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29th December Current Affairs

Mamata refuses to allow 3 IPS officers to go to Centre

In News:

The Union government has demanded that the West Bengal relieve three serving IPS officers for Central deputation. However, the state has expressed its strong reservations against the move.

The state has described the Centre’s order as a “colourable exercise of power and a blatant misuse of emergency provision of the IPS Cadre Rule, 1954”.

Background:

Despite the objection of the State government, the Union government called the three IPS officers on central deputation. The officers were deployed for the security of BJP president J.P. Nadda when his convoy was attacked on December 10.

What the rules say?

For the premier civil services — IAS, IPS and Indian Forest Service — officers of the state cadre are allotted by the Centre from a pool of officers.

From time to time, a certain number of officers are sent on central deputation.

The Home Ministry is the authority in control of IPS cadre, the Department of Personnel and Training for the IAS cadre, and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for IFS cadre.

Who can take action?

The Centre can take no action against civil service officials who are posted under the state government as per Rule 7 of the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969.

For any action to be taken on an officer of the All India Services (IAS, IPS, IFS), the state and the Centre both need to agree.

Rule 6(1) of the Indian Police Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954 says about deputation: “in case of any disagreement, the matter shall be decided by the central Government and the state government or state governments concerned shall give effect to the decision of the Central Government.”

Implications:

Under the Home Ministry’s deputation policy for IPS officers, if an officer on offer is selected for a Central posting and does not report either on his own or at the instance of the State Government, he would be debarred for consideration for a post under the Government of India for a period of five years.

Officers, who have already been debarred, should not be offered before the debarment period is over.

Being debarred from central deputation, however, hardly bothers an official if they prefer to work in their state.

SC stays Andhra HC order to study ‘constitutional breakdown’ in State

In News:

The Supreme Court has stayed an Andhra Pradesh High Court order intending to embark on a judicial enquiry into whether there is a constitutional breakdown in the State machinery under the Jagan Mohan Reddy government, requiring a declaration of President’s rule.

What’s the issue?

High Court, on October 1, while deciding habeas corpus petitions filed by relatives of persons remanded in judicial custody or on bail, had suo motu summoned the State counsel to assist it in deciding “whether in circumstances prevailing in the State of Andhra Pradesh, the court can record a finding that there is constitutional breakdown in the State or not”.

What has the Supreme Court said?

It was not up to the High Court to enquire and recommend President’s rule in a State.

It is Article 356 that deals with failure of constitutional machinery in a State. This is a power [to impose President’s rule] exclusively vests in the Executive.

Observation by the state government:

The High Court’s observation violated the Basic Structure doctrine of the Constitution.

The constitutional courts do not have any judicially discoverable and manageable standards to determine if there has been a constitutional breakdown.

This is a serious encroachment on the powers of the executive as enumerated under the Constitution and is thus violative of the doctrine of separation of powers.

What is President’s Rule in the Indian context?

Article 356 of the Constitution of India gives President of India the power to suspend state government and impose President’s rule of any state in the country if “if he is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of the state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution”.

Upon the imposition of this rule, there would be no Council of Ministers. The Vidhan Sabha is either dissolved or prorogued.

The state will fall under the direct control of the Union government, and the Governor will continue to head the proceedings, representing the President of India – who is the Head of the State.

The imposition of the President’s rule requires the sanction of both the houses of Parliament.

If approved, it can go on for a period of six months. However, the imposition cannot be extended for more than three years, and needs to be brought before the two houses every six months for approval.

Revocation:

A proclamation of President’s Rule may be revoked by the President at any time by a subsequent proclamation. Such a proclamation does not require parliamentary approval.

Supreme Court raps govt. on rising cost of COVID care

In News:

Supreme Court recently passed its order on Covid 19 care by the Government.

Details:

The court took note of the issue of the deteriorating health of fatigued doctors, nurses and medical workers.

Need for government’s intervention:

Medical care during the pandemic has become so costly that ordinary people cannot afford it at all.

Right to health (Article 21) includes affordable treatment. For whatever reasons, the treatment has become costlier and it is not affordable to the common people at all.

Even if one survives from COVID-19, many times financially and economically he is finished.

What should the government do?

It is the government’s duty to ensure affordable medical treatment for COVID-19 patients.

A successful “World War” on the virus depends on “government-public partnership.

The government should be transparent about the facts and figures regarding COVID-19 infection spread. Otherwise, the people will be misled and they will be under the impression that everything is alright and they will become negligent.

The government needs to work out a mechanism to give “intermittent rest” to the frontline workers.

States should consider a curfew on weekends/nights.

In a micro containment zone or in an area where the number of cases are on the higher side, to cut the chain, they should be sealed.

There should be complete lockdown so far as such areas are concerned. Such containment areas need to be sealed for a few days except for essential services.

State and local authorities should either make more provisions for affordable treatment in their hospitals or there shall be cap on the fees charged by the private hospitals in exercise of the powers under the Disaster Management Act.

Parliamentary panel calls for migrant workers’ database

In News:

The standing committee on Home Affairs has released its report “Management of COVID-19 pandemic and related issues”.

Key Recommendations:

A national database of migrant workers should be collated at the earliest to ensure that if ever there is a repeat of a COVID-19-like pandemic, the relief measures should reach the intended beneficiaries.

The database should have details of the source State, the destination State, skill set of the worker and other contact details.

The Disaster Management Act, 2005, and the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 — the two guiding laws during the pandemic — are insufficient.

Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 should be reviewed. The Act is outdated as it was framed in the colonial era, which was even well before the Spanish flu of 1918.

Need for a database:

During the extended lockdown, the task of identifying the location and disbursing relief measures to the migrant workers became difficult as the Central government did not have any data of the migrant workers.

In the absence of a comprehensive national database, it is difficult to extend the relief measures by the government to the intended beneficiaries.