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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 13th July, 2016

  • July 13, 2016
  • 2
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs July 2016, National, Security, UPSC
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 13th July, 2016

 

NATIONAL

 

TOPIC: General studies 2

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
  • Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders

 

Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (ITPA)

  • Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act lays down the legal framework for sex work in India
  • Some of the provisions under ITPA provide for rescuing sex workers, remanding them to a rescue home and handing over them to their parents or family members (i.e. Rescue, Protect and Rehabilitate)
  • However, a case study in Kolhapur showed that some of the women/sex workers rescued and remanded in home did not have living parents, some had left home decades ago, and some had families who did not know they were engaged in sex work. The women were shunted from home to home and finally released after some years.

Such episode reveals in a nutshell all the shortcomings in the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (ITPA).

  1. One, that it includes the word ‘immoral’, inserting an element of morality when the discussion should be purely legal.
  2. Two, that all sex work is assumed to be a result of trafficking with workers needing rescue.
  3. Three, that adult sex workers should be put into homes without their consent.
  4. Four, that adult women should need to produce families to be released, thus denying them any agency in their lives.
  5. And finally, that what is fondly paraded as an act of ‘rescue and rehabilitation’ should actually be incarceration and trauma.
  • Sex workers and activists have also been demanding amendments to the Act, pointing out that its various provisions are being used disproportionately against sex workers.
  • There is a demand from several sex workers collectives to legalise the trade, and allow them to work with “dignity”. Organisations such as the All India Network of Sex Workers have maintained that by legalising the trade not only will trafficking of women come down, but will also help in availing benefits of various health and welfare schemes.
  • Clearly, there is every reason to desire a better law that can correct the anomalies in the existing one. But the recently minted Draft Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2016 does not do this. On the contrary, it opens up brand new grounds for anxiety.

 

Concerns with the new Draft Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2016

  1. The Bill was fashioned in great secrecy – i.e. no wide consultative process took place among all the stakeholders
  2. The Draft Bill tackles trafficking solely through the lens of sex work. The Bill ignores the tens of thousands of men, women and children who are routinely trafficked for marriage, domestic labour or bonded labour in fields, mines, and textile andbeedi
  3. A provision in the Draft Bill allows any social worker or public-spirited citizento ‘rescue’ and ‘produce’ a ‘victim’ before the District Anti-Trafficking Committees it proposes to set up. This may create tensions in future as it opens doors to moral policing and could lead to harassment of not just sex workers but other ordinary people by overzealous, vigilante citizens.
  4. The Bill continues to conflate or combine both “prostitution” with “commercial sexual exploitation” into one – which goes completely against the grain of what activists are fighting for, namely protecting the rights of adults who stay in prostitution voluntarily.
  5. I.e. the Bill follows the conventional and simplistic approach to define ‘prostitution as exploitation’ rather than looking at it as ‘exploitation of prostitution’, which is the primary evil that must be addressed.
  6. It is important to treat trafficking in children, adult trafficked labour, and forced sex work as separate categories, but the Draft Bill mixes up everything in its portmanteau approach.

The 2013 Verma Committee had specifically clarified that “the recast Section 370 ought not to be interpreted to permit law enforcement agencies to harass sex workers who undertake activities of their own free will, and their clients”.

In 2015, a Supreme Court panel had recommended that the law relating to trafficking be read down for consenting adults in sex work and their clients.

  1. The Draft Bill also fails to mention the above recommendations.

Enormous power, little accountability

Further, the Draft Bill threatens basic constitutional freedoms of the persons it seeks to rescue. For instance,

  • Article 22 gives a detained individual the right to consult a lawyer and be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, but the Draft Bill allows persons to be directly produced before the member-secretaries of its District Anti-Trafficking Committees.
  • Second, the Committees can independently recommend that a victim be repatriated to her home State (or another State) for increased protection. This contravenes Article 19, which grants citizens the right to move freely across, and reside anywhere in, the country.

The way ahead:

  • Adult trafficked persons must be consulted and made aware of their rights so that they can take informed and independent decisions on whether they want to be repatriated.
  • The enormous power and little accountability that is vested in the proposed District Committees is troubling. They raid and rescue, rescued persons are produced before them, and they are also responsible for post-rescue care. In effect, it would appear that they are policeman, judge and rehabilitator rolled in one. At present, despite its lacunae, the ITPA still has some processes in place. For instance, nobody can enter a brothel without a warrant, and only some categories of police officers have the power to raid a brothel. Now, these guidelines stand to be transgressed.
  • Overall, the critics argue that the present ITP Bill is carelessly drafted and muddled Bill that does more harm than good.
  • It duplicates several existing (and unimaginative) provisions: Anti Human Trafficking Units already work in districts and States, the ITPA’s present raid-rescue-rehabilitation approach is a dismal failure, and rescue homes today are often the site of fresh exploitation.
  • Thousands of placement agencies continue to be the chief source of human trafficking despite laws.
  • The Draft Bill repeats the need for their registration without explaining how it will ensure it. These are but a few of the many shortcomings the Draft Bill needs to fix.

Connecting the dots:

  1. Critically analyze the provisions of Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act and suggest some strategies to plug the loopholes in the ITPA Act.
  2. Government of India has come up with a new Draft Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2016. Critically analyze how effective this Bill would be if it becomes an Act.


NATIONAL/SECURITY

TOPIC:

General studies 2

  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

General studies 3

  • Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism
  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

 

AFSPA and Supreme Court’s recent orders calling to account

In News:

  • Extra Judicial Execution Victims Families Association, a representative platform of people in Manipur whose kin have allegedly been summarily killed by security forces had filed a petition against the AFSPA requesting Supreme Court to repeal AFSPA or at least make it accountable.
  • The petition had alleged that there have been over 1,500 extra-judicial killings in the state and pleaded for the court’s intervention to deliver justice.
  • Supreme Court made it clear: AFSPA does not provide blanket immunity to army personnel.
  • The Supreme Court ruling is a strong critique of the manner of deployment of the Armed Forces Special Powers’ Act (AFSPA).
  • The state and its agencies, under the cover of AFSPA, had sought immunity from legal scrutiny. The SC order has refused to be imprisoned by the state’s security-centric framework and the resultant curtailing of the citizen’s fundamental rights.

AFSPA and its confrontations

AFSPA was first introduced in 1958

The validity of the AFSPA has periodically come under scrutiny.

  • A constitutional bench had upheld the act in the Naga People’s Movement of Human Rights, the Justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy committee advised the government to repeal it.
  • Now the recent order of the Supreme Court is a landmark in the rights discourse in the country, where one may say that the court adopts an approach consistent with constitutional guarantees of life and liberty and dismantles the incessant and unreflective argument based on extreme notions of security and order.

 

Recent Supreme Court’s order outlines three crucial principles:

  1. One, the “order situation in Manipur is, at best, an internal disturbance. There is no threat to the security of the country or a part thereof either by war or an external aggression or an armed rebellion”.
  2. Two, “for tackling the internal disturbance, the armed forces of the Union can be deployed in aid of the civil power. The armed forces do not supplant the civil administration but only supplement it”.
  3. Three, “the deployment of the armed forces is intended to restore normalcy and it would be extremely odd if normalcy were not restored within some reasonable period, certainly not an indefinite period or an indeterminate period”.

Conclusion:

  • The AFSPA provides the framework for the armed forces but the law clearly lays down the operational procedure which is more often violated than followed.
  • However, the court has made it clear that the state is bound by the direction of the Constitution bench that “every death caused by the armed forces” should be thoroughly inquired into if there is a complaint or allegation of abuse or misuse of power.
  • The order, which will be one in a series of orders to come, as more cases being investigated reach their conclusions, has shone a much needed light on the dark underbelly of the operation of the AFSPA in several parts of the country and the effects it has had on governance and civil liberties.
  • It is a welcome step in extending the rule of law and fundamental rights to an area where there has been much need for it for decades.

Connecting the dots:

  1. Border management strategies should not only focus on strengthening the border protection forces but also on generating goodwill with the people residing in the border regions. Do you agree? Analyse in the context of India.

 

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