Re-arming the law:

Re-arming the law: (Indian Express, Editorial) Reframing country’s law

Context:

  • There is the emerging need of the Center and the Parliament to pass a Bill to deal with acts of violence so that each and every State Government will have better concrete legal action.

Introduction:

  • Not all lynching is cow-protection related. Some acts are frankly little ethnic wars, some purely on the basis of cast attacks against the Dalits, some acts of dire violence on Muslims, and all are politically tolerated.

Where the fault lies? Law and order is, and must remain a state subject. But a constitutional power can never be a license for lawlessness.

  • First, the law may never take its course when the police refuse to file the FIR, despite the Supreme Court’s insistence that they ought to.
  • Second, delayed and faulty investigation, either due to workload or to covert or overt party pressures, may tend to defeat the proceedings.
  • Third, the lack of effective legal representation and the postures of out-of-court settlement.
  • Fourth, the endless judicial delays, and the total lack of political will to improve access to justice, betray a structural indifference to the sufferings thus caused.
  • Fifth, parliament response to specific proposals may be problematic: For example, the targeted violence bill, 2011, and the “honor” crimes bill as proposed by the National Women’s Commission.

Suggestion:

  • Lynching should now be recognized as integral to collective political violence.
  • The targeted violence bill was prepared after years of effort by human rights and social activists, and vetted by legislative officials.
  • In the wake of new violence, it now needs to be owned by all, including political parties who ought to pass it in the current session of Parliament.
  • The law should never be deployed as a programme of political revenge but always regarded as an instrument for social justice and orderly change.
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