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(A Monthly Publication of Manavadhikar Samajik Manch)


Volume XV No. 8 August 2018
Advisors: Bejon Mishra
President :Dr. A. Shanker Manoj Kar
Editor :Dr. Girija B. Nanda Prof. Sanjay Chandwani
Managing Editor :Dr. Srimoy Patra
Editorial Team :Dr. Arpita Verma UP Chapter
Dr. Virender Khatana Dr. Narendra Kumar, State Convenor
V. Mathew 6/348, Ramnath Deoria, Deoria - 274001
Correspondents :Swarup N. Panigrahi Uttar Pradesh - 274001
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Reporter :Sanjeevani
Odisha Chapter
Legal Advisors :Biswajit Swain
Umakanta Nanda, Adv, State Convenor
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Human Touch
(A Monthly Publication of Manavadhikar Samajik Manch)

Human Touch is a platform for non-partisan portrayal of human rights issues in their different forms. Be it
the rights of the weaker sections of our population such as the women, the children, the aged and the
physically challenged, or the victims of some social customs, cultural traditions and economic & non-economic
policies, the publication brings out the issues objectively and in a manner that would give succour to the
people whose rights are either violated or put in jeopardy.

Human Touch acts as a forum for scholars, activists, concerned individuals and the common men &
women to ventilate their grievances, express their views and to highlight cases of human rights violations,
so that appropriate ameliorative actions can be taken by the concerned agencies. It is meant to help the
helpless and to speak for those whose voices are not heard. It engages in constructive and incisive debate
on issues that are not only of day-to-day concern but also on issues that are important for posterity. This
publication is a step forward in realising the vision of Manavadhikar Samajik Manch, i.e. creation of a
just and equitable society.

Owner : Manavadhikar Samajik Manch


Publisher/Printer/Editor : Dr. Girija B. Nanda
Printed at : Matha Offset Press, Y-16, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase-II, New Delhi
Published from: Manavadhikar Samajik Manch, 39, Sant Nagar, New Delhi - 110065
Tel.: 91-11-41621978, 46578478, Fax : 41621669
E-mail: officemail.masm@gmail.com, manavadhikar.india@indiatimes.com, masm@rediffmail.com
Website: www.manavadhikar.net, www.humanrightsnews.net
In this issue...
World Humanitarian Day: 5
#NotATarget

International Youth Day: 7


“Safe Spaces for Youth”

International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons: 9


Act to Protect and Assist Trafficked Persons

National News 16

News from the National Human Rights Commission 20

International News 25

Environment: 28
Need to Strengthen the Constitutional Safeguards for its Protection

Corruption in India: 30
Discretion is the Need of the Hour
From the President’s Desk …
The roles of men and women in India have not adapted to keep pace with its rapid economic growth
and rise in opportunities for women, Indian men have a complex and often contradictory attitude
about gender equality. Their behaviors mirror the contrasts that define India’s swiftly transforming
society, one that at once is becoming a major player in the global economy, while also remaining home
to high rates of poverty, child marriage and HIV. Even though many Indian men support policies that
promote equal opportunities for women, they also feel that they lose out if women are afforded more
rights. And while they are aware of laws against violence against women, this knowledge does not
always coincide with their values.

Generally, it is known that Indian men are among the least supportive of equitable relationships and
roles between men and women. Most men believe that changing diapers, bathing and feeding children
are a mother's responsibility. They also think that they donot have any role in domestic matters such
as washing clothes, preparing food or cleaning the house. Throughout India, social norms and practices
are mostly governed by patriarchal ideologies that define the roles of men and women. Men are
confined to it, and it’s reflected in their attitudes and behaviors. And these views are playing out
alongside increasingly reshaped roles for women in society.

Although many Indians adhere to strict notions about roles of men and women in society, the country
is nonetheless home to some of the world’s most progressive affirmative action policies. Long-
standing reservations guarantee a proportion of university admissions and government posts to members
of scheduled castes and tribes. Meanwhile, legislation recently passed by legislators seeks to add
reserved spaces for women in parliament to their already guaranteed places in "gram panchayats," or
town councils.But, the existence of these laws does not necessarily reflect an overall endorsement of
women’s rights.

Men’s attitudes about violence against women also show similar contradictions. Even though Indian
men are increasingly aware of legislation against gender-based violence, including India’s domestic
violence law, which was passed in 2005, their awareness of and attitudes about domestic violence
laws do not coincide with a decrease in their use of intimate partner violence. It seems that men
acknowledge an overall cultural change happening around gender-based violence but have not yet
internalised this change into their personal behaviors.

The time has come for men to seriously think and work towards gender equality. It is abundantly
clear that men have conflicting attitudes about women’s – and their – roles in society. Their views
change depending on the context and situation with which they are presented, and this is something
which is alsarming. It is also time for policymakers and program implementers to address gender
equality and other women related issues.
Dr. A. Shanker

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 4


World Humanitarian Day:
#NotATarget

"Every year on World Humanitarian Day, we shine a spotlight on the millions of civilians around the world
whose lives have been caught up in conflict. On this day we also take a moment to honour the brave health
and aid workers who are targeted or obstructed as they set out to help people in need, and pay tribute to the
government employees, members of civil society and representatives of international organizations and
agencies who risk their lives to provide humanitarian aid and protection."
— UN Secretary-General, António Guterres

Background The humanitarian concerns described system entities most responsible for
On 19 August 2003, a terrorist attack here can’t possibly capture the lives providing emergency relief. A
hit the United Nations headquarters of all those affected by conflict coordinated, system-wide approach
in Baghdad, killing 22 people. Among around the world. From people with to humanitarian relief is essential in
those who lost their lives was Sergio disabilities, to the elderly, migrants, providing assistance quickly and
Vieira de Mello, the UN’s top and journalists, all civilians caught in efficiently to those in need.
representative in Iraq. conflict need to be protected.
The UN Central Emergency Response
Five years later, the General Assembly Fund (CERF), managed by OCHA,
adopted a resolution designating 19 is one of the fastest and most
August as World Humanitarian Day. effective ways to support rapid
Every year since then, the Deliver Humanitarian Aid humanitarian response for people
humanitarian community has One of the purposes of the United affected by natural disasters and
organized global campaigns to Nations, as stated in its Charter, is "to armed conflict. CERF receives
commemorate WHD, advocating for achieve international co-operation in voluntary contributions year-round to
the safety and security of solving international problems of an provide immediate funding for life-
humanitarian aid workers, and for the economic, social, cultural, or saving humanitarian action anywhere
survival, well-being and dignity of humanitarian character." The UN first in the world.
people affected by crises. did this in the aftermath of the Second
World War on the devastated continent What key UN entities deliver
2018 WHD campaign: #NotATarget of Europe, which it helped to rebuild. humanitarian aid?
This year we continue to bring The Organization is now relied upon Four UN entities, the United Nations
attention to the millions of civilians by the international community to Development Programme (UNDP),
affected by armed conflict every day. coordinate humanitarian relief the United Nations Refugee Agency
People in cities and towns struggle operations due to natural and man- (UNHCR), the United Nations
to find food, water, and safe shelter, made disasters in areas beyond the relief Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the
while fighting drives millions from capacity of national authorities alone. World Food Programme (WFP) have
their homes. Children are recruited primary roles in the delivery of relief
and used to fight, and their schools OCHA and the UN system assistance. UNDP is the agency
are destroyed. Women are abused and The Office for the Coordination of responsible for operational activities
humiliated. As humanitarian workers Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) of the for natural disaster mitigation,
deliver aid, and medical workers treat UN Secretariat is responsible for prevention and preparedness. When
the wounded and sick, they are coordinating responses to emergencies occur, UNDP Resident
directly targeted, treated as threats, emergencies. It does this through the Coordinators coordinate relief and
and prevented from bringing relief and Inter-Agency Standing Committee, rehabilitation efforts at the national
care to those in desperate need. whose members include the UN level.

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 5


Secretary-General's Message
Every year on World Humanitarian Day, we shine a spotlight on the millions of civilians around the world whose
lives have been caught up in conflict. On this day, we also take a moment to honour the brave health and aid
workers who are targeted or obstructed as they set out to help people in need, and pay tribute to the government
employees, and representatives of international organizations and agencies who risk their daily lives to provide
humanitarian aid. Despite our efforts, civilians, including medial and humanitarian workers continue to bear the
brunt of intense conflicts around the world. They are attacked and their access obstructed, while humanitarian
supplies and hospitals are looted by fighting parties. In addition, in cities like Juba and Aleppo, housing, markets,
schools and vital civilian infrastructure are destroyed. In Yemen, a lethal cholera epidemic has killed more than
9,000 people. Health services and water and sanitation infrastructure are collapsing under the strain of war.

In Iraq, Syria, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and elsewhere, thousands of women
and girls urgently need protection, support and treatment for traumatic sexual violence and abuse. The result of
these crises is the record number of people – more than 65 million – forced to flee their homes from conflict. No
one is winning these wars. We are all losing.

This year, on World Humanitarian Day, the United Nations and our partners are calling on all global leaders to do
everything in their power to protect people caught up in conflict. Let the world know: Civilians are Not A Target.
I invite you to stand with us in solidarity with civilians in conflict, and with the health and aid workers who risk
their lives to help them. Get involved with our online campaign at worldhumantarianday.org. On World Humani-
tarian Day, let us commit to doing everything in our power to protect women, girls, men and boys in the line of
fire, and to give them hope of a better future.
António Guterres

Helping refugees Helping Children livestock disease and similar


The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Since its beginning, The United emergencies. The FAO Global
emerged in the wake of World War II Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Information and Early Warning
to help Europeans displaced by that has strived to reach as many children System issues monthly reports on the
conflict. The agency leads and co- as possible with effective, low-cost world food situation. Special alerts
ordinates international action to protect solutions to counter the biggest identify, for Governments and relief
refugees and resolve refugee problems threats to their survival. UNICEF also organizations, countries threatened by
worldwide. The General Assembly consistently urges governments and food shortages.
created the United Nations Relief and warring parties to act more
Works Agency for Palestine Refugees effectively to protect children. Healing the Sick
in the Near East (UNRWA) to provide The World Health Organization
emergency relief to some 750,000 Feeding the Hungry (WHO) coordinates the international
Palestine refugees, who had lost their The World Food Programme (WFP) response to humanitarian health
homes and livelihoods as a result of provides relief to millions of people, emergencies. WHO is responsible
the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict. Today, who are victims of disasters. It is for providing leadership on global
some 5 million Palestine refugees are responsible for mobilizing food and health matters, shaping the health
eligible for UNRWA services. funds for transport for all large-scale research agenda, setting norms and
refugee-feeding operations managed standards, articulating evidence-based
The UN General Assembly hosted a by UNHCR. policy options, providing technical
high-level meeting on 19 September support to countries and monitoring
2016 to address large movements of The Food and Agriculture and assessing health trends. In the
refugees and migrants, with the aim Organization of the United Nations 21st century, health is a shared
of bringing countries together behind (FAO) is often called on to help responsibility, involving equitable
a more humane and coordinated farmers re-establish production access to essential care and collective
approach. following floods, outbreaks of defence against transnational threats.

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 6


International Youth Day:
“Safe Spaces for Youth”

“The hopes of the world rest on young people. Peace, economic dynamism, social justice, tolerance — all
this and more, today and tomorrow, depends on tapping into the power of youth.”

— UN Secretary-General António Guterres

Background In December 2009, the United an unprecedented acknowledgement


“United Nations and Youth” Nations General Assembly adopted of the urgent need to engage young
In 1965, in resolution 2037 (XX), the resolution 64/134 proclaiming the peacebuilders in promoting peace and
General Assembly endorsed the year commencing 12 August 2010 as countering extremism, and clearly
Declaration on the Promotion among the International Year of Youth, positions youth as important partners
Youth of the Ideals of Peace, Mutual in the global efforts.
Respect and Understanding between
Peoples. International Youth Day is
commemorated every year on 12
From 1965 to 1975, both the General calling upon governments, civil August, bringing youth issues to the
Assembly and the Economic and society, individuals and communities attention of the international
Social Council emphasized three worldwide to support activities at community and celebrating the
basic themes in the field of youth: local and international levels to mark potential of youth as partners in
participation, development and peace. the event. The Year will coincide with today’s global society.
The need for an international policy the 25th anniversary of the first
on youth was emphasized as well. International Youth Year in 1985. There are currently 1.8 billion young
people between the ages of 10 and
In 1979, the General Assembly, by On 17 December 1999, in its 24 in the world. This is the largest
resolution 34/151, designated 1985 as resolution 54/120, the United Nations youth population ever. But 1 in 10 of
International Youth Year: Participation, General Assembly endorsed the the world’s children live in conflict
Development, Peace. recommendation made by the World zones and 24 million of them are out
Conference of Ministers Responsible of school. Political instability, labour
In 1985, by resolution 40/14, the for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) market challenges and limited space
Assembly endorsed the guidelines for that 12 August be declared for political and civic participation
further planning and suitable follow- International Youth Day. have led to increasing isolation of
up in the field of youth. The guidelines youth in societies.
are significant for their focus on The Assembly recommended that
young people as a broad category public information activities be 12 August was first designated
comprising various subgroups, rather organized to support the Day as a way International Youth Day by the UN
than a single demographic entity. They to promote better awareness of the General Assembly in 1999, and
provide proposals for specific World Programme of Action for serves as an annual celebration of the
measures to address the needs of Youth, adopted by the General role of young women and men as
subgroups such as young people with Assembly in 1996 (resolution 50/81). essential partners in change, and an
disabilities, rural and urban youth and opportunity to raise awareness of
young women. (Source: resolution Security Council Resolution 2250 on challenges and problems facing the
50/81) Youth, Peace and Security represents world’s youth.

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 7


Secretary-General's Message for 2018

The hopes of the world rest on young people. Peace, economic dynamism, social justice, tolerance – all this and
more, today and tomorrow, depends on tapping into the power of youth. Yet more than 400 million young
women and men live amidst armed conflict or organized violence.

Millions face deprivation, harassment, bullying and other infringements of their rights. Young women and girls
are particularly vulnerable. The world’s young people need safe spaces -- public, civic, physical and digital
spaces where they can freely express their views and pursue their dreams.

We must invest so that young people have access to education, training and decent jobs to achieve their full
potential. The United Nations is strongly committed to listening to the voices of young people – and opening
pathways for meaningful participation in decisions that affect them.

This September, we will launch a new strategy to step up our work with and for young people. In making the
world safe for young people, we make the world better for all. I wish all a happy International Youth Day!

António Guterres

“Safe Spaces for Youth” Ensuring that safe spaces are emphasizes the need for the provision
Youth need safe spaces where they inclusive, youth from diverse of space towards inclusive and
can come together, engage in backgrounds especially those from sustainable urbanization. Furthermore,
activities related to their diverse outside the local community, need to the New Urban Agenda (NUA)
needs and interests, participate in be assured of respect and self-worth. reiterates the need for public spaces
decision making processes and In humanitarian or conflict prone for youth to enable them to interact
freely express themselves. While settings for example, youth may lack with family and have constructive
there are many types of spaces, safe the space to fully express themselves inter-generational dialogue.
spaces ensure the dignity and safety without feeling uncomfortable or Additionally, the World Programme of
of youth. Safe spaces such as civic unwelcome. Similarly, without the Action for Youth (WPAY) which is the
spaces enable youth to engage in existence of safe space, youth from UN framework for youth
governance issues; public spaces different race/ethnicity, gender, development, prioritizes the provision
afford youth the opportunity to religious affiliation or cultural of “leisure activities” as essential to
participate in sports and other leisure background may feel intimidated to the psychological, cognitive and
activities in the community; digital freely contribute to the community. physical development of young people.
spaces help youth interact virtually When youth have safe spaces to As more and more youth grow in a
across borders with everyone; and engage, they can effectively technologically connected world, they
well planned physical spaces can contribute to development, including aspire to engage deeper in political,
help accommodate the needs of peace and social cohesion. civic and social matters, and the
diverse youth especially those availability and accessibility of safe
vulnerable to marginalization or The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable spaces becomes even more crucial to
violence. Development, specifically Goal 11, make this a reality.

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 8


International Day for the Total
Elimination of Nuclear Weapons:
Global Public Good of the Highest Order

Background exponentially boosting the capacity to The International Day against Nuclear
The 64th session of the United Nations monitor and verify compliance Tests speaks to this important
General Assembly declared 29 August mechanisms and nuclear weapons concept. Indeed, the significance of
the International Day against Nuclear proliferation detection. These “global public good’ is apparent while
Tests through the unanimous activities and tracking tools have been reflecting on the threat of nuclear
adoption of its resolution 64/35 on 2 initiated and developed by the tests and nuclear weapons, and in
December 2009. The Preamble of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban recent years, the threat of nuclear
resolution emphasizes that "every Treaty Organization (CTBTO) terrorism. Several international
effort should be made to end nuclear Preparatory Commission. Despite the commissions, as well as countless
tests in order to avert devastating and stalled entry-into-force, an General Assembly resolutions, have
harmful effects on the lives and health increasingly robust public advocacy, endorsed this view, while
of people" and that "the end of nuclear underscoring the horrific effects of
tests is one of the key means of any such use—for humanity, for the
achieving the goal of a nuclear- world’s economies, and for our
weapon-free world.” natural environment.
including activities and events
The main mechanism for eradicating undertaken on the International Day One of the most critical contributions
nuclear weapons testing is the against Nuclear Tests, is exerting to current thinking was provided by
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban pressure on the powers-that-be to the Final Document of the 2010
Treaty (CTBT). It was adopted by move forward on the ratification of Review Conference of the Treaty on
the United Nations General Assembly the treaty with a view towards the the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear
on 10 September 1996. To date, 183 ultimate eradication of nuclear Weapons (NPT) which expressed
countries have signed the treaty and weapons testing. deep concern at the catastrophic
166 have ratified it. For the Treaty to humanitarian consequences of any
enter into Force, it must be ratified There have been visible signs of use of nuclear weapons and
by several of the States with progress on various fronts by reaffirmed the need for all States at
significant nuclear capabilities. Member States – acting on a all times to comply with applicable
multilateral level, bilaterally and international law, including
While the general consensus within through unilateral actions – scientific international humanitarian law.
the international community is that institutes, civil society and grass
nuclear weapons tests pose life- roots organizations. The latter two The Preparatory Commission of the
threatening risks, there still exists to have been driving the momentum to CTBTO and its 166 ratifying States
some degree a mindset of one- pressure their own Governments and vigorously continue to push for the
upmanship among States and a others on rethinking the validity of Treaty’s entry into force. The
lingering suspicion of the possibility possessing nuclear weapons. CTBTO’s unique monitoring system,
of clandestine nuclear weapons already encompassing nearly 90 per
testing. There is also a concern that Nuclear disarmament, which the cent of States, provides confidence
if nuclear weapons cannot be tested former UN Secretary-General Ban that no nuclear explosion will escape
their reliability may be in jeopardy. Ki-moon described as a “global detection.
However, over the years, science and public good of the highest order”
technology have advanced, holds the key to peace and security. However, nothing can play as crucial

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 9


a role in avoiding a nuclear war or International Day against Nuclear September as the “International Day
nuclear terrorist threat as the total Tests by unanimously adopting for the Total Elimination of Nuclear
elimination of nuclear weapons. resolution 64/35. The resolution calls Weapons", which is devoted to
Bringing an irreversible end to nuclear for increasing awareness and furthering the objective of the total
explosions will prevent the further education “about the effects of elimination of nuclear weapons,
development of nuclear weapons. nuclear weapon test explosions or through the mobilization of
Various activities to commemorate any other nuclear explosions and the international efforts. First proposed
International Day against Nuclear need for their cessation as one of the in October 2013, the resolution (A/
Tests, as well as efforts throughout means of achieving the goal of a RES/ 68/32) was a follow-up to the
the year by nations and civil society nuclear-weapon-free world.” The high-level meeting on nuclear
build the momentum towards a safe resolution was initiated by the disarmament held on 26 September
and secure world. Republic of Kazakhstan, together 2013 in the UN General Assembly.
with a large number of sponsors and The International Day for the Total
Since nuclear weapons testing began cosponsors with a view to Elimination of Nuclear Weapons was
on 16 July 1945, nearly 2,000 have commemorate the closure of the observed for the first time in
taken place. Early on, having nuclear Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test site on 29 September 2014. The International
weapons was seen as a measure of August 1991. The Day is meant to Day against Nuclear Tests, together
scientific sophistication or military galvanize the United Nations, Member with other events and actions, has
might, with little consideration given States, intergovernmental and non- fostered a global environment with
to the devastating effects of testing governmental organizations, more optimistic prospects for a world
on human life, let alone the dangers academic institutions, youth free of nuclear weapons.
of nuclear fallout from atmospheric networks and the media to inform,
tests. Hindsight and history have educate and advocate the necessity As the Secretary-General recognized
shown us the terrifying and tragic of banning nuclear weapon tests as a in his message to the Conference on
effects of nuclear weapons testing, valuable step towards achieving a Disarmament, the security
especially when controlled conditions safer world. environment is increasingly complex,
go awry, and in light of the far more but the complexity cannot be an
powerful and destructive nuclear 2010 marked the inaugural excuse for inaction and cynicism.
weapons that exist today. commemoration of the International Although challenges remain,
Day against Nuclear Tests. Each year, especially in terms of the deteriorating
The human and environmental since then, the day has been observed international security environment
tragedies that are the result of nuclear by coordinating various activities along with increased military
testing are compelling reasons for the throughout the world, such as spending and a strategic tilt towards
need to observe the International Day symposia, conferences, exhibits, nuclear weapons, there have been
against Nuclear Tests – a day in competitions, publications, lectures in visible signs of progress on various
which educational events, activities academic institutions, media fronts in 2017. This was most
and messages aim to capture the broadcasts and other initiatives. apparent with the adoption of the
world’s attention and underscore the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear
need for unified efforts to prevent Since its establishment, many bilateral Weapons, consensus on
further nuclear weapons testing. and multilateral governmental level recommendations to the General
developments as well as broad Assembly by the Open-ended
The international instrument to put an movements in civil society have working group on the SSOD-IV, the
end to all forms of nuclear testing is helped to advance the cause of positive environment at the first
the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear- banning nuclear tests. session of the Preparatory Committee
Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), for the 2020 Review Conference on
unfortunately, this has yet to enter Moreover, “convinced that nuclear NPT, and the adoption by the UN
into force. disarmament and the total elimination Disarmament Commission of a
of nuclear weapons are the only consensus recommendations
On 2 December 2009, the 64th absolute guarantee against the use or document after nearly two decades
session of the United Nations General threat of nuclear weapons,” the of inactivity.
Assembly declared 29 August the General Assembly designated 26

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 10


It is the hope of the UN that one day two by India and two by Pakistan in
all nuclear weapons will be eliminated. 1998 and five by the Democratic
- The United States conducted
Until then, there is a need to observe People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)
1,032 tests between 1945 and
International Day against Nuclear in 2006, 2009, 2013, and two in 2016,
1992.
Tests as we work towards promoting thus breaking the de facto
- The Soviet Union carried out
peace and security world-wide. As moratorium that the CTBT had
715 tests between 1949 and
the High Representative Ms. Izumi established.
1990.
Nakamitsu remarked at the Annual
- The United Kingdom carried out
NATO Conference on WMD Arms India conducted two underground
45 tests between 1952 and
Control, Disarmament and Non- nuclear tests, code-named “Shakti
1991.
Proliferation on 29 May, 2017, “there (Power) ‘98”, on 11 and 13 May 1998
- France carried out 210 tests
is no one path to the elimination of at its Pokhran underground testing
between 1960 and 1996.
nuclear weapons. We should site. In contrast to India’s initial
- China carried out 45 tests
continue to exert all efforts to bring nuclear test in 1974, this time there
between 1964 and 1996.
about other measures to achieve and were no claims that these were
- India conducted two tests in
maintain a nuclear-weapon-free “peaceful tests”. On the contrary,
1998 (India had also conducted
world.” Initiatives such as the government officials were quick to
one so-called peaceful nuclear
International Day against Nuclear emphasize the military nature of the
explosion in 1974.)
Tests are part of the global efforts explosions.
- Pakistan conducted two tests
towards a nuclear-weapon-free
in 1998.
world. A scant two weeks later, Pakistan
- The Democratic People’s
reacted, conducting two underground
Republic of Korea conducted
Ending Nuclear Testing nuclear tests at its Ras Koh range.
nuclear tests in 2006, 2009,
The history of nuclear testing began
2013 and 2016.
early on the morning of 16 July 1945 Both India and Pakistan immediately
at a desert test site in Alamogordo, moved to announce unilateral
New Mexico when the United States moratoriums on nuclear testing and
exploded its first atomic bomb. have conducted no nuclear tests See an approximate overview of all
Designated as the Trinity Site, this since 1998. To read more about the nuclear testing to date, as well as the
initial test was the culmination of 1998 tests conducted by India and CTBT status of the countries that have
years of scientific research under the Pakistan, see The Treaty: History. conducted nuclear tests. See also
banner of the so-called “Manhattan map.
Project”. The announced nuclear test by the
DPRK on 9 October 2006 broke the Types of Nuclear Tests
In the five decades between that eighth-year-long de facto moratorium Nuclear explosions have been
fateful day in 1945 and the opening and was against the letter and spirit detonated in all environments: above
for signature of the Comprehensive of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test- ground, underground and underwater.
Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in Ban Treaty. Bombs have been detonated on top of
1996, over 2,000 nuclear tests were towers, onboard barges, suspended
carried out all over the world. This was followed by four more from balloons, on the earth's surface,
tests in 2009, 2013, and January underwater to depths of 600m,
In the five decades between 1945 and September of 2016. These tests underground to depths of more than
and 1996, over 2,000 nuclear tests were met with near unanimous 2,400m and in horizontal tunnels. Test
were carried out all over the world. global expressions of concern. The bombs have been dropped by aircraft
After the CTBT was opened for UN Security Council strongly and fired by rockets up to 200 miles
signature in September 1996, 10 condemned them as clear threats to into the atmosphere.
nuclear tests have been conducted: international peace and security. To
read more about the DPRK’s Atmospheric testing
Breaking the de facto moratorium nuclear tests and the CTBTO Atmospheric testing refers to
About nine nuclear tests were findings in connection with this explosions which take place in or
conducted between 1998 and 2016: declared test. above the atmosphere.

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 11


All told, of the over 2,000 nuclear explosions which take place underground nuclear tests "vent" to
explosions detonated worldwide underwater or close to the surface the surface, they can produce
between 16 July 1945 (United States) of the water. Relatively few considerable radioactive debris.
and 29 July 1996 (China), 25 % or underwater tests have been Underground testing is usually
over 500 bombs were exploded in the conducted. The first underwater evident through seismic activity
atmosphere: over 200 by the United nuclear test — Operation Crossroads related to the yield of the nuclear
States, over 200 by the Soviet Union, — was conducted by the United device.
about 20 by Britain, about 50 by States in 1946 at its Pacific Proving
France and over 20 by China. Grounds in the Marshall Islands with Underground nuclear testing was
the purpose of evaluating the effects banned by the 1996 Comprehensive
International concern over radioactive of nuclear weapons used against Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) that
fallout resulting from atmospheric naval vessels. Later, in 1955, the bans all nuclear explosions on Earth.
tests escalated in the mid 1950s. In United States’ Operation Wigwam
March 1954, the United States tested conducted a single underwater 75% of all nuclear test explosions
its hydrogen bomb Castle Bravo in nuclear test at a depth of 600 m to during the cold war were conducted
the Pacific’s Marshall Islands. The determine the vulnerability of underground. The CTBTO’s seismic
Bravo test created the worst submarines to nuclear explosions. IMS stations are used to detect
radiological disaster in the United nuclear explosions underground. The
States’ testing history. By accident, Underwater nuclear explosions close seismic data is combined with
local civilians on the Marshall Islands, to the surface can disperse large radionuclide data. Only the
US servicemen stationed on Rongerik amounts of radioactive water and radionuclide technology can
atoll, and the Japanese fishing trawler steam, contaminating nearby ships, determine if an explosion is nuclear
Lucky Dragon, were contaminated structures and individuals. in origin; its stations and laboratories
with the fallout. around the world monitor the
Underwater nuclear testing was presence of particulates and/or noble
Nuclear weapon tests have been banned by the 1963 Partial Test Ban gases in the atmosphere.
carried out in all environments: above Treaty. The CTBTO's hydroacoustic
ground, underground and IMS stations are those best suited to For more details see Nuclear Testing
underwater. Atmospheric testing was detect nuclear explosions underwater. Tally: A numeric breakdown of the
banned by the 1963 Partial Test Ban number of atmospheric and
Treaty. Negotiations had largely Of the over 2,000 nuclear explosions underground nuclear tests conducted
responded to the international detonated worldwide between 1945 by each testing country for each year
community’s grave concern over the and 1996, 25% or over 500 bombs from 1945–2006.
radioactive fallout resulting from were exploded in the atmosphere.
atmospheric tests. The United States, Nuclear Testing 1945–2009
the Soviet Union and the United Underground Testing The beginning of the nuclear era
Kingdom became Parties to the Underground testing means that The United States launched the
Treaty; France and China did not. nuclear explosions are detonated at Nuclear Age in the pre-dawn hours
France conducted its last varying depths under the surface of of 16 July 1945 when it detonated a
atmospheric test in 1974, China in the earth. These comprised the 20-kiloton atomic bomb code-named
1980. CTBTO's infrasound IMS majority (i.e. about 75%) of all nuclear ”Trinity“ at Alamogordo, New
stations are used to detect nuclear explosions detonated during the Cold Mexico.
explosions by monitoring low- War (1945–1989); that is, over 800
frequency sound waves in the of all tests conducted by the United Under the umbrella of the “Manhattan
atmosphere. CTBTO Radionuclide States and nearly 500 of all tests Project”, the test’s original purpose
IMS stations are designed to detect conducted by the Soviet Union. had been to confirm that an
radioactive particles emanating from implosion-type nuclear weapon
an atmospheric test. When the explosion is fully contained, design was feasible. It also gave
underground nuclear testing emits United States’ scientists and the
Underwater testing negligible fallout compared to military an idea of what the actual size
Underwater testing refers to atmospheric testing. However, if and effects of such nuclear

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 12


explosions would be before using States had established a dedicated test activities caused great international
them in combat. site (Nevada Test Site) and was also concern.
using a site in the Marshall Islands
While the Alamogordo test (Pacific Proving Grounds) for India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal
demonstrated many of the extensive nuclear testing. The Soviet Nehru was the first statesman to call
explosion's effects, it failed to provide Union also began testing on a limited for a “stand still” agreement on
a meaningful comprehension of scale, primarily in Semipalatinsk in the nuclear testing on 2 April, 1954.
radioactive nuclear fallout, which was Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan. Early However, this did little to stop the
not well understood by project tests were used primarily to ascertain extensive nuclear testing that
scientists until years later. the military effects of nuclear weapons characterized the following 35 years,
and to test new weapon designs. not subsiding until the end of the Cold
The United States dropped two War in the late 1980s.
atomic bombs on Japan towards the Exacerbated tensions and an
end of World War II: one an untested atmosphere of pervasive fear and From 1955 to 1989, the average
gun-type fission bomb called “Little suspicion catalyzed competition to number of nuclear tests conducted
Boy” on Hiroshima on 6 August build more powerful and every year was 55. Nuclear testing
1945; another implosion-type bomb sophisticated bombs. During the peaked in the late 1950s and early
tested at Alamogordo for the first time 1950s new hydrogen bomb designs 1960s. The year 1962 alone saw as
a month earlier and called “Fat Man” were tested in the Pacific, as were many as 178 tests: 96 conducted by
on Nagasaki on 9 August. Together new and improved fission weapon the United States and 79 by the Soviet
these two bombs killed some designs. Union. This was the year of the
220,000 Japanese citizens outright, Cuban Missile Crisis when the Cold
with over 200,000 more dying In 1954 India's Prime Minister War threatened to become a nuclear
subsequently from lethal radiation Jawaharlal Nehru became the first war. The preceding year had seen the
overdoses. statesmen to call for a "stand still" testing of the largest nuclear weapon
agreement on nuclear testing. ever exploded, the Soviet Union’s
From “hot war” to Cold War “Tsar Bomba” with an estimated yield
No sooner was World War II brought The United Kingdom became the third of 50 megatons. It was tested at the
to a close in August 1945 than an all- country to test nuclear weapons on Novaya Zemlya test site near the
out technical-industrial nuclear 3 October 1952. Initially, the United Arctic Circle.
weapons race ensued between the Kingdom tested mainly in Australia
two newly emerging superpowers, and later on in the United States. From France and China became nuclear
the United States and the Soviet 1958 onwards its programme was weapon States in 1960 and 1964
Union. Between 1946 and 1949, the closely coordinated with that of the respectively, with both nuclear
United States conducted an additional United States through the UK-US programmes intended to provide
six tests. Then on 29 August 1949, Mutual Defense Agreement. credible nuclear deterrents. France
the Soviet Union tested its first atomic initially tested in Algeria, and later on
bomb, “Joe 1”. This test marked the The first hydrogen bomb in the South Pacific. China
beginning of the “Cold War” nuclear On 1 November 1952 the United conducted all its nuclear tests at Lop
arms race between the two States became the first country to test Nur in Xinjiang Province.
superpowers. a hydrogen bomb. The Castle Bravo
test on 1 March 1954 yielded 15 The 1963 partial test ban treaty
With the Soviet Union's first atomic megatons and was the largest nuclear banned nuclear testing, including
bomb test on 29 August 1949, the weapon ever detonated by the United testing for peaceful purposes, in the
"cold war" nuclear arms race between States. By accident, the inhabited atmosphere, underwater and in
the USSR and the United States was atolls of Rongelap, Rongerik and space... but not underground.
on. At the outset, neither the United Utirik were contaminated with
States nor the Soviet Union had many radioactive fallout, as was the The early 1960s also saw the
nuclear weapons to spare so their Japanese fishing trawler Lucky introduction of the only testing
nuclear testing was relatively limited. Dragon. The controversy over limitation effort that had concrete
However, by the 1950s the United radioactive fallout from testing effects on how testing was

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 13


The world did not witness any
significant decrease in nuclear testing
activities and nuclear weapons
acquisition among the nuclear
weapon States until the early 1990s.
The total number of nuclear tests in
the second half of the 1980s
amounted to as many as 174.

But warmer relations between the


Soviet Union and the United States
from the mid-1980s prepared the
way, as did the fall of the Berlin Wall
in 1989 and the 1991 dissolution of
the Soviet Union, which was
superseded by the Russian
conducted during the Cold War. The nor denying its nuclear status. It is Federation. Belarus, Kazakhstan and
1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty banned not a party to the 1968 Non- Ukraine who, together with Russia,
nuclear testing for military and for Proliferation Treaty, and it has signed had hosted the Soviet nuclear arsenal,
peaceful purposes, in the but not ratified the CTBT. became non-nuclear weapon States
atmosphere, underwater and in under the Non-proliferation Treaty.
space. The Treaty was important Officially, India became the sixth The USSR's main test site,
from an environmental point of nation to develop nuclear weapons, Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan, was
view, curbing the radioactive fallout conducting a nuclear test, declared closed in 1991.
closely associated with atmospheric as a peaceful nuclear explosion, in
tests, but did little to prevent overall May 1974. Moratoria on nuclear testing
nuclear testing, which largely In 1990, the Soviet Union proposed
moved underground. In 1982, one additional nation, South a moratorium on nuclear testing that
Africa, acquired nuclear weapons, was agreed to by the United Kingdom
Burgeoning nuclear arsenals according to the Monterey Institute’s and the United States. This created
The world’s nuclear arsenals Center on Non-Proliferation Studies. an opportunity to move ahead for
ballooned throughout the Cold War, To public knowledge, South Africa those advocates who, for decades,
from slightly more than 3,000 did not conduct any nuclear tests. had promoted a comprehensive ban
weapons in 1955 to over 37,000 Less than ten years later, with the on all nuclear testing.
weapons by 1965 (United States anticipated transition to a majority-
31,000 and the Soviet Union 6,000), elected government, South Africa Some six nuclear tests were
to 47,000 by 1975 (United States dismantled all of its nuclear weapons, conducted between 1998 and 2009:
27,000 and Soviet Union 20,000), the only nation to date that voluntarily two by India and two by Pakistan in
and over 60,000 in the late 1980s relinquished the nuclear arms under 1998 and one by the Democratic
(United States 23,000 and the Soviet its complete control. The dismantling People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)
Union 39,000). was completed in 1991. The same in 2006 and another one by the DPRK
year, South Africa acceded to the in 2009.
According to the Nuclear Threat 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty as a
Initiative, Israel initiated a nuclear non-nuclear weapon State. It voted The Soviet Union’s last nuclear test
programme in the 1950s, and had overwhelmingly to end apartheid on took place on 24 October 1990; the
completed the R&D phase of its 18 March 1992. United Kingdom’s on 26 November
nuclear weapon programme in 1966, 1991 and the United States’ on 23
although it has not, to public Underground nuclear testing was September 1992. France and China
knowledge, tested such a weapon. banned by the 1996 Comprehensive conducted their last tests in January
Israel has adopted a so-called “nuclear Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which bans and July 1996 respectively, before
ambiguity policy”, neither confirming all nuclear explosions on Earth. signing the Comprehensive Nuclear-

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 14


Test-Ban Treaty on the day it opened ban, but it was only in the 1990s that IMS uses the following four state-
for signature, 24 September 1996, the Treaty became a reality. The CTBT of-the-art technologies:
together with the other three nuclear was negotiated in Geneva between
weapon States and 66 other 1994 and 1996. Seismic: Fifty primary and 120
countries. (For the status of signature auxiliary seismic stations monitor
and ratification of the Treaty today, The Treaty has yet to enter into force shockwaves in the Earth. The vast
please click here). France closed and All 44 States specifically listed in the majority of these shockwaves – many
dismantled all its nuclear test sites in Treaty — those with nuclear thousands every year – are caused
the 1990s — the only nuclear weapon technology capabilities at the time of by earthquakes. But man-made
State to date that has done so. the final Treaty negotiations in 1996 explosions such as mine explosions
— must sign and ratify before the or the announced North Korean
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban CTBT can enter into force. nuclear tests in 2006, 2009, 2013 and
Treaty (CTBT) 2016 are also detected.
Central to the issue of the Day against Of these, eight are still missing:
Nuclear Tests is the Comprehensive China, DPRK, Egypt, India, Iran, Hydroacoustic: Eleven hydrophone
Nuclear Test Ban Treaty which bans Israel, Pakistan and the USA. DPRK, stations “listen” for sound waves in
nuclear testing everywhere on the India and Pakistan have yet to sign the oceans. Sound waves from
planet — surface, atmosphere, the CTBT. Otherwise, as July 2017, explosions can travel extremely far
underwater and underground. The 183 countries have signed, of which underwater.
Treaty takes on significance as it also 166 have ratified the Treaty.
aims to obstruct the development of Infrasound: Sixty stations on the
nuclear weapons: both the initial The Treaty Organization surface can detect ultra-low
development of nuclear weapons as Since the Treaty is not yet in force, frequency sound waves (inaudible to
well as their substantial improvement the Organization is called the the human ear) that are emitted by
(e.g. the advent of thermonuclear Preparatory Commission for the large explosions.
weapons) necessitate real nuclear Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban
testing. The CTBT makes it almost Organization, or CTBTO. It was Radionuclide: Eighty stations
impossible for countries that do not yet founded in 1996, with approximately measure the atmosphere for
have nuclear weapons to develop them. 260 staff from most of the CTBT’s radioactive particles, 40 of them also
And it makes it almost impossible for 182 Member States. It is headed by pick up noble gas. Only these
countries that have nuclear weapons the Executive Secretary, Lassina Zerbo measurements can give a clear
to develop new or more advanced (Burkina Faso). The CTBTO’s main indication as to whether an explosion
weapons. It also helps prevent the tasks are the promotion of the Treaty detected by the other methods was
damage caused by nuclear testing to and the build-up of the verification actually nuclear or not. They are
humans and the environment. regime so that it is operational when supported by 16 radionuclide
the Treaty enters into force. The laboratories.
History annual budget is around
Between 1945 and 1996, when the US$130,000,000 or €120,000,000. On-site-Inspection
CTBT opened for signature, over 2000 If the data from the IMS stations
nuclear tests were conducted: by the Verification regime indicate that a nuclear test has taken
United States (1000+), the Soviet It is a unique and comprehensive place, a Member State can request for
Union (700+), France (200+), the system. At the heart of the an on-site-inspection to be carried out
United Kingdom and China (45 each). verification regime is the International to collect evidence that will allow the
Three countries have broken the de- Monitoring System (IMS), which final assessment to be made regarding
facto moratorium and tested nuclear consists of 337 facilities located all whether a nuclear explosion — a
weapons since 1996: India and over the world that constantly Treaty violation — has actually taken
Pakistan in 1998 and the Democratic monitor the planet for signs of nuclear place. This will only be possible after
People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) explosions. Around 90% of these the CTBT has entered into force.
in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2016. Many facilities are already sending data to Large on-site inspection exercises
attempts were made during the Cold the International Data Centre at the were carried out in September 2008
War to negotiate a comprehensive test CTBTO headquarters in Vienna. The in Kazakhstan and in 2014 in Jordan.

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 15


National Human Rights Update

Assam’s Citizen Identification are missing from the register have armed groups targeting those
Can Exclude 4 Million People until September 28, 2018 to seek a considered outsiders to protect the
The Indian authorities should ensure correction. “No one will be sent to claims of “indigenous” citizens.
that documenting and updating the detention camps,” said Assam’s
names of citizens in the northeastern finance and health minister, Himanta In May 2018, protests erupted in
state of Assam is transparent and Biswa Sarma. “Rights or privileges Assam over a Citizenship Amendment
nondiscriminatory, Human Rights will not be taken away from them Bill, which would grant citizenship to
Watch and Amnesty International just because their names have not Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains,
India said. The potential exclusion of appeared in the draft NRC.” The Parsis, and Christians from
over 4 million people, many of them central government has also said that Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and
Muslims, raises concerns over after the final list is published in Pakistan. While the proposed law
arbitrary detention and possible December, applicants left out will deliberately excludes Muslims,
statelessness without due process. have an opportunity to seek a including Shia and Ahmadiyya who
correction from the Foreigners also face persecution in Pakistan,
On July 30, 2018, the Assam state Tribunals. many groups in Assam fear that this
government published a draft of the will increase influx of Hindu
National Register of Citizens (NRC), Bangladeshi migrants to the state.
aimed at identifying Indian citizens
and legitimate residents following “The NRC should not become a
repeated protests and violence over political tool to render stateless people
irregular migration from Bangladesh. However, the government has not who have been living in India for
The register only lists those people formulated an official policy for those decades and have established strong
as citizens who can prove that they people who are excluded from the links with the country,” said Aakar
or their ancestors entered India before National Register of Citizens and Patel, executive director of Amnesty
midnight on March 24, 1971 – the declared foreigners by the tribunals. International India. “During the
eve of the war that led to the creation In December 2017, Sarma said that, process of claims and appeals, the
of Bangladesh. The process to update “the NRC is being done to identify state government should ensure that
the register, which various political illegal Bangladeshis residing in the people excluded from the NRC
parties and ethnic groups in Assam Assam,” and that “all those whose are not deprived of any government
have demanded, is being monitored names do not figure in the NRC will services, nor targeted or stigmatized
by the Supreme Court. have to be deported.” in any manner.”

“Assam has long sought to preserve However, Bangladesh has not agreed Background
its ethnic identity, but rendering to claims that these people are Assam’s National Register of Citizens
millions of people stateless is not the irregular migrants, making is being updated for the first time
answer,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, deportation to Bangladesh unlikely. since 1951, and has so far verified
South Asia director at Human Rights India does not have an agreement on 28.9 million people as citizens out of
Watch. “Indian authorities need to deportation with Bangladesh. 32.9 million who applied. The
move swiftly to ensure the rights of verification process collects two sets
Muslims and other vulnerable Irregular migration from Bangladesh of documents from residents of the
communities in Assam are protected has long been a volatile issue in Assam state. List A is legacy data, which
from statelessness.” and concerns over the inclusion of includes the 1951 NRC and electoral
these so-called “illegal immigrants” in rolls up to 1971 to prove that the
The government has said that this is electoral rolls has grown in recent applicant’s ancestors lived in Assam
a draft list and those whose names years. Assam has a long history of before 1971. List B documents – for

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 16


instance birth certificates – establish up to detect illegal immigrants in detention center to house 3,000
the relationship of the applicant to the Assam – declare them as non- detainees. A fact-finding report by the
List A documents of their parents or foreigners. special monitor of minorities of the
grandparents. The NRC then verifies National Human Rights Commission
the documents, ostensibly creating a However, in May 2018, the state found that detainees live in these
family tree for each applicant. coordinator for the NRC sent a notice centers with no prospect of release,
to all districts saying that siblings and without adequate legal representation,
Fact-finding reports by civil society other family members of “declared flouting domestic and international
groups and the media indicate that the foreigners” will also be put on hold law. In the absence of guidelines as
NRC process is not free from error and not included in the NRC until the to the rights of these detainees in the
or bias. According to several reports, tribunals decide their fate. He also state, these centers are administered
even people with legitimate sent an order to the border police like prisons and the detainees treated
documents proving their citizenship authorities, requiring them to refer as convicted prisoners. However,
status have not been registered family members of “declared they do not enjoy the rights of the
because of technical reasons such as foreigners” to the Foreigners prisoners to parole, waged work, and
spelling mistakes or different names Tribunals. The order did not mention are not allowed out of their barracks
being used in the various documents. the police’s duty to conduct a prior even in the day.
Sometimes, several people with the inquiry before referring someone to
same name show up in old records, a tribunal. Once a person’s case is The report found that the detention
creating confusion, said NRC referred to a tribunal, they can no centers also separated children from
officials. longer be included in the NRC until their parents. It noted cases where a
their citizenship has been determined. child was declared Indian and both
Millions of Indians in Assam, often parents foreigners. A child under 6 is
surviving on basic subsistence, have In June 2018, four United Nations allowed to stay with the mother in
no access to historical documentation human rights experts sent a letter to the detention center, but the legal
to establish citizenship claims. the Indian government raising handling of children above 6 years
concerns over the NRC process being old remains unclear.
Changes in requirements for discriminatory “in light of the history
documents and notifications from the of discrimination and violence faced The UN Working Group on Arbitrary
NRC authorities have also plagued the by Muslims of Bengali origin due to Detention has stated that asylum
process. For instance, in March their status as ethnic, religious and seekers or immigrants should be
2017, the Gauhati High Court ordered linguistic minority and their perceived placed in custody specifically
that a residency certificate issued by foreignness.” The letter also raised intended for this purpose or, when
the panchayat secretary – an elected concerns over the Foreigners for practical reasons, this is not the
local official at village level – has no Tribunals disproportionately affecting case, they must be placed in premises
statutory basis and cannot be used and targeting Bengali Muslims. The separate from those for persons
as a linking document. This was a letter pointed to allegations that there imprisoned under criminal law.
considerable setback for over 5 had been a notable and significant
million married women who had increase in the tribunals’ findings of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty
reportedly used it to establish their foreigner status as a result of the new International India have long
connection to their parents. In Bharatiya Janata Party-led advocated against the unnecessary
December 2017, the Supreme Court government coming to power, use of immigration detention,
modified it, allowing the use of the resulting in large numbers of Bengali particularly of families with children.
document, subject to verification of Muslims ending up stateless or at risk
its authenticity. of detention. India also has international obligations
under the International Covenant on
The NRC allows those deemed “D” Currently, six jails in Assam double Civil and Political Rights and the
or “doubtful” voters to apply for up as detention centers, holding more International Convention on the
inclusion but does not include their than 1,000 people. The state Elimination of All Forms of Racial
names unless the Foreigners administration has received Discrimination to ensure protection
Tribunals – statutory authorities set permission to open a standalone of the rights of all and prevent

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 17


deprivation of citizenship on the basis In Bermuda, the Supreme Court held In Europe, the European Union Court
of race, color, descent, or national in a June 6 ruling that sections of a of Justice in Luxembourg ruled in
or ethnic origin. recent law that revoked the right to June that the term “spouse” in a
same-sex marriage were invalid directive on the exercise of free
From the Americas to the Far because they favored “one set of movement under E.U. law is gender-
East, Courts Are Advancing beliefs about marriage over another” neutral and therefore covers the
LGBT Rights and were therefore inconsistent with same-sex spouse of an E.U. citizen.
In January, a colleague of mine at provisions in the Bermudan It emphasized that “although the
Human Rights Watch predicted that Constitution that guarantee the right member states have the freedom
2018 would be the “year of the courts” to freedom of conscience and creed. whether or not to authorize marriage
for LGBT people’s rights. Seven The government has announced its between persons of the same sex,
months into the year, courts around intention to appeal. they may not obstruct the freedom
the world have indeed come down of residence of an EU citizen by
with important rulings that help secure In Poland, a printer refused to print a refusing to grant his same-sex
those rights. Their decisions show that banner for an LGBT organization spouse, a national of a country that
judges in many countries, with a range because he did not want, in his eyes, is not an EU Member State, a derived
of different legal traditions, have come to “promote” the rights of lesbian, right of residence in their territory.”
to agree that that LGBT people are gay, bisexual, transgender, and
legally entitled to equal treatment, intersex people. The organization The E.U. Court of Justice ruling came
dignity and fairness. took him to court. The state from a case referred by the Romanian
prosecutor defended the printer’s Constitutional Court about whether
In April, a High Court in Trinidad & position, but Poland’s Supreme Court a gay Romanian-American couple
Tobago held that the country’s in June upheld a lower court’s were entitled to the same residency
sodomy laws, which criminalized decision that the printer could not rights in Romania as other married
homosexual conduct, were refuse to provide his services to the couples in the European Union, even
unconstitutional. The judge wrote, organization. though Romania only recognizes civil
“This is not a case about religious and partnerships rather than marriage
moral beliefs but is one about the In Ecuador, in two separate cases, between same-sex partners.
inalienable rights of a citizen under one brought by a lesbian couple and Following the E.U. court ruling, the
the republican Constitution of TT; any the other by gay men, judges ruled Romanian Constitutional Court ruled
citizen, all citizens. This is a case against the Civil Registry’s refusal to in July affirming that same-sex
about the dignity of the person and allow them to marry. Both judges partners in Romania are entitled to the
not about the will of the majority or cited in their rulings the advisory same E.U. residency rights as other
any religious debate.” opinion of the Inter-American Court married couples.
of Human Rights from January
In Lebanon, media reports indicate stating that governments “must Similarly, media reports indicate that
that the Mount Lebanon Appeals recognize and guarantee the rights in July an administrative court in
Court upheld in a July ruling the 2017 that are derived from a family bond Sofia, Bulgaria, decided that Bulgaria
acquittal of nine people prosecuted between two people of the same sex.” is not allowed to refuse a third-
for homosexual conduct. The The two judges ruled that the Civil country national married to a
Lebanese penal code bans sexual Registry’s refusal to allow the European Union citizen of the same
relations considered to be against couple’s marriages constituted a sex the right to live in Bulgaria even
nature, punishable by up to one year violation of the rights to equality and on the grounds that the Bulgarian law
in prison. The appeals court nondiscrimination based on the sexual does not provide for marriage
reportedly found that this law should orientation of the contracting parties. between persons of the same sex.
not be read as criminalizing
homosexual conduct. The ruling was In Chile, the president of the Supreme The issue of granting a visa to a same-
hailed by Lebanese LGBT activists as Court stated that the advisory opinion sex spouse, married elsewhere, also
the first such ruling by a Lebanese of the Inter-American Court came up in Hong Kong. The
appeals court, following several regarding same-sex marriage rights administration refused to grant a
similar lower court rulings. is binding for Chile. dependent visa to the same-sex

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 18


spouse of a British and South African India has the second-largest The BJP, which leads the central
national who was admitted to Hong population in the world, with more government in India as well as in
Kong to accept a job. The Court of than 1.3 billion people. The Supreme several states, campaigns on the
Final Appeal of the Hong Kong Court’s ruling, expected soon, is promise of good governance and
Special Administrative Region ruled highly anticipated in India and the rest development, but includes members
in July that the government can only of the world. of groups that militantly promote a
refuse such a visa if it can provide Hindu nationalist ideology.
“particularly convincing and weighty Of course, not all court decisions on
reasons” to justify the difference in LGBT rights in 2018 have been In recent years, groups affiliated with
treatment between same-sex and positive. For example, in Uganda in the BJP have attacked Muslims and
different-sex spouses. Since the June, a court dismissed a case Dalits over allegations of illegally
government could not meet this challenging the Uganda Registration trading in cows or beef. They have
standard, the court ruled that the Services Bureau’s refusal to register forced Christian tribal groups and
same-sex spouse was discriminated Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), Dalits to “re-convert” to Hinduism.
against because of her sexual an organization that has long They have attacked journalists,
orientation. defended the rights of LGBT people human rights lawyers, and activists.
in the nation. The court agreed with Their leaders have frequently enjoyed
In the Netherlands, the Limburg the respondents that SMUG was political patronage, and some even
district court of Roermond found in promoting “illegal behavior” and hold political office themselves.
a June decision that the exclusive contended that both its name and its
option of “male” or “female” on objectives were prejudicial to the The use of organized mobs to express
official documents, including birth public interest. “offended” sentiment with violence
certificates, is too restrictive. The has undermined the rule of law in
court referenced precedent in India Courts cannot always be counted on places, with scores of people beaten,
and Nepal and concluded that self- to deliver justice for LGBT people, even killed, in attacks that the Indian
identification prevails over bodily but LGBT activists and their allies are media has described as “lynchings.”
appearance or medical status. The seeing the benefits of turning to the On Tuesday, the Supreme Court
court suggested the Dutch courts to get their fundamental rights condemned these “horrendous acts
legislature initiate legislation to recognized. They no longer accept of mobocracy,” and called upon the
ensure that gender-neutral self- the passivity of lawmakers who are government to enact new legislation
identification is provided for under supposed to represent them. They to tackle the growing problem. BJP
Dutch law. want to see the right to equal leaders said there was no need.
treatment and nondiscrimination
In July, the Supreme Court of India secured. If the legislature is not yet Laws are only as good as their
began hearing a case that could strike ready to protect the rights of LGBT enforcement, and there appears to be
down a 158-year-old colonial-era law people, the courts can often help. little interest from the BJP in ending this
that criminalizes same-sex sexual violence. The BJP denied its members
activity. Under Section 377 of the Mob Attack in India Highlights were involved in the attack on
Indian Penal Code, sex "against the Broader Violence Agnivesh, but justified it nevertheless.
order of nature" draws a jail term and Swami Agnivesh, a 78-year-old One leader declared him to be a “fraud,”
a fine. Hindu monk who has long promoted who “survives on foreign donations,”
social causes including the rights of and concluded that he “had himself
India’s government has declined to Dalits (formerly “untouchables”) and planned this attack to gain popularity.”
take a position on the the abolition of bonded labor, was Another said that Agnivesh had “hurt
decriminalization of gay sex, leaving recently attacked in Jharkhand state. religious sentiment.”
the a decision about whether to strike Agnivesh said after the attack that he
down the law entirely up to the was targeted by two youth wings of Unless the BJP ends this wink-and-
country’s top court, requesting only the state’s governing Hindu nationalist nod approach that allows its
that the court not address broader Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “They supporters to get away, literally, with
issues like equal marriage, alleged that I was speaking against murder, it will bear responsibility for
inheritance, and adoption. Hindus,” he said. the resulting mobocracy.

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 19


News From the National Human Rights Commission

NHRC concludes Open Hearing victims of human rights violations, 4.53 lakh have been paid to victims
and Camp Sitting at Bengaluru, human rights defenders, NGOs, of atrocity in Mandya district and Rs.
Karnataka Media at the Camp sittings/Open 1.50 lakh paid to the victim from
The National Human Rights hearings. Mr. T. M. Vijaybhaskar, Bengaluru district. Further, in the case
Commission (NHRC) today Chief Secretary, Government of of contaminated water supply Rs.
concluded its two days' 'Open Hearing Karnataka, assured the Commission two lakh each have been paid to the
and Camp Sitting' organized in of prompt action on the various families of the four deceased. The
Bengaluru for the cases of Karnataka. complaints received from NHRC. Commission also recommended
The Commission took up 185 cases monetary compensation of Rs. 5000/
in its Open Hearing on the day one Besides, the issues of atrocities on - each for 35 victims who were taken
and recommended monetary relief of SC/ST, the cases pertain to water ill by contaminated water. Upon
Rs. Five Lakhs in one case and also drainage in Hassan district, consideration of the reports, the Full
issued Show Cause Notices to the compensation and rehabilitation for Commission closed four cases and
State government in seven matters for acquisition of land for metro rail by called for further reports in the
providing monetary relief for prima- KIADB in Bengaluru, allotment of remaining cases.
facie violation of human rights. In
some cases, reports received from The Full Commission meeting was
authorities were ordered to be sent to followed by an interaction with the
the complainant for their comments land to scheduled castes, NGOs, Human Rights Defenders and
and, in some cases, further reports construction of homes for scheduled LGBT community representatives.
have been called for. 106 cases were caste in Gadag, alleged suicide by a During the interaction, the civil
closed after satisfactory response person due to police torture in society representatives raised
from the State Government. Gulbarga, release of retirement sensitive issues such as victimization
benefit and rape on Dalit minor girl, of barber community members,
Earlier, inaugurating the programme release and rehabilitation of bonded problems faced by transgender,
Mr. Justice H. L. Dattu, Chairperson labourers, death in main hole, human trafficking and bonded labour,
NHRC said that the open hearings and electrocution death, failure by the delay in registration of cases by
camp sittings provide an opportunity police to take action, death of children police, problems faced by human
to look at human rights situation in a due to vaccination in Mandya etc. rights defenders including threats to
State and the grievances of the their life, physical violence and sexual
people, particularly the marginalized On the 2nd day, 11 cases were taken harassment against women at work
sections, and recommend on the spot up by the Full Commission. These place even in corporate sector etc.
relief to the victims of human rights included matters pertaining to illegal
violations besides creating awareness quarrying in Shimoga district and NHRC announces winners of its
and helping the official machinery in Mandya district, atrocities by a mob Short Film Award Scheme - 2018
improving the governance with on a Tanzanian national women by a The National Human Rights
proper implementation of Socio- mob in Bengaluru, rescue of slave Commission, based on the
economic Flagship programmes and farmers from Mysore district, police recommendations of a jury, has
provision of basic facilities. atrocities on villagers in Belgaum announced the three winners of its
district, contaminated water supply Short Film Award Scheme - 2018.
Mr. Ambuj Sharma, Secretary in Shivamogga district and air and These are:
General, NHRC said that the water pollution caused by land filled 1. 'Behind the Bars' by Dr. Ms. Dev
Commission is able to interact directly garbage in Mysore. The Full Kanya from Himachal Pradesh
with various stakeholders including Commission was informed that Rs. has been selected for the first prize

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 20


of Rs. 1 lakh. The film gives an 3. El Amasung Eihak by - Mr. August, 2018. Besides the hearing of
insight into the significance of Hamom Ashish Kumar - The film, the cases, the Government officers
prison reforms. in Manipuri with subtitles in will also be sensitized about the issues
2. 'Third Gender' by Mr. Biplab English, is on corruption and concerning human rights.
Majumder from Mumbai has been malpractices of voting rights.
selected for the second prize of Rs. After the inauguration, the
75 thousand. The film highlights 4. Nazariya - by- Mr. Alok D. Rajput - Commission will take up 183 cases
the denial of rights to transgender The film, in Hindi with sub titles in in the 'Open Hearing' which will be
and their challenges in life. English, is on the rights of heard by the Chairperson, Mr. Justice
3. 'It's Possible' by Mr. Jayajose Raj transgender and the necessity to H.L. Dattu, Members, Mr. Justice
CL from Kerala gets the third prize accept them with dignity in society. Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Mr. Justice
of Rs. 50 thousand. It focuses on D. Murugesan and Mrs. Jyotika
the importance of crusade for The three awards will be given at a Kalra. These relate to the grievances
protecting right to clean function to be organized in New Delhi and complaints of atrocities against
environment. The first as well as on the 5th September, 2018. The the persons belonging to Scheduled
the second film is in Hindi with Commission had received total 53 Castes and Scheduled Tribes
subtitles in English and the third entries till the last date on the 2nd communities due to action, inaction
is in Malayalam with subtitles in July, 2018 to compete for its Short or omission by the public authorities.
English. Film Award Scheme. The jury judged
48 films, which it found were Apart from the complaints received
The jury headed by Mr. Justice P.C. fulfilling the terms and conditions of in response to the public notices, the
Ghose, Member, NHRC comprised the competition. Commission has also decided to take
three senior officers of the up some of the cases of Scheduled
Commission including Mr. Ambuj The aim of the Short Film Award Castes and Scheduled Tribes victims,
Sharma, Secretary General, Ms. Scheme is to encourage and already under consideration of the
Chhaya Sharma, DIG, Mr. Jaimini acknowledge cinematic and creative Commission in the Open Hearing.
Kumar Srivastava, Dy. Director efforts of the Indian citizens, The authorities concerned have been
(M&C) and the two external experts irrespective of their age, towards the asked to remain present at the time
as members including, Mr. Arun promotion and protection of human of hearing of these cases.
Chadha, National Award Winner Film rights. This is the fourth year of this
Maker and FTTI alumnus and Mr. competition which has received On the 3rd August, 2018, the second
Sunit Tandon, Director, IHC and tremendous response from various and the concluding day of the
former DG, IIMC. parts of the country. programme, 14 important cases will
be taken up in the sitting of Full
Besides these, three cash awards, the NHRC's Open Hearing and Commission in the 'Camp Sitting.'
Commission has also accepted the Camp Sitting at Bengaluru for These include cases of rehabilitation
jury's recommendations to give a the cases of Karnataka, from of more than 400 slave farmers
certificate of 'Special Mention' to four 2nd - 3rd August, 2018 rescued between 2011-2016, illegal
films. These are: The National Human Rights quarrying and excavation work at
Commission, NHRC will be holding Vadera Basapur Village and other
1. Tritio Chad by - Mr. Tathaghatha two days 'Open Hearing and Camp adjoining villages in Mandya District
Chatterjee. The film, in Bengali Sitting' in order to address the of Karnataka, supply of contaminated
with subtitles in English, is on grievances of the people speedily at water by the Gram Panchayat at
giving women the right to equal Karnataka, Bengaluru on the 2nd - 3rd Maidolalu village in Bhadravati taluk
opportunities. August, 2018. of Shivamogga district etc.

2. No Woman's Land by - Dr. Ms. Mr. Justice H. L. Dattu, Chairperson, The Commission will hold a meeting
Dev Kanya - The film, in Hindi NHRC will inaugurate it at Vikas with NGOs & HRDs/Transgenders
with subtitles in English, is on the Soudha, Doctor Ambedkar Veedhi, between 11.00 and 12.00 Noon
denial of rights to tribal women Sampangi Rama Nagar, Bengaluru, followed by discussion with the Chief
of Kinnaur. Karnataka at 10.00 am on the 2nd Secretary, DGP, DMs, SPs and other

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 21


senior civil, police and jail officers of entries for its first 'Street Theatre human rights violations and their
the Sate on the issues raised by the Festival and Awards Scheme-2018'. redressal mechanism.
NGOs and media persons at Vikas This is the final extension and no
Soudha, Doctor Ambedkar Veedhi, entries will be entertained after 10th The NHRC is completing its silver
Sampangi Rama Nagar, Bengaluru, August, 2018 till 05.00 p.m. jubilee in 2018, hence street plays
Karnataka from 12.00 Noon - 12.45 may also be educative and informative
pm. The aim is to recognize, encourage about the human rights violations and
and promote the creative methods of their redressal mechanism in the
Later on, the Chairperson and Members the Indian citizens for communication country and challenges being faced
will brief the media about the outcome through street plays in order to build by those involved in the promotion
of the Open Hearing/Camp Sitting as awareness about the protection and and protection of human rights.
well as discussions with the NGOs and promotion of human rights.
senior officers of the State Government The detailed terms and conditions of
for wider dissemination of information The inaugural run of the competition the competition along with the
on the human rights issues and action is open for the participation of the application form can be downloaded
taken by the NHRC for their protection college theatre groups as well as from the Notice Board on the home
and promotion. registered theatre groups of Delhi- page of the website of the
NCR region with their street plays in Commission, www.nhrc.nic.in. For
So far, the Commission has held its the contemporary spoken Hindi only. any further queries, the Deputy
Camp Sitting/Open Hearings in the The groups whose street plays will Director (Media & Communication),
States of Assam, Andhra Pradesh, be shortlisted for performance will NHRC can also be contacted.
Andaman & Nicobar, Bihar, be paid Rs. 25,000/- each to meet
Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, various expenditures towards the NHRC notice to the government
Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, production cost etc apart from the of Andhra Pradesh over the
Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, participation certificates. Besides this, reported lack of road
Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Nagaland, the three best performances for the connectivity and health care
Odisha, Punjab, Rajsathan, Tamil first, second and third positions will facilities leading to loss of life in
Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, be given the prize money of Rs.1 tribal belt of Vijayanagaram
Uttarakhand and Chandigarh for the lakh, Rs.60 thousand and Rs.40 district
States of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal thousand respectively along with The National Human Rights
Pradesh and UTs of Chandigarh and certificates and trophies. Commission, NHRC has taken suo
Poducherry. motu cognizance of a media report,
The themes of the street plays could carried today on the 31st July, 2018,
Besides this, the Commission also be broadly-based on various socio- that in the Vijayanagaram district of
organized one Regional Public economic, cultural and political rights Andhra Pradesh a pregnant woman in
Hearing on Right to Health Care in within the ambit of right to life, liberty, labour pain had to be carried by her
collaboration with the Jan Swasthya equality and dignity and covering husband and other villagers for about
Abhiyan (JSA) at Mumbai on 6th - issues specific to bonded and child 12 KM, through a forest, so that she
7th January, 2016 for States of labour, women & children's rights, could make it to an ambulance to reach
Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Goa rights of elderly persons, disabled hospital. But before she could get an
and Union Territories of Daman & rights, right to healthcare, issues of ambulance, the child was delivered and
Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli. fundamental freedoms, human died. Reportedly, this is not an
trafficking, domestic violence, uncommon incident in Vijayanagaram,
NHRC extends by 10 days the human rights violation due to police a tribal region in the State, which lacks
last date for entry to its first atrocities, custodial violence and in proper roads and access to health
'Street Theatre Festival and torture, socio-economic disparities, care facilities.
Awards Scheme-2018' rights of indigenous people, prison
The National Human Rights reforms, right to education, right to The Commission has observed that
Commission has extended the last clean environment, right to work, the contents of the media report, if
date by 10 days from 31st July, 2018 right to equality before law, right to true, raise a serious issue of violation
to 10 August, 2018 for receipt of food and nutritional security, various of human rights. Proper roads and

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 22


health care are basic amenities to be and the DGP, Government of Bihar, 3. Whether any Govt. official, as
provided by the State to its citizens. directing them to enquire into the reported in the media, has been
Accordingly, it has issued a notice to matter and submit a report within two found to have involved in the
the Chief Secretary, Government of weeks. incident. If yes, the details thereof
Andhra Pradesh calling for a detailed be sent.
report in the matter within four The Commission has observed that
weeks. the contents of the media reports, if They are also expected to ensure that
true, raise a serious issue of violation immediate legal action is taken against
The State Government is expected of human rights of the victim girls. the accused persons and necessary
to inform how many such incidents The Shelter Home is supposed to arrangements/steps be taken for relief
have occurred during the last one give security and protection to the and rehabilitation of the victim girls.
year and the action taken by the victim girls but under no stretch of According to the media report,
authorities on them. The imagination the Shelter Home can be carried on the 24th July, 2018, the
Commission would also like to know a playing ground of predators for girls have been shifted to other shelter
the status of the treatment being their monstrous and vulturous home after the incident came to light.
provided to the victim woman and activities, which are against the The medical report of 21 of the girls
relief, if any, granted by the state human dignity and sobriety of the have been submitted to the
authorities to her. women. However, in the instant Muzaffarpur police which confirms
case, the girls have apparently 16 cases of rape. The report further
The Commission has further become victim of rape at the instance states that one of the inmates stated
observed that the State is under of the protectors in the Shelter that one girl was killed when she
obligation to ensure access to timely Home, as the Government officials retaliated to the sexual harassment by
acceptable and affordable health care and the Shelter Home staff have been the staff and she was buried in the
services to its citizens. There are allegedly found to be involved in the premises.
several flagship schemes being run incident. The State and the local
by the government for pregnant administration have failed miserably Reportedly, the sample of debris is
women, newly born and their to protect the rights and dignity of to be sent for forensic test. 10 out of
mothers to fight neo-natal and pre- the victim girls. 11 accused have been arrested. In the
natal deaths and deaths of mothers social audit report prepared by
during pregnancy and deliveries. Accordingly, the State authorities TISS(Tata Institute of Social
have also been asked that their report Sciences), the inmates had narrated
NHRC issued notice to the should also contain the reply to the their ordeals. The Social Welfare
Government of Bihar over following specific points: Department has filed the police
reported sexual exploitation of 1. Whether any approval was given complaint which has exposed the
girls at a Shelter Home in by the Social Welfare Department plight of the girls. A special
Muzaffarpur to run the Shelter Home in investigation team has been formed
The National Human Rights question and what is the to enquire into the matter.
Commission, NHRC has taken suo mechanism to monitor its
motu cognizance of a media report functioning. If any monitoring NHRC notices to the Centre and
that in a State funded Shelter Home mechanism is at place, why such Delhi Government over reported
at Muzaffarpur in Bihar, at least 16 incident took place; death of three minor sisters due
girls were raped. There were 44 girls to malnutrition/starvation in
living in the home run by an NGO 2. Whether any of the victims belong Mandawali area of National
under the supervision of the Social to Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Capital
Welfare Department. Reportedly, the Tribe. If yes, whether the police The National Human Rights
Child Protection Officer of has registered FIR under relevant Commission, NHRC has taken suo
Muzaffarpur District has been sections of SC/ST Act and motu cognizance of media reports
arrested in connection with alleged whether steps have been taken to that three minor sisters (Mansi, 8
sexual exploitation of girls in this pay monetary relief to such years, Shika, 4 years and Parul, 2
Shelter Home. The Commission has victims under SC/ST (POA) years) allegedly died due to
issued notices to the Chief Secretary Rules; malnutrition / starvation in East

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 23


Delhi's Mandawali on the 24th July, NHRC notice to the Government NHRC announces the results of
2018 as per the per the preliminary of Rajasthan over reported mob its Logo design and Slogan/
post-mortem report. lynching of a man in Alwar Tagline writing competitions
The National Human Rights The National Human Rights
The Commission has issued notices Commission has taken suo motu Commission, NHRC India, has
to the Chief Secretary, Govt. of NCT cognizance of media reports that on announced the winners of its Logo
of Delhi and Secretary, Ministry of the 20th July, 2018, a 31-year old design and Slogan/Tagline writing
Women and Child Development, man, Rakbar Khan, from Haryana's Competitions. These were organized
Govt. of India calling for reports in Mewat district was attacked by a online through the "MyGov" portal in
the matter within four two weeks, group of 8-10 cow vigilantes in order to seek people's involvement
whereby both the authorities are Rajasthan Alwar district, who and participation in the promotion and
requested further to submit the status succumbed to injuries a few hours protection of human rights in the run
report of Antodhya Yojana. later. The cow vigilantes have, up to the Silver Jubilee Celebrations
reportedly, alleged that the victim died of the Commission in 2018. A total
The Commission has observed that in police custody and not because of of 893 entries were received for Logo
contents of the media reports, If true, mob violence as claimed by the Design and 4237 entries for Slogan/
raise a serious issue of violation of authorities. There are further reports Tagline from the people of varied age
human rights of the victim children. in the print media that it took Alwar groups in different parts of the
"Right to Food" is an integral part of police more than 3 hours to travel six country.
the Fundamental Right to life so kms while taking a critically injured
enshrined in Article-21 of the Indian victim of lynching to the closest The Commission has also agreed and
Constitution. Moreover, the National hospital, the Community Health accepted the recommendations of the
Food Security Act, 2013 has also Centre in Ramgarh. Committee to slightly modified the
been enacted to provide food and winning logo design and one of the
nutritional security in human life cycle The Commission has observed that slogans/ tagline, within the scope of
approach, by ensuring access to the contents of the news reports, if the term and conditions of the
adequate quantity of quality food at true, raise a serious issue of violation competitions, to make a composite
an affordable price to all its citizens of human rights of the victim man. Silver Jubilee Year Logo of the
to live a life with dignity. Accordingly, it has issued notices to NHRC, which will be officially
the Chief Secretary and DGP, Govt. released soon.
It is, therefore, evident that despite of Rajasthan calling for reports in the
legal provisions and machinery in matter within two weeks.
place, the children had to starve to
death. The deceased children have
been denied their basic human rights.
According to the media reports,
carried on the 22nd July, 2018, the
Advertise with
The State authorities, therefore, are victim of mob lynching, in his dying us for
lacking in discharging its duty by not statement, told the police that he and
fulfilling its obligation without his friend were walking back with two Strengthening
providing food to all. cows they had bought when they
came under attack in Alwar's our Hands in
According to the media reports, Ramgarh area by the mob, which
carried today on the 26th July, accused them of being smugglers Promoting
2018, a Medical Board has been taking the cattle for slaughter.
formed to re-conduct the post- Reportedly, rather than saving the life and
mortem and to confirm the exact of the victim, the two cows
cause of death. A Magisterial recovered from him seemed to have Protecting
Enquiry has been ordered in the been the priority of police. The cows
matter. It is further reported that were taken to gaushala 10 kms away, Human
the mother of the victim children is a good one hour before the victim of
suffering from mental health issues mob lynching was brought to the
Rights
and their father is untraceable. CHC, dead.

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 24


International Human Rights Update

France Approves Flawed Asylum There are some positives in the new district of Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan
and Immigration Law law. It extends residence permits region early on August 3, 2018,
In France, asylum seekers are from one to four years for persons Human Rights Watch said today. At
sleeping rough, and flawed given ‘subsidiary’ protection, but not least half were girls’ schools. No
procedures often leave full refugee status, and removes from group has claimed responsibility for
unaccompanied migrant children the list of safe countries of origin the attacks.
adrift, homeless, and excluded from those whose governments persecute
the care they need. LGBT people. The Pakistani government should take
urgent measures to make schools
But instead of addressing these safer, and fairly prosecute those
challenges or correcting flaws in responsible for attacks against
existing laws, legislators have decided The law also creates an exception to students, teachers, and schools.
to push through a problematic new the crime of helping undocumented
asylum and migration law that could migrants when done for “a strictly “The devastating attacks on schools
make it harder for people to get humanitarian objective.” But in Diamer highlight the dangers that
needed protection. lawmakers had little choice given the many students and teachers in
recent Constitutional Court ruling that Pakistan face on a regular basis,” said
The main aim of the law, passed solidarity should not be criminalized, Bede Sheppard, deputy children’s
August 1, seems to be to make it and some groups are worried that rights director at Human Rights
harder to obtain asylum. Applications judges could narrowly interpret the Watch. “The government should
now need to be made within 90 days humanitarian exception in a way that promptly investigate and prosecute
upon entering French territory or face permits prosecutions. these attacks and ensure that
a fast-track process with fewer children have a safe place to attend
safeguards. The National Assembly missed the school.”
opportunity to ban family detention,
Appeal rights have been curbed. Some even though the Senate had proposed Pakistan faces significant education
asylum seekers who are rejected, to limit that form of detention to five challenges, with an estimated 25
including those from countries days. The final law doubles million children out of school. Militant
deemed “safe,” may be deported even maximum detention pending violence has disrupted the education
before the asylum court rules on their deportation from 45 to 90 days, of hundreds of thousands of
appeal. While safe removal of rejected including for accompanied children, children, particularly girls. Militant
asylum seekers is a valid policy, the although they have pledged to propose Islamist groups, including the Taliban,
new rules substantially increase the separate legislation to curb detention Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and their
risk that people who need protection of children in the coming months. affiliates, attack schools and
could be wrongly removed to face universities to foster intolerance and
death, torture, or other irreparable It is shameful that rather than exclusion, target symbols of the
harm. addressing dire situations faced by government, and particularly to drive
many asylum seekers and migrants, girls out of school.
The European Court of Human Rights France’s lawmakers decided to
has criticized France in the past for a weaken safeguards for asylum. Militants have previously targeted
system that allows fast-tracked girls’ schools in Diamer district. In
asylum seekers to be removed before Surge in Militant Attacks on February 2004, attackers destroyed
appeals are heard. The new law is Schools in Pakistan nine schools, eight of them for girls.
likely to face similar scrutiny in the Alleged militants attacked and burned Explosives hit two girls’ schools in
courts. down at least 12 schools in Diamer December 2011.

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 25


The nongovernmental awareness The attacks on Malala Yousafzai, who sites during reconstruction, and
campaign Alif Ailaan reported that later became a Nobel peace Prize students should have mental health
Diamer is the lowest-ranked district laureate, on October 9, 2012, and on support as needed.
in terms of quality of education in the the Army Public School in Peshawar
Gilgit-Baltistan region, and is among on December 16, 2014, which killed Pakistan should join the 80 countries
the 10 lowest ranked in the country. at least 145 people, mostly students, that have endorsed the Safe Schools
Only 3,479 girls are among the directed international spotlight on the Declaration, a non-binding political
16,800 students enrolled in threat to education in Pakistan. agreement opened for state support
government schools in the district, at an international conference in Oslo,
which has 88 government schools for In some areas, government forces Norway, in May 2015. Countries that
girls and 156 for boys. have used educational institutions, endorse the Safe Schools Declaration
including both schools and college pledge to restore access to education
After the Taliban took over large parts housing, as temporary or permanent when schools are attacked and
of the Swat Valley in Khyber barracks or military bases. When undertake measures to make it less
Pakhtunkhwa province in 2007, it educational facilities are used for likely that students, teachers, and
began a violent campaign against military purposes, it places them at schools will be attacked. They agree
education for girls. Over 900 girls’ increased risk of attack. The to deter such attacks by promising
schools were forced to close and government should issue clear and to investigate and prosecute crimes
over 120,000 girls stopped attending public orders to Pakistan security involving schools, and to minimize the
school. About 8,000 female teachers forces to curtail the military use of use of schools for military purposes
were driven out of work. For many schools. so they do not become targets for
girls, the loss was permanent, and attack.
they were not able to return to school Pakistan should develop a
even after the army displaced the comprehensive policy for protecting “The Pakistani government should do
Taliban. students – especially girls – as well all it can to deter future attacks on
as teachers, schools, and universities education, beginning with improving
The Pakistani government says it from attack and military use, and school security and providing the
does not collect specific data on involve all concerned ministry staff public with reliable information on
attacks on schools and universities, at central and local levels in carrying threats,” Sheppard said. “Attacks on
or on deaths and injuries from such out this strategy, Human Rights Watch education not only harm the students
attacks. However, according to the said. and families directly affected, but also
Global Terrorism Database, there have an incalculable long-term
were 867 attacks on educational Securing schools has been largely left negative effect on Pakistani society.”
institutions in Pakistan from 2007 to to the provincial governments,
2015, resulting in 392 fatalities and whose efforts have been sporadic, Venezuela’s Left-Behind
724 injuries. The Global Coalition to varying across provinces with little Generation
Protect Education from Attack attention to protecting girls’ I met Fernando Arvelo (pseudonym),
recorded at least 203 attacks on education. In most cases, a 74-year-old Venezuelan, at a soup
schools in Pakistan between 2013 responsibility for enhancing and kitchen in Cúcuta, the main Colombian
and 2017. maintaining security has fallen to city across the border from Táchira
hard-pressed school authorities. state in Venezuela. Fernando moved to
The government’s failure to keep Táchira from his home state – a 20-
consistent and transparent national Pakistan’s federal government should hour drive – soon after his wife,
data about such attacks raises serious cooperate with provincial and regional children, and grandchildren went
concerns about its ability to track authorities to create a rapid response abroad fleeing the crisis. He did not
repairs of damaged schools, identify system for attacks on schools. want to be a burden for his family, and
trends that could help create Schools should quickly be repaired felt he could not start over elsewhere
measures to protect schools, or or rebuilt, with destroyed educational at this point in his life.
investigate and prosecute the people material replaced, so that children can
responsible, Human Rights Watch return to school as soon as possible. Fernando crosses the border every
said. Schools should operate in alternate day, walking in stifling heat of up to

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 26


40 degrees Celsius, to eat at the soup some reports of older people who
kitchen. “How much time will I be died while queuing for their social Contribute
able to stand this?” he told me in a security payments.
broken voice as he stared into the Articles and
plastic plate with rice, potato, and
meat.
In the Americas, the Inter-American
Convention on Protecting the Human
Support Our
Rights of Older Persons, which Cause in Creating
Fernando is one of many older people entered into force in 2017, provides
left behind as a growing number of that states “shall adopt all necessary a Just and
Venezuelans flee the country. While measures to ensure the safety and
most coverage of Venezuela’s rights of older persons in situations
Equitable Society.
worsening humanitarian crisis has of risk, including humanitarian
focused on children, with growing emergencies.” They should also adopt
levels of child malnutrition, the elderly assistance measures specific to the
are also very vulnerable. Several needs of older people associated with
studies by the United Nations and emergencies. Please subscribe to
nongovernmental organizations have Human Touch
shown that older people are The Inter-American Court of Human
disproportionately impacted by Rights recently ruled, for the first
and support us for
humanitarian crises, and Venezuela is time, that older people have a “right creation of a just and
no exception. to increased protection” through equitable society and
“differentiated measures.” The court
CONVITE, a human rights highlighted “the importance of
Contribute Articles and
organization that monitors the increasing the visibility of older Support Our Cause in
situation of older people in Venezuela, persons as subjects of rights who Creating a Just and
conducted a study weighing 267 enjoy special protection” for, among
older people in Miranda state between other things, “comprehensive care.”
Equitable Society
December 2016 and November 2017.
It found they lost an average of 1.3 If the Venezuelan government
kilograms per month. continues to show it is unwilling or
unable to ensure older people have
Fernando told me he used to weigh priority access to food and medicine,
85 kilograms, and now weighs less Latin American leaders who have
than 50. He struggles to find expressed concern about Venezuela’s
medicines for heart and respiratory crisis should invoke regional
problems, glaucoma, and cataracts. standards that highlight the
At times, he’s had to purchase and importance of caring for older people
take expired medication, which was to press Venezuelan authorities to do
all he could find. so and offer humanitarian aid directed
specifically at older people. They
Without family support, faced with should let all the Fernandos out there
Visit our
vulnerabilities because of their know they will not be left behind. social media page at :
advanced age, many older people in https://
Venezuela endure extremely harsh
conditions. Venezuelan media outlets www.facebook.com/
have published images and accounts Support us for the humantouchmagazine/
of older people queuing for hours to
buy food or basic supplies and collect creation of a just and for online
their pensions, or protesting for the equitable society human rights updates.
retirement benefits and pension plans
they are entitled to. There have been

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 27


Environment:
Need to Strengthen the Constitutional Safeguards for its Protection
- Darshana Das

F
or full development as human It is important that, we realize our environment as well as the
beings, exercise and enjoyment dependence on earths’ natural recognition of their rights to
of Human Rights by all the resources because natural resources information, participation, security
people is necessary. Human rights and redress. Destruction of
and fundamental freedom help us to environment and thereby of the
develop our intrinsic qualities, natural resources, leads to the
intelligence, talents and conscience violation of human rights directly by
to meet our material and spiritual like air, water, land are fundamental undermining the above aspects of
needs. to all life forms, which is much more human existence or indirectly, by
valuable than money and economic leading to other violations of human
In the long evolution of human race infrastructure for the base of our rights, for example, through social
on this planet, a stage has been survival. disruption, conflicts and even war
reached when, through the rapid which may conversely lead to
acceleration of science and For the communities that have been environmental destruction, for
technology, we have acquired the termed ‘ecosystem people’ (people instance, displacement by war can
power to transform our environment depending on the natural cause environmental damage in areas
in countless ways and unprecedented environments of their locality to meet of relocation; or breakdown in
scale. If this power is used wisely most of their material needs), natural sustainable common property
and with respect to the ways of resources are the base of their management.
nature, can bring to all communities survival and livelihood. In India 70%
the opportunity to enhance the quality of the population depends on land If we look at society from a historical
of life or, if applied wrongly or in an based occupations, forests, wetlands perspective, we realize that protection
iniquitous ways, can bring and marine habitats, for basic and preservation of the environment
incalculable harm to human beings subsistence requirements with regard has been integral to the cultural and
and the environment. Some of the to water, food, fuel, housing as also religious ethos of most human
evidences of human caused harm in for ecological livelihood and cultural communities. Nature has been
many regions of the earth are as sustenance. This close venerated by ancient Hindus, Greeks,
follows: interdependence of humans and their Native Americans and other religions
environment largely signifies the around the world. They worshipped
1. Dangerous level of pollution in influence of environment in the all forms of nature believing that it
water, air, earth and living culture of societies. They seek emanated the spirit of God. Hinduism
beings. inspiration, knowledge, spirituality declared in its dictum that “the Earth
2. Destruction and depletion of and aesthetics within their natural is our mother and we are all her
irreplaceable life forms and surroundings. children.” The ancient Greeks
natural resources. worshipped Gaea or the Earth
3. Major and undesirable Life, livelihoods, culture and society, Goddess. Islamic law regards man
disturbances in the earths’ are fundamental aspect of human as having inherited “all the resources
climate and protective layers existence- hence their maintenance of life and nature” and having certain
4. Gross deficiencies, harmful to and enhancement is a fundamental religious duties to God in using them.
physical, mental and social human right. Environmental rights are In the Judeo-Christian tradition, God
health, in the living and human rights, as people’s livelihoods, gave the earth to his people and their
working environments of their health, and sometimes their very offspring as an everlasting
humans, especially in cities existence depend upon the quality of possession, to be cared for and
and industrial complexes and their access to the surrounding passed on to each generation.

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 28


in their way of survival are the
indigenous and tribal people of the
world. Their identity as independent
communities and peoples is
threatened because the social,
economic, cultural, natural resource
base which enabled them to thrive
as distinct people is being trampled
upon. The present crisis of these
indigenous peoples consists in the
weakening and damaging of the
ultimate base of their sustenance,
namely land. Since the dawn of
Several hundred million people have - And fourthly, environmental independence, the Indian ruling
been increasingly forced to live far degradation worsens existing class, effectively using the
below the minimum levels required problems suffered by developing government machinery, has been
for a decent human existence, and developed countries. Air alienating adivasi land in the name
deprived of water, food, clothing, pollution, for example, accounts of ‘national interests’. The biggest
shelter and education, health and for 2.7 million to 3.0 million of threat to the adivasi people in the
nutrition. Development activities deaths annually and of these, 90% large scale alienation of their land is
which were taken to alleviate these are from developing countries. through mega projects such as
problems, has often increased them. mines, industries, wildlife reserves,
Many communities, which were once It is not only humans that are townships, highways etc. and other
self-sufficient, are now in worse affected, but also other forms of life projects in the name of ‘national
situation as their land, forests have too. The concept of environment as interests’ and ‘national
been taken away for ‘economic a basic human right must also development’.
progresses’. It is clear that, poverty encompass a respect for the right of
situations and human rights abuses other species to survive on this The environment conditions have
are worsened by environmental planet. There are in between 5 to 50 deteriorated all over the country due
degradation. This is for several million species of plants, animals and to aggravating factors. The overall
obvious reasons; micro-organisms sharing the earth situation is certainly a matter of grave
- Firstly, the exhaustion of natural with us and each has a value of its concern, more specifically because
resources leads to unemployment own. This range of species, the it is affecting adversely the quality of
and emigration to cities. habitats they live in, and the internal life of the people and eroding the very
- Secondly, this affects the genetic diversity they display, is foundations of the national economy
enjoyment and exercise of basic called biological diversity or and national security. As mentioned
human rights. Environmental biodiversity. Such diversity is part of earlier, the worst affected are the
conditions contribute to a large our daily lives and livelihoods, poorer sections of society. The
extent, to the spread of infectious constituting resources upon which situation is compounded by slack and
diseases.   From the 4,400 million families, communities, nations and inadequate enforcement of laws and
of people who live in developing future generations depend. legislation. In this scenario, the
countries, almost 60% lack basic Biodiversity has numerous uses in importance of strengthening the
health care services, almost a third agriculture, medicine, food and constitutional safeguards for
of these people have no access to industry. It helps to maintain environment protection and nature
safe water supply. ecological balance and evolutionary conservation cannot be underscored.
- Thirdly, degradation poses new processes. Its loss is, therefore, a part There can be no doubt that it is only
problems such as environmental of the erosion of environmental by ensuring ecological security that
refugees. Environmental refugees human rights. the goal of sustainable development
suffer from significant economic, and national well-being will become
socio-cultural, and political Amongst all the people, the only feasible.
consequences. people who are facing serious crisis - HT Bureau

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 29


Corruption in India:
Discretion is the Need of the Hour
- Dr. Prem Kumar Sinha

I
t is very difficult to pin-point a “Discretion” is held in high esteem section of the society and another
few political leaders, in this country. In Hindi language time they try to win over confidence
unquestionably, who were discretion means VIVEK, which of the other groups of people. If the
predominantly responsible for connotes an action undertaken main aim of the political masters
disarray and decay of public order in with utmost sincerity, intelligence would have been to develop the
this country. Many political parties country as a whole and they were
with different leaders at the helm of wise enough to pursue this
affairs have ruled the country since immaculately, they would have started
the Independence at different the process of putting in place clear-
junctures, some for longer durations and foresight. In practice, the bigger cut guidelines, free from various kinds
and others, for shorter periods. the authority, the bigger discretionary of interpretations, for the governance
Thoughts of political masters are also powers are vested in it. For example, of the country, thereby preparing the
influenced and shaped from the the Prime Minister can announce ground for steadily curtailing
thinking of intellectuals of that era as grants of several hundred billions of discretionary powers of various
well as the contemporary happenings rupees for appeasing people of a authorities.
of their time. particular region and simultaneously
can turn a blind eye even towards The following illustrations may well
It is easy for the academicians and genuine problems faced by the people explicate my point of view:
other intellectuals to turn the blame of another region. Many intellectuals
for corruption or any other calamity would call it as a policy decision of 1.In the year 2002, there were huge
of the country, on the political leaders the Government. I would call it as an uproars in both the Houses of
by calling them names such as exercise of discretion on the part of Parliament with regard to some
scoundrels or blood-sucking political the Government, which should not irregularities in allotment of retail
vampires or what not but the problem be carried out for obvious reasons, petrol pump dealerships and LPG
of corruption is structural in Indian if it is not supported by irrefutable distributorships, by the Petroleum
context. Time and again, intellectuals logic. Application of discretion cannot Ministry, purportedly to some
point out problems and also suggest be justified only because it is persons, most of whom were
piece-meal solutions but they often decorated with dignified terms, like, connected to political bigwigs.
leave gaps in their suggested call of the hour, considered opinion, Eventually, the Supreme Court of
solutions, for endless debates to historical perspective, etc., because India stepped in and ordered
simmer thereafter. But they seldom such hollow justifications can be examination of the whole issue by
come forward with comprehensive debated endlessly and pave the way a two-member committee of
practical solutions which could be for indulgence in more and more ad- former Supreme Court Judges,
termed as fool-proof or at least have hoc solutions for governance, which which later found irregularities
in-built trustworthy safety measures only harm the cause of good and favouritism in award of retail
where one could fall-back in time of governance. petrol pump dealerships and LPG
crisis and again recoup for further distributorships. The Supreme
march towards development. Generally, most of the discretionary Court finally stamped cancellation
actions of the political masters are of 93 such allotments on the 7th
To my mind, the single biggest aimed at only one target, viz., how November, 2008. In India,
contributor towards corruption in to create or consolidate vote bank of dealerships/distributorships of
public life in India can be their party so that it could form petroleum products supplied by
identified as discretion, discretion, Government after the next election? the government controlled
and discretion!!! The term Sometimes they want to appease one companies are highly coveted

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 30


3.Now, I take the example of the
recent loan-waivers of about
Rs.710 billion, announced in the
Union Budget 2008-09, whereby
farmers who had land holding up
to 2 hectares were completely ex-
empted from repayment of loans
and those having land holding
above 2 hectares were granted
minimum benefit of Rs.20,000/-
or up to 25 percent of the bal-
ance amount, due up to 31st De-
cember, 2007 and remained un-
paid until 29th February, 2008.
There was intense debate in print
as well as electronic media of the
country, regarding pros and cons
because of their huge earning further additional cost of about
of the loan-waiver. I am not go-
potential; naturally there are more Rs.6000/- came along in the form
ing into the merits and demerits
aspirants than the availability of of subsequent increase in value
of this loan-waiver, because in-
such dealerships. Had the added tax, road tax, and insurance
tellectuals have already expressed
petroleum ministry auctioned charges. Authorities said that it
their views in this matter in depth
award of these dealerships in a was promulgated to promote
and I have nothing more substan-
transparent manner, the smaller cars which are more fuel-
tial to add over it. But my conten-
Government would have efficient. Its net result was that
tion is only on one point, viz.,
generated a lot more revenue SX4 model of the Maruti Suzuki
what was thought for those who
besides saving it from public company took a financial hit to
took pains to repay their loans?
disgrace as a result of the the tune of Rs.21,000/- (approx.)
Should have they not been re-
indictment of the Supreme Court because its engine capacity was
warded for being dutiful and law-
of India which found fault with 1586cc, whereas another car, viz.,
abiding? Many have opined and I
the discretionary actions of the Honda City, which came from the
also do feel that these dutiful
petroleum ministry. The fall out stable of the Honda Siel Company
farmers should have been at least
of the entire episode was that the remained unaffected from the duty
given some monetary discount on
country was deprived of its hike because its engine capacity
the quantum of interest paid by
legitimate income and culture of was 1497cc. It is a clear-cut case
them or else they could have been
corruption spread further. So the of exercising discretion for fix-
assured lower interest payment in
crux of this example is that in the ing up a cut-off mark by the
case of future loans. Were we not
absence of clear-cut guidelines whims of the concerned authori-
indifferent towards the non-de-
and inherent scope for exercising ties. There should be clear-cut
faulters and showering gratis who
discretion by the authorities, guidelines in advance whereby
defaulted for any reason whatso-
favouritism can be practised, taxes and duties should be gov-
ever? What is the sensible logic
which is nothing but corruption. erned and not fixed by some ad-
behind this discretion?
So it can be concluded that hoc decisions which are taken
corruption follows discretionary overnight, whereby some sections
Authorities may give sensational
overtures. are benefitted and some are hit.
speeches to justify their action for
When discretion can be used to
exercising such discretion and
2.In June 2008, passenger vehicles favour one party over the inter-
then calling it as a policy decision
with engines of more than 1500cc ests of another party, there is al-
of the Government. The
capacity to 1999cc capacity, were ways a lot of scope to use it for
discretion observed in granting of
levied additional central excise monetary gains. Is this not cor-
this loan-waiver might have not
duty of Rs.15,000/- per vehicle, ruption?
given any monetary benefit to

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 31


revamped and rechristened as
Targeted Public Distribution System
(TPDS) in the year 1997, whereby
households were classified in two
broad categories, viz., (i) BPL
families and (ii) APL families. Rates
of food-grains and other commodities
were kept substantially lower for BPL
families than those prescribed for the
APL families. Later, in the year 2000,
the Government created another
category of families, viz., Antyodaya
families, with a view to extend
additional benefits to the poorest
among the BPL families. These
Antyodaya families were to be short-
those in the Government but it expecting another financial bail- listed amongst the existing BPL
would have certainly shown the out!!! families. Earlier, the total number of
way to many that defaulting in the Antyodaya families was limited to
repayment of loans is after all not 4.Now, I describe as to how 15.33% of the total BPL families, now
a bad thing and should not be corruption starts when discretion this number has been raised to 23%
looked down upon. In future, is exercised in classifying people of the total BPL families. Presently,
more and more people will back in three main categories in India, 15 million families (comprising 75
out from repayment of loans. Does viz., (i) Antyodaya Families million people) are eligible for getting
it not tantamount to teaching the (poorest of the poor), (ii) Below benefits meant for Antyodaya
lesson for practising corruption Poverty Line (BPL) Families, and category.
by encouraging wilful default? Is (iii) Above Poverty Line (APL)
this not equivalent to sowing the Families, because on the basis of Though, the GOI has notified
seed of corruption and cheating this very categorization, elaborate guidelines for identifying
in the lives of henceforth honest differential benefits under families belonging to the Antyodaya
people? Had there been a uniform Targeted Public Distribution category and the BPL category, an
policy to provide relief to all the System of the Government are officer attached to a particular village
farmers instead of practising granted to the people. body (gram sabha) or urban local
discretion in form of the ad-hoc body enjoys the final discretion in
decisions, it could have been Earlier, there was Universal Public certifying whether a family belongs
termed as a policy decision of the Distribution System which did not to the category of Antyodaya family
Government for the welfare of differentiate people on the basis of or BPL family or APL family.
the entire farmer community. So their financial status. Later, it was However, the problem is further
here, I just want to emphasize
that acts of discretion in one way
or the other eventually encourage
corruption. In a recent report
appearing in Business Standard
dated 15th December, 2008, it
was mentioned that the
cooperative banks were
witnessing up to 25 percent
default in repayment of loans
whereas earlier around 10
percent farmers were defaulting.
Reason: Many farmers are

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 32


compounded by the fact that the When people are supplied ration at Thus, it is obvious that the element
people belonging to weaker sections substantially varying prices for dif- of discretion inherent in the process
do not enjoy financial stability, thus ferent categories of people, naturally, of certification by an officer attached
their financial condition remains in a many would desire that they be clas- to a village local body or an urban
fluid state. Moreover, disasters strike sified in such a way that they avail of local body, prepares ground for mul-
without notice, any calamity in a maximum discount in the purchase tiplying corruption level in public life
family can descend on it any time, of essential commodities. This desire from the grass-root level. I have dis-
be it on account of death, illness, of the people to avail of maximum cussed in the following sections as
accident, flood, drought, fire, loss of monetary benefit coupled with the to how the need for classifying peo-
job or any other misfortune. It can greed on the part of the government ple in various categories can itself be
alter all the equations of financial officials to earn quick money, dispensed with by extending compre-
stability of a marginal household in prompts the government officials to hensive social security to all, thus
no time. So the financial condition of use the weapon of discretion which paving the way to weed out corrup-
a family belonging to weaker sections, is vested with them, which eventu- tion completely, at least from this part
which has no source of fixed income, ally culminates in sowing the seed of of public domain.
usually remains prone to extreme corruption in the entire society.
volatility and thus its income level - The author is working as the
cannot be certified with surety at all. And enormity of this corruption and Assistant Registrar (Academic) at
inefficiency can be gauged by a re- Dayalbagh Educational Institute,
So how can a government official cent survey of the National Council Agra.
certify with authenticity, even if he of Applied Economic Research, The article is available online at
tries for it, as to who belong to APL which has reckoned that at least 20 http://www.curingindia.com/
or BPL or Antyodaya category? Even million bogus BPL cards are in cir-
place of residence of people keeps culation while 11 million genuinely
on changing from rural to urban and poor families, including the poorest
vice-versa, at the same time, poverty of the poor who should have been
Support us for the
line is different for rural and urban given Antyodaya category benefits, creation of a just and
areas. In rural areas households with do not possess any ration card equitable society
per capita income up to Rs.356/- p.m. (Source: Business Standard dated
are classified as belonging to the BPL 15th January, 2008).
category, whereas in urban areas this
limit is Rs.538/- p.m.

Even the estimates of the Central Gov-


ernment and those of the State Gov-
ernments do not corroborate. The
Planning Commission of India has
listed 0.75 million households belong-
ing to BPL families for Haryana,
whereas Haryana State Government
has identified 1.1 million BPL fami-
lies in the state (Source: The Hindu
dated 23rd August, 2008). When the
estimates of the Central Government
and its State Governments can be at
such a wide variance then what
would be the level of accuracy in iden-
tifying true status of households by
the government officials attached to
various village and urban local bod-
ies.

Vol. XV No. 8 August 2018 33


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