GS Paper: 2- judiciary
Prelims exam: Collegium system, Chief Justice of India
Mains exam: Significance of Collegium system
Why in News
Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud agreed to list in due course a writ petition to reconsider the Collegium system of judicial appointments to the Supreme Court and the High Courts.
About collegium system and how did It evolve?
It is the system of judicial appointment and transfer of judges that has developed through SC rulings, not by a law passed by Parliament or by a provision in the Constitution.
- The appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and High Courts is dealt by Articles 124(2) and 217 of the Indian Constitution.
Evolution of the System:
First Judges Case (1981): It stated that “cogent reasons” may be given for rejecting the “primacy” of the CJI’s (Chief Justice of India) recommendation on judicial appointments and transfers.
- For the following 12 years, the court’s decision gave the executive branch precedence over the judiciary in appointing judges.
Second Judges Case (1993): Considering “consultation” to actually mean “concurrence,” SC established the Collegium system.
- It was further stated that this was not the CJI’s personal opinion, but rather an institutional judgement developed after consultation with the SC’s two most senior judges.
Third Judges Case (1998): The Collegium was increased to a five-member panel by the SC on the President’s referral (Article 143), which included the Chief Justice of India and four of his most senior colleagues.
Head of the Collegium System
- The SC collegium, which consists of the four senior-most judges of the court, is led by the CJI (Chief Justice of India).
- The current Chief Justice and the two other senior most judges of the High Court serve as a collegium.
- The government has a role only once the collegium system has decided on names for judges of the higher judiciary, who are only recruited through collegium system.
Procedures for Judicial Appointments
- The CJI and the other SC judges are chosen by the President of India.
- The outgoing CJI proposes his successor as far as the CJI is concerned.
- Since the supersession controversy of the 1970s, seniority has been the sole determining factor in practise.
For SC Judges:
- The CJI makes the proposal for the SC’s other judges.
- The CJI contacts the other members of the Collegium as well as the senior-most judge of the court who is a member of the High Court where the suggested individual is a member.
- The consultees must submit their written comments, which should be included in the file.
- The recommendation is forwarded by the Collegium to the Law Minister, who then sends it to the Prime Minister to advise the President.
For Chief Justice of High Courts
- According to the policy of having Chief Justices from outside the respective States, the Chief Justice of the High Court is appointed.
- The Collegium makes the decision on the promotion.
- A Collegium made up of the CJI and the two most senior judges makes recommendations for High Court judges.
- However, the proposal is started by the outgoing Chief Justice of the concerned High Court after consulting with two of her most senior colleagues.
- The Chief Minister receives the recommendation and advises the Governor to forward it on to the Union Law Minister.
Issues Related to the Collegium System
Exclusion of Executive
- The complete exclusion of the executive from the judicial appointment process led to a system where a small group of judges covertly appoint the remaining judges.
- Additionally, they are not answerable to any administrative body, which could result in the selection of the incorrect candidate while omitting the appropriate candidate.
Chances of Favouritism and Nepotism
- There is a wide scope for nepotism and favouritism in the collegium system because there are no precise requirements for testing the candidates for the position of CJI.
- It results in the court system becoming less transparent, which is very detrimental to the maintenance of law and order in the nation.
Against the Principle of Checks and Balances
- In this system, the principle of check-and-balance is violated. In India, three organs operate in part independently, but they keep check and balance and control on the excessive powers of any organ.
- However, the collegium structure provides the judiciary enormous power, which leaves little room for checks and raises the possibility of abuse.
- The lack of an official secretariat in this system has been noted by critics. It is said that a collegium meets behind closed doors and makes judgments in secret, with no public knowledge of these details.
- Additionally, no official minutes of collegium proceedings exist.
- The composition of the higher judiciary, where women are comparatively underrepresented, is the other area of concern.
Attempts to reform the Appointment System
- The court invalidated the attempt to replace it with a “National Judicial Appointments Commission” (through Ninety-ninth Amendment Act, 2014) in 2015 on the grounds that it endangered the independence of the judiciary.
- The process of filling vacancies, which involves the government and the judiciary, is continuous and collaborative; hence, a deadline cannot be set for it. However, it is the time to consider creating a permanent, independent body to institutionalise the procedure with sufficient safeguards to protect the judiciary’s independence and guarantee judicial supremacy but not judicial exclusivity.
- It should guarantee independence, reflect diversity, exhibit professionalism, and uphold ethical standards.
No Money for Terror
GS Paper: 3- Issues related to security
Prelims exam: ‘No Money for Terror’ (NMFT) Conference, Financial action task force (FATF)
Mains exam: Global terror financing
Why in News
The Prime Minister has strongly asked for avoiding any ambiguity in dealing with terrorism and also warned against nations that use terrorism as a tool of foreign policy. He was addressing the third ‘No Money for Terror’ (NMFT) Ministerial Conference on Counter-Terrorism Financing.
- It intends to advance the discussions the world community had about preventing the financing of terrorism at the two previous conferences, which were held in Paris (2018) and Melbourne (2019).
- Focused areas include the use of both formal and informal channels to finance terrorism, emerging technology and terrorism financing, and the need for global cooperation to address related issues.
- Representatives from 75 nations and international organizations participated in the Conference.
- Additionally, explanations of the technological, legal, regulatory, and cooperative implications of all facets of terrorism financing are intended to be included.
- India’s efforts: The event demonstrates India’s will in combating terrorism as well as its support systems for achieving success against it.
- Cooperation on a global scale: Discussions on the technological, legal, regulatory, and cooperative aspects of all components of terrorism financing are also intended to be included.
- Mechanism for compliance: The involvement of a compliant State frequently makes terrorism worse, especially because of its financing.
- The techniques and procedures employed by terrorist organisations to fund their operations are collectively referred to as “terrorist financing”.
- This money may originate from legimitate sources, such as corporate and charitable organizations.
- However, criminal activities including the trafficking of weapons, drugs, or persons as well as kidnapping for ransom are another source of funding for terrorist organizations.
- Countries like Pakistan have made it clear that they encourage international funding of cross-border terrorism in India.
Why is consensus needed to prevent financing of terrorism?
- Throughout the world, terrorism and militancy have had an impact on nations for a number of years, and the pattern of violence varies in most theatres.
- It is significantly impacted by the volatile geopolitical environment and ongoing armed sectarian strife.
- These wars frequently result in bad government, unstable politics, poverty, and vast ungoverned areas.
Financial action task force (FATF)
- On the initiative of the G7, the FATF is an intergovernmental body that was established in 1989 to create money laundering prevention guidelines.
- It examines member policies and procedures, offers recommendations for preventing financial crime, and works to spread awareness of anti-money laundering laws around the world.
What impedes the international consensus?
- No description of terrorism exists: What constitutes terrorism is a topic on which there is no consensus worldwide. This makes it harder to come up with a coordinated worldwide response.
- Non-enforcement: Lack of adherence to and use of existing instruments hampers multilateral action.
- No worldwide watchdog A central international organisation devoted to terrorist prevention and response is lacking in the counterterrorism regime.
- If terrorism persists anywhere in the world, no nation is safe.
- The international financial system must be completely hostile to supporting terrorism.
- Under the direction of the UN, and with an international legal foundation, coordinated efforts and a comprehensive strategy should be used to combat terrorism.
Carbon Border Tax
GS PAPER 3: Mobilization of resources
Prelims Exam: What is carbon border tax, Summits in which it discussed?
Mains Exam: Significance of Carbon Border Tax
Why in News?
A Group of countries, including India, has opposed the carbon border taxes policy attheCOP27 in SharmEl Sheikh.
- The BASIC group (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) said in a joint statement, “Unilateralmeasuresanddiscriminatory practices, such as carbon border taxes, thatcouldresultinmarketdistortionand aggravate the trust deficit amongst Parties,must be avoided.”
- The tax is part of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), a plan from the European Union(EU) to tax carbon-intensive products, such as iron and steelandelectricitygeneration, from2026.
- At COP27, India said all fossil fuels needed to be phased down and not just coal, which it is heavily reliant on.
What is Carbon Border Tax?
The carbon border tax involves imposing an import duty on a product manufactured in a country with more lax climate rules than the one buying it. In other wordsA carbon border adjustment tax is a duty on imports based on the amount of carbon emissions resulting from the production of the product in question. As a price on carbon, it discourages emissions. As a trade-related measure, it affects production and exports.
‘Carbon leakage’: Why need for tax was felt?
- Some developed nations, in efforts to cut emissions, impose high costs on carbon-intensive businesses in their own countries.
- Businesses can potentially sidestep this simply by moving production to a country with less stringent rules, a practice called carbon leakage.
European Union Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism
- The EU came up with the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism in 2021. European Commission’s describes it thus, “Designed in compliance with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and other international obligations of the EU, the CBAM system will work as follows:
- EU importers will buy carbon certificates corresponding to the carbon price that would have been paid, had the goods been produced under the EU’s carbon pricing rules.
- Conversely, once a non-EU producer can show that they have already paid a price for the carbon used in the production of the imported goods in a third country, the corresponding cost can be fully deducted for the EU importer.”
GS PAPER 3: Major crops and cropping pattern in different parts of the country
Prelims Exam: Climatic conditions, how price determine
Mains Exam: Role of Sugar Industry in India’s economy growth
Why in News?
Sugar production in the current season (October 2022 to September 2023) till November 15 stands at 19.9 lakh tonnes, according to the Indian Sugar Mills’ Association (ISMA).
- This is slightly lower than the 20.8 lakh tonnes produced last year as several mills in the western States are said to have begun production belatedly this season.
- ISMA had estimated the total production this season at 365 lakh tonnes after diversion of 45 lakh tonnes for ethanol.
- According to data available from ports, contracts had been entered for exports of about 35 lakh tonnes of sugar so far. Of this, about two lakh tonnes had been shipped last month.
- ISMA said that several traders had entered into export contracts for the 2022-2023 season before the Centre announced the export policy.
- Since then, there had been an upward trend in international prices of sugar and sugar mills are re-negotiating export contract prices.
|Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA)
Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) is a premier sugar organization in India. It is the interface between Government and sugar industry (both private and public sugar mills) in the country. The prime objective is to ensure that the functioning and interest of both the private and public sugar mills in the country are safeguarded through conducive and growth-oriented policies of the Government.
ISMA is the oldest industrial Association in the country which was established in 1932. India entered the sugar export market for the first time in the year 1957 which was entirely on the initiative of ISMA. Since then ISMA has been at the forefront of sugar export in the country, spearheading export initiatives for the industry.
Sugarcane Climatic Conditions& Facts
- Temperature: Between 21-27°C with hot and humid climate.
- Rainfall: Around 75-100 cm.
- Soil Type: Deep rich loamy soil.
- Top Sugarcane Producing States: Uttar Pradesh >Maharashtra> Karnataka
- It can be grown on all varieties of soils ranging from sandy loam to clay loam given these soils should be well drained.
- It needs manual labour from sowing to harvesting.
- It is the main source of sugar, Gur (jaggery), khandsari and molasses.
North India vs. South India Sugar Industry
A brief description of differences between the sugar industry of the northern and peninsular India is given below:
- Peninsular India has tropical climate which gives higher yield per unit area as compared to north India.
- The sucrose content is also higher in tropical variety of sugarcane in the south.
The crushing season is also much longer in the south than in the north. For example, crushing season is of nearly four months only in the north from November to February, whereas it is of nearly 7-8 months in the south where it starts in October and continues till May and June.
- The co-operative sugar mills are better managed in the south than in the north.
- Most of the mills in the south are new which are equipped with modern machinery.
What is FRP?
- FRP is fixed under a sugarcane control order, 1966.
- It is the minimum price that sugar mills are supposed to pay to the farmers.
- However, states determine their own State Agreed Price (SAP) which is generally higher than the FRP.
How Sugarcane prices are determined?
- The Centre announces Fair and Remunerative Prices which are determined on the recommendation of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and are announced by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, which is chaired by Prime Minister.
- The State Advised Prices (SAP) are announced by key sugarcane producing states which are generally higher than FRP.
De-Regulation of Sugar Sector
- The Central Government considered the recommendations of the committee headed by Dr. C. Rangarajan on de-regulation of sugar sector and decided to discontinue the system of levy obligations on mills for sugar produced after September, 2012 and abolished the regulated release mechanism on open market sale of sugar.
- The de-regulation of the sugar sector was undertaken to improve the financial health of sugar mills, enhance cash flows, reduce inventory costs and also result in timely payments of cane price to sugarcane farmers.
- The recommendations of the Committee relating to Cane Area Reservation, Minimum Distance Criteria and adoption of the Cane Price Formula have been left to State Governments for adoption and implementation, as considered appropriate by them.
Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme (EBP Programme)
- Ethanol, an anhydrous ethyl alcohol, can be produced from sugarcane, maize, wheat, etc. which are having high starch content. In India, ethanol is mainly produced from sugarcane molasses by fermentation process.
- Ethanol can be mixed with gasoline to form different blends. As the ethanol molecule contains oxygen, it allows the engine to more completely combust the fuel, resulting in fewer emissions and thereby reducing the occurrence of environmental pollution.
- Since ethanol is produced from plants that harness the power of the sun, ethanol is also considered as renewable fuel.
- Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme was launched in January, 2003. The programme sought to promote the use of alternative and environment friendly fuels and to reduce import dependency for energy requirements.
GS PAPER 3: Science and Technology (Diseases)
Prelims Exam: Treatment, Symptoms, Transmission
Mains Exam: Effect of Measles on people
Why in News?
The number of suspected measles cases in Mumbai rose to 1,263 after 184 new cases with symptoms of fever and rashes were reported. The cases included children from the age group of 1 to 4.
- Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by measles virus..
- It is caused by a virus in the paramyxovirus family and it is normally passed through direct contact and through the air.
- The virus infects the respiratory tract, then spreads throughout the body.
- It is a human disease and is not known to occur in animals.
Signs and symptoms
The first sign of measles is usually a high fever, which begins about 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus, and lasts 4 to 7 days.
A runny nose, a cough, red and watery eyes, and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage.
After several days, a rash erupts, usually on the face and upper neck.
- The most serious complications include blindness, encephalitis (an infection that causes brain swelling), severe diarrhoea and related dehydration, ear infections, or severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia.
- Measles is one of the world’s most contagious diseases.
- It is spread by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact or direct contact with infected nasal or throat secretions.
- The virus remains active and contagious in the air or on infected surfaces for up to 2 hours. It can be transmitted by an infected person from 4 days prior to the onset of the rash to 4 days after the rash erupts.
- No specific antiviral treatment exists for measles virus.
- Severe complications from measles can be reduced through supportive care that ensures good nutrition, adequate fluid intake and treatment of dehydration with WHO-recommended oral rehydration solution.
- This solution replaces fluids and other essential elements that are lost through diarrhoea or vomiting.
- Antibiotics should be prescribed to treat eye and ear infections, and pneumonia.
- All children diagnosed with measles should receive two doses of vitamin A supplements, given 24 hours apart.
- This treatment restores low vitamin A levels during measles that occur even in well-nourished children and can help prevent eye damage and blindness.
The Measles & Rubella Initiative
Launched in 2001, the Measles & Rubella Initiative (M&R Initiative) is a global partnership led by the American Red Cross, United Nations Foundation, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UNICEF and WHO. The Initiative is committed to ensuring that no child dies from measles or is born with congenital rubella syndrome. The Initiative helps countries to plan, fund and measure efforts to stop measles and rubella for good.
India’s Initiative to boost Immunization
Measles Rubella (MR) vaccine: India is committed to the goal of measles elimination and rubella control and to achieve the goal MR vaccine was introduced in the country through a campaign mode in a phased manner in 2017. MR campaign target around 41 crore children in the age group of 9 months to 15 years (covering ⅓ of the total population of the country) followed by 2 doses in routine immunization at 9-12 months and 16-24 months. Rubella component is now under routine immunization as MR vaccine.
- Mission Indradhanush (MI) was launched in December 2014 and aims at increasing the full immunization coverage to children to 90%.
- Under this drive focus is given on pockets of low immunization coverage and hard to reach areas where the proportion of unvaccinated and partially vaccinated children is highest.
- A total of six phases of Mission Indradhanush have been completed covering 554 districts across the country.
- It was also identified as one of the flagship schemes under Gram SwarajAbhiyan (16,850 villages across 541 districts) and Extended Gram SwarajAbhiyan (48,929 villages across 117 aspirational districts).
- While the first two phases of Mission Indradhanush resulted in 6.7% increase in full immunization coverage in a year, a recent survey carried out in 190 districts covered in Intensified Mission Indradhanush (5th phase of Mission Indradhanush) shows 18.5% points increase in full immunization coverage as compared to NFHS-4 survey carried out in 2015-16.