Contents

  1. IPCC 2021 report on Climate Change
  2. India Plastics Pact initiative
  3. NCLT vacancies pointed out by panel
  4. SC: Govt. delaying Collegium recommendations

IPCC 2021 report on Climate Change

Context:

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently published its sixth assessment report (AR6) titled “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis”.

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Environmental Pollution and degradation, Conservation of Environment, Climate change and its impact, International Institutions and Agreements for combating climate change)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the IPCC
  2. Highlights of the IPCC’s AR6: Climate Change 2021

About the IPCC

  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the international body for assessing the science related to climate change set up by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1988.
  • IPCC was created to provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.
  • IPCC assessments provide a scientific basis for governments at all levels to develop climate related policies, and they underlie negotiations at the UN Climate Conference – the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • IPCC does not carry out original research. It does not monitor climate or related phenomena itself. However, it conducts a systematic review of published literature and then produces a comprehensive assessment report.

IPCC Assessment Reports

  • The IPCC Assessment Reports are published once in about 7 years – and they are the most comprehensive scientific evaluations of the state of Earth’s climate. The 6th such assessment report was published in 2021.
  • Prior to the AR6 in 2021, five assessment reports have been produced with the first one being released in 1990. The fifth assessment report had come out in 2014 in the run up to the climate change conference in Paris.
  • The Assessment Reports are prepared by three working groups of scientists:
    • Working Group-I – Deals with the scientific basis for climate change.
    • Working Group-II – Looks at the likely impacts, vulnerabilities and adaptation issues.
    • Working Group-III – Deals with actions that can be taken to combat climate change.

Highlights of the IPCC’s AR6: Climate Change 2021

  • According to the authors of AR6 report, warming of Indian ocean will result into rise in sea levels causing more frequent and severe coastal flooding across low-level areas.
  • It will also result into intense and frequent heat waves and humid heat stress in the 21st century in South Asia.
  • Report highlights, even if the temperature is limited 1.5 degree Celsius from pre-industrial levels, extreme weather events will be witnessed.
  • Heatwaves, heavy rainfall events, and melting of glaciers is going to happen frequently, impacting countries like India.
  • Report warned developed countries to undertake immediate, deep emission cuts and decarbonisation.

Specific Points from the report:

  • The average surface temperature of the Earth will cross 1.5 °C over pre-industrial levels in the next 20 years (By 2040) and 2°C by the middle of the century without sharp reduction of emissions. This is the first time that the IPCC has said that the 1.5°C warming was inevitable even in the best case scenario.
  • Global surface temperature was 1.09°C higher in the decade between 2011-2020 than between 1850-1900. The last decade was hotter than any period of time in the past 1,25,000 years.
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) Concentrations are the highest in at least two million years. Humans have emitted 2,400 billion tonnes of CO2 since the late 1800s. Most of this can be attributed to human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels.
  • Sea-level rise has tripled compared with 1901-1971. Coastal areas will see continued sea-level rise throughout the 21st century, resulting in coastal erosion and more frequent and severe flooding in low-lying areas. About 50% of the sea level rise is due to thermal expansion (when water heats up, it expands, thus warmer oceans simply occupy more space).
  • There will be an increase in hot extremes, extreme precipitation and drought for every additional 0.5 °C of warming. Additional warming will also weaken the Earth’s carbon sinks present in plants, soils, and the ocean.
  • The freezing level of mountains are likely to change and snowlines will retreat over the coming decades. Global Warming will have a serious impact on mountain ranges across the world, including the Himalayas. The level of temperature rise in the mountains and glacial melt is unprecedented in 2,000 years. The retreat of glaciers is now attributed to anthropogenic factors and human influence.

-Source: The Hindu

 


India Plastics Pact initiative

Context:

The India Plastics Pact is set to be launched soon in collaboration with Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Conservation of Environment)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. India Plastics Pact
  2. The Need for India Plastic Pact

India Plastics Pact

  • India Plastics Pact will be the first Plastic Pact in Asia. [Plastics Pacts are business-led initiatives and transform the plastics packaging value chain for all formats and products].
    The India Plastics Pact is an ambitious, collaborative initiative that aims to bring together businesses, governments and NGOs across the whole value chain to set time-bound commitments to reduce plastics from their value chains.
  • While the India Plastics Pact will be active in India, it will link globally with other Plastics Pacts.
  • The Pact will develop a road map for guidance, form action groups composed of members, and initiate innovation projects.
  • Members’ accountability is ensured through ambitious targets and annual data reporting.
  • The vision, targets and ambition of the India Plastics Pact are aligned with the circular economy principles of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy.

The Need for India Plastic Pact

  • India generates 9.46 million tonnes of plastic waste annually of which 40% plastic waste goes uncollected.
  • Also, out this approx. 10 million tonnes, 43% are used for packaging, with a majority of them being single-use.
  • Plastic is a huge problem as it is so cheap and convenient that it has replaced all other materials from the packaging industry leading to production at unprecedented levels – but it takes hundreds of years to disintegrate.
  • Petroleum-based plastic is not biodegradable and usually goes into a landfill where it is buried or it gets into the water and finds its way into the ocean. In the process of breaking down, it releases toxic chemicals (additives that were used to shape and harden the plastic) which make their way into our food and water supply.

-Source: The Hindu


NCLT vacancies pointed out by panel

Context:

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance has called out the Ministry of Corporate Affairs on persistent vacancies in National Company Law Tribunals (NCLTs) leading to delays in corporate insolvency under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

Relevance:

GS-III: Indian Economy (Capital Market, Statutory Bodies)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. NCLT
  2. NCLAT
  3. Differences between NCLT and NCLAT
  4. About the Concerns of the Parliamentary Committee on NCLT
  5. Way Forwards Suggested by the Parliamentary Committee

NCLT

  • The National Company Law Tribunal is a quasi-judicial body in India that adjudicates issues relating to Indian companies.
  • The tribunal was established under the Companies Act 2013 and was constituted on 1 June 2016 by the government of India. Hence, NCLT is a Statutory Body.
  • All proceedings under the Companies Act, including proceedings relating to arbitration, compromise, arrangements and reconstruction and winding up of companies shall be disposed of by the National Company Law Tribunal.
  • The National Company Law Tribunal is the adjudicating authority for insolvency resolution process of companies and limited liability partnerships under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
  • No criminal court shall have jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceeding in respect of any matter which the Tribunal or the Appellate Tribunal is empowered to determine by or under this Act or any other law for the time being in force and no injunction shall be granted by any court or other authority in respect of any action taken or to be taken in pursuance of any power conferred by or under this Act or any other law for the time being in force, by the Tribunal or the Appellate Tribunal.

NCLAT

  • The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) is a tribunal which was formed by the Central Government of India under Section 410 of the Companies Act, 2013. Hence, NCLAT is also a Statutory Body.
  • The tribunal is responsible for hearing appeals from the orders of National Company Law Tribunal(s) (NCLT), starting on 1 June, 2016.
  • The tribunal also hears appeals from orders issued by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India under Section 202 and Section 211 of IBC.
  • It also hears appeals from any direction issued, decision made, or order passed by the Competition Commission of India.

Differences between NCLT and NCLAT

  • NCLT makes the judgement on the insolvency resolution proceedings. NCLAT makes judgement on the decisions made by the NCLT.
  • NCLT is the primary Tribunal and NCLAT is the appellate tribunal.
  • NCLT analyzes the evidences that are presented by the insolvent debtor or their creditors. NCLAT analyzes the decisions that are made by the NCLT.

About the Concerns of the Parliamentary Committee on NCLT

  • The combined strength of the current NCLT benches around the country is currently only 29 members against the total sanctioned strength of 63 members.
  • The committee noted that delays in the admission of insolvency cases by NCLTs and the approval of resolution plans were the key reasons behind the non-adherence of timelines under the IBC.
  • Delays on the part of the NCLT in admitting cases allowed defaulting owners the opportunity to divert funds and transfer assets.
  • A number of high profile cases under the IBC saw multiple decisions being challenged by stakeholders. Many of these appeals are frivolous attempts to slow down insolvency proceedings.
  • Cases in which creditors have evaluated resolution plans submitted after the specified deadline would disincentive bidders from bidding within prescribed timelines and that such plans also contribute to delays and value destruction.

Way Forwards Suggested by the Parliamentary Committee

  • NCLT should be required to admit a defaulting company into insolvency proceedings and hand over control to a resolution professional within 30 days.
  • The MCA, as the nodal ministry, should take greater responsibility to streamline the operational processes in NCLT/National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) while constantly monitoring and analysing the workflow, disposal and outcomes with regard to resolutions, recoveries, time taken, etc.
  • The IBC be amended to provide MSMEs, which are operational creditors under the IBC, with greater protection in the current economic environment.

-Source: Indian Express


SC: Govt. delaying Collegium recommendations

Context:

The SC Complained that the Centre’s delay, for months and years on end, to act on the recommendations of the Collegium and appoint judges to High Courts has affected the early adjudication of important cases, especially high-stake commercial issues

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Constitution (Constitutional Provisions, Indian Judiciary)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the Collegium System?
  2. Evolution of the Collegium system
  3. Working of the Collegium System and NJAC
  4. About the pending recommendations

What is the Collegium System?

  • The Collegium System is a system under which appointments/elevation of judges/lawyers to Supreme Court and transfers of judges of High Courts and Apex Court are decided by a forum of the Chief Justice of India and the four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court.’ There is no mention of the Collegium either in the original Constitution of India or in successive amendments.
  • The recommendations of the Collegium are binding on the Central Government; if the Collegium sends the names of the judges/lawyers to the government for the second time.

Evolution of the Collegium system

  • In the First Judges case (1982), the Court held that consultation does not mean concurrence and it only implies an exchange of views.
  • In the Second Judges case (1993), the Court reversed its earlier ruling and changed the meaning of the word consultation to concurrence.

Third Judges Case, 1998:

  • In the Third Judges case (1998), the Court opined that the consultation process to be adopted by the Chief Justice of India requires “consultation of a plurality of judges”.
  • The sole opinion of the CJI does not constitute the consultation process. He should consult a collegium of four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court and even if two judges give an adverse opinion, he should not send the recommendation to the government.
  • The court held that the recommendation made by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) without complying with the norms and requirements of the consultation process is not binding on the government.
  • The Collegium system was born through the “Third Judges case” and it is in practice since 1998. It is used for appointments and transfers of judges in High courts and Supreme Courts.
  • There is no mention of the Collegium either in the original Constitution of India or in successive amendments.

Working of the Collegium System and NJAC

  • The collegium recommends the names of lawyers or judges to the Central Government. Similarly, the Central Government also sends some of its proposed names to the Collegium.
  • Collegium considers the names or suggestions made by the Central Government and resends the file to the government for final approval.
  • If the Collegium resends the same name again then the government has to give its assent to the names. But the time limit is not fixed to reply. This is the reason that appointment of judges takes a long time.
  • Through the 99th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2014 the National Judicial Commission Act (NJAC) was established to replace the collegium system for the appointment of judges.
  • However, the Supreme Court upheld the collegium system and struck down the NJAC as unconstitutional on the grounds that the involvement of Political Executive in judicial appointment was against the “Principles of Basic Structure”. i.e., the “Independence of Judiciary”.

About the pending recommendations

  • The SC noted in August 2021, that in this month the Delhi High Court will be with less than 50% judges the government’s “recalcitrant attitude” has left the High Courts with skeletal judicial strength.
  • The Supreme Court Bar Association said that there was a need to institutionalise a process for considering advocates practising in the top courts to judgeships in the High Courts.
  • The total sanctioned judicial strength in the 25 High Courts is 1,080. However, the present working strength is 661 with 419 vacancies as on March 1 2021.
  • The judicial institution of the High Courts is manned by a number of judges where it will become almost impossible to have an early adjudication even on important issues.
  • The court said the government “must realise” that adequate number of judges is a ‘necessity’ for early adjudication of commercial disputes.

-Source: The Hindu

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