The Hindu Important Articles 04 April 2018
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No affront to Dalit rights, says SC
No affront to Dalit rights, says SC
Defends its ruling on SC/ST Act as it only protects an innocent person from arbitrary arrest
The Supreme Court said its March 20 judgment, banning immediate arrest of a person accused of insulting or injuring a Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe member, is meant to protect innocents from arbitrary arrest and not an affront to Dalit rights.
The government, despite an urgent and open court hearing of its review petition, failed to convince a Bench of Justices A.K. Goel and U.U. Lalit on Tuesday to stay its direction, considering the massive protests across the country which claimed nine lives on April 2.
“An innocent should not be punished. There should not be terror in society… We do not want any member of the SC/ST to be deprived of his rights. We only want an innocent not to be punished,” Justice Goel observed.
Justice Goel, who authored the verdict, said the judgment, in fact, fortifies the Dalit protection law – the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989.
“Our judgment implements what is said in the Constitution. We are conscious of the rights of the underprivileged and place them at the highest pedestal… but at the same time, an innocent person cannot be falsely implicated and arrested without proper verification. We have not stopped the implementation of the Act. Does the Act mandate the arrest of innocent persons? Our judgment is not against the Act,” Justice Goel addressed Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal, for the Centre. He called the judgment a ‘balance’ between Dalit rights and right of an innocent against arrest in a false case.
The judgment directs a “preliminary enquiry” to be conducted on whether a complaint filed by a Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe member is frivolous or not. An FIR would be registered only after the probe officer, Deputy Superintendent of Police, authenticates the complaint of casteist slur or crime.
Verification of claims
When Mr. Venugopal said such an enquiry would delay the grant of compensation mandated to victims under the Act, Justice Goel said grant of money from the public exchequer should be preceded by verification against false claims. This ‘preliminary enquiry’ serves that purpose.
At one point, Justice Goel asked Mr. Venugopal how even the Attorney-General could function if made a victim of a false complaint.
He said, “People who are agitating would not have read the order.”
The court’s amicus curiae and senior advocate Amrendra Sharan indicated that vested interests were fuelling the protests.
Biometric failure is not related to age, says UIDAI
‘Many alternative processes for authentication are available’
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) claimed there is no “conclusive evidence” to say that biometric authentication success is dependent upon age.
“Slightly higher authentication failure rates have been observed only for fingerprints for senior citizens above the age of 70,” UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey said in a written reply in the Supreme Court on Tuesday to a questionnaire from the petitioners challenging the Aadhaar scheme.
The petitioners have argued that Aadhaar is prone to biometric authentication failure and results in financial exclusion of senior citizens and those employed in manual labour.
Mr. Pandey said several alternatives to biometric authentication are available. Besides, an Aadhaar holder could always update his biometrics.
“Authentication failures do not mean exclusion or denial of subsidies, benefits or services since the requesting entities are obliged under the law to provide for exception-handling mechani- sms,” the UIDAI response said.
The authority said that out of 108,50,391 iris scans, 9,27,132 unique UIDs failed, that is, 8.54% of the total. Out of 6163,63,346 fingerprint scans, 369,62,619 failed. That is, 6% of the total. The UIDAI explained that in the “unlikely scenario” where both iris and fingerprint cannot be used for authentication, the mobile number can be used.
Paper leak: misconduct found on part of Bawana principal
‘He had asked teachers to inform students about possible questions’
The principal of Mother Khazani Convent School was questioned for hours on Tuesday and the police claim to have found “grave misconduct” on his part. However, the teams are investigating criminal culpability.
A senior officer probing the CBSE paper leak of Class XII Economics question paper said the investigation so far has revealed that the principal, who was the examination incharge, allowed the paper’s seal to be opened earlier, around 9 a.m.
Also, he had allegedly told the teachers to share questions with the students for better marks.
“The principal and other staffers have been questioned for hours. It has come to the fore that he allowed the seal to be opened and told teachers to share them with the students for better marks. However, no monetary transaction has been found in the act so far, therefore, the criminal culpability is being probed,” the officer said, adding that arrest can only be made only after its found.
The investigation so far has also revealed that the principal had no clue that Rishabh Antil and Rohit Vats (teachers at the school) who were arrested along with Tauqeer (tutor) were carrying mobile phones to the premises where the seal was opened.
“The teachers had signed the document which was maintained to record if the phone was submitted before taking the question paper. It’s suspected that they were hiding another phone using which they clicked pictures. It’s also suspected that the principal did not know they were sharing the paper for money,” he said.
The police are deliberating on writing to the CBSE about the misconduct found on the part of the school principal but the decision is yet to be made, sources said.
“From the investigation so far, misconduct on his part has been found and discussions are on whether to write to the CBSE to take action against the principal, its teachers, or school, or whether he can be arrested under the Indian Penal Code,” the officer added.
However, our primary objective is to find if a criminal offence has been committed by the principal and denied deliberating on writing to CBSE, Joint Commissioner of Police Alok Kumar said.
Special Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) R.P. Upadhyay said, “His role is being examined and action will be taken based on the findings”.
Police custody of the three accused has been extended by two days and they will be produced before the court on Thursday.
Source:- The Hindu