Contents

  1. Cat Conundrum
  2. A nation for the Persecuted
  3. Victim Justice is Two steps Forward, One Step Back
  4. Mapping life: Genome India Project

CAT CONUNDRUM

Why in news?

Recently court accepted the plea and ordered the introduction of Cheetahs from Namibia to India, after they became extinct way back in 1947

Backgrounder

The same court observed in its 2013 order restraining the Environment Ministry from importing African cheetahs into Kuno, Madhya Pradesh, that there are many seriously threatened Indian species such as the lion, the Great Indian Bustard, Bengal florican, the dugong, and Manipur brow antlered deer which deserve immediate conservation action

Concerns

  • Man­-animal conflicts is an area of concern, as a growing human population lives cheek by jowl with tigers, leopards and long ­ranging creatures such as elephants.
  • Material extraction including minerals is going on close to protected areas, and fresh roads are sought to be built through even tiger territory, making pristine rewilding an incongruous concept.

A NATION FOR THE PERSECUTED

In his historic address to the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893, Swami Vivekananda declared, “I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the Earth.”

Refugee law and India

Refugees include Sri Lankan Tamils, Tibetans from China, Chin minorities from Burma/Myanmar, and Hindus from Bangladesh and Pakistan.

It may be legitimately asked that if in practice India has been hospitable to refugees, why does it need a refugee law which conforms to the Refugee Convention?

Problems with our law

Our law does not distinguish between “foreigners” and “refugees”.

This means that refugees depend on state discretion, indeed “benevolence” rather than inherent rights.

View of ICJ

The international court of justice warned the Myanmar military against any conspiracy to commit genocide, and directed Myanmar authorities to take steps to protect its minority Rohingya population from genocide.


VICTIM JUSTICE IS TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK

  • In 1996, the 154th Law Commission Report suggested a paradigm shift in India’s criminal justice system towards a victim-centric notion of justice.
  • The Code of Criminal Procedure(Amendment) Act, 2009 partially accepted this suggestion and granted some rights to the victims of crime.
  • The Act introduced victims’ right to a private counsel under Section 24(8). 

International convention

  • India is a signatory to Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power.
  • The Declaration requires that the views and concerns of victims should be allowed and considered at all appropriate stages without prejudice to the accused.
  • Presently, the victims’ advocate has an extremely limited role to play wherein he “assists” the prosecutor rather than represent the interests of the victim before the court. 

Importance of victim participation

  • The success of prosecution is dependent largely upon the victim’s participation in the trial. The primary role and responsibility of the victim’s advocate therefore, is to represent the personal interests of the victim by cooperating with the prosecution.

MAPPING LIFE: GENOME INDIA PROJECT

Details:

  • The Genome India Project, a collaboration of 20 institutions including the Indian Institute of Science and some IITs, will enable new efficiencies in medicine, agriculture and the life sciences.
  • Uses would be in personalised medicine, anticipating diseases and modulating treatment according to the genome of patients.
  • If propensities to disease can be mapped to variations across genomes, it is believed public health interventions can be targeted better, and diseases anticipated before they develop.
  • Similar benefits would come to agriculture if there is a better understanding of the genetic basis of susceptibility to blights, rusts and pests.
  • Global science would also benefit from a mapping project in one of the world’s most diverse gene pools, which would provide data useful for the mapping of the spread and migration of a range of life forms in the Old World, from plants to humans.
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