Coronavirus: SC seeks status report from Centre on steps taken to prevent migration of workers.

 The Supreme Court on Monday sought a status report from the Centre by Tuesday on the measures taken in view of the large-scale migration of labourers from cities to their native villages amid the coronavirus outbreak and the consequent lockdown across the country.

The top court observed that the migration of labourers out of panic and fear is becoming a bigger problem than the coronavirus.

It said the court would not create more confusion by issuing directions on measures that the government is already taking to deal with the issue.

A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justice L Nageswara Rao, which took up two separate PILs filed by advocates Alakh Alok Srivastava and Rashmi Bansal on the issue of migration of labourers through video-conferencing, said before passing any direction, it would like to wait for the status report from the Centre.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said the migration of labourers needs to be stopped to prevent the spread of the virus and the Centre as well as the states concerned have taken the requisite steps to deal with it.

The bench posted the matters for hearing on Tuesday.

EMIs put on hold : big-bang interest rate cut as RBI joins fight against coronavirus.

The RBI on Friday put on hold EMI payments on all term loans for three months and cut interest rate by steepest in more than 11 years as it joined the government effort to rescue a slowing economy that has now got caught in coronavirus whirlwind.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cut repo to 4.4 per cent, the lowest in at least 15 years. Also, it reduced the cash reserve ratio maintained by the banks for the first time in over seven years. CRR for all banks was cut by 100 basis points to release Rs 1.37 lakh crore across banking system.

The reverse repo rate was cut by 90 bps to 4 per cent, creating an asymmetrical corridor.

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das predicted a big global recession and said India will not be immune.

It all depends how India responds to the situation, he said.

Global slowdown could make things difficult for India too, despite some help from falling crude prices, Das said, adding food prices may soften even further on record crop production.

Aggregate demand may weaken and ease core inflation further, he noted.

The liquidity measures announced include auction of targeted long-term repo operation of 3 year tenor for total amount of Rs 1 lakh crore at floating rate and accommodation under Marginal Standing Facility to be increased from 2 per cent to 3 per cent of Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) with immediate effect till June 30.

Combined, these three measures will make available a total Rs 3,74,000 crore to the country’s financial system.

After cutting policy rates five times in 2019, the RBI had been on a pause since December in view of high inflation.

The measures announced come a day after the government unveiled a Rs 1.7 lakh crore package of free foodgrains and cash doles to the poor to deal with the economic impact of the unprecedented 21-day nationwide lockdown.

While the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the RBI originally was slated to meet in the first week of April, it was advanced by a week to meet the challenge of coronavirus.

PM seeks nation’s forgiveness for tough decisions and says India will surely defeat coronavirus.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday sought the nation’s forgiveness for imposing a monumental lockdown on the country, but said “we have to win … and we will definitely win the battle” against the unprecedented menace of coronavirus that has claimed 25 lives in India so far.

In his monthly Mann ki Baat radio address to the nation, Modi also praised the front-line workers in the fight against the virus as well as countless workers in the essential services who are ensuring the country doesn’t come to a complete standstill in the 21-day lockdown announced on March 24.

“I seek forgiveness .. I am sure you will forgive me that you had to undergo so much trouble. Some people will say what kind of prime minister is this but these are special circumstances. You had to undergo problems I understand but there is no other way out to fight the coronavirus,” he said. “But this is a battle for life and death.”

“Coronavirus is bent on killing people therefore entire humanity must unite and resolve to eliminate it,” he said in the address that lasted more than 30 minutes and featured two former coronavirus patients and a doctor.

Modi reminded people that “we have to maintain social distance, not emotional and human distance” as he urged people to utilise the time spent at home in re-engaging themselves in old hobbies an reconnecting wit old friends.

SCBA mulls BCI plea to help financially-troubled lawyers in wake of COVID-19.

A day after the Bar Council of India urged the Prime Minister and states to help the financially stressed lawyers in wake of the coronavirus outbreak, Secretary of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Ashok Arora has sought views of the members of the Association on extending financial help for such lawyers.

The contributions thus collected are proposed to be diverted towards the beneficiaries. This could be done without revealing the beneficiary’s identity so as to not hurt anyone’s dignity, Arora said in the message he put out for the SCBA members.

“The BCI would like to make a fervent and urgent request to your good selves to kindly make a provision for providing a minimum subsistence allowance of Rs 20,000 per month for young and not financially well-off advocates, who are staying and practising in the country,” BCI said in a letter addressed to the senior leaders.

Arora has proposed that money can also be collected from senior advocates and as well as from the SCBA funds for this purpose and the recipients names shall be kept confidential.

While this is only a proposal at the moment, Arora has sought the opinion of the members of the SCBA Executive Committee as well as from other members of the Association.

Due to restricted functioning of courts, earning opportunities have ceased for lawyers, who it said earn and live by the day or earnings of the week.

Since the advocate fraternity has no social security benefits and if at all any unforeseeable situation presents itself, many advocates as well as their families would face  difficulties, it added. The top court has been functioning on restricted terms since March 16, to decongest the court and thereby minimise the risk of spreading the coronavirus. On March 23, the restricted functioning was further thinned down to skeletal staff required to only hear matters of extreme urgency via video conferencing.

Delhi High Court Lawyers Chambers to be closed till 31st March after Supreme Court.

After Supreme Court decided to seal its lawyers chamber, the Delhi High Court has also decided to close the lawyers chamber blocks from 6 PM today i.e 23rd March till 31st March. After which the conditions will be reassessed.

The Delhi HC Bar Association has sought utmost cooperation of the lawyers as steps are being taken  in the interest of safety of the lawyers.

230 lawyers cleared the Examination of AoR.

The results of the Supreme Court Advocate-on-Record (AoR) Examination conducted in June 2019 have been declared.

As per the list published, 230 advocates have cleared the examination, whereas 92 advocates have been listed as eligible to re-appear.

AOR_Exam___June_2019___Result   Click to see the  result list

Janata Curfew: CP to be closed on Sunday.

Connaught Place in Delhi will be closed on Sunday due to the ‘Janata Curfew’ in the country over the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“As it has been requested by Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday to observe a Janata Curfew, Connaught Place shall remain closed on March 22,” New Delhi Trader’s Association president Atul Bhargava said.

“As this is a national calamity and precautions are required to be taken, it is urged to all occupants to keep the establishment closed,” Bhargava added.

MP political crisis: SC suggests Speaker interact with rebel MLAs via video link.

The Supreme Court on Thursday suggested that Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker N P Prajapati should interact with the rebel Congress MLAs through video link or the court can appoint an observer to allay the fear that the legislators are in captivity.

However, the Speaker refused to accept the top court’s proposal.

A bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta said it can create conditions to ensure exercise of volition of the rebel MLAs is truly voluntary.

“We can appoint an observer to Bengaluru or some other place so that the rebel MLAs can connect with the Speaker through video conferencing after which he can decide,” the bench said.

It also asked the Speaker whether any inquiry was made on the resignation of the rebel MLAs and what decision has he taken on them.

Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for the Speaker, said the day court begins to give time-bound direction to the Speaker, it will be constitutionally problematic.

The counsel appearing for Governor Lalji Tandon told the bench that Chief Minister Kamal Nath was “sitting aside” in the turn of events and it is the Speaker who is “leading the political battle” in court.

The bench asked all the parties how does the decision of a Speaker in matters of resignation and disqualification of MLAs affect the floor test.

It said the constitutional principle that emerges is that there is no restraint on trust vote because of resignation or disqualification being pending before the Speaker. It said, therefore, the court will have to flip around and see whether the Governor acted beyond the powers vested in him.

 The Congress-ruled Rajasthan government moves SC challenging validity of CAA.

The Congress-ruled Rajasthan government on Monday moved the Supreme Court challenging validity of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, saying the law was violative of fundamental rights such as right to equality and life under the constitution.

Rajasthan became the second state after Kerala to move the top court invoking Article 131 of the Constitution under which a state is empowered to directly move the top court in case of a dispute with the Centre.

The plea seeks declaration of the CAA as “ultravires to the provision of the Constitution of India and be declared as void”.

The newly amended law seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim migrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi communities who came to the country from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on or before December 31, 2014.

Bishop Mulakkal’s discharge plea dismissed by trial court in alleged rape case.

 A trial court here on Monday dismissed a discharge petition filed by Bishop Franco Mulakkal, in connection with the case of alleged rape of a nun in which he is the prime accused.

In his plea filed before the Additional District and Sessions Court I, Mulakkal had claimed that prima facie there was no case to frame charges against him.

Dismissing the plea, the trial court said the bishop should stand for trial in the rape case.

The bishop’s lawyer said an appeal would be filed in the High Court against the trial court order.

The prosecution had filed its objection to the plea filed by the bishop, accused of raping and sexually assaulting a nun of the same diocese.

The bishop had filed the plea just ahead of commencement of the preliminary hearing on charges against him in January this year.

The case is based on a complaint filed against the bishop by the nun.

In her complaint to the police in June, 2018, the nun had alleged that she was subjected to sexual abuse by the bishop during the period between 2014 and 2016.

The bishop, who was arrested by the Special Investigation Team which probed the case, has been charged with wrongful confinement, rape, unnatural sex and criminal intimidation.