QBullet: SC on Artistic Freedom; Cabinet Nod to GST Rate Cut

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The Union Cabinet has approved the setting up of a National Anti-Profiteering Authority.

1. Be Extremely Slow to Curb Artistic Freedom, Supreme Court Tells Courts

The Supreme Court said on Thursday that courts must be "extremely slow" to interfere with artistic freedom in works like films and rejected a plea to ban the 17 November release of a film, An Insignificant Man, based on the life of AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal.

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud appeared to rebut violent elements protesting against the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film Padmavati, when it said, "A thought-provoking film does not mean it should be puritanical. A film has to be expressive to provoke the conscious and subconscious mind of a viewer."

Last week, the court had dismissed a petition seeking a stay on the release of Padmavati, saying it was an issue squarely within the adjudication domain of the Central Board of Film Certification and the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal.

(Source: Times of India)

2. GST Rate Cut: Union Cabinet Gives Nod, Monitor Will Guard Against Profiteering

The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the setting up of a National Anti-Profiteering Authority, a body with an overarching mandate to ensure that the reduction in tax rates under the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime gets passed on to consumers by way of lower prices.

The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the setting up of a National Anti-Profiteering Authority.
The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the setting up of a National Anti-Profiteering Authority.
(Photo: The Quint)

The anti-profiteering framework under the new indirect tax regime consists of the National Anti-Profiteering Authority at the top, a standing committee, screening committees in every state and Directorate General of Safeguards in the Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC).

The authority will have the power to cancel registration of any entity or business if it fails to pass on the benefit of lower taxes under the GST regime to consumers, and empowers consumers to approach it in case of any complaint.

3. Rahul Targets Holy Cows

A combative Rahul Gandhi has stepped into an arena that the Congress old guard usually skirts – corporate India.

Rahul Gandhi speaking to the media in Bharuch, Gujarat.
Rahul Gandhi speaking to the media in Bharuch, Gujarat.
(Photo: ANI)

The Congress leader alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recast the Rafale fighter aircraft deal to help one businessman, hours after posting a series of telltale tweets in spite of a threat of legal action.

Rahul told reporters at the party headquarters on Thursday: "You can ask me anything and I happily reply. But today I want to ask a question. Why don't you ask the Prime Minister about the Rafale deal and Amit Shah's son? The entire Rafale deal was changed to help one businessman and you don't ask him. What's happening?"

4. Nehru With Sister Gives BJP the Blushes

The BJP's IT manager has tweeted a collage of nine pictures of Jawaharlal Nehru with women to counter a Congress leader's comparison of Hardik Patel with Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

The comparison with Patel was meant to highlight the irrepressible fighting spirit of Hardik, whose purported intimate scenes with women have been circulated by his rivals in the run-up to the Gujarat polls.

(Source: The Telegraph)

5. No Overpricing in Rafale Deal: IAF Chief BS Dhanoa

Representational image of a Rafale aircraft.
Representational image of a Rafale aircraft.
(Photo: Reuters)

The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Thursday said that there was “no overpricing” in the Rafale purchase as the government had “negotiated a very good” deal for the French fighter aircraft.

“It is not overpricing... We have negotiated for 36 French fighter aircraft Rafale (at a price) lower than that in the contract. The government has negotiated a very good deal,” Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said.

Stressing that it was a “government-to-government contract”, he told the media at the Adampur Air Force station near here that the IAF was getting 36 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) at a greatly “negotiated price”.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

6. Delhi Smog: Gulf Dust Storm Had Bigger Role Than Stubble Burning

 Birds fly amid smog near AIIMS in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Birds fly amid smog near AIIMS in New Delhi on Wednesday.
(Photo: PTI)

Besides stubble burning, a “multi-day dust storm” in Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia was the main cause of Delhi’s smog between 6 and 14 November, according to a study by the System of Air Quality And Weather Forecasting And Research (under the Ministry of Earth Sciences) and India Meteorological Department (IMD).

The study, released on Thursday, says that the dust storm was responsible for 40 percent of the pollution on 8 November, when the average air quality index was 478, indicating “severe” levels of pollution. While stubble burning was responsible for 25 percent of the pollution, “local sources” also played a role.

If external sources had not affected air quality, the average concentration of PM 2.5 would have been about 200 micrograms per cubic metre instead of 640 micrograms per cubic metre, says the study.

7. No One Can Stop India If It Tries to Take Back PoK: Mos Home Hansraj Ahir

No one can stop India if it wanted to wrest Pakistan-occupied Kashmir from the neighbouring country, Union minister of state for home affairs Hansraj Ahir said on Thursday, stressing that the territory was a part of India.

Ahir said PoK was under Islamabad because of the “mistakes” of previous governments.

“I say Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir is a part of India and due to the mistakes of the previous governments it has been with Pakistan. If we try to get PoK back, no one can stop us because it is our right,” PTI quoted Ahir as saying on the sidelines of an event in New Delhi.

He said India would make efforts to get the territory back from Pakistan, PTI reported.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

8. Govt Will Uphold Freedom of Press in All Forms: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the role of a free media was a “cornerstone of a vibrant democracy” and its contribution in giving “voice to the voiceless” was commendable, while greeting the press on the occasion of National Press Day.

He underlined his government’s commitment to “upholding the freedom of the press and expression in all forms.”

In a series of tweets, the Prime Minister appreciated the media for promoting Swachch Bharat, the government’s outreach on sanitation, as an example of its positive role in public discourse. “A free press is the cornerstone of a vibrant democracy. We are committed to upholding freedom of press and expression in all forms. May our media space be used more and more to showcase the skills, strengths and creativity of 125 crore Indians,” he said.

(Source: The Hindu)

9. Padmavati Release Could Cause Disturbance: UP

Deepika Padukone in and as <i>Padmavati.</i>
Deepika Padukone in and as Padmavati.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

The Uttar Pradesh government has written to the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry, expressing the apprehension that the release of Bollywood film Padmavati on 1 December could lead to serious “law and order problems” in the State.

The Uttar Pradesh Home Department has appealed to the I&B Ministry to apprise the Central Board of Film Certification of the “public sentiments” against the alleged distortion of “facts” in the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film.

The State has requested the Censor Board to decide on the certification of the film based on public sentiments, and considering the threats of disruption and violence by various groups.

(Source: The Hindu)

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