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17th September 2022

Contempt of Court

Context

The Madras High Court recently found activist and YouTuber A Shankar, popularly known as ‘Savukku’ Shankar, guilty of criminal contempt and sentenced him to six months’ imprisonment for his remarks about the higher judiciary.

About

What is Contempt of Court?

  • The term ‘Contempt of Court’ is a generic term descriptive of conduct in relation to particular proceedings in a court of law which tends to undermine that system or to inhibit citizens from availing themselves of it for the settlement of their disputes.
  • In Simple words, Contempt of Court can be easily understood as when we are disrespectful or disobedience towards the court of law which means that we wilfully fail to obey the court order or disrespect the legal authorities. 
  • According to the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, contempt of court can either be civil contempt or criminal contempt. 
    • Civil Contempt means wilful disobedience of any judgment, decree, direction, order, writ or other process of a court, or wilful breach of an undertaking given to a court.
    • Criminal contempt, on the other hand, means the publication (whether by words, spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representations, or otherwise) of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever which
  1. scandalises or tends to scandalise, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court; or
  2. prejudices, or interferes or tends to interfere with, the due course of any judicial proceeding; or
  3. Interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner.
  • Punishment: Contempt of court may be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with a fine of maximum Rs 2,000, or with both, provided that the accused may be discharged or the punishment awarded may be remitted on apology being made to the satisfaction of the court.

Essentials of Contempt of Court:

Contempt of Court also has certain essentials and these are as follows:

  • Disobedience to any type of court proceedings, its orders, judgment, decree, etc should be done ‘willfully’in case of Civil Contempt.
  • In Criminal Contempt ‘publication’is the most important thing and this publication can be either spoken or written, or by words, or by signs, or by visible representation.
  • The court should make a ‘valid order’and this order should be in ‘knowledge’ of the respondent.
  • The action of contemnor should be deliberate and also it should be clearly disregard of the court’s order.

These essentials should be fulfilled while making someone accused of Contempt of Court.

Provision in Indian Constitution:

There are two Articles in the Constitution of India which talk about the Contempt of Court and these are Article 129 and Article 142(2).

Article 129

  • Article 129 says that the Supreme Court shall be the ‘Court of Record’ and it has all the powers of such courts including the power to punish for contempt of itself.
  • The ‘Court of Record’ means a Court having its acts and proceedings registered for everlasting memory or that memory which has no end and as evidence or proof.
  • The truth of these records cannot be questioned and also these records are treated as a higher authority. And anything stated against the truth of these records comprised Contempt of Court.

Article 142(2)

  • When any law is made by the Parliament on the provisions mentioned in clause 1 of this Article, the Supreme Court has all the power to make an order for securing any person’s attendance, production of any documents or has the power to give punishment to anyone for its contempt.
  • This also does not mean that the Supreme Court can do anything against the right of personal liberty if it has the power to punish for Contempt of Court. 

World Ozone Day

Context

A recent study finds black carbon due to frequent, widespread wildfires may be widening the ozone hole.

About

Key findings of the study:

  • The wildfires that scorched much of Australia between June 2019 and March 2020 were unprecedented in scale and nature. 
    • The fires have also triggered changes kilometres high in the atmosphere, widening the ozone hole.
    • The intense and uncontrolled fires resulted in millions of tonnes of smoke and associated gases.
  • The smoke plumes formed several vortices, the largest of which maintained a coherent and isolated structure for over two months and was eventually detected at altitudes of up to 36 km.
  • The smoke plumes rose to such great heights because of black carbon, which absorbs solar heat and rises into the lower stratosphere like a hot-air balloon.
    • The ozone layer sits in the stratosphere, located between 10 km and 50 km above Earth's surface, and absorbs harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
  • Once in the stratosphere, black carbon continues to absorb sunlight and warm the air. The 2019-20 wildfires spiked temperatures in the lower stratosphere over Australia by 3 degrees Celsius, globally the temperatures rose by 0.7°C.
  • Rising global temperatures and drier conditions are leading to frequent, massive wildfires around the world, according to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  • The frequency of extreme wildfires will likely rise by 30 per cent by 2050, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. Such events could undo 35 years of efforts under the Montreal Protocol.

World Ozone Day

  • September 16 of each year is observed as World Ozone Day, also known as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.
  • World Ozone Day is celebrated to draw attention to one of the biggest threats that humanity faces, the depletion of the ozone layer, and the dangers of ozone depletion.
  • The purpose of the day is to raise awareness about the importance of preserving the ozone layer. 
  • This 2022 marks the 35th year of implementation of the Montreal Protocol, UN is observing the Ozone Day with the theme "Montreal Protocol@35" and the worldwide collaboration safeguarding life on earth is the topic for this year's World Ozone Day.

Ozone layer

  • Ozone layer is a fragile shield of gas which protects the Earth by absorbing harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation of Sun and thus helps preserve life on the planet.
  • Stratospheric ozone is not harmful, but its presence in troposphere is harmful.
  • Substances like Chlorofluorocarbons, Halons, Carbon-tetrachloride are considered as Ozone Depleting Substances (ODSs)
  • Dobson unit is a unit which is used to measure the ozone in the atmosphere at a standard temperature and pressure.

Montreal Protocol

  • It is an international treaty agreed in 1987 in Montreal, Canada and entered into force on 26 August 1989
  • It is designed to protect ozone layer by phasing out production of numerous ODSs that are responsible for ozone depletion.
  • With Kigali amendment, it plans to reduce the manufacture and use of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by roughly 80-85% from their respective baselines till 2045.
  • It is legally binding on member countries.
  • It has been ratified by 197 parties making it universally ratified protocol in UN history.
  • It is termed as highly successful international arrangement, as it has phased-out more than 95% of the ODS so far. It has also helped in recovering the ozone hole in Antarctica.

Vienna Convention for Protection of the Ozone Layer

  • It is a multilateral environmental agreement agreed upon at the 1985 Vienna Conference and entered into force in 1988.
  • It acted as framework for international efforts to protect fragile ozone layer. These are laid out in accompanying Montreal Protocol.
  • However, it does not include legally binding reduction goals for the use of CFCs, the main chemical agents causing ozone depletion.
  • It is also one of the most successful treaties of all time in terms of universality and has been ratified by 197 states.

Varanasi nominated as SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital

Context

The city of Varanasi has been nominated as the first-ever SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital during the period 2022-2023 at the 22nd Meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Heads of State in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

About
  • The regulations for nomination of the SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital were adopted at the Dushanbe SCO Summit in 2021 with an objective of promoting cooperation between the SCO Member States in the field of culture and tourism.
  • The nomination of Varanasi as the first ever SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital will promote tourism, cultural and humanitarian exchanges between India and the SCO member Countries.
  • It also underlines India’s ancient civilizational links with Member States of SCO, especially the Central Asian Republics.

What does the title mean? 

  • Every year, a city having cultural heritage from the member country that takes over the rotating Presidency of the organization will be bestowed with the title.
  • The title will help in promoting the cultural values of the city and add to values- economic, social, and more. 
  • India will chair SCO from September 2022 to September 2023. 

Varanasi – India’s ancient city:

“Banaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together.” – Mark Twain

  • Varanasi, also popularly known as Banaras or Kashi is one of the oldest living cities in the world.
  • It is known as the land of Lord Shiva, and is an important pilgrimage spot on the tourism map of the country. 
  • Associated with spiritualism, mysticism, Sanskrit, and Yoga, Varanasi is also a center of learning.
  • Varanasi is also called the cultural capital of India.
  • Moreover, Gautam Buddha preached his first sermon after enlightenment, just 10 km away from Varanasi in the village of Sarnath. 
  • Dasaswamedh Ghat, Ganga aarti, Dhamek Stupa, Banaras Hindu University, Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Durga Temple, Ramnagar Fort among several others, make an important part of Varanasi’s culture.
  • The place is also famous for its sarees, handicrafts, textiles, toys, ornaments, metal work, clay and wood work, leaf and fibre crafts. 



Tripartite agreement with armed tribal groups in Assam

Context

The Centre and Assam Government recently signed a tripartite agreement with eight armed tribal groups in Assam to bring them into the mainstream and give them political and economic rights.

About

Tribal Groups:

  • The groups that signed the agreement are Birsa Commando Force (BCF), Adivasi People’s Army (APA), All Adivasi National Liberation Army (AANLA), Adivasi Cobra Military of Assam (ACMA) and Santhali Tiger Force (STF).
  • The remaining three outfits are splinter groups of BCF, AANLA, and ACMA.
  • The groups are in ceasefire since 2012 and living in designated camps.
  • Except the hardline faction of the banned ULFA, led by Paresh Baruah, and the Kamatapur Liberation Organisation, all other rebel groups active in the state have entered into peace agreements with the government.
  • In January 2022, all cadres belonging to the Tiwa Liberation Army and the United Gorkha People's Organisations surrendered with arms and ammunition.
  • In August 2022, the Kuki Tribal Union militants laid down their arms.

About the Settlement agreement:

  • The major provisions of the agreement included fulfilling political, economic, and educational aspirations.
  • The other objective is protecting, preserving and promoting social, cultural, linguistic and ethnic identities.
  • The agreement also provides for the setting up of an Adivasi Welfare and Development Council by the Government of Assam
  • Necessary measures would be taken for the rehabilitation of cadresof armed groups and for the welfare of tea garden workers.
  • A special development package of ?1,000 crorewould be provided over a period of five years for infrastructure development in Adivasi-populated villages and areas.

Tea Tribes Community

  • There are more than 1000 tea gardens in Assam where workers originally coming from Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal have engaged themselves and subsequently settled in Assam permanently.
  • They are known as Tea and Ex-Tea Garden Tribes, who are recognized as Other Backward Classes by the Government.
  • These people not only constitute a sizable chunk of the population in the State but also play major role in tea production of the State.
  • Economically, they are quite backward and literacy level among these communities is extremely low.

SCO Summit Highlights

Context

SCO 2022 Summit recently concluded in Uzbekistan.

About

The Organization

  • The SCO, which is currently the largest regional bloc in the world, has eight full-time members - India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
  • Iran is expected to become the latest member of the bloc this year.

Key-points made by PM Modi

PM Modi had separate bilateral meetings with Russian President Putin, Uzbek President Mirziyoyev and Iranian President Raisi.

  • Hurdles: PM Modi spoke about the pandemic and the Ukraine war.
  • Turning into global manufacturing hub: Stressing on the need of increased cooperation among nations, he said that India is working towards becoming a global manufacturing hub.
  • Ahead in traditional medicines: In April 2022, WHO inaugurated its Global Centre for Traditional Medicines in Gujarat. This was the first and only global center by WHO for traditional treatment. India will take an initiative for a new SCO working group on traditional medicines.
  • Among fastest growing economy: India's economy is expected to grow at the rate of 7.5 per cent this year.
  • India highlighted to Russia that 'it's not an era of war', “food, fertilizer, fuel security are among major concerns”.

The upcoming bundle of meetings

  • India will also assume the presidency at the end of the summit until September 2023 and will also host the summit next year.
  • Apart from this, India will also assume the presidency of the G20 (Group of Twenty) for a year starting 1 December 2022 and is expected to host over 200 meetings across the country during presidency tenure. 

Editorial

The consequences of declining fertility are many

Context:

The global population is expected to touch 8.5 billion by 2030, but we are also experiencing a consistent decline in the average global fertility over the past 70 years. There are many economic implications of this trend, affecting a nation.

What data indicate about the issue?

  • World Population Prospects 2022: The average number of children per woman in the reproductive age group has declined by 50%. Sub-Saharan African countries are expected to contribute more than half the population growth after 2050 and grow through 2100.
  • Below replacement level fertility rate: Most advanced economies have their fertility rate below the replacement rate of 2.1, with South Korea reporting the lowest at 1.05 children per woman.
  • India’s Position: For the first time India has reported a below-replacement level fertility rate (2.0) in 2021. Only five States have a fertility rate above the replacement rate: Bihar (3), Meghalaya (2.9), Uttar Pradesh (2.4), Jharkhand (2.3), and Manipur (2.2).
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ThinkQ

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QUIZ - 17th September 2022

Mains Question:

Question: What is ‘criminal contempt’? Discuss the essentials that constitute criminal contempt. (150 words)

Question Mapping

  • Subject: Polity & Governance (GS-II)
    • Sub-topic: The Judiciary, Fundamental Rights

Approach

  • Introduction- brief about contempt of court and its kind- ‘criminal contempt’ (Section 2 (c) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971)
  • List down important laws/provisions related to contempt of court
    • Article 129 & 142(2) of the Indian Constitution of India
    • The Contempt of Court Act, 1971 
  • Discuss the essentials/constituents 
    • Publication of any matter (materials contain something that scandalises)
    • Scandalizing or lowering the authority of the court
    • Prejudice or interference with the due course of any judicial proceeding
    • Obstruction/interference with the administration of justice in any other manner.
  • Also mention involved fundamental rights (Right to freedom and speech)
  • Conclude accordingly

 

*Also differentiate between criticism and contempt.

 

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