SC upholds disqualification of 17 Karnataka MLAs by Speaker

  • The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the disqualification of 17 dissident Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) legislators by then Karnataka Assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar under the Tenth Schedule (anti-defection law) but held that their ouster was no bar to contesting repolls.
  • “Neither under the Constitution nor under the statutory scheme it is contemplated that disqualification under the Tenth Schedule would operate as a bar for contesting re-elections,” a Bench led by Justice N.V. Ramana said in a judgment.
  • The court said Section 36 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, does not contemplate such disqualification.

‘Office of Chief Justice of India comes under RTI Act’

  • The office of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) is a ‘public authority’ under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, a five-judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi declared on Wednesday.
  • The main judgment of the Constitution Bench authored by Justice Sanjiv Khanna said the Supreme Court is a ‘public authority’ and the office of the CJI is part and parcel of the institution. Hence, if the Supreme Court is a public authority, so is the office of the CJI.

Amended Finance Act: SC strikes down rules on tribunal postings

  • The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the provisions in the Finance Act, 2017, which altered the terms and conditions of appointments and service of members in key judicial tribunals as unconstitutional.
  • The court said Section 184 of the Finance Act, under which Rules were formed to alter the service conditions of tribunal members, suffered from “various infirmities”. It said the Centre’s ‘control’ of different facets of functioning of tribunals would affect judicial independence.

They save people from cyclones, but who is saving the Sunderbans mangroves?

  • From environmental experts to the State’s Chief Minister, everyone has said that the mangroves had saved the Sunderbans from the gusty winds blowing at between 110 kmph to 135 kmph. “It would have been a disaster if the mangroves had not been there,” said Kalyan Rudra, chairperson of the West Bengal Pollution Control Board and a river expert. In fact, CM Mamata Banerjee, while touring the affected regions of the State, noted that the State will plant more mangroves.
  • Despite this, scientists and wildlife experts and local NGOs have been highlighting the constant degradation of the mangrove forest in the Sunderbans, particularly in areas that are inhabited. The Indian Sunderbans, considered to be an area south of the Dampier Hodges line, is spread over 9,630 sq. km., of which the mangrove forests are spread over 4,263 sq. km.
  • “The committee inspected and found the allegations to be true. For years, the State government has been felling mangrove trees in the name of development,” Mr. Datta said, highlighting how Ms. Banerjee invited industrialists to the Sunderbans a few years ago and urged them to invest in eco-tourism.