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20-02-2023

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‘History repeats itself, first as a tragedy, second as a farce’ – Karl Marx

GS-4: Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

 

Karl Marx, the German philosopher and political theorist known as the 'Father of Communism', is widely recognized for his quote "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce". 

The first part of the quote, "History repeats itself", has become a common expression used by history teachers and political commentators alike to make sense of current events and trends. 

 

Over the years, the quote has gained popularity and has become a fitting phrase for a variety of occasions.

 

Background

  • The quote "History repeats itself, first as a tragedy, second as a farce" is taken from the opening lines of Karl Marx's essay "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte", which was first published in German as "Der 18te Brumaire des Louis Napoleon" in 1852
  • However, it is important to note that the exact quote as it is often used in everyday conversation is not explicitly stated in the essay. 
  • Instead, it is an interpretation or a summarization of Marx's ideas presented in the essay.

 

Meaning of the Quote

  • In simple terms, the aforementioned quote suggests that people tend to repeat past mistakes, whether their own or someone else's, without learning from them
  • When the same mistake is repeated the first time, it is tragic as it serves as a sad reminder to learn from it and do better the next time. 
  • However, when the same mistake is repeated for the second time, it becomes absurd, even comical, as it goes against the expectation that age or experience results in wisdom. 
  • This phenomenon is often observed across generations, where each new generation believes themselves to be smarter than the previous, yet they end up making the same mistakes. 
  • The word "farce" reinforces how the constant repetition of mistakes can become comedic, albeit in a dark way. 
  • This concept is often depicted in literature, movies, and sitcoms, where characters continue to replicate their mistakes in increasingly absurd ways.
  • The quote is frequently used to describe events in international and national politics, such as the American military's exit from Afghanistan in 2021
  • The Taliban takeover was likened to history repeating itself, as the same group had emerged in the early 1990s after the Soviet Union troops left the country. 
  • This demonstrates how the failure to learn from past mistakes can have dire consequences, as seen in the example of the US policy in Afghanistan. 
  • Despite the knowledge that the country has been called the "graveyard of empires" for good reason, the US failed to heed the warnings of past misadventures and instead believed that 21stcentury America would be different.
  • In another example, the Hindu-Muslim divide in India's history led to the devastating partition from 1940 to 1945, fueled by British divide-and-rule tactics and resulting in the loss of 14 to 18 million lives and extensive material damage. The consequences of this event still affect contemporary India, and unfortunately, communal tensions continue to cause disasters today.

 

‘Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it’

  • This quote echoes Marx's sentiment.
  • This aphorism, which contains a general truth in few words, is often attributed to Spanish philosopher George Santayana, who originally phrased it as "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
  • Despite this, the quote is sometimes mistakenly ascribed to Irish statesman Edmund Burke or even former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.


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Why the Centre wants to revisit the process for designating senior advocates at Supreme Court, High Courts

GS-2: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government.


The Central government wants to revise the Supreme Court's guidelines for the appointment of senior lawyers, which were issued after the 2017 'Indira Jaising vs. Union of India' case. 


Recently, it has filed an application for modification in the 'Amar Vivek Aggarwal & Others vs. High Court of Punjab and Haryana & Others' case. The government is referring to paragraph 74 of the 2017 ruling, which stated that the guidelines are not comprehensive and can be reviewed by the court at a later time.

 

Background of the Guidelines for Senior Advocate Designation

  • In 2017, the Supreme Court heard a case filed by Indira Jaising, India's first woman Senior Advocate, to increase transparency in the process of designating senior advocates. 
  • The court issued guidelines for this process in October 2018.

 

The Key Provisions of the Guidelines

  • Under the 2018 guidelines, the court established a Committee for Designation of Senior Advocates, consisting of the Chief Justice of India, two senior-most Supreme Court judges, the Attorney General of India, and a member of the Bar nominated by the chair and other members. 
  • The committee was granted the power of conferment and required to meet at least twice a year.
  • The guidelines discouraged the practice of "voting by secret ballot," except when it was unavoidable. 
  • Instead, advocates could submit their applications to the Permanent Secretariat, which evaluated them based on criteria such as 10-20 years of legal practice as an advocate, district judge, or judicial member of an Indian tribunal. 
  • Eligibility for such positions was not less than that prescribed for a district judge.

 

The Pre-2017 Process for Designating Advocates

  • According to Section 16(1) of the Advocates Act, 1961, there were two categories of advocates: senior advocates and other advocates. 
  • An advocate could be designated as a senior advocate if they gave their consent and if the Supreme Court or a High Court believed that their ability, standing at the Bar, or special knowledge and experience in law made them deserving of the distinction.
  • Previously, the designation of a senior advocate was solely at the discretion of the Chief Justice and the judges.

 

The Court's Decision in the 'Indira Jaising' Case

Background

  • In October 2017, the Apex Court established guidelines for designating senior advocates after Indira Jaising challenged the existing process, which she saw as "opaque," "arbitrary," and "fraught with nepotism."

The Court's Decision on the Designation of Senior Advocates 

  • The judgement led to the establishment of a "permanent committee" and a "permanent secretariat" to oversee the process of designating senior advocates. 
  • The committee is responsible for receiving and compiling all applications for designation, along with relevant data, information, and the number of reported and unreported judgments. 
  • Once a candidate's proposal for designation is published on the official website of the concerned court, the committee scrutinizes the suggestions and views received from the public. 
  • The committee then interviews the candidate and evaluates them based on criteria like years of practice, pro-bono work undertaken, judgments, publications, and a personality test.

The Guidelines Laid Down by the Court 

  • Once the committee approves a candidate's name, it is forwarded to the Full Court to make a decision on the basis of the majority. 
  • The Full Court also has the power to recall the designation of a senior advocate. 
  • The guidelines laid down by the court provide greater transparency in the process of designating senior advocates and help to prevent nepotism and other forms of favoritism.


Why is the Centre trying to modify the guidelines now?

  • The Central government believes the existing point-based system is subjective, ineffective, and undermines the traditional esteem and dignity of the honour.

Criticisms of the point-based system

  • The Centre's application points to the circulation of "bogus" and "sham" journals, which allow lawyers to publish their articles without academic evaluation by paying a nominal amount. 
  • The current system awards 40% weightage to publications, personality, and suitability gauged through an interview.

Traditional basis for designation

  • The titles 'Senior counsel', 'Senior Advocate', and 'King's Counsel' are traditionally bestowed on distinguished lawyers based on their exceptional competence, contribution to the development of law, advocacy, and several other factors, according to the Centre's argument.

Issues with current requirements

  • The Centre argues that the current requirements for designation are extraneous and have resulted in the exclusion of eligible candidates based on factors that are not relevant to being designated as a senior advocate.

 

Way Forward

  • The Centre seeks to reinstate the rule of a simple majority by secret ballot, allowing judges to express their views on the suitability of any candidate without any embarrassment. 
  • The Centre believes that this will minimize campaigning for votes by lawyers.

 

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Fact File


Brazil’s Rio Carnival 2023 kicks off: Why is the ‘world’s biggest party’ held?

  • The Rio Carnival is an annual festival held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which is famous for its parades, costumes, and samba music.
  • The history of the Rio Carnival can be traced back to the 18thcentury when slaves would gather to celebrate their African heritage.
  • The carnival is divided into two main components: the official parades, which are organized by the samba schools, and the street parties, known as blocos.

  • The samba music that is played during the carnival is a mix ofAfrican rhythmsand Brazilian beats and has become an important part of Brazilian culture.
  • It is a cultural event that has been recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
  • The carnival is a major event for the LGBT+ community in Brazil, and there are several events and parades that are specifically geared towards this community.


ISRO’s SSLV-D2 launch: The mini vehicle’s second flight, with promise on board

  • Recently, the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV-D2) was launched successfully from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR in Andhra Pradesh, India. 
  • It carried the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO’s) earth observation satellite EOS-07, along with two co-passenger satellites Janus-1 and AzaadiSat2 developed by start-ups, and placed them in a 450-km circular orbit around the Earth.

  • The new vehicle caters to the small and micro satellite commercial market with on-demand launches. Assembling the rocket only requires a small team for a few days, as opposed to the six-month, 600-person process for ISRO's PSLV.
  • Janus-1 is a technology demonstrator satellite built by United States-based Antaris and its Indian partners XDLinks and Ananth Technologies.



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