21 Apr 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
POLITY
1. Congress, six other parties move to impeach CJI Misra
2. Cabinet to discuss death penalty for rape of minors
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. CEOs raise retrospective tax, mobility issues with PMs
2. India, Finland end Nokia tax dispute
3. Mutual funds find SME firms attractive
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
GOVERNANCE
1. A promise of reform
JUDICIARY AND IMPEACHMENT
1. Not this way
F. Prelims Fact
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY

1. Congress, six other parties move to impeach CJI Misra

 

  • The Congress, supported by six other Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha took the unprecedented step of moving an impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra on grounds of ‘misbehaviour’ and levelled five charges against him.

It is the first time a sitting Chief Justice will face an impeachment notice in India’s constitutional history.

  • The notice comes a day after the Supreme Court rejected a clutch of petitions seeking a probe into the circumstances surrounding the death of judge B.H. Loya, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case in which BJP president Amit Shah was an accused.
  • The court held that Loya had died of “natural causes”.The Congress, however, insisted that the move was not linked to the verdict in the Loya case.
  • Former Chief Justices of India and eminent jurists said that there was no need for Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra to withdraw from work merely because a group of Opposition MPs had submitted a notice for his impeachment to the Rajya Sabha Chairman.
  • Both the Constitution and the Judges (Inquiry) Act of 1968 are silent on whether a judge facing impeachment motion should recuse from judicial and administrative work till he is cleared of the charges against him. This is the first time that a Chief Justice of India is facing an impeachment motion.
  • Former Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan, who described Chief Justice Misra as a “naturally capable” judge, said the CJI remained unaffected by the impeachment move of the Opposition parties.
  • Neither the law nor propriety requires the CJI to withdraw from work. Until the Rajya Sabha Chairman makes up his mind to admit the motion and refer it to an Inquiry Committee under the 1968 Act, things will be as usual for the CJI.

Review of decision

The jurists are, however, divided on whether a decision by the Rajya Sabha Chairman to refuse the impeachment motion would be judicially reviewable.

Justice Lodha said the decision of the Chairman was open to judicial scrutiny. He said impeachment was a “legislative process where a decision thereon is amenable to judicial scrutiny”, and added that the Chairman’s decision was not protected by parliamentary privilege.

  • Parasaran differed, saying the Chairman’s decision to refuse or admit the motion would be hit by parliamentary privilege.
  • Justice Balakrishnan also dismissed any fears of the Rajya Sabha Chairman “sitting on” the impeachment motion, waiting till Chief Justice Misra retires on October 2 this year and the motion becoming infructuous.
  • “He [Chairman] is a constitutional authority. This motion is made by over 60 MPs. The Chairman cannot refuse the motion on flimsy grounds. He cannot delay and let uncertainty continue. He has to decide within a reasonable time,” the former CJI said.

Justices Lodha and Balakrishnan, however, agreed that impeachment as a process to remove judges required a re-look. “For 60 years, it has not worked wherever it was needed. It requires serious deliberation on what alternative measures can be employed to bring an end to the matter,” Justice Lodha said.

2. Cabinet to discuss death penalty for rape of minors

 

  • Following a nationwide uproar over the rape of two minors in Kathua and Unnao, the Union Cabinet could, in its meeting on Saturday, take a decision on bringing an Ordinance to award death penalty to those convicted of sexually assaulting a child.
  • Law Ministry sources say that they have approved a proposal received from the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD) to amend the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, and a final decision on whether to bring it in the form of an Ordinance will be taken at the Cabinet meeting.

Draft Cabinet note

  • Last week, WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi had said that her Ministry will amend the POSCO Act to ensure death penalty for sexual assaults on children up to 12 years. Subsequently, a draft Cabinet note was prepared and sent to the Law Ministry.
  • According to a senior Ministry official, the draft Cabinet note proposes an amendment to Section 6 of the POCSO Act, which lays down a punishment of 10 years to life imprisonment for aggravated penetrative sexual assault against children.
  • Centre also informed the Supreme Court that it is actively considering amending the penal law to introduce death penalty to those convicted of sexually abusing children up to 12 years of age.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. CEOs raise retrospective tax, mobility issues with PMs

 

  • The issue of retrospective taxation in India, and labour mobility in the U.K. were among the issues raised by Indian and British chief executives during a round-table discussion with the two Prime Ministers during the bilateral that took place earlier this week.
  • These issues, alongside recommendations on ways in which the countries could jointly enhance data protection, and collaborate on technology and innovation were discussed at the UK-India CEOs forum, attended by Narendra Modi and Theresa May.
  • The discussion was part of a programme aimed at helping the countries resolve outstanding barriers to trade and investment, as well as look at opportunities and broader ways in which the two economies could take a leadership role in wider international challenges, through recommendations from top business leaders in the two countries.

30 CEOs participate

  • The forum, which involved about 30 CEOs from India and the U.K on the bilateral leg of Mr. Modi’s visit to London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
  • Indian business leaders also raised the issue of mobility for those in professional services in the U.K., including around costs and the need for technology sector workers to pay National Insurance contributions, despite being in the country for short periods. “These were the nitty gritty issues that impact the cost of business and can really make a difference,” he said.
  • Visas for Indians has been a recurring theme of the forum so it was good to learn that Indians get more [tier 2] work visas than the rest of the world, which was positively received, though Indian businesses would of course like to see more movement on that.
  • There were also discussions around the strengthening of IP protection enforcement in India.

Virtual incubator

  • Other issues discussed included opportunities for tech collaboration, including the creation of a virtual incubator for U.K.-Indian start-ups and links up between universities, advanced manufacturing, autonomous and electric vehicles, and life sciences.

2. India, Finland end Nokia tax dispute

 

  • The Income Tax Department has confirmed that India and Finland have reached an agreement under the Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) system and that the issue surrounding the alleged tax payable by Nokia ‘has been resolved’, paving the way for the company to sell its long-shuttered plant in Chennai.
  • Proceedings [between the two countries] have been completed under MAP and the issue has been resolved.

To pay Rs. 1,600 cr.

  • Other officials in the Revenue Department of the Finance Ministry confirmed the development and said that Nokia India had agreed to pay the Rs. 1,600 crore tax demand made by the Income Tax Department.
  • Nokia India had been issued a demand notice for Rs. 2,500 crore in 2013, which was thereafter reduced to Rs. 1,600 crore.The Income Tax Department had also raised a tax demand of Rs. 10,000 crore tax on Nokia Corporation for the same transaction, which has now been dropped under the MAP agreement.
  • Under the MAP system, settling an issue between two countries means settling or closing all pending tax proceedings as well.Software giant Microsoft had kept the factory at Sriperumbudur, near Chennai, out of the deal when it acquired Nokia’s mobile device business in 2014 due to the Income Tax notice and asset freeze imposed on the factory.

3. Mutual funds find SME firms attractive

 

  • The platform for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is seeing active participation from institutional investors, especially mutual funds that have been traditionally investing only in the initial public offers of large, well-known companies on the BSE and the National Stock Exchange (NSE).
  • In the recent past, fund houses like HSBC Mutual Fund, DSP BlackRock Mutual Fund and Sundaram Mutual Fund, among others, have invested in the IPOs of at least eight SMEs.
  • This is in sharp contrast to the earlier years when SME IPOs saw participation only from high net worth individuals and other corporate bodies, which led to many questioning the quality of investors in the SME segment. Incidentally, there have been a few instances of foreign institutional investors also bidding in such IPOs in recent times.
  • SMEs are not start-ups in the sense that they are not looking at seed capital. They are profitable, have a track record and are available at fairly attractive valuations as well.
  • Through two of its schemes, HSBC Infrastructure Equity Fund and HSBC Smallcap Fund, the fund house started investing in SME IPOs about six months ago and has invested in seven SME IPOs till date.
  • SME IPOs that saw bidding from MFs include South West Pinnacle Exploration, One Point One Solutions, Jash Engineering, Worth Peripherals, SS Infrastructure Development, MacPower CNC and AVG Logistics.
  • SME stocks present wide varieties of opportunities with high growth potential and hence are [an] attractive portfolio diversification tool.
  • With the number of SME stocks increasing significantly and witnessing handsome returns, fund managers have started tracking this space more closely.
  • Both the BSE and NSE unveiled their respective SME platforms in 2012 and have since been aggressively pitching the segment to SMEs. Currently, there are more than 370 SMEs listed on the two platforms.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: GOVERNANCE

1. A promise of reform

Context:

  • Proposed Defence Planning Committee aims to institutionalise a new decision-making system on national security

What’s in news?

  • BJP government issued an order on Wednesday which could lead to the undertaking of the much-awaited higher defence reforms.
  • The formation of a high-powered Defence Planning Committee (DPC) under the chairmanship of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval with a well-defined mandate is a significant step by the government in its final year.

Composition of the DPC

  • A permanent body, comprising of
  1. Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC),
  2. service chiefs,
  3. Defence Secretary,
  4. Foreign Secretary and Secretary (expenditure) in the Finance Ministry,
  • DPC will prepare a draft national security strategy besides undertaking a strategic defence review and formulating an international defence engagement strategy.
  • Considering the past record of the government appointed committees on national security whose reports lie buried deep inside official vaults, this move is bound to be met with scepticism. But the new committee holds promise and significance in its conception and charter.

Features of the DPC

  • DPC is a permanent institutional mechanism with a specified charter which means that it not only can make recommendations, but can also follow up on their implementation.
  • This takes care of the biggest lacuna in the reports produced so far by high-powered committees, which are usually full of retired officials with little authority in government.
  • The DPC has top bureaucrats from three important ministries, and is chaired by the NSA who is backed by the PM’s political mandate.
  • Bringing these officials together on one platform can obviate the usual bureaucratic problem of important issues being moved on file only, to be debated in silos in different ministries.
  • Over the years, the national security setup has come under enormous criticism where the defence services are perceived to be cut off from the diplomatic initiatives of the government and ignorant of budgetary resources.
  • This new committee should help the armed forces prioritise their procurement plans to reflect diplomatic and financial realities.
  • The DPC would also give the armed forces an institutional role in higher policy formulation, which has been lacking so far.
  • But over-dependence on such a high-powered committee to achieve defence planning goals also carries the danger of over-centralisation of national security initiatives in one official, the NSA.

Conclusion:

  • This personality-centric decision-making may not be healthy in a democratic system where the government is accountable to the citizens through Parliament.
  • National security is too important to be left to the generals alone. Or to the bureaucrats. Or solely to the NSA.

Category: JUDICIARY AND IMPEACHMENT

1. Not this way

Why in news?

  • A group of seven Opposition parties has submitted a notice for an impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra citing five reasons.

First and fundamentally: Is impeachment, which is the extreme step to punish an errant judge, merited in this case?

  • This is the first such move against the top judge of the apex court in the country.
  • India’s Constitution prescribes a layered and cumbersome process involving several stages.
  • The bar is set deliberately high on the admissibility of such a move because the consequences for the system can be destabilising and debilitating.
  • The judiciary is the guardian of the Constitution and its guarantee of individual liberties.
  • Its independence is indispensable for other institutions and for the framework of checks and balances to remain in good health.
  • So, do the five grounds on which CJI Dipak Misra is sought to be indicted meet the standard, pass the test?
  • There is an unmistakable air of tentativeness about the chargesheet drawn up against CJI Misra.
  • His alleged involvement in a case relating to an educational trust that allegedly involved the payment of illegal gratification.
  • His acquisition of land 39 years ago and surrendered later, his allocation of cases as master of roster.

Grounds for impeachment motion:

  • An impeachment motion must involve clear incapacity or proven misconduct.
  • First, a removal motion has to be supported by 100 members in case of the Lok Sabha and 50 in the Rajya Sabha.
  • The same is to be given to the Speaker of the House and it can be introduced in any of the two Houses.
  • It is up to the Speaker/Chairman to admit of reject the motion. If admitted then a three-member committee is formed to investigate the charges.
  • The Committee will comprise either the Chief Justice of India or Judge of the SC, Chief Justice of a High Court and an eminent jurist.
  • If the Committee finds the judge guilty then the House in which the motion was introduced can take up the matter.
  • Once the House passes the motion with a special majority, an address is presented to the President of India.
  • The President then passes an order to remove the judge.

Impeachment procedures against Judges initiated in the past:

  • Soumitra Sen, former judge of the Calcutta High Court was the first judge in Independent India to be impeached.
  • He was removed in the Rajya Sabha on the allegations of misappropriation of funds.
  • Justice Sen was held guilty of misappropriation of public funds he received in his capacity as receiver appointed by the High Court of Calcutta and misrepresenting facts with regard to it by a committee of three judges set up by former CJI K G Balakrishnan in 2007.
  • A year later, Justice Balakrishnan recommended his impeachment to the PM, after which a legal opinion obtained by the law ministry endorsed the judges’ committee report.
  • In 2009, 58 MPs of the Rajya Sabha moved a motion for the impeachment of Calcutta High Court Judge Soumitra Sen for his involvement in financial misappropriation. Probe panel was set up by Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari in February 2009.
  • It was headed by SC judge Justice B Sudershan Reddy and had as its members Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal and noted Jurist Fali S. Nariman.
  • The Committee said the charges were duly proved. V Ramaswami: He was the first judge against whom removal proceedings were initiated in Independent India.
  • The removal motion was placed for debate on May 10, 1993.
  • However, in the Lok Sabha, the removal motion failed. P D Dinakaran: Following allegations of amassing assets disproportionate to his income. Facing impeachment on charges of corruption, he resigned from the post of Sikkim High Court Chief Justice on July 29, 2011.
  • He expressed lack of faith and confidence in the three-member inquiry committee probing the charges against him.

Impeachment as a tool

  • It cannot be the instrument by which mere suspicions about a judge’s conduct are sought to be expressed or confirmed. It cannot be propelled by a difference of views in court.
  • The move of the Opposition parties against the CJI comes a day after a CJI-led bench spoke on a case that has drawn extraordinary political attention it dismissed petitions that sought an independent probe into the 2014 death of Judge BH Loya, who at that time was hearing the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case in which BJP president Amit Shah was an accused.
  • Its timing does little to insulate the impeachment notice from Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s accusation that it is a “revenge petition”.

Conclusion:

  • Sharp anxieties have also been stoked about the court’s ability and willingness to stand up to an executive armed with a decisive mandate, in the matter of the stalled Memorandum of Procedure or government delay in clearing appointments recommended by the Collegium.
  • It is also true that for both these crisis, the CJI must take prime responsibility.
  • Yet, an impeachment move by a divided Opposition is neither the answer nor the way out.
  • It will only lead to a bruising politicisation of a court already divided, and to its embitterment, at a time when it needs to stand firm against external challenge.
  • Perhaps the Opposition leaders helming the impeachment move should have listened to Justice J Chelameswar, one of the four SC judges who held a press conference against the CJI in January, but who insists that the solution must be found through an institutional “audit” and by putting in place a “proper alternative” — through correcting the system, that is, not by unsettling it.

F. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements about the Impeachment procedure of the Judges. 
  1. 100 Lok Sabha MPs or 50 Rajya Sabha MPs is the minimum number of signatories required to issue the notice for initiation of Impeachment.

  2. The notice has to be handed over either to the Speaker if it is from Lok Sabha MPs or to the Chairman if it is from the Rajya Sabha MPs.

Which of the above statements are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

See

Answer
Question 2. Consider the following statements about Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination.
  1. India has resolved to eliminate measles and control rubella/congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) by 2020.

  2. Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has initiated measles-rubella (MR) vaccination campaign in the age group of 9 months to less than 15 years across the nation.

Which of the above statements are incorrect?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

See

Answer
Question 3. Consider the following statements about Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination.
  1. Measles and Rubella are highly contagious viral diseases that are spread by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing.

  2. One-third of all measles-related deaths worldwide occur in India.

Which of the above statements are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

See

Answer
Question 4. Consider the following statements about Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination.
  1. Rubella is a mild viral infection that occurs most often in children and young adults.

  2. Rubella infection during pregnancy can cause abortion, stillbirth and may lead to multiple birth defects in the newborn; like blindness, deafness, heart defects; known as Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS).

  3. India accounts for one-third of all children born worldwide with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS).

Which of the above statements are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. All of the above

See

Answer
Question 5. Consider the following statements:
  1. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is an intergovernmental organization founded in Shanghai in 2001 by six countries.

  2. Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are founding members of SCO.

  3. With assistance from the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, SCO members have developed an intergovernmental agreement on facilitating international road transport.

Which of the above statements are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. All of the above

See

Answer

H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

 
 General Studies II
  1. India’s process to impeach judges is flawed and needs urgent reforms. Explain.

  2. India’s diplomatic outreach to Nordic nations is both historic and important. Comment

 

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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