Constitution & Law Current Affairs - 2019

Summary of latest bill and acts passed or pending in 2019 in Parliament of India with their salient features and issues for Current Affairs 2019 preparation for various examinations such as UPSC, SSC, State Civil Services, CLAT, Judicial Services etc.

Category Wise PDF Compilations available at This Link

SC Verdict: CJI Office under RTI act

On November 13, 2019, the Supreme Court upheld the 2010 judgement of Delhi High Court that the RTI (Right To Information) act was applicable to the office of CJI (Chief Justice of India) as well.

Key Findings of the Judgement

  • The CJI office and the SC are not two different public authorities. Under Article 124, SC includes office of CJI and the other judges as well
  • The relationship between the CJI and the judges would neither be fiduciary nor be beneficial.
  • The judgement said that under Section 6(2) of the act, the motive of the seeker of information is not a relevant consideration.
  • The Public Information Officer has vast discretion under the RTI act. The PIO should make sure judicial independence and accountability are well maintained as they go hand in hand. It is important for the SC to maintain confidentiality in certain aspects of judicial administration.

Background

In 2010, the CIC (Central Information Commission) ordered the SC CPIOs (Central Public Information Officer) to provide information on personal assets possessed by the judges of SC. The order was challenged at the Delhi HC to which it ruled that SC and CJI have statutory duty to furnish information regarding administration and functioning of the SC.

Appeals were filed to SC on HC verdict in 2010. Though filed in 2010, it was heard and referred to a Constitution bench only in 2016 and the judgement was pronounced now.

SC Verdict: Karnataka MLA Disqualification case

The Supreme Court on November 13, 2019, pronounced its judgement on the legality of disqualification of 15 dissident MLAs by the then Karnataka Assembly Speaker under Anti-Defection law

Verdict

The Apex Court upheld the disqualification of the MLAs by the speaker. The Court clarified that the disqualification is till their re-election and not till the end of the term of the house as ruled by the speaker.

The speaker had ruled that the MLAs cannot contest in further elections including the by polls to be held in December, 2019 and till the end of the tenure of the 15th Karnataka Assembly

Article 190

It explains the vacation of seats by the members of Houses of legislature of state. The article gives the power for the MLA to resign addressing the speaker. However, the article also gives power to the speaker the power to reject the resignation

Anti-Defection Law

The tenth schedule of the Constitution lays down the process by which legislators can be disqualified on grounds of defection by the presiding officer of the legislature. A MLA is deemed to have been defected

  • if he voluntarily gives up his membership of the party
  • If he disobeys party leadership on a vote

Background – The Politics

In 2018, in the assembly elections of the 224 seats, BJP won 104, INC won 80 and JD won 37. The Janata Dal-Indian National Congress coalition formed the government after 2018 elections. In July 2019, after BJP swept the parliamentary elections (coalition hardly won only 2 seats), 17 MLAs of the coalition submitted resignations to the speaker. Following this the then Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy resigned losing trust vote and B S Yediyurappa was sworn in as the CM, as after resignation, BJP became the single largest party.

The MLAs were disqualified by the speaker to contest elections based on anti-defection law. In July a petition was filed by MLAs challenging their disqualification by the then speaker of the Karnataka Assembly.