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6. If CM Mamata meets PM Modi it will be about…

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6. If CM Mamata meets PM Modi it will be about…
6. If CM Mamata meets PM Modi it will be about…
  • Mamata in Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is in Delhi on a four-day visit during which she is likely to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi besides attending a NITI Aayog session.
  • Meeting Modi: There is no official word from either side but Mamata is likely to meet PM Modi when the entire Opposition is going after the Modi government, disrupting the monsoon session of Parliament alleging that the Centre is using agencies such as ED to settle political scores with the rival parties. Of the 20 suspended Rajya Sabha MPs, a maximum seven belonged to her party.
  • Trouble in Bengal: Mamata’s Delhi visit is happening when her government is battling a crisis after the ED arrested then-minister Partha Chatterjee in a money laundering case linked to school jobs scam in Bengal. Mamata had to sack him, and also Paresh Adhikary, her minister of state for education.
  • Forced reshuffle: Recently, actor-turned-BJP leader Mithun Chakraborty claimed that 38 TMC leaders were in touch with his party, indicating dissent in Mamata’s party. With the school jobs scam and subsequent ED probe against her ministers, Mamata was forced to rejig her cabinet.
  • NITI Aayog’s session is scheduled for Sunday. She had skipped the previous NITI Aayog session amid political tussle with the BJP.
  • Vice Presidential polls are scheduled for Saturday. TMC has decided to abstain as most of her party MPs were against supporting Congress’s candidate Margaret Alva. But then, TMC had an acrimonious relationship with BJP’s nominee, Jagdeep Dhankhar, who was the Bengal governor.
  • There is speculation that following Dhankhar’s personal appeal to Mamata and a meeting with PM Modi, she may change her party’s stand on the Vice Presidential election.

RBI’s monetary policy decision to be announced; Congress to hold nationwide protest against price rise & unemployment; SC to hear AAP’s plea challenging postponement of Delhi civic polls; Delhi HC to hear plea for a complete ban on Chinese manjha; Pro-Kabbadi League auctions

1. Stage set for next CJI
1. Stage set for next CJI
Chief Justice of India N V Ramana on Thursday set in motion the process of appointment of his successor by recommending the name of Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, the most senior judge, to the Centre.

CJI’s tenure

  • The CJI personally handed over the copy of his letter of recommendation to Justice Lalit.
  • Justice Ramana, the 48th CJI who took over from S A Bobde on April 24, 2021, is scheduled to demit office on August 26 after a tenure of over 16 months.
  • Justice Lalit, who would be appointed head of the judiciary on August 27, will have a tenure of less than three months. He retires on November 8 this year.

From Bar to Bench

  • If appointed, Justice Lalit will become the second CJI who was directly elevated to the apex court Bench from the Bar. Justice S M Sikri, who became the 13th CJI in January 1971, was the first lawyer to be elevated directly to the top court bench in March 1964.

Landmark verdicts

  • Justice Lalit has been part of several landmark judgements including the one of August 2017 which held the practice of divorce through instant ‘triple talaq’ among Muslims illegal and unconstitutional.
  • Quashing the controversial ‘skin-to-skin’ judgments of the Bombay High Court in two cases, Justice Lalit had ruled that touching sexual parts of a child’s body or any act involving physical contact with ‘sexual intent’ amounts to ‘sexual assault’ under section 7 of the POCSO Act.
  • A bench headed by Justice Lalit had also ruled that the erstwhile royal family of Travancore has the management right over the historic Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala, one of the richest shrines.
2. It stays Uddhav’s Sena … for now
2. It stays Uddhav’s Sena … for now
  • A breather: Fighting to keep control over Shiv Sena, Uddhav Thackeray got a breather from the Supreme Court, which told the Election Commission on Thursday not to decide rebel leader and Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde’s plea seeking recognition for his group as the real Sena.
  • Until when: The SC will hear the matter on August 8 to decide whether the matter needs to be referred to a constitution bench. The decision is likely to set a timeframe for the future of Uddhav Thackeray’s control over Shiv Sena.
  • Shinde claims that the Sena faction he controls is the real Shiv Sena. He said the courts shouldn’t interfere with internal party decisions “taken democratically by majority”, and that the EC should settle the dispute. Shinde said, “A group of 15 MLAs cannot call a group of 39 as rebels. It is in fact the other way around.”
  • Thackeray argues that the EC can’t decide which group represents the Shiv Sena until there is clarity on the disqualification of rebel Sena MLAs. He said the Shinde group is trying to “illegally cobble up numbers and fabricate an artificial majority in the organisation”.
  • The Election Commission had earlier asked both the Sena factions to submit evidence to back their claims by August 8 before it examined the matter.
  • The Sena crisis began when about 40 of the 55 party MLAs hopped from Maharashtra to Gujarat, then to Assam and finally to Goa in July, and unseated Uddhav as CM.
  • The case stems from Thackeray challenging the governor’s direction for a trust vote for the Shinde government, which it won with the backing of the BJP, the single-largest party in the assembly. Uddhav has contended that the rebels defied the party whip and were liable for disqualification.
3. The fire and fury over Pelosi’s visit
3. The fire and fury over Pelosi’s visit
More than 100 Chinese military aircraft, including fighters and bombers, were deployed and live missiles fired in the PLA’s biggest-ever exercise in the Taiwan Strait, a day after US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a solidarity trip to the self-ruled island.

A strong warning

  • “The US-Taiwan collusion and provocation will only push Taiwan towards the abyss of disaster, bringing catastrophe to Taiwan compatriots,” said a Chinese defence ministry spokesperson. Beijing claims the island as part of its territory and vows to reunite it with the mainland, if needed, using force.
  • PLA Eastern Theatre Command said it conducted precision strikes in specific areas over the east of the Taiwan Strait on Thursday, as part of planned exercises set to run until Sunday. It also activated over 10 warships, state broadcaster CCTV said.

Deadly missiles

  • Taiwan said 11 Chinese Dongfeng ballistic missiles had been fired in nearby waters – the first time since 1996 – while Japan protested that five missiles appeared to land in its economic zone.
  • Taipei said the drills violated United Nations rules, invaded its space and threatened free air and sea navigation. Updates here
4. Why Allahabad HC refused bail to Kappan
4. Why Allahabad HC refused bail to Kappan
  • Jail, not bail: Noting that “the State machinery was at tenterhooks owing to the tension prevailing due to various types of information being viral across all forums of media including the internet”, the Allahabad High Court on Thursday refused to grant bail to journalist Siddique Kappan, who was arrested in October 2020 along with three others while on his way to report on the Hathras gang-rape of a 19-year old Dalit girl.
  • Company he kept: Rejecting Kappan’s plea “that he is a journalist and only owing to his professional duty, he wanted to visit the place of Hathras incident”, the court added that “the said sojourn of the applicant with co-accused persons who do not belong to media fraternity is a crucial circumstance going against him.”
  • Taint of money: The court also rejected Kappan’s argument that the money in his account was his hard earned money and had no relation with any offence as he was an honest and law abiding journalist, observing that the possibility of “tainted money being used by the applicant and his colleagues cannot be ruled out.”
  • Guilty? Citing a Supreme Court judgement in the Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali case — which ruled that “the Court is not supposed to delve into the admissibility and inadmissibility of documentary and oral evidence at the stage of bail” — the high court, saying that bail application was “devoid of merits”, observed that “a perusal of the charge-sheet and documents adduced, prima facie reveal that the applicant has committed the offence.”
7. Why Navy calls this a ‘historic’ mission…
7. Why Navy calls this a ‘historic’ mission…
In a rare feat, five women officers of the Indian Navy carried out the first independent maritime reconnaissance and surveillance mission in the North Arabian Sea onboard a Dornier aircraft.

The crew

  • The aircraft was captained by Mission Commander, Lt Commander Aanchal Sharma, and other members of the team are Lt Shivangi and Lt Apurva Gite (both pilots), and tactical and sensor officers, Lt Pooja Panda and Sub Lt Pooja Shekhawat.
  • They were attached to INAS 314, a frontline naval air squadron based at Porbandar, Gujarat, which operates the state-of-the-art Dornier 228 maritime reconnaissance aircraft.
  • The women officers received months of ground training and comprehensive mission briefings in the run-up to the sortie.

The mission

  • The Navy described the mission conducted by the women officers on Wednesday as “historic”.
  • According to Commander Vivek Madhwal, spokesperson of the Indian Navy, this is expected to pave the way for women officers in the aviation cadre to assume greater responsibility and aspire for more challenging roles.

Previous feats

  • He said the Navy’s pioneering women empowerment initiatives include induction of women pilots, selection of women air operations officers into the helicopter stream and conducting an all-women sailing circumnavigation expedition across the globe in 2018.
8. Come clean on Coronil, Delhi HC tells Ramdev
8. Come clean on Coronil, Delhi HC tells Ramdev
Coming down heavily on yoga teacher Ramdev, the Delhi High Court (HC), while refusing to accept his clarification on his statements against allopathy and in favour of Patanjali’s product Coronil — as a cure for Covid-19 — noted that the clarification issued “seems to be more like a pat on the back…on the defendants back. This is like a disclaimer, rather than a clarification.”

What Ramdev said…and unsaid

  • A petition moved by various doctors’ associations accuses Ramdev of spreading misinformation that allopathy was causing Covid-19 and thus, people should avoid getting hospitalised. Last month, he had informed the court that a mutually agreed text for clarification could be presented before the court.
  • On Thursday, he informed the court that he had already “tendered an apology about what was said about the allopathic doctors. We have retracted, it’s been tweeted and published” and added that he failed to understand why it was “turning out to be a battle” about Coronil.

Court’s rejoinder

  • Berating him for giving “the public two impressions” — one of which was that allopathic doctors don’t have a cure” as “they are themselves dying of the disease” and “two, that coronil itself is a treatment and cure”, the HC said that “the idea is to be clear in your communication. Words have to express the thought, not conceal it. Look at the way it’s drafted, the thought, if there is bona fide thought, then it’s concealed.”
  • The court also dismissed Ramdev’s argument of the Centre’s Ayush Ministry recommending Coronil for Covid-19 management protocol, saying that “nobody is going by what the Ministry says, so far as the public perception is concerned” and added that what the ministry says is not a “subject of interest to the public.”
9. It’s Breaking Bad in Mumbai
9. It’s Breaking Bad in Mumbai
  • Breaking Bad in Mumbai: As India is running a 75-day drug eradication campaign — ending on August 15 — the Mumbai police have busted a ‘Breaking Bad’-type drugs manufacturing unit. The police arrested a chemistry graduate for running a narcotic drug-making unit from Palghar, in a real life imitation of the popular American TV series, ‘Breaking Bad’. The popular TV series shows a chemistry teacher turning into the meth-making business.
  • Drug haul: This is one of the biggest drug seizures by authorities — more than 700 kilograms of mephedrone worth Rs 1,400 crore. The Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) of the Mumbai crime branch conducted the raid at the drug manufacturing unit in Nalasopara of Palghar district.
  • Chemistry grad: The police arrested five persons following the raid on Thursday. While four of the accused were arrested in Mumbai, one person was held in Nalasopara. The accused arrested from Nalasopara is a post-graduate in organic chemistry and used his skill to make drugs,
  • The police had received specific inputs before raising the drug manufacturing unit. The ANC team that raided the premises found mephedrone, a banned drug, was being manufactured.
  • Mephedrone, also known as ‘meow meow’ or MD, is a synthetic stimulant a psychotropic substance banned under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
  • Two days ago, the police announced the arrest of two persons with the seizure of a drug haul worth Rs 362 crore from a shipping container linked to Afghanistan and the UAE.
  • India against drugs: Union Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah recently said as part of the drug eradication campaign, the authorities destroyed 31,000 kg on July 30. He estimated that by August 15, the quantity will reach one lakh kg with an estimated black market value of around Rs 3,000 crore.

Amazon. The ecommerce giant was fined Rs 1 lakh by the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) for allowing sale of pressure cookers on its portal in violation of mandatory standards. It was directed to issue a recall of all the 2,265 cookers and refund the money — over Rs 6 lakh — to the consumers within 45 days. Started by Jeff Bezos, who’s worth $163 billion, it was initially named Cadabra — from abracadabra, the word used in magic shows — before finally settling for Amazon after the South American river.

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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Tejeesh Nippun Singh, Jayanta Kalita, Prabhash K Dutta
Research: Rajesh Sharma

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