Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Contempt of Court
- Minority status of Aligarh Muslim University
- Finance Bill
- Lapsing of bills due to dissolution of Lok sabha
1 . Contempt of Court
Context : The Supreme Court held the former interim Director of the CBI, M. Nageswara Rao, guilty of contempt for disobeying its order not to transfer Joint Director A.K. Sharma, who was probing the Bihar shelter home cases, from the investigating agency.
What is Contempt of Court
- In India, the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, divides contempt into civil contempt and criminal contempt.
- Civil contempt is when a person wilfully disobeys any order of a court
- The Act defines civil contempt as willful disobedience to any judgment, decree, direction, order, writ or other process of a court or willful breach of an undertaking given to a court. Section 2(b) of the 1971 Act not only encompasses willful disobedience to any judgment, decree, direction, order etc. of a court, it also takes in its fold a willful breach of an undertaking given to a court
- Under Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act of 1971, criminal contempt has been defined as the publication (whether by words, spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise) of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever which:
- Scandalises or tends to scandalise, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court, or
- Prejudices, or interferes or tends to interfere with the due course of any judicial proceeding, or
- Interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner.
Is there criticism of the judiciary that’s permitted?
- The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, very clearly states that fair criticism of any case which has been heard and decided is not contempt.
- High Court and Supreme Court are bestowed with the power to punish for the contempt of the court.
- Under Section 12 of Contempt of Court Act, 1971, a contempt of court can be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, or with both.
- However, in civil cases if the court considers that a fine will not meet the ends of justice and that a sentence of imprisonment is necessary shall, instead of sentencing him to simple imprisonment, direct that the he be detained in a civil prison for such period not exceeding six months as it may think fit.
- The court is not supposed to impose a sentence for contempt of court in excess of what is prescribed under this section either in respect of itself or of a court subordinate to it.
- An accused may be discharged or the punishment awarded may be remitted on apology being made by the accused to the satisfaction of the court. An apology is not supposed to be rejected merely on the ground that it is qualified or conditional if the accused makes it bona fide.
2 . Minority status of Aligarh Muslim University
Context : The Supreme Court on Tuesday referred the contentious issue of minority status for Aligarh Muslim University to a seven-judge constitution Bench.
What is Minority Institution
- Constitutional Provision : Article 30 (1) of the Indian Constitution says that “All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice”.
- National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Act – Section 2 (g) of the Act defines a ‘Minority Educational Institution’ as a college or educational institution established and administered by a minority or minorities.
About Aligarh Muslim University
- Sir Syed Ahmed Khan had set up the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College Fund Committee in May 1872
- The activities of this committee culminated in the formation the Muhammadan Anglo Oriental College in 1877.
- But by 1911, demands for a Muslim University in Aligarh grew stronger and a Muslim University Association was set up with the purpose of establishing a teaching university.
- After negotiations with the British government, the Aligarh Muslim University was formed by the AMU Act 1920.
- Existing societies – the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College, Aligarh, and the Muslim University Association – were dissolved and their properties and rights were transferred to the body corporate, Aligarh Muslim University.
First Case regarding Minority Status
- After independence, the Indian Parliament introduced two amendments to the AMU Act in 1951 and in 1965, mainly to ensure that the AMU Act was not in violation of the new constitution and its principles. Amendment : Section 9, which provided for compulsory religious instruction for Muslim students, was done away with. Section 8 of the Act was amended to open the university “to persons of either sex and of whatever race, creed, caste, or class” and to ensure that the university does not adopt or impose on any person, any test whatsoever of religious belief or profession in order to entitle him to be admitted therein…”
- The AMU pleaded before the Supreme Court in 1966, that these amendments took away from the Muslim community “the right to administer the Aligarh University” and that “this deprivation was in violation of Art. 30(1) of the Constitution”.
- The Supreme Court delivered its landmark Azeez Basha judgment in 1967. The apex court held that back in the 1920s, there was no restriction on private bodies from setting up universities that could grant degrees. However, these bodies could not insist on government recognition of the degrees issued by them, unless backed by government statutes. The court observed that the Muslim community had the option of setting up a University, but chose approach the British government. The court therefore observed that Aligarh Muslim University was set up by the Central Legislature and the Government of India and not by the Muslim majority. Since it was not set up by the Muslim majority, it could not be administered by it.
- The Supreme Court in S. Azeez Basha and Ors. Vs Respondent: Union of India The apex court’s judgment, therefore, made it clear that the Aligarh Muslim University is not a Minority Educational Institution, as it was not established by a minority, either religious or linguistic, in the first place.
Restoration of Minority Status in 1981
- Amendments to the Aligarh Muslim University Act were passed by the Parliament in 1981. The operating part of the amendment altered Section 2(I) and defined the university as “the educational Institution of their choice established by the Muslims of India, which originated as the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College, Aligarh and which was subsequently incorporated as the Aligarh Muslim University.”
- The amendments means that the Aligarh Muslim University was set up by the Indian Muslim community, which constitutes a religious minority in this country. From this it follows, that the education institution so established by a religious minority is, in fact, a Religious Minority Institution.
- Second, the amendment notes that AMU “originated as the Muhammadan Anglo Anglo-Oriental College” and was “subsequently incorporated as the Aligarh Muslim University.” This blurred the earlier distinction established between the Muhammadan Anglo Anglo-Oriental College and the AMU in the Azeez Basha judgment of Supreme Court.
- Third, Section 5(2)(c) of the same amendment read: “To promote especially the educational and cultural advancement of the Muslims of India.” This further strengthened AMU’s position as an Educational Minority Institution.
Revocation of Minority status in 2006
- In 2005, the question whether AMU is a minority institution and whether it is allowed to offer reservation to Muslim students only, appeared before the Allahabad High Court.
- A group of students approached the high court after AMU reserved 25 percent seats in the medical course for internal students, while dividing the remaining 75 percent equally among Muslims and others. While the varsity would conduct written tests for Muslim candidates, those under the general category would write a test organised by the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.
- The high court, in exploring these questions raised by the petitioners, had to examine the 1981 Amendment, which had officially declared AMU a Minority Educational Institution.
- In examining the constitutionality of the 1981 amendment, the high court said that the legislation was invalid, as it had the effect of overriding an existing judicial verdict. In this case, the Azeez Basha judgment of 1967.
- The court further said that the expression ‘established by the Muslims of India’ as introduced by the 1981 amendment, was only applicable to the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College, and not to the Aligarh Muslim University. The 2006 Allahabad High Court judgment, in this way, reaffirmed the Supreme Court’s 1967 judgment.
- Both the Union of India and AMU filed two separate review petitions before the Supreme Court for review of judgement. In 2006 BJP led central govt withdrawn the review petition filed by Union of India
3 . Finance Bill
Context : Lok sabha passes finance bill 2019
What is Finance Bill
- Finance Bill is a secret bill introduced every year in Lok Sabha (Lower chamber of the Parliament) immediately after the presentation of the Union Budget, to give effect to the financial proposals of the Government of India for the immediately following financial year.
- When the proposals are introduced to the Parliament it is called as a Finance Bill.
- Once it is passed by the Parliament and assented to by the President, Finance Bill becomes the Finance Act for that year.
- The Finance Bill is accompanied by a Memorandum containing explanations of the provisions included in it.
- The Finance Bill can be introduced only in Lok Sabha. However, the Rajya Sabha can recommend amendments in the Bill.
- The bill has to be passed by the Parliament within 75 days of its introduction.
Finance Bill Vs Money Bill
A Finance Bill is a Money Bill but not all money bills are Finance Bills. Under Article 110(1) of the Constitution a money bill is defined as follows
- 110(1)…a Bill is deemed to be a Money Bill if it contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters, namely:
- the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax;
- the regulation of the borrowing of money or the giving of any guarantee by the Government of India, or the amendment of the law with respect to any financial obligations undertaken or to be undertaken by the Government of India;
- the custody of the Consolidated Fund or the Contingency Fund of India, the payment of moneys into or the withdrawal of moneys from any such fund;
- the appropriation of moneys out of the Consolidated Fund of India;
- the declaring of any expenditure to be expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India or the increasing of the amount of any such expenditure;
- the receipt of money on account of the Consolidated Fund of India or the public account of India or the custody or issue of such money or the audit of the accounts of the Union or of a State; or
- any matter incidental to any of the matters specified in sub-clauses (a) to (f).
- A Bill is not deemed to be Money Bill by reason only that it provides for the imposition of fines or other pecuniary penalties, or for the demand or payment of fees for licences or fees for services rendered, or by reason that it provides for the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax by any local authority or body for local purposes
- Finance Bill is generally limited to Article 110(1)(a) & (g) – the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax and any matter incidental thereto.
4 . Lapsing of bills due to Dissolution
Context : Citizenship and Triple talaq bill will lapse if no RS nod today
When do a bill lapse
- A Bill pending in the Lok Sabha lapses on its dissolution. The Bill may have originated in the Lok Sabha or may have been transferred to it by the Rajya Sabha.
- A Bill passed by the Lok Sabha and pending in the Rajya Sabha lapses on the dissolution of the Lok Sabha.
- A Bill originating in the Rajya Sabha which has not been passed by the Lok Sabha and which is still pending in the Rajya Sabha does not lapse.
- A Bill which has been passed by both the Houses and has been presented to the President for assent does not lapse.
- A Bill returned by the President for reconsideration does not lapse.
- A Bill in regard to which the President has notified his intention to summon the houses to a joint sitting does not lapse by dissolution of the Lok Sabha.
- All motions, resolutions, amendments etc. pending in the Lok Sabha lapse on its dissolution.