Citizens' Issues
SC refers pleas against judges appointment to larger bench
The Supreme Court on Tuesday referred to the constitution bench the challenge to the validity of the constitution amendment and enabling law to replace the collegium system for the appointment of judges to higher judiciary.
 
An apex court bench of Justice Anil R. Dave, Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Madan B. Lokur said that since they have referred the matter to a larger bench, the question of interim relief too will be decided by it.
 
The National Judicial Appointment Commission Act, 2014, was challenged in a batch of petitions including by the Supreme Court Advocate-on-Record Association.
 
Besides contending that the NJAC route for the selection and appointment of judges infringed on the independence of judiciary, the petitioners challenging the NJAC Act, 2014, said it could not have been passed in August 2014 as there was no supporting provision in the constitution. It came into effect only after December 31 assent to the constitutional amendment by President Prabnab Mukherjee.
 
On the other hand, the government contested the maintainability of the petitions, saying that these were premature and academic as statutory provision to bring in the NJAC has not been notified and operationalised.
 
The government had contended that unless the NJAC was operationalised and someone's rights were affected, there was no cause of action to challenge their validity.
 
While the Supreme Court Advocate-on-Record Association, NGO Change India, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), Bar Association of India and others had moved the court challenging the appointment of judges to higher judiciary through NJAC route, the Supreme Court Bar Association had come out in the favour of the replacing the collegium system of judges' selection by the NJAC.

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20 wood smugglers shot dead in Andhra forests
At least 20 smugglers of red sanders -- a rare wood with huge demand in the international market -- were gunned down by police on Tuesday in two gunfights in Andhra Pradesh's Chittoor district, police said.
 
The police opened fire after they came under attack by the smugglers in Seshachalam forest in two places within a radius of one km in Chandragiri mandal of Chittoor, about 500 km from Hyderabad.
 
Deputy Inspector General of Police (Task Force) M. Kanta Rao told IANS that over 100 smugglers and labourers helping them attacked policemen, forcing them to open fire in self defence.
 
"They attacked task force personnel with sickles and other sharp-edged weapons and the police had to open fire in self defence," he told IANS.
 
He said the incident happened between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.
 
While 11 men were killed at Pacchinodu Banda, nine were gunned down near Etagunta.
 
"We are ascertaining the number of policemen injured," the officer said.
 
The task force and forest officials continued joint combing operations to look for the remaining smugglers and labourers who escaped in the forests.
 
Police sounded an alert in adjoining districts to prevent the smugglers from escaping.
 
The officer said they were yet to identify those killed but they were all believed to be from neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
 
Police and forest department personnel launched joint operations on Monday night following a tip-off about the smugglers entering the forests.
 
The security personnel acted after receiving information that trees were being felled.
 
Director General of Police J.V. Ramudu met Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu in Hyderabad to brief him about the incidents. The chief minister reviewed the situation with the police chief and also spoke to top officials of Chittoor district.
 
Classified as endangered in International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List, red sanders fetches Rs.25 lakh per tonne in the international market. It is mainly used in aphrodisiac drugs and for making musical instruments and furniture.
 
In Andhra Pradesh, red sanders grows mainly in the Seshachalam hill ranges spread across Kadapa, Chittoor and Kurnool districts in the Rayalaseema region and parts of Nellore district. The area under red sanders is estimated to be 4.67 lakh hectares.
 
The forests in recent months witnessed bloody clashes between red sanders smugglers and police but Tuesday's clash was the biggest.
 
Two forest officials were killed and three were injured in the attack by the red sanders smugglers in Seshachalam forests of the same district in December 2013.
 
It was after this incident that the state government formed a Special Task Force to counter the smugglers.
 
In May last year, police killed three smugglers in Chittoor district.
 
Over 3,000 smugglers were arrested and 2,025 tonnes of red sander was seized during 2013.

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COMMENTS

Taro

2 years ago

The policemen should be rewarded by AP and TN governments.

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