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17th November Current Affairs

Contents

  1. SC discourages use of Article 32 in scribe case
  2. Annual Report on Vital Statistics of India
  3. Ethiopia risks falling into an ethnic civil war
  4. Vulture Action Plan 2020-25

SC DISCOURAGES USE OF ARTICLE 32 IN SCRIBE CASE

Focus: GS-II Polity and Governance

Why in news?

The Supreme Court said it was trying to discourage the use of the provision under Article 32 that allows incarcerated people to directly approach the top court against violation of their fundamental rights as it felt that high courts were well-equipped to deal with such matters.

Why did the question arise?

  • In a case pertaining to Malayalam journalist, who is facing charges of sedition and offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and who is being probed by the Uttar Pradesh police for alleged links with banned outfit Popular Front of India (PFI), the SC said it was trying to discourage the use of Article 32.
  • In another case, involving a person who is currently under arrest in multiple criminal cases for his tweets on Maharashtra chief minister, the SC decline to entertain a petition under Article 32. The SC was of the view that the High Court can also uphold fundamental rights and grant bail, so approaching SC under Article 32 was unnecessary.

Article 32

  • In Part 3 of the Indian Constitution – The Fundamental Right under Article 32 (Right to Constitutional Remedies) states that individuals have the right to approach the Supreme Court (SC) seeking enforcement of other fundamental rights recognised by the Constitution.
  • The right to move the SC shall not be suspended except as otherwise provided for by the Constitution.
  • In case of the enforcement of Fundamental Rights, the jurisdiction of the SC is original but not exclusive.

Suspension of Article 32

  • Thus, the Constitution provides that the President can suspend the right to move any court for the enforcement of the fundamental rights during a national emergency (Article 359).

Power of Writs

The SC has power to issue directions or orders or writs for the enforcement of any of the fundamental rights.

The Constitution empowers the Supreme Court and High Courts to issue orders or writs of the following types:

  1. Habeas Corpus
  2. Certiorari
  3. Prohibition
  4. Mandamus
  5. Quo Warranto

Habeas Corpus

  • Habeas Corpus is a writ that is enforced to protect the fundamental right to liberty of an individual against unlawful detention.
  • This writ commands a public official to deliver a detained person in front of the court and provide valid reasons for the detention.
  • However, this writ cannot be issued in case the proceeding is for contempt of a legislature or a court.

Certiorari

  • Certiorari is issued to a lower court directing that the transfer of a case for review, usually to overrule the judgment of the lower court.
  • The Supreme Court issues the writ of Certiorari in case the decision passed by the lower court is challenged by the party.
  • It is issued in case the higher court finds it a matter of over jurisdiction or lack of jurisdiction.

Prohibition

  • Prohibition is a writ issued by a higher court to a lower court to enforce inactivity in the jurisdiction.
  • It happens only in case the higher court is of the discretion that the case falls outside the jurisdiction of the lower court.
  • Writ of Prohibition can only be issued against judicial and quasi-judicial authorities.

Mandamus

  • Mandamus is issued to a subordinate court, an officer of the government, or a corporation or other institution commanding the performance of certain acts or duties.
  • Unlike Habeas Corpus, Mandamus cannot be issued against a private individual.
  • The writ of mandamus can be used to order the completion of a task or in other cases, it may require an activity to be ceased.

Quo warranto

  • Quo warranto is issued against a person who claims or usurps a public office.
  • Through this writ, the court inquires ‘by what authority’ the person supports his or her claim.
  • This writ prevents the illegal assumption of a public office by an individual.

Article 226 before Article 32

  • The SC has ruled that where relief through the high court is available under Article 226, the aggrieved party should first move the high court.
  • In case of the enforcement of Fundamental Rights, the jurisdiction of the SC is original but not exclusive. It is concurrent with the jurisdiction of the high court under Article 226.
  • Recently, the SC also conveyed its concerns that in many matters involving personal liberty, the High Courts are not exercising their jurisdiction as constitutional courts.

Article 226

  • Article 226 of the Constitution empowers a high court to issue writs including habeas corpus, mandamus, certiorari, prohibition and quo warranto for the enforcement of the fundamental rights of the citizens and for any other purpose.
  • The phrase ‘for any other purpose’ refers to the enforcement of an ordinary legal right. This implies that the writ jurisdiction of the high court is wider than that of the SC. This is because the SC can issue writs only for the enforcement of fundamental rights and not for any other purpose, that is, it does not extend to a case where the breach of an ordinary legal right is alleged.
  • The high court can issue writs to any person, authority and government not only within its territorial jurisdiction but also outside its territorial jurisdiction if the cause of action arises within its territorial jurisdiction.

-Source: Hindustan Times


ANNUAL REPORT ON VITAL STATISTICS OF INDIA

Focus: GS-I Indian Society

Why in news?

Arunachal Pradesh recorded the best sex ratio in the country while Manipur recorded the worst sex ratio, according to the 2018 report on “vital statistics of India based on the Civil Registration System”.

Highlights of ‘Annual Report on Vital Statistics of India’ for the year 2018

  • Arunachal Pradesh recorded 1,084 females born per thousand males, followed by Nagaland (965) Mizoram (964), Kerala (963) and Karnataka (957). The worst was reported in Manipur (757), Lakshadweep (839) and Daman & Diu (877), Punjab (896) and Gujarat (896).
  • The ratio was determined on the basis of data provided by 30 States and Union Territories as the “requisite information from six States namely Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal is not available.”
  • The number of registered births increased to 2.33 crore in 2018 from 2.21 crore registered births the previous year.
  • The level of registration of births has increased to 89.3% in 2018 from 81.3% in 2009.

How to Register a Birth or Death?

  • The prescribed time limit for registration of birth or death is 21 days. Some States however register the births and deaths even after a year.
  • The birth or death certificate is issued free of charge by the Registrar concerned if reported within 21 days.
  • If reported within 21-30 days, it can be registered on payment of the prescribed fee.
  • Births and deaths reported after one year of occurrence shall be registered only on an order of the Magistrate of the First Class after verifying the correctness and on payment of the prescribed fee.

What is Sex Ratio at Birth?

Sex ratio at birth is number of females born per thousand males.

More about Gender-imbalance

  • Prof. Amartya Kumar Sen, in his world-famous article “Missing Women‟ has statistically proved that during the last century, 100 million women have been missing in south Asia.
  • This is due to discrimination leading to death, experienced by them from womb to tomb in their life cycles.
  • An adverse child sex ratio is also reflected in the distorted gender makeup of the entire population.

Distortion in the Marriage System

  • Adverse ratio results in a gross imbalance in the number of men and women and its inevitable impact on marriage systems as well as other harms to women.
  • In India, some villages in Haryana and Punjab have such poor sex ratios that men “import” brides from other States. This is often accompanied by the exploitation of these brides.
  • There are concerns that skewed sex ratios lead to more violence against both men and women, as well as human-trafficking.

-Source: Times of India, The New Indian Express


ETHIOPIA RISKS FALLING INTO AN ETHNIC CIVIL WAR

Focus: GS-II International Relations

Background

  • Ethiopia’s Nobel Prize winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed started a military operation in the rebellious Tigray region in the country’s north recently.
  • Mr. Abiy has said it would be a limited campaign focusing on the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the militia-cum-political party that runs the region.
  • However, almost two weeks into the conflict, Ethiopia risks falling into an ethnic civil war with regional implications.

More about the Conflict’s history

  • After becoming Ethiopia’s Prime Minister in April 2018, Abiy Ahmed reached out to the political opposition, ushered democratic reforms, lifted curbs on the media and made peace with Eritrea – moves that won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019.
  • Eritrea is a sworn enemy of the TPLF, which shares a long border with the Tigray region.
  • He also removed TPLF from senior government positions. His push to concentrate more power in the hands of the government alienated the TPLF further.
  • The Tigray people make up roughly 6% of the population, while the Oromos have a 34% share and the Amharas 27%. The Oromos have alleged marginalisation and called for better representation.
  • Abiy, the country’s first Oromo leader, claimed that his actions are not driven by ethnic calculations but rather aimed at addressing the historic power imbalance in the country and making peace with the neighbours.

Click Here to read more about the Ethiopia and Tigray Issue and the Geographical aspect

India-Ethiopia Relations

  • Ethiopia is one of the largest recipients of long-term concessional credit from India in Africa.
  • Bilateral trade between Ethiopia and India stood at USD 1.28 billion in 2018-19, out of which Indian exports to Ethiopia were USD 1.23 billion and imports were USD 55.01 million.
  • There are more than 586 Indian companies in Ethiopia employing more than 55,000 people with licensed investment of over USD 4 billion.

-Source: Hindustan Times


VULTURE ACTION PLAN 2020-25

Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology

Why in news?

Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) launched a Vulture Action Plan 2020-25 for the conservation of vultures in the country.

Introduction

  • Vulture numbers saw a steep slide — as much as 90 per cent in some species — in India since the 1990s in one of the most drastic declines in bird populations in the world.
  • While the ministry has been carrying out a conservation project for vultures since 2006, the plan is to now extend the project to 2025 to not just halt the decline but to actively increase the vulture numbers in India.

Vultures in India

  • There are nine recorded species of vultures in India — the Oriental white-backed, long-billed, slender-billed, Himalayan, red-headed, Egyptian, bearded, cinereous and the Eurasian Griffon.
  • The Egyptian vulture is listed as ‘endangered’ while the Himalayan, bearded and cinereous vultures are ‘near threatened’.

Need for the Vulture Action Plan: Crisis in Vulture Population

  • Between the 1990s and 2007, numbers of three presently critically-endangered species – the Oriental white-backed, long-billed and slender-billed vultures — crashed massively with 99 per cent of the species having been wiped out.
  • The number of red-headed vultures, also critically-endangered now, declined by 91% while the Egyptian vultures by 80%.
  • The crash in vulture populations came into limelight in the mid-90s, and in 2004 the cause of the crash was established as diclofenac — a veterinary nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat pain and inflammatory diseases such as gout — in carcasses that vultures would feed off.

Significance of Vultures in the Ecosystem

  • The scavenging lifestyle that gives them a bad reputation is, in fact, that makes them so important for the environment, nature and society.
  • Vultures feeding on dead animals help areas getting rid of carcasses that, otherwise, would provide foul smells and scenery for a much longer period hence also known as nature’s cleanup crew.
  • Vultures also play a valuable role in keeping wildlife diseases in check.

Objectives of the Action Plan for Vulture Conservation 2020-2025

  • To ensure minimum use of Diclofenac.
  • To Prevent the poisoning of the principal food of vultures, the cattle carcasses, with veterinary NSAIDs, by ensuring that sale of veterinary NSAIDs is regulated and is disbursed only on prescription and by ensuring that treatment of livestock is done only by qualified veterinarians.
  • To carry out safety testing of available NSAIDs on vultures and to develop new ones which do not affect vultures.
  • To ensure that DGCI must institute a system that automatically removes a drug from veterinary use if it is found to be toxic to vultures.
  • To establish Additional Conservation Breeding Centres along with Vulture Conservation Centres with samples and information collected from the wild analysed and stored at these centres.
  • To implement the Vulture Safe Zone programme at eight different places in the country where there are existing populations of vultures.
  • To launch conservation plans for the Red-headed and Egyptian vultures, with breeding programmes for both.
  • To declare a Vulture Safe Zone only when no toxic drugs are found in undercover pharmacy and cattle carcass surveys, for two consecutive years, and the vulture populations are stable and not declining.
  • To build Four rescue centres for different geographical areas like Pinjore in the north, Bhopal in ventral India, Guwahati in Northeast and Hyderabad in South India.

-Source: Indian Express

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