Daily Current Affairs : 4th & 5th October

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Legal Rights for dieties
  2. Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus
  3. Pardoning powers of President
  4. Hong Kong Emergency
  5. Facts for Prelims : E-waste Clinic, Synchrotron

1 . Legal Rights for dieties


Context : Lord Ram a litigant in the Ayodhya case — that too against His devotees who are claiming the right to worship Him

God as a juristic person

  • A juristic person, as opposed to a “natural person” (that is, a human being), is an entity whom the law vests with a personality.
  • In other words, it is not an individual natural person but an artificially created person which is to be recognised to be in law as such.” Gods, corporations, rivers, and animals, have all been treated as juristic persons by courts.
  • The treatment of deities as juristic persons started under the British. Temples owned huge land and resources, and British administrators held that the legal owner of the wealth was the deity, with a shebait or manager acting as trustee
  • Installed deities at Hindu places of worship have been treated like other real persons for the purpose of law.”However it is not all idols that will qualify for being ‘juristic person’ but only when it is consecrated and installed at a public place for the public at large.”

The rights deities have

  • Owning property
  • Paying taxes
  • Suing, and being sued

Note : “Deities have property rights, but not fundamental rights or other constitutional rights.” This was upheld by Justice D Y Chandrachud in the Sabarimala judgment: “Merely because a deity has been granted limited rights as juristic persons under statutory law does not mean that the deity necessarily has constitutional rights.”

Other than Hinduism

  • A mosque has never been held as a juristic person, because it’s a place where people gather to worship; it is not an object of worship itself. Neither has a church.
  • In Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee vs Som Nath Dass and Others (2000), the SC ruled that the “Guru Granth Sahib… cannot be equated with other sacred books… Guru Granth Sahib is revered like a Guru… (and) is the very heart and spirit of gurudwara. The reverence of Guru Granth on the one hand and other sacred books on the other hand is based on different conceptual faith, belief and application.”
  • However, the court clarified that “every Guru Granth Sahib cannot be a juristic person unless it takes juristic role through its installation in a gurudwara or at such other recognised public place.”

Other Legal entities

  • Entire animal kingdom has a distinct legal persona with corresponding rights, duties, and liabilities of a living person”.
  • Uttarakhand High Court declared that the Ganga and Yamuna would be legally treated as “living people,” and enjoy “all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person”. The order was stayed by the Supreme Court in July that year because it “raised several legal questions and administrative issues”.

2 . Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus


Context : Since the middle of August, a rare disease has killed five elephants in Odisha. Four calves between the ages of six and 10 have died in Nandan Kanan Zoo in Bhubaneswar, followed by the fifth elephant that died in Chandaka forest this week. The disease is caused by a virus called EEHV, or elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus.

About Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus

  • EEHVs are a type of herpesvirus that can cause a highly fatal haemorrhagic disease in young Asian elephants.
  • “Most elephants carry just as most humans carry a cold virus. When EEHV is triggered, the elephant dies of massive internal bleeding and symptoms which are hardly visible,”
  • Some elephants show symptoms such as reduced appetite, nasal discharge and swollen glands
  • The disease is usually fatal, with a short course of 28-35 hours due to this very quick call on a suspected EEHV case and kick off treatment protocols is necessary. This treatment is a combination of anti-viral therapy, aggressive fluid therapy (to counter haemorrhaging), immuno-stimulant drugs (selenium and Vitamins C, E), anti-pyretics and analgesics (to bring down fever)

Concerns

  • If elephants in the wild start falling prey to the virus, then treatment will be very difficult
  • It will be extremely hard to track down every wild elephant in the state and test whether they are positive for EEHV, and the state government cannot afford the manpower
  • EEHV is lethal for young elephants between the ages of one and 12. If a young elephant dies before reproducing, it affects the population of the species as a whole in the concerned geography.

3 . Pardoning Powers of President


Context : The President commuted death sentences to life imprisonment in at least 20 cases over the past nine years, based on the recommendations received from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). These commutations were based on the President’s exercise of powers under Article 72 of the Constitution after the convicts filed mercy petitions.

Article 72 of the Constitution

  • Article 72 of the Constitution gives that the President shall have the power to grant pardon , reprieve, respite or remission of punishment and to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of an offence in
    • a case tried by court martial
    • a case relating to a law to which the executive power of the Union extends.
    • The sentence awarded is of death
  • Pardon shall be exercised by the President and Governor on the advice of Council of Minister
  • Pardon : Completely absolves the offender
  • Reprieve : Temporary suspension of the sentence
  • Respite : Awarding a lesser sentence on special ground
  • Remission : Reducing the amount of sentence without changing its character
  • Commute : Substitution of one form to another ie replace the punishment with less severe punishment. For example for Rigorous imprisonment with simple imprisonment.

4 . Hong Kong Emergency


Context : Hong Kong’s embattled leader Carrie Lam on Friday invoked colonial-era emergency powers for the first time in more than 50 years. Under this legislation, Lam said she would enact a new regulation banning face masks, which have been widely used by protesters to hide their identities over nearly four months of unrest.

Emergency Provisions of Hong Kong

  • Under the Emergency Regulations Ordinance that was tabled in 1922, a relic of the British colonial era, the laws grant the city’s chief executive the power to “make any regulations whatsoever” on “occasions of emergency or public danger”.
  • The legislation allows “censorship” of publications including the media, arrest, deportation, detention, seizure of property, and authorizes the entry and search of premises. 

5 . Facts for Prelims


E-Waste Clinic

  • The Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) have joined hands to set up the country’s first e-waste clinic here, that would enable segregation, processing and disposal of waste from both household and commercial units.

Synchrotron

  • A synchrotron is an extremely powerful source of X-rays. The X-rays are produced by high energy electrons as they circulate around the synchrotron.
  • The entire world of synchrotron science depends on one physical phenomenon: When a moving electron changes direction, it emits energy. When the electron is moving fast enough, the emitted energy is at X-ray wavelength.
  • A synchrotron machine exists to accelerate electrons to extremely high energy and then make them change direction periodically. The resulting X-rays are emitted as dozens of thin beams, each directed toward a beamline next to the accelerator. The machine operates day and night, with periodic short and long shutdowns for maintenance.
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