Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Blackened face of humanity

Let us take a bird’s eye view of some of the events of last week

If former Haryana police chief SPS Rathore has got away with a six-month sentence for molesting a 14-year-old girl, Ruchika Girhotra, who killed herself three years later, while desperately searching for justice, it is mainly due to a glaring lacuna in the 150-year-old Indian Penal Code (IPC), which does not have any provisions for child victims of sexual molestation.


While there are special provisions for child victims of rape, where the minimum punishment is 10 years jail as against the norm of seven years, the law on sexual abuse, under which come all abuses apart from rape, has been left untouched.


This anomaly has not been redressed even after the Law Commission, in its 172nd report in 2000, recommended a provision recognizing and penalizing child sexual abuse. Besides expanding the definition of rape to include all forms of penetration, the commission suggested the introduction of an offense called "unlawful sexual contact" to impose a maximum sentence of seven years on the likes of Rathore.

Ruchika case is a glaring example of how the law and order machinery can be misused for personal gains by those in authority- politicians and officials. It also underlines the fact that necessary amendments to IPC must be made, giving due consideration to such crimes. Rathore misused his authority in every possible way. He got Ruchika expelled from the school and framed false cases against her brother. If such a person is left scot free, it will be a very bad example of Indian system of justice.


Rathore loses Police Medal


On relationship:

Spirituality is not a search for the God. It begins when you get connected with HIM from within. That connecting interaction with the surrounding, that relationship, is a spiritual experience. Read my new blog post on the subject.


Compulsory voting:

The Gujarat government has enacted a law which makes voting compulsory in all elections, save the legislative and parliamentary elections. It has drawn mixed reactions. They range from acceptance of the norm, lauding it even with caveats that it is impractical.


Some objections:

One: it is not practical.

Two: that it is anti-democratic to force people to vote.

Three: It has a punitive element in it so it is bad.

Four: it amounts to authoritarian move and makes elections something akin to what happens in the people's democracies of Communist regimes, not a liberal regime.

Some supportive arguments:

Poor turnouts: Poor turnouts give room for poor representation.

60 years, no change: If for six decades and more, the country's citizens have not taken the responsibility seriously enough and where on an average, the voter turnout is just about 60 per cent, then serious steps are called for.

Not anti-democracy: It is not anti-democratic. It deepens democracy because the law makes it voter-centric. The option "none-of-the-above" (NOTA) on the ballot serves two purposes. One, it lets the voter say that he is disgusted with the list of candidates. He can express his disgust instead of lamenting about poor options and not voting.

Test it: One needs to give it a fair try and if required, make suitable alterations so that the law is made to work. If elections could be managed near-perfectly in India, this too can be managed quite well.

Quid pro quo: If we do not realise that we have a duty in return for the rights and privileges conferred on us because we are citizens of a democratic country, then the rights and privileges are not ours. One has to acknowledge that quid pro quo.

That quid pro quo has never been enforced because in a free democratic country, it is assumed, the rights include the choice not to participate in the due process, which makes the country truly democratic. If I do not want to vote, the arguer says, it is my right not to. To me, that is not acceptable.


The year that has gone by:

No, I am not going to talk about global warming or the recession. I bring your attention to an event that sent shivers down Pune city and blackened the face of humanity like the Ruchika’s case mentioned in the beginning: Molestation and Murder of Nayana Pujari


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Independent Professional: Experienced educator and management consultant for engineering educational institutions, researcher, trainer, technical consultant on sustainable technologies, related to cement manufacturing and characterisation, using industrial and agricultural wastes in cement and concrete, durability of concrete and fuel cell power.