Commissions

A country that has commissions in place for the protection of human rights, women’s rights, minorities rights etc etc, regardless of their nature (quasi-judicial or not) and motives, confesses that its political and legal system is unsound. If its politics, and therefore laws, were based on individual rights, such commissions would be unnecessary. But since most countries have never understood the meaning of rights, they are at a loss to understand how it is that their system targets the “human rights” of some people, or lets people beat the shit out of women while the whole world watches on, or lets riots consume the lives of thousands of minorities, or understand why some minorities find themselves excluded from the mainstream. And so they come up with the idea of having such commissions to protect the victims. But that rarely happens. At its best, the impact of these commissions would be minimal, and at its worst, they will perpetuate the same crimes that the system does.

The role, and statement of a member of the National Commission of Women in the light of the Mangalore molestation saga is a case in point. Here are some pearls of wisdom-

  • “We visited the place and found that basically the pub that was attacked had no security. Anybody could just walk in or walk out. I have learnt from sources that there was live band going for which there was no permission. We have examined the documents and we are not happy with the answers given by the management. What has happened there is unfortunate but the management has no right to run the pub.”
  • “We have found that some illegal activities are going on in some hotels and pubs in Mangalore, including prostitution.”
  • “National Commission for Women will recommend the cancellation of license of this pub. The pub was given license to serve food for the lodge. They did not have the license to have a live band.”
  • “Women should protect themselves. They should have come forward and filed a complaint. So far no girl or their parents have come forward to file a complaint. If the girls feel they were not doing anything wrong why are they afraid to come forward and give a statement? When I met the culprits and asked for the names or numbers of at least one girl they refused saying they do not want to defame these girls.”

The first thing the member is concerned about is not that women got slapped around by “brothers” who had no business being there, but whether the pub is “legal.” And then she goes on to say that the women should come forward and complain if “[they] feel they were not doing anything wrong.” Brilliant. If the NCW has that much trust in the country’s legal system, why is it unnecessarily wasting taxpayers’ money by indulging in redundant activities? When the Chief Minister of the State says he won’t allow “pub culture” to go on, what that means is that women should stay at home, and if anything happens to them when they are outside, the State will not be responsible for their safety. If the NCW is really concerned about women’s safety, it should lobby against gun control laws. So the next time some “brother” wants to show “brotherly love,” the girl can protect herself by shooting him in the nuts.

In an unrelated case, some days back, the Supreme Court of India came down heavily on the National Human Rights Commission for trying to encroach upon its territory-

The Supreme Court on Monday saw red over the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) recommending clemency to a condemned prisoner, whose appeal as well as a review petition against death penalty in a murder case was turned down by it terming it not a fit case for life sentence.

[…]

A Bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and A K Ganguly took serious objection to NHRC’s meddling into the matter and wanted to know from the apex human right body’s counsel Shobha how the Commission could exercise jurisdiction over the decisions of the apex court.

[…]

Unimpressed, the Bench pointed towards the lurking danger to the justice delivery system if the sentencing system gets intervened in similar manner from multiple authorities.

“This will give rise to flooding of frivolous petitions (before the Commission) where Supreme Court decisions will be challenged as violative of human rights,” it said.

“If NHRC acts without authority in this manner, it is our duty to tell them what to do. They are headed by such high persons acting in public probity and they must know their limits,” it added.

Not only is the State running riot, hurting its citizens instead of protecting them – acting like a master instead of a servant – but so are its various commissions. But then you can’t expect too much from India.

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