IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


24th January, 2020


The condemned can’t fight endlessly, says CJI

CJI observation:

-       A condemned person cannot fight the death penalty endlessly and it was important for the capital punishment to reach its finality.

-       It was not for a judge to forgive a crime.

-       The cardinal duty of a judge was to see if the punishment was proportionate to the crime.

-       There is nobody who is a criminal at the depth of their heart… It is not the judge but the law that deals with a criminal.

-       The law and the judge act for society.

2014 guidelines:

-       Unexplained delay in carrying out an execution would lead to commutation of the death penalty to life imprisonment.

-       These guidelines were aimed at protecting the constitutional rights of prisoners in the context of a sound body of jurisprudence.

-       It maintains that such rights extend right up to the moment of their execution.

Government plea:

-       It wanted the court to limit the time for filing curative petitions.

-        A mercy plea should be filed within a week of issuance of the death warrant.

-        If a mercy plea had been rejected, the death warrant should be issued within the next seven days and the execution carried out a week thereafter.

-       The pendency of review or curative petitions of co-convicts would be of no consequence for a man whose mercy plea had been rejected.

Government approach:

-       The Ministry of Home Affairs essentially seeks the incorporation of measures aimed at reducing the scope for death row convicts to adopt dilatory tactics.

Criticism of government approach:

-       it is difficult to attribute prisoner’s conduct to the supposedly “accused-centric” nature of the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in Shatrughan Chauhan

-       The court is concerned about the right of the convicts’ family members to be informed.

-       Time is needed by the prisoners for settling their affairs and preparing themselves mentally.

-       Further, the 14-day time lag between the closure of the clemency route and their hanging is aimed at preventing secret executions.

-       Delay in filing the mercy petitions are matters that contribute to substantive delay in carrying out death sentences is misconceived.

-       There is no sign that the apex court delays disposal of curative petitions.

-       There is no need to expedite executions by revisiting sound guidelines.

-       As the death penalty is limited to the “rarest of rare” cases, nothing is lost if those facing execution are allowed to exhaust all possible remedies.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/a-condemned-man-cant-fight-death-penalty-endlessly-cji/article30638964.ece

India slips two places on corruption index

The 2019 CPI draws on 13 surveys and expert assessments to measure public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, giving each a score from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

Findings for India:

-       India’s last year ranking on the index stood at 78, compared to 80 this year.

-       At 41, the score for both the years remains the same.

Other Findings:

-       In the Asia Pacific region, the average score is 45.

-       China has improved its position from 87 to 80 with a score of 41 out of 100, a two-point jump.

-       The Asia Pacific region hasn’t witnessed substantial progress in anti-corruption efforts or results.

Suggestions to improve conditions:

-       Manage conflicts of interest

-       Control political financing

-       Strengthen electoral integrity

-       Regulate lobbying activities 

-       Empower citizens 

-       Tackle preferential treatment 

-       Reinforce checks and balances

About Corruption Perception Index:

-       The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is an index published annually by Transparency International since 1995 which ranks countries "by their perceived levels of public sector corruption.

-       CPI takes into account 16 different surveys and assessments from 12 different institutions.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/india-slips-two-places-on-corruption-index/article30638886.ece


India again rejects Trump offer on Kashmir

Trump offer:

-       He had made offer to mediate on Kashmir issue.

Indian argument:

-       There can’t be any role for a “third party” in the Kashmir issue.

-       If at all there are any issues between India and Pakistan to be discussed, it should be done bilaterally.

-       The onus is on Pakistan to create a conducive atmosphere free from terror and violence.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/india-again-rejects-trump-offer-on-kashmir/article30638965.ece

Nepal invites Modi, Imran for Sagarmatha Dialogue

Sagarmatha Dialogue:

-       Nepal has invited the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, along with several other heads of governments and states, for the Sagarmatha Dialogue.

-       It will be the biggest diplomatic dialogue in Nepal’s recent history that will be attended by many global figures apart from the leaders of the SAARC countries.

-       The event is expected to focus on the threat of climate change to the modern world.

-       The event is expected to emerge as a venue for bilateral interaction among leaders.

-       It aims at drawing all the SAARC leaders and providing an opportunity to break the ice.

About Sagarmatha dialogue:

-       It is named after the world's tallest mountain Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) which is also a symbol of friendship and is meant to promote the notions of common good and collective well-being of humanity.

-       It is a multi-stakeholder, permanent global dialogue forum initiated by the Government of Nepal.

-       The first-ever Sambaad is to be held in Kathmandu, Nepal on 2–4 April 2020 on the topic of "Climate Change, Mountains, and the Future of Humanity".

Reference : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/nepal-invites-modi-imran-for-sagarmatha-dialogue/article30638907.ece

UN top court orders Myanmar to prevent Rohingya genocide

Court order:

-       Myanmar to take all measures in its power to prevent genocide against the Rohingya people.

-       The International Court of Justice “is of the opinion that the Rohingya in Myanmar remain extremely vulnerable”.

-       Court order is binding “and creates international legal obligations” on Myanmar.

-       Ordered Myanmar to report to them in four months on what measures the country has taken to comply with the order.

-       Then to report every six months as the case moves slowly through the world court.

-       World court’s orders are legally binding but it relies on the United Nations to add political pressure, if necessary, to enforce them.

Activists comment:

-       The ICJ order to Myanmar to take concrete steps to prevent the genocide of the Rohingya is a landmark step to stop further atrocities against one of the world’s most persecuted people.

-       Concerned governments and U.N. bodies should now weigh in to ensure that the order is enforced as the genocide case moves forward.

Rohingya Issue in Myanmar:

-       Myanmar has long considered the Rohingya to be “Bengalis” from Bangladesh even though their families have lived in the country for generations.

-       Nearly all have been denied citizenship since 1982, effectively rendering them stateless.

-       They are also denied freedom of movement and other basic rights.

Myanmar genocide:

-       Myanmar’s military launched what it called a clearance campaign in northern Rakhine state in response to an attack by a Rohingya insurgent group.

-       The campaign forced more than 700,000 Rohingya to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh.

-       It led to accusations that security forces committed mass rapes, killings and burned thousands of homes.

Myanmar arguments in court:

-       The exodus was a tragic consequence of the military’s response to “coordinated and comprehensive armed attacks” by Rohingya insurgents.

-       Urged judges to drop the genocide case and allow Myanmar’s military justice system to deal with any abuses.

Court approach:

-       It appointed an independent commission for fact finding.

-       Commission concluded there are reasons to believe security forces committed war crimes in counterinsurgency operations against the Rohingya

-        But that there is no evidence supporting charges that genocide was planned or carried out.

-       Gambia government argued to court to tell Myanmar to stop these senseless killings, to stop these acts of barbarity that continue to shock our collective conscience, to stop this genocide of its own people.

About ICJ:

-       The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN).

-       It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in April 1946.

-       Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York (United States of America).

-       The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States.

-       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.

-       The Court may entertain two types of cases: legal disputes between States submitted to it by them (contentious cases) and requests for advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by United Nations organs and specialized agencies (advisory proceedings)

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/un-top-court-orders-myanmar-to-prevent-rohingya-genocide/article30633937.ece


‘Rising CO2 levels may double floods, storms’

Study findings:

-       The risk of extreme floods or storms could double every 13 years at the rate carbon-dioxide concentrations are building up in the atmosphere.

-       This could spell a “catastrophe” for India.

-       The number of intense “hydro-meteorological” disasters could increase by 5.4% annually for an “average” country facing annually nearly one “extreme disaster”.

Extreme disaster: one that causes 100 or more fatalities and/or affects 1,000 or more people.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/rising-co2-levels-may-double-floods/article30638877.ece

ZSI documents another new snake eel species in Odisha

A new snake eel species residing in the Bay of Bengal has been discovered and documented this month (January) by the Estuarine Biology Regional Centre (EBRC) of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) at Gopalpur-on-sea in Odisha.

About the species:

-       This new marine species has been named Ophichthus kailashchandrai.

-       Ophichthus kailashchandrai is the eighth species of the Ophichthus genus found on the Indian coast.

-       The Ophichthus kailashchandrai lives at a depth of around 50 metres in the sea.

-       Individuals of this species are around 420 mm to 462 mm in length.

-       They are light brown in colour, with white fins.

-       They have a well-developed pectoral fin and also have a dorsal fin.

-       It feeds on small fish and crabs.

-       The outer surface of their bodies is slimy but they are not poisonous.

About Zoological survey of India:

-       The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) was established on 1st July, 1916.

-       The survey has its genesis in the establishment of the Zoological Section of the Indian Museum at Calcutta in 1875.

-       It comes under Government of India Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

-       The history of ZSI begins from the days of the Asiatic Society of Bengal founded by Sir William Jones on 15 January 1784.

-       The Asiatic Society of Bengal was the mother institution not only to the Indian Museum (1875) but also to the institutions like the Zoological Survey of India and the Geological Survey of India.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/zsi-documents-another-new-snake-eel-species-in-odisha/article30635222.ece