Supreme Court Invoked Special Powers to Remove a Minister
Recently, the Supreme Court invoked its special powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to remove a Manipur minister.
The Supreme Court removed Thounaojam Shyamkumar Singh, from the state cabinet and restrained him “from entering the Legislative Assembly till further orders”.
A disqualification petition against the minister was pending before the Speaker since 2017 but the Speaker failed to take the decision within a reasonable time period.
The Speaker also failed to take any decision within the stipulated time period of 4 weeks as provided by the Supreme Court in the 21st January, 2020 order.
Article 212 of the Constitution bars courts from inquiring into proceedings of the Legislature. In this case, however, prompted by the fact that the Speaker’s conduct has been called into question on several occasions, the Court said it was “constrained” to invoke the court’s extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution.
Earlier, the Manipur High Court, in this matter, had found grounds for disqualification under the Tenth Schedule but stopped short of issuing directions.
The reason being that question of whether a High Court can direct a Speaker to decide on a disqualification petition within a time frame is pending before a Supreme Court Bench.
Highlights of 21st January 2020 Order:
The court in general said that “the Speaker, in acting as a Tribunal under the Tenth Schedule, is bound to decide disqualification petitions within a reasonable period”, which “will depend on the facts of each case.”
The Supreme Court also held that disqualification petitions under the tenth schedule should be adjudicated by a mechanism outside Parliament or Legislative Assemblies.
The Court has suggested a permanent tribunal headed by a retired Supreme Court judge or a former High Court Chief Justice as a new mechanism. However, this would require an amendment to the Constitution.
Currently, disqualification of members of a House/Assembly is referred to the Speaker of the House/Assembly.
Rationale behind Court’s suggestion was to ensure that such disputes are decided both swiftly and impartially, thus giving real teeth to the provisions contained in the Tenth Schedule.
Open Market Operations
Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to infuse Rs.10,000 crore liquidity in the banking system by buying government securities through Open Market Operations (OMO).
The financial markets have been facing heightened volatility due to the spread of the COVID-19.
RBI had earlier infused Rs. 25,000 crore of liquidity through Long-Term Repo Operations (LTRO).
Open Market Operations (OMOs) are market operations conducted by RBI by way of sale/purchase of government securities to/from the market with an objective to adjust the rupee liquidity conditions in the market on a durable basis.
If there is excess liquidity, RBI resorts to sale of securities and sucks out the rupee liquidity.
Similarly, when the liquidity conditions are tight, RBI buys securities from the market, thereby releasing liquidity into the market.
It is one of the quantitative (to regulate or control the total volume of money) monetary policy tools which is employed by the central bank of a country to control the money supply in the economy.
APEDA signs MoU with SFAC
Recently, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) to bring in better synergy in the agricultural activities.
APEDA has been in dialog with SFAC for linking of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), farmers’ cooperatives to the export value chain through quality production as per the requirement of importing countries.
Agri Export Policy announced by Government of India with Farmers’ Centric Approach suggests for developing product specific clusters in the country to help improve productivity and quality of the varieties of crops with special involvement of FPOs.
FPOs are an institutional innovation to help small holders to reduce cost of produce by procuring necessary inputs in bulk at wholesale rates, aggregation of produce and bulk transport reducing marketing cost etc. and extend their reach to modern technology and distant markets.
The Policy also aims at addressing the obstacles faced by FPOs through organisations like SFAC to expand its network.
The joint collaboration will enable SFAC and APEDA to reach a large farmer base for improving the production base of agri products quantitatively and qualitatively.
It will maintain the consistency of supply and establish an image of quality suppliers in the International market leading to increase in export volume and value, contributing indirectly to doubling of farmers’ income.
Procurement of Indigenous Tejas Fighter Aircraft
Recently, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has approved procurement of 83 of the more advanced Mk1A version of the Tejas aircraft.
The procurement will be a major boost to ‘Make in India’ as the aircraft is indigenously designed, developed and manufactured.
The DAC has also approved an amendment to the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016.
This will bring about more transparency in costs and compress the timelines for negotiation of the contract.
Tejas is a Light Combat Aircraft.
It is indigenously-designed by Aircraft Development Agency (ADA) under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Defence Acquisition Council:
DAC is the highest decision-making body in the Defence Ministry for deciding on new policies and capital acquisitions for the three services (Army, Navy and Air Force) and the Indian Coast Guard.
The Minister of Defence is the Chairman of the Council.
It was formed, after the Group of Ministers recommendations on ‘Reforming the National Security System’, in 2001, post Kargil War (1999).
UN Security Council
Recently, China has taken over as president of the UN Security Council for the month of March 2020.
The Security Council was established by the UN Charter in 1945. It is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations.
The other 5 organs of the United Nations are—the General Assembly, the Trusteeship Council, the Economic and Social Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat.
Its primary responsibility is to work to maintain international peace and security.
The council has 15 members: the five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members elected for two-year terms.
The five permanent members are the United States, the Russian Federation, France, China and the United Kingdom.
Each member of the Security Council has one vote. Decisions of the Security Council on matters are made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members. A “No” vote from one of the five permanent members blocks the passage of the resolution.
Any member of the United Nations which is not a member of the Security Council may participate, without vote, in the discussion of any question brought before the Security Council whenever the latter considers that the interests of that member are specially affected.
The council’s presidency is a capacity that rotates every month among its 15 members.
The council is headquartered at NewYork.