1. Centre moves SC in Nirbhaya case after HC rejects its
After the Delhi High Court rejected its plea to separately execute the convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape case, the Centre has put this appeal to the Supreme Court. The government had filed for the appeal in Delhi High Court after a sessions court had postponed fresh death warrants against the four convicts on January 31.
The Nirbhaya gangrape and murder incident took place in December 2012, leaving the victim horrifically injured. She later succumbed to her injuries. Since then, the matter has been followed through due process of law for the last eight years.
Over the last year, three of the four convicts have individually filed for mercy petitions to the court, the President and followed up with a curative plea. Out of these Mukesh Kumar Singh’s plea has been declined by the President on January 17.
In its plea to the Supreme Court, the government has said that Delhi Prison Rules, 2018 do not prohibit the execution of a death sentence of co-convicts individually, after their mercy pleas have been rejected. Delaying the execution for all four is a ‘gross miscarriage of justice’ to the victim’s family and society.
The High Court judgement had said that a pending mercy plea from one convict would postpone the death sentence for all of his co-convicts, even those who had exhausted their own chances for mercy.
2. Trust formed for Ram temple construction: PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the formation of a trust for the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya after the directions of the Supreme Court. The trust formed for the same will be named as 'Shri Ram Janambhoomi Tirath kshetra'.
The Court had decided in favour of a Ram temple in the long-pending Ayodhya Ram Janambhoomi - Babri Masjid title suit in November 2019.
The five member bench of the Supreme Court had in November unanimously ruled in favour of Ram Lalla. After this ruling, the disputed land (an approx 2.7 acre) would be handed over to the Trust to monitor and construct a Ram Temple at the site. In a much disputed verdict, the court had directed the government to give 5 acres of alternate land to the Sunni Waqf board to construct a mosque in Ayodhya.
Union Home minister Amit Shah has said that there will be 15 trustees in Shri Ram Janambhoomi Teerth kshetra trust. One of these members would always be from the Dalit community.
The Nov 9 judgement had affirmed that the disputed land was the birthplace of Rama as per the beliefs and faiths of Hindus and that the Babri Masjid was built after the demolition of Hindu temple, noting that it was not built within the tenets of Islam.
3. UP govt. allots five acres for building mosque
The Uttar Pradesh government has allotted five acres of land to the Sunni Central Waqf Board in Dhannipur village, Sohawal tehsil of Ayodhya about 25 km from the site of the Babri Masjid.
This land has been issued according to the Supreme Court verdict for the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title suit, which had decided that a Ram temple would be built on the disputed site and alternate land would be allocated for the mosque, which had been razed to the ground in 1992.
The government announced this move in a cabinet meeting. They said that they had proposed three alternative sites to the Centre for the mosque and this one had been selected. Cabinet minister Shrikant Sharma said the location was suitable from road connectivity, transportation, public facilities, communal harmony and law and order factors.
Meanwhile Syed Shoeb, the Chief Executive Officer of the Waqf Board said they are yet to receive a formal order for the land from the government. After they receive the order, they will hold a meeting on February 24 and may decided during this meeting on whether they will accept this site or not.
4. Navy to get third Scorpene submarine in December
The Navy will receive its third Scorpene submarine ‘Karanj’ by December 2020. There are a total of 6 submarines, which would be delivered by 2022.
The Scorpene submarine has the ability to be equipped with an AIP system that is Air Independent Propulsion.
Nicolas de La Villemarque, Vice President India, Asia and Pacific of Naval Group has said that the Karanj will be inducted into the Naval force by December. The make had been launched in September 2018 and is currently in advanced stages of sea trial.
The first Scorpene was commissioned in 2018 and it would go for a normal refit after six years in 2023. The AIP would be installed at the time of the refit. So, the first AIP would be equipped during the refit of the first Scorpene.
There are discussions underway to install AIP modules in all six Scorpene submarines.
An AIP module gives stealth and extended endurance to diesel electric submarines by allowing them to stay submerged longer. An indigenous fuel-cell based AIP module is currently under development by the DRDO.
The information about the AIP and their installation into the Scorpene was given in a Defence expo 2020 which is going on in Lucknow. More than 172 foreign military manufactures along with delegates from 70 countries are attending this expo. The main focus and aim of this year's 11th edition of Defence expo is to showcase India's potential to become manufacturing hub.
5. RS Committee on Surrogacy Bill holds, ‘surrogate
mother need not be kin’
A Rajya Sabha Select Committee on the Surrogacy Regulation Bill 2019, has recommended that the surrogate mother need not be a close kin. It has also advocated omission of five-year time limit before seeking surrogacy.
The 23-member committee has proposed 15 other major changes to the Bill.
The select committee said that limiting surrogate mothers to close relatives only reduces the chances of getting women as surrogates and this affects genuinely needy persons.The committee has recommended the removal of this requirement from the Bill.
According to the bill, any woman willing to act as a surrogate mother should be permitted to undergo surrogacy procedures as per the provisions of this act.
The other major recommendation concerns deleting the definition of infertility as an inability to conceive after 5 years of unprotected sex. The committee has recommended that it was too long a period for a couple to wait for a child.
The other major changes recommended by the committee include allowing a single woman to be unmarried, widowed or divorced to avail of surrogacy. The Bill also recommends increasing the insurance cover for the surrogate mother from 16 months proposed in the Bill to 36 months.
The surrogacy Regulation Bill 2019 is yet to be passed by the Rajya sabha committee and has held ten meetings since the bill was referred to it by the Lok Sabha on November 21,2019.
6. Electric vehicles, new SUVs energise Auto Show
In the backdrop of an economic demand slowdown, particularly impacting the Indian auto sector, Auto Expo 2020 has been a subdued affair, with many automakers skipping the event. The bigwigs you won’t see at this year’s auto expo include Hero MotoCorp, Honda Motorcycles, TVS Motors, Royal Enfield, BMW, Audi, Toyota Kirloskar Motors, Honda Cars, Ford and Fiat.
In the meantime, electric vehicles and newer models of SUVs were seen at the fair, especially from Tata and Mahindra & Mahindra.
The Auto Expo is a key business event for the automotive industry. Held at the beginning of the year, its the platform where most automakers launch their new releases and build a demand for them.
Apart from the economic slowdown, the current coronavirus outbreak has also impacted entries to the event. All Chinese participants have stayed away from the event, open for public from Feb 7 - Feb 12.
The event began with Maruti Suzuki launching an electric SUV - the Futuro-e concept, with flexible swivel travel seats. Tata showed off a mix of SUVs and EVs including the latest variant of Harrier and the Sierra EV Concept. Renault launched the AMT version of Triber SUV, while Huyndai Motors presented the Tucson 2020.
Meanwhile, Mahindra & Mahindra launched the eXUV 100 hatchback for Rs 8.25 lakh.
All The Best To All UPSC 2020 Aspirant !