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(VIDEO) Regulating Real Estate : Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(VIDEO) Regulating Real Estate : Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Topic of Discussion: Regulating Real Estate : Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 11 October 2018 (Farewell to South Asia)


Farewell to South Asia


Mains Paper: 2 | IR 
Prelims level: BIMSTEC forum
Mains level: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate

Introduction 

  • According to reports, three of the eight South Asian foreign ministers left the room after making their speeches at the annual gathering in New York.
  • They were from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and India.
  • But it also says something about the deepening crisis of credibility of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.
  • A meeting between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan did not take place.
  • India, of course, is not the only one having problems with Pakistan.

Important highlight of this meeting 

  • India’s refusal to engage Pakistan unless Islamabad addresses its concerns on cross-border terrorism, has also held up the next SAARC summit in Islamabad.
  • All countries are finding alternatives.
  • Modi moved to focus on the so-called BBIN forum that brings together four countries of South Asia — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal.
  • The Modi government has also sought to reactivate the BIMSTEC forum that brings the BBIN countries as well as Sri Lanka with Myanmar and Thailand.
  • The idea of a Bay of Bengal community is gaining traction by the day.  But not everyone in these subregional and trans-regional groupings has the same dream.
  • Even as Kathmandu sleeps in the BBIN and BIMSTEC beds, sections of Nepal’s ruling elite want to “escape” South Asia into the vast folds of the Chinese embrace.
  • Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has begun to describe itself as an Indian Ocean country.
  • That brings us to the question of China, whose Belt and Road Initiative is connecting different parts of South Asia to the adjoining provinces of China.
  • Pakistan with Xinjiang, Nepal and Bhutan with Tibet, and Bangladesh with Yunnan.
  • Beijing also seeks to integrate Maldives and Sri Lanka into its maritime strategy.

Way forward 

  • Meanwhile, Washington is changing its geopolitical playbook for our neighbourhood. Its new imagination privileges India and merges the rest of the Subcontinent into the vast Indo-Pacific.
  • Japan’s premier Shinzo Abe defined our region as the confluence of two seas (the Indian and Pacific Oceans) and two continents (Africa and Asia).
  • India has no reason to shed tears for the SAARC. 
  • In fact, it was never much of a game.Change is the only enduring fact of life. How we imagine and construct regions changes according to circumstances. The British Raj extended from Aden to Malacca at its peak.
  • “South East Asia” did not exist until the Second World War. The “Asia-Pacific” came into usage only in the late 1980s.
  • The “Indo-Pacific” was a novelty a decade ago.  “Political South Asia” was an invention of the 1980s. It has not survived the test of time.
  • As India’s footprint goes way beyond the Subcontinent, Bangladesh becomes the throbbing heart of the Bay of Bengal and an economic bridge to East Asia and Sri Lanka emerges as an Indian Ocean hub, Delhi needs to reimagine its economic and political geography.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

UPSC Prelims Questions: 

Q.1) With reference to the first Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, Disaster Management Exercise (BIMSTEC DMEx- 2017), consider the following statements:
1. Its primary objective is to institutionalize regional cooperation on disaster response among member countries.
2. It was conducted by the National Disaster Response Force.
3. It was recently held in New Delhi.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Answer:  D

UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1) How BIMSTEC forum meet is significance for SAARC countries? 

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 11 October 2018 (Deadly roads in India)


Deadly roads in India


Mains Paper: 3 | Infrastructure 
Prelims level: K.S. Radhakrishnan Committee
Mains level: Road conditions in India 

Introduction 

  • At the large number of people who die every year and the thousands who are crippled in accidents.
  • The remedies it highlights are weak, incremental and unlikely to bring about a transformation. 

Steps are taken by government

  • The Supreme Court is seized of the issue and has been issuing periodic directions in a public interest petition with the assistance of the Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan Committee constituted by the Centre.
  • The Centre and the States will work to improve safety as a joint responsibility, although enforcement of rules is a State issue.
  • That nothing much has changed is reflected by the death of 1,47,913 people in accidents in 2017. 
  • To claim a 1.9% reduction over the previous year is statistically insignificant, more so when the data on the rate of people who die per 100 accidents show no decline. 
  • The finding that green commuters cyclists/pedestrians now face greater danger on India’s roads, with a rise in fatalities for these categories of users of 37% and 29% over 2016, respectively. 

Important highlights of the road safety data

  • Road safety data is a contested area in India. 
  • The figures of death and injury from accidents are viewed as an underestimate by scholars.
  • The Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Programme at IIT Delhi estimates that cumulatively, road traffic injuries recorded by the police are underestimated by a factor of 20, and those that need hospitalisation by a factor of four. 
  • The number of people who suffered injuries in 2017 far exceeds the 4,70,975 reported by the Ministry. 
  • It is welcome that greater attention is being paid to the design and safety standards of vehicles, but such professionalism should extend to public infrastructure.
  • The design of roads, their quality and maintenance, and the safety of public transport, among others. 
  • The Centre has watered down the national bus body standards code in spite of a commitment given to the Supreme Court, by requiring only self-certification by the builders. 

Way forward

  • Relaxing this long-delayed safety feature endangers thousands of passengers. 
  • There is little chance of the NDA government, now in the last year of its tenure, making a paradigm shift. 
  • Valuable time has been lost in creating institutions for road safety with a legal mandate, starting with an effective national agency.
  • The Road Safety Councils at the all-India and State levels have simply not been able to change the dismal record.
  • The police forces lack the training and motivation for professional enforcement. The urgent need is to fix accountability in government.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

UPSC Prelims Questions: 

Q.1) Which among the following road categories has the highest percentage of total road length in India?
(a) National Highways
(b) State Highways
(c) District Roads
(d) Rural Roads
Answer:  D

UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1) Smart cities also needs smart roads. In this context analyse road condition in India. How it can be improved? 

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 11 October 2018 (Caught napping)


Caught napping


Mains Paper: 3 | Science & Technology 
Prelims level: Gyroscope 
Mains level: Road conditions in India 

Introduction 

  • It has photographed light from shortly after the Big Bang (on an astronomical timescale) when the oldest known galaxy, GN-z11 in Ursa Major, was forming.
  • Its observations support the theory that “dark energy”, undetected by instruments, pervades the universe.
  • And its depth of field is extraordinary, ranging from the asteroids to the most distant stars.
  • Downtime on such a useful instrument will set back our developing understanding of the universe.
  • As it goes into sleep mode, Hubble is living proof that the world’s space efforts need “trucks” shuttling between the earth and orbit.
  • Since the US shuttle programme was discontinued in 2011, NASA has had no way to repair or refurbish the Hubble telescope.
  • Perhaps the next generation of space trucks will be delivered by private enterprise rather than governments.
  • Until then, it appears, Hubble will have to stay in sleep mode.

About Gyroscope 

  • A gyroscope is a device designed to have a spinning disc or wheel mounted on a base such that its axis can turn freely in one or more directions in order to maintain its orientation regardless of any movement of the base. 
  • The orientation changes in response to an external torque and in a different direction.
  • The gyroscope has evolved from technology such as mechanical-inertial spinning devices including gimbals, axles, rotors and other electronic and optical devices. 
  • Each component exploits some physical property of the system enabling it to detect rotational velocity about some axis.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

UPSC Prelims Questions: 

Q.1) Consider the following statements in reference to AURA, recently seen in news:
1. It is an Earth Observation Satellite of European Space Agency.
2. It aims to understand how atmospheric composition affects and responds to Earth's changing climate.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer:  B

UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1) What is Gyroscope? What are its importance in space technology? 

(VIDEO) J&K: Ballot over Boycott? : Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(VIDEO) J&K: Ballot over Boycott? : Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Topic of Discussion: J&K: Ballot over Boycott : Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 10 October 2018 (We need a pro-liberty judicial approach)


We need a pro-liberty judicial approach 


Mains Paper: 2 | Polity 
Prelims level: civil liberties
Mains level: The judiciary is deviating from its own precedents in terms of civil liberties 

Introduction 

  • Article 21 of the Constitution places the personal liberty of citizens on the highest pedestal, and so it is the duty of our courts to protect it. 
  • However, two recent decisions of the Supreme Court suggest that the court may not be showing sufficient zeal in upholding liberty.

Analysing the cases 

  • The case concerning the Bhima-Koregaon accused, the court should have applied the ‘clear and present danger’ test of the celebrated Justice Holmes of the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • The ‘imminent lawless action’ test of the U.S. Supreme Court in Brandenburg v. Ohio (followed by the Indian Supreme Court in Sri Indra Das v. State of Assam ).
  • It would have held that the actions of the accused in the Bhima-Koregaon incident, even assuming the charges to be true, could not have posed any clear and present danger of a violent uprising, and after holding so.
  • The court would have quashed the proceedings against them, and consequently released all the five accused forthwith.
  • In Abhijit Iyer-Mitra v. State of Odisha, the Supreme Court refused bail to the petitioner saying that his action hurt religious feelings, an offence under section 295A of the Indian Penal Code. 
  • Based on the principles laid down by the court in State of Rajasthan v. Balchand and other decisions, bail should have been granted. 

Way forward

  • There was no likelihood of the petitioner tampering with the evidence or fleeing from justice. 
  • Also, the offence was not as grave or heinous as murder, or gang-rape. 
  • All that the petitioner did was to tweet some satirical remarks about the Konark temple, and he clarified in later tweets that he was joking. 
  • It is true that the tweets were indiscreet because many Indians do not understand satire, but the court could have laid down the condition in its order granting bail that the petitioner should not repeat such remarks.
  • It could hurt religious feelings, and if he did that the bail could be cancelled. 
  • It was certainly not a case deserving rejection of bail altogether.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

UPSC Prelims Questions: 

Q.1) Right to speedy trial is a:
(a) Constitutional Right
(b) Legal Right
(c) Fundamental Right
(d) Natural Right
Answer:  C

UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1) India needs to adopt a pro-liberty judicial approach to maintain civil liberties. Critically examine the statement.  

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 10 October 2018 (Tackling global warming)


Tackling global warming 


Mains Paper: 3 | Environment 
Prelims level: Paris Accord
Mains level: Issues relating to climate change.  

Introduction 

  • The IPCC’s special report on global warming of 1.5°C, prepared as a follow-up to the UN Paris Agreement on Climate Change, provides the scientific basis for them to act. 
  • There is now greater confidence in time-bound projections on the impacts of climate change on agriculture, health, water security and extreme weather. 
  • With sound policies, the world can still pull back, although major progress must be achieved by 2030. Governments should achieve net zero CO2 addition to the atmosphere, balancing man-made emissions through removal of CO2. 

What government can do?

  • The Paris Agreement aims to keep global temperature rise in this century well below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the increase even further, to 1.5°C. 
  • The IPCC makes it clear that the human and economic costs of a 2°C rise are far greater than for 1.5°C, and the need for action is urgent. 
  • Human activity has warmed the world by 1°C over the pre-industrial level and with another half-degree rise, many regions will have warmer extreme temperatures, raising the frequency, intensity and amount of rain or severity of drought. 
  • Risks to food security and water, heat exposure, drought and coastal submergence all increase significantly even for a 1.5°C rise.

Facing the crisis 

  • India, Pakistan and China are already suffering moderate effects of warming in areas such as water availability, food production and land degradation, and these will worsen. 
  • These impacts are expected to spread to sub-Saharan Africa, and West and East Asia. 
  • The prognosis for India, of annual heatwaves by mid-century in a scenario of temperature increase in the 1.5°C to 2°C range, is particularly worrying. 
  • There is evidence to show it is among the regions that would experience the largest reductions in economic growth in a 2°C scenario. 

Way Forward 

  • These are clear pointers, and the sensible course for national policy would be to fast-track the emissions reduction pledges made for the Paris Agreement.
  • The commitment to generate 100 GW of solar energy by 2022 should lead to a quick scale-up from the 24 GW installed, and cutting down of coal use. 
  • Agriculture needs to be strengthened with policies that improve water conservation, and afforestation should help create a large carbon sink. 
  • There is a crucial role for all the States, since their decisions will have a lock-in effect.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

UPSC Prelims Questions: 

Q.1) The eighth edition of Emissions Gap report, released ahead of the UN Climate Change
Conference in Bonn in 2017 has revealed increasing greenhouse gas emissions gap. In this context consider the following statements:
1. Emissions gap is the difference between the emissions level countries have pledged to achieve under international agreements and the level consistent with limiting warming below 2 oC.
2. The Emissions Gap report is released by UNEP.
Which of the statements given above is/arecorrect?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer:  C

UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1) What governments of Paris accord participating nation can do to resolve the climate change issues?
 

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 10 October 2018 (Learning to ask)


Learning to ask 


Mains Paper: 2 | Polity 
Prelims level: Provision related to reservation 
Mains level: Reporting on reservations and facing inconvenient questions posed by students 

Introduction 

  • The year was 2006 and the Central government had directed institutions of higher education to implement a 27%-reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs). 
  • With 22.5% of seats already reserved for the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs), this would take the reservation slab to 49.5%.
  • The move led to disquiet among both the SCs and the upper castes. As a reporter, you had to wade carefully while asking questions.

A quiet unrest

  • Upper caste students from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi took to sweeping the streets in protest.
  • Coded in their casteist act was a message: “We will be forced to pick up brooms if reservation for OBCs is to come about.”
  • On, the other side of the divide were the SC students, worried not only about the shrinking pie for government jobs a lifeline for them.
  • So, how did one navigate this quagmire of sensibilities without hurting the sentiments of either category of students?
  • I learnt a valuable lesson while reporting on the quiet unrest among SC students. 
  • A conversation over the phone with a student left me bruised.
  • My question was: “How worried are you at the reservation for OBCs?”
  • He countered with a question: “Have you ever been told by your teacher to sit outside the classroom?”

Will it become more difficult now that OBCs too have a quota?

  • If you speak like someone born to privileged life. How can you even begin to understand what it means to see your parents toiling away as scavengers?
  • I had to confess that I had not faced discrimination on account of my caste or gender. The questioning and counter-questioning made me ponder over the language we deploy as reporters.
  • The research student from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) also asked me about my struggles in life to get to where I was.
  • He then asked whether there was enough diversity in newsrooms. I looked around and mumbled a ‘no’.
  • The struggle, if any, would be nowhere close to the scale he and his parents had endured. That was enough to tell the story of reservations.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

UPSC Prelims Questions: 

Q.1) Prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of religion is provided by which of the following fundamental rights?
(a) Right to equality
(b) Right to freedom of religion
(c) Right against exploitation
(d) Right to constitutional remedies.
Answer:  A

UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1) It become more difficult now that OBCs too have a quota? Critically examine statement. 

(VIDEO) Crack in opposition unity (विपक्षी एकता में दरार) - Lok Sabha TV Insight Discussion

(VIDEO) Crack in opposition unity (विपक्षी एकता में दरार) - Lok Sabha TV Insight Discussion

Topic of Discussion: Crack in opposition unity (विपक्षी एकता में दरार)- Lok Sabha TV Insight Discussion

(VIDEO) How safe are high rises? : Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(VIDEO) How safe are high rises? : Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Topic of Discussion: How safe are high rises? : Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 09 October 2018 (India’s S-400 balancing act)


India’s S-400 balancing act


Mains Paper: 3 | Internal Security 
Prelims level: S 400 
Mains level: While the India-Russia relationship is no longer what it was, the current transactionalism suits both countries for now

Introduction 

  • India last week saw the long-overdue materialization of the S-400 deal. Despite the threat of sanctions by the US under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), India is likely to get a waiver. 
  • This signifies how strategically important India is, for both Russia and the US.

Why the deal is so significant?

  • The deal is being projected in some quarters as India daring the US and displaying strategic autonomy. 
  • It even betrays a touch of the Cold War-style non-aligned movement (NAM) mindset. 
  • India needs the S-400 to plug the gaps in its air defence, especially against China.
  • India had been pursuing this deal since 2015, well before Donald Trump became the US president and CAATSA was legislated.
  • India has spent a lot of political capital to get a waiver. It was one of the main talking points during the 2+2 dialogue between India and the US. 
  • Both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have supported waivers for India for its weapon deals with Russia. 
  • India enjoys bipartisan support in the US, the anger at Russia over its meddling in the US elections along with the domestic political partisanship could make it tricky for India. 

Russia has come out as the clear winner 

  • Despite India and Russia sharing a strong defence relationship, the ties between the two countries have been drifting as India slowly started becoming an important partner to the US. Sanctions could cool relations.
  • Russia is opposed to India’s policy in the Indo-Pacific. It does not want India to be a counterbalance against China.
  • Russia itself is dependent on China for arms and energy sales and investments, and disregards India’s concerns about its northern neighbour. 
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi had an informal summit with Putin in Sochi before he delivered a tempered speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue on India’s policy in the Indo-Pacific. 
  • The ‘Quad’ grouping is focussed on China’s expansionism, it is possible that Russia conveyed to India its sensitivities in joining a US-led security grouping in the Indo-Pacific. 

Impacts on India U.S. relations 

  • The S-400 deal does, however, shows the gaps in Indo-US defence relations. 
  • Despite the close defence ties and the countries staging a large number of bilateral military exercises in recent years, shortcomings in defence trade remain. 
  • The Defence Framework and Defense Technology and Trade Initiative to pursue joint development and co-production of defence equipment has failed to address India’s needs. 
  • It has also failed to estimate what the US can deliver and how far India will go in trusting the US for critical weapons systems.
  • Indian decisionmakers still seem to be saddled with the legacy of the Cold War and non-alignment.
  • On the other hand, in comparison to Russia which has helped India with strategic technologies like leasing and developing nuclear-powered submarines.
  • The US is still not open to supplying India with advanced weapons platforms and military technologies.

Conclusion 

  • With the S-400, India has achieved what it wanted. But it underscores the transactional relations between India and Russia. 
  • Indo-Russian trade is largely defence driven, and India continues to be Russia’s biggest weapons buyer. 
  • India will keep Russia engaged with defence deals amid Russia’s growing relations with Pakistan.
  • Russia is no longer coy about selling weapons to Pakistan. 
  • There is a definite sense of realism in India, Russia and the US. Transactionalism is suiting both India and Russia. 
  • India gets the advanced weapons it needs and Russia charges top dollar for it. It does not give “friendship prices” to India anymore. 
  • Russia is not going to help India in its strategic competition with China, nor is it as committed as it once was to India in its case against Pakistan.
  • Indian interests will be served as long as Russia meets its strategic weapons needs and doesn’t make any moves that compromise India’s security. 
  • The US not reacting too sensitively to India’s weapons purchase will be pivotal for India-US economic and defence ties as well. 

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

UPSC Prelims Questions: 

Q.1)  Which of the following is true about "CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act)", recently in news ?
A.    The act is passed by USA for countries having significant defence relations with North Korea. 
B.    It would be tough for India to carry on defence deals with USA if the act is not diluted on case to case basis.
C.    Both 1 and 2
D.    Neither 1 nor 2
Answer:  B

UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1) Why S 400 the deal is so significant for India Russia relations?

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 09 October 2018 (Hard justice)


Hard justice 


Mains Paper: 2 | Judiciary 
Prelims level: Not so important 
Mains level: With Brett Kavanaugh confirmed, Republicans enjoy great power to shape the U.S. agenda 

Introduction 

  • The U.S. Senate has confirmed the nomination of conservative-leaning judge Brett Kavanaugh, by a vote of 50-48, and he was sworn in as a ninth justice of the Supreme Court (SCOTUS).
  • The narrow victory of the second successful nominee of President Donald Trump to the highest court came after a furore involving allegations of sexual misconduct levelled by Christine Blasey Ford, a Professor of Psychology.
  • Under pressure after Ms. Ford came forward, the Republican majority on Capitol Hill agreed to an FBI inquiry into the allegations against Mr. Kavanaugh. 
  • While the FBI was limited to a tight deadline, given a predetermined list of persons it could interview, and constraints on the kind of evidence it could obtain, no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing emerged. 
  • Mr. Kavanaugh now takes the place of retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, a judge seen as a potential swing vote on contentious issues such as marriage equality. 
  • Chief Justice John Roberts is also considered by some to be a potential swing vote, as he was in the case that established the legality of former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
  • This, is the critical question facing American jurisprudence.

Has the rightward tilt of the SCOTUS intensified with Mr. Kavanaugh’s confirmation? 

  • Liberal-progressive America may understandably fear that the country is on the brink of a new epoch of politics and social justice that could herald a rollback of hard-fought freedoms in areas such as women’s reproductive rights, voting rights, LGBTQ rights, rights of racial or ethnic minorities, immigration reform, and environmental controls. 
  • Mr. Kavanaugh’s past rulings on assault weapons bans, religious liberty rights and the constitutional rights of large financial corporations.
  • His rulings in future cases may well favour conservatives for example, by giving the Second Amendment on the right to bear arms more teeth, by potentially re-opening Roe v. Wade on abortion, or by allowing state-level challenges that go against the marriage equality tenet implied by Obergefell v. Hodges .

Way forward 

  • The U.S. President is immune to criminal prosecution, especially since Mr. Kavanaugh helped write the Ken Starr Report calling for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. 
  • Would he still stand by sections of that report that argued in favour of an impeachment for lying? 
  • Taking a step back from the Kavanaugh nomination, it is evident that even if Democrats are in a strong position to win back the House of Representatives in the coming mid-term elections, control of the White House.
  • The Senate and SCOTUS gives the Republican Party a magnitude of control rarely seen in recent times, and with it the power to reinsert conservative values into the heart of American democracy.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

UPSC Prelims Questions: 

Q.1) Which of the following are the federal features of the Indian constitution ?
1. Written Constitution
2. Flexibility of the Constitution
3. Division of Powers
4. Integrated Judiciary
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 and 3 only
(b) 1 and 4 only
(c) 2, 3 and 4 only
(d) 1, 3 and 4 only
Answer:  A

UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1) Has the rightward tilt of the SCOTUS intensified with Mr. Kavanaugh’s confirmation? 

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 09 October 2018 (Know thy judge)


Know thy judge


Mains Paper: 2 | Judiciary  
Prelims level: Constitutional Bodies  
Mains level: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

Context 

  • We have what we call a “collegium” of the five senior-most judges of the Supreme Court considering names primarily from among chief justices of the high courts and occasionally from the bar for appointment to the Supreme Court.
  • The future chief justices of India will be chosen from a pool of judges in the high courts, who have today put in more than 14 years of service.
  • Those who have or have had a relative in the judiciary have a better chance of making it compared to others.
  • An aspiring law researcher with a little help from Google Analytics will be able to predict who will be the CJI of India in 2039.
  • Unlike in the US, where the collegial approach spans the whole nation and virtually the world, our collegial impulses are confined to five learned men.

Why is it so important for you to know your judges before they are appointed?

  • Because they decide what you eat, what you can and cannot say, who you can have sex with and whether or not you can visit a temple.
  • That is not all. They decide matters of life and death, guilt and innocence, detention and freedom, bail or jail.
  • They decide who is a terrorist and who is not.
  • There is no aspect of our life which is not governed by the law and  judges are the ultimate interpreters of the law.
  • The process of confirmation of a judge in the US Senate is intended to check, publicly, the suitability of a nominee for appointment as a judge.

No such process occurs in India prior to the appointment of a judge.

  • If the government of the day were to nominate a judge for confirmation, we do know that they would choose a person who shared their political persuasion.
  • The problem in India is we are denied information relating to a proposed appointee and are often left with little more than rumours and suspicion about the antecedents of a judge.

Conclusion 

  • Today, we talk of our judges being “liberal” or “conservative”.
  • There is now even talk of judges being “urban Naxals”.
  • To avoid such post-appointment slander affecting the legitimacy of judges in these “divided times”, we need a new process of appointment of judges and new criteria for evaluation which will capture what we expect from them.
  • Pre-appointment background checks must include allegations of sexual harassment against them.
  • Such people are normally repeat offenders and a little investigation would show up their lack of character in dealing with women.
  • This would be the contribution of the Me Too movement to accountability in the judiciary.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

UPSC Prelims Questions: 

Q.1) The Indian Supreme Court is different from the American Supreme Court in that it has
(a) advisory jurisdiction
(b) power of judicial review
(c) original jurisdiction
(d) None of the above
Answer:  A

UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1) Why is it so important for you to know your judges before they are appointed?

(VIDEO) Climate Change Warning : Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(VIDEO) Climate Change Warning : Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Topic of Discussion: Climate Change Warning : Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

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