1. Ordinance an insult to SC, we will challenge it: Kejriwal
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said the Aam Aadmi Party government would challenge in the Supreme Court the ordinance brought by the Centre and reach out to Opposition leaders to ensure that the Bill, when introduced in the Rajya Sabha, is not passed. He called the bid to take away control from the city government over postings and transfer of all bureaucrats an “insult” and a “direct challenge to the majesty and power” of the highest court of the country.
On Friday, the Centre had promulgated the ordinance creating a National Capital Civil Service Authority to deal with service conditions, transfer and posting of officials, seen as a move to wrest back control after the May 11 apex court ruling that the Delhi government has legislative and executive powers over services except for public order, police and land. It also establishes the L-G as the administrator of Delhi who will have the final say.
The Central government has also sought a review of the May 11 ruling, arguing that it had the effect of declaring Delhi a “full-fledged State” when it is actually a Union Territory.
Addressing a press conference in the Capital, Mr. Kejriwal said the ordinance was “undemocratic” and an “attack on the federal structure” as it takes away power from an elected government to perform its duties effectively. “The entire battle is now Supreme Court vs Centre. It is extremely dangerous. Kejriwal is just a small player in this. This way the Centre will bring an ordinance to negate any unfavourable judgment since they have the majority,” he said.
The Chief Minister questioned the timing of the ordinance — issued hours after the Supreme Court shut for a six-week summer vacation — and said the eight days between the judgment and the ordinance was used to buy time. “Had the Centre brought the ordinance before the court vacation and the Delhi government challenged it, it would not have lasted in the court for even five minutes as it is completely unconstitutional,” he said.
Charting the way forward, Mr. Kejriwal said that AAP would hold a “grand rally” against the BJP. “This ordinance by the BJP-led government is a slap on the face of the residents of Delhi. It is essentially the BJP telling the people that if you elect a government other than that of the BJP, it will do everything in its capacity to stop the work.”
The Chief Minister also expressed surprise at the Centre filing a review petition. “When the Central government has brought an ordinance and overturned the order, then what is the point of the review petition? What exactly are they reviewing over here, when they have upturned the ruling?” Mr. Kejriwal said.
2. Centre seeks review of SC verdict on Delhi govt. powers
Petition says the judgment has upset the basic tenets of the constitutional idea of federalism and has equated the NCT of Delhi to a State by granting it legislative and executive authority
The Centre has sought a review of a Supreme Court verdict upholding the Delhi government’s power to make laws and wield control over civil services in the national capital.
The Centre said the judgment by a Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud had the effect of declaring Delhi a “full-fledged State” when it is actually a Union Territory.
“Union Territories are not ‘States’. They are the territories of the Union falling outside the territories of the States. The judgment has upset the basic tenets of the constitutional idea of federalism. It has equated the National Capital Territory of Delhi to a State by granting it legislative and executive authority akin to a State,” the Centre submitted in its 370-page review petition filed in the top court.
The Union government said Delhi has never been elevated to the level of a State. The Centre said the judgment was self-contradictory — terming that Delhi had a sui generis or special status while at the same time treating it as a ‘State’.
“The Legislative Assembly of NCT of Delhi is not a full-fledged Legislative Assembly and does not elevate Delhi to the status of a State List,” the review petition said.
The Centre argued that for a Union Territory, the Parliament is the sole legislative body.
The judgment, though accepting the superior legislative authority of the Parliament over Delhi, had gone on to recognise extensive legislative and executive powers to the Delhi Council of Ministers and the Legislative Assembly.
The review plea said the legislative powers are distributed between Parliament and State Legislatures and not between Parliament and Legislative Assemblies of Union Territories.
The petition further said the five-judge Bench judgment contradicts a 1997 nine-judge Bench decision of the Supreme Court in New Delhi Municipal Corporation vs State of Punjab, in which it was “clearly held that notwithstanding the 69th Amendment introducing a Legislative Assembly for Delhi, the NCT of Delhi remains a Union Territory”.
The Centre said Article 309 of the Constitution clearly distinguished between the Centre and State services. The civil services in a Union Territory clearly belonged to the Centre. The appointments and transfers are made in the Delhi administration in accordance with the Central recruitment rules approved by the President through Lieutenant-Governor (LG) under Article 309.
“The judgment wholly ignores that the nominee of the President, the L-G or the Central government, are also manifestations of democracy, exhibiting the democratic conscience of the country as a whole when compared to the elected government of Delhi. The Central government is administered by the people of the entire country who have a vital and preponderant interest in the governance of the capital of the entire country,” the review petition contended.
3. Cultural stars in bilateral firmament have one-on-one with PM in Japan
Precious gift: Japanese painter Hiroko Takayama presenting a painting to Narendra Modi in Hiroshima on Saturday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday met some of the leading Japanese personalities who were instrumental in promoting Indian culture in Japan, saying such interactions facilitate the deepening of mutual understanding and creating stronger bonds between the two countries.
Mr. Modi is in Hiroshima to attend three sessions at the G-7 summit following an invitation by his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida.
Mr. Modi met Tomio Mizokami, Professor Emeritus at the Graduate School of Foreign Studies of Osaka University, an author and linguist proficient in Hindi and Punjabi languages.
Mr. Mizokami was conferred the Padma Shri in 2018 for his contribution to the promotion of Indian literature and culture in Japan.
He presented the widely acclaimed book Jwalamukhi — an anthology of writings from the 1980s by a cohort of Japanese scholars who laid the foundation of Hindi learning in Japan, according to the press release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs.
Mr. Modi also met and interacted with Hiroko Takayama, who was born in Hiroshima and is a Western-style painter, whose works are deeply influenced by her deep association with India, spanning over two decades.
Ms. Takayama has conducted several workshops and held exhibitions in India, and was briefly a Visiting Professor at Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, the press release said. She presented the Prime Minister with one of her prominent works — an oil painting of the Buddha, created in 2022.
Mr. Modi said such interactions facilitate the deepening of mutual understanding, respect and creating stronger bonds between our countries.
4. New technique welcomes calcium-41 to radiometric dating
Limitation: Carbon-14 dating cannot determine the age of objects older than around 50,000 years.
Since its invention in 1947, carbon dating has revolutionised many fields of science by allowing scientists to estimate the age of an organic material based on how much carbon-14 it contains. However, carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,700 years, so the technique cannot determine the age of objects older than around 50,000 years.
In 1979, scientists suggestedusing calcium-41, with a half-life of 99,400 years.. It is produced when cosmic rays from space smash into calcium atoms in the soil, and is found in the earth’s crust, opening the door to dating fossilised bones and rock. But several problems need to be overcome before it can be used to reliably date objects.
One important advancement was reported inNature Physicsin March 2023.
When an organic entity is alive, its body keeps absorbing and losing carbon-14 atoms. When it dies, this process stops and the extant carbon-14 starts to decay away. Using the difference between the relative abundance of these atoms in the body and the number that should have been there, researchers can estimate when the entity died.
A significant early issue with carbon dating was to detect carbon-14 atoms, which occur once in around 1,012carbon atoms. Calcium-41 is rarer, occurring once in around 1,015calcium atoms.
In the new study, researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), Hefei, pitched a technique called atom-trap trace analysis (ATTA) as a solution. ATTA is sensitive enough to spot these atoms; specific enough to not confuse them for other similar atoms and fits on a tabletop.
A sample is vaporised in an oven. The atoms in the vapour are laser-cooled and loaded into a cage made of light and magnetic fields. In an atom, an electron in one orbital can transition to the next if it’s given a specific amount of energy; then it jumps back by releasing that energy.
In ATTA, a laser’s frequency is tuned such that it imparts the same energy as required for an electron transition in calcium-41. The electrons absorb and release this energy, revealing the presence of their atoms.
The researchers reported being able to spot one calcium-41 atom in every 1,016calcium atoms with 12% precision in seawater.
“However, there was only one sample analysed,” Tian Xia, an associate scientist at the USTC and a co-author of the paper, toldThe Hinduby email.
In future, “we hope that from the effusive atomic beam, the loading efficiency of the Ca-41 atoms into the trap can be improved,” so that the measurement time for each sample is lower and the sensitivity is higher, Dr. Xia added.
His group leader, Zheng-Tian Lu,said in the journal, Physics Today,that ATTA’s success is due to innovations with lasers: “laser power is a lot higher, and laser frequency control is better”.
ATTA also avoids potassium-41 atoms, which are similar to calcium-41 atoms but lack the same electron transition.
The researchers are currently exploring an earth-science application. In warmer climate, glaciers retreat and allow rock below to accumulate calcium-41. In colder climate, glaciers advance and block the calcium-41 from reaching the rock.
This way, scientists hope to use ATTA to study how long some rock has been covered by ice.
“We are collaborating with geo-scientists… by measuring the Ca-41 abundance in some rock samples,” Dr. Xia said.
5. ‘No immunity for President as contract party’
SC rules government cannot claim immunity from application of law to a contract merely because President is one party; judgment comes on a petition filed by Austrian pistol maker Glock Asia-Pacific against the Union over the appointment of an arbitrator to a dispute regarding a tender
The Supreme Court has held that the government cannot claim immunity from the application of law to a contract merely because one of the parties to it is the President of India.
“We are of the clear opinion that a contract entered into in the name of the President of India, cannot and will not create an immunity against the application of any statutory prescription imposing conditions on parties to an agreement, when the government chooses to enter into a contract,” a Bench of Chief Justice of India and Justice P.S. Narasimha held in a recent judgment.
Moreover, when tasked with the job to find an arbitrator, the state should ensure that the person it chooses is an “impartial and independent” adjudicator with no professional ties to it, past or present.
The judgment came in a petition filed by pistol maker Glock Asia- Pacific Limited against the Union regarding the appointment of an arbitrator to a dispute regarding a tender.
Glock had appealed against an arbitration clause in the agreement which enabled the Home Secretary to appoint an officer in the Ministry of Law to be the sole arbitrator.
Justice Narasimha, who authored the judgment, said the clause was a clear violation of Section 12(5) of the Arbitration Act.
The provision mandates that any person with prior or existing relationship with any of the parties to the arbitration in the capacity of an employee, consultant, advisor or any other past or present business relationship, would be ineligible to be appointed as arbitrator.
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati contended that the party to the contract with Glock was none other than the President of India, and this was a “clear point of distinction” from other cases.
On the point that a contract entered into in the name of the President enjoys immunity, the Court said Article 299 (contracts made by the Union or State in the name of the President or Governor) of the Constitution does not give the government power to break the statutory law.