Daily Current Affairs 06.07.2021 (Will a national judiciary work?, Policy black holes spook space investors)

Daily Current Affairs 06.07.2021 (Will a national judiciary work?, Policy black holes spook space investors)


1.Will a national judiciary work?

In the current context, the feasibility of the All India Judicial Service requires to be studied

The Union government appears to be steadfast in its resolve to implement reforms in recruitment and appointment to the subordinate judicial services. In 2019, it spearheaded a consultative process for the creation of the All India Judicial Service (AIJS). Initially, only four States and two High Courts supported the proposal. Eight States rejected it, five suggested changes, and 11 are yet to respond. Recently, the Centre took the ordinance route to effect changes in the appointment of members to various tribunals. In a single stroke, it abolished several tribunals. The manner of appointment of members to the remaining tribunals underwent a sea change. It is likely that the ordinance may not pass judicial scrutiny in light of the Supreme Court’s judgment in Rojer Mathew v. South Indian Bank (2019).

Constitutional perspective

Article 233(1) of the Constitution lays down that “appointments of persons to be, and the posting and promotion of, district judges in any State shall be made by the Governor of the State in consultation with the High Court exercising jurisdiction in relation to such State”. The 42nd Constitutional amendment in 1976 amended Article 312 (1) empowering Parliament to make laws for the creation of one or more All-India Services, including an AIJS, common to the Union and the States. However, Clause 3 of Article 312 places a restriction that such a service shall not include a post inferior to that of a district judge. The amendment also brought about a significant change in the Seventh Schedule — Entry 3 of List II in its entirety was placed as Entry 11A in List III.

This paves the way for Parliament to enact laws with regard to ‘Administration of Justice; constitution and organisation of all courts, except the Supreme Court and the High Courts’. Post-Emergency, amendment to Article 312 (1) has escaped parliamentary scrutiny. A dichotomy exists with regard to Articles 233 and 312. What was essentially intended to be the prerogative of the State will now be the prerogative of the Union. If the fundamental power of the States to make such rules and govern the appointment of district judges is taken away, it may be against the principle of federalism and the basic structure doctrine.

The First Law Commission deliberated upon this, but it was only in 1972 that the issue gained momentum. The views of the Chief Justice of India and the Law Commission reports perhaps paved the way to bring in the 42nd constitutional amendment. It was only in 1986 that the Law Commission resurrected the issue and deliberated upon the objections. The primary fear was that promotional avenues of the subordinate judiciary would be severely curtailed. Fifty per cent of the posts of district judges are to be filled by promotion from the subordinate judicial service, thus leaving open the remaining for direct recruitment. Another fundamental concern was the language barrier.

The Union Law Minister has extolled AIJS to be an ideal solution for equal representation of the marginalised and deprived sections of society. Most States already have a reservation policy in force. Tamil Nadu provides for a roster-based reservation of 69%, of which 30% is for women. Uttar Pradesh merely provides 20% reservation for women and the AIJS may therefore benefit States like U.P. Arguments that the AIJS will reduce judicial delays do not hold water as the subordinate courts are the crucial point of delays owing to the existence of large vacancies.

In the early 1960s, the issue was debated during the Chief Justices Conference and was favoured by the eminent body, but many States and High Courts opposed it. The First National Judicial Pay Commission found that it would be in the interest and the health of the judiciary to form an AIJS. The report supported and reiterated the recommendations of the 14th Law Commission.

In the All-India Judges case in 1992 the apex court had opined that the recommendations of the Law Commission should be examined and implemented. The issue was again discussed in All India Judges Association Vs. Union of India (2002). The court accepted most recommendations of the Shetty Commission and directed the government to implement the judgment.

Any groundbreaking reform is bound to receive criticism. The National Commission constituted for review of the Constitution headed by luminaries including Justice H.R. Khanna, Justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy and K. Parasaran, the then Attorney General, had suggested a paradigm shift in the approach of the Union. The feasibility of the AIJS in the current context requires to be studied, especially when reliance is placed upon archaic reports of the Law Commission. It is for the Union to dispel doubts and at the same time give wings to the aspirations of all stakeholders when implementing the proposal. It, however, remains to be seen if the AIJS would be like the proverbial curate’s egg.

Forty Second Amendment Act, 1976

  • Amendments:
    • Added three new words (i.e., socialist, secular and integrity) in the Preamble.
    • Added Fundamental Duties by the citizens (new Part IV A).
    • Made the president bound by the advice of the cabinet.
    • Provided for administrative tribunals and tribunals for other matters (Added Part XIV A).
    • Froze the seats in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies on the basis of 1971 census till 2001 – Population Controlling Measure
    • Made the constitutional amendments beyond judicial scrutiny.
    • Curtailed the power of judicial review and writ jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and high courts.
    • Raised the tenure of Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies from 5 to 6 years.
    • Provided that the laws made for the implementation of Directive Principles cannot be declared invalid by the courts on the ground of violation of some Fundamental Rights.
    • Empowered the Parliament to make laws to deal with anti-national activities and such laws are to take precedence over Fundamental Rights.
    • Added three new Directive Principles viz., equal justice and free legal aid, the participation of workers in the management of industries and protection of the environment, forests, and wildlife.
    • Facilitated the proclamation of national emergency in a part of the territory of India.
    • Extended the one-time duration of the President’s rule in a state from 6 months to one year.
    • Empowered the Centre to deploy its armed forces in any state to deal with a grave situation of law and order.
    • Shifted five subjects from the state list to the concurrent list, viz, education, forests, protection of wild animals and birds, weights and measures and administration of justice, constitution and organisation of all courts except the Supreme Court and the high courts.
    • Did away with the requirement of quorum in the Parliament and the state legislatures.
    • Empowered the Parliament to decide from time to time the rights and privileges of its members and committees.
    • Provided for the creation of the All-India Judicial Service.
    • Shortened the procedure for disciplinary action by taking away the right of a civil servant to make representation at the second stage after the inquiry (i.e., on the penalty proposed).

2.Policy black holes spook space investors

Investors cite possible conflict of interest at Department of Space as a concern

Potential foreign investors in India’s space sector are unsure if their licence applications would get ‘a fair consideration’ and are wary of a possible conflict of interest given that the Department of Space is both the sectoral regulator and a service provider by way of its role overseeing the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Observing that the reforms announced in June 2020 to open the sector to private investors were a significant departure from the ‘virtual monopoly’ of state-controlled ISRO and allied entities, the U.K. India Business Council said there was, however, a ‘lack of clarity’ about several aspects related to the procedures.

Foreign Direct Investment up to 100% has been allowed under the government route in satellite-establishment and operation, subject to the sectoral guidelines of the Department of Space and ISRO. The processes for authorisation to launch a satellite, the frequency allocation mechanism and even the details of different agencies involved in these clearances were not clear, the Council said, calling for the regulatory structure to be refined.

“Today, the Department of Space acts as the regulator, but since it is a major service provider through ISRO, there is scope for a conflict of interest,” the UKIBC said. “Service delivery and decision making are critical challenges. ISRO is a party involved in both, thus creating doubt in the mind of investors, if their licence applications will receive fair consideration,” it added.

Emphasising that the private sector was concerned about sharing its intellectual property with the government, the business group said: “If ISRO is serious about partnering with the private sector, policymakers will have to view the industry as more than just a collection of manufacturers or service providers.”

Global investors are also keenly tracking developments over the scrapped Antrix-Devas deal in the wake of the Indian government losing an international arbitration and Devas eyeing judicial enforcement of the arbitral award in overseas jurisdictions.

Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), a newly created regulatory body, has received at least 26 applications from Indian and foreign firms that include proposals to set up ground stations and make and launch satellites.

About the Organisation

  • ISRO is the space agency under the Department of Space of Government of India, headquartered in the city of Bengaluru, Karnataka.
  • Its vision is to harness space technology for national development, while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration.
  • Antrix Corporation Limited (ACL) is a Marketing arm of ISRO for promotion and commercial exploitation of space products, technical consultancy services and transfer of technologies developed by ISRO.


  • The space research activities were initiated in India under Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, the founding father of Indian space programme, during 1960’s.
  • Since inception, the Indian space programme had three distinct elements such as, satellites for communication and remote sensing, the space transportation system and application programmes.
  • The INCOSPAR (Indian National Committee for Space Research) was initiated under the leadership of Dr. Sarabhai and Dr. Ramanathan.
  • During 1975-76, Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) was conducted. It was hailed as ‘the largest sociological experiment in the world’. It was followed by the ‘Kheda Communications Project (KCP)’, which worked as a field laboratory for need-based and locale specific programme transmission in state of Gujarat State.
  • During this period, the first Indian spacecraft ‘Aryabhata’ was developed and was launched using a Soviet Launcher. Another major landmark was the development of the first launch vehicle SLV-3 with a capability to place 40 kg in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), which had its first successful flight in 1980.
  • In the experimental phase during 80’s, Bhaskara-I & II missions were pioneering steps in the remote sensing area whereas ‘Ariane Passenger Payload Experiment (APPLE)’ became the forerunner for future communication satellite system.
  • During the operational phase in 90’s, major space infrastructure was created under two broad classes: one for the communication, broadcasting and meteorology through a multi-purpose Indian National Satellite system (INSAT), and the other for Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS) system. The development and operationalisation of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and development of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) were significant achievements during this phase.


Communication Satellites

  • Established in 1983 with commissioning of INSAT-1B, the Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system is one of the largest domestic communication satellite systems in Asia-Pacific region with nine operational communication satellites placed in Geostationary orbit.
  • It initiated a major revolution in India’s communications sector and sustained the same later. The INSAT system provides services to telecommunications, television broadcasting, satellite newsgathering, societal applications, weather forecasting, disaster warning and Search and Rescue operations.
List of important Communication Satellites
SatelliteLaunch DateLaunch VehicleApplication
GSAT-31Feb 06, 2019Ariane-5 VA-247Communication
GSAT-7ADec 19, 2018GSLV-F11 / GSAT-7A MissionCommunication
GSAT-11 MissionDec 05, 2018Ariane-5 VA-246Communication
GSAT-29Nov 14, 2018GSLV Mk III-D2 / GSAT-29 MissionCommunication
GSAT-6AMar 29, 2018GSLV-F08/GSAT-6A MissionCommunication
GSAT-17Jun 29, 2017Ariane-5 VA-238Communication
GSAT-19Jun 05, 2017GSLV Mk III-D1/GSAT-19 MissionCommunication
GSAT-9May 05, 2017GSLV-F09 / GSAT-9Communication
GSAT-12Jul 15, 2011PSLV-C17/GSAT-12Communication
GSAT-8May 21, 2011Ariane-5 VA-202Communication, Navigation
EDUSATSep 20, 2004GSLV-F01 / EDUSAT(GSAT-3)Communication

Earth Observation Satellites

  • Starting with IRS-1A in 1988, ISRO has launched many operational remote sensing satellites. Today, India has one of the largest constellations of remote sensing satellites in operation.
  • Varieties of instruments have been flown onboard these satellites to provide necessary data in a diversified spatial, spectral and temporal resolutions to cater to different user requirements in the country and for global usage.
  • The data from these satellites are used for several applications covering agriculture, water resources, urban planning, rural development, mineral prospecting, environment, forestry, ocean resources and disaster management.
List of important Earth Observation Satellites
SatelliteLaunch DateLaunch VehicleApplication
HysISNov 29, 2018PSLV-C43 / HysIS MissionEarth Observation
Cartosat-2 Series SatelliteJan 12, 2018PSLV-C40/Cartosat-2 Series Satellite MissionEarth Observation
Cartosat-2 Series SatelliteJun 23, 2017PSLV-C38 / Cartosat-2 Series SatelliteEarth Observation
Cartosat-2 Series SatelliteFeb 15, 2017PSLV-C37 / Cartosat -2 Series SatelliteEarth Observation
RESOURCESAT-2ADec 07, 2016PSLV-C36 / RESOURCESAT-2AEarth Observation
SCATSAT-1Sep 26, 2016PSLV-C35 / SCATSAT-1Climate & Environment
INSAT-3DRSep 08, 2016GSLV-F05 / INSAT-3DRClimate & Environment, Disaster Management System
CARTOSAT-2 Series SatelliteJun 22, 2016PSLV-C34 / CARTOSAT-2 Series SatelliteEarth Observation
SARALFeb 25, 2013PSLV-C20/SARALClimate & Environment, Earth Observation
RISAT-1Apr 26, 2012PSLV-C19/RISAT-1Earth Observation
Megha-TropiquesOct 12, 2011PSLV-C18/Megha-TropiquesClimate & Environment, Earth Observation
RESOURCESAT-2Apr 20, 2011PSLV-C16/RESOURCESAT-2Earth Observation
CARTOSAT-2BJul 12, 2010PSLV-C15/CARTOSAT-2BEarth Observation
Oceansat-2Sep 23, 2009PSLV-C14 / OCEANSAT-2Climate & Environment, Earth Observation
RISAT-2Apr 20, 2009PSLV-C12 / RISAT-2Earth Observation
CARTOSAT-1May 05, 2005PSLV-C6/CARTOSAT-1/HAMSATEarth Observation
The Technology Experiment Satellite (TES)Oct 22, 2001PSLV-C3 / TESEarth Observation
Oceansat (IRS-P4)May 26, 1999PSLV-C2/IRS-P4Earth Observation
Rohini Satellite RS-D1May 31, 1981SLV-3D1Earth Observation
Bhaskara-IJun 07, 1979C-1 IntercosmosEarth Observation, Experimental

Navigation Satellites

  • Satellite is an emerging satellite based system with commercial and strategic applications. Navigation services are necessary to meet the emerging demands of the Civil Aviation requirements and to meet the user requirements of the positioning, navigation and timing based on the independent satellite navigation system.
  • To meet the Civil Aviation requirements, ISRO is working jointly with Airport Authority of India (AAI) in establishing the GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) system.
  • To meet the user requirements of the positioning, navigation and timing services based on the indigenous system, ISRO is establishing a regional satellite navigation system called Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).

Space Science & Exploration Satellites

Indian space programme encompasses research in areas like astronomy, astrophysics, planetary and earth sciences, atmospheric sciences and theoretical physics. Satellites come under this category are:

  1. AstroSat, was launched on September 28, 2015, by PSLV-C30 from Sriharikota. It is the first dedicated Indian astronomy mission aimed at studying celestial sources in X-ray, optical and UV spectral bands simultaneously. One of the unique features of AstroSat mission is that it enables the simultaneous multi-wavelength observations of various astronomical objects with a single satellite.
  2. Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also known as (Mangalyaan),the truly maiden interplanetary mission of ISRO, launched on November 5, 2013, successfully got inserted into Martian orbit on September 24, 2014 in its first attempt. MOM completes 4 years in its orbit on September 24, 2018 though the designed mission life of MOM was six months. It was launched on board of PSLV C25 rocket with aim of studying Martian surface and mineral composition as well as scan its atmosphere for methane (an indicator of life on Mars). MOM is credited with many achievements like cost-effectiveness, short period of realization, economical weight-budget, miniaturization of five heterogeneous science payloads etc. Phobos and Deimos, the two moons of Mars were also imaged from close distances by Mars Colour Camera (MCC).
  3. Chandrayaan-1, India’s first mission to moon, was an unmanned spacecraft along with 11 scientific payloads built in India, UK, USA, Germany, Bulgaria and Sweden. The mission comprised an orbiter and an impactor. Launched aboard PSLV-C11 by ISRO on October 22, 2008, the spacecraft was designed to study the Moon orbiting around it at a height of 100 km from the lunar surface. It had operated much less than the intended two years, but achieved more than 90% of its planned objectives.
  4. Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to the Moon is a totally indigenous mission comprising of an Orbiter, Lander and Rover. Chandrayaan-2 is planned to launch in 2019 by GSLV-F10. After reaching the 100 km lunar orbit, the Lander housing the Rover will separate from the Orbiter. After a controlled descent, the Lander will soft land on the lunar surface at a specified site and deploy a Rover. The payloads will collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice.

Experimental Satellites

ISRO has launched many small satellites mainly for the experimental purposes. This experiment includes Remote Sensing, Atmospheric Studies, Payload Development, Orbit Controls, recovery technology etc.

List of important Experimental Satellites
SatelliteLaunch DateLaunch VehicleApplication
INS-1CJan 12, 2018PSLV-C40/Cartosat-2 Series Satellite MissionExperimental
YOUTHSATApr 20, 2011PSLV-C16/RESOURCESAT-2Student Satellite
APPLEJun 19, 1981Ariane-1(V-3)Communication, Experimental
Rohini Technology Payload (RTP)Aug 10, 1979SLV-3E1
AryabhataApr 19, 1975C-1 IntercosmosExperimental

Small Satellites

The small satellite project is providing platform for stand-alone payloads for earth imaging and science missions within a quick turnaround time. For making the versatile platform for different kinds of payloads, two kinds of buses have been configured and developed i.e. Indian Mini Satellite -1 (IMS-1) and Indian Mini Satellite -2 (IMS-2).

List of Small Satellites
SatelliteLaunch DateLaunch MassLaunch VehicleApplication
MicrosatJan 12, 2018PSLV-C40/Cartosat-2 Series Satellite MissionExperimental
YOUTHSATApr 20, 201192 kgPSLV-C16/RESOURCESAT-2Student Satellite

Academic Institute Satellites

ISRO has influenced educational institutions by its activities like making satellites for communication, remote sensing and astronomy. The launch of Chandrayaan-1 increased the interest of universities and institutions towards making experimental student satellites. Capable Universities and institution can venture into space technology on-orbit with guidance and support from ISRO by ways of Development of Payload and Design & Fabrication of Satellite.

List of important Academic Institute Satellites
1Kalamsat-V2Jan 24, 2019PSLV-C44
4PRATHAMSep 26, 2016PSLV-C35 / SCATSAT-1
5SATHYABAMASATJun 22, 2016PSLV-C34 / CARTOSAT-2 Series Satellite
6SWAYAMJun 22, 2016PSLV-C34 / CARTOSAT-2 Series Satellite
7JugnuOct 12, 2011PSLV-C18/Megha-Tropiques
10ANUSATApr 20, 2009PSLV-C12 / RISAT-2

India’s Manned Mission to Space

  • In December 2018, the Indian government has announced allocation of 100 billion rupees for first manned space mission, set to be launched by 2022. An unmanned test launch of the project is likely scheduled for December 2020.
  • Also termed as Gaganyaan, this project is part of the government’s ambition to make India a global low-cost provider of services in space.
  • The launch vehicle for this mission will carry heavy payloads into space. For this purpose, GSLV Mk-III is being developed with cryogenic engine.
  • ISRO has already tested the GSLV Mk-III with experimental crew module (Re-entry & Recovery technology) and Crew Escape System (CES).
  • A manned space mission is very difficult to launch in terms of complexity and need of advance technology.

Scramjet (Supersonic Combusting Ramjet) engine

  • In August 2016, ISRO has successfully conducted the Scramjet (Supersonic Combusting Ramjet) engine test.
  • The Scramjet engine uses Hydrogen as fuel and the Oxygen from the atmospheric air as the oxidiser.
  • This test was the maiden short duration experimental test of ISRO’s Scramjet engine with a hypersonic flight at Mach 6.
  • ISRO’s Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV), which is an advanced sounding rocket, was the solid rocket booster used for the test of Scramjet engines at supersonic conditions.
  • The new propulsion system will complement ISRO’s reusable launch vehicle that would have longer flight duration.

ISRO’s Launch Vehicles

  • PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) and GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) are the satellite-launch vehicles developed by ISRO.
  • PSLV delivers the “earth-observation” or “remote-sensing” satellites in polar orbit.
  • Apart from launching the remote sensing satellites to Sun-synchronous polar orbits, the PSLV is also used to launch the satellites of lower mass of about 1400 Kg to the elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
  • It is a four-staged launch vehicle with first and third stage using solid fuel and second and fourth stages using liquid fuel. Strap-on motors also used with PSLV to augment the thrust.
  • PSLV is classified into its various versions like core-alone version (PSLV-CA) or PSLV-XL variants.
  • GSLV delivers the communication-satellites to the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) of about 36000 Km altitude.
  • Two versions of the GSLV are developed by ISRO and testing phase of third version is going on. The first version, GSLV Mk-II, has the capability to launch satellites of mass up to 2,500 kg to the GTO.
  • GSLV MK-II is a three-staged vehicle with first stage using solid fuel, second stage using Liquid fuel and the third stage, called Cryogenic Upper Stage, using cryogenic engine.

Challenges and Opportunities in front of India’s Space Program

  • India is still is a developing country with vast developmental and security concerns. In this context it is very difficult to justify the allocations for space missions that do not have a direct bearing on development.
  • Successful launched of MOM and a planned rover onto the moon surely boosted the Indian space program. But India’s reliance on satellites has created military vulnerabilities.
  • An anti-satellite missile (ASAT) tested by China in 2007 has also elevated the threat of a slow-moving arms race in space.
  • DRDO is working on development of missile defense but it is increasingly looking to partner with the United States and other countries.
  • China has launched satellites for Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 2011 and 2012 respectively. This space cooperation may become another path for China to make inroads in South Asian countries.
  • During the starting of this decade India was highly critical of the EU effort to develop a code of conduct for outer space but in last years it has been actively engaged with the United States and the EU in particular in discussing a code of conduct and other safeguarding mechanisms.
  • India holds the view that reliance on the integration of outer space and cyber capabilities will only increase in future conflicts. But now beyond the maritime domain, India has been relying on foreign partners for many other satellite-based communications and data services. For instance, it continues to rely on NASA for deep space communications.
  • Privatization may also allow India to increase its launch capacity, which is currently at four to five per year while China does on average twenty or so launches. India does not have an explicit space policy to guide private sector participation.
  • ISRO also has internal constraints on its capacity to deliver.
  • The announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump in June 2018 about the creation of a “space force” or a sixth branch of the American armed forces has worried many including India. While India is officially committed to PAROS, or the prevention of an arms race in outer space, it is yet to formulate a credible official response to such plans. India has yet to establish a credible space command of its own.
  • In this context China’s reaction could be much stronger than its seemingly muted official response and it does possess a formidable space military programme that far exceeds current Indian capabilities.
  • Globally entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Richard Branson began talking of space activities as independent profitable commercial ventures that can be termed as New Space revolution.

Now the time has come for a more structured approach that enables better incubation for young talent in India. Fortunately, Antrix is open to such ideas. Various policies and acts need to change from being restrictive to being enabling.

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