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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 19 October 2020

No great escape

  • Global Hunger Index 2020 – India 94/107 nations
    • Category: SERIOUS
  • Our score of 27.2 is the worst among BRICS countries, and inferior to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.
  • The evidence from the NFHS-4 of 2015-16 is not very different.
  • We must dispel the hubris surrounding strong economic growth for years
  • Delivery of adequate nutrition especially to women and children
  • Achieving diet diversity through the PDS
  • National Food Security Act - not merely as hunger mitigation - but as nourishment through a diverse diet that includes fat, protein and micronutrients.
  • The existing deprivation has been aggravated by the pandemic, with food inflation putting pressure on depleted incomes or meagre pensions and savings.
  • The NFHS-4 found that under-five stunting from chronic undernourishment stood at 38%, and wasting, a result of acute lack of nutrition, at 21%.
  • These data represent some progress, at a drop of about 10 percentage points in both categories compared to a decade earlier.
  • International Food Policy Research Institute: ¾ rural Indians cannot afford a balanced, nutritious diet.

Still awaiting police reform

  • 14-July - Guna district of Madhya Pradesh - The thrashing of a Dalit Ahirwar couple by the police.
  • The District Collector and the Superintendent of Police have been transferred and six police personnel have been suspended since the incident.
  • The matter will soon be forgotten.
  • The brutal torture of J. Benicks and his father P. Jayaraj in Sattankulam town in Thoothkudi district of Tamil Nadu.
  • Vikas Dubey encounter
  • These incidents and several others show that we need immediate remedial measures lest the country witnesses an upheaval of the kind that the U.S. saw following the death of George Floyd.
  • The blame goes to political class – the biggest hurdle when it comes to police reforms.
  • Commissions and committees are set up every time there are demands for police reforms.
  • National Police Commission (NPC) was set up in 1977
  • The NPC submitted eight reports to the Ministry of Home Affairs between 1979 and 1981.
  • Prakash Singh, a retired IPS officer, filed a PIL in the apex court in 1996 demanding the implementation of the NPC’s recommendations.
  • According to a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (2018), there were 1,580 MPs and MLAs facing criminal charges.
  • Therein lies the crux of the matter.
  • Judiciary should step in and enforce the diktats it had passed.

Probing judicial impropriety and corruption

  • Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy - wrote to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) - accusing a sitting judge of the Supreme Court of judicial impropriety and corruption and State High Court judges of bias.
  • In March, the Principal Secretary (Home), Andhra Pradesh Government, wrote to the Secretary of the Union Ministry of Public Grievances and Pensions seeking a CBI inquiry into the findings of a Cabinet sub-committee, set up to investigate charges of corrupt dealings in land purchases.

  • With these developments, 2 questions have arisen:
    • Whether such a letter/complaint against the Supreme Court judge should have been put out in the public domain
    • What the CJI’s response should be.
  • In 1997, judges adopted an in-house procedure for inquiring into such charges.
  • In case of a complaint against a Supreme Court judge, the CJI is expected to order an inquiry by three sitting judges of the Supreme Court.
  • Though in C. Ravichandran Iyer v. Justice A.M. Bhattacharjee (1995), the court held that such complaints should be kept confidential, the unfortunate reality is that the judiciary tends to try and brush complaints of corruption against judges under the carpet.
  • The same is seen in attempts to impeach a judge.
  • I have found that at least 2 conditions must be satisfied before a sufficient number of MPs are willing to sign an impeachment motion against a judge:
    • There should be solid documentary evidence of corruption
    • it should have become a public scandal
  • In the absence of the second condition, MPs are reluctant to sign an impeachment motion even if there is documentary evidence of corruption.
  • The purpose of the in-house procedure is that all credible complaints of misconduct against judges of the High Court and Supreme Court should be looked into by a committee of judges.
  • In the case of the sexual harassment complaint against the previous CJI, Ranjan Gogoi, by a woman employee of the Supreme Court, the in-house committee did not allow the complainant to be accompanied by her lawyer, nor did it allow recording of the proceedings.
  • Only retired judges of high credibility will be able to conduct a robust inquiry into Mr. Reddy’s complaint.

The hues in the green tribunal’s resilient journey

  • October 18 - 10th anniversary of the National Green Tribunal
  • Parliament had passed laws related to the establishment of a National Environment Tribunal (1995) and a National Environment Appellate Authority (1997).
  • Authority - forum for challenges to environmental clearances
  • Tribunal - could award limited amounts of compensation
  • It was clear that the enforcement, protection, and adjudication of environmental laws required a specialised and dedicated body.
  • A tribunal, staffed with judges and environmental experts, would need to be empowered to hear these issues so that the burden on the High Courts and the Supreme Court could be reduced.
  • Since its inception, the NGT has, apart from creating a new breed of legal practitioners, protected vast acres of forest land, halted polluting construction activities in metros and smaller towns.
  • It has penalised errant officials who have turned a blind eye towards enforcing the laws, and held large corporate entities to account.
  • It has protected the rights of tribal communities and ensured the enforcement of the “polluter pays” principle in letter and spirit.

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