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Supreme Court orders floor test in Karnataka Assembly at 4pm tomorrow

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Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, May 18: The three-judge Supreme Court bench on Friday ordered a floor test in the Karnataka assembly at 4 pm tomorrow.

The court was hearing the petition filed by the Congress-JD(S) combine against the decision of Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala to invite BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa to form the government in the state.

Noted lawyer Kapil Sibal appeared for Congress-JDS along with Sr Advocate AM Singhvi, Sr Advocate Ram Jethmalani. While Senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi represented the BJP.

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani had also filed a petition to have an urgent hearing on the same.

Yesterday, the Congress-JD(S) moved fresh plea in Supreme Court challenging Governor’s decision to nominate an Anglo-Indian MLA to Assembly.

A bench of Justices A K Sikri, S A Bobde, and Ashok Bhushan heard the petitions, and also examined the letters dated May 15 and 16, written by Yeddyurappa to Governor Vala, staking claim to form the government.

In one of the most bitterly fought polls in recent times, the voting for 222 out of 224 constituencies took place on May 12. The major twist came in after the poll verdict that led to a hung assembly – with the BJP winning 104 seats, Congress 78 and JD(S) clinching 37 seats.

Despite Congress and JD-(S) forming an alliance and being in a strong position to form the government with enough seats together (115), Karnataka Governor Vajubhai R. Vala on Wednesday invited the BJP to form the new government.

Following the governor’s decision the Congress filed a plea in the Supreme Court on late Wednesday after which a rare midnight hearing by the three-judge bench of justice A.K. Sikri, justice S.A. Bobde and justice Ashok Bhushan was conducted that ran for hours.

After a midnight hearing, the apex court refused to stop the swearing-in of Yeddyurappa as Karnataka’s new Chief Minister.

However, the Court sought the communications which Yeddyurappa had written to Karnataka Governor informing him his election as BJP legislature party.

“The swearing-in is subject to the final outcome of the matter before it”, the court stated.

Yeddyurappa took the oath as the Chief Minister of Karnataka on Thursday at the Raj Bhavan.

Updates:

The Court Concluded the hearing by directing  floor test in Karnataka Assembly at 4 pm on Sturday.

Justice Sikri: We have to balance the equity. Balance can’t be one day submits Mukul Rohatagi. Ram Jethmalani submits that law has to be right. In this case governor has not acted properly.

Why immediate floor test, need reasonable time for MLAs to reach and vote freely: Mukul Rohatgi

A pro term speaker should be appointed and no Anglo Indian MLA should be nominated till the trust vote, said Kapil Sibal

What we ask is immediate floor test: Kapil Sibal for Kumaraswamy

Karnataka Governor hasn’t received any Letter from Kumaraswamy with all Cong and JDS MLAs signature: ASG Tushar Mehta for BJP

We question the signatures submitted by Kumaraswamy, floor test is the only option: Mukul Rohatgi

We are ready to hear you but what needed now is a floor test soon to test the majority, stated Justice AK Sikri.

Meanwhile, Kapil Sibal questioned the decision of the Governor to invite Yeddyurappa to form the Govt. In response to this SC said its a debatable one. Sibal replied, “No, its already settled one”.

We will make sure and give necessary orders to give security for all MLAs to reach house and vote in the trust vote, said the Supreme Court.

We agree for floor test tomorrow, Singhvi told the apex court and sought security for the MLAs.

During the hearing, Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued ‘Yeddyurappa claimed support, but he does not have letters of support from these MLAs or it is only his oral submissions.’

BJP is just saying they have the majority without any specific number and names whereas we had given the names and numbers, how could Governor had invited Yeddyurappa to form the Govt, stated AM Singhvi

Floor test is the best option, let the larger question on law how should Governor invite a person to form the Govt can be settled here later: Supreme Court

Even then who should be given the chance first, Congress and JDS should be given the chance to prove majority in the house first: AM Singhvi

Only alternative is a floor test for tomorrow, can’t give more time, said Justice AK Sikri.

It’s just the number game, who enjoys the majority should be invited to form the Govt, said Justice AK Sikri.

Former Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka and BJP MLA R Ashoka filed an intervening application in Karnataka government formation matter.

While Senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi who is representing the BJP said we will show the numbers (majority) where it is required, why should we show the numbers in the Supreme Court.

Rohatgi told the apex court that we are confident that we will get the majority, we might even get the support from few Congress and JDS MLAs, can’t reveal anything more at this stage.

Supreme Court asked Mukul Rohatgi to produce the letters, BS Yeddyurappa wrote to the Governor on Wednesday.

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India

PM Modi holds telephonic conversation with President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani

Mr Ghani thanked Mr Modi for timely supply of food and medical assistance to meet Afghan requirement.

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Ghani, Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reiterated India’s commitment to the people of Afghanistan in their quest for a peaceful, prosperous and inclusive Afghanistan.

Mr Modi today had a telephonic conversation with President of Afghanistan Dr Ashraf Ghani. Both leaders exchanged greetings on the joyous festival of Eid- ul -Adha.

Mr Ghani thanked Mr Modi for timely supply of food and medical assistance to meet Afghan requirement.

The two leaders also exchanged views on the evolving security situation in the region and other areas of mutual bilateral interest.

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India

Air India pilots allege blatant discrimination by management

“Why is the cost of the inefficiency of the Personnel Department being paid by pilots?” they asked.

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Air India 777

New Delhi, Aug 3 : Alleging blatant discrimination by Air India’s Personnel and Finance Departments, the pilots have told the national carrier’s management that if such behaviour continues unchecked, the Director, Personnel will be responsible for the consequences.

In a letter to Air India Chairman and Managing Director Rajiv Bansal, the pilots’ associations, the Indian Commercial Pilots Association and the Indian Pilots Guild, have alleged that the management is discriminating against the pilots.

“We request you to kindly direct the concerned departments to clear backlogged files as well as outstanding dues for all pilots. We have cooperated unconditionally above and beyond the call of duty to ensure smooth flight operations. This blatant discrimination, among other grievances, has severely hampered our morale and faith in these departments. If such behaviour continues unchecked, the Director, Personnel will be responsible for the consequences to follow,” the pilots said.

“We would like to bring to your notice the lackadaisical attitude of the Personnel and Finance Departments in ensuring timely action and payment when it comes to pilots,” the letter said.

“When it comes to doling out promotions en masse for themselves or other support departments, not even a pandemic or national lockdown can dent their enthusiasm. When even retrospective deductions are made on our wages with immediate effect by way of prompt circulars, why do the same people drag their feet when it comes to clearing our rightful dues or honouring our service conditions?” the pilots asked.

Citing examples of this “lackadaisical attitude”, the pilots said that the Special Pay increment, as per the bilateral wage agreement between the management and the ICPA of January 1, 2016, mentions a yearly increment as per years of service in the grade.

“No increment has been made in special pay since 2019. This routine exercise is never given priority, as pilots are the prime beneficiaries. Further, despite clear directions from the Hon. Supreme Court, the 2016 wage has been illegally and unilaterally imposed upon pilots of the IPG who already have a separate bilateral wage agreement. The TMU (Temporary Medically Unfit) Insurance compensation for pilots is never paid on time. Pilots are made to run after their files from one department to the next till there are no more excuses to delay processing. At times, the delay is in years,” they said.

The pilots alleged that the Captain or Commander Grade revision is never carried out on time, despite being a routine annual exercise.

Then, the Personnel Department’s draft Establishment orders are replete with mistakes/omissions which has to be corrected through repeated representations, they said. After all this unnecessary delay, when the order is eventually released, the financial benefits accrue from the date of the Establishment order and not from the actual date of promotion, they said.

“Why is the cost of the inefficiency of the Personnel Department being paid by pilots?” they asked.

The PMU (Permanently Medical Unfit) compensation to any affected pilot is again never paid on time. As mentioned above, the affected pilot is made to run from pillar to post for his/her rightful compensation. “Please note that these pilots have lost their source of livelihood as they are permanently grounded. They are being let down by the company

when they need it the most,” the pilots said.

They also said that the retirement benefits of recent retirees are yet to be cleared. The treatment meted out to these loyal long-serving employees of Air India is unethical, as per the pilots.

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Delhi govt bans use of hookah in hotels, restaurants to stem COVID-19 spread

Delhi has so far recorded 1,38,482 COVID-19 cases and 4,021 people have died due to the disease.

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hookah bar

New Delhi, Aug 3 : The Delhi government on Monday banned the use of hookahs, with or without tobacco, in all public places, including hotels, restaurants and bars, with immediate effect to control the spread of COVID-19.

Smokers are likely to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 as smoking means the fingers are in contact with the lips which increases the possibility of transmission of the virus, the health department said in an order.

“Smokers may also already have lung diseases or reduced lung capacity which would greatly increase the risk of serious illness,” it said.

Smoking products such as water pipes often involve the sharing of mouthpieces and hoses, which could facilitate the transmission of COVID-19 in communal and social settings, the health department said.

Therefore, the use and sharing of hookah, with or without tobacco (herbal hookah), “which might further increase the spread of SARS-CoV2, is strictly prohibited in all public places, including hotels, restaurants, bars, pubs, eateries, discotheques, etc. in Delhi with immediate effect to prevent and control the outbreak of COVID-19”, it said.

Delhi has so far recorded 1,38,482 COVID-19 cases and 4,021 people have died due to the disease.

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