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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 4 August 2021

 

Governor’s pardon power overrides 433A: SC:

GS Paper 2

 

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

Context:

The Supreme Court has observed that the power of Governor under Article 161 of the Constitution to commute sentence or to pardon will override the restrictions imposed under Section 433-A of the Criminal Procedure Code.

 

What’s the case?

The Court was considering the feasibility of remission policies in Haryana. It was considering whether a state can frame policy to release a life-term convict prematurely before completing at least 14 years in jail or the government has to strictly go by Section 433 A of CrPC which specifies that remission cannot be granted till he/she has served at least 14 years in jail?

 

What is Haryana Policy?

Haryana policy stated that those convicts who stood convicted for a life sentence and are above the age of 75 years (in case of male convicts) and have completed 8 years of the actual sentence are entitled to be conferred the benefit of remission.

 

Observations made by the Court:

  1. Even if the prisoner has not undergone 14 years or more of actual imprisonment, the Governor has a power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites and remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person.
  2. However, the power conferred on the Governor should be exercised on the aid and advice of the State. The advice of the appropriate Government binds the Head of the State.
  3. The action of commutation and release can thus be pursuant to a governmental decision and the order may be issued even without the Governor’s approval. However, under the Rules of Business and as a matter of constitutional courtesy, it may seek approval of the Governor, if such release is under Article 161 of the Constitution.

 

Pardoning Powers of Governor:

Article 161 deals with the Pardoning Power of the Governor.

  • The Governor can grant pardons, reprieves, respites and remissions of punishments or suspend, remit and commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the state extends.

 

Difference Between Pardoning Powers of President and Governor:

The scope of the pardoning power of the President under Article 72 is wider than the pardoning power of the Governor under Article 161 which differs in the following two ways:

  1. Court Martial: The power of the President to grant pardon extends in cases where the punishment or sentence is by a Court Martial but Article 161 does not provide any such power to the Governor.
  2. Death sentence: The President can grant pardon in all cases where the sentence given is the sentence of death but the pardoning power of the Governor does not extend to death sentence cases.

 

CrPC Section 433A:

It deals with a restriction on powers of remission or Commutation in certain cases.

  • It says “Notwithstanding anything contained in section 432, where a sentence of imprisonment for life is imposed on conviction of a person for an offence for which death is one of the punishments provided by law, or where a sentence of death imposed on a person has been commuted under section 433 into one of imprisonment for life, such person shall not be released from prison unless he had served at least fourteen years of imprisonment”.

 

Insta Curious: 

The Governor of a state can, however, act at his discretion in some events. Which are those? Reference

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  • A detailed overview of Pardoning powers of Governor vs President.
  • Constitutional provisions related.
  • Appeals against those decisions.
  • Can the Courts intervene in such matters?
  • Role of Cabinet in such matters.

Mains Link:

Present a detailed comparison of pardoning powers of president and Governor in India.

Sources: the Hindu.

Essential Defence Services Bill 2021

GS Paper 2

 

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

Essential Defence Services Bill 2021

Context: 

The Bill was recently passed by the Lok Sabha.

  • The Bill aims to prevent the staff of the government-owned ordnance factories from going on a strike. 

 

Highlights of the Bill: 

  1. It is meant to “provide for the maintenance of essential defence services. 
  2. The Bill defines Essential Defence Services: It includes any service in any establishment or undertaking dealing with production of goods or equipment required for defence related purposes or any establishment of the armed forces or connected with them or defence.
  3. The Bill also empowers the government to declare services mentioned in it as essential defence services. 
  4. It prohibits strike and lockouts in “any industrial establishment or unit engaged in essential defence services”. 
  5. The Bill amends the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 to include essential defence services under public utility services. 
  6. Besides, the bill has also defined strikes and punishments for violations. 

 

Why was this bill necessary? 

In June the government announced the corporatisation of the Ordnance Factory Board

  • The government has claimed that the move is aimed at improving the efficiency and accountability of these factories. 
  • However, fearing job loss, many federations announced the launch of indefinite strikes. 
  • This was countered by the Essential Defence Services Ordinance which was promulgated on June 30. The Bill will replace this ordinance. 

 

Who will it affect? 

It has a direct bearing on around 70,000 employees of the 41 ordnance factories around the country, who are unhappy with the corporatisation of OFB, fearing that it will impact their service and retirement conditions.

 

Why does OFB and its production matter? 

The ordnance factories form an integrated base for indigenous production of defence hardware and equipment, with the primary objective of self reliance in equipping the armed forces with state of the art battlefield equipment. 

  • Therefore, there is a need to provide for the maintenance of essential defence services so as to secure the security of nation and the life and property of public at large and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. 

 

Insta Curious: 

Did you know that the right to strike is a statutory right in India guaranteed under Section 22(1)(a) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1957? Also, it flows from a fundamental right in the Constitution? Which is that? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks: 

Prelims Link: 

  1. What is OFB? 
  2. Highlights of the Bill. 
  3. Powers of Centre under the Bill. 

Mains Link: 

Discuss the concerns associated with the corporatisation of OFB. 

Sources: the Hindu. 

Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021: 

GS Paper 2

 

Topics: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies. 

Context: 

The Bill was recently passed in Lok Sabha by voice vote. The Bill replaces a similar Ordinance promulgated in April 2021. 

  • The Bill seeks to provide for uniform terms and conditions of the various members of the Tribunal and abolish certain tribunals, as a part of its bid to rationalize the tribunals. 

 

Background: 

The proposed changes are based on the directions issued by the Supreme Court in the Madras Bar Association case. 

 

Key changes: 

  • It seeks to dissolve certain existing appellate bodies and transfer their functions to other existing judicial bodies. 
  • It seeks to empower the Central Government to make rules for qualifications, appointment, term of office, salaries and allowances, resignation, removal and other terms and conditions of service of Members of Tribunals. 
  • It provides that the Chairperson and Members of the Tribunals will be appointed by the Central Government on the recommendation of a Search-cum-Selection Committee. 
  • It also provides the composition of the Committee, to be headed by the Chief Justice of India or a Judge of Supreme Court nominated by him. 
  • For state tribunals, there will be a separate search committee. 
  • The Union government has to ‘preferably’ decide on the recommendations of the search-cum selection committee within 3 months of the date of the recommendation. 
  • Tenure: Chairperson of a Tribunal shall hold office for a term of 4 years or till he attains the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier. Other Members of a Tribunal shall hold office for a term of 4 years or till he attains the age of 67 years, whichever is earlier. 

 

Abolition of Appellate Tribunals: 

Film Certification Appellate Tribunal, Airports Appellate Tribunal, Authority for Advanced Rulings, Intellectual Property Appellate Board and the Plant Varieties Protection Appellate Tribunal are the five tribunals which are sought to be abolished by the Bill and their functions are to be transferred to the existing judicial bodies. 

 

What had the Court ruled and what are the key Issues with the Bill? 

The Supreme Court in the case of Madras Bar Association v. Union of India had struck down the provisions requiring a minimum age for appointment as chairperson or members as 50 years and prescribing the tenure of four years. 

Issues: 

The Bill has sought to undo the judgment of the Apex Court wrt to the following provisions: 

  1. The minimum age requirement of 50 years still finds a place in the Bill. 
  2. The tenure for the Chairperson and the members of the tribunal remains four years. 
  3. The recommendation of two names for each post by the Search-cum-Selection Committee and requiring the decision to be taken by the government preferably within three months. 

 

What are tribunals

Tribunal is a quasi-judicial institution that is set up to deal with problems such as resolving administrative or tax-related disputes. It performs a number of functions like adjudicating disputes, determining rights between contesting parties, making an administrative decision, reviewing an existing administrative decision and so forth. 

 

Constitutional provisions: 

They were not originally a part of the Constitution.

The 42nd Amendment Act introduced these provisions in accordance with the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee.

The Amendment introduced Part XIV-A to the Constitution, which deals with ‘Tribunals’ and contains two articles:

  1. Article 323A deals with  Administrative Tribunals. These are quasi-judicial institutions that resolve disputes related to the recruitment and service conditions of persons engaged in public service. 
  2. Article 323B deals with tribunals for other subjects such as Taxation, Industrial and labour, Foreign exchange, import and export, Land reforms, Food, Ceiling on urban property, Elections to Parliament and state legislatures, Rent and tenancy rights. 

 

Insta Curious: 

Can states establish tribunals? What are their powers and limitations wrt the establishment of tribunals? Reference

 

InstaLinks: 

Prelims Link: 

  1. What are tribunals? 
  2. Constitutional provisions in this regard. 
  3. Composition and functions. 
  4. Overview of the latest ordinance. 

Mains Link: 

Are tribunals a panacea for judicial efficiency? Does tribunalisation of justice undermine the principles set in our constitution? Examine. 

Sources: the Hindu

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2021: 

GS Paper 2

 

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

Context: 

The Bill was recently passed by Rajya Sabha. 

Note: we have already covered this article in-detail last week when it was passed by Lok Sabha. Please refer

Deep Ocean Mission: 

GS Paper 3

 

Topics Covered: Indigenization of technology and developing new technology. 

Context: 

The Government has informed in the Rajya Sabha that Deep Ocean Mission (DOM) will be implemented at a total budget of Rs. 4077 Cr for 5 years. And all the components of the mission will commence in 2021. 

 

About the Mission:

The focus of the mission will be on deep-sea mining, ocean climate change advisory services, underwater vehicles and underwater robotics related technologies.

 

Key Components of the mission: 

  1. A manned submersible will be developed to carry three people to a depth of 6,000 metres in the ocean with a suite of scientific sensors and tools. An Integrated Mining System will be developed for mining polymetallic nodules at those depths in the central Indian Ocean. 
  2. Development of Ocean Climate Change Advisory Services. 
  3. Development of a component for searching deep sea flora and fauna, including microbes, and studying ways to sustainably utilise them. 
  4. It will also have a component to explore and identify potential sources of hydrothermal minerals that are sources of precious metals formed from the earth’s crust along the Indian Ocean mid-oceanic ridges. 
  5. It has a component for studying and preparing detailed engineering design for offshore Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) powered desalination plants. 

 

Significance:

  • The mission will give a boost to efforts to explore India’s vast Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf.
  • The plan will enable India to develop capabilities to exploit resources in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB).

 

Potential:

India has been allotted 75,000 square kilometres in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) by UN International Sea Bed Authority for exploration of poly-metallic nodules.

  • CIOB reserves contain deposits of metals like iron, manganese, nickel and cobalt.
  • It is envisaged that 10% of recovery of that large reserve can meet the energy requirement of India for the next 100 years.

 

What are PMN?

Polymetallic nodules (also known as manganese nodules) are potato-shaped, largely porous nodules found in abundance carpeting the sea floor of world oceans in deep sea.

Composition: Besides manganese and iron, they contain nickel, copper, cobalt, lead, molybdenum, cadmium, vanadium, titanium, of which nickel, cobalt and copper are considered to be of economic and strategic importance. 

 

Insta Curious: 

Did you know about O-SMART, an umbrella scheme which aims at regulated use of oceans, marine resources for sustainable development? Reference

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is deep sea mining?
  2. What are PMNs?
  3. Location of the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB).
  4. Functions of the UN International Sea Bed Authority.

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for and significance of ‘Deep Ocean Mission’ to be launched by India. 

Sources: PIB.

Why ‘net zero’ carbon targets may not be enough to tackle climate change? 

GS Paper 3

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues. 

Context: 

Independent charitable organisation Oxfam has said that ‘net zero’ carbon targets that many countries have announced may be a “dangerous distraction” from the priority of cutting carbon emissions. 

 

Why so? 

  1. The report says that if the challenge of change is tackled only by way of planting more trees, then about 1.6 billion hectares of new forests would be required to remove the world’s excess carbon emissions by the year 2050. 
  2. Also, such land-hungry ‘net zero’ schemes could force an 80 per cent rise in global food prices and more hunger while allowing rich nations and corporates to continue “dirty business-as-usual.” 

 

What needs to be done then? 

To limit global warming below 1.5°C and to prevent irreversible damage from climate change, the world needs to collectively be on track and should aim to cut emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 from 2010 levels, with the sharpest being made by the biggest emitters. 

 

Which countries have announced net-zero targets? 

  1. In 2019, the New Zealand government passed the Zero Carbon Act, which committed the country to zero carbon emissions by 2050. 
  2. The UK’s parliament passed legislation requiring the government to reduce the UK’s net emissions of greenhouse gases by 100 per cent. 
  3. US president Joe Biden announced that the country will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. 
  4. World War Zero was launched in 2019 to bring together unlikely allies on climate change and with the goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions in the country by 2050. 
  5. The European Union plan “Fit for 55”, the European Commission has asked all of its 27 member countries to cut emissions by 55 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030. 
  6. China announced that it would become net-zero by the year 2060 and that it would not allow its emissions to peak beyond what they are in 2030. 

 

What about India? 

India, the world’s third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, after the US and China, is the only major player holding out.

  • India has been arguing that instead of opening up a parallel discussion on net-zero targets outside of the Paris Agreement framework, countries must focus on delivering on what they have already promised. 

 

India’s concerns: 

Over the next two to three decades, India’s emissions are likely to grow at the fastest pace in the world, as it presses for higher growth to pull hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. No amount of afforestation or reforestation would be able to compensate for the increased emissions. Most of the carbon removal technologies right now are either unreliable or very expensive. 

 

What does net-zero mean? 

Net-zero, which is also referred to as carbon-neutrality, does not mean that a country would bring down its emissions to zero. That would be gross-zero, which means reaching a state where there are no emissions at all, a scenario hard to comprehend. 

  • Basically, net-zero is a state in which a country’s emissions are compensated by absorption and removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. 

 

Insta Curious: 

Know what Blue Carbon , Black Carbon and Brown Carbon is? Read Here

 

InstaLinks: 

Prelims Link: 

  1. About the Climate Leaders’ Summit. 
  2. What is net-zero? 
  3. Countries committed to net-zero. 
  4. About Paris Agreement. 

Mains Link: 

Discuss the significance of carbon sinks. 

Sources: Indian Express. 

 

Facts for Prelims:

Minervarya Pentali:

  • The newly discovered species is endemic to the southern Western Ghats (Kerala and Tamil Nadu).
  • This species is also among the smallest known Minervaryan frogs.
  • It belongs to the family Dicroglossidae.
  • The species is named after Prof. Deepak Pental in appreciation of his tremendous support and encouragement for setting up of Systematics Lab at University of Delhi.

Exercise Talisman Sabre:

  • Australia is keen on India joining its biggest war games ‘Exercise Talisman Sabre’ in 2023. A formal invitation in this regard will shortly made.
  • Talisman Sabre 2021, which just concluded, was the largest bilateral combined training activity between the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the U.S. military and saw the participation of approximately 17,000 military personnel from seven nations on land, air and sea.
  • The other countries include Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and U.K.

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