UPSC, 14 Feb 2017, News Analysis, for UPSC & Other Exams, by...

UPSC, 14 Feb 2017, News Analysis, for UPSC & Other Exams, by Dr Ashok Dhamija

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News analysis and explanation of the main news reports appearing in newspapers of 14 February 2017 (also freely subscribe to our YouTube Education channel with about 100 free videos on UPSC IAS and other competitive examinations):

Justice Karnan fails to appear in SC

  • On 8 February 2017, a 7-judge bench of the Supreme Court had asked Justice C.S. Karnan, a sitting Calcutta High Court judge, to appear before it on 13 February.
  • However, Justice Karnan failed to appear in the Supreme Court.
  • No reasons were assigned as to why he did not appear.
  • Supreme Court decided to wait another 3 weeks for Justice Karnan to explain his defiance of a judicial direction to be present in court.
  • At one stage, during hearing, SC even considered the idea of issuing a bailable warrant against him. However, later, it decided to wait.
  • Justice Karnan had sent a letter dated 10 Feb to Registrar General, which stated that the contempt proceedings violated the principles of natural justice and made disparaging remarks about the judiciary.
  • On the basis of this AG Mukul Rohatgi wanted the SC to frame charges of criminal contempt of court. However, the court decided to wait in view of serious consequences.

Supreme Court’s power in contempt matters

  • Article 129 of the Constitution:
  1. Supreme Court to be a court of record.—The Supreme Court shall be a court of record and shall have all the powers of such a court including the power to punish for contempt of itself.
  • Under the provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.

Civil and Criminal Contempt

Section 2 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971:

(b) “civil contempt” means wilful disobedience to any judgment, decree, direction, order, writ or other process of a court or wilful breach of an undertaking given to a court;

(c) “criminal contempt” means the publication (whether by words, spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representations, or otherwise) of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever which—

(i) scandalises or tends to scandalise, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of any court; or

(ii) prejudices, or interferes or tends to interfere with, the due course of any judicial proceeding; or

(iii) interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner;

 

Conduct floor test, A-G tells TN Governor

  • Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on 13 February advised Tamil Nadu Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao to hold a composite floor test in the Legislative Assembly.
  • This would prove who had majority in the power tussle between AIADMK interim general secretary V.K. Sasikala and Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam.
  • AG said the floor test, combined with the judgment of the Supreme Court in the disproportionate assets case (against Ms. Sasikala) to be pronounced on 14 February, would decide who among the two would become Chief Minister.
  • AG referred to a SC judgment of 1988 ordering a floor test in Uttar Pradesh to decide the battle for power between Kalyan Singh and his rival Jagadambika Pal.
  • The members would vote and a resolution would be passed accordingly, he said.

Anil Ambani firm to service over 100 U.S. Navy ships

  • Anil Ambani group’s Reliance Defence and Engineering has signed has signed a Master Ship Repair Agreement (MSRA) with the U.S. Navy to maintain the vessels of its Seventh Fleet involving 100 vessels operating in the Indian Ocean.
  • This is first time that an Indian company would provide logistical support to the U.S. military within Indian territory.
  • The signing of a MSRA agreement is a follow-up to the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) signed between India and US in August 2016.
  • Reliance Shipyard (at Pipanav) is the first in India to have received MSRA Certification to undertake servicing and repairing work for the vessels of Seventh Fleet.
  • Currently, these vessels visit Singapore or Japan for such works.
  • The U.S. Seventh Fleet looks after the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean

Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement

  • Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) is a tweaked India-specific version of the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), which the U.S. has with several countries it has close military to military cooperation.
  • LEMOA gives access, to both countries, to designated military facilities on either side for the purpose of refuelling and replenishment.
  • This agreement primarily covers four areas — port calls, joint exercises, training and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.
  • This does not mean basing or stationing of the U.S. troops or assets on Indian soil. This is purely a logistical agreement.
  • LEMOA is also one of the three foundational agreements — as referred to by the U.S.
  • Following 3 agreements are the foundational agreements which the U.S. signs with countries with which it has close military ties:
    • Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), [for India, it is LEMOA]
    • Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and
    • Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA).
  • These 3 agreements are meant to build basic ground work and promote interoperability between militaries by creating common standards and systems.
  • They also guide sale and transfer of high-end technologies.

NGT orders inspection of sugarcane crushing units in UP

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the inspection of ‘kolhus’ used for crushing sugarcane in Uttar Pradesh after a plea alleged that these “unregulated” units were major contributors to air and water pollution.
  • Sugarcane is processed in bullock-driven ‘kolhus’ for crushing cane for manufacturing sugar.
  • NGT noted that there was no scientific study or any report with regard to working of these units and the adverse impacts on the environment.

HC notice to ex-SC judge who banned jallikattu stayed

  • The Supreme Court on 13 February stayed a Madras High Court notice to former Supreme Court judge, Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan, author of a 2014 judgment banning jallikattu, for accepting the ‘Man of the Year’ award from People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
  • SC also issued notice to Salai Chakrapani, a jallikattu enthusiast, who had filed the petition in Madurai bench of the Madras high court.
  • The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court had recently issued notice to Justice Radhakrishnan on a plea by Mr. Chakrapani.
  • Justice Radhakrishnan has contended that there was no constitutional bar on him receiving such an award after his retirement as Supreme Court judge.
  • He said he was a private citizen like anyone else.
  • Invoking Section 3(1) of the Judges (Protection) Act of 1985, Justice Radhakrishnan contended that no court or any forum could initiate civil or criminal proceedings against him for acts done in the course of his judicial functions.

Karnataka amends law to allow kambala

  • Paving the way for the conduct of kambala, traditional bufallo race, the Karnataka Legislative Assembly on 13 February passed the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2017.
  • The Bill seeks to exempt kambala and bullock-cart racing from the ambit of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
  • Kambala is currently stayed by the High Court following a petition by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
  • Governor Vajubhai R. Vala is likely to refer the Bill to the President for his assent [under Article 200 of Constitution].
  • The Bill will need President’s assent under Article 254 of Constitution.

Article 254(2) of the Constitution

(2) Where a law made by the Legislature of a State with respect to one of the matters enumerated in the Concurrent List contains any provision repugnant to the provisions of an earlier law made by Parliament or an existing law with respect to that matter, then, the law so made by the Legislature of such State shall, if it has been reserved for the consideration of the President and has received his assent, prevail in that State:

SC confirms cancellation of MBBS admission given to 634 students

  • Terming their conduct an “act of deceit,” the Supreme Court on 13 Feb confirmed the cancellation of the admission of 634 students to the MBBS course made through Vyapam test in Madhya Pradesh between 2008 and 2012.
  • A Bench of Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and Justices Kurian Joseph and Arun Mishra held in an 87-page judgment that the action of the students was “unacceptable behaviour” and did not warrant any interference under Article 142 of the Constitution.
  • SC said the case highlighted “mass fraud,” and any leniency would encourage others to follow suit.

Vyapam

  • व्यावसायिक परीक्षा मंडल (Vyavasayik Pariksha Mandal) [Professional Examination Board].
  • Vyapam scam was an admission & recruitment scam involving politicians, senior officials and businessmen in Madhya Pradesh.
  • “Vyapam” is a self-financed and autonomous body incorporated by the State government responsible for conducting several entrance tests in the state.
  • These entrance exams are held for recruitment in government jobs and admissions in educational institutes of the state.
  • The scam involved a collusion of undeserving candidates, who bribed politicians and Vyapam officials through middlemen, to get high ranks in these entrance tests.
  • The scam also led to between 23 and 40 ‘unnatural’ deaths of involved individuals.

SC to hear passing of Aadhaar Bill as a Money Bill

  • Supreme Court on 13 Feb agreed to hear in detail a challenge by Jairam Ramesh, MP, to the passing of the Aadhaar Bill as a Money Bill.
  • However, the Union government said the judiciary had no jurisdiction to encroach on legislative procedure in Parliament, where the Speaker was the final authority. But, the SC did not agree to this suggestion at this stage.
  • Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi said the government saved ₨ 30,000 crore to ₨ 50,000 crore by linking thousands of subsidies to Aadhaar verification.
  • AG also said the Aadhaar Bill concerned the linkage of Aadhaar facility to various welfare schemes for which money was withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund.
  • The court has scheduled the case for final hearing after four weeks.

Relevant provisions of Article 110 of Constitution

  1. (1) For the purposes of this Chapter, a Bill shall be deemed to be a Money Bill if it contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters, namely:—

(a) the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax;

(b) the regulation of the borrowing of money or the giving of any guarantee by the Government of India, or the amendment of the law with respect to any financial obligations undertaken or to be undertaken by the Government of India;

(c) the custody of the Consolidated Fund or the Contingency Fund of India, the payment of moneys into or the withdrawal of moneys from any such Fund;

(d) the appropriation of moneys out of the Consolidated Fund of India;

(e) the declaring of any expenditure to be expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India or the increasing of the amount of any such expenditure;

(f) the receipt of money on account of the Consolidated Fund of India or the public account of India or the custody or issue of such money or the audit of the accounts of the Union or of a State; or

(g) any matter incidental to any of the matters specified in sub-clauses (a) to (f).

(3) If any question arises whether a Bill is a Money Bill or not, the decision of the Speaker of the House of the People thereon shall be final.

Taiwan is fully sovereign, says leader

  • Challenging Beijing’s One-China policy, a senior political leader of Taiwan said that the country’s freedom is a de facto reality in international affairs.
  • Kuan Bi-Ling, member of the Taiwanese Parliament, said in New Delhi that Taiwan had protected its status as a free country despite the difficulties posed by Beijing’s One-China policy.
  • “Taiwan has been a de facto and fully independent country from the very beginning. Some countries may not recognise Taiwan’s independence, but that has no impact on our sovereignty and freedom,” said Ms. Kuan, who is leading the first all-women MPs delegation from Taiwan to India.

Memorandum of Procedure for judicial appointments

  • The Supreme Court on 13 Feb hinted that the issue of the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) may be resolved by February-end.
  • “We will finalise the MoP maybe within this month,” Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar said.
  • The Bench made the remark during the hearing of a petition.
  • A reason for the rift between the government and the judiciary is the clause in the draft MoP that the government would have the authority to reject a candidate recommended by the Supreme Court collegium in the interest of national security.
  • After the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) related Constitutional Amendment was struck down by SC, there has been a tug of war between the SC and Government over MoP.

UN calls for urgent meet over North Korea’s ballistic missile test

  • UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on 13 Feb condemned North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test and called for a united international response to the “further troubling violation” of UN resolutions.
  • His statement came ahead of an urgent UN Security Council meeting called to discuss 12 Feb 2017 missile test — nuclear-armed North Korea’s first test since U.S. President Donald Trump assumed office.
  • The North’s leader Kim Jong-Un expressed great satisfaction over the possession of another powerful nuclear attack means which adds to the tremendous might of the country.
  • China and Russia have also criticized the latest missile test by North Korea, as being against the UN Security Council resolution.

Centre puts onus on States to set factories’ threshold limit

  • The present Factories Act 1948 applies to establishments with 10 or more workers if the premise is using power, and to establishments with 20 or more workers without electricity connection.
  • As a part of labour law reforms, the Centre had proposed that the Factories Law be applicable to all factories that employ at least 40 workers.
  • This move was strongly opposed by the central trade unions.
  • Labour Ministry has tweaked its draft amendments to put the ball on contentious issues in the domain of State governments.
  • Instead of increasing the threshold limit set for the number of workers in an industrial unit to be statutorily covered by the factories law, the Centre is now proposing an enabling provision that lets State governments decide the threshold over which a unit will be considered a factory for the purpose of the law.
  • The definition of factory is proposed to be modified as in the original Bill by giving powers to the State governments to increase the threshold limit of workers up to 20 and 40 for factories working with and without the aid of power respectively.

India defeats Bangladesh by 208 runs

  • India has defeated Bangladesh by 208 runs in the cricket test match at Hyderabad.
  • India – first innings : 687 for 6 declared.
  • Bangladesh – first innings : 388
  • India – second innings : 159 for 4 declared.
  • Bangladesh – second innings : 250.
  • India has now won 6 consecutive Test series starting from Aug 2015.

Offence for exit poll in violation of EC order

  • Election Commission had notified period during which conducting any exit poll and publishing or publicizing by means of print or electronic media or disseminating results in any other manner would be prohibited during the current elections, specifying the period between 04-02-17 and 08-03-17 .
  • Dainik Jagran Newspaper has published result of exit polls conducted by a company by the name of Resource Development International (I) Pvt. Ltd. on the first phase of elections in UP, through their website.
  • EC has directed District Election Officers of concerned districts to file FIRs in the matter of violation by the Resource Development International (I) Pvt. Ltd. and Dainik Jagran for offence under Sections 126A and 126B of Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951 as well as offence under Section 188 of IPC.
  • The offence also amounts to disobedience to Order duly promulgated by the Commission.

 

Expeditious issue of Refunds by Income Tax Dept

  • The Centralised Processing Centre (CPC) of the Income Tax Department (ITD) at Bengluru has already processed over 4.19 crore Income Tax Returns (ITRs) and issued over 1.62 crore refunds during the current financial year up to 10th February, 2017.
  • The amount of refunds issued at Rs.1.42 Lakh Crore is 41.5% higher than the corresponding period last year.
  • 92% of all Income Tax returns were processed within 60 days.
  • Of the refunds issued, 92% are below Rs.50,000 due to the high priority given to expeditious issue of refunds to small taxpayers.
  • Only 2% of refunds less than Rs. 50,000 are remaining to be issued.

Watch the YouTube video with full explanation:

This video discusses and explains the current affairs topics appearing the newspapers and media (such as The Hindu, Indian Express, Economic Times, Press Information Bureau, etc.) of 14 February 2017.

This video is useful for the aspirants of the UPSC Civil Services Examination (for IAS, IPS, IFS, and Group-A Central Services). This lecture is also useful for aspirants of other competitive examinations, such as SSC, Bank PO, LIC, RBI Assistant, RBI Grade B, State Public Service Commission examinations like RPSC, UPPSC, MPSC, MPPSC, HCS, RAS, CLAT, Hotel Management entrance, BBA and several other examinations.

This video has been prepared by Dr. Ashok Dhamija, a former IPS.

 

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