A SUM OF CONTRIBUTIONS :-
Emissions Gap Report 2017 :-
- It underlined that fulfilment of national pledges related to carbon emission reductions under the Paris Agreement would be inadequate to keep global warming below 2°C. Thus, a renewed focus on climate governance is important.
Talanoa Dialogue :-
- The Talanoa Dialogue of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, beginning this month, will facilitate the parties to take stock of progress post-Paris.
- As a key player in international climate governance, India could set the example in deepening the dialogue process through an action-oriented, inclusive, bottom-up approach, involving extensive participation and collaboration of its States.
Sub-nationals &States are Important to tackle Climate Change :-
- India’s State Action Plan on Climate Change supports the integration of national climate change goals into subnational policies. India has committed to meet its current target of 33% reduction in emission intensity of the 2005 level by 2030, by generating 40% of its energy from renewables. Thus, States are important for the realisation of this goal.
Memorandum of Understanding by Sub-national or State Governments :-
- The Under 2 Coalition, a Memorandum of Understanding by subnational governments to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions towards net-zero by 2050, is generating a unique precedent for bold climate leadership, with its member states and regions surpassing 200 in number.
- Currently, Telangana and Chhattisgarh are signatories to this pact from India.
- Whereas representations from the other top emitters are : 26 subnational governments in China and 24 in the U.S. Greater representation of Indian States is crucial.
What needs to be done to examine the Progress of Subnational or state actions in meeting National Climate Targets ?
- Both national and State plans would need to be periodically reassessed and reviewed.
- A transparent framework for review, audit and monitoring of GHG emissions is needed.
- As State capacities vary significantly, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities should be applied to allocate mitigation targets in different States, based on the principle of equity.
- India must look towards creating knowledge action networks and partnerships under both national and State action plan frameworks. For example :- Kerala has taken the lead to build such a knowledge network funded by the National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change.
STANDING UP FOR HUMAN RIGHTS :-
- In his new year message, UN Secretary-General António Guterres referred to the pervasive and large-scale infraction of human rights across the world as a global challenge that defies our vision of a humane and just world order.
- The message is particularly relevant for us because the torture of individuals in state custody remains a human rights abuse that mocks our governance even as we claim human dignity as the end objective of the Indian state, with the Supreme Court affirming it as “an intrinsic value, constitutionally protected in itself” (Puttaswamy, 2017, M. Nagaraj, 2006).
Cause for concern :-
- Eliminating torture as an affront to human dignity, we have been caught between legislative lassitude and judicial abdication.
- India became a signatory to the Convention Against Torture in 1997, since then we have not been able to ratify it or have in place a domestic legislation to effectuate the right to life with dignity read into Article 21 of the Constitution.
- In a departure from judicial precedents established in Vishakha (1997), D.K. Basu (1997), Vineet Narain (1997), Association for Democratic Reforms (2002), Swami Achyutanand Tirth (2016) and the Triple Talaq (2017) case, the Supreme Court refrained from exercising even its limited nudge function to prompt the government into bringing the necessary anti-torture law.
- Acts of custodial torture continue to defy constitutional diktat and mock the Supreme Court’s declaration of torture as “…synonymous with the darker side of human civilization, is a naked violation of human dignity…” (D.K. Basu, 1997).
Baffling stand Of Courts :-
- The court’s hesitance to exercise its expansive review jurisdiction for enforcing the non-negotiable Right to Dignity in the face of legislative and government inaction is strange, given the Court’s activism as a Guard on the enforcement of constitutional rights.
- Despite the 2010 recommendation of the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha. The court remained impervious to its own jurisprudence expounded in Puttaswamy and NALSA (2014), among others, that unless there is a manifest intent expressed to the contrary, domestic laws should be aligned with the international legal regime on the subject.
- Those facing criminal trials and extradition proceedings abroad including Abu Salem, Kim Davy, Jagtar Singh Johal and others have questioned the country’s investigative and criminal justice system in the absence of an effective and enforceable law against custodial torture.
- The damning slur on the nation’s trial process and commitment to the rule of law itself was also not enough to move the court to exercise its “suggestive” jurisdiction.
Govt stand remains unclear :-
- The Vice President and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, M. Venkaiah Naidu, who believes that human rights are guaranteed, he must know that a 2010 recommendation of the Rajya Sabha’s Select Committee proposing an anti-torture law remains unimplemented.
- The Attorney General likewise owes a moral responsibility to the nation in supporting the proposed dignitarian legislation against torture. After all, it was his assurance to the court that the government was seriously considering the October 2017 recommendation of the Law Commission in support of a standalone anti-torture law which persuaded it to dispose of the petition.
ON TRIPLE TALAQ BILL : RE-EXAMINE THE BILL :-
- The winter session of Parliament saw more political positioning than appraisal of a legislation to make instant triple talaq a criminal offence.
- The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill pending in the Rajya Sabha.
The Opposition has raised three concerns over Triple Talaq Bill :-
- Whether a civil wrong, mainly a breach of a marriage contract in an arbitrary manner, ought to be treated as a crime.
- Whether it is not a contradiction of sorts for the law to jail a husband for pronouncing instant talaq and also mandate that he pay a subsistence allowance to the wife.
- Whether making it a cognizable and non-bailable offence would lead to it being misused against Muslim men.
Internal contradiction in the way the law is sought to be framed :-
- On the one hand it says instant triple talaq in any form is void, thereby declaring that the marriage continues to subsist; but it also talks of issues such as the custody of children and maintenance, which would arise only after a divorce.
Congress stand in Rajya Sabha :-
- The Congress has taken the position that referring it to a parliamentary committee may help remove some lacunae.
- They want to know whether the government would take care of the sustenance of the woman concerned if her husband is jailed for uttering triple talaq.
What Govt needs to do without overlooking the concerns ?
- The best option would be to refer it to a select committee to help bring about a consensus on how to address the problem of talaq-e-biddat.
- The core question is whether resorting to an illegal and arbitrary form of divorce should necessarily lead to a prison term for the offending husband.
- A sound legal framework to deal with all issues arising from instant talaq ought to be crafted after deeper consideration.