SC Take Dig On Govt: Whats The Logic Of Making Aadhaar Card Compulsory?

On Friday, The Supreme Court said that they will decide whether Aadhar card can be made mandatory for the filing of Income Tax (I-T) returns in the next week. Furthermore, the Supreme Court also asked the government to justify the need for making Aadhar card compulsory for filing I-T returns. While hearing the PIL against the government’s decision of making Aadhaar compulsory, the Supreme Court told the Centre that, “How can you make Aadhaar mandatory despite a clear order to make it optional? Is making Aadhaar by force the only way to tackle fraud?”

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Replying to it, the Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that the government has an act to use the Uniform Identification Number. “We found a number of PAN cards being used to divert funds to shell companies. To prevent it, the only option is to make Aadhaar card mandatory, he said, as per ANI report. The Supreme Court bench led by Justice Sikri asked the Centre that how Aadhaar card can be compulsory and forced on people. The Centre’s argument is that to restrict its essential services and beneficiary schemes.

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There’s also a matter that Aadhaar is pending on the issue of the right to privacy. On March 27 this year, the Supreme Court made it clear that Aadhaar cards cannot be made mandatory by the Central Government for extending benefits of social welfare scheme. A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar had said that “The answer is this that for giving benefits of welfare schemes, it (Aadhaar) cannot be pressed. They cannot be stopped from seeking Aadhaar for Non-benefits scheme like the opening of bank accounts.”

The Finance Minister of India Arun Jaitley said that the move was aimed to link PAN cards with Aadhaar and to spot those easily who avoided paying taxes by having duplicate PANs. On August 11, 2015, the Apex court said that the Aadhaar cards cannot be made mandatory for the government’s welfare schemes. The Apex court said in its judgement that, “The Union of India shall give wide publicity in the electronic and print media including radio and television networks that it is not mandatory for a citizen to obtain an Aadhaar card.

The production of an Aadhaar card will not be conditioned for obtaining any benefits otherwise due to a citizen.” On April 25, the Apex court will hear on the plea challenging the government’s move of making Aadhaar card compulsory for PAN cards.

SC Order On Liquor Ban Within the 500m Of Highways Check What UP Govt Did?

Shocked by the decision of the Supreme Court of the ban on liquor vends within 500 meters of national and state highways from April 1, the hospitality industry estimates that it could hit a loss of tens of crores of rupees in the business and approx 1 million could be affected by the order. The Supreme Court also cleared on Friday that its December 15 order on banning liquor vends across the highways is also applicable on the hotels and restaurants.

Here’s a lowdown on the impact of the Supreme Court’s order to ban on industry and how the states are dealing with it:

Kerala is looking out for some options, including in search of 3-month exception

The liquor business of Kerala is one of the major revenue shares for the state, which is definitely going to be affected badly in the state after the Supreme Court’s (SC) decision. Kerala is looking for the options like de-notification of state highways to district highways to get around the Supreme Court order. They are also approaching the apex court for a three-month exemption.

The annual revenue of the state is approx Rs 40,000 of which Rs 10,000 comes from the liquor trade only. It also has one of the highest per capita consumption of the liquor across the country, 10.2 litres yearly alongside the national average of 5.6 litres. Adding to this, one thing is pretty sure that the state’s tourism industry is also going to be affected badly by the liquor ban. According to the Tourism insiders (Reported by Hindustan Times), the industry is already rolling under the effect of demonetization, the increase of service tax from 4.5% to 9%, and towering premium for tourist vehicles.

The president of the Confederation of Kerala Tourism Industry EM Najeed said, “We are fast losing out to some of the neighboring countries like Sri Lanka. Last year, the state lost many conferences and meetings due to liquor curbs. We fear the latest decision will lead to further slip in footfall.” The Kerala State Beverages Corporation, the government-run retail giant, is facing rigid resistance in closely populated areas, whereas relocating 159 closed outlets, adding worries for the state government. As the Supreme Court order comes into action on April 1, 159 government-owned outlets, 1,557 beer and wine outlets, 1,008 toddy shops, 18 clubs and 11 bars in five-star hotels have been downed board up, according to Hindustan Times report. Adding to it, the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation has also been affected badly as 29 of the 40 beer shops have been closed down. It’s 40% of the revenue comes from these shops. The state PWD and excise minister G Sudhakaran said, “Densely-populated state’s situation is different from others. We have sought a legal opinion that whether the state will get a three-month exemption. We haven’t thought of a shortcut to duck the apex court order.”

There’s also another worry for the state excise department that unavailability of quality liquor may entertain regular drinkers to hooch and narcotic substances.

Rs 3 crore loss in the first weekend claims Chandigarh hoteliers

The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Chandigarh claimed that the hospitality industry is going to be affected badly in the state. The president of the association Arvinder Pal Singh said, “This weekend, the hospitality industry in Chandigarh will have incurred a loss of more than Rs 3 crore. We will protest at the Sector 17 Plaza on Monday.” He also added that the association has planned to request the UT administration to declare the stretch between sectors 35-43, national highways 5 part of the route towards Ludhiana as a ‘major district road’.

“We will meet the deputy commissioner, the UT adviser and, if required, we will approach the UT administrator as well and hand over a memorandum,” he said. “The order has hit nearly 150 restaurants, bars and other commercial establishments in the Tricity. In Chandigarh, there are 88 such establishments, of which 63 are bars and 25 are beer bars.” Singh added.

500 Mumbai Restaurants and Bars remained closed on Sunday

There were approx 500 restaurants and bars serving liquor within 500m of Mumbai’s highways remained closed on Sunday (HT Reported). Adding to it, there were many regular visitors to the wine shops, restaurants and bars, along with eastern express, western express and national highways passing through outer edge and Thane alleged they were stunned to see that these joints refused to serve liquor.  The state excise department left no stone in implementing the order of the Supreme Court. They came into action on Saturday and sealed the godowns where the liquor was stored. They also gave an option to Hotels that if they want to operate, then only serve food and liquor will not be permitted. Some hoteliers agreed to do this and many preferred to shut their shops.

The president of Indian Hotels and Restaurant Association (AHAR) said, “Around 500 hotels in the suburbs fall within this restricted zone. They have all shut. The hoteliers have invested a lot in their business and are facing hard times.” Sourabh Kulkarni, 33, went to Oberoi Mall on Sunday and was shocked to see at the entrance that liquor would not be served. “No other restaurant nearby was willing to serve alcohol” (Hindustan Times reported). Vilas Rao, an executive with a multinational company also said that he was stunned to see that all the liquor shops near the Eastern Express highway in Chembur were closed. This order of the Supreme Court will hit 15,699 establishments and it will cost Maharashtra government Rs 7,000 every year.

Uttar Pradesh Government turns highways into district roads to avoid Supreme Court’s order

The government of Uttar Pradesh has taken the inspiration from the Chandigarh model to circumvent the Supreme Court’s order. They have simply rebranded many of its major highways as district roads. The additional chief secretary of Uttar Pradesh public works department Sadakant said on Saturday, “The internal roads of the city (currently notified as state highways) connected to a bypass are being declared as additional district roads while city bypasses are being declared as state highways.” The government finished renaming the roads just before a few hours before the apex court’s order on banning liquor vends on highways at March 31 midnight.

The UP government makes Rs 6,000 crore from the proceeds of 8,000-odd outlets (including the bars on the highways). Around 203 outlets in Lucknow, 100 in Kanpur and 221 in Varanasi faced immediate closure after the court order. The notification is bound to legalize many liquor vends, but it will take a time to conduct a new survey of the ones it can’t protect and the government is in no mood of taking a risk. A senior state excise department official told Hindustan Times that they will fully comply with the orders of the apex court. Many shops in the state capital fell under the Supreme Court’s order field due to ill-considered decisions made by the public works department, said The Lucknow Sharab Association (LSA). The LSA leader Kanhailal Maurya said, “Several areas were included under state and national highways hurriedly. This is why shops from Tile Wali Masjid to Koneshwar crossing, Thakurganj, Balaganj, and Dubagga have been forced to shut down. And we weren’t told about this until we paid our license fees!”

The liquor licenses that are given away on every March have always been a major source of income for the government. The LSA president SP Singh has already approached the high court, pleading that some shops have been wrongly shown to be part of the state highways (Reported HT).

Rajasthan also rebranded roads like UP and Chandigarh

The government of Rajasthan has declared that the state highways passing through habituated areas as district or urban roads to avoid the order of the Supreme Court. Like many of the states, excise duty is one of the biggest sources of revenue in Rajasthan too. In 2015-16, the state earned Rs 6,700 crore from excise duty and it has already fixed the target of Rs 7,300 for 2016-17. To avoid the lost through the order of SC, the state’s Public Works Department (PWD) issued an order for de-notification of 190km of 21 state highways passing through the 16 districts and measuring 3,029 km as urban roads or other district roads.

3,000 liquor licenses not renewed in Goa, CM Parrikar assures of some solution

The excise department of Goa on Saturday rejected to renew the licenses of the over 3,000 liquor vends. However, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar assured that efforts would be made to get some solution and not affect the livelihood of the affected liquor traders. According to Hindustan Times, the meeting was held chaired by CM Parikkar and attended by Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma and top excise and finance department officials. From relocating liquor businesses to the proximity of national highways to the interior areas, all of it was discussed in the meeting.

The sources said, “It is one of the alternatives. After discussions, a proper policy will be worked out for relocating affected businesses.” It is also said that the existing excise laws allow bar and liquor store owners to shift their stock to new places. Goa is unarguably one of the most loved tourist destinations in India, where alcohol is taxed quite less than the other states. There are more than 11,000 licensed liquor vendors in the state (including bars and restaurant license holders) and more than 3,000 outlets that are facing problems due to the apex court order.

SC: There Are Only National Anthem And Flag No National Song

The court discarded an appeal to direct the Central government to enclose a national policy under article 51A i.e. fundamental duties of the constitution to encourage and make obligatory the National Anthem, national song, and the national flag.

‘There is no concept of a national song’ the Supreme Court observed yesterday. Justice Dipak Misra observed in a petite order refusing the prayer of petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay a BJP spokesperson,’ Article 51A only mentions the National Flag and the National Anthem. The Article does not refer to a national song. The bench including Justices R. Banumathi and S.M Mallikarjunagouda also observed and alleged that ‘therefore, we do not propose to enter into any debate as far as the national song is concerned’.

The request by Mr. Upadhyay alleged that India is the Union of States and not a connection or confederation of states. The court also discarded a prayer to construct the rendering of the National Anthem compulsory in offices, courts, legislative houses and parliament. On the other hand, the court ‘kept alive’ the statement that schools should play or sing the national Anthem on running days. Justice Misra alleged that ‘Barring the singing of the national anthem on schools on each working day, other prayers stand rejected’.

During the consideration, Mr. Vikas Singh argued that it is a subject which the government should seem into as ‘even our legislators do not know what the National Anthem is and what is the National Song’. It should be the component of the curriculum in schools and there should be a sense of Patriotism in the midst of the children’.

The apex court alleged that ‘We have moved along to make clear when we have kept the prayer alive that does not mean that we have uttered any opinion on the same’. For the duration of the hearing Vikas Singh, the senior advocate who was appearing for petitioner Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay alleged that one of the prayers in the entreaty for surrounding of a national policy was analogous to the issue which is pending before the apex court.

Prior year on 30th November the apex court structured cinema halls crosswise the nation to mandatorily play the National Anthem prior to the screening of a movie when the audience must stand and show admiration. He alleged that ‘It should be an ingredient of the prospectus in educational institutions and there should be a consideration of patriotism among the children’.

The array had come on the PIL filed by Shyam Narayan Chouksey in search of guidelines that the National Anthem should be played in cinema halls all over the country previous to a movie commences and proper standards and etiquette be fixed on the subject of its playing and singing at official gatherings and programmes where those holding constitutional office are in attendance. The apex court while ephemeral a skid of directions had also observed that ‘time has come when citizens must comprehend they live in a nation and are obligation vault to show respect to the National Anthem which is a symbol of constitutional patriotism and intrinsic national quality’.

The preceding week the apex court clarified that the viewers need not stand when the National Anthem is sung or played in the storyline of a feature film or a division of a newsreel or any documentary.

SC Intended To Move Shahabuddin To Tihar Jail

Today, Supreme Court intended that contentious RJD leader Mohammad Shahabuddin be moved to Tihar jail here from a prison in Bihar to make certain ‘ free and fair trail’ in the cases stiffed adjacent to him. A bench of justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy inquired that Bihar government to shift Shahabuddin to Tihar jail within a week, alleging that’ it is the obligation and duty of this court to ensure free and trial’.

Shahabuddin, who is a two-time MLA and four times member of parliament from Siwan electorate had been in jail since 2005 November later than he was in detention from his official MPs residence in Delhi by a combined team of Bihar and Delhi police in linking with numerous cases. He has come out of jail subsequent to all cases as he was granted bail. He again sent to jail after the Supreme Court canceled his bail and he has been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in two cases by trial courts.

Wife of a senior journalist who has fired open allegedly at the behest of Shahabuddin also alleged the court in October 2016 that she and her children were living in the shadow of death and uttered uneasiness of being attacked for tracking the case against the politician. The court subsequent to hearing the plea of victim’s family alleged that this matter needed to be scrutinized and directed Shahabuddin to file his rejoinder in upcoming weeks. Bihar government also did not combat the request at that time regarding the shifting of the accused and alleged that it was for the court to obtain a call on the issue as the accused was under judicial supervision.

On 15th February 2017 i.e. Wednesday the apex court has alleged that examination in the cases registered against Shahabuddin will be performed through video from Tihar jail, as the Supreme Court has directed the accused to be shifted to Tihar jail from prison in Bihar. The bench alleged that’ we direct the state of Bihar to relocate Mohammad Shahabuddin from district jail Siwan to Tihar jail Delhi’.

The petitioner informed the apex court that Shahabuddin should be shifted from Siwan jail to any other jail outside the state for free trial in the cases that were pending against him. The Bihar government had previously told the court that it is not reluctant of shifting Shahabuddin from Siwan to Tihar jail and on this; the state government told apex court that Shahabuddin is in front of trial in 45 cases comprising the Jharkhand.

Pushing Aadhaar In Money Bill Was Right Or Wrong?

On Monday, Supreme Court decided to see whether Aadhaar Scheme as money Bill in Parliament was constitutionally valid or not?  The Government opposed the petition by the former union minister Jairam Ramesh for this challenging action. Lawyer P Chidambaram told J S Khehar holding the bench of chief justice that the provision for Money Bill is being misused by the Government.

Chidambaram, Jairam Ramesh and attorney general Mukul Rohatgi Cited the constitution bench decision that go through this issue earlier.  Mukul Rohtagi said, “The court can’t review the ruling of the lok Sabha speaker whether is is procedural or substantial decision.” He also raised the topic of judgments relating to Articles 110, 117 and many others.  He said that the petition was not maintainable as no fundamental rights of former union minister were violated by the House passing The Bill.

The Lok Sabha Passed the Bill and the attorney General read the Preamble Bill which gave flesh and blood to this scheme and submitted. It stated that the Aadhaar Scheme for which for which it had to withdraw money from any consolidated fund of India. This scheme also saved thousands crore of rupees which is taken by the Ghosts in ration cards and gas connections.

Chidambaram argued that this could be the new trend if it is accepted as Money Bill by the Government. And this will set new trend among all the states and also as there are 32 legislative houses are in our country. When judges asked Chidambaram that whether the Rajya Sabha accepted it as Money Bill or not when it passed to the legislations, the lawyer answered the upper house could pass any Bill. It made changes and rarely sends it back to Lok Sabha which passed the bill. He read out the constitutional Provisions which defined what Money Bill is and what are Financial Bills.

He said, the Aadhaar Bill did not fall under Money Bill as per the definition of Money Bill. The judges feel that the issue raised is sensitive and the decision on this serious and sensitive matter could not be decided quickly. As a result he asked both the sides to prepare for the final arguments and the next hearing on this issue was ordered to be listed after four week.
The Aadhaar Act 2016 passed on 16 may 2016 in Lok Sabha and faced opposition in parliament.

The move to introduce the money bill has been challenged to bypass the Rajya Sabha completely. Aadhaar Act contains matter other than that incidental to expenditure of consolidated fund it includes biometric based unique identification and is used for number of purpose it is used also as the identification number in government service and other benefits.The objectives and validity of the Aadhaar Act would not actually change if the Aadhaar number no longer was directly connected to the delivery of services. Arvind Datar has emphasized that if the primary purpose of a bill is not governed under Article 110(1) then certifying it as Money Bill is an unconstitutional Act.

Article 110(1) of constitution identifies a bill as Money Bill it contains the following matter.
Imposition and Regulation of Tax,
Financial Obligation by Indian Government,
Deposit or withdrawal from consolidated Fund of India
Appropriation of Money and expenditure charges on CFI
Custody issue audit of money into public account.

Although article 110(3) of constitution, the decision of Lok Sabha shall be final in case of question arise regarding bill is under Money Bill or Not. Thus the decision of Lok Sabha speaker to pass the bill as Money Bill is definitely not immune from judicial review. And article 32 of constitution allows the judiciary top decides upon the manner of Aadhaar Act in Parliament.

Now it’s all up to Supreme Court, because SC has to look into the matter for the fundamental and constitutional rights of Indian citizens. The substantial implications of aadhaar Act for national security, primarily privacy and data security make this decision imperative to conduct a balanced deliberation process within or outside the parliament houses. Supreme Court can not only review the Lok Sabha speaker’s decision but should ask the government to draft the Aadhaar bill with public and parliamentary deliberation.

 

Supreme Court Ruling On Private School Fee: Govt Regulation Is Important

The Supreme Court lined on 24th January that any private school in Delhi operating on land allotted by DDA i.e. Delhi development Authority had to seize the authorization of the Delhi government before hiking the fees. The court also statements that if they did not desire to obtain permission, the schools could ‘return the land to government’.

This judgment came after a yearlong scuffle where an association of private schools challenged an analogous decision made by the Delhi High Court. This decision desires to be seen in the light of abundant protests by parents of children learning in private schools, who criticize of extreme and illogical fee hikes by schools. These objections are not restricted to Delhi alone as a research shows that analogous protests have taken place in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Chandigarh and Bengaluru, almost in all major cities in India.

Private schools argue that these objections happen because parents desire to propel their children to high-end schools but do not hope to pay the cost it necessitates. Nevertheless, a report in 2015 suggests that the costs of private school education in the last decade have augmented at a pace faster than incomes, showing a 150 percent ramble between 2005 and 2015.

The reports show that the cost of educating a child in a private school has mounted from Rs 55000 in 2005 to Rs 1, 25, 000 per annum. Under stress from protests by parents or beneath order from courts, many state governments have endeavored to regulate the fees of private schools and outstanding among them is Tamil Nadu which approved a fee regulation Act in 2009 setting up district level fee regulation committees that fix the fees for private schools for periods of three years. Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Telangana are the diverse stages of endorsing and executing fee regulation legislations.

Despite the fact that such laws in the states revealed above and the Supreme Court judgment may convey reprieve to parents, it does elevate a few legitimate questions such as Why should the government, which has been not capable to offer high quality education in its own schools have the right to control those schools which are more successful at providing it? Furthermore, if a school wishes to offer additional facilities to their students and parents are enthusiastic to pay for it, why should a government intercede?

If parents are generating an alternative to propel their children to private schools should they not opt a school they can afford? Is it mere populism by the governments when they attempt to regulate fees? Private schools have stalwartly opposed any efforts at regulation and have argued that such attempts would inferior the standards of education by forcing the schools to slash cost. Another query that needs to be asked is whether schools or any other educational institutions should be permitted to compose profits out of the running of the school.

After all, it is argued what would be the incentive of running private enterprise if no profit could be made? However, as per the recent legal framework, educational institutions are supposed to run as nonprofit charitable organizations. This issue has been the subject of much litigation and however, three chief judgments that are TMA foundation versus the State of Karnataka in 2002, Islamic Academy of Education versus the State of Karnataka in 2003 and Modern School versus the Union of India in 2004 have all upheld three principles. One that educational institutions should be permitted to craft reasonable surplus, two, that this surplus should be utilized for the growth and better facilities of said institutions and finally, that this surplus should be used for the expansion and better facilities of  known institution and in conclusion, that this excess could not be used for profiteering by the school organization.

These were the principles used by the Delhi government when it attempted fee regulation of schools on DDA land in 2016. There was no limit lay down on the fees a school could charge nor did the government fix and decide the fees of any school. The school was gratis free to set the fee structure in consonance with the amenities supplied by them, the government would purely verify the accounts to make convinced that money being taken from the parents was being utilized rightfully depleted on the children and the school.

On the other hand, the results of this verification of accounts were nonentity less than upsetting as schools were found to drawing off of money from school and illegally repositioning it to their parent society , one school had bought a seven acre farmhouse outer Delhi in the name of the school management,  another school had bought a flat , one of the schools was found alleging ICT fees but had no ICT facilities and numerous schools were found to have funds in crores but were tranquil hiking fees annually. This was not inexpensive surplus this as clearly exploiting and financial misconducts being conceded out under the shroud of autonomy of private schools.

The problem of a sharp divergence between demand and supply of schools had happened because the government has not been able to fulfill its responsibilities of offering high-quality education and at the equivalent time regulation and labors at precision should persist, governments across  the country necessitate to haul up their socks and perk up public schools , we should consider that if high-quality education is obtainable free of cost why would anyone reimburse exorbitant fees for the similar deed.

Pregnancy Can Be Terminated Even After 24 Weeks: SC

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court permitted Mumbai women to terminate 24-week foetus after medical reports claimed that the foetus has no skull. At the time of passing this order, the Supreme Court said to save the mother’s life and so this termination has been permitted. The 23-year-old women, a resident of Mumbai who was 23 weeks pregnant had to take permission from the Supreme Court to abort her baby on the base of collapsed foetus.

A counter of justice SA Bobde and Justice LN Rao entitled solicitor general Ranjit Kumar who was in attendance on the court for some other case to look into this case as the centre’s estimation is essential in the issue as the law does not permit abortion of foetus further than twenty weeks. This is the fourth similar case from the city to be carried out to Supreme Court’s notice in prior three years.

Women along with his husband moved toward Mahim based gynecologist Dr. Sangeeta Pikale after numerous doctors rejected to abort the pregnancy as it was prior the legal terms. The medical board of KEM Mumbai has examined the women and declared the court that continuance of the pregnancy would lead to jeopardizing the life of a mother. It was observed that the skull of the foetus with the gestational age equivalent to 21 weeks 2 days was not there.

The apex court had ordered KEM hospital to fully observe the patient whose advocate has alleged that women should be permitted to terminate the foetus that was diagnosed with anencephaly i.e.  A congenital defect is the condition in which there is the absence of main part of the brain, scalp and skull. On Monday Supreme Court passed an order and said that women have the right to safeguard her life as the women came to know about the deformed foetus in December prior year and requested for termination on December 20 and were starved off by doctor’s o the base that her pregnancy has crossed 20 weeks.

The bench said ‘we consider it appropriate and in the interest of justice, particularly the right of the petitioner to preserve her life by permitting her to undergo the termination of pregnancy under the medical Termination of Pregnancy Act’. The bench also aimed at the pregnancy is executed by a group of doctors of the hospital which shall uphold the overall record of the whole process adopted in the matter. The bench also said that ‘the medical evidence clearly suggests that there is no point in allowing the petitioner to run the full course, since the foetus would not be able to survive outside the uterus without a skull’.

As per the Medical Termination of pregnancy Act, i.e. MTP, any person or doctor violating the rules can tempt incarceration up to seven years if the abortion crosses 20 weeks ceiling. In the petition the women described the ceiling awkward as a determination of foetul abnormality in several cases can only be done subsequent to 20 weeks. The petitioner said ‘the ceiling of 20 weeks is, therefore, arbitrary, discriminatory and violative of articles 14 i.e. Right to equality and 21 i.e. Right to life of the constitution.’

The medical termination of pregnancy Act permits abortions only up to 20 weeks of pregnancy as there is an exception and if there is a danger to mother’s life. The Supreme Court has earlier also allowed abortions in the case in which mother’s life are in danger.