Reading up current affairs for UPSC exam? The UPSC news-based portion tests the abilities of a student to correlate the daily news with government policy, changes in executive decisions and the need to work towards India’s current problems.
From that persepective, the following news stories are relevant from today’s newspapers:
SC not to review Sabarimala case; would focus on more important issues
The Supreme Court has decided to focus on broader issues highlighted in the Sabarimala case, involving access to religious places, women and religion, than focus on the specific case where women, who were traditionally denied entry into the shrine, were allowed inside and taken there with adequate police protection.
The Sabarimala case saw the debate of whether women should be allowed into a temple shrine, fall into the purview of the judiciary. The issue at heart is one around the Right to equality and the freedom of religion under Article 25 and 26 of the Indian consititution.
One side holds that prohibiting women from entering the shrine demeans their right to equality and freedom to practice religion. The other holds that allowing women inside would demean the sanctity of the shrine and their right to practice religion their way.
CJI Bobde heads a nine-judge bench which is leading enquiries into the matter. The matter had been relegated to a smaller five-judge bench, who put together seven larger issues around women and religion, which were from a larger persepective:
What should be the interplay between freedom of religion under Article 25, 26 and the right to equality under Article 14?
- The real definition of ‘Public order’, ‘morality’ and ‘health’ under Article 25 (1). The right to practice religion is subject to these three clauses. The clauses have been brought up in the case as deterrants to entry to the said religious shrine.
- What is morality? Is constitutional morality overarching as mentioned in the Preamble or does it get limited to faiths and religions?
- How far can courts go to determine whether a particular religious practice is essential to a faith or not?
- What does the phrase ‘sections of Hindus’ in Article 25 (2)(b) of the Constitution mean?
- Are ‘essential religious practices’ (specifically those which deny women access to a shrine), also protected under Article 26 of the Indian constitution?
- Till what extent should courts listen to PILs questioning religious practices, especially if they’re filed by a third person who does not practice said faith.
Some of the examples of the situations where a possible solution to this case would apply, include:
- Entry / Prohibition of women from mosques and temples
- Genital mutiliation of women in Dawoodi Bohras
- Ban on Parsi women from inter-faith marriages to enter the fire temple
It would not cover the following situations:
- Polygamy, as allowed by certain religions
- Nikaah Halala in Islam
Sri Lanka’s PM to make first state visit to India in February.
Newly elected Sri Lankan PM Mahindra Rajpaksa will visit India in February, to meet his Indian counterpart, Prime Minister Modi. This will be his first official foreign visit after taking over as prime minister of Sri Lanka.
Mahindra Rajpaksa gained power after the post-easter terror attacks in the state. He was appointed Prime minister by his brother Gotabaya Rajpaksa after his decisive win in President’s election last November.
Recently, Lankan Foreign minister Dinesh Gunawardena had also visited India to meet
his Indian counterpart, S Jaishankar. The latter had gone to Lanka in November as a special envoy of PM Modi and had announced a $450 million line of credit to Sri Lanka including $50 million to fight terrorism. The financial aid was to boost infrastructure and development in Lanka and enhance projects with mutual benefits to both countries.
What you should know-
Prime Minister Rajpaksa has served as president of Sri Lanka for two tenures since 2005.
On the anvil are developments around assurance to implement the 13th amendment to Sri Lanka which would give more power of self governance to Lankan provinces inhabited by Indian-origin Tamils.
Retail inflation reaches 5-year-high at 7.3%
Rise in food prices in December has led to a hike in retail inflation to 7.3%. This has breached the RBI’s earlier upper tolerance limit of 6%. This is very bad news in line with the current economic slowdown.
The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOPI), has released these figures and highlighted that the December figures have been the highest since December 2014.
Food inflation (rise in food prices) has alone shot up to 14.12 percent in December from 10.1 percent in November, while in December 2018, the food inflation was negative 2.65 percent (prices were low).
The consumer price index (CPI) last breached RBI’s upper inflation band in July 2016.
Now all eyes are on the forthcoming budget where the issues in agriculture can be addressed to bring down the food inflation which keeps on coming over and again.
What you should know-
Union budget 2020 will be presented on February 1 by Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, but there is very less room as consumer demand is lacklustre,tax collection is modest and GDP growth is on 11-year-low record of mere 5%.
Musharraf’s death sentence trial held ‘unconstitutional’ by Lahore HC
The Lahore High Court has held the high treason case proceedings and judgement against former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf as illegal. The high treason trial found Musharraf guilty and sentenced him to death on December 17.
The Lahore High Court questioned the credibility of the formation of the special court. Such a court should be created with prior cabinet approval. Here, the court was created by the Prime Minister’s Office and Interior Minstry only.
This makes the court unconstitional and removes authority from its verdict and its implementation.
The General has been living in UAE and was tried in absence.
Anti-CAA developments and updates
In the last 24 hours, there have been many developments in the protests against Citizenship Amendment Act, with many states opposing the Act, NRC and NPR, opposition calling for its removal and protests continuing in multiple regions. There have also been developments in the backdrop of violence at the Delhi-based JNU Campus.
- JNU - Seeking removal of JNU Vice Chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar, teachers and students have boycotted classes at the campus.
- All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) leaders have skipped a meeting with Home minister Amit Shah over the Assam Accord.
- UP begins identifying refugees - State minister Srikant Sharma said that all District Magistrates in UP have been asked to collect data to identify refugees for implementation of Citizenship Amendment Act
- Protests against CAA continue at Shaheen Bagh, Delhi and Shanti Bagh in Gaya for the 16th day
- Opposition demands withdrawl of CAA - Appeals to non-BJP CMs to stop work on NPR in their respective states as well.
All The Best To All The SSC CGL 2020 Aspirants !