GS PAPER II
Chief Justice of India (CJI)
Why in News
As per Chief Justice of India (CJI), judging is not an easy task.
- According to the Chief Justice of India, a judge should focus on law, precedents and facts of a case and, on the other, the human aspect.
- Judges should use the “little discretion” law allows to keep sight of the human suffering and toll behind every case.
- A judgment becomes the law of the land. A judge has to keep all this in mind while dealing with a case. Deciding cases is not an easy task.
- Judges should not only have to focus on the law and precedents surrounding the issue as well as the facts of the case, but also the repercussions of what they decide and the precedent we may be setting. This makes it necessary for judges to be logical and objective and theoretically sound.
- The CJI termed the Bar “the protector of the institution”.
Supreme Court of India
- The Supreme Court of India is the supreme judicial body of India and the highest court under the Indian constitution.
- The Chief Justice of India is the head and consists of a maximum of 34 judges as the chief judge of the Supreme Court.
- They have extensive powers in the form of original, appellate and advisory jurisdictions. They regarded as the most powerful public institution in India.
- As the apex constitutional court in India, it takes up appeals primarily against verdicts of the high courts of various states of the Union and other courts and tribunals.
- It is the authority to safeguard the fundamental rights of citizens and settles disputes between various government authorities and between central and state governments or state governments versus another state government in the country.
- Article 142 of the Constitution stated that, it is the duty of the President of India to enforce the decrees of the Supreme Court and the court is conferred with the inherent jurisdiction to pass any order deemed necessary in the interest of justice.
Brief history of Supreme Court
- Supreme Court of India was first established in India under the Regulating Act of 1773 at Calcutta.
- Objective behind this was to hear and determine grievances of crimes and to entertain, hear and determine any suits or actions in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa provinces.
- After that, the Supreme Courts at Madras and Bombay were established by King George – III in 1800 and 1823 respectively.
- In 1861, India High Courts Act was enacted under which Supreme Courts at Calcutta, Madras and Bombay abolished and High Courts for various provinces and the Sadar Adalats in Presidency towns was established.
- After India got independence in 1947, the Constitution of India came into force on 26 January 1950 under which the honorable Supreme Court of India was established and its first sitting was held on 28 January 1950.
- Under Part V of the Indian Constitution, Article 124-147 deals with the subjects related to the Supreme Court of India.
- The Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India can broadly be categorized into original jurisdiction, appellate jurisdiction and advisory jurisdiction.
- Originally, the strength of the Supreme Court was fixed at eight (one chief justice and seven other judges), but now there are thirty-one judges (one chief justice and thirty other judges).
Interference of Supreme Court in the proceedings of High Court
- Article 139A deals with the power of the Supreme Court to withdraw the cases from the High Court if they are pending and it is believed by the Supreme Court that it involves important question on law.
- Article 141 states that the judgment of the Supreme Court is binding on all the lower or subordinate courts.
- Under the Writ Jurisdiction, the Supreme Court has the power to issue the Writ of Mandamus even against the High Court even though the High Courts have also been provided with the power to issue such Writs under Article 226 to do an act or to abstain from doing an act.
- Certiorari is another writ that can be issued by the Supreme Court to the High Court.
- It can be issued when the superior court wants to decide a matter in the case itself or if there is an excess of jurisdiction by the inferior court.
- It can also be issued when there is a fundamental error in the procedure followed by the inferior court or if there is a violation of the principles of natural justice.
Chief Justice of India
- The Chief Justice of India is the chief judge of the Supreme Court of India as well as the highest-ranking officer of the Indian federal judiciary.
- The President of India has power to appoint the Chief Justice of India in consultation with the outgoing Chief Justice.
- Article 124(4) of Constitution of India lays down the procedure for removal of a judge of Supreme Court which is applicable to chief justices as well.
- The chief justice remains in the office until the age of 65 years.
- Article 145 of the Constitution of India and the Supreme Court Rules of Procedure of 1966, the chief justice allocates all work to the other judges who are bound to refer the matter back to him or her (for re-allocation) in any case where they require it to be looked into by a larger bench of more judges.
- The 48th and present chief justice is N. V. Ramana.
GS PAPER II
Trafficking in Persons report
Why in News
According to the Trafficking in Persons report, the pandemic resulted in an increase in vulnerability to human trafficking and interrupted existing antitraffic efforts.
- The U.S. has determined that governments of twelve countries, including China, had a policy of trafficking in the reporting period (year ending March 31).
- On India, the report says that while it did not meet the minimum standards to eliminate trafficking, the government was making significant efforts, although these were inadequate, especially when it came to bonded labour.
- The concurrence of the increased number of individuals at risk, traffickers’ ability to capitalise on competing crises, and the diversion of resources to pandemic response efforts has resulted in an ideal environment for human trafficking to flourish and evolve.
- Twelve governments were determined, by the State Department, to have a “policy or pattern” of human trafficking resulting in their countries being assigned a ‘Tier 3’ rating.
- Afghanistan, Burma, China, Cuba, Eritrea, North Korea, Iran, Russia, South Sudan, Syria and Turkmenistan were on this list.
- The report said that the Chinese government engaged in “widespread forced labor, including through the continued mass arbitrary detention of more than one million Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, ethnic Kyrgyz, and other Muslims” in Xinjiang.
- For India, the report said the government is not meeting the minimum standards to eliminate trafficking “but is making significant efforts to do so.
- Overall antitrafficking efforts, especially against bonded labor, remained inadequate. The government achieved fewer convictions, and the acquittal rate for traffickers remained high at 73%.
- While U.S. law requires the government to screen unaccompanied children and follow certain procedures to place the children in the least restrictive setting in the best interest of the child to combat child trafficking, unaccompanied children were processed and expelled.
- Human trafficking is the trade of humans for the purpose of forced labour, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others.
- It is a crime against the person because of the violation of the victim’s rights of movement through coercion and because of their commercial exploitation.
- According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), forced labour alone generates an estimated $150 billion in profits per annum as of 2014.
- In 2012, the ILO estimated that 21 million victims are trapped in modern-day slavery. Of these, 14.2 million (68%) were exploited for labour, 4.5 million (22%) were sexually exploited, and 2.2 million (10%) were exploited in state-imposed forced labour.
Constitutional & legislative provisions related to Trafficking in India
- Under Article 23 (1) of the Constitution of India, trafficking in Human Beings or Persons is prohibited.
- The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (ITPA) is the premier legislation for prevention of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.
- Criminal Law (amendment) Act 2013 has come into force wherein Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code has been substituted with Section 370 and 370A IPC which provide for comprehensive measures to counter the menace of human trafficking including trafficking of children for exploitation in any form including physical exploitation or any form of sexual exploitation, slavery, servitude, or the forced removal of organs.
- Protection of Children from Sexual offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 come into effect from 14th November, 2012, is a special law to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation. It provides precise definitions for different forms of sexual abuse, including penetrative and non-penetrative sexual assault, sexual harassment.
- There are other specific legislations enacted relating to trafficking in women and children Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994, apart from specific Sections in the IPC, e.g., Sections 372 and 373 dealing with selling and buying of girls for the purpose of prostitution.
GS PAPER III
Merchandise Exports in India
Why in News
With India registering its highest quarterly merchandise exports of $95 billion during the first quarter (April-June) of 202122, now the country is targeting of $400 billion in merchandise exports in the current fiscal.
- As per the official data released, the exports rose by 47.34% to $32.46 billion in June, following a strong growth in sectors such as engineering, gems and jewellery and petroleum products. However, India was a net importer in June 2021 with a trade deficit of $9.4 billion.
- The highest ever merchandise export in a quarter of $95 billion has been achieved in AprilJune 2021, surpassing the previous record of $90 billion in JanuaryMarch 2020.
- The Commerce Ministry has decided that in collaboration with private sector, EPC, industry associations, MSME, engineering, agriculture, automobile, and steel sector, this year the country will be targeting to achieve merchandise exports of $400 billion.
- India received the highest ever FDI inflow in 202021 of $81.72 billion, up 10% compared to $74.39 billion in 201920.
- The positive momentum continues with FDI inflow of $6.24 billion during April 2021, which is 38% higher.
- According to foreign trade policy (2015–2020) merchandise export is export of goods manufactured in India.
- Govt is promoting manufacturers, merchant exporters to promote exports Under MEIS (Merchandise exports from India scheme).
- The World Trade Organization (WTO) stated that the prospects for a quick recovery in world trade have improved as merchandise trade expanded more rapidly than expected in the second half of last year.
- According to new estimates from the WTO, the volume of world merchandise trade is expected to increase by 8% in 2021 after having fallen 5.3% in 2020, continuing its rebound from the pandemic-induced collapse that bottomed out in the second quarter of 2020.
Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS)
- Under Foreign Trade Policy of India (FTP 2015-20), MEIS is one of the two schemes introduced in Foreign Trade Policy of India 2015-20, as a part of Exports from India Scheme.
- It was launched on 1st April 2015.
- Objective is to offset infrastructural inefficiencies and associated costs involved in exporting goods/products which are produced /manufactured in India including products produced/manufactured by MSME Sector.
World Trade Organization (WTO)
- It is an intergovernmental organization that regulates and facilitates international trade between nations.
- It was operationalized on 1 January 1995, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) that had been established in 1948.
- The WTO is the world’s largest international economic organization, with 164 member states representing over 96% of global trade and global GDP.
GS PAPER III
OECDG20 global tax deal
Why in News
India and majority of the members OECD-G20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) have adopted outline of a consensus solution to address the tax challenges arising from the digitalisation of economies.
- A total of 130 countries agreed to an overhaul of global tax norms to ensure multinationals pay taxes wherever they operate and at a minimum 15% rate.
- The solution should result in allocation of meaningful and sustainable revenue to market jurisdictions, particularly for developing and emerging economies.
- A majority of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting members (including India) adopted a statement containing an outline of a consensus solution to address tax challenges arising from digitalisation of the economy.
- It comprises:
- Pillar One: reallocation of additional share of profit to the market jurisdictions, and
- Pillar Two: regarding minimum tax and subjecttotax rules.
- The consensus would quicken ongoing efforts to reset the almost centuryold international tax rules.
- It provides an objective definition for “largest (Sales more than €20 billion) and most profitable (more than 10% global profitability) MNEs to be subject to new nexus and profit allocation rules.
Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS)
- Base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) refers to tax planning strategies used by multinational enterprises that exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules to avoid paying tax.
- Developing countries’ higher reliance on corporate income tax means they suffer from BEPS disproportionately.
- BEPS practices cost countries USD 100-240 billion in lost revenue annually.
- Working together within OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on BEPS, 139 countries and jurisdictions are collaborating on the implementation of 15 measures to tackle tax avoidance, improve the coherence of international tax rules and ensure a more transparent tax environment.
GS PAPER III
Financial Stability Report
Why in News
As per Reserve Bank of India statement, plans by Big Tech to foray further into India’s financial sector pose risks for traditional banks as the tech firms have the potential to become dominant players in financial services.
- The plans would also create governance related challenges for regulators.
- Major technology firms straddle many different lines of business with sometimes opaque overarching governance structures.
- The RBI said concerns included operational risks, toobigto fail issues, challenges for antitrust rules, cybersecurity and data privacy.
- But it added that positive outcomes could include efficiency gains and more access to financial services. The RBI’s warnings come at a time of much tension between the Indian government and U.S. tech giants over issues that range from ecommerce rules to data privacy and content posted on their platforms.
- Amazon, Facebook, Facebookowned WhatsApp and Twitter have all been caught up in disputes with New Delhi.
GS PAPER III
Foreign Exchange Reserves
Why in News
India’s foreign exchange reserves surged by $5.06 billion to touch a record high of $608.99 billion in the week ended June 25, 2021.
- In the previous week ended June 18, the reserves had declined by $4.41 billion to $603.93 billion.
- During the week under review, the increase in the reserves was on account of a rise in foreign currency assets (FCA), a major component of the overall reserves. FCA rose by $4.7 billion to $566.24 billion.
- Gold reserves rose by $365 million to $36.296 billion.
- The special drawing rights with the IMF remained unchanged at $1.49 billion.
Foreign Exchange Reserves
- Foreign exchange reserves are assets denominated in a foreign currency that are held by a central bank.
- These may include foreign currencies, bonds, treasury bills, and other government securities.
- Most foreign exchange reserves are held in U.S. dollars, with China being the largest foreign currency reserve holder in the world.
- These assets serve many purposes but are most significantly held to ensure that a central government agency has backup funds if their national currency rapidly devalues or becomes all together insolvent.
- Foreign exchange reserves are not only used to back liabilities but also influence monetary policy.
Importance of Foreign Exchange Reserves
- The Foreign Exchange Reserves is needed to support imports of the nation.
- More importantly, they are needed to support, maintain confidence for central bank action, whether monetary policy action or any exchange rate intervention to support the domestic currency.
- It also helps limit any vulnerability because of a sudden disruption in foreign capital flows, which could happen during a crisis.
- Holding liquid forex thus provides a cushion against such effects and gives the confidence that there would still be enough forex to support the country’s crucial imports in case of external shocks.