Undermining justice: On vacancies in courts, tribunals
GS 2 – Polity & Governance
Recently, the Supreme Court has voiced concern over the Government’s lackadaisical attitude towards the large number of vacancies in High Courts and tribunals.
Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana confronted the Government with a list of 240 vacancies in various tribunals. More in News
Many tribunals lack presiding officers, and recommendations made by selection committees have not been acted upon.
The vacancies in High Courts are at a staggering 455, as on August 1.
The exhortations from the courts, and even a judicial order from the top court in April — fixing time-frames for the Intelligence Bureau and the Government to process names forwarded by the Collegium for making appointments to the High Courts or returning files and for accepting names reiterated by the judges’ body — has not imparted a sense of urgency.
A two-judge Bench has noted that the Centre’s delay in making appointments to the High Courts is adversely affecting the adjudication of commercial disputes. Concern
The jurisdiction previously exercised by High Courts is now being exercised by the tribunals, and the failure to adjudicate or dispose of disputes in these fields would amount to denial of justice to the parties.
The present regime’s eagerness to undermine the independent functioning of tribunals is quite apparent.
It has been repeatedly framing rules that seek to provide for greater executive control over the tenure, emoluments and conditions of service of those manning the tribunals.
If specialisation, domain expertise and relatively quicker adjudication are the reasons for which certain kinds of disputes are being resolved
through tribunals, these purposes are lost if these bodies are rendered nearly dysfunctional through a large number of vacancies.
As far as higher judiciary appointments are concerned, there is little to enlighten the public on what is causing the delay. Whether it is a dispute over the undoubtedly problematic memorandum of procedure, or the desire of the executive to subject the Collegium recommendations to its own political scrutiny is not clear.
In any case, the delay is causing great harm to India’s justice delivery system.
CONNECTING DOTS FOR PRELIMSAppointment of JudgesArticle 124(2): President of India Shall appoint the judges after consultation with such a number of Judges of the SC/HC as he deems necessary. For appointment of any Judge of SC (other than CJI), the CJI must be consulted. The three Judges case of 1981, 1993 & 1998 has formalised the collegium system for the purpose of consultation. The collegium for appointing SC judges consists of the CJI and 4 senior-most judges of SC. Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) was set up after the Third Judge Case of 1998 to provide the process of how the Collegium would recommend names to the Executive. The President of India can either accept the recommendation or send it back for reconsideration. The reconsidered advice must be accepted by the President.
Source: THE HINDU
Unpacking the resiliency of global trade, yet again
GS 3 – Economy
What in News?
In the last year, the devastating impact of COVID-19 pandemic has shrunk the world economy by 4.4% and global trade by 5.3%; job losses have been estimated to be to the tune of 75 million.
India’s GDP contracted by 7.3% according to the National Statistical Office; and about 10 million jobs were lost according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy Pvt. Ltd.
Around the world, countries have responded to pandemic-induced shortages with protectionist reactions and nationalist aspirations with the potential to disrupting complex cross-border supply chains.
These trends make projections for the post-COVID-19 world even more dismal and depressing.
Past trends from global crises
The Second World War created sustaining multilateral institutions; besides the United Nations, the Bretton Woods Institutions such as World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) and International Trade Organisation (ITO) were created to help rebuild the shattered post-war economy.
The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was negotiated in 1947 as a means to reducing barriers to international trade.
The oil shocks of the 1970s led to the establishment of the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 1974 to manage oil supply disruptions and went on to create awareness on the need for global energy security.
The financial crisis of 2008 led to the G20 Leaders Summit, an elevation from the G20 Finance Ministers forum in 1999, in a bid to take cooperation beyond the G7 in a global quest to control inflation due to fiscal expansion.
Significance of global crisis: These developments had a consequential impact on global trade, with dramatic surges in volumes; from a mere $60.80 billion in 1950 to $2,049 billion in 1980; $6,452 billion in 2000; $19,014 billion in 2019 (Source: wto.org).
Opportunities in Covid-19 crisis: Global trade
International trade is vital for development and prosperity, while competition is central to generating competence.
In a post COVID-19 world, members of the World Trade Organization are expected to stitch trade facilitating rules with a collective resolve to discipline errant nations that are known to dumping goods and erecting trade barriers through multilateral rules.
Data will be the main driver of economic growth in the 21st century. Businesses will aim to harness data for innovation to remain ahead of the curve in a post-COVID-19 world.
However, increasing use of data and automation will make nations vulnerable to job losses. Rapid growth in e-commerce and the virtual world will demand entirely new skills from the workforce.
Therefore, economic policies are likely to focus on stronger safety nets for workers; income protection, skill training, health care and educational support for families.
Stimulus packages and forced savings in several countries in the last year have created financial buffers.
Global supply chains are expected to be resilient to help revive manufacturing with lower production costs, induce investments and promote technology transfers. Way forward for India
Unleashing trade potential is expected to have a ripple effect on the economy.
Merchandise exports would need to remain focussed on value added products, beyond the traditional exports basket comprising refined petroleum products, pharma, gems and jewellery, textiles and garments, engineering items, rice, oil meals and marine products
Supporting MSMEs: Beyond the timely stimulus packages for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), supporting them with cheaper input costs, including raw material and intermediate goods would help sustain them with job creation at the local level.
Developing a synergistic relationship between the big industry and MSMEs is at the core of a successful Atmanirbhar Bharat.
The former should be encouraged to move into technology space and finished products, while the latter feeds them with locally made inputs at competitive prices.
Building an ecosystem that incentivises value-added manufacturing and technology-induced finished products should form a part of our long-term strategy.
Plug and play manufacturing units under Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) schemes, if carefully nurtured, could lead the industry on that path.
Skills upgradation to global standards should form a part of India’s strategy in a post-COVID-19 world.
Mutually beneficial trade arrangements that seek deeper economic integration will be entered into at the bilateral and regional levels to create win-win situations for all stakeholders, including consumers, who tend to benefit from lowered barriers and harmonised standards.
Source: THE HINDU
TODAY’s KEY ARTICLE
Why the collegium system, while the best for judicial appointments, needs course corrections?
GS 2 – Polity & Governance
There have been cases where the nearest relative of Supreme Court judges has been appointed as a high court judge, ignoring merit under the Collegium System.
The Collegium System
The Collegium of judges is the Supreme Court’s invention. It is a system under which judges are appointed by an institution comprising judges.
The procedure of appointment of judges to the SC and HCs is provided under Article 124 and Article 217 respectively.
These Articles state that judges of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the President in consultation with the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and other judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts as the President of India may deem necessary.
The judges of the High Courts are appointed by the President in consultation with the CJI, the Governor of the concerned state, and the Chief Justice of the High Court.
Origin of Collegium system-
The ADM Jabalpur Case: In ADM Jabalpur, detenues were detained during Emergency rule under Article 352 of the Constitution. They challenged their detention before various High Courts through writs of Habeas Corpus.
The matter reached to 5-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court.
The majority of 4 judges held that with the proclamation of emergency, and the subsequent suspension of enforcement of Art. 21, no writ lies in court against detention of a person.
Justice H.R. Khanna famously dissented from the majority, a dissent that costed him the position of Chief Justice of India.
He disagreed with the position of the majority that Art. 21 can be suspended by the declaration of Emergency.
Realising the gravity of the said situation, and with an ardent desire to stop the judiciary from becoming an organ of state power, it was felt that the role of the state in the appointment of judges in terms of Article 124 (2) and 217 needed to be reconsidered.
The Judges Case
Following are the three cases which came to be known as the Judges cases.
S. P. Gupta v. Union of India – 1981 (also known as the Judges’ Transfer case)
Supreme Court Advocates-on Record Association vs Union of India – 1993
In re Special Reference 1 of 1998
First Judges Case: In the First Judges Case (1981), SC held (4-3) that in the appointment of a judge of the Supreme Court or the High Court, the word “consultation” in Article 124 (2) and in Article 217(1) of the Constitution does not mean “concurrence”.
In the event of a disagreement, the “ultimate power” would rest with the Union Government and not the CJI, the SC ruled.
The Second Judges Case: In 1993, SC was hearing petitions regarding court vacancies. This was the Second Judges Case. During the hearings, the First Judges Case was referred again to a nine-judge Bench. In the Second Judges Case (1993), the court (7-2) overruled the First Judges Case. It held that that in the event of conflict between the President and the CJI with regard to appointments of Judges, it was the Chief Justice of India whose opinion would not only have primacy, but would be determinative in the matter.
The SC not only regained its powers from the government but also gave itself the upper hand over the other two branches.
The Second Judges Case (1993) introduced the Collegium system.
The Third Judges Case : The SC reaffirmed its 1993 judgement and expanded the Collegium to a five member body to include the CJI and the four most-senior judges of the court after the CJI. Issues with Collegium system
Opaqueness and a lack of transparency: The consultations are behind-thedoor dealings of the judicial branch that lacks accountability and public scrutiny. There is secrecy in the process.
Scope for nepotism: There is a very small base from which the selections were made. As such, the lack of transparency has ignited fears of nepotism and elevation of judges based on personal relationships and past favours instead of merit or seniority.
Government Vs. Judiciary: The government and the Supreme Court collegium disagree on recommendations for judicial appointments quite frequently these days.
o The present government tried to dilute the primacy of the judiciary by introducing Article 124 (A) by a constitutional amendment, and by enacting National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014.
The SC has struck down both the amendment and the Act..
The need of the hour is to revisit the existing system through a transparent and participatory procedure, preferably by an independent broad-based constitutional body guaranteeing judicial primacy but not judicial exclusivity.
The new system should ensure independence, reflect diversity, demonstrate professional competence and integrity.
The system needs to establish a body which is independent and objective in the selection process.
The collegium system is still the best, but it needs to weed out what is wrong in its actual working. It is hoped that the system will make course corrections in deserving cases.
Source: INDIAN EXPRESS
Compound Events [Environment]
It is a new element of discussion in the sixth Assessment report.
It is defined as two or more climate change-induced events happening back-to-back, triggering each other, or occurring simultaneously.
o Example:Glacial Lake bursts, a familiar occurrence in the Himalayan region, accompanied with heavy rainfall and flooding.
If occurring together, they feed into each other, aggravating each other’s impacts.
If occurring one after the other, they give little time for communities to recover, thus making them much more vulnerable.
International Army Games [IR]
Indian Army to take part in International Army Games 2021 to be held in Russia.
The International Army Games is an annual Russian military sports event organized by the Ministry of Defense of Russia (MoD).
The event, which was first staged in August 2015, involves close to 30 countries taking part in dozens of competitions over two weeks to prove which is the most skilled.
The games have been referred to as the War Olympics.
National School of Drama [Culture]
Set up by the Sangeet Natak Akademi as one of its constituent units in 1959.
In 1975, it became an independent entity and was registered as an autonomous organization under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860, fully financed by the Ministry of Culture.
Bharat Rang Mahotsav, or the ‘National Theatre
Festival’, established in 1999, is the annual theatre festival of National School of Drama (NSD), held in New Delhi, today it is acknowledged as the largest theatre festival of Asia, dedicated solely to theatre.
The enrolments under PMSBY have gradually increased since its launch in 2015 with cumulative enrolments of 23.88 crore.
PMSBY is a Finance Ministry’s accident insurance scheme that provides insurance cover to people, especially poor and the under-privileged sections of the society.
Eligibility – Age group 18 to 70 years with bank account.
Premium – Rs.12/annum will be auto-debited from the subscribers’ bank account before 1st June of each annual coverage period.
Accidental Death of insured person – Rs 2 Lakh
Total irrecoverable loss of both eyes or loss of use of both hands or feet
– Rs 2 Lakh (Full Disability)
Total irrecoverable loss of sight of one eye or loss of use of one hand or foot – Rs.1 Lakh (Partial Disability)
Terms of Risk Coverage – A person has to opt for the scheme every year. S/he can also prefer to give a long-term option of continuing in which case his/her account will be auto-debited every year by the bank.
Implementation – The scheme will be offered by all Public Sector General Insurance Companies and all other insurers who are willing to join the scheme and tie-up with banks for this purpose.
Absolute IAS Academy was started with the essential target of providing training to civil service aspirants in an engaged way and preparing them to effectively qualify civil services examination conducted by UPSC, a standout amongst the most difficult examination across the globe.