Reading Time: 7 mins Electing a government to govern the nation/states for the next five years by casting vote in a polling booth is an onerous responsibility on the shoulders of every voter in a democratic country. Unfortunately, even after seven decades of independence and numerous elections held in the country so far, despite extensive appeals by the Election Commission, government and other celebrities, large number of voters still perceive, voting is an optional luxury enjoying low priority. According to the 255th Law Commission Report, “Electoral right” of the voter includes the right to “vote or refrain from voting at an election.” The Representation of People Act, 1951 – the law that governs elections also talks of “right to vote rather than a duty to vote”. Last year, in the monsoon session of parliament, Lok Sabha members expressed diverse views on a private member’s bill seeking compulsory voting.
Reading Time: 4 mins Recently, Parliament has passed the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill 2020 (FCRA) in its monsoon session which would greatly tighten and restrict the existing Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). Though The bill is receiving backslash from the NGOs and the Opposition with regards to the encroachment of NGOs financial administration, it has been passed with a view of increasing transparency in the working of an organization receiving foreign funds.
Reading Time: 7 mins The Monsoon session of Parliament, which got delayed by several months due to the Covid-19 pandemic has begun recently. Similar to the last many sessions, Parliamentary disruptions once again became the common feature of Indian Parliamentary proceedings. A no-confidence motion against the Deputy Chairman is a first in Parliament and it is also an event which stood out in this Monsoon session of the Parliament. Though the Monsoon Session of Parliament began with the election for the post of deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha still lacks a deputy speaker. The post has been vacant for the last 456 days and is a record.
Reading Time: 12 mins With the retirement of Justice Arun Mishra on September 2, not only the strength of the Supreme Court judges will get reduced to 30 from the total 34 but the regional imbalance will get further accentuated. As many as nine high courts are not represented at all in the apex court and with Justice Mishra’s retirement, this will rise to 10. Justice Mishra belongs to the state of Madhya Pradesh and he is currently the only representative from the state. The high courts of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim and Odisha have no judges in the Supreme Court currently. In this context the way in which the system of appointments is currently functioning needs a serious rethinking as advocated by recent survey published in May 2020 by Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy with a majority of the surveyed advocates demanding greater transparency in its operation.
Reading Time: 7 mins A 5-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court reopened the debate on quota within quota for SCs and STs by supporting their sub-classification to ensure equality in the upliftment of all within the marginalised community. Disagreeing with another SC verdict on the same subject, the case was referred to a larger bench comprising of 7 judges or more.
Reading Time: 8 mins With water issues getting special attention since the beginning of the 17th Lok Sabha, there have been many initiatives and policies for water resources and their management. The three bills concerned with river water and its management are in line with the current emphasis. The three bills brought to bring much-needed reorientation in the river dispute and dam safety regime have been under the scanner due to an important constitutional value-Federalism.
Reading Time: 8 mins Prime Minister Narendra Modi In his seventh Independence Day speech at Red Fort, stressed upon several aspects about the development of women in India including his government’s resolve to revise the minimum age at which women can legally get married in India. He has announced that the central government has set up a committee to reconsider the minimum age of marriage for women, which are currently 18. Though there is ambiguity in available data, the recent trends show that in nearly one-third of marriages in India women are aged less than 21.
Reading Time: 9 mins The Major Ports Authorities Bill, 2020 which was introduced in the Lok Sabha in March 2020 is the next in line reform measure in an attempt to modernize and optimize the working of major public sector infrastructure. The Bill attempts to bring major reforms in the administration and working of Major ports in India as it is poised to grow very fast in the upcoming period on account of a major focus on the indigenous manufacturing sector and larger developmental needs.
Reading Time: 6 mins The COVID-19 crisis has affected businesses across India in various ways like a drop in demand, labour shortage, supply chain disruption, etc. One of the impacts of the crisis is on the firms’ ability to fulfil obligations under various contracts in India. In this context, firms are looking at the ‘Force Majeure’ clause to provide respite in times of such unforeseen crises not only in the present but also in the future.