The HINDU Notes – 31st May 2019 - VISION

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Friday, May 31, 2019

The HINDU Notes – 31st May 2019






πŸ“° Give fair hearing to those not included in NRC, SC tells Assam

Do not cut short the process, CJI tells Hajela

•The Supreme Court on Thursday urged the Assam State National Register of Citizens (NRC) Coordinator to ensure that those who have appealed against non-inclusion of their names in the NRC must get a fair hearing, and due process should be followed.

•Indirectly referring to reports of a Kargil war veteran being declared a foreigner, the Vacation Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Aniruddha Bose said reports were “disturbing and the media is not always incorrect.”

•“Do not cut short the process just because you have to meet the deadline of July 31,” Justice Gogoi told NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela. But the court reiterated its consistent stand that the publication of the final list should not go beyond July 31. There would be no extension of the deadline, the CJI said.

•“There is a deadline. But do not cut short and just complete the process only to complete it. Merely disposing of 70% claims till today is not good unless the disposal is properly done,” he observed.

•On May 8, the court had asked the NRC Coordinator Court to act with “wise discretion” while dealing with people who have failed to appear for scheduled hearings on their objections filed against exclusion from the draft NRC. “Objections’ hearings have started. ‘Objectors’ are not appearing in most cases,” Mr. Hajela had reported to a Special Bench of Chief Justice Gogoi and Justice Nariman on May 8.

•“If they are not appearing, the law will take its own course,” the CJI had replied.

•The CJI had stressed that decisions taken by the NRC officials should be free and fair, keeping the law in mind.

•“But whatever you do, do it by July 31. A day earlier than July 31, but not a day later,” Justice Gogoi had addressed Mr. Hajela before listing the case for July 3, after the summer vacation.

•The court had further urged the NRC authorities to make the hearing processes as hassle-free as possible for the people of the State.

•Over 35 lakh people excluded from the draft NRC have filed claims for Indian citizenship. The court had also asked the NRC authorities to ensure “optimum convenience” for those seeking justice in the NRC proceedings.

πŸ“° J&J offers Rs. 25 lakh to all patients for faulty implant

67 people will benefit, Delhi HC told

•U.S. multinational Johnson & Johnson (J&J) on Thursday informed the Delhi High Court that it was ready to voluntarily pay Rs. 25 lakh each to 67 patients who have undergone revision surgeries on receiving faulty hip implants made by the company.

•J&J is embroiled in a legal battle with the government over the issue of compensation to those patients who had received faulty Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) hip implants, which forced them to undergo revision surgeries.

•Around 93,000 people worldwide were implanted with ASR, of which around 4,700 patients are from India.

•The implants were recalled by the company in August 2010 after the number of serious adverse reactions grew in India and across the world.

•The 67 patients would be receiving the cheque within two weeks.

•They were short-listed out of a total of 289 claimants before the central drug regulator after they were verified by the company.

•J&J additionally told the High Court that it was willing to pay similar amount to other verified patients. It, however, clarified that this voluntary payment should not be construed as an admission of liability or precedent.

•Justice Vibhu Bakhru noted the company’s contention but clarified that the court had not gone into the merits of controversy involved. The judge also said that the payment of Rs. 25 lakh will not prejudice the rights of patients to seek additional claims.

•The High Court was hearing J&J’s plea challenging a press release issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare asking it to pay compensation to the affected patients. J&J has challenged the compensation formula worked out by the government-appointed expert committee.

•Following Thursday’s development, Ms. Malini Aisola from the All India Drugs Action Network, said: “J&J has agreed to a payment of 25 lakh to a small number of patients who have undergone revision surgery. This is not an adjudicated amount and far from a just and fair compensation for patients. It is a voluntary payment without prejudice to patients’ rights. All options remain open to patients.”

•She said the government had shared the names of 93 patients with revision surgery, but J&J shortened this list to 67 patients.

•One of the patients, Vijay Vojhala said, “We are not aware of the basis or criteria that the Company has used. This number is surprising because J&J has access to information about hundreds of patients who have undergone revision surgery, through its reimbursement program.”

πŸ“° SC stays Maharashtra’s EWS quota

Admissions for PG medical courses began before notification of amendment, says Bench

•The Supreme Court on Thursday passed an interim direction that the 10% reservation for the economically weaker sections introduced by Maharashtra for postgraduate medical courses in the State through notifications dated February 12 and March 7, will not apply for this academic year, since the admission process had already started in November 2018.

•A Vacation Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, said, “We are of the view, at this stage, that though the State may act under the enabling provision contained in Article 16(6) of the Constitution, as introduced by the 103rd Constitutional amendment, unless additional seats are sanctioned by the Medical Council of India, the existing seats cannot be subjected to the provisions of the aforesaid Constitutional amendment by issuing appropriate notifications, as has been done in this case.”

Options for MCI

•The court said it is open for the Medical Council of India “to sanction additional seats, if deemed fit”.

•The two had extended the benefit of reservation to the extent of 10% to economically weaker sections in postgraduate medical courses.

•By the 103rd Constitutional amendment, Article 16 (6) was inserted, allowing States to make “any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any economically weaker sections of citizens other than the classes mentioned in clause (4), in addition to the existing reservation and subject to a maximum of ten per cent of the posts in each category.”

•The court’s interim direction came on a plea filed by a student Rajat Rajendra Agrawal from general category on whether the Constitutional amendment would apply to the ongoing admission process, which had commenced in November 2018, that is, well before the coming into force of the Constitutional amendment (January, 2019) and the notifications of February and March, 2019.

•“Not only we are reminded of the time-tested principle of law that the modalities of selection cannot be changed after initiation of the process, in a similar matter involving reservation of 16% seats for socially and educationally backward classes, including the Maratha community, in the educational institutions in the State of Maharashtra in terms of provisions of the Maharashtra State Reservation (of Seats for Admission in Educational Institutions in the State and for Appointments in the Public Services and Posts under the State) for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018, the Bombay High Court had taken the view that the said Act, having come into force with effect from 30.11.2018, could not be made applicable to the very same admission process as the same had been initiated earlier i.e. on 2.11.2018,” the court observed.

πŸ“° U.K. court remands Nirav till June 27

Admissions for PG medical courses began before notification of amendment, says Bench

•The Supreme Court on Thursday passed an interim direction that the 10% reservation for the economically weaker sections introduced by Maharashtra for postgraduate medical courses in the State through notifications dated February 12 and March 7, will not apply for this academic year, since the admission process had already started in November 2018.

•A Vacation Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, said, “We are of the view, at this stage, that though the State may act under the enabling provision contained in Article 16(6) of the Constitution, as introduced by the 103rd Constitutional amendment, unless additional seats are sanctioned by the Medical Council of India, the existing seats cannot be subjected to the provisions of the aforesaid Constitutional amendment by issuing appropriate notifications, as has been done in this case.”




Options for MCI

•The court said it is open for the Medical Council of India “to sanction additional seats, if deemed fit”.

•The two had extended the benefit of reservation to the extent of 10% to economically weaker sections in postgraduate medical courses.

•By the 103rd Constitutional amendment, Article 16 (6) was inserted, allowing States to make “any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any economically weaker sections of citizens other than the classes mentioned in clause (4), in addition to the existing reservation and subject to a maximum of ten per cent of the posts in each category.”

•The court’s interim direction came on a plea filed by a student Rajat Rajendra Agrawal from general category on whether the Constitutional amendment would apply to the ongoing admission process, which had commenced in November 2018, that is, well before the coming into force of the Constitutional amendment (January, 2019) and the notifications of February and March, 2019.

•“Not only we are reminded of the time-tested principle of law that the modalities of selection cannot be changed after initiation of the process, in a similar matter involving reservation of 16% seats for socially and educationally backward classes, including the Maratha community, in the educational institutions in the State of Maharashtra in terms of provisions of the Maharashtra State Reservation (of Seats for Admission in Educational Institutions in the State and for Appointments in the Public Services and Posts under the State) for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018, the Bombay High Court had taken the view that the said Act, having come into force with effect from 30.11.2018, could not be made applicable to the very same admission process as the same had been initiated earlier i.e. on 2.11.2018,” the court observed.

πŸ“° 37 EC recommendations pending since 2014

9 groups had advised crucial changes, including permanent disqualification of corrupt candidates

•Among the 37 recommendations of the Election Commission’s working groups, pending since 2014, are the disqualification of candidates at the stage of framing of charges that attract a minimum of five years’ imprisonment; increased punishment for false affidavits; and permanent disqualification of those guilty of corruption and heinous crimes.

•The nine working groups set up by the EC to suggest improvements in specific areas, based on their experience during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, had submitted a total of 337 recommendations, of which 300 have been disposed of so far.

•Among the suggestions was drafting of legal provisions to disqualify candidates for offences with a minimum of five years’ punishment on framing of charges, rather than on conviction.

False affidavits

•A working group had also suggested that the punishment for filing false affidavits be increased from six months to more than two years and that candidates found guilty of corruption, disloyalty and heinous crimes be permanently disqualified.

•Currently, under Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act (RPA), any person convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for the listed offences is disqualified from the date of conviction and remains disqualified for a further period of six years after his release.

•One of the pending recommendations is that a candidate contesting a different election should resign from the current seat.

Changes to model code

•With respect to the model code of conduct (MCC), which has been evolved through consensus among political parties, a working group had suggested amendments empowering the Commission to issue notice to a party for necessary corrections in its manifesto. It was also for the setting up of courts to adjudicate electoral offences and disallowing the use of government designations for the purposes of political publicity.

•Another pending recommendation pertains to the introduction of indelible marker ink pens, instead of ink vials, as a pilot project. The quality check of the ink should be done by multiple independent laboratories, it was suggested.

•In order to constrict the duration of the election process, a working group had said that under the community legal demographic profiling and election time zones system, factors such as weather, examination schedules and festivals should be mapped in each State for scheduling of polls.

Guidelines for parties

•Another group had submitted that the number of members required for the registration of a party should be increased from 100 to 1,000. Parties that do not field any candidate in elections should be de-registered. Also, legal provisions should be drawn to regulate funding. A major recommendation is for drafting a comprehensive Bill that deals with registration, recognition and funding of political parties.

•Standardisation of elector photo identity card numbers, as they are 10 digits in some States and 16 in others, is also one of the issues, apart from the setting up of fast-track courts for speedy resolution of expenditure-related matters.

πŸ“° Assange’s U.S. extradition hearing moved to June on health grounds

His condition deteriorated during time in prison: WikiLeaks

•Britain’s review of a U.S. request to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on espionage charges has been moved to June, with his lawyer telling court on Thursday the whistleblower is in poor health.

•The United States has slapped 18 charges against Mr. Assange, 47, who had been hiding in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy for seven years until his arrest on April 12.

•Sweden has since reopened a 2010 rape investigation against Mr. Assange and could file its own extradition request.

•The Westminster Magistrates Court in London held a brief hearing on Thursday at which it moved the U.S. case to June 12. Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot referred to Mr. Assange as “not very well”, with the next hearing possibly taking place at the Belmarsh prison where he is serving a separate 50-week sentence for skipping bail.

•“It may be more convenient for everyone if it’s there,” Ms. Arbuthnot said.

•WikiLeaks expressed “grave concerns” on Wednesday over Mr. Assange’s condition.

Moved to health ward

•The website said Mr. Assange has been moved to the prison’s health ward. “During the seven weeks in Belmarsh his health has continued to deteriorate and he has dramatically lost weight,” WikiLeaks said in a statement. “The decision of prison authorities to move him to the health ward speaks for itself.”

•Sixteen of the 17 U.S. charges under the Espionage Act are related to obtaining and disseminating classified information. A separate count covers his alleged hacking activities.

πŸ“° Hydrogen-powered flying machine readies for take off

Five-seater Skai has a range of 644 km and can carry 454 kg

•A transportation company is betting its sleek new hydrogen-powered electric flying vehicles will someday serve as taxis, cargo carriers and ambulances of the sky, but experts say they will have to clear a number of regulatory hurdles before being approved for take off years in the future.

•With six rotors on the roof and seats inside for five people, a passenger model of the Skai (pronounced “sky”) unveiled on Wednesday near Los Angeles resembles an oversized drone crossed with a luxury SUV.

Vertical landing

•Like a drone, the vehicle from Alaka’i Technologies takes off and lands vertically.

•It’s one of many similar electric flying crafts in production, including prototypes from Boeing and Airbus that made successful test flights this year, according to Vertical Flight Society, an industry group.

•Most are powered by batteries, which can add a lot of weight. The Skai instead uses very light hydrogen fuel cells to run its rotors, giving it a range of 644 km and the capacity to carry 454 kilograms in people or freight, the company says.

•“We just couldn’t get to the point where we could have enough batteries to get to the payload that we knew we needed,” CEO Stephan Hanvey said of the choice to switch to hydrogen power.

•It would be flown by an on-board pilot using a pair of joysticks, but the technology exists to eventually fly it remotely and even autonomously, Mr. Hanvey said.

πŸ“° Pasta-like rocks best bet for life on Mars: Study

•Rocks on the surface of Mars that look like layers of pasta may be the most obvious sign of life on the Red Planet, a NASA-funded study suggests.

•The bacterium that controls the formation of such rocks on the earth is ancient and thrives in harsh environments that are similar to conditions on Mars, said the study published in the Astrobiology.

•“It has an unusual name, Sulfurihydrogenibium yellowstonense . We just call it ‘Sulfuri’,” said Bruce Fouke, a professor at the University of Illinois in the U.S.

•The bacterium belongs to a lineage that evolved prior to the oxygenation of Earth roughly 2.35 billion years ago, Mr. Fouke said.

•It can survive in extremely hot, fast-flowing water bubbling up from underground hot springs.

•It can withstand exposure to ultraviolet light and survives only in environments with extremely low oxygen levels, using sulphur and carbon dioxide as energy sources.



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