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Daily Category  (Polity)

Rajya Sabha election and Election Commission 


  • The Kerala High Court has directed the Election Commission (EC) to hold elections to three Rajya Sabha seats from the state before the term of the current Assembly ends.

How did this reach the High Court?

  • Three Rajya Sabha seats going to fall vacant on April 21.

  • The election was to be notified on March 24, with voting and the result scheduled on April 12.

  • On March 24, however, the EC announced to keep in abeyance. This was to examine a reference received from the Law Ministry.  

  • Kerala Legislative Assembly Secretary S Sharma, a CPM MLA, challenged the EC’s decision in the High Court.

  • He argued that since the 14th Legislative Assembly of Kerala is still in place, the EC has no justifiable reason for putting the elections on hold.

Law Ministry’s reference:

  • Law Ministry had written to the EC suggesting that it wait until May 2, when the new Assembly will be in place.

  • Since voting in Kerala would be ended on April 6, holding elections to the Rajya Sabha seats on April 12 (before the announcement of results on May 2) “may not reflect the will of the people”.

EC’s Opinion:

  • Earlier EC concurred that it would be “constitutionally just and proper” that the new Assembly should elect the three new MPs.

  • However, EC said that it is not concerned with which assembly votes for the election as its constitutional duty is to conduct the elections at the earliest.

  • Date of expiration of the current assembly though may be a relevant factor it cannot be the sole basis to determine schedule.

High Court’s Order and Lega Principles:

  • Court referred Representation of People’s Act and Article 80 (4) of the Constitution.

  • EC’s intention is not to keep the seats unfilled but to complete the process of election before the retirement of the members, so as to have the full strength of members in the Upper House to represent the State.

  • A different view is warranted only when there is any law-and-order situation or any practical impossibility.

  • The power to amend or extend the schedule is not to be invoked normally. Such circumstances are not available in the present case.

  • It ordered EC to expedite the proceedings so as to see that the representation in the Upper House from Kerala is always in full swing.

EC’s powers and High Court

  • Under Article 324 of the Constitution, deciding the schedule of an election is the exclusive domain of the EC.

    • It can’t be subject to any law framed by the Parliament.

  • Once a schedule is announced, courts do not have the jurisdiction to make changes to it.

  • However, the EC’s powers are not unbridled.

  • In 1993, the Supreme Court had ruled that EC’s power is “judicially reviewable,” and the review can be done depending on the facts and circumstances of each case.

Election Commission of India (Article 324):

  • The Constitution of India provides the Election Commission of India with the power of direction, superintendence, and control of elections to

    • Parliament,

    • State legislatures,

    • Office of president of India, and

    • Office of vice-president of India.

  • Thus, the commission is responsible for both the center’s and the states’ elections.

Powers and Functions:

  • The commission determines the territorial area of the electoral constituencies in accordance with the Delimitation Commission Act.

  • The commission authorized to receives and scrutinizes the nomination papers from all the candidates in the elections.

  • It also prepares and notifies the schedule of the election, prepares the electoral rolls, and revises them from time to time.

  • The commission registers political parties and grants recognition to them. It also provides election symbols to the political parties.

  • Status of national or state parties to the political parties on the basis of their performance in the elections is provided by the election commission.

SOURCE: Indian Express

Chief Election Commissioner


  • President Ram Nath Kovind appointed Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra to take over as Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) from Sunil Arora, whose tenure ended on April 12.

Sushil Chandra as 24th CEC:

  • Sushil Chandra took office as an Election Commissioner on February 15, 2019, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, after retiring as the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

    • Under his leadership, CBDT launched “Operation Clean Money” in 2017 in a bid to curb illegal wealth and black money.

  • Tenure: He is set to demit office on May 14, 2022.

  • Chandra will be the 24th head of the Election Commission.

  • He will oversee the conduct of assembly polls in Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

Election Commission

  • A Permanent and an Independent body to ensure Free and Fair Elections in the Country.

  • Article 324 → Power of Superintendence, Direction and Control of Elections to

  1. Parliament

  2. State legislatures

  3. Office of President of India

  4. Office of Vice-President of India 

  • Election Commission → An All-India body.

  • Not concerned with the elections to

    • Panchayats and

    • Municipalities 

Election Commissioners:

  • Article 324 → Composition of Election Commission:

  • Election Commission → Consists of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) + Other Election Commissioners (EC) as the President fix.

  • Appointment of the CEC and ECs → President.

  • When other EC appointed → CEC act as the Chairman 

  • President → Appoint Regional Commissioners after consultation with the Election Commission 

  • President → Determine Conditions of Service and Tenure of office of the Election Commissioners and the Regional Commissioners.

  • Till today → Election Commission functioning as a multi-member body (3 Election Commissioners).

  • CEC+ two other EC → Equal Powers and receive equal Salary, Allowances and other perquisites (similar to a Judge of the Supreme Court).

  • Difference of opinion → by Majority.

  • Office → 6 years or age of 65 years 

  • Can resign (any time) or can be removed before the expiry of their term.

SOURCE: The Hindu

Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021.


  • Recently, President of India has promulgated the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021.

  • Madras Bar Association case: Supreme Court last year gave directions make such changes.


  • Dissolve few appellate bodies: The ordinance seeks to dissolve certain existing appellate bodies.

    • And transfer their functions to other existing judicial bodies.

  • Centre to make rules: It seeks to empower the Central Government to make rules for

    • Qualifications,

    • Appointment,

    • Term of office,

    • Salaries and allowances,

    • Resignation,

    • Removal and   

    • Terms and conditions of service of Members of Tribunals.

  • Appointment: Chairperson and Members of the Tribunals will be appointed by the Central Government.

    • On the recommendation of a Search-cum-Selection Committee.

  • Search-cum-Selection Committee: To be headed by the Chief Justice of India or a Judge of Supreme Court nominated by him.

  • Tenure: Chairperson of a Tribunal shall hold office for a term of 4 years or till he attains the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.

    • Other Members: 4 years or age of 67 years

  • Dissolve Tribunals/ Appellate Authorities:

    • Airport Appellate Tribunal established under the Airport Authority of India Act, 1994.

    • Appellate Board established under the Trade Marks Act, 1999.

    • Authority for Advance Ruling established under the Income Tax Act, 1961.

    • Film Certification Appellate Tribunal established under the Cinematograph Act, 1952.

  • Now, High Courts and certain other bodies will be the appellate bodies.



Constitutional provisions:

  • Not originally part of the Constitution.

  • 42nd Amendment Act: Introduced on basis of Swaran Singh Committee.

    • Introduced Part XIV-A to the Constitution, which deals with ‘Tribunals’ and contains two articles:

  • Article 323A: It deals with Administrative Tribunals.  

  • Article 323B: It deals with tribunals for other subjects such as Taxation, Industrial and labour, Foreign exchange, import and export, Land reforms, Food, Ceiling on urban property, Elections to Parliament and state legislatures, Rent and tenancy rights.

Article 323 A

Article 323 B

For public service matters only

For certain other matters like Taxation, Land reforms etc.

Established only by Parliament

By Parliament and state legislatures

No hierarchy of tribunals

Hierarchy of tribunals

SOURCE: The Hindu

Lok Adalats- Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism


  • Justice delayed is justice denied.

  • Access to justice for the poor is a constitutional mandate to ensure fair treatment under our legal system.

  • Hence, Lok Adalats (literally, ‘People’s Court’) were established to make justice accessible and affordable to all.

                                            ????? ?? ??? ????? ?????? ???? ??.

Lok Adalat:

  • It was a forum to address the problems of crowded case dockets outside the formal adjudicatory system.

  • The first National Lok Adalat (NLA) of 2021 will be held on April 10.

  • Lok Adalats had existed even before the concept received statutory recognition.

  • In 1949, Harivallabh Parikh, a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi, popularised them in Rangpur, Gujarat.

  • The 42nd Amendment Act, 1976, inserted Article 39A to ensure “equal justice and free legal aid”.

  • To this end, the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, was enacted by Parliament. It came into force in 1995:

    • To “provide free and competent legal services to weaker sections of the society” and

    • To “organise Lok Adalats to secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity”.

An alternative dispute resolution Mechanism:

  • As an alternative dispute resolution tool, Lok Adalats are regularly organised to help parties reach a compromise.

  • Matters usually taken up by Lok Adalats:

    • Motor-accident claims,

    • Disputes related to public-utility services,

    • Cases related to dishonour of cheques, and

    • Land, labour and matrimonial disputes (except divorce)

  • The State Legal Services Authorities (SLSAs) have been organising Lok Adalats on a daily, fortnightly and monthly basis.


  1. Amicable settlement: Due to endemic delays and excessive backlogs, litigants are forced to approach Lok Adalats mainly because it is a party-driven process, allowing them to reach an amicable settlement.

  2. Speed of settlement: When compared to other dispute resolution devices, such as arbitration and mediation, Lok Adalats offer parties speed of settlement, as cases are disposed of in a single day.

  3. Procedural flexibility: As there is no strict application of procedural laws such as the

    • Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and

    • Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

  4. Economic affordability: As there are no court fees for placing matters before the Lok Adalat;

  5. Finality of awards: As no further appeal is allowed. This prevents delays in settlement of disputes.

  6. Status of a civil court decree: More importantly, the award issued by a Lok Adalat, after the filing of a joint compromise petition, has the status of a civil court decree.

  7. Subject specific Experts: Subject matter-specific NLAs were organised in 2015 and 2016 on a monthly basis.

    • Therefore, each NLA dealt with a specific type of dispute on a single day, each month.

    • However, from 2017, this practice was discontinued.

    • This, in turn, led to a significant drop in the number of cases settled.

  8. Highly Efficient: NALSA data show that the average number of cases disposed of per NLA since 2017 has gone up even when the number of NLAs organised each year has reduced.

    • This proves that on average, the system is certainly efficient.

SPEED: Total case disposal:

  • Data from the NALSA show that Lok Adalats organised across the country from 2016 to 2020 disposed of 52,46,415 cases.

  • Similarly, National Lok Adalats (NLAs) organised under the aegis of NALSA settle a huge number of cases across the country in a single day.

  • For instance, NLAs conducted on February 8, 2020, disposed of 11,99,575 cases.

  • From 2016 to 2020, NLAs have disposed of a total of 2,93,19,675 cases.


  1. Quality of justice: However, besides efficiency and speed, Lok Adalats both online and offline should focus on the quality of justice delivered.

  2. Efficiency: As of now, Lok Adalats have been functioning for 38 years, but have they performed efficiently? Still more than 3 crores cases are pending in the country.

  3. Unjust compromises: Do they empower the poor or coerce them to accept unjust compromises? Do they trade justice off for high settlement numbers and speed, ignoring the old dictum that justice hurried is justice buried?

  4. Dual system of justice dispensation: Have we tailored a dual system of justice dispensation, where the formal legal system, i.e., the court, is meant only for the rich and powerful.

    • As was recently stated by former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi?  .

  5. Harmony ideology: Similarly, poor women under the so-called ‘harmony ideology’ of the state are virtually dictated by family courts to compromise matrimonial disputes under a romanticised view of marriage.

  6. Bhopal gas tragedy: Even a disaster like the Bhopal gas tragedy was coercively settled for a paltry sum, with real justice still eluding thousands of victims.

Case Backlogs:

  • Endemic delays: The Indian judicial system is often lambasted, perhaps justifiably, for its endemic delays and excessive backlogs.

  • Old Cases backlog:

    • District and taluka courts: As per the National Judicial Data Grid, 16.9% of all cases in district and taluka courts are three to five years old;

    • High Courts: 20.4% of all cases are five to 10 years old, and over 17% are 10-20 years old.

  • No of Case backlog:

    • Over 66,000 cases are pending before the Supreme Court.

    • Over 57 lakh cases before various HCs.

    • Over 3 crore cases are pending before various district and subordinate courts.

  • Justice V.V.S. Rao, former judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, calculated a few years ago that it will take around 320 years to clear the existing backlog of cases.


Challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • e-Lok Adalats: To overcome the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, e-Lok Adalats were organised at both national and State level.

  • Physically v. Digital Lok Adalat: First national e-Lok Adalat was conducted both physically and virtually using video-conferencing tools, and it disposed of 10,42,816 cases.

    • But this was less than the average of settled cases in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

    • This suggests that the performance of the Digital Lok Adalat was less efficient than physical National Lok Adalats organised in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

  • e-Courts project: Once implemented, it may prove to be a game-changer in improving the efficiency of the adjudicatory process.

Conciliatory Role:

  • Jalour Singh v. State of Punjab vs-2008: The SC held that a Lok Adalat is purely conciliatory and it has no adjudicatory or judicial function.

  • Compromise undermines idea of justice: There is a concern, and perhaps a valid one, that in the endeavour for speedy disposal of cases, based on compromise, it undermines the idea of justice.

  • Discriminatory to Poor: In a majority of cases, litigants are pitted against entities with deep pockets, such as insurance companies, banks, electricity boards, among others.

    • In many cases, compromises are imposed on the poor who often have no choice but to accept them.

  • Quality of justice: However, besides efficiency and speed, Lok Adalats both online and offline should focus on the quality of justice delivered.


A just outcome of a legal process is far more important than expeditious disposal.

SOURCE: The Hindu

Sexual Harassment-MeToo Movement


  • Eight years into a law on sexual harassment at the workplace, we are still miles away from a “survivor-centred” approach.


Priya Ramani v. M.J. Akbar Case:

  • In February 2021, a trial court acquitted Priya Ramani in the criminal defamation case filed by her former boss and editor-turned-politician, MJ Akbar

    • She had accused him of sexual harassment during the #MeToo movement in 2018.

  • “Irreparable harm” to reputation: Depositions made in support of Akbar stated that Ramani’s testimonial caused “irreparable harm” to Akbar’s reputation.

    • Whereas Ramani’s recounting of her experience of sexual harassment was labelled as “malicious” and “scandalous”.

  • Established famous personality: It is curious how, Accused and their supporters are quick to establish how skilled the accused was in the field of journalism, law, humanitarian aid, filmmaking etc.

    • They may have been great professionals, but what is being scrutinised is unwelcome sexual behaviour, which left women feeling violated and unsafe.

  • Absence of Adequate Mechanisms: In Priya Ramani’s case, the Court acknowledged the absence of adequate mechanisms under legal guidelines and legislation

    • To report sexual harassment

    • At the time of the alleged incidents.

Three significant observations by Court in Priya Ramani Case:

  1. “It cannot be ignored that most of the time, the offence of sexual harassment is committed behind closed doors or privately”

  2. “The woman cannot be punished for raising voice” as the “right of reputation cannot be protected at the cost of the right of life and dignity of a woman” and

  3. “The woman has a right to put her grievance at any platform of her choice, even after decades”.

This historical judgment is indeed a turning point for survivors of sexual harassment.


  1. 1992-Bhanwari Devi Case, 1992: Some men from dominant castes gang raped Bhanwari Devi for preventing a child marriage in their family as part of her work.

    • Women’s groups came together to file a PIL to assert women’s right to safety at work.

  2. 1997-Vishaka vs. Rajasthan, 1997: Supreme Court laid down guidelines affirming the

    • Fundamental right to equality,

    • Fundamental right to life and

    • Fundamental right against discrimination for working women.

  3. Vishakha Guidelines: Above case laid guidelines in the absence of a legislation, required workplaces and institutions to ensure the prevention of sexual harassment.

    • The guidelines defined

      • Sexual harassment in the context of work,

      • Duties of the employer, and

      • Preventive steps  

  4. Complaint Mechanism and a Complaints Committee: Independence by having an external member, conversant with the issue of sexual harassment.

  5. 2012-Medha Kotwal case, 2012: Supreme Court recognised that

    • “Women still struggle to have their most basic rights protected at workplaces” and that 

    • The Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, 2010, was still pending.

    • Court accepted that a woman has reasonable grounds to believe that her objection would disadvantage her at work or create a hostile work environment.

  6. 2013: The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act was passed by the Parliament.

  7. 2013- Criminalisation of Sexual crimes: After 2012 Delhi gang rape, became the turning point in Indian legal history, amendments were made to the criminal law in 2013.

    • “Sexual harassment” “Stalking” and “Voyeurism”, were criminalised which is an important step in understanding the gravity of its impact on women.


  1. Cultural shift in treatment of survivors: is demanded otherwise they would continue to fear for their physical safety, their job security and their mental health.

  2. Due processes: Evidence shows that due processes meant to protect survivors and help them access justice, leave survivors feeling betrayed.

  3. Silence through Shifting blame: Shifting blame on the survivor or making veiled accusations during the inquiry process coerces them into silence and unjustifiably puts the burden of proof back on the victim.

    • As Priya Ramani expressed that despite being a victim of sexual harassment, she had to stand in Court as the accused.

  4. Lip service, hollow statements: Supreme Court in the Medha Kotwal judgment acknowledged, “Lip service, hollow statements and inert and inadequate laws are not enough for true and genuine upliftment of our half most precious population – the women”.

  5. Power structural disadvantage: If the perpetrator has impunity due to his power position, it leads to a structural disadvantage for the survivors, making their path to justice treacherous.

    • If the respondent is a senior manager and you are a junior contractual employee, you would be at a disadvantage based on the organisational hierarchy.


  1. Institutional responsibility: Unless organisations across sectors take institutional responsibility for an attitudinal shift, workplaces will continue to be sexualised and toxic.

  2. Serious attempt by Employer: It is critical for employers to make a serious attempt

    • At understanding power relations among its employees,

    • To raise sensitivity towards survivors,

    • Ensure a safe space to report and catalyse cultural change.

  3. Anti-sexual harassment policy: A critical first step for employers, encompassing measures to prevent and respond to sexual harassment.  

  4. Complaints mechanism: In line with the 2013 law, there must be a complaints mechanism in place that ensures integrity and fairness in inquiry processes.

  5. Whistleblower protection: It should have strong measures on whistleblower protection to enable survivors to share their experience(s) or for bystanders to provide witness testimonials.

  6. Psychosocial care and legal services: Employers should also help survivors to access essential services like these.


SUPACE-Supreme Court Portal for Assistance in Court's Efficiency


  • The Supreme Court unveiled its Artificial Intelligence (AI) portal SUPACE.


  • Purpose: It is designed to make research easier for judges, thereby easing their workload.

  • A pet project of Chief Justice of India S A Bobde, the Supreme Court Portal for Assistance in Court’s Efficiency (SUPACE) is a tool that

    • Collects relevant facts and laws and

    • Makes them available to a judge.

  • CJI Bobde said:

    • Though some interpret AI as automated decision making,

    • the Supreme Court’s system is not designed to take decisions,

    • but only to process facts and to make them available to judges looking for an input for a decision.

  • No spill over to decision making: “This is where we are going to stop using it – after it has given all the information and analyzed all the examples,” Bobde said, adding “We are not going to let it spill over to decision making”.

SOURCE: Indian Express

Chief Justice of India-Judicial Appointment


  • President Ram Nath Kovind appointed Justice N.V. Ramana as the 48th Chief Justice of India with effect from April 24.

Few details about justice N.V. Ramana:

  • He belongs from state of Andhra Pradesh.

  • He was Additional Advocate General for Andhra Pradesh before being called to the State High Court Bench in 2001.

  • Justice Ramana was the Delhi High Court Chief Justice prior to his elevation to the top court.


  • As CJI, Justice Ramana will have a tenure of 16 months.

  • The incumbent CJI Sharad A. Bobde had recommended Justice Ramana, the senior most judge, for appointment as the 48th Chief Justice of India in a letter addressed to the Ministry of Law and Justice.

  • Article 124: Under article 124 (2), President is pleased to appoint Sri. N.V. Ramana, to be the Chief Justice of India, the Ministry of Law and Justice said in a notification.

  • Seniority norm: With this, both the Supreme Court and the government have followed the seniority norm in the appointment of CJIs.


  • Article 124 of the Constitution: Manner of appointing judges to the Supreme Court (SC).

  • No specific provision in the Constitution for appointing the Chief Justice.

  • CJI should be the senior most judge of the Supreme Court (SC). Law Minister has to seek recommendation of the outgoing CJI for appointment of new CJI at an appropriate time.

  • In case of doubt: About the fitness of the senior-most Judge to hold office of CJI consultation with other Judges under Article 124(2) to be made.

  • Law Minister then puts up recommendation to Prime Minister (PM) who will advise the President on appointment.

  • Seniority: At the apex court is determined not by age, but by the date a judge was appointed to the SC.

If two judges are elevated to the Supreme Court on the same day,

  1. The one who was sworn in first as a judge would trump another;

  2. If both were sworn in as judges on the same day, the one with more years of high court service would ‘win’ in the seniority stakes;

  3. An appointment from the bench would ‘trump’ in seniority an appointee from the bar.


  • Once appointed, the Chief Justice remains in office until the age of 65 years.

  • Removal: Article 124(4) of Constitution of India provides that a SC Judge including CJI can be removed only through a process of impeachment by Parliament

SOURCE: The Hindu

Changes in Quran (Religious Scriptures)- Criticism, Need and Supreme Court


  • A public interest litigation has been filed in the Supreme Court by Wasim Rizvi seeking declaration of 26 verses of the Quran as unconstitutional, non-effective and non- functional

  • Ground: On the ground that these promote extremism and terrorism and pose a serious threat to the sovereignty, unity and integrity of the country.


  • The petition has led to protests among Muslims, and several clerics have issued fatwas against the petitioner.

  • Vishwa Lochan Madan (2014)- Supreme Court has already observed that such fatwas have no validity.

  • Shia clerics have excommunicated Rizvi from the fold of Shias.


  • Rizvi had Centre as respondents. He also named Asaduddin Owaisi and The Muslim Personal Law Board.

  • Ideally he should have made Muslim God, Allah, as respondent as Muslims believe him to be the sole author of the Quran.

  • Under Indian law, idols are juristic persons and recently Ram Lalla won the historic Babri Masjid case.


  • Petitioner relies on Quran translation by the controversial Egyptian-Canadian imam Dr Mustafa Khattab — is not considered the authoritative translation.

  • Laws of war and Laws of peace: The petitioner claims that Quran talks about War. Article 2, Para 4 of the UN Charter now prohibits use of force.

    • But even today under Chapter VII, a nation may resort to war in exercise of its right to self-defence.

  • The petitioner has cited some verses asking Muslims not to trust and befriend the enemies of God and to kill them wherever they are found. 

  • Quran is not divine: He has even alleged that the entire Quran is not divine and some verses were added by the first three Caliphs.

    • Such a wild and baseless claim was never made even by Ali or Hussain for whom Shia Muslims have the highest reverence. 

  • But the petitioner has

    • Overlooked the text, the context and usage of the revelations, and

    • Ignored the basic intrinsic moral and spiritual values that Quran promotes.


  1. No religious scripture as Law: