IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 14th October, 2015
TOPIC: General Studies 2
Constitution, Polity – Fundamental Rights (FR)
Sedition : An unconstitutional tool
Recently, the Gujarat government booked a Patel leader under sedition for sending messages containing “offensive language against the Prime Minister, the State Chief Minister and BJP National President.
These cases are indicative of a high level of intolerance being displayed by governments towards the basic freedom enjoyed by citizens.
Democracy has no meaning without these freedoms and sedition as interpreted and applied by the police is a negation of it.
Sedition : Statutory framework
Section 124A of the IPC defines sedition and says:
Whoever by words either spoken or written or by signs or by visible representation or otherwise brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, the government established by law; or
Whoever by the above means excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government established by law, has committed the offence of sedition.
What the section tries to achieve?
There should be no attempt by any individual or sections, to excite hatred or contempt or disaffection.
In other words, even if the impugned speech or article or cartoon seeks to obtain the alteration of the wrong governmental decisions, if they excite hatred, contempt or disaffection towards the government, the author of the speech and others are liable to be charged with sedition and punished.
What is Supreme Courts view on sedition?
The Constitution bench of the Supreme Court explained the amplitude of sedition in 1962 in the case of Kedarnath Vs. State of Bihar ( 1962 ).
The court adopted the view that, a person can be charged with sedition only if there is “incitement to violence” in his speech or writing or an “intention to create disorder”.
Infringement of rights under Article 19 :
Article 19(1)(a) guarantees freedom of speech and expression to all the citizens.
However, Article 19(2) talks about “reasonable restrictions” on freedom of speech and expression, in interests of “public order”.
Article 19(2) has been used by the governments to suppress constructive criticisms by the public, on faulty and wrong governmental decisions.
Sedition defined under Section 124A of the IPC is a colonial law meant to suppress the voice of Indian people.
However the irony is the law enforcement agencies have always used it against artists, public men, intellectuals for criticising the governments.
The Supreme Court, being the protector of the fundamental rights of the citizens may step in now and declare Section 124A unconstitutional.
India of the 21st century does not require a law used by the colonial government to suppress India’s voice.
Connecting the dots:
Colonial mentality is hindering India’s development. Critically examine.
Discuss section 124A of the IPC, with reference to its alleged violation of article 19 of the Indian constitution.
Critically evaluate the statement “Freedom of speech and expression is not absolute in India”.
TOPIC: General Studies 2
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
Diverse Yet United: Together Towards Tomorrow- India-Africa Forum Summit
India geologically was a part of the fused “Super-Continent” ‘Gondwanaland’ and broke away from the landmass due to ‘continental drift’, joining South-Asia.
Sharing this deep engagement and historical essence, this summit began in 2008and is an acknowledgement of the shared values and beliefs of the both India and Africa, to give a right direction and a thrust to the bilateral synergies anchored in the principles of equality, and mutual respect towards each other.
The ‘Banjul Formula’ has been done away with, leveraging a tangible political and economic engagement comprising of one-third of the world population, infusing a new scope of partnership.
Soft loans, Grants in Dollars, Institution building, Training fellowship and Extended Duty Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) scheme to Least Developed Countries point towards India’s efforts in the newly-designed development paradigm that exists.
The efforts complement India’s stand on sustainable development as well as the fact that 36 countries of Africa are expected to grow by 4 percent, pointing towards an ambitious partnership in the making.
Private investments by India include investments in Energy, ICT, Automobile manufacturing and telecommunications, thus, upholding India as the fifth largest investor in Africa.
The ‘Focus Africa’ Programme also focuses on incentivising Africa to import Indian Products, creating a profitable market for Indian goods.
The Pan-African e-Network Project ranges from human resource development, health infrastructure, capacity building, ICT utilisation and builds the foundation of knowledge economy, setting India apart from the engagements established by other countries.
The provision of tele-medicine and linking the far-away natives with the super-speciality hospitals will help provide a thrust to the development-driven partnership.
Energy security is an important area that can boost India’s economic output which can be facilitated with gaining greater access to the oil and gas assets in Africa.
There has been a surge in people-to-people contact with a welcoming spirit for medical tourists, entrepreneurs, students in both the countries.
Cultural connection has received a huge impetus with the growth in the trade and investment activities, managing to stand stable even during the global economic slowdown.
The Indian Diaspora’s contribution has been significant but the potential for harnessing comfortable partnership has not been adequately established yet.
Acceleration of Engagement:
More robust and engaging policies and involvement should be ensured in the presence of low commodity prices, rise in militancy, high population growth, urbanisation, health and educational level. Indian private sector needs to be enabled with incentives and ‘ease of expansion’ to leverage the resources available in Africa
Much needed is the focus on joint partnership, injection of bilateralism and an element of balance between the policies of the two countries till the end. More efficiency and proper coordination can play a major role in harnessing a successful endeavour.
The Indian diaspora in Africa can help build up a more successful platform for cultural exchanges. Much of the efforts made by India needs to be realised and be made known. Also, the responding mechanism needs to be better organised and more coherent with the activities undertaken in this direction.
‘Education’ provides India with a comparatively higher advantage over her competitors in the region. 25,000 scholarships have already been rolled out and the student-exchange programme is all set to reap benefits of the shared demographic dividend, if employed ambitiously.
Lack of governance and ineffective security arrangements have resulted in thriving of unfavourable elements like terrorism, piracy, drug trafficking and calls for a proactive collaboration between India and Africa. Sharing of intelligence and naval ship visits are some ways through which the security cooperation and marine security can be deepened.
The Summit (IAFS) should take a plunge into tapping the untapped assets and strengthening close ties by enhancing the relevance of a mutual interface existing between them. This new paradigm of cooperation can thus, play a major role in harnessing the resurgence and intertwined dreams of both the countries.
With the involvement of China and its permanent mission in the African Union, India would do well to take its African Policy seriously and comprehensively.
Connecting the Dots:
Write a short note on Banjul Formula? What has its relevance been in the growth-story of Africa?
‘India’s strategy aims to strike a balance between India’s growing commercial and strategic interests in Africa and its traditional policy of empowering Africa’. Comment
Curbs on free speech is attack on human nature: Rushdie