Indian Polity - Current Affairs for March,2017

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▼ Akhilesh Yadav elected SP legislature head   [03-29-17]

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav was on 28th March 2017 unanimously elected Leader of the SP Legislature Party in both the Houses of the Uttar Pradesh Legislature.

SP veterans Azam Khan and Shivpal Singh Yadav were conspicuous by their absence from the meeting.

At the meeting of SP MLAs and MLCs, the former chief minister was unanimously elected as the combined leader of the party in both the state assembly and council.

Besides, Akhilesh was also authorised to pick the leader of the party in the legislative council.

Akhilesh is a member of the Upper House, where senior SP leader Ahmed Hasan leads the party.

He had nominated seniormost party MLA Ram Govind Chaudhary as the leader of the SP in the assembly, paving the way for his becoming the leader of opposition(LoP) in the assembly.

RLD has one MLA in the 403-member state assembly.

▼ Law commission report on hate speeches   [03-29-17]

The Law Commission of India on 23 March 2017 submitted its Report No. 267 titled Hate Speech to the Union Government for its consideration.

In the Pravasi Bhalai Sangathan Vs Union of India (AIR 2014 SC 1591) case, the Supreme Court of India had asked the Law Commission of India to examine issues related to hate speech including its definition.

The court also directed the commission to submit its recommendations to the Parliament to strengthen the Election Commission to curb the menace of hate speeches.

Against this backdrop, the Law Commission of India has undertaken a study of laws restricting hate speeches in India.

However, right to freedom of speech and expression has been subjected to reasonable restrictions enunciated under Article 19(2) of the Indian Constitution.

The reasonableness of this restriction is subject to several tests.

Laws that seek to prevent speech that marginalise the vulnerable sections of the society strive to harmonise the freedom of expression with the right to equality.

In order to protect the vulnerable sections from discriminatory attitudes and practices, it is necessary that forms of expression that have the potential of inciting hatred and violence are regulated.

The Commission recommended that the anti-discrimination should take into account the harmful effect of speech on the rights of the vulnerable group. T

The Law Commission also advised that the several factors need to be considered before restricting a speech, like, the context of the speech, the status of the victim, the status of the maker of the speech and the potential of the speech to create discriminatory and disruptive circumstances.

After a thorough examination of the issue and an analysis of the international legal framework, the Commission proposed amendments to the Indian Penal Code by the insertion of new sections after section 153B and 505A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

The commission also advised the government for adoption of certain other strategies to encourage harmony among different groups of the society like sensitising and educating the public on the responsible exercise of speech.

Law Commission: Know More

  • Legal status : Ad hoc, term based
  • Purpose : Law Reform in India
  • Chairman : Justice B. S. Chauhan (21st Law Commission)
  • Formation : First 1834; Current 2016-03-10

▼ ECI freezes Two Leaves AIADMK symbol   [03-23-17]

With the Election Commission freezing the ‘two leaves’ symbol of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), the focus has now shifted to how the warring factions will come to terms with the changed circumstances.

Observing that a deeper examination of the issue was required and that the more than 20,000 pages of evidence would have to be examined, the EC, in its interim order, said any hasty decision during the nomination process for the byelection might lead to an erroneous conclusion.

The EC, which recognised that there was a split in the party, said pending the final settlement of the dispute, neither the OPS nor Sasikala group was permitted to use the name ‘All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.’

Also, they cannot use the party symbol for the bypoll on April 12.

Both the groups shall be known by such names as they may choose for their respective groups, showing, if they so desire, linkage with their parent party.

Both the groups shall also be allotted different symbols as they may choose from the list of free symbols notified by the Election Commission for the purpose of the byelection.

▼ CJI of Kerala is Justice Singh   [03-22-17]

Justice Navnithi Prasad Singh was on 20 March 2017 sworn in as the new Chief Justice of Kerala High Court.

The Governor of Kerala Justice (retd) P Sathasivam administered the oath of office to Justice Singh at a function held at the Raj Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram.

After doing schooling from Scindhia School in Gwalior, he did graduation and LL.B. from the Delhi University.

Justice Navanithi Prasad Singh practiced in commercial, taxation and constitutional matters in Patna and Jharkhand High Courts.

His private corporate clients include State Bank of India, Lalit Narain Mithila University and other statutory authorities.

He was designated as a Senior Advocate on 11 December 2004 by the Patna high court.

He was elevated as a Judge of the Patna High Court on 6 March 2006. Justice Navaniti Prasad Singh was born on 6 November 1955.

Articles 214, 216 and 217

  • Article 214 (High Courts for States): There shall be a High Court for each State.
  • Article 216 (Constitution of High Courts)Every High Court shall consist of a Chief Justice and such other Judges as the President may from time to time deem it necessary to appoint.
  • Article 217 (Appointment and conditions of the office of a Judge of a High Court): The Chief Justice of a High Court shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal after consultation with the Chief Justice of India and the Governor of the State.

▼ Bar convicted persons from contesting polls: ECI   [03-21-17]

The Election Commission of India on March 20, 2017 informed the SC it was in favour of barring convicted persons from contesting polls for life and stopping the entry into judiciary and the executive.

Commission also said it will set up special courts to decide criminal cases linked to judiciary, bureaucracy and people's reps.

In its affidavit filed in response to a PIL seeking setting up special courts for trial of criminal cases against people from the legislature, executive and judiciary, the Election Commission said the issues raised by the petitioner, Delhi BJP spokesperson and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhaya, are not adversarial.

With regard to direction for setting a minimum qualification and maximum age limit for legislators, the commission said the issue is in legislative domain and will require amendment to the Constitution.

The commission said it has been championing the cause of decriminalisation of politics within the constitutional and statutory framework, wherever possible with the aid of article 324, relating to the functions and powers of the poll body.

It has also issued necessary instructions in support of the mandate to conduct free and fair elections and to decriminalize democracy.

▼ Yogi Adityanath : New CM of UP   [03-20-17]

Yogi Adityanath was appointed the new chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. He is a LS MP from Gorakhpur.

State party chief Keshav Prasad Maurya was considered the front runner for the post. He has been named Deputy CM along with Dinesh Sharma, the party's national vice president and Lucknow mayor.

Adityanath is a 5 time BJP MP. The 44-year-old has represented Gorakhpur since 1998.

The BJP, which won three-fourths majority in the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly, is returning to power after 14 years.

BJP: Know More

  • President: Amit Shah
  • Founded: 6 April 1980
  • Newspaper: Kamal Sandesh
  • Ideology: Integral humanism, Social conservatism, Conservatism, Hindu nationalism, Gandhian socialism, Hindutva
  • Political position: Right-wing politics

▼ Trivendra Singh Rawat - New CM of Uttarakhand   [03-20-17]

The BJP has picked Trivendra Singh Rawat as the CM candidate in Uttarakhand.

Rawat was elected the legislature party leader by party MLAs on March 17, 2017.

Rawat defeated INC's Hira Singh Bhisht in Doiwala with a margin of 24,000 votes.

This has the third win in the constituency when elections were contested since 2002.

Rawat is a Thakur leader with strong RSS roots. He was RSS pracharak from 1983 to 2002.

He held several important positions in the Sangh.

Rawat holds a master's degree in journalism.

During the 2014 LS elections, Rawat was given the responsibility of regional election in-charge in UP under Shah. Where BJP emerged victorious.

Overseeing the BJP affairs in Jharkhand, he took over the party to victory in Assembly polls.

BJP registered a landslide victory in Uttarakhand. It won 57 of 70 seats.

This was the biggest win by any party in the state ever. The party won around 46.5 % of the votes.

Uttarakhand: Know More

  • Land area: 53,483 km²
  • Founded: November 8, 2000
  • Population: 10.08 million (2012)
  • Capitals: Dehradun, Nainital (Judiciary)

▼ Capt Amarinder Singh is Punjab's 26th CM   [03-17-17]

Senior Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh was sworn in as 26th Chief Minister of Punjab.

He was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor VP Singh Badnore at Raj Bhawan in Chandigarh.

Besides him, 7 ministers including Navjot Singh Sidhu also sworn in as cabinet ministers.

Two women MLAs Aruna Chaudhary and Razia Sultana were sworn in as Ministers of State (Independent Charge).

In the 2017 state election, Congress under the leadership of Amarinder Singh had won 77 seats in the 117 member Assembly elections.

▼ Goa CM wins vote of confidence   [03-17-17]

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has won the vote of confidence during specially convened Goa Assembly by 22-16 votes.

It was announced by protem speaker Siddharth Kunkolienkar after the vote of confidence on the floor.

In the newly elected Goa Assembly, BJP had strength of 13 MLAs and Congress has 17 members.

In the trust vote, three members each of Goa Forward Party and MGP and three independents along with 1 NCP member supported the BJP coalition government led by Manohar Parrikar.

▼ BJP's Biren Singh is Manipur CM   [03-16-17]

Biren Singh was sworn in as Chief Minister of Manipur in Imphal.

The oath of office was administered by Governor Najma Heptulla.

Eight others were also sworn in, taking the number of Ministers in the BJP-led government to nine. Yumnan Joykumar Singh of the National People’s Party (NPP) was appointed as the Deputy Chief Minister.

The lawmaker from the Uripok Assembly constituency is a former Director General of Police from the State.

Biren Singh is the first BJP CM of the NE state.

Manipur: Know More

  • Manipur is a state in northeastern India.
  • It has the city of Imphal as its capital.
  • It is bounded by Nagaland to the north, Mizoram to the south, and Assam to the west; Burma lies to its east.
  • Land area: 22,327 km²
  • Founded: January 20, 1972,
  • Population: 2.722 million (2011)
  • Capitals: Imphal, Guwahati (Judiciary)

▼ LS passes Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill 2016   [03-15-17]

LS on 14th March 2017 passed the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill 2016 denying inheritance rights to heirs of those who left the country for Pakistan and China.

This completes the process after the RS have assent to the long pending legislation last week.

The amendment was necessitated by the claim made by the Raja of Mahmudabad of Uttar Pradesh.

This was on properties belonging to his father which were declared enemy property and seized by the government of India following partition.

Lok Sabha had to pass a fresh bill to approve the amendments introduced by the upper House on the recommendations of the select committee which considered the legislation.

Home minister Rajnath Singh said the purpose of the bill was to clarify the rules that inheritance law would not apply to enemy property a question which first arose in 2010.

The government had passed an ordinance to enforce the law.

Rajnath Singh: Know More

  • Rajnath Ram Badan Singh is an Indian politician belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party.
  • He currently serves as the Home Minister.
  • He previously served as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and as a Cabinet Minister in the Vajpayee Government

▼ UP gets record women MLAs    [03-14-17]

When the 17th Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly convenes, there will be a record 38 women MLAs in attendance, the highest since Independence.

The positive result came despite political parties giving tickets to only 96 women candidates.

BJP gave tickets to 43 women, the highest among all the parties.

Of these, 32 won.

From BSP and Congress, two women won, while one each from the Samajwadi Party and Apna Dal were also elected.

According to records available with the Election Commission, in the first UP assembly election after Independence, held in 1952, 20 women were elected.

The strength of women in the assembly has fluctuated in the elections ever since.

The next major milestone was in 1985, when 31 women were elected. However, in 1989, the number fell to 18, while only 10 women were elected in 1991.

In 1993, 14 women MLAs were elected, a number which steadily increased to 20 in 1996 and 26 in 2002.

In 2007, however, the number fell to a mere three women MLAs, but in 2012 a record 35 were elected.

In 2017, this number has gone up even further, in what is a positive sign.

Out of 403 constituencies in the state in which the party contested, BSP fielded only 20 women candidates.

▼ Arun Jaitley gets additional charge as Defence Minister   [03-14-17]

A communique issued by GoI has said FM Arun Jaitley has been given additional charge as defence minister along with other portfolios.

Meanwhile, Minister Manohar Parrikar is set to be sworn in as Goa CM.

This is the second time that Jaitley is holding the additional portfolio of Defence Ministry during the present NDA government.

He was in charge of the ministry earlier from May 26 to November 9 in 2014.

Defence Ministry: Know More

  • Formed: 1776
  • Jurisdiction: India
  • Headquarters: South Block, Cabinet Secretariat, Raisina Hill, New Delhi, 110 011
  • Cabinet minister: Arun Jaitley
  • Minister of state: Subhash Bhamre

▼ Goa CM is Manohar Parrikar    [03-14-17]

Following fast paced developments, 21 new MLAs led by ministers Nitin Gadkari and Manohar Parrikar approached Governor Mridula Singa on 12th March 2017

On 13th March 2017, Manohar Parrikar resigned from the post of Defence Minister and was appointed Goa's CM.

The BJP won 13 seats and the Congress 17 in the 40-member Assembly.

Parrikar submitted evidence of support of 13 MLAs of the Bharatiya Janata Party, three each of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and the Goa Forward Party and two Independent MLAs.

The BJP now has a strength of 21 MLAs in the House of 40.

13 BJP MLAs sent a resolution to party president Amit Shah saying they want Mr. Parrikar to head the new government.

GFP president Prabhakar Timble, resigned, after Vijay Sardesai, the party's legislature leader aligned with the BJP.

show a close contest between the Congress and BJP, while other smaller parties such as the Goa Forward Party and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak (MGP) also making inroads.


PartyTotal
Bharatiya Janata Party13
Indian National Congress17
Nationalist Congress Party1
Maharashtrawadi Gomantak3
Goa Forward Party3
Independent3
Total40
Source: Livemint

Chronology of events
Kerala Government has constituted a Unified Command under Chief Minister Pinaryai Vijayan to contain the spread of left wing extremism (LWE) in the State.
Senior tribal leader from Chhattisgarh and ex parliamentarian Nand Kuamr Sai assumed charge as the chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) in New Delhi.
Uttarakhand Governor K K Paul has inaugurated the 29th edition of the international Yoga Festival at Rishikesh.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued directions to the Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs) of the Five Poll bound States viz., Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Manipur, for making fool proof security arrangements for vote counting.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued directions to the Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs) of the Five Poll bound States viz., Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Manipur, for making fool proof security arrangements for vote counting.
The Indian Navy will set up meteorological facilities and impart training to Myanmar Navy.
Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the National Productivity Council, an autonomous body under the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, and Al Etihad Energy Services UAE, to provide various services in the field of energy management and conservation.
The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Renewable Energy between India and Portugal. The MoU was signed on 6th January, 2017 in New Delhi.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has announced appointment of Prof Dr K Srinath Reddy as the adviser to the Odisha government.
The High Court of Manipur has declared as illegal the over four-month-long economic blockade in Manipur called by United Naga Council (UNC).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Petro auditions Limited (OPal) in the industrial town of Dahej in Gujarat. The plant, which is claimed to be the largest petrochemicals plant in Asia with occupation over 1700 metres of land.
Women employees in the organised sector will now get six months of paid maternity leave, more than double the entitlement so far, after the Lok Sabha amended the law on maternity benefits.
The Lok Sabha passed the Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims), 2016 that seeks to repeal laws such as the Admiralty Court Act, 1861, the Colonial Courts of Admiralty Act, 1890.
The Bharatiya Janata Party is set to return to power after 14 years as it has swept the state by winning over 300 seats. This was the highest number of seats the party has ever won in the state so far, considering that this was only the second time it won with a comfortable majority. The last time it crossed the 2/3rd mark was in 1991, at the height of the Ram Janam Bhoomi movement, when it won 221 seats.
BJP’s Nongthombam Biren Singh was elected as the legislature party leader in Manipur and will meet Governor Najma Heptulla to stake claim to form the government.
The finance minister Arun Jaitley-headed GST council on March 16, 2017 cleared drafts of two main supplementary legislations - the State GST Bill and the UT GST Bill - marking a big step forward in India’s plans for a countrywide rollout of Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 1.
The Punjab state government has decided to provide 33 per cent reservation for women in all government jobs.
With the clearance, the process of filling the vacancies in High Courts is proceeding on a war footing. The chief justice gave the information about clearance of the MoP while heading a three-judge Bench which was disposing.
Minister for Information & Broadcasting has said that collaboration in the field of Films, Broadcasting and Information Dissemination would strengthen the ties between India and Vietnam.