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Wednesday, 25 April 2018

The Hindu Editorial: Back To The Court

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The Hindu Editorial: Back To The Court
Title: Back to the court 

(The impeachment controversy is now about a presiding officer’s power to reject a motion) 

With the Rajya Sabha Chairman rejecting the notice given by 64 Opposition members for the impeachment of the Chief Justice of India, the focus has shifted to the presiding officer’s power to admit or reject a motion. 

The Congress, spearheading the move, is planning to approach the Supreme Court. Section 3 of the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968, says the presiding officer may admit or refuse to admit the motion after holding consultations with such persons as he thinks fit, and considering the material before him. 

He has considered the implications for judicial independence if an investigation were ordered into charges that he says are based on mere suspicion and conjecture. He has picked holes in the motion’s wording, saying the signatories themselves are unsure of the veracity of the charges. 

Final Words: 

The Opposition is divided on initiating impeachment proceedings and there are two views within the Congress itself. 

Taking the matter to court may result in a judicial resolution, but it is unlikely to end the controversy over the functioning of the Supreme Court, an issue that has unfortunately assumed a very political and polarised character. 

Title: Nabbing absconders 

(The ordinance is not enough; the government needs to plug many more legal loopholes) 

Last Saturday, within hours of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s return to Delhi from an overseas tour, the Union Cabinet approved the promulgation of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance, 2018. 

“A fugitive is defined as someone who has left India to avoid criminal prosecution or who is already overseas and refuses to return to face the law.” 

In recent weeks, banks have been asked to mandatorily collect passport details of those borrowing above ₹50 crore, and the passports of some wilful defaulters are being impounded too. 

While presenting Budget 2017-18, the Finance Minister referred to instances of offenders fleeing the country to escape its justice system, and said the government was looking at a law to confiscate the assets of such persons till they return to face the law. 

The government is no doubt conscious of the clamour for tough action on absconding offenders, particularly those involved in financial misdemeanours and wilful defaulters of bank loans. 

There remains great consternation over liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s flight from the country, with his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines having run up outstanding loans of over ₹9,000 crore from Indian banks. 

Both Mr. Mallya and former Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi, who faces an Enforcement Directorate probe for foreign exchange law violations, are in Britain. 

(1) India is no closer to getting Mr. Modi or Mr. Mallya back to face the law, with extradition proceedings against the latter crawling through U.K. courts. 

(2) No clear indications about whether their return could be expedited emerged during Prime Minister Modi’s meeting with his British counterpart Theresa May last week. 

India is yet to pass a model law mooted by the UN for cross-border insolvency cases. It is not clear whether this ordinance can tide over this major handicap. 

The government may have opted for the ordinance route to deflect the heat from these cases of fraud, but it needs to present a coherent vision about its plans to bring back those fugitives who have already got away and plug the remaining loopholes in the system. 

Vocabulary words: 

Presiding (adj) = Be in the position of authority 

Impeachment (noun) = A charge, prosecution (महाभियोग) 

Spearhead (verb) = Lead an attack or movement (अगुआई) 

Append (verb) = Add, attach (संलग्न) 

Delineate (verb) = Describe, present (वर्णन करना) 

Contour (noun) = An outline, shape or form (रूप-रेखा) 

Conjecture (noun) = Guess, speculation (अनुमान) 

Veracity (noun) = Conformity to facts (सच्चाई) 

Imputation (noun) = Allegation, accusation (आरोप) 

Indelible (adj) = Making marks that can not be removed (अमिट) 

Nab (verb) = Catch doing something wrong (रोक लगाना) 

Promulgation (noun) = Declaration, announcement 

Fugitive (noun) = Escapee, runaway 

Impound (verb) = Confiscate, seize (जब्त) 

Misdemeanour (noun) = Wrongdoing, misdeed (अपराध) 

Consternation (noun) = Distress, anxiety 

Expedite (verb) = Accelerate, hasten (शीघ्र) 

Coherent (adj) = Logical, reasonable (सुसंगत) 


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