7th November 2019
TOPIC: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies. (Paper-II)
Discuss the need for judges to not take the side of the lawyers reflexively every time.
The siege of the Delhi police headquarters by its own personnel and the disruption of courts constituted a spectacular breakdown of governance in the national capital.
- The police headquarters were being guarded by the CRPF, apparently from the ranks.
- The personnel were outraged over attacks on them by lawyers at two city courts and the intervention by the Delhi high court that appeared to be shielding the lawyers while being harsh on the police.
- Overworked and often used as tools by political masters, police forces are far from professional in any part of India.
- The outburst of the constables in Delhi is also a result of their accumulated resentment against senior officers.
Resentment amongst the policemen:
- Last year, a Delhi IPS officer slapped a constable for stopping his private vehicle that was on the wrong carriageway.
- Under the direct supervision of the Home Ministry, the Delhi Police is often caught in the crossfire of many political battles, and junior personnel are often made the scapegoats.
- Commanding respect from the lower ranks by creating an environment for them to act lawfully and without fear or favour is the paramount job of the leadership in any force.
- On that count, the senior police officers are wanting.
Police Vs lawyers:
- At a broader and deeper level, the ugly scuffle between the police and lawyers in the capital is an alarming sign of an increasingly debilitating governance deficit and collapse of the rule of law.
- This takes many forms, such as police support for mobs and legal processes that victimizes victims of crime further.
- In 2016, JNU students and journalists were attacked in a Delhi court by a group of lawyers who got off scot free- a severe transgression by the lawyers and a failure of the police.
- Lawyers and the police are critical to law enforcement, and their unfailing fealty to the law and the legal process is an essential attribute that a society counts on.
Restoring faith in the judicial system:
- Far from adhering to the principles of their respective professions, when they take the law into their own hands, it is a case of the fence eating the crop; it is the sign of a dysfunctional society turning on itself.
- The higher judiciary has often been a beacon of hope for the rule of law, but that confidence is not as strong as before.
- The judicial intervention in the clash between lawyer and the police must not only be impartial and fair but also be seen as such.
To restore public confidence in policing and judicial process, strict action must be taken against those who indulged in violence- an example must be made of them. That is essential also to restore the majesty of the law and its enforcement.
7th November 2019
TOPIC: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. (Paper II)
Discuss the importance of immunization and the need to remove the myths that surround it.
In January, WHO listed “vaccine hesitancy” as among the top 10 threats to global health this year.
- Vaccine hesitancy is defined as “reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines”.
- The repercussions of vaccine hesitancy are playing out globally-as, on October 10, 2019, nearly 4,24,000 children have confirmed measles, as against a figure of 1,73,000 in the whole of 2018.
The need for Vaccination:
- According to WHO, vaccination prevents between two-three million deaths each year.
- This figure will rise by another 1.5 million if vaccine coverage improves. A survey of over 1,40,000 people from 140 countries has revealed the striking difference in how people trust vaccines.
- At 95%, people from South Asia trusted vaccines followed by eastern Africa at 92%.
- Western Europe and Eastern Europe were just 59% and 52% respectively.
The Indian perspective
- Vaccine hesitancy has been a concern in India.
- One of the main reasons for the five times low uptake of oral polio vaccine in the early 2000s among poor Muslim communities in Uttar Pradesh was the fear that the polio vaccine caused illness, infertility and was ineffective.
- In 2016, Muslim communities in two districts in north Kerala reported low uptake of the diphtheria vaccine.
- One of the reasons was propaganda that the vaccine may contain microbes, chemicals, and animal-derived products which are forbidden by Islamic law.
Common reasons for the unpopularity of immunization:
- Wrong propaganda – Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have traditionally seen high vaccine acceptance. They witnessed low uptake of the measles-rubella vaccine because of fear, spread through social media, of adverse effects from vaccination.
- Fear of adverse consequences – A December 2018 study points out that vaccine hesitancy continues to be a huge challenge for India. The study found nearly a quarter of parents did not vaccinate their children out of a fear of adverse events.
- Priority districts – This was in 121 high priority districts chosen by the Health Ministry for intensified immunization drive to increase vaccine coverage.
- Cultural influence – A yogi in India, Jaggi Vasudev tweeted a dangerous message. “The significance of vaccination against many debilitating diseases should not be played down. It is important it is not overdone, without taking into consideration the many side-effects or negative impacts of vaccinations.”
- Blaming vaccines – falsely blaming vaccines for unrelated diseases is the bedrock of the anti-vaccination movement across the globe. Even today, the message by British physician Andrew Wakefield, who linked the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine with autism, is used in spreading vaccine doubts and conspiracy theories.