Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Kingfisher arrests

One criticism against Barack Obama was that nobody went to jail for frauds that caused depression of 2008. In India at least some people went to jail for causing loss to a public sector bank.
On 23/1/2017 CBI arrested nine persons; four were former officials of IDBI Bank. They were Chairman Yogesh Aggarwal, Deputy Managing Director O. V. Bundelu, Executive Director S. K. Srinivasan, and General Manager R. S. Sridhar. Also arrested was present Deputy Managing Director S. K. Batra. Other four were former officials of Kingfisher Airlines. They were Chief Financial Officer A. Raghunathan, Assistant Vice President Shailesh Borkar, Senior Manager (Accounts) A. C. Shah, and Deputy General Manager Amit Nadkarni. In 2009 IDBI Bank had given loan of 900 crore rupees to Kingfisher Airlines when the company had declared a loss of 1,600 crore rupees. The company had BB rating which showed it was risky to give loan but the bank gave the loan. Of the 900 crore rupees, 262 crore rupees were diverted for personal use, 422 crore rupees went to offshore accounts.
On 24/1/2017 CBI filed a charge sheet against Vijay Mallya and others. Vijay Mallya owned Kingfisher Airlines. The charges are criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption. Vijay Mallya is absconding. He was allowed to flee. The court sent others to judicial custody till 7/2/2017.
Kingfisher owes money to State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, IDBI Bank, Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, United Bank of India, Central Bank of India, UCO Bank, Corporation Bank, State Bank of Mysore, Indian Overseas Bank, Federal Bank, Punjab and Sind Bank, Axis Bank, and some other banks. State Bank of India had lent 1,600 crore rupees to KA.
The arrests of bank and company officials are significant. Bank officials have to be careful about lending. Company officials have to be careful about borrowing. Many companies take loans and default. The loans are written off. Under Modi government things have become worse. Names of defaulters and cases of corporate debt restructuring and strategic debt restructuring should be made public.
Auction of Kingfisher properties has not been successful. There were no takers at reserve price. For long there were adjournments in Debt Recovery Tribunals.
There are no discussions on TV channels about Kingfisher arrests. This is a matter of importance. Silly statements are given publicity. People who have money in the bank are unable to withdraw the amount they want. The Committee of Chief Ministers on Digital Payments headed by Chandrababu Naidu has suggested reintroduction of banking cash transaction tax on withdrawals of over 50,000 rupees. That should not happen. People should not have to pay tax for withdrawing their money from the bank.

Trump is President

On 20/1/2017 at noon local time, 10.30 p.m. Indian Standard Time, Donald John Trump became the President of USA. Voting was on 8/11/2016 and on 9/11/2016 Trump had enough Electoral College votes to be President. The matter should have rested there but enemies of Trump were not giving up. They tried other means to stop him becoming President.
Protests against Trump erupted in many cities. The protesters shouted “Not my President”. Some protesters engaged in vandalism and arson. They went on for some days and nights. Some said George Soros was behind those protests.
On 23/11/2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein started a campaign for recount in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Trump had won in those states. Recount of votes would not have made a difference to Jill Stein. She would not have got the Electoral College votes of those votes. Hillary Clinton would have been the beneficiary. Democrats contributed to Jill Stein’s campaign. Jill Stein filed for a recount in Wisconsin on 25/11/2016, in Pennsylvania on 28/11/2016, and in Michigan on 30/11/2016. Trump campaign moved courts against recount. On 7/12/2016 Judge Mark Goldsmith stopped recount in Michigan. On 12/12/2016 Judge Paul Diamond dismissed petition for recount in Pennsylvania. In Wisconsin recount took place and Trump got more votes. Pennsylvania had 20 Electoral College votes, Michigan 16, and Wisconsin 10. Trump had 306 EC votes, Hillary Clinton 232.
Trump’s enemies now asked Republican Electors not to vote for Trump. They said “I am not asking you to vote for Hillary Clinton.” Not voting for Trump meant Hillary Clinton will benefit. Some wanted Electors to vote according to their conscience. Voting was on 19/12/2016. Trump’s enemies were successful in getting two Republican Electors not to vote for Trump. They were from Texas. Chris Suprun voted for John Kasich. Bill Greene voted for Ron Paul. Trump got 304 EC votes out of 306, 34 more than required 270.
Hillary Clinton’s loss was more. She lost five EC votes of Democratic Electors. In Washington State, Levi Guerra, Esther John, Bret Chiafalo voted for Colin Powell and Robert Satiacum voted for Faith Spotted Eagle. In Hawaii, David Mulinix voted for Bernie Sanders. She would have lost three more votes, one each in Colorado, Minnesota, and Maine. The votes were declared invalid. In Colorado and Minnesota alternate Electors voted for Hillary. In Maine the Elector subsequently voted for Hillary.
After that there were attempts to discredit Trump victory. Obama said if he had contested he could have won. It was an unnecessary statement. There is no provision for third term for President of USA. Trump replied he had won in states where Obama had aggressively campaigned against him.
Most channels continued to be against Trump. Trump got annoyed with CNN and did not allow its correspondent to raise a question during a press conference. He called CNN fake news.
Trump has spoken against Boeing and Lockheed Martin for excessive profit and cost overrun. Companies which made easy profit from government money are unhappy with Trump.
Trump’s inaugural speech was short compared to speeches of other presidents. His inaugural speech was similar to his campaign speeches. He spoke against Washington elite and politicians who are all talk and no action. He ended with his slogan Make America Great Again.
Trump wants American companies to manufacture in USA. He has talked of 35% tariff on goods manufactured outside USA. His slogan is Buy American, Hire American. It reminds of the slogan Be Indian, Buy Indian, which was prevalent many years back. Now there is talk of Make in India. Many Indians fear that getting H1-B and L1 visas will be difficult.

Ordinances

On 2/1/2017 Supreme Court held that re-promulgation of ordinances is a fraud on the Constitution and the ordinances are not immune from judicial scrutiny when the power has been exercised to secure an oblique purpose. It was a 5-2 majority judgment. Justices S. A. Bobde, Adarsh K. Goel, Uday U. Lalit, D. Y. Chandrachud and L. Nageshwara Rao delivered the majority judgment. CJI Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Madan B. Lokur differed from the majority view.
Ordinances are for emergency situation. The Constitution has no provision for re-promulgation. An ordinance has to be laid before the legislature and has to be passed within six weeks of reassembly of the legislature. Many times governments have summoned legislatures for a period of less than six weeks and after the session is over re-promulgated the ordinances. Many times ordinances are not placed before legislatures on the ground that ordinances are valid for six months. Presidents and Governors have obliged governments by re-promulgating ordinances. The Constitution does not mention validity of six months for ordinances.
For Central Government the relevant Article states:
(1) If at any time, except when both Houses of Parliament are in session, the President is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action, he may promulgate such Ordinances as the circumstances appear to him to require.
(2) An Ordinance promulgated under this article shall have the same force and effect as an Act of Parliament, but every such Ordinance—
(a) shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament and shall cease to operate at the expiration of six
weeks from the reassembly of Parliament, or, if before the expiration of that period resolutions disapproving it are passed by both Houses, upon the passing of the second of those resolutions; and
(b) may be withdrawn at any time by the President.
Explanation.—Where the Houses of Parliament are summoned to reassemble on different dates, the period of six weeks shall be reckoned from the later of those dates for the purposes of this clause.
(3) If and so far as an Ordinance under this article makes any provision which Parliament would not under this Constitution be competent to enact, it shall be void.

For State Government the relevant Article states:
(1) If at any time, except when the Legislative Assembly of a State is in session, or where there is a
Legislative Council in a State, except when both Houses of the Legislature are in session, the Governor is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action, he may promulgate such Ordinances as the circumstances appear to him to require:
Provided that the Governor shall not, without instructions from the President, promulgate any such
Ordinance if—
(a) a Bill containing the same provisions would under this Constitution have required the previous
sanction of the President for the introduction thereof into the Legislature; or
(b) he would have deemed it necessary to reserve a Bill containing the same provisions for the
consideration of the President; or
(c) an Act of the Legislature of the State containing the same provisions would under this Constitution have been invalid unless, having been reserved for the consideration of the President, it had received the assent of the President.
(2) An Ordinance promulgated under this article shall have the same force and effect as an Act of the Legislature of the State assented to by the Governor, but every such Ordinance—
(a) shall be laid before the Legislative Assembly of the State, or where there is a Legislative Council
in the State, before both the Houses, and shall cease to operate at the expiration of six weeks from the reassembly of the Legislature, or if before the expiration of that period a resolution disapproving it is passed by the Legislative Assembly and agreed to by the Legislative Council, if any, upon the passing of the resolution or, as the case may be, on the resolution being agreed to by the Council; and
(b) may be withdrawn at any time by the Governor.
Explanation.—Where the Houses of the Legislature of a State having a Legislative Council are summoned to reassemble on different dates, the period of six weeks shall be reckoned from the later of those dates for the purposes of this clause.
(3) If and so far as an Ordinance under this article makes any provision which would not be valid if enacted in an Act of the Legislature of the State assented to by the Governor, it shall be void:
Provided that, for the purposes of the provisions of this Constitution relating to the effect of an Act of the Legislature of a State which is repugnant to an Act of Parliament or an existing law with respect to a matter enumerated in the Concurrent List, an Ordinance promulgated under this article in pursuance of instructions from the President shall be deemed to be an Act of the Legislature of the State which has been reserved for the consideration of the President and assented to by him.

Supreme Court was ruling on petitions challenging the validity of ordinances issued and re-promulgated in Bihar in 1989-1991. I do not know why it took 25 years for this verdict.

The fraud on the Constitution is played repeatedly. Parliament and state legislatures are rendered useless. Recently the President signed an ordinance regarding enemy property for an unprecedented fifth time. He signed the obnoxious ordinance known as Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Ordinance 2016 which ended RBI’s liability on old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes and which made it a crime to hold 10 or more old notes the fine being 10,000 rupees or five times the amount of face value of old notes whichever is higher. I hope he will not sign any ordinance for re-promulgation. Modi had said people can exchange old notes with RBI till 31/3/2017. People who trusted him have been betrayed. Modi government played a fraud on the nation. On 3/1/2017 many people with old notes protested at RBI offices as RBI refused to exchange notes.

Petitions challenging Ordinance on demonization is before Supreme Court. Modi government did not place it before Parliament during winter session. Budget session is due in February. All ordinances pending should be placed before Parliament.

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