SC UPHOLDS CENTRE'S 2016 DECISION ON DEMONETISATION BY 4:1 MAJORITY
More than six years after the Centre demonetised the currency notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 denomination, the Supreme Court on Monday upheld the decision to be valid and legal.
By a majority of 4:1, a five-judge Constitution Bench led by Justice S Abdul Nazeer declared that the November 8, 2016 decision didn’t suffer from any illegality and such an economic policy decision of the government could not be reversed.
The majority judgment came from Justice Nazeer, Justice BR Gavai, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice V Ramasubramanian.
Pronouncing the judgment for the majority, Justice Gavai said the decision could not be faulted as there was consultation between the RBI and the government. The judges ruled that it’s not relevant if the objective of demonetisation was achieved or not.
However, Justice BV Nagarathna differed from the majority on the Centre's powers under Section 26(2) of the RBI Act. While noting that it was a well-intended exercise aimed at curbing black money and terror-funding, she found fault with the process of demonetisation.
The dissenting judge's central argument is summed up thus: Government’s demonetisation initiative reflected a concern to address “disparate (economic) evils,” showed “foresight,” and was motivated by the “best intentions and noble objects,” but the way it was done, it violated the law and highlighted how the central bank didn’t apply an independent mind. Because it “arose” from the Centre, the Government should have brought an ordinance or a law in Parliament to implement the noteban rather than get RBI to give a recommendation and issue a notification the way it did.
DEMONETISATION VERDICT: BJP REMINDS CONG OF ‘UGLY CAMPAIGN’
Buoyed by the Supreme Court’s majority verdict upholding the 2016 demonetisation exercise, the BJP on Monday sought an apology from the Congress, in particular from Rahul Gandhi, for the opposition party’s “ugly campaign” against the government move.
“It is a historic decision and is in national interest. The court said the government has the right to make policy decisions,” senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad told a press conference at the party headquarters in Delhi.
“Even the judge (Justice BV Nagarathna) who dissented said the policy was (made) with good intention,” Prasad added and asked if Rahul would now “say sorry” to the nation.
“The court has rejected the argument that the RBI was not consulted. In sum and substance, the court in its majority judgment found the entire decision making process fair and reasonable,” Prasad added.
Prasad also slammed Congress’s criticism of demonetisation as “anti-poor”, saying “the biggest beneficiaries of the demonetisation have been the poor, due to the digital transactions and plugging of leakages through DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer)”.
He also accused the opposition party of having, in its own way, “promoted and protected informal economic ways” in the country.
CHINA APPLYING RUSSIA’S UKRAINE PRINCIPLE WITH INDIA: RAHUL GANDHI
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday drew a parallel between Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the Chinese transgressions along the Line of Actual Control, saying Beijing is threatening to alter India’s boundaries adopting Russia’s “principle” in Ukraine.
Rahul, during a conversation with film actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan, said India’s external opponents can take advantage when there is disharmony in the country.
“There is a link between a weak economy, a confused nation without vision, hatred and anger and the Chinese sitting in our territory. Because they know that we are dealing with internal matters, internal confusion, internal lack of harmony…so they can just go in and do what they want. That is one element of the problem,” he said during the nearly 23-minute interaction, a recorded video of which Rahul put out on his social media accounts.
“The other huge element of the problem is what has happened in Ukraine. Essentially what the Russians have done in Ukraine is that they have said ‘look we will not accept that the Ukrainians have a strong relationship with the West’. And they have basically told the Ukrainians that ‘if you have a strong relationship with the West…we will alter your geography. And that is the exact same principle that can be applied in India,” he said.
“What the Chinese are saying to us is ‘be careful with what you are doing because we will alter your geography. We will enter Lakadh, we will enter Arunachal’. And what I can see is that they are building a platform for that type of an approach. So, as an Indian I don’t want to be somebody who is warmongering but I would like our country to be aware that there are real problems at the border…(which) are connected to what is going on inside our country…(when) an Indian fights an Indian, when the economy doesn’t work, when there is joblessness…our external opponents can take advantage of that situation,” he said.
ANGER IN RUSSIA AS UKRAINE STRIKE KILLS 63 TROOPS; KYIV SAYS HUNDREDS DEAD
Russia acknowledged on Monday that scores of its troops were killed in one of the Ukraine war’s deadliest strikes, drawing demands from nationalist bloggers for commanders to be punished for housing soldiers alongside an ammunition dump. Russia’s defence ministry said 63 soldiers had died in the fiery blast which destroyed a temporary barracks in a former vocational college in Makiivka, twin city of the Russian-occupied regional capital of Donetsk. It said the accommodation had been hit by four rockets fired from US-made HIMARS launchers, claiming two rockets had been shot down.
Kyiv said the Russian death toll was in the hundreds, though pro-Russian officials called this an exaggeration. Russian military bloggers, many with hundreds of thousands of followers, said the huge destruction was a result of storing ammunition in the same building as a barracks, despite commanders knowing it was within range of Ukrainian rockets.
Russia’s acknowledgement of scores of deaths in one incident was almost without precedent.
Separately, Ukraine said on Monday it had shot down all 39 drones Russia had launched in an unprecedented third straight night of air strikes against civilian targets in Kyiv and other cities.
RECESSION TO HIT 1/3RD OF WORLD THIS YEAR: IMF
A third of the global economy will be in recession this year, the IMF chief has said, and warned that 2023 would be “tougher” than last year as the US, EU and China would see their economies slow down.
Kristalina Georgieva’s assertions came at a time when the ongoing conflict in Ukraine shows no signs of abating after more than 10 months, with spiralling inflation, higher interest rates and the surge in Covid infections in China.
“We expect one-third of the world economy to be in recession. Even in countries that are not in recession, it would feel like a recession for hundreds of millions of people,” Georgieva said. In October last year, the IMF trimmed its growth forecast for 2023.
“Global growth is forecast to slow from 6 per cent in 2021 to 3.2 per cent in 2022 and 2.7 per cent in 2023. This is the weakest growth profile since 2001 except for the global financial crisis and the acute phase of the Covid pandemic,” it said.
“For the next couple of months, it will be tough for China, and the impact on Chinese growth will be negative, the impact on the region will be negative, the impact on global growth will be negative,” she added.
NOW, FOREIGNERS CAN'T BUY HOUSES IN CANADA
Canada has banned foreigners from buying homes from January 1 to make properties more affordable. However, refugees and permanent residents can buy homes and the ban will not apply to recreational properties such as summer cottages.
The Canadian Government says 15 to 20 per cent of the owners of houses in the country are non-occupants who have invested to earn rent. Canadian Housing Minister Ahmed Hussein said, “The legislation ensures that housing is owned by Canadians only. The benefits will flow to everyone who lives in Canada.”
SC RULED ON PROCESS; CONGRESS SEEKS APOLOGY BY PM
As the Supreme Court upheld, by a 4:1 majority, the Centre’s demonetisation decision of 2016, opposition parties on Saturday said the majority judgment has neither endorsed the wisdom of the decision nor commented on its impact and outcomes.
“To say that demonetisation has been upheld by Supreme Court is totally misleading and wrong,” AICC general secretary in charge of communication, Jairam Ramesh, said.
The party also criticised the BJP for demanding an apology from Rahul Gandhi. It said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should, in fact, apologise, as his “Tughlaqi decision” had devastated small- and medium-scale businesses, destroyed the informal sector, and finished off livelihoods of lakhs of families. “We are still facing the brunt of the negative impact demonetisation had on the economy. So if anybody has to apologise, then the so-called father of new India should apologise,” Ramesh said.
Ramesh said the court has only pronounced a judgment on whether Section 26(2) of RBI Act, 1934 was correctly applied before announcing demonetisation — “nothing more, nothing less”.
Former Finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said the minority judgment delivered by Justice B V Nagarathna highlights the “illegality and irregularities” in the demonetisation exercise. “It may be only a slap on the wrist of the government, but a welcome slap on the wrist,” he said. “The dissenting judgment will rank among the famous dissents recorded in the history of the Supreme Court.” Chidambaram said the minority judgment brings out the distinction between the plenary legislative power of Parliament and the limited power of the executive government.
BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad slammed Chidambaram’s reaction and questioned why he had highlighted the lone dissenting view in the verdict and stayed “silent” on the majority judgment. “Mr Chidambaram, I condemn your comment on the majority judgment,” Prasad said, “You don’t read the judgment, you ignore with impunity the majority and pick up the minority to make an uncharitable comment.”
UPROAR OVER INCIDENT OF DELHI WOMAN DRAGGED BY CAR
As protests over the death of a 20-year-old woman who was dragged around by a car for several kilometres in Delhi on Sunday intensified, Home Minister Amit Shah yesterday directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to hold a thorough inquiry and immediately submit report to the government.
Meanwhile, a Delhi court remanded in police custody for three days the five accused, identified as Deepak Khanna, Amit Khanna, Krishan, Mithun and Manoj Mittal. All have been booked under Sections 279, 304 and 304A of the IPC. A medical board has also been constituted for victim's autopsy. The car owners allegedly hit the woman on a scooter and dragged her under the wheels (unbelievable yes, but this is what's beiung reported so far) for 12 kilometres.
The incident triggered a massive standoff between the ruling Aam Aadmi Party and L-G VK Saxena, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal demanding capital punishment for the "rarest of rare crime". AAP workers and MLAs protested outside L-G's Civil Lines residence, accusing the BJP of shielding an accused and seeking Saxena's removal. Cops used water cannons to disperse them.
AAP supporters alleged that Manoj Mittal was linked to the BJP. They accused the L-G and local cops of shielding him. They picketed L-G's residence demanding justice.
As the issue snowballed, the L-G directed Delhi Police Commissioner to "strictly assess if there were lapses on part of the police in investigating the case". Kejriwal said, "This case falls under the category of the rarest of rare crimes. Such people should be awarded capital punishment. The accused in this case may be linked to any politician, but we should all ensure they get the harshest possible punishment."
BJP, LEFT HAVE JOINED HANDS IN BID TO DEFEAT TMC: MAMATA BANERJEE
Mamata Banerjee on Monday accused the BJP and the CPI(M) of entering into a tacit understanding to defeat the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, despite both having different ideologies.
Addressing TMC supporters during a meeting at Nazrul Mancha, Banerjee said: “Today, Ram and Baam (BJP and Left) have become one. They have joined hands covertly to defeat us. This is happening despite both having completely different ideologies. But we [TMC] are followers of an inclusive ideology. We need to take along everyone. The BJP’s ideology differentiates among people on religious lines.".
Reacting to Banerjee’s remarks, BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh said, “She sees conspiracy in everything.”
CPI(M)’s Chakraborty said, “There is no question of any understanding with any other party. The Left are always fighting for the rights of the people and the people is the strength of our party. It is the other way around. The TMC and the BJP have a tacit understanding.”
SACK MINISTER BY JAN 7 OR FACE STIR, HARYANA KHAPS WARN GOVT
A khap panchayat held in a village of Jhajjar district Monday gave an ultimatum to the Haryana government to remove sports minister Sandeep Singh, is facing allegations of sexual harassment, by January 7 or face an agitation.
A panchayat of “12 Dhankar khaps”, or caste councils, was held in a village in the district and attended by representatives of ‘khaps’ and social organisations. A khap representative said that the meeting urged the state government to ensure justice for the coach at the earliest and sack the minister. If the government fails to do this, the khaps will launch a “big movement”, he said.
ONLINE GAMING DRAFT RULES: NO BETTING, SELF-REGULATORY BODY
A self-regulatory body, grievance redressal mechanism and mandatory know-your-customer norms for verification are among the key proposals in the draft rules for online gaming, released by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) on Monday.
Online games will have to register with a self-regulatory body, and only games that are cleared by the body will be allowed to legally operate in India. Online gaming companies will not be allowed to engage in betting on the outcome of games, as per the proposed rules.
The proposed rules, aimed at safeguarding users against potential harm from skill-based games, have been introduced as an amendment to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. The attempt is to regulate online gaming platforms as intermediaries and place due diligence requirements on them.
Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that “around 40 to 45 per cent of the gamers in India are women, and therefore it was all the more important to keep the gaming ecosystem safe”.
MUMBAI WOMAN TWEETS TRAIN TICKET DETAILS ONLINE, LOSES RS 64,000
A resident of Vile Parle Mumbai was reportedly duped for Rs 64,000 while she was complaining about her RAC ticket on IRCTC's Twitter handle. MN Meena booked three tickets on the IRCTC site to travel to Bhuj on January 14 and she got RAC (Reservation Against Cancellation) seats.
To check if the RAC tickets would be confirmed, the 34-year-old woman posted the train ticket details and mobile number on Twitter and asked IRCTC for further assistance. After waiting for a while, Meena received a call which her son and answered. The caller allegedly introduced himself as a customer support executive from IRCTC and offered to help them confirm their RAC ticket. The caller sent a link on the phone and asked Meena's son to fill up details and pay Rs 2 to get their train ticket to Bhuj confirmed on the journey date.
Both Meena and her son thought that they had been contacted by IRCTC as they posted their complaint on Twitter. Without much thought, her son filled up the phone and paid Rs 2. And within a few moments, they received back-to-back transaction alerts from their bank accounts. The fraudsters took off Rs 64,011 rupees from the bank account.
According to police, the fraudster asked them to pay RS 2 through UPI and even asked them to fill in details through a link. Apparently, fraudsters stole the details of Meena's bank account and UPI security code through the phishing link.
TUNISHA SHARMA DEATH CASE: FAMILY OF ACCUSED HOLDS A PRESSER
Maintaining silence for over a week after allegations of love jihad were raked up against actor Sheezan Khan, currently in Thane Central Jail for allegedly abetting the suicide of his 20-year-old co-actor Tunisha Sharma, Khan’s family rubbished the allegations on Monday.
Khan’s mother Kehkashan, sisters – actors Shafaq Naaz and Falaq Naaz – and lawyer Shailendra Mishra spoke to the media for the first time since Tunisha’s death while shooting for the show Alibaba: Dastan-e-Kabul on December 24 in Vasai.
“We did not want to be part of a media trial but the way Khan and his family have been maligned, we decided to speak up,” said Mishra. The family arrived at the press conference with a printout of a clip from episode 21 of Alibaba: Dastan-e-Kabul, in which Tunisha’s character is seen wearing a hijab. They claimed that it was this photograph of Tunisha in a costume, shared on social media, which was misrepresented, fanning allegations of love jihad.
Falaq said that as part of the show, since the characters were to speak in Urdu, Tunisha was learning diction. “Tunisha was like my sister and we shared a bond. I met her during their shoot in Ladakh and we shared a good rapport. Our religion is our personal thing and we don’t have the right to force it on anyone. Nor do we flaunt our religion in public. This is an issue of mental health… from where did the religion angle come?”
Khan’s family also claimed that there were other traumas too that Tunisha was dealing with.
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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
This world, after all our science and sciences, is still a miracle; wonderful, inscrutable, magical and more, to whosoever will think of it. - Thomas Carlyle
James was never shy about reminding people that he had played cricket for a club. "My teammates used to call me James Bond," he was telling his friends. "I was always a very stylish batsman."
"Not just that. His batting average was .007," his wife added.