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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 7 July 2021

 

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. 

current affairs, current events, current gk, insights ias current affairs, upsc ias current affairs

 

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. Bengal passes a resolution to set up a Council.

2. Recusal of judges.

3. The draft Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021.

4. Fresh plea filed in HC on same-sex marriage.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Cities on river banks to incorporate river conservation plans.

2. Review implementation of forest rights.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. The white flag campaign in Malaysia.

2. Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

3. What is Revenge Tourism?


GS Paper  :  2


 

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

Bengal passes resolution to set up Council:


Context:

The West Bengal Assembly has passed a resolution to set up a Legislative Council with a two-thirds majority.

 

What are the Legislative Councils, and why are they important?

India has a bicameral system i.e., two Houses of Parliament. At the state level, the equivalent of the Lok Sabha is the Vidhan Sabha or Legislative Assembly; that of the Rajya Sabha is the Vidhan Parishad or Legislative Council.

 

How is a legislative council created?

Under Article 169 of the constitution, Parliament may by law create or abolish the second chamber in a state if the Legislative Assembly of that state passes a resolution to that effect by a special majority.

 

Strength of the house:

As per article 171 clause (1) of the Indian Constitution, the total number of members in the legislative council of a state shall not exceed one third of the total number of the members in the legislative Assembly of that state and the total number of members in the legislative council of a state shall in no case be less than 40.

 

How are members of the Council elected?

  1. 1/3rd of members are elected by members of the Assembly.
  2. 1/3rd by electorates consisting of members of municipalities, district boards and other local authorities in the state.
  3. 1/12th by an electorate consisting of teachers.
  4. 1/12th by registered graduates.
  5. The remaining members are nominated by the Governor from among those who have distinguished themselves in literature, science, art, the cooperative movement, and social service.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Legislative Council- creation and abolition.
  2. Role of state governments.
  3. Composition.
  4. Powers.
  5. Comparison with Legislative Assembly.
  6. States having legislative councils.

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for having a state legislative council.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Recusal of judges:


Context:

The Calcutta high court has imposed a penalty of ₹5 lakh on West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee for seeking recusal of Justice Kaushik Chanda from her Nandigram election petition over the judge’s alleged links with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The court said the amount paid in penalties by the West Bengal CM will be used for the families of lawyers affected by Covid-19.

  • The judge, however, decided to step away from the case on his own personal discretion and released the case from his bench.

 

What is Judicial Disqualification or Recusal?

Judicial disqualification, referred to as recusal, is the act of abstaining from participation in an official action such as a legal proceeding due to a conflict of interest of the presiding court official or administrative officer.

 

Grounds for Recusal:

  1. The judge is biased in favour of one party, or against another, or that a reasonable objective observer would think he might be.
  2. Interest in the subject matter, or relationship with someone who is interested in it.
  3. Background or experience, such as the judge’s prior work as a lawyer.
  4. Personal knowledge about the parties or the facts of the case.
  5. Ex parte communications with lawyers or non-lawyers.
  6. Rulings, comments or conduct.

 

Are there any laws in this regard?

There are no definite rules on recusals by Judges.

  • However, In taking oath of office, judges, both of the Supreme Court and of the high courts, promise to perform their duties, to deliver justice, “without fear or favour, affection or ill-will”.

 

What has the Supreme Court said on this?

  1. In Ranjit Thakur v Union of India (1987), the SC held that the test of the likelihood of bias is the reasonableness of the apprehension in the mind of the party. The judge needs to look at the mind of the party before him, and decide that he is biased or not.
  2. Justice J. Chelameswar in his opinion in Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association v. Union of India (2015) held that “Where a judge has a pecuniary interest, no further inquiry as to whether there was a ‘real danger’ or ‘reasonable suspicion’ of bias is required to be undertaken”.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Grounds for Judicial Disqualification.
  2. Who administers oath to Supreme Court and High Court judges?
  3. Articles 127 and 128 of the Indian Constitution are related to?

Mains Link:

Recusal has become a selective call of morality for Supreme Court judges. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

The draft Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021:


Context:

The Standing Committee on Information and Technology has conveyed its discontent to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on the “super censorship” clause introduced in the draft Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021.

 

Cause of concern:

In the draft, there is a provision which allows the government to order recertification for a film already certified by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

  • The government says the clause would only be invoked if the content of a film impinged on security and integrity of the nation.

Issues now are:

  1. When there were existing penal provisions to deal with such a situation, did the Ministry felt it necessary to incorporate this in the Bill.
  2. Why should this power to adjudicate be vested with a bureaucrat?
  3. Besides, a Supreme Court order passed in 2000 says that the government could not exercise revisional powers on films already certified by the CBFC.

 

Key Provisions in the draft bill:

  1. Age-based certification: It seeks to introduce age-based categorisation and classification. It proposes to divide the existing categories (U, U/A and A) into further age-based groups: U/A 7+, U/A 13+ and U/A 16+.
  2. Provision against piracy: At present, there are no enabling provisions to check film piracy. Violation shall be punishable with imprisonment and fine.
  3. Eternal certificate: It proposes to certify films for perpetuity. Currently a certificate issued by the CBFC is valid only for 10 years.

 

Other Concerns associated:

  1. Various groups or individuals often object to a film just before the release, but after the certification process. with the implementation of the proposed new rules, films could be held up longer for re-certification based on random objections, even if it is already certified by the cbfc.

 

What does the government say on this?

The government cites the “reasonable restrictions” placed by the constitution in Article 19 of the constitution to justify exercising its powers to act as a super-censor for films about which it receives complaints – even if the CBFC, which is the official body empowered to implement the Act, finds those film do not trigger those restrictions.

 

Insta Curious: 

Do you know that Censorship was born in India in 1918 with the enactment of the Censorship Act. The 1918 Act gave the district magistrate the power to issue licences to exhibitors, and the government to appoint inspectors to examine and certify films as “suitable for public exhibition”. Read more about this,  Read here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT).
  2. About CBFC.
  3. The Cinematograph Act of 1952.
  4. New amendments.

Mains Link:

Discuss the Concerns associated with the recent amendments.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Fresh plea filed in HC on same-sex marriage:


Context:

The Delhi High Court has issued notice to the Union government on a fresh petition seeking legal recognition to all same-sex, queer or non-heterosexual marriages under the Foreign Marriage Act and the Special Marriage Act.

 

What’s the issue?

  • A plea has been filed by a married same-sex couple, where one of them is an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holder and his partner a U.S. citizen. The spouse is applying for OCI status but fears that his application for OCI status as well as the request for apostilization of the marriage certification – a requirement in the application process – will not be accepted.

 

What are the demands now?

  1. The Citizenship Act, 1955, does not distinguish between heterosexual, same-sex or queer spouses. Therefore a person married to an Overseas Citizen of India, whose marriage is registered and subsisting for two years, should be declared eligible to apply as a spouse for an OCI card.
  2. The petition has also prayed for a direction in the nature of prohibition to the Consulate General of India, New York, restraining it from declaring a spouse of an OCI applying for an OCI card to be ineligible for the same merely, on the ground that they are in a same-sex marriage or queer (non-heterosexual) marriage.
  3. On the subject of the Foreign Marriage Act, the plea asks for a direction in the that to the extent the Foreign Marriage Act, 1969 excludes same-sex marriages or queer marriages, it be declared to be in violation of Articles 14, and 21 of the Constitution of India.
  4. A similar prayer is made in respect of the Special Marriage Act, 1954, stating that “to the extent that the Act excludes same-sex marriages or queer marriages, it violates Articles 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India”.

 

Current scenario in India:

  1. The acceptance of the institution of marriage between two individuals of the same gender is neither recognized nor accepted in any uncodified personal laws or any codified statutory laws”.
  2. The centre had also said that contrary to the popular view that homosexuality was legalized by the Supreme Court in the case of Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India, the court had “only made a limited declaration to decriminalize a particular human behavior, which was a penal offence under S.377 IPC.
  3. Observations in ‘Puttaswamy Judgment'(Privacy Case) and ‘Navtej Johar’ case (Section 377 was declared unconstitutional)  do not confer a fundamental right to seek recognition of same-sex marriages.

 

What is the Special Marriage Act of 1954?

The SMA is a law which allows solemnization of marriages without going through any religious customs or rituals.

  • People from different castes or religions or states get married under SMA in which marriage is solemnized by way of registration.
  • The prime purpose of the Act was to address Inter-religious marriages and to establish marriage as a secular institution bereft of all religious formalities, which required registration alone.

 

The SMA prescribes an elaborate procedure to get the marriage registered. It includes:

  1. One of the parties to the marriage has to give a notice of the intended marriage to the marriage officer of the district where at least one of the parties to the marriage has resided for at least 30 days immediately prior to the date on which such notice is given.
  2. Such notice is then entered in the marriage notice book and the marriage officer publishes a notice of marriage at some conspicuous place in his office.
  3. The notice of marriage published by the marriage officer includes details of the parties like names, date of birth, age, occupation, parents’ names and details, address, pin code, identity information, phone number etc.
  4. Anybody can then raise objections to the marriage on various grounds provided under the Act. If no objection is raised within the 30 day period, then marriage can be solemnized. If objections are raised, then the marriage officer has to inquire into the objections after which he will decide whether or not to solemnize the marriage.

 

What are the Criticisms?

  1. Vulnerable to coercive tactics by family.
  2. Intrusion of privacy.
  3. Pushes for religious conversion.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Objectives of the Special Marriage Act.
  2. Key provisions- Sections 5 and 6.
  3. Key requirements under the Act for the registration of marriage.
  4. Details published by the marriage officer.
  5. Overview of Articles 14 and 21 of the constitution.

Mains Link:

What are the controversial provisions in the Special Marriage Act of 1954? Why does the law need a review? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  :  3


 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Cities on river banks to incorporate river conservation plans:


Context:

National Mission for Clean Ganga has released a policy document on the conservation of river Ganga.

 

Highlights of the policy:

  1. Cities situated on Ganga river banks will have to incorporate river conservation plans when they prepare their Master Plans.
  2. These “river-sensitive” plans must be practical and consider questions of encroachment and land ownership.
  3. There is a need for a systematic rehabilitation plan for such encroaching entities that emphasizes alternative livelihood options in addition to a relocation strategy.
  4. The Master Plan shouldn’t mandate specific technologies, but it can “create an environment” for facilitating the use of state-of-the-art technologies (without naming the providers) for river management.

 

Applicability:

The recommendations are currently for towns that are on the main stem of the river Ganga. There are 97 of them encompassing 5 States — Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal.

 

About the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG):

It was registered as a society on 12th August 2011 under the Societies Registration Act 1860.

It acted as the implementation arm of National Ganga River Basin Authority(NGRBA) which was constituted under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act (EPA),1986.

  • Please note, NGRBA was dissolved with effect from the 7th October 2016, consequent to the constitution of the National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga (referred as National Ganga Council).

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Composition of NGC.
  2. About NGRBA.
  3. What is NMCG?
  4. Components of Namami Gange Programme.
  5. World Bank group.

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.

Review implementation of forest rights:


Context:c

The ministry of environment (MoEFCC) and ministry of tribal affairs (MoTA) have jointly issued a circular to chief secretaries of all states, giving the responsibility of implementing the Forest Rights Act 2006 to state governments.

  • The circular asks states to undertake a review of the implementation of the Act and intimate the Government of India about any clarifications that are needed to smoothen the process.

 

Areas of concern:

  1. Despite a considerable lapse of time since it came into force, the process of recognition of the rights of forest dwellers is yet to be completed.
  2. Operationalisation of section 5 of the Act is also an area of concern. Section 5 deals with the duties of recognised forest dwellers such as, protecting wildlife, forest and biodiversity; ensuring that catchments area, water sources and other ecological sensitive areas are adequately protected etc.
  3. Section 3(1) (i) of the Act provides for rights to protect, regenerate, conserve or manage any community forest resource but there is lax implementation of the provision.

 

About the Forest Rights Act:

The Act passed in 2006 grants legal recognition to the rights of traditional forest dwelling communities.

 

Rights under the Act:

Title rights – i.e. ownership – to land that is being farmed by tribals or forest dwellers as on 13 December 2005, subject to a maximum of 4 hectares; ownership is only for land that is actually being cultivated by the concerned family as on that date, meaning that no new lands are granted.

Use rights – to minor forest produce (also including ownership), to grazing areas, to pastoralist routes, etc.

Relief and development rights – to rehabilitation in case of illegal eviction or forced displacement; and to basic amenities, subject to restrictions for forest protection.

Forest management rights – to protect forests and wildlife.

 

Eligibility criteria:

According to Section 2(c) of Forest Rights Act (FRA), to qualify as Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribe (FDST) and be eligible for recognition of rights under FRA, three conditions must be satisfied by the applicant/s, who could be “members or community”:

  1. Must be a Scheduled Tribe in the area where the right is claimed; and
  2. Primarily resided in forest or forests land prior to 13-12-2005; and
  3. Depend on the forest or forests land for bonafide livelihood needs.

 

And to qualify as Other Traditional Forest Dweller (OTFD) and be eligible for recognition of rights under FRA, two conditions need to be fulfilled:

  1. Primarily resided in forest or forests land for three generations (75 years) prior to 13-12-2005.
  2. Depend on the forest or forests land for bonafide livelihood needs.

 

Process of recognition of rights:

  1. The gram sabha, or village assembly, will initially pass a resolution recommending whose rights to which resources should be recognised.
  2. This resolution is then screened and approved at the level of the sub-division (or taluka) and subsequently at the district level.

The screening committees consist of three government officials (Forest, Revenue and Tribal Welfare departments) and three elected members of the local body at that level. These committees also hear appeals.

 

Insta Curious: 

Do you know about Critical Wildlife Habitats which are defined under the Forest Rights Act, 2006? Read this

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who can include or exclude areas under 5th
  2. What are scheduled areas?
  3. Forest Rights Act- key provisions.
  4. Rights under this Act.
  5. Eligibility Criteria.
  6. Role of Gram Sabha in recognizing these rights
  7. What are Critical Wildlife Habitats?

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


The white flag campaign in Malaysia:

  • In Malaysia, some residents of low-income families have started waving white flags as part of the so-called “White Flag Campaign”, or the #benderaputi (white flag) movement.
  • They are doing this to convey distress about the financial crunch they have had to deal with amid the lockdowns due to Covid-19.
  • As part of the movement that was initiated last week, families that are facing hunger or need any other kind of assistance are encouraged to wave a white flag or put a piece of white cloth outside their homes to signal that they need help.
  • The idea is that by spotting the white flag, neighbours and good samaritans can reach them.

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam:

  • LOCATION: Benishangul-Gumuz region, Ethiopia.
  • Formerly known as the Millennium Dam, it is under construction in the Benishangul-Gumuz region of Ethiopia, on the Blue Nile River, which is located about 40km east of Sudan.
  • After completion, it’ll be Africa’s largest hydroelectric project.

What is Revenge Tourism?

‘Revenge Tourism’ is hitting Indians.

  • The term ‘revenge travel’ is a riff on the 1980s Chinese concept of ‘revenge spending’ , when the country saw an explosion in consumer spending after it emerged from restrictions.
  • Now, it is used to describe the angsty, bottled-up demand for travel after several months of lockdown.
  • Revenge travel or revenge tourism, stems from a feeling of wanting to break free from the monotonous life of lockdowns. It is a product of another phenomenon called ‘lockdown-fatigue’.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. Suspension of MLAs.

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