News & Events
in this section, we are presenting our readers/aspirants compilation of selected editorials of national daily viz. The Hindu, The live mint,The Times of India, Hindustan Times, The Economic Times, PIB etc. This section caters the requirement of Civil Services Mains (GS + Essay) , PCS, HAS Mains (GS + Essay) & others essay writing competition.
1.Vax populi: On jabbing, apply principle of greater good
A Gujarat high court interim order restrained IAF from coercive action against a corporal refusing to get inoculated. Does this queer the pitch for employers intent on compulsory vaccination? And Assam government is ascertaining vaccination status of frontline workers before releasing salaries. No central guideline has made vaccination compulsory. For good reason. Coercion has often triggered counterproductive social behaviour. Although mandatory vaccination has precedents too: states like Odisha, J&K, Bengal had laws backing compulsory smallpox vaccination.
Do we need to have a complicated, unsolvable debate between personal liberty and the greater good? Not necessarily. First, note that freedom of conscience under Constitution’s Article 25 can’t override public health. More prosaically, employers are responsible for employee safety. An unvaccinated employee poses a risk. Even governments as paymasters are in the same boat here. Claiming any anti-vax fundamental right in workplaces is plain wrong. The US Equal Opportunity Employment Commission has allowed employers to mandate vaccination. GoI should offer clarity like this, too. And similar arguments can be made for commercial spaces and education institutes. A market association can ask all shop-owners and shop employees to get vaccinated – because all stakeholders must recognise the negative externality of being unvaccinated during a pandemic.
But this is wholly different from blanket state diktats on people. Meghalaya HC on Thursday held illegal administrative orders mandating shopkeepers, taxi drivers, vendors etc to get vaccinated before resuming business. Essentially, the court was saying leave it to customers and service providers to sort the issue out. Or, as we said, commercial bodies relevant to these professions can make the rule. So, there is no need for repeated debates and, hopefully, courts will recognise this. The state needn’t make jabs compulsory. If a citizen wants to remain unvaccinated, that is his right, but he must then recognise that it will not be a costless decision.
2.Papa don’t preach: Why #FreeBritney touches a chord with so many people
Britney Spears has testified in court, to dissolve what she calls an ‘abusive’ conservatorship arrangement where her father controls her fate and finances. This is part of a wider reassessment of the way many stars of the 90s and 2000s were treated by a misogynist celebrity culture – including Lindsay Lohan and Janet Jackson. Spears suffered a mental health breakdown in 2008, and has since been under her father’s overbearing care. Even as she performs and earns her millions, she can’t move freely, make her own choices or even have a baby.
This infantilising of daughters is only too familiar in ‘daddy knows best’ societies like ours. All too many young adult women are forbidden from using phones or going out, their lives strictly limited by their family’s desires. Even our courts have invoked patriarchal logic; recall Kerala’s Hadiya case where her father was first allowed to override her right to choose her partner and religion. Many athletes and movie stars are chaperoned by their parents, ‘in their best interests’.
Spears’s independence is for the court to decide, but conservatorships are usually reserved for end-of-life arrangements, people with severe dementia etc. It is crucial to guard guardianship from exploitation. Indian law now recognises the agency of people struggling with mental disabilities, their basic right to direct their own lives. Their vulnerability can and must be balanced with their adult autonomy.
3.A victory of democracy
Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi’s decision to invite leaders of Jammu and Kashmir’s mainstream political formations, including four former chief ministers, three of whom were arrested by the central government less than two years ago, is a victory of Indian democracy. The fact that these leaders had an opportunity to articulate their grievances and sense of betrayal at the events of 2019, and the fact that the Centre was able to present its viewpoint on the path ahead, too reflects the best traditions of democratic dialogue. There can be a legitimate debate on what prompted the government to send the invitation out in the first place, and whether it was from a position of strength or weakness. There can also be a legitimate debate on what prompted the Kashmiri parties to accept the invitation, and whether it was from a sense of seeking validation and legitimacy or out of desperation. But irrespective of the motive, the outcome was positive.