Freedom Under Fire: SpiceJet to Pay Jeeja Ghosh 10 Lakh Rupees for Offloading; Govt Must Compensate Drought-Hit Farmers, says SC

A round-up of news, both bad and good, on the rights front from India.

File photo of drought-hit farmers. Credit: PTI

File photo of drought-hit farmers. Credit: PTI

SpiceJet to pay Jeeja Ghosh 10 lakh rupees for offloading

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered SpiceJet airlines to pay 10 lakh rupees as damages to Jeeja Ghosh, a flyer suffering from cerebral palsy, who was forcibly offloaded in 2012, The Indian Express reported. The bench noted that she was not given “appropriate, fair and caring treatment” and “due sensitivity,” and the decision to de-board her was “uncalled for” and a violation of “human dignity”.

The bench added that despite all regulations, there are hardly any meaningful attempts to assimilate the disabled in the mainstream of the nation and that the apathy towards their problems is so pervasive that even the number of disabled persons in the country is not well documented.

Govt has to compensate drought-hit farmers for delayed payment, says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Centre to compensate farmers for delayed payment and crop loss, days after asking the government to revise its seven-year-old guidebook on droughts, Hindustan Times reported.

The court was hearing a petition by NGO Swaraj Abhiyan seeking standard guidelines for declaring a drought, timely disbursement of crop loans, compensation and relief packages.

In the second part of its drought verdict, it also directed that mid-day meals in schools should be given throughout the summer in drought-affected areas and asked states to appoint food commissioners to oversee effective implementation of the Public Distribution System.

“The Centre should release outstanding funds for MNREGA,” the top court also said.

It asked for a status report from the Centre on steps taken to implement its orders and said it will take up the case on August 1 to monitor whether the central government and the states had implemented its directions.

The court also said that “social justice has been thrown out of the window”.

High court asks JNU students to end their hunger strike

Asking the agitating students of JNU to end their hunger strike,

The Delhi high court on Friday said it would hear the writ petitions filed by some JNU students challenging the university’s disciplinary action only if their would end their hunger strike, a report in The Hindu says.

Justice Manmohan made these oral observations during the hearing on a batch of petitions moved by JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar and others, and listed the matter for further hearing during the post-lunch session in the afternoon. The court asked Kumar to convince other students to call off their hunger strike. “Have faith in the judiciary. The court will resolve the issue,” observed the judge.

The petitions have been filed by the students challenging the fines and other punishments imposed on them based on the report of a high-level enquiry committee for their alleged role in a controversial event organised on university campus on February 9.

Dalit women take dip with Brahmin priests at Kumbh mela

Numerous Dalit women on Thursday took a holy dip along with Brahmin priests and Sanskrit scholars at the ongoing Kumbh mela in Ujjain on an initiative by an NGO to dismantle caste barriers and propagate equality, a DNA report says.

Bonded labourers rescued from brick kiln in Karnataka

According to a report in The Hindu, a group of 18 bonded labourers, including three children aged between five and eight years, who were working in a brick kiln in Anekal, Karnataka for the past seven years were rescued by the Bengaluru district administration on Thursday.

Officials have arrested the supervisor of the kiln. The owner is absconding. A case has been registered under section 370 (human trafficking) of the IPC and the Bonded Labour (Abolition) Act, 1976.

Members of International Justice Mission, who brought the incident to light, said that none of the families were allowed to go outside the brick kiln together. Most often, only the male labourers were allowed to go to the market on Sunday evenings after their weekly payment to buy groceries for their families. When a couple was allowed to go to the market, they had to leave their children behind. Often, the supervisor accompanied the labourers to the market.

Of the people rescued, three families were trafficked to the kiln by agents from Odisha while the other two families came on their own in search of work.

Do you know of any other incident we should highlight in this column? Write to me at [email protected].

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