NRIs can vote from overseas
- The government accepted the Election Commission's recommendation to allow Non-Resident Indians to vote from abroad through e-postal ballot or proxy voting.
- The decision removes Section 20(A) of the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act of 2010, which states that overseas electors to be physically present in their constituencies to cast their votes.
A.S. Kiran Kumar is new ISRO Chief
- Currently Director of the Space Application Centre, Ahmedabad, A.S. Kiran Kumar is appointed Secretary of the Department of Space as also the Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation.
- Mr. Kumar succeeds K. Radhakrishnan as the eigth chief of the ISRO.
- In the interim, the government had entrusted DoS as additional charge to Shailesh Nayak, Secretary, Department of Earth Sciences.
Violation of Fundamental Rights in Rajasthan
- Days before the model code of conduct goes into effect for the panchayat polls in Rajasthan, the BJP-led government sprang a nasty(highly unpleasant, especially to the senses) surprise.The governor promulgated the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2014, which stipulates a minimum education qualification of secondary education (Class X) for candidates contesting zila parishad or panchayat samiti polls, and Class VIII pass to be eligible to run for the post of sarpanch.This ordinance is discriminatory, violative of the constitutional right to equality guaranteed under Article 15 and, coming just before panchayat polls, highly disruptive for all candidates and political parties.
- The rationale of the law is to encourage education and literacy. The problem is not with the ends, but with the means.
- The Supreme Court recently refused to hear a petition challenging the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2014 on procedural grounds, sending it back to the High Court.
- In India, the right to vote is only a statutory right, but the act of voting is a constitutionally protected ‘freedom of expression’ under Article 19, as a fundamental right ( PUCL , 2013). The freedom to vote is inseparable from the freedom to contest in elections, and hence a policy of encouraging education cannot arguably prevail over fundamental rights.
- The law is a major setback to the constitutional mandate of ensuring gender equality in panchayati governance where the Rajasthan government has provided for 50 per cent reservation for women. In rural areas, the literacy rate of women is only 45.8 per cent — in tribal areas it is 25.22 per cent — as opposed to the corresponding male literacy rate of 76.16 per cent. source - Indian Express and The Hindu.