Executive shows a trend to disrespect court orders
(GS-II: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions)
Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana recently said there is a growing tendency to disregard and even disrespect the Court orders by the executive which is supposed to assist and co-operate for the rule of law to prevail in the nation.
Highlighting the challenges before the judiciary, the Chief Justice of India said a ‘non-cooperative executive’ is one of the concerns.
Need of the hour:
The executive needs to assist and co-operate for the rule of law to prevail in the nation. Unless the executive and legislation make sincere efforts to fill the judicial vacancies, appoint prosecutors, strengthen infrastructure, and make laws with a clear foresight and stakeholder analysis, the judiciary cannot be held responsible alone.
Significant role played by judiciary in nation-building:
In the Kesavananda Bharti case, the Court for the first time expounded on its power to review amendments to the constitution.
It was only through such an exposition that the 39th Amendment Act was struck down in the Indira Gandhi vs. Raj Narain case.
The power of judicial review:
The power of judicial review is often sought to be branded as judicial overreach. Such generalisations are misguided. The Constitution created three co-equal organs, and in this context, the judiciary has been given the role of reviewing the legality of steps taken by the other two organs. If the judiciary does not have the power of judicial review, then the functioning of democracy in this country would be unthinkable.
What are the concerns now?
There is usually no impact assessment or basic scrutiny of constitutionality before passing of legislation. The minimum that is expected while drafting laws is that they abide by settled Constitutional principles. They must also think of providing effective remedies for issues that may arise out of the law. But these principles seemingly are being ignored. This directly results in the clogging of courts.
At times, there are also concerted campaigns in print and social media against judges if parties do not get a favourable order.
Rising number of media trials: New media tools have the enormous amplifying ability but appear to be incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong, good and bad and the real and fake.
Need of the hour:
There is a requirement for domain expertise in the judiciary. We need judges and lawyers with an understanding of developments across various fields.
It is necessary to have continued judicial training from technical experts. Legal education needs to keep pace with the times and constantly update their curricula.
The judiciary needs a tailor-made platform to meet the requirements such as virtual hearings.
What is Judicial Review?
Judicial review is the power of Judiciary to review any act or order of Legislative and Executive wings and to pronounce upon the constitutional validity when challenged by the affected person.
Judicial review present in India:
The power of Judicial Review comes from the Constitution of India itself (Articles 13, 32, 136, 142 and 147 of the Constitution).
The power of judicial review is evoked to protect and enforce the fundamental rights guaranteed in Part III of the Constitution.
Article 13 of the Constitution prohibits the Parliament and the state legislatures from making laws that “may take away or abridge the fundamental rights” guaranteed to the citizens of the country.
The provisions of Article 13 ensure the protection of the fundamental rights and consider any law “inconsistent with or in derogation of the fundamental rights” as void.
Steps to monitor illegal liquor manufacturing in Bihar
(GS-II: Government policies and issues arising out of their implementation)
Bihar government has been undertaking various measures to monitor illegal liquor manufacturing in the state. Some of these measures include:
Usage of drones.
Appointment of judicial officers as presiding officers in the State’s 74 special courts to hear cases involving the violation of prohibition laws.
Prohibition and Registration Department, over 3.5 lakh people have been arrested under the law since April 2016. Hundreds of policemen and other officials too have either been suspended or are facing a departmental inquiry.
What are the main grounds raised against prohibition of liquor and in favour of prohibition?
The right of privacy is violated, which was given voice by the Supreme Court in 2017 in Puttaswamy judgment. The Right is associated with the citizens’ right to eat and drink as per their choice.
Ground of manifest arbitrariness: The law grants health permits and temporary permits to out-of-state tourists. The petition says there are no intelligible differences in the classes thus being created by the state on who gets to drink and who does not and violates the Right to Equality under Article 14 of the Constitution.
The following arguments indicate that such ban is the need of the hour:
The Constitution places a responsibility on all state governments to “at least contain, if not curtail, consumption of alcohol” (Article 47).
Strict state regulation is imperative to discourage regular and excessive consumption of alcohol.
Alcohol denudes family resources and reserves and leaves women and children as its most vulnerable victims. A social stigma at least as far as the family unit is concerned is still attached to the consumption of alcohol.
Vulnerable persons, either because of age or proclivity towards intoxication or as a feature of peer pressure, more often than not, succumb to this temptation.
Prohibition in Other States:
Alcohol prohibition is in force in the states of Gujarat, Mizoram, Nagaland and the union territory of Lakshadweep.
Related Constitutional Provisions:
State Subject: Alcohol is a subject in the State list under the seventh schedule of the Indian Constitution.
Article 47: The Directive Principle in the Constitution of India states that “The state shall undertake rules to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health”.
Election of Speaker
(GS-II: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies)
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government are locked in a tussle over the election of the Speaker of the Assembly.
What’s the issue now?
Following the Assembly elections of 2019, Nana Patole of the Congress was elected Speaker of the House. But the post fell vacant in February 2021, after Patole resigned and was subsequently appointed president of the state Congress.
Thereafter, Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal Sitaram of the NCP conducted the proceedings in the Legislative Assembly. However, the post fell vacant due to internal differences among the parties in the coalition.
Now, the government wants to hold the election through voice vote instead of a secret ballot (As per the latest amendments). But, the governor has questioned the constitutionality of this decision.
What amendments were made to the Rules last week?
Last week, the government moved a motion in the Assembly seeking amendments to Rules 6 (election of Assembly Speaker) and 7 (election of Deputy Assembly Speaker) by voice vote instead of a secret ballot. The amendments were proposed by the Rules Committee of the legislature.
The amendments excluded the words “holding of the election” and included the words “to elect the Speaker on the recommendation of the Chief Minister” in Rule 6 of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Rules.
The amendments also replaced the provision of election of the Speaker by “secret ballot” with “voice vote”.
The Opposition has argued that the Rules cannot be amended in the absence of the Speaker.
What is the government’s position?
The government has argued that the amendments are in line with the Rules that are in practice in Lok Sabha, the Upper House of the state legislature, and in the Assemblies of a several others states.
It has also said that the amendments would put an end to horse-trading.
The government said it was within the powers of the legislature to amend the Rules.
Why is the approval of the Governor required to elect the Speaker of the Assembly?
The date for the Speaker’s election is notified by the Governor.
As per Rule 6 of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Rules, “The Governor shall fix a date for the holding of the election and the Secretary shall send to every member notice of the date so fixed.”
Therefore, the election of the Speaker can take place only after the Governor fixes the date for it.
So what is the way forward now?
The situation is very odd. While Rule 6 mandates that the Governor should fix the date for the election, the amendment says that the Governor should fix the date on the advice on the CM. It is a conflict between two constitutional entities.
Sources in the government said it would explore legal options to see whether the election of the Speaker could be held without the consent of the Governor. But the former Secretary of the House said it would be difficult to hold the election.
PLI scheme for textiles
(GS-II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)
The Ministry of Textiles has said that it will accept applications from January 1 for the Production Linked Scheme for Textiles announced in September this year.
About the Scheme:
The Government had launched the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for the textiles sector worth Rs 10,683 crore.
This is part of a larger PLI scheme for 13 sectors, with a total budgetary outlay of 1.97 lakh crore.
The PLI scheme for textiles aims to promote the production of high value Man-Made Fibre (MMF) fabrics, garments and technical textiles.
Any person or company willing to invest a minimum of Rs 300 crore in plant, machinery, equipment and civil works (excluding land and administrative building cost) to produce products of MMF fabrics, garments and products of technical textiles will be eligible to participate in the first part of the scheme.
Investors willing to spend a minimum of Rs 100 crore under the same conditions shall be eligible to apply in the second part of the scheme.
Under PLI, the Centre will subsidise eligible manufacturers by paying incentives on incremental production.
Companies investing over Rs 300 crore in plant, machinery, equipment and civil works to produce the identified products will get an incentive of 15 percent of their turnover, which needs to be Rs 600 crore in the third year.
The companies investing between Rs 100 crore and Rs 300 crore will also be eligible to receive duty refunds and incentives (lower than 15 percent of their turnover).
The government expects to achieve “fresh investment of over Rs 19,000 crore and a cumulative turnover of more than Rs 3 lakh crore”.
The PLI scheme will provide an immense boost to domestic manufacturing, and prepare the industry for making a big impact in global markets in sync with the spirit of Atmanirbhar Bharat. It will also help attract more investment into this sector.
Two-thirds of international trade in textiles is of man-made and technical textiles. This scheme has been approved so India can also contribute to the ecosystem of fabrics and garments made of MMF.