Here is the digest of important newspaper articles and quiz!
India joins Hague Code of Conduct
India has joined The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC) aimed at strengthening worldwide attempt to contain the spread of ballistic missiles. It is a voluntary legally non-binding multilateral body aimed at preventing the spread of ballistic missiles that can deliver weapons of mass destruction.
Indiaâ€™s joining the Code signals its readiness to further strengthen the global non-proliferation regimes. In recent years, the HCoC has been focused on West Asia, South Asia and the East Asia due to the rising missile and nuclear arms race among rival powers.
What are ballistic missiles? – A ballistic missile is a missile that follows a ballistic trajectory with the objective of delivering one or more warheads to a predetermined target. The ballistic trajectory of a projectile is the path that a thrown or launched projectile or missile without propulsion will take under the action of gravity, neglecting all other forces, such as friction from aerodynamic drag.
New conduct rules for lawyers by Madras HC
The Madras High Court has made changes to the Section 34 of the Advocates Act introducing new conduct rules and punishments. Â The High Court has arrogated to itself powers of the Bar Council penalising lawyers for attempting to â€˜browbeatâ€™ judges or giving complaints to superiors about judges, leading to lifelong debarment from legal practice. As an interim measure courts can debar lawyers even before an inquiry.
The High Court clarified that the rules framed are in compliance with the Supreme Court directions in the R.K. Anand case (2009) to â€œmaintain the dignity and the orderly functioningâ€ of the courts. The case involved the prosecutor and defence counsels being caught on camera colluding to influence a key witness; illustrations were cited by the court where advocates were said to have taken money in the name of judges, fabricated records and made it a practice to browbeat and abuse judges and on that basis tried to get a case transferred from an inconvenient judge; the court noted an increase in instances of advocates sending unfounded and unsubstantiated allegation petitions against a judge to superiors.
What are the misconducts mentioned in the rules?
The following are misconducts enumerated in the rules:
(i) an advocate who is found to have accepted money in the name of a judge or on the pretext of influencing him;
(ii) an advocate who browbeats and/or abuses a judge or judicial officer;
(iii) an advocate who is found to have sent or spread unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations/petitions against a judicial officer or a judge to the superior officer;
(iv) an advocate who actively participates in a procession inside the court campus and/or is involved in gherao inside the court hall or holds placard inside the court hall;
(v) an advocate who appears in the court under the influence of liquor.
What are the drawbacks of such rules? – The new provisions go against the â€˜Standards of Professional Conduct and Etiquetteâ€™ provided in the Rules under Section 49(1)(c) of the Advocates Act which stipulates that: â€œAn advocateâ€¦ shall not be servile and whenever there is proper ground for serious complaint against a judicial officer, it shall be his right and duty to submit his grievance to proper authoritiesâ€.
Moreover, this clause goes against the law laid down in C. Ravichandran Iyer case (1995(5)SCC457) where the Supreme Court took note of the ineffectiveness of the impeachment process and formulated an alternative in-house mechanism where complaints could be given to the high court or Supreme Court and matters could be investigated discreetly. They did not discourage complaints being given as the present amendments do, under the threat of debarment. It is true that a false complaint may affect the reputation or the career of an otherwise competent and honest judicial officer. But that price is paid by every citizen against whom false cases are foisted.
What are the International best practices? – The new rules are not in sync with the United Nations â€˜Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyersâ€™ which stipulate certain minimum â€œguarantees for the functioning of lawyersâ€. They also provide that lawyers shall enjoy civil and penal immunity for relevant statements made in good faith in written or oral pleadings or in their professional appearances before a court, tribunal or other legal or administrative authority.
Draft Water Framework Bill
The government has drafted the National Water Framework Bill and the Model Bill for the Conservation, Protection, Regulation and Management of Groundwater and has made it available for public response. The bills aim to decentralise water management and give more power to panchayats and gram sabhas to decide how water can be better used.
The most fundamental reform that the Bill sought to make was to do away with the â€œBritish Common Lawâ€ concept Â that he who owned the land could extract unlimited groundwater. According to the provisions of the proposed Bill, corporations and industries extracting groundwater now had to submit plans to ensure that water was used responsibly and that any possible contamination was remedied. The government has for the first time said that citizens had a right to safe water and laid out stringent rules on how corporations and large entities can extract groundwater.
The Bills in a first also propose fines ranging from Rs.5,000 to Rs. 5,00,000 depending on the level of infraction and who the perpetrators were. Groundwater wouldnâ€™t also be a free resource and those who could pay for it ought to be doing so while ensuring that it was equitably available to all. The Bill doesnâ€™t detail a mechanism but lays down broad principles.
What is the benefits of such a legislation? – The new bills signal the growing importance of groundwater management and its recognition by the government. Previous governments have also tried to enact legislation to ensure that groundwater, a fragile resource and 80% of Indiaâ€™s irrigation supply Â is used judiciously. However, these didnâ€™t account for the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution vesting powers to panchayats and municipalities in the management of water that includes groundwater and was rarely adopted by States.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD), laid down a set of criteria in 2005 to define the monsoon onset in Kerala. According to it, at least 8 of 14 meteorological stations located on the southern coast ought to report rainfall of 2.5 mm or more for two consecutive days.
Along with that there ought to be minimum range of wind speed and characteristic heat waves, called Outgoing Longwave Radiation. Â There should also be a steady pattern of monsoon winds at specified height in the atmosphere. Only when all of this is satisfied for two days continuously does it count as monsoon.
Case of beard in the army
A jawan who insisted on growing a beard on religious grounds has been terminated by the Army and termed â€˜an undesirable soldierâ€™. His dismissal was upheld by the Kochi Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) .
Amendments to Regulation No. 665 of the Defence Services Regulations and the Ministry of Defence (Army) letter, 1991, those other than Sikhs cannot sport a permanent beard.
What was the rationale of the jawan?
The jawan argued that he had the right to grow a beard (under Article 25 of the Constitution on religious freedom) and that he should have rights on par with Sikhs. The Armed Forces Tribunal was not swayed by the contention.
What was the ruling of the tribunal? Â – The Tribunal said that having a beard was not among the â€˜fundamental tenetsâ€™ of Islam. The Army is a disciplined force and denominational differences among its members based on religion, caste etc. cannot be permitted. Practice of wearing a beard claimed on the basis of religion by the applicant, which goes against Regulation 665 of the Defence Service Regulations, is not conducive to the discipline of the Force.
What is Art 25? – Art 25 provides for freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion. Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion.
Tussle over Rosogolla
The tussle between West Bengal and Orissa over the GI rights over rosogolla has been taking place for a while now.
Odishaâ€™s Department of Science and Technology has been poring over literary evidence and has decided to study it in depth, to reinforce the Stateâ€™s demand for a Geographical Indication for the famous cottage cheese balls in sugary gravy. There are multiple references to rosogolla in ancient literature according to Orissa government.
Supporters in Bengal, say it was first produced by Nabin Chandra Dash around 1868. Across the border, Odia litterateurs say the sweet is found in many works well before 1868.
Around 1843, Rev. Amos Sutton, a missionary, talks of â€˜rosokora,â€™ hinting at juicy â€˜rosogollaâ€™ in syrup, in an English-Odia dictionary, the claim goes. Odisha is also citing Pundit Suryanarayan Dashâ€™s Sahitya Akademi award-winning â€˜Odia Sahitya ra Itihasa,â€™ which mentions â€˜Dandi Ramayanâ€™ and its pointers to Odia food including â€˜rosogollaâ€™. The ancient Odia dictionary â€œPurnachandra Bhasakoshaâ€™ talks of a cheese sweet in jaggery syrup.
What is GI? – A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place. In addition, the qualities, characteristics or reputation of the product should be essentially due to the place of origin. Since the qualities depend on the geographical place of production, there is a clear link between the product and its original place of production.
What are benefits of GI? – Protecting a geographical indication (GI) enables those who have the right to use the indication to take measures against others who use it without permission and benefit from its reputation (â€œfree-ridersâ€). A geographical indicationâ€™s reputation is a valuable, collective, and intangible asset. If not protected, it could be used without restriction and its value diminished and eventually lost.
In general, GIs, backed up by solid business management, can bring with them:
- Competitive advantage
- More added value to a product
- Increased export opportunities
- A strengthened brand
Source: TheHindu, WIPO
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