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Lokpal law amendment may be taken up for consideration during Monsoon session of Parliament: Supreme Court

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New Delhi, March 28, 2017: The Central government on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that the Lokpal and Lokayuktas and Other Related Law (Amendment) Bill, 2014, a stepping stone for operationalising the institution, may be taken up for consideration during the monsoon session of Parliament.

Telling the bench that government was not dragging its feet on taking up the amendment bill, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Navin Sinha that the current session of parliament is devoted to budget and “may be it (amendment bill) will be considered in the monsoon session”.

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He told the court that the selection committee comprising the Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India can’t nominate the fifth member – the eminent jurist – without the Leader of Opposition being there.

As the government said that it was seized of the issue and opposed any intervention by the court, the court reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions including one by society Common Cause seeking mandamus to the government to take steps for enforcing the law enacted in 2013.

Citing the separation of powers under the Constitution, Rohatgi told the court that “there can’t be a mandamus to bring an Act into force because as parliament can’t ask how courts are functioning or a particular case be decided in a particular time frame” and similarly, courts can’t venture into the law-making province of legislature.

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“Whether they pass, how they pass, how they do, whether they can pass in two minutes, is within the province of the parliament,” he stressed.

Rohatgi said that the amendment to treat the leader of the largest opposition party as Leader of Opposition for the purposes of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, was just one of the many amendments that are being sought to be made in the statute.

Earlier appearing for Common Cause, senior counsel Shanti Bhushan referred to different laws where leader of the largest opposition party is treated Leader of Opposition for the purposes of the appointment of the Central Bureau of Investigations’ Director or even the Chief Vigilance Commissioner.

He pressed for the direction that in the absences of the Leader of the Opposition, the remaining three member – the Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker and the Chief Justice of India should nominate the fifth member – the eminent jurist – so that the process for the appointment of Lokpal could start.

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Buttressing the point advanced by Bhushan, another counsel Gopal Shankarnarayan drew the attention of the court to the passing of the amendment to Section 44 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, dealing with the declaration of assets by the public servants.

He said that in the case of the amendment, the government had the clear intention and it went ahead with it and asked how piecemeal amendment can be given effect to while the other amendments which, according to the government, are essential for operationalising the law are not being pushed by it. (IANS)

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Modi Urges Karnataka BJP Women to Popularise His Schemes

Listing various women-oriented schemes promoted by the Centre, Modi asked them to connect with other women across each of the state's 224 constituencies.

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FILE IMAGE- Mr. Narendra Modi

Interacting with Karnataka’s BJP women cadres through his mobile app, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asked them to popularise his government’s schemes ahead of the May 12 Assembly polls.

“We need to expose the hollow promises made by the Congress and urge the people of Karnataka to join the journey of development,” Modi told the Bharatiya Janata Party women workers through the Narendra Modi mobile app.

Listing various women-oriented schemes promoted by the Centre, Modi asked them to connect with other women across each of the state’s 224 constituencies.

“We will win the election, but for us (BJP) it is important to win the polling booth,” he said.

Interacting with Karnataka's BJP women cadres through his mobile app, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asked them to popularise his government's schemes ahead of the May 12 Assembly polls.
Karnataka BJP Women to flag Modi’s schemes. Wikimedia Commons

The BJP-led Union government is keen on giving equal opportunities to women in the society and wants to support them at every stage, whether they want to be a homemaker, job seeker or job creator, added the PM in the 40-minute audio-video interaction.

An estimated nine crore women across the country have benefitted from the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) scheme, which provides loans for small and micro enterprises, he said.

Nearly Rs 12 crore worth loans have been given out under the PMMY scheme, of which more than 70 per cent beneficiaries were women, the Prime Minister said.

Also Read: Jammu and Kashmir cabinet gets five fresh additions 

Programmes like Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, which provides LPG gas to women from below poverty line (BPL) households, have also benefitted several women, he added.

Modi highlighted that the central government had increased the paid maternity leave from the earlier 12 weeks to 26 weeks for women in the organised sector.

“When the contribution of women in the country increases, the development of the country is ensured,” said Modi. (IANS)