Polity Notes


1. Bharat Ratna to be conferred to Shri PV Narasimha Rao.

The Union Government announced that the Former prime minister Shri PV Narasimha Rao will be posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award.

He served as the prime minister from June 21, 1991, to May 16, 1996, and is often credited with bringing economic reforms to India in 1991, which paved the way for the end of the notorious license raj and economic revival. He was the first person from south India to become the Prime Minister of India.

In 1991, when India was facing a foreign reserves crisis, Narasimha Rao's government brought about the three big-ticket economic reforms, namely, globalisation, liberalisation, and privatisation.

He was born in a Telugu Niyogi Brahmin family in the Laknepalli village of Narsampet mandal, Warangal. The district is currently in Telangana. He was a freedom fighter who took part in Hyderabad's Vande Mataram movement in the late 1930s.

He broke several conventions for his vision for India as the prime minister and appointed economist Manmohan Singh as his finance minister. Together, they brought about the economic reforms which freed India from the clutches of economic crisis India was suffering at the time.

2. Bharat Ratna to be conferred to Chaudhry Charan Singh.

The Union Government announced that the Former prime minister Chaudhry Charan Singh will be posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award.

He was appointed as the fifth Prime Minister of India, on July 28, 1979. He also served as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh for two terms.

Born on December 23, 1902, in a rural farming family in the Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh, Chaudhary Charan Singh was deeply connected to agrarian issues and rural concerns. He actively participated in the Independence movement and later emerged as a champion of the farmers' rights and interests.

Chaudhary Charan Singh was a strong advocate for the agricultural community, often referred to as the "Champion of Farmers." He focused on addressing the problems faced by farmers. He brought about land reforms, irrigation policies, and credit facilities. His political career was marked by his dedication to the welfare of farmers and the upliftment of rural communities.

3. Bharat Ratna to be conferred to Shri M. S. Swaminathan.

The Union Government announced that Dr. M. S. Swaminathan will be posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award.

Dr. Swaminathan played a pivotal role in helping India achieve self-reliance in agriculture and made outstanding efforts in modernising it.

Dr Swaminathan made extraordinary contributions to Indian agriculture, earning him the title "Father of Economic Ecology." As a global leader of the Green Revolution, Mr Swaminathan played a key role in introducing high-yielding varieties of wheat and rice, saving India from famine-like conditions in the 1960s.

Swaminathan, a plant geneticist by training, served as a secretary to the Union department of agricultural research (1972-1979), headed top state-run farm institutions throughout his career, and was also nominated to the Rajya Sabha (2007-2013).

Time magazine named him one of the 20 most influential people of the 20th century.

4. Parliament panel recommends that Supreme Court should have regional benches.

The Union Government has accepted the recommendation of a parliamentary committee that the Supreme Court should have regional benches but has pointed out that the apex court has been “consistently” rejecting the idea and that the issue is sub-judice.

In its action taken report on its earlier submission on “Judicial Processes and Their Reforms”, the Standing Committee on Law and Personnel noted that its recommendation has been accepted by the Union government.

There has been a long-standing demand, it noted, for having regional benches of the top court in the country for taking justice to the doorstep of the common citizen.

The regional benches may also be seen as a solution to the overflowing caseload of the judiciary and to reduce the litigation cost to the common man.

The panel said it has been recommending for a long time on establishment of regional benches of the Supreme Court and still holds the view that the Supreme Court may invoke Article 130 of the Constitution for establishing its regional benches at four or five locations in the Country.

In its response, the Department of Justice in the law ministry noted that as per Article 130 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court will sit in Delhi or such other place or places, as the Chief Justice of India may, with the approval of the President, from time to time, appoint.

It told the committee that the matter of regional benches of the Supreme Court has been referred for the opinion of the Attorney General on two occasions.

The then AG G E Vahanvati had opined that the issue of regional benches of the Supreme Court is “impermissible”.

Constitutional amendments of this kind are simply unacceptable for various reasons, Vahanvati had opined.

Mukul Rohatgi, the then A-G had in March 2016 opined that the court sitting in regional benches would impair the unity, integrity, importance and majesty of the Supreme Court and the apex court ought not to sit in the regional Benches and also for additional reason that there would be immense conflict of views which may become difficult to resolve entailing time and expenditure of litigants. The issue of territorial jurisdiction was also flagged.

The Supreme Court has been consistently rejecting the proposal for setting up of the Benches of Supreme Court at a place outside Delhi.

In a writ petition on establishment of National Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court in July 2016 “deemed it proper” to refer the issue to Constitutional Bench for authoritative pronouncement.

The matter is sub-judice in the Supreme Court.