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3rd November Current Affairs

Contents

  1. HC panel on Special Courts to try MPs, MLAs
  2. MHA flags need to amend IPC
  3. Government Defends new J&K Land Laws
  4. Gilgit-Baltistan to be a full province: Pakistan PM
  5. La Nina is back

HC PANEL ON SPECIAL COURTS TO TRY MPS, MLAS

Focus: GS-II Polity and Governance

Why in news?

  • A three-judge committee of the Madras High Court has questioned the constitutional validity of setting up Special Courts to exclusively try MPs and MLAs for various crimes.
  • The High Court Committee report comes in the face of a 2017 Supreme Court order authorising the Centre to set up 12 Special Courts to exclusively try criminal politicians across the country.
  • It also comes at a time when a three-judge Bench of the apex court led by Justice N.V. Ramana is looking at ways to expedite these trials pending for years, in some cases, for decades.
  • The committee raised strong reservations against setting up Special Courts in Tamil Nadu.

Details regarding criminal cases against legislators from SC report

  • Over 4,400 criminal trials are pending against legislators. Of this over 2500 trials involve sitting legislators.
  • The cases were pending in various special courts exclusively set up to try criminal cases registered against politicians.
  • The cases against the legislators include that of corruption, money laundering, damage to public property, defamation and cheating.
  • A large number of cases were for violation of Section 188 IPC for wilful disobedience and obstruction of orders promulgated by public servants.
  • There are more than 400 cases in respect of offences, which are punishable with imprisonment for life, out of which in 174 cases sitting MPs/ MLAs are accused.
  • The trial of more than 350 cases had been stayed by High Courts and the apex court.
  • A large number of cases were pending at the appearance stage and even non-bailable warrants (NBWs) issued by courts have not been executed.

As per the report submitted in the Supreme Court, Uttar Pradesh tops the chart.

Views of the Madras High Court

  • The Madras High Court Bench said the Special Courts should be “offence-centric” and not “offender-centric.”
  • An MP/MLA, who commits an offence under the POCSO Act [or other Special Acts like Prevention of Corruption Act, Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act] can only be tried by a Special Court created under the POCSO Act [PC Act, NDPS Act] and there cannot be another Special Court exclusively for trial of an MP/MLA, who commits POCSO offence.
  • The committee pointed to how witnesses, probably in Kanyakumari, have to travel 700 km to Chennai to testify at the Special Court there, and nothing is specified about their safety.

Way Forward

  1. Judicial pronouncements on making it difficult for criminal candidates to contest are necessary, only enhanced awareness and increased democratic participation could create the right conditions for the decriminalization of politics.
  2. There needs to be an increased and sincere monitoring the affidavits of candidates.
  3. Working with the Election Commission in monitoring compliance with the Supreme Court judgment to see if details of tainted candidates are promptly put up on their websites, and on their social media handles, along with proper reasons for giving them ticket.
  4. Voters also need to be vigilant about misuse of money, gifts and other inducements during elections.
  5. Voters also need to be wary of fake news, trolling, and fanciful claims.
  6. Discouraging political parties from fielding criminals as candidates
  7. Adequate security measures during elections
  8. Role of money in election should be lowered

-Source: The Hindu


MHA FLAGS NEED TO AMEND IPC

Focus: GS-II Polity and Governance

Why in news?

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs said that States have been asked for their suggestions to amend the British era Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Highlights of the Minister’s speech

  • The government has amended criminal laws from time-to-time and enacted The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018, to prescribe more stringent penal provisions for convicts.
  • The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018 provides amongst many other provisions, the death penalty for rape or gang rape of a girl less than 12 years, no anticipatory bail for such crime, completion of investigation in two months, and trials to be completed in two months.
  • The Home Affairs Ministry is supporting States and Union Territories in setting up and strengthening woman help desks in police stations and strengthening Anti Human Trafficking Units in all districts.
  • The National Database on Sexual Offenders is used by police officers to identify repeat offenders, and receive alerts on sex offenders, as also in the investigation.
  • Police can also use this data for verification requests from various employers for their employees working in vulnerable areas, like educational institutions, hotels, public transportation.

Indian Penal Code (IPC)

  • The Indian Penal Code (IPC) is the official criminal code of India.
  • It is a comprehensive code intended to cover all substantive aspects of criminal law.
  • The code was drafted on the recommendations of first law commission of India established in 1834 under the Charter Act of 1833 under the Chairmanship of Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay.
  • It came into force in British India during the early British Raj period in 1862. However, it did not apply automatically in the Princely states, which had their own courts and legal systems until the 1940s.
  • The Code has since been amended several times and is now supplemented by other criminal provisions.
  • After the partition of the British Indian Empire, the Indian Penal Code was inherited by its successor states, the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan, where it continues independently as the Pakistan Penal Code.
  • After the separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan, the code continued in force there.
  • The Code was also adopted by the British colonial authorities in Colonial Burma, Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka), the Straits Settlements (now part of Malaysia), Singapore and Brunei, and remains the basis of the criminal codes in those countries.

-Source: The Hindu


GOVERNMENT DEFENDS NEW J&K LAND LAWS

Focus: GS-II Polity and Governance

Why in news?

In the face of growing anxiety and protests in regions of Jammu and Kashmir, the J&K administration said the recently introduced land laws “will afford protection to over 90% of the land in the Union Territory (UT)” as the previous laws were “anti-people”.

Explanation given to justify the move

  • A number of laws had contradictions leading to scope for discretionary interpretation and rent seeking e.g. ‘Family’ was defined differently in different laws, provision of alienation and conversion of land were different in different laws and the ceiling of 182 kanals fixed in Big Landed Estates Abolition Act was superseded by 100 standard kanals in the Agrarian Reforms act, 1976, yet both provisions continued to coexist creating contradiction and confusion.
  • A number of protections have been built into the new land laws on similar lines as has been enacted in other States such as Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. No agricultural land can be transferred to any person from outside the UT of J&K.
  • The administration has set up a Board of Revenue to “regulate use of land, alienation and conversion, land lease, consolidation and contract farming”.

More about the Recently Introduced Land Laws in Jammu and Kashmir

  • People as well as investors outside Jammu and Kashmir can now purchase land in the Union Territory (UT) as the Centre notified new land laws for the region, ending the exclusive rights of locals over the land granted under now abrogated Article 370.
  • Under the newly introduced J&K Development Act, the term “being permanent resident of the State” as a criterion has been “omitted”, paving the way for investors outside J&K to invest in the UT.
  • The Centre has been arguing that Article 370 hampered development in the U.T. as investors were unable to purchase land prior to August 5, 2019.
  • The Centre is likely to notify separate land laws for the UT of Ladakh soon.
  • Under a new provision, an Army officer not below the rank of Corps Commander can declare an area as “Strategic Area” within a local area, only for direct operational and training requirements of the armed forces.
  • Prior to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act Indian citizens from other states could not purchase land or property in Jammu and Kashmir.

-Source: The Hindu


GILGIT-BALTISTAN TO BE A FULL PROVINCE: PAKISTAN PM

Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

  • Prime Minister Imran Khan has angered India after declaring that part of the contested Kashmir region will provisionally become a full province of Pakistan.
  • Any change in status would require a constitutional amendment. If finalised, it would make Gilgit-Baltistan Pakistan’s fifth province.
  • Pakistan has administered the area now known as Gilgit-Baltistan since shortly after the country’s birth in 1947, but New Delhi asserts the mountainous territory bordering China and Afghanistan is an integral part of Kashmir.

Chinese role

China has spent years building infrastructure projects in Gilgit-Baltistan, home to an estimated 1.3 million people, including a long stretch of the Karakoram Highway, a key component to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

India’s View of ‘Illegal occupation’

  • India’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that “Such attempts by Pakistan, intended to camouflage its illegal occupation, cannot hide the grave human rights violations, exploitation and denial of freedom for over seven decades to the people residing in these Pakistan-occupied territories.”
  • Two of the three wars the rival neighbours have fought since independence have been over Kashmir — home to shrinking Himalayan glaciers seen as vital lifelines to the water stressed countries.

Gilgit-Baltistan

  • Gilgit-Baltistan is one of the disputed territories of India.
  • It is a chunk of high-altitude territory located on the north western corner of the Union Territory of Ladakh.
  • It is located strategically as it borders Pakistan, Afghanistan and China.
  • The region was a part of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, but has been under Pakistan’s control since 4th November, 1947, following the invasion of Kashmir by tribal militias and the Pakistan army.
  • Maharaja Hari Singh, the last Dogra ruler of J&K, had signed the Instrument of Accession with India on 26th October 1947.
  • India moved to the United Nations Security Council to raise the issue of Pakistan’s invasion on 1st January 1948.
  • The UN Security Council passed a resolution calling for Pakistan to withdraw from all of Jammu and Kashmir and then India had to reduce its forces to the minimum level following which a plebiscite would be held to ascertain people’s wishes.
  • However, no withdrawal was ever carried out and it remains a point of contention between two countries.
  • The Gilgit-Baltistan region is at the centre of USD 65 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor Infrastructure development plan.

-Source: The Hindu


LA NINA IS BACK

Focus: GS-I Geography

Why in news?

The La Niña weather phenomenon is back in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean after nearly a decade’s absence, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in its latest Global Seasonal update released in October 2020.

The Current La Niña

  • La Niña will result in sea surface temperatures between two and three degrees Celsius cooler than average.
  • However, 2020 is on track to be one of the warmest years on record and 2016-2020 is expected to be the warmest five-year period on record.
  • La Niña could last into 2021, affecting temperatures, precipitation and storm patterns in many parts of the world, according to WMO.
  • There is a high possibility (90 per cent) of tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures remaining at La Niña levels through the end of 2020 and maybe through the first quarter of 2021 (55 per cent).
  • The La Niña of 2020 is expected to be moderate to strong. The last time there was a strong La Niña event, was in 2010-2011, followed by a moderate event in 2011-2012.
  • There were a series of floods in Pakistan and Northwest India in 2010 that were attributed to the weather phenomenon.
  • The Horn of Africa and central Asia will see below average rainfall due to La Niña, WMO said.
LaNina

La Niña

  • La Niña is a coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomenon that is the colder counterpart of El Niño, as part of the broader El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate pattern.
  • is a coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomenon that is the colder counterpart of El Niño, as part of the broader El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate pattern.
  • During a period of La Niña, the sea surface temperature across the equatorial Eastern Central Pacific Ocean will be lower than normal by 3 to 5 °C (5.4 to 9 °F).
  • An appearance of La Niña persists for at least five months.
  • It has extensive effects on the weather across the globe, particularly in North America, even affecting the Atlantic and Pacific hurricane seasons, in which more tropical cyclones occur in the Atlantic basin due to low wind shear and warmer sea surface temperatures, while reducing tropical cyclogenesis in the Pacific Ocean.
  • La Niña is a complex weather pattern that occurs every few years, as a result of variations in ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific.
  • It occurs as strong winds blow warm water at the ocean’s surface from South America across the Pacific Ocean towards Indonesia.
  • As this warm water moves west, cold water from the deep sea rises to the surface near South America.
  • As a result, it is considered to be the cold phase of the broader El Niño–Southern Oscillation weather pattern, as well as the opposite of El Niño weather pattern.
  • La Niña impacts the global climate and disrupts normal weather patterns, which as a result can lead to intense storms in some places and droughts in others.
El Niño event will lead to coastal flooding and erosion of B.C.'s coast |  Globalnews.ca

El Niño

  • El Niño is the warm phase of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and is associated with a band of warm ocean water that develops in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific (between approximately the International Date Line and 120°W), including the area off the Pacific coast of South America.
  • The ENSO is the cycle of warm and cold sea surface temperature (SST) of the tropical central and eastern Pacific Ocean.
  • El Niño is accompanied by high air pressure in the western Pacific and low air pressure in the eastern Pacific.
  • During the development of El Niño, rainfall develops between September–November.
  • The cool phase of ENSO is La Niña, with SSTs in the eastern Pacific below average, and air pressure high in the eastern Pacific and low in the western Pacific.
  • The ENSO cycle, including both El Niño and La Niña, causes global changes in temperature and rainfall.

-Source: Down to Earth Magazine

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