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GS Paper II- Constitution, Polity.

India’s Supreme Court Bans Islamic Instant Divorce “Triple Talaq”.

Background

  • India’s top court has ruled the practice of instant divorce in Islam unconstitutional, marking a major victory for women’s rights activists.
  • In a 3-2 majority verdict, the court called the practice “un-Islamic” on the morning of 22th August, 2017.
  • India is one of a handful of countries where a Muslim man can divorce his wife in minutes by saying the word talaq (divorce) three times.
  • The landmark court decision came in response to petitions challenging the so-called “triple talaq” custom.
  • The cases were filed by five Muslim women who had been divorced in this way and two rights groups.
  • Women’s rights campaigners have hailed the court’s decision as a historic win.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • While Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice S Abdul Nazeer were in favour of putting on hold for six months the practice of triple talaq, asking the government to come out with a law in this regard, Justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman and U U Lalit held it as violative of the Constitution.
  • Three of the five Supreme Court judges called the controversial practice “un-Islamic, arbitrary and unconstitutional”. One of the judges, Justice Kurien Joseph, said the practice was not an essential part of Islam and enjoyed no protection.
  • The judges also said it was “manifestly arbitrary” to allow a man to “break down (a) marriage whimsically and capriciously”.
  • Chief Justice JS Khehar, in a differing opinion, said that personal law could not be touched by a constitutional court of law. The opposing judgements also recommended that parliament legislate on the issue. However this is not binding and is up to parliament to take up.
  • The Indian government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has supported ending the practice. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brought up the issue several times including in his Independence Day address on 15 August, 2017.
  • The top court has also sent a very strong message to Muslim clergy. India’s Muslim personal law board had called the practice “reprehensible” but said that it was not an issue for the courts and government to interfere in. With this latest ruling, this will no longer be the case.
  • Shayara Bano, one of the main petitioners, said she appealed to people to accept the ruling and not politicise the issue. “I have felt the pain when family breaks. I hope no one has to go through this situation in future,” she told reporters.

Sources- BBC News.

 

GS Paper III- Environment, Technology.

Govt To Extend Pact With ISA On Exploring Manganese Nodules.

Background

  • Government has decided to extend the agreement with International Seabed Authority (ISA) by 5 years for exploration of manganese nodules that will also help in extracting minerals like, nickel, cobalt and copper.
  • The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved extension of contract between Ministry of Earth Sciences and ISA for exploration of Polymetallic Nodules (manganese nodules) for five years (2017-22), an official statement said.
  • The earlier contract is due to expire on March 24, 2017.
  • Further, it would provide strategic importance for India in terms of enhanced presence in the Indian Ocean where other international players are also active.

Key Points Of The Development-

  • The potato-shaped, largely porous nodules, also called manganese nodules, are found in abundance carpeting the sea floor of world oceans in deep sea.
  • Besides manganese and iron, they contain nickel, copper, cobalt, lead, molybdenum, cadmium, vanadium, titanium, of which nickel, cobalt and copper are considered to be of economic and strategic importance.
  • India had signed a 15-year contract for exploration of Polymetallic Nodules (PMN) in Central Indian Ocean Basin with the ISA, an institution set up under the Convention on Law of the Sea to which India is a party, on March 25, 2002 with the approval of the Cabinet.
  • At present, India has an area of 75,000 sq km, located about 2,000 km away from her southern tip for exploration of PMN.
  • Ministry of Earth Sciences is carrying out the survey and exploration, environmental impact assessment, technology development (Mining and Extractive Metallurgy) under PMN through various national institutes.
  • They include National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology (IMMT), National Metallurgical Laboratory (NML), National Centre for Antarctica and Ocean Research (NCAOR) and National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT).

Sources- The Indian Express.

GS Paper IV- Ethics, Integrity.

Javadekar Launches ‘Swasth Bachche, Swasth Bharat’ Programme.

Background

  • Union Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar launched the Swasth Bachche, Swasth Bharat’ programme on 21st August, 2017.
  • While launching the ‘Swasth Bachche, Swasth Bharat’ programme, an initiative of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan aimed at preparing a physical health and fitness, He said that strengthening the education sector of the country through the empowerment of general education is the aim of Modi Government. Ensuring quality education for all is also the aim of Government.
  • Kendriya Vidyalayas in Kerala shows more quality than the Kendriya Vidyalayas of all other states; a system to involve children, a part of household chores is needed, Minister opined.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Swasth Bachche, Swasth Bharat’ Programme, an initiative of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan to prepare a physical Health and Fitness Profile Card for more than 12 lakhs of Kendriya Vidyalaya students was launched in Kochi. Union Minister for Human Resource Development Shri. Prakash Javadekar unveiled the Profile Card in a function held at Kendriya Vidyalaya at KV NAD, Aluva (Kochi) on 21st August.
  • Union Minister interacted with the students of Kendriya Vidyalaya as part of the programme. Shri. Muhammed Y Safeerulla, District Collector and Shri. U.N Khaware, Additional Commissioner, Kendriya Vidyalaya were among the dignitaries who attended the programme. Swasth Bachche, Swasth Bharat exhibition and the display of Yoga by children were also held.
  • Swasth Bachche, Swasth Bharat programme will provide a comprehensive and inclusive report card for children covering all age groups and children of different abilities. Making students, teachers and parents aware about the importance of good health and fitness and encouraging 60 minutes of play each day is an objective of the programme.
  • Swasth Bachche, Swasth Bharat programme also intends to imbibe values of Olympics and Paralympics amongst students. Bring back the childhood amongst children and make physical activity and recreational games an integral part of learning process , Motivating potentially outstanding performers in various games and sports of excellence, using technology for data capture and analytics, and giving access to schools, parents and teachers are also the objectives of the programmes.

Sources- The New Indian Express.