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Supreme Court ruling on Consensual Divorce

Tags: GS2/ Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions & Bodies for Protection & Betterment of these Sections

In News

  • A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court recently ruled that it may dissolve a marriage in accordance with Article 142(1) of the Constitution by exercising its plenary power to do “complete justice”

More about the news

  • The Supreme Court Bench ruled that it can exercise its plenary power to do “complete justice” under Article 142(1) of the Constitution to dissolve a marriage on the grounds that it had “irretrievably broken down” without referring the parties to a family court where they must wait between 6 and 18 months for a decree of divorce by mutual consent.

What is “Irretrievable breakdown”?

  • What factors can courts consider when determining if a marriage has irretrievably broken down?
  • Recently, while the case was pending, the court announced that it would determine the rules to be followed when explicitly dissolving marriages under Article 142 of the Constitution.
  • The first and most “obvious” requirement is that the court must be fully convinced and satisfied that the marriage is “totally unworkable, emotionally dead, and irretrievably broken; therefore, dissolution of marriage is the correct solution and the only way forward.”


  • The court has also laid down the following factors:
  • The length of time the parties cohabited after their marriage;
  • The date of their most recent cohabitation;
  • The nature of the allegations made by the parties against each other and their family members.
  • The cumulative impact on the personal relationship;
  • Whether and how many attempts were made to resolve the disputes by a court or through mediation, as well as the date of the most recent attempt.

Current procedure for divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act

  • Section 13B of the Housing and Mortgage Act permits “divorce by mutual agreement.”
  • Both spouses must jointly file a petition with the district court “stating that they have been living apart for at least one year, that they have been unable to live together, and that they have mutually agreed that the marriage should be dissolved.”

Mandatory “cooling-off” period :

  • In accordance with Section 13B(2) of the Act, the parties must file a second motion “not earlier than six months after the date of presentation of the [first] petition and not later than eighteen months after said date, if the petition has not been withdrawn in the interim.”
  • The six-month mandatory delay is intended to allow the parties time to withdraw their plea.
  • Decree of divorce:
  • Thereafter, “the court shall, on being satisfied, after hearing the parties and after making such inquiry as it thinks fit that the averments in the petition are true, pass a decree of divorce declaring the marriage to be dissolved with effect from the date of the decree”.


  • A petition for divorce by mutual consent cannot be filed until one year after the marriage. However, Section 14 of the HMA permits a divorce petition to be filed earlier in the event of “exceptional hardship to the petitioner or of exceptional depravity on the part of the respondent.”
  • In an exemption application filed with the family court, a waiver of the six-month waiting period under Section 13B(2) may be requested.
  • Issue:
  • The process of obtaining a decree of divorce is often time-consuming and lengthy owing to a large number of similar cases pending before family courts.
Article 142 of the Constitution

  •  According to Paragraph 1 of Article 142, the Supreme Court “may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter, and any such decree or order shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India.”

Social aspects of divorce in India

  • Stigma around divorce & increasing number:
  • In Indian culture, marriage is a sacred institution, and divorce is disapproved upon.
  • The situation is improving as the younger generation becomes more independent, but the term “divorce” is still viewed negatively.
  • Despite India’s divorce rate being lower than that of Western nations, the number of divorce cases is rising consistently due to various social and economic changes.

Mental health:

  • In Indian culture, marriage is a sacred institution, and divorce is disapproved upon.
  • The situation is improving as the younger generation becomes more independent, but the term “divorce” is still viewed negatively.
  • Despite India’s divorce rate being lower than that of Western nations, the number of divorce cases is rising consistently due to various social and economic changes.

Social & financial effects:

  • Divorce has been identified as a risk factor for mental health disorders and is associated with adverse mental health outcomes.

On Children:

  • Divorce has a substantial effect on the parent-child relationship.
  • It is commonly observed that children and custodial parents lack the connection that should exist between a child and parent.
  • Children of divorce have an increased likelihood of experiencing negative emotions, low self-esteem, behavioral issues, anxiety, depression, and mood disorders.


Way ahead

  • In its previous orders, the apex court had held that the waiting period should be waived in cases where there is no way to save the marriage and all efforts at mediation and conciliation have failed; where parties have genuinely settled their differences, including alimony, custody of child, etc., between themselves; and more than a year and a half has passed since their first motion for separation.
  • Proceedings may be conducted via videoconferencing

Source: TOI

Article 142 of the Constitution

Tags: Syllabus: GS2/ Indian Polity, Constitution, Judiciary

In News

  • Under Article 142 of the Constitution, a five-judge or constitution bench of the Supreme Court ruled that a court may grant a divorce directly.

More about the News

  • Without referring the parties to a family court first, where they must wait 6-18 months for a decree of divorce by mutual consent, in cases where the marriage has irretrievably broken down, the decision allows couples to bypass the time-consuming process of obtaining a decree of divorce through family courts, which have a large number of similar cases pending.


Article 142 of the Constitution

  • Article 142 gives the Supreme Court the exclusive authority to do “complete justice” between the parties when the law or statute does not provide a remedy.
  • In such circumstances, the Court can extend itself to resolve a dispute in a manner consistent with the facts of the case.

Earlier Instances

  • The Supreme Court has defined its scope and reach through its decisions over time.


  • In the Prem Chand Garg case (1962), the Supreme Court ruled that an order to do complete justice between the parties “must not only be consistent with the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution, but it cannot even be inconsistent with the substantive provisions of the relevant statutory laws,” referring to laws passed by Parliament.
  • Union Carbide Corporation vs. Union of India Case (1991): In 1991, the Supreme Court ordered UCC to pay $470 million in compensation to the victims of the calamity, elevating itself above Parliamentary law.
  • Siddiq v. Mahant Suresh Das: In this case, commonly referred to as the Ayodhya dispute, the Supreme Court exercised the authority granted by Article 142 of the Constitution.

Significance of Article 142

  • Prevents Injustice: It grants the Supreme Court a unique and extraordinary ability to administer complete justice to litigants who have endured illegality or injustice in the proceedings.
  • Protect citizen rights: Article 142 has been invoked to safeguard the rights of various segments of the population.
  • Check on Government: This feature functions as a system of checks and balances with the government or legislature.

Criticism of Article 142

  • The expansive character of these powers has prompted criticism that they are arbitrary and unclear.
  • Ambiguity: The Supreme Court attempted to clarify the term “complete justice,” but it remains unclear. The Supreme Court’s rulings have generated a great deal of confusion, and there is no consensus on how to invoke Article 142.
  • Against Separation of Powers: The power has been criticized on the basis of the doctrine of separation of powers, which states that the judiciary should not enter areas of lawmaking and that doing so would invite the possibility of judicial overreach.
  • Promotes Judicial Overreach: In some decisions, it is stated that it may be utilized when statutes are mute. By analyzing court decisions regarding the application of Article 142, it appears that it is used to remedy legal gaps.
  • Negative impact on the economy: Many hotels, bars, restaurants, and liquor stores have been impacted by the prohibition on the sale of alcohol near national and state highways, resulting in the unemployment of lakhs of people.

Way Ahead & Conclusion

  • The Supreme Court could issue a rigorous directive justifying the use of Article 142 and encouraging judicial restraint.
  • In every such case, the Supreme Court can guarantee “complete justice” for society without compromising the rights of citizens.
  • The Indian Constitution Drafting Committee was cognizant of the expansive character of the powers and reserved them only for exceptional circumstances.

Source: IE

Meitei Community 

Tags: Paper: GS2/Indian Polity

In News

  • The Manipur Meitei community intended to pursue contempt charges against the Hill Areas Committee (HAC) of the Manipur Legislative Assembly.

About the Issue

  • For decades, the Meitei community has sought Scheduled Tribe status. The Manipur High Court recently ordered the State government to recommend the inclusion of the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribes list. In response, the HAC passed a resolution opposing the high court’s order and urging the Union and State governments to appeal it.

Procedure for Inclusion into the ST List

  • In accordance with the procedure for including a community on the ST list, such a recommendation must originate with a proposal from the relevant State or UT government.
  • The Ministry of Tribal Affairs then sends this proposal to the Office of the Registrar General of India (RGI). The National Commission of Scheduled Tribes must concur with the inclusion once the Office of the RGI has approved it.
  • The proposal is then sent to the Cabinet, and a bill must be enacted by Parliament to allow the President of India to notify the inclusion.
  • The HAC believes that the inclusion of the Meitei community into the Scheduled Tribes should be appealed in consideration of the sentiments, interests, and rights of the existing Scheduled Tribes of Manipur.
  • The Meitei community has stated that the HAC does not have the authority to pass such a resolution without the Speaker’s permission, and that this constitutes criminal contempt.


About Meitei community

  • Naga and Kuki, the two largest tribal groups in Manipur, reside in the hill districts, which account for roughly 90 percent of the state’s land area.
  • Approximately 64.6% of the state’s population consists of Meiteis, who are primarily concentrated in the Imphal Valley. o However, these 10 districts send only 20 legislators to the 60-member legislative assembly because they are less populous than the Valley.
  • They are presently classified as OBCs or SCs, and they dominate more than half of the State’s Assembly districts. The majority of them identify as Hindu, while approximately 8% identify as Muslim.
  • Article 371C  Special provision with respect to the State of Manipur
  • Article 371C was not present in the 1950 Indian Constitution. It was added by the Constitution (Twenty-seventh Amendment) Act, 1971, after Manipur became a separate state.
  • constitution and functions of a committee of the Legislative Assembly of the State consisting of members of that Assembly elected from the Hill Areas of that State,
  • constitution and functions of a committee of the Legislative Assembly of the State consisting of members of that Assembly elected from the Plains,
  • constitution and functions of a committee of the Legislative Assembly of the State consisting of members of that Assembly elected
  • (ii) for the modifications to be made in the rules of business of the Government and
  • for the modifications to be made in the rules of procedure of the Legislative Assembly of the State and o (iv) for any special responsibility of the Governor to ensure the proper functioning of such a committee.

Demand of Meitei Community

  • The community argued that before Manipur merged with India in 1949, they were designated as one of the tribes of Manipur, but that they lost this designation when the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 was drafted. They had insisted that they had been excluded from the ST list on the grounds that they had been omitted.
  • Manipur’s topography: The state’s topography is divided between a central valley that comprises approximately 10% of the state’s landmass and is home to the Meitei and Meitei Pangals, who make up approximately 64.6% of the state’s population.
  • The remaining 90% of the land area consists of highlands that surround the valley and are home to the recognized tribes, which account for approximately 35.4% of the population.
  • The geography, protections extended to the hill areas, and restrictions on the purchase of land in those areas have been fundamental to the Meity community’s concerns regarding this demand.
  • Opposition by ST Communities of Manipur: The ST communities of Manipur have consistently opposed the inclusion for fear of losing employment opportunities and other affirmative actions granted to STs by the Constitution of India to a more developed community like the Meitei.
  • Other arguments against the demand include the fact that the Manipuri language of the Meiteis is included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution and that sections of the predominantly Hindu Meitei community are already classified as Scheduled Caste (SC) or Other Backward Classes (OBC) and have access to the benefits that come with those classifications.
Hill Areas Committee (HAC)

·         The HAC was established by a 1972 order and consists of legislators from all districts wholly or partially located within the state’s hilly regions.

·         Functions

  •  Allotment, occupation, or separation of land (other than reserved forest land) for agricultural or grazing purposes, or for residential or other non-agricultural purposes, or for any other purpose likely to promote the interests of the inhabitants of any village or town located within the Hill Areas.



Action plan to reduce Air Pollution

Tags: Paper: GS 3/Environment 

In News

  • The chief minister of Delhi announced a fourteen-point action plan to reduce air pollution during the summer months, with a particular emphasis on regulating dust pollution.

Major Highlights 

  • The government of Delhi will conduct a real-time apportionment study of 13 identified regions to identify pollution sources and control measures.
  • Individuals must register in order to perform construction work on land larger than 500 square meters.
  • The government will enhance the amount of vegetation by planting 59 million trees.
  • Urban agriculture will be expanded, 400 workshops will be held, and individuals will receive free training kits.
  • To combat industrial pollution, the government is devising a new policy on industrial waste management and techniques to collect and dispose of industrial waste scientifically.


About Air pollution

  • It is the contamination of the indoor or outdoor environment by any chemical, physical, or biological agent that alters the atmosphere’s natural characteristics.
  • Common sources of air pollution include household combustion devices, motor vehicles, industrial facilities, and forest fires.
  • Particulate matter, carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide are major public health hazards.


  • Certain atmospheric gases can contribute to air pollution. For instance, ozone is a primary contributor to urban air pollution.
  • Ozone is a greenhouse gas that can be both beneficial and detrimental to the environment. It depends on its location in the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • It is caused by suspended solid and liquid particles as well as certain gases.
  • These particles and gases can originate from automobile and vehicle emissions, factories, dust, pollen, mold spores, volcanic eruptions, and wildfires. Aerosols are the solid and liquid particles suspended in the air.
  • Air pollution occurs when solid and liquid particles, known as aerosols, and specific gases enter our atmosphere.
  • During the summer, dust is one of the primary causes of pollution.



  • Breathing polluted air is hazardous to our health. Long-term exposure to air pollution has been linked to heart and respiratory diseases, cancers, and other health issues.
  • Outdoor and indoor air pollution contribute significantly to morbidity and mortality by causing respiratory and other diseases.

Steps Taken by Government

  • National Clean Air Programme (NCAP): The government has launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) as a long-term, time-bound programme to reduce air pollution in a comprehensive manner, with a goal of achieving up to a 40% reduction in PM10 concentration level by 2025-2026 relative to the baseline year of 2017-18.
  • On 1 November 2021, the Prime Minister introduced the LiFE concept at COP26 in Glasgow.
  • LiFE intends to replace the prevalent “use-and-throw-away” economy, which is governed by mindless and detrimental consumption, with a circular economy, which would be characterized by mindful and deliberate use.
  • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): India updated its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – plans to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, promising to reduce the emissions intensity of GDP by 45% by 2030, from the level of 2005, and to achieve 50% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.
  • Commission for Air Quality Management: The Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas has been established for better coordination, research, identification, and resolution of problems pertaining to the air quality index, as well as for matters connected with or incidental to the aforementioned.
  • Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP): This is a set of emergency measures that are activated when the air quality in the Delhi-NCR region reaches a certain threshold.
  • The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana Household LPG Program and other initiatives have significantly increased rural households’ access to renewable energy.

Way Ahead 

  • Because the air does not belong to any one state, all states must collaborate closely with their neighbors to reduce air pollution.Policies to reduce air pollution offer a win-win strategy for both climate and health, reducing the disease burden attributable to air pollution and contributing to near- and long-term climate change mitigation.The WHO also recommended that governments adopt certain measures to improve air quality and public health.
  • It urged countries to implement national air quality standards in accordance with WHO guidelines, as well as implement stricter vehicle emissions and efficiency standards, among other measures.
Do you Know?

•         NASA’s high-resolution air pollution monitoring instrument TEMPO was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

•         TEMPO is the first funded initiative of NASA’s Earth Venture Instrument program, which consists of small, targeted scientific investigations designed to complement NASA’s larger research missions. o It is a component of the agency’s Earth System Science Pathfinder program.

Source: TH

China’s Anti-Espionage Law

Tags: Paper:  GS 2/International Policies

In News 

  • China’s legislature recently authorized sweeping amendments to its anti-espionage law, expanding the definition of activities related to espionage and national security.

China’s anti-espionage law

  • Recent amendments have been made to China’s anti-espionage law from 2014.
  • Article 1 of the law states that its purpose is “to prevent, stop, and punish espionage conduct and to maintain national security.”
  • China expanded the scope of the law, with one of the modifications stating that “all documents, data, materials, and items related to national security and interests” will receive the same level of protection as state secrets.
  • The transfer of any information perceived to be in the interest of what authorities define as “national security” will now be considered an act of espionage.
  • The most recent modification “improves the regulations on cyber espionage” and “clearly defines cyberattacks, intrusions, interference, control, and destruction” as acts of espionage.
  • Other modifications would include “clarifying the responsibility of national security organs in directing and organizing publicity, as well as provisions to strengthen the protection of personal information in counterespionage work.”


  • The amendments are a response to a spate of high-profile cases involving journalists, foreign executives, and multinational corporations in China, who have been scrutinized by the government on national security grounds.
  • The expanded law is in response to the government of Xi Jinping’s increasing emphasis on “security,” and a recent policy shift now emphasizes the dual significance of “development and security” rather than economic development alone.


  • The amended law is likely to have deleterious effects both inside and outside of China.
  • Chinese journalists, academics, and executives who frequently interact with their foreign counterparts are likely to reconsider, at least in the absence of explicit government approval.
  • The already limited interaction between Chinese and foreign academicians during the era of Xi Jinping is likely to become even rarer.

Impacts on India

  • Indian companies with a presence in China, especially in sectors deemed sensitive such as pharmaceuticals and information technology, will likely need to assess their exposure to risks under the expanded law and expanded definitions of “national security,” especially in light of deteriorating relations between the two countries.

Source: TH

‘Laundromat’ Countries

Tags: Pepar: GS2 / Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on india’s interests

In News

  • According to a report by a Finland-based organization, India is the leader of the five nations designated as “laundromat” nations.

More about News

  • European nations that imposed crude oil sanctions on Russia oil use India and other nations as ‘laundromats’ for refined products.
  • The report accused Indian sellers and European purchasers of potentially “circumventing sanctions” by selling crude products from a Rosneft-affiliated refinery in Gujarat.

What are ‘Laundromat’ Countries?

  • The so-called “laundromat” countries are those that purchase Russian oil and then sell refined products to European countries, thereby circumventing European sanctions against Russian Oil.The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) identifies India, China, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Singapore as ‘laundromats’ for Western nations.
  • The study emphasized that the five countries account for 70 percent of Russia’s crude oil exports.

Process of Circumventing sanctions (White-washing of Russian Oil)

  • European countries are simply substituting oil products they previously bought directly from Russia, with the same products now “whitewashed” in third countries and bought from them at a premium.
Price Cap Coalition

•         A coalition of G7 nations, the European Union, and Australia have agreed to ban the importation of crude oil and petroleum products of Russian origin, with the support of a wide array of oil transport companies.

•         The G7 crude oil price ceiling of $60 per barrel went into effect on December 5, 2022.

•         India’s position on any such pricing limit arrangement will be noncommittal.

Source: TH

Psychedelic Substances

Tags: Paper:  GS3/Health

In News

  • Psychedelic substances are emerging as promising treatments for treatment-resistant depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to research.

What are Psychedelics ?

  • Psychedelics are a class of drugs that alter consciousness while altering perception, temperament, and thought processing. Typically, the individual’s perception is also unimpaired.
  • They are non-addictive, non-toxic, and less hazardous to the end user than illegal substances.
  • According to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1985, psychedelic substances are illegal in India. Under strict medical supervision, ketamine, a dissociative anesthetic with psychedelic properties, is administered for anesthesia and treatment-resistant depression.

History of psychedelics?

  • In 1957, a psychiatrist named Humphrey Osmond used the term ‘psychedelic’ for the first time. The term comes from the Greek words psyche, which means “mind,” and deloun, which means “to manifest.”
  • Between 1947 and 1967, LSD was extensively used in psychotherapy as a therapeutic catalyst. Medical concerns and the Vietnam War prompted the criminalization of psychedelics and other psychoactive substances around this time.
  • In the 1960s and 1970s, media campaigns further stigmatized the use of all psychoactive substances.\

How does it work? 

  • Psychoactive substance users report alterations in perception, somatic experience, mood, cognitive processing, and entheogenic experiences. A fascinating phenomenon known as synaesthesia may occur, in which the user ‘hears colors’ or’sees sounds’ and vice versa.
  • Modern neuroimaging suggests that psychedelics are neither brain-activity stimulants nor depressants. Instead, psychedelics increase the communication between various brain networks, which correlates with their subjective effects.

Can such substances cause harm?

  • Deaths due to direct toxicity of LSD, psilocybin, or mescaline have not been reported despite their recreational use for over 50 years. A drug overdose necessitates cardiac surveillance and supportive care.
  • The psychological effects of psychedelics depend on the interaction between the substance and the user’s state of mind (collectively referred to as a set) as well as the surrounding environment.
  • Individuals with a personal or familial history of psychosis should avoid experimenting with psychedelics.

Way Ahead

  • Even though recent findings are encouraging, the future of the psychedelic renaissance remains questionable.
  • In addition to their therapeutic effects, psychedelic substances offer an enticing avenue for exploring the broader concepts of creativity, spirituality, and consciousness.


Survey of OBCs in Odisha

Tags: Syllabus: GS2/ Government policies & Intervention

In News

  • The Odisha government initiated the survey of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) individuals.

More about News

  • An examination of the social and educational circumstances of backwardness would be conducted for OBCs.
  • The heads of the family provide confidential information about themselves and other family members.
  • Personal data such as the last institution attended, occupation, educational level, and date of birth are requested.
  • Individuals (family heads or senior family members) are required to bring their ration cards and Aadhaar cards to common service centres, PDS centres, and Anganadi centres in order to complete an exhaustive questionnaire.

Survey of OBC is different from Caste census

  •  Caste census entails the tabulation of India’s population by caste as part of the Census, whereas the Survey aims to determine the social and educational status of OBCs.The primary objective of a caste census is to determine the income and asset ownership of various caste groups, whereas the Survey has no bearing on caste groups.
Socio Economic and Caste Census 2011 (SECC)

•         In 2010-2011, the Ministry of Rural Development conducted a caste census alongside a socioeconomic census.

•         SECC-2011 was not conducted in accordance with the 1948 Census of India Act, nor was the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India tasked with conducting it.

Source: TH


Tags: Paper:  GS3/ Defence

In News

  • India dispatched INS Satpura and INS Delhi to participate in the first-ever ASEAN-India Maritime Exercise (AIME 2023), which is scheduled to take place from May 2 to 8, 2023.

More about News

  • The inaugural exercise will be conducted off the coast of Singapore and will include both harbour and at-sea events.
  • The Republic of Singapore Navy and the Indian Navy co-host the ASEAN-India Maritime Exercise.
  • With AIME-2023, India becomes the fourth ASEAN dialogue partner to host the ASEAN+1 maritime exercise, joining Russia, China, and the United States.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

  • It is a political and economic organization.
  • Founded in: 1967 by the five South-East Asian nations of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
  • Aim: Promoting economic growth and regional stability among its members.
  • 10 Members at Present: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • ASEAN Plus Three:

·         It is a forum that functions as a coordinator of co-operation between the ASEAN and the three East Asian nations of China, South Korea, and Japan.

ASEAN Plus Six:

The group also comprises India, Australia, and New Zealand in addition to ASEAN Plus Three.

Source: PIB