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Supreme Court asks Central Government take a Call on statutory regime for NRI Voting

The bench noted that by amending the Section 20 and 20 (A) of the Representation of People Act the government has, in principle, accepted the NRI right to vote

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Supreme Court asks Central Government take a Call on statutory regime for NRI Voting. Wikimedia
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New Delhi July 14, 2017: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Central government to take a call whether it wanted to amend the Representation of People Act or its Rules to decide on the modalities of NRI voting in elections from their overseas locations.

Giving the government “one further opportunity” to decide on the modalities of NRI voting and how it would be done, the bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice D.Y.Chandrachud asked it to come back to the court with its response on July 21.

“What are you doing, amending the Act or the Rules. Do whatever you want to do…,” the bench told the government.

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Appearing for one of the petitioners, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi told the bench that modalities of NRI voting can be done by amending the Rules and would not require amending the law.

The bench noted that by amending the Section 20 and 20 (A) of the Representation of People Act the government has, in principle, accepted the NRI right to vote. It was also noted that government has in principle agreed with the report on the modalities of NRI voting prepared by the Election Commission after talking to various stakeholders including political parties and the NRIs. (IANS)

 

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Another Deadline Missed, No Draft Scheme on the Cauvery Dispute Till Now

On the expiry of the six-week deadline, the Centre sought extension of time till the completion of the electoral process in Karnata for submission of the Scheme.

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The court said that even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu.
Supreme Court of India. Wikimedia commons

The Centre yet again failed to submit a draft Scheme on the Cauvery river water dispute before the Supreme Court on the ground that the Prime Minister and other ministers were campaigning in Karnataka, which Tamil Nadu flayed as “brazen partisanship”.

Seeking 10 more days to finalize the scheme, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud: “A draft scheme has been placed before the Cabinet. Because of Karnataka elections, the Prime Minister and all other Ministers are in Karnataka. Before that the Prime Minister was abroad (in China).”

It also sought response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgement for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
Parliament of India, wikimedia commons

The Centre’s submission was countered strongly by senior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, who said: “Sorry to say, the Central government is politicizing the issue. They are worried about their electoral fate in Karnataka. Election in Karnataka is on May 12 and somehow they don’t want to do it till then. We have enough of it. It is brazen partisanship of the Union of India. It is the end of co-operative federalism.”

The apex court in its February 16 judgement had directed the Centre to frame a Scheme within six months in accordance with the recommendation by the Cauvery River Water Tribunal for constitution of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and Cauvery Regulatory Authority (CRA), which Karnataka opposes strongly.

On the expiry of the six-week deadline, the Centre sought extension of time till the completion of the electoral process in Karnata for submission of the Scheme. Tamil Nadu filed a contempt petition against the Centre for failure to act within the deadline.

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During Thursday’s hearing, the court directed the Karnataka government to respond on how much of the four TMC of water it can release by month end. It also sought response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgement for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

In the course of the hearing, the court asked Karnataka to release 4 TMC of water by Monday.

The court said that even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu.

The court directed the next hearing of the matter on Tuesday. (IANS)