Reading Time: 9 mins Recently, the report by The Wall Street Journal highlighting the challenges of monitoring content with a large social media userbase specifically in a country like India went viral. The report claimed that Ankhi Das, Facebook’s top public policy executive in India “opposed applying hate-speech rules” to at least four individuals and groups linked with the BJP, despite they or their post being “flagged internally for promoting or participating in violence.” According to the policy called “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations”, content that praises or supports activity such as “organized hate, mass murder, hate crimes, or terrorist attacks” is to be banned. Owing to this policy, Facebook employees reportedly found that the account of one of the individuals – Telangana BJP MLA T Raja Singh – should have been banned. However, the employees were pulled back from doing so by Ankhi Das claiming “punishing the violations” done by the politicians “would damage the company’s business prospects in the country”.
Reading Time: 6 mins The Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B) recently proposed bringing under its purview the contents that are streamed on Over-the-top platforms (OTTs). There is a debate going on over the content on the OTTs, its regulation and the lack of it. In the light of the pandemic lockdown, when the traditional means of entertainment like Theatre are unavailable and consumer is largely moving towards these OTT platforms, some experts believe there is a scope for regulating the OTT content.
Reading Time: 8 mins In a judgment that would remove ambiguity in Hindu women’s inheritance rights after the amendment to the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, the Supreme Court in its Vineeta Sharma Vs Rakesh Sharma case held that a Hindu Women’s right to be a joint heir to the ancestral property is by birth. It comes in the backdrop of various judgments providing contradictory views on the 2005 amendment and clears the confusion.
Reading Time: 7 mins The Supreme Court, recently, reversed the Kerala High Court judgment of 2011 in the Padmanabha Swamy temple case and upheld the right of the Travancore Royal Family to manage the property of deity at Shree Padmanabha Swamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram. This is another historic apex court judgment with respect to the debate of legal-constitutional-state interference in the religious sphere after the Sabarimala Case.
Reading Time: 12 mins The US is currently having tense relations with the UN bodies; the most recent among them is the UN Human Rights Council after it passed a resolution that condemned discriminatory and violent policing and ordered a report on systemic racism against people of African descent. The Council failed to hold the US accountable for its police’s blatant violation of human rights by not calling for an investigation on Floyd’s death and other similar cases. The US has already left the Council in 2018 after accusing it of its various deficiencies. The lack of strong democratic representation has led to a better representation of authoritarian governments, which have the worst human rights records, to change the narrative of the global human rights norms. Currently, the forum is used by countries like Pakistan as a political tool with no consideration of human rights. Reforms and cooperation, rather than walking out of forums, are necessary steps to address issues like human rights.
Reading Time: 5 mins Recently, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) published its World Freedom Index 2020. It was widely discussed in India as India has dropped by two places to 142 out of 180 countries this year. India is already under a lot of criticism because of the thwarting of media voice and being unsafe for journalists. The poor ranking by RSF only strengthened the ongoing fears of journalism being unsafe in this country.
Reading Time: 5 mins On February 2020, a Lok Sabha MP stated that the government should immediately put all issues pertaining to reservations for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution so that they are not challenged in the court. This statement comes days after the Supreme Court ruled that the reservation in the matter of promotions of the public post was not a fundamental right and that a state cannot be compelled to offer quota if it chooses not to. The Ninth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, since its enactment, remains a contentious issue as its constitutionality is questioned.
Reading Time: 5 mins Section 144 CrPC was invoked by the police forces across the country to contain the nation-wide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. It is widely criticised for it conferring almost unbridled powers upon the executive officers. There are no limitations to the powers given to the executive officers and the concepts within this provision is too broad to make them accountable for their actions. Reforming this provision, in this regard, to gain public trust is necessary to ensure the balance between national security and democratic rights.
Reading Time: 5 mins The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 was passed by both houses of parliament and came into effect on 15 January 2016. This act was under public scrutiny because of the provision that provided for the consideration of the 16-18 year olds as adults in case of them indulging in heinous crimes.