Dear Banking Aspirants,

THE HINDU EDITORIAL – October 29, 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) Avoidable crisis: on Sri Lanka’s political crisis

President Sirisena’s actions have put Sri Lankan democracy in peril

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to withdraw his faction from the ruling coalition and replace Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has plunged the country into a political crisis. This was further complicated, a day later, by the President’s move to suspend Parliament till November 16. Mr. Sirisena’s fast-deteriorating relationship with Mr. Wickremesinghe was an open secret, and there were indications that he could be negotiating a possible partnership with Mr. Rajapaksa. But his sudden and secret manoeuvre caught everyone, including senior politicians, completely unawares. And before the details and implications of the political drama that was unfolding could sink in, Mr. Rajapaksa had been sworn in Prime Minister, beaming as he greeted the President, his chief rival until days ago. Mr. Wickremesinghe has termed his replacement “unconstitutional” and maintains that he remains Prime Minister. Confident of a majority, he has challenged the Rajapaksa-Sirisena combine to take a floor test in the 225-member House. By suspending Parliament, Mr. Sirisena is seen to have exposed his own insecurity about garnering the required strength. The next two weeks will be crucial, with attempts at horse-trading and assertions of political loyalty amid uncertainty. None of these is uncommon in Sri Lankan politics, but the circumstances, which are entirely of Mr. Sirisena’s making, have led to a political upheaval that was avoidable. All this has come at a time of economic fragility, with a plummeting rupee, soaring unemployment and rising living costs.

Mr. Sirisena’s appointment of Mr. Rajapaksa even before voting out Mr. Wickremesinghe on the floor of Parliament is nothing but blatant abuse of his executive powers. Guided by narrow political interests, the President’s actions betray an utter disregard for the parliamentary process. In resorting to these emergency measures, he has not only put democracy in serious peril but also let down Sri Lankans, including a sizeable section of the Tamil and Muslim minorities that backed him in the critical 2015 election. The best forum to test political clout in a democracy is the legislature. An extra-parliamentary power struggle, that too using illegal means, heightens the risk of political thuggery and unrest. Still recovering from the violence and bloodbath during its nearly three-decade-long civil war, and grappling with the economic and social challenges in its aftermath, Sri Lanka cannot afford to recede from the democratic space that opened up in 2015. Mr. Sirisena and Mr. Wickremesinghe had come together in an exceptional political alliance that promised to put the country back on the path of democracy, after a decade of Mr. Rajapaksa’s authoritarian rule. Leaving aside the irony of Mr. Sirisena joining hands with Mr. Rajapaksa, who he had left and subsequently unseated from office, his desire to consolidate power by hook or by crook is extremely unfortunate. Though much damage has been done already, a fair vote must be ensured when Parliament reconvenes, if possible before November 16.

B) In the court of last resort

The Supreme Court’s actions in the CBI case underline the gravity of the institutional crisis

The Supreme Court, on Friday, stepped into the institutional crisis engineered by the “forcible transfer” of the Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) earlier in the week. Given the patent illegality of the “forcible leave” of CBI Director Alok Verma, and the need to maintain the Bureau’s legal independence guaranteed by law, the Supreme Court has chosen to attempt to sort out this mess. That it needs sorting out is hardly news.

Legally, the straightforward thing to do would have been for the Supreme Court to act according to the black and white law, and reinstate Mr. Verma, the CBI Director, and leave it there. Section 4B of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act doesn’t allow the government to transfer the CBI Director during the two-year fixed tenure without the previous consent of the high powered committee consisting of the Chief Justice of India, the Prime Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition (or a member of the largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha). This was introduced in 2013 by the Act constituting the Lokpal. Till then, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) was a part of the committee mentioned in Section 4B. It isn’t any longer, and thus has no role in asking the government to divest the CBI Director of his powers.

The Supreme Court has tread more cautiously — but given the administrative breakdown, prudently. It has not immediately reinstated the CBI Director and instead has clipped the wings of the “interim” Director, restraining him from making any policy or major decisions, except those that are routine and essential for the CBI to function. The interim order also said that his decisions thus far will be reviewed by the Supreme Court, and must be submitted to it. All transfers, including of one officer to Port Blair, will be reviewed by the Supreme Court.

The court’s administration

The CBI, in essence, is now under the Supreme Court’s administration. The investigations being undertaken by the Director, Special Director, and all the transferred officers will likely stand frozen. Important decisions by investigating officers or decisions to be taken in critical cases will not be taken. It is unclear what the ‘routine’ decisions essential to the CBI functioning are, but the “interim” Director should be loathe to act with the alacrity and brutality he deployed in the first hours when he took office. His authority stands severely diminished, and were he to take any major action, one can expect a challenge to it in court.

While taking pains to point out that it is not commenting on the functioning of the government, the Supreme Court has also taken over the powers of the CVC in this case. It is the CVC’s note to the government that was the ostensible provocation for the government to wield its axe at midnight. The CVC’s reasonings in that note to the government, which is challenged in the Supreme Court, were obviously not accepted by the court, and retired Supreme Court judge Justice A.K. Patnaik has been appointed, pending his formal consent, to supervise the investigation into the complaints against Mr. Verma. That the CVC requires supervision by the Supreme Court reveals the shocking state of disrepair in the system.

Although the court did not mention the causes of its anxiety, the CVC’s note makes apparent the Supreme Court’s disquiet. It labours to explain why the complaint forwarded to it by the Cabinet Secretary must remain anonymous, but must be answered, though its allegations have not been independently verified, or prima facie established. It repeatedly points out that there is no wrongdoing found in the investigation of Rakesh Asthana, the CBI Special Director, by the CBI, but reminds the CBI that it must conduct the investigation fairly, and questions whether there should be an investigation at all without sanction from the competent authority. Other notes from the CVC are also seemingly in order to remind the CBI of Mr. Asthana’s rights. Another refers to allegations found in a secret note submitted by Mr. Asthana which in itself is derived from a secret, apparently undivulged, source. Any defence lawyer worth her salt will tell you that a ‘counter blast’ against the other side is not an effective strategy, especially when made after you have been accused first. The nature of the CVC’s demands reveals a bias. The CBI has dithered in providing records to the CVC, no doubt, but there is no matter of such great concern or exigency mentioned in the note that required immediate interim measures or a midnight cabinet meeting to wield the axe.

All about the CVC

The CVC’s past history is also revealing. It usually acts as a postbox for forwarding complaints to the requisite government departments, without even bothering to ask for a reply from the department concerned. In this case, it hadn’t even received the CBI’s report on Mr. Asthana, which it had requested, when it voted in favour of the selection committee recommending him as CBI Special Director. Its explanation that Mr. Verma thumbed his nose at its supervisory role, leading to his removal, doesn’t hold water. And if that was the extent of the problem, far less egregious measures, consistent with its powers, were possible — including actually summoning the CBI Director instead of the records, and registering a case against him, which has still not been done. The sanction to investigate, required under Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act, as amended in 2018 by the government, was designed to protect officials from perceived investigative harassment, but it is hardly the CVC’s job to tell the CBI that its investigation is without the sanction of the law.

This case continues the trend of the Supreme Court stepping into the executive’s domain. It has, never, however, done so to this extent. Two principal agencies in the fight against corruption, the CBI and the CVC, will function under its scrutiny.

Under the circumstances

The Supreme Court, thus, has chosen to act according to its ideas of fairness, or equity, rather than the strict confines of the law. It has waded into the administrative crises trying to fashion a solution, but as an interim measure it has indicated that it will have to consider each decision of the “interim” CBI Director, and thus each decision of the officer transferred in every investigation. Justice Patnaik will have to supervise an investigation, within two weeks, into the vague and secret allegations against Mr. Verma. Both are woefully under-equipped for a task that requires fact-finding of such magnitude. However, as an interim measure, it is hard to think what else would have sufficed. When the executive and independent institutions act with such brazenness against the constitutional ethos, can the Supreme Court bear the entire burden of course correction? Are the sinews of the Constitution strong enough to withstand such vicious jabs?

Avi Singh is an advocate who specialises in transnational and criminal law, and is also currently the Additional Standing Counsel for criminal cases for the Government of the NCT of Delhi. The views expressed are personal


1) faction

Meaning : a small organized dissenting group within a larger one, especially in politics.(n)

Tamil Meaning : பிரிவு

Synonyms : sect

Antonyms : unity

Example : “the left-wing faction of the party”

2) coalition

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

Tamil Meaning : கூட்டணி

Synonyms : alliance

Antonyms : discord

Example : “a coalition between Liberals and Conservatives”

3) deteriorating

Meaning : become progressively worse.(v)

Tamil Meaning : மோசமடைந்து

Synonyms : decline

Antonyms : decay

Example : “relations between the countries had deteriorated sharply”

4) implications

Meaning : the conclusion that can be drawn from something although it is not explicitly stated.(n)

Tamil Meaning : சம்பந்தமாக

Synonyms : connotation , hint

Antonyms : exception

Example : “the implication is that no one person at the bank is responsible”

5) rival

Meaning : a person or thing competing with another for the same objective or for superiority in the same field of activity.(n), be or seem to be equal or comparable to.(v)

Tamil Meaning : போட்டி

Synonyms : enemy , competitor

Antonyms : collaborate

Example : “he has no serious rival for the job”

6) garnering

Meaning : gather or collect (something, especially information or approval).(v)

Synonyms : collect , harvest

Antonyms : dissipate

Example : “the police struggled to garner sufficient evidence”

7) amid

Meaning : surrounded by; in the middle of.

Tamil Meaning : மத்தியில்

Synonyms : between

Antonyms : beyond

Example : “our dream home, set amid magnificent rolling countryside”

8) upheaval

Meaning : a violent or sudden change or disruption to something.(n)

Tamil Meaning : கொந்தளிப்பை

Synonyms : agitation

Antonyms : harmony

Example : “major upheavals in the financial markets”

9) fragility

Meaning : the quality of being easily broken or damaged.(v)

Tamil Meaning : எளிதில்

Synonyms : frailty

Antonyms : stability

Example : “osteoporosis is characterized by bone fragility”

10) blatant

Meaning : (of bad behaviour) done openly and unashamedly.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : அப்பட்டமான

Synonyms : flagrant

Antonyms : unnoticeable

Example : “blatant lies”

11) betray

Meaning : expose (one’s country, a group, or a person) to danger by treacherously giving information to an enemy.(v)

Tamil Meaning : காட்டிக்கொடு

Synonyms : deceive , disclose

Antonyms : protect

Example : “a double agent who betrayed some 400 British and French agents to the Germans”

12) clout

Meaning : a heavy blow with the hand or a hard object(n).,hit (someone or something) hard.(v)

Synonyms : punch

Antonyms : powerlessness

Example : “a clout round the ear”

13) thuggery

Meaning : violent behaviour, especially of a criminal nature.(n)

Synonyms : attack

Antonyms : gentleness

Example : “a cowardly act of mindless thuggery”

14) recede

Meaning : go or move back or further away from a previous position.(v)

Tamil Meaning : பின்வாங்கு

Synonyms : retreat

Antonyms : emerge

Example : “the floodwaters had receded”

15) reconvenes,

Meaning : convene or cause to convene again, especially after a pause in proceedings.(v)

Tamil Meaning : கூடும்

Synonyms : reunite

Antonyms : take apart

Example : “parliament reconvenes on 1st June”

16) patent

Meaning : a government authority or licence conferring a right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention.(n)

Tamil Meaning : காப்புரிமை

Synonyms : obvious

Antonyms : hidden

Example : “he took out a patent for an improved steam hammer”

17) mess

Meaning : a dirty or untidy state of things or of a place.(n), have one’s meals with a particular person, especially as a member of an armed forces’ mess.(v)

Tamil Meaning : குழப்பம்

Synonyms : muddle

Antonyms : hierarchy

Example : “she made a mess of the kitchen”

18) consent

Meaning : permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.(n), give permission for something to happen.(v)

Tamil Meaning : ஒப்புதல்

Synonyms : sanction

Antonyms : refuse

Example : “no change may be made without the consent of all the partners”

19) prudently.

Meaning : acting with or showing care and thought for the future.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : விவேகமுள்ள

Synonyms : careful

Antonyms : foolish

Example : “no prudent money manager would authorize a loan without first knowing its purpose”

20) alacrity

Meaning : brisk and cheerful readiness.(n)

Tamil Meaning : சுறுசுறுப்பு

Synonyms : readiness

Antonyms : laziness

Example : “she accepted the invitation with alacrity”

21) ostensible

Meaning : stated or appearing to be true, but not necessarily so.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : வெளிவேஷமிட்ட

Synonyms : apparent

Antonyms : genuine

Example : “the real dispute which lay behind the ostensible complaint”

22) apparent

Meaning : clearly visible or understood; obvious.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : வெளிப்படையான

Synonyms : evident

Antonyms : dubious

Example : “for no apparent reason she laughed”

23) divulge

Meaning : make known (private or sensitive information).(v)

Tamil Meaning : வெளிப்படுத்துமாறு

Synonyms : reveal

Antonyms : conceal

Example : “I am too much of a gentleman to divulge her age”

24) dithered

Meaning : be indecisive.(v)

Tamil Meaning : குழப்பமடை

Synonyms : pother

Antonyms : decide

Example : “I can’t bear people who dither”

25) egregious

Meaning : outstandingly bad; shocking.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : அதிர்ச்சியான

Synonyms : glaring

Antonyms : slight

Example : “egregious abuses of copyright”

26) perceived

Meaning : become aware or conscious of (something); come to realize or understand.(v)

Tamil Meaning : உணர

Synonyms : discern

Antonyms : miss

Example : “his mouth fell open as he perceived the truth”

27) scrutiny

Meaning : critical observation or examination.(n)

Tamil Meaning : கண்காணிப்பின்

Synonyms : inspection

Antonyms : glance

Example : “every aspect of local government was placed under scrutiny

28) waded

Meaning : walk with effort through water or another liquid or viscous substance.(v)

Synonyms : paddle

Antonyms : jump

Example : “he waded out to the boat”

29) sufficed

Meaning : be enough or adequate.(v)

Tamil Meaning : போதுமானதாக

Synonyms : satisfy , serve

Antonyms : dissatisfy

Example : “a quick look should suffice”

30) woefully

Meaning : in a manner expressing sorrow or misery.(adv)

Tamil Meaning : முற்றிலும்

Synonyms : grievously, miserably

Antonyms : cheerfully

Example : “she sighed woefully and walked out”

31) interim

Meaning : the intervening time.(n), in or for the intervening period; provisional.(v)

Tamil Meaning : இடைக்கால

Synonyms : meantime

Antonyms : final

Example : “in the interim I’ll just keep my fingers crossed”

32) brazen

Meaning : bold and without shame.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : திமிர்த்தனமான

Synonyms : bold

Antonyms : timid

Example : “he went about his illegal business with a brazen assurance”

33) vicious

Meaning : deliberately cruel or violent.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : தீய

Synonyms : cruel

Antonyms : nice

Example : “a vicious assault”

34) confines

Meaning : keep or restrict someone or something within certain limits of (space, scope, or time).(v)

Tamil Meaning : வரையறுக்கப்பட்ட

Synonyms : limit

Antonyms : frees

Example : “he does not confine his message to high politics”

35) wield

Meaning : hold and use (a weapon or tool).(v)

Tamil Meaning : கையாள்கிறார்கள்

Synonyms : handle

Antonyms : conceal

Example : “a masked raider wielding a handgun”

36) allegations

Meaning : a claim or assertion that someone has done something illegal or wrong, typically one made without proof.(n)

Tamil Meaning : குற்றச்சாட்டு

Synonyms : charge

Antonyms : abnegation

Example : “he made allegations of corruption against the administration”

37) disquiet

Meaning : a feeling of worry or unease.(n), make (someone) worried or uneasy.(v)

Tamil Meaning : அமைதியின்மை

Synonyms : trouble

Antonyms : comfort

Example : “public disquiet about animal testing”

38) brutality

Meaning : savage physical violence; great cruelty.(n)

Tamil Meaning : மிருகத்தனமான

Synonyms : savagery

Antonyms : kindness

Example : “brutality against civilians”

39) reinstated

Meaning : restore (someone or something) to their former position or state.(v)

Tamil Meaning : பதிலாக

Synonyms : restore

Antonyms : repeal

Example : “the union threatened strike action if Owen was not reinstated”

40) tenure

Meaning : the holding of an office.(n), give (someone) a permanent post, especially as a teacher or lecturer.(v)

Tamil Meaning : பதவி

Synonyms : incumbency

Antonyms : dignity

Example : “his tenure of the premiership would be threatened”


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