20th February Current Affairs
February 20, 2023
22nd February Current Affairs
February 22, 2023
Show all

21st February Current Affairs

Why does the Centre want to revisit the process for designating senior advocates at Supreme Court, and High Courts?

(GS-II: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary)

In News:

The Central government is seeking to change guidelines [issued by the SC after the Indira Jaising vs. Union of India case in 2017] for the designation of senior lawyers.


Indira Jaising (India’s first woman Senior Advocate) challenged the existing process as “opaque”, “arbitrary” and “fraught with nepotism.”

The SC (in 2017) decided to lay down guidelines for itself and all HCs on the process of designating senior advocates.

The SC had acknowledged that the guidelines are not exhaustive and left them open for consideration by this Court.

An application for modification was filed before the Apex Court in ‘Amar Vivek Aggarwal vs. High Court of Punjab and Haryana’ recently.

The Guidelines to Regulate the Conferment of Designation of Senior Advocates 2018:

A permanent secretariat that will receive and compile all applications → A Committee for Designation of Senior Advocates empowered with powers of conferment.

The CJI-chaired committee was to consist of two senior-most SC judges, the Attorney General of India, and a member of the Bar.

The CJI or any other judge could recommend the name of an advocate for designation.

Alternatively, advocates could submit their applications, to be evaluated on criteria like 10-20 years of legal practice as an advocate, district judge, or judicial member of an Indian tribunal.

Once a candidate’s name is approved, it will be forwarded to the Full Court (which can also recall the designation) to decide on the basis of the majority.

To ensure greater transparency in the process of designating, the system of “voting by secret ballot” is discouraged, except in unavoidable cases.

How were advocates designated before the 2017 ruling?

The Advocates Act, 1961 [Section 16 (1)] states two classes of advocates – senior advocates and other advocates.

A senior advocate must be a deserving candidate [standing at the Bar/exceptional competence, contribution to the development of law] in the opinion of the SC or an HC.

It was the Chief Justice and the judges who designated an advocate as a ‘senior’ advocate.

Why is the Centre trying to modify the guidelines now?

The current requirements for designation are arbitrary and have resulted in ousting of otherwise eligible candidates.

The point-based system, which awards 40% weightage to publications, personality and suitability, is subjective, ineffective, and dilutes the esteem and dignity of the honour.

The application seeks to reinstate the rule of a simple majority by a secret ballot, where the judges can express their views about the suitability of any candidate.

India, alongside China and US, set to suffer maximum climate impacts on the economy by 2050: Report

(GS-III: Environment, Conservation)

In News:

According to a report titled ‘XDI’s Gross Domestic Climate Risk’, the Indian economy is likely to suffer alongside China and the US due to climatic impacts.

About the report:

It has been prepared by XDI (The Cross Dependency Initiative) – an independent specialist established in 2006.

It predicts damage to the built environment from extreme weather (flooding, forest fires) and climate change (sea level rise) and also identifies which jurisdictions see the greatest escalation of damage from 1990 to 2050.

India-specific findings:

It shows that 14 Indian states are set to remain within the top 100 most climate-risk-prone territories of the world by 2050.

Bihar (followed by UP and Assam) is set to be the most climate-vulnerable region in India by 2050.

Assam is the most vulnerable region in India in terms of the increase of climatic impacts during 1990-2050.

Global findings:

Two of China’s largest sub-national economies (Jiangsu and Shandong) are in first and second place.

After China, the US has the most high-risk states with 18 states in the top 100, with Florida being the highest-ranking US state.

Other globally significant economic hubs in the top 100 include Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Jakarta, Beijing, Ho Chi Minh City, Taiwan and Mumbai.

Southeast Asia experiences the greatest escalation in damage from 1990 to 2050 anywhere in the world.

Significance of the report:

This is the first physical climate risk analysis focused exclusively on the built environment, comparing every state, province and territory in the world.

It will help investors and project developers to plan accordingly.

Way ahead:

Scientists and experts need to get together, understand and find solutions to mitigate/adapt to risks posed by climate change.

There is a need to protect blue and green infrastructure as the window of opportunity according to the IPCC report is about 15-20 years.


As the global temperature is expected to reach 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050, the risk is going to compound for some of these cities ranked in the report. Therefore, sustainable development through renewable energy transition is unavoidable.

Geomagnetic storm hits Earth

In News:

As per a recent report, the solar wind passed through a gap in the Earth’s magnetic field. The report stated, sparking a G1-class geomagnetic storm

What are Geomagnetic storms?

A geomagnetic storm (magnetic storm) is a temporary disturbance of the Earth’s magnetosphere caused by a solar wind shock wave that interacts with the Earth’s magnetic field

  • The magnetosphere shields Earth from harmful solar particle radiation, as well as erosion of the atmosphere by the solar wind

Reason: These storms are generally associated with solar Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) where a billion tons or so of plasma from the sun, with its embedded magnetic field, arrives at Earth.

CMEs are large ejections of plasma and magnetic fields that originate from the Sun’s corona (outermost layer).

Impact on Earth:

Impact space weather innear-Earth space and the upper atmosphere.

Impact satellites, GPS, Radio communication: E.g. last year (2022), over 40 Starlink satellites stopped functioning after a solar storm

Can create disturbances in the magnetosphere, the protective shield surrounding the Earth results in the formation of bright auroras

Astronauts on spacewalks face health risks from possible exposure to solar radiation outside the Earth’s protective atmosphere.