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Kerala Love Jihad Case: Hadiya tells SC she wants to see her Husband

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Kapil Sibal, appearing for Hadiya and her husband Shafin said, “Instead of asking Hadiya on what she wants, we are talking about the venom filled in news channels.”

All eyes were set on the today’s Supreme Court hearing as Hadiya appeared before the court for the first time. It was speculated that the court will talk to Hadiya whether she was converted forcefully or not. However, Hadiya was only asked academic questions today.

The Supreme Court today asked both the party’s counsel if the court should talk to the girl and look into other matters later or vice versa. While Hadiya’s father Ashokan’s counsel said the court should look into the ‘Love jihad’ connection and then talk to Hadiya, Kapil Sibal appearing for Hadiya argued, “The lady is in court and now your lordship don’t want to hear her today. She again has to come tomorrow. This is not fair. I find absolutely helpless to answer as to whether she is under influence.”

At the beginning of the proceedings, advocate Shyam Divan asked for in camera proceedings citing the “communally charged” environment. As the proceedings started Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh pointed out that around 11 other cases of this nature are arising from the same organization called ‘Satyasarini’. He also said it must be presented before the court.

However, Kapil Sibal fought back saying Individual autonomy cannot be given a communal color. Sibal said, “Instead of talking to the girl about what she wants, we are looking at the venom filled in news channels and Facebook.”

After arguments from both the side, the court finally decided to ask the academic question to Hadiya. When asked about whether she wants to go back for studies, Hadiya replied that she wants to see her husband.

The proceedings will be continued tomorrow.

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Government approves security plan worth 2 lakh crore for 50 crore Indians

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The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has given its approval to the labour ministry proposal on universal social security cover for 500 million workers before the all too important 2019 elections.

The finance and labour ministries will work out the details of the scheme that will require nearly Rs 2 lakh crore when fully rolled out for the lower 40% of the country’s total workforce. The remaining 60% of the workforce is expected to make contributions out of their own pocket, either fully or partially.

The idea of the scheme is pretty much self-explanatory; the labour ministry seeks the poorest in line to be aided by the scheme at the earliest and have requested the finance ministry for the same. An official went on to say that the scheme would take at least 5-10 year to come into effect in full force. The official said: “This would require a significantly less amount to start with and the fund allocation to the scheme can be enhanced later over the next 5-10 years to make it universal.”

This will be the second mass-benefit social scheme after the National Health Protection Scheme announced earlier that will provide Rs 5 lakh health cover to 100 million poor families.

The move comes a year before the general elections, indicating that the ruling government is working towards improving its dented image, especially in the farm and agriculture sector.

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SC issues notice to the centre on hotelier Kesav Suri petition seeking to quash section 377 of IPC

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has asked the Centre government to file its response to hotelier Keshav Suri’s petition challenging the criminalization of gay sex between two consenting adults.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices A M Khanwilkar, and D Y Chandrachud said the petition shall be tagged with a similar joint plea filed by five celebrities which have been placed before a Constitutional bench. “Let a copy of this petition be served on the ASG and the Centre shall file a response within one week”, the bench said.

Keshav Suri, executive director at The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, had moved to the Supreme Court seeking a declaration that right to choice of sexual orientation is embedded in Article 21 of the Constitution and that criminalization of sexual intercourse between two consenting adults of the same sex is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi Suri represented Keshav Suri while ASG Tushar Mehta appeared for Centre.

The petition said Section 377 IPC is “unconstitutional and incapable of inapplicable to consenting homosexual adults”.

The petition also referred to the judgment of the Supreme Court in NALSA vs Union of India wherein the Supreme Court recognized the third gender and ascertained that they get their due rights and said there exists no rational basis for any person to be criminalized only because of a choice exercised by them in their private life to love and have consensual sexual relations with another individual of the same sex.

The Supreme Court has earlier said that a larger group of judges would revisit and examine the constitutional validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), a law that criminalises sexual activities “against the law of nature”.

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code states, “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

The Delhi High Court had decriminalised Section 377, but the order was later set aside by a Supreme-Court bench.

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Dialogue is the only way for India, Pakistan to move forward on Kashmir issue: Omar Abdullah

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SRINAGAR: Speaking at “the path forward in Kashmir” event at the University of Berkeley in California in the US last week, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah has said that India and Pakistan have squandered a lot of good chances to resolve the Kashmir issue, but there are still opportunities.

A barrel of a gun cannot drive a solution, there is a need for a dialogue process both internally as well as externally, Abdullah emphasized.

“There are clearly two dimensions (to Kashmir issue). It is not simply a matter between New Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir, nor is it a matter between Islamabad and J-K. A part of the state continues to remain with Pakistan and I belong to the part of the state that is with India, that acceded to India. So when we come to the way forward, both these dimensions of the problem will have to be tackled,” he added.

Abdullah spoke on various topics, including on the current political situation in the country and the run-up to the general elections next year.

“In spite of the fact that we took losses on account of that, there were express instructions by the government of India that Indian planes and helicopters will not cross the LoC, that Indian troops will not cross the LoC. So, imagine even if with the provocation of Kargil we decided to respect the sanctity of the LoC, haven’t we somewhere or the other, decided that perhaps this is the way and let’s move forward,” he said.

Abdullah suggested that one of the ways to move forward is to sit down with Pakistan and “once and for all, address this issue”.

“We can’t do it with the international mediation. I think mediation is a word that particularly people in India have a lot of suspicion about. But facilitation is not something that we have a problem with. Perhaps friends in the right places can facilitate this process between India and Pakistan and address some of the suspicions that we have.

“I believe that we came incredibly close during the time of General Pervez Musharraf first with (former) Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and then with (ex-PM) Manmohan Singh, but time ran out for us because it took so long to finally put aside our suspicions of Musharraf as the architect of Kargil War that by the time we realised he was somebody we need to do business with, he wasn’t nearly as powerful as we needed him to be,” he added.

Abdullah later speaking on chances of development on the issue said that “I don’t believe that all opportunities have been lost, but we have squandered a lot of good chances and I hope we don’t do that going ahead”.

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