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Saturday, January 23, 2010

CWC meet in Feb may discuss Telangana

New Delhi: The much-awaited Congress core committee which met here at Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs residence on Friday failed to break any new ground on the Telangana issue. The meeting attended by AICC president Sonia Gandhi and other leaders did not take any decision on the contentious T-issue . Sources said the Congress Working Committee would meet in February first week to take forward the dialogue process initiated to bring an amicable settlement to the T-tangle . The extended CWC meet would also discuss the modalities to bring the warring groups to the negotiating table, it was learnt.
Meanwhile, APCC chief D Srinivas who met Sonia Gandhi here said the AICC president was serious about the separate Telangana demand and that she wanted peace to be restored first before initiating any further moves. Srinivas who briefed Sonia on the AP situation said the Cong chief knows the larger aspirations of Telangana people. She also expressed her concern over the spate of suicides by Telangana activists . As the deadline for central action of Jan 28 set by JAC approaches , the Congmen from the region are feeling the heat. Congressmen from the region are likely to rush to Delhi and petition the high command to make its stand clear on Telangana.

Meanwhile, AICC spokesperson Manish Tiwari said Union home minister P Chidambaram would continue talks with all parties to find a lasting solution to the Telangana issue.
No burqa on voter ID: SC - If Religious Sentiments Are So Strong, Then Dont Vote: Apex Court
Supreme Court has said that burqa-clad women cannot be issued voter identity cards, rejecting the argument that religion prohibits them from lifting their veils. Counsel for petitioner M Ajam Khan contended that asking purdah-nashin women to lift their veil for being photographed would amount to sacrilege as their photographs would be seen by many men working as polling agents and electoral officer. It will hurt their religious sentiments and the Election Commission must not insist on purdah-nashin women to be photographed for inclusion of their name in the electoral rolls, said the counsel arguing before a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice Deepak Verma. The order comes at a time when a controversy triggered by the ban on full-length burqas has roiled France, attracting protests from clerics . The argument put forward on behalf of petitioners failed to impress the court.

The Bench said: If you have such strong religious sentiments, and do not want to be seen by members of public, then do not go to vote. You cannot go with burqa to vote. It will create complications in identifi-cation of voters. Referring to Madras High Court order upholding the ECs insistence on a photograph without veils, the Bench said that the elections have been conducted without staying the HC order and let those who do not comply with rules on voter identification be not allowed to vote.

Appearing for the EC, counsel Meenakshi Arora said though electoral rolls were being prepared as per the judgment of the HC, it would be better if the SC gave a verdict that would help reach a closure on the issue . When the petitioners again insisted on protection of the religious sentiments , the Bench said: The photograph is for identification of a voter. If someone comes to vote in a burqa and the photograph was also taken with veil covering the face, how would anyone identify the voter. Explaining that right to vote was only a statutory right and not a fundamental right, the Bench said: Right to contest an election is an extension of the right to vote. Can anyone contest an election saying photograph of her face be not taken Can she be photographed in a burqa with a veil and yet contest an election.Though the Bench made the writing on the wall absolutely clear, it agreed to a detailed hearing on the issue at a later date.

The Madras High Court had in a 2006 verdict held that faith and practice were on two different planes and said that there was nothing wrong on the part of the EC to insist on a photograph of the face of a purdah-nashin woman for the purpose of preparing electoral rolls.


Petitioner argues it would be sacrilege for purdah-nashin women to show faces to polling officials.

SC says women cant vote in burqa as it will hamper identification. If you dont want to be seen by members of public, then dont vote. Says right to contest is extension of right to vote, can anyone contest an election saying photograph of her face be not taken
(source : toi)

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