GS 2: Polity & IR : 18/11/18
1.CBI powers reducing
- Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal governments to withdraw ‘general consent’ to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct searches and other operations in their States.
- The withdrawal of ‘general consent’ by a State to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to exercise jurisdiction within its territory applies prospectively.
- Hence, the notifications issued by the Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal governments, withdrawing consent, would not have a retrospective effect. That is, the States’ withdrawal of consent affects only prospectively.
- The Supreme Court clarifies the position of law in Kazi Lhendup Dorji vs Central Bureau of Investigation, a reported decision of 1994. The court reasoned that the State government’s withdrawal should not be allowed to stall a pending case.
- The case should be allowed to reach its logical conclusion; notwithstanding the withdrawal of consent during pendency of investigation.The Dorji principle was reiterated by the Delhi High Court in 2013.
- The Dorji case dealt with a notification issued by the Sikkim government withdrawing consent to investigate a corruption case against the then Chief Minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari.
- Former Solicitor-General Mohan Parasaran interprets the Dorji decision, saying consent once given cannot be withdrawn. But he said the verdict may not apply in the current factual scenario.
- Experts point out that if the States have the statutory power to give consent to the CBI under Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, it is implicit that they can withdraw consent too.
- In 1961, the Supreme Court in Major E.G. Barsay judgment held that no member of the Establishment (CBI) can exercise powers and jurisdiction in any area in a State without the consent of the government of that State. The provision was incorporated in the DSPE Act to maintain the federal structure. The subject of ‘law and order’ is a State domain.
- In Karnataka, the H. Patel government had withdrawn the consent on December 15, 1998, and it continued for several years. Also, in late 1970s, the Devaraj Urs government had recalled the general permission for CBI investigations.
However, the act of withdrawal of consent can be judicially reviewed.Besides, withdrawal of consent is no bar for a constitutional court to use its inherent and extraordinary powers to order a CBI investigation into individual cases for purpose of “delivery of complete justice”.The withdrawal of general consent means CBI officers lose police powers under the Criminal Procedure Code in the State concerned and for registering a case. However, the CBI could continue to register new cases in other States, having links to the one in which the general consent has been rescinded.
2.REVA launches electoral literacy campaign
- REVA Electoral Literacy Association (RELA), launched by Sanjiv Kumar, Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka, had taken up its first campaign titled ‘Jagruti’.
- The campaign will involve students and faculty of REVA University in spreading the message of the importance of participating in the electoral process as a democratic right of every citizen of the nation.
- Jagruti will work towards creating awareness and ensuring a high turnout of informed voters during elections. Encouraging people to stress upon ethical elections is another agenda of the campaign.
3.Odisha Assembly lets off Abhijit
- The Odisha Assembly accepted the apology of defence analyst Abhijit Iyer-Mitra and dropped the charges of breach of privilege against him.
- The Assembly dropped the charges against Mr. Iyer-Mitra passing a motion by voice vote accepting the recommendation of the Assembly House Committee, which probed into the matter.
- After the report was tabled, Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra, who headed the committee, and Debi Prasad Mishra, a member of the committee, briefly spoke about the recommendations, after which the Assembly passed a motion accepting the apology.
- The defence analyst is in judicial custody following his arrest in two cases filed against him — at the Sahid Nagar police station in Bhubaneswar and the Konark police station in Puri district — for his alleged derogatory and objectionable comments on art and culture of Odisha, Lord Jagannath and the Odia community.
4.Maldivian President, PM hold talks, underline need for peace in Indian Ocean
- Promising a host of people-focussed policies and a foreign policy formulated on the basis of human rights, democracy and climate diplomacy, the Maldives’s new President, Ibrahim Solih, sought to turn a new page in the country’s politics at a glittering inaugural ceremony.
- The event was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, Sri Lankan MP Namal Rajapaksa and other dignitaries from across the region.
- The need to boost economic cooperation was writ large in their conversation. Their joint statement recognised that easing the visa regime mutually in both countries would be the quickest way to expand opportunities for Indian companies to invest in the Maldives, and for Maldivians to travel to India for a variety of purposes.
- India was also invited to step up again as an economic partner which could help the Maldives meet its most pressing economic needs, including for increased housing and infrastructure development and for water and sewerage systems on the outlying islands.
5.U.S.-China discord dominates APEC meet
The United States and China swapped barbs over trade, investment and regional security at an Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit , as growing fault lines among members suggested little prospect of consensus.
6.Sustaining the embrace of democracy
- After five years of the Abdulla Yameen government, and a disconcerting drift into what many Maldivians felt was the stifling embrace of China, the people exercised their right to franchise on September 23 and voted resoundingly for a coalition of pro-democracy parties, bringing to power a government led by the Maldives Democratic Party. Their new President, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, is considered by India to be a friend, and the man who will be advising him closely, Mohamed Nasheed, has a staunch pro-India outlook.
- The immediate challenges are twofold: political and economic. Politically, the question is whether the multiparty alliance will hold in the face of the immense pressures that the nation faces.
- Second, complex economic challenges arose from the Yameen administration’s headlong plunge into the vortex of Chinese expansionist ambitions. The nation rapidly racked up massive debts linked to infrastructure investments. What was initially thought to be in the range of $1.4 billion is now suspected to be closer to $3 billion, if not higher.
- So, how does the country engage the dragon? Mr. Nasheed, and presumably Mr. Solih, have a simple answer: they will pay back what they owe, but will audit every single project, and will call for international arbitration where a proper procedure was not followed for the initial allocation.
- The greatest problem that confronts the Maldives today is, however, neither economic nor relating political parties, but in the realm of Maldivian citizens’ social contract with their leadership.
- An important reason the Maldives veers between authoritarian and democratic modes of functioning is that the country’s geography implies that communities are far-flung and small, making them easy to manipulate. This also leads to a greater dependence on politicians and business tycoons.