Tuesday October 22, 2019
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Supreme Court Restricts Defacement of Hillocks, Public Places with Political Slogans

The petitioner NGO has said the defacement was not limited to any particular place but could be seen on bridges, highways, central medians of roads, hills, including rocks

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Supreme Court of India.

The Supreme court on Friday said that hillocks, mountains and other public buildings could not be defaced with political slogans and images of their political leaders by various political parties as it sought response from Tamil Nadu government on a plea by NGO In Defence of Environment and Animals.

Observing that the public places including hillocks and mountains can’t be defaced during electioneering, the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice Sanjiv Khanna asked the Tamil Nadu government to state the steps taken by it to curb the defacement of public places.

The court order came on a plea by ‘In Defence of Environment and Animals’ represented by its managing trustee Elephant Rajendran who has moved the top court against the Madras High Court verdict rejecting his plea.

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A gardener works on the lawns of the Supreme Court in New Delhi, India, Aug. 22, 2017. VOA

Calling halt to the defacement of natural environment including mountains, hillocks and other public buildings by covering them with the slogans of political parties, images of leaders and their messages, CJI Gogoi said, “You cannot allow the defacement of the entire environment with political slogans, pictures of politicians. This has to stop now.”

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The petitioner NGO has said the defacement was not limited to any particular place but could be seen on bridges, highways, central medians of roads, hills, including rocks.

Rajendran told the court that during his journey from Madurai High Court to Chennai passing through Trichy and Chengalpet, he saw big advertisements, election graffiti and religious slogans painted on the roadside mountain hills and rocks. (IANS)

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US: Supreme Court Blocks Administration’s Effort to Add Citizenship Question on Census

The citizenship question was meant to better enforce the Voting Rights Act

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US, Supreme Court, Citizenship
FILE - Demonstrators protest during a Fair Maps rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court, in Washington, U.S., March 26, 2019. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump responded Thursday to the Supreme Court’s decision to block his administration’s effort to add a citizenship question to the upcoming U.S. census by saying he’d asked his lawyers whether there was a way to delay the nationwide head count.

In a tweet hours after the court announced its decision, Trump said it “seems totally ridiculous” that the government could not question people about their citizenship on the census, which takes place once every 10 years.

The Supreme Court ruled the administration’s explanation — that the citizenship question was meant to better enforce the Voting Rights Act — was “more of a distraction” from the issue than an explanation.

Opponents of the citizenship question say it would intimidate noncitizens into not answering the census, ultimately leaving them underrepresented in Congress.

US, Supreme Court, Citizenship
U.S. President Donald Trump responded Thursday to the Supreme Court’s decision to block his administration’s effort. Pixabay

Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s liberal justices in the 5-4 ruling.

 The nation’s highest court also announced Thursday that it was rejecting a request to intervene in states’ redistricting efforts.  Redrawing the boundaries of voting districts is meant to ensure proportional representation in state legislatures as the population grows and changes locations.

Republicans in the state of North Carolina and Democrats in the state of Maryland have been accused of redrawing the lines of voting districts to keep power in the hands of the ruling party.

The chief justices said manipulation of the electoral map, a practice known colloquially as gerrymandering, is a problem for state governments to solve, not the Supreme Court.

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Thursday was the final day of rulings by the Supreme Court before its summer break. (VOA)