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Section 377: Government leaves decision to wisdom of Supreme Court

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New Delhi, July 11: The Supreme Court on Wednesday continued hearing a bunch of petitions challenging re-criminalisation of consensual gay sex between two adults, rejecting the Centre’s plea for a postponement of the proceedings.

Putting the ball in the Apex Court’s arena to decide the matter of the constitutionality of Section377, the central government today said it will not contest the petitions challenging the law which criminalises same-sex relations.

ASG Tushar Mehta told the five-judge constitution bench of SC that the Centre will leave the matter of the constitutionality of Section 377 to be decided by the Court.

Meanwhile, Meneka Guruswamy, a lawyer for one of the petitioners told the court ‘homosexuality doesn’t affect a person’s career and growth. People have cleared civil service examinations, IIT examinations and other top level competitive exams”.

“Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people deserve to be protected by court, constitution and country.Section 377 denies the LGBT community the equal opportunity of participation’, she submitted to the Apex Court.

The bench, however, said it would only examine the “correctness” of its verdict of 2013, which cancelled a Delhi High Court judgment that said the law criminalizing gay sex was “unconstitutional”.

Senior advocate Arvind Datar for petitioners: “The SC judgement on privacy said sexual orientation essential attribute of privacy. That eclipses Section 377 IPC and makes it liable to be struck down.”

Appearing for a petitioner, Arvind Dattar said if a person has a different sexual orientation, it can’t be treated as a crime. This can’t be treated as against the order of nature.

The Centre on Monday had requested the court to adjourn the hearing for four weeks during which it would file its reply to the petitions. The bench, however, refused to defer the hearing and listed it for Tuesday for hearing the petitions challenging section 377 of the IPC, which criminalises unnatural sex between two consenting adults.

A newly re-constituted constitution bench will be headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and comprise Justices R.F. Nariman, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra. “No, no… it will not be adjourned,” the Bench said when Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, sought its deferment.

Section 377 deals with “unnatural offences,” and holds “whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

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Former Nagaland Deputy Speaker Longkmer dies in Delhi

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New Delhi/Kohima, Sep 22 : Former Nagaland Assembly Deputy Speaker and Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party legislator, Imtikumzuk Longkumer, died at a private hospital in Delhi on Saturday.

Longkumer is survived by his wife Imkongzenla and his three children.

He was first elected to the 12th Nagaland Legislative Assembly on Congress ticket in 2013 and later joined Naga People’s Front. He was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary in the T.R. Zeliang government and was later elevated to post of Deputy Speaker.

Longkumer, who retained his Aonglenden assembly constituency in the February 23 Nagaland assembly polls, was appointed as an Advisor to the Sericulture and Excise department in the BJP-backed People’s Democratic Alliance government.

Mourning Longkumer, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said: “His death has left a deep void in the state and is a big loss to the family, village and the party. He was a great asset to the government as well as the NDPP and his absence will be felt tremendously.”

T.R. Zeliang, the leader of opposition in Nagaland Assembly described Longkumer as a “a very simple man”. He said: “He was a man who had a very positive outlook towards life. In his untimely demise, we have lost a good soul.”

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RTI corrects data for women enrolled, benefited under maternity scheme in UP

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New Delhi, Sep 22: The Women and Child Development Ministry in an RTI reply to IANS has corrected the figures for women enrolled and benefited under the maternity scheme Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) in Uttar Pradesh stating that the previous RTI “contained certain errors inadvertently.”

According to the latest RTI, there are more than 6 lakh enrollment and the beneficiaries are more than 5 lakh till August 27, 2018. While in the previous RTI reply it was mentioned that only 184 women had enrolled for the PMMVY while the beneficiaries stood nil.

As per the second RTI, not just for UP that it has issued corrected figures. Even for states like Mizoram, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Meghalaya, and Nagaland, the figures of women enrolled and benefited under the PMMVY scheme have been changed.

However, according to the latest RTI, the money sanctioned or released for the scheme in UP and other states remains unchanged.

A total of Rs 2,049 crore in 2017-18 has been approved by the central government for 29 states and seven Union Territories covering 717 districts. Overall, 44 lakh women have enrolled across the country and 37 lakh have been benefited under the scheme.

Under the scheme, eligible beneficiaries get Rs 5,000 after delivery of a child in an institution like a hospital and the remaining cash incentive of Rs. 1,000 is given as maternity benefit under the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) for Rs 6,000.

Applicable to women aged above 19 for the first birth, the scheme provides partial compensation to women for the wage-loss during birth and child care and provides conditions for safe delivery and good nutrition and feeding practices, according to the information available on the scheme.

IANS

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It is time to give a befitting reply to Pakistan in same coin: Army chief

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New Delhi, Sep 22: Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Saturday said that it is time to give a befitting reply to Pakistan in the same coin but not resorting to similar kind of barbarism.

Speaking to ANI, Rawat said “We need to take stern action to avenge the barbarism that terrorists & the Pakistan Army have been carrying out. Yes, it’s time to give it back to them in the same coin, not resorting to similar kind of barbarism. But I think the other side must also feel the same pain”.

On Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s reaction to India calls off the meeting between Foreign Ministers, he stated ” I think our govt’s policy has been quite clear and concise. We’ve made no bones about the fact that talks and terrorism can’t go hand in hand. Pakistan needs to curb the menace of terrorism”.

Rawat also talked about the need of modernise weapons and said procurement of arms will continue.

“We continuously need modern weapons. There is a limit till which we can use a particular weapon, & as new technologies come, we also want them to be included in our forces. So buying of weapons continue”.

“But I don’t agree that it reduces our spirit. It’s not that we don’t have some other option. I don’t want to talk specifically about Rafale, but modern weapons are the need of every force. The delay in the composition is not good for the forces”, he added.

When asked about Army being used in political campaigns, he responded saying ” I don’t want to comment on political issues. But I’ll like to say that we’re getting full cooperation. We’re given freedom on how to carry out our operations. And you can see its effect in Kashmir and North-east”.

WeForNews 

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