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CJI impeachment plea: Who passed order to set up Constitution bench, asks Sibal

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Kapil Sibal

New Delhi, May 8: Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Tuesday said he withdrew the petition challenging the rejection of the impeachment motion notice against the Chief Justice of India as the case had been referred to a five-judge bench without following the due process.

Addressing a press conference, Sibal said “We filed a petition in the apex court (challenging  Naidu’s rejection of impeachment motion notice against CJI) yesterday and was to be heard today. But we were informed last evening that our petition will be heard by 5 judges”.

The Congress leader asked, “Who gave these orders? What were the orders?”

He said Apex Court rules do not allow the Chief Justice to pass an administrative order to refer a matter to a five-judge bench on the ground that a “substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution arises in the case”.

The Constitution Bench excludes the five senior-most judges of the apex court — four of whom had held a presser in January — and was formed late on Monday to hear the matter on Tuesday.

“If such an order has been passed by the Chief Justice, although the petition pertains to his own impeachment, then we should be given a copy of the order, as it is our constitutional right to know who has passed these orders”.

“They (bench) did not answer our question and asked us to argue on the merits of the case. We told them we could not argue the case until we get a copy of the order. So we withdrew the petition,” he added.

Sibal said, “the Congress party wants to protect the independence and dignity of judiciary, adding we want to ensure that the processes of the court are not polluted”.

He also stated that Congress did not have a personal grievance against any judge.

During proceedings, Sibal sought details of the administrative order directing a five-judge Constitution bench be set up to hear the matter, citing the petitioners may consider challenging.

Sibal further told the top court the matter was listed before a 5-judge Bench through an administrative order and that the Chief Justice of India can’t pass such orders in this matter.

Meanwhile, Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for M Venkaiah Naidu, said the CJI had the power to do so.

After a 45-minutes of hearing, the Bench headed by Justice AK Sikri, declared the petition as dismissed as withdrawn.

Two Rajya Sabha Congress Parliamentarians Pratap Singh Bajwa and Amee Harshadray Yajnik had approached the apex court on Monday challenging Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu’s decision to reject impeachment motion notice against the CJI.

The opposition had handed over signatures of 71 lawmakers from seven parties on April 20 under Article 217 read with article 124 (4) of the Constitution of India.

Following this, On April 23, Naidu rejected the Impeachment Notice against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra citing lack of substantial facts

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BS-IV vehicles needed for public utility services & purchased up to March 31 be registered: SC

The issue of pollution from vehicles had cropped up before the apex court which is hearing a matter related to air pollution in the Delhi-national capital region (NCR).

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New Delhi, Sep 18 : The Supreme Court Friday said BS-IV vehicles, which were purchased on or before March 31 this year and are necessary for municipal corporation in Delhi to carry out essential public utility services, should be registered.

The apex court had in October 2018 said that no BS-IV compliant vehicle would be sold or registered in India from April 1, 2020.

In 2016, the Centre had also announced that India would skip the BS-V norms and adopt BS-VI by 2020.

BS emission norms are standards instituted by the government to regulate output of air pollutants from motor vehicles.

The matter came up for hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde which dealt with applications related to registration of three types of vehicles — CNG , BS-IV and BS-VI compliant — for being used for essential public utility services.

“Insofar as CNG vehicles are concerned, there cannot be any valid rejection to the vehicles, as the emission from these vehicles is within the limits. Therefore, we direct that these vehicles may be registered,” said the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.

It noted that BS-VI norms came into force on April 1, 2020 and vehicles purchased up to March 31 this year were BS-IV compliant.

“Admittedly the emission from BS-VI compliant vehicles is within the norms and hence the vehicles purchased on or after April 1, 2020 and which are BS-VI compliant, should also liable to be registered,” it said.

The top court noted in its order that BS-IV compliant vehicles purchased up to March 31 this year must have been registered with the E-Vahan portal of the government before the cut-off date to establish the date of purchase.

“If the purchase had been made on or before March 31, 2020 and these vehicles are BS-IV compliant, such vehicles necessary for the municipal corporation to carry essential public utility services should also be registered. But such cases shall be scrutinized by the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA),” the bench said.

The bench said to avoid repeated applications being filed before the court just for the purpose of getting registration, “we direct that the EPCA shall scrutiny the pending cases and submit a report to this court so that a common order could be passed without the necessity for several interlocutory applications.”

The issue of pollution from vehicles had cropped up before the apex court which is hearing a matter related to air pollution in the Delhi-national capital region (NCR).

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Coronavirus: Karnataka’s Covid tally crosses 5 lakh

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Coronavirus in India

Bengaluru, Sep 19 : With 8,626 fresh cases across the state on Friday, Karnataka’s Covid-19 tally crossed the 5 lakh mark, while 10,949 people were discharged after treatment in the last 24 hours.

“The number of positive cases across the state is 5,02,982, including 1,01,129 active cases, while 3,94,026 cases were discharged since March 8,” said the health bulletin.

With 179 patients succumbing to the infection during the day, the state’s toll has gone up to 7,808.

Bengaluru, which is the epicentre of the disease in the state, registered 3,623 cases during the day, taking its tally to 1,87,705, including 41,914 active cases, while 1,43,198 patients were discharged till date, with 2,725 in the last 24 hours.

With 37 deaths during the day, the city’s toll has increased to 2,592.

“The number of patients in the intensive care units (ICU) across the state is 814, including 271 in Bengaluru Urban district, Dharwad 74, Ballari 67 and Hassan 62,” the bulletin said.

Mysuru saw 600 new cases, Udupi 493, Dakshina Kannada 456, Ballari 296, Shivamogga 257 and Belagavi 221.

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Anil Dhasmana is new chief of NTRO, spy agency that keeps an eye from the sky

Anil Dhasmana is the former chief of India’s external spy agency, R&AW

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Anil Dhasmana with Amit Shah

Former Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) chief Anil Dhasmana has been appointed as National Technical Research Organisation, India’s technical body that is responsible for geospatial intelligence and satellite imagery.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cleared the appointment and the decision was formally conveyed to the retired Indian Police Service officer on Friday.

Dhasmana succeeds former Intelligence Bureau officer Satish Jha who demitted office on Thursday.

Dhasmana, a 1981 batch Indian Police Service officer, is a Pakistan expert and was the lead planner of the Balakot air strikes in February 2019 after Pakistan-backed terrorists killed 40 CRPF soldiers in the Pulwama car bombing.

Dhasmana had stepped down a few months later when his extended term due to the general elections ended in June 2019.

The top police officer returns to the center of action 14 months later at a time the NTRO is playing a crucial role, tracking movements of the China’s People’s Liberation Army near the many friction points along the Line of Actual Control that have seen heavy deployment of soldiers and support elements from both sides. The two countries have been speaking to each other at military and diplomatic levels to resolve the stand-off but there are some indications that the stand-off would continue for some time.

Dhasmana had joined R&AW, India’s external spy agency in 1993 from his parent cadre Madhya Pradesh and had worked extensively with the agency’s Pakistan desk.

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