QBullet: SC to Review Sec 377; India-China Prevent Another Doklam

Here’s the news roundup of top headlines of the day.

7 min read
Gay rights supporters celebrate outside the Supreme Court in New Delhi on Tuesday.

1. SC Relook at Gay Rights Law

The Supreme Court on Monday referred to a five-judge constitution bench a challenge to a law that criminalises all sexual activity other than consensual heterosexual intercourse, observing that society's ideas of morality keep changing with time.

But the three-judge bench clarified that what would be under consideration for decriminalisation was consensual (gay and lesbian) sex between adults – and not sex with children or animals.

“Societal morality changes from age to age. Law copes with life and accordingly change takes place. Morality that the public perceives, the Constitution may not conceive of,” the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said.

(Source: The Telegraph)

2. Centre in Anthem Climbdown

The Centre sprang a surprise on Monday, requesting the Supreme Court to put a hold on its November 2016 interim direction for cinemas to play the national anthem before every screening and for everyone present to stand up in a show of respect.

On Tuesday, the apex court will hear the home ministry affidavit, which goes against the government's previous insistence that movie theatres compulsorily play the anthem and the audiences stand up.

The affidavit says the Centre has formed an inter-ministerial group to suggest within six months possible guidelines on when and where the national anthem should be played or sung.

"Upon consideration of the recommendations made by the committee, the government may bring out the requisite notification or circular or rules in this regard, if required," it adds.

(Source: The Telegraph)

3. Govt Busy in Converting Fear in Jobless Youth Into Hatred Between Communities: RaGa in Bahrain

Rahul Gandhi with a member of the Gulf nation’s royal family Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
Rahul Gandhi with a member of the Gulf nation’s royal family Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
(Photo Courtesy: twitter/INCIndia)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday slammed the BJP-led Central government over its inability to provide jobs to the Indian youth, which he claimed was creating widespread anger and hatred in the country.

While addressing a convention of NRIs in Bahrain, his first foreign visit after taking over the reigns of the party, Gandhi said, “The anger is visible in streets and is rising rapidly. The government, on the other hand, is busy converting the fear into hatred between communities,” adding that NRIs are needed to protect the idea of India that is deeply cherished.

Gandhi, who was the chief guest at an event organised by the Global Organisation of People of India Origin, called NRIs the biggest asset of the country even as he invited the community to come and take part in the process of nation-building.

(Source: The Indian Express)

4. India, China Prevent Another Doklam, Resolve Intrusion Incident in Arunachal Pradesh's Tuting

With both Xi and Modi being assertive leaders, the Doklam issue will soon be resolved without spilling over across LAC.
With both Xi and Modi being assertive leaders, the Doklam issue will soon be resolved without spilling over across LAC.
(Photo: AP/ Altered by The Quint)

India and China averted a Doklam-like face-off and have resolved the intrusion incident in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tuting area following a Border Personnel Meeting between the two sides.

The report was relayed to the media by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Monday.

The Tuting incident has been resolved. A Border Personnel Meeting between the two sides in Arunachal two days ago had resolved the issue.
Bipn Rawat, Army Chief

On 26 December, the Indian Army and Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) foiled a Chinese attempt to build a track on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Tuting area of Arunachal Pradesh. While the Chinese workers were told to return to their side of the LAC, their road construction equipment was seized.

(Source: The Indian Express)

5. Gujarat MLA Denied Nod to Hold Rally, Threatens to March to PMO

Delhi Police has denied permission to the ‘Yuva Hunkaar Rally’ slated for Tuesday at Parliament Street that was to be attended by Dalit leader and Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani, Assamese peasant leader Akhil Gogoi, and other youth leaders. But Mevani has threatened to march to the PMO with copies of the Constitution and the Manusmriti.

Police say that Mevani and others would be stopped from reaching Parliament Street as the area is already under tight security due to Republic Day. Sources said the police were expecting over 10,000 people to gather around Parliament Street, which would have choked most of Lutyens’ Delhi during the rush hour.

Delhi Police spokesperson Dependra Pathak said force would be deployed to stop protesters from entering the high-security zones. Some metro stations may be shut too. Police said legal action would be taken against Mevani and others if they went ahead with the rally.

(Source: Times of India)

6. Padmavat Row: Raje Refuses to Allow Film in Rajasthan Even After Censor Board Nod

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. 
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. 
(Photo: Reuters)

A new name and all-clear from the censor board are still not enough for Sanjay Leela Bansali’s period drama Padmavat to get a screening in Rajasthan.

Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said on Monday the Deepika Padukone-starrer, expected to release on 25 January, would not be shown in cinemas in the state, even as the Rajput community demanded a nationwide ban on the film.

“Queen Padmini’s sacrifice is linked to the honour and pride of Rajasthan. Queen Padmini is not just a chapter in history but our pride and self-respect. We will not let her dignity be maligned,” she said in a statement.

Rajasthan was the epicentre of violent protests by the Rajput community against the alleged “distortion of history” in the film that was earlier named Padmavati after the Rajput queen whose place in history is disputed.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

7. Parts of Eateries, Salons Sealed in Khan Market

The New Delhi Municipal Council on Monday sealed “illegal portions” of eight commercial establishments in Khan Market. The drive, carried out on the directions of a monitoring committee appointed by the Supreme Court, targeted shops and restaurants located on first floor or above.

Officials clarified that they weren’t sealing entire establishments, but only those portions that didn’t have requisite clearances, or were illegally constructed. The monitoring committee, in pursuance of the SC order, is inspecting establishments for misuse of land and illegal construction.

Among the establishments that faced action on Monday were restaurants Khan Chacha and Smokey’s Grill, salons Geetanjali, Javaed Habib’s and Affinity, Ayena Skin Clinic and Amrapali Jewellery store. There are 156 shops at the marketplace, including 74 residential spaces that were later converted into 44 shops and 30 restaurants.

(Source: The Times of India)

8. RJD After Lalu Yadav Conviction: Two Parties Look Back to Assess Ahead

The RJD believes Lalu Prasad’s conviction in the fodder scam will not affect the party’s electoral future, while the JD(U) and the BJP have started to write it off. Both sides back their argument with the same piece of poll history — the RJD-JD(U)’s performance in the 2015 Bihar assembly elections, following Lalu’s previous conviction.

The RJD won 80 seats in that election and the JD(U) 71, out of 178 won by the grand alliance formed with the Congress (27) for 243 seats. For the RJD, it was a huge jump after 22 seats in the last assembly polls before the conviction — in 2010. Now, with the RJD and the JD(U) having parted ways, the former credits Lalu with ensuring the 2015 victory, while the latter credits Nitish Kumar.

“I don’t think Lalu Prasad’s conviction will impact his voters in any way. After all, was Lalu not convicted when a leader like Nitish decided to align with him for 2015?” said RJD national vice president Shivanand Tiwari, who has worked closely with both Lalu and Nitish.

(Source: The Indian Express)

9. Homeless Deaths Turn Into Political Slugfest

The biting cold continued to take its toll on the homeless, with data from the zonal integrated police network showing that at least 44 unidentified bodies had been found in the city since 1 January.

The Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board has now written to Delhi Police, seeking a report on the latest figure and the cause of death in these cases. Between the January of 2004 and 2018 (till January 6), as many as 40,633 unidentified bodies were found on city roads.

Citing the figures, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday took on DUSIB. He tweeted: "Media reporting 44 deaths of homeless due to cold. Am issuing show cause notice to CEO, DUSIB. Negligible deaths last year. This year, LG appointed a useless officer. LG refuses to consult us before appointing officers. How do we run govt like this? (sic)"

As the row escalated, the DUSIB CEO and other officials held an emergency press conference. "DUSIB categorically rejects the report of deaths. One cannot associate deaths of the homeless with cold. No government department has shared any such data with us," Singh said.

(Source: Times of India)

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