Everything about special courts for politicians

• The Centre has informed the Supreme Court that it will set up at least 12 special courts to try exclusively criminal cases involving MPs and MLAs.

Issues

• Criminalisation of politics has remained a key issue. In 2014, as many as 1,581 lawmakers were facing prosecution in a mind-boggling 13,500 cases.

• It took years, probably decades, to complete the trial against a politician and by this time, he or she would have served as a Minister or legislator several times over.

• On average, 4,200 cases are handled by each of the 17,000 subordinate courts hence there is need to set up special courts.

Special Courts

• The SC had in 2015 laid down that special courts to be set up exclusively to try criminal cases involving “political persons” on the lines of the fast track courts and decide cases within a year.

• However Centre argued that it is not averse to setting up special courts to try criminal cases/offences involving politicians. It was for the state governments to set up additional courts as the issue comes within their jurisdiction.

• Hence setting up special courts would depend on the availability of funds with the States. And this has delayed the overall process.

Recent SC direction

• In November-2017, hearing a PIL which sought a lifetime ban on all convicted politicians, Court made determined effort to cleanse politics of criminality and corruption.

• Countering Centre argument on fund availability for special courts, Supreme Court gave direction to the  government to frame a Central scheme for setting up special courts across the country.

• The scheme should give the details of the funds that are required to set up such courts.

• The court also directed the Centre to place before it details of 1,581 cases involving MPs and MLAs, as declared by the politicians at the time of filing their nominations during the 2014 general elections.

• Supreme Court would directly interact with the State governments on issues like the appointment of judicial officers, public prosecutors, court staff and other requirements of manpower and infrastructure for the special courts.

Centre’s response and Scheme

• In response to SC direction, the government, in an affidavit, said it had allotted ₹7.8 crore and framed a scheme to set up the special courts.

• The Centre told the SC today that it will start with 12 such special courts.

• Hence it also sought some time from the Supreme Court to collect data on cases pending against elected representatives across the country, so it can better decide on how many special courts it needs to set up in total.

Election Commission’s view

• SC also pulled up the EC for not taking a stand on the issue and asked how the commission could afford to be silent on it.

• In response, EC said, it had already recommended to the Centre to amend an existing law to incorporate a life ban provision against convicted lawmakers. The existing law calls for a six-year ban after the lawmaker has completed their sentence.

• EC said for the first time that convicted MPs and MLAs must be debarred from contesting polls – ever.

• However the Centre refused to take a stand on the issue and said that the the government was examining the recommendations of the Law Commission and EC for imposing a life ban on convicted MPs and MLAs from electoral politics.

• During a hearing, the EC told the court that a law was needed to curb the growing menace of criminalisation of politics.

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Khadi and Freedom movement

Khadi and Freedom movement

  • Khadi owes its revival to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi who saw it as a tool to become self-reliant and independent.
  • Britishers bought raw materials at cheaper rate from India and sold their costly finished products in India.
  • This unfavourable balance of trade was first brought to the mainstream by Dada Bhai Nairoji.
  •  Dada Bhai Naroji put forward the theory of “drain of wealth” in his book “ Poverty and Un-british rule in India”.
  • Later, the use of swadeshi products was promoted by extremists and it became an important agenda during Bengal partition movement in 1905.
  • To put an end to the drain of wealth, the Swadeshi products were encouraged and produced.
  • Khadi was then introduced in 1920 by INC at Nagpur session as a political weapon for giving concrete expression to the Swadeshi Spirit to boycott the foreign goods.
  • During India’s freedom struggle, Gandhi encouraged handloom weaving, spinned with Charkha and promoted khadi and also used it as a medium to spread the wave of nationalism at grass root level.
  • The movement rendered an opportunity to Indians to be self-reliant on cotton and to be free from clothes produced by foreign manufacturers.
  • The first Khadi Production Centre was established at Katiawad, Gujarat.

 

Chronology of events that contributed to the development of Khadi in India

  • In the early20s and 30s, various Boards and Associaions were set up for Khadi.
  • In 1946, Govt. of Madras sought the advice of Gandhiji and set up a Department for Khadi.
  • In 1948, Govt. of India recognized the role of Rural Cottage Industries in the Industrial Policy Resolution and soon included it in the DPSP of the Constitution in Article 43.
  • These ideas were elaborated in the First five-year Plan and the policy framework for setting up of a body for Khadi.
  • In 1953, All India Khadi and Village Industries Board (AIKVIB) were set up which later became a statutory body- Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).

Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC)

  • It was set up in 1957.
  • Khadi is being promoted in India by Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), Ministry of MSME, Govt. of India.
  • Since then the commission has been:
  1. Planning and executing the development.
  2. Working towards promoting research in production techniques.
  3. Supplying raw material and tools to producers.
  4. Quality control and marketing of khadi products.

 Parliamentary vs Presidential System

Does India need a presidential system?

Arguments :-

  1. Against

Debate can be divided in to feasibility and desirability

  1. In the existing constitutional scheme, change is not possible. Supreme court of India already held parliamentary form of Government as part of the basic structure of the constitution.
  2. Presidential system centralizes power and chances of it turning in to an authoritative system are high.
  3. If India’s diversity is taken in to consideration, it is not advisable to have a presidential system. Presidential system do not reflect the diversity well.
  4. Presidential system can create a stalemate situation between executive and legislature.

2. Favor

  1. Presidential system allows for quick decision making . Fixed term for executive makes him invulnerable from the politics of the day and provides stability. Decisiveness is necessary for India to deal with its enormous challenges.
  2. Accountability is better in Presidential system. Unlike in parliamentary system where Executive enjoys majority, there is no guarantee for the same in presidential system.
  3. President appoints his officers. It can bring in more talent in to the system.
  4. Parliamentary system have distorted voting preference of voters. It mean that voters are forced to vote for a candidate to have a particular leader as CM or Prime Minister.
  5. India will not have a US style two party grid lock. So issue based coalitions comes in to picture. It helps for greater debate in the houses.
  6. Most of the legislatures coming in to the houses are with little legislative experience and are participating in elections to get hold of executive power. It mean that they can not act as an effective legislative control.

East Asia Summit – EAS

  • East Asia Summit is a unique Leaders-led forum of 18 countries of the Asia-Pacific region formed to further the objectives of regional peace, security and prosperity.
  • It has evolved as a forum for strategic dialogue and cooperation on political, security and economic issues of common regional concern and plays an important role in the regional architecture.
  • Established in 2005, EAS allows the principal players in the Asia-Pacific region to discuss issues of common interest and concern in an open and transparent manner at the highest level.
  • The membership of EAS consists of ten ASEAN Member States (i.e. Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam), Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation and the USA.
  • EAS is an initiative of ASEAN and is based on the premise of the centrality of ASEAN.
  • The concept of an East Asia Grouping was first promoted in 1991 by then Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir bin Mohamad.
  • India has been a part of this process since its inception in 2005 in Kuala Lumpur and the fact that Indian Prime Ministers have participated in all the Summits, stands testimony to the importance India attaches to this process.

Islamic Development Bank

  • The Islamic Development Bank is an international financial institution established in pursuance of the Declaration of Intent issued by the Conference of Finance Ministers of Muslim Countries held in Jeddah in December 1973, and the Bank was formally opened on 20 October 1975.
  • The purpose of the Bank is to foster the economic development and social progress of member countries and Muslim communities individually as well as jointly in accordance with the principles of Shari’ah i.e., Islamic Law.
  • Functions- The functions of the Bank are to participate in equity capital and grant loans for productive projects and enterprises besides providing financial assistance to member countries in other forms for economic and social development.
  • The present membership of the Bank consists of 56 countries.
  • The basic condition for membership is that the prospective member country should be a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), pay its contribution to the capital of the Bank and be willing to accept such terms and conditions as may be decided upon by the IDB Board of Governors.
  • The Bank’s principal office is in Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

International Organizations: UNHRC

  • It is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.
  • It meets at the UN Office at Geneva.
  • The Council is made up of 47 United Nations Member States which are elected by the UN General Assembly.
  • The term of each seat is three years, and no member may occupy a seat for more than two consecutive terms.
  • The council works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and engages the United Nations’ special procedures.
  • The General Assembly can suspend the rights and privileges of any Council member that it decides has persistently committed gross and systematic violations of human rights during its term of membership. The suspension process requires a two-thirds majority vote by the General Assembly.