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7-March -2024- Top News of the Day

1. Amit Shah Offers Article 371-like Protections to Ladakh, Stops Short of Sixth Schedule Inclusion

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government policies – Interventions for development in various sectors GS2 – Polity – Functions & responsibilities of the Union & the StatesThis topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of understanding the constitutional provisions, such as Article 371 and the Sixth Schedule.
Context:
  • In a recent meeting with representatives from Ladakh, Union Home Minister Amit Shah proposed extending Article 371-like protections to the region.
  • The Leh Apex Body (ABL) and the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) expressed concerns regarding jobs, land, and culture, prompting Shah to address these issues while refraining from including Ladakh in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
More about the news: Understanding the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution:
  • Following the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019, Ladakh was designated as a separate Union Territory without a legislature.
  • Organizations like the ABL and the KDA have advocated for Ladakh’s inclusion under the Sixth Schedule, which governs the administration of tribal areas in states like Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram.
  • This inclusion would empower Ladakh to establish Autonomous District and Regional Councils (ADCs and ARCs) with legislative authority over tribal areas.
Powers Granted under the Sixth Schedule:
  • Under the Sixth Schedule, ADCs and ARCs would possess legislative powers concerning various subjects, including forest management, agriculture, and social customs.
  • They would also have jurisdiction over dispute resolution, land revenue collection, taxation, and establishment of public facilities such as schools and markets.
Comparison with Article 371 Protections:
  • Article 371 provides special provisions for specific states to safeguard the interests of certain religious and social groups.
  • For instance, Article 371-A protects Nagaland’s social, religious, and customary practices, while Article 371-F offers reservations in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly.
  • These provisions grant autonomy to these regions without the extensive powers afforded by the Sixth Schedule.
Implications of Shah’s Assurance:
  • Amit Shah assured Ladakh’s representatives of government support, promising representation through hill councils and up to 80% reservation in public employment.
  • While Ladakh may not receive the same level of autonomy as areas under the Sixth Schedule, Shah’s offer signifies a step towards addressing the region’s concerns regarding jobs, land, and culture.
What are the Arguments in Favour of Ladakh’s Demand for Inclusion in the 6th Schedule?
  • Ensuring Representation: Following the reorganization of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019, Ladakh was designated as a Union Territory without a legislative assembly. This change led to concerns about the loss of local autonomy and representation in decision-making processes.
    • This has led to comparisons with the earlier situation where Ladakh had four members in J&K’s assembly and two in the legislative council.
    • When Ladakh was part of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir, the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), an elected body that governed the region, enjoyed significant autonomy.
  • But with the region now under the direct rule of the central government, Ladakhi leaders say the LAHDC has been reduced to footnotes, leading to a feeling of political dispossession.
    • Diminished representation now has led to fears that outsiders will decide for Ladakh.
  • Lack of Public Participation: As part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh had enjoyed privileges of special status under Article 370 and Article 35A. The sentiment now is one of disempowerment, as the absence of safeguards for jobs, land, culture, and identity has led to growing insecurity. The lack of a legislative body means that decision-making has shifted from public participation to bureaucratic processes.
  • Ladakh’s Fragile ecosystem: Ladakh’s fragile ecosystem, characterized by high-altitude deserts, glaciers, and alpine meadows, is a hotspot of biodiversity and serves as a crucial habitat for rare and endangered species.
    • Climate activists have flagged concerns regarding mining in the glacial ecology.
    • People in Ladakh fear that if there are industries, each industry will bring lakhs of people and this fragile ecosystem cannot support so many people.
    • Careful management of water resources within Ladakh is therefore vitally important, not only for the livelihoods of Ladakhis and the ecosystems of Ladakh but for the health of the whole river system,
  • Sensitive Borders: The delicate situation in Ladakh is compounded by its borders with both China and Pakistan. The ongoing military standoff with the Chinese PLA in eastern Ladakh, combined with Pakistan’s persistent efforts to stoke tensions in India’s border areas, presents a significant security challenge.
  • Addressing the China-Pakistan axis necessitates strategic infrastructure development supported by the local community.
  • Preservation of Cultural Identity: Inclusion in the Sixth Schedule would provide legal safeguards to protect Ladakh’s unique cultural heritage and traditional customs. The Sixth Schedule empowers tribal communities with a degree of autonomy in governance, enabling them to manage their own affairs and resources.
  • Performance of Socio-Economic Development: Critics argue that the performance of the Union Territory administration has been notably deficient in terms of generating employment opportunities for the young workforce.
    • Four years have passed since the establishment of the Union Territory, but the absence of a public service commission has created a sense of anger among the youths.
    • A glaring issue compounds this situation—the lack of a comprehensive job policy within the Union Territory.
    • The autonomy granted under the Sixth Schedule can facilitate the formulation and implementation of locally relevant development initiatives, leading to improved socio-economic outcomes.
  • Strengthening of Democratic Institutions: The establishment of autonomous councils under the Sixth Schedule would strengthen democratic institutions at the grassroots level, promoting inclusive governance and accountability.
What are the Arguments Against Inclusion of Ladakh in the Sixth Schedule?
  • Legal and Administrative Hurdles: The Ministry of Home Affairs has highlighted potential challenges in amending the Constitution to include Ladakh in the Sixth Schedule, stating that such a move would require a constitutional amendment.
    • According to the Ministry, the Constitution explicitly reserves the Sixth Schedule for the Northeast region, while tribal areas in other parts of the country are covered under the Fifth Schedule.
  • Potential Delays in Decision-Making: Some may argue that including Ladakh in the Sixth Schedule could add complexity to the region’s governance structure, potentially leading to administrative challenges and delays in decision-making processes.
  • Inclusion Already Under Progress: The central government informed a parliamentary standing committee recently that the objective for inclusion of tribal population under the sixth schedule is to ensure their overall socio-economic development, which the UT administration has already been taking care of and that sufficient funds are being provided to Ladakh to meet its overall developmental requirements.
  • Increased Reservations: According to a recent report tabled in Rajya Sabha, the Ladakh administration recently increased the reservation for the Scheduled Tribes in direct recruitment from 10% to 45% which will significantly help the tribal population in their development.
  • Hindrance in Economic Development: Being a Union Territory allows for focused investment in infrastructure development in Ladakh, including roads, airstrips, and communication networks. Critics argue that inclusion in the Sixth Schedule could hinder Ladakh’s economic development by imposing restrictions on land use, resource exploitation, and investment opportunities.
  • Clear Chain of Command: With Ladakh directly governed by a Lieutenant Governor appointed by the central government, there is a clear chain of command for security operations in the region. This facilitates effective coordination between the military, paramilitary forces, and local administration in responding to Chinese incursions.
    • Ladakh’s status as a Union Territory reinforces India’s sovereignty over the region, strengthening its diplomatic position in negotiations with China over border disputes.
Conclusion:
  • Amit Shah’s proposal to extend Article 371-like protections to Ladakh reflects the government’s commitment to addressing the region’s grievances while navigating the complexities of constitutional provisions and regional aspirations.
What Makes Ladakh Significant for India?
Geopolitical Importance:
  • Ladakh is also known as “the Land of Passes‟ (La-passes, dakh-land). Ladakh’s strategic location at the crossroads of South Asia, Central Asia, and East Asia gives it immense geopolitical significance.
Strategic Significance:
  • It serves as a buffer zone between India and its neighboring countries, including China and Pakistan. The ongoing border disputes with China and Pakistan in the Ladakh region underscore its importance in safeguarding India’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
  • The Indian Armed Forces maintain a strong presence in Ladakh to counter external threats and safeguard India’s borders.
Tourism Potential:
  • Popularly known as the Lama Land or Little Tibet, Ladakh lies at altitudes ranging between about 9,000 feet and 25,170 feet. From trekking and mountaineering to Buddhist tours of various monasteries, Ladakh has it all.
Economic Importance:
  • Ladakh possesses vast untapped economic potential, particularly in sectors such as tourism, agriculture, and renewable energy.
  • The region’s breathtaking landscapes, including the pristine lakes and majestic mountains of Pangong and Tso Moriri, attract tourists seeking adventure and tranquility.
Environmental Significance:
  • Ladakh’s fertile valleys and river basins offer opportunities for agricultural development, including organic farming and horticulture. Additionally, Ladakh’s abundant sunlight and wind resources make it conducive for the development of solar and wind energy projects, contributing to India’s renewable energy goals.
Cultural Significance:
  • The land of Ladakh enjoys the significance of being located at the ancient Silk Route which passes through these regions and played a very vital role in the development of culture, religion, philosophy, trade, and commerce in the past.
  • The region is home to diverse ethnic communities, including the Ladakhi, Tibetan, and Balti people, each with their distinct traditions and customs.
  •  The centuries-old monasteries of Hemis, Thiksey, and Diskit serve as spiritual and cultural centers, preserving ancient Buddhist teachings and practices.
PYQ: The provisions in Fifth Schedule and Sixth Schedule in the Constitution of India are made in order to (2015)   (a) protect the interests of Scheduled Tribes (b) determine the boundaries between States (c) determine the powers, authority and responsibilities of Panchayats (d) protect the interests of all the border States   Ans: (a)
Practice Question:  Discuss the implications of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s offer to extend Article 371-like protections to Ladakh, in the context of governance, constitutional provisions, and regional aspirations. Compare and contrast the proposed protections with the provisions under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. (250 words/15 m)

2. India's Expansion into Space: Prime Minister Modi Lays Foundation for New Rocket Launchport in Tamil Nadu

Topic: GS3 – Science & Technology
This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of knowing facts about the recent developments in India’s space exploration sector, including the establishment of a new rocket launchport by ISRO.
Context:
  • The laying of the foundation stone for the second rocket launchport of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) by Prime Minister Narendra Modi marks a significant development in India’s space exploration endeavors.
  • This launchport, located at Kulasekarapattinam in Tamil Nadu, is poised to play a crucial role in facilitating commercial, on-demand, and small satellite launches.
  • In this analysis, we delve into the reasons behind the establishment of this new launchport, its strategic location, and the current status of the project.
More about the news: Why India Needs a New Launchport?
  • With India’s recent policy opening up the space sector to private players, the demand for commercial launches is expected to surge.
  • To alleviate the burden on ISRO’s existing launch facility, the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, a second launchport is deemed necessary.
  • While SDSC SHAR will cater to heavier payloads and ambitious missions like those to the Moon, Venus, and human-flight mission Gaganyaan, Kulasekarapattinam will focus on smaller payloads and facilitate the emerging small satellite launch market.
  • The new launchport will also provide dedicated infrastructure for on-demand commercial launches, ensuring efficient operations and accommodating private players entering the space sector.
Why Tamil Nadu?
  • Similar to SDSC SHAR, the new launchport is situated in Southern India, near the equator.
  • This strategic location near the equator enables significant velocity imparted due to Earth’s rotation, enhancing payload capacity.
  • Kulasekarapattinam’s location allows for a direct southward launch trajectory, particularly advantageous for light-weight Small Satellite Launch Vehicles (SSLVs), minimizing fuel consumption and optimizing payload capacities.
  • Unlike launches from SDSC SHAR, which require a longer trajectory skirting eastwards around Sri Lanka, launches from Kulasekarapattinam benefit from a more efficient and fuel-saving trajectory due to its geographical position west of Colombo.
Status of the New Launchport:
  • The Tamil Nadu government has completed the acquisition of over 2,000 acres of land in Kulasekarapattinam, which has been handed over to ISRO.
  • ISRO Chairman S Somanath estimates that the construction at the site might take up to two years to complete.
  • Once operational, the new facility has the potential to host anywhere between 20 to 30 SSLV launches annually, contributing significantly to India’s space exploration efforts and the burgeoning commercial space sector.
Conclusion:
  • The establishment of the new rocket launchport at Kulasekarapattinam signifies India’s commitment to expanding its space exploration capabilities and fostering a thriving commercial space industry.
  • With its strategic location, dedicated infrastructure, and focus on smaller payloads, the launchport is poised to play a pivotal role in India’s space journey, catering to the growing demands of both governmental and commercial space missions.
  • As construction progresses, it is expected to further enhance India’s position in the global space arena while fostering innovation and collaboration in the burgeoning space sector.
Key Facts about Small Satellite Launch Vehicles (SSLVs)
  • SSLV is a 3-stage Launch Vehicle configured with three Solid Propulsion Stages and liquid propulsion-based Velocity Trimming Module (VTM) as a terminal stage.
  • SSLV is 2m in diameter and 34m in length with lift off weight of 120 tonnes.
  • SSLV is capable of launching 500kg satellite in 500 km planar orbit.
  • The key features of SSLV are Low cost, with low turn-around time, flexibility in accommodating multiple satellites, Launch on demand feasibility, minimal launch infrastructure requirements, etc.
PYQ: With reference to India’s satellite launch vehicles, consider the following statements: (2018) 1) PSLVs launch the satellites useful for Earth resources monitoring whereas GSLVs are designed mainly to launch communication satellites. 2) Satellites launched by PSLV appear to remain permanently fixed in the same position in the sky, as viewed from a particular location on Earth. 3) GSLV Mk III is a four-staged launch vehicle with the first and third stages using solid rocket motors; and the second and fourth stages using liquid rocket engines. Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (a) 1 only (b) 2 and 3 (c) 1 and 2 (d) 3 only Ans: (a)
Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of the establishment of a second rocket launchport by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in Tamil Nadu. Analyze the reasons behind India’s need for a new launchport, considering both technical and strategic factors. (250 words/15 m)

3. Governor's Remarks Spark Controversy: Reactions to Ayya Vaikundar's Historical Interpretation

Topic: GS1 – Modern Indian history – Personalities
This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of knowing facts about the life and contributions of Ayya Vaikundar, a 19th-century social reformer in Tamil Nadu.
Context:
  • The remarks made by Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi about the 19th-century social reformer Ayya Vaikundar have ignited a controversy, prompting sharp reactions from politicians and followers of Vaikundar.
  • Ravi’s portrayal of Ayya Vaikundar as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu to protect Sanatan Dharma during an event marking the social reformer’s birth anniversary has raised debates on historical accuracy and the appropriation of religious and social narratives.
More about the news: Ayya Vaikundar’s Social Reforms:
  • Ayya Vaikundar, born in 1809, is revered in southern Tamil Nadu for his role as a social reformer and founder of the Ayyavazhi sect.
  • His teachings emphasized equality, fraternity, and the eradication of caste-based discrimination, challenging established religious and social hierarchies.
  • Vaikundar’s initiatives, such as organizing community eateries, digging common wells, and introducing inclusive religious practices, aimed at fostering social harmony and uplifting marginalized communities.
Governor’s Remarks and Reactions:
  • Governor R N Ravi’s assertion that Ayya Vaikundar was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu to safeguard Sanatan Dharma and oppose British evangelization has stirred controversy.
  • While Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to Vaikundar on his birth anniversary, Ravi’s remarks were met with criticism.
  • Bala Prajapathi Adigalar, chief administrator of the Ayyavazhi sect, denounced Ravi’s statements as non-factual, emphasizing Vaikundar’s fight against caste-based discrimination rather than religious preservation.
Scholarly Responses:
  • Historians highlighted the historical context of social reform movements led by figures like Vaikundar, Narayana Guru, and Ayyankali, emphasizing their significance in challenging upper-caste dominance and societal restrictions in regions like Travancore.
  • While Vaikundar’s approach aligned with conventional religious routes, Ayyankali’s movement took a more militant stance, reflecting diverse strategies within the struggle for social justice.
Conclusion:
  • The controversy surrounding Governor R N Ravi’s remarks on Ayya Vaikundar underscores the complexities of historical interpretation, religious appropriation, and social reform narratives.
  • The debate highlights the importance of critically evaluating historical figures within their socio-political contexts and recognizing the diverse approaches to social change.
  • As scholars and politicians engage in dialogue, it is crucial to uphold historical accuracy and promote inclusive narratives that honor the contributions of social reformers while addressing contemporary social inequalities.
Practice Question:  Discuss the controversy surrounding Governor R N Ravi’s remarks on the 19th-century social reformer Ayya Vaikundar and its implications for historical interpretation, religious narratives, and social justice in India. (150 words/10 m)

4. Economic Growth Expected to Slow to 6.8% in FY25, Despite India's Move Towards $7 Trillion Economy: Crisil Ratings

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy – Issues relating to growth
This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of knowing facts about India’s economic growth trajectory, including projections for GDP growth and factors influencing it.
Context:
  • Crisil Ratings predicts a deceleration in India’s real gross domestic product (GDP) growth from 7.6 per cent in the current fiscal year to 6.8 per cent in fiscal year 2025 (FY25).
  • This forecast is attributed to factors such as higher interest rates and a lower fiscal impulse, which are expected to dampen domestic demand, according to a report released by the agency.
More about the news: Growth Projection for FY25:
  • Despite the projected slowdown, Crisil Ratings anticipates that India’s economy will continue to expand, albeit at a slower pace, inching closer to the $7 trillion mark by FY25.
  • Additionally, the rise in per capita income is expected to propel India into the upper middle-income category, positioning it as the third-largest economy globally by that time.
Factors Influencing Growth Deceleration:
  • Crisil attributes the moderation in economic growth for FY25 to the normalization of the net tax impact on GDP observed in the previous fiscal year (FY24) and anticipates challenges stemming from uneven growth in key trade partners, which may limit a robust export recovery.
  • However, India is expected to maintain its status as the fastest-growing large economy despite these headwinds, as highlighted by the rating agency.
Comparison with RBI Projections:
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has projected a slightly higher real GDP growth rate of 7 per cent for the fiscal year 2024-25, indicating a potential variance in forecasts between the central bank and Crisil Ratings.
  • Notably, recent data from the National Statistical Office (NSO) suggests an anticipated GDP growth rate of 7.6 per cent for the ongoing fiscal year, underscoring the dynamic nature of economic projections.
Impact of Monetary Policy Measures:
  • Crisil emphasizes the continued transmission of rate hikes implemented by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the RBI between May 2022 and February 2023.
  • The cumulative increase in the repo rate by 250 basis points during this period is expected to exert downward pressure on demand in the upcoming fiscal year, reflecting the lingering effects of monetary tightening on the economy.
Conclusion:
  • The analysis by Crisil Ratings provides insights into India’s economic trajectory, indicating a potential deceleration in GDP growth for FY25 amidst challenges such as higher interest rates and subdued fiscal impulses.
  • Despite these headwinds, India is poised to maintain its position as the fastest-growing large economy, albeit at a slower pace.
  • The forecast underscores the importance of monitoring key economic indicators and policy measures to navigate through evolving macroeconomic dynamics and sustain growth momentum.
PYQ: Increase in absolute and per capita real GNP do not connote a higher level of economic development, if: (2018) (a) Industrial output fails to keep pace with agricultural output. (b) Agricultural output fails to keep pace with industrial output. (c) Poverty and unemployment increase. (d) Imports grow faster than exports. Ans: (c)
Practice Question:  Discuss the factors contributing to the projected deceleration in India’s real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate for fiscal year 2025 (FY25), as outlined by Crisil Ratings. Evaluate the implications of higher interest rates and lower fiscal impulse on domestic demand, and analyze the challenges posed by uneven growth in key trade partners for India’s export recovery. (250 words/15 m)

5. The tale of ‘have money, buy miracle drug’

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Health Relevant to UPSC as it underscores health governance issues, ethics in medical practice, and regulatory challenges in India.
Context
  • The article addresses the concerning trend of administering unapproved weight loss drugs, specifically Semaglutide, in India.
  • It highlights the lack of clinical trials, ethical questions for doctors, and the government’s role in controlling drug imports.
 Introduction:
  • Newspapers regularly feature articles on ‘magic injections’ containing Semaglutide, a drug for Type 2 diabetes that promotes weight loss.
  • These injections are not approved for sale in India but are administered by doctors to affluent patients, raising ethical and safety concerns.
  • Global pharma companies issue warnings, but media fails to publicize them, and significant side effects remain unreported.
Approval Process and Exceptions:
  • In India, drugs are approved after clinical trials by the local subsidiary or licensee of the global brand owner.
  • Regulatory approval involves monitoring adverse events for two years.
  • Patients and hospitals can import unapproved drugs for personal use or special cases with regulatory approval.
Lack of Clinical Trials in India:
  • Unapproved weight loss drugs lack clinical trials in India, posing risks as the reaction in the Indian population remains unknown.
  • Potential interactions with drugs commonly prescribed in India, such as those for diabetes and hypertension, are uncertain.
  • The absence of clinical data poses a significant, unmitigated risk.
Questions for Doctors:
  • Doctors face ethical dilemmas regarding prescribing unapproved drugs.
  • Incentives for doctors prescribing these drugs raise concerns about their motivations.
  • The extent of doctors’ knowledge about the full effects and adverse events of these drugs is questionable.
  • The likelihood of clients using illegally imported drugs is high, given the lack of regulatory approval.
Imported Drugs Scandal:
  • The scandal involving spurious drugs like Adcetris highlights the issue of delayed alerts by regulators.
  • Doctors must ensure the authenticity of drugs before administering them, raising doubts about their due diligence.
  • The Semaglutide case reinforces concerns, as alerts from pharma companies suggest potential complicity in a scam.
Questions for Regulators:
  • Government and drug regulators must address the import control of unapproved drugs.
  • The potential for arrests and legal consequences may serve as a deterrent to doctors involved in administering these drugs.
Public Indifference:
  • The public’s indifference towards this issue is noted, portraying it as a problem for the affluent.
  • The government’s priorities are questioned, especially considering previous incidents like deaths from spurious cough syrup.
Conclusion:
  • The situation prompts reflection on the government’s responsibility and public apathy towards illegal and potentially harmful drugs.
  • The need for stringent measures to control the import and administration of unapproved drugs is evident.
  • The ethical dilemmas faced by doctors and the potential risks to patients highlight the urgency for regulatory intervention and public awareness.
Practice Question:  Examine the ethical implications and regulatory concerns surrounding the unauthorized use of weight loss drugs like Semaglutide in India. Discuss the roles of healthcare practitioners, pharmaceutical companies, and government regulators in addressing this issue. (150 Words /10 marks)

6. The legislature should complement the judiciary in fighting corruption

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity This topic is crucial for UPSC as it examines the synergy between legislature and judiciary in tackling corruption, a key national concern.
Context
  • The Tirukkoyilur Assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu is declared vacant due to the conviction and disqualification of former Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudy in a disproportionate assets case.
  • Section 8(1) mandates immediate disqualification upon conviction, but the delay in this case raises questions.
  • This calls for legislative support of the judiciary in anti-corruption cases involving lawmakers to maintain confidence in the democratic system.
Additional information on this news:
  • Tirukkoyilur Assembly constituency declared vacant due to the conviction and disqualification of former Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudy in a disproportionate assets case in December.
  • Despite the Madras High Court’s conviction order not being stayed by the Supreme Court, there was a significant delay in declaring Tirukkoyilur vacant.
  • AIADMK General Secretary, Edappadi K. Palaniswami, urged the Assembly Speaker to act impartially in declaring the seat vacant.
  • Ponmudy’s disqualification falls under Section 8(1) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, listing offenses under laws such as the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and Prevention of Corruption Act.
  • Section 8(1) mandates immediate disqualification upon conviction, but the delay in this case raises questions.
  • Calls for legislative support of the judiciary in anti-corruption cases involving lawmakers to maintain confidence in the democratic system.
  • Emphasizes the importance of upholding democratic values, protecting dissent, and avoiding any perception of authoritarianism or judicial overreach.
Legislature’s Role in Anti-Corruption:
Issues:
  • Political Interference: Legislators may be hesitant to pursue cases involving colleagues or party members, hindering investigations.
  • Weak Legislation: Loopholes and outdated laws can make prosecuting corruption difficult.
  • Lack of Oversight: Insufficient scrutiny of government spending and activities allows corruption to flourish.
Solutions:
  • Independent Anti-Corruption Agencies: Empowering independent bodies to investigate and prosecute corruption, free from political influence.Whistleblower Protection: Enacting strong laws to protect individuals who report corrupt activities.
  • Transparency and Accountability: Mandating public disclosure of finances and assets for officials, and promoting citizen participation in public affairs.
  • Stronger Legislation: Regularly reviewing and revising laws to address new methods of corruption and close existing loopholes.
  • Effective Oversight: Implementing robust oversight mechanisms like parliamentary committees to scrutinize government activities.
By addressing these issues and collaborating with the judiciary, the legislature can play a crucial role in creating a robust and effective anti-corruption ecosystem.
Practice Question:  Critically examine the challenges faced by the Indian legislature in complementing the judiciary’s efforts to fight corruption, and suggest relevant measures to overcome these challenges. (250 Words /15 marks)

7. A judge’s entry into politics

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity – Judiciary
UPSC Significance: Examines risks of judicial-political overlap, impacting impartiality and governance; crucial for constitutional understanding and ethical governance.
Context
  • Former Calcutta High Court judge Abhijit Gangopadhyay resigns, joins BJP during West Bengal’s election season, raising concerns about past judgments and potential political influence.
Additional information on this news:
  • Abhijit Gangopadhyay, a former judge of Calcutta High Court, resigned and announced joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during West Bengal’s election season.
  • The 61-year-old judge expressed interest in a BJP ticket for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
  • His decision raised concerns about the political bias in his past judgments, prompting the Trinamool Congress to seek a review of all his orders.
  • Gangopadhyay had issued orders directing CBI investigations into the school and municipal recruitment scam in West Bengal, leading to significant setbacks for the ruling Trinamool Congress.
  • The former judge criticized Trinamool, calling it an “ajatra party” and made scathing remarks about its leaders.
  • Gangopadhyay had a controversial career, with Supreme Court interventions in 2023 and 2024 regarding allegations against a senior judge and a stay on an order related to case reassignment.
  • Resigning five months before superannuation, he faces criticism and questions about the timing, with opponents suggesting potential influence on judgments.
  • Gangopadhyay stated his desire to contribute on a “larger platform” than the judiciary and is expected to enter politics, raising speculation about his commitment to fighting corruption in his new role.
Issues with Supreme Court / High Court Judges joining politics:
Issues:
  • Eroded Public Trust: Judges entering politics raise concerns about past rulings being politically motivated, shaking public faith in the judiciary’s impartiality.
  • Perceived Bias: Even if impartial, judges with political affiliations might be seen as biased in future rulings, undermining judicial legitimacy.
  • Politicization of Judiciary: Judges entering politics create a revolving door effect, blurring lines between judiciary and politics, potentially politicizing judicial appointments.
  • Reduced Judicial Independence: Judges aiming for political careers might be tempted to issue rulings favouring their future party, compromising independence.
  • Loss of Expertise: Experienced judges leaving weaken the bench, taking valuable legal expertise and experience with them.
Way Forward:
  • Cooling-off Period: Mandating a period after retirement where judges cannot enter politics reduces suspicion of politically motivated rulings.
  • Stronger Recusal Standards: Clearer guidelines on when judges should recuse themselves from cases involving their future political party can enhance public confidence.
  • Financial Security: Ensuring competitive post-retirement benefits removes financial incentives potentially swaying judicial decisions.
  • Judicial Transparency: Increased transparency in judicial appointments and decision-making processes strengthens public trust in the judiciary.
  • Ethical Codes: Reinforcing ethical codes for judges, including restrictions on post-retirement political activity, upholds judicial integrity.
PYQ: Constitutionally guaranteed judicial independence is a prerequisite of democracy. Comment. (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2023)
Practice Question:  Analyze the potential consequences of Supreme Court and High Court judges entering politics, and suggest measures to safeguard judicial independence. (250 Words /15 marks)

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