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Current Affairs on 1st- 6th June 2018 (PART -1)


1. “Preventive detention no quick fix”
2. Mercy plea rejected by President, what next for death-row convict?
3. New law ready for structural rejig of major ports
4. Arunachal Pradesh, where moves are afoot to keep out migrants
5. Centre to start measuring ‘green GDP’ of States
6. Governance and the Governor
7. World Bank approves Rs. 6,000 crore Atal Bhujal Yojana
8. Centre not to file counter-affidavit on article 35A


1. “Preventive detention no quick fix”


  • The judgment dealt with the case of a seed manufacturer in Telangana who was taken into preventive detention by the authorities on the allegation that he is selling spurious chilli seeds

             to poor farmers.

What Supreme Court has said?

  • The court admitted that detention of a person is a serious matter affecting ‘civil liberties’.
  • The court believes that if adequate measures are available under common law, then the state should avoid resorting to “preventive detention”.
  •  To keep a person detained under preventive detention depends on the personal satisfaction of the Authority, but doing so violates the fundamental rights described in Articles 14, 19, 21 and  22 of the Constitution.
  •  The power of Preventive Detention is statutory in nature, its exercise has to be within the limitations of the statute, and must be exercised for the purpose the power is conferred.BASICS:


What is preventive detention?

  •  The Article 22 (3) of the Indian constitution provides that, if a person is arrested or detained under a law providing for preventive detention, then the protection against arrest and detention

under Article 22 (1) and 22(2) shall not be available. Preventive detention on the other hand is action taken beforehand to prevent possible commitment of crime.

  •  Preventive detention thus is action taken on grounds of suspicion that some wrong actions may be done by the person concerned.
  •  Preventive detention can however be made only on four grounds. The grounds for Preventive  detention are—
  • i. security of state,
    ii. maintenance of public order,
    iii. maintenance of supplies and essential services and defence,
    iv. foreign affairs or security of India.
  • person may be detained without trial only on any or some of the above grounds. A detainee under preventive detention can have no right of personal liberty guaranteed by Article 19 or Article21.

To prevent reckless use of Preventive Detention, certain safe guards are provided in the constitution.

  • Firstly, a person may be taken to preventive custody only for 3 months at the first instance. If the period of detention is extended beyond 3 months, the case must be referred to an Advisory

Board consisting of persons with qualifications for appointment as judges of High Courts. It is implicit, that the period of detention may be extended beyond 3 months, only on approval by the Advisory Board.

  •  Secondly, the detainee is entitled to know the grounds of his detention. The state however may refuse to divulge the grounds of detention if it is in the public interest to do so. Needless to

say, this power conferred on the state leaves scope for arbitrary action on the part of the authorities.

  •  Thirdly, the detaining authorities must give the detainee earliest opportunities for making representation against the detention. These safeguards are designed to minimize the misuse of

preventive detention. It is because of these safeguards that preventive detention, basically a denial of liberty, finds a place on the chapter on fundamental rights. These safeguards are not available
to enemy aliens.


2. Mercy plea rejected by President, what next for death-row convict?


  •  President Ramnath Kovind has rejected Jagat Rai’s mercy petition, along with his colleagues, who was convicted of killing Vijendra Mahto’s wife and five minor children while sleeping in 2006 in Rampur Shyamchand village of Bihar. Jagat rai was accused of stealing a buffalo by Vijendra mahto. In 2013 the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty. There are many instances in which the President has rejected judicial remedies, but there are judicial options for the convict of capital punishment.

When the mercy petition comes to the President?


  •  The sentence of death passed by a trial court has to be confirmed by a High Court.


  •  The convict can then move the Supreme Court. In September 2014, a Constitution Bench of the SC held that appeals against HC rulings confirming the death sentence will be heard by a Bench of three judges.
  •  Once the SC dismisses such an appeal, the convict can seek a review (to be heard in open court) and subsequently, file a curative petition.
  •  If all these are dismissed, the convict has the option of a mercy petition. There is no time limit within which the mercy petition has to be decided.

Power of pardon

  •  Under Article 72 of the Constitution, “the President shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence where the sentence is a sentence of death”. Under Article 161, the Governor too has pardoning powers but these do not extend to death sentences.                                                 
  •  The President cannot exercise his power of pardon independent of the government. Rashtrapati  Bhawan forwards the mercy plea to the Ministry of Home Affairs, seeking the Cabinet’s advice.

The Ministry in turn forwards this to the concerned state government; based on the reply, it formulates its advice on behalf of the Council of Ministers.

  •  In several cases, the SC has ruled that the President has to act on the advice of the Council of Ministers while deciding mercy pleas. These include Maru Ram vs Union of India in 1980,

and Dhananjoy Chatterjee vs State of West Bengal in 1994.

  •  Although the President is bound by the Cabinet’s advice, Article 74(1) empowers him to return it for reconsideration once. If the Council of Ministers decides against any change, the President

has no option but to accept it.

After President decides:

  •  In the case of Eupru Sudhakar and others vs Andhra Pradesh and others in October 2006, the Supreme Court held that under Article 72 or 161, the power of the President or the Governor

is under judicial review.

  •  His decision can be challenged on the following grounds:

(a) It has not been passed wisely.
(b) It has been passed from bad to worse.
(c) It has been passed based on immature or completely irrelevant thoughts.
(d) The relevant facts are not kept in mind.
(e) It is influenced by self-interest.

Can the High Court review these cases if the President rejects mercy petition?

 This question is pending before the Supreme Court.

  •  Sonu Sardar of Chhattisgarh was sentenced to death in 2008 for the murder of five members of a scrap dealer family, including two minors in 2004.
  •  After rejecting his mercy petition by the governor and the President, Sonu Sardar challenged the plea of rejecting the petition in 2015, citing “inappropriate use of power and illegal solitaryconfinement” in the Delhi High Court in 2015. 
  •  On June 28, 2017, the High Court converted the death penalty into life imprisonment.
  •  The Central Government challenged this decision of the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court issued a notice in November 2017.
  •  The government argued that only the Supreme Court should ask the petitions filed against the President’s decision to dismiss mercy petition and not the High Court.


3. New law ready for structural rejig of major ports



 The Ministry of Shipping has drafted the Indian Port Bill 2018 to rewrite a century-old multipurpose law for the ports of the country. The move to re-write the Indian Port Act, 1908 marks
the point that the Center was preparing Plan B to change the constitutional structure of 12 ports running as a trust through a law.

What is the amendment?


  •  Following the agreement of the Cabinet on the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, the Ministry of Shipping has amended some sections of the Major Port Authority

Bill, it seeks to make 11 major ports of authority, which is currently in the form of trust Are operating in

  •  The Major Port Authority Bill does not have the provisions for incorporation or privatization of major ports. Embarrassment of employees
  •  However, these changes have not suppressed the employees’ organizations who were agitating against the structural reforms sponsored by the Ministry and demanding the withdrawal of the

bill, calling it a ‘cosmetic and fake’ bill.


  •  Apart from the other things, these employees’ organizations fear that the government can use its powers to issue policy instructions to convert ‘Port Authority’ into ‘Company’ and it is also possible

that later the privatization of these ports May move forward. Committee Conditions

  •  The Committee, which has formulated this bill, included a mandate to include a new section for the abolition of obsolete segments in terms of approval and to bring professionalism in its


  •  The Committee, after repeating the Indian Port Act, 1908, abolished approximately 20 volumes, in which, according to critics, there was the ability to damage the revenue production of major ports.
  •  More serious is the fact that a new section has been added in the Indian Port Bill, 2018, which gives the power to “free the whole or any part of the harbor changes in special cases”.This will only benefit the ship-producing associations.

Controversial mergence of bills

  •  In its present form, the Indian Port Act has been used by the coastal states to privatize ports like Gu jarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha and Kerala (outside the control of central


  •  A section under the government believes that merger of both the laws would prove to be an “ideal” for achieving the objectives of the incorporation of ports without paying attention to the

concerns of labor unions.

  •  The management of major ports can be defined as a chapter in this new act.
  •  But the government first transferred the Chief Port Authority Bill, which is now the property of Parliament.


  •  The Indian Port Bill is currently undergoing a consultation process with various stakeholders. Once it is confirmed it will become a policy decision.


4. Arunachal Pradesh, where moves are afoot to keep out migrants



  •  Since Assam is ready to publish the final draft of the National Register of citizens till 30 June, neighboring Arunachal Pradesh is strengthening its boundaries to prevent the entry of illegal migrants.

What is the matter?


  •  Last month, contractors of Eastern Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh said that 90 infrastructure projects were halted as 2,000 workers had stopped working to ensure that their names wereincluded in the NRC.
  •  More than fifteen days later, in Longing district, the police caught 87 workers who did not have the Inner Line Permit (ILP) and were sent back to Assam from where they came.
  •  Similar campaigns against ‘ILP violators’ have taken more than 350 people out of other districts in the next few days.
  •  But in Itanagar, the administration indicated that there is a lot to be done in this campaign to ban illegal immigrants, who can disturb law and order and dissolve peace.
  •  It is linked to the theory that after the final format becomes public, Assam can finally remove millions of citizens from the state.

What is the ILP (Inner Line Permit)?


  •  Since the British era, the ILP is a travel document that requires Indian citizens to enter the border

states of North-Eastern India - Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.

  •  It is issued in the states under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, to control the activities

of such people, which are not related to these states.

  •  The ILP is valid for one week, but its duration can be extended.
  •  Those who often come to work in these states can choose a special ILP. This particular ILP

has to be renewed annually.

  •  Since ILP is compulsory for Indians and protected area permits for foreigners, the fact is that the workers who were removed from Arunachal Pradesh did not have a permit, which brings

their nationality into the realm of doubt. Where is the NRC suitable?

  •  After the first draft of the NRC was published on December 31, 2017, Assam’s Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that those who have failed to include their names in the list will be

recognized as foreigners and banned them from all constitutional rights. Will go.

  •  Political commentators have said that the NRC can leave 5 lakh to 10 lakh people, most of them can be tagged as ‘Bangladeshi’ or citizens without citizenship.

Fear of other states

  •  Neighboring neighbors of Assam are afraid that these declared non-citizens may be transferredto their areas for cash on demand of cheap labor.
  •  On January 4, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khatu ordered the police to strengthen the surveillance with the border with Assam.
  •  At about the same time, former Nagaland Home Minister Kuzholuju Nienu wanted to bring the state’s commercial center Dimapur to the realm of ILP because “illegal migrants infiltrated Nagaland  through this city.”
  •  ILP is not applicable in Dimapur.

Where will the Assamese and illegal immigrants removed by other states?

  •  These sister states often blame Assam for their problems with “illegal migrants”, who are ironically oblivious to skilled and unskilled workers. In Nagaland there is also a word for them - IBI, which means illegal illegal immigration (Illegal Bangladeshi Immigrant).
  •  Organizations such as Naga Students Federation conduct ‘census’ to keep records of the number of non-Naga and IBI.
  •  Past events

 In 2008, many Bengali-speaking Muslims were evacuated from Mokokchung city of Nagaland,
and gave birth to vigilance against migrants due to “demographic changes”.
 A similar incident took place in 2015, while in October 2017, residents of Chumukedima city
adopted an offer to keep IBI out
Opinion of social scientists
 Social scientists say that the activity of these floods and erosion-displaced people in the urban
areas of Assam promotes the principles of doomsday about illiterates as compared to indigenous
people in the near future.
Dependency of illegal immigrants
 Such people are temporarily dependent on daily work or the river of Brahmaputra river system.
What do statistics say?
 There are more than 3,500 sand bars in Assam, however, according to the previous census 14
years ago, their official number is 2,089.
 At that time, the number of workers in the form of daily workers was 24.9 lakhs ie 9.35% of
Assam’s population.
What is NRC?
 Names of Indian nationals are included in the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
 NRC was prepared after the census of the year 1951.
 It was prepared on the basis of the details of all the persons described during the census.
 On December 31, 2017, the first draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was published.
 Under this, approximately 3.29 crore applications were submitted in Assam to get recognition as
a citizen of India, out of which only 1.9 crore people were included in the names.

5. Centre to start measuring ‘green GDP’ of States
Green GDP calculation for States
1. India’s environmental diversity and riches are universally recognised but have never been
2. Starting this year, the government will begin a five-year exercise to compute district-level data
of the country’s environmental wealth.
3. The numbers will eventually be used to calculate every State’s ‘green’ Gross Domestic Product
4. The metric will help with a range of policy decisions, such as compensation to be paid during
land acquisition, calculation of funds required for climate mitigation, and so on.
What’s so special?
1. This is the first time such a national environment survey is being undertaken.
2. A pilot project is set to begin this September in 54 districts.
3. The land will be demarcated into “grids” with about 15-20 grids per district.
4. These will capture the diversity in the State’s geography, farmland, wildlife, and emissions pattern,
and will be used to compute a value.
5. For instance, there’s a no-go zone, we need to calculate what its economic impact.
6. Much of the data required for the inventory would be sourced from datasets that already exist
with other government ministries.
Launching “Green Skilling Programme”
1. The government has also launched a ‘green skilling’ programme under which youth, particularly
school dropouts, would be trained in a range of ‘green jobs’— as operators of scientific
instruments used to measure environmental quality, as field staff in nature parks, and as tourist
2. Some of the labour required for the survey would also be sourced from the green-skilled
Green GDP
1. Green GDP is a term used for expressing GDP after adjusting for environment degradations.
2. Green GDP is an attempt to measure the growth of an economy by subtracting the costs of
environmental damages and ecological degradations from the GDP
3. The concept was first initiated through a System of National Accounts.
4. The System of National Accounts (SNA) is an accounting framework for measuring the economic
activities of production, consumption and accumulation of wealth in an economy during a period
of time.
5. When information on economy’s use of the natural environment is integrated into the system
of national accounts, it becomes green national accounts or environmental accounting.
6. The process of environmental accounting involves three steps viz. Physical accounting; Monetary
valuation; and integration with national Income/wealth Accounts:
 Physical accounting determines the state of the resources, types, and extent (qualitative and
quantitative) in spatial and temporal terms.
 Monetary valuation is done to determine its tangible and intangible components.
 Thereafter, the net change in natural resources in monetary terms is integrated into the Gross
Domestic Product in order to reach the value of Green GDP

6. Governance and the Governor
Misuse of the office by some is not a justification for removing it altogether. We need proper
checks Governor: An overseer
1. Under the constitutional scheme, the Governor’s mandate is substantial. From being tasked with
overseeing government formation, to reporting on the breakdown of constitutional machinery
in a State.
2. To maintaining the chain of command between the Centre and the State, he can also reserve
his assent to Bills passed by the State Legislature and promulgate ordinances if the need arises.
3. Further, under Article 355, the Governor, being the Central authority in a State, acts as an
overseer in this regard.
4. There are numerous examples of the Governor’s position being abused, usually at the behest
of the ruling party at the Centre.
The root lies in the process of appointment itself
1. The post has been reduced to becoming a retirement package for politicians for being politically
faithful to the government of the day
2. Consequently, a candidate wedded to a political ideology could find it difficult to adjust to the
requirements of a constitutionally mandated neutral seat. This could result in bias, as appears
to have happened in Karnataka
3. A possible solution would be not to nominate career politicians and choose “eminent persons”
from other walks of life
4. Both the Sarkaria and M.M. Punchhi Commissions seem to hint at this. But this could also
lead to the creation of sycophants within the intelligentsia, an equally worrisome prospect
5. On the other hand, there are instances of politicians who have risen above partisan politics
and performed their role with dignity and without fear or favor
B.P. Singhal v. Union of India
1. This deals with interpreting Article 156 of the Constitution and the arbitrary removal of
Governors before the expiration of their tenure
2. This judgment is crucial since a fixed tenure for Governors could go quite far in encouraging
neutrality and fairness in the discharge of their duties, unmindful of the dispensation at the Centre
Hung Assembly and the Governor
1. The Governor has the task of inviting the leader of the largest party/alliance, post-election, to
form the government; overseeing the dismissal of the government in case of a breakdown of
the Constitution in the State; and, through his report, recommending the imposition of President’s
2. There are examples of the last two having been frequently misused to dismiss “belligerent” State
governments, but this has been checked substantially by the Supreme Court through S.R.
Bommai v. Union of India
3. Following the Sarkaria Commission’s recommendations, the Court underlined that the breakdown
of constitutional machinery implied a virtual impossibility, and not mere difficulty, in carrying out
governance in a State.
4. It said that while the subjective satisfaction of the President regarding such a breakdown was
beyond judicial scrutiny, the material on which such satisfaction was based could certainly be
analyzed by the judiciary, including the Governor’s report
5. It reserved the power to declare this report mala fide and restore the dismissed government.
The same idea can be extended in case of the Governor’s discretion in inviting a party to form
the government

6. Since the Bommai verdict allows the Supreme Court to investigate claims of mala fide in the
Governor’s report, a similar extension to cover mala fide in the invitation process could be
a potential solution
The Way Forward
1. In India, the balance in power is tilted towards the Union
2. The importance of the Governor’s position arises not from the exceptional circumstances that
necessitate the use of his discretion, but as a crucial link within this federal structure in maintaining
effective communication between the Centre and a State
3. As a figurehead who ensures the continuance of governance in the State, even in times of
constitutional crises, his role is often that of a neutral arbiter in disputes settled informally within
the various strata of government, and as the conscience keeper of the community
4. There is need to ensure proper checks and balances to streamline the functioning of this office
5. However, misuse of a position of power should not serve as a justification for removing the
office altogether, unless such a position has totally lost its relevance
 7. World Bank approves Rs. 6,000 crore Atal Bhujal Yojana
The World Bank has approved Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY), a Rs.6000 crore Fund.
Type: Central Sector Scheme
Related Ministry/Department: Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga
Period: The scheme is to be implemented over a period of 5 years from 2018-19 to 2022-23,
with World Bank assistance.
Aim of the Scheme
1. The scheme aims to improve groundwater management in priority areas in the country through
community participation.
2. The priority areas identified under the scheme fall in the states of Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka,
Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
3. These States represent about 25% of the total number of over-exploited, critical and semi-critical
blocks in terms of groundwater in India.
4. They also cover two major types of groundwater systems found in India – alluvial and hard
rock aquifers- and have varying degrees of institutional readiness and experience in groundwater
1. Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) is regulating groundwater development in 23 States/
2. For enforcement of the regulatory measures in these areas, concerned Deputy Commissioners/
District Magistrates have been directed under Section 5 of Environment (Protection) Act,
1986 to take necessary action in case of violations of directives of CGWA.
Funds Mobilization
1. Funds under the scheme will be provided to the states for strengthening the institutions responsible
for ground water governance, as well as for encouraging community involvement for improving
ground water management to foster behavioural changes that promote conservation and efficient
use of water.

2. The scheme will also facilitate convergence of ongoing Government schemes in the states by
incentivizing their focussed implementation in identified priority areas.
3. Implementation of the scheme is expected to benefit nearly 8350 Gram Panchayats in 78 districts
in these states. Funds under the scheme will be made available to the participating states as
Community Participation
1. The scheme envisages active participation of the communities in various activities such as formation
of Water User Associations, monitoring and disseminating ground water data, water budgeting
2. Preparation and implementation of Gram-Panchayat wise water security plans and IEC activities
related to sustainable ground water management is also to be carried out.
3. Community participation is also expected to facilitate bottom-up groundwater planning process
to improve the effectiveness of public financing and align implementation of various government
programs on groundwater in the participating states
 8. Centre not to file counter-affidavit on article 35A
 The Centre has decided not to file any “counter-affidavit” on Article 35A, which has been challenged
in the Supreme Court through a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition
 According to it, this case is a matter of interpretation of the law and the Supreme Court should
decide on it
About Article 35A
  Article 35A allows the Jammu and Kashmir legislature to decide the “permanent residents”
of the State, prohibits a non-State resident from buying property in the State and ensures
reservation in employment for residents
  It grants a special status to Jammu and Kashmir
Background of Article 35A
 This particular provision was included in the Constitution by a Presidential Order
 It was incorporated into the Constitution by an order of the then President Rajendra Prasad on
the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet in 1954
 The Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order followed the 1952 Delhi Agreement
between Nehru and the then Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Sheikh Abdullah, which
extended Indian citizenship to the ‘State subjects’ of Jammu and Kashmir


Thursday, June 7, 2018