8888677771 | UPSC Key—18 October, 2023: Same-sex marriage, Venus Orbiter Mission and Child Marriage in India | UPSC Current Affairs News

Same-sex marriage will have to wait


Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance

Main Examination: General Studies II: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story- In a ruling Tuesday that disappointed LGBTQ+ rights campaigners, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court unanimously rejected their prayer to grant legal recognition to same-sex marriage and left it to Parliament to change the law for such a union.

• Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court unanimously rejected to grant legal recognition to same-sex marriage-What exactly Supreme Court Said?

• What “institutional limitations” Supreme Court cited in its verdict?

• Supreme Court-The bench was unanimous that marriage is a statutory right and not a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution and, hence, a subject matter for the Parliament and state legislatures.
“This Court cannot either strike down the Constitutional validity of SMA or read words into the SMA because of its institutional limitations. This Court cannot read words into the provisions of the SMA and provisions of other allied laws such as the ISA (Indian Succession Act) and the HSA (Hindu Succession Act) because that would amount to judicial legislation. The Court, in the exercise of the power of judicial review, must steer clear of matters, particularly those impinging on policy, which fall in the legislative domain,” the CJI said, a view that other judges agreed with.
In the four separate judgments – by the CJI, Justice Kaul, Justice Bhat and Justice Narasimha – there was agreement in the bench that “queerness is a natural phenomenon” and “is not urban or elite”, that “there exists no fundamental right to marry under the Constitution… that the Special Marriage Act, 1954 (SMA), is neither unconstitutional nor can it be interpreted in such a manner so as to enable marriage between queer persons; and that… transgender persons in heterosexual relationships, have the right to solemnize marriage under existing legal frameworks”.

Festive offer

• According to the CJI, why the right to marry is not a fundamental right?

• For Your Information-According to CJI, “in pursuance of the power conferred by Articles 245 and 246 read with Entry 5 of the Concurrent List, Parliament has enacted laws creating and regulating the socio-legal institution of marriage. The State legislatures have made amendments to such laws with the assent of the President since the subject of marriage is in the Concurrent List. The petitioners seek that the Court recognise the right to marry as a fundamental right. As explained above, this would mean that even if Parliament and the State legislatures have not created an institution of marriage in exercise of their powers under Entry 5 of the Concurrent List, they would be obligated to create an institution because of the positive postulate encompassed in the right to marry. This argument cannot be accepted.”
Though it concluded that there is no fundamental right to marry, the CJI’s ruling said “there is a right or freedom to enter into a union” as laid down in various judgments of the court – Navtej Johar, K S Puttaswamy, NALSA, Shakti Vahini, Shafin Jahan etc – “and that having regard to our constitutional values, which entail respect to the choice of a person whether or when to enter into marriage and the right to choose a marital partner”.
The three judges, who formed the majority view, called this the “right to relationship”.

• What exactly Supreme Court said on ‘right to marry’, ‘right or freedom to enter into a union’ and right to relationship?

• What exactly Supreme Court said on Special Marriage Act?

• What exactly Supreme Court said on Civil unions for queer couples?

• “Another point of disagreement between the CJI ruling and that of Justices Bhat, Kohli and Narasimha was on the right of queer couples to adopt”-What exactly supreme court said on right of queer couples to adopt?

• For Your Information-The five-bench Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud, which declined to recognise same-sex marriages, also considered the issue of adoption by non-heterosexual couples. The current adoption rules of the country under the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) allow unmarried persons to adopt children only in an individual capacity. Unmarried couples, including queer couples, cannot jointly adopt a child. The eligibility criteria for prospective adoptive parents under Regulation 5 (3) require a couple to have been in at least two years of “stable marital relationship”.
CJI Chandrachud said that this Regulation was discriminating against the queer community and hence was violating the Article 15 of the Constitution. The majority view by Justices S Ravindra Bhat, Hima Kohli and P S Narasimha acknowledged that the needs of such couples to have and raise family in every sense of the term has to be accommodated within the framework of the law, but held that the regulation cannot be held void.
“This exclusion has the effect of reinforcing the disadvantage already faced by the queer community. Law cannot make an assumption on good and bad parenting based on the sexuality of individuals. Such an assumption perpetuates a stereotype based on sexuality that only heterosexuals are good parents…,” the CJI read out. The CJI said that the regulation shall be read down to exclude the word “marital” so that it includes both married and unmarried couples as well as queer couples so that they too can jointly adopt a child.
“Though the additional criteria adopted by the state notifications would also affect a heterosexual person’s eligibility to adopt a child, it would disproportionately affect a non-heterosexual couple, as their unions are not recognised by the law in the form of marriage. An unmarried heterosexual couple has the option of marrying to meet the eligibility but this option is not available to a non-heterosexual couple,” the CJI said.
He said that while the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act granted CARA the power to subscribe additional criteria, it cannot exceed the scope of legislative policy. He said that the JJ Act does not preclude unmarried couples from adopting a child stating that the best interest of the child has to be the main objective.
While Justice S K Kaul agreed with the CJI, Justices S Ravindra Bhat, Hima Kohli and P S Narasimha had a different view.
“This is not to say that unmarried couples whether queer or heterosexual are not capable or suitable to be adoptive parents. However, once the law permits, as it has done adoption by both single individuals, the likelihood of their joining and cohabiting cannot be ruled out. In such an event, de facto family unit can and does come about,” Justice Bhat said.
He added that the Regulation 5 (3) of CARA cannot be held void, at the same time the CARA and Central government ‘should appropriately’ consider such family units where single individuals have committed to adopt and thereafter start living in a non-matrimonial relationship.
“In an unforeseen eventuality, the adopted child in question could face exclusion from the benefits otherwise adopted by the children of married couples. This aspect needs consideration for which the court is not the appropriate forum,” Justice Bhat said.
The three judges also said that the underlying assumption in law that unmarried heterosexual or queer couples should not adopt needs to be closely examined. It said that the state needs to explore every possibility and not rule out any policy or legislative choice to ensure maximum welfare and benefits reach the largest number of children.

• What are the issues associated with the legalisation of same sex marriage in India?

• What is the Special Marriage Act (SMA), 1954?

• The legal recognition for same sex marriage is a little more complex-why?

• What is the Concept behind marriages in Indian Subcontinent or in the Indian Society?

• The Institution of Marriage-Why marriage is referred as an institution?

• Why same-sex wedding is not legal in India?

• How same sex marriage can be legalised in India?

• What is the global acceptance of same-sex marriages?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:  

📍On gay rights, SC moves the needle forward — but walks back on its role

📍Safe houses, sensitising police: CJI lists measures against discrimination

📍Special Marriage Act: SC says smaller bench can look into issues

📍Same-sex marriage petitioners say SC verdict disheartening

📍Experts should examine rights of queer couples: SC

📍Court stops short


📍The day after, a disquiet

📍We will get there

📍Two views on four key issues

PM spells out ISRO goals: Space station by 2035, Indian on Moon by 2040


Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.

Mains Examination: General Studies III: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story– TWO MONTHS after the successful Moon landing and launch of a mission to study the Sun, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Tuesday two new targets for space agency ISRO: setting up an Indian space station by 2035 and taking the first Indian to Moon by 2040. The Prime Minister also called on the scientists to work towards a Venus Orbiter Mission and a Mars Lander Mission.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced two new targets for space agency ISRO-What are they?

• Venus Orbiter Mission, unofficially known as Shukrayaan-What are the key features of this mission?

• What is Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)?

• For Your Information-“The Department of Space presented a comprehensive overview of Gaganyaan Mission, including various technologies developed so far such as human-rated launch vehicles and system qualification,” the PMO said. “It was noted that around 20 major tests, including 3 uncrewed missions of the Human Rated Launch Vehicle, are planned. First demonstration flight of the Crew Escape System Test Vehicle is scheduled on October 21. The meeting evaluated the mission’s readiness, affirming its launch in 2025.”
The announcement of three uncrewed missions is significant as previously it was known that there will be two such missions before the final one carrying the astronauts to space.
In addition, ISRO will also work on a next generation launch vehicle, a new launch pad, and human-centric laboratories and technologies. Many technologies such as the human-rated launch vehicle, crew escape system, space suit, and the system to maintain the environment inside the crew module are being developed for the first time for the Gaganyaan mission.
“Prime Minister Modi expressed confidence in India’s capabilities and affirmed the nation’s commitment to scaling new heights in space exploration,” the PMO said.
The first indication of a sustained human programme and an eventual space station came in 2019 from the then ISRO chief K Sivan. He said the Indian space station is likely to be much smaller, built by combining a couple of modules similar to the current crew module, weighing only 20 tonnes as compared to 450 tonnes of the International Space Station and 100 tonnes of the Chinese Tiangong Space Station.
Preparations for a Venus mission are also underway, with the current ISRO chief S Somanath recently stating that it has already been configured. While he did not provide details of the scientific experiments on the mission, a 2019 proposal had said that there would be 12 payloads, including a thermal camera, mass spectrometer and a cloud-monitoring camera.
In the Mars Mission, India has already sent an orbiter that collected data between 2014 and 2022. The next step would be to send a lander, which the US and China have already achieved. Russia also has successfully landed on Mars but their lander stopped working soon after. India, on the other hand, did not have lander technology before the Chandrayaan 2 mission; the lander was indigenously developed after Russia backed out following the failure of one of their landers to the Martian moon Phobos.

• Gaganyaan Mission-Know the key features

• Gaganyaan Mission-What makes this Mission very Unique?

• India’s Manned Mission to Space-Know in detail

• Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)-About the Organisation

• The Indian Human Spaceflight Programme (IHSP) and Gaganyaan – About and Key Features

• Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)-Background, Achievements and upcoming Missions

• Do You Know-A manned space mission is very different from all other missions that ISRO has so far completed. In terms of complexity and ambition, even the missions to the Moon (Chandrayaan) and Mars (Mangalyaan) are nowhere in comparison. For a manned mission, the key distinguishing capabilities that ISRO has had to develop include the ability to bring the spacecraft back to Earth after flight, and to build a spacecraft in which astronauts can live in Earth-like conditions in space. Over the years, ISRO has successfully tested many of the technologies that are required, but many others are still to be developed and tested.
The Environmental Control & Life Support System (ECLSS) is meant to ensure that conditions inside the crew module are suitable for humans to live comfortably. The inside of the crew module is a twin-walled sealed structure that will recreate Earth-like conditions for the astronauts. It would be designed to carry two or three astronauts. The ECLSS maintains a steady cabin pressure and air composition, removes carbon dioxide and other harmful gases, controls temperature and humidity, and manages parameters like fire detection and suppression, food and water management, and emergency support.
While the layout and design of the ECLSS has been finalised, its many individual components and systems are in the process of being tested. The design and configuration of the inside of the crew module have also been finalised. Ground testing will have to be followed by tests in the space orbit while simulating zero gravity and deep vacuum.

• The human spaceflight mission had initially been given a 2022 target by the Centre to coincide with 75 years of Indian independence but the programme got delayed-why?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:  

📍Gaganyaan mission: First test vehicle flight on Oct 21


Students to Asha workers: On frontlines of Assam’s fight against child marriage


Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.

Main Examination:

• General Studies I: Social empowerment and Salient features of Indian Society

• General Studies II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story- School-going children and the elderly made up most of the audience gathered under the pink and green shamiana pitched in the small town of Kaki in Assam last week. This public meeting, organised by the All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) in an area where the population largely comprises Bengali-origin Muslims, was being held a week after 31 people from the district, Hojai, were arrested overnight in a police crackdown against child marriage. Thirteen of those arrested were men who had allegedly married underage girls and 18 were relatives booked for allegedly facilitating these marriages.

• What is child marriage?

• Child Marriage in India-Know the statistics and data’s

• But why child marriage are still prevalent in certain areas in India?

• Why Child Marriage is a violation of Human Rights?

• What are the Government initiatives taken to curb Child Marriages in India?

• What the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021 says?

• What are the recommendations given by various Committees and Conventions in India as well as by the International Bodies on minimum age of marriage?

• Some data’s and facts-As many as 650 million women in the world today were married as children. About a third of them were married before the age of 15. In India, which has the dubious distinction of being home to the most number of child brides, UN estimates suggest that 1.5 million girls get married before they turn 18. About 16 per cent of girls in the age group of 15-19 are married at present. According to the 2011 census, 44 per cent of women in Assam were married before the age of 18. The figures for Rajasthan, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh were 47 per cent, 46 per cent and 43 per cent, respectively.

• Under what law are the arrests being made in Assam?

• Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012- Know the Salient features of the Act and its amendment

• The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006- Know the Salient features of the Act and its amendment

• Who is regarded as child as per the provisions of POCSO Act, 2012?

• Why Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012?

• What have the courts said on the issue?

• What is the central government’s stand?

• Child Marriages and Assam-what is happening?

• What are the causes of child marriage in Assam?

• “The Assam police began a crackdown on child marriage and arrested more than 2500 people”-why this crackdown?

• Is this a correct way to stop child marriages-What experts are saying?

• Where does India stand in Child Marriages statistics?

• What does the constitution and laws says about Child Marriages?

• “Child marriages affect the national economy negatively and do not allow us to come out of the vicious cycle of inter-generational poverty”-Elaborate

• Are mass arrests and the indiscriminate use of criminal sanctions, that the Assam government has resorted to, the only solution to the problem of child marriage?

• What does the UN Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages (1962), the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979) and the Beijing Declaration (1995) says on child marriages?

• The Age of Consent Act 1891-Know in detail

• The Child Marriage Restraint Act , 1929 or the Sharda Act-Know in detail

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍Faizan Mustafa writes: Instead of criminalising child marriage, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma should heed PM Modi’s call of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao

📍In Assam, Beti Padhao


India, Europe & Middle East economic corridor will create jobs: Modi


Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.

Mains Examination: General Studies II: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story- The India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor will reduce business costs, increase logistical efficiency and create a large number of jobs, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Mumbai on Tuesday.

• What is India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC)?

• For Your Information-According to Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, “Recently under India’s initiative, a step has been taken that has the potential to revolutionise the global maritime industry in the 21st century. During the G20 summit, a historic consensus happened for the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor. Several years ago, silk route had sped up global trade. This route became the foundation for the development of many countries. This historic corridor too will change the face of regional and global trade”.
“The construction of next generation mega ports and international container transshipment ports, island development, inland waterways, expansion of multimodal hubs, would be taken up under this project. This corridor will reduce business cost, increase logistical efficiency, reduce impact on environment and help in creation of huge number of jobs. For the investors this is a big opportunity to align with India and become part of this initiative,” he added.
PM Modi also dedicated, inaugurated and laid foundation stone for 21 projects worth Rs 18,000 crore. The projects included Rs 4,539-crore all-weather, deep draft container terminal of Deendayal Port Trust (DPT) at Tuna Tekra in Gujarat that was described as an “international trade hub as part of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor” at the inaugural event of the summit. However, the Prime Minister did not touch upon the greenfield container terminal in his speech.
He said the capacity of major ports have doubled in the last decade. “The turnaround time for container vessels in 2014 was about 42 hours. This has reduced to less than 24 hours in 2023,” he added. The Prime minister also said that in the past one decade, the coastal shipping traffic has doubled, while the cargo handled by in-land waterways, have grown four times.
“India will be among the top five ship-building nations in the next few decades,” PM Modi said, pointing out that ship leasing activities have begun in GIFT City where “four major ship leasing companies have already registered with GIFT IFSC”.

• The IMEC will include two separate corridors-Know them and mark them on map

• Can you mark or sketch the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) on world map?

• Which are the key places, water bodies and industrial belt in India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor? Mark them on the map

• What is the objective behind this corridor?

• How India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) is different from China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI)?

• India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) and China’s Belt and Road initiative-Compare and contrast

• To what degree will the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) contribute to the enhancement of India’s external trade?

• What will be the challenges in implementing India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC)?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:  

📍India-Middle East-Europe mega economic corridor: What is the project and why is it being proposed?


Why Egypt is keeping Gaza’s Rafah border crossing shut


Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.

Mains Examination: General Studies II: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story- THE RAFAH crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt is the sole route for aid to enter Gaza directly from outside Israel, and the only exit that does not lead to Israeli territory. It has become a focus in the intensifying conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, as hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have headed towards south Gaza after Israel warned them to leave Gaza City and the enclave’s north.

• What is the Rafah crossing?

• Map Work- Rafah crossing and Egypt

• Where is the Rafah crossing and who controls it?

• Why is the Rafah crossing so important in this conflict?

• Why is access across Rafah restricted?

• What efforts are being made to open the border?

• Why are Arab states so reluctant to take in Palestinians?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:  

📍A looming invasion: Implications for Gaza, Hamas, Palestinian cause


How Google’s manufacturing plans could help India cut down imports


Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.

Mains Examination: General Studies III: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story-Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the CEO of Alphabet, Sundar Pichai, on Monday (October 16) discussed the company’s plan to establish an electronics manufacturing ecosystem in India.

An official statement issued by the government said during the online video interaction, PM Modi appreciated Google’s partnership with Hewlett Packard (HP) to manufacture Chromebook laptops in India. Alphabet is the parent company of Google.

• What’s the big deal about the manufacture of the Chromebooks?

• Why is local electronics manufacturing important for India?

• For Your Information-India seeks to establish itself as a “trusted partner” in global supply chains at a time when companies, especially from the US, are looking to diversify away from China, which has been the hub of such manufacturing for decades.
Indian imports of electronic goods and laptops/ computers have increased in the last few years. China accounts for roughly 70-80% of Indian imports of personal computers and laptops. New Delhi would like to change this situation as soon as possible.
During April-June this year, the import of electronic goods increased to $6.96 billion from $4.73 billion in the year-ago period, with a share of 4-7% in overall imports. The biggest share of imports is in the category of personal computers, including laptops and palmtops, under which imports from China stood at $558.36 million in April-May this year as against $618.26 million in the year-ago period.
As the window for the Centre’s production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme closed in August, more than 40 companies, including Dell, HP, Asus, Acer, and Lenovo, applied to participate in the programme to manufacture laptops, computers and servers in India. Apple chose to not apply.
The government is expected to clear applications of around 30 companies soon, the majority of which will start production from next April, it is understood.

• What else is India doing apart from seeking to incentivise manufacturing in the country?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:  

📍PM Modi invites Google to ‘contribute’ to AI summit

📍Why Google producing its Chromebook laptops in India is significant

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