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SC rules CJI is ‘master of roster’, says can’t be interpreted as Collegium

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New Delhi :The Supreme Court Friday upheld the Chief Justice of India’s role as “Master of Roster”. A two-judge bench, comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, stated that the CJI’s role cannot be interpreted to include the Collegium when it comes to the allocation for cases as it will make day-to-day functioning difficult.
Disposing of the petition filed by senior advocate Shanti Bhushan, Justice A K Sikri said, “Erosion of respect for the Judiciary in public minds is the greatest threat to the independence of the institution.”
Justices Sikri and Bhushan delivered two separate but concurring judgements upholding the prerogative of the CJI in allocating cases.
Reacting to the verdict, advocate Prashant Bhushan, who represented Shanti Bhushan in court, tweeted, “Sad that SC today ruled that CJI can unilaterally decide allocation of cases. 4 judges pointed out in PC that CJI was abusing his powers in allotting sensitive cases like Loya’s, medical college scam etc. Unfortunate that SC has not insulated itself from abuse of CJI’s powers.”
In his petition, Shanti Bhushan had questioned the CJI as the ‘Master of Roster’ and wanted either the Collegium or a full court to decide the allocation of cases.
Attorney General K K Venugopal, in response to the plea, had argued that the role “requires decision on several aspects and that is not something that five (the Collegium) or all of them (judges) can sit and thrash it out”. He also told the court that “this is not like the appointment of judges… where the judges (of the Collegium) are not personally involved (they decide on the files of others). Here, they are personally involved, and each may want to hear cases of a particular jurisdiction”.
To this, Prashant Bhushan countered that it was safer to have a collective decision as the CJI, too, could want to hear cases of a particular jurisdiction.
In January this year, four senior-most judges — Justices J Chelameswar (since retired), Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph — of the Supreme Court, in an unprecedented press conference, said that the situation in the apex court was “not in order” and many “less than desirable” things had taken place.


National

‘Mahagathbandhan’ club of ‘nawabs of negativity’: Jaitley

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Mumbai: The opposition “mahagathbandhan” (grand alliance) is a club of “nawabs of negativity” and the only glue of this diverse grouping is its opposition to one man (Narendra Modi), Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.

People of an aspirational society which is politically conscious will not buy into this “suicidal” alternative, the senior BJP leader said.

“The nawabs of negativity may come together but that is not something that will carry credibility as far as people are concerned,” Jaitley said, speaking via video link at the CNBC-TV18 India Business Leadership Awards event. During the video call, Jaitley also spoke about the Union Budget.

 

This was the first time Jaitley, now in the US for medical treatment, addressed a gathering since leaving the country on Tuesday.

The setback the ruling BJP suffered in Assembly elections in three heartland states recently (Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan) has enthused some opposition leaders about the likely electoral success of such an alternative.

The “mahagathbandhan” has neither the ideological cohesiveness nor a common programme aimed at building the country or an individual leader, Jaitley said.

As against the BJP’s strengths of leadership, decisiveness, performance and potential, the point being put forward by the opposition is of arithmetic, Jaitley highlighted.

In politics, it is not the arithmetic but chemistry which succeeds, he added.

“The premise is that we have politics which is negative in character and the negative politics is we want one man (Narendra Modi) out. On that negativity of wanting one man out, they (Opposition) have come together,” Jaitley said.

Arun Jaitley also said there is a need to elevate the political debate in the run up to the elections and stressed that we cannot afford a “sloganised political debate” where emotional cries take over sound policy.

Without mentioning the promise of farm loan waivers, which the opposition Congress is pitching for, the minister said “sloganised policies” never help the larger interest of the economy and it is the country’s aspirations which will receive a setback in the process.

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Govt compromising national security, why 36 Rafale jets instead of 126: Chidambaram

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New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday accused the government of compromising national security and asked why it bought only 36 Rafale fighter jets instead of 126 required by the Air Force.

His comments come in the wake of fresh revelations on the Rafale deal in a media report which claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to but 36 aircraft instead of the 126 asked for by the Air Force pushed the price of each jet up by 41.42 per cent.

“In the light of new facts and revelations in THE HINDU, the question gains greater urgency: why did the government buy only 36 Rafale aircraft instead of 126 aircraft required by the Air Force?,” Chidambaram asked in a tweet.

 

“The Government has compromised national security by denying to the Air Force the 7 squadrons (126 aircraft) that it desperately needs,” he said.

Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia also took to Twitter to demand answers from Modi on the increased cost of aircraft. “The PM’s unilateral decision to buy 36 Rafales resulted in a price escalation of 41.42 per cent per jet. When will the prime minister answer? he asked.

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No war, but soldiers are dying on borders: Bhagwat

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Nagpur: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said requisite steps need to combat killings on the border, as soldiers are being martyred sans a war-like situation in the country.

“In our country, there is no war at the moment, still people (soldiers) are getting martyred…Because we are not doing our jobs properly. We need to make efforts in this regard. If we want our country to reach the top, then we all should learn to sacrifice,” he said at a gathering here on Thursday.

Furthermore, Bhagwat said the responsibility of safeguarding the country should not be solely shouldered by the Forces.

 

“Everybody has to make efforts in this regard. This is not something for which we can give a contract to somebody. We keep thinking that the government will do it or the army will do it, the police will do it, but it’s not like that, the entire society has to make efforts,” he opined.

Citing the example of Israel, Bhagwat noted: “If one looks closely, after 70 long years, those countries in comparison with India have done better in terms of growth and development. Israel is a classic example. The natives were weed out before the 19 c. But citizens there gradually came back to their country and started their businesses, trade etc. Finally, in 1948 they got independence.”

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