The Supreme Court on Monday posted for hearing on October 31 a batch of petitions challenging the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019 and sought the Centre’s response on some fresh pleas.
A bench of Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and Justice S Ravindra Bhat observed it would refer the CAA case for hearing to a three-judge bench. The bench asked the Solicitor General’s office to identify and segregate the petitions so that submissions can easily be advanced and confined.
“The office of Solicitor General shall prepare a complete list of the matters pertaining to these challenges. The matters shall be put in different compartments depending upon challenge raised in individual petitions,” the apex court stated in its order.
At least 220 petitions against the CAA were filed before the top court.
The plea first came up for hearing in the Supreme Court on 18 December 2019. It was last heard on 15 June 2021.
CAA was passed by Parliament on 11 December 2019 and it was met with protests all across the country. The CAA came into effect on 10 January 2020.
Kerala-based Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, Congress leader and former Union minister Jairam Ramesh, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi, Congress leader Debabrata Saikia, NGOs Rihai Manch and Citizens Against Hate, Assam Advocates Association, and law students, among others, had filed a plea before the top court challenging the Act.
In 2020 Kerala government had also filed a suit in the apex court becoming the first state to challenge the CAA.
The law fast-tracks the process of granting citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who fled religious persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan and took refuge in India on or before 31 December 2014. The top court had earlier issued notice to the Centre and refused to pass an interim order staying the law without hearing the Centre.
In March 2020, the Centre filed its affidavit before the apex court saying that the CAA Act is a “benign piece of legislation” which does not affect the “legal, democratic or secular rights” of any of the Indian citizens.
The CAA does not violate any fundamental right, the Centre had said, while terming the legislation legal, asserted that there was no question of it violating constitutional morality.
The petitions contended that the Act, which liberalises and fast-tracks the grant of citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, promotes religion-based discrimination.
The amendments have also been challenged on several other grounds, including violation of secularism, Articles 21 (right to life), 15 (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth) and 19 (right to freedom), as well as provisions on citizenship and constitutional morality.
The plea filed by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has said that the Act is a “brazen attack” on core fundamental rights envisaged under the Constitution and treats “equals as unequal”.
The 2019 Act amended the Citizenship Act, 1955, which makes illegal migrants eligible for citizenship if they (a) belong to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian communities, and (b) are from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan. It only applies to migrants who entered India on or before 31 December 2014. As per the amendment, certain areas in the Northeast are exempted from the provision.
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Saudi Arabia introduces yoga in universities
A virtual introductory lecture on yoga was organised for all Saudi university representatives across the kingdom to spread awareness and motivate its practice as a lifestyle for all segments of society.
The lecture, organised on Monday, aimed to introduce both traditional yoga and yogasana sports to Saudi universities and give a variety of options to the students on university campuses to practice yoga, the Saudi Gazette reported. The lecture covered both mental and physical health and plans to attend professional yoga sports training to be part of competitions locally and internationally.
In cooperation with the Saudi Universities Sports Federation (SUSF), the Saudi Yoga Committee organised the event in Riyadh.
The Saudi Gazette reported that the event came within the framework of an integrated system of programmes and initiatives of the Saudi Committee for Yoga, under the title “Yoga for University Students of Both Genders.”
The event coincided with the arrival of the first yoga delegation to the Kingdom from the Asian Yogasana Sports Federation in India for the qualification course for the first Saudi batch of yoga referees, the report added.
The event included issues concerning the benefits of yoga for health and physical well-being in youth, yogasana sports for tournaments and competitions, and requirements for professional yoga training. It also included the technical regulations of the Saudi Yoga Committee for Championships and Competitions in Saudi Universities.
The lecture, which motivated the youth to join professional yoga training, also shed light on the system of professional yogasana competitions within university sports and the university league.
Nouf Almarwaai, President of the Saudi Yoga Committee, said that the committee seeks to achieve its vision of spreading yoga on a large scale within Saudi society. “Therefore it took the initiative to cooperate with the Saudi Universities Sports Federation in order to build a generation of yoga lovers, especially young people, to enjoy physical and mental health.”
Almarwaai said that the committee seeks to increase the number of practitioners and build yoga teams that participate in local and regional yoga championships.
Astronomers map distances in the largest-ever catalog to 56,000 galaxies
Astronomers have assembled the largest-ever compilation of high-precision galaxy distances, called Cosmicflows-4.
Galaxies, such as the Milky Way, are the building blocks of the universe, each comprised of up to several hundred billion stars. Galaxies beyond our immediate neighbourhood are rushing away, faster if they are more distant, which is a consequence of the expansion of the universe that began at the moment of the Big Bang. Measurements of the distances of galaxies, coupled with information about their velocities away from us, determine the scale of the universe and the time that has elapsed since its birth.
“Since galaxies were identified as separate from the Milky Way a hundred years ago, astronomers have been trying to measure their distances,” said Tully, adding, “Now, by combining our more accurate and abundant tools, we are able to measure the distances of galaxies and the related expansion rate of the universe and the time since the universe was born.”
Shah Rukh Khan features on Burj Khalifa again, fans elated
Dubai’s iconic skyscraper, Burj Khalifa, lit up with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s message on Wednesday evening. The world’s tallest building screened a campaign video for Burjeel Holdings, one of the private healthcare operators in the UAE. In the video, SRK is seen promoting the brand in his special way.
After seeing images and videos of the Burj Khalifa lighting up with SRK’s video, fans became extremely happy. They even started trending him on Twitter.
The musical fountain at #BurjKhalifa first played music from #ShahRukhKhan’s Om Shanti Om, and later the Burjeel Holdings campaign featuring King Khan was shown on Burj Khalifa! Truly the world’s biggest superstar,” a tweet read on one of the fan pages of SRK.
“Megastar Shah Rukh Khan featured on Burj Khalifa again, truly a KING,” a fan wrote on Twitter.
Reportedly, it’s for the fourth time that SRK has appeared on Burj Khalifa.
In 2021, the Burj Khalifa honoured Shah Rukh on his 56th birthday. The Burj Khalifa was lit up with the name of the actor to honour the actor on his birthday in 2020 as well.
On the work front, Shah Rukh is all set to make his silver screen return after four years with ‘Pathaan’, which also stars Deepika Padukone and John Abraham in the lead roles. The action-packed film is scheduled for release on 25 January 2023.
Apart from ‘Pathaan’, SRK will also be seen in upcoming film ‘Dunki’.
J&K’s Wular Lake wears a festive look
The Wular Lake in Jammu and Kashmir, which is known to be one of the largest freshwater lakes in South Asia, has a festive look with a large number of locals extracting chestnuts, according to a report. The chestnuts extracted by the villagers are supplied to the vendors in Kashmir and beyond the region as well.
The Bandipora district in northern Kashmir features in the list of the main suppliers of chestnuts to the Kashmir Valley.
Lankreshipora, Kunzpora, Kulhama, Guroora, Saderkoot, Baniyari, Laharwalpora, KaniBathi, Kunoosa, Ashtangoo, Kemma, and Zurmanz are among the districts whose residents have licences to extract chestnuts from the lake.
The lake produces around four metric tonnes of chestnuts annually and 5,000 tonnes of fish of 11 different species each year, according to the official figure.
According to the Wular conservation and management authority officials, at least 90% of the water chestnuts produced in Kashmir are sourced from the Wular Lake.
The report quoted an official at Wular Conservation and Management Authority as saying, “There is no systematic marketing facility available for the product extracted from Wular Lake, which makes it difficult to estimate the revenue generated from the lake.”
The locals claim that as many as 80% of the inhabitants are involved in extracting chestnuts from Wular to make a living.
“Chestnuts are the main source of income for the majority of people living here,” the report quoted Abdul Ahad Panchoo, a resident of Suderkoot Bala, as saying.
Abdul Rashid Dar of Baniyar village, who has been extracting chestnuts from the lake for the past 40 years, said that they are getting different schemes from the government for the purpose.
“All of us villagers who live on the banks of the Wular lake depend on it either directly or indirectly,” he said, adding that chestnuts are the main source of income for the majority of people living here.
The Union Territory government is planning to develop a sustainable waste management model for all the peripheral villages around the lake, according to the report.
The J&K Wetland Authority has also approved the integrated management plan for the conservation of Wular Lake to promote an integrated and multidisciplinary approach to the conservation and management of the water body.
To promote tourism in Wular Lake, the authorities also introduced a shikara (wooden boat) ride similar to that found on Dal Lake in Srinagar. The lake is also a habitat for migratory water birds.
South Korea to invest big in automobile industry
The South Korean government has announced a number of strategies for its automobile industry, including private investment worth more than 95 trillion in the country’s automobile industry over the next five years.
Using this, the government plans to produce 3.3 million electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030 to achieve a 12 per cent global market share, according to The Global Economic. It also plans to train more than 30,000 future car professionals. Through these strategies, the government plans to raise competitiveness to the highest level in response to the global trade order that returns to protectionism, such as the implementation of the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
As of last year, Hyundai Motor ranked third and sixth in the global internal combustion car and EV market share, respectively. The South Korean government plans to raise them to the top 3 in the world.
On Wednesday, the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy that Minister Lee Chang-yang held a round table meeting on automobile industry strategies with automobile industry officials at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry and announced the strategies.
At the meeting, officials from automobile manufacturing firms and parts suppliers such as Hyundai Motor, Kia, GM Korea, Renault Korea, Hyundai Mobis, Mando, Sambo Motors, and Telechips, attended. Minister Lee presented a strategy to become the global top 3 in the automobile industry. It has the vision to become one of the top three automobile powerhouses through a rapid and flexible conversion to future mobility.
Good that this audio got leaked, says Imran Khan over ‘foreign conspiracy’ in Pakistan
After the alleged conversation between a former country’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and Principal Secretary Azam Khan about the “US conspiracy” went viral, the PTI chief on Wednesday said that the “cypher should also be leaked so that everyone would come to know how big that conspiracy was.”
In a series of audio leaks in recent days in Pakistan, an audio clip of Imran Khan went viral on Wednesday. “It is good that the audio got leaked, I would say the cypher should also be leaked so that everyone should come to know how big was that foreign conspiracy,” Imran Khan told reporters today, as per The News International.
Khan alleged that Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of leaking that audio when asked who did this, as per the publication.
It is pertinent to mention that “US conspiracy” refers to the foreign conspiracy which Imran Khan termed as the conspiracy by the US to topple the PTI government and replace it with Shehbaz Sharif’s government in Pakistan.
According to The News International, in the latest leaked audio, Imran Khan could be heard directing his then principal secretary that they should play with the “cypher issue without taking the name of the United States.” “Let’s play with it,” Imran Khan believed to be said in the audio, to which Azam Khan suggested that they should hold a meeting on the US cypher to bring it on record.
Earlier, audio clips purported of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif with government officials and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) Vice-President Maryam Nawaz had also surfaced online. It is to be noted that after those controversial audio leaks, Imran Khan on Monday said that Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja should resign “if he had any shame,” media reports said.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan claimed that the audio leak is proof that the CEC, Sultan Raja, is in cahoots with the Sharif family and his alleged involvement in corruption, reported Pakistani local media The Express Tribune.
The audio clip featuring Shehbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz had surfaced online, where they were asking to stop the health insurance card program, as per local media. After the audio leaked, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail stepped down in the middle of a trip abroad and made way for PML-N leader Ishaq Dar.
Ishaq Dar was involved in several corruption cases. Earlier, in May, the Pakistan court issued a perpetual arrest warrant against former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in “corruption reference.”
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