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5th November Current Affairs

All India Judicial Service

(GS-II: Judiciary, Indian Constitution)

In News:

The central government is preparing to give a fresh push to the establishment of an All India Judicial Service (AIJS) on the lines of the central civil services.

About:

The AIJS is a reform push to centralise the recruitment of judges at the level of additional district judges and district judges for all states.

In the same way that the Union Public Service Commission conducts a central recruitment process and assigns successful candidates to cadres, judges of the lower judiciary are proposed to be recruited centrally and assigned to states.

Previous Proposals:

The AIJS was first proposed by the 14th report of the Law Commission in 1958.

A statutory or constitutional body such as the UPSC to conduct a standard, centralised exam to recruit and train judges was discussed.

The idea was proposed again in the Law Commission Report of 1978, which discussed delays and arrears of cases in the lower courts.

In 2006, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice in its 15th Report backed the idea of a pan-Indian judicial service, and also prepared a draft Bill.

Supreme Court’s Stand:

In 1992, the Supreme Court (SC) in All India Judges’ Association v. The Union of India directed the Centre to set up an AIJS.

In a 1993 review of the judgment, however, the court left the Centre at liberty to take the initiative on the issue.

In 2017, the SC took suo motu cognizance of the issue of appointment of district judges, and mooted a Central Selection Mechanism.

Senior advocate Arvind Datar, who was appointed amicus curiae (friend of the court) by the court, circulated a concept note to all states in which he recommended conducting a common examination instead of separate state exams.

Based on the merit list, High Courts would then hold interviews and appoint judges. Datar submitted that this would not change the constitutional framework or take away the powers of the states or High Courts.

Benefits of AIJS:

Efficient Judiciary: It will ensure an efficient subordinate judiciary, to address structural issues such as varying pay and remuneration across states, to fill vacancies faster, and to ensure standard training across states.

Ease of Doing Business: The government has targeted the reform of lower judiciary in its effort to improve India’s Ease of Doing Business ranking, as efficient dispute resolution is one of the key indices in determining the rank.

Addressing Judges To Population Ratio: A Law Commission report (1987) recommended that India should have 50 judges per million population as against 10.50 judges (then).

Now, the figure has crossed 20 judges in terms of the sanctioned strength, but it’s nothing compared to the US or the UK — 107 and 51 judges per million people, respectively.

Higher Representation of Marginalised Sections of Society: According to the Government, the AIJS to be an ideal solution for equal representation of the marginalised and deprived sections of society.

Attracting Talent Pool: The government believes that if such a service comes up, it would help create a pool of talented people who could later become a part of the higher judiciary

Bottoms-Up Approach: The bottoms-up approach in the recruitment would also address issues like corruption and nepotism in the lower judiciary.

Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use

(GS-III: Conservation)

In News:

Recently, an ambitious declaration was initiated by the United Kingdom to “halt deforestation” and land degradation by 2030.

Details:

It is being referred to as the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use.

India did not sign this,as it objected to “trade” being interlinked to climate change and forest issues in the agreement.

About the Declaration:

Integrated Approach: The declaration recognise that to meet our land use, climate, biodiversity and sustainable development goals, both globally and nationally will require transformative further action in the interconnected areas:

Sustainable production and consumption.

Infrastructure development; trade; finance and investment.

Support for smallholders, Indigenous Peoples, and local communities, who depend on forests for their livelihoods and have a key role in their stewardship.

To help achieve a balance between anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and removal by sinks; to adapt to climate change; and to maintain other ecosystem services.

Signatories: The declaration has over 105 signatories including the UK, US, Russia and China.

These countries represent 75% of global trade and 85% of global forests in key commodities that can threaten forests – such as palm oil, cocoa and soya.

They have also committed USD 12 billion in public funds from 2021-25.

Commitment to Multilateral Agreement: It reaffirmed respective commitments to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, the Sustainable Development Goals; and other relevant initiatives.

Major Highlights of the Declaration:

Conservation: Conserve forests and other terrestrial ecosystems and accelerate their restoration.

Sustainable Development: Facilitate trade and development policies, internationally and domestically, that promote sustainable development, and sustainable commodity production and consumption.

Building Resilience: Reduce vulnerability, build resilience and enhance rural livelihoods, including through empowering local communities.

Recognising Indigenous Rights: The development of profitable, sustainable agriculture, and recognition of the multiple values of forests, while recognising the rights of Indigenous.

Financial Commitments: Reaffirm international financial commitments and significantly increase finance and investment from a wide variety of public and private sources.

India’s Stand:

India, Argentina, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and South Africa are the only G20 countries that did not sign the declaration. The declaration interlinks trade to climate change and forest issues. Trade falls under the World Trade Organization and should not be brought under climate change declarations.

India and others had asked the word “trade” to be removed, but the demand was not accepted. Therefore they didn’t sign the declaration.

The issue of deforestation in India is a hotly contested one. The government has repeatedly said that the tree cover and forest cover in India have increased over the past few years.

However, environmentalists have long pointed out that the government is busy diluting existing environmental protections to open them up for mining and other infrastructure projects that will alter the forests, wildlife, and the people living around it forever.

HPV Vaccine Reducing Cervical Cancer

(GS-II: Health)

In News:

Recently, new research has found that the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (Cervarix) reduces the risk of Cervical Cancer significantly in women.

Details:

The results are important because the vaccine was introduced in the 2000s and studies confirming that it is effective against cancer have come up only recently.

Findings:

The Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine reduced cervical cancer cases by 87% among women in the U.K. who received the vaccine when they were 12 or 13 years old.

It reduced the risk by 34% in women who were aged 16-18 years when they were offered the jab.

Over a period of 11 years (since 2006), the vaccine prevented around 450 cervical cancers and around 17,200 cases of precancerous conditions.

Cervical Cancer:

It is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix – the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina.

Various strains of the Human papillomavirus (HPV) play a role in causing most cervical cancer.

When exposed to HPV, the body’s immune system typically prevents the virus from doing harm. In a small percentage of people, however, the virus survives for years, contributing to the process that causes some cervical cells to become cancer cells.

The HPV vaccine (Cervarix) protects against two of the cancer-causing strains, which are HPV 16 and 18.

Human papillomavirus:

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract.

There are more than 100 types of HPV.

More than 40 types of HPV are spread through direct sexual contact.

Out of these 40, two cause genital warts, while about a dozen of HPV cause different types of cancer including cervical, anal, oropharyngeal, penile, vulvar and vaginal.

Types of HPV Vaccines:

Quadrivalent vaccine (Gardasil): It protects against four types of HPV (HPV 16, 18, 6 and 11). The latter two strains cause genital warts.

Bivalent vaccine (Cervarix): It protects against HPV 16 and 18 only.

Non valent vaccine (Gardasil 9): It protects against nine strains of HPV.

These vaccines prevent cervical cancer in women and girls who have not yet been exposed to the virus.

Indian Scenario:

India is home to 16-17% of the world’s population, globally 27% of total cervical cancer cases are from here.

Further, in India about 77% cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV 16 and 18.

In India, bivalent and quadrivalent HPV vaccines were licensed in 2008 and a non valent vaccine was licensed in 2018.

Officially, the HPV vaccine has not been recommended for boys and males in India.