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Tuesday,20-October-2020

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All India Bar Association seeks contempt action against Andhra Pradesh CM

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The All India Bar Association (AIBA) on Saturday urged the Chief Justice of India to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy for making scandalous allegations against Justice N.V. Ramana, senior most judge of the Supreme Court and the judges of the Andhra Pradesh High Court.

This came after Jagan, in a letter to Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde on October 6, alleged that Justice Ramana has been influencing the sittings of the High Court, including the roster of a few judges.

The Chairman of AIBA Adish C. Aggarwala, while condemning the Chief Minister for his October 6 letter to the Chief Justice of India, said the scurrilous and scandalous remarks against Justice Ramana, the next in line to become the Chief Justice of India and the judges of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, has shaken the independence of the judiciary.

Expressing serious concern over the issue, Aggarwala said the letter from a Chief Minister facing various corruption and money laundering charges in the courts, is unwarranted and clearly an attempt to obstruct the courts by vilifying judges and intimidating them for obtaining favourable orders.

“It is completely an abuse of the process of rule of law that the Chief Minister instead of resorting to appeals and other mechanisms provided under the Constitution, has resorted to level serious allegations against judges, who have dealt with certain cases,” the All India Bar Association added.

It is a dangerous and callous act undertaken by the Chief Minister, which may have consequences for democracy in the state and may lead to serious consequences, it said, adding that the letter is rife with mala fides as the same appears to have been intended to bench hunt for securing favourable orders.

“The tone, tenor and timing clearly establish the vested interests and hidden agenda of the Chief Minister. In this context, it would be important to note that Justice N.V. Ramana is dealing with a public interest litigation for decriminalizing politics and fast tracking pending criminal cases against corrupt politicians. There is no gainsaying that the Chief Minister has numerous pending criminal and money laundering cases.”

The bar association said that it is a matter of pain and anguish that the state government has foisted a false FIR against his kin on a baseless, fabricated and fictitious basis to intimidate the judge and scandalize the court.

On October 15, the Bar Council of India (BCI) had said that Jagan Mohan Reddy targeted Supreme Court judge Justice N.V. Ramana in a bid to pressurise him, to tarnish his image and scandalize the institution.

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Amid drop in daily Covid tally, Goa CM Pramod Sawant advocates caution

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Pramod Sawant.

Amid a second consecutive drop in the daily tally of new Covid-19 infections, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has urged people to not self-medicate in case of a fever and opt for testing themselves for the coronavirus infection.

Speaking to reporters late on Monday night outside the Bharatiya Janata Party state headquarters in Panaji, Sawant also said that social distancing norms and basic precautionary measures like wearing of masks and use of hand sanitiser would continue to be imposed in the coming days.

“Even though Covid cases have come down, social distancing, masks and sanitisers should be used. We need this for a lot many more days ahead,” Sawant told reporters.

The state over the last few weeks had reported a daily tally of between 300 and 500 cases. On Sunday and Monday however, the daily tally of cases dropped to 187 and 159 respectively, with doctors in the state also suggesting that the state may be finally witnessing a drop in the positivity rate.

Sawant also said that while the number of daily Covid-19 cases appeared to be dipping, people should not take the situation for granted.

“It is my earnest request to the people, get themselves tested if they have a fever. Do not self-medicate. It is a new virus. We cannot say when there can be a spike. Precaution should be 100 per cent,” the Chief Minister said.

In all, Goa has reported 40,746 Covid-19 positive cases out of which 3,283 are currently active.

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Kerala local body polls likely to be held in December

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The postponed local body polls in Kerala in all likelihood are going to be held during the first week of December, according to sources.

The election will be held to elect new representatives to 941 village councils, 152 block Panchayats, 14 district Panchayats, 86 municipalities and six municipal corporations.

This poll is being seen as the curtain raiser of the Assembly polls, which may be held in May 2021.

According to the earlier planned schedule, the newly elected members of the local bodies had to be in office by November 12, but following the sudden spike in the Covid cases, all the political parties agreed to postpone the polls.

According to the present scheme of things, the Kerala State Election Commission has zeroed down on likely dates. Sources say that the poll is likely to be held in two phases in the first week of December and the newly elected office bearers are likely to take charge by December 11.

The voters list, numbering 2.63 crore, is also getting finalised. The number of new voters is around 15 lakh and the poll timing would be from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The current voter list, which is getting finalised, consists of 1,25,40,302 men, 1,36,84,019 women and 180 trans genders. This includes the new voters — 6,78,147 men, 8,01,328 women and 66 trans genders.

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Punjab CM Amarinder Singh moves draft resolution to reject Centre’s farm laws

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In a move to protect the state’s farmers and agriculture, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday presented in the Vidhan Sabha a draft resolution rejecting outright the Centre’s “anti-farmer” laws and the proposed electricity amendment Bill, with an appeal to all parties to rise above political interests in the spirit of saving the agrarian state.

The draft resolution seeks annulment of the farm laws and the proposed Electricity Bill, as well as promulgation of “a fresh ordinance making the procurement of food grains on the minimum support price (MSP) a statutory right of the farmers and continue with procurement by the Government of India through the FCI and other such agencies”.

Regretting that several legislators indulged in frivolous activities on Monday to gain political mileage, with some coming in tractors and some spending the night in the Assembly precincts in protest against non-receipt of his government’s Bills, the Chief Minister said he had signed the same at 9.30 p.m., after extensive discussions and consultations with various experts.

Such delays in sharing copies of Bills happen in emergent session, he said, pointing to something similar happening when his government had brought in the Punjab Termination of Water Agreements Act during his last tenure in 2004.

Amarinder Singh said the Bills being presented on Tuesday, the second day of the special assembly session, would form the basis of the state’s legal battle ahead and, hence, needed to be thoroughly vetted before presentation.

The draft resolution expresses the deep regret of the state legislative assembly over the “callous and inconsiderate attitude of the Government of India in attending to the concerns of the farming community on recent allegedly farm legislation enacted by them”.

It reads that the assembly is constrained to unanimously reject the three (farm) legislations and the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

Referring to The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, the draft resolution notes that the Union Government had converted the relevant farm ordinances into Acts and notified the same on September 24 and 26 even though the concerns and sentiments of the House were conveyed to the Prime Minister through letter of September 14 by the Chief Minister.

“These three legislations along with the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 are clearly against the interests of farmers and landless workers, and time-tested agriculture marketing system established not only in Punjab but also in original green revolution areas of Punjab, Haryana, and Western Uttar Pradesh,” it said, adding the Government of India had clearly enacted trade legislations and not farm legislations.

Further, said the draft resolution, these laws are also against the Constitution of India (Entry 14 List-II), which comprises agriculture as a subject of the state.

These legislations are a direct attack, and use of subterfuge to encroach upon the functions and the powers of the states, as enshrined in the country’s Constitution, said the draft resolution, read out by the Speaker.

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