Important Current Affairs for CLAT-8th November 2022

Supreme Court Upholds Constitutional Validity of EWS Quota In 3:2 Verdict

The Supreme Court (SC) upheld the 10 per cent reservation for the economically weaker section (EWS) among forward castes in government jobs and colleges across India. A Bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) U U Lalit and Justices Dinesh Maheshwari, S Ravindra Bhat, Bela M Trivedi, and J B Pardiwala delivered the judgment.

About The Verdict:

Of the five judgments delivered, Justice Ravindra Bhat and CJI Lalit gave dissenting judgment.

Reading out the verdict, Justice Maheshwari said that the 103rd constitutional amendment for the EWS quota was valid and did not violate the basic structure of the Constitution. Reservation, he said, is an instrument of affirmative action to ensure an all-inclusive march towards the goals of an egalitarian society.

The Majority View:

Justice Dinesh Maheshwari said the 103rd constitutional amendment cannot be said to breach the basic structure of the Constitution.

“EWS quota does not violate equality and basic structure of the constitution. Reservation in addition to existing reservation does not violate provisions of the Constitution,” he said. Justice Maheshwari went on to say that reservation is an instrument of affirmative action by the state for the inclusion of backward classes.

“Basic structure can’t be breached by enabling state to make provisions for education,” he added. He noted that reservation is instrumental not just for inclusion of socially and economically backward classes into the society but also to class so disadvantaged.

The Minority View:

In his minority view, Justice Ravindra Bhat said that what is described as benefits by the Union cannot be understood to be a free pass, but as reparative mechanism to have a level playing field. Their exclusion discriminates equality code and violates basic structure, he said.

“Reservation is contrary to the essence of equal opportunity. The 103rd amendment practices prohibited forms of discrimination,” he said. He also noted that the bulk of economically weaker sections belong to SCs and OBCs.

CJI UU Lalit concurred with Justice Bhat.

About The Reservation: Present View:

While upholding the validity of EWS quota, Justice Pardiwala said reservation is not an end but a means to secure social justice. He stated that it is necessary to review the method of identification of backward classes for reservation. “The idea of Dr Ambedkar was to bring reservation for 10 years but it has continued. Reservation shouldn’t be allowed to become vested interest,” he said.

Reservation has been provided to historically disadvantaged cannot be basis to contain other disadvantaged groups unable to progress and say that provision can’t be made for EWS through amendment. Reservation through economic criteria per se not violative, he held.

Reservation: The Whole Story:

In simple terms, reservation in India is all about reserving access to seats in the government jobs, educational institutions, and even legislatures to certain sections of the population.

Also known as affirmative action, the reservation can also be seen as positive discrimination. Reservation in India is a government policy, backed by the Indian Constitution (by means of various amendments).

Before 2019, the reservation was provided mainly on the basis of social and educational backwardness (caste). However, after the 103rd constitutional amendment in 2019, economic backwardness is also considered. Apart from the reservation quota, additional relaxations like upper-age relaxations, additional attempts, and lower cut-off marks are also provided for various reservation categories.

To an extent, reservation as a policy is pursued by the State to correct the historical injustice done to certain castes by the so-called “upper castes”. The caste system prevailed in India had alienated many “lower castes” from the mainstream – hindering their development. To a great extent, the repercussions are still felt. Original Consitution of India has provided reservation only for quota in legislatures – that too only for 10 years until 1960 (article 334). Subsequent amendments to the constitution extended the period of reservation for quota in legislatures.

The Basic Structure: Reference Made In Verdict:

Justice Bhat observed that reservations were conceived and quotas created to offset deep-rooted wrongs on communities and castes. “Reservations designed as powerful tool to enable equal access. Introduction of economic criteria and excluding other backward classes ,SC, ST, OBC, saying they had these pre-existing benefits is injustice,” he stated. He argued that the exclusionary clause operates in utterly arbitrary manner, as well as against socially disaffected castes by confining them within their quotas.

It denies chance of mobility from reserved quota based on past discrimination to reservations under economic criteria. Impugned amendment and classification it creates is arbitrary, results in discrimination,” he said.

For these reasons, Justice Bhat struck down article 15(6) and 16(6) and held them to be violative of equality code, particularly for violating principles of non-discrimination and non-inclusion which form part of basic structure.

What Is Basic Structure Doctrine:

  • The Constitutional Bench in Kesavananda Bharati case ruled by a 7-6 verdict that Parliament could amend any part of the Constitution so long as it did not alter or amend the basic structure or essential features of the Constitution.

  • However, the court did not define the term ‘basic structure’, and only listed a few principles — federalism, secularism, democracy — as being its part.

  • The ‘basic structure’ doctrine has since been interpreted to include

  • the supremacy of the Constitution,

  • the rule of law,

  • Independence of the judiciary,

  • doctrine of separation of powers,

  • sovereign democratic republic,

  • the parliamentary system of government,

  • the principle of free and fair elections,

  • welfare state, etc.

Infant Protection Day 2022: History and Significance

Every year, November 7 is celebrated as Infant Protection Day. This day is celebrated with the sole purpose of raising awareness about the safety of newborn lives and giving them proper care. The day has been set to discuss how to best safeguard and nurture young children at one of their most important and vulnerable developmental stages.

Infant Protection Day 2022: Significance

The main reason behind the commemoration of Infant’s Protection Day is to take steps to protect the lives of infants. On this day, the government hopes to raise awareness about the protection and nurturing that infants require. This day also seeks to provide every child with the strong health and immunity they deserve.

While highlighting the need of improving immunological support, this day also emphasises the measures that the government should take into account in order to promote effective healthcare systems.

Infant Protection Day 2022: Infant Mortality Rate In India

According to the data from the Sample Registration System (SRS) Bulletin of Registrar General of India (RGI), the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) has reduced from 37 per 1000 live births in 2015 to 30 per 1,000 live births in 2019 at National Level.

The data published on September 22, 2022, shows that the nation’s child mortality rate has decreased compared to the previous years. The government has repeatedly taken a number of significant actions to reduce infant mortality. To prevent the infant mortality rate from rising in the future, the government should put in place an effective healthcare system.

Infant Protection Day 2022: A Brief History

In 1990, nearly 5 million infants died due to a lack of awareness of the protection of Infants. This prompted many countries to take the necessary steps for better child health care and to reduce Infant Mortality Rate (IMR). Europe was the first to start a campaign in this regard, and therefore, established Infant Protection Day to raise awareness among the people about Child Care Services and to reduce Infant Mortality Rate. As a result of this, the Infant Mortality Rate has decreased from 100 to 10 deaths per 1000 births. Later, America joined in this as well.

‘Aadhaar Mitra,’ a new chatbot launched by UIDAI

Aadhaar Mitra: The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) presented the brand-new AI/ML chatbot Aadhaar Mitra in order to facilitate citizens’ usage of the services. Both Hindi and English are available for the chatbot. For the purpose of teaching viewers, it also offers the option of viewing related videos on specific themes.

Aadhaar Mitra: Key Points

  • Features of the new chatbot, Aadhaar Mitra include the capacity to monitor the status of Aadhaar PVC cards and confirm Aadhaar enrollment/update status.

  • The bot can be used by locals to file complaints and follow up on them.

  • The organisation is committed to strengthening its grievance redressal mechanism while also providing ease of life. A cutting-edge and futuristic open-source CRM solution is being gradually rolled out by UIDAI.

  • To improve residents’ access to UIDAI services, a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system has been created with cutting-edge capabilities.

  • In order to effectively file, follow up on, and resolve complaints, the new CRM solution may handle a variety of channels, including phone call, email, chatbot, web portal, social media, letter, and walk-in.

  • Using this coordinated, resident-focused approach, UIDAI is able to resolve 92% of CRM complaints within a week.

Aadhaar Mitra: About UIDAI Chatbot

  • The UIDAI Chatbot is a chat tool that offers prompt, automatic responses about Aadhaar and related features.

  • It can be accessed from the UIDAI website’s home page and the resident portal.

  • Users can start a conversation with the chatbot by clicking on the blue “Ask Aadhaar” icon.

Aadhaar Mitra: Benefits for the Customers

  • The Aadhaar Chatbot is knowledgeable on all Aadhaar-related subjects, features, and services.

  • The resident only needs to type their question into the chatbot to receive the appropriate responses right away.

Law Commission Constituted After 4 Years; Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi Appointed As Chairperson

The central government appointed chairperson and members of the Law Commission over two and a half years after it was constituted. Retired Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Rituraj Awasthi appointed as the chairperson of the commission.

22nd Law Commission:

The Law Commission is constituted for three years and the 22nd Law Commission was notified on February 24, 2020. The law panel has been lying vacant since the retirement of former Supreme Court judge Justice BS Chauhan in 2018.

An Important Issue To Take On:

The government has said the issue related to the Uniform Civil Code might be taken up by the 22nd law panel.

Other Members:

Former Kerala High Court judge Justice KT Sankaran, Professor Anand Paliwal, Professor DP Verma, Professor Raka Arya and M Karunanithi have been appointed as members of the commission.

About The Chair-person:

Justice Rituraj Awasthi was a judge of the Allahabad High Court and retired in July this year as the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court. He had headed the HC bench which upheld the ban on wearing hijab by Muslim girls in government colleges in Karnataka.

Rituraj Awasthi graduated in law from Lucknow University in 1986. He practised in civil, service and educational matters at the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court and has also worked as the Assistant Solicitor General of India.

What Is Law Commission Of India:

  • Law Commission of India is neither a constitutional body nor a statutory body, it is an executive body established by an order of the Government of India. Its major function is to work for legal reforms.