Indian Polity Current Affairs for Prelims 2014
(1) First timers create record in 16th Lok Sabha
· About 58 per cent of MPs, who were elected to the new Lok Sabha, are 'first-timers', making them the highest number of debutant members elected to the lower house in the last 30 years.
· About 215 Lok Sabha MPs are first timers(debutants to Lok Sabha)
(2) The newly constituted Lok Sabha is 16th Lok Sabha
(3) 68 Bills lapsed at the end of 15th Lok Sabha
· 15 th Lok Sabha passed 177 bills of the 326 it had listed for consideration and passing in its five year tenure. This is the least number of bills passed by a full five-year-term Lok Sabha. Some of the important bills lapsed are:
· The Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill to reserve 50 per cent of seats in Parliament and the legislatures for women.
· The Constitution (110th Amendment) Bill for reserving half the seats in panchayats for women.
· The Constitution (112th Amendment) Bill reserving HALF of elected seats in municipalities for women.
· The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010: It was meant to to lay down enforceable standards of conduct for judges. It also requires judges to declare details of their and their family members' assets and liabilities.
· The Electronic Delivery of Services Bill, 2011: This landmark bill required public authorities to deliver all public services electronically within a maximum period of eight years.
· The Civil Aviation Authority of India Bill, 2013: It proposed to establish a Civil Aviation Authority of India (CAA) to replace the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) as the civil aviation safety regulator, under overall oversight of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
· The Coal Regulatory Authority Bill, 2013: This bill which was bought after the alleged coal scam, sought to establish an independent regulatory authority for the coal sector.
· The Direct Taxes Code Bill, 2010: This bill consolidates and amend the law relating to direct taxes such as income-tax and wealth-tax.
· The Educational Tribunals Bill, 2010: It sought to set up educational tribunals at the national and state level to adjudicate disputes involving teachers and other employees of higher educational institutions and other stakeholders such as students, universities and statutory regulatory authorities.
(4) Judicial Appointment
· It is dealt in Art 124(2) of Indian Constitution (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)
· Status till 1981: Chief Justice of India initiated the proposal, very often in consultation with his senior colleagues and his recommendation was considered by the President (in the sense explained hereinabove) and, if agreed to, the appointment was made. By and large, this was the position till 1981.
· concept of primacy of the Chief Justice of India is not really to be found in the Constitution. 'Consultation’ under Art 124(2) does not mean ‘concurrence’. So the balance tilted in favour of Executive
· Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association Vs. Union of India(1993) (Second Judges case). It over-ruled the decision in S.P.Gupta case. It held that the recommendation in that behalf should be made by the Chief Justice of India in consultation with his two senior-most colleagues and that such recommendation should normally be given effect to by the executive.
· 1998 Presidential reference case(Third Judges case): Chief Justice of India and his four senior-most colleagues are now generally referred to as the ‘Collegium’ for the purpose of appointment of Judges to the Supreme Court.
· Constitution (120th Amendment) Bill, 2013
o Bill provides for the constitution of the Judicial Appointments Commission, comprising of —(a) the Chief Justice of India, as ex officio Chairperson; (b) two other Judges of the Supreme Court next to the Chief Justice of India in seniority as ex officio Members; (c) the Union Minister in charge of Law and Justice as ex officio Member; and (d) two eminent persons, to be nominated by the collegium consisting of the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of Opposition in the House of the People, as members.
o JAC would recommend to the government persons for appointment to the offices of Chief Justice of India, judges of the SC, chief justices of the high court and other judges of the high court
o The proposed JAC in India is modelled on the U.K. Judicial Appointment Commission. US Model is much politicised so India went for UK model. However in UK collegium Politicians do not have a role and only eminent members have a role.
(5) Bills pending in Parliament for Creation of Legislative Council
· (i) The ASSAM Legislative Council Bill, 2013
· (ii) The RAJASTHAN Legislative Council Bill, 2013
(6) LGBT Judgment
· Suresh Kumar Koushal and other ... Appellants versus NAZ Foundation and others ... Respondents
· Supreme Court held that homosexuality or unnatural sex between two consenting adults under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code is illegal and will continue to be an offence. This provision did not suffer from any constitutional infirmity, it said
· This clarification will hold till,of course, Parliament chooses to amend the law to effectuate the recommendation of the Law Commission of India in its 172nd Report which we believe removes a great deal of confusion.
(7) Supreme Court Judgment on NOTA
· The direction in the judgment dated 27th September, 2013 of the Hon’ble Supreme Court is to provide a NOTA option on the EVM and ballot papers so that the electors who do not want to vote for any of the candidates can exercise their option in secrecy.
· The Supreme Court held that the provisions of Rule 49-O under which an elector not wishing to vote for any candidate had to inform the Presiding Officer about his decision, are ultra vires of Article 19 of the Constitution
· Supreme Court held that a voter could exercise the option of negative voting and reject all candidates as unworthy of being elected. The voter could press the ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA) button in the electronic voting machine.
· Even if the number of electors opting for NOTA option is more than the number of votes poled by any of the candidates, the candidate who secures the largest number of votes has to be declared elected
(8) Disqualification of convicted Lawmakers
· Supreme Court struck down Section 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act as unconstitutional
· Section 8(4) of RP Act allowed convicted lawmakers a three-month period for filing appeal to the higher court and to get a stay of the conviction of offence and sentence
· Section 8 of the RP Act deals with disqualification on conviction for certain offences: A person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for varying terms under Sections 8 (1) (2) and (3) shall be disqualified from the date of conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his release. But Section 8 (4) of the RP Act gives protection to MPs and MLAs as they can continue in office even after conviction if an appeal is filed within three months.
· The Bench found it unconstitutional that convicted persons could be disqualified from contesting elections but could continue to be Members of Parliament and State Legislatures once elected.
· The first politicians to lose their Parliament membership were Congressman Rasheed Masood (convicted for cheating, criminal conspiracy and forgery and sentenced to 4 years in jail), RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and JD-U MP Jagdish Sharma (both convicted in the Bihar fodder scam)
(9) Red Light cars judgment
· Supreme Court slammed the rampant misuse of red beacon lights on cars, saying the practice had “perhaps no parallel in the world democracies”.
· It directed the states to amend the Motor Vehicle Rules to restrict the use of the red beacon and impose an exemplary fine on those who misused it.
(10) Reopening of Dance bars
· Eight years after the Maharashtra government banned dance bars in Mumbai, the Supreme Court on July 16,2013 ordered for reopening
· Deciding on the constitutionality of the ban on dance performances in bars in Maharashtra imposed under the Bombay Police (Amendment) Act of 2005, the apex court gave its order in favour of the bar owners and dancers’ union who had contended that the ban on bar dances in some establishments while permitting them in others was contrary to the rule of equality enshrined in Article 14.
(11) No oral orders to Bureaucrats
· Public-Interest Litigation filed by 83 retired bureaucrats, including former Cabinet Secretary T S R Subramanian seeking its directions for insulating bureaucracy from political interference.
· The Supreme Court ruled that bureaucrats should not act on verbal orders given by political bosses, as it sought an end to frequent transfers and suggested a fixed tenure to insulate them from political interference
(12)Judgement on Transgenders
· PIL filed by National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) urging the Supreme Court to give separate identity to transgenders by recognising them as third category of gender.
· In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court created the "third gender" status for hijras or transgenders. Earlier, they were forced to write male or female against their gender.
· The bench clarified that its verdict pertains only to eunuchs and not other sections of society like gay, lesbian and bisexuals who are also considered under the umbrella term 'transgender'.
(13) Jailed persons can contest elections
· The Supreme Court in its judgement on 10 July 2013 had held that a person, who is in jail or in police custody, cannot contest election to legislative bodies, bringing to an end an era of under trial politicians fighting polls from behind bars. It said that only a voter can contest election and a person in police custody has no right to vote.
· Negating the apex court order, Parliament in September passed a bill that maintains the right of those in jail to contest polls, with the government saying the court verdict was wrong and the Legislature has Constitutional duty to correct it.
· The Representation of the People (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2013 was rushed through in the Lok Sabha and passed within about 15 minutes after a brief discussion. The Bill was also passed by Rajya Sabha subsequently
· After the amendment by Parliament the current status is jailed persons can contest elections
(14) Supreme Court removes 'Private Forest' tag
· About 6.4 lakh acres of forest land in Maharashtra was with private people including Godreg for years
· HC ordered for restoration of land to Forest dept
· Supreme Court over ruled High Court’s decion
· Supreme Court criticized the state for "lending citizens up a garden path for several decades" and for its "active consent in permitting construction through the years'' and said now, residents alone cannot be asked to bear the brunt. The state cannot be allowed to demolish the "massive constructions made on it (the land) over the last half century", the court added.
(15) RTI and Political parties
· Central Information Commission issuing an order in June 2013 that six national parties - Congress, BJP, NCP, CPI-M, CPI and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party - have been substantially funded indirectly by the central government and were required to appoint public information officers as they have the character of a public authority under the RTI Act.
· All political parties opposed the order and, instead, introduced the controversial Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2013, to overturn it. The Bill was later sent to a parliamentary standing committee which in December declared that political parties should not be brought under the transparency law because they are not public authorities created by Parliament.
(16) The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013
· Was passed by Indian Parliament paving the way for establishment of an Lokpal (Ombudsman) to fight corruption in public offices and ensure accountability on the part of public officials, including the Prime Minister, but with some safeguards
· Lokpal will consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members, of which 50% will be judicial members. 50% members of Lokpal shall be from SC/ST/OBCs, minorities and women
· Selection of chairperson and members of Lokpal through a selection committee consisting of PM, Speaker of Lok Sabha, leader of opposition in Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India or a sitting Supreme Court judge nominated by CJI. Eminent jurist to be nominated by President of India on basis of recommendations of the first four members of the selection committee "through consensus".
· Lokpal's jurisdiction will cover all categories of public servants. All entities (NGOs) receiving donations from foreign source in the context of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) in excess of Rs 10 lakh per year are under the jurisdiction of Lokpal
- Lokpal will have power of superintendence and direction over any central investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them by the ombudsman.
· A high-powered committee chaired by the PM will recommend selection of CBI director. The collegium will comprise PM, leader of opposition in Lok Sabha and Chief Justice of India PM has been brought under purview of the Lokpal, so also central ministers and senior officials
· It grants powers to Lokpal to sanction prosecution against public servants.
(17) Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014
· Hyderabad shall be the common capital of the State of Telangana and the State of Andhra Pradesh for such period not exceeding ten years.
· Governor shall have special responsibility for the security of life,liberty and property of all those who reside in common capital
· In discharge of the functions, the Governor shall, after consulting the Council of Ministers of the State of Telangana, exercise his individual judgment as to the action to be taken(discretionary power of Governor)
· The Greyhound and OCTOPUS forces of the existing State of Andhra Pradesh shall be distributed between the successor States after seeking options from the personnel and, each of these forces, on or after the appointed day shall function under the respective Director General of Police of the successor States
· (The Greyhounds are an elite commando force of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh created to combat left wing extremists. It is considered the best anti naxalite force in the country, even above the CRPF's CoBRA which has more men, budget and better arms than the Greyhounds
· Organisation for Counter Terrorist Operations (OCTOPUS) is an elite counter terrorism unit of the erstwhile state of Andhra Pradesh )
(18) Article 3 of Indian Constitution
· Formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States
· Bill can be introduced only on the recommendation of President
· If it is related to States(NOT Union Territory), before introducing in Parliament President has to get the views of State Legislature(Not Legislative Assembly)
· President may give a time period within which the State Legislature has to respond
· State Legislature’s CONSENT is NOT required. Just it is a consultative process.
· After getting State Legislature’s view, President may introduce the bill in Parliament and if passed by SIMPLE majority, the bill is approved
(19) Pro term speaker
· Nine-term Lok Sabha member Kamal Nath was sworn in as the pro tem Speaker of the 16th Lok Sabha
· It is senior BJP leader Lal Krishan Advani’s 11th term in Parliament- four as a member of the Rajya Sabha and seven as a member of the Lok Sabha - making him the senior most member.
· Till a regular Speaker is elected, a pro tem Speaker administers oath to a new House and conducts proceedings.
· Under normal circumstances, a pro tem Speaker is sworn in by the President