Why in news? The AFSPA has been removed from Meghalaya after 27 years.
The Centre has revoked The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from Meghalaya since April 1, 2018.
Earlier the AFSPA was effective in 20 km area along the Assam-Meghalaya border.
In Arunachal Pradesh too the impact of AFSPA has been reduced to some levels.
Whole of Assam and Nagaland as well as Manipur except Imphal municipal area are currently under AFSPA.
Tripura withdrew the AFSPA in 2015.
Jammu and Kashmir too has a similar Act.
The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA):
The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Bill was passed in 1958.
In simple terms, AFSPA gives armed forces the power to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”.
They have the authority to prohibit a gathering of five or more persons in an area, can use force or even open fire after giving due warning if they feel a person is in contravention of the law.
If reasonable suspicion exists, the army can also arrest a person without a warrant; enter or search a premises without a warrant; and ban the possession of firearms.
Any person arrested or taken into custody may be handed over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station along with a report detailing the circumstances that led to the arrest.
What is a “disturbed area” and who has the power to declare it under AFSPA?
A disturbed area is one which is declared by notification under Section 3 of the AFSPA.
An area can be disturbed due to differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities.
The Central Government, or the Governor of the State or administrator of the Union Territory can declare the whole or part of the State or Union Territory as a disturbed area.
A suitable notification would have to be made in the Official Gazette.
As per Section 3, it can be invoked in places where “the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary”.
The Ministry of Home Affairs would usually enforce this Act where necessary, but there have been exceptions where the Centre decided to forego its power and leave the decision to the State governments.
FACT # 2
PANCHAYATI RAJ SYSTEM IN INDIA
Why in news? On 24 April every year, ‘National Panchayati Raj Day’ is celebrated in India by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj.
PANCHAYATI RAJ SYSTEM IN INDIA:
In the history of Panchayati Raj, in India, on 24 April 1993, the Constitutional (73rd Amendment) Act 1992 came into force to provide constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj institutions.
This act was extended to Panchayats in the tribal areas of eight states, namely: Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Rajasthanbeginning on 24 December 1996.
Currently, the Panchayati Raj system exists in all states except Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Mizoram, and in all Union Territories except Delhi.
Amendment Act of 1992:
The Amendment Act of 1992 contains provision for devolution of powers and responsibilities to the panchayats with the following objective:
for the preparation of economic development plans and social justice
for implementation in relation to 29 subjects listed in the eleventh schedule of the constitution
Panchayat’s ability to levy and collect appropriate taxes, duties, tolls and fees.
The Act aims to provide:
a three-tier systems of Panchayati Raj for all states having a population of over 2 million
to hold Panchayat elections regularly every five years
to provide seats reserved for scheduled castes, scheduled tribesand women
to appoint a State Finance Commission to make recommendations regarding the financial powers of the Panchayats
to constitute a District Planning Committee, to prepare a development plan draft for the district.
FACT # 3
RAJESH BINDAL COMMITTEE REPORT
Why in news? Rajesh Bindal committee has submitted its report on legal issues related to inter country removal & retention of children.
Rajesh Bindal committee recommendations:
The committee was appointed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
The Committee has recommended that the Government may establish an ‘Inter Country Parental Child Removal Disputes Resolution Authority’.
The authority has been envisaged to provide a one window solution in cases of inter country removal and retention of Children.
It has recommended that the Authority may be chaired by a retired High Court Judge, with Members from Legal and Social sector background along with representatives from key Ministries.
The Committee has recommended that the Authority may examine the inter country cases of removal and retention of children vis-a-vis the cultural context, merit of the case, and the best interest of the Child.
Committee has also submitted a draft legislation to the Government.
Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980:
Hague Convention is multilateral treaty that seeks to protect children from harmful effects of abduction and retention across international boundaries.
It does so by providing procedure to bring about their prompt return.
94 states are party to it and India is not signatory to it yet(as country has to have domestic law in place before it can become signatory).
The convention is applicable to any child, up to age of 16 years who is habitual resident of any of contacting states.
Mandate of the Hague Convention:
Enhance international recognition of rights of custody and access arising in place of habitual residence.
Ensure prompt return of child who is wrongfully removed or retained from place of habitual residence.
Return children abducted or retained overseas by parent to their country of habitual residence for courts of that country to decide on matters of residence and contact.