Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 24 February 2023

‘Corrupt act’ according to the RPA 1951

GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

The Supreme Court observed that no one in India votes for a candidate based on their educational qualifications and, thus providing false information about an electoral candidate’s qualifications cannot be considered a “corrupt practice” under Sections 123 (2) and Section 123 (4) of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951.

What are ‘corrupt practices’ under the RPA, 1951?

  1. Section 123 of the Act defines ‘corrupt practices’ to include briberyundue influencefalse information, and promotion or attempted promotion of “feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes of the citizens of India on grounds of religion, race, caste, community, or language” by a candidate for the furtherance of his prospects in the election.
  2. Section 123 (2) deals with ‘undue influence’ which it defines as “any direct or indirect interference or attempt to interfere on the part of the candidate or his agent, or of any other person, with the consent of the candidate or his election agent, with the free exercise of any electoral right.”
  3. This could also include threats of injury, social ostracism and expulsion from any caste or community.
  4. Moreover, convincing a candidate or an elector that they will become “an object of divine displeasure or spiritual censure” will also be considered an interference “with the free exercise of the electoral right of such candidate or elector.”
  5. Section 123 (4) extends the ambit of “corrupt practices” to the intentional publication of false statements which can prejudice the outcome of the candidate’s election.
  6. Under the provisions of the Act, an elected representative can be disqualified if convicted of certain offenses; on grounds of corrupt practices; for failing to declare election expenses; and for interests in government contracts or works.

What happened in the present case?

  1. In “Anugrah Narayan Singh v. Harsh Vardhan Bajpayee”, a bench of Justices K.M. Joseph and BV Nagarathna of the Apex Court heard a plea challenging a 2017 Allahabad High Court ruling, dismissing a similarly titled petition to declare the election of a MLA as “null and void”.
  2. However, the Apex Court refused to interfere with the High Court’s order of dismissal.
  3. The petition filed by Anugrah Narayan Singh said that MLA Harsh Vardhan Bajpayee committed a “corrupt practice’ under Section 123(2) by interfering in the free exercise of electoral rights of the voters by not disclosing his liabilities and correct educational qualifications in his affidavit of nomination.
  4. It also argued that a “corrupt practice” under Section 123(4) was committed by Bajpayee in publishing a false statement of fact about his character and conduct to influence the outcome of his election, knowingly.


India’s first hybrid rocket launched

GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)

India’s first hybrid sounding rocket by private players was launched from Pattipulam village, ChengalpattuMartin Foundation, in association with Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam International Foundation and Space Zone India, launched the Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Satellite Launch Vehicle Mission- 2023.


  1. The organisations mentioned that 5,000 students were involved in the project. The selected students designed and constructed a student satellite launch vehicle (rocket) and 150 PICO satellite research experiment cubes that contained different payloads.
  2. The reusable rocket was made by the selected top 100 students, while the rest made the satellites. The rocket can be used for research in weatheratmospheric conditions and radiation.
  3. Mylswamy Annadurai, former director of ISRO Satellite Centre, said that the launch was a success.
  4. He told the students to explore opportunities in the space sector. Both the foundations said that the selected students learnt not only about satellite technology but also learnt more about STEM.


Save our high seas from overfishing, pollution

GS Paper - 3 (Environment)

While the high seas make up more than 60% of the world’s oceans, they have long drawn far less attention than coastal waters. The UN wants to protect them in a global treaty.


  1. Fishingshippingtourism and ocean protection are currently controlled by around 20 organizations.
  2. However, their regulations only apply to a distance of 200 nautical miles (370 kilometers) from the coast. Farther out, international waters start, and individual states don’t have any power or say.
  3. Although the high seas make up more than half of the surface of the Earth and 61% of all oceansonly 1% of international waters are under protection.
  4. Illegal fishingoverfishing and other forms of damage to the ecosystem, such as deep-sea miningoil and gas drilling, can hardly be monitored, tracked or prosecuted in a consistent way.
  5. That’s why government officials from 51 countries want to negotiate the High Seas Treaty at the United Nations in New York. The treaty has been in the works for years and is supposed to protect species and allocate the oceans’ resources in a sustainable way.

Why is a healthy underwater world so important for humans and our planet?

  1. The resources of the ocean don’t just sustain coast dwellers, but almost 3 billion people worldwide.
  2. The entire sea industry has a worth of $3 trillion (€2.8 trillion) — that’s 5% of the world’s gross domestic product.
  3. The ocean isn’t just important for beach tourists and fishers. We also need it in order to generate sustainable wave and tidal energy, as well as for the production of commodities and even medicine.
  4. Some agents used to fight leukemia, for instance, are derived from a shallow water sponge called Tectitethya crypta, which can be found in the waters of the Caribbean.
  5. The poison of the fish-eating sea snail Conus magus is being used to develop an effective painkiller. Many similar possibilities have yet to be explored, but scientists see a huge potential for the treatment of diseases.

Will a new treaty help?

  1. According to the UN’s environment programinternational treaties are one of the best ways to stop the destruction of oceans.
  2. Many treaties have been signed in recent years regarding the protection of coastal regions.
  3. Some have already had a positive effect on the environment; many, however, have not been able to reach their goals. That has to do with the fact that agreements are always dependent on national parliaments turning them into laws, and allocating enough resources to institutions and projects so the goals can be reached.
  4. The EU is pushing for an ambitious new treaty for species protection and the implementation of the historic 2022 Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
  5. Part of this historic agreement is to put 30% of the globe under protection until 2030. Meanwhile, 18 developing and emerging nations are pushing for the introduction of a mechanism that guarantees the fair distribution of ocean resources.

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