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1.National Register of Citizens (The Hindu)

2.What is battle of Bhima Koregaon (General)

3.Why justice is slower in India? (Live Mint)

 

1.National Register of Citizens (The Hindu)  

Synoptic line: It throws light on the issues associated with the newly formed National Register of Citizens. (GS paper II)

Overview

  • Recently, Assam met its December 31 deadline for publication of the first draft of the updated National Register of Citizens. In the event, the list proved to be a draft of a draft, with 13.9 million cases remaining under scrutiny and names of only 19 million of the 32.9 million applicants making the cut.

What is National Register of Citizens

  • The National Register of Citizens(NRC) contains names of Indian citizens. The NRC was prepared in 1951, after the Census of 1951 It was prepared by recording particulars of all the persons enumerated during that Census and was further kept in the offices of Deputy Commissioners and Sub Divisional Officers according to instructions issued by the Government of India in 1951. Later these registers were transferred to the Police in the early 1960s.
  • The NRC Updation is currently going on (2014-2016) across Assam and shall include the names of those persons (or their descendants) who appear in the NRC 1951, or in any of the ElectoralRolls [up to the midnight of 24 March 1971 or in any one of the other admissible documents issued up to the midnight of 24 March 1971, which would prove their presence in Assam on or before 24 March 1971. The NRC (1951) and the Electoral Rolls up to the midnight of 24 March 1971 together are collectively called Legacy Data.

Brief background

  • The years between 1979 and 1985 witnessed huge political instability, collapse of state government, president’s rule and unprecedented ethnic violence in Assam.  The elections conducted by the government were totally boycotted and violence based on linguistic and communal identities killed thousands in the state.
  • Finally, to cope up with the situation, the then Rajiv Gandhi government signed a Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) with the leaders of the movement on 15 August 1985 called Assam Accord. As per this accord:
  • all those foreigners who had entered Assam between 1951 and 1961 were to be given full citizenship including the right to vote.
  • Migrants those who had done so after 1971 were to be deported.
  • Those who entered between 1961 and 1971 were to be denied voting rights for ten years but would enjoy all other rights of citizenship.
  • Hence, NRC is being created to identify the legitimate citizens with the illegal migrants in the country.

Concerns

  • For inclusion in the updated NRC, there are two requirements – existence of a person’s name in Legacy Data or any one of the admissible documents issued up to midnight of 24 March 1971 and proving linkage with that person. Application Forms (family-wise) will have to be submitted for getting names included in the updated NRC.
  • There are important humanitarian concerns at play, concerns that go beyond identification and numbers. Nearly five decades have elapsed since the cut-off date of March 25, 1971, and individuals who have sneaked in illegally have children and grandchildren by now. Since India is the only country they have ever known, where are they expected to go?
  • Moreover, there is virtual absence of a deportation treaty with Bangladesh.
  • The situation has been muddied with the Centre’s intent to pass the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and make Hindu illegal migrants and those from certain other minority communities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship.

Way ahead

  • The one silver lining in the data on trials and investigations is the rise in the rate of convictions among trials that have been completed. The conviction rate, expressed as a percentage of trials completed, has increased six percentage points over the past 15 years to 47% in 2016.
  • Conviction rate has been particularly high in cases of injury caused due to rash driving. Such cases accounted for one-fifth of all cases that the judiciary disposed of in the three years from 2014 to 2016 and 79% of these completed trials ended in conviction.
  • However, crimes against women, such as rapes and dowry deaths, continue to see a low conviction rate, of around 20%. The lack of convictions in rape cases is because witnesses often turn hostile, according to legal experts.

Question: What efforts can be made by the Government in order to resolve the Migrant problem in Assam without compromising the humanitarian concerns?

 

2.What is battle of Bhima Koregaon (General) 

Synoptic line: It throws light on the history associated with the battle of Koregaon. (GS paper III)

Overview

  • The story of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 1818 has come to be mediated by competing narratives of Dalit assertion against Brahminical oppression, and Indian ‘nationalism’ standing up to the colonial army of the East India Company.

Koregaon: the pride for dalit assertion

  • Dr B R Ambedkar visited the Jaystambh repeatedly, and said in a speech in Sinnar in 1941 that the Mahars had defeated the Peshwas at Koregaon. Despite British claims of having achieved “one of its proudest triumphs”, the outcome of the battle remains contested, and some Maratha histories have claimed it was the Peshwa army that was, in fact, victorious.
  • One of the earliest accounts of the battle was published in 1885 in the three-volume The Poona District Gazetteer, edited by James M Campbell, ICS, as part of the series of Gazetteers of the Bombay Presidency.

The Battle

  • THE BATTLEtook place at the village of Koregaon (population 960) 16 miles northeast of Pune, where 800 British troops faced 30,000 Marathas on January 1, 1818. Six months earlier, on June 13, 1817, Peshwa Bajirao II had been forced to cede large swathes of territory to the Company, officially ending the Maratha Confederacy.
  • In November, the Peshwa’s army revolted against the British Resident at Pune, but was defeated in the Battle of Khadki. Pune was placed under Colonel Charles Barton Burr. At the end of December, Burr received intelligence that Bajirao intended to attack Poona, and requested help. The second battalion of the first regiment Bombay Native Infantry of 500 rank and file under Captain Francis Staunton, accompanied by 300 irregular horse and two six-pounder guns manned by 24 European Madras artillerymen, left Sirur for Poona at 8 pm on December 31, 1817.
  • After marching 25 miles, about 10 the following morning, they came across the Bhima river the Peshwa’s army of 25,000 Maratha horse. The Gazette does not mention the caste of Indian soldiers in Staunton’s army, but later accounts say a sizeable number were Mahars.
  • THE MARATHASrecalled a body of 5,000 infantry that had proceeded some distance ahead, the Gazette records. Three parties of 600 each Arabs, Gosavis and regular infantry supported by two guns, then besieged the British troops. Cut off from water and food, and after losing one of their artillery guns, some British troops were keen to surrender. However, the six-foot, seven-inch Lieutenant Pattinson led a counterattack to take back the artillery gun from the Peshwa’s Arab soldiers. Fierce fighting followed and, “as night fell”, the Gazette records, “the attack lightened and they (the British) got water. By 9 the firing ceased and the Marathas left”. Of the 834 British troops, 275 were killed, wounded, or missing.
  • The Marathas lost between 500 and 600 killed and wounded. Subsequently, as Maratha strongholds started falling, Bajirao II went on the run, finally surrendering in 1823. The British kept him in Bithur until his death in 1851. His successor, Nanasaheb Peshwa, was the last of the titular heads of the Peshwai system.

Question: How the battle of Koregaon represents a tussle between Dalit assertion and High cast sense of superiority?

 

3.Why justice is slower in India? (Live MInt)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the way of Justice dispersion in India. (GS paper II)

Overview

  • India’s criminal justice system has an acute backlog crisis, and data on pending investigations and trials published recently by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) shows that this crisis is becoming more severe with each passing year.
  • The backlog or the ‘pendency rate’ with India’s courts and police reached its highest level since the turn of the twenty-first century in 2016, the latest year for which such data is available.

The pendency rates

  • The pendency rate with courts refers to the number of cases for which trial has not been completed, expressed as a share of total cases on trial during the year. In case of police, backlog refers to the number of reported Indian Penal Code (IPC) crimes that have not yet been fully investigated.
  • While the backlog with courts appears much higher as compared to that in case of police, this should not make us conclude that our policemen are more efficient than our judges. There are two reasons why the headline pendency rate for police investigations may be misleading.
  • Firstly, the pendency rate in case of the police can be affected by the tendency to report crime. In a state with low levels of trust in the police force, pendency rate may be artificially low while in a state with higher level of trust in the force, the pendency rate may be high simply because many more cases may be reported and registered in such a state.
  • Consider the states of Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, for instance. The former accounted for a mere 4% of all pending cases with police in 2016, despite accounting for 17% of India’s population. In stark contrast, Delhi accounted for 14% of all pending cases despite a population share of only 1.4%.
  • “Cases pending for investigation are high as Delhi being the national capital, police officers are more aware about the latest guidelines issued by honourable courts relating to registration of FIRs.
  • The other reason behind the relatively lower pendency rate is that policemen may often send cases for trial without adequate investigation. This lowers the pendency rate for the police force while at the same time bumping up the pendency rate for courts.

Need of more resources

  • Tackling the backlog crisis in India’s criminal justice system will require more resources for both the police and the judiciary as India faces an acute shortage of both policemen and judges. High levels of vacancies compound the staffing problem. As of 1 January 2017, the vacancy rate among police officers across the country (civil and armed) was 22%. Uttar Pradesh has the highest vacancy rate, with more than half of sanctioned posts vacant.
  • According to the National Judicial Data Grid, one out of every four trials in courts has been pending for more than five years.
  • The lack of adequate personnel impedes the ability of the Indian state to maintain law and order, and effectively administer justice. This poses a big challenge to Indian democracy and to the Indian economy.
  • The lack of an effective and fast criminal justice system tends to dampen appetite for investments in the country. And the lack of state capacity often encourages people to vote for local strong-men, who bypass formal channels while settling disputes and enforcing contracts in their areas of influence.

Way ahead

  • The one silver lining in the data on trials and investigations is the rise in the rate of convictions among trials that have been completed. The conviction rate, expressed as a percentage of trials completed, has increased six percentage points over the past 15 years to 47% in 2016.
  • Conviction rate has been particularly high in cases of injury caused due to rash driving. Such cases accounted for one-fifth of all cases that the judiciary disposed of in the three years from 2014 to 2016 and 79% of these completed trials ended in conviction.
  • However, crimes against women, such as rapes and dowry deaths, continue to see a low conviction rate, of around 20%. The lack of convictions in rape cases is because witnesses often turn hostile, according to legal experts.

Question: The backlog or the ‘pendency rate’ with India’s courts and police reached its highest level since the turn of the twenty-first century in 2016. What can be the reasons for such a trend?