News & Editorial Analysis 20 February 2023
The Hindu News Analysis
1 – Railway Protection Force:
GS III Topic Internal Security of India:
In order to increase security at railway stations, the Indian Railways is considering adopting facial recognition technology in 200 stations, according to Director-General (DG) of the Railway Police Force (RPF) Sanjay Chander.
A trial operation in Bangalore that employed about 30 top-notch CCTV cameras and cutting-edge software was successful in detecting “wanted” individuals and sending RPF alerts. Our research shows that even when a person is hidden or wearing a mask, the facial recognition algorithms are extremely trustworthy. According to Mr. Chander, the algorithm will identify any distinguishing characteristic, such as cheekbones or eyes, and give out messages if we have a similar picture on our wanted list.
What is the Railway Protection Force?
The RPF contingent is a part of the military forces of the Indian Union. It is a security division under the control of the Indian Railways Ministry.
The RPF’s history began in 1882, when various railroad businesses chose their own guards to protect railroad property.
The force was created as a statutory force by an act of Parliament in 1957. After that, in 1985, it became a part of the Indian Union’s armed forces.
Once the RPF Rules were enacted in 1959, the RPF Regulations were published in 1966. The Police were given some limited authority to hold and prosecute those associated with railway property in 1966 thanks to the Railway Property (Unlawful Possession) Act.
The major charge of maintaining the safety of railroad property has been handed to RPF. Although the provisions of the RPF Act were rapidly found to be insufficient for upholding an effective and orderly Force, the RPF Rules and Regulations were also swiftly demonstrated to be legally flawed.
In 1985, Parliament amended the RPF Act, 1957 to create and maintain the Force as an armed force of the Union.
This Force takes pleasure in portraying a really national character and image due to the fact that it hires individuals from around the country. The Force has grown in esteem and fame since its inception.
2 – Sickle Cell Anaemia:
GS II Topic Health related issues:
The blood disorder sickle cell anaemia, which is inherited, was mentioned in this year’s budget (SCA). According to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the government would operate in “mission mode” to eradicate the illness by 2047. India is the second worst-affected country in terms of expected babies with SCA or the likelihood of having the condition.
According to a 1910 report by a doctor by the name of James Herrick, an anaemic student from Granada, Spain, had abnormal red blood cells. These blood cells were distinct because they differed from the conventional globular form with an indented centre, like a doughnut with a hole, in that they were shaped like a sickle, similar to the letter C. This was the first description of sickle cell anaemia in western medical literature.
a severe systemic disease brought on by a persistent single gene deficiency Acute painful episodes, organ infarction, ongoing organ damage, chronic anaemia, and a considerably reduced life expectancy are all symptoms of SCD.
Although the symptoms of sickle cell disease might vary, the following are some typical ones:
Weakness, pallor, and exhaustion are some of the signs of chronic anaemia.
The arms, legs, chest, and back can experience jolting, intense pain during painful episodes, also known as sickle cell crisis.
slowed growth and puberty.
Transfusions of blood can treat anaemia and reduce your risk of developing pain crises.
A medication called hydroxyurea has the potential to reduce the frequency of painful episodes and halt some of the disease’s long-term symptoms.
A stem cell or bone marrow transplant may also be used to treat it.
Governmental Actions Against SCD:
The government released technical operational recommendations in 2016 for the care and prevention of hemoglobinopathies, including sickle cell anaemia.
Integrated clinics have been established for treatment and diagnostics in 22 tribal districts.
The State Haemoglobinopathy Mission was created by Madhya Pradesh to address the challenges associated with diagnosing and treating the disorder.
3 – Sealed Cover Jurisprudence:
GS II Topic Judiciary related issues:
The government’s “suggestions” for the formation of a committee to look into the Hindenburg report on the Adani Group were vehemently rejected by the Chief Justice of India, D.Y. Chandrachud, in a sealed cover. This shows how seriously the Supreme Court takes the threat posed by “sealed cover jurisprudence” to the basic legitimacy of the legal system. The three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India made the decision to keep the government’s sealed cover at a distance and conduct “its own thinking,” which made it clear that the discussion on sealed covers was no longer an academic debate on how to strike a balance between the need to protect national security and the right to know.
What exactly is sealed cover law?
It is a custom followed by the Supreme Court and occasionally by lesser courts to request or accept information from government organisations in envelopes that can only be opened by judges.
The theory of sealed cover is not specifically defined by law, but the Supreme Court has the authority to utilise it due to Rule 7 of Order XIII of the Supreme Court Rules and Section 123 of the Indian Evidence Act of 1872.
Rule 7 of Supreme Court Rule XIII reads as follows:
The regulation states that no party shall be permitted access to the contents of any information that the Chief Justice or court commands be kept under sealed cover or believes to be of a confidential nature, unless the Chief Justice himself orders that the opposing party be permitted access.
Additionally, it makes note of the possibility of maintaining information’s confidentiality in cases when the public is not thought to benefit from its disclosure.
Section 123 of the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 protects official, unpublished records pertaining to state business and prohibits public officials from being forced to turn up such materials.
When disclosing details that are part of a police case diary may jeopardise an ongoing investigation, those situations are examples of when material may need to be held in confidence or secret.
What drawbacks exist with the sealed cover doctrine?
The idea of an open court, where judgements can be made available for public review, is opposed by this, which is not in favour of the ideals of transparency and accountability of the Indian legal system.
Evidence “must be disclosed with both parties to the dispute” in any adjudication process, particularly one involving fundamental rights.
Limit the Reasoning’s Range:
to provide judges more leeway to act arbitrarily when making decisions in court because they are required to provide a justification for their choices but cannot do so when those choices are based on personal information.
Further debated is the propriety of granting the state the right to submit sensitive information in secret when current safeguards, including closed-door hearings, already adequately protect it.
Getting in the Way of a Fair Trial and Decision:
Another argument makes the case that denying the accused party access to such materials prevents them from receiving a fair trial and ruling.
Unpredictable in Nature:
Instead of being a standard procedure, sealed covers depend on individual judges looking to support a claim in a specific case. As a result, the practise is haphazard and arbitrary.
What is the Supreme Court’s Position on Sealed Cover Law?
The Israeli Supreme Court’s former Chief Justice Aharon Barak proposed the proportionality test, which the top court accepted in Modern Dental College v. State of Madhya Pradesh (2016). According to Barak, “a limitation of a constitutional right will be constitutionally legitimate if:
It is intended for an appropriate use.
The implementation of those restrictions is reasonably related to the accomplishment of that goal.
The actions chosen are necessary since there are no other options that could accomplish the same goal with fewer restriction.
The value of accomplishing the correct goal and the societal importance of preventing the restriction on the constitutional right must be properly related (referred to as “proportionality stricto sensu” or “balancing”).
K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India reaffirmed this (2017).
The Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that disclosure of papers to the accused is legally required, even if the inquiry is ongoing and documents may provide new information. The ruling was made in the matter of P. Gopalakrishnan v. The State of Kerala.
The Delhi High Court was criticised by the Supreme Court in the INX Media case in 2019 for basing its decision to grant bail to the former union minister on paperwork provided by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a sealed cover.
Because it holds the administration accountable, the judicial review process is important.
When basic rights like free expression are restricted, the executive must persuasively defend its actions. The executive branch is not free to issue arbitrary orders that violate these rights under India’s Constitution.
A court that remains silent throughout any presidential action is a simple example of democratic disintegration.
When a claim is made that an action has restricted fundamental rights, the court is required to consider the action’s legality from the perspective of proportionality.
4 – Disqualification of MPs/MLAs:
GS II Topic Election related issues:
An intriguing question regarding P.P. Mohammed Faizal’s disqualification has been raised by the case in which the Kerala High Court, in January of this year, suspended the verdict issued by the Kavaratti District and Sessions Court (in an attempt to murder case) that sentenced the then-reigning Member of Parliament (MP) of Lakshadweep and Nationalist Congress Party leader to 10 years in prison. The question is whether a conviction disqualifies a person permanently or if it can be overturned. Every time a legislator is removed from office, this problem may develop. This does not happen very often – Abdullah Azam Khan, an assemblyman from the Samajwadi Party, was recently removed from the Uttar Pradesh legislature.
What justifications exist for a member’s exclusion from either House of Parliament?
Disqualification of MPs and MLAs on the basis of holding office for profit is a contentious issue that is up for debate across the country. Beginning on March 17, 2006, with retroactive effect going back to July 14, 2004, Jaya Bachchan, a member of the Samajwadi Party, was disqualified from serving in the Rajya Sabha. The dispute quickly developed into a constitutional crisis, and various state administrations hurried to preserve their bases of authority.
Members of Parliament and MLAs are subject to different disqualification rules. According to our constitution, the following situations give the Parliament the authority to pass legislation on membership qualification and disqualification:
He holds a position of profit in the Indian or a state government that is not one for which the holder is exempt from disqualification under a law passed by Parliament.
A competent court has determined that he is mentally ill.
He is an unsatisfied insolvent.
He has been declared ineligible by or pursuant to any law of Parliament because he is not an Indian citizen, has acquired citizenship of a foreign state willingly, or is subject to any acknowledgement, allegiance, or adherence to a foreign state. It is applicable in the event of “defection,” as defined in the eleventh schedule.
The President will decide on any controversy involving a member of parliament’s disqualification based on the recommendations of the Electoral Commission. shall, in accordance with Article 103, be conclusive. The speaker, chairman, or Rajya Sabha, depending on the situation, will determine in the event of disqualification due to defection.
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The Hindu Editorial Analysis
The Marburg VIRUS:
Equatorial Guinea recently received a diagnosis of the highly contagious Marburg virus disease, or MVD, which prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to convene an urgent summit.
People with the serious illness Hemorrhagic viral fever is a symptom of Marburg virus disease (MVD) (it was formerly known as Marburg haemorrhagic fever). The virus’s name derives from the simultaneous epidemics that occurred in Frankfurt and Marburg, Germany, and Belgrade, Serbia, in 1967.
The Marburg virus infects bats, the virus’s natural hosts, in a manner akin to how the Ebola virus spreads. Fruit bats with the virus do not show any obvious signs, but it can cause significant illness or even death in humans.
It is passed from bats to humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of sick bats or surfaces that have been contaminated with fluids, like bedsheets and clothing. During the funeral services, intimate touch with the deceased’s corpse could potentially spread the disease.
Both Marburg and Ebola diseases are brought on by members of the Filoviridae family and have similar clinical characteristics.
Percentage of deaths:
The virus can spend two to 21 days incubating. The WHO estimates that the disease has an average 50% mortality rate. Those who contract the virus have acute illness and symptoms including a high fever, a horrible headache, and discomfort. Several persons experience severe hemorrhagic signs within 7 days.
“A typical sign is soreness and aches in the muscles. On the third day, it’s possible to experience severe watery diarrhoea, abdominal pain and cramps, nausea, and vomiting. Diarrhea can last for a week. People at this stage have been described as having “ghost-like” drawn features, deep-set eyes, expressionless faces, and profound lethargy, according to the WHO.
When the illness is at its worst, patients have high fevers. Central nervous system involvement may lead to confusion, irritability, and aggressiveness. Eight to nine days after the start of symptoms, death commonly occurs in fatal cases; it is typically preceded by considerable blood loss and shock.
Neither vaccines nor drugs have been licenced yet to treat the Marburg virus disease. Nonetheless, the WHO states that addressing specific symptoms as well as rehydrating with oral or intravenous fluids can improve survival rates.
Ebola in Equatorial Guinea:
The graphic above shows the frequency of MVD instances throughout historical records.
Since 1967, cases have been documented in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda. 90% of the 252 persons who caught MVD in Angola in 2004 during an outbreak died. In July of last year, there were two MVD fatalities reported in Ghana.
Eliminating the virus:
“To locate contacts, isolate, and treat those displaying symptoms of the sickness, advance teams have been stationed in the affected regions. The WHO announced that it has dispatched health emergency specialists in epidemiology, case management, infection prevention, laboratory, and risk communication as part of its efforts to support national response operations and guarantee community engagement in outbreak control. The U.N. health organisation convened an important conference to evaluate vaccination candidates and their current state.
The bulk of the zoonotic illnesses now making news, including COVID-19, swine flu, avian flu, and MVD, require a comprehensive approach to treatment. The One Health Approach (OHA) is a way of thinking that recognises the close connection between the wellbeing of people, animals, and the ecosystem as a whole.
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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
The Wages Of Cynicism:
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is gradually being forgotten by the general public as just another reality, concealing the perils and human costs of the fight. The cynicism and complacency that underlie world politics are reflected in this.
The initial reaction to the incident was panic. Could this escalate into a wider clash, or worse, a nuclear war? It was believed that the consequences for the global economy could be severe. Also, there was a great deal of concern about Ukraine’s future.
The situation’s participation with NATO:
A year after the invasion, there is considerable complacency over the risks of escalation. The goal of NATO’s strategy was to prevent a direct military clash with Russia by giving Ukraine the tools necessary to defend itself.
To attempt and stop the war from extending to other parts of the world and to make sure that a combination of western cooperation and economic sanctions would be the method to put pressure on, if not entirely destroy, Russia, it was done.
NATO crafted its military aid to achieve these objectives. One year later, there appears to be growing confidence in the ability to maintain this delicate balance between supporting Ukraine and directly opposing Russia.
But, like with any security issue, the line might be arbitrary. This achievement shouldn’t be taken for granted.
If the battle continues, the situation grows worse:
The biggest surprise in the months that followed the invasion was the valiant battle of the Ukrainian people against Russian forces.
In many ways, the resistance was a great success. It was an immediate illustration of how weak Russia’s military power is.
But, there is a greater danger that the conflict could worsen as it nears its second year and result in catastrophic humanitarian costs. The Ukrainian defence was able to successfully repel the invasion.
Yet, it is uncertain if it will be able to forcefully recapture Crimea and the Donbas and declare total victory. In the meantime, it is becoming clear that despite terrible setbacks in the first year, Russia has also bolstered its resolve.
It took on more significance when it asked for widespread mobilisation. But perhaps even more worryingly, it could increase the destructive effects of this war by stepping up missile attacks and targeting civilian facilities in Ukraine.
Conflict between Russia and Ukraine’s effects:
The initial concern about the war’s larger economic implications has subsided. Only now is it recognised as a momentary shock. Europe’s energy needs were changed as a result of the warm winter.
The dire inflation predictions did not materialise. A new wave of opportunism was triggered by the war, and it reorganised the flow of oil around the world, established new currency exchange agreements, and repositioned forthcoming defence industry.
Yet, the use of economic sanctions as a weapon against Russia was found to be ineffective.
Although Russia’s economy did collapse, Nicholas Mulder, a historian of economic sanctions, claimed that it did so far less than was predicted.
Because to a large portion of the world outside of the West and some savvy management, Russia can continue to run an economy where the effects of sanctions on its inhabitants are not catastrophic and at the very least, wage a devastating war.
The genuinely challenging question will be whether Ukraine’s economy will be easy to sustain if Russia’s desire for destruction continues.
the preservation of the liberal world order or a conflict between autocracy and democracy as a result of the war.
The fact that Ukraine is still seen by the majority of people as a sideshow and a victim of the unavoidable drama of great power rivalry is one of the tragedies of the war.
Being sceptical of attempts to characterise this conflict in too moralistic terms, such as the need to preserve the liberal world order or a conflict between autocracy and democracy, makes sense.
In fact, the war has made it harder for the US to preserve liberal beliefs. It has given US partners and allies more leeway to violate their democratic commitments without eliciting criticism from the rest of the globe, including Israel and India.
For the vast majority of people on earth, the conflict became an occasion for Schadenfreude about American domination. It was believed to be the outcome of US conceit in dismissing Russian security worries. We could debate it for ages. Instead, given the recent history of US interventions, the Russian involvement would have merely been another one of the terrible things that all great powers do.
Effects of the War on Global Politics:
It is maybe the first time since World War II when an invasion’s stated objective was to entirely destroy a nation rather than simply violently take territory or usher in a new ruler.
In this regard, the Soviet invasion set a totally new bar and wasn’t merely a great power competition reprise. But, this fact and the suffering in Ukraine were relegated to a sideshow for the rest of the globe.
A combination of four events led to the crisis in Ukraine.
A great power rivalry in which Moscow believed the US had not taken into account its security concerns and was surrounding it, traditional territorial claims, the belief on the part of Russia that it could win, but if not, at least America was not in a position to make its writ run on the world.
In other parts of the world, where China’s historical and territorial claims over Taiwan continue to be a potent ideological force, such occurrences intensify comparable issues. In China, a leader is equally dedicated to leaving a long-lasting historical legacy.
In addition to the calamity in Ukraine being invisible, the Ukraine War has led to cynicism and complacency. As a result, the world may sleepwalk into another war by trying to be too smart by half.
The international gathering organisation, whose mission is to bring about world peace, is in charge of addressing the threat created by these historical conflict episodes.
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