DAILY MAINS NEWSLETTER FOR UPSC|29 JUN 2021|RaghukulCS

Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

29 June 2021 - Tuesday

Index

Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name

Source

1

The law of sedition is unconstitutional

The Hindu

2

It Happened In Banni

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

In the backdrop of an economic contraction, it is prudent to revisit the aggressive privatisation of public enterprises

Syllabus– GS 3: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

Analysis: –

  • Privatisation of the public sector, including banks, has been part of the wish list of economic reformers since 1991. This was at the core of the ‘Washington Consensus’.
  • The private sector is inherently more efficient.
  • The ground realities of democratic politics in India, however, kept coming in the way of actual privatisation, though progressive disinvestment of the shares of public sector undertakings in the market has been taking place over the years.
  • India is right now going through its worst economic crisis.
  • The highest-ever contraction in the economy took place last year, unemployment has risen, incomes for growing numbers are falling, bank non-performing assets (NPAs) may be ballooning, and the fiscal deficit is rising.
  • In these circumstances, it would be prudent to think through the pros and cons of the aggressive privatisation of public enterprises that is on the anvil.
  • There are three categories of public sector enterprises, with each needing its own analysis.

The Government should require Twitter to follow rules, but not be vindictive for political reasons

SyllabusGS 2: Government Policy

Analysis: –

  • IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s censure of Twitter, after it temporarily blocked his account upon receiving a notice for copyright violation last week, is valid, but only to an extent.
  • Prasad was right in calling out Twitter, as he did over a series of tweets, for not giving him prior notice of the blocking, as required by India’s IT Act rules.
  • The blocking was triggered because Twitter had reportedly received a notice for violations under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), filed by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, the content in question being A.R. Rahman’s song ‘Maa Tujhe Salaam’.
  • Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who is also the Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, replied to Mr. Prasad, saying he had a similar experience.
  • “Locking is a foolish response to a DMCA notice; disabling the video (which they’ve now done) should be enough,” Mr. Tharoor wrote.
  • Having raised the issue, however, Mr. Prasad went on a needless attempt to make the issue look more than what it really is.
  • One of his tweets in this regard was this: “It is apparent that my statements calling out the high handedness and arbitrary actions of Twitter, particularly sharing the clips of my interviews to TV channels and its powerful impact, have clearly ruffled its feathers.”

Mains Analysis

The law of sedition is unconstitutional

Why in News?

In Vinod Dua’s case (2021), the Supreme Court of India has reaffirmed the law of sedition laid down in Kedar Nath Singh (1962) and directed governments to adhere to it.

Syllabus– GS 2- Fundamental Rights

Historical background of sedition laws: –

  • Sedition law was enacted by the British colonial government in 1870 with the sole object of suppressing all voices of Indians critical of the government.
  • James Stephen, the author of the Bill, had clarified then that not only critical comments but even a seditious disposition of a person will attract this penal law.
  • It was the policeman who would decide whether a person’s disposition was seditious.

The history of this most draconian law during colonial rule : –

  • In the Bangobasi case in 1891, Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s case in 1897 and 1908 and Mahatma Gandhi’s case in 1922, the High Courts, and ultimately the judicial committee of the Privy Council, consistently held that incitement to violence or rebellion is not a necessary part of sedition under Section 124A of the IPC and a mere comment which the authorities think has the potential to cause disaffection towards the government is seditious and the person can be arrested and put on trial.

Tilak sedition Case: –

  • Justice Arthur Strachey, while stating the law of sedition before the jury in Tilak’s case, had made it absolutely clear that even attempts to cause disaffection would attract the provision, meaning thereby that rebellion, disorder or violence are not an ingredient of sedition. This statement of law by Justice Strachey was approved by the Privy Council.

About Kedar Nath case: –

  • The Kedar Nath judgment upheld the constitutional validity of sedition as defined in Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code.
  • The Court read down the provision by holding that only writings or speeches which incite people to violence against the Government will come within the mischief of sedition.
  • The Supreme Court’s assertion in Kedar Nath that there is sedition only when writing or speech can lead to violence or disorder has consistently been ignored by governments all these years, and citizens of all ages have been charged with sedition for merely criticising the authorities.
  • The Kedar Nath judgment makes it possible for the law enforcement machinery to easily take away the fundamental right of citizens.

What is Sedition and disaffection in India: –

  • Section 124A of the IPC, which contains the law of sedition, categorises four sources of seditious acts.
  • They are, spoken words, written words, signs or visible representations.
  • The gist of the offence is: bringing or attempting to bring the government into contempt or hatred, or exciting or attempting to excite disaffection towards the government.
  • There are three explanations attached to this section.
  • The first explanation says that ‘disaffection’ includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity.
  • The second and third explanations say that one can comment on the measures of the government or other actions of the government without bringing or attempting to bring it into contempt or hatred or exciting or attempting to excite disaffection towards the government.
  • Sedition as a reasonable restriction, though included in the draft Article 19 was deleted when that Article was finally adopted by the Constituent Assembly.

For Example: –

  • If a person writes that the Government is very good but the vaccine policy is bad, perhaps he may not attract the charge of sedition as per the explanations.
  • But he should invariably state that the government is very good.
  • If he only says that the policies and actions of the government are consistently bad and does not say that the government is very good, he is liable to be charged with sedition.

The recent examples of sedition cases

  1. The Lakshadweep Case

Supreme Court Role: –

  • The Supreme Court, while dealing with Kedar Nath, faced a tricky situation.
  • On the one hand, there was the overwhelming judicial opinion saying that in order to attract sedition, a critical comment which causes disaffection towards the government or bring the government into hatred or contempt, is all that is necessary.
  • If this opinion were followed by the Supreme Court, sedition in the IPC would have become unconstitutional.
  • But the top court, for some unexplained reason, did not want to hold it unconstitutional.
  • So, it adopted the reasoning given by the Federal Court in Niharendu Dutta Majumdar vs Emperor in 1942 in which it was held that the gist of the offence of sedition is public disorder or a reasonable apprehension of public disorder.
  • In fact the Privy Council’s statement of law of sedition had clearly held that public disorder was not an ingredient of sedition.
  • The Supreme Court itself admits that the Federal Court did not have the advantage of seeing the Privy Council’s statement of law, otherwise it would have affirmed the Privy Council’s view.
  • the Supreme Court’s attempt to read down Section 124A, to soften it and make its application conditional on public disorder, has made this colonial law constitutionally valid which otherwise it is not.
  • On the other hand, if the judicial opinion on sedition given during the colonial period had been accepted, it would have been held unconstitutional and free India’s citizens would not have been thrown into jails for criticising the governments.

The problem associated with the law of sedition:

  • As defined in Section 124A of the IPC, clearly violates Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution which confers the Fundamental Right of freedom of speech and expression.
  • Further, this section does not get protection under Article 19(2) on the ground of reasonable restriction.
  • The Supreme Court was not swayed by the decision of the Constituent Assembly. It took advantage of the words ‘in the interest … of public order’ used in Article 19(2) and held that the offence of sedition arises when seditious utterances can lead to disorder or violence.
  • Thus, it continues to remain on the statute book and citizens continue to go to jail not because their writings led to any disorder but because they made critical comments against the authorities.
  • In the ultimate analysis, the judgment in Kedar Nath which read down Section 124A and held that without incitement to violence or rebellion there is no sedition, has not closed the door on misuse of this law. It says that ‘only when the words written or spoken etc. which have the pernicious tendency or intention of creating public disorder’ the law steps in.
  • So if a policeman thinks that a cartoon has the pernicious tendency to create public disorder, he will arrest that cartoonist. It is the personal opinion of the policeman that counts.

Way Forward: –

  • In a democracy, people have the inalienable right to change the government they do not like.
  • People will display disaffection towards a government which has failed them.
  • The law of sedition which penalises them for hating a government which does not serve them cannot exist because it violates Article 19(1)(a) and is not protected by Article 19(2).
  • Therefore, an urgent review of the Kedar Nath judgement by a larger Bench has become necessary.

Question: –

A great irony here is that the law of sedition, which should have gone out of the Statute Book when the Constitution of India came into force, was softened through interpretation and made constitutionally valid by the Supreme Court. Comment in recent controversy of sedition laws.

It Happened In Banni

Why in News?

Recently in his address to the UN High-Level Dialogue on Desertification, Land Degradation & Drought, PM Modi has reiterated that India is on track to achieve land neutrality by 2030.

Syllabus– GS3: Environmental Conservation

Background: –

  • In this regard, PM has quoted the example of Banni Grasslands of Gujarat where the highly degraded region was being restored & the livelihoods of pastoralists supported using a novel approach.

Banni Grassland-Lesson for Restoration of Degraded Land:

  • Banni Grassland is one of Asia’s largest tropical grasslands.
  • It is home to great biological diversity & is the lifeline of its pastoralist communities.
  • However, climate change & the invasion by Prosopis Juliflora have severely impacted its unique ecology.
  • A recent study concluded that unless severe action takes place. The grassland is headed for serious fodder scarcity.
  • In this backdrop, the local communities of Banni Grasslands for years have taken up the responsibility of restoration of it.
  • They uproot Prosopis in the pre-monsoon period, to allow the native grass species’ regenerate from their rootstock.
  • Local communities applying their deep knowledge of the local ecology to become decision-makers in restoring their commons is indeed novel in India, however, the mandate to do is already enacted in the forest laws.
  • The Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006, legally empowered Adivasis & other traditional forest-dwelling communities to decide on the management & restoration of their common forest resources (CFR) & stop any activity that adversely impacts biodiversity.

India & Degradation:

  • Currently, Indian forests are grappling with degradation, whereby more than 40% of the forest cover is open & degraded.
  • India’s Targets:
    • India under Bonn Pledge is committed to restoring 26 million hectares of degraded forests & lands by 2030.
    • India as part of its Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement, has also targeted in creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes by 2030 through additional forest & tree cover.

It is an important climate mitigation strategy that has the following benefits:

  • Carbon sequestration,
  • Biodiversity conservation &
  • Sustainable development.
  • As per a study, India has the highest potential to remove carbon through forest restoration among Global South.
  • The initiatives of degraded landscapes restoration are not new to India such as:
  • 1970s Social Forestry,
  • In the 1980s tree growers’ cooperative societies,
  • 1990s Joint Forest Management
  • In the last two decades, National Afforestation Programme & the Green India Mission.
  • Though the above initiatives are appreciated but their role had limited restoration benefits

Criticisms:

  • For paying little attention to the land & the forest tenure of local communities,
  • Failing to incorporate traditional ecological knowledge
  • Not assisting communities to receive the opportunities they desire from the restoration.

Community Forest Rights a novel approach:

  • Through FRA’s Community rights, the gives the right to protect, manage & restore 40 million hectares of forests to village level institutions can solve the issues.

There are many compelling reasons to recognize & support CFR rights such as:

  • Data across the world shows that community forests with legally recognized rights are
  • Healthier & associated with lower deforestation rates,
  • Higher carbon storage & biodiversity compared to other forests.

 

Way Forward: –

  • In 2019 IPCC Special Report also noted that the land titling & recognition programme that respects indigenous & communal tenure can lead to improved management of forests.
  • It also has a legal framework under FRA that facilities an internationally acknowledged approach which is essential for combating climate change.
  • But the need of the hour is for India is to recognize & support the community forest rights in spirit.

Question: –

India’s restoration commitments are amongst the most ambitious in the world, which also has the highest potential to benefit from forest restoration. Discuss.

Sale is Live

New Arrivals Magazines

Buy This Magazine at Just @50 Rs.

Click On Magazine Image  to Buy.

Buy This Magazine at Just @30 Rs.

Click On Magazine Image  to Buy.

Buy This Magazine at Just @30 Rs.

Click On Magazine Image  to Buy.

Share With Your Friends

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on print
Print
0 0 vote
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x