National Current Affairs

Need to balance national interest, human rights on Rohingya refugees: SC

The Supreme Court has asked Union Government to strike a balance between humanitarian concern for Rohingya community staying in India and country’s economic and national security interests.

The apex court unlined that both executive and judiciary cannot be totally oblivious to condition of women and children among Rohingya refugees and said that crisis has thrown up an extraordinary situation. With this, the status quo held by Government continues even though the court gave the community liberty to approach it in case of any contingency.

Background

The SC was hearing on petition filed by two Rohingya Muslim refugees for protection of the life and liberty of their community challenging Union Government’s move to deport them from country. Petitioners in their plea had mentioned Government’s move violated tconstitutional guarantee that Indian state should protect the life and liberty of every human being, whether citizen or not. As per petition, Government’s proposed deportation is contrary to Indian constitutional protections guaranteed under Article 14 (equality), Article 21 (right to life) and Article 51(c) (respect for international law and treaty obligations) of the Constitution.

Rohingya Issue

Rohingya is ethnic Muslim minority group, largely comprising Muslims living primarily in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state. They differ from Myanmar’s dominant Buddhist groups religiously, ethnically and linguistically. They practice a Sufi-inflected variation of Sunni Islam. They speak Bengali dialect, as opposed to commonly spoken Burmese language in Myanmar.

Myanmar considers Rohingya’s as illegal Bengali immigrants, despite fact that many they have resided in Rakhine province of Myanmar for centuries. Myanmar government even refuses to grant them citizenship status, and as a result they do not have any legal documentation, effectively making them stateless. They are also restricted from freedom of movement, state education and civil service jobs. UN has often described Rohingyas as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

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Bureau of Indian Standards Act 2016 comes into effect

Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has brought into effect new Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) Act 2016 which was notified in March 2016.

The Act replaced Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986.  It aims to help in ease of doing business in country, enhance ‘Make In India’ campaign and ensure availability of quality products and services to the consumers.

Key Facts

Bureau of Indian standards (BIS): The BIS Act, 2016 establishes the BIS as the National Standards Body of India for the purpose of standardization, marking and certification of articles and processes. It has broaden BIS’s ambit and allows central government to make it mandatory for certain notified goods, articles, processes, etc to carry the standard mark.

Enabling provisions: The BIS Act, 2016 has enabling provisions for Government to bring under compulsory certification regime any goods or article of any scheduled industry, process, system or service which it considers necessary in the public interest or for the protection of human, animal or plant health or national security.  Enabling provisions have also been made for making hallmarking of the precious metal articles mandatory.

Conformity assessment schemes: The new Act also allows multiple types of simplified conformity assessment schemes including self-declaration of conformity against standard which will provide simplified options to manufacturers to adhere to the standards.

Other Authority: The Act enables Centre to appoint any authority, agency, in addition to BIS, to verify conformity of products and services to a standard and issue certificate of conformity.

Recall of goods, services, articles etc:  BIS can recall good or article which is already out for sale or supply if Bureau is convinced that good or article does not conform to the requirement of a particular standard. Further, it has provision for repair or recall, including product liability of the products bearing Standard Mark, however not conforming to the relevant Indian Standard.

Certification of precious metals:  It makes hallmark mandatory to certify precious metal articles including silver, gold, platinum, and palladium or their alloys. In this case, hallmark indicates proportionate content of precious metal in article as per Indian standard.

Mandatory certification of certain goods: It allows central government to notify certain goods, articles, etc, which will need to compulsorily carry a standard mark.  Such goods or articles will be notified if they are necessary forpublic interest or for the protection of human, animal or plant health, safety of environment, prevention of unfair trade practices, or national security.

Offences by companies:  Company committing offence under the Act, then persons in charge or responsible for  company will be presumed to be guilty irrespective of whether offence was committed without their knowledge, consent or connivance.

Appeals: Regarding granting of license or certificate of conformity, compounding of offences, must be made to Director General of BIS. Further appeal against the order of DG, BIS can be made to central government.

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