Table of Contents
- Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification (Representation of People Act)
Facts for Prelims
- India’s only ape species, Hoolock Gibbon
- Cicada Species
Rahul Gandhi Disqualification under Section 8(3) of the Representation of People Act
- Rahul Gandhi, Congress MP, was convicted in a defamation case by a Surat court for his remarks made at a pre-election rally in 2019.
- He was sentenced to two years in jail but was granted bail and allowed to appeal the judgment.
- Under Section 8(3) of the Representation of People Act, Rahul Gandhi is disqualified from the Lok Sabha due to his conviction.
Conviction and Disqualification:
- Rahul Gandhi was disqualified from the Lok Sabha after being convicted in a defamation case.
- Section 8(3) of the Representation of People Act specifies that a conviction resulting in a sentence of at least two years leads to disqualification.
- His disqualification will remain until his conviction is stayed by a higher court.
Duration of Disqualification:
- As per Section 8 of the Act, Rahul Gandhi is disqualified for a cumulative period of eight years, including the two-year jail term.
- The disqualification lasts for six years from the date of release after imprisonment.
- The Representation of People Act, 1951, includes provisions for disqualification of legislators in criminal cases.
- Section 8(3) outlines specific offences that require a minimum sentence of two years for disqualification.
- Section 8(4) states that disqualification does not take effect until the appeal against the decision is decided by the appellate court, with a time limit of three months.
Disqualification Criteria under the Constitution:
- Article 102 of the Constitution provides five circumstances for disqualification of a Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha member, including disqualification by law.
- The Tenth Schedule of the Constitution also allows for disqualification due to defection or political desertion.
Similar Case: P.P. Mohammad Faisal:
- Another sitting Lok Sabha MP, P.P. Mohammad Faisal, was also disqualified after being convicted in a criminal case.
- The Kerala High Court stayed Faisal’s conviction, but the Election Commission announced bypolls in his constituency.
- The Supreme Court stayed the EC’s order, and the Union Law Ministry recommended Faisal’s reinstatement, pending the Lok Sabha Speaker’s approval.
Concerns over Conservation of India’s Hoolock Gibbon
- The hoolock gibbon, India’s only ape species, was a topic of concern at a recent global event on gibbons held in China.
- Gibbons, the smallest and fastest apes, inhabit tropical and subtropical forests in Southeast Asia.
- The hoolock gibbon is unique to India’s northeast and is one of 20 gibbon species worldwide.
- The hoolock gibbon population in India is estimated to be around 12,000 individuals.
- All 20 species of gibbons, including the hoolock gibbon, are at a high risk of extinction.
- Gibbon populations have significantly declined since 1900, with only small populations remaining in tropical rainforests.
Clarification of Species:
- Earlier beliefs suggested two species of hoolock gibbons in India: the eastern hoolock gibbon (Hoolock leuconedys) and the western hoolock gibbon (Hoolock hoolock).
- A study led by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in 2021 used genetic analysis to confirm that there is only one species of ape in India.
- Previous research differentiating the eastern hoolock gibbon based on coat color was debunked.
Genetic Analysis Findings:
- The CCMB study revealed that the western hoolock gibbon and the assumed eastern hoolock gibbon diverged 1.48 million years ago.
- The study estimated that gibbons diverged from a common ancestor around 8.38 million years ago.
Conservation Status and Legal Protection:
- The Red List maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature categorizes the western hoolock gibbon as endangered and the eastern hoolock gibbon as vulnerable.
- Both the western and eastern hoolock gibbons are listed on Schedule 1 of the Indian (Wildlife) Protection Act 1972, which provides legal protection.
Indian Identity for a Common Cicada Species
- The commonly found cicada species in South India, previously mistaken for Purana tigrina of Malaysian origin, has been identified as a distinct species named Purana cheeveeda.
- The Association for Advancement in Entomology corrected the taxonomic identification based on differences in morphological characteristics.
- Cicadas are insects known for their loud songs and spend most of their lives underground.
- The cicada species previously mistaken for Purana tigrina has been named Purana cheeveeda, after its Malayalam name, Cheeveedu.
- The taxonomic correction excludes the Malaysian species from the cicada fauna of South India.
- Characteristics of Cicadas:
- Cicadas spend most of their lives underground and emerge for a short period to mate.
- They are herbivores, living in the soil and feeding on tree roots for several years, ranging from 3 to 17 years depending on the species.
- Male cicadas produce loud songs by vibrating membranes on their abdomen to attract females for mating.
- Periodical cicadas, such as Brood IX in the United States, emerge after spending 17 years underground.
- The emergence of cicadas is a unique natural phenomenon that occurs periodically in specific regions.
Damage and Benefits:
- Cicadas can cause significant damage to ornamental and hardwood trees, especially newly planted fruit and ornamental trees.
- However, they are mostly beneficial, pruning mature trees and aerating the soil.
- After their short adult lifespan, their bodies provide a source of nitrogen for growing trees.
Cicada Diversity and Threats:
- India and Bangladesh have the highest diversity of cicadas in the world, followed by China.
- Large-scale deforestation, conversion of natural forests into human settlements and agricultural fields, and forest fires threaten cicada populations.
- Unregulated capturing and killing of cicadas for consumption pose a significant threat to their survival.