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28th May Current Affairs

Parliamentary Privileges

(GS-II: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these)

In News:

The Parliament’s Privileges and Ethics Committee has asked the Maharashtra Chief Secretary, DGP Maharashtra, Mumbai Police Commissioner and Superintendent of Women District Prison, Byculla (Mumbai) to appear before them for oral evidence, in connection with Navneet Rana’s arrest case.

Background:

Navneet Kaur Rana, the Amravati MP, filed a complaint against several individuals and alleged that she was illegally arrested and treated inhumanely at a police station in Mumbai during the ‘Matoshree-Hanuman Chalisa row.’

What are Parliamentary Privileges?

They are certain rights and immunities enjoyed by members of Parliament, individually and collectively, so that they can “effectively discharge their functions”.

Article 105 of the Constitution expressly mentions two privileges, that is, freedom of speech in Parliament and right of publication of its proceedings.

Sources:

The Constitution.

The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

It provides for freedom from arrest and detention of members under civil process during the continuance of the meeting of the House or of a committee thereof and forty days before its commencement and forty days after its conclusion.

Motion against breaches:

When any of these rights and immunities are disregarded, the offence is called a breach of privilege and is punishable under law of Parliament.

A notice is moved in the form of a motion by any member of either House against those being held guilty of breach of privilege.

Role of the Speaker/Rajya Sabha (RS) Chairperson:

The Speaker/RS chairperson is the first level of scrutiny of a privilege motion.

The Speaker/Chair can decide on the privilege motion himself or herself or refer it to the privileges committee of Parliament.

If the Speaker/Chair gives consent under relevant rules, the member concerned is given an opportunity to make a short statement.

Collective Security Treaty Organisation

(GS-II: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and agreements involving India)

In News:

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) has marked its 30th year, at anniversary summit hosted by Moscow recently.

About Collective Security Treaty Organization:

It is an intergovernmental military alliance (six countries) that came into effect in 2002.

Its origin can be traced to the Collective Security Treaty, 1992 (Tashkent Treaty).

The headquarters is located in the Russian capital of Moscow.

The objectives of the CSTO is to strengthen peace, international and regional security including cybersecurity and stability, the protection on a collective basis of the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the member states.

Composition:

Current CSTO members are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation and Tajikistan.

What does membership entail?

CSTO membership means that member states are barred from joining other military alliances, limiting, for example, their relationship with NATO.

Most importantly, membership presumes certain key security assurances – the most significant of which is deterring military aggression by third countries.

In the CSTO, aggression against one signatory is perceived as aggression against all.

It however remains unclear whether this feature works in practice.

Sree Narayana Guru

(GS-I: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times)

In News:

The Karnataka government is caught in a controversy over the exclusion of text on reformer Narayana Guru in the new social science textbook of class 10.

However, references to Narayana Guru were present in the chapter in the earlier version of the text.

Who is Narayan Guru?

Sree Narayana Guru was a catalyst and leader who reformed the oppressive caste system that prevailed in society at the time.

He was born in 1856 in Chempazhanthy, a village near Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

Belong to the Ezhava caste, Narayan Guru had experienced discrimination from the upper caste of society.

His philosophy always advocated social equality, education for all, and spiritual enlightenment.

Significant Contribution for Society:

He gave the famous slogan “One Caste, One Religion, One God for All” (Oru Jathi, Oru Matham, Oru Daivam, Manushyanu).

In 1888, Narayana Guru consecrated the first temple of Lord Shiva, where an idol was ordinated by a non-brahmin in Aruvippuram village of Kerala.

His step sparked off the anti-caste revolution against the upper-caste Brahmin communities.

In one temple he consecrated at Kalavancode, he kept mirrors instead of idols. This symbolised his message that the divine was within each individual.

In 1903, he established the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP) as the founder and president.

He had set up more than 40 temples across the state as an act of protest to permit lower caste people to enter temples.

Contribution to National Movement:

He was in the forefront of the movement for universal temple entry and against the societal ills like the social discrimination of untouchables.

He provided the impetus for Vaikom agitation which was aimed at temple entry in Travancore for the lower castes.

He captured the essence of Indianness in his poems which highlighted the unity that lies beneath the world’s apparent diversity.

Philosophy of Sree Narayana Guru:

Sree Narayana Guru became one of the greatest proponents and re-evaluators of Advaita Vedanta, the principle of non-duality put forward by Adi Shankara.

In 1913, he founded the Advaita Ashram at Aluva. This was an important event in his spiritual quest.

This Ashram was dedicated to a great principle – Om Sahodaryam Sarvatra (all men are equal in the eyes of God).

Literary Works:

He wrote various books in different languages. Few of them are: Advaitha Deepika, Asrama, Thevarappathinkangal, Brahmavidya Panchakam etc.

Relevance of His Philosophy:

Sree Narayana Guru’s philosophy of Universal Oneness has special relevance in the contemporary global context where the social fabric of many countries and communities are being eroded by hatred, violence, bigotry, sectarianism and other divisive tendencies.

Law Commission of India

(GS-II: Various statutory and constitutional bodies)

In News:

The Law Commission is functioning without a Chairperson.

Details:

The Commission, constituted for a term of three years, has not released any report after the tenure of the last Chairperson, Justice B.S. Chauhan, ended in August 2018.

What’s the issue?

The 22nd Law Commission was constituted by the Government on February 21, 2020. However, no progress has been made in the appointments till date.

About the law commission of India:

It is an executive body established by an order of the Government of India.

Originally formed in 1955, the commission is reconstituted every three years and so far, 277 reports have been submitted to the government.

The last Law Commission, under Justice B.S. Chauhan (retd.), had submitted reports and working papers on key issues such as simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the Assemblies and a uniform civil code.

Composition:

Apart from having a full-time chairperson, the commission will have four full-time members, including a member-secretary.

Law and Legislative Secretaries in the Law Ministry will be the ex-officio members of the commission.

It will also have not more than five part-time members.

A retired Supreme Court judge or Chief Justice of a High Court will head the Commission.

Roles and functions:

The Law Commission shall, on a reference made to it by the Central Government or suo motu, undertake research in law and review of existing laws in India for making reforms and enacting new legislation.

It shall also undertake studies and research for bringing reforms in the justice delivery systems for elimination of delay in procedures, speedy disposal of cases, reduction in cost of litigation, etc.

Reforms needed:

The Law Commission should be brought under a statute with definite terms on appointments, its functions and powers spelt out.