4th December 2019 : The Hindu Editorials Notes : Mains Sure Shot
Question – Rape is a heinous crime. The incidences of this crime are increasing in India. Analyse the reasons behind it and suggest the way ahead.(250 words)
Context – The increasing instances of rape and brutality in the country.
In India at present:
- The UN Human Rights chief had called rape and violence against women in India a “national problem” which would need “national solutions”.
- The National Crime Records Bureau which released its 2017 data this October said a total of 3.59 lakh cases of crimes against women were reported, a 6% rise compared to 2016. Of this, assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty comprised 21.7%, and rape 7%.
- it is evident that the number of total rape cases (involving incest and other rape cases) have been rising steadily in India hitting 39k victims in the year 2016. That is a growth of about 56% from 25k victims in the year 2012 when the Nirbhaya Delhi gang-rape incidence became a national story.
- For every rape reported, there are many which go unrecorded as patriarchal mindsets remain unchanged.
- Power-play – The perpetrators of sexual crimes have been brought up with the deeply twisted notion that the woman needs to be tamed; they have been conditioned to think that women are nothing more than baby-making machines and objects that are meant to afford physical and voyeuristic pleasure. Perhaps they have grown up seeing their own mothers being beaten up and raped by their fathers.
- Blaming provocative clothing: There’s a tendency to assume the victims of sexual violence somehow brought it on themselves. In a 1996 survey of judges in India, 68 percent of the respondents said that provocative clothing is an invitation to rape.
- Acceptance of domestic violence: The Reuters TrustLaw group named India one of the worst countries in the world for women, in part because domestic violence there is often seen as deserved. A 2012 report by UNICEF found that 57 percent of Indian boys and 53 percent of girls between the ages of 15 and 19 think wife-beating is justified. A recent national family-health survey also reported that a sizable percentage of women blame themselves for beatings by their husbands. Also when a boy grows up seeing his father assaulting his mother, he starts to accept such a behavior and repeats it. Abusive backgrounds breed potential criminals.
- A lack of public safety: Women generally aren’t protected outside their homes. The gang rape occurred on a bus, and even Indian authorities say that the country’s public places can be unsafe for women. Many streets are poorly lit, and there’s a lack of women’s toilets. Women who drink, smoke or go to pubs are widely seen in Indian socirty as morally loose, and village clan councils have blamed a rise in women talking on cellphones and going to the bazaar for an increase in the incidence of rape.
- Stigmatizing the victim: When verbal harassment or groping do occur in public areas, bystanders frequently look the other way rather than intervene, both to avoid a conflict and because they — on some level — blame the victim, observers say. At times politicians contribute to the problem, making statements that make light of rape or vilify rape victims’ supporters.
- Encouraging rape victims to compromise: in the Patiala region in the Punjab a 17-year-old Indian girl who was allegedly gang-raped killed herself after police pressured her to drop the case and marry one of her attackers. Rape victims are often encouraged by village elders and clan councils to “compromise” with the family of accused and drop charges — or even to marry the attacker. Such compromises are aimed at keeping the peace between families or clan groups. What’s more, a girl’s eventual prospects of marriage are thought to be more important than bringing a rapist to justice.
- A sluggish court system: India’s court system is painfully slow, in part because of a shortage of judges. The country has about 15 judges for every 1 million people, while China has 159. A Delhi high court judge once estimated it would take 466 years to get through the backlog in the capital alone.
- Few convictions: For rapes that do get reported, India’s conviction rate is no more than 26%. There is also no law on the books covering routine daily sexual harassment, which is euphemistically called “eve-teasing.”
- Few female police: Studies show that women are more likely to report sex crimes if female police officers are available. India has historically had a much lower percentage of female police officers than other Asian countries. When women do report rape charges to male police, they are frequently demeaned.
- Not enough police in general: There aren’t enough police dedicated to protecting ordinary citizens and the officers that are available often lack basic evidence-gathering and investigative training and equipment.
- Low status of women: Perhaps the biggest issue, though, is women’s overall lower status in Indian society. For poor families, the need to pay a marriage dowry can make daughters a burden. India has one of the lowest female to male population ratios in the world because of sex-selective abortion and female infanticide. Throughout their lives, sons are fed better than their sisters, are more likely to be sent to school and have brighter career prospects. Every time a parent assures a son that he could have anything he wants, and abuses a daughter for wanting the same thing, a monster is created.
- Also if a question is asked in general to the people that do you personally know someone who has been raped or do you know anyone who has raped? Chances are their answer is in the affirmative in relation to the former and negative in the latter. We all know someone who has been raped, but no one has ever seen or met a rapist. It stands to reason that for every rape victim there is a rapist. But India doesn’t have rapists, apparently. We have ghost rapists. The point is, doesn’t it seem like India protects its rapists more than its rape victims?
- If we want to solve a problem we must first understand it. We need to analyse all the reasons behind rape.
- What should be included in every curriculum is gender sensitisation, right from school. Public places must be made safer for all. Boys and girls should be raised right in an atmosphere of freedom and a culture of mutual respect. The cycle of rapes, outrage and amnesia must end.
- Also there is a need to spread awareness about raising boys the right way. It is often seen that rapists are raised by the following kind of parents-those who physically or sexually abuse the boy, neglect him, or raise a boy with male entitlement so he consequently grows up thinking he is god’s gift to mankind, and can have anything he wants, whenever he wants it.
Question – Discuss the Transgender person ( protection of rights) Bill , 2019.(250 words)
Context – Recently Rajya sabha has passed the Bill (150 words)
Facts and figures:
- According to the 2011 Census, the number of persons who do not identify as ‘male’ or ‘female’ but as ‘other’ stands at 4,87,803 (0.04% of the total population). This ‘other’ category applied to persons who did not identify as either male or female, and included transgender persons.
- In 2013, the government set up an Expert Committee to examine issues related to transgender persons. The Committee stated that transgender persons faced issues of social stigma and discrimination which affected their access to education, healthcare, employment and government documents.
Provisions of Bill:
- Definition of a transgender person:
- The Bill defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth. It includes trans-men and trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons with socio-cultural identities, such as kinnar and hijra.
- Intersex variations is defined to mean a person who at birth shows variation in his or her primary sexual characteristics, external genitalia, chromosomes, or hormones from the normative standard of male or female body.
- Prohibition against discrimination: The Bill prohibits the discrimination against a transgender person, including denial of service or unfair treatment in relation to: (i) education; (ii) employment; (iii) healthcare; (iv) access to, or enjoyment of goods, facilities, opportunities available to the public; (v) right to movement; (vi) right to reside, rent, or otherwise occupy property; (vii) opportunity to hold public or private office; and (viii) access to a government or private establishment in whose care or custody a transgender person is.
- Certificate of identity for a transgender person: A transgender person may make an application to the District Magistrate for a certificate of identity, indicating the gender as ‘transgender’. A revised certificate may be obtained only if the individual undergoes surgery to change their gender either as a male or a female.
- Welfare measures by the government: The Bill states that the relevant government will take measures to ensure the full inclusion and participation of transgender persons in society. It must also take steps for their rescue and rehabilitation, vocational training and self-employment, create schemes that are transgender sensitive, and promote their participation in cultural activities.
- Offences and penalties: The Bill recognizes the following offences against transgender persons: (i) forced or bonded labour (excluding compulsory government service for public purposes), (ii) denial of use of public places, (iii) removal from household, and village, (iv) physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or economic abuse. Penalties for these offences vary between six months and two years, and a fine.
- National council for transgender to advise the central government as well as monitor the impact of policies, legislation and projects with respect to transgender persons. It will also redress the grievances of transgender persons.
Issues with the Bill:
- If a transgender person is denied a Certificate of Identity, the Bill does not provide a mechanism for appeal or review of such decision of the District Magistrate.
- This Bill also removes the provisions for a District Screening Committee and leaves the power to issue the Certificate with the District Magistrate, based on procedure notified through rules.
- Various acts like Indian penal code , national rural employment guarantee Act , 2005 and Hindu succession Act, 1956 have gender specific provision not recognizing the transgender as different category while application of law.
- Fails to address the specific concern of intersex person:-
- Bill does not distinguish between the transgender and intersex persons. Transgenders have a different gender identity than what was assigned to them at birth, while intersex indicates diversity of gender based on biological characteristics at birth. There are also multiple variations in intersex itself. The Bill is not in alignment with the evolving international human rights framework. Parliament will be well-advised to consider changing the title of the Bill to Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019.
- Some persons born or living with intersex traits can live with a non-binary identity or may choose to live as gender fluid persons. The Bill fails to account for these possibilities.
- Intersex conditions are termed in derogatory terms even by medical professionals. To address this, the Bill should have included a provision directing medical professionals to ensure that intersex traits are not characterised as “disorders of sex development”. Intersex traits should not be considered as genetic defects/ disorders, and terms like ‘gender dysphoria’ should be used to characterise them.
- The Union Health Ministry has admitted that medical procedure including sex reassignment surgeries are being performed on intersex children. These surgeries are not required.
Various case laws:
Arunkumar v. The Inspector General of Registration 2019:-
- This judgment marks the beginning of a normative journey of intersex human rights in India. The court took up the issue of validity of consent given on behalf of intersex infants for undergoing sex selective surgeries.
- It held that the consent of the parent cannot be considered as the consent of the child. Hence, such surgeries should be prohibited. This is a momentous judgment as it recognises the consent rights of intersex children and the right to bodily integrity.
- The judgment declared a prohibition on sex selective surgeries on intersex children in Tamil Nadu.
- Complying with the directions of the court, Tamil Nadu banned sex reassignment surgeries on intersex infants and children.
- Before passing any bill the stakeholders must be consulted and all aspects must be kept in mind.