Current Affairs

Morning Brief: Supreme Court’s Five-Judge Constitution Bench To Hear Ayodhya Case Today; CBI Chief Alok Verma Cancels Transfers Of Loyalists; And More

A view of the Supreme Court after a hearing on Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi case, on 4 January 2019. (Biplov Bhuyan/Hindustan Times via Getty Images) 

Good Morning, dear reader! Here’s your morning news brief for today.

Five-Judge Constitution Bench To Hear Ayodhya Case Today

A five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, will take up the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute today. On 4 January, a two-judge bench of the apex court had observed that an "appropriate bench" would take up the appeals on 10 January. The court had constituted the bench earlier this week. The bench, besides Chief Justice Gogoi, comprises of Justices S A Bobde, N V Ramana, U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud.

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The apex court will hear at least 14 appeals filed against the 2010 judgement of the Allahabad High Court which had divided land equally among three parties—the Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and the ‘Ram Lalla’, represented by the Hindu Mahasabha. The court’s verdict is unlikely to be out before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which are expected to take place around April-May.

CBI Chief Alok Verma Cancels Transfers Of Loyalists

After being reinstated by the Supreme Court, CBI Chief Alok Verma undid the transfer of his loyalists, including those involved in probing his estranged number two, special director Rakesh Asthana. These transfers had been made by M Nageshwar Rao, who was posted as interim chief in Verma’s absence. Experts said his move suggests he was getting ready to fire his first shots against the government. The Congress and other opposition parties are expecting him to launch an investigation into the Rafale deal just months ahead of the elections.

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Although Verma can’t make policy decisions, he is allowed to file First Information Report and sign off on transfer orders. A selection committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will decide Verma’s fate.


Government Considering Income Tax Relief In 1 February Budget

The Narendra Modi government is discussing the possibility of providing tax relief to the middle class in the 1 February budget ahead of the elections. The model code of conduct would not be in place when Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presents the budget, called vote-on-account. Under this arrangement, governments obtains the vote of Parliament to fund its expenses until a full Budget is passed.

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The Industry chamber CII, in its pre-budget recommendations, had said that the government should double the income tax exemption limit to Rs 5 lakh and increase the deduction limit under Section 80C to Rs 2.5 lakh. The government has reportedly called a 14-day budget session starting 31 January

Bank Loan Growth Picks Up

The loan-to-deposit ratio, which is a measure of how much a bank lends out of its deposits, touched a 47-year high in December, Mint has reported. According to the daily’s report, credit-to-deposit (C-D) ratio for banks rose to 78.6 per cent in December. This is the highest C-D ratio since March 1971, when it was 79.3 per cent.

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The Reserve Bank of India data shows that credit grew 15.1 per cent from a year earlier in December, while deposits grew 9.2 per cent in the same period. Flow of funds from the bond market to the credit market has been cited as the reasons for the widening gap between credit and deposit growth.

Centre's Quota Bill For Economically Weak Clears Rajya Sabha Test

The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019, with 165 voting in its favour and only 7 against. The bill is aimed at providing 10 per cent quota for people from general category, who belong to the economically weaker sections. The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday and will now have to be signed off by the President. Although most parties supported the bill, they called the government's move a political stunt.

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The Congress, along with several other opposition parties, demanded that the bill be sent to a select committee for scrutiny. However, only the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Indian Union Muslim League and the DMK voted against the bill. The amendments moved by DMK and a few other parties were rejected.

From Swarajya

Despite A Minor Positive, Modi’s Quota Bill Is A Placebo, Not The Real Thing: The new quota is only a band-aid solution to the demand for better quality, higher paying jobs; it cannot increase the availability of jobs.

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How Yogi Government Is Making This Year’s Kumbh Mela Cleanest In India’s Modern History: If the execution matches the planning, we will witness the cleanest ever Kumbh in the history of modern India.

What We Know So Far About AgustaWestland Middleman Christian Michel’s ‘Link’ To The Rafale Deal: What Christian Michel links are with Rafale’s competitor, the Eurofighter, and how he was lobbying for it in New Delhi.

Citizenship Bill Can Prove Electorally Costly For The BJP In The North East: The success of the bandh in the North East called in protest against the bill must worry the BJP. It represents a dismal failure of the party to convince the people that the bill presents no danger to the indigenous groups.

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We hope you enjoyed reading our morning brief. Have a great day ahead!

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