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Merely because an arrest can be made lawfully, it doesn’t mandate that arrest must be made: SC

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In a big boost for rights concerning the personal liberty of citizens, the Apex Court in a cogent, commendable, composed and convincing judgment titled Siddharth vs State of Uttar Pradesh Criminal Appeal No. 838 of 2021 (Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 5442/2021) delivered just recently on August 16, 2021 has minced just no words to make it absolutely clear that, “Merely because an arrest can be made because it is lawful does not mandate that arrest must be made.” The Bench of Apex Court comprising of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy also made it amply clear that personal liberty is an important aspect of our constitutional mandate. It goes without saying that all the Courts must always certainly adhere strictly to what has been laid down by the Apex Court in this leading case.

To start with, it is first and foremost stated by the Bench of Apex Court that, “Leave granted. The short issue before us is whether the anticipatory bail application of the appellant ought to have been allowed. We may note that as per the Order dated 02.8.2021 we had granted interim protection.”

While elaborating on the facts of the case, the Bench then enunciates in the next para that, “The fact which emerges is that the appellant along with 83 other private persons were sought to be roped in a FIR which was registered seven years ago. The appellant claims to be supplier of stone for which royalty was paid in advance to these holders and claims not to be involved in the tendering process. Similar person was stated to have been granted interim protection until filing of the police report. The appellant had already joined the investigation before approaching this Court and the chargesheet was stated to be ready to be filed. However, the reason to approach this Court was on account of arrest memo having been issued.”

Needless to say, the Bench then puts forth in the next para that, “It is not disputed before us by learned counsel for the respondent that the chargesheet is ready to be filed but submits that the trial court takes a view that unless the person is taken into custody the chargesheet will not be taken on record in view of Section 170 of the Cr.P.C.”

Simply put, the Bench then envisages in the next para that, “In order to appreciate the controversy we reproduce the provision of Section 170 of Cr.P.C. as under:

“170. Cases to be sent to Magistrate, when evidence is sufficient. – (1) If, upon an investigation under this Chapter, it appears to the officer in charge of the police station that there is sufficient evidence or reasonable ground as aforesaid, such officer shall forward the accused under custody to a Magistrate empowered to take cognizance of the offence upon a police report and to try the accused or commit him for trial, or, if the offence is bailable and the accused is able to give security, shall take security from him for his appearance before such Magistrate on a day fixed and for his attendance from day to day before such Magistrate until otherwise directed.”

To put things in perspective, the Bench then quite pertinently observes in the next para that, “There are judicial precedents available on the interpretation of the aforesaid provision albeit the Delhi High Court. In Court on its own motion v. Central Bureau of Investigation 2004 (72) DRJ 629, the Delhi High Court dealt with an argument similar to the contention of the respondent that Section 170 Cr.P.C. prevents the trial court from taking a chargesheet on record unless the accused is taken into custody. The relevant extracts are as under:

“15. Word “custody” appearing in this Section does not contemplate either police or judicial custody. It merely connotes the presentation of accused by the Investigating Officer before the Court at the time of filing of the chargesheet whereafter the role of the Court starts. Had it not been so the Investigating Officer would not have been vested with powers to release a person on bail in a bailable offence after finding that there was sufficient evidence to put the accused on trial and it would have been obligatory upon him to produce such an accused in custody before the Magistrate for being released on bail by the Court.

16. In case the police/Investigating Officer thinks it unnecessary to present the accused in custody for the reason that accused would neither abscond nor would disobey the summons as he has been co-operating in investigation and investigation can be completed without arresting him, the IO is not obliged to produce such an accused in custody.

19. It appears that the learned Special Judge was labouring under a misconception that in every non-bailable and cognizable offence the police is required to invariably arrest a person, even if it is not essential for the purpose of investigation.

20. Rather the law is otherwise. In normal and ordinary course the police should always avoid arresting a person and sending him to jail, if it is possible for the police to complete the investigation without his arrest and if every kind of co-operation is provided by the accused to the Investigating Officer in completing the investigation. It is only in cases of utmost necessity, where the investigation cannot be completed without arresting the person, for instance, a person may be required for recovery of incriminating articles or weapon of offence or for eliciting some information or clue as to his accomplices or any circumstantial evidence, that his arrest may be necessary. Such an arrest may also be necessary if the concerned Investigating Officer or Officer-in-charge of the Police Station thinks that presence of accused will be difficult to procure because of grave and serious nature of crime as the possibility of his absconding or disobeying the process or fleeing from justice cannot be ruled out.””

Furthermore, the Bench then states that, “In a subsequent judgment the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court in Court on its own Motion v. State (2018) 254 DLT 641 (DB) relied on these observations in Re Court on its own Motion (supra) and observed that it is not essential in every case involving a cognizable and non-bailable offence that an accused be taken into custody when the chargesheet/final report is filed.”

It cannot be glossed over that the Bench then points out that, “The Delhi High Court is not alone in having adopted this view and other High Courts apparently have also followed suit on the proposition that criminal courts cannot refuse to accept a chargesheet simply because the accused has not been arrested and produced before the court.”

While referring to another relevant case law, the Bench then added in the next para that, “In Deendayal Kishanchand & Ors. v. State of Gujarat 1983 CriLJ 1583, the High Court observed as under:

“2.…It was the case of the prosecution that two accused, i.e. present petitioners Nos. 4 and 5, who are ladies, were not available to be produced before the Court along with the charge-sheet, even though earlier they were released on bail. Therefore, as the Court refused to accept the charge-sheet unless all the accused are produced, the charge-sheet could not be submitted, and ultimately also, by a specific letter, it seems from the record, the charge-sheet was submitted without accused Nos. 4 and 5. This is very clear from the evidence on record. […]

8. I must say at this stage that the refusal by criminal Courts either through the learned Magistrate or through their office staff to accept the charge-sheet without production of the accused persons is not justified by any provision of law. Therefore, it should be impressed upon all the Courts that they should accept the charge-sheet whenever it is produced by the police with any endorsement to be made on the charge-sheet by the staff or the Magistrate pertaining to any omission or requirement in the charge-sheet. But when the police submit the charge-sheet, it is the duty of the Court to accept it especially in view of the provisions of Section 468 of the Code which creates a limitation of taking cognizance of offence. Likewise, police authorities also should impress on all police officers that if charge-sheet is not accepted for any such reason, then attention of the Sessions Judge should be drawn to these facts and get suitable orders so that such difficulties would not arise henceforth.””

Quite significantly, the Bench then hastens to add in the next para that, “We are in agreement with the aforesaid view of the High Courts and would like to give our imprimatur to the said judicial view. It has rightly been observed on consideration of Section 170 of the Cr.P.C. that it does not impose an obligation on the Officer-in-charge to arrest each and every accused at the time of filing of the chargesheet. We have, in fact, come across cases where the accused has cooperated with the investigation throughout and yet on the chargesheet being filed non-bailable warrants have been issued for his production premised on the requirement that there is an obligation to arrest the accused and produce him before the court. We are of the view that if the Investigating Officer does not believe that the accused will abscond or disobey summons he/she is not required to be produced in custody. The word “custody” appearing in Section 170 of the Cr.P.C. does not contemplate either police or judicial custody but it merely connotes the presentation of the accused by the Investigating Officer before the court while filing the chargesheet.”

More significantly, the Bench then holds in the next para that, “We may note that personal liberty is an important aspect of our constitutional mandate. The occasion to arrest an accused during investigation arises when custodial investigation becomes necessary or it is a heinous crime or where there is a possibility of influencing the witnesses or accused may abscond. Merely because an arrest can be made because it is lawful does not mandate that arrest must be made. A distinction must be made between the existence of the power to arrest and the justification for exercise of it [Joginder Kumar v. State of UP & Ors. (1994) 4 SCC 260]. If arrest is made routine, it can cause incalculable harm to the reputation and self-esteem of a person. If the Investigating Officer has no reason to believe that the accused will abscond or disobey summons and has, in fact, throughout cooperated with the investigation we fail to appreciate why there should be a compulsion on the officer to arrest the accused.”

Most significantly, the Bench then goes on to hold in the next para that, “We are, in fact, faced with a situation where contrary to the observations in Joginder Kumar’s case how a police officer has to deal with a scenario of arrest, the trial courts are stated to be insisting on the arrest of an accused as a pre-requisite formality to take the chargesheet on record in view of the provisions of Section 170 of the Cr.P.C. We consider such a course misplaced and contrary to the very intent of Section 170 of the Cr.P.C.”

As it turned out, the Bench then went on to hold in the next para that, “In the present case when the appellant has joined the investigation, investigation has completed and he has been roped in after seven years of registration of the FIR we can think of no reason why at this stage he must be arrested before the chargesheet is taken on record. We may note that learned counsel for the appellant has already stated before us that on summons being issued the appellant will put the appearance before the trial court.”

Finally, the Bench then holds in the final para that, “We accordingly set aside the impugned order and allow the appeal in terms aforesaid leaving the parties to bear their own costs.”

In a nutshell, this learned, latest, laudable and landmark judgment places the personal liberty of any accused in any given case on the highest pedestal. Even Article 21 of our Constitution manifestly accords supreme importance to the right to life and personal liberty of citizens. It thus merits no reiteration that this noteworthy ruling also makes it quite abundantly clear that nowhere does Section 170 of the CrPC imposes any obligation of any kind on the officer-in-charge to arrest each and every accused at the time of filing of the charge sheet which must be abided and adhered to in totality! In other words, we thus see the Supreme Court had itself made it quite discernibly clear that, “Merely because an arrest can be made lawfully, it does not mandate that arrest must be made.”

The judgement places the personal liberty of any accused in any given case on the highest pedestal. Even Article 21 of the Constitution manifestly accords supreme importance to the right to life and personal liberty of citizens. It thus merits no reiteration that this noteworthy ruling also makes it abundantly clear that nowhere does Section 170 of the CrPC imposes any obligation of any kind on the officer-in-charge to arrest each and every accused at the time of filing of the chargesheet which must be abided and adhered to in totality. In other words, we thus see the Supreme Court had itself made it clear that, “Merely because an arrest can be made lawfully, it does not mandate that arrest must be made.”

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Policy & Politics

Analysing a bill passed by Rajasthan Assembly that allows registration of child marriages

Surya Pratap

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“Unity is meaningless without the accompaniment of women. Education is fruitless without educated women and agitation is incomplete without the strength of women.”

— Dr BR Ambedkar

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) charged on September 17 that the Rajasthan Compulsory Registration of Marriages (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which was passed by voice vote in the state Assembly to amend a 2009 Act on mandatory marriage registration within 30 days of the union, will legitimise child marriages.

Despite parliamentary affairs minister Shanti Kumar Dhariwaldefended the Bill by claiming that registering child marriage does not make it legitimate, the opposition staged a walkout. He also promised that anyone who organise child weddings, even after they have been registered, will face consequences.

JUDGMENT OF THE SC IN 2006

The minister further informed the House that the Supreme Court had ordered that all forms of weddings be registered in its 2006 decision in Seema vs Ashwini Kumar.

He claimed that registering child weddings does not legitimisethem, and that if a kid gets married, he or she will have the ability to dissolve the marriage once they reach adulthood.

WHAT DOES THE BILL STATE?

On 17 September, the Rajasthan Assembly passed the Rajasthan Compulsory Registration of Marriages (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which changes the Rajasthan Compulsory Registration of Marriages Act, 2009, and requires parents or guardians to provide information on child marriages within 30 days after the wedding.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) questioned the need for child marriage registration and asked that the law be withdrawn. “How can they include child marriage in this Bill if child marriage is prohibited? All of this is done by Congress in order to create a vote bank.” If this measure passes, the assembly will have a bad day. Is it possible for the assembly to agree to legalise child marriages? We shall approve child weddings by a show of hands. The bill would write a dark chapter in the assembly’s history. Ashok, a BJP MLA.

WHAT DOES THE GOVERNMENT SAY?

Shanti Kumar Dhariwal, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, defended the legislation, saying, “The bill makes no mention of the legality of child marriage. According to the bill, only registration is required after marriage. This is not to say that child marriage is legal. The district collector can still take action against underage marriages if he or she so desires.”

Dhariwal further stated that the legislation now allows for registration at the District Marriage Registration Officer, Additional District Marriage Registration Officer, and Block Marriage Registration Officer levels. These officers will be able to monitor and review the work of registration. This will make it easier for the general public to register. This will bring simplicity and transparency to the work. He further said that the marriage registration certificate was a legal document without which widows would be unable to benefit from numerous government programmes. According to him, any or both parties in a marriage will be entitled to file for marriage registration and get a certificate as a result of the mandatory registration.

MARRIAGES IN INDIA

Although no comprehensive data is available, estimates show that at least 1.5 million girls under the age of 18 marry each year in India, making it the country with the most child brides in the world, accounting for a third of the global total. While the percentage of females marrying before the age of 18 has decreased from 47% to 27% between 2005-2006 and 2015-2016, it is still too high.

Multiple reasons, including greater maternal literacy, improved access to education for girls, robust laws, and migration from rural to urban regions, may be contributing to the reduction. Among the reasons for the shift include increased rates of girls’ education, aggressive government investments in teenage girls, and strong public messaging about the illegality of child marriage and the harm it causes.

At the global level, child marriage is included in Goal 5 “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” Under Target 5.3 “Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation”.

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Policy & Politics

Will we hand over a ruined world to our posterity?

The world engaged in the race for power has waged a relentless war against nature. If nature does not survive, we will not survive either.

Vijay Darda

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I was performing ‘Pratikraman’ (introspection) on the occasion of Paryushan Parva and felt that this festival embraces the entire environment. I was seeking forgiveness from all the creatures of water, land and sky. I was asking for forgiveness from human beings, I was asking for forgiveness from trees, birds, insects and moths and also from animals. While doing so, a question came up in my mind that while we worship the five elements, do we practise it meaningfully in day-to-day life? Why has man deliberately waged a war against the nature? Every loss of nature is our loss, then why are we hoisting with our own petard?

I am always in a state of contemplation about the environment and it worries me that the craving of the present generation of human beings is causing huge damage to the environment and we are not only suffering because of it, our children are suffering too. I don’t understand how much of a ruined world we will leave for the generations to come. Environment is the most important subject for me. There are many people like me who care about the environment but there is a large section that doesn’t care! This world is heading for destruction. We do not even think about how much carbon dioxide we are emitting even personally. When I look around myself, I am amazed. In my institution, my offices are visited by so many people. Some come by car and some by motorcycle. How much carbon is being emitted! This emission can be reduced if public modes of transport are available. If many people ride in a bus or train, the emissions per person will be less, but if one person is going by car then it is unfair.

When I used to look at the operation of machines in the printing press of my institution and the consumption of electricity in the offices, I used to think that this electricity is made from coal and how much carbon is being emitted from it. This concern turned us towards solar energy and we are using solar energy to print newspapers. Yes, we have to invest heavily for this, but we take comfort from the fact that we have taken steps towards environmental protection.

Actually every person will have to be concerned and many options will have to be adopted at the personal level. We can’t rely only on the government. Even our small efforts can be effective. Take, for example, the need to prevent food wastage. Statistics show that about 70 per cent of food grains and fruits are wasted. During the production of cereals and fruits, the electricity used in irrigation or the production of pesticides causes a lot of damage to the environment. What a benefit it would be if we could save grains and fruits from being wasted!

There have been many conferences on the environment under the banner of the United Nations. When the conference was held in Geneva, more than a hundred countries had agreed to save the environment. This resolution was also repeated in Rio de Janeiro and Paris. In 1994, it was decided that by the year 2000, carbon emissions in the world would be brought down to 1990 levels. In this task, developed countries will help developing countries financially and technologically. But what happened? The agreement was left in abeyance! Even in 2019, the then US President Trump broke the Paris Agreement on global warming. On the other hand, it blamed India, Russia and China that these countries are not doing anything and American money is being wasted. But the fact is that America is not even allowing the appointment of an inspector who audits carbon emissions in the world. Surely America has inflicted the maximum damage to the environment, so it should pay for it too. The compulsions of developing countries also have to be taken into account. If you work, a lot will go wrong but that doesn’t mean you should point your finger at it. Five, ten, fifteen or twenty per cent errors will occur but 80 per cent of good things will happen!

As of now, the situation is extremely worrisome. Forests are being annihilated. Rivers are drying up, the atmosphere is getting polluted, the ozone layer is getting thinner and mountains are getting washed away. Many animals have become extinct. Diseases are on the rise. It goes without saying that the destruction of the environment means the destruction of the human species! Can any of our government units today say that they are not harming the environment? We all have to find a way to get better because we have done this destruction! You will remember the period of lockdown when people were locked in their homes, the nature started becoming so wonderful. We may not impose a lockdown but change the behaviour! Just think, what kind of world will we leave for our posterity?

At present I am in Switzerland. There is no air pollution here. Rivers are flowing smooth and clear. The lakes are absolutely clean. There is an excellent system of disposal of medical waste. Trash is nowhere to be seen. I talked to the local people. They say this is our responsibility. If only this kind of thinking developed all over the world! Everyone should be concerned about the environment and think about how to make this world a beautiful place to live in!

The author is the chairman, Editorial Board of Lokmat Media and former member of Rajya Sabha. vijaydarda@lokmat.com

We are all engaged in the struggle of life. But on the issue of the environment, due to which we are enjoying our life, we do not see the same vigour. Man seems to be hell-bent on destroying the environment. Keep in mind that if the environment is not preserved and protected, human beings will not survive on the earth too!

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Making it happen: ZIIEI initiative of Aurobindo Society

Anil Swarup

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It was March 17th 2018. In my capacity as Secretary, School Education, Government of India I visited Agra to launch Innovative Pathshaala- a series of booklets for the teachers comprising experiential and activity-based lesson plans mapped with the State Board. The event was organized by Sri Aurobindo Society and HDFC Bank’s initiative, ‘Zero-Investment Innovations for Education Initiatives’ (ZIIEI). There were education officers and teachers from many districts of Uttar Pradesh and I could sense a lot of positive energy and the collective zeal to bring about a transformation in school education. ‘Rupantar’, a nation-wide education transformation programme of Sri Aurobindo Society was on show.

What I saw was just a glimpse of a bigger change that was being attempted through the power of zero-investment innovations in education. These were innovations developed and contributed by the teachers from length and breadth of the country as a part of the ‘Zero-Investment Innovations for Education Initiatives’ (ZIIEI) under inspired leadership of Sambhrant Sharma.

ZIIEI started its journey from Uttar Pradesh in the year 2015-16. The aim was to bring the best practices and zero-investment innovative ideas of the teachers to the forefront. Since then, ZIIEI has travelled a long distance. With more than 20 lakh teachers oriented towards zero-investment innovation ecosystem, accessing experiential-activity based teaching content digitally and impacting around 2 crore students with innovative and best teaching practices, ZIIEI has moved beyond the peripheries of an initiative, it has become a mass movement in education.

The movement has been acknowledged and appreciated by the President of India. The Vice President of India too went on to state, “Teachers lead students on the path of becoming self-reliant. I am glad to know that Sri Aurobindo Society’s education initiative ZIIEI is giving the confidence to the teachers to experiment with new ideas.”

In early 2016 when the teacher started attending the one-day training session in all the 75 districts of Uttar Pradesh, they assumed that another long-drawn lecture would be delivered to them. However, to their surprise, instead of telling the teachers what to do, ZIIEI team members asked for inputs and zero-investment innovations from them to improve the quality of education. When there’s no cost involved there is no barter, no favours, only free flow of optimism and collective efforts takes place. As mentioned in the Process Monitoring Report on ZIIEI submitted by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), ZIIEI reflects an approach where engagement with all stakeholders in planning, strategizing and implementation process, has resulted in better outcomes

ZIIEI aims to develop joyful, engaging and experiential teaching- learning environment in classrooms. Teacher training sessions ZIIEI programme provided the much need platform and support for innovation in education but there still remained a gap in regular practice of zero-investment innovations. To bridge this gap and make everyday teaching – learning a joyful process, ZIIEI programme developed “Innovative Pathshaala”- the teaching tool for teachers. Each subject specific book, mapped with the respective State board, is a repository of innovative teaching methods based on zero-investment ideas published in the state specific Innovations Handbook/Navachar Pustika. These books give teacher the choice to deliver any topic using different types of activities. Innovative Pathshaala booklets have been distributed in more than 5,000 schools, and more than 20 lakh users access experiential teaching content in Innovative Pathshaala App.

ZIIEI has emerged as the largest programme in terms of the number of teachers receiving support and the number of States in India in which the programme directly operates.

The assessment report submitted by KPMG (India) on ZIIEI programme states that ZIIEI has successfully instilled high motivation in teachers, empowered them to become torch-bearers of transformation in education and enabled them to change their roles from ‘passive’ followers to ‘active’ contributors.

Boosted with high motivation and realization of their true potentials, lakhs of teachers share their innovative ideas with ZIIEI team members. All the ideas are evaluated by following a stringent, transparent and rigorous process. The potential ones are short-listed, and compiled in State specific Innovation Handbook/Navachar Pustika. The ideas in Navachar Pustika aim at creating a holistic environment for students, with equal emphasis on New-Age Teaching Techniques, Community Participation, Simplified Language Learning to Nation Building, and Health-Sanitation-Nutrition of the Students.

In 2016, the first Innovation Handbook/Navachar Pustika was launched. The growth, acceptance and significance of the programme is evident from the fact that 53 Innovations Handbooks/Navachar Pustika have been launched so far. Thus, for most of the States/UT’s at least two editions have been released.

The teachers look up to Navachar Pustika as the testimony of their efforts and significant contribution in making education better. Teachers whose ideas are selected in Navachar Pustika are recognized and felicitated at the National Conference & Workshop organised by Sri Aurobindo Society and HDFC Bank. Around 1,500 innovative teachers from all the States/UT’s and numerous education officers have received award from top leadership at the Central government. These annual events have become an integral part of bringing all the stakeholders in education and policy-makers at a common platform

The Covid-19 global pandemic has changed the way we used to perceive teaching and learning. The world is swiftly moving to digital platforms and our teachers need to acquire the skills to make their online classes as engaging and experiential as their physical classrooms. Aligning with the new needs, Innovative Pathshaala has developed teaching material for the teachers which can be used online and offline in classrooms. With the focus on learning outcomes, online training sessions are being organized for the teachers of 300 districts. These 300 districts will soon have Role-Model Schools which will be center of excellence and inspiration for others.

The efforts under ZIIEI and Innovative Pathshaala are in alignment with the vision of National Education Policy -2020. Through ZIIEI, Rupanatar is playing contributing role as a catalyst in bringing a positive change in education.

Aurobindo Society has demonstrated that even in the complex terrain of school education, impact can be created and that impact can be scaled through public-private partnership. They have made-it-happen and the impact what they have managed through Rupantar is clearly visible.

Anil Swarup has served as the head of the Project Monitoring Group, which is currently under the Prime Minister’s Offic. He has also served as Secretary, Ministry of Coal and Secretary, Ministry of School Education.

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Policy & Politics

The scepticism about ‘electronic evidence’ in India

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Technology has always been a double-edged sword which can be used for both good and bad, this equivocal nature of technology has been rightly expressed in the fitting words of Christian Lous Lange, “Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master”. The leakage of WhatsApp chats in recent times has shed some light on the concept of electronic evidence and its admissibility both in a civil and criminal trial in India. Legal provisions dealing with the admissibility of electronic evidence in India should be critically examined as the leakage of WhatsApp chats at the investment stage even before the commencement of trial has been an issue. Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, talks about a specific legal framework governing the admissibility of electronic evidence in India, in regards to various judicial instances, Indian courts have exemplified perceptiveness towards electronic evidence in India which further apprehend its admissibility.

In the modern era, the usage of electronic devices such as smartphones, laptops, computers, etc. is prolific. Moreover, these devices generate data to a great extent, originating a call for digital evidence in any investigation. Electronic evidence can turn out to be very significant if the evidence is analysed appropriately via forensics after being identified.

The admissibility of electronic evidence is not a present-day theory, it goes back with time but the evolution and innovation in the prevention of the production of evidence have changed for good concerning the fact that usage of electronic evidence is at surge. The introduction of the Information Technology Act 2000 concerning technology laws, led to various amendments to

the specific legal frameworks namely Indian Evidence Act 1872, Indian Penal code 1860, etc. which made electronic evidence admissible in India.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE

Electronic or digital evidence is the data stored within electronic devices such as smartphones, laptops, etc., and can be extracted by forensic experts to use it as a piece of admissible evidence in the courtroom. Section 3 of the Indian Evidence defines evidence as “All the statements which are allowed in the court to be presented before it by the witnesses and have a connection with the matter of fact for further inquiry” Digital evidence plays a significant role in the modern world, keeping in mind the prolific usage of electronic devices. With the surge in the amount of data generated by digital devices, there is a high prospect of the discovery of electronic evidence. Accumulation of important data on a digital platform which can be presented as significant evidence in the court comes with a lot of security concerns. The major concern of the investigators is the preservation of digital evidence in a secure state with an assurance that that data is authentic, untouched, unaltered, and stored in a hard drive.

EVOLUTION AND INNOVATION OF ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE IN INDIA

The first half of the 20th century pretty much relied on paper but with time people shifted from paper to bits, due to the increase in the usage of digital communication methods over time the amount of data stored in digital form adequately increased. The shift from paper to digital data gave rise to an essential use of this information by bringing it to the court, but there was an expository question to the integrity of the digital evidence as alteration, malicious modification, destruction of the electronic evidence was at ease in the latter half of 20thcentury. The evolution of technology and information security prompted some methods for scrutinizing digital evidence, namely Checksum, One-way hash algorithm, Digital signature, etc, bearing some advantages and disadvantages. On Oct 17th, 2000 the Information Technology Act was enacted by the Indian government roused from the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law(UNICITRAL) which resulted in various amendments to some specific legal statutes concerning digital evidence. In a recent case of Anvar P.K. v. P.K.Basheer and ors., the Supreme Court of India overruled the judgment of another notable case, State v. Navjot Sandhu by redefining the application of sections 63, 65 & 65B of the Indian Evidence Act which further enlightened the evidentiary value of electronic evidence in India.

LEGAL FRAMEWORKS REGULATING DIGITAL EVIDENCE IN INDIA

The introduction of the Information Technology Act, 2000 elucidated the electronic form of evidence stating it as an electronic record, section 2(1)(t) of the IT Act defines “Electronic Record” as the data generated or stored, an image or sound stored that is sent from one end and received on another in an electronic or digital form. The term ‘electronic record’ was included in the term ‘evidence’ under the Indian Evidence Act followed by the amendment in Section 92 of the Information Technology Act. Steering court proceedings to utilize electronic evidence as an essential piece of information requires specific provisions, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, regulates digital evidence in India.

• Section 45A of the evidence act talks about the opinion of the investigator who examines the electronic evidence as a relevant fact referred to under section 79A of IT Act 2000.

• Section 47A of the Indian Evidence Act states that the opinion of the certifying authority that issued the digital signature certificate will be a relevant fact when comes to the relevancy of an electronic signature.

• Electronic evidence must comply with the criteria stated under Section 65B to be deemed as an admissible piece of evidence in the courtroom. The paper on which the information of electronic record in printed or a form of media containing the information of such record will be admissible in any legal proceeding if the conditionsmentioned under section 65B(2) are fulfilled.

According to Section 65B of the Evidence Act, “The Data stored in an electronic record, whether it be the contents of a document or a conversation printed on paper, or stored, recorded, or copied in optical or magnetic media generated by a computer will be considered as a document and will be admissible as evidence without any further proof of the document.”

ADMISSIBILITY OF ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE IN INDIA VIS-À-VIS THE JUDICIAL INSTANCES

In the case of Anvar P.K. v. P.K. Basheer & Ors, as per the court, the certificate specified in Section (65)(B)(4), is required and does not come with an alternative. It is a unique clause that takes priority over the general requirements of Sections 63 and 65. The case of State (NCT of Delhi) v. Navjot Sandhu was overturned to the extent that the certificate was now deemed necessary. In the same matter, it was stated that an oral admission on the substance of electronic evidence is irrelevant unless the electronic evidence’s authenticity is in dispute, as stated in Section 22 of the Evidence Act.

Further in the case of Sanjaysinh Ramrao Chavan v. Dattatray Gulabrao Phalke & Anr., “As the voice recorder is not submitted to inspection, there is no sense in emphasizing the translated version,” the court said, referring to the decision in Anvar PV’s case. The translation is questionable since it lacks a source. The two most important aspects of electronic evidence are the source and authenticity.” In Tomaso Bruno and Anr. v. State of Uttar Pradesh, the relevance of electronic evidence and scientific procedures in the evidence-gathering process was demonstrated in this case. Procedural and electronic evidence under Sections 65A and 65B are admissible, as per the court.

In the recent case, Arjun Panditrao Khotkar v. Kailash Kushanrao Gorantyal and others, a three-judge bench led by J. RF Nariman resolved the uncertainty surrounding multiple interpretations of Section 65(B)(4) and rejected Shafhi Mohammad’s decision, supporting the position that a certificate issued under this section is not an option among several, but a necessity.

Various other judgments have also addressed the requirement of the severe criteria stated in section 65B of the Evidence Act. The Delhi High Court supported the necessity of section 65B in Dharambir v. CBI, noting that they are for the development of the law.

In a recent Supreme Court decision, the conflicting viewpoints on section 65B of the Evidence Act were ultimately resolved. In 2014, the Supreme Court, in the case of Anvar P.K. v. P.K Basheer and Ors., took a positivist approach and concluded that, under the existing legal frameworks, section 65B is indeed required, and courts must implement the criteria outlined in the Section. If any modifications are anticipated, the Legislature must take the lead rather than the courts, which just obey the procedures declared by the law.

THE FUTURE OUTLOOK OF COURTS TRANSITIONING INTOTECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNISM AFTER THE PANDEMIC

The Covid-19 crisis has come to a head concern that has sparked debate for ages. Even though the concept of e-courts has been debated for some time, the Indian judicial system has not been able to keep up with it on a digital platform. Linked with a cycle of re-designing and simplifying court tactics, the Indian judiciary, both in its physical and virtual structures, is looking forward to a bright future in terms of the development and resolution of some of its long-standing concerns. While our nation is struggling with a national health and financial emergency, it is essential to think outside the box and reform the perspective of work culture and a high time now for the courts to accept the prevailing innovation. On the contrary technology will have a significant impact on future of Indian judiciary and legislature, since the technology that is yet to be discovered will evolve and restructure the way of living our lives.

CONCLUSION

The major point of contention in regards of electronic evidence is to ensure its authenticity, veracity, genuineness, and dependability for it to be accepted in court. Following the Supreme Court’s judgment in Anvar’s case, which established the standards for admission of electronic evidence, Indian courts have been expected to use a uniform approach and implement all available precautions for admitting and valuing electronic evidence.

It is now a well-established fact that any electronic evidence, even if it is a secondary evidence, must adhere to the provisions of Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act; it is typically inadmissible in a court of law without a certificate. Electronic gadgets can turn out to be extremely useful in investigations, but their usefulness is contingent on their compliance with the regulations of the Indian Evidence Act.

The laws regulating digital evidence in India made it clear that just including e-evidence in the legislation would not assist the case, the procedural issues that arose as a result of the usage of e-evidence should be addressed as soon as possible. Law, along with everything else, must evolve to keep up with the technological advancements. While nations like England have recognized this issue and implemented certain adjustments to their laws which resulted in electronic evidence being more effective. Although the courts have addressed the issues occasionally, it is the Legislature that should intercede for good.

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Policy & Politics

IMPACT OF ARTIFICAL INTELLIGENCE IN TRACKING AND COMBATING CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

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Artificial Intelligence can be a very powerful tool in regard to monitoring and controlling Covid-19 situation across the country. Man-made brainpower (artificial intelligence) is an inventive innovation which is useful to battle the Coronavirus pandemic. This innovation is useful for appropriate screening, following, and foreseeing the current and future patients. The significant uses of this man-made intelligence are intended for early identification and conclusion of the infection.AI is utilized for the advancement of medications and antibodies, and the decrease of the responsibility of medical services laborers. Today, man-made intelligence advancements and devices assume a vital part in each part of the Coronavirus emergency response:understanding the infection and speeding up clinical examination on medications and medicines identifying and diagnosing the infection, and foreseeing its evolution,assisting in forestalling or easing back the virus\’ spread through reconnaissance and contact tracing,responding to the wellbeing emergency through customized data and learning,monitoring the recuperation and working on early notice apparatuses.

To assist with working with the utilization of artificial intelligence all through the emergency, strategy producers ought to energize the sharing of clinical, atomic, and logical datasets and models on collective stages to help artificial intelligence specialists construct viable instruments for the clinical local area and ought to guarantee that scientists approach the fundamental processing limit. The initial not many long stretches of 2020 have significantly changed the way we carry on with our lives and do our day by day exercises. Albeit the far reaching utilization of modern robot pivot and self-driving business vehicles has not yet turned into a reality, the Coronavirus pandemic has drastically sped up the reception of Man-made brainpower (artificial intelligence) in various fields. We have seen what could be compared to two years of advanced change compacted into only a couple of months. Regardless of whether it is in following epidemiological pinnacles or in executing contactless installments, the effect of these improvements has been practically prompt, and a window has opened up on what is to come. Here we examine and talk about how man-made intelligence can uphold us in confronting the continuous pandemic. In spite of the various and evident commitments of man-made intelligence, clinical preliminaries and human abilities are as yet required. Regardless of whether various procedures have been created in various states around the world, the battle against the pandemic appears to have discovered wherever a significant partner in artificial intelligence, a worldwide and open-source instrument equipped for giving help with this wellbeing crisis.

Coronavirus might be viewed as the primary flu pandemic to be spread in our hyper-associated world. It has demonstrated to be a wonder that fundamentally and quickly impacts many layers of our general public. In spite of the numerous control measures embraced to restrict Coronavirus transmissions, like the end of boundaries and the presentation of times of lockdown, we are seeing upwards of 116 million affirmed cases and multiple million passings in 235 unique nations, as revealed by the World Association Wellbeing (WHO) toward the finish of February 2021. Genuine worries about medical care frameworks’ ability have emerged because of the extraordinary interest for wellbeing administrations, particularly concerning distraught states. In this situation, techniques ready to accelerate demonstrative methodology, improve observing and following abilities, foresee the transformative phases of the virus just as its consequences for society, and reproduce the aftereffects of a regulation system, a clinical convention, or another particle, can address a progressive achievement in the advancement of the world in confronting these sensational occasions.

Before the world was even mindful of the danger presented by the Covid (Coronavirus), computerized reasoning (artificial intelligence) frameworks had identified the flare-up of an obscure kind of pneumonia in Individuals’ Republic of China (in the future “China”). As the episode has now turned into a worldwide pandemic, computer based intelligence devices and advancements can be utilized to help endeavors of strategy producers, the clinical local area, and society everywhere to deal with each phase of the emergency and its outcome: location, anticipation, reaction, recuperation, and to speed up research.AI devices and procedures can help policymakers and the clinical local area comprehend the Coronavirus infection and speed up research on medicines by quickly breaking down huge volumes of exploration information. Computer based intelligence text and information mining instruments can uncover the infection’s set of experiences, transmission, and diagnostics, the board measures, and examples from past pestilences.

Profound learning models can assist with anticipating old and new medications or medicines that may treat Coronavirus. A few organizations are utilizing artificial intelligence to recognize medicines and foster model vaccines.Dedicated stages or fora permit the solidification and sharing of multidisciplinary mastery on artificial intelligence, including globally. The US government for instance has started a discourse with worldwide government science pioneers that incorporates utilizing computer based intelligence to speed up examination of Covid writing made accessible utilizing the Kaggle stage.

Admittance to datasets in the study of disease transmission, bioinformatics and atomic demonstrating is being given, for example through the Coronavirus Open Exploration Dataset Challenge by the US government and accomplice associations that makes accessible more than 29 000 scholastic examination articles for Covid and Coronavirus.

Registering power for artificial intelligence is likewise being made accessible by innovation organizations like IBM, Amazon, Google and Microsoft; people giving PC preparing power (for example Folding@home); and by open private endeavors like the Coronavirus Elite Registering Consortium and simulated intelligence for Wellbeing.

Inventive methodologies including prizes, open-source coordinated efforts, and hackathons, are speeding up research on artificial intelligence driven answers for the pandemic. For instance, the Unified Realm’s “CoronaHack – computer based intelligence versus Coronavirus” looks for thoughts from organizations, information researchers and biomedical analysts on utilizing simulated intelligence to control and deal with the pandemic.

To battle falsehood – the Coronavirus “infodemic” – interpersonal organizations and web search tools are utilizing customized man-made intelligence data and instruments and depending on calculations to discover and eliminate tricky material on their foundation.

Menial helpers and chatbots have been conveyed to help medical services associations, for instance in Canada, France, Finland, Italy, the US, and by the American Red Cross. These instruments help to emergency individuals relying upon the presence of manifestations.

Medical care associations are in a dire requirement for dynamic advancements to deal with this infection and help them in getting legitimate ideas progressively to stay away from its spread. Artificial intelligence works in a capable manner to impersonate like human insight. It might likewise assume an essential part in comprehension and proposing the advancement of an antibody for Coronavirus. This outcome driven innovation is utilized for legitimate screening, breaking down, forecast and following of current patients and logical future patients. The huge applications are applied to tracks information have affirmed, recuperated, and demise cases.

The extraordinary speed of endeavors to address the Coronavirus pandemic circumstance is utilized by large information and man-made consciousness (artificial intelligence). Different branches of artificial intelligence have been utilized in a few illness flare-ups prior. Artificial intelligence can assume a fundamental part in the battle against Coronavirus.

Computer based intelligence is in effect effectively utilized in the recognizable proof of illness bunches, observing of cases, forecast of things to come flare-ups, mortality hazard, analysis of Coronavirus, sickness the executives by asset assignment, working with preparing, record support, and example acknowledgment for concentrating on the infection pattern. A few utilizations of simulated intelligence that are accumulating a ton of interest and bringing trusts up in the battle against Coronavirus are as per the following:

MAN-MADE INTELLIGENCE IN EXPECTATION AND FOLLOWING

Computer based intelligence can be saddled for guaging the spread of the infection and growing early admonition frameworks by separating data from web-based media stages, calls, and news locales and give valuable data about the weak districts and for forecast of bleakness and mortality. Bluedot distinguished a bunch of pneumonia cases and anticipated the episode and topographical area of the Coronavirus flare-up dependent on accessible information utilizing AI. HealthMap gathers the openly accessible information on Coronavirus and makes it promptly accessible to work with the powerful following of its spread. As of late, the job of artificial intelligence in ID and determining of Coronavirus episodes by utilizing multitudinal and multimodal information was underscored.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN CONTACT FOLLOWING

Computer based intelligence can increase versatile heath applications where keen gadgets like watches, cell phones, cameras, and a scope of wearable gadget can be utilized for determination, contact following and proficient observing in Coronavirus.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN OBSERVING OF CORONAVIRUS CASES

Artificial intelligence procedures are applied for observing patients in clinical settings and expectation obviously of treatment. In light of the information got from fundamental insights and clinical boundaries, computer based intelligence might give basic data to asset designation and dynamic by focusing on the need of ventilators and respiratory backings in the Emergency unit. Artificial intelligence can likewise be utilised for anticipating the odds of recuperation or mortality in Coronavirus and to give day by day updates, stockpiling and pattern examination and diagramming the course of treatment.

Medical care associations are in dire need for dynamic advancements to deal with this infection and help them in getting legitimate ideas progressively to stay away from its spread. Artificial intelligence works in a capable manner to impersonate human insight. It might likewise assume an essential part in comprehension and proposing the advancement of an antibody for coronavirus. This outcome-driven innovation is utilised for legitimate screening, breaking down, forecast and following of current patients and logical future patients. The huge applications applied to track information have affirmed, recuperated, and demise cases.

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Analysing reservation and the ceiling limit of 50%

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INTRODUCTION

Recently Supreme Court struck down the Government of Maharashtra order in which it was decided to give reservation to Marathas. This particular decision of Maharashtra government was violating the well-established ceiling limit of 50%. After this parliament passed Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2021. While debate was going on the bill, a statement was also made by one parliamentarian, Asaduddin Owaisi where he urge government to lift the cap of 50% on reservation quota. So some fair and reasonable question here need to be addressed. Can the State in the zeal of promoting backward class ignore all together the other? Doesn’t it violates the basic right to equality of rest of the community not the part of reservation?

The concept of ‘Reservation’ can be understood in the backdrop of the historical injustice that happened in past. The Indian society has unique social structure. This society is divided mainly in four class in the form of caste. Few caste or class did not get well resource due to this caste system so they could not got progress with time. They faced lots of exploitation and injustice. This injustice led to inequality in the society. Therefore to bring socio economic equality in our society different constitutional provision is there. The notion of reservation is bought to uplift the disadvantaged and downtrodden people. In order to secure socio-economic justice to the vulnerable class the provision of reservation is made in our constitution. After the advent of constitution the government of India started its initiative to provide reservation to backward classes in order to fulfil theircommitment.

Reservation is an affirmative action taken by state which implies enforcing equal opportunity. Affirmative action of state means that the policy and programme of state by which state machinery tries to redress the past injustice through the active measures to ensure employment and education for the disadvantaged class. United States favours members of disadvantaged group who have suffered within a culture/system in the name of positive action. Employment equity in Canada is positive action by state. In the same way the concept of reservation is affirmative action of state in India to bring equality in unequal. So we can conceive affirmative action is something to protect people from the present effects stemming from past discrimination. Although the positive action policies are controversial in nature but it pervades in one and other form. Some of the affirmative action are like gender quota, racial, religious and caste quota. The fundamental reason to take affirmative action in Europe was rampant slavery and segregation. In India the caste system led to backwardness, social exclusion, segregation, discrimination and exploitation of certain communities which necessitated affirmative action in India. The caste based reservation is unique kind of affirmative action that is taken by state to uplift the backward and downtrodden section of society. In this affirmative action, state provide reservation to backward section or class by reserving jobs and providing some special facilities for their uplifting.

Constitution of India gives the commitment and mandate for the protective discrimination. Constitution of India grantees the right to equality. Right to equality means that one shall be discriminated on the basis of caste, creed, class, sex, place of birth, race and religion. Everyone shall be equal in the eye of law. The preamble of constitution of India guarantees the equality in terms of status and opportunity. The part III of the Indian constitution deals with fundamental right. This part contains Article 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 which assures the right to equality under constitution of India. The specific application of article 14 is laid down in succeeding articles 15, 16, 17 and 18. Part IV of the constitution deals with Directive Principal of State Policy which is provides the guiding principle to the state. Under this part Article 46 is there which says that the state shall take special care of educational and economic interest of weaker section.

CONSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK

Article 14 of constitution of India states that ‘The state shall not deny any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India’. Thus the article 14 uses two expression ‘equality before the law’ which is of English origin and the expression ‘equal protection of law’ has come from American constitution. Equality before law is a negative concept. It shall ensure that there is no special privilege in favour of individual. It implies that everyone shall be equal subject of the ordinary law of land and no person is above the law. Whereas, equal protection of law is a positive concept. It does not mean that identical law will apply to all people irrespective of their circumstances. It means equal treatment of people in equal circumstances. It implies that application of law without discrimination and also application of laws alike to all person similarly situated.

The article 15 is more specific then article 14 under constitution of India. It provides for a particular application of article 14. Clause 15(1) of Article 15 is general prohibition. It prohibits the state from discriminating between people on the ground or the basis of religion, caste, sex, and place of birth or any of them. So law would be invalid if it discriminates on any of these grounds. Whereas clause 15(2) is specific application of 15(1). Clause (3) of Article 15 is one of the exception of general rule laid down in in clauses (1) & (2) of article 15. It empowers the state to make special provision for women and children. According to this clause nothing in article 15 shall prevent the state from making any special provision for women and children. After the judgement of State of Madras Vs Champakam Dorairarajan clause (4) of article 15 was added. It is another exceptions to general rule laid down in clause (1) and clause (2) of article 15. It enable the state to make special provision for socially and educationally backward class of citizen or for the schedule castes and schedule tribes.

After the judgements of TMA Pai Foundation V State Of Karnatka & P.A.Inamdar V State Of Maharashtra in which court held that government can’t make provision for reservation in privately run educational institution, parliament inserted clause (5) of article 15. Parliament by 93rdamendment inserted article 15(5) in constitution of India to nullify all these judgement. According to this clause sate can make special provision for the advancement of any socially or educationally backward classes of citizens or for the SCs & STs in relate to admission in educational institutions whether it is aided or unaided by state. This clause mention one exception to this provision that minorities educational institution under article 30(1) is not included. This 93rdconstitutional amendment was challenged in Supreme Court of India and upheld by the court.

The most recent clause under article 15 was clause (6) which has been added in our constitution through 103rd constitutional amendment act 2019. This clause (6) provides 10 percentreservation to economically weaker section from the upper caste of society for admission to central-government educational institutions and private educational institution except for minority educational institution whether aided or unaided by the state. Parliament also made certain criteria to define economic weaker section on the basis of family income and indicators of economic disadvantage. This amendment crosses the ceiling limit of 50% which was established by Supreme Court of India in Indira Sawhney Judgement.

Article 16 of the constitution gives the principle of equal employment opportunity which applies to access to jobs, conditions of employment, and relationships in the work place and the evaluation in performance. Article 16(1) of the constitution of India guarantees equality of opportunity in matters of employment or appointment to any office under the state for all the citizens. Clause (2) of article 16 says that no citizen shall be ineligible for or discriminated in respect of any employment or office under state only on the ground of religion, race, caste, caste, sex, descent, and place of birth, residence or any of them. So, State shall treat every citizen equally in matter of appointment and public employment. Clauses (1) & (2) of article 16 is general rule of equality of opportunity in matters of employment or appointment to any office under the state and that no citizen shall be ineligible for or discriminated in respect of any employment or office under state only on the ground of religion, race, caste, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them. Both clauses mandate the state that not to discriminate the citizens on mentioned ground only in respect of employment or office under the State. Clause(3) of Article 16 enable the parliament to make any law prescribing residence within the state as mandatory condition for particular class of appointment andemployment for the specified state under schedule 1 and any local or authority. It thus makes exception in appointment and employment and restricts clause (2) of article 16. A non-resident cannot be denied employment in any state.

Article 16(4) of constitution provides reservation to the backward class about whom state has the opinion that they have not proper representation in the service of the state. So two compelling circumstances under which state provides reservation under the clause 4 of article 16 is backwardness and inadequate representation in state services. The Article 340 of the constitution has the provision to establish commission for deciding the backwardness. Clause 4A of article 16 flows from its clause 4. Article 16(4A) of constitution provides reservation to SCs & STs which, in the opinion of state are not adequately represented in the services under the state. This reservation must be consistent with the efficiency in administration. 85th constitutional amendment act amended the Article 16(4A) by the substitution of “in matters of promotion with consequential seniority, to any class” in place of “in matter of promotion to any class”. This was challenged and court upheld its constitutional validity. Clause 4B of Article 16 was inserted by 81st amendment of constitution in 2000. This Constitutional Amendment allowed the State to carry forward unfilled vacancies from previous years to next year and to breach the 50% ceiling set on reservation for SCs, STs and OBC which could not be filled up due to non-availability of eligible candidates. Article 16(5) says that state is competent enough to make reservation for the religious office related to particular religion.

Article 46 of the constitution mandates the state to take special care for SCs, STs and weaker sections. It says that state take care economic and educational care of SCs, STs & economic weaker section and protect them from social injustice and all form of exploitation.

Constitutional string of Reservation can be called to Articles14, 15 and 16. Preamble of constitution of India guarantees the right to equality. This commitment can be seen through the articles 14, 15 & 16. These article provides the provision of reservation by which state takes affirmative action to bring equality.

EVOLUTION OF RESERVATION BY JUDICIAL PRECEDENTS

Supreme Court of India by its precedent shaped the modern reservation system. It started with case of ChampakamDorairajan case where court held reservation invalid. This judgement led to the first constitutional amendment. Then it went to many landmark cases like Balaji, Indira Sawhney, Ashok Thakur, M Nagraj, jarnail singh and many more cases. Here I am going to deal with detail discussion how today’s reservation system evolved through judicial precedent.

In the State of Madras Vs Champakam Dorairajan case, government of Madras by a government order madereservation in seats of State Medical and Engineering Colleges for different communities on the basis of religion, race and caste in certain proportion. This was challenged by respondent on the ground of violation of article 15(1) and 29(2) of the constitution. The government contended this reservation is made to promote social justice for all sections of people as required by Article 46. The Supreme Court of India held that the government order is void since it discriminates student on the basis of religion, race and caste instead of merit. Court held that fundamental rights cannot be override by directive principle of state policy.

To modify this judgement the parliament of India amended the article 15 through the first constitutional amendment and inserted clause (4) in this article.

In the Balaji V State of Mysore case, Government of Mysore order to reserve 68% seats in Medical and Engineering College for different communities under article 15(4). This order declared that every community except Brahmin community is socially and educationally backward. Reservation was made in favour of SCs, STs and Socially and Educationally Backward communities. This socially and educationally community was again divided into backward classes and more backward classes. This order was challenged on the ground it’s unconstitutional. In this case court held that the sub-classification of backward class into ‘backward class’ and ‘more backward’ class was not justified under article 15(4). Court held that backwardness dealt in article 15(4) must be social as well as educational and not either social or educational. Caste cannot be sole criteria to decide whether any class is backward class or not though caste can be relevant factor to decide backwardness. Court held that the order in which reservation of 68% for backward class is made is invalid since article 15(4) is enabling provision not exclusive provision for backward classes. Court pointed out that the special provision of reservation must be less than 50% and the extent of the special provision depends on relevant prevailing circumstances in each case.

In Devadasan V Union of India case constitutional validity of ‘carry forward’ rule was challenged. ‘Carry forward rule’ was a concept framed by government to regulate appointment of persons of backward classes in Government services. According to this rule if in any appointment was made in which there are not sufficient number of candidates belonging to SCs & STs available then that vacancies which remained unfilled would be treated unreserved and filled by new available candidates. Consequently 68% of the vacancies were reserved for SCs & STs. This was challenged in Supreme Court. The Supreme Court of India by majority of 4 to 1 stuck down the ‘carry forward’ rule on ground that it is unconstitutional. Court held that Article 16(4) of the constitution does not enable the state to make provision so as to deny reasonable equality of opportunity in matters of public employments for members of classes other than backward classes. Court pointed out that each year recruitment must be considered by itself. Court held that reservation for backward classes should not create monopoly for particular class or interfere with the legitimate claims of other communities. So the court concluded, reservation for backward class should not cross the ceiling limit of 50 percent and the extent of reservation would be determined by the prevailing circumstances in every particular case.

In State of Kerala V N.M.Thomas case, court made the observation that the application of measures to ensure equality of services for the unrepresented classes after satisfying basic needs of efficiency of administration does not violate the rule of equality under Article 16. Court held that article 16(4) is not the exception of article 16(1) but one of the methods of achieving equality embodied in article 16(1). It means that the State can make reservation to the extent of 80% in appropriate cases.

In A.B.S.K. Sangh (Rly.) V Union of India case, court upheld the validity of ‘carry forward rule’. In this case 17% reservation was made for SCs & STs candidate which was extended for 2 to 3 years. This led to the reservation quota 64.4 %. But the court held that this was not excessive as mathematical precision could not be applied in dealing with human problems. Justice Krishna Iyer pointed out that some extent will not affect the reservation but the substantial extent will void the selection. In this case majority permits the reservation beyond 50% but subject to judicial approval. Finally, court upheld 64.4% reservation on the ground that it is excessive.

In Indiara Sawhney V Union of India case, the government on Mandal commission report order to reserve 27% government jobs for other backward class provided creamy layer among them. This order was challenged on the ground that it violates the basic structure of the constitution. This order was upheld by the 9 judge bench of the Supreme Court by 6:3 majority. Court struck down the order of the government for reserving 10% Government jobs for economically backward classes among higher classes. Court also held that the extent of reservation should not exceed 50 percent. Court considered that in extraordinary situation like when people living in remote or in far flung areas who because of their peculiar conditions need a different treatment this rule can be relaxed. But in that case State must take special caution. The court reaffirmed the rule led down in Balaji and Devadasan and overruled the Thomas and Vasanth Kumar case. Court relied on the speech made by Ambedkar in the Constituent Assembly where Ambedkar said “reservation must be confined to a minority of seats”. Court pointed out that the clause (4) of article 16 talks about adequate representation not about proportionate representation. If the member of SC & ST is selected on the basis of merit in the open competition then he will not be counted as reserve quota. The rule of 50% shall be applicable to reservation proper only not to relaxations or concessions, exemptions provided to backward classes. The court also held that the ‘carry forward rule is valid in which the unfilled vacancies are carry forward to next year is valid provided it should not crosses ceiling of 50%.

In Chebrolu Leela Prasad V state of Andhra Pradesh case constitutional validity of government order in which 100% reservation was made in favour of schedule tribe candidates for the post of teachers in the schools in the schedule area of Andhra Pradesh was challenged. The issue raised in the case was weather the reservation to the extent of 100% is permissible under the constitution. Court held the 100 percent reservation to schedule tribe is invalid, unreasonable, unfair and arbitrary. Court said giving 100% reservation to schedule tribe has disadvantaged the opportunity for other community. The court pointed out the judgement of Indira Sawhney case and said that the main idea behind the reservation is adequate representation not proportionate reservation. So the notification issued by Andhra Pradesh government is arbitrary and unreasonable and it violates the Articles 14, 15 & 16 of the constitution.

CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE CEILING LIMIT OF 50% IN RESERVATION IN THE BACKDROP OF SUPREME COURT DECISION

The Supreme Court of India by its judicial pronouncement has made it clear that the state can make reservation as long as it does not crosses the limit of 50%. After the judgement of Champakam Dorairajan case parliament inserted the Article 15(4) to modify the judgement. In the Balaji case state made reservation under the clause (4) of article 15 exceeding the limit of 50%. Court held the reservation invalid and said that state cannot ignore altogether the rest of the society on the zeal of promoting the backward class. Finally the ceiling limit of 50% with certain exception was upheld in Indira Sawhneycase and affirmed the Balaji case and overruled the judgement of Thomas case. In the most recent case Chebrolu LeelaPrasad V state of Andhra Pradesh Supreme court of India again upheld the limit of 50%. Thus this 50% ceiling limit is constitutional rule but in exceptional circumstances like for far flung and remote areas this limit can be relaxed.

Our constitution has given us the right to equality as fundamental right. Right to equality means treating equals equally but treating unequal equally. Due to historical injustice to some backward classes they cannot be treated equally with rest of the society. Therefore to bring socio-economic equality in our society different constitutional provision is there. The notion of reservation is bought to uplift the disadvantaged and downtrodden people. But in numerous cases court held that reservation is about adequate representation not poverty eradication. The State would not be justified if in the zeal to promote the backward class the state will altogether ignore the rest of the society. If the state will compromise with the merit in admission in educational institution or in the employment in the Government jobs then it would affect badly the nation interest. Court in its decision held that the clause 4 of Article 15 is not exclusive provision but enabling provision to make special provision for backward classes. Clause 4 of Article 16 talks about adequate representation not about proportionate representation. The reservation exceeding 50% is unreasonable and unfair for the rest class. It would violate article 14, 15 and 16 of the constitution of India. However, in the extraordinary circumstances the 50% rule can be relaxed in favour of people living in remote areas of the country because of their peculiar conditions they need different treatment. In Union of India V Rakesh Kumar court allowed the reservation excess of 50% limit on the ground of extraordinary circumstances.

The parliament of India through 103rd constitutional amendment amended article 15 & 16 inserted Article 15(6) & 16(6) in our constitution and made provision of 10%reservation in favour of economic backward classes other than SCs, STs and OBCs. This will lead to crossing of 50% ceiling limit. There are number of petition has been filed against the amendment on the ground it violates basic structure of the constitution. Petitioner contention is that economic criteria cannot be sole basis of reservation. Supreme Court headed by Justice SA Bobde found that the petition has involved ‘question of law’ so it is transferred to 5 judge constitutional bench. In my eyes, the amendment violates the basic structure of the constitution. This amendment damages the constitutional identity of the Articles enshrined in the equality code. This constitutional amendment can be struck down by the Supreme Court if it affects the basic structure of the Constitution.

Right to equality is basic structure of the constitution. The provisions of reservation is to uplift the backward class and to bring them at the same level of the other class. But reservation should not be used to nullify the basic idea of equality. Rest of the people cannot be ignored in the zeal of promoting backward class. If merit will not allow to take admission in educational institution or in government services then it would seriously affect the interest of nation.

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