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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 19 August 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. Supreme Court Collegium.

2. Criminal justice reforms.

3. Gujarat anti-conversion law.

4. What are detention centres for foreigners?

5. UN peacekeepers.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. What is an agency Bank?

2. Cattle Island.

3. Purified drinking water supply via tankers taxable.

4. Tiwa tribe and Wanchuwa festival.


 

Supreme Court Collegium

GS Paper 2

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

 

Context:

The Supreme Court Collegium has recommended to the government nine names for appointment as judges in the court, and in the process, scripted history by naming Karnataka High Court judge B.V. Nagarathna, who may become India’s first woman CJI a few years from now.

 

Key Recommendations:

  1. The Collegium has for the first time, in one single resolution, recommended three women judges. It has thus sent a strong signal in favour of the representation of women in the highest judiciary.
  2. It has also continued the recent trend of recommending direct appointments from the Supreme Court Bar to the Bench of the court.
  3. It has also recommended six judicial officers and a judicial member of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal for appointment as judges of the Telangana High Court.

 

Who appoints judges to the SC?

In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (2) of Article 124 of the Constitution of India, the appointments are made by the President of India.

  • The names are recommended by the Collegium.

 

Eligibility to become a Supreme Court judge:

The norms relating to the eligibility has been envisaged in the Article 124 of the Indian Constitution.

  1. To become a judge of the Supreme court, an individual should be an Indian citizen.
  2. In terms of age, a person should not exceed 65 years of age.
  3. The person should serve as a judge of one high court or more (continuously), for at least five years or the person should be an advocate in the High court for at least 10 years or a distinguished jurist.

 

Is the collegium’s recommendation final and binding?

The collegium sends its final recommendation to the President of India for approval. The President can either accept it or reject it. In the case it is rejected, the recommendation comes back to the collegium. If the collegium reiterates its recommendation to the President, then he/she is bound by that recommendation.

 

Common criticism made against the Collegium system:

  • Opaqueness and a lack of transparency.
  • Scope for nepotism.
  • Embroilment in public controversies.
  • Overlooks several talented junior judges and advocates.

 

Reforms needed:

  1. A transparent and participatory procedure, preferably by an independent broad-based constitutional body guaranteeing judicial primacy but not judicial exclusivity.
  2. It should ensure independence, reflect diversity, demonstrate professional competence and integrity.
  3. Instead of selecting the number of judges required against a certain number of vacancies, the collegium must provide a panel of possible names to the President to appointment in order of preference and other valid criteria.

current affairs

 

Insta Curious: 

Did you know how the Selection and appointment of Judges across the world is? Read Briefly

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Collegium System?
  2. How SC judges are appointed and removed?
  3. How HC judges are appointed and removed?
  4. Constitutional provisions in this regard.

Mains Link:

Write a note on National Judicial Appointments Commission.

Sources: the Hindu.

Criminal justice reforms

GS Paper 2

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

 

Criminal justice reforms

Context:

A group of experts under the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has expressed “serious concerns over the slow pace of reforms in the criminal justice system to ensure speedy justice”.

 

Current concerns/challenges:

  1. The delay in disposal of cases was leading to human rights violations of the under-trials and convicts.
  2. Despite the Supreme Court’s directions on police reforms, there had been hardly any changes on the ground.
  3. Court orders convicting a person are also taking years to implement.

 

Suggested Reforms:

  • Special laws and fast-track courts could replace certain offences under the Indian Penal Code in order to reduce the piling up of cases at every police station.
  • Digitisation of documents would help in speeding up investigations and trials.
  • The construction of new offences and reworking of the existing classification of offences must be guided by the principles of criminal jurisprudence which have substantially altered in the past four decades.
  • The classification of offences must be done in a manner conducive to management of crimes in the future.
  • The discretion of judges in deciding the quantum and nature of sentence differently for crimes of the same nature should be based on principles of judicial precedent.

 

Criminal law in India:

The Criminal law in India is contained in a number of sources – The Indian Penal Code of 1860, the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955, Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

  • Criminal Justice System can impose penalties on those who violate the established laws.
  • The criminal law and criminal procedure are in the concurrent list of the seventh schedule of the constitution.
  • Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay is said to be the chief architect of codifications of criminal laws in India.

 

Need for reforms:

  1. Colonial era laws.
  2. ineffectiveness.
  3. Pendency of cases.
  4. Huge undertrials.

 

Committee For Reform In Criminal Law:

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has constituted a national level committee for reform in criminal law.
  • The committee has been constituted under Ranbir Singh and several other members.
  • The committee would be gathering opinions online by consulting with experts and collating material for their report to the government.

 

Previous committees:

Madhav Menon Committee: It submitted its report in 2007, suggesting various recommendations on reforms in the Criminal Justice System of India (CJSI).

Malimath Committee Report: It submitted its report in 2003 on the Criminal Justice System of India (CJSI).

vsmallmath, current affairs

 

Insta Curious:

Read about the 2006 Supreme Court ruling on police reforms here.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Malimath Committee is associated with?
  2. Criminal law under 7th schedule of the constitution.
  3. Who codified criminal laws in India?
  4. Controversial IPC laws.
  5. Ranbir Singh Committee was recently constituted for?

Mains Link:

Write a note on criminal justice reforms in India.

Sources: the Hindu.

Gujarat anti-conversion law

GS Paper 2

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

 

Context:

Gujarat Government has defended its new anti-conversion law in High Court saying marriages cannot be tool for “forceful conversion”.

 

What’s the issue?

The HC is hearing two petitions that have challenged the newly enacted amendment in the law, which deals with forcible religious conversion through marriages.

  • During the hearing, the Court observed that the amended law keeps a sword hanging over interfaith couples because it has created an impression that interfaith marriages are not permissible in the State.

 

Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021:

  • It proposes punishment of 3-10 years in jail for forcible or fraudulent religious conversions through marriage.
  • It amends the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2003.
  • The amendment aims to reduce the “emerging trend” where women are “lured to marriage” for the purposes of religious conversion.

 

Issues with the new law:

  • The amended law has vague terms which are against basic principles of marriage and right to propagate, profess and practice religion as enshrined in the Article 25 of the Constitution.
  • The law even allows distant family members to file a criminal complaint.

 

Supreme Court on Marriage and Conversion:

  1. The Apex Court of India in its several judgements has held that the state and the courts have no jurisdiction over an adult’s absolute right to choose a life partner.
  2. The Supreme Court of India, in both the Lily Thomas and Sarla Mudgal cases, has confirmed that religious conversions carried out without a bona fide belief and for the sole purpose of deriving some legal benefit do not hold water.
  3. Salamat Ansari-Priyanka Kharwar case of Allahabad High Court 2020: The right to choose a partner or live with a person of choice was part of a citizen’s fundamental right to life and liberty (Article 21).

 

Need of the hour:

  1. There is a need for uniformity: Article 18 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights mentions everyone has the right to freedom of religion including changing their faith. Since it is a state subject, the Centre can frame a model law like Model law on contract farming etc.
  2. States while enacting anti-conversion laws should not put any vague or ambiguous provisions for the person who wanted to convert of his own will.
  3. The anti-conversion laws also need to include a provision to mention the valid steps for conversion by minority community institutions.
  4. People also need to be educated about the provisions and ways of Forceful conversions, Inducement or allurement, etc.

 

Insta Curious:

3 states, 3 anti-conversion laws: what’s similar, what’s different? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Article 21.
  2. Article 25.
  3. What has the Allahabad High Court said in Salamat Ansari-Priyanka Kharwar case.
  4. Similarities and differences between these three laws.

Mains Link:

The right to choose a partner or live with a person of choice was part of a citizen’s fundamental right to life and liberty. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

What are detention centres for foreigners?

GS Paper 2

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

 

Context:

Assam’s detention centres for foreigners and those declared such by specific tribunals have been renamed as transit camps.

 

Please note:

The State currently has six detention centres and they have 181 inmates, 61 of whom are declared foreign nationals and 121 convicted foreign nationals awaiting deportation. Two of these centres house 22 children along with their “foreigner” mothers.

 

What are detention centres?

They are places designated to keep illegal migrants (people who have entered a country without necessary documents) once they are detected by the authorities till the time their nationality is confirmed and they are deported to the country of their origin.

  • Detention centres were set up in Assam after the Union government authorized the state to do so under the provisions of the Foreigners’ Act, 1946 and the Foreigners Order, 1948.

 

Foreigners Act, 1946:

It replaced the Foreigners Act, 1940 conferring wide powers to deal with all foreigners.

The act empowered the government to take such steps as are necessary to prevent illegal migrants including the use of force.

The concept of ‘burden of proof’ lies with the person, and not with the authorities.

  • The act originally empowered the government to establish tribunals which would have powers similar to those of a civil court.
  • Amendments (2019) to the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964 empowered even district magistrates in all States and Union Territories to set up tribunals to decide whether a person staying illegally in India is a foreigner or not.

 

Insta Curious:

Which other states have Detention Centres apart from Assam? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) (IMDT) Act vs Foreigners Tribunal (Order) 1964.
  2. Burden of proof under this order.
  3. Powers to approach the tribunal and kind of cases to be decided by the tribunal.
  4. Composition of the tribunal.
  5. Refugee vs illegal Migrants.
  6. Fundamental Rights available for Foreigners and other constitutional provisions wrt to Foreigners.
  7. Human Rights vs Fundamental Rights.

Mains Link:

Discuss briefly the laws that are in place to tackle illegal non-citizens in the country. Why was the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964 amended? Explain.

Sources: the Hindu.

UN peacekeepers

GS Paper 2

Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

Context:

External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar has announced the rollout of a technological platform in partnership with the UN — ‘UNITE Aware’ — to help enhance the safety of UN peacekeepers. The platform has been used in four UN missions.

 

The minister has also outlined a four-point framework for securing the peacekeepers:

  1. Need for the deployment of proven, cost-effective and field-serviceable technologies that were environmentally friendly in their construction.
  2. Peacekeepers needed sound information and intelligence.
  3. Need for precise positioning and overhead visualisation.
  4. Investment in capacity building and training of peacekeepers with regard to technology.

 

Outcomes of the meet:

A Memorandum of Understanding has been announced between India and the UN in support of the “Partnership for Technology in Peacekeeping” initiative and the UN C4ISR Academy for Peace Operations (UNCAP).

 

UNITE AWARE:

UNITE AWARE is a mobile tech platform developed by India to provide terrain-related information to the UN peacekeepers so as to ensure their safety. It is being developed in partnership with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Operational Support. India has spent 1.64 million USD for this project.

 

How are UN Peacekeeping operations funded?

  • While decisions about establishing, maintaining or expanding a peacekeeping operation are taken by the Security Council, the financing of UN Peacekeeping operations is the collective responsibility of all UN Member States.
  • Every Member State is legally obligated to pay their respective share towards peacekeeping. This is in accordance with the provisions of Article 17 of the Charter of the United Nations.

 

The top 5 providers of assessed contributions to United Nations Peacekeeping operations for 2020-2021 are:

  1. United States (27.89%).
  2. China (15.21%).
  3. Japan (8.56%).
  4. Germany (6.09%).
  5. United Kingdom (5.79%).

 

What is peacekeeping? It’s significance?

  • United Nations Peacekeeping is a joint effort between the Department of Peace Operations and the Department of Operational Support.
  • Every peacekeeping mission is authorized by the Security Council.

 

Composition:

  1. UN peacekeepers (often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets) can include soldiers, police officers, and civilian personnel.
  2. Peacekeeping forces are contributed by member states on a voluntary basis.
  3. Civilian staff of peace operations are international civil servants, recruited and deployed by the UN Secretariat.

 

UN Peacekeeping is guided by three basic principles:

  1. Consent of the parties.
  2. Impartiality.
  3. Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that In 2007, India became the first country to deploy an all-women contingent to a UN peacekeeping mission? Know about the current 13 peacekeeping operations, Rad here.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who funds peacekeeping operations?
  2. Role of UNSC.
  3. Composition of Peacekeepers?
  4. Why peacekeepers are called as Blue Helmets?
  5. Guiding principles of UN peacekeeping.
  6. Ongoing peacekeeping missions.

Mains Link:

Write a note on UN Peacekeeping and its significance.

Sources: the Hindu.

Facts for Prelims:

What is an agency Bank?

The Kerala based private sector lender South Indian Bank has been empanelled as an ‘Agency Bank’ by Reserve Bank of India.

This will allow South Indian Bank to undertake general banking businesses of the Central and State government on behalf of the RBI.

  • South Indian Bank is now authorised to undertake transactions related to government businesses such as revenue receipts and payments on behalf of the Central/State governments, pension payments in respect of Central/State governments, work related to Small Savings Schemes (SSS), collection of stamp duty through physical mode or e-mode and any other item of work, specifically devised by the RBI as eligible for agency commission.

 

Cattle Island:

  • Cattle island is one of three islands in the Hirakud reservoir.
  • It has been recently selected as a sightseeing destination by Odisha Forest and Environment Department.
  • The island is a submerged hill, and before the construction of Hirakud Dam it was a developed village.

How it got its name?

  • When large numbers of people were displaced from their villages when the Hirakud dam was constructed on the Mahanadi river in 1950s, villagers could not take their cattle with them. They left their cattle behind in deserted villages.
  • As the area started to submerge following the dam’s construction, the cattle moved up to Bhujapahad, an elevated place in the Telia Panchayat under Lakhanpur block of Jharsuguda district. Subsequently named ‘Cattle island’, the piece of land is surrounded by a vast sheet of water.

Hirakud Dam:

  • It is a multipurpose scheme conceived by Er. M. Visveswaraya in 1937, after recurrence of devastating floods in Mahanadi river.
  • It is the longest dam of India.

 

Purified drinking water supply via tankers taxable:

Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR) has ruled that supply of drinking water to the public through mobile tankers or dispensers by a charitable organisation is taxable at 18% under the GST.

About Advance Ruling and AAR:

​Advance ruling means the determination of a question of law or fact specified in the application in relation to tax liability of an applicant arising out of transactions which have been undertaken or proposed to be undertaken.

Composition: The Authority for Advance Rulings consists of a Chairman who is a retired Judge of the Supreme court and two members of the rank of Additional Secretary to the Government of India, one each from the Indian Revenue Service and the Indian Legal Service.

 

Tiwa tribe and Wanchuwa festival:

  • This festival is celebrated by Tiwa tribesmen to mark their good harvest.
  • It comes with songs, dances, a bunch of rituals and people clad in their native attires.
  • The people of Tiwa tribe associate the bountiful harvest with the higher power from nature. This takes the form of pigs’ skulls and bones which act as deities and are preserved through many generations.
  • Tiwa also known as Lalung is indigenous community inhabiting the states of Assam and Meghalaya and are also found in some parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.


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