TWO SIDES OF INDIA

INTRODUCTION

India is a great country; we are its citizens and we love our country. It has given birth to many great people who had lost their lives for this country. Some of them lost their lives while fighting for the freedom of India, and some just to maintain and preserve the glory of this country. Some of them are Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad, V.V Savarkar, Swami Vivekanand and are many more who sanctified India’s land. But on the other side, there are the ones like Kangana Ranaut, Vir Das and others as well, who are a citizen of India but still are defaming this country. But our society is double-sided, because on one side Kangana Ranaut criticized India and made many controversial statements in India itself, and still she received Padma Shri, and on the other side Vir Das is facing contempt charges, this is what two India is. Vir Das, a stand-up comedian, has presented another side of India at “John F Kennedy” center in Washington DC, which we will substantiate it with stats. But, none of the statements he made was false and misleading, he just told what the truth is, and did just barely not harshly.


VIR’S POETRY AND INDIA’S CURRENT CRISIS

“I come from an India where women are being worshipped during the day and get raped at night”, the most controversial statement in his poetry is not because of the word rape rather it’s because of the word “worship” Let’s talk in general.

Do we Indians worship goddess Durga? Yes,


Is rape and sexual assault being committed against women? Yes, then why can’t we use both sentence in same statement?

Let’s substantiate this with stats.


“One rape was reported every 16 minutes in India in 2019”[1]. This figure was 15 minutes in 2018[2]. In 2019, the national average rate of rape (per 1,00,000 population) was 4.9, down from 5.2 in 2018 and 2017. The minor drop however could be attributed to data from west.


Bengal not being available. As of 2019, Nagaland (0.8), Tamil Nadu (1.0), and Bihar (1.3) had the lowest rape rates among the states, while Rajasthan (15.9) had the highest rape rate.


Rapes that result in murder and attempted rapes are not included in statistics, which are counted separately by police in India.


Some people compare statistics of rape with other countries like the USA and Australia. But I must tell you that, women are being worshipped only in India rather than any other country in the world. In our culture and tradition, woman’s strata is superior in Hinduism which is followed by large portion of the country’s population.


Some other countries and their statistics in respect of rape offence is as follows:

  • Between the years 2013-2017, average report in Sweden was 64 rapes per 100,000 inhabitants.

  • In the year 2010, the highest rate of rape in the world at 132.4 incidents per 100,000 people was in South Africa.

  • While the frequency of rape in the United States varies from state to state, it averages out to one every 1-2 minutes.

  • Women in the age group 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape or sexual assault.

  • In Australia the reported rape rate per 100,000 people is relatively high, although it is in a decreasing trend, coming down from 91.6 in 2003 to 28.6 in 2010.[3]

India’s ratio per 100000 is 4.5% good compared to those countries which were given above. Because our country’s population is 1.3 billion which is twice compared to the countries together mentioned above.

Let’s elaborate the point, 4.5% in 100000 multiplied 58,500,000

In case of rape and sexual assaults, this number is above the whole pollution of several countries.


NOTABLE CASES AND LAWS RELATING TO RAPE


1) Delhi gang rape and murder case

“Case involved a rape and fatal assault that occurred on 16 December 2012 in Munirka, an urban village in South West Delhi. Victim Jyoti Singh, a 22-year-old female psychotherapy intern, beaten gang-raped, and tortured in a private bus in which she was travelling with her male friend. Her friend was beaten and the woman was raped by six other people on the bus, including the driver. This incident was widespread like fire all over India, people came on road to protest against rape offenders.[4] This case is also known as the Nirbhaya rape and murder case.

Result of the protest, the Government appointed a committee i.e., the” Justice Verma Committee” and changes were made in law based on recommendations on 3 February 2013, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 was promulgated by President Pranab Mukherjee. It provides for amendment on laws relating to sexual offenses, Indian penal code, Indian Evidence Act, and Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.[5]


2) Kathua rape case

On 17 January 2018, “Asifa Bano”, an 8-year-old minor girl, was raped and murdered in Rasana village near Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir”. When charges were filed against eight men in April 2018, the incident garnered national headlines. Protests erupted once the accused were arrested, one of which was attended by two ministers from BJP both of whom have now resigned. The rape and murder, as well as the support the accused received, sparked widespread outrage.[6]


3) POSCO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences.)

It aims to protect children and women from rape and sexual assault. Numerous cases have not been filed because of the victim being a minor and due to the lack of awareness regarding the rights. In rural areas, most of the women face such crimes. However, very few of them stand out publicly due to lack of education and the patriarchal mindset of society.


“VIR’S SECOND MOST CONTROVERSIAL STATEMENT”

“I come from an India where we laugh so loudly in the comfort of our own homes that you can hear us through the walls, and yet I come from an India where we break down the walls of a comedy club because you can hear laughter inside”.

There was criticism in Kunal Kamra’s words but was on political party and not on Siachen issue because Government mentioned Siachen issue as an excuse for the cause (demonetisation). Also, he taunted on the idle system followed during demonetisation that the government could have proper arrangements but still there were not proper arrangements as required. But he was in favour of the idea and decision of demonetisation. “Munawar Faruqui “, another stand-up comedian who also suffered because his free speech was restricted and was jailed as well, and still his show was being cancelled that was supposed to be held in Bengaluru titled “Dongri to Nowhere”, and not only in Bengaluru but was also cancelled in 16 other places. “The Bengaluru police asked the organisers to call it off citing ‘law and order’ issues” and terming him a “controversial figure”. But he had only said that, the ruling party is working on an agenda and mentioned the government’s failures, and thus criticized fairly and didn’t try to defame the ruling party.

So, on what basis they are facing sedition charges?

15-20 years back, Indian television personality “Jaspal Bhatti” who used to run a television show called “Full tension” in which he had criticised the government, political leaders and revealed what happens behind the back, that were beyond people as well. Writers like R.K Narayan and others as well, who had written by criticizing the Government openly, and people still had praised and supported it, still they didn’t face any such charges inspite of doing the same as Kunal Kamra and Munawar Faruqui. So, we can say personality like Kunal Kamra and Munawar Faruqui are not doing their job only, but are also spreading kind of awareness among common people.

Article 19(1)(a) of Indian constitution says that all the citizens of India have the right to freedom of speech and expression. So, where is freedom of speech? Why people like Kunal Kamra and Munawar Faruqui are facing sedition charges?


THE NARROW DIFFERENCE BUT BROAD PUNISHMENT, SEDITION OR RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND EXPRESSION.


According to the Indian penal code definition, section 124A.

“Sedition- Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, “the Government established by law in India, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine”. This definition is based on notable cases like “Kedarnath vs State of Bihar”


-The appellant has been convicted under ss. 124A and 505 Indian Penal Code. Both these sections are extra vires because they violate Art. 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. A speech may or may not disturb public order, yet both are criminal under Section 124A. The section hits speeches of both types, lawful and impermissible, are addressed in this section. The explanation to section 124A doesn’t affect the interpretation of the main section. In a democratic set up, a citizen is entitled to criticise the Government with a view to change it. Two questions arise in the cases, namely “(i) does s. 124A enact a legislation in the public interest, and (ii) does this provision impose reasonable restrictions in the interest of public order. The decision in I. L. R. (1958) 2 All. “84 which has declared s.124A to be ultra vires”, takes the correct law.[7]


In 1990s another case of Balwant sing vs Punjab which define the criteria of sedition as Explanation 1 - The term "disaffection" refers to disloyalty as well as all feelings of enmity.

Explanation 2 - Comments expressing disapprobation of the measures of the Government with a view to obtain their alteration by Lawful means, without exciting or attempting to excite hostility, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section.

Explanation 3 – “Comments expressing disapproval of government administrative or other action without inciting or seeking to incite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this Section."[8]


Whenever section 124A implemented article 19 (1) (a) is violated.

According to article 19 (1) (a).”[9]“It is a fundamental right and part of basic structure of Indian constitution that guarantees freedom of speech and expression but it is not absolute”. Some reasonable restrictions are: -

· Sovereignty and integrity of India;

· The security of state;

· Friendly relation with foreign states;

· Public order;

· Decency;

· Morality;

· Contempt of court;

· Defamation

These restrictions don’t curb right to freedom of speech in respective government scheme and its agenda but also have right to express view about the ruling political parties and opposition parties as well.

I think there wasn’t anything contrary in Vir Das statement. He is surely right in his way and the reason of getting hyped is narrow mindedness of the people, we people should respect one’s freedom of speech and should have the ability to listen others. If we are listening to Kangana Ranaut we should listen Vir Das also. Because he didn’t mention anything contrary, rather he mentioned whatever that is going on in our country. And the government should welcome this. People like APJ Abdul Kalam, Swami Vivekanand and many others had made India’s land holy earth and have also made this country ahead high. India is a democratically-governed country and every citizen of India enjoys the right to freedom of speech and expression, then why Vir Das is being treated differently? Isn’t he a citizen of India?

Isn’t he entitled to enjoy the same rights and privileges that every common citizen of India does? This is something which needs to be looked in.