Humans, unapologetically humans!
June is here and so is Pride Month. Every year, the LGBTQ community across the globe come together to celebrate their existence and sexuality in the month of June which is referred to as Pride Month.
LGBTQI is an abbreviation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex community. Over the year, the movement has gained wide recognition and has also witnessed celebrities coming out and extending their support to the community. However, the debate on the legal rights of the LGBTQ community continues.
Pride Month began in 1969 when the gay rights parade in New York City met with resistance from the NYPD. This triggered the first pride parade on June 28. The parade took place to make people aware of their rights, choices, and struggles of the LGBTQI community.
In India, homosexual intercourse was declared an unnatural and a criminal offence under Chapter 16, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Even after independence, homosexuality remained a criminal offence.
A timeline of India’s LGBTQ movement’s struggle against Section 377
On November 26, 1949, the Indian Constitution came into effect which introduced Article 14, the right to equality, Article 15, the prohibition of discrimination based on religion, caste, race, sex or place of birth, and Article 21, the right to privacy and personal dignity to all citizens. These articles speak about equality, privacy, and discrimination yet homosexuality remained a criminal offence in India.
In July 2009, the Delhi High Court made a landmark decision and Justice Shah and Justice S Muralidhar struck down Section 377 of the IPC. However, on December 11, 2013, the Supreme Court overturned the decision ruled out by the Delhi High Court and stated that amending or repealing Section 377 should be looked upon by the Parliament and not the judiciary.
On January 28, 2014, the Supreme Court dismissed a review petition filed by the Central Government, NGO Naz Foundation and others and ordered to reconsider the December 11 verdict on Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. However, a two-judge bench passed the popular National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) judgement by which the transgender community were given the right to be called the third gender.
On December 18, 2015, the senior Congress leader, Shashi Tharoor, introduced a Bill to Lok Sabha for the decriminalisation of Section 377. But, the Bill was rejected by the house by a vote of 71-24.
On February 2, 2016, the Supreme Court and a five-judge bench reviewed a petition by Naz Foundation.
In 2018, the Supreme Court reconsidered its 2013 decision on homosexuality. On July 10, a five bench led by Justice Dipak Misra and comprising of Justice RF Nariman, Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice DY Chandrachud, and Justice Indu Malhotra began hearing petitions that challenged Section 377. The petitioners argued that section 377 violated fundamental rights mentioned in the Indian Constitution.
It was on September 6, 2018, when the Supreme Court made a historic decision to strike down Section 377 and decriminalised homosexuality. India finally bid adieu to the 150-year-old rule.
Cut to 2022, the struggle of the LGBTQ+ community continues.
AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh arrested in connection with money laundering case linked to Delhi liquor policy
The Enforcement Directorate has mentioned Sanjay Singh’s name in its charge sheet. According to the investigating agency Dinesh Arora a middle man said he had met Singh during a party in his restaurant. The name of the restaurant is Unplugged Courtyard.
The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday arrested Aam Aadmi Party Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh after searches were conducted at his residence in connection with the Delhi liquor policy case. The central investigating agency questioned Sanjay Singh for 10 hours before arresting him.
Houses of several people close to the AAP MP were also searched. The Enforcement Directorate had named Sanjay Singh in its charge-sheet. According to the investigating agency, Dinesh Arora, a middle-man, said he had met Singh during a party in his restaurant, Unplugged Courtyard.
Before leaving his home with the ED officers, Sanjay Singh touched his mother’s feet to take her blessings. Sanjay Singh’s father said they would cooperate fully with ED officials. He added he told his son Sanjay not to worry. He said the future was positive for them as the government will change soon.
AAP convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the move showed BJP’s desperate measures as it stares at defeat in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Delhi Education Minister Atishi tweeted the BJP’s fear of losing to the INDIA alliance is clearly visible. She said Sanjay Singh worked for the people of Delhi and wondered why they don’t open an ED office in the AAP headquarters itself. Atishi added the BJP is surviving by making false allegations against AAP.
The Enforcement Directorate had arrested then Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and AAP leader Manish Sisodia in connection with the Delhi liquor policy case. Large number of comments from different political leaders of different parties started coming immediately. BJP MP Manoj Tiwari said the way the AAP leaders used to write letters it seemed there was no one as honest as them. Tiwari added the AAP leader’s co-accused have turned approvers. He said the flame will not end with Sanjay Singh, Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain but will reach Arvind Kejriwal as well.
Government hikes subsidy for Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana beneficiaries from Rs 200 to Rs 300 per LPG cylinder
Ujjwala beneficiaries are paying Rs 703 per 14.2 cylinder as against the market price of Rs 903. After this announcement they will pay Rs 603.
Union Minster Anurag Thakur announced the Central government has hiked the subsidy amount for Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana beneficiaries from Rs 200 to Rs 300 per LPG cylinder on Wednesday. Anurag Thakur said the subsidy will bring an additional financial implication of Rs 7680 crore for the financial year 2023-24.
Ujjwala beneficiaries are paying Rs 703 per 14.2 cylinder as against the market price of Rs 903. After this announcement they will pay Rs 603. The decision has been made one month after the central government reduced the price of the price of cylinders for domestic cooking gas by Rs 200 for all customers.
The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) was launched by PM Modi on May 1, 2016 in UP’s Ballia. The scheme aims to provide cooking gas like LPG to the people of rural India. The scheme focuses on offering LPG connections to women from disadvantaged groups, forest dwellers, Antyoday Anna Yojana (AAY), Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), SC/ST communities and BPL households.
The Union Cabinet has approved the extension of PMUY for release of 75 lakh LPG connections over three years from the financial year 2023-24 to 2025-26. The 75 lakh additional Ujjwala connections take total number of PMUY beneficiaries to Rs 10.35 crore.
The decision to give additional subsidies for Ujjawala beneficiaries has come ahead upcoming elections in Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Congress has repeatedly attacked the BJP government at the centre as it is an important issue. It was also a part of BJP’s election campaign in 2014 when Congress was in power at the centre. The decision has been taken by the Union government at a time when domestic LPG cylinders are available at a retail price of Rs 1103 per LPG cylinder.
Rasabali: Famous sweet dish of Odisha’s Kendrapara district gets GI tag
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took to X (formerly twitter) and said it is a matter of pride for Odisha to get the GI tag for Kendrapara Rasabali. Patnaik added Rasabali has special importance to tradition and food culture of Odisha.
The Geographical Indications Registry, Chennai under the ministry of Commerce and industry gave the GI tag to the sweet dish, which is known as Kendrapara Rasabali. Kendrapara Rasabali Mistanna Nirmata Sangha and the rural infrastructure development and employment department had applied for GI tag for Rasabali. They had submitted the supporting documents to the registry.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took to X (formerly twitter) and said it is a matter of pride for Odisha to get the GI tag for Kendrapara Rasabali. Patnaik added Rasabali has special importance to tradition and food culture of Odisha. The origin of the sweet dish is from the 262 year old Sree Baladevjew temple. The presiding diety of the shrine is offered Rasabali as bhog. Rasabali finds its place among the chappan bhog at Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri.
The tag is a matter of pride for the sweetmakers. The recognition gives the product its own identity and image. Baishnab Panda, president of Kendrapara Rasabali Makers association was delighted and said the sweet will get better exposure now. Kendrapara’s Rasabali is one of the most delicious sweets in India. But it is not getting marketed properly due to poor export facilities and poor promotion.
Kendrapara Rasabali Mistanna Nirmata Sangh had prepared a dossier in the year 2021 in order to claim geographical identification tag for the sweetdish. Basudev Das a researcher of Kendrapara said the request had been submitted to the state government. The government further forwarded the request to the office of Geographical Indications Registry in Chennai.
The GI tag will help Kendrapara Rasabali to get more prominence in the market. This will in turn help the makers to fetch a better price for the sweetdish. According to NandaKishore Parida This GI certification will help in stopping the adulteration of Kendrapara Rasabali. As a result the sweet dish will fetch better prices in the market.