Citizens' Issues
Delhi contests home ministry notification, HC hearing on Friday
The Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government on Thursday moved the Delhi High Court, challenging the union home ministry's May 21 notification that said Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung has discretionary powers for appointments and transfers to key bureaucratic posts in the capital.
 
The Delhi government mentioned the matter before a division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, which posted the hearing for Friday. 
 
Challenging the "constitutional validity" of the notification, the city government sought its quashing by the high court.
 
The high court bench also posted for Friday a similar plea filed by law student Vibhor Anand, who challenged the home ministry notification and contended the appointment of senior bureaucrat Shakuntala Gamlin as the acting chief secretary by the Delhi Lt. Governor was a "illegal".
 
"There is already a similar petition filed by the Delhi government. We will hear both on Friday," the bench said.
 
The petitions, filed within days of a high court order terming the May 21 notification as "suspect", have contended that it was "ultra vires" of the constitutional provisions, i.e. Article 239 AA (4), and that the Centre does not have the jurisdiction over matters connected with services of bureaucrats in the national capital.
 
"Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain informed the high court that the Centre had also approached the Supreme Court to challenge the high court order that termed 'suspect' its notification barring Delhi government's anti-corruption branch (ACB) from acting against its officers in criminal offences."
 
Law student Vibhor Anand in his PIL said: "Delhi is neither a full state nor a union territory and Delhi is governed by Articles 239-AA and 239-AB of Constitution of India (which deals with union territories) introduced by a constitutional amendment in 1991."
 
"As per Section 41 of the GNCT Act, 1991, the Lieutenant Governor does not have any discretion to appoint Gamlin as the chief secretary and other such posts, nor any special law granted him this discretion," the petition read. 
 
The petitioner also said that the Lt. Governor is "dutybound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers and the chief minister in all matters that concern the legislative assembly as per Article 239 AA (4) of the Constitution of India and Section 41 of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991."
 
The petition highlighted a Supreme Court constitutional bench judgment in which the phrase "aid and advice" as used in Article 239-AA has been interpreted "to mean that the aid and advice of the council of ministers and the chief minister is binding on the Governor, it is not just advisory." 
 
The turf war between Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung over the control of key bureaucratic appointments was sparked by the appointment of Gamlin as acting chief secretary of Delhi by the Lt. Governor on May 15. 

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Driving too slow, Indian tourists lose car rentals
Two Indian tourists in New Zealand had their car rental contracts cancelled after they were stopped by police for driving too slow, media reported on Thursday.
 
The drivers drove their two rented vehicles at 60 km/h in a 100 km/h zone in South Island's Queenstown area and stopped frequently in the middle of the road, leading to several people reporting them to the police, Stuff online reported. 
 
In their defence, the Indian drivers blamed low visibility due to fog and geo-positioning system (GPS) problems. 
 
"They just had no idea. There was a real lack of understanding of our road rules," a police official said.
 
International car rental company Avis, provider of their cars, cancelled both the contracts. 

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An app to make residential societies 'smarter'
ApartmentAdda promises to ease the stress of managing a modern housing society
 
Now a software and an app can help both residents and their housing societies to keep track of basic functions like security, plumbing, power maintenance, tracking visitors, legal paperwork and even online voting for elections.
 
That's what ApartmentAdda promises - easing the stress of managing a modern housing society.
 
Founded in 2009 by engineer-duo Sangeeta Banerjee and husband Venkat Kandaswamy, both of whom have experience in ERP consultancy and web solutions, the company by the same name services some 7,500 societies across India.
 
"ApartmentAdda has an online directory of all residents and any information that is sought to be kept confidential can be masked. Homemakers can find a list of common service providers in the area with a rating of the quality of service of each vendor," Sangeeta Banerjee said.
 
"For particularly sticky issues of a society, anonymous polls are also possible," she said.
 
Besides, the app manages a host of services like member accounts, income and expense statements, while also offering billing, and online payment gateway. Residents can also schedule messages for delivery at a later date. Housed on an Android OS platform, it also aids visitor-tracking.
 
The company, which has nearly 60 employees, earns its revenues based on subscriptions from housing societies in cities like Gurgaon, Pune, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Kolkata.
 
"The best part about this app is that it is available free to download and can also run offline. The data is synchronised and can also be saved in an excel sheet for future reference. Staff at an apartment complex can also be tracked with this app," Banerjee said.
 
When asked about the company's growth, she said: "We have grown three times in the last financial year and we expect to grow five times in 2015-16. For our expansion, we are now looking at series 'A' funding from investors."

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