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CURRENT AFFAIRS COMPILATION | SEPTEMBER PART 1
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ARTICLE 1 | UPHOLD RIGHTS OF WOMEN IN MENTAL HEALTH CENTRES: SC
Constitutional Law | Source : The Hindu
What happened ?
The Supreme Court has given three months period to the State government and Union Territories for taking measures and control violation of human rights of women institutionalized in government- run mental health establishments
CAUSE TITLE | Gaurav Kumar Bansal v. Mr. Dinesh Kumar and others (Contempt Petition (c) No.1653/2018 in WP(c) No.412/2016
Petition filed | A petition is made before the apex court based on certain studies conducted in 2016 by NIMHANS and by the National Commission for Women in 2020. This research highlights violations faced by women in government run mental health establishments.
Highlights in the petition
· Mental Healthcare institutions indulge in practice of shaving the hair of women inmates and other such exercises which compromise the dignity of women inmates.
· Women inmates do not have access to basic necessities such as sanitary napkins (violation of Section 20(2)(b) of Mental Healthcare Act 2017).
· There are no provisions which provide that women and children will not be separated at such institutions.
· No mechanism is made to issue identity cards such as Aadhar cards to such women inmates.
· Lack of Privacy (violation of Section 20(2)(c) of Mental Healthcare Act 2017).
· Lack of Disability Certificates
· Lack of Disability Pension (violation of Section 24(d)(g) of the RPwD Act 2016)
Directions issued by the SC Bench
· It directed the Union Ministry of Social Justice and empowerment to discuss the grievances raised with the concerned States during the course of its monthly monitoring meetings and accordingly ensure compliance.
· It also directed the Centre to file a status report a week before the next date of hearing.
Directions for Half way Homes
· The court shocked to know that few States like Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh had shifted cured patients into beggar homes, women’s hotels and old age homes.
· The court called such act of the government of re-designing the existing old age homes and hostels as half way homes as a mere ‘lip service’.
· The court has directed the Centre to create an online dashboard for States to individually provide real- time data on half- way homes, facilities provided, capacity, occupancy and their region wise distribution.
· Directed the Ministry to hold monthly meetings for monitoring the progress in the establishment of half-way homes for cured mentally ill persons who need a place to stay.
ARTICLE 2 | INDIA’S PRESIDENCY OF UNSC ENDS WITH ‘SUBSTANTIVE’ OUTCOMES ON KEY GLOBAL ISSUES
International law | Source : The Hindu
What happened ? India’s one month long Presidency of the UNSC ended with the ‘substantive’ outcomes on key global concerns.
What are they ? These outcomes on global issues include a strong resolution on the current situation of Taliban conquered Afghanistan, where the demand was that Afghan territory should not be used to threaten any nation or for providing shelter to terrorists.
India’s and UNSC
· At present India is serving its two year tenure as a non- permanent member of the 15- nation Security Council.
· It assumed the rotating Presidency of the UN body in August 2021.
· Under India’s Presidency, total three sessions were held by the Security Council on Afghanistan matter.
· After the sessions, press statements were released, of which the last one strongly condemned the ‘deplorable attacks’ near the Hamid Karazi International Airport in Kabul.
· On the last day of Presidency, a resolution was issued on Afghanistan reiterating the importance of terrorism in Afghanistan, which demanded-
i. Afghan territory shall neither be used to threaten or attack nor train or shelter terrorists.
ii. Afghan territory must not be used as source to finance terrorist activities.
UN Security Council
· It is one amongst the six principal organs of United Nations Organisation.
· It comprises of 15 member nations- 5 Permanent and 10 Non- permanent.
· Permanent Members are- China, France, Russia, UK, US.
· It is responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security.
ARTICLE 3 | SC SAYS DON’T WANT ‘BUSY BODIES’ NGOs CHALLENGE HIGHER JUDICIAL SERVICE RULES, DISMISSES PIL
Constitutional Law | Source : The Hindu
Ø The Supreme Court dismissed a special leave petition which assailed Allahabad High Court’s dismissing the PIL which had challenged Rule 18 of the UP Higher Judicial Services Rules, 1975.
CAUSE TITELE | Samvidhan Bachao Trust and Anr. v. State of UP and Anr. 2021
Ø The ground for dismissing the PIL is that these rules prescribed only one minimum qualification for all categories of candidates i.e. General, SC/ST etc. and thereafter defeated the entire purpose of reservation.
Plea challenging service Rules
· A plea was filed by Samvidhan Bachao Trust challenging the advertisement dated 18 Jan. 2021 for Direct Recruitment to Uttar Pradesh Higher Judicial Service, 2020 and seeking directions to amend the UP Higher Judicial Service Rules, 1975 in accordance with the recommendations of ‘Justice Shetty Commission’ on rules for recruitment to Higher Judicial Services.
· The Special Leave Petition stated Rule 18 of the 1975 Rules was manifestly arbitrary and unreasonable being ultra vires of Article 14, 15, 16 and 335 of the Constitution as it did not prescribe lower minimum qualification for reserved category candidates.
Ø Central Electricity Supply Utility of Odisha v. Dhobei Sahoo and Ors- In this case, the only issue required to be considered in present in writ petition seeking issuance of writ of quo warranto was whether State Electricity Regulatory Commission has requisite authority to make temporary arrangement for appointment of CEO. The court held that the suitability or eligibility of candidate for appointment is within the domain of appointing authority. Court can only scrutinize whether appointment is contrary to statutory provisions/ rules.
Ø Hari Bansh Lal v. Sahodar Prasad Mahto & Ors- In this case, on PIL petition from Sahodar Prasad, the Jharkhand High Court had set aside the appointment of Hari Bansh Lal as Chairman of the State Electricity Board. State justified the appointment and said that he possessed required qualifications. Therefore, Mr. Lal filed a Special leave petition against the High Court Order.
The Supreme Court quashed the High Court’s order. The Court held that his appointment was in terms of the provisions of the Act and the Rules and as on the date when this court issued notice, he was the Chairman. The bench directed that he be permitted to join the duty forthwith and continue as Chairman of the board.
POINT TO NOTE | The Supreme Court reiterated that a PIL petition is not maintainable in service matters, namely challenging the appointment of a person to a particular post. The Bench said that in service matters only a writ of quo warranto is maintainable.
CONCLUSION | The present petition contended that the High Court erroneously treated the petitioner’s case to be service matter challenging the appointment of an officer instead of PIL in the above stated judgments.
ARTICLE 4 | CHIEF JUSTICE OF INDIA UNHAPPY WITH LESS REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN AT THE TOP
Constitutional Law | Source : The Hindu
Ø Chief Justice of India, N.V. Ramana expressed grief over less representation of women in the top court. He admitted that even a ‘mere’ 11% of representation of women on the Bench of Supreme Court was observed with great difficulty.
Ø The Supreme Court was established in 1950, since then it has seen very few women Judges.
Ø Prior to the appointment of Justices Kohli, Nagarathna and Trivedi, only 8 women starting with Justice M. Fathima Beevi in 1989 have been appointed as Judges of the apex court.
Appointment of 9 new Judges of Supreme Court
· With appointment of 9 Judges as Supreme Court Judges, for the first time in the history, three women Judges have been appointed in one go.
· Now, total woman Judges in the top Court of India are four, which is the highest number ever.
· ‘Justice Nagarathna’ is in line to be the first woman CJI in September 2027.
· CJI said that women should get at least 50% representation at all levels after 75 years of Independence but in reality only 11% representation is achieved.
Problems faced by women lawyers
· Majority of women who reached the top court had faced various significant challenges.
· They lacked basic amenities in court complexes.
· In lower courts women do not have rest rooms and its very difficult for them to wait for long hours in the court corridors.
Lack of infrastructure
· CJI Ramana said that ‘Judicial system is facing challenges related to infrastructure, administrative staff and pendency’.
· CJI expressed that there are no toilets for women. He said that after he became Chief Justice in the High Court, he made provisions for women’s toilets in the basement.
· He said that the court buildings are old, built during the British Raj and therefore it lacks space for litigants and lawyers. Thus, India requires a “National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation”.
Respect women colleagues
CJI said at a function that-
Ø women colleagues must be respected and treated with dignity.
Ø Institution and Judges must be respected.
Ø It is inherent to the bar that it speaks up for what is fair and just