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Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (21st April)

Dear aspirants, following are the links of various articles taken from various newspapers. Click the link to read further. To get notification, follow the blog. Thank you

1. Bring BCCI under RTI Act, says Law Commission

Law Commission has recommended to the Union Law Ministry that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) be brought under the Right To Information.

2. The Hindu explains: How is the Chief Justice of India impeached?

Motion to impeach Chief Justice of India

  1. Opposition leaders met Chairman of the Rajya Sabha to hand over a motion to impeach Chief Justice of India
  2. The Chairman of the Rajya Sabha is the Vice President of India
  3. This is not the first time impeachment has been mentioned in the same sentence as a sitting judge

Can a judge be impeached?

  1. Just like all other constitutional positions, the Chief Justice of India can also be impeached provided the necessary steps as laid out in the Constitution are taken
  2. This is not the first time impeachment has been mentioned in the same sentence as a sitting judge

Procedure for impeachment

  1. Article 124(4) of the Constitution of India states: “A Judge of the Supreme Court shall not be removed from his office except by an order of the President passed after an address by each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting has been presented to the President in the same session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity”
  2. 100 Lok Sabha MPs or 50 Rajya Sabha MPs is the minimum number of signatories required to issue the notice
  3. The notice has to be handed over either to the Speaker if it is from Lok Sabha MPs or to the Chairman if it is Rajya Sabha MPs
  4. If and when the motion is admitted, the Speaker or the Chairman will have to constitute a three-member committee to investigate the charges levelled against the Supreme Court judge
  5. This committee will consist of a senior Supreme Court judge, a High Court judge and a ‘distinguished jurist’ — who is a highly qualified law professor who has been appointed as a Supreme Court judge by the President of India

What happens after the investigation?

  1. The three-member committee has to support the motion for it to be sent back to the House where it was introduced
  2. In the House, it has to be discussed and passed with a special majority — not less than two-thirds
  3. This means, in case of a full House seated, at least 364 Members should have voted for the motion in the Lok Sabha, and 164 Members in the Rajya Sabha
  4. This will then pass on to the other House where it has to be passed by special majority again
  5. Once it passes both the Houses of Parliament, the President can be approached to remove the Chief Justice of India

Can CJI continue working while the motion of impeachment is in the process?

  1. Both the Constitution and the Judges (Inquiry) Act of 1968 are silent on whether a judge facing impeachment motion should recuse from judicial and administrative work till he is cleared of the charges against him
  2. Neither the law nor propriety requires the CJI to withdraw from work
  3. Until the Rajya Sabha Chairman makes up his mind to admit the motion and refer it to an Inquiry Committee under the 1968 Act, things will be as usual for the CJI

3. Prosperity in the 21st century

Indian experience of inequality(reduction) and poverty(elimination)

  1. Essentially, inequality can be reduced by taxing the rich, a form of ‘levelling down’
  2. but poverty can be permanently eliminated only by raising the incomes of the poor, a form of ‘levelling up’
  3. Public policy in India has paid far too little attention to the latter but also some of the measures adopted to tackle inequality may have exacerbated(worsen) poverty here

Long and short term solution

  1. The long-term strategy should be to tackle these two jointly through the equalisation of capabilities
  2. However, in the short-term, public policy must address livelihood opportunities for the poor

Is poverty in India declining?(after economic reforms of 1991)

  1. It is only the estimate for 2009-10 that shows a decline in the number of poor in India once again
  2. This is followed by a quite spectacular decline over the next two years
  3. To get an idea of the magnitude of the decline, the numbers for 2004-05, 2009-10 and 2011-12 are 407 million, 355 million and 270 million, respectively
  4. So while it is correct say that poverty had declined rapidly since the reforms, it actually declines only after about one and a half decades from 1991

Contribution of agricultural growth in poverty reduction

  1. The reduction took place when agricultural growth was at its fastest ever
  2. Experts have estimated average annual agricultural growth at 4% during 2005-06 to 2013-14 compared to 2.5% for the decade prior to this
  3. A 60% increase in the rate of growth of agriculture sustained for a reasonably long stretch is likely to have impacted poverty significantly
  4. Similarly, the 1980s, when poverty reduction first accelerated, had also been a period of accelerated agricultural growth

Agricultural growth has also contributed in reduction of urban poverty

  1. The economic reforms had mainly focussed on trade, industry and financial sector reforms
  2. Activity in these sectors is mostly based in urban areas
  3. For well over a decade after 1991 it had not succeeded in reducing the number of urban poor
  4. It is only after the agricultural sector began to grow faster from around the middle of the next one that the number of urban poor begins to decline
  5. It is only after 2004-05 that we see for the first time ever a reduction in the number of the urban poor
  6. Till that date this figure(urban poverty rate) has steadily risen while rural poverty had resumed its downward trend after 1993-94 itself

Why is agricultural growth important?: Contribution in reduction of urban poverty

  1. Two processes are likely to have been at play in this
  2. Rural prosperity could have fuelled demand for urban products and, following the significant decline in rural poverty, migration from the villages, swelling the numbers of the urban poor, may have slowed
  3. The role of agricultural growth in reducing poverty is apparent in the fact that between 2004-05 and 2009-10 the number of rural poor declined by 15% while the number of urban poor declined only by 5%
  4. This points to the possibility that economic reforms without a robust agricultural growth may not have made much of a difference to urban poverty

4. Marginalised from school

The Centre must review the lack of implementation of the Right to Education Act across the country.

5. India to push for local manufacturing of APIs, reduce dependence on China

The chemicals and fertilizers ministry has joined hands with other ministries to draw up a road map for increasing API production in India.

Make in India in pharma required

  1. The chemicals and fertilizers ministry has joined hands with other ministries to draw up a roadmap for increasing active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs)production in the country
  2. A high-level task force has been constituted to study global practices and draw up a plan aimed at boosting domestic production of APIs

Why such move?

  1. India continues to rely on imports of key starting materials, intermediates and APIs from China, with the share of dependence increasing over time
  2. Currently, over 60% of APIs are sourced from other nations
  3. For some specific APIs, the dependence is over 80-90%
  4. This potentially exposes us to raw material supply disruptions and pricing volatility

Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs)

  1. All drugs are made up of two core components: the API, which is the central ingredient, and the excipients, the substances other than the drug that helps deliver the medication to your system
  2. The Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) is the part of any drug that produces its effects
  3. Excipients are chemically inactive substances, such as lactose or mineral oil
  4. The quality of APIs has a significant effect on the efficacy and safety of medications

6. Checks against atrocities

The task of balancing penal law enforcement and civil liberties is best left to Parliament.

Balancing penal law enforcement and civil liberties

  1. The Supreme Court, in its recent judgment in Subhash Kashinath Mahajan v. the State of Maharashtra, has stirred up a debate which is bound to impact the law and policy on the prohibition of the practice of untouchability and prevention of atrocities against SCs and STs in India
  2. The task of balancing penal law enforcement and civil liberties is best left to Parliament

SC Judgement

  1. An arrest is not mandatory under the SC/ST Act, and the automatic arrest has been scrapped
  2. The court further directed that public servants can only be arrested with the written permission of their appointing authority. This was to protect public servants and private employees from arbitrary arrest
  3. Supreme Court also ruled that before arresting a public servant under the Act, a preliminary investigation by an officer not below the rank of deputy superintendent of police

False cases & other related data

  1. NCRB data show that 5,347 false cases involving SCs and 912 false cases involving STs were registered in 2016
  2. On the contrary, there is plenty of evidence to support the view that the SCs/STs are victims of rising crime each year
  3. NCRB data show that in the past 10 years, crimes against SCs have risen by 51%
  4. Studies by the National Law School of India University and Action Aid India have shown that religious, social and other disabilities involving the practice of untouchability continue to be widespread in India
  5. Thus, there is much empirical evidence to support the stand that the Act needs to be strengthened and not weakened

Inadequate enforcement

  1. Unlike other offences, untouchability is an offence under the Constitution
  2. Article 17 prescribes that ‘the enforcement of any disability arising out of untouchability shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law’
  3. Article 17 is exalted to the position of a fundamental right
  4. However, despite the laws, it is generally accepted that Article 17 has not succeeded in achieving its mandate
    largely due to inadequate enforcement
  5. This leads to low conviction rates and a huge pendency of cases

The legislative trend for enforcement

  1. The legislative trend has been to progressively make the penal law tougher
  2. In 2016, several amendments were introduced to strengthen the 1989 Act such as:
  • including more acts as atrocities; increasing the quantum of punishment for the offences defined as atrocities
  • imposing an enhanced duty on public servants such as police officers who are required to enforce the Act
  • constituting special and exclusive courts to try offences under the Act; introducing time limits for investigation and trial

Possible solutions

  1. The ruling on anticipatory bail is to be welcomed as protecting the accused from needless arrest and humiliation on the one hand
  2. But as a victory for human rights on the other, whether ordinary police powers of registering an FIR report and making arrests in cognisable cases should be whittled down to this extent in atrocity cases is a matter of deliberation
  3. False and frivolous complaints filed under untouchability legislation could also have been dealt with by other means which include directions for prompt investigation and prosecution of such offences by the police and others under the Indian Penal Code, 1860

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