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September 2020

Important Judgements In News

Undoing the right to housing


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Right to livelihood and related Articles

Mains level : Paper 2- Right of livelihood

The article analyses the implications of recent Supreme Court order regarding the removal of encroachment along the railway line. 


  •  In short order, the Supreme Court of India on August 31 ordered the removal of about 48,000 slum dwellings situated along the railway tracks in Delhi.
  • The order raises several legal questions, which are discussed below.

1) Violation of the principle of natural justice

  • The order violates principles of natural justice and due process because it was delivered without hearing the affected party, the jhuggi dwellers.
  • The order was passed in the long-running case on the piling up of garbage along railway tracks.
  • However, neither this case nor the report concerns itself with the legality of informal settlements.
  • Still, the Court made an unconvincing connection between the piling of garbage and the presence of slums.

2) Ignoring the right to livelihood

  • In this order, the Court ignored its long-standing jurisprudence on the right to livelihood.
  • In the landmark decision concerning pavement-dwellers, a five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in Olga Tellis & Ors vs. Bombay Municipal Corporation & Ors. (1985) held that the right to life also includes the “right to livelihood”.
  • Further, in Chameli Singh vs. the State Of U.P. (1995), the Supreme Court recognised the “right to shelter” as a component of the right to life under Article 21 and freedom of movement under Article 19(1)(e).

3) Failure to consider policies and case laws

  •  High Court of Delhi has held that prior to any eviction, a survey must be conducted.
  • The procedure laid down in this judgment formed the basis for the Delhi Slum and JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy, 2015.
  • In Ajay Maken & Ors. vs Union Of India & Ors. (2019), the Delhi High Court invoked the idea of the “Right to the City” to uphold the housing rights of slum dwellers.
  • This case led to the framing of a Draft Protocol for the 2015 Policy on how meaningful engagement with residents should be conducted.


The Courts need to strike the balance between the rights of the slum dweller and those affected by the encroachment.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-China

Neither war nor peace between India and China


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- India-China relations

The article analyses the challenges in the India-China border dispute and the recent events of Chinese aggression.

Trust deficit

  • The recent Chinese actions have set back trust between the two countries by decades.
  • Trust made sense when both sides could assume that the other side either did not have the capacity or would not rapidly deploy troops in strategic positions at the border.
  • With the building of infrastructure on both sides, this trust was bound to break.
  • Even after temporary disengagement, both sides will now have distrust about the deployment of the other side.
  • An infrastructure-thick environment will require a permanent presence and closer deployments.


  •  At the level of the army, India seems to have consistently misread the PLA’s intentions.
  •  The closer the armies get, the greater the risks.
  • There is a political logic that does not bode well. There is still speculation on why the Chinese are taking an aggressive posture.
  • The very fact that we are not sure of Chinese motives means it is hard to know their endgame.

Chinese fears

  • At a basic level, they will want to secure their interests in CPEC.
  • Tibet issue has also been a sensitive issue for China.
  •  Chinese interest in Nepal is less to encircle India. It is to ensure Nepal is not used as a staging ground of resistance in Tibet.

Tibet issues in India-China relations

  • On Tibet issue India is in an awkward situation.
  • Due to the presence of the Dalai Lama in India, China will see it as a potential threat to its cultural hegemony in Tibet.
  • Ladakh and Tawang are also important pieces in that cultural consolidation.
  • The Sino-India peaceful relations were premised on keeping the Tibet issue in check.
  • But just as we are not sure of Chinese motives, they may not be sure of our motives either.

New paradigm in India’s foreign policy

  • India growing power means it needs a new paradigm of foreign policy.
  • This policy will supposedly safeguard India’s interests more assertively.
  • If diplomatically not well managed, this change also causes great uncertainty in the international system.
  • India’s Pakistan policy is premised entirely on keeping them guessing on what we might do, including possible military options and altering the territorial status quo.
  • Our domestic ideological articulation of India’s position ranges from reclaiming PoK to Aksai Chin.
  • We cannot abandon Tibetans.
  • This underscores a narrative of uncertainty over our intentions.


Our own trumpeted departure from the past, without either the diplomatic preparation, domestic political discipline, and full anticipation of military eventualities, does not make it easy for others to understand our endgame.

History- Important places, persons in news

Dictionary of Martyrs of India’s Freedom Struggle (1857-1947)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : “Dictionary of Martyrs” Project

Mains level : India's freedom struggle

Four martyrs of Communist movement of Kerala will be added to the ‘Dictionary of Martyrs India’s Freedom Struggle (1857-1947)’, if an earlier review report to the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) is accepted.

Communist revolutionaries of Kerala

  • The four who may make it to the list include Aboobacker and Chirukandan of Kayyur, “who walked to the gallows shouting Inquilab Zindabad and Communist Party Zindabad” and “died as brave communists,” as mentioned in the fifth volume of the dictionary.
  • Abu of Mambram, a Communist and active partner in the nationalist and anti-imperialist movements, and Chattukutty, an active Communist cadre involved in the agitations for price control, wage hike, and relief to peasants, who were killed in the Tellichery police firing on September 15, 1940, would also qualify.
  • The report had suggested the deletion of the martyrs of Punnapra-Vayalar, Karivelloor, and Kavumbayi agitations as they were rioters against the interim government headed by Jawaharlal Nehru.

Back2Basics: “Dictionary of Martyrs” Project

  • The project for the compilation of “Dictionary of Martyrs” of India’s Freedom Struggle was commissioned by the Ministry of Culture, to the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the uprising of 1857.
  • In this dictionary, a martyr has been defined as a person who died or who was killed in action or in detention, or was awarded capital punishment while participating in the national movement for the emancipation of India.
  • It includes ex-INA or ex-military personnel who died fighting the British.
  • Information of about 13,500 martyrs has been recorded in these volumes.

Who are included?

  • It includes the martyrs of 1857 Uprising, Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (1919), Non-Cooperation Movement (1920-22), Civil Disobedience Movement (1930-34), Quit India Movement (1942-44), Revolutionary Movements (1915-34), Kissan Movements, Tribal Movements, Agitation for Responsible Government in the Princely States (Prajamandal), Indian National Army (INA, 1943-45), Royal Indian Navy Upsurge (RIN, 1946), etc.

Five Volumes

  • Volume 1: In this volume, more than 4400 martyrs of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have been listed.
  • Volume 2: In this volume, more than 3500 martyrs of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir have been listed.
  • Volume 3: The number of martyrs covered in this volume is more than 1400. This volume covers the martyrs of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Sind.
  • Volume 4: The numbers of martyrs covered in this volume is more than 3300. This volume covers the martyrs of Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura.
  • Volume 5: The number of martyrs covered in this volume is more than 1450. This volume covers the martyrs of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Climate Change Impact on India and World – International Reports, Key Observations, etc.

[pib] Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework (CSCAF 2.0)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CSCAF 2.0

Mains level : Not Much

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has launched the Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework (CSCAF) 2.0.

About CSCAF 2.0

  • A framework is a climate-sensitive approach to urban planning and development in India.
  • ​It was developed after a review of existing frameworks and assessment approaches adopted throughout the world.
  • It followed a series of an extensive consultative process with more than 26 organizations and 60 experts from different thematic areas.
  • The Climate Centre for Cities under National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) is supporting MoHUA in implementation of CSCAF.

Various indicators of the framework

The framework has 28 indicators across five categories namely:

  1. Energy and Green Buildings
  2. Urban Planning, Green Cover & Biodiversity
  3. Mobility and Air Quality
  4. Water Management
  5. Waste Management

Start-up Ecosystem In India

[pib] Ranking of States on Support to Startup Ecosystems, 2019


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ranking of States on Support to Startup Ecosystems

Mains level : Not Much

The Results of the second edition of Ranking of States on Support to Startup Ecosystems were recently released by Minister of Commerce & Industry.

About the Ranking

  • The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has conducted the second edition of the States Startup Ranking Exercise.
  • The key objective is to foster competitiveness and propel States and Union Territories to work proactively towards uplifting the startup ecosystem.
  • It has been implemented as a capacity development exercise to encourage mutual learning among all states and to provide support in policy formulation and implementation.

7 focus areas

  1. Institutional Leaders
  2. Regulatory Change Champions
  3. Procurement Leaders
  4. Incubation Hubs
  5. Seeding Innovation Leaders
  6. Scaling Innovations Leaders
  7. Awareness and Outreach Champions

Road and Highway Safety – National Road Safety Policy, Good Samaritans, etc.

‘Streets for People’ Challenge


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Streets for People

Mains level : Not Much

The Union Housing and Urban Affairs has launched the initiative ‘Streets for People’ for making cities more pedestrian-friendly.

Streets for People

  • The Challenge builds on the advisory issued by MoHUA for the holistic planning for pedestrian-friendly market spaces, earlier this year.
  • It will support cities across the country to develop a unified vision of streets for people in consultation with stakeholders and citizens.
  • Adopting a participatory approach, cities will be guided to launch their own design competitions to gather innovative ideas from professionals for quick, innovative, and low-cost tactical solutions.
  • ​It aims to inspire cities to create walking-friendly and vibrant streets through quick, innovative, and low-cost measures.
  • All cities participating in the challenge shall be encouraged to use the ‘test-learn-scale’ approach to initiate both, flagship and neighbourhood walking interventions.
  • The interventions can include inter alia creating pedestrian-friendly streets in high footfall areas, re-imagining under-flyover spaces, re-vitalizing dead neighbourhood spaces, and creating walking links through parks and institutional areas.

Various stakeholders

  • Fit India Mission, under Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, along with the India program of the Institute for Transport Development and Policy (ITDP) has partnered with the Smart Cities Mission to support the challenge.