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Current Affairs 13 May 2023

Contents:

  1. Cyclone Mocha
  2. SC finds Lapses in Implementation of PoSH Act
  3. No sweeping Executive powers to  Lt Governor over Delhi
  4. Centre prepares New Model Prisons Act
  5. New CBI Director

Cyclone Mocha


Context:  

As per the latest forecast from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), cyclone Mocha, currently located in the eastern Bay of Bengal, is likely to be stronger than initially forecast but poses little threat to India

Relevance:

GS-I: Geography (Physical geography – Climatology, Important Geophysical phenomena), GS-III: Disaster Management

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About cyclone Mocha
  2. What are Tropical Cyclones?
  3. Conditions for cyclone formation:
  4. How are Tropical Cyclones Formed?
  5. Why tropical cyclones don’t form in the eastern tropical oceans?
  6. Names of Tropical Cyclones
  7. Structure of the tropical cyclone
  8. Landfall, what happens when a Cyclone reaches land from the ocean?
  9. Cyclone Management in India

About cyclone Mocha:

  • It is a Tropical cyclone that originated over the Bay of Bengal.
  • It has grown from being very severe to an extremely severe storm over the East-central Bay of Bengal
  • Naming of the cyclone:  Upon the suggestion of Yemen, the cyclone has been given a name after a port city situated in the Red Sea that is renowned for its coffee production.
  • An ‘extremely severe cyclone’ is just one grade below a ‘super cyclonic storm’, with wind speeds ranging from 168 to 221 kmph. 
  • Many parts of the Andaman and Nicobar islands will see strong rains and winds, with many parts of Tripura, Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur and south Assam likely to receive significant rain.

What are Tropical Cyclones?

  • The Tropical Cyclones are violent storms that originate over oceans in tropical areas and move over to coastal areas bringing about large-scale destruction caused by violent winds, very heavy rainfall and storm surges.
  • These are low pressure weather systems in which winds equal or exceed speeds of 62kmph.
  • Winds circulate around in anti-clockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere and in clockwise direction in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • “Tropical” refers to the geographical origin of these systems, which form almost exclusively over tropical seas.
  • “Cyclone” refers to their winds moving in a circle, whirling round their central clear eye, with their winds blowing counter clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • The opposite direction of circulation is due to the Coriolis effect.

Tropical Cyclones in India

  • Tropical cyclones striking India generally originate in the eastern side of India.
  • Bay of Bengal is more prone to cyclone than Arabian Sea because it gets high sea surface temperature, low vertical shear winds and has enough moisture in middle layers of its atmosphere.
  • The frequency of cyclones in this region is bi-modal, i.e., Cyclones occur in the months of May–June and October–November.

Conditions for cyclone formation:

  • A warm sea surface (temperature in excess of 26o –27o C) and associated warming extending up to a depth of 60m with abundant water vapour.
  • High relative humidity in the atmosphere up to a height of about 5,000 metres.
  • Atmospheric instability that encourages the formation of cumulus clouds.
  • Low vertical wind between the lower and higher levels of the atmosphere that do not allow the heat generated and released by the clouds to get transported from the area.
  • The presence of cyclonic vorticity (rate of rotation of air) that initiates and favours rotation of the air cyclonically.
  • Location over the ocean, at least 4–5 o latitude away from the equator.

How are Tropical Cyclones Formed?

  • Tropical cyclones typically form over large bodies of relatively warm water. Warm water > Evaporation > Rising up of air > Low Pressure area.
  • They derive their energy through the evaporation of water from the ocean surface, which ultimately re-condenses into clouds and rain when moist air rises and cools to saturation.
  • Water takes up heat from the atmosphere to change into vapour.
  • When water vapour changes back to liquid form as raindrops, this heat is released to the atmosphere.
  • The heat released to the atmosphere warms the air around.
  • The air tends to rise and causes a drop in the pressure.
  • More air rushes to the centre of the storm.
  • This cycle is repeated.

Why tropical cyclones don’t form in the eastern tropical oceans?

  • The depth of warm water (26-27°C) should extend for 60-70 m from surface of the ocean/sea, so that deep convection currents within the water do not churn and mix the cooler water below with the warmer water near the surface.
  • The above condition occurs only in western tropical oceans because of warm ocean currents (easterly trade winds pushes ocean waters towards west) that flow from east towards west forming a thick layer of water with temperatures greater than 27°C. This supplies enough moisture to the storm.
  • The cold currents lower the surface temperatures of the eastern parts of the tropical oceans making them unfit for the breeding of cyclonic storms.
  • ONE EXCEPTION: During strong El Nino years, strong hurricanes occur in the eastern Pacific. This is due to the accumulation of warm waters in the eastern Pacific due to weak Walker Cell.

Names of Tropical Cyclones

Depending on its location and strength, a tropical cyclone is referred to by different names:

  1. Cyclones in the Indian Ocean
  2. Hurricanes in the Atlantic
  3. Typhoons in the Western Pacific and the South China Sea
  4. Willy-willies in Western Australia

Structure of the tropical cyclone

Tropical cyclones are compact, circular storms, generally some 320 km (200 miles) in diameter, whose winds swirl around a central region of low atmospheric pressure. The winds are driven by this low-pressure core and by the rotation of Earth, which deflects the path of the wind through a phenomenon known as the Coriolis force. As a result, tropical cyclones rotate in a counter clockwise (or cyclonic) direction in the Northern Hemisphere and in a clockwise (or anticyclonic) direction in the Southern Hemisphere.

  1. The Eye: A characteristic feature of tropical cyclones is the eye, a central region of clear skies, warm temperatures, and low atmospheric pressure. Typically, atmospheric pressure at the surface of Earth is about 1,000 millibars.
  2. The Eyewall: The most dangerous and destructive part of a tropical cyclone is the eyewall. Here winds are strongest, rainfall is heaviest, and deep convective clouds rise from close to Earth’s surface to a height of 15,000 metres.
  3. Rainbands: These bands, commonly called rainbands, spiral into the centre of the storm. In some cases the rainbands are stationary relative to the centre of the moving storm, and in other cases they seem to rotate around the centre.

Landfall, what happens when a Cyclone reaches land from the ocean?

  • Tropical cyclones dissipate when they can no longer extract sufficient energy from warm ocean water.
  • A storm that moves over land will abruptly lose its fuel source and quickly lose intensity.
  • A tropical cyclone can contribute to its own demise by stirring up deeper, cooler ocean waters. tropical cyclone can contribute to its own demise by stirring up deeper, cooler ocean waters.

Cyclone Management in India

India is highly vulnerable to natural disasters especially cyclones, earthquakes, floods, landslides, and drought. Natural disasters cause a loss of 2% of GDP every year in India. According to the Home ministry, 8% of total area in India is prone to cyclones. India has a coastline of 7,516 km, of which 5,700 km are prone to cyclones of various degrees.

  • Loss due to cyclones: Loss of lives, livelihood opportunities, damage to public and private property and severe damage to infrastructure are the resultant consequences, which can disrupt the process of development
  • Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) is the nodal agency for early warning of cyclones and floods.
  • Natural Disaster Management Authority is mandated to deal with the disaster management in India. It has prepared National Guidelines on Management of Cyclone.
  • National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP) was launched by Home ministry to upgrade the forecasting, tracking and warning about cyclones in states.
  • National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has done a commendable performance in rescuing and managing relief work.
  • National Disaster Response Reserve (NDRR)– a fund of 250 crores operated by NDRF for maintaining inventory for an emergency situation.
  • In 2016, a blueprint of National Disaster Management Plan was unveiled to tackle disaster. It provides a framework to deal with prevention, mitigation, response and recovery during a disaster. According to the plan, Ministry of earth science will be responsible for disaster management of cyclone. By this plan, India joined the list of countries which follow the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.
  • Due to increased awareness and tracking of Cyclone, the death toll has been reduced substantially. For example, Very severe cyclone Hudhud and Phailin claimed lives of around 138 and 45 people respectively, which might have been more. It was reduced due to the early warning and relocation of the population from the cyclone-hit areas. Very severe cyclone Ockhi claimed many lives of people in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. This was due to the unprecedented change in the direction of the cyclone.
  • But the destruction of infrastructure due to cyclonic hit is not been reduced which leads to increase in poverty due to the economic weakening of the affected population.

-Source: The Hindu


SC finds Lapses in Implementation of PoSH Act


Context:

Recently, the Supreme court of India found serious lapses and uncertainty in the implementation of the Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment (PoSH) Act.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key points
  2. Issues in PoSH Act
  3. What exactly is the law against sexual harassment of women at the workplace?
  4. What led to the creation of the PoSH Act?
  5. What are the key provisions of the PoSH Act regarding the complaints committee?
  6. What constitutes sexual harassment under the PoSH Act?
  7. What protection does the Act provide against false complaints of sexual harassment?

Key points:

  • The Apex court in its recent judgement indicated the “sorry state of affairs” concerning the anti-sexual harassment at workplace law even after a decade of its introduction.
  • The court observed that-“Being a victim of such a deplorable act not only dents the self-esteem of a woman, it also takes a toll on her emotional, mental and physical health. It is often seen that when women face sexual harassment at the workplace, they are reluctant to report such misconduct. Many of them even drop out from their job” .
  • It asked the  Centre and States to take affirmative action.

Issues in PoSH Act:

  • Working Environment:
    • The working environment continues to remain hostile, insensitive and unresponsive to the needs of women employees.
  • Reluctance to report:
    • Working women are often reluctant to report instances of sexual harassment either due to uncertainty about whom to approach or because of their lack of confidence in the process itself and its outcome.
    • There must be strict adherence to the enforcement regime and a proactive approach by all the State and non-State actors.
  • Not establishing Internal Complaints Committees (ICCs):
    • The court pointed out a latest newspaper survey which revealed that out of 30 national sports federations in the country, only 16 had constituted Internal Complaints Committees mandated under the 2013 Act. 

What exactly is the law against sexual harassment of women at the workplace?

  • The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, commonly known as the PoSH Act, was passed in 2013.
  • It defined sexual harassment, lay down the procedures for complaint and inquiry, and the action to be taken in cases of sexual harassment.

What led to the creation of the PoSH Act?

Background:

  • In 1992, a social worker named Bhanwari Devi fought against the marriage of a one-year-old baby girl.
  • As retribution, she was allegedly gang-raped.
  • Women’s rights groups, including one called Vishaka, filed a case in court over the incident.

Vishaka Guidelines:

  • In 1997, the Supreme Court laid down the Vishaka Guidelines in response to the case.
  • The guidelines defined sexual harassment and placed three obligations on institutions: prohibition, prevention, redress.
  • The guidelines required institutions to establish a Complaints Committee to investigate matters of sexual harassment of women in the workplace.
  • The court made the guidelines legally binding.

What are the key provisions of the PoSH Act regarding the complaints committee?

Internal Complaints Committee (ICC):

  • The PoSH Act mandates that every employer with 10 or more employees must constitute an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) at each office or branch.
  • The ICC is responsible for investigating complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • The ICC must have at least one external member who is familiar with issues relating to sexual harassment.

Definition of sexual harassment:

  • The PoSH Act defines various aspects of sexual harassment, including physical, verbal, and non-verbal acts.
  • The Act covers all women, whether employed at the workplace or not, who allege to have been subjected to any act of sexual harassment.

Protection for women:

  • The PoSH Act protects the rights of all women who are working or visiting any workplace, in any capacity.
  • The Act ensures that women can file complaints without fear of retaliation or victimization.

What constitutes sexual harassment under the PoSH Act?

Under the 2013 law, sexual harassment includes “any one or more” of the following “unwelcome acts or behaviour” committed directly or by implication:

  • Physical contact and advances
  • A demand or request for sexual favours
  • Sexually coloured remarks
  • Showing pornography
  • Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.

A ‘Handbook on Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace’ published by the Ministry of Women & Child Development contains more detailed instances of behaviour that constitutes sexual harassment at the workplace. These circumstances include, broadly:

  • Sexually suggestive remarks or innuendo; serious or repeated offensive remarks; inappropriate questions or remarks about a person’s sex life;
  • Display of sexist or offensive pictures, posters, MMS, SMS, WhatsApp, or emails;
  • Intimidation, threats, blackmail around sexual favours;
  • Threats, intimidation or retaliation against an employee who speaks up about these;
  • Unwelcome social invitations with sexual overtones, commonly seen as flirting; and
  • Unwelcome sexual advances.

The Handbook says “unwelcome behaviour” is experienced when the victim feels bad or powerless, and when it causes anger/ sadness or negative self-esteem. Unwelcome behaviour is “illegal, demeaning, invading, one-sided and power-based”.

In addition, the PoSH Act mentions five circumstances that amount to sexual harassment:

  • Implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in her employment;
  • Implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment;
  • Implied or explicit threat about the complainant’s present or future employment status;
  • Interference with the complainant’s work or creating an offensive or hostile work environment;
  • Humiliating treatment of the complainant that is likely to affect her health or safety.

What is the procedure for complaint under the Act?

  • It is not compulsory for the aggrieved victim to file a complaint for the ICC to take action. The Act says that she “may” do so — and if she cannot, any member of the ICC “shall” render “all reasonable assistance” to her to complain in writing.
  • If the woman cannot complain because of “physical or mental incapacity or death or otherwise”, her legal heir may do so.
  • Under the Act, the complaint must be made “within three months from the date of the incident”.
  • However, the ICC can “extend the time limit” if “it is satisfied that the circumstances were such which prevented the woman from filing a complaint within the said period”.
  • The ICC “may”, before inquiry, and “at the request of the aggrieved woman, take steps to settle the matter between her and the respondent through conciliation” — provided that “no monetary settlement shall be made as a basis of conciliation”.
  • The ICC may either forward the victim’s complaint to the police, or it can start an inquiry that has to be completed within 90 days.
  • The ICC has powers similar to those of a civil court in respect of summoning and examining any person on oath, and requiring the discovery and production of documents.
  • When the inquiry is completed, the ICC must provide a report of its findings to the employer within 10 days. The report must also be made available to both parties.
  • The identity of the woman, respondent, witness, any information on the inquiry, recommendation and action taken, should not be made public.

What is the process after the ICC has filed its report?

Action by employer:

  • If the allegations of sexual harassment are proved, the ICC will recommend to the employer to take action in accordance with the provisions of the service rules of the company.
  • The recommended action may vary from company to company.

Compensation:

  • The ICC may recommend that the company deduct the salary of the person found guilty as it may consider appropriate.
  • The compensation awarded is based on several factors, including the suffering and emotional distress caused to the woman, loss in career opportunity, her medical expenses, income and financial status of the respondent, and the feasibility of such payment.

Appeal:

  • If either the aggrieved woman or the respondent is not satisfied with the decision, they may appeal in court within 90 days.

What protection does the Act provide against false complaints of sexual harassment?

Section 14:

  • Section 14 of the Act deals with punishment for false or malicious complaints and false evidence.
  • In such a case, the ICC may recommend to the employer that action be taken against the woman or the person who made the complaint in accordance with the provisions of the service rules of the company.

Protection against false complaints:

  • The Act makes it clear that action cannot be taken for mere inability to substantiate the complaint or provide adequate proof.
  • This means that if the complaint is not proved, action cannot be taken against the complainant solely based on lack of evidence.

-Source: The Hindu, The Indian Express


No sweeping Executive powers to  Lt Governor over Delhi


Context:

  • The Supreme Court on Thursday clarified that the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) does not have sweeping executive powers over the national capital.
  • A Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India held that the L-G can exercise executive power on behalf of the Centre only in the three areas of public order, police and land in Delhi as mentioned in Article 239AA(3)(a).
  • It also held that any any change in the L-G’s ambit of power should be supported by a parliamentary legislation which is subject to judicial review by the court.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Governance 

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Administration of the Union Territories (Article 239)
  2. Who is a Lieutenant governor?
  3. What are the differences between Governor and Lieutenant Governor?
  4. Special Provisions with respect to Delhi (Article 239AA)

Administration of the Union Territories (Article 239)

  • The Union Territories of India are administered by the President of India through an administrator, who is appointed by the President with a suitable designation.
  • This designation is either a Lieutenant-Governor or Chief Commissioner or Administrator.
  • The President may appoint a Governor of an adjoining state as the administrator of a Union territory as well. In such case the Governor works independently with regard to the administration of the Union Territory.

Who is a Lieutenant governor?

  • In India, a lieutenant governor is in charge of a union territory (including National Capital Territory NCT of Delhi) in a similar manner as the Governors of the states of India.
  • The rank of lieutenant governor is present only in the union territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Puducherry.
  • The other territories have an administrator appointed, who is usually an IAS officer or a retired judge of a court. However, the governor of Punjab acts as the administrator of Chandigarh.
  • The governors and lieutenant governors are appointed by the president for a term of five years.

What are the differences between Governor and Lieutenant Governor?

GOVERNORLT. GOVERNOR
Governor is appointed under Article 153. As per Article 239, every UT in India shall be administered by the President, through an administrator to be appointed by him. This position is called Lieutenant Governor in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Puducherry and Delhi. 
Governor is constitutional head of the states.Lt. Governor is an administrator and not a constitutional head of the Union Territories.
Article 153- 167 of Indian constitution deals with state executive (Gov+CM+Council of Ministers+Advocate general of the states).Article 239 to 241 deal with UTs
States have their own government.UTs are directly governed by Union.
Governors works as per the advice of the Council of ministers.In this regard, the Supreme court in 2017 said that Lt. Governor of Delhi has more power than Governor of any state. He doesn’t have to listen to the Council of Ministers.
The governor acts as the nominal head whereas the real power lies with the Chief ministers of the states and his/her councils of ministers.In union territories, the real power lies with the lieutenant governor or administrator, except in NCT of Delhi and Puducherry where he/she shares power with a council of ministers headed by a chief minister.

Special Provisions with respect to Delhi (Article 239AA)

  • Article 239AA was inserted by 69th Amendment Act, 1991, which provides special provisions for the Union Territory of Delhi, and since this amendment came into effect, the UT of Delhi is called the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
  • The administrator of the NCT as appointed by the President and is known as the Lieutenant-Governor.
  • Through Article 239AA, a legislative assembly for NCT of Delhi was created, and the power to decide the number of the seats and reservation of the seats was vested in the Parliament.
  • With this, Delhi became a State and the Constitutional provisions with regard to Elections (Article 324-327 and 329) became applicable in NCT.

-Source: The Hindu


Centre Prepares New Model Prisons Act


Context:

The Union government recently announced it has prepared a Model Prisons Act to replace the current 130-year-old law in an attempt to shift the focus of incarceration from retributive deterrence to reform and rehabilitation.

Relevance:

GS Paper 2: Indian Constitution—Historical Underpinnings, Evolution, Features, Amendments, Significant Provisions and Basic Structure.

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key points
  2. Provisions of the Model Act
  3.  Why is the need for Prison Reforms?
  4. Important Reform Measures taken so far in India
  5. Reform measures suggested by Various Committees, Law Commissions and the Judiciary

Key points:

  • The Union Government is set to replace the old pre-independence law. The existing law does not contain the provision for reform and rehabilitation of prisoners and focuses mainly on keeping criminals in custody and enforcement of discipline and order in prisons.
  • It was set up by the British to subjugate political prisoners.
  • The Home Ministry said the Model Prisons Act, 2023 may serve as a guiding document for states for adoption in their jurisdiction.
    • In India, prison is a state subject.

Provisions of the Model Prisons Act:

  • What the new act attempts to change?
    • Creating provisions for grant of parole, furlough and remission to prisoners to encourage good conduct
    • Providing special provisions to women and transgender inmates
    • Ensuring physical and mental well-being of prisoners; and
    • Focusing on the reformation and rehabilitation of inmates.
  • What are the provisions of the Act?
    • Security assessment and segregation of prisoners
    • Individual sentence planning; grievance redressal
    • Prison development board; use of technology in prison administration
    • Protecting society from criminal activities of hardened criminals and habitual offenders.

 Why is the need for Prison Reforms?

  • The Supreme Court, in Ramamurthy v. State of Karnataka has identified various problems which need immediate attention for implementing prison reforms.
  • Rampant Overcrowding: “Prison Statistics India”, brought out by National Crime Records Bureau stated that in 2015, there were nearly 4.2 lakh inmates in 1,401 facilities against the sanctioned strength of 3.83 lakh, with an average occupancy rate of 114% in most.
    • Due to overcrowding the segregation of serious criminals and minor offenders has turned out to be difficult, which can, in turn, cause bad influence over minor offenders.
    • Overcrowding results in restlessness, tension, inefficiency and general breakdown in the normal administration.
  • Delay in Trials: In 2016, 67% of the people in Indian jails are under trials which is extremely high by international standards like it is 11% in UK, 20% in US and 29% in France.
  • Torture and ill -treatment: The prisoners including the undertrials are forced to do severe labour without any remuneration and treated with utmost torture. There has been a continuous rise in the custodial deaths due to torture and ill-treatment. Women prisoners are more vulnerable to abuse.
  • Severe staff crunch: 33% of the aggregate prerequisite of jail authorities still lies vacant, whereas, the ratio between the prison staff and the prison population in India is approximately 1:7.
  • Inadequate prison infrastructure: Most Indian prisons were built in the colonial era, are in constant need of repair and part of them are uninhabitable for long periods.
  • Neglect of Health, Hygiene, food etc: The prisoners in India suffer from severe unhygienic conditions, lack of proper medical facilities and consistent risk of torment and misuse. The kitchens are congested and unhygienic and the diet has remained unchanged for years now.
  • Issue of women prisoners: Though not exclusively looking after female prisoners, there are just 9.6 % women across all levels of the prison administration in comparison to the 33 per cent suggested in policy documents.
  • Deficiency in Communication: The prisoners are left to live in isolation without any contact with the outside world, their family members and relatives.

Important Reform Measures taken so far in India

  • The modern prison system was conceptualized by TB Macaulay in 1835.
  • Prison Discipline Committee, 1836, recommended increased rigorousness of treatment while rejecting all humanitarian needs and reforms for the prisoners.
  • Prison Act, 1894, enacted to bring uniformity in the working of the prisoners in India. The Act provided for classification of prisoners.
  • All India Jails Manual Committee 1957-59 to prepare a model prison manual. o The committee was asked to examine the problems of prison administration and to make suggestions for improvements.
  • All India Committee on Jail Reforms 1980-83 under Justice A N Mulla, suggested setting up of a National Prison Commission as a continuing body to bring about modernization of prisons in India. o Also, After-care, rehabilitation and probation as an integral part of prison service.
  • In 1987, the GoI appointed the Justice Krishna Iyer Committee to undertake a study on the situation of women prisoners in India. o It has recommended induction of more women in the police force in view of their special role in tackling women and child offenders.

Reform measures suggested by Various Committees, Law Commissions and the Judiciary

  • All India Prison Service: The All India Committee on Jail Reforms (1980– 1983), under Justice A N Mulla recommended to develop an All India Prison Service as a professional career service with appropriate job requirements, sound training and proper promotional avenues.
  • Adherence of Model Prison Manual 2016 by all the States and UTs.
  • Uniformity of standards: Central Government along with NGO’s and prison administration should take adequate steps for effective centralization of prisons and a uniform jail manual should be drafted throughout the country.
  • Training & correctional activities:
    • Training to staff in using the latest technology, vocational training courses in cloth making, electrification etc for the inmates, facilities for recreational activities such as games and competitions for inmates and staff etc.
  • Infrastructure:
    • Technological up-gradations such as biometric identification facilities, prisoner information system, provision of CCTVs, video conferencing facilities, etc are needed.
    • Up-gradation of hospital infrastructure such as beds, equipment, testing facilities, vehicle during medical emergency, facilities for pregnant women etc are needed.
  • Staff: All vacant staff positions should need to be reassessed. Recruitment of additional staff including medical, guarding, correctional staff, clerical, etc
  • Fund flow: Mechanism to monitor fund flow from the State treasury department to the implementing agency.
  • Strengthening the open prison system, which has come as a very modern and effective alternative to the system of closed imprisonment.
  • Strengthening PLVs: In 2009, National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) brought out a scheme called the Para-Legal Volunteers Scheme which aimed at imparting legal training to volunteers to act as intermediaries between the common people and the Legal Services Institutions to remove impediments in access to justice ensure legal aid reaching all sections of people.
  • Increase the availability of justice services––and infrastructure in courts, police stations, legal aid clinics—in rural areas so as to reduce the present disparity in accessing justice that exists between rural and urban populations.

-Source: The Indian Express


New CBI Director


Context:

The high-level committee responsible for selecting the next director of India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is set to select a new director or extend the tenure of the incumbent, Subodh Kumar Jaiswal. 

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Constitution, Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
  2. How is the Director of the CBI appointed?
  3. Functions of CBI
  4. Challenges of CBI

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was set up in 1963 after the recommendation of Santhanam committee under Ministry of Home affairs and was later transferred to the Ministry of Personnel and now it enjoys the status of an attached office.
  • Now, the CBI comes under the administrative control of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
  • The CBI derives its powers from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, however, it is NOT a Statutory Body.
  • CBI is the apex anti-corruption body in the country – Along with being the main investigating agency of the Central Government it also provides assistance to the Central Vigilance Commission and Lokpal.
  • The CBI is required to obtain the prior approval of the Central Government before conducting any inquiry or investigation.
  • The CBI is also the nodal police agency in India which coordinates investigations on behalf of Interpol Member countries.
  • The CBI’s conviction rate is as high as 65 to 70% and it is comparable to the best investigation agencies in the world.
  • The CBI is headed by a Director and he is assisted by a special director or an additional director. It has joint directors, deputy inspector generals, superintendents of police.

CBI has following divisions

  • Anti-Corruption Division
  • Economic Offences Division
  • Special Crimes Division
  • Policy and International Police Cooperation Division
  • Administration Division
  • Directorate of Prosecution
  • Central Forensic Science Laboratory

How is the Director of the CBI appointed?

  • The selection process for the CBI director is highly competitive, and the position is one of the most sought-after postings in India’s civil service.
  • Tenure:
    • The tenure of the CBI director is limited to a fixed two-year term, which can be extended up to a maximum of five years.
    • An amendment made to the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act and CVC Act in 2021 enables the extension of the director’s term by up to three years, one year at a time, in “public interest”.
  • Appointment:
    • The Central Government shall appoint the Director of CBI on the recommendation of a three-member committee consisting of the Prime Minister as Chairperson, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India or Judge of the Supreme Court (SC) nominated by him.

Functions of CBI:

  • Investigating cases of corruption, bribery and misconduct of Central government employees
  • Investigating cases relating to infringement of fiscal and economic laws, that is, breach of laws concerning export and import control, customs and central excise, income tax, foreign exchange regulations and so on. However, such cases are taken up either in consultation with or at the request of the department concerned.
  • Investigating serious crimes, having national and international ramifications, committed by organized gangs of professional criminals.
  • Coordinating the activities of the anti-corruption agencies and the various state police forces.
  • Taking up, on the request of a state government, any case of public importance for investigation.
  • Maintaining crime statistics and disseminating criminal information.
  • The CBI acts as the “National Central Bureau” of Interpol in India.

Challenges of CBI

  • The CBI has been dubbed a “caged parrot speaking in its master’s voice” by the Supreme Court of India due to excessive political influence in its operations. It has frequently been utilised by the government to conceal misdeeds, keep coalition allies in line, and keep political opponents at away. It has been accused of massive delays in concluding investigations, such as in its investigation into high-ranking Jain dignitaries in the Jain hawala diaries case [in the 1990s].
  • Loss of Credibility: Improving the agency’s image has been one of the most difficult challenges so far, as the agency has been chastised for its mishandling of several high-profile cases, including the Bofors scandal, the Hawala scandal, the Sant Singh Chatwal case, the Bhopal gas tragedy, and the 2008 Noida double murder case (Aarushi Talwar).
  • Lack of Accountability: CBI is exempt from the Right to Information Act, which means it is not accountable to the public.
  • Acute staff shortage: One of the key causes of the shortfall is the government’s mishandling of the CBI’s employees, which includes an inefficient and inexplicably biassed recruitment policy that was utilised to bring in favoured officials, possibly to the organization’s damage.
  • Limited Authority: Members of the CBI’s investigative powers and jurisdiction are subject to the consent of the State Government, restricting the scope of the CBI’s inquiry.
  • Restricted Access: Obtaining prior authorisation from the Central Government to initiate an inquiry or probe into Central Government workers at the level of Joint Secretary and above is a major impediment to tackling corruption at the highest levels of government.

-Source: The Hindu, Livemint


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