SC Says Govt’s Impression of 'Progress' In J&K Irrelevant To Article 370 Challenge; Karnataka Can Double Farmers’ Income By Moving PDS Away From Rice
Forest protection law to be pruned, weather affecting kharif crops, cross-border blacklist replaces whitelist in data bill, Godrej in aviation spares market, robbers hijack tomatoes as prices soar
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Snapshot of the day
July 11, 2023
A Constitution bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud has said that the case concerning Article 370 is a “pure constitutional challenge” and the Union government’s opinions on the quality of life in Jammu and Kashmir following the loss of special status is of no relevance. The Union had filed a fresh 20-page affidavit claiming that the scrapping of J&K’s special status was followed by an “unprecedented era of peace, progress and prosperity”. It listed numerous governmental feats, including the termination of street violence, transit accommodation for the return of Kashmiri Pandits (their last homecoming was disastrous) and projects in infrastructure, health, hygiene, hydro-electric generation and higher education.
The petitioners’ advocates, including Rajeev Dhavan, Dushyant Dave, Raju Ramachandran, Gopal Sankaranarayanan, CU Singh, Nitya Ramakrishnan, Kamini Jaiswal, Vrinda Grover and Prasanna S had maintained that despite this, the legal challenge remains. The court has confirmed that the Centre’s list of achievements has “no bearing on the issues raised in the petitions and shall not hence be relied upon for that purpose.” The Article 370 challenge will be heard from August 2.
The Supreme Court has found the controversial extensions of tenure given to Enforcement Director SK Mishra in 2021 and 2022 to be illegal, but will allow him to retain office until July 31. However, the court refused to strike down new legal provisions adopted by parliament which give the government the power to retain the heads of the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation for up to five years. Until Modi became PM, a fixed tenure for these officers was considered the best way to ensure they did not curry favour with the government in order to secure an extension. The new rules have the opposite effect – by linking tenure to government discretion, they virtually ensure the ED and CBI will do the ruling party’s bidding. However, the court said the fact that these appointments are made by a high-level committee offers sufficient safeguards against abuse.
Editorial headline in the Imphal Free Press: “Narendra Modi, who?” It is satire, a form which bigger media houses are leaving carefully alone these days: “As to the supreme leader sitting in New Delhi, one has to understand that he is not a talkative person and he always chooses his words carefully lest someone misunderstands him. That is the very reason he has chosen not to address a press conference all through his career as the top executive of the country, except for some interviews to a favoured few who had been vetted over and over again. He does not take along hordes of reporters in his plane like most heads of states during foreign trips except for those in the official media. There was no mention of the Manipur crisis in his monthly thoughts (Maan ki Baat) and it seems he had chosen to maintain ‘Mounabarta’ on the Manipur crisis in his official musings.”
To clear the air about allegations of the complicity of the security forces in the ethnic violence in Manipur, the Manipur High Court Bar Association has asked the public to come forward with instances ― and with evidence. It also urged the State government to grant ex gratia to victims only after verifying their citizenship status, since “there are many reports of illegal immigrants — Kuki-Chin people — coming in from Myanmar,” an office-bearer told The Hindu.
“Days before ethnic violence erupted in Manipur, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla had asked the governments of Manipur and Mizoram to capture the ‘biographic and biometric details of illegal migrants’,” the newspaper adds. After the military coup in Myanmar in February 2021, 4,000 refugees are believed to have entered Manipur while the bulk, over 40,000 refugees, took shelter in Mizoram, where they were welcomed as ethnic relations by the Zoramthanga government.
Yesterday, The Trinamool Congress said that a five-member party delegation will visit the ethnic strife-torn Manipur on July 14 to reach out to its people. More than 120 people have been killed in the state in violence since May 3.
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has condemned the Manipur Police for registering an FIR (first information report) against a three-member team which recently conducted a fact-finding inquiry conducted by Annie Raja and Nisha Siddhu of the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) and advocate Deeksha Dwivedi by visiting various parts of the violence-hit state to understand the situation on the ground.
Al Jazeera reports from the ground on the situation in Manipur, meeting the people who were with David Thiek before he was barbarically beheaded, to the defacing of memorials from the 1917-1919 war that the Kukis waged against the British Crown. The Guardian’s reporter in Manipur has some illuminating insights, like an engineering professor who told him: “I am a teacher but right now my priority is to procure a gun and defend my community. The situation has reached a point where only guns can decide the future course.”
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The Hindu Business Line reports a crucial change in the Personal Data Protection Bill, which will affect the cross-border flow of data. Earlier, only a small number of countries vetted by the government could be destinations for Indian data. Now, that small whitelist has been replaced by a small blacklist, and most jurisdictions are eligible.
While hearing a petition filed by activist Shachi Nelli, the Supreme Court issued notice in a contempt petition against Hindutva leader Yati Narsinghanand for his disparaging remarks about the top court and the Indian Constitution.
With Indian carriers on a buying spree, Godrej Aerospace is moving into the spares market. The business logic is flawless ― IndiGo and Air India have ordered almost 1,000 passenger planes from Boeing and Airbus, and when they are in, at least 2,000 engines will be in need of constant maintenance. Godrej is tying up with parts makers for Airbus Industrie and Boeing overseas, which are looking for partners here for a local supply chain. Both aircraft makers have also agreed to commit more investment to India. Godrej is already supplying parts to engine makers General Electric and Rolls-Royce.
Amidst unprecedented violence, the Trinamool Congress has emerged the clear winner in the panchayat elections in West Bengal.
The Yamuna has crossed the danger mark of 206 metres in Delhi, and the evacuation of people from flood-prone areas is on.
In the first instalment of ‘Bad Medicine’, a series on the effects of poor drug regulation, Bloomberg focuses on Indian cough syrups which were lethal to children.
In September 2022, the Union cabinet approved the PM Schools for Rising India (PM-SHRI) scheme, which seeks to upgrade 14,597 state government schools that would serve as models for neighbouring schools. Six states are yet to sign up for the scheme which stamps schools with the PM’s imprimatur through an MoU ― Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Bihar, Delhi, Kerala and West Bengal. They don’t want the PM to claim credit when states foot 40% of the bill. A similar battle is being waged over PM Awas Yojana, in which states again bear 40% of the burden while the PM gets 100% credit. West Bengal and Odisha are pasting state government logos on new housing, and the Centre is displeased.
When extreme weather sends the price of vegetables soaring, the ungodly take note. With the price of tomatoes in the region of Rs 100 per kg, a farmer’s truck carrying about 2.5 tonnes of tomatoes to Kolar near Bengaluru fell into the hands of hijackers who had feigned a road rage incident. An almost identical incident was reported from Chitradurga. During a heatwave in the last summer, the price of limes exceeded the minimum wage, and lime growers in Uttar Pradesh had to hire guards to protect their crops from robbers.