22nd September Current Affairs
September 22, 2022
24th September Current Affairs
September 24, 2022
Show all

23rd September Current Affairs

Should the ECI insist on inner-party elections?

(GS-II: Parliament-structure, functioning and conduct of business and issues arising from it etc)

In News:

The Congress is set for elections for the post of party president.

Legal ground on which elections can be mandated within political parties?

Article 324 of the Constitution, or Section 29(A) of the RPA 1951: Court said that the ECI can actually regulate internal structures, organizations or elections of the party.

Constitution of party: The ECI expects political parties to abide by their constitution, a copy of which is submitted to the commission when the parties are registered.

No interference: Commission cannot step in or criticize if anyone is elected unopposed.

Importance of internal elections:

Contest of ideas: Internal elections lead to meetings and contests of ideas.

For example: in S. elections, the selection of the candidate to be the presidential nominee is done via debate.

Upward mobility: Internal elections are key for upward mobility.

What will State funding of Political parties do?

Money from corporates: Stop parties from taking money from the corporates.

No of votes: Political parties will receive money as per the number of votes polled.

Law Commission Report 1999-strongly recommended that there should be a mechanism for it.

Should there be new laws making organizational elections mandatory?

New interpretations: There is a need for a new interpretation and some bold moves from the ECI re-interpreting the existing laws, like:

  • Political parties should hold organizational elections regularly.
  • The parties are required to inform the ECI about changes in their office-bearers and addresses.
  • They are required to submit a document of expenditure incurred during elections and in the non-election period.

Hate speech through Visual Media

(GS-IV: Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems)

In News:

Expressing its anguish and displeasure over hate speeches via debates on TV channels, the Supreme Court called the “visual media” the “chief medium of hate speech” and questioned the government why it is “standing by as a mute witness when all this is happening” and treating it as “a trivial matter”.

Details:

The bench underlined that “hate drives TRPs, drives profit” basically going against media ethics and said it will consider laying down some guidelines which will hold the field until the legislature comes up with a law on the matter.

Pointing out that “hate speech can be in different forms… sort of ridicule a community” and its spread through the visual media can have a “devastating effect”, the bench of Justices K M Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy, inclined to regulate such debates, asked the Centre to state whether it proposed to come up with any law on the subject.

The bench was hearing a clutch of petitions on alleged hate speech via some TV shows. The petitioners have sought directions from the court to the Centre to take steps to curb incidents of such speech.

Hate Speech:

The United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech defines hate speech as “any kind of communication in speech, writing or behaviour, that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language with reference to a person or a group on the basis of who they are, in other words, based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, colour, descent, gender or other identity factors.”

FIVE CORE PRINCIPLES OF ETHICAL JOURNALISM:

Truth & Accuracy:

Journalists cannot always guarantee ‘truth’, but getting the facts right is the cardinal principle of journalism. Always strive for accuracy, give all the relevant facts we have and ensure that they have been checked.

Independence:

Journalists must be independent voices; should not act, formally or informally, on behalf of special interests whether political, corporate or cultural.

Fairness and Impartiality:

Objectivity is not always possible, and may not always be desirable (in the face for example of brutality or inhumanity), but impartial reporting builds trust and confidence.

Humanity:

Journalists should do no harm. What is published or broadcast may be hurtful, but should be aware of the impact of our words and images on the lives of others.

Accountability:

A sure sign of professionalism and responsible journalism is the ability to hold themselves accountable.

EWS quota claims to be for the poorest of poor but denies the most deprived

In News:

The Supreme Court questioned the logic behind a quota for ‘economically weaker sections’ which claims to cater to the “poorest of the poor” but leaves out deprived communities who have suffered denial for centuries.

Key Highlights:

SC/ST debarred: Members of the Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Classes are shut out from applying under economically weaker sections (EWS)

50% reservation for backward classes: The government justifies the debarment by arguing that they are already part of the 50% reservation for backward classes.

Less representation: 40 per cent of the Scheduled Tribe population constitute the poorest of the poor.

But their overall reservation is just 7.5(seven points five)%, the court said.

Basic structure: The 103rd Amendment strengthened the Basic Structure of the Constitution by giving “economic justice” to the poorest of the poor, the government said in court.

Basic Structure of Constitution:

The Kesavananda Bharati judgment(1973) introduced the Basic Structure doctrine which limited Parliament’s power to make drastic amendments that may affect the core values enshrined in the Constitution like secularism and federalism.

PM-CARES Fund

In News:

Ratan Tata, KT Thomas (former SC judge) and Kariya Munda ( former deputy speaker) have been appointed as trustees of the PM CARES Fund

Details:

PM CARES ( PM Citizens’ Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situation Fund) was launched in 2020, following COVID-19 to combat, and containment and relief efforts against the coronavirus outbreak and similar pandemic-like situations in the future.

Contribution is voluntary ( no budget support)

PM is ex-officio Chairman

Contribution to it qualifies under tax benefits

It has been created not by law, not by notification

Minimum donation accepted is Rs 10

Other such funds:

National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) (at National Level) under DM Act of 2005 and audited by CAG

Disaster Response Fund (at state and district level)

PM National Relief Fund: It was established with public contributions to assist displaced persons from Pakistan. It has the President of India and the Leader of Opposition also as trustees.

Live streaming of SC hearing

(GS-II: Indian Judiciary)

In News:

SC will live stream the constitutional bench hearing  from September 27, as a part of 3rd phase of e-courts projects (use of information technology in Judiciary).

Why Live-Stream?

SC ( Swapnil Tripathy case, 2018): Live telecast of court proceedings is part of the right to access justice under Article 21.

SC’s E-committee: It set up model rules for live-streaming and recording of the court proceedings in India.

Other Courts?

Six HC are already live streaming their proceedings on YouTube: Gujarat, Orissa, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh.

What is Constitutional Bench?

Under Article 145(3), “any case involving a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution” must be decided by a Bench of at least five judges. Such a Bench is called a Constitution Bench.

Benefits:

  • Will ensure Transparency and public scrutiny
  • Will help in de-congestion of courts
  • Improve physical access for litigants and trust of people in the judiciary
  • Help in legal research and training
  • Encourage legal awareness

Issues:

  • Digital divide
  • Lack of ICT infrastructure
  • Lack of digitally trained court officials
  • Risk of privacy breach
  • Risk of the case getting sensationalised.

Supreme Court has approved a set of guidelines and it has the power to withhold broadcasting in sensitive matters e.g. matrimonial disputes, matters involving juveniles, national security, rape cases etc.

International Examples: Courts in the US allow for audio recordings and transcripts of oral arguments. In the UK, recording of proceedings of SC is allowed.