IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 15th October, 2015
TOPIC: General Studies 2
Constitution, Polity – Fundamental Rights (FR)
Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure,
Unfinished Business of Partition: Article 370
The relationship between Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of India rests on the weight-bearing capacity of Article 370.
Article 370 was formulated keeping in mind the sensitivity of the issue but has gained the image of being the biggest impediment to the integration of J&K State with the rest of India. (Part XXI- “Temporary, Transitional and Special provisions” of Indian Constitution)
Article 1 of the Constitution of J&K though states that the state is and will be a part of India, the essence of this article hasn’t been realized yet. The plan had always been to abrogate it in a gradual manner but it has stood the test of time, and rather too bluntly. More power has been assigned, that which has got absolutely no backing to attack the sovereignty of the State.
When we go back to the history of its birth, we realize that the reasons given by Sheikh Abdullah for providing special status to J&K were:
Occupation of 1/3rd of the state by Pakistan,
Reference to the UN by Lord Mountbatten
Provision of Plebiscite
Unfolding Provisions of Sheikh Abdullah:
Any changes could be brought about only by the concurrence of J&K assembly
Sheikh Abdullah abolished hereditary monarchy and re-designated himself as the Sadar-e-Riyasat, the office of which could be elected by the Assembly.
Red Line Drawn:
Allowed to have its own Constitution
Central government can make laws only with the concurrence of the State government except for Defence, Foreign Affairs, Communications and ancillary matters (A power like that of a Veto exists)
National and Financial emergency if declared in India, cannot be applied in J&K
President’s Rule cannot be enforced without the consent of the Governor
A Constitutional Amendment becomes applicable to J&K only after the President issues an order for the same (Reason for Controversy)
Dual Citizenship for the citizens of J&K
Non-applicable nature of Anti-Defection Law
No outsider can own property in J&K
The State can refuse building of any cantonment as well as allocation of land for defence purposes
The saying, ‘Enemy of an enemy is a friend’ has been sustained in the minds of the people who consider Indian Government as an entity, injecting troubles for them in the valley. India needs to consciously tread on its path towards peace and open its communication links with the local people. Politically motivated confusion should be dealt with to save a crisis in the making.
Cultural heritage needs to be showered with protection and should be embraced with humility. The ‘tourism’ potential should be complemented with better infrastructure along with peace and stability in the region.
There is a pressing need to formalize the Status Quo, accept the LoC as the de facto and de jure border between India and Pakistan and mutual withdrawal of troops (minimum required to stay) should take place.
Article 370 stands greatly abused and remain a major bottleneck for the complete realisation of sovereignty for the nation. This moral wrong has to be addressed without the element of victimization, on the part of the citizens of J&K, to take place.
The ‘green’ aspect of more devolution of capital for the development of the State should be applauded (positive benefit of Art. 370) and be adopted for the safe end to Article 370 as well as for transforming India into a true federation.
For a smooth transition of a ‘special state’ to a normal and an integrated one, a proper dispute resolution (peaceful & sustained dialogue process) with Pakistan is a must. Urgent steps have to be taken to stop the escalation of tensions and loss of civilian lives over the ongoing tussle.
Connecting the Dots:
‘To fight to the last ditch for (Kashmir) is the slogan of all Pakistanis; not to give way on it is rapidly becoming the fixed idea of India’. Trace the historical shade behind the given statement and write briefly about the current situation in the valley.
Does there exist a possible solution for the Kashmir trouble? Substantiate
Comment on the ‘alienating’ element existing pre-dominantly in Article 370 against India.
TOPIC: General Studies 2
Constitution, Polity – Fundamental Rights (FR)
Growing intolerance towards difference of opinion in India
The recent incident of murder of Kannada scholar M M Kalburgi has sparked row over the growing intolerance in India towards difference of opinion.
Over the last 2 years, this has been the third case, the first two being Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar.
What is the issue?
M. Kalburgi , veteran Kannada writer and former Vice-Chancellor of Kannada University, Hampi, who was known for his strong stand against superstitious practices and right-wing groups, was shot dead at his house Dharwad, Karnataka on August 30,2015.
Following this the government of Karnataka handed over the case to CID, to probe the investigation.
Even after 45 days the incident has taken place, the government is yet to identify the people involved and getting them punished by law.
Following the delay, various Sahitya Academy scholars have started to return their awards, fellowships and various positions within the academy.
Constitutional rights involved:
The following are the constitutional rights available for a person in support of difference of opinion
Article 19(1)(a) – Freedom of speech and expression.
Article 25- Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion.
However the above fundamental rights are not absolute, the following provisions restrict the above fundamental rights.
Article 19(2) –reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub clause in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.
Article 25(1)- Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion.
Non support from Sahitya Academy:
The Sahitya Academy, an organisation dedicated to the promotion of literature in the languages of India, has been quiet over the issue.
Off late the effectiveness of the organisation has been under scanner from various civil society groups.
Criticisms against Sahitya Academy:
The academy is not independent and is been largely politicised.
There have been widespread allegations of corruption and controversial appointments to some prominent positions within the academy.
It has also been alleged time and again that the procedure of nomination of litterateurs for the coveted Sahitya Academy Awards is not transparent.
India is a plural country with various cultural practices and customs.
Tolerance towards difference of opinions is very important in order to maintain the secular fabric of the country and lead it towards development.
The government should take necessary steps in this regard to wipe out elements, who are intolerant towards such differences.
Connecting the dots:
In the wake of growing intolerance towards difference of opinion in India, what are the various constitutional safeguards provided for such individuals with difference of opinion.
Critically evaluate the effectiveness of Sahitya Academy as an organisation in promotion of literature in various languages of India.
Kundhavi Kadiresan has been appointed as the Assistant Director-General of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific. She replaces Hiroyuki Konuma who retired from FAO earlier this year.
Jamaican writer Marlon James has been named the winner of the Man Booker Prize for 2015 for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings. It is the first Booker Prize to be won by a Jamaican, and the first for its independent publisher One world Publications. Set in Jamaica, the 686-page book is a fictionalised history on the attempted murder of the reggae singer Bob Marley in 1976.