Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – January 10, 2018


Q.1) Intimate relationships are important sites where violence against women is used to perpetuate patriarchy. Explain and highlight the Strategies to address intimate partner violence.   (GS-2)

An intimate relationship is an interpersonal relationship that involves physical and emotional intimacy. Physical intimacy is characterized by friendship, platonic love, romantic love, or sexual activity.

Intimate relationships are important sites where violence against women is used to perpetuate patriarchy.These stem from the belief that women who don’t obey or don’t perform their set gender roles deserve to be beaten.  Even the World Health Organisation estimates that almost one-third of all women who have been in a relationship have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner, which affects their physical and mental well-being. Boys who witness parental violence are more likely to use it in their adult relationships; girls are more likely to justify it.

Strategies :

  • Self-help groups can address the problem of intimate partner violence to a maximum level.
  • Legal reforms is also one of the important step in this direction.
  • Awareness creation drives and strengthening of women’s civil rights.
  • As criminal justice solutions have largely been inaccessible to socially precarious women, a more inclusive alternative is to have collective-based resolution mechanism.
  • The potential of large-scale groups of women, such as self-help groups(SHGs), becomes critical in the Indian context.
  • India has experimented with many models of community dispute resolution mechanisms like the Nari Adalats (Women courts) in various states, Women’s Resource Centre(Rajasthan ), Shalini (West Bengal), and Mahila Panchayats (Delhi).

Q.2) In recent times Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies(CC) have became a topic of debate. In this context discuss the challenges it poses to banking structure in India and the benefits which can be derived out of them? (GS-3)

Bitcoins are the virtual currencies used for various financial transactions. Bitcoins are the form of digital currency which are specifically crypto currency in nature.  hese are generated by processing of highly complex computer program. In recent times, bitcoins have become a topic of debate which sets hopes as well as some dangers.

Challenges posed by Bitcoins and cryptocurrencies:

  • Lack of disadvantages and understanding of these currencies.
  • It undermines authority of banks and financial institutions.
  • Bitcoins prevent any government and financial institutions from acting as a trusted third party  to facilitate financial transactions.
  • Absence of legal framework protecting the rights of users of these technologies.
  • Bitcoins have volatility due to limited demand of coins and demand for them increases day by day.
  • High risk environment for customers and investors is attaches to these currencies.
  • It is very difficult for illiterate people to recognize a bitcoin.

Benefits of Bitcoins:

  • Bitcoins are used as the money for purchase, sale, and exchange of the goods and services.
  • The records of financial transactions are easily kept through Blockchain Technology over which Bitcoins are used.
  • It could solve the problem of interoperability as difference payment services lacking the common platform and interconnections.
  • It promotes peer to peer transactions hence more safety over transactions.
  • Bitcoins are considered as future of global currency hence investment over it could really boost participation of financial services.

Q.3)  Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code criminalises sexual activities “against the order of nature”.  In this context discuss how Section 377 violets fundamental rights of the Constitution. Critically comment on India’s position on issues  related to LGBT rights at national and international fora. (GS-2)

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code dating back to 1860, introduced during the British rule of India, criminalises sexual activities “against the order of nature”, including homosexual sexual activities. Prior to that, sexual activities, including amongst homosexuals, were not penalised in India. It is rooted in the legacies of British colonial states where in it was introduced by Lord Macaulay in 1860 as a part of IPC. According to the section “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished”.

The Supreme Court in  In Suresh Kumar Koushal v. Naz Foundation (2013) case, set aside the Delhi High Court judgment and said that homosexuality or unnatural sex between two consenting adults under Section 377 of IPC is illegal and will continue to be an offense.

However, the Supreme Court recently referred to a larger Bench a writ petition filed by gay and lesbian members of the LGBT Community to strike down the colonial Section 377 in the Indian Penal Code of 1860, which criminalises homosexuality.

Violation of fundamental rights:

  • The section has been in news on account of violation of basic human rights, harassment and violence among the LGBT community.
  • The section did not mentions even ‘voluntary’ acts as punishable under section 377. Section did not make any difference between male who commit rape on other male and two males having consensual sex.
  • The declaration of all homosexual acts criminal, whether consensual or non consensual, is considering all homosexuals as sexual perverts, demeaning their dignity.
  • The section does not take into account the sexual preferences of the individuals.
  • Right to privacy enshrined under article 21 of the Constitution is one of the most important rights of an individual. If a person cannot enjoy his privacy then it hampers his right to dignified life.
  • The High Court has held in NAZ Foundation Case that section 377 is violative of Article 14, 15, and 21 of the Constitution.
  • The effect of section 377 is that it disproportionately impacts homosexuals on the basis of their sexual orientation, thus violative of article 15.
  • Criminalization of section 377 has also impeded access to health service   of LGBT community.
  • The section violates the basic features of the Constitution i.e justice, liberty and equality.

India’s position on issues related to LGBT rights at national and international fora.

At national level:

  • On transgenders, Supreme Court has passed a landmark judgment , asking government to extend benefits to transgenders who are currently an oppressed minority.
  • Some NGOs like NAZ foundation and social workers are fighting for the basic rights of LGBT for years.
  • In July 2009, the Delhi High Court had decriminalised homosexuality among consenting adults, holding it in violation of Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

Critical analysis:

  • India still retains Section 377 that criminalizes gay sex.
  • In 2016, Five petitioners move SC over Section 377 and  claimed their “rights to sexuality, sexual autonomy, choice of sexual partner, life, privacy, dignity and equality, along with the other fundamental rights guaranteed under Part-III of Constitution, are violated by Section 377.

At international level:

  • In 2008, India abstained from voting in the crucial UN declaration based on the Yogakarta principles which defined discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as a human rights violation.
  • On international front, India voted against UN SG’s decision to extend marriage benefits to LGBT couples citing lack of consultation with member States and relation to “sovereignty issues” over UN’s admin and financial functions.
  • Abstained from voting on a previous resolution on LGBT discrimination passed by UNGA in 2014.
  • India abstaining from this vote revealed that it was not willing to pursue the cause as a human rights violation but was continuing to see it through the prevalent social equations in the country.
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