Monthly Archives: MARCH 2017


Aadhaar Not Mandatory For Social Schemes: Supreme Court
27.03.17 - team pt
Aadhaar Not Mandatory For Social Schemes: Supreme Court



NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today made it clear that Aadhaar cards cannot be made mandatory by the government and its agencies for extending benefits of social welfare schemes. A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul, however, said that government and its agencies cannot be stopped from seeking Aadhaar cards for non-welfare schemes like opening of bank accounts.
 
According to NDTV report, The bench also said that a seven-judge bench needed to be constituted for authoritatively deciding a batch of petitions challenging the Aadhaar scheme on grounds including that it infringes on the Right to Privacy of citizens.

It, however, expressed inability in setting up of the seven-judge bench saying it would be decided at a later stage.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for one of the petitioners, alleged that the Central government is not following the various orders passed by the apex court that the usage of Aadhaar would be voluntary and not mandatory. 

The apex court on August 11, 2015 had said that Aadhaar card will not be mandatory for availing benefits of government's welfare schemes and barred the authorities from sharing personal biometric data collected for enrolment under the scheme.

However, on October 15, 2015 it had lifted its earlier restriction and permitted the voluntary use of Aadhaar cards in welfare schemes that also included MGNREGA, all pension schemes and the provident fund besides ambitious flagship programmes like 'Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna' of the NDA government.

A five-judge bench headed by the then Chief Justice H L Dattu had also put a caveat in its interim order for the Centre and said, "We also make it clear that Aadhaar card scheme is purely voluntary and not mandatory till the matter is finally decided by this court, this way or the other way."

The bench, while including the four other schemes along with LPG and PDS where Aadhaar may be used, had said, "The Union of India to follow all other orders passed by this court since September 23, 2013."

The bench had also said that a larger bench was required to be set up for final disposal of the petitions that also include the question as to whether the right to privacy is fundamental right.

Divan, representing one of the petitioners who has challenged the Aadhaar card scheme, had claimed that the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which runs the programme, is neither backed by any law nor by any notification and is getting biometric details through private agencies.

The lawyers for the petitioners had contended that the scheme is "all pervasive" and is not full proof either and hence, cannot be used for other programmes.

On October 14, 2015, the apex court took note of Centre's plea that Aadhaar cards be allowed to be used "voluntarily" for welfare programmes other than PDS and LPG schemes and asked whether it can assure that nobody would be at a "disadvantageous" position for want of Aadhaar.




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Kejriwal put on trial in defamation case filed by Arun Jaitley, hearing from May 20
25.03.17 - TEAM PT
Kejriwal put on trial in defamation case filed by Arun Jaitley, hearing from May 20



The Delhi Patiala House Court has given a big blow to the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal by putting him on a trial in the defamation case against the current Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. He will now have to justify his comments on Arun Jaitley and will have to tell on what grounds those remarks were made. The court has framed charges against 5 other Aam Aadmi Party leaders after they pleaded not guilty. The trial will start on 20th May.
 
Chief metropolitan magistrate (CMM) Sumit Dass framed notice against Kejriwal and other AAP leaders - Ashutosh, Kumar Vishwas, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chaddha and Deepak Bajpai - after they pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.
 
Earlier, the Delhi high court had dismissed Kejriwal's plea seeking details of bank accounts, tax returns and other financial records of finance minister Arun Jaitley in the defamation case.

The high court said that Kejriwal's plea, which also sought the bank statements of Jaitley's family members and companies in which he or they had over 10 per cent shareholding, was a "fishing or roving enquiry" and did not have any merit.
 
Jaitley had filed the defamation suit in 2015 seeking Rs 10 crore damages from Kejriwal and AAP leaders Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha and Deepak Bajpayee, claiming that they made "false and defamatory" statements in the case involving DDCA, thereby harming his reputation.

The AAP leaders had allegedly attacked Jaitley and his family members in various fora, including social media, over alleged irregularities and financial bungling in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), of which he was the president for about 13 years till 2013.

Earlier this month, Arvind Kejriwal was also summoned as accused by a Delhi Court in a criminal defamation complaint filed by Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra. "Clearly there is sufficient material on record to summon accused Arvind Kejriwal of the offence punishable under section 500 (defamation) of Indian Penal Code,” said the Metropolitan Magistrate Snigdha Sarvaria asking the Chief Minister to appear before the Court. Chandra had accused Kejriwal of allegedly defaming him by levelling false allegations in the wake of demonetisation.




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After CM Adityanath’s cleanliness push; UP minister picks up broom, cleans office
24.03.17 - TEAM PT
After CM Adityanath’s cleanliness push; UP minister picks up broom, cleans office



A day after UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath emphasised on cleanliness, his cabinet colleague Upendra Tiwari on Thursday picked up a broom to clean his office in the state legislature, pictures of which were shared on social media.
 
Armed with a broom and a mop, the minister swept the floor of his office and the corridor leading to it in the Vidhan Bhawan, which houses the state legislature.

Pictures and video of Tiwari, who is the minister of state (Independent charge) for environment, water supply, land development and water resources and forest, sweeping the office and cleaning the corridor went viral on the social media with the staff and officials there looking on.
 
When some employees tried to persuade ‘mantri ji’ not to do this `menial’ job, but the minister retorted: "Jab aapko saaf karna tha tab to kiya nahi, ab updesh de rahe hain (When you were supposed to clean it (room) you did not, now you are giving sermons,” Tiwari said.
 
 

Later, Tiwari told that he reached office at 9.30 am as per directions of the Chief Minister but found the room dirty. 

"I waited for five minutes. I thought someone will come and clean it. But when it did not happen, I decided to clean it myself. I am used to cleaning my room and home so thats no big deal,” Tiwari said.

"When the last Samajwadi Party government did not release money for construction of roads, we constructed six roads in my constituency of Fefna (Ballia) by through ‘shram daan’. Then also I worked as labourer. This job is nothing new to me,” he said.
 
A stickler for cleanliness, Adityanath had administered a cleanliness pledge to officials a day after he took over as the Uttar Pradesh CM and asked them to ensure that the pledge is effectively implemented on the lines of Swachh Bharat Mission of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
 
Adityanath on Wednesday had also banned the use of pan and tobacco products in schools, colleges, hospitals and other government buldings, as he got livid at the sight of betel juice stained walls of the building that houses his office.




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Amarinder asks PM Modi for Special One-time Farm Loan Waiver Package
22.03.17 - TEAM PT
Amarinder asks PM Modi for Special One-time Farm Loan Waiver Package



PUNJAB CHIEF MINISTER Captain Amarinder Singh has called for a special central government package to provide one-time loan waiver to the beleaguered, debt-ridden farmers of his state.
 
Captain Amarinder made the request at a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Parliament House here on Wednesday.
 
Talking to media persons later, the Chief Minister described the meeting as a courtesy call, during which the issue of farm debt waiver was also discussed. Captain Amarinder said though he had sought financial assistance from the Centre, his government was committed to waiver of the farmers’ loans in the state and had already initiated a time-bound process for the same. The state Cabinet had, in its maiden meeting, directed the necessary steps to implement the Congress poll promise on farm debt waiver, he pointed out.
 
Expressing concern over the recent spate of farmer suicides in his state, the Chief Minister said he had requested Modi to announce a special package to pull out the farmers of Punjab out of the debt-trap.
 
The mounting farm debts was making the agriculture in Punjab increasingly unsustainable, endangering not only the food security of the nation but also the social fabric of this sensitive border state, said Captain Amarinder Singh, citing the pioneering role of Punjab in the production of food-grains and thereby in National Food Security.
 
In a letter to the Prime Minister, the chief minister said the total farm debt in Punjab amounted to more than Rs. 80,000 crore, including the crop loans in the  cooperative sector  amounting to about Rs. 12,500 crore. The average debt per farm household in Punjab works out to be Rs. 8 lakh (including crop loan), while the state’s per hectare debt of small and marginal farmers was the highest in India. 
 
Captain lamented that the problem had become so severe that many farmers were driven to suicide to escape the social and moral consequences of not being able to repay their debts. With the institutional sources of credit unable to provide the much-needed respite, especially to the marginal and small farmers, there was need to review the central government’s agricultural policies to mitigate the emerging agrarian crisis in the State, he added.
 
Citing data, the Chief Minister said the state had produced a record 160.50 LMT of wheat during rabi 2016-17,  of which 108.24 LMT was procured for the Central Pool. Despite the prevailing drought-like situation, the state also produced record 186.76 LMT of paddy during kharif 2016 and procured 143.33 LMT for Central Pool. The State has also achieved all-time record productivity of 756 kg lint per ha cotton during 2016-17, he added.
 
Despite their contribution, farmers were suffering from the woes of increasing costs, shrinking resource base and declining incomes, leading to accumulation of debt burden of the Punjab farmers, especially the small farmers. While these factors had forced the farmers into a vicious debt trap, the rising agricultural subsidies and deteriorating natural resources were further aggravating the state’s agricultural woes, said Captain Amarinder.




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Punjab's red beacon ban makes Haryana, HP ministers, MLAs, MPs angry
20.03.17 - PT Bureau
Punjab's red beacon ban makes Haryana, HP ministers, MLAs, MPs angry



CHANDIGARH: The much-hailed decision of the Punjab Cabinet to ban red beacon lights on vehicles used by MLAs, ministers and officers has created a rather peculiar situation for MLAs, MPs, officers and other VIPs in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and even the Union Territory of Chandigarh who will now have to remove these symbols of VIP culture while entering Punjab.

Sources said some senior Haryana officers have informally approached powers-that-be in Punjab to prevail upon them to declare that ministers, MPs and MLAs as well as officers from the state are exempted from the red beacon ban order. "With the international airport falling in Mohali, it will be highly inconvenient for dignitaries from Haryana or Himachal Pradesh to stop at the Mohali border and start removing the red lights from vehicles. We are trying to explain the situation to our Punjab counterparts," said a senior officer from a neighbouring state.

Sources also said Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, an early proponent of this popular step, has dug in his heels and even declared that having a red beacon will not just be a violation but a crime. He said any unauthorised usage of red beacons by anyone will be seen as a crime. Sources in the Amarinder Singh government have made it clear that dignitaries from other states will have to remove the red lights on their vehicles when entering Punjab.

The issue has put officers and politicians in neighbouring states and the Union Territory of Chandigarh in a quandary as they cannot take a public stance on something that has caught the people's imagination. However, some UT officials said such egalitarian enthusiasm against pronounced symbols of VIP culture have a tendency to fade away fairly soon. "Come summer and you will see these Punjab politicians and officers in air-conditioned cars, sounding hooters and flashing red lights. It is just a question of time," said an officer who seemed particularly peeved with Punjab's move on red-beacon fitted vehicles.




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