Indo-China face-off: Protocol vs self-defence

Indo-China face-off: Protocol vs self-defence
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Highlights

Indeed, the situation on Line of Actual Control (LAC) is explosive

Indeed, the situation on Line of Actual Control (LAC) is explosive. The recent bloody skirmishes between the Indian Army and Chinese troops resulting into death of over 4 dozen soldiers on both sides is very sad. Undoubtedly, the whole nation stands like a rock behind our armed forces. At the same time, diplomatic channels also have been actively engaged to sort out the most contentious border issue.

However, it is not only disturbing but also annoying that instead of offering constructive co-operation to the government, some of the opposition parties are routinely voicing a hostile stand about the war-like situation. The recent outbursts of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi that Galwan martyrdom could have been avoided had our forces used the fire power, is not only childish but also shows the bankruptcy of his mind about the history of border issue between India and China.

Such utterances by the leader of a major political opposition party not only shakes the confidence of the people in the government of the day but also demoralises our armed forces. It is not that Rahul Gandhi doesn't know about the signing of bilateral agreements by both the nations on the issue of maintaining status quo on borders, but also about the refrain in using gun power on the face of any provocation by either side. Therefore, our brave, disciplined and committed Army even on the face of grave provocation and physical assault resulting into the killings of over 20 men, did not fire even a single bullet. They deserve adulation and not the insult.

True, the 1996 and 2005 bilateral agreements prescribed a protocol for tackling any unsavoury situation on the borders including refrain from using arms. But as is the general principal of any contract, this protocol mandated to be followed in letter and spirit by 'both' sides. There is no gain saying that one party would resort to the breach of contract or attempt to breach the contract and the other one would keep quite or stick to the terms of the contract. Further, Indian Army not only consists of weapons, vehicles and tents but, most importantly, the soldiers i.e., the human beings. They too, have the right of self defence and this should have been made clear to the officers and men fighting on the borders by the superiors about this very important right. Had it been done so, the loss of life could have been avoided or at least minimised. Protocol comes next only after the right of self defence. And when the Chinese side had already committed the breach of the agreements, the international community also would have supported the Indian side had our forces opened the fire in retaliation to physical assaults by the Chinese.

While it is good to look good in the eyes of others, political diplomacy alone cannot deter the monster enemy like China. Any belated action by India would only result into frustration and anger on the Indian side, particularly by the brave armed forces.

POCSO Amendment Act does not have retrospective effect: SC

The Supreme Court on June 15 ruled that the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) (Amendment) Act, 2012, does not have a retrospective effect when the punishment needs to be meted out prospectively and logically so. The Amendment imposes death penalty for the offences under POCSO Act with effect from August 16, 2019, and the offence in the case on hand was committed on 18/19 June, 2019. The bench of Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph observed, "....the punishment of not being released until his last breath is punitive enough to send a signal to the society and it cannot be (said) that only the death sentence can send a right signal." The Judgment came in an SLP filed by the State of Telangana when the High Court modified the punishment to life sentence till the last breath of the convict, from that of death sentence imposed by the trial court.

TS HC in the vortex of religions

If the media reports are to be believed, the poser by the Telangana High Court to the State government that why the police had booked a 'disproportionately' high number of cases against Muslims for violating lockdown rules, strikes at the very root of secularism and impartiality while dealing with the criminals. It is unfortunate that the Court thought it fit to jump to the conclusion that Muslims alone were targeted by the police for the booking of offences during lockdown.

Ever since the advent of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in 80's, all sorts of issues are brought before the High Courts and Supreme Court by the public spirited persons as well as by some others masquerading as social workers. The above observation came from the bench while hearing a PIL on alleged police excesses during the national lockdown. The Courts are well aware that the law does not discriminate between the people-their age, religion, caste, language, residence, education, social status etc; but it only recognises the 'offence' and if an offender happens to be a Muslim or Hindu or of any other religion, the police are duty bound to register a case against him.

By observing that only Muslims were targeted, the Court has unfortunately jumped to a conclusion that the police force as a whole was biased against Muslims. Further, just because Hindus and others were not booked for any offences, it cannot be concluded that the police was partisan. In the absence of any complaint or proof, the police cannot use its powers against the people of any community just for the sake of balancing. No doubt, such an observation by the highest court of the state would have demoralising effect on the police force and may also add fuel to the fire of widening gulf between Hindus and Muslims, which in the present circumstances of COVID-19 pandemic and the faceoff with China needs to be avoided.

SC declines relief to Oza

The Supreme Court on June 16, declined to intervene in the contempt proceedings initiated by the High Court of Gujarat against the senior advocate and president of the Gujarat High Court Advocates Association, Yatin Oza and permitted him to withdraw the petition.

It may be recalled that Oza, a repeat contemnor, had this time invited the wrath of the Gujarat High Court by his public utterances and a 12 page letter addressed to the Chief Justice of High Court wherein he made serious allegations of corruption, red-tapism and favouritism. The High Court has taken suo motu cognizance of these allegations terming them as baseless, frivolous, motivated and contemptuous and slapped the contempt notice on him under the provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act. Earlier, Oza had been hauled up by the apex court in another contempt matter and he had to apologize.

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