• Home
Shape Image One

UPSC Online Editorial Analysis


Title: How has the Supreme Court interpreted Article 32 over the years? 

Topic in the syllabus: Polity (GS-2)


  • A Supreme Court Bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde observed that it is “trying to discourage” individuals from filing petitions under Article 32 of the Constitution.
  • The observation came during the hearing of a petition seeking the release of journalist Siddique Kappan, who was arrested with three others while on their way to Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, to report on an alleged gangrape and murder.

What is Article 32?

  • Article 32 deals with the ‘Right to Constitutional Remedies’, or affirms the right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred in Part III (Fundamental rights) of the Constitution.
  • It states that the Supreme Court “shall have power to issue directions or orders or writs for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by this Part”.
  • The right guaranteed by this Article “shall not be suspended except as otherwise provided for by this Constitution”.
  • The Article is included in Part III of the Constitution with other fundamental rights including to Equality, Freedom of Speech and Expression, Life and Personal Liberty, and Freedom of Religion.
  • Only if any of these fundamental rights is violated can a person can approach the Supreme Court directly under Article 32.
  • The Article cannot be suspended except during the period of Emergency.

What is the view of Constituent Assembly?

  • During the Constituent Assembly debates in December 1948, a discussion on this fundamental right (in the draft, it is referred to as Article 25), Dr B R Ambedkar had said, “If I was asked to name any particular Article in this Constitution as the most important — an Article without which this Constitution would be a nullity — I could not refer to any other Article except the Article 32.
  • Others in the drafting committee also said that since it gives a person the right to approach the Supreme Court as a remedy if fundamental rights are violated, “it is a right fundamental to all the fundamental rights” guaranteed under the Constitution.

Can High Courts be approached in cases of violation of fundamental rights?

  • In civil or criminal matters, the first remedy available to an aggrieved person is that of trial courts, followed by an appeal in the High Court and then the Supreme Court.
  • When it comes to violation of fundamental rights, an individual can approach the High Court under Article 226 or the Supreme Court directly under Article 32 through five kinds of writs:
    • Habeas corpus (related to personal liberty in cases of illegal detentions and wrongful arrests)
    • Mandamus — directing public officials, governments, courts to perform a statutory duty;
    • Quo warranto — to show by what warrant is a person holding public office;
    • Prohibition — directing judicial or quasi-judicial authorities to stop proceedings which it has no jurisdiction for; and
    • Certiorari — re-examination of an order given by judicial, quasi-judicial or administrative authorities.
  • Article 226, however, is not a fundamental right like Article 32.

What have been the Supreme Court’s recent observations on Article 32?

  • In the case of the journalist Siddique Kappan, the court asked why the petitioners could not go to the High Court. It has sought responses from the Centre and the UP government.
  • In another case last week invoking Article 32, filed by a Nagpur-based man arrested in three cases for alleged defamatory content against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and others, the same Bench directed him to approach the High Court first.
  • Relief under Article 32 was also sought in a petition filed by Telugu poet Varavara Rao’s wife, P Hemalatha, against the conditions of his detention in jail since 2018. The Supreme Court directed the Bombay High Court to expedite the hearing on a bail plea filed on medical grounds, pending since September.
  • The court had then said that the right to approach the Supreme Court under Article 32 is itself a fundamental right and that “there is no doubt that if a citizen of India is deterred in any case from approaching this Court in exercise of his right under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, it would amount to a serious and direct interference in the administration of justice in the country”.

What have been SC’s observations over the years?

  • In Romesh Thappar vs State of Madras (1950), the Supreme Court observed that Article 32 provides a “guaranteed” remedy for the enforcement of fundamental rights.
  • It said that “This Court is thus constituted the protector and guarantor of fundamental rights, and it cannot refuse to entertain applications seeking protection against infringements of such rights.”
  • During the Emergency, in Additional District Magistrate, Jabalpur vs S S Shukla (1976), the Supreme Court had said that the citizen loses his right to approach the court under Article 32.
  • Constitutional experts say that it is eventually at the discretion of the Supreme Court and each individual judge to decide whether an intervention is warranted in a case.


Title: Their Lordships & Masters 

Written by: Pratap Bhanu Mehta

Topic in the syllabus: Polity – Judiciary(GS-2)


  • Barbarism – It means an idea, act, or expression that in form or use offends against contemporary standards of good taste or acceptability.
  • Article 32 – Read todays explained about article 32.

About democratic barbarism & Judicial barbarism:

  • In political science literature there is a familiar term — democratic barbarism. Democratic barbarism is often sustained by a judicial barbarism.
  • The application of law becomes so dependent on the arbitrary whims of individual judges that the rule of law or constitutional terms no longer have any meaning.
  • This usually means weak protection for civil liberties and dissenters.
  • There is an unusual degree of deference to state power, especially in constitutional matters.
  • The court also becomes excessively concerned with its version of lese majesty: Like a scared monarch, the court cannot be seriously criticised or mocked.
  • Its majesty is secured not by its credibility but by its power of contempt. And, finally, there is barbarism in a much deeper sense.

Is it only about Individual judges?

  • This phenomenon is not just a matter of individual judges or individual cases. It is now a systematic phenomenon with deep institutional roots.
  • It is also part of a global trend, of a piece with developments in Turkey, Poland and Hungary, where the judiciary aids this kind of democratic barbarism.
  • To be sure, not all judges succumb to this; there are still pockets of resistance in the system.

What are the symptoms of judicial barbarism?

  • The court has refused to do timely hearings of cases that go to the heart of the institutional integrity of a democracy: The electoral bonds case, for example.
  • The rules for the grant or denial of bail by the Supreme Court, and, correspondingly, by several high courts, have reached new levels of arbitrariness.

Recent example of judicial arbitrariness:

  • Patriots like Sudha Bharadwaj or thinkers like Anand Teltumbde are being denied bail.
  • An 80-year-old social activist who is suffering from Parkinson’s was denied a straw, and the court will do a hearing in its own time.
  • Hundreds of Kashmiris were detained without habeas corpus redress.

Why such trend in judiciary?

  • All of these are not isolated instances of justice slipping because of the usual institutional inefficiencies.
  • These are directly a product of a politics that sees protest, dissent, and freedom of expression all through the prism of potential enemies of the state.

What is the view of SC on article 32?

  • The Supreme Court was right to grant Arnab Goswami bail. It has finally issued a notice to the UP government over its arrest of journalists.
  • But Justice SA Bobde’s reported intervention, that the Supreme Court was trying to discourage the use of Article 32, unwittingly let the cat out of the bag.

What writer think about this view of SC?

  • Article 32 is one of the glories of the Indian Constitution that protects fundamental rights. It can be suspended only in a state of emergency.
  • In some ways, discouraging the use of this article is a perfect metaphor for our times: We don’t want to formally declare a state of emergency but we might as well act as if there is one, as and when the need arises. Discourage, rather than suspend, the use of Article 32.

Why Judiciary is not checking democratic barbarism of state?

  • The democratic barbarism, where every issue is now thought of through the prism of partisan combat, not public reason, has now infected assessment of the judiciary partly as a result of its own inability to project that it is above the fray.

What led to the legitimisation of judicial actions?

  • The tradition of legal activism that is heavily invested in making the judiciary the arbiter of everything legitimises judicial intoxication.

What are the predictions of writer about judiciary?

  • What starts as a selectivity on civil liberties will slowly creep into the ideological foundations of the state.
  • As state after state is now contemplating legislation on “love jihad”, a communally insidious and infantilising construct, watch how the judiciary abets in legitimising this newest assault on liberty.

Essence of this trend in Judiciary according to the writer:

  • It is like giving judicial form to the language of democratic barbarism.


Title: Spot the seeds of growth 

Written by: Bina Agarwal -The writer is professor of development economics and environment, University of Manchester, and author of A Field of One’s Own: Gender and Land Rights in South Asia.

Topic in the syllabus: Issues related to Agriculture (GS-3)


  • In the first quarter of this financial year, India’s GDP contracted by 23.9 per cent but agriculture grew by 3.4 per cent. Can agriculture make up for degrowth elsewhere? And can it do better than 3.4 per cent?
  • Clearly, agriculture, which contributes only 15-16 per cent of GDP, cannot overturn contraction in other sectors, but along with the rural sector, it could jump-start the economy, if we fixed its ills and transformed it.

Issues related to agriculture in India:

  • Soils are degraded.
  • Climate change is speeding up.
  • Only 44 per cent of irrigable area is irrigated.
  • Groundwater is fast depleting.
  • Almost 90 per cent of India’s groundwater goes into irrigation and is grossly over-extracted.
  • By 2030, 65 per cent of India’s blocks will be over-extracting groundwater (World Bank).
  • 86 per cent of our farmers cultivate two ha or less, often in fragments.
  • 75-80 per cent borrow credit informally.
  • 70 per cent provide only 4-5 per cent of marketed surplus in wheat and rice, even in surplus states.
  • Barely 6-12 per cent sell in mandis, and few gain from MSPs.
  • Farm incomes are low and erratic.
  • Millions have fallen into extreme poverty with COVID-19.
  • Only 10 per cent of India’s cropland has micro-irrigation.

What are the solutions?

  • Remodel irrigation by expanding rainwater harvesting (for both surface water and recharging groundwater).
  • Promoting micro-irrigation for efficient water use.
  • Regulating groundwater extraction.
  • Agroecological farming can save costs, employ more labour and rejuvenate soils.
  • Moving from cereals to multiple products, including poultry, fruits and vegetables, will also fit our changing dietary patterns.
  • We need more research into heat-resistant crops and better extension.
  • We need smallholders pooling resources and farming cooperatively in small groups. Cooperation works if groups are small, relatively homogenous, constituted by friends and neighbours, cemented by trust.
  • Livestock, fisheries and forests, which account for 26 per cent, 5.5 per cent and 8.5 per cent of GVP from agriculture, have huge underused potential. Forest provide an estimated 47 per cent of India’s “GDP of the poor” (TEEB). We should utilise this potential.
  • Forest protection and plantation, biodiversity restoration and eco-tourism can create millions of jobs.
  • We must strengthen farm and rural non-farm linkages: 61 per cent of rural incomes come from non-farm activities.
  • A vast under-tapped potential lies in agro-processing, machine tools and agro-machinery, farm tourism; and health and education services. In turn, this will boost aggregate demand.

Success stories:

  • Between 1999 and 2009, Gujarat’s agriculture grew at 9.6 per cent, attributed mainly to rainwater harvesting and BT cotton (T Shah et al, EPW). In 10-15 years, Gujarat built 0.5 million micro-structures: Check dams, bunds, etc.
  • Kerala has 68,000 all-women group farms with 4-10 women jointly leasing land, pooling labour, sharing costs and returns. My in-depth research on a sample of group and individual farms in two districts showed that groups had 1.8 times the annual value of output/ha and five times the net returns/farm relative to individual family farms (95 per cent male-managed).
  • In Bihar and Bengal, farmers have pooled their land into contiguous plots, and use electric pumps for drip irrigation, which was not possible with scattered plots and few power sources. These smallholder collectives also cooperate for input purchase and farm operations. Many have doubled their wheat and rice yields. And they, as also those in Gujarat, report being more food secure during the pandemic than their smallholder neighbours farming alone.


  • Transforming agriculture and its allied sectors and creating synergy with the non-farm rural economy would energise growth and invigorate rural communities.
  • This would also help more rural youth find local jobs, rather than be forced to live as aliens in inhospitable cities.


Title: Shifting sands for Asian economies

Written by: M. Suresh Babu (Professor of Economics atIIT, Madras)

Topic in the syllabus: Issues related to Agriculture (GS-3)


  • Discussions on the post­pandemic global economy have often predicted that China’s appeal as a business destination would fade, losing favour as the global manufacturing hub.
  • Arguments have been made that production would be dispersed to other appealing locations mostly in Asia, and even to those outside. It was expected that this relocation of production would benefit emerging labour abundant economies.

Are Industries really moving out of China?

  • The reality, however, is more nuanced. Some labour-intensive industries, such as textiles and apparels, have been moving to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as labour costs in China are increasing. But trends in other industries show that businesses have mostly remained in China.

What does “China+1” strategy means?

  • The combination of the trade war and the COVID­19 crisis has resulted in firms establishing relatively small scale operations elsewhere. This is perceived as a buffer against being completely dependent on China, referred to as the “China +1” strategy.

What is the reason behind firms not leaving China and pursuing the strategy of “China +1”?

  • Starting an enterprise and maintaining operations in China are much easier than elsewhere.
  • Chinese firms are nimble and fast, which is evident from the quick recovery of Chinese manufacturing after the lockdown.
  • Many global companies have spent decades building supply chains in China. Hence, getting out would mean moving the entire ecosystem, which involves time and expenditure.

Comparing recent developments & RCEP with Asian drama:

  • In 1968, Swedish Nobel laureate Gunnar Myrdal published the monumental ‘Asian Drama – An Inquiry into the Poverty of Nations’, which, focusing on South and Southeast Asia, was pessimistic about their development prospects.
  • Half a century later, there has been remarkable growth in the very region in which ‘Asian Drama’ was set. Openness and trade exploded, and these newly industrialised economies rode the wave of exporting goods to the rest of the world, while raising their own levels of living.
  • A new ‘Asian Drama’ is likely to unfold with the formal launch of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
  • Asia’s growth would hinge on the role of trade and investment flows into these economies, and this would again be the centrepiece of global growth, as the 15 member countries account for nearly 30% of the global GDP.
  • These economies have spruced up their institutional and infrastructural settings, which would be the
    deciding factor in the new edition of ‘Asian Drama’.

What are the challenges before India?

  • The task of increasing domestic public investments, which have a central role in economic activity, for both demand and supply sides.
  • The task of increasing domestic public investments, which have a central role in economic activity, for both demand and supply sides.
  • In India, even before the pandemic, the growth in domestic investments had been weak.
  • Private investments would continue to be depressed, due to the uncertainty on the future economic outlook.
  • India needs a major overhaul in her trade policy, as in the preCOVID­19 era, world trade had been rattled by tendencies of rising economic nationalism and unilateralism leading to the return of protectionist policies.
  • A revamped trade policy needs to take into cognisance the possibility of two effects of the RCEP:
    the ‘Walmart effect’ and a ‘switching effect’.
    • ‘Walmart effect’: It sustain demand for basic products and help in keeping employee productivity at an optimum level sustain demand for basic products and help in keeping employee productivity at an optimum level.
    • Switching effects would be an outcome of developed economies scouting for new sources to fulfil import demands, which requires firms to be nimble and competitive.
  • The challenge is to make exporting activity more attractive for all firms in the economy.
  • Increase women’s participation in the labour force. While India’s GDP has grown by around 6%
    to 7% per year on an average in the recent years, educational levels of women have risen, and fertility rates have fallen, women’s labour force participation rate has fallen from 42.7% in 2004–05 to 23.3% in 2017– 18.
  • India could gain hugely if barriers to women’s participation in the workforce are removed, for which the manufacturing sector should create labour-intensive jobs that rural and semi urban women are qualified for.

What is the level of competition to attract the investment?

  • The intensity of competition is evident from the fact that after India passed three labour code Bills on September 23.
  • Indonesian Parliament on October 5 passed a legislation that slashes regulations contained in more than 70 separate existing laws, to open up the country to more foreign investment.
  • Bangladesh on its part plans to start negotiations with a dozen countries, including the U.S. and Canada, for signing preferential trade agreements.


  • The RCEP and the ‘China +1 strategy’ is likely to impact investment flows into Vietnam, India, Bangladesh and Indonesia, which have emerged as key investment destinations.
  • India’s approach to the changed scenario needs to be well calibrated.

Leave a Reply