Election Commission announces dates for assembly election in 5 states
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has announced the dates for the assembly elections in five states – Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa.
- Elections in Uttarakhand, Goa and Punjab will consist of a single phase.
- Goa (40 Seats) and Punjab (117 Seats) will go to polls on February 4, 2017 while polling in Uttarakhand will be for 70 seats and will be held on February 15, 2017.
- Uttar Pradesh will go to polls in seven phases for 403 seats from February 11, 2017.
- Manipur will go to polls for 60 seats in two phases on March 4 and 8, 2017.
Supreme Court limits government’s power to issue ordinances
The Supreme Court placed restrictions on the powers of the government to legislate through ordinances, ruling that ordinances cannot be promulgated repeatedly without being placed before the legislature. “The question of whether any rights, liabilities, obligations would survive an ordinance which had ceased to exist, would have to be tested against public interest and constitutional necessity,” the court said.
- A seven-judge bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur, Justices Madan B Lokur, S A Bobde, Adarsh Kumar Goel, U U Lalit, D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao heard a case seeking a definitive ruling on the legality of ordinances that do not have parliamentary sanction even after several years.
- The satisfaction of the President would not be immune from judicial review and the court in this exercise would not have to determine the sufficiency or adequacy of the material,” the SC said.
- Under Article 123 of the Constitution, the President is granted legislative powers to issue an ordinance when Parliament is not in session.
- The law, however, requires that an ordinance be approved by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha within 6 months of its promulgation. Similar powers are granted to Governors of states.
- Lokur said there was no mandatory requirement for an ordinance to be laid before the legislative assembly on its reassembly and that the power of the executive, once an ordinance had been promulgated, was limited to withdrawal by the Governor of the state.
- The case being heard related to a 1989 Bihar law for taking control of the management of Sanskrit schools in the state through an ordinance.
- The ordinance finally lapsed in 1992, after it was repromulgated several times. Sanskrit schools in the state, however, continued to be governed by the state even after the ordinance lapsed.
- The apex court held that Bihar’s ordinance and the subsequent repromulgation are ‘a fraud on the constitutional power.’
Swachh Bharat survey to begin today
The government will kick started on January 4, 2017, to rank 500 cities across the country on cleanliness, in a bid to encourage competition to improve sanitation standards. To be conducted by Quality Council of India (QCI), the ‘Swachh Survekshan – 2017’ will judge cities on the basis of data provided by Municipal bodies which will carry 900 marks, data collected through direct observations and independent assessment (500 marks) and citizen feedback (600 marks).
- Areas of evaluations include ‘waste collection, sweeping and transportation’ with 40 per cent marks, ‘Open defecation free (ODF) and toilets’ (30 per cent), ‘Municipal Solid Waste-processing and disposal’ (20 per cent) and ‘Information, education and behavior change’ and ‘Capacity building-Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) e-learning portal’ (5 per cent each).
- The citizens can give their feedback by either giving a missed call at 1969 to record their response or by filling up a feedback form on the Swachh Survekshan website, an official release said. Last year, ‘Swachh Survekshan – 2016’ ranked 73 cities across the country and 1 lakh citizens participated and gave their feedback.
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