EXPLAINED: LODHA COMMITTEE FORMATION, RECOMMENDATIONS, SC JUDGEMENT AND RELATED DEVELOPMENTS

Image: Justice Loadha
Image Source: HindustanTimes

Background: The formation of the Lodha Committee

  • The committee headed by justice (retd) RM Lodha was appointed by the apex court in 2015 in the wake of a sport-fixing scandal in IPL, the biggest crisis to hit the cash-rich sports body in the country.
  • The three-member panel submitted its report on the functioning of the BCCI to the SC on January 4, 2016.

Key recommendations of the Lodha Committee:

Image: Lodha Panel recommendations to reform BCCI
Image Source: Economic Times
  1. Governing Bodies: They should be separate for IPL and BCCI, with limited autonomy for the IPL governing council.
  2. BCCI Office Bearers: No minister or government servant should become a BCCI office bearer.
  3. BCCI Office Bearer’s tenure: It should not exceed more than two consecutive terms, and he/she can’t hold two posts at the same time.
  4. Membership: Only to the team representing the respective states. Each state should have only one vote.
  5. Zones: The relevance of different zones should be for the purpose of tournaments and not for the governance of BCCI and its commitments.
  6. State Associations: There should be uniformity of structure in the organisation and functioning of the state associations on the lines of BCCI.
  7. Management: The BCCI management affairs should be done by professionals led by the CEO.
  8. Player Associations: It should be formed for the international as well as for the first class levels. It should be for both men and women teams.
  9. Betting and Match Fixing: Betting should be legalised and match-fixing should be made criminal offence.
  10. The Electoral Officer and Ombudsman: The election officer will see the election process, while the ombudsman to resolve grievances.
  11. Functioning and Transparency: All details and rules of BCCI must be uploaded on the website of BCCI for transparency and functioning process. BCCI should come under the purview of Right to Information Act, 2005.
  12. Supervision of Expenses: It should be carried out by an independent officer.

Following the submission of the report, the SC asked the BCCI members to implement all the recommendations of the Lodha panel. The SC set March 3, 2016 as the deadline for the same.

SC judgements:

Supreme Court of India image

On July 18th 2016, after several hearings and counter-affidavits filed by the BCCI, the SC upheld almost all the reforms suggested by the Lodha panel and gave a time period of 6 month to the BCCI to implement all the reforms.

Within a month, on August 16th 2016, the BCCI filed a review petition against the July 18th verdict of the SC. BCCI approached a retired senior SC judge Markandey Katju for his legal advice, who in his interim report opined the verdict to be smacked of judicial overreach. He added that the verdict amounted to “judicial legislation” and violated the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act and the Indian Constitution.
Post-this, the BCCI not only dragged its feet in implementing the reforms but also defied the Lodha panel recommendations on various occasions.

On January 2 2017, the SC stripped BCCI President Anurag Thakur and Secretary Ajay Shirke of their posts and ordered them to “forthwith cease and desist” from associating themselves with the BCCI.

Following this, the SC, on January 30 2017, appointed a four-member Committee of Administrators (CoAs) headed by former CAG of India Vinod Rai to run the affairs of the BCCI and implement court-approved recommendations of the Lodha Committee.

                                                              Other three members of the committee of administrators are famous cricket historian Ramachandra Guha, Vikram Limaye, Managing Director of Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC) and former Indian women cricket captain Diana Edulji, who would interact with Rahul Johri, CEO of BCCI, for supervision and functioning of the cricket Board.

 

 

Reference(s):

The Hindu Newspaper. (You can download the newspaper for free from a facebook page – UPSC Aspirants Forum)

Indian Express Newspaper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audit slams Railways on food quality

Image: Audit slams railways on food quality
Image Source: The Hindu

A CAG report tabled in Parliament on Friday has found severe deficiencies in the catering services of the Indian Railways, with several stations and trains serving food items “unfit for human consumption”, unpurified tap water being used for food preparation, and food being left unprotected from insects and rats.

During the joint inspection of the selected 74 stations and 80 trains over Zonal Railways, the audit found that cleanliness and hygiene standards were not being maintained in the catering units at stations and on trains.

The CAG also found unfair trade practices at stations and in trains. Bills were not provided for the food items served on trains; waiters and catering managers on the trains didn’t carry printed menu cards with tariffs, etc.

The report also found the weight and prices of the items sold at railway stations were different from the open market, and that the unit price of food articles sold in railway premises was significantly higher. For example, during a joint inspection in Allahabad station, it was found that chips of the brand ‘Lays’ of the identical weights were sold at Rs. 18 at the station, while only at Rs. 10 outside the railway station.

 

About Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG):

Image: CAG
Source: ToI

Article 148 of the Constitution of India provides for an independent office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). He is the head of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department.

The duty of the CAG is to uphold the Constitution of India and laws of Parliament in the field of financial administration. It audits all receipts and expenditure of the Government of India and the state governments, including those of bodies and authorities substantially financed by the government.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar said that the CAG shall be the most important Officer under the Constitution of India.

Reference(s):

The Hindu Newspaper (You can download the newspaper for free from this facebook page – UPSC Aspirants Forum)

Indian Polity by Laxmikanth

 

MAJOR DEFICIENCIES IN ARMY’S AMMUNITION RESERVES

Image: CAG Report

At a time when India is caught in a major military standoff with China at Doklam, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has presented a dismal picture of the Army’s War Wastage Reserve (WWR) ammunition, especially of high calibre equipment needed to wage intense war.

The report tabled on Friday is a follow-up audit on the measures taken after the CAG’s earlier report on “Ammunition Management in Army”, tabled in 2015. This new report is an evaluation of the availability of WWR ammunition in the Army during the period 2013-14 to 2016-17 (till September 2016)

On the efforts to procure ammunition, the CAG noted that there continued to be a critical deficiency in the availability and quality of ammunition supplied by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) since March 2013.

About War Wastage Reserves (WWR):

Image: War Wastage Reserves

War Wastage Reserves are collections of military material held in reserve in case of war. This includes bullets and other form of ammunition, as well as equipment, weapons and fuels.

In India, the norm is that WWR should last for 40 days of intense fighting, allowing time for production to be ramped up and delivered to the military.

However, as per the CAG report, the situation is bit grim in the country.

About Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG):

Image: CAG
Source: ToI

Article 148 of the Constitution of India provides for an independent office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). He is the head of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department.

The duty of the CAG is to uphold the Constitution of India and laws of Parliament in the field of financial administration. It audits all receipts and expenditure of the Government of India and the state governments, including those of bodies and authorities substantially financed by the government.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar said that the CAG shall be the most important Officer under the Constitution of India.

 

Reference(s):

The Hindu Newspaper (You can download the newspaper for free from this facebook page – UPSC Aspirants Forum)

Indian Polity by Laxmikanth

 

Violence continues to roil Darjeeling

Image: Violence continues to roil Darjeeling
Image Source: IndiaToday

Stepping up the movement for separate Gorkhaland State, at least three personalities from the Darjeeling hills on Thursday returned awards conferred on them by the West Bengal government at a public gathering.

Writer and translator Krishna Singh Moktan, musician Karma Younzon and Kurseong College Principal Prakash Pradhan returned their awards at an event to mark the birth anniversary of Nepali poet Bhanubhakta Acharya, being observed as Gorkha Ekta Dibas. This returning of the award by the above mentioned personalities was in response to the July 8 call by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM).

Meanwhile, incidents of arson were reported from different places in the hills as the indefinite shutdown entered its 29th day on Thursday including a forest office and residence of foreign guards were set on fire in the Teesta area in the hills.

What is the demand of the Darjeeling Hill people?

Also read: Demand for Gorkhaland-A separate state for Gorkhas: Detailed Timeline

Gorkhas are demanding separate state, viz. Gorkhaland for their community. This demand is not a new one but is being asked by the Gorkhas since the British time period.

This demand from Gorkhas was dormant for some time but a recent announcement of the Bengal government making Bengali compulsory in the Hills from Class I to X acted like a fuel in the fire and provoked Gorkhas. Gorkhas saw this announcement as an imposition on their community and started demanding for separate states.

 

Reference(s):

The Hindu [the pdf of this newspaper is uploaded for free on UPSC Aspirants Forum (Facebook group) everyday]

Five judge Bench to hear Aadhar pleas

Five-judge Constitution Bench will start hearing pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhar from July 18. Let’s see what Aadhar is, where all it has been made mandatory by the government?

Supreme Court of India image
Image: The Supreme Court of India

A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court will hear a bunch of petitions challenging the constitutionality of the Aadhar scheme, primarily whether there is a violation of right to privacy as it requires citizens to part with their bio-metric details to access welfare and benefits.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal for the Centre and senior advocate Shyam Divan made an urgent mention before a Bench led by CJI J.S. Khehar for setting up a constitutional Bench to hear the petitions at the earliest. Mr. Venugopal submitted that the scheme touched the lives of millions and its validity required immediate adjudication by an appropriate larger Bench.

The CJI agreed to the demand and said the hearing by a five judge Bench will begin on July 18.

Earlier, the SC had referred the case for hearing to a Constitution Bench in October 2015. But it has been in limbo ever since, despite several reminders for the petitioners.

What is Aadhar Card and where is it mandatory?

Image: Aadhar Card
Aadhar Card (Representational Image)

Aadhar is a 12-digit unique identification number issued to Indian citizens by the Central government. It is issued and managed by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

Aadhar Card is essentially an identification document issued by the UIDAI after it records and verifies every resident Indian citizen’s details including biometric and demographic data.

Aim of making Aadhar mandatory: Aadhar is made compulsory by the government to curb corruption. Aadhar plugs leakages in various schemes by removing the alien beneficiaries (one who exist only on paper.)

Here is a list of recent announcements by the government where Aadhar was made mandatory:

  • Mid-Day Meal Scheme requires Aadhar. Cooks-cum-helpers earning out of the schemes must also register with Aadhar.
  • Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana (DDAY) and National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) also make Aadhar mandatory.
  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana for women below poverty line requires Aadhaar.
  • Soil Health Management Scheme and Soil Health Card Scheme require Aadhar.
  • Beedi/Iron Ore/ Limestone workers need Aadhar for availing house subsidy.
  • Aadhar mandatory for supplementary nutrition program.
  • Aadhar compulsory for farmers wanting to take crop insurance benefit and people eligible for subsidised for foodgrains/cash subsidy for the same.
  • People wishing to avail benefits of welfare schemes under Integrated Department of Horticulture, National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme and Janani Suraksha Yojana need mandatory Aadhar.
  • Aadhar made mandatory to avail training under Integrated Child Development Services of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • Aadhar mandatory for benefits under Grih Kalyan Kendra Scheme.
  • Aadhar made mandatory for financial support under National Mission for Empowerment of Women. Same condition imposed for Scheme for Adolescent Women, students to avail Central scholarship and financial support given under National Means-cum-Merit-Scholarship.
  • Aadhar mandatory for e-panchayat training benefits and students who wish to avail central scholarships at the college level.
  • Supplementary meals at crèches require Aadhar.

Aadhar v/s Right to Privacy:

The SC of India in Meneka Gandhi vs Union of India (1978) and in several other cases has declared that Right to Privacy is part of Article 21 of the Constitution. Article 21 , an article that guarantees a fundamental right, declares that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law.

However, it  should also be noted that in the 1954 M.P Sharma judgement and 1962 Kharak Singh judgement, the SC specifically held that the Right to Privacy was not a fundamental right.

So, the SC’s interpretation seems to be ambiguous on whether the ‘Right to Privacy’ is a fundamental right or not, as on the one hand it declared Right to Privacy to be a part of Article 21 of the Constitution, but on the other it also held that Right to Privacy is not a fundamental right in the two judgements mentioned above.

Now, petitioners are arguing that the government’s move to make Aadhar mandatory is breach of Right to Privacy granted under Article 21 of the Constitution as Right to Privacy is part of it. They are of the opinion that their biometric and demographic details are their personal details and they have the right to not share it with anyone, including the government.

It is in the light of these two judgements and the argument of those opposing Aadhar that the SC five-judge constitutional Bench will begin hearing the matter on July 18.

 

References:

The Hindu

Indian Polity for Civil Services Examination by Polity

What is Aadhaar card and where is it mandatory?

HC Refuses to stay minister’s disqualification

Image: Madhya Pradesh High Court

A division Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court presided over by Chief Justice Hemant Gupta refused to stay the Election Commission order of June 23, in which the EC panel disqualified Madhya Pradesh Minister for Parliamentary Affairs & Public Relations Narottam Mishra.

The decision came after Mr. Mishra’s counsel sought a stay on the EC’s order, disqualifying him for three years for filing wrong accounts on election expenditure during the 2008 Assembly election.

According to an act of the Parliament – Representation of People Act (1951) – a member of state legislature should not have failed to lodge a correct account of his election expenses within the time. If a member of state legislature fails to do so, he shall be disqualified by the concerned authority.

The judge deferred the hearing for two weeks, following a plea moved by complainant Rajendra Bharti’s lawyer, requesting adjournment and seeking transfer of the petition to the Supreme Court.

On what grounds can a member of State Legislature be disqualified?

Under the Constitution, a person shall be disqualified for being chosen as and for being a member of the legislative assembly or legislative council of state:

  1. if he holds any office of profit under the Union or State government (except that of a minister or any other office exempted by state legislature);
  2. if he is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a court;
  3. if he is an undischarged insolvent;
  4. if he is not a citizen of India or has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign state or is under any acknowledgement of allegiance to a foreign state;
  5. if he is so disqualified under any law made by Parliament;

Accordingly, the Parliament has prescribed a number of additional disqualifications in the Representation of People Act (1951). These are similar to those for members of Parliament.:

  1. He must not have been found guilty of certain election offences or corrupt practices in the elections;
  2. He must not have been convicted of any offences resulting in imprisonment for two or more years. But, the detention of a person under a preventive detention law is not a disqualification.
  3. He must not have failed to lodge an account of his election expenses within the time.
  4. He must not have any interest in government contracts, works or services.
  5. He must not be a director or managing agent nor hold an office of profit in a corporation in which the government has at least 25% share.
  6. He must not have been dismissed from government service for corruption or disloyalty to the state.
  7. He must not have been convicted for promoting enmity b/w different groups or for the offence of bribery.
  8. He must not have been punished for preaching and practising social crimes such as untouchability, dowry and sati.

 

References:

The Hindu Newspaper

Indian Polity by Laxmikanth

 

 

Procedure of Presidential and Vice-Presidential Election in India: Explained

Political parties are placing their Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates for the coming Presidential and Vice-Presidential elections which are scheduled to take place on 17th of July and 5th of August respectively. Amid these developments, let us have a look at the procedure of Presidential and Vice-Presidential Election in India.

Image: Parliament of India

Presidential Election:

The President is elected not directly by the people of India but by the members of electoral college consisting of:

  1. the elected members (not the nominated one) of both the Houses of Parliament;
  2. the elected members (not the nominated one) of the legislative assemblies of the states; and
  3. the elected members (not the nominated one) of the legislative assemblies of the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry.

Note: Legislators (the elected one) of UT of Delhi and Puducherry were added in the above electoral college by the 70th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992 w.e.f. June 1, 1995.

The above mentioned electoral college doesn’t contain the nominated members of both the Houses of Parliament, that of the state legislative assemblies as well as the legislative assemblies of UT of Delhi and Puducherry. It also doesn’t contain both the elected as well as the nominated members of the State Legislative Councils (in case where the States have bicameral legislatures).

Image: Electoral College of the President
Electoral College of the President

Note: In case of dissolution of an assembly, the members cease to be qualified to vote in Presidential election, even if fresh elections to the dissolved assembly are not held before the presidential election. 

In context of the Presidential election, the Constitution of India provides that:

  • there shall be uniformity in the scale of representation of different states, i.e. every state MLA’s vote will depend upon the population of that state so as to maintain uniformity of scale of representation b/w states of two different sizes.

Image: Value of an MLAs vote

  • Parity b/w the states as a whole and Union, i.e. sum total of vote of all the MLAs shall be equal to sum total of vote of all the MPs.

Therefore, an MPs vote is given by:

Image: Value of an MPs vote

The President’s election is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation, unlike first past the post, by means of the single transferrable vote and voting is done by secret ballot.

Now in your mind a question may arise that what is the difference b/w system of proportional representation (used in the Presidential election) and the system of first past the post (used in the Lok Sabha election)?

Let’s understand the difference b/w both the systems of elections, viz. first past the post and proportional representation. You must have noticed that in the Lok Sabha election one who gets the majority no. of votes in a constituency wins that seat. The runner up in the same constituency, irrespective of the no of votes he/she gets, doesn’t get any representation. This is first past the post system. Unlike this, in the system of proportional representation, every contestant gets the share of representation according to the votes polled in their favour.

I hope it’s clear. If there is any doubt, please comment below and let me know that. I’ll revert back with the solution as soon as possible.

A candidate, in order to be declared elected to the office of President, must secure a fixed quota of votes.

Image: Votes need by a candidate to win the Presidentship

Note: All doubts and disputes in connection with election of the President are inquired into and decided by the SC whose decision is final. However, it cannot be challenged on the ground that the electoral college was incomplete.

If the election of person as President is declared void by the Supreme Court, acts done by him before the date of such declaration of the SC are not invalidated and continue to remain in force.

Vice-Presidential Election:

Like the President, the Vice-President is also not elected directly by the people of the country but by the electoral college consisting of:

  1. The members (both elected and nominated) of both the Houses of Parliament.

How does the Vice-President’s electoral college differ from the President’s electoral college?

It differs in the following way:

  • VP’s electoral college consists of both elected and nominated members of the Parliament, unlike the P’s electoral college where only the elected members of the Parliament were part of the electoral college.
  • VP’s electoral college doesn’t include the members of the state legislative assemblies, unlike the P’s electoral college where the elected members of the state legislative assemblies were part of the electoral college
  • VP’s electoral college also doesn’t include the member of the legislative assemblies of UTs of Delhi and Puducherry, unlike the P’s electoral college where the elected members of the legislative assemblies of UTs of Delhi and Puducherry were part of electoral college.

Image: Difference b/w P and VP electoral college

Manner of election is same as that of the President. The Vice-President’s election, like that of the President’s election is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferrable vote and the voting is done by secret ballot.

 

Reference:

Indian Polity by Laxmikanth