QBullet: 2 New Judges in SC Amid Row; Meet on CBI Chief on 24 Jan
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1. As Row Rages, Justices Khanna and Maheshwari Are Appointed SC Judges
Amid a row over their elevation, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, and Justice Sanjiv Khanna of Delhi High Court were appointed judges of the Supreme Court Wednesday following Presidential approval.
The Ministry of Law and Justice notified the appointment of Justice Maheshwari: “In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (2) of Article 124 of the Constitution of India, the President is pleased to appoint Shri Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, to be a Judge of the Supreme Court of India with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office.”
An identical notification was issued regarding Justice Khanna’s appointment.
The government notification came six days after the Supreme Court Collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, recommended their elevation. The Collegium’s decision led to a row because it overturned decisions taken by it in December.
2. Meet to Pick CBI Chief on 24 Jan; SC Admits Plea on Interim Head
The panel led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi (or his nominee) and leader of the largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, as its two other members, will meet on 24 January to finalise the name of the next chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation, people familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.
After Alok Verma’s contentious ouster from CBI on 10 January, the agency has been working under interim director M Nageshwar Rao. Rao is an additional director in the agency and has been appointed as the interim director till the government selects a regular director.
3. Four Nuns Who Protested Against Kerala Bishop Told to Leave Convent
Four nuns from the Missionaries of Jesus congregation who supported a fellow nun who accused a bishop of rape last year have been asked by church authorities to leave the convent in Kerala and return to the vocations they were previously assigned to, according to letters they received from the congregation.
But the nuns – Sister Alphy Pallasseril, Sister Anupama Kelamangalathuveliyil, Sister Josephine Villoonnickal and Sister Ancitta Urumbil – have refused to vacate the convent in Kuravilangad, Kottayam and alleged the transfer order is the latest in a series of attempts to weaken the case against former bishop Franco Mullakkal of the Jalandhar diocese .
4. BJP’s Op Lotus Withers as Rebel Karnataka MLAs Back Out
BJP in Karnataka suffered a loss of face on Wednesday, 16 January, after its efforts to topple the Congress-JD(S) coalition government failed with disgruntled Congress MLAs developing cold feet at the last moment and not succumbing to the Opposition party’s “Operation Lotus.”
This is BJP’s second failed attempt in the past seven months to form government in Karnataka. BJP had planned to get about 12-15 Congress MLAs resign and form the government. The party had corralled its MLAs in a hotel near Gurgaon for the last few days besides shifting four Congress MLAs to Mumbai and other places.
After realising that the required number of Congress MLAs would not resign, state BJP president BS Yeddyurappa is said to have told party MLAs at the hotel that Operation Lotus had been dropped.
5. 10% Quota for EWS: Central Institutions Will Have to Bear the Cost
The cost of implementing the 10 percent quota for the general category poor has to be borne by central educational institutions (CEIs) out of the additional revenue generated by them on account of increased seats, and this will have no financial implication for the government.
This is as per a proposal moved by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE) and approved by the Union Cabinet on 7 January. This is in sharp contrast to the UPA government’s introduction of 27 percent reservation for OBC students in 2006. At that time, the CEIs were assured of financial aid for building additional infrastructure.
The HRD Ministry, under the UPA government, had granted additional funds to the tune of Rs 2,166.89 crore to central universities and Rs 4,227.46 crore to centrally-funded technical institutions for 54 percent capacity expansion, over six years up to 2014, to accommodate OBC reservation without reducing general category seats.
6. Rural, Farm Push Likely in Govt’s Interim Budget
In its last budget before the Lok Sabha elections, the Narendra Modi government may loosen its purse strings for the electorally important rural and agriculture sectors, senior government officials said on condition of anonymity.
Budget (or interim budget) preparations are underway in the North Block office of the finance ministry even as speculation is rife that the government may go beyond the conventional vote-on-account presented in election years.
Some officials say the government may follow the 2009 example set by then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who, while presenting the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s budget before the polls, expanded the ambit of what should have been a vote-on-account to announce annual allocations and some key policy measures.
7. Jaitley in US for Check-Up; Shah Has Swine Flu
Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday wished Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley speedy recovery.
“I’m upset to hear Arun Jaitley Ji is not well. We fight him on a daily basis for his ideas. However, I and the Congress party send him our love and best wishes for a speedy recovery. We are with you and your family 100 percent during this difficult period,” Rahul tweeted.
Jaitley has gone to the US for a medical check-up. Rahul tweeted his wishes even as the government refused to comment on the reasons for the finance minister’s US visit and amid speculation that he might not be able to present the interim budget on 1 February.
Meanwhile, BJP President Amit Shah, who is suffering from swine flu, was admitted to AIIMS on Wednesday.
8. Three Congress-ruled States Scramble After SC Firm on DGP Selection Rule
The Supreme Court on Wednesday reiterated its direction to states to select their police chief from a list of officers empanelled by the Union Public Service Commission. It dismissed the applications by Punjab, Haryana, West Bengal, Bihar and Kerala which sought a modification of the Court’s 3 July 2018 order. The states had argued that they made amendments in their law pointing out that police being an exclusive state subject, the choice of the DGP should be left to them.
“On an in-depth consideration, we are left with no doubt that the said directions, keeping in mind the spirit in which the Court has proceeded to issue the same, as set out in paragraph 12 of the judgment in Prakash Singh (supra) (already extracted), are wholesome and if the same are implemented, it will sub- serve public interest until such time that the matter is heard finally,” a bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices L Nageswara Rao and SK Kaul said.
9. PM Modi on Three-day Visit to ‘Vibrant Gujarat’
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a three-day visit to ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ from 17-19 January.
Modi will inaugurate high-profile events like Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2019 in Gandhinagar, open state-of-art Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Institute of Medical Sciences in Ahmedabad and lay foundation stone of a gun factory at Hazira among other events during this period.
On Thursday, Modi will begin his visit by opening Vibrant Gujarat Global Trade Show showcasing more than 25 industrial and business sectors under one roof.
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