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2nd May Current Affairs

Flag Code of India

(GS-II: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure)

In News:

Khadi Sanghas activists have written to PM and HM on the move to allow non-khadi material for the national flag.

The amendments:

As per rule 1. 2 of part 1 of the Flag code of India 2002, only khadi or hand-spun cloth was the material for the flag. Use of other material was punishable.

But the recent amendment has changed it to “The National Flag shall be made of hand spun and hand woven or machine made, cotton, polyester, wool, silk khadi bunting.”

That means machine made polyester that is made in India or imported from elsewhere can now be used for the tricolour.

So far, the hand spun, hand woven khadi flag was made in the country’s sole BIS-approved flag manufacturing unit in Hubballi, Karnataka.

They now contend that the move will only dilute the definition of khadi but also undermine the spirit of freedom struggle.

Previous amendments to the Flag Code:

The code has been amended earlier too. The original flag code of India 1947 was amended in 2002 after a Supreme Court judgment.

This expanded the definition of places where the flag could be displayed or hoisted. However, part one of the code that deals with the description of the flag had remained untouched.

Evolution of National flag:

Present flag is based on the Swaraj flag, a flag of the Indian National Congress designed by Pingali Venkayya.

After undergoing several changes, the Tricolour was adopted as our national flag at a Congress Committee meeting in Karachi in 1931.

Constitutional & Statutory Provisions regarding National Flag of India:

Art 51A(a) – To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem.

Statutes Governing Use of Flag:

  • Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950.
  • Prevention of Insults to National Honor Act, 1971.

Rules governing the display of the Tricolour:

The Flag Code of 2002 is divided into three parts:

  • 1-a general description of the tricolour
  • 2-rules for display of the flag by governments and government bodies.
  • 3-rules on display of the flag by public and private bodies and educational institutions.

Notable facts:

The National Flag of India shall be made of hand spun and hand woven wool/cotton/silk khadi bunting.

The National Flag shall be rectangular in shape. The ratio of the length to the height (width) of the Flag shall be 3:2.

The Flag shall not be flown at half-mast except on occasions on which the Flag is flown at half-mast on public buildings in accordance with the instructions issued by the Government.

The Flag shall not be used as a drapery in any form whatsoever, including private funerals except in State funerals or armed forces or other paramilitary forces funerals”.

The Flag shall not be used as a portion of costume or uniform of any description nor shall it be embroidered or printed upon cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins or any dress material.

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan narrated significance of National flag as:

The “Ashoka Chakra” is the wheel of the law of dharma. Chakra intend to show that there is LIFE IN MOVEMENT and death in stagnation.

The saffron color denotes renunciation of disinterestedness.

The white in the center is light, the path of truth to guide our conduct.

The green shows our relation to the soil, our relation to the plant life here, on which all other life depends.

India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)

(GS-II: Important Bilateral Agreements)

In News:

The India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), the biggest bilateral trade pact between the two major economies, was activated on 1st May.

The agreement was signed on February 18 between the two sides.

As per the CEPA signed between India and the UAE:

90% of India’s exports will have duty-free access to the Emirates.

It covers goods, services and digital trade.

Benefits:

The CEPA is likely to benefit about $26 billion worth of Indian products that are currently subjected to 5% import duty by the UAE, India’s third-biggest trading partner behind the US and China.

It is expected that the CEPA will lead to an increase in bilateral trade from the current $60 bn to $100 bn in the next 5 years.

Through the pact, Indian exporters will also get access to the much larger Arab and African markets.

What is CEPA?

It is a kind of free trade pact which covers negotiation on the trade in services and investment, and other areas of economic partnership.

It may even consider negotiation on areas such as trade facilitation and customs cooperation, competition, and Intellectual Property Rights.

Partnership agreements or cooperation agreements are more comprehensive than Free Trade Agreements.

CEPA also looks into the regulatory aspect of trade and encompasses an agreement covering the regulatory issues.

Status of Trade:

Trade: From USD 180 million per annum in the 1970s, India-UAE bilateral trade has steadily increased to USD 60 billion in FY 2019-20 making the UAE, India’s third-largest trading partner.

Investments: The UAE is also the eighth largest investor in India with an estimated investment of USD 18 billion.

Delhi University

(GS-I: The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country)

In News:

Delhi University marks its centenary in May 2022.

Establishment:

It was established in 1922 by an Act of British India’s legislature, the Central Legislative Assembly.

The three original constituent colleges of the University of Delhi were St Stephen’s College — established by a missionary initiative, the Cambridge Mission to Delhi, in 1881 — the Hindu College founded in 1899, and Ramjas College, which was established on 14 May 1917 by educationist and philanthropist Rai Kedar Nath.

All three colleges were previously affiliated with the University of the Punjab.

Role in India’s freedom movement:

In 1933, the erstwhile Viceregal Lodge — where the Gandhi-Irwin Pact had been signed two years before — became part of the university’s property. The colonial mansion now houses the vice-chancellor’s office.

Although the Viceregal Lodge was built in 1902, the hunting lodge that predated it was a hiding place for British officials during the sepoy mutiny of 1857.

It was in the Viceregal Lodge that Bhagat Singh was confined after the Central Assembly Bombings of 8 April, 1929, and it was in that very building that he was tried.

Students of Ramjas College (University’s constituent college) hid the revolutionary Chandra Shekhar Azad when he was evading the British government.

Students of Hindu College (University’s Constituent College) were actively involved in the Quit India Movement of 1942.

Delhi University has its own charter, written by its then (1938-1950) vice chancellor, Maurice Gwyer — who was also Chief Justice of India from 1937 to 1943 — said former V-C Dinesh Singh.

Related Trivia:

The Vice President of India serves as the university chancellor.

It is recognized as an Institute of Eminence (IoE) by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Undertrials in India

(GS-II: Issues Arising Out of Design & Implementation of Policies)

In News:

PM Narendra Modi recently pitched for early release of 3.5 lakh undertrial prisoners languishing in jails for years for want of speedy decision in their cases and requested the CMs and Chief Justices of HCs to focus on resolving this problem as it has been disturbing people’s sensitivity.

Details:

He was speaking at the 39th Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices.

Need for:

As much as 76% of inmates are undertrials, which is the highest in 25 years. These are poor people, dalits, poverty stricken people who are unable to furnish bail bonds and continue to rot in jails for years without their cases being taken up.

Reasons for the delay in justice:

Overburdened judiciary is a major reason for the delay in justice.

Police and prison officials often fail to fulfill their roles, leading to long delays in trials.

Most of the undertrials come from disadvantaged social groups. Lack of resources constricts their ability to seek out lawyers and hostile police and prison authorities are rarely of help — despite a 1980 Supreme Court ruling that Article 21 of the Constitution entitles prisoners to a fair and speedy trial as part of their fundamental right to life and liberty.

The understaffed judiciary compounds the problem. Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedures mandates that judges can extend a detainee’s custody for a period of 15 days at a time. For that to happen, the detainees have to be produced regularly before the courts. This rarely happens; proceedings don’t take place in time and the undertrials are shuttled from court to court.

What needs to be done?

Keeping in view the human rights of the prisoners, it is essential that they are given reasonable space and facilities in jails.

An undertrial review committee, comprising the District Judge, District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police, should be set up in each district. The onus of constituting such a panel for every district should be put on the National Legal Services Authority, acting in coordination with the State Legal Services Authority.

The legal services authorities in various States must play a principal role in inculcating awareness among prisoners about their rights, especially provisions that entitle them to freedom.

The real solution, however, does not lie merely in the early release of prisoners on bail, but in expediting the trial process.

Observations made by the Supreme Court in May 2021:

In its judgement, the Supreme Court (SC) of India had ordered the interim release of eligible prisoners in view of the uncontrolled second surge in the raging Covid-19 pandemic.

Key observations:

Emphasised the need to adhere to the norms it had laid down in Arnesh Kumar vs State of Bihar (2014) case. Under this case, the police were asked not to effect unnecessary arrests, especially in cases that involve jail terms less than seven years.

Authorities in all districts in the country to give effect to Section 436A of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C). Under the Section 436A of the Cr.P.C, the undertrials who have completed half of the maximum prison term prescribed for the offence may be released on personal bond.

Suggested the legislature to consider the idea of placing convicts under house arrest to avoid overcrowding of prisons. The occupancy rate in prisons climbed to 118.5% in 2019. Moreover, a very large sum of the budget is used for the maintenance of prisons.

Under-trial Population:

India’s under-trial population remains among the highest in the world and more than half of all undertrials were detained for less than six months in 2016.

The 2016 NCRB report highlights that at the end of 2016, there were 4,33,033 people in prison, of whom 68% were undertrials.

This suggests that the high proportion of undertrials in the overall prison population may be the result of unnecessary arrests and ineffective legal aid during remand hearings.