News reports are indicating that an FIR has been registered
with respect to a public meeting organised on New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru
University campus on the evening of February 9. These reports claim that the
meeting was about the hanging of Afzal Guru, and it is alleged that during its
course, some people raised incendiary slogans. According to reports, the FIR
has been registered under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (sedition), and
the police have already arrested one person.
It is important to note that under the Indian law of
sedition, the events at the public meeting, even if completely true, do not
even come close to establishing an offence. In Kedar Nath Singh’s case, five judges
of the Supreme Court – a Constitution bench – made it clear that allegedly
seditious speech and expression may be punished only if the speech is an “incitement”
to “violence”, or “public disorder”. Subsequent cases have further clarified
the meaning of this phrase. In Indra Das v State of Assamand Arup Bhuyan v State of Assam,
the Supreme Court unambiguously stated that only speech that amounts to
“incitement to imminent lawless action” can be criminalised. In Shreya Singhal v Union of India,
the famous 66A judgment, the Supreme Court drew a clear distinction between
“advocacy” and “incitement”, stating that only the latter could be punished.
Therefore, advocating revolution, or advocating even violent
overthrow of the state, does not amount to sedition, unless there is incitement
to violence, and more importantly, the incitement is to “imminent” violence.
For instance, in Balwant
Singh v State of Punjab, the Supreme Court overturned the convictions for sedition,
(124A, IPC) and “promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of
religion, race etc.”, (153A, IPC), and acquitted persons who had shouted, “Khalistan zindabaad, Raj Karega Khalsa,” and, “Hinduan Nun Punjab Chon Kadh Ke
Chhadange, Hun Mauka Aya Hai Raj Kayam Karan Da”, late evening on October 31, 1984, i.e. a few hours after Indira Gandhi’s assassination – outside a cinema
in a market frequented by Hindus and Sikhs in Chandigarh.
Thus, words and speech can be criminalised and punished only
in situations where it is being used to incite mobs or crowds to violent
action. Mere words and phrases by themselves, no matter how distasteful, do not
amount to a criminal offence unless this condition is met.
Modern home design trends that are radically changing living spaces in India
From structure to finishes, modern homes embody lifestyle.
Homes in India are evolving to become works of art as home owners look to express their taste and lifestyle through design. It’s no surprise that global home design platform Houzz saw over a million visitors every month from India, even before their services were locally available. Architects and homeowners are spending enormous time and effort over structural elements as well as interior features, to create beautiful and comfortable living spaces.
Here’s a look at the top trends that are altering and enhancing home spaces in India.
Cantilevers. A cantilever is a rigid structural element like a beam or slab that protrudes horizontally out of the main structure of a building. The cantilevered structure almost seems to float on air. While small balconies of such type have existed for eons, construction technology has now enabled large cantilevers, that can even become large rooms. A cantilever allows for glass facades on multiple sides, bringing in more sunlight and garden views. It works wonderfully to enhance spectacular views especially in hill or seaside homes. The space below the cantilever can be transformed to a semi-covered garden, porch or a sit-out deck. Cantilevers also help conserve ground space, for lawns or backyards, while enabling more built-up area. Cantilevers need to be designed and constructed carefully else the structure could be unstable and lead to floor vibrations.
Butterfly roofs. Roofs don’t need to be flat - in fact roof design can completely alter the size and feel of the space inside. A butterfly roof is a dramatic roof arrangement shaped, as the name suggests, like a butterfly. It is an inverted version of the typical sloping roof - two roof surfaces slope downwards from opposing edges to join around the middle in the shape of a mild V. This creates more height inside the house and allows for high windows which let in more light. On the inside, the sloping ceiling can be covered in wood, aluminium or metal to make it look stylish. The butterfly roof is less common and is sure to add uniqueness to your home. Leading Indian architecture firms, Sameep Padora’s sP+a and Khosla Associates, have used this style to craft some stunning homes and commercial projects. The Butterfly roof was first used by Le Corbusier, the Swiss-French architect who later designed the city of Chandigarh, in his design of the Maison Errazuriz, a vacation house in Chile in 1930.
Skylights. Designing a home to allow natural light in is always preferred. However, spaces, surrounding environment and privacy issues don’t always allow for large enough windows. Skylights are essentially windows in the roof, though they can take a variety of forms. A well-positioned skylight can fill a room with natural light and make a huge difference to small rooms as well as large living areas. However, skylights must be intelligently designed to suit the climate and the room. Skylights facing north, if on a sloping roof, will bring in soft light, while a skylight on a flat roof will bring in sharp glare in the afternoons. In the Indian climate, a skylight will definitely reduce the need for artificial lighting but could also increase the need for air-conditioning during the warm months. Apart from this cleaning a skylight requires some effort. Nevertheless, a skylight is a very stylish addition to a home, and one that has huge practical value.
Staircases. Staircases are no longer just functional. In modern houses, staircases are being designed as aesthetic elements in themselves, sometimes even taking the centre-stage. While the form and material depend significantly on practical considerations, there are several trendy options. Floating staircases are hugely popular in modern, minimalist homes and add lightness to a normally heavy structure. Materials like glass, wood, metal and even coloured acrylic are being used in staircases. Additionally, spaces under staircases are being creatively used for storage or home accents.
Exposed Brick Walls. Brickwork is traditionally covered with plaster and painted. However, ‘exposed’ bricks, that is un-plastered masonry, is becoming popular in homes, restaurants and cafes. It adds a rustic and earthy feel. Exposed brick surfaces can be used in home interiors, on select walls or throughout, as well as exteriors. Exposed bricks need to be treated to be moisture proof. They are also prone to gathering dust and mould, making regular cleaning a must.
Cement work. Don’t underestimate cement and concrete when it comes to design potential. Exposed concrete interiors, like exposed brick, are becoming very popular. The design philosophy is ‘Less is more’ - the structure is simplistic and pops of colour are added through furniture and soft furnishings.
When building your home, it is important to use strong and durable materials. A value-added premium product with high compressive strength, Birla Gold cement is used to make tough, impermeable concrete that sets quickly, lasts long and minimises cracking. Its durability will ensure that your dream home always looks new and the steel structure inside remains protected. Birla Gold offers variants that are optimised for different needs. The unique hydraulic binding properties of the Birla Gold Premium cement variant prevent seepage, making it resistant to even corrosive water, especially important for houses in coastal cities. The Birla Gold Royal cement variant provides very high strength and is perfect for the foundation. As the video below says, with the different varieties of cement that Birla Gold offers, you can build the home of your dreams.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Birla Gold Premium Cement and not by the Scroll editorial team.