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SC collegium reiterates recommendation on Justice Joseph’s elevation

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K M Joseph (File Photo)

New Delhi, July 20: The Supreme Court collegium has reiterated its recommendation to elevate Justice K.M. Joseph, the Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, to the Supreme Court.

The top court collegium reiterated its January 10 recommendation at its meeting on July 16, according to the decision that was uploaded on the top court’s website on Friday.

Reiterating its recommendation, the collegium noted that there was nothing adverse regarding suitability of Justice Joseph in the two communications sent by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad while returning the recommendation for reconsideration.

Recommending Justice Joseph’s elevation to top court, the collegium had on January 10 said: “The collegium considers that at present Justice K.M. Joseph is more deserving and suitable in all respects than other Chief Justices and senior puisne Judges of High Courts for being appointed as Judges of the Supreme Court.”

However, the Centre had invoked the principle of seniority saying that Justice Joseph stood at number 42 of the seniority of the High Court judges and there were 11 Chief Justices of various High Courts senior to him – a clear suggestion that any elevation of Justice Joseph to top court would be at their expense.

Besides this, the Centre had said that Kerala High Court being comparatively a small court with a sanctioned strength of 42 judges was a parent high court for Supreme Court judge Justice Kurian Joseph, Chief Justices of three High Courts — Justice K.M. Joseph himself (Uttarakhand), Justice T.B. Radhakrishnan (Chhattisgarh) and Justice Antony Dominic (Kerala).

However, the top court collegium by its July 16 decision said: “We have carefully considered the observations made by the Law Minister in his letters dated April 26 and April 30 addressed to the Chief Justice of India referring back, for reconsideration, the recommendation made by us on January 10 for appointment of Justice K.M. Joseph, Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, as Judge of the Supreme Court.

“The Collegium, on due consideration of all the aspects mentioned in the aforesaid two letters, resolves to reiterate the afore-mentioned recommendation, especially since nothing adverse regarding suitability of Mr. Justice K.M. Koseph has been pointed out in the aforesaid letters.”

IANS

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BJP accuses Gandhi of lies after SC verdict, Congress hits back

Rahul Gandhi attacked Modi and persisted with demand for a JPC which, he said, would expose the “lies”.

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New Delhi, Dec 15 : Buoyed by the Supreme Court relief to the government in the Rafale deal, BJP President Amit Shah and a battery of ministers attacked Congress President Rahul Gandhi for his campaign of “lies” and demanded an apology to the nation.

However, Gandhi, hit back saying the nation knew that there was “corruption” in the deal and repeated his jibe that “watchman is a thief” who helped a private industralist.

While Gandhi and his party leaders demanded constitution of a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), maintaining that it can alone bring out the truth, the government and the BJP leaders rejected it. They said the Congress should come and debate in the House instead of disrupting it.

Shortly after a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi rejected a bunch of petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the controversial fighter jet deal, the top guns of BJP addressed various press conferences to come down heavily on Rahul Gandhi for his campaign against the government and the Prime Minister.

They said now that the Supreme Court has given its judgement, all debate should end.

In both Houses of Parliament which were disrupted on the issue, Home Minister Rajnath Singh demanded that Gandhi should apologise for throwing “false” allegations.

In Rajya Sabha, Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley challenged the Congress for a debate on the issue.

BJP President Amit Shah held a press conference and demanded that Gandhi apologise to the nation for his “brazen lies” accusing the government and said he should also disclose the source of information for his attacks.

Shah said truth had triumphed and Gandhi’s “lies” had no legs to stand on.

Quoting from the judgement, Shah said the court expressed satisfaction with the process followed in purchasing the aircraft and set aside the demands of the petitioners for a probe into the matter.

He said the court agreed with the government’s contention that the country had financially benefited in the deal.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addressed a press conference with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and rejected the Congress’ demand for a JPC probe into the Rafale aircraft deal.

He said the “family” was not above the Supreme Court in a democracy, the apex court verdict was absolute and conclusive and the “truth in such matters come from judicial process and not on the basis of political partisan lines”.

Gandhi, who has spearheaded attack on Rafale, also addressed a press conference and accused the government of telling “lies”. He raised questions over the statement that a parliamentary committee had examined the pricing details of the Rafale deal and asserted that there was no such meeting.

He attacked Modi and persisted with demand for a JPC which, he said, would expose the “lies”.

Citing the Supreme Court judgement that referred to a parliamentary committee having examined the price details of the fighter jet, he said no such meeting was held.

“Today Supreme Court gave a judgement and I want to read three lines from it. ‘The pricing details have, however, been shared with the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the report of the CAG has been examined by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).’ This is the foundation of the judgment,” Gandhi said.

Party leader Mallikarjun Kharge, the PAC Chairman, who was at the press conference, said no such report came before the panel and the CAG was also not aware of it.

Kharge had earlier told reporters in the Parliament that the government of was trying to hide its “theft” in the Rafale deal behind a court ruling.

“They are trying to hide the theft under the guise” of PIL-triggered court judgement, he said.

“Our demand continues to be JPC. They want to hide behind the judgement… We will not tolerate this, nor will the people of the country.”

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewal alleged there was “multi-layered corruption” in the deal.

“We know that the Supreme Court has no powers to look into all the aspects. So the Congress never went to the Supreme Court. I challenge (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi (to go) for a JPC probe.”

Former Union Ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and advocate Prashant Bhushan expressed shock and disappointment over the verdict and said it “neither addressed the documented facts nor dealt with their main prayer seeking an investigation into the deal to purchase the French fighter jets”.

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Jaitley rejects Congress’ demand for JPC on Rafale

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Arun Jaitley

New Delhi, Dec 14 : Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday rejected the Congress’ demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Rafale aircraft deal and said the “family” was not above the Supreme Court in a democracy.

Addressing a press conference here with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman hours after the Supreme Court dismissed petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the purchase of 36 Rafale jet fighters, Jaitley said the apex court verdict was absolute and conclusive and the “truth in such matters come from judicial process and not on the basis of political partisan lines”.

“Was there any partiality in the deal? Was nation’s security compromised? Was the due process not followed? Truth in such cases is found through judicial process and not by dividing on partisan basis. Investigations can never be done and reviews of this can never be done by a body of partisan division,” he said.

Jaitley referred to the JPC over Bofors guns deal and said it was divided on political lines and conclusions of its chairman were subsequently rejected by courts.

He did not name Congress President Rahul Gandhi but accused him of spreading lies and attacked him repeatedly.

“In politics all over the world there is a tradition that if you lie, you resign or can be impeached. Presidents have been impeached for speaking lies. At least this should happen. Till yesterday Congress was demanding a discussion on Rafale. Today we said start it immediately. Those who built untruth, they should keep it in Parliament,” he said.

Asked about Gandhi’s allegation of crony capitalism, he said “people not able to understand complex issues rely on such slogans”.

“That is my understanding of his politics,” Jaitley said and termed Gandhi’s allegations of procedures not being followed in the deal as “fiction writing”.

Asked about the Congress stance that judiciary was not the right forum to decide about the deal, Jaitley alleged that the narrative was being created by Nehru-Gandhi family.

“They refuse to accept even the Supreme Court verdict just because of falsehood created by a family. In our democracy, family is not above the Supreme Court. Do they think the untruth of a family is above the Supreme Court?”

He said there was a fundamental difference between truth and falsehood.

“The truth always holds together, explains everything but falsehood was bound to fall apart, indeed it has a short life. In this case, it is few months. Falsehood lowers credibility of creator. The Rafale issue had each of these features. The disrupters have lost and lost on all counts,” he said.

Jaitley said the Congress lost on the count that the need for the fighter jet was “acute and necessary”.

“Why was national security compromised, the need of Indian Air Force compromised,” he asked.

Rejecting charges about the government’s involvement in the award of offsets, he said government had nothing to do with it and Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafale fighter jet, had taken the decision.

Asked about the different prices given by the government and by Rahul Gandhi of the Rafale fighter jet, Jaitley said “government is correct and all figures given by Rahul Gandhi are wrong”.

He said the government had stated that the price of basic Rafale fighter was nine per cent cheaper compared to the cost negotiated by the UPA government and that of weaponised aircraft was 20 per cent cheaper at 2016 prices.

He said escalation clauses in the agreement were differently worded and there would be further increase in prices. “Truth only has one version. Falsehood has many,” Jaitley said.

Sitharaman said if the Congress does not stop its allegations, it will also be exposed politically.

The Congress on Friday accused the government of trying to hide its “theft” in the Rafale deal behind the court ruling and persisted with its demand for a JPC inquiry.

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RAW and IB chiefs’ tenure extended

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RAW and IB chiefs

New Delhi, Dec 14: The central government on Friday extended by six months the tenure of A.K. Dhasmana, Secretary, Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) and Rajiv Jain, Director, Intelligence Bureau (IB).

The extensions were approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).

Jain’s tenure was to end on December 30 and that of Dhasmana on December 29.

The ACC also re-designated NITI Aayog advisor as “Principal Advisor.”

IANS

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