UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis Nov22

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
INDIAN SOCIETY
1. U.S. citizen killed by Andaman tribals
B. GS2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Amid contrasting claims, J&K Governor dissolves Assembly
2. Odisha CM urges PM to halt Polavaram project construction
INTERNATIONAL ISSUES
1. WTO panels to review U.S. steel, aluminium tariffs
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. IKEA cuts 7,500 jobs globally; India spared
ENVIRONMENT
1. A virtual climate summit to cut carbon footprint
2. Birds flee devastated Point Calimere
D. GS4 Related
1. Compassion fatigue
E. Editorials
SOCIAL JUSTICE
1. Getting justice for Asia Bibi (Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law)
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. The post and the person (Election Commission of India)
2. Limits of CBI jurisdiction
F. Tidbits
G. Prelims Fact
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Category: INDIAN SOCIETY

1. U.S. citizen killed by Andaman tribals

Context

  • An American national was killed by members of a protected and reclusive tribe in the Andamans, possibly with arrows, when he tried to enter the North Sentinel Island, the police said on Wednesday.
  • In a press release, Dependra Pathak, Director General of Police (DGP), Andaman and Nicobar Police, said John Allen Chau, 27, had enlisted the help of local electronics engineer Alexander and a water sports service provider and hired five fishermen to evade the patrolling teams of the police, the Coast Guard and the Navy to reach the island. For this, the fishermen were paid ₹25,000 by Mr. Chau.
  • The DGP said that access to North Sentinel Island and its buffer zone is strictly restricted under the Protection of Aboriginal Tribe (Regulation), 1956 and Regulations under Indian Forest Act, 1927.

Who are the Sentinelese?

  • The Sentinelese, a negrito tribe who live on the North Sentinel Island of the Andamans, have not faced incursions and remain hostile to outsiders.
  • The inhabitants are connected to the Jarawa on the basis of physical, as well as linguistic similarities, researchers say. Based on carbon dating of kitchen middens by the Anthropological Survey of India, Sentinelese presence was confirmed in the islands to 2,000 years ago. Genome studies indicate that the Andaman tribes could have been on the islands even 30,000 years ago.

How are they protected?

  • The Govt. of India issued the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation, 1956 to declare the traditional areas occupied by the tribes as reserves, and prohibited entry of all persons except those with authorisation.
  • Photographing or filming the tribe members is also an offence. The rules were amended later to enhance penalties. But restricted area permits were relaxed for some islands recently.

Have they made contact?

  • The Sentinelese have been fiercely hostile to outside contact. But in 1991 they accepted some coconuts from a team of Indian anthropologists and administrators.
  • Some researchers argue that the Sentinelese have been mostly left alone even from colonial times, unlike other tribes such as the Onges, Jarawas and Great Andamanese, because the land they occupy has little commercial attraction.

How many are there?

  • From 1901 to 1921 they were estimated to be 117 people. In 1931, the number dropped to 50, a figure used for the 1961 Census too. In 1991 their head count was put at 23. Census 2001 counted 39 inhabitants.

Related Concept – Tribal Panchsheel

Jawahar Lal Nehru gave his five fundamental principles for tribal development

  1. People should develop along the lines of their own genius, and the imposition of alien values should be avoided.
  2. Tribal rights in land and forest should be respected.
  3. Teams of tribal should be trained in the work of administration and development so that introducing too many outsiders into tribal territory should be avoided.
  4. Tribal areas should not be over administered or overwhelmed with a multiplicity of schemes.
  5. Results should be judged not by statistics or the amount of money spent, but by the human character that is evolved.

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. Amid contrasting claims, J&K Governor dissolves Assembly

Context

  • Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday dissolved the State Assembly, as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Peoples Conference (PC) separately staked claim to form a government after a day-long political drama.

Details of the issue

  • Governor Malik has passed an order in exercise of the powers conferred upon him by clause (b) of subsection (2) of Section 53 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir to dissolve the Legislative Assembly
  • Earlier, two parties, the PDP and the PC, after daylong political wrangling, wrote to the Raj Bhavan on email and WhatsApp to stake claim to form the government, as they were unable to reach the Governor over fax.
  • A senior Home Ministry official said the Centre planned to hold a fresh election in the State post the panchayat polls, which will end in December. However, the current developments expedited the move to dissolve the Assembly. Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Mr. Malik and also apprised the PM of the developments.

Related Concept – Governor’s Rule in Jammu & Kashmir

  • In case of failure of constitutional machinery in any other state of India, President’s Rule is imposed under Article 356 of the Constitution.
  • But in case of J&K, as per Section 92 of state Constitution, Governor’s Rule is imposed in the state only after the consent of the President of India in case of failure of constitutional machinery for period of six months.
  • During the Governors rule, State Assembly is either suspended or dissolved.
  • If the Constitutional machinery is not restored before the expiry of this six month period, the provision of Article 356 of the Constitution of India are extended to J&K and the President’s rule is imposed in the State.

2. Odisha CM urges PM to halt Polavaram project construction

Context

  • Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to cancel an order given to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for Polavaram project in July this year and stop construction of the project until all the pending issues are resolved.

Details of the letter

  • “If the project is allowed to be completed before the resolution of all the pending issues, it will cause permanent injury to the interest of the State of Odisha and its people,” Mr. Patnaik wrote in a two-page letter sent to Mr. Modi on Wednesday.
  • “I am constrained to write this letter to draw your personal attention and intervention on the magnitude of the consequences that the people of Odisha will have to face viz. the submergence of tribal villages resulting in mass displacement of tribals, the flooding of fertile agricultural lands and submergence of large forest area, all of which can be avoided if only an opportunity is given for a final resolution of the disputes pending before the Supreme Court,” Mr. Patnaik said in his letter.
  • The Chief Minister has suggested that the Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh can be reformulated as per Godavari Water Dispute Tribunal, without causing large-scale submergence in the States of Odisha, Telangana and Chhattisgarh.
  • Mentioning that public hearing in Odisha has not been carried out till date, Mr. Patnaik said that a detailed study of design, flood and the studies related to backwater extent during floods will allow to make an assessment about the exact submergence in Odisha.

Polavaram Project

  • Polavaram irrigation project is a multipurpose irrigation project across Godavari River in West Godavari district with its reservoirs spreading across states of Chhattisgarh and Orissa as well.
  • It is a national project which implies that its implementation is monitored by the Central Water Commission. The project is slated to be complete by 2019.
  • The project endeavours to develop irrigation, drinking water facilities and hydropower to regions of East Godavari, Vishakhapatnam, Krishna and West Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh.

Rationale behind this project

  • Andhra Pradesh has some of the most fertile districts in the country like East & West Godavari and also some severe drought -affected districts like Anantapur in Rayalaseema region.
  • The project seeks to transfer surplus waters from Godavari basin to Krishna river basin that is a water deficit. Thus, it seeks to address the challenges of flooding and droughts witnessed in the respective basins.
  • This would also prevent the unutilized waters to the tune of 3000 TMCs from the Godavari basin from draining into the Bay of Bengal.
  • It would facilitate irrigation in the water-scarce regions of Andhra Pradesh such as Rayalseema. This, in turn, would reduce rain dependence of agriculture and help in addressing agrarian distress. The project is aligned with the ambitious target of ‘doubling farm incomes’.
  • Irrigation projects help in overcoming the challenges posed to farmers by the spatio-temporal variability of Indian monsoons. It also plays an instrumental role in improving farm yields.
  • The potential of the Godavari and its tributaries remain underutilized. As a result, Godavari basin witnesses frequent flooding (Andhra Pradesh has suffered 26% of flood damage in India during 1953-2011). The project will help reduce the economic, social and humanitarian costs incurred due to floods.

Category: INTERNATIONAL ISSUES

1. WTO panels to review U.S. steel, aluminium tariffs

Context

  • The World Trade Organization agreed on Wednesday to hear complaints from a range of countries over new U.S. steel and aluminium tariffs, as well as complaints from Washington over retaliatory duties.
  • The WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) agreed to establish panels to review U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to hit a long line of countries with tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium.
  • It also agreed to a U.S. call for a panel to be created to review “certain Chinese measures pertaining to the protection of intellectual property rights.”
  • The decision to establish the panels follows rounds of failed consultations between the parties.

What is trade war?

  • Trade war is an economic conflict between two or more nations regarding trade tariffs on each other.
  • This type of conflict usually arises because the nations involved are trying to improve imports or exports for its own country.
  • The last time the world saw trade war was in the 1930s when countries had tried to boost their trade surplus. The result was a massive slowdown around the world, which eventually resulted in the Great Depression of the 1930s.

What is protectionism?

  • Protectionism is the economic policy of restricting imports from other countries through methods such as tariffs on imported goods, import quotas, and a variety of other government regulations.
  • Protectionist policies help immune the producers, businesses, and workers of the import-competing sector in the country from foreign competitors.

Why protectionism is gaining prevalence?

  • To protect indigenous industrial sectors especially infant and sunrise sectors.
  • High unemployment rate.
  • Slow growth recovery post global financial crisis.
  • Rising apprehensions with respect to immigrants leading to xenophobia.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. IKEA cuts 7,500 jobs globally; India spared

Context

  • Ingka Group (Ingka Holding B.V and its controlled entities), which owns and operates IKEA stores and fulfilment centres, has announced plans to cut 7,500 jobs globally out of its total workforce of 160,000 in 30 markets. However, India, which is a new market, will not be impacted, the company has clarified.
  • “So many jobs will become redundant because the company is developing city centre formats and focusing on its e-commerce platform, to better meet the needs of its customers and be more convenient and affordable to many more people,” it said.
  • Jesper Brodin, CEO, Ingka Group, said: “We recognise that the retail landscape is transforming at a scale and pace we’ve never seen before. As customer behaviours change rapidly, we are investing and developing our business to meet their needs in better and newer ways.”

E-commerce

  • Electronic commerce is burgeoning as a means to doing business at a very rapid rate and is also showing every sign of continuing to expand.
  • The rise of this new medium is attracting increasing attention by both private and public sector in order to remain upgraded and competitive so as to give 100 per cent services to their customers efficiently and effectively.
  • The E-commerce involves using all-round electronic methods and procedures to conduct business activities to achieve the organizational goal.
  • Electronic Commerce provides new opportunities for all overseas firms to access India’s domestic market and vice versa. In fact, it has set the ball rolling in India. Every service and information about the product is available just on a mouse click on computers.

Category: ENVIRONMENT

1. A virtual climate summit to cut carbon footprint

Context

  • World leaders will participate in an innovative climate change summit on Thursday that will take place entirely online so it is carbon neutral.

Details of the summit

  • The eco-friendly event stands in stark contrast to many other international political summits, which involve thousands of delegates jetting across the world to a venue where they stay in air-conditioned comfort
  • The Virtual Climate Summit is the brainchild of Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, whose low-lying Pacific island nation will drown beneath rising seas if global warming continues unabated.
  • Heine said the event — with participants including French President Emmanuel Macron, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — will be the first global political meeting to be held online.
  • It will consist of a rolling, 24-hour livestream that will begin in the Marshalls’ capital Majuro, then include addresses from leaders and panel discussions before delivering a declaration.
  • Heine said the cutting-edge setup was designed to show that even small nations such as the Marshalls could make a big difference on the world stage using creative, climate-friendly solutions.
  • The virtual summit’s main aim is to encourage the international community to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
  • A UN report warned last month that threshold could be reached as early as 2030 unless there was unprecedented global action to rein in emissions.

What is Paris Agreement?

  • Paris Agreement is an international agreement to combat climate change.
  • From 30 November to 11 December 2015, the governments of 195 nations gathered in Paris, France, and discussed a possible new global agreement on climate change, aimed at reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and thus reduce the threat of dangerous climate change.
  • The 32-page Paris agreement with 29 articles is widely recognized as a historic deal to stop global warming.
  • As countries around the world recognized that climate change is a reality, they came together to sign a historic deal to combat climate change – Paris Agreement.

The aims of Paris Agreement

  • Keep the global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level.
  • Pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • Strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.

2. Birds flee devastated Point Calimere

Context

  • Point Calimere, the renowned wildlife and bird sanctuary on the seashore in district of Tamil Nadu, resembles a forest in Vietnam laid waste by Agent Orange.
  • In the devastation caused by Cyclone Gaja, hundreds of birds that once made the sanctuary their home have died, trees have been uprooted or their branches broken or defoliated. Carcasses of birds are found in some places.
  • “There is widespread damage and 90% of the birds have deserted the sanctuaries. They could have migrated locally and will hopefully return. The trees have lost their crown and it will take six months for them to revive themselves,” said C. Ramasubramaniam, Conservator of Forest, Nagapattinam district, under whose jurisdiction the sanctuary in Point Calimere falls.

Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary:

  • It is located in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu spreads across an area of 30 sq.km and comprises sandy coastal, saline swamps and thorn scrub forests around the backwater.
  • It is a protected area and a Ramsar site.
  • It harbors the single-largest stretch of the unique dry-evergreen forest in the country besides open grasslands and tidal mudflats is of interest to tourists.
  • Around 100 species of birds including the Greater Flamingo, Painted Stork, Little Sting, Sea Gull and Brown-headed gull have been making their presence felt since September.
  • Blackbuck (Antilope Cervicapra) is the flagship species of the sanctuary.
  • Other important animals are the spotted deer, black-napped hare, wild boar, Indian jackal, feral horses, palm civet, short-nosed fruit bat, jungle cat and monitor lizard.

D. GS4 Related

1. Compassion fatigue

 

  • Also known as secondary traumatic stress, this refers to a state of psychological fatigue that is experienced by people who invest a lot of time and effort into charity and social rescue activities.
  • Compassion fatigue can cause victims to slowly lose any feeling of compassion towards people who may be in need of their assistance.
  • This happens because of repeated exposure to people in need of help, leading them to develop a feeling of numbness.
  • Compassion fatigue is said to affect professional assistance providers like doctors, nurses, firefighters and other emergency service personnel who are constantly exposed to people who need help.

E. Editorials

Category: SOCIAL JUSTICE

1. Getting justice for Asia Bibi (Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law)

A Look at the Asia Bibi case:

Background:

    • A Christian woman in Pakistan was accused of blasphemy.
    • The woman, Asia Bibi, was convicted in 2010 on little evidence of violating Pakistan’s law against blasphemy by insulting the Prophet Muhammad.
    • She spent years on death row before she was acquitted on 31st October, 2018 by the country’s Supreme Court.
    • However, despite her legal victory, which was hailed worldwide by rights groups, Ms. Bibi’s lawyers and her family have expressed fears for her safety because hard-line Islamist parties in Pakistan have called for her execution.
  • Ms. Bibi, an illiterate berry picker, was convicted of defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammed.

  • She was accused by her Muslim neighbours who objected to her drinking water from the same glass as them because she was Christian.

  • Under Pakistan’s blasphemy law, her alleged comment is punishable by death.

  • In 2010, Ms. Bibi, at age 39, was sentenced to hang, but her final appeal remained pending until the Supreme Court decision on 31st October, 2018.

  • Asia Bibi has now been released and expected to be granted asylum in Europe. Her lawyer has fled Pakistan and the judges now fear for their lives. Pakistan faced the threat of mob violence led by the radical Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan party.

  • As a matter of fact, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Saqib Nisar, has reportedly defended himself by saying, “No one should have the doubt that the Supreme Court judges are not lovers of Prophet Muhammad… How can we punish someone in the absence of evidence?”

Editorial Analysis:

  • It is important to note that last month, the Pakistan Supreme Court acquitted Asia Bibi, a Christian woman accused of blasphemy.

  • The Pakistan Supreme Court had cited lack of evidence.

  • Experts believe that this verdict must rank as the boldest in the chequered history of Pakistan. They assert that the judges showed remarkable courage in going against the far-right ideology responsible for the extralegal lynching of an estimated 60 persons accused of blasphemy since 1990.

  • However, there were certain dark spots as well. For example, in 1997, a judge of the Lahore High Court, Arif Iqbal Bhatti, who had dismissed a blasphemy case against two Christians, was killed. So were Salman Taseer, the outspoken Governor of Punjab, and Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Minority Affairs, in January and March of 2011, respectively. Both of them were critical of the blasphemy laws and had defended Ms. Bibi.

Reaction to the Supreme Court’s Verdict:

    • The Pakistani clerics’ reaction to Ms. Bibi’s acquittal was brutal.
    • This was illustrated by the fact that thousands of their weapon-wielding henchmen blocked roads and burnt vehicles shouting “Hang Asia” slogans.
    • Pir Muhammad Afzal Qadri, senior leader of the radical outfit Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), not only incited an insurrection against Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, but also openly called for the assassination of the Supreme Court judges who discharged Ms. Bibi.
  • If that was not horrific enough, he hurled an anti-semitic slur at Prime Minister Imran Khan and sought the dismissal of his government.
    • Such was the savageness of the clerical backlash that the government capitulated within two days of the verdict. As a consequence, Pakistan’s Religious Affairs Minister and the Law Minister of Punjab signed an agreement with the TLP. One of the two TLP signatories was Mr. Qadri.
  • As a matter of fact, under the deal, the government agreed to take immediate steps to prevent Ms. Bibi from leaving the country and promised not to contest the review petition filed against the verdict.
  • Further, the arrested protesters would be released without delay and violence against them investigated. The only concession that could be extracted from the TLP was a deceitful ma’azarat (apology) to those who feel its activities had hurt them. The surrender of the Pakistani state could not have been more abject.

Something hard to comprehend

    • Experts point out the difficulty in understanding why Pakistan is constrained to pander to every whim of the extremists, especially when they do not enjoy popular support.
    • Further, it is important to note that the TLP, which has been consistently holding the state to ransom, did not win a single seat this year in the National Assembly despite fielding more than 170 candidates. The only inference that could be drawn from this is that an overwhelming majority of the Pakistani electorate does not subscribe to the medievalism of religious parties.
    • However, in spite of this, the radicals can be seen dictating terms to even the powerful Pakistani military.
    • Some commentators attribute this to the belief that Pakistani citizens are not moderate.
  • The argument is, if the extremists are not winning seats, it is because the mainstream parties have appropriated the discourse of the religious right on issues like blasphemy and women’s rights. This reasoning is too simplistic.
  • Experts point out that if, as alleged, the people of Pakistan had really been comfortable with radicalism, they would have backed authentic religious groups which hope to desecularise Pakistan. They would not have voted to power a mainstream party which only opportunistically resorts to the language of political Islam.

A Closer Look:

    • Experts have pointed out that a possible answer could lie in the Constitution which declared Pakistan to be an “Islamic Republic” perhaps without fully ascertaining if that was really “the will of the people of Pakistan” as the Preamble claims.
  • An important point to note is that even Mohammad Ali Jinnah did not envision the state he was creating as a theodemocracy although he wanted Pakistan’s Constitution to embody the “essential principles of Islam” such as equality, justice and fair play, which is totally different from making Islam the state religion.
  • Soon after Jinnah’s death, the Objectives Resolution (adopted in March 1949 and now part of the Pakistan Constitution) proclaimed inter alia that “sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to Allah Almighty alone and the authority which He has delegated to the State of Pakistan, through its people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust.”
  • Experts point out that several provisions of the Pakistani Constitution echo these views.

For example, Article 31, expects the state to take steps to enable Pakistani Muslims to live in accordance with the basic concepts of Islam and help them understand “the meaning of life according to the Holy Quran and Sunnah.”

  • From a Muslim point of view, these assertions stand justified. However, certain questions arise:
  1. On whose interpretation of the Quran and the Sunnah would “the limits” prescribed by Allah be determined and enforced?
  2. Who has authorised Pakistani theologians to hang a person for a crime she has not committed, especially when that crime does not carry the death penalty in Islam?

Concluding Remarks:

  • Experts point out that the only way to reclaim Islam from the radicals is to dismantle their blinkered narrative by questioning the juristic devices of abrogation, sectarian consensus, exegetic rationales, and eisegesis.
    • Through these instruments, Quranic verses and Prophetic hadeeses are either arrogantly repealed, semantically stifled, or gratuitously expanded to rationalise narrow sectarianism in the name of preserving the Shariah.
    • They also add that simultaneously, a massive intellectual effort must be mounted to mainstream a concept of Quranic hermeneutics that is consistent with the core values of Islam: justice, fairness, equality, freedom of religion, moderation, kindness and mercy.
  • Finally, the subjugation of the medievalists is almost entirely dependent on winning this battle of narratives.

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. The post and the person (Election Commission of India)

Note to Students:

  • This opinion section discusses the fact that safeguards are needed to ensure that institutions like the Election Commission are headed by capable people.

Editorial Analysis:

  • The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court is examining a public interest litigation (PIL) that could be critical for Indian democracy.
  • This PIL seeks to strengthen the Election Commission of India (ECI).
  • Further, this PIL includes a proposal to create an independent mechanism to appoint the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs) who are, at present, simply appointed by the government of the day, without any defined criteria or processes.

Three important decisions:

  • It is important to note that electoral democracy became a reality in India, largely due to the foresight of the Constituent Assembly.
  • However, the Assembly could not have anticipated the extent to which the very political class that framed the Constitution would later attempt to subvert it.
  • Experts point out that as this political dynamic unfolded, at certain crucial junctures, it was the judiciary and the leadership of the ECI that saved democracy.
  • Experts point out that when the Constituent Assembly debated how free and fair elections should be ensured, three important questions arose:
  1. The first question was whether free and fair elections should be made a part of fundamental rights or an independent institution, outside the executive, should be established to conduct the elections. The Assembly opted for the latter and created the ECI. With legal back up and the resources to develop and enforce a transparent electoral system, the ECI made free and fair elections a reality.
  1. The second critical decision was to have a single, centralised body for elections to the Lok Sabha and State legislatures.
  • Under this, one proposal was that the ECI be confined to federal elections, and separate institutions be set up to conduct elections to State legislatures.
  • However, with increasing tension among communities, the Assembly feared partisan action in the States and opted for a single national institution, which was the ECI.

What were the implications of this decision?

  • The implications of this decision were complex. On the one hand, Central institutions have generally been more robust than State institutions. For example:
  1. State Election Commissions lack autonomy,
  2. are short on manpower and funds, and
  3. are frequently subject to attempts by State governments to manipulate elections.

However, on the other, this decision could have led to an autocratic institution being established and possibly manipulated by powerful national actors.

But this possibility was contained because elections became subject to judicial review. Originally, the Constitution had provided for tribunals set up by the ECI to hear election petitions. But aggrieved parties approached the courts, and the courts decided to hear election petitions. Then the ECI itself recommended that election petitions be heard by the judiciary, and in 1966, the law was changed accordingly.

  1. The third question concerned ensuring the independence of the ECI.
    • As the manner of appointment of the CEC and ECs was debated, Shibban Lal Saxena presciently argued that while the then Prime Minister was a man of independence, this may not always be the case, and proposed ratification of the CEC’s appointment by the legislature.
    • But the Assembly disagreed, and provided simply for the CEC to be appointed by the President, leaving it to the legislature to enact a suitable law, which never happened.
  • However, the Constituent Assembly did provide, though, that the CEC could only be removed through impeachment. For the ECs, even this safeguard was not provided, which is also a subject of the above-mentioned PIL.

Concluding Remarks:

  • From a historical fact, it is important to note that from 1967 to 1991, the election process deteriorated as the Congress lost its dominance, political competition intensified, and political actors stepped up violence and electoral malpractices.
  • Further, the ECI could not arrest this deterioration.
  • Several State governments made large-scale transfers on the eve of elections and posted pliable officials in key positions, who sometimes flouted the ECI’s orders.
  • This deterioration could have continued. Instead, during the 1996 general election, the ECI restored the credibility of the election process.
  • The CEC, T.N. Seshan, reinterpreted the ECI’s role and powers, and provided combative, forceful leadership. He publicly reprimanded politicians for violating the Model Code of Conduct, postponed/ cancelled elections if their credibility was compromised, intensified supervision of elections, and insisted on action against errant officials. Because of constitutional safeguards, he could not be removed.
  • However, critics point out that the ECI got the right leadership accidentally, not by design.
  • Though the ECI has since become an institution of some authority, there have been controversies over appointments of ECs, allegations of partisanship, and new problems such as of voter bribery and paid news, which the ECI has not been able to address so far.
  • Finally, as history shows, inadequate leadership is the bane of our public institutions. Safeguards to ensure that ethical and capable people head them are crucial.

2. Limits of CBI jurisdiction

Note to Students:

This section takes into account a few important questions that have been raised regarding the authority that states have in so far as barring the CBI from functioning in their territory.

Editorial Analysis:

Can States bar the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from functioning in their territory?

    • Yes, States can bar the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from functioning in their territory.  
    • The CBI is a national agency with police powers.
    • Its primary jurisdiction is confined to Delhi and Union Territories.
    • As policing (detecting crime and maintaining law and order) is a State subject, the law allows the agency to function outside only with the consent of the States.
  • Recently, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal have withdrawn their general consent to the CBI to operate within their territories.

Have States barred the CBI before? And why?

    • There are several instances of State governments withdrawing their consent.
  • There was even an instance in Sikkim, when the State withdrew its consent after the CBI registered a case against former Chief Minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari, and before it could file a charge sheet.
  • The most common reason for withdrawal of consent is a strain in Centre-State relations, and the oft-repeated allegation that the agency is being misused against Opposition parties.
  • The decision by Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal has come amid concerns being voiced by Opposition parties that Central agencies such as the CBI, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax Department are being used against them.

Under which law was it done?

  • The CBI draws its power from the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act.
  • The Home Ministry, through a resolution, set up the agency in April 1963. Under Section 5 of the Act, the Central government can extend its powers and jurisdiction to the States, for investigation of specified offences.
  • However, this power is restricted by Section 6, which says its powers and jurisdiction cannot be extended to any State without the consent of the government of that State.

What is the impact of States taking back their consent?

  • The withdrawal of general consent restricts the CBI from instituting new cases in the State concerned.
  • However, as decided by the Supreme Court in Kazi Lhendup Dorji (1994), the withdrawal of consent applies prospectively and therefore, existing cases will be allowed to reach their logical conclusion.
  • The CBI can also seek or get specific consent in individual cases from the State government.

How has the consent issue played out?

  • In most cases, States have given consent for a CBI probe against only Central government employees.
  • The agency can also investigate a Member of Parliament.
  • Further, apart from Mizoram, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, the agency has consent in one form or the other for carrying out investigations across the country.

What happens to cases in which there is a demand for a CBI probe?

  • The Supreme Court has made it clear that when it or a High Court directs that a particular investigation be handed over to the CBI, there is no need for any consent under the DSPE Act.
  • A landmark judgment in this regard was the 2010 Supreme Court decision by which the killing of 11 Trinamool Congress workers in West Bengal in 2001 was handed over to the CBI.

F. Tidbits

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements regarding the drug Bedaquiline:
  1. This drug is used to treat dengue.

  2. It is an orally administered drug.

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. Which of the following are the Micronutrients needed for plant development in the 
oil? 
  1. Boron, Molybdenum, Nickel, Nitrogen, Potassium
  2. Sulphur, Magnesium, Chlorine, Copper, Nickel, Phosphorus
  3. Boron, Molybdenum, Iron, Manganese, Chlorine, Zinc, copper
  4. Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphorus, Nitrogen, Nickel

See

Answer
Question 3. Which of the following are the immediate impacts of floods on soil?
  1. Huge loss of soil productivity.
  2. Leaching of soil nutrients.
  3. Salinization of soil.
  4. Replenishment of flood plains with fertile soil.

Select the correct answer from the codes given below:

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

See

Answer

 

I. Practice Questions for UPSC Mains Exam

  1. There has been a rearrangement of the roles of and relationships between governments and central banks around the world including India. Discuss the issue. (200 words)
  2. The Industrial revolution somehow bypassed India, but we still have a unique opportunity to catch the wave of the manufacturing revolution. Discuss (200 words)
 

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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