GD/PI / #GD Topic

April 27, 2018

April 27, 2018 @ 11:16 AM

Ready Reckoner

In absence of stringent laws Nirbhayas will be repeated

GD Topics 2018

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What happened on 16 December 2012 in Delhi should not have happened. A young girl with a promising career ahead of her and a family to look after, was brutally raped and fatally assaulted. This incident pricked the conscience of the country. The city was out on the streets, demanding justice and strict laws to prevent this from happening again. Protests and silent marches were held across the country. The government was pushed to act. Sadly, not much has changed. Such incidents still continue to happen.

No real Deterrent

The aim of any law is to act as a deterrent, to instil fear in the hearts of anyone who harbours such monstrous intentions. But with the number of such incidents increasing with great alacrity, it begs us to question whether these laws are of any use. The current laws have proved to be ineffective and toothless. As a knee-jerk reaction, the government did introduce a Nirbhaya Fund in 2013, made changes to the Juvenile Justice Act, set up fast- track Mahila Courts. The government also instituted the Verma Committee to review our criminal laws and recommend amendments to them. The committee did come up with a sweeping perspective and did suggest a number of changes, yet, the newspapers remain flooded with such horrific incidents every day. Similar acts of violence against women in Mumbai (2013), Badaun (2014), Bangalore (2014), Rohtak (2015), Kathua (2018) clearly show that the law has failed to be an adequate deterrent.

Low levels of Education

The fundamental problem that plagues India is that it suffers from low levels of education and is still caught up in the chains of tradition. This is not to say that educated people have not been involved in violence against women. Still, education remains our best bet as a country to change mindsets and avoid such cases from being repeated in our society. An educated, progressive society does not have any place for such acts.
 

Ineffective system

The rising number of such cases expose the ineffectiveness of the system. The system ought to be working in two directions simultaneously. Firstly, it should create awareness in the society and sensitise people of the country about gender equality. Secondly, it should frame strict laws and policies that act as a deterrent. The system fails on both these counts. Data from the National Crime Records Bureau shows that the rape incidents increased by more than 47% between 2012-2014. In Delhi alone, the number of rapes reported each year has registered an increase of 277% from 2011 to 2016.

Poor implementation of laws

Why do such incidents still happen brazenly? Why is it that men don’t think twice before committing such heinous crimes? Why is it that despite having laws and provisions, they are failing to prove a deterrent? It is because of poor implementation of laws and lacklustre attitude of the government authorities that such incidents keep taking place. For instance, the Nirbhaya Fund has remained largely unspent. Gender sensitisation in schools, one of the key suggestions of the Verma Committee, has not seen the light of the day.  

Deep gender divide

There is a deep gender divide in the Indian society. The fact that women are gradually asserting themselves and demanding their rightful position as equals in the society, is threatening the hitherto unchallenged rule of patriarchy.  Unless, the Indian society accepts gender equality as a norm and becomes comfortable with the rise of women in the society, the men in the society will continue to unleash terror in their attempts to hide their insecurity.

One thing is very clear, a society that tolerates such extreme acts of violence is as good as dead. To show that there is no place for these acts and such men in our society, we need to demand stringent deterrents that reflect a serious approach. Unless this happens, India will keeping bearing the cries of many women on its conscience. 

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