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I N ..D E T A I L
Saturday, July 31, 1998
Goa issue rocks Parliament
NEW DELHI, July 30 Adjournments and bedlam marked the day in Parliament today as the Congress supported by other Opposition parties stalled proceedings in both Houses over what they described as the "unconstitutional" the dismissal of the Pratapsing Rane government in Goa by State Governor, Lt Gen J.F.R. Jacob. The Congress demanded the immediate recall of the Governor.
The Centre on its part maintained that it had no role in the dismissal of the Pratapsing Rane government and the installation of a rebel faction of the Congress led by the Chief Minister, Mr Wilfred d'Souza, as the Governor had used his authority and provisions of Constitution.
"This is not a decision of the Central Government. We have been informed of what has happened," the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, said in the Lok Sabha.
According to reports from Panaji, the Governor had used his "inherent discretion" and powers vested in him under Article 164 of the Constitution. The Centre is involved only when Article 356 is used for imposing Presidents rule in any state.
The Lok Sabha had to be adjourned twice and again for the day as Congress members, supported by the RJD and the RPI, took their protest into the well of the House and demanded the recall of the state Governor.
The Rajya Sabha, too, could not make any headway with the days listed business as the Congress members dominated the pre-lunch session with their tirade against the Goa Governor and the Centre and forced an adjournment in the post-lunch session with their persistent demand for a discussion on the Goa issue. The Congress members stuck to their stand even when the House reassembled at 4 pm and the Deputy Chairperson, Mrs Najma Heptullah, left with no other option adjourned the House for the day.
The Congress members in both the Houses were on their feet the moment the proceedings began at 11 am and condemned the action of the Goa Governor.
In the Lok Sabha, during zero hour, the Deputy Leader of the Congress, Mr P. Shiv Shankar, raised the issue and described the action of the Goa Governor as "rape of democracy".
Describing the events in Goa over the past three days, Mr Shiv Shankar said it was a matter of regret that the BJP which had been raising its voice against the misuse of Article 356 had proved by its action that it had no faith in the Constitution.
Former Speaker, Mr P.A. Sangma, also joined Mr Shiv Shankar in attacking the government and accused the Centre of conniving with the state Governor in dismissing a democratically elected government which had proved its majority in the state assembly.
The Congress found support in the CPM with its leader, Mr Somnath Chatterjee describing the Governors action as a "declaration of war" against the Constitution.
The Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, said the Centre had nothing to do with the decision of the Governor as he had exercised his power under Article 164.
Thereafter members of the Congress, the RJD and the RPI rushed to the well of the House and started raising slogans demanding the recall of the Governor. Amidst the pandemonium, the Speaker, Mr G.M.C. Balayogi, adjourned the House till 2 pm.
When the House reassembled, the Speaker announced that he had received notices from Congress members, Mr Ajit Jogi and Mr P.J. Kurien under Rule 184 for a discussion on the issue followed by a voting on the motion. He said he would examine the matter and also seek the official report from the Home Ministry before taking any decision.
The Home Minister, too, placed the governments view on the issue but the Congress members were in no mood to listen. They again trooped to the well of the House and ignored the Speakers repeated request to them to take their seat. The House was adjourned for the second time.
The scene was similar in the House after it reassembled for the second time in the day with slogan-shouting members rushing to the well demanding the recall of the Goa Governor.
Mr V. Sathyamoorthy, who was in the Chair, sought to take up special motion and asked the Civil Aviation Minister, Mr Ananth Kumar, to make a statement on the air crash at Kochi this morning. The Ministers statement could not be heard amidst uproar. Sensing the mood of the Opposition members, he adjourned the House for the day.
Dr Manmohan Singh took up the issue in the Rajya Sabha as soon as the House assembled for the day and said a grave constitutional crisis had been created in Goa by the Governors most "conspicuous misuse" of his position.
The Chairman, Mr Krishan Kant, announced that he was allowing a structured discussion on the issue in place of a mere mention by the Leader of the Opposition.
BJPs Venkaiah Naidu raised a point of order at this juncture and submitted that the Home Ministers presence was required for such a debate.
The Congress members opposed Mr Naidus contention and a brief verbal clash between the ruling and the Opposition benches ensued. Mr Kant then ruled that the discussion could go on as the Leader of the House, Mr Sikander Bakhts presence was enough till the Home Minister came.
Speaking for the Congress, Mr Kapil Sibal, explained the events in Goa and said Mr Jacobs action could set a bad precedent as other state governments too could be dismissed in this manner.
He said the Centres failure to recall the Governor would indicate that it was hand in glove with Mr Jacob. He also demanded that the act should be declared ultra vires.
Mr Pranab Mukherjee said the Governors action was "unconstitutional".
Mr Venkaiah Naidu defended the Governors action saying Mr Jacob was within his rights to install the new government in Goa. He said it was the Speaker of the Goa Assembly who flouted all norms and provisions of the Constitution by debarring 10 members of the split Congress Legislative Party from exercising their vote during the confidence vote sought by Mr Pratapsing Rane.
Criticising the previous Congress regimes for flouting the Constitution he said they were responsible for the dismissal of 82 state governments in the past. He referred to the dismissal of the N.T. Rama Rao government in Andhra Pradesh in 1984, as a case in point.
Mr Biplab Dasgupta of the CPM described the Governors action as "brutal, ruthless and premeditated."
When the House reassembled after lunch, agitated Congress members demanded that the House adopt a motion for the recall of the Goa Governor. Led by Mr Pranab Mukherjee, the members said it was a question of procedure as the House could take up only a motion and not discuss Governors conduct which amounted to encroaching upon state autonomy.
With BJP members contesting the Congress point, some members of the Opposition rushed to the well of the House to press their demand. Mrs Heptullah then adjourned the House for an hour.
The House was finally adjourned for the day within minutes after the Rajya Sabha met at 4 pm. The members from the ruling side and the Opposition were engaged in a verbal duel on the procedure to be adopted. Ruling party members argued that conversion of the discussion was not proper as it would amount to overruling the Chairmans decision to allow only a short duration discussion.
Presidential reference: SC notices
NEW DELHI, July 30 (PTI) A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court today issued notices to the Centre and advocates-general of all states and union territories while beginning hearing on the presidential reference raising doubts over the procedure involving the consultation process on the appointment of judges to the apex court and high courts and their transfers.
The nine-Judge Bench headed by Mr Justice A.S. Anand also issued notice to the Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association as it was the petitioner before an earlier nine-Judge Bench which in 1993 laid down principles and prescribing procedural norms relating to the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court, chief justices and judges of the high courts and the transfer of high court judges.
The Bench made the notices returnable by September 15 when the reference would be taken up for further directions.
The court also asked Attorney General Soli Sorabjee to place on record the pre-1993 and post-1993 memoranda of procedure on the appointment of judges and their transfers to make the issues relating to the doubts referred in the presidential reference more clear.
The Bench also asked the Attorney-General to produce in court the material that provoked the doubts in the mind of the government.
On repeated requests made by senior advocates K.K. Venugopal and R.K. Jain on behalf of the Bar Association of India (BAI) and the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) to be heard on the issue, the Bench asked them to file intervention applications which would be heard on the next date of hearing.
The court also said other bar associations and organisations which wished to be heard on the presidential reference "may file intervention applications".
In a jampacked courtroom, Attorney-General Soli Sorabjee began his address to the Bench by citing earlier procedures adopted by the court while dealing with the presidential references on the issues of the Special Courts Bill and the Ram Janmabhoomi Babri Masjid issues.
Mr Sorabjee said it was a practice to issue notices to state advocates- general and a public notice for all concerned parties to make intervention applications.
The Bench said the reference was for the interpretation of the consultation process between the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and the government and declined to issue a public notice, saying "the court was not interested in making it more the merrier. We want to solve the matter and not publicise it."
The Bench headed by Mr Justice Anand comprised Mr Justice S.P. Bharucha, Mr Justice M.K. Mukherjee, Mr Justice S.B. Majumdar, Mr Justice Sujata V. Manohar, Mr Justice G.T. Nanavati, Mr Justice S. Saghir Ahmad, Mr Justice K. Venkataswami and Mr Justice B.N. Kripal.
The Bench by a majority view overruled a question raised by one of the judges regarding the maintainability of the reference at this stage.
The Bench observed that the maintainability question could be deliberated after the issuance of the notice to the Union of India, advocates-general and others.
Mr Justice Saghir Ahmad asked Mr Sorabjee as to what was the necessity of the reference as there was an agreement between the Chief Justice of India and the government on the memorandum of procedure concerning the appointment of judges and their transfer.
"The 1993 judgement of the nine-Judge Bench which laid down the procedure was understood by the government and the Chief Justice of India," Mr Justice Ahmad said and asked where was the question of any doubt at this stage.
He observed citing an apex court ruling that "the Supreme Court has held that as a point of law has been decided before, a presidential reference on the same point would not be maintainable."
Mr Justice Ahmad further observed that as this was the preliminary stage of hearing, "we should consider the maintainability of the reference."
The reference by the President exercising constitutional powers under Article 143(1) had said "doubts have arisen about the interpretation of the law laid down by the Supreme Court and it is in public interest that the said doubts relating to the appointment and transfer of judges be resolved."
The president referred nine questions to the court for its consideration and sought its opinion thereon in the light of the 1993 judgement of the court laying down principles and prescribing procedural norms in regard to the appointment of Supreme Court judges, chief justices and judges of the high court and transfer of judges from one high court to another.
Doda targeted again
SRINAGAR, July 30 (PTI) Militants attacked a camp of Bakerwals (nomads) killing three of them and wounding another in the hilly Doda district of Jammu region last night.
Elsewhere in Jammu and Kashmir, five militants and two securitymen were killed and nine security personnel wounded as militants triggered two powerful explosions and clashed with village-defence committee (VDC) members, an official spokesman said.
Eight militants were arrested and a large quantity of arms and ammunition was recovered in the state during the period.
Militants, armed with sophisticated weapons, attacked a camp of Bakerwals at Pathri Gali in Galhar area of Kishtwar last night, killing two of them at the spot.
Two of the injured were rushed to hospital where one of them succumbed to his injuries. Two security jawans received bullet injuries when militants ambushed an army vehicle on the Gandoh-Thathri road near Batiyar in Doda last evening. The militants escaped after the ambush.
Troops gunned down three militants at Mandu Gale in Kandi area of Rajouri district last evening.
A Defence Ministry spokesman said following a tip-off, the troops cordoned off Mandu Gale and launched a search operation. When militants saw Army personnel approaching their hideout, they opened fire with automatic weapons. The troops returned the fire and in the ensuing encounter three militants were killed.
Arms and ammunition, including five AK-47 rifles, were recovered from the slain militants.
The day curfew was lifted today in Bhaderwah town. There was no relaxation in Kishtwar. The curfew was imposed in the two towns of Doda district as a precautionary measure on Tuesday following the massacre of 16 members of a community by militants at Channa and Sarwan villages.
8 killed in plane crash
NEW DELHI: The government has ordered an inquiry into the crash Civil Aviation Minister Ananth Kumar told the Lok Sabha.
Making a statement in the House, Mr Kumar said the Director-General Civil Aviation (DGCA) had also appointed Director (Air Safety), Mumbai, to probe the accident.
Giving details, he said while all six persons on board were killed, while the others were killed on the ground.
The aircraft was commanded by Capt Shiv Raj Singh and had Capt Manish Sharma as co-pilot, Mr Kumar said, adding the three dead passengers were identified as Vijay Kalyani Kanaujia, Samala Raju and Sasikanth Ramani.
CM interviews youth for jobs
PATHRI KALAN (Amritsar) July 30 It was a rare occasion for the educated youth of this sleepy village and adjoining hamlets along the Indo-Pakistan border. Where once militants ruled the roost, Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal himself interviewed the youth for various self-employed schemes today.
Accompanied by top-ranking officers, Vice-Chancellors of Punjab Agricultural University and Guru Nanak Dev University and experts from different fields, Mr Badal asked the youth: "Beta, tuseen kee kam karna chahundey ho" (son, what kind of work would you want to do?). The youth apprised him of their respective preferences for dairy farming, poultry farming and bee-keeping.
The Chief Minister asked the officer concerned on the spot to undertake the responsibility of giving each of them suitable vocational training and arranging financial assistance.
Earlier, addressing the gathering, Mr Badal announced that Pathri Kalan village would be made a big rural industrial centre, second after Kaljharani village in Bathinda district.
He directed the officers to create the infrastructural facilities in the next two months for imparting training to the youth in modern techniques of agriculture and allied fields. Mr Badal said the Prime Minister would be invited to launch the scheme on November 1.
Mr Badal asked the officers to spend a few days in the village, minutely study the scope for self-employment and prepare a blueprint.
The Chief Minister said such rural industrial centres would provide various services under one roof guidance, training and infrastructural support.
The government, he said, had an ambitious programme to strengthen the canal system in Majha region at a cost of Rs 100 crore to improve irrigation in the area. He said more water would be made available for the Majha region after completion of Thein dam, which had an irrigation potential for an additional 3.40 lakh hectares.
Blaming the previous successive Congress governments for ruining the economy and social infrastructure in the state, Mr Badal said it was unfortunate that after 50 years of independence, the people's demand for water supply, roads, schools and hospitals remained unmet. He said the social service network would be further strengthened so that the common man could get basic facilities.
The Chief Minister asked the Deputy Commissioner and other district-level officers to spend four days in a week in office for paper work and two days in the field to study the problems of the people and prepare plans according to their needs.
Others who spoke on the occasion were Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Cooperation Minister, Dr Rattan Singh, Animal Husbandry Minister, Mr Gulzar Singh Ranike and Mr Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, both MLAs.
Earlier, Mr Badal paid tributes to the late Jathedar Mohan Singh Tur who remained president of the SAD for more than a decade at his native village Tur, 20 km from here, on his 19th death anniversary.
He released a grant of Rs 5 lakh for the village school building.
Mr Tarlochan Singh Tur, MP, thanked the guests.
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