Your Daily Wrap: Justice UU Lalit to be next CJI, China conducts missile strikes near Taiwan; and more

Raising the issue of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons to Congress leaders, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge today accused the central government of trying to demoralise and intimidate the Opposition. Pointing out that he has been summoned by the ED at a time when Parliament is in session, Kharge asked if it was fair on the part of the agency to do so. Leader of the House, Piyush Goyal, however, responded by claiming that the government does not interfere in the functioning of law enforcement agencies.

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi too accused the government of intimidating them, saying “We are not scared of Narendra Modi”. Meanwhile, the ED resumed search operations at the Young Indian (YI) office after Kharge, who is also the YI office bearer, reached the Herald House in the afternoon. Due to Kharge’s unavailability on Tuesday, the agency had sealed the office and sent summons to Kharge to be present on Thursday for searches to be completed.

In a relief for the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction of Shiv Sena, the Supreme Court today asked the Election Commission not to decide on the pleas submitted by the Eknath Shined-led camp as yet. A bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) N V Ramana said the Supreme Court would decide whether to refer the pleas to a five-judge Constitution bench on August 8.

CJI Ramana recommended to the government the name of Justice Uday Umesh Lalit as his successor. CJI Ramana retires on August 26 following which Justice Lalit will take over as the 49th Chief Justice of India. He will remain in office till November 8, 2022.

China said it conducted “precision missile strikes” in the Taiwan Strait Thursday as part of military exercises that have raised tensions in the region to their highest level in decades.The drills, prompted by a visit to the island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week, began as scheduled at midday and included live-firing in the waters to the north, south and east of Taiwan. The ballistic missiles appear to have landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, Japanese defence minister Nobuo Kishi said, adding that “We have protested strongly through diplomatic channels.” What does China hope to achieve through these drills? Read here. Follow live updates on China-Taiwan tensions here.

Political Pulse

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has often spoken of what he owes to his mentor Anand Dighe. After Dighe’s death in 2001, Shinde took control of the Shiv Sena in Thane district and built his base. Now, his claim to Dighe’s legacy is under challenge from the Shiv Sena. Following the recent churn in the party caused by his rebellion, Shinde faces a challenge from his mentor’s nephew Kedar Dighe, who was appointed the Shiv Sena’s Thane district head on Sunday by party president Uddhav Thackeray. Read Vallabh Ozarkar’s report on what party insiders have to say about Thackeray’s decision to field Kedar against Shinde.

Two meetings by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor Arvind Kejriwal in the past week in the Saurashtra region have set off a buzz among party leaders and workers. Kejriwal held a town hall meeting in Rajkot with businessmen, traders and industrialists, followed by a public meeting in Veraval, both well-attended. Enough for even the BJP to take notice. Playing down the presence of the communities largely considered supporters of the BJP at the Kejriwal events, the BJP said it was the Congress that needed to be apprehensive as AAP would make any gains at its expense, in the Assembly elections due at the end of this year. Gopal B Kateshiya reports.

Express Explained

The government has withdrawn the Personal Data Protection Bill from Parliament as it considers a “comprehensive legal framework” to regulate the online space, including bringing separate laws on data privacy, the overall Internet ecosystem, cybersecurity, telecom regulations, and harnessing non-personal data to boost innovation in the country. Why has the Bill been withdrawn, and why is this development significant? We explain.

On June 29, the Earth completed one full spin — a day — in 1.59 milliseconds less than its routine 24 hours. It was the shortest day recorded since the 1960s, when scientists first began to use the precise atomic clocks to measure the Earth’s rotational speed. It’s been happening fairly often these days — in recent years, the Earth has been spinning ever so slightly faster. So why are days getting shorter these days? What can happen if the Earth continues to spin faster on a sustained basis? Read this Explained article to know more.

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