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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 3 November 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 2:

1. Contempt of Court.

2. HC panel questions setting up of special courts to try MPs.

3. Can states refuse to implement Central laws?

4. What is Extradition?

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Spike in ammonia levels in Yamuna.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Satellites to detect drug cultivation in Odisha.

2. Kerala PSC to implement 10% quota for poor in general category.

3. Travancore Tortoise.

4. Mission Sagar – II.

5. Maharani Jindan Kaur.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

Contempt of Court:


Context:

Attorney General declines consent to initiate contempt case against Andhra CM Jagan Reddy.

What’s the issue?

Last month, CM Jagan Reddy had written to the CJI S.A. Bobde, alleging the Andhra Pradesh HC was being used to ‘destabilise and topple my democratically elected government’.

  • Following this, a lawyer had written a letter to AG seeking his consent to initiate contempt proceedings against Reddy and his advisor.

What is Contempt?

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:

Civil, that is the willful disobedience of a court order or judgment or willful breach of an undertaking given to a court.

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:

  • Articles 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.

Please Note:

There is no requirement for the Supreme Court to take Attorney General’s consent in initiating a criminal contempt proceeding on its own as it exercises “inherent power” under the Constitution in issuing the show cause notice.

InstaLinks:

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

HC panel questions setting up of special courts to try MPs:


Context:

A three-judge committee of the Madras High Court has questioned the constitutional validity of setting up special courts to exclusively try MPs and MLAs for various crimes.

Why separate courts should not be set up?

  • Courts should be “offence-centric” and not “offender-centric.”
  • Special courts can only be constituted by a statute and not by executive or judicial fiats.

Why these observations seem significant?

Timing of the report: The HC committee report comes in the face of a 2017 Supreme Court order authorising the Centre to set up 12 special courts to exclusively try criminal politicians across the country.

It also comes at a time when a three-judge Bench of the apex court is looking at ways to expedite these trials pending for years, in some cases, for decades.

But, why do we need special courts?

  1. There are more than 4000 cases pending against legislators across the country. Of this, the number of cases against sitting Members of Parliament and members of State legislatures was 2,556.
  2. The cases against the legislators include that of corruption, money laundering, damage to public property, defamation and cheating.
  3. A large number of cases were for violation of Section 188 IPC for wilful disobedience and obstruction of orders promulgated by public servants.
  4. A large number of cases were pending at the appearance stage and even non-bailable warrants (NBWs) issued by courts have not been executed.
  5. Besides, in Bihar, 89% Assembly constituencies have three or more candidates who have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits for the ongoing elections.

What is the way out?

  1. Political parties should themselves refuse tickets to the tainted.
  2. The RP Act should be amended to debar persons against whom cases of a heinous nature are pending from contesting elections.
  3. Fast-track courts should decide the cases of tainted legislators quickly.
  4. Bring greater transparency in campaign financing.
  5. The Election Commission of India (ECI) should have the power to audit the financial accounts of political parties.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Section 8 of the RP Act.
  2. SC guidelines.
  3. ECI- composition and functions.
  4. Powers of Election Commission on matters related to election of candidates.

Mains Link:

Discuss the concerns associated criminalisation of politics and what the Supreme Court done to address these concerns?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

Can states refuse to implement Central laws?


Context:

Rajasthan passes Bills to stall Centre’s farm laws.

The three Bills, pertaining to the State amendments to the Central statutes, were:

  1. The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2020.
  2. The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2020.
  3. The Essential Commodities (Special Provisions and Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2020.

What’s the main issue here?

The three agriculture laws are a clear infringement on the states’ right to legislate.

  • The main subjects of the three acts are agriculture and market that are essentially state subjects as per the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.
  • However, the Central government finagled its way into the legislation by misconstruing its authority on food items, a subject in the Concurrent List, as authority over the subject agriculture.
  • However, food items and agricultural products are distinct categories as many agricultural products in their raw forms are not food items and vice versa.

What does the Constitution say on this?

Agriculture is in the state list under the Constitution.

But, Entry 33 of the Concurrent List provides Centre and the states powers to control production, supply and distribution of products of any industry, including agriculture.

  • Usually, when a state wants to amend a Central law made under one of the items in the concurrent list, it needs the clearance of the Centre.
  • When a state law contradicts a Central law on the same subject, the law passed by Parliament prevails.

Why the Constitution has envisaged such an arrangement?

This is an arrangement envisaged as most Parliament laws apply to the whole of India and states amending the Central laws indiscriminately could lead to inconsistencies in different regions on the application of the same law. In matters of trade and commerce, this could especially pose serious problems.

The other option available with the states is:

To take Centre to the Supreme Court over the validity of these laws.

  • Article 131 of the Constitution provides exclusive jurisdiction to the Supreme Court to adjudicate matters between the states and the Centre.
  • Article 254 (2) of the Constitution empowers state governments to pass legislations which negate the Central acts in the matters enumerated under the Concurrent List.
    • A state legislation passed under Article 254 (2) requires the assent of the President of India.

Redefining state agricultural markets:

Another way is to pass a state law that redefines state agricultural markets as the trade area that is specified in the Central law (the agricultural market is a place where farmers sell their produce).

Once the notion of a state market is equivalent to the Central government’s notion of the trade area, state governments can easily add specifications and additional measures.

  • A state law can include a provision that says that MSP will be applicable to all state agriculture markets.
  • Since state markets are equivalent to the Centre’s notion of the trade area, a state clause will be automatically applicable to the trade area that is mentioned in the Centre’s Bill too.
  • Since there is no reference in the Central Bills about MSP, the question of inconsistency does not arise at all.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who sets Minimum Support Price?
  2. Articles 131 and 254(2).
  3. Overview of 7th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
  4. What happens when a State’s law contravenes centre’s law?

Mains Link:

The three agriculture laws passed by the Centre recently are a clear infringement on the states’ right to legislate. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

What is Extradition?


Context:

The Supreme Court has refused a plea made by the lawyer of fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya to discharge him from the case and gave the Union government six weeks to file a status report on the progress made in extraditing him from the United Kingdom.

Background:

India has been pressing the UK to extradite Mallya after he lost his appeals in the British Supreme Court in May against his extradition to India to face money laundering and fraud charges.

  • However, the UK government had indicated that Mallya is unlikely to be extradited to India anytime soon, saying there is a legal issue that needed to be resolved before his extradition can be arranged.

What is Extradition?

As defined by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, ‘Extradition is the delivery on the part of one State to another of those whom it is desired to deal with for crimes of which they have been accused or convicted and are justifiable in the Courts of the other State’.

When can it be initiated?

An Extradition request for an accused can be initiated in the case of under-investigation, under-trial and convicted criminals.

  • In cases under investigation, abundant precautions have to be exercised by the law enforcement agency to ensure that it is in possession of prima facie evidence to sustain the allegation before the Courts of Law in the Foreign State.

What is the Legislative Basis for Extradition in India?

The Extradition Act 1962 provides India’s legislative basis for extradition. It consolidated the law relating to the extradition of criminal fugitive from India to foreign states. The Indian Extradition Act, 1962 was substantially modified in 1993 by Act 66 of 1993.

Who is the nodal authority for Extradition in India?

The Consular, Passport & Visa (CPV) Division, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India is the Central/Nodal Authority that administers the Extradition Act and it processes incoming and outgoing Extradition Requests.

An alleged offender may not be extradited to the requesting state in the following cases:

  1. No treaty – In absence of a treaty, States are not obligated to extradite aliens/nationals.
  2. No treaty crime – Extradition is generally limited to crimes identified in the treaty which may vary in relation to one State from another, as provided by the treaty.
  3. Military and Political Offences – Extradition may be denied for purely military and political offences. Terrorist offences and violent crimes are excluded from the definition of political offences for the purposes of extradition treaties.
  4. Want of Dual Criminality – Dual criminality exists when conduct constituting the offence amounts to a criminal offence in both India and the foreign country.
  5. Procedural considerations – Extradition may be denied when due procedure as required by the Extradition Act of 1962 is not followed.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Does India extradite its own Nationals?
  2. If a fugitive Criminal is found in India, what is the procedure to obtain a warrant of arrest?
  3. Can the decision to be extradited be appealed against by the alleged offender?
  4. What are the bars to Extradition?
  5. Does India need a treaty with a foreign country to make a provisional arrest request?
  6. Who can make an extradition request from India’s side?

Mains Link:

What is Extradition? What is the Legislative Basis for Extradition in India? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Pollution related issues.

Spike in ammonia levels in Yamuna:


Context:

Ammonia levels in the river, flowing into Delhi from Haryana, had reached nearly 3 parts per million (ppm) on Thursday, almost six times above the acceptable limit of 0.5ppm.

What is the acceptable limit?

The acceptable maximum limit of ammonia in drinking water, as per the Bureau of Indian Standards, is 0.5 ppm.

What is ammonia and what are its effects?

Ammonia is a colourless gas and is used as an industrial chemical in the production of fertilisers, plastics, synthetic fibres, dyes and other products.

  • It consists of hydrogen and nitrogen. In its aqueous form, it is called ammonium hydroxide.
  • This inorganic compound has a pungent smell.
  • Occurrence: Ammonia occurs naturally in the environment from the breakdown of organic waste matter.
  • It is lighter than air.

Contamination:

It may find its way to ground and surface water sources through industrial effluents or through contamination by sewage.

  • If the concentration of ammonia in water is above 1 ppm it is toxic to fishes.
  • In humans, long term ingestion of water having ammonia levels of 1 ppm or above may cause damage to internal organs.

How does it enter the Yamuna?

The most likely source is believed to be effluents from dye units, distilleries and other factories in Panipat and Sonepat districts in Haryana, and also sewage from some unsewered colonies in this stretch of the river.

What needs to be done?

  1. Stringent implementation of guidelines against dumping harmful waste into the river.
  2. Making sure untreated sewage does not enter the water.
  3. Maintain a sustainable minimum flow, called the ecological flow. This is the minimum amount of water that should flow throughout the river at all times to sustain underwater and estuarine ecosystems and human livelihoods, and for self regulation.

Challenges ahead:

  1. Delhi dependent on Haryana for up to 70 per cent of its water needs.
  2. Haryana, with a large number of people involved in agriculture, has water paucity issues of its own.
  3. Both states have argued over maintaining 10 cumecs (cubic meter per second) flow in the Yamuna at all times.
  4. Both states have approached the courts several times over the past decade to get what they call an equitable share of water.
  5. The lack of a minimum ecological flow also means accumulation of other pollutants. After water is extracted from the river for treatment in North East Delhi, what flows is mostly untreated sewage and refuse from homes, run off from storm water drains and effluents from unregulated industry.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. River Yamuna Flows through how many states and UTs?
  2. Tributaries of Yamuna.
  3. How is Ammonia produced?
  4. Applications of Ammonia.
  5. Acceptable maximum limit of ammonia in drinking water?

Sources: Indian Express.

 


Facts for Prelims


Satellites to detect drug cultivation in Odisha:

  • Odisha Space Application Centre (OSAC) has proposed to help law enforcement agencies detect illicit hemp (a variety of cannabis) cultivation using remote sensing and artificial intelligence technologies.
  • Apart from developing mobile-based applications for field level officials, OSAC has proposed to create a mechanism for citizen reporting by which people can take images and video of any illegal hemp cultivation and report through application.

Need for: Odisha is one of the leading cannabis producing States in India. Though law enforcement agencies have intensified their raids, it is difficult to trace the cultivation on a real-time basis.

Kerala PSC to implement 10% quota for poor in general category:

Kerala Public Service Commission (PSC) will implement 10% reservation quota in government jobs for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS). On October 23, the state Cabinet gave the nod for the quota.

  • This is in line with Centre’s decision to provide the 10% reservation based on the 103rd amendment of the Constitution, without affecting the 50% reservation being provided to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.

Travancore Tortoise:

It is a large forest tortoise growing up to 330 millimetres in length.

  • Status: IUCN Red list – vulnerable; Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act: Schedule IV.
  • Distribution: restricted to the Western Ghats, in the Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Mission Sagar – II:

As part of Mission Sagar-II, Indian Naval Ship Airavat will deliver food aid to Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea.

  • Mission Sagar-II, follows the first ‘Mission Sagar’ undertaken in May-June 2020, wherein India reached out to Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros, and provided food aid and medicines.

Maharani Jindan Kaur:

  • She was the youngest wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
  • She was also the mother of Maharaja Duleep Singh, the last ruler of the empire, who was raised by the British.
  • She led a spirited resistance to the encroachment of the British into the Punjab, but was eventually forced to surrender.

Why in News?

In news for the auction of some of her jewellery at Bonhams Islamic and Indian Art sale in London earlier this week.

 


Articles Covered Previously


Election Commission “Has No Power,” Says Supreme Court On Kamal Nath Case:

What’s the issue?

On October 30, the Election Commission stripped Kamal Nath of his star campaigner status over a series of his controversial remarks, which, the commission said, were “repeated violation of model code of conduct” and “complete disregard” of warnings to him.

  • Following this, Kamal Nath approached the Supreme Court of India.

What has the Supreme Court said?

EC has no power in this regard.

Petitioner’s arguments against EC’s order:

It is right of the party to nominate a person as a star campaigner and the Election Commission cannot interfere with the party decision. The decision is a breach of the fundamental right of expression and movement.

  • Section 77(1) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 read with Guidelines for Star Campaigners issued by the Election Commission, from time to time, makes selection/revocation of ‘star campaigners’ the sole prerogative of the political party.

For details on Star Campaigner status, visit:

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2020/10/31/who-is-a-star-campaigner-3/.


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