SP protests promotion quota bill

The government on Wednesday introduced amid commotion a bill in the Rajya Sabha to guarantee job promotions in the government for SC/ST population even as BJP protests against the allocation of coal mines led to repeated adjournment of Parliament. The bill, approved by the cabinet on Tuesday, was introduced in the Upper House by minister of state in Prime Minister’s Office V Naryanasamy, amid vociferous protests by Samajwadi Party members.

In no time, Samajwadi member Naresh Agrawal and Avtar Singh Karimpuri of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which is all for the Bill, were locked in a scuffle.

Earlier, there was ruckus as deputy chairman PJ Kurien called the minister to table the bill.

Bharatiya Janata Party members meanwhile continued their protests demanding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation over the controversial coal blocks allocation.

Soon after the bill was introduced, the presiding officer adjourned the house till 2 pm.

Earlier, BJP protests forced the Lok Sabha to adjourn for the day even as Samajwadi Party members raised slogans inside the house against the promotions quota.

When the Lok Sabha, adjourned within minutes after it met at 11 am, resumed proceedings at noon, there were more disturbances, forcing acting speaker Girija Vyas to adjourn it again.

Not much business could be done in the house. But minister of state for finance Namo Narain Meena withdrew the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Amendment) Bill, 2009. Some papers were tabled amid din.

Later, Samajwadi leader Mulayam Singh Yadav said his party would hit the streets against the bill that guarantees promotions in government jobs to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe.

His party wants the quotas to be extended to Other Backward Classes.

Though the SP supports the UPA, he said the government did not consult him over the bill.

BSP chief Mayawati, meanwhile, blamed both the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) for delaying the passage of the promotions bill.

She told reporters outside parliament: “Both alliances have political motives. The Congress delayed it because of presidential elections. BJP is delaying it now because of political reasons.”

Mayawati said she asked BJP leader Sushma Swaraj to help pass the bill but the BJP and its allies did not heed the request.
What happened in RS

Rajya Sabha on Wednesday witnessed high drama as a scuffle broke out between SP and BSP members when the government introduced a contentious Constitution amendment bill to provide reservation in promotion to SCs and STs in government jobs.

The bill, which seeks to circumvent a Supreme Court order quashing such a decision of Uttar Pradesh government in April, seeks to bring certainty and clarity in the matter by substituting a clause of Article 16 of the Constitution.

The scuffle broke out as soon as deputy chairman PJ Kurien asked the government to move the Constitution (117th Amendment) Bill, 2012.

Members of SP, a party opposed to the bill, were on their feet and party MP Naresh Agrawal proceeded towards the well.

He was encountered by BSP member Avatar Singh Karimpuri, who grabbed the SP member by his collar to prevent him from trooping into the Well.

At this, other members from the BSP including Brajesh Pathak immediately intervened and held back Karimpuri.

Tempers ran high as the scuffle continued for a few minutes before Karimpuri was finally made to take his seat. Soon marshals were called in the House.

Amid the commotion, the bill was introduced by minister of state for personnel V Narayanasamy.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was present when the incident took place.

Six SP members including Ramgopal Yadav and Agrawal then rushed to the well shouting slogans saying reservations in promotion would not be allowed.

Soon after the bill was introduced, the presiding officer adjourned the house till 2 pm.

“I was not trying to tear up the promotion quota bill but just trying to protest against it,” Agrawal said outside Parliament House.

“I was prevented from speaking,” he said.

SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday said it will hold street protests against the UPA government introducing a bill to provide quotas in promotions in government jobs.

Yadav told reporters outside the Parliament House, soon after the bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha, that his party would oppose the draft law in its present form.

The party is demanding that quotas, as provided for scheduled castes and tribes in the present bill, also be provided to other backward castes.

“We will go to the people against the (promotions quota) bill,” said Mulayam Singh Yadav.

“No one will tolerate when a junior is made a senior and a senior is made a junior,” he added.

Lok Sabha too was adjourned for the day on Wednesday, within minutes of convening, following opposition protests over coal block allocations and promotion quotas, among other issues.

This is the 11th day of parliamentary proceedings were disrupted and question hour lost due to adjournments.

BJP members keeping up its chants demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the coal block allocations.

They were joined by the Samajwadi Party members, who shouted against the promotions quota in government jobs.

2G auction in continuity with NDA policy: Raja

Defending his role in the allocation of 2G spectrum, former communications minister A. Raja Monday said the decision to auction the scarce radio frequency was a continuity of the policy of the previous National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

“I have only implemented what I have inherited. Dayanidhi Maran (communications minister from 2004-07) resigned, so I became the minister,” Raja’s counsel Sushil Kumar said before special CBI judge O.P. Saini.

The CBI Saturday concluded its arguments on the framing of charges in the 2G phone spectrum case, charging the 14 accused and three companies of causing a loss of 30,984 crore to the exchequer by selling the scarce resource, also called radio frequency that helps carry telecom signals, to private players cheap.

The accused also include former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura and Raja’s personal aide R.K. Chandolia, DMK MP Kanimozhi, Kalaignar TV chief Sharad Kumar, Cineyug’s Karim Morani, Swan Telecom’s Shahid Usman Balwa, his cousin Asif Balwa and Rajeev Agarwal, who are directors of Kusegaon, and Unitech Wireless’ Sanjay Chandra.

The other accused are Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara of Reliance Group, and Vinod Goenka of Swan Telecom. In addition, the three companies are DB Realty, Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireles.

Sequence being followed on mercy pleas, says Congress

The Congress Friday admitted that time was being taken to decide on mercy petitions of death row prisoners, but said it was a constitutional process which cannot be “leapfrogged”.

Responding to queries about the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) demand for the rejection of the mercy petition of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said a sequence was being followed in the matter.

The BJP demand came after President Pratibha Patil Thursday rejected the mercy pleas of two other death row convicts.

Singhvi said it was not appropriate to link the process of deciding mercy petitions to “one or two cases”.

“It is a constitutional process. Rest assured, as the process goes on in a sequence, it will be dealt with. Some will be accepted, some rejected,” Singhvi said.

He admitted that time was being taken to decide on mercy petitions but added that decisions had not also been taken during rule of the National Democratic Alliance government that the BJP led.

“There is a list which you can’t leapfrog,” he said.

Asked if there was a law that said a sequence had to be followed, Singhvi said, “Common sense is the biggest law”.

The BJP Friday reiterated its demand for the execution of Afzal Guru. It said the delay was because of “vote-bank politics”.

Party spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said Afzal Guru’s mercy petition should be rejected at the earliest.

President Patil Thursday rejected the mercy petition of Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar, who was convicted for the 1993 car bomb attack outside the Indian Youth Congress office in New Delhi that killed 12 people and injured 29.

The president also rejected the mercy petition of Mahendra Nath Das of Assam, who was sentenced to death for murdering a person while out on bail in another murder case.

Afzal Guru is accused of collaborating with five terrorists who attacked India’s parliament Dec 13, 2001, killing nine security personnel and staff. The five were gunned down.

Government quizzed on starting telecom sector probe from 1999

The Supreme Court Tuesday asked the government to file its reply on a plea seeking the court’s direction to the CBI to investigate irregularities in the telecom sector since 1999, when the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government was in power.

The application, filed by Citizens Grievances Redressal Foundation (CGRF), sought a ‘thorough and comprehensive investigation/probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into various illegalities and irregularities committed by various parties, including the private telecom operators and government officials, in the telecom Sector prior to 2001’.

An apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice A.K. Ganguly asked the central government to file its reply.

Appearing for the CGRF, senior counsel Shanti Bhushan said that during the regime of the NDA there was ‘huge corruption’ because of the sudden announcement of the election after the fall of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government after losing confidence vote.

The senior counsel told the court that certain guidelines were framed in March 1999 which were sought to be violated in June 1999.

Since the move was resisted by the then telecom minister Jagmohan, he was removed and the department of telecom was brought under the prime minister.

The senior counsel told the court that till March 1999 the elections were not anticipated but the scenario suddenly changed after the fall of the government in the confidence vote.

Bhushan told the court that the said ‘irregularities and illegalities have been dealt with and highlighted in detail in the CAG report of 2000’.

The court was told that if no immediate action was not taken, the culprits would get a chance to destroy evidence and documentary proof.