SC PETITIONER WRITES AGAINST FUTURE DHARAM SANSAD MEETS

Pursuant to the liberty granted by the Supreme Court, the petitioner in the PIL seeking criminal action with respect to the Dharm Sansad conclave held at Haridwar and Delhi has written to the District Magistrates of Aligarh, Una and Haridwar seeking to take preventive action to ensure that no speeches of such nature are allowed at the proposed events. The complaints have been addressed to the Chief Ministers of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, Election Commission of India, Home Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and Superintendent of Police of Haridwar, Una and Aligarh. The complaint says that if such events are held in the State of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand as well and similar speeches are made, it would not only disturb the public order but will amount to various criminal offences. The complainant is journalist Qurban Ali. Meanwhile, the Attorney General for India KK Venugopal has granted consent to initiate contempt proceedings against the ‘Dharam Sansad’ leader Yati Narsinghanand over his recent ‘derogatory remarks’ against the Constitution and the Supreme Court of India.

FIR FILED OVER CLUBHOUSE REMARKS AGAINST MUSLIM WOMEN

The Special Cell, Delhi Police, has filed a First Information Report (FIR) against unknown persons after taking cognisance of a video of a Clubhouse conversation with vulgar and derogatory remarks against Muslim women was posted on Twitter. This came hours after the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Chairperson Swati Maliwal on January 18 issued notice to Delhi Police’s Cyber Crime cell, seeking for an FIR to be filed against people for making obscene remarks against Muslim women on Clubhouse. The Delhi Police have identified six persons who took part in the Clubhouse conversation and made them join the ongoing investigation into the case. The Mumbai Police Cyber Cell has also arrested three men from Haryana in the same case after a complaint was lodged in Mumbai by a woman. Meanwhile, the Mumbai Police on January 17 opposed the bail pleas of the three accused arrested in the ‘Bulli Bai’ app case, noting that the ongoing probe has suggested that Shweta Singh, Mayan Rawat, and Vishal Jha were also involved in the ‘Sulli Deals’ case.

DALIT MAN BEATEN, FOUND DEAD IN POLICE CUSTODY

A Dalit man with a disability residing in Karuppur in Tamil Nadu’s Salem district was reportedly found dead in police custody on January 12, The News Minute reported. Prabhakar and his wife, Amshala, who belong to a Scheduled Tribe (ST), were allegedly apprehended from their home on January 8 by a team of police officers from three different police stations in the state’s Namakkal district. They were reportedly looking for suspects in a jewellery theft case. Prabhakar’s brother Sakthivel, who witnessed the incident, claimed that the police abused the couple both physically and verbally when they picked them up. Sakthivel subsequently filed a complaint against the police action in which he noted that the officers present dragged Amshala by the hair and threatened the residents in the neighbourhood who came out of their homes upon hearing the commotion.

AMAR JAWAN JYOTI MERGED WITH FLAME AT NATIONAL WAR MEMORIAL

The Amar Jawan Jyoti or the iconic “eternal flame” for soldiers at India Gate was merged with the torch at the National War Memorial in a ceremony on January 21. The National War Memorial, built across 40-acres close to India Gate at the cost of Rs 176 crore, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25 February 2019. At the War Memorial, the eternal flame is positioned below the central 15.5 m obelisk. There are four concentric circles – the “Amar Chakra”, “Veerta Chakra”, “Tyag Chakra” and the “Rakshak Chakra”, where the names of 25,942 soldiers are inscribed on granite tablets in golden letters. Congress’ Rahul Gandhi said it was a matter of great sadness that the immortal flame that used to ‘burn for our brave soldiers will be extinguished today’. Congress leader Shashi Tharoor also questioned the move, asking if this ‘government had no respect for democratic tradition’. Congress leader Manish Tewari was also sceptical of the move, saying it ‘tantamounts to extinguishing history’. Amid sharp criticism, the government however defended the move and said a “lot of misinformation” was being circulated.

SC UPHOLDS OBC QUOTA IN NEET ADMISSIONS

Noting that high scores are not the sole criteria for merit, the Supreme Court on January 20 upheld its January 7 order allowing reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC) in the NEET undergraduate and postgraduate admissions for 2021-22. “Merit must be contextualised with respect to social and economic background. Role of reservation cannot be negated in remedying backwardness. Reservation is not at odds with merit but furthers the distributive consequences of social justice,” a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna said. The court also pronounced that there will be no stay on the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) criteria for admission to NEET-PG and the existing criteria (Rs 8 lakh gross annual income cut-off) will apply to the current admission year.

REACH OUT TO KIN FOR COVID EX GRATIA, DON’T WAIT FOR CLAIM: SC

After summoning the chief secretaries of Bihar and Andhra Pradesh with three hours’ notice to appear virtually for slow disbursal of Covid compensation, the Supreme Court on January 19 pulled up some states for not taking proactive steps and asked the authorities to reach out to the families of the victims without waiting for them to file claims. The court directed that not even a single family should be deprived of the compensation for losing their dear ones to the Covid pandemic and that claim applications must not be rejected on technical grounds. A bench of Justices M R Shah and Sanjiv Khanna pulled up various state governments, including Bihar and Andhra Pradesh, for not disbursing compensation to even those cases which were officially accepted by the state as Covid deaths many months ago. The bench directed all states and UTs to immediately disburse the amount in all those cases which had already been accepted as Covid deaths without waiting for claims.

URDU NO MORE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OF LADAKH

The administration in the Ladakh region has removed the official status of the Urdu language and dropped it as eligibility from job requirements in a key revenue department of the Union Territory. While the BJP MP from the region Jamyang Tsering Namgyal has hailed the move, many politicians see the decision beyond language. They say it is a decision to divide Kargil and Leh and also create a rift between Muslims and Buddhists. Sajad Kargili, a politician from the region says they have written to the Prime Minister seeking his intervention in the issue. The letter to the PM says Urdu was introduced in Ladakh as one of the official languages by the then Dogra Ruler Maharaja Pratab Singh in 1889. Karbali says a wrong impression is being given that language belongs to Muslims and it was imposed by Kashmiri rulers after 1947 and it has something to do with Article 370.  He says though Urdu is not the native language of even Kashmiris, it has remained the language of communication in the region for centuries.

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