Writing the judgment for a three-judge bench, Justice N V Ramana distinguished between the internet as a tool and freedom of expression through the medium of internet. The SC did not examine whether access to the internet is a fundamental right as the issue was not raised by petitioners. However, it held that “freedom of speech and expression through the medium of internet is an integral part of Article 19(1)(a)“, under which the constitution treats it as a fundamental right.
Crux of the Matter
As internetusers in India reached 627 million in 2019, SC acknowledged how difficult it is to get out of the web of the internet.
SC added that humans might not remember but the internet does not forget and does not let humans forget either.
The bench said that in the digital world, preservation is the norm as the footprints always remain.
The reports also stated that since the internet has become fundamental to daily activities of citizens, it shall be treated as a fundamental right like the right to access of water.
The SC dealt with this issue in its judgement last week, while testing the validity of its decision to shut down internet services in J&K after August 5, when the state was stripped of its special status and divided into twoUnion Territories.
Digital Rights are those human rights and legal rights that allow individuals to access, use, create, and publish digital media or to access and use computers, other electronic devices, and telecommunications networks. The concept is particularly related to the protection and realization of existing rights, such as the right to privacy and freedom of expression, in the context of digital technologies, especially the Internet. The laws of several countries recognize a right to Internet access. A number of human rights have been identified as relevant with regard to the Internet. These include freedom of expression, data protection and privacy freedom of association. More Info
2019 has witnessed some reforms centered around the Muslims of India. If Triple Talaq and Education & Haj Schemes lifted the spirits of the Muslim Community, Abrogation of Article 370, Ram Janmabhoomi – Babri Masjid Land Dispute, and Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 may have balanced out the sentiments of the community. Let us dive deeper into how different policies, acts, and decisions shaped the outlook.
Crux of the Matter
Triple Talaq Criminalised Family Affairs of the Muslim Community of India are governed by Muslim Personal Law. Triple Talaq or Talaq-e-biddat is a practice pronounced in the Sharia Law. Muslim marriages permit divorce if either spouse announces ‘Talaq’ thrice. There have been contentious issues revolving around the time that ought to be given between each announcement, the right of Muslim women to pronounce Triple Talaq, and the responsibility of the financial security of the family. Historically, Ulamas – Muslim scholars – have held opposing views about it. Some modern-day Muslim scholars have said that despite being hollow on legal grounds, this law is binding. We must note that Triple Talaq is banned in Islamic countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc.
Supreme Court, in 2017, rendered the practice of Triple Talaq unconstitutional. 2 members, who opposed the ban on Triple Talaq, of the 5-judge bench had, however, recommended that the decision be passed as a law in the Parliament. On 26 July 2019, Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill was passed. It stated that “instant Triple Talaq” announced in whatever form – written, spoken or via Email or SMS, will be considered illegal and stand void. The husband, who announced it, could be imprisoned up to three years.
This law, on the grounds of constitutionality and human rights, was hailed by Muslim women of India. Muslim Scholars and Incumbents also welcomed the government’s decision. AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi objected to the imprisonment clause of the Bill and said that the Bill did not meet its primary objective of safeguarding women’s security, chiefly financial. The government stood their ground and said that the victimization of women would be reduced.
In a state where 67% of the population is Muslim, a chill ran across the community with the abrogation of Article 370. Some Muslims were apprehensive that scrapping of the Act would invite a lot of outsiders to settle in the state and were of the opinion that their privilege was lost in an unconstitutional manner. Whereas, some Muslims praised the decision of the government and asserted that the discrimination against them will no longer exist and their children will have access to better education and economy.
On a different note, the Indian government received criticism for the way in which the whole operation was carried out. Internet shutdown and curb on mobile and telephone services were major contentions for the government.
Do only Muslims live in Jammu and Kashmir? No Hindus? No Buddhists? Why is it viewed like that? It has been abrogated for veryone and not only for Muslims.
– Amit Shah on abrogation of Article 370
Ayodhya Land Dispute The long-standing Ayodhya Land Verdict that divided Hindus and Muslims of India came in the year 2019 with the Supreme Court stating that the land would be given to Hindus for Ram temple construction and Muslims will get a 5-acre land at a different place to build a mosque.
AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi opposed the SC ordered and said, “There has been discrimination against Muslims and no one can deny it. We are fighting for our legal rights.”. Many Muslims were affirmative about upholding SC’s decision as it was based on evidence and rationale.
Citizenship Amendment Act Interpretation of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 and the speculation of the National Register of Citizens by some has shaped apprehension that the process is a concentrated effort to drive out Muslims of the country. The Act now provides citizenship to illegal immigrants from certain religiously persecuted minorities.
Ruling party BJP has time and again asserted that the law will not affect the citizens of India. Home Minster Amit Shah said, “In this Bill, there is no proposal to touch the citizenship of any Muslim,”.
Government Policies In the year 2019 BJP 2.0 has launched and revamped various policies for the upliftment of Muslims. In the Education sector, the government notified merit-cum-means, pre-matric, post-matric, and various other scholarships for minority communities that also include Muslims. The government also started trained more than 750 teachers from Madras so that they can also impart formal education. “Besides traditional teachings in Madrasa, Urdu, Arabic and other languages, Madrasa teachers are also being provided training for mainstream formal education like Hindi, Maths, English, Science, Computer, regional languages etc. These teachers are being provided training from reputed institutions of the country such as IIT, Aligarh Muslim University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Jamia Hamdard, Anjuman-e-Islam, Amity University and other reputed educational institutes,” said Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
Government also took interest in digitizing the entire Haj process so as to give the travelers a transparent process. India launched E-MASIHA, an acronym for E Medical Assistance System for Indian Pilgrims Abroad. It was a database of Indian pilgrims’ health conditions. A record-breaking 2 lakh Muslims had visited Haj in 2019.
Waqf properties across India were also brought under digitization by the Indian government. Government has a target of geo-tagging as many as 6 lakh Waqf properties to ensure better utilization of them.
Triple talaq, also known as talaq-e-biddat, instant divorce and talaq-e-mughallazah (irrevocable divorce), was a form of Islamic divorce which has been used by Muslims in India, especially adherents of Hanafi Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence. It allowed any Muslim man to legally divorce his wife by uttering the word talaq (the Arabic word for “divorce”) three times in oral, written or, more recently, electronic form. More Info
The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims. It is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their family during their absence. More Info
A waqf, also known as hubous or mortmain property, is an inalienable charitable endowment under Islamic law, which typically involves donating a building, plot of land or other assets for Muslim religious or charitable purposes with no intention of reclaiming the assets. The donated assets may be held by a charitable trust. The person making such dedication is known as waqif, a donor. More Info
India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test-fired a 3500-kilometre range nuclear-capable missile that can be launched from a submarine on Sunday. The test of the K-4 ballistic missile took place off the coast of Andhra Pradesh.
Crux of the Matter
In November 2019, India formally declared its nuclear triad stated in its nuclear doctrine operational after INS Arihant completed its first deterrence patrol.
The missile is planned to be fitted into the indigenously built Arihant-class nuclear-powered submarines of the Indian Navy.
Reports state that the K-4’s circular error of probability (the radius of the missile’s point of impact which is also a measure of the efficacy of its guidance systems) was 40 meters or less. This makes it ideal to strike targets from stand-off ranges.
The missile has been tested several times earlier as part of developmental trials to validate different parameters as per unnamed sources.
“Our Circular Error Probability (CEP) is much more sophisticated than Chinese missiles,” the source said. The CEP determines the accuracy of a missile. The lower the CEP, the more accurate the missile is.
K-4is a nuclear-capable Intermediate-range submarine-launched ballistic missile under development by Defence Research and Development Organisation of India to arm the Arihant-class submarines. The missile has a maximum range of about 3500 km. The development of the K-4 was undertaken after facing significant difficulties in compacting similarly capable Agni-III to equip INS Arihant which has a limited 17-metre (56 ft)-diameter hull. K-4 has a range comparable to Agni-III with major length reduction from 17 metres (56 ft) to 12 metres (39 ft). The gas-booster designed for K-4 was successfully tested from a submerged pontoon in 2010. DRDO stated that the aim of the missile was to achieve high accuracy. The missile is also able to cruise at hypersonic speeds and is manoeuvrable. To defeat ballistic missile defence systems, the K4 can perform three-dimensional manoeuvres. More Info
Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that the government will implement ‘one nation, one ration’ from 1st June 2020. Beneficiaries of the scheme will be able to avail their food grain quota anywhere across the country using one same Ration Card.
Crux of the Matter
The aim of bringing this scheme into action is to reduce the complexities in serving the food grains to beneficiaries entitled under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
“Indian standards are harmonised with international standards, wherever possible. Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has granted about 998 licenses to overseas firms spread across about 51 countries for various products as per Indian standards,” said Ram Vilas Paswan.
Government has already implemented this scheme in 12 states – Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, Haryana, Rajasthan, Tripura, Goa, Jharkhand, and Madhya Pradesh.
So far 75 Crore people have registered. Ration card application will be verified through Aadhaar authentication on the electronic point of sales device.
Public Distribution System– Indian food security system was established by the Government of India under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution to distribute food and non-food items to India’s poor at subsidized rates. This scheme was first started in February 1944, during the Second World War, and was launched in the current form in June 1947. Major commodities distributed include staple food grains, such as wheat, rice, sugar and essential fuels like kerosene, through a network of fair price shops (also known as ration shops) established in several states across the country. Food Corporation of India, a Government-owned corporation, procures and maintains the public distribution system (PDS). More Info