Dear Reader,

Last month the Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud not only announced that he intends to make the Constitution bench a “permanent feature” but also committed to the formation of a nine-judge bench on matters of public importance.

This announcement of the CJI, says Supreme Court Observer, has the potential to begin a discourse on the need for structural reforms of the Court’s benches – especially on the issue of pendency, autonomy over judicial appointments and the lack of implementation of commitments made by the courts themselves.

Another ‘reform’, this time in India’s Patent Rules of 2003, has raised hackles. For modern business and industry, patents are a critical component in protecting innovation, justifying resources spent, and monies invested in research and development. However, The India Forum argues that the set of amendments proposed in the Indian Patent Act is set to dilute the legislation. The proposed amendments either have a direct impact on the quality of patents granted or severely reduce the transparency in the patent-granting process. The story also points to pressures from “powerful foreign advocacy groups representing some of the most powerful corporations in the world.”

Another institution crying out for reform is the Central Information Commission (CIC), once revered as the custodian of transparency in governance, and the guardian of the citizen’s right to know, which is now increasingly seen as less than par on its mandate. A child of the Right To Information (RTI) Act of 2005, there is a perception that tangible inertia seems to have set in, with the last Chief Commissioner demitting office in the first week of this month, with no replacement in sight. With over 20,634 cases pending before the CIC alone, no fresh appointments are on the anvil, with four of the Commissioners set to retire in November. In Jharkhand, the malaise that has set in is writ large with the state commission in complete limbo since the commissioner demitted office three years ago.

The Probe points out that if the CIC is to retain its once-promised transformative role, the government will have, at the barest minimum, get down to swift and meritorious appointments through a transparent and inclusive selection process, along with a reiteration and unwavering adherence to the letter and spirit of the Act.

And, Kashmir is seeing an alarming increase in heart attacks or Myocardial Infarction (MI) among its young. One estimate puts out that one in every five persons below the age of 45 suffers an attack. Kashmir Observer looks at the reasons behind this scourge – including the after-effects of the Covid pandemic, rampant and increasing substance abuse and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle.

For more such stories from the grantees this week, please read on.


Sunil Rajshekhar

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Critical Opportunity for Structural Reform in the Supreme Court of India

The proactive moves by the Chief Justice of India on the appointment of “permanent” Constitution benches have opened a window to look at structural reforms of the Court’s benches, writes Supreme Court Observer.

Read Here

A ‘Captured’ Patent Office?

The proposed amendments to India’s Patent Rules, 2003, The India Forum points out threaten to weaken the quality of patents and shroud the process in relative secrecy.

Read Here

Right to Information: The Central Information Commission’s Leadership Crisis and India’s Democratic Test

The CIC, touted as a flagship for ushering in transparency in India’s governance, is once again without a Chief as the last incumbent’s tenure concluded on 3rd October. The Probe examines the systemic inertia that has set in and how the recurring vacancies and the growing backlog of cases reflect a troubling pattern.

Read Here

Understanding The Alarming Surge In Heart Attacks Among Kashmir’s Young Population

Pandemic after-effects, widespread instances of drug abuse and an unhealthy lifestyle have resulted in Kashmir’s young being afflicted by heart disease and death. Kashmir Observer analyses the state of affairs.

Read Here

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