QBullet: SC Wants Speakers’ Powers Re-examined; Shah Sticks By CAA

1. Examine Powers of Speakers, SC Asks Parliament

File photo of Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. 

The wisdom of the legislature in entrusting Speakers (of the state Assembly or parliament) with the responsibility of ruling on the disqualification of lawmakers who defect (shift parties) needs to be revisited, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday, 21 January, in a case on defection of a Congress MLA from Manipur.

Interestingly, the judgment comes at a time when a discussion is already underway among presiding officers of legislatures on how to secure the legislative Speaker’s “dignity” in the matters related to the defection of lawmakers.

As first reported by HT, in two conferences in as many months, many presiding officers have expressed the view that their role vis-à-vis the tenth schedule should be limited and other mechanisms must be evolved to decide cases of defection. The tenth schedule deals with the anti-defection law.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Disqualification of Lawmakers: SC Seeks to Revisit Speaker’s Power

2. Not Going Back on CAA, Those Protesting May Continue: Amit Shah

Even as protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) continue in various parts of the country, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday, 21 January, said the government won’t step back on the contentious legislation.

Addressing a rally in Lucknow, Shah said, “I want to say it again that the government is not going back on the CAA. Those who want to protest may continue doing so.”

Asserting that the law has nothing against the citizens of the country, Shah hit out at the Opposition parties for spreading “lies” about the CAA. “There is no provision of taking anyone’s citizenship in CAA. Canards being spread against CAA by Congress, SP, BSP, TMC,” the home minister added.

Also Read: ‘Despite Protests, CAA Will Not Be Withdrawn’: Home Min Amit Shah

3. Preamble Reading Made Mandatory in All Maha Schools

Image for representation.

The state education department has asked schools to ensure students read the Preamble to the Indian Constitution during assembly starting 26 January, the 70th Republic Day. The students have also been asked to take an oath on Wednesday, 22 January, pledging to protect the environment.

In a government resolution issued on Tuesday, the school education department said all primary and secondary schools must do a group reading of the Preamble during the morning assembly as prescribed in 2013.

“All citizens should understand the scope of the principles and inclusivity of the Indian Constitution… a government resolution was issued on 4 February 2013, asking all schools to read the Preamble of the Constitution. However, it is observed that the rule is not being implemented,” said the GR.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: Reciting Preamble Mandatory in Schools From 26 Jan in Maharashtra

4. ‘Discussing Kashmir,’ Says Trump as He Meets Pakistan PM

Image of Pakistan PM Imran Khan and US President Donald Trump, used for representational purposes.

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday, 21 January, he was “talking about the situation in Kashmir” with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and “will certainly be helping”, a remark that came ahead of a meeting of the two leaders on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Trump made the remarks at a media briefing before talks with Khan, who the US President described as his “very good friend.”

“We’re talking about Kashmir and in relation to what’s going on with Pakistan and India… if we can help, we certainly will be helping. We’ve been watching that and following it very, very closely,” said Trump.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: ‘Closely Following Kashmir, Can Help’: Trump Meets Imran at Davos

5. Cong State Govts Not to Cooperate on NPR

Image for representation.

Congress is likely to opt for “non-cooperation” over the National Population Register (NPR) exercise in states where the party is in office, a stance which suggests that the party’s governments may not facilitate the surveys that need to be conducted.

With Kerala having declared that it will not undertake NPR, which is to start in April, all eyes are on what other opposition parties will do. So far, Congress has opposed NPR on the ground that it sees it as a “precursor” to the National Register of Citizens (NRC). “We will pursue noncooperation,” a senior Congress functionary said.

Since the exercise is to be carried out by state officials, non-cooperation can fulfil the political objective without the party or states having to veto NPR on record. This will take the opposition beyond statements and resolutions.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: Explained: 6 Questions You’ve Always Had About Aadhaar, NPR & NRC

6. 2 Indian, 5 Foreign Yards Cleared for Rs 50,000 Crore Submarine Project

A view of newly commissioned Scorpene class submarine, INS Khanderi at Naval Dockyard in Mumbai.

The defence ministry has cleared two Indian and five foreign shipbuilders to take part in a Rs 50,000 crore project to build high-tech submarines in the country, one of the costliest ‘Make in India’ programmes in the military sector, two senior officials said on the condition of anonymity.

Six advanced submarines will be built under project P-75I to scale up the navy’s undersea warfare capabilities and counter the rapid expansion of China’s submarine fleet. The project will be pursued under the government’s ‘strategic partnership’ (SP) model, which seeks to provide fillip to the government’s Make in India programme.

“The defence acquisition council (DAC) approved the short-listing of Indian strategic partners and potential original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who would collaborate to construct six conventional submarines in India,” the defence ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Rajnath Launches India’s 2nd Scorpene-Class Submarine INS Khanderi

7. As Coronavirus Infects 300, Delhi Airport Starts Thermal Screening of Fliers From China

Image for representation.

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport has started thermal screening of passengers coming from China, reported news agency ANI.

The Civil Aviation Ministry had received an advisory from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, saying that health screening of passengers coming from China to Kolkata, Delhi, and Mumbai has to be undertaken at pre-immigration counters installed with thermal cameras.

Apart from India, countries like the United States, Australia, Hong Kong, and North Korea have also increased checks on passengers from China.

Nearly 300 people have been infected by coronavirus in China so far, stoking fears about an international pandemic. On Tuesday, the death toll from the outbreak mounted to six as China’s National Health Commission confirmed 291 cases, including those of 15 medical staff.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: Coronavirus FAQs Answered In Three Simple Graphics

8. Eight From Kerala Suffocate to Death in Nepal Hotel

Eight Indians, including 4 kids, died after they fell unconscious due to a possible gas leak in a resort in Nepal.

Eight tourists from Kerala, two couples and four children, were found unconscious in their room at a popular mountain resort in Daman, Nepal, on Tuesday, 21 January, and were subsequently declared brought dead when taken to a hospital in Kathmandu by an air ambulance. Preliminary reports indicated that the cause of death was a gas leak from a heater in their room.

The dead were identified as Praveen Krishnan Nair, Saranya Sasi, Sreebhadra Praveen, Aarcha Praveen, Abhinav Saranya Nair, Ranjith Kumar, Indu Lakshmi and Vyshnav Ranjith. They were part of a group of 15 people (families of four men who were engineering college classmates 16 years ago) travelling to Pokhara, a popular tourist destination. They stayed at Everest Panorama Resort in Daman, in Nepal’s Makawanpur district, on Monday night.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: 8 Kerala Tourists Suffocate in Nepal Resort: Here’s What We Know

9. SC Reinstates Woman Employee Who Levelled Charges at Ex-CJI

File image of CJI Ranjan Gogoi.

The Supreme Court has reinstated in service a woman staffer who had raised sexual misconduct allegations against former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. Highly placed sources told The Indian Express that she had joined duty and proceeded on leave. All her arrears too have been cleared, the sources said.

The woman, who joined the Supreme Court in May 2014, had claimed victimisation for resisting unwelcome advances when she was posted at the residence office of former CJI Gogoi in October 2018. She claimed she was later transferred and then terminated from service.

An inquiry into her complaint by an In-House Committee, comprising Justices SA Bobde (the current CJI), Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee, had, however, “found no substance” in her charges and given a clean chit to the former CJI.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: CJI Gogoi Was to Be ‘A New Hope’, That’s Not How Things Panned Out

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