If you’re preparing for CLAT, Current Affairs play a significant role in securing a good score. So, you need to be updated with the daily current affairs and current happenings across the globe. Here is a list of some legal current affairs that took place this week.
Ⅰ. Reservation in Local body polls
The 73rd and 74th amendments provided compulsory reservation for SCs, STs, and women in Panchayats and Municipalities. However, reservation for backward classes is left to the discretion of state governments.
OBC reservation in Maharashtra local body polls
- Maharashtra has decided to provide reservations for OBCs in local body polls. However, in January 2022, the Supreme Court directed the Maharashtra government to submit data on OBCs to the Maharashtra State Commission for Backward Classes (MSCBC) to make recommendations on the representation of OBCs in elections to the local bodies.
- Later, the Maharashtra government submitted the data on OBCs to MSCBC. In February 2022, MSCBC submitted a report in which it recommended up to 27% reservation for OBCs in elections to the local bodies.
- However, in March 2022, the Supreme Court rejected the report because of a lack of empirical study and research by MSCBC.
Recent bills passed by Maharashtra
- On 7th March 2022, Maharashtra state legislature had passed two bills that laid the grounds for the postponement of Maharashtra’s local body elections till the Other Backward Classes (OBC) reservation is restored.
- These bills amended the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, the Maharashtra Municipal Corporations Act, the Maharashtra Municipal Councils, Nagar Panchayats, and Industrial Townships Act, 1965, the Maharashtra Village Panchayats Act, and the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis Act, 1961.
If a proper report with empirical data regarding OBCs is presented before the Supreme Court, the Maharashtra government would be able to restore OBC reservation in local body polls.
Ⅱ. UGC Guidelines for Multidisciplinary Higher Education
The University Grants Commission (UGC) released ‘Draft Guidelines for Transforming Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) into Multidisciplinary Institutions’ and invited public feedback.
About the guidelines
- The guidelines aim to promote higher education institutions to offer courses in diverse subjects, raise and break the silos present in higher education.
- UGC formulated three approaches to transform HEIs into multidisciplinary institutions:
- Academic collaboration between colleges and universities
- Merging single-stream institutions with other multidisciplinary institutions.
- Strengthen the institutions through additions of departments in subjects.
- Colleges that are affiliated to universities can offer multidisciplinary education and elevate their status to that of degree-awarding autonomous colleges. Colleges can also form clusters to overcome their institutional weaknesses, which are hindering their entry into the field of multidisciplinary higher education.
- Colleges or universities can collaborate to offer dual degrees. There will be a single admission process for two institutions. For dual degrees, a student can complete one degree at the host institution and the second at the partner institution.
- UGC will identify the colleges and universities that can be transformed into robust multidisciplinary higher education institutions.
- UGC is a statutory body established by the UGC Act 1956. It is under the Ministry of Education. UGC’s mandate is coordination, determination, and maintenance of standards of higher education in India. UGC provides recognition to universities in India.
Ⅲ. Budget Session Address of Governor
At the commencement of the first session of each year, the Governor makes a customary address to the members of the state legislature.
About Governor’s address
- The Governor addresses the first session of the state legislature each year. The first session of any legislature is usually the budget session.
- In the address, the Governor highlights the plans and policy priorities of the government for the coming year. The Governor’s address is usually drafted by the state cabinet.
- Later, the house will hold a debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor’s address.
- After the discussion, the motion of thanks is put to the vote in the house. If the motion of thanks is not passed, it shows that the government does not hold the confidence of the house and will lead to the defeat of the government.
According to Article 176 of the constitution: “At the commencement of the first session after each general election to the Legislative Assembly and at the commencement of the first session of each year, the Governor shall address the Legislative Assembly or, in the case of a State having a Legislative Council, both Houses assembled and informed the Legislature of the causes of its summons.”
On 28th February 2022, the Telangana government decided to start the budget session of the state legislature from March 7th, without the compulsory address by the Governor of Telangana. On 3rd March 2022, the Governor of Maharashtra abruptly ended his address to a joint session of the state legislature due to the frequent disruptions.
Ⅳ. Building Construction Environment Management Regulations, 2022
On 28th February 2022, the Central government issued a draft notification of the Building Construction Environment Management Regulations, 2022.
About the draft regulations
The draft regulations were issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change. The ministry has invited public feedback on the regulations over the next two months.
- Buildings with a built-up area of more than 5000 square meters are covered under the rules. This even includes the expansion and renovation of existing buildings.
- For every 80 square meters of land, at least one tree should be planted within construction sites for all buildings. Thus the plot should have at least 10% green cover. This increases green spaces in urban areas.
- Stripping of topsoil is allowed only up to a maximum depth of 20 cm for any construction, including buildings, pavements, etc. The stripped topsoil should be collected, stored, and used for plantation purposes to meet conditions under the rules.
- The rules made Rainwater harvesting or groundwater recharge systems compulsory. Also, Central GroundWater Authority’s (CGWA’s) approval is mandatory to use groundwater for the construction of buildings.
- Construction is strictly prohibited on wetlands and water bodies. This provision, if strictly implemented, will prevent encroachments and will reduce urban floods, which is recently witnessed in many cities.
- It is also mandatory to install on-site sewage plants with 100% wastewater treatment if there is no common sewage plant. Dual plumbing systems should be incorporated. One is for the supply of fresh water, and another is for the supply of treated wastewater. Thus, it encourages greywater management.
The ministry stated that if these rules conflict with any other rules or regulations, the strict rule among them will be applicable.
Ⅴ. Haryana Prevention of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Bill, 2022
On 5th March 2022, the Haryana government introduced the “Haryana Prevention of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Bill, 2022” in the Vidhan Sabha (State legislative assembly).
About the bill
- In February, the draft of the Bill was approved by the state Cabinet chaired by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. In the ongoing Budget session of Haryana, the bill was introduced in the Vidhan Sabha.
- As the ruling party has the majority, the bill is likely to be passed by the state legislative assembly.
- Once it is passed, it will be sent to the Governor of the state for his assent. If the Governor gives assent to the bill, it will become an act and becomes enforceable in the State of Haryana.
Provisions of the bill
- The bill prohibits forceful, coercive, and fraudulent religious conversations. It seeks to protect the individual’s right to freedom of conscience and states that there is no collective right to proselytize.
- The bill aims to protect vulnerable and gullible sections of society from being converted to other religions, either under force or under the influence. It provides strict punishment for religious conversion in the case of minors, women, Scheduled Castes, and tribals.
- According to the bill, the burden of proof is on the accused. The accused must effectively demonstrate that he did not commit any offense under the act.
- There are also provisions regarding the willful or intentional conversion. If an individual wants to deliberately convert to another religion, he/she must submit a declaration to designated authority that the conversion is based on one’s own will and not under force or influence.
- There will be an inquiry by the designated authorities into all such cases on willful religious conversion.
- If marriage is solemnized by concealment of religion, designated authority can declare the marriage void.
Opposition to the bill
Severed opposition leaders and experts termed the bill unconstitutional. They think that it will create divisions in society based on a person’s religious beliefs.
Stay tuned for more legal current affairs and other law related articles.