Morning Brief: Supreme Court To Look At Polygamy, Nikah Halala; Sibal Pulls Out Of Ayodhya Dispute Case; US, EU Countries Expel Russian Diplomats
Good morning, dear reader! Here’s your morning news and views brief for today.
Supreme Court To Look At Polygamy, Nikah Halala
Seven months after striking down the practice of triple talaq, the Supreme Court has turned its attention to polygamy and nikah halala. On Monday, the court agreed to examine the constitutional validity of these practices. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice D Y Chandrachud agreed to examine the constitutional validity of these practices citing the right to equality and referred the case to a Constitution bench to adjudicate. The bench also issued a notice to the government asking it to make its stand clear on the issue. While a Muslim man is allowed to have four wives under polygamy, nikah halala is the practice in which a Muslim woman has to marry another person and get divorced from him in order to remarry her former husband. Practices called Nikah mutah and nikah misyar, according to the petitioners, are “temporary” marriages for “pleasure”.
Sibal Pulls Out Of Ayodhya Dispute Case
Congress leader Kapil Sibal has withdrawn from the Ayodhya dispute case, reports say. The Congress, to control the damage done by its stand on the issue, had reportedly asked Sibal to quit as the lawyer for the Sunni Waqf Board. Sibal’s appeal in the SC to defer the hearing on long-standing Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri mosque title dispute till 2019 Lok Sabha election had proved damaging for the party. During the election campaign in Gujarat, the BJP had used the issue to target Sibal and the Congress. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders had asked if it was right for the Congress to link the Ram Janmabhoomi case in SC to electoral politics. After a controversy erupted over Sibal’s remark, the Waqf Board had disowned him as its counsel saying the Ayodhya tangle should be resolved at the earliest.
US, European Countries Expel Russian Diplomats In Wake Of UK Attack
The United States, Canada, Ukraine and countries of the European Union (EU) expelled more than 100 Russian diplomats on Monday in response to the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal on British soil allegedly orchestrated by Moscow. While the US alone has expelled 60 diplomats, countries in Europe have expelled at least a dozen. In the most forceful action President Donald Trump has taken against Russia to date, the US has ordered the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle. The EU is yet to announce its joint response to the attack. Russian president Vladimir Putin has called the move a ‘mistake’ and said that his country's response to the action will be based on the principle of reciprocity.
London accuses Moscow of using the nerve agent "Novichok" in the attack that targeted Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer who sold information to the United Kingdom. Sentenced in 2006 to 13 years in prison for espionage, Skripal was pardoned in 2010 and allowed to move to London.
Mayawati Won’t Support SP In UP Bypolls
After helping Samajwadi Party (SP) win bypolls, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati said on Monday that she would not activate her party cadres for the upcoming byelections for Kairana parliamentary and Noorpur assembly seats. The decision to withdraw support came three days after Mayawati’s party lost Rajya Sabha bypoll despite getting SP’s support. However, the party has said that all it would work with the SP and that opposition parties in the country will have to work together to stop the Bharatiya Janata Party from coming back to power in 2019.
According to reports, Mayawati’s move is aimed at the Kairana bypoll. “RLD is likely to field former MP and party vice-president Jayant Chaudhary in the Kairana bypoll. If she were to support SP, it may alienate the Jat voters. On the other hand, were she to extend support to RLD, which is now unlikely after the Rajya Sabha polls, it could have had an adverse impact on Muslim voters. Since BSP itself does not contest bypolls, it would make sense for it to stay away right now,” a party insider has said.
Pakistan Army Chief To Visit Maldives
Pakistan’s Army Chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, is likely to visit the Maldives just days after emergency declared in the Indian Ocean nation was lifted. India’s relations with the Maldives deteriorated significantly after country’s President Abdulla Yameen signed a Free Trade Agreement with China and drew closer to Beijing ignoring India’s security concerns. Yameen has not only allowed China to have a stronghold in his strategically located country, but also cracked down on the opposition and the judiciary to consolidate power in his hands. His latest move to invite Pakistan Army Chief for an official visit is being seen as another signal to New Delhi. India has been mounting pressure on Yameen to release political prisoners, let the judiciary function independently and restore democracy in the Maldives.
SC Asks Centre To Consider BS-VI Fuel In 13 Metro Cities
The Supreme Court has asked the government to consider rolling out the BS-VI fuel in 13 metro cities by April 2019. This comes after the government told the apex court that it has advanced by two years the deadline for supply of the Euro-VI petrol and diesel and would start providing it in Delhi from 1 April. The decision to advance the date was taken considering the "serious pollution levels" in the national capital. The court also asked the government to look into the aspect of differential pricing of diesel for heavy vehicles and small and mid-segment passenger vehicles.
North Korea's Kim Jong Un In China On Surprise Visit
North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, who has not made any foreign visits since assuming power in 2011, is on a surprise visit to Beijing, reports say. Although details about his visit are not available, a special train may have carried him to Beijing through the northeastern Chinese border city of Dandong. Japan-based Nippon News showed footage on Monday of a train which looks similar to the one used by Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, to visit the Chinese capital before his death in 2011. The North Korean dictator’s visit to China comes ahead of his possible meeting with US President Donald Trump in the next few months. He is also expected to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in near their shared border next month.
Facebook Shares Dip 6.5 Per Cent
Shares of social media giant Facebook fell as much as 6.5 per cent on Monday after the United States’ Bureau of Consumer Protection ordered investigating into the leak of data of 50 million users to a political consultancy. The move was announced amid pressure from US and European lawmakers on Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg to explain how his company handles user data. Facebook is also facing rising discontent from advertisers and users following data leak.
MUST READ OPINIONS AND COLUMNS
A Litany Of Absurdities: Rahul Gandhi and his team must realise that technological literacy, privacy awareness and data security are important issues.
Enterprising Indian States: The final quarter of 2017 revealed that states, small and large, took measures to stand out as champions of innovation.
Protect Your Data, Then Hope For A Tech Revolution: Berners-Lee’s message about clawing back our power is an important call to action in a world where true privacy is no longer possible.
Congress Critique Of Modinomics Has Some Good Points, But Bulk Of It Is Blah And Even Lies: The Congress party released its critique of Modinomics at the last session of the All India Congress Committee. The reality is that large parts of this report card on Modi’s performance are half-truths – or even lies.
We hope you enjoyed reading our morning brief. Have a great day ahead!
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