Current Affairs for IAS Exams – 03 February 2016

Current Affairs for IAS Exams – 03 February 2016


Curative petition against Section 377 IPC to be heard by five judge bench

  • The Supreme Court referred a batch of curative petitions against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a colonial-era provision criminalising consensual sexual acts of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) adults in private, to a five-judge Constitution Bench for a possible back-to- roots, in-depth hearing.

  • A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur and Justices Anil R. Dave and J.S. Khehar gave credence to arguments that the threat imposed by the provision amounts to denial of the rights to privacy and dignity and results in gross miscarriage of justice.

  • Chief Justice Thakur said the petitions pose several questions with “constitutional dimensions of importance” while dictating the order of reference to a Constitution Bench he would be setting upshortly.

  • This Bench neither admitted the petitions nor issued notice to the government, leaving it to the future Constitution Bench to do so, if found necessary.

  • Rebelling against its ownprocedural conventions in dealing with curative pleas, the Supreme Court indicated its openness to re-consider the constitutionality of Section 377 with new eyes.

  • Chief Justice Thakur toldthat the new Bench may not limit itself to the narrow confines of the curative law.

  • The Curative Bench will only entertain if petitioners prove that its review verdict violated principles of natural justice and the judges were biased — and opt for a comprehensive hearing of the arguments placed for the protection of the dignity and rights of the LGBT community.

  • As per the apex court’s Rupa Hurra judgment in 2002, the Bench considering curative pleas should necessarily have the three top judges of the Supreme Court.

Cruz and Clinton won first polling state of Iowa

  • National front-runner Donald Trump lost the first polling state of Iowa to Senator Ted Cruz of Texas in the run for Republican presidential nomination, an outcome that will keep the race open and make it nastier.

  • The emergence of Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who finished a close third, however, keeps the hopes of conventional Republicans alive — that they could stop the nomination of Mr. Cruz and Mr. Trump, both considered insurgents and out of tune withthe party’s traditional base.

  • Mr. Cruz polled 28 per cent against Mr. Trump’s 24, while Mr. Rubio, who now seems to have edged out the rest, polled 23 per cent.

  • In the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton won a razor- thin victory over Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucuses.

  • With 100 per cent of precincts reporting, Ms. Clinton took 49.8 per cent, against 49.6 per cent for the Vermont Senator, her sole remaining challenger for the Democratic nomination.

Bihar does U-Turn on toilet policy

  • The Bihar government decided to scrap the requirement that those who contest local government elections must have a toilet in his/her house, making a U-turn in its own policy.

  • In August last year, the State government had,through an amendment to the Bihar State Panchayati Raj Act, 2006, provided for disqualification of a person wishing to contest panchayat elections if he/she did not have “at least one toilet” in the house by January 1, 2016.

  • According to estimates, about 1.5 crore households in Bihar have no toilets, despite several Central and State government schemes for constructing toilets.

  • Most of the cases of rape happen in the State when girls and women go out for answering nature’s call in the dark.

France promises better price and terms for Rafale (Register and Login to read Full News..)

Pradhan Maitri Fasal Bima Yojna may not be applicable to tenant farmers (Register and Login to read Full News..)

:: International ::

North Korea to launch a satellite

  • North Korea notified UN agencies that it plans to launch a satellite later this month, which could advance the isolated country’s development of long- range missile technology.

  • Pyongyang conducted its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6 in defiance of United Nations sanctions, and last launched a long-range rocket in 2012, sending an object it described as a communications satellite into orbit.

  • Western and Asian experts have said that launch was part of an effort to build an inter- continental ballistic missile.

  • North Korea is under UN sanctions for its nuclear and missile programmes, and countries including the U.S. and South Korea are seeking fresh sanctions after its nucle- ar test last month.

  • North Korea is believed to be making preparations for a test launch of a long-range rocket, U.S. Officials said last week, after activity at its test site was observed by satellite.

  • Pyongyang has said it has a sovereign right to pursue a space programme by launch- ing rockets, although the U.S. and other governments worry that such launches are missile tests in disguise.

  • The International Telecommunication Union, another UN agency, said that North Korea had informed itof plans to launch a satellite with a functional duration of four years, in a non-geostationary orbit.

China changes military structure for joint operations for three forces (Register and Login to read Full News..)

:: Business and Economy ::

RBI keeps interest rates unchanged

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) left the key policy rate unchanged at 6.75 per cent, as widely expected, ahead of the union budget as the central bank will wait for the fiscal road map from the government.

  • The government is targeting a fiscal deficit of 3.9 per cent for the current financial year and 3.5 per cent for FY17.

  • The central bank has reduced interest rates by 125 bps since January 2015.

  • The RBI also highlighted that re- tail inflation, though having evolved along the projected trajectory, could face the risk of upward momentum due to factors like 24 per cent salary hike proposed by the seventh pay commission.

  • RBI has projected five per cent retail inflation by the end of the financial year 2016-17.

Govt. sets up Tax Policy Council (Register and Login to read Full News..)

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Sources: Various News Papers & PIB

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