Undertrial crisis; Pill abuse; India’s Iran disconnect

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Opinion Watch

Undertrial crisis

Executive is stepping up confrontation with the judiciary by raising the scale of arguments. Law Minister Kiren Rijiju has donned the robe of a lawyer to argue the case against the reform-shy Supreme Court. President Draupadi Murmu has also tasked the judiciary to introspect by directing her question, why jails are overcrowded and why new prisons need to be built.

The Indian Express in its Editorial has revisited the debate over bail versus jail, which has been resonating for over two years now. In legal parlance, bail is considered to be a norm, while awarding jail term should be extreme cases. The Noida-based daily quoted the Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud arguing that the higher judiciary is flooded with bail pleas because the “sense of fear” in the lower judiciary. The daily also quoted the Prison Statistics to underline that while number of convicts in jails between 2016-21 came down by 9.5 per cent, but that of the undertrials went up by 45.8 per cent.

TRH view: The issue is being warmed up at the top level of the executive, which is indicative of an impending move by the government through legislative route to re-test the Supreme Court for some of the failed reforms of the past, including the National Judicial Appointment Commission. But all the three wings of democracy owe an explanation for undertrial population, as the accused who have violated prohibition laws in Gujarat and Bihar account for excessive number of people in jails. Why should there be such laws in the first place.

Pill abuse

Chemists are second doctors, and patients too are no less than medical practioners in taking self-medications. The Times of India in its Editorial has referred to the ICMR studies, which revealed that resistance to Impipenem, which is used to treat infections caused by bacteria E coli has gone up from 14 per cent in 2016 to 36 per cent in 2021.

The daily mentioned attempts of the Indian Council for Medical Research to sensitise stakeholders against prescribing antibiotics in low-grade fever and viral bronchitis. But the larger challenge is to discipline the chemists and also sensitise the people.

TRH view: Rising incidence of resistance is to medicine is spreading and even tuberculosis and other ailments are reporting cases of drug resistance in a large number. That can be dealt only with standardisation of medicine administration.  

India’s Iran disconnect  

Iran is India’s second largest source of oil, and a trusted partner for decades. Iran is also a totalitarian state in the league of China and Russia where the people are paying with their lives the cost of living in a dictatorial regime. India was among 16 nations who abstained from vote on Iran for a scrutiny against killings of its own citizens.

The Pioneer in its Editorial has lamented that convenience is prevailing over the global responsibility of India. The daily stated that the UNHRC resolution was passed to constitute a fact-finding mission in Iran over incidents in the Islamic nations following the killing of 22-year-old Mehsa Amini.

TRH view: India as a policy stays away from actions of the multilateral bodies on domestic issues of the countries, as had been the case with the Indian abstention on UN vote on Xinjiang over crackdown against the Uighur minority in China. This stand is seemingly to avoid similar UN action against issues which may be brought concerning India. But time has changed, and India must take a stand on issues which shame humanity, as is the case in Iran and China.  

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