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IBPS PO 2020 Prelims which is only 12 days away, will be having 3 sections viz. English Language, Reasoning Ability & Quantitative Aptitude. The English Language section checks aspirants’ grasp on a range of factors like vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension. While reading the editorials of a couple of good newspapers is an excellent medium to improve all the three aspects, it becomes at times boring. This happens mainly because of two reasons: either the subject is not interesting enough to keep you glued on the article or you stumble across a lot of new and complicated words which you don’t understand.

Generally, it so happens that if there is only one unknown word in a sentence, you kind-of get its sense by reading the remaining sentence. But if there are two or more words placed interwovenly, the sense of the sentence is generally lost and you need to use a dictionary and attempt hard to understand what the sentence is trying to convey. It is for this reason that we are coming up with this article to help you out with the senses of the difficult words used in the editorial of reputed newspapers. In today’s article, we analyse the editorial published in The Hindu. Have a look:

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Difficult Word/PhraseContextual Meaning
frivolousnot having any serious purpose or value
sledgehammera way of behaving that is too forceful
Prop upto give help, encouragement, or support to (someone)
proprietythe state or quality of conforming to conventionally accepted standards of behavior or morals
construeinterpret (a word or action) in a particular way
unwarrantednot justified or authorized
inasmuchto the extent that
lestto avoid the risk of
exuberancethe quality of being full of energy, excitement, and cheerfulness

Fair and unfair: On actor Suriya and contempt

Madras High Court’s advice on restraint in criticism should not allow for frivolous (not having any serious purpose or value) efforts to invoke contempt.

It is a matter of relief that the Madras High Court has decided not to pursue the ill-conceived attempt to initiate action against film actor Suriya for contempt of court. In a detailed order, the Court has rightly noted that “it is not the job of a constitutional court to use a sledgehammer (a way of behaving that is too forceful) for avoidance of something which can be perceived to be not capable of even being propped up (to give help, encouragement, or support to (someone)) as contempt, much less debated to the level of criminal contempt”. In the course of a statement against the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for medical admissions in the country, the actor had indirectly questioned the propriety (the state or quality of conforming to conventionally accepted standards of behavior or morals) of the Supreme Court allowing NEET to be held across the country during the pandemic when the Court itself was holding virtual hearings out of fear of infection. A judge of the High Court had sought to construe (interpret (a word or action) in a particular way) the remark as an adverse comment on the judiciary in general and one questioning the devotion and integrity of judges. The observation might have been unwarranted (not justified or authorized), but it was quite clear from the beginning that it constituted no contempt, inasmuch (to the extent that) as it did nothing more than raise the question whether Courts that went virtual in the interest of the safety of judges, lawyers, staff and litigants, could afford to risk the health of thousands of students. Fortunately, the Advocate-General, Vijay Narayan, whose opinion was sought by the Chief Justice of the High Court, Amreshwar Pratap Sahi, declined consent for initiation of criminal contempt proceedings. Agreeing with his opinion, a Bench headed by the Chief Justice, decided not to pursue the matter further.

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However, the Court’s 29-page order is not an unmixed (pure) blessing. It lays much emphasis on the idea that criticism about the judiciary should be restrained, lest (to avoid the risk of) the line of fair comment be crossed. There is a lengthy section on the need for prudence and restraint on exuberance (the quality of being full of energy, excitement, and cheerfulness), but such observations would be relevant and apposite only if made in the context of a strident attack on the judiciary. Did the actor’s statement contain such unbridled criticism? There is no effort to parse the offending sentence to see if there was any adverse comment on judges in general, or any aspersions cast on the system of virtual courts. If only the Court had seen it as a comment limited to orders of the Supreme Court, it could have dropped the issue for lack of jurisdiction, as laid down by the apex court in Vitusah Oberoi (2017). In fact, the order itself notes that no court in Tamil Nadu has dealt with the NEET issue. While the advice for restraint is, without doubt, reasonable and well-articulated, its elaborate delineation should not open up the possibility of more such demands for contempt action in the name of deterring unfair criticism. As long as there is no effort to obstruct the course of justice, criticism, whether fair or unfair, does not warrant initiation of contempt proceedings.

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We hope you have got some new words to learn and augment your vocabulary. Do let us know in the comments section below. Improve your word power further by referring to such previously published lists. Also, download the list of word-meaning of The Hindu Editorial Vocabulary Free PDFs of March, April, May, June, July & August 2020 and keep revising these words on a regular basis.


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