Same-sex marriages can rock societal values: Centre
- The Union government voiced its opposition to same-sex marriage, arguing that it would destroy the delicate balance between personal laws and accepted societal values.
- According to the Indian government, a biological man and woman’s marriage is a “holy union, a sacrament, and a sanskar.”
What is Same-Sex Marriage?
- It is the practise of marrying two people of the same gender.
- It is regulated by law, religion, and custom in the majority of the world’s nations.
- As of 2023, marriage between same-sex couples is legal and recognised in 34 countries, representing approximately 1.35 billion people (17% of the world’s population), with Andorra being the most recent.
- Petitioners argued that non-recognition of same-sex marriage constituted discrimination that undermined the self-respect and dignity of LBTQ+ couples.
- It demanded that the Special Marriage Act of 1954 provide same-sex couples with the same protections as inter-caste and inter-religious couples wishing to marry.
- According to the centre, marriage is contingent upon age-old customs, rituals, practises, cultural ethos, and societal values, despite statutory recognition of the relationship of marriage between a biological man and a biological woman.
- The registration of same-sex marriages would also constitute a violation of existing personal and codified law provisions.
- Any “deviation” from the “statutorily, religiously, and socially” accepted norm in “human relationships” must be authorised by the legislature, not the Supreme Court.
- In its 2018 decision in Navtej Singh Johar, the Supreme Court decriminalised sexual intercourse between same-sex individuals, but did not legitimise this “conduct,” according to the government.
- A same-sex marriage cannot be compared to a man and a woman living together as a family with offspring.
Same sex marriage legality
- There are no explicit references to homosexuality or homophilia in any Indian statutes.
- No individual can be prosecuted for being homosexual or homophobic.
- Sodomy is a prohibited sexual act.
- Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) of 1860 contains the most important provisions criminalising same-sex conduct.
- The Navtej Singh Johar decision of 2018 decriminalised homosexuality, but it did not mention or sanction same-sex marriage.
- While decriminalising homosexuality, the court never accepted same-sex marriage as part of the fundamental right to life and dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution.
- Registration of same-sex marriages would also violate existing personal and codified law provisions.
Arguments in favour of legalising Same-Sex Marriage
- The Special Marriage Act of 1954:
- It provides a civil form of marriage for couples who cannot marry under their personal law.
- Fundamental Right:
- Right to marry a person of one’s choice is a fundamental right guaranteed under the Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
- Members of the LGBTQ+ community have the same human, fundamental and constitutional rights as other citizens.
- Right to equality:
- The petitioners have argued that barring them from marriage violates their right to equality.
- Global practice:
- According to global think tank Council of Foreign Relations, same sex marriages are legal in at least 30 countries, including the United States, Australia, Canada and France.
Arguments against Same Sex Marriage
- Social Stigma: Apart from the harsh legal scenario, homosexuals face social stigma.
- Any instance of sexual relations between individuals of the same sex is met with hatred and revulsion.
- No form of intimacy is sanctioned unless it is legitimised through marriage, where socially sanctioned sexual access occurs.
- Rising activism: Lesbian and gay rights campaigns have taken on an increasingly radical tone, demanding an end to all forms of discrimination against homosexuality.
- Progeny Issues: Gay and lesbian couples are also prohibited from having children via an Indian surrogate mother.
- An LGBTQ+ individual can only submit an adoption application to the Central Adoption Review Authority as a single parent.
- Patriarchal Society: Indian society is patriarchal which believes that hetrosexual marriage was the norm throughout history and are “foundational to both the existence and continuance of the state.
- Awareness campaigns are a must to sensitise society about the rights of all individuals.
- As people’s relationships change, and society undergoes transformation, constitutional rights on freedoms and liberties must extend to every sphere, including a same-sex couple’s life.
|Special Marriage Act of 1954
· In India, all marriages can be registered under the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, the Muslim Marriage Act of 1954, or the Special Marriage Act of 1954.
· The Special Marriage Act, 1954 is an act of the Indian Parliament that provides for civil marriage between Indian citizens and Indian nationals abroad, regardless of the religion or faith practised by either party.
· Couples are required to provide the Marriage Officer with a notice and the necessary documents thirty days prior to the intended date of the marriage.
· Any individual, regardless of religion.
· Under the Special Marriage Act of 1954, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, and Jews may also perform marriages.
· Interfaith marriages are authorised by this Act.
o • This Act applies to the entire territory of India and to intending spouses living abroad who are both Indian nationals.
Adultery as ‘misconduct’
- The Indian government requested clarification from the Supreme Court regarding the applicability of its Adultery judgement to the armed forces.
About • The Indian Supreme Court decriminalised adultery more than four years ago in a landmark decision, Joseph Shine v. Union of India in 2018.
- Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code (concerning adultery) and Section 198 of the Criminal Procedure Code were ruled unconstitutional because they violated Articles 14, 15, and 21 of the Constitution of India.
- In this regard, the Union government has requested clarification from the Court, stating that any promiscuous or adulterous acts should be permitted to be governed by the relevant sections of the Army Act, the Air Force Act, and the Navy Act, which are special laws by virtue of Article 33 of the Constitution.
- The Court recently ruled in the case of Joseph Shine that it “was not at all concerned with the effect and operation of the pertinent provisions” and that “it is not as if this Court condones adultery.”
What is Adultery in India?
- Adultery is a voluntary sexual relationship between a married person and a non-spouse;
- Adultery is a voluntary sexual relationship between a married person and a non-spouse; In India, adultery was considered a criminal offence under Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code prior to the 2018 Supreme Court ruling.
- This law made it illegal for a man to have sexual relations with the wife of another man without that man’s consent.
- The law regarded women as the property of their husbands and did not punish adulterous women.
- Adultery is not a crime in India at this time, but it can be grounds for divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 and the Special Marriage Act of 1954.
- In addition, adultery is considered “misconduct” under applicable Service Conduct Rules for government employees, including those in the military.
- Nevertheless, any disciplinary action taken by the employer must have a direct or indirect connection to the employee’s duties and cannot be arbitrary or violate the employee’s right to privacy.
Important judgements on Adultery
- The Indian Penal Code, 1860: Section 497 of the IPC dealt with adultery until it was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2018.
- Yusuf Aziz v. State of Bombay (1954): The court upheld the constitutionality of Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, ruling that the law did not discriminate against men and that the adultery law protected the sanctity of marriage.
- Sowmithri Vishnu v. Union of India (1985): The Supreme Court ruled that Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code violated Articles 14 and 15 of the Indian Constitution because it only criminalised sexual relations with a married woman without her husband’s consent and did not punish adulterous women.
- V. Revathi v. Union of India (1988): In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code was discriminatory against women and in violation of the Indian Constitution, and noted that adultery is a private matter between adults in which the government has no place.
- Joseph Shine v. Union of India (2018): In this case, the Supreme Court declared Section 497 of the IPC unconstitutional and struck it down on the grounds that it was antiquated and violated the Constitution’s fundamental rights to equality and personal liberty.
Challenges of adultery
- With the decriminalisation of adultery in India, employers are limited in their ability to discipline employees for their private affairs.
- The courts have provided some guidance on this issue, stating that misconduct must have some connection to the employee’s duties in order to be subject to disciplinary action.
- In some instances, allegations of adultery have been used directly or indirectly to impede an employee’s ability to perform their duties or maintain workplace discipline.
- Determining whether an act of adultery has a connection to an employee’s duties can be difficult, especially when the alleged act is voluntary and consensual.
• It addresses the authority of Parliament to restrict the fundamental rights of members of the armed forces for the proper performance of their duties and the maintenance of discipline.
• The same principle applies to police personnel and intelligence agencies.
• Armed forces and police cannot have their right to privacy violated unless there is a connection to their duties.
What more can be done to improve the situation of adultery in india?
- About: Improving the adultery situation in India is a complex matter requiring both legal and social solutions. The following are potential actions that could be taken:
- Legal reforms: The laws governing adultery in India have been criticised for being archaic and out-of-date, which can be reformed to be more equitable, with equal punishment for both men and women, and with provisions to prevent the abuse of the law.
- Gender equality: Adultery is often seen as a crime committed by men against women, but women can also be perpetrators of adultery which can be reduced by empowering women.
- Education and awareness: Educating people about the importance of fidelity and the negative consequences of adultery could help to reduce its occurrence through schools, community organizations, and the media.
- The recent decision of the Supreme Court of India clarifying the application of adultery laws in the armed forces emphasises the need for a clear connection between the adulterous act and the professional responsibilities of the personnel.
- Although adultery has been decriminalised in India, it is still regarded as a moral and civil wrong and as a basis for divorce.
- Respecting their private space and individual rights, the government and armed forces should now focus on establishing guidelines and protocols to ensure that personnel’s personal conduct does not interfere with their professional duties.
The rise of the ESG regulations
GS 2 Governance
- Over the past decade, regulators and corporations have incorporated environmental impact, social responsibility, sound corporate governance, and the protection of shareholder rights into their business models.
- Businesses have realised that environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) factors must be included in a company’s risk profile in order for investors to accurately evaluate the enterprise.
- However, the evolution of ESG laws and regulations is still in its infancy in India, where the emphasis is typically on providing protections for the environment or workplace conditions.
- In this regard, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has revised significantly the annual Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR) required of India’s 1,000 largest publicly traded companies.
What is ESG?
- ESG refers to three key factors that investors and stakeholders consider when evaluating the sustainability and societal impact of a company.
- Environmental factors : It includes a company’s energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, waste management, and resource consumption.
- Social factors: It includes relationships with employees, customers, suppliers, and communities.
- Governance factors: It focus on a company’s management and decision-making structures, including board composition, executive compensation, and transparency
- Companies demonstrating good ESG practises may benefit from reduced operational costs, improved risk management, and an enhanced reputation among consumers and investors;
- Investors recognise the importance of ESG factors in assessing the long-term sustainability and profitability of companies;
- Companies ignoring ESG considerations may face reputational damage, regulatory scrutiny, and increased operational costs.
- Many consumers and employees consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors when deciding which companies to support or work for.
How ESG differs from CSR?
- India has a robust corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy that requires businesses to engage in initiatives that contribute to the social welfare.
- The Companies Act of 2013 was amended in 2014 and 2021 to codify this mandate, which requires:
- Companies with a minimum net worth of?500 crore (approximately $60 million) or a minimum annual turnover of?1,000 crore (approximately $120 million) or a minimum annual net profit of?5 crore (approximately $6,05,800).
- Companies spend at least 2% of their three-year average net income on CSR activities.
Why is ESG Relevant in India?
- India has a variety of environmental, social, and governance laws and organisations
- New initiatives in India emphasise monitoring, quantification, and disclosure, similar to ESG requirements in other countries.
- Compliance with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) regulations from other regions of the world will be essential if India is to maximise the growing decoupling from China.
- ESG compliance can play a larger role in global supply chains and the global marketplace as a whole.
Implications for Indian Companies
- Compliance with ESG regulations presents a significantly different challenge than India’s CSR regulations. • Extensive due diligence will play a crucial role in the expansion of ESG risk management.
- Organizations wishing to maximise their opportunities in the global economy must adopt these new requirements and adapt their structures accordingly.
- Indian businesses that wish to expand their ESG risk management must conduct exhaustive due diligence that can withstand scrutiny.
- The company must support ESG due diligence with detailed procedures for assessing risks and controls to ensure that no shortcuts are taken.
- Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors are increasingly important considerations for investors and stakeholders when evaluating the sustainability and societal impact of a company.
- The evolution of ESG laws and regulations needs controls and disclosure that are a hallmark of contemporary ESG regulation.
- There is also a need to further bring legislation by the Indian government on ESG issues, which can be seen in India’s more active role in global climate forums and secure long-term growth in today’s business landscape.
First India-Australia Annual Summit
GS 2 India & Foreign Relations
- The Australian prime minister recently travelled to India to attend an annual summit.
- Both nations reaffirmed the strength of their bilateral ties, which are built on mutual trust, shared democratic values, shared interests, and strong people-to-people ties.
- The First Annual India-Australia Summit led to the following results:
- Government of India and Government of Australia Sign Audiovisual Co-production Agreement
- Government of Australia and Government of India Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Sports Cooperation o Terms of Reference for India-Australia Solar Taskforce
- Letter of Intent between the Government of India’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation to Promote Innovation Cooperation
- Resolution of Tax issue on offshore income of Indian firms under the India-Australia Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).
India-Australia Bilateral Relations
- India and Australia established a “Strategic Partnership” in 2009, which was upgraded to a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” in 2020.
- The strength of the relationship can be gauged by the fact that the Prime Ministers have met three times in the past year and there have been at least 18 ministerial-level exchanges.
- Both nations cooperate regularly through the following organisations:
- Trilateral Dialogue India-Australia-Indonesia
- Trilateral Dialogue India-France-Australia
- Trilateral Dialogue India-Australia
- Bilateral Dialogue on Global
- Cyber Issues India-Australia
- Maritime Dialogue India-Australia
- Economic Policy Dialogue India-Australia
- Dialogue on Disarmament
- Trade and Investment:
- In 2022, India will be one of Australia’s largest trading partners, with a total trade volume of $25 billion. It is capable of reaching 100 billion.
- The India-Australia Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) was established in 1989 to facilitate government and business-level interaction on a variety of trade and investment issues.
- The India-Australia CEO Forum is a forum for business leaders from both countries to discuss ways to strengthen bilateral trade and investment ties.
- Civil Nuclear Co-Operation :
- In 2014, a Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement was signed between the two countries. The agreement, which entered into force in 2015, paves the way for substantial new energy trade between Australia and India.
- Scientific Cooperation:
- The Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF), which was established in 2006, supports scientific collaboration between India and Australia.
- A Joint Working Group (JWG) for agricultural cooperation has been established.
- Both countries have agreed to establish task forces on solar photovoltaic (PV) and hydrogen, which are crucial to the energy transition goals of Australia and India.
- Australia signed a framework agreement in 2017 to join the International Solar Alliance, which is led by the governments of France and India.
- Both nations participate regularly in the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, which includes the defence and foreign affairs ministers from both nations.
- India and Australia signed a Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) in order to strengthen their defence cooperation.
- Australia will host the “Malabar” exercises in August 2023, with India, Japan, and the United States participating.
- In 2023, India has been invited to participate in the Talisman Sabre exercises.
- The General Rawat Officer’s Exchange Program is now operational in two nations.
- The Indian Air Force took part in Exercise Pitch Black, a biennial military drill hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
- Multilateral Cooperation:
- India and Australia are members of the Quad, Commonwealth, Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), ASEAN Regional Forum, Asia Pacific Partnership on Climate and Clean Development, and East Asia Summits.
- Both nations have also collaborated as members of the Five Interested Parties (FIP) in the context of the World Trade Organization.
- Australia is a major participant in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and supports India’s membership in the organisation.
- Cooperation on Clean Energy:
- In 2022, both nations signed a Letter of Intent on New and Renewable Energy to reduce the cost of renewable energy technologies, such as ultra-low-cost solar and clean hydrogen.
- India announced 10 million Australian dollars (AUD) for Pacific Island nations as part of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
- Both nations have contributed USD 5.8 million to the India-Australia Critical Minerals Investment Partnership over its three-year duration.
- Australia has one of the world’s largest economies (1.72 trillion dollars);
- it is rich in natural resources that India’s growing economy requires;
- it is advanced in higher education, scientific and technological research; and
- it is one of the Indo-pivots. Pacific’s
- the Australian agribusiness sector has the capacity, experience, and knowledge to assist India’s food industry
- Both nations have increasingly common military platforms as India’s defence purchases from the United States continue to increase.
- Visa issues: There have been concerns over visa restrictions for Indian students and professionals seeking to work in Australia.
- Violence with Indian Diaspora: Attacks on Indian Diaspora and temples in the recent past has left a bad taste .
- Trade Issues: India’s trade deficit with Australia has been increasing since 2001-02 due to India- Australia Free Trade Agreement. It was also a contentious issue in the ongoing RCEP negotiations which India left.
India and Australia ties are extremely important for the Indo-Pacific region which is in flux. Strengthening of their relationship will support international peace, rule of law, development and multiculturalism in the region .
Net zero waste must for buildings
GS 2 Government Policies & Interventions
- All new housing communities and commercial complexes in the nation will soon be required to achieve net zero waste and treat their liquid discharge.
- India produces 72,368 million litres of urban wastewater per day, of which only 28% is treated.
- The directive is a component of the Manhole to Machine-hole scheme for the abolition of all manual scavenging; it is a convergence of programmes such as Swachch Bharat, NAMASTE (National Action Plan for Mechanised Sanitation Ecosystem), and AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation).
- Incorporating septic tank design into building codes and enforcing standard specifications, geotagging all septic tanks and manholes for accurate tracking, and reducing the value-added tax on mechanised cleaning vehicles are also to be considered.
- A Make in India startup for the promotion of low-cost technological solutions, such as mechanical spades and sensor sticks for gas detection, is also under consideration.
What is Net Zero Waste?
- Net zero refers to achieving a balance between carbon emissions into the atmosphere and carbon removal from the atmosphere.
- This equilibrium, or net zero, will be reached when the amount of carbon added to the atmosphere equals the amount removed.
- Achieving net zero waste requires reducing, reusing, and recovering waste streams (sludge) in order to transform them into valuable resources, so that no solid waste is sent to landfills.
- It can be achieved by following methods:
- Food waste reduction.
- Date labeling.
- Food redistribution.
- Water stress reduction.
- Greenhouse gas emissions reduction.
- Citizen behaviour change.
- 5 R’sof net zero waste:
- The “5 Rs” – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot – are the fundamental rules of zero waste.
- United Nations SDG 6.3:
- By 2030, it aims to “halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and significantly increase recycling and safe reuse worldwide.”
Advantages of Net Zero waste
- Lower energy costs:
- Since reducing greenhouse gas emissions usually involves reducing energy use, a major benefit of net zero is lower energy costs. With energy prices rising globally, this is a particularly timely benefit.
- Reduce GHG emissions:
- The whole point of pursuing net zero is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which means fewer pollutants in the air and…
- Less damage to Mother Earth:
- The idea of saving the planet may seem lofty, but working towards net zero emissions is perhaps the biggest way we can fight climate change and preserve our planet for future generations.
- Economic Benefit:
o According to a 2021 Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs’ report the country’s economy could also be boosted if the sale of treated sewage is institutionalized.
o This has the potential to add approximately? 3,285 billion annually
- Achieving net-zero CO2 by 2050 and consequently stabilising global mean temperatures at approximately 1.5 degC above pre industrial levels would avoid some of the worst impacts of climate change predicted at 2 degC and above.
- The co-benefits of achieving net-zero results in a healthier population.
Rajasthan’s Right to Health Bill
GS 2 Indian Constitution Health
- The Rajasthan Assembly’s recently concluded budget session reignited the discussion surrounding the Right to Health Bill.
Key Features of the Bill
- Right to Health: The Bill grants state residents the right to health and access to healthcare. This includes free health care services at any clinical facility for all state residents.
- Obligations on State: To formulate and prescribe a public health model,
- Make appropriate provisions in the state budget,
- Make available healthcare services with consideration for distance, geographical area, or population density, o Lay down standards for quality and safety at all levels,
- Establish a coordinating mechanism to ensure adequate supply of safe drinking water, sanitation, and nutritionally sufficient safe food, and
- Implement measures to prevent, treat, and control epidemics.
- These organisations will formulate, implement, monitor, and develop mechanisms for the provision of quality healthcare and the administration of public health emergencies.
- Grievance redressal: The bill establishes a process for resolving complaints regarding the denial of services and the violation of rights. For filing complaints, a web portal and helpline centre will be established. The officer will have twenty-four hours to respond to the complaint.
- Need for the Bill
- In 1996, the Supreme Court ruled that the Right to life (Article 21) encompassed the right to health and emphasised that state governments are required to provide health services.
- In 2018, the National Commission on Human Rights drafted the Charter of Patient Rights, which state governments will implement.
- On September 22, 2022, the Rajasthan Assembly introduced the Rajasthan Right to Health Bill, 2022, which seeks to ensure the protection and fulfilment of equitable rights to health and well-being.
|Does the Constitution guarantee a right to health?
In Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity v. State of West Bengal (1996), the Supreme Court ruled that it is the responsibility of the government to provide medical assistance in the interest of promoting public health.
- Commercially Unviable for Private Establishment: A state resident has the right to receive free healthcare services from any clinical facility, including private facilities. There is no provision for reimbursing private healthcare providers for providing free care. This may render these establishments commercially unviable and violate Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution (Right to practise any profession).
- Privacy of the Patients: The District Health Authority must upload an action taken report to the complaints web portal. The Bill does not specify who will have access to the report through the portal website. This could violate the patient’s right to privacy in medical situations.
- Financial Burden on States: Implementation of the right to health could increase the financial burden
- of the state. The Bill does not account for these additional expenses.
- Institutional and health worker shortage: All clinical facilities would require adequate human resources and infrastructure in order to provide free, high-quality healthcare. There may be a shortage of such resources in the state, according to the available data. This could hinder the implementation of the right to health.
Jalyukt Shivar Project
GS 2 Governance
- The Maharashtra government has decided to initiate the second phase of the Jalyukt Shivar project.
- The programme targets drought-prone regions by implementing water conservation measures.
- The scheme aims to capture as much runoff water as possible during the monsoon months in areas of villages known to receive less precipitation.
- As part of the programme, decentralised water bodies are installed at various locations within villages in order to increase groundwater recharge.
- During the first phase, from 2015 to 2019, Jalyukta Shivar planned to rid 5,000 villages annually of drought.
Government of India initiatives :
- Jal Jeevan Mission: The mission to provide potable tap water to every rural household by 2024 was announced by the Prime Minister.
- Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana: This programme was designed to increase water-use efficiency through improved farm management practises.
- Jal Shakti Abhiyan:The scheme is aimed at water conservation in 256 water-stressed districts across the territory of India, in a time-bound manner.
GS 3 Science & Technology
- Researchers at Winona State University in Minnesota have designed a basic Fluorescence Microscope.
What is Fluorescence Microscopy?
- An optical microscope examines how an object absorbs, reflects, or scatters visible light in order to visualise it.
- A fluorescence microscope observes an object by observing how it fluoresces, or re-emits light that it has absorbed. This is its fundamental tenet.
- The object is illuminated by a specific wavelength of light. This light is absorbed by the object’s particles, which then emit it at a longer wavelength (i.e. different colour). The object is infused with these particles, called fluorophores, before being placed under a microscope.
- Different fluorophores are used to identify and study various microscopic entities. There are more advanced versions of fluorescent microscopes, such as epifluorescence and confocal laser-scanning microscopes.
- When fluorophores fluoresce, a fluorescent microscope can track their movement within an object, revealing its internal structure and other characteristics.
- As a result, scientists have developed various fluorophores to identify and study various entities, ranging from specific DNA sequences to protein complexes. On the other hand, fluorescence microscopes cost at least one lakh rupees and frequently up to several crores. With this apparatus, the researchers were able to image the brain, spinal cord, heart, head, and jaw bones of the creatures.
- Using the smartphone’s camera and the clip-on lens, they could zoom in and out.