FRIDAY Delhi drug controller told the HC that the Foundation bought and distributed the Covid medicine without a licence 04 Caused inconvenience to patients: DELHI HC epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard STRAIGHT TALK ‘ONUS ON PAK TO REMOVE MISTRUST’ There can be no let-up in security at LoC despite the ceasefire, says Army chief A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 8 NEW DELHI J8.00 AAP MLA, too, guilty of similar offence The HC was hearing a PIL alleging politicians procure huge quantities of Covid drugs even as patients were running from pillar to post to get them. The bench noted that while the BJP MP did a lot of charity, he also caused inconvenience to patients. The HC directed that action be taken against the Foundation as well as others who made unauthorised sales JUNE, 2021 AAP MLA Praveen Kumar has also been found guilty for similar offences under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and action will be taken against him, the court was informed The court, however, ordered that no action be taken against those purchasing drugs on the black market out of desperation PAGES 12 ‘Citizens can criticise govt, not incite violence’ Apex court junks sedition case lodged against veteran journalist Vinod Dua, says every scribe is entitled to protection E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi THE Supreme Court on Thursday quashed a sedition case against senior journalist Vinod Dua filed in Himachal Pradesh, saying a citizen has a right to criticise or comment upon measures taken by a government and its functionaries so long as he does not incite people to indulge in violence or create public disorder. The verdict comes days after another SC bench decided to examine the interpretation of sedition law, particularly on media rights and free speech. S e d i t i o n ch a r g e s we re slapped on Dua last year following his talk show criticising the Modi government’s handling IN THE NEWS T O D AY INDIA US supply for India The Joe Biden administration on Thursday announced its Global Strategy for Vaccine Supply. Under this, several countries in Asia, including India, will get 7 million Covid19 vaccine doses. “We are sharing these doses not to secure favours or extract concessions. We are sharing these vaccines to save lives and to lead the world in bringing an end to the pandemic, with the power of our example and with our values,” President Biden said in a statement. P7 Maha confusion The Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra faced embarrassment on Thursday, after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s office had to clarify that no decision was taken regarding unlock in 18 districts where positivity rate is below 5%. Announcement to this effect was made by Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar of Congress. Thackeray rushed to clarify that such a decision had not been taken. P7 Blast in Srinagar A mysterious blast at a garbage dump in Srinagar triggered panic among residents on Thursday, officials said. There was no loss of life. The blast took place after employees of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation set the garbage on fire in Natipora area. The glass panel of a nearby shop was damaged in the impact of the explosion. The explosion site is in the vicinity of a Covid-19 centre in Chanapore, which was visited by Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha during the day. INTERNATIONAL Choksi hearing The Dominica High Court on Thursday adjourned the hearing on a petition filed on behalf of diamond trader Mehul Choksi, who is wanted in India. Judge Bernie Stephenson will decide the next date of hearing after meeting both sides, Antigua News Room said. The adjournment is to allow lawyers for Choksi and the Dominica government “to agree on the language to be used with respect to the injunction filed to prevent his removal from Dominica,” the media outlet reported. The hearing took place through video-conferencing with protesters standing outside the court seeking to know the ‘truth’ about the controversy. Considering the drift of the entire talk show and all the statements put together, it cannot be said that the petitioner crossed the limits set out in the decision of this court in Kedar Nath Singh case —SC of the Covid lockdown. But a bench led by Justice U U Lalit noted that Dua’s statements could at best be termed as dis- approbation of actions of the government so as to get the situation addressed quickly . “They were certainly not made with the intent to incite people... The petitioner was within the permissible limits laid down in the decision of this court in Kedar Nath Singh. It may be that certain factual details...were not completely correct,” the bench said. “However, considering the drift of the entire talk show and all the statements put together, it cannot be said that the petitioner crossed the limits set out in the decision of this court in the Kedar Nath Singh case,” the top court ruled. The court added any prosecution would be violative of the rights of the petitioner guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution,” the court said in its 117 page judgment. The bench said that every journalist is entitled to protection under the Kedar Nath Singh judgment that ruled dissent is not sedition. The 1962 Kedar Nath judgment had upheld the constitutional validity of sedition law. However, it held that free speech, discussions on matters of government functioning and their criticism, and freedom of press are essential for the proper functioning of the processes of popular government. The bench, however, rejected Dua’s plea that no FIR be registered against a person belonging to media with at least 10 years of standing unless cleared by the Committee P7 as suggested. Services activity slumps to 8-mth low EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi ACTIVITY in India’s services sector, which contributes the most to the country’s economy , slipped into the negative territory in May as reintroduction of Covid restrictions across the country dented demand, a monthly survey said on Thursday The dismal performance of . the services sector, the worst in eight months, was accentuated by a drastic fall in new business orders, which forced companies to cut jobs at the fastest pace since October. The Nikkei/IHS Markit Serv- ices Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to an eight-month low of 46.4 in May from 54.0 in April, sliding below the 50-level by a big margin. An index below 50 means contraction. High demand for MGNREGA work Demand for work under the rural job scheme has shot up in the past two months, data from the MGNREGA portal show. In March, 3.36 crore people opted for rural work; this zoomed to 3.52 crore in May and 3.61 cr in April | P10 Govt pays `1,500 cr in advance to secure 30 cr Biological E vax doses E X P R ESS N E WS S E RV I C E @ New Delhi THE Centre on Thursday announced advance payment of `1,500 crore to Hyderabadbased vaccine maker Biological E for procuring its Covid vaccine, still under phase 3 clinical trials, marking its first such jab deal. The government had entered into purchase agreements with Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech only after their shots had received regulatory approvals. The advance payment is to secure 30 crore doses of the vaccine candidate, which is a foreign construct, being produced in India. The candidate consists of an antigen developed by Texas Children’s Hospital Centre for Vaccine Development, in-licensed from BCM Ventures, Baylor College of Medicine’s integrated commercialization team, along with Dynavax Technologies — all in the US. The Centre said the vaccine candidate is currently undergoing phase 3 clinical trials after showing promising results in phases 1 and 2, whose details are yet to be published in a peer reviewed scientific journal. The vaccine, based on RBD protein subunit — had been tested in about 360 people between November and April in early-stage trials and has got approvals for late-stage trials in 1,268 volunteers in the 18-80 age group. Wait for a few months It is not yet fully clear whether phase 3 trials have started in India. Biological E’s proposal was accepted after due diligence by a national expert group. The vaccine is likely to be available in a few months Despite active Covid cases falling, localised lockdowns in many states have kept the services activities low. “While PMI data released at the start of the month showed that the manufacturing industry managed to keep its head above water in May the servic, es sector struggled as the pandemic escalated,” noted Pollyanna De Lima, economics associate director at IHS Markit. “The intensification of the Covid-19 crisis and associated restrictions suppressed domestic and international demand for Indian services,” she added. The survey highlighted that the overall demand contracted at the sharpest rate since August with foreign demand shrinking at the fastest pace since November. A disturbing finding of the survey was that services companies are pessimistic about this quarter’s growth prospects as many firms intensified job cuttings. Decline in business expectation, according to the survey, may force firms to cut jobs further in the coming months. Last year also, the services sector had pushed thousands of people out of work. 2,628 STRIPS OF FABIFLU WERE BOUGHT USING A DOCTOR’S PRESCRIPTION ‘DOING CHARITY FOR ULTERIOR REASONS IS NOT CHARITY’ E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi BJP parliamentarian Gautam Gambhir did a lot of charity but caused a lot of shortage of drug and inconvenience to the society, the Delhi High Cour t said on Thursday . The court made the remark after the Delhi government’s drug controller said Gambhir’s foundation was guilty of unauthorisedly stocking, distributing Fabiflu medicine to COVID-19 patients. The high court criticized the manner in which a huge quantity of the drug was procured. Genuine patients who needed the medicine at that particular time could not get it as the bulk stock was taken away by Gambhir, it added. “This was certainly not the way In this pandemic, it . should not be done just because people have means to do it. It should not be that I Two museums to be linked via tunnel in Patna Move to embarrass Punjab CM falls flat A few Cabinet ministers led by Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Charanjit Singh Channi tried to convince their colleagues to boycott the virtual cabinet meeting called by the CM. But the plan backfired as a few other refused to do so R A J E S H K U M A R T H A K U R @ Patna Punjab CM Amarinder Singh welcomes AAP MLAs Sukhpal Khaira, Jagdev Singh Kamalu and Pirmal Singh into Congress on Thursday | TWITTER Amarinder gets triple AAP ‘booster’ H A R P R E E T BA J WA @ Chandigarh EVEN as Punjab unit of the Congress is in the thick of an internal turmoil, three rebel AAP MLAs — Sukhpal Khaira (Bholath), Pir mal Singh (Bhadaur) and Jagdev Singh Kamalu (Maur) — joined the party on Wednesday in the presence of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. The inductions are seen as a shot in the arm for the beleaguered CM just before he flew to Delhi to meet the threemember AICC panel set up by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to resolve the infighting in the party. He is expected to meet the panel led by Rajya Sabha MP Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday . Amarinder said the joining of the three legislators had the approval of the Congress president. After the induction ceremony, Patiala MP and Amarinder’s wife Preneet Kaur said, “These legislators who have joined will be a big asset to the party .” Congress sources said that by choosing to induct the rebel AAP legislators at this juncture, Amarinder had tried to convey a message to the party brass that leaders from other parties were willing to join even as “our own leaders” were claiming that his Congress government was losing the game of perception. It’s a homecoming for Khaira who had quit the Congress in 2015 to join the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP He said he and his . colleagues had decided to return to the Congress in the larger interest of the country as well as Punjab. It was a political blunder to join the AAP presuming that Arvind Kejriwal would bring about a qualitative change in the political culture of India, he said. HUMANITY Nagaland: Cancer survivor, pastor in group driving vax drive P R A S A N TA M A Z U M D A R @ Guwahati IN Nagaland’s Mon town, cancer survivor Affee Venkangshu and woman pastor Phelem Naam and four other fellow volunteers are helping the people get Covid vaccines. Working in tandem with the district administration, the group is providing the muchneeded conveyance to the folks in the absence of public transport. The group drives the people to a ground for taking the all-important jabs. District Magistrate Thava- seelan K said the vaccination drive is being done outside a hospital after it came to notice that not many people were coming forward. “Primarily, they were reluctant to visit a hospital during the pandemic. We thought we should conduct the drive in such a way that makes them feel far assured. Some 80 people have taken jabs now.” The six volunteers are driving their own cars and have refused to take fuel offered by the administration. Social worker Hongnao Konyak, 40, had roped in the five will do it for one class or for my constituency people and it should not be for popularity Firstly you do charity for . , charity. Doing charity for some other reason is no charity We want to curb this . practice and for this, we want you (drug controller) to take action,” a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh said. The drug controller told the court that action will be taken without delay against the foundation, drug dealers as also in other such cases which would be brought to its notice. It submitted that AAP MLA Praveen Kumar has also been found guilty for similar offences under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and action will also be taken against him. The court asked the drug controller to file status reports on further progress in these cases within six weeks and listed the matter for P5 hearing on July 29. The group is driving its own cars for which it is not even taking fuel charges | EXPRESS others through Facebook to for m the group, The Civic Wheels. Affee, 35, said she had offered the service to four people on Monday, the first day of the drive. “It feels great to be able to do something for the society,” said Affee, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2014 and works for an NGO for forest management. Phelem, the only woman pastor in Mon district, said this experience was not new to her as she is into social work. “I feel excited, blessed and satisfied to help such people,” she said. PATNA’S Bihar Museum will soon be connected with the historic Patna museum through an underground 1.5 km long passage. The underway will be designed and built in a unique way by exhibiting the art and culture of the state, including Madhubani paintings. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said on Thursday that safety arrangements inside the underground passage will be ensured while keeping its aesthetics. The CM held a review meeting on the passage with officials of the urban development de par tment through videoconferencing. Tickets for the passage would be available on either side of the tunnel. Visitors would be able to have glimpses of the artifacts and other things of antique value while inside the passage. “The interconnectivity between the two museums would facilitate easy understanding of Bihar’s glorious history said the CM. ,” Officials said the government was ready to spend `150 crore for underground passage whose walls would serve as art galleries beautified with Madhubani paintings and various folk arts. NATIONWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths JUNE 2 JUNE 3 1,32,788 1,34,154 2,31,456 2,11,499 3,207 2,887 June 2 22,45,112 doses June 3 26,24,971 doses TOTAL DOSES: 22,37,27,632 JAB-O-METER TAKE YOUR SHOT DELHI Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths JUNE 2 576 1,287 103 JUNE 3 487 1058 45
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