Evening digest: Centre snubs SC as it declines to frame draft procedure on judges appointment

GN Bureau | November 19, 2015

#MOP   #RBI   #e-auction   #coal mines   #Hindu   #Christian   #Swachh Bharat   #cyber crime  

Government today expressed its inability before the supreme court in formulating the draft Memorandum of Procedure (MOP) for appointment of judges in the higher judiciary. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who was yesterday asked by the five-judge constitution bench to prepare the draft MoP, said "it is not possible for the government to devise a draft MoP for judicial discussion. It is an unnecessary burden on this court. There is no procedure of draft MoP in the Constitution. We can't issue it." The court had asked the Centre to formulate a draft MoP, based on the suggestions, for appointments of judges to higher judiciary to be made by collegium. Rohatgi asked the bench, headed by Justice J S Khehar, to issue directions for making the collegium system better and leave the task of drafting MoP. "There cannot be a continued mandamus. It has to end somewhere. Some finality has to be achieved," Rohatgi said.

One-day stir at RBI hits key banking services
Major banking transactions took a hit on Thursday as over 17,000 employees of RBI went on ‘one-day mass casual leave’ protesting against reform measures of the central government and seeking better retirement benefits. Among the services that were affected were cheque clearances, payments and settlements and forex transactions. The protest — the first at the apex bank in six years — was called by the United Forum of Reserve Bank Officers and Employees, the umbrella organisation of four recognised unions of officers and other employees at the central bank.

Government sets ball rolling for e-auction of eight coal mines
The government today kick-started the process of online auction for eight blocks in the fourth round for sectors like steel, cement and iron. The coal blocks to be put under the hammer include Brahmapuri and Suliyari in Madhya Pradesh, Bundu and Gondulpura in Jharkhand, Gondkhari and Khappa & Extn in Maharashtra and Jaganathpur A and Jaganathpur B in West Bengal. These mines together have reserves totaling 1,143.42 million tonnes (MT) and their peak rated capacity stands at 12.86 mt. The government has already mobilised over Rs 3 lakh crore in the first three rounds of coal auction and allotment. "The e-auction for these mines will be held from January 18 to January 22, 2016," Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said.

Sensex ends 359 points higher, Nifty above 7,800
The domestic equity market saw heavy gains on Thursday ahead of the submission of the Seventh Pay Commission report and tracking positive cues from European and other Asian markets.Investor sentiment was supported by the minutes of the last rate-setting meeting of the US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which indicated that the Fed may go ahead with rate hike in December, but the tightening process will be rather gradual. The S&P BSE Sensex ended the day 359 points, or 1.41 per cent, higher at 25,842 while the 50-stock barometer Nifty50 closed at 7,843, up 111 points or 1.4 per cent.

Without conversion ritual marriage of Hindu and Christian is void, rules court
The Madras high court has held that marriage between a Hindu woman and a Christian man is not legally valid if either of them does not convert. Dismissing a Habeas Corpus petition filed by the woman's parents, justices P R Shivakumar and V S Ravi said if the couple wanted to solemnise the marriage as per Hindu custom, the man should have converted to Hinduism or she should have converted to Christianity if she wanted to do so as per Christian custom. In the alternative, their marriage should have been registered under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, if they preferred to follow their religions without conversion.

Swachh Bharat Cess not for services exempted from tax
The Swachh Bharat Cess will not be levied on services exempted from tax or are in the negative list, the Central Board of Excise and Customs, has clarified. The CBEC has issued a detailed set of clarifications in form of frequently asked questions to clear the air about the cess being levied from November 15. This cess would be levied, charged, collected and paid to government independent of service tax. This needs to be charged separately on the invoice, accounted for separately in the books of account and paid separately under separate accounting code which would be notified shortly. It will have to be charged separately after service tax as a different line item in invoice and accounted and treated similarly to education cesses.

Many states yet to seek central help to combat drought
Nearly half of the country's 676 districts are in the grip of drought due to deficit monsoon rainfall, but most of the affected states have so far not even approached the Centre for assistance after doing their ground surveys. Only six out of 18 states have initiated measures to handle the situation and informed the agriculture ministry about the extent of drought in their respective states. "States like UP, Bihar, Telangana and Jharkhand have not even informed the Centre about the problem despite being in the grip of drought. Instead of making political statements, the state governments must do ground survey and inform us about the problem," said Union agriculture and farmer welfare minister Radha Mohan Singh.

113 million Indians lost Rs 16k on average to cyber crime: Norton
An estimated 113 million Indians lost about Rs 16,558 on an average to cyber crime in addition to the "emotional" stress caused by personal financial data breach, a report by software security firm Norton says. The global average stood at Rs 23,878 ($358), according to the report by Norton by Symantec. The report found 60 per cent respondents expressing concern about experiencing cyber crime. About 54 per cent said it is more likely their credit card information will be stolen online than from their wallet. Also, 52 per cent said they have either personally experienced credit card fraud or know someone who has. The global study, covering 17 countries and 17,125 device users aged above 18 years, comprised inputs from 1,000 people from India. However, only 41 per cent use a secure password (combination of at least eight letters, numbers and symbols).

Biggest diamond in more than a century discovered in Botswana
A 1,111 carat gem-quality diamond, second only in size to the Cullinan diamond in the British Crown jewels, has been unearthed by Lucara Diamond Corp. in Botswana. The stone, slightly smaller than a tennis ball, is the largest diamond discovery for more than 100 years, according to Vancouver-based Lucara. It was recovered by machines at in the south lobe of Karowe mine in central Botswana, the company said in a statement. The biggest diamond ever discovered is the 3,106-carat Cullinan, found near Pretoria in South Africa in 1905.



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