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November 4 , 2017

Specify Aadhaar link deadlines, says SC

  • The Supreme Court on Friday sent a clear message to the public to not panic, when it directed mobile service providers and banks to specify the last dates of linking mobile numbers and bank accounts to Aadhaar in the SMSes and e-mails they send to millions of subscribers.
  • The court, however, refused to pass any interim order to stay the linking, saying a Constitution Bench is scheduled to hear Aadhaar cases by November-end.
  • Rule 2(b) of the Prevention of Money Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules of 2017 requires Aadhaar for opening new bank accounts and for verification of existing bank accounts by December 31, 2017, failing which the “bank accounts will cease to be operational.”

Article 35A is not part of the Constitution of India’

  • Jammu and Kashmir Advocate-General Jehangir Iqbal Ganai on Friday said Article 35A, which is being contested in the Supreme Court through a number of petitions, “is not part of the Indian Constitution”.
  • “There is an argument projected that the President has no powers to amend the Constitution. The fact of the matter is Article 35A is not part of the Constitution of India. It’s a part of the Constitution only applicable to J&K. There is a difference. So there is no requirement of Parliament amending it,” Mr. Ganai.
  • He said Parliament as such had no powers to add any article of the J&K Constitution except to Article 370. “Every Article has been made applicable to J&K through Article 370. In Article 370, the President has been given powers to amend, alter or modify any article viz-a-viz J&K, with exceptions and modifications,” he said.
  • Referring to the 1954 presidential order on Article 35A, which grants special rights to citizens of J&K over property and jobs, Mr. Ganai said the Article related to fundamental rights was in “desirable” and not “essential” list.
  • “The Constituent Assembly of J&K has been of the opinion, as per the recorded debates, to have own Articles over fundamental rights. However, after the Delhi agreement of 1952 under Clause 6, the Centre appreciated the need to have special rights for J&K. And in fact acknowledges these special rights. Then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru issued a statement in Parliament over deliberations held between the State and Centre over special rights,” he said.
  • He said Nehru recognised two issues in Parliament — one regarding the citizenship and special rights, while making reference to the special rights then existing since 1927 of Maharaja Hari Singh’s J&K.
  • In the follow-up of Parliament debates of 1954, the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly formed two committees, one on basic constitutional structure and another on the fundamental rights.
  • “Subsequently, the Constituent Assembly adopted a resolution on Article 35A. The annexure was sent to the Centre for concurrence and not for any approval from the President. In fact, all presidential orders require concurrence of the State Assembly equally,” he said.

Judiciary knows best: SC Collegium

  • Let judiciary, and not the Intelligence Bureau (IB), be the best judge of professional competence of candidates considered for judicial appointments, the Supreme Court Collegium said.
  • The Collegium of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justices J. Chelameswar and Ranjan Gogoi made it clear that the IB should not delve into the professional competence of persons shortlisted for the judiciary. The IB does a background check on the candidates once their names are considered for elevation by the High Court Collegium concerned.
  • “We are of the view that professional competence can best be determined by the members of the higher judiciary who have the opportunity to observe his (candidate’s) performance on a daily basis,” the Collegium noted.
  • In the cases of the three candidates — advocates Rajesh Kumar, Anubha Rawat Choudhary and Kailash Prasad Deo — for the Jharkhand HC, the Supreme Court Collegium found that the IB had come up with nothing on record against their integrity. All three have been recommended for elevation as judges.
  • In all the cases, the Collegium’s conclusions show that it has microscopically gone through the IB reports concerning the integrity of the candidates recommended by the HC Collegiums.