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Johnson’s Parliament suspension ‘unlawful abuse of power’

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London, Sep 17 : British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s motive for proroguing the Commons for five weeks was to avoid the risk of MPs “frustrating or damaging” his Brexit plans and “to silence Parliament for that period”, the Supreme Court heard on Tuesday.

The country’s highest judicial body were hearing appeals from two separate challenges brought in England and Scotland to the prorogation of Parliament in London.

Johnson’s extended suspension of debate was carried out for an “improper purpose” in order to “avoid the risk of Parliament undermining the policies of his executive”, said Lord Pannick QC, who was representing the businesswoman and legal campaigner Gina Miller.

Before the arguments formally began in central London, Lady Hale, the President of the Supreme Court, stressed the landmark case would have no bearing on the timing of Brexit, the BBC reported.

In her opening statement, the most senior judge in the UK said that she and her 10 colleagues would endeavour to address the “serious and difficult questions of law” raised by the case.

But she said the court would not determine “wider political questions” relating to the Brexit process and its ruling would have no bearing on “when and how the UK leaves the EU”.

As the hearing went underway, some 40 protesters, holding signs reading “Defend democracy”, “Reopen Parliament”, “They misled the Queen”, gathered outside the top court.

Over the next three days, the 11 judges of the Supreme Court will consider the two legal challenges over whether Johnson acted lawfully in advising the Queen to prorogue Parliament.

Johnson maintains it was right and proper to terminate the last session of Parliament in order to pave the way for a Queen’s Speech on October 14, in which his new government will outline its legislative plans for the year ahead.

He insisted the move had nothing to do with Brexit and his pledge to take the UK out of the EU on October 31, if necessary without a deal.

In his written submission to the court, Pannick wrote: “The Prime Minister’s advice to Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament for a period of five weeks is an unlawful abuse of power.

“The Prime Minister’s reasons for advising on a five-week prorogation were improper in that they were infected by factors inconsistent with the concept of parliamentary sovereignty, in particular his belief that Parliament does nothing of value at this time of year and his concern that Parliament might take steps which would undermine the government’s negotiating position with the EU.

Last week, Edinburgh’s Court of Session found in favour of a cross-party group of politicians challenging Johnson’s move, ruling the shutdown was unlawful and “of no effect”.

Scotland’s highest civil court found Johnson’s actions were motivated by the “improper purpose of stymieing Parliament” from properly scrutinizing the government’s Brexit plans in the run-up to a crucial summit of EU leaders on October 17.

It found that Johnson had effectively misled the Queen in the sovereign’s exercise of prerogative powers.

But, in a separate case, London’s High Court rejected a challenge brought by Gina Miller, ruling that the suspension of Parliament was a “purely political” move and was therefore “not a matter for the courts”.

The government is now appealing against the ruling in Scotland, while Miller is appealing against the High Court judgement.

India

Wrong to prevent farmers from holding peaceful demonstrations: Kejriwal

Thousands of farmers have been marching to Delhi from Punjab and Haryana protesting against the laws that liberalise the agriculture sector

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Farmers Protest

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday showed his support to the farmers who are protesting against the three farm laws passed in the Parliament in September, and said that they should be allowed to stage a peaceful protest.

“The three farm bills of the central government are anti-farmer. Instead of rolling back these bills, farmers are being stopped from staging peaceful protests. Water cannons are being used against them. This is injustice to the farmers. Peaceful protest is their constitutional right,” said Kejriwal in a tweet on Thursday.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had voted against the Bills in both Lok Sabha (where it has one MP) and Rajya Sabha (where it has three MPs).

Thousands of farmers have been marching to Delhi from Punjab and Haryana protesting against the laws that liberalise the agriculture sector. While some groups were stopped in Haryana on Wednesday and water cannons used against them, several others continue to approach Delhi to stage a protest. The Delhi Police has issued a notice prohibiting any gathering in the Capital, citing Covid-19 regulations and the Delhi Metro has temporarily closed operation on certain routes.

The three laws that have led to widespread protests are the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.

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Politics

I have lost a comrade, colleague and friend: Sonia on Ahmed Patel’s death

Congress has lost one of its greatest son. I am at loss of words at his death. May his soul rest in peace. May god give strength to his family to cope up with this terrible loss.”

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Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi: Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday while condoling the death of Ahmed Patel said she has lost a dedicated Congress colleague.

“In Sh. Ahmed Patel, I have lost a colleague, whose entire life was dedicated to the Congress Party.” she said

She said, “His faithfulness and dedication, his commitment to his duty, his always being there to help, his generosity were rare qualities that distinguished him from others.”

“I have lost an irreplaceable comrade, a faithful colleague and a friend. I mourn his passing and I feel deeply for his bereaved family to whom I offer my sincere feelings of empathy and support,” she added

Scores of Congress leaders condoled Ahmed Patel’s death, “It is very hard to come to terms with Ahmed patel Ji’s passing. He was a political troubleshooter par excellence & will be sorely missed by all. “Ahmedbhai” was also a close friend of my late father’s & a mentor to me,” tweeted Milind Deora.

B.K. Hariprasad said in a tweet, “Its very saddening to know about the demise of Shri Ahmad patel ji. Congress has lost one of its greatest son. I am at loss of words at his death. May his soul rest in peace. May god give strength to his family to cope up with this terrible loss.”

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India

Ahmed Patel’s role in strengthening Congress will always be remembered: PM Modi

A top strategist of the Congress and a most-trusted ally of its president Sonia Gandhi, Patel (71) died in the early hours of Wednesday.

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Narendra Modi

Condoling the death of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said his role in strengthening the opposition party will always be remembered.

Patel spent years in public life, serving the society, Modi noted.

A top strategist of the Congress and a most-trusted ally of its president Sonia Gandhi, Patel (71) died in the early hours of Wednesday.

He was admitted to the Medanta hospital in Gurugram and had been critical for a few days. He had contracted COVID-19 and subsequently, developed complications.

“Saddened by the demise of Ahmed Patel Ji. He spent years in public life, serving society. Known for his sharp mind, his role in strengthening the Congress Party would always be remembered. Spoke to his son Faisal and expressed condolences. May Ahmed Bhai’s soul rest in peace,” the prime minister said in a tweet.

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