Print Friendly, PDF & Email

INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 27 July 2020

InstaLinks help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically.

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. Istanbul Convention Action against violence against women and domestic violence.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Contempt of Court.

2. Rajasthan crisis puts governors’ powers in the spotlight.

3. Special Window for Affordable and Mid Income Housing (SWAMIH).

4. S. Relaxes Rules on Sales of Armed Drones.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA).

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Kargil Vijay Diwas.

2. Nag river.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics Covered: Issues related to women.

Istanbul Convention

Context:

Poland is to withdraw from Istanbul Convention- a treaty aimed at preventing violence against women.

What’s the issue?

  • The reason behind withdrawal is that Poland thinks the Convention is harmful because it required schools to teach children about gender. Also, it says, the treaty tries to construct a “socio-cultural gender against the biological gender”. For example, some items of the convention foresee educating children and young people about forming homosexual families.

What is the Istanbul Convention?

It is also called as the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

The treaty is the world’s first binding instrument to prevent and tackle violence against women.

It is the most comprehensive legal framework that exists to tackle violence against women and girls, covering domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, female genital mutilation (FGM), so-called honour-based violence, and forced marriage.

  • The Convention sets minimum standards for governments to meet when tackling violence against women.
  • When a government ratifies the Convention, they are legally bound to follow it.

As of March 2019, it has been signed by 45 countries and the European Union.

The convention was adopted by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers on 7 April 2011.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Istanbul- location.
  2. Istanbul convention is related to?
  3. When was it signed?
  4. First country to sign the convention?
  5. Recently, which country decided to exit the convention?
  6. What is Council of Europe?

Mains Link:

Write a note on Istanbul convention.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

Contempt of Court:

Context:

Last week, the Supreme Court of India suo motu registered a case of contempt against lawyer Prashant Bhushan.

  • He stands accused of the Criminal contempt. 

What was the case?

  • The court registered the proceedings after a petition was moved citing two tweets Bhushan had published over the last two months.
  • In the tweets, the lawyer had commented on Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and about the general functioning of the court under the last four chief justices.

The court said it found the tweets prima facie contempt.

What is Contempt?

The contempt of court law is one of the most controversial elements in the Indian legal context.

  • While the basic idea of a contempt law is to punish those who do not respect the orders of the courts, in the Indian context, contempt is also used to punish speech that lowers the dignity of the court and interferes with the administration of justice.

Contempt of court can be of two kinds:

  1. Civil, that is the willful disobedience of a court order or judgment or willful breach of an undertaking given to a court.
  2. Criminal, that is written or spoken words or any act that scandalises the court or lowers its authority or prejudices or interferes with the due course of a judicial proceeding or interferes/obstructs the administration of justice.

Relevant provisions:

Article 129 and 215 of the Constitution of India empowers the Supreme Court and High Court respectively to punish people for their respective contempt.

Section 10 of The Contempt of Courts Act of 1971 defines the power of the High Court to punish contempts of its subordinate courts.

The Constitution also includes contempt of court as a reasonable restriction to the freedom of speech and expression under Article 19, along with elements like public order and defamation.

Why courts need contempt powers?

  • To ensure their orders are implemented.
  • To sustain the independent nature of the judiciary itself.
    • While the judiciary issues orders, they are implemented by the government or private parties. If the courts are unable to enforce their orders, then the rule of law itself will come to grinding halt.

Issues with Contempt Law:

Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution gives the right to freedom of speech and expression to all citizens, while “contempt provisions” curb people’s freedom to speak against the court’s functioning.

The law is very subjective which might be used by the judiciary arbitrarily to suppress their criticism by the public.

Analysis of Bhushan’s case:

The suo motu contempt proceedings initiated by a bench of the Supreme Court against Mr. Bhushan constitutes an abuse of the court’s contempt jurisdiction, which—for good reason—is to be exercised sparingly and with circumspection.

It is because, according to some experts, there is nothing in Mr. Bhushan’s tweets that qualify as contempt of Court.

  • His tweets are an exercise of his fundamental right under Article 19 (1) (a) to freely express himself by way of comment and criticism on the conduct of the CJI as a private citizen.
  • Also, these tweets in question appear to be in the realm of perception and comment and don’t seem to have transgressed into contempt. The general principle on contempt is that one can criticise a judgment but you can’t attribute motives to the judge.

Conclusion:

A law for criminal contempt is completely asynchronous with our democratic system which recognises freedom of speech and expression as a fundamental right.

An excessively loose use of the test of ‘loss of public confidence’, combined with a liberal exercise of suo motu powers, can be dangerous, for it can amount to the Court signalling that it will not suffer any kind of critical commentary about the institution at all, regardless of how evidently problematic its actions may be.

In this manner, the judiciary could find itself at an uncanny parallel with the executive, in using laws for chilling effect.

What needs to be done?

Besides needing to revisit the need for a law on criminal contempt, even the test for contempt needs to be evaluated.

  • If such a test ought to exist at all, it should be whether the contemptuous remarks in question actually obstruct the Court from functioning.
  • It should not be allowed to be used as a means to prevent any and all criticism of an institution.

Contempt laws in other countries:

Already, contempt has practically become obsolete in foreign democracies, with jurisdictions recognising that it is an archaic law, designed for use in a bygone era, whose utility and necessity has long vanished.

  1. Canada ties its test for contempt to real, substantial and immediate dangers to the administration.
  2. American courts no longer use the law of contempt in response to comments on judges or legal matters.
  3. In England, the legal position has evolved.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Powers of SC vs HCs wrt Contempt cases.
  2. Constitutional provisions in this regard.
  3. Changes brought about by Contempt of Courts (Amendment) Act, 2006.
  4. Civil vs Criminal contempt.
  5. Rights under Article 19.
  6. Section 10 of The Contempt of Courts Act of 1971 is related to?

Mains Link:

Discuss how contempt cases are handled by Supreme Court in India.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

Rajasthan crisis puts governors’ powers in the spotlight:

Context:

A governor’s powers and role in the state legislature’s affairs are back in focus amid the political crisis in Rajasthan.

Congress legislators backing Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot have accused the Governor of acting under pressure.

  • But, Is the Governor bound by the advice of the chief minister-led council of ministers when it comes to convening the assembly session and to what extent can the governor exercise his discretion?

What does the Constitution say?

The Constitution’s Articles 163 and 174 are relevant in the context of the governor’s powers to convene the state assembly.

  1. Article 163 says there shall be a CM-led council of ministers to aid and advise the governor except when he is required, under the Constitution, to exercise functions in his/her discretion.
  2. Article 174 says the governor “shall from time to time summon the House of the state…as he thinks fit but six months shall not intervene between its last sitting in one session and the date appointed for first sitting in the next session”.

What has the Supreme Court said in this regard?

The 2016 Supreme Court judgment in the Nabam Rebia v Deputy Speaker held that the governor’s power to summon, prorogue and dissolve the House should be only on the advice of the council of ministers. And not at his own.

  • The judgment, however, also held that if the governor has reasons to believe the council of ministers has lost the confidence of the House, he can ask the chief minister to prove the majority.

Conclusion:

The Governor has no discretionary powers in summoning a session of the Assembly, and he or she is bound to act according to the aid and advice of the CM and the Council of Ministers.

But, the Governor can require the CM and the Council of Ministers to seek a trust vote if he or she has reasons to believe that they have lost the confidence of the Assembly.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of Articles 163 and 174.
  2. Is the Governor bound by the advice of the chief minister-led council of ministers when it comes to convening the assembly session?
  3. Who appoints Chief Minister?
  4. Discretionary powers of Governor.
  5. Tenure of governor.

Mains Link:

Write a note on the discretionary powers of a governor of state.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: 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.

Special Window for Affordable and Mid Income Housing (SWAMIH):

Context:

81 projects have been approved so far under the Special Window for Affordable and Mid Income Housing (SWAMIH) fund.

  • The approval, under the SWAMIH Investment Fund I, will enable the completion of nearly 60,000 homes across India.

About SWAMIH:

In November 2019, the Union Cabinet cleared a proposal to set it up.

  • SWAMIH Investment Fund has been formed to complete construction of stalled, RERA-registered affordable and mid-income category housing projects which are stuck due to paucity of funds.
  • The fund was set up as a Category-II AIF (Alternate Investment Fund) debt fund registered with SEBI.
  • The Investment Manager of the Fundis SBICAP Ventures, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SBI Capital Markets, which in turn is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the State Bank of India.
  • The Sponsor of the Fundis the Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India on behalf of the Government of India.

Who will be the investors of the fund?

AIFs created/funded under the Special Window would solicit investment into the fund from the Government and other private investors including cash-rich financial institutions, sovereign wealth funds, public and private banks, domestic pension and provident funds, global pension funds and other institutional investors.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

What is an Alternative Investment Fund? Types?

Investment Manager of the SWAMIH Fund?

    • Sponsor of the fund?
    • Who can invest?
    • What will it be used for?

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

U.S. Relaxes Rules on Sales of Armed Drones:

Context:

The US administration has relaxed export restrictions on specific types of unmanned aerial systems, commonly known as drones, enabling U.S. defense contractors to sell more of their wares abroad.

Changes introduced:

Under a new policy, unmanned aerial systems that fly at speeds below 800 kph will no longer be subject to the “presumption of denial” that, in effect, blocked most international sales of drones such as the MQ-9 Reaper and the RQ-4 Global Hawk.

Implications:

So far, the U.S. government’s interpretation of the export controls under the Missile Technology Control Regime, or MTCR had led to a blanket denial of most countries’ requests to buy “category-1” systems capable of carrying 500-kilogram payloads for more than 300 kilometers.

  • Instead of having a “presumption of denial” for those drones, where export officials needed special circumstances to allow the sale of the drones, the new guidance would mean those officials would now consider proposed sales using the same criteria as they do for other military exports.

About MTCR:

It is an informal and voluntary partnership among 35 countries.

Objective: to prevent the proliferation of missile and unmanned aerial vehicle technology capable of carrying greater than 500 kg payload for more than 300 km.
The regime was formed in 1987 by the G-7 industrialized countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the United States).

It is not a legally binding treaty on the members.

What is the purpose of the MTCR?

The MTCR was initiated by like-minded countries to address the increasing proliferation of nuclear weapons by addressing the most destabilizing delivery system for such weapons.

In 1992, the MTCR’s original focus on missiles for nuclear weapons delivery was extended to a focus on the proliferation of missiles for the delivery of all types of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), i.e., nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Such proliferation has been identified as a threat to international peace and security.

India and the  MTCR:

India was inducted into the Missile Technology Control Regime in 2016 as the 35thmember.

China is not a member of this regime but it had verbally pledged to adhere to its original guidelines but not to the subsequent additions.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. MTCR- objectives and members.
  2. Is India a part of MTCR?
  3. MTCR was formed by?
  4. Objectives.
  5. Banned weapons under the regime.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA):

Context:

Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) 2020 was recently released by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

About FRA:

  • FAO has brought out this comprehensive assessment every five years since 1990.
  • This report assesses the state of forests, their conditions and management for all member countries.

According to FRA 2020, top 10 countries that have recorded the maximum average annual net gains in forest area during 2010-2020 are:

  1. China
  2. Australia
  3. India
  4. Chile
  5. Vietnam
  6. Turkey
  7. United States
  8. France
  9. Italy
  10. Romania

Key findings:

The Asian continent reported the highest net gain in forest area in 2010-2020. It recorded 1.17 million hectares (ha) per year net increase in forests in the last decade.

South Asia sub-region reported net forest losses during 1990-2020.

India-related findings:

During the decade under assessment, India reported 0.38 per cent annual gain in forest, or 266,000 ha of forest increase every year at an average.

  • The FRA 2020 has credited the government’s Joint Forest Management programme for the significant increase in community-managed forest areas in the Asian continent.
  • The forest area managed by local, tribal and indigenous communities in India increased from zero in 1990 to about 25 million ha in 2015.
  • However, the naturally regenerating forest rate is disappointing, according to the assessment. During 2010-20, the rate of increase in naturally regenerating forest was just 0.38 per cent.
  • India reported the maximum employment in the forestry sector in the world. Globally, 12.5 million people were employed in the forestry sector. Out of this, India accounted for 6.23 million, or nearly 50 per cent.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who releases Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA)?
  2. When are they released?
  3. Top 5 countries that have recorded the maximum average annual net gains in forest area during 2010-2020 are?
  4. Country which reported the maximum employment in the forestry sector in the world?
  5. Naturally regenerating forest rate of India?

Sources: down to earth.

 


Facts for Prelims


Kargil Vijay Diwas- July 26th:

The day commemorates the success of “Operation Vijay” launched by the Indian Army to recapture the Indian territories from Pakistani intruders in the Kargil-Drass sector in 1999.

Background: The Kargil war took place despite the two nations signing the Shimla Agreement that stated that no armed conflict shall take place on the said boundary. The Indian and Pakistani armies fought the Kargil War in May-July 1999 in Kargil and elsewhere along the Line of Control (LoC).

Safed Sagar, the Indian Air Force’s operation, was a major part of the Kargil war.

Nag river:

  • The Nag River is a river flowing through the city of Nagpur in Maharashtra, India.
  • It is known for providing the etymology for the name Nagpur.
  • Forming a part of the Kanhan-Pench river system, the Nag River originates in Lava hills near wadi.

Why in News?

Industrialisation has reduced Nag river to a cursed lady, Bombay High Court said recently.

 

Note:

Few facts will be covered tomorrow.


  • Join our Official Telegram Channel HERE for Motivation and Fast Updates
  • Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE to watch Motivational and New analysis videos