Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 25 May 2023

Centre files review petition against SC order

GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

The Central government moved the Supreme Court, filing a review petition against the Court judgment that gave control over the subject of administrative services to the Delhi government. This was after the government promulgated an ordinance to create a National Capital Civil Service Authority, empowered to recommend transfers, postings and disciplinary actions relating to all Group A and DANICS officers (Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli civil services).

Why has this review petition been filed?

  1. The Centre’s ordinance has reinstated the final authority of the Delhi lieutenant governor in transfers and postings of bureaucrats and solidified his role as an administrator empowered to take decisions on proposals considered or decided by the elected government.
  2. The dispute over whether the Lieutenant Governor or the Chief Minister would have powers over these administrative services in Delhi went to the Supreme Court and a judgment was delivered ten days ago.
  3. The ruling on 5 May places three constitutional principles – representative democracyfederalism and accountability – to an elected government within the interpretation of Article 239AA.  In 1991, when Article 239 AA was inserted, Parliament also passed the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 to provide a framework for the functioning of the Legislative Assembly and the government of Delhi.
  4. The Court also clearly held that Part XIV of the Constitution that contains provisions for regulating the employment of persons to the public services under the union and States is applicable to union territories, which includes Delhi.
  5. The current ordinance takes away this power from the Delhi government and places it with a statutory body that comprises the chief minister of Delhi and the Chief Secretary and principal Home Secretary of the Delhi government.

How does a review petition get heard in court?

  1. judgment of the Supreme Court becomes the law of the land, according to the Constitution.
  2. However, the Constitution, under Article 137, gives the Supreme Court the power to review any of its judgments or orders.
  3. This departure from the Supreme Court’s final authority is entertained under specific, narrow grounds.
  4. So, when a review takes place, the law is that it is allowed not to take fresh stock of the case but to correct grave errors that have resulted in the miscarriage of justice.
  5. The court has the power to review its rulings to correct a “patent error” and not “minor mistakes of inconsequential import”.
  6. In a 1975 ruling, Justice Krishna Iyer said a review can be accepted “only where a glaring omission or patent mistake or like grave error has crept in earlier by judicial fallibility”.

What grounds can a petitioner seek a review of an SC verdict?

  1. In a 2013 ruling, the Supreme Court itself laid down three grounds for seeking a review of a verdict it has delivered:
  • The discovery of new and important matter or evidence which, after the exercise of due diligence, was not within the knowledge of the petitioner or could not be produced by him;
  • Mistake or error apparent on the face of the record;
  • Or any other sufficient reason. In subsequent rulings, the court specified that “any sufficient reason” means a reason that is comparable to the other two grounds.
  1. In another 2013 ruling (Union of India v. Sandur Manganese & Iron Ores Ltd), the court laid down nine principles on when a review is maintainable.
  2. A review is by no means an appeal in disguise whereby an erroneous decision is reheard and corrected but lies only for patent error,” the court said. It added that the mere possibility of two views on the subject cannot be a ground for review.

What happens if a review petition fails?

  1. As the court of last resort, the Supreme Court’s verdict cannot result in a miscarriage of justice.
  2. In Roopa Hurra v Ashok Hurra (2002), the court itself evolved the concept of a curative petition, which can be heard after a review is dismissed to prevent abuse of its process.
  3. A curative petition is also entertained on very narrow grounds like a review petition, and is generally not granted an oral hearing.


Papua New Guinea is important for India

GS Paper - 2 (International Relations)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi told leaders of 14 Pacific Island nations that India would be a “reliable” development partner, even though those considered trustworthy were “not standing by our sides in times of need”. Speaking at the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) summit in Port Moresby Papua New Guinea, PM said. Modi is the first Indian PM to visit the country. Papua New Guinea doesn’t give a ceremonial welcome to any leader coming after sunset, but an exception was made for Modi.

Why is Papua New Guinea important for India?

Strategic location

  1. Papua New Guinea is located north of Australia, a region where China is trying to expand its influence and Australia and the US are seeking to counter it. China has made large investments in Papua New Guinea, funding infrastructure and schools, in what many believe is an attempt to gain military and diplomatic leverage.
  2. Last year, China signed a security pact with Solomon Islands, located in the same region. On 22 May 2023, the US and Papua New Guinea signed a security agreement, prompting protests from island residents who oppose ‘militarisation’ of the Pacific.
  3. India is also trying to boost ties and cooperation with the Pacific Island nations, which include, apart from Papua New Guinea and Solomon IslandsCook IslandsFijiKiribati, the Republic of Marshall IslandsMicronesiaNauruNiuePalauSamoaTongaTuvalu and Vanuatu.
  4. The FIPIC summit and PM Modi’s recent visit to Fiji and Papua New Guinea was in line with that.
  5. The FIPIC summit was launched during Modi’s visit to Fiji in 2014. In 2015, the second FIPIC summit was held in Jaipur. This is the third summit.

Population, economy

  1. Papua New Guinea is the world’s third largest island nation, a lower middle-income country with a predominantly rural population. It is lingustically one of the most diverse nations of then world, with more than 800 languages spoken.
  2. It has a population of 9,819,350, according to an estimate by CIA’s The World Factbook. Many indigenous communities live in Papua New Guinea, surviving on subsistence agriculture and keeping little contact with the outside world.
  3. Since the 1880s, parts of the country have been ruled by GermanyAustralia, and Britain, till the independent nation was born on 16 September 1975.


  1. Papua New Guinea is part of the Commonwealth, and England’s King Charles III is its official King.
  2. The monarch is represented by the Governor-General, who is nominated by the Parliament.
  3. The Prime Minister is democratically elected. While James Marape is the current Prime Minister, the Governor-General is Bob Dadae, whom PM Modi also met on his recent visit.


The FIPIC summit 2023

GS Paper - 2 (International Relations)

The PM visited the capital city of Port Moresby for his first visit to Papua New Guinea, the first by any Indian prime minister, for the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) summit, 2023.

What is FIPIC?

  1. The Forum for India–Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) was launched during PM Modi’s visit to Fiji in November 2014.
  2. FIPIC includes 14 island countries – Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu – that are located in the Pacific Ocean, to the northeast of Australia.

What was the idea behind FIPIC?

  1. According to the grouping’s website, despite their relatively small size and considerable distance from India, many of these islands have large exclusive economic zones (EEZs).
  2. EEZs is the distance up to which a coastal nation has jurisdiction over the ocean, including both living and non-living resources.
  3. It generally goes to 200 nautical miles or 230 miles (around 370 km) beyond a nation’s territorial sea.
  4. India’s larger focus is on the Indian Ocean where it has sought to play a major role and protect its strategic and commercial interests.
  5. The FIPIC initiative then marks a serious effort to expand India’s engagement in the Pacific region as well.
  6. Based on 2021-22 data, the total annual trade between India and Pacific Island countries is valued at $570 million, in commodities such as plasticspharmaceuticalssugarmineral fuel and ores. Among them, Papua New Guinea is the biggest trade partner in terms of value.

What is the FIPIC summit?

  1. FIPIC-Iin 2014, took place at Suva, Fiji’s capital city. India announced various development assistance initiatives and other cooperation projects in areas of climate change, trade, economy, telemedicine and teleeducation, IT, grants for community development projects, etc.
  2. At FIPIC-II in 2015 in Jaipur, India again announced similar initiatives. India also approached the event from a large diplomatic perspective, calling for a “dedicated seat for Small Island Developing States in an expanded and reformed UN Security Council in both categories”.
  3. In 2019, the India-Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) Leaders’ Meeting (comprising delegations of 12 out of the 14 Pacific Islands countries) was held on 24 September 2019 in New York on the sidelines of the 74th UN General Assembly.
  4. The Indian government then announced an allocation of $12 million grant ($1 million to each PSIDS) towards implementation of high-impact developmental projects in the area of their choice.
  5. In addition, a concessional Line of Credit of $150 million, which can be availed by the PSIDS for undertaking solarrenewable energy and climate related projects based on each country’s requirement, was announced.

What happened at the FIPIC summit 2023?

  1. The third FIPIC summit was to be held in early 2020 but was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. During his concluding remarks, the prime minister announced initiatives such as:
  2. Establishment of a super-specialty cardiology hospital in Fiji. “The Indian government will bear the full cost of this mega greenfield project”, the PM said.
  3. Sea ambulances will be provided to all the 14 Pacific island countries.
  4. The PM also pledged to provide desalination units for the people of every Pacific Island country.


The Telangana- Andhra Pradesh water dispute

GS Paper 2 (Polity)

The nagging dispute over the water share of the Krishna river between Andhra Pradesh (A.P.) and Telangana remains unresolved, even nine years after the bifurcation of the combined State.

How did this Krishna Water dispute originate?

  1. Before the formation of Andhra Pradesh, four senior leaders each from different regions of Andhra, including the Rayalaseema Region and the Telangana region, signed a Gentlemen’s Agreement on February 20, 1956.
  2. Among others, one of the provisions of the agreement was the protection of Telangana’s interests and needs with respect to the utilisation of water resources with equitable distribution based on treaties followed globally.
  3. However, the focus of the combined dispensation with respect to irrigation facilities was on Andhra, which already had systems developed by the British at the cost of in-basin drought-prone areas in Telangana — a fact which was argued by the leaders of the latter region from the beginning.

The Bachawat Tribunal

  1. In 1969, the Bachawat Tribunal (KWDT-I) was constituted to settle the dispute around water share among the riparian States of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh (before bifurcation).
  2. The Tribunal allocated 811 tmcft dependable water to Andhra Pradesh.
  3. The Andhra Pradesh government later apportioned it in the 512:299 tmcft ratio between Andhra (including parts of Rayalaseema which comprise the Krishna Basin) and Telangana, respectively, based on the command area developed or utilisation mechanism established by then.
  4. The Tribunal had also recommended taking the Tungabhadra Dam ( a part of the Krishna Basin) water to the drought-prone Mahabubnagar area of Telangana.
  5. However, this was not followed through, giving birth to discontent among the people. Telangana had time and again reiterated how it had been met with injustice in Andhra Pradesh when it came to the matter of distributing water resources.

The Water sharing Arrangement after the bifurcation of AP

  1. There is no mention of water shares in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, since the KWDT-I Award, which was still in force, had not made any region-wise allocation.
  2. At a meeting convened by the then Ministry of Water Resources in 2015, the two States had agreed for sharing water in the 34:66 (Telangana:A.P.) ratio as an ad hoc arrangement with the minutes clearly specifying that it has to be reviewed every year.
  3. The arrangement in the Act was only for the management of water resources by setting up two Boards, the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) and the Godavari River Management Board (GRMB).
  4. The KRMB, however, continued the same ratio year after year in spite of the opposition by Telangana.
  5. In October 2020, Telangana raised its voice for an equal share, till water shares are finalised.
  6. At a Board meeting held earlier this month, Telangana put its foot down for an equal share and refused to continue the existing arrangement. Unable to convince the member States, the river Board has referred the matter to the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS).

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