The Supreme Court recently gave high courts and states two months to implement a set of guidelines designed to streamline inadequacies and deficiencies in criminal trials.
These guidelines are known as the 2020 Draft Rules of Criminal Practice.
The Draft Rules recommend reforms in investigation and trial, such as proposals to use separate teams of lawyers to assist the police during the investigation and during the trial; details to be covered while drafting spot panchnamas; and even corrections to body sketches.
The Criminal Justice System refers to the government agencies tasked with enforcing the law, adjudicating crime, and correcting criminal behaviour.
Colonial Legacies: The criminal justice system, both substantive and procedural, is a carbon copy of British colonial jurisprudence, which was designed with the goal of ruling the nation in mind.
As a result, the relevance of these nineteenth-century laws in the twenty-first century is debatable.
Ineffective Justice Delivery: The criminal justice system was designed to protect the rights of the innocent and punish the guilty, but it has now become a tool for harassing ordinary people.
Cases Pending: According to the Economic Survey 2018-19, there are approximately 3.5 crore cases pending in the judicial system, particularly in district and subordinate courts, resulting in the realisation of the maxim. “Justice postponed is justice denied.”
India has one of the world’s highest numbers of undertrials.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)-Prison Statistics India, under trial prisoners make up 67.2 percent of our total prison population.
Police Issue: The police are on the front lines of the criminal justice system, and they play an important role in the administration of justice. Corruption, a heavy workload, and police accountability are major impediments to the timely and transparent delivery of justice.
Victim And Witness Protection: There is a need to launch victim and witness protection schemes, use victim impact statements, increase victim participation in criminal trials, and improve victims’ access to compensation and restitution.
Criminal codes should be revised so that criminal liability can be graded more accurately in order to assign the appropriate level of punishment.
New types of punishments, such as community service orders and restitution orders, as well as other aspects of restorative and reformative justice, could be incorporated.
In addition, many chapters of the Indian Penal Code are overloaded in various places.
For example, the chapters on public servant offences, contempt of authority, public tranquillity, and trespass can be redefined and narrowed.
One solution is to appoint more judges at the subordinate level, which would significantly increase the strength of the judicial services — improvements must begin at the bottom of the pyramid.
Strengthening the subordinate judiciary also entails providing administrative and technical support, as well as opportunities for advancement, development, and training.
Establishing an All-India Judicial Service could be a step in the right direction.
Promoting Alternative Dispute Resolution: It should be mandated that all commercial litigation be heard only if the petitioner provides an affidavit stating that mediation and conciliation have been attempted and failed.
ADR (Alternate Dispute Resolution), Lok Adalats, and Gram Nyayalayas should be used effectively.
The US Food and Drug Administration recently proposed a ban on menthol cigarettes and flavoured cigars.
Menthol cigarettes are not prohibited in India.
Brazil became the first country in the world to outlaw menthol cigarettes in 2012.
The Centre banned electronic cigarettes in 2019, and various states have their own rules in place prohibiting hookah consumption, including flavoured hookahs, in public places.
It aims to prohibit menthol as a distinguishing flavour in cigarettes and all distinguishing flavours (other than tobacco) in cigars.
The proposed regulations would help prevent children from becoming the next generation of smokers while also assisting adult smokers in quitting.
The proposed rules are an important step toward advancing health equity by reducing tobacco-related health disparities significantly. The proposed ban excludes electronic cigarettes.
Individual consumers will not face penalties for possessing or using menthol cigarettes or flavoured cigars.
Only “manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, importers, and retailers who manufacture, distribute, or sell such products” will be addressed by the rules.
Menthol’s minty flavour and aroma “reduces the irritation and harshness of smoking.”
This increases the appeal of menthol cigarettes and makes them more appealing to young people and adults.
Menthol also interacts with nicotine in the brain, enhancing nicotine’s addictive effects while making quitting smoking more difficult.
Menthol cigarette use is more prevalent among Black Americans (85 percent of smokers in the community) than among White Americans (30 percent ).
The proposed ban will affect a large proportion of the smoker population, particularly young adults and people of colour.
According to the Global Youth Tobacco Survey, India has the world’s second largest number of tobacco users (268 million), with 13 lakhs dying each year from tobacco-related diseases.
Ten lakh people die as a result of smoking, with over 200,000 dying as a result of second-hand smoke exposure and over 35,000 dying as a result of smokeless tobacco use.
In India, approximately 27 crore people over the age of 15 and 8.5 percent of school-aged children between the ages of 13 and 15 use tobacco in some form.
Tobacco use costs India an annual economic burden of over Rs. 1,77,340 crores.
Tobacco use is well-known to be a major risk factor for a variety of noncommunicable diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic lung diseases. Tobacco use is responsible for nearly 27% of all cancers in India.
Given that chewing tobacco and bidi are the most common forms of tobacco use in India, a ban on menthol and other flavoured cigarettes may have a limited impact.
According to the most recent Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS 2016-17), India has 26.7 crore tobacco users aged 15 and up, with 18% using smokeless tobacco, 7% smoking, and 4% using both.
Even among smokers, the impact of such a measure would be limited to young adults and women who are just beginning to smoke.
Product prohibition raises logistical concerns because it encourages product smuggling.
Currently, the availability of various flavours has grown over time.
India: \sWHO FCTC: Under the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, India adopted tobacco control provisions (WHO FCTC).
It superseded the Cigarettes Act of 1975 (which was largely limited to statutory warnings such as “Cigarette Smoking is Harmful to Your Health” to be displayed on cigarette packs and advertisements). Non-cigarettes were not included).
Cigars, bidis, cheroots, pipe tobacco, hookah, chewing tobacco, pan masala, and gutka were also included in the 2003 Act.
It forbids the manufacture, importation, exportation, transportation, sale, distribution, storage, and advertisement of e-cigarettes.
Tobacco Quitline Services have the potential to reach a large number of tobacco users with the sole goal of providing telephone-based tobacco cessation information, advice, support, and referrals.
The mCessation Programme is a tobacco-cessation initiative that makes use of mobile technology.
As part of the government’s Digital India initiative, India launched mCessation via text messages in 2016.
To have the desired impact and to modify tobacco control policies, public policy and health promotion interventions (part of the sociopolitical context) must have an inequality perspective.
Tobacco control measures that target the poor differently include a ban on advertisements, increased tobacco prices, workplace interventions, free supply of cessation aids, and telephone help lines.
Policy Reformation That Is Appropriate:
To reduce tobacco-related mortality and morbidity, appropriate policy reformation should occur, with interventions such as the inclusion of large public health programmes in relation to the National Tobacco Control (NCD) Programme to solve this problem holistically.
According to the most recent Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Report on Currency and Finance (RCF), the Indian economy may take more than a decade to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The report’s theme is “Revive and Reconstruct,” with the goal of fostering a long-term recovery post-Covid-19 and rising trend growth in the medium term.
Worst Health Crisis: Covid-19 The Covid-19 pandemic will go down in history as one of the world’s worst health crises.
The pre-Covid trend growth rate is 6.6 percent, and excluding the slowdown years, it is 7.1 percent.
Using a growth rate of (-) 6.6 percent for 2020-21, 8.9 percent for 2021-22, and a growth rate of 7.2 percent for 2022-23 and 7.5 percent beyond that, India is expected to overcome Covid-19 losses in 2034-35.
Economic Consequences of a Pandemic: Its economic impact may linger for many years, presenting the Indian economy with the challenges of rebuilding livelihoods, protecting businesses, and reviving the economy.
India suffered among the world’s greatest pandemic-induced losses in terms of output, lives, and livelihoods, which could take years to recover from.
Russia-Ukraine Conflict: The Russia-Ukraine conflict has also slowed the recovery’s momentum, with the impact being transmitted through record high commodity prices, a weaker global growth outlook, and tighter global financial conditions.
Concerns about deglobalization affecting future trade, capital flows, and supply chains have increased uncertainty in the business environment.
The first step in this journey will most likely be the timely rebalancing of monetary and fiscal policies.
Price Stability: Price stability is a prerequisite for strong and sustainable growth.
Reducing Government Debt: It is critical to reduce general government debt to less than 66 percent of GDP over the next five years in order to secure India’s medium-term growth prospects.
Suggested structural reforms include: increasing access to low-cost, litigation-free land.
The Industrial Revolution 4.0 and the committed transition to a net-zero emission target necessitate a policy ecosystem that facilitates adequate access to risk capital and a globally competitive business environment.
Better FTA Negotiations: To improve the outlook for exports and domestic manufacturing, India’s ongoing and future free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations may focus on the transfer of technology and better trade terms for high-quality imports from partner countries.
The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court invoked the ‘parens patriae jurisdiction’ and granted ‘Mother Nature’ legal status as a ‘living being’ with the status of a legal entity.
Declaring ‘Mother Nature’ a ‘living being’ will grant it the status of a legal person, with all the rights, duties, and liabilities that come with being a living being, in order to preserve and conserve it.
The court observed that ‘Mother Nature’ was granted rights comparable to fundamental rights, legal rights, and constitutional rights in order to ensure its survival, safety, sustenance, and resurgence.
Maintaining its status and promoting its health and well-being
The state and federal governments are directed to protect “Mother Nature” and to take all appropriate measures in this regard.
The natural environment is a component of basic human rights, specifically the “right to life.”
The survival rate of newly born Nilgiri tahrs (up to one year) is higher at Rajamala in the Eravikulam National Park (ENP) than in other isolated natural habitats such as Silent Valley, Pothady, Munnar, and others.
Rajamala is one of the most beautiful hill stations in Idukki, Kerala.
The Eravikulam National Park is located in the Rajamala Hills.
The Eravikulam National Park, with an area of 97 square kilometres, is located in the Kannan Devan Hills of the southern Western Ghats.
The Eravikulam National Park has the highest density and largest surviving population of the endangered mountain goat Nilgiri tahr. The park was created primarily to protect the Nilgiri tahr.
This area will be carpeted in blue every twelve years due to the mass flowering of Neelakurinji flowers.
Among the 12 species found in India, the Nilgiri tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius) is the only mountain ungulate in southern India.
The Nilgiri tahr is related to the Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus), which is found in Kashmir and Bhutan, and the Arabian tahr (Arabitragus jayakari), which is found in Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
It is also the Tamil Nadu state animal. It is a Western Ghats endemic species.
The Nilgiri tahr, which was once found throughout the Western Ghats, is now only found in small fragmented pockets.
Existing populations are severely stressed as a result of habitat loss and hunting.