Current Affair – April 16, 2021

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CURRENT AFFAIRS

UN Report ‘My Body is My Own’

  • United Na­tions Population Fund’s (UNFPA)  released it flagship State of World Population Report 2021 titled ‘My Body is My Own’ launched.
  • It is the first time a Un­ited Nations report has fo­cused on bodily autonomy.

Report Findings

  1. Nearly half the women from 57 developing countries do not have the right to make decisions regarding their bo­dies, including using contra­ception, seeking healthcare or even on their sexuality.
  2. Only 55% of women fully empowered to make choices over healthcare, contraception and the abili­ty to say yes or no to sex.
  3. Only 75% of countries legally ensure full and equal access to contraception.
  4. COVID­19 pandemic further exacerbat­ing this situation.

What is bodily autonomy?

  • The Report has defined Bodily Autonomy ‘as the power and agency to make choices about your body without the fear of violence or having so­meone else decide for you.
  • Some examples of viola­tion of bodily autonomy include, child marriage, fe­male genital mutilation, a lack of contraceptive choices leading to unplanned preg­ nancy, unwanted sex ex­changed for a home and food or when people with di­verse sexual orientations and gender identities cannot walk down a street without fearing assault or humilia­tion.
  • Under its ambit also fall people with disabilities stripped of their rights to self­determination, to be free from violence and to en­ joy a safe and satisfying sex­ual life.
  • It is essential to achieving the UNFPA’s goals of ending the global unmet need for contracep­tion, preventable maternal deaths, gender­ based vio­lence and harmful practices by 2030.
Source: The Hindu

Global Diabetes Compact

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) launched a Global Diabetes Compact at at the Global Diabetes Summit.
  •  It marks the centenary of the discovery of insulin.

Diabetes

  • Diabetes is one of the major comorbid conditions linked to severe COVID-19 infections.
  • The number of people with diabetes has quadrupled in the last 40 years.  It is the only major noncommunicable disease for which the risk of dying early is going up, rather than down.
  • About half of all adults with type 2 diabetes remain undiagnosed and 50% of people with type 2 diabetes don’t get the insulin they need.

About the programme

  • The programme aims to better fight the disease. It will focus on scaling up access to diagnostic tools and medicines in low- and middle-income countries, said a WHO press note.
  • The programmewill set standards for tackling the diseases in the form of ‘global coverage targets’ for ensuring a wider reach of diabetes care.
  • The bodies will also release a ‘global price tag’ that will calculate the “costs and benefits of meeting these targets, said the press brief.
  • The proponents were inspired by the success of the “all hand on deck” approach seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A key aim of the Global Diabetes Compact is to unite key stakeholders from the public and private sectors, and, critically, people who live with diabetes, around a common agenda, to generate new momentum and co-create solutions.
Source: Downtoearth

Collegium System

  • The Union government offered to decide in three months the Su­preme Court Collegium re­commendations for ap­pointment of judges in the High Courts pending with it for over half a year.
  • The Memorandum of Procedure guided the government and the judiciary through the appointment process. The procedure did not insist on a deadline but only loosely says the process should be completed within a reasona­ble time.

What is the collegium system?

  • It is the system of appointment and transfer of judges that has evolved through judgments of the Supreme Court. Thus the system is not established by an Act of Parliament or by a provision of the Constitution.
  • The Supreme Court collegium is headed by the Chief Justice of India and comprises four other seniormost judges of the court. A High Court collegium is led by its Chief Justice and four other seniormost judges of that court.
  • Names recommended for appointment by a High Court collegium reaches the government only after approval by the CJI and the Supreme Court collegium. Judges of the higher judiciary are appointed only through the collegium system, and the government has a role only after names have been decided by the collegium.
  • The government’s role is limited to getting an inquiry conducted by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) if a lawyer is to be elevated as a judge in a High Court or the Supreme Court. Government can also raise objections and seek clarifications regarding the collegium’s choices, but if the collegium reiterates the same names, the government is bound, under Constitution Bench judgments, to appoint them as judges.

Constitutional provisions

  • Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts are appointed by the President under Articles 124(2) and 217 of the Constitution. The President is required to hold consultations with such of the judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts as he may deem necessary.
  • Article 124(2): “Every Judge of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal after consultation with such of the Judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts in the States as the President may deem necessary for the purpose and shall hold office until he attains the age of sixty-five years. Provided that in the case of appointment of a Judge other than the Chief Justice, the Chief Justice of India shall always be consulted.”
  • Article 217: “Every Judge of a High Court shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, the Governor of the State, and, in the case of appointment of a Judge other than the Chief Justice, the Chief Justice of the High Court.”

Evolution of collegium system

  • The collegium system has its genesis in a series of Supreme Court judgments called the ‘Judges Cases’. The collegium came into being through interpretations of pertinent constitutional provisions by the Supreme Court in the Judges Cases.

FIRST JUDGES CASE:

  • In S P Gupta Vs Union of India, 1981, the Supreme Court by a majority judgment held that the concept of primacy of the Chief Justice of India was not really to be found in the Constitution.
  • It held that the proposal for appointment to a High Court can emanate from any of the constitutional functionaries mentioned in Article 217 and not necessarily from the Chief Justice of the High Court.
  • The term “consultation” used in Articles 124 and 217 was not “concurrence” – meaning that although the President will consult these functionaries, his decision was not bound to be in concurrence with all of them.

SECOND JUDGES CASE

  • In The Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association Vs Union of India, 1993, a nine-judge Constitution Bench overruled the decision in S P Gupta, and devised a specific procedure called ‘Collegium System’ for the appointment and transfer of judges in the higher judiciary.
  • Accorded primacy to the CJI in matters of appointment and transfers while also ruling that the term “consultation” would not diminish the primary role of the CJI in judicial appointments.
  • Ushering in the collegium system, the court said that the recommendation should be made by the CJI in consultation with his two seniormost colleagues.
  • It added that although it was open to the executive to ask the collegium to reconsider the matter if it had an objection to the name recommended, if, on reconsideration, the collegium reiterated the recommendation, the executive was bound to make the appointment.

THIRD JUDGES CASE

  • In 1998, President K R Narayanan issued a Presidential Reference to the Supreme Court over the meaning of the term “consultation” under Article 143 of the Constitution (advisory jurisdiction). The question was whether “consultation” required consultation with a number of judges in forming the CJI’s opinion, or whether the sole opinion of CJI could by itself constitute a “consultation”.
  • In response, the Supreme Court laid down nine guidelines for the functioning of the coram for appointments and transfers – this has come to be the present form of the collegium, and has been prevalent ever since.
  • This opinion laid down that the recommendation should be made by the CJI and his four seniormost colleagues, instead of two. It also held that Supreme Court judges who hailed from the High Court for which the proposed name came, should also be consulted.
  • It was also held that even if two judges gave an adverse opinion, the CJI should not send the recommendation to the government.

Criticism of the collegium system

  1. The system is non-transparent, since it does not involve any official mechanism or secretariat. It is seen as a closed-door affair with no prescribed norms regarding eligibility criteria or even the selection procedure. There is no public knowledge of how and when a collegium meets, and how it takes its decisions.
  2. Lawyers too are usually in the dark on whether their names have been considered for elevation as a judge.
Source: Indian Express

Jadhav case and International Court of Justice

Context: The Islamabad High Court asked the Fo­reign Office to clear India’s “misunderstanding” about the court’s jurisdiction to hear the Kulbhushan Jad­hav case to implement the verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

What is the case?

  • Jadhav, the 50­year old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.
  • India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jad­hav and challenging the death sentence.

ICJ Ruling

  • ICJ ruled in July 2019 that Pa­kistan must undertake an “effective review and re­ consideration” of the con­viction and sentence of Jad­hav, and also grant consular access to India without further delay.
  • It had asked Pakistan to provide a proper forum for appeal against the sen­tence given to the retired officer by the military court.

About ICJ

  1. The Court is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. It was established by the United Nations Charter, which was signed in 1945. Headquaters: The Hague, Netherlands.
  2. The Court has a twofold role: first, to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes between States submitted to it by them and, second, to give advisory opinions on legal matters referred to it by duly authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.
  3. Only States are eligible to appear before the Court in contentious cases.
  4. It has no jurisdiction to try individuals accused of war crimes or crimes against humanity. As it is not a criminal court, it does not have a prosecutor able to initiate proceedings.
  5. The Court can only hear a dispute when requested to do so by one or more States. It cannot deal with a dispute on its own initiative.
  6. Judgments delivered by the Court (or by one of its Chambers) in disputes between States are binding upon the parties concerned.
Source: The Hindu

National Startup Advisory Council

Context: Minister of Railways, Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food & Public Distribution Mr. Piyush Goyal chaired the first meeting of National Startup Advisory Council(NSAC).

About the council

  • Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) had constituted the National Startup Advisory Council.
  • It is to advise the Government on measures needed to build a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and startups in the country to drive sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities.

Composition

  • Chairman: Minister for Commerce & Industry.
  • Convener of the Council: Joint Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.
  • Ex-officio Members: Nominees of the concerned Ministries/Departments/Organisations not below the rank of Joint Secretary.
  • Non-official members, to be nominated by the Central Government, from various categories like founders of successful startups, veterans who have grown and scaled companies in India, persons capable of representing the interests of investors into startups, etc. The term of the non-official members will be for a period of two years.
Source: PIB

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