SECURE SYNOPSIS: 25 AUGUST 2017
NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.
Topic: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues
1) Why did Balgangadhar Tilak give unprecedented public face to Ganesh festival which was hitherto celebrated privately in Indian homes? Also comment on ecological implications of Ganesh festival. (200 Words)
Towards the end of 19th century, nationalistic revivalism and Hindu reformist movements were closely related to each other. Also, secular ideology was not known as an institutionalized nation-uniting force. It was in this background that religious movements were used to unite people from rich to the poor, from upper to the lower caste, from North to the South India and from Hindi speakers to the Marathi speakers. Ganesh Utsav was also envisioned with the said intention.
The purpose of this religious celebration was:
- To unite people –
- a platform for Hindus to unite regardless of internal differences and to revive the Hindu pride.
- Tilak noticed that Lord Ganesha was considered ‘ the God for every man’ as Ganesha was worshipped by both upper and lower castes, hence it bridges the gap.
- To promote nationalism –
- a medium to ensure political awareness among masses on the sidelines of religious celebrations.
- to promote anti-colonial sentiments.
- To challenge British hegemony –
- It allowed free gathering of Indian people thus acted as a source of national integration.
- It gave jolt to the hegemony of Britishers as social and political gatherings were banned by them.
Almost a century later, the event is still celebrated with passion and excitement. Yet, some ecological concerns have come up due to the practice of large scale idol immersion in the water bodies, with following implications:
- Water-pollution –
- Non-biodegradable materials used in idol making like plastics, synthetic dyes, PoP, etc. pollute the water bodies. Central Pollution Control Boardreports that the annual immersion of Ganesh idols has significantly increased the content of iron, copper, mercury, chromium and acid in water surrounding Mumbai and other western Indian towns.
- threat to the water life e.g. mercury poisoning in fishes.
- food-chain getting disturbed.
- Noise-pollution –
- Use of loud-speakers, drums, etc.
- Air-pollution –
- Traffic congestion and pollution seen in Mumbai and other big cities.
Way forward –
The festival should be celebrated in eco-friendly manner to reduce it’s ecological impact. This breed of water pollution can be addressed through effective and widespread grassroots action. It is not so much a question of changing written policies and laws, but more one of challenging individual attitudes and societal norms. A more effective solution may be to marry legislation with well-crafted public awareness efforts. The policy actions like banning the use of harmful materials like PoP for idol-making and subsidizing clay-idols, natural dyes, etc. will take this festival to its organic roots.
Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
2) What impact will the recent nine bench verdict by the Supreme Court on right to private issue have on the Aadhaar case, which provided the context for this important moment in Indian constitutional history? Examine. (200 Words)
The Indian Express
The recent verdict of the Supreme Court upholding privacy as a fundamental right albeit subject to reasonable restrictions will have following impact upon the Aadhar verdict :
- The SC bench hearing the Aadhar case now has a “premise to judge” the validity of Aadhar w.r.t its infringement of the fundamental right to privacy.
- The Aadhar verdict now has the added responsibility of defining “reasonable restrictions” to the recent fundamental right to privacy.
- The Aadhar verdict would also define “what constitutes privacy”. That is, if allowing access to iris scan, finger prints, etc. to govt, amounts to breach of the fundamental right to privacy.
- The Aadhar verdict now will have to explain whether Aadhar violates the fundamental right to privacy, as one is a statute while the other is a constitutional-cum-natural-cum-fundamental right.
- The Aadhar verdict has to decide on the priorities like: fundamental right to privacy (Art 19-21) or the DPSP aimed at social and economic welfare of people (Art 38,47) for which Aadhar Act has been purportedly passed.
- The e-KYC(Know your customer) which is largely used by the corporates and commercials will be regulated after this judgement. For example – While buying a Jio sim, just by giving Thumb verification, the service providers get all the data.
Precisely, the mandate to decide reasonable restrictions to privacy rights fall on the parliament, which would take time. Thus, in the meantime, the Aadhar verdict would have to depend on judicial pronouncement on what could possible include “reasonable restriction”. In the absence of such a clarity, it would be only be a turf war between the judiciary and the legislature till the time the legislature passes a constitutional amendment to define reasonable restrictions while the Court upholds its validity.
Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
3) “The right to privacy is not just a common law right, not just a legal right, not just a fundamental right under the Constitution. It is a natural right inherent in every individual.” In the light of recent Supreme Court judgement on right to privacy, critically comment. (200 Words)
The Indian Express
The court declared that the privacy to be a fundamental right. The Supreme Court has overruled verdicts given in the M.P. Sharma case in 1958 and the Kharak Singh case in 1961, both of which said that the right to privacy is not protected under the Indian constitution.
The right to privacy is right to keep a domain around us, which includes all those things that are part of us, such as our body, home, property, thoughts, feelings, secrets and identity. The right to privacy gives us the ability to choose which parts in this domain can be accessed by others, and to control the extent, manner and timing of the use of those parts we choose to disclose.
Right to privacy is also an individual right. Each individual is continually engaged in a personal adjustment process in which he balances the desire for privacy with the desire for disclosure and communication of himself to others, in light of the environmental conditions and social norms set by the society in which he lives.
There have been attempts to reframe privacy as a fundamental human right, whose social value is an essential component in the functioning of democratic societies. A right to privacy is explicitly stated under Article 12 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a :No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
In India the Supreme Court adopted the three-pronged test required to declare right to privacy as a Fundamental right, these are, encroachment of any Article 21 right – legality-i.e. through an existing law; necessity, in terms of a legitimate state objective and proportionality that ensures a rational nexus between the object of the invasion and the means adopted to achieve that object. This clarification was crucial to prevent the dilution of the right in the future on the whims and fancies of the government in power.
How the fundamental right to privacy will affect other domains such as Article 377 will depend on a case-by-case basis. The Supreme Court’s judgment effectively states that laws that seek to restrict privacy “must be just, fair and reasonable but also serve some compelling state interest”.
Once the ‘right to privacy’ tyre hits the road and is used in more legal cases down the road, its eventual effect and potential restrictions will become clear. This broadly, however, applies to crucial upcoming cases on everything from marital rape to criminal defamation.
Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
4) Discuss how the recent historic judgement by the Supreme Court on right to privacy making it a fundamental right is a culmination of series of judgements since independence. (200 Words)
The Indian Express
Track of various judgements that culminated into this historic decision:
The question of privacy as a right gained significance when the government submitted to the supreme court (SC) in July 2015 that there is no fundamental right to privacy. The SC on its part formed a bench of five judges to hear the submissions on this ground, and deliver a judgment that settles the issue. However, even as the matter stands pending before the court, there have been numerous developments on the rights relating to privacy, which impacts India as a democracy as well as its constituents.
In 1962, while deciding the Kharak Singh vs State of UP, the court examined the power of police surveillance with respect to history-sheeters and it ruled in favour of the police, saying that the right of privacy is not a guaranteed right under the constitution.
All through these years, the right to privacy remained as a question mark, seldom before courts but actively negated by state. It was 1975 that became a watershed year for the right to privacy in India. The SC while hearing the Gobind vs State of MP case introduced the compelling state interest test from the American jurisprudence. The court stated that right to privacy of an individual would have to give way to larger state interest, the nature of which must be convincing. With time, the domain of privacy has expanded and it has come to incorporate personal sensitive data such as medical records and biometrics.
In 1997 in the matter of PUCL vs Union of India, commonly known as telephone tapping cases, the SC unequivocally held that individuals had a privacy interest in the content of their telephone communications. Making just exceptions to the complete cover, it said that rigorous standards are required for law that derogates privacy and that mechanism used should be targeted, based on specific suspicion of identifiable individuals and be the only means possible to fulfil the government’s goals of public safety and crime prevention.
Thus, through a series of cases, it can be observed that the right to privacy was being recognised, but its exceptions were also given due place. In the Selvi vs State of Karnataka, which was decided in 2010, the SC gave strength to Article 20(3), that is, Right against Self-Incrimination. Closely aligned with privacy, the right to remain silent was found to be derogated by usage of narco-analysis as evidence in trials.
In the second decade of the 21st century, questions with respect to the right to privacy have centred around Aadhaar, a government scheme in which residents get a unique ID after giving their biometrics such as fingerprints and iris scan and demographic details. Aadhaar was challenged in court on the grounds of violation of privacy and its usage was limited by the SC through its order in September 2013, with Aadhaar being allowed in public distribution system and LPG subsidy only.
In October 2015, it amended its order and said that Aadhaar can be used to deliver services such as MNREGA, Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana, pension and provident fund schemes but no person should be deprived of any service in absence of Aadhaar.
The way ahead:
Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure
5) Differentiate between natural right, legal right and fundamental right. Discuss the implications of recent nine bench judgement on right to privacy to sexual autonomy and Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) . (200 Words)
The Indian Express
Introduction :- Natural rights are those that are not dependent on the laws or customs of any particular culture or government, and therefore universal and inalienable (i.e., rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws). Legal rights are those bestowed onto a person by a given legal system (i.e., rights that can be modified, repealed, and restrained by human laws). A fundamental right under Constitution of India is so fundamental that it can’t be taken away even by a law passed by the parliament of India. For ex. Right to Life, no discrimination on the basis of sex, equality before law, etc.
In recent judgements the constitutional right to privacy is no longer in any dispute and stands on firm ground. Its breadth is established over the entire chapter of fundamental rights, which include equality, free expression, right to life, religion.
In doing this, it undercuts the basis of another dark stain on the history of the court when three years ago in the Suresh Koushal v. Naz Foundation case, the court refused to strike down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. It is now only matter of time when the case will be formally overruled.
The basis of this is a key recognition of the nature of privacy being a natural right. The Supreme Court, by stating that the state does not bestow privacy, also has limited its ability to take it away.
While the privacy judgement is a cause for celebration, its full benefit will only come when it is applied to actual state actions that undermine privacy. Scrapping the draconian, unconstitutional sections like 377 of Indian Penal Code can be the right step.
Topic: Basics of cyber security
6) What do you understand by Data mining? Discuss the implications of making right to privacy fundamental right on data mining. (200 Words)
The Indian Express
Introduction :- Data mining is the computing process of discovering patterns in large data sets involving methods at the intersection of machine learning, statistics, and database systems. It is an interdisciplinary subfield of computer science. The overall goal of the data mining process is to extract information from a data set and transform it into an understandable structure for further use. Aside from the raw analysis step, it involves database and data management aspects, data pre-processing, model and inference considerations, interestingness metrics, complexity considerations, post-processing of discovered structures, visualization, and online updating. Data mining is the analysis step of the “knowledge discovery in databases” process, or KDD.
In recent judgement of Supreme Court on Right to Privacy the Court hold that Privacy, the court holds, is about the reservation of a “private space to be left alone”. Recognising the full amplitude of the need for privacy, the court holds that “the ability of an individual to make choices lies at the core human personality”.
Implications of making right to privacy fundamental right on data mining :-
- Data mining by both public and private entities for unauthorised purposes, and without consent, can pose a threat not only to individuals but to communities, societies at large.
The liberty can be compromised by data mining. Hence making right to privacy a fundamental right can save citizens from encroachment on their privacy, liberty, choices.
- It will curb the governments excessive access and collection of citizen’s data, will make such activities more transparent regulated.
- Citizens will be empowered to defend their privacy, hold government responsible for its breach in a way its strengthening of people and democracy.
- Check on private entities activities like Uber, Ola, Google to mine the data will be enhanced and further regulated hence will help in minimising the exploitation of citizens.
On the other hand data mining is an important activity for many things like start up analysis for consumer behaviour, predicting important test results in medicine, diagnosis etc. Hence its strict regulation can hamper these activities.
Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
7) Examine how science and technology (S&T) will affect geopolitics. (200 Words)
Introduction :- S&T has long been regarded as important for economic growth—in fact, Edwin Mansfield and Joseph Alois Schumpeter considered technological change as one of the most important factors, if not the factor. And as we see from the jockeying between the US and China, S&T is also a crucial tool to pursue a geopolitical agenda and build strategic leverage in international affairs.
- Indeed, S&T is critical for ensuring national security and opening new market opportunities.
- Ownership of superior technology brings greater power and control.
- To build capacity, nations rely on several policy levers—patent laws, tax incentives, and grants to labs—to spur the public sector, private enterprise and academia.
- Take the example of middle powers such as Canada and Switzerland. It is their S&T capabilities that help them stay relevant in the international arena. Estonia is another remarkable example of how a country can leverage its digital ecosystem to boost its position in the international arena.
- Israel—a small country with a complicated past in an unforgiving neighbourhood—has been able to consistently punch above its weight because of its technological prowess.
- For the past 50 years, the US has been the world’s superpower. It is no coincidence that the period correlates with America’s leadership in S&T.
- China aspires for global domination and it is playing the long game. Innovation takes centre stage and it is seen through geopolitical glasses. China has identified 10 technology areas as part of its New Industry Policy 2025 and aims to become an “innovative country”. Some have begun to call this the Beijing Consensus.
At home, as India rediscovers its foreign policy mojo, it must act on similar lines. India’s recent efforts to shore up its domestic defence manufacturing industry, develop a regional satellite for South Asia and a home-grown GPS, as well as establish 20 world-class universities, are all steps in the right direction.
To move forward, India needs to recognize the geopolitical reality of S&T. It needs to identify focus areas, analyse what kind of role it can play and where the state can make tactical investments overseas. More specifically, India needs to build the infrastructure which can generate new technologies. It needs to invest in human capital, maintain a cadre of top scientists and professionals, and develop industry-lab links.
Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships
8) Examine the ethical dimensions highlighted in the historic judgement on right to privacy by the Supreme Court in its recent nine bench verdict. (150 Words)
Introduction :- In a unanimous verdict, a nine-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court declared that privacy is intrinsic to life and liberty and an inherent part of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.
The court held that privacy is a natural right that inheres in human beings because they are human. The state does not bestow natural rights on citizens. Natural rights like privacy exist equally in all individuals, irrespective of class, strata, gender or orientation.
Ethical dimension :-
- Privacy is the constitutional core of human dignity. Privacy ensures the fulfilment of dignity.
- It is privacy, as an intrinsic and core feature of life and personal liberty, which enables individuals to stand up against a programme of forced sterilisation.
- The refrain that the poor need no civil and political rights and are concerned only with economic well-being has been utilised through history to wreak the most egregious violations of human rights.
- It is the right to question, scrutinise, dissent which enables an informed citizenry to scrutinise the actions of government.
- The court also confirmed what Edward Snowden once said that “Privacy isn’t about something to hide. Privacy is about something to protect. And that’s who you are. That’s what you believe in. That’s who you want to become. Privacy is the right to the self. Privacy is what gives you the ability to share with the world who you are on your own terms.”
Topic: Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.
9) Delineate ethics of Dr Radhakrishnan. (150 Words)
Introduction :- Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was an Indian philosopher and statesman who was the first Vice President of India (1952–1962) and the second President of India from 1962 to 1967. He was one of India’s most distinguished twentieth-century scholars of comparative religion and philosophy.
His philosophy was grounded in Advaita Vedanta, reinterpreting this tradition for a contemporary understanding. He defended Hinduism against “uninformed Western criticism”, contributing to the formation of contemporary Hindu identity. He has been influential in shaping the understanding of Hinduism, in both India and the west, and earned a reputation as a bridge-builder between India and the West.
Ethics of Radhakrishnan :-
- Radhakrishnan tried to present Hinduism as significant to modern and, thereby, to offer a vision to human who today is threatened by one’s own inventions, a vision that would enable one to work towards greater human solidarity and authentic development.
- Radhakrishnan maintains that man is in need of a deep ontological unity behind all these fragments, which alone can give him the proper meaning of life, the everlasting peace of mind and spirit. This deep awareness and understanding of the mystery of life can be gained only through ethics, religion, and philosophy.
- Radhakrishnan gives a spiritual interpretation to the modern theory of evolution. He maintains that human is the higher product of evolutionary process. Spiritual evolution takes place after the emergence of human, the spirit in human being a promise of the highest future development.
- According to Radhakrishnan, the self is an organized whole different from the self as subject. The self is conscious of its limitations and purpose. The ordinary human does not try to know the mysterious existence of the soul in us. The existence of soul in us can be proved by the analysis of our spiritual consciousness.
- The purpose of ethics is also to effect right relationship between the individual and the society. Social order is ordained to develop ethical, material and intellectual spheres of human’s life – realize the best possibilities of one’s life
- Human can develop one’s moral nature by cultivating love for one’s fellow beings. One has to control one’s egocentricity to know truth.
- Human’s highest destiny is to grow more humane, more spiritual and to be more sympathetic in understanding others. Conflicts in their souls have grouped humankind into numerous conflicting groups. Freedom of human is not a whim since our present life is the continuation of the past