9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – June 18, 2021

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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today

About 9 PM Brief- With the 9 PM Daily Current affairs for UPSC brief we intend to simplify the newspaper reading experience. In 9PM briefs, we provide our reader with a summary of all the important articles and editorials from three important newspapers namely The Hindu, Indian Express, and Livemint. This will provide you with analysis, broad coverage, and factual information from a Mains examination point of view.

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Delhi High Court’s order upholds ‘Right to be Forgotten’

Source: Click Here 

Syllabus: GS 2 – Significant provisions of Indian Constitution

Synopsis:

Recently, in response to a petition, the Delhi High Court ordered the removal of easy access from one of its own judgments. Delhi HC upheld the petitioner’s right to be forgotten to prevent post-acquittal disgrace faced by him. However, some experts have criticized the order, stating that minor modifications would have yielded better results than complete revocation.

Background:

  • The Delhi HC gave temporary relief to a petitioner. He sought the removal of the judgment from leading database platforms and search engines after his acquittal.
    • The court asked search engines to remove this order from search results. It ordered the database platform to block the judgment from being accessed by search engines.
  • It recognized that the petitioner may have a right to be forgotten, which must be balanced with the right of the public to access courts of record.
  • This is the first instance of a court ordering the removal of access to its complete final judgment from certain spaces.

About Right to be forgotten:

  • It is a right to remove private information about a person from public access.
  • It allows an individual to determine the development of their life in an autonomous way and prevents perpetual stigmatization for past conduct.
  • In 2017, the Supreme Court held it to be a part of the Right to privacy. The court deduced that a lot of personal information may serve no “legitimate interest”, was unnecessary or irrelevant and hence can be taken down.

Issues associated with Right to Forgotten:

  • First, there are no concrete provisions or guidelines to determine the ambit of ‘Right to be forgotten’. It is dependent on the discretion of individual courts and the status of individuals. For instance, a public figure may find greater difficulties in exercising this right.
  • Second, there is no clarity on information uploaded by 3rd parties like a journalist or news agency. There is a broad consensus that one should be empowered to remove the information upheld by him/her over the internet.
    • However, removing 3rd party information may muzzle fair criticism of government policies and the media’s right to report.
    • U.S Supreme court in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964), ruled that public interest reporting may continue without fear as long as it did not intentionally or recklessly make outright false statements.
  • Third, the removal of complete judgments may not allow public scrutiny of judicial performance to ascertain the fairness and objectivity of the administration of justice.
  • Fourth, the removal sometimes creates a Streisand effect. It is a social phenomenon that occurs when an attempt to hide, remove or censor information has the unintended consequence of further publicizing that information.

Way Forward:

  • As per some experts, narrow tailoring of the judgment would have been more beneficial than forbidding access to its complete judgment.
  • The court could have ordered that the name and personal details of the petitioner be censored while maintaining public access to the judgment itself. 

Thus, the right to be forgotten must be studied along with the concepts of fair criticism and accountability.


Role of disruptive technologies in improving the health sector

Source: The Hindu

Gs3: Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life.

Synopsis: Application of future Digital technologies in the health sector can lead to accessible, affordable, and quality health care. Further, it can reduce human involvement in risky functions.

Background

  • Human involvement in diagnosis, treatment, and hospital care of infected patients puts them at greater risk of contracting the disease. For instance, many frontline warriors fighting COVID-19 have lost their lives.
  • In this context, technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous systems, blockchain, cloud and quantum computing, data analytics, 5G can help in addressing the issue.
  • The new technologies can improve the welfare of societies and reduce the impact of communicable diseases. Further, it can reduce the chances of hospital staff contracting the infection.

Recent developments regarding the use of disruptive technologies for hospital care

  1. One, according to global media reports, some established innovative field hospitals are using robots to care for COVID-19 affected patients.
  2. Two, hospitals in China, are using 5G-powered temperature measurement devices at the entrance to flag patients who have fever-like symptoms.
  3. Three, some robots are being used to measure heart rates and blood oxygen levels through smart bracelets.
  4. Four, In India too, the Sawai Man Singh government hospital in Jaipur held trials with a humanoid robot to deliver medicines and food to hospitalized COVID-19 patients

How new technologies can improve the hospital ecosystem?

  • One, Blockchain technology can help in addressing the interoperability challenges that health information and technology systems face.
    • The health blockchain will contain a complete indexed history of all medical data, including formal medical records and health data. Data will be sourced from mobile applications and wearable sensors. This will help in seamless medical attention.
    • Further, it allows for storing of data in a secured and authenticated network. Thereby, it will prevent erosion of Individuals’ privacy and ensure data security.
  • Two, Big data analytics can help improve patient-based services such as early disease detection.
  • Three, AI and the Internet of Medical Things, or IoMT can support medical care delivery in dispersed and complex environments through Medical autonomous systems.
  • Four, Cloud computing can facilitate collaboration and data exchanges between doctors, departments, and even institutions and medical providers. It will enable the best treatment.

How Digital technologies can be utilized to achieve “Universal health coverage” in India?

  1. India needs to own its digital health strategy that works and leads towards universal health coverage and person-centered care.
  2. India’s digital health strategy should emphasize the ethical appropriateness of digital technologies, across the digital divide, and ensure inclusion across the economy.
  3. Online consultation through video conferencing should be made a key part of India’s digital health strategy.
  4. Moreover, digital health strategy should  utilise available local knowledge. Primary health centres in India should examine traditional knowledge and experience and then use it along with modern technology.
    • There are many instances where traditional knowledge has been utilised for preventing diseases.
    • For example, in Indonesia, where the experience of backyard poultry farmers was used to tackle bird flu.
    • Another example is the Ebola virus outbreak in Africa, where communities proactively helped curtail the spread much before government health teams arrived.

Challenges in developing Digital health strategy

  • Standardisation of health data,
  • Information sharing between Organisations
  • Data security and data privacy, and
  • High investments.

India’s efforts in this direction should involve synchronization and integration, developing a template for sharing data, and reengineering many of the institutional and structural arrangements in the medical sector.


Balancing Civil rights and Anti-terror laws

Source: The Hindu

GS2: Structure, Organization, and Functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary

Synopsis: The objective of UAPA is to check terrorism, and its misuse is against the ethos of democracy.

Background:

  • Recently, Delhi High Court granted bail to activists who were undertrial for their alleged involvement in the 2020 Delhi riots.
  • The judgment is a judicial opposition to the authoritarian regime of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (“UAPA”).
  • Also, the UAPA is one of the most abused laws in India today.

How UAPA is being misused?

  1. Firstly, it restricts the right to bail of the accused. Section 43(D)(5) of this Act prevents the release of any accused person on bail if:
    • The court is of the opinion that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusation against such a person is prima facie true (what appears to be true at first).
  2. Secondly, the adversarial system of criminal justice causes further delays in overburdened courts.
    • It is based on the testing of evidence through cross-examination.
    • The court considers which side’s evidence is more persuasive.
    • In higher profile cases such as the Delhi riots case, where the record is bulky, trials can take many years. It leaves the accused in prison for years.
  3. Thirdly, section 43(D)(5) is against natural justice and rule of law.
    • In ordinary cases, both sides produce evidence and the court cross-examine them. But when Section 43(D)(5) is applied, the court looks at the prosecution’s evidence, which requires that bail be denied.
    • It forces the court to make decisions on guilt or innocence based on one side’s unchallenged story.
    • It deprives individuals of their freedom for years.

That is why in the case of Section 43(D)(5) when police prepare the charge sheet, it is highly difficult to get bail until there are no internal contradictions.

Why the judgment holds significance?

  1. Firstly, pendency in courts and increasing burden leaves under-trials in prison.
    • That is why bail is the only safeguard and guarantee of the constitutional right to liberty.
  2. Secondly, the Bench of Justices observed that Section 43(D)(5) is against the basic principles of criminal justice.
  3. Thirdly, the court suggested that criminal offenses must be specific in their terms, to protect the innocent.
    • To attract the provisions of the UAPA, the charge sheet must reveal factual, individualised, and particular allegations against the individual.
    • It should specifically link the accused to terrorist activities.
  4. Fourthly, UAPA applications should be limited to terrorism-related cases only.
    • Court also said “Terrorism” is a term of art, and not a word that can be thrown around loosely.
  5. Lastly, the court also highlighted the significance of the right to protest and to dissent

Indian courts have to play an important role in finding a balance between citizens’ civil rights and anti-terrorism legislation. It is the responsibility of the judiciary to keep a check on the executive’s tyranny.


Flaws in Haryana Government’s order demanding demolition of Khori Gaon Jhuggis

Source: Click Here

Syllabus: GS 1 – Urbanisation and related issues

Synopsis:

The Haryana government’s order demanding the demolition of Khori Gaon Jhuggis is surrounded by multiple flaws. It would result in brutal violations of human rights. Therefore, the government should provide alternative land and reasonable facilities to those facing eviction.

Background:

  • The Haryana government has ordered to break 10,000 jhuggis in Khori Gaon without providing any rehabilitation plan.
    • Khori Gaon is located on the Delhi-Haryana border and comes under the Faridabad Municipal Corporation (FMC) jurisdiction.
  • The demolition is imperative as the jhuggis are located in a forest area and the residents don’t have any ownership over them. However, the order is surrounded by multiple flaws.

Issues associated with the Order:

  • First, it will put unprecedented stress on the residents, who are already facing immense uncertainties during the pandemic. Eviction may endanger the health, economic well-being, and lives of thousands.
    • Recently, a construction labourer (named Ganeshilal) committed suicide on hearing the demolition news.
  • Second, the order doesn’t extend to big high-rise buildings located in the same forest area. This includes The Taj Vivanta Hotel, the Sarovar Portico Hotel, the Pinnacle Business Tower, and the Radha Soami Satsang Centre.
  • Third, it undermines the right to shelter under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution as no prudent plan for rehabilitation is given.
    • In the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation case, the Supreme Court held that it would be the duty of the state to provide the right to shelter for the poor and needy.
    • In the Shantistar Builders case, the Supreme Court held that the right to life includes the right to have reasonable accommodation.
  • Fourth, it violates India’s international obligation. The country has ratified the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights which guarantees a right to housing for all irrespective of income.

Apart from this, there exist other issues that make the situation worse for the poor dwellers.

Other Concerning issues:

  • First, the cut-off date for rehabilitation hasn’t been updated by Haryana Urban Development Authority since 2010. The cut-off date was fixed as 2003 but since then massive migration has taken place in the state, but the date hasn’t been updated.
    • Gujarat has a cut-off date of 2010 while Rajasthan and Bihar use 2009, and Karnataka requires just a one-year stay.
  • Second, several of those residents who settled before the cut-off date don’t possess the requisite documents. Thus, 90% of the 10,000 houses of the settlement of Khori Gaon will be denied rehabilitation.
  • Third, the multiple housing schemes of the government including the current PM Awas Yojana have not been implemented properly.

Way Forward:

  • The Haryana government should do rehabilitation of the jhuggi-dwellers prior to their removal. This would involve 
    • conducting a detailed survey prior to the eviction, 
    • drawing up a rehabilitation plan and 
    • ensuring that upon eviction the dwellers are immediately rehabilitated
  • The Haryana government should update its rehabilitation policy by learning from other states’ progressive housing policies.
    • For instance, the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board Act provides for a survey, removal and resettlement plan.
    • Under this, removal is done only when land is required for a public purpose; else the jhuggis are upgraded and improved in-situ.
    • An alternate house is provided if the family is staying in the jhuggi since 2015.

Rationale behind New Information Technology Rules, 2021

Source: Click Here    

Syllabus: GS 3 – role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges

Synopsis:

Social media is a direct product of the globalized internet, which connects people all over the globe. It significantly impacts economic, social, and political discourse in a country. Hence, the government formulated new Information Technology Rules, 2021 to regulate them and prevent their misuse.

Background:

  • The internet has revolutionized the world, and we are now in the process of a transition from the industrial to the internet age. 
  • This transition would affect how we see economics, politics, society, governance, democracy, and our fundamental rights. Therefore, it becomes imperative to improve the regulatory framework over the internet and social media. 
  • It is in this context that new Information Technology Rules, 2021 were formulated by the Government of India.

About Social Media:

  • Social media is a direct product of the globalised internet which connects people all over the globe. 
  • It allows people to converse with each other through profiles both known and anonymous. It allows the transmission of information in real-time across the world. 

Information Technology Rules, 2021 related to Social Media:

  • Social media companies are prohibited from hosting or publishing any unlawful information. 
    • Information obtained in relation to the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, public order, friendly relations with foreign countries, etc. can be deemed unlawful. The government can order takedown of such information within 24 hours.
  • The user should be given a notice before its content is taken down.
  • The government can direct messaging platforms to tie the identity of the user with the message transmitted by him/her for strengthening traceability.
  • The rules call for social media companies to publish a monthly compliance report as well.
  • Social media platforms are classified into two categories – social media intermediaries and significant social media intermediaries, the latter being platforms with a large user base.
  • The significant social media intermediaries will be obliged to follow some additional measures like:
    • Appointing a Chief Compliance Officer, Nodal Contact Person, and a Resident Grievance Officer in India. All of them should be Indian Residents.
      • The chief Compliance Officer shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with the Act and Rules.
      • Nodal Contact Person will do 24×7 coordination with law enforcement agencies.
      • Resident Grievance Officer shall receive and resolve complaints from users. The officer must acknowledge the complaint within 24 hours, and resolve it within 15 days of receipt.
    • These platforms should also have a physical contact address in India, which should be notified on the website and apps.

Rationale behind New Social Media Rules:

  1. First, the rules invoke a minimum regulatory standard on social media. This brings it to par with newspapers, magazines, and websites that are responsible for the content published over them. 
    • The companies are still considered as an intermediary and continue to enjoy immunity under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act.
      • Section 79 states that an intermediary shall not be liable for any third-party information hosted by it if it duly follows the guidelines released by the government.
    • Further, they have screening teams that can duly remove objectionable content. 
      • For instance, Twitter deleted some tweets of former US President Donald Trump in January 2021 and later suspended his account.
  2. Second, the freedom of speech enjoyed over social media is derived from Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution. It is subject to the restriction of Article 19(2) that includes public order, security of the state, defamation, etc. grounds. Hence, due restrictions can be imposed on social media.
  3. Third, social media has become a public square in which the most important conversations on politics and society are discussed. Therefore, its regulation becomes imperative for overall societal wellbeing.
  4. Fourth, social media is a commercial product that is being offered with the objective of money-making. Hence, it should be regulated like other commercial products.
    • The fact that a commercial product could be used for a social purpose does not make the product a social good.
  5. Fifth, the big social media companies sometimes attempt to regulate the policies of the government as per their will. This may grow into economic exploitation and political intervention on a grand scale if not duly regulated. 
    • Large-scale intervention can lead to disastrous results, as was shown by the East India Company’s dominant control in the past which led to India’s colonisation.

Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 18 June, 2021

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