SC on Sabrimala Temple : Women can enter Shrine too :-
- Ban on the entry of women between the age of 10 and 50 years at Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala in Kerala.
Judgement on Issue :-
- The Supreme Court held that there is no concept of private temples and there could be no discrimination on basis of gender, sex and menstrual age.
- The SC said women have a fundamental right to access places of worship and the decision of the Travancore Devaswom Board to restrict entry needs to be re-examined.
- Justice Nariman said the classification barring women of 10-50 age group seemed unconstitutional “on the face of it” as a person could be in a stage of menstruation below 10 years or above 50 too.
- Women’s right to enter a temple wasn’t dependent on any law, a five-judge Constitution bench of CJI Dipak Misra and Justices Rohinton F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra held.
The bench said all persons were equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to profess, practice and propagate religion. Therefore, CJI said
CJI Dipak Misra :- If a man can go then a woman can also go. Both male and female can be denied access on the ground of health, morality and public order. What applies to the male is also applicable to female. Discrimination on the ground of gender is absolutely against the constitutional mandate. Public place is different from private place but there is no concept of a private temple. Once it is a temple, then everyone can go.
Govt moves bill to curb Ponzi schemes :-
- Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill 2018 to curb Ponzi Schemes
- The government on Wednesday introduced the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018 in the Lok Sabha, which seeks to protect small investors from ponzi schemes and prevent unregulated entities from collecting deposits from individuals.
What are Ponzi Scheme ?
In a ponzi scheme, companies or individuals typically seek public funds promising high rates of interest.
Reasons to bring the bill :-
- The bill was envisaged after the arrest of Saradha Group chairman and managing director Sudipta Sen following defaults in repayments, followed by the Rose Valley scam in 2013.
Features of the bill :-
- The bill gives powers to the government to stop companies from soliciting such funds.
- People running ponzi schemes could face a jail term of up to 10 years and a penalty of up to Rs50 crore.
- It proposes to prevent unauthorised companies from promoting, operating or advertising such schemes or collecting deposits.
- The government will also have powers to act beforehand without having to wait for the fraud to come to light.
- The bill also proposes to set up a competent authority at the state government level with powers to attach properties and recover dues to depositors in case entities do manage to raise funds illegally.
- A timeline for both attachment of property and recovering the amount has been set.
The bill, introduced by minister of state for finance Pon Radhakrishnan, comes when the government is battling massive banking frauds and looking to bring to task defaulters who have defrauded banks of crores of money.
Cabinet approves Criminal Law Amendment Bill 2018 :-
- The Union cabinet has approved the Criminal Law (Amendment) bill 2018, providing death penalty for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years.
- The bill will be tabled in the Monsoon Session of Parliament which began today.
- The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018, once approved by Parliament, will replace the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance promulgated on April 21.
Features of the Bill :-
- Punishment :-
The bill stipulates stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape, particularly of girls below 12 years.
- The bill provides minimum punishment in case of rape of women to be increased from rigorous imprisonment of seven years to 10 years, extendable to life imprisonment.
- Death sentence has been provided for rapists of girls under 12 years.
- According to the bill, in case of rape of a girl under 16 years, the minimum punishment has been increased from 10 years to 20 years, extendable to imprisonment for rest of life, which means jail term till the convict’s “natural life”.
- The punishment for gang rape of a girl below 16 years will invariably be imprisonment for the rest of life of the convict.
- In case of rape of a girl under 12 years, the minimum punishment will be 20 years which may go up to life in prison or death sentence. Gang rape of a girl under 12 years of age will invite the punishment of a jail term for the rest of life or death sentence.
- Speedy Trial :-
The measure also provides for speedy investigation and trial. The investigation in all cases of rape will have to be mandatorily completed within two months.
The deadline for the completion of trial in all rape cases will be two months. A six-month time limit for the disposal of appeals in rape cases has also been prescribed.
- No Bail :-
There will also be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang rape of a girl under 16 years. It has also been prescribed that a court has to give notice of 15 days to a public prosecutor and the representative of the victim before deciding bail applications in case of rape of a girl under 16 years of age.
Lok Sabha passes amendment to RTE Act :-
- The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed an amendment to the Right to Education Act that does away with the no-detention policy mentioned in the law.
- The existing policy prohibits schools from detaining students till they complete elementary education. In India, elementary school runs from Class 1 to Class 8.
What does the Amendment Says ?
- The states can choose to hold a regular examination either at the end of Classes 5 and 8, or both.
- Students who fail this test will get additional instruction and the opportunity to appear for a re-examination within two months of the declaration of the result.
- If the students still do not pass the exam, the state government may decide to detain them. However, if states choose, they can continue the no-detention policy all the way to Class 8.
- No child can be expelled from school before they complete elementary education, the amendment bill states.
Criticism over passage of Bill :-
- The Right to Education Forum has condemned the bill. Its national convenor, Ambarish Rai, said detaining students would have “adverse consequences”. The consequence of detaining a child in the same class works adversely on the child’s psyche and has an deep impact on his or her self-esteem.
- The Social Research and Development Foundation, a Bihar-based non-governmental organisation, also criticised the passage of the bill. If children are not learning at school and the answer of the government is to hold them back and ultimately push them out, that is a very wrong policy decision.
About No-Detention Policy :-
- The no-detention policy of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, banned the practice of making under-performing children repeat classes in elementary school to ensure they do not drop out.
- It was meant to reduce the emphasis on year-end examinations and replace it with a form of evaluation that would track students’ progress through the year.
Govt to free many jailed for non-heinous crimes :-
- The government has decided to release a large number of convicts serving time for non-heinous crimes in three phases, with senior citizens, women, transgenders, physically challenged and terminally ill inmates who have completed at least half their terms being eligible.
- women and transgender convicts aged 55 years and above and male convicts of 60 years or more, who have completed half of their sentence, will be released.
When they will be released ?
- The first batch will be freed on October 2, Gandhi Jayanti.
- The second batch will be set free on April 10, which is the anniversary of the Champaran satyagraha.
- The final batch of prisoners will be released on October 2 next year.
The government has lined up a series of activities as part of the year-long celebration of the Mahatma’s 150th birth anniversary.
Clarification on releasing of convicts :-
Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said special remission will not be given to prisoners
- Who have been convicted of an offence for which they have drawn a death sentence or it has been commuted to life imprisonment.
- Who have been involved in serious crimes like dowry death, rape, human trafficking
- Who are convicted under Pota, UAPA, Tada, FICN, POCSO Act, money-laundering, Fema, NDPS and Prevention of Corruption Act will also not be covered under this amnesty scheme.
China trying to build economic corridor to Myanmar :-
- China and Myanmar are close to signing a deal on the establishment of a China-Myanmar Economic Corridor along the lines of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
- The two countries will sign a me-MOU to build the corridor. The move will be based on a previous broad agreement on building basic infrastructure, enhancing telecommunication facilities and improving transport and agriculture in Myanmar.
- The planned corridor would connect the Chinese province of Yunnan and three important economic centres in Myanmar. The corridor will also connect Yangon and the troubled state of Rakhine.
- Once launched, the project will unleash a massive inflow of Chinese funds to Myanmar which can further weaken Indian influence over its eastern neighbour.
Challenges to China-Myanmar Economic Corridor Project :-
- Ethnic conflicts in different parts of Myanmar
- Anti-Chinese sentiment among a section of the people are among the reasons.
- There is also the fear of a debt trap in Myanmar, which had earlier cancelled construction of a Chinese-financed dam project.
CBSE planning to use encrypted test papers to avoid leaks from next year :-
- Exam Paper Leaks
- To stem exam paper leaks, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is considering to use encrypted question papers for conducting classes X and XII board examinations.
- The CBSE had to face major embarrassment after class XII economics and class X mathematics question papers were leaked in March this year.
What would happen under the Encrypted System ?
- Each examination centre will be provided with login details and the question paper will be printed in the school and then photocopied and distributed.
- The board is also planning to provide logistical support to examination centres for implementing the encrypted system because an exam centre would require equipment like computer, printers, internet connection, photo copier and continuous power supply.
- The board would also provide a “printed set of question papers in the banks in case of any emergency” like technical glitches.