SC stays implementation of three controversial farm laws

#GS2 #Judiciary

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of three controversial farm laws, calling its order “extraordinary” and a “victory for fair play”.

Judicial Review:

Judicial review is defined as the doctrine under which executive and legislative actions are reviewed by the judiciary. Even though we have in India the principle of separation of powers of the three arms of the State, namely, the executive, the legislative and the judiciary, the judiciary is vested with the power of review over actions of the other two arms.

  • Judicial review is considered a basic structure of the constitution (Indira Gandhi vs Raj Narain Case).
  • Judicial review is the power of the courts to consider the constitutionality of acts of organs of Government and declare it unconstitutional if it violates or is inconsistent with the basic principles of the Constitution.
  • This means that the power of the legislature to make laws is not absolute and that the validity and constitutionality of such laws are subject to review by the courts.
  • Judicial review is also called the interpretational and observer roles of the Indian judiciary.
  • Suo Moto cases and the Public Interest Litigation (PIL), with the discontinuation of the principle of Locus Standi, have allowed the judiciary to intervene in many public issues, even when there is no complaint from the aggrieved party.

Judicial Review and Constitution

According to Article 13(2), the Union or the States shall not make any law that takes away or abridges any of the fundamental rights, and any law made in contravention of the aforementioned mandate shall, to the extent of the contravention, be void.

  • Judicial review is called upon to ensure and protect Fundamental Rights which are guaranteed in Part III of the Constitution.
  • The power of the Supreme Court of India to enforce these Rights is derived from Article 32 of the Constitution. This provides citizens the right to directly approach the SC to seek remedies against the violation of Fundamental Rights.

Judicial Review Classification

We can classify judicial review into three categories. They are:

  • Reviews of Legislative Actions: This review implies the power to ensure that laws passed by the legislature are in compliance with the provisions of the Constitution.
  • Review of Administrative Actions: This is a tool for enforcing constitutional discipline over administrative agencies while exercising their powers.
  • Review of Judicial Decisions: This is seen in the Golaknath case, bank nationalisation case, Minerva Mills case, privy purse abolition case, etc.

 

 

No option to select between 2 vaccines

#GS1 #Vaccine

People will not have the option of making a choice between the two available COVID vaccines Covishield and Covaxin when the rollout starts on January 16

Vaccines: 

COVISHIELD vaccine

  • Developed by the Oxford University in association with Swedish-British drug company AstraZeneca.
  • Based on adenovirus found in chimpanzees (a weakened version of a common cold virus)
  • It has the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein 
  • Human immune system is expected to recognise this protein as a threat, and start building antibodies to resist it.
  • Serum Institute of India (SII) will be manufacturing it in India.

 COVAXIN: India’s indigenous vaccine.

  • Developed by Bharat Biotech, Hyderabad along with the ICMR’s National Institute of Virology, Pune
  • Inactivated vaccine: which is developed by inactivating (killing) the live microorganisms that cause the disease.
  • This destroys the ability of the pathogen to replicate, but keeps it intact so that the immune system can still recognise it and produce an immune response.
  • It is expected to target more than just the spike protein.
  • It also aims to develop an immune response to the nucleocapsid protein (the shell of the virus that encloses its genetic material).
  • This vaccine is still under "clinical trial mode." Covaxin Phase-3 efficacy data is still not released.

 Significance:

  • COVAXIN is expected to be effective against latest variants of corona virus, including the UK variant, since it contains immunogens (epitopes) from other apart from Spike protein.
  • Immunogen is a stimulus that creates a humoral or cell-mediated immune response, whereas antigens are any substance that binds specifically to an antibody.

 

 

HC notice to Centre on PIL challenging contempt Act

#GS2 #Judiciary #IndianConstitution

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday ordered issue of notice to the Union government on a PIL petition filed by four eminent personalities challenging the constitutional validity of a provision of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, that makes “scandalisin or tends to scandalizing courts” as a ground for contempt.

Contempt of Court

  • Contempt of Court refers to the offence of showing disrespect to the dignity or authority of a court.
  • The contempt power of Supreme Court is utilised to punish willful disobedience to court orders, interruption in the administration of justice and also threats to judges.
  • This power of contempt exists in order to protect the Court from unfair criticism and prevent degradation of the judiciary’s reputation.
  • This creates a dilemma between contempt law that criminalises anything that scandalizes the judiciary and freedom of speech and expression (under the article 19), especially in the era of social media.
  • Scandalising the Court’ means giving statements or publications that could undermine public confidence in the judiciary.
  • The Supreme Court and High Courts acquire contempt powers from the Constitution.
  • The Contempt of Court Act, 1971,mentions the procedure to investigate and punish for contempt.
    There are two kind of contempt in the Act: civil contempt & criminal contempt.
  • Civil contempt refers to willful disobedience of an order of any court.
  • Criminal contempt includes any act or publication which:
  • Scandalises the court,
  • Prejudices any judicial proceeding
  • Interferes with the administration of justice in any other manner.

 

 

Labour codes may be implemented before April 1

#GS2 #Governance 

The 4 labour law codes enacted by Parliament in 2020 and 2019 could be implemented before the earlier target of April 1, according to Union Labour and Employment Ministry officials.

  • The subject of Labour comes under the Concurrent List. Hence, both the Parliament and the state legislatures has the jurisdiction to enact laws on it.
  • The Second National Commission on Labour (2002) recommended that the central labour laws should be integrated with:
  • Social security
  • Safety
  • Welfare and working conditions
  • Wages
  • Industrial relations
  1. This recommendation was in the light of existing labour laws being archaic, complex and having vague definitions. The Commission adviced to make the labour codes for the sake of transparency and uniformity.
  2. In 2019, the Central Government introduced 4 bills on labour codes to consolidate multiple central labour laws in the country: 
  • Code on Wages
  • Industrial Relations Code
  • Social Security Code
  • Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code
  • The Wages Code was passed in 2019, but the rest were referred to a Standing Committee on Labour. The government replaced these bills owing to the recommendations of this committee.
  • Eventhough the draft Rules for the Wages Code had been circulated in 2019 itself, the Ministry withheld its finalisation and implementation.

 

 

In his first speech at UNSC, Jaishankar slams China and Pak

#GS2 #InternationalRelations

Urging UN Security Council members not to make false distinctions of “good” terrorists and “bad” terrorists, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar made indirect references to both China and Pakistan for delaying the process of designating terrorist individuals and entities, as well as failing to stop the funding of terror. 

UNSC

  • The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is among one of the organs of the United Nations.
  • It deals with the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • Its function includes the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions. 
  • It is the only UN body with the power to issue binding resolutions to member states.
  • Members: 15 members. 
  • 5 Permanent members: 
  • Russia, 
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • China
  • United States of America

These permanent members can veto any Security Council resolution, including those on the admission of new member states or candidates for Secretary-General.

  • Apart from this, Security Council includes 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve two-year terms. The body’s presidency rotates monthly among its members.

UNSC Resolution 1267 Sanctions Committee

  • It is a vital UN subsidiary body working towards combating terrorism, particularly in relation to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group.
  • It encourages UN efforts to limit the movement of terrorists, especially those related to travel bans, the freezing of assets and arms embargoes for terrorism.
  • India has made 3 attempts to list JeM chief as “global terrorist”. All attempts have been blocked by China each time showing unflinching support to its ally Pakistan.

Why China Blocks UNSC Resolution 1267 against Azhar?

  • China argues that there isn’t enough proof to designate him as a “global terrorist”.
  • The actual reasons:
  • Defending its close ally Pakistan.
  • Good relations with Pakistan and international protection for terrorist proxies like JeM enable China to take forward its CPEC Program (part of OBOR initiative). This will confirm the protection of infrastructure and Chinese workers.
  • Economic interests in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
  • Chinese firms have invested billions in CPEC projects. China has to protect this gigantic investment.
  • Dominating it’s regional rival India.

Financial Action Task Force

  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 during the G7 Summit in Paris.
  • Objective: To combat: 
  • money laundering 
  • terrorist financing 
  • other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
  • Secretariat: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) HQ in Paris.
  • Member Countries: FATF currently comprises 37 member jurisdictions and 2 regional organizations (EU and GCC)
  • India is one of the members.

FATF has two lists:

  • Grey List: Countries that are considered safe haven for supporting terror funding, and money laundering are categorized in FATF grey list. This works as a warning to the country that it could enter the blacklist if no actions are taken.
  • Black List: Countries known as Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories (NCCTs) are added to the blacklist. These countries do terror funding and money laundering activities. The blacklist is revised regularly.
  • The FATF Plenary is the decision making body of the FATF. It meets 3 times every year.

 

 

Ahead of Gyawali’s visit, Nepal, India differ on conducting ‘border talks’

#GS3 #InternalSecurity #SecurityChallenges #Border

The Kalapani territorial dispute is expected to be “raised” by Nepal during the Joint Commission meeting to be held here during the visit of Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali this week, but there will be no “border talks”, officials here confirmed.

 

  • At present, India and Nepal have border disputes over Kalapani - Limpiyadhura - Lipulekh trijunction between India-Nepal and China and Susta area (West Champaran district, Bihar).
  • Kalapani:
     
  • Kalapani is a valley that is administered by India as a part of the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand. It is located on the Kailash Mansarovar route.
     
  • Kalapani is at a height of over 20,000 ft and serves as an observation post for that area with strategic importance. 
  • The Kali River in the Kalapani region demarcates the border between India and Nepal.
  • The Treaty of Sugauli signed by the Kingdom of Nepal and British India (after Anglo-Nepalese War) in 1816 located the Kali River as Nepal's western boundary with India.
  • The discrepancy in locating the source of the Kali river led to boundary disputes between India and Nepal, with each country producing maps supporting their own claims.

 

 

Inflation slows to 4.59% as food prices ease

#GS3 #Economy

India’s Retail inflation (or CPI-based inflation) decelerated appreciably to 4.59% in December, from 6.93% in November, dipping below 6% for the first time since March 2020 as food prices cooled. Other data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) on Tuesday, however, showed that a nascent industrial recovery, which had begun in September, retreated in November as industrial output shrank 1.9%.

Inflation

  • Inflation refers to the rise in the prices of most goods and services of daily or common use. Ex: food, clothing, housing, recreation, transport, consumer staples, etc.
  • Inflation measures the average price change in a group of commodities and services over time.
  • Inflation is indicates the purchasing power of a unit of a country’s currency. 
  • A moderate level of inflation is required in the economy to ensure that production is promoted.
  • The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation calculates inflation in India.
  • Inflation is primarily measured by two main indices 
  • WPI (Wholesale Price Index) wholesale level price changes
  • CPI (Consumer Price Index) retail-level price changes
     
  • The CPI calculates the difference in the price of commodities and services such as food, medical care, education, electronics etc, which Indian consumers buy for use.
  • The CPI has five sub-groups including food and beverages, fuel and light, housing and clothing, bedding and footwear.

The National Statistical Office

  • NSO is the central statistical agency of the Government mandated under the Statistical Services Act 1980 under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
  • It is responsible for the development of arrangements for providing statistical information services to meet the needs of the Government and other users for information on which to base policy, planning, monitoring and management decisions.
     
  • The services include collecting, compiling and disseminating official statistical information.
  • All business operations in NSO are done in compliance with international standards, procedures and best practices.

 

 

How pneumonia in covid 19 patients is different from typical pneumonia.

#January 13, 2021  ,    ..The Indian express explained 

The virus responsible for Covid-19 does not rapidly infecting large regions of the lung like other viruses. Instead, SARS-CoV-2 sets up shop in multiple small areas of the lung, the study has found.