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3 May 2023

Swachh Bharat ODF plus Rankings

News: Kerala’s Wayanad has become the first district in the country to be declared ODF (open defecation-free) Plus.



  • Wayanad district has come first in the ODF Plus rankings of the Swachh Bharat Mission in the three-star category.

  • Wayanad was followed by Mancheriyal district in Maharashtra and Anupur in Madhya Pradesh.


Supreme Court: Irretrievable breakdown of marriage should be a ground for divorce


About the news:

  • Using its powers under Article 142(1) of the Constitution, to do “complete justice” in any “cause or matter”, a Constitution Bench said it could use this extraordinary discretionary power to grant divorce by mutual consent to couples trapped in bitter marriages. 

  • Aim:

    • To spare couples the “agony and misery” of waiting six to 18 months for a local court to annul it, as stipulated under Section 13B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. 

    • It pointed out that if a marriage is wrecked beyond hope, the public interest lies in recognising this fact, not upholding a ‘married’ status regardless. 

    • The Court said it could use Article 142 to quash pending criminal or legal proceedings, be it over domestic violence or dowry, against the man or woman. 

    • Supreme Court could grant the divorce on the grounds of an “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” if the “separation is inevitable and the damage is irreparable”.

    • However, Under the Hindu Marriage Act, irretrievable breakdown of marriage is not yet a grounds for divorce.

    • The grant of divorce would not be a “matter of right, but a discretion which is to be exercised with great care keeping in mind that ‘complete justice is done to both parties


Factors to be considered by the Supreme Court before invoking Article 142  

  • Duration of marriage, 

  • Period of litigation, 

  • The time the couple has stayed apart, 

  • The nature of pending cases, and 

  • Attempts at reconciliation.

  • Mutual agreement to divorce was not under coercion. 

Divorces in India

  • They have doubled in number over the past two decades, the incidence of divorce is still at 1.1%, with those in urban areas making up the most significant proportion. 

  • There are many women, particularly among the poor, who are abandoned or deserted. 

  • Census 2011 revealed that the population which is “separated” is almost triple the divorced number. 

Conclusion: In a country which is largely poor, where gender discrimination is rife and many women are still not financially independent, the Court’s stress on “care and caution” and not rushing into a quick divorce must be welcomed as marriage equality is not a reality for all.


U.S. panel report on religious freedom


News: India has termed the report on religious freedom released by the US as “biased” and “motivated”.


About the Report:

  • The report was released by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

  • It alleged “severe violations” of religious freedom in India.

  • It designates India as a “country of particular concern” on the status of religious freedom along with several other nations.

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