Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Rule 176 and Rule 267
- Law Commision
- National Human Rights Commission
1 . Rule 176 and Rule 267
Context: The opening day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament was disrupted after the government and the Opposition differed on the format of the discussion on the Manipur situation. While the government agreed for a short-duration discussion, the Opposition insisted that the Prime Minister make a suo motu statement followed by a discussion,suspending all business under Rule 267.
What is Rule 267, and Rule 176
- Rule 267- According to the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States, Rule 267 relates to suspension of rules. It says, “Any member, may, with the consent of the Chairman, move that any rule may be suspended in its application to a motion related to the business listed before the Council of that day and if the motion is carried, the rule in question shall be suspended for the time being: Provided further that this rule shall not apply where specific provision already exists for suspension of a rule under a particular chapter of the Rules.”
- Rule 176- Short-duration discussion, on the other hand, is a brief discussion not exceeding two-and-a-half hours under Rule 176.
- It says that “any member desirous of raising discussion on a matter of urgent public importance may give notice in writing to the Secretary-General specifying clearly and precisely the matter to be raised: Provided that the notice shall be accompanied by an explanatory note stating reasons for raising discussion on the matter in question: Provided further that the notice shall be supported by the signatures of at least two other members.”
- Once the Chairman admits the notice, the rules say he, in consultation with the Leader of the Council, will fix the date on which such matter may be taken up for discussion and allow such time for discussion, not exceeding two and a half hours.
- It means that a short-duration discussion under Rule 176 can be taken up immediately, a few hours later, the next day or can be fixed for a later date and time. But the rule says there shall be no formal motion or voting under a short duration discussion. “The member who has given notice may make a short statement and the Minister shall reply shortly”.
Rule 267 and Adjournment Motion
- The opposition parties had been mistakenly using Rule 267 as an equivalent to the adjournment motion in Lok Sabha. In case of adjournment motion, governed by Rules 56-63 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha, the discussion is based on a motion.
- Adjournment Motion– The rule defines adjournment motion as “a motion for an adjournment of the business of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance may be made with the consent of the Speaker”.
- The rules say “not more than one such motion shall be made at the same sitting.
- “Rule 267 is to suspend a particular rule in relation to a business which is listed in the agenda. Adjournment motion is to take up for discussion a subject of urgent nature…not just discussion; the adjournment motion has an element of censure. That is the privilege of Lok Sabha because LS can bring down a government which the RS cannot do..that is why there is no adjournment motion in Rajya Sabha. There is no rule in Rajya Sabha which has an element of censure. So the Opposition has always been using Rule 267.
2 . Law commission
Context : The Law Commission has started fresh consultations on the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) due to the “relevance and importance” of the subject and various court orders on the matter, Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal informed the Rajya Sabha
About the News
- In a written reply to a question, the Law Minister noted that the 21st Law Commission had issued a consultation paper on “Reform of Family Law” on August 31, 2018, but did not submit any report on the subject.
- Since more than four years have lapsed from the date of issuance of the said consultation paper, the 22nd Law Commission [the present panel] decided to solicit views and ideas of the public at large and religious organisations on June 14, 2023, bearing in mind the relevance and importance of the subject matter and also various court orders on the subject of uniform civil code
21st Law commission on UCC
- Consultation paper on “Reform of Family Law” by 21st Law Commission, headed by former Supreme Court judge Balbir Singh Chauhan, held that the “formulation of a Uniform Civil Code is neither necessary nor desirable at this stage”.
- The Commission had commented, “Mere existence of difference does not imply discrimination, but is indicative of a robust democracy”. It had noted that most countries are moving towards the recognition of difference in place of legal provisions that are founded on uniformity between culturally diverse people — these are unfair to the weaker and vulnerable sections.
- It underlined that rather than enacting a UCC, family laws of every religion must be reformed to make them gender-just. It talked about the uniformity of rights, not laws
- The Commission’s consultation paper emphasised that celebration of diversity must not disadvantage specific groups and “women must be guaranteed their freedom of faith without any compromise on their right to equality”. The paper then proceeded to recommend a series of reforms in the personal laws of all religions as well as the secular laws that place women and children at a disadvantage.
- Since the third decade of the nineteenth century, Law Commissions were constituted by the Government from time to time and were empowered to recommend legislative reforms with a view to clarify, consolidate and codify particular branches of law where the Government felt the necessity for it.
- The first such Commission was established in 1834 under the Charter Act of 1833 under the Chairmanship of Lord Macaulay which recommended codification of the Penal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code and a few other matters.
- Thereafter, the second, third and fourth Law Commissions were constituted in 1853, 1861 and 1879 respectively which, during a span of fifty years contributed a great deal to enrich the Indian Statute Book with a large variety of legislations on the pattern of the then prevailing English Laws adapted to Indian conditions.
- The Indian Code of Civil Procedure, the Indian Contract Act, the Indian Evidence Act, the Transfer of Property Act. etc. are products of the labour of the first four Law Commissions.
- Though the Constitution stipulated the continuation of pre-Constitution Laws (Article 372) till they are amended or repealed, there had been demands in Parliament and outside for establishing a Central Law Commission to recommend revision and updating of the inherited laws to serve the changing needs of the country.
- The Government of India reacted favourably and established the First Law Commission of Independent India in 1955 with the then Attorney-General of India, Mr. M. C. Setalvad, as its Chairman.
- Since then twenty one more Law Commissions have been appointed, each with a three-year term and with different terms of reference.
About Law Commission
- Law Commission of India is an executive body established by an order of the Government of India. Its major function is to work for legal reform.
- Its membership primarily comprises legal experts, who are entrusted a mandate by the Government.
- The Commission is established for a fixed tenure and works as an advisory body to the Ministry of Law and Justice
- The Reports of the Law Commission are considered by the Ministry of Law in consultation with the concerned administrative Ministries and are submitted to Parliament from time to time. They are cited in Courts, in academic and public discourses and are acted upon by concerned Government Departments depending on the Government’s recommendations.
- Former Supreme Court judge Balbir Singh Chauhan was appointed Chairman of the 21st Law Commission. The 21st commission, under Justice B.S. Chauhan (retd), had submitted reports and working papers on key issues such as simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and the Assemblies and a uniform civil code
3 . National Human Rights commission
Context: Two and a half months after the ethnic conflict in Manipur began on May 3, the National Human Rights Commission of India issued its first public statement about human rights violations in the State.
What is Human Rights
- Section 2(1)(d) of the Protection of Human Rights Act defines Human Rights as the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by courts in India.
About National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
- The National Human Rights Commission, India has been set up to enquire into complaints of violation of human rights or negligence in the prevention of such violation by a public servant. It was established on 12 October, 1993.
- The statute under which it is established is the Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA), 1993 as amended by the Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Act, 2006.
- It is in conformity with the Paris Principles, adopted at the first international workshop on national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights held in Paris in October 1991, and endorsed by the General Assembly of the United Nations by its Regulations 48/134 of 20 December, 1993.
Autonomy of the Commission
- Autonomy of the Commission derives, inter-alia, from the method of appointing its Chairperson and Members, their fixity of tenure, and statutory guarantees thereto, the status they have been accorded and the manner in which the staff responsible to the Commission – including its investigative agency – will be appointed and conduct themselves.
- The financial autonomy of the Commission is also provided under the Act.
Composition of NHRC
The NHRC consists of The Chairman and Four members (excluding the ex-officio members)
- A Chairperson, who has been a Chief Justice of India or a Judge of the Supreme Court
- One member who is, or has been, a Judge of the Supreme Court of India, or, One member who is, or has been, the Chief Justice of a High Court
- Three Members, out of which at least one shall be a woman to be appointed from amongst persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights
- In addition, the Chairpersons of National Commissions viz., National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, National Commission for Women, National Commission for Minorities, National Commission for Backward Classes, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights; and the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities serve as ex officio members.
- The sitting Judge of the Supreme Court or sitting Chief Justice of any High Court can be appointed only after the consultation with the Chief Justice of Supreme Court.
- The Chairperson and Members of the Commission are appointed by the President on the basis of recommendations of a Committee comprising the Prime Minister as the Chairperson, the Speaker of Lok Sabha, the Home Minister, the leaders of the opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha as Members.
- Term of office for Chairperson and members of the NHRC term is three years or till the age of seventy years, whichever is earlier.
- Original Act allows for the reappointment of members of the NHRC and SHRCs for a period of five years but an amendment in 2019 removes the five-year limit for reappointment.
- They can be removed only on the charges of proved misbehavior or incapacity, if proved by an inquiry conducted by a Supreme Court Judge.
The Commission shall, perform all or any of the following functions, namely:-
- Inquire, on its own initiative or on a petition presented to it by a victim or any person on his behalf, into complaint of-
- Violation of human rights or abetment or
- Negligence in the prevention of such violation, by a public servant;
- Intervene in any proceeding involving any allegation of violation of human rights pending before a court with the approval of such court
- Visit, under intimation to the State Government, any jail or any other institution under the control of the State Government, where persons are detained or lodged for purposes of treatment, reformation or protection to study the living condition of the inmates and make recommendations thereon
- Review the safeguards by or under the Constitution or any law for the time being in force for the protection of human rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation;
- Review the factors, including acts of terrorism that inhibit the enjoyment of human rights and recommend appropriate remedial measures;
- Study treaties and other international instruments on human rights and make recommendations for their effective implementation;
- Undertake and promote research in the field of human rights;
- Spread human rights literacy among various sections of society and promote awareness of the safeguards available for the protection of these rights through publications, the media, seminars and other available means;
- Encourage the efforts of non – Governmental organizations and institutions working in the field of human rights;
- Such other functions as it may consider necessary for the promotion of human rights.
Powers of National Human Rights Commission
- While inquiring into complaints under the Act, the Commission shall have all the powers of a civil court trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and in particular the following, namely;
- Summoning and enforcing the attendance of witnesses and examining them on oath;
- Discovery and production of any document;
- Receiving evidence on affidavits;
- Requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office;
- Issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents;
- Any other matter which may be prescribed.
Steps after the inquiry
- Where the inquiry discloses the commission of violation of human right or negligence in the prevention of violation of human rights by a public servant, it may recommend to the concerned Government or authority the initiation of proceedings for prosecution or such other action as the Commission may deem fit against the concerned person or persons;
- Approach the Supreme Court or the High Court concerned for such directions, orders or writs as that Court may deem necessary;
- Recommend to the concerned Government or authority for the grant of such immediate interim relief to the victim or the members of his family as the Commission may consider necessary.
What kind of complaints are not entertained by the Commission ?
- Ordinarily, complaints of the following nature are not entertained by the Commission:
- In regard to events which happened more than one year before the making of the complaints;
- With regard to matters which are sub-judice;
- Which are vague, anonymous or pseudonymous;
- Which are of frivolous nature;
- Which pertain to service matters.
Human Rights Violation by Armed Forces
- The Commission may on its own motion or on the basis of petitions made to it on allegations of human rights violations by armed forces, seek a report from the Central Government. On receipt of the report, it may either not proceed with the complaint or, as the case may be, make its recommendations to the Government.
- According to the Act, the Central Government shall inform the Commission of the action taken on the recommendations within three months or such further time as the Commission may allow.
- It is further stipulated that the Commission shall publish its report together with its recommendations made to the Central Government and the action taken by that Government on such recommendations. A copy of the report so published will also be given to the petitioner.