Constitutional Bench to ponder on MP, MLA disqualification
A three-judge Bench, headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi, referred to a Constitution Bench the question whether a legislator facing criminal trial should be disqualified at the very stage of framing of charges against him by the trial court. Should his disqualification be kept in abeyance till he is convicted?
The Supreme Court is pondering on the question referred to it by a smaller bench, under Article 145(3) to set up a Constitution Bench of five judges in case of a substantial question of law.
What is Article 145(3)? – The minimum number of Judges who are to sit for the purpose of deciding any case involving a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of this Constitution or for the purpose of hearing any reference under Article 143 shall be five.
What are Supreme Courtâ€™s initiatives for Electoral Reforms? – The court has been tightening its grip on corruption in politics from 2013 when it first held that legislators, on conviction, would be immediately disqualified from holding membership of the House without being given three monthsâ€™ time for appeal, as was the case before. Before this verdict, convicted lawmakers would file an appeal in the higher court and continue in the House.
In March 2014, the Supreme Court passed an interim order that criminal trials, especially those dealing with corruption and heinous offences, involving elected representatives should be completed in a year. This order prevented lawmakers from sitting in the House as their cases dragged on.
Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act deals with disqualification on conviction for certain offences: A person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for varying terms under Sections 8 (1) (2) and (3) shall be disqualified from the date of conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his release.
EPF Tax withdrawn
Union Finance Minister announced the withdrawal of the budget proposal on taxing Employee Provident Fund(EPF). The proposal had sought to make up to 60 per cent of saversâ€™ corpus withdrawn from the EPF tax-free if invested in annuity. The period return on the annuity was to be taxable.
The 40 per cent exemption given to subscribers of the National Pension Scheme (NPS) at the time of withdrawal remains, the Finance Minister clarified. This would make the NPS, which gives returns of over 11 per cent, more attractive to pension savers than other options, Mr. Jaitley Â told reporters. The objective of the reform was â€œnot to get more revenue but to encourage more private sector employees to go for pension security after retirement instead of withdrawing the entire money from the Provident Fund account,â€ he said in the statement.
What is EPF? – It is a compulsory contributory Provident Fund Scheme. It is run by The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (abbreviated to EPFO), a statutory body of the Government of India under the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
It is different from National Pension Scheme(NPS) which is a voluntary pension system under the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority of India((PFRDA). It is authorized by the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance.
Source: The Hindu, Wikipedia
Seoul Imposes Sanction on Pyongyang
South Korea is imposing unilateral sanctions on North Korea over its recent nuclear test and rocket launch, including a ban on financial dealings with 40 individuals and 30 entities.
The announcement came a day after North Korea warned of pre-emptive nuclear strikes in response to the start of U.S.-South Korean military drills it views as a rehearsal for invasion.
South Korea also said it will ban the entrance of any ship that has stopped at a North Korean port in the previous 180 days.
What is the nuclear umbrella? – Nuclear umbrella refers to a guarantee by a nuclear weapons state to defend a non-nuclear allied state. It is usually used for the security alliances of the United States with Japan, South Korea,the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (much of Europe, Turkey, Canada), and Australia, originating with the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
The North Korea carried out its fourth underground nuclear test on Jan. 6 2016 and followed with a multistage rocket launch a month later. While Pyongyang has claimed it developed nuclear weapons only for self-defense against a possible U.S.-led invasion and that its space program is peaceful, it also says it is developing a nuclear bomb small enough to fit in a warhead on a missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
Source: TheHindu, Wikipedia
Bombay House first heritage building to get green rating
Bombay House, the Tata groupâ€™s headquarters, on Tuesday became the first heritage building in India to be awarded a platinum rating by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).
The building won under the EB (Existing Building) rating system for implementing measurable strategies and solutions in five categories: site & facility management, water efficiency, energy efficiency, health & comfort and innovation.
What is the Indian Green Building Council(IGBC)? – The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), part of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) was formed in the year 2001. The vision of the council is, “To enable a sustainable built environment for all and facilitate India to be one of the global leaders in the sustainable built environment by 2025”.
The council offers a wide array of services which include developing new green building rating programmes, certification services and green building training programmes. The council also organises Green Building Congress, its annual flagship event on green buildings.
Certification is applicable to the following rating systems:
- IGBC Green New Buildings
- IGBC Green Existing Buildings
- IGBC Green Homes
- IGBC Green Schools
- IGBC Green Factory Building
- IGBC Green Townships
- IGBC Green SEZs
- IGBC Green Landscapes
- IGBC Green Mass Rapid Transit System
Source: TheHindu, IGBC.in
Ad revenue for Indian Railways
Indian Railways has appointed a global consultancy firm to help the utility mop up advertising revenues worth over Rs.5,000 crore in the next few years.
Indian Railways is initiating a large-scale significant exercise to identify and leverage pan-India advertising opportunities at railway stations and trains,
What is the need for ad revenues? – In his Budget speech, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had said that the utility will look to increase revenues from non-tariff sources and do away with conventional approach of increasing passenger and freight fares. He had not announced any increase in passenger fares and hinted at bringing down freight fares.
We earn less than 5 per cent of our revenues through non-tariff sources. Many of the world railway systems generate 10 per cent to 20 per cent of their revenues from non-tariff sources.
The public utility had decided to create two new directorates tasked with increasing the speed of trains and boosting non-fare revenues by monetizing land along the tracks and advertising.
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