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SC directs Union Government to submit NGOs’ audit report by March 2017

The Supreme Court (SC) on 10 January 2017 directed the Union Government and the Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART) to complete auditing of NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisation) and voluntary organisations and submit its report by 31 March 2017.
●    The ruling was made by a bench of Chief Justice JS Khehar and justices NV Ramana and DY Chandrachud. The court rebuked the government over its failure to work out a regulatory mechanism to monitor the public money that is given to the 32 lakh NGOs, societies and voluntary organisations in the country.
●    The bench ruled that 'mere blacklisting' of these organisations cannot be sufficient. Moreover, civil and criminal action should be initiated against these organisations for misappropriation of public money received by them from the centre.
●    The government was also directed to explain the manner in which it will maintain the accounts, conduct the audit, the process of recovery and methodology of recovery of the amount in case of misappropriation and criminal proceedings. 
●    It directed the competent authority to come out with guidelines for a regulatory mechanism by March 2017. The bench also asked whether General Financial Rules 2005 were complied with or not as the Rules 210-212 provide for a regulation mechanism for NGOs.


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Hyderabad HC bans cock-fight

Sounding a note of caution to politicians not to endorse the `inhuman cock fights' with their open participation in such unlawful events during the Sankranti season, the Hyderabad High Court on Monday banned cock fights and all activities associated with it. 
●    This practice, that is also linked to discrete betting that evaporate the assets of several families overnight, is prevalent in Andhra Pradesh, particularly in the four districts of East Godavari, West Godavari , Krishna and Guntur.
●    The HC directed the district collectors of these four districts to constitute, by January 7, 2017, joint inspection teams for each mandal that should comprise an SI, a tahsildar rank revenue officer, a representative from the animal welfare board or an NGO to identify the fields that are prepared for cock fights. 
●    Upon receiving information from the inspection teams about such sites, the district collectors and SPs shall ensure that they are not used for cock fights and have the authority to even impose Section 144 of the CrPC to prevent large gatherings.

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Hyderabad blasts: 'Rarest of the rare' case says judge, gives death sentence to 5 IM operatives

Five key operatives of Indian Mujahideen, including the banned terror outfit's co-founder Yasin Bhatkal and a Pakistani national, were awarded death penalty on Sunday by a Special NIA Court here in the February 2013 Hyderabad bomb blasts which claimed 18 lives.
●    Pronouncing the sentence, Judge T Srinivasa Rao described the case as the "rarest of the rare". This is the first case where operatives of the home-grown group have been convicted in a terror case.
●    NIA Special Public Prosecutor K Surender said the court, after going through their evidence, found that the case is based on facts.
●    The court, after hearing the arguments of prosecution and defence counsels on sentencing, awarded death penalty to the convicts and also varying jail terms on different counts including, 
●    On December 13, the court had convicted the five operatives -- IM co-founder Mohd Ahmed Sidibapa alias Yasin Bhatkal, Pakistani national Zia-ur-Rahman alias Waqas, Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi, Tahaseen Akhtar alias Monu and Ajaz Shaikh -- who are at present in judicial custody and lodged in the Cherlapally Central Prison here.
●    The IM convicts said they will go for an appeal, according to the NIA counsel.


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NGT orders national ban on 'manja'

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) put a temporary nationwide ban on the use of manja on 14 December 2016.
●    The order was passed by a bench chaired by NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar, who said that the sharp glass coated manja used for flying kites poses a serious threat to humans, birds and animals alike. 
●    The panel stated that the ban would apply on nylon, cotton and Chinese manjas that are coated with glass and metal.
●    Apart from this, the Manja Association of India has been told to submit a report on the harmful effects of the kite strings to the Central Pollution Control Board.
●    PETA in its petition had stated that the glass-coated string poses a great danger to both humans and animals and causes numerous deaths every year. 
●    The animal rights body also raised concerns regarding minors employed by the cottage industry for manja manufacturing, as due to inhaling of harmful substances, they are more susceptible to respiratory problems.
●    Acting on the same, the green tribunal had earlier issued notices to all state governments, asking for their response on PETA’s plea.

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Triple Talaq is unconstitutional and violates rights of Muslim women: Allahabad High Court

Allahabad High Court on 8 December 2016 declared ‘Triple Talaq’ as unconstitutional. 
●    The single judge bench of Justice Sunit Kumar observed that no Personal Law Board is above the Constitution.
●    The verdict was pronounced while deciding two separate writ petitions that the ‘Triple Talaq’ practice, sanctioned under Muslim personal law that governs marriage, property and divorce - violated the rights of Muslim women.
●    The Union Government has told the top court that it is against gender justice, equality and the Constitution. 
●    It had said that the issue of the validity of triple talaq, polygamy and nikah halala should be considered in accordance with the principles of gender justice as well as dignity and equality.
●    The All India Muslim Personal Law Board has slammed Allahabad Court’s order stating that it is against Shariat. 
●    The board said that the order will be studied by its legal committee and challenged in the Supreme Court.
●    Comment: Triple Talaq is an Islamic practice of divorcing a woman in which the male counterpart of the woman pronounces the word talaq, three successive times. 
●    This judgement can be termed as a major boost for women right.

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Can't Have Gladiator Type Sports : SC on Jallikattu

Asking why bulls should be made to suffer for the entertainment of humans, the Supreme Court has pulled up the Centre for trying to “import a Roman-type gladiator sport” despite a judgment clearly banning Jallikattu as a cruelty and crime to animals.
●    The Bench said even if argument was that Jallikattu was a “sport,” it was a “cruel” sport and cruelty to animals was prohibited by the law.
●    When senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, for Tamil Nadu, said when humans ran marathons, why could not bulls be part of a sport.
●    The court called for compassion to animals, saying it was our constitutional obligation, while posting the matter for further hearing on November 16.
●    In defence of Jallikattu, the Tamil Nadu government had highlighted how there was nothing wrong in farmers practising Jallikattu in the semi-arid regions of the State if the Spanish Senate could in 2013 declare the “far more cruel” sport of bull-fighting a cultural heritage.

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SC Pushes for Equal Sex Ratio, Directs to prevent female foeticide

The apex court said the menace of female foeticide corrodes human values and decreases the sex ratio, which is a sign of “colossal calamity” that cannot be allowed to happen. 
●    The bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said the constitutional identity of a girl child “cannot be mortgaged to any kind of social or other concept that has developed or is thought of”.
●    The bench passed 16 directions to ensure immediate and effective implementation of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act and the Rules framed there under.
●    “All the States and the Union Territories in India shall maintain a centralised database of civil registration of boys and girls being born. 
●    The information shall be displayed on the website & it shall contain birth information for each District, Municipality, Corporation or Gram Panchayat.
●    The apex court also directed that the states and UTs which do not have any incentive schemes for the girl child shall frame the same.

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Ambit of Domestic Violence Act widened by SC

The Supreme Court in its landmark judgment has widened the scope of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 by making it gender-neutral. 
●    The Supreme Court ordered deletion of the words “adult male” before the word ‘person’ in Section 2(q) of the Act making it gender-neutral. 
●    The remaining part of the legislation would remain operative and was kept untouched. 
●    The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 protects women from physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic abuse at home. 
●    The Supreme Court order paves way for prosecution of women and even non-adults for subjecting a woman relative to violence and harassment.
●    It strikes down two words from Section 2(q) of Act which deals with respondents who can be sued and prosecuted under it for harassing a married woman in her matrimonial home. 
●    It also allows a woman to seek legal action against her daughter-in-law and even her minor grandchildren for domestic violence.

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Hindu son can divorce wife if she tries to separate him from family - SC

A Hindu son can divorce his wife for the cruelty of trying to pry him away from his “pious obligation” to live with his aged parents and provide shelter to them, the Supreme Court has held.
●    A woman becomes a part of the husband’s family and cannot seek to separate him from his parents for the sole reason that she wants to entirely enjoy his income, a Bench of Justices Anil R. Dave and L. Nageshwara Rao observed in a judgment.
●    Insisting her husband to live separately from his parents is a western thought alien to our culture and ethos, Justice Dave, who wrote the judgment, said.
●    In India, generally people do not subscribe to the western thought, where, upon getting married or attaining majority, the son gets separated from the family, the court said. 
●    In normal circumstances, a wife is expected to be with the family of the husband after the marriage.

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Resolution to rename Madras HC as Tamil Nadu HC passed

The Tamil Nadu Assembly on 1 August 2016 unanimously passed a resolution to rename the Madras High Court as the Tamil Nadu High Court. The resolution on the matter was moved by Chief Minister J Jayalalitha as most of the High Courts established after the formation of new states based on linguistic lines have been named after the states only.
•    The resolution was presented in light of the High Courts (Alteration of Names) Bill, 2016, which was introduced in Lok Sabha on 19 July 2016.
•    She said the Madras High Court has jurisdiction over the entire state and therefore it is necessary to change the name as the Tamil Nadu High Court.
•    Chief Minister Jayalalithaa also recalled the fact that the renaming of Madras as Chennai was made in 1996, but averred that the name refers only to the specific city whereas the High Court is meant for the whole state.
•    The demand of renaming the High Court remained dormant since the state got the name Tamil Nadu in 1967. The demand came active in the state after the introduction of the Bill in the Lok Sabha that wants to change the names of Madras, Bombay and Culcatta High Courts.
•    The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Law and Justice, Ravi Shanker Prasad with an aim to modify the names of the High Court’s (HCs) of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras.

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