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G.S II - Judiciary

Act early and decisively on the bid to change nature of places of worship


What is the issue?

Courts must act decisively to end the legal onslaught to change nature of places of worship.

Click here to know about the issue

How the judicial and political atmosphere affect the country’s secular character?

  • The idea that key places of worship among Muslims have been built after demolishing Hindu temples is beginning to take hold among sections of Indian society.
  • In the name of correcting perceived historical wrongs attempts are being made to change the character of places of worship.
  • To prevent such attempts Parliament has enacted the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 so that existing suits and proceedings abate and new claims are not entertained.
  • However the Supreme Court issued a verdict handing over a disputed site in Ayodhya to Hindu claimants.
  • This has emboldened some communal elements to make efforts to capture sites in Varanasi and Mathura where the Gyanvapi mosque and Shahi Idgah Masjid are located.
  • Also the courts has repeatedly allowed proceedings to be initiated.
  • In Gyanvapi case a civil judge has not only entertained a suit but has also ordered a commission to videograph the mosque to ascertain its religious character.
  • Even the Supreme Court feels that there is some inexplicable need to let procedural aspects of civil law to be gone through in such litigation.
  • It has transferred the Gyanvapi suit to the District Judge.
  • In Mathura, the District Court has overturned a lower court’s order and ruled that the Act will not bar a suit aimed at removing a Masjid in the name of the site being the birthplace of Lord Krishna.

What will be the implications?

  • As long as applications are pending somewhere, revanchist groups will continue the relentless onslaught on minority places of worship.
  • It is up to the courts to act early and act decisively to uphold the spirit of the Places of Worship Act and preserve communal peace.

Reference

  1. https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/act-early-decisively-the-hindu-editorial-on-the-bid-to-change-nature-of-places-of-worship/article65440210.ece

G.S II - Union and State

Supreme Court’s GST verdict


What is the issue?

The apex courts verdict on GST upholding federal rights of states should not hamper the functioning of the GST council.

What was the case before the Supreme Court?

  • A writ petition was filed before the Gujarat High Court challenging the levy of IGST on the component of ocean freight paid by a foreign seller to a foreign shipping line, on a reverse charge basis.
  • As customs duty was already levied on the component of ocean freight, levy of IGST amounted to double taxation.
  • Gujarat HC has ruled in favour of importers.
  • So, Revenue Department has filed a special leave petition challenging the Gujarat HC order.
  • SC dismissed the petition and ruled in favour of the importers thereby upholding Gujarat HC order.

What observations did the SC make on GST while delivering the verdict?

  • Article 246A gives both Union government and states equal and co-ordinate power to legislate on matters of Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • It treats both the Union and the States as “equal units”.
  • There are no provisions in the GST Act 2017 to deal with situations where there is repugnancy between the laws drawn up by the Centre and states.
  • In case of repugnancy it is for the GST Council to advise them suitably.
  • However the advice and recommendations of the GST Council are not binding on the Centre and states.
  • Its recommendations only have a persuasive value.
  • In the GST Council, Centre and states have an unequal voting structure.
  • The states collectively have a two-third voting share and the Union has a one-third voting share.
  • GST council must work in harmonious manner to achieve workable solution.

How have the Centre and states reacted?

  • Few states welcomed the judgment stating that it provides space for greater flexibility for states in the GST structure.
  • The Centre feels that this would lead to an impasse and the entire GST structure would crumble.
  • Problems could get compounded if any state decides not to accept the recommendation of the Council.
  • This opens up the question whether different states could have different rate structures for a similar supply and such a deviated position would fundamentally affect the concept of one nation, one tax.

What needs to be done?

  • The situation can trigger more contestations in Council meetings.
  • This comes at a time when there are many pending reforms that require the Centre to work more cohesively with States to take India’s economy forward and lift those left behind
  • This calls for infusing a fresh sense of responsibility among members.
  • The Centre should strive to be more conciliatory towards States concerns and fiscal dilemmas especially at a time when compensation assured to certain states winds down.
  • The Council should meet more often to nurture the critical fiscal federalism dialogue in the right direction and minimise trust deficits.

Reference

  1. https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/a-timely-reminder-the-hindu-editorial-on-supreme-courts-gst-verdict/article65439674.ece
  2. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/supreme-court-ruling-gst-council-decision-centre-states-7927786/
  3. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/centre-states-have-equal-power-to-make-laws-on-gst-supreme-court-101652941425696.html

 

Prelim Bits

Prelim Bits 21-05-2022 | UPSC Daily Current Affairs


Tantra Art

  • Tantra is a unique spiritual system capable of resolving the mystery of Being and its relationship with the world.
  • It is considered to be a system comprising incredible, primitive, unscientific beliefs, which promotes blind faith and exploits undeveloped or under-developed minds.
  • It is the religious practice that prescribes breaking of taboos, equality of the sexes and sexual freedom.
  • Tantra philosophy found its artistic impressions with various symbols like the lingam and yoni in sculptures and scrolls of ancient India.
  • The Tantra Art form is the form of art that is ‘influenced’ immensely by the Tantra philosophy.
  • This art form refers to as a broadly ‘aesthetic and visual exercise’ or ‘non-figurative abstract,’ based on scriptures.

Reference

  1. https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-metroplus/rajesh-vijaykumars-art-has-been-inspired-by-mysticism-and-tantric-art/article65438902.ece
  2. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india/the-art-of-tantra/story-Q5iqBLtkc2EYnrlfb1YS6L.html
  3. https://artsandculture.google.com/story/tantric-paintings-academy-of-fine-arts-and-literature/WQVhXgrrnM2vLQ?hl=en

Indo-Pacific Economic Framework

The United States is expected to launch his Administration’s much discussed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) in the Japanese capital along with Prime Minister Kishida Fumio.

  • The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) is not a traditional trade agreement.
  • Rather, it would include different modules covering fair and resilient trade, supply chain resilience, infrastructure and decarbonization, tax and anticorruption, worker standards, etc.
  • Countries would have to sign up to all of the components within a module, but do not have to participate in all modules.
  • The “fair and resilient trade” module will be led by the US Trade Representative and include digital, labor, and environment issues, with some binding commitments.
  • The IPEF will not include market access commitments such as lowering tariff barriers, as the agreement is “more of an Administrative arrangement”.
  • It will not include Congressional approval, which is a must for trade agreements.
  • Significance - The IPEF is also seen as a means by which the US is trying to regain credibility in the region after former President Donald Trump pulled out of the Trans Pacific Partnership TPP).
  • The Biden Administration is projecting IPEF as the new US vehicle for re-engagement with East Asia and South East Asia.

Reference

  1. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-indo-pacific-economic-framework-7928434/
  2. https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/Biden-s-Asia-policy/Indo-Pacific-Economic-Framework-is-not-an-FTA-5-things-to-know

Retinoblastoma

  • Retinoblastoma is a rare type of eye cancer (malignant tumor) that usually develops in early childhood, typically before the age of 5.
  • This form of cancer develops in the retina, which is the specialized light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that detects light and color.
  • It can occur in one or both eyes and may be hereditary or sporadic.
  • It can be life-threatening as well as take away vision if not treated timely and is detected by seeing White Reflex (WR).
  • Symptoms
    1. White Reflex - Pupil that looks white or yellow instead of red when light hits it.
    2. Squinting - A crossed eye, looking either toward the nose or towards the ear.
    3. Poor vision with or without WR. The eye may be red or painful.
  • The burden - Nearly 1,500-2,000 children are diagnosed with retinoblastoma every year in India.
  • Majority of these children belong to lower socio-economic strata of society and nearly 60% of these patients have advanced disease at presentation.
  • It is associated with low treatment and survival rates which are due to lack of awareness, poor access to care, high treatment cost, lack of infrastructure, good treatment protocols, quality drugs, etc.
  • Detection - Ocular ultra-sonography and fundus examination are the immediate OPD procedures.
  • Its extent is determined by MRI and systemic staging investigations (bone marrow biopsy, CSF, and whole-body PET scan).
  • Treatment - Retinoblastoma is often curable when diagnosed early.
  • Retinoblastoma treatment requires a multi-disciplinary approach, and is individualised to each patient.
  • Chemotherapy can be delivered intravenously or intra-arterial, and is the most common modality of treatment.
  • This has to be followed up with local therapy, which is managed by the ophthalmologist using various modalities.

Reference

  1. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-what-is-retinoblastoma-the-common-eye-cancer-in-children-7928636/
  2. https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/retinoblastoma/#causes

PACER Initiative

The Polar Science and Cryosphere (PACER) scheme has been approved for continuation during 2021-2026.

  • The Polar Science and Cryosphere Research (PACER) scheme comprises of the Antarctic program, Indian Arctic program, Southern Ocean program and Cryosphere and Climate program.
  • It is implemented through the Goa-based National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), an autonomous institute under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • The PACER studies are aimed at a holistic understanding of the Polar Regions and the Southern Ocean.
  • Components - PACER encompasses the following six components.
    1. Construction of polar research vessel
    2. Construction of the third research base in Antarctica
    3. Indian scientific endeavours in the Arctic
    4. Polar expeditions-Antarctica
    5. Replacement of Maitri station
    6. Southern Ocean

Reference

  1. https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1809081
  2. https://moes.gov.in/schemes/polar-science-cryosphere?language_content_entity=en
  3. https://ncpor.res.in/pages/view/260/189-polar-science-cryosphere

Transit Anticipatory Bail

The Bombay High Court is looking into the issue of whether the HC or sessions courts can grant transit anticipatory bail to accused in cases registered or likely to be registered in another state, outside their jurisdiction.

  • Bail is an important concept present in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) which provides an arrested person with an option of liberty in order to not be detained.
  • The bail can be pleaded during the proceedings after the individual is arrested or in the case of anticipation of an arrest by the police in case of a non-bailable offence.
  • Transit anticipatory bail is not mentioned under the CrPC.
  • Generally, it is understood to mean an order under Section 438 (grant of bail for person apprehending arrest) of CrPC for ‘short duration’ for an offence registered in a different state.
  • This means that the applicants can approach the court in that state for obtaining regular anticipatory bail.
  • Problem - In a given case, only with a view to harass somebody, the informant may choose to file his FIR at a faraway place in India, by showing some part of cause of action there.
  • In such a case, the accused would require some protection to approach that court.
  • On the other hand, the accused may take wrong advantage of this provision by obtaining this type of order to buy time, which could be used to destroy the evidence.

Reference

  1. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/transit-anticipatory-bail-be-granted-by-courts-in-cases-registered-in-other-states-hc-division-full-bench-7912324/
  2. https://blog.ipleaders.in/detailed-outline-transit-anticipatory-bail/

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