UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS-DAILY CAPSULE-AUG 23 2017
- By declaring the discriminatory practice of instant triple talaq as unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has sent out a clear message that personal law can no longer be privileged over fundamental rights.
- Three of the five judges on the Constitution Bench have not accepted the argument that instant talaq, or talaq-e-biddat , is essential to Islam and, therefore, deserves constitutional protection under Article 25.
- The biggest virtue of the two opinions constituting the majority judgment is that they do not have to undermine any religious tenet to make their point.
- Justice Kurian Joseph says, the forbidden nature of triple talaq can be gleaned from the Koran itself.
- Justice Rohinton Nariman, writing the main judgment, locates the practice in the fourth degree of obedience required by Islamic tenets, namely, makruh , or that which is reprobated as unworthy.
- In fact, the final summation is so simple that the court did not even have to elaborate on how triple talaq violates gender equality.
On the contrary, Justice Nariman says that having held the practice to be arbitrary, there is really no need to go into the element of discrimination.
- Justice U.U. Lalit supported Justice Nariman’s view that instant talaq given by a Muslim man “capriciously and whimsically,” without an attempt at reconciliation, was “manifestly arbitrary and violative of Article 14 (right to equality).”
- Even the judges in the minority have had to concede that their reasoning is based mainly on the fact that this form of talaq is a matter of personal law, and therefore entitled to constitutional protection.
- Chief Justice J.S. Khehar: – “It is not open to a court to accept an egalitarian approach over a practice which constitutes an integral part of religion,”
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board, and all those who supported its regressive opinion that even an unworthy practice should not be dislodged by judicial verdict, should now accept the verdict in the interests of a modern social order. And there is no reason to contend that their faith has been unduly secularised.
- Justice Joseph concludes, “what is bad in theology is bad in law as well.”
Trump offers India a role in Afghanistan.
The new U.S. strategy for South Asia, unveiled by President has many old elements, but in a departure from the past, it commits troops in Afghanistan for an open-ended period of time.
- The policy also sets the stage for a new wave of U.S. offensive against Islamist forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
- The Pentagon and NATO allies are redrawing their operational plans in America’s longest war that began in 2001, and an increase in troop levels is expected soon.
- Describing India as “a key security and economic partner of the United States,” the President said America would further “develop its strategic partnership with India — the world’s largest democracy.”
- He also urged India to play a larger role in providing economic and development assistance to the war-torn Afghanistan.
By inviting India to be a partner in Afghanistan, Mr. Trump has entirely overruled Pakistan’s position that India’s involvement to its west is part of the problem.
Introducing N. Bhupathi, a frog with the face of a pig
According to a paper published last month in Alytes , a scientific journal devoted to the study of frogs and amphibians, Indian scientists have discovered a new species of frog that has a snout-shaped nose, just like a pig’s, evoking comparisons with the Purple frog that took the world by storm when it was discovered in 2003.
- Bhupathy’s purple frog inhabits the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats, near the Srivilliputhur Grizzled Giant Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu.
- The discovery is significant as it constitutes additional evidence in favour of the theory of continental drift.
- The Purple frog is an inhabitant of Seychelles, and the discovery of Bhupathy’s purple frog in India suggests that the Indian subcontinent was part of the ancient landmass of Gondwana before splitting from Seychelles 65 million years ago.
- One of the most significant trends visible in wildlife conservation and management today is the increased use of ‘technology’.
- Camera traps, for instance, have provided new evidence of tiger presence in the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary in Goa and of the Asiatic wildcat in Bandhavgarh, Madhya Pradesh;
- Radio collars have helped solve the mystery of tiger deaths in Bandipur in Karnataka and Chandrapur district of Maharashtra;
- Satellite telemetry promises to provide new insights into the behaviour and movement patterns of the Great Indian Bustard in Gujarat, which includes its journeys across the border to Pakistan.
- New software and sophisticated surveillance technologies are being operationalised to keep an eye on developments across large landscapes and the use of contraceptives has been suggested to contain runaway populations of animals ranging from the monkey in large parts of India to the elephant in Africa.