Citizens' Issues
Gujarat Police uncover major kidney racket
Five other youths have alleged their kidneys were surgically removed at different times since 2001 without their knowledge after making them unconscious
Police in Gujarat's Anand stumbled upon a major inter-state racket in trafficking of human organs, bringing 13 people to the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital for forensic examination on suspicion that they sold their kidneys, soon after five people complained they had become victims of a gang.
All of them hail from Pandoli village of the district where police have information of 80 such cases though it is yet to ascertain if they fell prey to the racker or were part of it.
Police believe this to be the handiwork of an organised gang awith its roots across Gujarat, Chennai and Sri Lanka.
Bharat Shah, dean, BJ Medical College, where the people are being examined, said it appeared the kidneys had been taken out by expert hands.
"We asked them detailed questions and a seven-member forensic team also carried out medical examination of the patients brought in by police," he said.
Five other youths have alleged their kidneys were surgically removed at different times since 2001 without their knowledge after making them unconscious, police said.
The first police complaint was lodged by Samir Badruddin Malek of the same village stating that he was taken to Delhi and operated upon to remove a kidney. "He told our team that he was operated in a hospital in Delhi but he does not know its name," said Anand's Superintendent of Police Ashok Kumar Yadav.
"We have taken statements of these five youths and sent them for medical check-up to ascertain their claims. We will lodge an FIR after the reports arrive."
Yadav told reporters that he suspects a bigger racket in sale of human organs on learning of these cases and has constituted a special investigation team comprising local police and crime branch officials to look into it.
"Since the issue is serious, I have ordered formation of an SIT to go deeper into it," he said. Yadav has also deputed a team from the health department to the village to ascertain if more people have fallen prey to this racket.
Deputy Superintendent of Police, Petlad, Mahesh Gupta, who will head the SIT, said: "These youths have cut marks on their stomach, which indicates their kidneys were surgically removed. They claimed a person named Rafiq and some others offered them huge amount of money if they agree to come with them." 
"In their statements, these locals claimed the accused made them unconscious and removed their kidneys without their knowledge after taking them to Delhi. All this happened over a span of 15 years but they remained silent to avoid landing in any trouble," he said.
Yadav said that most people in the village are daily wage labourers, and one told police that that he decided to sell its kidney as he was in financially dire straits while another did so finance his daughter's wedding.


About Face: US Military Seeks Historic Overhaul of Justice System

Pentagon aims to fundamentally reform the way America’s men and women experience justice while in uniform



After years of concern over sexual assault in the military, the Defense Department has proposed the most far-reaching reforms to its justice system in decades.


The proposal, introduced with little notice in late December, would fundamentally change the way America's men and women experience justice while in uniform.


"It's a potential sea change," said Charles Erdmann, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the military's highest court. "These would be the biggest reforms in 30 years."


For the first time, the Pentagon would issue sentencing guidelines for military crimes. All convicted service members would have a right to appeal. Military judges would determine sentences, replacing a power long held by juries made up of soldiers with little or no legal experience.


But Congressional critics of the military justice system noted that neither the legislation, nor the 1,300-page review that prompted it, addressed a fundamental issue: the role of commanders.

In court martials, senior commanders decide whether to press charges, select juries and in some cases provide clemency for troops under their command, raising concerns about the impartiality of prosecutions.


"It is telling that a supposedly holistic review of the military justice system completely ignores the role of the commander," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York who has battled with Pentagon leaders over changes to its code. "Until we reform the foundation of the military justice system to remove bias, all efforts to fix its shortcomings will be incomplete."


Some Congressional insiders are skeptical of the military's intent. If the Pentagon manages to obtain approval for the bill, it will be harder to make a case for further changes, such as removing military commanders from making decisions on criminal cases. There is also doubt about the bill's chances. It's a complex piece of legislation moving through the Hill during an election year. Key players among Republicans and Democrats who have supported the Pentagon on military justice issues have yet to weigh in on the proposal.


A Pentagon spokesman said the proposed legislation did not address the issue of the commanders' role because a previous Congressionally established panel recommended no changes.


"The current review focused on measures to improve the current process rather than on revisiting the underlying fundamental policy," said Army Lt. Col. Joe Sowers, a Department of Defense spokesman.


Military leaders hallow their justice system. First adopted during the Revolutionary War, some parts have existed unchanged for more than 200 years. Even today, sailors can be put on a diet of bread and water for minor infractions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.


The code is a means to convey both justice and military discipline. For instance, soldiers can be tried for going AWOL (punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a dishonorable discharge) or for disrespecting an officer (up to one year in prison and a bad conduct discharge).


They can also face trial for crimes ranging from kiting checks to rape and murder. Military courts can try soldiers for crimes that have no direct connection to military service 2014 a soldier assaulting a local resident during an off-base bar fight, for example. Commanders argue that they need such power to ensure order and discipline in military ranks.


Over the decades, military leaders have wrestled with the tension inherent in the system. The last big overhaul resulted from complaints during World War II when, all told, more than 1.7 million troops were tried in court martials. Soldiers fighting for democratic freedoms found themselves subject to a judicial system that many felt was arbitrary and unjust.


"At the end of the war, many people were mad as hell," said Fred L. Borch, III, a historian for the Army's Judge Advocate General's Corps and former chief prosecutor for the Guantanamo military commissions. "No matter what they did or what they said, they were found guilty."

The current proposal comes after years of controversy over the military's handling of sexual assault.


"The Invisible War," a 2012 documentary, provoked outrage after finding that active duty female soldiers serving in combat zones were more likely to be raped by a comrade than killed by an enemy.


A year later, in a closely watched case, Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin vacated a court martial conviction of a subordinate officer for sexually assaulting a civilian medical worker, prompting a review by then-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.


In 2014, the most recent year for which data is available, a survey estimated that nearly 19,000 service members had been subjected to "unwanted sexual contact." That compared to 6,131 official reports of sexual assault that year. About 1,600 cases resulted in some sort of action for sexual assault violations.


The Defense Department responded with a barrage of blue-ribbon commissions and fact-finding bodies. Congress imposed more than three dozen changes to the military codes for sexual assault.

Rape victims now have the right to a special attorney to represent them in court. Their sexual histories cannot be used by defense counsel. Most significantly, military commanders were stripped of their abilities to dismiss sentences in felony cases, including sexual assault.


But senior military officials feared that many of the changes focused on sex crimes without regard to the rest of the system. For instance, survivors of attempted murder or aggravated assault do not have guaranteed access to a special representative in court. In addition, there were concerns that the system had tipped in favor of victims over the accused.


In 2013, Hagel approved a "holistic review" of the entire military justice system. Andrew Effron, a former chief judge, was appointed to lead the effort.


The result addressed many long-standing concerns. Unlike in civilian courts, military juries determine both guilt and the sentence for an offender. But the members of the panel, enlisted men and officers picked by the military officer who convened the court martial, are not required to have any legal training. The Pentagon proposal would give military judges a more central role, allowing them to determine punishments and discharges.


In addition, the Pentagon plan would set out typical minimum and maximum punishments over the coming years to provide guidance to judges. And the size of military juries 2014 which can vary from five people to 15 or more 2014 would be standardized.


The reforms also provide that all offenders can appeal their convictions 2014 a right previously guaranteed only to those who received more than a year in prison, or a punitive discharge.

Don Christensen, president of Protect Our Defenders, a group dedicated to improving military handling of sexual assault, acknowledged that the proposed changes were far-reaching.

But the central issue of the commander's influence, he said, remained untouched.


"There's a debate raging in the halls of Congress and the media and it's not addressed," said Christensen, the former chief prosecutor for the Air Force. "That's a problem."


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Real estate bill passed, Govt expects houses to be cheaper
With the Lok Sabha passing the real estate bill, the government expects home prices to come down and also give credibility to the realty sector
With the Lok Sabha giving its nod, Parliament on Tuesday passed the real estate bill which, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said, will help bring down property prices and give more credibility to functioning of the real estate sector.
The Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Bill, 2016, was passed by the Rajya Sabha on 10th March. 
"It is a historic moment for the country as we are fulfilling the aspirations of the people who wish to own a house, giving them the needed protection. The bill will be giving credibility to real estate sector also," said Naidu in his reply to the discussion on the bill in the Lok Sabha.
"I say you will get more investment, you will get early clearances and the property prices will come down," the minister said, asserting the speedy land clearances for the real estate projects will help in bringing down the prices of the houses.
"The builders will have to do their duty. Parliament is not interested in interfering with their activity. What you (builders) are committing, what you are promising, fulfill that. This is the only purpose of this real estate bill," Naidu said.
He stressed the bill would help to fill in the loopholes in the existing system that help builders to escape from the ambit of law without fulfilling all the claims they make in their advertisements. 
"Earlier, the rate of interest payable by consumer and builders used to vary. We found it was not correct. So from here on, the interest payable by either party, be it the consumer or builder, will be the same," the minister said.
Naidu also said that he is open to discuss it with the builders if they have any issue with bill that may hamper the sector's functioning. 
"We are not against builders. If there are problem with the builders, I am ready to discuss it with them anytime. We want builder to be partner in building a strong India," he said.
"Since land is a state issue, we seek cooperation from state's side. All approvals are to be given in 30 days," he said, insisting the central government has done its duty in providing inexpensive houses.
The minister said that he will write to all the chief ministers requesting them to give speedy clearances to the real estate projects in their states.




7 months ago

Real estate bill passed, Govt expects houses to be cheaper is good expectation but I do not understand basis of any one explain what way or what discount given to aam aadmi.

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