QBullet: Mobs Protesting ‘Padmaavat’ Run Amok; CJI Meets 4 Judges
Here’s a roundup of the top headlines of the day.
1. Fringe Runs Riot Ahead of ‘Padmaavat’ Release
Protesters stepped up their campaign against period drama Padmaavat on Wednesday, a day ahead of its nationwide release, prompting theatre owners in several states to hold off from screening the movie.
Acts of vandalism were reported from states including Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana following overnight protests and arson in Gujarat. State police chiefs promised increased protection for cinema halls on Thursday, but the movie will not be screened in the BJP-ruled states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Goa, the Multiplex Association of India said. The protests are being spearheaded by Rajput groups and their allies who are unhappy with the depiction of legendary queen Padmini in the movie.
2. Supreme Court Crisis: CJI Dipak Misra Meets Four Judges Again, But Chill Remains
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and the four senior judges who had publicly raised the issue of rostering of cases in the Supreme Court had their longest meeting on Wednesday in nearly two weeks ago, but to little avail.
Sources told The Indian Express that the meeting of CJI Misra, with Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph, was held in the premises of the Supreme Court in the afternoon and lasted for more than an hour.
Justices AK Sikri, DY Chandrachud and UU Lalit, sources said, were also present at the meeting.
3. Need to Balance National Interest & Right to Privacy: SC on Aadhaar
With terrorism posing a major threat and the government spending thousands of crores on social welfare measures, there’s a need to strike a balance between a citizen’s right to privacy and the state’s interest, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday during a hearing on Aadhaar’s constitutional validity.
The SC said the real issue regarding Aadhaar was how to prevent its misuse and leak of data collected by the Unique Identification Authority of India. It said data could not be allowed to be used to track activities of people that fall in the private domain, but could be used to serve national interest. However, opponents of the scheme say Aadhaar linkage will result in a ‘Nazi regime and police raj’.
4. Lalu’s Woes Continue, Gets 5-Year Jail in Third Fodder Scam Case
The ghost of fodder scam returned to torment Lalu Prasad a third time on Thursday, 24 January, when a special CBI court sentenced him along with another former Bihar CM Jagannath Mishra and others to five years in jail. The case is related to the embezzlement of Rs 37.62 crore of public money which was supposed to be spent on the upkeep of livestock.
The court, which fined Lalu and Mishra Rs 10 lakh, handed down similar prison term and penalties to former MPs Jagdish Sharma and RK Rana.
Jharkhand ex-chief secretary Sajal Chakrabarty, was also found guilty and sentenced to four years’ rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs 2 lakh along with two former senior IAS officers Phool Chand Singh and Mahesh Prasad.
5. “Public Has a Right to Know”: Bombay HC Scraps Gag on Sohrabuddin Case
Observing that the “press is the most powerful watchdog of society”, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday quashed and set aside a trial court order restraining the media from reporting on proceedings in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh alleged fake encounter case.
Dictating the order, Justice Revati Mohite-Dere said “certainly public has a right to know what is happening in this case.”
She said freedom of press is intrinsic to the right to freedom of expression.
She was hearing a writ petition filed by nine journalists, including from The Indian Express, against the special CBI court’s order passed on 29 November 2017, restraining the media from reporting on the ongoing trial.
6. India, Vietnam Talk With Eye on China
Amid uncertainty over the security situation in the disputed South China Sea, where there has been no let-up in Chinese construction, India and Vietnam discussed maritime cooperation on Wednesday and vowed to further expand their defence ties.
India’s involvement in building Vietnam’s defence capabilities figured prominently in PM Narendra Modi’s bilateral meeting with his counterpart, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, ahead of the India-ASEAN summit.
(Source; The Times of India)
7. Rs 1,00,000 Cr Boost: Centre Infuses Cash, Unveils Reforms Map For Public Banks
The government on Wednesday, 24 January, announced a reforms roadmap for public sector banks and details of how Rs 80,000 crore of funds raised through recapitalisation bonds will be allocated to 20 PSBs by March-end. Eleven weak banks are to be given a total of Rs 52,311 crore to maintain their minimum capital requirement even as nine strong banks will get Rs 35,828 crore.
The eleven weak banks are currently under the RBI’s Prompt Corrective Action (PCA), which kicks in when banks breach regulatory norms on issues such as minimum capital, amount of non-performing assets and return on assets. The central bank enforces these guidelines to ensure that banks do not go bust and follow prompt measures to put their house in order.
8. BJP to Fight Karnataka Polls on Its Own: Amit Shah
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will go it alone in Karnataka, and contest every seat, party president Amit Shah said in an interview earlier this week, putting to rest speculation that the party would ally with the Janata Dal (S) of HD Deve Gowda. “We will contest every seat,” added Shah.
The party is also confident of doing better in the 2019 parliamentary elections than it did in 2014. The BJP will not only do as well as it did in 2014 in key states such as Uttar Pradesh (where it won 71 of 80 Lok Sabha seats) but also make gains in Odisha, West Bengal, and the north-east, Shah said. It is also closely looking at Tamil Nadu, he added.
9. Congress Likely to Join Oppn Move on CJI Impeachment
An opposition move for an impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra received a significant boost with Congress appearing inclined to be part of the initiative that could set the stage for some fireworks during the Budget session of Parliament.
Party managers said there has been some coordination among a section of the opposition about bringing in an impeachment motion against the CJI with Congress viewing seriously the issues raised by four senior-most judges of the apex court with regard to the manner in which cases were being allocated in the SC. While Congress leaders said they haven’t yet decided on the proposal made public by CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and NCP’s Tariq Anwar on Tuesday, they felt the matter cannot be brushed aside.
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