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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS FROM HINDU 12th DECEMBER 2017 . https://unacademy.com/user/abhishek6 077 . Editorial analysis . Crash course on Polity . Crash Course on Modern History . Crash Course on Ancient History Crash Course on Medieval History . Ncert Class VI History Summary . Delhi Sultanate . Essay writing Abhishek Srivastava
Information at the court's discretion Six-year-long farce concluded at the Delhi High Court on November 21, 2017, and the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 is the worse for it. At issue was the right of citizens to get information from the Supreme Court, and by implication, India's higher judiciary, which has strongly resisted the RTI . The apex court summarily rejects RTI requests, and insists that applicants exclusively request information under its administrative rules (Supreme Court Rules) framed in 1966, and re-issued with minor changes in 2014. To see why the High Court's judgment strengthens a culture of opacity in the higher judiciary, we need to delve into the Supreme Court's engagement, or rather persistent non-engagement with the RTI
The background In April 2010, a former school teacher, R.S. Misra, filed an RTI request with the Supreme Court Registry He had earlier sent two letters to different Justices, essentially demanding redress in a case before the apex court that he had already lost. In an evident attempt at using RTI to fight a judicial battle already lost, he sought "action taken" reports on his letters. The Registry could have lawfully disposed of this RTI request by simply stating that no such information was available. Instead, the Registry rejected the application, and asked Mr. Misra to apply under the Supreme Court Rules. . .Mr. Misra challenged this response before the then Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi. In May 2011, appearing before the Commission, the Additional Registrar of the Court, Smita Sharma objected only to the use of the RTI, and not to Mr. Misra's request per se.
She maintained that the Supreme Court Rules alone governed access to the information he had sought. claiming that the Rules were consistent with the RTI, she asked Mr. Gandhi to reinstate the primacy of Supreme Court Rules over the RTI, in line with previous Central Information Commission (CIC) rulings. However, as Mr. Gandhi noted in his decision, the Supreme Court Rules undermined the RTI in four key ways. Unlike the RTI Act, the Rules do not provide for: a time frame for furnishing information; .an appeal mechanism, and penalties for delays or wrongful refusal of information. Finally, the Rules also make disclosures to citizens contingent upon "good cause shown". In sum, the Rules allowed the Registry to provide information at its unquestionable discretion, violating the text and spirit of the RTI. - - Consequently, Mr. Gandhi held that the Supreme Court Rules are inconsistent with the RTI Act, and that the Registry must respond to applications within the RTI framework alone.
A ruse This was a landmark ruling. As many applicants, which includes this writer, have found, the apex court's insistence on its own Rules for providing information is a ruse. .Between 2014 and 2016, I attempted to access documents related to a disposed public interest litigation, filing requests under the Supreme Court Rules and the RTI Act. I Registrar's office told me quite transparently over the phone that it would simply not release the information. .Returning to Mr. Misra's case, faced with an adverse order from Mr. Gandhi, the Registry filed a writ petition before the Delhi High Court in 2011, prolonging the matter In essence, the Registry turned Mr. Misra's request into an RTI v. Rules contest, as it has done for others too. .
Justice S. Muralidhar of the High Court stayed Mr. Gandhi's decision immediately without addressing Section 23 of the RTI Act, which forbids courts from entertaining "any suit, application or other proceeding in respect of any order made under this Act" .The High Court did not justify how its writ jurisdiction applies to an appeal against a CIC order. Another ruling Six years on, this November, Justice Manmohan overturned Mr. Gandhi's order. His judgment relies on four planks: 1. Mr. Misra's application went beyond the RTI; 2. Supreme Court Rules are consistent with the RTI Act; 3. the RTI Act cannot apply to the Supreme Court's judicial functioning; and 4. Mr. Gandhi should not have deviated from previous CIC rulings. The first point is irrelevant, as the Registry could have disposed of the application under the RTI Act in 2010 itself. The issue before the High Court was the Registry's refusal to abide by the RTI Act. The second and third points are in contradiction. If the RTI Act and Supreme Court Rules are mutually consistent, then why should the Registry privilege the latter?
Moreover, Justice Manmohan did not examine the obvious contradictions between the two. And if the RTI does not apply to judicial functioning, then it is inconsistent with the Supreme Court Rules, and must be declared ultra vires or an overreach The final point is even more untenable. The CIC is not a court of record and Commissioners are not beholden to prior decisions. The nub of the matter is that the Supreme Court Registry wants to provide information at its absolute discretion Its brazen disregard for the RTI has now got a stamp of approval from a court of record. The RTI has suffered another blow, not from the berated political class or the much maligned babus, but from the "gems of institutions" enjoined to protect the law.
Perils of going cashless The "bail-in" clause of the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill (FRDI) has led to worries about the safety of bank deposits. Apparently, the Bill enables the government to confiscate the deposits of ordinary citizens in order to save troubled public sector banks. Yet, amidst all the economic punditry over the safety of bank deposits under the FRDI, a larger threat to the deposits of ordinary citizens has slipped under the radar. It is the push by governments towards a cashless society. To understand why, it needs to be reiterated that by far the biggest challenge for a government launching a "bail-in" attack on deposits is that depositors can promptly withdraw their money from the bank by demanding cash. Such an event can lead to severe bank runs and destabilise the banking system because bank deposits are only fractionally backed by actual cash. In fact, under the pure gold standard, it was the threat of bank runs that forced commercial banks to keep their customers' deposits fully backed at any time with sufficient gold in their vault.
Such rapid withdrawal of cash deposits, however, may slowly cease to be an option for depositors as the world increasingly turns away from cash and towards digital money When all, or even a predominant share, of money in the world is digital, there is no question of banks having to meet depositors' demand for cash. .So a cashless world will, once and for all, free banks from the obligation to meet cash demands from depositors, thus protecting them from any liquidity crisis. More importantly, it would also strip depositors of the power to withdraw their deposits in the form of cash to escape any tax or other forms of confiscation by the government. Apart from the above reason, there are also other reasons why governments prefer moving towards a cashless society. For one, as pointed out by Charles Calomiris and Stephen Haber in Fragile by Design, banks have been a major source of funding for governments and their economies across the world.
Most of such lending happens through loans which are not backed by savings but instead through fresh money creation, which in turn leads to economic crises and bank runs led by depositors. A cashless world, on the other hand, makes it easier for banks to carry out their business of credit creation without the risk of having to satisfy the demand for cash from depositors. Consequently, it prevents recurrent crises of liquidity that are faced by banks. . Two, policies like negative interest rates, which would otherwise push depositors to rush out of banks to escape the tax imposed on their deposits, become more feasible under a cashless banking system in which depositors are essentially locked in by banks. Depositors in such cases will have no other option but to spend their money to escape a penalty on it. So, when it comes to the war on cash, there is a lot more to it than what just meets the eye.
Four days after the killing of Afrazul Khan on December 6, India celebrated Human Rights Day December 10 is the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly. As an early supporter of the UN movement and a constant participant in its deliberations, India has, in international fora, constantly endorsed the charter of rights that the declaration unfurled. Two noteworthy things. On December 10, at an official ceremony at Delhi's Vigyan Bhavan Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu said two noteworthy things. 1. He first affirmed India's commitment to human rights emphasizing the duty of governments to ensure them to individuals. 2. Second, he observed that human rights existed in India not due to some constitutional morality but because of the DNA of Indian civilisation. To clarify what he meant he chanted from the Upanishad "Sarve Janaha Sukhino Bhavantu" loosely translated as "May all be happy
Not very long ago, colonialism had been justified on civilisational terms, with the very term "civilised" being used to differentiate the West from the indigenous populations of the lands colonised by Europe. . It is perhaps this that led Gandhi to respond to the query of what he thought of Western civilisation by saying, " I think it would be a good idea." Gandhi is unlikely to have been any softer on champions of the superiority of eastern civilisations. Civilisational hubris abounds in claims of "the inclusivity of Hinduism" or "the egalitarianism of Islam" Whatever be the exhortations in the texts that underlie these religions, the history of caste and gender inequality in India and Islamic societies, respectively, show them to have been neither inclusive nor egalitarian. It is clear that civilisational values, in our case Indian, are far from sufficient to deliver us the rights that we seek to make our own.Though the UN's declaration of human rights is expansive, in his speech the Vice-President took it further to include social and economic rights . .
In a recent paper Canada -based economist Mukesh Eswaran demonstrated that it is possible to understand "9/11" and homegrown terrorism in western Europe as a response to the historical wrongs incited on Muslim societies by Western powers, notably the invasion of Iraq This is a useful corrective to the collective gasp of incredulity let out by Western elites when addressing the violence unleashed against them by Islamic groups. Transferring Eswaran's reasoning to the Indian context, one might argue that India should contain violence against its Muslims to ensure the safety of Hindus. But such crass instrumentalism would be unworthy of a great civilisation We want to ensure the flourishing of all the peoples of India not out of self-preservation but because we want to be civilised. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, anyone? .
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