Morning briefing: Judicial commission on judges appointments declared unconstitutional by SC

GN Bureau | October 16, 2015


#judges appointments   #judicial commission   #Maggi   #TRAI   #RTI convention   #RTI Activists boycott   #Bihar polls   #beef  

Supreme court has declared today the national judicial appointments commission act (NJAC Act) meant to replace the two-decade old collegium system of judges appointing judges in higher judiciary as unconstitutional. This means that the collegium system will continue to function. The court also rejected the plea of centre that the petition challenging NJAC Act be referred to a larger bench.One of the contentious provisions of the new law was the inclusion of two eminent persons to the NJAC which included Chief Justice of India, two senior most judges of the apex court and the Union Law Minister. A five-judge bench headed by Justice JS Khehar had reserved its judgement on July 15 after a marathon hearing for 31 days on the issue of validity of the 99th Constitutional Amendment and the NJAC Act.The petitions challenging the new legislation were filed by the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA) and others contending that the new law on the selection and appointment of judges was unconstitutional and aimed at hurting the independence of judiciary. However, the Centre had defended the introduction of the new law saying that the collegium system where judges appointed judges was not free from defects and got the support of the Supreme Court Bar Association. The measure was also supported by 20 state governments which ratified the NJAC Act and the constitutional amendment.

Muslims will have to give up eating beef, says Haryana CM
BJP leader and Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has said that Muslims can continue to live in India, but they will have to give up eating beef. Khattar in an interview to 'The Indian Express' maintained that the cow is an article of faith in India, thus Muslims should stop eating beef. He also termed the Dadri lynching incident as wrong and a result of misunderstanding.

Voting for 32 seats in 6 Maoist-hit districts in 2nd phase of Bihar polls
Voting is taking place in 9,119 polling stations as Kaimur, Rohtas, Arwal, Jehanabad, Aurangabad and Gaya districts of Bihar today with 86 lakh voters set to decide the fate of 456 candidates in 32 constituencies spread across six Maoist-hit districts. Second phase of voting started at 7am. Additional chief electoral officer R Lakshamanan said it would end at 3pm in 11 constituencies and at 4pm in 12 others. On nine seats, the scheduled voting is from 7am to 5pm.

Activists to boycott opening of RTI convention
Leading RTI activists including Aruna Roy will boycott the opening of annual CIC convention, celebrating 10th anniversary of the transparency law, to be addressed by prime minister Narendra Modi. The activists including Lokesh Batra, Venkatesh Nayak, Anjali Bhardwaj and Nikhil Dey, who were invited for the convention, announced their boycott plans after the authorities restricted the invitations to some activists citing security reasons. In an unusual action, the Central Information Commission has expressed inability to invite a larger number of activists and even its own staff.

TRAI unveils three stage plan for quality check
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has unveiled three-stage graded financial penalties for landline and mobile operators for failing to meet quality standards on network and customer-related parameters, and increased fines for telcos not meeting quality standards. Under the new rules unveiled on Thursday, Trai has jacked up financial disincentives on mobile operators for non-compliance of network and customer related benchmarks to Rs 1 lakh per parameter for the first violation in a quarter. For subsequent non-compliance on the same parameter consecutively in two or more quarters, the penalty will be higher at Rs 1.5 lakh, and still higher at Rs 2 lakh for each consecutive contravention, the sector regulator said in a statement. Till date, network-related violations stood at Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh for first and subsequent violations respectively, while noncompliance on customer-related quality violations attracted a financial disincentive of Rs 50,000 per parameter.Neawhile,  (TRAI) is set to notify a compensation of 1 rupee for every call drop with a daily cap of 3 calls.

UN owes India $85 million for contribution towards peacekeeping
The UN owes India an amount of $85 million for its contribution towards peacekeeping operations including troops, police and equipment, a senior management official has said. The organisation owed a total of $1.03 billion to 86 Member States which contributed troops, police and equipment as of October 2 this year. India is the largest cumulative troop contributor to UN peace operations, with over 185,000 troops having served in 48 of the 69 missions mandated so far.

Maggi samples to undergo fresh tests
National consumer court has ordered fresh samples of Nestle's Maggi instant noodles — banned after they were found to contain a flavour enhancer and excess lead — to be sent to the Central Food Technological Research Institute in Mysore for testing. A bench of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, headed by Justice VK Jain, which is hearing a class action suit filed against NestleBSE 0.38 % India, ordered the fresh tests on 13 samples from nine batches of the product available with the government of India. The case will be heard again on November 23.

Sensex, Nifty open marginally lower
Indian stocks open marginally lower, with the S&P BSE Sensex trading down 46.49 points, or 0.17%, at 26,963.65. The Nifty slips 13.65 points, or 0.17%, to 8,165.85.  An increasing expectation that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates at record lows led to further gains in Asia’s stock markets. Hong Kong was  0.79% and Sydney gained 0.89%. Shanghai 1.2% higher, with dealers betting on China’s leaders announcing a new round of measures to shore up the stuttering economy. In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.28%, S&P 500 jumps 1.49%, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1.82%.

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