10 Sep 2017 | Target Mains | 3rd Weekly Test

Attempt the questions individually by clicking on them.

Q.1) What hurdles exist in making India a cashless economy? Discuss benefits of becoming a cashless economy and suggest how government can speed of this transformation.

Source: https://www.civilsdaily.com/story/cashless-society/

Answer:

  • A cashless economy is one in which all the transactions are done using cards or digital means. The circulation of physical currency is minimal.
  • India uses too much cash for transactions. The ratio of cash to gross domestic product is one of the highest in the world—12.42% in 2014, compared with 9.47% in China or 4% in Brazil.

 

Hurdles?

  1. Availability of internet connection and financial literacy.
  2. Though bank accounts have been opened through Jan Dhan Yojana, most of them are lying un operational. Unless people start operating bank accounts cashless economy is not possible.
  3. There is also vested interest in not moving towards cashless economy.
  4. India is dominated by small retailers. They don’t have enough resources to invest in electronic payment infrastructure.
  5. The perception of consumers also sometimes acts a barrier. The benefit of cashless transactions is not evident to even those who have credit cards. Cash, on the other hand, is perceived to be the fastest way of transacting for 82% of credit card users. It is universally believed that having cash helps you negotiate better.
  6. Most card and cash users fear that they will be charged more if they use cards. Further, non-users of credit cards are not aware of the benefits of credit cards.

 

Benefits of Becoming Cashless Economy

  1. Reduced instances of tax avoidance because it is financial institutions based economy where transaction trails are left.
  2. It will curb generation of black money
  3. Will reduce real estate prices because of curbs on black money as most of black money is invested in Real estate prices which inflates the prices of Real estate markets
  4. In Financial year 2015, RBI spent Rs 27 billion on just the activity of currency issuance and management. This could be avoided if we become cashless society.
  5. It will pave way for universal availability of banking services to all as no physical infrastructure is needed other than digital.
  6. There will be greater efficiency in welfare programmes as money is wired directly into the accounts of recipients. Thus once money is transferred directly into a beneficiary’s bank account, the entire process becomes transparent. Payments can be easily traced and collected, and corruption will automatically drop, so people will no longer have to pay to collect what is rightfully theirs.
  7. There will be efficiency gains as transaction costs across the economy should also come down.
  8. 1 in 7 notes is supposed to be fake, which has a huge negative impact on economy, by going cashless, that can be avoided.

 

How government can speed of this transformation?

  1. Open Bank accounts and ensure they are operationalized.
  2. Abolishment of government fees on credit card transactions; reduction of interchange fee on card transactions; increase in taxes on ATM withdrawals.
  3. Tax rebates for consumers and for merchants who adopt electronic payments.
  4. Making Electronic payment infrastructure completely safe and secure so that incidents of Cyber crimes could be minimized and people develop faith in electronic payment system.
  5. Create a culture of saving and faith in financial system among the rural poor.
  6. The Reserve Bank of India too will have to come to terms with a few issues, from figuring out what digital payments across borders means for its capital controls to how the new modes of payment affect key monetary variables such as the velocity of money.
  7. RBI will also have to shed some of its conservatism, part of which is because it has often seen itself as the protector of banking interests rather than overall financial development.

Q.2) Discuss the salient features of the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016? It is considered that the bill will provide women with much needed work life balance. Critically analyse.

Source: http://www.prsindia.org/billtrack/the-maternity-benefit-amendment-bill-2016-4370/

The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 that seeks to amend the old Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 that entitles women to receive maternity benefits has been passed by the Parliament.

It is considered that the bill will provide Women with much needed work life balance since it has following Provisions

  1. Expecting mothers who are working in the organised sector can now avail 26 weeks of paid maternity leave instead of 12 weeks.
  2. Bill allows 12 weeks of paid maternity leave to mothers who are adopting a child below the age of three months and also to commissioning mothers who opt for surrogacy.
  3. This entitlement is applicable only upto first two children. For third child, the entitlement will be for only 12 weeks. The leaves further reduce to six weeks if the woman wants to become a mother for the fourth time.
  4. It makes it mandatory for employers with 50 or more employees to provide crèches in close vicinity of the workplace, and by allowing women up to four daily visits to the crèche.
  5. The enhancement of paid maternity leave for women is a progressive step and would benefit about 1.8 million women in the organised sector.

However

  1. An increase in maternal leave and a mandate to provide crèches might result in adverse incentives for employers to hire women.
  2. The Bill ignores roughly 90 per cent of the Indian women who are employed in the unorganised sector which includes domestic workers, agricultural labourers, seasonal and construction workers.
  3. The Bill continues to reinforce the stereotype about childcare being exclusively a woman’s responsibility and excludes paternity leave from its ambit.
  4. It discriminates against almost all adoptive mothers, particularly those who adopt older babies or children. It also discriminates against adoptive fathers and transgendered persons who may adopt, as it does not recognise their right to parental benefits.

Conclusion:

  1. The long list of barriers that women face in accessing employment opportunities, such as the risk of exploitation particularly in the informal sector, the lack of wage parity, concerns regarding safety and security, etc., need to find a solution.
  2. India’s problem is not just about ensuring women return to the workforce after childbirth but in bringing women into the workforce in the first place. Resolving this will require more than just maternity leave.

Q.3) It is commented that Criminal defamation law have a chilling effect on freedom of expression. In the light of the above statement do you think that Criminal defamation should be amended. Critically comment.

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/simply-put-the-what-why-of-defamation/

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/explained-supreme-court-verdict-on-defamation-law-its-implications/story-sCH7oeumka5daGHJGp5u9L.html

Recently Supreme Court of India in subramnanian swamy case upheld the validity of the criminal defamation law. 

It is commented by many experts that Criminal defamation law have a chilling effect on freedom of expression and therefore Criminal defamation should be amended.

 

Why Criminal defamation law should be amended?

 

  1. These restrictions have a chilling effect on freedom of speech; they create an anomaly whereby the threshold for criminal prosecution for defamation is now possibly lower than the threshold for civil damages;
  2. “Constitutional fraternity” is not a part of Article 19(2) of the Constitution, which specifically limits the circumstances under which the state can restrict speech to eight enumerated categories.
  3. It is also nowhere in the fundamental rights chapter of the Constitution, so the question of “balancing” free speech against constitutional fraternity does not arise.
  4. Article 21 which is a shield to protect the individual against State persecution or indifference, is used as a sword to cut down the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression because of this provision.
  5. Freedom of speech and expression of media is important for a vibrant democracy and the threat of prosecution alone is enough to suppress the truth. Many times the influential people misuse this provision to suppress any voices against them.
  6. Considering anecdotal evidence, every dissent may be taken as unpalatable criticism. Sections 499 and 500 of IPC prescribes two years’ imprisonment for a person found guilty of defamation.

 

Why Should be retained as it is?

 

  1. Reputation of an individual, constituent in Article 21 is an equally important right as free speech 
  2. It has interpreted art 21 to provide for right to reputation and brought a new concept of constitutional fraternity – that is, an assurance of mutual respect and concern for each other’s dignity.
  3. The Supreme Court declared that the right to free speech under Article 19(1)(a) had to be “balanced” against the right to “reputation” under Article 21.
  4. It has been part of statutory law for over 70 years. It has neither diluted our vibrant democracy nor abridged free speech
  5. Protection for “legitimate criticism” on a question of public interest is available in the Civil law of defamation & Under exceptions of Section 499 IPC
  6. Mere misuse or abuse of law can never be a reason to render a provision unconstitutional rather lower judiciary must be sensitized to prevent misuse
  7. Monetary compensation in civil defamation is not proportional to the excessive harm done to the reputation

Conclusion:

  1. While the right to reputation may be protected by the Constitution, it should not be at the cost of freedom of speech.
  2. Free speech is necessary because, it enables the media to hold governments and individuals accountable. Freedom of speech should also protect the right to offend within reasonable limits.
  3. If the ability to legitimately criticize is not protected, voices throwing light on important issues will continue to be silenced by the rich and powerful

Q.4) The government’s idea of providing proxy voting rights to NRIs is seen as a historic decision in the field of providing voting rights to its citizens. Discuss the pros and cons of this decision.

Source:  http://indianexpress.com/article/india/government-clears-proxy-vote-move-for-nris-4779759/

https://thewire.in/165868/nri-proxy-voting/

Introduction:

The Union Cabinet has cleared a proposal to extend proxy voting to overseas Indians by amending electoral laws.

Proxy voting is a type of voting whereby a member can delegate his or her voting power to a representative, to enable a vote in their absence.

The representative can be another member of the same body, or external. A human so designated is known as a “proxy”. Presently, only service personnel are permitted to vote through proxy.

Pros

  1. The government’s decision to allow NRIs to vote could emerge as a decisive force in the country’s electoral politics as there are 114 countries that conduct such voting.
  2. It will enable India to provide voting rights to NRIs which are enshrined to be given under Article 326.
  3. This decision also, historically, removes an “unreasonable restriction” posed by Section 20(A) of the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act of 2010, requiring overseas electors to be physically present in their constituencies to cast their votes.
  4. There are 10 million Indian citizens staying abroad. The additional votes, polled through this way, will obviously play a crucial role in state and general elections.
  5. The traditional argument against such external voting has been that NRIs lack knowledge of domestic conditions. But, today with increased awareness among people who live in other nations, India’s move towards enabling voting from overseas is an instance of a larger global trend towards increased citizen participation.

Cons

There are arguments that a provision of proxy threatens the very core of democracy as how can we give special privilege of distance voting to some people who have migrated abroad when there are many times more domestic migrants who also seek to have a voting right at their homes? It is patently discriminatory. If a person from Bihar moves to Delhi or Mumbai in search of a job or education, he loses his right to chose his legislator in his village but if he goes to London, he will be entitled to special privilege.

  1. It cannot be guaranteed that the proxy voter will vote as per the wishes of the actual voter. The method of proxy voting suffers from an inherent problem of trust deficiency and violates the principle of secrecy of voting.
  2. Voting from abroad is fraught with other practical challenges like confirming NRI voters before every election and ensuring their post is received on time.
  3. There can be no guarantee of NRI voters exercising their vote in a free and fair manner as there can be no check on coercion or inducements by the employers.
  4. There is no guarantee that votes would not be sold to the so called proxy.
  5. The commission would have to fix the number of votes a proxy could cast in an election. This calls for a drastic amendment to the Representation of People Act. For, currently the Act permits a person to cast only one vote and on introducing the new system, it would have make amendments and also fix the number of vote a person could cast.

Conclusion

Ascertaining the genuineness of the proxy selected by an NRI for casting vote would be the toughest challenge. Before experimenting it in Lok Sabha or Assembly elections, the Election Commission would have to devise a system or work out norms to ensure that a proxy delegated by an NRI is voting as per his desire.


Q.5) Discuss the pros and cons of having permanent river water tribunal in India where there is significant number of such disputes.

Source:  http://www.prsindia.org/billtrack/the-inter-state-river-water-disputes-amendment-bill-2017-4671/

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/inter-state-river-water-disputes-amendment-bill-2017-a-stronger-river-referee-4761698/

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/Grappling-with-water-disputes/article16906692.ece

Hints:

In view of the ongoing water disputes in the country, Union Cabinet has proposed to have a permanent tribunal that will subsume existing tribunals and is expected to provide for speedier adjudication.

Problems in the Present Set up?

  1. With increasing demand for water, inter-state river water disputes are on the rise.
  2. Under the present Act, a separate Tribunal has to be established for each dispute and there is no time limit for adjudication or publication of reports.
  3. Only three of the eight tribunals have actually given awards accepted by the states. Tribunals like those on the Cauvery and Ravi Beas have been in existence for over 26 and 30 years respectively without any award.

Features of the new structure

  1. A single, permanent tribunal subsuming all the existing tribunals is proposed to be established to resolve grievances of states with speed and efficiency.
  2. The proposed tribunal is expected to deliver its verdict within a span of three years.

Pros

  1. A permanent tribunal to adjudicate river water disputes between States will undoubtedly be a vast improvement over the present system of setting up ad hoc tribunals as it is expected to provide for speedier adjudication.
  2. An expert agency to collect data on rainfall, irrigation and surface water flows acquires importance and looks like an ideal mechanism to apportion water because party-States have a tendency to fiercely question data provided by the other side.
  3. The Dispute Resolution Committee, an expert body that will seek to resolve inter-State differences before a tribunal is approached will discourage for needless litigation.
  4. Water disputes are highly politicised and a strong public opinion forms around these issues. A single tribunal would address this issue as it would not be questioned for being politically biased.

Cons

  1. Given the number of ongoing inter-State disputes and those likely to arise in future, it may be difficult for a single institution with a former Supreme Court judge as its chairperson to give its ruling within three years.
  2. The finality and enforcement of a tribunal’s award may remain elusive as its interlocutory orders as well as final award are likely to be challenged in the Supreme Court. .
  3. The benches of the permanent tribunal are going to be created to look into disputes as and when they arise. It is not clear in what way these temporary benches would be different from the present tribunals.
  4. There is a severe lack of comprehensive data that looks at hydrology, meteorology, ecology and economy in an integrated fashion. Without having that data backbone, it will be difficult for a state-level tribunal or a central body to solve any issue.
  5. The new tribunal does not address the problem of non-compliance by state governments like in the recent Beas-Satluj Tribunal award.

Conclusion

  1. Having an institutional mechanism is one thing, but infusing a sense of responsibility in State governments is quite another. Water disputes have humanitarian dimensions, including agrarian problems worsened by drought and monsoon failures.
  2. The Centre’s proposal to set up a single, permanent tribunal, subsuming all existing ad hoc tribunals, to adjudicate on inter-state river water disputes could be a major step towards streamlining the dispute redressal mechanism. But it alone will not be able to address the different kinds of problems—legal, administrative, constitutional and political—that plague the overall framework. Institutional mechanisms should be backed by the political will to make them work.

Q.6) “Transgender Rights Bill 2016 is grossly ignorant of the very issues it is attempting to address” Critically comment.

Source:  http://www.prsindia.org/billtrack/the-transgender-persons-protection-of-rights-bill-2016-4360/

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/transgender-bill-does-not-address-important-issues-parliamentary-panel/story-kXubecBoWjC6dZH9AGL22L.html

 

 


Q.7) According to many experts by passing Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment bill, 2016 in its present form, India has failed its children. Discuss?

Source: http://thediplomat.com/2016/08/indias-new-child-labor-law-billed-to-fail/

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/A-law-that-allows-child-labour/article14560563.ece

As per International Labour Organization, child labour refers to work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. A 2015 report by the International Labor Organization (ILO) puts the number of child workers in India aged 5 to 17 at 5.7 million, out of 168 million globally. Most of these children are engaged in the unorganized and unregulated sector forming the disempowered bulk of the country’s “invisible labor” force. Despite earlier bans on children under 14 working in hazardous industries, hundreds of children continue to toil in factories, even dangerous mines, where entire families are virtually bonded to contractors. It was precisely to address this social inequity, and human rights infractions, that India recently amended the long-overdue and controversial Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, after 30 years.

Some of the key and salient provisions include:

  • The amendments intend to preserve Indian art and craft by enabling parents with traditional skills to pass them on to their children.
  • The setting up of a Child and Adolescent Labour Rehabilitation Fund will help to improve the condition of the children and sponsor education for them.
  • It prescribes more stringent penalty for Violators and high term of jail and fine with non bailable charges.
  • It gives more autonomy to various institutions involved in child labour protection rehabilitation and redevelopment  empowering the government to make periodic inspection of places.

However, this legislation is being criticized by human right activists and experts for its flawed nature due to the following reasons:

  • Under the mask of family work: The new exemption now allows children to work for “family businesses” after school hours and during holidays, which will give legal sanction to their continued exploitation thanks to the omnibus term. Under the new Child Labor Act, some forms of child labor may become invisible and the most vulnerable and marginalized children may end up with irregular school attendance, lower levels of learning, and could be forced to drop out of school.
  • The flawed definition of family and family enterprises: This bill uses Indian family values to justify economic exploitation of children. It is misleading the society by blurring the lines between learning in a family and working in a family enterprise
  • Inconsistent with UNICEF’s Critical Clause: By allowing children to work before and after school hours, the bill contravenes their most fundamental right to a childhood and their entitlement to live a life with dignity as guaranteed by the constitution and the the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which India is a signatory.
  • Reversing the gains:

In 1986, the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act had after much discussion and expansion included 83 occupations. The new amendment reverses the gain by bringing down the list of hazardous occupations for children to include just mining, inflammable substances and explosives.

  • Open discretion of government authorities:

Further, the occupations listed as hazardous can be removed, according to Section 4 — not by Parliament but by government authorities at their own discretion. This leaves it to open discretion.

  • Non-uniform implementation :

List of hazardous factories can be amended by the state government, thus, leading to non-uniform implementation of this act.

  • Making lawful what was unlawful earlier:

It allows that the children may work after school hours or during vacations, thus, actually making lawful a large part of child work that was earlier unlawful.

  • Roughly defined purpose of Fund:

Funding from child rehabilitation fund is not directly linked to education and development rather it aims towards these goals without any mentioned method thus not giving any specific list of objectives.

Way forward:

If the amendments intended to preserve Indian art and craft by enabling parents with traditional skills to pass them on to their children, this should be done through reform and investment in education. Slashed budgets should be restored; mid-day meals should re-instituted; and secure housing should be provided through the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan boarding schools to homeless children. Artisans should be hired as teachers to pass on traditional knowledge and skills to the next generation. Though the increased penalty and rehabilitation fund are welcome inclusions which will act as deterrent and provide relief to child labour. However, the amended Act, display a lack of national commitment to abolishing all forms of child labour and do not resonate with the constitutional objectives of elimination of child labour in India (Article 15(3), Article 24, Art 39(e), Art 45, Art 21A).

Child are future of a country and their holistic development must be the sole aim of a country and this requirement becomes more important for a developing country like India which has a significant part of its population  in the working age. So let us not fail our children as per Kailash Satyarthi and set the right imperative by overcoming all the shortcomings.

 


Q.8) What do you understand by Fake news. Discuss its dangers in multi-cultural and democratic country like India.  What needs to be done to prevent this phenomenon?

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-40657074

http://www.firstpost.com/india/how-alt-news-is-trying-to-take-on-the-fake-news-ecosystem-in-india-3513879.html

Fake news is a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional print and broadcast news media or online social media. Fake news is written and published with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically, often with sensationalist, exaggerated, or patently false headlines that grab attention.

Dangers in multi-cultural and democratic country like India

  1. People’s faith in social, print and electronic media reduces which could affect the benefits of these Media.
  2. It can lead to violence between two or more communities thereby creating enmity and hatred between them.
  3. It can disturb the social fabric of the society and tensions among communities persists for long times.
  4. It reduces the tendencies of cooperation between different communities.
  5. Political parties try to gain political advantages by polarizing the voter’s mind which further intensifies the tensions between different sections of society.
  6. Politics of development takes back seat and communal tendencies emerge in politics.
  7. In its purest form, fake news is completely made up, manipulated to resemble credible journalism and attract maximum attention and, with it, advertising revenue.
  8. Political campaigning has progressed from mere appeals in the name of identity or loyalty or tall promises to something akin to psychological warfare. Parties that master the tools of such psych ops have a distinct edge over those stuck in the traditional mud. Fake news spreads on social media.

How to tackle it

  1. The government must take the initiative to make all sections of the population aware of the realities of this information war and evolve a consensus to fight this war. It must also take strict action
  2. News being spread using chatbots and other automated pieces of software should automatically be selected for special screening. Ordinary consumers of news can play a big role by, first, waking up to the reality that all they read on WhatsApp and Twitter is not the gospel truth, and then, by refusing to pass on what they cannot independently verify with other sources.
  3. Websites that mimic well-known, credible media outlets in their name should be exposed with the vigour with which jokes are shared on social media.
  4. An ombudsman deals with the credibility of news sources, it gains the privilege to ensure facts are reported
  5. Government should have independent agency to verify the data being circulated in social and other media. The agency should be tasked with presenting real facts and figures.
  6. Government should have mechanism for immediately issuing of notice against sites/people/agencies involved in spreading fake news.
  7. There should be a provision of effective balances and check of filtering fake posts before it getting viral.
  8. Social media websites should be made accountable of such activities so that it becomes their responsibility to have better controlling restricting the spread of fake news.
  9. Government should take active measures for promoting awareness among people about fake news and their consequences.
  10. Government should enlist penal provisions to perpetrators of fake news if it causes violence or deaths.

Government should make mandatory for Print and Electronic media to have internal mechanism for verifying incidents, facts and figures.


Q.9) The Union cabinet’s decision to merge-and-consolidate India’s public sector banks (PSUs) is in direct opposition to the post-2008-crisis consensus that big banks are a systemic risk to their national economies. In the light of the above statement discuss the pros and cons of merger of Banks in India?

Source: https://thewire.in/173425/bank-mergers-risky-crisis-imf-india/

http://www.financialexpress.com/opinion/will-a-merger-of-banks-lead-to-too-big-to-fail/308004/

Introduction:

  • Post 2008 crisis, the financial vulnerability of marked and banks have been witnessed practically by all major countries of the world. Rising Non-Performing Assets in India, growing financial burden over the banks, leveraging management etc. has compelled Indian Government to merge several small banks with one big bank. The decision will facilitate consolidation among the nationalized banks to create strong and globally competitive banks.

Pros:

Merger will help Banks, to expand its coverage beyond its outreach gearing up small banks at par with international standards for innovative products and services with the accepted level of efficiency.

  • This will also help in improving the professional standards by ending the unhealthy and intense competition among Banks. In the global market, the Indian banks will gain greater recognition and higher ratings with improved competitions.
  • Technical inefficiency is one of the main factors responsible for banking crisis. The scale of inefficiency is more in case of small banks. Hence, merger would be good.
  • The size of each business entity after merger is expected to add strength to the Indian Banking System in general and Public Sector Banks in particular. However, the strength of the Bank is going to be increased with more effective and centralized management.
  • Synergy of operations and scale of economy in the new entity will result in savings and higher profits.
  • A great number of posts of CMD, ED, GM and Zonal Managers will be abolished, resulting in savings of crores of Rupee.
  • Customers will have access to fewer banks offering them wider range of products at a lower cost.
  • Mergers can diversify risk management as the recapitalization burden to the PSBs on the central government in case of crisis will come down substantially which will help in meeting more stringent norms under BASEL – III, especially capital adequacy ratio.
  • From regulatory perspective, monitoring and control of less number of banks will be easier after mergers. This is at the macro level.

Cons:

  • Immediate negative impact of merger would be from pension liability provisions (due to different employee benefit structures) and harmonization of accounting policies for bad loans recognition.
  • Mergers will result in shifting/closure of many ATMs, Branches and controlling offices, as it is not prudent and economical to keep so many banks concentrated in several pockets, notably in urban and metropolitan centers.
  • New power centers will emerge in the changed environment. Mergers will result in clash of different organizational cultures. Conflicts will arise in the area of systems and processes too. The weaknesses of the small banks may get transferred to the bigger bank also.
  • Also, India right now needs more banking competition rather than more banking consolidation. In other words, it needs more banks rather than fewer banks. This does not mean that there should be a fetish about small-scale lending operations, but to know that large banks are not necessarily better banks.

Conclusion:

  • Given the economic scenario considering the increased banking inclusion in India the merger is a good step to reach the far flung areas especially to the women and poor labourers who are absent from the mainstreaming of banking institutions.
  • Since the merger is about people, a huge amount of planning is required to make consolidation process smoother. However, the consolidated effort from the part of the government, the banking institution and customer is needed to bring the positive result of merger.

Q.10) Judicial activism and judicial overreach are separated by very thin line, and the judiciary has to be careful of it. If that line is crossed, judicial activism may be considered an encroachment on legislature? Discuss.

Source: http://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/judicial-overreach-it-s-the-order-of-the-day/story-a24UnXJ2AST3aAxqnES39H.html

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/Judicial-activism-romanticism-amp-overreach/article15177963.ece

Introduction:

  • Judicial Activism is pro active role taken by Judiciary to dispense social justice. However, there is a set limit drawn by our Constitution for three organs of the state i.e. Legislative, Executive and Judiciary to act within.
  • All three organs are not supposed to encroach on each other’s domain but to keep effective checks and balances with each other. However, when the line has been crossed it becomes Judicial Overreach which is not in consonance with the working democracy.

Judicial Activism:

  • When we speak of Judicial Activism, we point fingers to the invented mechanisms which have no constitutional backing (Eg: Suo moto (on its own) cases, Public Interest Litigations (PIL) etc). This strengthens our system of checks and balances.
  • This Judicial Activism has invented many fruitful concepts such as Basic Structure Doctrine in Kesavananda Bharati Case. This has further expanded the scope of Judicial Review, use of due process of law instead of procedure established by law, collegium system for judges’ selection etc. apart from many others.
  • Through judicial activism, judges can use their own personal feelings to strike down laws that they would feel are unjust. Whether it is an executive order, an immigration issue or a criminal proceeding, judges would have a good vantage point in deciding a certain case’s outcome.

Judicial Overreach:

  • However, when Judicial Activism crosses its limits and becomes Judicial Adventurism, it is known as Judicial Overreach. In simple words, when Judiciary oversteps the powers given to it, it may interfere with the proper functioning of the legislative or executive organs of Government.
  • This Judicial Overreach destroys the Doctrine of Separation of Powers by taking on the function such as law enforcement, policy making, and law making etc.
  • Striking down of NJAC bill and the 99th constitutional amendment, the order passed by the Allahabad High Court making it compulsory for all Bureaucrats to send their children to government school, misuse the power to punish for contempt of court etc. comes under Judicial Overreach.
  • Judicial Overreach by the court may prove lethal as Judiciary passes orders on social justice without having any practical knowledge about the particular issue. Whereas, Government does proper inquiry, investigation with its own expert research fallows on various issues before launching any projects and schemes.
  • Recent ban on Liquor selling on the vicinity of National Highway by the SC is the burning example of Judicial Overreach.

Conclusion:

However, Judicial independence requires judges to be able to apply the law and ‘to exercise their constitutional powers impartially and fearlessly to all persons alike and at all times’. Similar independence is also required in the functioning of other two organs for their smooth functioning and effective results. However, arbitrary action by the legislature and executive must be curbed by the Judiciary with effective checks and balances which very much comes under Judicial Activism. Hence, the Judiciary should and must recognise the thin line drawn between Judicial Activism and Judicial Overreach.


Q.11) Explain the following in the context of a Civil Servant.

                                                   (100*4=400 words) (5*4=20 Marks)

(a) Self control

(b) Conscientiousness

(c) Trustworthiness

(d) Non-partisanship

Q.12) A state was affected by an unprecedented flood which has caused wide spread damage to infrastructure and loss of private properties. Almost 10,000 (Ten thousand) people were washed away in the flood. After the flood, epidemic engulfed the state. The local people experienced the livelihood problems. State bureaucracy was badly demoralized due to apparent failure of government machinery. At this stage, a young and energetic Chief Minister (CM) took the full command of the situation. Now the responsibility lies on him to tackle the situation.

Think over the situation and answer the following questions.

(a) How the chief Minister would recharge the state bureaucracy?

(b) How he would convert problems into opportunity?

(c) What steps he would take to win the confidence of the people?

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