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Supreme Court to hear Pleas challenging Article 35A after Diwali, which talks about Special Rights and privileges of Permanent Residents of Jammu and Kashmir

Article 35A talks about special rights and privileges given to only permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir

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The Supreme Court of India
The Supreme Court of India. Wikimedia
  • The plea said that the special status which people of Jammu and Kashmir enjoys should be canceled
  • In 1954 by a Presidential Order, Article 35A was added to the Indian Constitution
  • The Plea has also challenged a particular provision of the Constitution which denies the right over the property to a woman who marries someone who is from outside the state 

New Delhi (India), August 25, 2017: After Diwali, the Supreme Court of India will hear pleas which challenge the Article 35A, the article talks about special rights and privileges given to people who are permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

Supposedly, the date decided for the hearing of pleas was August 29 but both the Centre and state government of Jammu and Kashmir wanted 4 weeks’ time in order to file their replies respectively, due to this reason the hearing has been postponed to a later date.

The plea said that the special status which people of Jammu and Kashmir enjoys should be canceled.

The Supreme Court was earlier in favor of hearing the case by a constitution bench consisting of 5 judges if the Article 35A is ultra vires (beyond one’s legal power or authority) of the Indian Constitution or if there is any sort of procedural lapse (defective execution of work).

Also Read: Landmark Judgement: Right to Privacy Becomes Fundamental Right of India, Rules Supreme Court

The meaning of Article 35A as per Constitution is that the article gives the right to the state legislature of Jammu and Kashmir to call them permanent residents of that state and also give those (permanent residents) some special rights and privileges whereas by article 370 a special status is given to the state- Jammu and Kashmir.

In 1954 by a Presidential Order, Article 35A was added to the Indian Constitution. According to ANI report, “It also empowers the state’s legislature to frame any law without attracting a challenge on grounds of violating the Right to Equality of people from other states or any other right under the Indian Constitution.” This is the kind of power that this Article holds.

This Article was dragged into controversy after a 2nd plea, was filed by a lawyer and former member of the National Commission for Women Charu Wali Khanna. In her plea, she challenged Article 35A of the Indian Constitution and also Section 6 (talks of permanent residents of the state) of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution.

Also Read: Long pending injustice to Muslim Women! Supreme Court Hearing in India to Decide Validity of Muslim Divorce Practice “Triple Talaq”

The Plea has also challenged a particular provision of the Constitution which denies the right over the property to a woman who marries someone who is from outside the state. This provision which leads the woman to lose rights over property is also applied to her son.


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Rajkummar Rao is India’s ‘Newton’: Watch Trailer and Latest Updates | Hindi Movie News

From the very first glimpse, Rajkummar Rao in and as Newton makes the trailer appear extremely promising

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Newton
Like Newton's law, Rajkummar Rao's character in this film also attempts to find order in chaos. Twitter
  • Rajkummar Rao starrer-Newton draws attention to the clan of Indians who do not vote during elections
  • The film strikes a balance between humor and the urge to tell the real story of the group of Indians who choose not to participate in the decision-making process
  • Newton will have a theatrical release on September 22

New Delhi, August 30, 2017: In the beginning, the name “Newton” may stir thoughts about the great Scientist and his philosophies, but one you get a glimpse of the trailer, you will understand that Rajkummar Rao starrer “Newton” is a dark political comedy going by the simple rule “If you don’t change nothing, nothing will change.”

From the very first glimpse, Rajkummar Rao in and as Newton makes the trailer appear extremely promising.

Imagine sitting in a remote village somewhere in Chhattisgarh, far beyond the reach of technology and any worldly interference.

Imagine being surrounded by impassive villagers on one end and Maoists and police forces on the other, with both competing for cooperation and power among local people.

Now, what if you were to conduct election voting in such a scenario?

The Maoists would want the villagers to boycott the elections.

As per the trailer, this film is about the people living in villages, who hardly have any idea about exercising their right to vote, and showcases various shades of human emotions blended with humor.

Newton, a political satire starring Rajkummar Rao in a titular role, tells the story of an oddball named Nutan Kumar who is a stickler for rules and principles- this is revealed from the very first frame of the trailer when he refuses to marry an underage girl.

ALSO WATCH:  “Newton” Trailer Starring “Rajkummar Rao”  

The film is an intimate portrait of a government clerk with the single-minded agenda to conduct free and fair elections in a village riddled with conflict in Chhattisgarh. However, amidst violent clashes between Maoist guerrilla armies and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans, Newton is exposed to a bigger problem- villagers who are not aware of their “right to vote”.

ALSO READ: Bollywood Film “Pink” focuses on India’s Struggle with sexual violence against Women

The film reflects an underlying social problem of the contemporary Indian society- the unrelenting saga of ignorant citizens who do not exercise their voting rights; of people who cannot make sense out of elections and those who deem it unnecessary and treat it like a joke.

What Inspired ‘Newton’ ?

In an interview with LiveMint in January, writer-director Amit Masurkar had said “the only day people feel powerful and really a part of the democratic process is Election Day: regardless of caste, gender, religion” which prompted him to make Newton.

The young director drew inspiration from the Indian Constitution and its Preamble. According to him, these are great documents but there exists an inherent gap between the virtues upheld in the Constitution and the reality of India that could make for quality cinema.

In another interview, Masurkar said, “the humor is incidental and the subject is serious. Some may find elements of a thriller. I would call it a ‘dramedy’.”

Newton Gives Hope To Bollywood

Newton comes at a time when Bollywood is slowly transitioning towards impactful cinema. With films like Nil Battey Sannata and Toilet : Ek Prem Katha, that lend support to adult literacy, and Clean India campaign respectively, ‘Newton’ also aims to impart awareness, however of a different kind. It belongs to the selective category of cinema that entertains yet provokes a viewer to reflect on what he saw, even long after the film has ended. 

The film very conveniently aims to give a wake-up call to everybody who considers voting as an insignificant activity. The trailer exposes how people in villages fail to exercise this right due to deep-embedded fear and hence, continue to stay defenseless.

With Rajkummar Rao’s words echoing in your ears “If you don’t change nothing, nothing will change”, the trailer comes as a gentle reminder that the power lies right in our hands.

The trailer looks quite promising and the film is all set to release on September 22.


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One India One Law: End of Cruel Practice of ‘Triple Talaq’ Divorce Law in India, Supreme Court Passes Verdict Today

After the contentious debate of several years, triple Talaq is outcasted from Indian social systems

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Triple Talaq
Triple Talaq

Aug 22, 2017: The Apex Court today has made a historical verdict by imposing a ban on triple talaq calling it ‘unconstitutional’. Supreme Court also upheld the validity by stating that it is not the violation of Article 14, 15, 21 and 25 of the Indian Constitution.

A bench of five judges, directed by Chief Justice J S Khehar, declared a split verdict. The verdict of five judges also came from five faiths. Justices Uday Lalit (Hindu), Joseph Kurien (Christian) and Rohinton Nariman (Parsi) decreed that triple talaq is unconstitutional. Chief Justice JS Khehar(Sikh) and Justice Abdul Nazeer(Muslim) supported the validity of triple talaq. Chief Justice also asked the government to bring enactment within the period of six months and proposed all political parties to decide on the issue collectively.

What is “Triple Talaq”?

Triple Talaq (Talaq-e-Biddat)  is a verbal divorce where a Muslim husband can divorce his wife by merely uttering “Talaq Talaq Talaq”. A divorced woman is not allowed to remarry her divorced husband unless she first marries another man under the practice called Nikah Halala.

Origin of Sharia Law

Prior to Independence, British Judges were assisted by Muftis and Qazis for the performing of executive functions in India. In 1880, Qazis were deprived of their judicial powers through ‘The Qaziz Act’. On the other hand, the British started pronouncing judgments on Muslim Personal Law. Keeping the whole scenario in consideration, the establishment of Sharia courts was demanded in the first quarter of 20th century, however, the demand was not conceded. Later in 1920, the first sharia court was established in Bihar.

Many mosques in the country are functioning on Sharia courts based on Muslim Shariat law. The source of Muslim Personal law is the 1937 act of Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) application, which was also an attempt by British India to win over Muslim clergy. These extra-constitutional bodies had the power to function as courts parallel to Indian courts.

Also Read: Why wear a Burqa to prove Love towards your Religion?

The famous Abdul Rehman case on Triple Talaq

Abdur Rehman, a Muslim NRI from the UK had approached sharia court named Makkah Masjid Sharia Council in Chennai to get reunited with his wife. However, instead of reuniting the couple, Sharia court pressurized him to divorce his wife after he uttered talaq thrice. The man pleaded that he has changed his mind and he wants to reunite with her. After facing refutation from Sharia court, Abdul approached to Madras High Court begging for the same. He even said in his appeal that many blameless Muslim brothers or wives face the same problem across Chennai and Tamil Nadu on the whole because of the functioning of such forums that claim them to be judicial forums.

The High Court judgment said: “If a place of worship – whether it be a temple, mosque or church – is used for purposes other than prayers, and more specifically to create extra-constitutional forums, certainly the authorities are duty-bound to action against them.”

It ordered the state government to ensure that such courts do not function. This order was not specific to Muslims, and it empowered the police authorities to close down such extra-constitutional court, whether run by Hindu, Christian or Muslim.

Although the judgment did pronounce on the behalf of the sufferers of sharia law, there were still some ambiguities that led to confusion among such extra-constitutional bodies. A large number of Sharia courts which were supervised by imams and Islamic scholars operated from places that were not Mosques. It was not clear that whether the order applies to only sharia courts performing from mosques or to those who operate from Madrassas and non-religious places. Hence, a further detailed clarification was needed.

In 2014, Supreme Court declared the functioning of Sharia courts illegal and can be challenged in the court of law. On the contrary, Madras High Court did not make it clear owing to which the ambiguity in the Tamil Nadu state remained.

Supreme Court Verdict (2014)

A Delhi based advocate, Vishwa Lochan Madan challenged the validity of the parallel courts run by institutions such as Dar-ul-Qaza, Darul-Iftaa and Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband which issued fatwas. Under his appeal, he highlighted the plight of a woman, Imana, who was asked by Dar-ul-Uloom, Deoband to leave her husband and children and live with her rapist, father-in-law in her case. Madan argued that Sharia courts meddles with the personal affairs and obstructs the religious and social freedom of Muslims.

According to Supreme Court, Islamic judges, who interpret religious law can only come into power when individuals submit voluntarily to them and that their decisions or fatwas are not legally binding. It also curtailed the forums like Dar-ul-Qaza, Darul-Iftaa and Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband to issue fatwas on the basis of complaints by strangers.

The Supreme Court stated, Religion cannot be allowed to be merciless to the victim. Faith cannot be used as a dehumanizing force. Fatwas touching upon the rights of an individual at the instance of rank strangers may cause irreparable damage and therefore would be absolutely uncalled for. It shall be in violation of basic human rights. It cannot be used to punish innocents.

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Has Legal Framework Turned a Blind Eye towards Under-representation of Women in Indian Politics?

The underrepresentation of women in politics wins its spot both in our Constitution together with international law obligations

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Indian Poltics
Smriti Irani, Indian Politician. Wikimedia Commons

New Delhi, August 17, 2017: Where women empowerment in India is given due importance with subjects ranging from ‘Triple Talaq’ to ‘Beti Bachao’, the scenario of women in Indian politics is grim. One recurring question always occurs to the minds of the general public, “Do men only talk about the issues or are they willing to share the power with their female counterparts?”.

The figures are as appalling as the whole scenario. The average proportion of women’s representation in the world stands approximately 22%, while in the case of India it is only 11.8%. Nations like Saudi Arabia, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Rwanda,  Somalia, Iraq, Ghana, and Fiji rank above India. To bring light in the Southern Asia, Afghanistan (54), Nepal (48), Bangladesh (92) and Pakistan (90) rank much higher than India.

A study conducted by the Inter Parliamentary Union indicated the 149th rank of India in the record of 193 countries keeping in view the women’s representation in the lower or single house of parliament. Moreover, Rajya Sabha has the representation of women scantily at 11.1%, mentioned The Wire.

In 1993, the parliament also passed the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments which led to a one-third reservation for women so as to ensure fair representation of women in local bodies. Additionally, more than one-third of the total seats for women were reserved in the legislative bodies like Delhi and Bihar.

In spite of the objective and purpose of the amendments made by the government, there has scarcely been any development concerning the issue. This was also given a thought in the recently-held civic polls in Mumbai and Delhi.

In the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls, only 15 by all of 113 unreserved constituencies were acquired by women. Likewise, 138 out of 272 constituencies were reserved for women in the Delhi’s municipal corporation election. Tickets proposed by political parties to women in unreserved constituencies: BJP (2), Congress (6), and AAP (7).

The tickets given to women candidates in reserved constituencies were given not to the grassroots volunteer who toiled day and night for the parties growth, but for their spouses or male relatives.

ALSO READ: Women Wing Feels Cheated by Aam Aadmi Party on Ticket Distribution

The underrepresentation of women in politics wins its spot both in our Constitution together with international law obligations.

Among the purposes explained in the preamble of Indian Constitution,

Article 39A:  State must guarantee that opportunities for obtaining justice are not withheld to any national citizen for reasons of financial or other impediments.
Article 46: inflicts a responsibility on the state to guard weaker sections against social inequality and all forms of prejudices.
Article 25:  all persons are fairly and equitably granted the freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion subjected to morality, health, and public order.
Article 14: secures the right to equality as a fundamental right, which mandates the equal opportunity for everyone that is also reflected in Article 15(3).
Article 7: binds states to take steps to eliminate discrimination against women in political and public life and to secure women’s eligibility as that of men to contest elections to all public bodies and that they must have the ‘right to participate’ in participating and implementation in government policies.

 

Considering all this, it is horrifying to see the narrow-minded and biased approach in the Indian politics on problems of representation of women. On one side, they buttress the inclusive representation and hypocritically on another side, they exhibit an evident indifference to women’s representation. This can be attached to the understanding that women don’t exist or simply put: It’s a no woman’s land.

There can be umpteen reasons for women’s low representation in Indian politics, varying from implicit masculinity of conventional politics to hurdles like family and marriage and the prevailing socio-economic and political policies.

ALSO READ: Gender Pay Gap: Why are Women Less Paid than Male? 

Exerting a lead from global backgrounds, there are many formulations that can be fostered to ensure fair representation of women. For example, European countries like Sweden have the ‘zipper’ system that mandates the party candidate lists to double between one male and one female candidate. This is done to ensure that every three candidates must include one woman. In democracies like US, New Zealand and Australia, there exists a soft quota system based on the grounds that gender equality will prevail gradually with the pace of time without the need for provisions. In Latin America, legal candidate quotas are the most preferred system.

The equal partnership of men and women in every sphere of life is not only a necessity for justice and democracy but also an ordained situation for peaceful human existence. An active portrayal of women in decision-making framework is the need of an hour.

 


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt