Polity Notes

President Appoints New Chief Information Commissioner

TPresident Mrs. Droupadi Murmu recently appointed Sh. Heeralal Samariya as the new Chief Information Commissioner, marking a significant milestone in the country’s governance. President Murmu administered the oath of office to Samariya, making him the first Dalit to have been appointed to the post. He replaced Sh. Y. K. Sinha who retired on 3/10/23. Notably, Sh. Wajahat Habibullah was the first Chief Information Officer.

The Chief Information Commissioner holds a pivotal role in overseeing and ensuring the implementation of the Right to Information (RTI), a statutory right given to Indian citizens by our parliament.

Bihar Legislature Passes Bill to Raise Quota in Education and Jobs

The Bihar Legislative Assembly made significant strides on 9th November 2023, by passing two crucial bills that seek to increase caste based quota in education and government jobs. The Bihar Reservation of Vacancies in Posts & Services Amendment Bill, 2023, and Bihar Reservation (Admission in Education Institutions) Amendment Bill, 2023 were passed unanimously, proposing an increase in reservation from the existing 50% to 65%.

Upon implementation, the total reservation will stand at 75%< after taking into account 10% quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS). The caste survey provided a comprehensive data in Bihar and the state government wants to utilize this data to introduce more measures for uplifting socially, educationally, and economically backward sections of the society. Notably, this places Bihar alongside states like Tamil Nadu, and other states, where the quantum of caste based quota already exceeds 50%.

Ethics Committee Recommends Expulsion for Ms. Mahua Moitra

The Lok Sabha Ethics Committee made a significant decision on 9th November 2023, adopting a report with a 6:4 majority, recommending the expulsion of Trinamool Congress (TMC) Lok Sabha member Ms. Mahua Moitra. The report highlighted instances where Moitra accepted “money – cash, and kind amenities and various other facilities” from businessman Darshan Hiranandani, with whom the password and login details were shared. It also noted that 50 out of the 61 questions asked by Moitra in Parliament sought information “with the intent of protecting or perpetuating business interests” of Hiranandani.

Qatar Sentences Death Penalty to 8 Indian Navy Personnel

The families of eight former Indian Navy personnel, sentenced to death by a Qatari court, have filed an appeal. The Indian government is actively engaged with authorities in Qatar to find a resolution to the issue that has cast a shadow on bilateral ties.

The eight men, who have commanded frontline warships in the Indian Navy, were sentenced to death by Qatar’s Court of First Instance on October 26 after being detained for more than a year on undeclared charges. The reports have suggested the men were accused of espionage

The judgment is confidential and has only been shared with the legal team. Legal procedures are in motion and an appeal has already been filed. India’s Ministry of External Affairs is also engaged with the Qatari authorities on this matter.

There is also the possibility of Indian government approaching the International Court of Justice, as was done in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, the former Indian Navy officer who was given the death sentence by a Pakistani military court on charges of spying. Alternatively, petitioning the EMIR of Qatar for a pardon remains a possibility

Supreme Court Reaches Full Strength with Oath of Three New Judges

In New Delhi, Justices Augustine George Masih, Sandeep Mehta and Satish Chandra Sharma took the oath as Supreme Court judges on 9th November 2023. The apex court has reached its full strength of 34 judges after the elevation of the three high court chief justices.

Delhi Plans Artificial Rain (Cloud Seeding) to Tackle Air Quality Crisis

The Delhi Government, in response to the worsening air quality, has been planning to create artificial rain over Delhi on 20th and 21st November 2023 with the technical help of IIT Kanpur.

Cloud Seeding is a weather modification technique in which silver iodide is released into the atmosphere to aid the formation of ice crystals and improve the ability of clouds to create rain.