Kurukshetra IAS Academy Blogs

1. India strongly objects to U.S. remarks on Kejriwal’s arrest

India on Wednesday summoned a U.S. diplomat and expressed “strong objection” to the remarks of the spokesperson of the U.S. State Department on the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a case of alleged corruption.

In a statement, the External Affairs Ministry said that “fellow democracies should respect each other’s sovereignty”, and highlighted India’s “independent judiciary”.

“We take strong objection to the remarks of the spokesperson of the U.S. State Department about certain legal proceedings in India. In diplomacy, states are expected to be respectful of the sovereignty and internal affairs of others. This responsibility is even more so in case of fellow democracies. It could otherwise end up setting unhealthy precedents,” the Ministry said.

On Monday, the spokesperson of the State Department said the U.S. government hoped Mr. Kejriwal’s case would be treated through a “timely legal process”. “We encourage a fair, transparent, and timely legal process for Chief Minister Kejriwal,” the spokesperson had said.

“India’s legal processes are based on an independent judiciary which is committed to objective and timely outcomes. Casting aspersions on that is unwarranted,” the Ministry said on Wednesday.

U.S. official summoned

Gloria Berbena, the U.S.’s Acting Deputy Chief of Mission, was also summoned to a 40-minute meet at the South Block on Wednesday to convey the protest officially, according to sources. Despite New Delhi’s stern summons, the U.S. repeated its concerns at its briefing in Washington on Wednesday, saying the U.S. “continues to follow” the Centre’s actions in the run-up to the election. “We are also aware of the Congress party’s allegations that tax authorities have frozen some of their bank accounts,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said.

“We encourage fair, transparent and timely legal processes for each of these issues… We don’t think anyone should object to that,” he added in the comments that came in response to a journalist who cited a report by Amnesty International.

2. Bail condition limiting political involvement violates rights, says SC

The Supreme Court said judges should not order accused persons to surrender their right to be politically active in return for bail.

A three-judge Bench led by Justice B.R. Gavai, in a recent order, said to compel a person to stay away from politics by making his or her bail conditional on that is a plain violation of fundamental rights.

The apex court clarified the point in a petition filed by a former Mayor of Berhampur Municipal Corporation. The man in question, Siba Shankar Das, was granted bail in a criminal case in 2022. One of the grounds laid down by the Orissa High Court was that he should “not create any untoward situation in public or be involved in any political activities, directly or indirectly”.

Mr. Das had moved the High Court to modify this bail condition, saying he wanted to participate in the political activities ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. In January, the High Court refused his plea. Following this, he moved the apex court.

“We find that the imposition of such a condition would breach the fundamental rights of the appellant [Das] and no such conditions could have been imposed. We, therefore, quash and set aside the condition imposed by the High Court,” the three-judge Bench headed by Justice Gavai held.

The High Court, in January, had declined to modify the bail condition on the ground that Mr. Das’s involvement in politics was a danger to himself. The Court recounted instances when death came dangerously close to him.

“He [Das] is always under a life threat and lifting of the condition, at this juncture, shall in all probability put the administration to enough difficulties,” the Court had reasoned.

The State government had argued that not only were murderous attempts made on Mr. Das, but he had himself been involved in new cases. The State had alleged that he was involved in 57 cases.

3. ICMR set to bring in evidence-based norms for lung cancer management

Currently, evidence-based guidelines do not exist with respect to prevention, screening, diagnosis, management, and palliation of lung cancer in India, despite the fact that lung cancer is one of the commonest cancers in India accounting for 10% of total cancer deaths in the country.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), understanding this gap, is now all set to launch a systematic review and meta-analyses which, it notes, will play a crucial role in synthesising existing evidence to inform decision-making in the management of lung cancer to guide clinical practice and improve patient outcomes.

The Council has launched an expression of interest (EoI) from researchers who are interested in conducting systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

“Prospective applicants will be tasked to conduct systematic reviews/meta-analysis pertaining to the identified review questions (PICOs) and assessing the quality of evidence using Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) tool,’’ the ICMR said, adding that the process of generating such evidence would entail the compilation of systematic reviews from the existing literature, focusing on well-defined review questions.

Grading methodology

“Additionally, the evidence derived from these systematic reviews and meta-analyses will be systematically assessed for its strength utilising the GRADE. This grading methodology will serve to evaluate the quality of evidence, which will subsequently inform the formulation of recommendations following the application of the Evidence to Decision (EtD) framework,’’ noted the ICMR.

The Council also said that depending on the scope of the review, a team might be assigned more than one review question, including prevention, screening, diagnosis etc.

According to the World Health Organisation, lung cancer is a significant public health concern, causing a considerable number of deaths globally. Smoking tobacco (including cigarettes, cigars, and pipes) is the primary risk factor for lung cancer, but it can also affect non-smokers. Other risk factors include exposure to second-hand smoke, etc.

4. Palestinians denied of homeland, India talks to Russia ‘bluntly’: Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar on Wednesday said that a response to the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip has to acknowledge the fact that the Palestinian people were “denied the right to their homeland”. Mr. Jaishankar, who is on a visit to Malaysia, said that the challenge of foreign policy framing is to get the “balance right”. He referred to the conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine and said Indian interlocutors were used to “pass messages”.

“How different pulls and pressures can be. On the one hand, what happened on October 7 was terrorism. On the other hand, nobody would countenance the death of innocent civilians. Countries may be justified in their own minds in responding, but every response must take into account something called international humanitarian law,” Mr. Jaishankar said while interacting with the Indian community.

“Whatever the rights and wrongs of the issue, there is the underlying issue of the rights of the Palestinians and the fact that they have been denied their homeland,” he said.

In the backdrop of the conflict that intensified after the Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, Mr. Jaishankar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval have maintained dialogues with various stakeholders in West Asia as well as in eastern Europe. Mr. Jaishankar will host Foreign Minister of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba who is scheduled to arrive here later this week. He said that Indians have been talking to Russia “bluntly” and said, “Real life has a whole lot of complexities.” During his visit to Singapore two days earlier, Mr. Jaishankar had referred to Russia-India relation as one marked by “positive relationship”.

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