September 10th, 2013

ALB20130909

Abhyaas Law Bulletin …
For the quintessential CLAT aspirant
The Scoop Of The Month

Lok Sabha Passed the Food Bill

The Editor’s Column Dear Student, Welcome to the September edition of the Abhyaas law Bulletin. The Monsoon session of the Parliament was productive towards the fag end after the first half saw repeated disruptions over various issues. Parliament passed 12 bills in all during the monsoon session including some important bills like the Companies Bill, The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, Amendment to the Representation of People’s act, The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, The Food Security bill among others. The UPA government hopes that these bills will give them the edge amid mounting inflation and depreciating rupee. The Rupee touched the lowest ever against the US dollar resulting in fuel price hike. The prices of onions are also at an all time high.

The Lok Sabha passed the ambitious National Food Security Bill, 2013 that seeks to provide highly subsidised food grains to nearly 70 per cent of the population of the country. Dubbed as a “gamechanger,” the flagship measure of the UPA government will legally entitle 67 per cent of the population (including 75 per cent rural and 50 per cent urban) to get subsidised grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS). A beneficiary will be entitled to 5 kg of rice, wheat or coarse cereals at Rs. 3, Rs. 2 and Re. 1 per kg a month, respectively. The beneficiaries will be identified by the States based on parameters prescribed by the Union government. On a day when the historic legislation was being voted, Congress president Sonia Gandhi — who was the force behind the Bill and dubbed it an “empowerment revolution” — could not see the passage of the Bill as she took ill in the House late in the evening. She was rushed to the AIIMS after complaining of high fever. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Leader of the House Sushil Kumar Shinde sat through the proceedings in the House. (Contd..)

Uttar Pradesh saw growing communal tension with more than 30 people killed in the communal violence in Muzaffarnagar.
Happy Reading !

(Rakesh Dubbudu) Index: Page 2: National Page 3: National Page 4: Spotlight

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September 10th, 2013 National: The government had promulgated an Ordinance to this effect in July which had to be replaced by the Bill in the current monsoon session of Parliament to make it a law. As the Lok Sabha sat till late in the night to deliberate on a number of amendments that were moved by several members after a six-hour long debate on the Bill, there were some anxious moments for the treasury benches when an amendment to Clause 8 of the Bill, moved by the Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj, created confusion and was believed to have gone through as the Speaker Meira Kumar announced the result of the division. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath suggested a re-vote to it to which Ms. Swaraj agreed, saving the government from embarrassment. Her amendment was negated as the result of the division showed 252 Ayes and 141 Nays with the total number being at 393. The lengthy process of going through a volley of amendments to the Bill and subsequent division, demanded by many members, took more than three hours as the House sat till late in the night to complete the tedious legislative process. In a speech in the Lok Sabha, Ms. Gandhi described the measure as a “big message” about India’s capability to take responsibility for the food security of all its citizens. She said the Bill was a fulfilment of her party’s promise to “wipe out hunger and malnutrition.” RTI amendment Bill referred to standing committee for ‘elaborate study’ The UPA government referred an amendment Bill on the Right to Information Act (RTI) that seeks to keep political parties out of purview from the ambit of RTI Act, to the parliamentary standing committee “for elaborate study.” Announcing this in Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Personnel and PMO V. Narayanasamy said “The government has decided to refer the RTI (Amendment) Bill, 2013, to the standing committee of the parliament because the order passed by the Central Information Commission (CIC) bringing political parties within the purview of ‘public authority’ under the RTI Act needs elaborate study.” The Minister added that if the Bill went to the standing committee it would receive inputs from various political parties and its members. The House accepted the government’s decision. The Bill, introduced in Lok Sabha on August 13, 2013, seeks to insert an explanation in Section 2 of the RTI Act regarding public authority. It states: “Authority or body or institution of selfgovernment established or constituted by any law made by Parliament shall not include any association or body of individuals registered or recognised as a political party under the Representation of the People Act, 1951.” The Bill also has a new Section 31 in the principal Act which says that the amendment will apply “notwithstanding anything contained in any judgment, decree or order of any court or commission..,” and will prevail over “any other law for the time being in force.” There is a strong opposition for the amendment Bill from some political parties, civil society, RTI activists and the NGOs as they claimed that the new legislation would defeat the very purpose of bringing the RTI Act that is in force since 2005. The government rushed to bring the amendment Bill as the CIC, in its order on June 3, 2013, declared six political parties as “pubic authorities” under the RTI Act. The judgment read: “We have no hesitation in concluding that the INC/AICC, the BJP, the CPI(M), the CPI, the NCP and the BSP have been substantially financed by the Central government and therefore, are held to be public authorities under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act.” The order meant that parties, like the government, would now be held to account, and would be especially under compulsion to reveal their sources of funding. Nuclear reactor of INS Arihant achieved criticality Nuclear Reactor of India’s indigenous nuclearpowered submarine, INS Arihant went critical on 10 August 2013 at 1.20 a.m. With this success, India became a member of the exclusive club of countries that have built their own nuclear powered submarines along with Russia, US, UK, China and France. The reactor of Arihant achieved criticality, when the boat was in the sea. Criticality is a technical term that is used to describe the first step, towards self-sustaining nuclear reaction for stable production of power.

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September 10th, 2013 Rajya Sabha clears Bill Appointments Commission to set up Judicial When Mr. Sibal refused to withdraw the Bill, the BJP walked out in protest. The Bill was then put to vote — 131 votes were cast in favour and one against it. Jethmalani’s stand The lone MP who opposed the Bill was Ram Jethmalani. He said: “Both Bills are evil ... it will disturb the basic feature of the Constitution. The government was trying to demolish the collegium system and slowly creating a new system that is against the basic nature of the Constitution. I hope people avoid digging grave of the Constitution. The Bill is wholly unconstitutional … It is useless.” Midnight blasts sink INS Sindhurakshak Rocked by a series of deafening explosions, the Navy’s kilo-class submarine INS Sindhurakshak sank at the naval dockyard in Mumbai. Operations are on to rescue the eighteen crew members — three officers and 15 sailors — who went down with the vessel after it flooded. Eyewitnesses, who claimed to have heard the explosions from the dockyard, said the sky lit up with a burst of orange flames followed by white light. The explosions led to a fire that quickly spread through the vessel. Of the 18 crew members inside at the time of explosion, three were officers and 15 sailors. Three sailors, who had been standing on top of the submarine when the explosions occurred managed to jump into the sea immediately after the explosion. Robert Mugabe sworn in as Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe was sworn in for another five-year term at the age of 89. He dismissed charges of voting fraud, vowed to press ahead with black ownership of white and foreign-owned companies and attacked gays. He took the oath of office at a 60,000-seat sports stadium filled almost to capacity. Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku bedecked him with a green, red, black and gold presidential sash and the gold chain of office. Mr. Mugabe, who led Zimbabwe to independence in 1980, signed a declaration pledging to protect the rights of the people and promised to ensure “durable peace” in Zimbabwe, which has been plagued by political and economic turmoil in recent years.

The Rajya Sabha passed a Constitution amendment Bill to create a Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) which will replace the collegium system of appointing judges to higher courts. The BJP walked out in protest, demanding that the Bill be referred to a standing committee so that all stakeholders could participate in the process that would lead to changing the two decades-old system. The Constitution (120th Amendment) Bill, 2013 envisages the setting up of the JAC, to be decided by Parliament, that will recommend appointment and transfer of Supreme Court and High Court judges. Currently, the collegium consisting of five top judges of the Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of India, decides the appointment of judges to higher courts. “Appointment of judges is the role of the executive and not the judiciary. By this amendment, we are not trying to interfere with the judicial processes … We are trying to have a transparent system of appointment and participate with the judiciary to have best judges for a better future,” Law Minister Kapil Sibal said taking part in the debate. It was in 1993 that the judiciary “rewrote the Constitution” when it introduced the collegium system of appointing judges to higher courts, disturbing the delicate balance between the judiciary, the legislature and the executive. Allaying the BJP’s fears that passing the Constitution Amendment Bill while sending the main Bill — the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2013, which defines the establishment of the proposed body — to a standing committee for vetting would lead to “a constitutional hiatus,” the Minister said that by the time the committee returned the Bill, the Centre would seek ratification of all States on the amendment that would take six to eight months. However, the BJP was not convinced. It denounced the government’s “piecemeal” approach to the issue. Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley said the government was unnecessarily hastening the passage of the Bill that was of “extraordinary” importance. However, Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said the Bill could not be sent back to the standing committee until Mr. Sibal withdrew it. He noted that the matter was discussed at the business advisory committee meeting in the morning where the BJP did not ask for sending the Bill to the standing committee.

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September 10th, 2013

This month in pictures:

Ronjon Sodhi won the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award for Shooting.

Raghuram Rajan took over as the 23rd Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Ibrahim Boubacar Keita won Mali's Presidential elections defeating his opponent Soumalia Cisse.

US President would confer the Presidential Medal of Freedom on former US President, Bill Clinton and talk show queen, Oprah Winfrey.

Yasin Bhatkal, the co-founder of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) was arrested by the Police.

Justice N V Ramana was sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court.

Spotlight: NUJS, Kolkata
The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, abbreviated to WBNUJS or NUJS is an autonomous law university offering courses at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It is situated in Salt Lake City of Kolkata, West Bengal, India. NUJS is considered one of the best amongst the elite national law schools in India built on the five-year law degree model proposed and implemented by the Bar Council of India. The University offers a five year integrated B.A./BSc. LLB (Hons.) degree programme at the undergraduate level and a Master of Laws (LLM) programme at the postgraduate level. Admission to the former programme is through the Common Law Admission Test(CLAT). NUJS also offers MPhil and PhD degrees. It was established in 1999. The popular press has described NUJS as "one of the top three NLUs, one of the most prestigious institutions for legal education in the country, and a University whose students' moot court achievements put Kolkata on the world map in less than three years”. The five-year undergraduate course is divided into ten semesters and enrolls 125 students every year. The students represent almost all the States of India and a few join from foreign countries. This programme offers advanced legal education with an emphasis on critical thinking and self-enquiry on the one hand and acquisition of practical skills and knowledge on the other.

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