Newsletter, Uncategorized

Newsletter 19th May, 2018




Doing away with the 15-day breather Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala had granted Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa to prove majority, the Supreme Court Friday directed that he take a floor test in the House at 4 pm Saturday. The bench of Justices A K Sikri, S A Bobde and Ashok Bhushan asked the Chief Minister not to take any policy decision till he proved majority. The judges also put on hold any move to nominate a member of the Anglo-Indian community to the House. The judges also ruled out the possibility of a secret ballot in the assembly – this surprise request was made by the Attorney General.

The bench said the whole hearing would consume a lot of time and it was better to order a floor test. “We have to choose between the devil and the deep sea”.

The judges also laid down the procedure to be followed for the floor test since the new MLAs have not yet taken oath. It ordered that a pro tem Speaker be appointed and swearing-in of the members be completed by 4 pm. The order stated and asked the Karnataka DGP to ensure security for the process.

During a pre-dawn hearing Thursday, the bench had said that it wanted to see the two letters dated May 15 and 16 written by Yedyurappa to the Governor, staking claim to form the government. Appearing for Yedyurappa Friday, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi produced the two letters. He read out the letters. The May 15 letter said he was “confident” of proving majority on the floor of the House while the latter said he had the BJP numbers plus “the support of others and requisite majority”.

Rohatgi said he didn’t want to disclose the names of the “others” who were supporting Yeddyurappa given the prevailing situation. “In a nutshell, the mandate is for largest party. Mandate is for change… There is no requirement for us to declare names of those in these two parties who support us… there is an atmosphere of apprehension. MLAs have been taken to resorts… We fear they (MLAs) are not being allowed to vote according to their conscience,” he said.




Hours after the Supreme Court ordered a floor test in Karnataka on Saturday, another controversy broke out as the Congress objected to the appointment of BJP MLA K G Bopaiah as the pro tem Speaker.

A three judge bench of the Supreme Court has set a 10:30 am hearing Saturday for the Congress-JD(S) challenge to Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala’s appointment of MLA KG Bopaiah as pro-tem speaker to oversee the crucial floor test in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly scheduled for the same day at 4 pm.

Congress said Governor Vajubhai Vala should have appointed the most senior MLA to the post, as per convention.

Congress-JD(S) have also listed some other requests in their petition  Dividing up the MLAs on the basis of their alignment to the triage of parties involved and video recording of the floor test are other requests that detail the Congress JD(S) petition.

The same three-judge bench which heard the first petition will sit in during the Saturday hearing. Congress and JD(S) are asking for the removal of Bopaiah and appointment of the seniormost MLA instead.

Congress’s communication department chief Randeep Surjewala said Bopaiah had been appointed pro tem Speaker “with the sole intent of manufacturing a majority out of a minority”, at the instance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. Calling Bopaiah “dented and tainted”, Surjewala said as Speaker, he had denigrated and violated the Constitution, law and rules to save the B S Yeddyurappa government in 2010. “He had disqualified BJP MLAs who had exposed corruption of Yeddyurappa… He is the same Bopaiah against whom the Supreme Court had passed stinging strictures…in 2011,” he said.





Amid possibilities of the BJP engineering MLA abstentions from the House to win the vote in Karnataka, constitutional experts are worried that the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution might stand compromised.

Under the Tenth Schedule, an MLA can be disqualified if he leaves the party on whose symbol he was elected or even if he defies the party whip.

PDT Achary, former Lok Sabha Secretary General, conceded to a major lacuna in the law which has of late been exploited for political expediency. The anti-defection law doesn’t prescribe any time limit for the Speaker to disqualify a member for violations. “Disqualification of a violating MLA is on the discretion of the Speaker, who may or may not act against the MLAs who defy the law. Even the Supreme Court cannot order the Speaker to act in this matter in a certain period of time because the law is silent on the time within which a defaulting MLA should be disqualified,” Achary said.

There are past examples of Speakers sitting on MLA disqualifications for years despite sufficient evidence for the Tenth Schedule having been disregarded.




Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to Jammu & Kashmir today, a gun battle broke out between militants and security forces in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday. Army said that it is the first counter-militancy operation since the Centre announced a conditional suspension of operations during Ramzan.

On Wednesday, the Centre had announced that security forces will not launch any operations in Jammu and Kashmir during the holy month of Ramzan. However, it also said that the forces reserve the right to retaliate if attacked.

Regarding the conditional ceasefire, the Union Home Ministry officials had said that the move was not a concession to the extremists, but an effort to create an environment free of terror and violence during the holy month and there will be no lowering of guard. They had said that the security forces, however, reserve the right to retaliate if attacked or if essential to protect the lives of innocent people.

The prime minister will tour all the three regions of the state during his visit. He will inaugurate the 330 MW Kishenganga hydroelectric power project in Bandipora district on Saturday. He will lay the foundation of the Zojila tunnel in Drass area of Kargil district. After completion, the tunnel would provide all-weather connectivity between the Valley and Ladakh region that otherwise remains cut off during the winter months.

And in a across-border firing incident, a BSF constable and four civilians were killed when Pakistan Rangers pounded villages along the International Border in Arnia and RS Pura sectors of Jammu on the first Friday of the holy month of Ramzan. Eleven civilians were also injured.






The European Union took steps Friday to avoid reimposed US sanctions on Iran and save the international nuclear deal as a rift with Washington widened. The European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, moved to help EU firms skirt US penalties and have member governments directly pay Iran’s central bank for oil.

The commission, which took two other steps, said it was acting on a “green light” EU leaders gave at a meeting in the Bulgarian capital Sofia on Thursday.

The commission “launched the formal process to activate the blocking statute by updating the list of US sanctions on Iran falling within its scope,” it said. The executive said it hopes the statute will be in force before August 6 when the first batch of reimposed US sanctions take effect. The statute, which the 28 EU member states and the European Parliament must endorse, is aimed at reassuring European firms that invested in Iran after the deal.



At least 10 people were killed after a gunman opened fire at a high school in the US state of Texas on Friday. The incident took place at Santa Fe High School in the city of the same name, located about 50 kilometres southeast of Houston.

The shooter has been “arrested and secured,” said Santa Fe HS Assistant Principal Cris Richardson.

This is the 22nd school shooting since the beginning of the year in the US.

President Donald Trump expressed concern over the incident. “School shooting in Texas. Early reports not looking good. God bless all!,” he tweeted.

The latest such incident at a U.S. school underscored a national debate over gun control and gun rights that has intensified after an assailant killed 17 students and staff on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.





A six-man team from the Delhi Police Friday held a three-hour session with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at his Civil Lines residence, questioning him in connection with the alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash. Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) Harendra Singh said Kejriwal had “answered some of our questions… Many answers were unsatisfactory and he also evaded some questions”. Singh said he had asked Kejriwal to join police for another round of questioning, and that his deputy Manish Sisodia would also be questioned at a later date.

Prakash was allegedly assaulted after being summoned for a late-night meeting at the CM’s home on February 19.

In a statement posted on Twitter later, the CM said, “AAP government is doing great work in education, health, power and water. The BJP government at the Centre is trying to stop this. That is why they have set the LG and the Delhi Police on us. It is for the first time in history that a CM has been questioned… The questioning was done in a very good atmosphere. I thank the police, it’s not their fault. Police are being pressured to lodge fake cases against us.”


The five senior-most judges of Supreme Court met again on Friday noon to take forward and formalise the resolution of the SC Collegium meeting, which went on for two hours on May 16. The matter of reiteration of the Uttarakhand Chief Justice, Justice KM Joseph, was expected to have taken place immediately, but it did not happen.

The Collegium, consisting of CJI Dipak Misra, and Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph, issued a resolution saying: “Today, in the meeting of the Collegium, a unanimous view was expressed that there should be further deliberation and broad-based consideration of the names of the Chief Justices as well as judges of the High Courts, which are at present not represented in the Supreme Court.”

It did not say when they would meet next, only stating, “in view of the above, the meeting stands deferred to be held at the earliest”.

In case a meeting is called on or before June 22, it would be the same Collegium as the one that recommended his name for elevation. But as Justice Chelameswar retires on June 22, Justice A K Sikri would be the fifth member if the meeting is scheduled later.


Amid reports of existence of a “north-south divide” in it, the Finance Commission on Friday ruled out injustice to any state in the allocation of divisible pool of central revenue and asserted such a debate was unfounded, sources said.

Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu met members of the commission and sought an explanation into the matter, sources in the Rajya Sabha Secretariat said.

During the meeting, the commission is said to have ruled out any injustice to any state in the allocation of divisible pool of central revenue and asserted that the north-south debate being sought to be raised in the matter is unfounded.

The finance ministers of six Opposition-ruled states and Union Territories had met President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday and sought amendments to the “unfair” terms of reference of the 15th Finance Commission.

Naidu told the commission members that as the Chairman of the Council of States, he thought it would be appropriate to talk to them about the principles followed by various commissions in the recent past and their thinking in the present context.

He brought to their notice reports about reservations of some states on some aspects of the terms of reference of the commission and some even suggesting a north-south perspective.

Chairman of the commission NK Singh and members informed Naidu that rewarding states for their past performance besides incentivising future performance, specific needs of the states and the Centre, right of citizens for equal entitlements broadly guide the commission’s approach in determining allocation of revenue between the Centre and states and among the states.


Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Friday said that he has warned contractors that they will “find themselves under a bulldozer” if work entrusted to them was not done properly. Addressing a gathering of tendu leaves collectors and unorganised labourers at Betul, Gadkari said, “none of the contractors working here comes to Delhi. You are the owner of these roads. It’s your job to see if constructions work is good or bad. If there is any shortcoming, I have told contractors that I will put them under a bulldozer in place of crushed stones.’’

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was also present at the event. The Union minister said there was no shortage of funds in the country, and added that he will not tolerate corruption. He said the money does not belong to contractors but “the poor of this country.’’


Tata Steel on Friday announced the completion of its acquisition of Bhushan Steel (BSL) through its wholly-owned subsidiary Bamnipal Steel Ltd (BNPL), wrapping up the resolution of the first case under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016. The bankrupt firm was among the 12 stressed assets the RBI had referred for NCLT proceedings last year.

In a statement, Tata Steel said it had taken a controlling stake of 72.65 per cent in BSL and paid the admitted corporate insolvency costs and employee dues, as mandated under IBC.

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal termed the deal as a “historic breakthrough” in resolving legacy issues of banks. “Lenders recovered almost entire principal loan of Bhushan Steel through Rs 36,400 crore transparent bid by Tata Steel and also got 12% stake in company,” he tweeted.


Problem solved: let down by her yes-no-yes-no father, Thomas Markle, who has had heart surgery anyway, it is going to be Prince Charles who is going to walk Meghan Markle down the aisle – though it seems it will be for part of the way.

On Friday, with only 24 hours to go to the wedding, Kensington Palace put out “an update” on “The wedding of HRH Prince Henry of Wales (Harry’s formal name is Henry) and Meghan Markle.” “Meghan Markle has asked His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales to accompany her down the aisle of the Quire of St George’s Chapel on her Wedding Day,” it said, before adding, “The Prince of Wales is pleased to be able to welcome Markle to The Royal Family in this way.”

This is an unusual role for the father of the bridegroom but a must in the circumstances.

Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland had been expected to step in for Thomas Markle, whose deal with a paparazzi photographer threatened to overshadow the biggest and happiest day of his daughter’s life.


Delhi daredevils successfully defended 163 runs at their home ground after Chennai Super Kings failed to go over the line. CSK lost Shane Watson early in the chase but Ambati Rayudu struck 50 off 29. But no other batsman applied himself in the chase and CSK stood on the losing side.

Earlier, Delhi Daredevils made a superb comeback in the last over as Harshal Patel and Vijay Shankar scored 26 runs in the Dwayne Bravo’s over to take their side’s total to 162/5 in 20 overs. Delhi had a dismal start as they lost wickets at regular intervals but Patel and Shankar played a decent role in providing their bowlers with some total to defend.

Team / Matches Won / Matches Played / NRR (After 52 matches, with 4 to go before Play-offs)

Sunrisers Hyderabad  9/13 (0.319); Chennai Super Kings 8/13 (0.220); Kolkata Knight Riders 7/13 (-0.091); Mumbai Indians 6/13 (0.384);

Royal Challengers Bangalore 6/13 (0.264); Rajasthan Royals 6/13 (-0.403); Kings XI Punjab 6/13 (-0.490); Delhi Daredevils 4/13 (-0.288)

The last 4 crucial matches of the league stage will be played today and tomorrow.

Saturday- Rajasthan Royals v RC Bangalore; Sunrisers Hyderabad v Kolkata Knight Riders

Sunday – Delhi Daredevils v Mumbai Indians; Chennai Super Kings v Kings XI Punjab


The proposal to scrap the time-honoured tradition of a coin toss prior to Test matches defies logic and should not be considered, according to several former South Asian cricket captains. A ritual since the first Test between Australia and England in 1877 risks extinction when the Cricket Committee of the International Cricket Council (ICC) meet in Mumbai later this month to discuss the issue.

“I’m actually at a loss to make any sense,” former India captain said Bishan Singh Bedi. “First of all, why would you even want to tinker with a century-long tradition?” asked the spin great.

Bedi’s former teammate Dilip Vengsarkar admitted he was becoming dismayed by the frequent tinkering with playing conditions. “If this is only about home team’s interference in pitch preparation then just introduce neutral curators,” said the former Test batsman.

Former Pakistan captain Asif Iqbal, however, is opposed to the idea which, he fears, would take excitement out of the game. “I am not in favour of scrapping the toss,” said the 58-Test veteran. “Every visiting team will also be hosting tours and be having the home advantage. To be the best and top team in the world ranking you need to win both at home and more importantly away from home.”


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People become attached to their burdens sometimes more than the burdens are attached to them. – George Bernard Shaw


In the good old days it was said “politics is the last resort of scoundrels”.

Times have changed – Now “resort is the last politics of scoundrels”.

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