CAO Daily Editorial analysis for UPSC IAS 01-November, 2017

Current Affairs Only Daily Editorial Analysis for Competitive Exams


01 November, 2017

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Judicial safe zones {Social Justice}

(The Hindu)


Context

This article gives details regarding new regulation of court hearing in case of children

In news

The Supreme Court’s direction that within three months there should be at least two special deposition centers under every high court’s jurisdiction is a positive step towards ensuring a conducive and protective atmosphere for vulnerable witnesses.

Why special deposition center is required?

Children testifying as witnesses find the courtroom experience intimidating. In many cases, they are victims themselves, and may be deterred from deposing fully and confidently in the formal atmosphere.

Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act provides for child-friendly procedures during a trial. 

  • Under this law, the officer recording a child’s statement should not be in uniform.
  • During court proceedings steps must be taken to ensure that the child is not exposed to the accused.
  • The court is allowed to record a child’s statement through video conferencing, or using one-way mirrors or curtains.
  • At present, Delhi has four such deposition centres, backed by guidelines framed by the Delhi High Court.

From where the court was inspired

The Delhi High Court’s guidelines are inspired by the UN Model Law on Justice in Matters involving Child Victims and Witnesses of Crime

Objective

  • Eliciting complete,
  •  Accurate and reliable testimony from child witnesses,
  •  Minimising harm,
  • Preventing ‘secondary victimisation’.

Benefits

  • Multiple depositions and hearings at which they have to be present are avoided. In particular, they should not have to needlessly wait for their turn or be subjected to procedural delays.
  • For now, the term ‘vulnerable witnesses’ is limited to children, but the principle may have to be expanded to include adults who may be equally vulnerable to threats and an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.
  • Victims of sexual violence and whistle-blowers whose testimony against powerful adversaries may endanger their lives require a conducive atmosphere to depose.

Few more suggestion for hearing in case of children

A Team Approach

A multidisciplinary team involving the prosecutor, police and social services resource personnel should be utilized in the investigation and prosecution of cases where a child is alleged to be a victim or witness to abuse in order to reduce the number of times that a child is called upon to recite the events involved in the case as well as to create a feeling of trust and confidence in the child.

a) Members of such teams should receive specialized training in the investigation and prosecution of cases where children are alleged victims and witnesses of abuse.
b) Whenever possible, the same prosecutor should be assigned to handle all aspects of a case involving an alleged child victim or witness including related proceedings outside the criminal justice system.

A Speedy Trial

In all proceedings involving an alleged child victim, the court should take appropriate action to ensure a speedy trial in order to minimize the length of time a child must endure the stress of his or her involvement in the proceeding. In ruling on any motion or request for a delay or continuance of a proceeding involving an alleged child victim, the court should consider and give weight to any potential adverse impact the delay or continuance may have on the well-being of a child.

Procedural Reform

In criminal cases and juvenile delinquency and child protection proceedings where child abuse is alleged, court procedures and protocol should be modified as necessary to accommodate the needs of child witnesses including

a) If the competency of a child witness is in question, the court should evaluate competency on an individual basis without resort to mandatory or arbitrary age limitations.
b) Leading questions may be utilized on direct and cross-examination of a child witness subject to the court’s direction and control.
c) To avoid intimidation or confusion of a child witness, examination and cross-examination should be carefully monitored by the presiding judge.

Media Responsibility

The public has a right to know and the news media have a right to report about crimes where children are victims and witnesses; however, the media should use restraint and prudent judgment in reporting such cases and should not reveal the identity of a child victim.


Collegium and transparency {Judicial System}

(The Hindu)


Context

This article talks about collegium  system in Indian judiciary system

Why in news?

On October 3, the Supreme Court’s collegium published a resolution promising to hereafter make public, on the court’s website, its various decisions, including its verdicts on persons nominated for elevation as judges to the high courts, its choices of candidates for elevation to the Supreme Court, and its decisions on transfer of judges between different high courts.

What is the collegium system?

  • The collegium system of appointment of judges is popularly referred to as judges-selecting-judges.
  • The collegium system was created by two judgements of the Supreme Court in 1990s in which a body of senior apex court judges headed by the Chief Justice of India selected persons and recommended their names for appointment as judges.
  • The collegium, ever since its inception, following the Supreme Court’s judgment in what is known as the Second Judges Case (1993) has been enveloped by a sense of the hugger-mugger.

  Demerits

The collegium system for judicial appointment, consisting of a closed group of four senior most supreme court judge and the CJI himself, evolved after three judge case in 90s. It evolved on fundamental of judicial independence but free judiciary from any political interventions.

The collegium system has been despised by many because:
1) It completely circumvents other two pillar of democracy.
2) Favoritism shown by certain judges.
3) Completely opaque process of selection.
4) Delayed procedure with most of young talents missing the boat.
5) It goes against constitution which provided only consultation role to CJI while President appointing the judge.

Merits

1) Keeps away politicization of judiciary.
2) Supreme court retains autonomy.
3) Senior judges know better about the talents in judiciary than executive and legislative.
4) With increasing awareness and modernization, corruption in judiciary system in form of either favoritism/morality or monetary can be curbed ex- recent case of sexual assault on a high court judge was well dealt.

How can changes in this system help us?

People can ask the following questions to the collegium

  1. Why was the judge X selected ?
  2. Why not Y judge?
  3. What is the criteria for selections ?
  4. What were the discussions of the collegium during selection process ?

Serum Institute to launch dengue vaccine in 3-4 years

{Health Issue}

(LiveMint)


In news

Home-grown vaccine maker Serum Institute of India plans to launch its biologic drug for dengue in two years and a dengue vaccine in three to four years

Currently, there are no vaccines available for dengue in India.

Highlights

  • Serum Institute will start phase-1 clinical trials for the dengue biologic drug in Singapore next month.
  • Serum Institute of India had sought fast-track approval from the Indian drug regulator to launch a dengue treatment but that did not come through.
  •  Pune-based firm launched its rotavirus vaccine Rotasiil for prevention of severe diarrhoea in babies and biologic drug Rabishield for rabies.
  • Rabies is reported to cause two deaths every hour in India, while around 100,000 deaths occur in the country due to rotavirus-related ailments.

Read More About dengue and malaria-mosquitoes

What is rabies?

Rabies is a viral illness spread via the saliva of an infected animal. This occurs usually through biting a human or another animal. Transmission can also occur through saliva touching an open woundor touching mucous membranes.

What causes rabies?

Rabies is caused by the rabies virus. The virus infects the brain and ultimately leads to death. After being bitten by a rabid animal, the virus is deposited in the muscle and subcutaneous tissue. For most of the incubation period (which is usually one to three months), the virus stays close to the exposure site. The virus then travels via peripheral nerves to the brain and from there, again via peripheral nerves, to nearly all parts of the body.

Any mammal can spread rabies.

Symptoms of rabies

The symptoms of rabies can present themselves just a few days after a bite, or they might take as long as 12 weeks. Some rare cases report a number of years between the bite and the onset of symptoms.

The closer the bite is to your brain, the quicker the effects are likely to appear.4

If you are bitten by a wild animal, it is essential that you seek medical advice as soon as possible.

When the initial symptoms of rabies occur, they can be similar to flu and last 2-12 days, becoming progressively stronger.

From the early flu-like symptoms, the condition worsens and symptoms can include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Hyperactivity

 

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