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5th May Current Affairs

Contents

  1. India on Pakistan’s elections in Gilgit Baltistan
  2. Most COVID-19 cases in States with high swine flu rates
  3. Debt recovery tribunal
  4. Plea challenging appointment of additional judge

INDIA ON PAKISTAN’S ELECTIONS IN GILGIT BALTISTAN

Focus: GS-II International Relations, GS-I Geography

Why in news?

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued a “strong protest” on 4th May over an order by the Pakistan Supreme Court allowing the Imran Khan government to hold elections in the region of Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Details

The government said it had issued a demarche to protest what it called Pakistan’s attempt to make “material changes” to the disputed area, by bringing federal authority to Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), which has functioned as a “provincial autonomous region” since 2009.

On April 30 the Supreme Court in Islamabad had allowed the government to organise general elections in G-B, and to set up a caretaker government there before that.

What does India have to say about it?

  • The Government of Pakistan or its judiciary has no locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied by it.
  • India completely rejects such actions and continued attempts to bring material changes in Pakistan occupied areas of the Indian territory of Jammu & Kashmir. Instead, Pakistan should immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation.
  • India’s reaction is consistent with previous objections it has voiced against elections in G-B and in other parts of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, which it refers to as “Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK)”.
  • India also pointed out that G-B and PoK are an “integral part of India” along with the rest of Jammu and Kashmir, and referred to the Parliament resolution to this effect in 1994.

Pakistan’s Response to India’s objection

  • Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) responded that this was a response to India’s Abrogation of article 370 – which Pakistan claims is illegal and in clear violation of UNSC resolutions.
  • According to Pakistan- The entire State of Jammu and Kashmir is a “disputed” territory and is recognised as such by the international community.

Gilgit-Baltistan

Pakistan Map with Gilgit Balistan and Provinces Baluchistan Punjab Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
  • Gilgit-Baltistan is a region administered by Pakistan as an administrative territory, and constituting the northern portion of the larger Kashmir region which has been the subject of a dispute between India and Pakistan since 1947, and between India and China from somewhat later.
  • Gilgit-Baltistan is part of the greater Kashmir region, which is the subject of a long-running conflict between Pakistan and India.
  • The territory shares a border with “Pakistan administered Kashmir” (Called Azad Kashmir by Pakistan) and union territories of Jammu and Kashmir (union territory) and Ladakh separated from it by the Line of Control.
  • Pakistan is a federation that comprises four provinces: Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan and three territories: Islamabad Capital Territory, Gilgit–Baltistan and Azad Kashmir (according to Pakistan).

MOST COVID-19 CASES IN STATES WITH HIGH SWINE FLU RATES

Focus: GS-III Science and Technology, Disaster Management

Why in news?


Five States — Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Tamil Nadu — account for about 70% of India’s confirmed COVID-19 cases – and these are also States that consistently accounted for the bulk of swine flu cases, or seasonal influenza (H1N1) since 2015.

Details

  • Rajasthan, Gujarat, Delhi and Maharashtra accounted for 54 % of the confirmed H1N1 infections in 2019.
  • In 2018 again, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat, made up 65% of H1N1 cases.
  • And now in 2020, these are the same states that take away a lion’s share of the COVID-19 cases.

Why are these states under the spotlight?

  • Migration for work is one probable explanation for the relative dominance of Gujarat and Maharashtra in influenza and COVID-19 trends.
  • They are both respiratory viruses that spread through contact and often true numbers of such viruses are never detected.
  • Population and Migration for work is NOT exactly the reason to be blamed at because: while Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are among India’s most populous states and see intense migration to other states for work, they never featured among the top 5 states in terms of swine flu burden except for 2019 and 2017. Bihar has never recorded more than 50 cases of swine flu except in 2015.

Comparing COVID-19 and H1N1

  • While both HIN1 and COVID-19 are due to pathogens that trace their origins to viruses from non-human hosts, they belong to different families.
  • While both infiltrate the lungs and cause characteristic pulmonary infections, they have varying lethality.
  • Swine flu infections have a higher case fatality rates (deaths per confirmed cases) and can cause significant deaths in children as well as those less than 60.
  • COVID-19 on the other hand relatively more dangerous to those above 60 and almost harmless in children.

Diseases come in seasons?

  • February-March are typical months for influenza in India.
  • Most influenza activity in northern India was seen during the summer months, but in southern and western India, cases occurred mostly during winter months.
  • Given the novelty of Sars-CoV2, scientists cannot rule out another spike later in the year.

DEBT RECOVERY TRIBUNAL

Focus: GS-II Governance

Why in news?

Amid the COVID-19 lockdown, the Debt Recovery Tribunal I (DRT 1), Incharge of DRT II (DRT 2), Chennai, has decided on a 23-year-old case and tendered the judgment by holding a virtual court via video conferencing, which is one-of-its-kind in the entire South India for a DRT.

What are Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs)?

  • Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs) are tribunals that effectively facilitate the loaned money recovery which involves banks and financial institutions from their customers.
  • The primary goal and function of DRT is the recovery of loaned money from borrowers which is owed to banks and financial institutions from customers.
  • The Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act (RDBBFI), 1993 – lead to the establishment of DRTs.
  • The power of the tribunal is restricted to settling down the cases concerning the recovery of the due amount from non-performing assets as affirmed by the banks as per the RBI guidelines.
  • DRT is presided over by a presiding officer who is appointed by the central govt. and who shall be qualified to be a District Judge.
  •  The Presiding officer of DST has a tenure of 5 years or the age of 65, whichever is earlier.
  • Only under articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution – The Supreme Courts and High Courts have jurisdiction over this matter. No other courts have jurisdiction over this matter.
  • Appeals against orders passed by DRTs lie before Debts Recovery Appellate Tribunal (DRAT).

Why were DRTs Needed?

  • Banks and financial institutions were facing a very strange problem of recovering loans which they have given to any individual or business organizations.
  • Because of this reason, the banks and financial institutions has been restraining themselves from giving out any loans.
  • This situation called for an effective system to recover the loaned money from the borrowers.
  • This concern gave rise to the establishment of Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs) following the passing of the Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act (RDDBFI), 1993.

Functions of DRT

  • DRT enforces provisions of the RDDBFI Act, 1993.
  • It also enforces the Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interests (SARFAESI) Act, 2002.

Powers of DRT

  • The Tribunal has the powers bestowed with the District Court.
  • DRTs are fully empowered to pass comprehensive orders and can travel beyond the Civil procedure Code to render complete justice.
  • DRTs can NOT hear claims of damages or deficiency of services or breach of contract or criminal negligence on the part of the lenders.
  • DRTs can NOT express an opinion beyond its domain, or the list pending before it.
  • DRTs can appoint Receivers, Commissioners, pass ex-parte orders, ad-interim orders, interim orders.
  • DRTs can review their own decisions and hear appeals against orders passed by the Recovery Officers of the Tribunal.
  • DRT can hear cross suits, counter claims and allow set offs.

Concerns / Issues with DRTs:

  • The number of DRTs is not sufficient given the increasing number of cases.
  • The time taken by DRTs in settling cases is too long.
  • DRTs are not able to handle cases related to large borrowers.
  • At times, the timely appointment of officials for DRT have not been made.

PLEA CHALLENGING APPOINTMENT OF ADDITIONAL JUDGE

Focus: GS-II Governance

Why in news?

The Supreme Court on 4th May, rejected a petition filed by a district judge challenging the appointment of a ‘junior’ judicial officer as an additional judge of the Karnataka High Court on the ground that it breaches the seniority rule.

Details

  • SC Said that it generally does not interfere with the President’s order on appointment of judges at the 11th hour.
  • Plea was against a case of superseding/passing over of a senior District judge appointed under reserve category by a junior district judge, and the recommendation by the collegium of Karnataka High Court.

Background: Appointment of Judges

  • According to the constitution: The Appointment of Supreme Court & High Court Judges should be done by the President of India with the consent of Chief Justice of India provided Under Part V & VI.
  • A judge is appointed to the Supreme Court and the High Courts by the President of India from a list of names recommended by the collegium.
  • A collegium of Supreme Court for appointments in Supreme Court is: a closed group of the Chief Justice of India and the senior-most judges of the Supreme Court.
  • A collegium of High Court is: Chief Justice of India and the senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, along with Chief Justice of a High Court and its senior-most judges, for appointments to that court.
  • No minister, or even the executive collectively, can suggest any names for
  • appointment as judges, to the President.

Extra Information: Provisions in the Constitution regarding Judiciary:

  • Part V – Chapter IV – Deals with Union Judiciary i.e., Supreme Court – appointment & removal, role & function
  • Part VI – Chapter V – Deals with High Court – appointment & removal, role & function
  • Part VI – Chapter VI- Deals with Subordinate Courts – appointment & removal, role & function
  • Article 50 – Independence of Judiciary – which separates judiciary from executive
  • Other provisions are also under various parts & Articles which deals with the court responsibility.
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