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Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar Steps Down

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Solicitor General
Solicitor General Logo. IANS

New Delhi, October 20: Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, the government’s second-most senior legal officer, on Friday said he has stepped down because he was not able to attend to his family and personal matters due to work.

“I have resigned due to personal, family issues which I need to attend to and was not able to due to my work,” Ranjit Kumar is learned to have written to his colleagues.

He denied any rift with the government and told NDTV news channel that “the government is good to me”.

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar is considered an expert on constitutional laws, service matters, and taxation. He earlier served as counsel for the Gujarat government and was an amicus curia in several cases in the Supreme Court before he took over as Solicitor General in June 2014, weeks after the BJP came to power at the Centre.

Among the cases in which Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar represented the Gujarat government was the 2005 killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in an alleged staged shootout.

The resignation comes over three months after he got an ad-hoc extension of his tenure in June.

Earlier, Mukul Rohatgi — the government’s top legal advisor — resigned as Attorney General of India in June this year citing personal reasons.

K.K. Venugopal took over as Attorney General after Rohatgi stepped down.(IANS)

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Take appropriate steps in Vyapam: SC to STF

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New Delhi, The Supreme Court on Monday permitted the STF to take “appropriate steps” under the Code of Criminal Procedure against Vyapam accused so that they may not take advantage of delayed action and seek bail. Vyapam scam

An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice H.L. Dattu said: “In the meanwhile STF will take appropriate proceedings against persons mentioned in memo in accordance with the code of criminal procedure.”

The court order came on an application by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seeking modification of its July 13 order by which it had handed over the Vyapam investigation to the agency, seeking that the Special Investigation Team/Special Task Force which had been investigating the matter may be permitted to file charge sheets in the cases as it would take some time before the transfer of Vyapam case records to it.

Appearing for CBI, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told the court that the intervening period should not be allowed to be taken advantage by the accused whose remand is coming to an end, seeking default bail in the absence of charge sheet being filed within 90 days of their arrest or their bail application going uncontested.

The Supreme Court on July 13 had handed over the Vyapam investigation to the CBI.

(IANS)

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SC seeks Centre’s response on NJAC Act provisions

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Judge 

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked for the central government’s response to contentions that certain provisions of NJAC Act of 2014 dealing with selection of high court judges violated the federal structure and were substantive than procedural in nature.

Asking Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar to address this issue, an apex court constitution bench comprising justices Jagdish Singh Khehar, J. Chelameswar, Madan B. Lokur, Kurian Joseph and Adarsh Kumar Goel observed: “This will destroy the federal structure.”

The provisions related to the appointment of a high court chief justice and that the National Judicial appointment Commission could forward to high court chief justice for his views the names for appointment of judges to that high court.

The court asked the Solicitor General to address the issues after senior counsel Arvind Dattar appearing for the Madras High Court-based Service Bar Association assailed Section 6(1) and Section 6(3) of the NJAC Act coupled with their requirement of “ability, merit and any other criteria of suitability”.

Dattar said that the NJAC Act was enacted for putting in place a procedure for the appointment of judges to the apex court and high courts, including their chief justices.

But there were provisions under Section 6 and Section 12 which were substantive for laying down the qualifications of those who could be considered for appointment as judges.

He said that the worst part was that all these rules and regulations were subject to review or amendment by parliament which, he said, offended the independence of judiciary, one of the basic structures of the Indian Constitution.

The constitution bench is hearing a batch of petitions, including one by the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA) along with the Bar Association of India, NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation and others challenging the constitutional validity of the Constitution (99th Amendment) Act, 2014 and NJAC Act, 2014.

Pointing to the provision on “ability, merit and any other criteria of suitability”, Dattar said that “suitability becomes synonymous with ability when it becomes norm for the selection of judges”.

Dattar said that he had no qualms in examining the “ability, merit and any other criteria of suitability” of a person being considered for appointment as a judge but the same should find place in the constitutional provision instead of being put in a law which can be amended by parliament by simple majority.

Justice Khehar said that the power to frame rules and regulation is delegated in the NJAC by the NJAC Act, 2014, passed by parliament.

Parliament could have spelt out these rules and regulations on its own and put them in the NJAC Act without delegating it the NJAC, said Justice Khehar.

“So far as procedure (to be followed by NJAC for the appointment of judges) is concerned, the source of power (parliament) which has delegated the power to NJAC (to frame rules and regulation) says I will oversee it and put it under light,” Justice Khehar said while asking what was wrong in it.

“It is abhorrent to say that rules and regulation framed by the NJAC will be subject to parliamentary review or changes,” Dattar said contending that the “eligibility criteria can’t be laid down by a parliamentary law and can only be done in the exercise of the constituent powers by parliament” as any such fixing of qualifications by a statute impinges on the independence of judiciary.

“We are not denying the powers of parliament to (spell out) criteria for the appointment of judges but let it do through the exercise of its constituent powers and not simple lawmaking powers,” Dattar told the court, clarifying that he was not juxtaposing parliament and judiciary.

(IANS)

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Delhi Turf War: Notification is illegal, says former solicitor general Subramanium

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The Central Government’s notification giving Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor, Najeeb Jung, the final say in posting and transfer of Delhi government bureaucrats is “illegal and unconstitutional,” said the former solicitor general Gopal Subramanium.

As per the report of IANS, Subramanium said that the central government has no right to direct the Lt. Governor in posting and transfer of the government officials.

After Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sought the former solicitor general’s opinion on the ongoing tussle, Subramanium said, “It singularly lacks propriety when the president is still seized with the question.”

“It is illegal and unconstitutional; and presumably, it has been issued without the requisite presidential approval,” he added.

On Thursday, the Home Ministry issued a notification saying that public order, land, police and services will be under the purview of the Lt. Governor.

The order was issued yesterday on the note of an ongoing tussle between the state government and Lt. Governor.

However, both the parties have approached the president to solve this commotion.