News & Editorial Analysis 11 January 2023
The Hindu News Analysis
1 – Collegium System:
GS II Topic Judiciary related issues
The collegium of the Supreme Court recommended individuals for the high courts of Bombay, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Gauhati, and Manipur on Tuesday.
The collegium passed these resolutions a few days after Attorney General R. Venkatramani assured the Supreme Court that the government will adhere to the timelines set by the court for reviewing bids for judge appointments in High Courts.
The mechanism for the appointment and transfer of judges has evolved as a result of Supreme Court rulings, rather than being established by a statute passed by Parliament or a provision in the Constitution.
Modifications to the System:
The First Judges Case of 1981 said that “cogent arguments” might be offered to disprove the “primacy” of the Chief Justice of India’s recommendation regarding judicial transfers and appointments.
The Executive would have precedence over the Judiciary in appointing judges for the subsequent twelve years.
In the Second Judges Case (1993), the SC ruled that “consultation” truly meant “concurrence,” establishing the Collegium system.
It was further clarified that this was not the CJI’s personal judgement but rather a decision made by the institution in cooperation with the two senior judges of the SC.
(1998) Third Judges Case: On the President’s advice (Article 143 of the SC), the Collegium was extended to five members, including the Chief Justice of India and his four seniorest associates.
Who Is the Collegium Head of the System?
The CJI is in charge of the SC collegium, which is made up of the four most senior judges on the court (Chief Justice of India).
A collegium is made up of the three senior judges on the High Court, including the incumbent Chief Justice.
Only the collegium system is utilised to nominate judges for the higher judiciary, and when the collegium has selected names, the government gets involved.
What are the procedures for judicial appointments?
Chief Justice of India (CJI):
The President of India appoints the Chief Justice of India and the other SC judges.
In terms of the CJI, the outgoing CJI suggests his successor.
The only deciding element in practise has been seniority ever since the supersession controversy of the 1970s.
Other SC judges:
For the other judges of the SC, the CJI makes the proposal.
The CJI makes contact with the other Collegium members as well as the court’s senior-most judge who is a member of the High Court, where the suggested person is a member.
The consultees are required to provide textual feedback, which should be saved in the file.
The Collegium sends the recommendation to the Law Minister, who subsequently sends it to the Prime Minister for the President’s approval.
For the Chief Justice of the High Courts:
The Chief Justice of the High Court is chosen in accordance with the custom of having Chief Justices from outside the different States.
The Collegium decides whether to promote someone.
The CJI and the two most senior justices form a Collegium that makes recommendations for High Court judges.
The outgoing Chief Justice of the relevant High Court, however, initiated the recommendation after speaking with two of her most senior colleagues.
The recommendation is given to the Chief Minister, who suggests that the Governor give it to the Union Law Minister.
What Issues Do the Collegium System Present?
Executive exclusion: The complete isolation of the executive from the judicial selection process led to a system where a small number of judges covertly appoint the remaining judges.
They are also not accountable to any administrative body, which increases the risk that they would choose the wrong candidate while omitting the right one.
Favoritism and nepotism possibilities: The collegium system leaves a lot of room for nepotism and favouritism because it does not specify any specific criteria for screening CJI candidates.
It has a negative impact on the nation’s ability to maintain peace and order by making the justice system less transparent.
The check-and-balance principle is ineffective under this arrangement. In India, three organs function largely independently of one another, yet they keep one another in check and curb any organ’s excessive power.
However, the collegium structure gives the judiciary a great deal of power, leaving few options for checks and balances and increasing the risk of misuse.
Critics have called attention to the fact that this setup lacks a formal secretariat. It is believed that a collegium meets in private and renders decisions without the knowledge of the general public.
Furthermore, there are no official records of collegium meetings.
The other area of concern is the makeup of the upper court, where women are noticeably underrepresented.
What were the efforts to reform the appointment system?
On the grounds that it threatened the independence of the judiciary, the court dismissed the attempt to replace it with a “National Judicial Appointments Commission” (through the 89th Amendment Act of 2014) in 2015.
The procedure for filling vacancies is continuous and has no deadline because it involves both the executive and judicial departments. The time has come, however, to think about establishing a long-lasting, independent organisation to institutionalise the process with adequate protections to preserve the independence of the judiciary and ensure judicial supremacy, but not judicial exclusivity.
In addition to ensuring independence, displaying diversity, professionalism, and honesty, it should also embody those ideals.
2 – Section 6 A of Citizenship Act:
GS II Topic Constitution related issues
On Tuesday, a Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud stated that before making a judgement, it would first determine whether Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, 1955, has any “constitutional infirmities.”
The Assam Accord was a Memorandum of Settlement reached on August 15, 1985, between the Rajiv Gandhi administration and leaders of the Assam Movement. It is a special provision added to the 1955 Act to safeguard and preserve Assamese culture, legacy, language, and social identity. The majority of the illegal immigrants in the State, who were primarily from Bangladesh’s neighbour, had been the target of a six-year campaign by the All Assam Students Union (AASU) to find and deport them.
Section 6A of the Citizenship Act of 1955 contains the citizenship rules that apply to people covered by the Assam Accord. (1985). This section was added as part of an amendment to the Citizenship Act of 1955 in 1985. All those who entered Assam from the specified territory—which, at the time the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1985, included all territories of Bangladesh—on or after January 1, 1966, but before March 25, 1971, and have resided in Assam since that time are required to register for citizenship under section 18 of the act, in accordance with section 6A. As a result, the deadline for granting citizenship to Bangladeshi migrants in Assam is set by this ordinance at March 25, 1971.
What is the Assam Accord?
Assam saw extraordinary levels of racial violence, state government collapse, and president’s control between 1979 and 1985. During the government-run elections, violence driven by linguistic and communal identities resulted in the deaths of thousands of people in the state. Finally, to resolve the matter, the movement’s leaders and the Rajiv Gandhi administration at the time signed the Assam Accord Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) on August 15, 1985. According to this Agreement
It was intended to provide all foreigners who had entered Assam between 1951 and 1961 full citizenship, which included the right to vote.
Deportation was required for those who had immigrated after 1971.
Those who arrived between 1961 and 1971 were granted all other citizenship rights, but their right to vote was suspended for ten years.
3 – Earthquake Mitigation in India:
GS I Topic Geography
The Center announced on Tuesday that micro seismic surveillance equipment would be deployed in Uttarakhand’s Joshimath, a village that is slowly sinking into the Himalayas.
According to Earth Sciences Minister Jitendra Singh, who made the announcement at the India-U.K. Workshop of Geosciences in this location, the surveillance systems will be in place by Wednesday.
Why are some regions of India more prone to earthquakes?
Indo-Austral and Eurasian lithological plates, as well as the Burmese and Java-Sumatra plates, are colliding in the Himalayan belt. The collision of two continental plates has put subsurface rocks under a lot of stress. Earthquakes are the outcome of this tension.
Andaman & Nicobar Islands –
The movement of the ocean floor and undersea volcanoes disturb the equilibrium of the earth’s surface.
What safety measures are necessary in the event of an earthquake?
The lack of infrastructure ready on the part of society, according to seismologists, rather than the earthquake itself, is what results in thousands of fatalities.
Prior to identifying the risk, one must first acknowledge its presence. The general people has to be made aware of this risk.
Risk mapping entails dividing the region’s locations into zones according to the level of risk there.
Risk reduction – To do this, money must be invested in research and development to produce reasonably priced earthquake-resistant designs. Because this cannot be utilised for commercial purposes, public financing is essential. Indigenous knowledge must also be shared and put to use. Assam tupe houses or ikora-style buildings, for instance, are built with plaster walls encircled by a timber structure and walls made of bamboo or reed mesh (ikora). They have light tin roofs and earthquake-resistant timber flooring. Lightweight and flexible structures can wobble during earthquakes without significantly harming people or sustaining major damage.
Observations from Japan:
80% of earthquake-resistant buildings in Japan are in compliance. fake drills changes to the curriculum.
It uses an early warning system for earthquakes, which notifies users when seismic waves are detected. Because electric signals move more fast than seismic waves, the lead time is used to alert the public via the media, the internet, as well as trains, elevators, and automatically stopping industrial machinery. These technical fixes can reduce property damage and other types of harm.
In Japan, building earthquake-resistant structures is tax-favored. Such financial incentives could be used to promote the building of earthquake-resistant structures in high-risk areas of India.
Two mobile apps, including “India Quake,” were released by the government with the aim of distributing earthquake parameters.
“Sagar Vani” will rapidly transmit ocean-related information and alarms to guarantee user community safety (such as strong waves and Tsunami early warnings).
4 – Prithvi II Missile:
GS III Topic Internal Security
India successfully carried out a test launch of the tactical ballistic missile Prithvi-II on Tuesday from a test location off the coast of Odisha.
“A successful training launch of a short-range ballistic missile, Prithvi-II, was carried out on January 10 from the Integrated Test Range, Chandipur off the coast of Odisha,” the ministry stated in a statement.
The Prithvi-II was a domestically developed Surface-to-Surface Missile Short-Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM) with a range of 250–350 km and a payload capacity of one tonne.
The Prithvi II series of single-stage liquid-fueled missiles can carry warheads weighing between 500 and 1000 kg.
The missile is a tried-and-true weapon with a high degree of accuracy that can hit targets.
To find its target, the advanced missile uses an adjustable trajectory and an advanced inertial guiding system.
It was first created with the Indian Air Force in mind as its principal client, and the Indian Army later adopted it.
Even though it was only officially introduced to India’s Strategic Forces Command in 2003, it was the first missile developed under the IGMDP.
The weapon was created by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) of India as part of its Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP).
What Are the Prithvi Missiles?
The Prithvi missile system is made up of many tactical Surface-to-Surface Short-Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBM).
The development of this first domestically produced ballistic missile in India began in 1983.
The SHAR Center in Sriharikota hosted its initial test firing in 1988.
Between 150 and 300 kilometres is its range.
The naval version of the Prithvi I and Prithvi III class missiles is code-named Dhanush.
The propulsion system was probably based on the SA-2 Soviet surface-to-air missile.
Soviet Union’s SA-2 Surface-to-Air Missile
The SA-2, developed in the middle of the 1950s, was the first effective surface-to-air missile of the Soviet Union.
It was designed as a missile for use on the battlefield and, as a tactical nuclear weapon, it was capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
The Indian Army has been employing Prithvi I missiles since 1994.
Prithvi I missiles are reportedly replacing Prahar missiles, according to reports.
Prithvi II missiles have been in use since 1996.
The 350 km longer-range Prithvi III was successfully tested in 2004.
The Integrated Guided Missile Development Program is referred to as IGMDP.
The Indian Ministry of Defence ran the IGMDP, a research and development programme for many different types of missiles.
The project was started in 1982–1983 under Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s supervision.
Because of this effort, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is now referred to as India’s missile man.
The integrated guided missile programme was completed in 2008.
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The Hindu Editorial Analysis
A Step Towards Fighting Corruption
The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court (SC) issued a ruling in the Neeraj Dutta case in December 2022 that took a harsh stance against corruption among public employees in the nation and lowered the standard for the volume of evidence needed to convict those accused of corruption.
Those who demand honest public administration and severe penalties for illicit activity applauded this verdict. This was not the Supreme Court’s first time discussing the pervasive corruption in our system; on numerous instances in the past, the court expressed this affliction that plagues our public administration with comparable vehemence. Despite this clear stance, however, the level of corruption in public life has not decreased.
The ruling in the Neeraj Datta case:
The Supreme Court’s decision dispels the fallacy that only unquestionable proof of guilt can lead to a conviction. According to a recent ruling by the court, even if prosecution witnesses became hostile, a conviction would still be appropriate provided all circumstantial evidence gathered by the prosecution and presented to the court clearly indicates the guilt of the accused.
This is a fantastic step toward guaranteeing honesty in government services, especially in the “higher” services like the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS).
The severity of the law and its application, as well as the strength of public opinion that would support the battle for a clean public life, are two facets of the fight against corruption. If we want to rid the nation of the weakest link in a growing bureaucracy, both are equally crucial.
There is frequently a need for tightening our laws so that the offender faces punishment. Deterrence only works up to a point, which is sometimes a concept that even lawmakers and the general public fail to grasp. Therefore, it is misguided to call for the death sentence for a variety of crimes.
Legislators are unaware that the amount of evidence needed by the courts to establish the guilt of individuals who are accused before them would increase when the severity of the consequences for illegal behaviour are increased. This harsh reality most likely led the Constitutional Bench to lower the threshold for the amount of evidence needed to convict anyone accused of corruption.
In essence, the Supreme Court has established the “preponderance of probability” criterion, which is typically insufficient to support a conviction in criminal proceedings. Before, it was thought that only conclusive evidence—i.e., evidence that leaves no room for question in the minds of the courts—was necessary. This has since been thinned out.
The court has ordered that flaws like the complainant’s unavailability—either because he is deceased or otherwise untraceable—should not prevent people from believing the prosecution’s version of events.
Now, cases where prosecution witnesses become hostile due to coercion or inducement will be subject to the same lax interpretation of the law of evidence. It is common knowledge that certain influential individuals are charged with “buying” prosecution witnesses. Some attorneys have also participated in this, disgracing the legal profession and the criminal justice system. The supreme court is aware of this and feels it cannot continue to watch in silence.
Laws that address corruption:
Indian Penal Code 1860:
According to the IPC, a “public servant” is a person employed by the government, an officer in the military, navy, or air force, a police officer, a judge, an official of the Court of Justice, or any other local authority created by a federal or state Act.
A public employee who buys or bids on property without authorization is in violation of Section 169. A public servant who violates the law will be punished with up to two years in prison, a fine, or both. If the property is bought, it must be seized.
The criminal breach of trust by a public employee is covered by Section 409. The public worker will get a fine and a sentence of life in jail or up to 10 years.
Prevention of Corruption Act 1988:
Employees of universities, the Public Service Commission, banks, and other organisations are also included in the term of “public servant,” in addition to the categories covered by the IPC.
A public employee who accepts compensation other than his legal salary in exchange for performing official business or trying to persuade other employees faces a minimum jail sentence of six months and a maximum of five years in prison as well as a fine.
The Act also punishes public servants who use improper ways to exert their personal influence over other public servants and the general public.
A public employee faces a minimum six-month sentence and a maximum five-year sentence as well as a fine if they accept a valuable item from someone with whom they are conducting business while acting in their official capacity without paying for it or paying it insufficiently.
To prosecute a public employee, prior approval from the federal or state governments is required.
Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013:
It calls for the appointment of an ombudsman to represent both the federal and state administrations (Lokpal and Lokayuktas, respectively).
These organisations, which must operate independently of the government, are given the authority to look into charges of corruption against public officials, including the prime minister and other ministers.
CVC, the Central Vigilance Commission:
Despite being founded in 1964, it wasn’t until a 2003 Act of Parliament that it was made a separate statutory organisation.
Its duties include supervising the vigilance administration and assisting the executive in issues of corruption.
Public employees who are dishonest will find additional ways to hide their transgressions. This is due to the fact that many people are willing to bribe officials either voluntarily or in response to requests. Our ethos now incorporates the relationship between the criminal and the victim.
The most recent Supreme Court ruling might not stop people from becoming crooked. But that doesn’t mean we should stop fighting. We need informed opinion leaders in this area who aren’t afraid to challenge influential figures in politics or administration.
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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently opened the 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention in Indore, Madhya Pradesh.
According to the PM, Indians who reside overseas serve as “brand ambassadors” for their nation abroad.
Since 2015, when the Ministry of External Affairs changed the conference’s format to a biennial one, the meeting has grown significantly. The convention was first held in 2003, under Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s presidency.
With regard to PRAVASI BHARATIYA DIVAS (PBD):
People honour Mahatma Gandhi’s 1915 trip from South Africa back to India on January 9. The practise of celebrating this day as Pravasi Bharatiya Divas started in 2003. (PBD).
On January 9, 2003, the first PBD Convention was held to recognise the overseas Indian community’s contributions to India’s growth.
The PBD Convention’s format has altered since 2015, when it switched to a twice-yearly schedule.
With the theme “Contributing to Aatmanirbhar Bharat” amid the epidemic, the 16th PBD was held virtually in 2021.
The 17th PBD Convention will take place in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, from January 8 to January 10, 2023. “Diaspora: Reliable Partners for India’s Progress in Amrit Kaal” is the theme of the 17th PBD.
The Indian diaspora’s history:
The Greek word diaspeiro, which meaning dispersion, is where the word “diaspora” originates.
Since the first group of Indians were sent as indentured labourers under the “Girmitiya” system to nations in the east pacific and the Caribbean islands, the Indian diaspora has significantly expanded.
Thousands of Indians were brought to those nations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to work on plantations in British colonies, which needed labour after slavery was abolished in 1833–1844.
As a special visitor to the convention, Chandrikapersad Santokhi, the president of Suriname, acknowledged this migration in her remarks. She also claimed that in 2023, 150 years prior, there was the first such migration of Indians to Surinam.
About 20 lakh Indians travelled to Singapore and Malaysia as part of the second wave of migration to work on farms.
Following the oil boom, third and fourth waves of workers migrated to western nations, while professionals emigrated to Gulf and west Asian nations.
Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), People of Indian Origin (PIOs), and Overseas Citizens of India are the three groups of overseas Indians (OCIs).
Indians who live outside of India are known as NRIs. In 2015, the PIO category was eliminated and combined with the OCI category.
However, the present PIO cards are only valid through December 31, 2023; after that, their holders must apply for OCI cards.
Distribution by region and volume:
The parliamentary committee on external affairs published a research on August 22, 2022, estimating that as of December 31, 2021, there were 4.7 crore Indians living overseas.
The total comprises students, NRIs, PIOs, and OCIs. There are 3.22 crore people in the country, including 1.87 crore PIOs and 1.35 crore NRIs, without counting students.
India is the top origin nation internationally, followed by Mexico, Russia, and China, according to the World Migration Report released by the International Organization for Migration under the auspices of the United Nations.
The United States of America (44 lakh), the United Kingdom (17.6 lakh), the United Arab Emirates (34 lakh), Sri Lanka (16 lakh), South Africa (15.6 lakh), Saudi Arabia (26 lakh), Myanmar (20 lakh), Malaysia (29.8 lakh), Kuwait (10.2 lakh), and Canada are among the nations with more than 10 lakh foreign-born Indians (16.8 lakh).
According to the World Bank, remittances are a crucial source of income for households in low- and middle-income nations like India.
The World Bank’s most recent Migration and Development Brief, published in November 2022, indicated that “India is on track to collect more than $100 billion in remittances year.”
The top five recipients of remittances, according to the World Migration Report, are Egypt, Mexico, China, Mexico, the Philippines, and India, “but India and China were far above the rest.”
In 2020, the two neighbours received more than $140 billion in remittances from abroad, the highest amount in all of Asia.
Participation in politics:
It is a recent phenomena that certain members of the Indian diaspora have expressed strong political opinions, particularly in the US and UK.
For instance, the Pravasi Bharatiya Convention and the Hindu American Foundation, a nonprofit organisation that promotes Hindu issues, were both founded in the same year.
The former prime minister of the nation, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had stated during the launch that Indians living abroad should “communicate the truth about India to the world in a credible and effective manner” and fight “propaganda.”
Prime Minister Modi requested that Pravasi Bharatiyas emphasise India’s “growth story” in his speech on Monday, and he made similar arguments.
While visiting other nations, PM also makes a point of speaking to important diaspora gatherings. The planning of these events involves numerous distinguished Indians who have settled abroad.
In order for both countries to advance together for the benefit of their respective populations, the Indian diaspora serves as a bridge between their country and India.
The diaspora can provide the necessary strategic impetus, thus it is crucial to realise their potential.
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