What's New :

11th February 2023

  • Published
    11 February 2023

Excommunication practice in Dawoodi bhora community


A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court referred the challenge to the constitutional validity of the practice of ex-communication in the Dawoodi Bohra community to the nine-judge Bench constituted to review the Sabarimala judgment.

Who are the Dawoodi Bohras?

  • The Dawoodi Bohras are Shia Muslims whose leader is known as the Al-Dai-Al-Mutlaq. According to members of the community, there are around 1 million Dawoodi Bohras spread around the world.
  • For over 400 years, the leader of the community has been based in India, including the current and 53rd leader, His Holiness Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin.
  • The leader of the community is recognised by the members as having the right to excommunicate its members.

What is ex-communication?

  • In practical terms, ex-communication means not being allowed to access a mosque belonging to the community or a burial dedicated to the community.


  • It leads to the deprivation of legitimate rights and privileges of its members

Important Acts against ex-communication

Bombay Prevention of Excommunication Act

  • On November 1, 1949, the Bombay Prevention of Excommunication Act (now repealed) was enacted.
  • It invalidated ex-communication of any member, “notwithstanding anything contained in law, custom, usage” for the time being in force.

Maharashtra Protection of People from Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2016

  • The 2016 Act prohibits the social boycott of a person or a group of persons and terms it a violation of fundamental rights.

Exercise TARKASH


The National Security Guard (NSG) and US Special Operations Forces (SOF) conducted the joint exercise named TARKASH. This is the sixth edition of the exercise

Key highlights of the Indo-US joint exercise

  • Conducted between: India’s National Security Guard (NSG) and US Special Operations Forces (SOF)
  • Background: The exercise comes in the backdrop of Russian allegations against Ukraine in May last year that Kyiv had orchestrated a chemical attack in Kharkiv to blame Russia and get military aid from the West.
  • Objective: The exercise for the first time included “Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) terror response” in its drill.
  • The objective was to rapidly neutralise the terrorists, rescue the hostages safely and deactivate the chemical weapons being carried by the terrorists. A drill to counter chemical and biological attacks by terrorists was also included.

Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Weapons

  • Today, chemical and biological warfare are being recognised as a looming threat to the world.
  • These types of weapons have the ability to create both mass casualties as well as mass disruption of society. 
  • CBRN weapons are also classified as weapons of mass destruction.
  • They have been used by States and terror elements in the past.
    • The most recent use of CBRN in the form of a sarin gas attack was witnessed in Syria in 2017 when more than 100 people died.

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

  • While there is no single, authoritative definition of a WMD in international law, the expression is usually understood to cover nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons.
  • According to the United States Department of Homeland Security, “A weapon of mass destruction is a nuclear, radiological, chemical, biological, or another device that is intended to harm a large number of people.”

International Treaties related to WMD

  • The use of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons is regulated by a number of international treaties and agreements.
  • Among them are the:
    • The Geneva Protocol, of 1925, banned the use of chemical and biological weapons
    • Biological Weapons Convention, 1972, and Chemical Weapons Convention, 1992, which put comprehensive bans on biological and chemical weapons respectively.
  • India has signed and ratified both the 1972 and 1992 treaties.
  • There are very few non-signatory countries to these treaties, even though several countries have been accused of non-compliance.
  • The use and proliferation of nuclear weapons are regulated by treaties such as Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Suitability of a candidate cleared by Collegium can’t be subject of judicial review: SC


Recently, the Supreme Court explained that the “suitability” of a candidate cleared by the Collegium for appointment as a judge in a constitutional court cannot be a subject of judicial review.

What’s the matter?

  • The Supreme Court Collegium recently recommended the name Lakshmana Chandra Victoria Gowri to be appointed as a judge of the Madras High Court.
    • This came amidst ongoing tension between the Centre and the Collegium over constant delays in the Centre clearing names recommended by the Collegium. 
  • Protest: Soon after Advocate gowri's name was recommended, lawyers at the Madras High Court began protesting against her appointment due to:
    • Hate speech: her past public speeches hint at strong prejudices against citizens on grounds of their religious affiliations.

Why Ms Gowri’s appointment is outside the ambit of ‘judicial review’?

  • The court said the question of whether Ms Gowri was “fit” to be a judge was outside the ambit of judicial review.
  • The question of whether a person is fit to be appointed as a judge essentially involves the aspect of suitability and stands excluded from the purview of judicial review.

Suitability vs Eligibility

The Chief Justice and Judges of the High Courts are to be appointed by the President under clause (1) of Article 217 of the Constitution.

  • The Bench distinguished between the ‘suitability’ and ‘eligibility’ of a candidate zeroed in for a High Court judgeship.
  • Eligibility was based on “objective factors” given in Article 217(2) of the Constitution.
  • The suitability of a candidate was the domain of the Collegium as it involved a procedure “designed to test the fitness of a person, including her character, integrity, competence, knowledge and the like”.

What is the Collegium System?

  • It is the system of appointment and transfer of judges that has evolved through judgments of the Supreme Court, and not by an Act of Parliament or by a provision of the Constitution.
    • It came into existence through Second and Third Judges' Case judgments.
  • The Supreme Court collegium is headed by the Chief Justice of India and comprises four other senior-most judges of the court.
  • Names recommended for appointment by a High Court collegium reach the government only after approval by the CJI and the Supreme Court collegium.
  • Judges of the higher judiciary are appointed only through the collegium system, and the government has a role only after names have been decided by the collegium.

Article 105 of Constitution: The limits to free speech in Parliament


Recently, in a letter to Rajya Sabha, the Congress President cited Article 105 of the Constitution which deals with the privileges and powers of parliamentarians, to protest against the expunction of parts of his speech.

What is Article 105 of the Constitution of India?

  • Article 105 pertains to the powers, privileges, etc, of Parliament, its members and committees.
  • Article 194, protects the privileges and powers of the houses of the legislature, their members and committees in the states.
  • Simply put, Members of Parliament are exempted from any legal action for any statement made or act done in the course of their duties.
    • For example, a defamation suit cannot be filed for a statement made in the House.
  • This immunity extends to certain non-members as well, such as the Attorney General for India or a Minister who may not be a member but speaks in the House.
  • In cases where a Member oversteps or exceeds the contours of admissible free speech, the Speaker or the House itself will deal with it, as opposed to the court.

What are the rules for expunging a speech? 

  • The speech of MPs is subject to the discipline of the Rules of Parliament, the “good sense” of its Members, and the control of proceedings by the Speaker.
  • These checks ensure that MPs cannot use “defamatory or indecent or undignified or unparliamentary words” inside the House.

Unparliamentary Words

  • ‘Unparliamentary Expressions’, a bulky volume of book has been published by the Lok Sabha secretariat.
  • The book lists words that are considered offensive and unparliamentary in most countries but also has words which are relatively harmless yet classified undignified. 

Centre to borrow Rs 13,879 crore to boost health infrastructure


The Indian government has signed loan agreements with ADB, JICA and World Bank to borrow up to Rs 13,879 crore to strengthen health infrastructure from international agencies, as per a written reply in Lok Sabha.


  • Loan agreements have been signed with
    • Asian Development Bank (ADB) for $300 million (Rs 2,474 crore)
    • Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for 50 billion Japanese Yen (Rs 3,162 crore)
  • In addition, the World Bank has approved $1 billion (Rs 8,243 crore) in IBRD loans for Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM).
    • IBRD is the lending arm of the World Bank.
  • The loan agreements have been signed to augment PM-ABHIM which was launched on October 25, 2021, with an outlay of about Rs 64,180 crore (till FY 2025-26) to strengthen healthcare infrastructure across the country.

Important Government initiatives promoting Healthcare Sector

  • National Health Mission: The government provides financial assistance to States and Union Territories to set up and upgrade health infrastructure under National Health Mission (NHM)
  • Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM): PM-ABHIM was launched to ensure quality healthcare services in addition to NHM. This is to increase investment in health infrastructure and fill gaps in public health infrastructure, especially in critical care and primary care facilities in both urban and rural areas.
  • National telemedicine services (eSanjeevani): It is a national telemedicine service to provide free-of-cost teleconsultations to citizens. In less than three years, it has become the world’s largest government-owned telemedicine platform. 
  • Other important initiatives
    • Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY)
    • National Medical Commission
    • PM National Dialysis Programme
    • Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK)
    • Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK)

How Budget promoted Healthcare?

  • The 2023-24 budget incorporated one of the most fundamental changes in healthcare required to transform the sector.
  • The Union Budget 2023-24 has included the establishment of 157 new nursing colleges in co-location with the current medical colleges. 
  • Further, the finance minister announced the government’s mission of eliminating sickle cell anaemia by 2047. 

To enable these initiatives, the health sector was allocated Rs. 89,155 crores in the 2023-24 union budge


Short News Article

Polity & Governance (GS-II)

Sarvadawa Sevan campaign


Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched a nationwide ‘SarvaDawa Sevan’ or Mass Drug Administration (MDA) campaign.

  • Aim:To eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) by 2027
  • The World Health Organization target year for elimination of lymphatic filariasis (LF) is 2030.
  • About LF
  • Lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis, is a neglected tropical disease.
  • It impairs the lymphatic system and can lead to the abnormal enlargement of body parts, causing pain, severe disability and social stigma.
  • Lymphatic filariasis is caused by infection with parasites classified as nematodes (roundworms) of the family Filariodidea. There are 3 types of these thread-like filarial worms:
    • Wuchereriabancrofti, which is responsible for 90% of the cases
    • Brugiamalayi, which causes most of the remainder of the cases
    • Brugiatimori, which also causes the disease.


Science & Technology (GS-III)


World's largest radio telescope

The world's largest Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) located in China scanned 33 exoplanets for a signal from aliens.

About Five Hundred Metre Aperture Spherical Telescope

  • The construction of FAST was completed in 2016.
  • It is located in the Dawodang depression. 
    • The Dawodang depression is a natural basin in Guizhou, southwest China.
  • It is the largest filled-aperture Radio Telescope and second largest single dish aperture
    • The RATA-600 in Russia is the world's largest Single-dish aperture telescope.
  • The telescope has a reflecting surface of 500-metres in diameter. However, only a circle of 300 metres diameter can be used at one time.
  • It is located in a natural sinkhole. 
    • A sinkhole is formed due to erosion.
  • It has super sensitivity to detect cosmic phenomena. This includes radio bursts and pulsars as well.
  • It is also known as the “Eye of Heaven” or Tianyan.



Environment (GS-III)

Wildlife enthusiasts spot 145 species during first Sundarban bird festival

Birders, wildlife enthusiasts and forest officials have sighted 145 different bird species during the first Sundarban bird festival. 

About Sundarbans mangrove forest

  • The first-ever festival was organised by the Sundarban Tiger Reserve (STR) division of West Bengal Forest Department.
  • The species recorded during the Bird Festival included 78 forest birds and 42 species of waders, raptors etc.
  • The Sundarbans mangrove forest is one of the largest such forests in the world (140,000 ha), lies on the delta of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers on the Bay of Bengal.
  • It is adjacent to the border of India’s Sundarbans World Heritage site inscribed in 1987. 



India’s law and order matrix needs a reboot


The evolving security scenario in India is resulting in complex internal and external challenges, the nature of the security discourse as well as ground techniques have to be improved for better law and order in India.

Security Threat of the 21st Century:

  • Emerging nature of threats: Today’s security threats have an all-embracing character and as the 21st-century advances, security problems will grow at an exponential rate.
  • Increasing challenges: Issues are arising due to swift technological change and the rise of data warfighting.
  • Multiple domains: An added problem is the presence of multiple security agencies, including intelligence and investigative agencies, who seldom act with a common purpose. Their techniques and methodologies tend to be different, often leading to contradictions in their approach.
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