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CJI under RTI: CJI being on bench is no issue, say experts

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New Delhi, Nov 12 Legal experts say the Chief Justice pronouncing the judgement on bringing the office of Chief Justice under the RTI Act is not an issue, and that it is, instead, a process connected with adjudication.

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi said, “The Chief Justice can certainly be on the bench pronouncing the judgement on the petitions challenging the Delhi High Court verdict bringing the office of the Chief Justice of India within the ambit of RTI. The verdict is connected to the office and not to an individual.”

When queried on any issue of conflict of interest, Dwivedi said there is absolutely no conflict of interest.

The apex court had observed that the judiciary cannot be destroyed for the sake of transparency, though insisting that nobody wants a system of opaqueness.

The apext court bench had said, “Nobody wants to remain in the state of darkness or keep anybody in the same…but, the question which is before us is that in the name of transparency, you can’t destroy the institution.”

Dwivedi cited an example, if somebody finds issue with the apex court Collegium and then challenges it before the top court. “It would have to be heard by the judges”, added Dwivedi.

Recently, Justice Arun Mishra, a senior judge of the apex court, had refused to recuse from hearing a batch of petitions connected with the Land Acquisition Act. According to the judgment, Justice Mishra decided not to recuse in the “interest of the judiciary and the system”.

Justice Mishra was part of the verdict in February last year, which held that acquisition of the land by a government agency cannot be overturned, if there was a delay by land owners who fail to accept compensation within five years citing pending court cases.

In 2014, another verdict had ruled the land acquisition can be overturned if there is a delay in accepting the compensation awarded against the acquisition.

In March 2018, the top court had said a larger bench would look into the verdicts. On a query, comparing the two scenarios, Dwivedi said Justice Mishra was part of the judgement whereas the RTI judgement pertains to the office of Chief Justice.

Senior advocate Narendra Hooda said there is no conflict of interest in Chief Justice being part of the bench, which is scheduled to pronounce the judgement tomorrow.

“The Chief Justice being part of the bench is the process of legal adjudication of the matter”, said Hooda. He cited an example, if a district judge is removed by a full High Court bench, then to seek relief, the judge would have to go before the same High Court.

“Therefore, the current case is related to the office of Chief Justice of India and not to an individual”, said Hooda.

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2 CRPF personnel in Jharkhand killed in fratricidal firing

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Gun Fight

New Delhi: An Assistant Commandant and an Assistant Sub Inspector of the Central Reserve Police Force deployed for Jharkhand elections have been killed in fratricidal firing, while two others, including the shooter were left injured, CRPF said on Tuesday.

“Incident occurred at location of C/226Bn, deployed for Jharkhand elections in which 2 personnel were killed and 2 injured (including the firer),” a statement by CRPF read.

The injured personnel have been evacuated to Ranchi for treatment, as the paramilitary has ordered enquiry in the matter.

Last week, five Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel deployed in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region to fight Maoists were shot dead by another soldier at the paramilitary force’s camp.

The constable who turned his service weapon on his colleagues later shot himself dead, a senior police officer said. Two more jawans were also injured in the incident.

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Atal statue installed in Lucknow, to be unveiled on Dec 25

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Lucknow: A 25-ft bronze statue of former prime minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was installed at the Lok Bhawan building here and is expected to be formally unveiled on December 25, his birth anniversary.

The statue was installed at the Bhawan on Monday night.

According to sources, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to unveil the statue.

Sources said that the Prime Minister’s Office was yet to confirm Modi’s availability on December 25.

Sculpted by famous sculptor Raj Kumar Pandit of Jaipur, it statue is going to be the tallest statue in the state.

Vajpayee’s life-size statue was commissioned on March 9, 2019 to Jaipur’s Works for Artist Foundry. It has been mounted on an eight feet high base, prepared by the Uttar Pradesh Rajkiya Nirman Nigam Limited.

The statue has come up at the spot where a cut-out of Vajpayee, overlooking the imposing entrance to the Lok Bhawan, was symbolically placed.

Vajpayee represented Lucknow in the Lok Sabha for a record five consecutive terms, which also included his three stints as Prime Minister.

Yogi Adityanath has taken a keen personal interest in the construction of the Vajpayee statue.

Though the exact estimate was not known, officials said that the contract for the Vajpayee statue was given for Rs 89.6 lakh.

Last year, a 12.5 ft bronze statue of Swami Vivekananda, made by Maharashtra’s Uttam Pacharne, was unveiled at the Raj Bhawan by the then governor Ram Naik and the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

Four more statues — all 12.5 ft high — that are nearly ready and are being given finishing touches include those of Adityanath’s revered gurus Mahant Avaidyanath and Mahant Digvijayanath, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna and also Bhartendu Harish Chandra — widely regarded as the father of modern Hindi literature and Hindi theatre.

While Bhartendu Harish Chandra’s statue would be installed at the Bhartendu Natya Akademi in Gomti Magar, the place and positioning of Bahuguna’s statue as well as those of spiritual gurus from Gorakhnath Math, of which Adityanath is the head priest, are yet to be decided.

“Unlike in previous governments when statues were mostly sanctioned on political lines, the Adityanath government is sanctioning statues of leaders which inspire our young generation,” said Uttar Pradesh Minister Ashutosh Tandon.

In the Bahujan Samaj Party regime, statues of almost all Dalit icons were installed in various places in the state capital while Akhilesh Yadav, in his regime installed statues of Janeshwar Misra and Ram Manohar Lohia.


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Citizenship Bill ‘patently unconstitutional,’ battle ground to shift to Supreme Court: Chidambaram

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New Delhi, Dec 10: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram described the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill as “patently unconstitutional” on Tuesday and said with its passage in Parliament, the battleground will shift to the Supreme Court.

“CAB is unconstitutional. Parliament passes a Bill that is patently unconstitutional and the battle ground shifts to the Supreme Court. Elected Parliamentarians are abdicating their responsibilities in favour of lawyers and judges!,” Chidambaram said in a tweet.

“That is the price we pay for giving a party a brute majority that it uses to trample over the wishes of the states and the people,” the former Union minister said in another tweet.

According to the proposed legislation, members of the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who came to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan by December 31, 2014 and faced religious persecution in those countries, will not be treated as illegal immigrants and given the Indian citizenship.

P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) December 10, 2019
The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha with 311 members favouring it, 80 voting against it and zero abstentions, after a heated debate.

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