SC’s Triple Talaq verdict is only a partial game changer

“I am happy with the Supreme Court judgement because no other girl will meet the same fate anymore” were the words of Bobby Khatun of Khidderpore, Kolkata when the Supreme Court (SC) pronounced  its verdict of instant triple talaq as unconstitutional. Bobby’s life turned upside down when in 2015, a year after her marriage, her husband sent her pictures of the photocopies of their divorce document over Whatsapp and declared a divorce. Bobby’s story does not stand in isolation in the Indian context. Several women in India have been victims of instant triple talaq, where a simple utterance or written ‘talaq’ three times by the husband in an instance means the dissolution of the contract of marriage. The sole right to assert divorce lies with the husband.

This narrative changed on August 22 with the Supreme Court’s landmark judgement declaring instant triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat)  for violating the norms of the Indian Constitution. Three judges out of the five member bench of the apex court held that the Islamic practice breached the fundamental right to equality under Article 14 of the Indian Constitution for Muslim women in the country.

However, under Muslim law, instant triple talaq is not the only norm of divorce that exists. The practice of talaq-ul-sunnat wherein the once the husband pronounces divorce, the wife has to observe a three-month iddat period covering 90 days or three menstrual cycles However, if the period of iddat expires and the husband does not revoke the talaq, the divorce becomes irrevocable and final.

This Islamic practice has not been challenged by the very same court, which puts forth the argument of the right to equality for the Muslim women. Even under  talaq-ul-sunnat, the right to ask for divorce solely remains with the male in the marriage. The SC did not touch upon this practice of talaq and argued that it was protected under Article 25(1) of the Constitution, which states that “all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience, and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion”.

Following the divorce, in both cases the only sufferer is woman. The Supreme Court’s decision may have brought relief; however, women are still not free of limitations and dire consequences.


Dengue hits Pune city fringes

Dengue virus is on the prowl on the city fringes. Almost 60% of dengue cases reported this year have been detected among residents living in areas falling under the city’s four ward offices.

A total 147 out of the 248 patients, who tested positive for dengue, are from Dhankawadi Sahakarnagar, Hadapsar Mundhwa, Ahmednagar Road-Vadgaonsheri and Bhavani Peth ward office areas.

The latest report of the Pune Municipal Corporation’s insect control department reveals that the mosquito-borne disease has covered all the 15 ward offices in Pune city. But compared to the fringe areas, city’s core areas falling in Kothrud, Karvenagar -Warje, Tilak road-Sinhagad road and Aundh-Baner ward office areas have reported lesser number of dengue cases.

The objective of mapping of dengue cases is to intensify surveillance and containment of activities in the identified high risk areas so that the situation does not spiral out of control. The report takes into account only confirmed cases of dengue tested at government designated sentinel centres.

“We have already intensified measures to contain the spread of dengue in the identified areas. The multi-pronged approach will help rein in cases in the next few days,”  Vaishali Jadhav , assistant medical officer of health (AMoH), PMC told TOI.

TOI quoted Kalpana Baliwant, head of the insect control department, PMC saying, “We have pressed into service three high capacity vehicle mounted fogging machines in these areas. The highly concentrated fogging that covers around half a kilometre area will kill the infected adult mosquitoes and help contain the disease. Besides, the civic health department has roped in additional 300 contractual health workers, increasing the existing strength to 600 workers. These workers have been deployed mainly for house to house surveys for destroying mosquito larvae”

Source: The Times of India

India,Nepal sign 8 pacts, call for closer security and defence ties

India and Nepal drafted eight pacts, including on cooperation in countering drug trafficking in New Delhi today. The pacts were signed after comprehensive talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba on strategic bilateral and regional issues.

“Had a positive meeting reviewing the gamut of our partnership,” PM Modi said at a joint press event with Deuba and assured him of India’s commitment towards overall growth and development of the Himalayan nation, NDTV reported. Responding to Modi’s gesture, Deuba said Nepal would “never allow any anti-India activities from its soil”. Holding that Nepal was “not only a neighbour, but also a good friend of India”, Deuba said its relation with India stood on a solid foundation.

Identifying defence and security as an important aspect of bilateral ties, Modi at a joint press briefing after the talks said “Defence ties and assistance in security is an important aspect of our partnership. Our defence interests are also dependent on and connected to each other,” the New Indian Express reported.

The two leaders also jointly inaugurated the Kataiya-Kusaha and Raxaul-Parwanipur cross border power transmission lines.

Earlier, Mr Deuba was accorded a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan, where he is staying as a state guest. Mr Deuba arrived in New Delhi on August 23 on a four-day visit, his first foreign trip after assuming office in June this year.

Sources: NDTV, The New Indian Express


Apple pays Nokia $2 billion to end fight over patents

In what seems to be a sidestepping for tech giant Apple, it recently paid a compensation of $2 billion to Nokia over multiple patent disputes that began in 2009.

“We got a substantial upfront cash payment of €1.7 billion from Apple, strengthening further our cash position. As said earlier, our plans is to provide more details on the intended use of cash in conjunction with our Q3 earnings,” reads the official transcript of Nokia’s quarterly earnings call with investors, the Verge reported.  Neither of the companies have disclosed the terms of the new licensing deal, including whether it involves recurring payments or how many years it will be in place.

The lawsuit, the second high-profile patent dispute between Apple and Nokia in the last decade, began last year when Nokia accused Apple of infringing on dozens of patents it owns, as well as patents owned by Nokia subsidiaries. . Apple has had a licensing deal with Nokia in place since 2011, after the two settled their last patent dispute. But Apple reportedly did not want to sign a new deal and accused Nokia of seeking unfair terms.

The agreement marked the end of a patent dispute that began last year, when Nokia sued Apple in Germany and the US, alleging infringement of 32 patents. The two companies sued one another in 2009, and struck a licensing agreement in 2011.

The two settled in May, striking new licensing terms and agreeing to a joint effort to explore “future collaboration in digital health initiatives.

Sources: Livemint, The Verge


Innocent Lives are Price for Protection here


The Border Security Forces (BSF) who are responsible for protecting the Indo-Bangladesh frontier usher violence upon the people of the border areas in the north-eastern states.

In a latest and one of the most shocking incidents, two BSF personnel posted at Silsury Border Outpost (BOP) under Mami district of Mizoram the allegedly raped a woman and killed another, along the Indo- Bangladesh border in Mamit district. The rape survivor, identified as Dangubi Milebo Chakma (name changed) in a statement alleged that on July 16 she was waylaid and gang raped while she, along with another woman Rangabi Chakma, had gone to collect bamboo shoots into the forest. The survivor’s account speaks of more than just this. She told the police that when she resisted the rape attempt, the BSF personnel rubbed an acid-soaked cloth on her face. She has suffered serious injuries on her face and eyes and is undergoing treatment at Aizwal.

Many untold stories of BSF’s atrocities reside in these areas and very few cases see the light of the media and even aspire to seek justice. To note some, on January7, 2011 BSF personnel killed 14 year old Felani Khatun near Anantpur. A year before that, on November 30, 2010 a man named Khoka Mia was shot while trying to save his daughter Tulu Aktar from being molested by BSF jawans at Amzadnagar, Belonia, in the state of Tripura. On April 15, 2006 the BSF indiscriminately open fired upon the Chakma tribal village at Bulongsuri under the Lunglei district when the villagers protested against the BSF for the mistreatment of a Buddhist monk. And many have still not found justice under the judicial files.

To take stringent measures against the BSF becomes tough as they are protected under Sections 46 and 47 of the BSF Act, 1968 that grants BSF personnel immunity from being tried in regular courts, thus making them virtually inaccessible.

Biplab Mukherjee, secretary of Kolkata-based Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), that filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the BSF Act, says that on an average ten cases of BSF related violence are reported every month in the Bengal-Bangladesh border. And this is only a scratch on the surface of the bigger reality that exists.


Sources: Newslaundry, The Northeast Today




Myanmar Military Chief on an 8-day visit to India

The commander-in-chief of Myanmar defence forces, senior general Min Aung Hlaing will be on an eight-day tour to India commencing on July 7. The military chief is scheduled to travel extensively across India covering the cities of Gaya, Varanasi, Ahmedabad and Vishakhapatnam. Hlaing is to visit New Delhi on July 14 to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, defence minister Arun Jaitley and national security adviser Ajit Doval, which also  indicates the the strategic importance of the meet.

According to the Times of India, India is ready to increase its military supplies to Myanmar to counter Chinese strategic inroads into the country, as part of the overall plan to expand defence cooperation with ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) countries under the action-oriented `Act East’ policy.

India has been slowly but steadily stepping up defence cooperation, ranging from expansion in military visits and exercises to training and technology-sharing, with ASEAN member-states like Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

As far as strategic partnership with Myanmar is concerned, India already provides 105mm light artillery guns, rocket launchers, rifles, radars, mortars, bailey bridges, communication gear, night-vision devices, war-gaming software and road construction equipment as well as naval gun-boats, sonars, acoustic domes and directing gear to Myanmar. A $37.9 million deal for supply of lightweight torpedoes was also recently finalized.

While Indian warships make regular port calls to Myanmar and undertake coordinated patrolling along the bilateral maritime boundary, Indian Army too has stepped-up cooperation with Myanmarese forces along the porous 1,643-km land border to turn the heat on Indian insurgent groups operating in the region.

India had earlier largely disregarded China’s expanding footprint in Myanmar, the only Asean country with whom its shares land and maritime boundaries, but later switched gears to make amends. Since then, India has assiduously upgraded diplomatic, economic and military cooperation with Myanmar, apart from prime ministerial (Manmohan Singh and Modi) and other high-level visits to the country.

22 Asian Athletic Championship: India Opens on a Promising Note

The 22nd Asian Athletic Championship opened on a promising note for India as the Indian athletes brought home seven medals and sat atop the medal tally at the end of day one. Gold, silver, bronze – all three showered on the host country at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha.

While shot putter Manpreet Kaur and long distance runner G Lakshmanan grabbed the gold, N Neena and Nayan James won the silver and bronze in women’s long jump. Vikas Gowda, Sanjivani Yadav, Annu Rani each brought home bronze in men’s discus throw, 500m race and javelin throw respectively.

Birthday girl Manpreet opened the account for India with her career second best of 18.28m. Kuar beat China’s Guo Tianqian who took away the silver with a throw of 17.91m. Japan’s Aya Ota won the bronze with 15.45m.

The winner of gold at the regional level championship by default reserves a place at the world flagship event. However, Manpreet had already managed an entry for herself into the World Championships to be held in London next month with her record improvement of 18.86 in China in April this year.

Lakshmanan gave India its second gold by running 500m in 14 minutes 54.48 seconds in the men’s race. While Yaser Salem of Qatar finished in 14:55.89, Tariq Ahmed of Saudi Arabia took the bronze for finishing in 14:56.83.

In the women’s 5000m race, Sanjivini Yadav clocked at 16 minutes and 00.24 seconds behind Kyrgyzstan’s Daria Maslova (15:57.95) and UAE’s Alia Mohammed (15:59.95) to bring home the bronze.

In men’s discus throw Vikas Gowda failed to defend his title. He brought bronze with a best effort of 60.81m. Ehsan Haddadi of Iran took the gold with a best throw of 64.54m and Malaysia’s Muhammad Irfan took the silver with 60.96m.

Annu Rani ended the medal tally for the hosts on the first day by adding a bronze with an effort of 57.32m in women’s javelin throw.



Sources: TOI, SCROLL

Image courtesy- Scroll