Daily Current Affairs Date : 25thMarch,2022
(30+ Questions hit in Prelims 2021 from this series)
Covers 4 Most relevant Sources
- The Hindu
- Indian Express
- The Idea Behind the Establishment of Tribunals (TH)
- Election of the President (TH, pg 11)
- Uniform Civil Code (UCC) (TH, pg 5)
- Abel Prize for Mathematics, 2020 (IE)
- Solomon Islands Considers Security Cooperation with China (TH, pg 13)
- Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) (TH, pg 8)
- All About Tuberculosis (TB) (TH, pg 12)
The Idea Behind the Establishment of Tribunals (TH)
- Context:Supreme Court judge Justice S.K. Kaul expressed concern over pending vacancies in various tribunals, even wondering if the court should stay proceedings in these fora until the government woke up and made appointments.
- The original Constitution did not contain provisions with respect to tribunals.
- The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 added a new Part XIV-A to the Constitution.
- This part on‘Tribunals’added two Articles–Article 323A dealing with administrative tribunals and Article 323B dealing with tribunals for other matters.
- Article 323 A empowers the Parliament to provide for the establishment of administrative tribunals for the adjudication of disputes relating to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services of the Centre, the states, local bodies, public corporations and other public authorities.
- In other words, Article 323A enables the Parliament to take out the adjudication of disputes relating to service matters from the civil courts and the high courts and place it before the administrative tribunals.
- In pursuance of Article 323A, the Parliament has passed the Administrative Tribunals Act in 1985. The act authorises the Central government to establish one Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) and The State Administrative Tribunals.
- The CAT exercises original jurisdiction in relation to recruitment and all service matters of public servants covered by it.
- Its jurisdiction extends to the all-India services, the Central civil services, civil posts under the Centre and civilian employees of defence services.
- However, the members of the defence forces, officers and servants of the Supreme Court and the secretarial staff of the Parliament are not covered by it.
- At present (2019), the sanctioned strength of the Chairman is one and sanctioned strength of the Members is 65.
- They are drawn from both judicial and administrative streams and are appointed by the president.
- They hold office for a term of five years or until they attain the age of 65 years in case of chairman and 62 years in case of members, whichever is earlier.
- The appointment of Members in CAT is made on the basis of recommendations of a high-powered selection committee chaired by a sitting Judge of Supreme Court who is nominated by the Chief Justice of India.
- After obtaining the concurrence of Chief Justice of India, appointments are made with the approval of Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).
- The CAT is not bound by the procedure laid down in the Civil Procedure Code of 1908. It is guided by the principles of natural justice. These principles keep the CAT flexible in approach.
- Only a nominal fee of ₹50 is to be paid by the applicant. The applicant may appear either in person or through a lawyer.
- Originally, appeals against the orders of the CAT could be made only in the Supreme Court and not in the high courts.
- However, in the Chandra Kumar case(1997), the Supreme Court laid down that appeals against the orders of the CAT shall lie before the division bench of the concerned high court.
- Consequently, now it is not possible for an aggrieved public servant to approach the Supreme Court directly against an order of the CAT, without first going to the concerned high court.
- The Administrative Tribunals Act of 1985 empowers the Central government to establish the State Administrative Tribunals (SATs) on specific request of the concerned state governments.
- Like the CAT, the SATs exercise original jurisdiction in relation to recruitment and all service matters of state government employees.
- The chairman and members of the SATs are appointed by the President after consultation with the Governor of the state concerned.
Tribunals for Other Matters
- Under Article 323B, the Parliament and the state legislatures are authorised to provide for the establishment of tribunals for the adjudication of disputes relating to the following matters:
- (a) Taxation
- (b) Foreign exchange, import and export
- (c) Industrial and labour
- (d) Land reforms
- (e) Ceiling on urban property
- (f) Elections to Parliament and state legislatures
- (g) Food stuffs
- (h) Rent and tenancy rights
Articles 323A and 323B differs in the following three aspects:
- While Article 323 A contemplates establishment of tribunals for public service matters only, Article 323 B contemplates establishment of tribunals for certain other matters (mentioned above).
- While tribunals under Article 323 A can be established only by Parliament, tribunals under Article 323 B can be established both by Parliament and state legislatures with respect to matters falling within their legislative competence.
- Under Article 323 A, only one tribunal for the Centre and one for each state or two or more states may be established.
- There is no question of hierarchy of tribunals, whereas under Article 323 B a hierarchy of tribunals may be created.
In News: Appointment of a former IAS officer as Expert Member in the Southern Bench of the NGT.
- The establishment of tribunals as adjudicatory bodies in specific fields is based on the idea that specialisation and expertise are required to decide complex cases of a technical nature.
- The ‘tribunalisation’ of justice is driven by the recognition that it would be cost-effective, accessible and give scope for utilising expertise in the respective fields.
- Central to this scheme is the principle that the ‘experts’ appointed to these tribunals should bring in special knowledge and experience.
- These criteria came under focus recently when the appointment of former IAS officer, Girija Vaidyanathan, as Expert Member in the Southern Bench of the NGT, was challenged in the Madras High Court.
Election of the President (TH, pg 11)
- Context: Opposition parties, hit hard by the debacle in the recent Assembly elections, have not yet started discussions on the Presidential election which is due in July.
- The President is elected not directly by the people but by members of electoral college consisting of:
- 1. the elected members of both the Houses of Parliament;
- 2. the elected members of the legislative assemblies of the states; and
- 3. the elected members of the legislative assemblies of the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry.
- Thus, the followingdo not participate in the election of the President:
- the nominated members of both of Houses of Parliament,
- the nominated members of the state legislative assemblies,
- the members (both elected and nominated) of the state legislative councils (in case of the bicameral legislature) and
- the nominated members of the Legislative Assemblies of Delhi and Puducherry
- Where an assembly is dissolved, the members cease to be qualified to vote in presidential election, even if fresh elections to the dissolved assembly are not held before the presidential election.
- The Constitution provides that there shall be uniformity in the scale of representation of different states as well as parity between the states as a whole and the Union at the election of the President.
- To achieve this, the number of votes which each elected member of the legislative assembly of each state and the Parliament is entitled to cast at such election shall be determined in the following manner:
- 1. Every elected member of the legislative assembly of a state shall have as many votes as there are multiples of one thousand in the quotient obtained by dividing the population of the state by the total number of the elected members of the assembly. This can be expressed as:
- 2. Every elected member of either House of Parliament shall have such number of votes as may be obtained by dividing the total number of votes assigned to members of the legislative assemblies of the states by the total number of the elected members of both the Houses of Parliament. This can be expressed as:
- The value of the vote of the MPs remains uniform across the States, but the value of the votes of MLAs depends on the population of the State.
- The President’s election is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote and the voting is by secret ballot.
- This system ensures that the successful candidate is returned by the absolute majority of votes.
- A candidate, in order to be declared elected to the office of President, must secure a fixed quota of votes.
- The quota of votes is determined by dividing the total number of valid votes polled by the number of candidates to be elected (here only one candidate is to be elected as President) plus one and adding one to the quotient. The formula can be expressed as:
- Each member of the electoral college is given only one ballot paper. The voter, while casting his vote, is required to indicate his preferences by marking 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. against the names of candidates. This means that the voter can indicate as many preferences as there are candidates in the fray.
- In the first phase, the first preference votes are counted. In case a candidate secures the required quota in this phase, he is declared elected. Otherwise, the process of transfer of votes is set in motion.
- The ballots of the candidate securing the least number of first preference votes are cancelled and his second preference votes are transferred to the first preference votes of other candidates. This process continues till a candidate secures the required quota.
- All doubts and disputes in connection with election of the President are inquired into and decided by the Supreme Court whose decision is final.
- The election of a person as President cannot be challenged on the ground that the electoral college was incomplete (i.e., existence of any vacancy among the members of electoral college).
- If the election of a person as President is declared void by the Supreme Court, acts done by him before the date of such declaration of the Supreme Court are not invalidated and continue to remain in force.
Uniform Civil Code (UCC) (TH, pg 5)
- Context:The Uttarakhand Cabinet led by the Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami decided to form a committee of experts on the implementation of a Uniform Civil Code in the State.
- Article 44 of the Directive Principles in the Constitution says the “State shall endeavour to provide for its citizens a uniform civil code (UCC) throughout the territory of India.”
- The objective of this endeavour is to address the discrimination against vulnerable groups and harmonise diverse cultural practices.
- Ambedkar had said a UCC is desirable but for the moment should remain voluntary.
How did it come about?
- The Constituent Assembly lacked the consensus on what a potential uniform civil code would entail.
- While many thought the UCC would coexist alongside the personal law systems, others thought that it was to replace the personal law.
- There were yet others who believed that the UCC would deny the freedom of religion.
- It was this uncertainty that led it to be included in the Directive Principles of State Policy rather than the chapter on Fundamental Rights in the Constitution.
Why does it matter?
- The codification of personal laws has historically generated protests. The Hindu Code Bill, one of the foremost pieces of social legislation, had triggered enormous opposition.
- The debate on the UCC is centred on the argument to replace individual personal customs and practices of marriage, divorce, adoption and successions with a common code.
- Those in favour of one code argue that it will end discrimination in religions.
- Detractors contend that it will rob the nation of its religious diversity and violate the fundamental right to practise religion enshrined in Article 25 of the Constitution.
- In fact, they hold that a state action to introduce the UCC is against the quintessence of democracy.
- The secular state is, after all, an enabler of rights rather than an inhibitor in sensitive matters of religion and personal laws.
- Legal experts say that the Supreme Court missed an opportunity to decide on the issue in 2017 when it outlawed triple talaq without addressing the core issue: whether personal law practices should prevail over the fundamental rights of life, dignity and non-discrimination.
- In the Shah Bano case, the court lamented that Article 44 remained a “dead letter.” Chances are that it may continue to remain so.
Brief History of UCC in India
- In Jose Paulo Coutinho v. Maria Luiza Valentina Pereira (2019),the Supreme Court yet again revived the debate on a uniform civil code (UCC) and referred to Goa as “a shining example of an Indian State which has a uniform civil code applicable to all…”.
- While all Congress leaders including Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and Mahatma Gandhi voted for Pakistan, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad stood his ground and voted against it; overlooked V.D. Savarkar’s two-nation theory; and also overlooked the history of the Hindu Right’s resistance to the Hindu Code Bill.
- As far as Muslims are concerned, the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act of 1937 has not been extended to Goa. Muslims of Goa are governed by Portuguese law as well as Shastric Hindu law.
- The majority in Shayara Bano v. Union of India(2017) did hold freedom of religion subject to restrictions under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution as absolute.
- Even the right to follow personal law had been elevated to the highest status of fundamental right. UCC is only one of the directive principles.
- The Supreme Court rightly held in Minerva Mills Ltd. v. Union Of India(1980) that “to destroy the guarantees given by Part III [fundamental rights] in order purportedly to achieve the goals of Part IV [directive principles] is plainly to subvert the Constitution by destroying its basic structure.”
- Since personal laws are in the Concurrent List, they may differ from State to State.
- The framers of the Constitution did not intend total uniformity or one law for the whole country.
- States have made more than a hundred amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Penal Code.
The way forward
- In one of its consultation papers, the Law Commission chose codification of personal laws over the UCC as a way to end discrimination within religions.
- Codification of various practices and customs would make them ‘law’ under Article 13 of the Constitution.
- Any ‘law’ that comes under Article 13 should be consistent with the fundamental rights, the Law Commission has reasoned.
- This would protect the plurality of religions, too, and may be the way forward for the near future.
- In fact, the Law Commission has suggested in no uncertain terms that the UCC is “neither necessary nor desirable at this stage in the country.”
- It said a unified nation does not necessarily need to have “uniformity.”
Abel Prize for Mathematics, 2020 (IE)
- Context: The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters announced their decision to award this year’s Abel Prize toDennis Parnell Sullivan, an American mathematician,for his contributions to topology, including work on chaos theory.
- Topology “investigates the properties of objects that do not change when they are deformed,” and has “significant applications in fields ranging from physics to economics to data science.”
- Named after the 19th-century Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel, the prize was established by the Oslo government in 2002 to honour outstanding scientific work in the field of mathematics, a discipline not included among the Nobel awards.
- Along with the Fields Medal, which is awarded every four years at the Congress of the International Mathematical Union (IMU), it is one of the world’s most prestigious maths prizes.
- Indian-American mathematician Srinivasa S.R. Varadhan was awarded the Abel Prize in 2007.
Solomon Islands Considers Security Cooperation with China (TH, pg 13)
- Context:The Solomon Islands has signed a policing deal with China and will send a proposal for a broader security agreement covering the military to its cabinet for consideration.
- The arrangements are likely to concern the United States, which said in February it would open an embassy in the Solomon Islands after senior U.S. administration officials expressed concern China wanted to create military relationships in the Pacific islands.
- The Solomon Islands switched diplomatic ties from Taiwan to Beijing in 2019, which partly fuelled discontent that led to riots in the capital, Honiara, in November.
- Australia has historically provided security support to the Solomon Islands and led a policing mission to restore order in the wake of riots.
- Australia has a bilateral security agreement with the Solomon Islands covering the deployment of police and armed forces, signed in 2018.
- Solomon Islands lie in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.
- Solomon Islands are 2 parallel chains of volcanic islands and small coral atolls.
- The country is mainly mountainous and covered in forests, although it has some extensive plains.
- Solomon Islands’ nearest neighbours are Vanuatu to the south-east and Papua New Guinea to the west.
- Geologically, the Solomon Islands are part of the volcanic arc extending from New Ireland in Papua New Guinea to Vanuatu.
- Earthquakes and destructive cyclones also occur regularly.
Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) (TH, pg 8)
- Context:17 crorepublic grievances were received and disposed of between January 1, 2015, and February 28, 2022, the Rajya Sabha was informed recently.
- Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) is an online platform available to the citizens 24×7 to lodge their grievances to the public authorities on any subject related to service delivery.
- It is a single portal connected to all the Ministries/Departments of Government of India and States.
- Every Ministry and States have role-based access to this system. CPGRAMS is also accessible to the citizens through standalone mobile application which is also integrated with UMANG.
- The status of the grievance filed in CPGRAMS can be tracked with the unique registration ID provided at the time of registration of the complainant.
- CPGRAMS also provides appeal facility to the citizens if they are not satisfied with the resolution by the Grievance Officer.
- After closure of grievance if the complainant is not satisfied with the resolution, he/she can provide feedback. If the rating is ‘Poor’ the option to file an appeal is enabled.
- Issues which are not taken up for redress:
- Subjudice cases or any matter concerning judgment given by any court.
- Personal and family disputes.
- RTI matters.
- Anything that impacts upon territorial integrity of the country orfriendly relations with other countries.
All About Tuberculosis (TB) (TH, pg 12)
- Context: A 19% increase was witnessed in 2021 from the previous year in TB, says India TB Report 2022 released recently.
- On World Tuberculosis Day on 24th March, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya reaffirmed the government’s commitment to making India tuberculosis free by 2025.
What is TB? How does it spread? How is it treated?
- Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that most often affect the
- TB commonly presents as a disease of the lungs. However, the infection can spread via blood from the lungs to all organs in the body.
- This means that you can develop tuberculosis in the pleura (the covering of the lungs), in the bones, the urinary tract and sexual organs, the intestines and even in the skin.
- Lymph nodes in the lung root and on the throat can also get infected.
- Tuberculous meningitis is sometimes seen in newly infected children. This form of the disease is a life-threatening condition.
- Non-lung TB is an important cause of skin, bowel and gynaecological problems.
- Non-Lung TB: Infected milk or dairy products can cause the mycobacterium to set up infections in the gastro-intestinal tract and also affect the reproductive systems in men and women.
- Tuberculosis is curable and preventable.
- TB is spread from person to person through the air.
- When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air.
- A person needs to inhale only a few of these germs to become infected.
- About one-third of the world’s population has latent TB, which means people have been infected by TB bacteria but are not (yet) ill with disease and cannot transmit the disease.
Tb Harega Desh Jeetega Campaign
- It has been launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- It aims to improve and expand the reach of TB care services across the country, by 2022.
End TB Strategy
- The End TB Strategy aims to end the global TB epidemic, with targets to reduce TB deaths by 95% and to cut new cases by 90% between 2015 and 2035, and to ensure that no family is burdened with catastrophic expenses due to TB.
- It is being implemented by the World Health Organisation.
- India is committed to ending TB by 2025, five years ahead of the Global Sustainable Development targets.
- The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include ending the TB epidemic by 2030 under Goal 3.
Stop TB Partnership
- The Stop TB Partnership is a unique international body with the power to align actors all over the world in the fight against TB.
- Established in the year 2001, the ‘Stop TB Partnership’ is mandated to eliminate Tuberculosis as a public health problem.
- Its mission is to serve every person who is vulnerable to TB and ensure that high-quality diagnosis, treatment and care is available to all who need it.
- It has 1700 partner organizations which include international, non-governmental and governmental organizations and patient groups.
- The Secretariat is based at Geneva, Switzerland.
- Its targets include
- By 2030: End the tuberculosis epidemic as envisaged under the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the WHO End TB Strategy.
- The 90-(90)-90 targets: Stop TB Partnership’s Global Plan to End TB 2016-2020 sets out three ambitious new targets.
- By 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.
- By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy.
- By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.
Nikshay Poshan Yojana
- In April 2018, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOHFW) launched the Nikshay Poshan Yojana, a direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme to provide nutritional support to TB patients.
Joint Effort for Elimination of TB
- The Government of India has also partnered with the Global Fund to launch JEET (Joint Effort for Elimination of TB), a private sector engagement program operating in 45 cities across the country.
- Microsoft has developed a programme called 99DOTS to help TB patients to complete their course of medicines.
- It can be utilized either as a supplement to existing DOTS programs, or to enable remote observation of doses administered by patients or their family members.
World Tuberculosis Day
- The World Tuberculosis Day is being observed on 24th March, 2020 to commemorate the anniversary of Dr. Robert Koch’s discovery of the Tuberculosis (TB) bacteria in 1882.
- The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare is implementing the National Strategic Plan (NSP) for Tuberculosis Elimination (2017-2025).
National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme (NTEP)
- Directly observed treatment, short-course (DOTS, also known as TB-DOTS) is the name given to the tuberculosis (TB) control strategy recommended by the World Health Organization.
- The DOTS strategy is in practice in more than 180 countries. India has extended DOTS to the entire country.
- The DOTS strategy program has been renamed in India as ‘National Tuberculosis Elimination Program in 2020.
- Nikshay is the web enabled patient management system for TB control under the National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme (NTEP).
- It also functions as the National TB Surveillance System and enables reporting of various surveillance data to the Government of India.
- Multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) is caused by strains of the tuberculosis bacteria resistant to the two most effective anti-tuberculosis drugs available – isoniazid and rifampicin. MDR TB can only be diagnosed in a specialized laboratory.