Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 25 May 2023
- The BRICS Paradox and Its New Roadmap
- How does a court consider a review petition?
The BRICS Paradox and Its New Roadmap
Although the BRICS may have lost some of its lustre, a sizable number of nations are anxious to join.
GS Paper-2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests, India and its neighbourhood- relations.
What is your take on BRICS’ contradictory condition, in which it appears to be losing its lustre while yet attracting interest from a wide range of nations? (150 words)
- Multilateral organisations have an interesting history, with times of prosperity followed by periods of downfall.
- The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Group of 77 (G-77) were significant during the Cold War but faded over time.
- The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit terminated in 2014, but the secretariat still exists.
- Similarly, despite policy differences, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) maintains its position by publishing lengthy communiqués.
- The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and subsequently South Africa) moniker highlights this dilemma.
- While it has lost some of its lustre as a result of recent global events, the organisation continues to draw a large number of nations wanting to join, showing the interesting character of BRICS.
The BRICS Balance Sheet
- Originally conceptualised as BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), the notion gained traction two decades ago.
- However, in 2003, two of its constituents, Brazil and India, joined forces with South Africa to form IBSA (India, Brazil, and South Africa).
- China, wanting to be a part of the organisation, successfully secured South Africa’s backing, essentially transforming BRIC into BRICS.
- As a result, BRICS dominated the IBSA forum, which has not held a summit since 2011.
- BRICS, on the other hand, has successfully held 14 summits over the last 13 years, focusing on both geopolitical and economic elements, projecting a non-western perspective on critical global and regional issues.
- Economically, BRICS launched initiatives such as the New Development Bank, which committed substantial funding to numerous projects, and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement, a financial mechanism safeguarding against global liquidity pressures.
- Additionally, a comprehensive programme to enhance trade and investment cooperation among members was launched. However, the group’s negative characteristics started to emerge.
- The assumption that China and Russia would completely support the IBSA trio’s ambition for UN Security Council membership was dashed.
- Instead, BRICS communiqués just declare support for Brazil, India, and South Africa’s ambitions to play a larger role in the UN, highlighting the group’s diplomatic limitations.
The Difficulties and Imbalance
- The second decade of the twenty-first century saw China’s spectacular economic progress and growing military aggression, upsetting the internal balance of the BRICS.
- The consolidation of Russia-China cooperation in the aftermath of the Ukraine conflict, South Africa’s economic difficulties leading to increased reliance on China, and Brazil’s political shifts from left to right and back again with the return of Lula da Silva as President have all created new tensions within the group.Beijing’s proposal for a unified currency for intra-BRICS trade exemplifies these internal issues.
An Admission Rush
- Despite its internal problems, BRICS finds itself in the perplexing position of having 19 countries wanting to join its ranks.
- Latin America (Argentina, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Uruguay), Africa (Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt, Senegal, and Morocco), and Asia (Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Thailand, Kazakhstan, and Bangladesh) are the regions from which these countries originate.
- The reasons for this spike in interest in BRICS membership differ. China sees growth as a strategic tool for increasing its worldwide influence, while others are concerned about missing out on the perks of joining to a conspicuous club.Many countries may see BRICS as their only choice, since other groups remain closed to them.
- Furthermore, the rush for membership reflects widespread anti-Western views as well as a desire to establish an important forum for the Global South.
The BRICS Future
- The upcoming BRICS summit, which South Africa will host, provides an opportunity to discuss enlargement and the requirements for new members.
- Foreign Ministers and National Security Advisors will undoubtedly have preparatory meetings to discuss this issue.
- Three options are on the table: a massive expansion that would bring membership to 21, surpassing the G-20; a limited admission of 10 new members, with two existing members supporting each new entrant; or admission of only five new members, with one existing member supporting each and no vetoes exercised by the remaining four. Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bangladesh are the most likely contenders for entrance if the third option is chosen.
- While BRICS leaders’ actual presence at the summit is unlikely due to legal commitments relating to the International Criminal Court, a digital summit may be the most likely option.
- During their conversations, the leaders should consider how to enhance BRICS while also resolving internal imbalances.
- They should also expect that new members will want to rebrand the group, potentially paving the way for a brighter future for the organisation.
- The paradox of BRICS is that it is losing its glitter while numerous states are ready to join its ranks.
- Despite recent obstacles and internal disputes, the BRICS continues to pique the interest of governments around the world.The group’s achievements in reflecting a non-western perspective on global issues and promoting economic cooperation are noteworthy.
- As BRICS navigates its new course, growth and the inclusion of additional members are being considered.The organization’s future depends on how it evolves, tackles internal imbalances, and capitalises on the potential contributions of aspiring member nations.
How does a court consider a review petition?
- The Central government petitioned the Supreme Court for a reconsideration of an earlier ruling that gave the Delhi government jurisdiction over administrative services.
- The National Capital Civil Service Authority had just been established by an ordinance that the government had promulgated.
- This authority had the authority to recommend postings, transfers, and disciplinary actions for all Group A and DANICS officers (Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Daman, and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli civil services) at that time.
GS Paper-2: Functions of Judiciary
Describe the Supreme Court’s procedure for hearing review petitions and the grounds for requesting a review.
Why was this petition for review submitted?
- Restoration of the LG’s Authority: The Centre’s ordinance reinstates the LG of Delhi as the final arbiter of bureaucrat transfers and postings.
- It improves the LG’s position as an administrator with authority, enabling decisions on proposals that are taken into consideration or made by the elected government.
- Supreme Court Decision: o The Supreme Court recently rendered a decision regarding the controversy over who will control these administrative services in Delhi—the Lieutenant Governor or the Chief Minister.
- The decision places three fundamental principles—representative democracy, federalism, and accountability—within the purview of how Article 239AA should be interpreted.
- The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 was enacted by Parliament in 1991, the same year that Article 239 AA was added, to create a framework for the operation of the Legislative Assembly and the government of Delhi.
- The Court made it clear that union territories, including Delhi, are covered by Part XIV of the Constitution, which regulates employment of people in public services under the union and states.
- Transfer of Power: The authority formerly held by the Delhi government is now transferred to a statutory body made up of the Delhi government’s Chief Minister, Chief Secretary, and Principal Home Secretary.
How does a court consider a review petition?
- The Constitution states that a Supreme Court decision takes effect as national law.
- The Supreme Court has the authority to review its rulings or orders under Article 137 of the Constitution.
- The court can review its judgements to remedy “patent errors,” but not minor mistakes of insignificant relevance.
- Review petitions are entertained on particular grounds and aim to correct grave errors that have resulted in a miscarriage of justice.
- When there is a glaring omission, obvious error, or serious mistake brought on by judicial fallibility, a review is accepted.
The rarity of review petitions:
- The Supreme Court does not hear many review petitions. The court often declines to revisit its rulings, as was the case in 2018 with the Rafale contract.
- The court has occasionally permitted review petitions, like in the case of the March 2018 ruling weakening the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Atrocities Act.
Reasons to request a review of a Supreme Court decision:
- In a 2013 decision, the Supreme Court outlined three reasons to request a review of its decisions:
- The discovery of new and significant facts or evidence that, despite the petitioner’s best efforts, was not known to or could not be produced by them.
- Mistake or error that is obvious from the record’s front.
- Any other good reason. The Court made it clear that “any sufficient reason” only applies to justifications that are on par with the other two grounds.
- Sandur Manganese & Iron Ores Ltd. v. Union of India, 2013:
- The court outlined nine guidelines for determining whether a review can be maintained.
- It emphasised that a review should only be requested to fix a patent error and is not an appeal in disguise.
- The potential of competing viewpoints or simple differences in opinion are insufficient justifications for a review.
Who may submit a petition for review?
- Requests for a review of a judgement in a matter are not required to be made by the parties to the case.Any person who feels wronged by a decision may request a review in accordance with the Civil Procedure Code and the Supreme Court Rules.
- The court, however, does not grant every review petition submitted. It only uses its discretion to grant a review petition once the reasons for the request have been established.
What process does the Court follow when it considers a review petition?
- Review petitions must be submitted within 30 days of the date of the ruling or decree.
- Order vs. Judgement: An order is an interim decision, but a judgement is the final conclusion.
- Excusing Delay: If there are compelling reasons for the delay, the court may grant a review petition submitted after the 30-day window.
- Review petitions are usually heard “through circulation” by the judges in their offices, devoid of any oral arguments from counsel.
- The petition is often reviewed by the same panel of judges who issued the original decision or judgement. When a judge retires or is unable to serve, a senior judge is selected to fill the vacancy.
- Oral Hearing:
- In extraordinary circumstances, such as in death penalty cases where a Bench of three judges considers the petition in open court, an oral hearing may be granted.
What occurs if a review petition is rejected?
- The Supreme Court’s decision cannot lead to a miscarriage of justice because it is the final court to hear an appeal.
- To prevent abuse of its process, the court itself developed the idea of a curative petition in Roopa Hurra v. Ashok Hurra (2002).
- A curative petition is also entertained on very narrow grounds like a review petition and is typically not granted an oral hearing.