Updated: Aug 7, 2020
Author: Vartika Gupta, pursuing LL.B from Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Delhi
There are chilling instances of violence, ethnic cleansing, heinous torture, child abuse, man slaughter and a number of other human rights violations almost every day. Despite the adoption of the Universal Declaration Human Rights (1948) and special covenants provided for the rights of youngsters, women and disabled, crimes continue unhindered and unabated. The soul-searching question is... 'Has humanity been relinquished?'
In India, various mechanisms like the National Human Rights Commission, State Human Rights Commissions, and Women's Commissions are constituted at the Centre and within the states, for upholding human rights causes. Legislative safeguards i.e. The Constitution of India, which is supreme a lex (the law of the land) and multifarious laws like The Human Rights Act, 1997 are alive but vainly. Human rights violations are the order of the day and therefore the above 'law- enforcement' arsenals come short of implementation.
Poverty as a causative:
Poverty may be a ruthless task master; it exacts an exorbitant price in terms of denial of basic human rights i.e. food, shelter, clothing, education, healthcare etc which successively constitute basic necessities of life. An analysis of constitutional and other safeguards becomes pertinent to measure the efficacy of the law in reference to the millions who haven't any other recourse but the arsenal of justice. Article 21 is that the Magna Carta of the Constitution of India. It reads as follows- nobody shall be bereft of his life or personal liberty except consistent with procedure established by law.
It isn’t worthy to say that the elemental right to life and personal liberty is inherent and is not conferred upon us by the Constitution. These are primary personal rights without which civil and political rights are rendered meaningless.
The Court has held that 'the right to life includes the right to live with human dignity and every one that goes with it, namely the bare necessities of life like adequate nutrition clothing and shelter1 inter alia.
In Bandhua Mukti Morcha, rehabilitation and bondage of some labourers was in the question, Bhagwati, J held that the fundamental right to live with human dignity is congruous with the right to life and derives its life breath from the Directive Principles of State Policy, and particularly clauses (e) and (f) of Articles 39,41,42.
Again, within the Olga Tellis case the court held that the ' Right to livelihood is included within the right to life' as “nobody can live without the means of living".
The fact remains that India has the most important population within the world that goes to bed with none food, the most important population who has no clothes to wear and therefore the largest number of beggars.
Denial of education
In Unni Krishnan v.State of A.P, the Supreme Court has recognized a fundamental right to education within the right to life under Article 21. Taking the help of Articles 41 and 45 it's held that ' every child/citizen of this country features a right to free education until he completes fourteen years aged.'
It differed from Mohini Jain's case within the sense that the proper to education is subject to the bounds of economic capacity and development of the state. Even after the Unni Krishnan case improvement within the situation has been frugal. Consequently, the govt enacted the Constitution (86th Amendment) Act, 2002 by virtue of which Article 21A has been provided for. It reads as follows- “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all or any children of the age of 6 to 14 years in such manner because the state may, by law, determine".
The reality however is hard- hitting. The question arises on the implementation of this gigantic task. Poverty breeds poverty. The vicious circle of poverty denies to lakhs of youngsters the right to education, despite the fundamental right that children below 14 years aged shall tend access to primary education. A country's progress depends upon the event of its populace. Education is an arsenal to realize an equivalent. However in our country, widespread illiteracy still continues to persist .the government doesn't have adequacy of funds to run its own educational institutions. Education is undergoing privatization. The resultant is that schools became centres for exploitation thanks to colossal fees charged and therefore the commoner is deterred by the affordability factor.
The relevant reasons are lack of infrastructure, absence of relevant education, low attendance, high- drop -out rates etc. Even after five decades of independence, 50% of the youngsters are dropouts. Sex is one among the many differentials of illiteracy that's characterized by a robust patriarchal value system. The extent of literacy is about 64% for males and about 39% for females.
India's failure to attain universal literacy even after fifty-six years of independence is shocking. At this rate, it might take another 50 years to attain total literacy. Education is that the sign of a civilized society and therefore the lack of it's one among the first reasons for the commission of unpardonable crimes and intolerance.
Subjugation of girls
In India women constitute nearly one-half of our population. Women are denied human rights from the cradle to the grave. Infanticide is rampant in certain parts of the country where the birth of a woman child isn't welcome. Nearly forty-one percent of the ladies abroad play a lively role within the production process. In India things leaves much to be desired. Sexual assault and flesh trade are gnawing evils, which threaten the existence of girls as independent entities.
Dowry is that the greatest crime against women. 'Are our daughters and sisters for sale? Huge dowries are still demanded even when the girl can supplement the man's income. In such a milieu, a lady enjoys no rights because she may be a woman. Rape may be a weapon to subjugate women. The lady is safe nowhere. Within the Mathura Case. - The judgment didn't distinguish between consent and forcible submission. Correspondingly the judgments in Bhanwari Devi and a couple of other cases were unjust and in favour of the accused. During a significant judgment of Vishakha v. State of Rajasthan, the Supreme Court laid down exhaustive guidelines for preventing harassment of labouring women in their place of work until legislation is enacted for this purpose.
Bias within the law: Negates effective implementation
# As an entire, the method of law is biased against the victim. If the victim may be a minor, the onus is on the accused to prove his innocence. But if the victim may be a major, it's up to her to prove her charge.
# Also, in rape cases, unless the lady is examined medically within 24 hours, it becomes difficult forensically to prove that rape has occurred.
# The laws too are discriminatory in nature. consistent with Section 155 (4) of Indian Evidence Act, "When a person is prosecuted for rape or an effort to ravish, it's going to be shown that the prosecutrix (victim) was of generally immoral character."
# Section 54 of Indian Evidence Act says, "In criminal proceedings (including rape) the very fact that the accused person features a bad character is irrelevant, unless evidence has been given (by him) that he features a good character, during which case it becomes relevant"
# Forced cohabitation, molestations and harassment is that the norm. Justice is never administered to such victims who either don't lodge a complaint for the fear of a social stigma.
# Moreover the accused gets acquitted thanks to a poor prosecution, hostile witnesses and therefore the like. In India the speed of conviction is about 2-3%.
Thousands of widows and elderly people are left to defend themselves. Insensitivity, non- action and a scarcity of desire to return forward are responsible factors. 'Do we mean to mention that are daughters, mothers, sisters haven't any rights'?
Supreme Court had a great contribution, in projecting, proliferating and popularising the human rights jurisprudence. The human rights jurisprudence covers enforcement of fundamental rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed by Articles 19 to 30 of the Constitution and which has, as such, provided substantial and useful material for a far better vision for the 21st century in reference to human rights, and particularly, human rights of workers, women and weaker segments.
Pro-feminist views seek to beat discrimination against women, mainly, through law. Some have long-term strategies, while others enforce immediate strategies. Women's increased sophistication and articulation, clarity of parties and determined efforts, all tend to require the women's movement an extended way. If women are serious about putting their rights on the national agenda, they need to be uncompromising to their constitutional rights. Placing women's rights during a context gives legitimacy, transparency, visibility and more acceptability. Ensuring women's rights, obviously, creates a robust launch pad for the emergence of a more humane justice, equal human society and equality and probity.