Get Wired 11/8: Ban on Santhara, Mumbai Police is Sorry, Google’s Alpha Bet, and More

Santhara banned by Rajasthan High Court

The old Jain practice to attain salvation through starvation unto death has been outlawed by the Rajasthan High Court. Human rights activists have for long compared it to suicide and sati. The practice was made punishable under articles 306 and 309, imposing one year in jail or 10 years in jail respectively. Jain organisations have said that they will appeal the verdict as they feel that the ruling is an infringement on minority rights. Justice Panachand Jain, a former High Court judge, has insisted that Santhara has nothing to do with suicide or sati.

GST Bill to be raised today in the RS

The NDA government on Monday listed the Constitutional (122nd) Amendment Bill, for goods and services tax, for passage in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. The move follows the meeting between the PM and Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa. Sources say that the meeting accelerated the process of bringing the bill up in Parliament. The government has indicated its intention to let States collect the 1% additional levy over and above the GST during the two year transition period.

US gives Maggi Noodles clean chit

Finding no unsafe lead levels, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of the noodles in the United States, said a Nestle spokesperson. Food regulators in six other countries have already stated that they have found India made Maggi to be safe for consumption. India banned the sale of Maggi on June 5.

Emergency declared in Ferguson

Following the shooting that took place during the one-year anniversary protest of the shooting of Michael Brown, the St Louis County Executive Steve Stenger declared a state of emergency on Monday. In a statement, he said “The recent acts of violence will not be tolerated in a community that has worked so tirelessly over the last year to rebuild and become stronger.”

Court cancels anticipatory bail for Dayanidhi Maran

The Madras High Court has canceled the anticipatory bail originally granted to former Union Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran on the 30th of July. Justice S. Vaidyanathan of the Madras High Court did, however, give the former minister a three-day period to surrender. “After evaluating the entire available material against Maran, I find prima facie the exact role he being the Union minister for communications and information technology in misusing his office for his wrongful gain…”, Justice Vaidhyanathan said in his order.

Mumbai Police says they made a mistake

In an official statement on Monday, the Mumbai Police confessed to having made a mistake by detaining 13 couples and booking them with invalid charges. “I admit it was the police’s mistake. There are some officers who were overzealous. They should not have taken the 13 couples into custody. The inquiry (into the incident) is still under way,” said Deven Bharti, the Joint Commissioner of Police. The couples were charged Rs.1,200 and charged with “indecent behaviour in public”, despite having been in hotel rooms. This statement was made a day after Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar strangely came out in support of the police raid saying that “using words like moral-policing demoralises the police”.

Minimum wages may see a 25% hike

In a move aimed at giving the rural economy an indirect boost, the government may raise the minimum wages in the country by as much as 25% and also make them binding on all states. The Labour Ministry recently increased the National Floor Level Minimum Wage to Rs.160 per day from Rs.137, with effect from July. This implies a salary of Rs.4,800 for an unskilled worker; however, this has not been made mandatory for all states to follow.

Calls to exonerate Ethel Rosenberg

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were executed on June 19, 1953, after being convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage. However, sensationalised media reports led the public to believe that the two were involved in providing the Soviet Union information that could assist the destruction of the US with atomic bombs. New evidence demonstrates conclusively that Ethel Rosenberg was prosecuted primarily for refusing to turn on her spouse. The Meeropol brothers, sons of Ethel Rosenberg, have written requesting her posthumous exoneration.  

Google is now Alphabet

On Monday, Google announced that it was forming a new company called Alphabet, with Google becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of it. Also, Alphabet Inc. will replace Google Inc. as the publicly traded company, CEO Larry Page said. All shares of Google will now be shares of Alphabet instead.

Leander Paes and Andy Murray to partner up

Paes will pair up with singles world number 3 Andy Murray, at this week’s Montreal Masters. Murray will be Paes’ 101st doubles partner and the two will face Frenchman Jeremy Chardy and South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in their first match as an unseeded duo. The arrangement is unlikely to be permanent as Paes will have to find yet another partner for the Cincinnati Masters.