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20 January 2021: The Hindu Editorial Analysis

1) A plaintive lament on liberty that rings hollow.

As examples show, the judiciary’s callous attitude at every level towards human liberty is destructive of the rule of law.

GS-2: Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

1. “Human Liberty and the role of courts”?, the top court noted that “human liberty is a precious constitutional value”; that “the writ of liberty runs through the fabric of the Constitution”.

2. “Criminal law does not become a weapon for the selective harassment of citizens” sc on interprets of Right to liberty.

3. The Supreme Court (SC) of India granted bail to the television anchor, Arnab Goswami on basis interpret of Article 21 of constitution.

 

Constitutional value of Right to liberty:

1. “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law.”

Article 21 secures two rights:

 1)  Right to life, and

 2) Right to personal liberty.

2. Article 21 of the Constitution of India, 1950 provides that, “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.”

3. Art. 21 do not place an absolute embargo on the deprivation of life or personal liberty and for that matter on right to livelihood.

4. In Sodan Singh v. New Delhi Municipal Committee case , the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court distinguished the concept of life and liberty within Art.21 from the right to carry on any trade or business.

5. And held the right to carry on trade or business is not included in the concept of life and personal liberty. Article 21 is not attracted in the case of trade and business.

 

Same case where Right to liberty and habeas corpus may not follow:

1. The Bhima Koregaon case had been in jail for more than two years.

2. Delhi riots in February 2020, students had been jailed for months (again without trial),

3. After abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019, thousands of Kashmiris had been locked up for months, with their habeas corpus petitions going unheard, or dismissed.

4. Karnataka High Court’s decision releasing certain Citizenship (Amendment) Act protesters on bail,

 

About habeas corpus:

1. A habeas corpus is a petition filed under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution, through which the Supreme Court can order the authorities to produce people before it to verify if they have been detained as per the procedures established by the law.

2. A writ of habeas corpus (which literally means to "produce the body") is a court order demanding that a public official (such as a warden) deliver an imprisoned individual to the court and show a valid reason for that person's detention.

 

Criticism of Court:

1.The high court abdicated its constitutional duty and function as a protector of liberty” but way not for all citizen.

2. The rule of law in a society breaks down when the courts appear to be telling the citizenry, “show me the man and I’ll show you the law”

3. “a single day deprived of liberty is a day too many”, while every other court including the Supreme Court itself rejects bail applications of people jailed for years and months without trial,

4. The judiciary’s undeniably callous attitude towards human liberty is deeply destructive of the rule of law:

 

ABOUT PERSONAL LIBERTY:

 Liberty of the person is one of the oldest concepts to be protected by national courts. As long as 1215, the English Magna Carta provided.

 

The meaning of the term ‘personal liberty:

1. the Supreme Court in the Kharak Singh’s case,:The Court observed that the right to personal liberty in the Indian Constitution is the right of an individual to be free from restrictions or encroachments on his person, whether they are directly imposed or indirectly brought about by calculated measures.

2. The Supreme Court has held that even lawful imprisonment does not spell farewell to all fundamental rights. A prisoner retains all the rights enjoyed by a free citizen except only those ‘necessarily’ lost as an incident of imprisonment.

 

Way forward:

1. The right to life and personal liberty has been interpreted widely to include the right to livelihood, health, education, environment and all those matters that contributed to life with dignity.

2. The fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India provides that none shall be deprived of his life without due process of law.

3. The scope of ‘procedure established by law’ and held that merely a procedure has been established by law a person cannot be deprived of his life and liberty unless the procedure is just, fair and reasonable.

 

2) India-Nepal relations in a new transition, New Delhi is comfortable with some changes as its Nepal policy is heading towards deeper engagement with all sections.

GS-2: India and its neighborhood- relations.

GS-2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.


CONTEXT:

1. The year 2020 marked China’s unprecedented aggression, with an aim to counter India’s through Nepal and South Asia at large.

2. India is comfortable with some changes as its Nepal policy. Fresh mechanism to resolve the issue.

3. India-Nepal bilateral relations must give a humane consideration to it.

 

Nepal domestic compulsion: Enlighten self-interest.”

1. Nepal PM gets House dissolved, sparks protests and Stature as a ‘caretaker government’.

2. . The growing disenchantment among the Nepali masses over the increased centralization of power, failure of the Provincial System in addressing the developmental issues, misuse of Presidential authority.

3. Large section of the Nepali people wants the ‘cultural Monarchy’ back.

 

Business as usual: India – Nepal.

1. Meeting of the Joint Commission in taking forward several bilateral initiatives to resolve bi-lateral issue.

2. The close cooperation between the two sides in combating the COVID-19 pandemic issue. An early provision of vaccines to Nepal was positively considered by India.

3. the expansion of the Motihari-Amlekhganj petroleum products pipeline to Chitwan and the establishment of a new pipeline on the eastern side connecting Siliguri to Jhapa in Nepal.

4. first passenger railway line between India and Nepal from Jaynagar to Kurtha via Janakpur,

5. Other “cross-border rail connectivity projects, including a possible Raxaul-Kathmandu broad gauge railway line”,

6. Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) at Birgunj and Biratnagar have helped in the seamless movement of people and trade between the two countries,

7. The joint hydropower projects, including the proposed Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project.

8. India’s support to two more cultural heritage projects in Nepal, namely, the Pashupatinath Riverfront Development and the Bhandarkhal Garden Restoration in Patan Durbar.

9. Nepal expressed support for India’s permanent membership of an expanded UN Security Council (UNSC).

10. The Joint Commission laid emphasis on the need for facilitating cross-border movement of people and goods,

 

China factor:

1. Accordingly, China’s geo-strategic, economic and infrastructural drives were made tempting to a precarious Nepal with its fragile democracy and the adulterated ideological standing of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (CPN).

2. The year 2020 marked China’s unprecedented aggression, with an aim to counter India’s conventional edge in Nepal and South Asia at large.

 

Area of concern:

1. Nepal clam 'Will Retrieve Our Areas triangle north of Kumaon, Kalapani, Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh' Nepal 'New Map' Plan.

2. Statement over media on, religious, political, and COVID matter, even internal matter.

 

SOLUTIONS:

1. BACK TO TABLE: The negotiating teams must meet with archival papers, treaties and agreements, administrative records, communications, maps and drawings.

2. REDRAW THE MAP: The formal negotiations should begin with a public commitment on by both sides to redraw their respective maps according to the negotiated settlement as and when it happens.

3. DECLARING PEACE ZONE: Not to prejudge the outcome, If Nepal were to gain full possession of Limpiyadhura, it should declare the area a ‘zone of peace and pilgrimage’.

4. DEMILITARISED AREA: The larger area must be demilitarized by both neighbors to ensure security for them, while the Kailash-Manasarovar route is kept open for pilgrims.

 

Way Forward:

1. Open border: Both the countries are affected due to the misuse of open border by internal and external forces, the responsibility of border management and regulation depends on both.

2. People-to-people connectivity: India should provide an alternative narrative for India-Nepal ties, one that takes into account longstanding people-to-people ties and cultural connect.

3. Potential of Nepal: India should focus on fructifying the potential of hydropower cooperation, which has remained untapped largely due to differing perceptions.

4. Way from internal affairs:  India should maintain the policy of keeping away from internal affairs of Nepal, meanwhile in the spirit of friendship India should guide the nation towards more inclusive rhetoric.

5. Strategic relevance of Nepal: With its immense strategic relevance in the Indian context as Indian security concern, stable and secure Nepal is one requisite which India can’t afford to overlook.

 

3) The threat of deep fakes(Artificial intelligence)

We need AI-backed technological tools to detect the unreal.

GS-3: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, Nano-technology, bio-technology.

GS-3: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security.


CONTEXT:

1. Deepfakes — synthetic media, meaning media (including images, audio and video) that are either manipulated or wholly generated by Artificial Intelligence.

2. The power to threaten the several social media platforms blocked President Donald Trump’s accounts after the attack.

3. India faces the same problem of AI-backed technological tools.

 

About:

1. Deepfakes refer to manipulated videos, or other digital representations produced by sophisticated artificial intelligence, that yield fabricated images and sounds that appear to be real.

2.  In which a person in an existing image or video is replaced with someone else's likeness.

3. deepfakes leverage powerful techniques from machine learning and artificial intelligence to manipulate or generate visual and audio content with a high potential to deceive.

4. The main machine learning methods used to create deepfakes are based on deep learning and involve training generative neural network architectures, such as autoencoders or generative adversarial networks.

5. Deepfakes have garnered widespread attention for their uses in celebrity pornographic videos, fake news, hoaxes, and financial fraud.

 

Law over Deepfakes:

USA:

According to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, a law which protects freedom of expression and innovation on the Internet, means  the companies are not responsible for the posts on their platforms.

 

INDIA:

1. Article 19(2) permits reasonable restrictions to be placed on the right in view of public policy concerns.

2. Purportedly in accordance with A 19(2), the IT Act contains numerous provisions that can be used to censor online content.

3. Indian Penal Code that criminalize certain forms of online/social media content manipulation.

4. 69A of IT Act authorizes the government to block any content from being accessed by the public on various grounds.

5. Section 79 of the IT Act requires an Intermediary to observe certain guidelines in order to avail of exemption from liability.

6. (IT Act 2000) make social networking sites in India are liable for various acts or omissions that are punishable under the laws of India.

 

Challenges:

1. The cognitive capabilities of current architectures are very limited to overcome deepfakes.

2. Issues raised by communal, defamatory and violent content (particularly towards women) continue to concern.

3. Cyber security issue fake news and social media control content is big challenge

4. Legislation and expert over IR. ,infrastructure is big issues to mitigate deepfakes.

 

New tools:

1. Only AI-generated tools can be effective in detection. As innovation in deepfakes gets better, AI-based automated tools must be invented accordingly.

2Blockchains are robust against many security threats and can be used to digitally sign and affirm the validity of a video or document.

3. Educating media users about the capabilities of AI algorithms could help.

 

Conclusion:

1This is a problem as due to the global nature of the Internet, it is very difficult to control content being uploaded in foreign countries and being viewed in India.

2.  Further, the thorny issue of who gets to decide to censor content and under what circumstances is a nuanced debate which unfortunately tends to be hijacked by arguments based on security concerns / need for broad emergency provisions. Most attempts at censorship have therefore been haphazard and inconsistent.

3Issues raised by communal, defamatory and violent content (particularly towards women) continue to receive very little attention. Particularly worrying is the lack of accountability, transparency and oversight in the system.