WEDNESDAY www.thestatesman.com 09 JANUARY 2019 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |`5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR 'CENTRE ARM-TWISTING CBI AND NIA' PASWAN LOSES VIP STATUS AT PATNA AIRPORT P6 WEATHER Moderate fog in the morning. Clear sky. Haze/smoke thereafter. The maximum and minimum temperatures likely to be around 20 degrees and 7 degrees Celsius, respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.100% Max: 19.7°C (0) SUN RISES 07:15 hrs MOON RISES 10.02 hrs P10 Min: 7°C (0) SUN SETS 17:42 hrs MOON SETS 20:35 hrs OVERNIGHT ORDER QUASHED I Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik at a protest in New Delhi on Tuesday to demand more MSP for (P7) farmers crops. SNS SC ‘clears’ Sterlite reopening: The Supreme Court paved the way for the re-opening of Vedanta's Sterlite copper plant at Tuticorin, which faced protests over pollution concerns, by refusing to stay the green tribunal order that had set aside the TN decision to close it. CAG detects spectrum losses worth `520 cr: The CAG has found various shortcomings in spectrum management by the telecom ministry that have led to losses to the government exchequer. In the total loss, the auditor saw maximum high financial impact of `520.79 P11 crore on the government exchequer. RBI sets up panel under Nilekani to boost digital payments: The Reserve Bank of India Tuesday constituted a high-level committee under Aadhaar architect Nandan Nilekani to suggest measures to strengthen the safety and secuP11 rity of digital payments in the country. n a major embarrassment for the Narendra Modi government, the Supreme Court today set aside the central government and the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)'s orders divesting CBI director Alok Verma of his function and power and sending him on compulsory leave following a fierce feud and trading of corruption charges between him and his deputy Rakesh Asthana. Dealing a blow to the Centre, the apex court reinstated Verma as CBI director, quashing the government's unprecedented midnight order stripping him of his powers. The top court, however, also clipped Verma's wings, ruling that on reinstatement Verma will desist from taking any major policy decision till the highpower Selection Committee, which selects the CBI director, considers the issue of his "divestment of power and authority" within a week. The Committee comprises of the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of the Opposition or the single largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha. Asking the panel to meet in this regard accordingly, the apex court said it was "still open" for the Committee to consider the matter involving Verma ~ whose two-year tenure as CBI director ends on 31 January ~ since the CVC was probing charges of cor- The Supreme Court on Tuesday set aside the Central government and the Central Vigilance Commission’s orders divesting CBI director Alok Verma of his function and power and sending him on compulsory leave. The government and the CVC’s order of sending Alok Verma on compulsory leave followed a fierce feud and trading of corruption charges between Alok Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana. The top court also clipped Verma’s wings, ruling that on reinstatement Verma will desist from taking any major policy decision till the high-power Selection Committee which selects the CBI director considers the issue. Noting that there was no relevant law with regard to interim suspension or removal of the CBI director, the top court asserted that any such decision has to be taken after taking the consent of the Selection Committee. ruption against him, which were levelled by Asthana against whom Verma had ordered filing of an FIR in a similar case of corruption. The Centre had also sent Asthana on compulsory leave along with Verma on the same night. Noting that there was no relevant law with regard to interim suspension or removal of the CBI director, the top court asserted that any such decision has to be taken after taking the consent of the Selection Committee. In its 44-page judgment, a three-judge Bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, quashed the 23 October 2018 orders of the CVC and the Centre's Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) stripping Verma of his charge while asking CBI's joint director M Nageshwar Rao to look after the duties and functions of the agency's director. "We deem it proper to direct that Verma, Director CBI, upon reinstatement, will cease LS passes quota Bill for upper caste poor NEW DELHI, 8 JANUARY The Lok Sabha Tuesday passed a landmark Bill to provide 10 per cent reservation in jobs and education for the general category poor with most parties backing the proposed legislation, described by the government as “historic” and in the country's interest. The Opposition, including the Congress, dubbed the proposed law as a political gimmick that may not stand judicial scrutiny but came around to support it during voting, underlining the huge political import of the measure aimed at placating upper castes. As many as 323 members voted in support of the Bill, which seeks to amend Article 15 and 16 of the Constitu- P15 SC reinstates Verma as CBI chief with limited powers STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 8 JANUARY THUMBNAILS PTI P13 Opposition hails verdict, Jaitley calls it balanced Major setback for Centre as apex court sets aside Modi government’s order Min. 63% TEMPERATURE KLOPP DEFENDS CHANGES AFTER FA CUP LOSS NORTH KOREAN LEADER KIM JONG UN VISITS CHINA tion to enable reservation for the “economically weaker” sections in the general category, which had so far been kept out of the quota ambit. Three members voted against the Bill. The government will table the Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday as the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Bill. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi were present in the Lower House when the Bill was passed. Replying to an over four and half hours debate, Social Justice Minister Thaavarchand Gehlot sought to allay doubts raised by several Opposition members about the legislation's fate if challenged in the Supreme Court, saying he can say with confidence that the apex court will accept it. “Your doubts are unfounded. Put them to rest,” he told Opposition members, many of whom dubbed the Bill as “jumla” and “gimmick”, questioned its legal standing and accused the government of bringing it in haste with an eye on the Lok Sabha polls. Making an intervention during the debate, Union Minister Arun Jaitley informed the House that this constitutional amendment Bill will not go to state Assemblies for ratification, meaning that it will come into force after the Upper House passes it and the President gives his assent. Certain constitutional amendment Bills require ratification from 50 per cent of state Assemblies to come into force. The bar of 50 per cent put by the apex court on total reservation is for caste-based quota, while the Bill seeks to provide it for the economically weaker sections in the general category, Jaitley said. Describing the Bill as a political gimmick, Opposition parties led by the Congress expressed apprehension that such a law may not stand judicial scrutiny. Citing the Narasimha Rao's government effort to bring in 10 per cent reservation on the basis of economic criteria, KV Thomas (Congress) said it was struck down by the Supreme Court. This legislation has been made in haste and has so many lacunas, he said, adding it should be sent to Joint Parliamentary Committee for examination. TURN TO PAGE 6 and desist from taking any major policy decisions till the decision of the Committee permitting such actions and decisions becomes available within the time frame indicated," the Bench, also comprising Justice S K Kaul and Justice K M Joseph, reportedly said. Verma had moved the apex court, challenging the Centre's decision to send him on forced leave and appointing an interim agency chief, contend- ‘We deem it proper to direct that Alok Verma, Director CBI, upon reinstatement, will cease and desist from taking any major policy decisions till the decision of the Committee permitting such actions and decisions becomes available within the time frame indicated’ ~ SC Bench headed by the CJI ing that the CBI director has a fixed two-year term and could be removed only by the high-power panel under the existing law. "We further make it explicit that the role of Alok Kumar Verma as the Director, CBI during the interregnum and in terms of this order will be confined only to the exercise of the ongoing routine functions without any fresh initiative, having no major policy or institutional implications," the Bench said. The apex court referred to its verdict in Vineet Narain case in 1997 and subsequent amendment in law to highlight that legislative intent has been to ensure "complete insulation of the office of the Director CBI from all kinds of extraneous influences, as may be, as well as for upholding the integrity and independence of the institution of the CBI as a whole". STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 8 JANUARY The apex court's judgment in the matter known as a "CBI vs CBI" case made waves in political circles, evoking instant reactions from leaders from across the spectrum. The Congress and other Opposition parties hailed the judgment. Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who is part of the Selection Committee for the CBI director's appointment, said the verdict was a "lesson" for the Modi government. Congress president Rahul Gandhi told reporters that Verma was "ousted" in a midnight operation as he was about to launch, he claimed, an investigation into the Rafale jet deal "scam". Gandhi alleged that no one can save PM Modi from a Rafale probe and that the entire nation would know “without a shadow of doubt” that the PM has allegedly given Rs 30,000 crore of public money to his industrialist “friend” Anil Ambani in this deal. He welcomed the Supreme court decision, saying “some justice” has been done with the reinstatement of CBI Director, who he alleged was oust- Citizenship Bill passed by LS as N-E observes 11-hour bandh E h SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 8 JANUARY The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a contentious bill seeking to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangaldesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, amid protests in north eastern states and opposition parties terming the proposed law “divisive” and “flawed”. Immediately after Home Minister Rajnath Singh introduced the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said there are “flaws” in the bill that does not address the Assam Accord and requested the Speaker to send it to a select committee. His party walked out after the Speaker refused to accept the demand. Other Opposition party leaders, including TMC's Saugata Roy dubbed the bill as “divisive” and “insidious” that goes against the basic tenets of the Constitution. Defending the bill, which he said was not “Assam-centric”, the Home Minister asserted that the bill was not against the provisions of the Constitution and would give succour to persecuted minorities in three neighbouring countries. Seeking to assuage the concerns in the North-east, which saw an 11-hour bandh on Tuesday against the legislation, Singh said the proposed law will not be confined to Assam alone. Stray incidents of violence mar Day 1 of strike SNS & PTI NEW DELHI/ KOLKATA/ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, 8 JANUARY Stray incidents of violence in West Bengal, public bus services going off the road in Mumbai and partial impact on banking operations marred the first day of a two-day strike called by trade unions to protest against alleged antipeople policies of the central government. Normal life was largely unaffected in most parts of the country barring Left-ruled Kerala where the stir turned into a 'hartal' with schools and colleges being shut and banking services being affected. In Mumbai, over 32,000 employees of Mumbai's civic transport undertaking went on an indefinite strike to demand higher wages. The protest, which coincided with the two-day strike called by 10 trade unions, affected nearly 25 lakh daily commuters. Meanwhile, the central government warned its employees of disciplinary action if they go on strike and do not join work. Two leading bank unions joined the strike, partially affecting banking operations. However, State Bank of India (SBI) and private sector banks reported no impact on their operations as the other seven unions in the banking sector are not part of the strike. Government services including electricity supply and train services were unaffected by the strike even though several trains were reported running late. Local trains, EMU and MEMU in West Bengal were delayed en route Reserve Bank of India during the first day of the Bharat bandh DILIP DUTTA in Kolkata on Tuesday. During the Bharat bandh in Odisha on Tuesday when many pasSNS sengers were inconvenienced. owing to the agitation. Reports from Kerala said offices recorded low attendance but there was no untoward incident in the state. Karnataka evoked mixed response while other states saw business as usual. day strike. The strike also disrupted rail and road traffic in Odisha. Train services were hit as trade union activists staged rail roko at places like Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri, Balasore, Jaleswar, Bhadrak, Trains were stopped in Kerala while buses and autorickshaws were off the road, hitting normal life, according to reports from the state. Workers from various sectors have extended support to the two- Sambalpur, Berhampur, and Paradip. Over a dozen trains were delayed due to blockade of railway tracks by strike supporters, leaving a large number of passengers stranded at many places, reports said. In West Bengal, where the Trinamool Congress-led state government had made elaborate security arrangements, reported an incident of stone pelting at a school bus and sporadic incidents of vandalism at a few places. Government offices, IT sector, and port activities were normal, and so were attendance at tea gardens. Strike supporters burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and burnt tyres on streets in some parts of the state including Kolkata. In Howrah, Siliguri, Bardhaman, Birbhum, North and South 24 Paraganas, clashes were reported between Trinamul Congress workers and strike supporters as TMC activists tried to stop them from forcibly imposing the strike. SEE ALSO PAGE 7 ed in the middle of the night as he was about to begin an inquiry into the Rafale jet deal. Talking to reporters outside Parliament, he said Prime Minister Modi and his government cannot run away from a probe into the deal now. “The CBI chief was ousted at 1 am in the night because he was about to begin a probe into the Rafale deal. The CBI chief has been reinstated and some justice has been done. Now let's see what happens,” he told reporters. Congratulations to the SC for upholding the law,” Gandhi later tweeted. CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury demanded that PM Modi should quit on moral grounds as the top court's verdict was a "direct indictment of Modi and his office". Describing the verdict as “balanced", Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, however, said the Centre's decision to send Verma and Asthana on leave on the basis of the CVC's recommendation was "perfectly bonafide" and that it was done to protect the integrity of the premier investigating agency reeling under the intra-agency battle involving its two top offi(SEE ALSO PAGE 6) cers. SC sets up 5-judge Const Bench to hear Ayodhya case The 5-judge Supreme Court Constitution Bench, headed by the CJI, is scheduled to hear the Ayodhya Ram JanmabhoomiBabari Masjid land title dispute case on Thursday 10 January NEW DELHI, 8 JANUARY The Supreme Court on Tuesday set up a five-judge Constitution Bench to hear the politically sensitive case of Ram Janmabhoomi-Babari Masjid land title dispute in Ayodhya. The bench will be headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and also comprise of Justices S A Bobde, NV Ramana, U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud. The Constitution Bench is scheduled to hear the matter on January 10. A three-judge bench of the top court had on September 27 last year, by 2:1 majority, refused to refer to a fivejudge constitution bench for reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgement that a mosque was not integral to Islam. The matter had arisen during the hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute. When the matter was last taken up on January 4, there was no indication that the land dispute case would be referred to a constitution bench as the apex court had simply said that further orders in the matter would be passed on January 10 by “the appropriate bench, as may be constituted”. The newly set up fivejudge bench comprises not only the CJI but the four judges who are in line to be PTI CJI in the future.
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