EC rejects Swamy's plea for de-recognition of Congress party

The Election Commission dismissed Dr Swamy's plea holding that it did not fall under any of the grounds specified for de-recognition of a political party

New Delhi
: The Election Commission of India on Tuesday rejected Dr Subramanian Swamy's petition for de-recognition of the Indian National Congress on the plea that it violated rules for registration by loaning Rs90 crore to a company, reports PTI.


The Commission, after its full meeting, headed by Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath, dismissed the plea holding that it did not fall under any of the grounds specified for de-recognition of a political party.


"The ground urged by you seeking de-recognition of the party under reference in the present case does not fall under any of the grounds specified under the said paragraph 16A for such recognition," the Commission said in a letter to Swamy.


The Commission further stated that the 3rd and 5th November letters written by Swamy were "not maintainable" under paragraph 16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, which gives powers to the Election Commission to suspend or withdraw recognition of a recognised political party for its failure to observe Model Code of Conduct or follow the Commission's directions.


The Commission has also said that even though the Representation of People Act, 1951 provides for the manner in which the registered political parties may raise their funds, "there is no provision whatsoever in that Act prescribing the manner in which the political parties may use those funds."


The EC letter further states that, "If the party has not complied with any of the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961, as alleged by you, that matter does not fall within the jurisdiction of the Commission."


Swamy, the president of Janata Party, had earlier alleged that the Indian National Congress headed by Sonia Gandhi be de-recognised by the Election Commission on the grounds that the party had loaned more than Rs 90 crore to a company named Associated Journals Private Limited, in violation of the guidelines and rules for registration as well as recognition of political parties.


The Commission has also taken serious exception to Swamys allegation questioning EC's impartiality and rejected it as "completely baseless".

"...the Commission does not have anything to do with newspaper reports referred to by you. The Commission had not taken any decision in the matter on the 3rd or 4th November, 2012 and, therefore, leaking of the decision by anyone does not arise. The Commission takes serious exception to your allegation questioning the impartiality of the Commission which the Commission rejects as completely baseless," the EC said.

The Commission further said that the reliance placed on section 146 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and the General Clauses Act, 1897, in support of Swamy's prayer for a hearing by the Commission in the matter was also "misplaced".

"The present case is not the case of one such inquiry as contemplated under the said section 146 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951," the Commission told Swamy.

Swamy had on 3rd November moved the EC seeking derecognition of Congress, alleging the party violated laws by providing a Rs90 crore loan to a company that published the now-defunct National Herald newspaper.

In a letter to the EC, Swamy said Congress has "prima facie" committed an offence under electoral law as well as Income Tax law for which it is necessary to hold hearings and decide on derecognising the party.

His petition came as a follow up to his charges against Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi over acquisition of Associated Journals that published the newspaper to which Congress gave the loan.

He had said Associated Journals obtained an unsecured loan of Rs90 crore from AICC which he claimed was illegal under Income Tax Act because a political party cannot give loans for commercial purposes.

"This loan is in violation of the Guidelines and Rules that has to be mandatorily followed by political parties for registration as well as recognition. Section 29A to C of RPA and Section 13A of IT Act do not make any provision for any political party to extend loans to companies with or without interest," Swamy said in the letter.


BSE Sensex, Nifty to head higher: Tuesday Closing Report

A reversal will be signalled by Nifty closing below its previous day’s low


The smart recovery in the last hour saw the market close an otherwise unexciting session, with modest gains, making it the fifth positive close in a row. Yesterday we had mentioned that if the Nifty closes decisively above 5,720 we may see it heading to a new yearly high. Towards the close of the trading session today the Nifty hit its intraday high of 5,731, which was the highest in the last 20 days (including today), and settled near the day’s high. If the index again manages to close in the positive, we may see it finding its first resistance at 5,750. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) saw a lower volume of 55.16 crore shares and an advance decline ratio of 939:803.


The market witnessed a lower opening as the world watches the largest democracy voting for a new president later tonight. The outcome of the US presidential election is expected to end the uncertainty in the global markets seen in the last few days.


The Nifty opened 10 points down at 5,694 and the Sensex resumed trade at 18,740, down 23 points. Volatility since the opening bell kept the benchmarks on both sides of the previous closing levels in early trade.


Meanwhile, the rupee fell by 17 paise to touch a fresh two-month low of 54.78 against the dollar in early trade due to increased demand for the greenback from oil importers. The Indian unit had plunged by 80 paise on Monday to close at over eight-week low of 54.61 on massive dollar demand from banks and importers amid a sharp rise in the American currency overseas.


The market gained strength at around 10.00am on buying interest in realty, power and healthcare stocks. The gains helped the benchmarks stay in he green in the morning session.


However, some profit taking resulted in the benchmarks paring part of their gains in subsequent trade. Increased selling pressure from auto, capital goods and oil & gas stocks kept the market near the neutral line in noon trade.


While the opening figure of the Nifty was its intraday low, the Sensex touched its low at around 2.00pm with the index falling to 18,727.


A fresh bout of buying in realty and healthcare stocks saw the indices stage a smart recovery form their lows. The benchmarks went on to hit their highs towards the end of the trading session. At the highs, the Nifty rose to 5,731 and the Sensex climbed to 18,829.


The last hour bounce-back helped the market settle near the day’s high. The Nifty gained 20 points (0.35%) to 5,724 and the Sensex ended the session above the 18,800 level mark at 18,817, up 55 points (0.29%).


The broader indices outperformed the Sensex today. The BSE Mid-cap index closed 0.56% up and the BSE Small-cap index gained 0.35%.


Among the sectoral indices, BSE Realty (up 2.05%); BSE Healthcare (up 0.95%); BSE Power (up 0.71%); BSE Bankex (up 0.60%) and BSE PSU (up 0.60%) were the top gainers. BSE Auto (down 0.51%), BSE Capital Goods (down 0.21%) and BSE IT (down 0.01%) were the losers.


Seventeen of the 30 stocks on the Sensex closed in the positive. The chief gainers were Cipla (up 4.18%); GAIL India (up 1.85%); HDFC (up 1.75%); Jindal Steel (up 1.43%) and State Bank of India (up 1.39%). The main losers were Hindalco Industries (down 1.87%); Maruti Suzuki (down1.70%); Tata Motors (down 1.06%); Hero MotoCorp (down 0.72%) and Bajaj Auto (down 0.60%).


The top two A Group gainers on the BSE were—Jammu & Kashmir Bank (up 7.81%) and HDIL (up 5.90%).

The top two A Group losers on the BSE were—Voltas (down 2.94%) and Jubilant Foodworks (down 2.41%).


The top two B Group gainers on the BSE were—R* Shares Banking Exchange Traded Fund (up 27.46%) and Jolly Board (up 20%).

The top two B Group losers on the BSE were—Vinayak Polycon International (down 18.69%) and Relaxo Footwears (down 10.18%).


Out of the 50 stocks listed on the Nifty, 33 stocks settled in the positive. The key gainers were Cipla (up 4.23%); Asian Paints (up 3.61%); Ambuja Cements (up 2.71%); ACC (up 2.68%) and Ranbaxy Laboratories (up 2.51%). The losers were led by IDFC (down 2.34%); Maruti Suzuki (down1.89%); Hindalco Industries (down 1.83%).Reliance Infrastructure (down 1.72%) and Tata Motors (down 1.07%).


Markets in Asia settled mixed on fresh concerns about Greece’s ability to get a consensus for its harsh austerity measures. Cautiousness ahead of the US presidential elections also kept the gains in check.


The Shanghai Composite declined 0.38%; the Hang Seng fell 0.28%; the KLSE Composite dropped 0.51%; the Nikkei 225 slipped 0.36% and the Straits Times lost 0.41%. Among the gainers, the Jakarta Composite rose 0.26%; the Seoul Composite surged 1.05% and the Taiwan Weighted climbed 0.71%.


At the time of writing, the key European indices were up between 0.61% and 0.81% and the US stock futures were trading higher, indicating a firm opening for the US markets on Election Day.


Back home, inflows from foreign institutional investors (FIIs) into stocks on Monday were offset by withdrawals by domestic institutional investors (DIIs). While FIIs were net investors of stocks totalling Rs373.93 crore, DIIs were net sellers of shares aggregating Rs344.41 crore.


Watch maker Titan Industries, a joint venture between Tata Group and Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO), has drawn up plans to expand its accessories division. The company, which has seen a good demand for its men’s apparel segment, is set to venture into belts and handbags for women. The stock gained 0.09% to close at Rs290.20 on the NSE.


Glenmark Pharmaceuticals today said it has settled litigation with Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc over patent actions regarding generic oral contraceptive Norgestimate and Ethinyl Estradiol tablets.


Under the terms of the settlement agreements, Glenmark will be able to market and distribute its generic tablets under a royalty bearing licence from Janssen on 31 December 2015, or earlier under certain circumstances. The stock declined 1.42% to close at Rs431.55 on the NSE.


Vacation ownership company Mahindra Holidays and Resorts India (MHRIL) is looking to expand its base overseas in locations such as Dubai, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. The company recently added a resort in Bangkok, Thailand. The new property called “Mac Boutique Suites” is a 77-room resort located centrally in the Bangkok business district. The stock dropped 1.39% to close at Rs281 on the NSE.


Skyfall: No. 23, after 50 years

Skyfall is the perfect way to commemorate 50 years of Bond on the silver screen. It is not only the best Bond movie to date, but also the best action movie of this year

Around 50 years ago, Sean Connery was chosen to play the lead in a movie, whose franchise would be the second highest grosser ever and probably the first after a couple more titles. Coming to the 21st century, James Bond movies have had their shares of highs and lows. Over 23 movies, six actors in the lead role and 12 and a half billion dollars grossed (inflation adjusted), the James Bond movie series is one of the most iconic ever.


Skyfall, the 23rd Bond film, Daniel Craig’s third outing as 007, is probably the most awaited film this year after The Dark Knight Rises. And after the rather mediocre Quantum of Solace, fans would certainly hope for a much better movie. Delayed by a year due to MGM’s financial woes, Skyfall may be late but is certainly worth the wait. Skyfall is the Bond movie that takes the character so wonderfully introduced in 2006’s Casino Royale to another level.


The plot of Skyfall is unlike that of any previous Bond movie. The 23rd time around, things are a lot more personal. MI6’s list of operatives in terrorist organizations is stolen and names are released publicly, five every week. M is haunted by a certain person from her past and it is up to an aging and slightly haggard Bond to clean things up. It all leads up to the climax, where one understands why the film is named so.


What happened with the reboot of the Bond franchise in 2006 was that grandiose action sequences aside, the movies became more connected to the real world than the times of pen grenades, watch embedded grappling hooks and the over-the-top Armageddon schemes. James Bond is much more human and quite fallible too. Long gone is the one-liner spewing, un-woundable super spy-cum-killing machine who never missteps.


Helmed by Sam Mendes (Road to Perdition, American Beauty), Skyfall is THE definitive Bond movie for the 21st century. The movie’s strengths are quite a few.


First and foremost, the cinematography. The man behind the lens is Roger Deakins, who adds Skyfall to his already reputable list that includes movies like The Shawshank Redemption and A Beautiful Mind. The camera work is excellent throughout and shines particularly in a dimly-lit fight sequence in Shanghai and the climax. A big plus is that Deakins consciously avoids the use of shaky-cam, which would certainly feel out of place in a Bond movie. The locales are all captured wonderfully, be it the stunning opening sequence in Turkey, the Macau Casino or the climax in the Scottish countryside. Lighting is pitch-perfect in all scenes too. Never unnecessarily dark or too bright, this movie deserves an Oscar nomination for the cinematography. It is probably the best shot movie of the year.


Next, the screenplay. With Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (Bond regulars) as the screenwriters, the screenplay’s missteps, if any are few and minor. A complaint could be made about the movie being too long but personally, I felt it was correctly paced. While the movie opens leisurely with the introduction of characters, the pace quickens and the tension is sustained very well. It goes to show that style and substance can co-exist in a Bond movie, which one certainly hasn’t seen in movies like Die Another Day or the immensely forgettable Living Daylights. Each character is well written and some characters given a new dimension too. The plot, while containing sufficient action, has a fair amount of emotional content too, something rarely seen in the Connery or Moore movies. While the movie has a serious undertone to it, there are some genuinely funny moments too.


Moving on to the cast. Daniel Craig as Bond is the closest anyone has come to Ian Fleming’s character so far. Craig portrays Bond as a flawed man who seems to be losing his edge, but has an unwavering sense of duty. His performance is immaculate and it is clear that he has given his all to the role. He breathes life into Bond. While Oscar considerations are unlikely, it is certainly a top-notch performance. Every Bond movie has two heroines, one a damsel in distress who is seduced by Bond and mostly dies somewhere in the movie. And then there’s one that carries on till the end. This time around, the second job is done by Judi Dench, as M. She is consistently excellent and brings an extra dimension to the character and is unlike cold-hearted decision maker she has portrayed in earlier Bond films. It’s nice to see M get her hands dirty for once.


Craig and Dench aside, the biggest strength of the movie is the antagonist Raoul Silva, played by a blond Javier Bardem. Javier Bardem is tremendous as the agent-turned-terrorist with unresolved mommy issues. There are moments where Silva is charming and humorous. There are some where is emotional. And some in which he’s downright menacing. Bardem pulls off all these scenes with consummate ease. One can safely say Silva is the best Bond villain ever. Bardem follows up his negative turn in No Country For Old Men with a completely different but nevertheless outstanding portrayal of Silva. His screen presence is outstanding. Oscar worthy performance, surely. Other cast members include Ralph Fiennes as Mallory, head of the British Intelligence Services, Naomie Harris—the inexperienced field agent and Ben Whishaw as the quartermaster.


The action scenes are superb. No other word for them. Each action sequence has been choreographed painstakingly and the end result is amazing. Right from the opening chase in Istanbul to the pyrotechnics heavy climax, the scenes are uniformly stunning. In particular, a chase sequence in London followed by a shootout is exhilarating. The music, done by Thomas Newman who has worked with Mendes before, is top notch. Every scene has music that complements it. The opening track by Adele is also quite good.


While the film boasts of so many positives, it has a few minor faults. The character of Severine (previously mentioned victim-heroine) is rather weak and Berenice Marlohe is not very good in the role.  An argument could be made against pacing, as mentioned before, but these issues are few and far between. It is as close to the perfect Bond movie as one could hope for.


While this is Bond in the 21st century, Skyfall does pay enough reverence to the Bond of the sixties and seventies and should keep old Bond loyalists happy too. The addition of two new characters which I won’t reveal should bring a smile to the faces of Connery-Moore fanboys. And the way the movie plays out in the end, it ends up as a perfect mix of old and new.


Skyfall is not only the best Bond movie to date, but also the best action movie of this year and one can only hope the next Bond movie reaches the heights this does. It is the perfect way to commemorate 50 years of Bond on the silver screen. Bond certainly will be back, and I’m looking forward to it.


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