August 26, 2021
Quite the arrest
To: either/view subscribers
Good morning. When it comes to Indian foods, nothing makes it more awesome than our myriad spices. But Gene Weingarten, a food critic, said that Indian food is just curry and is based on only ‘one spice’.
Well, this has set social media on fire. People claimed that India’s spice and flavors are as diverse as the country itself. They also called out the critic for being ignorant.
Our list of spices could fill an encyclopedia. While people who cook know what’s what, what about the rest of us? Have you ever tried guessing the different spices used in your food? Go ahead, guess the spices used and verify it with the person who cooked your food today!
📰 FEATURE STORY
Unravelling the case of Narayan Rane’s arrest
Two days back, a Union Minister was arrested by the Maharashtra police and the political sphere cannot stop talking about it. So here we are to discuss the man behind the headlines, Narayan Rane and the debate around his arrest.
Narayan Rane was recently inducted as the Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in the cabinet. Rane was, thus, a part of the new Cabinet Ministers’ rally. During the rally, he remarked that he would slap Maharashtra’s Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. His comment was taken pretty seriously by the state’s ruling party and eventually, he was arrested. Which begs the question, was Rane’s arrest legally right? Courts and police say ‘Yes’, but the opposition and constitutional experts disagree.
Before we dive deep into the case, let’s look at what the entire controversy is all about. While he was at the rally, Rane observed that Thackeray had forgotten the year of independence during his I-day speech. He said he would have slapped the CM for his ‘shameful’ act.
Rane’s statement hit the sorepoint of the ruling Shiv Sena party and nearly four FIRs were filed against him in Maharashtra. An intense clash broke out between the party workers and the BJP members. Multiple protests, attacks and vandalisms raised the temperature. And soon the police had to step in and arrest Rane.
After 20 years, this is the first time a Union Minister was being arrested by the state police. Since arresting a Union Minister is a big deal, everyone’s eyes are on this case. While Rane has been granted bail on a surety of ₹15,000, the arrest itself is being called wrong on various grounds. But the police stand firm that everything took place legally.
It was wrong to arrest Rane
The main objection to the arrest does not revolve around whether Rane should have said what he did. We don’t want you to get worried about the word play. So we’ll directly focus on why people think the arrest did not follow protocols.
As per the rank of importance, a Union cabinet minister holds a very crucial position. Since Rane is a central minister, he is more powerful than the authorities in the state of Maharashtra. Naturally, arresting a man of such power calls for the police to go by a set of rules. But the state BJP party alleges that the protocol was violated in Rane’s arrest.
If we go by law, a summon must have been issued to him before his arrest. But Rane did not receive any such intimation. Therefore, lawyer Aniket Nikam argued that the arrest was illegal according to Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
People have also voiced out that the arrest seems politically motivated. An ill comment on the CM would have normally constituted a non-cognisable offence. But several FIRs were filed against Rane and a team under Deputy Commissioner-level officers was formed. This, according to Former CM Devendra Fadnavis, showed that the government was misusing the police force.
Constitutional experts have claimed that there is not enough material in the FIR to arrest Rane. The official sections that were invoked do not hold much weightage and so the case appears to be entirely political.
It was right to arrest Rane
To begin with, Rane should not have disrespected the Chief Minister. People argue that it was wrong of him to insult the CM and try to tarnish Thackeray’s reputation. When the dignity of the chair is hurt, it is right to arrest Rane.
Legally speaking, Rane does have a few special privileges as a Union Minister. But those are limited to only civil cases. Since threatening a Chief Minister is a criminal case, he cannot be protected by law. Rane’s anticipatory bails were also rejected because the ball is definitely not on his court.
Rane was booked under a series of Indian Penal Code sections including defamation, mischief, remarks that could cause disharmony or feeling of enmity/hatred/ill-will and criminal intimidation. Moreover, with multiple protests and attacks happening in the state, the police had to take immediate action.
When it comes to the protocol question, the team of police disclose that they had followed the procedure properly. After arresting him, they produced him before court. The Speaker of the Rajya Sabha, i.e. the Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu was also informed about the arrest. So the arrest was legally right.
A look at the past would reveal that even in 2001, when two Union Ministers were arrested by the Tamil Nadu police, an arrest warrant was not produced. However, informing the Speaker of Rajya Sabha is important.
Meanwhile, the court also noted that Rane’s arrest was justified. It held that because FIRs were lodged and the police had carefully followed procedure, the arrest was in no way wrong. But at the same time, it observed that there was no need to keep Rane in custody. Most of the sections were bailable and the other charges were of lesser punishment too. So the court granted him bail.
🕵️ BEYOND ECHO CHAMBERS
For the Right:
I was imprisoned for asking questions and for struggling for my rights: Asif Iqbal Tanha
For the Left:
Why ‘Dismantling Global Hindutva’ is a xenophobic event with lies at its core
🏴 STATE OF THE STATES
Revised UG (Delhi) – Most Undergraduate courses in India have a three-year programme. This is now going to be extended to four years in Delhi University as they have implemented the National Education Policy. The policy will be rolled out from the 2022-23 academic year. Some people in the Delhi University’s Academic Council dissented. But it passed. Besides the extension of the UG course, there will be no M.Phil courses. There will also be new options for earning credits and multiple entries and exit stages for various courses. However, most of the teacher groups have opposed it. They claim that the stakeholders were not consulted. Can DU show the path to other universities in the implementation of the new policy?
Sensory Park (Odisha) – Smart City plans have been changing the infrastructure and environment of our streets for good. Bhubaneswar’s new park will show you that a smart city is about inclusivity as much as it is about structural development. The city has come up with the first of its kind ‘Sensory Park’. It is specially built for children and adults with special needs. For instance, the ground has been covered with synthetic soft linings or sand to provide safety and comfort for specially-abled kids. The park has been made at ₹93 lakh and is spread across 0.37 acres. Going the extra mile for ensuring inclusivity is surely a step towards a smarter city.
Water Store (Tamil Nadu) – Water issues are nothing new in any of the states. But there is a growing need for innovative solutions to meet the water demands. The Tamil Nadu government has now announced a plan to store water for Chennai city in about 500 lakes during the State Legislative Assembly. These 500 lakes are not used for irrigation. So, the government is planning to store the rainwater in them for future use. This is aimed at bridging the gap between the demand and supply of water every day. The desalination projects are also expected to be in full swing. We hope that these decisions will bring in the desired results!
Ban on words (Maharashtra) – Several words we used in the past are considered to be derogatory nowadays. In a similar line, the Bombay HC fumed at the use of these terms – mad man, lunacy, mentally retarded and others. The judge noted that the title of an Act, the hospital certificates produced in the hearing and the arguments used the word ‘mental retardation’. He called it wrong and further said that if such words are used in his court, an order of cost will follow. In today’s world, it is important to be mindful of the impact one’s words can have on the listener.
Jabs for all (Meghalaya) – At this stage of the pandemic, the only goal is to get everyone vaccinated as quickly as possible. While Meghalaya is working tirelessly to achieve its vaccination target, there is a loophole in the process. The state has been insisting people to produce Aadhar cards to get jabbed. Aadhar is seen as the only verified proof of identity in the vaccination process. This is unfair to the eligible population who are not getting vaccinated because they do not have an Aadhar card. The Meghalaya High Court has urged the government to allow other equivalent ID cardholders to get vaccinated. We hope that the government quickly resolves this matter and opens up the vaccination drive to all eligible citizens.
🔢 KEY NUMBER
₹935 crore – Amount misappropriated in NREGA schemes in the last four years, according to government data. The ‘financial misappropriation’ includes bribery, payments made to non-existent persons and paying high rates for procuring materials from vendors. Tamil Nadu leads the pack in financial misappropriation, followed by Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.