Promulgation and repromulgation of ordinances
Tags: Syllabus: GS-2/Indian Polity
• In May 2023, the central government issued an Ordinance that nullified the Supreme Court’s Verdict, which had granted the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government of Delhi control over the transfer and posting of officials in the National Capital Territory (NCT), excluding matters pertaining to public order, police, and land.
What is Ordinance?
• Under the Constitution, the legislature has the authority to enact laws. However, if Parliament is not in session and ‘immediate action’ is required, the President can issue an ordinance.An ordinance is a law that may result in legislative adjustments.
Ordinance making powers of the President
• Article 123 of the Constitution addresses the “President’s authority to promulgate ordinances during parliamentary recesses.”
• An Ordinance “has the same force and effect as a Congressional Act.”
• Ordinances can only be issued by the President when neither of the two Houses of Parliament is in session.
• Since the President acts based on the advice of the Council of Ministers, it is the government that makes the decision to introduce the Ordinance. The President may return the Cabinet’s recommendation once for reconsideration; if it is returned (with or without reconsideration), the President must promulgate it.
• An Ordinance is effective for six weeks, or 42 days, beginning on the date the next session begins. If the two Houses convene on distinct dates, the later date will be taken into account.
Lapsing of Ordinance
• The government is required to submit an Ordinance to Parliament for ratification; failure to do so will result in its lapse “six weeks after the reassembly of Parliament.”
• The Ordinance may expire earlier if revoked by the President or if both houses pass resolutions disapproving it. (Rejection of an Ordinance would indicate that the government has lost majority, however.)
• Ordinance will also be rendered ineffective if resolutions disapproving the Ordinance are passed by both Houses.
• Additionally, if an Ordinance enacts a law that Parliament does not have the authority to enact under the Constitution, it is void.
Ordinance making powers of the Governor
- Just as the President of India is constitutionally required to issue Ordinances under Article 123, the Governor of a state can issue Ordinances under Article 213 when the state legislative assembly (or one of the two Houses in states with bicameral legislatures) is not in session.
- The powers of the President and the Governor are comparable with regard to Ordinance making.
Limitations on Ordinance making power
• The executive’s power to promulgate ordinances is subject to the following limitations:
• RC Cooper vs. Union of India (1970): The Supreme Court ruled that the President’s decision could be challenged on the grounds that ‘immediate action’ was not required, and that the Ordinance had been passed primarily to circumvent debate and discussion in the legislature.
• AK Roy vs. Union of India (1982): The Supreme Court argued that the President’s Ordinance-making authority is subject to judicial review. However, judicial review should only be utilized when there are substantive grounds to challenge the decision, and not for “each and every trivial challenge.”
Repromulgation of Ordinance
- If, for any reason, an Ordinance expires, the government’s only recourse is to reissue or repromulgate it.
- DC Wadhwa vs. State of Bihar (1986):
- The supreme court was reviewing a case in which the state government (under the authority of the governor) repeatedly re-promulgated ordinances rather than submitting them to the state legislature.
- There were a total of 259 Ordinances that were re-issued, some for as long as 14 years.
- The Supreme Court ruled that the executive’s legislative authority to promulgate ordinances should only be used in exceptional circumstances and not as a substitute for the legislative authority to make laws. Courts could invalidate re-promulgated ordinances if Ordinance making became a common practice, thereby establishing a “Ordinance raj.”
- Krishna Kumar Singh and Another v. State of Bihar (2017):
- The Supreme Court reviewed a case in which the state of Bihar repeatedly promulgated an Ordinance without submitting it to the legislature.It reiterated that legislation is ordinarily the province of the legislature and that the Governor’s ability to issue an Ordinance is of an emergency nature.
- There may be situations where the re-promulgation of an Ordinance is permissible; however, repeated re-promulgations without bringing the Ordinance to the legislature would usurp the legislature’s function and be unconstitutional.
Telangana-Andhra Pradesh Water Dispute
Tags: Telangana-Andhra Pradesh Water DisputeSyllabus: GS2/ Government Policies & Interventions
• Nine years after the separation of the combined State, the dispute between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana over the Krishna river’s water allocation remains unresolved.
About the Krishna water dispute
- Beginning – Gentlemen’s Agreement:
- The dispute dates back to November 1956, when Andhra Pradesh was established.
- On February 20, 1956, four senior leaders from various regions of Andhra, including the Rayalaseema Region and the Telangana region, signed a Gentlemen’s Agreement prior to the formation of Andhra Pradesh.
Protection of Telangana’s interests and needs:
- One of the provisions of the agreement included the protection of Telangana’s interests and needs with regard to the equitable distribution of water resources based on international treaties.
- Issue: o However, the focus of the combined dispensation with respect to irrigation facilities was on Andhra, which already had systems developed by the British at the expense of in-basin drought-prone areas in Telangana — a fact that was argued by the leaders of the latter region from the start.
Bachawat Tribunal (KWDT-I):
- In 1969, the Bachawat Tribunal (KWDT-I) was constituted to settle the dispute over water share among the
- Allocation of water: The Tribunal allotted 811 tmcft of reliable water to Andhra Pradesh. The Andhra Pradesh government later divided it in the ratio of 512:299 tmcft between Andhra (including portions of Rayalaseema that comprise the Krishna Basin) and Telangana, based on the command area developed or utilisation mechanism established by then.
- The Tribunal had also recommended diverting water from the Tungabhadra Dam (a portion of the Krishna Basin) to the drought-prone Mahabubnagar region of Telangana; however, this was not implemented, causing discontent among the populace.
- Telangana had repeatedly stated that it had been treated unfairly by Andhra Pradesh regarding the distribution of water resources.
Arrangement for water sharing after the bifurcation
- Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014:
- There is no mention of water shares in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act of 2014, as the KWDT-I Award, which was still in effect at the time, made no region-specific allocations.
- Ad hoc arrangement:
- In 2015, at a meeting convened by the then-Ministry of Water Resources, the two states agreed to share water in the ratio of 34:66 (Telangana:A.P. ), as an ad hoc arrangement with the minutes stating that it must be reviewed annually.
- The Act only provided for the management of water resources through the establishment of two boards: The Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) and
- The Godavari River Management Board (GRMB).
Demand for an equal share:
- In October 2020, Telangana demanded an equal share of water until the allocation is finalized.
- Telangana refused to continue the existing arrangement at a Board meeting conducted earlier this month.
- Unable to persuade the member states, the River Board referred the matter to the Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR).
What does each State claim?
- Telangana’s demand:
- Telangana has been asking the Centre to finalise water shares from day one of its formation.
- Citing treaties and agreements followed globally in sharing river waters, Telangana has been arguing that according to the basin parameters, it is entitled to at least a 70% share in the allocation of the 811 tmcft.
Andhra Pradesh’s claim:
- Andhra Pradesh has also staked a claim to a larger share of water in order to safeguard the interests of command areas that have already been developed.
- In 2016 and 2020, the Centre convened two meetings of the Apex Council, comprised of the Union Minister and the Chief Ministers of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, without attempting to address the issue.
- In response to a suggestion made by the Ministry of Justice in 2020, Telangana withdrew its petition before the Supreme Court, as the Ministry had promised to refer the issue of water allocation to a tribunal.
- However, the Centre has failed to resolve the issue for more than two years, despite the fact that the two States continue to argue about it daily.
The Forum Store
Tags: Syllabus: GS2/ Indian Polity, Judiciary
• Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud recently condemned “forum shopping.”
What is Forum shopping?
• When litigants or attorneys attempt to transfer their case to a judge or court where they believe the outcome will be more favorable, this is known as “forum shopping.”
• This practice entails choosing a court that is likely to provide the most favorable outcome, as opposed to following the standard legal process.
• As part of their litigation strategy, attorneys consider which court or forum to approach. For instance, a public interest litigation case could be brought directly to the Supreme Court instead of the relevant High Court because the issue could garner more attention.
Issues with Forum Shopping
• It cited the injustice caused to the opposing party, the overburdening of certain courts relative to others, and the interference with the judicial process.
• It bypasses the normal course of justice and may increase the court’s workload.
• Several authors acknowledge that forum shopping can result in an undesirable lack of decisional uniformity.
• It is not prohibited by law and gives an unjust advantage to one party.
SC judgements on ‘Forum Shopping’
• Chetak Construction Ltd. vs. Om Prakash (1998): A litigant cannot choose the venue, and any attempt to do so “must be crushed with a heavy hand.”
• Union of India & Ors. v. Cipla Ltd (2017): The Supreme Court established a “functional test” for forum shopping.
• Vijay Kumar Ghai vs. State of W.B. (2022): The Supreme Court characterized forum shopping as a “disreputable practice by the courts” that “has no sanction and precedence under the law.”
• “Bench hunting” refers to the practice of petitioners attempting to have their cases heard by a specific judge or court in order to obtain a favorable ruling.
The INSACOG (India SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium)
Tags: Syllabus: GS2/Health
• The sequencing of COVID-19 variant genomes has decreased as fewer samples are made available to network-laboratories.
• It appears that India has slowed down its sequencing of COVID-19 variant genomes.
• Since March 27, the India SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) has not issued a single bulletin.
Previously, the agency issued reports once per week. Bulletins provided information on the circulating variants of COVID-19, the states experiencing an increase in the contagious variants, and whether SARS-CoV-2 variants linked to significant international outbreaks had been discovered in India.
The India SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG)
• INSACOG is an initiative of the Union Health Ministry of Health and the Department of Biotechnology in collaboration with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
• It is a multi-laboratory, multi-agency, pan-India network charged with sequencing and keeping an eye out for new, dangerous SARS-CoV-2 variants.
The International Pathogen Surveillance Network (IPSN)
• The World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned nations against ignoring COVID-19 and launched IPSN, a global network designed to defend people from infectious disease threats by leveraging the power of pathogen genomics.
• IPSN will provide a platform for connecting countries and regions, enhancing systems for collecting and analyzing samples, utilizing these data to inform public health decision-making, and disseminating this information more extensively.
Mechanism for Carbon Border Adjustment
Tags: Syllabus: GS3/Biodiversity and Environment
• The European Commission’s co-legislators recently inked the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM).
• It has been characterized as a “landmark tool” for putting a “fair price” on carbon emitted during the production of carbon-intensive goods entering the EU and for encouraging cleaner industrial production in non-EU countries.
• Effective October 1st, the reporting system outlined in the regulation would be implemented for specific products in order to facilitate a smooth implementation and dialogue with third countries. The importers would begin paying the monetary levy in 2026.
What is the CBAM?
- CBAM is one component of the EU Green Deal, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030.
- The objective of CBAM is to equalize the carbon price paid for EU products operating under the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) and imported commodities.
- It refers to a phenomenon in which a European Union manufacturer shifts carbon-intensive production to countries with less stringent climate policies. Its primary goal is to prevent “carbon leakage.”
- Initially, the CBAM will apply to the imports of the following products; these industries have a high risk of carbon leakage and high carbon emissions.
- Steel and iron
- Fertilisers o Electricity
• EU importers will be required to purchase carbon certificates equal to the carbon price that would have been paid in the EU had the products been produced locally.
• The price of the certificates would be determined by the auction prices on the EU market for carbon credits.
• Once a non-EU producer can demonstrate that they have already paid a price for the carbon used in the production of imported products in a third country, the importer in the EU can deduct the corresponding cost in full.
• CBAM applies to: The CBAM will encompass imports of goods from all non-EU countries in principle. Certain third countries that participate in the ETS or have a linked emissions trading system will be excluded from the mechanism. Members of the European Economic Area and Switzerland fall under this category.
Didn’t the EU already have a mechanism in place?
• The progressive implementation of the CBAM would occur concurrently with the phasing out of the allocation of free allowances under the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), which was also intended to support the decarbonization of the region’s industries.
• The ETS imposed a limit on the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions allowed to be emitted by industrial installations in certain sectors.
• CBAM will prevent the prospect of carbon leakage and encourage producers in non-EU nations to implement environmentally friendly manufacturing processes.
- In addition, it will normalize the playing field between imports and EU products. This would also be a component of the continent’s broader European Green Deal, which aims to accomplish a 55 percent reduction in carbon emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2030 and become climate neutral by 2050.
How will it impact other countries?
• The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) determined in 2021 that Russia, China, and Turkey were most vulnerable to the mechanism.
• Taking into account the level of exports to the union in these sectors, it was stated that India, Brazil, and South Africa would be the most affected developing nations. Mozambique would be the most vulnerable least-developed nation.
• EU countries represent approximately 14% of India’s export blend for all products, including steel and aluminum.
• EU is India’s third largest trading partner, and given India’s projected development trajectories, India’s exports (including those in the CBAM sectors) will inevitably increase in size.
• The CBAM’s purview would be expanded to encompass additional industries.
• Given that India’s products have a higher carbon intensity than their European counterparts, the carbon tariffs imposed will be proportionally higher, rendering Indian exports substantially uncompetitive. • Furthermore, international climate policies (including CBAM) will force other countries to impose similar regulation, resulting in “a significant impact” on India’s trading relationships and balance of payments.
People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR)
Tags: Syllabus: GS-3/Environment
• Goa saw the commencement of the National Campaign for Updating and Verifying the People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR).
National Campaign for Updation and Verification of People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR)
• The campaign was introduced by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change in order to document and preserve India’s rich biological diversity.
People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR)
- The People’s Biodiversity Register is a comprehensive record of various aspects of biodiversity, such as the conservation of habitats, preservation of land races, folk varieties and cultivars, domesticated stocks and breeds of animals and micro-organisms.
- According to the Biological Diversity Act of 2002, Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC) are created for “promoting conservation, sustainable use, and documentation of biological diversity” by local bodies across the country.
- BMCs have been tasked with preparing the People’s Biodiversity Registers (PBRs), in consultation with local communities, by local bodies in the States and Union Territories.
- The ability of axolotls to regenerate appendages, gills, and portions of their eyes and brains is being investigated by scientists. This may provide hints on how to replicate the same phenomenon in humans.
- The scientific name for this species is Ambystoma mexicanum.
- The axolotl belongs to the salamander (lizard-like amphibians) family.
- Habitat: Despite being amphibians, axolotls spend their entire lives in water. Consequently, the common name ‘axolotl’, of Aztec origin, has been variably interpreted as ‘water dog,’ ‘water twin,’ ‘water sprite,’ and ‘water slave.
- They were initially discovered in Lake Xochimilco, close to Mexico City. However, they are nearly extinct in the wild. Individuals produced in captivity for the pet trade and aquaria maintain their gene pool.
- Status: It is classified as critically endangered in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
- Threats: Urbanization in Mexico City and the resulting water contamination, as well as the introduction of invasive species such as tilapia and perch, pose threats to the axolotl.
Mission for Smart Cities
Tags: Syllabus: GS3/Infrastructure
• To date, more than 90 percent of the Smart Cities Mission’s allocated funds have been utilized, and 73 percent of the projects have been completed.
About Smart Cities Mission
• It was established in 2015 with the objective of providing citizens with basic infrastructure, a clean and sustainable environment, and a decent quality of life through the implementation of “smart solutions.”
• Together with state administrations, the Union Ministry of Urban Development is responsible for implementing the mission.
• The Mission seeks to stimulate economic growth and enhance quality of life by focusing on the city’s social, economic, physical, and institutional pillars.
• Sustainable and inclusive development is prioritized through the creation of replicable models that serve as beacons for other aspirant cities.
• Through a two-stage competition, one hundred cities have been chosen for Smart City development.
• The Mission is administered through a Centrally Sponsored Program.
• A smart city lacks a standard definition or template. The six fundamental principles underlying the Smart Cities concept are as follows: