Issues and Judgments related to SC

Feb, 04, 2019

[op-ed snap] Legitimacy of the basic structure

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Constitution| Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basic knowledge of the basic structure doctrine.

Mains level: The news-card analyses the legitimacy of the basic structure doctrine vis-à-vis the Indian Constitution, in a brief manner.


Context

  • It has now been more than 45 years since the Supreme Court ruled in Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala that Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution was not unlimited, that the Constitution’s basic structure was infrangible.
  • However, there have been grumblings over the rule’s legitimacy in certain quarters in response to challenges made to the recently introduced 103rd Constitutional Amendment, which provides for reservations based on economic criteria in government jobs and education.

Prevailing criticism

  • The common criticism is that the doctrine has no basis in the Constitution’s language.
  • It is argued that the phrase “basic structure”, finds no mention anywhere in the Constitution.
  • Its detractors also believe the doctrine accords the judiciary a power to impose its philosophy over a democratically formed government, resulting in a “tyranny of the unelected”.

Basic structure doctrine is legally legitimate

  • Some of this censure is a result of the Supreme Court’s interpretation of what the Constitution’s basic structure might be.
  • But the doctrine cannot be rejected altogether only because the judiciary sometimes botches its use.
  • For not only is the basic structure legally legitimate, in that it is deeply rooted in the Constitution’s text and history, but it also possesses substantial moral value, in that it strengthens democracy by limiting the power of a majoritarian government to undermine the Constitution’s central ideals.

Background

  • Ever since the Constitution was first amended in 1951, the true extent of Parliament’s power to amend the document has been acutely contested.
  • In 1960s, the Parliament had introduced the contentious 17th Constitutional Amendment.
  • Through this, among other things, a number of land reform legislations had been placed into the Constitution’s Ninth Schedule.
  • This meant that those laws, even when discriminatory, were immunised from challenge.
  • However, according to experts, Parliament was a creature of the Constitution and therefore it could not make changes that had the effect of overthrowing or obliterating the Constitution itself.

Questions to ponder

  • According to some experts, India hadn’t yet been confronted with any extreme constitutional amendment.
  • But jurists ought to be mindful of the potential consequences inherent in granting Parliament boundless power to change the Constitution.
  • How might we react, if the legislature were to amend Article 1, for example, by dividing India into two.
  • Could a constitutional amendment abolish Article 21 removing the guarantee of a right to life?
  • Or could Parliament use its power to abolish the Constitution and reintroduce the rule of a Moghul emperor or of the Crown of England?

Interpreting ‘amendment’

  • In Kesavananda Bharati, it was this formulation that shaped Justice H.R. Khanna’s opinion.
  • According to him, any amending body organized within the statutory scheme, howsoever verbally unlimited its power, cannot by its very structure change the fundamental pillars supporting its Constitutional authority.
  • Yet, the limitation wasn’t as much implicit from a reading of the Constitution as a whole as it was evident from the very meaning of the word “amendment”.
  • According to him, what could emerge out of an amendment was only an altered form of the existing Constitution and not an altogether new and radical Constitution.

This interpretation has shown some depth for at least two reasons

(a) it represents a careful reading of the text of Article 368, and

(b) it delivers an attractive understanding of the moral principles that anchor the Constitution.

  • Article 368 grants Parliament the power to amend the Constitution, making it clear that on the exercise of that power “the Constitution shall stand amended”.
  • Therefore, if what has to remain after an amendment is “the Constitution”, naturally a change made under Article 368 cannot create a new constitution.
  • Such a construal is also supported by the literal meaning of the word “amendment”, which is defined as “a minor change or addition designed to improve a text”.
  • Hence, for an amendment to be valid, the constitution that remains standing after such a change must be the Constitution of India.
  • It must continue to possess, in its essence, those features that were foundational to it even at its conception.

Conclusion

  • Therefore, on any reasonable analysis it ought to be clear that the basic structure doctrine is not only grounded in the Constitution’s text and history, but that it also performs an important democratic role in ensuring that majoritarian governments do not destroy the Constitution’s essential character.
  • Constitutions are not like ordinary laws. Interpreting one is always likely to be an exercise fraught with controversy.
  • But such is the nature of our political design that the court, as an independent body, is tasked with the role of acting as the Constitution’s final interpreter.
  • The basic structure doctrine might be derived from the abstract but it does not mean it doesn’t exist within the Constitution.
Jan, 28, 2019

[op-ed snap] Dancing around the Supreme Court

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity| Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Nothing as such.

Mains level: The news-card analyses the recent SC judgement of statutory provisions and rules governing Maharashtra’s dance bars, in a brief manner.


Context

  • Recently, the Supreme Court has struck down several statutory provisions and rules governing Maharashtra’s dance bars.

Background

  • In 2005, the Maharashtra government imposed a ban on dance performances in bars, with the exception of hotels rated three stars and above.
  • The public rationale offered was that these performances were obscene, morally corrupt, and promoted prostitution.
  • Dance performance licenses were cancelled with immediate effect, prompting affected parties to file petitions in the Bombay High Court.
  • The High Court held against the government, resulting in an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling

  • The Supreme Court affirmed the High Court’s decision in July 2013, pursuing two lines of reasoning.
  • One, the government could not discriminate between luxury hotels and other establishments seeking licenses for dance performances.
  • Two, the ban had proven to be counterproductive, resulting in the unemployment of over 75,000 women, many of whom were forced by circumstances to engage in prostitution.

Government’s response

  • Rather than implementing the Supreme Court’s decision, the government imposed an outright ban on all dance performances, whether in street bars or upmarket hotels.
  • Although the government’s response addressed the court’s first concern, it failed to address the second.
  • This led to fresh proceedings in the Supreme Court.

Subsequent SC ruling and Govt response

  • While the court saw through the government’s attempt to circumvent its decision, it left room for the government to prohibit obscene dances with a view to protecting the dignity of the dancers.
  • This time the government’s response was more sophisticated and took cues from the Supreme Court’s decision.
  • Rather than seeking to impose a ban on dance performances altogether, it only did so to the extent that these performances were obscene or overtly sexual.
  • However, it imposed a number of other conditions on establishments seeking a license for such performances.

Conditions imposed by the govt to seek licence

  • Applicants were required to “possess a good character” with no criminal antecedents.
  • The establishment could not be within one kilometre of an educational or religious institution.
  • A CCTV camera would need to be fitted at the entrance.
  • Customers could not be permitted to throw coins or currency notes on the dancers, but could add tips to the bill.
  • The permit room (where alcohol was served) and the dance room would need to be separated by a partition.
  • The stage could not be smaller than a prescribed size.
  • Some of these conditions were challenged in the Supreme Court on the basis that they were far too onerous.

SC recent ruling

  • On January 17, the court upheld a few of these conditions, but struck down others.
  • For example, it noted that the CCTV requirement violated the right to privacy of the dancers and the patrons,
  • the “good character” requirement was vague,
  • the partition between the permit room and the dance room was unjustified, and
  • the one kilometre distance requirement was impractical.
  • However, the court found revealing that amongst the dozens of applications filed since the new rules were put in place, not a single one had been approved by the government.
  • The court therefore saw the government’s most recent response as a ban on dance bars masquerading as an attempt to regulate them.

Institutional interaction between governments and the courts

  • These developments yield insights on the institutional interaction between governments and the courts.
  • Through each iteration of this case, the Maharashtra government has responded more swiftly to judicial decisions than the Supreme Court has to the government’s attempts to sidestep them.
  • The final judicial decision in the first round took just short of eight years, while the government’s response took about 11 months.
  • In the second round, the court took a year and three months to make its decision; the government responded in six months.
  • In the third round, the court has taken just short of three years. The government’s response time is to be seen.

Reasons for disparity

  • A number of structural reasons may account for this disparity.
  • Despite heavy caseloads, courts must provide an opportunity for a fair hearing, deliberate, and set out reasons for their decisions.
  • Courts will also typically not consider cases unilaterally, but are dependent on parties to bring proceedings in search of a remedy.
  • Separately, the ban on dance bars has also received a disconcerting level of cross-party political support in Maharashtra, despite the regime changes since 2005.
  • This has meant that legislation has often been enacted unopposed, without any meaningful discussion on the floor of the House.
  • The amendments of 2014, for example, were approved by the Maharashtra Cabinet and sailed through the state legislature within minutes on the following day.

Significant delay on the part of Courts

  • The practical implication of the government being more nimble than the courts is that even when government responses are imperfect, the court produces significant delays.
  • This case outlines the vulnerability of Supreme Court, especially when it depends on the government to comply with its decisions in some positive way, such as by issuing dance bar licenses.
  • Even when the courts exercise the putatively “negative” function of striking down legislation or rules, the level of compliance with their decisions often lies in the hands of the executive.

Existing remedial landscape

  • These developments should also lead courts to introspect about the existing remedial landscape in cases where legislation is challenged.
  • The Supreme Court often deploys the writ of continuing mandamus (issuing a series of interim orders over a period of time to monitor compliance with its decisions) in public interest litigation cases that test the limits of its jurisdiction.
  • It has chosen not to adopt that enforcement strategy in this case, which falls squarely within the four corners of its jurisdiction.
  • While the court cannot direct the enactment of legislation, it can monitor compliance with an order to issue licenses to qualified applicants.

Conclusion

  • A further response from the Maharashtra government now seems inevitable.
  • The court struck down the one kilometre distance requirement, but did not say that any distance requirement would be invalid.
  • While unconstitutional in its present form, it noted that the “good character” requirement could be defined more precisely.
  • These are only two among the many options that are now available to the government in responding to the court’s decision.
  • The court concluded its judgment with the hope that applications for licenses would “now be considered more objectively and with an open mind”.
Apr, 10, 2018

Right to convert is part of fundamental right of choice: Supreme Court

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Structure, organization & functioning of the Executive & the Judiciary

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Provisions related to freedom of religion

Mains level: Ever expanding scope of fundamental rights and SC’s role in ensuring their availability


News

Right to choose a religion

  1. The Supreme Court has held that a person’s right to choose a religion and marry is an intrinsic part of her meaningful existence
  2. Neither the State nor “patriarchal supremacy” can interfere in her decision

SC’s reasoning

  1. Freedom of faith is essential to his/her autonomy
  2. Choosing a faith is the substratum of individuality and sans it, the right of choice becomes a shadow
  3. Matters of belief and faith, including whether to believe, are at the core of constitutional liberty
  4. Constitution protects the ability of each individual to pursue a way of life or faith to which she or he seeks to adhere
Mar, 28, 2018

Talks revived to consider impeachment of CJI

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Structure, organization & functioning of the Executive & the Judiciary

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Impeachment procedure of judges

Mains level: Issues related to working of Judiciary


News

Talks on to move an impeachment motion against CJI

  1. Some Opposition parties have revived the process of discussing the moving of an impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra

Process of impeachment

  1. To move an impeachment motion in the Rajya Sabha, the petition has to be signed by 50 MPs
  2. If an impeachment motion is brought about, then there will be an inquiry with two sitting Supreme Court judges and a jurist
  3. And until then, convention says a judge has to recuse from taking up cases
  4. After the motion is passed by each House of the Parliament by special majority, an address is presented to the President for removal of the judge

Back2Basics

Impeachment of SC judges

  1. The procedure relating to the removal of a judge of the Supreme Court is regulated by the Judges Inquiry Act,1968, by the process of impeachment
  2. There are two grounds for removal – proved misbehavior or incapacity
  3. A judge of the Supreme Court can be removed from his office by an order of the President
  4. The President can issue the removal order after an address by the Parliament
  5. This address should be supported by a special majority of each House of Parliament (that is, a majority of the total membership of that House and a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that house present and voting)
  6. This address has to be presented to the President in the same session of Parliament for such a removal
Feb, 28, 2018

[op-ed snap] The 1947 singularity

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions & basic structure

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: 1919 and 1935 Government of India Acts, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, Emergency powers, ordinances

Mains level: Universal adult suffrage in India and its effect in democratic process


Context

Significance of 1947

  1. Constitution marked a moment of discontinuity with the colonial past
  2. It is argued that in the thirty years before Independence, there had been a slow and incremental development of representative institutions in India

Evolution towards self-government

  1. The 1919 and 1935 Government of India Acts established a limited franchise and allowed for the functioning of provincial legislative assemblies
  2. The new governmental set-up wast he final step in the process of evolution towards self-government

Retaining colonial legal system

  1. Elements of this system have been upheld and endorsed by the courts, some quite recently
  2. These include the laws of sedition, blasphemy and criminal defamation, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, and far-reaching Emergency powers
  3. All these provisions are based on logic of the colonial imperative of reducing citizens to subjects and placing their liberties at the mercy centralized and unaccountable power

Universal suffrage in India

In at least four distinct ways, universal suffrage in independent India marked a decisive break from its colonial past

  1. Arithmetically: the franchise granted by the British regime in the 1919 and 1935 Government of India Acts was highly restricted, and at the highest (in 1935) no more than 10% of Indians could vote
  2. Structurally: voting in British India took place under the regime of separate electorates, divided along class and economic lines
  3. The character of the electorate: voting entitlements were based on property and formal literacy-based qualifications, which reproduced existing social and economic hierarchies, and excluded the very people whose interests were most in need of “representation”
  4. Fourth, voting was a gift of the colonial government, which could be granted or taken away at its will. It was a privilege accorded to a few Indians, and not a right

Effect of granting universal suffrage

  1. By doing this, independent India transformed the status of its people from subjects to citizens
  2. In the political realm, it was a transformation from hierarchy and subordination to radical equality
  3. It democratized the relationship between the individual and the state even after elections, by constraining the amount of centralized power that the state could accumulate
  4. Constitution intended to take us from a “culture of authority” to a “culture of justification” – that is, a culture in which every exercise of power and authority must be justified to those who are subject to it

Acknowledgement by Judiciary

  1. There are recent signs that the courts have begun to understand this
  2. In early 2017, in a very significant judgment involving the executive’s ordinance-making powers, the Supreme Court expressly departed from colonial precedents on the subject
  3. It placed important limits upon the scope of presidential ordinances
  4. Later in the year, when the court was hearing the dispute between the elected Delhi government and the Lieutenant-Governor (another colonial holdover), more than one counsel framed the issue in terms of the constitutional commitment to progressively deepening democracy

Upcoming issues before the court

  1. These involve questions of how much power the state can wield over individuals
  2. What rights individuals have to decide for themselves
  3. How they will define their relationship with the state
  4. How the constitutional “culture of justification” holds the state accountable for the uses and abuses of such power

Way forward

  1. Our Constitution is in violent contrast to those of states where the state is everything and the individual but a slave or a serf to serve the will of those who for the time being wield almost absolute power
  2. Sanctity of the individual should be recognised and emphasized on
Jan, 31, 2018

Panel looking into anthem protocol checks rules in other nations

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Prevention of Insult of National Honour Act, 1971

Mains level: Provisions related to symbols of national importance


News

Inter-ministerial committee for examining rules on playing national anthem in public places

  1. An inter-ministerial committee has been formed to look into statutory requirements on playing of national anthem in cinema halls and public places
  2. The Supreme Court had set a deadline of six months for the committee to come up with the detailed guidelines

Committee suggestions

  1. It came up with a suggestion to examine protocols followed by other countries
  2. Members of the committee said that suggestions should be invited from schools and educational institutions and other stakeholders before finalizing the guidelines
  3. The panel will also take up incidents related to violence over playing of national anthem or hoisting of the flag before recommending any penal amendments

International protocols

  1. Russia has stringent provisions to punish anyone insulting the national anthem
  2. It is customary in Australia to stand up whenever the anthem is played at a ceremony or public event
  3. In the US, there are legal codes that apply to flag etiquette, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the national anthem
  4. There is no precedence to discipline US citizens for failing to stand up for the anthem
  5. In Italy, it is not mandatory to play the national anthem in schools or other public places
  6. But citizens are required to stand and show respect to the anthem

Provision in India

  1. Under the Prevention of Insult of National Honour Act, 1971, an Indian may be imprisoned for up to three years for trying to disrupt or prevent singing of the national anthem

Back2Basics

Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act of 1971

  1. The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 is an Act of the Parliament of India which prohibits desecration of or insults to the country’s national symbols, including
  • The National Flag,
  • The Constitution,
  • Indian map and
  • The National Anthem

2. Significant amendments were added in 2003 and 2005, which prohibited many previously common uses of the flag, such as draping it over a podium during a speech, using it as decoration, or incorporating it into clothing designs

Jan, 17, 2018

Government to revisit Malimath report on criminal justice system

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms & institutions

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Justice Malimath Committee, Evidence Act, National Judicial Commission, Article 124

Mains level: Reforms required in criminal justice system


News

Committee report on reforms in the criminal justice system

  1. The Committee on Reforms of the Criminal Justice System, or the Justice Malimath Committee, was constituted by the Home Ministry in 2000
  2. The committee recommended admissibility of confessions made before a police officer as evidence in a court of law
  3. The report is now being revisited by the Centre

Major recommendations

  1. The Committee had suggested constituting a National Judicial Commission and amending Article 124 to make impeachment of judges less difficult
  2. It had suggested that Section 54 of Evidence Act be substituted by a provision to the effect that in criminal cases, evidence of bad character and antecedents is relevant
  3. Just as evidence of good character of the accused is relevant, evidence regarding bad character of the accused should also be relevant

Back2Basics

Article 124

  1. Article 124 of Constitution of India deals with Establishment and constitution of Supreme Court
  2. It deals with the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court of India
  3. It also talks about the number of judges to the superior Courts, their qualification and the mode of appointment of Chief Justice of India
  4. It talks about the impeachment of judges and mentions the two conditions (proved misbehaviour or incapacity) in which the impeachment be exercised
  5. It also imposes restrictions on the judges of Supreme Court by restraining them from pleading or appearing before any authority within the territory of India
Jan, 11, 2018

[op-ed snap] On playing National Anthem in cinema halls: Not by diktat alone

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Structure, organization & functioning of the Executive & the Judiciary

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, fundamental duties

Mains level: Judicial overreach, moral policing


Context

Playing National Anthem in cinemas optional

  1. By making it optional for cinema halls to play the national anthem before every show, the Supreme Court has at last removed the coercive element it had unfortunately introduced by an interim order in November 2016
  2. Laying down a judicial rule that the anthem must be played on certain occasions in specific places, in the absence of any statutory provision to this effect, was unnecessary and opened the court to charges of over-reach

Inter-ministerial panel to be set up

  1. Centre would set up an inter-ministerial committee to recommend regulations for the presentation of the national anthem
  2. The panel will also suggest changes in the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, or in the Orders relating to the anthem issued from time to time

No need to wear patriotism on sleeve

  1. One of the judges hearing petition of this case had doubted the wisdom of asking patrons of cinema to visibly demonstrate their patriotism each time they entered a theatre to watch a film, remarking that there was no need for an Indian to “wear his patriotism on his sleeve”
  2. He had asked at what point would such “moral policing” stop if it were to be prescribed that some kinds of apparel should not be worn at the movies as they could amount to showing disrespect to the national anthem

Debate on constitutional patriotism

  1. Those who contend that “constitutional patriotism” and the demonstration of respect for the national anthem require the framing of such mandatory measures cannot explain why cinema houses should be singled out
  2. Or why such rules shouldn’t apply to other halls or enclosures where meetings and performances take place
  3. This is not to suggest that symbols of national honour are undeserving of respect
  4. Neither is it to question the idea that citizens must show due respect whenever the anthem is played or the flag is displayed

What needs to be done?

  1. The prescription of the place or occasion has to be made by the executive keeping in view the concept of fundamental duties provided under the Constitution and the law
  2. In a mature democracy, there is really no need for any special emphasis, much less any judicial direction, on the occasion and manner in which citizens ought to display and demonstrate their patriotism

Way Forward

  1. As subscribers to common democratic ideals, citizens should be presumed to have a natural respect for symbols of national honour, and should not have to be made unwilling participants in a coercive project
Jan, 10, 2018

SC modifies order, says playing of national anthem in cinema halls is not mandatory

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Structure, organization & functioning of the Executive & the Judiciary

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: National Anthem (History, significance and related provisions), Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act of 1971

Mains level: Debate over Nationalism and Patriotism


News

Playing National Anthem optional

  1. The Supreme Court modified it’s November 30, 2016, interim order and made it optional for cinema halls to play the 52-second national anthem before every show
  2. SC clarified that it is not mandatory to play the anthem before screenings in cinemas
  3. It left the choice of whether to play the anthem or not to the discretion of individual cinema hall owners

Rules, if the anthem is played

  1. If the anthem is played, patrons in the hall are bound to show respect by standing up
  2. The court clarified that the exception granted to disabled persons from standing up during the anthem “shall remain in force on all occasions”
  3. The court banked on a Home Ministry order of 2015, which directs that “whenever the Anthem is sung or played, the audience shall stand to attention”

Standing up a sign of respect

  1. The court pointed out its judgment in the famed Bijoe Emmanuel versus State of Kerala case
  2. It dealt with three children belonging to the Jehovah Witnesses sect refusing to sing the anthem in the school assembly though they stood up in respect
  3. SC kept the point that standing up is indeed a sign of “proper respect” to the anthem

Report due in six months

  1. The modification will be in place till the Union government takes a final decision on the recommendations of a 12-member high-profile inter-ministerial committee regarding the occasions, circumstances and events for the solemn rendering of the anthem
  2. The ministerial panel will examine whether any amendments are necessary to the Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act of 1971 to expand or specify the meaning of “respect” to the national anthem
  3. The 1971 Act states: “Whoever intentionally prevents the singing of the Jana Gana Mana or causes disturbances to any assembly engaged in such singing shall be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both

Back2Basics

Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act of 1971

  1. The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 is an Act of the Parliament of India which prohibits desecration of or insults to the country’s national symbols, including
  • The National Flag,
  • The Constitution,
  • Indian map and
  • The National Anthem

2. Significant amendments were added in 2003 and 2005, which prohibited many previously common uses of the flag, such as draping it over a podium during a speech, using it as decoration, or incorporating it into clothing designs

Sep, 19, 2017

No accused should be denied a lawyer, says SC

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: A special case of Fundamental Rights. (all are equal, before conviction)


News

SC’s Direction

  1. The SC has directed that an accused should not be denied access to a lawyer
  2. The direction came while disciplining the Gurgaon Bar Association for passing a resolution
  3. The resolution bans any of its lawyers from representing a senior official of the Ryan Group of schools in the Pradyuman Thakur murder case
  4. The court observed that it would be the responsibility of the Bar Association’s officials and lawyers that no harm comes to the accused, his lawyer and family during the hearings in the case

What was the case?

  1. The case concerns the brutal murder of seven-year-old Pradyuman inside his school’s bathroom in Gurgaon
Sep, 15, 2017

Court suggests audit of NULM funds

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the NULM

Mains level: As the SC is taking cognizance of the issue, it has become important for the exam.


News

Audit of funds under the National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM)

  1. The SC has suggested an audit by the CAG of the funds disbursed under the NULM scheme
  2. The SC has questioned whether the money meant to build shelter homes for the urban homeless and poor across the country is was actually lying unspent or had been diverted for other purposes

Specific Questions asked by the SC

  1. The SC has asked, “How can Government ensure that the money is spent?”
  2. Court has said that the funds for NULM  should not be diverted as the money has been given for a specific purpose

Back2basics

National Urban Livelihoods Mission

  1. National Urban Livelihoods Mission has be restructured and launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) which replaces earlier poverty alleviation programme for the urban poor titled Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY)
  2. The main reason is that urban poor have a strong desire to come out of their poverty and improve their quality of life which they are unable to do
  3. Social mobilization and strong institutional help are critical for them to come out .they lack access to lively hood opportunities and capital
  4. It has also expanded the beneficiaries of urban poor to include the homeless and street vendors who are invariably ignored in government programmes
  5. A special provision has been made for the funding of all-weather 24/7 shelters with all essential facilities for the urban homeless. In addition, up to five per cent of the NULM budget has been earmarked to provide support to urban street vendors which will include skill upgradation and development of vendor markets.
Sep, 14, 2017

Arunachal pradesh: Citizenship for Chakma, Hajong refugees soon

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Prelims level: Particulars of Chakma and Hajong

Mains level: Giving citizenship to refugees is a hot topic these days. The Rohingya Muslims are looking for the same kind of relaxation from the government.


News

Citizenship for Chakma, Hajong

  1. The Centre will grant citizenship to all Chakma and Hajong refugees living in the Northeast but will ensure that rights of indigenous people are not diluted

Background of the Issue

  1. Chakmas and Hajongs were originally residents of Chittagong Hill Tracts in erstwhile East Pakistan (bordering India and Myanmar in present-day Bangladesh)
  2. They left their homeland when it was submerged by the Kaptai dam project near Chittagong, Bangladesh, in the 1960s
  3. The Chakmas, who are Buddhists, and Hajongs, who are Hindus, also allegedly faced religious persecution

Workable Solution to enforce the SC order

  1. Centre is finding a workable solution so that the 2015 SC order to grant citizenship to Chakma-Hajong refugees can be honoured, and the rights of the local population are not diluted
  2. The Centre is proposing that the refugees will not be given rights, including land ownership, enjoyed by Scheduled Tribes in Arunachal Pradesh
  3. However, they may be given inner line permits required by non-locals in Arunachal Pradesh to travel and work

Back2basics

Chakma People

  1. The Chakmas, also known as the Changma, Daingnet people, are an ethnic group scattered in Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya and West Bengal of India and in Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh
  2. Today, the geographic distribution of Chakmas is spread across Bangladesh and parts of northeastern India, western Burma

Hajong

  1. Thhe Hajong people are tribal people of North-eastern India and Bengal
  2. They are the fourth largest ethnicity in Meghalaya
  3. Hajong people are spread out across North East India West Bengal and Bangladesh
  4. Majority of the Hajongs are settled in India
  5. At present their population is more than 150,000 in India and 50,000 in Bangladesh
  6. Hajongs are predominantly rice farmers
  7. Hajong have the status of a Scheduled Tribe in India
Sep, 13, 2017

‘Cooling off’ period in Hindu divorce can go: SC

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Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Social Issues | Salient features of Indian Society

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Important judgement on a crucial Social Issue of Hindu Society.


News

SC’s Decision

  1. According to the SC judgement, Hindu couples who have mutually agreed to separate need not wait anymore for the mandatory “cooling off” period of six months before divorce
  2. The court held that the waiting period should be done away with in cases where there is no way to save the marriage
  3. The application for waiver of waiting period can be filed in court within a week of their first motion for separation

Background of the issue

  1. Earlier, once a couple moves a court of law for divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act, they have to wait for a minimum period of six months
  2. Divorce by mutual consent was introduced as an amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act in 1976
  3. The waiting period under Section 13B was mandated to prevent couples from taking any hasty decision to end their marriage
  4. The waiting period was for them to have enough time to think through their decision to separate
  5. Divorce was granted only after the ‘cooling off’ period and once the court found there was no further chance for reconciliation

 

Nov, 16, 2016

[op-ed snap] Judicial Review- for and against

  1. Court declared judicial review (JR), a constituent power and integral component of the unalterable basic structure of the Constitution
  2. JR has been invoked in public interest to question major decisions of the government-policy, for instance in 2G spectrum and coal mine allocations cases
  3. Domain for JR extended to executive and legislature matters, example, AFSPA issue where court declared that use of excessive armed forces was not permissible
  4. Voices against JR: “Judicial supremacy”, “judicial excessivism” or “judicial despotism” seen as antithetical to democracy and contrary to its first principles
  5. Representative democracy is as much a part of the basic structure of the Constitution as JR
  6. JR, constitutionally sanctioned, cannot be exercised to negate or subordinate other fundamental features of its basic structure
  7. Reasons for large ambit of JR: Decline of Parliament as the highest forum of democracy, perceived insensitivity on the part of bureaucracy,
  8. General distrust of executive power and loss of faith in moral and ideological integrity of the political class
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