Human Rights Abused

"The description of some cases, here, would not be out of reference:

(a) Despite the state prohibition against torture and custodial misconduct by the police, the torture is widespread in police custody. "The police often tortureinnocent people until a �confession� is obtained�. It is stated that about 800 people die after being tortured to death in Indian prisons every year. Custodial rape is not an unusual affair. Police reforms, as directed by the Supreme Court in the Prakash Singh v. Union of India, 2006, have yet to take a concrete shape.

(b) Human trafficking is a $8 million illegal business in India. Around 10,000 women from Nepal are brought to India annually for commercial sexual exploitation. Each year 20,000�25,000 women and children are trafficked from Bangladesh.

(c) Sexual harassment (See Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan,1997), accompanied by violence has become a common feature with cases of acid throwing (See Students of Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University v. Registrar, Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University, 1997).

(d) In India, extra-judicial killings by the police or the security forces are called �encounter killings�, meaning that the killing occurred during an armed encounter between the police or security forces and the victim. "The killing by the State forces is most often declared to be defensive, cases of attempted murders and other related offences are registered against the victims,� and the cases are closed without much investigation: terroristic activities, are usual affairs. In Andhra Pradesh, for example, the naxalites have made people their targets; in Punjab, the terrorists were very active at one point of time; in Mumbai, it is those who are alleged to be part of the underworld. "The civil liberties groups, journalists, lawyers are consistently challenging all this over the past two decades.

(e) "The burning of Roop Kanwar on the pyre of her husband in Rajasthan, in 1986, has reintroduced Sati. Questions of custom and communal pride have been raised, State action has been, still, an issue. In 1987, the Act was enacted and Sati was made an offence; and the death penalty was introduced as an alternative sentence. "The �glorification� of sati, where a temple is constructed and a dead women worshipped bringing in money to the family, has also been made punishable. Honour killings have been reported from many places. "Though a law prohibiting child marriage has been on the statute book since 1929, it is still performed in many parts of India. For instance, the practice of performing child marriages on Akshaya Teej, is reported, has not stopped in Rajasthan. Ameena, a girl of about 12 years, is married to an old man from Saudi Arabia who takes her away to his country as his bride, to be left alone in some immediate future.

(f) According to the Human Rights Watch, the dalits and the adivasis continue to face discrimination, exclusion and caste-related violence. "Though laws and the policies adopted by the Union government provide protection to them, yet the local authorities do not faithfully implement either the laws or the policies. "These weaker sections of society constitute less than one-fourth of population, they face social stigma and economic hardships. "The reservation policy and all affirmative actions do not help them to live a dignified life; the practice of untouchability still persists: in Andhra Pradesh, 46 ways of practising untouchability have seen documented; in Kerala, dalits keep facing the wrath of brahmanism; the elevation of the dalits in the panchayat positions is not seen with any favour. "There have seen cases of the dalits not being allowed to travel in buses while the cases of their being hacked on the highways to death have been reported in the newspapers in numerous parts of the country.

(g) "The detention cases speak about the police brutality. At times, the police takes hostage some of suspected people while in other cases, the relatives of the suspected people are kept in jails till such people surrender. "This appears to be the practice in most States of India and one that needs further investigation. "There have been reports of people spending long years in jail, which could have been averted if prisons were not as inaccessible as they are. Rudul Sah (Rudul Sah v. State of Bihar, 1983), the man who spent fourteen years in jail because he had been considered unfit to stand trial, and continued to remain untried despite having been declared fit, is one well-known instance.

(h) "The conditions in jails; solitary confinement, the inhuman treatment of prisoners, including their being kept in irons, for instance; overcrowding of prisons; the right of prisoners, including under trials, to vote are issues that have been raised repeatedly over the years. "The inadequacy of medical services in prisons, often resulting in the death of prisoners has been much in evidence, Statistics in the Annual Report of the NHRC reveal that there are a much larger number of deaths in judicial custody than in police custody.

(i) Corruption has been at the center of attention at various arenas of public life. "The Bofors Gun deal, the Enron issue are examples of corruption, to name a few among numerous. "The allotment of petrol pumps and the retail outlets and allotment of commercial plots, and the recent telecommunication issues as well as those related to Commonwealth Games in 2010 are other such examples. "The Vohra Committee report (1997) has confirmed what is otherwise known to be a common fact.

(j) Street children have their peculiar vulnerability. In Bangalore, a study reveals that almost every street child has been sexually exploited at some time or another. "They are also specially susceptible to drugs. Street children, however, take care of themselves, and often of each other. Women in prostitution have faced the possibility of their children being forcibly separated from them, following an order of the Supreme Court in Gaurav Jain v. Union of India, 1990. A �raid� conducted by Delhi Police in 1990 (a year after the Gaurav Jain order), in which 112 �children� were picked up from the GB Road area was an indication of what such a power of the police could mean to these women and their children.

"The above references only demonstrate that all is not well in polity and society. "Those who have been in power, they, socially and economically, misuse it and abuse it and the result is that those who are weak, they only suffer. Fortunately and, happily, the civil society is opening up; the social movements (Anna Hazare�s movement (August, 2011) for example on corruption-free society is worth mentioning) are becoming alert and active, and are asserting themselves; public interest litigation and judicial activism are contributing their bit to make the rights of the weak effective and seeking the executive (from the police man to the prime minister) to become relatively more responsible and transparent in the performance of their duties.

(c) Citizens should know their Rights: Professor Laski had rightly said that vigilance is the price of liberty. "This means that it is the person, citizen himself/herself who can safeguard his/her freedom.

It is, therefore, necessary that one should, at least, be aware of one�s rights: By way of illustration, we can enumerate some of the major rights/freedoms/liberties of the people:

  • None is to be discriminated by any public servant.
  • None is to be denied medical treatment in any hospital: a patient has the right to know his/her ailment.
  • None is to be illegally detained and tortured : an arrestee has the right to be informed about the full particulars/grounds for arrest; to consult his/her legal advisor; is to be produced before the nearest magistrate within 24 hours; to defend himself/herself through his/ her lawyer.
  • A woman can be arrested in the presence of a woman police officer, and is not administered any beating at the police station, not even any man.
  • None is to be compelled to be a witness against himself/ herself.
  • A poor person has to be provided legal aid.
  • A police man is not to take law into his/her own hands: none to be tortured in custody.
  • None is to be implicated in any false case.
  • No woman is to be assaulted, humiliated, disgraced, tortured.
  • None is to be denied the right to hold and express any opinion.
  • None is to be deprived of his/her property.
  • None is to be denied of his/her faith/religion, even right not to have any religion.
  • None is to be forced to undertake any unpaid activity.
  • None is to be refused, if he/she is an examinee holding the valid admission ticket, entry in the examination hall.
  • None is to be denied of his/her wages for the labour/work one does.

Written by princy

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