Thursday September 19, 2019
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SC summons Santosh Bagrodia before special court in coal block case

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: Former union minister Santosh Bagrodia was asked to appear before a special CBI court in coal block allocation case by the Supreme Court on September 8.

On Monday, a bench of Justice M.B. Lokur, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice A.K. Sikri said it will examine Bagrodia’s plea soon while declining him relief.

Santosh Bagrodia, a minister of state for coal in the Manmohan Singh ministry was summoned as an accused by the special court in a case concerning allocation of Maharashtra’s Bander coal block to AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd. He had sought stay on the summons in the case on parity with the relief granted to Manmohan Singh in April this year.

Senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the accused minister, claimed that Bagrodia was innocent and so he should be seen at par with the relief granted to Manmohan Singh in another coal block case.

The apex court on April 2 had stayed the trial court order summoning the former prime minister as accused in a case pertaining to grant of Talabira-II coal block in Odisha in 2005 to Aditya Birla group company Hindalco.

Meanwhile, CBI’s claim regarding an unaccounted cash worth Rs.25 crore seized from Hindalco’s corporate office having no connection with the coal block allocation case was brushed aside by the apex court.

The court further asked the central agency to inform it about the status of the probe into the incriminating documents and a diary which was also seized from the company’s Delhi office in October 15, 2013.

(With inputs from IANS)

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US: Supreme Court Blocks Administration’s Effort to Add Citizenship Question on Census

The citizenship question was meant to better enforce the Voting Rights Act

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US, Supreme Court, Citizenship
FILE - Demonstrators protest during a Fair Maps rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court, in Washington, U.S., March 26, 2019. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump responded Thursday to the Supreme Court’s decision to block his administration’s effort to add a citizenship question to the upcoming U.S. census by saying he’d asked his lawyers whether there was a way to delay the nationwide head count.

In a tweet hours after the court announced its decision, Trump said it “seems totally ridiculous” that the government could not question people about their citizenship on the census, which takes place once every 10 years.

The Supreme Court ruled the administration’s explanation — that the citizenship question was meant to better enforce the Voting Rights Act — was “more of a distraction” from the issue than an explanation.

Opponents of the citizenship question say it would intimidate noncitizens into not answering the census, ultimately leaving them underrepresented in Congress.

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U.S. President Donald Trump responded Thursday to the Supreme Court’s decision to block his administration’s effort. Pixabay

Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s liberal justices in the 5-4 ruling.

 The nation’s highest court also announced Thursday that it was rejecting a request to intervene in states’ redistricting efforts.  Redrawing the boundaries of voting districts is meant to ensure proportional representation in state legislatures as the population grows and changes locations.

Republicans in the state of North Carolina and Democrats in the state of Maryland have been accused of redrawing the lines of voting districts to keep power in the hands of the ruling party.

The chief justices said manipulation of the electoral map, a practice known colloquially as gerrymandering, is a problem for state governments to solve, not the Supreme Court.

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Thursday was the final day of rulings by the Supreme Court before its summer break. (VOA)