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20 and 21 February 2024 - Daily Current Affairs

The Supreme Court has decided to examine if existing personal laws debar divorced Muslim women from availing maintenance under Section 125 CrPC.

Section 125 of CrPC

  • Application - It provides for the maintenance to the wife, child, and parents.

  • It applies to all women, regardless of their religion, who have been divorced by or have obtained a divorce from their husbands and have not remarried.

  • Authority - It empowers magistrate of first class to order a monthly allowance for their maintenance, based on the husband’s means and the wife’s needs.

  • The magistrate has the discretion to determine the monthly allowance based on various factors such as the needs and resources of the person responsible for maintenance.

  • Duration of maintenance- Maintenance can be ordered until the wife remarries or in the case of children, until they attain majority.

What is the issue?

  • The dispute arose after a Muslim man challenged a Telangana High Court direction to pay Rs.10,000 interim maintenance to his former wife.

  • He contended that maintenance in this case will instead be governed by the provisions of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986.

Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986

Key aspects



It is a religion specific law  that was enacted to override the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Shah Bano case, which upheld a Muslim women’s right to seek maintenance under the CrPC.


To protect the rights of Muslim women by providing for a specific procedure for them to claim maintenance after divorce.


To all Indian Muslims, regardless of sect or school of law to which they belong.

Maintenance during idaat period

  • Section 3 of the Act stipulates that a divorced Muslim woman is entitled to receive maintenance from her former husband during the iddat period.

  • Iddat is the waiting period (usually 3 months) that a woman must observe after the death of her husband or a divorce before she can remarry.

Amount of maintenance

  • It is equal to the amount of mahr or dowry given to the woman at the time of her marriage or any time after that.

  • The woman can approach a First-Class Magistrate to procure maintenance during idaat period.

Maintenance after iddat period

After the iddat period, if the divorced woman has not remarried and is unable to maintain herself, she can approach a First-Class Magistrate for maintenance.

Relationship with CrPC

The Act operates in conjunction with Section 125 of the CrPC.

What did the Supreme Court say?

  • The Supreme Court has clarified that the 1986 act does not say that a divorced Muslim woman cannot file a petition under Section 125 of the CrPC, 1973, seeking maintenance from her former husband.

  • The Supreme Court reserved decision on the question as to which of these two laws would prevail.

Judgements by Court on right to maintenance

  • Danial Latifi v. Union of India (2001) -The Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of the 1986 Act by extending the right of a Muslim woman to get maintenance till she re-marries. It, however, reduced the period of maintenance to the completion of iddat.

  • 2009 - A Division Bench of the Supreme Court reiterated a divorced Muslim woman’s right to claim maintenance under Section 125 of the CrPC as long as she does not remarry and such a relief would be extended even after the expiry of the iddat period.

  • Patna High Court- In 2019, it set aside a family court order rejecting a Muslim woman’s plea for maintenance by underscoring that she has the option to avail of maintenance both under the CrPC and the 1986 Act.

  • If she chose the CrPC, she could not be said to be debarred from seeking maintenance on account of being a divorced Muslim lady.

  • Allahabad High Court- In various cases, it has said that a divorced Muslim woman’s right to claim maintenance under Section 125 of the CrPC even after the completion of the iddat period as long as she does not marry.

  • Mujeeb Rahiman vs Thasleena (2022)- Kerala High Court observed that a divorced Muslim woman can seek maintenance under Section 125 of the CrPC until she obtains relief under Section 3 of the 1986 Act.

  • Such an order will remain in force until the amount payable under Section 3 is paid.

  • Noushad Flourish vs Akhila Noushad (2023)- Kerala High Court ruled that a Muslim wife who effected her divorce  by the pronouncement of khula (divorce at the instance of, and with the consent of the wife) cannot claim maintenance from her husband under Section 125 of the CrPC.

Why in news?

Recently US accused Russia of developing a space based nuclear weapon that could destroy or damage other satellites in the orbit.

Anti-Satellite Weapon

  • Anti-satellite weapons are designed to debilitate and/or destroy satellites that are already in orbit and operational.

  • Kinetic anti-satellite weapon- These are usually launched from the ground or from the wings of an airplane and destroy satellites by running into them at high speeds.

  • Co-orbital anti-satellite weapons- They are first launched into orbit and then change direction to collide with the targeted satellite from space.

  • Non-kinetic anti-satellite weapon- They use technology like lasers to disrupt satellites without physically colliding with them.

  • Anti-satellite weapon capability- US, Russia, China and India have demonstrated the ability to attack satellites in orbit that support services like GPS, communication and weather forecasting.

  • Mission Shakti- It is India’s anti-satellite missile launched from the Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Island launch complex near Balasore in Odisha in 2019.

  • Anti Satellite weapons violates certain provisons of Outer Space Treaty, 1967.

What are the key provisions of Outer Space Treaty (OST), 1967?

Outer Space Treaty, 1967 is often called as the magna carta of space law.
  • It is formally known as the “Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies.”

  • Adoption- By United Nations General Assembly in 1967.

The provisions of the treaty are binding on the signatories
  • India- It signed the treaty in 1967 and ratified in 1982.

  • Peaceful use of outer space- Outer space shall be used for peaceful purposes, and the exploration of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit of all countries.

  • Prohibition of sovereignty- Outer space including the Moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by any means.

  • International cooperation- States are encouraged to conduct international cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space, including the exchange of information and assistance in case of emergencies.

  • Prohibition of weapons of mass destruction- The Moon and other celestial bodies shall be used exclusively for peaceful purposes. The stationing of weapons of mass destruction and military bases on celestial bodies is prohibited.

  • Freedom of exploration- The exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit of all countries, and there shall be free access to all areas of celestial bodies.

  • Liability for space activities- States are internationally liable for any damage caused by their space activities to other states or their space objects.

  • Limit non-governmental activities-The private entities and other non-government organizations are required to avoid harmful contamination of outer space and celestial bodies.

  • Registration of space objects- States are obligated to register space objects launched into outer space with the UN Registry of Objects Launched into Outer Space.

  • Protect astronauts- States are obligated to render assistance to astronauts in distress and to return them safely to Earth.

  • Avoidance of harmful contamination-States shall avoid harmful contamination of space and celestial bodies, it emphasizes environmental protection and the prevention of the spread of harmful substances in outer space.

The Act is against nuclear weapons, it does not prohibit nuclear-powered satellites in space.
  • Notify harmful activities- States are encouraged to inform the international community in advance about any space activities that could cause harmful interference with the activities of other states.

  • Coordination- States are encouraged to consult with each other and coordinate their activities in outer space to prevent harmful interference.

Space weapons prior to OST

  • US- It carried out a series of high-altitude nuclear tests, the biggest of which was the Starfish Prime in1962, which triggered electromagnetic pulse that was much larger than expected.

  • Soviet Union- In 1978, a nuclear powered satellite Kosmos 954 malfunctioned and crashed into northern Canada, it spread radioactive debris across hundreds of miles.

  • Kessler syndrome- A scenario where the density of space debris in low-earth orbit is high enough to cause frequent collisions, which in turn create more debris and make space activities and exploration more difficult or impossible.

  • Space-based laser- A weapon that uses a laser beam to target and destroy other satellites, it could also be powered by a nuclear reactor or a nuclear explosion.

Global Resources Outlook Report

The 2024 edition of the Global Resources Outlook Report will be tabled at the 6th UN Environment Assembly which is to be held in Nairobi, Kenya.

  • Launched in – 2019

  • Published by – International Resource Panel of UN.

  • Aim – To provide regular reporting on the state and impact of, and outlook for, resource use globally.

The International Resource Panel (IRP) was launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2007 to build and share the knowledge needed to improve our use of resources worldwide.

Highlights of the Report

  • Consumption – Consumption of natural resources globally is set to rise by 60% by 2060, already 4 times higher than the 1970 levels.

  • Technosphere – It is the totality of human-made products, from airports to Zimmer frames and it is heavier than the biosphere and have exceeded that of all life on Earth since 2020.

  • Equity over GDP – The report prioritises equity and human wellbeing measurements over GDP growth alone.

  • Against Green Production – It proposes actions to reduce overall demand rather than simply increasing “green” production.

  • Greener Energy transition technologies requires ‘strategic and critical minerals’, whose extraction demands more energy.

  • For example, Electric vehicles use almost 10 times more critical raw materials than conventional cars.

  • Reaching net zero transport emissions by 2050 would require 6-fold increase of critical mineral extraction within 15 years.

  • Extraction – The extractive activities like mining are disrupting the balance of the planet’s ecosystems.

  • Decline in Urban mining – The current economic system makes extractive mining cheaper and easier than urban mining.

  • Urban mining is a practice that literally pull waste out of landfill and reclaim non-renewable materials to be recycled and reused.

  • It is often labour-intensive and requires a complex and state-enforced regulation of waste streams.

  • Extractive mining, a process to extract raw materials from the earth, becomes cheaper due to the cheap availability of land in developing countries

A UN study of 60 metals found the recycling rate for most of them was below 1%.
  • Recommendation – Degrowth, to radically reduce the unsustainable global use of materials and energy in an egalitarian manner.


  • UNEP is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda.

  • It works on 7 thematic areas – Climate change, Disasters and conflicts, Ecosystem management, Environmental governance, Chemicals and waste, Resource efficiency, and Environment under review.

  • Reports – Global Environment Outlook, Emission Gap Report, Adaptation Gap Report, Actions on Air Quality & Rise of Environmental Crime Report (along with INTERPOL)

  • UNEA – The UN Environment Assembly is the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment which brings together representatives to address the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

Northern Green Anaconda

Recently, scientists discovered a new species of Green Anaconda in South America and named it ‘Norther Green Anaconda’.

  • The green anaconda, formerly believed to be a single species, is actually 2 genetically distinct species.

Green Anaconda

  • Size – They are the world’s heaviest snakes, among the longest and is also known as giant anacondas

  • The largest females can grow to more than 7m long and weigh more than 250 kilograms.

  • Habitat – Mainly in rivers and wetlands in South America.

  • Significance – They balance their ecosystems by influencing the behaviour of many other species, like where and how they forage, breed and migrate.

  • Genetic Diversity – It diverged into 2 species by almost 10 million years ago whose level of genetic divergence 5.5%.

  • But there is no obvious geographical barrier exists to separate them and both look almost identical.

The genetic difference between humans and apes is about 2%.

Green Anaconda

Northern green anaconda

Southern green anaconda

Scientific Name

Eunectes akayima

Eunectes murinus

Native Habitat

Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.

Perú, Bolivia, French Guiana and Brazil.


Newly identified species.

Existing species/ discovered earlier.


Smaller range so highly vulnerable

IUCN status is Least Concern

  • SignificanceTailored conservation strategies can be devised to safeguard both species.


  • Habitat – In swamps, marshes, and slow-moving streams, mainly in the tropical rain forests of the Amazon and Orinoco basins.

  • 4 anaconda species – Green, yellow, dark-spotted, and Bolivian anacondas.

  • Green Anaconda is larger than all others.

  • Features – They are nonvenomous constrictors, coiling their muscular bodies around captured prey and squeezing until the animal asphyxiates.

  • Indicator speciesHighly sensitive to environmental change.

  • Healthy populations indicate healthy, vibrant ecosystems, with ample food resources and clean water.

  • Declining numbers indicate environmental distress.

Definition of Forest

Recently, Supreme Court (SC) ordered the government to revert to the ‘dictionary meaning’ of forest as upheld in a 1996 SC decision in Godavarman case.

  • Issue – Constitutionality of Forest (Conservation) Amendment Act, 2023.

  • Section 1A – A land has to be either notified as a forest or specifically recorded as a forest in a government record to qualify as a “forest”.

  • Section 5 – Zoos and safaris referred to in the WPA, 1972, under the ownership of government or any authority within forest areas, excluding protected areas, are exempted from the definition of forests.

  • SC’s Interim Order – It ordered government to revert back to dictionary meaning of forest thereby, it will include 1.97 lakh square km of undeclared forest lands.

In 1996 T.N. Godavarman Thirumulkpad vs Union Of India & Ors., Supreme Court directed that, the term forest’ has to be understood in terms of its dictionary meaning irrespective of the nature of ownership and classification thereof.
  • Consolidated record – It ordered the Environment Ministry to issue a circular to the States and UTs to prepare a consolidated record of all the lands recorded as ‘forest’ in government records

  • It includes forest-like areas, unclassed & community forest lands.

  • It is in regard with Rule 16 of Environmental Ministry notification issued in 2023, and it would take 1 year.

  • Until preparation of such records, the definition of forest as pronounced in Godavarman case shall continue.

  • Comprehensive records – It directed the Union government to require States and UTs, within 2 weeks, to forward the comprehensive records of forest lands that are identified as per the guidelines laid by the Godavarman judgement.

  • The Environment Ministry shall publish the submitted report by mid-April 2024.

  • Establishing Zoos – It directed that the establishment of “zoos or safaris” by any government or authority should not be consented to without the final approval of the apex court.

  • The court listed the case again in July 2024.


Recently, India has contributed 1 million USD to IBSA Fund.

  • IBSA Fund – India, Brazil and South Africa Facility for Poverty and Hunger Alleviation Fund.

  • Created in2004, but became operation in 2006.

  • Established byIndia, Brazil and South Africa, commonly called as IBSA countries.

  • Aim – To identify replicable and scalable projects that can be disseminated to interested developing countries as examples of good practices in the fight against poverty and hunger.

  • To support for Southern-led, demand-driven, transformational projects in developing countries.

  • Fund Manager and Secretariat – UNOSSC.

  • Fund – Each of the IBSA countries contribute 1 million USD annually.

  • India's contributed more than 18 million USD in total.

  • Supports projects – Through partnerships with local governments, national institutions and implementing partners.

  • Projects may range from promoting food security, and addressing HIV/AIDS, to extending access to safe drinking water all to contribute to the achievement of SDG by 2030.

  • Fund allocation50.6 million USD to date, supporting 45 projects across 37 countries of the global South.

  • It has already approved 3 projects in 2024

  • Rural Electrification using Micro-grids' in Southern Belize

  • Empowering Women and Youth to Drive Sustainable Agriculture' in South Sudan

  • Investment in Agri-business development in Mubadrti' in Palestine.

Quick Facts

  • UNOSSC – The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation was established by UN General Assembly in 1974 and hosted by UN Development Programme (UNDP).

  • It aims to promote, coordinate and support South-South and triangular cooperation globally and within the UN system.

  • IBSA – A unique forum which brings together India, Brazil and South Africa.

  • They are the 3 large democracies, 3 major economies, 3 multicultural, multi-ethnic, multilingual and multi-faith countries on 3 different continents.


Charlotte, a female round stingray has become the topic of international attention after getting pregnant despite not having a male ray companion for at least 8 years.

  • Parthenogenesis – In Greek, it means ‘virgin creation’.

  • It is a rare form of asexual reproduction in which a female produces an embryo without fertilization by a male’s sperm.

  • It can operate on either a haploid (n) or a diploid (2n) cell.

  • It has been observed in more than 80 vertebrate species, including California condors and a crocodile.

  • Many species of sharks and rays are also capable of this.

  • Parthenogenic species may be

  • Obligate – They are incapable of sexual reproduction.

  •  Facultative – They are capable of switching between parthenogenesis and sexual reproduction depending upon environmental conditions.

  • Apomixis – A process where the egg is fertilised with cells from the mother rather than by a male.

  • A smaller cell known as a “polar body,” which forms at the same time as the egg and contains DNA similar to the mother’s, merges with the fertile egg.

  • The offspring’s are similar to the mother but not exact clones.

  • It is more common in low-density populations, such as those on the verge of extinction.

Automixis is the process by which a mammal can undergo virgin birth. Here, egg would need to double its genetic content, divide, and then re-combine. The egg would end up with the normal number of chromosomes without the need for any additional genetic material.
  • SignificanceRound stingray, has never been reported to give birth this way and thus it will be the 1st such incidence if confirmed.

Aspides Mission

European Union launches Aspides, a non-military mission to protect cargo ships in Red Sea from Houthi attacks.

  • Aspides, the mission will be run out of Larissa in central Greece.

  • Larissa is home to the Hellenic Air Force and a NATO headquarters.

  • The mission will work under the command of Greek Commodore Vasilios Griparis.

MCA notifies leniency plus regime under the Competition Act 2023

It a new strategy in place to catch companies that secretly work together to control prices or unfairly dominate a market, known as cartels.

The Corporate Affairs Ministry (MCA) in India has introduced something called 'Leniency plus.' It's like a new tool for the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to detect these secret cartels.

Under this strategy, if a company is already being investigated for one cartel, they are encouraged to voluntarily report other unknown cartels they might be involved in. This helps authorities uncover hidden cartels and get insider information about the wrongdoing. The idea is that if a company comes forward with this information, they might get a reduced penalty for the first cartel they were involved in. The MCA has now officially put this strategy into action from February 20, making it a part of the Competition (Amendment) Act 2023. This move is expected to strengthen the ability of the CCI to enforce antitrust laws and prosecute cartels that negatively impact the economy and consumers.

Editorial 01:- Keep it wholesome: On shaping a national cervical cancer control programme

  1. Vaccination Initiative:

  • Finance Minister's announcement to encourage cervical cancer vaccination for girls aged 09 to 14 is a positive step.

  1. Screening Aspect Importance:

  • Question raised about the completeness of a cervical cancer program without a screening component.

  • Cervical cancer primarily linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV) transmitted through sexual contact.

  1. Cervical Cancer Statistics:

  • Second leading cause of cancer-related deaths for Indian women (over 77,000 annually).

  • Estimated as the second most frequent cancer among Indian women aged 15 to 44.

  1. Screening Challenges:

  • National prevalence of cervical cancer screening is low (just under 2%).

  • Emphasis on outcomes depending on the stage of detection.

  1. Simple Screening Methods:

  • Visual inspection methods (VIA and VILI) using vinegar and iodine can detect precancerous lesions.

  • Early detection allows for prompt intervention.

  1. Accessible Treatment Option:

  • Cryotherapy, a simple procedure, can be performed in a public health setting.

  • Treats abnormal growth in early stages, preventing disease progression.

  1. Comprehensive National Program:

  • Urgency for a holistic cervical cancer control program.

  • Mandate screening at primary health centers along with vaccination.

  • Ensure accessibility for all women, regardless of age, education, affordability, or social status.

  1. Preventive Approach:

  • Emphasizes the need for a combination of vaccination, screening, and accessible treatment.

  • Argues that solely relying on vaccination may not have a broad enough impact in the short and medium term.

Editorial 02: -Having panchayats as self-governing institutions

For the past thirty years, India has aimed for local self-government through Panchayati Raj Institutions, as outlined in the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments. In 2004, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj was created to strengthen these rural local governments.

 However, the success of this initiative varies among states, with some making more progress than others. The commitment of state governments is crucial for the effective functioning of local Panchayati Raj. The constitutional amendments highlighted the importance of fiscal devolution, emphasizing the need for Panchayats to generate their own revenue. Surprisingly, Panchayats currently earn only 1% of their revenue through taxes, with the majority (99%) coming from grants provided by the State and Centre.

An expert committee suggests various revenue sources like property tax and user charges. Gram Sabhas, local community assemblies, play a crucial role in planning and decision-making for revenue initiatives.

Despite potential revenue sources, many Panchayats are increasingly dependent on Central Finance Commission grants over time. To overcome this dependency, there is a need for educating elected representatives and the public about the importance of local revenue for self-governance. The ultimate goal is for Panchayats to minimize reliance on grants and thrive on their own resources, requiring dedicated efforts at all levels of governance.

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