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My notes 22DEC2015 22-12-2015

Supreme Court held that appointment of archakas (priests) in Tamil Nadu temples as per the restrictions prescribed by the age-old Agamas (treatises) is not a violation of the right to equality. It also reiterated that fundamental right to freedom of religion is not confined to doctrines and beliefs but extends to “essential practices” done in pursuance of that faith.

However, the apex court held that these treatises should necessarily conform to constitutional mandates. It observed that inclusion or exclusion as per the Agama Shastra’s should not be based on the criteria of caste, birth or any other constitutionally unacceptable parameters.

The order says that appointments as per Agamas is not caste or class based and so do not violate any art 14, 15, 17 of the constitution. The conditionality’s required do not allow all the Brahmins also not to enter in to sanctum sanctorum. The art 16(5) provides exceptions to equality in the case of religious appointments.

In the entire judgement women and her appointment to position of priest is totally ignored. In this context, Hindu texts exclude women as a priest as she was categorized as fourth Varna( only few texts such as naradiya kalpa). If it is the case, exclusion of women can be seen as a discrimination based on caste and gender, thus violate articles 15, 16, 17.  So, it is advised that any custom to be declared as constitutional, it shall also pass the test of gender.

 

Nepal

Prime minister of Nepal KP Oli promised to look in to the concerns of Madhesis and Nepali cabinet agreed for suitable constitutional amendments. India welcomed the move but, Madhesis represented by UMDF say, there is nothing in concrete on offer. Their demands of Identity through a separate Madhesi province is missing.

Paperless office

Government in accordance with its JAM trinity objective is working towards automation of payments and receipts. It can create paperless office, reduce corruption and facilitates costless, speedy transactions.

 

Syria – UNSC resolution

UNSC resolution 2254 provides for a roadmap to end the Syrian crisis. It consists of

1)      Ceasefire and Peace between rebels and Bashar al Assad regime with in a month

2)       Establishment of a credible, inclusive nonsectarian Government in Syria in 6 months,

3)      Free and fair elections with a new constitution in 18 months.

Analysis

1)      Opposition rebels are not clearly defined. There is a consensus on eliminating Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nus

2)      ra (al Qaeda faction of Syria). Inclusion of Turky backed Arhar al sham and saudi backed Jaysh al Islam will be opposed by Russia, Iran and Assad. These are considered as terrorist organizations by Assad supporters. These organisations are demanding for a Sharia law rather than a democracy.

3)      West Asia politics – Iran strongly supports Assad and Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey opposes him and sees a solution only if he is exited out of power. So, any long term endurable solution need a trust between Iran and Saudi. Russia and turkey have a standoff after shoot down of Russia warplane by Turkey.

4)      Russia and USA standoff – Russia wants to protect the Syrian state structure created by Baath party with a safe exit for Bashir Al Assad. America. Initially insisted on exit of Assad and now toned down its demand. It is left to Syria people to decide on his future in line with Russia,. It made the approachment possible.

5)      Practicality to conduct elections – Elections are not possible to be conducted on large parts of Syria that is under the control of IS.

So, it can be said that the roadmap that is overoptimistic.

Rajya Sabha

Upper House has to redefine its role as its institutional relevance is vociferously questioned.

In the case of non-money bills, it is seen as an obstructionist by the present Government. Though it is politically motivated, other criticisms on poor performance cannot be ignored. For Instance, PRS legislative research on RS functioning says that, only 18% of time is used of the total allotted time for question hour.

Though its existence is unquestioned in the near future, any institution in a democracy that fails to perform and unaccountable will be questioned for their relevance. Rajya Sabha is not an exception.

 

On the other side core principles that led to creation of RS still hold good. It provides representation to the diversity of India, ensures a continuity as a check against sudden change in agendas with change in Government and reflects the voice of states in a federal polity.

On Functional front, impasse in one house can me mediated through informal channels presented by the second house.

Russia

India is going to buy weapons worth of $10Bn from Russia during the upcoming visit to Prime minister to Russia. These include Kirvak or Talwar class stealth frigates, S-400 Triumf air defense systems, Helicopters. Production of this will have an Indian partner on line with our Make in India policy.

Sexual abuse

  • In India, most of the crime statistics are reported based on FIR registrations. Deeper insight in to it says that, there are many subjective variations in line with societal prejudices in these reports. For instance, Many of the cases filed against sexual abuse are actually cases of elopement where a girl is falsely reported as a minor to frame charges of Kidnap and rape against the boy.

Question of the day

  1. Fight against ISIS needs a cooperation between nations beyond geo politics in west Asia. Discuss in the context of recent UNSC resolution on Syria. 

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