- SC Moves away from death penalty
- World’s Largest Solar Plant unveiled in Tamilnadu
- Merger of Railway budget and Union Budget- Q & A Format
- 7 RCR renamed to Lok Kalyan Marg
- 95% households in India vulnerable to earthquakes: BMPTC
- Women May end pregnancy regardless of the reason : Bombay HC
- India successfully test fires surface-to-air missile ‘Barak-8’
SC Moves away from death penalty
This judicial innovation, formalised by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the Rajiv Gandhi killers’ case in December 2015, helps “get rid of death penalty” and addresses the genuine concerns of the society to see justice done, a three-judge Bench led by Justice J. Chelameswar observed in its recent judgment. The innovation involves substituting death penalty with a “special category” of life imprisonment without the benefit of release on remission for prolonged periods ranging from 25 to 30 years, if not more.
This innovative approach veering away from capital punishment was formalised after the Supreme Court gave itself the authority to tweak the sentencing laws and evolve a special category of sentence in its judgment in Union of India versus Sriharan alias Murugan last year. The special category is to be limited to a “very few cases”. This special category finds its first mention in the Swami Shraddananda versus State of Karnataka judgment of the Supreme Court in 2008.
Tattu Lodhi, a child rapist and murderer, cheated the noose recently because the Supreme Court decided to opt for , instead of death penalty, a “judicial innovation” formalised by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the Rajiv Gandhi killers’ case in December 2015, instead of the death penalty.
The innovation, according to Justice S.K. Singh, who authored the Lodhi judgment for Justice Chelameswar’s Bench, is an endeavour by the apex court to make “no party (convict or the society) a loser”.
So having saved Lodhi from the hangman’s rope, Justice Singh stripped him of his right to apply for release from prison on remission for the next 25 years. Thus, any hope Lodhi might have had for his release after serving the first 14 years was effectively extinguished.
The prolonged period of incarceration with no hope, Justice Singh observed, was justice enough for the rape and murder of a “defenceless child” whose body was found in a gunny bag at Lodhi’s residence in 2011. “The judicial innovation bridges the gap between death sentence on the one extreme and only 14 years of actual imprisonment in the name of life imprisonment on the other… it serves a laudable purpose,” the Supreme Court observed.
Law Commission of India Chairperson, Justice B.S. Chauhan, seconds the judgment’s optimism, saying the Supreme Court may have indeed found an “alternative” to capital punishment in this ‘special category of sentence’.
Analysis of death penalty can be read from here- Click here
World’s Largest Solar Plant unveiled in Tamilnadu
The massive, 648-megawatt array was officially linked to the grid after being hooked up to a 400kV substation, the operator Adani Green Energy Ltd announced recently.
The plant is spread across 2,500 acres in the town of Kamuthi in the Ramanathapuram district and will supply enough clean, green energy for 300,000 homes.
India has an ambitious solar energy goal. In 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced plans to increase solar power capacity to 100 gigawatts by 2022, five times higher than the previous target.
Impressively, the structure was built in a record time of only eight months thanks to the around-the-clock dedication of a 8,500-member team. Roughly 11 megawatts were installed in a day on average.
National Geographic recently featured the Adani solar plant in their “Megastructures” series, documenting how the company faced months of setbacks from the historic monsoons and resulting floods that devastated southern India at the end of 2015.
You can check it if you like :-
Merger of Railway budget and Union Budget
Ending a 92-year-old tradition, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided to merge the Railway budget with the General budget and agreed in principle to advance the date of its presentation in Parliament.
Why is the Rail budget presented separately in the first place?
Railway historians say that it was during the British rule — in the early 1920s — that on the basis of the report of the Acworth Committee, railway finances (those of government-owned railway companies) were separated from the general finances.
The first Railway budget, under the system, can be traced to 1924.
Why change now?
The move to discard the Rail budget is said to be part of the government’s reform agenda. The NITI Aayog had suggested this merger as the Railway budget was being used to dole out favours by way of new trains and projects.
This merger is also a part of the government advancing the budgetary exercise so as to complete it before March 31 and facilitate the beginning of expenditure on public-funded schemes from April 1.
How is it beneficial?
The merger will help the Railways get rid of the annual dividend they has to pay for gross budgetary support from the government every year. Sources say that the merger will help the cash-strapped Railways save about Rs 10,000 crore annually.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said the merger of rail and general budgets will not impact the functional autonomy of the railways but help in enhancing capital expenditure. It would help the Railways raise extra capital expenditure that would allow them to enhance connectivity in the country and boost economic growth.
How does an early budget help?
An early presentation of budget will ensure that all legislative works are completed before the beginning of the new fiscal, from April, and help in funds allocated to various ministries flowing in from the first quarter.
7 RCR renamed to Lok Kalyan Marg
7 Race Course Road, which houses Prime Minister in the national capital, was renamed on recently to the Lok Kalyan Marg after a consensus emerged in the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC).
The proposal to rename the coveted address was moved by Delhi Member of Parliament Meenakshi Lekhi on Thursday.
95% households in India vulnerable to earthquakes: BMPTC
As many as 95 per cent households in the country are vulnerable to earthquakes in different degrees, Building Materials Technology Promotion Council (BMPTC), a government sponsored body for promoting appropriate building technology said in its report.
The latest seismic zone map prepared by National Disaster Management Authority and Building Materials and Technology Promotional Council reveals that nearly 59% of India’s land area is prone to moderate or severe earthquakes
Out of the 304 million households in the country, about 95 per cent are vulnerable to earthquakes in different degrees.
Women May end pregnancy regardless of the reason : Bombay HC
- Court held that women should be “allowed to opt out of an unwanted pregnancy irrespective of the reason
- It should be for those too who “stay with their partners as married couples in live-in relationships”
Endorsing the right of a woman to “lead a life of her choice”, the Bombay high court has held that the scope of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act should extend to the “mental health” of a woman and she should be “allowed to opt out of an unwanted pregnancy irrespective of the reason“.
The court observed that benefits of the Act must be extended to not just married women but also to those women who “stay with their partners as married couples in live-in relationships”.
The court maintained that though the Act provided for a woman to undergo abortion if she was pregnant for less than 12 weeks and with the consent of two medical practitioners if she was pregnant for 12 to 20 weeks, in cases where the pregnancy posed a risk to the health of a woman or to the foetus, she must be allowed to undergo abortion during the same timeline even if there was no risk to her “physical health”.
The court made the observation while taking suo motu (on its own) cognizance of a news report about pregnant women prisoners who were not taken to hospitals, despite informing the jail authorities of their wish to terminate pregnancy.
“Pregnancy takes place within the body of a woman and has a profound impact on her health, mental well-being and life. Thus, how she wants to deal with this pregnancy must be a decision she, and she alone, can make,” the bench said.
“The right to control their own body and fertility and motherhood choices should be left to the women alone. Let us not lose sight of the basic right of women: the right to autonomy and decide what to do with their own bodies, including whether or not to get pregnant and stay pregnant”.
“This right emerges from her right to live with dignity as a human being in society and protected as a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution,” the judges said.
“Not allowing a woman to terminate her pregnancy amounts to grave injury to her mental health,” they added.
The bench also passed certain directions to make it easier for women prisoners to access health facilities, including the right to medical termination of pregnancy.
India successfully test fires surface-to-air missile ‘Barak-8’
- Barak 8 (the Hebrew word for Lightning) also known as LR-SAM is an Indian-Israeli surface-to-air missile (SAM), designed to defend against any type of airborne threat including aircraft, helicopters, anti-ship missiles, and UAVs as well as cruise missiles and combat jets out to a maximum range of 70 km however, reports suggest the missile has been increased to a maximum range of 90 km following “range upgrade discussions” between India and Israel .Both maritime and land-based versions of the system exist.
- Barak 8 was jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), India’s Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), Israel’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure, Elta Systems, Rafael and other companies.
- Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) will produce the missiles.
- In the recent launch it had to intercept a moving aerial target supported by an unmanned air vehicle ‘Banshee‘.