The Freedom to make mistakes. That’s what Mahatma Gandhi asked for when he said that India must have Complete Freedom. Today, as the players in the field of Law are being jostled by Various Human Rights Agencies and Motivated Individuals into changing the Laws of our land, I would like to point out two instances where the misunderstanding lies in the fact that we want to shop at a QuickieMart for a good Constitution. Unfortunately, the QuickieMart, a symbol of traditions too foreign to be adopted, cannot give us something which has to other countries by decades of freedom- Experience. And although India stands free for more than a half century, we are too young to be adopting foreign laws without looking at where our country stands today.
The first is the demand for a very strict law against ragging. It is now being said that ragging is a sin and no senior at any college must be allowed to take pleasure in it. However, any Hostel Warden with an experience of over 20 years will tell you one thing very clearly; whether it be today or a score years back, there is no chance that WITHOUT ragging, a batch of students can have good relations with their seniors. The life of a college student starts in the first year with a sense of freedom, a feeling that perhaps now their decisions will be their own and they can finally break societies barriers and some home rules as well. High on this new-found freedom, a freshers fails to learn to respect his seniors and also respect with that, the hierarchy that exists in society. This causes a failure to respect the system of education into which they have been included and hence they become misfits, causing a lot many more problems than they would if they had been ragged and in the least, been introduced to their seniors as tough task masters at first but as very good friends later. I speak with some experience. Another important thing to understand is thus- ragging today is being equated to something ghastly being made to do by the freshers at the behest of their seniors under the influence of alcohol. This is what the lawmakers and others are primarily against. Agreed, today ragging is causing many deaths and suicides as the juniors come under pressure to act in a particular fashion in spectacularly humiliating scenarios. But are the Board exams not causing the same? Are our Board exams anything more than a soulless show of toppers who slogged out nights to remember spectacularly useless facts with no practical relevance to life in general and are these exams not causing an equal number (and a lot more) of suicides by students who failed at reaching the grade? Then why is our Supreme Court not banning the Board Exams or at least replacing them with a system where a student is not judged by the number of books they can LBH! (Learn By Heart)
Second comes the problem of Capital Punishment. Many countries in the world, specially the European Union have laws against extradition of prisoners to countries which have Capital Punishment. This and other factors have induced a call for removal of the concept of Capital Punishment. However the amount and types of crimes being committed in India today require not only speedier Justice but also a harsh one. The number of Gang rapes, dowry deaths, Infanticides and other such crimes which cause a huge outcry need nothing less than Capital Punishment in order to deter the Guilty and others who have similar mindsets. If India today decides to do away with Capital Punishment, we will be doing away with a huge opportunity to straighten out the crooked and to learn from the mistakes we might make in the future. One might say that if we have to learn, if we have to remove Capital Punishment later then why not today. But if we do so, there will be nothing left to deter these criminals who today feel safe enough with the number of appeals they can put in and the number of years they can waste of our courts by stalling the proceedings. Even the poor, handicapped “rarest of rare” cases based Capital Punishment needs to remain in order to help India have the freedom to punish the guilty and the freedom to make our own mistakes.
Today India does not need Laws it cannot use. If we must adopt Laws, we must learn to understand that our society is too different to be judged with the same glasses as the societies of other countries are today.