Tamil Nadu Bus Strike called off after Court Intervntion

Image Courtesy: Press Trust of India
After ten days of strike, TNSTC workers will be resuming duty after order by Madras High Court.

Chennai, January 12: After ten long days, the bus strike by Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) Union was called off on late night of Thursday. A. Soundrarajan, the President of Centre of India Trade Union confirmed the news.

Earlier, the Madras High Court acting on a bunch of PIL’S against the strike, appointed former judge E. Padmanabhan as an arbitrator between the employees and the government regarding the issue of wage revision. It however rejected the workers demand that the agreement signed a few days ago with some of the unions should receive legal validity and asked the workers to resume duty at once.

The Judges clearly defined the role of the arbitrator by asking him to focus only on two issues-entitlement of wage revision of workers using a multiple factor of 2.57, instead of factor of 2.41 as agreed by government and the cut-off date for the revision.

They also refused to entertain the plea by workers that an original demand charter submitted way back in November, 2016 should be a part of the reference. The judges however, appealed to the workers to resume their duty to help general public in light of the Pongal festival and not to cause any further inconvenience for them.

Earlier the Transport Secretary P.C. Davidar refused to withdraw criminal cases against who were involved in destruction of public property and also declared government’s stand of no payment to the employees during strike period.

Source: The Hindu, The News Minute

Madras HC orders government action against The Blue Whale Challenge

The Madras High Court on Monday issued the order, asking the Union and Tamil Government to take serious measures against the Blue Whale Challenge, an online game that gives some disturbing tasks to the player for 50 days and on the 50th day, the player is asked to take their own life.

The Madurai bench also asked the Tamil Nadu Police to take strict actions against people who share the game.  The State and Centre government till September 8 has to respond to the court about all the steps taken by them to remove the Blue Whale Challenge link from social media. Likewise, the notice for appropriate steps to save the children from such self-harm game has been sent to NK Sinha, the Information and Broadcasting Secretary; Niranjan Mardi, Tamil Nadu Home Secretary and state’s IT Department.

Along with state bodies, the court also asked help from IIT-Madras Director, Bhaskar Ramamurthy through suggestions on banning the dangerous game.

In its submission, state police’s Crime Branch of CID (CBCID) said “Blue Whale links are blocked and that no one can download it in the state”.

This order came after a 15-year-old,Vignesh killed himself after playing the game on August 30. He had shared the link of the challenge with 75 other students from Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu, but nobody played the game.

Sources: Scroll.in, Indian Express

Vande Mataram mandatory for educational institutions and jobs across Tamil Nadu: Madras High Court

According to a ruling by the Madras High Court, singing Vande Mataram has been made mandatory for educational institutions and government offices.The ruling was led by Justice MV Muralidaran.

For clarity, he administered the Director of Public Information with the responsibility of uploading and circulation of the national song over government portals and the social media.Muralidharan added, “If people feel it is difficult to sing the song in Bengali and Sanskrit, steps can be taken to translate the song in English”.He further added that the court hopes that the implementation of the decision will be considered with utmost seriousness by the youth of the country.
However, Muralidaran made it clear by stating that people that people must not be forced to sing the national song if they face difficulty in doing so and if they have a valid reason/justification for the same.
The order came post the K Vermani case. As per the case, K Vermani, an applicant for the post of BT assistant, requested the authorities for awarding him with one mark for the question ” In which language, the song Vande Mataram was written? ” R Muthukumaraswamy, the advocate general of Tamil Nadu made it clear that Vande Mataram is of Sanskrit origin.However, it was written in the Bengali script.
News Source: Hindu, TOI
Image Source: PTI

SC extends Madras HC stay on cattle trade rules

The Supreme Court on Tuesday has ordered a nationwide stay on the Narendra Modi government’s ban of slaughtering cattle for trade.

According to the Hindustan times, the order from the apex court came after the Centre told the court that the public protests across the country had forced the government to rethink the rules of the ban. Additional Solicitor General P S Narsimha had requested the court to not issue any order since the rules were being examined by the government and they would be notified of the changes by the end of August.

However, the Supreme Court on extending the stay given by he Madras High Court said that livelihoods cannot be subjected to uncertainties and the new rules can be notified but the current rules’ operation for the entire country will stay.

Due to the protests all over the country by the state governments of Kerala and West Bengal, the government is forced to rethink its policy. This brings a big sigh of relief for the cattle traders whose livelihood had been affected extensively.

What remains to be seen is what kind of changes does the government bring to the policy and it’s implications.

Sources: Indian Express, India Today

Chaos Outside Madras HC as Lawyers Protest

Lawyers of the Madras High Court, on Monday, took action to demand the withdrawal of amendments made to the Advocates Act, 1961, in May this year. The primary cause of the agitation was the Bar Council of India’s decision to suspend 126 lawyers from Tamil Nadu, banning them from practising law in any part of the country. Amongst those suspended, include members of the Joint Action Committee, Bar Council of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu and more.
The amendments made to the Advocates Act gives the High Court the power to file disciplinary action against lawyers found to be violating terms. According to the Act, lawyers would be prosecuted for taking part in activities like trying to influence judges, protesting within the court’s premises, showing up in an intoxicated state and more.
These amendments were drawn up after continuous protests by lawyers in 2014 and 2015, continuing into this year. The lawyers argue that such rules prevent them from practicing the law freely and goes against their rights. The High Court, however, argues that that such guidelines help maintain the decorum of the court.
The lawyers chanted various slogans against Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Madras HC Chief Justice. Large groups of policemen were deployed as security around the HC and iron barricades were put up as additional protective measures. The situation saw signs of escalation when protestors attempted to trespass, but were prevented in time by the police.

Triumph of Freedom of Speech: Perumal Murugan will continue to pen

“Let the author be resurrected to what he is best at. Write.  I will get up. It is just that my mind wishes to spend a little time in the joy of this moment. My thanks to friends who stood by me. My thanks also to friends who stood against me.
The Flower

A flower blooms

after the big bang

Sharp fragrance

Sweet countenance

Shining Splendor

The flower would

take up and establish

everything.”

– Perumal Murugan

Thus ended the six years of trepidation felt by Kongunadu author Perumal Murugan for he alleged “provocative” writings.
The Madras High Court quashed the criminal proceedings against Murugan who was taken to task for his title Mathorubagan, translated into English by Penguin India as One Part Woman, reported The Quint.

The story, set in Murugan’s hometown Tiruchengode, is about a childless couple who contemplate whether they want to take part in a festival ritual of the half female god Ardhanareeswara.  It revolves around the theme of the festival – the night of which, a union between any man and woman is permitted.

Published in 2010, it wasn’t until 2015 that the book attracted the ire of right wing Hindu and caste outfits – who burned copies of the book in Namakkal, used derogatory language among other threats to incite fear in the mind of the author.

Tiruchengode turned violent when English translations of the book were released.  The right wing outfits termed it offensive and threatened to shut down the town.
This prompted the local authorities to call a peace meeting where in front of a district official, Murugan had to agree to withdraw all copies of his book.

Murugan in a Facebook post announced that he would not write anymore –

“Perumal Murugan the writer is dead. As he is no God, he is not going to resurrect himself. He also has no faith in rebirth. An ordinary teacher, he will live as P. Murugan. Leave him alone.”

Citing article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution – the Madras High Court upheld freedom of speech.
Taking the example of Victorian literature in the form of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, the bench led by Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said that the choice was always with the reader. “If the reader did not like the book, he or she would be free to throw it away. What may have not been accepted earlier became acceptable later – think Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov,” read the bench.

Taking mention of The Mahabharata, the bench spoke about sex not being undesirable – but as an essential part of life since the dawn of civilization. It added that as guardians of our heritage and culture, one would do well not to ape long forgotten Victorian ideals and instead look to our own scriptures and writings.

“The state cannot take away someone’s right to free speech because of a law and order situation – just because a certain section of society expresses displeasure at art – they cannot react violently,” the bench said.
The bench also spoke about Art being provocative – and not being meant for everyone, neither was anyone being compelled to view it.

The bench also mentioned that the mediation arrived at during the peace meeting was not binding on the author – and also called upon him to write again.

Quite ironically, the judges themselves enjoyed the book – “we felt that it could not be put down without going through the whole hog. It was so absorbing!”

HC orders re-post mortem in Tamil Nadu girls’ suicide case

Madras High Court ordered a re-postmortem of one of the three dead in Villapuran, in the Tamil Nadu girls’ suicide case. The head of the Kallakurichi-based naturopathy and yoga college Vasuki Subramanian surrendered in a court in Chennai and was arrested along with two others, including its principal, after three girls from the college committed suicide. The petition was moved in the Madras High Court by Tamilarasan, father of one of the girls to seek a CB-CID inquiry and post-mortem in a state-run hospital in Chennai. He also requested that his choice of doctor be present during autopsy.

As per police officials Kalanidhi, college principal and administrator and son of Vasuki Subramanian, Suvagur Varma were arrested after having produced before the court were remanded to judicial custody. The official further added that the probe is still on and they are looking for some more persons related to the case.

The second year girl students had committed suicide on 23 January alleging excessive fees and harassment by the college. The suicide created a huge outrage among political parties thereby demanding tough action. After the college was sealed the parents of the girls filed complaint claiming that their daughters were murdered.

 

Source: dnaindia.com