29th September 2018, Current Affairs and News Analysis for UPSC Civil Service Examination, SSC CGL and State Civil Service Examinations.

29th September 2018 - Current Affairs for UPSC IAS and State Civil Service Exam

Governance

Adultery no longer a criminal offence as SC scraps Section 497 of IPC

A five-judge Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, in four separate but concurring opinions on Thursday held that adultery is not a crime and struck it off the Indian Penal Code.

Chief Justice Misra, in an opinion for himself and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, observed that Section 497 (adultery) of the Code “commands” married couples to remain loyal to each other.

What is Section 497

  • Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code was dealing with Adultery.
  • As per the Indian law, a woman cannot be punished for the offence of adultery.
  • Only a man who has consensual sexual intercourse with the wife of another man without his consent can be punished under this offense in India. If someone “lives in adultery”, the partner can file for divorce.
What is Section 497
  • The law became defunct on 27 Sep 2018 by Supreme Court of India.
  • The Supreme Court called the law unconstitutional because it “treats a husband as the master.”
  • Section 497 reads as follows:
    • Adultery.—Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offense of rape, is guilty of the offense of adultery, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. In such case the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.
  • A five-judge Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, in four separate but concurring opinions held that adultery is not a crime and struck it off the Indian Penal Code.
  • Chief Justice Misra, in an opinion for himself and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, observed that Section 497 (adultery) of the Code “commands” married couples to remain loyal to each other.

A Matter of Choice

  • Two individuals may part if one cheats, but to attach criminality to infidelity is going too far, the Chief Justice observed.
  • Besides, there is no data to back claims that abolition of adultery as a crime would result in “chaos in sexual morality” or an increase of divorce.
  • How married couples deal with adultery is absolutely a matter of privacy at its pinnacle, the Chief Justice wrote.
  • Loss of moral commitment in a marriage creates a dent in the relationship, but it is left to each individual to deal with the problem — some may forgive while others may seek divorce.
  • Punishing each other or the wife’s lover is unlikely to re-kindle commitment, the judgment said.
  • Section 497 treats a married woman as the commodity of her husband, the Bench held. Adultery is not a crime if the cuckolded husband connives or consents to his wife’s extra-marital affair.
  • Section 497 treats a married woman as her husband’s chattel. The provision is a reflection of the social dominance of men prevalent 150 years ago, the judgment said.
  • Justice D.Y. Chandrachud held that a married woman can make her own sexual choices. By marrying, she has not consented to refrain from relations outside marriage without the permission of her husband.
  • A husband is not the owner of his wife’s sexuality, he said. To be human involves the ability to fulfil sexual desires in the pursuit of happiness, he observed.

Sabarimala verdict in Supreme Court highlights: Top court lifts ban, women of all ages can enter temple

News: Sabarimala verdict in Supreme Court highlights: A five-judge Constitutional bench has ruled in favour of allowing women of all ages to enter Kerala's most famous temple.

Putting an end to a centuries-old tradition, the Supreme Court ruled that women, irrespective of age, can enter Kerala’s Sabarimala temple. A five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, said that the provision in the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965, which authorised the restriction, violated the right of Hindu women to practice religion. It also said that patriarchy in religion cannot be allowed to trump the right to pray.

Economy

RBI eases liquidity fears

To help banks overcome any possible liquidity constraints, the Reserve Bank of India on Thursday said they(Bank) can avail of higher liquidity with effect from October 1 as it has enhanced the "Facility to Avail Liquidity for Liquidity Coverage Ratio (FALLCR)" from the existing 11 per cent to 13 per cent of their deposits.

  • This move will take the total carve-out from SLR (statutory liquidity ratio) available to banks to 15 per cent of their deposits.
  • Banks' SLR, which is the percentage of deposits that they have to mandatorily invest in government and state government securities, is currently at 19.5 per cent.

Impact

This should supplement the ability of individual banks to avail of liquidity, if required, from the repo markets against high-quality collateral. This, in turn, will help improve the distribution of liquidity in the financial system as a whole.

Going forward, the Reserve Bank stands ready to meet the durable liquidity requirements of the system through various available instruments depending on its dynamic assessment of the evolving liquidity and market conditions.

Liquidity Coverage Ratio

  • The liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) refers to highly liquid assets held by financial institutions to meet short-term obligations.
  • Statutory Liquidity Ratio is the percentage of deposits that banks have to mandatorily invest in government and state government securities, which is currently at 19.5 %.
  • RBI has recently notified that banks are allowed to use up to 15 % (currently 13%) of holdings under the SLR reserves to meet their liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) requirements.
  • This move will take the total carve-out from SLR available to banks to 15 per cent of their deposits.
  • The RBI move follows concerns over tight liquidity conditions and banks’ unwillingness to lend to NBFCs.

Governance/Polity

Government constitutes Lokpal Search Committee

The Union Government constituted the Lokpal Search Committee under the chairmanship of former Supreme Court judge Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai for recommending names for Lokpal.

The eight-member search committee is mandated to recommend a panel of names for the appointment of the Lokpal and its members.

Kharge had earlier urged the government to amend the Lokpal Act to include the leader of the single largest opposition party in Lok Sabha in the selection committee and bring an ordinance in this regard.

As per the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, only the leader of the opposition (LoP) in the Lok Sabha is a member of the selection committee and since, Kharge does not have that status, he is not a part of the panel.

Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013

  • The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act was passed in 2013 to constitute a statutory body to inquire into allegations of corruption against public functionaries.
  • Under the Act, the appointments to Lokpal is made by a high-level selection committee of the Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of Opposition Party (LoP), Chief Justice of India and an eminent jurist chosen by them.
  • The sub-section (2) of Section 4 of the 2013 Lokpal Act makes it clear that an appointment of the chairperson or members of Lokpal will not be invalidated merely because one of the members of the selection committee, the LoP, is missing.

Trivial Matters

Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar Airport and Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel International Airport

On the occasion of World Tourism Day,Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar Airport Airport of Indore and Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel international airport of Ahmedabad has been awarded the National Award for Best Airport.

Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar Airport

  • The Indira-based Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar Airport has been conferred the Best Airport award in other category airports, which play a major role in promoting tourism.
  • In the category of airports in the Asia Pacific region every year for two million passengers, Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar Airport received the best regional airport award.

Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel International Airport

  • Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel International Airport received the Best Airport Award in the Airports of Major Cities in the country.
  • Ahmedabad's Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Airport has the distinction of being the country's first World Heritage Airport.
  • The airport's geographical location helps in connecting it with major domestic and international destinations.
  • In the year 2017, the International Airport Council awarded it the Asia Pacific region's Best Airport award.