The Hindu Editorials Mains Sure Shot Notes (5th Aug 2019)
(GS-1 Mains) & GS-3 Mains
Question – In the increasing incidences of mob lynching, how can Rajasthan’s example set the way? Discuss ( 250 words)
Context – The Rajasthan government has introduced the Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019.
• The Bill was introduced in the context of the orders given by the Supreme Court in Tehseen S. Poonawalla v. Union of India case. The SC had recommended setting up of special courts, appoint a dedicated nodal officer, and stipulating enhanced punishments.
• If the Bill gets passed it will be the second state after Manipur to have a dedicated law criminalising mob lynching as a special offence, in addition to the additional offences of the Indian Penal Code.
About the Bill:
• The Bill is more comprehensive than the SC recommendation because it not only criminalises the act of lynching, dissemination of ‘offensive material’ and fostering a ‘hostile environment’, but also has provisions for relief, legal aid, compensation and rehabilitation.
• The Bill also provides a broad definition of lynching. It states lynching as an act or series of acts of violence or aiding, abetting or attempting an act of violence, whether spontaneous or planned, by a mob (two or more persons) on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation and ethnicity.
• However, even though it has a broad definition, it has certain limitations like- the bill does not cover cases of solitary offences i.e. if it is committed by one single person. Second, the Bill states that it will be the responsibility of the police officers and the district magistrates to take measures to prevent lynching related cases. But unlike Manipur, it does not prescribe any punishment for dereliction (neglecting) of duty.
• The Bill also needs legal scrutiny because it sorts of takes away judicial discretion. Because Section 8(c) of the Bill very specifically states that whoever commits an act of lynching, where the act leads to the death of the victim, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for life and a fine not be less than ₹1,00,000 and which may extend to ₹5,00,000.
• Doing so it completely deprives the judiciary of any amount of discretion.
Why is judicial discretion important?
• It is important because one before stated law cannot apply to all situations and all cases. For example- Section 9 of the Bill stipulates same punishment for lynching and ‘attempting’ an act of lynching.
• In the context of criminal law and sentencing, the principle of proportionality mandates an adequate balance of the gravity of the crime, the interests of the victim and of society, and the purposes of criminal law.
• Afterall, the Supreme Court, while declaring Section 303 of the IPC unconstitutional in Mithu Singh v. State of Punjab, held that “the exercise of judicial discretion on well-recognised principles is, in the final analysis, the safest possible safeguard for the accused. The legislature cannot make relevant circumstances irrelevant, deprive the courts of their legitimate jurisdiction to exercise their discretion”.
• Any incidence of lynching is a manifestation of prejudice, intolerance, and contempt towards the rule of law. The Rajasthan Bill in spite of its limitations is an evidence of political will by the state government. It sends a message to the people.
• With the number of lynching’s getting frequent, it is high time for other state governments and Centre to show urgency and take inspiration from the step shown by Rajasthan and Manipur, so that creeping threats are prevented from metastasising into an out-of-control monster.
The Hindu Editorials Mains Sure Shot (5th Aug 2019)
(GS-1 or 2 Mains)
kindly update your Notes:
Today’s article ‘Pulling a Vietnam in Afghanistan’, tries to draw a comparison between the situation that the U.S. was in the 1960s when it was involved in the Vietnam war, and the situation that it faces in the present in Afghanistan.
It says that both the situations are quite similar. In the 1960s it had become clear to the U.S. that they could not win the Vietnam war and decided to pull out its troops seeking “peace with honor” (basically it means to leave the country with some self-respect so that it doesn’t seem like humiliation). At present in Afghanistan it is quite similar, the U.S. has realised that it cannot win the Afghan war despite huge involvement of troops. The situation has reached a stalemate, there is no actual progress. So again it is trying to hold talks with Taliban to have a “peace with honor”.
So at present America’s goal is no longer to defeat the Taliban but to stop them, at least for now, from taking over Kabul.
It also says that just like initially America’s involvement in Vietnam was limited to advisory roles but it increased after the U.S. destroyer, USS Maddox, was attacked by Vietnamese torpedo boats. Similarly the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan increased after September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, launching its war against terror.
Just like it was in the 1960s that the opinion in the U.S. had turned against U.S. involvement in Vietnam, same is the situation now. The people in the U.S. do not want U.S. to get involved in wars outside its country.
But the difference was that the war in Vietnam was for not letting the communist North Vietnam to spread its influence in South Vietnam, which was the U.S. ally. But in Afghanistan it is a war against terrorist group Taliban.
Though the U.S. and the Taliban have reached to a roadmap for peace i.e. the U.S. withdrawal in return the Taliban’s assurance that Afghanistan would not be used by the terrorists. The difference is when the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam, the ceasefire did not last even for two years and the communists captured Saigon (former name of Ho Chi Minh city). If a similar situation happens in Afghanistan then the consequences will be dreadful because there is not even a ceasefire between the Kabul government and the Taliban even as the U.S. is preparing to make an exit.
Here the winning side is the Taliban, which, unlike the Viet Cong, is a anti-modern, anti-woman, anti-minority fundamentalist machine, whose earlier regime was notorious for excessive sectarian violence. The Taliban is part of the problem, not a solution.
The Communists unified Vietnam, and after early years of struggle, modernized the economy and rebuild the country into an Asian powerhouse. For Afghanistan, the tunnel gets longer and darker.