First amendment to the Constitution
GS Paper 2: Amendments in Indian Constitution, Features of Indian Constitution
Prelims exam: Amendment process
Mains exam: First constitutional amendment and its implications
Why in news?
The Supreme Court has agreed to examine a PIL challenging changes made to the right to freedom of speech and expression by the first amendment to the Constitution in 1951.
First amendment to the Constitution
Aim of 1st amendment
- To restrict ambit of freedom of speech and expression
- The citizen’s right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by article 19(1)(a) has been held by some courts to be so comprehensive as not to render a person culpable even if he advocates murder and other crimes of violence.
- Give validation to zamindari abolition laws
- Empowered the state to make special provisions for the advancement of socially and economically backward classes.
Changes made by this amendment
- Equality: In order that any special provision that the State may make for the educational, economic or social advancement of any backward class of citizens may not be challenged on the ground of being discriminatory, article 15(3) was suitably amplified.
- Freedom of Speech: Through this amendment the government placed reasonable restrictions on fundamental rights and added three more grounds of restrictions on freedom of speech such as public order, friendly relations with foreign states and incitement to an offence.
- Freedom of trade: Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution confers the right of citizens of India to practise any profession or to carry on any trade or business.
- The Amendment expressly provided that State trading and nationalisation of any trade or business by the state is not being invalid on the ground of the violation of the right to trade or business.
- Upholding land reforms: Government noted that validity of agrarian reform measures passed by the State Legislatures had, in spite of the provisions of clauses (4) and (6) of article 31, formed the subject-matter of dilatory litigation, as a result of which the implementation of these important measures, affecting large numbers of people, had been held up.
- Accordingly, a new article 31A was introduced to uphold such measures in the future. Further, another new article 31B, with retrospective effect, was introduced to validate 13 enactments relating to zamindari abolition.
- Introduction of 9th schedule: The Ninth Schedule contains a list of central and state laws which cannot be challenged in courts.
- Certain amendments in respect of articles dealing with the convening and proroguing of the sessions of Parliament were also incorporated in the Act.
Amendment of Constitution in india
Article 368 of Constitution of India provides for two types of amendments.
- By a special majority of Parliament
- By a special majority of the Parliament with the ratification by half of the total states
Procedure for Amendment
- An amendment of the Constitution is initiated only by the introduction of a Bill for the purpose in either House of Parliament,
- The Bill is then passed in each House by majority (i.e., more than 50%) of the total membership of that House and by the majority of not less than two-thirds members of that House present and voting.
- The bill then presented to the President for his assent.
- Upon such assent being given to the bill, the Constitution shall stand amended in accordance with the terms of the Bill.
- However, any amendment which seeks to make any changes in the following provisions:
- The manner of election of the President (Article 54,55)
- Extent of the executive power of the Union and the States (Article 73,162)
- The Supreme Courts and High Courts (Article 241, Chapter IV of Part V, Chapter V of part VI
- Distribution of legislative powers between Union and the States (Chapter 1 of Part XI)
- Any of the entries and list provided in Schedule 7
- Representation of States in the Parliament (Article 80-81, 4th Schedule)
- Provisions enumerated under Article 368 itself
then the amendment also required to be ratified by the legislature of not less than one-half of the States.
- No Joint Session for Constitution Amending Bills: Procedure for joint session is applicable only to Bills for ordinary legislation and not to Bills for amendment of the Constitution.
- The previous sanction of the President is not required for introducing in Parliament any Bill for amendment of the Constitution.
GS PAPER 2 : Polity & Governance
Prelims: State implementing act
Mains: How Superstition Affects Our Society ?
Chilling details of the killings of two women in Kerala have sparked a debate about the prevalence and power of superstitious beliefs in society.
Data about deaths
- As per the 2021 report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), six deaths were linked to human sacrifices, while witchcraft was the motive for 68 killings.
- The maximum number of witchcraft cases were reported from Chhattisgarh (20), followed by Madhya Pradesh (18) and Telangana (11).
- Kerala saw two cases of human sacrifice.
- In 2020, India saw 88 deaths due to witchcraft and 11 died as part of ‘human sacrifices’, the NCRB report states.
What is superstition ?
- A belief or way of behaving that is based on fear of the unknown and faith in magic or luck
- A belief that certain events or things will bring good or bad luck
Common Examples :
- Hanging lemons and chillies in front of house doors and shops
- Pregnant ladies perform rituals during the solar and lunar eclipse
Causes of superstitions in India
- Culture:- One’s culture plays a major role in developing his or her habits and beliefs. In Indian culture, people are brought up in such a way that their lives are surrounded by various superstitious rituals and practices. In this situation, people grow up inheriting such beliefs and practices.
- Society:- Society plays an important role in shaping people’s thoughts and behavior. In Indian society, there are ample practices that have the potential to affect one’s way of thinking and thus they affect the individual in one or various ways.
- Lack of education:- India being a developing country is yet to have a 100% literacy rate and this in turn has implications for the society. Illiterate people cannot differentiate between fact and fiction and that’s why they tend to believe irrational beliefs and practices easily.
- Fear of being called an outcast:- In Indian society, people being brought up by practicing such beliefs and rituals tend to be afraid of not believing them or not performing them. Most people perform such rituals out of fear and others perform them to adhere to the prevailing social norms.
- Local practices:- In many parts of India, mostly in tribal areas, superstition is inherent in local practices, and thus it is difficult to avoid them in some or other way.
What are the laws in India?
In India, there is no central law that exclusively deals with crimes related to witchcraft, superstition, or occult-inspired activities.
|Bihar was the first State to enact a law to prevent witchcraft, identification of a woman as a witch and“eliminate torture, humiliation and killing of women.” The Prevention of Witch (Daain) Practices Act came into force in October 1999.|
|A law was passed in Jharkhand in 2001 — the Prevention of Witch (Daain) Practices Act.|
|Chhattisgarh is one of the worst-affected States in terms of witchcraft-related crimes, the State enacted the Chhattisgarh Tonahi (witch) Pratadna Nivaran Act only in 2005.|
|Following the directions of the Odisha High Court to frame a law to deal with rising cases of witch-hunting in the State, the Odisha Prevention of Witch-Hunting Bill was passed by the Assembly in 2013.|
|In Maharashtra, the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013 was passed after the murder of anti-superstition activist Dr. Narendra Dabholkar.|
|Rajasthan enacted the Rajasthan Prevention of Witch-Hunting Act in 2015 to “provide for effective measures to tackle the menace of witch-hunting and prevent the practice of witchcraft.”|
|The Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Act, 2015, which received the President’s assent in 2018, prohibits witch hunting completely.|
|The latest law was passed in Karnataka where the Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Act, 2017 came into effect in January 2020|
- The Indian Constitution by providing freedom of religion as a fundamental right has always tried to protect the interests of all religions.
- But this freedom has also led to the practice of various social evils in its name.
- These practices violate the basic rights of people who are the victims of such practices.
- Our forefathers must have foreseen this problem and thus through the 42nd constitutional amendment Act, through The Fundamental Duties, the Indian Constitution expects its citizens to develop a scientific temperament, spirit of enquiry, humanism and reforms.
- Thus, there is a need for a striking balance that is expected by the Indian Constitution from its citizens.
Govt printed 10,000 electoral bonds
GS PAPER 2 : Polity
Prelims: Provisions of electoral bonds
Mains: Upto what extent does the electoral bond not affect our free & fair election ?
Why in News?
THE UNION government printed 10,000 electoral bonds worth Rs 1 crore each between August1 and October 29.
What are Electoral Bonds?
- Electoral bonds are banking instruments that can be purchased by any citizen or company to make donations to political parties, without the donor’s identity being disclosed.
- It is like a promissory note that can be bought by any Indian citizen or company incorporated in India from select branches of State Bank of India.
- The citizen or corporate can then donate the same to any eligible political party of his/her choice.
- An individual or party will be allowed to purchase these bonds digitally or through cheque.
- The bonds are issued in multiples of Rs. 1,000, Rs. 10,000, Rs. 1 lakh, Rs. 10 lakh and Rs. 1 crore without any maximum limit.
- State Bank of India is authorized to issue and encash these bonds, which are valid for fifteen days from the date of issuance.
- The bonds are available for purchase by any person (who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India) for a period of ten days each in the months of January, April, July and October as may be specified by the Central Government.
- A person being an individual can buy bonds, either singly or jointly with other individuals.
Eligibility: Only the political parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and have secured not less than 1% of the votes polled in the last general election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly, are eligible to receive electoral bonds.
Supreme Court’s view point on Electoral Bonds
- The Supreme Court (SC) agreed that the scheme protects the identity of purchasers of electoral bonds in a cloak of anonymity, but highlighted that such purchases happened only through regular banking channels.
- In 2019, the Supreme Court asked all the political parties to submit details of donations received through electoral bonds to the ECI. It also asked the Finance Ministry to reduce the window of purchasing electoral bonds from 10 days to five days.
- The Election Commission of India (ECI) also told the Supreme Court of India that while it was not against the Electoral Bonds Scheme, it did not approve of anonymous donations made to political parties.
World energy outlook
GS Paper 3: Infrastructure
Prelims exam: IEA, World energy outlook
Why in news?
The International Energy Agency (IAE) has released its annual World Energy Outlook Report 2022 at a time of the first global energy crisis.
About World Energy Outlook(WEO) Report
- The WEO is the energy world’s most authoritative source of analysis and projections.
- This flagship publication of the IEA has appeared every year since 1998.
- Its objective data and dispassionate analysis provide critical insights into global energy supply and demand in different scenarios and the implications for energy security, climate targets and economic development.
Key findings of the WEO 2022 report
- Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused a global energy crisis.
- While all fuels are affected by the Ukrainian crisis, gas markets are the main affected area, since Russia is looking to take advantage of its market position by exposing consumers to high energy bills and supply shortages.
- Natural gas prices have reached unprecedented levels. They are consistently exceeding the equivalent of USD 250 per barrel of oil.
- According to the report, spot prices of natural gas have regularly exceeded USD250 per barrel of oil and this, coupled with high coal prices, have accounted for 90% of the upward pressure on electricity costs around the world.
- With electrification being pursued globally, any upward pressure on electricity costs diverts money away from activities which will ultimately reduce carbon emissions and makes electrification more expensive and difficult.
- This is seen as a setback to tackle climate change.
- The report highlights the question of whether the energy crisis will catalyse further action or just serve as a setback to the clean energy transition.
- With countries like Japan providing major funding for nuclear, low-emission hydrogen and ammonia, and India aiming to reach 500 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030, there are certainly a lot of positive moves being made.
- Report states that the increase in renewable electricity generation is sufficiently fast to outpace growth in total electricity generation, driving down the contribution of fossil fuels for power.
- Still, the share of fossil fuels in the global energy supply is still anticipated to be 60% by 2050, and so fossil fuels are going to remain a key feature of the world’s energy supply for the foreseeable future.
- Report pointed out that price and economic pressures mean that the number of people without access to modern energy is rising for the first time in a decade.
- Around 75 million people who recently gained access to electricity are likely to lose the ability to pay for it, and 100 million people may revert to the use of traditional biomass for cooking.
- With the loss of its largest export market in Europe, Russia faces the prospect of a much‐diminished role in international energy affairs.
- Energy‐related CO2 emissions rebounded to 36.6 Gt in 2021, the largest ever annual rise in emissions.
- In the STEPS(Stated Policies Scenario), they reach a plateau around 37 Gt before falling slowly to 32 Gt in 2050, a trajectory that would lead to a 2.5 °C rise in global average temperatures by 2100.
- This is around 1 °C lower than implied by the baseline trajectory prior to the Paris Agreement, indicating the progress that has been made since then.
- The world has not been investing enough in energy in recent years, a fact that left the energy system much more vulnerable to the sort of shocks seen in 2022.
|IEA(International Energy Agency)
Criteria for membership
A candidate country to the IEA must be a member country of the OECD. In addition, it must demonstrate several requirements. These are:
GS Paper 3: Environment
Prelims exam: Miyawaki forest
Mains exam: Can Miyawaki Forest be a substitute for natural forest
Why in news?
The Prime Minister inaugurated two tourist attractions, a Maze (labyrinth) Garden and Miyawaki Forest, at Ekta Nagar in Kevadia, Gujarat.
What is Miyawaki Forest?
- The term Miyawaki refers to the Japanese technique of creating thick plantations within a short time.
- In the Miyawaki method, a forest can be developed in just two to three years while it takes at least 20 to 30 years through the traditional method.
- The growth of plants is ten times faster using this method and as a result, the forest developed is thirty times denser.
- The method involves planting two to four trees per square metre.
Advantages of Miyawaki Forest
- These micro forests keep the soil moist since the saplings are planted very close to each other.
- These micro forests are home to several species of birds, butterflies, and insects.
- They help lower temperatures in concrete heat islands, reduce air and noise pollution and create carbon sinks.
- The method advocates the planting of diverse native species, thereby bringing in more biodiversity in comparison to monoclonal plantations.
- These forests have thirty times more trees than other plantations and are perfect for cities, where land is scarce.
Why can’t it be a substitute for natural forest in India?
Environmentalists have pointed out that the technique was started considering the climate in Japan and the regular occurrence of natural calamities like earthquakes, but the method is not that much useful for a tropical country like India. They have given a number of reasons behind this claim.
- A forest is not just the trees, but a complex ecosystem, which consists of native species of plants.
- Such forests lack qualities of natural forests, such as medicinal properties and the ability to bring rain.
- Forests are very dense, which restricts the movement of any possible wildlife the forest might attract.
- The Miyawaki technique allows the planting of more than 4,000 trees and shrubs per acre. The purpose of such a high density is to ensure the trees grow straight up, without providing opportunities for wide canopies and the natural maturation of many species of larger trees.
- In coastal cities like Chennai, native trees are not those that have tall and straight boles but those that sprawl, like the Indian laurel, banyan, Indian beech and portia .
- It is not possible to accommodate these species in a Miyawaki forest.
- If trees are not allowed to grow to their full size, they do not sequester carbon efficiently.
- Naturally growing trees are also important as habitats for urban fauna. When left undisturbed for 5-10 years, they support biological communities and form near-natural local ecosystems.