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November 13, 2019
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November 15, 2019
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14 November Current Affairs

SC upholds disqualification of 17 Karnataka MLAs by Speaker

In News:

The Supreme Court upheld the disqualification of 17 dissident Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) legislators by then Karnataka Assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar under the Tenth Schedule (anti-defection law) but held that their ouster was no bar to contesting repolls.

Details:

Article 190:

It explains the vacation of seats by the members of Houses of legislature of state. The article gives the power for the MLA to resign addressing the speaker. However, the article also gives power to the speaker the power to reject the resignation

Anti-Defection Law:

The tenth schedule of the Constitution lays down the process by which legislators can be disqualified on grounds of defection by the presiding officer of the legislature. A MLA is deemed to have been defected

  • If he voluntarily gives up his membership of the party
  • If he disobeys party leadership on a vote

Verdict:

The Apex Court upheld the disqualification of the MLAs by the speaker. The Court clarified that the disqualification is till their re-election and not till the end of the term of the house as ruled by the speaker.

The speaker had ruled that the MLAs cannot contest in further elections including the by polls to be held in December, 2019 and till the end of the tenure of the 15th Karnataka Assembly.

91st Amendment:

On the provisions introduced in the 91st Constitutional Amendment, the judgment said they were brought in specifically to ensure that a legislator disqualified for defection was not appointed as a government Minister or to any remunerative post from the date of his disqualification either till the expiry of his term of office or till he was re-elected to the legislature, “whichever is earlier”.

“In the light of the existing constitutional mandate, the Speaker is not empowered to disqualify any member till the end of the term. However, a member disqualified under the Tenth Schedule shall be subjected to sanctions provided under Articles 75(1B), 164(1B) and 361B of Constitution, which provides for a bar from being appointed as a Minister or from holding any remunerative political post from the date of disqualification till the date on which the term of his office would expire or if he is re-elected to the legislature, whichever is earlier,”.

‘Office of Chief Justice of India comes under RTI Act’

In News:

The office of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) is a ‘public authority’ under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, a five-judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi declared.

Details:

Supreme Court is a ‘public authority’ and the office of the CJI is part and parcel of the institution. Hence, if the Supreme Court is a public authority, so is the office of the CJI.

“Transparency and accountability should go hand-in-hand”. Increased transparency under RTI was no threat to judicial independence.

About RTI:

The Right to Information Act, simply known as RTI, is a revolutionary Act that aims to promote transparency in government institutions in India. The Act came into existence in 2005, after sustained efforts of anti-corruption activists.

It is termed revolutionary because it opens government organisations up for scrutiny. Equipped with knowledge about RTI, a common man can demand any government agency to furnish information. The organisation is bound to provide the information, that too within 30 days, failing which the officer concerned is slapped with a monetary fine.

When did RTI begin?

RTI Act has been made by legislation of Parliament of India on 15 June 2005. The Act came into effect on 12 October 2005 and has been implemented ever since to provide information to crores of Indian citizens. All the constitutional authorities come under this Act, making it one of the most powerful laws of the country.

Decay of Vembanad ecosystem apace

In News:

The ecological decay of Vembanad backwater system is on the rise owing to intense pollution and unauthorised construction, a study carried out by the School of Marine Sciences at the Cochin University of Science and Technology has revealed.

Details:

The study has established that the ecological decay of the wetland is on the rise due to intense pollution and unauthorised construction from the southern to the northern regions of the backwaters.

Violation and relaxation of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms have been recorded in many regions.

Findings:

The research finding says reclamation of estuarine areas for agriculture has led to a drastic decline in the water holding capacity of the backwaters, which is recognised as a Ramsar site, from 2.4 km3 to 0.6 km3 during the past 50 years.

The pollution load indices (PLI) were very high.

The higher concentration of cadmium is the main reason for the increase in PLI.

The main sources of cadmium pollution are industrial and municipal waste.

It is continuously subjected to land reclamation for various purposes such as agriculture expansion, harbour development, and urban development.

Untreated waste from houseboats is dumped into the waterbody.

Way forward:

Action for protecting the Pathiramanal island should be implemented. Special attention should be paid by the Tourism Department to restrict nature tourism.

It must also ensure that no ecological modifications are made to the islands and should promote mangrove afforestation. Strengthening the water bird habitat assessment and monitoring network through training and participation programmes is to be carried out.

Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ):

Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, issued the Coastal Regulation Zone notification for regulation of activities in the coastal area.

As per the notification, the coastal land up to 500m from the High Tide Line (HTL) and a stage of 100m along banks of creeks, estuaries, backwater and rivers subject to tidal fluctuations, is called the Coastal Regulation Zone(CRZ).

CRZ along the country has been placed in four categories, which are as follows

  1. CRZ I – Ecologically Sensitive Areas:

They lie between low and high tide line.

Exploration of natural gas and extraction of salt are permitted

  1. CRZ II – Shore Line Areas:

The areas that have been developed up to or close to the shoreline.

Unauthorized structures are not allowed to construct in this zone.

  1. CRZ III – Undisturbed Area:

Rural and Urban localities which fall outside I and II.

Only certain activities related to agriculture even some public facilities are allowed in this zone.

  1. CRZ IV – Territorial Area:

An area covered between Low Tide Line and 12 Nautical Miles seaward.

Fishing and allied activities are permitted in this zone.

Solid waste should be let off in this zone.

FCRA and foreign funding

In News:

More than 1,800 NGOs and academic institutes found to be violating laws pertaining to foreign funding have been banned by the government from receiving overseas funds this year.

Regulation of Foreign Funding:

The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 and rules framed under it (the “FCRA” or “Act”) regulate the receipt and usage of foreign contribution by non-governmental organisations (“NGOs”) in India. Since the Act is internal security legislation, despite being a law related to financial legislation, it falls into the purview of Home Ministry and not the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Scope and objective of FCRA:

The intent of the Act is to prevent use of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality for any activity detrimental to the national interest.

It has a very wide scope and is applicable to a natural person, body corporate, all other types of Indian entities (whether incorporated or not) as well as NRIs and overseas branches/subsidiaries of Indian companies and other entities formed or registered in India. It is implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

In order to achieve the above objective, the Act:

Prohibits acceptance and use of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality by a certain specified category of persons such as a candidate for election, judge, journalist, columnist, newspaper publication, cartoonist and others.

Regulates the inflow to and usage of foreign contribution by NGOs by prescribing a mechanism to accept, use and report usage of the same.

Definition of foreign contribution:

It defines the term ‘foreign contribution’ to include currency, article other than gift for personal use and securities received from foreign source. While foreign hospitality refers to any offer from a foreign source to provide foreign travel, boarding, lodging, transportation or medical treatment cost.

World Pneumonia Day

In News:

Since 2009, November 12 has been observed as World Pneumonia Day to raise awareness about the infection.

About Pneumonia:

The World Health Organisation (WHO) identifies pneumonia is the single largest cause of death in children worldwide.

Every year, it kills an estimated 1.4 million children under the age of five years, accounting for 18% of all deaths of children under five years old worldwide, according to the WHO. This, despite pneumonia being preventable and treatable.

Spreading:

Infectious agents may include bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in children, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is the second most common cause of bacterial pneumonia. Respiratory syncytial virus is the most common viral cause of pneumonia.

Air sacs in an infected individual’s lungs (alveoli) become inflamed due to deposits of fluid and pus, making it painful and difficult for them to breathe.

Children and the elderly above the age of 65 years are especially vulnerable.

Symptoms:

Symptoms include high fever and chills, cough with phlegm, physical weakness and a feeling of being unwell, shortness of breath and rapid breathing, and a racing pulse.

 

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