Ayodhya land dispute: SC declines to revisit its 1994 judgment and refer it to larger bench

The Supreme Court on September 27, 2018 declined to refer the 1994 Ismail Farooqui judgment that mosques are not integral to Islam to a larger constitution bench.

The judgement was delivered by a three-judge bench with 2: 1 majority. The majority judgement was written by Justice Ashok Bhushan on behalf of himself and Chief Justice Deepak Misra. The third judge, Justice Abdul Nazeer presented a dissenting judgment.

The decision to not refer the issue of reconsideration of the 1994 observations on the Ayodhya-Ram Janmabhoomi land dispute case to a five-judge constitution bench paves the way for the apex court to hear the main Ayodhya land dispute.

The Judgment: Key Highlights

• In the majority verdict, the apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that the present case on Ayodhya land dispute shall be decided on its own facts and the Ismail Farooqui judgment would have no impact on it.

• Justice Ashok Bhushan, who read out the majority judgement on behalf of himself and the CJI, said that the court has to find out the context in which the five-judge had delivered the 1994 judgement.

• He said that the statement in Faruqui case was in the limited context of immunity claimed by the petitioners for the mosque from acquisition and added that it need not be read broadly to mean mosque can never be essential to practise of Islam.

• Justice S Abdul Nazeer disagreed with the two judges and said whether mosque is integral to Islam has to be decided considering belief of religion and it requires detailed consideration.

• He referred to the recent Supreme Court order on female genital mutilation and said that the present matter should be heard by a larger bench.

• The civil suit on the land dispute will now be heard by a newly constituted three-judge bench on October 29 as Justice Misra is scheduled to retire as the CJI on October 2.

Background

The issue whether mosque is integral to Islam had cropped up when the three-judge SC bench headed by CJI Misra was hearing a batch of petitions challenging the Allahabad High Court’s 2010 verdict by which the disputed land on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid area was to be divided in three parts.

The Allahabad high court, in a 2:1 majority ruling, had ordered that the 2.77 acres of land be divided equally among the three concerned parties -the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla represented by the Hindu Maha Sabha.

Ismail Farooqui judgement

In 1994, the Supreme Court had ruled that namaz or prayers could be offered anywhere and that a mosque was not necessary.

This cleared the way for the government to acquire the land where the 16th century Babri mosque was demolished by large crowd of Hindu Kar Sevaks. The site is considered by some of Hindus to be Ram Janmabhoomi, or the birthplace of Lord Ram and so they feel that a Ram temple should be built at the site.

  SC refuses to refer 1994 judgment on Ayodhya case to larger bench

According to various muslim organisations, the decades-old verdict played a big role in the disputed land in Ayodhya being divided in 2010 into three parts by the Allahabad High Court.

The organisations argue that the “sweeping” observation of the apex court in the 1994 verdict needed to be reconsidered by a five-judge bench as “it had and will have a bearing” on the Babri Masjid-Ram Temple land dispute case.

Second Anniversary of Surgical Strike to be commemorated as Parakram Parv on 29 September

The second anniversary of the surgical strike will be commemorated by the Indian Army as the Parakram Parv or the Surgical Strike Day during September 29 – 30, 2018 to showcase the gallant action of brave Army in the conduct of Surgical Strikes on September 29, 2016.

The Day will also be marked to remember the sacrifice of soldiers during the ‘Uri incident’.

Why Indian Army carried out Surgical strike?
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Eleven days after the Uri attack that claimed 18 soldiers, Indian Army carried out a four hour Surgical Strike on the night of September 28-29, 2016 in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, inflicting heavy casualties on terrorists along with ‘those protecting them”,  sending across a message of change of stand on the rules of engagement on the disputed Line of Control.

As per army, the strike was conducted to prevent terrorists who were prepping to infiltrate and attack the Kashmir region and metros. As per reports, first-of-its-kind strike across the Pakistani border was based on specific intelligence reports.

Events to take place during the commemoration

• Various events will be held at important military stations to commemorate the second anniversary of Surgical Strikes.

• An exhibition will be held to showcase the valour of armed forces; display of ships, submarines, aircraft, arms, equipment models; playing of video clippings on the surgical strike and naval videos and establishing of digital /selfie walls.

• In addition, ships will be open to visitors and even school and NCC children visits to ships, submarine, air stations are being planned.

• School children are also being encouraged to do letter writing and participate in card or poster making competitions in honour of valiant soldiers.

• A band display and bugle call is planned on September 29 to honour the fallen soldiers at the ballard pier memorial.

• The multifarious event is planned by the Navy to be held at Mumbai and Goa over a period of two days in the Western Naval Command.

• The venue for the exhibition of various stalls and video walls is at ballard pier/cruiser wharf in naval dockyard. The entry to cruiser wharf will be through tiger gate.

What is a Surgical Strike?
A surgical strike is a military attack which results in only damage to the intended legitimate military target, and no or minimal collateral damage to surrounding structures, vehicles, buildings, or the general public infrastructure and utilities.

A swift and targeted attack with the aim of minimum collateral damage to the nearby areas and civilians is a surgical strike.

Surgical strikes require not just detailed and exhaustive planning but also needs precision in execution undertaken by forces across the world.

Husband is not the master of wife, says SC while striking down 158-year-old adultery law

The Supreme Court of India on September 27, 2018 struck down a 158-year-old penal provision in the Indian Penal Code that made adultery a criminal offence.

The decision was taken by a five-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra. The bench unanimously held Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with the offence of adultery, as unconstitutional and arbitrary.

The Judgement: Key Highlights

• The top court said that Adultery can be a civil wrong and a ground for divorce but it cannot be a criminal offence.

• The court said Section 497 is violative of right to equality and right to equal opportunity to women and disallows them from making their own choices.

• The court pronounced four sets of concurring Judgements to declare as unconstitutional the penal provision on adultery and Section 198 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) that deals with prosecution of offences against marriage.

Judgement of CJI Dipak Misra and Justice Khanwilkar

  Supreme Court strikes down 158-year-old IPC law on adultery

Chief Justice Dipak Misra wrote the Judgement for himself as well as on the behalf of Justice Khanwilkar.

The Chief Justice in his judgement held Section 497 IPC and Section 198 of the Code of Criminal Procedure dealing with the prosecution of offenses against marriage as unconstitutional.

He said that any provision treating women with inequality is not constitutional and it’s time to say that “husband is not the master of a woman”. He also stated that legal sovereignty of one sex over other sex is wrong.

He said that adultery dents the individuality of women and it is not a crime in countries like China, Japan and Australia.

He said that adultery might not be the cause of an unhappy marriage, it could be the result of an unhappy marriage.

He said equality is the governing parameter of the Constitution and Section 497 of the IPC is manifestly arbitrary in the way it deals with women.

However, the CJI and Justice Khanwilkar said that while adultery cannot be a crime, if someone commits suicide because of his or her partner’s adulterous relation and evidence is produced, it could be treated as an abetment to suicide under Section 306 of the IPC.

Judgement of Justice Indu Malhotra

Justice Malhotra, who was the only woman judge on the bench, said Section 497 is a clear violation of fundamental rights granted in the Constitution and there is no justification for the continuation of the provision.

Judgement of RF Nariman

Justice Nariman termed Section 497 an archaic provision which had lost its rationale and concurred with the CJI and Justice Khanwilkar, saying that the penal provision is violative of the rights to equality and equal opportunity to women.

He said that the ancient notion of man being the perpetrator and the woman being a victim of adultery no longer holds good and added that the section treats women as chattel and has chauvinistic undertones.

Judgement of Justice D Y Chandrachud

Justice Chandrachud in his separate but concurring opinion said Section 497 destroys and deprives women of their dignity and offends their sexual freedom.

He said autonomy is intrinsic in dignified human existence and Section 497 denudes women from making choices.

He also added that the law in adultery is a codified rule of patriarchy and respect for sexual autonomy must be emphasised.

He concluded his Judgement by saying that marriage does not preserve ceiling of autonomy and the IPC section perpetrates the subordinate nature of woman in a marriage.

Overall, the five-judge bench held that adultery can be treated as civil wrong for dissolution of marriage but also as a criminal offense.

About Section 497 of IPC

The section says that “Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offense of rape, is guilty of the offense of adultery.”

However, the section exempts from criminal prosecution a man who has engaged in sexual intercourse with a married woman if the same transpires with the consent or connivance of the said married woman’s husband.

The offense of adultery entailed a maximum punishment of five years or fine or both.

Section 198(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure

The section allows the initiation of criminal proceedings for Adultery only at the instance of the husband of the adulteress, but the wife of the man party to the act of adultery cannot institute a complaint.

India And Morocco Signed MoU to Enhance Cooperation In MSME Sector

i. India and Morocco signed an MoU for deepening cooperation between MSME sectors of the two countries in Rabat, Morocco.

ii. Ms. Alka Arora, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of MSME, held bilateral meetings with Mr. Othman El Ferdaous, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Trade and Digital Economy and with other related Departments for enhancing cooperation in MSME Sector.

Useful Info-

  • Morocco Currency– Moroccan dirham
  • Capital– Rabat
  • PM-Abdelilah Benkirane


India and Oman Agree to Enhance Bilateral Cooperation

i. Sayyid Badr Saud Harib Al Busaidi, the Minister Responsible for Defence Affairs, Sultanate of Oman, is on an official visit to India at the invitation of Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman. The Omani Minister met with Raksha Mantri in South Block.

ii. The three wings of the Armed Forces hold staff talks and advanced joint exercises with each other. Several enabling agreements and Memoranda of Understanding have been signed between the two countries pertaining to defense related issues.

Useful Info-

  • Oman Capital- Muscat
  • Currency– Omani rial

IAF Successfully Test Fires Air-To-Air Astra Missile

i. The Indian Air Force successfully test fired the indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile Astra from a Su-30 aircraft. The missile, tested at the Kalaikunda Air Force Station, “successfully engaged a maneuvering target with high precision.”

ii. In the series of trials held till date, Astra has been launched in the complete Su-30 flight envelope. The flight test assumes significance as it was part of the series of final pre-induction trials.

Useful Info-

  • Current Air Chief Marshal- Birender Singh Dhanoa

Argentina Gets Biggest Loan in IMF’s History At $57 billion 

i. Argentina has received $57.1 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the biggest loan package ever from the global body aimed at boosting the country’s struggling economy.

ii. The loan, $15 billion of which has already been received by Argentina, will be disbursed over the next three years. Argentina had originally secured a $50-billion loan in June this year.

Useful Info-

  • Managing Director of IMF- Christine Lagarde,
  • Headquarters in- Washington DC, USA.

World Tourism Day: 27 September 

i. World Tourism Day is observed every year globally on 27th September. It is a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the potential contribution of digital technologies to sustainable tourism development.

ii. “Tourism and the Digital Transformation” is the theme of this year’s World Tourism Day (WTD). Hungary is the host country for this year’s WTD.

PM Modi Got UN’s Highest Environmental Honour

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been awarded with the UN’s highest environmental honor, also given to five other individuals and organizations, for his leadership of the International Solar Alliance and pledge to eliminate single-use plastic by 2022Cochin International Airport was given the award for its leadership in the use of sustainable energy.

ii. Six of the world’s most outstanding environmental changemakers have been recognized with the Champions of the Earth AwardFrench President Emmanuel Macron and Mr. Modi have been jointly recognized in the Policy Leadership category for their pioneering work in championing the International Solar Alliance.

Useful Info- 

  • International Solar Alliance Headquarters– Gurugram, India.
  • ISA Founded in– Paris, November 2015.

IISc Bengaluru Tops India in Global List Of Best Institutes 

i. No Indian institution figures in the top 250 of the Times Higher Education’s (THE) world university rankings 2019, though the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, has retained its position as the highest-ranked center in the country, while the Indian Institute of Technology-Indore has risen to the highest position behind it.

ii. The rankings show Oxford continues to hold the first place, Cambridge second, and Stanford third. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology rose one place to number four. In India, number of Indian institutions in the rankings increased from 42 last year to 49, making it the fifth best-represented nation.

RBI Eases Cash Reserve Rules To Ease Liquidity 

i. The Reserve Bank of India allowed banks to dip further into statutory cash reserves in a bid to ease a liquidity squeeze afflicting the nation’s money markets. The move by the central bank follows concerns over tight liquidity conditions and banks’ unwillingness to lend to NBFCs.

ii. As per the RBI, banks could ‘carve out’ up to 15% of holdings under the statutory liquidity reserves to meet their liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) requirements as compared to 13% now.

Useful Info-

  • Urjit Patel- 24th Governor of RBI
  • Headquarters- Mumbai
  • Established on- 1st April 1935, in Kolkata

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