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July 11, 2019
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July 13, 2019
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12 July Current Affairs

SC likely to hear Ayodhya appeals

In News:

A Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, decided to commence hearing the Ayodhya title dispute appeals tentatively from July 25 on a day-to-day basis in case a conclusion is reached, on the basis of a mediation committee report, that the talks with Hindu and Muslim parties to heal minds and hearts is making no headway.

Background:

On 6 December 1992, a large crowd of Hindu Kar Sevaks (activists) demolished the 16th-century Babri Mosque in the city of Ayodhya, in Uttar Pradesh. The demolition occurred after a political rally at the site turned violent.

In Hindu mythology, the city of Ayodhya is the birthplace of the Rama. In the 16th century a Mughal general, Mir Baqi, had built a mosque, known as the Babri Masjid, at a site considered by some Hindus to be Ram Janmabhoomi, the actual birthplace of Rama. In the 1980s, the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) began a campaign for the construction of a temple dedicated to Rama at the site, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as its political voice. Several rallies and marches were held as a part of this movement, including the Ram Rath Yatra led by L. K. Advani.

On 6 December 1992 the VHP and the BJP organised a rally at the site involving 150,000 volunteers, known as kar sevaks. The rally turned violent, and the crowd overwhelmed security forces and tore down the mosque. A subsequent inquiry into the incident found 68 people responsible for the demolition, including several leaders of the BJP and the VHP. The demolition also resulted in several months of intercommunal rioting between India’s Hindu and Muslim communities, causing the death of at least 2,000 people.

Hindon sanctuary: NGT seeks report on encroachments

In News:

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Ghaziabad authorities to furnish a report on the status of encroachments near Hindon Bird Sanctuary.

About NGT:

About the National Green Tribunal (NGT):

NGT has been established under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.

Ambit: The tribunal deals with matters relating to the enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property.

Members:

  • Sanctioned strength: currently, 10 expert members and 10 judicial members (although the act allows for up to 20 of each).
  • Chairman: is the administrative head of the tribunal, also serves as a judicial member and is required to be a serving or retired Chief Justice of a High Court or a judge of the Supreme Court of India.

Selection: Members are chosen by a selection committee (headed by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India) that reviews their applications and conducts interviews. The Judicial members are chosen from applicants who are serving or retired judges of High Courts.

  • Expert members are chosen from applicants who are either serving or retired bureaucrats not below the rank of an Additional Secretary to the Government of India (not below the rank of Principal Secretary if serving under a state government) with a minimum administrative experience of five years in dealing with environmental matters. Or, the expert members must have a doctorate in a related field.

Other facts:

  • The Tribunal is not bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.
  • The Tribunal’s dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters shall provide speedy environmental justice and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts.
  • The Tribunal is mandated to make and endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.

Urgently look into sale, regulation, consumption of ecigarettes: HC

In News:

The Delhi High Court directed the Delhi government to urgently look into the matter of regulating the sale and consumption of e-cigarettes.

Details:

It is an “e-burning issue” as damage was being caused to children who have started consuming these products.

About e- cigarettes:

What are e-cigarettes?

An electronic cigarette (or e-cig) is a battery-powered vaporizer that mimics tobacco smoking. It works by heating up a nicotine liquid, called “juice.”

Nicotine juice (or e-juice) comes in various flavors and nicotine levels. e-liquid is composed of five ingredients: vegetable glycerin (a material used in all types of food and personal care products, like toothpaste) and propylene glycol (a solvent most commonly used in fog machines.) propylene glycol is the ingredient that produces thicker clouds of vapor.

Proponents of e-cigs argue that the practice is healthier than traditional cigarettes because users are only inhaling water vapor and nicotine.

Why its hard to regulate them?

As e-cigarettes contain nicotine and not tobacco, they do not fall within the ambit of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA), which mandates stringent health warnings on the packaging and advertisements of tobacco products.

Need for regulation: The current unregulated sale of e-cigarettes is dangerous for a country like India where the number of smokers is on the decline (WHO Global Report, 2015) as it increases the possibility of e-cigarettes becoming a gateway for smoking by inducing nicotine addiction and perpetuating smoking by making it more attractive, thereby encouraging persons to become users of tobacco as well as e-cigarettes.

Commission for safai karamcharis asks govt. to file report on sewer deaths

In News:

The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis which functions under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has directed the Chief Secretary of Delhi to file a report on sewer death cases continuing unabated in the Capital despite the government’s “claims of mechanisation”.

About National Commission for Safai Karamcharis:

The NCSK was established in the year 1993 as per the provisions of the NCSK Act 1993 initially for the period upto 1997.

Later the validity of the Act was initially extended upto 2002 and thereafter upto 2004. The NCSK Act ceased to have effect from 2004.

After that the tenure of the NCSK has been extended as a non-statutory body from time to time. The tenure of the present Commission is upto 31.3.2019.

Role of NCSK:

Recommend to the Government regarding specific programmes for welfare of Safai Karamcharis, study and evaluate the existing welfare programmes for SafaiKaramcharis, investigate cases of specific grievances etc.

Also as per the provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, the NCSK has been assigned the work to monitor the implementation of the Act, tender advice for its effective implementation to the Centre and State Governments and enquire into complaints regarding contravention/non-implementation of the provisions of the Act.

Inter-State River Water Hub in Kerala

In News:

The Kerala government has decided to establish a permanent hub in Palakkad for handling inter-State river water disputes.

Some of the Inter-State Water Disputes and States Involved:

  • Narmada Water Dispute- Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan
  • Mahi River Dispute- Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh
  • Ravi and Beas Water Dispute- Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi
  • Satluj-Yamuna Link Canal Dispute- Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan
  • Yamuna River Water Dispute- Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi.
  • Karmnasa River Water Dispute- Uttar Pradesh and Bihar
  • Barak River Water Dispute- Assam and Manipur
  • Cauvery Water Dispute- Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka
  • Krishna Water Dispute- Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh
  • Tungabhadra Water Dispute- Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka
  • Aliyar and Bhivani River Water Dispute- Tamil Nadu and Kerala
  • Godavari River Water Dispute- Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh

Some facts:

  • Inter-State River Water Disputes Act 1956 extends to the whole of India.
  • The Act provides for resolution of water disputes.
  • Inter-state water disputes are different from other Inter-state disputes.
  • Constitution bars the jurisdiction of any other court over water disputes.
  • The disputes are to be adjudicated by ad-hoc, temporary and exclusive tribunals.
  • The tribunals are dissolved after they give away the awards.
  • Awards carry the force of a Supreme Court decree and are binding on the states for a period of 25-30 years.
  • This arrangement has not been effective and suffered from several governance challenges.
  • When states approach SC, the bar on its jurisdiction puts restrictions on the court.
  • Supreme Court has had to limit its role to providing clarifications, leaving states discontent.

Causes of Inter-State Water Dispute:

  • Water is a finite resource and its demand has increased several times in agricultural, industrial and domestic sector than what is available at present as the country is growing and lifestyle is changing such as increased urbanization.
  • The moment water is accumulated at a large scale, it gives rise to dispute where commissions come into play and this goes on. This is also more of a political issue because when these disputes are used as emotive issues, all parties jump in, several vested interest are created which leads to further problems like bandhs and strikes.
  • There is a huge debate on development/growth versus environment as well. Problems are also related with the storage of water such as dams, using it for production of electricity etc which lead to disputes.
  • There is an administrative system at present which is in conflict with what people want.

Pothamala menhirs stand guard on ancient necropolis

In News:

The sighting of new menhirs, perhaps the largest ever recorded in Kerala, on the Pothamala hills in the Udumbanchola taluk on the Kerala, Tamil Nadu border, has thrown light on the possible existence of a major prehistoric necropolis there.

Details:

Pothamala hills housed hundreds of cobbled stone structures, pointing to the existence of a structured graveyard of a prehistoric civilisation.

The largest menhir found was 20 feet tall and 6 feet wide, with a thickness of 5 feet.

Special pattern:

The menhirs were planted in a specific geometrical pattern on a cluster of hills.

The exquisite natural settings of the hills and dales at Pothamala made the yet to be explored megalithic site different from similar sites spotted in other parts of the State. Most of these structures were oriented in the east-west direction.

The megalithic stone sentinels at Pothamala might hold the key to the hitherto unexplored facets of a civilisation that dated back around 3,000 years.

70 sites spotted earlier:

Seventy megalithic sites have already been identified in different parts of Idukki by researchers and historians, including 40 megalithic sites in the Udumbanchola taluk itself. But no serious attempts have been made to understand their distribution pattern.

Nagaland to frame RIIN norms after consultation

In News:

The Nagaland government has said that guidelines for implementing a localized version of the National Register of Citizens — being updated in Assam — will be framed in consultation with civil society groups and traditional tribal bodies.

About RIIN:

Nagaland government has decided to set up a Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) with the aim of preventing fake indigenous inhabitants’ certificates.

Key features:

  • The RIIN will be the master list of all indigenous inhabitants of the state.
  • The RIIN list will be based on “an extensive survey”.
  • It will involve official records of indigenous residents from rural and (urban) wards and would be prepared under the supervision of the district administration.
  • This provisional list will then be published in all villages, wards and on government websites by September 11, 2019.

What will the unique identity look like?

All indigenous inhabitants of the state would be issued a barcoded and numbered Indigenous Inhabitant Certificate.

 

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