CAO Daily Editorial analysis for UPSC IAS 30-October, 2017

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30th October, 2017

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On appointment of judges: Questions over delay

{Judicial System}

(The Hindu)


Context

This article deals with new method of appointing judges in Indian Courts

In newsRelated image

Supreme Court to seek an explanation from the government about the delay in finalising a fresh Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for the appointment of judges in the higher judiciary

The matter came to the highest court after the Delhi High Court dismissed an advocate’s challenge to the appointment of judges without a new MoP being finalised as per the Supreme Court’s December 2015 order.

Why it is required?

At present, seven high courts have only acting chief justices. The Centre must use this opportunity to throw some light on the status of the consultation between the government and the Collegium.

Vacancies in the high courts have continued to increase while the pace at which new judges are being appointed remains sluggish.

Judiciary is one of the three wings of the State.  Though under the Constitution the polity is dual the judiciary is integrated which can interpret and adjudicate upon both the Central and State laws.  The structure of the judiciary in the country is pyramidical in nature.  At the apex, is the Supreme Court.  Most of the States have a High Court of their own.  Some States have a common High Court.

The appointment of Judges of the Supreme Court and their removal are governed by Article 124 of the Constitution of India.  Articles 125 to 129 provide for certain incidental matters.  

Appointment of Judges to the Supreme Court

Article 124(2): Clause (2) of Article 124 inter alia says that

  • every Judge of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal after consultation with such of the Judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts in the States as the President may deem necessary for the purpose and shall hold office until he attains the age of sixty-five years
  • Provided that in the case of appointment of a Judge other than the Chief Justice, the Chief Justice of India shall always be consulted.”
  • Under our constitutional scheme, the President is the constitutional head. In exercise of the powers vested in him by the Constitution, he acts upon the aid and advice of Union Council of Ministers.  So far as the executive power of the Union is concerned, it is exercised by the Union Council of Ministers in the name of the President.

Clause  (2) of Article 124 speaks of  ‘consultation’, whether it be with the Chief Justice of India, Judges of the Supreme Court or with the Judges of the High Court. The expression is not “concurrence”.  The Constituent Assembly debates show that when it was suggested by s

Appointment of Judges to High Courts

The appointment of High Court Judges are governed by the Constitution of India as per Article 217 which reads as;

Appointment and conditions of the office of a Judge of a High Court.

Every Judge of a High Court shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, the Governor of the State, and,in the case of appointment of a Judge other than the Chief Justice, the Chief Justice of the High Court, and [shall hold office, in the case of an additional or acting Judge, as provided in article 224, and in any other case, until he attains the age of [sixty-two years].

Provided that

  • a Judge may, by writing under his hand addressed to the President, resign his office;
  • a Judge may be removed from his office by the President in the manner provided in clause (4) of article 124 for the removal of a Judge of the Supreme Court;
  • the office of a Judge shall be vacated by his being appointed by the President to be a Judge of the Supreme Court or by his being transferred by the President to any other High Court within the territory of India.

A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a Judge of a High Court unless he is a citizen of India and-

  • has for at least ten years held a judicialoffice in the territory of India; or
  • has for at least ten years been anadvocate of a High Court or of two or more such Courts in succession

 

Service Conditions

The age of retirement in respect of the Judges of the High Court stands at 65 years. They cannot be removed except though impeachment by both Houses of the Parliament in accordance with the procedure prescribed in the Constitution. No judge has so far been removed by impeachment. In one instance where the impeachment proceedings had been initiated, the address could not muster the requisite majority.


Stirrings of change {International Relations}

(Indian Express)


Context

This article deals with the new impulse of Saudi Arabia towards “reform” i.e. return to moderate Islam.

Why in news?

The man who may soon be king of Saudi Arabia is charting a new, more modern course for a country, the prince grabbed headlines in recent days by vowing a return to “moderate Islam.” He also suggested that his father’s generation had steered the country down a problematic path and that it was time to “get rid of it.”

In his sweeping “Vision 2030” plan to wean Saudi Arabia off of its near total dependence on petrodollars, Prince Mohammed laid out a vision for “a tolerant country with Islam as its constitution and moderation as its method.”

This commitment to reform has arguably been visible

In policy initiatives over the last few months: On September 28, the kingdom finally allowed women to obtain a driver’s licence.Related image

This was followed, on October 17, by a royal order announcing the formation of a body of Islamic scholars to examine the sayings of the Prophet and expunge “fake” elements that promote “murder and terrorism”.

The crown prince, in a recent interview, blamed Iran for the “last 30 years”, claiming that the threat posed by the Islamic Revolution of 1979 led to the wave of conservatism and conflict in the region. Is Shia-Sunni conflict, then, to be a pillar of the new “moderate” Saudi state?

 Saudi Arabia is the leading Sunni power in the region and it supports and funds institutions that impart Islamic education and promote Wahhabism, including in South Asia. 

What caused the split?

A schism emerged after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632. He died without appointing a successor to lead the Muslim community, and disputes arose over who should shepherd the new and rapidly growing faith.

Some believed that a new leader should be chosen by consensus; others thought that only the prophet’s descendants should become caliph. The title passed to a trusted aide, Abu Bakr, though some thought it should have gone to Ali, the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law. Ali eventually did become caliph after Abu Bakr’s two successors were assassinated.

After Ali also was assassinated, with a poison-laced sword at the mosque in Kufa, in what is now Iraq, his sons Hasan and then Hussein claimed the title. But Hussein and many of his relatives were massacred in Karbala, Iraq, in 680.

His martyrdom became a central tenet to those who believed that Ali should have succeeded the Prophet. (It is mourned every year during the month of Muharram). The followers became known as Shias, a contraction of the phrase Shiat Ali, or followers of Ali.

The Sunnis, however, regard the first three caliphs before Ali as rightly guided and themselves as the true adherents to the Sunnah, or the Prophet’s tradition. Sunni rulers embarked on sweeping conquests that extended the caliphate into North Africa and Europe. The last caliphate ended with the fall of the Ottoman Empire after World War-I.

What does each group believe?

As with any division that lasts over a thousand years, the Sunni-Shia split led to each denomination developing its own unique cultures, doctrines and schools of thought.

While followers of either group range from the moderate to the extremist, Sunnis are largely focussed on the power of the God in the physical world, while Shias look more towards the rewards of the afterlife and as such place significant value in the celebration of martyrdom.

What is the geographical split of Sunnis and Shias?

The vast majority of the Muslims in the world are Sunni, amounting to as much as 85% of the religion’s adherents. They are spread all over the globe – from Morocco to Indonesia – and make up the dominant religion in North Africa and the Middle East.

Only lran, Iraq, Azerbaijan and Bahrain have a Shia majority, although there are also significant Shia populations in Yemen, Lebanon, Kuwait, Syria and Qatar.

Despite being members of the religious minority, the Saudi-backed Kingdom of Bahrain has long been ruled by the Sunni House of Khalifa. Equally Iraq was ruled by the Sunni Saddam Hussein for more than 20 years, during which time he brutally oppressed Shia Muslims.

And  the current civil war in Yemen has become a sectarian proxy war, with Iran backing the Shia Houthi rebels who overthrew the country’s Sunni-dominated government, while a Saudi-led coalition has since intervened to reinstall the Sunni leadership.


Dark journeys {Environment}

(Indian Express)


Context

This article explains the consequences of transporting coal from Goa to Northern Karnataka.

What is matter of concern?Image result for Goa to Northern Karnataka coal transportation

  • Thermal power remains the mainstay of the country’s energy sector. According to the NITI Aayog, coal will constitute nearly 60 per cent of India’s fuel mix in 2022.
  • Coal imports that are unloaded at Mormugao port in Goa are transported by rail and road to Bellary in Northern Karnataka.
  • Official figures show that, on average, 34,200 tonnes of coal is transported each day through the rail route from the Central government-owned Mormugao port via Vasco, Margao and Kulem, to Karnataka.
  • The nearly 400-km journey of this fossil fuel is putting at risk entire habitations along the way. According to the Goa State Pollution Control Board’s (GSPCB) 2015-16 report, the PM10 reading of Mormugao port “exceeded the permissible limits on 14 out of 24 readings”.
  • Coal dust has pushed up incidents of respiratory disorder and is threatening fragile forests, paddy fields, streams and rivers, the investigation by this paper has revealed.

What needs to be done?

Goa’s scars from coal transportation highlight regulatory deficits. The government must urgently address them

Air Quality Index (AQI)

The AQI is an index for reporting daily air quality. It tells you how clean or polluted your air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for you.

The AQI focuses on health effects you may experience within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air. EPA calculates the AQI for five major air pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act: ground-level ozone, particle pollution (also known as particulate matter), carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide.

For each of these pollutants, EPA has established national air quality standards to protect public health .Ground-level ozone and airborne particles are the two pollutants that pose the greatest threat to human health in this country.

How Does the AQI Work?

Think of the AQI as a yardstick that runs from 0 to 500. The higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution and the greater the health concern. For example, an AQI value of 50 represents good air quality with little potential to affect public health, while an AQI value over 300 represents hazardous air quality.

An AQI value of 100 generally corresponds to the national air quality standard for the pollutant, which is the level EPA has set to protect public health. AQI values below 100 are generally thought of as satisfactory. When AQI values are above 100, air quality is considered to be unhealthy-at first for certain sensitive groups of people, then for everyone as AQI values get higher.

The intervals and the terms describing the AQI air quality levels are as follows

From 0 to 50………………..good

From 51 to 100………………moderate

From 101 to 150……………..unhealthy for sensitive groups

From 151 to 200……………..unhealthy

From 201 to 300……………..very unhealthy

From 300……………………hazardous


 

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  • Verma Mahesh

    the age of retirement of judge of high court is 62 years. please correct that

    • Pradeep Kumar

      Please read the article again, retirement age of both the judges (Supreme Court & High Court) are mentioned correctly.

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