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Classroom Study Material

POLITY
November 2015 August 2016

Note: September and October material will be updated in November 1st week.

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Table of Contents
1. CENTRE STATE RELATIONS _________________________________________________________ 5
1.1. Competitive Federalism _______________________________________________________________ 5
1.2. Inter-State River Disputes _____________________________________________________________ 6
1.3. Demand for Special Category Status _____________________________________________________ 8
1.4. New Framework for Grants ____________________________________________________________ 9
1.5. Inter-State Council Meeting ___________________________________________________________ 10
1.6. Article 370: Jammu & Kashmir_________________________________________________________ 11
1.7. Center-State Tussle: Case of Delhi ______________________________________________________ 12

2. ISSUES RELATED TO CONSTITUTION AND FUNCTIONING OF PARLIAMENT/ STATE LEGISLATURE 14


2.1. Freedom of Speech and Expression _____________________________________________________ 14
2.1.1. Criminal Defamation _________________________________________________________________________ 14
2.1.2. Section 295A OF IPC __________________________________________________________________________ 15
2.1.3. Freedom of Press ____________________________________________________________________________ 15
2.1.4. Ban on Murugans Book Reversed _______________________________________________________________ 16

2.2. Uniform Civil Code __________________________________________________________________ 16


2.3. Money Bill Certification Issue _________________________________________________________ 18
2.4. Revisiting Rajya Sabha _______________________________________________________________ 19
2.5. Amendment in "Motion of Thanks" by Rajya Sabha _______________________________________ 19
2.6. Monsoon Session of Parliament-Assessment _____________________________________________ 20
2.7. Section 124A: Sedition _______________________________________________________________ 21
2.8. Privilege Motion ____________________________________________________________________ 21
2.9. Constitution Day____________________________________________________________________ 22

3. EXECUTIVE ____________________________________________________________________ 23
3.1. Office of Profit issue _________________________________________________________________ 23
3.2. Presidential Pardon _________________________________________________________________ 24
3.3. Supreme Court Ruling on AFSPA _______________________________________________________ 26
3.4. Role of Governor: Case of Arunachal Pradesh ____________________________________________ 27
3.5. Presidents Rule in Uttarakhand _______________________________________________________ 29
3.5.1. Issue of Appropriation Bill in the crisis ___________________________________________________________ 29
3.5.2. Role of the speaker ___________________________________________________________________________ 29
3.5.3. Presidents rule ______________________________________________________________________________ 30

3.6. Role of Speaker ____________________________________________________________________ 31


3.7. President Rejects Three Bills Passed by Manipur __________________________________________ 32
3.8. Anti-Defection Law__________________________________________________________________ 33

4. CONSTITUTIONAL, REGULATORY AND OTHER BODIES _________________________________ 35


4.1. Issues Related to Regulatory Bodies in India _____________________________________________ 35
4.2. National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) _____________________________________________ 37
4.3. University Grants Commission (UGC) ___________________________________________________ 38
4.4. Niti Aayog _________________________________________________________________________ 39
4.5. Revamping Central Board of Film Certification ____________________________________________ 40
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4.6. Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI)_____________________________________________ 41


4.7. Medical Education RegulatioN: MCI ____________________________________________________ 41
4.8. Sports Regulation: Case of BCCI ________________________________________________________ 42
4.9. Food Sector Regulation ______________________________________________________________ 43
4.10. Independent Regulators for Professional Services ________________________________________ 44

5. ELECTIONS IN INDIA _____________________________________________________________ 45


5.1. Simultaneous Elections ______________________________________________________________ 45
5.2. Election Commission: Demand for More Power ___________________________________________ 46
5.3. The New Delhi Declaration on Political Finance Regulation in South Asia, 2015 _________________ 47
5.4. Freebies in Election _________________________________________________________________ 48
5.5. Model Code of Conduct: Parliamentary Committee Review _________________________________ 49
5.6. Totaliser Machines __________________________________________________________________ 49
5.7. Electoral Trust _____________________________________________________________________ 50
5.8. Amendment to the Delimination Act, 2002 and the Representation of the People Act, 1950 _______ 51
5.9. National Electoral Roll Purification 2016 (NERP 2016) ______________________________________ 51

6. JUDICIARY _____________________________________________________________________ 52
6.1. Issues in Judiciary ___________________________________________________________________ 52
6.2. Appointment of Judges ______________________________________________________________ 53
6.3. Independence of judiciary ____________________________________________________________ 54
6.4. Judiciary under RTI __________________________________________________________________ 55
6.5. Judicial Standards and accountability ___________________________________________________ 56
6.6. Pendency of Cases in Courts in India ____________________________________________________ 58
6.7. Commercial Courts __________________________________________________________________ 59
6.8. National Court of Appeal (NCA) ________________________________________________________ 60
6.9. Criminal Justice System ______________________________________________________________ 61
6.10. Judicial Overreach and judicial activism ________________________________________________ 62
6.11. Public Interest Litigation (PIL) ________________________________________________________ 63
6.12. All India Judicial Services ____________________________________________________________ 64

7. IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF GOVERNANCE/ TRANSPARENCY/ ACCOUNTABILITY ______________ 65


7.1. Self-Certification____________________________________________________________________ 65
7.2. 10 Years of RTI Act __________________________________________________________________ 65
7.3. Challenges with SPV in SmartCities _____________________________________________________ 67
7.4. ShyamaPrasad Mukherji RurbanMission ________________________________________________ 68
7.5. 10 Years of MGNREGA An Assessment _________________________________________________ 68
7.6. Swachh Survekshan _________________________________________________________________ 70
7.7. E-governance Initiatives ______________________________________________________________ 70
7.8. Hurdles in Indias Digital Transformation: WDR 2016 ______________________________________ 73
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7.9. India ranked 76th in CPI 2015 _________________________________________________________ 74


7.10. Rules to Check Nepotism by Civil Servants ______________________________________________ 75

8. LOCAL GOVERNANCE ____________________________________________________________ 76


8.1. PRIs ______________________________________________________________________________ 76
8.1.1. Educational Qualification for Panchayat Polls ______________________________________________________ 76
8.1.2. Gram Uday to Bharat Uday Abhiyan _____________________________________________________________ 77

8.2. ULBs _____________________________________________________________________________ 77


8.2.1. Financial Management of Muncipalities __________________________________________________________ 77
8.2.2. Directly Elected Mayors _______________________________________________________________________ 78
8.2.3. Converting Census Towns to Statutory ULBs ______________________________________________________ 79

9. IMPORTANT LEGISLATIONS/BILLS __________________________________________________ 80


9.1. Important Acts _____________________________________________________________________ 80
9.1.1. Aadhaar act, 2016____________________________________________________________________________ 80
9.1.2. Arbitration and Conciliation Act (Amendment) ACT, 2015 ____________________________________________ 81
9.1.3. Repeal of Old Statute _________________________________________________________________________ 82
9.1.4. The Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Amendment) Bill, 2016 ________________________________________________ 82

9.2. Pending Bills _______________________________________________________________________ 83


9.2.1. Amendment to Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), 1988 ____________________________________________ 83
9.2.2. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 __________________________________________________________ 84
9.2.3. Enemy Property Amendment bill ________________________________________________________________ 85
9.2.4. CORPORATE GOVERNANCE: companies (amendment) bill 2016 _______________________________________ 86
9.2.5. Transport and Road Safety Bill, 2015 _____________________________________________________________ 86

10. PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTIONS _____________________________________________________ 89

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1. CENTRE STATE RELATIONS


1.1. COMPETITIVE FEDERALISM
Why in news?

Example- Land reforms

Recent studies show signs of successful


competitive federalism in Indian economy
especially in terms of ease of doing business.
States are trying to attract investments by
facilitating reforms.

What is competitive federalism?

Competitive federalism is a concept where centre


competes with states and vice-versa, and states
compete with each other in their joint efforts to
develop India.
The policy of one-size-fit-all is replaced with
different policies of various states based on the
own priorities with in the state.
Competitive federalism follows the concept
bottom-up approach as it will bring the change
from the states.
As a concept, competitive federalism originated
in the western countries.
The meaning of competitive federalism as
espoused by the Liberty Foundation in the US
entails a system that allows States to compete
with each other over a broad range of issues to
provide citizens with the best value goods and
services at the lowest cost.

Competitive federalism in India

Gujarat: In 2016, amended its Land Acquisition and


Rehabilitation Act, eliminating the requirement of a
social impact assessment and consent clauses for
certain types of development projects.
Maharashtra: In 2016 Amended the Maharashtra
Land Revenue Code, allowing the sale of certain
publicly-owned lands that were previously slated only
for leasing. In 2015, amended its Gunthewari Act,
allowing mid-size plots to be divided, and easing the
process to sell such plots.
Andhra Pradesh: In 2015, the Andhra Pradesh
legislature passed a bill extending land leases from
the government to private entities from 33 years to
99 years.
Rajasthan: In 2016, passed the Rajasthan Urban Land
(Certification of Titles) Bill, 2016, which offers a state
guarantee of title after a land purchase.
Uttar Pradesh: In 2016, UP assembly approved the
Uttar Pradesh Information Technology & Start-Up
Policy 2016 to encourage start-up growth.

Example- Labour reforms

Gujarat: In 2015, passed a series of labour law


reforms, making it more difficult for utility workers to
go on strike, reducing the time employees have to
seek redress for dismissal, and more.
Karnataka: In 2016, the government announced a
new retail trade policy that allows establishments to
be open longer, relaxes labour laws and stocking
limits, and also allows women to work at night.
Rajasthan: In Nov 2014 itself, Rajasthan govt. got
Presidents assent on its modification of 3 labour laws
that relaxed norms like allow companies employing up
to 300 staffers to lay off workers or close down
without taking the government's prior approval.

In India, the government replaced Planning


Commission by establishing NITI Aayog, with one
of the mandates to develop competitive
federalism in India.
Now, state governments do not look towards
centre for policy guidance and fiscal resources
completely.
The centre has increased the share of states in central tax revenue from the earlier 32% to 42%.
The government also declared that the states will have freedom to plan their expenditure based on their
own priorities and the states are free to change centrally sponsored schemes.
However, the states should work within the context of shared national objectives.

Progress in terms of competitive federalism

The concept of competitive federalism is driving the Indian states to rush in for reforms to make processes
easy for doing business in their state and expediting the pending project clearances.
The concept of getting states to compete for investment is not a novel idea. We had observed this
phenomenon between Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, actively pursuing investors to help build out their
main technology hubs of Hyderabad and Bengaluru.
The progress of competitive federalism can be felt from the way states have competed for investments by
bringing various reforms in last one year.

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Way forward

The above observations clearly suggest that India is on right track of competitive federalism.
However not all states have yet embraced the concept of competitive federalism.
Only a handful of states are taking steps to strengthen their business environments, including initiating
difficult reforms on land acquisition and labour flexibility, at a time when national reforms in these areas are
politically stuck.
The deficit states like Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, NE states etc. need special attention in which the central
government has to provide special funds to these states. Without special funding these states cannot
imagine their participation in competitive federalism.

1.2. INTER-STATE RIVER DISPUTES


Background of the issue
Most rivers of India are plagued with interstate disputes. Nine out
of the 12 major rivers in India are interstate rivers. 85% percent
of the Indian land mass lies within its major and medium interstate rivers.
During last year two specific disputes has been in news.

Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal Issue:


Supreme Court has directed the Punjab government to
maintain status quo on land marked for the construction
of SYL canal.
However, going against the SC directive, Punjab assembly
passed the Punjab Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal (Rehabilitation and Re-vesting of Proprietary Rights) Bill
2016, which seeks to return land acquired for the canals construction to the original owners free of cost.
Cauvery River Dispute:
The Supreme Court recently directed the Karnataka government to release 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery
water per day to Tamil Nadu to ameliorate the plight of farmers. This created widespread disorder in
Karnataka resulting in curfew being imposed in parts of Bengaluru.

Reasons

All rivers which flow across international and inter-state boundaries are a source of potential conflict.
In India there are many inter-State rivers. The regulation and development of the waters of these rivers and
river valleys continues to be a source of inter-State friction.
Also After independence, demand for water had been increasing at an accelerated rate due to rapid growth
of population, agricultural development, urbanization, industrialization, etc. These developments have led to
several inter-state disputes about sharing of water of these rivers.

Constitutional Provisions
Article 262(1) of the Constitution lays down that Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any
dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any inter-State river,
or river valley. Parliament has enacted the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956.
Interstate water dispute Act: Salient Features

Constitution of the tribunal


The Tribunal shall have the same powers as are vested in a civil court,
Power to make schemes for implementing decisions of tribunal,
Dissolution of Tribunal and power to make rules.
Adjudication of water disputes,
Maintenance of data bank and information,
Bar of jurisdiction of Supreme Court and other Courts.

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Impact of River Water Disputes

The frequent recurrence and long deliberations produce various kinds of insecurities and impact people's
livelihoods.
These disputes caused concerns about their potential impact over State-State relations in India, with greater
implications to the federal integrity of the nation-state. These concerns are not without reason; the recent
Cauvery dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka which led to civic strife, ethnic clashes and violence in
2016 is a glaring example.
Another case in point is the recent Telangana separatist movement. Regional imbalances in sharing of water
resources were one of the core issues at the heart of the movement.
Political mobilization over uneven water resource distribution is proving to be a major challenge for policy
makers in India. Such political movements do have implications for the state in India and its federal
structural relations.

Criticisms against existing arrangements


The main points of criticism against the existing arrangements are:

They involve inordinate delay in securing settlement of such disputes. For example Ravi Beas case: The
matter was referred to the Tribunal in 1986. A report was given in January 1987. Political differences led to
further references being made to the Tribunal and the matter is still before it.
There is no provision for an adequate machinery to enforce the award of the Tribunal.
Issue of finality. In the event the Tribunal holding against any Party, that Party is quick to seek redressal in
the Supreme Court.
o Example - When after nearly twenty years a final decision was handed down by the Cauvery Tribunal on
February 5, 2007, it was subjected to a challenge in the Supreme Court by the States of Karnataka and
Kerala, on certain constitutional issues. The dispute remains unresolved.
Control over water is considered a right which has to be jealously guarded. Compromise is considered a
weakness which can prove politically fatal.

Suggestions

Inter-State Council (ISC) is a is a constitutional body with the mandate of enquiring into and advising upon
disputes arising between the various states of India, to investigate subjects of common interest amongst the
states, and to make recommendations upon such subjects for the better coordination of policy and action. It
can play a useful role in facilitating dialogue and discussion towards resolving conflicts.
Structural Changes: The Tribunal should be a multidisciplinary body, presided over by a Judge. It should
follow a more participatory and conciliatory approach.
Arbitration and negotiation methods: There is a need to look at arbitration and negotiation as methods of
conflict resolution. One institutional arrangement that can be used is the River Basin Organization (RBO).
RBOs can be set up under the River Boards Act of 1956 (RBA), legislated under article 56 of the Union list.
These are empowered to regulate and develop inter-state rivers and their basins.
Moving towards mediation: Mediation is a flexible and informal process and draws upon the
multidisciplinary perspectives of the mediators. In the South Asian context, the World Bank played the role
of mediator between India and Pakistan, which resulted in a successful resolution of the conflicts
surrounding the rivers of the Indus basin
Supply Side Management: Many times such issues arise as a result of a focus on demand-side management
(managing the demand requirements). Many scholars have argued that supply-side management
(augmenting the water supply) might be one way of dealing with such issues.
Declaration of Rivers as National Property: One of the measures could be to declare all the major rivers as
national property, and national schemes under Central assistance should be launched for the development
of total command area of the concerned states. Establishment of separate corporations on the pattern of
the Damodar Valley Corporation may be immensely useful in this direction.

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Conclusion

In developing countries like India, the interstate water dispute must be resolved quickly so that water
resources could be utilised and harnessed properly for economic development. Instead of pursuing entirely
legal solutions, there is a need for focusing on creating institutional spaces for engaging with the
politicisation of interstate disputes.
Further, as a long-term measure we must work towards saving water and rationalising its use.

1.3. DEMAND FOR SPECIAL CATEGORY STATUS


Why in news?

A demand for Special Category Status for Andhra Pradesh has led to State-wide protests in AP, and heated
debates in Parliament.
The demand has been present since the bifurcation of the state. Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and
Rajasthan have been demanding this status for quite some time now.

Background

The concept of a special category state was first introduced in 1969 by the 5th Finance Commission.
The rationale for special status was that certain states, because of inherent features, have a low resource
base and cannot mobilize resources for development.
The decision to grant special category status was earlier with National Development Council.

Benefits to Special Category States (SCS)


The nature of benefits to Special Category states create further demand by many states to crave for this status.
The major benefits of SCS are

A major portion of the Normal Central Assistance (56.25%) is distributed to 11 Special Category States and
the remaining (43.75%) among 18 General Category States.
Only Special Category States receive Special Plan Assistance and Special Central Assistance grants.
The assistance for Externally Aided Projects (EAPs) flows to Special category States as 90 per cent grant
whereas for General Category States, it flows as loans.
The state share in Centrally Sponsored Schemes is usually lower for Special Category States as compared to
General Category States.
Special-category states get a significant excise duty concession & other such tax breaks that attract
industries to relocate/locate manufacturing units within their territory.
There is no preferential treatment to SCS when it comes to sharing of the central tax revenue.

Issues with the working of Special Category status

The
way
Special
Category Status were
assigned to a state has
been a matter of
debate.
There is no consensus
among states related to
principles used for
granting the SCS.
From
the
earlier
experience, there is no
guarantee that even
after awarding Special
category
status,
economic progress will
take place.

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This means that for economic development, it is important to follow sound economic policies. The positives
of SCS may act as a stimulus but everything depends on the each state policy.
The amount of proceeds that states receive has increased after 14th finance commission recommendations
have been accepted. SCS may lose relevance altogether.

Special Category Status: recent approach of government:


Several changes over the years, more particularly those introduced in the Union Budget 2015-16, have resulted
in considerable dilution of benefits to the Special Category States.

Following the increase in tax devolution to States from 32 to 42 per cent of divisible pool of central taxes,
the Centre has dispensed with normal plan assistance, special central assistance and special plan assistance
from 2015-16 onwards
The share of normal central assistance in total plan assistance, which was the predominant channel of
central plan assistance to States had come down to just 15 per cent with the proliferation of Centrally
Sponsored Schemes (CSS).
The only attraction that remains is the benefit of assistance for externally aided projects (90 per cent grant).
There are very few externally aided projects in the Special Category States.
The Union Budget 2015-16 has drastically reduced the allocations under Accelerated Irrigation Benefit
Programme (AIBP).
The Finance Commission does not distinguish between special and non-special category states in its
allocation. Currently, there are 11 states with Special Category Status Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand,
Himachal Pradesh and all North Eastern states.

Way ahead

Granting special status to any new State may result in domino effect and lead to demands from other States.
It is also not economically beneficial for States to seek special status as the benefits under the current
dispensation are minimal.
States facing special problems should try and seek a package from centre for focussed development. The
packages provided by centre could be in tranches and incentive based after assessing the progress of states.

1.4. NEW FRAMEWORK FOR GRANTS


Why in news?
Budget 201617 has made three important Provisions relating to central transfers to states.
Rationalization of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS)

Background
Government of India through NITI Aayog constituted a subgroup of chief ministers for rationalizing and
restructuring the CSS.
It recommended that focus of the CSS should be on the schemes that comprise the National
Development Agenda.
It further recommended that the schemes be divided into Core and Optional schemes and amongst
the Core Schemes those for social protection and inclusion should be called Core of the Core.
The subgroup further recommended that the investment levels in the Core Schemes should be
maintained so as to ensure that the optimum size of the programme does not shrink.

New Framework for Grants in Budget 2016-17


The government on the recommendation of the subgroup of chief ministers restructured the grants.
As per the decision of Government, the existing funding pattern of schemes defined as 'core of the core'
have been retained.
The funding pattern of 'core' schemes, which also form part of the National Development agenda, will be
shared 60:40 between the Centre and the States (90:10 for the 8 North Eastern States and 3 Himalayan
states).

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In case a scheme/sub-scheme in the above classification that has a Central Funding pattern of less
than 60:40, the existing funding pattern will continue.
The other optional schemes will be optional for the State Governments and their fund sharing
pattern will be 50:50 between the Centre and the States (80:20 for the 8 North Eastern States and 3
Himalyan States). Examples of such schemes are Border Area Development Programme, National
River Conservation Plan, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee RURBAN Mission etc.
In Union Budget 201617 the total number of CSS has been brought down to 28.

Core of the Core (6 Schemes)


Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment
Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA)
National Social Assistance Programme
Umbrella Scheme for the Development of
Scheduled Castes
Umbrella Programme for Development of
Scheduled Tribes (Tribal Education and Van
Bandhu Kalyan Yojana)
Umbrella Programme for Development of
Backward Classes and other vulnerable groups
Umbrella Programme for Development of
Minorities (a) Multi Sectoral Development
Programme for Minorities. (b) Education Scheme
for Madaras and Minorities.

Core (18 Schemes)


For example

Green Revolution (a) Krishi Unnati Yojana (b)


Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana
White Revolution - Rashtriya Pashudhan Vikas
Yojna (Livestock Mission, Veternary Services and
Dairy Development)
Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
National Health Mission (NHM)
Integrated Child Development Services (Umbrella
ICDS)
Member of Parliament Local Area Development
Scheme etc.

Devolution of taxes post the Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC) award


Tax devolution has witnessed a major jump in the total resource transfers to states due to the increase
in tax devolution to 42% of the divisible pool.
Aggregate transfer to states2 in 201617 is 9, 18,093 crore as compared to 8, 18,034 crore in 2015
16.
Effective outcome-based monitoring of implementation of schemes and doing away with the plan and
non-plan expenditure distinction in the budget after the completion of the Twelfth Five Year Plan
An exercise to rationalize Plan and Non Plan schemes of all Ministries and Departments had been
undertaken.
The existing programmes and schemes have been re-organized into outcome based Umbrella
programmes and schemes to avoid thin spread of resources.

1.5. INTER-STATE COUNCIL MEETING


Why in News?

Composition

Prime Minister acts as the chairman of the council.

Recently, the eleventh meeting of the Inter-State


Council (ISC) was held after a gap of 10 years.

What is ISC?

Members:

Union Ministers of Cabinet rank in the Union


Council of Ministers nominated by the Prime
Minister.
Chief Ministers of all states.
Chief Ministers of Union Territories having a
Legislative Assembly and Administrators of UTs
not having a Legislative Assembly.

Article 263 provides the establishment of an Inter-State


Council to effect coordination between the states and

between Centre and states.

It is not a permanent constitutional body for


coordination between the States of the Union. It can be
established 'at any time' if it appears to the President
that the public interests would be served by the establishment of such a Council.
First time it was set up on the recommendation of the Sarkaria Commission and established the ISC by a
presidential ordinance on May 28, 1990.
The ISC is proposed to meet thrice a year, but in 26 years, it has met only 11 times.

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Significance

The forum is the most significant platform to strengthen Centre-state and inter-state relations and discuss
policies.
This works as an instrument for cooperation, coordination and evolution of common policies.
It can act to bridge trust deficit between centre and states.

Issues discussed during 11th ISC Meeting: The following Agenda items were discussed during the meet:

Consideration of the Recommendations of the Punchhi Commission on Centre-State Relations.


Use of Aadhaar as an identifier for providing subsidies; benefits and public services.
Improving Quality of Education with focus on improving learning outcomes, incentivizing better
performance, etc.
Internal Security with focus on intelligence sharing and coordination for combating Terrorism/Insurgency
and Police Reforms & Police Modernization.

Need for further strengthening of ISC

Together, the FC and the ISC should operationalize again Part XI and XII of the Constitution that ensure
appropriate financial devolution and political decentralization.
It should be given the power to investigate the issues of inter-state conflicts which is mentioned in the
Constitution but dropped by the Presidential order creating ISC in 1990 (Based on Sarkaria Commission's
recommendations)

Conclusion
Though, there are other bodies such as the NITI Aayogs Governing Council-it has a similar composition, including
the prime minister, chosen cabinet ministers and chief ministers-that could address centre-state issues. But the
ISC has constitutional backing, as against the NITI Aayog which only has an executive mandate. This puts the
states on more solid footing-an essential ingredient in building the atmosphere of cooperation needed for
calibrating centre-state relations.

1.6. ARTICLE 370: JAMMU & KASHMIR


Background

Jammu and Kashmir High Court (on 12 Oct 2015) has ruled that Article 370 has assumed place of
permanence in the Constitution and the feature is beyond amendment, repeal or abrogation.
The High Court also said that Article 35A gives "protection" to existing laws in force in the State. "Article 370
though titled as 'Temporary Provision' and included in Para XXI titled 'Temporary, Transitional and Special
Provisions' has assumed place of permanence in the Constitution,"
The Supreme Court on 31 Oct 2015 said that only Parliament can take a call on scrapping Article 370 that
accords special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir.

About Article 370

Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is a 'temporary provision' which grants special autonomous status to
Jammu and Kashmir.
Except for defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications, the Parliament needs the state
government's concurrence for applying all other laws.

Special Status to State

Legislative powers: The state's residents live under a separate set of laws, including those related to
citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, as compared to other Indians.
Territory: Indian Parliament cannot increase or reduce the borders of the state and Indian citizens from
other states cannot purchase land or property in Jammu & Kashmir.
Emergency Provisions:

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The Union government cannot declare emergency on grounds of internal disturbance or imminent
danger unless it is made at the request or with the concurrence of the state government.
Centre can declare emergency in the state only in case of war or external aggression.
The Center has no power to declare financial emergency under Article 360 in the state.
Constitutional Amendment: a Constitution amendment becomes applicable to J&K only after the
President issues an order.
Procedure for removal of Article 370
To remove Article370, an amendment of the Indian Constitution under Article 368 is required. But at the
same time, to remove 370 the recommendation of the Constituent Assembly is necessary.
Thus means it would require the States concurrence under clause (1)(d) of the existing Article.

Can Article 370 be Revoked Unilaterally?

According to the clause 3 of Article 370, The President may, by public notification, declare that this article
shall cease to be operative, provided that he receives the recommendation of the Constituent Assembly of
the State (Kashmir).
Thus, Article 370 can be revoked only if a new Constituent Assembly of Kashmir recommends revocation.
Since the last Constituent Assembly was dissolved in January 1957 after it completed the task of framing the
states Constitution, so if the parliament agrees to scrap Article 370, a fresh constituent Assembly will have
to be formed.
The constituent Assembly will consist of the same MLAs elected to the State Assembly. Simply put, the
Centre cannot repeal Article 370 without the nod of J&K State.

1.7. CENTER-STATE TUSSLE: CASE OF DELHI


Background

Since the time the AAP government has come to power in New Delhi in 2015 there have been fights
between the state government and the Central government.
The state government has blamed the central government of constantly interfering in its working via the
Lieutenant Governor and robbing the democratically elected state government of its powers.
The central government, on the other hand, has accused the state government of not respecting the rule of
law and that it is trying to run the government in an unconstitutional manner by usurping the powers which
it does not have.

Issue: Special Case of Delhi

The tussle between Chief Minister of Delhi and the LG is not a new altogether. Every successive government
in Delhi has been asking for more power. But, since it is not a full-fledged state many powers lie with the
central government.
Article 239AA of the Indian
Constitution says that the Delhi
Government does not have
powers to enact laws on Public
Order, Police and Land.
However, rule 45 of the
transaction of business rules
says that Delhi government can
have powers on these three
subjects if there is an order
issued
by
the
Central
Government. This section is
quoted
by
the
state
government while demanding more powers.

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But, Transaction of business rules and GNCT Act also imposes restrictions on the powers of the CM and his
CoM. As per this, the Bills require the previous sanction of President, the appointment of Secretaries also has
to be in concurrence with the LG etc. These provisions have been cited by the Central government to argue
that the actions of LG are as mandated by the Constitution and totally within the realm of law.

Way ahead

It is true that the Delhi Government is a democratically elected government with overwhelming majority.
But, the constitution and National Capital Region Act have laid down the framework within which the Delhi
governance has to be carried out. These laws clearly demarcate the powers that the elected government will
have and discretionary powers given to the Lt. Governor.
Thus, even though the morality of the actions of the central government could be debated, the legality is
more or less settled.
Delhi High Court in month of August held that National Capital Territory continues to be a Union Territory
and the Lieutenant Governor is its administrative head.
The bottom line is that there should be a harmonious functioning between the Lt. Governor and Chief
Minister. The previous governments have also faced similar issues but they have worked out their
differences within the four walls of the room.
In this fight, the ultimate loser is governance and people of Delhi. When the people of India have given
mandate to a government, they expect it to be carried out. It now rests with the government to figure the
way out.
While NCT is the capital of Delhi and thus some control of central government would be desirable, majority
of its areas are outside the central capital region. Thus, the central and state government should work out an
arrangement. The real challenge is political will in this respect.

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2. ISSUES RELATED TO CONSTITUTION AND FUNCTIONING OF


PARLIAMENT/ STATE LEGISLATURE
2.1. FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND EXPRESSION
2.1.1. CRIMINAL DEFAMATION
Why in news?

Sections 499 and 500 of IPC prescribes two years

imprisonment for a person found guilty of defamation.


The Supreme Court recently upheld the validity of
the criminal defamation law. The court pronounced
its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the
constitutional validity of sections 499 and 500 of the
Indian Penal Code providing for criminal defamation.
The court said though free speech is a highly valued
and cherished right, imprisonment is a proportionate
punishment for defamatory remarks.

Why it should be retained?


According to Supreme Court

Reputation of an individual, constituent in Article 21 is


an equally important right as free speech.
Criminalization of defamation to protect individual
dignity and reputation is a reasonable restriction
Editors have to take the responsibility of everything they publish as it has far-reaching consequences in an
individual and countrys life
The acts of expression should be looked at both from the perspective of the speaker and the place at which
he speaks, the audience etc.

Other arguments

It has been part of statutory law for over 70 years. It has neither diluted our vibrant democracy nor
abridged free speech
Protection for legitimate criticism on a question of public interest is available in the
Civil law of defamation &
Under exceptions of Section 499 IPC
Mere misuse or abuse of law can never be a reason to render a provision unconstitutional rather lower
judiciary must be sensitized to prevent misuse
Monetary compensation in civil defamation is not proportional to the excessive harm done to the
reputation

Significance of this judgement

The judgement raises reputation to the level of shared value of the collective and elevates it to the status
of a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution.
According to the judgement, the theory of balancing of rights dictates that along with the right to freedom of
speech and expression, there is a correlative duty on citizens not to interfere with the liberty of others, as
everyone is entitled to the dignity of person and of reputation.

Why it should be deleted?

Freedom of speech and expression of media is important for a vibrant democracy and the threat of
prosecution alone is enough to suppress the truth. Many times the influential people misuse this provision
to suppress any voices against them.
Considering anecdotal evidence, every dissent may be taken as unpalatable criticism.

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The right to reputation cannot be extended to collectives such as the government, which has the resources
to set right damage to their reputations.
The process in the criminal cases itself becomes a punishment for the accused as it requires him to be
personally present along with a lawyer on each date of hearing.
Given that a civil remedy to defamation already exists, no purpose is served by retaining the criminal
remedy except to coerce, harass and threaten.
It goes against the global trend of decriminalizing defamation
Many countries, including neighboring Sri Lanka, have decriminalized defamation.
In 2011, the Human Rights Committee of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights called
upon states to abolish criminal defamation, noting that it intimidates citizens and makes them shy away
from exposing wrongdoing.

2.1.2. SECTION 295A OF IPC

Recently, comedian Kiku Sharda was arrested for acting out a


S.295 of Indian Penal Code incriminates any
spoof on godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
act that outrages the religious feelings or
In past also Section 295A has been used at various occasions.
sentiments of others.
It was also used to issue arrest warrants to All India Bakchod,
Karan Johar, Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor in the AIB Roast controversy.
The IPC provision is seen as a tool in the hands of the ruling government to curb dissent
They also use it to promote their political cause by pleasing a certain section of community at the cost of
others.
This is seen as a direct violation of Freedom of Speech and Expression guaranteed under A.19 (1) (a).
It also goes against A. 51A of the Constitution that states that it is a fundamental duty of every citizen of
India to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.
Way forward
The real issue is not the provision itself but its misapplication. The provision clearly states the requirement of
malice or bad intention on the part of the perpetrator. However, the police and the ruling class use this for its
own personal benefits many a times. There is a need to read down the provision and give clear guidelines to the
police for its application. Misapplication should be strictly dealt with.

2.1.3. FREEDOM OF PRESS


Why in news?
On November 16, when the country celebrated the National Press Freedom Day, three newspapers in Nagaland were
published with blank editorials to protest a notification from Assam Rifles that had the effect of muzzling the press
freedom.

The papers were instructed to refrain from publishing news related to Naga insurgent group NSCN-Khaplang
[NSCN-K].
The notice said that any article which projects the demands of NSCN-K and gives it publicity is a violation
under the Unlawful Activities [Prevention] Act, 1967 and should not be published by your newspaper.

Concerns:

Such notifications have implications for the freedom of the press.


India ranks at 136 among 190 nations on the World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters without
Borders.
This incident draws attention to the problems faced by the press in conflict zones, trapped as media persons
between the state armed with the law to enforce varying degrees of censorship, and militant groups who
use methods of intimidation to have their versions published.

Role of Press Council of India (PCI):

PCI has taken suomotu note of the case and served notices to the paramilitary force and the State
government.

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The PCI has the power to review any development likely to restrict the supply and dissemination of news of
public interest and importance.

2.1.4. BAN ON MURUGANS BOOK REVERSED


Background

Perumal Murugan, an award-winning Tamil writer had come under sustained attack from local caste-based
groups for his fictional novel Mathorubhagan (translated into English as One Part Woman) for hurting their
sentiments.
He was forced to write an unconditional apology at the instance of police, local officials and protestors. He
later publicly announced to give up writing.
The Madras HC has rejected the demand for banning the book or prosecuting the author.

High Court Verdict

It is a liberal and progressive judgment that emphasises and upholds the freedom of writers to write.
The HC lambasted the practice of self-appointed super censors in the society to decide on what the people
should read or watch. In Courts opinion those professing to be hurt by a book should just avoid reading it.
This should set a precedent among others.
The Bench also reminded the state authorities, like police and the local officials, of their duty to secure
freedom of expression and not to succumb to mob demands in the name of preserving law and order.

Issue of Judicial Censorship

Indian Criminal law prescribes a two-step safeguard on freedom of speech in case of banning a book:
First is the application of mind by the government when it bans a book under S.95 and 96 of the CrPC
Second is the judicial review of the governments move by a writ petition.
The trouble is the frequent manner of straightway approaching the court for a ban. This by-passing of the
two-way safeguard is being increasingly entertained by the Courts.
This is an issue as a sole decision over the suitability of the book by the Court is not what the constitution or
the law warrants. This form of analysis is heavily judge-centric, depending almost entirely on what an
individual judge feels about a controversial work.
Thus, the courts must take care of this fact as well or there will be huge uncertainty over the status of
freedom of speech vis-a vis banning a book.

2.2. UNIFORM CIVIL CODE


Why in news?
The note, prepared by the Law Ministrys Legislative Department,
recommends that the issue of Uniform Civil Code be referred to the
Law Commission to examine pertinent issues and make
recommendations.

Article 44 of the Constitution, which is


one of the Directive Principles of State
Policy, says: The State shall endeavor to
secure for the citizens a uniform civil code
throughout the territory of India.

What it is and present condition

A Uniform Civil Code essentially means a common set of laws governing personal matters for all citizens of
the country, irrespective of religion.
Currently, different laws regulate these aspects for adherents of different religions. For example: A Christian
man has questioned a provision that requires a Christian couple to be judicially separated for two years
before getting a divorce, whereas this period is one year for Hindus and other non-Christians.

The role of article 14 and 25 in Uniform Civil Code

By the 42nd Amendment of 1976, India was declared a secular nation. As a result of this, and the
understanding of Article 25, the State and its institutions have not interfered with religious practices,
including in relation to various personal laws.

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There is a view that this principle runs contradictory to the idea of secularism which requires the State to be
inert to religious considerations-and not tacitly support them by following a practice of non-interference, no
matter what.
Clause (2) of Article 25 empowers the State to frame any law to regulate or restrict secular activity which
may be associated with religious practice-therefore, it is argued, Article 25 is no bar to having a Uniform
Civil Code.
The inconsistency in personal laws has been challenged on the touchstone of Article 14, which ensures the
right to equality. Litigants have contended that their right to equality is endangered by personal laws that
put them at a disadvantage.

Benefits of Uniform Civil Code

The purpose of the Uniform Civil Code is to divest religion from social relations and personal laws, ensuring
equality, unity and integrity of the nation and justice to both men and women.
All the laws related to marriage, inheritance, family, land etc. would be equal for all Indians.
It will help in improving the condition of women in India. Indian society is patriarchal and by allowing old
religious rules to continue to govern the family life, condemns all Indian women to subjugation and
mistreatment.
It will help the society move forward and take India towards its goal of becoming a developed nation where
women are treated fairly and given equal rights.
The various personal laws have loop holes exploited by those who have the power. Informal bodies like
Panchayats continue to give judgments that are against our constitution. Human rights are violated through
honor killings and female feticide throughout our country.
It will also help in reducing vote bank politics. If all religions are covered under the same laws, the politicians
will have less to offer to communities in exchange of their vote.
It will help in integration of India - A lot of the animosity is caused by preferential treatment by the law of
certain religious communities.
This could in time induce custodians of faith to look inwards and seek to codify and reform age-old personal
laws in conformity with current modernizing and integrative tendencies or risk losing their flock.
In other countries such as Germany, Italy, Egypt, Turkey, etc., having heterogeneous society, civil code
governs uniformly such matters.

Challenges in implementing Uniform Civil Code

The Union Law Ministry sees three chief impediments in adoption of the Uniform Civil Code separatism,
conservatism and misconceived notions about personal laws.
Conservatism which always resists any attempt to progress;
Misconceived notions about personal laws;
Clinging to the ideas of separatism generated and fostered for a long time under foreign rule.

The note also shows that the government considers it a challenge to reconcile legal uniformity with
protection of minority rights when it comes to having a common set of laws to regulate personal matters
such as marriage, divorce, adoption, inheritance, etc.
India has a strong and long history of personal laws and it cannot be given up easily.
A broad consensus must be drawn among different communities to facilitate such a landmark step in Indias
religious, social, political and most importantly judicial history.
The biggest obstacle in implementing the UCC, apart from obtaining a consensus, is the drafting.Should UCC
be a blend of all the personal laws or should it be a new law adhering to the constitutional mandate? There
is a lot of literature churned out on UCC but there is no model law drafted.

Way forward

Take an evaluation survey of all communities to suggest reforms within personal laws on modern and liberal
lines.

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Communities should be convinced that UCC is to bring reforms not suppress them. There is need for bringing
awareness among citizens through discussion, deliberations, and academic seminars among members of
various communities.
There is a need of piecemeal reform rather than a holistic reform starting with what minorities are most
comfortable of doing away with.
A wide consultation would be required with stakeholders, in addition to an in-depth study of the provisions
of personal laws governing different communities.

2.3. MONEY BILL CERTIFICATION ISSUE


Why in news?

Congress RS MP Jairam Ramesh had filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging the decision to treat
Aadhaar as a money bill which will be heard in SC in July first week.
What is the Issue?

Recently, the Aadhaar Bill and the Finance Bill were passed as Money Bills. This meant that the RajyaSabha
had only a recommendatory role while discussing these Bills.
Some observers argue that these bills have not met the strict criteria of money bill as laid out in the
Constitution.

Money Bills: Article 110 of the Constitution deals with the definition of money bills. It states that a bill is deemed to be
a money bill if it contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

7.

The imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax,


The regulation of the borrowing of money by the Union government,
The custody of the Consolidated Fund of India or the contingency fund of India, the payment of
moneys into or the withdrawal of money from any such fund,
The appropriation of money out of the Consolidated Fund of India,
Declaration of any expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India or increasing the
amount of any such expenditure,
The receipt of money on account of the Consolidated Fund of India or the public account of
India or the custody or issue of such money, or the audit of the accounts of the Union or of a
state,
Any matter incidental to any of the matters specified above.

Lack of remedy

The Speaker, while certifying a bill as money bill, is in effect depriving the RajyaSabha of its legislative power
to disapprove a bill.
Thus, there is no remedy lying with RajyaSabha for wrong decision taken by speaker regarding certification
of money bill.

Similar Case in Past

In 2014, the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly passed a Bill to amend the Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta and UpLokayuktas Act as a Money Bill and did not send this to the Legislative Council.
The Act was challenged (Mohd. SaeedSiddiqui v State of U.P.) but the Supreme Court decided that the
decision of the Speaker that the Bill in question was a Money Bill is final and the said decision cannot be
disputed nor can the procedure of the State Legislature be questioned by virtue of Article 212.

Way Forward

Our Constitution also follows the British procedure that provides the speaker with the authority to certify a
bill as a money bill.

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However, there is a key difference. The House of Commons appoints two senior members who must be
consulted before the speaker gives the certificate. In India, the speaker makes this decision on her own.
A consultative mechanism can be developed before speaker certifies the bill as money bill.

2.4. REVISITING RAJYA SABHA


Why in news?
The recent elections to the Rajya Sabha to fill 57 vacant seats became notorious for alleged poaching by political
parties among the ranks of their counterparts with charges of corruption blaring out loud against one another.
Importance of Rajya Sabha

The core rationale for having two chambers in a national legislature broadly flows from the need for checks
and balances in a republican government; to serve as an auxiliary precaution against abuse by majority
factions
At the same time, nations with large territories and heterogeneous constituents prefer bicameralism for
ensuring the adequate representation of diverse interests at the federal level; the importance of RS has
renewed on account of rise of regional parties
A forum for calm and informed deliberation; House of elders; less political compulsion- as the seat is not
dependent upon direct elections
Permanent character as a measure of stability.

Criticism of current functioning and composition of Rajya Sabha

After the amendment to RPA in 2003 the domicile requirement has been done away with. Consequently it is
now increasingly used by the political parties to park unelectable or defeated candidates. Thus, it is not the
true representation of states.
Control over few big states is more than enough to scuttle the voice of numerous smaller states with
significantly less representation.
Another significant criticism of current state of affairs is allotment of seats in Rajya Sabha to states on the
basis of population. Such allotment of seats on the basis of population does great disservice to the federal
role, which the Rajya Sabha has been envisaged to play.
With time, Rajya Sabha has become a place of lobbying for our moneybags as well.
The very nature of the Rajya Sabha election process asks for underhand deals and backroom maneuvers. The
last obstacle for moneybags was removed when the NDA government abolished the residency requirement
for contesting the Rajya Sabha election.
Various political parties are using Rajya Sabha seats for generating funds. Large numbers of states have
industrialists (not even remotely connected to the state) as their representative in Rajya Sabha. Corrupt and
criminal politicians rejected by voters find their way in Rajya Sabha by use of connections and money power.

Way Forward

As seats in Lok Sabha have already been distributed on the basis of population of states, so there is little
merit in Rajya Sabha having distribution on similar basis.
To bring small states in our political mainstream it is important for them to have equal representation in
Rajya Sabha. Such scheme of equal representation for all states is already being followed in USA. Such a step
has also been recommended by Punchhi Commission.
To deal with abuse of money power, enhanced monitoring by election authorities and a need to reintroduce
the residency condition is necessary.

2.5. AMENDMENT IN "MOTION OF THANKS" BY RAJYA SABHA


Why in News?

This is the second time in two years that the Motion of Thanks on the Presidents Address has been
amended.

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The amendment was focused on legislation passed by Rajasthan and Haryana governments in limiting the
rights of citizens to contest panchayats elections.
Before 2015, there were just three occasions on which the Presidents Address was amended in the
RajyaSabha, once each during the tenures of Indira Gandhi, V.P. Singh and AtalBihari Vajpayee.

Significance of these amendments

The adoption of an amendment to the Motion of Thanks on the Presidents Address is of vital importance
for the credibility of the Government.
It enforces moral accountability on the ruling party against their inaction, mal administration and
inefficiencies.
It signifies the importance and relevance of the RajyaSabha in our body politic, and its meaningful role in
holding the Government to account.
It clearly brings out the dynamic of our Parliamentary democracy which is dependent on a balance of
strength of political parties and the composition of the House.
Convey the dissatisfaction against the government policies, legislations and regulations.
It highlights the issues of social importance which are not in the radar of government.

Motion of Thanks

The first session after each general election and the first session of every fiscal year are addressed by the
president.
In this address, the president outlines the policies and programmes of the government in the preceding year
and ensuing year.
This address of the president which is discussed in both the Houses of Parliament on a motion is called the
Motion of Thanks.
At the end of the discussion, the motion is put to vote. This motion must be passed in Lower House.
Otherwise, it amounts to the defeat of the government.

2.6. MONSOON SESSION OF PARLIAMENT-ASSESSMENT


Why in news?

The Monsoon Session of Parliament adjourned sine die on August 12, 2016.
Both LS and RS functioned at near 100% productivity, signalling an improvement in the governmentopposition working relationship when compared to last year monsoon session.

Significance

The monsoon session showed the maturity of the democracy that India has attained.
Irrespective of the major problems in Kashmir, there was due deliberation and debate on many important
bills including situation in Kashmir.

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The landmark GST bill was passed in this session, the unanimous passage showed the ability of parliament to
build consensus among different stakeholders.
The same enthusiasm and energy should be carried on in future parliament sessions for fruitful results that
will take India ahead, instead of policy of blockade and adjournment.

2.7. SECTION 124A: SEDITION

The section 124A of Indian Penal Code is a pre-independence provision


which covers sedition charges against government.
Human rights activists and supporters of free speech argued that this
section is draconian and should be got rid of.

Arguments in favour of Sedition Law

Popular cases under section


124A
Protesters of Kudankulam
nuclear plant
JNU leader Kanhaiya Kumar
writers like Arundhati Roy
Social activist Binayak Sen

In 1962, the Supreme Court in Kedar Nath Singh vs State of Bihar upheld
Section 124A and held that it struck a correct balance between
fundamental rights and the need for public order.
The court had significantly reduced the scope of Sedition law to only those cases where there is incitement
to imminent violence towards overthrow of the state.
Further, the Court held that it is not mere against government of the day but the institutions as symbol of
state.

Argument against section 124A

It stifles the democratic right of people to criticize the government.


The police might not have the requisite training to understand the consequences of imposing such a
stringent provision.
It has been used arbitrarily to curb dissent. In many cases the main targets have been writers, journalists,
activists who question government policy and projects, and political dissenters.
The massive levels of poverty, poor health care, unemployment, malnourishment and poor policies leading
to farmer's suicide - justifies expressing dissent and disenchantment against government openly.
The draconian nature of this lawnon-bailable, non-cognisable and punishment that can extend for life
has a strong deterrent effect on dissent even if it is not used.
The press should be protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a
free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.
Legislation exists to deal with unlawful activities and armed movements. There is no need to criminalize
words spoken or written.

Way Forward

The guidelines of the SC must be incorporated in S.124A as well by amendment to IPC so that any ambiguity
is removed.
The state police must be sufficiently guided as to where the section must be imposed and where not.
The provisions of the section should be so construed as to limit their application to acts involving intention
or tendency to create disorder or disturbance of law and order, or, incitement of violence and there must be
a clear guidelines on this without any ambiguity.
This will ensure that section 124 A of IPC strikes a balance between security and smooth functioning of state
with the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression.
Implementing the Law Commissions recommendations in this regard to include acts against overthrowing
of judiciary also under it.

2.8. PRIVILEGE MOTION


Why in News

Recently, opposition member in LokSabha has given a notice to move privilege motion against Human
Resource Development minister.

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Notice contended that Human Resource Development minister has misled the House and the Nation on the
issue of government intervention in Delhis JNU and the Hyderabad Central University while intervening in a
debate.
Privilege Motion

It is moved by a member when he feels that a minister or any member has committed a breach of privilege
of the House or one or more of its members by withholding facts of a case or by giving wrong or distorted
facts.
Privilege motion can be moved by any lawmaker/MP against anyone accused of breaching parliamentarians'
privileges, their special rights and immunities.
Its purpose is to censure the concerned minister or any other member.
Each of the two houses, the LokSabha and the RajyaSabha, has separate privilege committees, made up of
their members.
The presiding officers of the two Houses, the Speaker and the Chairperson respectively, can dismiss privilege
notices, or refer them to the privilege committee, or get a sense of the House before taking a decision.

2.9. CONSTITUTION DAY

The first constitution day was celebrated on 26th November, 2015.


The 'Constitution Day' will be a part of year-long nationwide celebrations for 125th birth Anniversary of Dr.
B. R. Ambedkar.
Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is the Nodal Ministry for celebration of Constitution Day.

Why celebrate Constitution Day

At a time when there are so many ideological clashes, growing inequality, suppression of womens rights, it
is the Constitution of our country that can bind everyone together
The move would not only help resurrect memories of some of the tallest leaders who helped draft the
document but also hopefully instill once again the spirit in which it was adopted .
Constitution Day once again reaffirms our faith in the ideals of the Constitution.

Way Ahead
Ideals of constitution are needed to be incorporated in ways of living of citizens of India and also they should be
made a part of learning process in schools so as the future citizens display these ideals in their day-to-day live.

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3. EXECUTIVE
3.1. OFFICE OF PROFIT ISSUE
Background

In 2015, Delhi Govt. had appointed 21 parliamentary secretaries


Definition of Office of Profit
to six Ministers.
Office of profit is not defined in the
This post was not exempted from the definition of Office of
Constitution. However, based on past
Profit.
judgments, the Election Commission has
Delhi govt. brought an amendment to Delhi Members of noted five below tests for what constitutes
Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997, to
an office of profit:
make the position of Parliamentary Secretary exempt from
Whether the government makes the
definition of Office of Profit.
appointment
But the President has refused to give his consent to the
Whether government has the right to
remove or dismiss the holder.
amendment.

Whether
the
government
pays
Due to the special status of Delhi as a Union Territory, a Bill
remuneration.
passed by the Assembly is not considered an applicable law
What the functions of the holder are.
unless it is passed by the Delhi Lieutenant Governor and the
Does the government exercise any control
President of India.
over the performance of these functions.
The Delhi govt. argues that as Parliamentary Secretaries are not
eligible for any remuneration or perks from the government,
the post should be exempt from the office of profit.
Recently, the Delhi HC quashed this appointment on the ground that it lacked the approval of LG.

Who is a Parliamentary Secretary?

Parliamentary Secretary is a member of the parliament in the westminster system who assists a more senior
minister with his or her duties. Originally, the post was used as a training ground for future ministers.
The post has been created in several states now and then like Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan etc.
However, various petitions in the High Court have challenged the appointment of Parliament Secretary.
In June 2015, Calcutta HC quashed appointment of 24 Parliamentary Secretaries in West Bengal dubbing it
unconstitutional.
Similar actions were taken by the Bombay High Court, Himachal Pradesh High Court, etc.
At present, the posts do exist in various states such as Gujarat, Punjab and Rajasthan.

What is the Issue with the Post?

Parliamentary secretary essentially goes against the principle of separation of powers between the
Executive and Legislature.

While in theory, the legislature holds the government to account, in reality it is often noticed that the
government controls the legislature as long it has a majority in the House. Thus posts like Chairmanships of
Corporations, Parliamentary Secretaryships of various ministries, and other offices of profit are used as to
appease and leverage legislators as way of buying peace for the government.

The Parliamentary secretaries are appointed to aid the government and thus be more responsive to citizen's
needs. But this goes against the separation of powers principle as the role of MPs is to be a watchdog on the
government on behalf of citizens and not as government's agents
Appointment of parliamentary Secretaries goes against two important provisions the constitution
concerning the separation of powers issue:

Office of profit clause: Under Article 102(1)(a) and Article 191(1)(a) of the Constitution, a person shall
be disqualified as a member of Parliament or of a Legislative Assembly/Council if he holds an Office of
Profit under the central or any state government (other than an office declared not to disqualify its
holder by a law passed by the Parliament or state legislature).
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The underlying idea was to obviate a conflict of interest between the duties of office and their legislative
function.
Limitation of strength of ministers clause: Parliamentary Secretarys post is also in contradiction to
Article 164 (1A) of the Constitution which provides for limiting the number of Ministers in the State
Cabinets to 15 per cent of the total number of members of the State Legislative Assembly because a
Parliament Secretary holds the rank of Minister of State. (The limit is 10% for Delhi, owing to its special
status).
Arguments in Support of the Posts

Constitution allows a legislature to pass a law to grant exemption to any office of profit holder. In past,
states and Parliament have done this as well. The SC in UC Raman case has upheld this.
Ministers are appointed by the President/Governor. He administers the oath of office and secrecy to them.
Without meeting these constitutional requirements one cannot be treated as a minister. Parliamentary
secretaries are not ministers within the meaning of Article 239 AA(4) because they are not appointed by the
President and are not administered the oath of office and secrecy by him.

2nd ARC recommendations in this regard: The Law should be amended to define office of profit based on the
following principles:
All offices in purely advisory bodies where the experience, insights and expertise of a legislator would be
inputs in governmental policy shall not be treated as offices of profit.
All offices involving executive decision making and control of public funds, directly deciding policy or
authorizing or approving expenditure shall be treated as offices of profit.
If a serving Minister is a member or head of certain organizations, where close coordination between the
Council of Ministers and the organization is vital for the functioning of government, it shall not be treated
as office of profit.
Future Actions

Now, the Election Commission of India has to decide whether the terms and conditions of appointment of
Parliamentary Secretaries constitute an Office of Profit.
The Presidents decision cannot be challenged in any court as it is his executive power under the
Constitution of India. The Supreme Court cannot interfere.
However, any decision taken by the ECI can be challenged before the Delhi High court by the aggrieved
party. This means that the AAP can approach the court if the EC decides to disqualify the MLAs.

3.2. PRESIDENTIAL PARDON


Why in News?

In 2014, the SC in the case of Shatrughan Chauhan vs UoI had increased the scope of judicial review of
Presidential Pardon.
The Court had said that an convict on death row is entitled to his fundamental rights till the execution of
sentence.
This judgment now was increasingly been used by the death row convicts asking for SCs interference in the
process of Presidential pardon.

Observation of the Court

Constitutional bench of Supreme Court held that power of the executive to grant pardon to convicts cannot
be exercised by the Supreme Court unless there is a violation of fundamental rights.
SC also observed that Article 32 (the right to Constitutional remedies whereby individuals may seek
redressal for the violation of their fundamental rights)can be only invoked when there is violation of any
fundamental right or where the Court takes up certain grievance which falls in the realm of public interest
litigation.

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Pardoning power of President and Governor:

The Presidents powers to pardon in Article 72 are different from those granted to the Governor in Article
161. The President enjoys extensive powers under Article 72 as compared to what is available to the State
Governor.
In case where the convict is sentenced to death penalty, only the President can exercise the right to pardon
him/her. The governor does not have the right to pardon death sentences, she can only suspend, commute
or provide remission in case of death sentences.
The President has the right to pardon punishments of sentences given under Court Martial, whereas the
governor does not have this power.
Both the President and Governor have concurrent powers in cases of suspension, commutation and
remission of a death sentence.

Supreme Court Rules Out Consecutive Life Terms

A five judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court has held that
there is no point in awarding life sentences twice and thrice over to
those found guilty of heinous crimes.
Interpreting Section 31 (sentence in cases of conviction of several
offences at one trial) of the Criminal Procedure Code, the
Constitution Bench clarified that like any human being, a convict
too has only one life and cannot serve consecutive sentences of life imprisonment.
The Supreme Court explained that in cases where a prisoner twice condemned to life gets remission or his
first life sentence is commuted, the second life sentence immediately kicks in and deprives him of the ability
to enjoy the benefit of the remission or commutation of the first life sentence.
In another case, if an offender is given life imprisonment coupled with 'term' sentences of fixed years, say
seven or 10 years, the court laid down that in such cases the convict would complete his term sentence
before graduating to his life sentence.
The court finally held that instead of life terms running consecutively, they would superimpose over each
other so that any remission or commutation granted by the competent authority in one case does not ipso
facto result in remission of the sentence for the other.

Remission of Sentences
Why in news?
Recently Supreme Court struck down the Tamil
Nadu Governments decision to release seven
killers of the former Prime Minister Rajiv
Gandhi.
Constitutional Bench rejected Tamil Nadus
argument that the seven prisoners should not
be robbed of their hope to be freed on
remission.
Remission of sentence

What does the law says?


Section 435 (2) of the CrPC, the judgment authored by
Justice F.M.I Kalifulla held that the word 'consultation'
means 'concurrence'. This means that TN govt should have
got the prior consent of the Centre before issuing its
February 19 order to remit the sentences.
Under the Criminal Procedure Code, a life convict can apply
for remission after serving 14 years of his sentence. The
provision is reformative in nature.
This special sentencing for 20 to 40 years depriving
prisoners of their statutory right to apply for remission was
introduced in the 2008 Swami Shraddananda murder case
judgment as an alternative to death penalty.

It means reducing the period of sentence without changing its character.


Under article 72 of the Indian Constitution President can grant pardons to persons who are convicted for life
terms or awarded death penalty.
Under article 161 of the constitution, the governor possesses the pardoning power.
Grounds of the judgment
Supreme Court said that the Centre, and not the State government, will have the primacy in deciding whether
remission should be granted to life-term convicts in the cases which concerned the CBI or any Central agency as
in the case of Rajiv Gandhi killers.
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SC said that the killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi shattered the faith of the entire country so do not
even deserve a ray of hope that they will be released one day.
Supreme Court observed that there is no scope to apply the concept of ray of hope for such hardened, heartless
offenders and such consideration will not be in the interest of the society.
The apex court was dealing with the legality of a special category of sentence by which constitutional courts
can mandatorily send a person convicted in a heinous crime like rape, dacoity, gang-rape and terrorist crimes to
imprisonment of 20 to 40 years without remission.
Significance of the Judgment

Court has barred State governments from invoking their statutory remission power for the premature
release of those sentenced by a High Court or the Supreme Court to a specified term above 14 years without
remission.
Rejection of the theory that every convict should have a ray of hope to be freed on the grounds of remission
The State government will now have to get the concurrence of the Centre in cases investigated by Central
agencies before it can use its power of remission to release convicts
Prisoners cannot be released on the whims and fancies of politicians
Hardened, remorseless criminals cannot be released even after 14 years of imprisonment
The judgment will also settle the law on the power of State governments to remit sentences, especially of
prisoners condemned to death whose sentences have been commuted to life.

3.3. SUPREME COURT RULING ON AFSPA


Recent SC Ruling

Recently SC ruled that every death caused by armed


forces in a disturbed area involving either a common
person or an insurgent must be thoroughly enquired into
so as to find out whether the killing was extra-judicial or
not.
Thus there is no absolute immunity for armed forces
personnel who commit a crime even in a disturbed area.
Supreme Court was hearing the plea demanding probe
into 1528 deaths alleged to be fake or extra-judicial
encounters by the armed forces in the state of Manipur.

Significance of the Judgment

SC has established that accountability is a facet of rule of law. It has established accountability on armed
forces which would help in reducing HR violations
It has related the violations under AFSPA to the core principles of democracy. As per Honble court indefinite
deployment of armed forces in the name of restoring normalcy under AFSPA would mock at our democratic
process, apart from symbolising a failure of the civil administration and the armed forces
Rule of law has been restored. As per Court it does not matter whether the victim was a common person or
a militant or a terrorist, nor does it matter whether the aggressor was a common person or the state. The
law is the same for both and is equally applicable to both

About AFSPA

Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act was enacted in the year 1958 by the parliament of India grants extraordinary powers and immunity to the armed forces to bring back order in the disturbed areas.
Some of these extra-ordinary powers include:
Fire upon anyone after giving warning who is acting against law & order in the disturbed area.
Arrest anyone without warrant.
Stop and search any vehicle or vessel.
Armed forces personnel have legal immunity for their actions.

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Presently AFSPA is enforced in the 6 states of North East and J&K. Tripura recently decided to lift this act.

Arguments against AFSPA

It has been alleged that immunity granted by the act has led the armed forces to misuse the powers given to
them by this act and commit offences like fake encounters and sexual assault.
This gross human rights violation weakens peoples faith in the democracy and leads to vicious circle
syndrome.
It leads to suspension of fundamental rights and liberties guaranteed to the citizens by the constitution. Thus
weakens democracy.
It has been alleged that the sweeping powers without accountability has resulted in making armed forces
unprofessional and insensitive.
Critics argue that this act has failed in its objective of restoring normalcy in disturbed areas although being in
existence for about 50 years.
Government of Tripura recently decided to lift this controversial act from the state. However power to lift
this act lies with the Governor or the Centre.

Arguments in favour of AFSPA

It is essential for the armed forces to function effectively in insurgency and militancy affected areas.
Provisions of this act have played a crucial role in maintaining law and order in disturbed areas. Thus
protecting sovereignty and security of the nation.
Hundreds of armed forces personnel loss their lives every year at the hands of insurgents and militants. It is
crucial to empower them. Withdrawal would result in poor morale.

Way Forward

Committee to Review the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act formed in 2004, in its report, recommended
the repeal of the AFSPA, calling it a symbol of oppression, an object of hate and an instrument of
discrimination.
This act being in effect for about 50 years has not been able to achieve its desired objective.
Thus the strategy to deal with issues of insurgency and militancy needs to be revised where people are not
alienated but plays an active participatory role.

3.4. ROLE OF GOVERNOR: CASE OF ARUNACHAL PRADESH


Background

By an order, Arunachal Pradesh Governor had


asked the assembly session to be advanced
from 14 January to 16 December, and asked
that a motion for removal of the speaker be
taken up first.
The Governor acted on resolutions sent by
majority rebel ruling party MLAs and
Opposition MLAs for the removal of the
Speaker.
Hence, speaker was removed, this resolutions
was backed by 14 rebel ruling party legislators
backed by opposition legislators at an assembly
session held in a community hall in Itanagar
that was presided over by the deputy speaker.
Many petitions were filed against this move and the apex court referred the entire batch of petitions filed by
the Speaker against the Deputy Speaker and others to a Constitution Bench.
Meanwhile, center recommended Presidents rule under Article 356 which was approved by President.
However, later on, the Supreme Court quashed the imposition of Presidents rule restoring the original
government.

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The Court made important observations on the discretionary powers of Governor and the Role of Speaker in
this case.
Issue

If the chief minister has lost the majority support in the assembly, Governor has three options

Dismiss the government under Article 164 (1) of the constitution,


Send a report to the president invoking Article 356,
Call the session of the assembly under Article 174(1)
Since Article 174 (1) is silent on whether the Governor should consult or not the State Cabinet before
advancing dates of the Assembly session. Hence, Supreme Court bench has few questions (as mentioned in
pic) to be decided.
Key findings of the court

Unconstitutionality of the Governor's order

Advancing the Assembly session without the aid and advice of Council of Minister, Governor has to act
within the limits of the constitution which is to act on the advice of CoM
Deciding upon the defection of MLAs which is the sole prerogative of the Speaker. The Speaker had
earlier disqualified 14 rebel congress MLAs but the Governor moved to discredit Speaker's move and
sought to pass the non-confidence motion against the government at that time

His discretionary powers are specifically mentioned or conventionally laid down- they are very narrow and
limited under A. 163- rest all he has to perform on the aid and advice of CoM

A Governor can act in his own discretion if his actions are justified by or under the Constitution. But the
Governors exercise of this discretion would be open to challenge where it can be shown to be perverse,
capricious, fallacious, extraneous or for a motivated consideration

He must act within the area allotted to him; he must not assume the role of an Ombudsman or consciencekeeper of the legislature
No role to play in the disqualification proceedings of MLAs; no authority to interfere in the powers of the
Speaker
He must not be concerned about the activities of the political parties. He must remain aloof from any
disagreement, discontent or dissension, within the party. These are beyond the concern of the Governor
If there is any constitutional impropriety or political disturbance, his only duty is to report the same to the
President and wait for his orders.

Criticism

Anomaly on the scope of discretionary powers of the governor; A.163 specifies that in determining which
matters fall within the discretion of the Governor, the Governors decision will be final. Thus, the scope is
not narrow but wide. Further it is not the judiciary but the Governor himself who will decide upon the scope
of discretionary power
The judgment reduces the role of Governor as a mere figurehead at the apex of state administration. While
political reality demanded such an interpretation, its definitiveness means that what is lost in the process is
any possibility of the Governor acting as a bulwark against abuse of power by an elected State government
(e.g. Speakers acting politically, not allowing a no-confidence motion to be tabled and minority governments
not summoning the Assembly etc).
However, it seems this is due to the misuse of the office of Governor by the center government to replace
the state governments. So the judgment while taking away the power of checks and balances has given more
importance to the sustenance of state government.

Way forward

The office of Governor, though important, has been prone to misuse by the central government. It is
important to look at some ways to improve the working of this office.
In this light the suggestions made at the recently held conference of all the Governors and Lt. Governors of
the states and Union territories assume significance.

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Key points stated by the President on the Role of Governors

Governors have been charged with an onerous responsibility - to preserve, protect and defend the
Constitution. It is, therefore, imperative that all their actions are within the framework of the Constitution
and conform to the highest ideals enshrined in this living document.
As holders of high offices they must not only be fair but also be seen to be fair.
The President said strong monitoring, rigorous follow-up, and validation of progress are essential for the
success of the Swachh Bharat Mission. Governors, as the live-link between the centre and the states, can
catalyze initiatives.
Governors can play a catalyzing role in the efforts towards environmental protection.
Governors may take up smart solutions in their Raj Bhavans which can serve as technology demonstrators.
They may also ask the universities to make use of the Unnat Bharat Abhiyaan for developing smart villages.
Governors can also sensitize states/ UTs about adopting a well-knit strategy to achieve the objectives of the
Make-in-India programme.
Governors of eastern states, especially the North Eastern states, should become active participants of the
Governments Act East policy.

3.5. PRESIDENTS RULE IN UTTARAKHAND


Why in news?

The political crisis in Uttarakhand started on March 18 when nine Congress MLAs defected to the opposition
and met Governor, and sought the dismissal of the Uttarakhand government.
Although the Governor provided a deadline of 28 March for floor test but Presidents rule was imposed a day
before citing constitutional crisis in the state.
According to Article 356, Presidents rule can be imposed in a state if a situation has arisen in which the
government of the state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

3.5.1. ISSUE OF APPROPRIATION BILL IN THE CRISIS

The Appropriation Bill is intended to give authority to Government to incur expenditure from and out of the
Consolidated Fund of India.
Being a money bill, failure of its passage amounts to no confidence of the legislature on the government and
the government has to resign.
In case of Uttarakhand, on the 18th of March Appropriation Bill was presented in the Assembly. Of the 71
member Assembly of which 67 were present, 35 voted against the Appropriation Bill and asked for division
of votes.
However, despite want of division of votes it was claimed that Appropriation Bill was passed by voice vote
and the bill was not presented to the governor for his assent.
This could imply following:
The Appropriation Bill sanctioning expenditure from 1st April 2016 was not approved.
Secondly, if the Appropriation Bill was defeated, the continuation of the Government subsequent to
18th March 2016 is unconstitutional.
This prompted the rebel MLAs and the opposition to meet the governor who sought for dismissal of
government following which the governor declared the house in suspended animation and gave the CM a
deadline of 28th March to prove his majority in the house.

3.5.2. ROLE OF THE SPEAKER

The decision of the Speaker to go for a voice vote when majority members demanded a division.
In addition, declaring the Appropriation bill passed even when majority members voted in negative.
The decision of the speaker to disqualify members on ground of defection when the house was on
suspended animation, allegedly to change the composition of the house to enable the government to
survive the no confidence vote.

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3.5.3. PRESIDENTS RULE


What is Presidents Rule?

The President's Rule refers to the imposition of Article 356 of


the Constitution of India on a state that is incapable of running
the constitutional machinery.
In such times, the state comes under the direct control of the
central government of India, which is termed as "under the
President's Rule".
The President dissolves the state assembly and orders the
centrally appointed Governor to execute the operations of the
state.

Grounds for imposition

Since independence, till now Article 356


has been used approximately 120 times.
According to the Sarkaria Commissions
Report, which analysed 75 cases of
Presidents Rule from June 1951 to May
1987, and found that Article 356 was not
meant for use in 52 out of these 75
cases,. No other provision has been
used, misused and abused like Article
356 of the Constitution.

As per an eminent scholar and Sarkaria Commission some of the factors that could lead to such an
emergency are:

Breakdown of law and order machinery


Political instability as a result of defections in the state
Loss of public confidence in the majority
Rampant corruption on part of the State government
Where the party having a majority in the Assembly declines to form a Ministry and the Governor's
attempts to find a coalition Ministry able to command a majority have failed.
Danger to national integration or security of the State or aiding or a betting national disintegration
Where a State Government fails to comply with the executive directions issued by the Union
Supreme Case judgments related to imposition of Presidents rule in state

S R Bomai vs Union of India


Art. 356 should be used very sparingly, and not for political gains.
The strength of the government should be tested on the floor of the house and not as per whims of the
Governor.
Court cannot question the advice tendered by Council of ministers but it can scrutinize the ground for
that advice of imposition of Presidents rule in the state and may take corrective steps if malafide
intention is found.
Use of Art 356 is justified only when there is breakdown of constitutional machinery and not
administrative machinery.
Buta Singh case
The governors report could not be taken at face value and must be verified by the council of ministers
before being used as the basis for imposing Presidents rule.

Observations of relevant Committees/Commissions with respect to Article 356

Sarkaria Commission (1987)


Article 356 should be used very sparingly, in extreme cases and only as a matter of last resort.
The Commission also recommended that any imposition of Article 356 should be accompanied with a
report by Governor to the President with relevant facts and details.
No dissolution of Assembly till proclamation is ratified by the parliament
National Commission for Reviewing the Working of Constitution (2002)
A warning should be issued to the errant State, in specific terms, that it is not carrying on the
government of the State in accordance with the Constitution. Before taking action under Article 356, any
explanation received from the State should be taken into account.
The State Legislative Assembly should not be dissolved either by the Governor or the President before
the proclamation issued under article 356(1) has been laid before Parliament and it has had an
opportunity to consider it. Article 356 should be suitably amended to ensure this.

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The Governor's report, on the basis of which a proclamation under Article 356(1) is issued, should be
given wide publicity in all the media and in full.
Safeguards corresponding to that of Article 352 should be incorporated in Article 356 to enable
Parliament to review continuance in force of a proclamation.
Punchhi Commission (2008)
The commission recommended imposition of localized emergency i.e. only a district or a part of a district
to be brought under Governors rule instead of the entire state. Such an imposition should not be of a
duration exceeding three months.
It also recommended suitable amendments be made in Article 356 to incorporate the guidelines of
Supreme Court in S.R Bommai case (1994) with regards to invoking of the article.

Way Forward

Situation like those in Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand etc provide an opportunity to introspect into issues
like neutrality in role of constitutional offices of Speaker and Governor. Further it is pertinent that guidance
provided in various Supreme Court Cases is followed in letter and spirit.

3.6. ROLE OF SPEAKER


Why in News?

There have been increasing instances casting doubts over the bi-partisan role of Speaker. For example,
Suspension of all the principal opposition parties in the legislative assembly of Gujarat and TN,
Removal of speaker in the Arunanchal Pradesh Assembly case
Deciding over Aadhar Bill as Money Bill
This is a matter of concern for Indian democracy
Recently, the Supreme Court while deciding over the issue of imposition of Presidents rule in Arunanchal
Pradesh discussed the role of Speaker at length.
In this case a motion for removal of speaker was moved in the House. While this motion was pending the
speaker had disqualified certain MLAs.

Major observations of the court


The judgment, for the first time, sets down as a legal principle that the Speaker cannot proceed to disqualify
Members of the House if an intention to remove him has already been moved, and that he would have to first
prove he still has the confidence of the majority of Members.
Why?

There always remains the possibility that the Speaker, under the threat of losing his position, may choose to
disqualify the MLAs to alter the composition of the House in his favour. Thus, Article 179(c) provides that a
Speaker (or Deputy Speaker) may be removed from his office by a resolution of the Assembly passed by a
majority of all the then members of the Assembly. The judgment points to the phrase all the then
members of the Assembly to conclude that the composition of legislators should remain the very same
while deciding whether a majority in the House wants the Speaker to continue or not
The principles of complete detachment and perceivable impartiality requires the Speaker to desist from
using his power to disqualify the members until he passed the test of constitutional confidence. The
speaker acts as a Tribunal while deciding upon the Tenth Schedule.
Therefore to maintain his propriety as an adjudicator, it was expedient that the Speaker should first stand
the test and then proceed
o Justice Misra ends his judgment with the message that high constitutional functionaries should remain
embedded to restraint and discipline with humility which, he says, is the ultimate constitutional virtue.
Criticism

It could provide an escape-route to the defectors; the possibility of removing the speaker by the defectors in
collaboration with opposition party and then installing their own speaker who might not act against the
defectors.
The Court must design a protective measure against such misuse.

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3.7. PRESIDENT REJECTS THREE BILLS PASSED BY MANIPUR


Why in news?

Recently, President Pranab Mukherjee returned three bills the Manipur Assembly had passed on August 31,
2015.
Since last year Manipur has been experiencing various forms of agitations in connection with these bills.
The contentious bills are the Manipur Land Reforms and Land Revenue (7th Amendment) Bill, 2015, the
Manipur Shops and Establishment (2nd Amendment) Bill, 2015 and the Manipur Protection of Peoples Bill,
2015.

Background

The bills were the result of two months of protest by several organizations demanding imposition of Inner
Line Permit (ILP) in line with Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland where the system is prevalent.
The dominant Mietei community of Manipur have been demanding the implementation of the permit to
restrict the entry of mainland Indians for years.

Reasons for later protests in Manipur over this bill

Tribal claim that the Manipur Land Revenue & land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2015 would ease the
process of buying land by migrant workers in the state. Manipur land reforms bill apparently brings all land
under the Manipur government which even includes tribal lands.
The tribal population among Kuki and Naga communities, whose land is protected under the 6th schedule on
account of being a tribal people, believe that its a ploy by the Meitei dominated Manipur government to
grab tribal land and marginalize their population. Tribal land in the state is governed by customary law and
can only be sold to another tribal.
Protection of Manipur Peoples Bill, 2015 puts the base year to identify non-indigenous people has been set
to 1951 whereas the tribal Kukis, Mizos and Chins which mostly reside in hilly areas say that the tribal
councils have not kept records prior to 1971 so it may result in their exclusion.
There is also an apprehension that the definition of Manipur People could be used in other Acts/Bills to
deny services, facilities and amenities to the people of Manipur, especially the tribal people, in seeking
government jobs, admission to schools, colleges or in case of State quota in medical and engineering
admissions.

Inner Line Permit System (ILPS)

Manipur merged with India on October 15, 1949. Before the merger, entry into the State was regulated by a
permit system, which was later abolished.
This permit system known as Inner Line Permit (ILP) regulates the entry of non-domicile citizens into a
restricted region. It was introduced by the British colonial government to protect its commercial interests
against raiding tribal communities from the hills.
Today, ILP is seen as a way to protect the demographic, cultural, political and social integrity of the small
tribal populations in the hill states.
At present, it is imposed in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.

Reason for Demand of ILP in Manipur

Currently there is no restriction on the entry by the citizen of India. The increase in the population has
caused a panic in the mind of the people of Manipur.
People of Manipur see outsiders as a threat to employment opportunities and their culture. Currently many
economic activities such as shops, small businesses are being done by migrants which poses threat to
interests of locals there.
Many times Illegal migration leads to communal conflict and violence.

Criticisms of ILPS

ILPS is against constitutional rights like Right to free movement across the country, right to equality, right to
reside peacefully within any part of the country.

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ILPS will turn Manipur into more isolated and insulated. Thus it will lead to more insecurity and vulnerability
and integrity of the state.
Migration helps underdeveloped NE states to avail services like medical, educational facilities etc. from
outside states. Therefore People should demand a well-equipped Legislation to regulate the migration in
place of ILP.

Challenges in Implementation of ILP in Manipur

Since Manipur is not officially a tribal state, there are constitutional challenges to implementing the ILP
system.
As per the Bill, Manipur people means persons of Manipur whose names are in the National Register of
Citizens, 1951, Census report 1951 and village directory of 1951 and their descendants who have contributed
to the collective social, cultural and economic life of Manipur.
This census is considered to be flawed as the census exercise that year did not cover the entire State. The
infrastructure at that time was not enough and many people were left out in the process. So as per the bill
many of the hill people (the Kukis and the Nagas) could have found themselves declared non-Manipuris.
There is a lingering apprehension among the hill people that the state government would use the bills as a
strategic political ploy to gain control over their land.
The unwillingness on the part of the state government to implement the Sixth Schedule in the hill areas has
exacerbated the concerns of the tribal people.
People of the hill areas were not consulted in the process of drafting the bills

Way forward

Experts will now re-examine the first two bills for a reasonable conclusion and in the case of the third bill,
legal and constitutional experts will re-examine it for a new legislation taking into consideration all aspects
of the hill and valley people of Manipur.
There is a need for effective consultation between State government and the Hill Areas Committee to avoid
any misunderstanding.
Illegal Migration has more threats in terms of security of the state. Recent Bodo Muslim Clash in Assam was
due to the fear of being marginalized and land alienated. So, there is need to protect interests of various
ethnic groups in Manipur.

3.8. ANTI-DEFECTION LAW


Why in news?
Recent disqualification of 9 rebel MLAs in Uttarakhand under anti- defection law once again brought back
discussions surrounding the law to the fore.
About Anti-Defection Law:
The anti-defection law was passed by parliament in 1985 and strengthened in 2002.
The 52nd amendment to the Constitution added the Tenth Schedule which laid down the process by which
legislators may be disqualified on grounds of defection.
A member of parliament or state legislature was deemed to have defected if he either voluntarily
resigned from his party or disobeyed the directives of the party leadership on a vote. That is, they may
not vote on any issue in contravention to the partys whip.
Independent members would be disqualified if they joined a political party. Nominated members who
were not members of a party could choose to join a party within six months; after that period, they were
treated as a party member or independent member.
The law also made a few exceptions:
Any person elected as speaker or chairman could resign from his party, and rejoin the party if he
demitted that post.
A party could be merged into another if at least two-thirds (Initially one-third) of its party legislators
voted for the merger.
Positive Impacts:
The law succeeded in checking the regular phenomenon of unstable governments and horse-trading due
to floor crossing by legislators.
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Adverse Consequences

Centralisation of India's political parties; a legislator cannot question the sweet deals or alliances between
top party leaders.
Curtailed the freedom of legislators; This issue of freedom of speech was addressed by the five-judge
Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in 1992 (Kihoto Hollohan vs Zachilhu and others). The court said
that the anti-defection law seeks to recognise the practical need to place the proprieties of political and
personal conduct above certain theoretical assumptions. It held that the law does not violate any rights or
freedoms, or the basic structure of parliamentary democracy.
Still however, it affects the freedom of legislators to an extent as now they cannot take a stand against
party leaders or defy the party whip, and use their conscience to vote on a Bill in the House due to fear
of losing their seat under the provisions of the Anti-Defection law.
Weakened legislative thinking and debates; it has led to disincentivising lawmakers from seriously thinking,
researching or even rifling for best practices to incorporate into legislation that is before the House for
consideration and focus their energies on procedural matters.

Changes required

Rationalization of whip- it should be limited to only matters that affect the stability of the government like
non-confidence motion, adjournment motion, money bill or financial matters
Power to decide not to speaker; As recommended by the Goswami Committee, the government should
consider giving the power to decide on disqualification under the Act to the President or the Governor, who
shall act on the advice of the Election Commission (as is there under A. 103)
Party loyalty to extend to pre-poll alliance; The rationale that a representative is elected on the basis of the
partys programme can be extended to pre-poll alliances. The Law Commission proposed this change with
the condition that partners of such alliances inform the Election Commission before the elections

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4. CONSTITUTIONAL, REGULATORY AND OTHER


BODIES
4.1. ISSUES RELATED TO REGULATORY BODIES IN INDIA
Why in news?

Recently, Urjit Patel was named as new RBI governor.


The issue is of independence v/s accountability of regulatory bodies, as the head of many regulatory bodies
are appointed by the government.

Need for Regulatory Bodies


There are four sets of justifications for regulatory interventions:

Market Economy

Current Procedure
RBI Governor and Deputy Governors are
appointed by the Central Government.
Their names are cleared by Cabinet
Committee on appointments.

Prevention of Market Failure. For ex: SEBI, RBI.


To check anti-competitive practices: A natural monopoly. For ex: CCI
Minimize Asymmetric information: This creates a role for regulation of market transactions or provision
of information by a third party to remove or minimize information asymmetries.
Determine monetary policy to run the govt. For ex: RBI

Fair play, consumer protection and increasing efficiency

CERC and TRAI


AERB - Atomic Energy Regulatory Body
DGCA - Directorate General of Civil Aviation
RERA Real Estate Regulatory authority

Prevent Externalities
Environmental Regulation: CPCB
Health and safety: Ex: FSSAI
Standard setting: National Film certification board, Advertisements Standards council etc.

To promote the public interest: Ensuring fair access, non-discrimination, affirmative action
Support Pricing: Government offering to buy wheat or rice from farmers at a price which is higher than
the market price. For ex: CACP deciding MSPs.
Public Distribution System: Supply of food grains at a price which is lower than the market price
Free Distribution: Distribution of piped water and free power to agriculture (CERC), which is a regulatory
decision to levy zero tariffs, stemming from policy stances.
NABARD and SIDBI are involved in various government schemes. For ex: Standup India, National Skilling
mission.
NHB National Housing Bank is involved in inclusive housing.

Issues with regulatory bodies

Independence
This is a prerequisite for effective regulation that enables them to perform without political interference.
Also state is a major market participant in many economic sectors.
Not all regulators are equally independent, since the laws establishing them do not follow a uniform
standard.
Independence in status (statutory authority), finances and administratively independent from the
government.
Discretion in how the regulator hires and manages personnel.

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Non-accountability
Regulators do not answer questions related to them during different Parliament discussions. It is the
minister of the associated ministry who is answerable. This is futile since the minister is not responsible
for the regulator's functioning and is yet made answerable.
Scrutiny of the regulators is often ignored. In the 16th LokSabha, (till March, 2016), only 2 questions
pertained to regulators.
Regulators do not submit annual reports to Parliamentary Standing Committees. Ad-hoc committees are
ineffective.

Effectiveness
Regulation to be effective: for example, the capacity and expertise of the Motor Vehicles Department
has not kept pace with the explosive growth of vehicles on the road.

Overlapping domains need for regulatory convergence


Both SEBI and IRDA were claiming regulatory right over ULIPs thus harming consumer in process.
RBI and CCI (Competition commission of India) regulation tussle over merging of banks.

Regulatory sprawl
Recently, there have been proposals for a biotechnology regulator, a real estate regulator, a coal
regulator, and even a roads regulator.
In the 12th report titled, Citizen Centric Administration, the 2nd ARC noted: Regulation only where
necessary.

Judicial framework
The increasing specialization in the
administration of justice through the
establishment of sector specific tribunals
also has repercussions for the broader
system of administration of justice.

Transparency
Regulations which are issued by
regulators have the full status of law.
But regulations are written by unelected
officials, while the power to make law is
restricted to those who have won
elections.
So, a sound transparent regulationmaking process is needed, through which
unelected officials do not have arbitrary
law-making power.

Suggested Reforms
Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC) recommends physical, legal and administrative
separation of the regulator from the government, implying that regulators must have independent
infrastructure, personnel.
1. Financial independence, FSRLC recommends independent sourcing of finances from sources such as fees.
2. Strengthening accountability, FSLRC recommends that regulators
(a) Be given clear, precise regulatory objectives
(b) Explain their regulatory actions to the general public, and regulatory changes be made after prior
consultation with the public, and
(c) Report to Parliament on how they fared on pursuing their regulatory objectives, and the outcomes
achieved.
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3.
4.
5.
6.

Structural: Merging of Regulators: as recommended by FSLRC; for example of IRDA and PFRDA.
Setting up of Independent regulators to oversee functioning of all regulators. (Punchhi Commission).
Procedural: Establishing a comprehensive and enforceable code of conduct.
The Second ARC recommended ways to strengthen legislative oversight
(a) Regulators should be present before the Parliamentary Committees to answer questions
(b) They should submit annual reports on progress made, which should be accessible to public
(c) Their recommendations should be scrutinized by sector-specific committees
7. Need for greater uniformity in the terms of appointment, tenure and removal of various regulatory
authorities. (ARC)
8. The appointment of the Chairman and Board Members for all such regulatory authorities should be done by
the Union/State Governments after an initial screening and recommendation of a panel of names by a
Selection Committee. (ARC)

4.2. NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION (NHRC)


Why in News?

Recently NHRC chairperson Justice H.L. Dattu


called NHRC a toothless tiger.
Also Supreme Court bench proposed to consider
the grievances of the NHRC due to which it
become difficult for the statutory body to
discharge its functions.

Issues faced by NHRC

About NHRC
It is a statutory body established in 1993 under the
provisions of Protection of Human Rights Act 1993.
This apex body is responsible for protecting and
promoting human rights related to life, liberty, equality
and dignity of individuals as guaranteed by the
constitution of India and international covenants.
It consists of a Chairman and 4 members.Chairman
should be a retired Chief Justice of India. Members
should be either sitting or retired judges of the Supreme
Court or a serving or retired Chief Justice of a High Court
and 2 persons having practical knowledge in the field of
human rights.
Ex officio members are the chairpersons of National
Commission for Scheduled Caste, National Commission
for Scheduled Tribes, National Commission for
Minorities and National Commission for Women.

NHRC investigates matters related to human right


violations and then recommends remedial
measures. However its recommendations are not
binding and thus not taken seriously by state
authorities which results in no or delayed
implementation.
Paucity of resources human, financial and
material that results in inefficient and ineffective
functioning.
NHRC cannot investigate a case if complaint was made more than one year after the incident.
The act does not extend to the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Hence NHRC cannot investigate incidents of
human rights violation there.
NHRC powers with respect to investigating cases of human rights violation by armed forces are limited.
Protection of human rights act 1993 does not categorically empower NHRC to investigate matters of human
rights violation by private parties.
NHRC do not have any kind of contempt powers thus it cannot penalize authorities who do not implement
its recommendations in a time bound manner.
Staff often involved in executing NHRC functions are not experts or experienced in the field of human rights
as they are often drawn from various Government departments on deputation.
Non-judicial posts are often filled by retired bureaucrats in place of relevant experts in the field.

Way Forward

The functioning of protection of human rights act needs to be revised as 15 years has passed since its
passage and current demands and challenges needs to be accommodated.
Various structural as well as functional changes need to be made so as to make NHRCs functioning efficient
and effective.
The commission needs to be given more teeth (i.e. empowered) and its recommendations must be
implemented by the government in a time bound manner.
Independent recruitment and management of staff.

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Be allowed to independently investigate complaints against armed forces personnel.


Separate body to investigate cases where police are allegedly involved in human rights violation.

4.3. UNIVERSITY GRANTS COMMISSION (UGC)


Why in News?

Recently,
T.S.R.
Subramanian
committees
recommendation in the National Education Policy,
recommended that the UGC Act should be allowed to lapse
and replaced by a new National Higher Education Act.

Issues with UGC

About UGC
The University Grants Commission (UGC) of
India is a statutory body set up by the Union
government in accordance to the UGC Act
1956 under HRD Ministry.
It has been mandated to initiate important
decisions and dialogues which have an
important bearing on the entire student
population of the country
The three primary functions of UGC include
Overseeing distribution of grants to
universities and colleges in India.
Providing scholarships/fellowships to
beneficiaries, and
Monitoring conformity to its regulations
by universities and colleges.

Its policies suffer from two diametrically opposite issues:


under-regulation and over-regulation.
Failure to effectively implement its regulations aimed at
ensuring the quality of higher education in the country
widespread irregularity in grant of approval of
institutions and courses
Credibility of UGC is dented by approval given to large
number of sub-standard colleges and universities
Failure to monitor the standards and quality of
education
It has failed in ensuring quality standards. According to QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings,
India ranks 24th in higher education system strength out of 50 countries
Under the UGC Act, all the regulations framed by the body require Parliamentary approval; but many of the
UGC regulations as they exist today dont have its approval.
When UGC was formed there were only 58 universities none of which were private; now it is around 726.
The regulation and coordination of all of them is a herculean task for one regulatory agency and it has failed
to perform with increasing prevalent cases flouting of the norms and regulations by the private universities
like high capitation fees asked by private universities
UGCs entire functioning continues to be oriented more towards grant giving rather than regulation and
enforcement of minimum standards.
Instances of delay in fellowships have become a regular affair, placing underprivileged research scholars in
problem.

Suggestion of the Subramanium Panel

The panel has instead suggested an alternative arrangement


for a pruned UGC.
The UGC could be revamped, made considerably leaner and
thinner, and could be the nodal point for administration of the
proposed National Higher Education Fellowship Programme,
without any other promotional or regulatory function.
Earlier an expert Committee headed by HariGautam had also
examined thoroughly the past, present and future role of UGC.
It had concluded that the UGC does not have the adequate
number of personnel, of requisite quality, to be an
effective regulatory force in the higher education sector.
It therefore has suggested complete dismantling of UGC as
any exercise of reshaping or restructuring would be futile.
Its report is under examination by the HRD Ministry.

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PRESENT STATUS: The Prime Minister's


Office (PMO) has directed the high-level
committee, headed by NitiAayog Vice
Chairman Arvind Panagariya, to prepare
a road map for reforming the two
regulatory bodies in the field of
education - the University Grants
Commission (UGC) and the All India
Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

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Is scrapping the solution?

Unless a foolproof system is made addressing these issues, the new proposal would be akin to renaming a
scheme or creating a new institution on the ruins of an old one to earn the government extra brownie
points for the next elections.
To begin with, UGC should resolve its many problems with respect to placementsnepotism at the top of
the ladder and understaffing at the lower rungs.
It could then work its way to reinventing itself in line with the T.S.R. Subramanian committee
recommendation-retaining a leaner and thinner version of the commission as a nodal organization and
creating a separate mechanism for disbursement of fellowships.
Perhaps, this will enable it to focus on the more relevant issue of quality education.

4.4. NITI AAYOG


Background

NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Ayog replaced the Planning commission last year.
Its role and functions in the Indian economy and polity are still evolving.
There was a need to scrap the planning commission because it was presenting contradictions in the present
day economic scenario.
Firstly, its lack of relevance in a market economy.
The second contradiction was between the centralised command over resource allocation and the
developmental role of the states in a federal polity.
In this light it is important that NITI keeps following principles in mind:
Effort to incorporate the role of the private sector in policy making and not constraint it.
Promoting cooperative as well as competitive federalism

Role and functions of NITI


The cabinet resolution lists 13 different tasks to it which may be grouped under four major heads, namely:
Fostering cooperative federalism by providing structured support to states on a continuous basis;
Tackle the overlapping of legislative and executive functions in concurrent list e.g. energy, environment,
poverty alleviation, education have been rough spots in past few years. Need for coordinated action and
speedy decisions are critical for pursuing the developmental agenda.
The need of central government to interfere in state list might also arise for reasons of national interest
like security, minimum common standards, etc.
In the case of union subjects too, the states may be involved in implementation as agencies due to their
proximity to the people.
NITI can facilitate exchange of information and experiences and promote healthy intergovernmental
competition through monitoring and regulation.
Rationalisation of centrally sponsored schemes. The government initiated the process by cutting down
the number of CSS and also dividing them as Core and other schemes.
The NITI has created sub-groups of Chief Ministers and various Task Force to foster cooperation.
Formulation of a strategic vision and long-term policies and programme framework
One of the major tasks assigned to NIti Aayog is strategic planning at both macro, sectoral and also
grassroot levels. Perspective planning helps to make projections on the macro variables and keep the
policy perspective in view.
There is a need for bottom-up planning right from the village, block and district levels and these should
be harmonised with planning at the state level and national level.
NITI can provide a framework for preparing the plans to the states and the latter, in turn, to the lower
levels of government. It should also have a unit to advise and guide if any state is in need of such
assistance
It is reported that government might work on a 15-year vision plan with 3-years short terms plans.
Innovation and Knowledge Hub

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Closely aligned to strategic planning is the role of NITI Aayog as a think tank facilitating partnerships
between the stakeholders
It has taken initiatives like NITI Lectures, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) towards this.
Coordination
The fourth important task of the Aayog is to ensure inter-governmental and interdepartmental
coordination.
This is significant especially in rising challenges in areas of environment, security, economy,
infrastructure etc.

Challenges

Several legacy issues like significant role in designing and implementing specific purpose transfers which
cannot be given to any other body like Finance Commission.
Presence of parallel institutions in the state which need to be transformed to meet the new requirements.
The Constitution requires the establishment of district planning committees and metropolitan planning
committees. Their role in the new environment needs to be specified.
Inter-ministerial tussle with NITI as everyone would want to spread over its influence.
Danger of bureaucratisation of the Aayog.

Conclusion
The success of NITI depends to a large extent on the trust and confidence it receives from the States. The
government must, thus, take every possible step to achieve this trust. Coordinating NITI with Inter-State Council
would be a desirable step in this regard.

4.5. REVAMPING CENTRAL BOARD OF FILM CERTIFICATION


Why in news?

Government has set up a panel headed by Shyam Benegal to


suggest measures for the revamp of the Central Board of
Film Certification (CBFC).The committee submitted its report
on the functioning of the CBFC.

There are many Offensive and Outrageous


things which should not be shown in
films. For example:

Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC)

It is a statutory body regulating the public exhibition of films


under the provisions of the Cinematograph Act 1952.
Films can be publicly exhibited in India only after they have
been certified by the Central Board of Film Certification.
It assigns certifications to films, television shows, television
ads, and publications for exhibition, sale or hire in India
The Board consists of non-official members and a Chairman
(all of whom are appointed by Central Government) and
functions with headquarters at Mumbai.

Issues with working of CBFC

Seditious ideas and stories (that


threatens the unity, integrity, defence,
security or sovereignty of India, friendly
relations with foreign states or public
order)
Glorification of the ideology of terrorists
(Islamic or otherwise)
Liberal use of vulgar words
Glorification of social evils
Glorification of blind beliefs
Character assassination of real people

The censor board may not come down


instantly against any of the above, but it has
a duty to always keep a sharp eye on these
negative things.

There is a general feeling that the CBFC was not acting like the
certifying authority that it was, but as a censor board.
Ideally it needs to only issue film certificates based on the content (as the name suggests- Central Board of
Film Certification). Instead, what has been happening is dubious and irrational censorship based on Political
Interests, false Cultural Sensitivity, Hypocrisy, Prejudices & perverse Prudishness.
Some of the recent decisions taken by CBFC have renewed the ongoing debate with respect to balance
between ones Freedom of Speech, art of creativity versus censorship. For instance, CBFC had asked makers
of Bollywood film Udta Punjab to remove all references to the state and its cities.

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Committee Recommendations

CBFC should only be a film certification body and its scope should be restricted to categorizing the suitability
of the film to audience groups on the basis of age and maturity.
The board can refuse certification when a film contains contravenes the provisions of Cinematograph Act.
It can also refuse certification when content in a film crosses the ceiling laid down in the highest category of
certification.
The applicant for certificate must specify the category of certification being sought and the target audience.

Way forward

Similar steps have also been taken earlier. For instance, the Justice MukulMudgal Committee in 2013 had
also inquired into similar issues and submitted a report after conducting extensive consultations with
stakeholders.
There have been many efforts to secure the freedom of expression for example the G.D. Khosla report in
1969 recommended independent members on the Board, then called the Central Board of Film Censors.
Even if full autonomy of the Board is ensured, there is no guarantee that the institution would be any less
scissor-happy.
Therefore, government should also ensure that panels recommendations are implemented properly.

4.6. ADVERTISING STANDARDS COUNCIL OF INDIA (ASCI)


Why in news?

ASCI and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) have signed an MoU to check misleading
advertisements in the food and beverages sector.

What is it?
A self-regulatory voluntary organization of the advertising industry in India, founded in 1985.
The three main constituents of the industry viz. advertisers, advertising agencies and media came together to
form this independent NGO.
The aim of ASCI is to maintain and enhance the public's confidence in advertising. Their mandate is that all
advertising material must be truthful, legal and honest, decent and not objectify women, safe for consumers
esp children and fair to their competitors.
It deliberates upon individual complaints against any advertisements for its compliance with ASCI code and
other laws.
Important points about the MoU

ASCI gets a suomotu monitoring mandate by FSSAI to process complaints against misleading advertisements
of food and beverages along with the complaints from FSSAI.
The review will include violation of the Food Safety Standards Act 2006 and regulations related to
advertisements making misleading, unsubstantiated or false claims.
ASCI would report to FSSAI about the non-compliance as per provisions of the FSS Act.

4.7. MEDICAL EDUCATION REGULATION: MCI


Why in News?

Recently a Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) has submitted its report. It


pointed out serious irregularities in Medical Council of Indias (MCI) functioning
and has called for changes of "transformational nature".

Important Observations from the Report

The MCI's composition is opaque, and does not have diversified stakeholders and
council has only medical doctors.

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The existing minimum standard requirements mandated by the MCIare "irrational and artificially rigid
standards" that are an impediment to the establishment and expansion of medical colleges.
High capitation fees for getting a medical seat that goes up to Rs.50 lakhs.
In the current system of inspections there is no provision for constructive feedback and the whole
procedure is oriented towards penalising rather than improving.

Suggestions for improvement

There are three areas where the committee has recommended drastic changes to MCI:
The setup of MCI as a regulatory body.
The governance of medical colleges.
To curb corruption.
Bring diverse stakeholders such as public health experts and social scientists, health economists, health
NGOs in the governing body.
Inducting non-medical professionals of integrity and community health experts to regulatory bodies would
help advance public interest.
Separation of Power: Replace the existing MCI with an architecture consisting of four independent boards
to deal with curriculum development, teacher training, and standard setting for undergraduate and postgraduate education.

Medical Council of India (MCI)

MCI is statutory body for establishing uniform and high standards of medical education in India.
It registers doctors to practice in India, in order to protect and promote the health and safety of the public
by ensuring proper standards in the practice of medicine.

Supreme Court view

Agreeing with the view of Parliamentary Standing Committee


report of March 2016, the Supreme Court has used its rare and
extraordinary powers under the Constitution (A.142) to set up a
three-member committee.
Committee will be headed by former Chief Justice of India R.M.
Lodha, to oversee the functioning of the Medical Council of India
(MCI) for at least a year.

Article 142 of Indian Constitution:

It empowers the Supreme Court to


pass such decree or order as may be
necessary for doing complete justice
in any cause or matter that is
pending before it.

Role of new Panel


The Supreme Court defined the below mentioned functions for the Justice Lodha committee:

It will have the authority to oversee all statutory functions under the MCI Act.
All policy decisions of the MCI will require approval of the Oversight Committee.
The Committee will be free to issue appropriate remedial directions.
The Committee will function till the Central Government puts in place any other appropriate mechanism
after due consideration of the Expert Committee Report.

4.8. SPORTS REGULATION: CASE OF BCCI


Background

Following the spot match fixing scandal in IPL and the issue of extreme political interference in the working
of BCCI, the SC had appointed a committee to look into the matter under the chairmanship of former CJI
justice RM Lodha
The Committee came out with its recommendations early this year and suggested sweeping reforms in the
troubled BCCI.
Further, the BCCI and some of the State cricket associations, former players and cricket administrators
approached the apex court asking to halt the implementation of Lodha panel recommendations. The court,
however, dismissed BCCIs plea, and upheld the committees major proposals.

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Recommendations Accepted

SC rejected the BCCIs objection against recommendation of one-State-one-vote. It said that States that have
more than one cricket association will have voting rights on a rotational basis.
This means that states with more than one cricket association, as in the case of Gujarat (Saurashtra, Gujarat
and Baroda) and Maharashtra (Mumbai, Maharashtra and Vidarbha), will have voting rights on a rotational
basis-one at a time.
The SC order also barred serving civil servants and ministers from being on BCCIs board or that of their
respective state associations.
The SC also accepted a recommendation which stipulated that office-bearers of BCCI must not be over 70
years of age.
It accepted the recommendation that one person should hold one post in cricket administration to avoid any
conflict of interest and scrapping of all other administrative committees in the BCCI after the CAG nominee
comes in.
The court also upheld the term-limit recommended by the committee. Each of the office-bearers would have
a three-year term and could contest a maximum of three terms, with a mandatory cooling-off period after
each term.
SC accepted the recommendation that there should be a players association in the BCCI and SC ordered BCCI
to establish a players association and fund it.
SC accepted the committees proposed recommendation that a nominee from the office of the Comptroller
and Auditor General of India (CAG) be made a part of BCCIs managing committee.

Recommendations left to decision of parliament

The SC left it to Parliament to decide whether the functioning of the BCCI can be brought under RTI as
recommended by the Lodha panel.
SC also left parliament to decide whether to legalise betting in cricket or not.

Recommendations left to board

Board to decide whether there is need for any change in the existing agreement relating to broadcasting
rights.
It left it to the Board to decide whether a franchise member should be in the Board to avoid any conflict of
interest.
Board to also decide the extent of funding of players association in the BCCI.
SC requested the three-member Lodha panel, to oversee the transition of administrative structure in the
BCCI which has to take place within six months.

Significance of the order

The SC order effectively overhauls the BCCIs organisational set-up, memberships and functioning for the
sake of transparency and accountability.
Prima facie it looks like judicial activism, but considering the sad state of affairs in BCCI, SC order was need of
the hour to bring transparency and accountability in the functioning of BCCI.
The judgment has implications for sport in general. The BCCI is the best-run sports body in the country, and
generates its own funds. Yet it needed straightening out. It sets a benchmark for all the sporting
organisations in the country.
There should be a call to apply the Supreme Courts rulings in general in other sports bodies too, that rely on
government handouts and run by politicians as personal fiefdoms.

4.9. FOOD SECTOR REGULATION


Why in news?
Recently the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had indicated that it would reintroduce the
system of pre-launch product approvals by issuing new regulations.

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Background

Few months back the apex court upheld a Bombay High Court decision quashing an advisory issued by FSSAI
on the procedure for product approval.
The Bombay High Court had ruled that FSSAIs advisory on product approvals did not have force of law and
was beyond its powers as provided by the Food Safety Standards Act, 2006.
The FSSAI scrapped product approvals, following the apex court verdict.
Globally, companies do not require approval from regulators to launch a product. FSSAI started this as it
wanted to control end-products.
Product Approval Process: Earlier product approval was required only if there was a new ingredient or
additive being introduced. But in the May 2013 notice issued by FSSAI broadened this to cover all products
even if they were using approved ingredients or additives within permissible limits.

Concerns
The uncertainty and confusion over this issue resurfaced with the
FSSAI declaring that even while respecting the court's decree over
its advisories, it will come up with new regulations to revive the
approval procedure.

FSSAI has set up nine new panels for


expediting work relating to strengthen
the food regulatory mechanism in the
country.

The FSSAI has also notified 12 referral


laboratories
and
82
National
Accreditation Board for Testing and
Calibration
Laboratories-accredited
private laboratories.

Impacts on the Food Processing Industry


This does not bode well for a sector that, after a
prolonged period of infancy, had begun to grow at over
eight per cent a year.
Food processing adds value to farm produce and helps to
reduce wastage of perishable products, so such
regulations may affect farm sector badly.

Steps taken by FSSAI to strengthen the Food


Regulatory Mechanism

The industry maintains that the regulator cannot bring back the product approval system unless the law is
amended.
Recent actions of the FSSAI, including those against Nestle India's Maggi noodles, created a "fear psychosis"
in the industry, killing innovation.
Allegations of harassment of companies by FSSAI officials on trivial grounds.
The basic objective of the FSSAI Act of putting in place a transparent and scientific system of food safety
seems to have been belied.

Way forward
India's food regulation law, the FSSAI Act of 2006, in fact does not require a new product to be formally
approved by the regulator if its ingredients are as per the law. Thus Food safety regulator must follow global
practices and should allow industry to self-certify compliance with standards.

4.10. INDEPENDENT REGULATORS FOR PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

The government is planning to appoint independent regulators for services such as medicine, law, chartered
accountancy, cost accountancy and company secretary ship.
Presently these are regulated by statutory bodies like MCU, BCI, ICAI, ICSI
Problem with the existing structure
The existing structure of a regulator-cum-professional body for these services has resulted in several
alleged instances of conflict of interest.
This has also hurt the credibility and reputation of these bodies and hampered Indias attempts to secure
Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) with other countries to enable easier temporary movement of
skilled workers and professionals across borders.

The independent regulators will maintain distance from the professional bodies similar to the situation in
developed countries.

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5. ELECTIONS IN INDIA
5.1. SIMULTANEOUS ELECTIONS
Why in news?
Prime Minister has emphasized on the idea of holding Simultaneous elections for the LokSabha and State
assemblies.
Examples from the World

Need

Governance
Allows governments to devote four years for governance.
If elections are frequent winning elections becomes the
first priority of all politicians during elections.
As a result, running an administration and attending to
peoples grievances take a back-seat for politicians and the
bureaucracy rules the roost.
Legislative working
Results in logjam in assemblies/ LokSabha as every party
wants to be in the spotlight.
Vicious circle of continuous elections affects stability. If
local elections are included there is always an election
taking place in our country.
Economy
Reduce the huge economic burden of frequent elections.
Pace of economic development is hampered as Model
code of conduct is in operation wherein new welfare
schemes and measures are usually not announced.

Challenges

Law commission had recommended an


amendment of the rule of no-confidence
motion (Rule 198 of Rules and Conduct of
Business of the LokSabha), on the lines of
the German Constitution:

In this system the opposition party


leader moves both the no-confidence
motion and a confidence motion, and
he would become the new leader if the
both the motions are passed.
In this way premature dissolution would
be avoided without diluting the cardinal
principle of democracy. It will also be
consistent with the notion of collective
responsibility of the government to the
House as mentioned in Article 75 (3) of
the Constitution.
Simultaneous elections are also held
successfully in South Africa and
Sweden.

Recommendations of Parliamentary Panel

It is almost impossible to achieve in practice as Assemblies


Elections of legislative assemblies whose
might get dissolved at an untimely manner due to political
term ends six months before/after the
realities. Earlier dissolution, which breaches the principle of
general elections to LokSabha should be
simultaneous elections, is brought about by several methods
clubbed together.
like
Elections should be held in two phases.
The PM or CM advises the president or the governor, as
In 1st phase, elections to almost half of
legislative assemblies should be held
the case may be, to prematurely dissolve the LokSabha or
during the midterm of LokSabha and
state assembly and force snap elections to gain electoral
remaining elections should be held with
advantage.
the end of term of LokSabha.
By passing the no-confidence motion against a

To hold early elections to state legislative


government or defeating the governments confidence
assemblies
along
with
other
motion.
states/LokSabha, a motion for an early
Central government has misused its powers under Article
general election or a no confidence
356 by imposing the presidents rule in states ruled by
motion must be passed by the House.
opposition parties and dissolving assemblies resulting in
premature elections.
According to Article 85 and Article 174, elections to LokSabha and Legislative assemblies have to be held
within six months (respectively) of dissolving either of them. This is not feasible if elections are held only at
fixed durations. Also, if elections are not held within six months, it would be a travesty of democracy.
Founding fathers of the Constitution envisaged a federal polity of a sui-generis nature. So, multi-party
system with elections is the most fundamental manifestation of this will of the popular sovereign.
Frequent elections bring the politicians back to the voters and enhance the answerability and accountability
of politicians to the public.

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Will keep the politicians in touch with pulse of the public and the result of elections at various levels can
ensure the government the necessary course correction.
May mix up issues of local and national issues in the minds of the voters, This may give a boost to regional
and local issues, while national issues can take a set-back.
The issue of logistics and requirement of security personnel, election and administrative officials: there is a
dearth of enough officials to conduct simultaneous elections
Election Commission of India is a
throughout the country in one go.

Way Forward

Simultaneous elections to Panchayats, assembly and LokSabha


are desirable however they are not feasible. To make the election
process more transparent, cost effective, peaceful and quick we
should consider some easily implementable solutions such as:

permanent Constitutional Body. The


Election Commission was established in
accordance with the Constitution on 25th
January 1950. Originally the commission
had only a Chief Election Commissioner.
It currently consists of Chief Election
Commissioner
and
two
Election
Commissioners.

To cut the role of money power in elections, putting a cap on


political party expenditure and state-funding of political
parties.
Also ban on all private, especially corporate funds should be considered.
Reduce the duration of the election process by half by conducting the elections in one day.

5.2. ELECTION COMMISSION: DEMAND FOR MORE POWER


Why in news?

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has sought complete independence from government control in a
recent meeting with government.
At present only Chief Election Commissioner has security of tenure.
Also its budget is not a charged expenditure, but is voted by the Parliament.

Demands made by ECI


Constitutional Protection

It has demanded for constitutional protection for all three of its members as opposed to just one at present.
Its two Election Commissioners can be removed by the government on the recommendation of the Chief
Election Commissioner.

Independence and financial freedom

It also demanded a provision either in law or by some government resolution that the senior most EC should
be automatically elevated as CEC in order to instil a feeling of security in the minds of the ECs and that they
are insulated from executive interference in the same manner as CEC.
It has also sought absolute financial freedom from the Law Ministry. Like the CAG and UPSC, the ECI wants
its budget to be charged to the Consolidated Fund as opposed to the current practice of being voted and
approved by Parliament.
It has also proposed an independent secretariat for itself with which it will not have to depend on DoPT to
appoint its officers. If it is approved by the Law Ministry, the poll panel will be free to frame its own
recruitment rules and shortlist and appoint officers on its own. It can then also draw competent
professionals and experts from the job market.

More teeth to tackle new challenges

The Election Commission of India sought amendment to RPA to include specific powers to postpone or
countermand polls on the grounds of use of money power.
At present, there is no specific provision in the law to this effect and commission has to resort to
extraordinary powers under Article 324 of constitution which, it feels should be used sparingly.
Clause 58 A empowers the Election Commission to cancel polls only if there is an evidence of boothcapturing or use of muscle power. Thus, EC seeks a new clause 58 B in the Act for dealing with use of
money power in elections or amendment to this effect in the existing clause 58A.

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Fair election

The section 126 of RPA currently prohibits publication of ads by political parties in electronic media (TV,
radio) and recently added social media, 48 hours before voting ends. The ECI wants print media to be
included in Section 126 of the RP Act.
Disqualification of a candidate from contesting elections if a court has framed charges against him. Currently
a candidate is disqualified if convicted for crime bearing sentence more than 2 years.
ECI wants bribery during election season as cognizable offence.
ECI also supports making paid news an electoral offence punishable by two years of imprisonment.
VOTING PROCEDURE
ECI seeks to introduce totaliser machines for counting of votes.
Multiple cut-off dates for voter registration.

Way forward

The ECI is one of the watchdogs of Indian democracy mandated my constitution of India. It needs to have
autonomy and powers to perform its constitutional duty of conducting free and fair elections.
The proposed changes by ECI are forward looking and should be implemented as it would enhance the
credibility of election results and thus ECI itself.
Many of the proposed reforms are already recommended by various law commissions. Thus it supports for
argument to bring the changes necessary for making elections in India free and fair.

5.3. THE NEW DELHI DECLARATION


REGULATION IN SOUTH ASIA, 2015

ON

POLITICAL

FINANCE

Why in news?
The two-day Regional Conference on The Use of Money in Politics and Its Effects on Peoples Representation
recently culminated with the New Delhi Declaration 2015 on Political Finance Regulation in South Asia.
Salient points

The Conference was jointly organized by the Election Commission of India, International IDEA (an
intergovernmental body wherein India is one of the founding members) & India International Institute of
Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM).
The New Delhi Declaration on Political Finance Regulation in South Asia, 2015, is in response to the needs for
strengthening the regulation of political finance (uneven access or use of money) across the South Asian
region and elsewhere in the world which adequately ensures level playing among all political parties and
ultimately serves the welfare of public rather than special interests.
It contains nine overarching principles including adoption of a holistic approach to regulation,
comprehensive coverage, closing of monitoring gaps, coordinates efforts with stakeholders and agencies
along with facilitating participation of women in electoral democracy.
The overarching principles look at a holistic and integrated approach to regulation of political finance by
closing gaps and loopholes in the implementation of the existing procedures and regulations.
It also underscores the need to create uniformity for all political parties and candidates by creating an
improved architecture for monitoring of expenditures and contributions.
The declaration also has nine regulations and implementing guidelines on maintaining reasonable levels of
spending, regulation of private contributions, and provision of public funding for political parties, prevention
of abuse of state resources, public disclosure of political finance, the regulatory authority, compliance, and
enforcement among others.
These overarching principles and guidelines which are recommendation of the Declarations will be
disseminated to Election Management Bodies (EMBs) in South Asian region and elsewhere for appropriate
use as per local contexts in their jurisdictions.

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Need to regulate use of money in politics

The rising costs of running for office are keeping people from contesting elections in the region. The limits of
expenditure prescribed are meaningless and almost never adhered to. As a result, it becomes difficult for
the good and the honest to enter legislatures.
It also creates a high degree of compulsion for corruption in the political arena. Corruption erodes
performance, becomes one of the leading reasons for non-performance and compromised governance in
the country.
Women, who account for half of the population, are still under-represented as they lack financial
independence to be able to contest elections.

5.4. FREEBIES IN ELECTION


Why in news?

In recent times, various parties are promising freebies in their election manifesto like free laptops, education
loan waiver, free water supplies etc.
The pattern is emerging more in southern states and is increasing day by day and election by election.
It led Supreme Court to intervene in 2013 and ask the Election Commission to frame guidelines regarding
what political parties can promise in their manifestos.

Election commission has added Section 8 in Model Code of Conduct (MCC) which says:

Election manifesto should not contain anything against ideals of constitution and should be consistent with
the spirit of the Model code of conduct.
In the interest of transparency, level-playing field and credibility of promises, it is expected that manifestos
also reflect the rationale indicate the ways and means to meet the financial requirements.
Trust of voters should be sought only on those promises which are possible to be fulfilled.

Problems with this arrangement

MCC is not enforceable by law.


There is no enactment that directly governs the contents of the manifesto.
Section 123 of RPA makes bribery an offence but giving free things to everybody without any condition of
voting to a particular party, cannot be construed as bribery

Impact of such freebies on democracy

It may influence and allure voters in the favour of their party.


Supreme Court said Freebies shake the root of free and fair elections to a large degree as it affects the level
playing field.
But one view is that
Voters cannot be fooled and influenced easily through these freebies - once voter understands the fiscal
implications, they are less likely to support them.
Secrecy of ballot ensures that goodies does not impact decision making of voters. In fact, giving freebies
is a dilemma for political parties as they can rarely figure out whom they voted for.
some experiments have also shown no relation with likeliness to votes for a party and its promise of
giving freebies
On economy
It puts heavy burden on public exchequer when party comes into power and limits the fiscal space.
The debt burden of states is increasing manifold and certain states have huge revenue deficit.
It diverts resources from essential services and development programmes.
On peoples welfare
Certain things announced like bicycles for school girls reduces dropout rates and giving laptops increases
opportunities for students
These freebies are actually delivered with much less corruption at ground levels which is rampantly seen
in the government welfare schemes

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But it shifts the social welfare of government to giving freebies and affects the attention required for
basic amenities like education, health, sanitation etc.
On governance
It streamlines decision making which leads to better service delivery in certain cases.
But goes against democratic nature of our polity
Way forward
o If party promises something then there should be a plan of action and clear indication of source of funds.
o Legislation can be brought with respect to rules governing election manifestos.

5.5. MODEL CODE OF CONDUCT: PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE REVIEW


Why in news?

The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for polls is under review by a Parliamentary Committee.

About the Review

Parliamentary Standing Committee will also suggest ways to check distribution of cash and freebies during
the elections after an in depth study and interactions with stakeholders.
The move comes after it took cognizance of the cancellation of polls in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur
constituencies in Tamil Nadu recently following evidence of use of money and gifts to influence the voters.
The central government appoints observers for a poll bound state to check such activities. But at times
things can be beyond their control for the fact that they are outsiders and may not know the local ways of
distribution of cash, freebies and other irregularities.
Panel had last year tabled its report in both Houses of Parliament which favoured holding simultaneous
elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
The Panel had, in an earlier report submitted three years ago, recommended reducing the time between
enforcement of the model code and the day of polling which is yet to be implemented by Government.

What is MCC?

It is a set of guidelines laid down by the Election Commission to govern the conduct of political parties and
candidates in the run-up to an election.
It is intended to provide a level playing field for all political parties, to keep the campaign fair and healthy,
avoid clashes and conflicts between parties, and ensure peace and order.
Its main aim is to ensure that the ruling party, either at the Centre or in the states, does not misuse its
official position to gain an unfair advantage in an election.
The Model Code of Conduct comes into force the moment an election is announced and remains in force till
the results are declared.
It applies to all political parties, their candidates and polling agents, the government in power, and all
government employees.

5.6. TOTALISER MACHINES


Why in news?

Supreme Court has recently directed the government to take a final decision on introducing totaliser
machines for mixing votes from various booths before counting.
The present system gives the information regarding booth-wise voting pattern. The 'totaliser' machine
would mix the voted from different booths before counting and would thus give an overall result, and not a
booth-wise one.

Need for totalizer machines

In the current system votes from each Electronic voting machine are counted separately and hence reveal
the voting trends in each polling station.
This leaves the voters in that vicinity open to harassment, intimidation and post-election victimisation.

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According to the poll watchdog, the identification of area-wise voting trends could encourage candidates
and political parties to be vindictive with voters of those areas who did not vote for them.

Issues with totalizer machines

When votes are counted at the booth level, the parties and candidates get a fair sense of who voted for
them or not, which helps them in planning strategy at the booth level for the next electoral battle. It thus is
an important tool for promoting grassroot democracy.
The ruling BharatiyaJanata Party (BJP), has expressed reservations against the totaliser machine citing the
fact that booth-wise performance is important for parties to devise booth-management strategies.

Analysis

The mixing of votes of different polling booths, per se, should not hamper political parties from devising
booth-level mobilisation strategies. Parties and candidates contesting elections anyway have a fair sense of
the social composition of voters of specific booths because of information collected by local party workers.
Poll surveys also give a good sense of which party a particular community is leaning towards ahead of an
election.
All this information is sufficient to help parties and candidates devise booth-level political management
strategies even without booth-level results.

5.7. ELECTORAL TRUST


What is Electoral Trust?

Electoral Trust is a company or a non-profit company created in India under Section 8 of the Companies Act
for orderly receipt of the voluntary contributions from any person and for distributing the same to the
respective political parties, registered under Section 29A of the Representation of People Act, 1951.
Examples of Corporate Trusts: Bharatiya Socialist Republican Electoral Trust, Bajaj Electoral Trust and
Jankalyan Electoral Trust, Progressive Electoral Trust (Tata), Peoples Electoral Trust( Reliance Industries),
Janhit Electoral Trust, Satya Electoral Trust
Corporates are entitled for tax benefits with regard to electoral trusts subject to certain conditions.
The benefits can be availed only if the trusts distribute 95% of the total contributions received in a particular
fiscal to registered political parties in that same year itself.
These entities are barred from receiving donations in cash. Foreign citizens are not allowed to contribute
money to the trusts.

Objective

The objective of the Electoral Trust is not to earn any profit or pass any direct or indirect benefit to its
members or contributors.
The sole objective is to distribute the contributions received by it to the political party concerned.
This is a mechanism for bringing transparency and sanity in the political party funding.

Why do corporates and politicians prefer electoral trusts?

It spares them the embarrassment of baring their political leanings (maintaining anonymity).
It also spares them the resultant pain of retribution by the political party not benefiting from the companys
munificence.
Even Political parties lack anonymity.

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5.8. AMENDMENT TO THE DELIMINATION ACT, 2002 AND THE


REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT, 1950
Why in News?

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to amend section 11 of the Delimitation Act, 2002 and section 9 of
the Representation of the People Act, 1950.
It will enable Election Commission to carry out limited delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary
Constituencies in the Cooch Behar District of West Bengal consequent upon the exchange of 51 Bangladeshi
enclaves and 111 Indian enclaves respectively between India and Bangladesh.
This is in pursuance of the Constitution (One Hundredth Amendment) Act, 2015 and also allows for introduction
of a Bill, namely, the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
Delimitation Act and Delimitation Commission

Under Article 82 of the Constitution, the Parliament by law enacts a Delimitation Act after every census.
After coming into force commencement of the Act, the Central Government constitutes a Delimitation
Commission.
This Delimitation Commission demarcates the boundaries of the Parliamentary Constituencies as per
provisions of the Delimitation Act.
The present delimitation of constituencies has been done on the basis of 2001 census figures under the
provisions of Delimitation Act, 2002.

5.9. NATIONAL ELECTORAL ROLL PURIFICATION 2016 (NERP 2016)

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has launched the


The NERP-2016 strives to improve the fidelity of the
National Electoral Roll Purification (NERP) programme
rolls through effective use of technology and SVEEP
across the country to correct errors in electoral rolls and
(Systematic Voters' Education and Electoral
enrolment of all eligible citizens, among other things.
Participation) strategies.
It will ensure single electoral register entry for every
eligible elector with unique Elector Photo Identity Card Information Technology is being extensively
used in information collection, processing,
(EPIC) number, removal of all absent, shifted or dead
sharing and efficient decision making.
electors entries and repeat entries.
Comprehensive training for Booth Level Officer
Geographic Information System (GIS) would be used to
has been done on NERP and the orientation of
standardise sections, polling station boundaries and
the members of Booth Awareness Groups
locations.
(BAGs) will be done to conduct an effective
The Commission has launched the intensive field
SVEEP campaign.
implementation phase of NERP 2016 which would
culminate well before the next draft publication of
Electoral Rolls for annual summary revision with January 1, 2017 as qualifying date.
Provision has been made to provide the information electronically on National Voters Service Portal (NVSP).

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6. JUDICIARY
6.1. ISSUES IN JUDICIARY
Why in News?

The Ninth meeting of the advisory council of the national mission for justice delivery and legal reforms was
held in February 2016.

ISSUES

Appointment:
The country has a judicial strength of a mere 18,000, as against the requirement of about 50,000 judges.
At present, 434 vacancies of High Court judges remained unfilled.
The subordinate judiciary has 4580 vacancies across the country.
Administrative Inefficiency:
Inadequacy of staff attached to High Courts.
There are 60,260 cases pending before the Supreme Court.
All High Courts in India, as a whole, have an incredible 38.68 lakhs of cases awaiting disposal.
The backlog of all courts including the lower courts is estimated to be around 3 crores.
Financial Autonomy and Transparency:
Planning and budgetary exercises being undertaken without consulting the judiciary.
Despite the decision of the Central Information Commission (CIC), Judiciary has kept itself out of preview
of RTI.
The present collegium system lacks transparency,
National Mission for Justice Delivery and
accountability and objectivity. The trust deficit has
Legal Reforms
affected the credibility of the collegium system.

Steps Taken so far

The enactment of the Commercial Courts, Commercial


Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act,
2015.
Amendments to Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and the
Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.
To improve the quality of Legal Education in India, setting up
of Lawyers Academy in Kochi is a step in right direction.

Suggestions for Reforms

The National Mission for Justice Delivery


and legal Reforms was set up in June,
2011 to achieve the twin goals of
increasing access by reducing delays and
arrears; and enhancing accountability
through structural changes and by
setting performance standards and
capacities.
The Mission has become fully functional
from 2012-13 and is pursuing strategic
initiatives:
outlining policy and legislative
changes;
re-engineering of procedures and
court processes;
focussing on Human Resource
Development;
Leveraging
Information
and
Communication Technology & tools
for better justice delivery.
The Mission will adopt a coordinated
approach for phased liquidation of
arrears and pendency in judicial
administration.

Continuous improvement in our legal and judicial framework


so that timely and cost effective justice is made available at
the door steps to our people.
The infrastructure in the courts needs improvement - there
will not be enough court halls, chambers, or staff, if all the
vacancies are filled.
Setting up of Fast Track Courts, Additional Courts and Family
Courts.

Increasing the ICT capabilities of the courts.


Setting up of Alternative dispute resolution centers such as
Lok Adalats should be encouraged.
Uniform methodology to collect judicial data and streamlining
of court processes.
To ensure judicial accountability and bring transparency in functioning of judiciary legislation should be
brought in Parliament.
To boost the confidence of the people in judiciary, judiciary should reveal information like the number of
pending or reserved judgments by brining itself under ambit of RTI.

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Government should work to remove old and dysfunctional elements in legislation by amending Indian penal
code, civil procedures code and Indian evidence Act.
There needs to be appointment of ad hoc or additional judges to clear pending cases The collegium is
generally reluctant to appoint retiring judges as ad hoc judges.
Provide a uniform retirement age for judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts, so that the present
practice of some judges seeking to be in the good books of the members of collegiums is avoided.
A minimum tenure should be provided to the Chief Justice of India and the Chief Justice of High Courts.
Court management should not be vested with Judicial Officers but assigned to trained managers.
To prevent corruption, cool off period should be introduced for judges before taking up any new
government assignment.
There must be full and complete disclosure of relationships and affiliations of applicants to sitting and
retired judges.

6.2. APPOINTMENT OF JUDGES

The government had established National Judicial


Appointment Commission by way of 99th Constitutional
Amendment.
It was envisaged as an independent commission to appoint
and transfer judges of High Court and appoint judges of
Supreme Court of India.
It was composed of three senior judges, two eminent
outsiders and the Law Minister.
The constitutional amendment was passed by Parliament and
was ratified by 20 states.
However, before it was notified, it was challenged in Supreme
Court as an attempt by government to interfere with the
independence of the judiciary.
The motive behind creation of NJAC was to bring reforms in
appointment process of Indian higher judiciary

Supreme Court's verdict

Evolution of Collegium System

First Judges Case, 1981: The Supreme


Court ruled that the recommendation
made by the CJI to the President can be
refused for cogent reasons, thereby
giving greater say to executive.
Second Judges Case, 1993: It is also
known as Supreme Court Advocates-on
Record Association vs Union of India.
It led to the creation of the collegium
system. The Supreme Court said that the
Chief Justice of India should be given the
primal role in appointments.
Third Judges Case, 1998: The President
K. R. Narayanan issued a Presidential
Reference to the Supreme Court over
the meaning of the term consultation
under article 124 and 217 of Indian
Constitution. In response, the Supreme
Court laid down guidelines for the
functioning collegium system.

The Court by a 4-1 majority, struck down the 99th


Amendment.
It concluded that NJAC did not provide an adequate
representation, to the judicial component.
The new provision in Constitution are insufficient to preserve
the primacy of the judiciary in the matter of selection and Primacy of the judiciary is required as
Government is major litigant: Since the
appointment of Judges
government is a major litigant, giving it an
It further held that Article 124A (1) is ultra vires the
edge in appointments would amount to
provisions of the Constitution, because of the inclusion of the
fixing the courts.
Union Minister in charge of Law and Justice as an ex officio
Independence of Judiciary: It has been
Member of the NJAC.
regarded as basic structure of constitution
It was held that the amendment impinged upon the principles
and NJAC was termed as violating the
of independence of the judiciary, as well as, the
independence of judiciary
separation of powers.
To enable Separation of Powers between
executive and judiciary as directed by
The clause which provided for the inclusion of two eminent
Constitution of India.
persons as Members of the NJAC was held ultra vires the
provisions of the Constitution, for a variety of reasons.
The Supreme Court has proposed the hearing in month of November on ways to improve the functioning of
the collegium system.

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After quashing the proposed National Judicial Appointments


Commission, Supreme Courts Constitution Bench had asked
the Centre to consult the CJI for drafting the new
memorandum for appointments of judges to the higher
judiciary.
Acting on the above a Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by
External Affairs Minister had finalized the new Memorandum
of Procedure (MoP) for appointment of Judges.

Key highlights of MoP

Appointment of Judges in India


The President on recommendation of
Collegium appoints the judges of Supreme
Court and High Court. The constitutional
provisions related to their appointment are:
Article 124 says the President should
appoint Supreme Court judges after
consultation with such judges of High
Courts and the Supreme Court as he/she
may deem necessary. The Chief Justice
of India is to be consulted in all
appointments barring his/her own.
Article 217, which deals with the
appointment of High Court judges, says
the President should consult the CJI,
Governor, and Chief Justice of the High
Court concerned. Neither of them
speaks about collegium system.

For the first time, it has been asked to include merit and
integrity as prime criteria for appointment of judges to
the higher judiciary.
Evaluation of judgments delivered by a high court judge
during the last five years and initiatives undertaken for
improvement of judicial administration should be a yardstick
of merit for promotion as chief justice of a high court.
It seeks to introduce performance appraisal as a standard
for appointing chief justices of high courts and Supreme
Court judges.
It proposes that for appointment of judges in the Supreme Court, the
prime criteria should be seniority as chief justice/ judge of the
high court.
The MoP states that up to three judges in the Supreme Court need to
be appointed from among the eminent members of the Bar and
distinguished jurists with proven track record in their respective fields.
A permanent secretariat to be set up in the Supreme Court for
maintaining records of high court judges, scheduling meetings of the
Collegium, receiving recommendations as well as complaints in matters related to appointments.
The Union Law Minister should seek the recommendation of the incumbent CJI for appointment of his
successor at least one month prior to his retirement.

A notice for vacancies of judges should be put up on the website of the high courts at the beginning of the year
for appointments.

6.3. INDEPENDENCE OF JUDICIARY


What is Independence of Judiciary?

The other organs of the government like the executive and legislature must not restrain the functioning of
the judiciary in such a way that it is unable to do justice.
It is about freedom from all pressures in the exercise of the adjudicative function.

Why it is important to be ensured?

It is central to democracy because it is the judiciary which helps the realisation of the rule of law and
protection of human rights.
It is the independence of the judiciary that leads to confidence in the mind of public that it will come to their
aid and rescue if any wrong is committed by executive.

Why personal independence of judges is important?

To ensure judicial independence, personal independence of the judges is as important as the institutional
independence.
Impartiality, integrity, propriety, equality, competence etc. are pillars on which personal independence is
dependent. Thus by ensuring these qualities judicial independence can be ensured.

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Challenges to Judicial Independence

No clarity on the eligibility criteria for appointment of judges -Even though the pool of eligible candidates for
judicial selection is partly determined by the constitution but it does not speak about standards of integrity,
propriety, competence, independence etc. as qualifications essential for judicial selection.
Qualifications essential for judicial selection are taken for granted and left to the selectors to assess them by
whatever means available to them.
Collegiums judges are unable to justify the wrong appointments made in the past.
Growing anxieties about vacancies touching 40 percent in the High Courts.
Opaque collegium system with almost no transparency
There is no complaint redressal mechanism in the existing appointment mechanism.
Corruption in judiciary
Massive burden of pending cases

Some Suggestions to establish an efficient procedure for the appointment of judges

There should be verifiable method to create a pool of eligible persons for judicial appointments.
A transparent procedure should be established to prescribe the norms and standards expected of
candidates seeking to be appointed as judges and invite applications from them.
Nominations can be made by retired judges, senior advocates, bar council or bar associations, etc., after
testifying the essential qualifications required.
On receipt of the applications, a system of short-listing based on competitive merit can be performed.
Names of all the candidates short-listed can be posted on the website of the court for a reasonable period to
elicit objections.
There can be a technical committee of retired judges to shortlist the applications and to respond to
objections/grievance in the initial stage of the selection. And this part of the procedure should be open to
Right to Information Act.
Then the collegium can interview the short listed candidates to prepare the final list.
Psychological tests should be part of the selection process to measure the extent of integrity, independence,
sense of equality and other values essential for adjudicative independence.
Need of a permanent secretariat - As the process is long, time-consuming and technical, so the judges who
are too busy with the cases cannot devote much time for the screening of candidates. There should be a
permanent secretariat to undertake it. A secretariat would bolster efforts towards an open-ended
selection process.
Need to streamline and digitize procedures to expedite process.
A databank of all judges and aspirants to judicial posts can be prepared by the collegium secretariat to
handle the transfers and promotions under the guidance of the Chief Justice and collegium of judges.
The membership of the collegium in each High Court and Supreme Court should be enlarged. Such enlarged
body can be inclusive of women, minorities, Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes to promote the
constitutional goal of social justice in judicial appointment.
Institutionalized education and training can be provided to advocates to become competent judges.
The proposed institutional mechanism should also convey its views on the conduct of judges.
There should be a mechanism to receive and deal with complaints against judges without compromising on
judicial independence.

The principle of the judicial independence is the one of the core values of the justice system. Administration of
the justice should be inspired by such principles and there is an urgent need for efforts to translate such
principles into reality.

6.4. JUDICIARY UNDER RTI


Why in news?
A constitution bench will examine whether the Supreme Court comes within the ambit of Right to Information
Act, making it obligatory for the Chief Justice of India to make information pertaining to appointment of judges
and his correspondence with the government public under the transparency law
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Courts reluctance to come under RTI

Even though the courts general pronouncements on the right to information have been very liberal
(declaration of assets, bringing political parties under RTI etc), its practices have often not been in
conformity with the declared right.
Though the Act clearly applies to courts which are obviously included in the definition of Public Authorities,
most High Courts did not even appoint Public Information Officers (PIOs) even months after the Act came
into force. Some have still not appointed them, thus effectively denying the right to information to the
people about the courts. Moreover, many of even those which appointed PIOs have framed their own rules
which effectively deny information.
Many High Courts such as Allahabad and Delhi ask for an application fee of Rs 500 as opposed to Rs 10 in
other public authorities. Many have framed rules which prohibit the disclosure of information on
administrative and financial matters.
The Supreme Court has recommended to the government that so far as the Supreme Court is concerned, the
decision of the Registrar General of the Court should be final and not subject to any independent appeal to
the Central Information Commission.
The argument given is for protection of independence of judiciary. SC has recommended that the Chief
Justice should have the unfettered right to interdict the disclosure of any information including the
disclosure of income and assets by judges or the formation of any independent disciplinary authority over
judges, which in his opinion, might compromise the independence of the Judiciary.
Almost all the high courts have strongly opposed the contention that collegium minutes can be disclosed
under the RTI Act.

Argument for opposition of RTI

Collegium discussions can be freewheeling and include the examination of fairly invasive government
intelligence reports and the expression of judges personal opinions.
For judges, their credibility and reputation is hugely important, and many feel that the slightest potential
slight on this could be debilitating and prevent judges from doing their job.

Arguments in favour of bringing judiciary under RTI

In a democracy all institutions, including the judiciary, must be transparent and accountable. Transparency in
judicial functioning and accountability for judicial actions and inactions inspire public faith and confidence in
the institution.
The lack of stringent in house accountability and transparency mechanisms has allowed the judiciary to keep
itself free from regular public scrutiny. The Right to Information Act is a step forward towards opening a
closed and secretive judicial system.
The Chief Justice of India, as the high priest of the legal system, must uphold the RTI Act and realise that no
institution can be considered credible and inspire public confidence unless it is open and transparent. The
judiciary can only occupy the high moral ground it often claims, by setting an example, and leading from the
frontlines of transparency; not by hiding behind the veil of secrecy.

Conclusion
Mechanism must be derived such that transparency and independence of judiciary, both are maintained.

6.5. JUDICIAL STANDARDS AND ACCOUNTABILITY


Why in news?

Earlier this year, a sitting judge of Madras High Court Justice CS Karnan remained at controversy for his
behaviour.
He had earlier laid allegations of caste biases against his fellow judges and also in the process of
appointment of judges.
Thereafter a complaint against him was filed by 21 judges of Madras High Court consequent to which the SC
collegium had recommended his transfer to the Calcutta HC.
However, Justice Karnan took up his own transfer case and stayed the recommendation of the SC

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Issue

The behaviour of Justice Karnan has exposed the helplessness of the judicial system in dealing with its own
over-the-top functioning.
He was earlier reprimanded by the SC for his conduct 2 years ago. Yet, he was allowed to continue with his
ways, each subsequent episode marking a new low.
Impeachment is one option in such cases. But if a judge facing impeachment chooses to brazen it out rather
than resign, it goes before Parliament where political considerations come into play. Short of impeachment,
very few effective measures seem to be available.
The only option available is transfer of the judge. But rather than solving the problem it just shifts it to
another High Court

Removal of judges: a background

Under A.124(4) of the Constitution a Judge of SC can be removed only by the President on ground of proved
misbehaviour or incapacity only after a motion to this effect is passed by both the Houses of Parliament by
special majority.
Constitution requires that misbehaviour or incapacity shall be proved by an impartial Tribunal whose
composition is decided under Judges Enquiry Act 1968.
A. 217B provides for removal of HC Judge.
The Act has only been invoked three times since 1950. Still then no judge could be successfully impeached
till date.

Issues with the impeachment process

Only Parliament can take cognizance of a case of a tainted judge. No space is given to a common man.
The law does not define what misbehaviour is and hence ultimately fails to recognize the wide range of
misbehaviour.
The process is very long
It also involves political considerations. For example, the Congress abstained from voting on the resolution
when the motion for removal of Justice V. Ramaswami was moved in 1993 resulting in failure of the process.
The Judge under investigation is not prohibited from discharging his duties in court of law.

Way forward: Judicial standards and accountability bill 2012

The previous government had brought the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill 2012.
The Bill sought to establish a set of legally enforceable standards to uphold the dignity of superior judiciary
along with a new architecture to process the public complaints leveled against the judges.
Main features of the Bill
Presently the judicial standards are governed by an informal code called Restatement of values of
judicial life. The Bill would give it legal backing including provisions like:
It would include Mandatory declaration of assets by the judges
Non-sharing of residence with members of Bar
A judge must not develop relationships with the members of the Bar.
Setting up an National Judicial Oversight Committee (NJOS) and a Complaints Scrutiny Panel (CSP) to
decide upon the complaints.
There is provision for an advisory or warning to the concerned judge in case of minor misconduct. But
with regard to gross misbehaviour removal could be suggested to the Parliament.
Current status
The Bill could not be passed because of difference of opinion on issues like composition of NJOS,
confidentiality of complaints, provisions for appeal etc. It, thus, lapsed
The present government is pondering over bringing the Bill again with some changes.
In light of the need to maintain the rule of law and independence of judiciary it is imperative that such a law
is soon brought to life.

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6.6. PENDENCY OF CASES IN COURTS IN INDIA


Why in news?

The long pendency of cases and shortage of judges are frequently


discussed crises of the Indian judiciary.
A first-of-its kind study has now estimated their precise magnitude
and identified, through the analyses of publicly available data, from
cause lists, websites of courts, and the e-courts websites.

The State of the Indian Judiciary


report by DAKSH is based on data
collected from 21 high courts and 475
subordinate courts in the country.
The database created for the report
included 3,514,486 cases from the
high courts and subordinate courts.

Pendency

Among the High Courts, pendency in Allahabad is the longest and Sikkim has the shortest pendency of
cases.
As adequate data was not available for all high courts, the report found that in Bombay, Gujarat, Kerala and
Orissa high courts, over 86 per cent of cases had taken 10-15 years to be disposed of.
The major cause of delay, the report claims, is that in the 21 surveyed high courts, judges hear between 20
and 150 cases a day, averaging 70 hearings per day for a judge.

Workload

Judges in high courts hear between 20 and 150


cases every day, or an average of 70 hearings daily.
The average time that the judges have for each
hearing, derived from the number of cases they
hear and the daily working hours that they put in,
could be as little as 2 minutes.
Calcutta HC has the most frequent hearings, Delhi
has the least.
The frequency of hearings is closely linked with
efficiency, and has an impact on the concept of fair
hearings.

Analysis of survey

According to the survey, inadequate data on


pending cases and lack of scientific maintenance
of data makes it difficult to analyse problems
and propose sustainable solutions for the
judiciary.
Discrepancies in the data available with
National
Court
Management
Systems
Committee, the Court News published by
Supreme Court, the National Judicial Data Grid
and various court websites and states that
there is no unanimity on the number of
judges in the country.
Delays in disposal of cases due to inefficient
case management and vacancies on the
bench are two major problems before the
Judiciary.
The report points that 31 per cent of
individuals accused of bailable offences
claimed that they continue to be in jail as they
cannot afford bail or guarantors to stand surety.
It also shows that less than 3 per cent of litigants used legal aid, despite being eligible to take the benefit of
government-appointed lawyers.

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Way forward

The need of the hour is to take the report on judiciary in serious consideration. The report can be used to
resolve major impediments in the judicial systems.
The report pinpoints the problem areas specifically which can be rectified. For example high criminal cases in
Jharkhand HC than civil cases. The pending cases can be disposed of by incorporation of special benches.
The issue of the appointments in higher judiciary should be resolved soon. The judiciary and executive must
reach a common ground and prepare a workable memorandum of procedure.

6.7. COMMERCIAL COURTS


Why in news?

Recently the commercial courts have started functioning under the jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court,
Bombay High Court, Himachal Pradesh High Court and the Gujarat High Court.
The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Bill became a
law early this year.

Key features of the Act

The term Commercial Dispute has been very broadly defined in the Act to encompass almost every kind of
transaction that gives rise to a commercial relationship.
The Act provides for the constitution of Commercial Courts in every district in all states and union
territories where the High Court of that state or union territory does not have/exercise ordinary original civil
jurisdiction and Commercial Divisions within High Courts exercising ordinary original civil jurisdiction.
The Act provides for the adjudication of Commercial Disputes of more than INR 1,00,00,000 (defined as
Specified Value in the Act), by the Commercial Courts/Divisions. Further, it also prescribes the manner in
which the Specified Value of a Commercial Dispute is to be determined.
All suits and/or applications relating to a Commercial Dispute of a Specified Value pending before any civil
court are required to be transferred to constituted Commercial Courts/Divisions for fast and speedy disposal
of cases.
Jurisdiction over arbitrations: In line with the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015, all
matters pertaining to international commercial arbitrations have been brought within the purview of the
High Court,
Applications and appeals arising out of domestic arbitrations involving purely local Indian parties, which
would ordinarily lie before any principal civil court of original jurisdiction (not being a High Court), will now
lie before a Commercial Court (where constituted) exercising territorial jurisdiction over such arbitration.
The provisions of the CPC, to the extent of its application to any suit in respect of a Commercial Dispute have
been amended by the Act to streamline the conduct of Commercial Disputes.
The Act has also introduced strict timelines to ensure prompt resolution of disputes including but not limited
to all appeals to the Commercial Appellate Division must be filed within 60 days from the impugned
judgement and the Commercial Appellate Division must endeavour to dispose of the case within a period of
6 months
The Act requires appointment of persons having such experience to be judges of the Commercial
Courts/Divisions.
The Act sets an outer limit of 120 days for filing defense beyond which the right to file the defense is
forfeited and the Court would be bound to not take such a delayed submission on record.
Significance: It will not only change the speed at which Commercial Disputes will attain finality, but also
improve the perception of investors about India as an investment destination.

Issues

Vagueness
The definition of Commercial Disputes is very vague and wide. The list is not exhaustive and hence it
can give rise to a number of litigations.
It is extremely difficult to ascertain the value of an intellectual property right and this can give rise to a
number of litigations.

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Exclusion
Breach of confidentiality disputes has not been included in the definition of Commercial Disputes
which are really common in this era of competition.
The qualification that the immovable property must be used exclusively in trade or commerce could raise
debates as to whether the property must have been in use for trade or commerce before an agreement is
entered into or whether it would also cover agreements entered into for the purpose of using immovable
property for the first time for commercial purposes.
Having the same pecuniary value limit for all High Courts does not take into account the variable factor in
such dispute cases
Conflict with regular courts
Keeping in mind the Acts objective to reduce pendency, one must recognize the need for appointment
of more judges.
There is overlapping jurisdiction of the Commercial Divisions proposed for in the five High Courts
exercising original jurisdiction.
The transfer of pending cases in civil courts to these Commercial Court/Divisions may lead to practical
and logistical difficulties.
The Act also does not provide for a statutory right to appeal to the Supreme Court from an order of the
Commercial Appellate Division.
The Act does not provide for any new or technologically advanced method of conducting the court
procedures. For example the suggestions of e-filing, video conferencing of witness and use of latest
technology will go a long way in making these courts at par with the systems being followed in some
countries.

6.8. NATIONAL COURT OF APPEAL (NCA)


Why in news?
The idea of NCA has been mooted several times before but the SC has rejected its feasibility. Recently in the
PIL filed by Chennai-based litigant V. Vasanthakumar the SC had shown its openness to the idea for the first
time.
What is it?
The National Court Appeal with regional benches in Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata is meant to act as final
court of justice in dealing with appeals from the decisions of the High Courts and tribunals within their
region in civil, criminal, labour and revenue matters.
In such a scenario, a much-relieved Supreme Court of India situated in Delhi would only hear matters of
constitutional law and public law.
Need
The SC is overburdened with work much of which comprises appeals from lower courts. Due to this, it is not
able to fulfill its primary duty of deciding upon constitutional matters and acting as the interpreter of the
constitution. For instance,
The number of decisions by Constitutional benches has drastically come down; from about 15% of total
decided cases in 1950s to a worryingly paltry 0.12% in last decade.
A. 145(3) mandates that minimum 5-judge bench should sit to decide a matter involving substantial
question of constitutional law. Clearly this mandate is not being followed. E.g. the Naz Foundation case
involving the question of decriminalization of homosexuality, Shreya Singhal case dealing with the
illegality of s.66A IT Act were all decided by 2-judge benches.
The accessibility to SC due to its seat in Delhi is less especially to the poor and those living in far-off places
like north-east. Studies show that most number of appeals come from Delhi HC.
Limitations
This would fundamentally the character of Supreme Court, its constitution and also its aura as the Apex
court. It would require amending Article 130 which might not stand the test of basic structure.
The NCA is silent on the issue of indiscriminate use of SLPs (special leave petitions). SLPs obviously have a
role to play- settling questions of law with broader public purpose- but this power has been used too
frequently.
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Suggestions
Experts say that the focus should be more on improving the functioning of lower judiciary.
Improving the appellate structure in HCs;
All High Courts must entertain writs, including in the burgeoning service matters, only before Single
Benches in the first instance and then to a Division Bench in the form of a Letter Patents Appeal so as to
provide at least a two-tier accessible hierarchy of approach.
The appeals from Tribunals should follow the same route.
Need to improve the judicial decision making at subordinate level- better judges etc.
Conclusion

NCA is a drastic measure, a last resort with lot of practical problems- hard to become reality. Till then other
measures need to be taken to address the issue- like reducing appellate burden (rationalization of SLP,
subordinate judiciary reforms, improving judicial strength, quality, infra etc).
For proximity issue benches of SC like that of HC can be set up in 4 important cities.

6.9. CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM


Why in news?

Indian Criminal Justice system is one of the most complicated, abused and lethargic systems in the world.
The conviction rate is abysmally low, the pendency runs in decades and there is a general favourably for rich
and powerful.
The demands for reforms has been a long pending one.

Components of CJS
Broadly, the criminal justice systems have the following three components:

Law Enforcement: Law enforcement agency takes report for crimes. It is also responsible for investigate
crimes and gather evidence. It includes police forces in India.

Adjudication: This pertains to judicial processes and can be further divided into:
Prosecution: Prosecutors are lawyers who represent the state throughout the court process-from the
first appearance of the accused in court until the accused is acquitted or sentenced. Prosecutors review
the evidence brought to them by law enforcement to decide whether to file charges or drop the case
and present them in the court.
Defense Lawyers: They defend the accused against the government's case. They are ether hired by the
defendant or (for defendants who cannot afford an attorney) they are assigned by the court.
Courts: Courts are run by judges, whose role is to make sure the law is followed and oversee what
happens in court.

Corrections and Prisons: They supervise convicted offenders when they are in jail, in prison, or in the
community on probation or parole.

Challenges of Current Criminal Justice System in India

Because of delay and uncertainties involved, it does not deter criminals.


Punishments for those convicted are ineffective.
Wide discretion to police and prosecution makes system vulnerable to corruption and manipulation.
Ignores the real victim, leading them to resort to extralegal method seeking justice.
Heavy economic burden on the state without the returns.
System is overburdened with nearly 30 million criminal cases pending and with 10 million being added every
year.

Strategy for Reform

The Committee on the Reforms of Criminal Justice System in India (2003) suggests a three-fold strategy.

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First, procedural and substantive law needs a change based on changes in society and economy with the
guiding principles being decriminalization and diversion.
A suggestion under this could be dividing the penal code into four different codes: Social Offences Code,
Correctional Offences Code, Economic Offences Code and Indian Penal Code.
The Social Code includes matters of civil nature that can be settled without police intervention and
prison terms through administrative processes.
The Correctional Code includes offence punishable up to three years imprisonment where pleabargaining can be liberally invoked.
Economic Code includes property offences, which affect financial stability of the country dealt with
through combination of criminal and administrative strategies.
Indian Penal Code will include only major crimes warranting ten years imprisonment or more or death.
Second is the institutional reform of police processes. This includes investigation, professionalization,
rationalization of court systems through technology and limiting appeal procedures to the minimum.
Third is giving a bigger and more responsible role to the victim in the whole procedure.
It involves restoring the confidence of the victim in the system.
This would include conferring rights on the victim like, participating in proceedings, right to engage an
advocate, track progress of case, to assist court in pursuit of truth etc.
Right to seek compensation for injuries suffered irrespective of the fate of proceedings.
Following a restorative means which enjoys community support, victim satisfaction and offender
acknowledgement of obligations.

6.10. JUDICIAL OVERREACH AND JUDICIAL ACTIVISM


Why in news?

Recently, the Supreme Court cautioned judges against judicial overreach and said that judges must remain
within the limits of the law and not peddle individual perceptions and notions of justice.

What is the difference between judicial activism and judicial overreach?

Under our constitutional scheme, judiciary has to enforce the laws laid down by the legislature in accordance
with our constitution for which it has wide powers ranging, from issuing writs of certain nature to the
entertainment of petitions by special leave etc.
Further, new innovations like the concept of PIL in recent times, has led to an enormous expansion of
unaccountable judicial power in the nations politics.
Thus the exercise of judicial powers in a manner which leads to redefinition of power equations between
different organs of the state and the judiciary is called as judicial activism.
However, judicial activism doesnt necessary mean that judiciary is inclined to expand its powers. Its more
about the positive role played by the judiciary owing to the factors like a near collapse of responsible
government, a legislative vacuum due to coalition governments and public confidence in the judiciary.
Judicial Activism when overtly exercised results in usurping the powers of the Executive or the Legislature,
which are the other two important organs of governance and is called as Judicial overreach.
The power to legislate is squarely conferred on the Legislature by the Constitution. No such legislative power
is given to the Courts by the Constitution. Judicial Activism cannot be used for filling up the lacunae in
Legislation or for providing rights or creating liabilities not provided by the Legislation.

What did the Supreme Court say in its recent judgement?

The court said that judges should not peddle individual perceptions and notions of justice. A judges solemn
pledge has to remain embedded to Constitution and the laws.
The apex court said if a judge considered himself or herself a candle of hope and took decisions under the
influence of such a notion, it might do more harm than good to the society.
While using the power one has to bear in mind that discipline and restriction are the two basic golden
virtues within which a judge functions as per the Supreme Court.

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Way Forward

There is a very fine line between Judicial activism and overreach. It would be would be in the best interest of
our country if judges understand this and restrain themselves from crossing this line too often.
The judiciary cannot rule the nation by legislating as well as executing through its judgements. Its simply not
meant to do that. It can rightly be argued that a legitimate judicial intervention is the one which clearly falls
within the permissible scope of judicial review.
Purely political questions and policy matters not involving decision of a core legal issue should therefore
remain outside the domain of judiciary.

6.11. PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION (PIL)


Why in News?

Recently, while hearing public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the allocation of 4G spectrum to Reliance
Jio, Supreme Court (SC) voiced its concerns on the NGO becoming a proxy litigant and a front for settling
corporate rivalry or personal vendetta.
This observation by SC, once again brought into focus the debate on the proper role of the PIL in the legal
system.

Positive Contributions of PIL

Present Status
Spectrum of issues raised in PIL have
expanded tremendouslyfrom the
protection
of
environment
to
corruption-free administration, right to
education, sexual harassment at the
workplace, relocation of industries, rule
of law, good governance, and the
general
accountability
of
the
Government.
In recent years, anyone could file a PIL
for almost anything. It seems that there
is a further expansion of issues that
could be raised as PIL, e.g. calling back
the Indian cricket team from the
Australia tour.
This is contradictory to the main
objective of the PIL, which is meant to
provide the remedial jurisprudence for
those who cant approach the court on
account of poverty or some other
disability.

Bringing courts closer to the disadvantaged sections of society


such as prisoners, destitute, child or bonded labourers,
women, and scheduled castes/tribes.
PIL has become a vehicle to bring social revolution through
constitutional means.
It has also helped in expanding the jurisprudence of
fundamental (human) rights in India.

PIL also become an instrument to promote rule of law,


demand fairness and transparency, fight corruption in
administration, and enhance the overall accountability of the
government agencies.
PIL has enabled civil society to play an active role in spreading

social awareness about human rights, in providing voice to


the marginalised sections of society, and in allowing their
participation in government decision making.
Through PIL, judiciary also initiated legislative reforms and
filled in legislative gaps in important areas. For example
Vishaka guidelines on sexual harassment at workplace.
PIL has helped the Indian judiciary to gain public confidence and establish legitimacy in the society.
Issues
An unanticipated increase in the workload of the superior courts.
Inefficient use of limited judicial resources.
Lack of judicial infrastructure to determine factual matters.
Gap between the promise and reality.
Abuse of process.
Friction and confrontation with fellow organs of the government.
Way Forward

Way forward is to strike a balance in allowing legitimate PIL cases and discouraging frivolous ones.
One way to achieve this objective could be to confine PIL primarily to those cases where access to justice is
undermined by some kind of disability.
The other useful device could be to offer economic disincentives to those who are found to employ PIL for
ulterior purposes.

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6.12. ALL INDIA JUDICIAL SERVICES


Why in news?
To avoid wrong appointments in judiciary introduction of an all-India judicial service is being explored as an
alternative.
Background
Article 312 of the Constitution explicitly provides for the creation of a national level judicial service.
In the absence of a body like AIJS, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the required judge strength
at all levels of courts.

The Law Commission has thrice - in its 1st, 8th and 116th reports - called for such a service. The Supreme
Court first in 1991 and then in the all-India judges case (1992) had endorsed the creation of an AIJS.
In its 15th report, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on law and justice too recommended for its
establishment and directed the Union Law Ministry to take immediate steps.

Advantages

The direct recruitment of judges from the entry level will be handled by an independent and impartial
agency through an open competition thereby ensuring fair selection of incumbents.
It would naturally help attract bright and capable young law graduates to the judiciary to take over as judges.
For subordinate judicial officers it would ensure equitable service conditions besides providing them a wider
field to prove their mettle.
In this scheme of things, the measure of uniformity in the standards for selection will improve the quality of
personnel in different High Courts, as one-third of the judges come there on promotion from the
subordinate courts.
Similarly, judges of the Supreme Court are drawn from the High Courts. In this process only persons of
proven competence will preside over the benches of superior courts. Simultaneously, the quality of
dispensation of justice will also improve considerably right from the bottom to the top.
In addition, the objective of inducting an outside element in High Court benches can be achieved in better
way as a member of an all India judicial service will have no mental block about interstate transfers.

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7. IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF GOVERNANCE/


TRANSPARENCY/ ACCOUNTABILITY
7.1. SELF-CERTIFICATION
Background

Why in news?

The 2nd ARC had recommended adoption of self-certification The Delhi cabinet has given the go-ahead
to scrap 200 affidavits that were required
provision for simplifying procedures.
in order to access various government
Rationalization of affidavits was first started in Punjab in 2010
services, including ration cards, income
which was aimed at reposing trust in citizens and moving away
and caste certificates and electricity
from affidavits in favour of self-attestation.
connections.
The Prime Minister gave impetus to this campaign, and other
state governments-Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Goa-have followed Punjabs example.

Benefits

Affidavits impose cost on the citizens buying stamp paper, locating a deed writer, payment to the Notary
for attestation and the time and efforts consumed in these processes.
In India, the total savings for the citizens could be to the extent of Rs. 8,000 crores approximately.
Also, the time spent by Government Officials in attesting the documents can be used for other official
purposes.

Legal Implications

As far as admissibility of documents is concerned there is no weightage of affidavits over self-declaration.


Affidavit is a declaration, and as such, a declaration in itself is adequate for the purposes of law. The
applicant continues to be responsible for the statement made.
There appears to be no legal problem in adopting this practice. The Indian Penal Code contains a number of
Sections such as 177, 193, 197, 198, 199 and 200 which specifically deal with the implications of any false
information/evidence/disclosure/ declaration made by the deponents.

7.2. 10 YEARS OF RTI ACT


Why in news?

The Right to Information (RTI) Act has completed 10 years of implementation. It has changed the thinking
and the style of functioning of government machinery in the last 10 years.
According to the Information Commissions annual reports, there are at least 50 lakh RTI applications filed in
India every year.
Over the last decade, at least 2 per cent of the Indian population has used the law.

How RTI Act has spawned a new breed of activism and citizenship

Despite various challenges to implementation of RTI act, people have used it fiercely and owned the law like
no other. People have defended it against every attack and put it to sustained use.
In the unequal battle of trying to hold power to account, it offers sense of hope for the human desire for
dignity, equality, public ethics, and the capacity to enforce these even to some extent.
In a democracy like India people struggle every day to establish some reason in dealings in public life with
assertions of citizenship, entitlements, and ethics. RTI addresses the issue of constitutional rights and
empowers people to demand answers.
RTI enthusiasts are often ordinary people, who not only file applications but also spend countless hours
debating sections, cases, applications, and answers. Thus, encourage a culture of asking questions.
The RTI provides a platform for each view to engage with the other on the basis of a shared logic. It can help
us escape from policy paralysis, and build a more informed, equitable and robust decision-making process.
Beside good governance RTI has helped in the development process as well:

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o
o
o

effective delivery of socio-economic services, awareness and realization of entitlements, informed


decision making leads to empowerment
Guarantee of income and Food Security: Reduction in leakages and corruption in social welfare schemes,
better scrutiny, allocation of resources, effective delivery of services
Human Capital: Education and Health Care: Schemes like SSA, National Rural Health Mission are better
implemented

Misuse of RTI?
In May 2016 several MPs in the Rajya Sabha demanded amendments to the act.

The Act may be used to blackmail public functionaries which makes them unable to take decisions
objectively.
Large number of frivolous RTI applications are being filed affecting efficiency of governance.
The Act poses threat to national security as anybody, without establishing their locus, can ask questions on
sensitive issues such as - missile programs and international relations.

However, two national studies carried out by the RTI Assessment and Advocacy Group (RaaG) in collaboration
with the National Campaign for Peoples Right to Information (NCPRI) had noted following facts which are
opposite to the issue raised

Less than 1 per cent applications are frivolous.


Majority of applicants sought basic information about actions of government, functioning of public
authorities & use of public resources.
A little over 1 per cent applications only require vast information which could divert time
70 per cent of the information sought should have been made public proactively
Section 8 of the Act that clearly spells out the exceptions can be used in matters of national importance.

Issues and Constraints in the implementation of the Act

Low Public Awareness - While the Act has been clear in defining the responsibility of the appropriate
Government, with respect to creating awareness on the Act, there has been lack of initiative from the
Governments side. The efforts made by appropriate Governments and Public Authorities have been
restricted to publishing of rules and FAQs on websites. These efforts have not been helpful in generating
mass awareness of the RTI Act.
Failure to provide information within stipulated time - It is a known fact that the record keeping process
within the Government is a big challenge. Therefore, due to inadequate record management procedures
with the Public Authorities, there is failure to provide information within the stipulated 30 days. This
situation is further aggravated due to non-availability of trained PIOs and the enabling infrastructure
(computers, scanners, internet connectivity, photocopiers etc.).
Lack of Monitoring and Review mechanism - One of the most important roles of the Information Commission
is to monitor and review the Public Authority and initiate actions to make them comply with the spirit of the
Act. However this has been one of the weakest links in the implementation of the Act. Monitoring the Public
Authority for compliance of the Act is also an important aspect of the role of the Information Commission,
which could result in reducing the number of appeals.
High level of pendency - The pendency at the Information Commission is a huge challenge. Unless and until
the pendency is kept at manageable level, the objective of the Act would not be met. High pendency of
appeals is due to non optimal processes for disposing of appeals and complaints.

Way ahead

While assessing the entire situation the following themes emerge:


The Public Authorities have to enhance the level of ownership to ensure the RTI delivery happens as per the
spirit of the Act. They have to be ultimately responsible for
o Identifying the gaps in their offices in the delivery of the information, thereafter identify the resources
needed and appropriately budget for it.
o Maintenance of the information required to be furnished to the State Information Commission.

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The role of the Centre/State Government is to facilitate the Public Authorities in implementation of the Act.
This can happen through providing support to Public Authorities for training, development of software
applications, e-Training modules, generating awareness amongst citizens etc.
The role of the Information Commission has to go beyond the Hearing of the appeals. As per the Act, they
are expected to issue orders/directions to the Public Authorities to carry out their duties as per the mandate
of the Act.
However till the time Information Commission assumes the role of ensuring the compliance of the RTI Act by
the various Public Authorities, there would not be any control mechanism. The State Government has to play
a facilitative role to the Information Commission through issuance of supporting rules/orders to the Public
Authorities.

7.3. CHALLENGES WITH SPV IN SMARTCITIES


Apart from criticism on the quality of proposals and public participation, there were indications of a few cities
hesitant to submit their proposals.
WHAT IS A SPV?

Reasons for setting up SPVs


To ensure objective and efficient decision making,
independent of municipal councils, which are subject to
local politics.
The Smart Cities Mission (SCM) guidelines mandate an
equal share of equity contribution by the state
government and urban local body, thereby making them
the majority shareholders.

An SPV is a legal entity created for a specific


purpose, which can theoretically be shut
down after the specified purpose has been
achieved.
The major advantage of an SPV is that it
allows investors to limit their risks and
maximize profits, and bypass cumbersome
legal and regulatory issues.

Concerns regarding Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), which is to be mandatorily constituted for the
implementation of their respective Smart City Plans.

For Local Bodies


SPVs are also empowered to enter into Public Private Partnerships, incorporate subsidiaries and appoint
project management consultants. This influence of private investors and consulting firms in urban
governance could be troublesome.
This will lead to the planning, implementation, monitoring, funding and evaluation by a Private sector
led venture seen as defeating essence of local self-governance and bypassing the elected municipal
council.
SPV may be headed by a bureaucrat, with a fixed tenure who can be removed only with prior approval of
central government. This is a cause of concern for local representation.
However, local bodies would still have representation in it though it would not be majority.
Admittedly, our local governments are not the most efficient or responsive, but an SPV-driven Smart City
is not a lasting solution to the ills of city governance.
For private sector
The absence of clarity on specific projects and assured revenue streams.
Combined with a lack of management control, may reduce the attractiveness of SPVs for private
investors.

Regulatory
Criteria: The SCM guidelines stipulate that government funding can only be used for projects that have
public benefit outcomes. Criteria to decide the degree of public benefit of projects is unclear.
Convergence: The manner in which a smart city SPV interacts with the implementing agency for HRIDAY,
and how two projects under the two separate programmes complement each other, is yet to be seen.
For example, Varanasi is included under both SCM and the Heritage City Development and
Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY).
Solutions
An important first step would be to build safeguards to protect the democratic nature of governance
structures. A robust governance structure, which allows for sharing of power and financial resources

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between urban local bodies and the private sector stakeholders, would go a long way towards assuaging
fears.
Government should clarify the financial nature of SPVs and how the private sector can contribute
effectively.
Critical issues of capacity and skill building for local bodies need to be addressed in parallel.
Matters related to intellectual property rights, open standards and technology transfer should be
enshrined at the highest level of government since it is difficult for individual urban local bodies to
negotiate with private parties.

7.4. SHYAMAPRASAD MUKHERJI RURBANMISSION


Why in news?

Recently, Prime Minister has launched the National Rurban Mission from Kurubhat, in Rajnandgaon district
of Chhattisgarh.
Background

By 2032, if the rate of migration continues at this rate and the number of cities remains the same, Indian
cities would become unbearable.
The Rurban Mission would replace the previous governments Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas
(PURA) initiative.
Objectives

Development of rural growth clusters of smart villages which have latent potential for growth, in all States
and UTs.
These clusters would be developed by provisioning of economic activities, developing skills & local
entrepreneurship and providing infrastructure amenities.
The scheme through development of Rurban growth clusters aimed at catalyzing overall regional growth,
which would benefit the rural as well as urban areas of the country.
By achieving twin objectives of strengthening rural areas and de burdening the urban areas hence leading
to balanced regional development and growth of the country.
Features

300 clusters would be developed with an investment of Rs 5,100 crorein three years.
Four clusters would be developed in Chhattisgarh's Rajnandgaon, Dhamtari, Kawardha and Bastar districts.
This year, 100 clusters would be taken up under the project.
Under this scheme village clusters will have 14 mandatory components like Digital Literacy, Sanitation,
Provision of piped water supply, Solid and liquid waste management, etc.
Scheme will focus on creating community assets and improving basic infrastructure such as roads, shelter,
power and drinking water in rural belts.
The clusters will be geographically contiguous Gram Panchayats with a population of 25,000 to 50,000 in
plain and coastal areas and a population of 5,000 to 15,000 in desert, hilly or tribal areas.
The funding for Rurban Clusters will be through various schemes of the government converged into the
cluster.
The mission will provide an additional funding support of up to 30 per cent of the project cost per cluster as
critical gap funding as central share to enable development of such rurban clusters.
The Mission envisages institutional arrangements both at the State and Center to ensure smooth
implementation of the Mission.
The Mission also has an Innovation budget towards facilitating research, development and capacity building.

7.5. 10 YEARS OF MGNREGA AN ASSESSMENT


Brief Summary

MGNREGA is an Indian labour law and social security measure that aims to guarantee the right to work.

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The MGNREGA provides a legal guarantee for one hundred days of employment in every financial year to
adult members of any rural household willing to do public work-related unskilled manual work at the
statutory minimum wage.
The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), Government of India is monitoring the entire implementation of
this scheme in association with state governments.
Since 2008, the Act covered the entire country except for districts which have 100 per cent urban
population.
The work covered under MGNREGA has been divided into 10 broad categories like Watershed, Irrigation and
Flood management works, Agricultural and Livestock related works, Fisheries and works in coastal areas and
the Rural Drinking water and Sanitation related works.
More than 65 per cent of the works taken up under the programme are linked to agriculture and allied
activities.
The World Development Report 2014 has described the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment
Guarantee Act as a "stellar example of rural development".

Benefits of the programme

In the initial years, MNREGA was a true game-changer, rural wages started climbing and reports also
pointed towards a decline in migration to urban centres.
A NCAER study of 2015 showed that the Act helped in lowering poverty by almost 32 per cent between
2004-05 to 2011-12 and prevented almost 14 million people from falling into poverty.
Since the launch of the scheme it has helped in reducing poverty level among scheduled cast and scheduled
tribes 38 per cent and 28 per cent respectively.
The total expenditure on this programme has been rupees 3.14 lakh crore and has generated work of 1980
crore person days.
Till now, it has generated 19.86 billion person-days of employment benefitting 276 million workers, with
more than half the jobs going to women workers and almost a third to members of scheduled castes and
scheduled tribes.
MGNREGA has played a much larger role in revitalizing the labour market in rural areas.
It has led to the creation of a class of workers who are using the MGNREGA as a safety net.
Also these workers are able to use it as a bargaining tool for extraction of higher wages.
57% of all workers are women, more than the statutory requirement of 33% and the highest in three years.
It has acted as the single most important instrument for empowering gram panchayats. The act gave gram
sabhas the mandate to plan their own works and untied funds to execute these works.
Research suggests that water-related assets created under Mahatma Gandhi NREGA have increased the
number of days in a year water is available and also the quantity of water available for irrigation.
The increased availability of water has also led to changes in crop patterns and increased area under
cultivation according to some studies.
Challenges

There is large-scale delay in payments of wages.


Based on CAG report, it showed that from 2009-10 to 2011-12, only 20 per cent of total funds allocated
under the scheme has been released for Bihar, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh where almost 46 per cent of
Indias rural poor reside.
CAG also found rampant corruption and swindling of public funds.
CAG said that around Rs 2,252 crore of inadmissible work was undertaken under the Mahatma Gandhi
NREGA including construction of earthen roads, bathing Ghats, raised platforms for cattle etc.
There is not enough skill development is happening for the people working under this scheme.
Asset creation under this scheme is not productive as it should be.
Way Forward

In order to create the productive assets, the scheme should be converged with related programmes in the
department of agriculture, irrigation, animal husbandry and road transport.

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To fight corruption, the use of IT and community-based accountability mechanisms like social audits should
be encouraged.
The act should be linked with the Socio-Economic Caste Census to ensure better targeting.
There should be focus to develop a cadre of identified trainers/experts which will be useful in effective
implementation of the scheme.
Skilling of the MGNREGA workers in conjunction with the DeenDayalUpadhyayaGrameenKaushalyaYojana
(DDU-GKY) and NRLM should be encouraged on a larger scale so that they will be able to acquire vertical
mobility in the job market, and would no longer depend on unskilled manual work.

7.6. SWACHH SURVEKSHAN


Why in News?

To assess the Swachh Bharat Mission, the Ministry of


Urban Development has decided to study and rank 75
cities under the mission SwachhSurvekshan.
The task of executing the mission has been entrusted
with the Quality Council of India.
It will cover all state capitals and 53 other cities.
Parameters for evaluation
Work will be evaluated under six measurable aspects of
sanitation and hygiene.

Strategy for Open Defecation Free town (ODF) and


Integrated Solid Waste Management (SWM).
Information, Education and Behaviour Change
Communication (IEBC) activity.
Sweeping, door to door collection and transportation (of solid waste).
Processing and disposal (of solid waste).
Provision of public & community toilet seats.
Construction of household individual toilets.
Calculation of Ranking
Out of the total marks of 2,000 for assessing the performance of efforts of 75 cities

60 per cent were assigned for solid waste management related parameters.
30 per cent for construction of toilets.
5 per cent each for city level sanitation strategy and behaviour change communication.

Outcome of the study

Mysuru has emerged as the countrys cleanest city followed by Chandigarh and Tiruchi.
Mysuru had also topped the last cleanliness survey which was conducted in 2014 among 476 cities with a
population of one lakh and above each.
Of the cities surveyed, 32 have improved ranks since the last survey including 17 from the North India.

7.7. E-GOVERNANCE INITIATIVES


What is it?
e-Governance is the use of information and communication technologies to support good governance.
Recent Initiatives
Virtual Police Station (VPN) for Public

VPS is being launched in the Capital to make functioning of a police station comprehensible for the public.
International NGO Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) has developed the VPS.

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The VPS is a first-of-its kind training tool to acquaint the public with the functioning of a police station
through the click of a mouse.
It allows the police and public to enter every room of a computerised police station to explore and learn the
key procedures such as arrest, registration of complaints of sexual assault, registration of FIRs and more.
VPS is a step towards humanising the functioning of the police as it demystifies the police station by
exposing citizens to the layers of work management, administration, investigation, going to court, forensics
that the personnel in the police station perform.
This tool will empower women afraid to report rapes.

Swachha Delhi App

The Delhi Government and municipalities launched Swachh Delhi mobile app It is a citizen-centric app.
Delhiites can now take a picture of any heap of garbage or debris lying around the city and upload it to a
centralised app for the government or municipal corporations to clean it.
Photos will automatically include the GPS coordinates of the spots, the work of clearing will be assigned to
an agency.
The Delhi Governments Public Works Department will clear malba and the three corporations, the New
Delhi Municipal Council and the Delhi Cantonment Board will lift garbage in their jurisdictions.
Anubhav

The Department of Pension & Pensioners welfare has launched online software -Anubhav.
It will showcase the outstanding work by retiring employee and sharing experience of working with the
Government.
It will also provide facility to upload recorded voice message by the retiring employee.
Over a period of time, this will create a wealth of institutional memory with replicable ideas and suggestions.
It will also act as motivator for serving employees.
This would provide an excellent opportunity to harness the resource of retiring employees for voluntary
contribution to nation building post retirement.

National award on e-governance

The Employees Provident Fund Organisation has won the National Award on e-Governance 2015-16 for
launching the Universal Account Number (UAN).
The EPFO won the gold award in the innovative use of technology in e-governance category.

Garv app

Power ministry has launched the GARV (GrameenVidyutikaran) app to provide the first hand information
with respect to village electrification programme in the country.

Anmol

ANMOL is a tablet-based application that allows ANMs to enter and updated data for beneficiaries of their
jurisdiction.
This will ensure more prompt entry and updation of data as well as improve the data quality since the data
will be entered at source.
The Application is Aadhaar-enabled hence it will help in authentication of the records of field workers and
beneficiaries.

E-raktkosh initiative

It is an integrated Blood Bank Management Information System (MIS).


This web-based mechanism interconnects all the Blood Banks of the State into a single network.

Challenges and Limitations

Funding: Funding is the foremost issue in e-Governance initiatives.

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Management of Change: The delivery of Government services through the electronic media including EDI,
Internet and other IT based technologies would necessitate procedural and legal changes in the decision and
delivery making processes
Privacy: Whenever a citizen gets into any transaction with a Government agency, he shells out lot of
personal information, which can be misused by the private sector. Thus, the citizen should be ensured that
the information flow would pass through reliable channels and seamless network.
Authentication: Secured ways of transactions for the Government services are another issue of concern. The
identity of citizens requesting services needs to be verified before they access or use the services .
Interoperability:Infact the interoperation of various state Governments, the various ministries within a state
Government is a critical issue.
Delivery of services: The ability of citizens to access these services is another major issue. Since the
penetration of PCs and Internet is very low in the country, some framework needs to be worked out for
delivery of the e-Services that would be accessible to the poorest of the poor.
Standardization:The standards need to be worked out not only for the technologies involved but also for
issues like naming of websites to creating E-Mail addresses.
Technology Issues: The e-Governance initiative would have to address the Technology Issues/Objectives by
identifying the appropriate hardware platforms and software application packages for cost-effective delivery
of public services.
Use of local language: The access of information must be permitted in the language most comfortable to the
public user, generally the local language. There do already exist technologies such as GIST and language
software by which transliteration from English into other languages can be made.

Lit of major successful e-Governance Projects


Customs and Excise (Government of India)

98% of export and 90-95% of import documentation computerized.


Electronic filing through ICEGATE.
Service Tax returns electronically processed.

Indian Railways (Government of India)

Anywhere to Anywhere reservation from Anywhere.


Electronic Booking of tickets.
Online Information of Railway reservation on Internet.

Postal Department (Government of India)

Direct e-credit of Monthly Income Scheme returns into the investors accounts
Dematerialization of Savings Certificate (NSC) and VikasPatras (KVP), offering full portability

Passport / Visa (Government of India)

100% passport information computerized.


All 33 Regional Passport Offices covered.
Machine readable passports available.

AP Online (State Government of Andhra Pradesh)


An Integrated Citizen Services Portal providing citizen centric services such as: Birth/Death Certificates, Property
Registration, Drivers License, Govt. Applications & Forms, Payment of taxes / utility bills etc.
Bhoomi Automation of Land Records (State Government of Karnataka)
Bhoomi (meaning land) is the project of on-line delivery and management of land records. It provides
computerized Record of Rights Tenancy & Crops (RTC) - needed by farmer to obtain bank loans, settle land
disputes etc. It has also ensured increased transparency and reliability, significant reduction in corruption,
exploitation and oppression of farmers. This project has benefited more than 20 million rural land records
covering 6.7 million farmers.

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CARD Registration Project (State Government of Andhra Pradesh)


Computer Aided Administration of Registration Department (CARD) impacting more than 10 million citizens. The
system ensures transparency in valuation of property and efficient document management system. The
estimated saving of 70 million man-hours of citizen time valued at US$ 35 mil (investment in CARD - US$
6million). Similar initiatives in other states like SARITA (State Government of Maharashtra), STAR (State
Government of Tamil Nadu), etc. have further built upon this initiative.
Gyandoot: Intranet in Tribal District of Dhar (State Government of Madhya Pradesh)
This project offers e-governance services including online registration of applications, rural e-mail facility, village
auction site etc. It also provides services such as Information on Mandi (farm products market) rates, On-line
public grievance redressal, caste & income certificates and Rural Market (Gaonka Bazaar).
LOKMITRA (State Government of Himachal Pradesh)

Offers e-governance services: Online registration of applications, Rural e-mail facility, village auction site etc.
Key services provided to citizens: Information on Mandi (farm products market) rates, On-line public
grievance redressal, Sending and receivinginformation regarding land records, income certificates, caste
certificates and other official documents, Market rates of vegetables, fruits and other items

e-Mitra- Integrated Citizen Services Center/ e-Kiosks (State Government of Rajasthan)

Implemented using a PPP (Public Private Partnership) model


Private partner paid by the government department / agency
G2C services like: Payment of electricity, water, telephone bills, Payment of taxes, Ticket Reservations,
Filing of Passport applications, Registration of birth/death, Payment by cash/cheque/ credit card

7.8. HURDLES IN INDIAS DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION: WDR 2016


Background

India has had the remarkable achievement of being the largest exporter of IT services and skilled manpower
among the developing countries. However, still it considerably falls behind China in digitally transforming its
economy.
World Banks recently released World Development Report (WDR) Digital Dividends sheds some light on
this.

Problems with Indias Digital Economy

Unfortunately, not only does India have a higher digital access gap, it also has a bigger digital capability gap.
The capability gap, according to the WDR, arises from two main sources:
o Overall business climate.
o Quality of human capital.
India scores considerably below China in doing business indicators. It is important for India to create space
for creativity and enterprise and to promote competition.
The slow pace of improvement of the quality of basic infrastructure expressways, logistics, storage,
postal delivery system and reliable supply of electricity.
The excessively cautious approach of Indian regulators towards disruptive technological innovations such
as mobile money or ride-sharing services has made it difficult for digital start-ups to enter new markets and
achieve scale.
Low level of skills and education in a majority of population. Around 25 per cent of Indias adult population
cannot read and write compared to fewer than 5 per cent in China.
Even the quality of education is poor. The latest Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) test scores in
rural India show that 10 per cent of children aged 16 and below cannot identify single-digit numbers
consistently.

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Way Forward

Successful and accelerated development of programmes like Digital India, Make in India, Start-up India,
and innovative applications of Aadhaar such as JAM (Jan DhanYojana-Aadhaar-Mobile trinity) and Digital
Lockers.
Making the Internet accessible, open and safe for all Indians is an urgent priority. Low cost of mobile
phone access along with a supportive policy environment involving smart spectrum management, PPP,
and intelligent regulations of Internet markets is needed.
An important lesson from the WDR is that even the most sophisticated technologies are no substitute for
tackling long-standing shortcomings in other areas most importantly basic health, education and a
regulatory ethos that encourages competition and enterprise.
Thus, there is a need to make long overdue progress on the analogue complements of digital investments.

7.9. INDIA RANKED 76TH IN CPI 2015

Berlin based Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2015 released on Wednesday
shows that India has moved up in rank from 85th position to 76th.
India's score in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2015
What is corruption perceptions index?
remained unchanged at 38 as it was in the previous year.
CPI, the most widely used indicator of
India shares its rank along with six other countries: Brazil,
public sector corruption worldwide, is a
Burkina Faso, Thailand, Tunisia and Zambia.
composite index that combines the
The number of countries ranked in 2015 was 168 against 174
results of surveys and assessments of
nations in 2014.
corruption, collected by a variety of
Globally, Denmark retained its position as the least corrupt
country for the second year running (with its latest score of 91
points).
Overall, two-thirds of the 168 countries studied scored below
50, and the global average stood at 43.

Neighbourhood Scenario

Barring Bhutan ranked 27, which with a score of 65 fares much


better than India, other neighbouring countries continue to
have a poor record.
While China at rank 83 and Bangladesh at rank 139 have
reported no improvement,
Scores of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal have increased
marginally over the past year

reputable institutions including the


World Bank and the World Economic
Forum.
It looks at a range of factors like whether
governmental leaders are held to account
or go unpunished for corruption, the
perceived prevalence of bribery, and
whether public institutions respond to
citizens needs.
As per the scoring system adopted,
higher the score points on a scale of 0100, lower is the corruption in that
country.

Observations of Transparency International

Top country performers share key characteristics such as:

high levels of press freedom;


access to budget information so the public knows where money comes from and how it is spent;
high levels of integrity among people in power;
Judiciaries that don't differentiate between rich and poor, and that are truly independent from other
parts of government.

The report also says 68% of countries worldwide have serious corruption problem and half of the G20 are
among them.
64 countries had improved their score while only 53 declined. The rest remained unchanged.
Even globally, there seemed to be an overall improvement in corruption alleviation with both the United
States and United Kingdom making their best rankings ever.

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7.10. RULES TO CHECK NEPOTISM BY CIVIL SERVANTS


Why in news?
To check nepotism and corruption, the central government has clarified that the civil servants shall not use their
position to grant any benefit to their immediate family or any other person related to any of them by blood or
marriage.
Need
The order by the department of personnel and training (DoPT) came after doubts were raised over the definition
of members of family under the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964.
Benefits of checking Nepotism

For impartiality, objectivity and Non-Partisanship: Rule 4(1) of the CCS (Conduct) Rules, no government
servant shall use their position or influence directly or indirectly to secure employment for any member of
their family in any company or firm.
For Probity in governance and Integrity: Rule 4(3) states that, No government servant shall in the discharge
of his official duties deal with any matter or give or sanction any contract to any company or firm or any
other person if any member of his family is employed in that company or firm.
For Efficiency and Quality of service delivery: To review the performance of every official when they reach
the 50-55 age bracket and complete 30 years in service.
Also to reduce corruption: the centre last year introduced a rule to allow civil servants to be removed from
service in public interest even if the evidence against them is not sufficient to initiate disciplinary
proceedings.

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8. LOCAL GOVERNANCE
8.1. PRIs
8.1.1. EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATION FOR PANCHAYAT POLLS
Why in news?

Supreme Court upheld Haryana law on panchayat


elections, by dismissing plea challenging Haryana
Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015.

Haryana Government Law on Panchayat Election

In August 2015 Haryana government cleared five


amendments to the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act, 1994.
Amendments laid down eligibility criteria to contest local
body elections. It set

Few Facts
9.6 million People will be eligible to contest
the elections to various panchayats in the
state even after applying the amended
qualifications.
The census data of 2011 showed that
Haryana had a literacy rate of 76.6%, with
female literacy at 66.8%.
According to the census, 31.4% of
households in the state do not have access to
toilets as opposed to the national average of
53.1%.
57% of the rural population who are over the
age of 20 years will still be eligible to contest
elections in spite of the minimum education
qualification.

Minimum educational qualifications: The law fixes


matriculation as the essential qualification for general
candidates and Class VIII for women in the general
category as well as scheduled caste candidates.
Having a functional toilet at home,
Not having defaulted in cooperative loans or having
outstanding dues on rural domestic electricity connections and
Not charged by a court for a grave criminal offence (of over 10 years in jail).

These are in addition to insolvency and being of unsound mind, disqualifications that are specified in the
Constitution.

Background

In December 2014, Rajasthan became the first state in India to pass legislation that required panchayat poll
candidates to have both functional toilets and minimum educational requirements: Class X for the zila
parishad and panchayat samiti polls, Class VIII to be a sarpanch and Class V for scheduled areas.

Supreme Courts Observation

If people still do not have a toilet, it is not because of their poverty but because of their lacking the requisite
will - taking into consideration various policies of the Haryana government to improve sanitation in the state.
It is only education which gives a human being the power to discriminate between right and wrong, good
and bad and upheld the imposition of specific educational qualifications.
Under Articles 40 and 246(3), the Constitution grants powers to the states to make laws to enable the
functioning of self-government units.

Arguments in Favour

Many point out that education qualification has an important role in deciding a persons standing in society
and his/her suitability for various responsibilities. This is because a basic knowledge is necessary to work and
build more expertise.
Education increases exposure to the world and improves the ability to comprehend and envisage things in a
much broader way. The broad argument is that while educational may not be an essential qualification for
success it would certainly help improve the chances for success.

Criticism

More ground reforms are needed before such a law is implemented.

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Wisdom plays a greater role than education at local governance level, especially villages. Even in toilet
construction, the problematic area is governance.
Though basic reading writing and arithmetic skills are important there are also more crucial factors like
character, personality and leadership qualities which allow people to play a more effective role in society.
There is also the added danger that the sanction of the Supreme Court for minimum educational
qualifications for contesting in Haryana panchayat election may prompt other government to push for fixing
new norms in other spheres too.

Few facts

The law has disenfranchised over 83% of dalit women (the worst affected), 72% of dalit men, 71% of general
category women and 55% of general category men on just the education clause in Haryana alone.
The conditions have resulted in the shrinking of the pool of candidates who are eligible to contest.
There are reports of large numbers of posts that have been won unopposed or have gone vacant. Of the
6,207 sarpanch elections across Haryana, 274 were won unopposed and 22 went vacant. Same happened in
Rajasthan where the January-February 2015 election saw 260 sarpanchs getting elected unopposed,
compared to 35 in 2010.
It is unfair to expect candidates at Indias most basic grassroots- level of electoral politics to meet eligibility
criteria when we dont expect it from those contesting elections to Parliament and the state assemblies.

Conclusion
On the ground contestants and voters alike, all agree that education is a desirable quality in candidates. But by
imposing these conditions, the government is denying voters a choice. An uneducated person can also be honest
and hard-working.

8.1.2. GRAM UDAY TO BHARAT UDAY ABHIYAN


Why in News?

Central Government in collaboration with States and Panchayats decided to organize a Gram Uday Se
Bharat Uday Abhiyan (Village Self Governance Campaign) early this year.

Highlights of the Campaign

The campaign aimed at generating nation-wide efforts to increase social harmony across villages, strengthen
Panchayati Raj, promote rural development, and foster farmers progress.
A Social Harmony Programme was conducted in all gram panchayats, supported collaboratively by the
Ministry of Panchayati Raj and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
In this programme, villagers honoured Dr. Ambedkar and resolve to strengthen social harmony.
Information regarding various government schemes to foster social justice was be provided.
Village Farmer Assemblies was organized where information regarding schemes of agriculture such as the
FasalBimaYojna, Social Health Card etc. will be provided to farmers.
Also a national meeting of tribal women Gram Panchayat Presidents from Fifth Schedule Areas of 10 States
was held at Vijayawada focusing on Panchayat and tribal development.

8.2. ULBs
8.2.1. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT OF MUNCIPALITIES
Why in News?

Recently, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) ran out of funds to pay salaries to its staff.
As a reaction, sanitation workers went on strike which created conditions of uncleanliness on Delhi roads.

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Background

State governments have consistently neglected institutional reforms (read policy response) in cities and
municipalities.
The 4,041 cities in India have a population of over 400 million but the revenues of their municipalities are
inadequate.
Hence, there is an urgent need to put in place a roadmap for financial self-sufficiency and financial
accountability in municipalities.
Issues Associated with Municipalities

Lack of credible data at city level on jobs, investments or tax collections.


Municipalities have access to very few revenue generating sources.
In some cases where municipalities have access to funds, they have limited or no control over the rates, for
example: property taxes.
There is an acute shortage of skilled staff in the finance and revenue departments of municipalities.
Way Forward

States need to devolve a reasonable percentage of stamp duties and registration charges on properties back
to the cities.
Entertainment tax and profession tax need to be given to municipalities.
To encourage more investment in municipal bonds, union government should provide tax exemptions.
Union, state governments and municipalities should work together to make an inventory of land, and draw
up a strategy for land value capture that can benefit the municipal exchequer.
To protect the financial sustainability of municipalities, a state legislation on fiscal responsibility and budget
management in municipalities should be enacted.
To improve the efficient and effective management of accounts, audit of annual accounts should be
performed by chartered accountants.
To improve tax collections and financial management, recruit more staff.

8.2.2. DIRECTLY ELECTED MAYORS


Why in News?
A private members bill was introduced in the parliament to make provisions for direct election and
empowerment of the office of mayor in country.
Present Position

Mayor is the head and official in charge of the Municipal Corporations in India.
Executive Officers monitor the implementation of all the programs related to planning and development of
the corporation with the coordination of Mayor and Councilors.
At present, six states namely Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, MP, UP and Tamil Nadu, provide for
mayors that are elected directly by voters for a five-year term.

Proposed Changes

The bill aims to establish strong leadership for cities by providing for a directly elected and empowered
Mayor.
It also suggests the reforms such as mandating the constitution of area sabhas and ward committees and
strengthening the devolution of functions to local governments.
Bill fixes the Mayors term to be coterminous with that of the municipality.
It makes the Mayor the executive head of the municipality.
It also gives Mayor veto powers over some of the councils resolutions and also lets the Mayor nominate
members of the Mayor-in-Council.

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Concerns

The first challenge is the status quo itself and the vested interests it has entrenched. State governments do
not wish to delegate more authority to city-level institutions.
A fundamental issue with a directly elected Mayor is that instead of enabling efficiency, it might actually
result in gridlock in administration, especially when the Mayor and the majority of elected members of the
city council are from different political parties.
The Bill centralises power in the hands of the Mayor and his nominees and creates a political executive
which neither enjoys the support of the elected council nor needs its acquiescence for taking decisions.

Benefits

Mayor can be held accountable for the irregularities as they will be directly elected by people.
It will also encourage better financial management of our municipalities.
It will be helpful in creating more transparency as communication and reporting will be directly done by
mayor.
It will create the office of Mayor politically relevant, hence it will create a culture of meritocracy,
performance and accountability.

8.2.3. CONVERTING CENSUS TOWNS TO STATUTORY ULBS


Why in news?
Ministry of Urban Development has asked 28 States to convert all 3,784 Census Towns into statutory Urban
Local Bodies.
What is census town?
A Census Town is an area with urban characteristics such as

Minimum population of 5,000.


At least 75% of the male main working force engaged in non-agricultural activities.
Population density of at least 400 persons per sq.km.

As per 2011 Census, there are 3,784 Census Towns as against 1,362 in 2001.
What are statutory ULBs?
A Statutory urban local body (ULB) is one with a municipality, corporation, cantonment board or notified town
area committee.
As per 2011 Census, there are 4,041 such towns as against 3,799 in 2001.
Need to convert

To promote planned urban development.


It also leads to enhanced revenues and efficient delivery of services to citizens leading to overall growth of
economic activities.
They become entitled to central assistance as per guidelines of 14th Finance commission.
Under AMRUT mission, 50% weightage is given to the number of statutory towns in any State/UT for
allocation of funds among them.

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9. IMPORTANT LEGISLATIONS/BILLS
9.1. IMPORTANT ACTS
9.1.1. AADHAAR ACT, 2016
Why in News?

The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016, was
passed by both Houses of Parliament and received Presidents approval as well. Subsequently, the Centre
had notified the new Aadhaar Act.
The Act intended to provide statutory backing to Aadhaar for targeted delivery of subsidies and services to
individuals residing in India.

Features of the Act

Every resident is entitled to obtain an Aadhaar number. A resident is a person who has resided in India for
182 days, in the one year.
To perform the functions related to Aadhaar card, Unique Identification Authority (UID) will be formed.
Composition of UID will be chairperson, two part-time members and a
To obtain an Aadhaar number, an
chief executive officer. The chairperson and members should have
individual has to submit his
experience of at least 10 years in matters like technology, governance,

Biometric (photograph, finger


etc.
print, iris scan)
Important functions of the UID authority are:
Demographic (name, date of
Specifying demographic and biometric information to be collected
birth, address) information.
during enrolment.
The
Unique
Identification
Assigning Aadhaar numbers to individuals
Authority (UID) may specify
Authenticating Aadhaar numbers
other
biometric
and
Specifying the usage of Aadhaar numbers for delivery of subsidies
demographic information to be
collected by regulations.
and services.
Biometric information (finger print, iris scan and other biological
attributes) will be used only for Aadhaar enrolment and authentication purpose and will not be shared with
anyone.
Only in cases pertaining interest of national security and on the order of court information will be revealed.
A person may be punished with imprisonment up to 3 years and minimum fine of Rs. 10 lakh for
unauthorised access to centralized database, including revealing any information stored.

Benefits of this Act

Wrong/fake beneficiaries have been a major issue with many schemes; hence it is expected to prevent
leakages in the distribution system.
It is single-most important method of decreasing massive political and bureaucratic corruption.
It will enable delivery of much higher level of income transfers to the poor.

Issues surrounding the Act

Due to Introduction of the bill as money bill, it has bypassed RajyaSabha which could have provided
valuable inputs during discussion.
It has also seen as against the spirit of cooperative federalism because RajyaSabha is considered as
representing the voice of states.
Section 7 of the bill gives the government powers to make Aadhaar mandatory for a wide range of facilities
and services.
Section 57 enables the government to impose Aadhaar identification in virtually any other context that is not
mentioned in the bill.

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Loss of privacy: Every move of each individual can be tracked and this is against the constitutional spirit of
right to privacy that comes under right to life. Right to privacy is an essential foundation of the freedom to
dissent.
If biometrics data are landed in unsafe hands. It may lead to mass forgery, misrepresentation and other
associated frauds.
Weak cyber security infrastructure put the personal data of citizen under threat and makes them
vulnerable.

Challenges

Interoperability between platforms in case other platforms are used to deliver benefits.
The tendency to adopt non-verifiable alternative platforms, bypassing the Aadhaar, can lead to abuse.
Although disbursements through DBT using Aadhaar can be quickly effected however withdrawals would
require a significantly faster pace of ensuring reliable connectivity, covering all Panchayats.

9.1.2. ARBITRATION AND CONCILIATION ACT (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2015


Why in news?
The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2015 was passed in December 2015. The Bill amends the
Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.
Need

Arbitration in India is often criticized for being slow, expensive and ineffective. Thats why many foreign
companies are hesitant to do business in India because of the
What is arbitration?
long-drawn litigations.
It is a procedure in which a dispute is
India was ranked 178 out of 189 nations in terms of enforcing
submitted, by agreement of the parties, to
contract by the World Banks ease of doing business report,
one or more arbitrators who make a
2016.
binding decision on the dispute. In
Earlier, The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 was enacted choosing arbitration, the parties opt for a
to consolidate and amend the law relating to domestic
private dispute resolution procedure
arbitration, international commercial arbitration and instead of going to court.
enforcement of foreign arbitral awards, and to define the law
relating to conciliation and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
The Law Commission of India, in its 246th report, gave recommendations aimed at making the arbitration
process quicker and cost effective, reducing the intervention of the courts and making the enforcement of
arbitral awards easier.

Salient Features of amendment:

It enables the parties to an international commercial arbitration with the seat of arbitration outside India, to
also approach the Indian courts and seeking interim relief, unless the parties have agreed to the contrary.
Arbitral Tribunal shall make its award within a period of 12 months. Parties may extend such period up to six
months. Thereafter, it can only be extended by the Court, on sufficient cause.
The Court while extending the period may also order reduction of fees of arbitrator(s) not exceeding five
percent for each month of delay and it also provides for additional fees if arbitration procedure is completed
within six months if both parties agree.
There is a provision for fast track procedure for conducting arbitration. Award in such cases shall be given in
six months period.
Mere filing of an application for challenging the award would not automatically stay execution of the award
but only by order of a competent court.
Regarding grounds for challenge of an arbitral award, the amendment has restricted the scope of the term
'Public Policy of India to - induced or affected by fraud; in contravention with the fundamental policy of
India; in conflict with the most basic notions of morality or justice.
A new provision to provide that application to challenge the award is to be disposed of by the Court within
one year.

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An application for appointment of an Arbitrator shall be disposed of by the High Court or Supreme Court as
expeditiously as possible and an endeavor should be made to dispose of the matter within 60 days.
The amendment puts a cap on the fee of an arbitrator.
It gives wide powers to the arbitral tribunal to impose costs and the general rule of making the unsuccessful
party pay costs to the successful party has been introduced.
The person to be appointed as the arbitrator must disclose any relationship or interest of any kind, which is
likely to give rise to justifiable doubts.

9.1.3. REPEAL OF OLD STATUTE


Why in news?

Parliament recently passed two bills to repeal outdated 1053 laws which had become redundant legislations.
The Appropriation Acts (Repeal) Bill 2015 that seeks to repeal 758 old appropriation acts which have lost
relevance and The Repealing and Amending (Third) Bill, 2015 to repeal 295 enactments and to amend
certain other enactments were passed by the Parliament.

Why is it needed?

The purpose of old statute law repeals work is to


Modernise and simplify the statute book,
Reduce its size and save the time of lawyers and others who use it.
This in turn helps to avoid unnecessary costs.
It also stops people being misled by obsolete laws that masquerade as live law.
There are laws from the colonial era which are irrelevant or misplaced today, as the world has changed.
Some of these were specifically enacted to curb the independence movement.
In particular, during the Second World War, many laws were passed which reflected the exigencies of the
war. In numerous areas, freedoms of Indians were taken away to make it convenient for the British war
effort.

Identification of old statutes

At the Union government level, the Law Commission of India prepared four reports in 2014 (248th, 249th,
250th, 251st), identifying old statutes that could be repealed.
Subsequently, a Committee headed by R. Ramanujam was formed to identify Central Acts which are not
relevant or no longer needed or require repeal/re-enactment.
As per the Ramanujam Committee, 2781 Central Acts were in existence as on 15 October 2014. Out of these,
it recommended the repeal of 1741 Central Acts. Of these 1741 Acts, 340 were Central Acts on State subjects
that had to be repealed by the respective state legislatures.

Way forward
Just like labour reforms, old statutes aren't always at the level of the Union government. There are several old
statutes also at the level of the States. For instance, Rajasthan has repealed more than 60 old statutes recently.
Similar exercise must be carried out by other states as well.

9.1.4. THE LOKPAL AND LOKAYUKTAS (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2016


Why in news?
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was passed by the parliament (both houses) in July2016.
Features of the Bill

The Bill amends the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 in relation to declaration of assets and liabilities by
public servants.

It amends Section 44 dealing with declaration of assets and liabilities of public servants.

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It defines public servants as a range of persons including the


Section 44 of the Act demanded that every
Prime Minister, Ministers, MPs, and officials of the government
public servant shall furnish to the competent
or of any organisation, trust or NGO that gets Rs 10 lakh as
authority, the information relating to:
foreign aid or Rs 1 crore as government aid.
(a) the assets of which he, his spouse
The Lokpal Act requires a public servant to declare his assets
and his dependent children are, jointly
and liabilities, and that of his spouse and dependent children.
or severally, owners or beneficiaries;
Such declarations must be made to the competent authority
(b) His liabilities and that of his spouse
within 30 days of entering office.
and his dependent children.
The public servant must file an annual return of such assets and
liabilities by July 31st of every year.
The Lokpal Act also mandates statements of such declarations be published on the website of the relevant
Ministry by August 31 of that year.
The amendment extends the deadline for declaring assets and liabilities indefinitely.

What are the Issues?

The amendments were sought to be passed hurriedly without due debate and deliberation.
Industry lobby groups and trusts, NGOs under FCRA want the definition of public servant to be revised.
Government interventions would create disruptions in the working of trusts, societies, charitable and nonprofit organisations.

Way forward

The bill aims at providing 5th extension for disclosure of assets indefinitely which should be made time
bound.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, is going to assess
the bill again and suggest changes to Section 44, and submit its report by the next session of Parliament.
The panel is also expected to define public servant taking into consideration inputs from different
stakeholders.

9.2. PENDING BILLS


9.2.1. AMENDMENT TO PREVENTION OF CORRUPTION ACT (PCA), 1988
Why in news?
The Union Cabinet gave its approval to amend the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 by pursuing the
Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 which was pending before the Rajya Sabha.
Proposed Amendments
The proposed amendments would fill in perceived gaps in the domestic anti-corruption law and also help in
meeting the country's obligations under the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) more
effectively.

Providing for more stringent punishment for the offences of bribery, both for the bribe giver and the bribe
taker.
Penal provisions being enhanced from minimum 6 months to 3 years and from maximum 5 years to 7
years. The seven year imprisonment brings corruption to the heinous crime category.
To contain gain of benefits from profits of corruption, the powers of attachment are proposed to be
conferred upon the trial Court (Special Judge) instead of the District Court.
Expanding the ambit of provision for containing inducement of public servant from individuals to
commercial entities is being added to contain supply side of corruption.
Providing for issue of guidelines for commercial organizations to prevent persons associated with them
from bribing a public servant.
The average trial period of cases under PC Act in the last 4 years has been above 8 years.
It is proposed to ensure speedy trial by providing a trial completion within 2 years.

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Intentional enriching by public servants will be construed as criminal misconduct and possession of
disproportionate assets as proof of such illicit enrichment.
Non-monetary gratification has been covered within the definition of the word gratification.
By way of explanation 2 to section 7(2), the obligation of a public servant has been explicitly delineated such
that the public servant deters from violating a statutory duty or any set of rules, government policies,
executive instructions and procedures

Background

The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 was enacted in the year 1988.
Later developments, such as India ratifying the UNCAC, international practice on treatment of the offence
of bribery and corruption, etc. necessitated a review of the existing provisions of the Act.

Criticism

The proposed amendments make all actual and potential bribe-givers offenders under the PCA.
In our country, it is a reality that people are forced to pay bribes even to get their basic entitlements like
rations, pensions, education and health facilities.
Despite widespread public opinion against the necessity to seek the governments permission before
prosecuting a public servant for corruption, the amendments seek to strengthen this provision by increasing
the cover to even retired public officials.

Way Forward

The government should reconsider offering immunity to at least three types of bribe-givers:
Those who are coerced to pay a bribe to obtain their legal entitlements.
Those who voluntarily come forward to complain and bear witness against corrupt public officials.
Those who are willing to turn approvers.
The objective of combating coercive corruption would be more effectively achieved if the government puts
in place a comprehensive grievance redress mechanism.
The PCA must insulate prosecuting agencies from government influence.
The Lokpal law has vested the power of granting sanction for prosecution in the Lokpal. The proposed
amendments must reflect this.
Wherever the procedure for granting prosecution is defined in the Lokpal or Lokayukta laws, it should be
applicable.
For all other cases, including where no Lokpal or Lokayukta has been set up, an independent committee
should be tasked with the responsibility of giving prior approval for prosecution.

9.2.2. THE CITIZENSHIP (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2016


Why in news?

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was introduced in LokSabha on July 19, 2016. The Bill seeks to
amend the Citizenship Act, 1955.

Features of the Bill

The Bill seeks to amend the definition of illegal migrants that will enable the government to grant
citizenship to minorities, mostly Hindus, from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who have fled their
country fearing religious persecution.
The Bill creates an exception for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan,
Bangladesh and Pakistan. For these groups of persons, applying for citizenship by naturalisation, the 11
years requirement will be reduced to six years.
Cancellation of registration of OCIs: The Act provides that the central government may cancel registration of
OCIs on certain grounds. The Bill adds one more ground for cancelling registration, that is, if the OCI has
violated any law that is in force in the country.

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Way forward

The Centre has taken several measures in the past two years to alleviate the problems of the persecuted
minorities from the neighbouring countries who have been living here for long.
The proposed changes will have positive effect on the lives of the asylum seekers who have been exploited
and subjected to violence.
The changes should be made applicable to all the communities irrespective of religion they belong to.

9.2.3. ENEMY PROPERTY AMENDMENT BILL


Why in news?

The President of India has promulgated the Enemy Property


(Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2016 to make amendments
to the Enemy Property Act, 1968.
However, it could not be passed due to parliamentary logjam. Thus,
the government has repromulgated the Ordinance for the same.

Need

What constitutes Enemy Property?


Under the Defence of India Rules
framed under the Defence of India
Act, the Government of India took
over the properties and companies
of such persons who had taken
Pakistani nationality due to partition
of India in 1947.
These enemy properties were
vested by the Central Government
in the Custodian of Enemy Property
for India.

To ensure that the enemy property continues to vest in the


Custodian, appropriate amendments were brought in by way of an
Ordinance in the Enemy Property Act, 1968 by the then Government
in 2010.
However, the ordinance lapsed in September 2010 and later introduced bill was also lapsed because of
completion of term of Lok Sabha.

Provisions of the Ordinance

Once an enemy property is vested in the Custodian, it shall continue to be vested in custodian as enemy
property irrespective of whether the enemy, enemy subject or enemy firm has ceased to be an enemy due
to reasons such as death etc.
Law of succession does not apply to enemy property.
There cannot be transfer of any property vested in the Custodian by an enemy or enemy subject or enemy
firm and that the Custodian shall preserve the enemy property till it is disposed of in accordance with the
provisions of the Act.

Impact of Ordinance

The above amendments to the Enemy Property Act, 1968 will help in plugging the loopholes in the Act to
ensure that the enemy properties that have been vested in the Custodian remain so and they do not revert
back to the enemy subject or enemy firm.

Enemy Property Act, 1968 Provisions

The Enemy Property Act was enacted in the year 1968 by the Government of India, which provided for the
continuous vesting of enemy property in the Custodian.
The act authorized the Central Government of India to appoint a custodian for enemy property for India and
one or more deputy/assistant custodians as assistances.
There is also a provision which validates the appointments made under the Defence of India Rules 1962 and
1971.
The fees equal two percent on the gross income from the properties vested in the Custodian. The income
received by way of rent, interest etc. on securities is invested in the Reserve Bank of India.

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9.2.4. CORPORATE GOVERNANCE: COMPANIES (AMENDMENT) BILL 2016

The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2016 seeks to simplify private placement process, remove restrictions on
layers of subsidiaries and investment companies, amend CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) provisions to
bring greater clarity and exempt certain class of foreign entities from the compliance regime under this law.
The proposed changes are broadly aimed at addressing difficulties in implementation owing to stringency of
compliance requirements.

Criticisms

It is argued that the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2016, unlike the existing law, allows for some pecuniary
interest in companies for independent directors.
The proposed law allows such directors on their own to have transactions with companies where they are
independent directors up to 10% of such independent directors total income. Thus, the law legitimises selfdealing merchants as independent directors.

Concerns

The above limit of 10% for transactions in the hands of independent directors can be altered by executive
action through prescribing an altered limit. Vested interests can achieve a higher limit by influencing the
executive. This would certainly further weaken independence on corporate boards.
The proposed change in law allows a relative of an independent director to be indebted to the company or
its promoters and their satellites within a limit as may be prescribed by the Central Government. But, when a
relative of an independent director is indebted to the company, the independence of such a director would
be highly suspect. Especially when a relative of an independent director is indebted to promoters of a
company, independence of such a director becomes a definite casualty.
Under the existing law, an independent directors relative should not have been a senior employee of the
company in the last three years. The proposed change in law seems to takes away this restriction and
definitely strikes at the root of independence of directors.

Way ahead

While many of the other proposals in the Companies Bill, 2016 are correctional or clarificatory in nature and
are quite welcome, the amendments proposed in respect of independent directors are hard to justify. A law
which undermines independence of directors, even if justified for pragmatic reasons, should not be
espoused.
The law has been rightly referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee before it is considered by the
Parliament. Now, an informed discussion and debate regarding the proposed changes in law relating to
independent directors should be seen as a national priority.

9.2.5. TRANSPORT AND ROAD SAFETY BILL, 2015


Problem of Road safety in India

In India, over 1,40,000 people die and more than 5,00,000 suffer serious injuries every year in road
crashes. Road accident globally are leading cause of death for the young age group (15-29yrs)- 90% of this is
in developing and under-developed countries- nearly half of them are vulnerable road users (pedestrians,
cyclists etc).
An official report says that 1.46 lakh Indian were killed in road accidents in 2015, a jump of 5% than 2014.
A legislation to tackle this problem is of utmost necessity.

Aim of bill

To provide a scientifically planned and evolving framework for the safety of all road users in India, including
vulnerable road users.
To enable the seamless development of a secure, efficient, cost-effective, sustainable and inclusive transport
system for the movement of passenger and freight in the country.

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Salient features
1. Technology: It proposes adoption of new technology and standards with improved vehicle design for safer
travel. It also intends to make spare parts cheaper.
2. Funding: It proposes innovative financing mechanism for funding safety programs which would save over
200,000 lives in first 5 years due to reduction in road traffic accident deaths.
3. Motor Vehicle Regulation & Road Safety Authority of India:This Independent Agency will set regulations
for motor vehicle and road safety. It will finance road/vehicle safety program and will be Accountable to
Parliament.
4. Motor Vehicle Regulation: The bill sets up appropriate regulation regarding vehicles.
5. Unified Driver Licensing System: The bill proposed a simpler transparent, single window driver licensing
system that is based on biometric to avoid duplication
6. Unified Vehicle Registration System: It proposes a Unified Vehicle Registration System integrating all
stakeholders like manufacturer, owner, transport authority, insurer, and enforcement agency all in one ecosystem with private sector participation in establishing fitness certification centres to create more jobs.
7. Road Safety & Traffic Management:
Electronic enforcement in urban clusters using modern safety technologies with special emphasis for
safety of vulnerable road users
Creation of Motor Accident Fund for immediate relief to accident victim special emphasis on safety of
school children and security of women.
8. National Road Transport & Multimodal Coordination Authority:
Creation of National Road Transport & Multimodal Coordination Authority for improving quality of road
transportation,
Focus on developing integrated transport systems & multi-modal hubs and feeder system and last mile
connectivity for people friendly mobility.
9. Public passenger Transport:
Increasing the share of public passenger transportation,
Two-tier permit system: national and intrastate permit and
Developing & regulating public passenger transport schemes and developing & regulating public
passenger transport schemes.
10. Goods Transport & National Freight Policy:
Simplified permits and single portal clearances,
Identification and development of freight networks,
Address bottlenecks concerning trucking industry and increase in logistics efficiency will reduce inflation
and enable Indian manufacturing to become globally competitive.
11. Infrastructure & Multimodal Facilitation:
Infrastructure for efficient passenger and goods movement,
Specific provision of infrastructural needs for vulnerable road users,
Integration across various modes of transport.
12. Offences and Penalties:
Graded penalty point system with enhanced fines will act as a deterrent and improve traffic condition by
reducing road rage.

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It also seeks to come down heavily on traffic offenders and proposes steep penalties of up to Rs. 3 lakh
along with a minimum 7-year imprisonment for death of a child in certain circumstances, besides huge
fines for driving violations.
13. Highway Traffic Regulation and Protection Force: for the purpose of effective policing and enforcement of
traffic regulations on highways, an armed force of the State to be called the Highway Traffic Regulation and
Protection Force.
Opposition to the bill

High penalties
scrapping of state RTOs and involvement of private entities in issuing licenses
Encroaching upon the financial, legislative and administrative domains of the state governments.

Road safety regulator

Road Safety Bill is on the way but could not be passed due to parliamentary logjam. The government
proposes to form the National Road Safety and Traffic Management Board through an executive order in
the meanwhile to lay down standards and oversee activities related to road safety.
Benefits of road regulator
It will push automobile companies to introduce airbags in economy cars.
It will also push states to conduct safety audits of state highways and district roads.
It will be helpful in ensuring road safety norms in India.
It will also ensure the effective maintenance of the roads.

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10. PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTIONS


2015

Discuss the possible factors that inhibit India from enacting for its citizens a uniform civil code as provided
for in the Directive Principles of State Policy.
Khap Panchayats have been in the news for functioning as extra-constitutional authorities, often delivering
pronouncements amounting to human rights violations. Discuss critically the actions taken by the legislative,
executive and the judiciary to set the things right in this regard.
Does the right to clean environment entail legal regulations on burning crackers during Diwali? Discuss in the
light of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and Judgement(s) of the Apex Court in this regard.
Resorting to ordinances has always raised concern on violation of the spirit of separation of powers doctrine.
While noting the rationales justifying the power to promulgate ordinances, analyze whether the decisions of
the Supreme Court on the issue have further facilitated resorting to this power. Should the power to
promulgate ordinances be repealed?
The concept of cooperative federalism has been increasingly emphasized in recent years. Highlight the
drawbacks in the existing structure and the extent to which cooperative federalism would answer the
shortcomings.
In absence of a well-educated and organized local level government system, `Panchayats and Samitis have
remained mainly political institutions and not effective instruments of governance. Critically discuss.
What are the major changes brought in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 through the recent
Ordinance promulgated by the President? How far will it improve Indias dispute resolution mechanism?
Discuss.
For achieving the desired objectives, it is necessary to ensure that the regulatory institutions remain
independent and autonomous. Discuss in the light of the experiences in recent past.
In the light of the Satyam Scandal (2009), discuss the changes brought in corporate governance to ensure
transparency, accountability.
If amendment bill to the Whistleblowers Act, 2011 tabled in the Parliament is passed, there may be no one
left to protect. Critically evaluate.
Examine critically the recent changes in the rules governing foreign funding of NGOs under the Foreign
Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 1976.
How can the role of NGOs be strengthened in India for development works relating to protection of the
environment? Discuss throwing light on the major constraints.

2014

What do you understand by the concept freedom of speech and expression? Does it cover hate speech
also? Why do the films in India stand on a slightly different plane from other forms of expression? Discuss.
Instances of Presidents delay in commuting death sentences has come under public debate as denial of
justice. Should there be a time limit specified for the President to accept/reject such petitions? Analyse.
The size of the cabinet should be as big as governmental work justifies and as big as the Prime Minister can
manage as a team. How far the efficacy of a government then is inversely related to the size of the cabinet?
Discuss.
The Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and its Members as envisaged in Article 105 of the
Constitution leave room for a large number of un-codified and un-enumerated privileges to continue. Assess
the reasons for the absence of legal codification of the parliamentary privileges. How can this problem be
addressed?
Starting from inventing the basic structure doctrine, the judiciary has played a highly proactive role in
ensuring that India develops into a thriving democracy. In light of the statement, evaluate the role played by
judicial activism in achieving the ideals of democracy.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in India can be most effective when its tasks are adequately
supported by other mechanisms that ensure the accountability of a government. In light of the above
observation assess the role of NHRC as an effective complement to the judiciary and other institutions in
promoting and protecting human rights standards.

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The setting up of a Rail Tariff Authority to regulate fares will subject the cash strapped Indian Railways to
demand subsidy for obligation to operate non-profitable routes and services. Taking into account the
experience in the power sector, discuss if the proposed reform is expected to benefit the consumers, the
Indian Railways or the private container operators.
Two parallel run schemes of the Government viz. the Adhaar Card and NPR, one as voluntary and the other
as compulsory, have led to debates at national levels and also litigations. On merits, discuss whether or not
both schemes need run concurrently. Analyse the potential of the schemes to achieve developmental
benefits and equitable growth.
Has the Cadre based Civil Services Organisation been the cause of slow change in India? Critically examine.
Though the federal principle is dominant in our Constitution and that principle is one of its basic features,
but it is equally true that federalism under the Indian Constitution leans in favour of a strong Centre, a
feature that militates against the concept of strong federalism. Discuss.

2013

Discuss Section 66A of IT Act, with reference to its alleged violation of Article 19 of the Constitution.
The role of individual MPs (Members of Parliament) has diminished over the years and as a result healthy
constructive debates on policy issues are not usually witnessed. How far can this be attributed to the antidefection law, which was legislated but with a different intention? 2013
The Supreme Court of India keeps a check on arbitrary power of the Parliament in amending the
Constitution. Discuss critically.
Recent directives from Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas are perceived by the `Nagas as a threat to
override the exceptional status enjoyed by the State. Discuss in light of Article 371A of the Indian
Constitution.
Many State Governments further bifurcate geographical administrative areas like Districts and Talukas for
better governance. In light of the above, can it also be justified that more number of smaller States would
bring in effective governance at State level? Discuss.
Constitutional mechanisms to resolve the inter-state water disputes have failed to address and solve the
problems. Is the failure due to structural or process inadequacy or both? Discuss.
Discuss the recommendations of the 13th Finance Commission which have been a departure from the
previous commissions for strengthening the local government finances.
The product diversification of financial institutions and insurance companies, resulting in overlapping of
products and services strengthens the case for the merger of the two regulatory agencies, namely SEBI and
IRDA. Justify.
Electronic cash transfer system for the welfare schemes is an ambitious project to minimize corruption,
eliminate wastage and facilitate reforms. Comment.
The basis of providing urban amenities in rural areas (PURA) is rooted in establishing connectivity. Comment.
Though Citizens charters have been formulated by many public service delivery organizations, there is no
corresponding improvement in the level of citizens satisfaction and quality of services being provided.
Analyze.
A national Lokpal, however strong it may be, cannot resolve the problems of immorality in public affairs.
Discuss.
Pressure group politics is sometimes seen as the informal face of politics. With regards to the above, assess
the structure and functioning of pressure groups in India.

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