Q.1 Can setting up a separate court for politicians involved in criminal activities breach the law of equality? What are factors to be taken into concern before setting up the special courts? (GS-2)
- With rising corruption in country, the Supreme Court has recently ordered the Centre to frame a scheme to establish special courts exclusively to try cases against politicians.
- The court has handed down many rulings that make legislators and holders of public office accountable for corruption.
Drawbacks of setting up a separate court for politicians:
- There is already a provision for special courts to try various classes of offences. Thus, creating a court for a class of people such as politicians is discriminatory.
- Special courts will breach the law of equality.
- While corruption charges against public servants are already being handled by special courts, it is an absurd question whether there can be special treatment for offences under the Indian Penal Code solely because the accused is a politician.
- There is not enough judges and finance even to process the routine criminal cases, thus, setting up special courts may add on to the expenditure.
The way out apart from setting up the special courts:
- Article 14 permits classification based on criteria and nexus.
- MPs and MLAs form a distinct class and their early trial is a democratic must.
- They thus deserve to be given priority treatment regardless of special courts.
- The Constitution, under Article 224A, provides for the reappointment of retired High Court Judges as ad hoc judges.
- There is thus a large pool of judges of integrity and experience to choose from.
Factors to be taken into concern before setting up the special courts:
- Special attention needs to be paid to three factors:
- One factor is the necessity of having prosecutors who are not attached to any political party.
- Solution: A directorate of prosecution, headed by a retired senior judge, who chooses prosecutors in turn vetted by the Chief Justice of the High Court, should be able to address this aspect.
- The second factor is that the main trial will be obstructed by interim orders.
- Experience has shown that political leaders are adept at finding legal counsel who file multifarious interim applications which stymie the trial; High Courts and the Supreme Court have sometimes failed to address these expeditiously.
- Solution: This needs to be avoided, and can be if Chief Justices have a superintending mission.
- Third concern expressed is to find funds to create the infrastructure and staffing for the special courts.
- Solution: For that, the Finance Minister can devise a ‘Swachh Politics Bharat Bond’.
Q.2 Boiler explosions are not new to India and these explosions have caused big disasters. In this context discuss the safety measures provided under Indian Boilers Act-1923 and in your opinion what more can be done to prevent these disasters. (GS-2)
- After 18636, the recent boiler explosion power plant in Rae Bareli brings up the importance of inspections and protocols for hazardous industrial operations.
The Indian Boilers Act-1923:
- The Indian Boilers Act-1923 was enacted with the objective to provide mainly for the safety of life and Property of persons from the danger of explosions of steam boilers and for achieving uniformity in registration and inspection during operation and maintenance of boilers in India.
- Every boiler owner is required to make an application to the Chief Inspector of Boilers for the inspection of the boiler along with the treasury challan of the requisite fees as per requirements of Indian Boilers Act-1923.
- Under Indian Boilers Act-1923 Indian Boilers Regulation-1950 has been framed. This Regulation deals with the materials, procedure & inspection techniques to be adopted for the manufacture of boilers & boiler mountings & fittings.
- The boiler is inspected by the Inspectorate as per the procedure laid under IBR -1950 and if found satisfactory, a Certificate is issued for operation for a maximum period of 12 months.
- The boilers which are not found satisfactory during the inspection are repaired as per the procedure laid under Indian Boilers Regulation-1950 & are re-inspected as explained above.
- The Boilers which are transferred to NCT of Delhi are also inspected in the similar fashion after their records are obtained from the parent state.
- The Boilers are also casually visited by the Inspectorate from time to time to check the validity of their certificates, safe and efficient operation.
- The boilers should undergo periodic inspections to ensure that all its features are working and intact.
- Periodic inquiry into the quality of the equipment and the fuel is also to be made.
- A rigorous approach to accident reporting must be taken into consideration.
- Inefficiency and corruption and the typical response of governments have been to relax crucial safety checks which need to be prevented.
- It is also important to have a transparent regulatory mechanism for hazardous industrial activity.
Q.3 India’s power sector has been generating much potential in recent times, but what possibly went wrong with solar energy with respect to Make in India initiative? Also discuss the need of the hour to be taken into consideration. (GS-3)
- Make in India is an initiative launched by the Government of India to encourage national, as well as multi-national companies to manufacture their products in India.
- It was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25 September 2014.
- The major objective behind the initiative is to focus on job creation and skill enhancement in 25 sectors of the economy.
- The initiative also aims at high quality standards and minimizing the impact on the environment.
- The initiative hopes to attract capital and technological investment in India.
Challenges of solar energy with respect to Make in India initiative:
Scarcity of land:
- Land is scarce in India, and per-capita land availability is low.
- Dedication of land for the installation of solar arrays must compete with other needs.
Lack of adequate finance:
- Solar panels also require inverters and storage batteries to convert direct electricity to alternating electricity so as to generate electricity.
- While installing a solar panel is quite cheap, installing other equipments becomes expensive.
Availability of good weather:
- India being a land of vivid geographical landscape, the weather may vary, with little or no sun radiation.
- Hence, this makes solar energy panels less reliable as a solution.
Availability of knowledge:
- There is a lack of adequate knowledge in operating the equipments of solar energy.
- Thus, this practice is still alien in many rural and urban areas.
- The need of the hour is to re-analyze the existing solar power policy.
- A level playing field and an ecosystem should be provided to Indian manufacturers. Arresting the free fall of power tariff is also must for a healthy growth of the solar energy system.
- The situation calls for concerted efforts by the agencies to build awareness among citizens and encourage developers to realize the goal, while simultaneously persuading the consumers to switch.
- Insufficient knowledge among citizens about the financial incentives and return-on-investment as been a problem which needs immediate solution.