Daily Current Affairs : 11th, 12th and 13th August 2020

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Supreme Court verdict on Hindu women’s inheritance rights
  2. Clause 6 of Assam Accord
  3. Naga Peace Talks
  4. Mega labs
  5. Light Combat Helicopter
  6. Hornbills
  7. Draft of norms to check misleading ads soon
  8. Facts for Prelims

1 . Supreme Court verdict on Hindu women’s inheritance rights

Context: The Supreme Court expanded on a Hindu woman’s right to be a joint legal heir and inherit ancestral property on terms equal to male heirs.

About the ruling?

  • A three-judge Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra ruled that a Hindu woman’s right to be a joint heir to the ancestral property is by birth and does not depend on whether her father was alive or not when the law was enacted in 2005.
  • The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 gave Hindu women the right to be coparceners or joint legal heirs in the same way a male heir does. Since the coparcenary is by birth, it is not necessary that the father coparcener should be living as on 9.9.2005

What is the 2005 law?

  • The Mitakshara school of Hindu law codified as the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 governed succession and inheritance of property but only recognised males as legal heirs.
  • The law applied to everyone who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew by religion. Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains and followers of Arya Samaj, Brahmo Samaj are also considered Hindus for the purposes of this law.
  • In a Hindu Undivided Family, several legal heirs through generations can exist jointly. Traditionally, only male descendants of a common ancestor along with their mothers, wives and unmarried daughters are considered a joint Hindu family. The legal heirs hold the family property jointly.
  • Women were recognised as coparceners or joint legal heirs for partition arising from 2005. Section 6 of the Act was amended that year to make a daughter of a coparcener also a coparcener by birth “in her own right in the same manner as the son”. The law also gave the daughter the same rights and liabilities “in the coparcenary property as she would have had if she had been a son”.
  • The law applies to ancestral property and to intestate succession in personal property — where succession happens as per law and not through a will.
  • The 174th Law Commission Report had also recommended this reform in Hindu succession law.
  • Even before the 2005 amendment, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu had made this change in the law, and Kerala had abolished the Hindu Joint Family System in 1975.

How did the case come about?

  • While the 2005 law granted equal rights to women, questions were raised in multiple cases on whether the law applied retrospectively, and if the rights of women depended on the living status of the father through whom they would inherit.
  • Different benches of the Supreme Court had taken conflicting views on the issue.
  • Different High Courts had also followed different views of the top court as binding precedents.
    • In Prakash v Phulwati (2015), a two-judge Bench headed by Justice A K Goel held that the benefit of the 2005 amendment could be granted only to “living daughters of living coparceners” as on September 9, 2005 (the date when the amendment came into force).
    • In February 2018, contrary to the 2015 ruling, a two-judge Bench headed by Justice A K Sikri held that the share of a father who died in 2001 will also pass to his daughters as coparceners during the partition of the property as per the 2005 law.
    • Then in April that year, yet another two-judge bench, headed by Justice R K Agrawal, reiterated the position taken in 2015.
  • These conflicting views by Benches of equal strength led to a reference to a three-judge Bench in the current case.
  • The ruling now overrules the verdicts from 2015 and April 2018. It settles the law and expands on the intention of the 2005 legislation “to remove the discrimination as contained in section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 by giving equal rights to daughters in the Hindu Mitakshara coparcenary property as the sons have”.

How did the court decide the case?

  • The court looked into the rights under the Mitakshara coparcenary. Since Section 6 creates an “unobstructed heritage” or a right created by birth for the daughter of the coparcener, the right cannot be limited by whether the coparcener is alive or dead when the right is operationalised.
  • The court said the 2005 amendment gave recognition of a right that was in fact accrued by the daughter at birth. “The conferral of a right is by birth, and the rights are given in the same manner with incidents of coparcenary as that of a son and she is treated as a coparcener in the same manner with the same rights as if she had been a son at the time of birth.
  • Though the rights can be claimed, w.e.f. 9.9.2005, the provisions are of retroactive application, they confer benefits based on the antecedent event, and the Mitakshara coparcenary shall be deemed to include a reference to a daughter as a coparcener,” the ruling said.
  • The court also directed High Courts to dispose of cases involving this issue within six months since they would have been pending for years.

What was the government’s stand?

  • Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued in favour of an expansive reading of the law to allow equal rights for women. He referred to the objects and reasons of the 2005 amendment. The Mitakshara coparcenary law not only contributed to discrimination on the ground of gender but was oppressive and negated the fundamental right of equality guaranteed by the Constitution of India.


  • The latest interpretation by SC removes male primacy over Hindu ancestral property. But it has taken the precaution of adding the caveat that registered settlements prior to December 2004, when the amendment was tabled in the Rajya Sabha, cannot be opened to avoid a deluge of litigation.
  • It is a major push for women who lack economic resources and are often marginalised by male members of the family. The fact that a law — not just a will — decides women’s property rights is significant.
  •  It is also significant to note that Goan women have been privileged to be governed by the Goa Civil Code that gives them equal share in their parents’ property. Goa has long been proud of being the only state in the country to have a common family law and uniform civil code regardless of religion, gender, caste. Though many a times the leadership in the country has toyed with the idea of replicating Goa’s Civil Code for India it has failed to move forward. There is no disputing that making a uniform civil law for all religions would go a long way in promoting amity and brotherhood and end gender disparities in all religious communities and also help end misuse of personal laws.
  • However, the challenge of ensuring that women are actually empowered by this legal provision remains; many progressive legal rights fall by the wayside as women do not know that they exist. This must be rectified. The SC’s provision gives women a level-playing field in legal rights over property, and is a game-changer in the larger canvas of gender rights.
Crisp Notes 

-Mitakshara law > Hindu succession Act 1956 - Males as legal heirs. - Applies to Buddhist, Sikhs Jains Hindus> Amended in 2005 - Section 6 = Equal rights to women

Point of Contention - Whether the law applied retrospectively, and if the rights of women depended on the living status of the father through whom they would inherit

Ruling = Hindu woman’s right to be a joint heir to the ancestral property is by birth and does not depend on whether her father was alive or not when the law was enacted in 2005. The verdict makes it clear the amendment to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, granting equal rights to daughters to inherit ancestral property, would have retrospective effect.

2 . Clause 6 of Assam Accord

Context: In February 2020, a government-appointed committee had submitted its recommendations for implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, a key provision that has been contentious for decades. Since then, the government has not made the report public. On Tuesday, with six months having passed, a few members of the panel — Arunachal Pradesh Advocate General Nilay Dutta and three members of All Assam Students’ Union (AASU)— released the report independently.

What is Clause 6?

  • Clause 6 is part of the Assam Accord that came at the culmination of a movement against immigration from Bangladesh.
  • As per Clause 6 : “Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.”
  • For recognition as citizens, the Accord sets March 24, 1971 as the cutoff. Immigrants up to the cutoff date would get all rights as Indian citizens.
  • Clause 6 was inserted to safeguard the socio-political rights and culture of the “indigenous people of Assam”.

What has happened since?

  • Several committees have been set up over the years to make recommendations on implementation of Clause 6.
  • None of them made headway on the provision’s contentious issues, however, until the latest one that was set up by the Home Ministry in 2019.
  • Following widespread protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, now an Act, in December and January, the government gave an urgent push to Clause 6 to pacify the Assamese community.
  • Headed by retired High Court judge Biplab Kumar Sarma and including members of the legal fraternity, retired civil servants, scholars, journalists and AASU office-bearers, the committee was asked to fast-track its report.
  • It submitted its report in February but the government did not make its contents public.

What has it recommended?

  • Its brief was to define the “Assamese people” and suggest measures for the safeguard of their rights.
  • The definition of “Assamese people” has been a subject of discussion for decades.
  • The committee has proposed that the following be considered Assamese people for the purpose of Clause 6: All citizens of India who are part of:
    • Assamese community, residing in the Territory of Assam on or before January 1, 1951; or
    • Any indigenous tribal community of Assam residing in the territory of Assam on or before January 1, 1951; or
    • Any other indigenous community of Assam residing in the territory of Assam on or before January 1, 1951; or
    • All other citizens of India residing in the territory of Assam on or before January 1, 1951; and Descendants of the above categories

Why 1951?

  • During the Assam agitation, the demand was for detection and deportation of migrants who had illegally entered Assam after 1951.
  • The Assam Accord, however, set the cutoff at March 24, 1971. The National Register of Citizens (NRC) was updated based on this cutoff.
  • Clause 6 is meant to give the Assamese people certain safeguards, which would not be available to migrants between 1951 and 1971.
  • If the recommendation is accepted, those who migrated between 1951 and 1971 would be Indian citizens under the Assam Accord and NRC, but they would not be eligible for safeguards meant for “Assamese people”.

What are these safeguards?

  • Among various recommendations, key are reservation of seats in Parliament, Assembly and local bodies; reservation in jobs; and land rights. The panel recommends the Assamese people be given:
    • 80 to 100% reservation in the parliamentary seats of Assam, Assembly seats and local body seats be reserved for the “Assamese people”.
    • 80 to 100% of Group C and D level posts (in Assam) in central government/semi-central government/central PSUs/private sector
    • 80 to 100% of jobs under Government of Assam and state government undertakings; and 70 to 100% of vacancies arising in private partnerships
    • Land rights, with restrictions imposed on transferring land by any means to persons other than “Assamese people”.
    • Several other recommendations deal with language, and cultural and social rights. On language, it recommends:
    • Assamese language shall continue to be official language throughout the state with provisions for use of local languages in Barak Valley, Hill Districts and the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts.
    • Mandatory provision of an Assamese language paper for recruitment in state government services with alternatives for Barak Valley districts, BTAD and Hills Districts.
    • To set up Academies for all-round development of each of the indigenous tribal languages including, Bodo, Mishing, Karbi, Dimasa, Koch-Rajbongshi, Rabha, Deuri, Tiwa, Tai and other indigenous languages.

3 . Naga Peace Talks

Context : The National Socialist Council of Nagaland-IM has for the first time released the details of the 2015 framework agreement and has accused interlocutor R.N. Ravi of deleting a key word from the original document and sharing the modified version with other Naga groups.


  • The British annexed Assam in 1826, and in 1881, the Naga Hills too became part of British India.
  • The first sign of Naga resistance was seen in the formation of the Naga Club in 1918, which told the Simon Commission in 1929 “to leave us alone to determine for ourselves as in ancient times”.
  • In 1946 came the Naga National Council (NNC), which, under the leadership of Angami Zapu Phizo, declared Nagaland an independent state on August 14, 1947.
  • The NNC resolved to establish a “sovereign Naga state” and conducted a “referendum” in 1951, in which “99 per cent” supported an “independent” Nagaland.

Armed movement

  • On March 22, 1952, Phizo formed the underground Naga Federal Government (NFG) and the Naga Federal Army (NFA). The Government of India sent in the Army to crush the insurgency and, in 1958, enacted the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

Peace efforts

  • On June 29, 1947, Assam Governor Sir Akbar Hyderi signed a 9-point agreement with moderates T Sakhrie and Aliba Imti, which was almost immediately rejected by Phizo.
  • The Naga Hills, a district of Assam, was upgraded to a state in 1963, by also adding the Tuensang Tract that was then part of NEFA.
  • In April the next year, Jai Prakash Narain, Assam Chief Minister Bimala Prasad Chaliha and Rev. Michael Scott formed a Peace Mission, and got the government and NNC to sign an agreement to suspend operations that September.
  • But the NNC/NFG/NFA continued to indulge in violence, and after six rounds of talks, the Peace Mission was abandoned in 1967, and a massive counter-insurgency operation launched.


  • On November 11, 1975, the government got a section of NNC leaders to sign the Shillong Accord, under which this section of NNC and NFG agreed to give up arms.
  • A group of about 140 members led by Thuingaleng Muivah, who were at that time in China, refused to accept the Shillong Accord, and formed the National Socialist Council of Nagaland in 1980. Muivah also had Isak Chisi Swu and S S Khaplang with him.
  • In 1988, the NSCN split into NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K) after a violent clash. While the NNC began to fade away, and Phizo died in London in 1991, the NSCN (IM) came to be seen as the “mother of all insurgencies” in the region.

What did the NSCN (IM) want?

  • A “Greater Nagalim” comprising “all contiguous Naga-inhabited areas”, along with Nagaland. That included several districts of Assam, Arunachal and Manipur, as also a large tract of Myanmar.
  • The map of “Greater Nagalim” has about 1,20,000 sq km, while the state of Nagaland consists of 16,527 sq km.
  • The claims have always kept Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh wary of a peace settlement that might affect their territories.
  • The Nagaland Assembly has endorsed the ‘Greater Nagalim’ demand — “Integration of all Naga-inhabited contiguous areas under one administrative umbrella” — as many as five times: in December 1964, August 1970, September 1994, December 2003 and as recently as on July 27, 2015.

When did NSCN (IM) join peace talks?

  • The Government of India signed a ceasefire agreement with NSCN (IM) on July 25, 1997, which came into effect on August 1, 1997. Over 80 rounds of talks between the two sides were held subsequently.
  • In 2015 with NSCN-IM, Centre signed a framework agreement(draft) on August 3, 2015

About the final Peace accord

  • Mr. Ravi signed the agreement on behalf of the Centre in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The other two signatories were Isak Chishi Swu, who died in 2016 and Thuingaleng Muivah (86) who is leading the talks.
  • The agreement released by the NSCN-IM stated “sharing the sovereign power” and provide for an “enduring inclusive new relationship of peaceful co-existence of the two entities”.
  • The framework agreement shared as part of a detailed press statement issued by the NSCN-IM on Tuesday said, “Both sides have understood each other’s respective positions and are cognizant of the universal principle that in a democracy, sovereignty lies with the people. Accordingly, the Govt. of India and the NSCN, respecting people’s wishes for sharing the sovereign power as defined in the competencies reached an agreement on the 3rd August, 2015 as an honorable solution.”

Current Issues

  • The Naga talks have hit a rough weather as the NSCN-IM has demanded that he be removed from the position.
  • According to NSCN-IM Mr. Ravi insulted the NSCN negotiating team by using un-parliamentary language when he said “this can be understood even by Class VII students that it means acceptance of the Indian Constitution”.
  • The NSCN said till now it had refrained from publishing the agreement respecting the “tacit understanding reached between the two sides not to release to the public domain for security reasons of India”. It said Mr. Ravi took undue advantage and started modifying and manipulating the agreement to mislead the Nagas and the Centre.
  • Mr. Muivah has reportedly refused to meet Mr. Ravi after the latter’s letter to Nagaland Chief Minister on June 16 that “over half a dozen organised armed gangs were brazenly running their respective ‘so called governments’ challenging the legitimacy of the State government”.
  • The letter was followed by another order on July 7 asking officials to declare if their family members or relatives are members of any “underground organisation”.
  • Mr. Ravi signed a preamble in November 2017 with the NNPGs and made them a party in the peace deal lingering on for decades.
  • Earlier in 2017, Mr. Ravi had informed a parliamentary panel that it signed a framework agreement with the NSCN-IM after it agreed for a settlement within the Indian federation with a “special status” and that it was a departure from their earlier position of “with India, not within India”.

4 . Mega labs

Context: The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is working on developing “mega labs” to ramp up testing for COVID-19 as well as improve the accuracy rate.

About the news:

  • Mega labsare the labs where large machines, called Next Generation Sequencing machines (NGS), which are also used for sequencing human genomes, will be repurposed to sequence 1,500-3,000 viral genomes at a go for detecting the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus.
  • The CSIR has partnered with the U.S.-based Illumina, a company that specialises in the manufacture of NGS machines. Five such sequencers, costing ₹4 crore each, are currently available in India.

About Next Generation Sequencing Machines

  • The Next Generation Sequencing machines (NGS) are normally used for sequencing human genomes.
  • These machines can substantially detect the presence of the virus even in several instances where the traditional RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) tests fail when used optimally and with appropriate modifications.
  • It can read a bigger chunk of virus genome and thereby provide more certainty that the virus in question is indeed the particular coronavirus of interest.
  • It can also trace the evolutionary history of the virus and track mutations more reliably.
  • The NGS only needs custom reagents for operationalising the test on a mass scale early on in the pandemic.

Uses of NGS

NGS technology has fundamentally changed the kinds of questions scientists can ask and answer. Innovative sample preparation and data analysis options enable a broad range of applications. For example, NGS allows researchers to:

  • Rapidly sequence whole genomes
  • Zoom in to deeply sequence target regions
  • Utilize RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) to discover novel RNA variants and splice sites, or quantify mRNAs for gene expression analysis
  • Analyze epigenetic factors such as genome-wide DNA methylation and DNA-protein interactions
  • Sequence cancer samples to study rare somatic variants, tumor subclones, and more
  • Study the human microbiome and discover novel pathogens


  • llumina sequencing utilizes a fundamentally different approach from the classic Sanger chain-termination method.
  • It leverages sequencing by synthesis (SBS) technology – tracking the addition of labeled nucleotides as the DNA chain is copied – in a massively parallel fashion.
  • Next-generation sequencing generates masses of DNA sequencing data, and is both less expensive and less time-consuming than traditional Sanger sequencing.
  • Illumina sequencing systems can deliver data output ranging from 300 kilobases up to multiple terabases in a single run, depending on instrument type and configuration.

Issues with RT- PCR

  • The RT-PCR needs primers and probes which is a key hurdle in operationalising such tests on a mass scale early on in the pandemic.
  • The RTPCR is only 70%-80% accurate which means that there is a sizeable population that is falsely negative.

Success of the NGS method

  •  In the pilot tests it was found that 99% of confirmed RT-PCR positive samples were identified so by the NGS method.
  • Nearly half of the samples that the RT-PCR termed ‘inconclusive’ were identified as either positive and negative.
  • With these test results the NGS method can also be used as a confirmatory test.


  • The NGS method will help in scale-up testing to at least a million per day.
  • It would also serve a larger purpose of continuous surveillance. Regular surveillance of a large pool like industrial hubs, commercial establishments or places can be easily conducted where an outbreak is likely.

5 . IAF deploys two light combat helicopters in Leh

Context: India has deployed two of its new indigenous light combat helicopters, apart from the heavy-duty Apache attack and Chinook heavy-lift choppers acquired from the US, in Ladakh amidst the ongoing military confrontation with China there.

About the news

  • The deployment of the twin-engine LCHs, which are not fully weaponized yet, in the high-altitude region is a show of support for the indigenous choppers ahead of their proposed induction into the armed forces.

Light Combat Helicopter

  • It is the lightest attack helicopter in the world.
  • It is designed and developed by HAL to meet the specific and unique requirements of the Indian armed forces.
  • The LCH is “a potent weapon platform” because of its state-of-the-art systems and highly accurate weapons that are capable of hitting any type of target by day or night
  • It has capability to carry an adequate weapon load at high-altitudes under varied conditions
  • The special features of LCH include sleek and narrow fuselage, tri-cycle crashworthy landing gear, crashworthy and self-sealing fuel tanks, armor protection and low visibility features to make it “lethal, agile and survivable”.
  • It reflects the crucial role of HAL in ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.
  • Such LCHs figure in the negative arms import list announced by the defence ministry, under which acquisition of 101 weapon systems and platforms from abroad will be progressively banned from December 2020 to December 2025, in a bid to bolster the fledgling domestic defence production sector.

6 . Forest loss threatens hornbills

Context: A study has found loss and degradation of critical hornbill habitat in the biologically rich forests of the Indian Eastern Himalaya

About the Study

  • The study was conducted by the Bengaluru-based National Centre for Biological Sciences and Mysuru-based Nature Conservation Foundation.
  • It was published in Silva Fennica, a forest journal of Finland

Findings of the study

  • The study based on satellite data has flagged a high rate of deforestation in a major hornbill habitat in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Fine-scale satellite imagery was used to assess the changes in forest cover of the 1,064 sq.km. Papum Reserve Forest (RF) adjoining the Pakke Tiger Reserve as well as a part of Assam affected by illegal felling and ethnic conflict.
  • The satellite data pointed to alarming deforestation rates in Papum RF with annual loss rates as high as 8.2 sq.km. as per estimates from 2013-2017 where forest cover declined to 76% of the total RF area.
  • There isloss and degradation of critical hornbill habitat in the biologically rich forests of the Indian Eastern Himalaya.

About Hornbill

  • Hornbill is the state bird of Kerala and Arunachal Pradesh
  • They are characterized by a long, down-curved bill which is frequently brightly colored and sometimes has a casque on the upper mandible
  • They are the only birds in which the first and second neck vertebrate are fused together
  • They are mainly frugivorous, but they also feed on small animals

Threats to Hornbill

  • Hornbills used to be hunted for their casques — upper beak — and feathers for headgear despite being cultural symbols of some ethnic communities in the northeast, specifically the Nyishi of Arunachal Pradesh. But a 20-year-old conservation programme entailing the use of fibre-glass beaks reduced the threat to the birds to a large extent.
  • Illegal logging has led to fewer tall trees where the birds nest.

About Papum RF

  • It is a nesting habitat of three species of the large, colourful fruit-eating hornbills: Great, Wreathed and Oriental Pied.
  • The 862 sq.km. Pakke reserve houses a fourth species, the Rufous-Necked.

7 . Draft of norms to check misleading ads soon

Context: The Ministry of Consumer Affairs will soon release a draft regulation aimed at checking misleading advertisements, for consultation and comments from stakeholders.

About the news

  • The regulation for misleading advertisements will be notified after the due process of consultations
  • The government will notify the regulations on misleading ads under the Consumer Protection Act while the Central Consumer Protection Authority will be the enforcing agency.
  • As the earlier advertising code was not stringent enough for consumer protection that is why this step s being taken.

What is a misleading advertisement?

  • Any advertisement or promotion through Television, Radio, or any other electronic media, Newspapers, Banners, Posters, Handbills, wall-writing etc. to misrepresent the nature, characteristics, qualities or geographic origin of goods, services or commercial activities so as to mislead the consumer could be broadly defined as a misleading advertisement.

Penalty for misleading adertisement

  • The CCPA (Central Consumer Protection Authority) may impose a penalty on a manufacturer or an endorser of up to Rs 10 lakh and imprisonment for up to two years for a false or misleading advertisement. In case of a subsequent offence, the fine may extend to Rs 50 lakh and imprisonment of up to five years.

8 . Facts for Prelims

Loya Jirga, or grand assembly

  • It’s a “grand assembly,” an Afghan tradition dating back at least three centuries, that brings together elders and community leaders from across the land to discuss matters of major national importance.

Sputnik – V

  • Russia had become the first country to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, a move Moscow likened to its success in the Cold War-era space race.
  • The vaccine, to be called ‘Sputnik V’ in homage to the world’s first satellite launched by the Soviet Union, has, however, not yet completed its final trials.
  • It is developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute

 Instrument Landing System

  •  Instrument Landing System is a guided landing during low visibility for flights

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