The Hindu Editorial Topic-1 : Revisit these sections of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita

GS-2 Mains

Question : Examine the need for the reconsideration of certain provisions in the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), 2023, concerning criminal laws in India, as of April 2024. Highlight the specific sections under scrutiny and the reasons for their reconsideration.

Reconsideration of New Criminal Laws in India (April 2024)

Section 106(2) of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), 2023

  • Reason for Reconsideration:
    • Increased punishment (10 years) for hit-and-run accidents seems excessive.
    • Potentially violates right against self-incrimination (Article 20(3) of the Constitution).
  • Put on Hold:Due to concerns raised by truck drivers.

New Offence: Petty Organized Crime (Section 112 of the BNS)

  • Concerns:
    • Vague definition (“unauthorised selling of tickets”, “any other similar criminal acts”).
    • Contradictory sentencing (2-10 years) compared to concept of “petty crime” (maximum 7 years).

Theft Under ₹5,000 (Section 303(2) of the BNS)

  • Current Provision:Theft below ₹5,000 is a non-cognizable offense (police may not file FIR).
  • Concerns:
    • ₹5,000 can be significant for low-income earners.
    • Reduces police oversight of property crimes.
    • Unclear procedure if stolen property is not returned (convict imprisonment possible).
  • Recommendation:Make theft of any value a cognizable offense.

Lack of Judicial Discretion in Sentencing

  • Section 143 (BNS):Life imprisonment with no discretion for repeat child trafficking and public servant/police officer offenders.
  • Comparison:Section 303 of IPC (struck down for lack of discretion) was replaced by Section 104 of BNS (with discretion).
  • Concern:Sub-sections (6) & (7) of Section 143 violate legal principles by offering no sentencing discretion.
  • Recommendation:Amend sub-sections to allow judicial discretion in sentencing.




The Hindu Editorial Topic-2 : Universities must budge on college autonomy nudge

GS-2 Mains 


Question : Discuss the significance of granting autonomy to colleges in higher education as per the National Education Policy 2020. Highlight the benefits, challenges, and the nationwide trend towards embracing autonomy. Also, suggest measures to address the challenges faced by autonomous colleges in India.

Higher Education in India: Embracing Autonomy for Colleges 

National Education Policy 2020 envisions autonomous colleges for:

  • Innovation
  • Self-governance
  • Academic freedom

UGC Regulation (April 2023):

  • 590 colleges applied for autonomy (unprecedented response)

Benefits of Granting Autonomy:

  • Innovation & Quality Enhancement:Colleges can tailor curriculum to meet evolving needs (students and industries) and experiment with new teaching/research methods.
  • Accountability & Responsibility:Fosters a culture of ownership for academic and administrative decisions, leading to efficiency and institutional pride.
  • Rankings as Proof:NIRF 2023 – 55 out of top 100 colleges are autonomous, with 5 holding top spots.

Nationwide Trend Towards Autonomy:

  • Expected to reach 1,000 autonomous colleges across 24 states/UTs.
  • States with High Numbers: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana (>80% autonomous)
  • Growing Interest: Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, West Bengal

Challenges Faced by Autonomous Colleges:

  • Limited Autonomy by Universities:
    • Restrictions on syllabus changes (25-35% allowed)
    • Delays in recognizing autonomy by universities
    • Hesitation to cede control over syllabus design, new courses, assessment methods (due to traditional hierarchical governance)
  • Arbitrary Fees by Universities:
    • Undermines autonomy and raises questions about transparency/fairness


  • State Councils for Higher Education:Ensure effective implementation of UGC regulations.
  • Universities:
    • Recognize concerns of autonomous colleges.
    • Streamline decision-making processes.
    • Embrace trust and collaboration with autonomous colleges.
    • Uphold academic standards while allowing innovation and excellence.


A concerted effort from all stakeholders is needed to address challenges




Political Donations via Electoral Bonds Exceed Cap 

DATA Point

Electoral Bond Scheme:

  • Introduced by Finance Act, 2017.
  • Allows anonymous donations to political parties.
  • Removed the 7.5% cap on company donations based on average net profits (previously in Companies Act, 2013).

Findings by The Hindu & Researchers

  • Donations Above Cap (2022-24):
    • ₹1,377.9 crore by 55 companies (69% of their total donations).
    • BJP received ₹1,414 crore (71% of total donations).
  • Donations in FY 2023-24:
    • ₹933.8 crore by 33 companies exceeded 7.5% cap (76.2% of their donations).
    • BJP received ₹829.5 crore (67% of donations from these companies).
  • Donations in FY 2022-23:
    • ₹444.1 crore by 28 companies exceeded 7.5% cap (57.8% of their donations).
    • BJP received ₹585.3 crore (over 76.2% of donations from these companies).
  • Companies with Negative Profits Donated:
    • Five companies in 2023-24 and eight in 2022-23 donated beyond the cap despite negative/zero profits.
    • Raises questions about funding sources and potential money laundering.

Election Commission’s Warning Ignored

  • In 2017, Election Commission warned the government that removing the 7.5% cap could enable shell companies for political donations.
  • The Finance Ministry ignored these warnings and implemented the electoral bond scheme in January 2018.



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