News: July 17, 2020

Sub: Politics
Topic: Judiciary
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 1/5

Cases And Committees In Focus

Committees

  • Justice Verma Committee, 2013
    • On amendments to the Criminal Law so as to provide for quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault against women.  
    • Recommended insertion of Section 53A in the Indian Evidence Act wherein previous good character should become irrelevant in criminal proceedings.
  • V.S. Malimath Committee, 2003: reforms in the criminal justice system 
    • The panel recommended a modification to Article 20 (3) of the Constitution that protects the accused from being compelled to be a witness against himself/herself. The Committee suggested that the court be given freedom to question the accused to elicit information and draw an adverse inference against the accused in case the latter refuses to answer
    • The panel recommends replacing "proof beyond reasonable doubt" with "if the court is convinced that it is true" as basis to convict accused in criminal cases
    • Recommended setting up of a National Security Commission and State Security Commissions
  • M.R. Shamshad committee - Delhi riots
  • Kris Gopalakrishnan committee - The committee was formed by ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) , to formulate a framework for Non-personal data (NPD)

Cases

  • Constitution
    • Kihoto Hollohan versus Zachillu, 1992: Judicial review for member disqualification is only available after final decision by the Speaker/Chairman. Till then he acts as a tribunal.
  • Information Technology
    • Anuradha Bhasin vs Union of India, 2020  - Internet ban in Jammu and Kashmir under the pretext of Section 144
  • Police Reforms
    • Prakash Singh v. Union of India (2006) - Supreme Court pushing for legislation for governing police forces. Grievance redressal was a key component
    • Joginder Kumar v. State of UP, and D.K. Basu v. State of West Bengal - Guidelines for right to life and right to know. To ensure that an accused person is made aware of all critical information regarding her arrest and also convey this to friends and family immediately in the event of being taken in custody.
  • Sexual assault 
    • Shri Bodhisattwa Gautam v. Shubra Chakraborty - suggest that a large number of women still fail to report rapes to the police 
    • Mahmood Farooqui v. NCT of Delhi (2017) - On consent in relationship
  • Torture
    • Raghbir Singh v. State of Haryana (1980), Francis Coralie Mullin v. Union Territory of Delhi (1981)
    • Sheela Barse v. State of Maharashtra (1987) : Court condemned cruelty and torture as violative of Article 21
    • DK Basu v. State of West Bengal: Prisoners and detainees are not deprived of their Fundamental Rights under Article 21 barring restrictions permitted by law
    • Nilabati Behera v. State of Orissa: Supreme Court made sure that the state could no longer escape liability in public law and had to be compelled to pay compensation

[In News]

  • July, 20
    • Madhya Pradesh Council of Ministers exceeding prescribed limit
    • Controversy over Justice Krishna Dixit's “misogynistic” remarks
    • "Committee for the Reform of Criminal Laws" created by Ministry of Home Affairs. Its consultation exercise would start on July 4 and go on for the next three months.
    • Non-personal data committee invites public comments on framework
    • Kihoto Hollohan versus Zachillu, 1992 case in judicial review powers of high court

Sub: Politics
Topic: Constitution
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 2/5

Constitution Schedules in focus

Sixth Schedule - Articles 244 and 275

Provisions as to the Administration of Tribal Areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. Based on recommendation of Bardoloi sub committee.

Autonomous districts and autonomous regions

  • Autonomous districts and autonomous regions
    • Governor can include, exclude, create boundaries of autonomous districts. He can appoint a commission for examining their administration and accordingly dissolve them too on its recommendation.
    • If there are different Scheduled Tribes in an autonomous district, the Governor can divide the area into autonomous regions.
  • Constitution of District Councils and Regional Councils:
    • There shall be a District Council for each autonomous district consisting of not more than thirty members; of whom not more than four persons shall be nominated by the Governor and the rest shall be elected on the basis of adult suffrage.
    • There shall be a separate Regional Council for each area constituted an autonomous region. Each District Council and each Regional Council shall bear the name respectively of "the District Council of (name of district)" and "the Regional Council of (name of region)"
    • In an autonomous district with Regional Councils, the District Council shall have only such powers with respect to the areas under the authority of the Regional Council as may be delegated to it by the Regional Council, in addition to the powers conferred on it by this Schedule with respect to such areas.
    • The elected members of the District Council shall hold office for a term of five years from the date appointed for the first meeting after the general elections to the Council
      • Can be extended to one year in case of emergency, but not beyond six months after emergency ceases
  • Powers of the District Councils and Regional Councils to make laws:
    • Have rights over land for promoting interests of its inhabitants, except for reserved forests and rights of state government for land occupation for public purposes. They can impose land revenue
    • District Council for an autonomous district can establish and manage primary schools (can prescribe language), dispensaries, markets, transport in the district after approval from Governor.
    • Within their territorial jurisdictions they may constitute village councils or courts for the trial of suits between parties belonging to Scheduled Tribes within such areas. The jurisdiction of high court over these suits and cases is to be specified by the governor.
    • After approval from Governor, can make rules regulating the constitution and enforcement of village councils and courts
    • There shall be a District Fund and a Regional Fund, and Governor to make rules for its management; and CAG to conduct audits of its accounts.
    • The acts of Parliament or the state legislature do not apply to autonomous districts and autonomous regions or apply with specified modifications and exceptions

 

Tenth Schedule - Articles 102(2) and 191(2)

The 52nd Amendment Act of 1985, also called Anti-defection law' provided for the disqualification of the members of Parliament and the state legislatures on the ground of defection from one political party to another.

Disqualification on ground of defection

 A member of a House belonging to any political party becomes disqualified for being a member of the House:

  • Para 2(1)(a) - if he voluntarily gives up his membership of such political party
    • In the absence of a formal resignation by the member, the giving up of membership can be inferred by his conduct
    • There are supreme court judgements, where members who publicly expressed opposition to their party, or support for another party were deemed to have resigned
  • if he votes or abstains from voting in such House contrary to any direction issued by his political party, and such act has not been condoned by the party within 15 days of voting.
  • An elected member who has been elected as a candidate set up by any political party, shall be disqualified for being a member of the House if he joins any political party after such election.
  • A nominated member of a House becomes disqualified for being a member of the House if he joins any political party after the expiry of six months from the date on which he takes his seat in the House.

Exceptions

  • If a member goes out of his party as a result of a merger of the party with another party. A merger takes place when two-thirds of the members of the party have agreed to such merger.
  • If a member, after being elected as the presiding officer of the House, voluntarily gives up the membership of his party or rejoins it after he ceases to hold that office.
  • 91st Amendment Act of 2003, removed the provision, that gave exemption from disqualification in case of split by one-third members.

Process

  • Any question arising for disqualification of member is referred for the decision of the Chairman / Speaker and his decision is final.
    • Any question arising for disqualification of speaker/chairman himself lies with the member elected by House
  • The Presiding Officer can take up a defection case only when he receives a complaint from a member of the House. The law does not specify a time-period for the Presiding Officer to decide on a disqualification plea
  • Before taking the final decision, Presiding Officer must give the member a chance to submit his explanation. Presiding Officer may also refer the matter to the committee of privileges for inquiry.
  • Judicial review: Appeals against final decision of Presiding Officer can be made in the High Court and Supreme Court. A challenge can be made if there is a threat of disqualification before final decision of speaker.
    • Supreme Court, after Kihoto Hollohan v. Zachillhu case (1993), became the final authority over disqualification of member.

[In News]

  • July, 20
    • Support withdrawal and defection in Manipur assembly
    • Disqualification of Sachin Pilot and other MLAs
  • Aug, 20
    • Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu seeks debate on the demand for two autonomous councils - Mon Autonomous Region (MAR) and Patkai Autonomous Council (PAC)

Sub: Politics
Topic: Governance Agencies and Bodies
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 3/5

Pressure Groups In Focus

Aviation

  • Centre for Aviation (CAPA) : Analyses aviation and travel industry

Environment

  • Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) : Not-for-profit organization in environment protect domain
  • The Energy and Resources (TERI) : Research institute in New Delhi that specializes in the fields of energy, environment and sustainable development
  • South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) : SANDRP is a network of researchers and experts working on water and environmental issues.
  • TRAFFIC, a leading wildlife trade monitoring network.
    • It recorded a significant increase in poaching in India during the over two month lockdown period.

Health

  • Indian Medical Association - voluntary organization of doctors

Human Rights

  • People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) : formed in India in 1976 by socialist leader Jayaprakash Narayan

Rehabilitation

  • Centre for Holistic Development - For homeless citizens

Wildlife

  • TRAFFIC: TRAFFIC is a leading non-governmental organisation working globally on trade in wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. Recent paper called 'SPOTTED' by TRAFFIC India, revealed that of the total of 747 leopard deaths between 2015-2019 in India, 596 were linked to illegal wildlife trade and activities related to poaching. Leopard poaching was highest in Uttarakhand, Maharashtra

Women

  • Pinjra Tod - autonomous collective effort to ensure secure, affordable and not gender-discriminatory accommodation for women students across Delhi.
    • Activists booked under UAPA in relation to communal violence

[In News: Latest]

  • July, 20
    • CAPA estimated that the second quarter beginning July too will be a washout. It reiterated that the market may only be left with 2-3 airlines if there is a delay in recapitalisation for the sector.
    • Antibiotics are extensively misused in the dairy sector and its residues remain largely untested in milk, noted a recently published survey report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
  • Aug, 20
    • Leopard poaching highest in Uttarakhand, Maharashtra

Sub: Society
Topic: Human Development
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 4/5

Census Of India

Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India (ORGI)

  • ORGI is an an attached office of Ministry of Home Affairs,
  • Registrar General of India functions as National Registration Authority and Registrar General of Citizen Registration under Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003
  • Conducts the decennial population census, and tabulates the census data under the provisions of the Census Act 1948 and Census (Amendment) Act, 1993
    • First census was conducted in 1872 under Lord Mayo
    • First complete census was done in 1881, thereafter every 10 years till 2011
  • Registers births and deaths in the country
  • Provides opinion to the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment and Ministry of Tribal Affairs on the State/UT Governments’ recommendations concerning inclusion, exclusion, and modifications in the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes lists in their respective States/UTs

Sample Registration System (SRS) statistical report, 2018

SRS is carried out by the Office of Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India with an objective of providing reliable annual estimates of birth rate, death rate, infant mortality rate and various other fertility and mortality indicators. SRS is one of the largest demographic surveys in the world covering about 8.1 million population. It serves as the main source of information on fertility and mortality both at the State and National levels.

  • Infant Mortality Rate (IMR)
    • Infant mortality rate (IMR) = (Number of infant deaths during the year / Number of live births during the year ) X 1000
    • Infant mortality rate highest in Madhya Pradesh (48), Odisha (44) and Assam(44).
    • Kerala IMR lowest with 7
    • India's IMR is 34, and has gradually decreased since 2013 (40)
    • SDG 3.2: By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age to as low as 12 per 1000 live births and under-5 mortality to as low as 25 per 1000 live births
  • Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR)
    • Maternal death is the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy. Maternal mortality ratio (MMR) is number of maternal deaths per 1,00,000 live births
    • All-India MMR in 2016-18 stood at 113. Kerala has the lowest at 43, and Assam has highest at 215.
    • SDG 3.1: By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100 000 live births.
      • Southern states have achieved the SDG goal 3.1,

[In News]

  • July, 20
    • SRS Report, 2018 - Infant mortality rate highest in Madhya Pradesh (48), Odisha (44), Assam(44). India's IMR is 34. A major concern is birth spacing as in most cases two children were born within one-one and a half years against the advised gap of around three years. This may result in premature deliveries of low birth weight babies,
    • India registers steep decline in MMR

Sub: Politics
Topic: Constitution
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 5/5

State Legislature

Articles 168 to 212 in Part VI of the Constitution deal with the organisation, composition, duration, officers, procedures, privileges, powers and so on of the state legislature.

Article 190  - Vacation of Seats

  • No person shall be a member of both Houses of the Legislature, else state legislature should make provisions for vacation of seat in either House.
  • If a member of the state legislature is disqualified under Article 191
  • A member may resign by writing to Speaker of legislative assembly (Chairman for legislative council). The seat falls vacant when the resignation is accepted, but speaker can deny it after an inquiry he feels the resignation is not genuine or voluntary.
  • If a member of Legislative Assembly is absent from meetings of assembly for a period of sixty days, without permission of the Assembly. The said period of sixty days do not include period when House is prorogued or is adjourned for more than four consecutive days
  • Other Cases: A member has to vacate his seat in the either House of state legislature:
    1. if his election is declared void by the court
    2. if he is expelled by the House
    3. if he is elected to the office of president or office of vice president
    4. if he is appointed to the office of governor of state

Article 191  -  Disqualifications for membership

A person shall be disqualified for being chosen as and for being a member of the legislative assembly or legislative council of a state:

  • if he holds any office of profit under the Union or state government (except that of a minister or any other office exempted by state legislature)
  • if he is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a court
  • if he is an undischarged insolvent
  • if he is not a citizen of India or has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign state or is under any acknowledgement of allegiance to a foreign state
  • if he is so disqualified under any law made by Parliament

Representation of People Act (1951), provides for additional grounds for disqualification like no imprisonment for two or more years (preventive detention dont apply), holding office of profit, declaration of election expenses, etc.

Sessions of State Legislature

  • Summoning:
    • Article 174 of the constitution empowers the governor to summon, prorogue and dissolve the house. These functions are performed by him on the advice of his council of ministers (Article 163). The cabinet is not bound to state the agenda for the session to the governor
    • In  Nabam Rabia and Banan Felix v. Deputy Speaker (2016), Supreme Court made two points clear
      • The governor has no discretion in the matter of summoning the house if the chief minister enjoys majority in the house and, therefore, is bound to act on the advice of the cabinet.
      • In case the governor has reason to believe that the chief minister has lost his majority, the governor can use his discretion in fixing the date for summoning the assembly where the chief minister has to test his majority.
    • Even if the governor suggests another date, if the government sticks to its own date, the Governor has to sign the summons order.
    • The maximum gap between the two sessions of state legislature cannot be more than six months.
      • The convention is to keep at least 15 days gap (earlier 21 days) between sessions. 15 days is the prior notice period given to members for starred questions for preparation; however speaker can shorten the notice period
  • Adjournment: The power of the adjournment as well as adjournment sine die lies with the presiding officer of the House.
    • Adjournment: Adjournment is a postponement of the sitting or proceedings of the House from one time to another 
    • Adjournment sine die: Adjournment sine die means termination of a sitting of the House without any definite date being fixed for the next sitting.
    • Prorogation: Prorogation means termination of a Session of the House by an order made by the Governor. The Prorogation of the House may take place any time, even while the House is sitting.  However, usually, prorogation follows the adjournment of the sitting of the House sine die. 
    • Quorum: Quorum is the minimum number of members required to be present in the House before it can transact any business.  The quorum to constitute a meeting is ten members or one tenth of the total number of members of the House, whichever is greater. If there is no quorum it become duty of speaker or chairman to adjourn House

Legislative Assembly / Vidhan Sabha

Composition and Election

  • Strength: The maximum and minimum strength is fixed at 500 and 60, with excption of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Goa, Mizoram and Nagaland
  • Nominated Member: The governor can nominate one member from the Anglo-Indian community, if the community is not adequately represented in the assembly.
  • Reservation: Reservation of seats for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes on the basis of population ratio.
  • Constituency Demarcation: State constituencies are demarcated in such a manner that the ratio between the population of each constituency and the number of seats allotted to it is the same throughout the state. Readjustment is done after every census

Duration of Assembly

  • Its normal term is five years from the date of its first meeting after the general elections. The expiration of the period of five years operates as automatic dissolution of the assembly.
    • However, the governor is authorised to dissolve the assembly at any time (i.e. even before the completion of five years) to pave the way for fresh elections.
  • The term of the assembly can be extended during the period of national emergency by a law of Parliament for one year at a time (for any length of time). However, this extension cannot continue beyond a period of six months after the emergency has ceased to operate

Legislative Council / Vidhan Parishad

Composition and Election

  • Article 169(1) provides for the abolition or creation of legislative councils in states, if legislative assembly passes a resolution to that effect by special majority.
  • Strength: The maximum strength of the council is fixed at one-third of the total strength of the assembly and the minimum strength is fixed at 40. Actual strength is fixed by Parliament.
  • Election process: Elections are held by system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote. 5/6 of the total number of members of a legislative council are indirectly elected and 1/6 are nominated by the governor.
    • 1/3rd of the members are elected by representatives of the Local Authorities (like Municipalities, Zilla Parishads, Block Parishads etc)
    • 1/3rd of the members are elected by members of the Legislative Assembly (the same person can’t be a member of both the houses)
    • 1/12th of the members are elected by the Graduates in the state
    • 1/12th of the members are elected by the Teachers in the state
    • Remaining members are nominated by the Governor. Those nominated by the Governor should have special knowledge or practical experience in Literature, science, art, co-operative movement and social service.

Duration of Legislative Council

  • It is a permanent body and is not subject to dissolution.
  • One-third of its members retire on the expiration of every second year. So, a member continues as such for six years. The vacant seats are filled up by fresh elections and nominations (by governor) at the beginning of every third year.
  • The retiring members are also eligible for re-election and re-nomination any number of times.

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • Manipur elections
    • Defection of MLAs in Goa legislative assembly
  • July, 20
    • Defection of MLAs in Rajasthan legislative assembly
    • Governor of Rajasthan seeking 21 day gap between two assembly sessions

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