Q.1) Recently Supreme Court has condemned the incidents of mob lynching and suggested some measures to deal with it. In the light of the statement discuss the concerns raised by Supreme Court and preventive, remedial and punitive measures suggested by it to deal with Mob Violence and Lynching. (GS-3)
Answer: Recently, Supreme Court asked the central government to enact a law to deal with incidents of lynching and take action on mob violence. As a result, two high-level committees have been constituted by the central government to suggest ways and a legal framework to effectively deal with incidents of mob violence and lynching
Concerns raised by SC:
- called the incidents against Dalits and minority community members horrendous acts of mobocracy
- obligation of the State to protect citizens and ensure that the “pluralistic social fabric” of the country holds against mob violence.
- law should be effective enough to instill a sense of fear in the perpetrators.
- obligation of the Centre and the States to ensure that “nobody takes the law into his hands nor become a law into himself
- States could not give even the “remotest chance” to let lynchings happen.
Supreme Court suggested several preventive, remedial and punitive actions to curd the act of mob violence:
- Senior police officer, not below the rank of Superintendent of Police and assisted by a DSP, as nodal officer in each district to take steps to prevent mob violence and lynching.
- The two officers will in turn constitute a special task force to collect intelligence on those likely to commit such crimes
- In three weeks, states should identify places where instances of lynching and mob violence have been reported in the last five years.
- The nodal officer shall hold monthly meetings with local intelligence units and Station House Officers to identify tendencies of vigilantism, mob violence
- Director General of Police of the state or Secretary, Home department, must hold regular review meetings with nodal officers and state police intelligence heads.
- The court asked the Union Home Ministry to take the initiative and work in co-ordination with state governments to sensitise law enforcement agencies
- State governments should prepare a lynching/mob violence victim compensation scheme within one month.
- It should have a provision for interim relief to be paid to the victim(s) or next of kin within a period of thirty days of the incident.
- Cases of lynching and mob violence shall be specifically tried by designated court/fast track courts.
- Upon conviction of the accused person(s), the trial court must ordinarily award maximum sentence as provided for various offences under the provisions of the IPC
- Failure on the part of police officers to comply with its directions should be “considered as an act of deliberate negligence and/or misconduct.
- Appropriate action, not limited to departmental action for negligence, should be taken.
The court ordered the Centre and the States to implement the measures and file compliance reports within the next four weeks.
Q.2) RTI is a truly democratic piece of legislation that can empower people to challenge the mis-governance. In light of the statement, discuss the importance of RTI for India’s democracy and critically analyze the recent amendments proposed by government to it. (GS-2)
Answer: Right to Information (RTI) Act aims to provide for a regime where any citizen of India may request information from any “public authority. IT also requires every public authority to proactively disclose certain categories of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request for information formally.
How RTI can empower people:
- allows people to demand services as their right, due to the strict time lines and thorough appeal process to demand information.
- opens up government for scrutiny and thus more accountability
- they can pressurise the government for change
- by making administration more citizen-centric and thus enabling good governance
Importance for Democracy:
- makes executive more accountable to the legislatures, thus enhancing people’s voice in governance
- empowers people with information to judge the performance of governments. Eg., many RTI revelations were responsible for the fall of UPA in 2014 elections
- it makes corruption a political issue and thus improves the working of democracy
- allows for citizens’ participation in governance
- information activism in the country is a good sign of democracy
Analysis of recent amendments to The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill 2018:
- attempts to dilute the independence of Central and State Information Commissioners (ICs)
- gives undue powers to the government of the day to appoint Commissioners with uncertain term and salary – Offering CIC post to just retired or about to retire officials can cause potential harm to good governance. The CIC as post-retirement incentive is capable of removing objectivity of working IAS officer in the last leg of his service and independence as CIC.
- federalism: it is affront to enshrined as basic feature of Indian Constitution. While the RTI Act 2005 recognises sovereign authority of states to select their SICs, the Bill of 2018 does not allow states to decide their term, status and salary.
- CEC vs CIC: it considered CIC as less in status than CEC. RTI Act says RTI is ‘constitutional right,’ but the Bill 2018 considers it is not.
- parliament vs executive: Through Act of 2005, Parliament ensured certainty and continuity of CIC as a norm, which says that a Commissioner will hold office for five years or up to his age of 65 years (whichever is earlier) for sure. The executive usurps that power from the hands of Parliament.
Q.3) Non-cooperation movement although failed to achieve its intended objectives, but had succeeded on many counts. Explain. What was the rationale behind withdrawal of the movement? (GS-1)
Answer: The non Cooperation movement which was started in 1921 as part of the Khilafat movement was withdrawn in 1922.
Its objectives were:
- To correct the wrongs in Punjab – Jallianwala Bagh massacre and martial law
- generous treatment of Turkey after the War
- IT was launched as a right to refuse cooperation to an oppressive regime.
Though it failed to achieve all these objectives, it succeeded in the following ways:
- students left schools and colleges and joined national schools and colleges that had all over the country.
- Many leading lawyers of the country, like C.R. Das, Motilal Nehru gave up lucrative practices
- boycott of foreign cloth
- picketing of toddy shops – Government revenues showed considerable decline on this count
- Charkhas were
- popularized on a wide scale and khadi became the uniform of the national movement.
- In the Avadh area of U.P., where kisan sabhas had been gathering strength, NCM propaganda helped to fan the already existing ferment
- In Assam, labourers on tea plantations went on strike. Defiance of forest laws became popular in Andhra.
spirit of unrest and defiance of authority engendered by the Non-Cooperation Movement contributed to the rise of many local movements in different parts of the country.
However, it was withdrawn all of a sudden in 1922 before beginning the phase of civil disobediance, after the violence at Chaura Chauri. This decision is criticised by many leaders of the time. But the rationale behind the withdrawal can be explained as follows:
- Government repression – public meetings and assemblies were banned, newspapers gagged, and midnight raids on Congress and Khilafat offices became common.
- in such a situation of mass ferment and activity, the movement might easily take a violent turn – if violence occurred anywhere it could easily be made the excuse by the Government to launch a massive attack on the movement as a whole.
- By taking the onus of withdrawal on himself and on the Working Committee, Gandhiji was protecting the movement from likely repression, and the people from demoralization.
- in many parts of the country, by the second half of 1921, the movement had shown clear signs of being on the ebb. The cadre and the active political workers were willing to carry on the fight, but a mass movement of such a nature required the active participation of the masses
- Mass movements have an inherent tendency to ebb after reaching a certain height, that the capacity of the masses to withstand repression, endure suffering and make sacrifices is not unlimited
Q.4) What were the reasons behind lukewarm attitude of the early nationalists towards the question of workers? Highlight some of the early organized efforts made in 2nd half of 19th century for improving the conditions of workers (GS-1)
Answer: Workers, as a group, became a part of freedom movement in the first decade of twentieth century.
Reasons behind attitude of early nationalists:
- anti-imperialist movement was in its very infancy and the nationalists did not wish to weaken the common struggle against British rule
- differential attitude towards the workers employed in Europeans enterprises and those employed in Indian enterprises. Most of the nationalist newspapers denied the need for any Government legislation to regulate working conditions and actively opposed the Factories Act of 1881 and 1891.
- Government initiative on labour legislation is dictated by British manufacturing interests which facing Indian competition and a shrinking market in India. they lobbied for factory legislation in India to reduce the working hours for labour
- the early nationalists saw rapid industrialisation as the panacea for the problems of Indian poverty and degradation and were unwilling to countenance any measure which would impede this process.
Early work for workers:
- In 1878, Sorabjee Shapoorji Bengalee tried to introduce a Bill in the Bombay Legislative Council to limit the working hours for labour.
- In Bengal, Sasipada Banerjea set up a Workingmen’s Club in 1870 and brought out a monthly journal called Bharat Sramjeebi
- In Bombay, N M Lokhanday brought out DinaBandhu and started the Bombay Mill and Millhands’ Association