Challenging the Special Marriage Act, 1954
GS Paper 1: Social Empowerment, Communalism, Regionalism & Secularism.
Prelims Exam: Special Marriage Act,1954
Mains Exam: Special marriage Act: How it makes couples vulnerable and violates their Fundamental Rights
Why in News
The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a writ petition challenging provisions of the Special Marriage Act (SMA), 1954 requiring couples to give a notice declaring their intent to marry 30 days before their marriage.
What is Special Marriage Act, 1954
• The Special Marriage Act, 1954 allows people from two different religious backgrounds to come together in the bond of marriage.
• The Special Marriage Act, 1954 lays down the procedure for both solemnization and registration of marriage, where either of the husband or wife or both are not Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, or Sikhs.
• According to this Act, the couples have to serve a notice with the relevant documents to the Marriage Officer 30 days before the intended date of the marriage.
• However, while this process has been enabled online the couple will have to visit the marriage officer for the solemnization of marriage.
What does the petition seek?
Violative of Article 21: The writ petition has called these provisions violative of the right to privacy guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution as they require couples to give a notice of 30 days before the date of marriage inviting objections from the public.
Violative of Articles 14 & 15: The writ petition also mentioned that the provisions contravene Article 14 on prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste and sex as well as Article 15 on right to equality as these requirements are absent in personal laws.
What did the court say?
A Supreme Court bench rejected the writ petition on the grounds that the petitioner was no longer an aggrieved party as she had already solemnised her marriage under SMA.
• The petitioner’s lawyers said that they were now deliberating on an alternative approach to initiate this litigation such as through a public interest litigation involving other victims.
• Another writ petition in Nandini Praveen vs Union of India & Others filed on similar grounds was admitted by the Supreme Court in 2020 and the government’s reply to is awaited.
What are the provisions that have been challenged?
• Section 5 of the SMA requires couples getting married under it to give a notice to the Marriage Officer 30 days before the date of marriage.
• The Act also provides such a notice to be be inspected by “any person desirous of inspecting the same”.
• These notices have to be also affixed at a “conspicuous place” in the office of the Marriage Officer so that anyone can raise an objection to the marriage.
• Section 7 provides the process for making an objection such as if either party has a living spouse, is incapable of giving consent due to “unsoundness of mind” or is suffering from mental disorder resulting in the person being unfit for marriage or procreation.
• Section 8 specifies the inquiry procedure to be followed after an objection has been submitted.
How do these provisions make couples vulnerable?
• These public notices have been used by anti-social elements to harass couples getting married.
• For many others who often marry without their parent’s consent this can be life-threatening.
• There have been instances, where marriage officers have gone over and beyond the law and sent such notices to the parents of the couple leading to a Muslim woman in Delhi being confined to her house by her parents in March 2020 until her boyfriend filed a habeus corpus in the Delhi High Court.
• In certain States, couples have to seek a no-objection certificate from their parents.
o The Maharashtra Department of Registration and Stamps publicly shares the details of couples marrying under SMA on its website.
• Many also complain about the behaviour of the staff at the SDM’s office who often delete or delay applications and dissuade couples from marrying under SMA and ask them to convert at an Arya Samaj temple.
• With as many as 11 States passing anti-conversion (or so-called love-jihad) laws, parents and the State are now armed to punish and harass such couples.
NCRB’s ‘Crime in India’ report
GS Paper 2: Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions and Bodies constituted for the Protection and Betterment of these Vulnerable Sections.
Prelims Exam: NCRB and report data
Mains Exam: NCRB report
Why in News
A new edition of ‘Crime in India’, the annual report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), was released on August 29, for crime-related statistics in 2021.
Key highlights of the report
• Overall, 2021 saw a 7.6 per cent decline in the number of crimes registered, as compared to 2020.
• The crime rate per lakh population declined from 487.8 in 2020 to 445.9 in 2021.
• Crime against women rose by 15.3 per cent in 2021 from the previous year.
• 20% jump in cognizable crimes against children.
A cognizable offense is an offense in which the police officer can arrest the convict without a warrant and can start an investigation without the permission of the court.
Cognizable offenses are generally heinous or serious in nature such as murder, rape, kidnapping, theft, dowry death, etc. The first information report (FIR) is registered only in
National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)
• The NCRB was established in January 1986 with the aim of establishing a body to compile and keep records of data on crime.
• It functions under the Union Home Ministry.
• Apart from publishing annual reports, its functions include “Collection, coordination and exchange of information on inter-state and international criminals to the respective states”.
• NCRB also acts as a “national warehouse” for the fingerprint records of Indian and foreign criminals, and assists in locating interstate criminals through fingerprint search.
Problems with the NCRB report
• Data Limitation: By its own admission, the NCRB says there are limitations to its data. For one, “Since the publication caters to the ‘Principal Offence Rule’ for classification of crime, the actual count of each crime head may be under reported.”
• Counting the Most heinous crimes only: The Principal Offence Rule states that in a case where multiple offences are registered, only the “most heinous crime”, carrying the most stringent punishment, will be considered when counting. For example, ‘Murder with Rape’ is accounted as ‘Murder’, leading to undercounting of the crime of rape.
PARAKH: a new regulator for ‘uniformity’ in all board exams
GS Paper 2: Health, Education and Human Resource
Prelims Exam: PARAKH
Mains Exam: Reforming the education system
Why in News
THE UNION government plans to draw up a “benchmark framework” to assess students at the secondary and higher secondary level to bring about “uniformity” across state and central boards which currently follow different standards of evaluation, leading to wide disparities in scores.
What is PARAKH?
• PARAKH stands for Performance Assessment, Review and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development.
• It will act as a constituent unit of the NCERT, will also be tasked with holding periodic learning outcome tests like the National Achievement Survey (NAS) and State Achievement Surveys.
• The benchmark assessment framework will seek to put an end to the emphasis on rote learning, as envisaged by the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.
• PARAKH, the proposed implementing agency, is also part of the NEP proposal.
Holding exams twice a year and two types of papers on mathematics
• Most states endorsed the NEP proposal to hold board exams twice a year, including one for helping students improve their scores.
• States are also on board regarding a proposal to offer two types of papers on mathematics — a standard exam, and another to test higher level competency.
• It will help reduce the fear of maths among students and encourage learning.
• Encouraging and helping school boards to shift their assessment patterns towards meeting the skill requirements of the 21st century.
• PARAKH will help tackle the problem of students of some state boards being at a disadvantage during college admissions as compared to their peers in CBSE schools.
• It will develop and implement “technical standards for the design, conduct, analysis and reporting” of tests at all levels of school education.
Climate crisis: India showing intent as problem solver
GS Paper 3: Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.
Prelims Exam: G20
Mains Exam: Climate Change: India’s efforts and way forward
Why in News
Addressing the opening ceremony of the G20 environmental and climate ministerial meeting in Bali, Indonesia, Union Environment Minister said that India is showing intent as a problem solver despite not being a traditional contributor to global emissions.
Climate Finance: A Mirage
• The promise of climate finance from developed countries remains a mirage and its current pace and scale does not match the global aspiration to combat climate change.
• In 2019, 70% of the public climate finance was given out as loans instead of grants. In 2019-20, only 6% of climate finance was in grants. This is pushing developing countries into more debt.
• The primary responsibility for the transition towards net-zero emissions rests with those who have historically accounted for most of the accumulated greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
• The current pace and scale of climate finance from developed countries is not matching the global aspiration to combat climate change.
What is Net Zero Emission?
Net zero means achieving a balance between the greenhouse gases put into the atmosphere and those taken out.
India’s commitments to lower the Carbon emission
• India is totally committed to driving its low-carbon industry transitions through a multi-pronged approach that cuts across sectors and issues.
• It has made remarkable progress in recent years in electrifying all households, rapidly increasing access to clean cooking energy and is also one of the world’s largest markets for the deployment of renewable energy.
• The country’s National Green Hydrogen Mission promises to be a game-changer for reducing emissions from hard-to-abate sectors.
What more is needed?
• All these efforts need investment at lower costs and innovative models for scaling up climate finance to double 2019 levels by 2025.
• New approaches are also needed to develop and deploy low-carbon technologies.
• The maximum impact of the climate crisis is being borne by the poorest countries and most vulnerable communities, which have contributed the least to the climate crisis and lack the technology and capacity and finance required to significantly alter the status quo.
• There is an urgent need to mobilise resources to stimulate the economy in a manner that makes it more resilient and sustainable.
• The world must recognise that development and environment conservation need to be aligned, rather than treated exclusive of each other.
• We must decouple economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions, while considering national circumstances and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC).
o CBDR-RC acknowledges the different capabilities and differing responsibilities of individual countries in addressing climate change.
• The G20 members must hold a special responsibility towards the ocean, as they are all coastal countries and are cumulatively responsible for 45% of the world’s coastlines and over 21% of exclusive economic zones.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]