Enact a law to tackle Mob Lynching : SC to Parliament :-
- Recurring incidents of Mob Lynching
- On recurring incidents of mob lynching, the Supreme Court on Tuesday recommended that Parliament create a “separate offence” for the crime to instil the fear of law into offenders and preserve rule of law in a pluralistic society.
- The SC asked the Centre and states to discharge their constitutional duty of maintaining law and order to ensure peace and protect secular ethos.
- The court stated in no uncertain terms that vigilante groups could only report a crime but would be sternly punished if they took the law into their hands.
- The court set out guidelines for compensation, fast-track courts and action against negligent officials so that “mobocracy” did not drown out the law.
SC guidelines :-
- SC said Parliament should “create a separate offence for lynching and provide adequate punishment for the same” as a special law to deter mob crimes that often target innocents.
- It ordered states to frame within a month a “lynching or mob violence victim compensation scheme” with provision for interim payment to victims within a month of an incident.
- The court ordered the Centre and states to curb circulation of inflammatory messages.
- The bench unanimously said trial in such cases, including pending ones, should be conducted by a designated or a fast-track court on a day-to-day basis to finish proceedings within six months of taking cognisance.
- “To set a stern example in such cases, upon conviction of the accused persons, the trial court must ordinarily award maximum sentence under various offences under IPC provisions,” the CJI said while directing trial courts to provide protection to witnesses and conceal their identities.
- The SC said authorities and police officers failing to comply with guidelines outlined in Tuesday’s judgement would be guilty of “an act of deliberate negligence and/or misconduct for which appropriate action must be taken and not limited to departmental action under the service rules. Departmental action shall be taken to its logical conclusion preferably within six months by the authority”.
WCD Ministry set to move Cabinet to make child marriage void :-
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) is set to move the Cabinet to make child marriages void which will have a major impact on ending child marriages in India.
- WCD have circulated a draft Cabinet note that proposes to make child marriage ‘void ab initio’. The note seeks to amend Section 3 of PCMA, under which currently child marriage is only voidable at the option of contracting parties.
- The move, if approved, would correct a glaring anomaly in the law that allowed child marriages to continue despite a Supreme Court judgement of October 2017 ruling that sex with a minor wife amounts to rape, as “under no circumstance can a child below 18 years give consent, express or implied, for sexual intercourse”.
Present Situation :-
- Child marriages in India — between a man under 21 years and a woman under 18 —are merely voidable at the behest of the contracting parties.
- The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA), 2006, does not invalidate child marriage itself. It only gives the child bride and the groom the option of annulling it if a case is filed in a district court by either of the two contracting parties within two years of becoming adult, or through a guardian in case they are still minors.
- The proposed amendment to PCMA will go a long way in ending child marriage in India, and corresponding issues such as early pregnancies, sexual violence, and the denial of right to education and bodily autonomy.
- However, after the amendment it still leaves unresolved the issue of marriages contracted under personal laws, unless such laws are also amended.
Personal Laws :-
- The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, (for Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains) and the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939, do not still hold child marriages to be void
- Muslim personal law allows girls who have attained puberty, considered to be 15 years, to get married.
- Both the Indian Christian Marriage Act and the Hindu Marriage Act are lenient enough to allow child marriage to persist.
- Both the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, (for Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains) and the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939 laws, merely allow a girl to seek dissolution of her marriage only if she was married off before the age of 15 years, and she has to apply for dissolution before she is 18 .
Report on Child Marriages :-
- A 2014 UNICEF report puts India at sixth spot, among the top-10 countries, regarding high rates of child marriage among women.
The report showed that for women in the poorest quintile (20 per cent), the median age at first marriage was 15.4 years. It was found to be 19.7 years for those in the richest quintile.
- A report by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, using 2011 Census data, showed that 12 million child marriages have been recorded in the country, 7 million boys under 21 years and 5 million girls under 18.
- According to the National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-16), 26 per cent of women in India between 20 and 24 years was married off as a minor.
Govt discusses military training plan for disciplined 10-lakh ‘force of youth’ :-
- The government has discussed a proposal to target 10 lakh young men and women every year with a military training programme to instil discipline & nationalism.
- Billed as the National Youth Empowerment Scheme or N-YES, aimed at “optimising the Indian demographic advantage”.
Features of the Scheme :-
- It proposes a slew of incentives to students fresh of Class X and XII and, currently, enrolled in college. The incentives include a fixed stipend for the 12-month training and making N-YES an “essential qualification” for jobs in Defence, paramilitary forces and police.
- It will instil values of nationalism, discipline and self-esteem into the youth.
- In addition to military training, those enrolled will be taught vocational and IT skills, disaster management and Indian values though yoga, ayurveda and ancient Indian philosophy.
- The above is envisioned as a year-long programme targeted specially at youth in rural areas and women.
- To finance this scheme, it was proposed that the government could use the existing budget meant for NCC and National Service Scheme (NSS), funds available with the Skill Development Ministry and also MNREGA funds.
Background :- Instilling discipline and nationalism in youngsters
- The PMO last year advised the department of school education, under the HRD Ministry, to include elements of military schools (Sainik Schools) — aimed at promoting discipline, physical fitness and a patriotic outlook — in regular schools too.
- The ministry is learnt to be currently working on introducing Sainik School features in seven Navodaya Vidyalayas on a pilot basis this year.
Govt to Hand-Deliver 11 Crore Ayushman Cards :-
- The government will print and hand-deliver about 110 million ‘family cards’ for the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme in a major public contact programme by organising ‘Ayushman Pakhwaras’ in villages as it seeks to implement the Prime Minister’s signature move.
- The Central government will also set up a 24X7 call centre in the capital to attend to complaints and queries from citizens about the scheme and assist them when they are outside their home states.
Each JEE, NEET taker to get different paper :-
- Competitive tests such as JEE Main, NEETUG and UGC NET are set for a major overhaul from next year.
- The changes include having a unique set of questions for each candidate, with a software picking questions at random, and multiple dates for an exam.
- The reform is being driven by the National Testing Agency (NTA), which will conduct its first exam in December 2018 — the UGC’s National Eligibility Test.
AI to set JEE, NEET Questions :-
- NTA plans to use new-age tools such as artificial intelligence, psychometric analysis and computer-based adaptive testing — where candidates are taken to the next level of questions once they are through with easier ones — to change the way exams are conducted in India.
- Artificial intelligence tools will be used to setting the questions and preparing the key for the correct answers.
- NTA officials said the test will be designed in a way that rote learning and intensive private coaching are not of much help to candidates unless she is thorough with the syllabus & The agency will annually test around 1.5 crore candidates.
Advantages of Computer Bases Tests :-
- Candidates will be able to revisit questions later or keep some for review once the easier ones are done.
- In case the exam date doesn’t suit a candidate, she will be free to choose another date (from a given set).
- If the candidate is unhappy with her score, she can take the exam again after three months.