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Daily News Analysis 20-10-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Thapas visit to Delhi fails to ease Nepal blockade (Page 15)

a)     I.R

a)     At the end of his three-day visit, Nepals Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa said he had given a new boost to India-Nepal ties but he was yet to find the way to end the economic blockade.

2.

Pakistan PM heads to US (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     Pakistans PM Nawaz Sharif arrives in the US for a four-day trip and is likely to face pressure to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table, days after Washington said it was delaying its withdrawal from Afghanistan.

3.

Sri Lankan Opposition slams UNHRC resolution (Pg 16)

a)     International

a)     A section of Opposition lawmakers came down heavily on a resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council this month on accountability in Sri Lanka.

4.

China to stay away from Syria (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     Its focus on the Asia-Pacific, military limitations, and fear of getting bogged down in a far-away conflict are preventing China from dispatching forces to Syria.

5.

Constitutions will upheld (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)    Instead of seeing the NJAC verdict as one that leads to a confrontation between the Parliament and the judiciary, the executive must use this as an opportunity to help the Supreme Court in preparing an institutional design so that appointments are fair and transparent.

6.

Collegium was revived to avoid chaos and tyranny (Page 14)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The decision to revive the collegium was born out of the sheer necessity to avert chaos and not to create a situation in which the President may become a tyrant by assuming absolute powers to appoint judges on his own.

7.

Aadhaar and the right to privacy (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     In the 21st century, a govt that cannot protect its citizens right to privacy cannot credibly maintain a democratic regime of equal treatment under the law.

8.

World recognises Indias strong standing amid global economic turmoil (Page 17)

a)     Economy

a)     In a day the RBI Governor Rajan underscored some of the steps the country would need to take to achieve 9 percent growth, PM Modi announced that a raft of banking sector reforms were in the pipeline that would boost growth in rural areas in a manner similar to that achieved by the telecom sector some years ago.

9.

Chinas economy logs weakest growth since 2009 (Page 17)

a)     Economy

a)     Chinas economic growth dipped below 7 percent for the first time since the global financial crisis, hurt partly by cooling investment, raising pressure on Beijing to further cut interest rates and take other measures to stoke activity.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Thapas visit to Delhi fails to ease Nepal blockade (Page 15)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Nepal relations

b)     Nepals Economic blockade

c)     Nepals new Constitution

d)     Madhesis concerns

a)     At the end of his three-day visit, Nepals Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa said he had given a new boost to India-Nepal ties but he was yet to find the way to end the economic blockade.

b)     He said a committee for dialogue with Madhesi leaders has been set up by PM K.P. Sharma Oli. But, we are unable to find an end to the blockade right away. We need Indias support to end the blockade.

2.

Pakistan PM heads to US (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     Pakistan – US relations

b)     Taliban

c)     Afghanistan situation

 

a)   Pakistans PM Nawaz Sharif arrives in US for a 4-day trip and is likely to face pressure to bring the Taliban to negotiating table, days after Washington said it was delaying its withdrawal from Afghanistan.

b)     US President Obama last week reversed a pledge to pull troops out as he admitted Afghan forces were not ready to stand alone against the resurgent Islamists. The US sees Pakistan as a source of influence over the Taliban.

c)     Pakistan was once the Talibans main sponsor and its chief protector, but nominally switched sides after the Sept 11 2001 attacks. However, US officials suspect the organisation still receives succour from elements in Pakistan, including the nations powerful spy agency. That charge is repeated by Kabul, which accuses Islamabad of harbouring and nurturing Taliban insurgents.

d)     Under pressure from the US (which has tied millions of dollars of aid to Pakistans commitment to tackling militancy), Islamabad last year launched an offensive in its northwestern tribal areas, where the Taliban had previously operated with impunity.

3.

Sri Lankan Opposition slams UNHRC resolution (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankan human rights issue

b)     UNHRC

a)     A section of Opposition lawmakers came down heavily on a resolution adopted by the UNHRC this month on accountability in Sri Lanka. They said the resolution violates our sovereignty and Constitution.

b)     Meanwhile, a civil society group questioned the argument that the governments support for the UNHRC resolution undermined the status of Sri Lanka as a sovereign and independent State.

4.

China to stay away from Syria (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     Syria crisis

b)     Islamic State (IS)

c)     UNSC

a)     A candid commentary by a website identified that Chinas focus on the Asia-Pacific, military limitations, and fear of getting bogged down in a far-away conflict are preventing China from dispatching forces to Syria.

b)     The commentary makes it plain that Chinese forces would not engage in war in West Asia targeting the militant group IS without a sanction from UNSC. The attacks against the IS previously launched by US and now by Russia were decided by the two countries themselves through consultation with relevant forces. It is improbable for China to engage in a war in the Middle East without the UNs authorization.

c)     The write-up underscores Chinas military limitations, including the absence of foreign military bases and allies. Fears of getting dragged in a remote conflict are another major factor that is dissuading the deployment of the Peoples Liberation Army in Syria.

5.

Constitutions will upheld (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC)

b)     99th Constitution Amendment

c)     Collegium system

d)     Rule of law

e)     Judicial independence

f)     Judicial review

g)     Supreme Court

h)     Parliament

 

a)   Two days after the Supreme Court pronounced its verdict on 99th Constitution Amendment Act and the NJAC, declaring them to be ultra vires the Constitution, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in his blog that Indian democracy cannot be a tyranny of the unelected and if elected are undermined, democracy itself would be in danger.

b)     According to the author, the reaction of the executive to the NJAC verdict raises the fundamental question: Should the exercise of power of judicial review depend upon the will of the Parliament?

c)     Indian Constitution (unlike the Constitutions of US and Australia) does not have an express provision of separation of powers but its sweep, operation and visibility are not unclear. While it is the Parliaments prerogative to amend the Constitution and make laws, the duty to decide whether the basic elements of the constitutional structure have been transgressed has been placed on the judiciary. 

d)     Once the legislature has done a legislative act, the constitutionality of such an act can only be decided through the process of judicial review and there can be no rule of law without such a provision. The rule of law would cease to have any meaning if the discharge of judicial functions is seen as thwarting the will of the people represented by the elected legislatures. Any attempt to reconcile judicial review with the will of representatives of people is sure recipe for destruction of the rule of law.

e)     Our Constitution has given the power of judicial review to the unelected superior judiciary to declare unconstitutional a legislative act, once it is found to be violative of the basic structure. It would be a sad day for our democracy if the exercise of judicial function is made dependent on the will of the representatives of people. The institutional arrangement at the heart of our democracy provides that the will of the people, as reflected in the decisions their elected representatives, is subject to the will of the Constitution, as reflected in the decisions of an independent judiciary.

f)     Parliamentary supremacy refers to the power of Parliament to make laws within the limits imposed by the Constitution. It also denotes the supremacy of Parliament over the executive, primarily through the accountability of the Council of Ministers to Parliament. Judicial review of the constitutional validity of laws is also an integral part of a parliamentary democracy.

g)    All the 3 organs of the state derive power and jurisdiction from our Constitution. Each must operate within the sphere allotted to it. Judicial function is also a very important sovereign function of the state and provides the foundation for rule of law. When a verdict such as that striking down the NJAC comes, the critical scrutiny and inherent relational tensions are not surprising. They must be handled deftly and with maturity.

h)     Judicial independence is a central goal of most legal systems, and the mode of appointment of judges is seen as a crucial mechanism to achieve this goal. While in all democracies of the world, there is near-universal consensus on the importance of judicial independence, legal systems utilise a wide range of selection mechanisms (the split model, the collaborative model, the parliamentary model, the judicial self selection model and the judicial appointments commission model) in practice.

i)     The diversity of constitutional ethos in different countries suggests that it may not be a good idea to borrow other systems for the selection of judges. It is not wholly correct to say that judges appoint judges in India as consultative participation of the executive is present in the institutionalised procedure prescribed after the Third Judges case, but assuming it to be so, ours is perhaps the only country where the govt is the biggest litigant before courts.

j)     We are one of the very few countries where actions of the political executive in diverse fields (ranging from violation of human rights to wrongful distribution of natural resources and wide range of issues which have huge political ramifications) are brought before the superior judiciary in the public interest litigation. It is no exaggeration to say that appointment processes shape the ability of courts to hold political institutions to account.

k)     In the Second Judges case, the nine-judge Bench exposited that appointment of judges to High Courts and the Supreme Court forms an integral part of the basic structure of our Constitution, and therefore, the executive cannot interfere with the primacy of judiciary in the matter of appointments.

l)     The NJACs flawed composition consisted of the fact that it merged certain components, reflected in the inclusion of Law Minister and two eminent persons and giving any two members the power to veto the decision of the other four. This directly affected the independence of judiciary in the judicial appointments process. Had the Parliament maintained the primacy of judiciary while providing for entire scheme of working of NJAC, the decision may have been different.

m)     The judges who delivered the judgment in the NJAC case also hold the view that an improvement in the working of collegium system is the need of the hour. They have proposed a hearing on this aspect on Nov 3.

n)    Instead of seeing the NJAC verdict as one that leads to a confrontation between the Parliament and the judiciary in the matter of the appointment and transfer of judges of the superior judiciary, the executive must use this as an opportunity to help the Supreme Court in preparing an institutional design so that all appointments by the collegium meet tests of fairness and transparency and all selections are made solely on merit with an encouragement provided to the diversity in the persons available for selection.

6.

Collegium was revived to avoid chaos and tyranny (Page 14)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Collegium system

b)     National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC)

c)     99th Constitution Amendment

d)     Article 124

e)     Article 217

a)     The decision to revive the collegium was born out of the sheer necessity to avert chaos and not to create a situation in which the President may become a tyrant by assuming absolute powers to appoint judges on his own. This is how Supreme Courts Constitution Bench explained its decision to restore the collegium, striking down the NJAC and the Constitution (99th Amendment) Act with one blow.

b)     Finance Minister Jaitley said in his blog that the court quashed the 99th Constitutional Amendment. While quashing the same, it re-legislated the repealed provisions of Article 124 and 217 which only the legislature can do. This is the third error in the judgment.

c)     But Justices J.S. Khehar, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph on Constitution Bench have separately explained that they had no choice but to make the collegium operative to avert chaos in a situation in which neither the NJAC nor the collegium was functional.

7.

Aadhaar and the right to privacy (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     Aadhaar scheme

b)     PDS scheme

c)     LPG scheme

d)     Right to privacy

e)     Fundamental rights

f)     US Constitutions Bill of Rights    

a)     According to the author, the Supreme Court has cut straight to the heart of the issue in Aadhaar petitions. On behalf of all Indian citizens, it asks the current govt to address the most basic questions in a democracy governed by the law: what are the privacy rights of its citizens; and are they protected equally, with the same justice for the rich and the poor alike?

b)     In the 20th century, governments that recognised no private sphere of thought, expression, and action outside their reach and the ruling partys reach were called totalitarian. Aware that such governments are antithetical to freedom, the worlds democracies were willing to sacrifice tens of millions of their citizens lives in the Second World War to defeat them militarily.

c)  The democratic constitutions that rose on the ashes of European totalitarianism explicitly recognised the integrity of a private sphere that governments may not invade, as the US Constitutions Bill of Rights (as interpreted by its Supreme Court) has also done. The post-Independence Indian Constitution does this as well.

d)     In the 21st century, a govt that cannot or will not protect its citizens privacy rights cannot credibly maintain a democratic regime of equal treatment under the rule of law. Freedom of opinion and association; freedom of religion (or irreligion); the ability to make choices and decisions autonomously in society free of surrounding social pressure, including the right to vote - all of these depend on preservation of the private sphere.

e)     Yet, the Govt of India (speaking through its Attorney-General) has repeatedly declared that it is the govts position that Indian citizens have no constitutional right of privacy. Whether GoI is ultimately prepared to restate that position and risk a political loss before the Supreme Court remains to be seen.

f)     The pressure on govt very much increased last week, when the Supreme Court refused simultaneous applications by multiple agencies demanding relief from the Supreme Courts interim order limiting the use of Aadhaar pending the Courts final decision. By referring these govt applications to a constitutional bench whose composition has been announced last week, the court has assured Indians that a decision on their fundamental rights will not be long delayed.

g)     Attorney-General argued that the poor (whose welfare is at stake in the continuance of subsidy payments and other benefits) must be prepared to surrender their right of privacy, in order to continue receiving benefits. This argument was sharply rejected by the bench, which recognises that the poor have the same rights as the rich, and interim as well as permanently, in any democratic society.

h)    The governments most basic obligation is to protect its citizens rights (both their right to sustenance and their right to privacy that enables freedom) equally. The ultimate resolution of this present controversy must recognise both the need for Aadhaar (in order to provide efficient and honest government services to citizens) and need for stringent rules concerning access to and security of citizens biometric data, in order to preserve their privacy.

i)     GoI cannot adopt the posture that only one aspect of govts protective responsibility matters that the costs of privacy destruction can be imposed upon the poor in return for LPG subsidies, or any other social benefit on which they absolutely depend. Supreme Courts action this week ensures that GoI must respond to both halves of the problem.

j)     In particular, the Indian Supreme Court is likely to find itself asking GoI about what in Indian and US law is called the doctrine of unconstitutional conditions. Both Supreme Courts have held that the government cannot condition receipt of public benefits on waiver of fundamental rights.

k) This is in sharp contradiction to the argument offered in the Supreme Court this week by the counsel for Center for Civil Society, when he told the bench that a person who has a right to privacy should be allowed to waive it for greater benefit.

8.

World recognises Indias strong standing amid global economic turmoil (Page 17)

a)     Economy

a)     Global economic situation

b)     Indias economic growth

c)     Global financial crisis 2009

 

a)     In a day the RBI Governor Rajan underscored some of the steps the country would need to take to achieve 9 percent growth, PM Modi announced that a raft of banking sector reforms were in the pipeline that would boost growth in rural areas in a manner similar to that achieved by the telecom sector some years ago.

b)     The PM said the world had taken note of how India has been able to stand strong amid the global economic turmoil. His remarks followed news of Chinas growth slowing to 6.9 percent in the third quarter of this year, its worst showing since the 2009 global financial crisis.

c)     Separately, global rating agency Standard & Poors said it was retaining sovereign credit rating for India at BBB- with stable outlook. It also said that improved policymaking raised prospects for Indias economic and fiscal performance.

9.

Chinas economy logs weakest growth since 2009 (Page 17)

a)     Economy

a)     Chinas economic growth

b)     Currency devaluation

c)     Global financial crisis

a)     Chinas economic growth dipped below 7 percent for the first time since the global financial crisis, hurt partly by cooling investment, raising pressure on Beijing to further cut interest rates and take other measures to stoke activity.

b)    Analysts said that stronger fiscal spending and more rapid credit growth will limit the downside risks to growth over the coming quarters.

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