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Will explain everything about accepting RS offer: Gogoi

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala questioned the government’s move, saying, “Justice Lokur rightly summarises it… ‘Has the last bastion fallen’?”

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Ranjan Gogoi

Guwahati/Agartala, March 17: Former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who was on Monday nominated to the Rajya Sabha by President Ram Nath Kovind, said on Tuesday that “his presence in the Parliament would be an opportunity to underscore the viewpoint of the judiciary before the legislature and vice-versa”.

Gogoi, who retired in November last year after presiding over the Supreme Court for around 13 months, told the media in Guwahati: “Probably I would go to Delhi tomorrow (Wednesday). Let me first take oath (in the Rajya Sabha), after that I would speak in detail why I accepted this offer.”

A resident of Guwahati’s Zoo Narengi Road, Gogoi said during his brief interaction with the media at his residence: “I (have) accepted it (the offer to be a member of the Upper House) since I am confident that the legislature and the judiciary must at some point of time work together for nation-building. My presence in the Parliament would be an opportunity to underline the views of the judiciary before the lawmakers and vice- versa.”

Gogoi, who headed the five-judge bench which delivered a landmark judgement in the 70-year-old Ayodhya title dispute case before he retired from the office of the Chief Justice of India (CJI), was among the four sitting top court judges who had held a first-of-its-kind press conference in January 2018 when Dipak Misra was the CJI.

These judges, then in office, had alleged “selective assignment of cases to preferred judges” and “sensitive cases were being allotted to junior judges” by Justice Dipak Misra.

Leaders of the Congress and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) separately reacted to the nomination of Gogoi as a Rajya Sabha member. Citing news reports, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala questioned the government’s move, saying, “Justice Lokur rightly summarises it… ‘Has the last bastion fallen’?”

“Did Prime Minister Modi consider the advice of his former colleague and ex-Law Minister and Finance Minister, Late Sh. Arun Jaitley before recommending ex-CJI Ranjan Gogoi to the Rajya Sabham,” Surjewala tweeted.

“The recent development taking place involving the highest judiciary and the senior judicial officials is very unfortunate. We have to wait for a certain period of time to see when he (Gogoi) becomes a (Central) minister. The people of India are now expressing their doubts over the judgements passed by the courts. His (Gogoi’s) acts were condemned across the nation,” CPI-M politburo member and former Tripura Chief Minister Manik sarkar said in Agartala on Tuesday.

Gogoi became a judge in the Gauhati High Court in 2001 before being transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2010. He was appointed Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2011 before being elevated to the Supreme Court on April 23, 2012. He was appointed the 46th Chief Justice of India on October 3, 2018.

Election

Scrap the amendments to poll rules, DMK urges Election Commission

Stalin said the amendment also includes senior citizens, persons with disability, and persons employed in essential services as absentee voters.

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MK Stalin

Chennai, July 13 : The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Monday urged the Election Commission to recommend to the Centre to scrap the amendments made to The Conduct of Elections (Amendment) Rules, 2019 and The Conduct of Elections (Amendment) Rules, 2020.

In a letter to the poll panel, DMK President M.K. Stalin also urged it to hold a consultative process with all political parties and relevant stakeholders across the country to find the best solution that can ensure the safety of citizens without compromising their statutory right to cast their vote independently.

Terming the amendments an attempt to bring an ocean of voters under the purview of a newly carved-out class of “absentee voters”, he said: “This exercise is done by the ECI without studying the ramifications of the move. The move will certainly destroy free and fair elections in the world”s largest democracy.”

Prior to the amendment of the rules, there were three classes of voters – service vote, special voters and voter on election duty and the old rules specified the persons who are entitled to vote by postal ballot.

“These voters are a definite class of persons who are identifiable and are less in number. The classification is reasonable and there are strong, valid and underlying reasons for providing with postal ballot in favour of these classes of persons,” Stalin said.

However, he said that the new amendments introduces a bunch of divergent groups of persons all rolled in to one group called “absentee voters”, all of whom would be entitled for postal ballot voting.

“These persons by no stretch of imagination can be called as a ”class of persons” to satisfy the mandate of Section 60(c) of RP Act (Representation of Peoples Act),” Stalin told the EC.

He also said the class of persons who are absentee voters could have been defined when the amendments was made instead of reserving it for a later date.

“This shows that there is a hidden agenda, to add class of persons from time to time, depending on the election schedule, and there is a total lack of transparency as to who all can be part of this ”class of persons”. The Rule therefore gives enormous power to notify the class of persons entitled for postal ballot by the Election Commission at a later date. Such a sub-delegation is illegal as it suffers from the vice of excessive delegation of powers,” the DMK leader said.

Stalin said the amendment also includes senior citizens, persons with disability, and persons employed in essential services as absentee voters.

“Here again the group of persons mentioned in the definition of absentee voters has no rational nexus with each other. The mischief which the amendment would cause is that any group of persons could be named as absentee voters without any rationale or without being a class by themselves which is contrary to the reasonable classification recognised by law,” he said.

According to Stalin, the amendment does not define a person with disability for postal vote. The reduction of the age to qualify as senior citizen from 80 to 65 to be eligible for postal voting is illegal, he added.

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Election

Joe Biden wins Louisiana primary

The state is not likely to be competitive in 2020, with President Donald Trump beating Hillary Clinton by about 20 points in 2016.

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Joe Biden

Washington, July 12 : Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has won the primary in the state of Louisiana, a media report said.

The former Vice President won with 82.2 per cent of the vote, leading Senator Bernie Sanders, who received 5.3 per cent, with 1 per cent of precincts reporting, The Hill news website quoted the New York Times as saying on Saturday.

The win on Saturday comes as he continues to march toward his formal nomination at the Democratic convention in August.

The Louisiana primaries were delayed twice from their original April 4 date, first to June 20 and finally to Saturday, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Louisiana will award 54 pledged delegates.

The state is not likely to be competitive in 2020, with President Donald Trump beating Hillary Clinton by about 20 points in 2016.

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Election

Like 2018, Kamal Nath starts MP poll campaign from Ujjain

Asked about the “Tiger zinda hai” comment from Scindia and Chouhan, Kamal Nath said the public will soon hand its verdict on who is a tiger or a cat or a mouse, as it knows everything.

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Kamal Nath INC

Ujjain/Badnawar/Bhopal, July 8 : Blowing the traditional conch before the war cry and whispering “earnest wishes” for public welfare in the ears of Lord Shiva’s vehicle Nandi, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath tried to reach out to devout Hindus as he on Tuesday launched the campaign for the mini-midterm elections involving 24 assembly seats.

In Badnawar, Kamal Nath, who is also the state Congress chief, visited the Baijnath Temple before addressing the first Loktantra Bachao rally.

Barbs and counter-barbs between the Congress and the BJP have gone on for quite some time in Madhya Pradesh. By picking on Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and the BJP’s recent acquisition Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kamal Nath seems to have focussed on voter’s sympathy for a “wronged party.”

The BJP’s quick reaction through virtual rallies intensified the battle. Leader after leader from the BJP kept blaming the Congress of spreading lies and indulging in corruption.

About the BJP’s allegations of corruption, Kamal Nath said his party would welcome a thorough investigations into the 15-month rule of his government. “We have the public as our witness. The farmers will decide if our government was true to the promise or not.”

Asked about the “Tiger zinda hai” comment from Scindia and Chouhan, Kamal Nath said the public will soon hand its verdict on who is a tiger or a cat or a mouse, as it knows everything. He said people of Madhya Pradesh are straightforward and sensible. They know who the betrayer is and where the state is headed under the new government which earned the power under a deal and is still haggling with the wheelers and dealers.

There are striking similarities between his present campaign and the one he led in 2018 to bring the Congress back into power after 15 years. Kamal Nath had started the campaign with a pooja at Ujjain. The key difference of course is the absence of Scindia, who blindsided him and his departure with a big chunk of the party caused the current campaign. Scindia was the campaign convenor then.

Though Kamal Nath and former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh were the senior leaders in the party, Scindia was presented as the youth face to draw the electorate. Digvijaya Singh was asked to bring about a patch up between various factions. Kamal Nath was thus the key campaigner. He retains that status.

Kamal Nath who drew good crowds in 2018 under Chouhan’s rule has made a striking start with Ujjain Congress leaders responding in large numbers despite the lockdown curbs. The temple town responded with hundreds of billboards greeting him.

Kamal Nath also held a one-on-one discussion with prospective candidates to set the selection process rolling. The party plans to have 24 call centres, one in each constituency that will witness the by-elections. The party workers will receive voters’ feedback and inputs for the prospective candidates and the agenda will be set on local issues.

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