SHIMLA- A spell of about two-three feet snowfall in various districts including Shimla, Kullu, Kinnaur, Chamba and Mandi have highlighted status of governance in the state of Himachal Pradesh. While blackout or interruption in restoration of power supply in remote regions can be understood, shockingly, the capital city Shimla also plunged into a week-long blackout that still continues in some of its localities. The blackout and water scarcity continued for minimum five days in several localities of the city including New Shimla, Chakkar, Totu Lakkar Bazaar, US Club, Chhota Shimla, Sanjauli, Bharari, Dhalli etc.
All statements of the administration and even 24-hours of deadline given by the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh to restore power supply to the city within 24 hours went futile. The situation led to emergency-like situation as people , who are dependent of electric appliances for room and water heating, shivered in sub-zero temperatures (-3.4 Degree Celsius). As per official reports, three people including a new-born have died so far and patients are major hospitals also suffered due to the blackout.
Prior to snowfall, on Met department prediction, the administration had ensured that the city and the State are well prepared to deal with even heavy snowfall. Reportedly, VIP areas were given preference when it came to clearing link roads and restore power-supply, which has led to outrage among people who could manage to stay connected to social media.
Tourists were looted by hospitality industry during this phase and large number of bookings in hotels was also cancelled. Large number of tourist returned with a bitter experience in Shimla due to blackout and water-shortage.
Water-Crisis with No Backup for Water-Pumping Stations
Over half of the city was facing water-shortage as four water-pumping schemes, namely Giri, Churat, Chayed, Koti-Barandi, stopped working as power-supply was interrupted. Shortage of water added to woes created by the blackout. It’s highly condemnable that the administration never made arrangements of backup for water-pumping stations. The SMC and Electricity board continue to blame each other for this situation. The bitterness of cold is worsen by water-scarcity.
What Led to Interruption in Power Supply to Shimla City?
As per the administration, over 130 trees were uprooted in various parts of the city. The overhead power-supply lines were taken down along with several electricity poles including the main supply line. Over 650 transformers were damaged in entire Shimla and over 100 of them still awaits repair. As a matter of fact, rate of tree falling was quite high and the reason can be attributed to widespread digging and excavation for over-construction and even illegal construction all over the city. Tree roots are damaged or exposed, deteriorating their strength to withstand single-day spell of snowfall.
Also, the situation points out that neither the State Electricity Board, neither the district administration have ever bothered to assess number of such trees which are vulnerable. There was no strategy to bypass this risk looming over the city’s power-supply lines.
HPSEB Short of about 7,000 Employees, Staff ill Equipped
It appears that the administration and even the Chief Minister weren’t aware that the electricity board is short of field-workers or line-mans. The board is short of about 7,000 employees and major part of vacant posts includes third and fourth class employees. The shortage prevailed over past two-decades but the government didn’t pay attention to it. From over 40, 000 employees in 1990s, the current strength have dropped to about 20,000. The power-supply lines are stewed at several locations and the electricity board fall short of field workers. The board also complained that it lacks young employees who could efficiently carry out works like lifting power-lines and climbing on poles.
Moreover, the employees complaint that they are ill equipped to carry out repair work, which is a matter of embarrassment for the ruling Congress- government
So, despite board’s efforts, it still struggles to restore power-supply to the city and to other regions of Himachal even after six days of snowfall.
Rest, the VIPs, mostly the ministers, interfere and use their influence to issue orders to give preference to some localities or colonies instead of letting them work impartially during such a critical situation.
The opposition has also criticized the current government for offering unnecessary extension to retired employees while the administration is short of field workers.
Moreover, it is well observed fact that the government doesn’t wake up until situation take worst form it can. For instance, after deadly jaundice outbreak killed over a dozen of people and landed thousands in hospitals, it was revealed that sewage treatment plants are not working and people are being supplied contaminated water. After skeleton of Yug Gupta was recovered from a SMC water-supply tank, it was revealed that these tanks are not cleaned for years. When the garbage treatment plant turned into stinking landfill and was set on fire by the contractor, it was known that the plant was never working in reality. It appears, most of the departments are running on ‘Jugaad’in Himachal Pradesh.
HP High Court’s gift to daughters of freedom fighters on Independence Day
Shimla: The State High Court of Himachal Pradesh on August 14, 2018, struck down a 1984 policy of the State, which discriminated against the married women. The policy did not consider the married women at par with the married sons and specifically excluded them from reservation being provided to “wards of freedom fighters” category in Govt. Jobs in the state of H.P.
The occasion is apt to echo the four decade old illuminating words of one of the greatest Judges of our Apex Court, Hon’ble J. Krishna Iyer where he said:
If a married man has a right, a married woman, other thing being equal, stands on no worse footing. This misogynous posture is a hangover of the masculine culture of manacling the weaker sex forgetting how our struggle for national freedom was also a battle against woman’s thraldom.
In the year 1984, it was decided by the state of H.P that 2% reservation in services be provided to the children/grandchildren of freedom fighters belonging to the State of H.P. in direct recruitment to all services/posts i.e. Class-I to IV including all Public Sector Undertakings/ Boards/Corporations. As per Scheme, the benefit of the reservation was applicable in respect of sons/grandsons, daughters/ granddaughters of Freedom Fighters. The married daughters/ granddaughters of Freedom Fighters were excluded from the scheme.
The issue of this exclusion was taken up and judicially reviewed by the bench of Hon’ble J.Sanjay Karol and J. Sandeep Sharma on a petition by Letter petitioners Ms Rekha Sharma and Ms Geeta Sharma, daughters of late Shri Het Ram Sharma (a Freedom Fighter).
The court appointed Advocate Deven Khanna as Amicus Curie who made submissions on behalf of the married daughters of freedom fighters (petitioners).
The stand of the state as reflected from the affidavit filed in 2017 was that;
So far as the question regarding giving reservation quota to the married Daughters/ granddaughters of Freedom Fighters is concerned, it is submitted that status of a married woman has to be construed in consonance with the general understanding of the word family as well as a status of married woman in the society. After marriage, a married woman loses the status of being a member of the parent’s family.
On an Affidavit dated October 10, 2017, filed by the Deputy Secretary (GAD) in the Court it was stated:
According to common knowledge and general understanding, the married daughter does not constitute to be a part of the family in its real sense. A daughter of a freedom fighter after her marriage, gets herself transplanted into the family of her husband and cannot, therefore, be claimed to be a part of the family in its real sense of the freedom fighter her father at least for anything relating to her children.
The State effectually took a stand that after solemnization of marriage; daughter severs her relationship with her parental family, for she gets “transplanted” into the family of her husband, and as such, cannot claim herself to be part of family of a Freedom Fighter.
It was argued on behalf of Married daughters (petitioners) that exclusion of a married daughter is plainly an act of hostile discrimination which is violative of the fundamental right guaranteed under Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution. The condition which has been imposed by the State does not prescribe financial dependence and does not exclude married men.
It was argued that the contrary the purpose here is to give benefit to the family of freedom fighter for their services, family here includes married daughter as much as married son,if we look at the classification made by the state between a married man and married daughter, it does not bear any connection with the object of the policy which seeks the benefit of the family members, hence this violates the basic rights.
It was stated that Discrimination law now sees as its focus the redressal of structural and institutional conditions, that have been historically responsible for subordination on the basis of gender roles. Gender roles here being married daughter considered dependent on her husbands family and losing her identity as it was prior to marriage.
It was further submitted by the amicus that discriminatory treatment, in this case, causes substantive disadvantage to women on grounds of their sex in public employment which is violative of article 16.
It was stated by the amicus:
It is the duty of the State to “not perform” an act which would discriminate on grounds of sex., there is also a positive obligation on the State to perform an act which would remove such existent discriminations.
The Court discussed a Plethora of judgments which had carved out a landscape of principles against gender discrimination in recent years.
Finally, the court struck down the policy to the extent it discriminates against married women and was contrary to the constitution.
The Court speaking through Hon’ble J. Karol came down heavily on the line of defence adopted by the state while striking down the unconstitutional part of the policy, the court held:
“******We find the stand adopted by the State to be absolutely archaic and disappointing..
::…..We notice that, under the instant Policy, the object and purpose of providing reservation is to confer the benefit upon the wards of the Freedom Fighters. Stand taken by the State that daughter gets transplanted into the family of her husband, in view of what the Hon’ble Supreme Court has observed, noticed by us supra, is not in tune with the changing times. The primary object and purpose of the Policy is not to confer benefits only on the male members of the Freedom Fighters. It is to acknowledge the sacrifices made by the Freedom Fighters, by giving employment to their wards.
….The primary object to provide employment to wards of freedom fighters is to recognize the outstanding services rendered by them to the Nation during the struggle for Independence and thus their wards are given benefit towards employment by making reservation to them under the category of “Wards of Freedom Fighters”. In our considered view, Daughters and Granddaughters, even if married, would be eligible for public employment.
…The action of the respondents by not giving reservation to married women and not allotting them Wards of Freedom Fighter Certificate, is illegal and arbitrary and an example of colorable exercise of power, for marriage does not have and should not have a proximate nexus with identity. The identity of a woman, as a woman continues to subsist even after and notwithstanding her marital relationship.
The time has, therefore, come for the Court to affirmatively emphasise that it is not open to the State, if it has to act in conformity with the fundamental principles of equality which are embodied in Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution, to discriminate against married daughters by depriving them of the benefit of the reservation, which is made available to a son irrespective of his marital status.”*******(excerpt is from the judgement in CWPIL 114 of 2018)
The Court also took note of the fact that the policy was an old policy, passed before the guarantees of sex equality under Articles 14 and 15 had an adequate expansion through various judgements of the apex court. The Court also referred to conflicting opinions passed by its previous benches.
The present case strengthens the fight for equality and strikes at the Differential treatment of men and women on the basis of presumed “gender roles” between the sexes, it exposes that discrimination results from conscious, chauvinistic Mindset and sometimes a product of social, economic, and cultural structures and institutions that create “patterns of exclusion”.
This significantly advances Indian sex discrimination jurisprudence, not only because of what the Court held i.e “that the policy discriminates against married women”, but also because how it was expressed, Justice Karol commenting on the stand of the state observed:
It is certainly not in tune with the changing times. In fact, it is out of sync with the constitutional values and principles. The predominant mindset of male chauvinism is all-pervading.
The language here is highlighting the impact of discrimination, because such practices end up reproducing existing social inequalities and hierarchies, and are the cause of stereotyping a particular gender into set roles. The need is to change the mindset and spread the constitutional morality of equality and freedom, to counter the chauvinism prevalent in the society at large and to provide a level playing field for all to prosper.
The case is a victory for women rights movement and an example of the justice system coming to the rescue of fundamental rights, against, biased and prejudicial laws which have a legacy of discrimination and are nursed by misogynistic mindsets of our society.
Misconceptions keep Himachal from making fortune on ‘green gold’ and eradicate charas mafia
Shimla: Owing to the unawareness and lack of education regarding the difference between hemp and recreational cannabis and the political link between the two, Himachal Pradesh Government is missing a big opportunity to cash on it. Hemp cultivation has become green gold in countries like China and the United States of America. The best part is that its biodegradable, thus, eco-friendly.
At the same time, while sitting on this mine of green gold, the Hill State is facing the wrath of charas/drug mafia due to illegal cultivation in rural areas where people have bleak opportunities of alternative employment.
The public, as well as the government, are under the false impression that legalizing cultivation would make things worse, especially for the youth. The article discusses facts relating to this misconception created due to the negative image of the plant. But before that, let us take a look at the booming industry of hemp.
Overview of the booming global hemp market
As of 2017, around 36 countries were growing industrial hemp in accordance with rules and regulations of their respective governments.
Hemp is endorsed in fibre market by big names like Adidas, Nike, Specialized Bicycle, MERIDA, TREK, Capo, Assos, Rapha, Marcello Bergamo, Castelli etc.
Hemp fibre accounted for 40.4% of the revenue in 2017 on account of high demand from the textile industry.
The global industrial hemp market is booming and expected to reach USD 10.6 billion by 2025, says a report by Grand View Research, Inc.
It’s generating billions in revenue and creating investment opportunities. China is the biggest producer as it claims 50 percent of the total supply to the global market. China’s hemp industry is all set to grow into a US $14,66,49,10,000 fortune in just five years.
China is fetching US $1,500 per hectare which is higher than the common crops like corn. Its produce is mostly exported to US, Europe, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, etc.
Shanxi Greenland Textile is the largest hemp fibre processor in China.
While Indian policymakers are neglecting it, about 606 patents have already come into existence, and China holds maximum 309 patents relating to hemp products.
In the US, Hemp Business Journal predicts industry growth of 700% to a value of 1.8 billion dollars by 2020 owing to hemp-derived CBD, food, personal care and industrial products
The total sales for the U.S. Hemp Industry in 2017 were $820 million.
Hemp is useless for charas mafia
When American farmers first begin to grow hemp as a legal crop, a large number of other people believed they were growing drugs or cannabis for smoking. This is the biggest misconception faced by the policymakers in India as well as in other nations.
Hemp is one of the varieties of Cannabis sativa, which cannot be used as a psychoactive substance to get high. In simple words, it would not get you high even if you try to do so by smoking it because it contains negligible amount (.3%) of the psychoactive substance Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
This variety of cannabis family is different from what is being cultivated illegally in Himachal, which contains a much higher amount of THC.
Genetically modified seeds with low TCH content
The researchers are already working on developing genetically modified hybrid seeds which could deliver higher productivity with a negligible amount of THC. Similar efforts are being made in the neighbouring states of Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir where the hemp cultivation has already been made legal. However, the stigma associated with cannabis family is holding back the hemp industry.
However, the misunderstanding due to the link of hemp to the cannabis family has resulted in several restrictions on hemp cultivation, processing, distribution, and consumption.
Himachal’s policymakers should not make a similar mistake and spoil the chances of socio-economic upliftment through this green gold.
Recreational cannabis can’t be grown under cover of hemp
Countries cultivating hemp has not faced any such problems because these two types of cannabis varieties can be distinguished easily. Also, the cultivation cycle is also different from the recreational cannabis. Moreover, the cultivation area, which is beyond government’s complete surveillance throughout the year, would automatically provide all details regarding the total area of cultivation with specific locations, total produce, and sale to manufactures.
Considering this, anyone who is given license to cultivate hemp legally after fulfilling all official formalities and conditions would deter from violating it by trying to cheat the authority.
Recognized and listed in the Essential Drugs List of AYUSH
The Essential Drugs List of Ayurveda Siddha Unani and Homeopathy (AYUSH) Department includes cannabis sativa as a medicine and the ancient literature of India as well China has a plethora of documented knowledge about the medicinal properties of the plant.
It is written in our Vedas that Cannabis (Vijaya) is one of the most sacred plants to grow on this land. Our Ayurvedic scriptures recognised and wrote about the miraculous medicinal properties of this plant almost 3,500 years ago.
Vijaya has been described under Upasiva Varga (Group of sub-poisonous plants) by certain texts related to Rasa Sastra.
Take a detailed look at a research titled “Exploring the pharmaco-clinical view on Bhanga (Cannabis sativa linn.): a classical unfamiliar portrayal Swagat” by DilipTavhare and Rabinarayan Acharya published in International Journal of Pharmaceutical & Biological in 2015:
A large number of such studies is available to testify in support of the aforesaid facts.
A global cannabis market of billions of dollars is ready to make large investments in India with a potential of creating employment for approximately 2.8 million people.
The cultivators can earn approximately Rs, 40,000 per acre in 100 days. Further, India has a potential to export hemp and cannabis products worth $330 million, which could grow rapidly if the government could think in the right direction and open research facilities to study this plant.
As per the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance, in 2016, Canadian exports of hemp rose from $600,000 to $45 million and is expected to grow to $40 – $80 million by 2020.
Companies in the market are producing fibres that are water repellent, fire retardant, absorptive, and super soft. China was the first to carry out a research on hemp and use it in the military for uniforms and bulletproof jackets.
As a matter of fact, the hemp fibre is considered as one of the strongest material.
Hemp is so strong and lightweight that the auto industry is using it for luxury car parts.
It also makes good construction material in homes, and researchers are of the opinion that hemp biodiesel could one day be used as clean fuel.
The market boom can be attributed to increasing awareness about hemp, thus, growing demand for hemp-based food products including cooking oil, dairy alternatives, flour, salad, and for bakery products such as bread and cookies
What does HP High Court say about hemp cultivation?
If the data provided in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in the State High Court by advocate Deven Khanna is considered, Himachal can kill several birds with one stone if it could bring the cultivation of hemp under legal framework for industrial and medicinal purposes.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Sandeep Sharma, on July 19, after taking stock of the situation of the state in terms drug/substance use, had expressed worries about it saying the situation has reached an alarming level.
The Court has directed the government to take every possible measure including at the level of policymakers to eradicate this nuisance. Along with directions to law enforcement agencies, the court has also asked the government to consider cannabis cultivation for alternative purposes, especially medicinal.
Government may also consider hiring services of some research Agencies, who in turn may advise/recommend alternate use, especially medicinal use, if any, of cannabis plant grown in the State of Himachal Pradesh, so that local residents, involved in illegal trade of cannabis, are encouraged to use cannabis plants for producing some medicines or substances which can be used legally,
the court had stated in the order.
ND&PS Act has given powers to State Governments to legalise hemp cultivation.
On the top of these advantages including the positive response of the High Court, there is already a provision in the ND&PS act, which the government can use to allow hemp cultivation.
Section 14 of the ND&PS Act empowers the government to, by general or special order, permit cultivation of cannabis exclusively for horticultural and industrial purposes. It says that the Central Government shall encourage research and trials of cultivars of cannabis with low THC content. The Central Government shall, however, follow a cautious, evidence-based approach towards the cultivation of cannabis for horticultural and/ or industrial purposes and shall take decisions based on the result of researches.
The Section 10 of the Act when read with Section 8, empowers the state governments to licence cultivation of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes.
Hemp cultivation is very specific in terms of its requirement for the climatic conditions.
As the altitude and climatic conditions of the Hill State favour cultivation of cannabis, the plants could be found in almost every region from tribal areas to International tourist destinations like Kullu and Shimla.
This alternative can also eradicate charas/hashish mafia – one of the biggest concerns of Himachal.
Also, as the hemp has no natural enemies like animals, insects, pests etc, farmers do not need to worry about the damages worth hundreds of crores caused to their crops by wild animals or making expenditure on pesticides.
Himachal’s struggle to check drug/substance abuse nuisance
If we take a look at the current situation, in district Shimla only, the police have registered about 24 cases under the Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances (ND&PS) Act from July 1 to August 8, 2018. In July, about 70 percent of cases were registered against Heroin (Chitta) offenders other than Charas, opium, and other drugs.
However, in August, the Shimla Police seized a high quantity of Charas in two cases, which could be considered as significant achievements. On August 8, police allegedly nabbed three persons including a female with 8.143 kg of Charas, and the case was registered at the Police Station, Theog.
Earlier, on August 2, the police had got it hands on a person who was allegedly carrying 3.3 kg charas.
However, such a high number of cases under ND&PS also indicate a commercial level cultivation of cannabis illegally. Ironically, the government is spending on uprooting these crops.
As per the Director General of the Police, SR Mardi, 94.267 kg charas was recovered between April, May and June 2018.
As per the DGP’s affidavit submitted to the court,
In the year 2012, 282.370 Kgs. charas was recovered from Himachal, whereas in the year 2013, it increased to 314.962 Kgs. As per the ‘NCB’, 356.963 Kgs. charas was recovered in the year 2014.
In 2016, the amount of seized charas rose to 377.535 kgs and 134 kg charas in first seven months of 2017.
Replacing current cannabis variety with hemp could go a long way in checking this nuisance and the black market.
Need for crop diversification in Himachal
Further, the climate change has affected Himachal’s common crops and fruit crops, especially apple. Amid such times, the policymakers need to work for diversification of cultivation of crops so that a supplementary income could be provided through the cultivation of Hemp in a rotational growing cycle along with major conventional crops.
It’s needless to say that hemp cultivation in addition to the common crops could assist it in achieving its target of doubling the income of farmers.
Major challenges for the hemp industry in India
The major challenges that the hemp industry face in India are lack of precedence with regards to regulatory landscape, interlayered ministerial roles and responsibilities, regulatory void caused due to lack of independent and consolidated regulator, lack of standard material for research amongst academics and institutions, concurrent policy clarity with regards to forward-looking nature of the hemp industry.
The State High Court would be conducting next hearing in the petition filed regarding the legalisation of hemp cultivation in Himachal on August 14, 2018. The court had already directed the state government to make a call over the decision. The ball is in the government’s court.
Yug Murder Case Conviction: Is this crime rare enough to invite death penalty?
Shimla: The Supreme Court of India, in a decision in Machhi Singh vs State of Punjab case in 1983, had coined the term “rarest of the rare.”
As per Justice MP Thakkar, rarest of the rare case means,
When the collective conscience of the community is so shocked that it will expect the holders of the judicial power center to inflict death penalty irrespective of their personal opinion as regards desirability or otherwise of retaining the death penalty.
Further, the deciding factors included the manner of commission of murder.
When the murder is committed in an extremely brutal, grotesque, diabolical. revolting, or dastardly manner so as to arouse the intense and extreme indignation of the community,
the Apex court had stated.
There are several other guidelines including consideration of aggravating and mitigating factors. However, there has been a long contradiction between the advocates of capital punishment and human rights activists all over the world.
One of the arguments against the death penalty states that the courts can not give birth to a human hence it doesn’t have the right to take life. The debate also considers the deterrent effect of awarding death penalty on offenders in making. Does it deter people from committing crimes?
In India, this debate holds more value as the rarest of rare cases are no more rare. The crime rate, especially crime against women is only rising. In 2012, the gangrape and brutal murder of Nirbhaya in the national capital had sounded the alarm. The accused were given death sentence but the question is whether it deterred criminals or not.
In Himachal, the debate was again sparked on August 6, 2018, as the district and session judge, Virender Singh found all three accused guilty of abducting and murdering Yug Gupta, a 4-years-old boy, in June 2014. However, the court did not announce the sentence, which is likely to be decided on August 13 – the next date scheduled for the sentencing hearing.
These three convicts include Tejinder Singh (29), Chander Sharma (26), and Vikrant Bakshi (22).
The parents of the murdered boy have been grieving since his abduction on June 14, 2014, from their home in Ram Bazaar, Shimla. Their pain was aggravated by the failure of Shimla Police in solving the case after an investigation of several months. The case was then handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Himachal Pradesh.
Their grief knew no bounds when the CID team recovered parts of Yug’s skeletal from a water tank on August 22, 2016, after a long investigation.
It turned out that said three youth, with an intention to extract a ransom from his family, had abducted Yug. The mastermind Chander was a neighbour of the victim’s family.
Does the crime attract capital punishment?
As per the Supreme Court’s directions in the 1983 Machhi Singh case,
The capital punishment can be imparted in cases
When the victim of murder is an innocent child who could not have or has not provided even an excuse, much less a provocation, for murder.
This criterion also included women or a person rendered helpless by old age or infirmity.
The crime committed in the case of Yug Gupta involve a 4-years-old child who, as per the investigation, was made to live in inhuman conditions after the abduction. The convicts had rented an apartment located at an isolated location near Ram Chandra Chowk. For a week, the child was kept naked in a bed-box, starved, and was made to consume alcohol forcefully to keep him in a sedated state and prevent him from making any noise.
After a week of abduction on June 14, the convicts tied him to a stone with a rope and threw him into a Shimla Municipal Corporation’s water supply tank in Kelston on June 21. Yug was alive when he was thrown into the tank.
The convicts had not asked for ransom until June 27 when the parents received a letter demanding a ransom of Rs. 3.6 crores. However, they had already murdered Yug a week ago.
The recovery of the skeletal remains had sent waves of shock across the state, which was followed by public protests demanding a death penalty for the three convicts. The Bar Association had also decided to not to take up the case of any of the accused. The case was first-of-its-kind in Himachal Pradesh – a considerably peaceful place as compared to rest of the States.
Everyone found it inconceivable to give an innocent child such horrible death. The convicts were even thrashed by an enraged mob while they were being taken to the court.
The CID had filed a charge-sheet against the accused on October 25, 2016.
The charge-sheet also included ten reports attached with it. Two of the reports were that of DNA test conducted to match remains of Yug parents and another report prooving that Yug was alive when the convicts dumped him in the Kelston tank.
About 114 persons are mentioned as the witnesses and statements of over 100 persons have been recorded. All the three accused were booked under sections 302, 201, 342, 364 A and 120 B of the IPC.
The case had indeed shocked the community and it did involve a helpless, innocent child, but it is to be seen whether it qualifies as a rarest of the rare case or not.
In brief, the rarest of the rare crime should consider:
- Manner of commission of murder
- Motive for commission of murder
- Anti-social or socially abhorrent nature of the crime
- Magnitude of crime
- Personality of victim of murder
Further, in September 2013, a bench of justices S J Mukhopadhaya and Kurian Joseph, while turning a sentence of the death penalty to a man accused of multiple murders into life imprisonment, had noted that the life imprisonment is the rule and death penalty an exception and courts should also consider socio-economic before pronouncing sentence.
Poverty, socio-economic, psychic compulsions, undeserved adversities in life are some of the mitigating factors which are also required to be considered, in addition to criteria laid down in its two landmark verdicts on the death penalty,
the bench had stated adding
We may note that the rule is life imprisonment for murder, and death is the exception for which special reasons are to be stated.
There seems to be no socio-economic compulsion in the case of the convicts in the Yug murder case that had compelled them to commit this crime. The accused are also mentally sound. However, for the court, it would not be that easy to pronounce a death sentence.
If a death penalty is awarded then, in accordance with the Section 354(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), the judge would have to cite special reasons for it.
The family of the Yug has expressed full faith in the judiciary and expects that the court would pronounce nothing less than a death penalty for the brutal murder of Yug.
The recovery of the remains of Yug had also posed serious questions over the cleaning and security of the water supply tanks of the SMC as well as the Irrigation & Public Health Department. The case highlighted that these agencies were not taking any measures to secure these tanks as they were neither locked or monitored in any other way.
The SMC supplied water to the public from this tank for two years until the arrest of the convicts who led the CID team to the spot. The convicts had thrown Yug into the tank in 2014 and it remained inside it up to August 2016, which clearly exposed the lackadaisical approach of government departments towards the quality of drinking water supplied to the public.
The police had also registered an FIR at Sadar Police Station under provisions of Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act 1974 on the basis of the CID’s report. The SMC was charged with a negligent act that could have led to spread of an epidemic or other infections lethal to human life.
However, the then Mayor of Shimla, Sanjay Chauhan, had questioned CID’s investigations and had claimed that all remains of Yug’s skeleton were recovered from surroundings of the Keleston-based water tank, not from inside. He had alleged Congress and BJP of playing cheap politics over the death of an innocent child.
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