Times Top10: Today’s Top News Headlines and Latest News from India & across the World


India’s first infantry museum to be inaugurated in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh; Govt to sell 5% stake in IRCTC to retail investors; Congress to mark 100 days of Bharat Jodo Yatra with concert in Jaipur; Sebi to auction properties of Saradha Group of Companies; Day 3 of 1st Cricket Test match– India Vs Bangladesh

1. ‘Rafale drill’ in NE and Agni-V’s night trial after Tawang standoff
‘I see you’

  • India is keeping a close eye on Chinese troop movements across the entire Line of Actual Control (LAC) after the major clash in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh last week even as the Army recalibrates deployments during the ongoing transition to the annual “winter posture”.
  • “We are ensuring the readjustments of troops, combat reserves, logistical bases and ammunition dumps due to the harsh weather and terrain conditions does not impede our response time and capability to handle any contingency,” a senior Army officer told TOI on Wednesday.

IAF drill

  • The Indian Air Force, bolstered by its full complement of Rafale combat jets, on Thursday launched a major exercise in the Northeast.
  • However, the IAF said the drill was planned in advance and not connected to the recent flare-up.
  • The two-day mega exercise is involving almost all its frontline fighter jets, people familiar with the drill said.

‘Salami slicing’

  • Former Indian Army chief General MM Naravane said, “China has been trying to alter the status quo along the LAC for many years…What we call salami slicing, coming up one inch at a time. But in the bargain over a period of time they have gained a lot.”

The clash

  • Indian and Chinese troops clashed in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang sector on December 9, the first such encounter since the Galwan incident in June 2020. At least six Indian soldiers sustained injuries. China didn’t declare injuries on its side. More here


  • Meanwhile, India successfully carried out the night trials of Agni-V nuclear-capable ballistic missile off Odisha coast.
  • The missile — considered India’s most formidable — can hit targets well beyond the range of 5,000 kilometres. It technically brings even the northernmost part of China within its strike envelope. Details here
2. ‘Circumstantial evidence enough to punish a corrupt official’
Observing that court should not show leniency towards a corrupt public servant who must be brought to book and punished, the Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that direct evidence of demand or acceptance of bribe is not necessary to prove the guilt under the Prevention of Corruption Act and a person can be convicted on the basis of circumstantial evidence.

Hostile witnesses

  • A five-judge constitution bench held that a trial court can convict a corrupt official for demanding and accepting bribe even in the case where witnesses including the complainant turns hostile and backtracks from earlier statement that bribe was demanded.

A legal lacuna

  • The court passed the verdict on the issue as it was alleged that there was some divergence in the treatment of evidentiary requirement for proving the offence of taking gratification and criminal misconduct under Prevention of Corruption Act.

‘Grafts affects governance’

  • Observing that corruption is like a cancer which is adversely affecting the governance and society, the bench said, “We hope and trust that the complainants as well as the prosecution make sincere efforts to ensure that the corrupt public servants are brought to book and convicted so that the administration and the governance becomes unpolluted and free from corruption.”
3. Knives out over ‘K’ word
3. Knives out over ‘K’ word
India has hit back at Pakistan for raking up the Kashmir issue in the UN Security Council, arguing that a country that hosted slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and attacked a neighbouring Parliament does not have the credentials to “sermonise” before the powerful UN organ.

India returns fire

  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s strong remarks came after his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto raised the Kashmir issue while speaking in the Council open debate on reformed multilateralism on Wednesday.
  • Jaishankar said the credibility of the UN depends on its effective response to the key challenges of our times, be it pandemics, climate change, conflicts or terrorism.


  • “We are obviously focused today on the urgency of reforming multilateralism. We will naturally have our particular views, but there is a growing convergence at least that this cannot be delayed any further,” said Jaishankar, who is chairing India’s signature event on reformed multilateralism in UNSC.

Cross-border terror

  • “While we search for the best solutions, what our discourse must never accept is the normalisation of such threats. The question of justifying what the world regards as unacceptable should not even arise. That certainly applies to state sponsorship of cross-border terrorism. Nor can hosting Osama bin Laden and attacking a neighbouring Parliament serve as credentials to sermonise before this Council,” he said.
  • Terrorists of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) had attacked the Indian Parliament complex in 2001, killing nine people.

The Kashmir issue

  • Tensions between India and Pakistan have spiked since New Delhi abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019.
  • India has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 was its internal matter. It also advised Pakistan to accept the reality and stop all anti-India propaganda.

France, UK pledge support

  • Meanwhile, France and the United Kingdom, two veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council, reiterated their support for a permanent seat for India at the powerful horse-shoe table.
4. Law minister’s backhand return to Supreme Court
4. Law minister’s backhand return to Supreme Court
  • Law Minister Kiren Rijiju told the Rajya Sabha on Thursday that the issue of vacancies and appointments in the higher judiciary would continue to linger till such time a new system is created for the same.
  • ‘Limited powers’: “Currently, the government has limited powers to fill the vacancies [in courts],” said Rijiju adding that the Centre cannot look for names other than those recommended by the collegium.
  • Vacancies at 30%: As on December 9, 777 judges are working in the high courts against the sanctioned strength of 1,108, leaving a vacancy of 331.
  • The Supreme Court has 27 judges against the sanctioned strength of 34, leaving seven vacancies as on December 5. The vacancy question will keep arising “till we create a new system for appointments”, he said.
  • Pendency rising: Rijiju said the total number of cases pending in various courts is about to touch 5 crore.
  • Patting own back: To reduce the pendency of cases, Rijiju said, both verbal and written requests have been made to the chief justices of the Supreme Court as well as high courts to send names at the earliest for filling up the vacancies of judges.
  • NJAC 2.0? Rijiju said several retired judges, prominent jurists, advocates, lawyers and leaders of political parties have opined that the striking down of the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act by the Supreme Court was not correct.
  • The tussle: Earlier this month, Rijiju questioned the efficacy of the collegium system. The Supreme Court, in response, warned against “derailing” the system created in 1993. Days later, the SC reacted sharply to Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar’s maiden Rajya Sabha speech flagging the issue. It didn’t go well with the SC, which said the Collegium system is the “law of the land” which should be “followed to the teeth”. More here
6. A case of bail after 17 years in jail
6. A case of bail after 17 years in jail
  • The Supreme Court on Thursday granted bail to a convict, identified as Faruk, serving life imprisonment in the 2002 Godhra train coach burning case, noting that he has been in jail for the last 17 years.

Second Godhra case bail this year

  • In May, another convict in the case was granted interim bail for six months – and later extended till March 31, 2023 – on the ground that his wife had cancer and his daughter was mentally challenged.

The incident

  • On February 27, 2002, 59 people were killed when the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was burnt at Godhra, triggering riots in the state.
  • Notably, on August 15 this year, the Gujarat government approved remission of sentence of 11 convicts in the case of Bilkis Bano who was gang-raped and her relatives murdered during the Gujarat riots.

The trial

  • In 2011, a trial court convicted 31 in connection with the Godhra train burning case, of which 11 were sentenced to death and 20 were given life terms. In 2017, the Gujarat high court commuted the death sentence of the 11 to life terms and upheld life sentences given to the other 20.
  • To be sure, the appeals against the conviction of several convicts are pending adjudication in the apex court currently.
7. ‘Drink and die’ in dry Bihar and ‘healthy substitute’ in Punjab
7. ‘Drink and die’ in dry Bihar and ‘healthy substitute’ in Punjab
Exemplary deaths

  • Facing flak over his ‘failed’ prohibition policy, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar defended his 2016-decision of banning liquor sale and consumption in the state despite frequent hooch tragedies raising a question over his flagship ‘social reformation’ campaign.
  • The day after the latest hooch tragedy claimed 39 lives, with several still critical in hospitals, Nitish hit back saying, “Jo sharaab peeyega, wo toh marega hi na…Udaharan saamne hai. Peeyoge toh maroge [Those who consume liquor will obviously die. Here, we have an obvious example. If you drink, you will die].”
  • The sale and consumption of alcohol were banned in 2016 after Nitish led the Mahagathbandhan coalition to victory in the 2015 Bihar polls.

No compensation

  • Nitish said, “Last time, when people died after consuming spurious liquor, someone said they should be compensated…Death should be seen with sympathy. Those places should be visited and people should be explained.”
  • “We have a liquor ban here. Some people will sell something spurious due to which people die. Liquor is bad and shouldn’t be consumed.”

What next?

  • “I’ve told officers that they shouldn’t arrest the poor. Those manufacturing liquor and are in alcohol business should be apprehended. I am ready to offer Rs 1 lakh to these people to start new work. We’ll raise the amount if needed, but nobody should get involved in this business,” Nitish said.


  • Punjab’s Bhagwant Singh Mann government is planning to introduce a “cheap variant of country liquor” to wean away people from illicit homemade liquor.
  • “This liquor is going to be a healthy substitute for illegally brewed homemade liquor,” it told the Supreme Court on Thursday adding, it would be “made available in illicit liquor prone areas”.
  • Punjab has launched an awareness campaign against hooch, with rewards — Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh — to informers.
8. Is this the end of the road for Nirav Modi?
8. Is this the end of the road for Nirav Modi?
Nirav Modi, the fugitive diamond merchant wanted in India to stand trial on fraud and money laundering charges, on Thursday suffered another setback in the legal battle against his extradition as the High Court in London denied him permission to appeal against the move in the UK Supreme Court.

The order says…

  • In a ruling delivered speedily within just over a week of the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) submitting its response to the 51-year-old diamantaire’s permission to appeal application on behalf of the Indian government, the judges also ruled that the “certification of a point of law be refused” that would have allowed his plea to progress to the higher court.

What it means

  • An appeal on the grounds of a point of law of general public importance is a high threshold that is not met very often and this refusal significantly limits Modi’s remaining legal options in the UK against extradition to India. The latest order also directs Modi to pay the legal costs related to the latest application, assessed in the sum of GBP 150,247.

Mental health issue

  • Last month, Modi lost an appeal on mental health grounds when the same two-judge High Court bench ruled that his risk of suicide is not such that it would be either unjust or oppressive to extradite him to India to face charges in the estimated $2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan scam case.

In jail

  • Modi, meanwhile, remains behind bars at Wandsworth Prison in London since his arrest on an extradition warrant in March 2019.

What next?

  • In principle, Modi can now apply to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to try and block his extradition on the basis that he will not receive a fair trial and that he will be detained in conditions that breach Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which the UK is a signatory.


  • The threshold for an ECHR appeal is also extremely high because he would also have to demonstrate that his arguments on those grounds before the UK courts have been previously rejected.
9. More officers pressed into service to clear airport mess
9. More officers pressed into service to clear airport mess
  • An additional 1,400 CISF personnel have been sanctioned to secure the expanding terminal areas of the Delhi Airport and also to meet the challenge of its growing passenger traffic, officials told news agency PTI on Thursday.

A review meeting

  • The decision was conveyed at a meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, which was called to review measures taken to ease the recent congestion reported at large airports, particularly in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.
  • With the additional CISF deployment, the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi will have a total strength of around 6,500 personnel.

Chaos and confusion

  • Over the last few days, people have been complaining about chaos, confusion and congestion in these airports, especially Delhi.
  • Several of them took to social media platforms, uploading photos and videos of long queues at entrances and security checkpoints, forcing civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia to visit the Delhi airport earlier this week.
  • Scindia directed officers to increase the number of entry points, even as he attributed the congestion in the airport to the aviation sector recovering from issues that cropped up because of the pandemic-related restrictions.

Rush points

  • Bhalla is also learnt to have directed officials to discuss with stakeholders continuous complaints from passengers about the rush at the entry gates, luggage drop and security check areas. The meeting discussed the issue of crowding and how to fix the problems faced by passengers, PTI reported.

United Nations: The first such sculpture of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi has been unveiled at its headquarters in New York. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday said that Gandhi was an uncompromising advocate of peaceful co-existence, non-discrimination and pluralism. India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar was also present during the inauguration.

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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Jayanta Kalita, Prabhash K Dutta, Abhishek Dey
Research: Rajesh Sharma

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