1. Pratiksha Baxi in this EPW article critiques both Mayawati and Rita Bahuguna in the context of the recent controversy over the latter’s hate speech against the CM. Important for the attention she draws to the SC/ST Atrocities (Prevention) Rules, and how they are observed in breach. This part may be worth following up, if not the Mayawati-Rita spat.
2. My interview (along with my colleague, T.K.Rajalakshmi) with Supreme Court advocate,and Member, Law Commission, Kirti Singh, over the need for a law to fight honour killings. Kirti Singh is working on a draft law to fight this social menace on behalf of All India Democratic Women’s Organisation.
What I found unconvincing while preparing for the interview was the Home Minister P.Chidambaram’s statement during the discussion on the calling attention motion in Rajya Sabha. The discussion here (p.8-36)and here reveals that the Home Minister sees justification for the enactment of Sati Act, but doesn’t find similar rationale for a law against honour killing. Surely, if sati can be considered as disguised suicide, and therefore treated differently from suicide, so can honour killing be considered differently from ordinary murder. The entire cover story on honour killing in Frontline is an important resource to start a campaign of sorts for a new law.
Here,readers can access some bookmarks on Sati. The Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987 was a result of the nation-wide outrage against the Sati committed by Roop Kanwar in Rajasthan. I wonder why there has not been similar outrage even though there have been a number of honour killings across the country. Is it because law has ceased to be an instrument to bring about social reform as this story suggests?
3. My story on the Delhi High Court’s judgment on the BMW case raises an important question on the applicability of IPC Section 304 Part II. What the HC has held in paragraph 260 appears to be debatable. The HC said in its judgment the accused might have known that his action was likely to cause death, but if he had hoped that it would not, then S.304 Part II was not applicable. Justice Kailash Gambhir’s judgment may be accessed at the Delhi High Court’s website. (Date of judgment: July 20, 2009. Sanjiv Nanda v. State of Delhi). The other aspect of the case, sting journalism, appears to me, is unsettled. The FMP debate on August 20, I hope, will throw further light on the matter.
4. Jayanthi Natarajan, in this article in Asian Age, on the recent Supreme Court judgment (discussed earlier) on kicking of daughter-in-law by her mother-in-law not constituting cruelty under S.498A IPC. She has rightly admitted that the provision has been misused by litigants in some cases, but in this case, has she missed the factual matrix, while criticising the Court?
5. Inder Malhotra’s fascinating account of August 15, 1947.