Today Current Affairs In Hindi
News of the Day : U.K.’s House of Commons approves Brexit delay law
- April 4, 2019
- Posted by: Shivam
- Category: NEWS Worth To Read
News of the Day
Opening collegium to RTI will destroy judicial independence: Attorney General
Opening up the “highly-sensitive” correspondence of the Supreme Court’s collegium and its workings to the Right to Information (RTI) regime would make judges and the government “shy” and “destroy” judicial independence, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal submitted on Wednesday.
Addressing a Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Mr. Venugopal asserted that were the RTI to be applied to the collegium, its member judges would not be able to sit back and have a free and frank discussion for fear that their confidential views may later come into the public domain. Mr. Venugopal represents the Supreme Court’s Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), who is the authority tasked to respond to RTI queries related to the court.
For the past decade, the Supreme Court has refused to divulge information under RTI about the collegium’s confidential communications with the government. The collegium recommends judges for the High Courts and the apex court. The Supreme Court, after losing legal battles before the Central Information Commission (CIC) and the Delhi High Court, finally had to appeal to itself to protect the collegium’s workings.
After nine years, the appeal is now being heard by the Constitution Bench. The Bench is hearing the broad question whether it would be deleterious to judicial independence to bring the collegium under RTI.
Mr. Venugopal asserted that pushing the collegium under the public spotlight through RTI would “destroy” judicial independence.
“Mr. Attorney, you are saying that if information is given under RTI, various entities, from judges to the government, will feel shy to voice their opinions,” Justice Gogoi noted, by way of going over the AG’s argument. “Besides, the career, family and even continuance in office of a person against whom adverse remarks were made would be ruined,” he said, summing up Mr. Venugopal’s submissions.
“A person has self-respect… Reputation is more precious than life itself,” the AG agreed.
“But the information [sought under RTI] is used to make an appointment in a public office, is it not?” Justice Gogoi asked. To this, Mr. Venugopal responded, “It depends on the nature of the public office.”
Elaborating on some of the reasons to exclude the collegium from the purview of RTI, Mr. Venugopal said: “If reasons for his rejection come into public domain, will a judge be able to function independently? The entire future of the judge is ruined. The public, litigants lose their confidence in him. A judge whose integrity has been questioned and overlooked for appointment or elevation, is handicapped. He cannot go to the press to clear the air.
“Disclosure of highly sensitive communication under RTI will risk the very existence of the judicial way of functioning. So, the information should be kept confidential.”
Acknowledging that the right to know was part of the right to free speech, Mr. Venugopal said the right to free speech was, however, subject to reasonable restrictions.
Disclosure of assets
The AG said even disclosure of personal assets of judges under RTI was an “unwarranted intrusion” into their privacy.
“Some judges may have submitted their assets. Some not. ‘Information’ under RTI means something in material form — like a document, memo or a circular — and something which is already existing in the possession of a public authority. Here, in cases of judges who have not submitted their assets, a third party is not asking for an existing document. In fact, he wants the judge to compute his assets and liabilities and arrive at a final figure,” Mr. Venugopal submitted.
U.K.’s House of Commons approves Brexit delay law
The lower house of the British Parliament on Wednesday approved a legislation which would force Prime Minister Theresa May to seek a Brexit delay to prevent a potentially disorderly departure on April 12 without a deal.
The legislation, put forward by opposition Labour lawmaker Yvette Cooper, was rushed through all of its stages in the House of Commons in less than six hours. It was approved at the final stage by 313 votes to 312. It now has to pass the upper chamber, the House of Lords.
Ms. May said on Tuesday she would seek another short extension to Brexit beyond April 12, in order to try and work with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to get her thrice-rejected Brexit deal approved by Parliament.
Mr. Cooper said the legislation was still needed to set out a clear process for how decisions are taken over the length of any extension. The Bill requires Ms. May to get the Parliament’s approval for the detail of any delay and allows lawmakers to propose a different length of extension.
“Perhaps crucially it would demonstrate to the EU parliamentary support for what the prime minister is asking for,” she told parliament during the debate on the legislation.
Any further delay to Britain’s exit would need unanimous approval from EU leaders.
To avoid an abrupt no-deal Brexit on April 12, Ms. May must present a summit of EU leaders next Wednesday with a plausible strategy to win approval in Parliament for the Withdrawal Agreement that she negotiated with Brussels.
Ms. May has said that if she cannot agree a unified approach with Mr. Corbyn, then the government would come up with a number of options on the future relationship with the EU and put them to Parliament in a series of votes.
The legislation was pushed through as part of a process which has seen lawmakers seize control of parliamentary time in order to influence the way forward on Brexit. It is very unusual for legislation which is not proposed by or supported by the government to be passed by Parliament.
The government said there were many flaws with the legislation, including the lack of time available for all the steps it sets out, and had concerns about the precedent it set.
Pro-Brexit Conservative lawmaker Bill Cash described it as ”a constitutional revolution”.
“This is a grave moment in our constitutional history. I think the Bill is reprehensible … I think it is a disgrace that it was brought in,” he told parliament ahead of the votes.
It was unclear when the legislation would be debated in the House of Lords, where legislation usually passes more slowly and opponents could seek to filibuster it, but it could be as soon as Thursday.
Conservative lawmaker Oliver Letwin, who was also involved in putting forward the legislation, said earlier on Wednesday there was “overwhelming support in the House of Lords” for it and he anticipated it would pass through the Lords rapidly.
“The House of Lords has in fact already passed a motion which provides for the expeditious consideration of exactly this form of bill,” he said.
(Source – The Hindu)
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