Tuesday, July 16, 2019


Why Rajasthan HC judges don’t want to be called ‘My Lord’?
 What to study?
For prelims and mains: Evolution of the issue and why censure it?
Context: Rajasthan High Court resolved to censure the salutations “My Lord” and “Your Lordship” from courtroom protocol – a practice that has been inherited from British rule.
Why censure?
As the words “My Lord” and “Your Lordship” are relics of a colonial past, it is proposed to incorporate the above rule showing respectful attitude to the Court.
Customs in other countries:
In the UK, judges of the Court of Appeals and the High Court are to be addressed in court as “My Lord” or “My Lady”, Circuit judges as “Your Honour”, Magistrates as “Your Worship”, or “Sir” or “Madam”, and District judges and Tribunal judges as “Sir” or “Madam”.
In the US, “Mr.” is only used in addressing the Chief Justice. Others are referred to as “Justice Scalia,” “Justice Ginsburg,” or “Your Honor.”
In Singapore, the Judge/Registrar can be addressed as “Your Honour”.
In Australia as well, in the High Court and the Federal Court, the judges are to be addressed as “Your Honour”.

Sources: Indian Express.
In News- ‘Seva Bhoj Yojna’
What to study?
For Prelims: ‘Seva Bhoj Yojna’- features.
For Mains: GST and its implications, issues associated and reforms to resolve them.

About Seva Bhoj Yojana:
Union Ministry of Culture has launched- ‘Seva Bhoj Yojna’– a scheme to reimburse central share of CGST and IGST on food, prasad, langar or Bhandara offered by religious and charitable institutions.
The scheme seeks to reimburse the central government’s share of Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) and Integrated Goods and Service Tax (IGST) on purchase of raw items such as ghee, edible oil, atta, maida, rava, flour, rice pulses, sugar, and jaggery, which go into the preparation of food/prasad/langar/Bhandara offered free of cost by religious institutions.
The main objective of the scheme is to lessen the financial burden of such charitable religious institutions, which provide free of cost without any discrimination to the general public and devotees.

The charitable religious institutions including temples, gurudwara, mosque, church, dharmik ashram, dargah, monasteries, which fulfill the following criteria are eligible for the grant:
  1. The institutions that have been in existence for at least five years before applying for financial assistance/grant.
  2. The institutions that serve free food to at least 5000 people in a month.
  3. The institutions covered under Section 10(23BBA) of the Income Tax Act or those registered as Society under Societies Registration Act (XXI of 1860) or as a Public Trust under any law for the time being in force of statuary religious bodies constituted under any Act or institutions registered under Section 12AA of Income Tax Act.

National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill 2019
What to study?
For prelims and mains: Key features of the Bill, about NIA and the need for enhanced powers.
Context: The Lok Sabha has passed the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill 2019
Key features of the Bill:
  • The Bill amends the NIA Act, 2008 and provides for a national-level agency to investigate and prosecute offences listed in a schedule (scheduled offenses).  
  • It allows for the creation of Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offenses which include offenses under Acts such as the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967. 
  • As per the Bill, the NIA will now have the power to investigate the following offences, in addition: (i) human trafficking, (ii) offenses related to counterfeit currency or bank notes, (iii) manufacture or sale of prohibited arms, (iv) cyber-terrorism, and (v) offenses under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.       
  • Jurisdiction: The officers of the NIA have the same powers as other police officers in relation to the investigation of such offenses, across India. In addition, officers of the NIA will have the power to investigate scheduled offences committed outside India, subject to international treaties and domestic laws of other countries. 
  • The central government may direct the NIA to investigate such cases, as if the offense has been committed in India.  The Special Court in New Delhi will have jurisdiction over these cases.
    The Bill states that the central the government may designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offenses. The central government will need to consult the Chief Justice of the High Court under which the Sessions Court is functioning, before designating it as a Special Court.  When more than one Special Court has been designated for any area, the cases will be distributed among the courts by the senior-most judge.
  • The state governments may also designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offenses. 

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