08, January 2017

1.SC warns HCs against granting bail when probe is not stayed

Source: Indian Express

The Supreme Court cautioned high courts against choking legitimate prosecution by letting accused out on bail even though their petitions for quashing the FIR or staying the investigation are rejected.

  • A bench of Justices underlined concerns over high court orders whereby no merit was found in plea for staying the probe or trashing the FIR, but the accused were still granted bail and the police was asked not to arrest them during the investigation.
  • Such an order, the bench said, was “absolutely inconceivable” and “inappropriate”
  • since it is contrary to the settled principles and judicial precedents that have laid down that this power has to be used sparingly in those cases where it is absolutely warranted to protect the liberty of individuals.

Duty of judge to sustain judicial balance for adjudication: SC

  • The duty of a judge is to sustain judicial balance and not to cause trauma to adjudication process, the Supreme Court has ruled while setting aside an order of the Hyderabad High Court directing the police not to arrest three accused in a riots case.
  • A bench said courts should oust “unscrupulous litigants” from invoking the inherent jurisdiction of the court at the drop of a hat to file an application for quashing of an FIR or investigation.

Key facts:

Appeal against Hyderabad high court order:

The court allowed an appeal filed by the Telangana government in which it had said that whether the high court, while refusing to exercise its inherent powers under Section 482 of CrPC, can restrain (prevent) the probe agency from arresting the accused persons during the course of probe.

SC The bench also comprising Justice said that while entertaining petitions under Article 226 of the Constitution or Section 482 of CrPC, a high court should exercise “judicial restraint.

  • It is the duty of a judge to sustain the judicial balance and not to think of an order which can cause trauma to the process of adjudication.
  • It should be borne in mind that the culture of adjudication is stabilised when intellectual discipline is maintained and further when such discipline constantly keeps guard on the mind.

SC the bench: The courts should oust and obstruct unscrupulous litigants from invoking the inherent jurisdiction of the court at the drop of a hat to file an application for quashing of launching an FIR or investigation and then seek relief by an interim order. It is the obligation of the court to keep such unprincipled and unethical litigants at bay(away).

What Constitution says?

What needs to be stated here is that the states where Section 438 CrPC has not been deleted and kept on the statute book, the high court should be well advised that while entertaining petitions under Article 226 of the Constitution or Section 482 CrPC, exercise judicial restraint.

High court order:

  • The Hyderabad High Court had earlier directed the police not to arrest three men in connection with various riot charges under various sections of IPC by invoking its inherent jurisdiction but allowed the probe agency to continue with the investigation.
  • The apex court said the high court has not referred to the allegations made in the FIR or the outcome of the probe.
  • SC: To clarify that the court, if it thinks fit, regard being had to the parameters of quashing and the self-restraint imposed by law, has the jurisdiction to quash the investigation and may pass appropriate interim orders as thought apposite in law, but it is absolutely inconceivable and unthinkable to pass an order of the present nature while declining to interfere or expressing opinion that it is not appropriate to stay the investigation. This kind of order is really inappropriate and unseemly. It has no sanction in law.

 2.India, Portugal sign six agreements, including defence cooperation

Source: Indian Express

Prime Minister met with his Portugal counterpart António Costa and welcomed him along with his delegation to India.

  • A total of six Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) between India and Portugal were signed, including one on defence cooperation.
  • The PM said it was an honour that Costa had accepted the invitation to become the Chief Guest at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.

India-Portugal ties:

PM Modi thanked Costa for his country’s support for India’s permanent membership of the UN Security Council

The MoU signed on defence envisages defence cooperation and exchanges covering highlevel visits, working-level exchanges, education and training exchanges, exchange of views on issues of mutual interests like security challenges, maritime security, UN peacekeeping operations, and defence industries cooperation.

  • MoU on Defence.
  • MoU on Renewable Energy.
  • MoU on Marine Research and Resources.
  • MoU in the Agriculture and Allied Sectors.
  • MoU in the field of Information Technology and Electronics.
  • MoU on the establishment of an ICCR Chair of Indian Studies in University of Lisbon.

Besides, an agreement on visa waiver for holders of diplomatic passports was also signed.

  • It allows visa free travel for diplomatic passport holders of India and Portugal to each other’s countries for short term visits.
  • The defence agreement between both countries aims to boost joint production and development of niche weapons systems.
  • It was signed following Portugal’s support to India’s multilateral plans in various technology regimes including Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in which India secured membership in 2016.

Both countries also signed a joined declaration for cooperation in third countries which will encourage their private sector to undertake joint economic, commercial and industrial projects and investments in third countries to boost growth.

Bengaluru set to host 14th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas: The main convention will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief guest of the event, Prime Minister of Portugal Dr Antonio Costa.

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas has been held traditionally on 9th January every year to commemorate the return of Mahatma Gandhi as a Pravasi from South Africa to India.

Youth PBD: The first will be on reaching out to Indian Students abroad, NRIs and overseas Indian Community Students in India. The second one will be on start-ups and innovations and the third on start-up ecosystem in Karnataka.


08-01-17    source: Indian diplomacy

3.All you need to know about the H1-B visa programme Bill

Source: The Hindu

A Bill backing key changes in the H1-B visa programme that allows skilled workers from other countries to fill jobs in the U.S. has been reintroduced in Congress by two lawmakers. The Bill comes after a number of companies — Disney, SoCal Edison and others — have come under fire for abusing the programme.

What is a H1-B visa?

The H1-B visa is a non-immigrant visa given by the United States to employ skilled workers from other countries for various specialised fields of occupation for a certain period of time

What is the H1-B visa programme Bill?

  • The Bill prohibits companies from hiring H1-B employees if they employ more than 50 people and more than 50 per cent of their employees are H1-B and L-1 visa holders.
  • The Bill encourages companies to recruit American workers. This provision would crack down on outsourcing companies that import large numbers of H-1B and L-1 workers for short training periods and then send these workers back to their home country to do the work of Americans, the Senators who introduced the Bill had said.
  • It explicitly prohibits replacement of American workers by H1-B or L-1 visa holders.
  • The Bill seeks to give the Department of Labour enhanced authority to review, investigate and audit employer compliance as well as to penalise fraudulent or abusive conduct.
  • The Bill seeks to increase the minimum salary of H1-B visa holders to $1,00,000 per annum
  • Currently, firms need not go through extensive paperwork if the potential H1-B employee has an equivalent of a Master’s degree or higher and he or she is paid at least $60,000 annually. The Bill aims to do away with the Master’s degree exemption (as “they are easily obtained by foreign workers”).

How will the Bill affect Indian companies?

  • The Indian IT industry believes that this Bill does not address the root cause of the problem – shortage of STEM skills (or those in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in the U.S.
  • “There is a perception that companies pay low salaries to people who are sent to work on these visas…High-skilled IT workers on temporary visas earn competitive salaries and cost their employers as much or more than their American counterparts.
  • Apart from the visa curbs, the U.S. had also recently hiked the visa fee for certain categories of the H1-B and L1 visas which has had an impact on Indian companies.

4.China setting up highest altitude telescopes close to LAC

Source: The Hindu

China is setting up the world’s highest altitude gravitational wave telescopes in a Tibet prefecture close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India, with a budget of $18.8 million to detect the faintest of echoes resonating from the universe, which may reveal more about the Big Bang theory.

  • Construction has started for the first telescope, code-named Ngari No. 1, 30 km south of Shiquanhe Town in Ngari Prefecture.
  • Parts of Nagri is last Tibetan prefecture at China’s border with India.
  • The telescope, located 5,250 meters above sea level, will detect and gather precise data on primordial gravitational waves in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • To be operational by 2021

Key facts:

  • The project was initiated by the Institute of High Energy Physics, National Astronomical Observatories, and Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology, among others, the report said.
  • Nagari, with its high altitude, clear sky and minimal human activity is said to be one of the world’s best spots to detect tiny twists in cosmic light.
  • The Nagari observatory will be among the world’s top primordial gravitational wave observation bases, alongside the South Pole Telescope and the facility in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

Gravitational waves were first proposed by Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity 100 years ago, but it wasn’t until 2016 that scientists with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory announced proof of the waves’ existence, spurring fresh research interest among the world’s scientists.

The world’s largest radio telescope

  • Last September, China commissioned the world’s largest radio telescope in a mountainous region of southwest China’s Guizhou Province to search for more strange objects space, gain better understand the origin of the universe and to boost the global hunt for extraterrestrial life.
  • The installation of the telescope’s main structure — a 4,450-panel reflector as large as 30 football pitches was built at unique valley in Guizhou Province.


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