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Spice of the Month

Polity

Constitutional Values• Students from VI to XII from all government and private schools in Delhi will engage in constitutional learnings in their weekly classes. They will also dedicate half a day every month to practically apply their learnings, like engage in parliamentary debates and panel discussions.
Article 19: Freedom of Speech & Expression• In a private member Bill, Shashi Tharoor has suggested amendments to various statutes to make it difficult for governments to ban books and to provide safeguards for authors and scholars from arbitrary and exhausting legal battles.
• Freedom of Literature Bill, 2018, puts on the government the onus of explaining why a book needs to be banned and removes the government’s right to ban books indefinitely.
Patriarchy vs. Right to Livelihood • In the case pertaining to dancing bars in Maharashtra, Supreme Court ruled that the State had no right to thrust its notion of morality on society. The women ridiculed the State’s “patriarchal notion of morality” to bring a draconian law in 2016 which stripped them of their livelihood and dignity.
Reservation• Parliament has passed 124th Constitution Amendment Bill to provide 10% reservation to the economically backward sections in the general category.
• It will cover Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist and other minority communities. Quota will be over and above the existing 50% reservation to SC, ST and OBC. It would be applicable to jobs in both Central and State governments. States have power to determine the economic criteria to identify beneficiaries
• Indra Sawhney Case had placed certain curbs on the power of governments to reserve college seats and jobs. First, reservations cannot exceed the limit of 50% of seats and jobs. But 50% limit has been breached by the state of Tamil Nadu as well and the Supreme Court is yet to decide the validity of the state’s law. Second, reservations cannot be based on economic criteria alone.
• Reservations are not charity but a means to ensuring parity for those who had been denied opportunity. - Justice O Chinnappa Reddy
Empowering 6th Schedule Areas• Cabinet has approved CA bill to increase the financial and executive powers of the 10 autonomous councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of the northeast.
• Till now, these have depended on grants from Central Ministries and the State governments for specific projects. Now, FC would be mandated to recommend devolution of financial resources to the councils.
• At least 1/3rd of the seats would be reserved for women in the village and municipal councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura.
Unitary vs. Federal• Supreme Court has reiterated its order to India’s states to select their police chiefs from a shortlist prepared by the UPSC. Articles 315 and 320 empower state governments to employ their own administrators. The ruling poses troubling questions for the federal structure and judiciary’s powers to frame political policy.
• Members of the UPSC are appointed by the Centre. In effect, thus, the ruling gives the Centre a role in appointing a state’s police chief.
Data ownership• Citing Mahatma Gandhi’s movement against political colonisation, Mr. Mukesh Ambani said India now needed a new movement against data colonisation, especially against global corporations colonising data of Indians. Indian data must be owned by Indians.
Reservation in Judiciary• Law Ministry said there was no proposal to introduce reservation for women in the appointment of judges in the higher judiciary. Only six women judges have been appointed in SC till date.