ECTION 29A OF THE REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT, 1951
Why is it relevant for prelims 2023?
Because of Covid -19, there was dislocation and delay in moving applications for registration, which in turn led to delay in registration as a Political Party.
Registration with the Election Commission of associations and bodies as political parties.
A party seeking registration has to submit an application to the Election Commission within period of 30 days following the date of its formation
Read more : THE REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT, 1951 (legislative.gov.in)
NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR SAFAI KARAMCHARIS
Why is it relevant for prelims 2023?
Cabinet approves extension of tenure of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis for three years.
About National Commission for Safai Karamcharis
The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) was a statutory body by an Act of Parliament viz. National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993.
The organizational structure of the commission includes Chairperson,Vice-Chairperson, 5 members.
The NCSK has been giving its recommendations to the Government regarding specific programmes for welfare of Safai Karamcharis, study and evaluate the existing welfare programmes for Safai Karamcharis, investigate cases of specific grievances etc.
KERALA LOKAYUKTA ACT, 1999
Why is it relevant for UPSC Prelims 2023?
Recently, the Kerala government has proposed to amend the Kerala Lokayukta Act, 1999 with an ordinance, a move that has drawn criticism from the opposition
THE KERALA LOKAYUKTA (AMENDMENT) ORDINANCE, 2022.pdf (prsindia.org)
Changes brought in
The Kerala cabinet has recommended to the Governor that he promulgates the ordinance.
The proposal sought to give the government powers to “either accept or reject the verdict of the Lokayukta, after giving an opportunity of being heard”.
By this ordinance, the quasi-judicial institution will turn into a toothless advisory body, whose orders will no longer be binding on the government.
About Lokpal and Lokayukta
The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 provided for the establishment of Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for States.
These institutions are statutory bodies without any constitutional status.
They perform the function of an “ombudsman” and inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and for related matters.
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 provides for establishing a Lokpal headed by a Chairperson, who is or has been a Chief Justice of India, or is or has been a judge of the Supreme Court, or an eminent person who fulfills eligibility criteria as specified.
NATIONAL EVIDHAN APPLICATION (NEVA)
Why is it relevant for Prelims 2023?
“National eVidhan Application (NeVA)”, a Mission Mode Project for Digital Legislatures to make the functioning of all Legislative Houses in the country paperless has been developed on the theme of ‘One Nation – One Application’.
More about NeVA
NeVA is a work-flow system deployed on NIC Cloud, MeghRaj which helps the Chair of the House to conduct the proceedings of the House smoothly.
It will help the members to carry out their duties in the House efficiently and to conduct Legislative Business of the House in a Paperless manner.
NeVA is a device neutral and member centric application created to equip them to handle diverse House Business smartly.
NeVA will completely eliminate the process of sending out a notice/request for collection of data.
The aim of the project is to bring all the legislatures of the country together, in one platform thereby creating a massive data depository without having the complexity of multiple applications.
mNeVA is a user-friendly Mobile App of NeVA. mNeVA has made information on the conduct of business in Legislatures accessible anytime, anywhere to everyone.
- NATIONAL JUDICIAL INFRASTRUCTURE AUTHORITY OF INDIA
Why is it relevant for Prelims 2023?
The Registry of Supreme Court of India has compiled data on the status of judicial infrastructure and court amenities
About National Judicial Infrastructure Authority of India
Similar to the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) model, the proposed NJIAI could function as the central agency with each state having its own State Judicial Infrastructure Authority.
The NJIAI will be in charge of budgeting and the infrastructure development of the country’s subordinate courts.
Unlike NALSA, which is administered by the Ministry of Law and Justice, the proposed NJIAI should be under the Supreme Court of India.
There may be a few High Court judges on the NJIAI, as well as some central government officials because the centre must be aware of where the funds are being utilized.
In the State Judicial Infrastructure Authority, 4 to 5 district court judges and state government officials could be members, in addition to the Chief Justice of the respective High Court and a nominated judge.
TELE LAW MOBILE APP
Why is it relevant for Prelims 2023?
The Citizens’ Tele-Law Mobile App, launched recently, enables the individual beneficiary to access pre-litigation advice and hold consultation directly with the Panel Lawyer, free of cost.
Key things to remember about Tele Law Mobile App
Tele-Law leverages technology (viz. tele-video conferencing facilities) to connect the beneficiary with the Panel Lawyer to seek legal advice and consultation for an early redressal of their grievance.
Expanding its reach and ambit the Citizens’ Tele-Law Mobile App intends to widen the access to increased legal information and empowers the masses to identify their problem and chose from appropriate forum of dispute redressal to claim their entitlements and rights by connecting the beneficiary directly to the Panel Lawyer or with an assistance of Para Legal Volunteers, Village Level entrepreneurs, in case of beneficiary who are unable to read or write.
A first of its kind wherein as part of our constitutional mandate for providing equal opportunities before law, every citizen would now be entitled to have access to lawyer on a touch of a finger.
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR)
Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana stressed the need for increasing the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms that can change the judicial landscape, bringing justice to millions and settling grievances without protracted legal proceedings.
What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mechanisms?
ADR is a mechanism of dispute resolution that is non adversarial, i.e. working together cooperatively to reach the best resolution for everyone.
ADR can be instrumental in reducing the burden of litigation on courts, while delivering a well-rounded and satisfying experience for the parties involved.
ADR is generally classified into the following types:
Arbitration: The dispute is submitted to an arbitral tribunal which makes a decision (an “award”) on the dispute that is mostly binding on the parties.
Conciliation: A non-binding procedure in which an impartial third party, the conciliator, assists the parties to a dispute in reaching a mutually satisfactory agreed settlement of the dispute.
Mediation: In mediation, an impartial person called a “mediator” helps the parties try to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of the dispute.
Negotiation: A non-binding procedure in which discussions between the parties are initiated without the intervention of any third party with the object of arriving at a negotiated settlement to the dispute
Why is it relevant for UPSC Prelims 2023?
Recently, a commission set up by the Centre Government submitted its final report for the delimitation of Assembly and parliamentary constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir.
What is Delimitation?
Delimitation is the act of fixing or redrawing the limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies (Assembly or Lok Sabha seat) in a country or a province having a legislative body, as per the Election Commission.
The delimitation exercise is carried out by an independent high-powered panel known as the Delimitation Commission whose orders have the force of law and cannot be questioned by any court.
The exercise has been carried out over the years to redefine ne the area of a constituency based on its population size (based on the last Census).
Aside from changing the limits of a constituency, the process may result in a change in the number of seats in a state.
This exercise also involves the reservation of Assembly seats for SC & ST in accordance with the Constitution.
The key aim is to have equal representation for equal segments of the population in order to ensure a fair division of geographical areas so that all political parties or candidates contesting elections have a level playing field in terms of a number of voters.
Constitutional Basis for Delimitation
Under Article 82, the Parliament enacts a Delimitation Act after every Census.
The delimitation commission is an independent body constituted under Article 82 after the Parliament enacted a Delimitation Act after every census
Under Article 170, States also get divided into territorial constituencies as per the Delimitation Act after every Census.
Once the Act is in force, the Union government sets up a Delimitation Commission.
The Delimitation Commission Act was enacted in 1952.
Delimitation Commissions had been set up four times — 1952, 1963, 1973 and 2002 under the Acts of 1952, 1962, 1972 and 2002.
There was no delimitation after the 1981 and 1991 Censuses.
Who is Included in a Delimitation Commission?
The Delimitation Commission is appointed by the President of India and works in collaboration with the Election Commission of India.
Retired Supreme Court judge
Chief Election Commissioner
Respective State Election Commissioners.
The first delimitation exercise was carried out by the President (with the help of the Election Commission) in 1950-51.
DIGITAL INDIA BHASHINI
Why is it relevant for UPSC Prelims 2023?
Recently, the Ministry of Electronics and IT conducted a brainstorming session with Researchers and Startups aimed to shape strategy for Digital India BHASHINI [BHASHa INterface for India].
About Digital India BHASHINI
Digital India BHASHINI is India’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) led language translation platform.
A Bhashini Platform will make Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) resources available to MSME (Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises), Start-ups and Individual Innovators in the public domain.
Bhashini Platform is a part of the National Language Translation Mission.
The mission aims to ensure that as more Indians connect to the internet, they are able to access global content in their own languages.
ELECTION TO THE OFFICE OF PRESIDENT OF INDIA, 2022
Why it is relevant for UPSC Prelims 2023?
The term of office of Shri Ram Nath Kovind, President of India, is ending on 24th July, 2022. So fresh election has to take place.
Election of President
The President is elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of elected members of both Houses of Parliament, and elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of all states as well as Delhi and Puducherry.
According to Article 55 (3), the election is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote.
In this system, the elector has to mark preferences against the names of the candidates.
The elector can mark as many preferences as the number of candidates.
While the marking of the first preference is compulsory for the ballot paper to be valid, other preferences are optional.
If there are five candidates for example, the voter will give five preferences.
It is mandatory to give a first preference for the vote to be valid, but if the voter doesn’t give other preferences, the vote will still be valid.
How is Winner Determined?
The votes are weighted.
For each MLA, the value is determined by the total population of the state divided by the number of MLAs, further divided by 1000.
The value of each MLA’s vote, therefore, varies from state to state, from a high of 208 in UP to a low of 7 in Sikkim.
The values of the votes in the Assembly add up to 5.43 lakh.
A similar total is assigned to the two Houses of Parliament, which have 776 MPs. The value of each MP’s vote, therefore, works out to 5.43 lakh/776 = 700.
The total value of the electoral pool is the sum of the vote values from the Assemblies and the two Houses, or 10.86 lakh.
The winner is the candidate who polls the most votes out of this pool.
NATIONAL E-GOVERNANCE SERVICE DELIVERY ASSESSMENT 2021 REPORT
Why it is relevant for UPSC Prelims 2023?
Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Science and Technology, will release the second edition of the National e-Governance Service Delivery Assessment 2021 on 13th June 2022. The NeSDA 2021 report has been prepared covering the assessment of States, UTs, and focus Central Ministries on their effectiveness in delivering online services to citizens.
NeSDA 2021 report
Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG) had constituted the National eGovernance Service Delivery Assessment (NeSDA) in 2019 as part of its mandate to boost the e-government endeavours and drive digital government excellence.
The biennial study assesses States, Union Territories (UTs), and focus Central Ministries on the effectiveness of e-Governance service delivery. NeSDA helps the respective governments improve their delivery of citizen centric services and shares best practices across the country for all States, UTs and Central Ministries to emulate.
The NeSDA 2021 Portal was formally launched in June 2021 to conduct the entire assessment process online.
The DARPG team supported by NASSCOM and KPMG, 36 nodal officers from State and UTs and 15 nodal officers from Central Ministries came together to ensure the successful conduct of NeSDA 2021.
Increase in e-Service Delivery
Rise in use of Integrated / Centralized Portals for delivery of e-Services
Improvement across assessment parameter scores.
Among the Services Portals for North-East and Hill States, the highest-ranking states of Meghalaya and Tripura showed improvement across all six sectors compared to NeSDA2019.
In the Union Territories category, Jammu & Kashmir was assessed for the first time in NeSDA 2021 and scored the highest amongst all UTs for six sectors. Among the Remaining States, the overall score of Tamil Nadu increased the most in 2021 compared to 2019.
Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab, Goa, and Odisha also improved the compliance of their Services Portals by 100%.
Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and Rajasthan are the leading states with compliance of more than 75% across all parameters for their Services Portals.
FLAG CODE OF INDIA, 2002
The government of India has amended the Flag Code of India, 2002 allowing for the National Flag to be made from polyester and other machine-made fabric, besides the traditional handspun and handwoven khadi.
The hoisting/use/display of the Indian National Flag is governed by the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 and the Flag Code of India, 2002.
Salient features of the Flag Code of India, 2002
National Flag shall be made of hand spun and hand woven or machine made, cotton/polyester/wool/silk khadi bunting.
A member of public, a private organization or an educational institution may hoist/display the National Flag on all days and occasions, ceremonial or otherwise, consistent with the dignity and honour of the National Flag.
Where the Flag is displayed in open or displayed on the house of a member of public, it may be flown day and night
The National Flag shall be rectangular in shape. The Flag can be of any size but the ratio of the length to the height (width) of the Flag shall be 3:2
The Flag should not be flown on any vehicle except of the dignitaries mentioned in Section IX of Part Ill of the Flag Code, such as President, Vice-President, Prime-Minister, Governors etc.
MINORITY STATUS IN INDIA
News – Every person in India can be a minority in one State or the other. Minority status of religious and linguistic communities is “State-dependent”, the Supreme Court said
Every person in India can be a minority in one State or the other.
A Marathi can be a minority outside his home State e.g., Maharashtra.
A religious or linguistic community which is a minority in a particular State, can inherently claim protection and the right to administer and run its own educational institutions under Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution.
Minorities notified by the Government of India
Only those communities notified under section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992 by the central government are regarded as minority.
In 1993, five religious communities viz. The Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) were notified as minority communities.
In 2014, Jains were also notified as a minority community.
Any section of the citizens residing in any part of India having a distinct language, script or culture of its own, shall have the right to conserve the same.
It grants protection to both religious minorities as well as linguistic minorities.
Supreme Court – the scope of article 29 is not necessarily restricted to minorities only, as use of the word ‘section of citizens’ in the Article includes minorities as well as the majority.
All minorities shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
The protection under Article 30 is confined only to minorities (religious or linguistic) and does not extend to any section of citizens.
The 7th Constitutional (Amendment) Act 1956 inserted this article which provides for a Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities appointed by the President of India.
It would be the duty of the Special Officer to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the Constitution.
Source: Minority status of religious, linguistic communities is State-dependent: SC – The Hindu
LEGAL AID DEFENCE COUNSEL(LADC) SYSTEM
News – NALSA has launched the Legal Aid Defence Counsel (LADC) system in 365 districts in 22 states across India.
About Legal Aid Defence Counsel
It is a legal aid delivery based model envisaged by NALSA for providing legal aid in criminal matters (in Sessions Courts, at the first instance) on the lines of public defender system.
Legal Aid Defense Counsel System will be dealing exclusively with the legal aid work in criminal matters.
Lawyers engaged for it shall not be taking any private cases.
Qualifications for Chief Legal Aid Defense Counsel include practice in Criminal law for at least 10 years and must have handled at least 30 criminal trials including appeals in Sessions Courts among other things
About The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA)
It has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987
Aim is to provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society and to organize Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.
The Chief Justice of India is the Patron-in-Chief.
In every State, State Legal Services Authority has been constituted to give effect to the policies and directions of the NALSA
The State Legal Services Authority is headed by the Chief Justice of the respective High Court who is the Patron-in-Chief of the State Legal Services Authority.
Source: Legal Aid Defense Counsel System (nalsa.gov.in)
QUALITY COUNCIL OF INDIA
News – The Quality Council of India is celebrating its Silver Jubilee.
About Quality Council of India
Quality Council of India was set up in 1997
It was set up jointly by the Government of India and the Indian Industry represented by the three premier industry associations i.e. Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
Its first Chairman was Ratan Tata.
Quality Council of India (QCI) was established as a National body for Accreditation.
QCI is a non-profit organization registered under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860.
QCI has been established to create a mechanism for independent third party assessment of products, services and processes.
It plays a pivotal role at the national level in propagating, adoption and adherence to quality standards in all important spheres of activities including education, healthcare, environment protection, governance, social sectors, infrastructure sector and such other areas of organized activities that have significant bearing in improving the quality of life and wellbeing of the citizens of India.
Source: Press Information Bureau (pib.gov.in)
SECTION 66A OF THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT
News – The Supreme Court ordered States and their police forces to stop prosecuting free speech on social media under Section 66A of the Information Technology Act.
About the order
The Supreme Court ordered States and their police forces to stop prosecuting free speech on social media under Section 66A of the Information Technology Act
The court direction will apply only to a charge under Section 66A and not extend to other offences in a case.
Section 66A of the IT Act
Section 66A had prescribed three years’ imprisonment if a social media message caused “annoyance” or was found “grossly offensive”.
Section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act 2000 was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2015 in the Shreya Singhal case.
Source: No more prosecutions under Section 66A, says Supreme Court – The Hindu
News – Election Commission launched a yearlong Voter Awareness Program – ‘Matdata Junction’ .
It is a Voter Awareness Program.
The ‘Matdata Junction’ is a 52 episode radio series produced by the Election Commission of India, in collaboration with All India Radio.
The program as a combination of information and entertainment, would specifically help address urban apathy and inform the audience about the election processes in the conduct of free, fair, transparent, inducement free, accessible and inclusive elections in an interactive communication format.
The 15 minutes program will be broadcast every Friday on All India Radio network covering 25 FM stations, 4 FM Gold stations, 42 Vividh Bharati stations, and 159 primary channels/local radio stations in 23 languages, i.e., Assamese, Bengali, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Bodo, Santhali, Maithili, and Dogri.
The 52 episode series will cover various aspects of election and related processes from voters’ perspective.
It will have thematic episodes on voter registration, Informed & Ethical Voting, Value of Vote, Inclusive & Accessible Elections, Model Code of Conduct, IT Applications, EVMs, stories of election officials, BLOs, etc.
GENERAL CONSENT TO CBI
News – Many state governments have withdrawn general consent to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
The DSPE Act and state government consent
The CBI is governed by The Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act of 1946
Section 6 of the act requires the investigative agency to obtain the consent of state governments before it can investigate a crime in a particular state.
Without state government’s consent, CBI cannot exercise its power within that state’s borders, in contrary to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that has jurisdiction all over India.
Consent given by a state government to the CBI can come in two forms, either case-specific, or ‘general’.
General consent, as the name indicates, allows the CBI to operate seamlessly within states.
In contrast, if the CBI does not have the general consent of a state government, it is required to apply for consent on a case-by-case basis and cannot act before the consent is given.
Withdrawal of general consent also means that the CBI will not be able to register any fresh case involving central government officials or private persons in a particular state without prior permission of that state government.
CBI can continue to investigate cases in a state registered prior to the withdrawal of general consent.
Calcutta High Court order in July 2022, in a case of illegal coal mining and cattle smuggling being investigated by the CBI, ruled that the central agency cannot be stopped from investigating a central government employee in another state.
In its order, the High Court observed that corruption cases across the country must be treated equally, and that central government employees could not be exempt from investigation on the grounds that their offices were located in states that had withdrawn general consent. The judgment also said that withdrawal of general consent and its ramifications would be applicable in cases where exclusively state government employees were involved.
This order, however, has been challenged in the Supreme Court, where the matter is still pending.
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
CBI was set up in 1963 by a resolution of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
CBI comes under the administrative control of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
CBI is not a statutory body.
It derives its powers from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.
CBI is the main investigating agency of the Central Government.
It provides assistance to the Central Vigilance Commission and Lokpal.
It is the nodal police agency in India which coordinates investigations on behalf of Interpol Member countries.
Source: Explained | What is general consent to the CBI and which states have withdrawn it? (deccanherald.com)