Current-Public-Administration-Magazine-(July-2017)-Individual vs group

Sample Material of Current Public Administration Magazine

Current Development

Individual vs group

                                        (The Indian Express Editorial)

The Maharashtra Prohibition of People from Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act (2016), which received presidential assent last week, is an acknowledgement of a basic principle of citizenship and justice: The social contract in a modern democracy is between the state and the citizen, and crime and punishment must be defined between these two parties.

Like in many other parts of India, caste panchayats in Maharashtra have wielded extra-judicial authority and Indian citizens have been ostracised, even killed by “community” actors despite breaking no laws. That the BJP-led Devendra Fadnavisgovernment has criminalised such actions is a welcome first step. Moving forward, it needs to politically address the climate of prejudice and intolerance that forms the backdrop of a community justice that encourages vigilantism and exclusion.

The Social Boycott Act was brought in in response to sustained movements provoked by atrocities against individuals by gaviks or caste panchayats in Maharashtra. A large number of these incidents were in response to inter-caste marriages. Four years ago, the “honour killing” of Pramila Khumbharkar sparked outrage and murdered rationalist Narendra Dhabolkar was among those who led the movement demanding legislation that specifically tackles feudal forms of mob and vigilante justice.

The new law addresses loopholes in existing laws that were used to thwart justice. For example, it ensures that trials are completed within six months from the date a report is first filed. The Act also penalises individuals or groups who try to prevent others from accessing places of worship, certain professions or even certain forms of dress and public behaviour. In essence, the law asserts the freedom of the individual over the social group they belong to. The legislation does, however, fall short when it comes to addressing inter-community social ostracism — for example, the denial of housing to minorities, or attacks on them for their diet and dress.
While the Indian Constitution has given a pride of place to individual rights, the unit of public discourse and political practice has often been the social group. In debates on caste injustice, secularism, women’s rights and even access to public spaces, it is the ascriptive identity rather than the notion of the individual liberty that is often at the forefront.

The Fadnavis government, in addition to legislation, must now take the lead in changing the tenor of public discourse. It cannot be seen to, for example, legitimise, even tacitly, vigilantism and violence in the name of cow protection, or impose dietary restrictions in the name of “community sentiments”. That, as much as the law itself, will display a political will to safeguard the rights of every citizen.
(Source- The Indian Express)

Get this magazine (Current Public Administration) free if you purchase our any of the below courses:

Study Kits For Public Administration

Online Coaching For Public Administration

<< Go Back to Main Page