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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 22 June 2022

Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 22 June 2022


  1. A wish list for reform in India’s higher judiciary
  2. It is time India plans a hub airport flight path

A Wish List for Reform in India’s Higher Judiciary


Speculations are that the age of retirement of Supreme Court of India judges is to be increased to 67 years, not immediately but come a couple of months. This alteration in age would affect every successor


GS-II: Structure, Organization and Functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary

Dimensions of the Article

  • Fallout is competition
  • Needed, a culture of service
  • Serve equally
  • Choosing a leader
  • Way Forward

Fallout is competition

  • For one, it is high time that we did away with the disparity between the retirement ages of High Court and Supreme Court judges; High Court judges now retire at 62 and Supreme Court judges at 65.
  • The obvious negativefallout of a differential retirement age simply is intense pressure and competition to make it to the top court and thus get three more years.
  • If this is done away with, several judges of mettle would prefer to be Chief Justices and senior judges in the High Courts exercising wide power of influence rather than being a junior judge on a Bench of the Supreme Court.
  • There is good work to be done in the High Courts, and we need good men there.

Needed, a culture of service

  • The main focus of retired judges is on arbitrations and amass considerable fortunes with high fees and multiple sittings.
  • Indeed,  they make more money in one year of arbitration than in their entire judicial careers.
  • A minority of judges devote themselves to public service;
  • Another lot are appointed to various constitutional posts and tribunals and commissions.
  • It would be worthwhile reform to create a cadre of public service for retired judges and from this pool make appointments to the constitutional and statutory posts and special assignments.
  • Such judges should receive the full pay and the facilities of a judge of the Supreme Court for life.
  • Obviously they should be barred from arbitrations; it should further be provided that if any judge is unwilling to be a part of the cadre and instead wishes to pursue arbitrations post retirement, then senior positions on the Supreme Court such as the membership of the collegium ought not to be available for them. We should have a culture of public service for senior judges, and those who do not fit in such culture should not be a part of senior ranks.

Serve equally

  • As to the first, the Constitution mandates no such thing as senior most judge being appointed as the Chief Justice of India.  Article 124 merely states that the President will appoint every judge of the Supreme Court, and this includes the Chief Justice, and each
  • of these judges shall hold office until they attain the age of 65 years.
  • The requirement about appointing the senior most judge to be the CJI is a sleight of hand devised in the Second Judges case (1993) and the consequent Memorandum of Procedure. It has no constitutional legitimacy.
  • As to wisdom, public purpose is better served by ensuring that the judges of the Supreme Court during their entire tenure are not swayed by their expectations or aspirations to the higher office of CJI, and do not on that account calibrate their views or pause before judgement.
  • There is no good reason why any one particular person should have a vested interest in the top job, and we are better served by eliminating such expectation. Let all serve equally under the constitutional throne for the entire length of their tenure.

Choosing a leader

  • Who then shall be primus inter pares, the first among equals?
  • when a serving CJI retires, his successor should be the best reputed Chief Justice of a High Court who has proved himself worthy both in judicial office as well as administrative leadership and has those qualities of heart and head which mark a good leader.
  • The appointee should have a clear three year term — not the truncated weeks and months that some CJIs now get.
  • But he should not function as the primus super pares as many CJIs nowadays do — calling the shots and having their unfettered way.
  • He should instead function in a true collegiate manner, especially in regard to the roster of allotment of cases, especially the sensitive ones, and appointments to the Supreme Court and High Courts and other important matters of judicial and administrative importance.

Way Forward

This is invariably followed in making the appointment of the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.  It is part of a system designed to relieve excessive power and pressure. Such a combination of CJI so chosen working with senior ranking colleagues will make collegiate functionality both a natural course and an imperative necessity.

Source – The Hindu

It Is Time India Plans a Hub Airport Flight Path


Transforming one of India’s metro gateway airports into a hub airport deserves consideration as the aviation market puts the novel coronavirus pandemic behind it and passenger demand surges.


GS-III: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

Dimensions of the Article

  • Why the need?
  • The concept
  • Why it is a win-win for all.
  • A force multiplier
  • Factors in favour of India
  • Let us consider the impediments.
  • Way Forward

Why the need?

  • Today, India is the third largest domestic aviation market in the world, next only to the United States and China.
  • Consumer confidence in air travel has helped the industry recover faster than anticipated.
  • Some airports have already breached or are close to matching the traffic demand seen before the pandemic.
  • Besides, in view of the surge in passenger demand, India’s airport operators have planned investments upwards of ₹90,000 crore to enhance capacity over the next four years or so.
  • To boot, the conditions are just right for building a hub airport.

The concept

  • A hub airport is one served by a multitude of airlines, connecting several airports through nonstop flights.
  • Historically, airports were designed keeping the requirements of the origin/destination passenger in mind
  • Over time, better space utilisation concepts spawned a new segment of passengers — transit flyers, who use the airport only to connect flights.
  • A typical hub airport operates on the concept of waves. A wave of incoming flights arrives and connects with another wave of outgoing flights that departs an hour or
  • two later.
  • ‘Hubbing’ allows for the maximum combination of flight pairs and a wider choice of destinations and frequencies for connecting passengers.
  • an aspiring hub looks at attracting foreign airlines to widen the number of direct
  • pointtopoint connections, it thrives on airlines nestled (based) at that airport, which dedicate more resources, aircraft, crew, manpower and infrastructure, and are enablers of growth.

Why it is a win-win for all

  • A hub creates economies of scale for the airport and airlines alike.
  • The airport benefits from increased direct connectivity with other airports and more revenue opportunities due to increased passenger footfalls.
  • Improved passenger throughput has a knock-on effect on the wider airport ecosystem, such as aero and non-aero service providers at the airport, including cargo and ground handling,
  • fuelling, retail and dutyfree, vehicle parking, aircraft maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO), and fixed base operation (FBO) services at the airport.
  • Airlines, on their part, get to serve city pairs that are otherwise economically unviable for nonstop flights.
  • Frequent fliers and business travellers get greater choice and flexibility with flights, destinations, and service frequencies, as well as lower ancillary costs, such as avoiding the time and cost of an overnight stay.

A force multiplier

  • From the government’s perspective, an airport acts as a force multiplier with economic activity, jobs and employment, investments, business, trade, commerce, tourism, culture, and benefits other sectors of the economy.
  • It is well established that the creation of one job in the aviation sector affects the creation of up to six jobs in allied sectors, such as tourism and hospitality.
  • All this propels the economic and social development of the city and its inhabitants, too.
  • There are three basic requirements for becoming a major airport hub, whether domestic or international, i.e. sufficient local consumer demand; good geographic location, and necessary infrastructure to support high volume traffic. In
  • India’s case, the first two requirements are largely addressed and the focus is rightly on addressing the third requirement.

Factors in favour of India

  • India has the largest diaspora, more transnational community, at 18 million people across all six continents and regions (based on the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division – Report on International Migration 2020)
  • India is located on busy international air corridors that connect Europe, Africa, and the Middle East with Asia, making it ideal for a transit hub and alternative/ diversion/fuel stop/technical stop
  • Being the fifth largest economy in nominal GDP terms (IMF World Economic Outlook Database April 2019) and the seventh largest by land mass, India can support development of more than one hub airport
  • Airport business in India is largely monopolistic, with no competing airport in the same urban area
  • Airport development in India is a regulated business with minimum downside
  • risk for investors
  • Airport tariff determination under the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India is a robust, fair, and transparent process

Let us consider the impediments.

  • There are capacity constraints at major airports because of a lack of landing slots, especially during peak hours
  • Airports Authority of India Act (AAI), 1994 constrains the AAI/airport operators from commercially exploiting available land for nonaeronautical activities
  • A ‘high cos tlow fare’ operating environment and increased competition hurts airline balance sheets and financials, which hurts the growth of airports
  • India has 34 operational international airports, yet smaller international airports are either completely left out or have very limited scope in starting international flight operations
  • Rationalisation of duties and taxes, such as bringing aviation turbine fuel under the ambit of goods and services tax, will enable airlines to reduce costs and emerge financially stronger, thereby benefiting airports

Way Forward

  • There is a need to develop intermodal connectivity (rail/road – air) and logistics support infrastructure (warehousing) as a part of the future airport master plans to fully exploit potential with cargo and freight
  • Aspiring hub airports can partner with tier2 and tier3 airports in their catchments
  • Airports can broaden their revenue base by developing allied service capabilities, such as cargo handling, aircraft MRO and FBO.

Source – The Hindu

February 2024