POLITY & GOVERNANCE
Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:
Indian Constitution, Political System and Governance [Paper-I]: Public Policy and Governance, Judiciary in India
- A five-judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi declared that the Office of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) is a ‘public authority’ under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
- The move to bring the office of the CJI under the transparency law was initiated by RTI activist S C Agarwal.
CJI: A Public Authority under RTI Act
- The main judgment of the Constitution Bench declared that the Supreme Court is a ‘public authority’ and the office of the CJI is part and parcel of the institution.
- Hence, if the Supreme Court is a public authority, so is the office of the CJI.
- The Court also observed that increased transparency under RTI was no threat to judicial independence and judicial independence is not secured by the secrecy of enclosed hall.
- The Bench upheld the Delhi High Court judgment of 2010 that the CJI does not hold information on the personal assets of fellow judges in a fiduciary capacity.
- Information held by a person in a fiduciary capacity is exempt from disclosure under RTI.
Not Absolute Right
- According to the judgment, the right to know under RTI was not absolute.
- The right to know of a citizen ought to be balanced with the right to privacy of individual judges.
- Right to information should not be allowed to be used as a tool of surveillance.
- Personal information of judges should only be disclosed under RTI if such disclosure served the larger public interest.
Disclosure of Personal Information
- The disclosure of personal information was discretionary under Section 8(1) (j) of the RTI Act. The statute has given the discretion to the Public Information Officer (PIO).
- The information about assets of judges and official communication during the process of elevation of judges to the Supreme Court are treated as confidential third-party information.
- In such scenario, the PIO should follow the procedure mandated in Section 11 of the RTI Act.
- The Court also listed certain “non-exhaustive factors” for the PIO to consider while deciding whether the information sought was private.
- These factors included various criteria from the nature of the information sought to its impact on the private life of the judge.
- RTI is a fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution.
- The landmark judgment has reiterated the established position that “no one is above the law“.
- It will set an example for government bodies which are resisting to be brought under the RTI Act.
- The most well-known holdouts are political parties, but a number of schools, trusts and public-private partnerships have also resisted categorisation as public authorities under the Act.
- The verdict is a great step towards transparency and trust of people in justice system.
- It underlines the balance Supreme Court needs between transparency and protecting its independence.
- The step is significant because it opens the doors to RTI requests that will test the frontiers of what has been a rather opaque system.
[Source: The Hindu, Indian Express]
Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:
International Relations [Paper-I]: India’s Foreign Policy, International Organisations, International Treaties and Forums, their structure and mandate
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the BRICS Business Forum and held separate bilateral meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping, on the sidelines of BRICS Summit in Brazil.
11th BRICS Summit (Nov 13-14, 2019)
- The Summit is being held at Brasilia in Brazil, with the theme ‘Economic Growth for an Innovative Future‘.
- It will focus on strengthening ties among the world’s five major economies in key areas such as digital economy, science and technology, and also build mechanisms for counter-terrorism cooperation.
- During the summit, the five nations will aim to significantly strengthen their cooperation in science, technology and innovation
- BRICS is the acronym coined for an association of five major emerging national economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
- The grouping brings together five major emerging economies comprising 42 per cent of the world’s population, having 23 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product.
- It does not exist in the form of an organization, but it is an annual summit between the supreme leaders of five countries.
- The acronym “BRIC” was initially formulated in 2001 by economist Jim O’Neill, of Goldman Sachs, in a report on growth prospects for the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, which together represented a significant share of the world`s production and population.
- In 2006, the four countries initiated a regular informal diplomatic coordination, with annual meetings of Foreign Ministers at the margins of the General Debate of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
- In 2011, on the occasion of the Third Summit, South Africa became part of the group, who adopted the acronym BRICS.
Source: The Hindu, India Today
Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:
Medieval History [Paper-I]: Culture and Architecture
Geography [Paper-I]: Physical, Social, Economic Geography of World, India and Kerala
- Suranga Bawadi was included in the World Monument Watch list for 2020 along with 24 other monuments from across the world.
- The monument has been selected under the ‘Ancient Water System of the Deccan Plateau’ by World Monuments Fund [the NGO], which monitors restoration of ancient monuments across the globe.
- With this inclusion, the monument is expected to get funds for its restoration.
What is Suranga Bawadi?
- It is an integral part of the ancient Karez system of supplying water through subterranean tunnels.
- It was built during Adil Shahi era in Vijayapura in Karnataka.
- Adil Shahis built the magnificent underground system to supply water to the city, which had a population of nearly 12 lakh.
- Though the Karez system was built in the 16th century by Ali Adil Shah–I, his successor, Ibrahim Adil Shah–II, brought in several changes by adding more structures to strengthen it.
- It is water harnessing technology in which groundwater is brought to the surface by a tunnel.
- They are constructed as a series of well-like vertical shafts, connected by sloping tunnels, which tap into subterranean water in a manner that efficiently delivers large quantities of water to the surface by gravity, without need for pumping.
- The technology is believed to be originated in Persia/Iran and was widely used during the medieval period.
- It allows water to be transported over long distances in hot dry climates without loss of much of the water to evaporation.
- The system has the advantage of being resistant to natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods, and to deliberate destruction in war.
- It is environmentally sustainable as it has no additional energy requirement and, thus, has low life cycle operation and maintenance costs.
World Monument Watch list for 2020
- 2020 World Monuments Watch is a selection of 25 at-risk cultural heritage sites that combine great historical significance with contemporary social impact.
- They are facing serious threats such as encroaching urbanization, political turmoil, natural disaster, and violent conflicts, or they present compelling conservation opportunities.
- The World Monuments Watch will work with their communities to find solutions.
[Source: The Hindu, unesco.org]
FACTS OF THE DAY
WORLD PNEUMONIA DAY
- World Pneumonia Day was established in 2009 by the Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia.
- It is annually held on November 12 to raise awareness of pneumonia, promote prevention and treatment, and generate action to fight the illness.
- Pneumonia is the single largest infectious cause of death in children worldwide, despite being easily preventable and treatable.
- It is a type of chest infection that affects the lungs.
- A person’s lungs contain small sacs (alveoli) that fill with air when they breathe. If someone has pneumonia, their alveoli are filled with fluid and puss, which makes breathing difficult and painful.
- Pneumonia may be caused by viral infections, bacterial infections, or fungi; less frequently by other causes.
- The most common bacterial type that causes pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae.
REPUBLIC DAY 2020
- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invitation to be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day 2020 celebrations.
- The decision is considered significant as it will enhance India’s outreach to South America.
EXERCISE TIGER TRIUMPH
- The maiden India US joint Tri services Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Exercise named ‘TIGER TRIUMPH’ is scheduled on the Eastern seaboard from 13 to 21 November, 2019.
- Indian Naval ships Jalashwa, Airavat and Sandhayak, Indian Army troops from 19 Madras and 7 Guards, and Indian Air Force MI-17 helicopters and Rapid Action Medical Team (RAMT) would be participating in the exercise.
- The US would be represented by US Navy Ship Germantown with troops from US Third Marine Division.
- The Exercise is aimed to developing interoperability for conducting HADR operations.
- It is the second such tri-service exercise conducted by India with any other country after Russia.