1. Triple Talaq Illegal, Now Supreme Court Big Bench to Look at Polygamy, Nikah Halala
Seven months after it set aside the centuries-old practice of instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat in which Muslim men divorce their wives by uttering talaq three times in quick succession, the Supreme Court on Monday agreed to examine the constitutional validity of practices like polygamy, nikah halala, nikah misyar and nikah mutah among Muslims.
While polygamy allows a Muslim man to have four wives, nikah halala deals with the process in which a Muslim woman, in order to remarry her former husband, has to marry a different person and get divorced from him. Nikah mutah and nikah misyar, the petitioners told the Supreme Court, are “temporary” marriages for “pleasure”.
2. BJP, Congress Fight Over Who Leaked User Data as Privacy Debate Continues
The political battle between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) shifted to a new theatre on Monday – smart apps – with each side accusing the other over issues such as user consent, data control, server location, and third-party services.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi kept up his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal app, alleging he was acting like the “Big Boss” who likes to “spy on Indians” and misusing his official position to build a “personal database”. In turn, the BJP accused Gandhi of “technological illiteracy”, and said the Congress party’s own app shared data with “ideological bedfellows”.
3. Bodies of 39 Indians Killed in Iraq to Be Brought in a Week's Time: Swaraj Assures Families
Bodies of 39 Indians killed in war-torn Iraq will be brought to India in a week’s time, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told the families of the deceased on Monday. This was conveyed by the minister during her meeting with families, who were “appreciative” of efforts made by the government, specially by Swaraj and Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, official sources said.
“The minister told them that bodies will be brought to India in a week’s time and Singh will go to Iraq to oversee the entire process,” a source said.
4. Madhya Pradesh Journalist Who Did Sting-Op Run Over, Police Say Accident
A local television channel stringer, who exposed illegal mining and had even sought police protection after getting threats in the wake of a sting operation against a senior police officer, was run over by a truck on Monday in Bhind town in Madhya Pradesh.
Sandeep Sharma (36), a stringer for the Bhopal-based News World TV channel, was riding a two-wheeler when a truck knocked him down near the Kotwali Police Station around 9 am on Monday. The driver of the truck, Ranbir Yadav, was arrested later that day.
5. CPM Moves Its Own Notice for No-Trust Vote Against Govt
With just eight days to go before the end of the current Parliament session, two Left parties – the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Revolutionary Socialist Party – served notices on Monday for no-confidence motions against the National Democratic Alliance government, joining the Congress and two Andhra parties in an attempt to corner the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Parliament will resume the budget session on Tuesday after a three-day break. The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha have been paralysed amid protests by the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam to press their demands for an increase in job quotas in Telangana and the setting up of a board to manage the Cauvery waters.
6. Mayawati to Party: Back SP Again in Upcoming Bypolls, Defeat BJP
Underlining that her party’s “closeness” to the SP would get stronger in the interest “of the people” and that this bonding had the support of “the entire country”, BSP chief Mayawati on Monday instructed her party’s UP zonal coordinators to replicate the Gorakhpur and Phulpur experiment and throw their weight behind the SP in the upcoming bypolls to the Kairana Lok Sabha seat and Noorpur assembly seat.
In the bypolls to Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats, SP candidates, with the backing of the BSP, defeated the BJP.
In a statement Monday, Mayawati said: “No matter how much the BJP people try to incite SP and BSP people, these people are not going to fall for that. We, and all Opposition parties, will have to come together and stop them (BJP) from coming to power this time. BJP people can see this happening, and that is why they are making random remarks. This is not going to have any effect on us.”
7. 2 More Killed in Clashes, Bengal on the Edge
At least two people died and an unspecified number, including police personnel, were injured on Monday as the administration struggled to quell violence in the wake of Ram Navami processions across West Bengal.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee asked police to revoke permission for processions and vowed action against the perpetrators of violence.
“Did Lord Ram fight Ravan with swords? It doesn’t matter to me whether a Hindu or a Muslim is the victim of violence. The victim, to me, is a human being. These people have no right to enter localities of other communities, spreading panic with firearms and swords. They are maligning the image of Ram,” she said, adding: “It goes against our culture.”
8. US Expels 60 Russian Diplomats After Stormy Weekend
The Trump administration on Monday expelled 60 Russian officials and shut down the Russian consulate in Seattle in one of the biggest diplomatic purges in bilateral history even as the US President had the mortification of having an adult film worker describe their alleged secret sexual tryst in some detail.
The punitive US diplomatic action came despite President Trump's deference towards his Russian counterpart from the time he was elected. It was carried out in coordination with Washington's European allies, including Britain, which was champing at the bit after Russia's alleged use of a nerve agent to poison a former Russian spy living in the United Kingdom.
Together with Canada and Ukraine, more than 100 Russian officials have been given marching orders by US and its allies. As is normal in the diplomatic world, Moscow is expected to retaliate.
9. Ajinkya Rahane Replaces Steve Smith as Rajasthan Royals Captain
Steve Smith stepped down as the captain of IPL team Rajasthan Royals (RR) ‘so the team can get ready for the start of the IPL without the ongoing distractions’, the franchise confirmed on Monday.
Ajinkya Rahane will replace Smith as captain for IPL 2018, which starts from 7 April. With 2333 runs in 72 innings, Rahane is the second most successful batsman for the Jaipur-based franchise after Shane Watson (2474). At this year’s IPL player auction, the 29-year-old was purchased by Royals for Rs 4 crore via one of their Right-to-Match cards.