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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 15 April 2020


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:  The Freedom Struggle —  its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.

1. Discuss the major provisions of Poona Pact. Was it a Precursor to affirmative actions post-independence? Examine. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why this question:

Ambedkar Jayanti was observed throughout the country to commemorate the memory of B. R. Ambedkar yesterday.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the major provisions of Poona Pact and examine in what way it was a Precursor to affirmative actions post-independence in the country.

Directive:

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:

Introduction:

Briefly explain the background of the coming of Poona pact into action.

Body:

In late September 1932, B.R. Ambedkar negotiated the Poona Pact with Mahatma Gandhi in Yerwada Central Jail in Poona. Explain the major provisions of the pact. Discuss its significance; Recognition of the plight of the depressed class, gave them voice. Then move onto explain in what way it was a precursor  to the affirmative actions

Conclusion:

The concessions agreed to in the Poona Pact were precursors to the world’s largest affirmative programme launched in independent India. Post-Independence, a slew of measures were initiated to uplift Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, which included reservation in education and public sector jobs and in legislature

Introduction:

The Poona Pact is an agreement between M K Gandhi and B R Ambedkar signed in the Yerwada Central Jail, Poona on September 24th, 1932 on behalf of the depressed class for the reservation of the electoral seats in the Legislature of the British Government.

Body:

  • In late September 1932, B.R. Ambedkar negotiated the Poona Pact with Mahatma Gandhi.
  • The background to the Poona Pact was the Communal Award of August 1932, which, among other things, reserved 71 seats in the central legislature for the depressed classes.
  • The Award was made by then British PM Ramsay MacDonald on 16 August 1932 to extended separate electorate.
  • It aimed to grant separate electorates in British India for the Forward Caste, Lower Caste, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians, Europeans and then Untouchables.
  • Gandhi, who was opposed to the Communal Award, saw it as a British attempt to split Hindus, and began a fast unto death to have it repealed.

Major provisions of Poona pact:

  • Reservation of seats: In a settlement negotiated with Gandhi, Ambedkar agreed for depressed class candidates to be elected by a joint electorate.
  • Higher representation: On his insistence, slightly over twice as many seats (147) were reserved for the depressed classes in the legislature than what had been allotted under the Communal Award.
  • Public Services representation opportunity: In addition, the Poona Pact assured a fair representation of the depressed classes in the public services while earmarking a portion of the educational grant for their uplift.
  • Social acceptance: The Poona Pact was an emphatic acceptance by upper-class Hindus that the depressed classes constituted the most discriminated sections of Hindu society.
  • Increased political voice: It was also conceded that something concrete had to be done to give them a political voice as well as a leg-up to lift them from backwardness they could not otherwise overcome.

Poona pact and its impact on affirmative action’s post-independence:

  • The Poona Pact emphatically sealed Ambedkar’s leadership of the depressed classes across India.
  • He made the entire country, and not just the Congress Party, morally responsible for the uplift of the depressed classes.
  • Most of all he succeeded in making the depressed classes a formidable political force for the first time in history.
  • The concessions agreed to in the Poona Pact were precursors to the world’s largest affirmative programme launched much later in independent India.
  • A slew of measures was initiated later to uplift Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
  • Ambedkar as chairman of the drafting committee of Constituent assembly made sure there were sufficient safeguards for various vulnerable sections of the society for socio-economic justice.
  • These were in the form of the Fundamental Rights, DPSPs and Fundamental Duties. They had protective measures for the SCs, STs and other vulnerable sections of the society.

Conclusion:

The Poona Pact changed the Indian Political history and the destiny of millions of Dalits across the country. However, social stigma attached to the caste system still remains in the Indian society. Therefore, in order to establish an egalitarian society in true sense, Gandhian Philosophy and Ambedkar’s notion of Social Democracy is much more relevant than ever before.

 

Topic:  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. Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

2. Should watching or possession of child pornography be made a criminal offence? Critically analyse amidst sharp rise in demand for online child pornography during lockdown. (GS-2)

Reference:  Times of India

Why this question:

The India Child Protection Fund (ICPF) said that millions of pedophiles had migrated online, making the Internet extremely unsafe for children. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

There is no law banning watching pornography in personal space, thus one must analyse the significance and urgency to have laws in place to ensure protection of children from the evils of child pornography.

Directive:

Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain  the context of the question.

Body:

To start with explain that there is no law banning watching pornography in personal space. After the Supreme Court’s order, the Department of Telecommunication banned several websites containing child pornographic material. As per the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2002, it is punishable to show children any pornographic content. Then explain the impact of Pornography on Children and Society. Discuss the challenges involved. Present your opinion whether child pornography should be made a criminal offence.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting way forward.

Introduction:

The POCSO Act, 2019 defines Child Pornography as Any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child which includes a photograph, video, digital or computer-generated image indistinguishable from an actual child. India Child Protection Fund (ICPF) has come out with a report which indicates a sharp rise in demand for online child pornography during the lockdown.

Body:

Currently, there is no law banning watching pornography in personal space. After the Supreme Court’s order, the Department of Telecommunication banned several websites containing child pornographic material. As per the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2002, it is punishable to show children any pornographic content.

The Ad-hoc Committee of the Rajya Sabha was instituted recently by the Chairman of the House to examine and report on the issue of child pornography and the prevalence of its horrific consequences. The Committee has also recommended important amendments to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 and the Information Technology Act, 2000 besides initiating changes at technological, institutional, social, educational and state-level initiatives.

Child pornography and its impacts:

On children:

  • Seeing unfamiliar looking bodies engaging in acts that a child cannot comprehend is a confusing and frightening experience for a child or adolescent.
  • Children or adolescents may experience autonomic sexual arousal at the sight of pornography, which can confuse them into thinking they “like” what they see, when in fact their bodies are reacting instinctively without the “approval” of their brain.
  • Children and adolescents can become “de-sensitized” to pornography exposure and this can result in acting out sexualized behaviors with other children and engaging in high-risk sexual experiences by adolescents.
  • Adults who choose to view adult pornography have an obligation to ensure that children cannot possibly access it. Lockup written material, clear browsers, and use every technological resources possible. Use of adult pornography or other sexually explicit materials in a home should never be accessible to children.

On families:

  • Married men who are involved in pornography feel less satisfied with their conjugal relations and less emotionally attached to their wives. Wives notice and are upset by the difference.
  • Pornography use is a pathway to infidelity and divorce, and is frequently a major factor in these family disasters.
  • Among couples affected by one spouse’s addiction, two-thirds experience a loss of interest in sexual intercourse.
  • Both spouses perceive pornography viewing as tantamount to infidelity.
  • Pornography viewing leads to a loss of interest in good family relations.

On individual:

  • Pornography is addictive, and neuroscientists are beginning to map the biological substrate of this addiction.
  • Users tend to become desensitized to the type of pornography they use, become bored with it, and then seek more perverse forms of pornography.
  • Men who view pornography regularly have a higher tolerance for abnormal sexuality, including rape, sexual aggression, and sexual promiscuity.
  • Prolonged consumption of pornography by men produces stronger notions of women as commodities or as “sex objects.”
  • Pornography engenders greater sexual permissiveness, which in turn leads to a greater risk of out-of-wedlock births and STDs. These, in turn, lead to still more weaknesses and debilities.
  • Child-sex offenders are more likely to view pornography regularly or to be involved in its distribution.

Challenges to ban child pornography:

  • The effect of pornography is different in children belonging to the lower class compared to children belonging to the high class. A single approach won’t be able to handle the issue effectively.
  • Lack of sex education courses and workshops in the school curriculum.
  • In India, sex is seen as negative (something which should be hidden). There is no healthy family dialogue regarding sex. It leads the child to learn this from outside which led to an addiction to pornography.
  • It’s very difficult for agencies to detect the activities of child pornography and monitor them effectively.
  • Availability of obscene content on regular websites and OTT (over the top) services make it difficult to differentiate between the non-vulgar content and vulgar content.

Way forward:

  • Parents can make a vast and positive difference by talking with their children. Like sexuality education in general, the topic of pornography is not one big talk but rather a series of discussions that easily can arise from the content of songs, music videos, video games, movies and unintended or intended exposure to sexually explicit images.
  • Parents can help their children develop a critical eye when viewing media, so they see the lies, and differentiate that fiction from the joy in loving equitable and respectful relationships.
  • National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal shall be designated as the national portal under-reporting requirements in the POCSO Act in case of electronic material
  • Union Government shall be empowered through its designated authority to block and/or prohibit all websites/intermediaries that carry child sexual abuse material
  • Law enforcement agencies should be permitted to brake end to end encryption to trace distributors of child pornography. Apps that help in monitoring children’s access to pornographic content shall be made mandatory on all devices sold in India. Such Apps or similar solutions to be developed and made freely available to ISP, companies, schools and parents.
  • Ministry of Electronics and IT and Ministry of Home Affairs shall coordinate with Blockchain analysis companies to trace identities of users engaging in cryptocurrency transactions to purchase child pornography online. Online payment portals and credit cards are prohibited from processing payments for any pornographic website.
  • All social media platforms should be mandated with minimum essential technologies to detect Child Sexual Abuse Material besides regular reporting to law enforcement agencies in the country.
  • On-streaming platforms like Netflix and social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook etc. should have a separate adult section where under-aged children could be disallowed.
  • The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) shall mandatorily record and report annually cases of child pornography of all kinds.
  • A national Hotline Number should be created where child sexual abuse, as well as the distribution of child pornographic material, can be reported by concerned citizens.
  • Ministries of Women and Child Development and Information and Broadcasting shall launch campaigns for greater awareness among parents to recognize early signs of child abuse, online risks and improving online safety for their child.
  • Schools shall undertake training programmes for parents at least twice a year, making them aware of hazards for children of free access to smartphones, internet at an early age. Based on the experiences of other countries, a proper practicable policy for restricting the use of smartphones by under-aged kids needs to be considered.

 

Topic:  Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies. Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

3. The position of a Speaker is not apolitical in Indian constitution and is embedded in party politics. Critically analyse the statement in the backdrop of issues witnessed with this post in the recent times.(250 words)

Reference:  Indian polity by Lakshmikant

Why this question:

The question is based on the relevance and importance of position of Speaker I the Indian constitutional setup.

Key demand of the question:

Explain in what way the position of a Speaker is not apolitical in Indian constitution and is embedded in party politics.one must discuss it with suitable case studies from recent times.

Directive:

Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly start with the Speaker’s power and role in Indian polity. Highlight with articles from the constitution defining it.

Body:

To start with, explain how speaker could become partisan under current structure with examples and apex court’s verdicts. Present points that justify Speaker being not an apolitical entity. Explain – position of Speaker being an impartial entity. Highlight measures already taken for bringing in impartiality.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The Speaker is the presiding officer of the Lok Sabha (House of the People), the lower house of the Parliament of India. The speaker is elected generally in the very first meeting of the Lok Sabha following general elections. Serving for a term of five years, the speaker chosen from sitting members of the Lok Sabha (House of the People), and is by convention a member of the ruling party or alliance.

Body:

Importance of office of Speaker:

  • The office of the Speaker occupies a pivotal position in our parliamentary democracy.
  • It has been said of the office of the Speaker that while the members of Parliament represent the individual constituencies, the Speaker represents the full authority of the House itself.
  • She symbolises the dignity and power of the House over which she is presiding.
  • The responsibility entrusted to the Speaker is so onerous that she cannot afford to overlook any aspect of parliamentary life.
  • Her actions come under close scrutiny in the House and are also widely reported in the mass media.
  • With the televising of proceedings of Parliament, the small screen brings to millions of households in the country the day-to-day developments in the House making the Speaker’s task all the more important.
  • Even though the Speaker speaks rarely in the House, when she does, she speaks for the House as a whole.
  • The Speaker is looked upon as the true guardian of the traditions of parliamentary democracy.
  • Her unique position is illustrated by the fact that she is placed very high in the Warrant of Precedence in our country, standing next only to the President, the Vice-President and the Prime Minister.
  • In India, through the Constitution of the land, through the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha and through the practices and conventions, adequate powers are vested in the office of the Speaker to help her in the smooth conduct of the parliamentary proceedings and for protecting the independence and impartiality of the office.
  • The Constitution of India provides that the Speaker’s salary and allowances are not to be voted by Parliament and are to be charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • Therefore, it is expected that the holder of this office of high dignity has to be one who can represent the House in all its manifestations.

However, there have been many instances when the Speaker’s office has been in the dock:

  • Appointment and tenure: The structural issues regarding the manner in which the Speaker is appointed and his tenure in office. Usually the speaker is from the ruling party and this makes it a more of a political liability on speaker to favour his party.
  • Lack of Tenure security: With no security in the continuity of office, the Speaker is dependent on his or her political party for re-election. This makes the Speaker susceptible to pulls and pressures from her/his political party in the conduct of the proceedings of the Lok Sabha.
  • Anti-defection law: In recent times, there are number of instances where the role of speaker has been criticised for decision on membership of MLAs under the anti-defection law and their ruling have been challenged in courts. The Tenth Schedule says the Speaker’s/Chairperson’s decision on questions of disqualification on ground of defection shall be final and can’t be questioned in courts. It was anticipated that giving Speakers the power to expel legislators would prevent unnecessary delays by courts and make anti-defection law more effective.
  • Discretionary power: There are various instances where the Rules vest the Speakers with unbridled powers such as in case of declaration of bill as money bill (Lok Sabha Speaker). This discretionary power comes under criticism when Aadhar bill was introduced in Lok Sabha as Money Bill.
  • Referral to DSRCs: The Speaker is also empowered to refer the Bill to a Standing Committee. As per prevailing practice house members or speaker usually refers all important bills to the concerned Departmentally Related Standing Committees for examination and report. But in recent time speaker uses its discretionary power to pass many important bills on day after introduction of bill without proper discussion and references.
  • Increased disruptions: Frequent disruptions reduced the time required for important discussions and compel speaker to allocate less time for discussion. This often questions the impartiality of speaker as he allegedly provides more time to ruling party. Also, it is alleged that speaker took harsh punishment against the disrupting member of opposition compared to government
  • Elections: The position of the Indian Speaker is paradoxical. They contest the election for the post on a party ticket. Yet they are expected to conduct themselves in a non-partisan manner, while being beholden to the party for a ticket for the next election.
  • Political Aspirations: The position is often used to woo the political parties by favouring them to harbour political ambitions. The need for re-election also skews incentives for the Speaker. The fear of losing the position in case of not favouring their political parties also pushes them to compromise neutrality.

Measures needed:

  • The page Committee, headed by V.S. Page, suggested that if the Speaker had conducted himself or herself in an impartial and efficient manner during the tenure of his or her office, he or she should be allowed to continue in the next Parliament.
  • Anyone seeking the office of the Speaker might be asked to run for election on an independent ticket.
  • Any Speaker should be barred from future political office, except for the post of President, while being given a pension for life.
  • Following the UK model of Speaker where the Speaker elect compulsorily resigns from the party membership. This will ensure neutrality of the office.
  • The Speaker should be allowed to recommend a range of disciplinary actions like cuts in salary, reduction in speaking time for the member based on the recommendation of the parliamentary committee.
  • The Speaker can arrange informal sessions with the members who frequently disrupt the house. He can try to resolve their grievances if any with respect to the conduct of the house.
  • A code of ethics for MPs must be formed to clearly define cases for suspension and dismissals.
  • Power must be given to speaker to form a parliamentary committee to recommend removal of MPs regularly disrupting the house. The decision of the committee must be subject to judicial review.
  • Ethics committee of Lok Sabha need to be given more mandate like other mature democracies

Conclusion:

The office of the Speaker in India is a living and dynamic institution which deals with the actual needs and problems of Parliament in the performance of its functions. It is in her that the responsibility of conducting the business of the House in a manner befitting the place of the institution in a representative democracy is invested.

The founding fathers of our Constitution had recognised the importance of this office in our democratic set-up and it was this recognition that guided them in establishing this office as one of the prominent and dignified ones in the scheme of governance of the country smoothly.

 

Topic:  Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies. Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

4. Write a short note on Quasi-judicial bodies of India .(250 words)

Reference:  Indian polity by Lakshmikant

Why this question:

The question is straightforward and is based on the concept of quasi –judicial bodies in India.

Key demand of the question:

Explain what quasi –judicial bodies in India are, their relevance, roles and responsibilities in detail.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly define quasi-judicial bodies.

Body:

A quasi-judicial body can be an individual or body with powers resembling a court of law.

  • They can adjudicate and decide penalties on the guilty.
  • They are different from judicial bodies in that their field is limited compared to a court.
  • They can be formed on a matter pending in court, by a court order if the court considers it necessary; the court reserves the right to appoint members of such a body.
  • They can be tribunals for a specific domain, or like an arbitrator

 Give Examples of quasi-judicial bodies such as –  National Human Rights Commission, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Competition Commission of India, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal for Electricity, Railway Claims Tribunal, Intellectual Property Appellate Tribunal, Banking Ombudsman, etc. Bring out their importance.

Conclusion:

Conclude with their significance in the Indian polity.

Introduction:

Quasi-judicial bodies are an entity such as an arbitrator or a tribunal, generally of a Public Administrative Agency, which has powers and procedures resembling that of a Court of Law or Judge, and which is obliged to objectively determine facts and draw conclusions from them so as to provide the basis of an official action. Such actions are able to remedy a situation or to impose legal penalties, and may affect the legal rights, duties or privileges of specific parties.

Body:

Some examples of Quasi-Judicial Bodies in India are as follows

  • Election Commission of India.
  • National Green Tribunal.
  • Central Information Commission (CIC)
  • Income Tax Appellate Tribunal.
  • Lok Adalat.

Reasons for Emergence of Quasi-Judicial Bodies in India:

  • As the State grew in size and functions, the burden on its functions, especially those of the judicial system increased manifold. Therefore, the need for an alternative judicial system arose.
  • The cost factor also played an important role because ordinary judicial procedures can turn out to be a costly affair if stretched over a long period of time.
  • The complexity of a plethora of laws called for more technical minds in specific fields.
  • The conventional judiciary is suffering with procedural rigidity, which delays the justice.

Pros:

  • Low Cost: Tribunals on the other hand, have an overall low cost which encourages people to seek redressal for their grievances.
  • Simplicity: Tribunals and other such bodies do not follow any lengthy or complex procedure for submitting application or evidence etc.
  • Expert Knowledge: A tribunal comprises of experts, who can easily understand the technicalities of a case, the necessary actions involved and their consequences.
  • Reduction of Workload: Tribunals while taking up specific matters, majorly help by sharing the massive workload of the Judiciary. In a country which has 2.81 crore pending cases, it is important to take steps to decrease the burden of the Judiciary.
  • Flexibility: since there is little use made of precedent.

Cons:

  • There is an unfair imbalance between represented and unrepresented parties. It is unfair to people who are not represented and cannot get legal aid to come up against a rich corporation. Since richer parties are allowed to employ skilled representation they are consequently more likely to win.
  • The no-costs rule and lack of legal aid penalize poor litigants, although they do keep costs down.
  • The lack of fees encourages poor applicants, although it may also result in ill-founded claims.
  • Tribunals can become complex over time – as did the courts – rules of procedure grow up caused by the use of representatives who as a result make representation desirable in future.
  • They may lack some of the perceived independence of the judiciary
  • It can still be difficult for the people who go to tribunals to represent themselves because of the inherent difficulty in presenting a case in any environment.
  • It undermines the celebrated principle of separation of powers.

Way forward:

  • It should be manned by plural members rather than single individual
  • They should be appointed by judicious process.
  • Members should be from both the technical background and legal one.
  • SC recommendations: The chairman should be appointed by President from sitting or retired judge of a High Court in consultation with CJI or committee headed by CJI.
  • Vice-chairman should be a judge of district court or an advocate who is eligible to become a judge of HC.
  • Removal should be more stringent.

Conclusion:

Government needs to address this issue by enabling sufficient number of appointments at various Quasi-Judicial Bodies. However, as a fool proof appointment mechanism plays a crucial role in ensuring quality, the Government is duty bound to provide for the same. Only then can India’s Quasi-Judicial Bodies expedite not only the resolution of disputes but also dispensation of justice.

 

Topic:  Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary. Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology. Awareness in the fields of IT

5. The idea of e-Court system can provide the judiciary with an opportunity to address the problem of delayed justice. Discuss. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu 

Why this question:

The article discusses the need for an e-court system and the steps to be taken to ensure the setting up of an effective framework for e-courts. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the prospects of e-courts to the Indian judiciary and explain in what way it can be a game changer altogether in addressing the challenges of delayed justice.

Directive:

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:

Introduction:

Briefly explain the background – In the light of the national lockdown, the Indian courts too are under a lockdown thus severely restricting the citizen’s access to justice for this period.

Body:

To start with, present the issue of delayed justice in the country in detail. Plagued by the complete inability of the conventional court system to deliver timely justice. The average time for case disposal in India is comparatively much larger than in other countries. Then move onto explain the role of technology that can possibly change the dynamics of justice delivery. Bring out the associated challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the e-court system apart from increasing the access to justice can also simultaneously reduce the burden on conventional courts. Given the current situation of low judge: population ratio in India, the more efficient e-court system will enable the judiciary to more effectively use its scarce resources.

Introduction:

e-Courts project was conceptualized on the basis of the “National Policy and Action Plan for Implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Indian Judiciary – 2005” submitted by eCommittee, Supreme Court of India with a vision to transform the Indian Judiciary by ICT enablement of Courts.

The Supreme Court recently passed directions for all courts across the country to extensively use video-conferencing for judicial proceedings saying congregation of lawyers and litigants must be suspended to maintain social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic. The top court, which has restricted its functioning and is conducting hearing through video conferencing since March 25, exercised its plenary power to direct all high courts to frame a mechanism for use of technology during the pandemic. A bench headed by the Chief Justice stressed that “technology is here to stay”

Body:

e-Courts objectives:

  • To provide efficient & time-bound citizen centric services delivery as detailed in eCourt Project Litigant’s Charter.
  • To develop, install & implement decision support systems in courts.
  • To automate the processes to provide transparency in accessibility of information to its stakeholders.
  • To enhance judicial productivity, both qualitatively & quantitatively, to make the justice delivery system affordable, accessible, cost effective, predictable, reliable and transparent.

Advantages of e-courts:

  • The key advantages of establishment of Electronic Courts in India is bringing in a justice serving mechanism that is transparent, efficient, affordable, time saving, protects the interests of witnesses, reduces the backlog of pending cases and most importantly reduces the number of unscrupulous activities.
  • Entire information related to a particular case would be available online. It would be available to the attorneys, parties and the general public through the help of internet.
  • Registered attorneys can file their case document directly from their home or office. They do not have to worry about postage, traffic congestion or messenger services. They can create a docket sheet and update it immediately, when the documents are filed.
  • With the help of internet, the documents of a case can be accessed easily from anywhere at anytime.
  • E-courts would help in the computerization of work flow management in courts. Thus, it would help to create a better court and case management. Video conferencing facilities would be installed in every court complex. Evidence of eyewitness, who are unable to attend the court can be recorded through this method.
  • The information would not be misplaced as all the information regarding the case would be carefully recorded and stored. Data keeping would include maintaining the records of e-file minute entries, bail orders, warrants etc.
  • In many cases, the witnesses are not able to come to the court and make their statement as the other party is too strong and scares them of the consequences. e-Courts can help in dealing with such cases.

Limitations of e-courts:

  • E-courts in India is an endless and complicating process. The process of e-filing a document is a difficult process. All the evidence cannot be produced in a digital format.
  • Lack of techno legal expertise is the main reason for the poor status of e-courts in India. With the absence of techno legal expertise, electronic courts cannot be established in India. The country requires more techno legal e-court centers so that the project of e-court can achieve success.
  • The project of e-court involves a lot of expenditure. It involves the use of a lot of computers and infrastructures. In the long run, e-courts may face the issue of lack of funds.
  • Hackers are getting stronger with every passing day. The possibility of e-Courts getting hacked in such a case can not be denied.

Measures needed:

  • It is critical to draw up a well-defined and pre-decided framework as it can help in laying a concrete roadmap and direction to the e-courts scheme of India.
  • To achieve this, the government must establish an effective task force consisting of judges, technologists, court administrators, skill developers and system analysts to draw up a blueprint for institutionalizing online access to justice.
  • Such a task force must be charged with the responsibility of establishing hardware, software and IT systems for courts; examining application of artificial intelligence benefiting from the data base generated through e-courts projects; establishing appropriate e-filing systems and procedures.
  • Creating skill training and recognition for paralegals to understand and to help advocates and others to access the system to file their cases and add to their pleadings and documents as the case moves along.
  • Once the blueprint is ready, the High Courts across the country may refer the same to the Rule Committee of the High Court to frame appropriate rules to operationalise the e-court system.
  • One aspect that needs to be focused on is the deployment of a robust security system that provides secure access to case information for appropriate parties. The security of e-courts infrastructure and system is of paramount importance.
  • Also, user friendly e-courts mechanism, which is simple and easily accessible by the common public will encourage litigants to use such facilities in India.
  • The government must also make dedicated efforts in the training of personnel to maintain all the e-data.
  • Also, conducting training sessions to familiarize the Judges with the e-courts framework and procedure can give a huge impetus to the successful running of e-courts.

Way forward for Indian litigation and arbitration:

  • In India, a significant amount of time is spent in resolving disputes which has been the real bane of the Indian judiciary system. The e-courts project, if implemented, would go a long way in saving costs and time for the litigants.
  • The present government is taking active steps to establish e-courts all over India. All these government efforts will result in providing quick and cost effective solutions to the litigants.
  • The judiciary system in India with the help of e-courts can overcome the challenges and make the service delivery mechanism transparent and cost efficient.
  • Further, the e-court project also requires the executive and the judiciary to reaffirm their resolve to support a speedy, efficient and quality justice delivery in the country. It is also important to discuss steps required to surmount the various challenges facing the justice system.

 

Topic:  Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

6.  Explain in what way using dollar swap line with other countries can help the Indian economy in uncertain times. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why this question:

India is working with the United States to secure a dollar swap line that would help in better management of its external account and provide extra cushion in the event of an abrupt outflow of funds, according to banking industry and government sources. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the utility and benefits of using a dollar swap line in the current conditions of the pandemic.

Directive:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain what a dollar swap line is.

Body:

To start with explain that while India is largely expected to tide over any challenge posed by continued outflows of funds from the markets, a swap line with the US Federal Reserve provides additional comfort to the forex markets. Discuss how a swap facility works. Explain how a currency swap agreement acts as a tool for quantitative easing of the Indian economy.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of it.

Introduction:

Dollar swap is a kind of currency swap wherein between the two countries, there is an agreement to exchange currencies with predetermined terms and conditions. India is working with the United States (US) to secure a dollar swap line. It would help in providing an additional comfort in an event of any abrupt outflow of funds. India already has a currency swap facility with other central banks like Japan, SAARC nations, UAE etc. Currently, India, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa do not have a currency swap line with the US.

Body:

Working of Currency swap lines:

  • In a swap arrangement, based on the market exchange rate at the time of the transaction,
  • The US Fed provides dollars to a foreign central bank, and
  • The bank provides the equivalent funds in its currency to the Fed.
  • The parties agree to swap back their currencies at a specified date in the future, at the same exchange rate as in the first transaction.
  • These swap operations carry no exchange rate or other market risks, as transaction terms are set in advance.

Current need for currency swap line:

  • Forex reserves/assets are assets held on reserve by a central bank in foreign currencies. These may include foreign currencies, bonds, treasury bills and other government securities. These are held to ensure that a central bank has enough funds if its national currency weakens/ devalues rapidly.
  • As concerns on the economic effects of COVID-19 hit investor sentiment, Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have been large sellers of Indian equity and debt markets in March and April so far leading to outflow of funds from the country.
  • To stabilize the rupee which recently fell below the 76 level against the dollar, India liquidated its forex assets.
  • India’s foreign currency assets had declined by around $7.50 billion in two weeks to $ 439.66 billion as on March 27.
  • According to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, 63.7 per cent of India’s foreign currency assets — or $256.17 billion — is invested in overseas securities, mainly in the US treasury.
  • While India is expected to comfortably tide over any challenge posed by continued outflows of funds from the markets, given the adequacy of foreign exchange reserves, a swap line with the US Fed provides an additional comfort to the forex markets.

Advantages of dollar swap line:

  • A swap line with the US Federal Reserve would help in better management of the external account of India.
  • It would also provide extra cushion in the event of an abrupt outflow of funds from the forex markets.
  • So far, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have been large sellers in the Indian equity and debt markets in March and April 2020.
  • There is apprehension that the economic impact of COVID-19 will last for a significant length of time.
  • So, the government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cannot lower their guard on the management of the economy and external account.

Conclusion:

These swap operations carry no exchange rate or other market risks as transaction terms are set in advance. Central banks and Governments engage in currency swaps with foreign counterparts to meet short term foreign exchange liquidity requirements or to ensure adequate foreign currency to avoid Balance of Payments (BOP) crisis till longer arrangements can be made.

 

Topic:  Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships.

7. Marketing has become a crucial link in the success of a business. With suitable examples, discuss the ethical issues involved in marketing of a product or service. How can these issues be resolved?(250 words)

Reference:  Marketing Schools 

Why this question:

The question is based on the theme of ethical marketing.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the ethical issues involved in marketing of a product or service and suggest measures to resolve these issues.

Directive:

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:

Introduction:

Briefly underline the importance of marketing and therein the importance of ethical consideration.

Body:

Marketing refers to activities of a company associated with buying and selling a product or service. Marketing through advertising, selling and delivery of products to potential customers, is vital for the success of any business. Since it has the potential to influence attitudes, behaviors and priorities; ethical considerations are part and parcel of marketing. Then discuss the ethical issues with examples for greater clarity. Then explain the need for self-regulation, ethical codes and legal aspects to resolve unethical marketing practices.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

The rampant growth of Information, Communication and Technology, the penetration of Smart phones and mobile internet has brought the consumer and corporate companies closer. The platforms of advertisement ranging from billboards to public transport to social media, news channels and even mobile phones. Marketing which includes advertisements play a major role in influencing, decision making of the people.

Body:

Ethical marketing is less of a marketing strategy and more of a philosophy that informs all marketing efforts. It seeks to promote honesty, fairness, and responsibility in all advertising. Ethics is a notoriously difficult subject because everyone has subjective judgments about what is “right” and what is “wrong.” For this reason, ethical marketing is not a hard and fast list of rules, but a general set of guidelines to assist companies as they evaluate new marketing strategies.

In a bid to capture the market, attract the consumers to their products, Companies are on an advertising spree. There are catchy slogans, tall claims, distortion of facts, comparison with competitor products through advertisements.

Types of advertising:

  • Surrogate Advertising: In certain places there are laws against advertising products like cigarettes or alcohol. Surrogate advertising finds ways to remind consumers of these products without referencing them directly.
  • Exaggeration: Some advertisers use false claims about a product’s quality or popularity. A Slogan like “get coverage everywhere on earth” advertises features that cannot be delivered.
  • Puffery: When an advertiser relies on subjective rather than objective claims, they are puffing up their products. Statements like “the best tasting coffee” cannot be confirmed objectively.
  • Unverified Claims: Many products promise to deliver results without providing any scientific evidence. Shampoo commercials that promise stronger, shinier hair do so without telling consumers why or how.
  • Stereotyping Women: Women in advertising have often been portrayed as sex objects or domestic servants. This type of advertising traffics in negative stereotypes and contributes to a sexist culture.
  • False brand comparisons: Any time a company makes false or misleading claims about their competitors they are spreading misinformation.
  • Children in advertising: Children consume huge amounts of advertising without being able to evaluate it objectively. Exploiting this innocence is one of the most common unethical marketing practices.

There are some ethical issues present in marketing arena:

  • Lack of honesty and integrity: The hollowness and even false claims by advertisements too woo more customers. Example: Fairness creams, hair-growth oils, weight-loss pills.
  • Lack of Transparency: The hiding of information by showing half of information. Example: The case of Maggi containing Mono-Sodium Glutamate was not indicated on the products.
  • Promoting Sexism: The ads which promotes sexist attitude goes against human dignity by affecting equality amongst sexes. Example: Hero Honda Pleasure – Why should boys have all the fun?
  • Promoting Patriarchy: In most ads the women are shown subjugated to men or doing household chores, objectification of women. Example: Dishwash bars, Washing powders etc.
  • Promoting Racism: Comparisons between the dark-skinned, fair skinned people to promote the products. Example: Beauty soaps, Fairness creams
  • Brand Ambassadors’ ethics: The lack of responsibility towards society on part of brand ambassadors harms the consumers who buy products based on former’s credibility.
  • Conflict of Interest: The ambassadors like Cine artists, sportspersons, etc. may not be using the product they endorse in their personal lives. But they may be forced to do so for a living.
  • Increased Consumerism: The materialism and consumerism is increasing in the people by blindly following the advertisements. It has effects on children who value materials more than humanism and rationalism.

Way forward:

  • False claims, wrong facts by brands should be punishable.
  • Brand ambassadors should be aware and responsible of the products they endorse.
  • The Consumer Protection (Amendment) Act 2018 has provisions to indict the endorser too now as part of consumer rights protection.
  • Regulatory bodies like Advertising Standards Council of India(ASCI) should be made statutory and given more teeth to regulate the fake ads.
  • Efficient grievance redressal mechanism must be made available for consumers to make companies accountable.
  • The consumers on their parts should be responsible to verify the product’s claims and then buy it.
  • Education and awareness can be spread about the consumer rights and its protection.
  • However, on the other hand these regulations must not violate the freedom of speech of the companies.
  • Above measures if enforced in a proper manner would resolve the above ethical issues in commercial advertisements.

Best Practices: The best companies are striving to meet those expectations. A few years ago, Domino’s Pizza decided to post comments in real time from its customers on a billboard in New York’s Times Square. The company did not filter the reviews, allowing people to see exactly what was being said about its products. It was an amazing example of transparency. In the same vein, online retailer Zappos gives people complete access to details about its vendors.

Conclusion:

Ultimately, it boils down to how much, as a company, it values truth and honesty. Advertisements should be an ethical dimension of Corporate Social Responsibility.