30th January Current Affairs
January 30, 2021
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February 2, 2021
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1st Feb Current Affairs

West Bank and issues associated

In News:

Israel approves West Bank settlement homes ahead of Trump exit.

Details:

The approvals are widely seen as taking advantage of the last few days of US President Donald Trump’s administration.

Where is West Bank?

It is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan to the east and by the Green Line separating it and Israel on the south, west and north. The West Bank also contains a significant section of the western Dead Sea shore.

What is the dispute settlements here? Who lives there?

The West Bank was captured by Jordan after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

Israel snatched it back during the Six Day War of 1967, and has occupied it ever since. During this war, the country defeated the combined forces of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.

It has built some 130 formal settlements in the West Bank, and a similar number of smaller, informal settlements have mushroomed over the last 20-25 years.

Over 4 lakh Israeli settlers — many of them religious Zionists who claim a Biblical birthright over this land — now live here, along with some 26 lakh Palestinians.

The territory is still a point of contention due to a large number of Palestinians who live there and hope to see the land become a part of their future state.

When Israel took control of the land in 1967 it allowed Jewish people to move in, but Palestinians consider the West Bank illegally occupied Palestinian land.

Are these settlements illegal?

The United Nations General Assembly, the UN Security Council, and the International Court of Justice have said that the West Bank settlements are violative of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Under the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949), an occupying power “shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”.

Under the Rome Statute that set up the International Criminal Court in 1998, such transfers constitute war crimes, as does the “extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly”.

SC seeks status report on river water quality

In News:

The Supreme Court has sought a status report from the National Green Tribunal-appointed River Yamuna Monitoring Committee about its recommendations to improve the quality of water and the extent to which the States have implemented their suggestions.

The Committee was led by former Delhi Chief Secretary Shailaja Chandra.

Background:

The Supreme Court had, on January 13, taken suo motu cognisance of the contamination of rivers by sewage effluents through lapses committed by municipalities, saying “open surface water resources including rivers are the lifeline of human civilisation”.

Why is Yamuna so polluted?

The sewage treatment plants of Delhi are major contributors of the Pollutants being discharged in the river.

Pollutants discharge from different types of industry is also a major issue.

Agriculture activities along the banks of the river in Delhi contributes to river pollution.

Agricultural waste and pesticide discharge from the Haryana field also contributes to the pollution.

The low volume of water flow in the river causes the pollutants to accumulate and raise the pollution level.

About Yamuna River:

The river Yamuna is a major tributary of river Ganges.

Originates from the Yamunotri glacier near Bandarpoonch peaks in the Mussoorie range of the lower Himalayas in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand.

It meets the Ganges at the Sangam in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh after flowing through Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi.

Tributaries: Chambal, Sindh, Betwa and Ken.

Supreme Court dismisses Aadhaar review petitions

In News:

The Supreme Court, in a majority view, has dismissed a series of petitions seeking a review of its 2018 judgment upholding the Lok Sabha Speaker’s certification of Aadhaar law as a Money Bill and its subsequent passage in Parliament.

Background:

The Aadhaar Bill had been certified by the government as a money Bill, enabling it to get it cleared without getting the assent of a majority in the Rajya Sabha. A five-judge Bench headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra had upheld the Aadhaar Act in a 4:1 ruling on September 26, 2018.

Aadhar Bill as Money Bill:

Section 7 of Aadhaar Act provided that the expenditure for subsidy, services or benefits under welfare schemes would be met from the Consolidated Fund of India. Because of this, the bill was qualified to be categorised as a money bill.

What’s the issue?

Following the Supreme Court judgement, petitions were filed on two issues. These include:

Whether the Speaker’s decision to declare a proposed law as Money Bill was “final” and cannot be challenged in court.

Whether the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 was correctly certified as a ‘Money Bill’ under Article 110 (1) of the Constitution.

What has the Court said?

Speaker’s decision could be challenged in court only under “certain circumstances”.

The Aadhaar Act was rightly called a Money Bill.

What is a Money Bill?

A Money Bill is one that contains provisions for taxes, appropriation of funds etc.

Money Bills can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha, and the Rajya Sabha cannot make amendments to such bills passed by the Lok Sabha.

The Rajya Sabha can suggest amendments, but it is the Lok Sabha’s choice to accept or reject them.

Under Article 110(1), a Bill is deemed to be a money Bill if it deals only with matters specified in Article 110 (1) (a) to (g) — taxation, borrowing by the government and appropriation of money from the Consolidated Fund of India among others.

According to Article 110 (3) of the Constitution, “if any question arises whether a Bill is a Money Bill or not, the decision of the Speaker of the House of the People thereon shall be final.”

SC upholds IBC’s Section 32A: Why is it important, what are the implications?

In News:

SC has upheld section 32A of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

What did the Supreme Court say in its judgment?

In its judgment, the apex court, while upholding the validity of Section 32 A of IBC.

It was important for the IBC to attract bidders who would offer reasonable and fair value for the corporate debtor to ensure the timely completion of corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP).

Such bidders, however, must also be granted protection from any misdeeds of the past since they had nothing to do with it.

Such protection, the court said, must also extend to the assets of a corporate debtor, which form a crucial attraction for potential bidders and helps them in assessing and placing a fair bid for the company, which, in turn, will help banks clean up their books of bad loans.

What is Section 32A?

Section 32A provides that Corporate Debtor shall not be prosecuted for an offence committed prior to commencement of Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) once Resolution Plan has been approved by Adjudicating Authority (AA).

The section further provides that no action shall be taken against property of Corporate Debtor covered under such a Resolution Plan.

What’s the issue then?

32A continues to hold liable every person who was a ‘designated partner’ or an ‘officer who is in default’ or was in any manner in-charge of, or responsible to Corporate Debtor for conduct of its business or associated in any manner and who was directly or indirectly involved in commission of such offence.

Why is the SC upholding Section 32A important?

With the Supreme Court upholding the validity of Section 32 A, the cases such as that of Bhushan Power are expected to be completed soon.

Experts also said that this will give confidence to other bidders to proceed with confidence while bidding on such disputed companies and their assets.