Contents

  1. CoP26 summit: Declaration on Forests and Land Use
  2. Third edition of the Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC)
  3. Fresh attempt for All-India Judicial Service (AIJS)
  4. NHRC: Set up Police Complaints Authorities

CoP26 summit: Declaration on Forests and Land Use

Context:

Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use is an ambitious declaration initiated by the United Kingdom to “halt deforestation” and land degradation by 2030 at the COP26 climate summit.

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Conservation of Environment and Ecology, Foreign Policies and Agreements)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Highlights of the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use
  2. Signatories of the Declaration on Forests and Land Use
  3. Why hasn’t India signed the Declaration on Forests and Land Use?

Highlights of the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use

  • The Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use recognizes that to meet our land use, climate, biodiversity and sustainable development goals, both globally and nationally will:
    • Require transformative actions in the interconnected areas of:
      • Sustainable production and consumption,
      • Infrastructure development,
      • Trade,
      • Finance and investment,
      • Support for smallholders, Indigenous Peoples, and local communities, etc.
    • And we will also have to achieve a balance between anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and removal by sinks and
    • Adapt to climate change, along with
    • Maintaining other ecosystem services.
  • The Declaration on Forests and Land Use reaffirmed respective commitments to:
    • The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and
    • The Paris Agreement,
    • The Convention on Biological Diversity,
    • The UN Convention to Combat Desertification,
    • The Sustainable Development Goals; and other relevant initiatives.
  • The Main areas of focus of the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use are –
    • Conserve forests and other terrestrial ecosystems and accelerate their restoration.
    • Facilitate trade and development policies, internationally and domestically, that promote sustainable development, and sustainable commodity production and consumption.
    • Reduce vulnerability, build resilience and enhance rural livelihoods, including through empowering local communities.
    • The development of profitable, sustainable agriculture, and recognition of the multiple values of forests, while recognising the rights of Indigenous People.
    • Reaffirm international financial commitments and significantly increase finance and investment from a wide variety of public and private sources.

Signatories of the Declaration on Forests and Land Use

  • The declaration has over 105 signatories including the UK, US, Russia and China.
  • These countries represent 75% of global trade and 85% of global forests in key commodities that can threaten forests – such as palm oil, cocoa and soya.
  • They have also committed USD 12 billion in public funds from 2021-25.
  • India, Argentina, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and South Africa are the only G20 countries that did not sign the declaration.

Why hasn’t India signed the Declaration on Forests and Land Use?

  • India did not sign the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use as it objected to “trade” being interlinked to climate change and forest issues in the agreement.
  • India, Argentina, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and South Africa are the only G20 countries that did not sign the declaration. The declaration interlinks trade to climate change and forest issues. Trade falls under the World Trade Organization and should not be brought under climate change declarations.
  • India and others had asked the word “trade” to be removed, but the demand was not accepted. Therefore, they didn’t sign the declaration.
  • The issue of deforestation in India is a hotly contested one. The government has repeatedly said that the tree cover and forest cover in India have increased over the past few years.
  • However, environmentalists have long pointed out that the government is busy diluting existing environmental protections to open them up for mining and other infrastructure projects that will alter the forests, wildlife, and the people living around it forever.

-Source: Down to Earth Magazine


Third edition of the Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC)

Context:

The 3rd edition of Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC) – 2021 is being held in November 2021 under the aegis of Naval War College, Goa.

Relevance:

GS-III: Internal Security Challenges

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC)
  2. About the Indian Ocean
  3. About the Indian Ocean Region (IOR)
  4. Challenges in Indian Ocean Region
  5. Significance of Indian Ocean for India

About the Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC)

  • The Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC) is the Indian Navy’s Outreach Initiative providing a multinational platform to harness the collective wisdom of practitioners of maritime security and the academia towards garnering outcome oriented maritime thought.
  • With IOR becoming the focus of the 21st century strategic landscape, the GMC aims to bring together regional stakeholders and deliberate on the collaborative implementation strategies in dealing with contemporary maritime security challenges.

About GMC-2021

  • At the GMC-21, Chief of the Naval Staff of Indian Navy would be hosting Chiefs of Navies/ Heads of Maritime Forces from 12 Indian Ocean littorals, including Bangladesh, Comoros, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand
  • The theme for 2021 edition of GMC is “Maritime Security and Emerging Non-Traditional Threats: A Case for Proactive Role for IOR Navies”.
  • As part of the Conclave, visitors would also be afforded an opportunity to witness India’s indigenous shipbuilding industry at the ‘Make in India Exhibition’ and the capabilities of Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel (DSRV) for Submarines at Goa.

About the Indian Ocean

  • India is a peninsular country which is surrounded by Indian Ocean on three sides. The geographical location of India makes Indian Ocean integral part of its foreign policy, security decision, trade etc.
  • The Indian Ocean is the third largest ocean in the world, covering around 20% of the Earth’s water surface.
  • At present, Indian Ocean carries about half of world’s container shipment, one-third of bulk cargo traffic and two-third of oil shipments. Its littoral states are densely populated with over 40% of global population which makes it an attractive market.
  • It also carries 90% of India’s trade by volume and 90% of oil imports.
  • With the changing geopolitical equations of the world powers such as USA and China, importance of Indian Ocean has increased.

About the Indian Ocean Region (IOR)

  • The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) comprises of the Indian Ocean and the countries bordering it– Australia, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Madagascar, Somalia, Tanzania, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
  • The Indian Ocean has 51 coastal and landlocked states- 26 Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) states, 5 Red Sea states, 4 Persian Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, France, Britain and 13 landlocked states.
  • The IOR is home to around 2.5 billion people or one-third of the population of our planet.
  • Around 55% of the oil reserves and 40% of the gas reserves are in this region.
  • The IOR is plentiful in energy resources and minerals including gold, tin, uranium, cobalt, nickel, aluminium and cadmium. The region furthermore contains abundant fishing resources.
  • The IOR has four important waterways:
    1. Suez Canal (Egypt),
    2. Bab el Mandeb (Djibouti-Yemen),
    3. Strait of Hormuz (Iran-Oman), and
    4. Strait of Malacca (Indonesia-Malaysia).
  • The main seaports of IOR are:
    1. Chennai (Madras, India);
    2. Colombo (Sri Lanka);
    3. Durban (South Africa);
    4. Jakarta (Indonesia);
    5. Kolkata(Calcutta, India);
    6. Melbourne (Australia);
    7. Mumbai (Bombay, India);
    8. Richards Bay (South Africa).

Important International Organizations and Groupings of the IOR

  1. The Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC)
  2. The Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS)
  3. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
  4. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
  5. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
  6. The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)
  7. Southern African Development Community (SADC)
  8. East African Community (EAC)
  9. Indian Ocean Commission (COI)
  10. The Arab League, or League of Arab States
  11. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC)
  12. The Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA)

Challenges in Indian Ocean Region

  • Despite a decline in piracy off the coast of Somalia, the Indian Ocean has been witnessing a sudden rise in non-traditional challenges.
  • Maritime crime has been increasing, with a record number of drug hauls in the Asian littoral in the recent years.
  • Migration and human trafficking in South and Southeast Asia too has registered a surge in numbers. A rise in refugee movement from Bangladesh and Myanmar resulted in a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions.

Significance of Indian Ocean for India

  • Geostrategic location –Indian Ocean gives India access to the South-Asia, South East Asia, Africa, West Asia and Oceania which are important from the point of view of energy, economic trade and security.
    • Choke points i.e., Strait of Hormuz, Bab-el-Mandeb, Strait of Malacca, Sunda strait and Lombok are important for not only India but also global trade.
    • It’s also important for India to counter the increasing Chinese dominance over Indian Ocean. China at present is developing several ports in Indian Ocean such as Hambantota, in Mauritius, Gwadar in Pakistan etc.
  • Economic Integration – India is an Emerging Market Economy which will benefit through its trade links with South East Asia, South Asia, Africa, West Asia and Oceania.
    • Africa currently holds enormous potential for energy exploration, mineral resources and employment opportunities for Indian diaspora.
    • Australia which is the biggest nation in the Indian Ocean is already a world leader and its partnership with India would benefit Indian economy in more than one way i.e. access to nuclear energy, new economic market for Indian goods, people to people contact etc.
    • South East and West Asia is important to India for its abundant oil reserves and other mineral resources.
  • Security – Due to possibility of terrorist attacks and increasing presence of China in Indian Ocean such as inauguration of first overseas military base in Djibouti, Indian Ocean has become an integral part of India’s maritime policy. China also inaugurated its first overseas military base in Djibouti.
    • The new Maritime Security Policy of 2015 highlights the need to develop seamless and holistic approach for greater coordination between various maritime agencies.
    • It also validates the use of Indian Navy as an instrument to secure the blurring traditional and non-traditional sea lines of communication for the purpose of economic integration.
    • The Indian Navy played a pivotal role in containing piracy on the high seas and is positioning itself as the “net security provider” in the broader Indian Ocean region with capacity building, joint exercises and increased multilateral exchanges.
  • Energy Security: India is world’s third largest oil importer with maximum import from West and South-east Asian countries. For this purpose, Indian Ocean is a very important medium for India’s energy security.
  • Ocean Resources: India is highly dependent upon ocean resources such as fishing and aquaculture. India is also involved in deep sea mineral exploration in Central Indian Ocean with ship Samudra Ratnakar from South Korea.
  • Emerging Geopolitics: While India has been increasing its outreach in Indian Ocean under SAGAR — Security and Growth for All in the Region strategy, now it is also trying to increase its centrality in the wider Indo-Pacific, a concept which situates India at the very heart of the changing geopolitical transitions in the region.
  • Multilateral Cooperation:  Indian Ocean RIM Association; India is planning to expand and further invigorate IORA’s activities, from renewable energy and the blue economy to maritime safety and security, water science and greater institutional and think-tank networking.
    • Earlier 21-member states of IORA had issued a strategic vision document, known as the Jakarta Concord, that “sets out a vision for a revitalized and sustainable regional architecture’’.
    • Besides maximizing the potential of trade, investment and economic cooperation in the region, the Jakarta Concord also aims to address non-traditional issues, such as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, human trafficking, drug trafficking, illegal migration and piracy.
    • A Declaration on Preventing and Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism was also adopted last year.

-Source: The Hindu


Fresh attempt for All-India Judicial Service (AIJS)

Context:

The central government is likely to make a fresh attempt at reaching a consensus with States to set up an all-India judicial service – the All-India Judicial Service (AIJS).

The idea of centralised recruitment of judges has been debated in legal circles for decades, and remains contentious.

Relevance:

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

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the proposed All India Judicial Service (AIJS)?
  2. How are district judges currently recruited?
  3. What has the Supreme Court said about AIJS?
  4. Arguments against the idea of AIJS
  5. Arguments for the case of AIJS

What is the proposed All India Judicial Service (AIJS)?

  • The AIJS is a reform push to centralise the recruitment of judges at the level of additional district judges and district judges for all states.
  • In the same way that the Union Public Service Commission conducts a central recruitment process and assigns successful candidates to cadres, judges of the lower judiciary are proposed to be recruited centrally and assigned to states.
  • The primary purpose of establishing the AIJS is to:
    • Ensure Efficient subordinate judiciary
    • Address structural issues such as varying pay and remuneration across states
    • Fill vacancies faster
    • Ensure standard training across states

Synthesis of the AIJS idea

  • The idea of a centralized judicial service was first proposed in the Law Commission 1958 ‘Report on Reforms on Judicial Administration’.
  • It was proposed again in the Law Commission Report of 1978, which discussed delays and arrears of cases in the lower courts.
  • In 2006, the Parliamentary Standing Committee backed the idea of a pan-Indian judicial service, and also prepared a draft Bill.

How are district judges currently recruited?

  • Articles 233 and 234 of the Constitution of India deal with the appointment of district judges, and place it in the domain of the states.
  • The selection process is conducted by the State Public Service Commissions and the concerned High Court since High Courts exercise jurisdiction over the subordinate judiciary in the state.
  • Panels of High Court judges interview candidates after the exam and select them for an appointment.
  • All judges of the lower judiciary up to the level of district judge are selected through the Provincial Civil Services (Judicial) exam.

Amendment provision bringing the change

  • The 42nd Constitutional amendment in 1976 amended Article 312 (1) empowering Parliament to make laws for the creation of one or more All-India Services, including an AIJS, common to the Union and the States.
  • Under Article 312, Rajya Sabha is required to pass a resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of its members present and voting. Thereafter, Parliament has to enact a law creating the AIJS.
  • This means no constitutional amendment will be required for establishment of AIJS.

What has the Supreme Court said about AIJS?

  • In 1992, the Supreme Court directed the Centre to set up an AIJS in All India Judges’ Assn. vs Union of India.
  • Later, the Supreme Court left the Centre at liberty to take the initiative on the issue in a 1993 review of the 1992 judgement.
  • The Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance of the issue of appointment of district judges, and mooted a “Central Selection Mechanism” in 2017.

Arguments against the idea of AIJS

  • AJIS is seen as an affront to federalism and an encroachment on the powers of states granted by the Constitution.
  • Language and representation, for example, are key concerns highlighted by states. Judicial business is conducted in regional languages, which could be affected by central recruitment.
  • Also, reservations based on caste, and even for rural candidates or linguistic minorities in the state, could be diluted in a central test, it has been argued.
  • Arguments against the AIJS are also based on how it is against the constitutional concept of the separation of powers.
  • Additionally, legal experts have argued that the creation of AIJS will not address the structural issues plaguing the lower judiciary.

Arguments for the case of AIJS

  • The government argued that if a central mechanism can work for administrative services — IAS officers learn the language required for their cadre — it can work for judicial services too.
  • The government has targeted the reform of the lower judiciary in its effort to improve India’s Ease of Doing Business ranking.
  • It will act as efficient dispute resolution is one of the key indices in determining the rank.
  • AIJS is a step in the direction of ensuring an efficient lower judiciary.
  • A Law Commission report (1987) recommended that India should have 50 judges per million population as against 10.50 judges (then). Now, the figure has crossed 20 judges in terms of the sanctioned strength, but it’s nothing compared to the US or the UK — 107 and 51 judges per million people, respectively. So establishment of AIJS will help in addressing the Judges-to-Population Ratio issue in India.
  • The government believes that if such a service comes up, it would help create a pool of talented people who could later become a part of the higher judiciary
  • The bottoms-up approach in the recruitment would also address issues like corruption and nepotism in the lower judiciary.

-Source: Indian Express, The Hindu


NHRC: Set up Police Complaints Authorities

Context:

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the State Governments to set up Police Complaints Authorities as per the judgment in Prakash Singh vs. Union of India, 2006.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Governance (Constitutional Provisions and Historical Underpinnings, Government Policies and Interventions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the recent NHRC directive on Police Complaints Authorities
  2. Prakash Singh Case 2006

About the recent NHRC directive on Police Complaints Authorities

  • NHRC said that the MHA and the Law Ministry should consider implementing the recommendations of the 113th report of the Law Commission of India to add Section 114 B to the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. According to the NHRC, this would ensure that in case a person sustains injuries in police custody, it is presumed that the injuries were inflicted by the police and the burden of proof to explain the injury lies on the authority concerned.
  • The NHRC also recommended that the legal framework should be made technology-friendly to speed up the criminal justice system. Presently the legal framework is not suitable for the adoption of technology in the criminal justice system.
  • The group also recommended that the Supreme Court’s December 2020 order to instal CCTV cameras with night vision in all police stations should be “implemented immediately” to ensure accountability.
  • It also pitched for the involvement of trained social workers and law students with police stations as part of community policing and incorporating community policing in police manuals, laws and advisories.

Prakash Singh Case 2006

  • The seven main directives from the Supreme Court in the Prakash Singh Case (2006) verdict were fixing the tenure and selection of the DGP (Director General of Police) to avoid situations where officers about to retire in a few months are given the post.
  • In order to ensure no political interference, a minimum tenure was sought for the Inspector General of Police so that they are not transferred mid-term by politicians.
  • The SC further directed postings of officers being done by Police Establishment Boards (PEB) comprising police officers and senior bureaucrats to insulate powers of postings and transfers from political leaders.
  • Further, there was a recommendation of setting up the State Police Complaints Authority (SPCA) to give a platform where common people aggrieved by police action could approach.
  • Apart from this, the SC directed separation of investigation and law and order functions to better improve policing, setting up of State Security Commissions (SSC) that would have members from civil society and forming a National Security Commission.

-Source: The Hindu

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