Parliament’s budget session ends two weeks ahead of schedule
Daily NEWS Summary | 25-01-2021; Both houses of parliament were suspended sine die on Thursday, almost two weeks ahead of schedule, given demands for cuts to the second part of the budget session from parliamentarians from West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Pondicherry and Kerala due to the assembly polls.
- The session that began on January 29 (first part) was to continue until April 8 in the second part after resuming on March 8 after a hiatus.
- Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi during a briefing after the end of the session earlier in the day, Bhratruhari Mahtab, who chaired the Lok Sabha, delivered a farewell speech in which he revealed that despite the interruptions, the session registered 114% in productivity.
- With 24 sessions, which lasted more than 132 hours, 17 government bills were introduced and 18 passed, including finance and supply bills.
- Around 171 reports were presented by various parliamentary committees and 84 questions marked with a star received an oral response.
- Rajya Sabha’s count was also impressive with 23 other sessions in which the Chamber sat for 104 hours and recorded 90% productivity. The upper house passed 19 bills, dedicating 42% of its operational time to legislative work.
- Although participation was low in both chambers due to the absence of members mainly from states linked to the elections, the Treasury and the opposition clashed in the peasant strike against the three controversial agricultural laws Land (Amendment) Bill, 2021
- And more with the government of the national capital, which seeks to increase the powers of the Deputy Governor of Delhi.
- The bill was passed after repeated postponements, especially in Rajya Sabha, and even neutral parties like Biju Janata Dal (BJD) staged a march outside Rajya Sabha, calling it an assault on the rights of elected state governments.
- In his acceptance speech, Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu reminded members that the country is “entering the 75th anniversary of independence” and that it is “a time of soul-searching” .
Supreme Court asks government to clarify 55 pending Supreme Court appointments
Daily NEWS Summary | 25-01-2021; The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the government to clarify the status of 55 recommendations made by the Collegium for judicial appointments to various higher courts six months to nearly a year and a half ago.
- Forty-four of the outstanding recommendations were made to fill vacancies in the high courts of Calcutta, Madhya Pradesh, Gauhati, Rajasthan and Punjab. These recommendations have been pending with the government for more than seven months to a year.
- The remaining 10 names are pending with the government despite being reiterated by the Collegium. They include five for the Calcutta High Court pending with the government for one year and seven months.
- The recommendations of four names made by the Collegium to the Delhi High Court have been pending for seven months.
- The total sanctioned judicial staff in the 25 superior courts is 1,080, however the current staff is 661 with 419 vacant positions as of March 1.
- The Supreme Court has repeatedly expressed to the government its growing concern about the judicial recess in the higher courts.
- The court asked Mr. Venugopal to consult with the Union Ministry of Law and Justice and to make a statement on April 8 about his situation. The Chamber provided Mr. Venugopal with a table with the details of the 55 recommendations.
- Judge Sanjay Kishan Kaul said of the 10 recommendations, some of which date back a year and a half, that “they have not been named and you (the government) have not responded to us.”
- He added that a deadline must be set for the College and the Ministry to complete the appointment process. The bench said it would address the issue on April 8.
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the selective evaluation process of the military was discriminatory and disproportionately affected female officers who wanted to be appointed to a permanent position.
Daily NEWS Summary | 25-01-2021; A bench run by Judge D.Y. Chandrachud observed that the valuation model inherently caused economic and psychological harm to female short-term commission officers.
- The ruling, drawn up by Judge Chandrachud, said that what seemed innocuous at first glance concealed an “insidious” patriarchy.
- The court said the cases of female officers who had applied for a permanent commission should be reconsidered in a month.
- Further ruling, written by Judge Chandrachud, said what looked harmless on the face hid an “insidious” patriarchy.
- Secondly, the court said the cases of the female officers who had applied for the standing commission should be reviewed within a month and a decision on them should be made within two months.
- The Supreme Court recently expressed its dissatisfaction with the obstacles bureaucrats pose to female officers seeking permanent commission, promotion, and the benefits that come with it.
- The tribunal was enraged by a medical standard that female officers 10 to over 20 years of service and 35 to 50 had to compete with gentleman officers aged 25 to 30 for the standing commission.
- On February 17, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that female officers of the short-term commission should have the same chance as their male counterparts to obtain a standing commission and promotions. The verdict had ruled out as a “sex stereotype” views that women were physiologically weaker than men.
Supreme Court overturns hate crime proceedings against Shillong Times editor-in-chief
Daily NEWS Summary | 25-01-2021; On Thursday, the Supreme Court overturned hate crimes proceedings against scholarship holder Padma Shri and senior reporter Patricia Mukhim for a Facebook post.
- A bench run by Judge L. Nageswara Rao agreed with Shillong Times editor-in-chief Ms. Mukhim that his social media post was just an expression of the truth about the persecution.
- The decision came as part of Ms Mukhim’s appeal against the Meghalaya High Court’s refusal to quash proceedings against her under Articles 153a (hatred), 500 (defamation) and 505 (c) ( incitement of one community or caste to commit a crime against another), Crimes are not subject to bail.
67 coal mines offered for sale in the second phase of the auction
Daily NEWS Summary | 25-01-2021; On Thursday, the government offered for sale 67 coal mines, launched the second tranche of the commercial coal mine auction, calling it a step towards “Atma Nirbhar Bharat“.
- This is the highest number of mines offered in a particular section after the start of the auction regime in 2014.
- Of a total of 67 mines offered by the ministry, 23 fall under the Coal Mining Act (provisions Special Laws) and 44 of the Mines and Minerals Act (Development and Regulation Act).
- The proposed blocks are a combination of mines with small and large reserves, coke and non-coking mines, and fully and partially explored blocks spread across 6 states: Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
Covid Updates: The number of reported coronavirus cases in India was 1,18,39,274 at the time of publication of this bulletin, with the death toll at 1, 60,907.
- Maharashtra reported 35,952 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, its largest increase in 24 hours since the start of the pandemic, with 111 deaths.
- In Mumbai alone, 5,504 new cases of coronavirus have been reported. The new cases brought the city’s total number to 3,80,115.
- The Center ordered state welfare boards for construction workers and other construction workers (BOCWs) not to distribute household and other items to workers and simply transfer cash assistance to their accounts.
- The Labor and Employment Department said in a statement Thursday that it issued an order to states on Monday ordering councils not to distribute items.
- BOCW councils are intended to conduct welfare activities for construction taxpayers collected by the states.
- The ministry said it learned that some state councils had tendered or incurred expenses for the distribution of items such as flashlights, blankets, umbrellas, bicycles and utensils. , rather than spending on “tangible welfare measures” such as insurance, disability and maternity coverage benefits.