Category: SOCIAL ISSUES
- Centre opposes move to recognize same-sex marriages
The issue in news
The Centre has opposed before the Delhi High Court, a petition seeking recognition of same-sex marriages.
- Pointing towards the Indian legal system, The Centre argued that Indian society and values do not recognize marriage between same-sex couples.
- The Solicitor General, representing the Centre, said the 2018 judgment of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court merely decriminalises homosexuality or lesbianism.
- The Solicitor General said the petition was not permissible as it was asking the court to legislate and also that any relief granted “would run contrary to various statutory provisions”.
- The petitioner argued that in the absence of a declaration from a court or authority, same-sex couples were being denied registration of their marriage under the 1955 Act.
- This, the counsel said, was happening despite the Supreme Court’s verdict on IPC Section 377.
- it was also argued that the definition within the Hindu Marriage Act does not say that the marriage has to take place between a ‘man’ and a ‘woman’.
- The petitioners submitted that the denial of registration impacted both the right to equality and the right to life because benefits available to heterosexual couples were denied to homosexual couples.
Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1.Bahrain’s deal with Israel: What’s next for Palestine after UAE
The issue in news
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the top diplomats of the UAE and Bahrain are to sign the deals on normalising relations.
- They have agreed to establish full diplomatic ties as part of a deal to halt the annexation of occupied land sought by the Palestinians for their future state.
- It took more than three decades for the first Arab country to recognise Israel.
- Egypt signed a peace treaty with its Jewish neighbour in 1979, a year after the Camp David summit between President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
- Jordan, the second Arab country that established peace with Israel, took 15 more years to do so.
- There was a gap of 26 years between Jordan’s peace treaty and that of the UAE with Israel.
- It took less than 30 days for the fourth agreement — between Bahrain and Israel.
Arab Peace Initiative:
- The new-found readiness of Arab countries to have peace with Israel, under the mediation of the Trump administration, appears to be transforming one of the oldest conflicts in modern West Asia.
- There are speculations that more Arab countries, from Morocco to Sudan and Oman, might follow the footsteps of the UAE and Bahrain.
- These deals, which have formalised years of back-room contacts between the Gulf kingdoms and Israel, suggest that the pan-Arab-Israel conflict is turning the page.
Where does it leave the Palestinians?
- The agreement between Bahrain and Israel dispenses with the pretence altogether, making no mention of Palestinian land.
- Till the UAE-Israel deal was announced on August 13, 2020, the official Arab position on the question of Palestine was rooted in the Arab Peace Initiative, proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2002, and endorsed by the Arab League in the same year.
- The proposal called for normalising relations between the Arab world and Israel, in exchange for full Israeli withdrawal from the territories it captured in the 1967 war, including the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights, a just settlement of the Palestinian refugee issue and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
- Since 2002, both the UAE and Bahrain have supported the Arab Peace Initiative. However, the recent agreements made by Bahrain and the UAE break with this consensus.
- The Palestinian leadership considers this step to blow up the Arab Peace Initiative and the decisions of the Arab and Islamic summits, and international legitimacy, as an aggression against the Palestinian people.
- The Palestinians have further called for an immediate emergency session of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to reject this declaration.
- The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has rejected the Bahrain-Israel deal as well.
- A Gulf analyst opines that by normalising relations outside the framework of ‘land for peace’, the two states have broken with a decades-old Arab consensus on the Palestinian issue, and effectively endorsed Israel’s military occupation over the Palestinians.
- This leaves the Palestinians more isolated than ever and further weakens the already-dim prospect of a two-state solution.
Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
- Three agri reform Bills introduced
The issue in news
Three Bills on agriculture reforms have been introduced in Parliament to replace the ordinances issued during the lockdown.
- Amendments have been made to the Essential Commodities Act, new laws have been framed to bypass the State APMC Acts and to facilitate contract farming.
- The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, and the Farmers Empowerment and Protection Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill have been introduced in the Parliament.
- The proposed legislations will replace the ordinances promulgated during the lockdown and will bring about changes to the marketing and storage of farm produce and agri commodities outside registered markets, as well as the facilitation of contract farming.
- ‘Selling enemy assets worth 1 lakh crore’
The issue in news
A part-time member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister has suggested that India should look at selling enemy properties valued at over 1 lakh crore to take care of the current expenditure, which will drive growth.
- When war broke out in 1962 (with China) and in 1965 and 1971 (with Pakistan), the Government of India took over the properties of the citizens of China and Pakistan under the provisions of the Defence of India Acts.
- These legislations defined an ‘enemy’ as any country that committed acts of aggression against India and her citizens.
- Their properties were categorised as ‘enemy properties’.
- The law of succession does not apply to enemy property, i.e. it denied legal heirs any right over the enemy property.
- The estimated value of all enemy properties is approximately Rs 1 lakh crore.
- The properties include buildings, land, gold, and jewellery and shares held in companies.
- As per the Tashkent Declaration signed in January 1966 after the end of hostilities during the 1965 war with Pakistan, both the countries were to discuss the return of properties taken over by either side during the war.
- These “enemy properties” were vested by the central government in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India. While Pakistan was able to liquidate the assets in 1971, India is 49 years behind