Resolution on Chandigarh


The longstanding dispute between Punjab and Haryana over Chandigarh flared up this week after the Centre notified Central Service Rules for employees in the Union Territory instead of the Punjab Service Rules. The Centre had earlier tweaked rules for appointments to the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) — recruitments can now be done from anywhere in India, instead of just Punjab and Haryana.

  • Recently, the Punjab Assembly in a special session passed a unanimous resolution reiterating the state’s claim on Chandigarh.


GS II- Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. When and how did Chandigarh become the capital of Punjab?
  2. When was Punjab reorganised, and Chandigarh became a Union Territory?
  3. What about a separate capital for Haryana?
  4. What claims on Chandigarh were made subsequently?
  5. Resolutions in the Punjab Assembly over the years
  6. Difference between a state and union territory

When and how did Chandigarh become the capital of Punjab?

  • After Partition, Shimla was made the temporary capital of Indian Punjab.
  • Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru wanted a modern city to replace Lahore as Punjab’s capital, and the idea of Chandigarh was conceived.
  • In March 1948, the Punjab government, in consultation with the Centre, chose the picturesque foothills of the Shivaliks as the site of the new capital.
    • Twenty-two villages in Kharar were acquired for the city, and the government compensated their displaced residents.
  • The capital was officially moved from Shimla to Chandigarh on September 21, 1953. President Rajendra Prasad inaugurated the new capital on October 7, 1953.
  • Until Haryana was born, Chandigarh remained the capital of Punjab.

When was Punjab reorganised, and Chandigarh became a Union Territory?

  • The Punjab Reorganisation Act of 1966 carved out the new state of Haryana from undivided Punjab, created the new Union Territory of Chandigarh under the direct control of the Centre, and transferred the hill territories of Punjab to Himachal Pradesh.
  • Chandigarh, identified as the capital of Punjab in The Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act, 1952, became the common capital of both Punjab and Haryana, and properties were divided between the states in the ratio 60:40.
  • The States Reorganisation Act, 1966, did not make changes in the arrangement arrived at in 1952.

What about a separate capital for Haryana?

  • During the reorganisation of Punjab, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had announced that Haryana would get its own capital. And on January 29, 1970, the Centre announced that “the capital project area of Chandigarh should, as a whole, go to Punjab”.
  • Indira’s government took this decision after Fateh Singh, leader of the Punjabi Suba movement, threatened self-immolation if Chandigarh was not transferred to Punjab.
  • The Centre had considered dividing Chandigarh into two parts, but ultimately decided against it.
  • Haryana was told to use the office and residential accommodation in Chandigarh for five years until it built its own capital.
  • The Centre offered a Rs 10 crore grant to Haryana and a loan of equal amount to build the new capital.

What claims on Chandigarh were made subsequently?

Dharam Yudh Morcha :

  • In August 1982, the Akali Dal, having expressed dissatisfaction over the Punjab Reorganisation Act, launched the Dharam Yudh Morcha along with Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale with the object of realising the goals of the Anandpur Sahib Resolution of 1973.
  • Among the issues in contention were the inclusion of Punjabi speaking areas in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, and the fact that Chandigarh had not been given to Punjab, and instead made a UT.

Rajiv-Longowal Accord

  • On July 24, 1985, the Rajiv-Longowal Accord was signed between then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Akali leader Harchand Singh Longowal.
  • Among other things, the Centre agreed to give Chandigarh to Punjab, and January 26, 1986 was fixed as the date for the actual transfer.
  • However, less than a month after the signing of the accord, Longowal was assassinated by militants.

Resolutions in the Punjab Assembly over the years

  • Recent resolution in the Punjab Assembly staking claim to Chandigarh was the seventh of its kind.
  • The first resolution was brought on May 18, 1967 by Acharya Prithvi Singh Azad, and the second by Chaudhary Balbir Singh on January 19, 1970, both during Gurnam Singh’s government.
  • Sukhdev Singh Dhillon brought a resolution on September 7, 1978 when Parkash Singh Badal was Chief Minister, and Baldev Singh Mann brought a similar resolution on October 31, 1985 during Surjit Singh Barnala’s government.
  • Another resolution, also during Barnala’s government, was brought by Om Parkash Gupta on March 6, 1986.
  • On December 23, 2014, Gurdev Singh Jhoondan brought a resolution during Badal’s government.
  • The seventh resolution was brought by the government of Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.

Difference between a state and union territory

UNEP Report On Noise Pollution


A February report commissioned by the United Nations Environment Programme on the environmental challenges posed by noise, wildfires and the disruption of biological rhythms of plants, animals and ecological cycles became controversial on account of the mention of a single city, Moradabad.


GS III- Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What was the controversy?
  2. So, is Moradabad the second-noisiest city?
  3. Why are measurements of noise important?
  4. What is India doing about noise pollution?
  5. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

What was the controversy?

  • The first chapter of the report, called Frontiers 2022: Noise, Blazes and Mismatches, deals with noise.
  • It compiles studies about noise levels in several cities around the world and illustrates a subset of 61 cities and the range of dB (decibel) levels that have been measured.
  • Delhi, Jaipur, Kolkata, Asansol and Moradabad are the five Indian cities mentioned in this list and Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh was shown as having a dB range from 29 to 114.
  • At a maximum value of 114, it was the second-most-noisiest city in the list. The first was Dhaka, Bangladesh at a maximum value of 119 dB.
  • While road traffic, industry and high population density are well-known factors associated with high dB levels, the inclusion of Moradabad appeared strange because similar studies in the past had never suggested it to be an unusually noisy city.
  • There was no mention of the city in any of the scientific reports listed out in the bibliography of sources.

So, is Moradabad the second-noisiest city?

  • The author of that chapter said that the confusion stemmed from errors in the bibliography.
  • The actual study linked to Moradabad was: “Assessment of noise level status in different areas of Moradabad city” by Avnish Chauhan, of the Graphic Era Hill University, Dehradun.
  • Incidentally this study was published in 2010 and, as is routine in many studies measuring noise levels, involved measurements in different parts of the city: residential areas, industrial areas and commercial places during the day and night.
  • The 114 measurement was an average of measurements reported from a factory in an industrial zone.
  • Author added that inferring Moradabad to be the ‘second-noisiest city’ was incorrect because the list of cities whose values were illustrated were only indicative.
  • The noise indicators that the different studies/reports included weren’t “necessarily consistent/harmonised and it was generated simply as an example of the spread of noise values that different people have observed in different cities over time in different places.”

Why are measurements of noise important?

  • The most recent World Health Organization (WHO) standards from 2018 established a health-protective limit of 53 decibels for road traffic noise.
  • Noise has a variety of negative consequences on public health, ranging from minor and transitory discomfort to severe and persistent physical damage.
  • Noise at night disrupts sleep and has a negative impact on one’s well-being the next day.
  • According to estimates, 22 million and 6.5 million people in Europe suffer from chronic noise irritation and sleep disruption, respectively.
  • Noise-induced sleep disturbance is especially dangerous for the elderly, pregnant women, and shift workers. Because sleep is required for hormone control and cardiovascular function, noise-induced awakenings can generate a variety of physiological and psychological stress responses.
  • Exposure to traffic noise has been linked to the development of cardiovascular and metabolic illnesses such as high blood pressure, arterial hypertension, coronary heart disease, and diabetes.
  • Long-term environmental noise exposure causes 48,000 new cases of ischemic heart disease and 12,000 premature deaths in Europe per year.

What is India doing about noise pollution?

  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is mandated to track noise levels, set standards as well as ensure, via their State units, that sources of excessive noise are controlled.
  • The agency has a manual monitoring system where sensors are installed in major cities and few cities have the facility to track noise levels in real time. The CPCB also measures noise levels before and after Diwali in major cities, to publicise the impact of firecrackers.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

  • The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is a leading global environmental authority established in 1972 and Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • It sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for global environment protection.

The UNEP Publishes:

  • Emission Gap Report,
  • Global Environment Outlook,
  • Frontiers,
  • Invest into Healthy Planet.

NFC Technology For Instant Payments


Google Pay has recently launched a new feature in India, ‘Tap to pay for UPI’, in collaboration with Pine Labs. The feature makes use of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.


GS III- Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is NFC and how does it work?
  2. How will this technology work with the recently launched feature, ‘Tap to pay for UPI’?
  3. Applications of NFC technology

What is NFC and how does it work?

  • NFC is a short-range wireless connectivity technology that allows NFC-enabled devices to communicate with each other and transfer information quickly and easily with a single touch — whether to pay bills, exchange business cards, download coupons, or share a document.
  • NFC transmits data through electromagnetic radio fields, to enable communication between two devices.
  • Both devices must contain NFC chips, as transactions take place within a very short distance.
  • NFC-enabled devices must be either physically touching or within a few centimetres from each other for data transfer to occur.

How safe is this technology ?

  • NFC technology is designed for an operation between devices within a few centimetres from each other.
  • This makes it difficult for attackers to record the communication between the devices compared to other wireless technologies which have a working distance of several metres, according to the NFC forum, a non-profit industry association.
  • The user of the NFC-enabled device determines by the touch gesture which entity the NFC communication should take place with, making it more difficult for the attacker to get connected.
  • The security level of the NFC communication is by default higher compared to other wireless communication protocols.
  • The NFC Forum has also added Peer to Peer communication which is a mechanism to cipher all exchanged data to avoid external interpretation of recorded communication. S
  • ince the receiving device reads your data the instant you send it, NFCs also reduce the chance of human error, according to investopedia.

How will this technology work with the recently launched feature, ‘Tap to pay for UPI’?

  • Google Pay has been the first among UPI apps to bring the Tap to Pay feature working on POS terminals.
  • It will allow users with UPI accounts configured on Google Pay to make payments just by tapping their NFC-enabled Android smartphones on any Pine Labs Android POS terminal.
  • Once users tap their phones on the POS terminal, it will automatically open the Google pay app with the payment amount pre-filled.
  • Users can then verify the amount and merchant name and authenticate the payment, using their UPI PIN. They will be notified once the payment is successful, Google told The Hindu.
  • The process is much faster compared to scanning a QR code or entering the UPI-linked mobile number which has been the conventional way till now.

Applications of NFC technology

  • NFC tech has a wide range of applications besides driving payment services like Google Wallet and Apple Pay. It is used in contactless banking cards to perform money transactions or to generate contact-less tickets for public transport.
  • Contactless cards and readers use NFC in several applications from securing networks and buildings to monitoring inventory and sales, preventing auto theft, keeping tabs on library books, and running unmanned toll booths.
  • NFC is behind the cards that we wave over card readers in subway turnstiles and on buses to check tickets. It is present in speakers, household appliances, and other electronic devices that we monitor and control through our smartphones.
  • With just a touch, NFC can also set up WiFi and Bluetooth devices in our homes.
  • It also has an application in healthcare, to monitor patient stats through NFC-enabled wristbands.
  • NFC is used in wireless charging too.

Death Penalty


While hearing death sentence appeals since September 2021, the Supreme Court has repeatedly expressed concern over the manner in which trial courts and High Courts have carried out sentencing with very little (relevant) information.


GS-II: Polity and Constitution (Judiciary, Important Judgements)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Death Penalty/Capital Punishment?
  2. Capital Punishment in India
  3. Bachan Singh vs. State of Punjab (1980) judgement on Capital Punishment
  4. How capital punishment goes against the Principle of Natural justice?
  5. Bringing up Collective conscience of society
  6. What is Collective Conscience of Society?
  7. J.S. Verma Committee and A P Shah Committee

What is Death Penalty/Capital Punishment?

  • Capital punishment, also called the death penalty, is the execution of an offender sentenced to death after conviction by a court of law of a criminal offence.
  • It is the highest penalty awardable to an accused.
  • Generally, it is awarded in extremely severe cases of murder, rapes, treason etc.

Arguments in Favour of Death Penalty

  • Arguments along the lines of “Retribution” state that real justice requires people to suffer for their wrongdoing and to suffer in a way appropriate for the crime. One of the key principles of retribution is that people should get what they deserve in proportion to the severity of their crime.
  • Capital punishment is often justified with the argument that by executing convicted murderers, we will deter would-be murderers from killing people.
  • It is often argued that the death penalty provides closure for victims’ families.
  • There are many examples of persons condemned to death taking the opportunity of the time before execution to repent, express remorse, and very often experience profound spiritual rehabilitation.

Arguments Against Death Penalty

  • The statistical evidence doesn’t confirm that deterrence works. Some capital crimes are committed in such an emotional state that the perpetrator did not think about the possible consequences. Death has been prescribed in rape cases since 2013 (Sec. 376A of IPC), still, rapes continue to happen and in fact, the brutality of rapes has increased manifold. This compels one to think of the death penalty is an effective deterrent to crime.
  • The most common argument against capital punishment is that sooner or later, innocent people may get killed, because of mistakes or flaws in the justice system. According to Amnesty International – “As long as human justice remains fallible, the risk of executing the innocent can never be eliminated.”
  • People who oppose Capital punishment are of the view that retribution is immoral, and it is just a sanitised form of vengeance.
  • Death has been abolished as a form of punishment in most of the developed countries. The UN Secretary General’s report on the death penalty presented to the Human Rights Council held that “some 170 States have abolished or introduced a moratorium on the death penalty either in law or in practice, or have suspended executions for more than 10 years”.
  • Capital punishment doesn’t rehabilitate the prisoner and return them to society.

Capital Punishment in India

  • Prior to the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act (Cr PC) of 1955, the death penalty was the rule and life imprisonment an exception in India. Further, the courts were bound to give an explanation for awarding a lighter penalty than death for capital offences.
  • After the amendment of 1955 courts were at liberty to grant either death or life imprisonment. As per Section 354 (3) of the Cr PC, 1973 the courts are required to state reasons in writing for awarding the maximum penalty.In concurrence of this, a proposal for the scrapping of the death penalty was rejected by the Law Commission in its 35th report 1967.
  • The Indian Penal Code prescribes ‘death’ for offences such as
    • Waging war against the Government of India. (Sec. 121);
    • Abetting mutiny actually committed (Sec. 132);
    • Giving or fabricating false evidence upon which an innocent person suffers death. (Sec. 194);
    • Murder (Sec. 302);
  • Direct or indirect abetment of sati is punishable with Death penalty under the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987.
  • Under SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989 giving false evidence leading to the execution of an innocent member belonging to the SC or ST would attract the death penalty.
  • Besides these, rape of a minor below 12 years of age is punishable with death under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
  • Financing, producing, manufacturing as well as the sale of certain drugs attracts the death penalty for repeat offenders under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
  • Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967; Army, Navy and Air Force Acts also provide the death penalty for certain specified offences committed by members of the armed forces.

Bachan Singh vs. State of Punjab (1980) judgement on Capital Punishment

  • The Supreme Court in its 1980 judgment in Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab, where a Constitution bench of the Supreme Court was called upon to decide the constitutional validity of the capital punishment, had laid down the framework for sentencing to death.
  • The Supreme court had made it very clear that Capital punishment in India can be given only in rarest of rare cases.
  • It required the weighing of aggravating and mitigating circumstances relating to both the circumstances of the offence and the offender, to decide whether a person should be sentenced to death or given life imprisonment.
  • According to the Bachan Singh judgment, for a case to be eligible for the death sentence, the aggravating circumstances must outweigh the mitigating circumstances.
  • If the alternative punishment of life imprisonment can be “unquestionably foreclosed”, Only then can death penalty be imposed.
  • The Bachan Singh judgement recognized the age of the accused as a relevant mitigating circumstance.
  • While stating that honour killings fall within the “rarest of the rare” category, Court has recommended the death penalty be extended to those found guilty of committing “honour killings”, which deserve to be a capital crime.
  • The Supreme Court also recommended death sentences to be imposed on police officials who commit police brutality in the form of encounter killings.

What is mitigation, and what are mitigating factors?

  • A criminal trial has two stages —
    • the guilt stage
    • the sentencing stage.
  • Sentencing happens after the accused has been found guilty of the crime; this is the stage where punishment is determined. Therefore, anything presented or said during sentencing cannot be used to reverse or change the finding of guilt.
  • It is a fundamental tenet of criminal law that sentencing must be individualised, i.e, in the process of determining punishment, the judge must take into account individual circumstances of the accused.
  • It speaks to a very intuitive sense of justice that all our decisions and actions result from a complex interplay of various factors concerning our lives, and the emphasis is that such interplay is different for each individual.
  • The idea of mitigation is to give practical application to considerations of culpability and deservedness that are crucial to the moral idea of punishment.
  • Justice would be an incomplete idea if criminal law was incapable of considering an individual in all their complexity and the various factors that contributed to a set of decisions and actions in their lives.

How capital punishment goes against the Principle of Natural justice?

  • The first element, ‘protection of society,’ is not served by imposing the death sentence any better than by incarceration. This has been proven time and again as inmates have spent decades on death row, harming no one, but being brutalised by the inhuman punishment meted out to them.
  • Second, there are several factors which affect criminal activity and deterrence is only one of them.
  • In a UN survey, it was concluded that “capital punishment deters murder to a marginally greater extent than the threat of life imprisonment.”
  • It is not just statistics that prove the case against deterrence, so does logic. A reasonable man is deterred not by the gravity of the sentence but by the detectability of the crime.
  • Third, the facet of ‘reform and rehabilitation of the criminal’ is immediately nullified by the prospect of capital punishment
  • This leaves only the final element — ‘the retributive effect’. Killing should never be carried out based on the primal and emotive desire among human beings for revenge. Revenge is a personalised and emotional form of retribution, which often loses sight of proportionality.

Bringing up Collective conscience of society

  • ‘Collective conscience of society’ as a ground to justify death penalty was first used by the Supreme Court in the 1983 judgment of Machhi Singh v. State of Punjab.
  • In that case, the court held that when “collective conscience of society is shocked, it will expect the holders of the judicial power centre to inflict death penalty”.
  • ‘Collective Conscience of Society’ was also used in 2005 judgment in the Parliament attack case in which it awarded capital punishment to convict, Afzal Guru and 2017 judgment of the Supreme Court in the December 2012 Delhi gang rape case of Mukesh v. State of NCT of Delhi.

What is Collective Conscience of Society?

  • Collective consciousness (sometimes collective conscience or conscious) is a fundamental sociological concept that refers to the set of shared beliefs, ideas, attitudes, and knowledge that are common to a social group or society.
  • The collective consciousness informs our sense of belonging and identity, and our behavior.
  • In general, it does not refer to the specifically moral conscience, but to a shared understanding of social norms.
  • However, some experts say “Collective Conscience of Society”’ is an amorphous term, and is not possible to judicially determine what it means.

J.S. Verma Committee and A P Shah Committee

  • The Justice Verma Committee, which was formed days after the horrific Nirbhaya gangrape case in Delhi in December 2012 to review criminal law related to sexual assault, batted for enhanced punishment, including imprisoning one for the remainder of hi…
  • Justice J S Verma Committee and Law Commission had argued against executions, viewing it as a “regressive step” even in rarest of rare cases, as punishment “cannot be reduced to vengeance”.
  • The Justice Verma Committee said, “in the larger interests of society, and having regard to the current thinking in favour of abolition of the death penalty, and also to avoid the argument of any sentencing arbitrariness, we are not inclined to recommend the death penalty”.
  • The ‘262nd Report: The Death Penalty’ by the Commission headed by Justice (Retd) A P Shah in 2015 wanted abolition of death penalty for all crimes except terror cases while hoping that the move towards absolute abolition will be “swift and irreversible”.

Draft Indian Antarctic Bill


Nearly 40 years after India first signed the Antarctic Treaty, the government has brought in a draft Indian Antarctic Bill, 2020. Earth Sciences Minister tabled the draft Bill in Lok Sabha.


GS II- Government policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the Antarctica Bill?
  2. What is the Antarctica Treaty?
  3. What are the main provisions of the Bill?
  4. What are the prohibitions?
  5. What is the penalty system that has been introduced?

What is the Antarctica Bill?

  • The draft bill is the first domestic legislation with regard to Antarctica in India.
  • Twenty-seven countries including Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay and Venezuela already have domestic legislations on Antarctica. Many others, such as India, are now following suit.
  • While India has been sending expeditions to Antarctica for the past 40 years, these expeditions have been circumscribed by international law.
  • The Bill now puts into place a comprehensive list of regulations related to Antarctica, for such scientific expeditions, as well as for individuals, companies and tourists.
  • The Ministry has explained that it expects activity in Antarctica to increase in the coming years, making the enforcement of a domestic set of protocols essential.
  • A domestic legislation will further provide more validity to the Antarctic Treaty, and subsequent protocols, of which India is a signatory.
  • The most significant part of the Bill is extending the jurisdiction of Indian courts to Antarctica, for crimes on the continent by Indian citizens, or foreign citizens who are a part of Indian expeditions.
  • So far there was no recourse for crimes committed during an expedition, including crimes against the environment.

What is the Antarctica Treaty?

  • The Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1959 by 12 countries — Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, French Republic, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Union of South Africa, USSR, the UK of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the US of America, and came into force in 1961.
  • The Treaty covers the area south of 60°S latitude.
  • Currently, 54 nations are signatories to the Antarctic Treaty, but only 29 nations have a right to vote at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings – this includes India.
  • India signed the Antarctic Treaty in 1983 and received consultative status the same year.
  • The Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) was set up in 1980 for the protection and preservation of the Antarctic environment and, in particular, for the preservation and conservation of marine living resources in Antarctica.
  • The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1991 and came into force in 1998.
    •  It designates Antarctica as a “natural reserve, devoted to peace and science”.

Objective of the treaty:

To demilitarize Antarctica and establish it as a zone used for peaceful research activities and to set aside any disputes regarding territorial sovereignty, thereby ensuring international cooperation.

What are the main provisions of the Bill?

Extending of jurisdiction of Indian courts:

  • While the most significant provision of the Bill remains the extending of jurisdiction of Indian courts to Antarctica, and the investigation and trial for crimes committed on the Arctic continent, the Bill is a comprehensive document of regulations, particularly keeping in mind environmental protection and the fragile nature of the region.

Permit system:

  • The Bill introduces an elaborate permit system for any expedition or individual who wishes to visit the continent.
  • These permits will be issued by a Committee that will be set up by the government.
  • The Committee will comprise of the Secretary Earth Sciences ministry and will also have officials from Defence, Ministry of External Affairs, Finance, Fisheries, Legal Affairs, Science and Technology, Shipping, Tourism, Environment, Communication and Space ministries along with a member from the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research and National Security Council Secretariat and experts on Antarctica.
  • The permits can be cancelled by the Committee if deficiencies are found or activities in contravention of the law are detected.

Commercial fishing

  • While India does not carry out commercial fishing in the area, since every country has an allotted quota, the Bill now provides for this activity.
  • However, strict guidelines are in place in accordance with international law.

Tourism activity

  • Like fishing, while India does not carry out any tourism activity in the region, and very few Indian tourists visit Antarctica, when they do, they do so through foreign tour operators.
  • Antarctica receives a number of tourists from foreign countries.
  • The Bill now enables Indian tour operators to operate in Antarctica, although, like for commercial fishing, this is circumscribed by strict regulations.
  • The Bill further enlists elaborate standards for environmental protection as well as waste management.

What are the prohibitions?

  • The Bill prohibits drilling, dredging, excavation or collection of mineral resources or even doing anything to identify where such mineral deposits occur — the only exception is for scientific research with a granted permit.
  • Damaging of native plants, flying or landing helicopters or operating vessels that could disturb birds and seals, using firearms that could disturb the birds and animals, remove soil or any biological material native to Antarctica, engage in any activity that could adversely change the habitat of birds and animals, kill, injure or capture any bird or animal have been strictly prohibited.
  • The introduction of animals, birds, plants or microscopic organisms that are not native to Antarctica are also prohibited. Extraction of species for scientific research needs to be done through a permit. The central government can also appoint an officer to carry out inspections.

What is the penalty system that has been introduced?

  • The draft Bill proposes the setting up of a separate designated court to try crimes committed in Antarctica.
  • The Bill further sets high penal provisions — the lowest penalty comprising an imprisonment between one-two years and a penalty of Rs 10-50 lakh.
  • Extraction of any species native to Antarctica, or introduction of an exotic species to the continent can draw imprisonment of seven years and a fine of Rs 50 lakh.
  • For dumping of nuclear waste or a nuclear explosion, the imprisonment can range between 20 years to life imprisonment with a fine of Rs 50 crore.

Central Bureau of Investigation


The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has recently come under intense public scrutiny, according to Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana. Its actions and inactions have sparked doubts about its credibility.

  • The CJI has recommended an umbrella, independent, and autonomous investigative body in order to overhaul law enforcement agencies.


GS-II: Polity and Constitution, Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
  2. Functions of CBI
  3. Challenges of CBI

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was set up in 1963 after the recommendation of Santhanam committee under Ministry of Home affairs and was later transferred to the Ministry of Personnel and now it enjoys the status of an attached office.
  • Now, the CBI comes under the administrative control of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
  • The CBI derives its powers from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, however, it is NOT a Statutory Body.
  • CBI is the apex anti-corruption body in the country – Along with being the main investigating agency of the Central Government it also provides assistance to the Central Vigilance Commission and Lokpal.
  • The CBI is required to obtain the prior approval of the Central Government before conducting any inquiry or investigation.
  • The CBI is also the nodal police agency in India which coordinates investigations on behalf of Interpol Member countries.
  • The CBI’s conviction rate is as high as 65 to 70% and it is comparable to the best investigation agencies in the world.
  • The CBI is headed by a Director and he is assisted by a special director or an additional director. It has joint directors, deputy inspector generals, superintendents of police.

CBI has following divisions

  • Anti-Corruption Division
  • Economic Offences Division
  • Special Crimes Division
  • Policy and International Police Cooperation Division
  • Administration Division
  • Directorate of Prosecution
  • Central Forensic Science Laboratory

Functions of CBI

  • Investigating cases of corruption, bribery and misconduct of Central government employees
  • Investigating cases relating to infringement of fiscal and economic laws, that is, breach of laws concerning export and import control, customs and central excise, income tax, foreign exchange regulations and so on. However, such cases are taken up either in consultation with or at the request of the department concerned.
  • Investigating serious crimes, having national and international ramifications, committed by organized gangs of professional criminals.
  • Coordinating the activities of the anti-corruption agencies and the various state police forces.
  • Taking up, on the request of a state government, any case of public importance for investigation.
  • Maintaining crime statistics and disseminating criminal information.
  • The CBI acts as the “National Central Bureau” of Interpol in India.

Challenges of CBI

  • The CBI has been dubbed a “caged parrot speaking in its master’s voice” by the Supreme Court of India due to excessive political influence in its operations. It has frequently been utilised by the government to conceal misdeeds, keep coalition allies in line, and keep political opponents at away. It has been accused of massive delays in concluding investigations, such as in its investigation into high-ranking Jain dignitaries in the Jain hawala diaries case [in the 1990s].
  • Loss of Credibility: Improving the agency’s image has been one of the most difficult challenges so far, as the agency has been chastised for its mishandling of several high-profile cases, including the Bofors scandal, the Hawala scandal, the Sant Singh Chatwal case, the Bhopal gas tragedy, and the 2008 Noida double murder case (Aarushi Talwar).
  • Lack of Accountability: CBI is exempt from the Right to Information Act, which means it is not accountable to the public.
  • Acute staff shortage: One of the key causes of the shortfall is the government’s mishandling of the CBI’s employees, which includes an inefficient and inexplicably biassed recruitment policy that was utilised to bring in favoured officials, possibly to the organization’s damage.
  • Limited Authority: Members of the CBI’s investigative powers and jurisdiction are subject to the consent of the State Government, restricting the scope of the CBI’s inquiry.
  • Restricted Access: Obtaining prior authorisation from the Central Government to initiate an inquiry or probe into Central Government workers at the level of Joint Secretary and above is a major impediment to tackling corruption at the highest levels of government.

Look Out Notice


Delhi High Court on Friday sought the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED’s) response on journalist Rana Ayyub’s challenge to its action of restraining her from leaving the country. Ayyub was stopped in Mumbai based on a look out circular (LOC) issued by the ED, which is investigating her in a case of alleged money laundering.


GS II- Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Look out notice?
  2. Who can issue an LOC?

What is Look out notice?

  • An LOC is issued to make sure that an individual who is absconding or wanted by law enforcement agencies is not able to leave the country.
  •  It is mostly used at immigration checkpoints at international airports and seaports by the immigration branch.
  • In certain cases, the police can approach a court asking for the restriction of a person’s movement outside the country, when that person is a suspect and there is an apprehension that they may not join the investigation at a later stage.
  • The subject of an LOC can challenge the circular and get relief from a court.

Who can issue an LOC?

  • An LOC can be initiated by a large number of authorised officers, including an officer not below the rank of deputy secretary, an officer not below the rank of joint secretary in the state government, a district magistrate or superintendent of police, designated officers of various law enforcing and security agencies, a designated officer of Interpol, an officer not below the rank of additional director in the Serious Fraud Investigation Office, and the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
  • In 2018, the government also empowered the heads of public sector banks to directly request the authorities to issue an LOC against wilful defaulters to prevent them from leaving the country.
  • So now, an officer not below the rank of chairman/managing director/chief executive of any public sector bank can make a request.
  • An LOC can be modified/deleted/withdrawn by the Bureau of Immigration only on the specific request of the authorised originator on whose request the LOC was issued.


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