Constitution & Law Current Affairs - 2019

Summary of latest bill and acts passed or pending in 2019 in Parliament of India with their salient features and issues for Current Affairs 2019 preparation for various examinations such as UPSC, SSC, State Civil Services, CLAT, Judicial Services etc.

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SC Verdict: Foreigners Tribunal decision will prevail over NRC

The Supreme Court of India has held that a Foreigner Tribunal’s order declaring a person as an illegal foreigner will be binding and will prevail over government decision to include or exclude name from National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.

Key Highlights

  • Argument: The SC bench constituted of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi and SC Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna unanimously distinguished between decisions of NRC) and of foreigners tribunals and upheld that the tribunal’s order being the quasi-judicial one will prevail.
  • Verdict: As per SC the persons whose names are not included in NRC in Assam can produce documents including ones related to their family tree and thus seek review of tribunal’s decision. As per SC it cannot create an appellate forum for those, declared as illegal foreigners by the foreigners tribunal, by using its power under Article 142 of Indian Constitution.
  • Outcome: If the name of a person, included in NRC in Assam is deleted on ground that he was a foreigner, then principle of ‘res-judicata’ (a judicially decided issue cannot be re-agitated) would apply on decision taken by foreigners tribunal. Thus a person who has been declared an illegal immigrant cannot seek re-decision (right of appeal) against exclusion or dropping of his name in normal circumstances.

About Foreigners (Tribunal) Order, 1964

  • The order was passed by Government of India (GoI) under section 3 of foreigners Act, 1946.
  • The GoI can constitute foreigners tribunals whenever required to look into question of whether a person is or not a foreigner within the meaning of Foreigners Tribunals act, 1946.
  • The Foreigners tribunal shall consist of persons having judicial experience as government may think fit to appoint.
  • It has powers of a civil court while trying a suit under code of civil procedure, 1908. It includes summoning any person, requiring any document and issuing commissions for examination of any witness.

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Plea for Lifting Ban on Muslim Women’s Entry into Mosques in SC

The Supreme Court on Tuesday admitted for consideration a plea by a couple to lift the ban on Muslim women’s entry into mosques across the country.

Based on the plea by a Pune-based Muslim couple the Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Centre, the Waqf  Board and the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB).

What are the arguments made by the Petitioner?

  • Banning the entry of women into Mosques violates Articles 14 (Equality), 15 (Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth), 21 (Protection of life and personal liberty), 25 (Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion) and 29 (Protection of interests of minorities) of the Constitution.
  • Bar on Muslim women entry to mosques was violative of Article 44 of the Constitution of India, which encourages the State to secure a Uniform Civil Code for all citizens, by eliminating discrepancies between various personal laws currently in force in the country.
  • The petition also laid emphasis on the apex court’s Sabarimala verdict where the Supreme Court had lifted the ban on entry of women into Kerala’s Sabarimala temple stating “Religion cannot be used as cover to deny rights of worship to women and it is also against human dignity. Prohibition on women is due to non-religious reasons and it is a grim shadow of discrimination going on for centuries”.

Accepting the petition the Supreme Court had said that “We are only hearing you, and maybe will hear you in the future, because of Sabarimala Judgment.”

Current Situation

At present women are allowed to offer prayers at mosques under the Jamaat-e-Islami and Mujahid denominations and women are barred from mosques under the predominant Sunni faction. Even in mosques where women are allowed, there are separate entrances and enclosures for worship for men and women.

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