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A 2 days old baby girl is flushed down the toilet by her own parents. A man in UP hangs up his wife, beats her, makes a video of the same and sends to her parents for demanding dowry. A daughter is denied a share in her father's self acquired property. A girl is raped. Such incidents and even more gruesome crimes are committed against the women in our country but why is it that rapes get more attention as compared to other forms of crimes like female infanticide, acid attacks, sexual harassment/exploitation, dowry deaths, cheating, murder, wife battering, maltreatment at home, honour killings? Is it because'sex sells' even in crimes? The rape crisis is just one facet of the multitude of problems that reflect the gender discrimination scenario in our country which are seen right through'womb to tomb'. It's quite interesting to see how in the wake of brutal rapes and murders, the whole country takes a 'holier- than- thou' stand, passes quick judgements on the accused, without analysing their own conduct and contribution in crimes against women. Popular media is rife with news of rapes which appear to be the most rampant and high profile of all the crimes against women. This hype in the media compels us to believe that rapes are on a dramatic rise. However, studies have shown that rapes have, more or less, followed a flat trend while the most dramatic rise has been seen in number of cases registered under cruelty by husband and his relatives. Cruelty by husband and his relatives, domestic violence and dowry related crimes account for more than half of the crimes against women. However, these are not considered worthy of our attention since the very powerful media is busy covering certain brutal and violent incidents having political undertones. India is traditionally a male dominated society where masculinity is about men acting tough, freely exercising their privilege to lay down the rules in personal relationships and above all, controlling women by making them limited and obedient to perform different functions of daily life. There are many laws but 'brutalisation of women 'seems to be on the rise and becoming too broad. Thousands of girls are becoming victims of this evil on a daily basis, which reduces their self respect, dignity and status, thereby hindering the social, economical, political and cultural progress of our country. Male dominated societal norms, economic dependence, overall lower status of women further exacerbates these crimes . Politicians are only as good as the people. Beastial masculinity and inefficiency of judicial and political system is a daunting challenge. We as a society need to modify our mindset regarding women and get our act together to accept them as human beings with equal rights, deserving equal respect and status. There is an urgent need for stricter laws, faster convictions, larger representation of women in judiciary and law enforcement. However, these are also symptomatic measures. Our society needs deeper surgery and extensive treatment, starting at home and continuing through years of schooling and beyond, which is undoubtedly a generational effort which must be collectively made by HRD and law ministry. As the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, we should let these incidents be the trigger which forces our society to take this first step. Let's start now.
Abettor's Dead End Supreme Court has legalised passive Euthanasia and living will, saying that right to life includes right to die. This Supreme Court decision has paved the way for decriminalizing suicide, an issue which will be revisited in future, in view of domestic and international developments pointing towards the same. It has been said time and again that a person committing suicide is a 'victim of circumstances' and not an 'offender'. Section 115( 2 )of the Mental Health Care Act mandates the government to provide care, treatment and Rehabilitation to a person having severe stress and who attempted to commit suicide , to reduce the risk of recurrence . As and when suicide is taken off from the list of crimes , the treatment of 'abetment of suicide' also needs to be looked into .The dictionary meaning of 'abetment' is 'assistance'; for instance, if a medical practitioner gives deadly pills to help someone commit suicide , it is abetment. But in legal cases, policemen and judges commonly interpret abetment as ‘driving a person to suicide’. However, the entire concept of driving a person to suicide seems ill founded . According to various studies , no one can be driven to suicide as 99.99% of people will not commit suicide under any circumstances . Only 0.01% of people commit suicide and that too not because harassment is common in their cases but because of mental illness and depression. Researches by mental health experts have revealed that there is an entirely different cause of suicide which is a chemical imbalance in the brain and which can be traced to genetic variation that affects brain chemistry . This chemical imbalance may be addressed with timely and proper medication .Going by these findings, it is clear that there is a kind of people in the world who are suicide prone. Then how is it justified to legally hold a person responsible and punishable if someone else commits suicide ? If a person suffering from severe stress , anxiety or depression (for whatever reasons )does not take timely medical help in terms of counselling and medication and chooses to end his / her life , it's purely his / her choice and the person accused as an abettor is actually a tiny factor in the Grand play of things. The person committing suicide due to his /her own failure, seals the fate of the abettor , who is left fighting a suicide note and its interpretation. The pattern is familiar and typical : a business reversal/ failure , breakup of marriage, a failed relationship , academic and professional failure , depression, a downward spiral, leading eventually to suicide . Suicide is a crime in the present times hence 'abetment of suicide 'is also a crime but this whole skewed treatment of suicide and abetment of suicide defy common sense. It deprives the alleged abettor of an opportunity to defend himself / herself by cross examining the 'so-called victim of circumstances 'who may have played an active role in creating those circumstances .There are enough and more instances in India when someone commits suicide and his / her relatives obtain arrest of those accused of causing mental anguish which drove that person to this extreme step. However, people who commit suicide are responsible for their own death because it takes more than a couple of bad situations to make someone take his life. Suicides are a very personal decision. Unless a person physically helps another to commit suicide, it is not his fault . Suicide is never the only option and despite huge hardships there are other options that can be taken to address a situation . There are cases where violence, blackmail, cruelty, criminal intimidation, harassment, etc.lead suicide prone people to commit suicide. But in all such cases , the harassers should be prosecuted for the relevant crime. WHY an additional crime called 'abetment of suicide'?
Is Modi's promise of decriminalising politics , mere lip service or word of a Gentleman? “People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election” said Otto Von Bismarck. In 2014 election campaign, Narendra Modi made an explicit promise that if he became the PM, “ No accused (with criminal charges) will dare to fight polls. Who says this cleansing is not possible?” Mr Modi has delivered enough and more lectures on the issue of eliminating political crime BUT one is bound to be suspicious when his actions do not match his words and the same was seen in the appointment of Keshav Prasad Maurya ( facing about a dozen criminal charges) as the president of BJP in UP. ‘Politics' is often called a 'dirty game' where there are no permanent friends/enemies, only permanent interests. Way back in June 2002, the political watchdog (election commission), on the direction of Supreme Court, issued an order that each candidate must submit an affidavit regarding the information on his/her criminal antecedents. But interestingly , at an ‘all-party meeting' reps of 21 political parties decided that the said order should not be allowed to be implemented, clearly upholding the Gospel truth ‘birds of a feather flock together' . Coming back to Mr Modi’s promise, in a recent report, Additional Solicitor General has said that recommendations of the ECI and the law commission, favouring lifetime disqualification of politicians with criminal cases against them, was under ‘ active consideration’ by the Centre. Also, the Centre has agreed to special courts to deal with cases against MPs and MLAs. With these special courts, an end is in sight to the inordinate delay in prosecuting politicians who have been sitting pretty in their positions for far too long. It’s time for the near and dear ones of such politicians (with criminal background/cases) to brace up and not die of shock like Lalu's sister who couldn’t bear the shock of his 3& 1/2 years jail sentence in a fodder scam case.
Should CRIME VICTIM COMPENSATION be a matter of mood or rationale? A 26yr old law student has been beaten to death by unknown people, outside a restaurant in Allahabad. Just about a week ago, a Delhi photographer was killed by his girlfriend's father and uncle. On 20.01.2018, a school principal in Yamunanagar, was allegedly shot dead in her office by her student . There have been numerous killings across the country in the name of honour, intolerance, road rage etc in recent times. Victims of such crimes are not only the ones who directly suffer the blow but also the family members who suffer mental, physical and economic harm as a result of the illegal activities of those who inflict the harm. The victims of such crimes have been provided certain safeguards in the Constitution of India under article 14& 21 and the laws governing compensation to these victims of crimes are contained in sections 357, 357(1), 357(2), 357(3), 357A, 358, 359 and 250 of Cr.P.C. However, there is no uniform policy on the compensation for victims of rape, riots, fire/other accidents, murder, etc., who are rather dependent on whimsical and irrational policy of relief. When there’s no uniform policy, how is one death deemed more deserving than the other?There is an urgent need for a rationale and clear method to award compensation where claims arise from loss of life on account of failure of public authorities. Presently, due to lack of legislation, States and their officials are wriggling out of their responsibilities by awarding arbitrary amounts in compensation. However, it is incorrect to let the mood of the state or the hype created by media be the deciding factors on how much compensation is announced by the state. In the absence of a uniform policy, politics(game of one upmanship), status of the victims or the community which they belong to or the media attention colour the decision of the state authorities in fixing the compensation amount and put a lid on such simmering controversies. It’s time to question the rationale and ask how the beneficiaries of these compensations are chosen since not all families coping with rape or murder of a loved one get treated equally. KMLAWASSOCIATES is a Dwarka based law firm with a commitment and dedication towards justice in all types of litigation.
Legislation against Self proclaimed Godmen(& women) India has a flourishing market for self styled Godmen(& women) who make millions by fooling and deceiving illiterate and ill-informed people in the name of spirituality.A close nexus between power, politics and money creates a perfect business model which enjoys political patronage. These self proclaimed Godmen are nothing but ambitious con artists and perverts hiding behind masks and deceptive garbs. They are minting money, abusing innocents, ruining multiple lives by deception, falsehood and religiosity in the name of God. They are emotionally, physically and financially exploiting people by manipulating their frailties. However, now in the wake of violent incidents and illegal activities in the name of spirituality all over the country, there's a need to curb these Godmen and save people from becoming their victims. Though one feels that education and literacy is a solution to many a problems, it is not enough when it comes to these Godmen as a large number of their followers come from well educated people, politicians, filmstars, business tycoons, who endorse them for their own vested interests. India's obsession with these Godmen can only be cured with a qualitative change in the social consciousness, which may take a long time and keeping this in view, there is a need for legislation against such Godmen who con people in the name of God by taking advantage of their fears and insecurities. They gain power over minds of gullible people who seek instant and magical solutions to their various problems, not realising that the power to save themselves lies within each one of them. Without any further delay, Govt.should enact a law and protect its people from becoming victims of these impostors who call themselves'spiritually evolved'.
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