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Sabarimala Case Review Petition: SC To Begin Day-To-Day Hearing From February 17

SC also framed seven questions to be heard by a nine-judge bench on issues relating to freedom of religion under Constitution and faith.

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has proposed to begin day-to-day hearing from February 17 on cases relating to discrimination against women at religious places including Kerala’s Sabarimala Temple. The apex court stated that its nine-judge bench will deal with the extent of judicial review concerning religious practices.

The Supreme Court on Monday held that the five-judge bench can refer legal questions to a larger bench while exercising limited power under review jurisdiction. A nine-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice (CJI) SA Bobde, rendered the decision.

The top court also framed seven questions to be heard by a nine-judge bench on issues relating to freedom of religion under Constitution and faith. The top court also said that it will hear arguments on these issues on a day-to-day basis. The arguments are to begin on February 17, in line with a request made on behalf of all the parties.


Considering the way everyone argued on February 6, it is entirely possible to finish arguments in seven days for each side,” CJI Bobde, quoted by Bar and Bench, said.

The top court had taken up for hearing this preliminary question of jurisdiction on February 6 and after a day-long hearing, the Court had reserved its order on the same.

During day-long hearing, senior lawyers like FS Nariman, Rajeev Dhavan, Indira Jaising and Shyam Divan had vehemently argued that the 5-judge bench was wrong in making a reference to a larger bench without deciding the review petitions challenging the 2018 Sabarimala verdict, which had allowed women of all age group to enter the hill-top shrine.


The court will also address the question of the power of a person, who does not belong to a particular religion or sect, to question the religious beliefs of that religion by filing a PIL. The apex bench has framed seven questions, which will be taken up for discussion by the nine-judge Constitutional bench. The questions have been framed on issues relating to freedom of religion under the Constitution and faith. the questions will also address the interplay between religious freedom and freedom of beliefs of religious denominations.

This follows a ruling by the Supreme Court on February 10, 2020, in which the court stated that its five-judge bench can refer legal questions to a larger bench while exercising its power under review jurisdiction. The ruling was delivered by a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde.

The bench further asked the lawyers representing various parties to give prior information regarding who they are representing and accordingly, the bench would allot them time to put forward their arguments. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta would be opening the arguments on behalf of the centre, followed by senior advocate K Parasaran.

Nine-judge constitution bench

The special bench comprises CJI SA Bobde and Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Banumathi, Surya Kant, S A Nazeer, L Nageswara Rao, M M Shantanagoudar, R Subhash Reddy and B R Gavai.


Background

The apex court had announced on January 30, 2020, that its nine-judge constitution bench will frame issues regarding discrimination against women at different religious places including the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala.

The bench will frame the issues while considering all cases of gender inequality at religious places and the issues will then be taken up for deliberation.

The Supreme Court on February 6, 2020, reserved its order on the issue of whether it can, while exercising its review jurisdiction, refer the questions of law to a larger bench.

The nine-judge constitution bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde stated that it will pronounce its order on February 10. The apex court was hearing cases related to discrimination against women at different religious places of worship including Kerala’s Sabarimala temple, which bars the entry of women in menstruating age.

While Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued that the Supreme Court had the right to refer questions of law to a larger bench, “as custodian of fundamental rights”, Senior advocate Fali S Nariman opposed the submission and stated that only the President has the right to ask questions of national importance, not the court.

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CULTURE-HERITAGE

I Have Left BJP, Not Hindutva, Says Uddhav As He Offers 1Cr For Ram Mandir

“BJP does not mean Hindutva, both are different,” said the Maharashtra CM on his visit to Ayodhya.

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AYODHYA (Uttar Pradesh): Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday announced that he will give Rs 1 crore to help in the construction of Lord Ram temple in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya.

During his visit to Ayodhya, Shiv Sena chief said, “Today, I want to announce that not from the state govt, but from my trust, I offer an amount of Rs 1 crore.” Thackeray arrived in Ayodhya on Saturday for the first time after becoming Chief Minister in November last year.

While addressing a gathering, Thackeray said, “I am here to seek blessings of Ram Lalla. I have with me today several members of my ‘Bhagwa’ family. It is my third visit in last 1.5 years. I will also offer prayers today.”


Thackeray and his family is in Ayodhya to pay obeisance at the Ram Janmabhoomi Temple as Maharashtra’s coalition government completes 100 days in office.

Speaking in Ayodhya, Thackeray said, “Today, I want to announce that not from the state govt, but from my trust, I offer an amount of Rs. 1 crore for the construction of Ram Temple here. It is just a small contribution from our part.”

Thackeray said, “It is an honour for me to come here. When I first came here it was not known when and how the Ram temple would be built here. I am here to seek blessings of Ram Lalla. It is my third visit in the last one and a half years. I will also offer prayers here today.”


Thackeray said he would give the Saryu Aarti a miss because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“I also wished to take a dip in the Saryu River, but as you know in the whole world these days there is an outbreak of coronavirus. And yesterday I urged people of my state to stay away from crowded areas. So I am not participating in the ‘Aarti’, but I will come back for it again,” he was quoted by ANI.

Launching a veiled attack on its erstwhile ally BJP, Shiv Sena chief said, “Main BJP se alag hua hun, Hindutva se nahi. BJP ka matlab Hindutva nahi hai. Hindutva alag hai, BJP alag hai. (I have parted ways with the BJP, not with Hindutva. The BJP is not Hindutva. Hindutva is a different thing and I have not parted ways with it.)”.

Senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Friday said that Thackeray will not take part in the ‘aarti’ programme on the banks of river Sarayu in the temple town. Thackeray completed 100 days in the office on Friday.

He had assumed office as the chief minister of the Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government on November 28 last year, after the Sena joined hands with the NCP and the Congress.


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CULTURE-HERITAGE

22nd Ethnologue: Hindi 3rd Most Spoken Language In The World With 615 Million Speakers

Bangla has been ranked as the 7th most spoken language of the world, with 228 million native speakers.

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NEW DELHI: Hindi is the 3rd most spoken language of the world in 2019 with 615 million speakers. The 22nd edition of the world language database Ethnologue stated English at the top of the list with 1,132 million speakers. Chinese Mandarin is in second position with 1,117 million speakers.

Bangla has been ranked as the 7th most spoken language of the world. Bangla has 228 million native speakers.

Ethnologue brings out a yearly database of living languages of the world since its establishment in 1951.

The current round of the database covers 7,111 living languages of the world. In addition to living languages, Ethnologue also contains data on languages which have gone out of use in recent history. This edition lists 348 such languages.


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India Is The World’s First Country With 100% Digital Process For Haj 2020

Govt fulfilled the dream of “Ease of Doing Haj” for Indian Muslims: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

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MUMBAI (Maharashtra): The Union Minister for Minority Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has said that 100 per cent digital/online Haj process in India has fulfilled the dream of “Ease of Doing Haj” for the Indian Muslims. He was addressing a training of trainers programme for Haj 2020 at Haj House, in Mumbai today.

Naqvi said that the unprecedented reforms taken by the Modi Government have ensured that while on one hand, the entire Haj process has been made digital and transparent on the other hand Haj has become affordable.

He further said that making the entire Haj process 100 per cent digital/online has removed middlemen ensuring Haj pilgrimage become affordable in comparison to last several decades.


Even after removal of Haj subsidy, no additional financial burden has been put on the pilgrims, he added.

The Minister for Minority Affairs said that India has become the first country in the entire world which has made the entire Haj 2020 process 100 per cent digital. Online application, E-Visa, Haj mobile app, “E-MASIHA” health facility, “E-luggage pre-tagging” providing all information in India itself regarding accommodation/transportation in Makkah-Madinah have been provided to Indian Muslims going for Haj.

He further said that for the first time facilities have been provided for digital pre-tagging of the baggage of pilgrims. This will ensure the Indian pilgrims will get information in India itself about building along with the room allotted to the pilgrims and transportation like details of the bus to be taken by the pilgrims after reaching to the airport in Saudi Arabia, he added.

Naqvi said that even SIM card has been linked to a mobile app which will ensure Haj pilgrims immediately getting all the latest information regarding Haj in Makkah-Madina on their mobile phone.

While on one hand health card is being provided to Indian Haj pilgrims in the country, on the other hand, “E-MASIHA” (E-Medical Assistance System for Indian Pilgrims Abroad), an online system to create and maintain the complete health database of Indian pilgrims along with doctors’ prescriptions, medical treatment as well as medicine disbursals, has been developed to deal any emergency in Makkah-Madinah, he said.


Naqvi also said that Haj Group Organisers (HGOs) have also been connected with 100 per cent digital system which has ensured transparency in their functioning and it has also ensured better facilities to Indian Haj pilgrims.

For the first time, a portal of HGOs – http://haj.nic.in/pto/ (Portal for Haj Group Organisers) has been developed which contains all the details of HGOs, their packages etc.

The Minister for Minority Affairs said that the Indian Government, in coordination-cooperation with Saudi Arabian Government, Indian Consulate and various concerned agencies in Saudi Arabia, is working to ensure safety and better facilities, medical facilities for the pilgrims during Haj 2020.

He further said that in 2020, a total of 2 lakh Indian Muslims will perform Haj that too without any subsidy and about 1 lakh 23,000 Indians Muslims will go through Haj Committee of India and remaining through Haj Group Organisers.

This year more than 2100 Muslim women will go to Haj without “Mehram” (male companion), he added.

A total of 650 trainers participated in this training programme. They will provide training to Haj pilgrims in their respective states regarding Haj pilgrimage, accommodation in Makkah and Madina, transport, health facilities, safety measures etc.


These trainers include a large number of women trainers also.

Officials from Haj Committee of India, Customs, Air India, Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation, various banks, disaster management agencies and other departments informed the trainers about the entire Haj process.

On the occasion, Naqvi also inaugurated Civil Services Learning Centre, Guest Rooms, Training Hall etc in Haj House, Mumbai.

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