Who are the 19 lakh excluded from Assam NRC, and what next for them?

Headline : Who are the 19 lakh excluded from Assam NRC, and what next for them?

Details :

In News:

  • The recently published final list of people in updated National Register of Citizen (NRC) has stripped nearly 19 lakh people in the north-eastern state of Assam of their citizenship.

About: NRC

  • The NRC for a state is the list of Indian citizens of that state.
  • It was created in 1951 to determine who was born in Assam and is therefore Indian, and who might be a migrant from neighbouring Bangladesh.
  • It is a list of people who can prove that they came to Assam before 24 March 1971, a day before India’s neighbouring country Bangladesh declared independence from Pakistan.
  • Objective: to control unabated migration from Bangladesh.
  • The Register is meant to establish the credentials of a bona fide citizen as distinguished from a foreigner.
  • Assam is the country’s only state to create such a document.
  • The NRC has been updated for the first time.

Background of the NRC updation:

  • The NRC updating exercise started in 2013 under the Supreme court’s watch.
  • The process of NRC update in Assam differs from the rest of the country and is governed by Rule 4A and the corresponding Schedule of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
  • These rules were framed as per the cut-off date of the midnight of March 24, 1971, enshrined in the Assam Accord of 1985.
  • First draft of Assam NRC:
    • In accordance with the top court’s direction, the Registrar-General of India published the list on the night of 31-December-2017 to distinguish Indian citizens living in Assam from those who illegally entered the State.
    • Names of 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore applicants were incorporated then.
  • Second draft:
    • In July 2018, a draft was published in which 2.89 crore residents were included as Indian citizens, while 40 lakh were left out.
    • Those who were left out were allowed to file claims for inclusion and citizens could object against anyone who they felt was wrongly included.
  • Excluded in additional list:
    • In June 2019, another 1 lakh, originally among the 2.89 crore included in that draft, were removed after subsequent verification.
  • Claims filed against exclusions:
    • As many as 36 lakh of those excluded filed claims against the exclusion, while four lakh residents did not apply.
  • Final NRC:
    • The latest NRC is the result of all those included and excluded.

What will happen to those 19 lakh people excluded from the NRC?

  • The excluded people will have to appeal against it at Foreigners’ Tribunals (FT), a quasi-judicial court and subsequently in the high court or Supreme Court.
  • The government has given 120 days time to appeal in the court.
  • Those excluded from NRC will have to prove that they or their ancestors were living in Assam on or before March 24, 1971.
  • Various other documents such as birth certificates and land records are admissible, as long as these were issued before the cutoff date.
  • However, if a person looses to prove his/her identity in Foreigners’ Tribunal as well as in higher courts, he or she will face a possible arrest and can be sent to a detention centre (However, the prospects sending a large number of people to detention centres is low).
  • If not deported or detained in a camp, such people would officially be entitled as non-citizens.

Foreigners Tribunal: Foreigners Tribunal (FT) was set up in Assam in 1964 through the Foreigners Tribunal Order 1964. The tribunals have been mandated with identifying the legal status of suspected foreigners in Assam.

Key Challenge:

  • The courts , limited in numbers, will be burdened and get exhaustive as the appeal period is short and cases are far too many which may further clog the process.

What makes deportation so uncertain?

  • For a country to be able to deport a mass of individuals to another country, the second country has to accept that they were its citizens who entered the first country illegally.
  • However, Bangladesh has never officially acknowledged that any of its citizens migrated illegally to Assam.
  • Besides, India has no treaty with Bangladesh that would facilitate their deportation.
  • Also, there have been no visible recent efforts by India to push the matter with Bangladesh.

India’s Policy for “stateless” persons:

  • India has no fixed policy for “stateless” persons.
  • The only aspect which is clear is that “stateless” person will not have voting rights.
  • As of now, nothing is clear about their rights to work, housing and government healthcare and education.
  • In India, being “stateless” is not the same as being a refugee.

Refugees in India:

  • India has refugees from Tibet, Sri Lanka (Tamils) and West Pakistan.
  • Among them, only the refugees from West Pakistan has the right to vote in Lok Sabha elections but not in Assembly polls.
  • For Tibetans, the government allows Indian citizenship with a rider that they move out of Tibetan settlements and forgo refugee benefits.
  • Under the Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy, 2014, adopted in part by a few states, refugees are eligible for certain benefits under government schemes for labour, rations, housing and loans.

Road ahead: Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019

  • The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 provided for granting citizenship to immigrants of six non-Muslim faiths from three countries, including Bangladesh.
  • However, the Bill lapsed, but is expected to be reintroduced.
  • If the Bill passes Parliament, Hindus from Bangladesh would be eligible for citizenship, even if detected as illegal immigrants, while Muslims who illegally entered from Bangladesh would be treated as illegal immigrants.
  • The Bill has faced protests in Assam on the ground that it runs contrary to the NRC’s objective, which is to detect all illegal immigrants.
  • Whatever the fate of the Bill, a very long battle awaits those who are excluded from the NRC but claim to be Indian citizens.

About: Assam Accord, 1985

  • Assam witnessed a range of law and order problems and political turbulence driven by the anti-foreigners movement, in the early 1980s.
  • The Assam Accord (1985) was a Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) signed, signed by the Centre and the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU).
  • Accordingly, those foreigners who had entered Assam between 1951 and 1961 were to be given full citizenship, including the right to vote while the entrants between 1961 and 1971were to be denied voting rights for ten years but would enjoy all other rights of citizenship.
  • In addition to economic development, the Accord also had assured to safeguards the cultural, social, and linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.

Section : Polity & Governance

Can Pakistan get the ICJ to undo India’s decision on J&K’s special status?

Headline : Can Pakistan get the ICJ to undo India’s decision on J&K’s special status?

Details :

In News:

  • Pakistan has decided to approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the recent revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status by India.

Telegram: https://t.me/ShubhraRanjanPSIR

Theme of the topic: The topic analysis the ICJ’s Jurisdiction over the Jammu and Kashmir case

About/; International Court of Justice (ICJ)

  • The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the main judicial organ of the United Nations (UN), established in 1945, after World War II to resolve international disputes.
  • The seat of the Court is in The Hague (Netherlands).
  • Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York(USA).
  • The Court’s role is to settle, the cases in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States.
  • It gives advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it, but is not a criminal court.
  • Composition: The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected for terms of office of nine years by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council.
  • Official Languages: English and French

Note: Only countries are eligible to appear before the ICJ, and  individuals, non-governmental organisations, corporations or any other private entities are not eligible .

ICJ’s jurisdiction:

  • The nature of the ICJ’s jurisdiction is twofold:
    • Jurisdiction in contentious Cases: Contentious jurisdiction involves States that submit the dispute by consent to the Court for a binding decision. It decides, in accordance with international law, disputes of a legal nature that are submitted to it by States.
    • Advisory Jurisdiction: It gives advisory opinions on legal questions at the request of the organs of the United Nations, specialized agencies or one related organization authorized to make such a request.

Basis of ICJ’s Jurisdiction:

  • The ICJ’s jurisdiction takes three forms: compulsory, special agreement, and treaty-based.
    • Compulsory Jurisdiction: Any international legal dispute involving the UN Member States that have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction may be submitted to the Court, provided that all the States party to the dispute before the ICJ have accepted its compulsory jurisdiction.
    • Special Agreement Jurisdiction: States may also submit a dispute to the ICJ by special agreement, accepting the ICJ’s jurisdiction only with regard to the specific dispute at issue.
    • Treaty-based Jurisdiction: States may accept the ICJ’s jurisdiction with regard to particular areas of international law when they join a treaty that specifically provides that disputes will be submitted to the ICJ for resolution, such as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Is the ICJ’s Jurisdiction compulsory in Jammu and Kashmir case?

  • India and Pakistan have filed compulsory declarations in 1974 and 2017, respectively.
  • Filing such a declaration means that the concerned country (which acknowledges the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ) has the right to move the ICJ against any other country, which also accepts the same obligation, by filing an application instituting proceedings with the ICJ.
  • However, it is not clear if the jurisdiction of the ICJ will be compulsory in the J&K case since India has repeatedly said that it is an “internal matter”.

Procedure for filing a case in the ICJ:

  • In case of a unilateral application, the applicant state (Pakistan, in this case) will have to specify the legal grounds for ICJ’s jurisdiction.
  • In addition, it will need to state the precise nature of the claim, “together with a succinct statement of the facts and grounds on which the claim is based”.
  • However, Proceedings cannot begin until the country, against whom the application has been made (India. in this case), consents to the ICJ’s jurisdiction over the matter.
  • Furthermore, to determine its jurisdiction in the early stages of the proceedings, the ICJ can request the parties concerned to “argue all questions of law and fact” and cite evidence about the issue.
  • The proceedings can be instituted by way of a special agreement as well, which is bilateral in nature and in which the application can be filed by either party.

What happens when the jurisdiction of the ICJ is disputed?

  • In case there is a dispute related to the ICJ’s jurisdiction, the matter is settled by the decision of the ICJ itself guided by provisions given under Article 36 of the statute.
  • The purpose of the statute is to “organise the composition and functioning of the court”.

Can the ICJ’s judgments be revised?

  • A judgment can be revised only if there is discovery of a fact important to the matter which was not known to the ICJ and the party claiming revision when the judgment was first delivered.
  • The party asking for a revised ruling needs to assure the ICJ that the presence of the fact wasn’t simply neglected.

Section : International Relation

Polity: Federalism- Debate, landmark cases, Types of Federalism, J&K and more

Headline : The forms of federalism in India

Details :

Why in News?

  • The Union government has withdrawn the special status conferred on Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) under Article 370 of the Constitution. It has also divided the State into two regions and declared them as Union Territories.

Telegram: https://t.me/ShubhraRanjanPSIR

The debate concerning with federalism:

Nations are described as ‘federal’ or ‘unitary’, depending on the way in which governance is organized.

  • In a unitary set-up, the Centre has plenary powers of administration and legislation, with its constituent units having little autonomy.
  • In a federal arrangement, the constituent units are identified on the basis of region or ethnicity, and conferred varying forms of autonomy or some level of administrative and legislative powers.

As the current political status of J&K — as two Union Territories — is a form of demotion from the sort of autonomy it enjoyed, it becomes an issue concerning federalism.

Is India a federal state?

Article 1 of the Constitution states, “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States”. While the Constitution doesn’t mention the term “federal”, it does provide for a governance structure primarily federal in nature. It provides for separate governments at the Union and in the states. Further, it specifies and demarcates the powers, functions and jurisdictions of the two governments. Last, it details the legislative, administrative and financial relations between the Union and the states.

S.R. Bommai v. Union of India, it has been held that “Democracy and federalism are essential features of our constitution and are part of its basic structure”. With increased political decentralization, India was ripe to evolve from a “union of states” to a “federation of states”.

There exist certain provisions in the Constitution which are considered to be going against the principle of federalism.

  • For example, article 200 of the constitution in which it is said that certain bills passed by state legislatures may be reserved by the governors for the consideration of the president of India.
  • The another article which is considered to be a deviation from the principle of federalism is Articles 356, 352 and 360 which gives the power to the president to declare emergency, which can transform federal system into a unitary system.
  • There are many circumstances in which the central government has used this power to dissolve the state governments of the opposite parties and to remain in power at the centre.

A disconcerting trend has been observed since 1950. While the Union and Concurrent Lists have expanded, the State List seems to have shrunk. This has led many to question the structure of Indian federalism and to propose its remodeling.

Why India is called ‘quasi-federal’:

The Supreme Court has commented on the nature of the Indian Union in several judgments. It has noted that the essence of a ‘federation’ is the existence of the Union of the States, and the distribution of powers between them.

  • In India, on the other hand, Parliament has the power to admit new States, create new States, alter their boundaries and their names, and unite or divide the States. The concurrence of States is not needed for the formation and unmaking of States and Union Territories.
  • Several provisions of the Constitution allow the Centre to override the powers of the States. For example existence of Concurrent List in Legislature.
  • In India, the residuary powers of legislation, that is the power to make law in a field not specified in the Constitution, is vested in Parliament, whereas in the U.S., residuary powers are with the States.
  • Further, in fiscal matters, the power of the States to raise their own resources is limited, and there is a good deal of dependency on the Centre for financial assistance.

Even though the States are sovereign in their prescribed legislative field, and their executive power is co-extensive with their legislative powers, it is clear that “the powers of the States are not coordinate with the Union”. This is why the Constitution is often described as ‘quasi-federal’.

Why is it said that India has asymmetric federalism:

  • The main forms of administrative units in India are the Centre and the States. But there are other forms, too, all set up to address specific local, historical and geographical contexts.
  • Besides the Centre and the States, the country has Union Territories with a legislature and Union Territories without a legislature. Parliament has overriding powers over any law made by the Assembly in the Union Territories.
  • Just as the Centre and the States do not have matching powers in all matters, there are some differences in the way some States and other constituent units of the Indian Union relate to the Centre. This creates a notable asymmetry in the way Indian federalism works.

Special status for J&K and how it worked:

The foremost example of asymmetry among Centre-State ties was in the way J&K related to India until August 6, 2019.

  • Under Article 370, the State was allowed to have its own Constitution, its own definition of ‘permanent residents’, the right to bar outsiders from holding property, and the privilege of not having any Indian law automatically applicable to its territory.
  • Indian laws had to be specifically permitted by its Assembly before it could operate there. It was allowed to have its’ own Penal and Criminal Procedure Codes.
  • The President was empowered to notify, from time to time, the provisions of the Constitution that could be extended to the State, with or without modifications.

What does Article 371 provide?

Special status is not unique to Kashmir. However, the sort of asymmetry seen in J&K’s relationship to the Centre is not seen in other States. The ‘special provisions’ applicable to some other States are mainly in the form of empowering the Governors to discharge some special responsibilities. These States are Maharashtra, Gujarat, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

  • Article 371 says the Governor of Maharashtra has a special responsibility to establish separate development boards for Vidarbha, Marathwada, and the rest of the State, while the Governor of Gujarat has a similar responsibility towards Saurashtra, Kutch and the rest of Gujarat. The responsibilities cover equitable allocation of funds for development expenditure, and providing facilities for technical education and vocational training.
  • Article 371A confers special status on Nagaland. Under this provision, no law made by Parliament in relation to Naga customary law and procedure, including civil and criminal justice matters, and ownership or transfer of land and resources will apply to Nagaland, unless the Legislative Assembly of Nagaland decides so. Further, the Governor of Nagaland has a ‘special responsibility’ regarding law and order in the State.
  • Article 371B contained a special provision for Assam under which a committee of legislators from the tribal areas was formed to look after their interest. The tribal areas later became Meghalaya State.
  • Under Article 371C, the Hill Areas of Manipur ought to have a committee of legislators. The Governor has a special responsibility to make an annual report to the President on the administration of the Hill Areas. The Centre is empowered to give directions to the State as far as these areas were concerned.
  • Article 371D is a detailed provision under which the President can pass an order to provide equitable opportunities and facilities to people belonging to different parts of Andhra Pradesh in public employment and education. In particular, the President can create local cadres in various classes of employment and allot civil posts to specified local cadres only.
  • Article 371F incorporated special provisions after the addition of Sikkim to India. One major objective was to grant protection to existing laws in Sikkim so that they are not declared unconstitutional after being brought under the Constitution of India.
  • Article 371G contains special provisions to preserve the religious and social practices of Mizos in Mizoram and their customary law and procedure and administration of criminal and civil justice, besides ownership of land.
  • Article 371H vests a special responsibility on the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh with respect to law and order. It makes clear that the Governor shall discharge this function after consulting the Council of Ministers, but exercise his individual judgment as to the action taken.

Other examples of decentralization of power:

There is another significant tier of administration under the larger framework of asymmetric federalism.

  • The Sixth Schedule to the Constitution contains provisions for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. These create autonomous districts and autonomous regions administered by District Councils and Regional Councils respectively. These Councils can make laws with respect to allotment, occupation and use of land, management of forests other than reserve forests and water courses. Besides they can regulate social customs, marriage and divorce and property issues.
  • In Assam, the Karbi-Anglong Autonomous Council, Dima Hasao Autonomous District Council and the Bodoland Territorial Council have been set up under the Sixth Schedule. Another six autonomous councils have been formed by Acts of the legislature.
  • Ladakh has two autonomous hill development councils (Leh and Kargil).
  • The Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council is in West Bengal.

Recent Developments:

Typically, two opposite forces seem to operate: cooperative federalism and competitive federalism. Promoting both cooperative and competitive federalism has been an overarching theme of the government.

  • Cooperative federalism implies the Centre and states share a horizontal relationship, where they “cooperate” in the larger public interest.
  • Competitive federalism gained significance in India post the 1990s economic reforms.
  • The disbandment of the Planning Commission (PC) and its replacement by the NITI Aayog is specifically designed to promote cooperative federalism.
  • Institutional innovations such as the NITI Aayog and the GST council that now dominate Centre-state deliberations, and India today has a new framework for negotiating Centre-state relations.

Way Forward:

  • Cooperative and competitive federalism may be two sides of the same coin. Their complementarities are contingent on many affirmative steps.
  • Efforts at cooperative federalism have commenced but need to be strengthened.
  • An institutional mechanism like Inter-State Council must be reactivated where important issues are appropriately discussed with states for better policy coordination.

Section : Polity & Governance

Jammu and Kashmir: Article 370, Article 35(A), Resolutions, Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill and all other developments

Headline : J&K loses its special status, divided into two UTs

Details :

Telegram: https://t.me/UpscExpress

The News:

  • In a historic decision, the Indian government has changed the terms of engagement with Jammu and Kashmir by doing away with the special status enjoyed by the state under Article 370scrapping Article 35A and splitting the state into two UTs of J&K and Ladakh.

 

Background: Special status to Jammu and Kashmir

  • Following an invasion from tribesmen and Army men from Pakistan, Raja of J&K Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession (IoA) with India on October 26, 1947.
  • Governor General Lord Mountbatten accepted it with following conditions:
    • Powers to the parliament to legislate in respect of J&K only on Defence, External Affairs and Communications.
    • Clause 5 of IoA: It cannot be varied by any amendment of the Act or of Indian Independence Act unless such accepted by the king by a supplementary Instrument.
    • Clause 6 of IoA: It disallowed the making of laws to acquire land in the state for any purpose but permitted the king to do so for the Dominion of India for a law applicable to the state.
    • Clause 7of IoA: No future Constitution of India (which was still to be written) could be imposed on the state.
  • In 1950, in the original Constitution of India, J&K was listed as a Part B state, along with theother princely states that had merged by Instruments of Accession, and Hyderabad and Mysore.
  • Party B states were then abolished and J&K was by an amendment of the Constitution put into Article 1 as India’s 15th state and irrevocably part of the “territory of India”.
  • India’s stated policy regarding IoA was that wherever there was a dispute on accession, it should be settled in accordance with the wishes of people (Plebiscite).
  • In 1975, Sheikh Abdullah came to an agreement with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. As per the agreement, in return for giving up his demand for a plebiscite, special status for J&K was allowed to continue and Sheikh Abdullah became chief minister.
  • Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed special status under Article 370 of the Constitution of India.

Article 370:

  • Article 370 was incorporated in Part XXI (temporary provisions with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir) of the Constitution.
  • As a result of Article 370, Jammu and Kashmir had its own Constitution, and all laws passed by Parliament will not be applicable to the State, unless the State government gives its concurrence.
  • It lays down that only two Articles would apply to J&K: Article 1, which defines India, and Article 370 itself.
  • The President is empowered to decide what provisions of the Constitution of India would be applicable to the State and what are the exceptions, but with the State government’s concurrence.
  • The Union of India could legislate/act only in defence, foreign affairs and communications.

Procedure for removal of Article 370:

  • This Article describes it as a temporary provision .
  • Article 370(3) permits deletion by a Presidential Order, which has to be preceded by the concurrence of J&K’s Constituent Assembly.
  • However, the J&K constituent Assembly was dissolved on January 26, 1957.
  • In the absence of the assembly, the governor’s consent is considered to fulfil the requirement.

Article 35A:

  • Article 35A stems from Article 370 and was incorporated in the constitution by a presidential order under article 370 in 1954 on the advice of the Cabinet.
  • Article 35-A provides special rights and privileges to permanent residents of Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Article 35A gives the J&K Legislature, full freedom to decide the ‘permanent residents’ of the State and grant them special rights and privileges in:
    • State public sector jobs
    • Acquisition of property in the State
    • Scholarships and other public aid and welfare programs
  • The provision also provides that any act of the State legislature coming under the ambit of Article 35A cannot be challenged for violating the Indian Constitution or any other law of the land.

Note: Article does not figure in the text of the Constitution of India, but figures only in the J&K’s Constitution.

 

News Summary:

  • The Union Home Minister introduced, two special resolutions and a Bill creating the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh through the Rajya Sabha.

 

Resolution 1: Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order, 2019

  • The President used his powers under Article 370 to issue the 2019 Order, which will supersede the previous Presidential Order of 1954.
  • The new order makes the entire Constitution of India applicable to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. This means it effectively ends the special status that had been granted to J&K by stating that all the provisions of the Indian Constitution, as also its amendments, shall now apply to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Article 35A, making distinction between the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir and the outsiders, will also cease to have any effect.
  • Under Clause 1 of Article 370, President made all provisions of the Constitution effectively applicable to J&K.

Resolution 2: Repeal of Article 370 of the Constitution of India {Ref. Article 370 (3)}

  • Under article 370(3), there is a provision that President, on recommendation of the Parliament, has the power to amend or cease the implementation of article 370, through a public notification.
  • Rather than abrogating or repealing Article 370, govt has essentially read down its provisions.
  • The provisions of Article 370 will cease to exist from the date the President of India issues a notification after the Lok Sabha passes the resolution.

Changes under Article 367:

  • All references to the ‘Sadar-i-Riyasat’, acting on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers, will be construed as references to the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • All references to the State government shall mean “the Governor”.
  • The reference to the “Constituent Assembly” in a proviso to Article 370 (3) has been amended to read “Legislative Assembly of the State”.

 

Bill: The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill

  • The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill, 2019, will bring about the following changes:
  • Two Union Territories to be formed out of the State of Jammu and Kashmir:
    • UT of Ladakh (Kargil and Leh district)
    • UT of Jammu and Kashmir (all other districts of the state of J&K).
  • Both UTs to have Lieutenant Governor, for now Governor will act as both.
  • While the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature, the one in Ladakh will not.
    • Four sitting Rajya Sabha members of the state will become MPs of UT of J&K.
    • Five Lok Sabha seats to go to the UT of J&K.
    • Legislative Assembly of UT of J&K will have 107 seats to be chosen through a direct election.
    • One Lok Sabha seat to go to the UT of Ladakh.
    • 24 seats in PoK will be vacant.

Note: This is the first time after the 1956 states’ reorganisation that a full-fledged state has been relegated to a UT (or two).

 

Changes after the development:

  • All the provisions that formed the basis of a separate “Constitution” for Jammu and Kashmir stand abrogated.
  • All the provisions of the Constitution of India, shall apply to Jammu and Kashmir too.
  • J&K will now have no separate flag or Constitution.
  • Tenure of assembly will be for 5 years, not 6.
  • Indian Penal Code will replace Ranbir Penal Code (that is currently applicable there).
  • People from other states are now eligible to purchase land and properties.
  • Non-permanent residents can permanently settle in state.
  • Outsiders can now be employed in state govt and companies and be eligible for scholarships in state-run educational institutions.
  • RTI Act will be applicable in J&K.

 

The decision on J&K expected to be challenged in SC

  • The Indian government passed a resolution seeking to undo J&K’s special status with a simple majority, even as it was widely believed that Article 370 could be “scrapped” only by a Constitution amendment bill needing a two-thirds majority.
  • It did so by using a provision in Article 370 itself even as it fully anticipates that the presidential notification will be challenged in the Supreme Court.
Section : Polity & Governance

SC reserves verdict on changes to SC/ST law

Headline : SC reserves verdict on changes to SC/ST law

Details :

The News

  • Recently, the Supreme Court has reserved its judgment on a batch of petitions challenging the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act of 2018.

 

The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989

  • Objective: to prevent atrocities against scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
  • A person accused of such a crime cannot get anticipatory bail, but soon after his arrest, he can get regular bail even in offences where the punishment is just six months.

 

Timeline

  • On 20 March 2018, Supreme Court gave its judgment banning registration of criminal cases and automatic arrests under the SC/ST Act and allowing anticipatory bail to those booked for committing atrocities against the SCs and the STs
  • The verdict triggered a nationwide protest by the Dalit community costing loss of lives and property.
  • The government filed a review petition and subsequently amended the 1989 Act back to its original form through the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act of 2018.
  • Several petitions were filed last year challenging the amendments. However, the Supreme Court had refused to stay the implementation of the amendments.

 

Changes in Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 after the March 20 Supreme Court Judgement

  • The top court banned registration of criminal cases and automatic arrests under the SC/ST Act.
  • The public servants cannot be prosecuted without the approval of the appointing authority and private citizens can be arrested only after an inquiry under the law.
  • A preliminary inquiry under the Act would be conducted by the Deputy Superintendent of Police to be certain that the allegations are not superficial.
  • The amendment in the law was a bid to protect honest public servants discharging bona fide duties from being blackmailed with false cases under the Act.
  • Earlier provisions in the Act provided for taking immediate action in respect of any complaint relating to harassment of a victim, informant or witness, etc. Any such complaint shall be tried separately from the main case and be concluded within two months.

 

The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act of 2018

  • The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act of 2018 nullified a controversial March 20 Supreme Court judgment.

For amendment Act : There had been no decrease in the atrocities committed on the SCs/STs despite the laws meant to protect their civil rights and they continue to face the same social stigma, poverty and humiliation. Thus it is necessary to safeguard their rights by restoring original act.

Against amendment act: Article 21, the fundamental right of an individual cannot be protected if an innocent is jailed on a complaint without its prior scrutiny.

 

 

Section : Polity & Governance

Pak launches guidelines to implement UNSC 1267 Sanctions in country

Headline : Pak launches guidelines to implement UNSC 1267 Sanctions in country 

Details : 

The news

  • Pakistan has launched guidelines for implementing the UNSC 1267 Sanctions targeting UN-proscribed individuals and entities in the country.

 

Background

  • After Pulwama attach and India’s counter airstrikes, tensions escalated between India and Pakistan.
  • Since then, Pakistan is under intense global pressure to take action against terrorist outfits operating from its soil.
  • The launch of latest guidelines has come against this backdrop of global intensified pressure.

 

Summary of the news

  • Pakistan has launched guidelines for implementing the UNSC 1267 Sanctions targeting the UN prescribed individuals and entities in the country.
  • The guidelines were prepared by the National Committee for overseeing implementation of Sanctions against individuals and entities designated by the UN Security Council 1267 regime, which includes-
    • Al Qaida/Da’esh Sanctions regime
    • Taliban Sanctions regime (Security Council 1988)
  • They have been formulated in compliance with international standards as required by the UNSC 1267 Sanctions Committee and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

 

Significance of the guidelines

  • International obligations: It will help Pakistan meet international obligations against people and groups targeted by the UN.
  • Improve understanding: The guidelines would help officials to better understand the provisions of the UN 1267 sanctions regime.
  • Better compliance: It is expected to improve the understanding of the concerned domestic legislations among the officials and also make them realise their obligationsand hence, facilitate compliance.
  • Effective implementation: The guidelines would assist all the stakeholders in better discharging their responsibilities for the effective implementation of the UN Sanctions.
  • Global demonstration: Launch of guidelines also helps Pakistan to show the world that it is serious about countering terrorism.
  • Prevent downgrading of its economy: By demonstrating itself as resolved and serious about countering terrorism, Pakistan is trying to prevent itself from blacklisting by FATF, which may lead to downgrading of the country by lenders like the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Asian Development Bank, etc.

 

 

About UNSC 1267 resolution

  • The UNSC resolution 1267 was adoptedin 1999.
  • It is a consolidated list of people and entities it has determined as being associated with Al Qaeda or the Taliban, and laws which must be passed within each member nation to implement the sanctions.
  • Over time, the regime evolved and the measures became a targeted assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo against designated individuals and entities.
  • The sanction extended with inclusion of Al Qaida and ISIL.
  • The measures to counter terrorism under the UN 1267 regime includes:
    • Assets Freeze: All states are required to freeze without delay the funds and other financial assets or economic resources of designated individuals and entities.
    • Travel Ban: All states are required to prevent the entry into or transit through their territories by designated individuals.
    • Arms Embargo:All states are required to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale and transfer from their territories or by their nationals outside their territories, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and related materiel of all types, spare parts, and technical advice, assistance, or training related to military activities, to designated individuals and entities
  • All UN member states are required to take these above measures with respect to ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Qaida and Taliban and other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with them.

Section : International Relation

Languages and civilisation Editorial 5th Apr’19 IndianExpress

Headline : Languages and civilisation Editorial 5th Apr’19 IndianExpress 

Details : 

Importance of language:

  • Language is a tool for intellectual and emotional expression.
  • Language is a vehicle for the transmission of culture, scientific knowledge and a worldview across generations.
  • It is the vital, unseen thread that links the past with the present.
  • The great Indian poet Acharya Dandi had said that if the light of language does not exist, we will be groping in a dark world.

Indian literary tradition:

  • There is a rich literary tradition in many languages, especially the ones recognised as classical languages by the Government of India.
  • Modern Indian languages have ancient roots and are derived in some way from the classical languages.

Great Sanskrit literary heritage in India: 

  • Sanskrit, of course, is one of the oldest Indo-European languages, dating back to the second millennium BC.
  • The manuscripts still in existence in Sanskrit number over 30 million, one hundred times those in Greek and Latin combined, constituting the largest cultural heritage that any civilisation has produced before the invention of the printing press.
  • Since studying the classical languages and literature would provide access to authentic sources of history, the National Mission for Manuscripts was set up in 2003.
  • Preservation of ancient texts is only the first step. We need to encourage scholars to do research using these primary sources and unearth new nuggets of knowledge.
  • It is important to study ancient texts and propagate them among modern audiences.

Classical languages of India:

  • Some languages have been given classical language status because of their ancient literary heritage.
  • For instance, Tamil literature dates back to 500 BC, Telugu to 400 BC, Kannada to 450 BC, Malayalam to 1198 AD and Odia to 800 AD.
  • Each of these languages has a rich treasure house of literature, examples include:
    • Sangam literature and Tholkappiyum in Tamil
    • Kavitrayam’s Andhra Mahabharatam in Telugu
    • Ramacharitham of Cheeraman in Malayalam
    • Kavirajamarga of Amoghavarsha in Kannada
    • Kharavela’s inscriptions in Odia
  • For each of the populations speaking these languages, their literature is a matter of pride and distinct identity and the language is a goddess to be revered. There are songs in praise of these languages in Telugu, Kannada and Tamil.

Honouring those working on classical languages:

  • Recently, President’s award was given to scholars of Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit, Arabic, Persian, Telugu, Kannada, Odia and Malayalam for their service in the preservation and development of classical languages.
  • It shows nation’s appreciation and recognition to renowned scholars who are keeping alive the traditional knowledge and acting as the intellectual bridge between the past and the present.

Falling linguistic diversity of India harms our cultural richness:

  • India is a multilingual country where more than 19,500 languages or dialects are spoken.
  • However, studies by experts estimate that almost 600 languages are on the verge of extinction and that more than 250 languages have disappeared in the past 60 years.  
  • Almost 97 per cent of the population speaks one of the 22 scheduled languages.
  • When a language dies, an entire culture dies.

Preserving and developing India’s linguistic heritage: 

  • Our languages are a crucial part of our history, our culture and our evolution as a society.
  • It is important to protect and conserve our linguistic heritage.
  • Protecting our cultural heritage, including languages, is our constitutionally-mandated duty.

Leveraging technology:

  • The resources required to develop language technology and artificial intelligence-based tools are inadequate or unavailable for many Indian languages.
  • We must harness the power of technology to preserve and promote our languages and culture.

Governmental efforts:

  • The Government of India launched the Linguistic Data Consortium for Indian Languages (LDC-IL) in 2008 and has been preparing high-quality linguistic resources over the last 11 years in all the scheduled languages of India.
  • The Data Distribution Portal is also being launched, where more and varied datasets will be added using several types of AI-based technologies such as automatic dictation, speech recognition, language understanding, machine translation, grammar and spell check.
  • The Central Institute of Indian Languages has been doing commendable work to provide linguistic resources in Indian languages.

A multi-pronged approach:

  • Language preservation and development needs a multi-pronged approach.
    • Education: It should begin at the primary school level and be continued to higher levels of education. Functional literacy in at least one language should be ensured.
    • Usage at homes: More and more people should start using their native languages at home, in the community, in meetings and in administration.
    • Encouraging literature: More people should write poetry, stories, novels and dramas in these languages. We must accord a sense of dignity and a sense of pride to those who speak, write and communicate in these languages.
    • Publications: We must encourage Indian language publications, journals and children’s books.
    • Dialects and folk literature must be given adequate focus.

Conclusion:

  • Language promotion should be an integral part of good governance.
  • Language should become a catalyst for inclusive development.
  • By harnessing technology, the mission of “digital India” can be a mission for a literate India and a mission for an inclusive knowledge society.

Importance:

GS Paper I: Society

Section : Editorial Analysis

 Mahatma Gandhi gave a new dimension to the women question in the freedom struggle . Discuss.

Answer:
• The women’s question like the untouchability or the communal question emerged  during the nationalist movement that had to be solved to give shape to the vision of a
free India. From the 19th century, the women’s question has formed one of the major
issues in socio-political debate.
• In the Indian society, the coming of British rule led to the usage of women’s question’,
which figured prominently in their colonial discourses. The British rule used the
pitiable condition of women in India to their role of civilizing mission’. The colonial
social reforms of the 19th century tried to abolish abuses of social life to usher more
progressive gender relations. This led to the enactment of social legislation by the
colonial government such as abolition of sati(1829), Widow Remarriage Act(1856),
Child Marriage Act(1872) etc.
• Thus, in the early 19th century, the liberal reformers or the revivalists, such as Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Dayanand saraswati, Yidyasagar etc, made women as the recipient of
social change. However, the women’s question and concern for domesticity was far
from being answered by the women themselves. Moreover, despite the fact that these
social reforms were modem, the underlying system of patriarchy wasn’t questioned.
• In the last quarter of the 19th century, the women’s question got increasingly
influenced by the rise of cultural nationalism & revivalism as a counter attack to the
spread of western values in the society. The revivalists, interested in conserving the
indigenous cultural traditions, began to support women’s education on the ground that
it would help to strengthen the hold of indigenous culture through the institution of the
family. Lack of education to women created communication gap, which eroded the
women’s ability to influence men in their family. Thus, the cultural nationalists
projected women as the custodians of traditions & cultural values.
• The advent of the 20th century witnessed the interlinking of women’s question with the
trends of the nationalist movement women engaged with the nationalist politics despite
constraints of social practices such as Purdah system, backwardness and low level of
female literacy. Women participated in the freedom struggle through 2 parallel
processes
(i) Domestication of public sphere- women participated in the streets without
compromising on their domestic values.
(ii) Politicization of the domestic sphere- women handled situations in their
families when nationalism entered household through the activities of the male.
However, despite women s participation, the women’s question & consciousness was
caught in the vertex of political emotions of national movement and still remained
within the subordination of patriarchal structures.
• The women’s question got a new dimension with the advent of Gandhi and growth of
popular politics. Gandhi’s call led to the large scale participation of women in the
freedom struggle. He held that women were ideally suited for the satyagraha’ as
they’re filled with qualities appropriate for non-violent struggle and social uplift
programmer of the congress. A/q to Gandhi, women possess qualities of self-sacrifice
and tolerance and an ability to endure sufferings which are sine-qua-non for the non¬
violent struggle.
• Mahatma Gandhi consciously feminized India’s freedom struggle with a dual aim of
fighting against the colonial rule and benefit the cause of women’s liberation in the
country. He evolved the strategy in such a way that not only each activity in civil
disobedience, such as picketing of shop’s, was possible for women to do , but each act
of the constructive action was especially suited to women. Thus, Gandhian satyagraha’
swept aside old taboos & customs and , in this way, proved to be instrumental in
providing a vigor & strength to both the national movement and women’s question in
the country.
members.

5 provisions under which Parliament can legislate on a subject.

There are 5 provisions under which Parliament can legislate on a subject included in state list:

Article 249  if the Council of States has declared by resolution supported by not less than two thirds of the members present and voting that it is necessary or expedient in the national interest that Parliament should make laws with respect to any matter enumerated in the State List specified in the resolution, it shall be lawful for Parliament to make laws for the whole or any part of the territory of India with respect to that matter while the resolution remains in force.
Article 250 Parliament shall, while a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation, have power to make laws for the whole or any part of the territory of India with respect to any of the matters enumerated in the State List.
Article 252 If legislatures of two or more states pass a resolution, it shall be lawful for the parliament to legislate on that subject enumerated in state list for the states that passed the resolution.
Article 253  Parliament has power to make any law for the whole or any part of the territory of India for implementing any treaty, agreement or convention with any other country or countries or any decision made at any international conference, association or other body
Article 356 (b) the President may by Proclamation declare that the powers of the Legislature of the State shall be exercisable by or under the authority of Parliament.

Indian Parliamentary Group – Brief

The Indian Parliamentary Group is an autonomous body formed in the year 1949 in pursuance of a Motion adopted by the Constituent Assembly (Legislative) in 1948.

A Member of Parliament can become a life Member of the Group on payment of life subscription of only Rs. Five Hundred. The aims and objects of the Indian Parliamentary Group are:—

  • to promote personal contacts between Members of Parliament;
  • to study questions of public importance that are likely to come up before Parliament and arrange Seminars and discussions and orientation courses and bring out publications for the dissemination of information to the Members of the Indian Parliamentary Group;
  • to arrange lectures on political, defence, economic, social and educational problems by Members of Parliament and distinguished persons;
  • to arrange visits to foreign countries with a view to develop contacts with Members of other Parliaments.