THE HINDU EDITORIAL – September 14, 2018 is one of the must read section for the competitive exams like IBPS RRB PO, IBPS RRB Office Assistant 2018, RBI Grade “B” 2018 & NIACL Assistant 2018. These topics are widely expected to be asked in the reading comprehension , Cloze Test or Error Detection topics in the forthcoming exams. So gear up your Exam preparation and learn new words daily.

A) Sage advice: on Raghuram Rajan’s suggestions

Raghuram Rajan’s suggestions on preventing a financial crisis must be heeded

Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan’s note of caution on the next financial crisis that could be building up needs to be taken in all seriousness. In his note to Parliament’s Estimates Committee on bank non-performing assets (NPAs), Mr. Rajan has flagged three major sources of potential trouble: Mudra credit, which is basically small-ticket loans granted to micro and small enterprises; lending to farmers through Kisan Credit Cards; and contingent liabilities under the Credit Guarantee Scheme for MSMEs, run by the Small Industries Development Bank of India. The disbursement under Mudra loans alone is ₹6.37 lakh crore, which is over 7% of the total outstanding bank credit. These loans have been sanctioned under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, which aims to ‘fund the unfunded’, and is a signature scheme of the NDA government. Given that these are small loans up to ₹10 lakh each, with the borrowers mostly from the informal sector, banks have to monitor them very closely. It is debatable whether banks have the resources and manpower to do this when they are chasing the bigger borrowers for business and, increasingly these days, recoveries. The risk is that these small-ticket loans will drop under the radar and build into a large credit issue in course of time. The same logic holds true for crop loans made through Kisan Credit Cards.

Mr. Rajan’s advice on loan waivers has been made by him and others in the past. But the political class has chosen to turn a deaf ear to this advice, vitiating the credit culture and creating a moral hazard where farmer-borrowers assume that their loans will invariably be waived off. The former RBI Governor has strongly defended the RBI against criticism, often unfair, over its policies on NPA recognition and resolution. He rightly termed as “ludicrous” the allegations that the economy slowed down because of the RBI. Recognition is the first step in a clean-up, and unless banks are cleaned of their non-performing loans, they cannot make fresh loans. The Central government should also take note of some forward-looking statements that Mr. Rajan has made on the governance of banks. Among his suggestions to avert a recurrence of the current mess are, professionalising bank boards with appointments done by an independent Banks Board Bureau; inducting talent from outside banks to make up for the deficit within; revising compensation structures to attract the best talent; and ensuring that banks are not left without a leader at the top. It is a comment on the state of our polity that despite the important issues that Mr. Rajan raised, political parties have chosen to pick only the points that are convenient to them — about the period when these bad loans were made and the purported inaction over a list of high-profile fraud cases highlighted by him.

B) Section 377: Drawing a curtain on the past

In striking down Section 377, the Supreme Court has recognised the Constitution’s extraordinary transformative power

In a rousing address to the Constituent Assembly on November 25, 1949, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar laid out his transformative vision for the Constitution. The document, he said, ought to serve as a lodestar in the endeavour to make India not merely a political but also a social democracy. He saw liberty, equality and fraternity as principles of life, as a collective “union of trinity”. “To divorce one from the other,” he said, “is to defeat the very purpose of democracy.” Now, 71 years after Independence, these values that Ambedkar saw as integral to India’s republic, find new meaning in a remarkable judgment of the Supreme Court in Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India. Not only has the court struck down the wretchedly wicked Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, insofar as it criminalises homosexuality, but it has also recognised the Constitution’s enormous and extraordinary transformative power. In doing so, the court has provided us with a deep expression of democratic hope. And perhaps we can finally believe, as Nehru said, in his famous midnight speech, that “the past is over, and it is the future that beckons to us now”.

Macaulay’s shadow

Plainly read, Section 377 punishes with imprisonment for life or for a term of up to 10 years any person who voluntarily has “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal”. Over the years, the term, “against the order of nature”, has been used to persecute members of the LGBTQ community, treating any non-procreative sexual act by them as acts of crime. Thomas Macaulay, the law’s drafter, despised the idea of even a debate on the legislation’s language. “We are unwilling to insert, either in the text, or in the notes, anything which could give rise to public discussion on this revolting subject,” he wrote in his chapter on “unnatural offences”. “…We are decidedly of the opinion that the injury which would be done to the morals of the community by such discussion would far more than compensate for any benefits which might be derived from legislative measures framed with the greatest precision.”

Like many other colonial-era laws, therefore, Section 377 was inserted with a view to upholding a distinctly Victorian notion of public morality. But post-Independence, the law remained on the books, as an edict that the Indian state saw as intrinsic to the enforcement of its own societal mores. The criminal law, the government believed, was a legitimate vehicle through which it could impose and entrench in society its own ideas of what constituted a good life. Societal morality, to it, trumped constitutional guarantees of equality and liberty.

Long road to freedom

In July 2009, however, the Delhi High Court, in a judgment delivered by a bench comprising Chief Justice A.P. Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar, rejected this vision, and declared Section 377, insofar as it criminalised homosexuality, unconstitutional. In the court’s belief, the law was patently discriminatory. It offended not only a slew of explicitly guaranteed fundamental rights — in this case, Articles 14, 15, 19 and 21 — but also what the judgment described as “constitutional morality”. “Moral indignation, howsoever strong, is not a valid basis for overriding individual’s fundamental rights of dignity and privacy,” the court wrote. “In our scheme of things, constitutional morality must outweigh the argument of public morality, even if it be the majoritarian view.”

At the time this was a grand statement to make. Indeed, barely four years later, the Supreme Court reversed the findings in Naz, and rendered the judgment’s radical vision nugatory. In a shattering verdict, the court, in Suresh Kumar Koushal, once again declared homosexuality an offence. LGTBQ persons, to the court, constituted only a “miniscule minority”, and they enjoyed, in the court’s belief, neither a right to be treated as equals nor a right to ethical independence, a freedom to decide for themselves how they wanted to lead their lives.

But now, in Navtej Singh Johar, the court has restored both the quotidian and the outstanding glories of the judgment in Naz. Unexceptionally, Section 377, it has found, infringes the guarantee of equality in Article 14, the promise against discrimination in Article 15, the right to free expression contained in Article 19, and the pledges of human dignity and privacy inherent in Article 21. But, perhaps, more critically, the court has taken inspiration from Naz in bringing to the heart of constitutional interpretation a theory that seeks to find how best to understand what equal moral status in society really demands, a theory that engages profoundly with India’s social and political history.

Interpreting the Constitution

The question of how to interpret a constitution, any constitution, is an age-old one. The Indian Constitution couches its guarantee of fundamental rights in abstract terms. For instance, the Constitution doesn’t expressly tell us what equality, in Article 14, means. Does it mean merely a formal equality, or does it promise a more substantive equality, demanding the state’s proactive participation?

Until now, in the absence of a coherent theory of interpretation, judges have vacillated in answering such questions. But the four separate opinions in Navtej Singh Johar, written respectively by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices R.F. Nariman, D.Y. Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, collectively espouse an interpretive model that gives to India’s history its full consideration. The Constitution “was burdened with the challenge of ‘drawing a curtain on the past’ of social inequality and prejudices,” Justice Chandrachud wrote, invoking Professor Uday Mehta. The document, therefore, was an “attempt to reverse the socializing of prejudice, discrimination and power hegemony in a disjointed society.” Or, as Chief Justice Misra put it: “The adoption of the Constitution was, in a way, an instrument or agency for achieving constitutional morality and [a] means to discourage the prevalent social morality at that time. A country or a society which embraces constitutional morality has at its core the well-founded idea of inclusiveness.” The idea, therefore, is, similar to what the South African courts have held, to eliminate all forms of discrimination from the social structure, and to usher society from degrading practices of the past into an egalitarian future.

There is a danger, many believe, that this theory of interpretation could allow judges to turn into philosopher-kings, allowing them to impose their moral convictions on society. But, as Ronald Dworkin has observed, a strategy of interpretation which partakes a consideration of both text and history is really a “strategy for lawyers and judges acting in good faith, which is all any interpretive strategy can be”.

Future disputes will certainly have to be guided by the court’s general rule prescribed in Navtej Singh Johar. The court has already reserved its judgment in a number of cases that will tell us how it intends on applying this theory. Its decision in cases concerning the entry of women into the Sabarimala temple, on the practice of female genital mutilation of minor girls in the Dawoodi Bohra community, on the validity of the Indian Penal Code’s adultery law, will all prove telling. Yet, much like the challenge to Section 377, the issues at the core of these cases are scarcely controversial as a matter of pure constitutional interpretation. Ultimately, therefore, the true value of Navtej Singh Johar will only be seen when the court sees this theory as integral to its ability to judge clashes between the naked power of the state and personal liberty, to cases such as the challenge to the Aadhaar programme, which seek to reverse the transformation that the Constitution brings. There too, as Chief Justice Misra has written, the court must be “guided by the conception of constitutional morality”.


1) disbursement

Meaning : the payment of money from a fund.

Tamil Meaning : செலவு

Synonyms : expenditure , spending

Antonyms : deposit

Example : “they established a committee to supervise the disbursement of aid”

2) radar

Meaning : a system for detecting the presence, direction by sending out pulses of radio waves which are reflected off the object back to the source.

Synonyms : sonar

Antonyms : noticeable

Example : “keep your radar tuned to changes at work”

3) waivers

Meaning : an act or instance of waiving a right or claim.

Tamil Meaning : சலுகை

Synonyms : postponement , remission

Antonyms : allowance

Example : “their acquiescence could amount to a waiver”

4) vitiating

Meaning : spoil or impair the quality or efficiency of.

Tamil Meaning :பழுதாக்கு

Synonyms : annihilate , negate

Antonyms : help

Example : “development programmes have been vitiated by the rise in population”

5) criticism

Meaning : the expression of disapproval of someone or something on the basis of perceived faults or mistakes.

Tamil Meaning : திறனாய்வு

Synonyms : comment

Antonyms : heedlessness

Example : “he received a lot of criticism”

6) ludicrous

Meaning : so foolish, unreasonable, or out of place as to be amusing.

Tamil Meaning : நகைப்பிற்குரியது

Synonyms : bizarre , farcical

Antonyms : common

Example : “it’s ludicrous that I have been fined”

7) allegations

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

Tamil Meaning : குற்றச்சாட்டுக்கள்

Synonyms : charge accusation

Antonyms : exculpation

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

8) avert

Meaning : turn away (one’s eyes or thoughts).

Tamil Meaning : தவிர்க்க

Synonyms : avoid , deter

Antonyms : aid

Example : “she averted her eyes while we made stilted conversation”

9) purported

Meaning : appear to be or do something, especially falsely.

Tamil Meaning : கருத்து

Synonyms : connotation , core

Antonyms : exterior

Example : “she is not the person she purports to be”

10) lodestar

Meaning : a star that is used to guide the course of a ship, especially the pole star.

Tamil Meaning : வழிகாட்டும் விண்மீன்

Synonyms : design , symbol

Antonyms : guess

Example : “she dominated his existence as chief muse and intellectual lodestar”

11) endeavour

Meaning : try hard to do or achieve something.

Tamil Meaning : முயற்சி

Synonyms : effort struggle

Antonyms : idleness

Example : “he is endeavouring to help the Third World”

12) trinity

Meaning : the three persons of the Christian Godhead; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Tamil Meaning :

Synonyms : triad

Example : “the wine was the first of a trinity of three excellent vintages”

the state of being three.

13) wretched

Meaning : (of a person) in a very unhappy or unfortunate state.

Tamil Meaning : இழிவான

Synonyms : deplorable , abject

Antonyms : blessed

Example : “I felt so wretched because I thought I might never see you again”

14) beckons

Meaning : make a gesture with the hand, arm, or head to encourage or instruct someone to approach or follow.

Tamil Meaning : சைகை காட்டு

Synonyms : attract , entice

Antonyms : repel

Example : “Miranda beckoned to Adam”

15) carnal

Meaning : relating to physical, especially sexual, needs and activities.

Tamil Meaning : உடலின்பத்திற்குரிய

Synonyms : earthly , lewd

Antonyms : decent

Example : “carnal desire”

16) persecute

Meaning : subject (someone) to hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of their race or political or religious beliefs.

Tamil Meaning : கொடுமைப்படுத்துவது

Synonyms : harass , injure

Antonyms : assist

Example : “his followers were persecuted by the authorities”

17) despised

Meaning : feel contempt or a deep repugnance for.

Tamil Meaning : வெறுக்கப்படும்

Synonyms : deride , detest

Antonyms : admire

Example : “he despised himself for being selfish”

18) notion

Meaning : a conception of or belief about something.

Tamil Meaning : கருத்து

Synonyms : assumption , approach

Antonyms : being

Example : “children have different notions about the roles of their parents”

19) intrinsic

Meaning : belonging naturally; essential.

Tamil Meaning : உள்ளார்ந்த

Synonyms : inherent

Antonyms : acquired

Example : “access to the arts is intrinsic to a high quality of life”

20) entrench

Meaning : establish (an attitude, habit, or belief) so firmly that change is very difficult or unlikely.

Tamil Meaning : மேலும் ஆழமாக்கும்

Synonyms : define , ingrain

Antonyms : discourage

Example : “ageism is entrenched in our society”

21) trump

Meaning : (in bridge, whist, and similar card games) play a trump on (a card of another suit).

Tamil Meaning : துருப்பு

Synonyms : ascendancy , choice

Antonyms : block

Example : “why on earth did you trump my ace?”

22) patently

Meaning : clearly; without doubt.

Tamil Meaning : அப்பட்டமான

Synonyms : decidedly , notably

Antonyms : unremarkably

Example : “these claims were patently false”

23) discriminate

Meaning : recognize a distinction; differentiate.

Tamil Meaning : வேற்றுமை

Synonyms : segregate , favor

Antonyms : confuse

Example : “babies can discriminate between different facial expressions”

24) slew

Meaning : turn or slide violently or uncontrollably.

Tamil Meaning : பெருந்தொகை

Synonyms : abundance , bundle

Antonyms : debt

Example : “the Renault slewed from side to side in the snow”

25) dignity

Meaning : the state or quality of being worthy of honour or respect.

Tamil Meaning : கண்ணியம்

Synonyms : decorum , greatness

Antonyms : dishonor

Example : “the dignity of labour”

26) conception

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

Tamil Meaning : கருத்து

Synonyms : perception , notion

Antonyms :fact

Example : “an unfertilized egg before conception”

27) render

Meaning : provide or give (a service, help, etc.).

Tamil Meaning : வழங்க

Synonyms : deliver , provide

Antonyms : take

Example : “money serves as a reward for services rendered

28) nugatory

Meaning : of no value or importance.

Tamil Meaning : பயனற்ற

Synonyms : inadequate

Antonyms : impactful

Example : “a nugatory and pointless observation”

29) shatter

Meaning : break or cause to break suddenly and violently into pieces.

Tamil Meaning : நொறுக்கு

Synonyms : dash , demolish

Antonyms : build

Example : “bullets riddled the bar top, glasses shattered, bottles exploded”

30) verdict

Meaning : a decision on an issue of fact in a civil or criminal case or an inquest.

Tamil Meaning : தீர்ப்பு

Synonyms : decision , answer

Antonyms : accusation

Example : “the jury returned a verdict of not guilty”

31) offence

Meaning : a breach of a law or rule; an illegal act.

Tamil Meaning :

Synonyms : infraction , breach

Antonyms : behavior

Example : “the new offence of obtaining property by deception”

32) infringes

Meaning : actively break the terms of (a law, agreement, etc.).

Tamil Meaning : விதிமீறல்

Synonyms : breach , impose

Antonyms : give

Example : “making an unauthorized copy would infringe copyright”

33) interpret

Meaning : explain the meaning of (information or actions).

Tamil Meaning : விளக்குவது

Synonyms : construe , enact

Antonyms : confuse

Example : “the evidence is difficult to interpret”

34) Mere

Meaning : used to emphasize how small or insignificant someone or something is.

Tamil Meaning : வெறும்

Synonyms : minor , pure

Antonyms : indefinite

Example : “questions that cannot be answered by mere mortals”

35) vacillate

Meaning : waver between different opinions or actions; be indecisive.

Tamil Meaning : ஊசலாடு

Synonyms : dither , fluctuate

Antonyms : remain

Example : “I vacillated between teaching and journalism”

36) espouse

Meaning : adopt or support (a cause, belief, or way of life).

Tamil Meaning : மணம்புரி

Synonyms : adopt

Antonyms : attack

Example : “the left has espoused the causes of sexual and racial equality”

37) embraces

Meaning : hold (someone) closely in one’s arms, especially as a sign of affection.

Tamil Meaning : தழுவி

Synonyms : grasp

Antonyms : free

Example : “Aunt Sophie embraced her warmly”

38) egalitarian

Meaning : believing in or based on the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.

Tamil Meaning : சமத்துவ

Synonyms : equitable , democratic

Example : “a fairer, more egalitarian society”

39) conviction

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.

Tamil Meaning : தண்டனை

Synonyms : faith , principle

Antonyms : distrust

Example : “she had a previous conviction for a similar offence”

40) mutilation

Meaning : the action of mutilating or being mutilated.

Tamil Meaning : உருச்சிதைவு

Synonyms : abuse

Antonyms : praise

Example : “a culture which found any mutilation of the body abhorrent”


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