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The provision in the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) that treats hit-and-run accident cases as an aggravated form of the offence of causing death by rashness or........

The provision in the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) that treats hit-and-run accident cases as an aggravated form of the offence of causing death by rashness or negligence.

  • The provision in the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) that treats hit-and-run accident cases as an aggravated form of the offence of causing death by rashness or negligence will be scrutinized for its severity.

  • Truck drivers are worried about the implications of Section 106 of BNS and have abstained from work.

  • The government has promised to bring the provision into play only after consultations with the All India Motor Transport Congress.

  • The transporters' body believes that the strike was primarily resorted to by drivers who feared additional criminal liability.

  • The issue now concerns transport workers more than those running the business of transportation.

  • The strike against the law that makes penal provisions concerning hit-and-run accidents more stringent may seem unjustified, but it has drawn attention to the question of increasing jail terms for accidents.

  • Currently, the jail term for accidents is two years, but there is a discussion about increasing it to five years in all cases and ten years in the case of failure to report accidents to the authorities.

  • Section 106 of the BNS will replace Section 304A of the IPC, which punished the causing of death by rash and negligent act that does not amount to culpable homicide.

  • Section 106 prescribes a prison term of up to five years, besides a fine, for causing death due to rash or negligent acts.

  • It provides for reduced criminal liability for registered medical doctors of two years in jail, if death occurred in the course of a medical procedure.

  • The second clause concerns road accidents in which, if the person involved in rash and negligent driving “escapes without reporting it to a police officer or a Magistrate soon after the incident”, the imprisonment may extend to 10 years and a fine.

  • Drivers flee an accident scene out of fear of lynching, and the authorities believe that such drivers can move away from the scene of crime and then report to the police.

  • The term ‘hit-and-run’ is one in which the offending vehicle is not identified.

  • Once the person causing a fatal accident is identified, the onus on the police to prove culpability for rashness or negligence remains the same.

  • The relevant question is whether the law should focus on raising prison terms or on a comprehensive accident prevention policy package covering imprisonment, compensation, and safety.

As a UPSC student, it is important to stay updated on the economic situation of the country. This article discusses the concerns raised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) about India's debts and exchange rate regime. It highlights the challenges India faces in managing its public debt and enhancing its credit ratings.

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised concerns about the long-term sustainability of India's debts.

  • The IMF reclassified India's exchange rate regime as a "stabilised arrangement" instead of "floating".

  • The concerns on debt sustainability can be seen as a call for more prudent management of debt in the medium term.

  • The IMF states that India's government debt could be 100% of GDP by fiscal 2028 under adverse circumstances.

  • The Finance Ministry refutes the IMF projections as a worst-case scenario.

  • Government borrowings can play a vital role in development, but the weight of debt can act as a drag on development.

  • Limited access to financing, rising borrowing costs, currency devaluations, and sluggish growth are potential consequences of high debt.

  • The United Nations notes that countries are facing the choice between servicing their debt or serving their people.

  • In 2022, 3.3 billion people live in countries that spend more on interest payments than on education or health.

  • Global public debt has increased more than fourfold since 2000, reaching a record USD 92 trillion in 2022.

  • Developing countries account for almost 30% of the total global public debt, with China, India, and Brazil contributing roughly 70% of it.

  • Public debt has increased faster in developing countries compared to developed countries in the last decade.

  • The rise of debt in developing countries is due to growing development financing needs, the cost-of-living crisis, and climate change.

  • The number of countries facing high levels of debt increased from 22 in 2011 to 59 in 2022.

  • Developing countries have to pay higher interest rates, undermining their debt sustainability.

  • The burden of debt is asymmetric between developed and developing countries.

  • India faces challenges in managing public debt and enhancing its credit ratings.

  • India's credit rating has remained unchanged at 'BBB- with stable outlook' since August 2006, the lowest investment grade rating.

  • Rating agencies believe that India's weak fiscal performance, burdensome debt stock, and low per capita income are factors that undermine its credit rating.

  • The Union government's debt was ₹155.6 trillion, or 57.1% of GDP, at the end of March 2023.

  • The debt of State governments was about 28% of GDP.

  • India's public debt-to-GDP ratio has barely increased from 81% in 2005-06 to 84% in 2021-22, and is back to 81% in 2022-23.

  • The debt-GDP targets specified by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act (FRBMA) are 40% for the Centre, 20% for States, and 60% for their combined accounts.

  • There are worrying signs on the fiscal front, with the possibility of fiscal slippage in FY24.

  • The increase in expenditure on employment guarantee schemes and subsidies is a contributing factor to the fiscal slippage.

  • The budgeted fertilizer subsidy of ₹44,000 crore was almost over by end-October 2023 and has been increased to ₹57,360 crore.

  • The expenditure on the MGNREGA scheme has exceeded the budgeted amount, with ₹79,770 crore already spent and an additional ₹14,520 crore allocated.

  • The increase in subsidies is not surprising due to the upcoming general elections, but it raises questions about employment growth and livelihoods in rural areas.

  • Sticking to the fiscal correction path in an election year is a short-term challenge that can help avoid worst-case scenarios.

The issue of privacy rights in India and the need for judicial scrutiny of executive actions. It highlights the use of Section 132 of the Income Tax Act, which grants extensive powers to tax authorities for search and seizure. The article argues that these powers should be subject to the doctrine of proportionality and judicial review to protect individual rights

  • In August 2017, the Supreme Court of India declared that the Constitution guarantees a fundamental right to privacy.

  • The verdict was expected to protect civil rights and prevent arbitrary government actions.

  • However, when it comes to interpreting statutes, the meaning of rights has not changed.

  • There is a culture of judicial deference, where laws continue to give absolute authority to the executive.

  • An example of this is Section 132 of the Income Tax Act, which allows the taxman to forcibly search and seize property with little safeguards.

  • The Gujarat High Court recently questioned income-tax authorities regarding a raid conducted on a lawyer and his family members.

  • The lawyer and his family were allegedly kept in virtual detention for several days during the search.

  • The Income-Tax Act allows for actions that involve the detention of individuals without a prior judicial warrant.

  • When these actions are challenged in court, the judiciary often approves the search, yielding to executive wisdom.

  • In its original form, India's income-tax law did not provide the power to search and seize.

  • The Taxation on Income (Investigation Commission) Act was enacted in 1947 to rectify this, but it was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1954.

  • The Supreme Court ruled that the Act violated the guarantee of equal treatment under Article 14 of the Constitution.

  • The article raises questions about the proportionality of search and seizure actions conducted under the Income-Tax Act.

  • The income-tax law was refashioned in 1961, giving express powers of search and seizure through Section 132.

  • The provision was challenged in the Supreme Court in the case of Pooran Mal vs Director of Inspection in 1973.

  • The Court upheld the law, relying on its own judgment in M.P. Sharma vs Satish Chandra.

  • The Court stated that the power of search and seizure is an overriding power of the State for the protection of social security and is regulated by law.

  • The Court also mentioned that the Constitution does not recognize a fundamental right to privacy like the American Fourth Amendment.

  • The Court clarified that searches under the Income-Tax Act do not require judicial authorization, unlike searches under the Code of Criminal Procedure.

  • The Court's reading of the law has changed since the case of M.P. Sharma, which has been formally overruled.

  • The right to privacy is now seen as intrinsic to the right to personal liberty guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution.

  • The state's power to search and seize must be subject to the doctrine of proportionality.

  • Section 132 of the Income-Tax Act suggests a breach of the principle of proportionality.

  • In a recent case, the Court did not consider its ruling in Puttaswamy and found that the formation of an opinion for a search was administrative rather than judicial or quasi-judicial.

  • The Court should focus on whether the belief for a search was honest and bona fide, rather than the sufficiency of the reasons recorded.

  • The "Wednesbury" principle should be adopted, which requires the court to review if a measure is outrageous in its defiance of logic or accepted moral standards.

  • The Wednesbury rule should not be applied post-Puttaswamy, especially when fundamental rights are involved.

  • Executive actions, such as a warrant for an income-tax search, must conform to statutory law and be subject to rigorous judicial review.

  • Any other interpretation would give the executive extra-constitutional power and risk public mischief.

The peace pact signed with a faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) in Assam and its implications on determining indigenous status and citizenship. It explores the political motivations behind the pact and its potential impact on the representation of different communities in Assam.

  • Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma believes that a peace pact with a faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) can bridge the gap between the Assamese and Bengali communities.

  • The pro-talks faction of ULFA signed a tripartite peace deal with the Centre and the Assam government on December 29, 2023.

  • The peace accord aims to ensure legislative and land rights for the Assamese people.

  • The accord includes commitments to following the principles applied for the 2023 delimitation exercise and preventing people from one constituency from being registered as voters in another.

  • Opposition parties in Assam criticized the Election Commission's final delimitation notification, which reshaped constituencies and increased the number of reserved seats.

  • The delimitation exercise was accused of aiming to reduce the representation of Bengali-origin Muslims in the Assembly.

  • Muslims, often referred to as Bangladeshis, make up more than 34% of Assam's population and have been influential in at least 35 Assembly seats.

  • Assam Chief Minister, Mr. Sarma, emphasizes the need to protect the indigenous people and retain political power in their hands.

  • The delimitation notification ensures representation of indigenous communities in at least 106 out of 126 Assembly seats in Assam.

  • The ULFA accord makes communities inhabiting Assam for 100, 200, or 300 years eligible for representation for at least 40 more years.

  • Mr. Sarma suggests considering people living in Assam for at least a century as Assamese, moving away from the cut-off date of March 24, 1971, prescribed by the Assam Accord of 1985.

  • Assam's political history has been marked by conflicts with Bengalis over culture and language.

  • Bengali Hindus are considered the BJP's major vote bank, while Bengali Muslims are not due to the perception that many crossed over during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.

  • Mr. Sarma's formula for determining indigeneity aligns with the BJP's strategy to consolidate non-Muslim votes and polarize Bengali Muslims.

  • The Chief Minister is seeking safeguards in the ULFA accord.

  • One of the safeguards is the demarcation of protected belts and blocks for general people, similar to the British-era tribal blocks and belts.

  • These tribal blocks and belts were allegedly taken over by "doubtful citizens" in the past.

  • Implementing the ULFA accord requires the necessary Bills.

  • The Chief Minister suggests that the BJP's Hindutva agenda is influencing the implementation process.

  • He believes that certain things cannot be done by the law, but by spirit.

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