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SC to not pass order on 10 per cent quota at this stage

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday said it is not in favor of passing order at this stage to refer the issue of 10 per cent quota for economically weaker sections across all classes to a Constitution bench.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, said it will hear the plea on March 28 and will consider whether the matter is required to be referred to a Constitution bench.

The bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, asked senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, who was appearing for the petitioner, to file a short note of the points which they have raised in their application.

 

The apex court had earlier refused to stay the Centre’s decision to grant 10 per cent quota in jobs and admissions to poor candidates in the general category.

However, the court had agreed to examine the validity of the law and issued a notice to the Centre on the plea filed by businessman and Congress supporter Tehseen Poonawalla.

Dhavan, appearing for Poonawalla, had told the bench that his only grievance at this stage was that this quota should not breach the ceiling of 50 per cent as mandated by the apex court.

The top court had earlier issued a notice to the Centre on similar petitions and ordered tagging of the fresh plea of Poonawalla with pending ones.

Petitions have been filed by parties, including ‘Janhit Abhiyan’ and NGO ‘Youth For Equality’, challenging the Centre’s decision.

The petition, filed by Youth For Equality through its president Kaushal Kant Mishra, has sought the quashing of the Constitution (103 Amendment) Act, 2019, saying economic criterion cannot be the sole basis for reservation.

It said the bill violates the basic feature of the Constitution as a reservation on economic grounds cannot be limited to the general category and the overall 50 per cent ceiling limit cannot be breached.

In the present form, the upper limit of quota goes up to 60 per cent which violates the decisions of the apex court, the plea claimed.


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SC grants bail to 23 accused in Trilokpuri case

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to 23 accused who have challenged a Delhi High Court verdict sentencing them to five-year jail term after holding them guilty in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case registered in Trilokpuri area of Delhi.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi indicated that their appeals would be heard in due course after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the state had filed a petition seeking review of the top court’s earlier order acquitting 15 other accused in the case for want of evidence.

The Supreme Court had on July 5 asked the NCT Government and Delhi Police to respond to petitions filed by the 23 accused challenging a Delhi High Court verdict convicting and sentencing them to five-year jail term.

 

Almost 3,000 people were killed, most of them in Delhi, in the riots that broke out following the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984. The instant case related to riots in Trilokpuri between October 31 and November 3 in 1984.

The accused were convicted of rioting, burning houses and violation of curfew in Triokpuri area of the national capital during the riots.

These appeals were filed after the Supreme Court on April 30 acquitted 15 of the accused convicted in the case and awarded five-year jail terms for offences of rioting, burning houses and violation of curfew in East Delhi’s Trilokpuri.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had allowed five appeals filed by 15 convicts challenging the November 28, 2018 verdict of the Delhi High Court which upheld a trial court verdict convicting the accused.

The Bench–which also included Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna–had said there was no direct evidence against these accused and they were not identified by witnesses.

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Sonia lashes out at Centre, says government considers RTI Act a ‘nuisance

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New Delhi: UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday slammed the Centre for passing the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and said that the BJP-led government at the Centre sees the RTI Act as a nuisance. She added that by amending the RTI Act, the Centre wants to destroy the status and independence of the Central Information Commission which was put on par with the Central Election Commission and Central Vigilance Commission.

It is to be noted that the new bill seeks to amend the 2005 RTI Act and proposes to give the Centre decisive power to set salaries, allowances and service conditions of the Information Commissioners at both central and state government levels.

The new bill was tabled by Minister of State for Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension Jitendra Singh in Lok Sabha. While tabling the bill, Singh had said that it was an anomaly to equate Information Commission to a constitutional body like the Election Commission (EC). The proposed bill states the reason for amendment as “the mandate of Election Commission of India and central and state information commission are different. Hence, their status and service conditions need to be rationalised accordingly.”

 

During the debate on the bill on Monday, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had said that that under the proposed changes the central government will get the power to hire and fire independent information commissioners. Tharoor also raised question over the government’s decision to bring the bill “without any public consultation” and accused the Centre of having vested interests in introducing the bill.

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‘Give us 4 weeks to appear’: 13 MLAs to K’taka Speaker on disqualification plea

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Bengaluru: Thirteen rebel lawmakers in Karnataka, whose resignations have pushed the Congress-JD(S) government to the brink of collapse, have written to Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar asking him four weeks’ time to respond to his summons. The Speaker had summoned the legislators on the disqualification petition moved against them by the Congress leader Siddaramaiah.

Ramesh Jarkiholi, Mahesh Kumathahalli, BA Basavaraj, BC Patil, Pratapgouda Patil, Shivaram Hebbar, ST Somashekhar, MTB Nagaraj, and Munirathna of the Congress and K Gopalaiah, AH Vishwanath and Narayana Gowda of the JD(S) have written to the Speaker.

The letters were similar in content and informed the Speaker that they had not received the copy of the petition and other documents seeking their disqualification.

 

Their letter read: “You are aware that Disqualification Rules, 1986, require a minimum of 7 days period. In spite of the same, the proceedings are being hurried up.I am not in station now and I requite to consult my lawyer after receiving the papers. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Balachandra R Jarkiholi vs BS Yeddyurappa reported in (2011) 7 SCC 1 has held that 7 days notice period is mandatory. In these circumstances, I request you to grant four weeks time to appear.”

The coalition government had slipped into a crisis two weeks ago after 16 lawmakers — 13 from the Congress and three from the JD(S) — resigned. Ramesh Kumar is yet to take a final call on accepting the resignation letters.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 105 members, the Congress-JD(S) coalition has the support of 100 MLAs, excluding Kumar, in the 225-member Assembly. There are 15 rebel MLAs, two Independents and one MLA from the BSP, while another is a nominated member. If the resignation letters of the rebel MLAs are accepted by the Speaker, the government would be in a minority.

The debate on the trust vote dragged on in the Assembly well into Monday night with impatient BJP members pressing for an end to the discussion, which began last Thursday.

Despite assurances by Ramesh Kumar on Monday morning that the vote would be held during the day, the House was adjourned around 11.40 pm without the floor test being conducted. Kumar promised that the trust vote will be held by 6pm on Tuesday.

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