May 11 Delhi High Court ruling on Marital Rape
(GS-II: Separation of Powers)
Delhi High Court has (May 11) delivered a split verdict in a batch of petitions challenging the exception provided to marital rape in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) – Section 375.
Exception provided to marital rape in the Indian Penal Code (IPC):
Section 375 defines rape and lists seven notions of consent which, if vitiated, would constitute the offence of rape by a man.
However, the provision contains a exemption: “Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under eighteen years of age, is not rape.”
What’s the issue? What were the petitions against?
This exemption essentially allows a marital right to a husband who can with legal sanction exercise his right to consensual or non-consensual sex with his wife. This amounts to rape too.
It undermines consent of a woman based on her marital status.
What has the Court ruled?
Justice Rajiv Shakdher: The exception under Section 375 is unconstitutional.
Justice C Hari Shankar held that the provision is valid.
What happens when a split verdict is delivered?
In case of a split verdict, the case is heard by a larger Bench. This is why judges usually sit in Benches of odd numbers (three, five, seven, etc.) for important cases.
Section 375 of the IPC holds that “sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape”.
No other statute or law recognises marital rape.
Victims only have recourse to civil remedies provided under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
National Technology Day
(GS-III: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology)
Since 1999, May 11 is celebrated as National Technology Day to mark India’s technological advancements.
The theme of Year 2022 is: “Integrated Approach in Science and Technology for a Sustainable Future”.
Significance of the day:
On May 11, 1998, India detonated three nuclear bombs in the Indian Army’s Pokhran Test Range.
Dr APJ Abdul Kalam lead the Indian team of scientists to successfully test-fire the Shakti-1 nuclear missile at Rajasthan’s Pokhran test range.
Two days later, the country successfully tested two more nuclear weapons as a part of the same Pokhran-II/Operation Shakti initiative. After these tests Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee declared India a nuclear state, making it the sixth country to join the ‘nuclear club’ of nations.
Hansa 3, India’s first indigenous aircraft was first tested on the same day in 1998 in Bangalore.
Successful test firing of Trishul, a short range missile made in India, was also done on the same day.
Technology Development Board India:
On the occasion of National Technology day, TDB hosts scientific-technology based webinars and felicitate individuals for excellent works in the field of Science and Technology every year.
Established in 1996, TDB is a statutory body that works under the Department of Science and Technology, GOI.
It also provides financial assistance for concerns of Indian industries and other agencies for commercialization of indigenized technologies or adoption of imported technologies for wider domestic applications.
India is currently among nine countries in the world that have a publicly known nuclear weapons.
In 1974, India conducted its first nuclear test, codenamed “Smiling Buddha”, at Pokhran in Rajasthan.
Marsquake detected by NASA InSight
(GS-III: Awareness in space)
NASA has reported that on May 4, its InSight Mars lander detected the largest quake ever observed on another planet.
The rover first landed on Mars in November 2018, and has since heard 1,313 quakes.
What are marsquakes, and why do they happen?
On Earth, quakes are caused by shifts in tectonic plates.
Mars, however, does not have tectonic plates, and its crust is a giant plate.
Therefore, ‘marsquakes’ are caused due to stresses that cause rock fractures or faults in its crust.
About InSight Mission:
InSight is part of NASA’s Discovery Program.
It will be the first mission to peer deep beneath the Martian surface, studying the planet’s interior by measuring its heat output and listening for marsquakes, which are seismic events similar to earthquakes on Earth.
It will use the seismic waves generated by marsquakes to develop a map of the planet’s deep interior.
Significance of the mission:
The findings of Mars’ formation will help better understand how other rocky planets, including Earth, were and are created.
InSight would delve deep beneath the surface of Mars, detecting the fingerprints of the processes of terrestrial planet formation, as well as measuring the planet’s “vital signs”: Its “pulse” (seismology), “temperature” (heat flow probe), and “reflexes” (precision tracking).
InSight seeks to answer one of science’s most fundamental questions: How did the terrestrial planets form?
Other Mars Missions:
NASA’s Perseverance Rover.
UAE’s Hope Mars Mission (UAE’s first-ever interplanetary mission).
India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or Mangalyaan.
Tianwen-1: China’s Mars Mission.
UNCCD Conference of Parties (COP 15)
(GS-III: Conservation related issues)
India is taking part in the fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Cote d’Ivoire (Western Africa).
About COP15 of UNCCD:
Theme: The COP15 theme, ‘Land. Life. Legacy: From scarcity to prosperity’, is a call to action to ensure land, the lifeline on this planet, continues to benefit present and future generations.
Mandate: COP15 of UNCCD to drive progress in the future sustainable management of land and will explore links between land and other key sustainability issues.
UNCCD COP 15 Agenda: Drought, land restoration, and related enablers such as land rights, gender equality and youth empowerment are among the top items on the Conference agenda.
Established in 1994.
It is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management.
It is the only convention stemming from a direct recommendation of the Rio Conference’s Agenda 21.
Focus areas: The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found.