Morning briefing: SC to pronounce order on collegium's improved, transparent working

supreme court, judges, cold wave, rape victim, december 16, isro, singapore, pan, ugc

GN Staff | December 16, 2015



The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce its order today on improving the functioning of the collegium and bringing transparency in the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.The constitution bench comprising justices Jagdish Singh Khehar, JChelameswar, Madan B. Lokur, Kurian Joseph and Adarsh Kumar Goel had reserved their order on November 19 after hearing suggestions from cross section of stakeholders including the government. Though the constitution bench had asked the collegium to go ahead with the appointments of judges, new chief justice Tirath Singh Thakur said that he would take up the task only after the constitution bench spells out the procedure.The immediate task before the apex court collegium after Wednesdays' order would be the appointment about 400 judges to 24 high courts and three judges to the top court.

We failed to get justice for daughter, says December 16 victim's father
On the eve of the third anniversary of December 16, 2012 gang-rape incident that shook the nation, the victim's distraught parents said, "We have failed. Now there is no hope for justice", as they appealed not to release the juvenile convict."With each passing day her memories get more intense. But we are not even able to face the memories as we have failed to secure justice for her. And now there is no hope for justice!," the 50-year-old father of the victim said in a choked voice on Tuesday.According to the father, it has been three years and yet the four culprits have not been hanged. The juvenile convict, allegedly the most brutal" of the six accused, is scheduled to be released on December 20 after his term at the observation home ends.The father of the girl said the youth, who was a juvenile at the time of the incident, should not be released as he is a "threat" to the society.They have also submitted representations to the Home Ministry and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) demanding the same."For us he is the the killer of our daughter who is being set free despite his heinous crime. We demand that he should not be released," the father said.

ISRO to launch six Singaporean satellites today
Indian Space Research Organisation's PSLV rocket will today launch six Singaporean satellites which would help the city-state gather information on disaster monitoring and urban planning.To be launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in the spaceport of Andhra Pradesh's Sriharikota at 6.00 pm today, the satellites will be put into orbit by Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)- PSLV-C29 on reaching 550 kms from the earth's surface.The satellites would be launched one after another, 30 seconds apart, to avoid collision and set a distance of about 20 kilometres between them. The 59-hour-countdown for the PSLV-C29/TeLEOS-1 Mission began at 7.00 am on Monday and was progressing normally, ISRO said.For the first time, the satellites will orbit around the equator and gather data that will benefit those in the equatorial region. The satellites will be put into a 550 kms circular orbit inclined at 15 degrees to the equator.

Haryana announces panchayat polls after SC clearance
Haryana on Tuesday announced the schedule for the panchayat polls in the state.The dates were announced following the Supreme Court's decision last week upholding the Haryana Panchayati Raj Amendment Act, 2015.State Election Commissioner Rajeev Sharma said the panchayat polls will be held in three phases -- January 10, 17 and 24 next year.He said the model code of conduct has come into force in the area of panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) where the polls will be conducted."The election process would be completed by February 15, 2016," Sharma said.There are a total of 6,198 gram panchayats, 126 panchayat samitis and 21 zila parishads in the state. Elections would be conducted for 416 members of 21 zila parishads, 3,001 posts of 126 panchayat samitis, and 6,198 posts and 62,492 posts of sarpanches and panches.The Supreme Court last week upheld an amendment to the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act providing for educational qualifications and other eligibility criteria, including a functional toilet at home.

Cold wave and fog hit life in north India

Cold wave coupled with fog today hit normal life in most parts of Northern plains and possibly claimed its first victim in Jaipur, even as hilly areas of Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir were under the grip of biting chill. Several trains of North-Western Railways were running late by several hours due to the ongoing fog in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi, a railways spokesman said. Aviation regulator DGCA has also directed all schedule domestic airlines to operate only with CAT-III complaint aircraft along with trained crew during fog hours.It was a chilly day in the national capital today with the minimum temperature settling at 8 degrees Celsius, a notch below the season's average. The maximum temperature was recorded at 22.2 degrees Celsius, a notch below the normal, a Meteorological department official said. Srinagar recorded a low of minus 0.3 degrees. Cold weather conditions prevailed today in Haryana and Punjab with temperatures hovering below normal levels at most places.In Punjab, Amritsar was the coldest place with a minimum temperature of 2.5 degrees.The minimum temperature at Chandigarh settled at 7.4 deg C However, the residents of the Union Territory woke up to a sunny morning today.Severe cold wave sweeping across Rajasthan claimed the life of a middle-aged beggar in Jaipur's Ramganj area.
He was found unconscious by passersby in the early morning in the open. Jaipur experienced the coldest night of the season with 5.3 degrees, about 6 degree less than normal. While Churu recorded the lowest temperature of 2.4 degree C.Due to fog in neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh seven passengers' train of North-Western Railway were running late in Rajasthan.

PAN made mandatory for bank account opening and other payments

From January 1, quoting PAN or permanent account number will be mandatory for opening all bank accounts. With the aim of checking domestic black money, the government today announced a slew of measures that will make the use of PAN mandatory not just for opening accounts but several other transactions including buying gold or jewellery for Rs. 2 lakh or paying a bill of Rs. 50,000 at a restaurant. To reduce bank accounts with forged details, the government has made PAN card mandatory for all kind of bank accounts except those under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana.Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said, "The government is committed to curbing the circulation of black money and widening of tax base. To collect information on certain types of transactions from third parties in a non-intrusive manner, the Income-Tax Rules require quoting of PAN where the transactions exceed a specified limit."PAN will be mandatory for any transaction of over Rs. 2 lakh, regardless of whether it is in cash or through card or cheque. The Finance Minister in his budget speech had proposed a Rs. 1 lakh limit.The Rs. 2 lakh limit for disclosure of PAN card is an "interim measure" and ultimate goal is to lower it Rs. 1 lakh, Adhia said.To help small property buyers, monetary limits for quoting PAN has been raised to Rs. 10 lakh from Rs. 5 lakh for sale or purchase of immovable property. People without a PAN are required to fill a form and furnish a specified document from a list to establish their identity.In a relief to small investors, the requirement of furnishing PAN for making post office deposit of over Rs. 50,000 has been dispensed with.

Recruitment of minorities in central govt touches 8.79%
11,218 persons or 8.79 per cent people recruited by central government departments belonged to minorities during 2014-15, the Minority Affairs Ministry has said. In a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, minister of state Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi shared these details related to 65 ministries and departments.In 2014-15, the number of minorities recruited was 11,218 persons and their percentage in total recruitment was 8.79 per cent.As per the data shared by the minister, the share of minorities in recruitments is increasing.In 2013-14, among the recruitments made in central government departments, autonomous bodies, Public Sector Units (PSUs) etc the number of minorities was 1,28,964 which was 7.89 per cent of the total.The number of minorities recruited in 2012-13 was 22,839 and they were 6.91 per cent of the overall recruitment.

Review of order on closure of off-campus centres of TIFR, BITS Pilani
A month after the University Grants Commission shot off notices ordering 10 top deemed universities including Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Birla Institute of Technology & Science at Pilani & Mesra and the Homi Bhabha National Institute to immediately close their off-campus centres, it is set to revisit the issue. A proposal to review the matter and even possibly grant a one-time exemption to the institutes is lined up on the agenda of a UGC Commission meeting scheduled next week.The country's apex higher education regulator had shot off the notices on November 9 to TIFR, BITS Pilani and Mesra, HBNI, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Indian School of Mines Dhanbad, Banasthali University, PRIST in Tamil Nadu, Indian Veterinary Research Institute and Lakshmibai National University of Physical Education in Gwalior. The UGC asked them to "immediately close down the unauthorised off-campus centres" saying they were established without prior approval of the ministry, failing which "necessary action" would be taken.

Shashi Tharoor introduces bill to amend Section 377

Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor has introduced a private member’s bill which seeks to amend Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that criminalizes homosexuality. The colonial era law criminalizes all non-penile vaginal sexual intercourse.The Indian Penal Code (Amendment) Bill 2015 has been listed for discussion in Parliament on December 18 (Friday, when private members bills are discussed).In effect, the bill aims to decriminalize sexual intercourse in private between consenting adults, irrespective of their sexuality or gender, by restricting the applicability of the section.

Asian stocks gain as Wall Street rises before Fed
Asian stocks gained on Wednesday, with sentiment lifting as Wall Street rose before a likely hike in US interest rates, while the dollar held to large gains made as Treasury yields picked up.MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.5%. Japan’s Nikkei gained 1.9% and Shanghai stocks edged up 0.4%.The region’s outperformers included Australian shares , which surged 1.9%. Yet analysts warned of nerves ahead of one of this year’s most anticipated market events.

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