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1.Collegium and transparency (The Hindu)

2.Government is working on stricter consumer protection law

 

1.Collegium and transparency (The Hindu)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the issue decision of the Supreme Court to hereafter make public. (GS paper II)

Overview

  • The Supreme Court’s collegium had decided to make public, its various decisions, including its verdicts on persons nominated for elevation as judges to the high courts, its choices of candidates for elevation to the Supreme Court, and its decisions on transfer of judges between different high courts.
  • The move strikes us as both necessary and important, as bringing transparency into a system that has been notorious for its opacity but on deeper analysis the mechanism seems to lacks any constitutional basis.

Assessment

  • The judiciary regarded by the Constitution’s framers as central to the social revolution that the document was meant to herald. The historian Granville Austin recounted in his book, “The Indian Constitution” Cornerstone of a Nation, the Constituent Assembly brought “to the framing of the Judicial provisions of the Constitution an idealism equalled only by that shown towards Fundamental Rights.” It saw the judiciary as critical to “upholding the equality that Indians had longed for during colonial days, but had not gained”.
  • Some issues concerning the system employed to appoint judges to the Supreme Court and the high courts.

Issues

  • The collegium, ever since its inception, following the Supreme Court’s judgment in what is known as the Second Judges Case (1993) has been enveloped by a sense of the disorder. The present revelations, much opposed to their perceived objective, scarcely make the system more transparent.
  • In the cases of A. Zakir Hussain and Dr. K. Arul, candidates nominated for elevation to the Madras High Court, the collegium has published the following statement of rejection- “keeping in view the material on record, including the report of Intelligence Bureau [IB] he is not found suitable for elevation to the High Court Bench.” While one of the two consultee-colleagues has offered no views about his suitability, the other colleague has not found him suitable for elevation,” the report reads.
  • In Mr. Vasudevan’s case, we don’t know which of the “consultee-judges had objected to his elevation, and why the judge interviewed found him unsuitable. Mr. Vasudevan had previously been recommended by two different high court collegia, which would mean that, in all, the chief justices of three high courts, at different points of time, found him worthy of selection.
  • But in the view of one “consultee judge” whose reasons aren’t provided, can override the opinion of three chief justices of three different high courts. These issues concerning the system employed to appoint judges to the Supreme Court and the high courts even if they often involve matters of inscrutable procedure are of particular salience.
  • The Constitution to ensure that judges would be insulated from political influence, had avoided the cumbersome process of legislative interference and the undemocratic provision of a veto to the Chief Justice, and vested in the President the power to both make appointments and transfer judges between high courts. The President, who would act on the advice of the council of ministers, was, however, required to compulsorily consult certain authorities, including the Chief Justice of India (CJI), and, when making appointments to a high court, the chief justice of that court.
  • Originally, in 1977, in Sankalchand Sheth’s case, when interpreting the word “consultation,” the Supreme Court ruled that the term can never mean “concurrence”. Hence, the CJI’s opinion, the court ruled, was not binding on the executive. But nonetheless the executive could depart from his opinion only in exceptional circumstances, and, in such cases, its decision could well be subject to the rigours of judicial review. This seemed like a perfectly sound balance.

Way ahead

  • The new resolution, it might well seem, is an effort towards to end the hostility that the system was facing, the judgment also promised to “consider introduction of appropriate measures”, to improve the “collegium system”.

Question– Examine the Supreme court decision to consider introduction of appropriate measures, to improve the “collegium system”.

 

2.Government is working on stricter consumer protection law

Synoptic line: : It throws light on a central authority to be constituted for quick remedial action

Consumer Protection- A key to Good Governance

  • Consumer protection had been a key component of governance in India for thousands of years, including the Vedic period. Thus, the protection of consumers interest is a must or New India, for which government is working.
  • The government would formulate a new, stricter consumer protection law to crack down on misleading advertisements and see that grievances are redressed in a time-bound and cost-effective manner.

Background

  • It was mentioned in the Atharva Veda that nobody should be involved in malpractices of quality and measurement.
  • In India, around 2,500 years ago, during the period of Kautilya, there were guidelines for the government on how trade should be regulated and the interest of consumers protected.

New Consumer Protection Act

  • The government was in the process of enacting more stringent laws for consumer protection. The government is in the process of enacting a new Consumer Protection Act keeping in view business practices and requirements of the country. The proposed Act lays great emphasis on consumer empowerment. Stringent provisions are proposed against misleading dvertisements.
  • A Central Consumer Protection Authority with executive powers will be constituted for quick remedial action.
  • The new law, replacing the Consumer Protection Act 1986, will incorporate the revised 2015 United Nations guidelines on consumer protection. It would also reflect the Government’s resolve to create a New India.

New Real Estate Act

  • Inflation has been brought down significantly and this has helped in consumer saving. The government has enacted a new Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act to protect the home buyers interest.

Ujala Scheme

  • The government’s Ujala scheme had brought down the price of an LED bulb from Rs 350 to Rs 40-45. This scheme alone has caused saving of more than Rs 20,000 crore for consumers by reducing the cost of LED bulbs and electricity bills.
  • The two-day meet was organised to discuss steps taken by Asian countries to implement UN guidelines on consumer protection as well as challenges faced by consumers of financial services and e-commerce. About 20 countries are participating, including China, Singapore, South Korea, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Pakistan and North Korea have not been invited.