Abhishek Srivastava is teaching live on Unacademy Plus
DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS FROM HINDU 4th DECEMBER 2017 https://unacade Editorial analysis Crash course on Polity Crash Course on Modern History Crash Course on Ancient History Crash Course on Medieval History . Ncert Class VI History Summary . Delhi Sultanate *Essay writing Abhishek Srivastava
Capturing crime The increase in crimes against women must prompt better policing and all-round reform The National Crime Records Bureau data for 2016 on two important aspects: violent crime crime against women, Not all States are equally affected; Uttar Pradesh and Bihar record the maximum number of murders. The national tally on crimes against women, which includes rape, abduction, assault and cruelty by husband and relatives, is up by 2.9% over that of 2015. Going by the data, there is a distinct urban geography as well for violence against women, with Delhi and Mumbai appearing the least safe: Delhi recorded a rate of crime that is more than twice the national average.
Viewed in perspective, the murder rate today has declined to the level prevailing in the 1950s, which was 2.7 per 1.00,000 people, after touching a peak of 4.62 in 1992. But that macro figure conceals regional variations, witnessed in U.P. and Bihar where 4.889 and 2.581 murder incidents took place during 2016, respectively, while it was 305 in densely populated Kerala. Social development influence a reduction in crime; .Since the Delhi gang rape case of 2012 the definition of the heinous offence has been broadened, police forces have been directed to record the crime with greater sensitivity, -some measures initiated to make public places safer for women. This approach could lead to a reduction in violent crime over time. A focussed programme to universalise education and skills training would potentially keep juveniles from coming into conflict with the law. Last year's data indicate that there is a rise in the number of cases involving juveniles. There are also basic issues that need urgent reform, such as modernising the police, recruiting the right candidates and teaching them to uphold human rights.
. The orders of the Supreme Court on police reforms issued in 2006 have not beern implemented in letter and spirit by all States With genuine measures, Ministerial superintendence over the police would become more transparent and socially accountable, eliminating political interference in its working .As a measure of data improvement, it should be mandatory to record not just the principal offence in a case, as the NCRB does, and list all cognisable offences separately. Rather than view the available data passively, governments would do well to launch serious studies that result in policies and measures for freedom from violence.
The gag on free speech Recent actions by the Indian judiciary suggest a trend of creeping censorship .A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Court, hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsi Prajapati fake encounter cases, issued a gag order prohibiting the press from reporting on the court proceedings Allahabad High Court also gagged the media from reporting on an ongoing case concerning an alleged instance of hate speech by the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, in 2007. These two instances, which are not isolated, are representative of an alarming trend of creeping judicial censorship, increasingly across large domains
. The Indian judiciary relationship with free speech, -from upholding the constitutionality of sedition in 1962, to endorsing the law of criminal defamation in 2016. Further than simply rejecting constitutional challenges to the state's speech-restrictive laws the Bombay High Court constituting a "committee" to recommend cuts to the satirical film, "Jolly LLB 2", the Madras High Court telling condom manufacturers to have the illustrations on their packets cleared by the Advertising Standards Council of India, the Supreme Court directing cinema halls to play the national anthem before the screening of every movie. However, the CBl Court and the Allahabad High Court's gag orders, strike at the heart of our system of democratic governance . The task of courts under the Constitution is to deliver justice, and a functional democracy is defined by a justice system that is open, transparent, and, above all, public.
Great British judge, Lord Diplock, noted, "if the way that courts behave cannot be hidden from the public ear and eye, this provides a safeguard against judicial arbitrariness or idiosyncrasy and maintains the public confidence in the administration of justice." . The court framed the issue as requiring a balancing of two competing rights - the right to free speech, - the right to a fair trial. .Observing that sometimes excessive publicity could jeopardise a fair trial, the court held that to the extent it was reasonable and proportionate . Iwo problems with this First, the idea that "media trials" might distort the outcomes of cases makes sense irn a jury system, where guilt or innocence is decided by a jury of twelve men and women who do not possess specialised legal training, and need to be immunised from undue forms of influence. Second, the 2012 Supreme Court judgment failed to adequately limit the kinds of cases in which these exceptional "postponement orders" could be passed, it failed to limit the duration for which they could be passed.
. It is often argued that the media reports court proceedings inaccurately; judicial observations are published out of context just to provide good headline copy . In fact, this was precisely the reason cited by the Allahabad High Court to justify the gag order. There are, however, laws to deal with inaccurate reporting, especially the Contempt of Courts Act, which the judiciary has never shied away from invoking. .A more straightforward way of dealing with the spectre of misreporting: to make written transcripts and audio or video recordings of court proceedings available to the public. There might also be situations where a case involves arguments pertaining to national security, which cannot at that time be made public. - In these situations, a temporary halt on reporting could be justifiable . The CBl Court and the Allahabad High Court's sweeping gag orders do not even come close to satisfying that condition.
. Ultimately, the trial courts and the High Courts take their cue from the Supreme Court, which is the ultimate driver of jurisprudence . And unfortunately, earlier this year, the Supreme Court passed a sweeping gag order of its own. While convicting (the now retired) Justice Karnan of contempt of court, a bench comprising the seven senior-most judges of the Supreme Court ordered that "no further statements issued by Shri Justice C.S. Karnan would be publicized" . Such a command sends a clear message about the appropriateness of sweeping gag orders, should a court feel that they are necessary The CBl Court and the Allahabad High Court's gag orders demonstrate an urgent need for some conscious course-correction by the judiciary . They come with a democratic cost that is simply too high to pay: sunlight, they say, is the best disinfectant. . Often, it is the only disinfectant.
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