Stocks
Nifty, Sensex dip on global impact – Thursday closing report

We had mentioned in Wednesday’s closing report that Nifty, Sensex continue to be in an uptrend. The major indices of the Indian stock markets suffered a correction on Thursday and closed with losses of upto 1.03% over Wednesday’s close. The trends of the major indices over Thursday’s trading are given in the table below:

After three consecutive days of record highs during the week, the Indian equity markets slipped on Thursday tracking bearish global cues, a weak rupee and heavy selling pressure in automobile, capital goods and consumer durables stocks. According to market observers, investors were also cautious over the ongoing two-day meet of the Good and Services Tax (GST) Council in Srinagar, which will finalise tax slabs on services and commodities in the country. On the NSE, there were 236 advances, 1,285 declines and 61 unchanged. The BSE market breadth was bearish -- with 2,043 declines and 702 advances.
 
Power utility CESC Ltd announced a business restructuring scheme which is based on demerger of certain existing businesses, group's Chairman Sanjiv Goenka said on Thursday. "This (the restructuring scheme) will lead to four entities focusing on generation, distribution, organised retail and other ventures," he said. All four entities will be listed with stock exchanges, Goenka said. The business restructuring scheme aims to simplify the present corporate structure, he added. The company’s shares closed at Rs829.80, down 15.10% on the BSE.
 
British unemployment rate has fallen to 4.6% in three months to March, hitting the lowest since 1975, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said. A year earlier the figure was 5.1%. The number of jobless people, who are not in work but seeking and available to work, fell by 53,000 to 1.54 million in the first quarter this year, Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday. Meanwhile, the employment rate, the proportion of 16 to 64 year olds in work, was 74.8%, the highest since comparable records began in 1971. However, despite the sustained fall in unemployment and rise in employment, wage growth has slowed down further, even lagging behind inflation for the first time since mid-2014. Average weekly earnings (excluding bonuses) increased by 2.1% in the three months to March, while inflation rose by 2.3% in the year to March 2017. The Bank of England (BoE) has warned of a consumer spending squeeze this year as inflation rises and real wages fall in its latest Inflation Report. This year will be "a more challenging time for British households" and "wages won't keep up with prices," BoE governor Mark Carney said. The FTSE was at 7,401.01 down 1.37% in London on Thursday at around 16:20 p.m. IST.
 
Following other prominent banks, the country's third largest private sector lender
Axis Bank on Thursday announced 30 basis points (bps) reduction in its home loan interest rates to promote affordable housing finance. "Taking forward its commitment towards affordable housing finance, the bank has revised its rates for home loans up to Rs 30 lakh for the salaried segment to 8.35%, the lowest in the industry," the bank said in a statement. For self-employed, rates for home loan up to Rs30 lakh have been revised to 8.40%.  The revised rates will be available with effect from May 16. The bank’s shares closed at Rs491.85, down 2.15% on the BSE.
 
In a bid to deal with economic offenders like liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who flee the country to escape the legal process, the government on Thursday said it has prepared a draft legislation to enable confiscation of their assets. The draft law -- Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2017 -- has been prepared and put in public domain at the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, website for comments and suggestions of all stakeholders.  "It is widely felt that the spectre of high-value economic offenders absconding from India to defy the legal process seriously undermines the rule of law in India," the Finance Ministry said here in a statement.  "It is, therefore, felt necessary to provide an effective, expeditious and constitutionally permissible deterrent to ensure that such actions are curbed," the statement said.  "The government is considering to introduce legislative changes or even a new law to confiscate the assets of such absconders till they submit to the jurisdiction of the appropriate legal forum," the statement added. All stakeholders need to submit their suggestions by June 3. The legislative action is part of the Union Budget announcement. The Bank Nifty closed at 22,698.60, down 1.03% on the NSE.
 
The top gainers and top losers of the major indices are given in the table below:
 
 
The closing values of the major Asian indices are given in the table below:
 

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Delhi HC to CIC: Impose Fine as Per Law, Token Penalty for Delay Not Valid
Can a Central Information Commissioner impose a penalty as per his whims and fancies? Early this week, the Delhi High Court slapped a show cause notice on the Central Information Commission (CIC), seeking an explanation for arbitrarily imposing a Rs5,000 penalty on a Public Information Officer (PIO) instead of going by Section 20 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. 
 
The court stated, “Section 20 (of the RTI Act) mandates a penalty of Rs250 for each day’s delay subject to a maximum of Rs25,000…there is no concept of token penalty…once the explanation rendered by respondent is rejected, the CIC was obliged to impose the penalty in terms of Section 20.”
 
The court has issued a notice to the CIC and the CPIO to respond by 22nd September. 
 
The petitioner, Dinesh Pandey, referred to the Supreme Court decision in the case of Union of India Vs. Dharmendra Textile Processors, where the apex court, while dealing with the concept of levy of mandatory penalty provided under Central Excise Act, 1944, has held that “when the statutory provision provides for mandatory penalty, the authorities cannot impose lesser penalty when no discretion is available on quantum of penalty under the said statutory provisions”.
 
The petitioner also referred to two other decisions, of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana and High Court of Himachal Pradesh, which observed, “We find no provision in the Act which empowers the Commission to either reduce or enhance this penalty. If the Commission comes to the conclusion that there are reasonable grounds for delay and that the Public Information Officer (PIO) concerned has satisfactorily explained the delay then no penalty can be imposed. However once the Commission come to the conclusion that the penalty has to be imposed then the same must be @ Rs250 per day and not at any other rate at the whims and fancy of the Commission...”
 
There have been similar cases wherein the CIC has imposed a fine which does not adhere to Section 20 rule in the RTI Act. One of them pertains to Delhi-based RTI applicant, RK Jain, who filed an application at the Central Public Information Officer, Customs Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT)’ in Delhi. He had sought information on cases that were reserved by the CESTAT along with names of parties and appeal numbers. Dissatisfied with the information, he filed a second appeal with the CIC, Delhi. The CIC, after hearing, imposed a token penalty of Rs2,500 on the CPIO.  
 
Box:
Section 20 in the Right to Information Act, 2005
 
20. Penalties.—
(1) Where the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, has, without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified under sub‑section (1) of section 7 or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall impose a penalty of two hundred and fifty rupees each day till application is received or information is furnished. However, the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed twenty‑five thousand rupees: Provided that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard before any penalty is imposed on him: Provided further that the burden of proving that he acted reasonably and diligently shall be on the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be.
 
Here is the order passed by the Delhi HC…
 
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting, which she won twice in 1998 and 2005, and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book, “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte”, with Vinita Kamte, and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.) 

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COMMENTS

Sanjeet Kumar

3 months ago

It is very good decision by Honourable High Court. Most of the time CIC shows reluctance towards imposing penalty on PIOs. Section 20 of the RTI Act does not provides descretion to the CIC to impose penalty, rather it mandates CIC to impose penalty. Learn more about RTI at http://rtiact2005.com/

SRINIVAS SHENOY

4 months ago

It is a favorable decision protecting the appellants rights. Hope similar decisions are passed so that the PIOs realise their duties to the members of the public.

Government to bring law to confiscate assets of economic offenders
In a bid to deal with economic offenders like liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who flee the country to escape the legal process, the government on Thursday said it has prepared a draft legislation to enable confiscation of their assets.
 
The draft law -- Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2017 -- has been prepared and put in public domain at the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, website for comments and suggestions of all stakeholders. 
 
"It is widely felt that the spectre of high-value economic offenders absconding from India to defy the legal process seriously undermines the rule of law in India," the Finance Ministry said here in a statement
 
"It is, therefore, felt necessary to provide an effective, expeditious and constitutionally permissible deterrent to ensure that such actions are curbed," the statement said. 
 
"The government is considering to introduce legislative changes or even a new law to confiscate the assets of such absconders till they submit to the jurisdiction of the appropriate legal forum," the statement added. 
 
All stakeholders need to submit their suggestions by June 3. 
 
The legislative action is part of the Union Budget announcement.
 
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had in the Budget 2017-18 said: "In the recent past, there have been instances of big time offenders, including economic offenders, fleeing the country to escape the reach of law. We have to ensure that the law is allowed to take its own course. 
 
"Government is, therefore, considering introduction of legislative changes, or even a new law, to confiscate the assets of such persons located within the country, till they submit to the jurisdiction of the appropriate legal forum. Needless to say that all necessary constitutional safeguards will be followed in such cases."
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

manoharlalsharma

4 months ago

Government to bring law to confiscate assets of economic offenders/is it possible the biggest property holders r Politicians only and they know how to cheat and hide behind HC and rest will be manged by their law officers with guaranty of 100% security of hiding with misguide/misrepresentation.

Hayath MS

4 months ago

Already they have 75% of wealth now want to take away remaining 25% also, every law is used as per convenience of the ruler and their finances .

SRINIVAS SHENOY

4 months ago

It is a good legislation which was long overdue. Hope it is legislated soon, so as to enable the banks to clean their books, which will spur in all round economic development of the country.

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