Sociology Unit II – Social Problems and Social Legislation

Issues Of Ethnic And Inter – Caste Conflicts : Comunalism And Fundamentalism

Subordination establishes a pattern for discriminatory behaviours at all levels and societal settings.

Certain sectors of society, such as girls, women and other underprivileged groups have been identified as particularly vulnerable.

At the school level, teachers tend to treat children with disabilities, children from ‘lower’ castes or classes with contempt and often physically and verbally abuse them.

Words like depressed, disadvantaged, impoverished, poor, backward, loser and underdog have all been used to describe the term underprivileged.

Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes

The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 was enacted by the Parliament of India, in order to prevent atrocities against Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. The purpose of the Act was to help the social inclusion of Dalits into Indian society, but the Act has failed to live up to its expectations.

Going through the normal judicial system is self degrading for any dalit. This is because of the still existing biases of the court judges. One example is the conduct of an Allahabad High Court judge who had his chambers “purified” with water from the ‘ganga jal’ because a dalit judge had previously sat in that chamber before him.

Another example is the case of State of Karnataka v. Ingale (1992). The State of Karnataka had charged five individuals with violating the SC/ST Act. At trial, four witnesses testified that the defendants had threatened dalits with a gun in order to stop them from taking water from a well.

The defendants told the dalits that they had no right to take water, because they were untouchables. The dalits finally got relief from the Supreme Court.

Rural atrocities which are not covered under this Act

Social and economic boycott and blackmail are widespread. In view of the fact that the main perpetrators of the crime sometimes co-opt a few SC/STs with them and take advantage of local differences among the SC/STs and sometimes they promote and engineer crimes but get them executed by some members of SC/STs, the Act should be suitably amended to bring such crimes and atrocities within the purview of the definition of atrocities under the Act. 

Firstly, it clarified what the atrocities were: both particular incidents of harm and humiliation, such as the forced consumption of noxious substances, and systemic violence still faced by many Dalits, especially in rural areas. Such systemic violence includes forced labor, denial of access to water and other public amenities, and sexual abuse of Dalit women.

Secondly, the Act created Special Courts to try cases registered under the POA.

Thirdly, the Act called on states with high levels of caste violence (said to be “atrocity-prone”) to appoint qualified officers to monitor and maintain law and order. The POA gave legal redress to Dalits, but only two states have created separate Special Courts in accordance with the law.

In practice the Act has suffered from a near-complete failure in implementation. Policemen have displayed a consistent unwillingness to register offenses under the act. This reluctance stems partially from ignorance and also from peer protection. According to a 1999 study, nearly a quarter of those government officials charged with enforcing the Act are unaware of its existence.

Untouchables – Sociology – LLB

Initially the Untouchability (Offences) Act, 1955, had been enacted to abolish the practice of untouchability and social disabilities arising out of it against members of the Scheduled Castes. it was amended in 1977 and is now known as the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955. Under the revised Act the practice of untouchability was made both cognizable and non-compoundable and stricter punishment was provided for the offenders.

When the constitution of India outlawed untouchability in 1950 many national leaders believed that a centuries old practice had been brought to an end. But now nearly 60 years later there is no total success of the statutory measure. Millions of Dalits across the country who account for roughly 1/5th of the population continue to suffer birth-based discrimination and humiliation.

In states like Tamil Nadu which boasts a long history of reformist movements is no exception.Infactuntouchability has not only survived the constitutional ban but taken new avatars in many parts of the state. Caste-based discrimination has often led to violence, leaving hundreds of the disadvantaged people in distress particularly in the 1990s. 

Over 80 forms of untouchability have been identified, many of which are apparently free India’s additions to the list. From time immemorial Dalits have been deprived of their right to education and the right to possess land and other forms of property. Left with nothing but their physical labor to earn their livelihood they have all along been forced to do the toughest and most menial jobs for survival. 

Apart from the denial of access to public roads,tanks,temples and burial/cremation grounds there are other forms of untouchability.Segregation of Dalits is seen almost everywhere in Tamil Nadu’s villages. But nothing can perhaps beat the high wall 500 meters long that has been built at Uthapuram in Madurai district as a barrier between Dalits and caste Hindus. 

While untouchability is still rampant and is taking new forms particularly in villages, the constitutional ban and compulsions of modernity and development have to some extent blunted its rigor. Rail transport has been unifying forces in society. Yet the Railways have been among the worst offenders in respect of the law against manual scavenging.Dalits constitute a significant portion of its workforce of manual scavengers along railway lines. 

Although all state governments claim that they have abolished manual scavenging reports reveal that this practice is very much alive in many places. Postmen have also been found to practice untouchability.A study conducted in Tamil Nadu noted that in two villages in Madurai district postmen did not deliver postal articles to Dalit addressees. Dalits were required to collect the articles at the post office. There are also road transport related violations of the law against untouchability.

Among them is the unwritten rule that gives caste Hindus priority over Dalits in boarding buses in many areas, buses not stopping in Dalit areas, transport employees picking quarrels with Dalit passengers without provocation and Dalits not being allowed to use bus shelters. State government still follows a traditional procedure of making announcements in villages by beating a drum and for that they deploy Dalits. 

Worse still are the roles of schools and teachers in perpetuating untouchability and sowing the seeds of caste-related discrimination in young minds. The Dalit children are often discouraged by teachers and fellow students belonging to caste Hindu social groups.

In many schools Dalit pupils were not allowed to share water with caste Hindus. To punish an erring or naughty Dalit boy teachers scold him by calling him by his caste name. If the teacher decides that the boy needed a beating as punishment the task was assigned to another Dalit boy. There is also systematic refusal of admission to Dalits in certain schools particularly at the plus two levels. 

In some villages during the temple festivals Dalits are supposed to stay hidden from caste Hindus. The two-tumbler system under which Dalits and non-Dalits are served tea in different vessels is still prevalent in some teashops. In some eateries they are compelled to sit on the floor. 

Report: Violence against untouchables: Indian Govt. fails to prevent Massacres, Rapes

& Exploitation – Human Rights Watch 14 April 1999

Dalits throughout the country also suffer from de facto disenfranchisement. During elections, Dalits are routinely threatened and beaten by political party strongmen in order to compel them to vote for certain candidates. Dalits who run for political office in village councils and municipalities (through seats that have been constitutionally “reserved” for them) have been threatened with physical abuse and even death to get them to withdraw from the campaign. 

In the village of Melavalavu, Tamil Nadu, following the election of a Dalit to the village council presidency, members of a higher-caste group murdered six Dalits in June 1997, including the elected council president, whom they beheaded. As of February 1999, the accused murderers — who had been voted out of their once-secure elected positions — had not been prosecuted. 

Minorities

Each time there is a bomb blast, the Indian State reaches out its long arms of injustice to pick a scapegoat from amidst the Indian population to cover up its own incompetence in providing security to its citizens.

What we have witnessed in the last decade is that after each blast or surprise violent act, arrests are made, organisations named but the police and investigative agencies have not been able to prove their claims in any of the cases. But the people arrested continue to languish in jails or suffer other kinds of victimisation.

It is very disturbing as it shows that the agencies responsible for the security of the people are incapable and to cover their inefficiency, they keep abducting people from the minority community which are produced at their chosen time. The real culprits remain at bay and the threat remains undiminished.

Recently, on 23rd March 2011, High Court retired Judge Justice Michael. F. Saldanha said that Governor H R Bharadwaj has recommended the government to withdraw 338 false cases filed against the victims of church attacks, particularly belonging to minority community particularly their places of worship.

Among these are: arbitrary  deprivation  of  the  right  to  life,  disregard  for  the  protection  owed  to  civilians caught up in conflicts, interference with freedom of movement, interference with freedom of expression, assembly and association, torture, ill-treatment, and abuses against children and women, and arbitrary deprivation of liberty and due process.

Minority groups, or groups with distinct ethnic, religious, linguistic characteristics are usually the victims of the above-mentioned abuses. The vulnerability of minorities during crisis situations is also recognized.

Such minorities, especially, indigenous populations and migrant workers as groups are particularly vulnerable during states of conflicts and whose protection needs to be strengthened.

India has a history of dealing dissenting voices with an iron hand. Human rights activists, media and journalists, judges and lawyers all continue to be constrained by the Indian government.

Although the government claims to be secular, still it promotes Hindus and Hinduism in all fields of life. Religious minorities, including Christians and Muslims continue to be marginalized. A brief account of the state injustices in the civil society fabric of India would reveal the true face of this so called “Secular” government.

CHRISTIANS: Christians in India report that they or fellow believers have faced threats, physical

  • attacks, and jail time for sharing their faith. Baptisms, in particular, became a significant challenge
  • for local churches. Under the anticonversion laws, anyone who chose to become baptized was
  • legally obligated to seek permission from the government, as well as provide them with the name
  • of the person performing the baptism. Fearing repercussions, many new Christians did not make
  • this outward profession of faith until after the laws were repealed.

Human rights organizations report that more than 300,000 Christians in Nagaland have been killed by the Indian government. In addition, tens of thousands of Christians have been killed throughout the country.

Priests have been killed, nuns have been raped and forced to drink their own urine, churches have been burned, Christian schools and prayer halls have been attacked. No one is ever punished for these activities.

In 2002, the Associated Press reported an attack on a Catholic church on the outskirts of Bangalore in which several people were injured. The assailants threw stones at the church, then broke in, breaking furniture and smashing windows before attacking worshippers.

Earlier that month, two church workers and a teenage boy were shot at while they prayed. The boy was injured. Two Christian missionaries were beaten with iron rods while they rode their bicycles home. A Christian cemetery in Port Blair was vandalized. Indian police broke up a Christian religious festival with gunfire.

The Hindu militant RashtriyaSwayamsewakSangh (RSS), of which all the leaders of the BJP and its various allies and factions are members (founded in support of the Fascists in Italy), published a booklet on how to file false criminal cases against Christians and other religious minorities.

Several Indian states have passed laws forbidding anyone to convert to any religion other than Hinduism. These laws range from requiring a government fee for converting to forcing Dalits to appear before a magistrate and prove a level of education before converting.

They often restrict the religious speech of minority believers as those of a certain income or education level are prohibited from discussing religious matters with uneducated, poor Dalits.

  • On January 28, 2006, a group of Christians in Madhya Pradesh were engaged in prayer. A mob of Hindu militants stormed the hall, a private facility, and severely beat eight Christians.
  • On December 29, 2005 a landmine was planted in the Lengjen (Ngarichan) Committee Hall in Tamenglong District which is a Naga inhabited area in the state of Manipur. The land mine exploded when the children of the village went and played at the hall. One 12 year old boy died in the hospital. Another boy’s limb was ripped off and several others were seriously injured.
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DALITS: ‘Human Rights Watch’ in its February 2007 Report states that India has systematically failed to uphold its international legal obligations to ensure the fundamental human rights of Dalits, or socalled untouchables, despite laws and policies against caste discrimination.

The Report states that more than 165 million Dalits in India are condemned to a lifetime of abuse simply because of their caste.

On December 27, 2006 Manmohan Singh became the first sitting Indian Prime Minister to openly acknowledge the parallel between the practice of “untouchability” and the crime of apartheid.

Singh described “untouchability” as a “blot on humanity” adding that “even after 60 years of constitutional and legal protection and state support, there is still social discrimination against Dalits in many parts of our country.”

Even though they are officially considered Hindus, the Dalits may be the most oppressed people

on Earth. The 250 million lower castes include 170 million people called the Scheduled Castes (Untouchables) and 70 million people called the Tribals (Adivasis). Both are looked upon by upper caste Hindus as less than human and to touch a Dalit renders a person himself “Untouchable.”

They are called impure, they are shunned, they are banned from Hindu temples, and they are considered to be so low on India’s social scale that they are outside of the caste system.

The Untouchable Dalits and Sudras (another low caste) make up 70 percent of the population of

India. Most live in very impoverished conditions. At least half the population of India lives below the international poverty line. Forty percent live on less than two dollars per day. Discrimination against Dalits includes education inequality, economic disenfranchisement, religious discrimination, a poor system of medical care, and targeted violence against women.

Dalit students are often denied the opportunity to receive the public education guaranteed by the Indian constitution. Rape is widespread and massively underreported.

  • On August 31, 2005, upper caste villagers in the village of Gohana burned more than 60 Dalit residences, driving over 2,000 Dalit families out of Gohana.
  • In 1998, a judge in Allahabad cleaned the courtroom with blessed water from the Ganges River because it was previously occupied by a judicial officer belonging to a Scheduled Caste.

When Dalits are walking in the presence of a Brahmin, they can be beaten or killed with impunity. Under strict interpretation of the caste system, Dalits are obligated to perform certain manual duties for upper caste families without compensation. These duties include cleaning latrines, skinning dead animals, and crafting leather shoes, and other menial tasks.

SIKHS: Sikhs are also highly victimized by the Indian government. According to Inderjit Singh Jaijee, over 250,000 Sikhs have been killed since the military attack on the Golden Temple in June 1984 (reported in his the book ‘The Politics of Genocide’). The figures were compiled by the Punjab State Magistracy, which represents the judiciary of Punjab.

A report issued by the ‘Movement Against State Repression’ (MASR) showed that India admitted to holding 52,268 political prisoners. Amnesty International reports that tens of thousands of other minorities are also being held as political prisoners. How can a democracy hold political prisoners? 

Amnesty International reported last year that tens of thousands of minorities are being held as political prisoners. According to many reports, some of these political prisoners have been in custody for almost two decades. These prisoners continue to be held under a law called the “Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act” (TADA), even after it expired in 1995.

TADA empowered the government to hold people virtually indefinitely for any offence or for no offence at all.

  • In June 2005, at the observance of the Indian government’s 1984 military attack on the Golden Temple, a group of Sikhs demonstrated, then made speeches in support of independence for Khalistan, the Sikh homeland that declared its independence on October 7, 1987, and hoisted the Sikh flag. For this they were arrested. This followed the arrest of 35 Sikhs in January 2005, when they made speeches and raised the Khalistani flag at a Republic Day event. Some of the leaders were held for 50 days without trial.
  • MASR and the ‘Punjab Human Rights Organization’ conducted an investigation of the March 2000 massacre of 35 Sikhs in the village of Chithisinghpora in Indian Kashmir on the eve of the visit of President Clinton to India. It concluded that Indian forces carried out the massacre. The apparent intent was to make use of the presence of the world press to blame Muslims for massacre and vilify the resistance to the occupation of the state by India. A separate investigation conducted by the International Human Rights Organization came to the same conclusion.

Recently in the state of Uttaranchal Pradesh, Sikh farmers were forced out of their farms, which were bulldozed, and they were thrown out of the state. They received no compensation and have nowhere to go to find roof over their heads or livelihood for their families. The truth is that discrimination against and oppression of minority faiths is so widespread that it draws little attention within or outside India.

Although outsiders are allowed to buy land in the Punjab, Sikhs cannot buy land in neighbouring Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh. This discriminatory policy prevents Sikh farmers from making a living. It has impoverished them forcing many to migrate overseas. 

About 50,000 Sikhs were ruthlessly killed by the Punjab Police and their bodies were secretly disposed off to hide the crime. Young Sikhs were abducted, tortured and killed in Police custody. Their bodies were then declared “unidentified” and cremated incinerating all proof of the Indian States’ barbarity.

Countless bodies were consigned to the canals which abound in the Punjab. The secret cremation policy was exposed by humanrights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra who was arrested for publishing his report and was murdered while in police custody.

Narinder Singh, a spokesman for the Golden Temple, the seat of the Sikh religion, was interviewed in August 1997 by National Public Radio. He told his interviewer, “The Indian government, all the time they boast that they are secular, that they are democratic. But they have nothing to do with a democracy, nothing to do with secularism. They just kill Sikhs to please the majority.”

 

MUSLIMS: The Indian government has killed over 300,000 Muslims in Kashmir. They have sent

over 700,000 troops to suppress the people of Kashmir. Amnesty International, in its 2006 Report stated that torture, deaths in custody and “disappearances” continue to be reported. In January, the Minister of State for Home Affairs stated that some 600 people, including 174 foreigners, were held under the Public Safety Act (PSA), a preventive detention law.

In October, 44 detainees were released but new detentions were reported. Several people had been held under the PSA for over 10 years under successive PSA detention orders.

  • Farooq Ahmad Dar was detained in November under his ninth consecutive PSA order. He had been in continuous detention under the PSA since 1991.
  • Civilians were repeatedly targeted by state agencies and armed groups.
  • In May, armed fighters threw a grenade just as children were leaving their school in Srinagar, killing two women who had come to pick up children and injuring 50 others, including 20 pupils.
  • In July, four juveniles aged between 11 and 15 were shot dead by paramilitary Rashtriya Rifles in Kupwara district. Local people said that the boys had participated in a marriage party and gone for a stroll but ran away when ordered to stop. They said that the army had been informed of possible movements of people attending the party late at night.

In September 2006, the State Human Rights Commission, which had registered 3,187 cases of human rights violations since its inception in 1991, reiterated its earlier complaint that government departments failed to implement its recommendations.

Throughout the year 2006, there were reports of abuses – including torture, attacks and killings of civilians in Jammu and Kashmir, the north-east and several central and eastern states.

  • In November 2006, during elections in Bihar, Maoists (naxalites) attacked the Jehanabad prison. More than 340 prisoners, including key Maoist leaders, were freed. Eight prisoners belonging to a private army of dominant landed castes, RanvirSena, were killed and 20 others kidnapped.
  • In Lunawade village in Panchmahal district of Kashmir, during the last week of December 2005, a mass grave was discovered. It contained the bodies of at least 26 victims of the Indian government’s pogrom against the Muslims. Their crime? The Kashmiri people were promised a referendum on their status in 1948, but that vote has never been held. In 1989, when all hope of that promise being fulfilled had evaporated, violent resistance began that is being ruthlessly crushed resorting to pogroms and genocide that has led to 100,000 resistance fighters killed so far by the Indian military.
  • On February 27, 2002, a fire on a train in Godhra in Gujarat killed fifty eight passengers, among them fifteen children. This gave rise to massacres in which 2,000 to 5,000 Muslims were murdered. According to a policeman in Gujarat, who was quoted in an Indian newspaper, the government pre-planned the massacre. In an eerie parallel to the Delhi massacre of Sikhs in November 1984, the police were kept from intervening.

In a 70 page report on the massacre, Human Rights Watch reported that not a single person has been convicted in these massacres. More than one hundred Muslims have been charged under India’s much criticized Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) for their alleged involvement in the train massacre in Godhra. No Hindus have been charged under POTA in connection with the violence against Muslims.

Drug Addiction

Addiction to drugs among young men and women is an acute social problem faced by most of the countries worldwide. Illegal trafficking of narcotics is on the increase in spite of vigilance on the part of governments. Heroin, cocaine, hashish, marijuana and other health damaging drugs are easily available today.

This sordid commerce has resulted in young men and women easily obtaining and using drugs. They can be seen sprawled almost everywhere. At first youngsters take drugs in small doses just for thrill gradually develop a compulsion to have it at intervals. Thus drug-taking becomes a habit from which there is no easy escape.

Once addicted to drugs there are very few and chances of escaping.

Drugs are harmful not just because of the addiction, but also because the addicts die young!

The drug addicts become irresponsible in the behaviours. 

They talk of hallucinatory bliss and peace obtained from drugs; they may describe “the wonderful trip”.

But the fact remains that addiction causes lethal poisoning and brings physical problems which can lead to prolonged depression cycles, insanity, suicide and, in some cases, murder. Many young people use drugs as an experiment or just for the “feel” of it, but they are not aware of the fact that they are destroying their physical and mental strength; they give up their precious live s that was gifted to them by God.

Today you not only find drug addicts on roadside or footpaths but also in educational institutions. To be precise we have fallen down deep inside a “frightening pit” that there is no way out. Drug use is widespread worldwide even people who we say are our so called “protectors” are attracted to drugs i.e. our police and other law enforcing agencies.

The reason for the widespread use of narcotics by students and other young men and women is the indigenous culture enthusiastically hugged by them. The young men and women who are frustrated because of alienation from the family, a sense of loneliness and consequent disillusionment easily fall prey to this culture.

Once they become part of this culture they find justification for their behavior in the possibility of a nuclear holocaust. Some find justification in back to nature cult.

Can anything be done to eradicate this evil of drug addiction? The first and foremost thing to do is for every nation is to see that the illicit traffic of narcotics is completely stopped. Every country should have laws or special police force for the abolishment of narcotics, this law should be made tougher and have strict punishments. No law can be effective without the firm public backing of police and prosecutors.

This will require a massive education program and dynamic leadership from the government. Parents, schools, colleges and universities too have a great responsibility. It’s for them to be watchful and nip the evil in the bud.

For example, if a student who has been doing so well in studies or in sports suddenly becomes a non achiever, see that he is given good counseling. Educational institutions should arrange special classes on the danger inherent in drug addiction. The media can play a pivotal role in this too.

Finally, it may be said we should tackle the problem of drug addiction on war-footing. We must fight the battle in all possible ways. Education is our great weapon, youngsters should be told about the dangers of taking drugs. If enough youngsters decide that the “in” thing to do is to leave drugs out of their lives, the epidemic will die of its own accord.

Alcoholism

Alcohol consumption can have adverse social and economic effects on the individual drinker, the drinker’s immediate environment and society as a whole. Indeed, individuals other than the drinker can be affected, for example, by traffic accidents or violence.

It has an impact on society as a whole in terms of resources required for criminal justice, health care and other social institutions.

How can work performance be affected by alcohol consumption?

Alcohol consumption can affect work performance in several ways:

  • Absences – There is ample evidence that people with alcohol dependence and drinking problems are on sick leave more frequently than other employees, with a significant cost to employees, employers, and social security systems. In Costa Rica, an estimated 30% of absenteeism may be due to alcohol. In Australia, a survey showed that workers with drinking problems are nearly 3 times more likely than others to have injury-related absences from work.
  • Work accidents – In Great Britain, up to 25% of workplace accidents and around 60% of fatal accidents at work may be linked to alcohol. In India about 40% of work accidents have been attributed to alcohol use.
  • Productivity – Heavy drinking at work may reduce productivity. In Latvia, 10% of productivity losses are attributed to alcohol. Performance at work may be affected both by the volume and pattern of drinking. Co-workers perceive that heavy drinkers have lower performance, problems in personal relationships and lack of self-direction, though drinkers themselves do not necessarily perceive effects on their work performance
  • Unemployment- Heavy drinking or alcohol abuse may lead to unemployment and unemployment may lead to increased drinking.

How can the family be affected by alcohol consumption?

Drinking can impair how a person performs as a parent, a partner as well as how (s)he contributes to the functioning of the household. It can have lasting effects on their partner and children, for instance through home accidents and violence.

Children can suffer Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), when mothers drink during pregnancy. After birth, parental drinking can lead to child abuse and numerous other impacts on the child’s social, psychological and economic environment.

The impact of drinking on family life can include substantial mental health problems for other family members, such as anxiety, fear and depression.

Drinking outside the home can mean less time spent at home. The financial costs of alcohol purchase and medical treatment, as well as lost wages can leave other family members destitute.

When men drink it often primarily affects their mothers or partners who may need to contribute more to the income of the household and who run an increased risk of violence or HIV infection.

What are the estimated economic and social costs?

Strong efforts are made in many countries to estimate the overall economic and social costs of alcohol use.

Social and economic costs cover the negative economic impacts of alcohol consumption on the material welfare of the society as a whole.

They comprise both direct costs – the value of goods and services delivered to address the harmful effects of alcohol, and indirect costs – the value of personal productive services that are not delivered as a consequence of drinking.

In industrialized countries, estimates of social and economic costs of alcohol use can reach several percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), ranging for instance from 1.1% in Canada to 5-6% in the case of Italy.

Estimates of social and economic costs can help:

  • make the case for public policies on alcohol,
  • target policies and public expenditure on the most important problems (e.g. the costs of alcohol versus other psychoactive drugs such as tobacco),
  • identify information gaps,
  • assess the effectiveness of policies and programmes against alcohol abuse.

Estimating the costs of the impact of alcohol on the material welfare of society is often difficult and requires estimates of the social costs of treatment, prevention, research, law enforcement, lost productivity and some measure of years and quality of life lost.

Alcohol is a subject in the State List under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India.

Therefore, the laws governing alcohol vary from state to state.

Liquor in India is generally sold at liquor stores, restaurants, hotels, bars, pubs, clubs and discos. Some states, like Kerala and Tamil Nadu, prohibit private parties from owning liquor stores making the state government the sole retailer of alcohol in those states.

In some states, liquor may be sold at groceries, departmental stores, banquet halls and/or farm houses. Some tourist areas have special laws allowing the sale of alcohol on beaches and houseboats.

Home delivery of alcoholic beverages is illegal in Delhi.However, Delhi permits home delivery of beer and wine by private vends and departmental stores. The sale of beer at departmental stores, banquet halls and farm houses, is legal in Delhi.

Drunk Driving Law

The blood alcohol content (BAC) limits are fixed at 0.03%or 35 µl alcohol in 100 ml blood. Any person whose BAC values are detected more than this limit is booked under the first offense. A person may be fined about  2000 and\or he or she may face a maximum of 6 months imprisonment.

If a second offense is committed within 3 years of the first then a person may be fined about 3000 and/or he or she may face a maximum of 2 years imprisonment.

Despite such strict drink driving law, authorities acknowledge that many times they find it difficult to restrict and make the offenders to follow the law. The offenders tend to escape through bribery or by finding loop holes in the law.

On 1 March 2012, the Union Cabinet approved proposed changes to the Motor Vehicle Act. As per the new provisions, drunk driving would be dealt with higher penalty and jail terms – fines ranging from 2,000 to 10,000 and imprisonment from 6 months to 4 years. Drink driving will be graded according to alcohol levels in the blood.

Giving details of the proposed fine on drunken driving, officials said in cases where alcohol level is less than 30 mg per 100 ml of blood, it would not amount to an offence.

However, if it is between 30–60 mg per 100 ml of blood, the proposed penalty would be 6 months of imprisonment and/or 2,000 fine.

In case the alcohol level is 60–150 mg per 100 ml of blood, the penalty would be one year imprisonment and/or 4,000.

If the offence is repeated within three years, the penalty would go up to 3 years imprisonment and/or 8,000. For those who are found heavily drunk with alcohol levels of over 150 mg per 100 ml of blood, the penalty will be 2 years imprisonment and or 5,000.

Repeat offence within a three-year period will attract a penalty ears jail and fine of 10,000 besides cancellation of license.

Advertisements

Advertising alcoholic beverages is banned in India as per the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Amendment Bill, which came into effect on 8 September 2000.

The government is very particular against broadcasting such advertisements on its channel, Doordarshan, whereas most of the private channels still broadcast surrogate alcohol advertisements.

Dry Days

Dry Days are specific days when the sale of alcohol is banned. National holidays such as Republic Day (January 26), Independence Day (August 15) and Gandhi Jayanti (October 2) are usually dry days throughout India.

In addition to the above the following days are also dry days:

  • Muharram
  • The last working day of a calendar month.
  • The day of poll and proceeding two days in all General elections, By-Elections to LokSabha, Municipal Board and Panchayat.
  • Any other day the Government may by notification declare to be a dry day.
  • Dry days are also announced when elections are held in the state.

On dry days, sale and supply of liquor will be suspended meaning thereby all wholesalers will not make the supply of liquor and all the retail vendors will remain closed.

However, service of liquor in licensed bars, hotels, clubs and restaurants is permissible even on dry days except on three national holidays. On the national holidays, even L-20 / L-49A licenses are not granted. These are special temporary licenses granted for service of liquor in parties/functions.

These licenses may however, be granted on other dry days. Even on the three national holidays, liquor can be served by the hotels provided they have obtained L-3 license. L-3 licence allows hotels to serve liquor to the residents of their rooms.

There is no ban for service of liquor by anyone at his residence provided the liquor served is authorized and is within the permissible limits.

In addition to the above the following days are also dry days:

  • Good Friday
  • Birthday of SreeNarayana Guru
  • SreeNarayana Guru Samadhi (5th day of Malayalam month Kanni; September–October)

In all areas where elections are being held, the day of polling and previous day will be declared dry days. During vote counting, the dry days will be notified by the local authority.

Link between alcohol and poverty

The economic consequences of alcohol consumption can be severe, particularly for the poor. Apart from money spent on drinks, heavy drinkers may suffer other economic problems such as lower wages and lost employment opportunities, increased medical and legal expenses, and decreased eligibility for loans.

A survey in Sri Lanka indicated that for 7% of men, the amount spent on alcohol exceeded their income.

What is the link between alcohol and violence between partners?

Alcohol plays a role in a substantial number of domestic violence incidents, especially in the case of abusing husbands. Often both the offender and the victim have been drinking.

The relationship between alcohol and domestic violence is complex and the precise role of alcohol remains unclear. Heavy drinking has been strongly linked to violence between partners and to a lesser extent to violence towards others, possibly because proximity increases the opportunities for violence.

Studies conducted for instance in Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, India, and Colombia show that a large fraction of reported domestic violence incidents is related to alcohol use by the male partner.

or instance, in Uganda, 52% of the women who recently experienced domestic violence reported that their partner had consumed alcohol, and in India, 33% of abusing husbands were using alcohol.

There is a need to better understand the possible role of alcohol intoxication or dependence in the processes through which incidents escalate into violence.

There is little doubt that alcohol consumption has many social consequences, but more quantifiable data is needed to enable meaningful comparisons between countries.

Laws Related To Drugs In India

The menace of drug addiction leads to the vicious cycle of immense human misery and illegal production, distribution and consumption of drugs. The unlawful distribution and consumption of drugs have given rise to criminal activities and violence worldwide.

There are many reasons that make drug abusers out of people; it includes peer pressure, loneliness, depression, and the feeling that using drugs is “cool.” The abuse of drugs often results in physical and mental disorders, such as physical dependence on drugs, withdrawal symptoms and damage to the nerve cells.

The government of India has enacted the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, to regulate and control operations related to narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. The Act extends to the whole of India. Here are some important definitions under the Act:

  • Addict: A person addicted to any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance
  • Board: The Central Board of Excise and Customs constituted under the Central Boards of Revenue Act, 1963 (54 of 1963).
  • Cannabis plant: Any plant of the genus cannabis

Indian Laws on Drugs: Prohibitions, Control and Regulation

Certain activities that are prohibited under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, are:

  • Cultivation of coca plant or collection of a portion of coca plant.
  • Cultivation of cannabis plant.
  • Production, manufacture, possession, sale, buying, transportation, consumption, import and export of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances except for medical and scientific uses.
  • The above mentioned acts are pertaining up to the limits as per the provisions of the Act or as per the rules pertaining to the requirement of license, permit or authorization.

 The Central Government holds powers pertaining to the permit, control and regulations of narcotic drug or psychotropic substance, which include:

  • Permitting or regulating the cultivation, collection, transportation, sale, purchase, import and export of coca plant.
  • The Central Government may permit cultivation of opium on its own account.

It may permit export from India or sale of opium or opium derivatives to the State Government or to manufacturing chemists from the factories of the Central Government.

POVERTY:

the term social justice was first used in 1840 by a Sicilian priest, Luigi Taparellid’Azeglio, and given prominence by Antonio RosminiSerbati in La CostitutioneCivile Secondo la Giustizia Sociale in 1848. It has also enjoyed a significant audience among theorists since John Rawls book.

A Theory of Justice has used it as a pseudonym of distributive justice. The concept of social justice is a revolutionary concept which provides meaning and significance to life and makes the rule of law dynamic.

When Indian society seeks to meet the challenge of socio-economic inequality by its legislation and with the assistance of the rule of law, it seeks to achieve economic justice without any violent conflict. The ideal of a welfare state postulates unceasing pursuit of the doctrine of social justice.

That is the significance and importance of the concept of social justice in the Indian context of today.

The idea of welfare state is that the claims of social justice must be treated as cardinal and paramount. Social justice is not a blind concept or a preposterous dogma. It seeks to do justice to all the citizen of the state.

Democracy, therefore, must not show excess of valour by imposing unnecessary legislative regulations and prohibitions, in the same way as they must not show timidity in attacking the problem of inequality by refusing the past the necessary and reasonable regulatory measures at all.

Constant endeavour has to be made to sustain individual freedom and liberty and subject them to reasonable regulation and control as to achieve socio-economic justice. Social justice must be achieved by adopting necessary and reasonable measures.

That, shortly stated, is the concept of social justice and its implications. Citizens zealous of their individual freedom and liberty must co-operate with democracy which seeks to regulate freedom and liberty in the interest of  social good, but they must be able to resist the imposition of any restraints on individual liberty and freedom which are not rationally and reasonably required in the interests of public good, in a democratic way.

It is in the light of these difficult times that the rule of law comes into operation and the judges have to play their role without fear or favour, uninfluenced by any considerations of dogma or isms. The term social justice is a blanket term so as to include both social justice and economic justice.

The Problems of The Poor In India

This vice of social inequality assumes a particularly reprehensible form in relation to the backward classes and communities which are treated as untouchable; and so the problem of social justice is as urgent and important in India as is the problem of economic justice.

Equality of opportunity to all the citizens to develop their individual personalities and to participate in the pleasures and happiness of life is the goal of economic justice.

The concept of social justice thus takes within its sweep the objectives of removing all inequalities and affording equal opportunities to all citizens in social affairs as well as economic activities.

The problem of poverty and unequal distribution of wealth may be confined to the bigger cities and towns in India but the problem accentuated by the vice of social inequality existing in a gross form prevails in all of our villages.

For instance, the harijans constitute a large class of landless labourers who are treated as untouchables by the rest of the community, who have no house to live in, generally no clothes to wear, who do not get food to eat & sometimes even decent drinking water is beyond their reach. The poor also have no access to legal assistance. Poor people are vulnerable to injustice.

Poverty fosters frustration, ill feeling and a brooding sense of injustice. Democracy realizes that this problem which concerns a large number of citizens cannot be successfully met unless law is used wisely to restore balance to the economic structure and to remove the causes of economic inequality.

The Constitution Of India And Social Justice

The Constitution of India has solemnly promised to all its citizens justices-social, economic and political; liberty of thought expression, belief, faith and worship; equality of status and of opportunity; and to promote among the all fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity of the nation.

The Constitution has attempted to attune the apparently conflicting claims of socio-economic justice and of individual liberty and fundamental rights by putting some relevant provisions.

Article 19 enshrines the fundamental rights of the citizens of this country. The seven subclauses of Article 19(1) guarantee the citizens seven different kinds of freedom and recognize them as their fundamental rights.

Article 19 considered as a whole furnishes a very satisfactory and rational basis for adjusting the claims of individual rights of freedom and the claims of public good.

Articles 23 and 24 provide for fundamental rights against exploitation. Article 24, in particular, prohibits an employer from employing a child below the age of 14 years in any factory or mine or in any other hazardous employment.

Article 31 makes a specific provision in regard to the fundamental right to property and deals with the vexed problem of compulsory acquisition of property.

Article 38 requires that the state should make an effort to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice social, economic and political shall inform all the institutions of national life.

Article 39 clause (a) says that the State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice, on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall, in particular provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes, or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities.

Article 41 recognizes every citizen’s right to work, to education & to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness & disablement and in other cases of undeserved want.

Article 42 stresses the importance of securing just and humane conditions of work & for maternity relief. Article 43 holds before the working population the ideal of the living wage and

Article 46 emphasizes the importance of the promotion of educational and economic interests of schedule castes, schedule tribes and other weaker sections.

The social problem presented by the existence of a very large number of citizens who are treated as untouchables has received the special attention of the Constitution as Article 15 (1) prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.

The state would be entitled to make special provisions for women and children, and for advancement of any social and educationally backward classes of citizens, or for the SC/STs.

A similar exception is provided to the principle of equality of opportunity prescribed by Article 16 (1) in as much as Article 16(4) allows the state to make provision for the resolution of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the state, is not adequately represented in the services under the state.

Article 17 proclaims that untouchability has been abolished & forbids its practice in any form & it provides that the enforcement of untouchability shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.

This is the code of provisions dealing with the problem of achieving the ideal of socio- economic  justice in this country which has been prescribed by the Constitution of India.

Where Does The Solution Lie?

The solution to social injustice lies within us only. We should be aware of the expressions – the poor, the backwards, social justice which are being used to undermine standards, to flout norms and to put institutions to work. We should subject every claim whether it is made in the name of the poor, the backward, whosoever to rational examination.

After it has been in effect for a while, subject every concession to empirical evidence. We should shift from equality of outcomes to equality of opportunities. And in striving towards that, nudge politicians to move away from the easy option of just decreeing some reservations, etc to doing the detailed and continuous work that positive help requires, the assistance that the disadvantaged need for availing of equal opportunities.

We must bear in mind that if the majority disregards smaller sections in the community, it drives them to rebellion. We should try to refashion the policies of state on truly secular and liberal principles. The individual and not the group should be the unit of state policy.

Since no society is static, and social processes are constantly changing, a good legal system is one which ensures that laws adapt to the changing situations and ensure social good. Any legal system aiming to ensure good should ensure the basic dignity of the human being and the inherent need of every individual to grow into the fullness of life.

The hope of the Indian masses does not lie in the legal system alone, but in their conscious awakening and fight for social and economic justice. Knowledge of their legal rights however, can be an important motivating force in this.

Many NGO’s and individuals are emerging in different parts of the country to take up the cause of social change and change for a more just India, where justice will not merely be talked about in intellectual discussions on the intricacies of law, or written about in books, which the masses can’t read, or exchanged for good old money, but actually lived and experienced by the majority of the people. Indian Judiciary’S Interpretation Of Social Justice

In Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. v/s Hansrajbai V. Kodala (2001) the Apex Court held that “The object is to expeditiously extend social justice to the needy victims of accidents curtailing delay – If still the question of determining compensation of fault liability is kept alive, it would result in additional litigation and complications in case claimants fail to establish liability of defendants – Wherever the Legislature wanted to provide additional compensation, it has done so specifically.”

The Supreme Court has firmly ruled in BalbirKaur v/s Steel Authority of India (2000) that “the concept of social justice is the yardstick to the justice administration system or the legal justice and it would be an obligation for the law Courts to apply the law depending upon the situation in a manner whichever is beneficial for the society” as the respondent Steel Authority of India was directed to provide compassionate employment to the appellant.

In Superintending Engineer, Public Health, U.T. Chandigarh v/s Kuldeep Singh (1997) the Supreme Court held that “It is the duty of the authorities to take special care of reservations in appointments as a part of their constitutional duties to accord economic and social justice to the reserved categories of communities.

If ST candidate is not available, the vacancy has to be given to SC candidate and the reserved roster point has to be filled in accordingly”. In Ashok Kumar Gupta v/s State of U.P. (1997) it was held by the Apex court that “To give proper representation to SC/ST Dalits in services is a social justice which is a fundamental right to the disadvantaged. It cannot be said that reservation in promotions is bad in law or unconstitutional.”

In Consumer Education & Research Centre v/s Union of India (1995) it was held that “Social justice is a device to ensure life to be meaningful and livable with human dignity. State has to provide facilities to reach minimum standard of health, economic security and civilized living to the workmen.

Social justice is a means to ensure life to be meaningful and livable.” So we can see that the Supreme Court has always stepped in to protect the interest of the Indian citizens, whether it has been has the case of consumer protection or claiming insurance or be it representation of suppressed classes. It has used the medium of social justice as an umbrella term to deliver justice.

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