Dear Reader,

Even as the Supreme Court asks the State Bank of India to immediately submit the details of the buyers of the Electoral Bonds (EB) to the Election Commission, it would be useful to look back at the details of the Court’s judgement on February 15 to understand the nuances and the principles invoked by the Court in striking down the EB scheme.

The Supreme Court Observer, which did a deep dive into the Court’s judgement, says that the five-member Constitution bench analysed not only whether the anonymity provided by the electoral bonds violated the citizen’s right to information but also if the seemingly “unlimited” funding of political parties vitiated the holding of free and fair elections. Answering in the affirmative to both the fundamental questions before it, the Court also went into the “association between money and politics’ and concluded that the anonymity in donations impeded the voters’ right to know if there was any “correlation between policy making and financial contributions”.

On another front, that has critical import on the rights of individuals whose personal information is outed without their consent – “doxing”, the High Court of Delhi, held that it can be dealt with legally, even though India does not have specific laws against the violations. This is especially critical since doxing is being increasingly weaponised as a tool to harass and browbeat citizens whose views are considered unpalatable, particularly impinging on the privacy and safety of women. The MediaNama analyses the order.

There are citizens and whole communities in India who are “invisible” to the states and their agencies. One such community is the ‘nomadic and de-notified tribes‘ who are victims of arcane colonial laws that continue to criminalise their existence. With no identity or status, they are denied access to government services, uprooted from place to place, and deprived of their basic right to shelter. Article 14 reports from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh on their plight.

And, It is proven time and again that governments do not have the skillsets or the solutions to overcome the after effects of an environmental catastrophe. This truism, The India Forum points out, is exemplified by the disaster in Ennore in Chennai. An oil leak last December, when the Michuang Cyclone caused a leak from the Chennai Petroleum Corporation’s refinery, affected more than twenty thousand people and badly impacted over 20 square kilometres of coastline.

This included the Ennore estuary, a “living sponge” that protects northern Chennai from drowning every monsoon, in addition to impacting the lives of the fishers who depend on the sea for their livelihood. The government seems to have no solutions other than addressing the immediate through instant gratification, without any effort towards a “permanent solution”.

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


Sunil Rajshekhar

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Electoral Bonds Constitution Bench | Judgement Summary

The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Electoral Bond Scheme as “unconstitutional” has been historic. The Supreme Court Observer dives deep into the principles and nuances the judgment invoked.

Read Here

Sharing Publicly Available Information Not Doxing: Delhi High Court

Even though India does not have a specific law against doxing, the Delhi High Court ruled that the violation must be dealt with under other provisions of the legal framework, like the Tort Law. The MediaNama analyses.

Read Here

In Varanasi, A Community Exists In The Shadow Of A Dead Colonial Law, Unable To Live Even In Slums

The “nomadic and de-notified tribes” are among the most marginalised in India. Tainted by antiquated colonial laws, Article 14 reports that they continue to exist at the margins of society, continuously denied their rights.

Read Here

The Anatomy of an Oil Spill: Notes from Ennore’s History

The Ennore oil spill leak, in Chennai, and the consequent impact on the coastline and the estuary are a reaffirmation that governments are incapable of dealing with the aftermath of environmental catastrophes, The India Forum argues.

Read Here

More from the grantees
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GaonKeLog reports that, in the Pindra Tehsil of Varanasi, among the network of roads and highways, there are still dozens of villages which do not have a school or a primary health centre, decades after independence.
मध्य प्रदेश: चुनावी वादों के बाद भी नर्मदा नदी का जल दूषित, कहां हो रही चूक?
Many promises were made in the recent assembly elections in MP about arresting the pollution in the Narmada River. However, The Mooknayak reports that precious little has been done to improve the situation since then.
Surrogacy in India: The Fight for Inclusivity and Fundamental Rights in Parenthood
The Probe analyses why, when it comes to enabling surrogate parenthood, India is far behind the curve -- with archaic laws and discriminatory provisions, especially against single women.

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