Black Money Bill proposes 10 years' jail
- The Union Cabinet on March 17 approved a Bill to deal with cases relating to black money stashed away overseas.
- The Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill provides for a penalty of up to 300% of tax amounts evaded, in addition to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment. The Bill proposes mandatory filing of returns for owners or beneficiaries of foreign assets. Failure to make the disclosures is punishable with a jail term of seven years.
- Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced that the Bill would be introduced in the current session of Parliament while presenting the Union Budget. The first leg of the Budget Session is scheduled to end on Friday.
- The Finance Minister had announced a new and more comprehensive Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Bill, which too will be introduced in the session.
- He proposed to amend the Income Tax Act to prohibit “acceptance or payment” of an advance of Rs. 20,000 or more in cash for buying immovable property.
- Anger spilled on to the streets of Karnataka on March 17 and locals called for a shutdown in Kolar district of Karnataka, following the death of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer D K Ravi, who took on the real estate mafia and 'exposed tax frauds'.
- Huge crowds had gathered outside Ravi's residence to pay tributes and accompany the IAS officer's body on his final journey. There were also protests in different parts of the town with protesters demanding an independent probe into the case. The protests were marked by stray incidents of stone pelting.
- Angry protesters in Kolar district where 35-year-old D K Ravi had taken on the land mafia as deputy commissioner before being posted as joint commissioner of commercial taxes (enforcement) in Bengaluru, also blocked a national highway placing burning tyres before being chased away by police.
- The house of local MLA in Kolar Varthur Prakash was stoned but police rushed and dispersed the protesters, police said.
- Exams in the state had also been postponed.
- The protesters, including some political leaders, are demanding a CBI probe into what they allege is the mysterious death of Ravi, who on his posting in Bengaluru had taken on the land mafia cracking down on them for tax evasion.
- A 2009 batch IAS officer who was deputed as the Joint Commissioner, State Commercial Taxes Department, D K Ravikumar was found mysteriously hanging by a fan in the bedroom of his private apartment in Tavarekere in South Bengaluru on Monday.
- Police to probe all angles.
D K Ravi, IAS officer
Rafale deals term non-negotiable : Parrikar
- As India and France struggle to break the deadlock over the $20-billion Rafale fighter deal, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar reiterated on March 17 that the contractual terms in the Request for Information and the pricing were “non-negotiable.”
- “The pricing will be decided on the basis of the Request for Proposal,” he told presspersons outside Parliament.
- However, on the guarantee clause, which had been an issue of contention between Dassault and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), he said the two firms had to sort it out.
- These comments are significant in the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to France next month. Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar is visiting France next week.
- Rafale was short-listed in a medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) contest in 2012 after a rigorous evaluation. The deal stipulates that of the 126 aircraft, 18 will come in flyaway condition from the manufacturer and the remaining would be built by HAL in India under transfer of technology.
- The disagreement is over the delivery guarantee by Dassault for the HAL-made aircraft. The price too has shot up significantly with addition of lifecycle costs and transfer of technology.
- On several occasions, officials have indicated that if Dassault does not adhere to contract requirements, the deal might be off. The French side is keen to wrap up the negotiations before Mr. Modi’s visit.
Dassault Rafale will increase the might of the IAF
- A Division Bench of the Madras High Court struck down key provisions relating to the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) established under the Trade Marks Act, 1999, as unconstitutional. This is yet another interlude(an intervening period of time) in the tussle between judiciary and the legislature on the “tribunalisation” of courts.
- There has been much concern over the validity, character and competence of several of the tribunals in India. The Supreme Court has, in a range of decisions, articulated the principles that a tribunal has to abide by in order to be constitutionally valid. A Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy report (2014) has identified about 29 different tribunals set up under various Central legislations, and finds several of them to be inconsistent with the parameters laid down by the Supreme Court. The Court in Chandra Kumar (1997) and NCLT (2010) suggested that the tribunals which were replacing the jurisdiction of the Courts should enjoy the same constitutional protections as them. This meant that when the jurisdiction is being transferred from a court to a tribunal, the members of this tribunal should hold a rank, status and capacity which is as close to those of the judges in a court as possible.
- The recent Supreme Court judgment which struck down the National Tax Tribunals (NTT) also clearly spelt out the parameters to test the constitutionality of tribunals.
- Yet, little effort has been made by the legislature in making the law consistent with these constitutional principles. Instead, as the honourable judges have noted, the government continues to be “furtive” and “reticent” about these precedents while the tribunals usurp judicial powers.
- At stake are core principles of an independent judiciary and separation of powers, a part of the basic structure of the Constitution. The crux(the decisive or most important point at issue) of the present case is with regard to the qualification and selection of Chairman, Judicial Member and Technical Member of the IPAB. For instance, Section 85(3)(a) of the Trade Marks Act allows members of the Indian Legal Service holding a post of Grade 1 for at least three years, for appointment as a Judicial Member of the IPAB. The High Court declared this unconstitutional, suggesting that an officer working with the Executive cannot act in a judicial capacity. It also, inter alia , held that the recommendations of the Chief Justice of India for the post of Chairman had to be given due consideration by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), which until now considered this as a mere suggestion ultimately requiring its own approval. Tribunals are designed for speedy disposal of specialised disputes. But a tribunal which is biased, incompetent and unfair, cause more harm than serve such intended purposes.
What is Division Bench?
A Division Bench is a term in judicial system in India in which a case is heard and judged by at least two judges. However, if the bench during the hearing of any matter feels that the matter needs to be considered by a larger bench, such a matter is referred to a larger bench.
India's new hockey coach Paul van Ass takes charge
- The Netherlands’ Paul van Ass on March 16 took charge as Indian men’s hockey team’s chief coach as the eight-time Olympic champions underwent their first practice session under the Dutchman at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
- Van Ass officially joined his new job on but the 54-year-old Dutchman took charge of the team on March 16, supervising a two-hour long practice session of 30 players held in preparation for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia from April 5-12.
Paul van Ass, coach of Indian men's field hockey team
Indian men's field hockey team
- Captain - Sardara Singh
- Coach - Paul van Ass
- International Hockey Federation (FIH) ranking - 9th
- In 1928, the team won its first Olympic gold medal and until 1956, the Indian men's team remained unbeaten in the Olympics, winning six gold medals in a row. India also won the 1975 World Cup.
- The team has qualified for 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio de Janeiro after winning gold at the 2014 Asian Games, Incheon, South Korea. India defeated Pakistan in the final of 2014 Asian Games.
- Indian hockey team team at commonwealth Games:
2010 Delhi, India 2nd 2014 Glasgow, Scotland 2nd