THE HINDU EDITORIAL : OCTOBER 23, 2018
THE HINDU EDITORIAL : OCTOBER 23, 2018
Dear Banking Aspirants,
THE HINDU EDITORIAL – October 23, 2018, is one of the must-read section for the competitive exams like IBPS PO, 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) Turf battle: on independent payments regulator
The RBI makes a valid case against the proposal for a separate payments regulator
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Union government are once again at loggerheads over the legitimate extent of their powers. In a rare gesture, the central bank last week made public its reservations against the government’s plans to set up an independent payments regulator, potentially setting the stage for a regulatory turf war. In a strongly worded dissent note against the inter-ministerial committee for the finalisation of amendments to the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, published on its website on Friday, the central bank observed that it would prefer the Payments Regulatory Board to function under the purview of the RBI Governor. “There is no case of having a regulator for payment systems outside the RBI,” the note read. In support of its stance, the RBI stated that the activities of payments banks come well within the purview of the traditional banking system, which the central bank oversees as the overarching financial regulator. So, according to this logic, it might make better sense to have the RBI oversee the activities of payments banks as well instead of creating a brand new regulator for the growing industry. “Regulation of the banking systems and payment system by the same regulator provides synergy,” it noted. The RBI, in essence, is pointing to the interconnection between the payments industry and the banking system to back the extension of its regulatory powers.
The RBI’s case makes good sense when seen from the perspective of the cost of regulatory compliance. As stated above, there is definite overlapping between the current regulatory powers of the RBI and the proposed regulations for the payments industry. A unified regulator can thus help in lowering the compliance costs and enabling the seamless implementation of rules. Further, there is the real risk that a brand new regulator may be unable to match the expertise of the RBI in carrying out necessary regulatory duties. So it makes better sense to have the RBI take charge of the rapidly growing payments industry which can ill-afford regulatory errors at this point. The fact that the RBI has made public its dissent against the Union government’s idea, suggests that the central bank has serious problems with the dilution of its current powers over the financial sector. However, the RBI’s demand for the centralisation of regulatory powers also brings with it the need for exercising a greater degree of responsibility. At a time when there are increasing risks to the stability of the domestic financial system, both the government and the RBI must look to work together to tackle these risks instead of battling over regulatory powers.
B) The judiciary’s #MeToo moment
It is an opportunity to ensure that the defamation law is no longer used as a tool for harassment
In Isaac Asimov’s famous Foundation novels, one of the protagonists often explains that “violence is the last refuge of the incompetent”. In India, the fallout of the #MeToo movement has recently re-emphasised what was already well-known: defamation is the first refuge of the powerful. Whether it is M.J. Akbar’s criminal defamation complaint against Priya Ramani, or Alok Nath’s criminal and civil defamation complaints against Vinta Nanda, accusations of sexual harassment have seen a predictable response: the leveraging of criminal defamation law as a way of striking back.
Impinging on freedom
It is trite to say that there must exist a balance between the freedom of expression and the right to reputation. No legal system can allow false and slanderous statements to be made publicly, with impunity. Defamation law is the tool that is used to strike the balance. But it is the shape and the form of defamation law that often determines whether the balance has been struck appropriately, or whether, in the guise of protecting reputation, the freedom of speech and expression has been effectively stifled.
India’s criminal defamation law undoubtedly belongs to the latter category. A colonial relic that was introduced by the British regime to suffocate political criticism, Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code provides an ideal weapon for powerful individuals to silence critical or inconvenient speech. First, unlike many other countries, defamation in India is a criminal offence (and not just a civil wrong), and a conviction entails both social stigma and potential jail time. Second, there is a very low threshold for a prima facie case of defamation to be established by a complainant. Simply put, he must only show that an “imputation” has been made that could reasonably be interpreted as harming his reputation. This is enough to set the wheels of the law in motion. While an accused has multiple defences open to her — such as demonstrating that her statement was true and in public interest, or that it was an opinion made in good faith, and concerning a public question — these defences are effectively available only after the trial commences. By this time, an accused individual has already been dragged to court multiple times, and must also then go through a long-drawn-out trial process, where the procedure is the punishment.
And third, even the defences open to an accused are insufficiently protective of speech, to an extent that is even less than what civil defamation allows. For example, while in a civil defamation case, a defendant need only show that her statement was true in order to escape liability, in a criminal defamation proceeding, an accused must show that her statement was true and in the public interest. This leads to the paradoxical situation where our legal system is more advantageous towards those at the receiving end of civil defamation proceedings, and harsher towards those who have to go through the criminal process!
All these — and more — arguments were made as recently as 2016, when the constitutionality of criminal defamation was challenged before a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, however, they were largely ignored by (the then) Justice Dipak Misra, who simply held that Section 499 was constitutional, as it protected individual reputation. The disproportionality of criminalising what is essentially a civil wrong, and the numerous ways in which the specific structure of Indian criminal defamation law chills and suffocates free expression, was not considered by the court.
The #MeToo movement
It is important to remember, however, that the 2016 challenge to criminal defamation was driven by politicians who — at the best of times — do not make for the most sympathetic of petitioners before a court. Much has changed in the last two years. And perhaps the most significant change has been brought by the #MeToo movement.
It has seen women articulate their experiences of sexual harassment, often at the hands of powerful and well-established men. What is striking about the movement is how it has compelled all of us to confront systematic male behaviour that may sometimes be difficult to define as a legal offence, but which is nonetheless sexually predatory and abusive. Issues involving hierarchies in the workplace, differences in age and influence, the power exercised by men who are highly regarded in their professions and the abuse of that influence — issues that were long suppressed and simply not talked about — have, at last, found public utterance. It is a time of upheaval, when old pieties have been exposed as morally and ethically bankrupt, and old codes of behaviour shown to be exploitative and unacceptable. The #MeToo movement has brought submerged experiences to the surface, and given individuals a fresh vocabulary with which to express what, for all these years, seemed simply inexpressible.
With the filing of the criminal defamation cases, therefore, the stakes have been made clear. Will powerful men be allowed to use the law to silence this new mode of public expression? Will criminal defamation be weaponised to restore the old status quo, and preserve and perpetuate the hierarchies that the #MeToo movement has challenged?
An opportunity for change
It is the courts that must now confront these questions. And the courts now have a fresh opportunity: this is no longer about an abstract challenging to the constitutionality of criminal defamation, but a live issue about the relationship between our legal system and a social movement aimed at publicly redressing long-standing injustices.
More than 50 years ago, courts in another country were faced with this challenge. In the 1960s, the American civil rights movement found itself under siege: States in the deep south not only violently reacted to the movement, but also filed defamation claims against newspapers, to stop them from covering it. Small factual errors in reports were picked up, and massive defamation suits were filed to harass and bankrupt reporters and newspapers. The New York Times, for example, was found liable for the crippling sum of $50,000, for its coverage of a civil rights protest in Montgomery, Alabama. When these defamation verdicts were challenged before the Supreme Court, therefore, no less than the fate of the civil rights movement was in its hands.
The U.S. Supreme Court responded. In one of the most famous judgments in its history, New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964), it substantially modified defamation law to ensure that it could no longer be used as a tool of harassment and blackmail. Articulating a very high threshold of “actual malice”, the court ensured that journalists could go about their job without fear, as long as they did not intentionally or recklessly make outright false statements. Nothing less than this, the court held, was required by the constitutional right to freedom of expression, and a free press.
In 2018, our courts are now faced with a similar situation: a vitally important public movement is threatened by the heavy hand of the law of defamation. And, like the American courts at the time of the civil rights movement, our courts too have a golden opportunity. They may, for one, choose to revisit the constitutionality of criminal defamation. But even without that, there are enough ways to judicially interpret Section 499 to ensure that it no longer remains the tool of the powerful to blackmail, harass, and silence inconvenient speech. Incorporating the Sullivan standard into the law might be a start; but the interpretive possibilities are endless. All that we need is for the courts to understand what is at stake, and respond with the courage and the sensitivity that these times demand of them.
Meaning : a reddish-brown turtle with a very large head, occurring chiefly in warm seas(n).
Tamil Meaning : ஒவ்வாதிருக்கும்
Synonyms : aggressive , bellicose
Antonyms : calm
Example : Management and staff are at loggerheads over the plan.
Meaning : a movement of part of the body, especially a hand or the head, to express an idea or meaning.(n)
Tamil Meaning : சைகை
Synonyms : motion , sign
Antonyms : speech
Example : “Alex made a gesture of apology”(n)
Meaning : grass and the surface layer of earth held together by its roots(n).
Tamil Meaning : தரை
Synonyms : sod , field
Antonyms : house
Example : “they walked across the springy turf”(n)
Meaning : the holding or expression of opinions at variance with those commonly or officially held.(n), hold or express opinions that are at variance with those commonly or officially held.(v)
Tamil Meaning : எதிர்ப்பை
Synonyms : conflict , disagree
Antonyms : agree
Example : “there was no dissent from this view”(n),“two members dissented from the majority”(v)
Meaning : the scope of the influence or concerns of something(n).
Tamil Meaning : கண்கானிப்பில்
Synonyms : range , scope
Antonyms : infield
Example : “such a case might be within the purview of the legislation”(n).
Meaning : the way in which someone stands, especially when deliberately adopted (as in cricket, golf, and other sports); a person’s posture.(n)
Tamil Meaning : நிலைப்பாடு
Synonyms : posture , position
Antonyms : unsteadiness
Example : “she altered her stance, resting all her weight on one leg”(n)
Meaning : comprehensive or all-embracing.(adj)
Tamil Meaning : நீண்டு வளையும்
Synonyms : underlying , encircling
Antonyms : insignificant
Example : “a single overarching principle”(adj)
Meaning : the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.(n)
Synonyms : cooperation
Antonyms : isolation
Example : “the synergy between artist and record company”(n)
Meaning : a particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view.
Tamil Meaning : முன்னோக்கு
Synonyms : viewpoint , angle
Antonyms : perspectiveless
Example : “most guidebook history is written from the editor’s perspective”
Meaning : expert skill or knowledge in a particular field.
Tamil Meaning : நிபுணத்துவம்
Synonyms : skill
Antonyms : clumsiness
Example : “technical expertise”
Meaning : the leading character or one of the major characters in a play, film, novel, etc.
Tamil Meaning : கதாபாத்திரங்கள்
Synonyms : interpreters
Antonyms : antagonists
Example : “the novel’s main protagonist is an American intelligence officer”
Meaning : not having or showing the necessary skills to do something successfully.
Tamil Meaning : தகுதியின்மை
Synonyms : incapable , inadequate
Antonyms : competent
Example : “a forgetful and utterly incompetent assistant”
Meaning : the action of damaging the good reputation of someone; slander or libel.
Tamil Meaning : அவதூறு
Synonyms : slander , aspersion
Antonyms : compliment
Example : “she sued him for defamation”
Meaning : (of a spoken statement) false and malicious.
Tamil Meaning : அவதூறான
Synonyms : defamatory , calumnious
Antonyms : adulatory
Example : “slanderous allegations”
Meaning : an external form, appearance, or manner of presentation, typically concealing the true nature of something.
Tamil Meaning : போர்வையில்
Synonyms : pretense , semblance
Antonyms : reality
Example : “he visited in the guise of an inspector”
Meaning : make (someone) unable to breathe properly; suffocate.
Tamil Meaning : அடக்கியது
Synonyms : smothered , muffled
Antonyms : open
Example : “those in the streets were stifled by the fumes”
Meaning : relating to or characteristic of a colony or colonies.(adj)
Tamil Meaning : காலனித்துவ
Synonyms : insulated , nationalistic
Antonyms : multicultural
Example : “British colonial rule”(adj)
Meaning : an object surviving from an earlier time, especially one of historical interest.
Tamil Meaning : வாழிட
Synonyms : survival , souvenir
Antonyms : contemporary
Example : “a museum of railway relics”
Meaning : die or cause to die from lack of air or inability to breathe(v).
Synonyms : choke , strangle
Antonyms : breathe
Example : “ten detainees suffocated in an airless police cell”(v)
Meaning : a formal declaration by the verdict of a jury or the decision of a judge in a court of law that someone is guilty of a criminal offence.(n)
Tamil Meaning : தண்டனை
Synonyms : confidence , reliance
Antonyms : disbelief
Example : “she had a previous conviction for a similar offence”(n)
Meaning : involve (something) as a necessary or inevitable part or consequence(v),a limitation of the inheritance of property to certain heirs over a number of generations(n).
Tamil Meaning : இன்றியமையாததாகிறது
Synonyms : involves , causes
Antonyms : excludes
Example : “a situation which entails considerable risks”(v),“the damage being done in England by entails”(n)
Meaning : the quality of being religious or reverent.
Synonyms : devotions , reverences
Antonyms : profanities
Example : “acts of piety and charity”
Meaning : the action of defending from or resisting attack.
Tamil Meaning : பாதுகாப்பு
Synonyms : apologies , protections
Example : “methods of defence against this kind of attack”
Meaning : begin.(v)
Tamil Meaning : துவங்குகிறது
Synonyms : starts , initiates
Antonyms : ceases
Example : “his design team commenced work”(v).
Meaning : a person or group of people who are charged with or on trial for a crime.
Tamil Meaning : குற்றஞ்சாட்டினார்
Synonyms : charged , blamed
Antonyms : victim
Example : “the accused was ordered to stand trial on a number of charges”
Meaning : having or showing the ability to speak fluently and coherently(adj) , pronounce (something) clearly and distinctly.(v)
Tamil Meaning : புகுத்துவதற்கான
Synonyms : enunciate , pronounce
Antonyms : mute
Example : “she was not very articulate” (adj),“he articulated each word with precision”(v)
Meaning : come face to face with (someone) with hostile or argumentative intent.(v)
Tamil Meaning : எதிர்கொள்ள
Synonyms : defy , brave
Antonyms : avoid
Example : “300 policemen confronted an equal number of union supporters”(v)
Meaning : a violent or sudden change or disruption to something.
Tamil Meaning : கொந்தளிப்பை
Synonyms : commotion
Antonyms : peace
Example : “major upheavals in the financial markets”
Meaning : make (something) continue indefinitely.(v)
Tamil Meaning : நிலைத்த
Synonyms : preserve
Antonyms : stop
Example : “the confusion was perpetuated through inadvertence”(v)
Meaning : forcibly put an end to.(v)
Tamil Meaning : அடக்கி
Synonyms : restrain
Antonyms : free
Example : “the rising was savagely suppressed”(v)
Meaning : extremely offensive and insulting.(adj)
Tamil Meaning : தவறான
Synonyms : insulting , scurrilous
Antonyms : kind
Example : “the goalkeeper was sent off for using abusive language”(adj)
Meaning : a military operation in which enemy forces surround a town or building, cutting off essential supplies, with the aim of compelling those inside to surrender.(n)
Tamil Meaning : முற்றுகை
Synonyms : blockade attack
Example : “Verdun had withstood a siege of ten weeks”(n)
Meaning : (of a person or organization) declared in law as unable to pay their debts.
Tamil Meaning : திவாலான
Synonyms : beggar , pauper
Antonyms : rich
Example : “his father went bankrupt and the family had to sell their home”
Meaning : responsible by law; legally answerable.
Tamil Meaning : பொறுப்பு
Synonyms : responsible
Antonyms : exempt
Example : “the credit-card company is liable for any breach of contract”
Meaning : cause (someone) to become unable to walk or move properly.(v)
Tamil Meaning : தடைபடுதலில்
Synonyms : disabling
Antonyms : medical
Example : “a young student was crippled for life”(v)
Meaning : a decision on an issue of fact in a civil or criminal case or an inquest.
Tamil Meaning : தீர்ப்புகள்
Synonyms : judgments
Antonyms : requests
Example : “the jury returned a verdict of not guilty”
Meaning : pronounce (something) clearly and distinctly.
Tamil Meaning : மூட்டுதல்
Synonyms : emitting , talking
Antonyms : mute
Example : “he articulated each word with precision”
Meaning : heedless of danger or the consequences of one’s actions; rash or impetuous(adj).
Tamil Meaning : பொறுப்பற்ற
Synonyms : rash , careless
Antonyms : prudent
Example : “you mustn’t be so reckless”(adj).
Meaning : come back to or visit again.(v)
Tamil Meaning : மீண்டும்
Synonyms : return , frequent
Antonyms : leave
Example : “she was anxious to revisit some of her old haunts in Paris”(v)
Meaning : relating to or providing an interpretation.(adj)
Tamil Meaning : உட்பொருள்
Synonyms : explanatory
Antonyms : uninstructive
Example : “activities designed to reinforce students’ interpretative skills”(adj).
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