Anti-Romeo Squads, Cow Slaughter, Liquor Ban and too many Laws

While Prime Minister reiterates his Government’s resolve to simplify and decrease the number of Laws, we’re seeing emergence of such state of affairs, which will eventually need more superficial or cosmetic legislation.

Within a year of taking oath as India’s Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi stressed on the need to simplify and decrease the number of Laws in India.

A week ago, he informed the Nation that his Government has already simplified 1200 Laws.

So he seems to be on track.

Really? Doesn’t appear so.

While he reiterates his Government’s resolve to simplify and decrease the number of Laws, we’re seeing emergence of such state of affairs, which will eventually need more superficial or cosmetic legislation.

Take for instance the recent creation of “anti Romeo Squads” by Yogi Adityanath led BJP Government in Uttar Pradesh. These squads will have police personnel in plain clothes (not wearing their uniforms) targeting Romeos — those men who eve-tease women.

Now the question is simple. Do we need such squads?

Or Does any society needs such squads?

As per Indian law, any two consenting heterosexual adults can walk, roam, have relationship and live together in India. If they’ve no issues with it, then no one can question, obstruct or confront them, neither in a public nor in a private place. The incidents of eve-teasing, assault or obscene act in a public place are all , Law and order issues. We already have Laws to take care of such crimes.

In simple, an elected Government cannot set loose such “anti-romeo squads” to separate consensual relationships from coercive ones.  If such squads are set loose then there’re real reasons for extortion and exploitation rackets to set in.

Lets take another example. If Cow slaughter is prohibited in a State, then it’s the responsibility of the State. It’s the State (Country, State etc.) which will ensure, through its Police and other agencies, that no cow slaughter takes place within the prohibited area. The role of society or any person is to simply report any supposedly breach of Law. That will be don by reporting it to the Police. That’s it. The role of the police simply ends at investigating the issue and taking the breach to the Court of Law. The responsibility to try, find fault and punish the accused, if found guilty, lies with the Court of Law. Thus there’s no place for “Gau Bhakts” here. The recent incident in Rajasthan where Gau Bhakts beat and lynched cattle traders on suspicion of them being beef traders (cow meat) is plain anarchy. Who knows whether that’s linked to some extortion racket or not. It’s nothing but parallel Governments let loose.

It’s any irony that most of the TV News channels bring one such “gau bhakts”, or some “flag-bearer of anti-romeo brigade” in their panel discussion, so that people can know about the motivations behind his criminal behavior.

Finally lets take the example of massive protests taking place in support of liquor ban. If Laws in the country don’t impose liquor ban, then all these protests are plain anarchy. This may sound too harsh to some, but you can’t pelt stones or set afire a shop, simply because you find it unsavory. When something is legal in a country then it’s a matter of freedom of choice as well. If 30 percent of people consume liquor in some form, and do that perfectly legally, then why rest 70 percent attack on that freedom. Again if someone eve teases, creates nuisance or does any other crime under its influence, then we already have laws to take care of such crimes.

To conclude, the PM must not simply float the idea of too much laws. If he means too many “intricacies in Laws” then he must not put his weight behind such reasoning. A Law is a very fine piece of code. A Prime Minister is not in position to comment on its quality, intricacy or quantity. All he can do is follow the existing laws, formulate new laws in his capacity as a legislator and respect Indian Constitution; and let the legal fraternity, society and courts decide on their quality, intricacy or quantity. But they too must do that in a legal way.

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