Daily Current Affairs : 10th September 2020

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Indo-Pacific trilateral dialogue
  2. Criminalization of Politics
  3. Study on Plasma therapy
  4. Nobel Peace Prize Nomination Process
  5. Maratha quota issue
  6. Defence exports
  7. Legal Entity Status for Animals
  8. Facts for Prelims

1 . Indo-Pacific trilateral dialogue

Context: The first trilateral dialogue was held between India, Australia and France.

Details of the Dialogue

  • Dialogue revolved around “economic and geostrategic challenges and cooperation” in the region, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and domestic responses to it were discussed.
  • The countries discussed the priorities, challenges and trends in regional and global multilateral institutions and also the best ways to strengthen and reform multilateralism.
  • They also expressed their shared will to successfully conclude concrete cooperation projects in the maritime sector and those promoting global commons (climate, environment and biodiversity, health).
  • The discussions also focussed on the domestic situation and response, including economic measures, of each country to the pandemic.
  • The three sides also discussed cooperation on therapeutic and vaccine development.
  • Cooperation on Marine Global Commons and potential areas for practical cooperation at the trilateral and regional level were also discussed, including through regional organisations such as ASEAN, IORA and the Indian Ocean Commission


  • The Indo- Pacific trilateral dialogue will help in enhancing strong bilateral relations that the three countries share with each other and synergise their respective strengths to ensure a peaceful, secure, prosperous and rules-based Indo-Pacific Region.

Marine Global Commons

  • Marine Global Commons is a part of Global Commons.
  • Global commons have been traditionally defined as those parts of the planet that fall outside national jurisdictions and to which all nations have access.
  • International law identifies four global commons, namely the High Seas, the Atmosphere, the Antarctica and the Outer Space.
  • These resource domains are guided by the principle of the common heritage of mankind.

2 . Criminalization of Politics

Context: A report was submitted in the Supreme Court stating that there are a total 4,442 cases pending against legislators across the country highlighting the criminalization of politics.

About the report

  • The report was filed by the Supreme court’s amicus curiae and senior advocate Vijay Hansaria.

Findings of the report

  • Total pending cases: There are 4,442 cases pending against legislators across the country highlighting the criminalization of politics.
  • Cases against sitting Members of Parliament and members of State legislatures: Of the 4442 cases, the number of cases against sitting Members of Parliament and members of State legislatures was 2,556. The cases were pending in various special courts exclusively set up to try criminal cases registered against politicians.
  • The cases against the legislators include
    • Corruption
    • Money laundering
    • Damage to public property
    • Defamation and cheating.
  • A large number of cases were for violation of Section 188 IPC for wilful disobedience and obstruction of orders promulgated by public servants.
  • Cases punishable with imprisonment for life: There are 413 cases in respect of offences, which are punishable with imprisonment for life, out of which in 174 cases sitting MPs/ MLAs are accused.
  • The trial of 352 cases had been stayed by High Courts and the apex court.
  • Worst performing state: Uttar Pradesh tops the chart where there are 1,217 pending cases against lawmakers, of which sitting legislators are accused in 446 such matters.
    • After UP, the state with the highest number of legislators facing criminal cases is Bihar, where 531 sitting and former MLAs and MPs are accused. Of these, 73 cases relate to offences punishable with life imprisonment (30 cases against sitting legislators and 43 against former legislators).
    • Kerala (333 cases), Odisha (331), Maharashtra (330) and Tamil Nadu (324) complete the top five states in which sitting and former legislators are facing criminal cases.

Why the cases are pending?

  • A large number of cases were pending at the appearance stage and even non-bailable warrants (NBWs) issued by courts that have not been executed.
  • In large number of cases, even charges have not been framed this includes even those cases where punishment is imprisonment for life.


  • Special courts: These should be constituted in every district to handle such cases and for the expeditious trial.
  • These special courts should then give priority to cases dealing with offences punishable with death/ life imprisonment; offences punishable with imprisonment for 7 years or more; and other offences, in that order
  • No adjournment granted: No adjournment shall be granted except in rare and exceptional circumstances and for reasons to be recorded. The superintendent of police of [the] respective district shall be responsible to ensure production of accused persons before the respective courts on the dates fixed and the execution of NBWs [non-bailable warrants] issued by the courts
  • Witness Protection Scheme, 2018: It should be applicable to all the states till the enactment of suitable legislation by the parliament or state legislatures for the witnesses are the most vulnerable in such cases.
  • Monitoring of progress: The respective high courts should also monitor the progress made in these cases by registering a suo motu case with the title “In Re: Special Courts for MPs/MLAs” to ensure that the Supreme Court’s directions are complied with
  • Disqualification of Politicians: Parliament should take a decision on disqualification of politicians with pending criminal charges from contesting elections.

About Amicus Curae

  • Amicus curiae or amicus curiæ (plural amici curiae) is a legal Latin phrase, literally translated as friend of the court
  • It refers to someone, not a party to a case, who volunteers to offer information on a point of law or some other aspect of the case to assist the court in deciding a matter before it.
  • The information may be a legal opinion in the form of a brief, testimony that has not been solicited by any of the parties, or a learned treatise on a matter that bears on the case.
  • The decision whether to admit the information lies with the discretion of the court.
  • In India, if a petition is received from the jail or in any other criminal matter if the accused is unrepresented, then, an Advocate is appointed as amicus curiae by the Court to defend and argue the case of the accused.
  • In civil matters also, the Court can appoint an Advocate as amicus curiae if it thinks it is necessary in case of an unrepresented party; the Court can also appoint amicus curiae in any matter of general public importance or in which the interest of the public at large is involved.

3 . Study on Plasma therapy

Context: A PLACID trial was conducted on the benefits of Convalescent plasma (CP) therapy for the COVID-19 patients by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)

About the trials

  • The PLACID trial is an open-label (patients know the nature of treatment they are getting), parallel-arm, Phase 2, multi-centre, randomised, controlled trial which was conducted in 39 tertiary care hospitals across India.
  • The trial was from April-July and had enrolled 464 hospitalised patients with “moderate” COVID-19 and convalescent plasma (antibodies derived from plasma filtered from the blood of those who have recovered from COVID-19) was administered on some of them.
  • The idea was that such antibodies would neutralise replicating viruses and check the growth of the infection.

Findings of the trails

  • The trials have found that CP is not associated with a reduction in mortality or progression to severe COVID-19
  • In the 235 patients that received the plasma along with the “best standard of care” (called the intervention arm) and the 229 patients that received only the “standard of care” (called the control arm), not a significant difference was observed in the proportion of those who did not progress to severe illness over 28 days.
  • Thirty-four patients (13.6%) died in the intervention arm and 31 (14.6%) in the control arm.
  • The study has found that the use of CP mitigated the shortness of breath and fatigue among patients, and did correspond to a “higher negative conversion of viral RNA”, but ultimately did not improve outcomes over the period of evaluation.

Challenges with the use of CP as a treatment for COVID-19

  • There are various limitations of acquiring CP such as age, weight, state of health, informed consent, the amount of CP required, the ratio of recovered patients to those who need plasma causes the shortage of CP. As a result, the source of CP limits its wide application, especially in countries which are in the acceleration stage and late accumulation stage of COVID-19 development.
  • The most common adverse reaction of CP therapy are transfusion-related events, involving chills, fever, anaphylactic reactions, transfusion-related acute lung injury, circulatory overload and hemolysis, etc

4 . Nobel Peace Prize Nomination Process

Context: A far-right Norwegian lawmaker has nominated U.S. President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts for a peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel which opens up for possible peace in the Middle East.

Nomination and selection of Peace Prize Laureates

  • A nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize may be submitted by any person who meets the nomination criteria.
  • A letter of invitation to submit is not required. The names of the nominees and other information about the nominations cannot be revealed until 50 years later.

Process of nomination and selection

  • The Norwegian Nobel Committee is responsible for selecting the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.
  • The Committee is composed of five members appointed by the Storting (Norwegian parliament). The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway.

How are the Nobel Laureates selected?

5 . Maratha quota issue

Context: The Supreme Court has referred to a group of petitions challenging the Maratha reservation law to a Constitution Bench.


  • In 2014, the Maharashtra Government passed the Maharashtra State Reservation (of seats for admissions in educational institutions in the State and for appointments or posts in the public services under the State) for Educationally and Socially Backward Category (ESBC) Ordinance, 2014 providing 16% reservation for the Maratha community in education and public employment.
  • The Ordinance was stayed by the Bombay High Court. Soon thereafter, the State legislature passed the ESBC Act of 2014 providing the same benefits to the community.
  • The Bombay High Court then in 2016, stayed the operation and implementation of the ESBC Act. As per the Court, the Act was passed without sufficient evidence of the Maratha community’s backward status.
  • During the course of litigation, the Government set up the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC). The Committee found that the Maratha community was socially and educationally backward and had inadequate representation in public employment. Therefore, it recommended reserving 12 and 13% seats respectively in education and public employment.
  • Subsequent to the report, the Government enacted the SEBC Act, 2018. The Act went slightly beyond the MSBCC recommendation and provided 16% reservation to the community in public education and employment. This reservation was in addition to the existing 52 percent overall reservation in the state.
  • With the 16 percent reservation for Marathas, the reservation quantum in the state was expected to rise to 68 percent.
  • In Maharashtra, following the 2001 State Reservation Act, the total reservation is 52 per cent. This includes quotas for SC (13%), ST (7%), OBC (19%), Special Backward Class (2%), Vimukti Jati (3%), Nomadic Tribe B (2.5%), Nomadic Tribe C-Dhangar (3.5%) and Nomadic Tribe D-Vanjari (2%). The quotas for Nomadic Tribes and Special Backward Classes have been carved out of the total OBC quota.
  • This Act was challenged before the High Court by a host of petitioners.

Details of the Petition

  • The petitioners have claimed that the Maharashtra government has passed the quota law According to the petition quota law has breached the 50% cap declared by a nine-judge Bench of the apex court in 1992.
  • According to the petition the Act overstepped the constitutional limitations contained in the 102nd Amendment to the Constitution. The Amendment states that reservation can be granted only if a particular community is named in the Presidential list.

Supreme Court’s stand on the issue

  • The court has stated that the Maratha quota will not apply for admissions and appointments made in the State for 2020-21.
  • Though the admissions for the postgraduate which have already been made will be left unaltered.

The Bombay High Court judgement

  • The Bombay High Court upheld the Maharashtra government’s decision to provide reservation to the Maratha community under the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018.
  • However, the court ruled that the 16 per cent quota granted by the state is not “justifiable” and reduced it to 12 per cent in education and 13 per cent in government jobs, as recommended by the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC).
  • The addition of 12-13 per cent Maratha quota will take the total reservation in the state to 64-65 per cent.
  • In the Indra Sawhney case, a nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court had ruled that total reservation for backward classes could not go beyond 50 per cent
  • The bench upheld the report of the MSBCC, which set out the “exceptional circumstances and extraordinary situation” The bench also ruled that the state government had the “legislative competence” to enact the SEBC Act.
  • According to the court Legislation enacted by a state legislature, which is based on a report of the Commission, is backed by “empirical and contemporaneous data” and “leaves very little scope for us to interfere”.

Previous Commission recommendations

  • The Mandal Commission listed 128 communities as backward, identified Marathas as ‘forward’.
  • The Khatri Commission (1995) constituted by the Maharashtra government held by majority that Marathas may not be included as Kunbis in the list of OBCs.  The request of treating Marathas at par with Kunbis was not accepted even in 2000 and Marathas were not included in the central Backward Classes list.
  • In 2008, the Bapat Commission by a 4-2 majority recommended that it would not be proper to include Marathas among OBCs from the viewpoint of principles of social justice.
  • The Gaikwad Commission report submitted on November 15, 2018, found that Marathas are socially, educationally and economically backward and eligible to be included as a Backward Class.

6 . Defence exports

Context:  Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat has stated that India’s defence exports have witnessed a “staggering” growth of 700% and now India is at 19th position in the list of defence exporters in 2019

India’s Defence Exports

  • In the past three years, India’s defence exports have witnessed a “staggering” 700% growth from ₹1,521 crore in 2016-17 to ₹10,745 crore in 2018-19 which is an all-time high.
  • In the list of defence exporters in 2019 India is at 19th position.

Measures taken since 2014 to boost exports

  • Simplified defence industrial licensing
  • Relaxation of export control
  • Grant of No Objection Certificates

Incentives under the Foreign Trade Policy  by Ministry of External affairs to boost defence exports

  • The Ministry of External Affairs has facilitated a Line of Credit for foreign countries to import defence products where feasible, defence exports can also be financed through the Exim Bank.
  • Defence attaches in Indian missions were empowered to promote defence exports, which would also strengthen defence diplomacy.

India’s Defence Imports

  • India is the only net importer in the defence category and accounts for 9.2% of global arms imports.


  • Though India has made significant progress over the last five years, its share of global arms exports is only 0.17 per cent. This indicates below-par performance and the big opportunity that beckons us. India should focus on low-end technology weapons and equipment, non-lethal military equipment, and selective medium/high technology equipment like Brahmos missile, Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher, Advanced Light Helicopter, naval craft/ships, Akash air defence system and Astra air-to-air missile.
  • India can garner the non-lethal military equipment market, with which the $5 billion mark can be achieved in five years.
  • A radical revamp of ordnance factories and other DPSUs  in terms of modernisation, work culture and quality control can also be done.
  • A Government Owned Contractor Operated, or GOCO, the model should be put in place for inefficient establishments.
  • There is also a need to create an environment for greater participation of private industry.

7 . Legal Entity Status for Animals

Context: The Supreme Court issued notice on a plea seeking to declare the entire animal kingdom as a legal entity. Notice was issued by a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde.

Purpose of the Legal entity status for animals

  • The plea states that bestowing the status of “Legal Personality/Entity” should be construed as extending of the rights of a living person to the animal kingdom and should s be considered for the purposes of halting “Animal Cruelty” as defined under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

What does “Legal entity” status to animals means?

  • This means bestowing on animals, by judicial direction, the capacity to sue and be sued in courts of law.

Do animals have the protection of the law?

  • Animals already have the protection of the law.
  • There are laws like the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, etc.

Is there anyone else granted Legal entity other than human beings and companies

  • In 2018 Uttarakhand high court declared entire animal kingdom, including birds and aquatic animals, as a legal entity.
  • Uttarakhand high court declared the Ganga and Yamuna as living entities, a verdict that was later stayed by the Supreme Court.

8 . Facts for Prelims

Different names of Tropical Cyclones

  • North Atlantic and eastern Pacific – Hurricanes
  • SouthEast Asia and China-  Typhoons
  • Southwest Pacific and Indian Ocean region- Tropical Cyclones
  • Australia- Willy- willy

Leave a comment

error: Content is protected !! Copying and sharing on Social media / websites will invite legal action