1. Government Walked BJP Tightrope on Section 377: Said Yes – and a No as Well
Offering a potential safe passage for the decriminalisation of same-sex relationships by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Home Affairs affidavit has tried to walk a tightrope between changing public opinion and the outlook of the ruling BJP’s core support bastions, including the RSS, on the issue.
The carefully drafted affidavit filed before the Constitution Bench reserved its right to object to anything “other than” Section 377 if it were to be considered during the course of adjudication.
2. Adultery Must Stay a Crime to Protect Sanctity of Marriage, Says Centre
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has opposed striking down the penal provision related to adultery from the Indian Penal Code (IPC), saying such a move would destroy the institution of marriage.
The government spelt out its stand in response to a petition challenging the constitutional validity of Section 497 of the IPC that punishes only men for adultery. An Italy-based non-resident Indian (NRI), Joseph Shine, challenged the provision, terming it unjust, illegal and arbitrary. The law prescribes a jail term of up to five years, a fine or both for men. Shine questioned the gender bias in the colonial-era law.
3. Businessman Said Father’s Spirit Warned Burari Family About Mistakes
The handwritten notes found at the home of the family, which was found hanging in north Delhi’s Burari on 1 July, talk about “wandering souls” and apprehensions they might not celebrate the next Diwali, a senior police official said on Tuesday.
Lalit Bhatia, one of two sons who was found dead, claimed his father’s spirit visited him and he would act and talk like him and write notes dictated by him, the official said.
Lalit, a 45-year-old businessman, mentioned “someone’s mistakes” was behind the family’s failure to “attain something” in a note dated 11 November, 2017.
4. No Sense in ‘Eminence’ Status for Jio Institute, Say Academics
The centre’s decision to grant the status of institute of eminence to Reliance Foundation’s proposed Jio Institute – provided it commences academic operations within three years – has not gone down well with the academic community, with teachers’ associations and veterans of the field wondering why the step was taken.
The Centre has on its part said this was done under the greenfield – or, yet to come – category, which is different from the public and private institutions’ categories.
(Source: The Hindu)
5. Facing Backlash on Prohibition, Bihar Set to Water Down Its Harsh Provisions
Under fire over alleged misuse of the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016, the state government on Tuesday cleared amendments to the law which will dilute some of its stringent provisions.
Sources told The Indian Express that at least five provisions under the law could be watered down, including those related to arrest of first-time offenders, “arrest of all adults” of a family, and seizure of house/vehicle where liquor is recovered.
The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, and the amendments are set to be tabled during the monsoon session.
6. Deadline Over, No CCTV in UP Jail Where Munna Bajrangi Was Gunned Down
The Baghpat jail where gangster Munna Bajrangi was shot dead did not have a single CCTV camera installed — this despite a deadline of 31 March to set up 30 cameras at the prison. And just a few metres from the spot where Bajrangi was gunned down on Monday was where a proposed camera was to be set up, said sources.
Additional Director General (Prisons) Chandra Prakash told The Indian Express that they had hired a government agency to survey jails across Uttar Pradesh and install surveillance cameras back in 2014-15.
7. I-T Searches Yogendra Yadav Family Hospitals
The income tax department claimed on Wednesday, 11 July that it carried out searches at “three premises” in Haryana’s Rewari belonging to Swaraj India founder Yogendra Yadav’s family and found “unaccounted cash” of Rs 20 lakh along with evidence of purchase of jewellery from PNB scam accused Nirav Modi, payments for which were allegedly made partly in cash.
Responding to these claims, Yadav told The Indian Express: “Whatever was found during the raid is for the hospital authorities to explain. I raised my voice because they are being punished for my actions.”
8. Two Months After Anti-Encroachment Drive, Delhi Roads Are Choked Again
Two months after a Special Task Force (STF) carried out a series of anti-encroachment drives in the national Capital on the orders of the Supreme Court, squatters and illegally parked cars are back on roads that had been marked out by the committee as the most problematic.
At all seven stretches where spot checks were carried out by HT on Wednesday – Uttam Nagar, Dabri, Vikas Marg, Sri Aurobindo Marg (Yusuf Sarai), RK Puram, Ma Anandmayee Marg and Baba Fateh Singh Marg (Govindpuri) – the pavements had been reoccupied by hawkers and cars were parked illegally, blocking the flow of traffic.
9. At Heart of Punjab’s Latest Drug Drive Is Body of 22-Year-Old Addict
More than two weeks after the body of 22-year-old Balwinder Singh was found in a garbage dump with a syringe stuck in his hand near his home here, his family members on Monday burnt down his clothes and other belongings. His mother Kashmir Kaur says she could not bear to look at the stuff anymore as it reminded her of Balwinder.
He died on June 23. Several suspected drug-related deaths have been reported since then in Punjab, but it was the viral video of Kashmir crying uncontrollably next to the body of her son lying in the rubbish dump that has triggered the fresh outpouring of public anger over drugs in Punjab.