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THE HINDU EDITORIAL – November 20, 2018, is one of the must-read section for the competitive exams like  IBPS Clerk 2018, Indian Bank PO & LIC HFL 2018. These topics are widely expected to be asked in the reading comprehension, Cloze Test or Error Detection in the forthcoming exams. So gear up your Exam preparation and learn new words daily.

A) Maldivian reprieve


Ibrahim Solih must hit the ground running to stabilise the economy

After five years of rule by a government that strong-armed political dissent domestically, the Maldives has put a pro-people administration in power, swearing in Ibrahim Solih, representing the Maldivian Democratic Party, as President on November 17. He has announced a slew of populist policies, and vowed to end an era of “large-scale embezzlement and corruption”. The last is an allusion to the untold millions allegedly paid to officials as kickbacks for various mega-construction projects. The Solih government came to power on the back of a coalition of unlikely bedfellows. The MDP, the party of former President Mohamed Nasheed, has joined hands with the Jumhooree Party of business tycoon Qasim Ibrahim, the Islamic-based Adhaalath Party, and the support base of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. They will have to ensure that ideological differences do not cause the coalition to split at the seams, and unravel the consequences of previous President Abdulla Yameen flinging open the doors to Chinese investment, allowing a cascade of financing that caused the national debt to balloon to nearly a quarter of GDP. But a strategic return to India and its underlying democratic values could back-stop the economic pummelling that Male is sure to face if creditors in Beijing start calling in their dues.

The new government is being cautious, but professedly firm, in unravelling this web of debt. The leadership has promised that what is owed will be paid, and not a penny more; and that wherever opacity cloaked the grant of land, lease rights, construction projects and more, the honouring of debts would be linked to whether a transparent and fair process was followed in the first place. Yet, there is little doubt that China is there to stay in the Maldives, and a balancing agreement will have to emerge through the plethora of commercial contracts the new government would ideally like to renegotiate. In this mission, the renewed bonhomie with India, reflected in the respect accorded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian delegation at the inaugural ceremony, will play a crucial role. Innumerable Indians work across the hospitality, education, and health-care sectors of the Maldives economy, and India contributes everything from helicopters to medical visas to Maldivians. The greatest threat to stability comes less from geo-strategic denouements than from within the fabric of its polity. Certain elements that backed the anti-democratic 2012 ‘coup’ that unseated Mr. Nasheed and supported the dramatically centralised power of the previous presidency still abide within the ruling combine. There is only one option for the fledgling coalition government: to strengthen Maldivian institutions and, by extension, democracy.

B) Criteria for the courts: on the appointment of judges

THE HINDU EDITORIAL : NOVEMBER 20, 2018A discussion on the kind of judges that India needs must animate our public debates

In 1973, at the acme of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s move towards securing a “committed judiciary”, the then Minister of Steel and Mines, S. Mohan Kumaramangalam, offered a spirited defence of the government. In speeches made both in Parliament and outside, and through a number of writings, Kumaramangalam asserted the virtues of what he thought was a legitimate policy. It was important, he wrote, invoking the words of the great U.S. judge Benjamin Cardozo, for any government, “to examine the ‘philosophy’, the ‘outlook on life’, and the ‘conception of social needs’ of a proposed appointee” to the higher judiciary. In choosing persons for the Supreme Court, in particular, he believed, it was necessary to assess a judge’s outlook on “broad matters of the State,” and “on the crucial socio-economic matters” that concerned the nation.

Made to measure?

To a casual observer, Kumaramangalam’s words might have sounded rational, but veiled behind them were the government’s rather more threatening motives. As Nani Palkhivala described it, the policy was really an effort at creating a judiciary that would be “made to measure”, that would bend to accommodate the government’s whims and caprices. Yet, even today, much as the policy of the time appears baleful to constitutional democracy, Kumaramangalam’s defence of the programme broods over the process followed in making appointments to the higher judiciary.

Only recently, on November 2, four new judges were elevated to the Supreme Court. But neither the Collegium’s discussions on the appointees, as published on the court’s website, nor the popular discourse on the persons chosen concern themselves with a discussion on the records of these judges. We are left with little idea, for instance, on what broad constitutional philosophy these judges espouse, what their approach to constitutional interpretation might be, and on how they might view the general role of the higher judiciary.

Contrary to what some might believe, engaging with a judge’s outlook to the Constitution isn’t necessarily inimical to judicial autonomy. Kumaramangalam’s motives may have been ill-founded, but he was hardly at fault in arguing that the Constitution represented not merely a document of rules but also a certain tradition, and that the method involved in appointing judges to the higher judiciary is as much a part of that tradition as any other constitutional process might be.

It is important, no doubt, to resist the particular brand of commitment that Kumaramangalam was after. But there is at least a kernel of cogency in his argument that we cannot afford to ignore. Judicial review gains its legitimacy from the Constitution. But given that judges are unelected officials, won’t its continuing legitimacy be at stake if we deem it undemocratic to so much as wonder what the constitutional philosophy of a nominee might be? Should we dismiss all claims for democratic accountability in the appointment process by harking back to the dark days of the Emergency?

As things stand, the procedure adopted in appointing judges is seen as entirely divorced from the ordinary constraints of a democracy. This wasn’t quite how the Constituent Assembly saw things. The framers believed that the judiciary was integral to the social revolution that the Constitution was meant to usher in. They, therefore, as Granville Austin wrote, “went to great lengths to ensure that the courts would be independent, devoting more hours of debate to this subject than to almost any other aspect of the provisions.”

To that end, the Constitution comprises a number of special clauses. It provides for, among other things, a fixed tenure for judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts; ensures that salaries and allowances of judges are charged directly to the Consolidated Fund of India; confers powers on the courts to punish for contempt of themselves; and, importantly, ensures that judges can only be removed through a process of parliamentary impeachment. But, much as these provisions aim to ensure that the judiciary remains ensconced from governmental interference, the framers always believed that the power to appoint judges must vest with the executive.

Accordingly, the Constitution provides, in broad terms, that judges to the Supreme Court would be appointed by the President in consultation with the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and such other judges that he deems fit. But through a series of rulings the Supreme Court replaced the consultative method prescribed by the Constitution with one that gave the CJI and his four senior-most colleagues (the “Collegium”) primacy in selecting candidates. But this system has proved notoriously opaque. Efforts to replace it with a National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) came up a cropper after the court struck down the 99th constitutional amendment, in Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association v. Union of India (2015). The primacy enjoyed by the collegium in making appointments to the higher judiciary, the court declared, was a part of the Constitution’s basic structure.

Between the lines

Extraordinary as these findings were, the court nonetheless promised to look into the prevailing system and reform it from within. Three years later, we’ve seen little in the way of tangible change. The problems inherent in the present system are evident even from a bare reading of the collegium’s decision, published on October 30, 2018, endorsing the new designees to the Supreme Court: “While recommending the name of Mr. Justices Hemant Gupta, R. Subhash Reddy, Mukeshkumar Rasikbhai Shah, and Ajay Rastogi, the Collegium has taken into consideration combined seniority on all-India basis of Chief Justices and senior puisne Judges of High Courts, apart from their merit and integrity. The Collegium has also kept in mind, while recommending the above names, that the High Courts of Punjab & Haryana, Gujarat and Rajasthan have remained unrepresented in the Supreme Court since long.”

Therefore, it was really only concerns over the relative seniority of these judges and the extent of State-wise representation that kindled the collegium’s attention. The report does state the candidates’ merit was also considered. But given that the criteria for selection is entirely unknown, what merit means remains ambiguous, at best. In any event, the general constitutional values of a nominee have never been seen as a benchmark to review merit. Such discussions, on the other hand, are seen as anathema to judicial integrity, as a yardstick that ought to be extraneous to any selection made.

All of this still begs the question: even assuming the collegium did, in fact, discuss the constitutional philosophies of the various choices before it, ought we to leave it to our judges to select their own colleagues and successors? Should not a discussion on the kind of judges that India needs animate our public and political debates?

No sunlight

The NJAC may well have been hastily pushed through. But if the publication of the collegium’s decisions has shown us anything, it is this: that the collegium’s workings are mysterious and undemocratic. And for the most part, the government is happy with this arrangement. It clears some recommendations with alacrity, while holding back, often for months on end, others comprising nominees that it deems uncomfortable.

What we need today is a more sustained discussion on the nature and workings of a body that can potentially replace the collegium. Such a body must be independent from the executive, but, at the same time, must be subject to greater transparency and accountability. This commission must also partake within it a facility for its members to have forthright discussions over the constitutional philosophies that a judge must possess. If we fail to bring these issues to the forefront, the rigours of democracy will never permeate into the judiciary, and we will only be further undermining public trust in the credibility of judicial review.


1) dissent

Meaning : the holding or expression of opinions at variance with those commonly or officially held(n).

Tamil Meaning : எதிர்ப்பை

Synonyms : conflict

Antonyms : agree

Example : “there was no dissent from this view”

2) swearing

Meaning : the use of offensive language(n).

Tamil Meaning : பதவியேற்பது

Synonyms : cursing

Antonyms : blessing

Example : “there’s a lot of swearing in the show”

3) slew

Meaning : a violent or uncontrollable sliding movement.

Tamil Meaning : பெருந்தொகை

Synonyms : lot

Antonyms : sprinkle

Example : “I was assaulted by the thump and slew of the van”

4) embezzlement

Meaning : theft or misappropriation of funds placed in one’s trust or belonging to one’s employer(n).

Tamil Meaning : மோசடி

Synonyms : stealing

Antonyms : honesty

Example : “charges of fraud and embezzlement”

5) allusion

Meaning : an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference(n).

Tamil Meaning : சைகை

Synonyms : reference

Example : “an allusion to Shakespeare”

6) allegedly

Meaning : used to convey that something is claimed to be the case or have taken place, although there is no proof(adv).

Tamil Meaning : கூறப்படும்

Synonyms : ostensibly

Antonyms : accurately

Example : “he was allegedly a leading participant in the coup attempt”

7) coalition

Meaning : a temporary alliance for combined action, especially of political parties forming a government(n).

Tamil Meaning : கூட்டணி

Synonyms : alliance

Antonyms : isolation

Example : “a coalition between Liberals and Conservatives”

8) unravel

Meaning : investigate and solve or explain (something complicated or puzzling)(v).

Tamil Meaning : கட்டவிழும்

Synonyms : solve

Antonyms : tangle

Example : “they were attempting to unravel the cause of death”

9) cascade

Meaning : a small waterfall, typically one of several that fall in stages down a steep rocky slope(n).

Synonyms : gush

Antonyms : trickle

Example : “the waterfall raced down in a series of cascades”

10) pummelling

Meaning : strike repeatedly with the fists.

Synonyms : buffeting

Example : “he felt like a boxer who had been pummelled mercilessly against the ropes”

11) opacity

Meaning : the quality of lacking transparency or translucence(n).

Tamil Meaning : ஒளிர்வு

Synonyms : obscurity

Antonyms : transparency

Example : “thinner paints need black added to increase opacity”

12) plethora

Meaning : a large or excessive amount of something.

Tamil Meaning : மிகுதியாக

Synonyms : superfluity

Antonyms : scarcity

Example : “a plethora of committees and subcommittees”

13) negotiate

Meaning : obtain or bring about by discussion.

Tamil Meaning : பேச்சுவார்த்தை

Synonyms : bargain

Antonyms : disclaim

Example : “he negotiated a new contract with the sellers”

14) delegation

Meaning : a body of delegates or representatives; a deputation.

Synonyms : deputation

Antonyms : retention

Example : “a delegation of teachers”

15) abide

Meaning : accept or act in accordance with (a rule, decision, or recommendation).

Tamil Meaning : என்றென்றும்

Synonyms : tolerate

Antonyms : reject

Example : “I said I would abide by their decision”

16) fledgling

Meaning : a person or organization that is immature, inexperienced, or underdeveloped.

Synonyms : beginner

Antonyms : expert

Example : “the country’s fledgling democracy”

17) acme

Meaning : the point at which something is at its best or most highly developed.

Tamil Meaning : உச்சகட்டமாக

Synonyms : summit

Antonyms : base

Example : “physics is the acme of scientific knowledge”

18) asserted

Meaning : state a fact or belief confidently and forcefully(v).

Tamil Meaning : வலியுறுத்தினார்

Synonyms : affirmed

Antonyms : denied

Example : “the company asserts that the cuts will not affect development”

19) virtues

Meaning : behaviour showing high moral standards(n).

Tamil Meaning : நல்லொழுக்கங்கள்

Synonyms : virtue

Antonyms : corruptions

Example : “paragons of virtue”

20) invoking

Meaning : cite or appeal to (someone or something) as an authority for an action or in support of an argument(v).

Tamil Meaning : செயலாக்க

Synonyms : adjuring

Antonyms : ignoring

Example : “the antiquated defence of insanity is rarely invoked in England”

21) conception

Meaning : the action of conceiving a child or of one being conceived(n).

Tamil Meaning : கருத்து

Synonyms : concept

Antonyms : concrete

Example : “an unfertilized egg before conception”

22) rational

Meaning : based on or in accordance with reason or logic.

Tamil Meaning : பகுத்தறிவு

Synonyms : reasonable

Antonyms : insane

Example : “I’m sure there’s a perfectly rational explanation”

23) veiled

Meaning : cover with or as if with a veil.

Tamil Meaning : மறைமுகமான

Synonyms : hidden

Antonyms : unveiled

Example : “she veiled her face”

24) whims

Meaning : a sudden desire or change of mind, especially one that is unusual or unexplained(n).

Tamil Meaning : இளையோர்கள்

Synonyms : freaks

Antonyms : plans

Example : “she bought it on a whim

25) baleful

Meaning : threatening harm; menacing(adj).

Tamil Meaning : தீங்கான

Synonyms : harmful

Antonyms : favorable

Example : “Bill shot a baleful glance in her direction”

26) caprices

Meaning : a sudden and unaccountable change of mood or behaviour(n).

Tamil Meaning : இச்சைகளையே

Synonyms : freaks

Antonyms : plans

Example :”her caprices made his life impossible”

27) Contrary

Meaning : opposite in nature, direction, or meaning(adj).

Tamil Meaning : மாறாக

Synonyms : opposite

Antonyms : similar

Example : “he ignored contrary advice and agreed on the deal”

28) inimical

Meaning : tending to obstruct or harm(adj).

Tamil Meaning : பகையானவராக

Synonyms : harmful

Antonyms : desirous

Example : “the policy was inimical to Britain’s real interests”

29) cogency

Meaning : the quality of being clear, logical, and convincing; lucidity(n).

Tamil Meaning : தெளிவாகக் கூறப்படுதல்

Synonyms : validity

Antonyms : insanity

Example : “the cogency of this argument”

30) integral

Meaning : necessary to make a whole complete; essential or fundamental(adj).

Tamil Meaning : ஒருங்கிணைந்த

Synonyms : entire

Antonyms : extrinsic

Example : “games are an integral part of the school’s curriculum”

31) contempt

Meaning : the feeling that a person or a thing is worthless or beneath consideration(n).

Tamil Meaning : அவமதிப்பு

Synonyms : scorn

Example : “Pam stared at the girl with total contempt”

32) confers

Meaning : grant (a title, degree, benefit, or right).

Tamil Meaning : அளிக்கிறது

Synonyms : consults

Antonyms : withdraws

Example : “the Minister may have exceeded the powers conferred on him by Parliament”

33) impeachment

Meaning : the action of calling into question the integrity or validity of something(n).

Tamil Meaning : கண்டனத்தீர்மானத்திற்கு

Synonyms : indictment

Antonyms : rise

Example : “the prosecutor’s detailed impeachment of the character witness”

34) ensconced

Meaning : establish or settle (someone) in a comfortable, safe place.

Tamil Meaning : பதுங்கியிருப்பதாக

Synonyms : placed

Antonyms : divulged

Example : “Agnes ensconced herself in their bedroom”

35) deems

Meaning : regard or consider in a specified way.

Tamil Meaning : கருதும்

Synonyms : believes

Antonyms : doubts

Example : “the event was deemed a great success”

36) consultative

Meaning : intended to give professional advice or recommendations(adj).

Tamil Meaning : ஆலோசனை

Synonyms : advisory

Antonyms : uninformative

Example : “a process of consultative review”

37) notoriously

Meaning : used to emphasize that a quality or fact, typically a bad one, is well known(adv).

Tamil Meaning : படுபயங்கர

Synonyms : terribly

Antonyms : reputably

Example : “the company is notoriously difficult to contact”

38) endorsing

Meaning : declare one’s public approval or support of(v).

Tamil Meaning : ஒப்புதல்

Synonyms : approving

Antonyms : deprecating

Example : “the report was endorsed by the college”

39) tangible

Meaning : perceptible by touch(adj).

Tamil Meaning : உறுதியான

Synonyms : material

Antonyms : abstract

Example : “the atmosphere of neglect and abandonment was almost tangible

40) rigours

Meaning : the quality of being extremely thorough and careful.

Tamil Meaning : உயரங்களுக்கு பயணித்தும்

Synonyms : severities

Example : “his analysis is lacking in rigour”


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