SC dismisses PIL on army chief’s age row

The apex court was furious that the PIL filed by The Grenadiers Association (Rohtak Chapter) annexed the opinions of former chief justices of India in the petition on the age row of the army chief when they themselves said it is not for being putting up before the court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a public interest petition (PIL) seeking a direction to the government to restore the army chief general VK Singh’s date of birth as 10 May 1951 saying it was not maintainable in law, reports PTI.

“In our view, the writ petition filed at the behest of an association is not maintainable. The writ petition is dismissed as not maintainable,” a bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia said.

“This is purely a service matter,” the court said.

The bench was furious that the PIL filed by The Grenadiers Association (Rohtak Chapter) annexed the opinions of former chief justices of India in the petition on the age row of the army chief when they themselves said it is not for being putting up before the court.

He directed the apex court registry not to accept any writ petitions in cases where opinions of former chief justices are annexed.

General Singh himself had filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the government that his date of birth be treated as 10 May 1951 and not 1950.

The bench, also comprising justices AK Patnaik and Swatantra Kumar, said the affected person was not before it and entertaining a PIL based on newspaper headlines will set a “bad precedence” and lead to a “chaotic situation”.

The apex court said it would also not be appropriate for it to express any opinion on the case as the “aggrieved person” is already before it by way of a writ petition.

At the outset, the bench wanted to know from senior advocate Bhim Singh, who was appearing for the association, as to how the PIL was maintainable and why opinions of the former CJIs were annexed in the petition.

“We are not concerned with the opinions of the former CJIs. It is most improper and it is most unfortunate. We will not consider the opinion of former CJIs,” the bench said and pointed out to Mr Singh that the former CJIs themselves have said that the opinions are not to be put in court.

“We are not here to fix the age of the army chief. This is purely a service matter. Why you are putting opinion of former CJIs in the court? Why should the opinion be annexed in the petition? We are on the very limited issue,” the bench said.

“You are only for the association. Is it not that the date of birth is a service matter,” the bench said while referring to some of the apex court judgements.

The bench did not agree with petitioner’s contention that the whole nation was concerned with the age row of the army chief.

It said the PIL under Article 32 at the behest of an association was not maintainable as the question of violation of fundamental rights has not arisen.

“Can such a prayer be granted in a PIL? We can understand if it was made by the person affected. We have to go by law.

Person who is affected has to come to the court. We can’t make departure from the law,” the apex court said.

The bench also asked the petitioner to show from a judgement of the apex court that it has the authority to entertain a PIL at the behest of an association.

When Mr Singh said that the PIL concerns the whole country, the bench said, “We will not go by the newspaper headlines as it does not make a good PIL”.

“We will go by law. Tell us, can date of birth be set by way of PIL?” the bench asked.

“You just see the implication. Anything coming in newspaper headline can’t be a PIL. That is not the law,” it said.

The PIL, filed by The Grenadiers Association (Rohtak Chapter), was seeking a direction to the government to declare 10 May 1951 as the date of birth of army chief general VK Singh instead of 10 May 1950.

It had submitted that it was forced to approach the court as both prime minister Manmohan Singh and defence minister AK Antony had rejected general Singh’s plea for change of his date of birth.

Earlier on 16th December, the NGO’s petition could not be heard by the bench of justices BS Chauhan and TS Thakur as justice Thakur had recused from hearing it.

The petitioner, an NGO headed by retired colonel BS Koshal, had claimed that the uncertainty over the army chief’s date of birth has affected his morale impinging on national security.

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Social media burnout visible among urban Indian youth: Survey

Most respondents said compulsive social networking has led to insomnia, depression, poor inter-personal relationships, a lack of concentration, high levels of anxiety, ignorance and rudeness in their general behaviour as they tend to replace real-life social interactions with online social media, the survey conducted by Assocham revealed

Bangalore: Youngsters in urban India have started experiencing social media fatigue, logging on less frequently to social networks like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Orkut, Linkedin, MySpace, Friendster, Hi5 and BigAdda than when they initially signed up, reports PTI quoting a survey.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) conducted the survey under the aegis of the Assocham Social Development Foundation to examine current usage trends among youngsters and social networks and the time spent on these websites.

Assocham representatives interacted with about 2,000 youngsters (an equal number of males and females) in the age group of 12 to 25 years in the urban centres of Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, the Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Pune between October and December, 2011.

“Tech overload is apparent among youth and their fixation with social media seems to be eroding as they have started focusing on more important things than grooming their digital identities,” said Assocham secretary general DS Rawat while releasing the findings of the survey.

About 55% of all respondents across these cities said they have consciously reduced time spent on social media websites and are no longer as active and enthusiastic about their favourite social networks as when they had signed up.

Nearly 30% of these said they have deactivated or deleted their accounts and profiles from these websites and it is no longer a craze among them, while most of the remaining users said they have started maintaining a low profile on social networks as their privacy is being breached.

Consequently, they now only peep into their profiles once in a while.

About 75% of the total sample said they created a profile or an account on almost each of these websites, which was a fad when they were just launched.

However, most of them said they barely use them anymore and prefer sticking to a single site.

About 20% of the respondents said they hardly log on to social networking websites and prefer staying in touch with their folks via chat applications like Blackberry Messenger, Watsapp, Nimbuzz, Mig33, Google Talk and Yahoo Messenger on their mobiles and computers.

An interesting finding that emerged from the survey was that young Indian women seem to use social networks more frequently than their male counterparts.

About 500 of all the respondents said they have extended the time spent on social networking by over an hour and regularly log on to keep a track of multiple social media sites to stay connected to their friends. Of these, nearly 65% were females and most of them said they tend to log onto social media sites almost everyday.

Over half of the nearly 200 respondents interviewed in Bangalore said their initial fascination with social networking has been fading of late and they now find it boring and sick to see constant senseless status updates and the same thing over and over again and have significantly reduced the time spent on social media sites.

About 40% of the respondents in the city said they have extended the time spent on networking online and access multiple social networks to keep their friends and peers updated and stay connected to them.

Most respondents said they indulge in social networking at home, school and college and while they are at work on their smartphones and an excess of it has started telling on their mental and physical health and even their professional and personal lives.
“Although social networking is the most popular online activity, youngsters have started finding social media boring, confusing, frustrating and time-consuming as they surf these websites less frequently and are tend to surf other informative websites, send e-mails, search the internet and play games instead of accessing their accounts, hardly responding to comments and other material posted on their walls,” said the survey.

Most respondents said compulsive social networking has led to insomnia, depression, poor inter-personal relationships, a lack of concentration, high levels of anxiety, ignorance and rudeness in their general behaviour as they tend to replace real-life social interactions with online social media.

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TDSAT rejects DoT plea on jurisdiction over 3G roaming dispute

The tribunal also directed five operators—Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Aircel and Tata Tele—to hand over copies of their 3G roaming agreements to the DoT. It also said that DoT, as per its earlier statement, would maintain confidentiality of the agreements

New Delhi: The Telecom Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) today dismissed government’s plea challenging its jurisdiction to decide on third generation (3G) roaming dispute, but directed operators to submit copies of their agreements to the Department of Telecom (DoT), reports PTI.

Dismissing the application, a two-member bench headed by justice SB Sinha held that the tribunal has power to decide over DoT’s direction on intra-circle 3G roaming agreements among operators.

“We are of the opinion that this tribunal (TDSAT) has jurisdiction to decide on this matter (3G roaming dispute).

Thus, the applications are dismissed,” the bench said.

The tribunal also directed five operators—Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Aircel and Tata Tele—to hand over copies of their 3G roaming agreements to the DoT. It also said that DoT, as per its earlier statement, would maintain confidentiality of the agreements.

DoT had questioned the jurisdiction of TDSAT saying that the tribunal has no power to look into the licence terms and conditions entered among the operators and the DoT.

The department had requested TDSAT to provide copies of agreements on 3G roaming among private operators, a move that was opposed by them fearing leakage of commercial information to rivals.

The TDSAT had also gave a lifeline to private telecom operators by extending its interim order that restrained DoT from taking any coercive action against them.

Last year, passing an order on 24th December, the tribunal had directed DoT not to take any coercive action against telecom operators.

A day prior to that the government had asked five telecom operators to stop their inter-circle roaming on 3G bandwidth within 24 hours and it was challenged by Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Aircel and Tata Tele before TDSAT.

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