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Q.1) “It turns out that adultery by men is illegal in India while women is exempted, but gender is not the only point of concern.” Discuss critically. (GS-1)

Introduction:

  • There has been a long dispute over the constitutional validity of Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, under which men can be prosecuted for adultery.

What is adultery?

  • Adultery is a voluntary consensual relationship between a married individual and someone who is not his/her lawful spouse.

Is adultery an offence?

  • Yes, adultery is regarded as illegal in some countries and certain laws have been passed to keep a check over adultery.
  • The act of adultery is a crime which breaches the marriage vows and is detrimental to public morals.

Legal parameters against adultery:

The legal definition of adultery varies from country to country.

  • Laws related to adultery vary from statute to statute.
  • At some places adultery is considered a crime and the adulterer may even have to face death penalty.
  • In few statutes, if either individual is married to someone else, both parties to an adulterous liaison are culpable to the crime.
  • Christian, Jewish, Islamic and Hindu traditions condemn the act of adultery.
  • In Islam, the adulterers especially the female may be stoned to death.

What is the debate over the Indian adultery law?

There has been a long debate over the constitutional validity of Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, under which men can be prosecuted for adultery.

  • The Supreme Court has observed that the provision is outdated.
  • It has further noted that in a case of adultery, one person is liable for the offence but the other is absolved.
  • Thus, the concept of gender neutrality, on which criminal law normally proceeds, is absent.
  • It has also noted that once the consent or connivance of the husband is established, there is no offence of adultery at all.

Indian adultery law challenges Section 198(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure:

  • In the past, the Supreme Court has emphasized that a married woman is a “victim” and the man is “the author of the crime”.
  • It has treated the exemption given to women as a special provision that has the protection of Article 15(3).
  • It has rejected the argument that it is discriminatory by pointing out that neither a man nor a woman can prosecute their disloyal spouses.
  • It is only the ‘outsider’ to the matrimonial relationship who can be prosecuted, and that too by the aggrieved husband alone.
  • This is made clear in Section 198(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, a provision also under challenge.

Conclusion:

  • The real problem in the Indian adultery law is the very fact that adultery remains a crime in the form of an archaic colonial era provision.
  • The debate should not be maintained over the limited boundaries of gender discrimination.
  • The correct course will be to dispense with this archaic provision altogether.
  • It serves no real purpose in the criminal statute.

Q.2) With reference to India’s ‘2+2’ dialogue partners, examine the role of such quadrilateral discussions in preserving, promoting and protecting  bilateral security and defence cooperation. (GS-2)

Introduction:

  • Australia and India recently discussed the need to maintain the Asia-Pacific region as a “free” and “open” zone under the ‘2+2’ dialogue model which includes the foreign and defence secretaries of both sides.

Why the dialogue model is called ‘2+2’?

  • It is called a ‘2+2’ dialogue model because it involves dialogues between the Foreign and Defence Secretaries of both sides.

India and Japan’s 2 + 2 dialogue:

  • Apart from Australia, Japan is also India’s 2+2 dialogue partner.
  • Japan is India’s first 2+2 dialogue partner with any country.
  • India and Japan held discussions to enhance cooperation key bilateral areas, including maritime, cyber, outer space security and also deliberated on regional and international security situation.
  • Both the nations reviewed bilateral security and defence cooperation and discussed ways to expand these ties further.

What has been discussed between India and Australia under the ‘2+2 dialogue’?

The major topic of discussion during the meeting is as follows:

New strategic partnership:

  • The discussion between India and Australia was the first meeting of this level since the two sides participated in the quadrilateral discussion for a new strategic partnership targeting the Asia-Pacific region.

Freedom of navigation:

  • The ‘2+2 dialogue’ indicated that the focus remains on freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, where China has been reclaiming land for infrastructure, boosting its maritime influence.

Inclusive Indo-Pacific region:

  • Both sides agreed that a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large.

Strategic and defence relations:

  • Also, all aspects of bilateral relations with a focus on strategic and defence relations between the two countries were reviewed.

Other important discussions:

  • Developments in the Indo-Pacific with China’s rise, India’s prominent role in Australia’s first White Paper on Foreign Policy in 14 years, the road ahead for revived quadrilateral dialogue were part of discussions.

Conclusion:

  • These quadrilateral ‘2+2’ discussions usher in an array of socio-economic potentials for both the countries.
  • It will also enhance the strategic interests in Asia, our economies are highly complementary, and the values are closely aligned.

Q.3) What is DNA fingerprinting? Critically examine the concerns raised against implementing DNA based investigations in India. (GS-3)

Introduction:

  • The law machinery world over is increasingly relying on DNA forensics to solve crime, whereas India is lagging behind in adoption.
  • It is time to take a serious look at how this technology, that has become crucial in establishing both guilt and innocence.

What is DNA fingerprinting?

  • DNA fingerprinting is a method used to identify an individual from a sample of DNA.
  • It simultaneously detects lots of minisatellites in the genome to produce a pattern unique to an individual.
  • The probability of having two people with the same DNA fingerprint that are not identical twins is very small.

How can DNA fingerprinting be a useful tool in investigating crime?

  • DNA fingerprinting as a tool of investigation is very accurate.
  • It extends to the way it can separate through crime scene evidence.
  • Advanced DNA fingerprinting can make separate prints of various individuals even from a sample mixture found at the crime scene.
  • For example: In a gangrape case, DNA fingerprinting can identify each of the individuals involved in the act through one sample.
  • In such cases, it becomes the clinching evidence against the accused, and also helps vindicate those whose samples do not match.

What are the problems in implementing DNA based investigations?

The problems in implementing DNA based investigations are as follows:

  • The sample of DNA can easily be ruined during the process, causing the sample to become completely useless for testing
  • The process itself is complex and tedious.
  • It can give results that may be hard to interpret.
  • Privacy issues could occur if the information isn’t kept secure at the lab.

What are the problems in implementing DNA based investigations in India?

The problems in implementing DNA based investigations in India are as follows:

  • The state police forces are yet to be trained in conducting such scientific investigations.
  • There is also a serious scarcity of capacity for DNA fingerprinting in the country.
  • Advanced practices in the technology are limited to the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) in Hyderabad.
  • There are also several private labs that offer DNA testing, but all work under an unregulated environment.
  • Though DNA testing is done in criminal cases in India, the instances were very low compared to other countries.
  • It breaches the Right to Privacy, personal information if leaked, could potentially complicate insurance processes, health care and job prospects for an individual.

Way ahead:

The measures to be taken are as follows:

  • Government and police should increase the use of DNA testing in solving crimes.
  • There should be adequate and high-level training sessions for DNA investigation.
  • They should set up a board which will lay down procedures and standards.
  • There are recommendations for amendments in Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and Indian Evidence Act, 1872, to include scientific investigation in crimes.
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