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Justice Misra: Only CJI to face Judges’ revolt

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Chief Justice of India, Justice Dipak Misra

New Delhi, Sep 30 (IANS) Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who will have his last working day as CJI on Monday, will be remembered in the Indian judicial history as perhaps the only head of the top court who saw rebellion by four of the his senior most colleagues.

Another incident that stands out during his tenure is an unsuccessful impeachment motion against him in a move led by senior lawyer and Congress leader Kapil Sibal.

On the brighter side, CJI Misra will be given credit for the nod to live-streaming of the top court’s proceedings — a move that will take court proceedings to the drawing rooms of the people.

His term of 13 months and five days as the Chief Justice of India was perhaps the most turbulent for any Chief Justice, which saw his brother Judges and some from the Bar openly questioning his style of functioning in allocation of cases/matters to different benches and listing Constitution Bench matters before a bench of Judges who were relatively newcomers to the top court.

There was a perception, also voiced by the four rebel Judges, that matters of particular significance, including that of deceased Special Court Judge B.H. Loya, were being listed before a certain bench.

His then second-in-command, Justice J. Chelameswar, set up a five-Judge Constitution Bench to hear the plea for an SIT probe into graft allegations involving a Lucknow-based medical college.

The order passed in the morning of November 10, 2017 was reversed by a five-Judge Constitution Bench later in the day. The entire move was perceived as being targeted against the CJI.

It was also a time which saw lawyers, including senior counsel Prashant Bhushan, raising their voices against the bench in Court Number one.

Bhushan insisted that the CJI should not be a part of the bench hearing the plea for SIT probe into the Lucknow medical college scam and raised the pitch of his voice and stormed out of the court.

As some lawyers took exception to Bhushan’s “improper conduct” and wanted to condemn it, Chief Justice Misra said that “no condemnation in the court. We are not here for this.”

The top court also also saw both Sibal and Rajeev Dhavan plead against going ahead with the hearing of the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid matter as it was politically sensitive.

Faced with situations where his own brother Judges raised questions on his style of functioning and some of the prominent faces from the bar too joining the chorus, Chief Justice Misra weathered the storm with his usual calm and tact.

But that was not the only facet of his tenure as the CJI. His term will also be remembered for his assertion that the self-appointed right-wing cultural policemen would not be allowed to interfere with the creative expressions of artistes in cinema when the court directed that the screening of films like ‘Padmavat’ can’t be interfered with.

Similarly, the apex court came to the aid of Malayalam actress Priya Prakash Varrier by quashing the FIR against her and directing no case be registered against her for winking in a scene.

At the same time, he demonstrated his sterner side in directing the Centre and the state governments to pull up their socks and tighten their belts to curb vigilantism and mob lynching.

CJI Misra, when he was sitting in Court Number 3, passed an order in November 2016 for mandatorily playing the national anthem in cinemas before the screening of films. He rescinded this order in January this year stating that this was no longer mandatory.

All through his tenure, CJI Misra was unequivocal in upholding the liberty and rights of the people, particularly women.

He presided over a bench that decriminalised homosexuality, allowed the entry of women of all ages in Sabarimala temple, decriminalised adultery and curbed the use of Aadhaar.

(Pramod Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])

India

Nehru’s Policies, Ayodhya Dispute, Gujarat Riots Dropped From Assam Class 12 Syllabus

The chapters were deleted by the Assam Higher Secondary Education Council (AHSEC) to apparently reduce the load by 30 percent on account of loss of academic schedule due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The Assam government has excluded lessons on Jawaharlal Nehru’s policies, the Ayodhya dispute and the Gujarat riots among topics from the Class 12 syllabus of the state examination board to “ease burden on students.” The chapters were deleted by the Assam Higher Secondary Education Council (AHSEC) to apparently reduce the load by 30 percent on account of loss of academic schedule due to the Covid-19 pandemic. According to officials, topics have been cut short in all the subjects of the three streams- Science, Arts and Commerce.

“The main objective is to reduce the exam stress of the students of the session 2020-21, due to the pandemic and to prevent learning gaps. This syllabi will be the academic portion for the preparation of upcoming final exams of Higher Secondary 1st and 2nd year to be held in 2021,” AHSCE Secretary Manoranjan Kakati said in a recent report. The decision to trim the syllabus was taken on the recommendation of the selected subject experts from various reputed institutions of the state, he said.

In Political Science, Jawaharlal Nehru’s approach to nation-building and his foreign policy, politics of ‘Garibi Hatao’ and the first three general elections have been struck off. The reduced syllabi also excluded the implementation of Mandal Commission report, the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, the central governments under the United Front, earlier regimes of NDA and UPA, Ayodhya dispute, Gujarat riots, famine and suspension of five-year plans. Topics like the cold war, rise of China as an economic power in post-Mao era, conflicts and efforts for peace in South Asia, politics of disarmament, consequences of globalisation and anti-globalisation movements have also been done away with.

The salient features of the National Policy of Education 1986 and the units on women empowerment have been dropped from Class 12 syllabus. In Sociology, the experts have deleted the chapters on the struggle for women’s equality, minority rights and nation building, panchayati raj and challenges of social transformation, globalisation and social change, land reforms, secularisation and tribal movements.

For the History examination, the students will not require to study the Mughal court, Jesuits at the Mughal court, peasants, zamindars and the state, difference and conflict, religious ferment in North India and reconstructing histories of religious traditions. There will not be any material on liberalisation, privatisation, globalisation and industrial development in India.

Likewise, measures of government deficit, foreign exchange rate and determination of exchange rate in a free market and progress of nationalisation of banks and lead bank scheme from Banking were removed, the report said.

In the Swadesh Adhyayan subject, which was introduced in 2018 to study Assam and North East, changes in religious and linguistic demography, population explosion of Assam and the foreigners’ issue have been deleted.

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“Like East India Company”: Sharad Pawar’s Party Slams New Farm, Labour Bills

“The BJP government is in a way setting up an East India Company in the country by diluting farm and labour laws and protecting capitalists,” NCP spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said.

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sharad pawar

Mumbai: Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) today hit out at the Centre over the passage of farm sector and labour reform bills, accusing it of being a “government of capitalists”.

The bills were passed in a hurried manner, said NCP spokesperson Mahesh Tapase.

“The Centre has again proved it is a government of capitalists and not of common people,” he alleged.

“The BJP government is in a way setting up an East India Company in the country by diluting farm and labour laws and protecting capitalists,” he added.

The farm sector laws do not clearly mention minimum support prices and that is why the farmers in northern states are protesting against these reforms, Mr Tapase said.

“The NCP is completely with farmers. (NCP chief Sharad) Pawar himself has said so,” he added.

On labour reforms, the NCP spokesperson said the Union government was bringing in the “hire and fire” work culture of the West.

Talking about Bihar Director General of Police Gupteshwar Pandey opting for voluntary retirement, Mr Tapase said the Election Commission and Department of Personnel and Training should make a two-year cooling off period compulsory before former officials can join politics.

Mr Pandey was under attack from Maharashtra politicians for seeking CBI probe in actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.

“Such officials can join politics after their cooling-off period is over,” Mr Tapase said.

He also demanded that the Centre disburse to Maharashtra its Goods and Services Tax share of ₹ 22,000 crore.

Parliament passed Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill last week.

On Wednesday it approved three key labour reform bills.

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Centre suspends fresh IBC proceedings till Dec

In June, the Union Cabinet approved the suspension, which came into effect from March 25 and was brought in through the ordinance route.

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Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi, Sep 24 : In a major relief for stressed companies amid the pandemic woes, the Centre on Thursday announced the suspension of fresh insolvency proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) by three more months till December.

In a gazette notification, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) said that the suspension on operation of Section 7, 9 and 10 of the IBC has been extended.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by section 10A of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, the Central Government has extended the suspension of sections 7,9, 10 of the IBC for a further period of three months,” the Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman said in a tweet.A

She said that the decision reinforces the government’s commitment to protecting businesses.

“It also gives companies breathing time to recover from financial stress,” she said.

In June, the Union Cabinet approved the suspension, which came into effect from March 25 and was brought in through the ordinance route.

Section 7 of the IBC allows initiation of corporate insolvency resolution process by financial creditor, while Section 9 allows operational creditors to file application for initiation of insolvency process by operational creditor.

Further, a corporate debtor who has committed a default, can file for initiation of a corporate insolvency resolution process under Section 10 of IBC.

Although the decision to extend the suspension has brought much-needed relief for business stressed in the midst of the pandemic, sector experts, however, have raised concerns regarding the financial stress it may create once the suspension is revoked.

Sumit Batra, Partner at India Law Alliance, said: “Another extension of three months beyond 25.09.2020 for initiation of bankruptcy against defaulting corporate entities will further aggravate the situation and lead to an unprecedented rise in fresh filing once the suspension is revoked.”

Noting that while the logic of suspension for not being able to initiate proceedings under Section 7 and 9 of IBC, seems justified to an extent that lockdown triggered due to widespread outbreak of Covid-19 affected the paying capacity of the corporate debtors, but “why such a suspension is being imposed for applications under section 10 seems illogical”.

The intent and extent of section 10 petition is to enable the corporate debtor to initiate insolvency against themselves in order to resolve the financial stress in a time-bound manner, Batra said, adding that, therefore, Section 10 petitions should have been excluded from being covered under this suspension.

In a recent debate in the Parliament, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had defended the decision to suspend Section 10 saying that in view of the economic situation, the companies filing for bankruptcy would not have achieved high valuations and bidding amounts would have been low, thereby not achieving the desired goal.

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