Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Public Interest Litigation
- New Advance medical directives
- Rural and Archeological Tourism
- Facts for Prelims
1 . Public Interest Litigation
Context: The Supreme Court on February 3, 2023, directed the government to produce the original records on a decision to block the screening of a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) documentary series titled ‘India: The Modi Question’.
About the petition
- Earlier the public interest litigation was filed by the senior journalist and the others to argue that the Ministry, under Rule 16(3) of the Information Technology Rules of 2021 and Section 69(A) of the Information Technology Act 2000, had on January 20, sent a legal request to Twitter India to block 50 tweets concerning and even containing links to the documentary.
- The petitioners have urged the court to call for and quash orders directly or indirectly censoring the documentary.
About Public Interest Litigation
- Public Interest Litigation (PIL), means a legal action initiated in a court of law for the enforcement of public interest or general interest in which the public or class of the community have pecuniary interest or some interest by which their legal rights or liabilities are affected.”
- Public Interest Litigation’s explicit purpose is to alienate the suffering off all those who have borne the burnt of insensitive treatment at the hands of fellow human being. Transparency in public life & fair judicial action are the right answer to check increasing menace of violation of legal rights. Traditional rule was that the right to move the Supreme Court is only available to those whose fundamental rights are infringed.
- PIL has not been defined in any Indian statute. However, Courts have interpreted and defined PIL. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has, in the case of Janata Dal v. H.S.Chaudhary, held that lexically, the expression ‘PIL’ means a legal action started in a court of law for the enforcement of public/general interest where the public or a particular class of the public some interest (including pecuniary interest) that affects their legal rights or liabilities.
- PILs are considered to be the most effective as well as the most commonly used judicial tool to safeguard the environment due to their many advantages including but not limited to speedy results, nominal court fees, relaxed procedural rules and the wide variety of investigative techniques available to courts like special committees.
Who can file a PIL
- Any individual or organisation can file a PIL either in his/her/their own standing i.e. to protect or enforce a right owed to him/her/them by the government or on behalf of a section of society who is disadvantaged or oppressed and is not able to enforce their own rights.
- However, only a person acting in good faith and who has sufficient interest in the proceeding will have the locus standi to file a PIL.
- A person who approaches the Hon’ble Court for personal gain, private profit, political or any oblique consideration will not be entertained. Suo moto cognizance may also be taken by the Court.
Legality of PIL
- PILs are extensions of Writ Jurisdiction. Therefore, PILs may be filed either before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution or any High Court under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution.
- However, even a simple letter or a postcard addressed to the Chief Justice of India or the Chief Justice of a High Court may suffice. The court may then choose to take cognizance of the letter and convert it into a PIL.
Objectives of Public Interest Litigation
- Public Interest Litigation has become a powerful tool for implementing the legal obligation of the legislature and the executive.
- The chief objective behind Public Interest Litigation is ensuring justice to all and endorsing welfare of the ordinary people of country.
- It is generally not used to safeguard individual interests but used to protect group interests – for which Fundamental Rights have been provided.
- The High Courts and Supreme Court of India has the right to issue Public Interest Litigation. The perception of Public Interest Litigation stems from the supremacy of “judicial review.”
- The concept of Public Interest Litigation has diluted the principle of ‘locus standi. ‘Locus Standi‘ indicates that only the ‘person/party’ whose rights have been infringed upon can file petitions in front of the competent court.
- Public Interest Litigation has commonly been used to challenge public authorities’ decisions by the parameters assigned of judicial review, to review a failure to act, or by a public body, or the lawfulness of a decision or action.
What is the Importance of Public Interest Litigation in India?
- Public interest litigation delivers a broader scope promoting the right to equality.
- Public Interest Litigation creates a new regime of human rights by increasing the meaning of the fundamental right to life, equality, and personal liberty
What are the agendas on which a Public Interest Litigation cannot be filed?
- The Supreme Court of India has delivered a comprehensive list of guidelines concerning the filing of Public Interest Litigation rendering to which Public Interest Litigation cannot be file. They are :
- Cases related to landlord-tenant
- Cases related to services
- Gratuity and Pension related matters Cases
- Complaints against government departments and local bodies, central government, and state government eliminate issues related to items 1 to 10 declared in the list of guidelines
- Cases related to admission in educational institutions and medical institutions
- Petition for a prompt hearing of pending cases in subordinate courts or High Court
What are the merits of Public Interest Litigation?
- It explains the law in a better way.
- Hold public bodies accountable by acting reasonably within the remit of their powers and assuring that they make precise choices.
- It tries to develop and help the law by allowing the judges to understand the legislation.
- Public Interest Litigation gives weak people a voice by emphasizing a significant issue. Furthermore, given that a platform for advocating for their rights.
- Raise awareness of significant problems assisting media coverage and public debates.
- Attentive citizens can find a reasonable solution because there is only a nominal rate of court fees.
- Litigants can achieve outcomes and focus attention on broader public issues in the field of consumer welfare, Human rights, and the environment.
2 . New Advance medical directives
Context: A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court has removed “insurmountable obstacles” for the implementation of advance medical directives of terminally ill patients, who are beyond cure or hope, to withdraw medical treatment and die with dignity.
About the case
- The case had come back to the court after pleas were made that the directions in the 2018 judgment were near impossible to implement on the ground.
- So the court simplifies certain directions of an earlier Constitution Bench, while allowing passive euthanasia, on how to implement advance medical directives.
New Advance medical directives
- 2019 Judgement – An advance medical directive (AMD), according to the 2018 judgment, required not only the signatures of two independent witnesses, but had also to be counter-signed by a Judicial Magistrate.
- Changed Guideline – In its current order the court said it need to be signed by the executor/patient and independent witnesses in the presence of a notary or gazetted officer who would record his/her satisfaction that the AMD was voluntary and executed without coercion. Copies of the AMD would be handed over to the close relatives, the family physician and a competent officer of the municipal corporation or panchayat concerned. The AMD, if the executor chooses, may be made part of the digital health records.
- Duty of treating Doctors : At the time of its implementation, that is when the executor is terminally ill with no hope of cure or recovery after a prolonged treatment, the treating doctor at the hospital would ascertain the genuineness of the AMD, compare it with the copy in the digital health records, consult with the relatives about the option that withdrawal of care would be the “best choice”.
- Primary and Secondary Medical Board : The hospital would then form a primary medical board with the treating doctor and two specialists who would verify the condition of the patient within 48 hours. Then a secondary medical board would be constituted with the Chief Medical Officer of the district nominating the members. This board would again re-ascertain the patient’s condition within 48 hours and give its findings on whether or not to withdraw medical care or life support. The hospital would then have to convey the findings of both the primary and secondary board along with the consent of the relatives to the Judicial Magistrate before giving effect to the AMD.
- Powers of Board : In case, the boards refuse to give effect to the AMD, the person named in it or the treating doctor or the hospital could approach the High Court concerned. The Chief Justice of the High Court would constitute a Division Bench, which can set up an independent committee of expert medical doctors in the fields of general medicine, nephrology, neurology, oncology, radiology and critical care.
- Cases in which there is no AMD : In such cases, the treating doctor could inform the hospital, which would constitute a primary medical board. The board would meet with the patient’s family or next friend or guardian and discuss consent. The meeting should be recorded in writing. Then the same course of action as followed in cases in which there is an AMD would follow.
What is Living will?
- A living will—also known as an advance directive—is a legal document that specifies the type of medical care that an individual does or does not want in the event they are unable to communicate their wishes.
- In the case of an unconscious person who suffers from a terminal illness, or a life-threatening injury, doctors, and hospitals consult the living will to determine whether or not the patient wants life-sustaining treatment, such as assisted breathing or tube feeding.
- In the absence of a living will, decisions about medical care become the responsibility of the spouse, family members, or other third parties.
- These individuals may be unaware of the patient’s desires, or they may not wish to follow the patient’s unwritten, verbal directives.
3 . Rural tourism and archaeological tourism
Context: The Ladpura Khas village of Madhya Pradesh, Khonoma village of Nagaland and heritage sites like Dholavira will be showcased as success stories of rural and archaeological tourism by India during the first tourism working group meeting of the G-20 nations to be held at the Rann of Kutch
About G-20 first tourism meeting
- G 20 tourism ministerial meeting will be held at the Rann of Kutch. Rural tourism and archaeological tourism will be the topics for two side events at the first tourism ministerial meeting of the G-20 where India will highlight the most successful and innovative initiatives of these from various parts of India.
- India will also present the innovative model of community based Astro tourism that involves rural homestays and community spaces that are completely run by villagers and provides travellers an integrated experience of stargazing along with cultural immersion in the Himalayas,
- Nagaland’s Khonoma Village will present the model of Ecotourism Management Board that develops Rural Tourism Products and promotes responsible travel.
- India will also showcase its success in archaeological tourism and discuss shared cultural heritage with the G-20 delegates.
- The meeting will provide a vision, roadmap and guidance for accelerated growth of tourism sector beyond pandemic based on the five key building blocks of
- MSMEs and
- Destination management towards achieving SDGs
What is rural tourism?
- Rural Tourism is a type of tourism activity in which the visitor’s experience is related to a wide range of products generally linked to nature-based activities, agriculture, rural lifestyle / culture, angling and sightseeing.
- Rural Tourism activities take place in non-urban (rural) areas with the following characteristics:
- Low population density,
- Landscape and land-use dominated by agriculture and forestry and
- Traditional social structure and lifestyle”.
What is Archeological tourism?
- Archaeological tourism is a form of cultural tourism, which aims to promote public interest in archaeology and the conservation of historical sites.
- Archaeological tourism can include all products associated with public archaeological promotion, including visits to archaeological sites, museums, interpretation centers, reenactments of historical occurrences, and the rediscovery of indigenous products, festivals, or theaters.
Ladpura Khas village of Madhya Pradesh
- The Ladpura Khas village of Madhya Pradesh was nominated as the Best Rural Tourism Village by the UNWTO.
- In this village, the State government developed homestays in villages under the Responsible Tourism Mission of the State.
Khonoma village of Nagaland
- Khonoma is also known for its initiatives in wildlife conservation.
- In 1998, the Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan Sanctuary (KNCTS) was set up to protect the endangered Blyth’s Tragopan and other wildlife and rare plant species in their natural habitat.
- Khonoma is also the first Green Village in Asia.
- Dholavira is situated in the Kutch district of Gujarat on the Khadir Bet (island) in the Bhachau taluka, surrounded by the Rann of Kutch Lake
- Discovered by J P Joshi in 1966, the Archaeological Survey of India conducted extensive excavations during the nineties led by Director R S Bisht, an acclaimed archaeologist.
- It revealed many new facets to the Harappan civilisation.
- Dholavira and Lothal (near Ahmedabad) are the only two sites showing the seven stages of civilisation from development, maturity to its end, spanning 2900-1500 BCE, unlike others found in early or late stages only.
- Everyday objects like fish hooks, tools, urns, animal figurines, pottery, seals and weights are found in this site
- There is enough evidence to suggest inter-regional trade and those with Mesopotamia and the Oman peninsula. But most intriguing are the 10 large stone inscriptions in Indus valley script, that remains undeciphered.
- It was an arid land, drained by two seasonal streams, Mansar and Manhar that dried up in summer.
What is Best tourism village
- The ‘Best Tourism Villages’ by UNWTO pilot initiative aims to award those villages which are outstanding examples of rural destinations and showcase good practices in line with its specified nine evaluation areas
- It also aims to support villages to enhance their rural tourism potential through training and access to opportunities for improvement.
- The Ministry of Tourism had recommended three villages for the UNWTO Best Tourism Village entry from India. These were Kongthong in Meghalaya, Ladhpura Khas in Madhya Pradesh, and Pochampally in Telangana. Pochampally was awarded by the UNWTO.
- Pochampally, 50 Kms from Hyderabad, is a town in Nalgonda district of Telangana and is often referred to as the ‘Silk City of India’ for the exquisite sarees that are woven through a unique style called Ikat. Pochampally Ikat, received a Geographical Indicator (GI Status) in 2004.
4 . Facts for Prelims
Legal exposure framework guidelines
- RBI defines large exposure (LE) as the sum of all exposure values of a bank to a counterparty or a group of connected counterparties if it is equal to or above 10 percent of the bank’s eligible capital base (i.e., Tier 1 capital).
- A bank’s exposures to its counterparties may result in concentration of its assets to a single counterparty or a group of connected counterparties.
- As a first step to address the concentration risk, the Reserve Bank, in March 1989, fixed limits on bank exposures to an individual business concern and to business concerns of a group.
- RBI’s prudential exposure norms have evolved since then and a bank’s exposure to a single borrower and a borrower group was restricted to 15 percent and 40 percent of capital funds respectively.
Central Repository of Information on Large Credits
- The RBI has set up a Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC) to collect, store, and disseminate credit data to lenders.
- Banks will have to furnish credit information to CRILC on all their borrowers having aggregate fund-based and non-fund based exposure of Rs.5 crores and above.
- Similarly, banks will be required to report, among others, the Special Mention status of the borrower to the CRILC. – What is What is SMA