Current Affairs : January 18, 2012

Gujarat High Court upholds the appointment of Lokayukta

  • The High Court of Gujarat, Ahmedabad dismisses the plea of the Gujarat Government and upholds the appointment of state Lokayukt by the Governor.
  • Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal appointed Justice Mehta as the Lokayukta in August 2011, after over seven years of the position lying vacant.
  • On the day of appointment itself, the state government moved the High Court against the appointment.
  • The Government contended that the act of the Governor Kamla Beniwal was unconstitutional in selecting the ombudsman because the state government was not consulted. In October, two High Court judges delivered a split verdict, and the case was referred to a third judge, Justice VM Sahai, who delivers the latest verdict.
  • In the latest verdict, the High Court mandates that “The Chief Minister acted under a false impression that he could turn down the superiority and primacy of the opinion of the Chief Justice which was binding. The spiteful and challenging action demonstrates the false sense of invincibility.
  • The Court also notes that –Chief Minister’s recent attempts to amend how the Lokayukta is chosen were “depraved and truculent actions.”
  • The last Lokayukta of Gujarat was S M Soni, who retired in 2003.
  • BJP says that this verdict is a setback to federalism and will hurt Lokayukta as an institution.
  • The Government decides to challenge the decision in the Supreme Court after consultations with legal experts.

24 Children selected for National Bravery award for 2011

  • 24 children including 8 girls and 16 boys have been selected for the National Bravery award for 2011.
  • Five awards have been given posthumously.
  • The names of the award winners were declared in New Delhi by president of the Indian council for child welfare Geeta Sidarth
  • The Coveted Bharat Award has been conferred posthumously to 15 year old Master Kapil Singh Negi of Uttarakhand who helped his classmates cross over a flooded stream.
  • The prestigious Geeta Chopra award has been conferred on 13 year old Kumari Mittal Patadiya of Gujarat who faced armed robbers and foiled a robbery attempt.
  • Sanjay Chopra award has been given to 12 and a half year old Master Om Prakash Yadav of Uttar Pradesh who saved his school mates from a burning van.

Children born out of inter-caste marriages cannot be denied the benefits of reservation: SC

  • The Supreme Court has rules that children born out of inter-caste marriages cannot be denied the benefits of reservation on the mere ground that one of the parents belonged to an upper caste.
  • This important verdict has been given by a bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai.
  • The ruling has upheld an appeal filed by a person challenging the Gujarat Government’s decision to strip him of reservation benefits under ST-quota as his father belonged to the upper caste Kshatriya community.

PFC pacts with NLM to Accelerate Saakshar Bharat Programme

  • An MOU has been signed between public sector Power Finance Company, PFC with the National Literacy Mission Authority to accelerate the Saakshar Bharat Programme.
  • Via this MOU, PFC has agreed to extend assistance to the Saakshar Bharat Programme, under the Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, to upgrade 120 Adult Education Centres at a cost of Rs. 6.6 crore.
  • These centres will be upgraded in Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Manipur, Nagaland and Himachal Pradesh.

India handover Sri Lanka the IInd Phase of Galle to Hikkaduwa Railway Line

  • India today hands over to Sri Lanka the second phase of the coastal railway line from Galle to Hikkaduwa.
  • The railway line has been constructed with the help of India.
  • External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, who is in Sri Lanka, announces that India will go with a substantial increase in educational assistance, being given to Sri Lanka.
  • The funding amounting to 2.5 billion Srilankan Rupees will mark a three fold increase in the scholarships and self-financing slots for undergraduate, masters and doctorate-level courses under the “India-Sri Lanka Knowledge Initiative” launched by the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
  • India also announces launching of two new scholarship programmes in Sri Lanka called the “Maulana Azad and Rajiv Gandhi Scholarship Scheme.

Grant Kogan: First adaptive athlete in history to reach the South Pole

  • Grant Kogan. a paralyzed man from the U.S. state of Nevada has become the first adaptive athlete in history to reach the South Pole.
  • Grant Kogan completed his trip to the Antarctic South Pole on the 100th anniversary of Robert Falcon Scott’s trek there with the Terra Nova Expedition.
  • Kogan was paralyzed from the waist down in a 2010 snowmobiling accident. He used a device called a sit-ski to make the trip, traveling for more than two weeks in sub-zero temperatures.
  • His expedition party included guides and cinematographers who were shooting for a documentary called “The Push: A South Pole Adventure.”
  • The film will be released in later part of 2012.

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