QWrap: Supreme Court Divided; ISRO Completes 100 Launches

Split in Indian juidiciary and ISRO’s 100th satellite launch, know more about the most historic day of the century.

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1. Supreme Court Divided: Four Judges Train Guns at Chief Justice of India

For the first time in the history of independent India, four senior Supreme Court judges called a press conference and expressed anguish over the administration of India's top court under the Chief Justice of India.

Justice J Chelameswar – at whose residence the press conference was held – along with Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph, and Madan Lokur, trained guns at CJI Dipak Misra citing a ‘threat to democracy’.

They then released a letter that they claimed to have sent to Misra. Here are the top five highlights of the letter:-

  1. Cases of national consequences have been assigned by chief justices to the benches of their preference
  2. Certain orders passed by the SC have adversely affected the justice delivery system and the independence of the High Courts
  3. We are not mentioning the details only to avoid embarrassing the institution, but note that such departures have already damaged the institution to some extent
  4. Any issue with regard to the memorandum of the procedure should be discussed in the Chief Justice's Conference and by the full court
  5. Chief Justice is only the first among the equals, nothing more or nothing less

Reports suggested parallel meetings between CJI Misra and Attorney General KK Venugopal and PM Modi and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to discuss the allegations.

The allegations drew the attention of the entire judiciary – from the likes of RS Sodhi, Prashant Bhushan, Indira Jaising, and Soli Sorabjee reacting. Some called it a national embarrassment and demanded the impeachment of the four judges, while others agreed with the approach taken by them.

(Get detailed updates on the story here.)

2. Watch: ISRO Hits Century, 31 Satellites Launched in Single Mission

India on Friday, 12 January, reaffirmed its space prowess and commercial launch capabilities as it successfully launched its 100th satellite along with 30 other spacecrafts, including weather observation Cartosat-2 series. This was PSLV’s longest-ever mission.

With the successful launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) including 28 satellites of foreign countries, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) put behind it a rare failure four months ago. ISRO had suffered a setback after the failure of the earlier PSLV-C39 mission in August 2017.

The previous mission to launch backup navigation satellite IRNSS-1H on board the PSLV-C39 had failed after its heat shield did not separate in the final leg of the launch sequence, with the satellite getting stuck in the fourth stage of the rocket.

(Read more here.)

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