DAILY MAINS NEWSLETTER FOR UPSC|10 JUN 2021|RaghukulC

Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

10 June 2021 - Thrusday

Index

Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name

Source

1

The promise and perils of digital justice delivery

The Hindu

2

Do No Harm

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

Green economy and mobility key aspects of draft 2041 master plan

Syllabus–GS 1: Urbanization

Analysis: –

  • A dedicated Green Development Area (GDA) for incentivising large-scale implementation of green economies, transit-oriented development aligned with mass transit, multi-modal integration and facilitation of first and last mile connectivity are some of the key aspects of the draft Master Plan for Delhi (MPD) 2041, which was placed in the public domain while inviting suggestions and objections from stakeholders.
  • Addressing pollution and climate change by promoting clean economic activities and minimised vehicular pollution by creating multi-modal hubs and encouraging green mobility are some of the aspects the MPD-2041 concentrates on.
  • The draft states that polluting industries will not be permitted to operate within Delhi and the list of such industries will be periodically updated by the Delhi government and DDA.
  • The draft also highlights the enhancement of a “Green-Blue Infrastructure” by taking into account the Aravali ridge, the Yamuna, forests, wetlands, parks and other assets.

Hybrid hearings will continue, Supreme Court tells High Court Chief Justices

tells High Court Chief Justices

Syllabus–GS 2:  Structure, organization and functioning of the Judiciary

Analysis: –

  • Supreme Court e-Committee Chairperson Justice D.Y. Chandrachud has written to the Chief Justices (CJs) of the High Courts that hybrid hearings will have to continue considering the pandemic situation, dispelling notions that courts may revert to the physical hearing mode soon.
  • The onset of the pandemic in March 2020 witnessed a quick transition within the judiciary from physical hearings to videoconferencing.
  • Justice Chandrachud noted that 96,74,257 cases were examined through videoconferencing across the country during the pandemic.
  • “Considering the present situation of the pandemic, consistent with the need to protect the safety of lawyers, litigants, court staff, judges and other stake-holders, it may not be possible to conduct only physical hearings of court proceedings and we may have to rely upon a hybrid model of hearing for some time. We need to plan effectively to be able to deal with all exigencies,” he wrote to the CJs.

Mains Analysis

The promise and perils of digital justice delivery

Why in News?

Phase 3 of the e-Courts project can harness technology for service delivery without increasing surveillance risks

Syllabus—GS 2- Judiciary & governance

Background: –

  • Indian courts are associated with the with long delays and difficulties for ordinary litigants.
  • According to data released by the Supreme Court in the June 2020 newsletter of the e-Committee, 3.27 crore cases are pending before Indian courts, of which 85,000 have been pending for over 30 years.
  • Technology helps only if it operates within the constitutional framework of the fundamental rights of citizens else it will, further exclusion, inequity and surveillance.

The e-Courts project

  • The e-Committee of the Supreme Court of India recently released its draft vision document for Phase III of the e-Courts project.
  • Phases I and II had dealt with digitisation of the judiciary, i.e., e-filing, tracking cases online, uploading judgments online, etc.
  • Despite some hiccups, the Supreme Court and High Courts have been able to function online. This was made possible by the e-Courts project, monitored by the e-Committee.
  • Under phase 3 there is commitment to the digitisation of court processes, and plans to upgrade the electronic infrastructure of the judiciary and enable access to lawyers and litigants.
  • It propose an “ecosystem approach” to justice delivery. It suggests a “seamless exchange of information” between various branches of the State, such as between the judiciary, the police and the prison systems through the Interoperable Criminal Justice System (ICJS).
  • There are chances that the ICJS will likely exacerbate existing class and caste inequalities that characterise the police and prison system.
  • This is because the exercise of data creation happens at local police stations, which have historically contributed to the criminalisation of entire communities through colonial-era laws such as the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871, by labelling such communities as “habitual offenders”.

A cause for concern

  •  When data collection is combined with extensive data sharing and data storage that it becomes a cause for concern. The Supreme Court must take care not to violate the privacy standards that it set in Puttaswamy v. Union of India (2017).
  • Data is useful when it provides anonymous, aggregated, and statistical information about issues without identifying the individuals. This could be made possible in Phase III by encouraging uniformity and standardisation of entry fields.
  •  There has been a dangerous trend towards creating a 360-degree profile of each person by integrating all of their interactions with government agencies into a unified database.
  • This approach has been perfected by social media platforms and technology companies, and the government is now trying to do the same.
  • Integration with other agencies of local data is a cause of concern.
  •  When integrating data of the courts and police stations, the intersection lies with the individual citizen, since it is the citizen’s interaction with these branches of the state that is being monitored.
  • No clear explanation has been offered for why the Home Ministry needs access to court data that may have absolutely no relation to criminal law. This may lead to surveillance.

Role of technology

  • The objectives were to streamline judicial processes, reduce pendency, and help the litigants.
  • To continue to do that within the framework of our fundamental rights, the e-Courts must move towards localisation of data, instead of centralisation.
  •  e-Committee must prevent the “seamless exchange” of data between the branches of the state that ought to remain separate. Technology plays an important role in the project, but it cannot be an end in itself.

Way forward

  • This pandemic and the consequent lockdown have forced the legal profession into overnight digitisation.
  • For the first time in the history of the profession, the Apex Court of India and other subordinate courts are hearing matters virtually, due to social distancing norms.
  • In fact, the Supreme Court of India is pushing for an e-filing system, which will radically change the filing processes for lawyers.
  • With e-filing becoming a reality, they will be able to file matters at their convenience from any location.

Question: –

As the world moves towards greater transparency, with mobile phones tracking movements, increased online payments, video footage of most public spaces and data records of most conversations, one is likely to witness a drastic change in trials. Discuss.

Do No Harm

Why in News?

Recently Madras high court in its ruling on S Sushma v Commissioner of police explicitly called for an India-wide ban on Conversion Therapy.

Syllabus—GS2: Fundamental Rights

Conversion Therapy:

  • It is a pseudo-medical practice that falsely professes to be able to change the sexual orientation of the LGBTQIA+ community members.

Need for a ban on Conversion Therapy:

  • The therapy is deeply harmful as it subjects the victims to various forms of physical & emotional abuse.
  • The UN’s study on gender violence & discrimination found that 98% of those who undergo such therapy experience lasting damage includingDepression & anxiety.

Permanent physical harm & loss of faith.

  • The community is being exploited on the entrenched false belief that non-heterosexual orientation is immoral.
  • There have been increasing reports of conversion therapy across 5 states, where persons underwent therapy are resorting to suicide attempt.
  • It is a dreadful form of discrimination that is clouded by false claims to medical legitimacy has to end.
  • It is a misguided & unscientific notion that sexuality can be altered through external intervention.
  • The ban will reduce its prevalence & increase the social acceptability of the community.
  • Outlawing the practice in India would legally prevent the forced administration of medication & the physical & mental abuse that characterizes conversion therapy.
  • Banning will prevent future tragedies of suicides & pain that LGBTQIA+ subjected.

India’s efforts & shortcomings towards homosexuality:

  • In India in recent years. Laws & attitudes towards homosexuality have evolved.
  • The Indian Psychiatric society already declared that homosexuality is not a mental illness & cannot be changed by external attempts.
  • Decriminalization of Section 377 gave legal sanctity to consensual homosexual sex.

But these positive efforts fall short because:

  • Still, Mental Healthcare Act does not provide adequate protection against conversion therapy,
  • Though it bans medical treatment without consent but it allows consent-based medical treatment.
  • Additionally, the act is inadequate for protecting the LGBTQIA+ people’s rights as it fails to prevent categorizing homosexuality as a mental illness.

 

  • At present, India has no law banning conversion therapy that allows the quacks to continue this harmful practice.

Way Forward:

The need for the LGBTQIA+ community in India is a special legislative action that protects them against the real & lasting damage that conversion therapy poses.

India needs a series of measures to discourage conversion therapy such as:

Imposing professional sanctions against persons engaging in this.

Banning conversion therapy involving minors.

Banning the most egregious forms of conversion therapy.

It is high time for India to implement the Madras High Court suggestions & follow the footsteps of the best practice’s nations.

India should echo Britain’s pledge to outlaw conversion therapy & such legislations have been already passed in many countries.

India must take decisive & meaningful action to end this vicious & medically baseless practice.

Question:

India’s actions in recent years towards the vulnerable sections mainly the LGBTQIA+ community is laudable. But its actions fall short in ending the ghastly cases of discrimination such as conversion therapy.Comment

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