Here are the top 5 news of December 17, 2020:
1. Suvendu Adhikari quits Trinamool Congress, likely to join BJP in Amit Shah's presence
Ahead of the 2021 Assembly elections, aggrieved West Bengal politician Suvendu Adhikari today quit the Trinamool Congress. Over the last few weeks, the heavyweight leader has gradually resigned from all administrative posts. Most recently, on Wednesday, he had submitted his resignation as MLA to the West Bengal Legislative Assembly.
Now, in a letter to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, he said that he was tendering his resignation as a member of the All India Trinamool Congress as well as from all other positions held by him in the party and its associate organisations "with immediate effect".
There is speculation that the politician will join the BJP, possibly on December 19, when Home Minister Amit Shah is expected to visit Kolkata.
2. SC acknowledges farmers' right to non-violent protest, says would set up panel to resolve impasse
The Supreme Court today acknowledged the right of farmers to non-violent protests and suggested the Centre to put on hold the implementation of the three contentious agri laws as it was thinking of setting up an "impartial and independent" panel of agriculture experts and farmer unions to resolve the deadlock.
The apex court was also of the view that the farmers' right to protest should not infringe the fundamental rights of others to move freely and in getting essential food and other supplies as right to protest cannot mean blockade of the entire city.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said it would pass order on constituting a committee only after hearing all the parties including the protesting farmer unions and putting on hold the implementation of new farm laws by the Centre would enable negotiations with farmers.
However, Attorney General K K Venugopal opposed the suggestion and said if the implementation of the farm laws are put on hold then farmers would not come forward for negotiations.
The top court said it was not asking the Centre to stay the farm laws but only suggesting that its implementation be put on hold for the time being to enable the farmers to talk with the government.
3. TRP scam: Ex-COO of ratings agency BARC arrested
Widening the scope of investigation in the alleged Television Rating Points (TRP) rigging case, the Mumbai crime branch today arrested former COO of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC). As per the crime branch sources, former COO Romil Ramgarhia was arrested around 1 pm today. He is the 14th person to be arrested in the case.
For over two months the crime branch has been investigating the case and has formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to prove the case. So far, they have arrested two officer bearers of Republic TV including it's CEO Vikas Khanchandani and distribution head Ghanshyam Singh, few owners of television channels and former relationship managers of Hansa Research Group, a market research company hired by BARC to maintain and fetch viewership data from bar-o-meters installed at homes.
In the second week of October, Mumbai Police unearth the TRP rigging case and claimed several channels indulged in TRP manipulations and named Republic TV, along with Fakt Marathi, Box Cinema and other news channels as indulging in alleged manipulations.
In the alleged malpractice, the relationship managers were paid to rig the TRPs, manipulate the sampling metering services by inducing bar-o-meter households to watch particular TV channels and pay them periodically. Households were paid Rs 400-500 monthly, to watch a particular channel. There are 2,000 bar-o-meters installed in Mumbai to monitor TRPs.
4. Mumbai: Central Railway to operate 10 AC local trains from Dec 17 on CSMT-Kalyan route
For the first time, the Central Railway will be running ten air-conditioned local train services on the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus-Kalyan route from December 17, replacing the ordinary suburban services. The railway officials said that passengers as permitted by the Ministry of Railways and Maharashtra government are only allowed to travel in the AC local trains.
“Of the 10 AC local services, two will be operated between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) (in Mumbai) and Kalyan (in neighbouring Thane), four between CSMT and Dombivli (Thane) and four between CSMT and Kurla,” he said.
The first AC local service on the main line will commence from Kurla for CSMT at 5.42 am, while the last AC local will depart from CSMT for Kurla at 11.25 pm, it said.
5. SC to decide tomorrow on issuing show-cause notice to Kunal Kamra on contempt pleas
The Supreme Court will pass an order tomorrow whether to issue a show-cause notice to comedian Kunal Kamra on pleas seeking to initiate contempt of court proceedings against him for his tweets "critiquing the judiciary." A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said it will pass an order on Friday.
Advocate Nishant Katneshwarkar, appearing for the petitioners, said this is a contempt petition for "scandalous tweets" by Kunal Kamra.
"Kamra had tweeted that 'Supreme Court of this country is supreme joke of this country'... Attorney General KK Venugopal has already given consent for initiating contempt proceedings," Katneshwarkar said.
Earlier, Venugopal had given his nod to the petitioners for initiating contempt proceedings against the comic artist for allegedly denigrating judiciary and judges.
Kunal Kamra had tweeted criticising the Supreme Court for granting interim bail to Arnab Goswami. Kamra has, however, refused to apologise for his tweets criticising the Supreme Court, commenting in a statement that "silence of the Supreme Court on matters of other's personal liberty cannot go uncriticized."
(With input from agencies)