20 February 2021
A) Toolkit case: Disha Ravi sent to judicial custody for 3 days.
A Delhi court Friday sent climate activist Disha Ravi, arrested for allegedly sharing a social media ‘toolkit’ related to the farmers’ protest, to three-day judicial custody. Her bail hearing is due tomorrow. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain sent Ravi, 22, to jail after Delhi Police produced her before the court on expiry of her five-day custodial interrogation. Police said that her custodial interrogation was not required for the time being and the agency may seek her further interrogation once her co-accused Shantanu Mukul and Nikita Jacob join the interrogation. Police said Ravi was evasive during her previous interrogation and tried to shift blame on the co-accused. Mukul and Jacob have been asked to appear before the investigating agency on February 22, the agency told the court. The defence lawyer opposed the police plea and urged the court to release Ravi. He further said that there was an apprehension of tampering of the evidence by police as the case diary is not properly made and in volume form. There is no ground to keep her in any custody, police custody or judicial custody. Ravi ought to be released right now. The court was also informed that the accused has moved a bail application which will come up for hearing on Saturday. Last Sunday, the court had sent Ravi to five-day police custody after it said her custodial interrogation was required to probe an alleged larger conspiracy against the government of India and to ascertain her alleged role relating to the Khalistan movement. Meanwhile, The Delhi High Court Women Lawyers Forum has made a representation before the Supreme Court, urging it to revisit the Constitutional validity of Section 124A (Sedition) of the IPC, in the light of the alleged illegal arrest and detention of climate activist Disha Ravi in connection with the Greta Thunberg ‘toolkit’ case, Livelaw reported.
B) Union Culture Ministry tweets tribute to Hindutva ideologue M.S. Golwalkar.
The Union Ministry of Culture, through its official Twitter handle today paid tribute to Hindutva ideologue and one time head of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) M.S. Golwalkar on his birth anniversary. Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations, said the tweet. Reacting to the tribute, former Culture Secretary and former Prasar Bharati CEO Jawahar Sircar tweeted, As former Culture Secretary, he hang his head in shame to see RSS chief Golwalkar being falsely praised by @MinOfCultureGoI. Golwalkar & RSS opposed Gandhi’s Freedom Struggle. In his ‘Bunch of Thoughts’, Golwalkar opposed India’s tricolour too. Sardar Patel jailed him, banned RSS. In a recent column on Golwalkar, historian Ramachandra Guha had described him as a reactionary bigot, whose ideas and prejudices have no place in a modern, liberal democracy.
C) Bengal court summons Amit Shah in defamation case.
A designated MP/MLA court in West Bengal issued summons to Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday to appear either personally or through a lawyer before it on February 22 in connection with a defamation case lodged against him by Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee. The special judge of MP/MLA court at Bidhannagar directed that Shah’s attendance either personally or through a lawyer is necessary to answer to a charge of defamation under section 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). In a press note, Abhishek Banerjee’s lawyer Sanjay Basu claimed that Shah had made certain defamatory statements against the Trinamool MP on August 11, 2018 at a rally of the BJP at Mayo Road in Kolkata.
D) BJP youth leader arrested with cocaine in Kolkata.
BJP’s youth-wing leader Pamela Goswami was arrested with cocaine from south Kolkata’s upscale New Alipore area on Friday, PTI reported. Goswami, the state secretary of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), along with a friend identified as Prabir Kumar Dey, was in her car when both of them were nabbed, police said. Around 100 gm of cocaine was allegedly found in her handbag, and other parts of the car, police said. Acting on a tip-off, sleuths of the New Alipore police station made the arrests when she was parking the car, an officer said. She was involved in drug trafficking for quite some time. Today, they got information that she, along with her supplier Prabir was reaching the spot to hand over the drugs to the purchasers, the officer said. The BJP said that it suspects the police’s role in the drugs recovery but if Goswami was wrong, the law should take its course. They had earlier seen that the state police had named several BJP activists in arms cases. He do not have much information about this incident, so he will not be able to say more. Pamela is a young girl. If she has done anything wrong, the law will take its course, BJP MP Locket Chatterjee said.
E) Dr. Reddy’s initiates Emergency Use Authorisation process for Sputnik V. Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. on Friday announced that it had initiated the process with the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) of human adenoviral vector-based platform vaccine candidate Sputnik V. As part of the review process, Dr. Reddy’s will present the safety profile of the phase-two study, and interim data of the phase-three study, which is expected to be complete by 21st February 2021, noted a release issued by the company. G V Prasad, Co-chairman and Managing Director of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, said that the efficacy of Sputnik V was reported to be 91.6 % by The Lancet, which is an impressive development in the fight against COVID-19. The initiation of the EUA process will be a critical step forward for us in ensuring speedy access to the Sputnik V vaccine in India. Sputnik V was the world’s first registered vaccine against Covid-19 based on the human adenoviral vector platform.
A) Uber drivers entitled to worker rights, U.K.’s top court rules.
A group of Uber drivers are entitled to worker rights such as the minimum wage, Britain’s Supreme Court ruled on Friday in a blow to the ride-hailing service that has ramifications for millions of others in the gig economy. In a case led by two former Uber drivers, a London employment tribunal had ruled in 2016 that they were due entitlements that also included paid holidays and rest breaks. Uber drivers are currently treated as self-employed, meaning that by law they are only afforded minimal protections. The Supreme Court unanimously dismisses Uber’s appeal, judge George Leggatt said on Friday. The legislation is intended to give certain protections to vulnerable individuals who have little or no say over their pay and working conditions. A total of 25 drivers were part of the case and Uber said the verdict did not apply to all of its current 60,000 drivers in Britain, including 45,000 in London, one of its most important global markets. Uber shares fell 3.4% in pre-market trading following the court announcement. The gig economy, where people tend to work for one or more companies on a job-by-job basis, has faced criticism from trade unions who say it is exploitative, while businesses say many of those working in it enjoy the flexibility. Uber has faced opposition from unions and challenges to its business model in several countries as it disrupts the taxi market. In November, however, it saw off a challenge in its home market of California where voters backed a ballot proposal that cemented app-based food delivery and ride-hail drivers’ status as independent contractors, not employees.
B) China says four of its soldiers died in Galwan clash.
China on Friday said for the first time that it had lost four soldiers, including a battalion commander, in the June 15 clash in the Galwan valley, breaking its silence over the number of casualties suffered by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The PLA said the announcement, made eight months after the clash, was aimed at honouring the soldiers and setting the record straight, after it accused India of distorting the truth and slandering the Chinese border troops. Twenty Indian soldiers died in the clash which marked the worst violence on the border since 1967. The official PLA Daily said five Chinese frontier officers and soldiers stationed in the Karakoram Mountains have been recognised by the Central Military Commission of China for defending national sovereignty and territorial integrity, one of whom was injured. The report, however, did not say how many injuries the PLA suffered in total. The PLA likely suffered a far higher number of injured, with Indian officials saying they counted around 60 Chinese soldiers being carried on stretchers after the clash.