Category: Law


Connections between human trafficking and environmental destruction

The connection between human trafficking and environmental destruction is not obvious at the outset. But a closer scrutiny of human trafficking reveals how it does lead to the degradation of the environment.  When we study the life and works of luminary figures from past to present, they all acknowledge the centrality of human liberty for cultural progress.  Since the upkeep of our environment is a reflection of our cultural values, the link between human freedom and environmental conditions is established.

Saint Vincent de Paul’s words of divine wisdom offer guidance as to how we should consider human freedoms. In the theological context of his counsel, de Paul equated human freedom as the liberation from worldly attachments and desires. He said, “Naturally, everyone loves his freedom, but we must beware of this as of a broad road that leads to perdition.”  (De Paul) Since the moral preoccupations during his lifetime were about sin, salvation and redemption, his . . . Read More

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Ethics of Biomedical Enhancement: Risks and Dangers of BME

Ethical Issues Surrounding Sex Selection During or Prior to Conception

Whenever technological progress throws up great new possibilities there are also attendant ethical dilemmas relating to such possibilities. Such is the case with genetic engineering in general and human biomedical enhancement in particular.  Allan Buchanan is well aware of some immediate pitfalls for society if BME is allowed unregulated[i].  One of the issues he raises is that of sex selection during pregnancy.  In many parts of the world, especially in the developing world, there is a cultural and traditional bias toward male babies.  From a sociological perspective a balance of equal population of male and female individuals is essential for the survival of the species.[ii]  An unfettered BME system would totally skewer the sociological balance and may inadvertently set the species on a self-destructive spiral.  Currently, at least as far as advanced industrial nations . . . Read More

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International Standards on Freedom of the Press

Freedom of the Press is an essential aspect of functioning democracies.  Be it an institution or an individual, the liberty to express openly is the most important of attributes.  The press, in particular, being the Fourth Estate of a democratic society, is expected to be bold and articulate.  But ground realities differ from ideal conceptions of the function of the press.  In the real world, an array of external factors coaxes or coerces the press into acting against democratic principles. These include advertisers, political parties, businesses and even special interest citizen groups.  In this backdrop, it is interesting to analyze the state of freedom of press in the world today. It is an interesting exercise to find out which countries are exemplary and which are at a nadir. After all, freedom of press has an immediate bearing on the lives and prospects of citizens. It is not an abstract idea whose relevance is confined merely to the academia.

The Freedom House . . . Read More

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Free the Children (FTC) – India Initiative

The Free the Children Initiative is a much needed social project.  It aims to free children in developing nations from bonded labor and other forms of exploitation.  The brainchild of Craig Keilburger, the project has attracted public attention in the United States and the rest of the developed world.  The relevance of such an initiative cannot be overstated, for in the era of globalization, it is grossly unjust how children growing up in different parts of the world experience markedly different standard of life. The most important message of the initiative is how children from one part of the world help their counterparts in another part of the world.  This way, a sense of global solidarity and fraternity is built into children at a very young age.

The Free the Children (FTC) – India Initiative has the basic objective of liberating children from child labor. But this cannot be achieved in isolation from social and economic factors that force children into work.  . . . Read More

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Community Policing in the USA and Britain

  1. Develop a typical “community policing” model utilized by local/American policing tactics. How would you deploy road patrol personnel to best promote the model of community policing? How would you instruct your officers to interact with the community?

The community policing model had found success in the United States because of its balancing of authority with community. A typical model would comprise of a squad of patrollers assigned to a locality.  They would come under the leadership of the delegated sheriff for that locality. The key feature of the community policing model in the United States is ‘participation’. Rather than acting like authorities in power, the patrollers strike camaraderie with local residents.  They develop a first-name calling rapport with the locals. The local residents serve as useful informants and witnesses for suspect activity. At the same time the patrolling officers do also monitor the regulars he comes . . . Read More

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What is the source of law’s legitimacy for Antigone and Creon?

The confrontation between Antigone and her uncle Creon (the ruler of Thebes) begins with the demise of her two brothers Eteocles and Polyneices. Since Creon was on the side of Eteocles during the combat between the two brothers, he decrees to honor him in death.  In sharp contrast he decrees that Polyneices be left rotting in the battle field sans a proper burial.  This is the highest form of punishment in ancient Greek and its evocation is a measure of Creon’s hostility toward Polyneices.  In Creon’s own view, what legitimizes his decree is his authority as the supreme ruler of Thebes.  He performs very little moral deliberation before setting his order to execution.

But Polyneices’ beloved sister Antigone is a balanced, intellectual and humane person (as evidenced from allusions in the play). Her love for her brother impels her to bury him properly. Though this action would invoke the wrath of Creon and jeopardize her life, her humanity and love supersedes all . . . Read More

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The decline of Community Oriented Policing since September 11, 2001.

Prior to September 11, 2001 many police agencies nationwide practiced Community Oriented Policing.  The aftermath of 9/11 saw many police agencies revert back to traditional policing.  Describe why you believe this is or is not beneficial for a police organization.

The September 11, 2001 terror attack on American soil, carried out by Al-Qaeda, is a significant politico-historical event in many respects.  In its aftermath the nation saw a slew of counter-terrorism measures, some of which (like the PATRIOT Act) have been very controversial. The effects of stringent security measures that were taken in the wake of 911 have percolated even to the police department.  Since 911 there have been structural and functional changes witnessed in police departments across the country.  A major change is with respect to Community Oriented Policing, which has been nearly done away with.  Although efficiency and rapid co-ordination to act upon intelligence has been . . . Read More

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Gun violence problem in America: Causes and possible solutions

Michael Moore’s controversial documentary film Bowling for Columbine shows up a mirror to American society and asks serious questions of it.  Just a cursory glance at comparative statistics between the USA and European countries shows the wide gulf in gun-related crime rates, with the former way off scale when compared to the latter.  Yet, despite overwhelming evidence in support of curbing easy access to arms, powerful corporate forces have constantly prevented any attempts to restrict access.  The National Rifle Association (NRA) is the umbrella organization for arms manufacturers in the country and they wield significant political clout. The rest of the essay will get to the root of the gun problem in the United States and suggest some remedial measures.

It is fair to say that gun control laws in the United States have either been limited or difficult to enforce.  This assertion is borne by official crime statistics in year after year.  As mentioned, when compared . . . Read More

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The Tragedy of the Commons by Garrett Hardin’s

Garrett Hardin offers an in-depth analysis of issues surrounding humanity’s common resources.  There are various common resources alluded to by the author, prominent among them are the geographic commons (the wilderness areas), air waves for telecommunication, public spaces that carry hoardings, the air that we breathe, rivers and oceans, etc. As citizens of a nation, we are all entitled to utilizing the commons for our individual good, albeit respecting certain limitations.  One such right to a common resource is the right to procreate.  While this might appear at first to be an individual right, seen in terms of its broader consequences, it is akin to the commons.  By procreation, an adult couple locks up a portion of the common resources for the sustenance of the child. This includes the air, water, food and other material necessities that the child would require for survival.  But people don’t aspire to merely survive – they want to ‘enjoy’ life’s comforts. . . . Read More

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The Mary Barnett Case

On 23rd January, Mary Barnett, the Chicago-based single mother of the 6 months old baby Alison, suddenly left for San Francisco to meet her fiancé. The baby, having been left unattended was found dead in Barnett’s apartment a week later.  That a mother could leave such a young baby unattended for several days is shocking, despairing and anger-invoking. The slow and painful death of the innocent baby makes understandable such reactions from people, especially the prosecutors, who have charged Ms. Barnett with second degree murder (intentional murder without premeditation).  Upon succeeding in proving this charge the guilty could face up to 18 years in prison.  As I am one of the jury members, I will evaluate the arguments of the lawyers and witnesses from the prosecution and defense sides.  Based on the strength of their arguments I will arrive at the most appropriate judgment for this case.

Caroline Hospers, who is Mary Barnett’s neighbor was the first . . . Read More

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