9 PM Current Affairs Brief – January 5, 2018

Download the compilation of all summaries of all the news articles here

GS – 1

Governor hails TNs role in Quit India Movement: 

Governor hails TNs role in Quit India Movement


Tamil Nadu Governor BanwarilalPurohit on Thursday said the people of Tamil Nadu had played a significant role in the Quit India movement

The occasion

He was delivering the inaugural address at a seminar organised by the University of Madras’ Department of History. The opening of ‘The 75th Anniversary of the Quit India Movement: Remembering the Role of Tamil Nadu’ was attended by State Higher Education Minister K.P. Anbazhagan and university Vice-Chancellor P. Duraisamy

What did the governor say?

Governor said that,

  • The Gandhian leader Kamarajar, simple and non-violent in approach, exhorted the freedom-loving people of Tamil Nadu to fight whole-heartedly against the British
  • Several leaders from the State were imprisoned; Kamaraj’s mentor S. Satyamurti died as a result of torture during imprisonment
  • The students who were their followers then came to the forefront. Presidency College, Pachaiyappa’s College, Loyola College and Madras Christian College led the strikes and demonstrations. Annamalai University had to be closed. Queen Mary’s College was the first women’s college to organise a protest in the southern region
  • Not just the Quit India Movement, the contribution of Tamil Nadu to the freedom movement is significant. In fact, we were among the pioneers
  • Tamil Nadu had produced several individuals who opposed the British much before most well-known resistance movements began
    • “Before the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny, we had the 1806 Vellore Mutiny. Before the formation of the Indian National Congress, we had the Chennai SwadeshiSangam,” he said

Seven deadly sins

Governor also referred to an October 22, 1925 article in Young India which talked of the seven deadly sins that can destroy a nation. These seven sins are,

  • Wealth without work
  • Pleasure without conscience
  • Knowledge without character
  • Commerce without morality
  • Science without humanity
  • Religion without sacrifice
  • Politics without principles
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State of conflict:

State of conflict:


Who provoked the Maharashtra violence and how it got out of hand must be determined

Author’s contention

The speed with which tension spread from Bhima-Koregaon, a village on the outskirts of Pune, on Monday to bring cities across Maharashtra to a shutdown by Wednesday, is a pointer to multiple failings

Failure of police

It appears that the police had failed to anticipate the potential for trouble breaking out in Bhima-Koregaon and then ensure that normal life continued in the days after

Bhima-Koregaon: A Backdrop

  • Every year on January 1, a large number of Dalits visit a memorial in Bhima-Koregaon to mark an 1818 battle in which the East India Company, with Mahar soldiers prominent in its ranks, had defeated the Peshwa
  • From being a battle lauded in colonial times only to be forgotten by the British, over the years Bhima-Koregaon came to be marked as a site of Dalit valour and repudiation of caste stereotypes
  • With a visit by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in 1927, it got invested with political and spiritual meaning beyond the specifics of the original battle and in a forward-looking politics. This year being the 200th anniversary, the commemoration was always going to be larger and more high-profile

Therefore, police should have increased the security


  • There were also indications of tensions brewing after a vandalisation attempt in late December near the samadhi of a Mahar who it is said had performed the last rites of Sambhaji, Shivaji’s son. This is not far from Bhima-Koregaon and the administration was aware of the incident and its potential for causing trouble
  • The pent-up anger, which resulted in widespread incidents of arson and vandalism, ended with the bandh that brought Mumbai and other places to a halt

Proper investigation

The judicial inquiry promised by the DevendraFadnavis government must determine who provoked the violence, how it spread, and to what extent right-wing Hindu groups were responsible for fomenting it

Multiple factors

Author states that caste tensions are the result of many factors ranging from contested histories, at a more abstract level, to economic insecurities about jobs and livelihood, on the ground

  • Reservation movements: The tensions of this past week have come against the backdrop of neo-reservation movements, such as by the Marathas in Maharashtra over the past couple of years
  • Demand to dilute POAA:This and demands by Marathas to dilute the provisions of the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act may be borne of economic and social anxieties — but they, in turn, have created understandable anxieties among Dalits about being left adrift to wage the political battle for their protection on their own


The country’s politics must bridge differences by addressing anxieties holistically, instead of nurturing new polarised constituencies by widening these fault lines

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GS – 2

Should MPs and MLAs be barred from practicing law:

Should MPs and MLAs be barred from practicing law:


Different views on the issue of barring MPs and MLAs from practicing law

View 1:YES

We don’t need part-time legislators, we need dedicated parliamentarians

Petitioner’s view

My petition in court questions the dual role played by MPs or MLAs when they double up as lawyers. I have written to the Supreme Court and contested this on several grounds. This is illegal and unconstitutional. It is also unethical and immoral.

Clear rules

What does rule 49 of the Bar Council of India states?

Rule 49 of the Bar Council of India states that

  • Any full-time salaried employee, whether he or she belongs to a corporation, private firm, or the government, cannot practise as a lawyer before a court of law
  • No public servant can engage in the pursuit of any other vocation and certainly cannot offer his or her services as a lawyer while in service
  1. Karunanidhi v. Union of India(1979)

A five-judge Bench in M. Karunanidhi v. Union of India (1979) categorically stated that

  • MPs and MLAs are public servants, though the employer-employee relationship will not apply to them
  • Karunanidhi had argued that he was not a public servant in a corruption case

Full time members

The work of a lawyer is a full-time activity. So is the work of MPs and MLAs; they are full-time members of Parliament and Assemblies. They have to take part in the proceedings of the House, meet people in their constituencies, and grapple with and address people’s issues

  • They have their work cut out. To facilitate their work, they are given a bungalow and a car, an office and a salary. They should go and serve the people
  • We don’t need part-time legislators. We need dedicated parliamentarians

Professional misconduct

Also, no lawyer can benefit from the petitioner and the respondent. MPs and MLAs who are practising lawyers take a fee from the petitioner and get their salary from the respondent, which is the Central or State government. This is professional misconduct, as they end up enjoying the benefits of both

  • When you take public money and argue against the government, it is professional misconduct

Conflict of interest

There is also a conflict of interest. MPs and MLAs have the power to initiate impeachment proceedings against a judge, which means that they can pressurise the judge to give a favourable verdict when they plead before him or her in a case.

A corporate lobbyist

When MPs and MLAs find a draft Bill wanting, they should argue in Parliament, not challenge it in a court of law

  • Retainerships: Also, they take retainership from a company, which raises questions of professional misconduct as well as conflict of interest. The MP/MLA becomes a corporate lobbyist
  • Violation of article 14, 15, 21:How is it that when you bar public servants from engaging in other professional services, you allow legislators who are also public servants to open petrol pumps and argue cases in courts?
    • This is a violation of Articles 14, 15, and 21, which deal with the right to equality, prohibition of discrimination, and protection of life and personal liberty, respectively
  • Discrimination: How can you discriminate against one public servant and not the other?
    • A public servant is defined in Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 2 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. I am aware that my petition cuts across party lines and there are many members. My question is simple: are not MLAs and MPs public servants?

View 2: NO

Parliament must remain a melting pot of diversity, even in terms of expertise

Taken to its logical conclusion, this proposition would mean that all professionals, including chartered accountants, architects and medical doctors, should also be banned. Otherwise, ex facie, it would be a discriminatory ban

Treating core competency as a disqualification: Regressive idea

Long gone are the days when core competence, technocracy, expertise and sectoral experience were frowned upon, indeed treated as a disqualification, as this proposal seeks to do

  • Global reversion towards expertise: It is supremely ironic that while globally even established sectors like the civil service (where generalists predominate) are seeking a partial conversion to specialised personnel and technocrats, we have a reversion and regression inbuilt in this outlandish idea

A reflection of diversity

Parliament deserves to be enriched by diverse talents, varied experiences, and different vocational acumen. It is this diversity which is truly enriching and shows up all the time in a stray debate, in a casual conversation, in a heated intervention and, of course, in a prepared speech

  • Parliament must remain, as indeed our country is, a true salad bowl or a melting pot (or both) of diversity, even in terms of expertise

The time factor: A oxymoron

The excuse regarding lack of devotion of time is spurious and specious. As someone remarked centuries ago, the busiest person is she who finds time for everything. It is actually an oxymoron to suggest, as the proponents of this debate appear to do, that a truly successful or top professional will jeopardise her public image or political or professional career, having taken a plunge into public life, by being irresponsible in discharging the duties of either or both

  • Art of management: No one worth her salt, either in public life or in the legal profession, will undermine her reputation by taking on that which she cannot efficiently discharge. The art of managing such pulls and pressures is known to every successful human being
  • It is very strange that under this proposed ban, the issue of whether one is devoting sufficient time to her professional duties is to be decided by a professional body of peers, whereas, in fact, the marketplace is the best, most clinical, and the most cruel judge of that

Invisible hand

Author states that it depends very much on the individual concerned. If she is found to be a zero contributor to the diverse debates going on today, or a negative contributor to a parliamentary discourse, or an ineffective lawyer, Adam Smith’s invisible hand will deal her a lasting and irrecoverable blow. Banning her from joining public life is certainly not the solution


To add or exclude a person from law, when their alternate participation is in something which is not a profession (namely, politics), and has no prescribed legal qualification, is a fallacious and conceptually confused approach

View 3: It is complicated

There are many technical questions which need to be addressed

Lawyers are articulate and known for logical thinking. Training in law helps them understand law and legislation better. Ultimately, the country has to be run in accordance with the rule of law

Based on 1996 judgment

The question raised in this petition is based on a 1996 judgment which actually specifies who can practise as an advocate. Briefly, the judgment says that while being an advocate, you cannot engage in any other activity either partly or fully (in trade, business, etc.). But the question is, can politics be equated with being in trade or is it an employment?

Relevant question

If doctors can join politics, if chartered accountants, engineers and business tycoons can become MPs and MLAs, what is the argument against lawyers?

Politics: trade or employment?

  • Conflict of interest: The question that is often raised, specifically in the context of the legal profession, is a conflict of interest which arises when a lawyer accepts a brief from a corporate house and is a member of either House
    • Here, it is very clear that you cannot be appearing for a particular person and lobby for the person in the House. This applies to everyone. Parliament is not the place for lobbying
    • If you have accepted money, or have benefited in any manner, or have been briefed in a particular matter, and you lobby for that person in Parliament, that is unethical. It applies equally to business entrepreneurs who are members of State Assemblies or Parliament
    • One can inform the Privileges Committee or Ethics Committee in the event of a transgression. Interestingly, earlier, Ethics, Privileges and Protocol was one committee. During the United Progressive Alliance regime, this was wrongly trifurcated

Where there is a conflict of interest or office of profit, this applies equally to all

No clear answers

The counterargument is based on a judgment of the Supreme Court in Dr.Haniraj L. Chulani v. Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa (1996)

  • The court held that a person qualified to be an advocate would not be admitted as one if he or she is in full-time or part-time service or employment
  • Allowance or earnings?:In continuation of the same argument, the next question is whether emoluments received by MPs or MLAs are an allowance or, as the payslip calls itself, a salary slip. There is no clear answer to these technical questions as yet

No restrictions on other professions

Advocates are governed by the Advocates Act and Bar Council Rules, which seek to impose certain restrictions on practitioners of law

  • The discrimination also lies in the fact that practitioners of other professions — engineers, doctors, etc. — don’t face such restrictions under any legislation similar to the Advocates Act. Thus, lawyers can legitimately seek equality with other professionals

Clarity needed

These questions point to certain lacunae which can be addressed either by the Bar Council, the courts, or Parliament. Clarity is required, as this has to be tested on grounds of equality and right to practice a profession

Meagre remuneration

The remuneration which MPs/MLAs get is meagre and is often cited as one of the reasons

for engaging in other professional activities. My response to that is, you signed up for it.

Answerable to the party

Being a LokSabha MP leaves you little time to practise as you are answerable to lakhs of people. But the argument is mostly directed at RajyaSabha members who do not have a constituency to cater to. Their answerability is to their party. So, if there is misconduct — their presence or absence in the House or appearance for certain clients, amongst other reasons — the parties have to take note.

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Civil wrong, criminal act: on the triple talaq Bill: 

Civil wrong, criminal act: on the triple talaq Bill


The triple talaq Bill — the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill — has

come to the RajyaSabha for consideration after a smooth sailing in the LokSabha on December 28

Author’s contention

This is an ill-thought-out, hastily conceived legislation, exposing the dubious intentions of the BJP

The judgment

Three separate judgments were rendered


Justice R.F. Nariman and Justice U.U. Lalit held thattalaq-e-biddat (triple talaq) as a practice was arbitrary and declared it to be unconstitutional and consequently void


Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice Abdul Nazeer held that being a 1,400-year-old practice, this had become an integral part of the faith of Muslims and could not be struck down as being violative of fundamental rights. They, however, stated that since such a practice is otherwise abhorrent and considered illegal in various Muslim countries around the world and, taking note of the stand of the Muslim Personal Law Board deprecating the practice, it should be discontinued

  • Consequently, they granted an injunction (order) against the practice of triple talaq for a period of six months from the date of judgment, enabling Parliament to legislate on the subject
  • If such legislation were to be initiated, the injunction would continue till the legislation bore fruition


Justice Kurian Joseph held, disagreeing with Justice Nariman and Justice Lalit, that provisions of Muslim personal law cannot be struck down as arbitrary and unconstitutional. He held, however, that this particular practice, being sinful and not sanctified by the Koran, was consequently not part of personal law, disagreeing with Justice Khehar and Justice Nazeer to this extent

3 to 5 held Triple talaq void

In essence, therefore, three of the five judges of the Court held this practice to be void, albeit for different reasons. The government chose to take notice of that part of the judgment of Justice Khehar and Justice Nazeer on which they were in a minority and initiated this legislation

Essential features

This legislation has three essential features:

  • Triple talaq or any form of instantaneous and irrevocable divorce pronounced by a Muslim is void
  • A Muslim husband pronouncing triple talaq is criminally culpable;
  • The offence is non-cognisable and non-bailable


  • Restating the obvious: That the government is not applying its mind is clear from the fact that it seeks to declare void a practice that has already been declared void by the Supreme Court. Had this legislation not been initiated, the practice would still be void. Therefore, the legislation to this extent does no more than restate an existing statement of law. This is inexplicable. The sole intent of the legislation, therefore, is to criminalise the act of triple talaq
  • Muslim men now liable to be prosecuted: Criminalisation of this act does not emanate from any part of any of the three judgments rendered by the Supreme Court. This is why in proposing this legislation the government has exposed its dubious intent of targeting Muslim men, who are now liable to be prosecuted for breaching a civil contract, a Muslim marriage being a contract of a civil nature
  • A third person can file a complaint: There is no provision in this legislation which states that the wife alone can file a complaint alleging that an offence of triple talaq has been committed. A third person can file such a complaint on the basis of which the husband alleged to have pronounced triple talaq can be arrested forthwith
  • Subsistence allowance: The concept of subsistence allowance and the right of a woman to custody of her minor children in the event of pronouncement of talaq by her husband are both alien to a marriage which is subsisting and intact. Subsistence allowance or maintenance and child custody are issues which become relevant if there is a proceeding for divorce and the husband chooses not to maintain the family. That cannot be the case here

Implications of being a non-bailable offence

Being non-bailable, only a court is entitled to grant bail. This has several implications:

  • The wife who may not wish to complain, her marriage being intact, has to suffer the consequences of her husband being sent to jail. That affects her husband’s capacity to provide for the family;
  • The complaint may be based on a lie, yet the husband may land in jail;
  • It is not understood why the husband needs to go to jail when the marriage is subsisting and valid

Selective gender justice

  • The government claims that this legislation has nothing to do with religion and seeks to serve the cause of gender justice. If that is the case, why does this government not shed any tears for our Hindu sisters who are frequently thrown out of the house and have to run from pillar to post to seek their remedies in court?
  • Such proceedings take years while our Hindu sisters languish without support. The same logic applies to our sisters belonging to all other religions who are frequently abandoned by their husbands. Service to the cause of gender justice must not be selective


This seems to be yet another act of political opportunism by the government to seek electoral benefits. Yet another ‘jumla’. It is time for us to expose the machinations of this government, which seeks to tear asunder families, whose marriages are intact and whose husbands may land in jail despite that

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Notice to govt. on law for working women:

Notice to govt. on law for working women:


The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the government to respond on a petition questioning the lack of implementation of the various provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act of 2013


The 2013 statutory law had replaced the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in the historic Vishaka case judgment, which stemmed from the brutal gang rape of a social worker in a village of Rajasthan

1997 judgment

The Supreme Court verdict authored in 1997 by then Chief Justice J.S. Verma was inspired by international conventions and the spirit of gender equality enshrined in the Constitution to declare that “gender equality includes protection from sexual harassment and right to work with dignity, which is a universally recognised basic human right.”

Apathy of authorities

Five years after the Act came into existence, NGO Initiatives for Inclusion Foundation and its trustees PallaviPareek and EshaShekhar have brought to light the sheer lack of initiative on the part of government authorities to monitor the implementation and enforce the law

Court issues directions

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India DipakMisra issued notice to the Centre and State governments. They have to reply within the next four weeks

What does the petition contend?

The petition, represented by advocates Sanjay Parikh and AnithaShenoy, pointed out that

  • The government at the State level has not even bothered to appoint district officers or local committees under the 2013 Act
  • There are no appointments of nodal officers or internal complaints committees in certain offices
  • There has been no move to ensure the reporting and collection of annual compliance reports from workplaces

Hence, the law meant to protect working women has hit a roadblock

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Why no exclusive human rights courts yet: Supreme Court asks States: 

Why no exclusive human rights courts yet: Supreme Court asks States


The Supreme Court on Thursday asked States why exclusive human rights courts had not been set up yet

What has happened?

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked States why exclusive human rightscourts had not been set up yet

State inaction

During a hearing, the Court highlighted how the human rights law of 1993 makes States responsible for setting up exclusive human rights courts with special public prosecutors in every district but till now not a single State has done it


While staying an order passed by the Calcutta High Court against a probe into the trafficking of children lodged in orphanages, the apex court has included all the States as parties in the litigation. It also issued notices ordering them to respond about this 25-year-old lapse within the next two weeks

Protecting dignity

Noting the rampant problem of orphanages trafficking children under their care, the Court decided to step in to protect the dignity of the child

  • “The dignity of the child need to be protected. A child cannot be bartered away at the whim and fancy of the persons in charge of an orphanage,” a Supreme Court Bench led by Chief Justice Misra observed in its order

Guilty of human rights violation

The apex court said a person found guilty of trafficking children, apart from the punishment, is also liable for violation of human rights

  • “The future of the country depends on our children. States have a great role to play… It is necessary to have a comprehensive view regarding the running of orphanages, mode and method of adoptions, care given to children in these institutions, treatment meted out to the children,” the Supreme Court observed.

Stay on the case

  • The apex court stayed an order passed by the Calcutta High Court against an investigation launched by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), represented by Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and advocate AninditaPujari. The NCPCR had appealed against the Calcutta High Court’s decision to stop the probe
  • The Supreme Court also stayed proceedings before the High Court
  • The Bench posted the case for hearing on January 22, 2018
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Pakistan releases Jadhav video, India terms it propaganda:

Pakistan releases Jadhav video, India terms it propaganda:


Pakistan has put out another coerced statement, says MEA


Accusing Pakistan of violating the human rights of KulbhushanJadhav again, India on Thursday dismissed as “propaganda” another video statement given by Mr.Jadhav that was released by the Pakistani Foreign Ministry

The video

In the video, which was screened for journalists in Islamabad, Mr.Jadhav, who has been convicted of terror charges by a Pakistani military court and sentenced to death, said he had been “taken care of” by Pakistani authorities and that he remained a commissioned officer of the Indian Navy and had been working for the external intelligence agency R&AW

  • Jadhav also alleged that his mother and wife, who had met him on December 25, had been intimidated by the Indian diplomat accompanying them
  • “They’ve been threatened. The Indian diplomat or the Indian person that had come along with my mother was shouting at her the moment she stepped out. He was yelling at her. Has she been brought under threat here?!” Mr.Jadhav, who wore a blazer and shirt for the video, was seen saying

Indian account

Mr.Jadhav’s statement ran counter to External Affairs Minister SushmaSwaraj’s account of the meeting, where she said that Mr.Jadhav’s mother and wife had been harassed by Pakistani officials, forced to remove jewellery and change clothes in order to meet him, and had been forcibly separated from the Indian diplomat accompanying them, the Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad J.P. Singh. Asked about the specific allegations on tape, government sources said Mr.Jadhav was being used by Pakistani officials in an attempt to “change the narrative and shift the focus” from India’s objections to the treatment of his family

  • “The family was scared because of the very intrusive and humiliating security check and because of the [Pakistani] media’s heckling,” a source told The Hindu

Kidnapped from Iran

Since his arrest in March 2016, the government has consistently held that Mr.Jadhav was a former naval officer who had sought “premature retirement” and was conducting a business in Iran when he was kidnapped by Pakistani operatives. The government made more than a dozen requests for consular access to Pakistani authorities, failing which, it approached the International Court of Justice at the Hague. After the Jadhav family meeting last week, the MEA had also expressed concerns about Mr.Jadhav’s health, as he was only allowed to meet the family across a glass partition

Indian government’s stand

The absurdity of a captive under duress certifying his own welfare while mouthing allegations of his captors clearly merits no comment

  • Pakistan is best advised to fulfil its international obligations, whether it pertains to consular relations or UNSC resolutions 1267 and 1373 on terrorism and to desist from continuing violations of human rights of an Indian national

ICJ to decide

The International Court of Justice will adjudicate on whether Pakistan has violated the Geneva convention on the treatment of prisoners

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GS – 3

LokSabha passes Bill to hike salaries of judges: 

LokSabha passes Bill to hike salaries of judges


The LokSabha on Thursday passed a bill to hike the salaries of judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts

What has happened?

Bill to hike the salaries of judges of SC & HC has been passed by LokSabha. The Bill proposes to hike the salary of the Chief Justice of India to ₹ 2.80 lakh a month, and that of judges of the Supreme Court and Chief Justices of High Courts to ₹ 2.5 lakh a month. Judges of High Courts will draw a salary of ₹ 2.25 lakh a month once this Bill becomes law

Inline with 7th pay commission

The salary hike, in line with the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission for officers of all-India services, will come into force with effect from January 1, 2016.

  • The discussion on the Bill saw members express concern over what they saw as threats to separation of powers, calls for hiked salaries for MPs, and even for reservation in the judiciary

All India judicial services

Replying to the debate, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad expressed his support for the idea of an All-India Judicial Service on the lines of the Indian Administrative Service for drawing the best legal minds to the judiciary. He said reservation could become a reality if such a service comes up.

Concern over NJAC

He expressed concern over the Supreme Court setting aside the National Judicial Appointments Commission on the plea that the presence of the Law Minister would mean a judge appointed through the process may not be fair when hearing a case against the government. Mr. Prasad said some of the finest judges were appointed in times when the Law Minister was part of the process of appointment


  • He also referred to the pendency of judges’ vacancies, adding that the government could fill the vacancies only when the collegium made recommendations
  • He said there were six vacancies in the Supreme Court and while the process was on to fill 129 vacancies in High Courts, there were 269 vacant posts of High Court judges for which no recommendations by the collegium had been received
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