Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2020
Current Affair 1:
Are actions taken by the governor of Rajasthan, right?
A continuous tussle between Governor and Government. We will see here few constitutional provisions and SC judgements.
It's a paradox in Rajasthan. MLAs are neither in assembly nor in constituencies, but in resorts. Congress asks speaker to disqualify them. Pilot does not attend CLP (Congress Legislative Party) but goes to the High Court. High Court 'requests' Speaker to wait. Speaker wanted the Supreme Court to stay the High Court's 'request'. In return gets a direction from the Supreme Court to follow High Court. Supreme Court asked High Court to go-ahead but says its order will be under their purview. And High Court 'directs' Speaker for status quo. What a wonderful coordination!
There has, thus, arisen a question of great significance in relation to the powers and function of the governor vis-à-vis the elected government of a state and legislature. We will start now with Introduction:
- Article 174 of the constitution empowers the governor to summon, prorogue and dissolve the house. These functions are performed by him on the advice of his council of ministers. The council of ministers is the creation of the elected assembly, so, it is called an elected government whereas the governor is an appointee of the president of India.
- Since we have adopted the Westminster system of cabinet form of government, the executive power is vested in the council of ministers which is responsible to the legislature.
- The governor is a constitutional head, which in simple term means that he exercises the executive functions only on the advice of the council of ministers.
- The governor cannot exercise these powers without the aid and advice of the council of ministers. It would simply mean that governor is a figurehead and the real power is exercised by the elected government. So, the governor is not personally responsible for the consequences of the governmental action.
Now, let us come to the question of summoning the assembly. Under Article 174, the governor summons the assembly. There is a well-established procedure for the summoning of the assembly. Let us understand with parliament.
- In the case of parliament, after the cabinet or prime minister has decided that parliament should meet on a certain date, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, writes to the speaker and enquires whether he is in agreement with the date.
- On the Speaker agreeing to the date, the file containing the decision of the cabinet is sent to the speaker’s office for onward submission thereof to the president.
- The secretary general of the Lok Sabha sends the file to the office of the president along with an office note indicating the speaker’s agreement to the date, as well as a draft order of summons to be signed by the president
- The president’s office sends the file back with the president’s signature on the summons order either the same day or the next day at the latest.
- The secretary general, thereafter, sends individual summons to the members which includes the president’s order, authenticated by the secretary general.
This, in short, is the process and the procedure for summoning the houses of parliament. The same procedure is followed by the state legislatures and the governments.
Now the case in Rajasthan:
In the context of the political as well as the constitutional conundrum in Rajasthan, the first question that needs to be clarified is who decides to call the session of the assembly on a particular date and whether the governor has any discretion in the matter. In other words, can the governor ask the government to change the date and not sign the summons order till the government agrees?
The answers to these questions will be found in Nabam Rabia and Banan Felix v. Deputy Speaker (2016) decided by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court. In its judgment, the Supreme Court has made two points clear,
- one, the governor has no discretion in the matter of summoning the house if the chief minister enjoys majority in the house and, therefore, is bound to act on the advice of the cabinet.
- Two, in case the governor has reason to believe that the chief minister has lost his majority, the governor can use his discretion in fixing the date for summoning the assembly where the chief minister has to test his majority.
It may also be said here that the option of refusal to act on the advice of the council of ministers just does not exist. In Shamsher Singh v. State of Punjab (1974), a seven judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court said,
“The Governor has no right to refuse to act on the advice of the Council of Ministers. Such a position is antithetical to the concept of responsible government.”
From the above analysis, it is clear that the actual decision to call the session of the assembly is taken by the government and the governor performs the rather technical act of summoning the house
Now what is the issue of calling this 21-day period notice?
- The 21 days’ period for calling the session has become another subject of debate. What is the sanctity of 21 days and why should the governor suggest it? Twenty-one days used to be the notice period for questions in parliament long ago.
- As per the recommendation of the Rules Committee of the Lok Sabha in 1967, the maximum period of notice for asking the starred questions was fixed at 21 clear days.
- Accordingly, the date of the communication of session used to be fixed keeping in view the requirement of 21 clear days for asking questions.
In other words, the commencement of session would be on a date which would be more than 21 days later than the date of summons. Later, this was changed to 15 days in both houses of parliament.
But on a number of occasions, sessions of parliament and of assemblies were called within shorter period of notice. In such cases, either there was no question hour for a few days, or the speaker would decide to accept notices of questions at shorter notice period. Rules provide that the speaker can shorten the notice period.
In any case, the notice period of questions was not an inhibiting factor for convening the house at short notice. It always depended on the sense of urgency the government felt in a particular situation.
So, as per the SC judgements and constitutional procedures, the Governor’s discretionary actions do not seem to be satisfactory.
If you read this full article, so many hidden prelims questions in it. That’s we have covered this here. Read full.
Current Affair 2:
SC shuns IIT Bombay for Backing Out of Smog Tower Project
The Supreme Court recently expressed great displeasure upon learning that the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT Bombay) had backed out from completing the Smog Tower project which would help Delhi fight its pollution crisis.
In December 2019, a Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra directed the Centre and Delhi Government to ensure that a smog tower, essentially large air purifiers, was set up in the Connaught Place area of New Delhi to tackle the annual problem faced by the national capital in winters. This was to be done within 3 months, as a pilot project.
The concept and technology involved was discussed with a professor of IIT Bombay, who was part of a High-Power Committee looking into various technologies and options to tackle air pollution. Thereafter, the Judges gave IIT Bombay the responsibility to take up the project.
What court stated now?
As the hearing proceeded, it was further informed that IIT Bombay had backed out from going ahead with the project, and the Government was now in talks with IIT Delhi and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI).
But court is very angry on IIT Mumbai for backing out. It stated:
This is nonsense what IIT is saying. How can IIT get out? We will take strict action against them! How can IIT back out like this? Call the IIT fellow. This is utter nonsense what IIT is doing. This is contempt". They said they would do the job. How can they back out after 6 months? We will punish them. Wait for more update now.
Basic about National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI):
Current Affair 3:
Global Tiger Day
July 29 is observed across the world as Global Tiger Day every year to raise awareness about the declining population of the tigers and making efforts to save them from going extinct. The Global Tiger Day came into existence in 2010 in Russia during the signing of Saint Petersburg declaration by 13 tiger range countries. India is part of it.
On this occasion, the Union Environment Ministry has released an updated report on India’s Tiger Survey from 2018. It’s the latest estimate about Tigers. So, any questions come in Prelims, you will answer according to this data only.
- Country’s tiger population: 2,967 — unchanged from the government’s estimate last year
- India has nearly 70% of the world’s tigers.
- While Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest number of tigers, Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu registered the “maximum improvement” since 2014.
- Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of tigers at 526, closely followed by Karnataka (524) and Uttarakhand (442).
Now we will learn few global organizations related to Tiger.
- The Project Tiger
- Global Tiger Initiative (GTI) program
- Global Tiger Initiative Council (GTIC)
- Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010
The Project Tiger:
- The Government of India has taken a pioneering initiative for conserving its national animal, the tiger, by launching the ‘Project Tiger’ in 1973.
- From 9 tiger reserves since its formative years, the Project Tiger coverage has increased to 50 at present, spread out in 18 of our tiger range states.
- This amounts to around 2.21% of the geographical area of our country. The tiger reserves are constituted on a core/buffer strategy.
- The core areas have the legal status of a national park or a sanctuary, whereas the buffer or peripheral areas are a mix of forest and non-forest land, managed as a multiple use area.
- The Project Tiger aims to foster an exclusive tiger agenda in the core areas of tiger reserves, with an inclusive people-oriented agenda in the buffer.
- Project Tiger is an ongoing Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Ministry of Environment, Forests? and Climate Change? providing central assistance to the tiger States for tiger conservation in designated tiger reserves.
Objectives of Project Tiger:
Global Tiger Initiative (GTI) program
The Global Tiger Initiative (GTI) was launched in 2008 as a global alliance of governments, international organizations, civil society, the conservation and scientific communities and the private sector, with the aim of working together to save wild tigers from extinction. In 2013, the scope was broadened to include Snow Leopards.
The GTI’s founding partners included the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Smithsonian Institution, Save the Tiger Fund, and International Tiger Coalition (representing more than 40 non-government organizations). The initiative is led by the 13 tiger range countries (TRCs). India is a part of it.
The World Bank hosted the GTI Secretariat until July1 2015. Following the World Bank announcement in September 2014, that it would not support the GTI Secretariat after June 30,2015, governments of range countries agreed for transition of the program management functions from the World Bank to the Global Tiger Initiative Council.
Global Tiger Initiative Council (GTIC):
Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010
St. Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010, Declaration.
The “Tiger Summit” took place in St. Petersburg in Russia on 21–24 November 2010 and brought together some 500 representatives of the13 Tiger Range States, the partner organizations of the World Bank’s Global Tiger Initiative and further institutions important for the conservation of tigers. They declared here:
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has launched the M-STrIPES (Monitoring System for Tigers – Intensive Protection and Ecological Status), a mobile monitoring system for forest guards.
Current Affair 4:
New current that transports water to major 'waterfall' discovered in deep ocean
An international team discovered a previously unrecognized ocean current that transports water to one of the world's largest "waterfalls" in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Bank Channel Overflow into the deep North Atlantic. While investigating the pathways that water takes to feed this major waterfall, the research team identified a surprising path of the cold and dense water flowing at depth, which led to the discovery of this new ocean current.
Let’s read what scientists have to say. It will bring more clarity.
The Faroe Bank Channel is the deepest passage for dense water leaving the Nordic Seas into the North Atlantic.
Current Affair 5:
New genealogy project allows astronomers to trace ‘ancestors’
A genealogy project for academics — who earned doctorates on astronomy-related theses or supervised research for such dissertations — was launched by the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and its Historical Astronomy Division July 25, 2020.
- The Astronomy Genealogy or AstroGen project allows these academics to trace their ‘ancestors’.
- The database — which goes back to 1766 — provides information on more than 33,000 astronomers, their advisors and universities and the links to their dissertations.
- Half the doctorates, however, were awarded since 2002, while two-thirds of the theses were online, according to a press release from AAS.
- More than 28,000 academics who earned astronomy-related doctorates, including 5,000 scientists who advised them — but whose own doctorates are yet to be recorded — are listed in the database.
- The project is nearly complete for 25 countries, according to AAS.
There were two reasons to launch such a project, according to director of AstroGen:
- First, many scholars enjoy tracing their academic ancestors and descendants.
- Second, AstroGen will facilitate studies of the astronomical community by historians and sociologists of science