QBullet: SC Awards 50 Lakh to ISRO Scientist for False Case & More

1. SC Awards ₹50 Lakh to Scientist for Arrest in False ISRO Spy Case

Nearly 24 years after scientist Nambi Narayanan was framed and arrested in the so-called ISRO spy case, the Supreme Court created history on Friday by invoking constitutional powers to direct the Kerala government to pay Rs 50 lakh compensation to him for “blatant violation” of his right to life.

The SC held that Narayanan’s right to life was infringed on by wrongful arrest and torture and ruled that the compensation be paid in eight weeks. Narayanan was arrested in 1994 for allegedly leaking defence secrets relating to an ISRO project to two Maldivian women — Mariam Rasheeda and Fauzia Hassan. Along with another scientist, D Sasikumaran, he was accused of selling secrets.

Though the concept of compensating a “wrongly arrested” person is absent in the Indian criminal justice system, a bench of CJI Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud not only ordered Kerala to pay the hefty compensation but permitted Narayanan to proceed with his civil suit seeking more damages from the state.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: ISRO Spy Case: SC Grants Rs 50 Lakh Compensation to Narayanan

2. Government Moves to Stabilise Rupee

The government announced a set of five measures late on Friday, 14 September, aimed at supporting the rupee, which has been under pressure in the last few weeks, and ensuring that the current account deficit stays in control.

Union Minister Arun Jaitley and Outgoing CEA Arvind Subramanian. 

The government will also take necessary steps to cut down non-essential imports and increase exports, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said at a press conference convened at short notice. “Necessary decisions will be taken and announced as and when they’re taken,” Jaitley said in what is seen as a clear signal to markets that the government will intervene to manage the current volatility in the forex market.

To attract more foreign portfolio investors (FPI) into the corporate debt market, the government has said it will review a couple of restrictions on their investments. So, the condition that FPIs’ investment in a single corporate entity cannot exceed 20 per cent of its corporate bond portfolio will be reviewed. The condition that FPIs cannot invest more than 50 percent of an issue of corporate bonds will also be reviewed, Jaitley said.

In a bid to push Indian corporates to take the masala bond route, the government has exempted all such bond issues until 31 March 2019, from withholding tax.

(Source: The Hindu)

Also Read: Sentiment, The Real Reason Why Rupee’s Fall Isn’t Stopping

3. RK Pachauri to Be Charged in Sexual Abuse Case: Court

A Delhi court on Friday, 14 September, ordered the framing of charges against Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, former chief of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), for allegedly outraging the modesty of a female colleague in February 2015.

Metropolitan magistrate Charu Gupta discharged him of four other sections – sections 354 (B) (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), 354 (D) (stalking), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 341 (wrongful restraint) – stating that prima facie these cases had not been made out against him.

Police had filed a chargesheet against Pachauri under seven sections out of which the court ordered framing of charges under sections 354 (outraging modesty), 354 A (sexual harassment and punishment for sexual harassment) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Pachauri Sexual Harassment Case: Court Orders Framing of Charges

4. Abducted from Haryana Bus Stop, Teen Raped by 12

A 19-year-old was abducted from a bus stand in Mahendergarh, drugged, and taken to a house at Naya Gaon in Rewari 40km away where 12 men allegedly raped her for several hours.

The suspects then drove back to the bus stop, dumped here there and alerted her family. They were from the same village and knew the woman and her family well.

Three of the suspects have been named in the FIR — Pankaj, an Army jawan, Nishu and Manish. No arrests have been made yet.

The woman, a state topper in the Class X boards some years ago and a promising baseball player, had taken a roadways bus to Kanina in Mahendergarh on Wednesday, 12 September, for railway exam coaching classes. Initial findings suggest the sexual assault was planned in advance.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: 19-Yr-Old Allegedly Gang-raped in Haryana, Mother Demands Justice

5. Millions Out of Poverty but Glaring Inequalities Remain in India, Reveals HDI Report

India ranks a low 130 out of 189 countries in the latest Human Development Index (HDI) released by the United Nations Development Programme Friday, 14 September, with the findings indicating a glaring inequality in the country though “millions have been lifted out of poverty”.

The UNDP report stated that with an HDI value of 0.64 compared to last year’s 0.636, India is categorised in the ‘medium human development’ category and that its rank rose one spot compared to the 2017 HDI.

According to the 2018 findings, between 1990 and 2017, India’s HDI value increased from 0.427 to 0.640, an almost 50 percent increase, which is “an indicator that millions have been lifted out of poverty”. At the same time, in what signals the glaring inequality in the country, the HDI value declines by more than a fourth when adjusted for inequality. The value of India’s Inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI) falls to 0.468, a 26.8 per cent decrease, far worse than the global average decrease in the global HDI value due to inequality at 20 percent.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: UNHCR, UNDP ready to start evaluations in Rohingya villages

6. Welfare Panels Can’t Evaluate Dowry Complaints, Says SC

The Supreme Court on Friday, 14 September, modified its July 2017 order which roped in retirees, wives of “working officers” and social workers to sift genuine complaints of dowry harassment from the frivolous ones.

Image for representational purpose only. 

On 27 July last year, the court had ordered ‘family welfare committees’ to be set up in the districts. These committees, composed of choice citizens, were supposed to act as a vanguard against “disgruntled wives” using the anti-dowry harassment provision of Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as a “weapon” against their husbands and in-laws, young and old, rather than a “shield.”

Even the police could register an FIR only after the committee cleared the complaint as valid and not frivolous. Getting rid of these committees, a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra held that such panels had no place under the established criminal procedural law. They are beyond the Code of Criminal Procedure.

(Source: The Hindu)

Also Read: Did a B’luru College Hand Out Material Listing Benefits of Dowry?

7. Kerala Nun Rape Case: Church Outs Photo of Survivor Who Accused Bishop of Rape

Kerala Police on Friday, 14 September, registered a case against Jalandhar-based Missionaries of Jesus after it issued a media release with a photograph of the nun who had accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who belongs to the the congregation, of rape.

Kottayam SP Hari Sankar said police registered the case on a complaint from the nun’s brother under Section 228 (A) of the IPC, which deals with disclosure of a rape victim’s identity. Kerala Women’s Commission chairperson M C Josephine said legal action should be taken against those who circulated the photo. “Exemplary action should be taken against those who tried to insult the victim. The commission will also look into this matter,” she said.

The release and the photograph, which shows the complainant sitting beside the bishop and some others at a function three years ago, was issued by the congregation’s public relations officer, Sister Amala.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: Kerala Cops File Case Against Church for Revealing Nun’s Identity

8. Parliament Panel Hails Government’s Handling of Doklam Standoff

A parliamentary panel that has studied the Doklam military standoff between India and China last year praised the government for its “overall handling” of the crisis, but cautioned that Chinese infrastructure “built uncomfortably” close to the tri-junction with Bhutan had not yet been dismantled.

The standing committee on external affairs headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor submitted the report on Sino-India relations, including Doklam, to Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan on 4 September. The report is publicly available. The committee also includes Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

The report includes submissions by senior government officials to the panel, which emphasised that the standoff in Dolkam was clearly the result of “an effort to compromise our security.”

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: PM Modi Could’ve Stopped Doklam Standoff: Rahul Gandhi in London

9. From Health to Poverty, Tribals Most Susceptible

Tribal populations in India live at least three years less than non-tribal population groups, have higher malnutrition, a significantly lower immunisation coverage, substantially higher low-birth-weight children, and were much more susceptible to communicable diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and leprosy.

A comprehensive assessment of tribal health, by an expert committee, appointed five years ago by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Tribal Development, shows that tribal populations in the country were lagging on almost every health parameter.

Tribal communities in India had “poorer health indicators, a greater burden of morbidity and mortality, and very limited access to health care services”, the report says.

(Source: The Indian Express)

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