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Vendors and Sweeper’s Colony

Editor,
I fully endorse the recent letter by Jenniefer Dkhar in your esteemed daily, on the above subject which mentions the proposed use of the present Sweeper’s Colony for, I presume, the vendors in and around the Iew Duh area. This will be a big help to the Iew Duh area but the problem of vendors in other parts of the city will also have to be looked into. Perhaps the vendors at Police Bazaar can be shifted into the white elephant Hotel Crowborough. For the benefit of the public at large, the shifting of the Sweeper’s Colony is advisable but the Government will have to overcome the objections of the residents at the colony and also the objections of the people to where the colony will be shifted. Once a place is identified for relocation, the only way out for the government is to make the relocation very attractive, in fact, so attractive that the people of the colony will find it impossible to say no. In other words, make them want to move. Of course, some attractions will also have to be offered to the people of the area to where the colony will be shifted. Attractions may be in the form of free power, free water, free schooling for a period of time apart from other inducements which may be thought of. This of course, may not be a fool proof solution to the problem but it is, perhaps, something worth considering. Shillong is bursting at the seams and is a tinder box awaiting just a small spark as we had seen recently. Hence the Government should take up these issues very seriously.
Yours etc.,

  1. M. Pariat,
    Aberystwyth,

Wales.

NRC outcome a wake-up call


Editor
,

Every sovereign country should safeguard its borders with strict vigil in view of the potential security fallout. For this, all countries in the world have their own Constitutions which their citizens should adhere to. In this the leaders must be extra alert and totally unbending. Needless to say, there are various punitive measures to deal with those crossing borders illegally, ranging from short detention to monetary fine; from a harsh jail sentence to even inhuman physical torture. But in our country, it is the opposite. Here illegal  migrants  are welcomed with crazy incentives and the assurance of protection. Yes, certain political parties walk those illegal migrants through and settle them down. They instantly provide Epic card, ration card and other freebies. What more, they are even allowed to flex their muscles! We There is definite data of illegal migrants involved in acts of terror. Who are the victims here? It is us the original inhabitants, the citizens of the country.

It’s time to open our ears and eyes and our inner sensibilities to identify the real culprits here. Who has been involved in this act of treason for decades? Look at Mamata Banerjee’s stance against NRC. It is all aimed at building vote banks. Can we allow politicians to have their way here? They have long sold their souls for power and pelf. They have nothing to lose. It is us the citizens who have everything to lose.

Yours etc.,

 Salil Gewali,

Shillong-2

Adultery – a criminal offence?

Editor,

A Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court consisting of Chief Justice Dipak Mishra and four other justices including are presently examining the constitutional validity of Section 497 of the Indian penal Code which deals with adultery.A batch of petitioners has assailed the provision of Section 497 of IPC on various grounds. The provision is discriminatory because it punishes only the man. It allows only the husband whose wife is in an adulterous relationship to file a complaint of adultery, while withholding this right to the wife of a man in an adulterous relationship. Whereas the provision does not make an offence if a married man has sex with an unmarried woman, or a married woman with an unmarried man. Also Section 497 makes adultery a criminal offence if a married man has sexual intercourse with the wife of another man without the latter’s “connivance” or “consent”.

On 2nd August, 2018 while  hearing the petitions the Bench observed that adultery could be a ground for divorce under civil law but making it a criminal offence, as the current law does, appeared irrational and unconstitutional. Reason being it interfered with an individual’s sexual autonomy and the current adultery law punished only the man and could thereby violate the right to equality before law.

One of the Judges argued about the sexual autonomy of women in abusive relationships, wondering why they should be prevented from seeking “solace and comfort” outside marriage. In fact the husband beating the wife is a fact-of-life in most Indian families and since formalizing divorce takes time, there is nothing wrong if she seeks “solace and comfort in a relationship which will give her happiness. It was also argued that both men and women should have a certain degree of sexual autonomy.The bench clarified that it was not considering whether women too should be punished for the offence—it was only examining the constitutionality of the provision since it punishes only the man involved (with up to five years jail).

However the Court also held that although adultery may be considered not to be a criminal offence, it is “morally impermissible”—for both husband and wife. At the same time Section 497 fails to make the offence gender-neutral unlike Section 494 (bigamy), which makes men and women equally liable for prosecution. Another judge felt that Section 479 could be struck down on the grounds of violation of Article 14 (equality) for it seeks to prosecute only the man. Again both parties who are engaged in adultery derive the benefit of the act, where one party is treated as offender and the other as victim, whereas in a marriage both the man and the wife have to equally respect the marriage and have equal responsibility.

At a point of time when “living together” and LGBT have got legal sanction there is ample reason and ground for striking down Section 497 and ensuring equality before law and gender parity both for men and women as enshrined in the Constitution of India.

Yours etc.,

Samares Bandyopadhyay

Advocate, Kolkata High Court

Camp: Shillong

 

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