Download The Hindu Important Articles 11 July 2018
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# ‘Choosing a partner is a person’s fundamental right’
He or she can be from the same sex, says SC judge at hearing on Section 377 case
Choice of a partner is a person’s fundamental right, and it can be a same-sex partner, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said on Tuesday.
The observation came on the first day of hearing by a Constitution Bench of petitions challenging the constitutionality of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a colonial era provision that criminalises private consensual sex between adults.
Violation of privacy
Justice Chandrachud, who is part of the five-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, was reacting to a submission by senior advocate Arvind Datar, for hotelier Keshav Suri, that the right to sexual orientation was meaningless without the right to choose a partner.
Justice Chandrachud drew his observations from the March 2018 judgment in the Hadiya case, which held that neither the State nor one’s parents could influence an adult’s choice of partner. That would be a violation of the fundamental right to privacy.
Hadiya, a Hindu girl from Kerala, converted to Islam and chose to marry a Muslim man.
Chief Justice Misra said the test was whether Section 377 stood in conformity with Articles 21 (right to life), 19 (right to liberty) and 14 (right to equality) of the Constitution.
At one point, the judges appeared to differ in their approach to the case. Justice Chandrachud said the court should not confine itself merely to a declaration whether Section 377 was constitutional or not. It could examine the wider concept of “sexuality” to include co-habitation etc., he said.
But Chief Justice Misra observed that the Bench should first decide the constitutionality of Section 377. “Let us get out of this maze. We cannot now give an advance ruling on questions like inheritance to live-in partners, whether they can marry, etc. Those are individual issues we cannot pre-judge,” he said.
# Train delays draw the ire of commuters in the State
Slow progress of track renewal hits punctuality of trains
The slow progress of the renewal of rails and sleepers that need urgent maintenance activities is affecting the safety and punctuality of trains.
Mounting incidents of derailments, though minor, and inordinate delay of all trains are a matter of concern for the Thiruvananapuram and Palakkad division authorities. The delay in the renewal works due to the monsoon, inability to impose the needed line block to take up the works due to saturation of traffic and unscientific sanctioning of stoppages have drawn the ire of commuters, said railway officials Against a target of 168 km Through Rail Renewal with 60 kg rails in the Thiruvananthapuram division for this fiscal, only 41.764 km had been completed so far. In the case of Through Rail Renewal with 52 kg, work of 33.9 km had been completed against the target of 67 km.
Fails to meet target
Only 16.06 km of Ballast Screening had been completed against the target of 130 km. In the case of greasing of rail seats, work had been completed only in 94.50 km against the target of 480 km. Of the Rs. 153 crore sanctioned, works had been completed only for Rs. 26 crore.
The target given could be achieved only if one km of track renewal was carried out daily. For completing one km of track renewal, five to six hours of line block was needed and this was impossible in the State, said the officials.
Renewal of rail and sleeper was going on along the Kottayam-Ernakulam and Shoranur-Ernakulam corridors at present.
Railways have engaged state-of-the-art track relaying train (TRT) imported from the U.S. for track renewals and to expedite the works.
“We are carrying out the works with limited period line block of 90 minutes to two hours and five hours on Sundays. Trains can move along only after 30 minutes after welding works are executed to join railway track,” the officials said.
The improvement in the condition of railway track in the State after the works would reflect on the punctuality of trains, they said.
# Delhi, Seoul pledge to double trade
India and South Korea on Tuesday vowed to more than double trade in the next decade, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with the visiting President Moon Jae-in.
The two sides signed 11 MoUs and agreements, including a statement on expanding the 2010 Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, and a joint vision statement that committed to more military exchanges and enhancing defence projects together.
India and South Korea also have agreed to cooperate on a “tripartite” basis in development assistance in third countries, beginning with a project in Afghanistan.
Praising each other for their roles in keeping their respective regions “peaceful,” Mr. Modi and Mr. Moon committed to strengthening the “special strategic partnership” in the region and aligning India’s Act East Policy with South Korea’s New Southern Policy.
# All members of Thai team rescued from flooded cave
Last four boys and football coach brought out safely
Rescuers freed the last four of 12 Thai boys and their football coach from deep inside a flooded cave on Tuesday, successfully ending an extraordinarily perilous mission that has gripped the world for more than two weeks.
The ‘Wild Boars’ soccer team, aged 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach were trapped on June 23 while exploring the cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai when rain flooded the tunnels. “We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what. All the thirteen Wild Boars are now out of the cave,” the Navy SEAL unit, which led the rescue, said on its Facebook page, adding that all were safe.
British divers found the 13, hungry and huddled in darkness on a muddy bank in a partly flooded chamber several kilometres in the Tham Luang cave complex, on Monday last week.
After pondering for days over how to get them out, a rescue operation was launched on Sunday when four of the boys were brought out, tethered to rescue divers. Another four were rescued on Monday and the last four boys and the coach were brought out on Tuesday, as spontaneous applause broke out and ambulances and helicopters passed.
Celebrations were tinged with sadness over the death of a former Thai Navy diver on Friday while on a re-supply mission in the cave. “I want to tell the coach, ‘thank you so much for helping the boys survive this long’,” said one Chiang Rai woman, wearing a traditional dress, tears brimming in her eyes.
The last five were brought out of the cave on stretchers, one by one over the course of the day, and taken by helicopter to hospital. Three members of the SEAL unit and an Army doctor, who has stayed with the boys since they were found, were the last people due to come out of the cave, the unit said.
# Tussle over rent erupts again between library and corporation in Vijayapura
A tussle between the District Central Library and the Vijayapura City Corporation over the fixing of rent for the library building owned by the corporation has surfaced again.
The reason for the tussle erupting again is the notice issued by the corporation to the library asking it not only to pay higher rent but also remit arrears along with interest.
The corporation has fixed Rs. 12 per sq ft for the over four-decade-old library building located on MG Road. This has become the main contentious issue between the two government bodies.
The library officials said that since the total building area runs into nearly 6,000 sq ft, the monthly rent comes to over Rs. 70,000.
“We are running a government library and not any commercial activity which allows us earn profits and pay a whopping sum of Rs. 70,000 a month as rent. It is a public library which is meant for public service. We offer books free to the public for reading and we do not sell any books. How can the corporation expect us to pay such a huge rent,” an official said. He said that for years, the minimum rent was fixed at around Rs. 2,000 which the library could pay but this huge sum is beyond its limit. The official said that when other local bodies offer free space for setting up libraries such as in gram panchayats, why cannot the corporation here follow the same norm.
Meanwhile, defending the higher rent, the corporation says that it is only following an order to fix rent for property owned by the corporation.
Speaking to The Hindu , corporation Commissioner Harsha Shetty said that since the corporation is fixing new rates for all buildings owned by it, it has asked the library to pay the new rent.
“Moreover, we do not have the authority to make exemptions. If the Library Department wants the building for free, then it can approach the respective Ministry to get an exemption,” he said.
Mr. Shetty said that if the library officials could get an order from the government, then the corporation has no issues to offer the building free. “Without any such order, the corporation can’t do much,” Mr. Shetty added.
# Nepal returns ‘dancing bear’ to India
Centre backs move to bring back animal smuggled across the border last year
Nineteen-year-old Rangila doesn’t need to dance anymore. The sloth bear, which was smuggled into Nepal in December 2017 for use as a ‘dancing bear,’ is being sent back to India.
The Indian and Nepalese governments, Nepal’s Jane Goodall Institute, and the Indian non-profit, Wildlife SOS, facilitated the repatriation. The seven-month-long process involved obtaining several approvals and documents from both countries (including import permits), the organisations said.
Wildlife SOS also launched a campaign requesting Nepalese authorities to help the bear. Eventually, a Cabinet decision by the government of Nepal approved the bear’s repatriation to India. It has, however, been an arduous journey for Rangila.
It was in December 2017 that Wildlife SOS received information about two dancing bears on the Indo-Nepal border. But the traffickers swiftly moved them into Nepal, where Indian authorities do not have jurisdiction.
Nepal’s enforcement officials detained two people, and the two bears, Rangila and 17-year-old Sridevi, were temporarily shifted to the Kathmandu Zoo. Sridevi, unfortunately, did not survive.
A 1,000-km journey
At present, two Wildlife SOS teams are engaged in escorting Rangila in an animal ambulance on its 1,000-km journey from the Kathmandu Zoo to the Agra Bear Rescue Centre in Uttar Pradesh, where he will join nearly 200 rescued sloth bears.
This is a unique effort to bring back a wild citizen home, said Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder of Wildlife SOS. Once Rangila reaches the Wildlife SOS Bear Rescue Centre, he will receive specialised veterinary care, said co-founder Geeta Seshamani.
“He will have a large forested enclosure with a pool, lots of trees to climb, and other bears to play with,” she added.
“We are happy to help in this repatriation mission,” said Chiranjibi Prasad Pokheral, project manager at the Kathmandu Zoo, where both Rangila and Sridevi were housed. Sloth bears ( Melursus ursinus ), found only in the Indian subcontinent, were exploited as ‘dancing bears’ in India until the practice was banned in 1972. But it is not illegal in Nepal.
# BBMP releases Rs. 27 cr. towards pourakarmikas’ salary
Under fire for non-payment of wages to pourakarmikas for several months, which allegedly pushed one of them into ending his life on Monday, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), on Tuesday, released Rs. 27.01 crore towards payment of salaries for June.
However, by its own admission, the civic body had not paid salaries to 3,385 workers, with less than a year’s experience, for the past six months. S. Subramani, who committed suicide on Monday, was one of them.
BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad said all arrears of six months for the 3,385 workers with less than one year experience will also be cleared by the zonal commissioners by Wednesday after verifying their bio-metric attendance as proof of work.
Sarfaraz Khan, Joint Commissioner, Solid Waste Management, BBMP said, “These are workers who recently joined the workforce in the hope that they will be taken on the rolls. Besides, they are over and above the 700:1 ratio. So we had not paid them salaries.”
But the BBMP’s action did little to pacify the anger of citizens and activists, some of who took to the streets protesting against the civic body.
# Abducted newborn traced in 5 hours
Childless ANM caught with the infant
In what constitutes swift action, Neredigonda police on Tuesday traced a six-day-old infant boy stolen from the maternity ward of Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Adilabad within five hours.
The baby boy born to Dirbasi Mamatha, aged 25 years, and resident of Chorpalli village was stolen between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.
Neredigonda Sub-Inspector G. Harishekhar had set up a check-point after an alert was sounded by police officials in Adilabad.
He stopped a car used to transport newspapers and found one Soyam Pushpalatha, a former ANM, carrying an infant. The SI got suspicious and transmitted the photos of the baby boy to concerned officials in Adilabad who got it confirmed that it was the son of Mamatha. Police arrested Pushpalatha and her husband Nagesh and registered a case of kidnapping.
The couple on interrogation revealed that they abducted the baby as they were unable to bear children for the last 10 years.
Mamatha was admitted to hospital on July 2 and delivered the baby on July 4.
Athram Sunitha, another patient in the ward on the opposite bed is reported to be the eyewitness to the incident of the infant’s abduction. Adilabad Superintendent of Police Vishnu S. Warrier ordered setting up of vehicle checkpoints at all roads which exit the district.
# High Court confirms death for Daswanth
‘Duty-bound to listen to cries of victims’
Observing that courts were duty-bound to listen to the silent cries of victims of child sexual abuse, the Madras High Court on Tuesday confirmed the death sentence imposed by a trial court on 23-year-old S. Daswanth for sexually assaulting and murdering a seven-year-old girl at an apartment in Mugalivakkam near here on February 5, 2017.
An all-women Division Bench of Justices S. Vimala and S. Ramathilagam, constituted by Chief Justice Indira Banerjee especially for hearing cases related to crimes against women and children, dismissed an appeal preferred by the convict and upheld the capital punishment imposed on him by a mahila court in Chengalpattu on February 19.
“The brutality and the beastly act of the convict cannot be described in words… Justice demands that courts should impose punishments befitting the crime so that it reflects public abhorrence to the crime. Crimes like the one before us cannot be looked with magnanimity… If at all there is a case warranting award of death sentence, it is the present case,” the Bench said.
Authoring the judgment, Ms. Justice Vimala said the Constitution envisages a happy and healthy childhood free from abuse and exploitation. “But we live in a society where safety and security of children remains an unfulfilled promise,” she added after pointing out how the convict had lured the victim to his flat when she was playing on the ground floor of the apartment.
The sole stimulus for the crime was to satisfy physical pleasure.
After achieving that object, the convict had gone to the extent of murdering the child, hiding the body for quite some time in his house while pretending to be searching the child along with her parents and then burning the body with petrol at a remote location, the court pointed out.
“The diabolical ingenuity with which the body has been disposed off by the accused to ward off any attraction to him has led to the budding flower being reduced to ashes even before blossoming. The mindset of the accused to commit such a heinous act is more cruel than the act itself,” the judges said.
Conscious about the criticism that they would face for confirming the death sentence, the two judges said, opponents of capital punishment might brand the verdict as a surrender of emotions to grief, fear and so on. However, stating that “many of us would find it hard even to kill an ant, much less a man,” the Bench went on to say: “Accepting capital punishment means not that we surrender to our emotion, but that we overcome it.”
If imposition of death penalty amounts to taking away the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, “would not the act of violating physical space of women and children amount to violation of Article 21?” the judges asked. They said victims of sexual abuse go through an “unfathomable, emotional, physical and psychological pain” not only at the ignominious point but throughout their life.
Nevertheless, the aspect of punishment for criminal offences always revolves around the interest of the accused alone, the judges lamented. They emphasised the need to think of the fact that children who suffer sexual abuse during childhood continue to suffer throughout their life, facing problems even in marital relationship.
Another murder case
It recorded the submission of State Public Prosecutor (in-charge) C. Emalias and Additional Public Prosecutor M. Mohammed Riyaz that Daswanth was also facing another case for having allegedly murdered his mother when he was out on bail.
However, the judges did not advert to it since it was a separate case altogether.
They held that the facts of the present case were enough to exhibit the “ruthless character of the convict” and prove that his “mind is beyond reformation.”
# Extra marks for Tamil candidates in NEET
HC asks for a revised list in 2 weeks
The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the CBSE to publish within two weeks a revised list of candidates who have qualified in the NEET this year after awarding four marks for each of the 49 erroneously translated questions in the Tamil version of the question paper.
A Division Bench of Justices C.T. Selvam and A.M. Basheer Ahamed passed the order on a public interest litigation petition filed by CPI(M) Rajya Sabha member T.K. Rangarajan, who contended that the erroneously translated questions put aspirants who took the NEET in Tamil at a disadvantage.
Tech4all, a non-governmental organisation, had made a comprehensive study of the question paper and pointed out the errors in the Tamil version.
Level playing field
Observing that Tamil medium students must be suitably compensated to provide a level playing field, the Bench said: “As a necessary corollary, the list of qualified candidates shall be kept in abeyance as would the counselling sessions.”
However, the judges said it was left to the authorities concerned to proceed with counselling for eligible MBBS candidates.
Responding to the court ruling, Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said it was for the CBSE to take a call on re-counselling for the current batch of students who had been admitted. Asked if the CBSE had approached the State for translators, the School Education Secretary replied in the negative.
The court refused to accept the CBSE’s argument that teachers in respective regional languages with knowledge of relevant technical terms would have thought just as the students would (while framing the questions). The court termed the contention as a presumption.
# 3-year-old crushed to death by school bus
In a gruesome incident, a three-year-old boy was crushed to death by a school bus, which was carrying his older sibling, in the city on Tuesday.
The Abdullapurmet police said the incident occurred at a bus-stop around 7.40 a.m. The victim, identified as Tanvish, sustained head injuries and died on the spot.
According to Vanasthalipuram Assistant Commissioner of Police C. Gandhinarayana, the victim’s mother went to drop her elder son, Jashwanth (5), studying at Shantiniketan School, at the bus-stop.
Unnoticed by her, the second child followed her.
“The mother of the boy was unaware that her second son had come to the bus-stop. It seems that the driver did not notice the child standing in front of the bus as he was small and was out of his sight. The bus moved ahead after the victim’s bother Jashwant boarded the bus, killing the child instantly,” Mr. Gandhinarayana said.
The driver, identified as A. Anil (26), a resident of Taramatipet, is in police custody. A case under Section 304-A (causing death by negligence) of the IPC was booked against him.
Police said the accused was in possession of a valid driving licence, which permits him to operate heavy vehicles. All required documents, such as vehicle registration, were in order.
Mr. Gandhinarayana said that although the bus had an attendant on board, he too did not notice the victim.
A string of similar cases were reported in recent past in the city.
In January last, six-year-old Anjali got thrown out of her school bus in Vanasthalipuram after it swerved to avoid a speed-breaker.
At Shabad in June, one-and-a-half-year-old Adiya was crushed to death by a school bus.
Source:- The Hindu