1.Supreme Court upholds changes to SC/ST atrocities law
The Supreme court has upheld an amendment to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in 2018, disallowing anticipatory bail against those who’ve been booked under the law for allegedly committing atrocities against people from these two groups.
2 judges from the 3-judge bench, Justices Arun Mishra and Vineet Saran also said that a high court has the ‘inherent power’ to quash cases and give anticipatory bail in ‘exceptional’ circumstances where this law has been misused.
The apex court gave its call on the constitutional validity of Section 18A of the amended act, which can be seen in contravention to right to life and liberty. There had been a controversial judgement in the matter on March 12, 2019, where another panel of the Supreme Court had passed a judgement, which had diluted the anti-bail provisions from the original act of 1989.
That judgement had said there no ‘absolute bar’ on accused persons from obtaining an anticipatory bail under section 438 of the CrPC “if noprima facieis made out or if judicial scrutiny reveals the complaint to beprima faciemalafide”.
Then, the legislature had enacted the amendment (Section 18A) to make the anti-bail provisions iron-clad.
The new verdict has all three judges agreeing to the tight rein of anti-bail provisions. However, one of the three, Justice S Ravindra Bhat said that the ‘inherent power’ of high courts in these matters should be used sparingly, in very exceptional cases.
He held that making it a norm can lead to miscarriage of justice and abuse of the due process of law. He felt such a move can defeat the very purpose of the parliament’s intent to protect the oppressed classes. “I consider such stringent terms, otherwise contrary to the philosophy of bail, absolutely essential, because a liberal use of the power to grant pre-arrest bail would defeat the intention of Parliament,” Justice Bhat explained.
2.SC seeks police view on Shaheen Bagh
Holding that a common area cannot be indefinitely barricaded for protests, the Supreme Court raised attention to the amount of inconvenience the general public had been facing due to the sit-in protest at Shaheen Bagh for the last two months.
Listening to PILs against the protests, the 2 judge bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K.M. Joseph have refused to pass any directions to remove the protesters. They’ve said that they would like to hear the police’s perspective on the matter.
Since the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and induction of a National Register of Citizens (NRC), many groups have spoken against the move, leading to unrest, student agitations and protests. Shaheen Bagh has become a focal point for these protests in Delhi, followed by Jamia university and JNU.
Many opposition parties have spoken out against the act and non-BJP states have passed resolutions against it.
The court was listening to a petition filed by advocate Amit Sahni seeking the removal of the protesters. It has issued a formal notice to the Delhi police to respond at the next hearing on Feb 17.
3.US nod for air defence system sale to India
The US State Department has approved a potential sale of an Integrated Air Defence Weapon System (IADWS) to India for $1.867 billion. The sale, to be carried out through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route, is now up for review with the US Congress, who have a 30-day span to raise objections against it.
A Department of State spokesperson has confirmed the case, saying that the IADWS, also known as the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile system is currently pitched in Washington DC. It includes radar, launchers, targeting, and guidance systems, advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM) and Stinger missiles, and related equipment and support.”
India had asked to buy the system with five AN/MPQ-64Fl Sentinel radar systems; 118 AMRAAM AIM-120C-7/C-8 missiles; three AMRAAM Guidance Sections; four AMRAAM Control Sections and 134 Stinger FIM-92L missiles.
The military order also include assorted arms and ammunition - 32 M4A1 rifles; 40,320 M855 5.56mm cartridges; Fire Distribution Centres (FDC); Handheld Remote Terminals; Electrical Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) Sensor Systems; AMRAAM Non-Developmental Item-Airborne Instrumentation Units (NDI-AIU); Multi-spectral Targeting System-Model A (MTS-A); Canister Launchers (CN); High Mobility Launchers (HML); Dual Mount Stinger (DMS) Air Defence Systems; Vehicle Mounted Stinger Rapid Ranger Air Defence Systems.
They will also receive communications, testing and training equipment and documentation and technical and logistics support in the package deal.
4.Omar Abdullah's sister challenges his PSA detention
Sara Abdullah Pilot,the sister of former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah has challenged his detention under the Public safety Act in the supreme Court. Omar has now been put under PSA after a long detention of 6 months since the August 5 revocation of Article 370 from the state.
Sara Abdullah Pilot has moved the supreme Court over her brother's detention under the draconian PSA. Former minister and senior advocate Kapil Sibal is representing the petitioner and has demanded an urgent listing of the matter.
A habeas corpus petition has been filed to challenge the National Conference leader’s detention under the PSA, citing that he has been under detention since August 5, after the scrapping of Article 370. His father, Dr Farooq Abdullah and political rival Mehbooba Mufti have also been booked under the same measures since August.
Sara has termed the renewed detention orders under the PSA as " unconstitutional" and a flagrant violation of his fundamental rights. The plea challenging the detention says that there could be no material available to detain a person who has already been detained for six months and that the grounds for detaining lack any material facts.
Former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah were booked under PSA on Feb 6 just few hours before their preventive detention was about to end. They were put under detention since Aug 5, the day the centre had abrogated the special status of the state and divided it into two Union territories, Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.
The grounds of detention of Omar Abdullah under PSA are that on the eve of reorganisation of the state he had made attempts to provoke the general masses against the revocation of Article 370 and 35 A of the state.
5.Schizophrenia: Music betters cognitive functions
The positive and therapeutic effects of music for better brain functioning are already known to us. New research from NIMHANS (the National Institute of mental health and Neuro science) has now claimed that Indian classical music has beneficial and positive effects in improving cognitive functions of patients with schizophrenia.
A research was carried out at NIMHANS on 20 male patients between 18 and 45 years who were diagnosed with schizophrenia. When they heard Indian classical instrumental music, they registered a sharp increase in their EEG. This proves an increase in their attention span.
The brain performance was mapped at P300, an indication of brain activity 300 milliseconds after a specific stimulus indicating attention and working memory. An increase in amplitude in the electrodes was recorded in the temporal region.
Improvement in cognitive functions is an important part of the treatment to get patients back to their normal social functioning.
Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness in which a person confuses the real world and the world with imagination and often gets confused and behaves in strange and unexpected ways. It adversely impacts a person's ability to think, feel and behave clearly.
It is a chronic and debilitating neuropsychiatric condition that is characterised by distortions in thinking, perceptions, emotions, language and behaviour. The patient may observe deficits in attention, concentration and memory. A dome of the common experiences by the schizophrenia patient are hallucinations that is hearing voices or seeing things that are not there and delusions which is fixed or false beliefs.
All The Best To All The UPSC 2020 Aspirants !