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Current Affairs 16 April 2024

  1. Supreme Court Overturns 2021 Judgement in Landmark Curative Petition
  2. Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act
  3. Astronomers Puzzle Over Nebula NGC 6164/6165, the “Dragon’s Egg”
  4. Mount Etna Showcases Rare Volcanic Vortex Rings
  5. Venomous Jellyfish
  6. Shrinkflation


In a notable decision, the Supreme Court of India has invoked its “extraordinary powers” through a curative petition to reverse its previous judgement from 2021. This ruling overturns an arbitral award of approximately Rs 8,000 crore that the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) was initially ordered to pay to Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited (DAMEPL), a consortium led by Reliance Infrastructure Ltd. This landmark judgement highlights the Court’s commitment to ensuring justice and fairness in arbitration cases and may have broader implications for arbitration proceedings and contractual agreements in India.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. v Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt. Ltd. Case, 2024
  2. About Curative Petition:
  3. Criteria for acceptance of a Curative Petition
  4. Procedure for Hearing Curative Petitions

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. v Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt. Ltd. Case, 2024



  • In 2008, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (DMRC) partnered with Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt. Ltd. (DAMEPL) to construct, operate, and maintain the Delhi Airport Metro Express.

Disputes and Termination:

  • DAMEPL terminated the agreement in 2013, citing safety concerns and operational issues.

Legal Battles:

  • An arbitration panel ruled in favour of DAMEPL, ordering DMRC to pay approximately Rs 8,000 crore.
  • Delhi High Court directed DMRC to deposit 75% of the amount in an escrow account.
  • The government appealed, and in 2019, the High Court’s decision was overturned in favour of DMRC.

Supreme Court Involvement:

  • DAMEPL approached the Supreme Court, which initially upheld the arbitral award in 2021.

Recent Supreme Court Decision:

  • The Supreme Court ruled in favour of DMRC, citing a “fundamental error” in its previous judgement.

Significance of the Decision:

  • Highlights the importance of curative petitions.
  • Provides clarity on legal frameworks for public-private partnerships in infrastructure projects.
  • Demonstrates the court’s willingness to correct errors and ensure justice, even years after a final verdict.

About Curative Petition:

  • Background: The concept of curative petition originated from the case of Rupa Ashok Hurra Vs. Ashok Hurra and another case (2002) where the question arose before the court of law- ‘whether an aggrieved person is entitled to any relief against the final judgment/order of the Supreme Court, after the dismissal of a review petition?’.
  • Definition: A curative petition is the final and last option for people to acquire justice as mentioned and promised by the Constitution of India. It may be filed after a review plea against the final conviction is dismissed.
  • Objective: The objective of a curative petition is to ensure there is no miscarriage of justice and to prevent abuse of process.
Criteria for acceptance of a Curative Petition:
  • The petitioner must demonstrate that there was a violation of the principles of natural justice, and that they were not given a hearing before the court passed its order.
  • The court will also consider petitions where a judge failed to disclose facts that raise the apprehension of bias.
  • The Supreme Court has emphasized that curative petitions should be rare and considered with caution.
  • A curative petition must be accompanied by a certification from a senior advocate, outlining substantial grounds for its consideration.

Procedure for Hearing Curative Petitions:

  • A curative petition is initially circulated to a bench of the three senior-most judges, and the judges who passed the concerned judgment if they are available.
  • The matter will only be listed for hearing if a majority of the judges conclude that it requires further consideration.
  • The decision is usually made by judges in chambers, unless a specific request for an open-court hearing is granted.
  • The Bench may ask a senior counsel to assist as amicus curiae at any stage of consideration of the curative petition.
  • If the Bench determines that the petition is without merit and vexatious, it may impose exemplary costs on the petitioner.

Source: The Hindu


The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is in the process of reviewing the functioning of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016.


GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is RERA?
  2. Implementation of RERA
  3. Why is the Government Reviewing RERA?

What is RERA?


  • The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) was introduced by the Government of India in 2016.
  • Purpose:
    • To regulate the real estate sector.
    • Promote transparency, accountability, and efficiency in real estate transactions.
    • Protect the interests of homebuyers.
    • Foster fair practices in the real estate industry.
  • Regulation of the real estate sector began discussions in 2013, with the RERA Act established in 2016.
  • Investment Data:
    • Over 77% of an average Indian household’s total assets are in real estate.
    • Real estate is the largest individual investment in a person’s lifetime.
  • Accountability:
    • Prior to RERA, the real estate and housing sector was largely unregulated.
    • The Consumer Protection Act of 1986 was insufficient for homebuyer protection.
    • RERA was introduced to:
      • Ensure greater consumer accountability.
      • Reduce frauds and delays.
      • Establish a fast-track dispute resolution mechanism.
Major Provisions of RERA:

State-Level Regulatory Authorities (RERA):

  • Mandate includes:
    • Registering and maintaining a database of real estate projects, available for public viewing.
    • Protecting the interests of promoters, buyers, and real estate agents.
    • Developing sustainable and affordable housing.
    • Advising the government and ensuring compliance with regulations and the Act.

Real Estate Appellate Tribunal:

  • Appeals against RERA decisions can be made to these tribunals.

Mandatory Registration:

  • Projects with a minimum plot size of 500 sq. mt or eight apartments must be registered with Regulatory Authorities.


  • 70% of the funds collected from buyers must be deposited in a separate escrow bank account solely for the construction of the project.


  • Developers are liable to repair structural defects for five years.

Penal Interest in Case of Default:

  • Both promoter and buyer are subject to an equal rate of interest in the event of a default from either side.

Cap on Advance Payments:

  • Promoters cannot accept more than 10% of the cost of the plot, apartment, or building without first entering into a sale agreement.

Carpet Area Definition:

  • Carpet Area is defined as the net usable floor area of a flat.
  • Buyers are charged based on the carpet area, not the super built-up area.

Built-up Area Clarification:

  • Refers to the total floor area of a building, including walls, balconies, common areas, and amenities.


  • Imprisonment of up to three years for developers.
  • Up to one year imprisonment for agents and buyers for violating Appellate Tribunals and Regulatory Authorities’ orders.
Implementation of RERA:

State/UT Notification:

  • All States/UTs, except Nagaland, have notified Rules under RERA.

Establishment of Regulatory Bodies:

  • 32 States/UTs have established a Real Estate Regulatory Authority.
  • 28 States/UTs have set up a Real Estate Appellate Tribunal.

Registration and Complaints:

  • 1,01,304 Real Estate Projects registered.
  • 72,012 Real Estate Agents registered.
  • 1,06,657 complaints resolved by the Regulatory Authorities nationwide.

Why is the Government Reviewing RERA?

Assessment of Effectiveness:

  • The government aims to evaluate RERA’s impact on:
    • Transparency
    • Accountability
    • Information dissemination
    • Grievance redressal in the real estate sector.

Stakeholder Feedback:

  • Regular meetings with homebuyers and other stakeholders are held to gather feedback on their experiences with RERA.
  • This feedback can pinpoint any shortcomings or areas requiring improvement in the Act’s implementation.

Data Collection:

  • The Ministry is establishing a data collection unit to:
    • Gather data on the functioning of the RERAs over the years.
    • Gain insights into the number of approved projects, their progress, delays, and other pertinent information to assess RERA’s overall impact.

Uniformity in Information:

  • The government aims for consistent information on RERA websites across states.
  • A push for greater compliance with Act provisions, such as the mandatory publication of annual and quarterly progress reports of builders.
  • Concerns raised about:
    • Insufficient information on RERA websites.
    • Instances of RERAs registering projects without document verification.

Groundwork for Future Changes:

  • The government’s review process is foundational for any potential amendments.
  • Indicates a proactive approach to rectify identified shortcomings and enhance RERA’s effectiveness.

-Source: The Hindu


The nebula NGC 6164/6165, commonly referred to as the Dragon’s Egg, is a cloud of gas and dust enveloping a pair of stars known as HD 148937. This intriguing celestial phenomenon has presented a conundrum to astronomers, sparking curiosity and prompting further study to unravel the mysteries surrounding its formation and characteristics.


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is a Nebula?
  2. What is the Dragon’s Egg Nebula (NGC 6164/6165)?
  3. Unique Features of NGC 6164/6165
  4. Significance of the Dragon’s Egg Nebula – A Window to Our Universe

What is a Nebula?


  • A nebula is an expansive cloud of gas and dust found throughout the universe.


  • Comes in various shapes, sizes, and colours.
  • Each has unique characteristics and stories.


  • Primarily consists of hydrogen and helium, the universe’s most abundant elements.
    • These gases intermingle with traces of heavier elements like carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen, which were created in ancient star cores.

Role in Star Formation:

  • Serves as the birthplace of stars.
    • Gravity pulls the gas and dust together, compressing the material into denser clumps.
    • As clumps grow denser, their cores heat up, leading to nuclear fusion and the birth of a new star.
    • The new star illuminates the surrounding nebula with its intense radiation.

Contribution to Stellar and Galactic Life Cycle:

  • As stars form within a nebula, they deplete the surrounding gas and dust, using it as fuel for nuclear reactions.
  • Over millions or billions of years, the most massive stars explode as supernovae.

What is the Dragon’s Egg Nebula (NGC 6164/6165)?


  • Resulted from intense stellar winds from a massive, hot central star.

Distinct Regions:

  • NGC 6164:
    • Brighter and more compact area surrounding the central star.
  • NGC 6165:
    • Extends outward in complex filaments and bubbles.


  • Resembles a dragon’s egg, hence its name.


  • Best viewed using powerful telescopes like the Hubble Space Telescope or the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope.

Unique Features of NGC 6164/6165

Binary Star System:

  • The two stars are gravitationally bound in a binary system.
  • Located in our Milky Way galaxy, approximately 3,700 light-years from Earth in the constellation Norma.
    • Note: A light-year is the distance light travels in a year, equivalent to 5.9 trillion miles (9.5 trillion km).

Magnetic Field:

  • One star has a magnetic field, similar to our sun, while its companion does not.


  • The magnetic star is about 30 times more massive than the sun.
  • Its companion has a mass approximately 26.5 times greater than the sun.

Orbital Distance:

  • They orbit each other at a distance ranging from seven to 60 times the distance between Earth and the sun.

Significance of the Dragon’s Egg Nebula – A Window to Our Universe

Cosmic Wonder:

  • The Dragon’s Egg Nebula showcases the vastness and wonder of the universe.
  • It represents one of countless cosmic marvels awaiting discovery and understanding.

Unlocking Secrets of the Cosmos:

  • Astronomers studying NGC 6164/6165 and other celestial objects uncover the secrets of the cosmos.
  • Expanding our understanding of the fundamental processes shaping the universe.

Grand Cosmic Dance:

  • Through the Dragon’s Egg Nebula, we can glimpse the intricate dance between stars, gas, and dust that unfolds on a grand cosmic scale.

-Source: Indian Express


Mount Etna, Europe’s largest and one of the world’s most active and iconic volcanoes, has recently been producing nearly perfect rings of smoke, a rare phenomenon known as volcanic vortex rings. This unique and captivating display has caught the attention of scientists and volcano enthusiasts alike, offering a rare glimpse into the complex dynamics and behavior of volcanic eruptions. The formation of these vortex rings provides valuable insights into the atmospheric and eruptive processes associated with volcanic activity, contributing to the ongoing research and understanding of volcanic behavior and its impact on the environment.


GS I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Mount Etna?
  2. What are Volcanic Vortex Rings?
  3. Does Producing Volcano Rings Mean Etna is About to Erupt Very Soon?

What is Mount Etna?

Location and Type:

  • Mount Etna is an active stratovolcano situated on the east coast of Sicily, Italy.

Activity and Size:

  • Europe’s most active volcano.
  • One of the world’s largest volcanoes with recorded volcanic activity dating back to 1500 B.C.
  • Erupted more than 200 times since its recorded history.

Eruption Styles:

  • Exhibits a variety of eruption styles, including violent explosions and voluminous lava flows.

Summit Features:

  • Etna’s summit boasts five craters, responsible for most of the volcano’s eruptions.

World Heritage Site:

  • Designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2013.
  • According to UNESCO, the volcano’s eruptive history can be traced back 500,000 years.
Comparative Eruption Duration:
  • While Etna is one of the most active volcanoes, some others have had longer-lasting eruptions:
    • Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii:
      • Erupted almost nonstop for 35 years from 1983 to 2018, resumed in 2021 and is currently ongoing.
    • Dukono, Indonesia:
      • Started erupting in August 1933 and is still active.
    • Santa Maria, Guatemala:
      • Began erupting in June 1922 and continues to this day.
    • Yasur, Vanuatu:
      • First erupted around 1270 (± 110 years) and as of June 2023, was still erupting.

What are Volcanic Vortex Rings?


  • Vortex rings are formed when gas, primarily water vapor, is rapidly released through a vent in a volcano’s crater.


  • The vent in Etna’s crater is nearly perfectly circular, resulting in circular vortex rings above the mountain.
  • These rings are created by the explosion of gas bubbles within a narrow conduit, propelling the gas at high speeds towards the surface.

Movement Dynamics:

  • Attrition along the conduit walls decelerates the gas jet’s movement relative to the conduit’s center.


  • Volcanic vortex rings have been observed at various volcanoes worldwide:
    • Redoubt in Alaska
    • Tungurahua in Ecuador
    • Pacaya in Guatemala
    • Eyjafjallajökull and Hekla in Iceland
    • Stromboli in Italy
    • Aso and Sakurajima in Japan
    • Yasur in Vanuatu
    • Whakaari in New Zealand
    • Momotombo in Nicaragua

Does Producing Volcano Rings Mean Etna is About to Erupt Very Soon?

Volcanologist Opinion:

  • Volcanologists do not believe so.
  • They suggest that this event indicates the activity from the new vent was slowing down.


  • The formation of these volcanic vortex rings can cease due to changes in the conduit’s properties, possibly caused by obstructions.

-Source: Indian Express


Recently, a bloom of venomous jellyfish was reported across the Visakhapatnam coast.


Facts for Prelims

Venomous Jellyfish Bloom in Visakhapatnam Coast

Species Identification:

  • Pelagia noctiluca:
    • Also known as the mauve stinger or purple-striped jellyfish.
    • Has a painful sting causing various degrees of illnesses:
      • Diarrhoea
      • Extreme pain
      • Vomiting
      • Anaphylactic shock (life-threatening)


  • Purple-coloured translucent species resembling a floating balloon.
  • Unlike other jellyfish species, it has stingers on both the tentacles and the bell.
  • Bioluminescent: has the ability to produce light in the dark.


  • Found worldwide in tropical and warm-temperature seas.

Bloom Explanation:

  • A jellyfish bloom occurs when the population of the species increases dramatically within a short period.
  • Often due to a higher reproduction rate, it is increasingly common due to rising ocean temperatures.


  • Previous blooms have caused significant damage to the fishing industry.
  • Can also impact tourism negatively.

-Source: The Hindu


As input prices, which were benign for a few quarters, turn inflationary, the spectre of shrinkflation looms large within the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) segment.


Facts for Prelims

Shrinkflation Explained


  • Shrinkflation occurs when the size of goods decreases, but consumers continue to pay the same price. This is a tactic used by manufacturers to offset higher production costs while keeping retail prices constant.


  • Essentially a form of hidden inflation.
  • Rather than raising the price of a product, producers decrease its size while maintaining the same price.

Economic Impact:

  • While the absolute price of the product remains the same, the price per unit of weight or volume has effectively increased.


  • Driven by rising production costs and market competition.


  • Most prevalent in the FMCG (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods) industry.
    • Characterized by high-volume sales, quick inventory turnover, and a wide range of products catering to consumer needs.
  • Commonly affects everyday essential items such as:
    • Food and beverages
    • Toiletries
    • Cleaning supplies
    • Other low-cost household items

-Source: Financial Express

May 2024