27th January – Prelims Booster

Aspirants with criminal past should not get ticket, EC tells SC

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to examine a proposition made by the Election Commission (EC) to ask political parties to not give ticket to those with criminal antecedents.

Details –

  • The judgment had urged Parliament to bring a “strong law” to cleanse political parties of leaders facing trial for serious crimes.
  • The ruling by a five-judge Bench concluded that rapid criminalisation of politics cannot be arrested by merely disqualifying tainted legislators but should begin by “cleansing” the political parties.

Background –

  • In 2002, Supreme Court gave a historic ruling in Union of India (UOI) vs. Association for Democratic Reforms that every candidate, contesting an election to the Parliament, State Legislatures or Municipal Corporation, has to declare their criminal records, financial records and educational qualifications.
  • In 2005, the Supreme Court in Ramesh Dalal vs. Union of India held that a sitting Member of Parliament (MP) or Member of State Legislature (MLA) shall also be subject to disqualification from contesting elections if he is convicted and sentenced to not less than 2 years of imprisonment by a court of law.
  • In 2013, in Lily Thomas vs. Union of India, the Supreme Court held that Section 8(4) of The Representation of the People Act, 1951 is unconstitutional which allows MPs and MLAs who are convicted to continue in office till an appeal against such conviction is disposed of.
  • In 2013 in People’s Union for Civil Liberties vs. Union of India case Supreme Court asked Election Commission to provide ‘none of the above’ choice to voters to exercise their right to express no confidence against all candidates in fray.

Legislative Council can’t be scrapped, says Naidu

The scrapping of the Legislative Council as proposed by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy is not possible in the present political climate, said Leader of the Opposition and former A.P. Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.

Context –

  • The Andhra Pradesh Assembly has passed The Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Equal Development of All Regions Bill, 2020.
  • This law paves the way for three capitals for the state.
  • The three capitalsAmaravati – Legislative capital; Visakhapatnam– Executive capital and; Kurnool– Judicial capital.
  • Andhra Pradesh Government has also reportedly decided to scrap the state’s Upper House as it is miffed with the Legislative Council stalling bills.

Constitutional Provisions –

  • As per Article 169, the Parliament can abolish a legislative council (where it already exists) or create it (where it does not exist) by a simple majority, that is, a majority of the members of each House present and voting, if the legislative assembly of the concerned state, by a special majority, passes a resolution to that effect.
  • Under Article 171 of the Constitution, the Legislative Council of a state shall not have more than one-third of the total strength of the State Assembly, and not less than 40 members.
  • Six States having a Legislative Council – Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka.

Cane farmers flag Brazil’s WTO case against India

Several farmers groups have demanded that the government push Brazil to withdraw its complaint against India’s sugar pricing policies at the World Trade Organisation.

The case –

Brazil has challenged the minimum price for sugarcane set by the Indian government.

Background –

  • In 2018-19, India overtook Brazil to become the world’s largest sugar producer.
  • However, Brazil holds a 35% share of the global exports market, in comparison with a mere 5% share for India, according to Food and Agriculture Organisation data.
  • Most Indian sugar is consumed domestically.

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