With the Lok Sabha elections near, it is really important that Indians have access to credible and trustworthy information before they vote. The issue is that many do not feel they do.Notably, after the Pulwama attack, social media and messaging apps had overflown with false and deceptive news content as people were trying to understand the horrible violence.This reflects the extent of the fake news menace and the threat it poses to the Indian democracy.
The Official Secrets Act (OSA) has been in the news recently due to the debate over ‘stolen documents’ in Rafale case. The Attorney-General has suggested “criminal action” against those responsible for making ‘stolen documents’ public.OSA is a colonial-era law that seeks to ensure secrecy and confidentiality in governance especially on national security and espionage issues.However, successive governments have faced criticism for misusing the law against journalists and whistleblowers thus violating their right to freedom of speech and expression.
Recently, violence occurred in Arunachal Pradesh due to the issue of Permanent Residence Certificate to 6 non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribes (APSTs) residing in the Namsai and Changlang districts and to the Gorkhas living in Vijaynagar. The violence spread despite the state government assured that it had withdrawn the plan to…...
Recently, the Anti-Doping Appeal Panel of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) has blacklisted 2 persons with respect to the illegal supply of meldonium. Another bone of contention is the proposed ‘National Anti-Doping Act of India 2018’ which would criminalise doping as an offence. These issues highlight the need to relook at the status of anti-doping mechanism in India.
There are two interesting reactions related to the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) controversy in India. First, since its inception, every major political party has questioned the authenticity and efficacy of the machine. Secondly, the instrument often works as the bone of contention between the winning and the losing party, with the winning party always defending the indispensability of the machine to the democratic process and the losing alleging that the EVMs were tampered with.
However, this time, unlike the earlier developments, a US-based hacker or so-called cyber expert has claimed that EVMs in India can be easily manipulated. This has added fuel to the already existing fire of controversy on the issue.
Recently, the Supreme Court Collegium has arbitrarily withdrawn its own decision on appointing two judges and has recommended names of two other judges to the government for elevation to the Supreme Court by superseding 3 judges senior to them. It highlights issues regarding the appointment of judges and the need to understand the system of judicial appointments in India.
Recently, the Lok Sabha has passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which seeks to ease norms for religious minorities from neighbouring nations (non-muslims) to get Indian citizenship by amending age-old Citizenship Act, 1955. However, it has polarised regions in border states such as Assam since the locals fear that it will result in demographic change due to immigration.
Assam recently revealed the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) which excluded around 40 Lakh people from the list out of about 3.3 crore applicants.