The Delhi High Court quashed a notification issued by President Ram Nath
Kovind disqualifying 20 AAP MLAs for holding offices of profit as
A Bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar reinstated all 20
MLAs, holding that the opinion of the Election Commission of India to the
President to disqualify the legislators was “vitiated and bad in law for
failure to comply with the principles of natural justice”.
The High Court noted that the poll panel failed to give oral hearing and
opportunity to address arguments on merits to the AAP MLAs before arriving
at its opinion that they held ‘office of profit’.
It remanded the matter back to the Election Commission to first decide
the “all important and seminal issue; what is meant by the expression
‘office of profit held under the government’.”
The court told the poll panel to then “re-examine the factual matrix to
decide whether the petitioners (MLAs) had incurred disqualification on
appointment as Parliamentary Secretaries, without being influenced by the
earlier order or observations on the said aspect in this order”.
It also remarked that the poll panel failed to inform the AAP MLAs that
O.P. Rawat, Chief Election Commissioner, had expressed his intention to
rejoin the Presidential reference proceedings after his recusal earlier last
The poll panel had argued that the AAP MLAs had taken over and performed
role and functions of political executive as Parliamentary Secretaries
clearly showing conflict of interest and, therefore, disqualification was
The Delhi government, led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, appointed
the parliamentary secretaries attached to government ministries after coming
to power in March 2015.
However, a constitutional clause prohibits legislators or
parliamentarians from holding any position with monetary or other benefits.
Known as ‘office of profit’, the clause is aimed at reducing conflict of
interest situations for public representatives.
The government had claimed that the appointments would facilitate a
Cambridge Analytica issued notice from Centre
The government has sent a notice to U.K.-based Cambridge Analytica —
accused of misusing data of 50 million Facebook users — asking it to
disclose if data of Indian users was used, and to name the entities that
used their services.
Political parties in India, including the ruling BJP and the Congress,
have accused each other of engaging the services of Cambridge Analytica,
leading to questions over influencing elections “through questionable
The notice addressed to Cambridge Analytica seeks immediate response to
six questions, including “whether they have been engaged in any assignment
to utilise data of Indians from the above cited breach? Who are the entities
that have engaged them for the above?”
They have also been asked to clarify how they came to be in possession
of such data? And was consent taken from the individuals?
Want review of 1994 ruling: Muslims
Almost 24 years after the Supreme Court said a mosque has no “unique or
special status” and is not an essential part of the practice of Islam and
namaz, Muslim parties involved in the Ramjanmabhoomi title dispute want the
court to first reconsider its stand before going ahead with the hearing in
the Babri Masjid case.
In 1994, the Supreme Court observed that “Muslims can offer prayer
anywhere, even in the open”.
The 24-year-old Ismail Faruqui vs Union of India case dealt with the
acquisition of 67.703 acres of land in Ayodhya after the demolition of the
Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992.
The constitutionality of the Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act,
1993 was under scanner.
The government justified it as a step to promote harmony. But the Muslim
parties suspected it to be a veiled attempt to “perpetuate the consequences
of the demolition of the mosque”.
It was in this background that the Supreme Court observed in 1994 that a
mosque cannot restrict the state’s sovereign power to acquire land for an
“undoubted national purpose.”
Moreover, the Supreme Court went on to distinguish between places of
worship with “particular significance”, which have to be treated
reverentially, and “ordinary places of worship”.
Besides, the Ismail Faruqui case order said places of worship having
particular significance should be considered an “essential or integral part
of the religion”.
A quarter century later, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, on behalf of the
Muslim parties, challenged the rationale of the 1994 ruling before a
three-judge Special Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
This Bench is hearing the over 70-year-old civil appeals against the
2010 Allahabad High Court judgment for a three-way partition of the Babri
He challenged the right of the government to have acquired the disputed
site under the 1993 law.
War on Drug Menace: Punjab
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh launched the Drug Abuse Prevention
Officer initiative aimed at engaging government employees and citizens to
wipe out the menace of drugs from the State.
Paying tributes to Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev at a
State-level function at Khatkar Kalan on Martyrs’ Day.
Capt. Amarinder said the DAPO programme will involve engaging dedicated
volunteers to work in their localities in coordination with the local
administration, the police and the Special Task Force.
He said more than 4,25,000 volunteers have already registered on the
DAPO website as part of the campaign and more applications were expected.
Referring to the demand to name Mohali International Airport after
Bhagat Singh, Capt. Singh said the Punjab government has already taken up
the issue with the Centre and he would personally pursue the matter.
The Chief Minister dedicated to the nation the Shaheed-e-Azam Sardar
Bhagat Singh Memorial and Museum to commemorate the sacrifices of the
Unhappy over chaos: Venkaiah
Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu read out a two-page note to
express his anguish as the House could not transact any business for the
15th consecutive day, with Opposition parties continuing to protest.
Mr. Naidu then adjourned the House for the day. In his note, Mr. Naidu
said past disruptions should not be cited to justify the “present wrong”,
and voiced the hope that the government would take the Opposition into
confidence to ensure that the House functions next week.
MPs from Andhra Pradesh, including those of the TDP, and K.V.P.
Ramachandra Rao of the Congress trooped into the Well shouting slogans for
special status for the State.
While Tamil Nadu MPs from both the DMK and the AIADMK raised the issue
of setting up a Cauvery Management Board.
Other Congress members in the Well shouted slogans, alleging the
government was working against the interests of the Scheduled Castes and
Scheduled Tribes, in a reference to the Supreme Court ruling on the
Scheduled castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
After paying tributes to freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and
Sukdev, Mr. Naidu stood up to express his displeasure.
The Chairman then went on to say that while some may cite past instances
to justify the present impasse, the three-week disruption had no
When Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel read out the
agenda for next week, Mr. Naidu hoped the government would take the
Opposition into confidence.
Mr. Naidu said he was willing to allow discussion on any issue, but
placards and slogan shouting were not justified.
China has responded guardedly to the decision by the U.S. to raise
tariffs on a raft of Chinese exports, signalling Beijing’s intent to play
the “long game” and avoid a trade war.
The Chinese Commerce Ministry issued a statement stating its plan to
impose fresh duties on U.S. products, which would amount to $3 billion.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced a 25% levy on Chinese goods worth
around $60 billion.
The Commerce Ministry said it planned to impose a 25% levy on 8 U.S.
products, including pork and recycled aluminium, worth $2 billion.
Besides a 15% tariff was in the pipeline on 120 items, such as fruit,
nuts and wine as well as steel pipes — altogether worth $1billion.
But the statement stressed that the U.S. should “pull back from the
brink” and avoid the world’s two largest economies locking horns in a trade
In the first stage, the 15% tariff will be levied if the two countries
cannot reach an agreement on trade issues within a scheduled time.
In the second stage, the 25% import tax will be imposed after evaluating
the impact caused by the U.S. policies.
There could be room for dialogue as the presidential memorandum signed
by U.S. President Donald Trump said that there would be a 30-day
consultation period that begins once a list of Chinese goods that are
targeted is published.
The Commerce Ministry said on its website that the U.S. move,
restricting imports on national security grounds, “has severely undermined
the multilateral trade system led by the WTO, disrupted international trade
order, and has drawn opposition from other WTO members”.
John Bolton to become America’s NSA
John Bolton, who will replace H.R. McMaster as U.S. President Donald
Trump’s National Security Adviser (NSA), said that it’s a “great honour” to
serve in the post.
“The U.S. currently faces a wide array of issues and I look forward to
working with President Trump and his leadership team in addressing these
complex challenges in an effort to make our country safer at home and
stronger abroad,” he said in a statement.
Earlier Mr. Trump had said he was rebuilding the team that shared his
views and priorities.
With Gary Cohn announcing his exit as the Chief Economic Adviser to the
President on March 6, the economic agenda of Mr. Trump is being guided by
Peter Navarro, Director of the National Trade Council.
Mr. Navarro, known for his strident positions on China trade, championed
the punitive measures directed by Mr. Trump.
A serving general, Mr. McMaster will leave the U.S. military also.
“After 34 years of service to our nation, I am requesting retirement from
the U.S. Army effective this summer after which I will leave public service…
,” he said in a statement.
US-China Trade war may hit recovery: RBI Governor
Global economic recovery could be hit if the trade war between the U.S.
and China escalates, renowned economist and former Reserve Bank of India
Governor Raghuram Rajan.
“There are very worrisome scenarios here. I think we should not take
this lightly,” he said here.
Dr. Rajan, professor of finance at the University of Chicago’s Booth
School of Business, advised that one should stay away from a trade war
particularly at a time when the economy the world over was in the process of
“I don’t want to use the word trade war. I don’t think they are there
yet. But, I do think that it is very important that we stay away because it
could harm the current recovery which has been beneficial all over the world
“And for it to do that at a time when the U.S. is quite strong and has
got full employment is growing quite reasonably, it seems to me that this is
not the time that we should do it,” the former Reserve Bank of India
governor told reporters in response to a question related to the possibility
of a full-scale trade war.
‘Make in India’ call for Battery producers: Power Minister
The Centre urged battery manufacturers to set up units in India as
demand in the country was expected to grow rapidly following its push for
Power and Renewable Energy Minister R.K. Singh made the appeal during a
meeting with battery manufacturers.
“Tenders for procuring e-vehicles have already been issued and we have
started procuring the vehicles,” Mr. Singh said. “This is going to
The Minister also said that future bids for solar and wind projects
would be coupled with storage, adding that the Centre would soon come out
with a policy in this regard with a focus on ‘Make in India.’
Mr. Singh also said that the Centre had already initiated interactions
with resource-rich countries such as Bolivia to ensure an adequate supply of
raw materials for energy storage sector.
“The industry representatives raised the issue of high GST (Goods and
Services Tax) rates on batteries,” the Centre said in a statement after the