Caste census of Backward Classes difficult, Centre tells SC

  • While replying to a writ petition filed by the State of Maharashtra to gather Backward Classes’ caste data in the State while conducting Census 2021, the Centre took the issue a step forward to clarify that “exclusion of information” regarding any other caste — other than Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes — from the purview of the census is a “conscious policy decision”.

  • The Centre reasoned that even when the census of castes was taken in the pre-Independence period, the data suffered in respect of “completeness and accuracy”.

  • It said the caste data enumerated in the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) of 2011 is “unusable” for official purposes as they are “replete with technical flaws”.

  • Besides, the Centre said, it was too late now to enumerate caste into the Census 2021. Planning and preparations for the census exercise starts almost four years earlier. The phases of Census 2021 had been finalized after detailed deliberations with ministries, data users, recommendations from technical advisory committees, etc. Preparatory work was already in place.

SC may form panel to look into snooping charges

  • Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana indicated the Supreme Court’s intention to form a committee to examine allegations that the government used Israeli based Pegasus software to spy on citizens

  • The court decided to pass an interim order after the government expressed reservations over filing a “detailed” affidavit responding to the allegations.

  • The revelation came when the CJI informed senior advocate C.U. Singh, who represented one of the petitioners in the case, that the court wanted to pass orders this week but could not do so because some of the members it had shortlisted for the committee were unavailable due to personal reasons.

SC reserves judgment on bail plea of Fasal

  • The Supreme Court reserved its judgment on a plea for bail filed by Thwaha Fasal, a journalism student in his twenties, accused under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for having Maoist links. 

  • A Bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and A.S. Oka reserved its verdict also on an appeal filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) challenging the bail granted to Alan Shuhaib, a third-year law student and Fasal’s co-accused in the case.

PM CARES is not the government fund, Centre tells HC

  • The Central government has informed the Delhi High Court that the PM CARES Fund is “not a fund of the Government of India and the amount does not go in the Consolidated Fund of India

  • The affidavit filed by an Under Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said the PM CARES Fund was a charitable trust not created by or under the Constitution or by any law made by Parliament or by any State legislature.

  • To ensure transparency, the audited report is put on the official website of the trust along with the details of utilization of funds received by the trust,”

  • The Centre’s affidavit came in response to a petition filed by Samyak Gangwal before the court seeking to declare PM CARES as a “public authority” under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

SC introduces FASTER system to send records

  • In a big fillip to the fundamental rights of life, dignity and personal liberty, the Supreme Court has introduced a new system by which crucial decisions, including orders on bail and stay of arrest, can be communicated electronically to prison authorities and investigating agencies through a secure channel.

  • The system is meant to ensure that under-trials are not made to wait for days on end behind bars to be released because the certified hard copies of their bail orders took time to reach the prison

  • The system would also prevent unnecessary arrests and custody of people even after the court had already granted them its protection. It may even communicate a stay on an execution ordered by the final court on time.

  • The suo moto case was taken after the plight of 13 prisoners in an Agra jail, who suffered imprisonment for up to two decades despite the Juvenile Justice Board declaring them ‘juveniles’ at the time of commission of their crimes. The top court had granted them bail on July 8, but they were released by the prison authorities after a delay of four days.

HC for probe into Manika Batra’s plaint

  • The Delhi High Court stayed the mandate of the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) on compulsory attendance at the National Coaching Camp in order to be selected for international events. 

  • The court’s order came on a petition by star table tennis player Manika Batra, who was left out of the Indian contingent for the upcoming Asian Table Tennis Championships in Doha due to the mandate.

  • Justice Rekha Palli also asked the Centre to conduct an inquiry into Ms. Batra’s complaint against the TTFI. Ms. Batra had alleged that on one occasion, national coach Soumyadeep Roy put pressure on her to “throw away a match” to enable one of his personal trainees to qualify for the Olympics 2020.

Hit And Run on Dhanbad judge was deliberate: CBI

  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told the Jharkhand High Court that the hit-and-run involving the Additional Sessions Judge of the Dhanbad court in Jharkhand was deliberate.

  • The Jharkhand HC took suo moto cognizance of the incident and a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan Sinha and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad has been monitoring the case. 

  • The Jharkhand HC had also expressed displeasure at the slow progress of the investigation.

U.S. envoy to Haiti resigns, slams migrant deportations

  • The U.S. special envoy to Haiti resigned two months after his appointment, denouncing the Biden administration’s deportation of Haitian migrants from the U.S.-Mexico border back to their poverty stricken homeland

  • In the letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Mr. Foote described Haiti as a place where U.S. diplomats “are confined to secure compounds because of the danger posed by armed gangs in control of daily life.” 

  • U.S. immigration officials have sent around 1,400 migrants, including hundreds of children, back to Haiti on 12 flights.

UN says Myanmar faces risk of escalating civil war

  • Myanmar is facing the alarming prospect of an escalating civil war as an uprising against the military junta widens, the UN’s human rights chief warned

  • Conflict, poverty and the effects of the pandemic are sharply increasing, and the country faces a vortex of repression, violence and economic collapse

  • Ms. Bachelet urged countries to support a political process that would engage all parties, saying the ASEAN regional bloc and influential powers should use incentives and disincentives “to reverse the military coup and desperate spiral of violence

Extracted & Compiled by- Mr. Rajat Gupta, Advocate- Delhi High Court

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