Daily Current Affairs : 1st & 2nd August

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. 1947 Gurkha Pact
  2. Dhole
  3. Contempt of Court
  4. Public Safety Act
  5. Study on coronavirus in bats
  6. Facts for Prelims

1 . 1947 Gurkha Pact

Context : The 1947 agreement among India, Nepal and the United Kingdom that deals with the military service of Gorkha soldiers has become “redundant,” according to Foreign Minister of Nepal Pradeep Kumar Gyawali

The ‘Gurkha recruitment’ pact

  • During the Anglo-Nepalese War of 1814-16, the East India Company suffered heavy casualties inflicted by Gurkha soldiers, forcing the British to acknowledge the valour of these warriors who fought with a kukri in hand — the insignia of all Gurkha Rifles regiments — and battle cry of ‘Ayo Gorkhali’ (Gurkhas are here).
  • Under a Peace Treaty signed later, Gurkhas were permitted to volunteer in the East India Company’s army. From these, the first Gurkha regiments were raised.
  • When India became independent in 1947 there were 10 Gurkha regiments in the Indian Army.
  • The three countries then signed a Tripartite Agreement which transferred four of these to the British Army; the remainder served in India.
  • Later, the British Army amalgamated their four regiments into Royal Gurkha Rifles (RGR) regiment deployed in its colonies of Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. The Indian Army raised a seventh Gurkha battalion post independence.

Why Nepal wants the 1947 agreement reviewed

  • Nepal’s fresh demand for new bilateral arrangements with the two countries comes amid strained relations between India and Nepal over the Kalapani territorial dispute.
  • Nepalese foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali on Friday called the 1947 tripartite agreement “redundant” and a legacy of the past.
  • Gyawali has argued that the 1947 pact had created a lot of jobs in the past, “but in the changed context, some of its provisions are questionable”.
  • Early this year, Nepal also wrote to the UK to replace the agreement with a bilateral one.
  • Terms of the tripartite arrangement laid that Gurkha soldiers in both armies should serve under broadly the same terms and conditions of service, but Gurkha veterans in British Army have alleged discrimination in remuneration and perks.
  • While Gurkhas in Indian Army have the same benefits as others, the British government started providing equal pay and pension to Gurkhas only in 2007.
  • Gurkhas retire after 15 years of service, so the new guidelines made only those recruited after 1993 eligible for pension. But veterans have demanded compensation for the period they served without equal pay and other benefits. Gurkhas who served in the British Army before 1993 have also been deprived of both equal pay and pensions

Contribution over the years

  • At present, Gurkhas comprise roughly 3% of the British Army. This year alone, over 12,000 applicants from across Nepal applied to become a Gurkha in the British Army.
  • At least 32,000 Nepalese Gurkhas are serving in Indian Army’s seven Gurkha Rifle regiments. The Gurkha Rifles have produced three Indian Army Chiefs – General Sam Manekshaw, General Dalbir Singh and General Bipin Rawat.

2 . Dhole

Context : Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh rank high in the conservation of the endangered dhole in India, according to a new study.

About the Study

  • Scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society-India, the University of Florida, the Wildlife Conservation Trust, and the National Centre for Biological Sciences found that these three States were adequately equipped to maintain their high ranks in consolidating forest habitats and recover dhole populations by increasing prey density and reducing the pressure on forests.
  • Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Telangana and Goa will need to increase financial investments in the forest and wildlife sectors, and reduce the ease of granting forest clearances for infrastructure projects.
  • It also found that improving habitat conditions and prey densities in the Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha would “strengthen the link” between dhole populations in the Western Ghats and central India.
  • Through the study, the scientists explored the conservation tenets of retention, recovery and restoration of dholes in India, said to be a global stronghold for the species, in the context of large carnivores facing high extinction risk.

About Dhole

  • Dholes are genetically close to species within the genus Canis but distinct in several anatomical aspects: its skull is convex rather than concave in profile, it lacks a third lower molar and the upper molars sport only a single cusp as opposed to between two and four
  • They are carnivores animals
  • Other names for the species include Asian wild dog, Asiatic wild dog, Indian wild dog, whistling dog, red dog, and mountain wolf.
  • They are endangered as per IUCN Red list


  • Dholes play an important role as apex predators in forest ecosystems.
  • Besides the tiger, the dhole is the only large carnivore in India that is under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s ‘endangered’ category.
  • As a country that perhaps supports the highest number of dholes in the world, we still do not have targeted management plans for scientific monitoring of the species.

3 . Contempt of Court

Context Senior journalists N. Ram and Arun Shourie and advocate Prashant Bhushan have jointly moved the Supreme Court against a law that allows criminal contempt action to be initiated on the “incurably vague” ground that a publication may tend to or even scandalise or lower the authority of a court of law.

About the Petition

  •  According to the petition contempt law in question was unconstitutional, rooted in colonialism and produced a chilling effect on free speech and expression.
  • Their petition filed focusses on the legality of Section 2(c)(i) of the Contempt of Court Act. The section holds that it amounts to criminal contempt if a person publishes, by words spoken or written or by any other act, anything “which scandalises or tends to scandalise or lowers or tends to lower the authority of any court”.
  • According to the Petition Scandalising the court’ is rooted in colonial assumption and objects, which have no place in legal orders committed to democratic constitutionality and maintenance of an open robust public sphere,” the petition said. The legal provision is manifestly arbitrary, as what may or may not cause a scandal is subjective. The application of criminal contempt law on this basis would be incapable of being certain and even-handed, it contended.

How did the concept of contempt come into being?

  • In England contempt of court is a common law principle that seeks to protect the judicial power of the king, initially exercised by himself, and later by a panel of judges who acted in his name. Violation of the judges’ orders was considered an affront to the king himself.
  • Over time, any kind of disobedience to judges, or obstruction of the implementation of their directives, or comments and actions that showed disrespect towards them came to be punishable.

What is the statutory basis for contempt of court?

  • There were pre-Independence laws of contempt in India. Besides the early High Courts, the courts of some princely states also had such laws.
  • When the Constitution was adopted, contempt of court was made one of the restrictions on freedom of speech and expression.
  • Article 129 of the Constitution conferred on the Supreme Court the power to punish contempt of itself. Article 215 conferred a corresponding power on the High Courts.
  • The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, gives statutory backing to the idea.

What are the kinds of contempt of court?

The law codifying contempt classifies it as civil and criminal.

  • Civil contempt is committed when someone wilfully disobeys a court order, or wilfully breaches an undertaking given to court.
  • Criminal contempt consists of three forms:
    • (a) words, written or spoken, signs and actions that “scandalise” or “tend to scandalise” or “lower” or “tends to lower” the authority of any court
    • (b) prejudices or interferes with any judicial proceeding
    • (c) interferes with or obstructs the administration of justice.
  • Making allegations against the judiciary or individual judges, attributing motives to judgments and judicial functioning and any scurrilous attack on the conduct of judges are normally considered matters that scandalise the judiciary.
  • The rationale for this provision is that courts must be protected from tendentious attacks that lower its authority, defame its public image and make the public lose faith in its impartiality.
  • The punishment for contempt of court is simple imprisonment for a term up to six months and/or a fine of up to ₹. 2,000.

What is not contempt of court?

  • Fair and accurate reporting of judicial proceedings will not amount to contempt of court. Nor is any fair criticism on the merits of a judicial order after a case is heard and disposed of.

Is truth a defence against a contempt charge?

  • For many years, truth was seldom considered a defence against a charge of contempt. There was an impression that the judiciary tended to hide any misconduct among its individual members in the name of protecting the image of the institution.
  • The Act was amended in 2006 to introduce truth as a valid defence, if it was in public interest and was invoked in a bona fide manner

4 . Public Safety Act

What is the PSA?

  • The Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978 is a preventive detention law, under which a person is taken into custody to prevent him or her from acting in any manner that is prejudicial to “the security of the state or the maintenance of the public order”. It is very similar to the National Security Act that is used by other state governments for preventive detention.
  • It comes into force by an administrative order passed either by Divisional Commissioner or the District Magistrate, and not by an detention order by police based on specific allegations or for specific violation of laws.
  • The PSA allows for detention of a person without a formal charge and without trial. It can be slapped on a person already in police custody; on someone immediately after being granted bail by a court; or even on a person acquitted by the court. Detention can be up to two years.
  • A person who is detained under the PSA need not be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours of the detention. The detained person does not have the right to move a bail application before a criminal court, and cannot engage any lawyer to represent him or her before the detaining authority.
  • Within four weeks of passing the detention order, the government has to refer the case to an Advisory Board. This Advisory Board will have to give its recommendations within eight weeks of the order. If the Board thinks that there is cause for preventive detention, the government can hold the person up to two years.
  • The person detained has limited rights. Usually when a person is arrested, they have the right to legal representation and can challenge the arrest. But, when a person is arrested under the PSA, they do not have these rights before the Advisory Board unless sufficient grounds can be established that the detention is illegal. There have been cases where the High Court has interfered and quashed the detention.
  • According to Section 13(2), the detaining authority need not even inform the detained individual as to the reason for the action, if it decides that it goes against public interest.
  • The District Magistrate who has passed the detention order has protection under the Act, which states that the order is considered “done in good faith”. Therefore, there can be no prosecution or any legal proceeding against the official who has passed the order.
  • After an amendment last year by the Governor, persons detained under the PSA in Jammu & Kashmir can now be detained in jails outside the state.


  • The only way this administrative preventive detention order can be challenged is through a habeas corpus petition filed by relatives of the detained person.
  • The High Court and the Supreme Court have the jurisdiction to hear such petitions and pass a final order seeking quashing of the PSA.
  • However, if the order is quashed, there in no bar on the government passing another detention order under the PSA and detaining the person again.

5 . Study on Coronavirus in bats

Context : Novel coronavirus circulated unnoticed in bats for decades, study says

Details of the Study

  • A study published in Nature Microbiology states that SARS-CoV-2 virus is likely to have diverged from closely related bat viruses called the sarbecovirus, 40-70 years ago,
  • In early February, Chinese researchers had found that SARS-CoV-2 is most closely related to RaTG13 sarbecovirus, which was isolated from a horseshoe bat in Yunnan province in 2013.
  • Based on the nearly 96% genome sequence identity between SARS-CoV-2 and RaTG13, a team led by Zheng-Li Shi from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, China said in a paper published in February in Nature that an origin in bats is probable for the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The current study by Prof. Maciej Boni from the Pennsylvania State University in the U.S. and others not only confirms the findings of Dr. Shi but also suggests the probable time when SARS-CoV-2 diverged from RaTG13.
  • The authors analysed the evolutionary history of SARS-CoV-2 using genomic data on sarbecoviruses.
  • Study suggest that RaTG13 and SARS-CoV-2 share a single ancestral lineage and estimate that SARS-CoV-2 genetically diverged from related bat sarbecoviruses in 1948, 1969 and 1982, respectively. “
  • According to the study novel coronavirus itself has not arisen from recombination of any sarbecoviruses. The ability of the spike protein in the virus to bind to ACE2 human receptors had emerged within bats and is an ancestral trait shared with bat viruses and “not one acquired recently via recombination”.
  • According to them, the results suggest the presence of a “single lineage” circulating in bats with properties that allowed it to infect human cells. This was also the case with the bat sarbecoviruses related to the 2002 SARS lineage.
  • Study also challenges the notion that pangolins would have served as an intermediate host where the virus would have acquired its ability to infect human cells thus facilitating the jump into humans. They conclude that it is plausible that pangolins could have been a conduit for transmission to humans, but there is “no evidence that pangolins facilitated adaptation to humans” by being an intermediate host.

Importance of Study

  • The findings demonstrate how critical it is to undertake genomic analysis of bat viruses
  • Many species of bat harbour several viruses which can cross over to new hosts. When we disrupt habitats, we will face more such threats.”

6 . Facts for Prelims


  • Rafale is an omni-role fighter capable of the entire spectrum of roles — air superiority and air defence, close air support, in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and nuclear deterrence.
  • With its advanced AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar, electronic warfare suite and network-centric capabilities in addition to its armaments,
  • Rafale is now the most advanced fighter in the IAF arsenal, overtaking the SU-30MKI, which is due for major upgrades.
  • Rafale is also the first imported fighter to join service in over two decades since the SU-30s in the late 1990s.
  • Rafale has 14 hard points for weapons and can carry a total external load of over 9 tonnes. In addition to the Meteor, it is armed with SCALP long-range stand-off attack air-to-ground missiles and MICA multi-mission air-to-air missiles. The latest addition, HAMMER (Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range) medium range air-to-ground missiles, is being procured through the emergency route.
  • Another significant factor with the Rafales is that as per contract, at least 75% of the Rafale fleet has to be operationally available, which would make it the most available fighter in the IAF fleet.
  • The first Rafale squadron, No. 17 Golden Arrows, will be based at Ambala and the second squadron will be at Hasimara.
  • All 36 aircraft will be delivered on schedule by end 2021

Barakah nuclear power plant

  • UAE announced that Barakah nuclear power plant achieved criticality
  • It is the first in the Arab world to achieve criticality
  • It has 4 nuclear reactors.
  • The plant is located on a sparsely populated strip of desert on the Persian Gulf coast.

Credit Guarantee Scheme

  • The Centre has expanded its credit guarantee scheme for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to cover loans given to larger firms, as well as to self-employed people and professionals who have taken loans for business purposes

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