Q1. What are the provisions of the Fugitive Economic Offenders bill?
Fugitive economic offender: A fugitive economic offender has been defined as a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued for committing any offence (listed in the schedule). Further the person has: (i) left the country to avoid facing prosecution, or (ii) refuses to return to face prosecution. Some of the offences listed in the schedule are: (i) counterfeiting government stamps or currency, (ii) cheque dishonour for insufficiency of funds, (iii) money laundering, and (iv) transactions defrauding creditors. The Bill allows the central government to amend the schedule through a notification.
Application: A director or deputy director (appointed under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002) may file an application before a special court (designated under the 2002 Act) to declare a person as a fugitive economic offender. The application will contain: (i) the reasons to believe that an individual is a fugitive economic offender, (ii) any information about his whereabouts, (iii) a list of properties believed to be proceeds of a crime for which confiscation is sought, (iv) a list of benami properties or foreign properties for which confiscation is sought, and (v) a list of persons having an interest in these properties.
Upon receiving an application, the special court will issue a notice to the individual: (i) requiring him to appear at a specified place within six weeks, and (ii) stating that a failure to appear will result in him being declared a fugitive economic offender. If the person appears at the specified place, the special court will terminate its proceedings under the provisions of this Bill.
Attachment of property: The director or deputy director may attach any property mentioned in the application with the permission of a special court. Further, these authorities may provisionally attach any property without the prior permission of the special court, provided that they file an application before the court within 30 days. The attachment will continue for 180 days, unless extended by the special court. If at the conclusion of proceedings, the person is not found to be a fugitive economic offender, his properties will be released.
Declaration as fugitive economic offender: After hearing the application, the special court may declare an individual as a fugitive economic offender. It may confiscate properties which: (i) are proceeds of crime, (ii) are benami properties in India or abroad, and (iii) any other property in India or abroad. Upon confiscation, all rights and titles of the property will vest in the central government, free from all encumbrances (such as any charges on the property). The central government will appoint an administrator to manage and dispose of these properties.
The Bill allows any civil court or tribunal to disallow a person, who has been declared a fugitive economic offender, from filing or defending any civil claim.
Powers of the director: The director or deputy director will have the powers vested in a civil court. These powers include: (i) entering a place on the belief that an individual is a fugitive economic offender, and (ii) directing that a building be searched, or documents be seized.
Appeal: Appeals against the orders of the special court will lie before the High Court.
Q2. Discuss how Criminal law amendment Ordinance has made the law w.r.t rape more stringent.
The criminal law amendment ordinance seeks to amend the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Evidence Act, the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act to introduce a new provision to sentence convicts of such crimes punishment of death.
Minimum punishment in case of rape of women has been increased from rigorous imprisonment of 7 years to 10 years, extendable to life imprisonment.
— In case of rape of a girl under 16 years, minimum punishment has been increased from 10 years to 20 years, extendable to imprisonment for rest of life, which shall mean imprisonment till that person’s natural life.
— The punishment for gang rape of a girl under 16 years of age will invariably be imprisonment for rest of life of the convict.
— Stringent punishment for rape of a girl under 12 years has been provided – minimum 20 years’ imprisonment or imprisonment for rest of life or with death.
— In case of gang rape of a girl below 12 years, punishment will be imprisonment for rest of life or death sentence.
— Time limit for investigation of all cases of rape has been prescribed, which has to be mandatorily completed within 2 months.
— Time limit for completion of trial of all rape cases has also been prescribed and it has to be necessarily completed in 2 months.
— 6 months’ time limit for disposal of appeals in rape cases has also been prescribed.
— It has been prescribed that there will be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang rape of a girl under 16 years.
— Special forensic kits for rape cases to all Police Stations and hospitals.
— Dedicated manpower will be provided for investigation of rape cases in a time bound manner.
— National Crime Records Bureau will maintain a national database and profile of sexual offenders.
— This data will be regularly shared with States/UTs for tracking, monitoring and investigation, including verification of antecedents by police.
— It has also been provided that court has to give notice of 15 days to Public Prosecutor and the representative of the victim before deciding bail applications in case of rape of a girl under 16 years of age.
Q3. What the new Coastal Regulation Zone draft says, how it differs from the earlier version
The draft Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), 2018, which was released by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) last week, has the potential to change the way coastal stretches in India are governed. India’s coastline runs over 7,500 kilometres
The new draft if implemented will not only have an effect on how common areas used by fisherfolk are managed, but also bifurcate coastal zones along rural areas based on population density. Environmentalists claim that the draft has opened up fragile inter-tidal areas to real estate agents, and framed with an intent to favour large-scale industry at the cost of fishing communities.
Changes in the new draft
The purpose of the current notifications vis-à-vis the previous one released in 2011 remains more or less the same. The new draft aims to “conserve and protect the unique environment of coastal stretches and marine areas, besides livelihood security to the fisher communities and other local communities in the coastal areas and to promote sustainable development based on scientific principles taking into account the dangers of natural hazards, sea level rise due to global warming….”
A major change in the new draft pertains to the CRZ limits on land along “tidal influenced water bodies”. The proposed limit has been reduced from 100 metres to 50 metres or the width of the creek, whichever is less.
– Mapping of high tide and hazard lines
The draft makes the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) the final authority to lay down standards for High Tide Line (HTL). Earlier the demarcation was carried out by one of the agencies authorised by MoEF, on recommendations of the NCSCM. The hazard line, which was demarcated by the Survey of India (SOI), has been delinked from the CRZ regulatory regime, and will now be used as a “tool” for disaster management and planning of “adaptive and mitigation measures.” Pooja Kumar from the Chennai-based Coastal Resources Centre points out that the 2011 notification placed a lot of importance on the hazard line. “The 2018 notification takes away the protection that the hazard line could provide; instead, it merely states that the hazard line should be used as a tool for disaster management. This means that one can build in these areas after preparing an environment assessment report stating that certain precautions have been considered,” she said.
– Bifurcation of CRZ-III areas
CRZ-III areas — land that is relatively undisturbed such as in rural areas, and do not fall in areas considered close to shoreline within existing municipal limits — have been divided into two categories:
CRZ-III A refers to rural areas with a population density of 2,161 people per square kilometre or more as per the 2011 Census. Such areas shall have a “No Development Zone” (NDZ) of 50m from the HTL, the draft notes.
CRZ-III B refers to rural areas with a population density lesser than 2,161 people per square kilometre. Such areas shall continue to have an NDZ of 200m from the HTL.
Kumar questions the accuracy of data that is used for classification. “We had a look at 2011 Census [data], and only state-wise population density is available, so how does one narrow down to the coastal region?” she enquires.
Kanchi Kohli, a researcher at the Centre for Policy Research, pointed out that revenue records are not available of how many people live in some of the CRZ-III areas. “They [through the draft] want to open up certain parts of the coast. It is clear that the state governments have asked for this. Some of these common areas are used by fisherfolk to dry fish and park their boats,” she said.
– Projects that require MoEF’s approval
Only those projects located in CRZ-I (environmentally most critical) and CRZ-IV (water and seabed areas) shall require MoEF clearance. All other projects shall be considered by Coastal Zone Management Authorities (CZMAs) in the states and union territories.
The draft also allows for construction of roads and roads on stilts, “by way of reclamation in CRZ-1 areas”, only in exceptional cases for “defence, strategic purposes and public utilities,” to be recommended by the CZMA and approved by the Ministry. However, it does not explicitly state what strategic projects are.
Interestingly, it notes that in cases where roads are constructed through mangroves or are likely to damage the latter, “a minimum three times the mangrove area affected/ destroyed/ cut during the construction… shall be taken up for compensatory plantation….
– Floor space index for CRZ-II
While the 2011 notification had frozen the floor space index or floor area ratio for CRZ-II areas at 1991 Development Control Regulation (DCR) levels, the new draft proposes to de-freeze the same and permit FSI for construction projects as prevailing on the date of the new notification.
Kohli points out that certain kinds of buildings in metro cities such as Chennai and Mumbai have been exempted from CRZ -II areas. “Certain buildings will be managed by FSI through Town and Country Planning Department, and will not require CRZ clearances,” she said.
Kohli notes that the draft empowers CZMAs at the state-level, which is responsible for the Coastal Zone Management Plans (CZMPs). “The idea is to complete the process of drawing up plans in consultation with coastal dwellers. Land and sea are constantly merging. As a result, this cannot be done through satellite images. One has to visit the area… The issue is that the process of creating CZMPs is flawed…,” she said.
The MoEF has said that the “relaxations/ amendment” proposed in the CRZ notification, 2018, shall come into effect only after respective CZMPs that were to be framed under the previous CRZ notification, have been revised or updated by states/UTs and approved by the ministry.
The National Green Tribunal has noted that it has been seven years since the deadline set by the 2011 notification to submit CZMPs to the MoEF has passed. Several states have held public hearings in this regard. While Maharashtra has requested an extension, the public hearing in Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu was forcibly cancelled last week due to opposition from fisherfolk.
According to Pooja Kumar, the dilutions introduced by the new draft will affect customary land use and traditional land rights. “It does maintain the language of long-term housing plans. What is the point of it if livelihoods and related spaces are not taken care of?”
“Coastal spaces are fluid. Applying models that pertain to inland areas to the coast is problematic… Delhi and its corridors of power lack an understanding of what these places are,” Kohli said.
Q4. What were the consequences of the French Revolution?
A major result of the Revolution was the destruction of feudalism in France. All the laws of the old feudal regime were annulled. Church lands and lands held in common by the community were bought by the middle classes. The lands of nobles were confiscated. Privileged classes were abolished.
After Napoleon seized power the Napoleonic Code was introduced. Many elements of this Code remained in force for a long time; some of them exist even to this day.
Another lasting result of the Revolution in France was the building up of a new economic system in place of the feudal system which had been overthrown. Even the restored monarchy could not bring back the feudal system or destroy the new economic institutions that had come into being.
The French Revolution gave the term ‘nation’ its modern meaning. A nation is not the territory that the people belonging to it inhabit but the people themselves. France was not merely the territories known as France but the ‘French people’.
From this followed the idea of sovereignty, that a nation recognizes no law or authority above its own. And if a nation is sovereign, that means the people constituting the nation are the source of all power and authority. There cannot be any rulers above the people, only a republic in which the government derives its authority from the people and is answerable to the people. It is interesting to remember that when Napoleon became emperor he called himself the ‘Emperor of the French Republic’. Such was the strength of the idea of people’s sovereignty.
It was this idea of the people being the sovereign that gave France her military strength. The entire nation was united behind the army which consisted of revolutionary citizens. In a war in which almost all of Europe was ranged against France, she would have had no chance with just a mercenary army.
Under the Jacobin constitution, all people were given the right to vote and the right of insurrection. The constitution stated that the government must provide the people with work or livelihood. The happiness of all was proclaimed as the aim of government. Though it was never really put into effect, it was the first genuinely democratic constitution in history. The government abolished slavery in the French colonies.
The Revolution had come about with the support and blood of common people— the city poor and the peasants. In 1792, for the first time in history, workers, peasants and other non-propertied classes were given equal political rights.
Although the right to vote and elect representatives did not solve the problems of the common people, the peasants got their lands. But to the workers and artisans— the people who were the backbone of the revolutionary movement—the Revolution did not bring real equality. To them, real equality could come only with economic equality.
France soon became one of the first countries where the ideas of social equality, of socialism, gave rise to a new kind of political movement.