23 February 2021
A) Puducherry chief minister resigns after losing trust vote.
Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Monday submitted his resignation to Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan after it became apparent that he had lost the confidence of the House. A Motion of Confidence moved by Narayanasamy in the Assembly was not put to vote. However, Speaker V.P. Sivakolandhu announced that it stood defeated after the Chief Minister, questioning the right of the three nominated members to vote, led a walkout of the ruling Congress-DMK legislators. Opposition MLAs numbering 14 from the All India N. R. Congress (7), AIADMK (4) and BJP (3 nominated) were in the House when the Speaker gave his ruling. Resignations by half-a-dozen legislators five from the Congress, including two ministers, and one from the DMK in recent weeks and the disqualification of a Congress legislator last year had reduced the government to a minority. The House strength had come down to 26 from 33 due to which the opposition outnumbered the ruling alliance Congress (9 including Speaker), DMK (2) and Independent (1). Soon after the House assembled at 10 am on the directions of the Lt Governor to the government to prove its majority, Narayanasamy moved a Motion of Confidence and spoke for about an hour on the hurdles they faced from the Centre and from former Lt Governor Kiran Bedi over the years. As soon as he finished his speech, Government whip R.K.R. Anantharaman sought a clarification from the Speaker on voting rights of three nominated legislators belonging to BJP. When the Opposition started arguing with the ruling party members, Narayanasamy and ruling party members staged a walk out. Narayanasamy then left for Raj Nivas to hand over his resignation to the Lt Governor. Addressing reporters after tendering his resignation, Narayanasamy said they staged a walk out as the Speaker did not clarify on their demand on the voting rights of three nominated legislators. The Chief Minister said the Speaker did not agree to our view that only members elected by the people have the voting rights.
B) IMA ‘shocked’ over Patanjali’s claim on Coronil; demands explanation from Harsh Vardhan.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Monday expressed shock and dismay at what it described as a blatant lie of WHO certification for Patanjali’s Coronil tablet, which the company claims can be used to fight Covid-19. It has also demanded an explanation from Health Minister Harsh Vardhan about his presence at the event where Coronil was launched last week. The Association’s two-page note comes after World Health Organisation clarified that it has not reviewed or certified the effectiveness of any traditional medicine for the treatment of Covid-19. On Friday last, Ramdev launched the product in the presence of Vardhan and Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport & Highways and Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. The IMA said it was shocked to note the blatant lie of certification for a secret medicine launched in the presence of the Health Minister, who is a doctor as well. The country needs an explanation from him, it said in a statement. This claim is a blatant deceiving of the people of the country. The Association will write to National Medical Commission for seeking suo motu explanation for his blatant disrespect to the code of conduct. The IMA asked the Health Minister: How appropriate and rational is it to release such false projections in front of the whole country? Being a Health Minister of the country, how justified is it to release such falsely fabricated unscientific product? How ethical is it to promote the product in unethical, wrong and false ways to the whole country? Being a modern medicine doctor, how ethical is it to promote the unscientific product. It said if Coronil was effective, why was the government spending ₹35,000 crore for vaccination? The AYUSH Ministry had earlier said Coronil can be sold only as an immunity-booster and not as a cure.
C) Varavara Rao gets medical bail for 6 months.
The Bombay High Court granted medical bail to Varavara Rao, 82, in the Bhima Koregaon violence case and said, with all humility and human considerations, we are of the opinion that this is a fit case for allowing the relief. A Division Bench of Justices S.S. Shinde and Manish Pitale said that they feel that with the condition of the undertrial (Rao), it would be inappropriate to send him back. The undertrial is to be released on bail for a period of six months and directs that he has to stay within the jurisdiction of the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) Court, the court stated. Senior counsel Anand Grover had previously urged the court to release Rao on medical bail so that he can be fit for trial. Among other ailments, Rao suffers from a neurological condition and will be fit for trial if he is with his family, Grover had contended.
D) One day police custody for Disha Ravi.
A Delhi court on Monday sent 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi, arrested in connection with allegedly being involved in sharing on social media a toolkit related to the farmers’ protest, to one day police custody. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pankaj Sharma allowed custodial interrogation of Ravi after police said she was required to be confronted with co-accused. Ravi was produced before the court on expiry of her three-day judicial custody. The court on Friday had sent her to judicial custody after police had said her custodial interrogation was not required for the time being. The agency had said that it would seek her further custodial interrogation once co-accused Nikita Jacob and Shantanu Muluk joined the interrogation on February 22. Ravi was arrested by Delhi police on February 13 from Bengaluru.
E) RIL-Future deal: NCLT can continue proceedings, but cannot pass final order, says SC.
The Supreme Court on Monday allowed National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) proceedings in connection with the proposed ₹24,713-crore deal between Future Group and Reliance Industries to go on, but directed the Tribunal to refrain from passing any final order of sanction of the scheme. E-commerce major Amazon, which opposes the multi-crore deal, had recently moved the NCLT against Future Group’s plea to hold a meeting of its shareholders or creditors to approve the deal with Reliance. On Monday, an apex court Bench led by Justice Rohinton Nariman also issued notice on a petition filed by Amazon, to stay the operation of a Delhi High Court order of February 8, which revoked an earlier direction to Future Group to maintain ‘status quo’ on the sale of its retail assets to Reliance Industries. They are not saying anything on merits now. They have read the files thoroughly and they know exactly what is happening, Justice Nariman told the lawyers. When senior advocate Ranjit Kumar asked whether the apex court’s intervention and notice in the case would mean the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court could not proceed further, Justice Nariman replied obviously, show them the order. In its order, the Bench, while issuing notice to Future Retail and other parties arraigned by Amazon as respondents, said they would get two weeks to file their counter while Amazon was given a week to file its rejoinder thereafter. The case would next come up for hearing after three weeks. In the meantime, the NCLT proceedings will be allowed to go on but will not culminate in any final order of sanction of scheme, the apex court directed. In its petition challenging the February 8 order of the High Court, Amazon, represented by senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, had said the order was ex-facie arbitrary and illegal. It was passed by a Division Bench of the High Court on an appeal filed by Future Retail Limited (FRL).
A) Boeing’s recommendation to ground 777s not to impact India: Civil Aviation Ministry source.
Boeing’s recommendation to ground over 120 of its 777 series of planes with engines similar to the one that failed on a United Airlines plane in Denver, United States, would not impact India as the 777s operating in the country did not have Pratt and Whitney PW4000 engines, a Civil Aviation Ministry source said on Monday. After the Denver incident, Boeing recommended grounding of the planes pending inspections. Soon after the take-off, one engine of the plane carrying 231 passengers and 10-member crew from Denver to Honolulu had failed. However, no one was injured during the emergency landing. While United Airlines decided to temporarily ground 24 Boeing 777s, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued a directive for immediate inspection of the planes with the same type of engine. In Japan also, two airline operators have been ordered to suspend operating the 777s using Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines, reports said.
B) China expresses support for India hosting BRICS summit in 2021.
China on February 22 expressed its support for India hosting this year’s BRICS summit and said it will work with New Delhi to strengthen cooperation among the five-member grouping of emerging economies. India has assumed the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) chairmanship for 2021 and is set to hold this year’s summit. On February 19, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar launched India’s BRICS 2021 website at the BRICS Secretariat in Sushma Swaraj Bhawan in New Delhi. Asked about India assuming the BRICS chairmanship this year, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin Beijing backed New Delhi in hosting the summit. He did not, however, specify whether Chinese President Xi Jinping would attend the summit expected to be held later this year.