Retributive justice: On Hyderabad vet rape and murder

Justice in any civilised society is not just about retribution, but also about deterrence, and in less serious crimes, rehabilitation of the offenders. The heinous rape and murder of a veterinarian in Hyderabad in late November shook the collective conscience of India and resulted in an outcry for justice for the victim and outrage over the persisting lack of safety for women in public spaces. Such societal pressure for justice invariably weighs upon legal institutions, as the police are required to find the culprits with alacrity and the judiciary to complete the legal process without undue delay. But these institutions must uphold the rule of law and procedure even in such circumstances. The killing of the four accused of the rape and murder of the veterinary doctor by the Cyberabad police raises disturbing questions. The police claim that two of the accused snatched their weapons and fired at them when the four had been taken to the crime scene to reconstruct the sequence of events

Climate warnings: On unmet emission goals

Two important reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), on the impact of higher global temperatures on land, oceans and the cryosphere, lend further urgency to the task before countries now meeting in Madrid for the UN conference. The member-nations of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change have been trying to finalise measures under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement to commodify carbon emissions cuts, and to make it financially attractive to reduce emissions. The IPCC scientists, whose research helps the international community decide on actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, are worried that even under the most optimistic scenarios, human health, livelihoods, biodiversity and food systems face a serious threat from climate change. In the case of oceans and frozen areas on land, accelerated rates of loss of ice, particularly in Greenland, the Arctic and the Antarctic, will produce a destructive rise in sea levels; increases in tropical cyclone winds,

Bail basics: On Chidambaram case

The Supreme Court has restated the basic principles of granting bail while ordering the conditional release of former Union Minister P. Chidambaram in the INX Media ‘money-laundering’ case. That these principles required fresh iteration indicates a problem in the way courts have been handling certain applications for bail in recent times. In a case largely turning on documentary evidence — and one being probed by two agencies concerning the same transactions — it was quite astonishing that the former Minister was incarcerated for over 100 days, even after being subjected to prolonged custodial interrogation. As rightly pointed out by the three-judge Bench, bail remains the norm and its refusal the exception. The denial of bail is directly related to the possibility that a remand prisoner who has been released may not appear before the court to face trial. As securing the presence of a suspect is the primary ground for keeping a person in judicial custody prior to trial, there is no


A strategic pause: On RBI holding interest rate

After a breathless run of five consecutive rate cuts, beginning February, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decided to pause and catch its breath in the December policy announced on Thursday. And rightly so too. Though growth concerns are still paramount, a lot has changed between the earlier policies and now — inflation is rearing its head up again and the government’s approach to the fiscal deficit glide path is still unclear even as the macro numbers indicate a considerable slippage in the target of 3.3% for this fiscal. Monetary policy works with a lag and the 135 basis points cut since February needs to percolate down through the system and its impact analysed. The RBI runs the risk of blunting the repo rate weapon if it continues to cut rates without the cuts being transmitted down the line. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has taken care to point out that “there is monetary policy space for future action” and that the accommodative stance will continue. This should smoothen the


Another quota question: On creamy layer for SCs

The time may have come for an authoritative pronouncement on the question whether the concept of ‘creamy layer’ ought to be applied to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The Union government has called upon the Supreme Court to form a seven-judge Bench to reconsider the formulation in M. Nagaraj vs Union of India (2006) that it should be applied to the SC and ST communities. This verdict was a reality check to the concept of reservation. Even while upholding Constitution amendments meant to preserve reservation in promotions as well as consequential seniority, it contained an exposition of the equality principle that hedged reservation against a set of constitutional requirements, without which the structure of equal opportunity would collapse. These were ‘quantifiable data’ to show the backwardness of a community, the inadequacy of its representation in service, and the lack of adverse impact on “the overall efficiency of administration”. This placed a question mark on the

Close encounters: On faking anti-Naxal fight

National shame: On gender sensitisation

Waiting for change: On BCCI's reworked constitution

Glimmer of hope: On fresh SIT report on 1984 riots

Time to act: On latest estimates of economy

Changing the stripes: On Sena-NCP-Congress CMP

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