16th May 2022 CURRENT AFFAIRS
Today’s Topics :
1. The power of remission under the CrPC is different from the constitutional powers of the President and the Governor.
GS – 2 Polity and Governance
2. Need to Reform WHO
- GS-2 International Institutions
3. Delay in appointment of Chief of Defence Staff
- GS -3 Internal Security – Defence
- GS – 3 Ecology
The power of remission under the CrPC is diferent from the constitutional powers of the President and the Governor.
Context:The Supreme Court has reserved orders on the question whether a Governor can refer the State government’s advice for granting remission to life convicts to the President for a decision.
- Both the President and the Governor have been vested with sovereign power of pardon by the Constitution, commonly referred to as mercy or clemency power.
- Under Article 72, the President can grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence in all cases where the punishment or sentence is by a court-martial, in all cases where the punishment or sentence is for an offence under any law relating to the Union government’s executive power, and in all cases of death sentences.
- It is also made clear that the President’s power will not in any way affect a Governor’s power to commute a death sentence.
- Under Article 161, a Governor can grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment, or suspend, remit or commute the sentence of anyone convicted under any law on a matter which comes under the State’s executive power.
Statutory Power VsConstitutional Power
- The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) provides for remission of prison sentences, which means the whole or a part of the sentence may be cancelled.
- Under Section 432, the ‘appropriate government’ may suspend or remit a sentence, in whole or in part, with or without conditions. This power is available to State governments so that they may order the release of prisoners before they complete their prison terms.
- Under Section 433, any sentence may be commuted to a less one by the appropriate government.
- However, Section 435 says that if the prisoner had been sentenced in a case investigated by the CBI, or any agency that probed the offence under a Central Act, the State government can order such release only in consultation with the Central government.
- In the case of death sentences, the Central government may also concurrently exercise the same power as the State governments to remit or suspend the sentence.
- Even though they appear similar, the power of remission under the CrPC is different from the constitutional power enjoyed by the President and the Governor.
- Under the CrPC, the government acts by itself. Under Article 72 and Article 161, the respective governments advise the President/Governor to suspend, remit or commute sentences.
- Despite the fact that it is ultimately the decision of the government in either case, the Supreme Court has made it clear that the two are different sources of power.
SC stand in Maru Ram etc. vs Union of India (1980) case
- “Section 432 and Section 433of the Code are not a manifestation of Articles 72 and 161 of the Constitution but a separate, though similar, power.”
- In this case, a Constitution Bench upheld the validity of Section 433A of CrPC, which was introduced in 1978, to prevent the premature release of some life convicts before they spend 14 years in jail.
- It said that in cases in which the death punishment was available in law, but a person was only given a life term, and in cases in which death sentences were commuted to life, such a prisoner cannot be released unless he had completed 14 years.
- The court also reiterated that life sentence meant imprisonment for life until the last breath, unless remitted by the government.
- SC declared that the President and Governor do not independently exercise their power when disposing of mercy petitions or pleas for remission or commutation, but only on the advice of the appropriate governments. This principle was reiterated in Kehar Singh (1988).
Need to Reform WHO
Context: Prime Minister in the second global COVID-19 conference that held recently discussed the need to reform WHO
Need for WHO reform
- The reforms are urgently needed to strengthen the global health body and its ability to respond to novel and known disease outbreaks in order to limit the harm caused to the global community.
- It has been influenced by big states like the United States, and China
- No multilateral organization including WHO is involved in drugs research
- The WHO has been rocked by a decision last year by the United States to halt its funding and has been accused of being too close to China in the first phase of the pandemic, when critics say Beijing was slow in sharing crucial information on the new coronavirus which first appeared in the city of Wuhan.
Some of India’s 9-point plan for reforming WHO
- Changes in mechanisms to monitor health emergencies that can cross borders and giving the head of the UN body greater power to declare an international public health emergency.
- Changes and improvements in the body’s funding and governance, transparency in use of funds, and a greater role for the world body in ensuring fair, affordable and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines.
- Since WHO has little flexibility in using these funds, voluntary contributions should be “unearmarked to ensure that the WHO has necessary flexibility for its usage in areas where they are required the most”
- WHO’s regular budget should also be increased so that core activities “are financed from it, without putting an overwhelming financial burden on developing countries”
- Effective involvement of all countries in budget implementation and spending
- Significant amount of transparency with respect to data reporting and disbursement of funds
- Need to establish a system facilitating pan-world surveillance by leveraging innovating ICT tools
Delay in appointment of Chief of Defence Staff
Context:The appointment of CDS has been delaying as the Union government is reassessing the concept of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) to fix overlaps in the system and streamline the process.
- The CDS is meant to be a single-point military advisor to the government, and to coordinate long-term planning, procurements, training and logistics of the three services.
- He functions as the Principal Military Adviser to the Defence Minister and the Permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC).
- In addition, the DMA was created as the fifth department in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) with the CDS functioning as its secretary.
- The CDS, being above the three Service Chiefs, heplays an important role in optimizing procurement, avoiding duplication among the services and streamlining the process.
- India being a nuclear weapons state, the CDS will also act as the military advisor to the Prime Minister on nuclear issues.
Need for CDS
- As future wars become short, swift and network-centric, coordination among the three services is crucial.
- Also, as the stress on resources increases and defence budgets remain flat, the way forward is optimization of resources by joint planning and training.
Point to remember:General Bipin Rawat, who served as the 26th Chief of the Army Staff, took over as the country’s first CDS on January 01, 2020
Context: In 2021, Assam witnessed one solitary case of rhino poaching. This is the lowest number of cases the state has seen in 21 years.
- Indian rhinos once ranged throughout the entire stretch of the Indo-Gangetic Plain, but excessive hunting and agricultural development reduced its range drastically to 11 sites in northern India and southern Nepal.
- Indian rhinos once ranged across the entire northern part of the Indian Subcontinent, along the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra River basins, from Pakistan to the Indian-Myanmar border, including Bangladesh and the southern parts of Nepal and Bhutan. They may have also occurred in Myanmar, southern China and Indochina.
- They inhabit the alluvial grasslands of the Terai and the Brahmaputra basin.
- As a result of habitat destruction and climatic changes its range has gradually been reduced so that by the 19th century, it only survived in the Terai grasslands of southern Nepal, northern Uttar Pradesh, northern Bihar, northern West Bengal, and in the Brahmaputra Valley of Assam.
- Indian rhinos have a thick grey-brown skin with pinkish skin folds and one horn on their snout. Their upper legs and shoulders are covered in wart-like bumps.
- It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List
- It is a Schedule 1 animal under the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972
UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 16th May 2022
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