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SC refuses to stay Yeddyurappa’s swearing-in, but keeps it subject to case outcome

The media converged at the residence of Supreme Court Chief Justice Dipak Misra in anticipation of an urgent hearing on the matter.

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Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, May 17: The Supreme Court early on Thursday after a midnight hearing refused to stay the swearing-in of BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa as Karnataka’s new Chief Minister. The case will be at 10.30 am on May 18. 

After a rare midnight hearing that ran for hours, the court refused to stay the oath taking ceremony as was sought in a joint petition by the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S).

“In case he is given oath in the meantime, that shall be subject to further orders of this Court and final outcome of the writ petition (by the Congress and JD-S),” said the three-judge bench, recording the proceedings of the night in the packed Room No.6.

Presiding the proceedings were Justices A.K. Sikri, S.A. Bobde and Ashok Bhushan.

Yeddyruppa took oath as planned but on Friday at 10.30 a.m. when the apex court hears the matter again, he will have to produce the two letters dated May 15 and 16 he has written to Governor Vajubhai Vala to stake his claim for government formation.

The BJP leader is said to have claimed a majority support in the letters.

But the question is how?

The Congress and JD-S had challenged Karnataka Governor Vala’s invitation to Yeddyurappa to form the government despite the BJP falling short of legislative numbers to claim majority in the 222-member Assembly. Voting was not held in two of the 224 constituencies on May 12.

The BJP won 104, the Congress 78 and the JD-S 37. Any party or grouping needs 112 members to claim majority as per the present strength of the House. The Congress and JD-S didn’t have a pre-poll alliance but cobbled together a grouping after the results threw a hung Assembly.

Together, and with a support of one BSP member and an independent, the Congress and JD-S make 117.

The Governor still invited Yeddyurappa and gave him 15 days of time to prove majority.

The Congress lashed out at the Governor’s move calling it “partisan and biased” and rushed to the Supreme Court for an urgent hearing that commenced at 2.20 a.m. and concluded at 5.30 in the morning.

During the hearing, senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the Congress, argued that the Governor must have invited the post-poll coalition to form government as no single party secured majority.

He questioned the 15-day time given to Yeddyurappa for proving majority, saying the Supreme Court had earlier said that “to give such time is to encourage the constitutional sin of poaching”.

In his argument that ran for more than an hour, Singhvi also cited instances of Meghalaya, Manipur, Goa, Delhi, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir as precedents of post-poll alliances being invited to form governments.

“There is only one way a party which got 104 will get 113… I heard he asked for seven days (time to prove majority) but the Governor gave 15. Elementary common sense and arithmetic go against this kind of giving of time,” Singhvi said. “Question is whether it is valid, fair or capricious.”

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, said everything was in the realm of “speculation” as the entire matter was still “a grey area”.

Former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for the BJP, questioned the urgency of the matter to hear it at midnight as if “heavens will fall if a person is sworn in the morning”.

Justice Sikri asked him on what basis was his side claiming majority in the House. “It is not a fluid situation. In view of this arithmetic, on what basis you claim majority.”

Venugopal intervened: “Everything is reversible. What is the great loss by waiting for 15 days?”

Justice Bobde countered: “That is the other point. Why wait for 15 days?”

Venugopal said it was the Governor’s decision.

The court observed that it was “preposterous” to argue that before MLAs take oath they were not amenable to anti-defection law.

“It means open invitation to horse-trading. It is preposterous (to argue) that before he (an elected MLA) takes oath as member all this (floor crossing) is allowed,” Justice Sikri told the Attorney General.

“In a case like this where the opposite side is showing 117 MLAs support, how you will have 112,” Justice Sikri asked, adjourning the hearing till Friday morning.

IANS

Auto

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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Toyota car sales Down

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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India

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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