Supreme Court Current Affairs

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SC refuses to pass judgment on Jallikattu before Pongal

The Supreme Court has rejected a plea urging it to pass judgement on Jallikattu before the harvest festival of Pongal. It had also dismissed the review petition against its 2014 verdict.

Earlier, the apex court had questioned the Union Government for its January 2016 notification allowing use of bulls in events like Jallikattu, saying that its 2014 verdict banning the use of the animals cannot be negated.

About Jallikattu

  • Jallikattu is a bull taming or bull vaulting sport played in Tamil Nadu on Mattu Pongal day as a part of Pongal celebrations i.e. harvest festival. It is one of the oldest living ancient tradition practiced in the modern era.
  • Jallikattu has been derived from the words ‘calli’ (coins) and ‘kattu’ (tie), which means a bundle of coins is tied to the bull’s horns.
  • In the ancient Sangam literature the sport has been called as ‘Yeru thazhuvuthal’ (means to embrace bulls). In older times Jallikattu was popular amongst warriors during the Tamil classical period.
  • The bull tamer sought to remove this bundle from the animal’s head to win gold or silver coins to be called ‘brave’ and ‘valourous’.
  • All castes participate in the event and majority of jallikattu and bulls used for the sport belong to the pulikulam breed of cattle.
Supreme Court Ban
  • The Supreme Court had banned Jallikattu in May 2014 and held that bulls could not be used as performing animals. It completely banned use of bulls for Jallikattu events or bullock-cart races across the country.
  • The ban was imposed by SC as it violated provisions of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCAA), 1960; fundamental duty Article 51A (g): compassion towards animal; Article 21 (Right to Life), which prohibits any disturbance to the environment, including animals as it is considered essential for human life.
  • It also had held that Jallikattu has nothing to do with exercise of the fundamental right of religious freedom. It also runs counter to the concept of welfare of the animal, which is the basic foundation of the PCAA.

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Union Government forms committee to look into Haj subsidy issue

The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs has decided to set up a six-member committee to look into the Hajj subsidy issue.

The decision has been taken in light of a 2012 Supreme Court order on gradually reducing and abolishing subsidy given to pilgrims by 2022.

Key Facts
  • The committee will figure out whether the pilgrims can travel to Saudi Arabia paying less in the absence of such subsidy.
  • It will look into the subject whether giving subsidy has any benefits. It will engage all the stakeholders concerned before submitting its report.
What is the issue?

The Union Government gives Haj subsidy to Indian Muslim Hajj pilgrims in the form of airfare subsidy as well as assistance to pilgrims for domestic travel to reach specially designed haj departure airport terminals. In 2012, the Supreme Court had directed the Union Government to gradually reduce and abolish Haj subsidy by 2022. It had ordered government to invest the subsidy amount (approximately Rs 650 crore a year then) on educational and social development of the community.

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SC wants VVPAT in EVMs for fair elections

The Supreme Court has reiterated the necessity to implement the Vote Verifier Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in electronic voting machines (EVMs) to ensure 100% transparency in elections.

This is the second time the Supreme Court has directed Election Commission (EC) for the implementation of VVPAT in EVMs. Earlier in 2013, SC had directed the EC to introduce VVPAT in a phased manner for 2014 general elections. SC had observed that VVPAT will ensure free and fair polls and help in sorting out disputes. In response the EC had informed the apex court that the VVPAT can be introduced in a phased manner.

What is VVPAT?

The VVPAT system is a new initiative of the Election Commission to ensure free and fair elections. In the VVPAT system, when a voter presses the button for a candidate of his choice in the electronic voting machines (EVM), a paper ballot containing the serial number, name of the candidate and poll symbol will be printed for the voter. It is intended as an independent verification system for EVM designed to (i) allow voters to verify that their votes are casted correctly, (ii) detect possible election fraud or malfunction and (iii) Provide a means to audit the stored electronic results.
vvpat

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