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November 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.         November 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:November' 2018


Setting a Nobel pace

Jagdish N Singh

Peace laureats Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege Like it or not, most of the coveted prizes and awards are all fixed . Such honours are often given to ‘celebrities’ for reasons other than what they are originally meant for . Fortunately, the international Nobel committee's selection of Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege for its 2018 Peace prize is an exception. I cannot think of anyone more suitable than Murad and Mukwege for this prize today . The stories of two great souls is well known . Murad is a former sex slave of the Islamic State (IS). The teenager Murad lived in Kocho, a village of Yazidis, off the valley of the Sinjar mountains in Iraq. The gangs of the notorious Islamic State invaded her village , shot dead men and old women, and took away Murad and over 3,000 other women as sex slaves. They raped her repeatedly and later sold her several times. Murad escaped from their clutches and came to lead a campaign to free other Yazidi women like her. Virginity is highly valued in her community as it is in almost all traditional societies the world over . She chose to speak out about her bitter experiences to the world .

Spiritual Leader Dalai Lama Denis Mukwege is a Congolese gynaecological surgeon. Known as ‘Doctor Miracle,’ he has treated about 30,000 rape victims, who have sustained injuries of rape perpetrated on them as a form of weapon in the kind of war that is waged in the region today . Nobel laureats Murad and Mukwege are rare indeed in our world. What they have done would go a long way in helping the contemporary humanity in future. Murad would inspire rape victims to live with pride and never to feel any sense of shame for the crime of r a p e c ommi t t e d by others. M u k w e g e would inspire fellow doctors the world over to serve rape victims better . The Tibetan Spiritual Leader Dalai Lama has rightly said in his congratulatory letter to Murad and Mikwege : “This award is recognition of the formidable courage, determination and resilience you have shown in the face of great adversity to help and support fellow human beings, who have endured appalling pain and trauma. You have put compassion into action.”

Stress on constitutional morality

Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi New Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has done well to e m p h a s i z e harmonising the Court’s judgement with what our constitutional morality demands. At a function last month , he said, “Wherever there is doubt and conflict, we must allow constitutional morality to prevail. This is the true patriotism to the Constitution… we live in times of great political churning across the world. Today alongside a huge diversity of thought and opinion, there co-exists conflicting world views. We are divided, perhaps more than ever by lines of class, caste, religion, gender and ideology.” Regrettably , our successive governments at the Centre and in the States have at times conducted themselves in a manner antithetical to constitutional morality. The growing economic inequality in our country shows the authorities have cared a fig for economic justice, one of the main components of India’s constitutional morality. Our Courts must adhere to constitutional morality. They must ensure that the values of socio-economic justice enshrined in our Constitution are complied with and our government does for what it has been created in our Republic. India is blessed with a constitution that constantly guides our government as to how it must work in the interest of the people’s multi-faceted development. The judges would do well to remember the legendary B.R. Ambdekar's words of caution: “ the Constitution is workable, it is flexible and it is strong in peacetime and in wartime…. if things go wrong under the new Constitution, the reason will not be that we had a bad Constitution. What we will have to say is that Man was vile.”

Gender equality

Women’s protest It is heartening to note our apex Court is being pro-active to invoke constitutional morality. In tune with our constitutional guarantee of gender equality, the Court has recently decriminalised adultery . Now adultery would remain only a ground for divorce. Unfortunately, the Victorian era law that forbade consensual sexual relations among adults remained intact for long even in the postcolonial landscape . The law kept adultery punishable with a jail term and a fine.
The Court has now scrapped provisions related to adultery in the Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure. According to Section 497 of the IPC, a man had the right to initiate criminal proceedings against his wife’s lover. This amounted to treating women as husband’s property. The Court also struck d o w n S e c t i o n 198(2) of the CrPC u n d e r which the h u s b a n d alone could complain against adultery. An adulterous man’s wife had no such right. Earlier the Supreme Court read down Section 377 of the IPC to decriminalise homosexuality.

Myth of empowerment

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacting with disabled children A famous slogan of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi goes “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” ( with everybody , for everybody’s development ) . As part of this mission , Modi has been talking of empowering also the Persons with Disabilities across the country. He has categorized them as “DIVYANGJAN”( persons blessed with divine organs ). But does anybody in his government care for Prime Minister Modi’s mission in this sector ?
Knowledgeable sources say ,“The Rehabilitation Council of India is supposed to provide education to over 2,60,00000 persons in the disability sector. It is supposed to provide through its recognized institutions Diploma and Certificate level courses in Education ( Deaf & Hard of Hearing , Mental Retardation, Visually Impairment Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy and Deaf blindness ). But the Council hardly cares. The country needs over 2,600000 professionals to teach in the sector . The Council today has just about 1,50000 registered professionals. ”
The sources say, “ Recently, the Council conducted an All India Online Aptitude Test for admissions in its recognized Diploma/Certificate courses. It directed all its affiliated institutions to admit only the candidates passing this test . But the Council did not provide institutions with detailed information about the candidates. As a result, over 60 per cent of the total seats at diploma/certificate levels in various RCI-approved institutions are lying vacant . Rajasthan is the only state where all seats have been filled in this year. Over 70 per cent of practising professionals in the sector across the country are on the verge of losing their jobs.”