Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – January 17, 2019


Q.1) The collegium system has been evolved by the judiciary and lacks constitutional basis. In the light of this statement, examine the challenges posed by the collegium system.


In the case of judicial appointments,  in the third judges case (1998), SC opined that the consultation process to be adopted by CJI requires ‘consultation of plurality judges’. He should consult a collegium of 4 senior most judges of SC and even if two judges give an adverse opinion, he should not send the recommendation to the government.

Challenges posed by collegium:

  1. Main decision makers in cases of appointments and transfers were the judges i.e. the chief justice and two senior most judges who are not accountable to the public.
  2. It failed to keep pace with the stalled vacancies due to various reasons of caste and other political and communal reasons.
  3. There is no intelligence gathering mechanism to collect and keep a check on the professional and personal background of potential appointees.
  4. 214th Law commission of India criticized collegium on constitutional grounds. The word ‘collegium’ was not used by the constitution originally and the S.P Gupta case brought about its usage by using it.
  5. Chief justice of India should consult the collegium while the constitution says that the CJI and the judges should be consulted by the President.


Q.2) The deteriorating quality of school education in India is regularly highlighted by various reports in India. Examine the challenges facing school education in India and suggest measures.


ASER 2018 points that 1 out of every 4 Class 8 students in rural India is unable to read even a Class 2 text. And over 1 in 2 Class 8 students cannot solve a problem that involves basic division.


  1. No detention policy led to poor learning outcomes
  2. Poor teacher training and lack of innovative teaching methods
  3. Teacher absenteeism and lack of accountability
  4. Continuous comprehensive evaluation stated under right to education is not properly implemented
  5. Low Student teacher ratio
  6. Focus is on budgetary allocations than monitoring the outcomes of education
  7. High levels of school dropouts


Q.3) Do you think sedition law need to be redefined considering that right to free speech and expression is an essential ingredient of democracy ensured as a Fundamental right by our constitution?


Sec 124A says that “Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt,or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law shall be punished with imprisonment for life…..”

Problems with sedition law:

  1. The arbitrary arrests made to suppress dissenting and conflicting voices under the sedition law. Eg., arrest of Kanhaiya kumar, cartoonist Aseem Trivedi etc.,
  2. It is a colonial relic; introduced by the British to suppress the freedom struggle.
  3. India ratified the conventions on ICCPR and misuse of Sec 124A is inconsistent with the convention.
  4. Kedarnath Singh versus State of Bihar held the section valid, but added a caveat that this section should be construed as to limit their application to acts involving intention or tendency to create disorder or disturbance of law and order, or incitement to violence.
  5. Modern constitutional democracies such as the UK, the US, and New Zealand have severed anti-sedition laws from the law books.


Q.4) ‘India has introduced the concept of Water Conservation Fee (WCF) in the Revised Guidelines for Ground Water Extraction to be effective from June 2019.’ What is water conservation fee? Discuss the significance and concerns associated with WCF.


Recently, Water Conservation Fee (WCF) was introduced for GW extraction. The WCF payable varies with the category of the area, type of industry and the quantum of ground water extraction and is designed to progressively increase from safe to over-exploited areas and from low to high water consuming industries as well as with increasing quantum of ground water extraction.


  1. the high rates of WCF are expected to discourage setting up of new industries in over-exploited and critical areas
  2. act as a deterrent to large scale groundwater extraction by industries, especially in over-exploited and critical areas
  3. compel industries to adopt measures relating to water use efficiency and discourage the growth of packaged drinking water units, particularly in over-exploited and critical areas


  1. water conservation fee virtually gives licence to harness groundwater to any extent
  2. the conditions are incapable of meaningful monitoring
  3. This does not, in anyway, prevent unmindful extraction of groundwater in some areas, especially the OCS areas
  4. Most often, the directions relating to water harvesting were not complied with
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