In the Nirbhaya rape case, which took place about a couple of years ago in Delhi, the juvenile accused got away with a three-year term, that too in a reformation home. There was significant uproar against this verdict with a lot of people questioning its justifiability. The administration at that time had expressed its helplessness saying its hands were tied by the laws. However, now the government looks set to amend the laws governing the trial and punishment of the juveniles accused of heinous crimes.
Cabinet okays Bill for reducing juvenile age in serious crimes
The Bill named Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014 has been approved by the Union Cabinet and it is expected that the minimum age of juveniles will now be lowered to 16. As per this Bill, juveniles can now be tried in cases of accusations such as rape and murder brought against them. In such instances, they shall be regarded at par with adults – this implies that they can be given life sentence or death penalty in case they are proven to be guilty. However, perhaps as a form of control, the Juvenile Justice Board has been given the authority to determine if the concerned case is serious enough for a juvenile to be regarded and tried as an adult.
Mizoram Governor Kamla Beniwal sacked
Looks like Kamla Beniwal is perhaps getting an idea of what happens when someone tries to act tough with Narendra Modi. Right after the latter rose to the position of India’s Prime Minister, Beniwal was relieved of her position as the Governor of Gujarat and asked to see out the remainder of her term in Mizoram. That happened a month back. Now she has been given the sack from her present position as well. It needs to be noted in this respect that the beleaguered administrator had a couple of months left of her term before the administration thought otherwise.
Her place has now been taken by VK Duggal, who will take care of his gubernatorial duties in Manipur as well. Duggal will be on duty till the time a new Governor is appointed. Beniwal is 87 years old, hails from Rajasthan and was a Congress leader. During her tenure as Gujarat Governor she had clashed with Modi regarding appointment of Lokayukta as well as some other laws. In fact, Beniwal is not the only victim of the Modi administration’s decision to sack Governors, most of who had been appointed by the Congress. As a result of this spate of changes now most of the Governors are handling more than one State, something which cannot be called the ideal scenario.
Government delays decision to do away with collegium system
A few days back the Union Law Ministry had proposed to change the collegium system of appointing judges, which is basically a referral of sorts, in order to improve the way judges are appointed in India. However, now that has come to pass as the Indian government has delayed the Bill pertaining to this proposal. The Bill was discussed but then it was felt that more issues needed to be considered before further action on it could be taken. The proposal has been named National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2014.
As per this proposal, the Constitution needs to be changed so that the new body, which is supposed to be led by the Chief Justice of India, can be set up. The Bill proposes that there be six members in the alternative body. Apart from the CJI, there would be two judges from the apex judicial body of India – the Supreme Court – in the new body. It will also have the Union Law Minister as well as a couple of famous individuals who are most likely to be bureaucrats. The judiciary is wary regarding the future of this body and this is why it shall be accorded a constitutional status.
Indian government allows FDI in defence and railways
As part of its agenda of reformation, the Indian government has provided its consent to greater foreign direct investment (FDI) in key sectors such as defence and railways. From now on any international entity will be allowed to invest a maximum of 49% in defence. This is, however, the first time perhaps that FDI is being allowed in railways. Narendra Modi, whose dream it is to modernize the country, led the Cabinet meeting where the decisions were taken.
Previously, the maximum limit for FDI in the defence sector was 26 per cent and the condition in this case was that in any joint venture for making equipment the control will be with the Indians. However, the changes in the railway sector FDI are worthy of attention. 100 per cent FDI has been allowed in case of certain areas such as high speed trains, freight projects and development of rail network in suburban areas. These will be done in the public-private partnership (PPP) method. These plans had been announced when Arun Jaitley presented the 2014-15 budget.
India to take part in BASIC ministerial meet from August 7-8
India is slated to attend the 18th edition of the BASIC Ministerial Meeting that will take place from August 7 to 8. BASIC comprises four countries, namely, Brazil, India, South Africa and China. This meeting will see discussion on the climate change negotiations going on at UNFCCC and the focus will specifically be on matters related to the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Durban Platform. India will be represented by Prakash Javadekar – the Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change – at the meeting.
China will be sending Zenhua, vice-chairman and minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, and Brazil will be represented by Ms. Texeira, minister of environment. Ms. Molewa, minister of environmental affairs, will be coming on behalf of South Africa. The previous edition of the meeting was staged at Hangzhou in China during October 2013. With this meeting it is expected that the environment ministers of the participating nations shall receive a commendable platform to increase mutual cooperation on critical issues regarding negotiations on dealing with climate change.