QBullet: SC Asks UP For Unnao Case Report, Govt Backs EWS Quota
Catch all the biggest news stories of the day here.
1. SC Directs UP to File a Report on Unnao Case
The Central Bureau of Investigation has got cracking on its probe of the road crash that left the Unnao gang-rape survivor and her lawyer battling for life and killed two of her aunts, booking Uttar Pradesh legislator Kuldeep Singh Sengar, his brother Manoj Singh, the son-in-law of a serving state minister and seven others on charge of murder and other counts.
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, meanwhile, took cognisance on Wednesday, 31 July, of a letter written by the 19-year-old woman and her family, expressing concern over threats to their lives, and directed the Supreme Court registry to place the matter before him on Thursday.
CJI Gogoi has asked Uttar Pradesh authorities to file a status report on the accident by Thursday.
2. 36 Hours Later, CCD Founder’s Body Fished out 1 Km from Where He Jumped
A day and a half after Cafe Coffee Day founder VG Siddhartha was feared to have jumped off the Nethravathi bridge in Mangaluru, his body was found a kilometre from the spot by fishermen and patrolling policemen around 6.30am on Wednesday, 31 July.
Following postmortem, police said it appeared to be a case of suicide but investigations were on.
Siddhartha was cremated at the family estate, Chetanahally, about 18km from his hometown Mudigere. His mother, Vaasanti, was present at the funeral. His father is in coma in a Mysuru hospital.
3. Govt Defends EWS Quota in SC, Says 50% Cap Not Binding
Mounting a defence of the 10% quota for “poor among forwards”, the Centre told the Supreme Court that a 50% cap on reservation is “fallacious” and not binding and the constitutional amendment to provide quotas in jobs and education to the economically weak is meant to uplift the poor.
Appearing before a bench of Justices SA Bobde, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai, attorney general KK Venugopal strongly defended the Centre’s decision to provide reservation to the EWS and contended that being a welfare state, the government is constitutionally bound to take steps to provide education and improve the living condition of 200 million people below the poverty line.
4. Complainant in CJI Harassment Case Withdrew Appeal in One Day
The former Supreme Court employee who levelled charges of sexual harassment against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi filed an appeal against her termination on 11 July before the apex court’s Registrar, but abruptly withdrew it the very next day, HT has learnt.
However, she has retained the right to re-file the appeal.
The withdrawal came after the intervention of a top government functionary, who called the former SC employee and her husband for a meeting at his residence. “They were told everything would be sorted out and they should not tarnish the image of the country by focussing attention on the case,” an aide to the complainant said.
5. Amit Shah, Smriti Irani to Share Space with Modi in Lok Sabha’s Front Row
Union minister of women and child development Smriti Irani, a first-time member of the Lok Sabha, has been allotted a coveted front-row seat in the Lower House, which has witnessed a big change in terms of seating arrangement with six parliamentarians who were front benchers in the last Lok Sabha not returning to the house.
Speaker Om Birla on Tuesday, 30 July, approved the seating arrangement after different parties provided him with their preferences and inputs.
Apart from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, defence minister Rajnath Singh and home minister Amit Shah, transport minister Nitin Gadkari, rural development minister Narendra Singh Tomar, chemical and fertilizers minister Sadananda Gowda, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, and HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal will also be in the frontrow.
6. BCCI Gets a Dose from Govt: You Don’t Have Authority to Test Players for Drugs
Days before 19-year-old batsman Prithvi Shaw failed a dope test, the government had come down heavily on the Indian cricket board and its anti-doping set-up.
In a stern letter to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, the Sports Ministry said that the board’s anti-doping programme lacked robustness and hinted at a conflict of interest since the BCCI itself tests and hands out punishment to its players.
The Ministry also said that the BCCI did not have the right to conduct dope tests on players since it is not authorised by the government or the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA). “Article 5.2 of WADA Code provides for sampling of athletes only by an Anti Doping Organisation with testing authority. It is a matter of fact that BCCI is neither an anti-doping organisation with testing authority under WADA Code nor it can acquire such a status,” the Ministry wrote in the letter dated 26 June.
7. After CJI Wrote Note to PM Modi, Govt Raises SC Judge Strength by 10%
Just about a month after Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to consider increasing the strength of judges in the Supreme Court, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday, 31 July, decided to bring a Bill to increase the strength by 10 percent from 30 to 33 judges apart from the Chief Justice.
Announcing the decision, Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting, and Environment, Forest & Climate Change Prakash Javadekar said that “there has always been a complaint that so many cases are pending in the Supreme Court and it needs more judges”.
The last time the strength was increased was a decade ago in 2009 when the number of judges in the top court was increased to 31 (including the Chief Justice) from 26.
8. SC Wants Law for App-Based Cab Services
In view of the growing number of sexual harassment cases by cab drivers, the Supreme Court on Wednesday, 31 July, directed the Centre to consider framing a law to regulate app-based transport service providers like Uber and Ola to ensure safety of women commuters.
A bench of Justices SA Bobde, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai said the government should step in to amend the existing law to make the internet-based service providers accountable and to regulate them.
It also suggested that safety mechanism like GPS-linked panic button be installed in such cabs. Senior advocate Indira Jaising, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae, told the bench that should be some mechanism to regulate the service provider as some of them are foreign-based and are not willing to come within the jurisdiction of India.
9. Customer Cancels Food Order over Religion, Gets a Taste of Tolerance
A customer in Jabalpur who cancelled his food order after he found it was being delivered by a non-Hindu got some food for thought — and bared open a divide.
Winning the Internet was Zomato’s response to the man who had cancelled his order on the app-based food delivery service, because the delivery person was a Muslim. “Food doesn’t have a religion. It is a religion,” the company tweeted in response to the man’s complaint of the delivery person’s religion, and demand for a refund.
The company’s CEO, Deepinder Goyal, weighed in with a tweet. “We are proud of the idea of India — and the diversity of our esteemed customers and partners. We aren’t sorry to lose any business that comes in the way of our values,” he wrote.
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