UPSC Exam: Comprehensive News Analysis - January 13

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
POLITY
1. Four SC judges air differences with CJI Misra
2. PIL in Supreme Court to declare rape, sexual assault gender-neutral
GOVERNANCE
1. Internal crisis in Judiciary
2. Law on Data Protection
EDUCATIONAL ISSUES
1. Just 4.9% of higher edu teachers are Muslim
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
1. Nepal to use Chinese Internet bandwidth
C. GS3 Related
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. ISRO workhorse PSLV-C40 puts 31 satellites in space
D. GS4 Related
E. Prelims Fact
F. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

 

A. GS1 Related

 Nothing here for today!!!

 

B. GS2 Related

 Category: POLITY

1. Four SC judges air differences with CJI Misra

 Issue:

  • Four senior judges of the Supreme Court held a press conference and publicly accused Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra of selectively assigning cases to judges of his choice without any rational basis.
  • The judges said that with the independence of the judiciary and the future of democracy at stake, they had “no other choice but communicates to the nation to please take care of this institution.”

Trigger for press conference:

  • The assignment of a petition, seeking an independent probe into the mysterious death of CBI judge B.H. Loya, to a particular Bench. (Loya was the CBI judge hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheik encounter case).

As per the conventions and the protocol:

  • The convention of the court demands that important cases of public interest or sensitive matters should be first heard by the CJI.
  • If the CJI is not willing for some reason to hear the case, it should be assigned to the next senior-most judge in the Supreme Court.

Government response: It is an internal matter of the judiciary” and that it was “up to the judiciary to sort out the matter.

2. PIL in Supreme Court to declare rape, sexual assault gender-neutral

 In news:

  • A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the Supreme Court seeking to declare the offences of rape, sexual assault, outraging of modesty, voyeurism and stalking in the Indian Penal Code as gender-neutral.
  • The petition sought to declare the word ‘any man’ used in the provisions for such offences under IPC, as ultra vires of the Constitution.
  • The concerned sections (section 354 IPC, 354A IPC, 354B IPC, 354C IPC, 354D IPC and also section 375 IPC) categorically demonstrate that all offences under the related provisions would always be committed by an accused who happens to be a ‘man’ and the victim would always be a ‘woman’.
  • The section 354 of the IPC which deals with assault of or criminal force against a woman with the intent to outrage her modesty and its allied provisions do not stipulate any law to protect the modesty of a man.
  • Section 354 A of IPC deals with the offence of sexual harassment and its punishment.
  • Section 354 B is defined as assault or use of criminal force against a woman with the intent to disrobe.
  • Section 354 C of the code deals with the offence of Voyeurism.
  • Section 354 D lists out the punishment for Stalking. The offence of rape is dealt in section 375 of the penal code.

Category: GOVERNANCE

1. Internal crisis in Judiciary

 In news

  • The four senior judges of the Supreme Court held a press conference in which they exposed an unprecedented level of dissension in the top echelons of the judiciary.
  • The banner of revolt has been raised in a public way against the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra.
  • Justices J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph — the seniormost judges after the CJI alleged that Justice Misra is misusing his administrative powers to assign cases selectively, disregarding conventions on allocation of judicial work.
  • They have added that cases with far-reaching consequences for the nation and the institution are being assigned to junior judges and Benches of their preferences.

What are the rules?

  • Chief Justice is the master of the roster; even the four judges concede that this is a well-settled law, one that is reflected in a Constitution Bench judgment in 1998.
  • The rule says that Chief Justice alone can decide the composition of Benches and allot judicial work.
  • The allegations are that Justice Misra is departing from set conventions that it would have unpleasant and undesirable consequences, ultimately casting a doubt on the integrity of the institution itself.

What led to the crisis?

  • The germ that led to the outbreak of the current conflict could be the controversial Prasad Education Trust case, in which charges of judicial corruption were made. The petitioners alleged that some individuals were plotting to influence the Supreme Court.
  • In an order, a Division Bench headed by Justice Chelameswar delineated the composition of the Bench to hear the case coupled with hints that there would be a conflict of interest if Justice Misra were to hear it.
  • Eventually, a five-judge Bench headed by Justice Misra overturned the order and asserted that the CJI was indeed the master of the roster and that he alone could assign cases and decide on the composition of benches.

What is the main issue?

  • While there is no questioning who has the power to determine the roster, what the four judges are essentially questioning is how this power has been exercised.
  • Judicial work is primarily allocated based on a roster, and individual cases are allotted to Benches based on the category under which they fall.
  • Once the roster is fixed, the CJI should ordinarily see that it is duly followed. Exceptions must be rare, and that too only for compelling reasons.
  • While it is not clear in how many cases such exceptions were made, the four judges seem to have had an issue over the petition that sought an inquiry into the death of special CBI judge B.H. Loya in 2014 being posted before a particular Bench.
  • The deceased judge was hearing the Sohrabuddin ‘fake encounter’ case, in which BJP president Amit Shah was an accused but later discharged.
  • Given the political sensitivity of the matter, the concern expressed over this case is something that must be squarely addressed in a way that dispels any misgivings.
  • As for the government of the day, it must stay steadfastly away from the internal conflict in the judiciary.
  • Rather than be inexplicably silent, it must disclose its position on the Memorandum of Procedure for judicial appointments and communicate this clearly to the Supreme Court.
  • One of the specific issues raised in the letter written by the four judges relates to this issue. They have suggested that since the Centre had not responded to the MoP, effectively it was deemed to have been accepted.
  • They have questioned why a two-member Bench had reopened the issue when the matter was already decided by a Constitution Bench.

Way Forward

  • Rather than brush away the concerns of the four judges, the Chief Justice must convene a meeting of the full court and give them a patient and careful hearing.
  • It is best that there is no more airing of differences in public and that this incident is regarded by posterity as an aberration rather than a precedent.
  • An internal rift in the judiciary is far more serious. It poses the risk of diminishing the image of the judiciary and the esteem it enjoys in society.
  • Logically, this is an internal matter of the judiciary, one that is best settled through deliberations in a full court meeting of all the Supreme Court judges themselves.
  • There is a substantial public sentiment that distrusts legal rules and state structures and looks to technology for solutions.

2. Law on Data Protection

What are the main concerns?

  • Debates on permission-less innovation, social leapfrogging facilitated by technology, and challenges to the legal order have now acquired greater urgency.
  • Concerns are being voiced this month in several Indian cities by members of the public, civil society groups, academic experts and technologists, think tanks, industry associations and technology companies to a committee headed by Justice B.N. Srikrishna, a former Supreme Court judge, tasked with making recommendations and drafting a data protection law.
  • Since technologies such as Big Data, the Internet of Things, and Artificial Intelligence are here to stay and hold out the promise of welfare and innovation, India will have to develop a data protection law to ensure a balance between innovation and privacy.
  • A trade-off between the demands of technological innovation and individual rights is a bad bargain. It presumes to hold both fundamental rights and innovation as somewhat equal. This appears contrary to the mandate of the committee, as well as principles of individual liberty.

The right to privacy

  • The formation of the Justice Srikrishna Committee on data protection was cited by government lawyers in the midst of Supreme Court hearings on the fundamental right to privacy in the Puttaswamy case.
  • The judgment proceeded from a premise of asserting that the right to privacy exists as a natural right inherent in all fundamental rights of the Constitution.
  • At the root of this is the liberty of the individual that finds expression through concepts such as autonomy and dignity — choice and freedom.
  • Privacy has positive and negative features, where it restrains an intrusion upon the life and personal liberty of a citizen, and also requires an obligation on the state to take all necessary measures to protect the privacy of the individual.
  • The privacy protections that limit state intrusion and data protection laws should shield individuals rather than commercial interests or technological innovation.
  • At this point a concern may arise about the dangers of a legal disruption to innovation. By avoiding a bargain between the benefits of rights and technology, a sound legislation would further innovation as a social goal that serves human needs.
  • It would make big data subject to greater legality, the Internet of Things best suited to the Internet of people, and artificial intelligence subject to natural rights.
  • To forge such an understanding, a fundamental acknowledgement has to be forthcoming that technology is a means, and not the end in itself.
  • It must exist and work within the framework of the rule of law. While traditional legal systems are slow to adapt and change, the right regulatory design will prevent pure market mechanisms that concentrate power and cause harm to individuals.

A.P Shah Committee

  • A practical way to operationalize individual choice in a data protection law is for the Srikrishna Committee to take the benefit of past expert efforts.
  • Most noticeably by the Justice A.P. Shah Committee which a little over five years ago proposed nine privacy principles acting on a fundamental philosophy of ensuring that the privacy of the data subject is guaranteed.
  • To operationalise these principles and account for innovation the A.P. Shah Committee among other things recommended, the Privacy Act should not make any reference to specific technologies and must be generic enough such that the principles and enforcement mechanisms remain adaptable to changes in society, the marketplace, technology, and the government.
  • However, such existing recommendations proceed from a clear acknowledgement of data protection protecting individuals and not about protecting innovation, state interests for welfare objectives, or commercial interests of technologists and corporations.

The case of Aadhaar project

  • The Aadhaar project, which aims to usher a data-driven revolution in the private sector and at the same time act as a state policy panacea, has become a topic of continuing public concern.
  • Repeated press reports indicate continuing data breaches, exclusion and theft of benefits, lack of legal remedies and the prospect of profiling and surveillance.
  • Sufficient evidence exists today persuading us to honour constitutionalism, privileging individual rights over innovation. In doing so, we must forsake the artificial reasonableness of a balancing exercise between unequals.

Category: EDUCATIONAL ISSUES

1. Just 4.9% of higher edu teachers are Muslim

 All India Survey on Higher Education for 2016-17:

  • The survey is done by the Ministry of Human Resource Development
  • Muslim representation among teachers in higher educational institutions in India stands at 4.9%.
  • The representation is much lower than the community’s proportion in India’s population (14.2%).
  • The representation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes is also lower than the populations of the two categories.
  • The representation of SCs is at 8.3% of the total number of teachers in higher educational institutions, ST representation is 2.2%.
  • The SCs account for 16.6% of India’s population and STs about 8.6%.
  • Teachers belonging to the general category are more than half, that is, 58.2% of the total number of teachers in India.
  • OBC representation is at 31.3%.

Category: INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

1. Nepal to use Chinese Internet bandwidth

 In news:

  • China became Nepal’s second Internet service provider, breaking India’s monopoly in providing Internet access to the Himalayan country.
  • China Telecom Global (CTG), a company formed in 2012, has teamed up with Nepal Telecom to provide alternative cyber connectivity to Nepal.

C. GS3 Related

 Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. ISRO workhorse PSLV-C40 puts 31 satellites in space

 Key points:

  • The 42nd Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), PSLV-C40, was launched successfully by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Payloads:

  • Country’s fourth satellite in the remote sensing Cartosat-2 series.
  • There are 30 other co-passenger smaller satellites, among them 28 are from other countries.

Two technology demonstrators:

  • It is the two other Indian satellites in the payload that have generated much excitement.
  • Both are called technology demonstrators, indicating significant strides in miniaturisation.
  • Of the two, one is a microsatellite of the 100 kg class.
  • The other one, a nanosatellite, named Indian Nano Satellite (INS) – 1C. The INS-1C, whose mission life is six months, carries the Miniature Multispectral Technology Demonstration payload from the Space Applications Centre.
Basic Information:

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)

  • The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, commonly known by its abbreviation PSLV, is an expendable launch system developed and operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • It was developed to allow India to launch its Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites into sun-synchronous orbits, a service that was, until the advent of the PSLV, commercially available only from Russia. PSLV can also launch small size satellites into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).
  • Some notable payloads launched by PSLV include India’s first lunar probe Chandrayaan-1, India’s first interplanetary mission, Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan) and India’s first space observatory, Astrosat.
  • PSLV has gained credence as a small satellite launcher due its numerous multi-satellite deployment campaigns with auxiliary payloads usually ride sharing along an Indian primary payload. Most notable among these was launch of PSLV C37 on 15 February 2017 successfully deploying 104 satellites in sun-synchronous orbit, tripling the previous record held by Russia for most number of satellites sent to space on a single launch.

Microsatellite

  • The term “microsatellite” or “microsat” is usually applied to the name of an artificial satellite with a wet mass between 10 and 100 kg (22 and 220 lb)
  • However, this is not an official convention and sometimes those terms can refer to satellites larger than that, or smaller than that (e.g., 1–50 kg (2.2–110.2 lb))
  • Sometimes designs or proposed designs from some satellites of these types have microsatellites working together or in a formation
  • The generic term “small satellite” or “smallsat” is also sometimes used, as is “satlet”

Nanosatellite

  • The term “nanosatellite” or “nanosat” is usually applied to the name of an artificial satellite with a wet mass between 1 and 10 kg (2.2–22 lb)
  • Again designs and proposed designs of these types usually have multiple nanosatellites working together or in formation (sometimes the term “swarm” is applied)
  • Some designs require a larger “mother” satellite for communication with ground controllers or for launching and docking with nanosatellites

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for Today!!!

E. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for Today!!!

 

F. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Choose the correct statements with reference to allotment of cases among the judges 
in the Supreme Court.
  1. The convention of the court demands that important cases of public interest or sensitive matters should be first heard by the senior most judge of the Supreme Court.
  2. The convention of the court demands that important cases of public interest or sensitive matters should be first heard by the CJI.
  3. The convention of the court demands that important cases of public interest or sensitive matters can be heard by any judge of the Supreme Court on the basis of his/her work load.
  4. None of the above

See

Answer

 

Question 2. Consider the following statement/s with reference to PIL.
  1. PIL can be filed against government only but not against any individuals.
  2. Any citizen can file a public case by filing a petition under Art 32 of the Indian Constitution, in the High Court.
  3. Any citizen can file a public case by filing a petition under Art 226 of the Indian Constitution, in the Supreme Court.

Choose the correct statement/s from the codes given below

  1. 1 and 3
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1 and 2
  4. 1 only

See

Answer

 

Question 3. The PSLV programme of the ISRO launches satellites for which of the following 
purposes?
  1. Earth observation
  2. Navigation
  3. Studying space sciences
  4. Disaster management

Choose the correct answer using the codes below.

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

See

Answer

 

Question 4. In which of the following activities are Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites used?
  1. Assessment of crop productivity
  2. Locating ground water resources
  3. Mineral exploration
  4. Telecommunications
  5. Traffic studies

Select the correct answer using the code given below

  1. 1, 2 and 3 only
  2. 4 and 5 only
  3. 1 and 2 only
  4. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

See

Answer

 

Question 5. The imagery from the Cartosat-2 series satellite will be useful for which of
the following purposes?
  1. Cartographic applications
  2. For attacking enemy countries during the war
  3. Coastal land use and regulation
  4. Utility management like road network monitoring

Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. 1, 2 and 4
  3. 1, 3 and 4
  4. All of the above

See

Answer

 

G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

GS Paper II
  1. “The hallmark of a good democracy are independent and impartial judges,” Examine.
GS Paper III
  1. Examine the differences between GSLV and PSLV launch vehicles.

 

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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