Implementation, Viable Alternatives Need Political Will For Plastic Ban To Succeed

India | Environment
The lack of alternatives to plastic for packing goods sold at stores across Maharashtra have led to the first major backtracking move by the State government which has relaxed the ban on plastics for general and grocery stores. Several shopkeeper associations had approached Maharashtra’s Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam and complained about the situation.

East Turns Stumbling Block For ‘Un’Civil Society

Indo-China | Diplomacy
“Doing good work does not give Civil Society groups immunity from laws,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while defending the Indian government’s crackdown on foreign-funded NGOs. This, simply put, summed up the mood of the moment: That India, under the present-day Modi government, was no longer going to put up with illegality.

Elephanta Island Gets Powerful, Finally

India | Development
Elephanta Island aka Gharapuri is in the news and for all the wrong reasons. That the Elephanta Island, known for housing UNESCO World Heritage Site Elephanta Caves and receives more than 20 lakh footfalls of tourists annually, was shrouded in darkness every night for years on end – 70 in all - dashing all hopes and aspirations of progress for the 1,200 islanders living in three villages on the island didn’t quite qualify as news for the mainstream media.

The Mining Story

India | Policy
Mining has always been controversy’s child all over the world, and in India too. The stories we see and read in mainstream media are mostly those related to environmental damage, human rights violations, and health issues caused by mining activities. However, the significance of mining for development of a nation, industries and employment opportunities is hardly talked about. Mining industry provides employment to 0.7 million individuals in India.

Law On Rape Of Minors Is Populist, Must Be Inclusive

India | Gender
Of all offences, it’s the crime of rape that fires public sentiment the most, eliciting an outrage that exceeds the seemingly worst felony of all - murder too. It has probably more to do with the offence and associated gory details staying, even being replayed ruthlessly in memory with continual mention and recall that compound its severity. It’s this outrage that offsets any chance of the very objectivity needed to tackle the issue. The Kathua crime followed by the most recent Ordinance on ‘child’ rape, being a case in point.

Slow But Steady Upgrades In Gender Law

India | Gender
The recent rape incidents in Kathua and Unnao in Jammu & Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh respectively, have once again brought the issue of women’s safety in India to the forefront. These incidents garnered global attention, albeit negative, of national and international media with some groups allegedly even donning T-shirts across the world warning women to not visit India. The Kathua rape and murder case, in particular, brought back memories of the Nirbhaya rape case and triggered widespread protests.

Stunned By Law Mine, Goa Govt Treads Gingerly

India | Policy
In a breather for the mining industry, the Supreme Court on April 4, 2018, allowed the export of iron ore from loading points on river jetties while disposing a joint special leave application filed by Vedanta Resources and another local mining company. The Apex Court bench of Justice Madan Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta maintained the iron ore for which royalty has been paid to the state government and has been extracted on or before March 15 this year, should be allowed to be transported. Senior advocate Shyam Divan and Kapil Sibal, appearing for the firms, had argued those ores were excavated prior to March 15 and firms had statutory approvals for export.

Mumbai's Metro Battles Activists, Fears, Divine Fury

India | Development
The storm is yet to die out over the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited's (MMRC) taking over 30 hectares of the famed Aarey colony, a green belt of Mumbai, when another application has come in from MMRC demanding another 12,000 sq metres of land.

Legislature, Judiciary at Loggerheads

India | Law
The legislature in India often finds itself in a Catch22 situation with having to contend with the judiciary’s interpretation of a situation. Like the union government’s concern for ‘drunken driving and road safety’ issues. A Supreme Court (SC) order swiftly struck down a union government ‘Model Policy’ created to put into place rules to assuage the central government’s concern for public health, while dodging clear of states’ excise earnings. The SC said, there is no Fundamental Right under Article 19(1)(g) to trade in liquor: Liquor has been regarded as res extra commercium as decided in several judgements that include State of Bihar v Nirmal Kumar Gupta (2013), and a series of others.

Denial, Willed In Life, Is Not Suicide

India | Law
The Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the right of a person to make a Living Will, while hearing a petition by a registered society ‘Common Cause’, has underlined the inevitable. The petition concerned the right of a person to decide on the chain of events that would determine the future course of treatment should that person become incapable of making such a decision.