QBullet: SC Refuses to Stay CAA; Eight Held in Seelampur Violence

Catch the top headlines across newspapers here.  

6 min read
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1. Supreme Court Refuses to Stay Citizenship Act

The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 18 December, sought a response from the Union government on petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019, but refused to grant any stay on the statute which has triggered massive protests across the country.

A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant issued a notice to the Union government and decided to examine the matter on 22 January.

The top court also asked Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the government, to give wide publicity to the aims and objects of the amended Act in view of confusion among people.

(Source: Deccan Herald)

2. Eight Held for Seelampur Violence

Eight persons have been arrested in connection with violence that erupted during protests in east Delhi’s Seelampur area on Tuesday, police said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (North East) Ved Prakash Surya said that six persons were arrested from the spot on Tuesday while two others were arrested on Wednesday. “They are all locals of the area and whether they have a criminal background or not is being verified,” he said, adding that others have been identified and action will be taken against them. At least 18 people have also been taken in preventive custody, police said.

Police had on Tuesday registered two first information reports into the incident of violence in which 21 persons, including 15 security personnel, were injured.

(Source: The Hindu)

3. NCLAT Restores Mistry as Tata Group Chairman

The battle has just begun for Ratan Tata and Cyrus Mistry . 
The battle has just begun for Ratan Tata and Cyrus Mistry . 
(Photo: IANS) 

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal, or NCLAT, has ruled that Cyrus Mistry’s dismissal as executive chairman of Tata Sons Ltd by the board of that company on October 24, 2016 was illegal in a comprehensive, surprising, and sweeping ruling that Tata Sons is almost certain to challenge in the Supreme Court when it reconvenes after the New Year holidays (Wednesday was the court’s last working day this year).

In its ruling, NCLAT also deemed the Tata Sons transition from a public company to a private company illegal, making it easier for the Mistry family, the single largest shareholder in the holding company of India’s oldest and best-known conglomerate, to sell part of all of its 18.4 percent stake should it wish to. And it restored Mistry’s directorships in other companies of the Tata group.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

4. Draft Charges in Elgar Case Include ‘Plot to Kill Modi’

The Maharashtra state prosecution has included “conspiracy to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi” in the draft charges submitted to the special UAPA court here on Wednesday against the 19 accused named in the Elgar Parishad case, along with “waging war against the country” and resorting to acts of terrorism.

The accused include nine activists, including human rights lawyers, academics and writers, arrested so far for alleged links with the banned CPI (Maoist), five members of Kabir Kala Manch (KKM), a left-leaning cultural organisation, and five underground Maoist operatives, not arrested so far.

The draft said all 19 accused were conspiring to assassinate PM Narendra Modi during his road shows in a manner similar to the killing of former PM Rajiv Gandhi.

(Source: The Times of India)

5. Ministers Hold 2+2 Dialogue to Boost India-Us Strategic Ties

(From left to Right) Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo & Defense Secretary Mark Esper. 
(From left to Right) Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo & Defense Secretary Mark Esper. 
(Photo: Twitter

India and the US are set to deepen their strategic relationship with the Pentagon in favour of increased engagement between the Tampa-based Central Command and South Block, besides ongoing cooperation with the Hawaii-based Indo-Pacific Command.

The Central Command’s area of responsibility includes West Asia, Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh and external affairs minister S Jaishankar met their US counterparts Mark Esper and Mike Pompeo for the 2+2 ministerial dialogue on Wednesday, with both sides exchanging notes on developments in West Asia, the Af-Pak region, and the growing shadow of China over the Indo-Pacific.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

6. China Backs India's Net Block

India’s move to shut down Internet to contain protests against its new citizenship law has won endorsement from China.

Beijing, which often draws flak for flouting human rights to crush dissent, sought to make  common cause with New Delhi, endorsing the recent shutdown of Internet for containing protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act of India – particularly in the northeastern region and some districts of West Bengal.

An article published in China’s state-run People’s Daily newspaper endorsed the shutdown of Internet to control protests against the new law in India – calling it a “standard practice for sovereign countries” to deal with “a state of emergency”. It recalled that similar actions by the Chinese government to deal with a “similar national security threat” in Xinjiang region of China a few years ago had drawn “sharp criticism from mainstream media in Europe and United States”.

(Source: Deccan Herald)

7. Four Held Guilty in 2008 Jaipur Serial Blasts Case

A special court in Jaipur on Wednesday found four of the five accused guilty on charges of conspiracy in connection with the 2008 Jaipur serial bomb blasts.
A special court in Jaipur on Wednesday found four of the five accused guilty on charges of conspiracy in connection with the 2008 Jaipur serial bomb blasts.
(Photo: PTI)

A special court here on Wednesday convicted four persons of the serial blasts that ripped through the Walled City of Jaipur 11 years ago, killing 71 persons and leaving about 200 injured. One of the five accused, charged with sending an e-mail which claimed responsibility for the blasts on behalf of the Indian Mujahideen, was acquitted.

Those held guilty of planting the bombs and carrying out the explosions on 13 May 2008, were Mohammed Saif, Mohammed Sarwar Azmi, Saifur Rehman and Mohammed Salman. Special Judge Ajay Kumar Sharma scheduled the hearing on the quantum of sentence for the convicts for Thursday.

Public Prosecutor Sri Chand said the four persons were convicted under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Explosives Act in eight cases registered by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Rajasthan police.

(Source: The Hindu)

8. SC Asks Govt to Take Over Unitech Mgmt

In a major decision, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to step in forthwith to protect the interests of around 30,000 homebuyers by taking over the troubled real estate firm’s management in view of the forensic auditor’s report that the company and its directors siphoned off more than 50 percent of homebuyers’ money.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah asked the Centre to suspend all directors of the group and replace them with independent directors to manage the affairs of the firm. It asked attorney general KK Venugopal to inform the central authority concerned to take action.

The court order came in the wake of audit firm Grant Thornton’s startling report on the Unitech group and its subsidiary companies that thousands of crores of rupees of homebuyers’ money was diverted for purposes other than construction and some of the funds were parked in offshore tax havens like Cyprus.

(Source: The Times of India)

9. Council Votes for 28% GST on All Lotteries

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. 
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. 
(Photo: PTI)

The GST Council broke its tradition of taking decisions by consensus at its 38th meeting on Wednesday, with a first-time vote on a proposal to tax all lotteries at the uniform rate of 28 percent. After Kerala pushed for a division, States voted 21-7 in favour of the proposal. There were no proposals or discussion regarding overall GST rate changes at the meeting, said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

A presentation on revenue augmentation made by State and Central officials contained data and projections of revenue collection and compensation cess collection, but did not make any suggestions to increase or cut rates, she said.

(Source: The Hindu)

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