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No charges on card payments for customers, pumps: Pradhan



Card Payment

New Delhi, Jan 9 

There will be no additional charges on digital transactions made at petrol stations, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan announced on Monday even as petroleum dealers threatened to stop accepting credit and debit cards after Friday.

“Neither the customers nor petrol pumps will bear additional charges on digital transactions. The issue will be resolved,” Pradhan told reporters here after meeting Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over the matter.

“Regarding the issue, it is a business module between banks and oil marketing companies which they will resolve.

“Government will abide by guidelines issued in February 2016 wherein it stated customers won’t bear extra charges on digital transactions,” Pradhan said.

The minister said the discussions between the petrol pump association and banks over card transaction charges does not affect consumers, since it focuses on sharing of the merchant discount rate (MDR) charges between petrol pumps and banks, none of which will be passed on to consumers.

The All India Petroleum Dealers Association (AIPDA) on Sunday announced that it would not accept payments through credit and debit cards from Monday in protest against various banks’ decision to levy additional transaction charge of up to one per cent on petrol pumps instead of on customers.

On Monday, AIPDA said pumps across the country will continue to accept cards till Friday, as banks have deferred charging transaction fee till then.

“Late on Sunday, banks communicated to us they will not levy the transaction fee on card payments till January 13. Accordingly, we have decided to continue accepting payments through cards till Friday,” AIPDA West Bengal unit General Secretary Saradindu Pal told IANS.

West Bengal Petroleum Dealers Association President Tushar Kanti Sen said: “We took the decision very late on Sunday night because some banks communicated they would not levy transaction fee till January 13 but some did not.

“We kept a close watch. Eventually, the Ministry requested us to defer the decision till January 13.”

In a letter to Jaitley, AIPDA President Ajay Bansal said HDFC and other banks would start charging one per cent on all credit card transactions and between 0.25 and 1 per cent on all debit card transactions from Monday.

“The same will be debited to petroleum dealers’ account and net transaction value will be credited to our account… This will lead to financial losses for the dealers,” Bansal wrote.

Jaitley on Monday said the Centre was discussing with all the stakeholders about the issue of levying transaction fee for payments through cards for selling and purchasing fuel.

“We are trying to resolve the issue,” he said.

The AIPDA decision not to accept payments through cards came at a time when the Centre had directed state-run oil companies to offer a 0.75 per cent discount on price of petrol and diesel to consumers paying by cards or mobile wallets to encourage people to move towards digital payments.

“This discount amount was supposed to be reimbursed to the dealers but is not being executed properly,” Pal said.

He said dealers have been working on a low margin and demanded raising the dealers’ commission to 5 per cent from the existing 3 per cent taking petrol and diesel together.

A Petroleum Ministry release subsequently clarified that there will be no additional levy on digital transaction at petrol stations even after Friday.

“The Government had issued guidelines in February 2016 stating that the Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) charge will not be passed on to the consumers and that the stakeholders will take appropriate steps to absorb the MDR charges,” it said.




CJI hasn’t asserted judiciary’s independence: Kapil Sibal



New Delhi, April 20: Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Friday said Chief Justice Dipak Misra has not asserted the independence of the judiciary in the face of pressure by the executive. 

Interacting with media over impeachment Motion against CJI,  Sibal “Democracy can thrive only when the Judiciary stands firm, independent of the executive, and discharges its duty honestly”.

Referring to questions raised by the four senior-most judges of the Apex Court, he said they themselves believe that the Judiciary’s independence is at threat, alluding to the functioning of the office of the CJI, should the nation stand still and do nothing?

Sibal further said the Chief Justice of India has misused his position and this amounts to misbehavior.

The constitution has only one way to rectify it. There is no other way forward than to move for the impeachment of the CJI, and we do so with a very sad heart, the former Union Minister stated.

The Congress and several other opposition parties today met Vice President Venkaiah Naidu at his residence and submitted the impeachment notice against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

“We have moved an impeachment motion for removal of CJI Dipak Misra under five listed grounds,” Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told a press conference after meeting Naidu.


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Opposition submits impeachment notice against CJI to Venkaiah Naidu



Ghulam Nabi Azad

New Delhi, April 20: The Congress and several other opposition parties on Friday met Vice President Venkaiah Naidu at his residence and submitted the impeachment notice against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

Addressing media after meeting Naidu, Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said:”We have moved an impeachment motion seeking the removal of CJI Dipak Misra”.

Azad informed that 71 Members of Parliment had signed the impeachment motion (against CJI) but as 7 have retired the number is now 64. He added, “We have more than the minimum requirement needed to entertain the motion and we are sure that the Hon Chairman will take action”.

The meeting with  Rajya Sabha Chairman took place following a discussion at senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s room in the Parliament House complex.

Besides the Congress, the opposition parties’ meeting was attended by leaders of the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).


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Supreme Court seeks AG’s help on media gag on CJI impeachment




New Delhi, April 20: The Supreme Court on Friday sought Attorney General K.K. Venugopal’s assistance on a plea seeking a gag order against the media on the impeachment process supposed to be initiated against Chief Justice Dipak Misra in Parliament.

A bench headed by Justice A.K. Sikri said it would not restrain the media before hearing the AG and declined to pass any order.

Opposition parties are planning to move an impeachment motion against Chief Justice Misra following serious allegations against him made by the senior-most judges of the Supreme Court.

Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, appearing for NGO In Pursuit of Justice told the bench that the Law Commission has already given a report suggesting restrain order against the media on the issue.

There is also a constitutional provision restraining media from writing on impeachment as it will affect the judge to “discharge his judicial function”, she added.

“Judges have to act fearless,” the advocate said, adding that politicians have been speaking on the issue and media is reporting which affects the functioning of the judiciary.

Referring to the statements of politicians against judiciary member, Justice Sikri said: “It is unfortunate. We are all disturbed over what is happening. Legislators are also supposed to follow rules.”

The court posted the matter for hearing on May 7.


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