Civil liberties are a must
The past few years in India have been witnessing a growing intolerance among the society. This intolerance has been witnessed across the board with the government itself resorting to such moves that have promoted prejudice and small mindedness.
The government since the past few years has been involved in taking major decisions that have in one or the other way affected a large chunk of population. Since we live in a democratic set-up public anger and resentment are the inherent outcomes of any anti-people announcement. But the way the government reacted to public resentment reflected no concern for civil liberties.
In most of the cases resentment and reactions were given a bad name and those who tried to raise their voice were labeled as anti-nationals and roadblocks to development and growth.
An atmosphere was created where no scope for antipathy was encouraged. Many civil society members and rights activists were jailed or their activities curtailed using brute police force and other measures.
Various glaring examples can be cited when activists in various states were caged in their own homes citing their presence as threat to peace. Similarly many civilian protests were curtailed under the grab of various sections including sec 144, citing threat to law and order.
In many cases where even silent and peaceful protests were held many people were booked under various provisions of the law. This was quite visible in various states when protestors came out in defiance of the CAA and NRC. Even during the times of pandemic the courts did not offer any relaxation to those who were accused o uelling unrest during these protests.
All these measures are leading to curtailment of civil liberties leading to a downgrade in the overall ranking on the democratic index.
A report which was recently released by the ‘Economist Intelligence Unit’ (EUI) said that India slipped 10 places to 51st position in the 2019 Democracy Index’s global ranking. The report cited erosion of civil liberties in the country as the primary cause for the downtrend.
India’s overall score fell from 7.23 in 2018 to 6.90 in the Index that provides a snapshot of the current state of democracy worldwide for 165 independent states and two territories.
On India, the report said, the country dropped ten places in the Democracy Index’s global ranking to 51st. The primary cause of the democratic regression was an erosion of civil liberties in the country.
The index is based on five categories — electoral process and pluralism; the functioning of government; political participation; political culture; and civil liberties.
Based on their total score, the countries are classified as one of four types of regime: “full democracy” (scores greater than 8); flawed democracy scores greater than 6 and less than or equal to 8; hybrid regime scores greater than 4 and less than or equal to 6; authoritarian regime scores less than or equal to 4″.
India was included in the flawed democracy category. This has come at a time when India is claiming permanent membership in the UNSC.