Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 02 May 2023

May Day is celebrated

GS Paper - 1 (History)

1 May is marked as May Day also referred to as International Workers’ Day and Labour Day in different countries across the world. The Day commemorates the contributions of workers and the labour movement. Although observed as an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival initially, 1 May became associated with the labour movement in the late 19th century, after trade unions and socialist groups decided to designate it as a day in support of the working class people.

More about May Day

  1. The decision was taken in memory of Chicago’s Haymarket Affair, which took place on 4 May 1886, when a violent clash broke out between the police and labour protests.
  2. The incident happened after a bomb went off at Haymarket Square in Chicago, where police had arrived to break a peaceful rally.
  3. Many of the protestors, who were demonstrating against workers’ rights violations, straining work hours, poor working conditions, low wages and child labour, were arrested and served terms of life imprisonment, death sentences, etc., and those who died were hailed as “Haymarket Martyrs”.
  4. The Haymarket Affair had a lasting effect on the workers’ movement and helped push forward the demands for better working conditions across the world.
  5. The US formally recognised Labor Day as a federal holiday in 1894, and it continues to be celebrated every year on the first Monday of September. Soon, Canada also followed suit.
  6. However, it took another 22 years and countless protests for America to recognise eight-hour work timings.
  7. Although the US and Canada observed the first Monday of September as Labor Day, others decided to mark the occasion on a different date.

May Day in India

  1. In India, May Day was first celebrated on 1 May 1923, after the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan was initiated and Comrade Singaravelar (Singaravelu Chettiar) helmed the celebrations.
  2. In two meetings — one at Triplicane Beach and the second at the beach opposite Madras High Court — the Comrade, known for being one of the leaders of Self Respect movement in the Madras Presidency and for his fight for the rights of backward classes, passed a resolution stating the government should allow everybody a national holiday on Labour Day.


G7 business group endorses India’s G20 theme

GS Paper -2 (International Relations)

Top business executives of G7 countries have endorsed India's G20 theme of 'One Earth, One Family, One Future' and said it is essential to achieve sustainable growth that is compatible with the protection of the global environment.

More about the news:

  1. The business federations of the G7 includes Japan, Italy, Canada, France, the U.S., the U.K., Germany, and the European Union held the B7 Tokyo Summit ahead of the G7 Summit meeting in Japan.
  2. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met the group and promised to use the input from B7 in preparing the G7 Summit in May.
  3. It is hosted by the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) in Tokyo, the B7, as reflected in its declaration, agreed on the most important efforts to mitigate immediate and long-term challenges.

About G-20:

  1. India assumed the Presidency of the G20 for one year from December 1, 2022, to 30 November 2023. The G20 Summit will be held in New Delhi on September 9-10 this year. India is hosting more than 200 G20 events in over 50 cities across the country.
  2. The theme of India's G20 Presidency,'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' or 'One Earth, One Family, One Future'is drawn from the ancient Sanskrit text of the Maha Upanishad.
  3. The theme affirms the value of all lifehuman, animals, plants and microorganisms and their interconnectedness on the planet Earth and in the wider universe.
  4. There is need to create a problem-solving society that is equipped with both digital technology and creativity and imagination of diverse people.
  5. It is essential to first achieve sustainable growth in a way that is compatible with the protection of the global environment and to distribute the fruits in a fair and equitable manner.

Objectives of B7:

  1. It called on governments to remove barriers to international trade and investment in an effort that may eventually take the form of a 'G7 Trade Club' open to nations committed to high standards of free trade.
  2. The grouping would work to overcome protectionist pressures and combat economic coercion directed against its members and allies, as envisaged by the G7 Foreign Ministers.
  3. The B7 declaration, released by the Japan Business Federation, said they oppose any use of nuclear weapons by Russia in Ukraine.
  4. Indo-Pacificalso faces growing challenges, from actions inconsistent with the rules-based international order by China to provocations by North Korea.
  5. There is need for continued and strenuous efforts, must be made by the G7 countries to rebuild the free, open and rules-based international order.
  6. Developing countries are the most affected by a divided world and risk losing their potential for future growth.
  7. Cooperation with the Global South is indispensable to rebuilding the free and open international economic order, overcoming global challenges, and realising a sustainable international community built on principles of equality.
  8. The climate change issue cannot be solved without the involvement of the Global South in reducing CO2 emissions while pursuing their legitimate growth and development objectives.
  9. International fora such as the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC), and the Japan-Australia-India-US (Quad) can contribute as a framework for cooperation and coordination.

Way forward for G-7 countries:

  1. The B7 declaration said that G7 should address economic coercion by third-world countries through increased cooperation and coordination among G7 members.
  2. The G7 can jointly identify choke points that the country concerned could utilise to impose economic coercion and work with like-minded countries and their industries to increase resilience by exploring or creating alternative sources among them.
  3. The G7 can organise those countries, from which the country concerned imports vital goods, into a group that would threaten to cut off the country's access to the vital goods if the country should act against any single group member.

 

Supreme Court can directly grant divorce to couples

GS Paper -2 (Polity)

 A constitution or five-judge bench of the Supreme Court held that it can exercise its powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to directly grant a decree of divorce to consenting parties, in cases of irretrievable breakdown of marriage, without referring the parties to a family court where they must wait for 6 to 18 months for a decree of divorce by mutual consent.

More about the news:

The judgement relates to a 2014 case, titled Shilpa Sailesh vs. Varun Sreenivasan, where the parties sought a divorce under Article 142 of the Indian Constitution.

Current procedure for getting a divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA):

  1. Under Section 13B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the procedure to obtain a divorce by mutual consent is laid down.
  2. Section 13B (1) states that both parties can file a petition for dissolution of their marriage by presenting a decree of divorce to the district court, on the grounds that they have been living separately for a year or more or that they have not been able to live together or have mutually agreed to dissolve their marriage.
  3. Also, under Section 13B (2) of the HMA, both parties seeking divorce have to wait between 6 to 18 months from the date on which they presented their petition to obtain the divorce decree. The six-month period is given so that the parties have ample time to withdraw their plea.
  4. After the passage of the mandated period and hearing both parties, if the court is satisfied, it may conduct an inquiry and pass a decree of divorce, dissolving the marriage with effect from the date of the decree;these provisions apply when at least one year has elapsed since the marriage took place.

Can the process happen quickly in certain cases?

  1. In circumstances of exceptional hardship or depravity, a divorce petition may be allowed under Section 14, even before the lapse of one year since marriage.
  2. The mandatory six-month waiting period under Section 13B (2) of the HMA can also be waived by filing an exemption application before a family court in a motion for the court to pass a decree of divorce.

Issues with the current process for divorce:

  1. The parties can approach the family courts for initiation of divorce proceedings; this process is often time-consuming and lengthy, owing to a large number of similar cases pending before such courts.
  2. If the parties wish to opt for a divorce more expeditiously, they can approach the Supreme Court under Article 142 for the dissolution of their marriage. This provision gives the country’s top court wide powers to do “complete justice” in a case before it.

Why did the Supreme Court take route under Article 142?

  1. In 2014, a case was filed in the SC, titled Shilpa Sailesh vs. Varun Sreenivasan, where the parties sought a divorce under Article 142, stating that their marriage had irretrievably broken down. This is one of the legally recognised grounds for divorce, available to both the husband and the wife.
  2. In a recent SC judgment in the Shri Rakesh Raman vs. Smt Kavita case, the court said “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” can be read under the grounds of cruelty, under S13 (1) (a) of the Hindu Marriage Act.

Supreme Court views under Article 142:

  1. In the present case, the court granted divorce to the parties using its Article 142 powers.
  2. It clarified that the question of whether it can directly grant divorce under Article 142 without referring the parties to a family court would remain open.
  3. The court said that it would determine what rules should be followed while dissolving marriages directly under Article 142.
  4. The court also aims to clarify, whether the application of its power under Article 142 would extend to all divorce cases.


Copper Plates Bring Focus to Shilabhattarika

GS Paper - 1 (Culture)

Researchers at the Pune-based Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI), which houses South Asia’s largest collection of manuscripts and rare texts, recently embarked on a grand adventure in detection after which they claim to have shed new light on Shilabhattarika— the celebrated Sanskrit poetess of Ancient India by establishing her as a daughter of the famed Chalukyan Emperor, Pulakeshin II of Badami (in modern Karnataka).

Decoding of Inscription

  1. Following the decoding of inscriptions on copper plates,Shilabhattarika was a Chalukyan princess, possibly the daughter of Pulakeshin II, who ruled from 610-642 CE and had famously defeated Harshavardhan of Kanauj in a battle near the banks of the Narmada River in 618 CE.
  2. The importance of the decipherment shed a revelatory new light on Shilabhattarika, who stood out as a poetess in the ancient Indian world in the heavily male-dominated field of classical Sanskrit literature.
  3. The Sanskrit poet-critic Rajashekhara (who lived in the 9th-10th century CE) and was the court poet of the Gurjara-Pratiharas, has praised Shilabhattarika for her elegant and beautiful compositions.
  4. Noted Marathi poetess, ShantaShelke, too, has drawn inspiration from Shilabhattarika’s verse to compose one of her most iconic songs— tochchandramanabhat (translated as ‘it is the same moon in the sky’).

Historiography

  1. The decoding of the copper plates also marks a notable shift in the historiography of BadamiChalukyas by placing Shilabhattarika as having lived in the 7th century CE rather than the current theory which has her as a wife of the 8th centuryRashtrakuta ruler, Dhruva.
  2. A copperplate charter with five copper plates is said to be dating from the reign of the BadamiChalukyan ruler Vijayaditya (696-733 CE) for decipherment.
  3. “The charter had five plates measuring 23.4 cm by 9.4 cm, held together by a copper ring bearing a beautiful v araha (boar) seal. The v araha seal is the trademark of the BadamiChalukyas.
  4. The charter contained a Sanskrit text of a total of 65 lines inscribed in late-Brahmi script.

Primary Theme of Work

  1. A primary reading of the plates revealed that Vijayaditya had donated the village of Sikkatteru in the KogaliVishaya to a Vedic scholar named Vishnusharma in the month of Magha, Shaka year 638, corresponding to January-February 717 CE.
  2. “The village [Sikkateru] was identified as Chigateri situated near Kogali in the Vijayanagar district of Karnataka. But this was not all. The plates revealed that Vijayaditya had donated the village on request by Mahendravarma, the son of Shilabhattarika, the daughter of ‘Satyashraya’”.
  3. The (decoded) text goes on to say that “on recommendation of Mahendravarma, the son of Shilabhattarika, King VijayadityaChalukya had donated the village of Chigateri to a scholar scholarVishnusharma.”
  4. The BORI curator says that while other BadamiChalukyan rulers affixed the title of ‘Satyashraya’ (translated as “patron of truth”) to their names, the only ruler to be known purely by this title was Pulakeshin II.

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