Citizens' Issues
SC to hear Swamy's plea against arrest warrant in July
The Supreme Court will hear in July BJP leader Subramanian Swamy's plea challenging the non-bailable warrants issued against him by a court in Assam over his controversial comments that mosques were not religious structures.
A vacation bench of Justice M.Y. Eqbal and Justice Arun Mishra directed listing the matter for hearing in the first week of July before an appropriate bench after Swamy sought adjournment telling the court that senior counsel Ram Jethmalani representing him in the case was abroad.
Swamy said he has challenged the constitutional validity of the Indian Penal Code's Sections 153(a) and 295(a), contending that they were vaguely worded and were prone to be misused, like Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, which was recently read down by the apex court.
Section 153A provides for punishment for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony, while Section 295A provides for punishment for deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.
Swamy contended that there has to be a distinction between the incitement or advocacy and the expression of opinion.
He held that everything that one says could not be lumped together under these sections and there has to be a nexus or linkage between what was said in an alleged breach of two sections and things actually happening.
The apex court on March 24, while quashing Section 66A of the IT Act held that it was violative of the Constitution's Article 19(1)(a) guaranteeing freedom of speech and expression, while hearing a batch of petitions, including one by Shreya Singhal, questioning the arrest of two girls - Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Shrinivasan - for posting on social media comments critical of Mumbai bandh in the wake of the death of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray.
The case against Swamy in Assam relates to his comments in March wherein he had said in Guwahati that mosques were just buildings with no religious sentiments attached to them and could be pulled down anytime.
He had noted that in Saudi Arabia, mosques, if required, are pulled down and constructed at other places.
Following a complaint, a case was registered against Swamy on charges of conspiracy and promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion.
The additional chief judicial magistrate of Assam's Karimganj district has asked police in Assam and Delhi to present Swamy before it on or before June 30.


Pulse Beat

Brain and Diabetes

What has diabetes got to do with your brain? Well, it may shrink your brain by two years every decade, an alarming research has indicated. The study involved the MRI study of 614 Type-II diabetic patients. “Our research found that patients having more severe diabetes had less brain tissue, suggesting brain atrophy,” said R Nick Bryan, a professor of radiology at University of Pennsylvania’s Perleman School of Medicine.
For every 10 years of diabetic duration, the brain looked two years older compared to the brain of non-diabetics. Longer the duration of diabetes, the higher was the brain loss, especially of the grey matter. Interestingly, this was not due to micro-vascular disease either. They did not have increased vascular disease as is expected.
Though the authors of the study wrote that this is another reason to treat diabetes, there is no evidence to make that statement as yet. Maybe the study got money from the drug industry.

Faecal Microbiota Transplant

Otherwise called faecal transplant, FMT has come to stay in the treatment of antibiotic resistant Clostridium difficile infections which have become very common in the West. This germ is otherwise a common one and should not produce any illness. In the United States alone, it kills about 15,000 people every year!
Faecal transplant is a procedure in which stool is collected from a donor free of C. diff and those friendly gut bacteria are isolated from the faecal matter. These are then transferred to the recipient’s gut, through a Ryle’s tube, with the aim of replacing the good gut bacteria that may have been suppressed by overpopulation of C. diff.
Any new life-saving procedure looks good, to begin with. Now, there is a new case report which has shown a very interesting side-effect of FMT. A middle-aged lady, who received repeated faecal transplant for recurrent C. diff infection from an obese lady, has now developed obesity. She put on 35 pounds in six months. One lesson we learnt is that FMT should not be done from any obese donor. The other, more poignant, lesson is that the gut bacteria might hold the key for obesity treatment in the future. May be, this is a long shot; if this succeeds, we may be able to obviate the dangerous Bariatric surgery.

Eating Your Own Placenta

Some celebrities have been eating their own placenta to avoid postpartum depression and have been advertising in its favour. Many women in the West started doing that. In animal studies in rats, this has helped the rodent. Studies did not support this claim in humans.
Researchers found that “the primary motivation for most women for consuming placenta is to prevent postpartum depression,” said study’s co-author Cynthia Coyle, a clinical psychologist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. “But are women making the choice to do this, and forgoing other scientifically proven treatments? We don’t know the answer to that.”
During her studies, Dr Coyle was surprised to find how prevalent this placenta eating habit was. However, no study ever showed that placenta eating has any benefit. Unfortunately, there were no studies done to show what harm placenta eating does to the person. Dr Coyle also found that “chemical elements such as selenium, cadmium, mercury and lead, as well as bacteria, have been found in placental tissues. And women who buy placenta pills online should know that there are no regulations about what is in the pills,” Dr Coyle said: “The bottom line is that there are no human studies that show a benefit to eating the placenta.” 


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