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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | 11th July ’20 | PDF Download

Dubey’s death raises hard questions | ToI

  • Vikas Dubey’s reign of impunity.
  • The amateurishness of his arrest and subsequent proceedings – failure to handcuff a notorious criminal, a suspicious looking accident, and Dubey’s improbable attempt to flee before being gunned down – would put even a bad Bollywood drama to shame.
  • Inconvenient questions
    • Role played by criminals in politics
    • Political patronage available to bahubalis
    • Bahubalis raise or help to park unaccounted money required for political campaigns, bring out voters in elections, and silence opposing voices.
  • Encounter killings too contribute to the breakdown of justice.
  • Broken justice system.

Court must rule | IndExp

  • Dubey’s interrogation, subsequent investigation and prosecution in a court of law could have netted the big fish.
  • Dubey died later in hospital, but grave questions remain. The official narrative of the events of Friday morning — a car accident, an attempted escape and a police firing in self-defence — invites distrust.
  • There is, also, a thriving “encounter culture” and police impunity in UP.
  • The court must step in.
  • In 2009, a five-judge bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, made it mandatory for the police to register an FIR against police officers after every “encounter” death and held that a judicial magistrate would decide the next steps.
  • People’s Union for Civil Liberties v State of Maharashtra, (2014)
    • Supreme Court framed guidelines to be followed in “encounter” cases
  • Ambiguity in wording, and a hard-to-get requirement of government sanction to prosecute police officers
  • The National Human Rights Commission, for instance, laid out guidelines of its own in such cases in 1997, but these have not been taken seriously.
  • The SC has asserted its power to
  • This should be emulated in the case of the extra-judicial killing and police excess.
  • Otherwise, each encounter death is, effectively, the police — and the state — thumbing their nose at the court and the rule of law.

Crime as punishment | TH

  • 62 cases against Vikas Dubey.
  • There is no question that crimes such as those Dubey was involved in must be met with exemplary punishment.
  • Revenge for 3rd July unfortunate incident?
  • There is no good explanation for driving such a suspect through the night across more than 600 km from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh where he was arrested on Thursday.
  • The process of establishing guilt and executing punishment is not an incidental part of justice, but its integral soul.
  • Last year, Cyberabad police shot dead four people and locals celebrated it on the streets.
  • The courts and the National Human Rights Commission have also shown a lenient approach in such cases.
  • Goading the police on to deliver instant justice, or even tolerating such behaviour, creates an atmosphere of impunity that could lead to murder of innocent people as happened with the custodial deaths in Tamil Nadu.
  • When law enforcers short-circuit due process, the damage to state institutions is severe and long-lasting.

Do we need a fiscal council ?

  • Government needs to borrow and spend more.
  • It will increase its debt.
  • Rating agencies may downgrade ranking.
  • The government can signal its virtue by establishing some new institutional mechanism for enforcing fiscal discipline, such as for example a fiscal council.
  • The suggestion of a fiscal council actually predates the current crisis. It was first recommended by the Thirteenth Finance Commission and was subsequently endorsed by the Fourteenth Finance Commission and then by the FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management) Review Committee headed by N.K. Singh.
  • IMF: 50 countries around the world have established fiscal councils with varying degrees of success.
  • Abstracting from country-level differences, a fiscal council, at its core, is a permanent agency with a mandate to independently assess the government’s fiscal plans and projections against parameters of macroeconomic sustainability, and put out its findings in the public domain.
  • The expectation is that such an open scrutiny will keep the government on the straight and narrow path of fiscal virtue and hold it to account for any default.
  • In 2003 when FRBM was enshrined into law.
  • The FRBM enjoins the government to conform to pre-set fiscal targets, and in the event of failure to do so, to explain the reasons for deviation.
  • The government is also required to submit to Parliament a ‘Fiscal Policy Strategy Statement’ (FPSS) to demonstrate the credibility of its fiscal stance.
  • Yet, seldom have we heard an in-depth discussion in Parliament on the government’s fiscal stance; in fact the submission of the FPSS often passes off without even much notice.
  • FRBM Review Committee suggests fiscal council’s mandate will include, but not be restricted to,
    • Making multi-year fiscal projections
    • Preparing fiscal sustainability analysis
    • Providing an independent assessment of the Central government’s fiscal performance and compliance with fiscal rules
    • Recommending suitable changes to fiscal strategy to ensure consistency of the annual financial statement and taking steps to improve quality of fiscal data
    • Producing an annual fiscal strategy report which will be released publicly

Reform with caution

  • The formation of a ‘Committee for the Reform of Criminal Laws’ by the Union Home Ministry.
  • Short time frame and limited scope for public consultation has caused considerable disquiet among jurists, lawyers and those concerned with the state of criminal justice in the country.
  • This committee started work in the midst of pandemic.
  • Current laws governing crime, investigation and trial require meaningful reform.

“to recommend reforms in the criminal laws of the country in a principled, effective, and efficient manner which ensures the safety and security of the individual, the community and the nation; and which prioritises the constitutional values of justice, dignity and the inherent worth of the individual.”

  • This is an all-male, Delhi-based committee
  • Indian Penal Code of 1860 vintage
  • The Code of Criminal Procedure that was rewritten in 1973
  • The Indian Evidence Act that dates back to 1872
  • Comprehensive
  • Legal reform is something that requires careful consideration and a good deal of deliberation.
  • In 2003, the Justice V.S. Malimath Committee on reforms in the criminal justice system had come up with some far-reaching suggestions, some of which became part of changes in criminal law.
  • However, it also attracted criticism over the suggestion that the standard of evidence be reduced from “beyond reasonable doubt” to “clear and convincing”.
  • The Justice Verma panel came up with a comprehensive and progressive report on reforms needed in laws concerning crimes against women in 2013 in barely one month, but its speed was probably due to the limited mandate it had.
  • If at all criminal law is to be reformed, there should be a genuine attempt to reach a wide consensus on ways to speed up trials, protect witnesses, address the travails of victims, improve investigative mechanisms and, most importantly, eliminate torture.
  • An impression should not gain ground that wide-ranging changes are sought to be made within a short time frame and based on limited inputs from the public. Reform is best achieved through a cautious and inclusive approach.

NEWS

  • 750 Mega Watt Ultra Mega Solar Power Project
    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that India has emerged as the most attractive global market for clean energy as well as become a model of clean energy in the world.
    • Launching the 750 MW Ultra-Mega solar project at Rewa in Madhya Pradesh through video-conferencing yesterday, the Prime Minister said India has created International Solar Alliance to promote solar energy.
    • Pointing towards a necessity of quality solar equipment, Prime Minister said that they are trying to make quality solar panels and batteries in the country so that the equipments are not imported from abroad.
    • With the effective control of Corona virus pandemic, Madhya Pradesh has produced record wheat.
    • Prime Minister said, self-reliance in electricity is integral for ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.
    • He said, solar energy is sure, pure, and secure.
  • The Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship  today launched Aatamanirbhar Skilled Employee-Employer Mapping (ASEEM) portal to help skilled people find sustainable livelihood opportunities.
    • The portal will map details of workers based on regions and local industry demands and will bridge demand-supply gap of skilled workforce across sectors.
    • ASEEM portal will provide employers a platform to assess the availability of skilled workforce and formulate their hiring plans. It refers to all the data, trends and analytics which describe the workforce market and map demand of skilled workforce to supply.
    • The Artificial Intelligence-based platform will also provide real-time granular information by identifying relevant skilling requirements and employment prospects.
    • ASEEM will be used as a match-making engine to map skilled workers with the jobs available.
  • COVID-19 fatality rate declines to 2.72% in the country
  • IRDAI gives its nod to Insurance companies to launch corona Kavach Health Insurance Policies
  • WHO sets up independent panel to review its handling of COVID-19 pandemic
  • India’s foreign exchange reserves touches all time high of 513.25 billion dollars
  • Prince Charles lauds India’s ‘sustainable’ way of life amid Covid-19 crisis
  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and US Defence Secy Mark Esper review bilateral defence co-operation between both countries

 

 

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