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April 1, 2021
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April 3, 2021
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2nd April Current Affairs

Right to counsel in custody

In News:

Arrested Mumbai policeman Sachin Waze has sought his lawyer’s presence during questioning, while the NIA has argued that this insistence is hampering the probe.

Is access to a lawyer the right of an accused?

In India, the safeguards available to a person in such circumstances are enshrined in the Constitution.

Article 20 (3) states: “No person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself”.

Article 22 states that a person cannot be denied the right to consult and to be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice. This includes provisions that grant an accused the “right to consult” a lawyer.

Section 41D of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) states that an accused is entitled to “meet an advocate of his choice during interrogation, though not throughout interrogation”.

Supreme Court judgments:

In the D K Basu case of 1997:

The Court considered the guiding principles to be followed by investigating agencies in cases of arrest or detention.

The judgment states that “an arrestee may be permitted to meet his lawyer during interrogation, though not throughout the interrogation”.

The Supreme Court stressed the safeguards for accused, but also spoke of “difficulties in detection of crimes”, especially in cases of “hardcore criminals”, and ruled that a lawyer cannot be permitted to remain present throughout the interrogation.

In Senior Intelligence Officer vs Jugal Kishore Sharma (2011):

It allowed the accused’s lawyer to “watch the proceedings from a distance or from beyond a glass partition”, but said “he will not be within the hearing distance and it will not be open to the respondent to have consultations with him in course of the interrogation”.

However, in many criminal cases, it is left to the discretion of the court that has remanded an accused to the custody of the police, to decide on whether the lawyer can be permitted to meet the person for a stipulated time in private when interrogation is not in progress.

Himachal Pradesh’s water crisis

In News:

Himachal Pradesh is likely to face an acute water scarcity this summer. Many water schemes may reach the brink of closure. The state might have to go through the toughest times because of drinking water shortage.

Why is the state with perennial sources of water staring at a water crisis?

Less snow and rain this winter.

This has affected groundwater as well as other downhill water sources such as springs, wells, bawries, lakes, rivulets, streams and rivers.

Demand for water has been growing due to increasing population in the state, with people now relying more on piped water supply schemes rather than traditional sources such as springs and bawries.


Water shortage is also likely to cause crop losses and reduced fodder availablity.

What are the proposed solutions?

Installation of hand-pumps and borewells has been stopped in view of depleting water table.

Water harvesting tanks will be built throughout the state.

In future, the Jal Shakti department will try to explore the option of “snow harvesting” in the higher reaches.

Why the Centre moved court over WhatsApp’s new privacy policy?

In News:

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has asked the Delhi High Court to step in and restrain WhatsApp from rolling out its new privacy policy.

Why does the IT Ministry want the high court to restrain WhatsApp?

Supreme Court judgments had placed a responsibility upon the Centre to come out with a “regime on data protection and privacy”, which would “limit the ability of entities” such as WhatsApp to issue “privacy policies which do not align with appropriate standards of security and data protection”.  Therefore, WhatsApp must be stopped from rolling out the services.

The IT Ministry has listed major violations of the current IT rules that the new privacy policy of WhatsApp, if rolled out, could entail. They are:

WhatsApp failed to specify the type of sensitive data being collected by it.

WhatsApp has failed to provide the user an option to review or amend the users’ information being collected by it.

The policy fails to provide users an option to withdraw consent on data sharing retrospectively.

It also fails to guarantee non-disclosure by third parties.

Key Features of the Policy:

Information Sharing with Third Party Services: When users rely on third-party services or other Facebook Company Products that are integrated with our Services, those third-party services may receive information about what you or others share with them.

Hardware Information: WhatsApp collects information from devices such as battery level, signal strength, app version, browser information, mobile network, connection information (including phone number, mobile operator or ISP) among others.

Deleting the Account: If someone only deletes the WhatsApp app from their device without using the in-app delete my account feature, then that user’s information will remain stored with the platform.

Data Storage: WhatsApp mentions that it uses Facebook’s global infrastructure and data centers including those in the United States to store user data. It also states that the data in some cases will be transferred to the United States or other parts where Facebook’s affiliate companies are based.

Location: Even if a user does not use their location-relation features, Whatsapp collects IP addresses and other information like phone number area codes to estimate your general location (city, country).

Payment Services: WhatsApp says that if anyone uses their payments services they will process additional information about you, including payment account and transaction information.

Other Issues and concerns:

  • The new Whatsapp policy contradicts the recommendations of the Srikrishna Committee report, which forms the basis of the Data Protection Bill 2019.
  • The principle of Data Localisation, which aims to put curbs on the transfer of personal data outside the country, may come in conflict with WhatsApp’s new privacy policy.
  • With the updated privacy policy, WhatsApp can now share one’s metadata, essentially everything beyond the conversation’s actual text.
  • If users disagree with the messaging platform’s updated privacy policy, they will have to quit WhatsApp when the new terms of service are set to come into effect.

Ken-Betwa Interlinking Project Dam

In News:

Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have signed a historic agreement to implement the Ken Betwa Link Project (KBLP).

About Ken- Betwa project:

Conceived as a two-part project, this is the country’s first river interlinking project.

It is perceived as a model plan for similar interstate river transfer missions.

The project aims to transfer surplus water from the Ken river in MP to Betwa in UP to irrigate the drought-prone Bundelkhand region spread across the districts of two states mainly Jhansi, Banda, Lalitpur and Mahoba districts of UP and Tikamgarh, Panna and Chhatarpur districts of MP.

Key facts:

  • Ken and Betwa rivers originate in MP and are the tributaries of Yamuna.
  • Ken meets with Yamuna in Banda district of UP and with Betwa in Hamirpur district of UP.
  • Rajghat, Paricha and Matatila dams are over Betwa river.
  • Ken River passes through Panna tiger reserve.

Benefits of interlinking:

  • Enhances water and food security.
  • Proper utilisation of water.
  • Boost to agriculture.
  • Disaster mitigation.
  • Boost to transportation.