Citizens' Issues
SC issues notice to government on challenging Armed Forces Tribunal decisions in HC
Giving a ray of hope to veterans, disabled soldiers and military widows, the Supreme Court had issued notices to the Central Government seeking reconsideration of the entire issue 
 
The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Central Government on a special leave petition (SLP) that seeks to reconsider restraint on accessing High Courts against orders passed by the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT).
 
This gives a ray of hope to veterans, disabled soldiers and military widows whose writ petitions against orders of the AFT were recently disposed by High Courts finding their hands tied by a judgement of the Supreme Court.  
 
Earlier in March this year, the apex court held that orders of the AFT can not be challenged by affected parties before the High Courts. And the only remedy to challenge the same is before the Supreme Court by way of an appeal as provided in Sections 30 and 31 of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007. 
 
Appearing for aggrieved litigants, Aishwarya Bhati and Senior Advocate Arvind P Datar submitted that the current state leaves litigants remediless against orders of the AFT because of the statutory bar of "general public importance" for approaching the SC.
 
It was pointed out that a similar controversy pertaining to the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) had been addressed by a seven judge Constitution Bench of the SC when it was ruled that the apex court could not become the first appellate court for such service matters and that challenges to Tribunal decisions would be heard by Division Benches of HCs. It was also submitted that it was a known legal proposition that all Tribunals being mere creations of the statute were subordinate to the writ jurisdiction of Constitutional High Courts.  
 
Many ex-servicemen and veteran organisations had written to the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister to intervene in the matter since the provisions of the AFT Act and the March 2015 decision of the SC had left them without any remedy when the AFT refused to grant them relief. 
 
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Lok Sabha speaker suspends 25 Congress MPs
The parliament logjam took an ugly turn on Monday when Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan suspended 25 Congress MPs for five days for "willfully obstructing the business of the house".
 
The Congress MPs, including Gaurav Gogoi, Sushmita Dev, Ranjeet Ranjan, K.C. Venugopal and Deepinder Singh Hooda, were "named" under rule 374(A).
 
The rule says in the event of grave disorder occasioned by a member coming into the well of the house or abusing the rules persistently and willfully obstructing its business by shouting slogans or otherwise, such member shall, on being named by the speaker, stand automatically suspended from the service of the house for five consecutive sittings or the remainder of the session, whichever is less.
 
All the Congress members protesting in the well, however, kept up their high decibel protest inside the house even while their names were being read out.
 
Earlier, the Lok Sabha secretariat had said 27 members have been suspended. They later corrected the number to 25.
 
The speaker's action came soon after the failure of an all party meeting called by the government to break the parliament logjam.
 
The members of the Congress, which has been protesting demanding the resignations of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and two BJP chief ministers, have been holding placards and shouting slogans in the house.
 
They were protesting against the government over the Lalit Modi issue and Vyapam scam.
 
The Congress has 44 members in the Lok Sabha.
 
Immediately after naming the members, Mahajan adjourned the house for the day.

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COMMENTS

Anand Vaidya

1 year ago

What a waste of taxpayers' money? The street monkeys can put up a far better show..

Mumbai's BEST incurs Rs.2.26 crore loss daily, reveals RTI query
Mumbai's public bus service, popularly known by its acronym BEST, is running into losses of Rs.2.26 crore per day mainly due to declining patronage and high operating costs, an RTI query revealed on Monday.
 
Considered the lifeline of Mumbai, BEST - with a fleet of around 2,600 buses - rendered remarkable services in times of major crises and natural calamities, but was now facing bad days, said RTI activist Anil Galgali.
 
It has been serving the residents of Mumbai, earlier known as Bombay, for the past around 90 years.
 
"For May-June, daily expenditure comes to Rs.6.16 crore while its income through ticket sale is Rs.3.90 crore, leaving a gap of Rs.2.26 crore per day," Galgali said.
 
BEST, or Bombay Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking, is patronised by around 2.83 million commuters daily, working virtually round-the-clock.
 
The base fare is Rs.8 for regular and limited buses, Rs.10 for express service and Rs.30 for air conditioned service. BEST serves the whole of Mumbai and parts of Thane, Navi Mumbai and Raigad.
 
"BEST has been serving the city selflessly and needs to be encouraged as it can help save a lot of time and money. I have written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to demand separate lanes for BEST buses to help avoid traffic snarls and improve efficiency," Galgali said.
 
BEST is the third 'avatar' of Mumbai's public transport system, which began with horse-drawn trams in May 1874.
 
These continued till 1905 when the horses gave way to electric trams, which proved immensely popular, economical and efficient.
 
In 1926, the Bombay Municipal Corporation launched the first BEST bus services which too proved very popular.
 
Meanwhile, the electric trams shut down in 1964 due to high costs, poor patronage and inaccessibility to many metropolis areas, and growing convenience of Mumbai suburban trains.
 
In 1947, the then Bombay Municipal Corporation acquired the tram operating company and re-named it the Bombay Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking, which is presently serving the city.

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COMMENTS

Meenal Mamdani

1 year ago

This needs to be analyzed by bus routes, timing of buses, and the type of service, a/c or non a/c etc.
BEST is absolutely essential for the smooth functioning of the city. So rather than lament the loss, we should figure out where streamlining is in order. This may inconvenience some commuters who will no doubt complain to their municipal representatives. But that should not deter a thorough analysis the results of which should be made public.

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