Daily Current Affairs 6th February - Mains

UPSC Daily Current Affairs – Mains [6th February 2023]

GS 1

Supreme Court income tax order on Sikkim, and the protests it has triggered

Syllabus: Post-independence Consolidation and Reorganisation within the country

Source – Indian Express


A review petition was filed in the Supreme Court to rectify the court’s observation on Sikkimese Nepalis in Sikkim. Political parties in Sikkim voiced their opposition to the court’s finding that Sikkimese Nepalis were immigrants while granting income tax exemption (under Section 10(26AAA) of the IT Act 1961) to all long-term settlers, regardless of ethnicity.

Section 10(26AAA) of the IT Act 1961

  • The section provides exemptions to reduce the taxpayer’s burden by excluding certain income from the calculation of an individual’s tax.
  • Inserted into the IT Act in 2008 with retrospective effect from April 1, 1990, when the IT Act was made applicable in Sikkim.
  • Before 1990, the Sikkim Income Tax Manual 1948 was applicable in Sikkim.

Challenge to Section 10(26AAA)

  • The petitioners challenged the proviso excluding Sikkimese women married to non-Sikkimese men from the benefit of tax exemption.
  • The definition of ‘Sikkimese‘ under the explanation to Section 10(26AAA) was also challenged as it excluded Indians who settled in Sikkim before April 26, 1975, from the tax exemption benefits.
  • The Association of the Old Settlers of Sikkim challenged the constitutional validity of the definition.

Supreme Court Ruling

  • The benefit of tax exemption provided in Section 10(26AAA) shall be extended to all Indian citizens domiciled in Sikkim on or before April 26, 1975.
  • The court struck down the provision excluding Sikkimese women as violative of Articles 14, 15, and 21 of the Constitution.
  • The court’s ruling is in line with the previous ruling in Sekar vs. Geetha & Ors (2009), which stated that a woman has an identity of her own that cannot be taken away by marriage.

Observations of the Court

  • Under the Sikkim Income Tax Manual 1948, all persons engaged in business were subjected to tax, regardless of their origin.
  • The court observed that there was no difference made between the original inhabitants of Sikkim and foreign-origin settlers or Indian-origin settlers.
  • The court recorded that Nepalese migrants were benefiting from Section 10(26AAA) of the IT Act 1961 while arbitrarily excluding settlers of Indian origin.


The Supreme Court’s ruling on Section 10(26AAA) of the IT Act 1961 provides a more inclusive approach to tax exemptions in Sikkim. The provision excluding Sikkimese women married to non-Sikkimese men was declared violative of the Constitution, ensuring equal treatment of all citizens. The ruling also extends the benefit of tax exemptions to all Indian citizens domiciled in Sikkim on or before April 26, 1975, thereby rectifying the arbitrary exclusion of settlers of Indian origin. The court’s observations on the Sikkim Income Tax highlight the need for a more equitable and inclusive tax system, where all citizens are treated equally, regardless of their origin.

GS 2

The Supreme Court celebrates the 73rd anniversary of its establishment

Syllabus: Indian Judiciary

Source – Indian Express


The Supreme Court of India, the highest judicial body in the country, is celebrating its first-ever anniversary with the Chief Justice of Singapore, Sundaresh Menon, as the chief guest. The Supreme Court was established on January 28, 1950, two days after the Indian Constitution came into effect.

A Brief Overview of India’s Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court of India is the highest court of appeal and has the power to review and interpret the Constitution. It is also the final court of appeal in all civil, criminal, and constitutional cases. The Supreme Court evolved from the Federal Court of India, which was established in 1937.

Important Judgements of the Supreme Court:

Throughout its history, the Supreme Court has made several significant judgments that have had a profound impact on the country. Some of these include:

  • The landmark judgment in Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala, established the concept of the “basic structure” of the Constitution, meaning that certain basic features of the Constitution could not be altered or amended by the Parliament.
  • The verdict in the Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India case expanded the definition of personal liberty and freedom guaranteed under the Constitution.
  • The judgment in the Indian Express Newspapers v. Union of India case established the freedom of the press as a fundamental right.
  • The verdict in the Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan case laid down guidelines for the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace.

These judgments have shaped the way the country operates and have ensured that the rights of the people are protected.

How has the Supreme Court of India Changed Over the Years?

  • Number of Judges:
    • Originally, the Constitution had envisioned the Supreme Court with a Chief Justice and 7 puisne judges
    • The Parliament has the power to increase this number
    • Currently, there are 32 judges (including the Chief Justice) and the maximum possible strength is 34
  • Sittings:
    • In the early years, all judges of the Supreme Court sat together to hear the cases
    • With an increase in the number of cases, the Supreme Court now sits in smaller benches of two to three judges
    • Larger benches of 5 or more judges are formed only when required
  • Expansion of Jurisdiction:
    • Over the years, the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court has expanded
    • The Supreme Court has taken on an active role in public interest litigation and providing judicial remedies for various social and economic issues.

Significance of Supreme Court:

  • Final appellate court: The Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in India and the final court of appeal in the country.
  • Defender of the Constitution: It is responsible for interpreting the Indian Constitution and upholding its principles and provisions.
  • Leader in public interest litigation: The Supreme Court has been a leader in the development of public interest litigation in India, allowing citizens to bring cases to the court to address issues of public concern.
  • Political stability: It serves as a check on the power of the government and other institutions, helping to ensure political stability and the rule of law in the country.
  • Defender of rights: The Supreme Court has also established itself as a defender of the rights of marginalized groups, including women, children, and religious and ethnic minorities.

Limitations of Supreme Court:

  • Case backlog: Despite being the final court of appeal, the Supreme Court has struggled to keep up with its backlog of cases, leading to significant delays in the resolution of disputes.
  • Shortage of Judges, staff, and funding: The Supreme Court has faced difficulties in recruiting and retaining the necessary personnel to handle its workload, as well as securing the funding required to operate effectively.
  • Political pressure: The Supreme Court has faced criticism for being susceptible to political pressure and influence, particularly from the executive branch of government.
  • Difficulty in enforcing judgments: In some cases, the Supreme Court has faced difficulties in enforcing its own judgments, as lower courts or other institutions may be unwilling or unable to comply with its decisions.

GS 3

Generative AI: The potential applications and ethical concerns

Syllabus: Science & Technology

Source – The Hindu, PIB

What is Generative AI?

  • Refers to the capability of AI-enabled machines to create new content based on existing text, audio files, or images
  • Utilizes machine learning models to predict new content based on previous content
  • Examples include: BERT and LaMDA from Google, OPT-175B and BlenderBot from Facebook, GPT-3 and DALL-E2 from OpenAI, and Whisper from OpenAI backed by Microsoft

Benefits of Generative AI:

  • Automated content generation
  • Improved content quality
  • Increased content variety
  • Personalized content

Generative Adversarial Network (GAN):

  • A type of machine learning model in which two neural networks compete to become more accurate in their predictions
  • Typically operates unsupervised and uses a cooperative zero-sum game framework to learn

Ethical Concerns with Generative AI:

  • Bias and discrimination
  • Responsibility and accountability
  • Privacy
  • Ownership and control
  • Fairness and transparency
  • Job displacement
  • Misuse (such as creating fake news or deep fakes, or spreading hate speech)

Indian Initiatives for Generative AI:

  • National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence published by the government
  • National Program on Artificial Intelligence approved by MeitY to develop AI-based solutions for responsible and transformational use of AI
  • National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS) being implemented by the Department of Science & Technology.

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