La Excellence IAS Academy

Abortion now a constitutional right in France

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: Polity, Topic: Rights issues, Issue: Abortion laws

Context: France becomes the first country to make abortion a constitutional right.

  • The U.S Supreme Court in 2022 overruled Roe v. Wade ruling that recognized women’s constitutional right to abortion.
Pro-life (opposing abortion) Pro-choice (supporting abortion)
Right to Life of the Foetus:  Abortion is seen as moral equivalent to murder. Woman’s Right to Bodily Autonomy: power and agency to make choices over one’s body without coercion or violence.
Religious Beliefs: Condemn abortion as a violation of God’s will. Women’s Health: Restricting access to safe and legal abortion can lead to unsafe practices.
Focus on Alternatives: Resources and support for pregnant women in difficult situations. Focus on choice: Women should have the right to make the choice for themselves.

Regulation in India:

Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971

  • This act legalises abortion under certain conditions.
  • Grounds for Abortion:
    • Risk to the woman’s life,
    • substantial risk of physical or mental abnormalities in the foetus, and
    • pregnancy arising out of rape or incest.
  • 2021 Amendment: Extended the gestational limit for abortion from 20 weeks to 24 weeks.
  • Unmarried Women: A Supreme Court judgement in 2022 clarified that unmarried women have the same right to safe and legal abortion as married women.


Source: The Hindu

Indian start-ups urge CCI to order Google to reinstate apps.

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Current Affairs, Topic: Schemes/Policies/programes, Issue: Competition commission of India

Context:  Indian start-ups have asked the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to order Google to reinstate apps it had removed.

  • Google removed more than 100 Indian apps for not complying with its policies.

Competition Commission of India (CCI)

  • It is a statutory body within the Ministry of Corporate Affairs
  • Chief national competition regulator in India.
  • Responsible for enforcing the Competition Act, 2002 to promote fair competition

Key Functions:

  • Investigates anti-competitive agreements and cartels.
  • Examines and regulates mergers and acquisitions exceeding a certain threshold.
  • Regulates unfair competition practices.
  • Advocates and promotes competition awareness.

Source: The Hindu

SBI seeks time till June 30 to disclose details of poll bonds.

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Economy, Topic: Fiscal policy and Budgeting, Issue: Electoral bonds

Context: The State Bank of India moved the Supreme Court seeking time till June 30 to comply with the directions in Electoral bonds judgement.

Association for Democratic Reforms v Union of India 2024 (Electoral bonds judgement)

  • The Court unanimously struck down the Electoral Bonds (EB) Scheme for having violated the voters’ right to information enshrined in Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.
  • Unlimited Corporate funding was held unconstitutional as it violated the principle of “one person, one vote”.

Directions to SBI:

  • The court ordered SBI to stop the sale of electoral bonds.
  • Directed SBI to submit details of electoral bonds purchased between April 2019 and February 2024 to the Election Commission.
  • Details must include the date of purchase, the name of the buyer, and the denomination of the bond by March 6.

Direction to the Election Commission

  • To publish the information received from SBI on its website by March 13.

Source: The Hindu

Daily Editorials

JMM bribes for votes ruling: How Supreme Court interpreted privilege for lawmakers

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: Polity, Topic: Legislature, Issue: Privileges

Why in news:

  • Recently A seven-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court ruled that:
  • Lawmakers facing bribery charges in connection with their speech and votes in the House cannot be immune from criminal prosecution.
  • Claims to parliamentary privilege by lawmakers can be subject to judicial review.
  • Only Parliament cannot have the last word on the issue.

     Parliamentary privileges:

  • Article 105(2) of the Constitution grants immunity to Members of Parliament regarding their speeches and votes in Parliament or its committees. (Member of state assembly under Article 194(2))
  • It extends to publications authorized by Parliament or state assemblies.

     Supreme Court’s interpretation on law of privileges

  • Privilege in India originate from constitution.
  • Two types of privilege– collective and individual
  • Use of privilege is based on necessity principle- privilege must be such that without it “they could not discharge their functions”
  • Accepting bribes contradicts probity in public life and erodes democratic ideals.
  • Even without a quid pro quo, accepting a bribe constitutes an offense under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
  • Creating an exceptional class of public servants with extraordinary protection violates Article 14 (right to equality) of the Constitution.
  • Both the court and Parliament could exercise jurisdiction on the actions of lawmakers in parallel.
  • Because the purpose of punishment by the House is different from the purpose of a criminal trial.
+1 Advantage for mains (Supreme Court’s observation on corruption):

·         Corruption and bribery by members of the legislature deprive citizens of a responsible, responsive and representative democracy

P.V. Narasimha Rao v State (CBI/SPE) (The ratio which has been reversed):

·         Legislators enjoy immunity from criminal prosecution for bribery in matters connected to their speech and votes in Parliament and Legislative Assemblies.

The biggest roadblock to India’s net-zero goal

Syllabus: GS-I, Subject: Geography, Topic: Rock and Minerals, Issue: Critical Minerals

Critical minerals:

  • Critical minerals lack standard definition, they are identified based on individual countries’ criteria.
  • India recently identified 30 critical minerals and amended mining laws for private sector participation.
  • Criteria for critical minerals include disruption potential, substitutability and import reliance.
  • States housing critical minerals include Bihar, Gujarat, Jharkhand, etc.

Concerns with critical minerals:

  • Essential for various sectors like construction, transport, fertilizer and defense.
  • Crucial for decarbonization efforts such as solar and wind energy and e-vehicles.
  • Concentrated in few countries like Australia, China, and Chile.
  • China monopolizes the processing capacity of critical minerals.

The way ahead:

  • India joined the US-led Minerals Security Partnership to diversify supply chains.
  • Joint exploration agreements with Australia aim to secure critical mineral access.
  • Lack of domestic availability underscores the need to secure critical mineral supplies.
+1 Adavntage  for mains ( Data point)

·         China processes 35 per cent of the world’s nickel, 50-70 per cent of lithium and cobalt and nearly 90 per cent of rare earths.

·         China has also monopolized the manufacture of finished products made from rare earths like cathodes, anodes, battery cells and permanent magnets.

·         China has 60 per cent of the rare earths, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has 75 per cent of cobalt, Indonesia has 35 per cent of nickel, Chile has 30 per cent of copper reserves.

·         IEA has estimated that in order to meet the Paris Agreement targets, the clean energy technologies will dominate the demand for critical minerals over the next two decades.


Tepid trade-offs: On the WTO 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: International relation, Topic: Regional and global grouping, Issue: WTO 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi

MC13 of WTO

  • Despite lengthy discussions, no significant achievements were reached.
  • Importance of the WTO is growing due to – global conflicts, disruptions in shipment routes, and supply chain adjustments.
  • Additional threat – Inward-looking tendencies and tariff-heavy policies.
  • The MC13 declaration acknowledges challenges such as ensuring open and resilient supply chains.
  • Disagreements persist among WTO member countries, particularly on agriculture and fisheries subsidies. (Some progress has been made in agriculture discussions)
  • Exemption of custom duties on e-commerce received a two-year extension, India’s concerns were not fully addressed.
  • Efforts to revive the WTO’s dispute resolution body remain uncertain.
  • India successfully opposed an investment facilitation pact led by China at MC13.
  • India needs to intensify efforts to safeguard policy space, especially for sensitive sectors like agriculture.

Reform bail law, but make the right diagnosis first

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: Polity, Topic: Judiciary and tribunals, Issue: Issue with global university ranking system

Context: Recently SC acknowledged the ineffectiveness of the bail system

  • Indian prisons are overcrowded (118%) with 75% under-trial.
  • In Satender Kumar Antil vs CBI case, SC has recognized the ineffectiveness of bail system and has issued comprehensive guidelines –
  • Timelines for bail application disposal and the need for separate legislation.
  • Emphasized on the principle of ‘presumption of innocence’ and advocated for ‘bail not jail’ as the norm.

     Ways to reform the system:

  • Gather empirical evidence on parameters such as– bail application rates and acceptance/rejection proportions.
  • Effective enforcement of safeguards against arbitrary arrest.
  • Reducing the discretionary power in bail adjudication which often leads to denial of bail or imposition of onerous conditions for granting bail.
  • Re-evaluation of the current bail system which assumes risk of financial loss is necessary to ensure the presence of the accused in court.

Is India finally entering stage II of its nuclear programme? | Explained

Syllabus: GS- III, Subject: Science and technology, Topic: Nuclear technology, Issue: Indian nuclear program

Context: Recently the core loading process of the indigenous prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR) started at Kalpakkam

Three stage nuclear program of India:

  • Aims for complete self-sufficiency in nuclear energy.
  • Designed by Homi J. Bhabha to utilize India’s abundant thorium resources.
  • Stage I – pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs) use natural uranium-238 (U-238) for fuel.
  • Stage II – Using plutonium-239 (Pu-239) produced in stage I, along with U-238, in the PFBR to generate energy, U-233, and more Pu-239.
  • Stage III- using Pu-239 with thorium-232 (Th-232) to produce energy and U-233.

Reason for delay of PFBR:

  • Sanctions post ‘Smiling Buddha’ nuclear test, cost overruns, human resource issues, technical difficulties and excessive reliance on NPCI for components.

Challenges of Stage-II:

  • Harder to handle due to radioactive byproducts produced and technological complexity in using liquid sodium as moderator.
  • International Atomic Energy Agency wants India to set up an independent statutory atomic regulator for civilian purpose.
  • Development of small modular reactors – SMRs (< 300MW) which require less land and have more safety features.
  • Fukushima Daiichi disaster (2011) has shifted public opinion worldwide against nuclear power.
Prelims Connect:

·         BHAVINI (Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam, Ltd.) was established by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) to implement stage II.

A vaccine that prevents six cancers

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Science and technology, Topic: Medical Science and health, Issue: Vaccine Administration in India

Cervical Cancer:

  • Second most common cancer in India and fourth most common in world.
  • Prevention strategies – HPV vaccination and screening for pre-cancerous lesions.
  • WHO’s strategy aims for 90% HPV vaccination coverage, 70% screening by age 35 and 45, and 90% treatment for detected lesions by 2030.
  • Efforts by India– launch of HPV vaccine (2008), G20 presidency emphasizes equitable vaccine access, inclusion in the Universal Immunization Programme (2023)
  • Key issue in HPV vaccination– limited access, high cost in private market, physicians underestimating the incidence and risk of cervical cancer, lack of trust in vaccine safety and effectiveness, myths and misinformation about the HPV vaccine.

The way ahead:

  • Creating awareness, that HPV vaccine can prevent six different type of cancer.
  • Creating physician champions to lead the vaccination drive
One mark extra for mains ( data point)

·         By 2040, India is estimated to have 191,347 new cases of cervical cancer, marking a 54% increase from 2020.