Hours after the Supreme Court ordered the release “forthwith” of Erendro Leichombam, the Manipuri political activist walked out of Manipur Central Jail, Sajiwa, on July 19. Erendro was detained in May under the National Security Act (NSA), allegedly over his comments on Facebook criticising claims that cow dung and cow urine are effective in preventing or treating Covid-19. A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah accepted Solicitor General Tushar Mehta’s request that the hearing be deferred to Tuesday, but said Erendro’s continued detention would amount to a violation of his fundamental rights. The court directed that Erendro be released “on or before 5 pm today”, and asked the court’s Registrar (Judicial) to communicate a copy of its order “forthwith to the Manipur Central Jail, Sajiwa”.


Provisions of a new Gujarat law which penalises forcible or fraudulent religious conversion through marriage has been challenged in the state High Court. The Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021, was notified in the state on June 15. The matter was mentioned before the division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Biren Vaishnav for circulation. The court allowed the case. The state government had passed the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Bill in the Assembly during the Budget session, and Governor Acharya Devvrat gave his assent to it on May 22. It came into force on June 15, and since then several FIRs have been filed in different police stations of Gujarat under the controversial law. The Act has stringent punishment for forcible religious conversion through marriage and attracts imprisonment of 3 to 5 years and up to Rs 2 lakh fine.


A group of women, women’s organisation, academics, health and legal rights activities, health networks have submitted a memorandum to the President of India, opposing the proposed Draft Uttar Pradesh (UP) Population Control, Stabilisation and Welfare Bill, 2021. The Bill is “extremely-anti-poor, anti-women and adversely affects both the democratic rights and reproductive choices of women, who are at the receiving end”. According to the memorandum, the proposed Bill is “a violation of Reproductive Health and Rights, which are considered basic human rights of women”. The memorandum, which has also been submitted to the Governor of Uttar Pradesh; Chairperson, Rajya Sabha; Speaker, Lok Sabha; and to the Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission, has requested the President to declare the proposed Bill unconstitutional as it violates the right to equality guaranteed to all citizens of the country under Article 14 of the Constitution of India.


A Delhi court has once again pulled up Delhi Police for what it said was its “lackadaisical attitude” in letting the court know that a separate FIR had been registered in connection to the vandalism of the Madina Masjid during the northeast Delhi riots of February 2020. This is the third time that a Delhi court has taken a dim view of Delhi Police’s investigations into the case. On March 26, Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav had expressed dissatisfaction with Delhi Police for not having maintained files in connection with the probe into the desecration of the Madina Masjid. On April 7, the court slammed the “callous attitude of the police in investigation.” LiveLaw has reported that allowing a revision petition filed by the Delhi Police, Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav sent back the matter to the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court, for it to consider the disclosure of a separate FIR. The case involves one Hashim Ali, who was subsequently made an accused by police who tagged his complaint with another FIR alleging theft, destruction of property and arson, LiveLaw has reported.


All male employees in Kerala government service should now submit a declaration if and when they get married stating that they have not taken dowry from the bride’s family. The declaration should be given within a month of the marriage, signed duly by the employee’s wife, father and father-in-law. A circular instructing that such a declaration be given was issued by the government’s Department of Woman and Child Development (WCD). The director of WCD, Anupama TV has directed heads of various government departments to collect the declarations saying the employees have not asked or taken or exhorted dowry. “Giving or taking of dowry shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five years and with fine which shall not be less than Rs 15,000 or amount of the value of such dowry, whichever is more. Similarly, demanding dowry shall also be punishable,” the circular tells the employees.


Though the West Bengal Council for Higher Secondary Education (WBCHSE) — the board responsible for conducting Higher Secondary exams in the state — did not release any merit list because no formal exams were held this year owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the marks scored by the students on the basis of an evaluation pattern, a Muslim girl student has topped the exams. Rumana Sultana from Kandi in Murshidabad district is the first student in recent times who has become the unofficial topper in Higher Secondary exams from the minority community. A student of Raja Manindra Chandra Girls High School in Kandi, Sultana has scored 499 marks out of 500. Rumana had ranked fifth in the 2019 Madhyamik exams by securing 687 marks out of 700. Aspiring to become a scientist and discover something that will be instrumental in the development of the country, Rumana, daughter of a teacher couple, said that self-study has been the key to her achievement as classes could not be held on a regular basis owing to the pandemic.

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