Do strict laws really help when nobody enforces them?

In another move by the government to show its doing something about the pressing inequities in society, the Home Ministry has proposed framing stricter laws to rein in Khap Panchayats and their extra-constitutional activities.  The issue simply put, is: will stricter laws help in ensuring that the laws of the state are applicable to Khap Panchayats who function as extra-constitutional bodies?

In my earlier post on Khap Panchayats, I had pointed out just one of many instances of extra-constitutional killings being committed by them.  And in another blog post, I had pointed to the high pendency of cases concerning atrocities against SCs and STs under existing laws specially designed to prevent untouchability and violence against lower castes.  This indicates clearly not a story of legislative lacunae, but of a lack of will on the part of the government to bring wrong-doers to justice.

And at the end of it all, we will have one more law which will not be enforced against those committing wrongs, and might instead be used to harass innocent individuals.  The government should ideally be ensuring local policemen who are often complicit in such crimes (by not registering FIRs or not investigating such cases, or harassing victims in some cases) do their jobs properly.

It is even more ironic that the government is an agency supposed to enforce laws, seeks to show its seriousness on social issues by framing new laws.  The framing of new laws is supposed to be the initiative of the Parliament, and its implementation is the responsibility of the executive.  It is weird therefore, that in our country, the government showcases its achievements by framing more laws instead of enforcing existing ones.

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