* The lenient sentence awarded to the minor in the December 16 gangrape case had triggered protests across the country (Retribution is not justice,IE,December 4). It is argued that juveniles should be tried under criminal law as adults if they commit heinous crimes. If we are to accept this argument,India will have to scrap its Juvenile Justice Act. In doing so,it will be disrespecting its international commitments. Juvenile crime cannot be addressed through convenient and escapist measures such as reducing the juvenile age or punishing minors especially harshly. The focus should be on giving the offender a chance to reform instead of tinkering with the present law. We must make juvenile detentions work better and towards their stated objectives of reformation.
Thats the spirit
* This refers to Amsterdam has a deal for alcoholics: Work and get paid in beer (IE,December 6). Innovative ideas on the part of the government can help solving some serious social problems. The Dutch government,by offering to pay addicts in beer,has devised a clever way of getting them off the streets and into work. This scheme has already been tried successfully in Canada. Addicts do themselves and their families a lot of harm. However,that does not mean society can abdicate its duty towards them. The Dutch governments scheme helps them find their way back into the labour force,and moderates the quantity and concentration of alcohol they consume. The scheme,which is in great demand,also provides the workers with cash and lunch. Such a scheme could be tried in India as well. Though the opposition to it would probably be quite shrill.
* Though Narendra Modi and the BJP may disagree,I believe that doing away with Article 370 has several unfavourable implications. From a legal standpoint,I suspect that it is by virtue of this constitutional provision that the Instrument of Accession,which was executed by the then maharaja of Kashmir,Hari Singh,and accepted by the governor general,Lord Mountbatten,in 1947,remains valid. If Article 370 is repealed unilaterally by Parliament,it will lead to an identity crisis in Jammu and Kashmir because the state only agreed to join the Union of India on the assurance that it would remain autonomous.
Its not over yet
* This refers to Election and renewal by Chakshu Roy (IE,December 5). With a new generation of voters going to the polls for the first time and playing a major role in the election arithmetic,our democratic politics is set for a big change. The exit polls may predict a big setback for the Congress,but this should not make the BJP complacent or overconfident. The issues that people care about are inflation,corruption,development,employment,security and governance. The BJP must come out with a comprehensive and credible national agenda to tackle these issues.
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