27 July 2020
- Remember Jawans, PM tells people (Page 01) - (Internal Security) (Kargil War)
- Five drown in Assam, flood toll crosses 100 - (Environment) Over 14 lakh affected by Bihar floods (Floods)
- Scandalizing as contempt (EDIT) - (Polity and Gov) The chilling effect of criminal contempt (EDIT) A motorcycle and the art of court management (EDIT)
- A revolution in policy mindset- (Inclusive Growth)
- Prelims Pointers
Daily Current Affairs
Current Affairs 2020
1. Remember Jawans, PM tells people
India observed the 21st anniversary of the Kargil Vijay Diwas to commemorate the victory in the Kargil war fought in 1999 between India and Pakistan.
In focus: Kargil War
- According to Kargil Review Committee ever sinceIndia took positions at the Siachen Glacier Pin 1984 Pakistan Army had been planning incursions across LOC.
- 1998 nuclear tests conducted by both the countries acted as the trigger which led to Pakistan Army and Pakistan-backed Mujahideen intruding the LOC in early 1999 at key peaks in the Kargil area including Tololing Batalik, Dras up till Mushkoh sector.
- The intrusions were detected in early May when India launched Operation Vijay which drove away the intruders out by July 1999.
Strategic significance of Kargil’s location
- Kargil comprises a bunch of ridges spanning about 170 km overlooking the Srinagar-Leh Highway (NH 1A)
- The Srinagar-Leh Highway 1A is the lifeline that connects Kashmir and Ladakh regions through Kargil.
- Thus Kargil acts as a gateway India for Ladakh region.
- Besides cutting the link in Kargil would make it operationally difficult for India to hold on Saichen from Leh.
- As a result Kargil has been a target of Pakistani intruders multiple times including 1948, 1965, 1971 and finally in 1999.
Significance of Kargil War
Kargil War marks a watershed moment in India’s security architecture bringing about some fundamental reforms in defence preparedness
Stepping up Intelligence
- National Technical Research Organisation was established in 2004
- Increasing number of UAVs were inducted
Reforms in defence procurement
- The most radical reform was the establishment of Defence Procurement Procedure in 2003.
- In addition Defence Acquisition Council and Defence Procurement Board were established to institutionalise decision making process
- Task force on border management was created.
- National Security Council headed by NSA was strengthened
- Finally the long-pending proposal of Arun Singh Committee of creating Chief of Defence Staff was fulfilled last year
2. OVER 14 LAKH AFFECTED BY BIHAR FLOODS + FIVE DROWN IN ASSAM, FLOOD TOLL CROSSES 100
- Nearly 15 lakh people have been affected by floods in 11 districts of Bihar, and at least 10 have lost their lives in the deluge, the disaster management department said on Sunday.
- According to the department, Darbhanga is the worst-affected district, as 5.36 lakh people there have either been displaced or are trapped inside their homes.
- Floodwaters have entered homes in Bishunpur village of Darbhanga district, forcing people to wade through waist-deep water, even as they try and salvage their valuables.
- In this context, we are going to discuss
- Basics about flood
- Major causes
India receives 80 per cent of its annual rainfall during the southwest monsoon season of June to September. Rainfall over the country during this season shows a wide range of spatial variation due to orographic influences and preferential occurrence of rain-bearing systems in certain regions. India has a very extensive rain gauge network and rainfall monitoring over the country is a stupendous task. The real-time monitoring and statistical analysis of district-wise daily rainfall is one of the important functions of the Hydro-meteorological Division of IMD at New Delhi. Based on the real time daily rainfall data, weekly district wise, sub-division wise and state wise rainfall distribution summaries are prepared regularly by the Rainfall Monitoring Unit. Maps showing weekly and cumulative rainfall figures in 36 meteorological subdivisions of the country are prepared. This information is very important to many user agencies, particularly for agricultural planning.
Assam with its vast network of rivers is prone to natural disasters like flood and erosion which has a negative impact on overall development of the state. The Brahmaputra and Barak River with more than 50 numbers of tributaries feeding them, causes the flood devastation in the monsoon period each year. The flood and erosion problem of Assam is singularly different from other states so far as extent and duration of flooding and magnitude of erosion is concerned and is probably the most acute and unique in the country. The flood prone area of the state as assessed by the Rastriya Barh Ayog (RBA) is 31.05 Lakh Hectares against the total area of state 78.523 Lakh Hectares i.e. about. 39.58 % of the total land area of Assam. This is about 9.40% of total flood prone area of the country. Records show that average annual area affected by flood is 9.31 Lakh Hectares. The flood prone area of the country as a whole stands at about 10.2 % of the total area of the country, but flood prone area of Assam is 39.58 % of the area of the state. It signifies that the flood prone area of Assam is four times the national mark of the flood prone area of the country.
The flood problem of the state is further aggravated due to flash floods by the rivers flowing down from neighbouring states like Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya. During the year 2004 and 2014 the south bank tributaries of Brahmaputra in lower Assam, experienced flash floods of high magnitude due to cloud burst in the catchment areas in Meghalaya. During the month of August, 2011, due to cloud burst in the catchment area of Arunachal Pradesh the river Gainadi and Jiadhal also experienced flash flood of very high magnitude. These flash floods caused large scale devastation in vast areas including losses of human lives.
Another major problem being faced by the state of Assam is bank erosion by the river Brahmaputra, Barak and its tributaries. Damages caused due to erosion runs into several hundred crores every year. Bank erosion by the rivers has been a serious issue since last six decades as more than 4.27 Lakh Hectares of land was already eroded away by the river Brahmaputra and its tributaries since 1950, which is 7.40 % of area of the state. As assessed, the annual average loss of land is nearly 8000 Ha. The width of river Brahmaputra has increased up to 15.00 Km at some places due to bank erosion.
3. THE CHILLING EFFECT OF CRIMINAL CONTEMPT – LEAD ARTICLE + SCANDALISING AS CONTEMPT – EDITORIAL
Mr. Prashant Bhushan has made allegations of corruption against judges in the past. Contempt proceedings has been initiated against him concerning two tweets by him, one a general comment on the role of some Chief Justices of India in the last six years, and another targeting the current CJI based on a photograph. A 11-year-old case has also been sited where he allegedly said in 2009 that half of India’s last 16 Chief Justices were corrupt.
What is Contempt of Court?
The expression ‘contempt of court’ has not been defined by the Constitution. As per the Contempt of Courts Act 1971, contempt refers to the offence of showing disrespect to the dignity or authority of a court. The act divides contempt into civil and criminal contempt.
- Civil contempt:It is willful disobedience to any judgment, decree, direction, order, writ or other processes of a court or wilful breach of an undertaking given to the court.
- Criminal contempt:It is any publication which may result in:
- Scandalising the court by lowering its authority.
- Interference in the due course of a judicial proceeding.
- An obstruction in the administration of justice.
- Article 129: Grants Supreme Court the power to punish for contempt of itself.
- Article 142(2): Enables the Supreme Court to investigate and punish any person for its contempt.
- Article 215: Grants every High Court the power to punish for contempt of itself.
Arguments in favour
- Concept of contempt exists to insulate the institution from unfair attacks and prevent a sudden fall in the judiciary’s reputation in the public eye.
- SC has said that these tweets “brought the administration of justice in disrepute and are capable of undermining the dignity and authority of the institution and the office of the Chief Justice of India in particular”
- Provision of contempt safeguards the interests of the public, if the authority of the Court is denigrated and public confidence in the administration of justice is weakened or eroded.
- Contempt power is needed to punish wilful disobedience to court orders (civil contempt), as well as interference in the administration of justice and overt threats to judges.
- The U.K. Law Commission in a 2012 report recommended the abolition of the law of contempt. It said that the law was originally intended to maintain a “blaze of glory” around courts. It said that the purpose of the offence was not “confined to preventing the public from getting the wrong idea about judges... but that where there are shortcomings, it is equally important to prevent the public from getting the right idea”. England abolished the offence of “scandalizing the court” in 2013.
- The definition of criminal contempt in India is extremely wide, and can be easily invoked. Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer famously termed the law of contempt as having a vague and wandering jurisdiction, with uncertain boundaries.
- Contempt law, regardless of public good, may unwittingly trample upon civil liberties.
- A law for criminal contempt is completely asynchronous with our democratic system which recognises freedom of speech and expression as a fundamental right.
- Surely, any efforts to artificially prevent free speech will only exacerbate the situation further. As was pointed out in the landmark U.S. case of Bridges v. California (1941), “an enforced silence would probably engender resentment, suspicion, and contempt for the bench, not the respect it seeks”.
- An excessively loose use of the test of ‘loss of public confidence’, combined with a liberal exercise of suo motu powers, can be dangerous, for it can amount to the Court signalling that it will not suffer any kind of critical commentary.
- In an era in which social media are full of critics, commentators and observers who deem it necessary to air their views in many unrestrained and uninhibited ways, the higher judiciary should not really be expending its time and energy invoking its power to punish for contempt of itself.
- It has been recognised by jurists that each time the offence of ‘scandalising’ the court or lowering the court’s authority is invoked, some tend to believe that the court has something to hide
- The Court’s international institutional standing will be lowered if it takes up this case in this manner at this time.
Evolution of wisdom of Judges in UK on contempt proceedings
- In England, too, from where we have inherited the legacy of contempt law, the legal position has evolved. After the celebrated Spycatcher judgment was delivered in the late 1980s by the House of Lords, the British tabloid, the Daily
- Mirror, published an upside-down photograph of the Law Lords with the caption, “You Old Fools”.
- Refusing to initiate contempt action against the newspaper, one judge on the Bench, Lord Templeton, reportedly said, “I cannot deny that I am Old; It’s the truth. Whether I am a fool or not is a matter of perception of someone else. There is no need to invoke the powers of contempt.”
- Even when, in 2016, the Daily Mail ran a photo of the three judges who issued the Brexit ruling with the caption “Enemies of the People”, which many considered excessive, the courts judiciously and sensibly ignored the story, and did not commence contempt proceedings.
Need to review the contempt law in India
- In contemporary times, it is more important that courts are seen to be concerned about accountability, that allegations are scotched by impartial probes rather than threats of contempt action, and processes are transparent
- The test for contempt needs to be evaluated. If such a test ought to exist at all, it should be whether the contemptuous remarks in question actually obstruct the Court from functioning. It should not be allowed to be used as a means to prevent any and all criticism of an institution. Canada ties its test for contempt to real, substantial and immediate dangers to the administration
- Unfortunately, in a system in which judges are not expected to disclose the reason for recusing themselves, and even charges of sexual harassment are not credibly investigated, it is only the fear of scandalising the judiciary that restrains much of the media and the public from a more rigorous examination of the functioning of the judiciary.
4. A REVOLUTION IN POLICY MINDSET – ARTICLE
The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. The 17 Goals are all interconnected, and in order to leave no one behind, it is important that we achieve them all by 2030. Click on any specific Goal below to learn more about each issue.
17 Goals for People, for Planet
- The Sustainable Development Goals are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. The 17 Goals were adopted by all UN Member States in 2015, as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which set out a 15-year plan to achieve the Goals.
- Today, progress is being made in many places, but, overall, action to meet the Goals is not yet advancing at the speed or scale required. 2020 needs to usher in a decade of ambitious action to deliver the Goals by 2030.
What is sustainable development?
- Sustainable development has been defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
- Sustainable development calls for concerted efforts towards building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future for people and planet.
- For sustainable development to be achieved, it is crucial to harmonize three core elements: economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. These elements are interconnected and all are crucial for the well-being of individuals and societies.\
- Eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions is an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. To this end, there must be promotion of sustainable, inclusive and equitable economic growth, creating greater opportunities for all, reducing inequalities, raising basic standards of living, fostering equitable social development and inclusion, and promoting integrated and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems.