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Current Affairs 24 January 2023

CONTENTS

  1. Chargesheet: Not public document
  2. INS Vagir
  3. Subhas Chandra Bose
  4. Gig Economy
  5. Puri Jagannath temple
  6. Yellow Band Disease

Chargesheet: Not Public Document


Context:

Recently, The Supreme Court held that chargesheets are not ‘public documents’ and enabling their free public access violates the provisions of the Criminal Code of Procedure as it compromises the rights of the accused, victim, and the investigation agencies.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is a chargesheet?
  2. Difference between Chargesheet and FIR
  3. Why is a chargesheet not a ‘public document’?

What is a chargesheet?

  • A chargesheet, as defined under Section 173 CrPC, is the final report prepared by a police officer or investigative agencies after completing their investigation of a case.
  • After preparing the chargesheet, the officer-in-charge of the police station forwards it to a Magistrate, who is empowered to take notice of the offences mentioned in it.
  • The chargesheet should contain details of names, the nature of the information, and offences. Whether the accused is under arrest, in custody, or has been released, whether any action was taken against him, are all important questions that the chargesheet answers.
  • Further, when the chargesheet relates to offences for which there is sufficient evidence against the accused, the officer forwards it to the Magistrate, complete with all documents. This forms the basis for the prosecution’s case and the charges to be framed.
  • “The charge-sheet is nothing but a final report of the police officer under s. 173(2) of the CrPC,” the apex court held in its 1991 ruling in K Veeraswami vs UOI & Ors.
  • A chargesheet must be filed against the accused within a prescribed period of 60-90 days, otherwise the arrest is illegal and the accused is entitled to bail.

Difference between Chargesheet and FIR

FIR (First Information Report)
  • Not defined in either Indian Penal Code (IPC) or CrPC
  • Finds a place under police regulations/ rules under Section 154 of CrPC, which deals with ‘Information in Cognizable Cases’
  • Filed at the ‘first’ instance’ that the police is informed of a cognizable offense or offence for which one can be arrested without a warrant; such as rape, murder, kidnapping.
  • Does not decide a person’s guilt
  • After filing an FIR, the investigation takes place, if the police have sufficient evidence can the case be forwarded to the Magistrate, otherwise, the accused is released from custody under Section 169 of the CrPC.
  • According to Section 154 (3) of the CrPC, if any person is aggrieved by the refusal of authorities to file FIR, they can send the complaint to the Superintendent of Police, who will either investigate himself or direct it to their subordinate.
Chargesheet
  • Expressly defined under Section 173 of the CrPC
  • Final report filed towards the end of an investigation
  • Complete with evidence and is often used during the trial to prove the offenses the accused is charged with.
  • Filed by the police or law-enforcement/ investigative agency only after they have gathered sufficient evidence against the accused in respect of the offenses mentioned in the FIR, otherwise, a ‘cancellation report’ or ‘untraced report’ can be filed when due to lack of evidence.

Why is a chargesheet not a ‘public document’?

  • The Court held that a chargesheet cannot be made publicly available as it’s not a ‘public document’ under Sections 74 and 76 of the Evidence Act, as argued by the petitioners.
Evidence Act Definition of ‘Public Documents’
  • Section 74 of the Evidence Act defines ‘public documents’ as those which form the acts or records of sovereign authority, official bodies, tribunals, and of public offices either legislative, judicial or executive in any part of India, Commonwealth or a foreign country.
  • It also includes public records “kept in any State of private documents”.
Section 76 of the Evidence Act
  • Section 76 of the Evidence Act mandates every public officer having custody over such documents to provide its copy pursuant to a demand and payment of legal fee, accompanied by a certificate of attestation along with the date, seal, name and designation of the officer.
Court’s ruling
  • The Court said that reliance on Sections 74 and 76 was ‘misconceived’ and added, “Documents mentioned in Section 74 of the Evidence Act can only be said to be public documents, certified copies of which are to be given by the concerned public authority having the custody of such a public document. Copy of chargesheets along with necessary public documents cannot be said to be ‘public documents’ under Section 74 of the Evidence Act.”
  • The Court also clarified that as per Section 75 of the Evidence Act, all documents other than those listed under Section 74’ are private documents.
2016 Supreme Court Ruling
  • The Court rejected the petitioner’s reliance on a 2016 ruling of the Supreme Court in ‘Youth Bar Association of India vs UOI’, where it directed all police stations in the country to publish copies of FIRs online within 24 hours of registration, except in cases where offenses were of sensitive nature.
  • The Court rejected the reliance on its judgment by saying that the directions given by it in the 2016 ruling only applied to FIRs and could not extend to chargesheets.
  • “This was done so that if the innocent accused are harassed, they are able to get relief from the competent court and are not taken by surprise,” the Court said in reference to its 2016 judgment. The direction was issued in favor of the accused in that case and could not be stretched to the public at large, the Bench added.

-Source: Indian Express


INS Vagir


Context:

Recently, The Indian Navy  commissioned the fifth diesel-electric Kalvari-class submarine Vagir. It is among the six submarines being built by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL), Mumbai, in collaboration with the French M/s Naval Group under Project 75.

Reference:

GS III: Defence

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What are the specifications of Vagir?
  2. Features, capabilities and technical details of INS Vagir
  3. Strategic importance

What are the specifications of Vagir?

  • The latest submarine gets its name from the erstwhile Vagir, a submarine which served the Navy between 1973 and 2001 and undertook numerous operational missions.
  • The construction of the new Vagir began in 2009 and it took its maiden sea sortie in February last year.
  • Also known as Sand Shark, the submarine was delivered to the Indian Navy in December 2022.
  • Vagir represents stealth and fearlessness, as it comes with features like an advanced acoustic absorption technique.
  • Vagir will boost the Indian Navy’s capability to further India’s maritime interests and is capable of undertaking diverse missions including anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, mine laying and surveillance missions.
Kalvari-class background
  • Vagir is a Kalvari-class submarine, which includes other vessels, such as the INS Kalvari, INS Khanderi, INS Karanj, INS Vela and INS Vagsheer.
  • Of these, Kalvari and Khanderi were commissioned in 2017 and 2019, and Vela and Karanj were inducted in 2021.
  • Vagir has now been commissioned and Vagsheer was launched in 2022 and is expected to be inducted next year.

Features, capabilities and technical details of INS Vagir

  • Design: Based on Scorpene class of submarines designed by French defence major Naval Group (formerly DCNS) and Spanish state-owned entity Navantia.
  • Power transmission: Diesel Electric
  • Type: Primarily attack submarines (‘hunter-killer’) designed to target and sink adversary naval vessels.
  • Endurance: Approximately 50 days
  • Capabilities: Can operate in a wide range of naval combat, including anti-warship and anti-submarine operations, intelligence gathering and surveillance, and naval mine laying.
  • Dimensions: 220 feet long, 40 feet height
  • Speed: 11 knots (20 km/h) when surfaced and 20 knots (37 km/h) when submerged
  • Air Independent Propulsion (AIP): Modern variants of Scorpene class have AIP which enables non-nuclear submarines to operate for a long time without access to surface oxygen.
  • Torpedoes and missiles: The Kalvari class of submarines are capable of launching various types of torpedoes and missiles and are equipped with a range of surveillance and intelligence-gathering mechanisms.
  • DRDO program: DRDO has an ongoing program to build a fuel cell-based AIP system for Indian Naval Submarines.

Strategic importance

  • India currently operates one submarine in the nuclear-powered class of Chakra and two other nuclear-powered vessels in Arihant in addition to submarines belonging to three classes of Diesel Electric category — Kalvari, Shishumar and Sindhughosh, some of which are ageing.
  • The nuclear-powered and diesel-electric submarines have their designated roles in the Carrier Battle Groups, which are formations of ships and submarines with Aircraft Carriers in the lead role.
  • As per the basic principles of submarine deployment and minimum requirement for India to create a strategic deterrence, there is a specific number of submarines of both types that India needs to have in active service.
  • Currently, India has less number of submarines than what is required with some more of those from both types being at various stages of construction.
  • Currently, India has a less-than-ideal number of submarines, with many new ones being at various stages of construction.
  • In the late 1990s, around the time of the Kargil war, a three-decade plan took shape for indigenous construction of submarines which is known to have two separate series of submarine building lines – codenamed Project 75 and Project 75I — in collaboration with foreign entities.
  • The Ministry of Defence is also known to have put in place a roadmap for indigenous design and subsequent construction of submarines which will further add numbers to the Navy’s arsenal.

-Source: Indian Express


Subhas Chandra Bose


Context:

January 23 is the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, observed as Parakram Diwas.

Relevance:

GS III: History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Subhas Chandra Bose’s early life
  2. Bose’s Disagreements with Gandhi
  3. The rift within the Congress
  4. A dramatic escape
  5. The INA and World War II

Subhas Chandra Bose’s early life

Parents:
  • Born to an upper-class Bengali family in 1897 in Cuttack, Subhas Chandra Bose was the ninth child of Janakinath and Prabhavati Bose.
  • A well-known lawyer, Janakinath sent his sons to an English-medium school where Bengali was not taught, so that they could learn perfect English which he considered essential for assimilating into English society.
  • Prabhavati, on the other hand, was a devout Hindu and observed Bengali Hindu customs and pujas which all her children had to attend.
Education:
  • In 1909, Subhas Chandra Bose moved to Ravenshaw Collegiate School, where he completed his secondary education.
  • Here, he was taught Bengali and Sanskrit, as well as the Vedas and Upanishads.
  • While he continued his European education throughout his life, he became less drawn to Anglicized ways than his family members during his schooling, and according to historian Leonard Gordon, “began to make his own synthesis of the cultures of the West and India”.
  • Influenced by the teachings of Ramakrishna and his disciple Swami Vivekananda, as well as the themes of Bengali novelist Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in his novel Ananda Math, Gordon notes that Subhas found what he was looking for: “his Motherland’s freedom and revival”
  • After school, he entered the Presidency College in Calcutta in 1913, where he studied philosophy.
Earliest battle with British:
  • His earliest battle with British authority occurred while he was a student, against Professor of History E F Oaten, who had once in class spoken about England’s civilizing mission in India.
  • The students felt insulted by his remarks and their anger later boiled over after a run-in with the teacher, leading him to be beaten with sandals by Bose and his friends.
  • Expelled for his actions, he resumed his studies at the Scottish Church College in Calcutta.

Bose’s Disagreements with Gandhi

  • Afterwards, Bose went to Cambridge University to prepare for the Indian Civil Services (ICS) exam in 1920.
  • But later, determined to join the struggle for India’s freedom, he abandoned the project and resigned from the ICS to join the Mahatma Gandhi-led national movement.
  • After reaching Bombay, now Mumbai, in 1921, he obtained an audience with Gandhi to get a better understanding of his plan of action.
  • While he had great respect for the Mahatma, Bose left the meeting dissatisfied with the answers he received.
About the ideological divide between the two leaders:
  • Gandhi was willing to wait a long time for Independence, Bose wanted immediate action, if not immediate results.
  • Gandhi was anti-materialistic and hostile to modern technology, Bose saw technology and mass production as essential to survival and dignity.
  • Gandhi wanted a decentralized society and disliked the modern state; Bose wanted a strong central government and saw the modern state as the only solution to India’s problems.
  • And finally, Bose did not share Gandhi’s dedication to non-violence.
  • Despite tensions between the two, Bose was well aware of the significance of a leader like Gandhi.
  • Bose was the first to call him the “father of the nation” during an address from the Azad Hind Radio from Singapore in July 1944.

The rift within the Congress

  • Over the next two decades, Bose devoted his life to the nationalist movement, gaining considerable political influence and becoming one of the most powerful leaders in the Congress party.
  • In 1938, he was elected Congress president in the Haripura session, where he tried to push for swaraj as a “National Demand” and opposed the idea of an Indian federation under British rule.
  • He stood for re-election in 1939 and defeated Dr Pattabhi Sitaramayya, the Gandhi-backed candidate.
  • Gandhi took this as a “personal defeat” and 12 of the 15 members of the Working Committee resigned from their roles. These included Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel and Rajendra Prasad.
  • Bose tried to set up another working committee, but after being unable to do so, was forced to resign and was replaced by Prasad.
  • Within a week, he proposed the creation of the “Forward Bloc” within the Congress Party, in order to bring the radical-left elements of the party together.

A dramatic escape

  • Bose was arrested in 1940 before he could launch a campaign to remove the monument dedicated to the victims of the Black Hole of Calcutta, an incident when a number of European soldiers died while imprisoned in 1756.
  • After going on a hunger strike, he was released from jail in December.
  • He soon began his escape from India, travelling by road, rail, air and foot in various disguises to avoid British surveillance.
  • He entered Soviet-controlled Kabul via the northwest of India and finally reached Nazi Germany, where he remained for two years.
  • He was provided assistance to defeat the British, and Bose was allowed to start the Azad Hind Radio and was provided with a few thousand Indian prisoners of war captured by Germany.
  • Bose soon turned his focus to South East Asia, specifically Singapore, a British stronghold that had been taken over by Japan.
  • However, leaving Europe at the peak of World War II was no easy task. In February 1943, he left Germany with his aide Abid Hasan in a submarine and travelled down the Atlantic Ocean, crossing the Cape of Good Hope in Africa before entering the Indian Ocean past Madagascar.
  • Here, Bose and Hasan were taken on a small rubber boat provided by the Japanese, before taking them to Sumatra and finally arriving in Tokyo by air, marking the end of a gruelling and dangerous 90-day journey.

The INA and World War II

  • The Indian National Army was formed in 1942, consisting of thousands of Indian prisoners of war captured by the Japanese, and supported by Japanese troops.
  • After his arrival in Singapore, Bose announced the formation of the provisional government of the Azad Hind in October 1943.
  • The headquarters of the provisional government was moved to Rangoon in January 1944, and after fighting at the Arakan Front, the INA crossed the Indo-Burma border and marched towards Imphal and Kohima in March.
  • The Chalo Delhi campaign ended at Imphal however, as the British and British Indian armies, along with American air support were able to defeat the Japanese forces and the INA and push them out of Kohima as well.
  • In April-May 1945, Bose, along with the INA soldiers as well as women he had recruited for the Rani of Jhansi regiment was forced to retreat on foot to Thailand, while facing incessant enemy fire.
  • After the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, the war came to an end.
  • After the Japanese surrendered on August 16, Bose left South East Asia on a Japanese plane and headed toward China. The plane, however, crashed, leaving Bose badly burned, but still alive, according to historians.

-Source: Indian Express


Gig Economy


Context:

On September 20, 2021, the Indian Federation of App-based Transport Workers, on behalf of gig workers, filed a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court demanding that the Union government provide succour to workers affected by the pandemic.

  • The petition has asked for ‘gig workers’ and ‘platform workers’ to be declared as ‘unorganised workers’ so they come under the purview of the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008.

Relevance:

GS III- Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Gig Economy?
  2. Advantages of Gig economy.
  3. Challenges related to Gig economy
  4. Measures to address the issues related to Gig economy
  5. Way Forward

What is Gig Economy?

  • Gig economy involves a temporary contractual job or short-term contract or freelance work that a person may take, on a project-to-project basis, for which the payment is made once the task is completed.
  • The gig economy gets its name from each piece of work being akin to an individual ‘gig’. A gig economy encompasses all platforms that hire independent contractors, consultants and workers in different sectors, such as
    • information technology,
    • content creation,
    • social media marketing and communications,
    • food and beverages,
    • creative fields such as art and design.
  • A gig economy, hence, means an existence of temporary or part-time workforce instead of a conventional workforce.

Advantages of gig economy:

  • Cater to immediate demand: Gig economy can benefit workers, businesses, and consumers by making work more adaptable to the needs of the moment and demand for flexible lifestyles.
  • Cheaper and more efficient: Most times, employers cannot afford to hire full-time employees. In a gig economy, large numbers of people work part-time or in temporary positions. The result is cheaper, more efficient services, such as Uber or Airbnb, for those willing to use them.
  • Wider choice to employers: Technology and connectivity through the internet don’t require the freelancer to come into the office for work. Hence, employers have a wider range of applicants to choose from as they don’t have to hire someone based on their proximity.
  • Offers specific expertise: Professional services firms are hiring gig workers to add deep domain expertise to client-impact teams. Majority of professional services contact workers have years of domain-specific knowledge, like consultants.
  • The wider choice to employees: People often find they need to move around or take multiple positions to afford the lifestyle they want. These days, people also tend to change careers many times throughout their lives; the gig economy is a reflection of this rising trend.
  • Youth economic productivity: India has a high share of young population which is only expected to grow. According to economists at IMF, youth inactivity in India is at 30%, the highest amongst developing countries.
    • Gig economy offers the perfect platform for engagement of youth in productive employment activities.
    • It is also estimated that the gig economy offers a relatively high gender-parity in the workforce, as compared to traditional employment.

Challenges related to Gig Economy:

  • Erosion of traditional economic relationships: Gig economy can have downsides due to the erosion of traditional economic relationships between workers, businesses, and clients. This can eliminate the benefits that flow from building long-term trust, customary practice, and familiarity with clients and employers.
    • It could also discourage investment in relationship-specific assets that would otherwise be profitable to pursue since no party has an incentive to invest significantly in a relationship that only lasts until the next gig comes along.
  • Crowding out traditional workers: Workers who prefer a traditional career path, stability and security that come with it are being crowded out in some industries.
    • The gig economy makes it harder for full-time employees to develop fully in their careers since temporary employees are often cheaper to hire and offer more flexibility in their availability.
  • Disrupted work-life balance for gig workers: Flexibility in a gig economy often means that workers have to make themselves available at any time the gig comes up, regardless of their other needs, and they must always be on the hunt for the next gig.
    • Hence, for some workers, the flexibility of working gigs can disrupt the work-life balance, sleep patterns, and activities of daily life.
  • No employment-related rights: Unlike traditional employment, workers in the gig economy are usually ineligible for any social benefits such as insurance, medical benefits, employees’ provident fund, bonus or gratuity.

Measures to address the issues related to gig workers:

  • Evaluating scale of Gig economy: As of now there exists no authoritative estimate on the total number of gig workers in India, though the centralised nature of the platforms, and the larger platform labour market should make the collating of this data relatively straightforward for the Labour Ministry.
  • Making regulations related to Gig economy: A more viable strategy then would involve conditional government partnerships with platforms under some of its flagship schemes. Here, the successful pilot of Swiggy’s Street Food Vendors programme under the PM SVANidhi, or PM Street Vendor’s Atma Nirbhar Nidhi scheme, may prove to be an illustrative example.

-Source: The Hindu


Puri Jagannath temple


Context:

Odisha Governor’s suggestion that foreigners and non-Hindus should be allowed to enter Puri’s famed Jagannath temple has not gone down well with traditionalists and political leaders alike.

Relevance:

GS I- Art and Architecture

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Shree Jagannath temple
  2. Architecture of Jagannath temple

About Shree Jagannath temple

  • The Shree Jagannath Temple of Puri is an important Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath, a form of Vishnu, in Puri in the state of Odisha on the eastern coast of India.
  • The present temple was rebuilt from the 10th century onwards, on the site of an earlier temple, and begun by King Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva, first of the Eastern Ganga dynasty.
  • The Puri temple is famous for its Annual Ratha yatra, or chariot festival, in which the three principal deities are pulled on huge and elaborately decorated temple cars. These gave their name to the English term Juggernaut.
  • Unlike the stone and metal icons found in most Hindu temples, the image of Jagannath is made of wood and is ceremoniously replaced every twelve or nineteen years by an exact replica.

Architecture of Jagannath temple

  • The Temple of Jagannath at Puri is one of the major Hindu temples in India.
  • The temple is built in the Kalinga style of architecture, with the Pancharatha (Five chariots) type consisting of two anurathas, two konakas and one ratha. Jagannath temple is a pancharatha with well-developed pagas. ‘Gajasimhas’ (elephant lions) carved in recesses of the pagas, the ‘Jhampasimhas’ (Jumping lions) are also placed properly.
  • The perfect pancharatha temple developed into a Nagara-rekha temple.
  • The temple is built on an elevated platform, as compared to Lingaraja temple and other temples belonging to this type.
  • This is the first temple in the history of Kalingaan temple architecture where all the chambers like Jagamohana, Bhogamandapa and Natyamandapa were built along with the main temple.
  • There are miniature shrines on the three outer sides of the main temple.

-Source: The Hindu


Yellow Band Disease


Context:

Recently, scientists found that corals of eastern Thailand are getting affected by Yellow band Disease which is killing corals over vast stretches of the sea floor.

Relevance:

Facts for Prelims

About Yellow band Disease:

  • Yellow-band disease, which is known for its characteristic coloration of turning corals yellow before destroying them, was first observed several decades ago and has resulted in extensive damage to reefs.
  • There is currently no treatment available for this disease and once infected, the coral is unable to recover.
  •  Research suggests that factors such as overfishing, pollution, and increased water temperatures due to climate change may make reefs more susceptible to yellow-band disease.

-Source: The Hindu


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