The Hindu Newspaper 22/05/2020

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1) The “Principle of Absolute Liability”, sometimes seen in the news recently is a part of which of the following?

  • a.   Article 13
  • b.   Article 19
  • c.   Article 21
  • d.   Article 32

Answer : c

  • The National Green Tribunal’s order in the Visakhapatnam gas tragedy has found LG Polymers prima facie liable under the 19th century English law Principle of “Strict Liability” and directed the company to deposit an initial amount of Rs. 50 crore and formed a fact-finding committee.
  • But, the Principle of Strict Liability was made redundant in India by the Supreme Court in 1986.
  • Lawyers say the term “Absolute Liability” should have been used instead.

The Principle of Strict Liability

  • Under the “Strict Liability Principle”, a party is not liable and need not pay compensation if a hazardous substance escapes his premises by accident or by an “act of God’” among other circumstances.

The Principle of Absolute Liability

  • In 1986, the Supreme Court, while deciding the Oleum gas leak case of Delhi, found strict liability woefully inadequate to protect citizens’ rights in an industrialised economy like India and replaced it with the ‘Absolute Liability Principle’.
  • The court said a hazardous enterprise has an “absolute non-delegable duty to the community” to ensure that no harm results to anyone on account of hazardous or inherently dangerous nature of the activity which it has undertaken and therefore, such corporations would be subjected to the limitations of right to life under Article 21 of the Indian constitution.
  • The principle of absolute liability is a part of Article 21 (right to life).

Bhopal Gas Tragedy

  • The country was then reeling under the shock of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.
  • The court under then Chief Justice P.N. Bhagwati stated that “If any harm results on account of such activity, the enterprise must be absolutely liable to compensate for such harm irrespective of the fact that the enterprise had taken all reasonable care and that the harm occurred without any negligence on its part.
  • So, under the absolute liability principle, the apex court held that a company in a hazardous industry cannot claim any exemption.
  • It has to mandatorily pay compensation, whether or not the disaster was caused by its negligence.

Strict Liability Vs Absolute Liability

  • The court found that strict liability, evolved in an 1868 English case called Rylands versus Fletcher, provided companies with several exemptions from assuming liability.
  • Absolute liability, on the other hand, provided them with no defence or exemptions.

2)Consider the following statements with respect to Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit

  1. India is one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which was established in 1961 with 29 members. 
  2. Non-Aligned Movement Summit is the main meeting and are held every two years.
  3. India had not participated in the last two summits held in 2017 and 2019.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  • a.   1 only
  • b.   1 and 2 only
  • c.   2 and 3 only
  • d.   1, 2 and 3
  • PM Modi has for the first time addressed the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit since assuming office in 2014.
  • He skipped the last two NAM summits held in 2016 and 2019.

Non Alignment Movement (NAM)

  • India is one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which was established in 1961 with 29 members. 
  • The conference of Heads of State or Government of the Non-Aligned Countries, often referred to as Non-Aligned Movement Summit is the main meeting within the movement and are held every few years. (No specific time interval between two summits)
  • India had participated in both the summits held in 2017 and 2019 with delegations headed by the Vice-President Mr. Hamid Ansari and Venkaiah Naidu.

3)Consider the following statements with respect to African Swine Fever

  1. It is a severe viral disease that affects wild and domestic pigs typically resulting in an acute haemorrhagic fever.
  2. It is not a threat to human beings since it only spreads from animals to other animals.
  3. At present, there is no approved vaccine for this disease.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  • a.   1 only
  • b.   1 and 3 only
  • c.   2 and 3 only
  • d.   1, 2 and 3

African Swine Flu (ASF)

  • ASF is a highly contagious and fatal animal disease that infects domestic and wild pigs, typically resulting in an acute form of hemorrhagic fever.
  • It was first detected in Africa in the 1920s.
  • The mortality is close to 100 per cent, and since the fever has no cure, the only way to stop it spreading is by culling the animals.
  • ASF is not a threat to human beings since it only spreads from animals to other animals.
  • According to the FAO, its extremely high potential for transboundary spread has placed all the countries in the region in danger and has raised the spectre of ASF once more escaping from Africa.
  • It is a disease of growing strategic importance for global food security and household income.
  • Around 2,800 pigs have died in Assam since February due to African Swine Fever virus, making the state the epicenter of ASF in India.

Map of the Day :-

News:- Iran Changed its stance :-After years of increasing tensions that nearly led to  war,Iran has moderated its approach to the West,  shifting from a policy of provocation to one  of  limited cooperation. 

why Change in stance : Iran is Fed up of US Sanctions which is hurting it’s economic interest.

News:- Persons with disability badly affected due  to lockdown :- Limited access to door step delivery  of essentials, government helplines and financial  assistance from the government were among the key problems faced by persons with disability.

67% had no access to doorstep delivery of essentials, and only 22% confirmed that they have  access to essentials. 48% had no access to a  government helpline, and 63% had not received  the financial assistance for persons with disabilities announced by the Finance Ministry.

Notes:- CCG :- The Concerned Citizens’Group (CCG),  headed by former Union Finance Minister  Yashwant Sinha. It is an NGO.

News :- Muzrai Department : The Muzrai Department, in charge of religious and charitable  endowments in Karnataka.

Editorial of the Day :- Cinema after COVID-19

We arethe largest film making nation in the world.  The film industry offers jobs to several thousands.  Pandemic will significantly impact our film viewing behavior and other economic decisions  around it.

Why OTT Platforms Are performing Good:- Netflix, AmazonPrime, etc., have witnessed a record  surge in subscriptions during thelockdown.

  1. Big Theatre Cinemas tend to show populist movies of big star for entertainment and thus miss good content sometimes. OTT platforms like Netflix and amazon can show both.
  2. OTT platforms easily get certification which big cinemas tend to find difficult.
  3. Diversified co tent available in OTT platforms.

There is a problem though :- OTT platforms require smartphone and technical knowledge along with monthly subscription which can be problematic for a strata of society.

Thus both are important and none should be ignored

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