Thursday October 19, 2017
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Personal freedom comes with some non-negotiables

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In a ‘shocking’ news today, a family in Mumbai was asked to get out of a theatre as they refused to respect the National Anthem and chose not to stand up, as it is required. As it happens in present media scenario, coupled with the towering 72-point headline and prime time obsession with the word ‘intolerance’, the video went viral. The news was covered showing the family being asked out from the theatre.

One can sense the issue being taken up by the custodians of every-single-thing in India, in today’s prime time debates with raging fire coming out of our dragon-like news anchors.

A family being forced out is as shocking as them choosing not to stand up during the time the Anthem was being played. It was not a football anthem, it was the Indian National Anthem. People have laid down their lives to have a nation for us and it is the least that we as citizens should do.

Personal freedom doesn’t mean you do whatever you like. Personal freedom is choosing not to enter the theatre when the anthem was being played. Personal freedom is choosing not to feel good about this nation and its national symbols.

Personal freedom has been guaranteed by our Constitution. But the same Constitution expects us to follow some duties as citizens. Respecting the nation and its symbols are some among many.

It is a reality that my friends in Army are stationed in Siachen where temperature goes down to -40°C. It is another reality that even in the absence of any military threat at that altitude, they are guarding it. It is another reality that people from all walks of lives have sacrificed their lives for the nation.

People do their jobs and continue to live in this nation passed on as a socio-political and cultural entity which gives us several rights as citizens and makes sure they are not attacked.

Expecting someone to stand during the National Anthem is neither hyper-nationalism nor jingoism, it is rather the minimum amount of respect we can give to the nation where the usual phrases and abuses to India and the idea of India is guarded by our Constitution itself.

India and the idea of India are not related to Modi, BJP, Shiv Sena, Congress or any person or party. They are insignificant parts of a whole. They neither own it nor can dictate it to go one way.

We own India. It is a heritage. It is the thread that keeps us together in the times of crisis as well as in the times when we do something great. It is the beauty of the people, irrespective of their religious identities, stand together when Akhlaq is lynched. It is the beauty of this country when a Muslim girl recites Geeta and A Hindu knows Quran by heart.

This beauty needs to be preserved. This idea needs to stay in the times when a breaking news that concerns no one is blown to proportions unimagined to hide the actual issues that plague our societies.

At the same time, mob justice is heinous. One must not be forced, kicked and killed by a mob just for the simple fact that we have a judiciary and policing system to take care of it.

However, in my personal opinion, respecting national symbols and identities is a non-negotiable thing. If we enjoy the rights, we must do our duties.

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Why Does 45th Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra Need ‘Z’-Category Security of Armed NSG Commandos?

Jjustice Depak Misra, who had been recommended as a successor by Justice J.S Khehar in July, becomes the 45th Chief Justice of India and was administered the oath of office by President Ram Nath Kovind.

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Chief Justice of India.
The swearing in ceremony of Justice Dipak Misra as the 45th Chief Justice of India. Twitter
  • Justice Dipak Misra was sworn in as the 45th Chief Justice of India
  • His tenure will span for the next 14 months until his retirement in October 2018
  • Justice Misra is the only CJI to have armed protection of black commandos

New Delhi, August 29, 2017: The Chief Justice of India (CJI) J.S Khehar demitted office on August 27. The next in line was Justice Dipak Misra, who was sworn in on August 28 as the 45th Chief Justice of India at a ceremony held at the Darbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

President Ram Nath Kovind administered the oath taking ceremony of Misra, who had been recommended as a successor by Justice J.S Khehar in July this year.

In his career spanning 40 years, Justice Dipak Misra ventured into most realms of the law- civil, criminal, constitutional, revenue services and matters concerning sales tax, proving his grit to take over the new position. But that is not the only intriguing aspect of his career.

Justice Deepak Misra is the first ever Chief Justice of India to have a ‘Z’-category security cover.

The 45th CJI was provided with an upgraded security cover in 2015 after he had received a death-threat letter from terrorist organizations.

Why Would A Supreme Court Judge Need Security Cover?

On July 30, 2015, Justice-Misra headed the three-judge bench in a hearing when Yakub Memon, convicted in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, pleaded for a 14 days’ stay on his death penalty just hours before he was to be hanged. The pleas were starkly dismissed in an incomparable 2:30 am hearing and the judgment went on to become a landmark in the Indian legal history.

However, shortly after the hearing, an anonymous letter enclosed in an envelope threatening Misra of dreadful consequences was delivered at his official residence following which he was provided with a ‘Z’ security cover which remains till date.

ALSO READ: Threat letter to judge who rejected Memon’s mercy plea

A protectee under ‘Z’ category gets security cover from armed commandos of the National Security Guards (NSG) along with an escort vehicle and a pilot vehicle, each having three armed personnel, for the protection of his official vehicle.

Today, Justice Misra is the only top judge to ever use a bullet-proof ambassador car supplemented with a police escort.

Chief Justice of India
CJI Dipak Misra, seen here with Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, President Ram Nath Kovind and PM Narendra Modi. Twitter

However, death threats never stalled the 63-year old Justice Dipak Misra from taking monumental judgments and he has been at the forefront of some of the landmark judgments in the recent history. We take a look at the highlights from his career,

1. In May 2017, Justice Misra doctored the long-awaited landmark ruling and confirmed death penalty of the four convicts in the monstrous 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape that shook the entire world.

2. Justice Dipak Misra also headed the bench that mandated to play the National Anthem in cinema houses before the start of every movie for which he received a lot of flak. He also ordered for the viewers to stand up in “committed patriotism and nationalism” every time the National Anthem and/or the National Flag are featured in the theatres.

3. One of the most noteworthy decisions by Justice Misra include directing all State and Union Territories to upload all FIRs registered on their websites within 24 hours of registration at the police station. The move has made the entire process transparent, allowing the accused to download complaints and seek redressal of their grievances.

4. Justice Misra was also one of the seven judges of the special bench set up by the Supreme Court for a contempt of court hearing against Justice C.A Karman who had levied corruption charged on 20 judges of the High Court. The bench defended the constitutionality of the 150-year old law on criminal defamation and sentenced Karnan to six months in jail.

5. In 2015, a Justice Misra-led bench stayed the Maharashtra government’s ban on dance bars that had mushroomed in Mumbai and other parts of the state during the 90s. However, it maintained that the government must take steps to protect and uphold the dignity of women who performed at these bars.

6. Justice Misra is also known for his strict stand against frivolous litigations. He previously rejected one such appeal that had objected to the use of the term ‘Dhobi Ghat’ in a film’s title and had warned the petitioner.

7. He was also part of the bench that rejected the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to allow for reservations in promotions and asserted that this can only be allowed if there is sufficient supportive data and evidence to justify the decision.

8. Holding chair as the executive chairperson of the National Legal Services Authority, Justice Misra introduced the facility of Legal Assistance Establishment or Nyay Sanyog in states to simplify activities to provide free and faster legal aid to the deprived people.

9. Justice Misra also headed the three-judge bench that instructed the Centre in April 2017 to conduct NEET examination in Urdu from academic year 2018-2019 onwards. NEET examinations are held for students who wish to pursue a graduate medical course or a post-graduate medical course in private or government colleges.

Justice Dipak Misra’s tenure as the 45th Chief Justice of India will span for the next 14 months until he retires in October 2018 and is expected to see judgments in some high-magnitude issues like the validity of the Aadhaar card, the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir and the Ayodhya land dispute.


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Audience need not stand up when Anthem played in Films: Supreme Court

Supreme Court clarifies the fact that the audience need not stand up while the National Anthem is being played during the screening of a film

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Issue of Cruelty on Animals
Supreme Court of India. Wikimedia commons

New Delhi, Feb 14, 2017:  It was clarified by the Supreme Court today that the audience need not stand up when the National Anthem is played as a part of the story-line of a film, documentary or newsreel.

According to PTI reports, A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and R Banumathi made this much-anticipated clarification after one of the petitioners said that the apex court should clarify if people are supposed to stand when the National Anthem is being played in a film, newsreel or documentary.

“It is clarified that when the National Anthem is played as part of the storyline of a film, newsreel or a documentary the audience need not stand,” the bench stated.

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The matter has been fixed for further hearing on April 18 by the bench, which said the issue raised by petitioners needs to be debated.

On November 30 last year, cinema halls across the nation were ordered by the apex court to mandatorily play the National Anthem before the screening of any movie . The audience had to stand up during the anthem and show respect.

This order had come on the PIL filed by one Shyam Narayan Chouksey seeking directions that National Anthem should be played in cinema halls across the country before the beginning of a film and proper norms and protocol should be fixed when it comes to the playing and singing of the National Anthem at official functions and events in the presence of those holding constitutional office.

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It had also been observed by the apex court, while passing a slew of directions that “time has come when citizens must realise they live in a nation and are bound by duty to show respect to National Anthem which is a symbol of constitutional patriotism and inherent national quality.”

It had also mentioned that, “When one shows respect to the National Anthem as well as to the National Flag, love and respect for the motherland is reflected”.

Printing of the anthem or part of it on any object and showcasing it in such a manner at certain places which may be “disgraceful to its status and tantamount to disrespect” had been barred by the orders of the court. Playing or displaying an “abridged version” of the anthem had also been strictly prohibited.

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The apex court has been approached by various other petitioners. The court has tagged them with and the bench has tagged with the main petition.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang

 

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Physically handicapped Person need not stand up in Cinema Hall for National Anthem before the start of a Film Show, says Supreme Court

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Bollywood film "Ae Do Hai Mushkil" in which a Pakistani actor plays a role became the center of a heated controversy amid deepening tensions between India and Pakistan. (A. Pasricha/VOA)

New Delhi, Dec 10, 2016: The Supreme Court on Friday modified its November 30 order, exempting physically handicapped person from standing up when the national anthem is played in cinema hall before the start of a film show.

The bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Amitava Roy modified their order by which the court had directed cinema halls to play the national anthem before the start of movies and when is sung or played, it is imperative on the part of everyone present to show due respect and honour by standing up.

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“If a physically challenged person or physically handicapped person goes to the cinema hall to watch a film, he need not stand up, if he is incapable to stand, but must show such conduct which is commensurate with respect for the National Anthem,” the court said, clarifying these meant persons with disability as defined under Sections 2(i) and 2(t) of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.

The court noted the statement by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that the government would, within 10 days, issue guidelines as to how such persons shall show respect to the national anthem when it is played in cinema halls.

On other applications seeking the recall of the November 30 order, the court said that “the same has to be heard on merits when the matter is finally debated upon” as it directed next hearing of the matter on February 14, 2017. (IANS)