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Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2021

Dec 06, 2021

Current Affair 1:
Legislative Impact Assessment

 

Legislative Impact Assessment can take two forms- pre-legislative impact assessment and post-legislative impact assessment.

The purpose of pre-legislative impact assessment, to put it crudely, is to analyse whether the law and the approach adopted by it would be the best way possible out of the available alternatives.

Since every law is enacted with a stated objective, a pre-legislative scrutiny would assess how the law would achieve the said objective in light of its intended impacts and the legislative/policy alternatives available. Researchers have long suggested that good legislative practices ought to include an estimation of all such possible consequences that can be anticipated before enacting a law; and also, an assessment as to whether the proposed law is the best way to address the problem at hand.

The other aspect of the issue is post-legislative impact assessment where the indirect and unintended consequences of the law, ambiguities in the text are analysed and amendments accordingly made.

Currently in India, there is neither a mandatory nor a systematic process to conduct a full assessment of laws. Impact assessments of laws have arisen either out of a court-mandated process or by independent researchers and think tanks.

Absence of this mechanism leads to situations where interventions are required at a later stage- by way of provisions being challenged in a court of law, or courts reading down a statute or it being subject to numerous amendments to make it practical or workable. This duty to make laws workable and to iron out issues falls invariably on the Judiciary- that does disservice to the idea of separation of powers.

For example:

Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act that deals with 'cheque-bounce cases.' Section 138 of the NI Act not only imposes monetary penalties for the dishonour of cheques but also ensues penal consequences. The criminalisation of cheque-bounce cases has put an additional burden on the judiciary with cheque bounce matters occupying almost 15% of the total criminal case pendency.

The Supreme Court suggested adoption of mediation and conciliatory mechanisms for resolving cheque bounces issues and asked the Union to consider setting up special courts to hear cheque bounce cases. The issue which has imposed additional burden on the criminal justice delivery system and the consumed judicial time could've been entirely avoidable if a pre-legislative impact assessment had been conducted to assess whether criminalisation of cheque-bounce cases, when most jurisdictions have imposed only civil liabilities, was required at all.

Current Affair 2:
Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958

 

The death of at least 14 civilians in Nagaland on Saturday evening as a result of the action of the Armed Forces has brought back into focus the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.

The Act which came into force in the context of insurgency in the North-eastern States decades ago provides "special power" to the Armed Forces applies to the Army, the Air Force and the Central Paramilitary forces, etc.

About Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958

Armed Forces Special Powers Act, to put it simply, gives armed forces the power to maintain public order in "disturbed areas."

AFSPA gives armed forces the authority uses force or even open fire after giving due warning if they feel a person is in contravention of the law. The Act further provides that if "reasonable suspicion exists", the armed forces can also arrest a person without warrant; enter or search premises without a warrant; and ban the possession of firearms.

The 'special powers' which are spelt out under Section 4 provide that:

(a) Power to use force, including opening fire, even to the extent of causing death if prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more persons or carrying arms and weapons etc are in force in the disturbed area;

(b) Power to destroy structures used as hide-outs, training camps or as a place from which attacks are or likely to be launched etc;

(c) Power to arrest without warrant and to use force for the purpose;

(d) Power to enter and search premises without warrant to make arrest or recovery of hostages, arms and ammunition and stolen property etc.

However, it is crucial to note that AFSPA is a special law that is in force only in certain parts of the country- what the Act refers to as "disturbed areas." A disturbed area is one which is declared by notification under Section 3 of the AFSPA.

As per Section 3, it can be invoked in places where "the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary". The Central Government, or the Governor of the State or administrator of the Union Territory can declare the whole or part of the State or Union Territory as a disturbed area. A suitable notification would have to be made in the Official Gazette.

AFSPA is currently in force in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, 3 districts of Arunachal Pradesh and areas falling within the jurisdiction of 8 police stations in Arunachal Pradesh bordering Assam. In Jammu and Kashmir, a separate law Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 has been in force.

Current Affair 3:
Green-Ag Project

 

The government has launched a Global Environment Facility (GEF) assisted project namely, “Green – Ag: Transforming Indian Agriculture for global environment benefits and the conservation of critical biodiversity and forest landscapes” in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in high-conservation-value landscapes of five States namely

  1. Madhya Pradesh : Chambal Landscape, (ii) Mizoram: Dampa Landscape, (iii) Odisha: Simlipal Landscape, (iv) Rajasthan: Desert National Park Landscape and v) Uttarakhand: Corbett-Rajaji Landscape.

The project seeks to mainstream biodiversity, climate change and sustainable land management objectives and practices into Indian agriculture.

The overall objective of the project is to catalyse transformative change of India’s agricultural sector to support achievement of national and global environmental benefits and conservation of critical biodiversity and forest landscapes.

The project will support harmonization between India's agricultural and environmental sector priorities and investments so that the achievement of national and global environmental benefits can be fully realized without compromising India's ability to strengthen rural livelihoods and meet its food and nutrition security.

 

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