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Saturday, 28 April 2018

The Hindu Editorial: Unpersuasive

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Title: Unpersuasive 

(The Centre’s arguments for its stand against elevating Justice K.M. Joseph are flawed) 

The Centre’s objections to the elevation of Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K.M. Joseph to the Supreme Court are unpersuasive and raise suspicion whether his appointment is being blocked for extraneous reasons. 

Basically, there are two broad reasons proffered for freezing the appointment. 

First, that Justice Joseph is much too junior in the all-India list of judges, with 11 Chief Justices ranked above him. 

Second, that there is an imbalance in the regional representation in the Supreme Court, something that his appointment will only skew by adding another judge from Kerala. 

Neither of these reasons holds good. Seniority is not the sole consideration while elevating a High Court judge to the apex court. Inter se seniority is a consideration when a puisne judge is made a Chief Justice, but it is not sacrosanct in elevation to the Supreme Court. 

Some of these decisions may evoke criticism, but there is no laid-down norm under which the Supreme Court collegium should draw fresh talent for the highest court only in the order in which an all-India seniority list of High Court judges has been drawn up. 

That merit is and has been a factor in selection addresses the other argument, that Kerala will have two Supreme Court judges were Justice Joseph to be appointed. There was a time when Kerala had three judges in the apex court; also, other courts have been routinely ‘over-represented’. 

Not surprisingly, the Centre’s decision has been accompanied by suspicions and allegations that Justice Joseph is being targeted for his 2016 judgment quashing the proclamation of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand. 

What happens from now on will depend on how the collegium reacts. In the light of its strong recommendation that Justice Joseph is “more deserving and suitable in all respects than other Chief Justices and senior puisne judges”, it will be no surprise if it reiterates the recommendation. 

Then the government is bound to abide by the collegium’s decision. In that event, the Centre should not prolong the controversy further by seeking to block his elevation again. There is a strong perception, even within the judiciary, that the government is much too slow when it comes to approving judicial appointments. 

Final Words: 

A conflict between the judiciary and the executive over particular appointments is not in the public interest. Besides allowing Justice Joseph’s appointment to go through, efforts must be made to finalise a revised memorandum of procedure for appointments so that the case of one judge does not turn into a flashpoint for a sustained conflict between the two branches. 

Title: Under strain 

(The rupee is sliding on account of rising oil prices and FII outflows) 

The Indian rupee is again under pressure as rising oil prices have combined with higher U.S. bond yields to spur demand for the dollar. After a strong showing in 2017, when the rupee appreciated 6% against the greenback, the currency has been buffeted by crosswinds that have caused it to weaken by about 4.5% so far this year. 

With global oil prices continuing a steady climb on the back of tight output controls marshalled by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Brent crude futures have gained almost 12% through 2018. This in turn has bloated India’s crude import bill and widened the trade deficit appreciably. 

While merchandise exports shrank 0.66% in March to $29.11 billion, the monthly bill for the import of goods, including oil, rose 7.2% to $42.8 billion, widening the trade shortfall to $13.69 billion. 

While the rupee is not alone among BRICS currencies to have depreciated against the dollar this year, with both the Brazilian real and the Russian rouble losing value, it remains particularly vulnerable to mounting oil costs given the economy’s extremely high dependence on crude imports to meet energy needs. 

The spectre of fresh tensions involving Iran if President Donald Trump walks his tough talk over the nuclear agreement with Tehran is also almost certain to prevent any significant softening in oil prices even if American shale producers increase output. 

Final Words:- 

The index is close to its highest level since mid-January, indicating that investors see assets undergirded by the dollar as a strong bet. For now, the war chest of forex reserves the Reserve Bank of India has accumulated, $423.6 billion in all, remains the key bulwark against excessive currency market volatility. 

Vocabulary words: 

Unpersuasive (adj) = Not convincing, not effective 

Elevate (verb) = Raise to a higher position (ऊपर उठाना) 

Flawed (adj) = Unsound, defective (त्रुटिपूर्ण) 

Extraneous (adj) = Irrelevant, inappropriate (असंगत) 

Proffer (verb) = Offer, present (प्रस्ताव करना) 

Skew (noun) = A bias towards one particular group or subject 

Puisne (adj) = Denoting a judge of a superior court inferior in rank to chief justices (पद में कम) 

Sacrosanct (adj) = Sacred, invulnerable (पुण्यमय) 

Evoke (verb) = Summon, call to mind (जाग्रत करना) 

Collegium (noun) = An advisory or administrative board 

Glaring (adj) = Staring fiercely or fixedly (स्पष्ट) 

Quash (verb) = Reject or invalid, cancel (रद्द करना) 

Proclamation (noun) = Announcement, declaration (घोषणा) 

Reiterate (verb) = Repeat, restate (दोहराना) 

Spur (verb) = Stimulate, prompt (प्रोत्साहित करना) 

Buffet (verb) = Strike repeatedly and violently 

Marshal (verb) = Assemble and arrange in order (सुव्यवस्थित करना) 

Bloated (adj) = Excessive in size or amount 

Vicinity (noun) = The area near or surrounding a particular place 

Undergird (verb) = Provide support or a firm basis for 

Bulwark (noun) = A defensive wall 

Volatility (noun) = liability to change (अस्थिरता)


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