Why Can’t We?: A talk on ‘reform’

Every time I fail to understand the whole logic behind everyone’s statement that “In our Country, the law is not strict.” Why should we need a strict law, when the current law is way more than enough to accommodate all the issues in our society?

After all, why should we change the law, when you can’t even follow ‘your liberal laws’ (that’s something which you claim)? Is that law which is to be changed according to the wish of each and every individual?

Why can’t we, the social animals think of a change ourselves? Why can’t we change our mindset? Why can’t we respect each other’s gender, freedom, equality, feelings, priorities, more importantly, life!!

Is law something necessary for you to regulate yourself? Even if we change the law, won’t the same you come up with another argument of ‘human rights violation’?? Won’t the same you tell everyone that the law is not for the welfare of the people, but for the destruction of the people!! When your development dream is the USA and it stands in the third place for Rape Rate, which law you are referring to follow the change? If you are referring to the law of those nations, which has “eye for an eye” law, and fails to understand the feelings of people and restrict women from their fundamental freedom even in this 21st century, again which law you are referring to!!

When you can’t respect the existing law, what more you are longing to? Why can’t you change your mind rather than compelling a Nation to change its law into the law of evil! Why can’t we start the change from our family? If the reason for the crimes against women is the lack of sex education, why can’t the parents provide their children with the same than waiting for someone else to give them the necessary knowledge about these aspects! If the crimes against the state are due to the lack of education, then why can’t the parents provide them basic education, when you are in a Country, which has a government providing free education for the children below the age of 14!!

Still, you are blaming the law! Then I swear it’s not the law to be changed. It’s you, whom should be changed.If you are willing to follow all the laws, when you are in a foreign country, then why can’t you follow the laws of your own Nation?  Or is that you can follow the rules only if you are a secondary citizen! Think and rethink. It’s not the law which can bring a change which you are dreaming of. It’s you and only you who can bring that change.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

IMG_20170512_192132_748

AISHWARYA HIMANSHU SINGH

Aishwarya Himanshu Singh is a final year law student. An aspiring researcher who has a deep love for writing. With her first publication at the age of 13, she believes a pen is mightier than the sword. Having authored more than 50 papers she is all set for the ‘writing for a change’ programme.

 

“Ragging is a part of academics not an offence”

Introduction:

Initially, ragging started in the British era in English colleges and universities but it slowly spread to Indian educational institutions. The excuse was to teach the social hierarchy in early career, and also learn other important values in life as if they were mature enough to know anything about values and hierarchy.[1]

What is ragging? What does it mean?

Ragging is present participle of the word, rag (to scold).[2]One synonym of the word ragging is ‘hard-time’[3]. It is similar to but not the same as hazing in the United States, it is not an initiation.The word is mainly used in India, Pakistan, Sri-lanka and Bangladesh.[4]

Bullying= Ragging, similar to ragging.[5]

What all can be possibly included?

It involves insults (simple or suggestive sexual, sarcastic and even physical), running errands for seniors, and many other complex activities.

The cause of indulging in ragging is deriving a sadistic pleasure or showing off power, authority or superiority by the seniors over their juniors or freshers.[6]

Is it a part of academics or an offence?

I independently do not support the notion of ragging being a part of academics.  Ragging might not always be offensive (to the one who suffers), but only because it is offensive it is called ‘ragging’. if it was just a means to cover the communication gap between the senior and the junior batches it could have been called something else, like an introduction, orientation or something like that but because it is offensive in its nature the name ‘ragging’ has been given to it. The word ragging or to rag someone itself indicates, mocking or mockery, to make someone feel ashamed or embarrassed, or strongly criticize.[7] No prudent man would call such acts or instances a part of academics.

The practice of familiarising beginners with their seniors has now turned into a potent tool for ill-treating and punishing poor students if they fail to obey their seniors.

“Ragging is deplorable, and must be banned. Be it physical, mental, minor or major, ragging is a very perverted show of power, control and humiliation, and not way of getting anyone to join a community and blend into it. There are more interesting ways of doing that.”[8]

Under the pretext of fun, a poor student is often assaulted, sometimes even stripped and intimidated by his seniors and this ritualised torture leaves an indelible impression on his mind. The chilling incident continues to haunt him throughout his life, and he unknowingly develops various psychological disorders.

Ragging is equal to a full-fledged crime.[9]

Though due to a ban it has been limited but its existence in colleges has become ever-persistent. Often defended by excuses like it is

  • a means to teach social hierarchy,
  • helps in building better bonds with the senior
  • inculcates respect towards the senior batch amongst the junior batch
  • introduces and prepares one to the hardships of the world
  • Builds confidence to act in the most embarrassing situations too, etc.

Many colleges such as AIIMS, Christian Medical College and National college of engineering, Tirunelveli have an unpleasant history of ragging, with many of the alumni regarding the ragging period as unbearable and traumatic.[10]

Effects of ragging:

  1. It can damage one’s esteem for life.
  2. Shatters the confidence with which one enters into a new institution or college.
  3. In extreme cases on might even withdraw from college, severely disturbing one’s career.
  4. Brutal sexual ragging can distort the minds of the young.
  5. Embarrassment
  6. Feeling of being humiliated can adversely affect one’s mental order.
  7. One fears social exposure
  8. Unnecessary tension leading to various psychological disorders.

After experiencing the evil of ragging, a student develops a feeling of revenge for his ‘unjustified harassment’ and derives pleasure in ragging his juniors on his turn. So the trend goes on and students continue to suffer.

those who surrender before their seniors are set free from the torment after going through a series of inhuman acts, but those who refuse to follow their diktats are subjected to barbaric and brutal treatment and are forced to urinate on high voltage heaters, take part in naked parades, shave off their moustaches and beards, and stand upside down on their heads etc.

The situation sometimes turns so bad that it compels the ragging victim to commit suicide. A section of students feel that light ragging should be allowed in educational institutions, while some are totally opposed to the idea and demand stricter punishment for those involved in it.

Had it not been for his elder brother Dinesh, Suresh Raina would have returned to his home in Muradnagar and a promising cricketing career would have been nipped in the bud, due to ragging.[11]

The bitter truth is that ragging, whether liked or not, even after being banned, ragging has now become a culture. It has become more like a customary practice in colleges. Almost, every college has it noticed or unnoticed.

The world is harsh anyways, but one has to stay strong.

Even the Supreme Court has delivered guidelines for anti-ragging measures, (including an anti-ragging committee), on 8th may’09.

[1]History of ragging, retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragging_in_India last visited on 31st aug’16, 12:27pm

[2] Retrieved from http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/234101/usage-and-meaning-of-the-word-ragging-in-india last visited on 31st aug’16, 3:55pm

[3] Synonym of the word ragging, retrieved from http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/ragging?s=t last visited on 31st aug’16, 3:45pm

[4]http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/234101/usage-and-meaning-of-the-word-ragging-in-india last visited on 31st aug’16, 5:12pm

[5] Emmanuel Angelo.R, retrieved from http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/234101/usage-and-meaning-of-the-word-ragging-in-india last visited on 31st aug’16, 12:22pm

[6] Retrieved from, http://www.rpgmc.ac.in/rpgmce%20tanda%20Ant5%20Ragg5ng%20book.pdf last visited on 31st aug’16, 2:56pm

[7] Retrieved from, http://www.macmillandictionary.com/us/dictionary/american/rag_2 last visited on 31st aug’16, 4”16pm

[8]SonamMohapatra

[9] Arjun Rampal

[10]History of ragging, retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragging_in_India last visited on 31st aug’16, 12:27pm

[11]Retrieved from http://www.hindustantimes.com/news-feed/chunk-ht-ui-cricket-topstories/kid-off-the-blocks/article1-657403.aspx last visited on 31st aug’16,12:57pm


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

IMG_20170512_192132_748

AISHWARYA HIMANSHU SINGH

Aishwarya Himanshu Singh is a final year law student. An aspiring researcher who has a deep love for writing. With her first publication at the age of 13, she believes a pen is mightier than the sword. Having authored more than 50 papers she is all set for the ‘writing for a change’ programme.

 

I too want a Jaguar

When asked about what she wanted to be one day?

Smiling she replied, an IAS officer.

Amazed and proud of a six year Old’s ambition, her mother wanted to know what inspired her.

All the pride and smile faded away when she said, “Because I too want a jaguar from my spouse’s family while getting married, just like Ramesh bhaiya (brother) got one.

Poor girl, did not even know that jaguars and other fascinating expensive gifts are no doubt given to an IAS officer, but only to a male IAS officer and that such gifts are given only from the bride’s family and veiled in the name of gifts (which are given happily by one’s choice) they are actually dowry (an obligatory requirement that has to be fulfilled by the bride’s family).

Dowry, a practice which is prohibited and punishable under The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 is an offence according to the legislation but when it comes to reality it means much more than that.

It is not just a malpractice but a series, a set of emotions and varied expressions. It is a means for the bride’s family to show their gratitude to the groom’s family for sharing the burden of their daughter. It is a bribe to let in their daughter who no matter how qualified, always remains a burden. It is a custom, we are never going to let hold of. It is an opportunity for the rich to flaunt their wealth in almost all possible ways. It is a reason for the poor to suicide or marry his daughter to an incompatible groom.It is a source of revenue for all those who have a male child and a non-profitable, mandatory investment for all the houses cursed with a girl child.

It is so deep rooted in the Hindu marriage practice that even if a socially-spirited and aware family refuses to give dowry, the groom’s family is all set to rip their daughter apart. Sooner or later he who dares resent the dowry giving practice has to be ready to see his daughter suffer.

“Dowry greed leads, to heinous deeds.”

It isn’t that there are no laws. Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code, provides that he who is found guilty if committing a dowry death shall be punished with imprisonment for a term, not less than seven years and that may extend to life imprisonment. Section 498A of the same code too prevents any woman from being subjected to cruelty by either her husband or a relative of her husband or both. Section 304 and 302 are also implicitly protective legislations in this respect.

“Take dowry, invite worry.”

There are much more both implicit and explicit laws for the post-marriage protection of a girl but how far people are aware of them? How far their awareness, gives them the courage to fight against the practice? How far justice is being served to them?

“Condemn dowry deaths, by not demanding dowry.”

I too am a girl, born Hindu, equally religious, equally respectful to our customs but also equally aware of my rights, equally conscious of my honour, equally demanding for my dignity. I too dream of getting married and being settled in life but I see no dowry in my dreams, I see no sacrifice for my parents and I see that I am still equally happy in my life.

“Several lives sacrificed for dowry, stop this sacrilege. Accept her with love. An educated bride is better than a billion currency. The bride herself is a dowry (if you are so greedy). Refuse dowry, diffuse dowry deaths. Be a man say no to dowry.”

Jai Hind!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

IMG_20170512_192132_748

AISHWARYA HIMANSHU SINGH

Aishwarya Himanshu Singh is a final year law student. An aspiring researcher who has a deep love for writing. With her first publication at the age of 13, she believes a pen is mightier than the sword. Having authored more than 50 papers she is all set for the ‘writing for a change’ programme.

Uniting for peace as a solution to Syrian issue

The image of Aleppo kid, bloodied and covered with dust, sitting silently in an ambulance awaiting help as another stark reminder of the toll of the war in Syria has not vanished from our minds. The UN Security Council has failed to bring peace in Syria. In almost six years of conflict, close to half a million people have been killed and eleven million have been forced to leave their homes. Most recently, the Syrian and Russian governments and their allies have carried out unlawful attacks on eastern Aleppo with scant regard for some 250,000 civilians trapped there. The article will give a brief overview of what the “uniting for peace” is and if this resolution will serve as a way out to this situation.

The creators of the United Nations Charter conceived that five countries namely China, France, USSR [which was succeeded in 1990 by the Russian Federation], the United Kingdom and the United States, because of their key roles in the establishment of the United Nations, would continue to play important roles in the maintenance of international peace and security. For this purpose the “power of veto” was introduced in Article 27 of the UN Charter by which it was agreed by the drafters that if any one of the five permanent members cast a negative vote in the 15-member Security Council, the resolution would not be approved.

All five permanent members have exercised the right of veto at one time or another[1]. Over the last 20 years out of a total of 24 vetoes, 15 have been used by the USA to protect Israel[2]. The UK used the veto unilaterally seven times because of Rhodesia later to become Zimbabwe. France subsequently used the threat of a veto to support Morocco’s position in the Western Sahara conflict. The representative of the government of the Republic of China used the veto to block the Mongolian People’s Republic’s application for membership in 1955 because the ROC considered Mongolia to be a part of China. This postponed the admission of Mongolia until 1960[3]. The above practices of the permanent members show that they have used the power of veto in accordance with their national interest, more often resulting in a deadlock making the Security Council unable to fulfill its responsibility.

In 1950, the most pressing issue on the international agenda was the war in Korea. The Soviet Union, using its veto power, repeatedly blocked action by the Security Council, thus preventing the Council from taking any measures to protect the Republic of Korea against the aggression launched against it by military forces from North Korea. It was against this backdrop that the United Nations General Assembly adopted a historic resolution, 377 A (V), titled “Uniting for Peace” in November 1950[4]. Resolution 377 (A) read:

“if the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in any case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression, the General Assembly shall consider the matter immediately with a view to make the appropriate recommendations to Members for collective measures, including in the case of a breach of the peace, or act of aggression to use armed force when necessary, to maintain or restore international peace and security. If not in session at the time, the General Assembly may meet in emergency special session within 24 hours of the request thereof. Such emergency special session shall be called if requested by the Security Council on a vote of any seven (now nine) members, or by a majority of the United Nations[5]. Therefore, when the permanent members of the Security Council find themselves at odds and fail to reach unanimity on a matter that appears to be a threat to international peace and security, this resolution authorizes the General Assembly to immediately consider that matter and issue its own “appropriate recommendations” to the Member States “for collective measures”. Those collective measures can include “the use of armed force when necessary.”

On April 18, 2016, Mr. Monzer Makhous, member of the Syrian National Council and High Negotiations Committee (HNC) spokesperson told Asharq Al-Awsat that “current events confirm that the ‘uniting for peace’ resolution is the most effective solution for a serious settlement for the Syria crisis. Mr. Makhous added that the world will not stand idle before Russia’s continuous exploitation of its right to veto[6]”.

The “Uniting for Peace” procedure is unquestionably a legally valid alternative for the deadlock at the Security Council with respect to the Syrian issue. The “Uniting for Peace” procedure would allow the Assembly to recommend a range of other coercive measures, including sanctions. Beyond enforcing the ban on the use of chemical weapons, this would empower the General Assembly to back up its numerous calls for a political solution to the conflict and for better humanitarian access with more tangible and enforceable measures. Although these measures would remain nonbinding, and their implementation depend on the good will of member states, it would equip them with the legality and international legitimacy that is lacking absent a strong resolution by the Security Council.

[1] United Nations, Security Council viewed at http://www.un.org/en/sc/

[2] Sahar Okhovat, The United Nations Security Council: Its Veto Power and Its Reform, December (2011)

[3] Aleksandra Czajka, The analysis of the Veto Power in the United Nations Security Council, Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona, November, (2011)

[4] Aaron Jacob, Unilateral Declaration Of An Independent Palestinian State And The Procedure Of ‘Uniting For Peace’, September (2011)

[5] The General Assembly Res. 377A(V), 3 November (1950)

[6]Fatah Al-Rahman Youssef,  Syria’s HNC to Resort to U.N. Resolution ‘Uniting for Peace’, 16 October (2016)



About the author

photo-of-miracline

Miracline Paul Susi.T is a 4th-year law student at School of Law, SASTRA University. She is deeply passionate about law. She strongly believes that the legal profession has the power and the responsibility to effect changes to the on-ground realities and difficulties that multiple communities face. Miracline’s keen interest in social works is evident from her service at SASTRA Legal Aid Society. She believes that the knowledge in law is vital for all and sundry who is bound by it. Her writing skills may be confirmed from her articles in Kerala High Court Journal, Taxmann and International Journal of Enviro Legal Research.

Uniform Civil Code and Secularism

This article has been written by Chirag Jindal. Chirag is a first-year student from National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi.

 

 

The Law Commission of India has recently released a questionnaire on the matter of Uniform Civil Code. All the concerned citizens of our nation are expected to engage and provide their opinions as well as suggestions for the revision and reformation of family laws in India. As provided by the Law Commission, the object of undertaking this endeavour is “to address discrimination against vulnerable groups and harmonise the various cultural practices.” And the debate is now open to the general public on the issue of Uniform Civil Code.
The debate on “Whether to have a Uniform Civil Code in such a diverse nation with so many social, political, economic, religious and ethnic groups?” is not recent. Ever since the inception of our Constitution, the debate has continued and is still going on. Article 44 of Part III of the Constitution (i.e. The Directive Principles of State Policy) provides that “The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.” Although our Constitution lays down the Directive Principle for the Uniform Civil Code, it does not explicitly mention how to achieve this task. Therefore, this issue has been left to debate in public and it continues from the time when India became independent till the present day and is still going on.
Now let’s move further and try to analyse Uniform Civil Code from the view of the fundamental principle of Secularism in our nation. Although the word SECULAR in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution was added by the 42nd Amendment, India was a secular country from the day when the Constitution entered into force. The 42nd Amendment just made explicit what was implied from the Constitution. Before the 42nd Amendment, Secular spirit of India was implied under Articles 14, 15, 25, 26, 27, and 28. Though the addition of word SECULAR was a good initiative, the Amendment has left it open for debate, discussion and interpretation.
On one hand, the Constitution provides for the Secular nature of the country but, on the other hand, it also directs the State to endeavour for the Uniform Civil Code. So, is this contradiction a flaw in our Constitution? Well looking at this problem from the historical front, at the time of adoption and commencement of our Constitution there were so many religious minorities in India and they were so left behind in social, political and economic spheres of life that the Constitution-makers thought it fit to provide for their upliftment in all spheres of life. But as India is one country and we all are Indians, the Constitution makers also provided to endeavour for the Uniform Civil Code. Consequently, the question which arises next is, “Whether it is the right time to implement the Uniform Civil Code in our Country?”
As far as I am concerned, I don’t think that the time has come to implement Uniform Civil Code. There are mainly two reasons for this.
Firstly, till now, neither the legislature nor the judiciary has attempted to define the word SECULAR; what does it mean? There are concepts definitions of Secularism which are accepted in the world. The first is the neutrality concept which means that there should a separation of Sate and Religion and the State should not interfere in any way in the matters concerned with religion. This concept of Secularism prevails in the Western Countries. The second is the equality concept which means that State shall treat all religions equally and should not discriminate among them. Indian model is secularism is mainly based on the equality concept. The argument here is, although the Indian model is based on equality principle, still no satisfactory definition has come up. So, we cannot exactly set up what Secularism actually mean in Indian Context.
Secondly, due to so much diversity present in our nation, it won’t be easy to determine what provisions to be included in Uniform Civil Code. Including a principle in Code which is contradictory even to one of the religions or groups may create a sense of tensions among the people and is also against the spirit of Secularism in India.
Conclusively, it can be said that the time to have a Uniform Civil Code in our country has not yet arrived and the State should still endeavor to provide for the Uniform Civil Code.

Digging up the Third gender Issue: Historically speaking

This article has been written by Abhipsa Upasana Dash. Abhipsa is a third-year student at Symbiosis Law School, Noida.

Since last few decades, there has been a controversy regarding the recognition of the transgender people in the society. They fight for their identity under the cover of a distiction between man and woman. The recent judgment of the Indian Supreme Court pronounced on 15th April 2014 had further aggravated the long-debated controversy all over the world on the rights of the transgender. Without the presence of any concrete definition of the term, everybody tries their own perception for understanding it. Defining the term, the Transgender ASIA says, “Trans people are those males or females of any age who are unhappy living in the gender identity ascribed to them at birth. Transgender, transsexual, or Trans persons are people whose psychological sex/gender, or sense of their own innate gender identity is different from their physical sexual characteristics.”

Origin of the term “third Gender” can be traced back to the late nineteenth century as a way to describe homosexual men and lesbians by sexologists. Not carrying the moral or legal stigma of sodomite, it suggested an innate or biological factor existed in behaviors that was different from traditional categories of male and female. However, it also conflated same-sex desire with gender variance. Karl Heinrich Ulrichs used the word Urning in the 1860s to describe a third sex male being who desired other men; Richard von Krafft-Ebing used the term sexual invert to describe a similar being in his 1886 PsychopathiaSexualis. Havelock Ellis and John Addington Symonds followed suit in their 1896 study, Sexual Inversion, and Edward Carpenter followed the third-sex model in his 1908 work, The Intermediate Sex. The notion of sexual inversion insisted on a two-gender system, regarding homosexual men as women trapped in men’s bodies and homosexual women as men trapped in women’s bodies. The notion of an intermediate sex offered possibilities beyond two genders, allowing for three or more genders, with at least one of these being neither male nor female.

The ascendancy of psychoanalysis in twentieth-century Europe and North America, with its interest in sexual desire, spelled the demise of the third sex model. Homosexual, coined in the 1860s, eventually replaced such terms as urning, invert, intermediate type, third sex, and psychic hermaphrodite to describe subjects with same-sex desires. Female homosexual became interchangeable with lesbian, a term Ellis helped popularize, referring to the same-sex desires of the women of Lesbos. R[1]adclyffe Hall returned to the idea of sexual inversion in her 1928 lesbian novel The Well of Loneliness because it offered her heroine a way to desire other women that was honorable; if one’s inner self was really male, then desiring a woman would be normal rather than perverse. However, the third-sex model largely disappeared. Missing was the notion of gender variance, which might or might not be included in homosexual or lesbian. Gay eventually replaced homosexual as a less medicalized term, and was sometimes extended to women as well. Sometimes the term third sex occurred in pulp novels to sensationalize homosexuality, and to make gay men and lesbians seem freakish and less than human.

The late 1980s and early 1990s saw a resurgence of interest in gender among urban sex radicals, feminists, lesbians, gay men, intersex activists, and people who felt increasingly alienated from sexual categories that erased gender variety. The word queer began to circulate as an umbrella term for those who disavowed normal gender and sexual categories, and more and more people began to experiment with alternative gender expression through hormone therapy, surgery, dress, and gesture. As queer and transgender people began to question sexual taxonomies, the idea of three or more genders caught on once more.

Queer, intersex, and transgender visibility has resulted in the return of the third sex as an alternative to normal heterosexual male and female bodies and desires. Anne Fausto-Sterling (2000) has argued that there are at least five sexes that occur naturally in human beings, and that medical intervention can rob an intersex child of what might otherwise be a healthy gender identity and sexual and reproductive life. Leslie Feinberg (1997) has traced the presence of transgender people back thousands of years in cultures around the world. In the early twenty-first century, the hijras of India, kathoeys of Thailand, two-spirit Native Americans, travestis of Brazil, intersex people among the nomadic Bugis of the Sulawesi, xanith of Oman, fa’afafine of Polynesia, sworn virgins in the Balkans, ashtime of Ethiopia, mashoga of Kenya, and the drag queens, butch lesbians, transgender activists, and intersex people of North America and Europe, all constitute an alternative to the two-sex system, although they do not necessarily see themselves as members of a ”third” sex. Regardless of how they view themselves, however, the presence of so many alternatively gendered people cannot help but expand traditional ideas of what it means to be embodied, gendered, and human in the early-twenty-first-century world.