Daily Prelims Notes 19 November 2023
- November 19, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
19 November 2023
Table Of Contents
- Kadalundi’s shrinking mudflat ecosystem keeps birds away
- U.S. data underscore benefits of chickenpox vaccination
- AI powered weather forecasting from Google
- A new sensor toolkit for studying neuropeptides
- AI powered ‘Chemist’ makes oxygen from Martian meteorites
- Border Peace and Tranquility Agreement
- At talks on cutting plastic pollution
- Navy ready for evacuations if Gaza situation warrants it
- Seeking ‘self-governance’
- Modest start to big strides: space programme turns 60
- Tamil Assembly readopts 10 bill return by governor
- Shouldn’t reject constitutional morality, says CJI Chandrachud
- Kadalundi, a village on the southwest coast in Kozhikode district of Kerala, had about 8 hectares of nutrient rich intertidal mudflats in the early 2000s. Today, the expanse of mudflats in the estuary of the Kadalundipuzha river has reduced to about 1 hectare. This too is gradually being covered with sand, depriving prey to thousands of shorebirds that migrate from colder climes in winter to the village.
About Mudflat Ecosystem:
- Mudflats refer to land near a water body that is regularly flooded by tides and is usually barren (without any vegetation).
- It is also known as tidal flats and formed upon the deposition of mud by tides or rivers.
- Mudflats and mangroves together constitute an important ecosystem.
- Mudflats serve to protect coastal lands from the eroding forces of nature and also provide an important habitat for shore birds.
Reasons of Shrinking
- The main reason behind the drop in water levels is sedimentation, the process of particles such as sand and stones settling to the bottom of a body of water.
- Human activities, such as unsustainable consumption of water.
- Increasing temperature and potential evapotranspiration (PET) due to climate change are also main reasons for shrinking.
What are the effects of the climate changes on water bodies?
- World’s largest lakes and reservoirs – Have shrunk more than 50% over the 3 decades.
- From these water bodies, approximately 600 cubic km of water was lost between 1992 and 2020 which is equivalent to the total water used in the United States for the entire year of 2015.
- Sedimentation – Main cause of the decline in the water storage for more than more than half of the reservoirs located in peninsular India.
- Sedimentation has a larger impact than hydro climate variability such as droughts and recovery from droughts.
- Among the worst affected natural lakes in the country is Ladakh’s Tso Moriri.
- Water consumption – Unsustainable water consumption in the world’s large lake have led to the decreased water levels.
- Arctic lakes – Shrunk as a result of a combination of changes in precipitation, runoff, temperature, and PET, which are likely a concurrent result of natural variability and climate change.
- Humid tropics and high altitudes – Natural lakes located in humid tropics and high altitudes are also experiencing water shortages.
- Human activities – Such as unsustainable consumption of water and increasing temperature and potential evapotranspiration (PET) have led to reduced water levels.
Implications of shrinking waterbodies:
- Water scarcity: The decline of large lakes and reservoirs has severe implications for global water resources.
- The reduced availability of freshwater impacts various sectors, including agriculture, energy, and human consumption.
- It exacerbates water scarcity, leading to conflicts and socio-economic challenges.
- The sedimentation of sand on mudflats not only brings down the amount of migratory prey there, but also helps mangroves easily proliferate. The viviparous mangroves according to researchers, can display an aggressive invasive behaviour.
- Food security: Agriculture heavily relies on water resources for irrigation.
- As lakes and reservoirs shrink, the water supply for agricultural activities diminishes, impacting crop yields, food production, and food security.
- This can lead to increased food prices and food shortages.
- Energy generation: Many hydropower plants depend on large lakes and reservoirs for water supply.
- The decline in water levels affects hydropower generation, leading to energy shortages and an increased reliance on other energy sources, potentially impacting energy prices.
- Ecosystem disruption: Large lakes and reservoirs support diverse ecosystems, and their decline threatens the survival of aquatic plants and animals.
- It disrupts the ecological balance, affecting biodiversity and the overall health of ecosystems.
- Socio-economic impacts: The decline of lakes and reservoirs directly affects human populations. Communities relying on these water bodies for drinking water, agriculture, and livelihoods face water shortages, increased competition, and potential migration.
- This poses significant socio-economic challenges, particularly in regions heavily dependent on these water sources.
Subject: Science and Tech
- The U.K. government announced that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) had recommended a vaccine against chickenpox (varicella) should be added to routine childhood immunisation programme.
- JCVI’s recommendation comes nearly three decades after the U.S. introduced it in 1996, and a body of evidence emphasising the benefits of varicella vaccination.
About Varicella Zoster Virus:
- Varicella-zoster is a herpes virus that causes chickenpox, a common childhood illness.
- It is an exclusively human virus that belongs to the α-herpesvirus family.
- It is present worldwide and is highly infectious.
- Primary infection of this virus leads to acute varicella or “chickenpox”.
- The infections can progress to the central nervous system involvement and severe complications.
Key Facts about Chickenpox:
- Highly Contagious: Chickenpox is an extremely contagious disease.
- Symptoms: Common symptoms include an itchy, blister-like rash, among others.
- Rash Progression: The rash typically begins on the chest, back, and face before spreading to cover the entire body.
- Transmission: Chickenpox is transmitted through direct contact with an infected individual, inhaling air containing virus particles from a sneeze or cough of an infected person, or contact with fluids from an infected child’s eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Incubation Period: The incubation period for chickenpox ranges from 10 to 21 days.
- Seriousness: Chickenpox can be particularly severe in certain populations, including pregnant women, babies, adolescents, adults, and individuals with weakened immune systems (lowered ability to combat infections).
Subject: Science and Tech
Section: Awareness in IT
- Google’s DeepMind has developed an AI-powered weather forecasting model called GraphCast that can provide 10-day weather predictions in less than a minute.
More about News:
- The model has shown a 90% verification rate and surpasses the accuracy of traditional weather prediction technologies.
- GraphCast has been found to be 99.7% more accurate than the gold-standard system in some cases.
- The open-source tool can detect extreme weather events and has the potential to become more accurate with updated data.
- The GraphCast weather prediction program uses the two most recent states of Earth’s weather, including variables from the current time and six hours prior, to predict the state of the weather six hours and up to 10 days ahead.
Other Applications of AI For Environment
Climate Modeling and Prediction
- AI has become instrumental in enhancing climate models, enabling more accurate weather forecasts and long-term climate change predictions.
- Through data analysis and pattern recognition, AI-driven models contribute to a deeper understanding of climate dynamics, thus facilitating informed decision-making for climate mitigation strategies.
Renewable Energy Optimization
- The integration of AI in energy management systems has led to the optimization of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power.
- AI algorithms analyze real-time data, enabling energy grids to balance supply and demand dynamically.
- This, in turn, promotes efficient energy production, consumption, and storage, fostering the transition to sustainable energy systems.
Natural Resource Management
- AI-equipped sensors play a pivotal role in monitoring environmental resources such as water quality, forest health, and soil conditions.
- By providing continuous data streams and early warnings, these sensors aid in effective resource management, leading to sustainable practices in agriculture, forestry, and water conservation.
- AI technology assists in monitoring and safeguarding biodiversity.
- Cameras, drones, and sensors equipped with AI algorithms are employed for wildlife tracking and habitat preservation.
- The analysis of vast ecological datasets facilitates the identification of critical habitats, aiding conservation efforts and contributing to species preservation.
Waste Management and Recycling
- AI-driven robotics and computer vision revolutionize waste management systems.
- Robots capable of identifying and sorting recyclable materials streamline recycling processes, minimizing landfill waste.
- AI-powered solutions contribute to a circular economy by enhancing waste recovery and reducing the environmental impact of discarded materials.
Environmental Monitoring and Disaster Management
- The amalgamation of AI, remote sensing technologies, and IoT devices enables real-time environmental Monitoring.
- From tracking deforestation patterns to predicting natural disasters, AI enhances early warning systems.
- Rapid response and informed decision-making during emergencies minimize the impact of disasters on ecosystems and communities.
Subject: Science and Tech
- New biosensors have helped reveal the activity of neuropeptides in the brain, researchers report, providing novel tools for studying the release, function, and regulation of these crucial signalling molecules in vivo.
- According to a study, the approach has the potential to address questions regarding neuropeptides and their roles in health and disease.
About Neuropeptides and Their Detection
- Neuropeptides are key signaling molecules in the endocrine and nervous systems that regulate many critical physiological processes, including energy balance, sleep and circadian rhythms, stress, and social behaviors. Understanding the functions of neuropeptides in vivo requires the ability to monitor their dynamics with high specificity, sensitivity, and spatiotemporal resolution; however, this has been hindered by the lack of direct, sensitive and non-invasive tools.
- A series of GRAB (G protein-coupled receptor activation‒based) sensors developed for detecting somatostatin (SST), cholecystokinin (CCK), corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), neuropeptide Y (NPY), neurotensin (NTS), and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP).
- These fluorescent sensors utilize the corresponding GPCRs as the neuropeptide-sensing module with the insertion of a circular-permutated GFP as the optical reporter.
- This design detects the binding of specific neuropeptides at nanomolar concentration with a robust increase in fluorescence.
- These GRAB neuropeptide sensors are used to measure the spatiotemporal dynamics of endogenous SST release in isolated pancreatic islets and to detect the release of both CCK and CRF in acute brain slices.
- Moreover, endogenous CRF release induced by stressful experiences in vivo using fiber photometry and 2-photon imaging in mice are detected.
- Together, these new sensors establish a robust toolkit for studying the release, function, and regulation of neuropeptides under both physiological and pathophysiological conditions.
Subject: Science and Tech
Section: Space technology
- Oxygen Producing materials made from meteorites found on Mars have been produced using a robotic artificial intelligence (AI)-chemist.
More about News
- Jun Jiang from the University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China and others developed a robotic AI Chemist that is able to create catalysts that can be used to produce oxygen from Martian materials without human intervention.
- Using a machine learning model derived from both first principles data and experimental measurements, this method automatically and rapidly identifies the optimal catalyst formula from more than three million possible compositions.
- The trials on selected five different categories of meteorites that come from or have been confirmed to exist on Mars, which were analysed by the robotic AI chemist.
- The robotic AI chemist was able to convert the meteorites into chemical compounds and make catalysts from these compounds before testing the catalysts’ oxygen production performance.
- This process was repeated by the robot until the best catalyst had been found, which they suggest could have taken 2,000 years of human labour.
- This catalyst could operate under simulated Martian conditions. The robotic AI chemist allows for the automated production of catalysts using Martian meteorites, which may lead to a way for humans to make oxygen on Mars in the future.
Key Points Related to Mars
Size and Distance:
- It is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System.
- Mars is about half the size of Earth.
Similarity to the Earth (Orbit and Rotation):
- As Mars orbits the Sun, it completes one rotation every 24.6 hours, which is very similar to one day on Earth (23.9 hours).
- Mars’ axis of rotation is tilted 25 degrees with respect to the plane of its orbit around the Sun. This is similar to Earth, which has an axial tilt of 23.4 degrees.
- Mars has distinct seasons like Earth, but they last longer than seasons on Earth.
- Martian days are called sols—short for ‘solar day’.
- The reason Mars looks reddish is due to oxidation or rusting of iron in the rocks, and dust of Mars. Hence it is also called the Red Planet.
- It has the largest volcano in the solar system i.e., Olympus Mons.
- It has two small moons, Phobos and Deimos.
What are the Various Mars Missions?
- NASA has a lander (Mars Insight), two rovers (Curiosity and Perseverance), and three orbiters (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Odyssey, MAVEN).
- ExoMars rover (2021) (European Space Agency)
- Tianwen-1: China’s Mars Mission (2021)
- UAE’s Hope Mars Mission (UAE’s first-ever interplanetary mission) (2021)
- India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or Mangalyaan (2013)
Section: Neighbouring countries
More about the news:
- The 30th anniversary of the Border Peace and Tranquility Agreement (BPTA) between India and China recently passed without acknowledgement, highlighting its contested legacy today.
- It was signed in 1993, the BPTA aimed to maintain peace and tranquility along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and reduce the risk of unplanned confrontations.
- However, the limited agreement inadvertently fueled an infrastructure race and increased incidents, leading to the deadly clash at Galwan in 2020.
- The ambiguity surrounding the LAC, the inherent issue in the BPTA, contributed to the breakdown of subsequent agreements.
- The India-China border remains unsettled, with the current crisis entering its fourth winter.
What is Line of Actual Control (LAC):
- The LAC is the demarcation that separates Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory.
- It is divided into three sectors i.e the eastern sector which spans Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, the middle sector in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, and the western sector in Ladakh.
- India considers the LAC to be 3,488 km long, while the Chinese consider it to be only around 2,000 km.
- India’s claim line is the line seen in the official boundary marked on the maps as released by the Survey of India, including both Aksai Chin and Gilgit-Baltistan. This means LAC is not the claim line for India.
- In China’s case, LAC is the claim line except in the eastern sector, where it claims the entire Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet.
What is the difference between LAC vs Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan:
- The Line of Control (LoC) originated from the 1948 ceasefire line brokered by the UN after the Kashmir War.
- Its formal designation as the LoC occurred in 1972, a result of the Shimla Agreement between India and Pakistan.
- This delineation is officially documented on a map signed by the Directors General of Military Operations (DGMOs) from both nations, providing it with the international legitimacy of a legal agreement.
- In contrast, the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is merely a conceptual demarcation. It lacks mutual agreement between the two countries, with no official mapping or ground demarcation in place.
Context: As countries meet in Nairobi to negotiate a treaty aimed at cutting plastics pollution
More about the news:
- Environmental advocacy groups, Break Free From Plastic and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, released a critical report on plastic credits, asserting that they are a flawed tool incapable of effectively addressing global plastic pollution.
- The report, presented in Nairobi during United Nations-led discussions on a plastic pollution treaty, accused plastic credits of often being a form of corporate greenwashing.
- The analysis focused on databases from key advocates of plastic offsetting,
- Verra and the Plastic Credit Exchange marketplace, revealing significant shortcomings in financing, transparency, and auditing.
- The report also highlighted concerns about plastic incineration in cement kilns, suggesting it merely substitutes one pollution source for another.
- Verra defended plastic credits, emphasizing their potential to mobilize funds essential for combatting plastic pollution
What is Plastic Credit:
- Plastic credits, akin to carbon credits for offsetting emissions, involve entities paying for the collection of a specified weight of plastic globally, justifying their own plastic production or usage.
- This approach enables companies to address their plastic footprint by financially contributing to the removal of an equivalent amount of plastic.
- Accreditors like Verra and marketplaces such as the Plastic Credit Exchange (PCX) facilitate this exchange, allowing companies to achieve plastic neutrality or claim “net-zero plastic” by purchasing enough plastic credits.
What does the report say:
- A report by the Break Free From Plastic movement and GAIA scrutinized plastic offsetting projects by Verra and the Plastic Credit Exchange.
- It revealed flaws, citing issues such as credits for waste incineration and doubts about additionality.
- The report questions the environmental impact, asserting that plastic offsetting often transforms plastic pollution into harmful air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
- It also raises concerns about the financial implications, estimating potential revenue of over $4.6 billion by 2030 from Verra’s projects if credits are sold at $500 per ton.
What do plastic credits proponents say:
- Verra advocates for plastic credits, highlighting benefits such as supporting waste collection and recycling infrastructure, improving conditions for the informal waste sector, and aiding low- and middle-income countries in developing waste management capabilities.
- The Plastic Credit Exchange aims to advance the circular economy, founded in 2019in the Philippines, a focal point of the plastic pollution crisis.
What do opponents say:
- Environmentalists argue that plastic credits, particularly those generated from incineration and cement kilns, contribute to toxic emissions, spreading pollutants invisibly.
- Yuyun Ismawati, a senior advisor, criticizes plastic credits in Indonesia, citing harmful impacts on affected communities.
- Policymakers see credits as a means for single-use plastic-dependent companies to evade business model changes, hindering efforts against plastic pollution.
Are plastic credits in the pollution treaty:
- The current draft text under discussion at the international treaty negotiations in Nairobi does not include provisions for plastic pollution reduction.
- However, negotiators are working on developing the first-ever international, legally binding treaty addressing plastic pollution on land and at sea.
- The ongoing talks, the third in a series of five meetings, aim to conclude negotiations by the end of the following year.
- Representatives from various nations, petrochemical companies, and environmentalists are participating in the discussions.
Section: Places in news
Context: The Navy chief said that Navy is ready for evacuations if Gaza situation warrants it
More about the news:
- The Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Hari Kumar, stated that the Indian Navy is prepared to deploy its assets for evacuation if needed due to the Gaza conflict.
- The Navy has units stationed in the Gulf of Oman, the Gulf of Aden, and the Red Sea to provide assistance.
- Admiral Kumar emphasized the Navy’s role in protecting national maritime interests and revealed plans for a future fleet expansion, aiming for a 165-170-ship force with increased aircraft by 2035.
- He discussed the integration of unmanned systems, focusing on “manned-unmanned teaming.”
- General Anil Chauhan, Chief of Defence Staff, highlighted the importance of managing differences and resolving disputes to prevent conflicts with unclear end states or exit strategies.
Gulf of Aden:
The Gulf of Aden is an extension of the Indian Ocean, tucked between the Arabian Peninsula and the African continent. The gulf connects the Red Sea to the Arabian Sea via the Strait of Bab el Mandeb.he gulf – roughly 900 kilometres long and 500 kilometres wide – is an important waterway for transporting Persian Gulf oil. Together with the Red Sea, which it connects with in the northwest through the Bab el Mandeb it forms an essential oil transport route between Europe and the Far East.
Gulf of Oman:
- The Gulf of Oman also known as the Gulf of Makran or Sea of Makran, forms the only entrance to the Persian Gulf from the Indian Ocean.
- It connects the Arabian Sea with the Strait of Hormuz, which then empties into the Persian Gulf.
- Bordering Countries: Pakistan and Iran in the north, United Arab Emirates in the west and Oman in the south.
- Some of the significant islands that are located in the Gulf of Oman include Sheytan Island, Al Fahal Island, Dimaniyat Islands, and the Sawadi Islands.
- The major international shipping ports that are situated in the Gulf of Oman include Port Sultan Qaboos Muttrah in Muscat, Oman; Chabahar Port in Iran; the Port of Fujairah and Khor Fakkan Container Terminal in the United Arab Emirates.
- Roughly one-third of the world’s oil is exported via the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman.
- The Red Sea (Erythraean Sea) is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia.
- The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden.
- To the north lie the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez (leading to the Suez Canal).
- The sea is underlain by the Red Sea Rift which is part of the Great Rift Valley.
- The six countries bordering the Red Sea are: Saudi Arabia, Yemen , Egypt , Sudan , Eritrea , Djibouti .
Context: The tribal organization faces an FIR for ‘attempting to wage war against the government of India’ after it declared a separate administration within Manipur
More about the news:
- The Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) in Manipur has gained prominence amid escalating tensions between the Kuki and Meitei communities.
- On November 17, an FIR was lodged against ITLF general secretary Muan Tombing for allegedly “attempting to wage war” against the Indian government after he announced plans for a “separate administration.“
- The ITLF, formed in June 2022, includes various tribal councils and leaders from recognized tribes within Churachandpur district.
- The controversy follows disputes over historical inscriptions and government actions, including the “war on drugs 2.0” and evictions, primarily affecting the Kuki-Zomi people.
- The Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity suggests long-standing aspirations for a separate administration, while the ITLF clarifies its intent for “self-rule” within the Indian Constitution to address historical injustices and ensure tribal welfare.
Some more facts about Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF):
- Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) is a tribal leaders’ forum in Manipur that describes itself as a conglomerate of the recognized tribes in Manipur’s Churachandpu.
- It has called for the complete separation of the hill areas, inhabited primarily by the indigenous tribes of the Kuki-Chin-Zomi-Mizo group, from the rest of the state.
- The ITLF, representing the recognized tribes in Manipur’s Churachandpur district, submitted a petition to the former CRPF chief, who was appointed as the security advisor to the Manipur government following recent ethnic clashes.
- The forum expressed their inability to coexist with the dominant Meiteis, accusing them of perpetrating endless atrocities and displaying hatred towards the tribal people.
What’s behind the violence in Manipur:
- Manipur was boiling since February 2023
- Manipur has been restive since February when the state government launched an eviction drive seen as targeting a specific tribal group.The drive led to protests but not on the scale of the one seen recently.
- High Court’s order acted as a trigger point
- The recent protests were triggered by the Manipur High Court’s direction to the State to pursue a 10-year-old recommendation to grant Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to the non-tribal Meitei community.
- The Court’s order brought the historical tensions between the valley-dwelling Meitei community and the state’s hill tribes to a boil.
- A ‘tribal solidarity march’ was organised by the All Tribal Students’ Union of Manipur (ATSUM) against the order of the High Court which led to the violent clashes at various places in Manipur during the course of this march.
Subject: Science and Tech
Section: Space technology
More about the news:
- Sixty years ago, on November 21, 1963, India marked its entry into space exploration with the launch of a 715-kg Nike Apache rocket from Thumba, Kerala.
- This event set the stage for significant milestones, including the launch of India’s first truly indigenous rocket in 1969 and the placement of the Rohini satellite into orbit in 1980, making India one of the select countries capable of launching satellites using its own vehicles.
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was formed through international collaboration, with contributions from the U.S., France, and the Soviet Union.
- Over the years, ISRO’s progress led to the development of various launch vehicles, such as Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicles (ASLVs), Polar Satellite Vehicles (PSLVs), and Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicles (GSLVs), enabling diverse applications like remote sensing, weather forecasting, and deep-space science missions.
- Recent successes, including the Chandrayaan-3 mission, highlight India’s assured access to space and its growing influence in global space exploration.
- The Sriharikota launch site has been pivotal, witnessing numerous successful launches and contributing to India’s space achievements.
What is the Origin and History of ISRO:
- India’s space research activities began in the early 1960s when satellite applications were still in the experimental stages even in the United States.
- Establishment of INCOSPAR: Recognising the need for space research, it was established in 1962 under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) at the suggestion of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai.
- It was instrumental in building the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS)
- The first sounding rocket (Nike-Apache) procured from the USA was launched from TERLS on November 21, 1963.
- Establishment of ISRO: ISRO was established on August 15, 1969, with headquarters in Bengaluru, to replace INCOSPAR with a broader mandate to harness space technology.
What are some key Centers of ISRO:
|Building of Launch Vehicles|
|Designing and Development of Satellites|
|Integration and launching of satellites|
|Development of liquid stages including cryogenic stage|
|Sensors for Communication and Remote Sensing satellites|
|Remote Sensing satellite data reception processing and dissemination|
Section: Parliament and state Legislature
Context: Tamil Assembly readopts 10 bills returned by governor.
More about the news:
- The Tamil Nadu Assembly held a special sitting to readopt 10 Bills returned by Governor R N Ravi, covering law, agriculture, and higher education.
- AIADMK and BJP walked out, questioning the need for the session while the matter is in the Supreme Court.
- Chief Minister M K Stalin criticized the Governor for withholding assent without providing reasons, calling it an affront to elected representatives.
- Stalin emphasized the Governor’s duty to give assent under Article 200 and accused non-BJP states of being targeted.
- Six of the Bills aim to enhance government power in universities, amending laws governing institutions like Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University.
What is the constitutional provisions related to Governor assent to the bill:
- Article 200 of the Constitution outlines four options available to a Governor when a legislature-passed Bill is presented for assent:
- Grant assent immediately.
- Withhold assent.
- Return the Bill to the legislature, requesting reconsideration of the Bill or specific provisions.
- If the legislature reapproves the Bill, with or without accepting Governor-suggested amendments, the Governor is constitutionally obligated to grant assent.
- Alternatively, the Governor may reserve the Bill for the President’s consideration.
- In the case of Presidential considerationi.eArticle 201 the decision to grant or withhold assent is made by the President. Notably, there is no specified timeframe for the President to decide on the Bill’s outcome.
Do Governors have discretion:
- Governors did have a discretion to return Bills before the first provision in the draft Article 175(now Article 200).
- This was amended by the Constituent Assembly in 1949.
- The first provision to Article 200 is thus a saving clause and retains the discretion over the fate of the Bill solely in the hands of the State Cabinet.
- Article 163 makes it clear the Governor is not expected to act independently.
- The Supreme Court in the Shamsher Singh case verdict has held that a Governor exercises all his powers and functions conferred on him by or under the Constitution on the aid and advice of his Council of Ministers save in spheres where the Governor is required by or under the Constitution to exercise his functions in his discretion.
- The assent or return of the Bill does not involve the discretion of individuals occupying the Governor’s post.
What are various Supreme Court observations
- Purushothaman Nambudiri vs State of Kerala (1962):
- The Constitution Bench clarified that no specific time limit is imposed by the Constitution for the Governor to provide assent to Bills.
- Emphasized that the Governor must align actions with the will of the Legislature and operate in harmony with their Council of Ministers.
- The Supreme Court asserted that withholding assent to a law validly passed by the Legislature constitutes a direct attack on the federal structure of the Constitution.Noting that causing delays in assenting to Bills would be an arbitrary exercise, contradicting the constitutional spirit.
- Shamsher Singh vs State of Punjab (1974):
- A 7-judge Constitution Benchoutlined that the President and Governor should exercise their formal constitutional powers based on the advice of their Ministers, with few well-known exceptions.
- Nabam Rebia case (2016):
- The SC cited B R Ambedkar’s observations, stating that the Governor has no independent functions to execute but does have specific duties to perform, urging recognition of this distinction by the House.
- Ruled that Article 163 of the Constitution does not grant the Governor general discretionary power to act against or without the advice of the Council of Ministers.
- Rajiv Gandhi assassination case (2018):
- The SC expressed dissatisfaction with the Governor’s delay in taking action on the release of seven convicted prisoners, citing a lapse of more than two years.
What are the other Constitutional Position related to Governor:
- Article 153 of the Indian Constitution mandates the appointment of a Governor in each state. The 7th Amendment to the Constitution however, allows for the appointment of the same person as Governor of two or more states.
- Article 154: The Governor shall have executive power over the state, which he shall exercise either directly or through officers subordinate to him in conformity with this Constitution.
- Article 163: There shall be a council of ministers, led by the Chief Minister, to assist and advise the Governor in the exercise of his powers, except when he is compelled to execute his functions at his discretion.
- Article 164: The council of ministers is collectively responsible to the state’s legislative assembly. This provision is the cornerstone of the state’s parliamentary system of governance.
- The Governor has the same Executive, Legislative, Financial, and Judicial authorities as the President of India. However, the Governor’s power is restricted in several ways compared to that of the President, as the Governor lacks the President’s military, diplomatic, and emergency authorities.
Context: Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud has said the doctrine constitutional morality should not be rejected
More about the news:
- Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud underscores the significance of constitutional morality, asserting that it shouldn’t be dismissed due to potential conflicts with existing social practices.
- Emphasizing the universal acceptance of certain constitutional values, he highlights the intentional incorporation of provisions from other jurisdictions into the Indian Constitution.
- Chandrachud views the Constitution as a dynamic document, evolving through over a hundred amendments to address India’s unique challenges.
- He advocates understanding it as embodying universal values while adapting to local needs.
- The Chief Justice stresses that constitutional morality aims to reform societal practices, preventing dominance based on religion, caste, or ethnicity.
- Addressing diversity in judicial appointments, he notes the changing demographics in the legal profession and underscores the need to support exceptional candidates overcoming gender, religious, and caste prejudices.
- Regarding the role of courts in social dialogue, he sees a complementary relationship with Parliament, both contributing to societal transformation within their institutional boundaries.
What is Constitutional Morality:
- Constitutional morality pertains to the principles and values that form the foundation of the constitution, directing both government and citizens in their conduct.
- It encapsulates the concept that the constitution is not solely a legal instrument but also a moral guide, mirroring the collective values and dreams of a society.
- Additionally, it emphasizes the importance of interpreting and executing the constitution in alignment with these core principles and values, rather than merely adhering to it as a technical, literal document.
- Thea term “Constitutional Morality” is not mentioned in the constitution
What are some significant Supreme Court judgments relating to Constitutional Morality:
- Constitutional morality has been referenced in multiple instances by the Supreme Court, including:
- SP Gupta Case/First Judge Case (1982): The Supreme Courtlabeled constitutional violations as a grave breach of constitutional morality.
- Naz Foundation vs. Government of NCT of Delhi (2010): The Court prioritized constitutional principles over societal perceptions concerning the legitimacy of same-sex relationships.
- Manoj Narula vs. Union of India (2014): The Chief Justice of India emphasized constitutional morality as a commitment to constitutional norms, discouraging actions contrary to the rule of law or reflective of arbitrary conduct.
- NCT of Delhi vs. Union of India (2018): The Supreme Court aligned constitutional morality with the essence of the Constitution, emphasizing strict adherence to its principles.
- Navtej Singh Johar vs. Union of India (2018): The Court distinguished between constitutional and public morality, asserting that constitutional morality prioritizes justice over societal acceptance, leading to the decriminalization of homosexuality under Section 377 of IPC.
- Joseph Shine vs. Union of India (2019): Upholding gender equality and the right to equality, the Supreme Court annulled Section 497 of IPC, criminalizing adultery, emphasizing that constitutional morality should guide laws rather than the state’s prevailing common morality.
- Indian Young Lawyers Association & Ors vs. The State of Kerala & Ors., (2019) (Sabarimala Case): The Court ruled that barring women aged 10-50 from the Sabarimala temple violated key principles of constitutional morality i.e. Justice, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. It clarified that the term “morality” in Articles 25 & 26 of the Constitution pertains to constitutional morality, not popular morality.