Daily Briefing: Delhi HC calls out misuse of UAPA; Twitter may ‘lose’ safe harbour protections

Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita and Asif Iqbal Tanha, booked by Delhi Police under the UAPA anti-terror law, were granted bail by the Delhi High Court.

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More than a year after their detention under the UAPA anti-terror law, three student activists Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal, and Asif Iqbal Tanha were granted bail in the Northeast Delhi riots conspiracy case. The Delhi High Court also called out the misuse of UAPA and raised the bar for the State to invoke the terror clause in the Act. It also tore into the police chargesheet against the three, saying it was based on “stretched inferences” and “alarming and hyperbolic verbiage”.

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And in a case pertaining to the January 2020 violence at JNU, the Delhi Police Crime Branch was asked to take the diplomatic route after it sought back-up WhatsApp chats of 33 students and members of the two chat groups — ‘Unity Against Left’ and ‘Friends of RSS’.

From not doing enough to send track and field stars overseas for training and competition before the Tokyo Olympics, to not providing the right supplements to TOPS athletes, Uwe Hohn, India’s javelin coach overseeing top medal prospects like Neeraj Chopra and Shivpal Singh, minces no words in this interview with The Indian Express.

From the Front Page 

Analysts estimate that bad loans are projected to see a fresh spike this fiscal year as the rising stress across sectors is beginning to impact the repayment capacity of borrowers. Tourism, hospitality, restaurants, salons, aviation, construction, textiles and high-contact services are among the worst-affected segments. 

Amidst a debate over high prices of Covid-19 vaccines in the private hospitals, vaccine manufacturer Bharat Biotech has said that the rate at which it was supplying Covaxin to the government was “not sustainable in the long run”, and a differential price in the private markets was justified to “offset parts of the costs”.

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With Karnataka-based startup Cloudphysician’s ‘smart ICU technology’, the presence of trained ICU specialists — already in short supply across the country amid the pandemic — may no longer be required. The technology uses IT to relay visuals and data from the ICU to a manned command centre, where intensivists and other specialists make swift decisions on treatment protocol.

As the political tussle between Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot and former Deputy CM Sachin Pilot intensifies, six former BSP MLAs who joined the Congress two years ago are proving to be a new headache for the party. They said that although they provided stability to the Gehlot government, and stood by it at times of crises, they have been subjected to “injustice” in the party. 

“What I have learnt is not to break down,” says 17-year-old Smit Narola from Surat, whose parents succumbed to Covid, leaving him and his elder sister to fend for themselves. Narola resorted to selling toys and homeware items, while his sister started teaching tuition classes. A near-identical story is playing out just kilometres away, where 19-year-old BBA graduate Prince Ranipa is selling newspapers and working in a shop to support his younger sister and grandmother. 

Twitter may soon lose its intermediary status in India for not complying with the Central government’s new Information Technology rules. This means if the social media platform faces charges for alleged unlawful content, it will be treated as a ‘publisher’ rather than an ‘intermediary’, and will be liable for punishment under the IPC. Under Section 79 of the IT Act, ‘intermediaries’ are accorded some amount of legal protection.

And Finally 

The administration in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur district managed to take the state’s scheme for children orphaned by Covid one step further by floating a separate programme that covers those left destitute by the death of a single parent. A monthly Rs. 2,000 stipend for the next two years, free education, a network of volunteer guardians — these are some of the features of the Muskurata Mandsaur Covid relief initiative, funded by private donors. 

Delhi Confidential: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has made two visits two Qatar within a week — first on his way to Kuwait when he met Qatari NSA Mohamed Bin Ahmed Al Mesned and then again on his way back from Kenya when he met Deputy PM and Foreign Minister of Qatar Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani. 

In today’s episode of ‘3 Things’, we look at the scam allegations in the Ayodhya land deal, the Ghaziabad assault case, and  Twitter’s assurance to the Indian government regarding its compliance with the new IT rules.

Until tomorrow,
Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose


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