23-24 August 2017 Current Affairs

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24 Aug, 2017

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1) In a historic judgment, the 5-member constitutional bench of the Supreme Court on 22 August 2017 struck down the Islamic practice of triple talaq (“talaq-e-biddat”) as unconstitutional and maintained that it is not protected by Article 25. Who was the main petitioner in this case? – Shayara Bano

Explanation: Shayara Bano of Kashipur (Uttarakhand) is the first petitioner in the case that led the Supreme Court to pass a verdict declaring the practice of triple talaq unconstitutional. She had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the apex court in 2016, seeking a ban on the practice of instantaneous divorce after her 14-year-marriage ended abruptly in October 2015.

Bano had been joined by at least five other women from different parts of the country, seeking a similar ban. But since hers was the first petition, this case is known as Shayara Bano versus the Union of India.

The 5-member constitutional bench gave its judgment by a majority of 3:2. Chief Justice J.S. Khehar, who led the Bench, held that talaq-e-biddat is an integral part of Article 25 (freedom of religion). But this view was endorsed only by Justice S. Abdul Nazeer. Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton Fali Nariman gave separate judgments against the validity of instant talaq. Justice U.U. Lalit supported Justice Nariman’s judgment thus tilting the decision against triple talaq.

In his judgment, Justice Kurian held that instant talaq was against the tenets of Quran. He differed with Chief Justice Khehar that just because a practice has been around for 1,400 years does not make it eligible for protection under Article 25.

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2) What is the new ceiling of creamy layer of the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category after it was raised by the union government on 23 August 2017? – Rs. 8 lakh per annum

Explanation: The Union Cabinet on 23 August 2017 increased the creamy layer ceiling for the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category to Rs. 8 lakh per annum from the existing Rs. 6 lakh for central government jobs.

This means that those in the OBC category earning up to Rs. 8 lakh per annum would get the reservation benefits from now on.

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3) Who was appointed the new Chairman of the Railway Board following the resignation of A.K. Mital on 23 August 2017? – Ashwani Lohani

Explanation: Ashwani Lohani, the Chairman & Managing Director (CMD) of Air India was on 23 August 2017 named the Chairman of the Railway Board following the resignation of A.K. Mital.

This move came after A.K. Mital tendered his resignation on 22 August 2017. Sources said he resigned owing moral responsibility of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express derailment in Uttar Pradesh on 19 August 2017 due to several lapses in the track maintenance work.

Lohani, an Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineering (IRSME) cadre had served as DRM, Delhi Division; Director, National Rail Museum; and Chief Administrative Officer, Rail Alternate Fuel. He holds the Guinness Record for successfully running the ‘Fairy Queen Express’, the world’s oldest working steam locomotive.

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4) The Director General of Shipping (DGS) came up with which measure against the unregistered/unlicensed recruitment and placement services engaged in immigration of Indian seafarers? – New software to capture data of Indian seafarers going abroad

Explanation: The Director General of Shipping (DGS), the Indian maritime regulator, has developed an e-migrate software for immigration of Indian seafarers after consulting the Protector of Emigrants (PoE) attached to the Ministry of External Affairs.

It will capture the data of seafarers engaged by local fleet owners on Indian flag ships, through recruitment agents on foreign flag and Indian flag ships, and those hired directly by global fleet owners on foreign flag ships.

This software will be used to crack the whip on recruitment and placement service (RPS) touts who snare desperate seafarers with impunity and leave them to fend for themselves during distress.

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5) The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 23 August 2017 approved the closure of which loss-making central public sector enterprise? – Bharat Wagon and Engineering Company

Explanation: Bharat Wagon and Engineering Company Limited (BWEL) is a central public sector enterprise under the Ministry of Railways. The CCEA on 23 August 2017 approved its closure due to huge accumulated losses.

The decision to wind-up BWEL was taken in view of continuing poor physical and financial performance of the company for more than 10 years. It was established in 1978 to produce rail wagons.

626 employees of BWEL will benefit from the voluntary retirement scheme to be offered at the 2007 pay scale. The Government will have to provide one-time grant of Rs. 151.18 crore towards the severance package and for clearing the current liabilities of the company.

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