- SC tell Govt. to review orders curbing basic rights in J&K
- Steel Mesh to replace Barbed Wire Fences on Borders
- All set for water bird Census in A.P.
- MoD approves rules of business for DMA
- Centre gets notice on plea for population control
- Section 144 not a tool to suppress opinion: SC
- IIP reverses slump, grows by 1.8% in November
- West Bengal tops in 2018 acid attack cases: NCRB
- INS Vikramaditya deployed in Arabian Sea
Why in news?
The Supreme Court on 10th January ordered the government to review “forthwith” any existing orders that restrict basic rights and free movement in Jammu and Kashmir.
SC and basic rights
- The court upheld the freedoms of free speech, expression and trade or business on the Internet as fundamental rights to be constitutionally protected.
- It, however, refused to express any views on whether the very access to the Internet is a fundamental right or not.
- The Supreme Court directed the government to review orders suspending Internet services in the erstwhile State instantly.
- It ordered any order suspending the Internet found to violate the law should be revoked at once.
- It further instructed the government to consider restoring government websites, localised/limited e-banking facilities, hospital services and other essential services in areas in the Union Territory, where it was otherwise not thinking to do so immediately.
What has happened after removal of article 370?
- Following the Abrogation of Article 370 from J&K, the Indian Government had passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill, 2019 which contains the provisions to reconstitute the state into two separate Union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
- While the new UT of J&K will have an assembly like the existing UTs of Delhi and Puducherry, the UT of Ladakh will be directly governed by the Central Government.
- This bill came into full effect by October 31, 2019.
- With this bill, the Government had also dissolved the IAS & IPS cadres of Jammu & Kashmir and now all officers are part of the existing Central government pool of bureaucrats.
Why in news?
The ‘rickety’ barbed wires along the Pakistan and Bangladesh borders are being replaced with meshed fence made of steel and coated with anti-rust paint, a senior government official said on 10th January 2019.
- India shares a 4,096.7 km long border with Bangladesh and 3,323 km with Pakistan.
- The Border Security Force (BSF), deployed along the Pakistan and Bangladesh borders, has been tasked with ensuring that the fence is installed in a time-bound manner.
- This will be a complete overhaul of the security system. The unique quality of the new fence is that it cannot be snipped and nobody can climb it.
- There are many pockets along the border where the old barbed wires are so fragile that they can be destroyed with a mild push.
Why in news?
- The annual bird census will commence in the Corniga Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS) and surrounding wetlands in the Godavari mangrove cover on the east coast
- Indian Skimmer, a water bird species, has started visiting the Godavari mangroves for three years. The species can be sighted only in three places in the country, including the Chambal river in Central India. The census will document such incredible findings of the avian life surviving in the Godavari mangroves
- IUCN status of Indian skimmer
- The conservation status of the Indian Skimmer is ‘vulnerable’, according to the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources
Why in news?
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has approved the rules of business for the newly created Department of Military Affairs (DMA), headed by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
- The DMA, headed by Gen. Bipin Rawat, will have two Joint Secretaries, 13 Deputy Secretaries, 25 Under Secretaries and 22 Section officers
- Most of the training establishments and cadre management of the Services would be under the purview of the DMA.
- Deputations to the training establishments, such as the National Defence Academy, the Indian Military Academy, the Officers Training Academy and the Defence Services Staff College would also be under the CDS.
- The DMA is the fifth department in the MoD — the others being the Department of Defence, the Department of Defence Production, the Department of Defence research and Development and the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare.
Why in news?
The Supreme Court on 10th January 2020, sought a response from the government to a petition for population control measures, including a two-child norm.
- Delhi High Court dismissed a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) petition seeking urgent steps to control the country’s rising population.
- Petition was filed in Supreme Court by the advocate challenging the Delhi High Court’s decision to dismiss the PIL petition.
- A SC Bench issued notice to the government on the petition.
- High Court had refused to
intervene saying it was up to the legislature to enact laws.
- Contention was that the HC had failed to appreciate that the right to clean air, drinking water, health, peaceful sleep, shelter, livelihood and education, which are guaranteed under Articles 21 and 21A of the Constitution, could not be fully secured without controlling the population.
Why in news?
The orders of restriction issued under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal procedure (Cr.PC) could not be used as a tool to suppress legitimate expression, opinion and grievances in a democracy, the Supreme Court ruled on 10th January.
- Referring to the submissions by petitioners that the police were still restricting the movement of people during the day in Jammu and Kashmir, the court said it was neither proper nor correct on the part of the State to resort to such acts.
- Supreme Court said “If a government thinks there is a threat to law and order…, it must follow due procedure, taking into consideration the rights of citizens, and pass only appropriate and need-based restrictive orders”
Specifics of Court Order
- The court noted that the orders issued under Section 144 in Jammu and Kashmir did not explain that restrictions were imposed in anticipation of a threat to law and order or to prevent loss of life and property.
- This was despite the fact that government had argued that the restrictions were imposed because of the erstwhile State’s history of cross-border terrorism and infiltration and other security issues.
- Divergent views and disapproval of government action could not lead to imposition of Section 144.
- The power was meant to be used o only in case of public emergency or in the interest of public safety.
- Magistrates could not apply a straitjacket formula without assessing the objective and material facts. Restrictions could not be excessive in nature or duration.
- On the contention whether Section 144 could be invoked against the public in general or against specific groups or persons, the court referred to the Madhu Limaye judgment that a general order could be passed if the number of persons was so large that a distinction could not be made without risk.
Why in news?
- Having contracted for three months in a row, the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) recorded a growth of 1.8% in November 2019, mainly on account of an improvement in the manufacturing sector, official data showed on 10th January 2020.
- The IIP growth in November 2018 was 0.2%.
- According to the National Statistical Office (NSO) data, the growth in the manufacturing sector was 2.7% as against a contraction of 0.7% in the same month on 2018.
- Electricity generation shrank by 5%, as against a growth of 5.1% in November 2018.
- The IIP growth during April-November in the current fiscal came in at 0.6%, far slower than the 5% in the same period of 2018-19.
- Mining sector output decelerated to 1.7%, from 2.7% in the year earlier period.
- NSO as an agency was envisaged firstly by Rangarajan Commission to implement and maintain statistical standards and coordinate statistical activities of Central and State agencies as laid down by the National Statistical Commission (NSC).
- This commission had also recommended setting up of the NSC, headed by a person with a Minister of State-level designation, to serve as a nodal and empowered body for all core statistical activities of the country.
- NSO was formed with the merger of National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) and Central Statistics Office (CSO) under Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).
- The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index that shows the growth rates in different industry groups of the economy in a fixed period of time.
- It is compiled and published monthly by the Central Statistical Organization (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
- IIP is a composite indicator
that measures the growth rate of industry groups classified under:
- Broad sectors, namely, Mining, Manufacturing, and Electricity.
- Use-based sectors, namely Basic Goods, Capital Goods, and Intermediate Goods
Why in news?
West Bengal accounted for the highest number of acid attack cases, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NRCB) report released on January 2020.
- There has been a marginal decline in the incidents of acid attacks in the country in 2018 compared to the previous year West Bengal tops with 50 cases Uttar Pradesh comes second with 40 and Delhi third with 11 cases.
- The common perception is that acid attack are mainly targeted towards women, but in some cases enmity and dispute results in acid attacks on men as well.
- Acid attacks are registered under Section 326 A of the Indian Penal Code, with a minimum punishment of 10 years of imprisonment.
Why in news?
India has deployed its aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya in the Arabian Sea at a time China and Pakistan are holding a nine-day mega naval exercise in the region.
- Pakistan and China on Monday launched a major drill in the north Arabian Sea called “Sea Guardians”.
- Aim is to increase interoperability and strategic cooperation between their two navies.
- The exercise is taking place in the midst of heightened tension between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue.
- Key platforms of both China and Pakistan, including submarines, destroyers and frigates, are part of the exercise.
- Aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, with MiG29K fighters on board, has been sent with a strategic objective