GS Paper I
Context: In the Supreme Court, the Center stated its opposition to same-sex marriage, citing conventional views and values.
- From the beginning of time, heterosexual marriage has been the norm and is “fundamental to both the existence and continuation of the state.”
- India views marriage as a “holy union,” a “sacrament,” and a “sanskar,” and it is influenced by society norms, conventions, rituals, and practises.
- Any “deviation” in “human relationships” from the “statutorily, religiously, and socially” recognised norm may only occur through the legislature, not the Supreme Court.
Basis of Centre’s opposition:
- Nevertheless, same-sex marriage was not mentioned or given legal standing in the 2018 Navtej Singh Johar decision, which decriminalised homosexuality.
- A man and woman living together as a family and having children as a result of their relationship cannot be likened to a same-sex marriage.
- A breach of both personal and codified law restrictions would ensue from the registration of same-sex unions.
- The state and society have a “compelling interest” in restricting recognition to marriages between heterosexual partners.
Reasons behind centre’s opposition:
- The registration of same-sex marriage also constitutes a breach of existing provisions of personal law as well as codified legislation, including “degrees of banned connection,” “conditions of marriage,” and “ceremonial and ritual requirements” under personal law.
- In the context of the statutory framework of various personal laws, it is neither conceivable nor practical to refer to one spouse as “husband” and the other as “wife” in a same-sex marriage.
- Our nation’s social structure is founded on religion, and procreation is seen as a must for carrying out numerous religious rituals.
- In India, the topic of post-marriage property rights is hotly debated. Same-sex marriage won’t give the law any exemption, but it will lead to more nuanced interpretations.
Issues with such marriages:
- The issue of homosexual conduct to this fore in recent legal and political debate for main reasons, which are as follows:
- Morality: This has caused a shift in social attitudes, and the shame associated with homosexuality has mostly vanished as a result.
- Increasing activism: Advocacy for gay and lesbian rights has become more extreme, calling for an end to all forms of prejudice against homosexuality.
- Religious penalties: In Arab nations, same-sex actions are punished by death. No religion outright supports same-sex unions. They are often regarded as being unnatural everywhere.
- In addition to the difficult legal environment, homosexuals also experience societal stigma. Marriages between people of the same sex are still unthinkable since such relationships arouse contempt and hostility.
- Patriarchy: It is important to remember that Indian culture is patriarchal, and that some women and men find it frightening when their choices differ from those that are accepted by the ‘order’.
- Burden of collectivity: Because of how much our culture values community and discourages individuality, every manifestation of homosexuality is interpreted as an effort to reject tradition and advance individualism.
Arguments in favor:
- Happiness: Being homosexual is simply a means of pursuing happiness, or a means of satisfying one’s sexual desires.
- Right to privacy: According to Article 21 of the Constitution, it is against the law for the government to meddle in a person’s private affairs.
- Arbitrariness: When the right to equal protection under the law is violated, it must be determined if the newly adopted categorization has a sound and reliable foundation.
- Problems with the definition: Section 377 makes the erroneous assumption that sexual activity undertaken for reproduction is natural. As a result, it declares all non-procreative sexual acts to be unnatural.
- Discrimination: Section 377 violates Article 15 of the Constitution’s prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Article 15 forbids discrimination based on a number of factors, including sex.
- Human rights: According to the international law of human rights, a person’s ability to exercise his or her fundamental constitutional rights cannot be restricted by societal norms, tradition, custom, or culture.
- Numerous nations acknowledge: The United States, Australia, Canada, and France are just a few of the nations where same-sex unions are permitted, according to the international think tank Council on Foreign Relations.
- Dissociating from religion: Almost all religions condemn such unions. So, no one religion shouldn’t be seen as impeding the development of a legal punishment.
- Eliminating prejudice An anti-discrimination statute that gives the same-sex community the freedom to forge successful relationships and lives regardless of gender identification is necessary.
- Allowing society to develop: Society must adopt the principle of gradual rights realisation; it cannot be persuaded by law.
- Increasing awareness: It’s clear that this is not a sudden phenomena. The practise of sati and nikah halala was seen as a religious order in our community.
Source: The Hindu
Rural-Urban Dichotomy and the Continuum
GS Paper III
Context: In order to comprehend and address poverty, undernourishment, education, health, environmental management, or even development, the old dichotomy of rural and urban, and the correspondingly prescribed governing structure, appears insufficient. In order to comprehend urban-rural linkages and handle challenges linked to environment and natural resource management, it is necessary to accept the concept of urban catchment regions outlined along an urban-rural continuum.
What is Rural-Urban Dichotomy?
- Clear and unmistakable separation is perceived between rural and urban regions, which are considered as two different and distinct entities.
- Major variations: This distinction between rural and urban places is founded on the idea that they differ significantly in terms of social, economic, and cultural traits.
- Traditional vs. contemporary values: It is said that whereas metropolitan regions are more developed, industrialised, and have modern values, rural areas are predominantly agricultural, less developed, and have traditional social and cultural values.
The Rural-Urban Continuum:
- An alternate viewpoint known as the rural-urban continuum admits the presence of locations in between that blur the lines between rural and urban.
- Between these two extremes, there is a settlement development in the middle where rural and urban activities cohabit without clear borders.
- A complex web of geographical, cultural, economic, and historical events combine to produce such structures.
- Opportunities for social and economic growth rely on where one is on the graded development curve that connects rural and urban areas.
Importance of the Rural-Urban Continuum:
Identification of urban catchment regions defined along an urban-rural continuum will aid in understanding urban-rural linkages, which is crucial for resolving challenges connected to environment and natural resource management as well as for making policy choices across development sectors.
Studies and examples of Rural-Urban Continuum:
The Desakota Study report:
Re-imagining the Rural Urban Continuum, a 2008 study by the Desakota Research Team, was based on research in eight nations, including India.
Understanding how ecosystems and livelihoods are changing under diverse economic systems throughout the rural-urban continuum was stressed in the team’s 2008 report since it has significant policy implications at all levels.
In India, Kerala for instance:
The rural-urban continuum in Kerala’s coastal plain is widely recognised. Even the Moroccan traveller Ibn Batuta in the fourteenth century took notice of this. The lowlands and adjacent midlands and highlands were also affected by the trend’s subsequent expansion.
In several areas of Kerala, geographic features that are backed by positive public policy that promotes decentralisation and distributive justice have improved rural-urban links and decreased rural-urban inequalities.
India’s urban industrial interaction fields are expanding quickly thanks to the connections between rural areas, small towns, and megacities, as well as urban corridors that reach rural hinterlands.
Dissolving the boundaries and barriers:
- Connectivity was driven by technology and economic globalisation, which expanded resource and person mobility and improved inter- and intra-country connectedness, fostering the rural-urban continuum.
- Barriers caused by physical distance are dissolving as a result of dispersed network areas that have been created by growing rural-urban links.
- Mobility of commodities, people, information, and money between sites of production and consumption is increasing, which has increased ties between the production and labour markets. Rural hinterlands are connected to many urban areas.
Changing Ecosystems of the Rural-Urban Continuum:
- Land Use Modifications: Zones for food security are being reorganised, agriculturally productive lands are being allocated to other purposes, and pollution filtration areas are shrinking.
- Effects on Ecosystem Services and Local Livelihoods: Due to an increase in garbage dumps, increased catastrophe risk, and increased vulnerability, the local population’s availability to water, food, fuel, fodder, and fibre from ecosystems is being reduced.
- Development of Intermediary Market Institutions: These items are also being provided by emerging intermediary market institutions, which has important ramifications for the local population.
- Escalating Land Market Value and Marginalization: They are also becoming more marginalised as a result of the rising land market value.
- Recognize the rural-urban continuum when talking about social, economic, and environmental challenges.
- Determine obstacles to and possibilities for boosting access to jobs, services, institutional resources, and environmental management while also enhancing urban and rural government.
- Using a systems approach, create a rural-urban partnership by seeing the city and its surrounds as a city area for which a prospective plan is developed that integrates rural and urban plans into a single framework.
- Develop a post-urban society where the rural-urban divide won’t exist.
- By combining Census data with satellite-based settlement data, we can more accurately depict the connections between rural and urban areas.
Effective policy-making and environmental management in India depend on recognising and resolving the linkages between rural and urban regions along a continuum.
Source: The Hindu
Ukraine Conflict: Implications and the Danger of Provoking a World War
GS Paper II
Context: The crisis in Ukraine has a big impact on both Europe and the rest of the globe. It has exposed the precarious position of Europe’s defence sector and shown that the US is the continent’s ultimate protector. Also, the battle has given the US the self-assurance to confront any adversaries, inspiring new goals in Western minds. While the battle has provided many valuable lessons, the incorrect ones may also have been learned, which might be harmful in the long term.
What is the Present Situation?
While recognising the bravery of the Ukrainian people, it should be noted that France, Germany, and the United Kingdom are among the countries in Europe making considerable efforts to put an end to the current conflict.
It is quite improbable that Russia would leave the areas it first controlled since neither side is in a position to win decisively.
The early excitement has given way to a feeling of fatigue, and the Ukrainian conflict is increasingly seen as a NATO proxy war supported by the US against Russia.
Hence, rather than escalating the fight, European leaders are now concentrating on reaching a ceasefire.
Implications of the war on Europe:
- Despite obtaining cutting-edge weaponry from the US, Europe’s flimsy defence industry keeps it at the mercy of NATO and the US. For Europe’s faltering economy, the thought of an endless conflict is terrifying.
- Some believe that without the US, Europe would not have united to help Ukraine in the Ukraine crisis, proving that the US is the ultimate guardian of Europe.
- The US’s triumph in Europe has stoked new aspirations and the notion that they are now in the driving seat. With Ukraine and the conflict in Europe not serving as a laboratory for comparable trials abroad, this might potentially result in risky experiments.
- American triumphalism might result in mishaps since a fight with China in the Indo-Pacific cannot be predicted by what happens in Ukraine or Europe. Both Asia and China are not equivalent to Europe or Russia.
China’s strong Posture:
China accuses the US and other Western nations of containing, encircling, and suppressing the country. They claim that the US’s Indo-Pacific policy is an Asia-Pacific equivalent of NATO, and publicly accuse the US of trying to surround China by doing so. Chinese language is exceptionally blunt and forthright, which raises questions about whether China is prepared for a direct conflict with the US.
In reaction to the current circumstances, China is putting plans in place for any conceivable outcome. It has cautioned that if the US keeps moving in the wrong direction at this rate, no number of guardrails will be able to stop derailment. China’s actions are intended to frustrate American ambitions to regain global leadership.
Taiwan as the Flashpoint:
While tensions in the Indo-Pacific area continue to rise as a result of recent visits by senior US military officials to Taiwan, Taiwan remains a hotspot. But, more recent tensions are also raising the likelihood of violence in other Indo-Pacific areas.
The danger of provoking a world war:
- All battles can start with a misinterpretation or misunderstanding of the opposing side’s intentions.
- the US’s achievement in helping Ukraine stave off the Russian invasion and tarnishing Russia’s reputation as a superpower in Europe.
- Targeting China can be motivated by the success in Europe and the desire to return to the period after 1945. This might result in a direct conflict with China and have terrible repercussions, potentially sparking world war.
The US is enjoying the success of its involvement in Europe, which might prompt retribution, escalation of conflicts in other areas, and possibly the start of yet another global battle. Such a result would be a disaster of unimaginable dimensions.
Source: Indian Express
Decriminalization of Adultery and the Duty and Discipline
GS Paper II
Context:In 2018, the Supreme Court of India decriminalised adultery, however the Union of India questioned the Court on how it would be implemented in the armed services. According to the court’s findings, the military is still permitted to punish adulterous behaviour in accordance with its own laws. The Service Conduct Standards and Article 33 of the Constitution prohibit the moral policing of private matters, and recent court judgements demonstrate that an act must have some connection to the performance of responsibilities to be considered misconduct.
What is mean by Adultery?
- The term “adultery” is used to characterise a married person’s consenting sexual connection with someone who is not their husband.
- It is typically viewed as a betrayal of marital fidelity and may have negative legal, social, and religious repercussions.
- Adultery is seen as a sin or a crime in certain communities and cultures, while it may not be expressly forbidden but is still detested or seen as morally reprehensible.
Adultery in the Indian context:
- Up until September 2018, Section 497 of the Indian Criminal Code (IPC) classified adultery as a crime. However, in a landmark decision in Joseph Shine v. Union of India, the Supreme Court of India decriminalised adultery.
- Prior to the ruling, males who had sex with another man’s wife without the husband’s agreement were only subject to the legislation, which carried a maximum five-year jail sentence, a fine, or both.
- The law did not view the wife as an offender or the husband as a victim when a woman had an affair with a married man.
What is Article 33?
In order to guarantee the correct performance of their responsibilities and the preservation of discipline among them, it gives the Parliament the authority to restrict or alter the basic rights of members of the armed services, including those who serve in the Army, Navy, and Air Force. This implies that, to the extent that it does not interfere with their performance of their tasks or affect discipline, the basic rights of members of the armed services may be restricted or changed by law.
The provision grants the Parliament exceptional authority to enact legislation that may not always be in accordance with the constitutionally recognised fundamental rights of Indian citizens. These rules may be distinct from the general laws that Indian people must abide by, and the armed forces members may only be subject to their execution.
The article covers not just members of the armed services but also those working for the police and intelligence organisations to uphold public order. Nonetheless, the limitations put on this staff should be consistent with Constitutional principles and not violate their right to privacy or other basic freedoms.
Decriminalization of Adultery:
- Adultery is now a civil wrong that can be grounds for divorce as a result of the Joseph Shine verdict, which abolished the criminality of adultery.
- The court acknowledged that the freedom to select one’s partner and engage in consensual sexual relations is a basic right and that the state should not meddle in matters of personal relationships between consenting adults.
- Fundamental Rights Violated: The clauses were deemed to violate Articles 14, 15, and 21 of the Indian Constitution.
Recent Court Cases:
- In Mahesh Chand Sharma v. State of Rajasthan and Others, Rajasthan High Court (2019).
- The police inspector who was accused of engaging in illicit relationships with a female constable and giving birth to an illegitimate child had his departmental proceedings against him dismissed by the court.
- The court ruled that no company may police its workers’ morals outside of the context of their public lives.
- In Maheshbhai Bhurjibhai Damor v. State of Gujarat and 3 other(s) before the Gujarat High Court (2022).
- The claims against an armed police officer that he had had extramarital affairs with a widow led to the court annulling and setting aside the dismissal decision.
- The court ruled that charges of wrongdoing have to be somehow related to the job responsibilities of the government employee.
- The Service Conduct Standards and Article 33 of the Constitution prohibit moral policing of private matters.
Clarification was sought: The Court was questioned by the Union of India over how the decriminalisation of adultery in the military services would be implemented.
Specific laws must be in place to: According to the Union of India, personnel of the armed forces should be prohibited from engaging in promiscuous or adulterous behaviour under specific laws like the Army Act, Air Force Act, and Navy Act.
Recent court examples demonstrate that decriminalising adultery does neither restrict or expand the scope of departmental actions. Under the Service Conduct Regulations or Article 33 of the Constitution, private matters cannot be subject to moral policing unless they are somehow related to their work. Armed services personnel have a sacred right to privacy that cannot be violated unless it interferes with the performance of their duty.
Source: Indian Express
Facts for Prelims
- Adenoviruses are common viruses that often induce a mild case of the flu or cold and are passed from one person to another through close contact.
- Through sneezing and coughing, as well as by touching an item or surface that has an adenovirus on it, the virus is spread via the air.
- While the virus can infect persons of any age, children with weak and weakened immune systems are more vulnerable.
- Apart than the typical cold or flu-like symptoms, the viral infection can cause acute gastroenteritis, pneumonia, pink eye, and bronchitis.
- Recombinant strain, according to doctors, is to blame for the rise in infections and fatalities.
- The majority of the virus-infected youngsters are under three years old and were born during the COVID-19 epidemic.
- The age range from six months to preschool is where children are most vulnerable to viral infections.
Sickle Cell Anaemia:
- A hereditary blood condition called sickle cell anaemia damages the haemoglobin molecule in red blood cells.
- Red blood cells in people with sickle cell anaemia are sickle-shaped, stiff, and sticky due to aberrant haemoglobin.
- These aberrant cells have the potential to obstruct tiny blood arteries, causing severe pain, organ damage, and an increased risk of infections.
- It’s possible to get a hold of a free copy of the book here.
- There is no known therapy for sickle cell anaemia, however there are ways to control its symptoms and side effects.
- In various regions of India, particularly in tribal and rural populations, sickle cell anaemia is common.
- The ICMR estimates that 3-5% of the tribal population in central India has sickle cell illness, whereas 20-22% of same group has sickle cell trait.
- In India, there are an estimated 30 million carriers of the sickle cell trait and 1.5–2 lakh people who have sickle cell disease.
- The states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Gujarat are those where the illness is most frequently found.
- According to the Finance Minister’s speech for the Budget 2023, India wants to eradicate sickle cell anaemia by the year 2047.
- The first step in the process is to determine which of the following criteria best describes your organisation.
- The States have been given provisional State-by-State screening objectives by the Health Ministry in order to complete the exercise on schedule.
- To avoid patients falling through the gaps, the Ministry is striving to establish and maintain a single record for all screened individuals.
- By observing how a thing absorbs, reflects, or scatters visible light, an optical microscope can observe it.
- A fluorescence microscope examines an item by seeing how it fluoresces, or how it reemits light that it has absorbed.
- With light of a certain wavelength, the item is lighted.
- This light is absorbed by the object’s particles, which then reemit it at a longer wavelength.
- Before being examined under a microscope, the item is injected with these fluorophores, which are small particles.
- A clip-on macro lens, a smartphone, three theatre stage lighting filters, two plexiglass surfaces, an LED flashlight, and two plexiglass surfaces make up the setup.
- The smartphone is put on a surface that is suspended at a height, along with the connected lens (say, a foot above).
- The item is held by the second sheet, which is positioned below.
- The object is held between the flashlight and one of the stage-lighting filters, while the other two were held between the object and the smartphone.
- Moreover, LED torches with light of similarly various wavelengths were used as sources of lighting.
- The brain, spinal cord, heart, and jaw bones of the critters could all be seen thanks to the configuration the researchers used.
- The smartphone camera with the clip-on lens allowed them to zoom in and out.