Top news of the day: Supreme Court refers same-sex marriage pleas to 5-judge Constitution Bench; India secures WTC final berth after New Zealand beats Sri Lanka, and more

The major news headlines of the day and more.

Published - March 13, 2023 07:25 pm IST

The petitioners argued that the Court’s judgment in Navtej Singh Johar in 2018, while decriminalising homosexuality, also upheld the individual right to family and choice of partners. File Photo of participants during a gay pride parade in Mumbai.

The petitioners argued that the Court’s judgment in Navtej Singh Johar in 2018, while decriminalising homosexuality, also upheld the individual right to family and choice of partners. File Photo of participants during a gay pride parade in Mumbai. | Photo Credit: Reuters

5-judge Constitution Bench to decide if same-sex marriages can be legal

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud referred petitions to legally recognise same-sex marriages to a Constitution Bench of five judges of the Supreme Court. The Court listed the case for final arguments on April 18. Chief Justice Chandrachud said the case involved an “interplay” between constitutional rights of life, liberty, dignity, equal treatment of members of the LGBTQ+ community members and specific statutory enactments which considers only a married union between a biological man and woman.

India secures WTC final berth after New Zealand beats Sri Lanka in thriller

India on March 13 qualified for the prestigious World Test Championship final after New Zealand defeated Sri Lanka by two wickets in a thrilling last-ball finish in the Christchurch game. India will play Australia in the WTC final at The Oval from June 7. This is India’s second successive entry into the WTC final, with the previous one coming in the inaugural cycle in 2021, where they lost to New Zealand.

Parliament Budget Session | Controversy over Rahul Gandhi’s London speech rocks both Houses

Both Houses of Parliament adjourned till 11 am on March 14 amid protests: Lok Sabha saw Opposition members protesting and gathering in the well of the House after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi demanded an apology from Rahul Gandhi over his speech in London. The Rajya Sabha also saw protests following Leader of the House Piyush Goyal’s speech targetting Rahul Gandhi and his remarks in London.

SEBI investigating market allegations against Adani group companies: MoS Finance

Regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is investigating market allegations against Adani group, whose 9 listed companies saw a 60% decline in their market capitalisation between January 24 and March 1, Parliament was informed on March 13. Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary said in the Lok Sabha that the volatility in the stocks of these companies have not had any significant impact at the systemic level.

Tamil Nadu migrant workers’ row | Bihar police tightens noose to catch mastermind

Economic Offence Unit of Bihar police has tightened the noose to catch the mastermind Manish Kashyap who created the panic by spreading fake videos on social media about Bihari migrants being allegedly attacked in Tamil Nadu. After investigation by EOU, it has come to the fore that most of the videos circulated on social media were fabricated and fake. In fact, one of the videos in which Bihari migrants were shown with injury on the forehead was shot in Bengali Colony of Jakkanpur locality in Patna. The shooting of the video took place on March 6 and posted on social media on March 8.

India remains biggest arms importer between 2018-22 despite drop in overall imports

India remained the world’s largest arms importer for the five-year period between 2018-22 even though its arms imports dropped by 11% between 2013–17 and 2018–22, according to the Swedish Think Tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Russia was the largest supplier of arms to India in both 2013–17 and 2018–22, but its share of total Indian arms imports fell from 64% to 45% while France emerged as the second largest supplier between 2018-22.

Supreme Court directs Defence Ministry to file note on arrears due under One Rank One Pension scheme

The Supreme Court on March 13 directed the Ministry of Defence to file a three-page note specifying the exact quantum of arrears due to be paid under the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme, while noting that it was “sad” that four lakh retired defence personnel have already died waiting for their pension. A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud ordered the government to also detail the modalities of the payment of OROP and “prioritisation” of disbursement, that is, first to defence widows and the oldest of retirees, in the note.

Pakistan to seek U.S. help for revival of stalled IMF loan programme

Pakistan has decided to seek U.S. help for the revival of the stalled IMF loan programme, following the delay in the staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund, ARY News reported. According to sources within the Finance Ministry, the incumbent government has decided to seek Washington’s help as the majority of the demands of the fund have been completed. “There is no need for further delay in the staff-level agreement.” As per sources, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar will talk with the U.S. envoy this week. It has been learnt that there are chances of a staff-level agreement between Pakistan and the IMF this week.

Vice-President Kamala Harris to visit Africa in latest U.S. outreach

Vice-President Kamala Harris will spend a week in Africa at the end of March as the United States deepens its outreach to the continent amid global competition, notably with China. “The trip will strengthen the United States’ partnerships throughout Africa and advance our shared efforts on security and economic prosperity,” said a statement from the Vice-President’s spokesperson Kirsten Allen. Ms. Harris’ plans follow visits by first lady Jill Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is going this week, and President Joe Biden is expected to travel to Africa later this year.

Iran says 22,000 arrested in protests pardoned by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iran announced on March 13 that the country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has pardoned 22,000 people arrested in the recent anti-government protests that swept the Islamic Republic. There was no immediate independent confirmation of the mass release. The statement by Iran’s judiciary head Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejehi offered for the first time a glimpse of the full scope of the government’s crackdown that followed the demonstrations over the September death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been detained by the country’s morality police.

Retail inflation virtually remains unchanged at 6.44% in February

India’s retail inflation remained above the central bank’s 6% tolerance threshold for the second successive month in February at 6.44%, virtually unchanged from the 6.52% recorded in January, as per the National Statistical Office. Price rise faced by urban consumers inched up marginally from 6% in January to 6.1% in February, while it eased fractionally for rural consumers from 6.85% to 6.72% in February. Food inflation remained sticky, with the Consumer Food Price Index rising 5.95% in February, just a tad lower than the 6% recorded in January. Vegetables remained in deflationary territory for the third successive month, with prices falling 11.6% from last year’s levels this February, compared to a 11.7% fall in January.

Oscars 2023: ‘RRR’ creates history, ‘Naatu Naatu’ wins Best Original Song

It’s time to go ‘Naatu Naatu,’ India! SS Rajamouli’s RRR has created history by becoming the first Indian feature film to win an Oscar. The film’s ‘Naatu Naatu’ soundtrack by MM Keeravani was awarded the Best Original Song Award at the ongoing 95th Academy Awards in Los Angeles, United States. The song competed against ‘Applause’ from Tell It Like A Woman, ‘Hold My Hand’ from Top Gun: Maverick, ‘Lift Me Up’ from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and ‘This is Life’ from Everything Everywhere All At Once. Composer Keeravani, along with lyricist Chandrabose, collected the award. Keeravani delivered his acceptance speech in the form of a re-written Carpenters song.

Gary Lineker to return to Match of the Day show as BBC announces social media review

Gary Lineker will return to airwaves after the BBC reversed the former football great’s suspension on March 13 for a post on Twitter that had criticised the U.K. government’s new migration policy. The about-face followed a weekend of chaos and crisis for Britain’s publicly funded national broadcaster, which faced a huge backlash over the suspension of one of its best-known hosts for expressing a political opinion.

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