Section 377’s days numbered? SC to re-examine verdict criminalising gay sex

A Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice D Y Chandrachud decided to re-consider the top court’s December 12, 2013, order

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The Supreme Court on Monday said it will re-examine its 2013 verdict upholding the Indian Penal Code’s Section 377 criminalising gay sex as it observed that “a section of people or individuals who exercise their choice should never remain in a state of fear”.

A Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice D Y Chandrachud decided to re-consider the top court’s December 12, 2013, order saying that “individual autonomy and also individual orientation cannot be atrophied unless the restriction is regarded as reasonable to yield to the morality of the Constitution”.

“The morality that public perceives, the Constitution may not conceive of,” the court said making it clear that the “consent between two adults has to be the primary pre-condition. Otherwise the children would become prey, and protection of the children in all spheres has to be guarded and protected”.

ALSO READ: Michael Kirby: The rainbow in Asia and fight for gay rights in our region

Referring the matter to a larger Bench, Chief Justice Misra, in his order, said: “The determination of order of nature is not a constant phenomenon. Social morality also changes from age to age. The law copes with life and accordingly change takes place”, referring to the phrase in Section 377 which says, “Carnal intercourse against the order of nature”.

Stating that understanding of “natural” is not constant, the court said: “What is natural to one may not be natural to the other but the said natural orientation and choice cannot be allowed to cross the boundaries of law and as the confines of law cannot tamper or curtail the inherent right embedded in an individual under Article 21 of the Constitution.”

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LIVE updates: BJP takes lead in Gujarat, Himachal polls; Modi magic intact

The results of the Gujarat Assembly election 2017 for 182 seats and the Himachal Pradesh Assembly election for 68 seats will be announced after counting of votes today

Rahul Modi

Counting of votes for Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections has started. The result will be announced today itself. The 182 constituencies in the Gujarat Assembly had gone to the polls in two phases – on December 9 and 14. The electors in Himachal Pradesh’s 68 seats had voted to elect their legislators for their respective constituencies on November 9.

The Gujarat election 2017 is seen as a prestige battle for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been ruling his home state for over two decades. It is also considered a litmus test for Rahul Gandhi, the newly elected president of the Congress party.

Gujarat elections result (152/182 seats)

Party Leads Won

BJP 82

Congress 70

Others 2

ALSO READ: All eyes on Gujarat as stage set for counting today

In Gujarat, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is seeking a sixth straight term in office, the Congress is aiming to stage a comeback to power after being in the Opposition for over two decades. The counting of votes are being held at 37 centres across the state’s 33 districts amid tight security.

ALSO READ: Counting of votes for Himachal Polls today

In Himachal Pradesh, the fate of 337 candidates, including Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his predecessor Prem Kumar Dhumal, will be known on Monday as counting of votes is taken up in the state, where traditional rivals BJP and Congress have both contested in all 68 seats.

Click Here Read : Gujarat And Himachal Pradesh Elections Results Live

Fire breaks out at PMO; doused in 20 minutes

The blaze was reported in room number 242, located on the second floor, at around 3.35 am

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A minor fire broke out in a room at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in the wee hours on Tuesday.

The blaze was reported in room number 242, located on the second floor, at around 3.35 am.

“At around 3.35 am we got a call in our control room that a fire broke out in PMO’s office, room number 242,” Divisional Fire Officer Gurmukh Singh told ANI.

Fire tenders were immediately rushed to the spot and they took care of the situation in less than 20 minutes.

Singh said the fire broke out due to sparking in a computer’s UPS. No casualties have been reported due to the incident.

The room belonged to a section’s officer.

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Adityanath raises Hindutva pitch in Kerala, accuses Left of ‘jihadi’ terror

Mounting a blistering attack on the Left, the Uttar Pradesh CM said it was its nature to grab power at gunpoint

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The BJP on Wednesday fielded Yogi Adityanath as part of its campaign against the killing of saffron activists allegedly by the ruling CPI-M in Kerala, where the firebrand Hindutva leader accused the Left party of promoting “jihadi terrorism”

Mounting a blistering attack on the Left, he said it was its nature to “grab power at gunpoint”.

The saffron-robed Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister also raked up the contentious issue of ‘Love Jihad’, accusing the Kerala government of not taking steps to check the “dangerous trend”.

Leading the ‘Jan Raksha Yatra’, a day after BJP president Amit Shah launched the party’s 15-day campaign for “people’s protection”, Adityanath said Kerala occupied an important place in the Sanatan Hindu tradition, and wondered how the “foreign ideology” of Communism entered the state.

“The CPI(M) raises slogans about secularism but promotes jihadi terrorism. Kerala is a holy land where this is unacceptable. Here only the nationalist ideology should be promoted,” he told a public meeting, raising the Hindutva pitch while seeking to highlight the killing of BJP-RSS workers.

Adityanath claimed that the God’s own country, as Kerala is often called, has been witnessing political violence sponsored by the ruling party.

“It is in the nature of the Left party to grab power at gunpoint,” he told PTI.

“There is no scope for violence in democracy, but, unfortunately, Kerala has been witnessing politically- sponsored violence. With this ‘yatra’, we will make people aware of the CPI-M’s misrule,” he said.

He said if the CPI-M believes in democracy, it will have to answer questions about the political killings taking place in Kerala….READ MORE

Gauri Lankesh: A firebrand journalist vocal on secularism and Dalit rights

Best quality in Gauri was one could always argue with her, dispute her and tell her she was wrong

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“Be careful about what you post on social media. We live in dangerous times,” I told Gauri Lankesh last week. She replied saying “We can’t be so dead. It is human to express and react. What we feel impulsively is usually our most honest response.”

On Tuesday night, she was shot and killed in cold blood. The killing was not impulsive. It was well thought and carefully planned, like the murders in Maharashtra and Karnataka of the rationalists and thinkers Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and M.M. Kalburgi that she had herself condemned and protested.

I grew up in a family of writers. My father, K. Marulasiddappa, and P Lankesh, Gauri’s father, were colleagues and close friends. Lankesh was an English lecturer. My father taught Kannada.

ALSO READ: Right-wing critic, senior journalist Gauri Lankesh shot dead in Bengaluru

We lived in the same neighbourhood. My mother often left me in the care of the Lankesh household. Whenever I argued with Gauri, she used to joke saying “Magane (child), I used to babysit you before you learned how to speak.”

But the best quality in Gauri was that one could always argue with her, dispute her and tell her she was wrong. And no matter how fierce our arguments, she respected our right to say what we did. We were close friends because we could disagree. It was a quality that she inherited from her father.

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Gauri’s father was a firebrand writer and thinker. In 1980 he launched the Lankesh Patrike, a tabloid in black and white. It carried no advertisements. Lankesh believed that publications succumb to favouring rich corporations or powerful government officials and politicials because they sponsor ads that are a crucial to a newspaper’s survival. Lankesh believed this would kill journalistic integrity. He decided that Lankesh Patrike was to run purely on circulation. Read More

Gorakhpur tragedy: Cure hidden in Swachh Bharat Mission, says CM Yogi

Nearly 70 children have died at the BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur since August 7

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Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday stressed the importance of the Swachch Bharat Mission in the eradication of diseases such as encephalitis, which claim the lives of hundreds of children every year.

Politics News : He regretted that children were dying even 70 years after India’s Independence.

“The cure of diseases such as encephalitis is hidden in the Swachch Bharat Mission. I been saying this repeatedly as I represent eastern UP,” he said after unfurling the national flag on the occasion of Independence Day.

In the last three decades, Japanese Encephalitis and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome have claimed over 50,000 lives in eastern Uttar Pradesh, mostly in the Gorakhpur district.

Adityanath said in his first Independence Day speech as the chief minister that a large numbers of people, including children, died of diseases such as encephalitis, chikanguniya, kala azar, swine flu and other vector borne diseases.

Also Read : More shell firms found: PAN deactivation jolt for tax evaders in stock market

Nearly 70 children have died at the BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur since August 7. Many of the deaths were alleged to have been caused by shortage of oxygen, a claim dismissed by the state government.

The CM said a resolve has been taken to celebrate I-Day as ‘sankalp diwas’ to establish India as a super power and free the country of terrorism, naxalism and anarchy.

“We will have to take that resolve collectively in Uttar Pradesh also as the road to development of the country passes through the state,” the chief minister said.

Referring to the work undertaken by his government, he mentioned the new industrial policy to check migration and creation of job opportunities and loan waiver of farmers.

“Safety is an important ingredient for development for which we have decided to provide the rule of law and security to all. The anarchy which had frightened the people and had hit the development … We gave a new direction to policing…To deal sternly with eve teasers and those taking law in their hand,” he said. Read More

Presidential polls result today: Counting from 11 am, result out by 5 pm

Ram Nath Kovind has a distinct advantage over his rival Meira Kumar

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Politics News : Counting of the votes cast to decide who will be India’s new President will begin on Thursday from 11 am. The result will decide the fate of the two contenders — the ruling NDA’s candidate Ram Nath Kovind, who has a clear edge, and the combined Opposition nominee Meira Kumar.

The candidate who secures at least one vote more than 50 per cent of the total votes will become India’s 14th President and enter the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The final result of the presidential election 2017 is expected to be out by 5 pm today.

Officials said that all preparations have been made for the vote count and that all ballot boxes had already reached Parliament House by Tuesday evening amid tight security.

Also Read : Presidential election 2017 India: Kovind or Meira Kumar, who will be the next Rashtrapati?

They said the counting would begin at 11 am simultaneously across four tables. There will be eight rounds of counting and announcements made after every round.

Polling to choose the successor to President Pranab Mukherjee, who demits office on July 24, was held simultaneously at 32 polling stations — one in Parliament House and one each in the 29 state Assemblies and two Union Territories with Assemblies.

Lok Sabha Secretary General Anoop Mishra is the Returning Officer for the election and will issue the certificate to the winning candidate.

Officials said the seals of the ballot boxes will be opened on Thursday in the presence of representatives of the two candidates – former Bihar Governor Kovind and former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar – and the observers of the Election Commission.

In Monday’s polling, several states registered 100 per cent turnout. The overall poll percentage was pegged at 99.41 per cent. A total of 776 members of Parliament and 4,120 legislators were eligible to cast votes.

Kovind has the advantage

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