When Chief Justice of India R M Lodha had mooted the idea of courts working 365 days a year, lawyers’ bodies had opposed it. Supreme Court Bar Association’s president P H Parekh in fact cautioned that such a proposal could cause marital troubles for lawyers and judges. The opposition apparently has not gone down well with the CJI, who believes it could have brought down pendency to a large extent. During hearing of an unrelated matter on Thursday, Justice Lodha expressed displeasure, saying negative reactions against his proposal started pouring in without even having a deliberation on the issue. He requested the senior members of the bar to help the court in finding effective ways to cut down on the pendency and not simply shoot down ideas.
NO SOPS OPERA
Used to getting sops in UPA’s budgets ahead of elections, poll-bound states like Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and J&K had reasons to expect a lot more from the NDA II regime’s first Budget. These states did get some benefits but they could hardly be called pre-poll sops — a Pashmina production programme and an IIT in J&K, a Horticulture University in Haryana, an Agri-Research Institute and an AIIMS like institute (under consideration) in Jharkhand and an IIM in Maharashtra. Those in the ruling dispensation, however, junked the idea of pre-poll bonanzas, saying the Congress party’s fate in recent polls made such sops infructuous. They explained that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was rather trying to give something to every state.
As news of the West Bengal Assembly passing a motion against the Rail Budget for its supposed lack of sops to the state reached Rail Bhawan, a number of top officials wanted to equip the Railway Minister with the factual position of West Bengal’s “gains” from the budget. It appeared that of the limited number of projects chosen for speedy completion, at least three major ones are from Bengal. And between the Interim Budget and this budget, there are at least 13 new trains that will be linking Kolkata with the rest of the country this year. Given the amount of “sops”, top bosses at the Railways were flummoxed at the anger expressed by Mamata’s party.
There have been quite a few surprises as far as bureaucratic reshuffle in the HRD Ministry is concerned. Former Joint Secretary J S Raju sought voluntary repatriation to his cadre soon after the change of regime at the Centre. Maninder Kaur Dwivedi, a 1995-batch IAS officer of Chhattisgarh cadre — a Director in the School Education Department — was tipped to join as a Joint Secretary soon after empanelment. It is learnt in fact that HRD Minister Smriti Irani had even recommended the same. However, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet last week caught everyone by surprise by refusing her appointment as JS in the ministry.