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The judgment is applicable to organisations both at the Central and State levels
The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered political parties to publish the entire criminal history of their candidates for the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections along with the reasons that goaded them to field suspected criminals over decent people.
The information should be published in a local and a national newspaper as well as the parties’ social media handles. It should mandatorily be published either within 48 hours of the selection of candidates or less than two weeks before the first date for filing of nominations, whichever is earlier.
A Bench led by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman, in the judgment, ordered political parties to submit compliance reports with the Election Commission of India within 72 hours or risk contempt of court action.
The judgment is applicable to parties both at the Central and State levels.
The judgment by the Bench, also comprising Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, signified the court’s alarm at the unimpeded rise of criminals, often facing heinous charges like rape and murder, encroaching into the country’s political and electoral realms.
The published information on the criminal antecedents of a candidate should be detailed and include the nature of the offences, charges framed against him, the court concerned and the case number.
A political party should explain to the public through its published material how the “qualifications or achievements or merit” of a candidate, charged with a crime, impressed it enough to cast aside the smear of his criminal background.
Hopes fade for deal during President Trump’s visit to India
U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer has put off his trip to India this week, at least two official sources said, amid signs that the India-U.S. trade talks have hit a rough patch just ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit.
According to the sources, who are aware of the negotiations, no reason has been given for the change of plans in the USTR’s visit that was expected on Thursday, but that there is still a considerable chance that he would visit as a part of Mr. Trump’s entourage to finalise a trade package or a “mini-trade deal” with his counterpart, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, on items that the two sides have been negotiating for more than two years now.
The two chief negotiators have been speaking on the phone quite regularly, the sources added.
“If [President Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi] fail to bring even a modest agreement forward, it will be a missed opportunity to make progress that can benefit both countries and strengthen economic ties,” said Nisha Biswal, president of the U.S.-India Business Council at the U.S. Chambers of Commerce. She was speaking at an interview during a visit to India this week.
However, Ms. Biswal said she remained “optimistic” that a “limited trade deal” would be finalised as part of the visit. Mr. Trump and his wife Melania are travelling to Delhi and Ahmedabad on February 24 and 25 , and are expected to visit Agra as well.
The ‘Future of Earth, 2020’ report enlists key global risks
Five global risks that have the potential to impact and amplify one another in ways that may cascade to create global systemic crisis, have been listed by ‘The Future of Earth, 2020,’ which was released here on Thursday by the South Asia Future Earth Regional Office, Divecha Centre for Climate Change, Indian Institute of Science.
The report, released by K. Kasturirangan, former Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), lists the failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation; extreme weather events; major biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse; food crises; and water crises, as the five global risks.
As many as 222 leading scientists from 52 countries conducted the survey by Future Earth, an international sustainability research network. The Bengaluru launch was among similar parallel ones across other parts of the world scheduled between February 13 and 21.
The report was prepared with the aim of reducing carbon footprint and halting global warming below 2 degree Celsius by 2050.
Offering examples of how the interrelation of risk factors play a role, scientists say extreme heat waves can accelerate global warming by releasing large amounts of stored carbon from affected ecosystems, and at the same time intensify water crises and/ or food scarcity.
The loss of biodiversity also weakens the capacity of natural and agricultural systems to cope with climate extremes, increasing our vulnerability to food crises, they point out.
Among the chapters in the report is one on climate, focusing on “dialing down the heat”.
Lead author Diana Liverman, School of Geography and Development, University of Arizona, points out that over the last 18 months, major assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the U.S. National Climate Assessment, and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, have all argued that time is running out to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“This has inspired declarations of a climate crisis or climate emergency by the leaders of more than 700 cities, States and governments. Yet, during 2019, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached more than 415 ppm, and the five years from 2014 to 2018 were the warmest recorded over land and ocean since 1880,” read the report.
In another chapter, ‘Populism versus grassroots movements’ author Richard Calland, University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership, and Associate Professor of Public Law, University of Cape Town, said “right-wing populism, a breed of politics that exploits people’s fears during times of economic decline and growing inequality, and that focuses on nationalist tendencies to clamp down on borders and reject immigrants,” is on the rise around the world. This, he argues, often leads to a denial of climate change facts or impacts.
Humans have now “significantly altered” 75% of our planet’s land area; about a quarter of species in assessed plant and animal groups are threatened, writes Cornelia Krug, Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Switzerland, in the chapter on biodiversity.