1. Protecting prisoners 

Imprisonment practices need a relook so that the police do not effect unnecessary arrests

GS 2


The Supreme Court has been intervening from time to time to address the  problem of overcrowded prisons. In its latest order directing the interim release of eligible prisoners acquires salience in view of the uncontrolled second surge in the raging pandemic.

Last year, the Court had passed such an order quite early — the one of March 23, 2020 came even before the nation-wide lockdown.

The Court ordered all States to take preventive steps as well as constitute high-powered committees to determine the class of prisoners who could be released on bail or parole for a specified period.

In directing this week that identifies more prisoners for release the Court continues its trend of seeking to protect prisoners as well as those guarding them from getting infected.

Steps to prevent furthur spread

There have been significant initiatives to prevent any uncontrollable spread within the congested jails, ranging from stopping the practice of transporting remand prisoners to court for periodical extension of custody and hearings to asking authorities to prepare readiness and response plans.

The Court’s order is welcome, both as a move to decongest jails and a measure that protects the right to life and health of the prisoners.

The issue of reducing occupancy in the prison is once again under focus, and not merely for the usual reason of overcrowding, but also in view of the vulnerability of prisoners and prison staff to infection and disease, a comprehensive look at imprisonment practices in the country may be in order.

There have been reports of prisoners testing positive and getting hospitalised. How far the regular testing and medical treatment available to inmates across the country is unclear.

The courts must take into account the vulnerability of political prisoners of Bhima Koregaon case and others to infection and consider bail .

The Supreme Court has rightly emphasised the need to adhere to the norms it had laid down in Arnesh Kumar vs State of Bihar (2014) under which the police were asked not to effect unnecessary arrests, especially in cases that involve jail terms less than seven years.

In the past, the Court has also asked authorities in all districts in the country to give effect to Section 436A of the Cr.P.C., under which undertrials who have completed half of the maximum prison term prescribed for the offence may be released on personal bond.

Effective follow-up action is needed to audit these measures so that these are not implemented selectively or arbitrarily.

2. The science teaching and rationality India needs

The novel coronavirus crisis has fully revealed the price to be paid in the neglect of education and health

GS 2 : Health and Education


COVID-19 has spread enormously and had it’s negative consequences on all the sections of the society. The author in the introduction tries to explain the logic given based on fate rather than identifying the real causes. The example he uses is of malaria and its infection by the mosquito.

Logic of avoidance

The standard textbook line of action is to spread kerosene on stagnant water to prevent malaria. That is what municipal workers supposedly do, and that is what is taught in the lesson on the services that municipalities provide.

In most of the our education system, once a lesson has been delivered and the test based on it taken, there is no reason to recall its content in the later parts of the year, except for the final examination.

Theargument provided by the author in the text is that instead of curing the real problem of unclean drinking water which cause diseases like jaundice, thyphoid etc. the water purifying machines and antibiotics have taken place. The real problem of unsafe driniking water persists.

No public systems

The absence of public systems has proved costly both in health and in education.

Teaching of science is more about talking than doing since the introduction of it from independence. Thus this should be changed.

The idea that boiling purifies water remains a matter of giving the correct answer in the examination, rather than a belief based on evidence seen through a microscope. This can hardly be described as a failure of education, because the seed of a capable public system was never sown, and, therefore, we could hardly expect a harvest.

COVID compulsion

If the mask, a bit like boiling water, prevents an invisible microbe from entering the human body, it is a matter of faith for someone who has no idea of the world of invisible pathogens.Thus telling about the state of mindset about the disease.

The mask and the citizen

Over the last half century, some of the western countries have allowed science at school to decline. India’s education system, which was already impoverished, suffered severe cutbacks under the repeated waves of lopsided economic reforms.

New norms of public financing have undermined science teaching, robbing ordinary citizens of the intellectual resources they might have acquired during childhood.


But science teaching alone cannot create miracles. For science to mean anything, a rational social environment is needed.

Moreover, for science to acquire meaning during school life, it is important that children grow up in an ethos where dissent and debate are encouraged.

It is obvious that the benefits of science and its teaching do not accrue when the democratic order, and the institutions on which it is based, are not in good health.


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