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.

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Supreme Court gets full strength of Judges

Supreme Court has reached its full sanctioned strength of 31 with appointment of 4 new judges to the apex court. The total sanctioned strength of Supreme Court is 31 (30 + 1), which includes 30 Supreme Court Judges and 1 Chief Justice of India (CJI). The length of their term is from their joining till they retire at the age of 65.

Key Highlights

  • The Centre has cleared the four names recommended by five-member Supreme Court Collegium headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, for elevation as judges of the apex court.
  • The law ministry issued notification regarding appointment after President of India Ram Nath Kovind signed their warrants of appointment.
  • Delay: The government initially returned the names of Justices Bose and Bopanna to the SC collegium after citing seniority and representation of regions as the reasons. But, SC collegium passed a resolution in early May which reiterated its recommendation to elevate Justices Bose and Bopanna to apex court and also recommended the names of justices B R Gavai and Justice Kant. The collegium observed that nothing wrong has been found regarding their conduct, competence or integrity.
  • Importance: As of now, Supreme Court was functioning with 27 judges including the Chief Justice of India. After the elevation of four new judges, the apex court reached its full sanctioned strength of 31 judges. In recent past this is the first time that SC will have its full sanctioned strength.
  • The four newly appointed judges are-
  1. Justice Aniruddha Bose– His parent High Court is Calcutta HC. He is Chief Justice of Jharkhand HC and stands at number 12 in all-India seniority of judges.
  2. Justice Surya Kant– is incumbent Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh HC.
  3. Justice A S Bopanna– His parent high court is Karnataka HC. He is Chief Justice of Gauhati HC and stands at number 36 in all-India seniority of judges.
  4. Justice B R Gavai – is a judge of the Bombay High Court. Once sworn in, he could become the Chief Justice of India in May, 2025 and will be second Dalit CJI after K G Balakrishnan who retired on May 11, 2010.

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Delhi HC: United Nation not State under Article 12

In a recent judgement the Delhi High court (HC) ruled that United Nations Organization (UNO) is not ‘State’ in terms of Article 12 of the Indian Constitution and thus it is not amenable to its jurisdiction under Article 226.

About The Case

  • Case: The Delhi HC judgment adjudicated the petition filed concerning immunity enjoyed by UNO under United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act, 1947.
  • Petitioner: The plea in case is filed by a former UNO employee who was found guilty of misconduct following the findings of Procurement Task Force. He was then convicted by a US Federal Court and sentenced to 8 years of imprisonment and 2 years of mandatory probation, was later released and deported to India in May 2014. The petition filed by him claims that due process was not followed in his case.
  • Course Followed:
    • In November 2018, the petitioner sought permission of Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to initiate a legal action against UNO under section 86 of Civil Procedure Code, 1908. This section 86 of CPC provides that a foreign State may be sued in any Court once the consent of Central government is obtained.
    • The MEA then stated that consent of Union Government was not required to initiate legal suit against UNO as it was not foreign State rather only an International Organization.
    • MEA although stated that UNO and its officials enjoyed immunity under United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act, 1947. It also added that as per Section 2 of Article II of the Schedule of Act, 1947, UNO enjoys immunity from every kind of legal process except insofar as in any particular case it has clearly waived its immunity. The same became subject matter of petition filed before the Delhi High Court.

Article 12 of Constitution of India

As per it the ‘States’ in relation to Part III (Fundamental Rights) of Constitution includes Government and Parliament of India (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha), Government and Legislature of each of State (Vidhan Sabha and Vidhan Parishad), all local (or other) authorities within territory of India or under control of Union of India.

Article 226 of Constitution of India

It empowers the high courts of India to issue orders, directions or writs, which includes writs in nature of habeas corpus, prohibition, mandamus, certiorari, and quo warranto (or any of them) to any concerned person or authority, including the government (in appropriate cases).

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