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Sunday, August 17, 2014

My Evidence: Verma Committee

Dear Readers,

I depart from the conventions set by myself in this blog:

1. It is in English:
2. It is a reprint, so to say;
3. I never sought out comments. I ask now.

There is extensive, meandering , politically correct, self-righteous, conceived in error, hypocritical and also concerned and genuine comments in many blogs about violating the female. Agonised over that development, I place below my Evidence.

I find a certain global readership for my blog. I earnestly seek your comments, in all humility.

Here, we go.
17 08 2014

January 4, 2013

Dear Justice Verma Committee,
Welcoming your move to elicit public opinion and cognizant of the overwhelming response, I write as under:
My credentials are: (a) Being an observant and concerned citizen over six decades and (b) my having been privy to confidences on ‘Violation of the Female’ (my preferred expression for your wide-ranging Terms of References) in the workplace as a former Indian civilian and elsewhere as well, as a former Citizen Adviser in the UK. I made a special study of this deviant behavior, inter alia, for my Applied Sociological Work degree in the UK.  I had diligently kept track of this nettlesome issue over the long term and in the sad context in which this Committee was set up.
‘Violation of the Female’ is anatomically easy and quick; the male mind dwells on nothing else, most of the time. He can get away with it in no time.  Consequences do not visit on him. It is ubiquitous globally and over the centuries. Widespread and socially acceptable consensual sex among the adult population in the western world does empower the female and mitigates this deviant behavior, but it also brings in intractable problems, in its wake. India is not ready for any such experiment, except to the extent it is already prevalent.  We are too self-centered to come out of the shell of denial of stark truths. Family, neighborhood and the larger society had almost always acquiesced into the ‘Violation of the Female’ and will continue to do so, for reasons of the dubious ‘family honor’, hypocrisy masquerading as political correctness (no virtue either!), the denial-mode and pervert vicarious self-indulgence. Binge-drinking is most certainly deplorable for triggering this deviant behavior, most often. India is now infamous.
The criminal justice system ~ administration of Indian Penal Code, laxity and loopholes in enacted law, abhorrent record of the Law & Order establishment, heinous political interference, court delays that deny justice, widely prevalent defiance of the rule of law ~ is no less deviant than the perpetrators themselves.  Distance, instead of dimming, throws the spotlight in, sometimes. I cite an excerpt from myself on the ‘Obnoxious, but not Criminal’  vintage justice system from the distant USA, for flooding the spotlight in, on us.
[ ‘...This brings to one’s mind the story of an infamous trial in New York that shocked the Unites States. Acquitting 
three young white men of the charge of gang-raping a black woman, the foreman of the jury intoned that their 
conduct was “obnoxious” but not “criminal”. He brushed aside independent testimony that the victim had been unconscious most of the time and that she could not stand when she was conscious. He had no moral dilemma while pronouncing the verdict. To his mind, she was a ‘consenting partner’. The ugly parallel is too close to comfort. The thin dividing line will be crossed, for sure...’

Frontline: November 20, 1992: Economic Policy: “Obnoxious, But Not Criminal”: Public Sector Disinvestment. (S.Soundararajan) ]

The thin dividing line has been crossed and the act denied, hundreds of time by our criminal justice system.  
In the above backdrop, I see your remit, as under:
1.As far as I discern, we do no have codified Human Rights Law. With due respect to the framers of our Constitution, I submit that the the contrived divide between the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles has done us no good. Please set things right, to the extent within your terms and commend enactment of the Human Rights Act, from the larger perspective.
2.Bring back a robust dose of Moral Studies in the schools, assisted by gradual teaching of Rights, Duties, Societal obligations and Rule of Law. This is for the long term.  Some move is afoot; it could by spiked by the vested interests. Hence, the request.
3. Paediophilia, Incest, Binge-drinking, Violation of the Female and prostitution are caged within one vicious trap . Please break it by suggesting the skeleton of a distinct Law to be enacted quickly for comprehensive and lucid coverage, by replacing the welter of law on these subjects. Punishment should be quick, deterrent and should not be amenable to remission of any kind. Parole should be prohibited. The latitude and discretion to the police officials should be minimal. Punishment for negligence of duty should be severe. Negotiation and bargaining at the instance of the police should be treated as abuse of power; it should be made criminal, not merely obnoxious.
4.These aspects, to my mind,  are very serious. I urge you to set up a sub-committee for framing the draft Bills on para 2 & 3 above and recommend that the Legislature pass it. Please include female legal luminaries in that sub-committee.
5.Revision of the Indian Evidence Act for facilitating fast track courts, a hard look at Tort Law for levying extortionate fines on the guilty for offenses listed in para 2 above is also an urgent need. I personally do not see virtue in the government always paying for the damage caused by the criminals. Local communities abet, at times. They should be heavily fined.
6.Transparency is one deterrent. The ‘Amanath’ outrage was too much in the open. Hence, the upheaval. I urge you to commend a code of conduct for the government, media, police and the NGOs, in this regard.
7.I do not favor capital punishment for larger reasons; nor do I favor chemical castration, as it is no deterrent and as the danger of miscarriage of justice looms large. In USA and some Western countries, anti-socials of this class and degree are jailed for the very long term, not merely as a punishment, but as their release is considered a danger to the society. You may like to consider laws leading to that effect; but, the real deterrent is the hard and strenuous labor being extracted from them during such incarceration.
We look to you most expectantly for exploring the causes and suggesting robust and practical remedies, in perspective.
I thank you for the opportunity to comment.
Thanking You,