SC paves way for ad-hoc judges in HCs
Terming pendency of around 57 lakh cases in High Courts as “docket explosion”, the Supreme Court activated Article 224A to pave way for appointment of retired High Court judges as ad-hoc ones for a period of two to three years to clear backlog and came out with guidelines to regulate appointments.
What is Article 224A?
Article 224A, used rarely, of the Constitution deals with appointment of ad-hoc judges in High Courts.
It says “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 a Judge of that Court or of any other High Court to sit and act as a Judge of the High Court for that State”.
Reasons For huge Pendency:
World Press Freedom index
The World Press Freedom Index 2021 has been released by the media watchdog group Reporters Without Borders.
Norway topped the index for the fifth year in a row.
The report labelled 132 countries as “very bad”, “bad” or “problematic”.
It stated that the pandemic was used as means to deny journalists this access and promote government sponsored propaganda regarding the Covid-19 outbreak.
Performance of India and neighbours:
India remained at the 142nd position among 180 countries.
India was ranked in the “bad” category, along with Brazil, Mexico and Russia.
The report says India is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists trying to do their job properly.
In 2016, India’s rank was 133, which has steadily climbed down to 142 in 2020.
India drew flak for “extremely violent social media hate campaigns” against journalists who “dare to criticise” the government.
About World Press Freedom Index:
Father of banking reforms’: Ex-RBI governor M Narasimham passes away at 94
Who was M Narasimham?
Narasimham was known for being the chair of two high-powered committees on banking and financial sector reforms.
Such is the importance of the two Narasimham Committees that some of their aspects are referred to and employed to this date. For instance, the idea of bank mergers and creating strong megabanks was first mooted by the Narasimham Committee.
First Narasimham Committee Report:
Narasimham Committee Report II – 1998:
In 1998 the government appointed yet another committee under the chairmanship of Mr Narsimham. It is better known as the Banking Sector Committee. It was told to review the banking reform progress and design a programme for further strengthening the financial system of India. The committee focused on various areas such as capital adequacy, bank mergers, bank legislation, etc.
Punjab okays reward policy for drug cases
The Punjab government has approved a reward policy to encourage information and inputs leading to recovery of drugs under the Narcotic Drugs And Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
The policy will recognise government servants-informers-sources for their role in providing inputs leading to the recovery of substantial quantity of drugs and in successful implementation of various provisions of the NDPS Act, 1985 and PIT NDPS Act, 1988.
The quantum of reward for successful investigation, prosecution, forfeiture of illegally acquired property, preventive detention and other significant anti-drug work shall be decided on case-to-case basis.
Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985:
The Act is designed to fulfill India’s treaty obligations under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
The Act 1985 sets out the statutory framework for drug law enforcement in India.
Under the Act, the cultivation, production, manufacture, possession, sale, purchase, transportation, warehousing, consumption, inter-State movement, transshipment and import and export of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances is prohibited, except for medical or scientific purposes and in accordance with the terms and conditions of any license, permit or authorization given by the Government.
The Central Government is empowered to regulate the cultivation, production, manufacture, import, export, sale, consumption, use etc of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
State Governments are empowered to permit and regulate possession and inter-State movement of opium, poppy straw, the manufacture of medicinal opium and the cultivation of cannabis excluding hashish.
The Central Government is empowered to declare any substance, based on an assessment of its likely use in the manufacture of narcotics drugs and psychotropic substances as a controlled substance.
Both the Central Government and State Governments are empowered to appoint officers for the purposes of the Act.