himachal and when one of the six suspects arrested by the state police – Suraj Kumar – died in custody, allegedly after he was severely beaten, protests intensified and led to the case being transferred to the CBI in July last year.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

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5. Naga Accord is Nearly Final: No Change in State Boundary, Removal of AFSPA, Flag Last Hurdle

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Image of a Naga rebel used for representational purposes. 
(Photo: Reuters/Altered by The Quint)

The Central government and Naga armed groups are said to have finalised the substantive portions of the peace accord which is likely to be signed before the monsoon session of Parliament. The final draft of the accord, which hopes to finally bring India’s oldest insurgency to a close, is now looking to jump the final hurdle: an agreement over the Naga demand for a separate flag for the state. The government is also apprehensive about a violent reaction in the Manipur Valley to the signing of the accord.

The accord, official sources told The Indian Express, does not change the boundary of states; provides autonomous Naga territorial councils for Arunachal and Manipur; a common cultural body for Nagas across states; specific institutions for state’s development, integration and rehabilitation of non-state Naga militia and the removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

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6. Ex-Congress, PDP Leader Ghulam Nabi Patel Shot in Valley, Cops Blame Hizbul

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Bullet shells (L) found at the scene and the car in which the leader was travelling.
(Photo: ANI)

A LOCAL political leader, Ghulam Nabi Patel, 61, who was earlier associated with the Congress and PDP, was killed and two of his personal security officers (PSOs) injured when unidentified gunmen opened fire on his vehicle in Rajpora market, 7 km from Pulwama town, on Wednesday.

According to reports, Patel was in his vehicle, a Scorpio, at Rajpora Chowk around 3.20 pm when the gunmen opened indiscriminate fire, before fleeing the spot. Patel, who suffered bullet injuries on his face, and his two PSOs were rushed to a local hospital. Patel was later shifted to Srinagar, but died on the way.

No militant outfit has claimed responsibility for the attack so far. Patel is the third senior political leader to be gunned down in South Kashmir in the last six months.

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7. 12,000-Plus Sex Crime Cases Still Stuck Over Forensic Tests

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An anti-rape protest. Photo used for representational purpose.
(Photo: The Quint)

At a time when crimes against women are rising sharply, thousands of forensic DNA samples, which could form crucial evidence in serious crimes such as rape and murder, are lying unexamined across the country due to a shortage of DNA labs, according to government data.

The shortage of well-equipped, hi-tech laboratories and inadequate staff strength have resulted in 12,072 DNA samples from as many sexual assault cases piling up in three of the six central forensic science laboratories (CFSLs) across India till December 2017, where they await examination, according to Directorate of Forensic Science Services (DFSS) data reviewed by Hindustan Times.

Only three of the six labs – in Chandigarh, Hyderabad and Kolkata – have facility to test DNA samples.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

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8. Delhi HC Pulls up JNU in Prof Sex Harassment Case

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JNU’s School of Life Sciences professor Atul Johri was accused of sexual harassment –by seven different students and one former student of the department.
(Photo: Rahul Gupta/The Quint)

The Delhi high court pulled up Jawaharlal Nehru University authorities on Wednesday for their failure to start an internal probe against a professor accused of sexual harassment. Professor Atul Kumar Johri has been named in eight FIRs.

“What about providing an environment that is safe (for students)? He (professor) is a warden and some students in the hostel have said they feel unsafe. Is the vice-chancellor so helpless that beyond an internal complaint committee (ICC), he can’t act? He is the head of an educational institution,” Justice Rajiv Shakdher asked the counsel for the university when she claimed the administration could do little since students had not lodged a complaint with the committee.

The court was hearing a petition by women students who are seeking Johri’s suspension and want his entry barred.

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9. Day 1: Punjab Minister for Jails Gets a Congrats Call — from Inside Jail

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Image used for representational purposes. 
(Photo: iStock)

A day after he was inducted into the Punjab Cabinet last week, Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa got a congratulatory call. It was from an inmate lodged in one of the state’s jails.

Making the startling disclosure himself Wednesday, Randhawa told The Indian Express: “I received a congratulatory call from an inmate lodged in one of the jails in the state.” After the “first-hand” experience” of the rampant use of mobile phones in Punjab prisons, Singh Wednesday kick-started a state-wide inspection with a surprise visit to the Central Jail in Patiala.

Asked if he knew the caller, Randhawa said, “Yes, he was known to me. Otherwise, why would he call me?” Sworn in as minister on 21 April, Randhawa did not disclose the identity of the caller.

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