Dear Reader,

In September 2021, the Indian Parliament increased the upper gestation period for legal abortion to 24 weeks, from 20, through an amendment to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. A year later, last September, the Supreme Court of India affirmed the legislation in a case which came up before it. This was seen as having set a trend towards progressively expanding abortion rights in India.

However, the Court seems to be going against the very grain it had set. In a recent case, on October 16, in “X vs. Union of India”, a 27-year-old married woman sought approval for aborting a 24-week pregnancy. She pleaded mental health and other challenges for her prayer. This time, however, the Court declined the petitioner’s plea. Supreme Court Observer argues that this was a significant step backwards for abortion rights in India, as the Court has seemingly reversed its path towards the woman being the “ultimate decision-maker” in reproductive choices.

In Kashmir, saffron is a way of life and livelihood, an integral part of the culture and economy. Therefore, more than a decade ago, in 2010, a multi-crore National Mission on Saffron (NMS) was launched which promised to institute, among other things, a reliable sprinkler irrigation system in Kashmir. This was slated to improve saffron productivity and transform the lives of saffron growers in the Valley.

However, as Kashmir Observer reports, things have not gone according to plan. Lethargy in implementation and the lack of access to allocated funds has meant the pipes and borewells that were built, mostly lie unused and defunct. This is when Kashmir, like other parts of India, has borne the full brunt of climate change events – poor and unseasonal rains, long dry spells and unpredictable fluctuation in temperatures, playing havoc with farming.

For more than two decades now the fight to save the Yamuna has been a losing battle. Recent promises by political incumbents in the national capital, Delhi, had raised hopes that an effective and sustainable solution to rampant pollution of the river would be found. But the hopes that were kindled have been dashed once again. The Probe brings you the story of the Yamuna, especially in Delhi, which continues to be troubled waters.

Cutting trees to build a road is now a sanctioned practice which seldom raises an eyebrow, largely due to the futility of the fight – running to courts, the financial strain and the emotional cost. However, Article 14 tells us a happy story of how a small citizen group in Hyderabad took on the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to save more than 900 banyan trees. The Court’s ruling, which preserved the trees, the story says, could serve as a template for citizens in India to take the road to saving the trees.

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


Sunil Rajshekhar

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Abortion law in India: A step backwards after going forward

Has the right of a woman to make her own choices been taken a step backwards by the Supreme Court judgement last month, which puts the “unborn” child ahead of the mother? Supreme Court Observer analyses.

Read Here

Kashmir Saffron Growers' 12-Year Wait For Sprinkler Irrigation System Affects Yield

An ambitious plan, in Kashmir, launched more than a decade ago to transform the irrigation system for saffron and give a fillip to productivity and yields – the ‘National Mission on Saffron’ – has run aground. Kashmir Observer reports.

Read Here

Yamuna Pollution Worsens: A Tale of Broken Promises and Environmental Neglect

The Probe takes us through the rampant pollution in the Yamuna in Delhi and why the river continues to be on the deathbed despite umpteen promises made to revive it.

Watch Here

A Reprieve For The Chevella Banyans & A David-vs-Goliath Blueprint For Citizens Trying To Save Roadside Trees

A group of determined citizens and a sensitive judiciary are all it needed to save 900 banyan trees in Hyderabad. Article 14 brings you the story.

Read Here

More from the grantees
अपनी मुक्ति की आस में तिल-तिल कर मर रहा है मीरजापुर का मुक्ति धाम चौबे घाट
The Ganga is justly famous for the ghats along its banks – which are historical, cultural and religiously significant sites. In UP, the state government claims to have spent huge resources to keep the Ghats in pristine condition. However, Gaon Ke Log travels to Chaubeghat in Mirzapur to find it in a shocking state of disrepair, and in urgent need of attention.
सड़क मौजूद नहीं, गांव के कई लोगों की हुई मौत
Democratic Charkha reports from West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand where the abysmal condition of roads is depriving residents of four villages, of more than 1,200 people, of basic services – no doctors, no emergency services, and no rations.
Death Row Letters - Inside The Last Words of Prison Convicts
730 people have been sentenced to death in the last five years in India. Mojo Story looks at the factors that have led to this situation, including the increasing propensity of the Courts to impose the penalty - which, at 165 in 2022, was the highest in two decades.
ഹാരിസണിനെതിരെ പോരാടി 53 ദലിത് കുടുംബങ്ങള്‍;എവിടെ ഇടതുസര്‍ക്കാര്‍
TrueCopy Think documents the struggle of 53 families in Kottayam’s Murikallumpura, who have taken up a lonely battle with a company to save the land they have lived on for generations.

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