Stray Thoughts on the New Legal Shift in India:


Stray thoughts on the new Legal Shift in India:

The Government of India is bringing in new laws to address governance issues within India especially with regard to law and order. It gives more powers to the Police, as though the problem India faced was the absence of the same. While the experts have said Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita to be one that will make India a Police Raj, I think you are being humorous and will soon make yourself into a laughingstock for all.

Why, from my limited understanding the problem of criminal law delivering justice is linked to certain other factors:

a) That prisons are overcrowded, an issue also created by presence of large number of inmates who are waiting for justice process or the final verdict. Often, they may end up in Prison for periods far more than what the justice could deliver as maximum sentence for the given crime.

b) There aren’t enough lawyer or judges to ensure speedy delivery of justice. In case you think AI will address the issue, you forget that the process of delivering justice does not have great emphasis on skewed collaborative arrangement reached by the accused and the plaintiff, availability of groups which focus on the same as in US. While law firms may benefit, the common knowledge that evolves within a group of legal experts or aspirants will be made more exclusive and the process would benefit AI raw data fine tuning,

c) Prisons are expensive to manage, in case you want to go the western way, you are in for trouble because that will be more expensive or would lead to discriminatory arrest and subsequent retention of them under the concept of “work therapy”. This would lead to further discrimination of the poor, the lower castes discriminated against, children who live on the streets and the drug users.

d) You want to ensure anyone can register a case anywhere without it being restricted to the place where the crime occurred, fair enough. There is catch here, given the skewed power equation, it is possible male members wanting a personal vengeance may opt for a station in place he has more power over with false claims of convenience, or the powerful groups would do the same based on caste dynamics, corruption or power dynamics. When the case registered in place of crime, there will be more check and balance. At the same given the reality of India and the fact that justice for vulnerable group also go missing because of power dynamics, including caste, under such circumstances for them freedom of choice to register anywhere would be useful.

e) The recent charging of food hawker in Delhi, is clear illustration of how your understanding of process of delivery of justice is skewed. While your camera on the street may ensure that culprits are detected with clear visual evidence, what it will not capture is that soon roads will change, the options for making a living through food cart on the street may become a thing of the past. So instead of planning for alternative for those who sell food through carts on the street, you plan to punish him such that some level of disturbance can be ensured on the independent small business initiative, for some that can be fatal and other a setback that can be overcome.

f) Never has governance ensured justice by focusing on legal formal norms, it has often been ensured by informal norms. For informal norms to evolve education is a must, but the large segment of population in India has below average quality of education, this is not the fault any person but the system that vested interest sustains. Am very clear that even a decade ago, in very rural parts because of distance and connectivity, the students are often taught by teachers from the locality who have just completed 10th Standard, at times this evolves as an arrangement as the teachers from city or town find it difficult and almost impossible to travel daily to village and deliver their service. So informal or formal arrangements are made for their substitution. Those children will be adults, tell me what kind of plans you have for them, as in the future in which you want AI to be the main player. India already has digital savvy candidates who struggle to find their dream jobs.

g) Will you be considering the large scale land take over that may happen with shift to solar panels as alternate energy source as a law and order issue, for it is interesting if the land happen to be government land, for it would be available only because Government never implemented right to land for the landless, Kerala is one of the states that implemented the same and the difference between it and others states is very evident in case of social and economic discrimination, in spite of many issues Kerala faces because of governance and other problems.

Thanks Government of India, for the chance to laugh, for the issue of Palestine does lower one's spirit as the art of war destroys humanity.

Molly Charles


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