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Daily Answer Writing Session – 04_January 2021

Daily Answer Writing Session - 04_January 2021

SYLLABUS: GENERAL STUDIES –GS-2-   Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

QUESTION: What are the legal hurdles that exist for a State to provide reservation beyond the stipulated legal limits. Examine considering the recent case of Rajasthan. (250 words, 15 marks).

Approach: Introduce –enumerate the legal hurdles in the constitution one by one – examine them – whether reservation is possible – conclude.

The Rajasthan government’s move to give 5% quota to Gujjars and four other castes under special backward classes and 14% to economically backward classes has to cross many a legal hurdle before it can be implemented.

Legal hurdles:

  • First, the additional 19% quota proposed in government jobs and education – for which the state assembly passed two controversial bills – is prima facie unconstitutional as it takes total reservation to 68%.
  • This is much beyond the 50% ceiling fixed by the Supreme Court (SC).
  • It is for precisely this reason that the government has said it would place the two bills passed by the assembly before Parliament to put them under the protective umbrella of the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution to save them from possible judicial challenges.
  • Second, the Ninth Schedule no more offers blanket protection to laws placed under it.
  • In a historic verdict, a nine-judge constitution bench ruled that laws included in the Ninth Schedule were also open to judicial scrutiny.
  • While upholding the validity of Article 31-B of the Constitution – which empowers Parliament to place any law in the Ninth Schedule by a constitutional amendment – the SC said provisions of laws placed under the schedule would be open to judicial scrutiny on the grounds that they destroy or damage the basic structure of the Constitution.
  • It held that any law placed in the Ninth Schedule after April 24, 1973 (when the SC propounded the basic structure doctrine in the Kesavananda Bharti case) will be open to challenge.
  • After laying down the law, the SC had directed that petitions challenging various laws (including a Tamil Nadu law providing for 69% quota) protected by the Ninth Schedule be placed before a three-judge bench for adjudication. But verdicts in individual cases were still awaited.
  • Third, even if the Rajasthan quota laws are placed in the Ninth Schedule through a constitutional amendment, these will have to pass a twofold test as laid down by the SC in the 2007 verdict.
  • According to the apex court, it has to be seen whether the law in question violates any fundamental right.
  • And if yes, it will have to be examined whether the violation of that particular fundamental right amounts to a violation of the basic structure of the Constitution as well.

    Will it survive:


The Rajasthan quota laws can still survive if the result of both or any of the two tests is in the negative.

But what makes things difficult for the Rajasthan government is that the SC has expanded the ambit of the basic structure doctrine by placing Article 15 and Article 16 (quota in education and jobs, respectively) on a par with Article 14 (right to equality) and 21 (right to life and liberty), saying, “Fundamental rights are interconnected…”

Before these laws are tested in a constitutional court, they must be placed in the Ninth Schedule through a constitutional amendment.

Source:”Hindustan Times”.


SYLLABUS: GS-2- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Question: Recent findings show a rise in nuclear and arms race in the world. Discuss its impacts on India’s security and its position on nuclear disarmament.

Approach: Introduce –explain how nuclear arms race is rising around the world – what are its impacts on India and its security – discuss and provide a way forward in this regard – conclude.

  • In mid-April, a report issued by the United States State Department on “Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Non-proliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments (Compliance Report)” raised concerns that China might be conducting nuclear tests with low yields at its Lop Nur test site, in violation of its Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)
  • The U.S. report also claims that Russia has conducted nuclear weapons experiments that produced a nuclear yield and were inconsistent with ‘zero yield’ understanding underlying the CTBT.

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty:

  • Partial Test Ban Treaty was concluded in 1963 banning underwater and atmospheric tests but this only drove testing underground. By the time the CTBT negotiations began in Geneva in 1994, global politics had changed.
  • In 1991, Russia declared a unilateral moratorium on testing, followed by the S. in 1992.
  • The U.S. came up with the idea of defining the “comprehensive test ban” as a “zero yield” test ban that would prohibit supercritical hydro nuclear tests but not subcritical hydrodynamic nuclear tests.
  • The CTBT prohibits all parties from carrying out “any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion”; these terms are neither defined nor elaborated.
  • In addition, North Korea, India and Pakistan have undertaken test. The CTBT has therefore not entered into force and lacks legal authority.

Verification:

An international organisation to verify the CTBT was established in Vienna.

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) runs an elaborate verification system built around a network of seismic, radionuclide, Infra sound and hydro acoustic (underwater) monitoring stations.

Changing power structure:

  • S.’s unipolar moment is over and strategic competition among major powers is back. US (Nuclear Posture Review) recognise Russia and China as a major threat.
  • The Trump administration has embarked on a 30year modernisation plan with a price tag of $1.2 trillion, which could go up over the years.
  • Russia and China have been concerned about the U.S.’s growing technological lead.

Arms control:

  • The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) limitsS. and Russian arsenals but will expire in 2021 and U.S. President has already indicated that he does not plan to extend it.
  • Instead, the Trump administration would like to bring China into some kind of nuclear arms control talks, something China has avoided.
  • .

Current context:

  • Both China and Russia have dismissed the U.S.’s allegations, pointing to the backtracking from other negotiated agreements such as the
  • Iran nuclear deal or the S. Russia Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Tensions with China are already high with trade and technology disputes, militarisation in the South China Sea and, with the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  • The U.S. could also be preparing the ground for resuming testing at Nevada.

Impacts of all these:

  • Beginning of a new nuclear arms race
  • Threat to the CTBT treaty.

Source:” https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/at-the-edge-of-a-new-nuclear-arms-race/article31439692.ece “.