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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | 18th November ’21 | PDF Download

There’s a need for transparency in transfer of judges | IE

  • Article 222 of the Constitution deals with the transfer of judges
  • The President may, after consultation with the Chief Justice of India (CJI), transfer a judge from one high court to another.
  • From being at the helm at the Madras High Court, India’s fourth-largest court with a sanctioned strength of 75 judges, he is being sent to the Meghalaya High Court with a sanctioned strength of only four.
  • All high courts are equal and high court judges across the country enjoy the same powers and privileges.
  • The 1970s witnessed the supersession of multiple judges in the appointment of the CJI and also the transfer of several High Court Judges.
  • Post-Emergency, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court interpreted Article 222 in the Sankalchand H Sheth case.
  • While concurring with the majority, Justice P N Bhagwati held that the transfer of a judge from one court to another inflicts many injuries on the individual.
  • He noted that the consent of the judge proposed to be transferred was part of the scheme and language of Article 222.
  • He also held that if the power of transfer is vested solely with the executive, it undermines judicial independence and eats into the basic features of the Constitution.
  • Subsequently, the Supreme Court decided three cases popularly known as the “First, Second and Third Judges’ Cases”, which interpreted Article 222 and its working.
  • Cumulatively, the First and Second Judges’ cases resulted in the formation of the Collegium System by interpreting “consultation” with the CJI to really mean “concurrence”.
  • Such concurrence is of the Supreme Court as an institution and is arrived at by the CJI upon discussion with the two senior-most judges.
  • The Third Judges’ case expanded the collegium to include the five senior-most judges, including the CJI.
  • In 1994, between the Second and Third Judges’ cases, the K Ashok Reddy case was filed in the Supreme Court dealing specifically with the question of transfer of judges of high courts.
  • The contention raised therein was that such transfers were likely to be influenced by “extraneous considerations leading to arbitrariness resulting in erosion of the independence of the judiciary”.
  • The three judges in the K Ashok Reddy case, who were all also a part of the nine-judge bench in the Second Judges’ case, were satisfied that all the contentions raised had been adequately covered by the Second Judges’ Case and held that the absence of norms and guidelines in Article 222 seemed to be deliberate, as the power is vested in high constitutional functionaries, “and it was expected of them to develop requisite norms by convention in actual working”.
  • This case also held that the power of transfer can be exercised only in “public interest”, for promoting “better administration of justice throughout the country”.
  • If transfers are based on “public interest” then does the public not have a right to know such reasons?
  • Shouldn’t the material that is considered before or when the transfer of a judge is being deliberated be shared with the concerned judge and all stakeholders?
  • Judges speak primarily through their decisions.
  • When reasons for transfer are not known, it leads to speculation that only “inconvenient” judges get transferred.
  • The objective here is not to question the collective wisdom of the Collegium.
  • But when the judiciary misses no opportunity to uphold the basic structure doctrine and preserve at all cost its independence, there is a need for transparency in judicial functioning to dispel all notions of favouritism, bias or governmental interference.
  • Is this not also in “public interest” and for the larger good of the judicial institution?

Pick-up signs | IE

  • Trade data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on Monday reveals that India’s merchandise exports have continued their stellar performance.
  • Exports were up 43 per cent in October over the previous year, and 36 per cent above their pre pandemic level
  • Cumulatively, for the first seven months of this year, April to October, they stood at $233.54 billion, suggesting that India’s exports may well be on track to hit the $400 billion mark this year.
  • Coming at a time when uncertainty over the underlying drivers of growth lingers on — domestic demand and investment remain subdued, and the ability of government spending to drive growth on a sustained basis is limited — a sustained, robust growth in exports could provide the much needed fillip to the Indian economy.
  • The country’s exports have benefitted from a stronger than expected global recovery.
  • As per the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, global trade is expected to be 28 per cent higher this year.
  • Disaggregated data shows that the major drivers of India’s export growth so far this year have been petroleum products, gems and jewellery, engineering and electronic goods, and organic and inorganic chemicals — categories which, according to CRISIL, have the greatest responsiveness to global growth.
  • On the other hand, import growth too has been fairly healthy.
  • Imports in October were up 62.5 per cent from last year, and 45.7 per cent over their 2019 levels.
  • For the April-October period, non-oil non-gold imports, which can be used as a gauge for domestic demand, were up 36 per cent over the pre pandemic levels.
  • Thus the sustainability of such growth is debatable.
  • Moreover, global trade is increasingly being affected by production and supply disruptions, and there are signs of the momentum in demand showing fatigue in some countries.
  • After some hesitation, the government appears to be recalibrating its approach towards trade agreements.
  • These may be precursors to larger, more comprehensive free trade agreements
  • Simultaneously, the government should also reexamine its tariff policy, and pivot away from protectionism.
  • At this critical juncture, the policy thrust must be to enhance export competitiveness, and seek deeper integration with global value chains.

The bathwater and the baby | FE

  • The government’s approach to data regulation needs an overhaul.
  • Future legislation—including the Data Protection Bill—needs to account for not only concerns regarding data privacy but the benefits of open data too.
  • The collection and sharing of data, with the necessary privacy protection protocols in place, holds immense societal and economic value—worth 172.30 billion euros across the EU27 in 2019.
  1. Officials are yet to see the value public data generates beyond reducing corruption and enhancing transparency.
  2. There has been too much focus on privacy in policy debate, leading to a more cautious approach to data-sharing efforts.
  • To overcome these, the state must institutionalise its role of generator and disseminator.
  • Non-personal datasets containing information on the economy and specific sectors should be publicly available at granular levels.
  • Communicating such data in machine-friendly formats in addition to applying privacy-protecting techniques is key to their ultimate usability.
  • If such efforts are implemented, researchers and civil society at large can complement them by linking, studying and providing insights to improve service-delivery based on the data provided.
  • Moreover, it can help encourage reuse of such datasets by start-ups and other companies, promoting innovation in the wider economy, as it has in Europe.
  • Privacy of our citizens should come first, but there are ways to pursue open data initiatives that promote innovation while minimising privacy-related risks.
  • The DataSmart Cities programme led by the ministry of housing and urban affairs has illustrated that building data capacity within ULBs can benefit governance via the publication and innovative use of data.
  • Surat has benefited, having been able to deploy newly developed data skills in its response to COVID-19.
  • Going forward, the data policy community and the government need to take a fresh look at what government data can do for society.
  • The civil society must engage constructively with the role data can play in improving outcomes for society and have pragmatic conversations about the balance between these and privacy.

Financial News

  • The government has told the Supreme Court the Cabinet will take a call on withdrawing its appeal against a telecom tribunal order, which backed the stance of telcos that one-time spectrum charge (OTSC) should be levied only prospectively.
  • A two-judge bench headed by Justice MR Shah granted two weeks to the government.
  • It comes just a couple of months after the government announced a relief package for the debt-laden sector, specifically cash-strapped Vodafone Idea (Vi).
  • Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday exhorted India Inc to start taking risks and begin investing in new capacity, while asserting the need for the country to become self-reliant after the pandemic highlighted the risks of dependence on imports.
  • She said the festive season demand had been good, though the automobile and mobile phone industry could not benefit from the ‘revenge shopping’ because of semiconductor and container shortages.
  • She said the income disparity or import bill could not be reduced without industry support.
  • The finance minister said the country will need to build manufacturing centres at scale to reduce such import dependency.


  • PM Modi addresses The Sydney Dialogue; calls upon all democratic nations to work together on crypto-currency
  • PM to inaugurate First Global Innovation Summit of Pharmaceuticals sector today
  • Cabinet gives nod for 4G mobile services in over 7,000 uncovered villages of 44 Aspirational Districts across five states
  • Winter Session of Parliament to begin from November 29
  • Entry of trucks carrying non-essential items banned in Delhi to curb air pollution
  • India’s COVID vaccination coverage crosses 114 crore 37 lakh mark
  • Civil Aviation Ministry allows airlines to serve food and magazines in all domestic flights
  • V Prez M Venkaiah Naidu emphasises the need to ensure affordable & accessible healthcare for all
  • India has emerged as one of fastest-growing innovation-led economies in world: Dr Jitendra Singh
  • Jal Shakti Ministry to launch ‘Water Heroes’ contest from 1st December

Q.) Which famous historian and Padma Visbhushan awardee passed away on Monday?

  • Balwant Mreshwar Purandare
  • Irfan Habib
  • Ramchandra Guha
  • Romila Thapar


Q.) Which city will house the National Institute of Fashon Technology’s (NIFT) largest campus in the country?

  • Srinagar
  • Jodhpur
  • Chennai
  • Hyderabad


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