IASbhai Editorial Hunt

The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.-Aristotle

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020.

EDITORIAL 19:“Litmus test for a judicial clean-up order


Navin Chawla was India’s 16th Chief Election Commissioner. He is the author of ‘Every Vote Counts: the Story of India’s Election’



Litmus test for a judicial clean-up order


The next Assembly polls will prove whether the Supreme Court stand on criminal candidates has the desired effect

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2: Accountablity:Transperancy:Judiciary


“Muscle” and “Money” power, which have became the bane of our political system. Substantiate -(GS 3)


Author has beautifully scripted some past memories of his professional life where in he speaks about criminalization in political arena then and now ! There are very few points but still a relevant article for UPSC CSE MAINS 2020.


Last week’s Supreme Court judgment, on February 13, 2020, by Justices R.F. Nariman and S. Ravindra Bhat, marks an important and possibly far-reaching step towards reining in the political establishment as far as fielding candidates with criminal antecedents is concerned.


In a far-reaching verdict aimed at decriminalising Indian politics, the Supreme Court directed political parties to upload on their websites and social media platforms the details of pending criminal cases against their candidates, the reasons for selecting them and for not giving ticket to those without criminal antecedents



By virtue of this order, the Court has also shifted part of the onus on political parties, ruling that they must do much more to publicise the criminal antecedents of candidates that they have selected to contest both parliamentary and State Assembly elections.

It would no longer be sufficient to cite “winnability” as the criterion.

Citing figures of the alarming increase in the number of such persons selected as candidates across the political spectrum, the order asks parties contesting elections to henceforth explain why persons without criminal blemish could not have been chosen instead.

While the judgments of 2002 and 2003 were important, and emanated after a prolonged struggle by the Association for Democratic Reforms, they did not have the desired impact on either the political establishment or indeed on voter choices: the present Lok Sabha has an all-time high of 43% of its members having one or more criminal cases against them.

 “Muscle” and “Money” power, which have became the bane of our political system. Indeed “money” power has moved us in the direction of a plutocracy.

Both these two ills need urgent course correction, preferably from within the Executive itself.

It surely cannot augur ( to give promise of ) well for us that criminality within Parliament grew from 24% in 2004 to 30% in 2009, to 34% in 2014 and 43%in 2019.

Almost half these cases were/are for alleged heinous offences such as murder, attempt to murder, rape and kidnapping.


In turn, political parties and candidates have often voiced their concern that cases tend to be foisted on them by political opponents.

He pointed out that he had dealt with many such cases arising out of political vendetta.

Of course, not all first information reports lodged against political players are criminal in intent. The violation of Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure as a result of civil protest is one such example.

Which is why the ECI, for over two long decades, has addressed various Prime Ministers to pass legislation on the ground that charges framed by a court of law for only heinous offences, and cases registered (not on the anvil of elections, but up to one year prior) would amount to a “ reasonable restriction” and that such a person be barred from contest. But so far to no avail.


Voter behaviour is most often conditioned by their own immediate needs.

The distribution of “freebies”, for instance, was often a one-way street, of candidates “offering” money and goodies.

Voter behaviour has since begun to change.

Voters now often enough tend to demand money and freebies.

With our criminal justice system clogged with cases and lawyers fees often far beyond what many can afford, the local “don” standing for elections, who promises delivery of rough and ready justice, is often seen as the messiah on hand.

All too often these cases involve bread and butter issues, from land and irrigation dispute resolution, to matters involving family honour.

In such cases this “Robin Hood’ contestant is actually a preferred choice, which helps to explain that where muscle and money get combined in the rural landscape, they often win by large margins.

This was not always the case. In the 1970s and 1980s, the “don” was content to support the local political bigwig with his muscle, crowd-pulling capacity and money, hoping that once elections were over, the elected leader would help the “don” in turn, not least to help wipe out his string of cases.

By the 1990s the muscle man decided that this was not good enough.

Not all such players were men: witness the life and death of Phoolan Devi who came into political power on the power of a gun, and faded out too in the same manner.

      IASbhai Windup: 


For critics of this present order, I would remind them of None of the Above (NOTA) and the July 10, 2013 Order in the Lily Thomas vs Union of India case, wherein a parliamentarian or legislator convicted of an offence that leads to a sentence of two years and more will be debarred from contesting an election for six years after his or her prison term ends.

It is therefore prudent to await the next important Assembly elections on the anvil — in Bihar and West Bengal.

No doubt the political parties will once again bat for the “winnability” factor in their selections.

It remains to be seen how the recent judgment will affect the choices of the political establishment and whether it will have the desired effect in eliminating or significantly purging criminality from future legislatures.




Amitabh Mattoo

Amitabh Mattoo is a Professor of International Relations at the Jawaharlal Nehru University


Forging a new India-U.S. modus vivendi


New Delhi needs the superpower’s support to move towards a more organic rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2:IR(International Relations)


 Today Indo-Pacific has arrived at an ‘Iron Curtain’ moment in its history. Analyze -(GS 3)


This article will let you understand why Pro-USA tilt has  been adopted by the government. There are some anecdotes which you should note them separately and use them in your answers.


It is easy to be contrarian(a person who opposes or rejects popular opinion) about U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to India early next week, given his idiosyncrasies(a mode of behaviour or way of thought peculiar to an individual), his often-unpredictable, rambunctious ways and the roughshod manner in which he seeks to put America first.

And yet, it is clearer than perhaps ever before in recent times, that New Delhi needs the continued support of the U.S. government on almost everything substantial that matters to India in its quest to be a power of substance in the international system.




From a fairer trade regime; to accessing cutting-edge technology; to the fight against terrorism; to stabilising our region, New Delhi stands to benefit from constructive ties on all issues, given a more sensitive United States.

India must therefore seek greater understanding and engagement should there be a Trump 2.0.


Asymmetrical partnerships, as we know from history, are rarely easy.

Partnerships with superpowers are even more difficult; in international politics, as in life, even the best of unequal relationships results in a loss of some dignity and autonomy.

It took all of Winston Churchill’s weight, foresight, wisdom, and the frightening imagery of communism invading Europe, to convince the U.S. of the need of a special relationship across the Atlantic, after the Second World War; and even then the British had to accept that London would be just another city in Europe, and Washington would consult London only when deemed necessary.

But as Churchill realised on that fateful day in March 1946 in Fulton, Missouri, when he delivered his ‘Iron Curtain’ speech, the consequences of not arriving at a modus vivendi(“mode of living” or “way of life”)  with the U.S. would be disastrous.

Today, the Indo-Pacific has arrived at an ‘Iron Curtain’ moment in its history.

Without the United States, the region could become willy-nilly part of a new Chinese tributary system.

With a fully engaged United States, the region has at least the chance of creating a more organic rules-based order.

In New Delhi’s case, the history of, what diplomat Dennis Kux described as, “estrangement”(the fact of no longer being on friendly terms or part of a social group./disaffection)  with the United States, during the Cold War, has had consequences for vital national interests that continue to cast their shadow on the present.

Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), nuclear non-proliferation, the festering of the Pakistan “problem”, the Chinese humiliation of 1962, are just a few examples.

But much of course has changed today. Anti-Americanism, once the conventional wisdom of the Indian elite, seems outdated.

New Delhi has, over the decades, gone on to align itself more closely with Washington.

More important, outside the Left, both within India and in the U.S., the consensus across the mainstream of political opinion favours stronger relations between the two countries.

This is notwithstanding the recent concerns expressed in Congress about the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and about the internment of political leaders in J&K.


The reason for the change in New Delhi ‘s geostrategic outlook can be summarised quickly.

If the 1971 Friendship Treaty with the Soviet Union was a response to the continuing U.S. tilt towards Pakistan and the beginnings of a Washington-Beijing entente, at present, it is the prospect of a potentially hegemonic China in the Indo-Pacific region is helping to cement the relationship.

In Foreign Affairs, strategic affairs analyst Ashley Tellis writes about the “the surprising success” of the partnership and argues that Mr. Trump and Mr. Modi have “deepened” the defence cooperation.


Accomplishments India-U.S. ties made over the years:

  • Including “a foundational military agreement that allows for the sharing of encrypted communications and equipment;
  • A change in U.S. export control laws that places India in a privileged category of NATO and non-NATO U.S. allies;
  • A new ‘2+2’ foreign and defense ministers dialogue;
  • An exponential increase in U.S. oil exports to India;
  • The inauguration of the first India-U.S. tri-service military exercise and an expansion of existing military exercises;
  • The signing of an Industrial Security Annex that will allow for greater collaboration among the two countries’ private defense industries;
  • The inclusion of India and South Asia in a U.S. Maritime Security Initiative…”
much work needs to be done for the two countries to fulfil the potential of the relationship, especially in the area of defence. This, together with other key issues including trade, is on the centrepiece of the Trump-Modi agenda for the visit.

      IASbhai Windup: 


There is, of course, a chance that we may have a Democratic President next year.

In those circumstances, we can only hope that the bipartisan consensus on engaging India — which has continued from Bill Clinton’s second term will prevail.

To be sure, however, a new President will seek to put his/her own imprimatur(a person’s authoritative approval) on the relationship.

he Democrats will clearly be more proactive on human rights and on issues of inclusion and diversity, which would make a greater demand on South Block and test its capacity and creativity.

New Delhi must, of course, continue engaging with its strongest source of support in the United States: the Indian diaspora.

Fortunately, there is a near consensus on the need to strengthen this constituency.

In any case, there is little doubt that whoever is the next occupant of the White House, a retreat from multilateralism (especially on trade-related issues) and concern about China will continue to be the two main pillars of contemporary American foreign policy. If for only those reasons, Mr Trump’s reason has undeniable significance.

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