5 MAY 2016
GS II: POLITY
Uttarakhand: Centre ‘seriously considering’ floor test
Shifting its stand on the Supreme Court’s suggestion for an immediate floor test in the Uttarakhand Assembly, the Centre said it was “seriously considering” it for serving the cause of democracy.
‘No message received’
The Bench is hearing an appeal from the Centre against the Uttarakhand High Court verdict striking down President’s Rule in the State.
Mr. Rohatgi says that the floor test would be an opportunity for “both parties [the BJP and the Congress] to prove their majority in the Assembly.”
Opportunity for Rawat
The Bench made it clear that the floor test, if ordered by the court, would only be an opportunity for Mr. Rawat to prove his majority and not a window for the formation of a new government.
The Bench said that if a floor test was ordered, it would be according to the “Jharkhand principle”.
It was referring to an interim order passed by the Supreme Court in March 2005, directing the protem Speaker of the Jharkhand Assembly to conduct a composite floor test to ascertain who enjoyed the majority — Chief Minister Shibu Soren, appointed by the Governor, or the former Chief Minister, Arjun Munda.
Recording of proceedings
The court had ordered video-recording of the entire proceedings and directed that a copy of the recording be placed before it. It had directed the Chief Secretary and the Director-General of Police to see that all the elected members attended the Assembly and cast their vote safely, freely and securely.
GS II: HEALTH
Food in India untested for diabetes-linked chemical
Alloxan, a chemical allegedly used in the manufacture of refined flour, faced the prospect of limitations on its use after a litigant approached the Madras High Court to request a ban on the mixing of alloxan in white flour. Alloxan is used in laboratories to induce diabetes in rats and to test the efficacy of anti-diabetic medicines but no tests have been scientifically done to detect its presence in India.
Global health literature suggests that its presence in flour implies that consumers of popular Indian food such as parathas and puris are at increased risk of diabetes as well as heart disease.
A 2013 report, quoted several Madurai-based cardiologists who suggested that alloxan and other agents in flour may be associated with heart disease.
Alloxan has been banned by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the Delhi-based central body that has the final say on what additives are permissible in food.
Alloxan’s chemical existence has been known since the 19th century, when it was discovered in human excretions, indicating that it could be synthesised in the body.
Alloxan’s structure mimics that of glucose, which allows it to be absorbed by the pancreas and once inside the organ, it destroys insulin-producing beta cells.
However, according to the American Chemical Society, it cannot be taken up by the human pancreas, though it has been shown to be associated with liver and kidney toxicity.
GS II: POLITY-COPTA
SC ‘no’ to smaller pictorial warnings on tobacco packets
The Supreme Court has refused to shrink the size of pictorial health warnings on cigarette and tobacco packets and asked manufacturers to abide by a Health Ministry notification on increasing the size of the warning messages to 85 per cent from the present 20 per cent of the principal display area on packets from April 1.
A Bench of Justices P.C. Ghose and Amitava Roy said manufacturers should endeavour to comply with the ministry notification issued under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2008 (COTPA) until the Karnataka High Court takes a final decision on the challenges against certain amendments in the law.
During the hearing, the court observed that in public interest, tobacco companies should act responsibly and said the awareness created on the issue would help curb the ill-effects of tobacco usage.
The bench was hearing a plea filed by the Karnataka Beedi Industry Association, which sought a stay on the enforcement of the new rules, saying these would cause grave and irreparable harm to the tobacco industry.