15th April Current Affairs
April 15, 2021
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April 17, 2021
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16th April Current Affairs

Appointment of ad hoc judges

In News:

The Supreme Court has agreed that a plan to appoint retired judges on an ad hoc basis to reduce pendency in the High Courts should not become an excuse to stop or further delay the appointment process of regular judges.

Need for:

As on April 1, the High Courts have a total vacancy of 411 regular judges against the sanctioned judicial strength of 1,080. The working strength in the High Courts is 669.

Observations made by the Court:

The Chief Justices of the High Courts should opt for ad hoc judges only if their efforts to fill the judicial vacancies in their respective High Courts have hit a wall, even as pendency has reached the red zone. Ad hoc judges should not be appointed in lieu of regular recommendations.

Need of the hour:

A procedure should be adopted explaining when a Chief Justice can initiate the appointment of an ad hoc judge; what should be the threshold of pendency for such appointments; for how long should such ad hoc judges continue; what should be their allowances, etc.

Constitutional Provisions in this regard:

The appointment of ad-hoc judges was provided for in the Constitution under Article 224A.

Procedure to be followed:

Under the Article, the Chief Justice of a High Court for any State may at any time, with the previous consent of the President, request any person who has held the office of judge of that court or of any other High Court to sit and act as a judge of the High Court for that State.

Such a judge is entitled to such allowances as the president may determine. He will also enjoy all the jurisdiction, powers and privileges of a judge of the Supreme Court. But, he will not otherwise be deemed to be a judge of the Supreme Court.

What is the Darbar Move in J&K all about?

In News:

A tradition of a century and a half is set to be broken in Jammu and Kashmir, with only “sensitive records” being taken from Jammu to Srinagar this summer, unlike in previous years when the entire administration and records would be shifted during “Durbar Move”.

What is Darbar Move?

It is a century-old practice in which the government functioned for six months each in the two capitals of the erstwhile State, Srinagar and Jammu.

The practice was reportedly started in the late 19th century by Ranbir Singh, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Durbar Move was started to take the administration to the doorstep of the people of Kashmir which is closer to Ladakh.

The practice also enabled greater interaction and bonding among the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

Criticisms surrounding:

The ‘Darbar Move’ results in wastage of tremendous amount of time, efforts and energy on inefficient and unnecessary activity.

It is taxing for security forces too. It nurtures inefficiency and leads to lack of governance.

The same negatively impacts justice dispensation and impedes judicial administration.

It also causes delay in justice dispensation as government records are not available to the pleaders in one region for six months at a time.

Valuable documents and resources of the Union Territory in the nature of important and sensitive government documents are put to tremendous risk in the process of their transportation as they are packed in trunks and carried in hired trucks over a distance of 300 km between Jammu and Srinagar and vice-versa twice a year.

What has the High Court said?

Last year, the Jammu & Kashmir High Court observed that there was no legal justification or constitutional basis for the Darbar Move tradition.

Pointing out that the practice has resulted in wastage of tremendous amount of time, efforts and energy on inefficient and unnecessary activity, a Division Bench observed that valuable resources of the state (financial and physical) cannot be diverted to completely non-essential usage when the Union Territory in unable to provide even basic essentials to its people.

The court recommended that in case the practice was rationalised, the resources and time saved could be utilised towards the welfare and development of the UT; the money saved could also be used to address Covid-related issues like food shortage, unemployment and healthcare.


In News:

Recently, the education minister released an indicative and suggestive implementation plan for school education called SARTHAQ.

What is ‘Students’ and Teachers’ Holistic Advancement through Quality Education or SARTHAQ?

Launched in pursuance of the goals of NEP2020 and to assist States/UTs in this task.

The programme aims at providing an all-around development for the students at the primary and secondary level.

It will also establish a safe, secure, inclusive and conducive learning environment for students as well as teachers.

The major focus is to define activities in such a manner which clearly delineate goals, outcomes and timeframe i.e., it links recommendation of NEP with 297 Tasks along with responsible agencies, timelines and 304 outputs of these tasks.”

The plan is being implemented to meet the following aims of NEP 2020:

  • It will pave way for curriculum reforms including new national and state curriculum frameworks for school education as well as early childhood care and education.
  • The programme will focus on the improvement of the enrollment ratio of children at all levels and a reduction in dropouts and out of school children.
  • It will provide access to quality ECCE and Universal Acquisition of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy by Grade 3.
  • It will implement vocational education, sports, arts, knowledge of India, 21st-century skills, values of citizenship, awareness of environment conservation in the curriculum.
  • It will focus on experimental learning.
  • It will also improve the quality of Teacher Education Programmes.

‘Double mutant’ strain named B.1.617

In News:

The “double mutant” virus that scientists had flagged last month as having a bearing on the spread of the pandemic in India, has a formal scientific classification: B.1.617.

The variant is common in India — how much in every State is unclear though — and has a couple of defining mutations, E484Q and L425R, that enable it to become more infectious and evade antibodies.

What’s the concern now?

Some studies show that these mutations could even make the coronavirus resistant to T cells, a class of cells necessary to target and destroy virus-infected cells.

Why do viruses mutate?

A mutation just means a difference; a letter change in the genome.

Mutations in viruses are a natural part of evolution.

The pressure on the virus to evolve is increased by the fact that so many millions of people have now been infected.

In the case of SARS-CoV-2, which is an Ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus, a mutation means a change in the sequence in which its molecules are arranged.

A mutation in an RNA virus often happens when the virus makes a mistake while it is making copies of itself.