SECURE SYNOPSIS: 18 APRIL 2019
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: Separation of powers between various organs, Dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
1) While the contribution of the Judiciary towards asserting the inviolability of constitutional rights is undeniable, Do you think the rightful limits of judicial intervention in the executive and legislative domains need to be questioned ? Discuss. (250 words)
why this question:
The article debates on the necessities of preserving the constitutionally intended jurisdictional symmetry between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the Indian state even as we celebrate the expansion of fundamental freedoms and the resilience of our democracy.
Key demand of the question:
The answer must evaluate the reach of judicial review power exercised by the Supreme Court and the high courts, often extended through public interest litigation (PIL) or social action litigation and in what way the contributions of the apex court in asserting the inviolability of constitutional rights, particularly the right to dignity as the core constitutional value notwithstanding, pertinent questions about the rightful limits of judicial intervention in the executive and legislative domains need to be addressed.
Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.
Structure of the answer:
Begin with definition of Judicial Review.
In brief discuss –
- The system of Judicial review present in the country.
- Role of the tools of Public interest litigation.
- Discuss how our constitution had a clear disapproval of concentration of authority, in favor of dispersal and accountable power through institutional balances.
- Discuss the concept of judicial supremacy , pros and cons. Critically analyse it against Judicial activism.
- Discuss the need to strike a balance between the two for effective functioning of all the three wings – Executive, Judiciary and the legislative.
- Discuss and suggest way forward.
Conclude with optimism, that there is a need to reconcile constitutional authority with popular sovereignty.
Judicial review is the power of Judiciary to review any act or order of Legislative and Executive wings and to pronounce upon the constitutional validity when challenged by the affected person. In other words, the power exerted by the courts to examine the action of the legislative, executive and administrative arms of government and to ensure that such actions are in conformity with written provisions of the national constitution is termed as the power of judicial review.
Judicial review present in India:
- The power of Judicial Review comes from the Constitution of India itself (Articles 13, 32, 136, 142 and 147 of the Constitution).
- The power of judicial review is evoked to protect and enforce the fundamental rights guaranteed in Part III of the Constitution.
- Article 13 of the Constitution prohibits the Parliament and the state legislatures from making laws that “may take away or abridge the fundamental rights” guaranteed to the citizens of the country.
- The provisions of Article 13 ensure the protection of the fundamental rights and consider any law “inconsistent with or in derogation of the fundamental rights” as void.
- Under Article 13, the term ‘law’ includes any “Ordinance, order, bye-law, rule, regulation, notification, custom or usage” having the force of law in India.
- Examples of Judicial Review: The striking down of the Section 66A of the IT Act as it was against the Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the constitution.
- Through an expansive interpretation of Article 21 of the Constitution in Maneka Gandhi v Union of India (1978),3 the Court held that the “procedure established by law” envisaged in the said article had to be just, reasonable and fair to pass the test of constitutionality. Most significantly, through a conjoint reading of Articles 14, 19 and 21, the Court read the right to life under Article 21 as a right to live with dignity.
Against concentration of power:
- The Constituent Assembly debates that led to the framing of our Constitution demonstrated likewise, a clear disapproval of concentration of authority, in favour of dispersal and accountable power through institutional balances.
- It is in this framework of history and philosophy of limited government that the rationale of judicial review power has been repeatedly reiterated by the Court.
- Thus, in I R Coelho v State of Tamil Nadu (2007),31 the Court, referring to Articles 14, 19 and 21, articulated judicial review as “the principles of constitutionality … apart from the rule of law and separation of powers,” reasoning that “the principle of constitutionalism is now a legal principle which requires control over the exercise of Government power.”
- The contrarians persist with a view in favour of restraint, arguing that in a democracy, people exercise their sovereignty through elected representatives and not through the unelected judges who must defer to the wisdom of parliamentary majorities.
Judicial Activism and PIL:
- Judicial Activism has no constitutional articles to support its origin. Indian Judiciary invented it. There is a similar concept in the United States of America.
- Suo Motto cases and the innovation of the Public Interest Litigation (PIL), with the discontinuation of the principle of Locus Standi, have allowed the Judiciary to intervene in many public issues, even when there is no complaint from the concerned party.
- Although the earlier instances of Judicial Activism was connected with enforcing Fundamental Rights, nowadays, Judiciary has started interfering in the governance issues as well.
- Examples of Judicial Activism: Invention of the ‘basic structure doctrine’ in the ‘Keshavanad Bharati case’ (1973) by which Supreme Court further extended the scope of Judicial Review, incorporation of due process of law instead of procedure established by law, collegium system, institutionalization of PIL, banning smoking in public places based on PIL, the order by Supreme Court in 2001 to provide mid-day meals to schoolchildren, the order passed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) banning diesel trucks older than 10 years in Delhi etc.
Questions are raised not so much about the advisability of review jurisdiction itself but with its perceived overreach to encompass areas of governance considered outside its purview and about the finality of judicial wisdom.
- “Judicial supremacy”, ” Judicial overreach” “judicial excessivism,” or “despotism of an oligarchy” are seen as antithetical to democracy and contrary to its first principles.
- The line between Judicial activism and Judicial Overreach is very narrow. In simple terms, when Judicial activism crosses its limits and becomes Judicial adventurism it is known as Judicial Overreach.
- When the judiciary oversteps the powers given to it, it may interfere with the proper functioning of the legislative or executive organs of government.
- This is undesirable in any democracy.
- Judicial Overreach destroys the spirit of separation of powers.
- In Arun Gopal v. Union of India (2017), the Supreme Court fixed timings for bursting Diwali fireworks and prohibited the use of non-green fireworks, although there are no laws to that effect.
- In M.C. Mehta v. Union of India (2018), the court annulled the statutory Rule 115(21) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, when it directed that no BS-4 vehicle should be sold after March 30, 2020, and that only BS-6 vehicles can be sold after that date.
- the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered that no 15-year-old petrol-driven or 10-year-old diesel-driven vehicle will ply in Delhi, and the Supreme Court has directed impounding such vehicles, though neither the NGT nor the Supreme Court are legislative bodies.
If judges are free to make laws of their choices, not only would that go against the principle of separation of powers, it could also lead to uncertainty in the law and chaos as every judge will start drafting his own laws according to his whims and fancies.
Our Constitution is our act of revolution and the Judiciary its protector. Today when the same Judiciary oversteps its limits, it is indispensable that the decision is corrected, reviewed and reversed by a larger Bench.
In a country governed by a written Constitution, the democratic right flows from the attribute of constitutional sovereignty. We cannot claim our fundamental right or any other legal rights, unless we retain the structure of our sovereignty.
Topic: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
Why this question:
The article discusses the ‘None of the Above’ provision on electoral voting machines and in what way it is turning out to be a decentralized protest.
Demand of the question:
The answer must evaluate in detail the aspects of NOTA system in making electoral process more effective and how it has emerged as a powerful democratic tool.
Structure of the answer:
Start by explaining the what you understand by NOTA.
- Discuss what is the provision of NOTA.
- Its evolution and significance in Indian electoral system.
- Explain how NOTA triggers more political participation, it involves a very cumbersome process and also compromises privacy of the decision. Given the rising disappointment from politicians, the NOTA option is turning out to be the most effective forum to protest at every individual level. The campaigns by civil society groups to appeal for NOTA may emerge as the next big political participation in the world’s largest democracy.
- Discuss pros and cons of such a system, provide for a comparison with other countries.
Conclude with way forward.
The Supreme Court, in September 2013, upheld the right of voters to disapprove all candidates contesting the elections, saying it would go a long way in cleansing the political system of the country. The apex court directed the Election Commission to have an option of ‘None of the above’ (NOTA) on the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and ballot papers in a major electoral reform.
Provision of NOTA:
- It was introduced in India following the 2013 Supreme Court directive in the People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India judgment.
- India became the 14th country to institute negative voting.
- However, NOTA in India does not provide for a ‘right to reject’.
- The candidate with the maximum votes wins the election irrespective of the number of NOTA votes polled.
- The EVMs have the NOTA option at the end of the candidates’ list.
- Earlier, in order to cast a negative ballot, a voter had to inform the presiding officer at the polling booth.
- A NOTA vote doesn’t require the involvement of the presiding officer.
NOTA and political participation:
- NOTA polling figures are still small.
- In the 2013 Assembly elections held in four States NOTA constituted 1.85% of the total votes polled.
- Then it dropped to 0.95% in the 2014 Assembly elections held in eight States.
- It increased to 2.02% in the 2015 Assembly elections held in Delhi and Bihar. While Delhi polled a mere 0.40%, Bihar saw 2.49% of NOTA votes, which remains the highest NOTA votes polled so far in any State in Assembly elections.
- According to an analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms, during 2013 and 2017, 13.3 million people exercised this option in various elections. In the Lok Sabha elections of 2014, six million people exercised this right.
- An analysis by researchers from the University of Houston showed that NOTA increased voter turnout by approximately 1-2 per cent of the eligible voting population between 2006 and 2014. In fact, they specifically mentioned that first-time voters participated in polls just to exercise this mode of protest.
- Reserved constituencies: Reserved constituencies have seen a relatively larger number of NOTA votes. This point to the continued social prejudice against political reservation for SC/STs.
- Left-Wing Areas: Constituencies affected by left-wing extremism have also recorded higher NOTA performance and here probably it served as an instrument of protest against the State itself.
- Mainstream Parties: It is comparatively higher in the constituencies which have seen a direct contest between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party. This might be some indication of the people’s disenchantment with two mainstream political parties.
- NOTA is also used to express their protest against many things they perceive wrong in the political system.
Pros of NOTA:
- NOTA option will force the political parties to select the honest candidates, i.e with no criminal records.
- NOTA ensures people’s ‘right to freedom of speech and expression’.
- The disadvantage of 49-O will be overcome with the implementation of NOTA.
- This will increase the polling percentage.
- NOTA gives people dissatisfied with contesting candidates an opportunity to express their disapproval. This, in turn, increases the chances of more people turning up to cast their votes, even if they do not support any candidate, and decreases the count of bogus votes.
- Also, the Supreme Court has observed that negative voting could bring about “a systemic change in polls and political parties will be forced to project clean candidates”.
Current limitations of NOTA:
- NOTA in India does not provide for a ‘right to reject’. The candidate with the maximum votes wins the election irrespective of the number of NOTA votes polled.
- The NOTA votes have not been accounted while calculating votes polled by candidates for making them eligible (1/6th of valid votes) for getting back their security deposits.
- An Association of Democratic Reforms analysis says that since 2013 till March 2018, NOTA has secured a total of 1.33 crores votes from all assemblies and Lok Sabha polls combined.
- Election Commission currently has no plenary power to call a fresh election even if NOTA secures highest votes.
- Maharashtra State Election Commission (MSEC) recently made an order for local body polls that fresh elections should be held if NOTA ‘emerges winner’.
- Election Commission of India should follow suit to call a fresh election if NOTA secures highest votes.
- To give greater sanctity to NOTA and even order a fresh election, Rule 64 of Conduct of Election Rules will have to be amended and can be done by the law ministry. It will not require Parliament sanction.
NOTA emanates from our fundamental right of ‘Right to liberty’ and ‘Freedom of Expression’ as it gives a way for the voter to register her consent or discontent for candidates chosen by the political parties. NOTA as an electoral option will become a meaningful means of negative voting only if it becomes a ‘right to reject’ rather than being a symbolic instrument to express resentment as it is now.
Topic : Separation of powers between various organs, dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
3) The Right to Information (RTI) has emerged as an effective tool for citizen’s dispute resolution. Should the ambit of RTI be expanded to politicians and Judiciary too? Give your opinion with substantial justification.(250 words)
Indian Polity by Lakshmikant, D D Basu
Why this question:
RTI is one of the landmark acts which has led to a significant boost in accountability of the govt towards the people. The question is direct from the static portions of GS paper II, it tends to evaluate the mechanism of RTI as a tool to check the politicians and Judicial system.
Key demands of the question:
The answer must discuss evolution RTI as an effective tool to address citizen’s dispute resolution. And the need for expanding it to cover politicians and the judicial system under its ambit.
Structure of the answer:
Introduce by highlighting the significance of RTI.
The body of the answer should address the following dimensions:
- Discuss the Benefits of right usage of RTI: how it helps in effective governance.
- Explain the Proposed Amendment in RTI act, 2018 – The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill empowers the Central government to decide the tenure and salary and allowances of Information Commissioners of the Central Information Commission and also of State Information Commissions through rules.
- Discuss Where RTI is applicable? And not applicable and why?
- Why should RTI in Judiciary be applicable? What are the counter arguments.
- Way forward.
Conclude that though the right to information has unfolding challenges, however in today’s age of prevalence of individual centric rights RTI has a key role to play.
The Right to Information (RTI) Act, operationalised in October 2005, was seen as a powerful tool for citizen empowerment. Democracy requires an informed citizenry and transparency of information which are vital to its functioning and also to contain corruption and to hold governments and their instrumentalities accountable to the governed. It showed an early promise by exposing wrongdoings at high places and bringing to limelight various scams. The act now faces multiple challenges.
RTI and its effectiveness:
- Fight corruption: Its ability to fight corruption has significantly increased its hold in India.
- Ensure Transparency: The enactment of this act ensured transparency in the bureaucratic systems.
- Fight for Rights: It has increased its position as a major in charge for the fight of rights of the people. It aims to bring an end to the culture of governmental secrecy
- The right to information laws, alongside expanding the citizen’s rights, should be systematically employed to transform governance.
- These laws could be a powerful magnet for mobilizing the people and enthusing them to use these laws to enhance and expand their choices for their own betterment.
- RTI laws directly contribute to improvement in governance by breaking down the barriers between the government and the people by enhancing trust.
- RTI is the most powerful assault on developing countries endemic corruption.
RTI and political parties:
- If political parties are kept out, it sets a precedent whereby other institutions can argue that they too be kept out of its purview because there are too many frivolous claims, too much paperwork, too many NGOs with suspect motivations and so on and so forth.
- Political parties in our country occupy a very central space in democracy. People don’t vote so much for individuals as they do for parties.
- Parties come out with great statements before elections. People vote on the basis of which party says what. Parties finally form the government. And the government’s policies are decided based on the ideologies of the political parties.
- In India, it is widely accepted notion that fountain head of the corruption is political funding.
- It is therefore, necessary to introduce internal democracy, financial transparency and accountability in the working of the political parties.
- To ensure less influence of industrial houses on policy making: Most of the parties have almost 75% of their income from unknown sources. Generally corporate and industrial houses give them funds to change policies, give illegal clearance and to hamper their competitor’s interest. It may also hamper people and national interest.
- Political parties enjoy a “stronghold” over their elected MPs and MLAs under Schedule 10 of the Constitution. The Schedule makes it compulsory for MPs and MLAs to abide by the directions of their parent parties.
- It would be within the average voter’s fundamental right to information to know the financial details of political parties.
- Under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 all political parties must affirm their allegiance to the Constitution of India and such allegiance is made compulsory for the purpose of registration under sub-section (7) of Section 29A. Therefore, political parties so registered must furnish information to the public under the right of information under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India, since right of information has been held to be a part of freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a).
- The Law Commission of India in its 170th Report on ‘Reform of the Electoral Laws’ in May 1999 had recommended transparency in the functioning of political parties.
However, the move has attracted sharp protests from all major parties on account of one argument – that the political parties are not public authorities.
- Political parties were not established by the constitution or an act of parliament and therefore should not be under the RTI.
- Political parties are not public authorities as they are not set up under the Constitution or any law enacted by Parliament – they can’t be treated as an institution or establishment.
- If political parties come under the RTI it will affect their smooth internal functioning.
- Political rivals will start using RTI tool with malicious intent.
RTI and judiciary:
- The Supreme Court has time and again lauded the role of the Right to Information (RTI) Act as an “integral part of any vibrant democracy.”
- But the apex court itself has refused to come under the ambit of the information transparency law for the past one decade.
- RTI will compromise independence of judiciary as specified by constitution.
- Being under RTI act, SC has to compromise secrecy & security involved in certain cases. This may prove detrimental.
- Judiciary would become puppet in the hands of people rather than being the sole justice provider of the country.
- It will increase the political involvement in judiciary.
- Accountability and transparency of judiciary is now in question.
- It will give less power to people to get their answers easily without any delay & informal paperwork.
- With RTI option available to public, Corruption will be checked with increasing lucidity.
- Courts have always been questioned for pending cases. RTI can place yardstick among judiciary for timely disposal of justice. So resistance to be under RTI a barrier to decrease pending cases.
- It will decrease the faith of people if they could also know about judicial working.
RTI Act has transparency, accountability and participation as its mandate and is considered equally important legal document after the Constitution. There is a necessity to undertake the measures to strengthen this powerful tool that can deliver significant social benefits. It can provide a strong support to democracy and promote good governance by empowering citizen’s ability to participate effectively and hold government officials accountable rather than just an information provider.
Topic : Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Why this question:
The question is straightforward and revolves around water governance and the challenges associated with it in India.
Key demand of the question:
The answer must discuss the unprecedented and worsening water crisis India is facing and the challenges that the water sector is confronted with. Emphasis should be on the issues revolving around water governance in the country.
Structure of the answer
Introduce by highlighting the alarming situation of water crisis.
- Highlight some data – reports and facts justifying acute shortage of water.
- Discuss the causative factors of such a crisis – rivers are getting more polluted, their catchments, water-holding and water-harvesting mechanisms are deteriorating, and groundwater levels are depleting at an alarming rate.
- Explain what you understand by water governance; then discuss the challenges involved in it – lack of credible “water information,” question of groundwater sustainability, water infrastructure, neglect of essentials of water storage, the local water systems, rivers, wetlands, forests, soil moisture, and groundwater aquifers and their sustained effectiveness etc.
- Discuss what needs to be done to overcome these challenges.
Conclude with way forward, significance of effective water governance system.
The NITI Aayog report on Composite Water Management Index(CWMI) said that India is facing its ‘worst’ water crisis in history. Taps in Shimla went dry in summer of 2018, posing an unprecedented water crisis in the hill town. According to a forecast by the Asian Development Bank, India will have a water deficit of 50% by 2030. Recent studies also ranked Chennai and Delhi at the top of the 27 most vulnerable Asian cities in terms of low per-day water availability Mumbai and Kolkata follow close.
Current water crisis in India:
- The annual per capita availability of water continues to decline sharply from about 5,177 cubic metres in 1951 to about 1,720 cubic metres in 2019.
- The NITI Aayog in its report on Composite Water Management Index (2018) has underlined that currently 600 million people face high to extreme water stress.
- Twenty-one cities, including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad will run out of groundwater by 2020, affecting 100 million people.
- The rate of groundwater extraction is so severe that NASA’s findings suggest that India’s water table is declining alarmingly at a rate of about 0.3 metres per year.
- At this rate of depletion, India will have only 22 per cent of the present daily per capita water available in 2050, possibly forcing the country to import water.
Causative factors for water crisis:
- A combination of population explosion, unplanned growth of the city and its expansion to some traditional catchment areas (a region from which rainfall flows into a river, lake, or reservoir) have led to a reduction in the natural flow of water, and large-scale deforestation.
- Climate change, leading to much lower precipitation during the winter months. As a result, the natural flow and recharge of water in the region has fallen sharply
- Failure of State governments to check unplanned development and exploitation of water resources. There is no attempt at the central or state levels to manage water quantity and quality
- The vegetation pattern has changed, tree cover is shrinking and unscientific dumping of debris in water streams is rampant.
- The debris blocks the natural course of water bodies.
- Increasing number of tube wells resulting in depletion of groundwater.
- Changes in farming patterns lead to consumption of more water for irrigation and also change the soil profile because of the use of fertilizers
- The states ranked lowest like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Jharkhand – are home to almost half of India’s population along with the majority of its agricultural produce.
- There is also a lack of interest in maintaining India’s traditional water harvesting structures.
Challenges in Water Governance in India:
- The lack of credible “water information,” that is, information about water storage, groundwater, water flows and, in some cases, even rainfall and snowfall levels.
- Data is often not available at the adequate level of detail. For example, water use data for domestic and industrial sectors is available at only the aggregate level, and thus provides very little information to relevant policymakers and suppliers.
- Second, where data is available, it is often unreliable due to the use of outdated collection techniques and methodologies.
- The water institutions viz. Central Water Commission (CWC), Central Ground Water Board, Central Ground Water Authority, State Pollution Control Boards and Central Pollution Control Board show a typical top-down, bureaucratic, unaccountable, non-transparent and non-participatory mindset.
- There is neither national policy nor national or state water resource establishments which acknowledge the groundwater crisis reality.
- The big irrigation, hydropower, multipurpose and river-linking projects that are getting a push, which both directly and indirectly adversely affect groundwater recharge and sustainability.
- Grave dam safety issues, as was also evident in the case of Kerala floods in August 2018.
- Issues of monitoring of water quality and environmental flows, protecting the floodplains and sustainable biodiversity in the rivers, achieving sustainable sand mining, and credible reservoir and flood management in rivers are missing.
Measures needed to strengthen water Governance:
- Deepen our understanding of our water resources and usage and put in place interventions that make our water use efficient and sustainable.
- Augmentation of watersheds that can store more good water, for use in agriculture and to serve habitations.
- Strict pollution control enforcement.
- Decentralisation of irrigation commands, offering higher financial flows to well-performing States through a National Irrigation Management Fund.
- Groundwater extraction patterns need to be better understood through robust data collection.
- Pollution can be curbed by levying suitable costs.
- Poor maintenance of pipelines, consistent leakage and illegal tapping of water are some of the issues that need to be addressed on a war-footing.
- Adopting rainwater harvesting techniques is the need of the hour.
- A legal mandate will work better than just competition and cooperation; it would make governments accountable.
- These forward-looking changes would need revamped national and State institutions, and updated laws.
- Urban India needs to focus on recycling and harvesting water, having better testing and purification facilities and increase public awareness on the need to conserve water.
- Large catchment areas need to be developed around water bodies so that natural recharge of groundwater takes place. A good example is the Seog catchment area which has been denoted as a wildlife sanctuary and where no construction is allowed.
- Greywater recycling, a method of recycling wastewater from kitchen sinks, showers and laundry fixtures.
- Greywater recycling helps reduce household water usage by about 50% .
- This year’s World Water Development Report makes it clear that nature-based solutions which are also aligned with the principles and aims of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can offer answers to our most pressing water-related challenges.
There is a need for credible environmental and cumulative impact assessments, genuine public consultation process at multiple stages of planning and project implementation, confidence-inspiring appraisal, which includes the appointment of independent experts, and most crucially, achieving some real monitoring and compliance. The water governance ought to be made transparent, accountable and participatory in every sub-sector, including management of rivers, groundwater, floods, and biodiversity, among others.
Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment, Disaster and disaster management.
Why this question:
The article captures as to how the scientific management of mangroves is need of the hour in our country.
Key demand of the question:
The answer must explain the importance of Mangrove ecosystem in protection of the coastlines and minimizing disasters due to cyclones and tsunami and how mangroves store more carbon dioxide than most other forests. One has to highlight the role played by the mangroves in maintaining a balance in the ecosystem services and thus the need of preserving them and conserving them.
Structure of the answer:
Introduce with what are mangroves briefly, their role in ecosystem.
- Explain what are Mangroves, their roles and functions.
- How a mangrove ecosystem is the interface between terrestrial forests and aquatic marine ecosystems.
- Brief upon the distribution of Mangroves in India.
- Why is the need for preserving ? – discuss the aspects of scientific management.
- What needs to be done – policy level? Individual level and societal level.
Conclude with importance of preserving Mangrove ecosystem.
Mangroves are salt tolerant trees, also called halophytes, which survive high salinity, tidal regimes, strong wind velocity, high temperature and muddy anaerobic soil – a combination of conditions hostile for other plants. The mangrove ecosystems constitute a symbiotic link or bridge between terrestrial and marine ecosystems. They are found in the inter-tidal zones of sheltered shore, estuaries, creeks, backwaters, lagoons, marshes and mud-flats.
Significance of Mangroves:
- Mangrove plants have (additional) special roots such as prop roots, pneumatophores which help to impede water flow and thereby enhance the deposition of sediment in areas (where it is already occurring), stabilize the coastal shores, provide breeding ground for fishes.
- Mangroves moderate monsoonal tidal floods and reduce inundation of coastal lowlands.
- They prevent coastal soil erosion.
- They protect coastal lands from tsunami, hurricanes and floods.
- Mangroves enhance natural recycling of nutrients.
- Mangrove supports numerous flora, avifauna and wild life.
- Provide a safe and favourable environment for breeding, spawning, rearing of several fishes.
- They supplies woods, fire wood, medicinal plants and edible plants to local people.
- They provide numerous employment opportunities to local communities and augments their livelihood.
Threats to Mangroves:
A scientific study reported that 100 per cent of mangrove species, 92 per cent of mangrove associates, 60.8 per cent of algae, 23.8 per cent of invertebrates and 21.1 per cent of fish are under threat.
Natural forces due to climate change:
- Sea-level rise: Mangrove systems do not keep pace with changing sea-level and fall
- Extreme high water events: affect the position and health including through altered sediment elevation and sulphide soil toxicity
- Storms: increase damage to mangroves through defoliation and tree mortality and they collapse
- Precipitation: decreased rainfall and increased evaporation will increase salinity, decreasing net primary productivity, growth
- Temperature: Changing species composition, Changing phenological patterns (e.g., timing of flowering and fruiting)
- Ocean circulation patterns: affect mangrove propagule dispersal and the genetic structure of mangrove populations, with concomitant effects on mangrove community structure.
- Mangroves are being destroyed and facing severe threats due to urbanisation, industrialisation, and discharge of domestic sewage, industrial effluents and pesticides.
- Saltpans and aquaculture also pose major threat to the mangroves.
- 40 per cent of mangrove forests in West Coast of India have been converted into farmlands and housing colonies over the last three decades.
- Some of the mangrove species like Bruguiera cylindrica and Sonneratia acida are at the verge of extinction.
- Due to shrimp farming, about 35,000 ha of mangroves have been lost in India.
Scientific management measures for conservation of Mangroves:
- The mangrove species under grave threat must be included in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
- Suitable sites are to be identified for planting mangrove species. Mangrove nursery banks should be developed for propagation purposes.
- Environmental monitoring in the existing mangrove areas should be taken up systematically and periodically.
- Various threats to the mangrove resources and their root causes should be identified, and earnest measures should be taken to eliminate those causes.
- The participation of the local community should be made compulsory for conservation and management.
- Floristic survey of mangroves along the coast is to be taken up to prepare biodiversity atlas for mangroves.
- Potential areas are to be identified for implementing the management action plan for mangroves, especially in cyclone prone areas.
- Coastal industries and private owners need to be persuaded to actively participate in protecting and developing mangrove biodiversity.
- The forest department officials should be trained on taxonomy, biology and ecology of mangrove species.
- The impact of environmental and human interference on marine flora and fauna needs to be assessed.
- The traditional rights of coastal communities to use the natural resources in their surrounding natural habitats for their livelihood should also be recognised on priority basis.
Topic : Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions.
6) What are the ethical principles involved in the system permitting organ donation and allocation? Also discuss the importance of regulations for the success of organ transplant policy of the country.(250 words)
Ethics by Lexicon publications.
Why this question:
The question is to evaluate the ethical aspects involved in system of organ donation and allocation, one must also discuss the position of regulations for the success of organ transplant policy of the country.
Key demand of the question:
The answer must first discuss the various ethical aspects involved in permitting organ donation and allocation of the same. And what are the policy requirements of such system.
Structure of the answer:
Brief upon Organ donation and ethics involved.
- Discuss how the ethics of allocating human organs for transplantation is a specific application of ethical norms to social practices. The principle involved are essentially the same as those that apply to other areas of human conduct.
- Is organ donation an ethical issue?
- Explain that the Ethical principles and regulatory requirements often overlap.
- What are the ethical principles that should be considered when determining how to allocate a scarce life-saving resource.
- Discuss – three principles of primary importance in the allocation of human organs: 1) utility; 2) justice; and 3) respect for persons (including respect for autonomy).
- Discuss what regulations should be brought in to have an effective ethically sound process in place.
Conclude with way forward .
Organ transplantation is certainly one of the “miracles” of modern medicine. Organ donation is founded on the pillars of altruism. Despite many obstacles, the era of transplantation has begun and was everywhere hailed as an extraordinary leap in medicine and surgery. Yet, almost immediately, ethical problems were noticed lurking in the miracle.
Ethical principles involved in organ donation:
- Medical integrity: Patients and the public must be able to trust their doctors not to sacrifice the interest of one to that of another, from whatever
- Scientific validity: the basic biology and technology must be sufficiently assured to offer a probability of beneficial outcome, case by case.
- The ethical basis of donation is in consent, based upon information adequately presented, weighed and understood, and unbought, unforced. The adjective ‘informed’ is often used with ‘consent’ but the term is differently interpreted.
- State governments, which have responsibility for health care provision, are expected to ensure that the organs that are altruistically donated by families of brain-dead people are given to recipients ethically, and as mandated by law.
- Priority for citizens enrolled in the State and national waiting lists over foreign nationals is laid down in the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Rules.
- There should be no invasion of a healthy body to obtain an organ for another, this goes against the bodily integrity of a human.
Importance of Regulations for success of organ transplantation policy:
- There is a huge gap between demand and supply of organs.
- Unregulated cost of transplant surgeries; cost out of reach of poor people
- Instances of Hospitals and professionals who engage in commerce shows the unethical behaviour.
- Preferential treatment to the rich and wealthy: Instances where preferential allotment of hearts and lungs has been made to foreign patients in Tamil Nadu — in 2017, foreigners accounted for 25% of heart transplants and 33% of lung transplants, show the inequality.
- Instances of organ trafficking from abducted persons are on the rise, especially the destitute and orphans.
- False proclamation of “scandals”; organ rackets; News of improper practices of organ collection breaks public trust and is impediment to the entire process of organ donation
- Religious beliefs hinder deceased organ donation. Superstitions prevalent such as being born (rebirth) with a missing organ (that has been donated), being tangled in the life-death-rebirth cycle
The Declaration of Istanbul outlines principles against organ trafficking and transplant tourism. World Health Organization’s Guiding Principles on Human Cell, Tissue and Organ Transplantation aim at ensuring transparency in organ procurement and allocation. The ethics of financial incentives and non-financial incentives such as incorporation of non-medical criteria in organ priority allocation should be incorporated in the regulations.
Why this question:
The question is based on the concept of morality in everyday life of individuals.
Key demand of the question:
The answer must first elaborate on concept of morality. And then move on to discuss it with a real life example and explain why that course of action was moral or not with substantial justification.
Structure of the answer:
- What is Morality – it refers to a system of values and beliefs which help us distinguish between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour. It means a standard of conduct which is accepted as right or proper.
- Morality is based on personal conscience rather than what the law or societal regulations dictate. Although morality can be and is generally derived from external sources, like religion/religious books, it is inherently a person‘s choice which morals does he/she values and which he does not.
- Morality also guides us about variety of social norms and rules, thus facilitating co-existence of people from diverse backgrounds.
- Discuss its significance in day to day life.
- Give an example from your own life of choosing moral action with appropriate reason .
Conclude with how you benefited from upholding your morality .
Morality is a particular system of values and principles of conduct concerning with the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour. It is something which depends upon one’s knowledge of understanding and ability to interpret. As Mahatma Gandhiji says, “Morality is the basis of things and truth is the substance of all morality“. One’s basis of moral values may differ from culture to culture or society to society or community to community, but at the end essence of it remains the same.
Note: You can quote examples from your life experiences. We have given a generic outlook on morality.
Significance of Morality in day-to-day life:
- In everyday life, from viewpoint of spiritual, social, personal and overall development, moral values are of great importance. Values, morals and ethics are inextricably tied together.
- If a person has never learned about moral values then how can he/she decide between the good and the bad.
- Moral values reflect an individual’s character and spirituality. They help in building good relationships in personal as well as professional lives.
- For instance, morality in the form of respecting parents and elders, showing love and affection towards family members is visible in families.
- Morality in the form of public welfare is visible in political arena.
- Morality describes the principles that govern our behaviour. Without these principles in place, societies cannot survive for long. Everyone adheres to a moral doctrine of some kind. So it is basis of all things.
- Without morality humans would never had the following ethical traits like compassion, empathy, kindness etc.
- Lack of morality in one’s dealings impact the working of the society, nation and the world. At times leading to chaos, anarchy and injustice.
- In some recent years the issues of ethics and morality has sprung up in every walk of life. This is because of the evil and cruel events happening all over the world.
- The massive destruction of mankind and property in Iraq, Syria; crimes, corruptions, murders, rapes, religious fights – all this is a sign of the diminishing ethics and morality from human lives.
Ethics and morality should come from the soul, only then our society will emerge as a powerful entity.