In India, any debatable issue takes 2 directions- legal and moral. Being a culturally diverse country, the ethics and moral stance sometimes take over the legal ones.
There are some issues like censorship, homosexuality, narcotics and so on that are universal to the world. The way these issues are dealt with varies from nation to nation. Every nation has its own law and legal agencies to keep a check on these issues.
Here is where India stands on 8 issues:
1. Death Penalty: Countries around the globe may have abolished capital punishment, but India allows it under the “rarest of rare” circumstances (only 3 death sentences in the last decade!). We talk about the upsides and downsides of allowing capital punishment, here.
2. Euthanasia: The euthanasia concept in our country is based on the moral distinction between killing (Active) and letting die (Passive). In India, only passive euthanasia is legal. But lately, the SC has hinted to review the concept of living will.
3. Censorship: In theory, India is a democracy (free speech, independent media, blah blah). But in practice, the 3Cs – censorship, cuts and control – are still very rampant. If this continues, here are the dangers we face.
4. Drugs and Narcotics: Drug addiction (medical illness) is the major issue plaguing the country. Instead of treating this illness, the anti-narcotics law focuses solely on harsh and stringent punishment.
5. Prostitution: As per law, prostitution is legal as long as it is done in one’s private residence. But the same profession is illegal when carried out in brothels and pimps, forcing it to be conducted under the radar.
6. Guns and Arms Control: Having a strict gun law in India has not helped curb violence and murders. In fact, India ranks second in the world in the highest number of intentional murders. Poor implementation of the law, corrupt officials and illegal manufacturing of guns has led to this situation.
7. Abortion: In India, the law does not permit abortion if the foetus is over 20 weeks. Because of this stipulation, abortions are often conducted illegally in unhygienic and shady conditions. Take a look at India’s stand on abortion here.
8. Transgender Bill: In most of the countries around the world, the definition of transgender is ‘persons whose sense of gender does not match with the gender assigned at birth’, whereas, in India the Bill doesn’t specify if the terms ‘male’ and ‘female’ refer to biological sex which still remains unclear.
9. Surrogacy Bill: In India, commercial surrogacy is prohibited and altruistic surrogacy is applicable only for married couples. UK, Denmark, and Belgium prohibit all surrogacy arrangements.
10. Section 377 (LGBT): India has left a legacy behind by joining the 17 Commonwealth Nations that has decriminalized homosexuality. Homosexuality is still illegal in more than 50 countries around the world.