Daily Current Affairs for 23th July 2022

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Who was Raja Serfoji and his son Sivaji?

GS Paper 1: Modern Indian History
Important For:
Prelims exam: About Raja Serfoji, Doctrine of lapse
Why in News
A rare 19th century painting of Raja Serfoji and his son Sivaji, which was stolen from Saraswathi Mahal, Thanjavur, a few years ago has been traced by Idol Wing CID police to the Peabody Essex Museum, Massachusetts, USA.
Who was Raja Serfoji?
• For long, the rulers of Thanjavur had been devoid of absolute power.
• Serfoji, placed by the British on the throne over his stepbrother Amar Singh, died in 1832.
• His only son Sivaji ruled until 1855.
• However, he had no male successor.
• Thanjavur became a casualty of Lord Dalhousie’s infamous ‘Doctrine of Lapse’, and it got absorbed into British-ruled Indian provinces.
• The painting, which has Raja Serfoji and his young son, according to some historians, was probably painted between 1822 and 1827 and kept in the Saraswathi Mahal.
BackToBasics: Doctrine of Lapse
The Doctrine of Lapse was an annexation policy followed widely by Lord Dalhousie when he was India’s Governor-General from 1848 to 1856.
• According to this doctrine, any princely state under the direct or indirect (as a vassal) control of the East India Company, should the ruler not produce a legal male heir, would be annexed by the company.
• This was not introduced by Lord Dalhousie even though it was he who documented it and used it widely to acquire territories for the British.
• As per this, any adopted son of the Indian ruler could not be proclaimed as heir to the kingdom. The adopted son would only inherit his foster father’s personal property and estates.
• The adopted son would also not be entitled to any pension that his father had been receiving or to any of his father’s titles.
• This challenged the Indian ruler’s long-held authority to appoint an heir of their choice.
• The Doctrine of Lapse was one of the underlying factors that led to the revolt of 1857.
States Annexed under this doctrine
The states that were annexed under this policy are given below in chronological order:

You should know this also:

• In 1824, before the time of Dalhousie, the princely state of Kittur was acquired by the East India Company by this doctrine.
• It was as per this policy that Nana Sahib, the adopted son of the Maratha Peshwa Baji Rao II was denied his titles and pension.
• The final moment straw came when Awadh was annexed to the English East India Company under the terms of the Doctrine of Lapse on the grounds of internal misrule on 7 February 1856 AD.
Effects of Doctrine of Lapse
• Many Indian states lost their sovereignty and became British territories.
• This led to a lot of unrest among the Indian princes.
• A lot of people were unhappy with the ‘illegal’ nature of this doctrine and this was one of the causes of the Indian Revolt of 1857.
• Nana Sahib and the Rani of Jhansi had grievances against the British because the former’s pension was stopped by the British after his foster father died, and the Rani’s adopted son was denied the throne under the doctrine of lapse.
• Dalhousie returned to Britain in 1856. After the Indian Revolt broke out in 1857, his governance was widely criticised as one of the causes of the rebellion.

Private Member’s Bill
GS Paper 2: Parliament and State Legislatures
Important For:
Prelims exam:

Private Member’s Bill

Why in News
Opposition members protested against the introduction of a private member’s Bill on the repeal of The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, in the Rajya Sabha.
Private Member’s Bill
• Any Member of Parliament (MP) who is not a minister is referred to as a private member.
• The purpose of private member’s bill is to draw the government’s attention to what individual MPs see as issues and gaps in the existing legal framework, which require legislative intervention.
o Thus, it reflects the stand of the opposition party on public matters.
• Its drafting is the responsibility of the member concerned.
• Its introduction in the House requires one month’s notice.
• The government bills can be introduced and discussed on any day, private member’s bills can be introduced and discussed only on Fridays.
• Its rejection by the House has no implication on the parliamentary confidence in the government or its resignation.
• Upon conclusion of the discussion, the member piloting the bill can either withdraw it on the request of the minister concerned, or he may choose to press ahead with its passage.
Difference between private and government Bills
• While both private members and ministers take part in the law-making process, Bills introduced by private members are referred to as private member’s Bills and those introduced by ministers are called government Bills.
• Government Bills are backed by the government and also reflect its legislative agenda.
• The admissibility of a Private Bill is decided by the Chairman in the case of the Rajya Sabha and the Speaker in the case of the Lok Sabha.
• Before the Bill can be listed for introduction, the Member must give at least a month’s notice, for the House Secretariat to examine it for compliance with constitutional provisions and rules on legislation.
• While a government Bill can be introduced and discussed on any day, a private member’s bill can only be introduced and discussed on Fridays.
Has a private member’s bill ever become a law?
• 14 private member’s bills — five of which were introduced in Rajya Sabha — have become law so far. Some other private member bills that have become laws include-
o Proceedings of Legislature (Protection of Publication) Bill, 1956.
o The Salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 1964.
o The Indian Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 1967.
• The last time a private member’s bill was passed by both Houses was in 1970.
o It was the Supreme Court (Enlargement of Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction) Bill, 1968.

Act in News

Places of Worship Act, 1991

GS Paper 2: Indian Constitution—Historical Underpinnings, Evolution, Features, Amendments, Significant Provisions and Basic Structure.
Important For:
Prelims exam: Provisions of the Act
Mains Exam: Places of Worship Act, 1991

Why in News

Opposition members protested against the introduction of a private member’s Bill on the repeal of The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, in the Rajya Sabha.
The Act
• It was passed in 1991
• The law seeks to maintain the “religious character” of places of worship as it was in 1947 — except in the case of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, which was already in court.
• The law was brought in at the peak of the Ram Mandir movement, exactly a year before the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
• Introducing the law, then Home Minister said in Parliament that it was adopted to curb communal tension.
Its provisions
• The Act provided that the religious character of a place of worship shall continue to be the same as it was on August 15, 1947.
• No person shall convert any place of worship of any religious denomination into one of a different denomination or section.
• The act says that all suits, appeals or others regarding converting the character of a place of worship, that was pending on August 15, 1947, will stand abated when the Act commences and no fresh proceedings can be filed.
• However, legal proceedings can be initiated after the commencement of the Act if the change of status took place after the cut-off date of August 15, 1947.
• The Act does not to apply to Ram Janma Bhumi, Ayodhya.
• Besides the Ayodhya dispute, the Act also exempted:
o Any place of worship that is an ancient and historical monument or an archaeological site, or is covered by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958;
o A suit that has been finally settled or disposed of;
o Any dispute that has been settled by the parties or conversion of any place that took place by acquiescence before the Act commenced.

What has the Supreme Court said about the Act?

• In the 2019 Ayodhya verdict, the Constitution Bench led by former CJI Ranjan Gogoi referred to the law and said it manifests the secular values of the Constitution and strictly prohibits retrogression.
• It provides a guarantee for the preservation of the religious character of places.
• Those norms implement the Fundamental Duties under Article 51A and are hence positive mandates to every citizen as well.
Why is the law under challenge now?
Against Secular norms:
• A politician has challenged the law on the ground that it violates the secularism.
Against federal principals:
• Several politicians have opposed the law even when it was introduced, arguing that the Centre has no power to legislate on “pilgrimages” or “burial grounds” which is under the state list.
Issue with the cut-off date:
• Another criticism against the law is that the cut-off is the date of Independence, which means that the status quo determined by a colonial power is considered final.
• He has also argued that the cut-off date of August 15, 1947, is “arbitrary, irrational and retrospective” and prohibits Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs from approaching courts to “reclaim” their places of worship. Such places, he argued, were “invaded” and “encroached” by the invaders.

DGCA amended rules especially abled people

GS Paper 2: Schemes for Vulnerable Sections of the population
Important For:
Prelims exam: DGCA, Civil Aviation requirement rules
Why in News
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Friday amended its rules on carriage of disabled passengers to say that airlines cannot deny boarding to specially abled people without seeking the medical opinion of a doctor at the airport on a passenger’s fitness to fly.

What does the new DGCA regulation say?

• In new Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR), the DGCA has said that if an airline decides to deny boarding after getting medical opinion, it will have to immediately inform the passenger in writing and mention the reasons.
• The clause added to the CAR states: “Airline shall not refuse carriage of any person on the basis of disability.
• However, in case an airline perceives that the health of such a passenger may deteriorate in-flight, the said passenger will have to be examined by a doctor, who shall categorically state the medical condition and whether the passenger is fit to fly or not.
• After obtaining the medical opinion, the airline shall take the appropriate call”.

What were the old rules?

• According to the earlier rules, airlines could deny boarding to any person on the basis of disability if it opined that “transportation of such persons would or might be inimical to the safety of flight”.
• The airlines, however, were bound to specify in writing the basis of such refusal.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)

• The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is a statutory body of the Government of India to regulate civil aviation in India. It became a statutory body under the Aircraft (Amendment) Act, 2020.
• Directorate General of Civil Aviation is an attached office of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
• The Directorate General of Civil Aviation is the regulatory body in the field of Civil Aviation primarily dealing with safety issues. It is responsible for regulation of air transport services to/from/within India and for enforcement of civil air regulations, air safety and airworthiness standards.
• It also co-ordinates all regulatory functions with International Civil Aviation Organisation.
• The headquarters are located in New Delhi with regional offices in the various parts of India.

Kolli Hills

• Kolli Hills or Kolli Malai is a small mountain range located in central Tamil Nadu.
• They are part of the Eastern Ghats, a mountain range that runs mostly parallel to the east coast of southern India.
• Home to the Arapaleeswarar temple, the mountain is a site of pilgrimage, but the area is also popular with motorcycle enthusiasts because of the high-altitude motorable terrain with 70 hairpin bends a (sharp U-shaped bends in a road).
• The Kolli Hills are featured in several works of classical Tamil literature.
• The Mountain is named Kolli Malai after the name of Goddess Etukkai Amman (also known as Kollipavai) who founds reference in ancient Sangam Literature.

Transitional Tax Credit

What is Transitional Tax Credit?
• When India moved from the old indirect tax regime to GST, a one-time transition of credit was allowed. That is, companies could set off part of the taxes paid during the old tax regime against future GST liabilities.
• A tax credit is a component of a company’s tax payment that can be applied to offset a subsequent tax obligation.

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