Digital Rights for Indian Citizens recognized by SC


Writing the judgment for a three-judge bench, Justice N V Ramana distinguished between the internet as a tool and freedom of expression through the medium of internet. The SC did not examine whether access to the internet is a fundamental right as the issue was not raised by petitioners. However, it held that “freedom of speech and expression through the medium of internet is an integral part of Article 19(1)(a)“, under which the constitution treats it as a fundamental right.

Crux of the Matter
  • As internet users in India reached 627 million in 2019, SC acknowledged how difficult it is to get out of the web of the internet.
  • SC added that humans might not remember but the internet does not forget and does not let humans forget either.
  • The bench said that in the digital world, preservation is the norm as the footprints always remain.
  • The reports also stated that since the internet has become fundamental to daily activities of citizens, it shall be treated as a fundamental right like the right to access of water.
  • The SC dealt with this issue in its judgement last week, while testing the validity of its decision to shut down internet services in J&K after August 5, when the state was stripped of its special status and divided into two Union Territories.

Digital Rights are those human rights and legal rights that allow individuals to access, use, create, and publish digital media or to access and use computers, other electronic devices, and telecommunications networks. The concept is particularly related to the protection and realization of existing rights, such as the right to privacy and freedom of expression, in the context of digital technologies, especially the Internet. The laws of several countries recognize a right to Internet access. A number of human rights have been identified as relevant with regard to the Internet. These include freedom of expression, data protection and privacy freedom of association. More Info

SC cites CAA arsons, turns down blanket ban on NSA


The Supreme Court declined a plea on Friday, challenging the imposition of the National Security Act (NSA) in few states and the national capital amid anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) protests. A bench of Justices, Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee said that it cannot pass a blanket order with regard to the imposition of NSA. The lawyer ML Sharma was asked to withdraw the plea.

Crux of the Matter
  • NSA enables the police to detain persons without trial for a period of 12 months.
  • Justice Arun Mishra was quoted as saying: “These are law and order issues. How can we interfere?”
  • Sharma’s plea said NSA has been imposed to curb and pressure people protesting against the CAA, National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC).
  • It asked Sharma to file a fresh petition or an interim application in pending pleas on the CAA giving specific details of violations of NSA.
  • The court said it cannot pass a general direction but it can definitely do something in individual cases of misuse of the NSA by authorities if brought to their attention.

The National Security Act is an act of the Indian Parliament promulgated on 23 September 1980 whose purpose is “to provide for preventive detention in certain cases and for matters connected therewith”. The act extends to the whole of India. It Contains 18 sections. This act empowers the Central Government and State Governments to detain a person to prevent him/her from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of India, the relations of India with foreign countries, the maintenance of public order, or the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community it is necessary so to do. The act also gives power to the governments to detain a foreigner in a view to regulate his presence or expel from the country. The act was passed in 1980 during the Indira Gandhi Government. As per a 1993 report, 72.3 % of 3783 people under the law were later released due to lack of evidence. More Info

It's official : Brexit becomes law after Queen approves


Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal has become law after it received royal assent from the Queen, having cleared all its stages in parliament. Tory MPs cheered the deputy speaker Nigel Evans as he confirmed in the House of Commons on Thursday earlier this week, that there was now a European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act.

Crux of the Matter
  • The House of Commons which is the lower, elected chamber once the source of endless Brexit drama, quietly approved the bill on January 9.
  • The House of Lords, the unelected upper chamber, approved the legislation this week with amendments. 
  • With Parliament agreed, the legislation received royal assent on Thursday, allowing the Queen to give formal approval to a British exit.
  • The UK and the EU would now enter an 11-month transition period, during which the UK will continue to follow most EU rules but will not have any decision-making power in the body.
  • Currently, the EU is the UK’s largest trading partner: 45 % of all UK exports go to the EU and more than 50 % of the UK’s imports are from the EU.

Brexit is the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU). Following a June 2016 referendum, in which 51.9% voted to leave, the UK government formally announced the country’s withdrawal in March 2017, starting a process that is currently due to conclude with the UK withdrawing no later than 31 January 2020. Withdrawal is advocated by Eurosceptics and opposed by pro-Europeanists, both of whom span the political spectrum. The UK joined the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973, with continued membership endorsed in a 1975 referendum. In the 1970s and 1980s, withdrawal from the EC was advocated mainly by the political left, e.g. in the Labour Party’s 1983 election manifesto. The 1992 Maastricht Treaty founded the EU but was not put to a referendum. The eurosceptic wing of the Conservative Party led a rebellion over ratification of the treaty and, with the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and the cross-party People’s Pledge campaign, pressured Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron to hold a referendum on continued EU membership which was held in June 2016. Cameron, who had campaigned to remain, resigned after the result and was succeeded by Theresa May. More Info

India on path to cleaner tech: 50 GW of renewable energy capacity installed


The G.O.I on Thursday earlier this week reported that a total of 47.86 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity has been installed in the nation, in the past six years from March 2014 to October 2019. Power and New & Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh verified the same in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.

Crux of the Matter
  • As per government data, India added 98 gigawatts of power generation capacity. 52% of this was based on renewable energy technologies dominated by solar power, which saw the addition of 30 gigawatts of new projects.
  • Over the last five years, solar power capacity in India has increased 10 times to 33.7 gigawatts as of 31 December 2019.
  • In 12 of the 18 quarters ending December 2019, capacity added through renewable energy technologies exceeded that based on fossil fuels (coal, diesel, and gas) witnessed the addition of 42 gigawatts of new capacity.
  • Diesel-fired capacity declined from 1,200 megawatts to 510 megawatts during the aforementioned period. Power generation capacity based on biomass and biofuel cogeneration doubled from 4.4 gigawatts to 9.8 gigawatts during the same time.
  • This has come out as a major achievement for the country which otherwise used non-renewable energy sources for two-thirds of its electricity generation capacity.

Renewable energy in India : India is one of the countries with the largest production of energy from renewable sources. As of 2019, 35% of India’s installed electricity generation capacity is from renewable sources, generating 17% of total electricity in the country. In the Paris, Agreement India has committed to an Intended Nationally Determined Contributions target of achieving 40% of its total electricity generation from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030. The country is aiming for even more ambitious target of 57% of the total electricity capacity from renewable sources by 2027 in the Central Electricity Authority’s strategy blueprint. According to 2027 blueprint, India aims to have 275 GW from renewable energy, 72 GW of hydroelectricity, 15 GW of nuclear energy and nearly 100 GW from “other zero emission” sources. In the quarter ending September 2019, India’s total renewable electricity capacity (including large hydro) was 130.68 GW. This represents 35.7% of the total installed electricity generation capacity in the country, which is around 366 GW. More Info