UPSC Daily Current Affairs - 21st February 2023

UPSC Daily Current Affairs – Mains [21st February 2023]

GS 2

Designation of Senior Advocates at Supreme Court & High Courts

Syllabus: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary

Source: IE

In News

The Indian government is attempting to modify the criteria for the appointment of senior advocates, which were established by the Supreme Court following the Indira Jaising vs. Union of India case in 2017.


  • In 2017, Indira Jaising, India’s first woman Senior Advocate, criticized the existing process for designating senior advocates as “opaque,” “arbitrary,” and “fraught with nepotism.”
  • In response, the Supreme Court laid down guidelines for both itself and all High Courts on this process, although it acknowledged that these guidelines were not comprehensive and could be subject to further consideration by the Court.
  • More recently, an application for modification of these guidelines was filed in the case of “Amar Vivek Aggarwal vs. High Court of Punjab and Haryana” before the Apex Court.

The Guidelines to Regulate the Conferment of Designation of Senior Advocates 2018

The Guidelines to Regulate the Conferment of Designation of Senior Advocates 2018 provide a framework for the designation of Senior Advocates in India. The key features of the guidelines are as follows:

  1. Permanent Secretariat: The guidelines establish a permanent secretariat to receive and compile all applications for the designation of Senior Advocates.
  2. Committee for Designation of Senior Advocates: The guidelines establish a Committee for the Designation of Senior Advocates, which is empowered with the powers of conferment. The committee is chaired by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and consists of two senior-most judges of the Supreme Court of India, the Attorney General of India, and a member of the Bar.
  3. Recommendation or Application: An advocate can be recommended by the CJI or any other judge, or can submit an application themselves. The guidelines specify that the applications will be evaluated on criteria such as 10-20 years of legal practice as an advocate, district judge, or judicial member of an Indian tribunal.
  4. Approval and Full Court: Once a candidate’s name is approved, it is forwarded to the Full Court for a final decision. The Full Court can also recall the designation on the basis of the majority.
  5. Voting by Secret Ballot: To ensure greater transparency in the process, the guidelines discourage the system of “voting by secret ballot,” except in unavoidable cases.

How were advocates designated before the 2017 ruling?

Prior to the 2017 ruling, the process for designating advocates as senior advocates was as follows:

  • The Advocates Act, 1961 [Section 16(1)] established two classes of advocates – senior advocates and other advocates. To be designated as a senior advocate, an advocate must be a deserving candidate and possess exceptional competence and contribute to the development of law, as per the opinion of the Supreme Court or a High Court.
  • The designation of an advocate as a senior advocate was at the discretion of the Chief Justice and the judges.

What is the reason behind the Centre’s attempt to modify the guidelines?

  • The Centre believes that the current requirements for designation are arbitrary and have led to the exclusion of eligible candidates. The existing point-based system assigns 40% weightage to factors such as publications, personality, and suitability, which are subjective and ineffective, and undermine the significance and respect of the designation.
  • Therefore, the Centre’s proposed modifications seek to reintroduce a simple majority voting system through secret ballot. This approach would allow the judges to express their views on the suitability of the candidate and make the process more transparent and fair.

China’s stand on Russia and Ukraine

Syllabus: International Relations

Source: IE

In News

More than a year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, fresh apprehensions have surfaced regarding the potential readiness of Beijing to provide military support to Moscow.

Relationship between Russia and China

  • Both nations have vowed to maintain an unrestricted friendship.
  • China’s Foreign Ministry has stated that the partnership between the two countries is founded on the principles of non-alignment, non-confrontation, and non-targeting of third parties.

China’s stance on Russia’s conflict with Ukraine

  • China has refrained from condemning Russia and instead attributed Russia’s actions to being provoked by NATO’s expansion towards the west.
  • Additionally, joint military exercises have been conducted between the two countries since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • Nevertheless, China has maintained that it is crucial to uphold the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.
  • Consequently, China has attempted to balance a delicate and often conflicting approach, publicly presenting itself as a nation striving for peace in Ukraine while privately supporting Russia’s war efforts.

Has China offered any material assistance to Russia?

Up to this point, China’s support for Russia has primarily been limited to political and rhetorical backing, such as blocking attempts to condemn Moscow at the United Nations. However, the United States has expressed persistent apprehension that China might provide military aid to Russia.

How has China reacted to accusations of supplying military assistance to Russia?

China’s Foreign Ministry maintains that it has consistently played a constructive part in the Ukraine conflict by adhering to principles, advocating for peace, and promoting negotiations. Additionally, China alleges that the United States is exacerbating the situation to exploit the opportunity for financial gain.

What are the potential outcomes if China provides assistance to Russia?

  • Impact on US-China relations: With the US currently restricting Chinese access to microprocessors and continuously challenging China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, any military aid from China to Russia is likely to further strain their already-tense relationship.
  • For China: The most critical issue is the US’s support for Taiwan, a significant purchaser of American defensive weapons.
  • For India: Given Delhi’s concerns about the growing Russia-China partnership in recent years, any military aid from China to Russia may escalate tensions for India.

Indian blue economy

Syllabus: Environment Conservation

Source: DTE

In News

India has taken the lead in promoting the blue economy agenda, particularly in the Indian Ocean region, leveraging its strategic geographic location. However, the global issue of abandoned, lost, or discarded fishing gear poses a serious threat that must not be ignored.

Blue Economy and India’s Advantages

  • The Blue Economy encompasses a range of sustainable economic activities related to the development of resources in oceans, connecting rivers, water bodies, and coastal regions, with a focus on equity, inclusion, innovation, and modern technology.
  • India, with its strategic position along the coast, has been leading discussions on the Blue Economy at the highest levels.
  • The advantages that India has for the Blue Economy include being a global producer of fish, the presence of Poly Metallic Nodules (PMNs), and the significance of sea trade.
  • Currently, 95% of India’s trade volume transits by sea, and in 2021, the total capacity of all Indian ports was 2562.85 MTPA. The development of the Blue Economy in India can also boost domestic and regional trade.

Initiatives taken by India

  1. Promoting the concept of ‘SAGAR-Security and Growth for All in the Region’ in the Indian Ocean Region.
  2. Sagarmala Project aimed at developing the country’s ports and maritime infrastructure.
  3. Development of Coastal Economic Zones to promote industrialization in coastal areas.
  4. Resource exploration: India has shifted its focus towards exploring resources in the Indian Ocean, having explored 75,000 sq km of Indian Ocean Seabed and developing technologies such as remotely operated vehicles for mining resources.
  5. Matsya Sampada Yojana, a scheme aimed at the sustainable development of marine and inland fisheries.
  6. Strengthening international relations and security in the Indian Ocean Region.

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