07 October, 2020
- Prelims 2020 CSAT solution announcement
- Self Assessment Speed Test
- black hole researchers get Nobel Prize for Physics - (Science & Technology)
- The disintegration of the criminal justice system - (Polity and Governance)
- Grapes of wrath (Editorial) - (Polity and Governance)
- A wake-up call for the Republic - (Polity and Governance)
- Question of the day (Science & Technology)
UPSC Current Affairs: Black Hole Researchers get Nobel Prize for Physics – Pg 1
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: General Science | Mains – GS Paper III – Science & Technology
Sub Theme: Noble Prize |Black Hole | UPSC
Roger Penrose of Britain, Reinhard Genzel of Germany and Andrea Ghez of the U.S. won the Nobel Physics Prize for their research into what the Nobel committee called “one of the most exotic phenomena in the universe, the black hole”.
Mr. Penrose won the Nobel Physics Prize fir showing “that the general theory of relativity leads to the formation of black holes”.
While Mr. Genzel, and Ms. Ghez, were jointly awarded for discovering “that an invisible and extremely heavy object governs the orbits of stars at the centre of our galaxy”. They have led research since the early 1990s focusing on a region called Sagittarius A* at the centre of the Milky Way.
Using the world’s largest telescopes, they discovered an extremely heavy, invisible object — around 4 million times greater than the mass of the Sun — that pulls on surrounding stars, giving the galaxy its characteristic swirl.
Ms. Ghez is just the fourth woman to receive the physics prize since 1901 when the first Nobel prizes were handed out.The first woman to win the prize was Marie Curie in 1903, who was also the first person to receive two Nobel prizes when she won the 1911 chemistry prize.
- The term “black hole” refers to a point in space where matter is so compressed as to create a gravity field from which even light cannot escape.
- Albert Einstein explained the universe (relationship between space, time, gravity and matter) through his theory of general relativity. It opened the door to the theoretical possibility of a particularly mind-boggling phenomenon that would eventually be called black holes.
- For years, physicists questioned whether black holes could really exist but Mr. Penrose, a professor at the University of Oxford, used mathematical modelling to prove back in 1965 that black holes can form.His calculations proved that black holes — super dense objects formed when a heavy star collapses under the weight of its own gravity — are a direct consequence of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
- The unveiling of the first-ever pictureof a black hole by the Event Horizon Telescope in April 2019. The black hole is approx. 55 million light years away.
- Proof of black existence
- The existence of this black hole was first guessed at because the Messier87 galaxy when imaged at radio frequencies shows the signature twin-jets of plasma that are squirted out at near-relativistic speeds to reach well beyond the galaxy into intergalactic space.
- Furthermore, studying the movement of gas clouds in the central region shows gas moving at enormous speeds both towards and away from us, and these speeds are consistent with the hypothesis that the gravitational force of a central billion-solar mass black hole drives this gas.
- It is the hot gaseous material that is swirling into the black hole that is being consumed by the black hole, and the light is coming from this swirling material.
- Matter in the close vicinity of a black hole shines because it gets extremely hot, and light from “behind” the black hole also reaches us because the gravitational field of the black hole bends this light towards us.
- We do not get any light or other signals from within the black hole
The Event Horizon Telescope project
- It is an international collaboration launched in 2009
- The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is a large telescope array consisting of a global network of radio telescopes.The project's observational targets include the two black holes –
- the black hole at the centre of the supergiant elliptical galaxy Messier 87 (M87), and
- Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) at the center of the Milky Way.
- Existence of Dark matter comes as a natural outcome of Einstein’s theory of relativity.
- Einstein was convinced of the real existence of Black holes and predicted them to discovered latter.
- Black hole is made up Dark matter.
- Light can be bent by Black hole.
- Bodies behind the Black hole can be visible to us.
- Radio telescopes are used to study Black holes.
- Event Horizon Telescope project is a joint initiative of NASA and ESA.
- Sagittarius A* is a star.
- The first woman to win the prize was Marie Curie in 1903. She won it for discovery of radium.
- Marie Curie is the only person to be honouredby Noble Prize in two separate sciences.
- So far only four woman have receivedNoble Prize in physics.
- Existence of Dark matter comes as a natural outcome of Einstein’s theory of relativity. (T)
- Einstein was convinced of the real existence of Black holes and predicted them to discovered latter. (F)
- Black hole is made up Dark matter.(F)
- Light can be bent by Black hole. (T)
- Bodies behind the Black hole can be visible to us.(T)
- Radio telescopes are used to study Black holes. (T)
- Event Horizon Telescope project is a joint initiative of NASA and ESA.(F)
- Sagittarius A* is a star. (F)
- The first woman to win the prize was Marie Curie in 1903. She won it for discovery of radium. (F)
- Marie Curie is the only person to be honoured by Noble Prize in two separate sciences.(T)
- So far only four woman have receivedNoble Prize in physics. (T)
UPSC Current Affairs: (i) The disintegration of the criminal justice system (ii) Grapes of wrath (iii) A wake-up call for the Republic |Pg 6/7
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Polity & Governance | Mains: GS Paper-II - Polity & Governance
Sub Theme: Criminal Justice System | Rule of Law | UPSC
What is a crime?
One proposed definition of crime is that it is an act harmful not only to some individual but also to a community, society, or the state ("a public wrong"). Such acts are forbidden and punishable by law. Crime is a category created by law; in other words, something is a crime if declared as such by the relevant and applicable law. No social contract can eliminate crime in society. Laws dealing with crimes and criminals emanate from power structures, in one form or another, charged with the responsibility of maintaining the social order which allows individuals to go about their everyday lives in the belief that they enjoy the protective cover of those wielding authority.
Need for laws protecting citizens against crime and violence
- No modern society should tolerate individual rights to be trampled upon and individual liberties to be sacrificed by the state and its machinery.
- Enforcement of justice in society
- Caste and poverty go hand in hand. Those at the bottom of the caste structure are also immersed in poverty. They lack the wherewithal to get justice.
- Minorities within a majoritarian state need the protective measure of the state because of the possibility of the prevalence of majoritarian culture that may seek dominance which often expresses itself in violent retributions.
- Protection from foisting of an ideology on those who either don’t subscribe to it or are openly opposed to it.
- The perpetrator may be perceived to represent majoritarian nationalist sentiment.
- The perpetrators believe that the state machinery will come to their aid because of caste affiliations embedded in the power structure.
- Protection from tyranny of the state.
- A majority government may make the laws and controls the investigative machinery, which means that not only does it define what a crime is but it can also selectively pursue only those crimes which it cares about and forget about the rest.
- The political class, in suppressing the voice of dissent, seeks to use violence as a weapon to instil fear so that the message of conformity percolates downstream to quell all forms of opposition.
- People have to be protected from violence which has cultural, religious and political colour.
Criminal justice system
The criminal justice system is a series of government agencies and institutions with the goals of, preventing the crimes, rehabilitation of offenders and giving moral support to victims. The primary institutions of the criminal justice system are the police, courts and prison system.
Ultimately, the idea of “crime” is hollow without the accompanying punishment. This punishment can only arise upon a judgment of conviction at the end of a trial. There is, then, a synergy between the crime, its pursuit by an investigation, and the calling to account of those found guilty.
Following are important ingredient of criminal justice system –
- Timely registration of cases
- Free, fair and effective investigation by the police force
- Scrutinization of the reports of investing agency by the courts.
- Condemnation of the crime by the courts.
- Punishment to the perpetrator as per rule of law
- Reformation of criminals in the prison system.
Problem with the Police Force - the case of Uttar Pradesh
Punish without condemning an accused through trial
A notorious gangster was involved in a gunfight with police, fled, and was later captured from another State. As his entourage made its way back to Uttar Pradesh, there was an “encounter” and the accused was shot dead.
There was a crime, several crimes in fact. The State police decided to pursue it. However, there was no waiting for a trial to condemn the accused and sentence him; punishment was swiftly meted out by the police itself.
Condemn without any trial
U.P passed a law enabling the publishing of massive hoardings with the names and personal details of persons allegedly involved in the destruction of property caused in riots following the anti-Citizenship Act protests. But, all of this is before a court convicted them for these acts. In this fashion, the police became judge, jury, and executioner.
- Turning a blind eye to incidents of violence
A young girl was brutally assaulted and left to die when she was found by her family in the village of Hathras, Uttar Pradesh. Despite the injuries being evident, the police did not register a case for hours, and even then did not include the serious offence of rape. Police was not willing to register this single case of rape, however, it has swiftly registered at least 19 cases regarding an alleged conspiracy to use the incident for political purposes to show the State in a bad light.
Problem with the Courts in enabling justice
As per the Crime in India data for 2019 our police are seemingly super-efficient, but our courts are super-slow. In Uttar Pradesh police have a pendency rate for cases at just above 15%, but the courts have pendency rates just above 90% (for IPC crimes) –
- ~ 3.8 crore pending cases(Economic survey)
- 398 (1/3rd ) HC judges post are lying vacant.
- > 5000 vacancies in lower judiciary
- Judges to population ratio – 13 per million (Law commission suggested 50/million)
This exacerbates the natural time-gap between the incident and any potential punishment, and reduces the importance of courts in the criminal justice system. It is the arrest, and not a conviction, which becomes the seminal moment in the criminal process.
The executive tries to legally bolster powers of pre-trial arrest and custody, while also arrogating to itself more powers to punish without condemnation — asset forfeiture being a key power.
The result of this is a transformation from a criminal justice system, to aproblem-solving system.
This system where judges lose sway is where the executive gains more power. The effect of this is the unsurprising imitation of executive-mindedness by the judiciary.
- National Judicial data grid
- Bifurcation of HCs of Telangana and AP
- National court of appeal
- All India judicial services
- Strengthen ADR mechanism – Lok Adalat; family courts
- Fill up the vacancies
- Control over adjournments
- Increase retirement age of judges
Economic survey – to make Indian courts more productive
- Increase the number of working days by reducing holidays.
- Establishment of Indian courts and Tribunal services
- Use of technology like – e-courts; National judicial Data Grid
It is a wake-up call for the Republic. Some of our spineless institutions with their open biases have led to this abysmal state of affairs. The only institution that can withstand such aberrations that make the citizen lose faith in the functioning of the state is the court. Our future will depend on the court’s courage to call a spade a spade.
- Prison system is part of criminal Justice System.
- Presently around 1/3rd of High Court judges post are lying vacant.
- Judges to population ratio in India is highest in South Asia.
- Fundamental rights in India is claimed only against the State.
- India the percentage of poor and SC/STs in undertail is higher than their overall population in the nation.
- Prison system is part of criminal Justice System. (T)
- Presently around 1/3rd of High Court judges post are lying vacant. (T)
- Judges to population ratio in India is highest in South Asia. (F)
- Fundamental rights in India is claimed only against the State. (F)
- India the percentage of poor and SC/STs in undertail is higher than their overall population in the nation. (T)