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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 18 November 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. Privilege motion against CBI, ED in WB.

2. Rahul moves HC to quash defamation case.

3. New Pak. law allows Jadhav to file appeal.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Cabinet nod for mobile services in 7,287 villages.

2. Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).

3. SC relief for scribe, lawyers in UAPA case.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. SEBI unveils investor charter.


 

Privilege motion against CBI, ED in WB:

GS Paper 2:

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

 

Context:

The Trinamool Congress has moved a breach of privilege motion in the West Bengal Assembly against the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

 

What’s the issue?

It was moved for not taking the sanction of the Speaker before filing the chargesheet in the Narada case.

  • The Central investigating agencies had filed the chargesheet against three members of the Assembly.

 

Need for Consent from the Speaker:

The matter was listed before the Calcutta High Court. The Calcutta High Court then gave a clear instruction to the CBI to take the consent from the speaker. However, the CBI went directly to the governor for his consent.

 

What are Privileges?

Privileges are certain rights and immunities enjoyed by members of Parliament/MLAs individually and collectively, so that they can “effectively discharge their functions”.

  1. Article 105 (Article 194 for State Assemblies) of the Constitution expressly mentions two privileges, that is, freedom of speech in Parliament and right of publication of its proceedings.
  2. Apart from the privileges as specified in the Constitution, the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, provides for freedom from arrest and detention of members under civil process during the continuance of the meeting of the House or of a committee thereof and forty days before its commencement and forty days after its conclusion.

 

Motion against breaches:

When any of these rights and immunities are disregarded, the offence is called a breach of privilege and is punishable under law of Parliament.

  • A notice is moved in the form of a motion by any member of either House against those being held guilty of breach of privilege.

 

Role of the Speaker/Rajya Sabha (RS) Chairperson:

The Speaker/RS chairperson is the first level of scrutiny of a privilege motion.

The Speaker/Chair can decide on the privilege motion himself or herself or refer it to the privileges committee of Parliament.

  • If the Speaker/Chair gives consent under relevant rules, the member concerned is given an opportunity to make a short statement.

 

Applicability:

  1. The Constitution also extends the parliamentary privileges to those persons who are entitled to speak and take part in the proceedings of a House of Parliament or any of its committees. These include the Attorney General of India.
  2. The parliamentary privileges do not extend to the President who is also an integral part of the Parliament. Article 361 of the Constitution provides for privileges for the President.

 

Insta Curious:

Are these Parliamentary Privileges defined under law ? Read Here.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Which provisions of the Constitution protect the privileges of the legislature?
  2. What is the procedure to be followed in cases of alleged breach of the legislature’s privilege?
  3. Composition and functions of Privileges Committees in Parliament and State Legislatures.
  4. What is the punishment for an individual who is found guilty of breaching the legislature’s privilege?
  5. Can the Courts intervene in matters involving breach of privileges of state legislatures?

Mains Link:

What do you understand by legislative privileges? Discuss the problem of legislative privileges as seen in India time to time.

Sources: the Hindu.

Rahul moves HC to quash defamation case:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

 

Context:

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi has moved the Bombay High Court seeking to quash a defamation case filed by a local BJP leader.

 

What’s the issue?

The case was filed by Mahesh Shrishrimal before the Girgaon magistrate court in 2018. It states that Mr. Gandhi called Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘Commander in Thief’. Mr. Shrishrimal felt defamed since he was a member of his party.

  • Gandhi has filed a petition to quash the case on the grounds that in a defamation case the party has to be aggrieved personally and directly.

 

What is defamation?

Defamation is the communication of a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual person, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation.

In India, defamation can both be a civil wrong and a criminal offence. The difference between the two lies in the objects they seek to achieve.

  • A civil wrong tends to provide for a redressal of wrongs by awarding compensation and a criminal law seeks to punish a wrongdoer and send a message to others not to commit such acts.

 

Legal provisions:

Criminal defamation has been specifically defined as an offence under section 499 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Civil defamation is based on tort law (an area of law which does not rely on statutes to define wrongs but takes from an ever-increasing body of case laws to define what would constitute a wrong).

  • Section 499 states defamation could be through words, spoken or intended to be read, through signs, and also through visible representations.
  • Section 499 also cites exceptions. These include “imputation of truth” which is required for the “public good” and thus has to be published, on the public conduct of government officials, the conduct of any person touching any public question and merits of the public performance.

Section 500 of IPC, which is on punishment for defamation, reads, “Whoever defames another shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.”

 

Misuse of the law and concerns associated:

  • The criminal provisions have often been used purely as a means of harassment.
  • Given the cumbersome nature of Indian legal procedures, the process itself turns into punishment, regardless of the merits of the case.
  • Critics argue that defamation law impinges upon the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression and that civil defamation is an adequate remedy against such wrongs.
  • Criminal defamation has a pernicious effect on society: for instance, the state uses it as a means to coerce the media and political opponents into adopting self-censorship and unwarranted self-restraint.

 

What has the Supreme Court said?

  1. In Subramanian Swamy vs Union of India case 2014, the Court approved the Constitutional validity of sections 499 and 500 (criminal defamation) in the Indian Penal Code, underlining that an individual’s fundamental right to live with dignity and reputation “cannot be ruined solely because another individual can have his freedom”.
  2. In August 2016, the court also passed strictures on the then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa for misusing the criminal defamation law to “suffocate democracy” and, the court said, “public figures must face criticism”.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Difference between criminal and civil defamations.
  2. Sections 499 and 500 of IPC are related to?
  3. What is tort law?
  4. Relevant Supreme Court judgments.
  5. Exceptions under section 499.

Mains Link:

Do you think defamation in India should be decriminalised? Is defamation and contempt law anachronistic? Justify with suitable examples.

Sources: the Hindu.

New Pak. law allows Jadhav to file appeal:

GS Paper 2:

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

 

Context:

Pakistan’s Parliament has enacted a law to give Indian death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav the right to file a review appeal against his conviction by a military court.

 

Background:

Mr. Jadhav, a 51-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.

 

Developments so far:

  • India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denial of consular access (Vienna Convention) to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence. After hearing both sides, The Hague-based ICJ issued a verdict in July 2019, asking Pakistan to give India consular access to Mr. Jadhav and also ensure review of his conviction.
  • It also ruled that Pakistan must undertake an “effective review and reconsideration” of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav.

 

Implications of ‘Effective Review and Reconsideration’ for India:

  • Effective review and reconsideration is a phrase which is different from ‘review’ as one understands in a domestic course.
  • It includes giving consular access and helping Jadav in preparing his defence.
  • It means that Pakistan has to disclose the charges and also the evidence which it has been absolutely opaque about uptill now.
  • Pakistan would also have to disclose the circumstances in which Jadhav’s confession was extracted by the military.
  • It implies that Jadhav will have a right to defend whichever forum or court hears his case.

 

Vienna Convention:

  • The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations is an international treaty that defines consular relations between independent states.
  • Article 36 of the Vienna Convention states that foreign nationals who are arrested or detained in the host country must be given notice without delay of their right to have their embassy or consulate notified of that arrest.
  • If the detained foreign national so requests, the police must fax that notice to the embassy or consulate, which can then verify the detained person.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know what extraterritoriality is? Read Here.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Differences between ICJ and ICC.
  2. Geographical locations of these organisations and overview of surrounding countries.
  3. Doha accord between US and Taliban.
  4. What is the Rome statute?

Mains Link:

Write a note on ICJ.

Sources: the Hindu.

Cabinet nod for mobile services in 7,287 villages:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Infrastructure- roadways.

 

Context:

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for provisioning of mobile services in uncovered villages of Aspirational Districts across five States.

  • The project envisages to provide 4G mobile services in the 7,287 uncovered villages of 44 Aspirational Districts in the five States at an estimated cost of ₹6,466 crore, including operational expenses for five years.

 

Implementation:

The project will be funded by Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) and is targeted to be completed within 18 months after the signing of the agreement.

 

What is USOF?

Universal Service Obligation Fund was established in 2002, with the main aim to provide universal telecom services and ensure that even the unconnected areas in the country reap the benefits of inclusive development.

  • The Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Act, 2003 gave statutory status to the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).
  • The USOF is headed by the USOF Administrator who reports to the Secretary, Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

 

Funding:

The funds for the USOF comes from Universal Service Levy (USL). The USL is charged from all the telecom operators on their Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR). These are then deposited into the Consolidated Fund of India, and prior parliamentary approval is required for dispatching.

 

USOFs contributions to Inclusive development of the country:

  1. The USOF enables rural Indians to achieve their fullest potential and participate productively in the development of the nation by virtue of being effectively connected through a reliable and ubiquitous telecommunications network, access to which is within their reach and within their means.
  2. It helps provide widespread and non-discriminatory access to quality ICT services at affordable prices to people in rural and remote areas.
  3. It also provides an effective and powerful linkage to the hinterland thereby mainstreaming the population of rural and remote parts of the country.
  4. Provision of reliable, robust, and high-speed telecom and broadband facilities will be imperative from the viewpoint of consumers, as well as for strategic and governance reasons.
  5. 4G mobile services, which were constrained due to limited backhaul bandwidth provided via satellite will also see a major improvement.
  6. Creation of Infrastructure for mobile services in remote, rural areas.
  7. Provision of broadband in villages in a phased manner.
  8. Induction of new technologies like national optic fibre network in rural areas.

 

Insta Curious:

Have you heard about `Internet Saathi’ programme? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About USOF.
  2. About BharatNet Project.
  3. What is optical fibre?
  4. What is AGR?
  5. About Aspirational Districts Programme.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of USOF.

Sources: the Hindu.

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY):

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Infrastructure- roadways.

 

Context:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved continuation of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)-I and II up to September, 2022, and Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism Affected Areas up to March, 2023.

  • The timeline has been extended to ensure works envisaged under the three schemes are completed.

 

Need for:

  • Majority of pending works under PMGSY-I and II are in the North-East and Hill States due to factors such as COVID lockdown, extended rains, winters, forest issues.
  • Also, the States have been requesting the Central Government for extension of time to complete these crucial works related to rural economy.

 

About PMGSY:

Launched on: 25th December, 2000.

Objective: To provide connectivity, by way of an all-weather road to unconnected habitations.

Eligibility: Unconnected habitations of designated population size (500+ in plain areas and 250+ in North-Eastern States, Himalayan States, Deserts and Tribal Areas as per 2001 census) in the core network for uplifting the socio-economic condition of the rural population.

Funding: The Union Government bears 90% of the project cost in respect of projects sanctioned under the scheme in North-Eastern and Himalayan States, whereas for other states the Union Government bears 60% of the cost.

 

PMGSY – Phase I:

  • PMGSY – Phase I was launched in December, 2000 as a 100 % centrally sponsored scheme.
  • Under the scheme, 1,35,436 habitations were targeted for providing road connectivity and 3.68 lakh km. for upgradation of existing rural roads in order to ensure full farm to market connectivity.

 

PMGSY – Phase II:

  • The Government of India subsequently launched PMGSY-II in 2013 for upgradation of 50,000 Kms of existing rural road network to improve its overall efficiency.
  • While the ongoing PMGSY – I continued, under PMGSY phase II, the roads already built for village connectivity was to be upgraded to enhance rural infrastructure.

 

Challenges:

  1. Lack of dedicated funds.
  2. Limited involvement of the Panchayati Raj Institutions.
  3. Inadequate execution and contracting capacity.
  4. Less working season and difficult terrain particularly in Hill States.
  5. Scarcity of the construction materials.
  6. Security concerns particularly in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) areas.

 

About the Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism Affected Areas:

Started in 2016, it is envisaged in LWE States including the 44 LWE affected districts in 9 States.

  • The roads taken up under the scheme would include Other District Roads (ODRs), Village Roads (VRs) and upgradation of the existing Major District Roads (MDRs) that are critical from the security point of view.
  • Bridges up to a span of 100 meters, critical from security angle would also be funded on these roads.

 

Insta Curious:

Know about the key features of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana-lll (PMGSY-III) here.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About PMGSY.
  2. About the Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism Affected Areas.
  3. About LWE affected districts.
  4. About CCEA.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of road Infrastructure for the development of rural India.

Sources: the Hindu.

Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

 

Context:

A Special Bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, recently protected two lawyers and a journalist booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) from any “coercive action” by the Tripura police.

 

What’s the issue?

The lawyers had led a fact-finding mission and released a report on the “targeted political violence against Muslim minorities in the State” in October and the journalist had tweeted “Tripura is burning”. Following this a FIR was lodged against them.

 

What’s the concern now?

The ppetitioners have argued that the State of Tripura was “monopolising the flow of information and facts emanating from the affected areas by invoking the UAPA against members of civil society, including advocates and journalists, who have made the effort to bring facts in relation to the targeted violence in the public domain”.

 

Need of the hour:

The petitioners have asked the court to restrict the vague and wide definition given to what amounts to “unlawful activity” under the UAPA. The definition gave a free hand to the State to crush dissent and free speech with the threat of UAPA, it argued.

  • Also, Anticipatory bail was barred under the UAPA and the possibility of bail was remote.

 

About the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act:

Passed in 1967, the law aims at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India.

The Act assigns absolute power to the central government, by way of which if the Centre deems an activity as unlawful then it may, by way of an Official Gazette, declare it so.

  • It has death penalty and life imprisonment as highest punishments.

 

Key points:

Under UAPA, both Indian and foreign nationals can be charged.

  • It will be applicable to the offenders in the same manner, even if crime is committed on a foreign land, outside India.
  • Under the UAPA, the investigating agency can file a charge sheet in maximum 180 days after the arrests and the duration can be extended further after intimating the court.

 

As per amendments of 2019:

  • The Act empowers the Director General of National Investigation Agency (NIA) to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property when the case is investigated by the said agency.
  • The Act empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases of terrorism in addition to those conducted by the DSP or ACP or above rank officer in the state.
  • It also included the provision of designating an individual as a terrorist.

 

Issues associated:

UAPA is criticized by the civil society as antithetical to constitutional freedom to dissent, rule of law and fair trial.

 

Associated Issues:

  1. Vague Definition of Terrorist Act.
  2. Denial of Bail.
  3. Pendency of Trails.
  4. State Overreach.
  5. Undermines federalism.

 

Delhi High Court defines the contours of UAPA:

In June 2021, delivering a judgment defining the contours of the otherwise “vague” Section 15 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, (UAPA), the Delhi High Court laid down some important principles upon the imposition of Section 15, 17 & 18 of the Act.

 

Sections 15, 17 and 18 of UAPA:

  1. S. 15 engrafts the offence of ‘terrorist act’.
  2. S. 17 lays-down the punishment for raising funds for committing a terrorist act.
  3. S. 18 engrafts the offence of ‘punishment for conspiracy etc. to commit a terrorist act or any act preparatory to commit a terrorist act’.

 

Key observations made by the court:

  1. “Terrorist Act” Should not be used lightly so as to trivialise them.
  2. Terrorist activity is that which travels beyond the capacity of law enforcement agencies to deal with under ordinary penal law (Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Hitendra Vishnu Thakur).

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Definition of unlawful activity.
  2. Powers of Centre under the act.
  3. Is judicial review applicable in such cases?
  4. Changes brought about by amendments in 2004 and 2019.
  5. Can foreign nationals be charged under the act?

Mains Link:

Do you agree that the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act could prove catastrophic for fundamental rights? Is sacrificing liberty for national security justified? Discuss and provide for your opinion.

Sources: the Hindu.

Facts for Prelims:

SEBI unveils investor charter:

Markets regulator SEBI has issued an investor charter aimed at protecting the interest of investors in the securities market.

  • The vision of the investor charter is “to protect the interests of investors by enabling them to understand the risks involved and invest in a fair, transparent, secure market, and to get services in a timely and efficient manner.”
  • The rights include getting fair and equitable treatment, and expecting redressal of investor grievances filed in the SCORES portal in a time-bound manner.
  • This also includes getting quality services from SEBI-recognised market infrastructure institutions and SEBI-registered intermediaries, regulated entities and asset management companies.

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