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9 PM Daily Brief – 21st October 2016

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Front Page / NATIONAL

[1]. No need to panic, card holders told

The Hindu

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the domestic payment gateway, has urged debit card customers whose data has been compromised, not to panic as all the necessary actions have been taken to deal with the fiasco (a complete failure)


Around 32 lakh debit card holders in India have been affected by one of the largest ever breaches of financial data in the country

  • Customers of the State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, YES Bank and Axis Bank are among those affected and the banks will either replace their cards or ask them to change their security codes
  • The fraudsters were able to steal information by way of malware introduced to Hitachi Payment Services, which provides ATM and point of sale services. Mastercard and Visa debit cards constitute around 26 lakh cards while 6 lakh cards are RuPay cards
  • According to the NPCI, the problem was detected when some bank customers complained that their cards were used fraudulently mainly in China and U.S. while customers were in India.

According to RBI norms, if the customer is not responsible for a fraudulent transaction, then the bank will be liable to pay compensation.

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is an umbrella organization for all retail payments system in India. It was set up with the guidance and support of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).

  • It was incorporated as a Section 25 company under Companies Act 1956 (now Section 8 of Companies Act 2013) and is aimed to operate for the benefit of all the member banks and their customers.


[1]. Frames of reference

The Hindu

A raft of judicial pronouncements in Indian courts and an examination of cross-currents on the subject in several Muslim-majority countries could inform the current debate on triple talaq.

Triple Talaq and other countries

From the earliest days of Islam, a husband could divorce his wife on pronouncement of talaq in three successive tuhrs (menses-free time).

  • The first and second pronouncements are revocable and resumption of cohabitation is possible
  • It is the third pronouncement that dissolves the marriage
  • Pronouncement of talaq at one go, called talaq-e-bidat, was a latter-day innovation to get a really bitter couple to part ways as quickly as possible.
  • Challenge to talaq-e-bidat: The practice was challenged as early as the 13th century by the Hanbali scholar Ibn Taimiyah (1268-1328 AD), who argued that triple talaq at one sitting shall be counted as one and hence revocable. This idea never settled down to prevalent understanding till almost the entire Islamic world rallied to support this view around the first quarter of the 20th century.


Turkey adopted a modified version of the Swiss Civil Code in 1926, allowing for judicial control


Egypt framed a law in 1929 terming triple talaq pronounced at one sitting as a single pronouncement open to easy revocability


In 1953 with a slight modification that if the pronouncement of talaq is with reference to number, every talaq shall be revocable, except a third talaq or a talaq before consummation or for a consideration and expressly stated to be irrevocable


In Iraq, since 1959, divorce could be effected only after approval by government-run personal status courts.


Algeria has adopted the same law, making a further provision for completing the reconciliation process within 90 days.


In 1956, a similar interpretation was adopted in Pakistan thanks to the recommendation of a seven-member Commission on Marriage and Family Laws.

  • The commission suggested that the divorce would not take effect till the matrimonial court dissolves the marriage. A later decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in Syed Ali Nawaz Gardezi v. Lt. Col. Muhammad Yusuf (1963) emphatically ruled against triple talaq in one session.


In Tunisia, since 1956, divorce was possible only through court, which was to examine if there was scope for rapprochement between the parties before granting relief.

Judicial pronouncements in India

Supreme Court in Shamim Ara v. State of U.P. (2002) and struck down a claim of divorce by triple talaq expressed through a written statement filed to fend off a demand for maintenance from the wife as invalid.

The approach

  • Triple talaq at one go shall be treated as a single pronouncement not yet capable of bringing an irrevocable coup de grace to end matrimonial ties. There is no need to abolish it since it is judicially pronounced to be ineffective
  • The pronouncements shall be tested on their reasonableness and parties shall undertake a compulsory conciliatory effort before their utterance
  • The interpretation of personal laws of all communities is — like every other law — amenable to be tested on its constitutionality on the touchstone of fundamental rights in the Constitution
  • The Law Commission, which is a recommendatory body, will do well to let the pronouncement of the Supreme Court clear the air

[2]. A vote on referendums

The Hindu


The Brexit and Colombian surprises aside, a referendum can be an instrument to deepen the participatory process of Indian democracy.

Author raises following questions through this article,

  • How much say do Indian citizens have in influencing important legislations that have a strong bearing on their lives?
  • Is it merely enough for citizens to elect and thrust responsibility upon parliamentary representatives to make choices for them?
  • Can there be other devices to supplement the functioning of Indian democracy to make it more accountable, participatory and deliberative?

Author, though this article, tests the potency of referendum in Indian context

What is a referendum?

It is an instrument of direct democracy where citizens get to directly vote on specific and important issues rather than for representatives who will make a choice on their behalf on those issues. For eg:

  • The BREXIT, where people in Britain voted out of European Union. In this case, the votes cast in favor of BREXIT were primarily fueled by anger at the perceived joblessness due to immigration instead of a well thought out decision.
  • The October 2 referendum called by the Colombian government to ratify the accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) resulted in a “No” vote favoured by 50.3 per cent of the less than 38 per cent of the electorate that turned out. In this case also, the opposition to the deal was driven by detractors who opposed it for political rather than functional reasons.

Relevance in Indian context

  • Sensitization of the general public- If there are provisions which enable public voting on certain legislations like a mechanism that calls for referendums on select Bills and Acts based on a large quantum of public signatures seeking to vote on them, it could go a long way in not just sensitizing the public towards important laws but also for a means of getting popular approval for them

Example: Author gives the example of Aadhar bill which was passed in the parliament as a money bill. Would it not be fruitful to have mass participation over deciding whether Aadhaar should be mandatory to avail of welfare entitlements or services? It even seems imperative considering that there are serious questions being raised about the implementation of the project in schemes such as PDS distribution.

Contrarian view: Against referendum

  • Referendums can lead to majoritarian and not just majority outcomes and therefore constitutional safeguards on the kinds of Bills and Acts that can be brought up for voting are a must.
  • A lot of thought has to go into creating the mechanisms that allow for referendums.


[1]. Pakistan warns India against breaching Indus Water Treaty

 The Hindu


Pakistan warned “appropriate action” if India violated the Indus Water Treaty

Pakistan was keeping a close eye on the situation,

  • India was making “desperate attempts” to divert attention from the “atrocities and human rights violations” being committed in Kashmir
  • India violated ceasefire on the Line of Control for more than 90 times this year.
  • He also termed the Indian treatment to Pakistani artistes “very disappointing and highly regrettable” as he deplored India’s decision to “use SAARC for its political ambition


[1]. U.S. asks India to liberalize retail, financial services

The Hindu


The U.S. has asked India to consider relaxing local sourcing requirements in single brand retail trade as well as liberalizing financial services sector.

Discussions were held at ministerial-level meeting of the bilateral Trade Policy Forum (TPF) – the premier forum to discuss and resolve trade and investment issues.

  • Liberalizing financial services sector would help create an open, non-discriminatory and predictable regime that enhances the development of those markets and the quality of life of the Indian people
  • India has provided relaxation in specific cases in local sourcing through recent FDI reforms India wants Washington to expedite the conclusion of negotiations on a proposed bilateral social security pact for the benefit of Indian IT workers

Issues India want US to address

  • The issue of the higher visa fees as well as into the delay in reaching an agreement on totalisation. According to India, the absence of such a pact is a burden for the Indian software sector (who send professionals to the U.S. on projects) as they have to shell out more than $1 billion per year to the U.S. Government towards social security
  • Expediting the conclusion of negotiations on a proposed bilateral social security pact for the benefit of Indian IT workers.



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