Editorial Notes

Editorial Notes 26th December 2016

‘Scientific’ Advice for Conceiving Boys; Crime among juveniles; Good policing can’t do much without a social transformation.
By IT's Editorial Notes Team
December 26, 2016


GS (M) Paper-3: “Security challenges and their management
GS (M) Paper-4: “Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems


Good policing can’t do much without a social transformation



The person acquitted after 14 years because there was no evidence against him in the Lajpat Nagar blast case brings out the importance of the findings of the People’s Tribunal on Acquitted Innocents in terrorism cases.

What are the findings?

  • The tribunal, led by former Delhi High Court Chief Justice AP Shah, has talked about the “special nature of wrongfulness in terror prosecutions” and has suggested the government make erring police persons “criminally liable for the malicious acts done by them in their official capacity”.
  • The tribunal went on to say that in testimony after testimony, it heard of illegal and wrongful detention, torture in police custody, forced confessions extracted under duress, long incarceration, repeated denial of bail, to be acquitted finally years after their arrest.
  • This, in a nutshell, reveals the face of our criminal justice system.
  • Repeated lapses in the delivery of criminal justice in matters of terrorism charges are not to be seen in isolation because they have prejudices and social conflicts built into them.
  • It is not surprising that the Muslims form a large proportion of undertrials in India, according to the data of the National Crimes Record Bureau.
  • The Scheduled Castes and Tribes do not fall far behind them.
  • All the data in existence show that it is some communities’ constant neglect and marginalisation which lead to prejudices being formed against them, an undertaking in which the moral majority plays no small part and co-opts the police in the exercise.


  • The question of good policing is relevant mostly to the way it deals with ordinary crime in urban areas, or it affords protection to women and the elderly.
  • But things such as detention without trial, extra-judicial murders, custodial killings, arrests without evidence, etc have much more to do with matters other than policing.
  • In those cases the police are compelled to act because of social pressures; orders, sometimes illegal, from the government; class, caste or community divisions in society; plain party politics, etc.
  • In those cases a police officer, even of high levels, is virtually powerless though he might be conscientious.
  • Hence improvement in criminal justice means much more than uplifting the police system and the magistracy.
  • It means a gamut of changes that lead to empowerment and a redistribution of assets and social power.
[Ref: Hindustan Times]


GS (M) Paper-2: “Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.”


The Gender Beat: Kerala Paper’s ‘Scientific’ Tips on Conceiving Boys



A Kerala newspaper offered ‘scientific’ advice for conceiving boys.

Current scenario:

  • Indian society has long had a preference for sons.
  • As a result, sex-selective abortion and female foeticide have led to the country having one of the world’s most skewed sex ratios.
  • According to the Census 2011, there were 914 girls to every 1,000 boys in India for children up to the age of six.
  • A report pointed to the fact that in the absence of prenatal sex selection, several families resort to repeated pregnancies in their quest for a male child and data has shown that at every family size, there were more boys born than girls.

What’s the issue?

  • Fuelling the country’s obsession with sons, a newspaper in Kerala called Mangalam, last week offered “scientifically proven” advice on how to conceive a boy.
  • Among the advice offered by the newspaper are eating plenty of mutton, never skipping breakfast and always sleeping with the face turned leftwards.
  • The column contains more ridiculous food habits to be followed to “ensure male baby”.
  • Several women in the country even pin their hopes for a male offspring on what are known as sex-selection drugs.
  • Women are consuming these harmful drugs ­– linked to birth defects and stillbirths – without realising that the sex of a child cannot be altered in the womb.


  • The article in the Kerala daily just goes to show that gender selection is widespread despite initiatives taken by the Indian government, NGOs and health workers.
  • The message isn’t going through and the people still value boys more than girls.
  • Apart from the obvious gore in this practise, it also reflects a mentality that proves harmful to girl children, when the “escape” the sex selectiveness and enter the world.
  • Stereotypical gender roles that assign certain duties and ideal behaviour to people impact the way men treat women.
  • When children are exposed to an imbalanced power system from almost the day they were born, a sense of invincibility makes boys believe people will excuse their deplorable behaviour.
  • Children are not born violent, or aggressive or disrespectful of women. They learn to be so from grown-ups and other sources.

Crime among juveniles:

  • More and more young people are taking to heinous crimes such as rape are magnifications of this mentality.
  • Rape was the third most prevalent crime among juveniles in 2015 after theft and trespassing or burglary, says the National Crime Records Bureau.
  • In 2015, more than 41,000 juveniles were apprehended across the country, 1,841 on rape-related charges.
  • 1680 cases of rape were registered under juveniles in India under Section 376. Minors were booked in 88 cases of gang rape.
  • Moreover, as one of our columnists noted, notions of honour are central to the discourse on rape.
  • The rape of a daughter, sister or wife is a source of dishonour to males within the family structure. This deters the reporting of rape to the police.


  • In order to change the long-standing preference for sons, there is a need to first change the image of girls in our society.
  • Violence against women will not decrease unless there is a thrust on having a gender-neutral approach towards policies and programmes.
  • This is because investing in men is also a way of ensuring women’s empowerment, because a gender sensitive father, brother or spouse will positively impact women’s lives.
[Ref: Hindustan Times]


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