Daily Current Affairs IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th January 2019

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  • January 17, 2019
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Daily Current Affairs IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th January 2019




TOPIC:General studies 2

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 
  • Role of Judiciary
  • Rule of Law; Separation of Powers
  • Constitution, Democracy, Governance and issues related to it

Why Supreme Court shouldn’t adjudicate quotas, good or bad?


Today’s editorial provides different/unique perspective why the judiciary should refrain itself from entering into some administrative and executive areas (except in extreme cases).

  • The recently-legislated 124th constitutional amendment to create a 10% quota in jobs and education based on economic backwardness can be opposed on many grounds.
  • But on one ground critics are very much sure that it will fail is the test of constitutionality.
  • The constitutional test involves two hurdles, one relating to the 50% limit set on quotas in the Indra Sawhney judgement of 1993, and the second to the fact that so far only social and educational backwardness have been recognized as valid justifications for quotas.

In this article, author argues that quota case is not something the courts should meddle with. The author questions whether courts should get into such areas?

Do you know?

  • Recently, Madras high court struck down the state government’s decision to gift ₹1,000 along with other things to all ration-card holders on the occasion of Pongal. The court ordered that the money should be given only to those who are below the poverty line, and that richer people need not receive this dole since the money can be put to better use.

According to the author, the issue is not whether these decisions are right or wrong, but whether the courts should even get into such areas.

Why the Courts should avoid getting into such areas?

  1. It is the right of elected representatives of the people, at the centre or states, to decide what is the right thing to do.
  2. Unaccountable courts should not—except in extreme cases—weigh in on economic priorities, especially when they themselves have caused much economic disruption and damage through their judgements. (Examples of the disruptions caused by judicial orders include the wholesale cancellation of spectrum and coal mine licences, the 2017 ban on highway liquor bars, which the Supreme Court itself had to modify later when it was unimplementable, and the 2015 registration ban and subsequent cess imposed on luxury diesel vehicles in Delhi.)
  3. Basic feature not defined clearly by the Judiciary. (Consider the Sabarimala judgement, two basic features are clashing – question of gender equality against the right to religious practices)

10% quota to EWS: Enabling a different approach to affirmative action

With regard to quotas, however bad the idea may be, at the end of the day it is a constitutional amendment enabling a different approach to affirmative action that looks beyond caste.

Author raises few questions –

  • Why should the courts be deciding that caste should be the only way to decide on quotas, or that 50% is the right limit to set on it? Why not 40% or 60%, when one state (Tamil Nadu) has already legislated 69% and the law has been put into the Ninth Schedule where the courts can’t touch it?
  • For a Constitution that ultimately hopes to make caste irrelevant, can we view the idea of income-based criteria for quotas as somehow unconstitutional or violative of basic feature of Constitution?
  • Is it right to make caste (also couched as social and economic backwardness) the sole criterion for quotas?
  • Considering the Madras high court order in the Pongal-gift case, one wonders how the court will decide if a government were to adopt universal basic income as a policy response to joblessness. Will the Court rule that Ratan Tata and Mukesh Ambani should be excluded, since they are not below the poverty line?
  • Why offer subsidized fertilizers to all farmers, when the money should only go to poor farmers?

The courts are in no way empowered to decide such issues. There is no basic feature to defend in the case of economically determined quotas, however bad the idea of 10% quota to EWS is.

Do you know?

There were some recent Supreme Court verdicts and orders, which seem too tough to be implemented and may remain just on papers

  • Supreme verdict on the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple.
  • The order fixing timings for bursting of firecrackers during Diwali.
  • Speedy disposal of pending cases against legislators and lawmakers (former and sitting).
  • Witness Protection Scheme of 2018.

(For further reading on this topic, visit the link – Unimplementable orders)

Note: No snippets, Must Read and MCQs (As Newspaper was not available on account of Sankranti).


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