“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
In the 2007 India-England series, Rahul Dravid was standing at mid-off. To this Ramachandra Guha, who considers himself an expert at everything without having even the slightest idea of things in any, including history, wrote this to Dravid.
“You are quite possibly the finest Test batsman in Indian cricket history, and without question the finest slip fielder ever produced by India in ALL forms of the game. You must field there. I understand that with your somewhat erratic bowling you feel the need to be close at hand to guide them. But, all things considered. I think that slip is the place for you, and for the team. No one else in India is remotely as good as you, which is why all these catches go down in the early overs.”
Rahul Dravid replied back. (Source)
‘You are right… all our history seemed to stop with Gandhi and there’s actually so much that’s happened since for us to be where we are 60 years later. I finished about 180 pages so a fair way to go. Would love to talk about it and much more.’
India has become a society where every street chai wala discusses in elaborate detail how Rohit Sharma ought to play the straight drive. The only issue is he himself cannot make great chai.
This phenomenon of super hyper sense of activism built upon high degree of confidence bordering on arrogance of know-it-all belief has led many to give direction to society’s morality.
Little realizing that they have neither the mandate nor the representation to do so.
The consequence of such a situation is that sacred democratic institutions become divorced from the pulse of the people and are perceived as imperialist and antagonistic powers.
When even the feedback is treated with disgust by such institutions then they are seen as “external systems” and not a representation of the collective contract that we agreed upon called Constitution.
Civil Disobedience then becomes the tool for the citizens to push back.
Mass Civil Disobedience and Justice
If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.
This axiom may or may not be true in any other area of life, but it is central to law and judgment. Judiciary cannot survive, nor is it worthy of giving judgments if it loses integrity.
Even perceived integrity.
“Justice should not only be done, but should manifestly be seen to be done.”
Was the principle that embodied the basis for the rule against bias for the judiciary to function with credibility.
This year, as was the case last year, despite a strong and obvious crack-down on Diwali crackers by the courts and the state governments, Diwali celebrations resounded with massive firecrackers.
The #1 enemy of those who burst crackers out of civil disobedience and resistance to the interference in their culture and religious practices - the Judiciary.
Tweet after tweet had the same sentiment - that Indian citizens - Hindus specifically - were ready to thumb courts’ noses out of disgust for their over-reaching activism and interference in their lives and religion.
The tone-deaf Delhi Government arrested 281 people who had broken the ban on crackers and 19,702 kgs of crackers were “seized.” (Source)
Look at this situation a bit more deeply.
We have a scenario where the local governments and even the Supreme court are perceived as an enemy by the people.
In the same vein, as Gandhi would organize Civil Disobedience for something as innocuous and inconsequential as the right to make salt, the citizens were hellbent on cocking a snook at the judiciary for something many had not done since long - bursting crackers.
They did not burst crackers because they wanted to. But as a protest against a judiciary that they no longer believe is fair or even just to them.
Any action on such a citizenry to enforce the ban will not be an action out of fairness or for justice anymore. But out of vengeance.
When vengeance is the only route left to the highest judiciary in any society, it has implicitly lost the mandate for its role.
A role that is borne out of a collective contract called the Constitution. Without the Constitution, and the laws that come out of that, there is no judiciary. Any judiciary that is not a product of a collective contract is an instrument of fascism and dictatorship.
That is the difference between the judiciary in India during British rule and after independence.
The former was an instrument of subjugation and imperialism. Latter was to be an instrument of collective call for a lawful society.
If the reaction of the citizens to Diwali and their reactions are any indications, that dream of a judiciary that represented the aspirations of citizens has been shattered.
This Diwali should be seen as a watershed moment in the judicial journey of India.
Courts mandate stands rejected.
Collectively. Massively. Outrageously. As a matter of protest.
This voice of citizenry is also the bedrock of Indian democracy. It forms the basis of that which gives legitimacy to a government to rule on its behalf.
Should Judiciary be divorced from the Citizens in a Democracy?
Why is the Indian judiciary so divorced from society’s aspirations and needs?
Probably because there is no feedback loop.
Judges in India are not answerable to the public of India. Judges are appointed by judges themselves. Unlike in the US. Where the voting public has a say in how and which judges get to the “throne” to decide the direction of the society.
All federal judges in the US are appointed by the president, confirmed by the U.S. Senate. They then serve for life.
But most judges in the United States are not members of the federal judiciary. Most belong to the various state courts. And, unlike federal judges, most state judges have to face the voters. The question arises: How can states preserve judicial independence and still make judges accountable to voters? In many states, voters can recall judges that they believe do not belong on the bench. People opposing a judge must get a certain number of signatures on recall petitions. Then the judge’s name is put on the ballot and voters decide whether they want to retain or recall the judge. If a majority votes to recall the judge, then the judge must be replaced—either by election or appointment, depending on the state. About 20 states hold direct elections for judges. This means that judges run for office. This allows voters to elect judges in their district instead of the governor appointing every judge. But it also has drawbacks. Judges must raise money for campaigns, often from lawyers who will appear before them. That gives the appearance that lawyers are paying for favoritism. Judicial campaigns in themselves are problematic. Judges can’t make campaign promises that they will rule in a certain way. That would make the judge biased. Bringing judges into the political process can make them seem less neutral in the courtroom. For these reasons, most states have moved away from direct election of judges. In these states, the governor usually appoints all state appellate court judges and most trial court judges. In some states the governor makes selections from a list prepared by a judicial commission, which searches for the most qualified judicial candidates. (Source)
Admittedly, judges standing for elections is not the ideal way to do things. However, the representatives of the people - the Governors and the President - having a say in who becomes a judge does add some sense of accountability to the judicial system.
Even when the judiciary may seem partisan, it is representative of the society at large. Not at loggerheads.
Being at loggerheads with the very society it is sworn to serve and acting as a reformist power is not what people signed up for in a democratic system.
At that point, there is very little difference between such a judiciary and one that functions in an imperialist or dictatorial regime.
In India, there is a collegium system. A system where judges get to choose who joins their ranks - across the country. The states and the Federal court. There is no input or feedback from the voters or the representatives of the people.
Under the collegium system, judges appoint judges — a system that came into being through interpretations of pertinent constitutional provisions by the Supreme Court in the so-called ‘Judges Cases’. The collegium system of appointment and transfer of judges of the higher judiciary has been debated for long, and sometimes blamed for tussles between the judiciary and the executive, and the slow pace of judicial appointments. (Source)
Any call for transparency and reforms in the judiciary in India is summarily rejected.
In a statement showing the magnanimity of the bench, the judges stated - “Though the present petition is liable to be dismissed on the ground of delay itself, yet we have carefully gone through the review petition and the papers connected therewith.”
Reform to this closed-loop system was not even worth a look but they looked and threw it out! And we are talking about reform of the closed-loop-zero-feedback collegium system here! Those who have no qualms in being outside of a democratic process get to establish their own version of social norms on the citizens of that society.
When an alternative National Judicial Appointments Council (NJAC) was proposed where NJAC would comprise of CJI, two seniormost judges of the Supreme Court, Union minister of law & justice, and two eminent persons nominated by CJI or the prime minister or the leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha - it was shot down as well by terming it unconstitutional! (Source)
The current situation shows that not only is the Indian judiciary immune to social views but has actively shot down any attempts to bring accountability to the system.
That causes frustration and a level of mistrust. Which was demonstrated by a Civil Disobedience movement this Diwali.
The Hindu Disenchantment with the Judiciary
The disenchantment of Hindus with respect to the Indian judiciary is not without reason as well.
Consider two situations.
1. Sabarimala and Mosques: Rights and Natural Justice?
One, the entry of women in places of worship.
Women - just as men are not allowed in some temples - are not allowed in Sabarimala between certain age groups.
Bhakti Pasrija, Prerna Kumari, Laxmi Shastiri, Sudha Pal and Alka Sharm of the Indian Young Lawyers’ Association had filed a Public Interest Litigation. None of these were worshippers or believers in Sabarimala or its tradition.
When Justice Indu Malhotra dissented, she said the same thing. That these women did not represent the worshippers at the temple. Her argument, however, was countered by saying that majority judgment cannot be used to undermine the rights of others.
More importantly, the judges stated that it was a “bonafide public interest litigation .. having regards to women’s rights.”
However, when a Public Interest Litigation was filed against the practice of not allowing Muslim women in India entry into the mosques, the Supreme Court went against the principle of entertaining and considering litigations which went to the heart of women’s rights irrespective of who was filing it. Aggrieved or not.
In fact, that was the stance by the Kerala High Court as well. (Source)
The obvious question for every Hindu - and there were millions who peacefully protested against the Supreme Court’s Sabarimala verdict - was:
Were the same principles of natural justice and rights applied as liberally and abundantly to both cases?
A subsequent twist in the scenario seems to imply that the judges were second-guessing themselves and working to recalibrate the “wrong” that they believed they had been done in the Sabarimala verdict vs the rejection of the mosque PIL.
Judiciary rethink: Mosque women entry
However, only when a Muslim woman filed litigation on women’s entry into the mosque did the Supreme Court look up.
Yasmeen Zuber Ahmad Peerzade and others seeking a direction to permit Muslim women to enter mosque to offer prayers and declaration of the customary tradition of denying them that as illegal and unconstitutional. (Source)
The case, including that of Sabarimala, was then referred to a 9 member bench for review.
A nine-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on Monday upheld the decision of the Sabarimala Review Bench to refer to a larger Bench questions on the ambit and scope of religious freedom practised by multiple faiths across the country. (Source)
The Constitution Bench framed seven questions of law which the nine-judge Bench would decide now.
- What is the scope and ambit of religious freedom under Article 25 of the Constitution?
- What is the interplay between religious freedom and rights of religious denominations under Article 26 of the Constitution?
- Whether religious denominations are subject to fundamental rights?
- What is the definition of ‘morality’ used in Articles 25 and 26?
- What is the ambit and scope of judicial review of Article 25?
- What is the meaning of the phrase “sections of Hindus under Article 25 (2)(b)?
- Whether a person not belonging to a religious group can question the practices, beliefs of that group in a PIL petition?
Now, it has tagged three other cases as well. Almost as compensation to ensure that a certain version of Secularism prevailed.
Muslim women’s right to enter mosques, Parsi women’s right to enter a Fire Temple after having married a non-Parsi, and the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) among the Dawoodi Bohra community.
The decision to refer the petitions was supported by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra. Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud dissented. (Source)
The case is still pending. (Source)
2. Environment and Religious rights
On October 29th this year, the Calcutta High Court order had put a total ban on the use of firecrackers during festivals such as Kali Puja, Diwali, Chhath Puja, Jagadhatri Puja, Gurpurab, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve. This ban included a ban on Green crackers. Of all the festivals listed in the Calcutta High Court order, crackers are integral to the celebration of Diwali.
On November 1st, 2021 the Supreme Court set aside the Calcutta High Court order.
The Supreme Court on Monday set aside the Calcutta high court order imposing a complete ban on sale and use of all firecrackers in the state, ruling that the high court departed from the legal regime established under the top court’s orders without any material to show inaction on part of the state or collusive approach by the authorities at the ground level. (Source)
The Supreme Court while setting aside the Calcutta High Court order stated: “unfounded apprehension that there is no sufficient mechanism in place to ascertain whether the crackers used are green.”
Earlier, On October 29th itself, a bench of Justices M R Shah and A S Bopanna had banned all but the “Green crackers” and had stated that “it cannot allow violation of citizens’ rights under the guise of enjoyment.”
The court made it clear that crackers not approved by them cannot be allowed.
The Supreme Court on Friday told states and Union territories to strictly comply with its order prohibiting the sale, manufacture or use of banned firecrackers ahead of Diwali and warned that the chief secretaries, police commissioners, police district superintendents and station house officers will be personally liable in the event of violations. “No authority can permit the violation of the directions issued by this Court and permit banned firecrackers under the guise of celebration,” said a bench of justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna. The Court clarified, however, that there is no blanket firecracker ban, because green crackers can be used during the festival. (Source)
Towards that, the Supreme Court bench banned the firecrackers that contained barium, lithium, arsenic, antimony, lead, and mercury.
A bench comprising Justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna held that there is no total ban on the use of firecrackers, and only those crackers containing Barium salts or chemical crackers were banned. Additionally, laddi crackers are also banned as they create loud noise and air pollution, it said. Only registered sellers can sell firecrackers and the online sale of firecrackers won't be permitted. (Source)
However, by then the dealers had already received their shipments for that year’s Diwali from Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu. (Source)
Now, the question of firecrackers and Diwali. Are firecrackers merely celebratory or “for enjoyment” as claimed by the esteemed Supreme Court judges?
Let us listen to it from a prominent lawyer - Sai Deepak.
From a spiritual standpoint, the practice of bursting firecrackers has been an integral part of the Diwali ritual for a certain reason. Sadhguru shares why crackers and the lighting of lamps are so critical for the Diwali rituals.
So the question that was obvious to every Hindu and a dispassionate and objective viewer to the entire episode of how this issue has been dealt with and adjudicated upon by the Indian courts is -
“Are the courts really considering the religious and spiritual sentiments and reasons behind the Hindu rituals?”
Yes, the health of Indian citizens is extremely important and the restrictions on the use of crackers with harmful chemicals are also laudable.
But to ban them on October 29th when Diwali was on November 4th and expecting the Hindus and the firecracker manufacturers to comply with that ban is nothing but a cruel joke!
If Green crackers were what the courts wanted to go with - and it is a very good way to do things - then why didn’t the courts rule about it for the next year since the inventories for this year would have already been through the supply chain?
And, then to say that the order was not against any community when something as integral to Diwali rituals as the bursting of crackers was banned “for all festivals”, sends a message that Hindus have vehemently disagreed with.
Now for the test of impartiality.
Environment and Bakrid - cannot even entertain that?
Are the same standards used when it comes to rituals that are integral to the festivals of other communities?
A Public Interest Litigation against the sacrifice of animals was filed in 2016. The courts even refused to “entertain the PIL”.
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation ( PIL) questioning the sacrifice of animals on Eid al-Adha or 'Bakri Eid' and the validity of a provision of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. (Source)
Using the theological basis for the slaughter of animals, one can refer to Quran in how it treats the killing of an animal versus the piety of a person and what really matters in the religious sense.
It is fairly obvious that the killing (sacrifice) of an animal has become a proxy for giving up something important to a person.
The killing of an animal as a sacrifice may have been ecologically not harmful when a few people in the deserts of Arabia were doing it. But to slaughter animals in millions in large urban cities without proper drainage and waste disposal has serious environmental ramifications.
For example, the slaughter of animals during the Bakri-Eid is a major cause of pollution in the rivers near the large cities. In fact, NDMC had to issue directions in 2019 to prevent just that.
North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) issued directions to prevent such negligence during Bakrid and ordered to not let the blood of slaughtered animals flow directly into river Yamuna. (Source)
Just in Hyderabad alone over 4700 tons of animals waste was generated in 2021!
This Bakrid 4,725 metric tonnes of animal waste was generated in the city, according to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) record.
On Saturday, 2770 metric tonnes of waste was collected, the waste collected on Sunday stood at 1,955 metric tonnes . To collect and transport the waste, 403 vehicles were pressed into service. The vehicles include tippers, earthmovers and bobcats. (Source)
The slaughter of animals for this festival reaches mind-boggling numbers.
In Bangladesh, over 9 million animals were killed in 2021.
A total of 9,093,242 animals have been slaughtered during this year's Eid-ul-Azha, one of the major religious festivals of the Muslims. Of the total, 4,053,679 cows and buffaloes, 50,38,848 goats and sheep and other 715 cattle have been sacrificed, a Livestock Ministry press release said here on Saturday. (Source)
According to The Independent, over 10 million animals are slaughtered in Pakistan alone.
Worshippers will slaughter an animal, such as a sheep or a goat. In Pakistan alone, nearly ten million animals are slaughtered on Eid. Anyone wishing to sacrifice an animal in the UK must conform to welfare standards so the animal is treated humanely. (Source)
The Indian numbers cannot be any different either.
Does all this have no environmental impact?
Here is an interesting graph that shows how the global environment will be impacted if the world adopted different diets and compared the impact with a situation if ALL fossil fuel was replaced by Nuclear power energy.
Animal slaughter may not impact people on any one night or as visibly as crackers may seem to do on Diwali in cities already devastated by pollution generated by numerous sources, but in terms of impact on environment and environment, it is FAR bigger than crackers or any other pollutant.
Do you see the difference in applying the standards of health and environmental well-being versus the religious rituals when it comes to the courts in India?
Diwali versus main Pollutants - why single out one unimportant cause?
But is Diwali even the biggest cause of air pollution in any city throughout the year?
The biggest culprit of pollution in India is road dust and vehicles, specifically Trucks.
The biggest cause of road dust are the very bad construction practices that builders follow. Leaving the land outside a new building incomplete, road badly constructed, and sidewalks incomplete or non-existent.
There is very little attention paid to growing grass over the land which has neither concrete nor a road.
Dust kicked up by cars along Delhi’s vast and growing road network contributes between a third and 56% of the most harmful pollutants in the city’s atmosphere. The city’s construction sites, and the production of the raw materials that feed them – such as bricks and concrete – are also an outsized contributor to the foul air that some lung specialists warn is making Delhi hazardous, particularly for children and the elderly. (Source)
This is a country where rapid and large-scale construction is not just needed but is expected in the next 20 years.
All this, in turn, is going to put a premium on developing urban infrastructure. In a 2010 McKinsey report he co-authored, Sankhe estimated that rapid urbanization in the country will require the construction of 700 to 900 million square meters of commercial and residential space, or "a new Chicago every year." As the study put it, "70 to 80 percent of the India of 2030 is yet to be built." (Source)
That kind of construction and growth is fantastic!
But, where are the construction norms?
Where are the laws that mandate the construction companies to complete the development of land around the roads, buildings, construction sites to ensure that no dust is around that can be kicked up by the cars?
What have the activists and courts done about that? Not much.
In 2014, a study was done and it was found that 70% of diesel and 99.6% petrol is consumed in the transport sector alone in India every year.
An All India Study conducted by M/s Nielsen (India) Pvt Ltd for Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) of Petroleum Ministry has thrown up interesting data about use of diesel and petrol sold across various states. As per the All India study report submitted to PPAC, 70% of diesel and 99.6% petrol is consumed in the transport sector alone. Of the total diesel sale, the highest consumption of 28.48 is by cars, utility vehicles (UVs) and 3-wheelers. It was also revealed that private cars & UVs account for 13.15%, commercial cars & UVs 8.94% and 3-wheelers 6.39% of the diesel sold in the country.
In case of Petrol, 99.6% is consumed in the transport sector. Of this majority consumption of 61.42% is accounted for by Two-Wheelers while cars use 34.33% followed by 3-wheelers at 2.34%. It was also revealed that in the States of Odisha, Bihar and Rajasthan, petrol consumption by two-wheelers exceeds 70%. (Source)
The transport sector is the worst culprit and the largest user of fossil fuels.
Even though India is currently under the BS-VI - the Bharat stage emission standards that became mandatory from April 2020, vehicular pollution is still quite high and polluting.
IIT report and Diwali
When advocate Sai Deepak shared the IIT Kanpur report (download from here - Source) showing that Diwali crackers were not even in the top 15 pollutants while challenging the National Green Tribunal order, the Supreme Court declined to even entertain the plea.
The Supreme Court on Friday declined to entertain a plea challenging the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order, which imposed a complete ban on the sale and use of firecrackers amid the Covid-19 pandemic in Delhi-NCR and other cities, having poor air quality index (AQI). (Source)
To this, the apex court retorted “Do you need IIT to understand that firecrackers impact your health? Ask someone staying in Delhi what happens during Diwali.”
Given how the air pollution in Delhi is caused by so many factors - have the courts used the same “feeling test” for all of those reasons and taken action?
If we as a society are really serious about our health, then it is imperative that we attack the most important causes of environmental destruction and not take actions that seem to align us with our own self-constructed moral maps. When, for example, Secularism is practiced on the back of Hindus who are asked to give up their rituals for the environment, without adequate steps to take actual action on real pollution culprits then the argument of fairness and justice seems like a fig leaf.
Diwali happens on one day. Firecrackers for it on no more than 5 days.
The environment in Indian cities, however, goes up in smoke and dust every single day!
How many builders, how many truckers, and how many car manufacturers have been banned?
That shows the seriousness and level of integrity on at least the approach to morality pertaining to the environment.
Implication principle and Citizen reaction
One needs to understand what these different yardsticks are doing to the trust that the society at large and specifically some groups are taking away from the performance of the Indian judiciary.
The “implication principle” suggests that when individuals perceive a threat to their freedom, they also identify (consciously or nonconsciously) other implied threats. So, conservatives might draw implications from the government interventions that more restrictions will follow similarly in the future. Hence, when the source is highly authoritative, consumption regulations lead to high reactance. (Source)
The reason why the Supreme Court’s ban on firecrackers of a certain type at the time it came while not even entertaining any plea against the environmentally hazardous activities during other festivals creates a scenario of “implied threat”. That the courts are a threat to individual liberty if you are from a certain community.
Hence the mass Civil Disobedience!
Society and Laws - are we doing it right?
Laws are not made in a vacuum. They cannoyt be. Should not be. If they are noyt aligned to social norms, and clash with the established ways, they render themselves counterproductive.
A detailed study by Stanford and MIT economists show that the way laws can bring about change in the society is NOT by hitting at the social norms but impacting individual behavior.
Unfortunately, this collision between norms and laws is not about to end. IN fact, if the pronouncements of the Supreme Court judges is any indication, then the moral frameworks from the Western society are going to be imported and force-fitted onto the Indian social ethos.
One such idea is “indirect discrimination.” Of course, the Western idea of “Patriarchy” is thrown in for a good measure.
The Supreme Court on Thursday introduced 'indirect discrimination' criterion in Indian jurisprudence to bolster the age-old equality and non-discrimination touchstones often used by constitutional courts to test validity of laws and administrative decisions. A bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud laboured on the 'indirect discrimination' concept by undertaking an elaborate study of evolution and sharpening of the subject in the constitutional courts of the United States, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Canada, before zeroing in on the practicality aspect of the new validity testing norm from judicial practices in the UK. While developing the concept for Indian jurisprudence, the judgment appeared to adopt as its foundation what Baroness Hale of the UK supreme court said in a 2009 judgment: "Direct and indirect discrimination are mutually exclusive. You cannot have both at once. The main difference between them is that direct discrimination cannot be justified. Indirect discrimination can be justified if it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim." This concept was introduced in the case relating to 86 women Short Service Commission officers demanding equality in application of standards for grant of permanent commission. The apex court said that the standards, which appeared neutral at the first blush, were deeply patriarchal, reflecting the mindset of yore that tended to indirectly discriminate against women. (Source)
What is Indirect discrimination?
Indirect discrimination is the legal term that describes situations when policies, practices or procedures are put in place that appear to treat everyone equally but, in practice, are less fair to those with a certain protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. An example of indirect discrimination, may be a minimum height requirement for a job where height is not relevant to carry out the role. Such a requirement would likely discriminate disproportionately against women (and some minority ethnic groups) as they are generally shorter than men. (Source)
The whole idea of Indirect discrimination is not an exact science. It is not something that has hard evidence or clear backup with facts. It is something that can be implied while interpreting actions.
Due to the wide scope of interpretation and imagination needed, it can become a very slippery slope for a judiciary that is already being perceived in antagonistic ways by the Indian citizens.
Given the challenges that the judiciary has, is this the right direction? We need to see where we are in terms of the most fundamental duty for which courts are established in a democratic society - dispense justice.
What about dispensing justice though?
The fact that the infrastructure and functioning of the Indian judiciary is a mess when it comes to dispensing with justice is not a hidden secret. Delay in cases for decades, not years, because of long backlog of cases. 40 million!
Delivering the keynote address at the India-Singapore Mediation Summit, CJI NV Ramana cited the “often-quoted statistic that pendency in Indian courts has reached 45 (4.5 crore) million cases". A few months back in April, reports said that combined with Covid-19-induced lockdowns and restrictions, the pendency across all courts in India had crossed 4.4 crore cases, rising by at least 19 per cent since March last year. According to reports that cited data from the National Judicial Data Grid and the Supreme Court, at present there are 3.9 crore cases pending in the district and subordinate courts, 58.5 lakh cases in the various high courts, and more than 69,000 cases in the Supreme Court. (Source)
When the judges are busy giving society a direction that they think is right and even working to do what is rightfully the task of the executive, AND do not want to give up the power to select themselves and their peers, then where is the time for doing what is the most fundamental duty of the courts? Dispensing justice!
market corner: 10 quick bytes
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- Center releases Rs 17,000 crore as GST compensation to states (Source)
- Govt looks to net $30 billion in fresh funds through PLI scheme (Source)
- FASTag toll collection reaches record Rs 3,356 crore in October (Source)
Smart anti-airfield weapons: The Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Air Force on Wednesday (3 November) jointly carried out two flight tests of indigenously-developed smart anti-airfield weapons. The two different configurations based on satellite navigation and electro-optical sensors have been successfully tested, the Defence Ministry said in a statement. Electro-optical seeker based flight test of this class of bomb has been conducted for the first time in the country. The electro-optic sensor has been developed indigenously, it added. The weapon was launched by an IAF aircraft from Chandan ranges at Jaisalmer, Rajasthan on 28 October and 3 November. (Source)
Nepalese Electricity for India: Nepal will sell its surplus electricity to India at a competitive rate after New Delhi allowed the neighboring country to trade its power in the Indian power exchange market, according to media reports on Wednesday. The Energy Exchange under India's Power Ministry on Monday granted permission to Nepal after persistent lobbying from Kathmandu, as Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is now in a position to sell its surplus energy, according to a report in The Kathmandu Post. In the first phase, 39MW power, including 24MW produced by NEA-owned Trishuli hydropower and 15MW Devighat power house, has been permitted for trading in Indian Energy Exchange. Both projects were developed with India's assistance. (Source)
Danger of Mediterranean Diet: There’s been much fanfare surrounding the Mediterranean diet in recent years, which typically consists of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, olive oil, and fish. Now new research offers some alarming warnings. Switching from an ordinary “Western” diet to a traditional Mediterranean diet may triple one’s intake of environmental contaminants, the stunning new report reveals. The international team says the Mediterranean diet could weaken the human immune system, fertility, and even stunt the growth and development of children. The study, led by scientists at the University of Oslo, looked at British students who follow the diet. They conclude that farming everything in a Mediterranean diet organically slashes the intake of these contaminants by 90 percent. (Source)
Brain and AI: A team of researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital claims to have improved the “specific functions” of the human brain by using artificial intelligence paired with electrical brain stimulation. In a study involving 12 patients who were undergoing brain surgery for epilepsy, the scientists say they were able to improve the patients’ mental function when stimulating areas of the brain with small amounts of electrical energy. (Source)
video corner: The Great Resignation
The world is changing rapidly. People are rethinking their lives. How they live and what they do. And why?
This has led to a phenomenon called “The Great Resignation.” What is it and what are its ramifications? Here is a very good report on that.
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