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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

Monthly DNA

09 Feb, 2021

15 Min Read

Issue of Tamil Nadu Governor under Article 161

GS-II : Governance Federal issues

Issue of Tamil Nadu Governor under Article 161

Context

  • Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit has decided that only the President can decide the issue of granting remission to the seven life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

View of the Supreme Court

  • It has often been stressed by the Supreme Court that the clemency powers of the President, under Article 72, and the Governor, under Article 161, stand on an equal footing, and are exercised solely on Cabinet advice.

Article 161 in The Constitution Of India 1949

  • The Governor of a State shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the State extends

Limitation of A.161

  • The only limitation in Article 161 is that it should relate to “the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the State extends”.

Details

  • It may be that the Governor decided that it is beyond the State’s executive power because the Rajiv Gandhi case was tried under a central anti-terrorism law and under CBI probe.
  • Further, in a situation arising from the State government’s attempt in 2014 to remit their sentences under the Cr.P.C., the apex court had ruled in 2015 that such remission would require the Centre’s concurrence.
  • However, this is not a tenable argument, as the same judgment made it clear that its opinion was limited to the Cr.P.C. and would not bind the sovereign power conferred on the President or the Governor under the Constitution (A.72 and A.161).
  • Also, it cannot be forgotten that the apex court had dropped charges under the now-defunct TADA, and sentenced the convicts only under the IPC for the murder conspiracy.
  • As the only surviving sentences are under the IPC, there seems to be nothing in law that bars the Governor’s jurisdiction.

Conflict between the State cabinet and the Governor

  • It took Mr. Purohit more than two years — since the State Cabinet advised him in September 2018 to order the convicts’ release — to decide the question.

Centre’s dimension of ‘Zero tolerance’ towards crime

  • One could speculate that the delay reflected the Centre’s concern about releasing those involved in the plot to assassinate a former Prime Minister, and its ramifications for its policy of ‘zero tolerance’ towards terror.

Humanitarian dimension

  • The Court should settle this. The convicts’ continuing incarceration for nearly 30 years, notwithstanding the gravity of their crime, has acquired a humanitarian dimension to many.

Way forward

  • It is vital that law and compassion, rather than politics and electoral considerations, form the basis for any decision on their release.

Source: TH

Uttarakhand floods

GS-III : Disaster and Disaster management Flood

Uttarakhand floods

Introduction

  • The staggering collapse of part of a glacier in Uttarakhand’s Nanda Devi mountain and the ensuing floods that have claimed many lives come as a deadly reminder that this fragile, geologically dynamic region.

Reason of flash floods

  • A significant slice of the glacier, dislodged by a landslide, produced roaring torrents in the Rishiganga and Dhauliganga rivers in Chamoli district, trapping unsuspecting workers at two hydro power project sites (Tapovan project and Tapovan-Vishnughad project).

Risks of hydroelectric power projects

  • Once the crucible of environmentalism, epitomised by Sunderlal Bahuguna, Gaura Devi and the Chipko movement.
  • The State’s deep gorges and canyons have attracted many hydroelectric projects and dams, with little concern for earthquake risk.
    • Example: Red flags have been raised repeatedly, particularly after the moderate quake in 1991 in the region where the Tehri dam was built and the 2013 floods that devastated Kedarnath, pointing to the threat from seismicity, dam-induced microseismicity, landslides and floods from a variety of causes, including unstable glacial lakes and climate change.
  • India is heavily invested in dam development and growth of hydropower, largely in the Himalaya region — especially to cut carbon emissions.
    • Data: By one estimate, if the national plan to construct dams in 28 river valleys in the hills is realised in a few decades, the Indian Himalayas will have one dam for every 32 km, among the world’s highest densities.
  • There may be a miscalculation for reasons, including potential earthquake impacts, monsoonal aberrations that could repeat a Kedarnath-like flood, severe biodiversity loss and extreme danger to communities downstream.
  • The life of dams is often exaggerated, and siltation, which reduces it, is grossly underestimated:
    • Case study: In the Bhakra dam in Himachal Pradesh, for instance, siltation was higher by 140% than calculated.

Way forward

  • The need is to rigorously study the impact of policy on the Himalayas and confine hydro projects to those with the least impact.
  • Relying more on low impact run-of-the-river power projects that need no destructive large dams and reservoirs.

Source: TH

Glacial Lake Outburst Flooding

GS-I : Physical Geography Weathering and Erosion

  • A glacial lake outburst flooding (GLOF) occurs when a breach in the glacial lake causes a sudden surge downstream.
  • Such lakes are formed when glaciers erode land, melt and over time become a large mass of water in the depression formed, and these can be breached, causing floods downstream.
  • In India the status of glacial lakes is checked by Central Water Commission.

Source: TH

Sri Lanka clears a Chinese energy project 50 kms from Rameshwaram

GS-II : International Relations Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka govt. has recently cleared a Chinese energy project in 3 islands near to Jaffna peninsula.

  • Sinosoar-Etechwin Joint Venture will be executing the project.

  • These hybrid renewable energy systems projects will be based in Nainativu, Delft and Analaitivu islands located in the Palk Bay.

  • The islands are connected to the Jaffna peninsula a ferry service & are about 50 kms away from Rameshwaram

Source: TH

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