Sulphur dioxide from Caribbean volcano reaches India, WMO confirms
The sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions from a volcanic eruption in the Caribbean (from La Soufriere volcano eruption) reached India on April 16, 2021 sparking fear of increased pollution levels in the northern parts of the country and acid rain.
Scientists have also found evidence for the entry of sulphate aerosol particles (precursors for sulphuric acid) in the stratosphere, the second layer of the Earth’s atmosphere. This might be the reason that the particles have reached as far as India and will likely travel beyond to reach South East Asia.
Impact and Implications:
The most significant climate impacts from volcanic injections into the stratosphere come from the conversion of sulphur dioxide to sulphuric acid, which condenses rapidly in the stratosphere to form fine sulphate aerosols.
The aerosols increase the reflection of radiation from the Sun back into space, cooling the Earth’s lower atmosphere or troposphere.
Sulfur Dioxide- Source:
The largest source of SO2 in the atmosphere is the burning of fossil fuels by power plants and other industrial facilities.
Smaller sources of SO2 emissions include: industrial processes such as extracting metal from ore; natural sources such as volcanoes; and locomotives, ships and other vehicles and heavy equipment that burn fuel with a high sulfur content.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent bi-partisan commission, has released its 2021 annual report.
Highlights of the report:
The report designated 14 countries as “countries of particular concern (CPCs)” as “their governments are engaged in or tolerate “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.” This includes India.
Observations made about religious freedom in India by USCIRF:
This year, USCIRF said that religious freedom conditions in India “continued their negative trajectory”.
The government promoted Hindu nationalist policies resulting in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.
It particularly noted the passage of the “religiously discriminatory” Citizenship Amendment Act.
The report indicated that there was seeming police complicity in the Delhi riots.
Further, the report alleged that “government action including the acquittal of all individuals accused of demolishing the Babri Masjid mosque—as well as government inaction to address religious violence contributed to a culture of impunity for those promulgating hate and violence toward religious minorities.
Recommendations made by USCIRF:
The administration should impose targeted sanctions on Indian individuals and entities for ‘severe violations of religious freedom’.
It should promote inter-faith dialogue and the rights of all communities at bilateral and multilateral forums “such as the ministerial of the Quadrilateral [the Quad].”
Raise issues in the U.S. – India bilateral space, such as by hosting hearings, writing letters and constituting Congressional delegations.
USCIRF recommendations are non-binding and the Trump administration had rejected the USCIRF recommendation to designate India a CPC last year, when it released its own determinations in December.
WHAT IS THE U. S. COMMISSION ON INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM (USCIRF)?
USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan, U.S. federal government commission created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) that monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.
USCIRF uses international standards to monitor religious freedom violations globally, and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress.
What are CPCs?
CPC is designated to a nation guilty of particularly severe violations of religious freedom under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998. The term ‘particularly severe violations of religious freedom’ means systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.
Article 311(2)(C) of the Constitution
The J&K government has constituted a Special Task Force (STF) for identifying and scrutinising the government employees who are involved in any cases related to posing threat to the security or anti-national activities.
STF will scrutinise cases of employees suspected of activities requiring action under Article 311(2)(C) of the Constitution.
The move comes as a number of government employees in the past were found expressing their political opinion in public space on the Kashmir conflict.
According to an official data, scores of employees were found involved in stone-pelting, participating in anti-India demonstrations and expressing anti-national sentiments on the social media during the five-month long agitation in 2016.
Under proviso (c) to Article 311 (2):
Where the President is satisfied that the retention of a person in public service is prejudicial to the security of the State, his services can be terminated without recourse to the normal procedure prescribed in Article 311 (2).
The satisfaction referred to in the proviso is the subjective satisfaction of the President about the expediency of not giving an opportunity to the employee concerned in the interest of the security of the State.
This clause does not require that reasons for the satisfaction should be recorded in writing. That indicates that the power given to the President is unfettered and cannot be made a justifiable issue, as that would amount to substituting the satisfaction of the court in place of the satisfaction of the President.
Is suspension or compulsory retirement a form of punishment?
The Supreme court in case of Bansh singh Vs State of Punjab clearly held that suspension from service is neither dismissal nor removal nor reduction in rank, therefore, if a Government servant is suspended he cannot claim the constitutional guarantee of Article 311.
In Shyam Lal Vs State of U.P Supreme Court held that compulsory retirement differ from dismissal and removal as it involves no penal consequences and also a government servant who is compulsory retired does not loose any part of benefit earned during the service so it doesn’t attract the provisions of Article 311.
Safeguards to civil servants:
Article 311(1): It says that a civil servant cannot be dismissed or removed by any authority subordinate to the authority by which he was appointed.
Article 311(2): It says that a civil servant cannot be removed or dismissed or reduced in rank unless he has been given a reasonable opportunity to show cause against action proposed to be taken against him.