Monday, December 24, 2012

Summary trial and swift punishment will ward off crimes against women: Lok Satta

Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayapraksh Narayan today suggested that India emulate Singapore's system of summary trial of persons guilty of misbehavior towards women and award of caning as a punishment.

Such certain and swift punishment will ward off bigger crimes like rape, Dr. JP told a media conference here today.

Dr. JP said he wholeheartedly welcomed the Prime Minister's initiative in appointing a committee headed by Justice J. S. Varma to suggest changes in laws to prevent atrocities against women and added the Lok Satta Party would offer its suggestions to the committee.

Dr. JP said adoption of stringent laws is necessary but not enough. As of today, there is a huge shortage of judges all over the country. India has only one judge for every lakh of population. The global norm is five judges per one lakh, and many developed countries have over ten judges for one lakh people.

Although Parliament enacted the Grameena Nyayalaya Act three years ago and allocated funds for constitution of local courts, not a single court has so far been formed in Andhra Pradesh. As one of the architects of the Act, Dr. JP recalled, he had repeatedly represented in vain to successive Chief Ministers and Law Ministers for constitution of local courts. Such courts should be constituted at the rate of one for every 50,000 people in both urban and rural areas to expedite delivery of justice. If such courts are enabled to punish the guilty in cases of misbehavior towards women within a week, bigger crimes like rape and murder can be prevented.

Dr. JP said that one of the primary duties of a Government is providing security to people. Andhra Pradesh's boast of having an annual budget of nearly Rs.147000 crore sounds hollow if the Government cannot ensure security of people.

Dr. JP strongly condemned attempts of ruling party politicians to pack cooperative societies with their followers with a view to taking control of them. Lakhs of people who have nothing to do with the cooperatives are being enrolled as members these days on the eve of elections to them.

Dr. JP recalled that at the Lok Satta initiative, the 97th Constitution Amendment Bill has provided for autonomy to cooperatives. Dr JP was closely involved in enacting the Mutually Aided Cooperative Societies Act of 1995 and getting it upheld by the High Court and the Supreme Court when the State Government sought to dilute it in respect of dairy cooperatives.

Dr. JP demanded that the Cooperative Societies Act of 1964 be overhauled to ensure that only those who derive services from a cooperative are eligible to become its members and that they be conferred voting right only one year after becoming members. For instance, a person who makes a deposit of say Rs.5000 should be eligible to become a member of a primary agricultural cooperative, a milk supplier a member of a milk cooperative and a cane supplier a member of a sugarcane growers' cooperative. Otherwise, cooperatives become the fiefdoms of those in power to whichever party they may belong.

Replying to a question on the all-party meeting in New Delhi on the demand for Telangana State, Dr. JP said he would like the Government of India to hammer out a comprehensive and permanent solution that safeguards the interests of people in all regions. The Union Government and political parties have played with the feelings and future of Andhra Pradesh people for long. It is time the Union Government seriously and sincerely tried to work out a solution. Dr JP reiterated Loksatta’s known stand that a cordial and comprehensive solution should be achieved immediately, and Lok Satta whole-heartedly welcomes formation of Telangana as a part of such a solution. He hoped the all-party meeting was not merely a ploy to placate Telangana Congress Members of Parliament for voting in favor of FDI entry into multi-brand retail.

Dr.JP extended his greetings to Christians all over the country on the eve of X-Mas.

Mr. P. Bhaskara Rao, Mrs. Hyma Praveen and Ms. Manasa Mahati took part in the media conference.

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