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The price hike has come as a cruel joke and 'mortal blow' to the common man and farmers already reeling under inflation and drought like situation
New Delhi: Slamming the government over diesel price hike, UP allies Trinamool Congress and Samajwadi Party have demanded an immediate rollback while the opposition said the increase will further hit the common man and create "mayhem" in the economy, reports PTI.
"We are unhappy. We will not accept it and demand its rollback," Mamata Banerjee, chief of Trinamool Congress, the second-largest constituent of the UPA said in Kolkata.
"If people do not mind, I will be most happy to withdraw support (to the UPA). If I withdraw support then other parties will provide support to them. And, then ask why we left the UPA which led to its collapse. People had misunderstood us when we had withdrawn support earlier."
The Trinamool Congress would take to the streets for 72 hours from Friday opposing the decisions, she said.
Demanding an immediate rollback in diesel prices, the Samajwadi Party, which provides outside support to the UPA, said, the decision is ill-timed.
"We demand immediate withdrawal of the hike as it will badly hit the common man and farmers," SP leader Kamal Farooqi said.
Their sharp reaction came after the government decided to hike diesel prices by Rs5.62 per litre effective Thursday tonight.
The Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had decided to raise diesel prices.
It also decided to restrict supply of subsidised cooking gas to six cylinders per household in a year.
The BJP termed the price hike as a cruel joke and "mortal blow" to the common man and farmers and charged the government with conspiring with petrol 'mafia'.
"This is a cruel joke on the common man in the country. It has hit farmers hard during the peak paddy sowing season. We will not allow this hike. We will not allow this government to loot the common man like this," BJP Vice President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.
BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said, "Diesel increase will have a cascading effect on the economy as a whole. Prices are already not under control, so this is going to contribute to overall inflation and create mayhem in the economy."
CPI National Secretary D Raja termed the decisions as "retrogade and anti-people".
"It will have an adverse effect on the prices of essential commodities which are already high. It will further increase hardship of common people. Government should not go ahead," he said.
AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa accused the Government of constantly betraying the people. She said the diesel hike would result in increase of prices of essential commodities and vegetable.
"I demand the rollback of the hike in diesel price and ceiling in cylinder subsidy," she said.
"Even a family of 4 persons need the use of at least one cylinder per month. Hence they will also have to ease out the 6 cylinder norms, which is absolutely unreasonable. It goes without saying that the scam money is not with the exchequer but with others like the nexus of politicians-bureaucrats - businessmen who have pocketed the loot. Therefore it appears that the Government is left with no options but to raise the prices of diesel and do away with subsidies to augment the Government resources. They are least bothered if the common man suffers or survives on account of this price onslaught," said Dolphy Dsouza, former National Vice-President of All India Catholic Union and immediate Past President of The Bombay Catholic Sabha.
Admitting that it was an "unpleasant" decision of the government, Congress said it was not in favour of a hike to such an extent because it hurts the farmers and the common man.
Government has to take a conscious decision after taking all allies of the UPA into confidence, party general secretary Digvijay Singh said, adding that the issue should be discussed in the UPA coordination committee.
According to former CIC Shailesh Gandhi citizens need to question the Supreme Court judgement and ask for a review by a larger bench, if they want RTI to remain relevant
The Supreme Court has given a judgement in Namit Sharma vs. Union of India on 13 September, 2012 in WP(C) 210 of 2012. The Court has given directions that all Information Commissions shall work in Benches of two members, and one member should be a ‘judicial member’. Thus 50% of the Commissioners will now be retired judges. "Effectively the disposal of pending cases will drop to about 50% of the current disposals. This will lead to Commissions deciding cases after five years or more in the next few years," says Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.
He said, "Citizens should question this judgement and ask for a review by a larger bench, if they want RTI to remain relevant. I believe there are adequate legal grounds to challenge this judgement."
On Thursday, the apex court, while lifting the stay on appointment of information commissioners under the RTI Act, said the government should give preference to people from judicial background while appointing such Commissioners.
RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal said the verdict by the Supreme Court on appointment of Information Commissioners is a classic example of judicial overreach. "If not reviewed, it would induce practical problems thus making the Act, which was drafted by civil society members with an aim for simplicity and practicability while maintaining transparency and accountability, a toothless law."
The bench of justices AK Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar passed the order on a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging Section 12 and 15 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, enumerating the qualifications needed for the appointment of members to the commissions.
The bench, however, refused to quash the Sections but asked the government to modify it so that people from the judicial background are also preferred for the post.
“..without any peradventure and veritably, we state that appointments of legally qualified, judicially trained and experienced persons would certainly manifest in more effective serving of the ends of justice as well as ensuring better administration of justice by the Commission. It would render the adjudicatory process which involves critical legal questions and nuances of law, more adherent to justice and shall enhance the public confidence in the working of the Commission,” the apex court said in its judgement.
Currently, none of the eight members of the Central Information Commission (CIC), including the Chief Information Commissioner are from judicial background.
The CIC comprises one Chief Information Commissioner and 10 Information Commissioners. Presently, three posts of Information Commissioners are vacant in the CIC.
"At present Central Information Commission has eight Information Commissioners out of total sanctioned strength of eleven, with none of them having judicial background. To constitute double-bench with compulsion to have a member with judicial background, there is a need to appoint eight more members, which I don't think is possible with the current setup at the Commission," Mr Agrawal pointed out.
Here is a copy of the Supreme Court judgement...