Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - July 12, 2018

Bilateral Relations

India – South Korea Enlighten about the takeaways of South Korean President Visit

Role of Judiciary

Section 377 (follow up)

Government’s stand

  • The government chose not to take sides on the question of the legality of Section 377 IPC, a provision which criminalises homosexuality, leaving the decision entirely to the Supreme Court.
  • The government decided not to contest writ petitions against Section 377

Choice of partner

  • But the court should specify that the freedom to choose a partner does not extend to perversions like incest.
  • Allowing the choice of a partner should not extend to incest... sado-masochism...
  • The prerogative of this hearing was to understand the nature of a relationship and bring it under the protection of Article 21 (fundamental right to life) of the Constitution.

Protecting the relationship

  • The court will not confining its ambit merely to LGBTQ or sexual orientation.
  • It is examining the aspect of two consenting adults who should not be liable for criminal action for their relationship.
  • The court will examining whether the relationship between two consenting adults is itself a manifestation of Article 21
  • The court is on nature of the relationship and not going to talk on marriage, etc
  • The collapse of the citadel of Section 377 IPC will open the gates for people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) community to come to court to overcome discrimination and claim their individual rights.
  • A declaration from the court will remove the ancillary disqualifications for people joining services, contesting elections.
  • It will no longer be seen as moral turpitude,” Chief Justice Misra, leading the Constitution Bench, observed on Wednesday.
  • Section 377 violates Articles 15 (discrimination on sex), 14 (equality), 19 (liberty) and 21 (life and dignity) of the Constitution.

Indian Penal Code

Adultery must remain a punishable offence: Centre Dropping it from IPC will erode the sanctity of marriage

  • The central government on Wednesday contended that a provision of law dealing with adultery (Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code) should remain a criminal offence.

Government stands on adultery

  • The government submitted that dropping of adultery as an offence from the Indian Penal Code (IPC) will erode the sanctity of marriage and be detrimental to the “intrinsic Indian ethos.”
  • The Centre said the provision punishing adultery — Section 497 of IPC — “supports, safeguards and protects the institution of marriage” considering the “unique structure and culture of Indian society.”
  • The government agreed to the thought that “stability of a marriage is not an ideal to be scorned” and striking down Section 497 would destroy the fabric of society itself.

Constitutional bench to examine

  • The Constitution Bench is scheduled to decide on whether the pre-Independence provision of adultery in the IPC treats a married woman as her husband’s “subordinate” and violates the constitutional concepts of gender equality and sensitivity.
  • The court had observed that the provision raised a question mark on social progress, outlook, gender equality and gender sensitivity.
  • It was time to bring to the forefront a different view with focus on the rights of women
  • The Constitution Bench to be headed by Chief Justice Misra is likely to consider whether Section 497 treats the man as the adulterer and the married woman as a victim.
  • The larger Bench may also examine why the offence of adultery ceases the moment it is established that the husband connived with or consented to the adulterous act.
  • The provision really creates a dent in the individual independent identity of a woman when the emphasis is laid on the connivance or consent of the husband – S.C previous observation

What is adultery under Indian law?

  • Section 497 IPC reads as: “497. Adultery.—Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both.
  • In such case the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.”
  • any man who has sexual intercourse with the wife of another man, without the consent of her husband, shall be held liable for the crime of adultery. In other words, sexual intercourse with a married woman amounts to adultery.
  • The law does not confer any right on women to prosecute the adulterous husband, or the woman with whom the husband has indulged in sexual intercourse with. In simple words, the husband solely has been permitted to prosecute the adulterer.

Telecom Regulations

Centre upholds Net neutrality proposals

  • In a move that will ensure open and free Internet in India, the government has approved the principle of net neutrality.
  • This means that telecom and Internet service providers must treat all data on the Internet equally, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, site, platform, or application.
  • They cannot engage in practices such as blocking, slowing down or granting preferential speeds to any content.
  • The Telecom Commission (TC) — which is the highest decision-making body in the Department of Telecom (DoT) — approved the recommendation made by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) eight months ago.

Critical services

  • She, however, added that certain emerging and critical services will be kept out of the purview of these norms.
  • A separate committee has been set up under the DoT to examine what these critical services will be.
  • These may include autonomous vehicles, digital healthcare services or disaster management.
  • The regulator, in November 2017, batted in favour of Net neutrality.

Enlighten about The Telecom Commission (TC)

  • Internet access services should be governed by a principle that restricts any form of discrimination or interference in the treatment of content, including practices like blocking, degrading, slowing down or granting preferential speeds or treatment to any content.”
  • It had also said that these would not apply to “reasonable traffic management practices” by the service provider.
  • India’s decision to uphold Net neutrality assumes greater significance given that in the U.S., the rules on Net neutrality were repealed.
  • To implement Net neutrality, the regulator had recommended that the terms of licence agreements that govern the provision of Internet services in India be amended “to incorporate the principles of non-discriminatory treatment of content along with the appropriate exclusions and exceptions.”
  • The regulator has further recommended establishing a multi-stakeholder not-for-profit body for the monitoring and enforcement of these principles.
  • The Telecom Commission also gave its nod to install 12.5 lakh Wi-Fi hotspots in all gram panchayats.

State Specific

Kolkata gets all-woman police squad The Winners

  • Police unleashed a new weapon against eve-teasers, stalkers and roadside Romeos: an all-woman motorbike squad.
  • “The Winners” — a special all-women patrolling team to combat and prevent crimes like molestation, eve-teasing etc. to make public places safer for women
  • The constables were inducted into the force on the basis of their record. They were given four months special training before taking up the new assignment.

Environment

Nilgiri tahr The endangered wild goat could lose approximately 60% of its habitat, starting from the 2030s due to climate change

  • The antics of the sure-footed Nilgiri tahr
  • These endangered wild mountain goats – found only in high altitudes in India’s Western Ghats
  • They could be losing their footing with increasing climate change.

Enlighten about the report

  • Tahrs could lose approximately 60% of their habitats from the 2030s on, predict scientists in their study in Ecological Engineering, an international journal that emphasises the need for ecological restoration.
  • The tahr strongholds such as Chinnar, Eravikulam and Parambikulam in Kerala will still be stable habitats under different climate change scenarios.
  • However, other regions, including parts of Tamil Nadu’s Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve and the wildlife sanctuaries of Peppara, Neyyar, Schenduruny and Srivilliputhur, could experience severe habitat loss in future
  • According to the report, only the Eravikulam and Mukurthi National Parks stress on tahr-centered conservation activities in their management plans.

Enlighten about The Nilgiri tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius)

  • It is known locally as the Nilgiri ibex or simply ibex, is an ungulate that is endemic to the Nilgiri Hills and the southern portion of the Western Ghats in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in Southern India.
  • It is the state animal of Tamil Nadu.
  • Despite its local name, it is more closely related to the sheep of the genus Ovis than the ibex and wild goats of the genus Capra.

Sources – The Hindu . PIB , Indian Express