a) Reform with caution — on criminal justice system

It is not a bad idea to revisit old committee reports with a view to considering their possible implementation. However, such an exercise must be pursued with care and caution. The Centre’s decision to revisit the 2003 report of the Justice V.S. Malimath Committee on reforming the criminal justice system needs to be examined through the prism of civil rights. It includes controversial recommendations such as making confessions to a senior police officer admissible as evidence, and diluting the standard of proof required for a criminal conviction. It also contains valuable suggestions to revamp the administration of criminal law, covering the entire gamut of the justice system from investigation to sentencing, from matters of policy to the nuances of criminal procedure and the law of evidence. The committee made 158 recommendations, and since then some of these have become law. Its suggestion on permitting videography of statements has been implemented. The definition of rape has been expanded and new offences against women have been added. Its advocacy of substantial witness protection has not been realised, but victim compensation is now part of law. The Centre would do well to ignore the recommendations relating to making confessions to high-ranking officers admissible, and increasing the period of police custody from 15 to 30 days. These provisions were available only in anti-terrorism laws that are now no more in force. There is no need to bring them into general criminal laws. The Malimath report suggests a standard of proof lower than the current ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ standard. It moots a ‘clear and convincing’ standard, that is, it is enough if the court is convinced that something is true. Such a measure would have adverse implications for suspects, and requires considerable deliberation. There is some understandable disquiet about the state of criminal justice administration in the country and there is a crying need for a wide range of reforms. As the Madhava Menon Committee’s ‘Draft National Policy on Criminal Justice’ (2007) noted, such popular dissatisfaction arises from the low rate of conviction, the apparent role of money and influence in the outcome of cases, delayed and denied justice, lack of protection to witnesses and inadequate attention to crime victims. The widespread perception that there is corruption on the one hand and a deep nexus between crime syndicates and politicians on the other, has added to the erosion of public confidence in the justice delivery system. Despite all these considerations, any move to make substantive changes in the way criminal justice is administered will have to be done with great circumspection, lest vital constitutional safeguards against abuse of police and judicial powers are violated in the process. In the name of revamping the law, investigation and trial should not be altered in a way that undermines the principles on which the justice system was founded.

b) A risky recovery — on IMF’s global growth predictions

A broad-based recovery in global growth may be gathering steam, but the price the world will have to pay for it is still unknown. According to the IMF’s January update of the World Economic Outlook, the global economy is all set to clock its best growth rate in seven years in 2018 following a pick-up since mid-2016. The IMF estimated that the global economy could accelerate to 3.9% in both 2018 and 2019, an upward revision of 0.2 percentage point over its previous estimates in October for both years, boosted by a cyclical recovery in global growth and the historic tax cuts in the U.S. India’s economy is projected to grow at 7.4% during the financial year 2019, and at an even faster pace of 7.8% the following year. If the IMF’s predictions come true, India will be the fastest-growing major economy next year as China’s growth is expected to slow from 6.6% this year to 6.4% in 2019. What comes as a further surprise is the upward revision in growth forecasts for many countries in Europe, thanks to stronger demand. The IMF, however, was not oblivious to the threats that could severely derail the broad-based economic recovery. In particular, it warned about the “troubling” rise in debt levels across countries, including the U.S., which could pose a huge risk to financial stability and drag down economic growth. It is no secret that since the 2008 financial crisis the global economy has been propped up mainly by the unprecedented easy money policies adopted by global central banks. In fact, the absence of substantial structural reforms to complement central bank stimulus measures has been another feature of the present global economic recovery. Such a recovery comes with the inherent risk of being derailed whenever easy monetary conditions that fuelled it cease to exist. While central banks until now have been careful not to spook markets with the prospect of higher interest rates, it is unlikely that they can keep markets calm forever. As the IMF has pointed out, the possible end to the era of abundant liquidity and debt-fuelled economic activity is likely to cause disruption by affecting asset prices. As interest rates reach higher levels, it is likely to also expose the various real economic distortions created by a low interest rate policy, particularly across borders. While it is hard to predict the next downturn, it seems the day of reckoning may not be too far as consumer price inflation begins to push central banks to rethink their dovish stance. The IMF is right to urge countries to make use of the current rosy conditions to enact useful structural reforms. It is time countries recognise that monetary policy alone won’t solve all growth problems.


1) Examined

Meaning: Inspect (someone or something) thoroughly in order to determine their nature or condition.

Example: “a doctor examined me and said I might need a caesarean”

Synonyms: Inspect, Explore

2) Prism

Meaning: Used to refer to the clarification or distortion afforded by a particular viewpoint.

Example: “they were forced to imagine the disaster through the prism of television”

3) Confessions

Meaning: A formal statement admitting that one is guilty of a crime.

Example: “he signed a confession to both the murders”

Synonyms: Admission, Disclosure

Antonyms: Concealment, Denial

4) Admissible

Meaning: Acceptable or valid, especially as evidence in a court of law.

Example: “the tape recording was admissible as evidence”

Synonyms: Allowable, Permissible

Antonyms: Inadmissible

5) Diluting

Meaning: Make (something) weaker in force, content, or value by modification or the addition of other elements.

Example: “the reforms have been diluted”

Synonyms: Diminish, Reduce

Antonyms: Intensify

6) Conviction

Meaning: A formal declaration by the verdict of a jury or the decision of a judge in a court of law that someone is guilty of a criminal offence.

Example: “she had a previous conviction for a similar offence”

Synonyms: Sentence, Judgment

Antonyms: Acquittal

7) Revamp

Meaning: Give new and improved form, structure, or appearance to.

Example: “an attempt to revamp the museum’s image”

Synonyms: Renovate, Recondition

8) Gamut

Meaning: The complete range or scope of something.

Example: “the whole gamut of human emotion”

Synonyms: Range, Sapn

9) Sentencing

Meaning: Declare the punishment decided for (an offender).

Example: “ten army officers were sentenced to life imprisonment”

Synonyms: Punish, Convict

10) Nuances

Meaning: A subtle difference in or shade of meaning, expression, or sound.

Example: “he was familiar with the nuances of the local dialect”

Synonyms: Gradation, Modulation

11) Advocacy

Meaning: The profession or work of a legal advocate.

Example: “solicitors should have a record of advocacy in the lower courts”

12) Implications

Meaning: The conclusion that can be drawn from something although it is not explicitly stated.

Example: “the implication is that no one person at the bank is responsible”

Synonyms: Suggestion, Inference

13) Deliberation

Meaning: Slow and careful movement or thought.

Example: “he replaced the glass on the table with deliberation”

Synonyms: Care, Caution

Antonyms: Haste

14) Disquiet

Meaning: Make (someone) worried or uneasy.

Example: “she felt disquieted at the lack of interest the girl had shown”

Synonyms: Agitate, Disturb

Antonyms: Calm

15) Apparent

Meaning: Seeming real or true, but not necessarily so.

Example: “his apparent lack of concern”

Synonyms: Seeming, Ostensible

Antonyms: Genuine

16) Perception

Meaning: Intuitive understanding and insight.

Example: “‘He wouldn’t have accepted,’ said my mother with unusual perception”

Synonyms: Insight, Sharpness

17) Nexus

Meaning: A central or focal point.

Example: “the nexus of any government in this country is No. 10”

18) Syndicates

Meaning: A group of individuals or organizations combined to promote a common interest.

Example: “large-scale buyouts involving a syndicate of financial institutions”

19) Circumspection

Meaning: The quality of being wary and unwilling to take risks; prudence.

Example: “circumspection is required in the day-to-day exercise of administrative powers”

Synonyms: Caution, Wariness

20) Undermines

Meaning: Lessen the effectiveness, power, or ability of, especially gradually or insidiously.

Example: “this could undermine years of hard work”

Synonyms: Subvert, Threaten

Antonyms: Enhance, Improve

21) Steam

Meaning: Energy and momentum or impetus.

Example: “the anti-corruption drive gathered steam”

Synonyms: Energy, Vigour

22) Pick-up

Meaning: Become better; improve.

Example: “my luck’s picked up”

Synonyms: Improve, Recover

23) Accelerate

Meaning: Increase in rate, amount, or extent.

Example: “inflation started to accelerate”

Synonyms: Increase, Advance

Antonyms: Decelerate

24) Cyclical

Meaning: Occurring in cycles; recurrent.

Example: “the cyclical nature of the cement industry”

Synonyms: Recurrent, Regular

25) Forecasts

Meaning: A calculation or estimate of future events, especially coming weather or a financial trend.

Example: “a gloomy forecast of the impact of global warming”

Synonyms: Prediction, Guess

26) Oblivious

Meaning: Not aware of or concerned about what is happening around one.

Example: “she became absorbed, oblivious to the passage of time”

Synonyms: Unaware, Insensible

Antonyms: Aware, Conscious

27) Derail

Meaning: Obstruct (a process) by diverting it from its intended course.

Example: “the plot is seen by some as an attempt to derail the negotiations”

28) Broad-based

Meaning: Wide-ranging; general.

Example: “we expect to see broad-based support”

29) Pose

Meaning: Present or constitute (a problem or danger).

Example: “the sheer number of visitors is posing a threat to the area”

Synonyms: Constitute, Create

30) Propped up

Meaning: To lift and give support to something by putting something under it.

Example: He was sitting upright in his hospital bed, propped up by pillows.

Synonyms: Support

31) Unprecedented

Meaning: Never done or known before.

Example: “the government took the unprecedented step of releasing confidential correspondence”

Synonyms: Unequalled, Unmatched

Antonyms: Normal, Common

32) Stimulus

Meaning: A thing that arouses activity or energy in someone or something; a spur or incentive.

Example: “if the tax were abolished, it would act as a stimulus to exports”

Synonyms: Spur, Stimulant

Antonyms:  Deterrent, Discouragement

33) Fuelled

Meaning: Sustain or inflame (an intense feeling).

Example: “his resignation fuelled speculation of an imminent cabinet reshuffle”

Synonyms: Stimulate, Boost

Antonyms: Dampen

34) Abundant

Meaning: Existing or available in large quantities; plentiful.

Example: “there was abundant evidence to support the theory”

Synonyms: Plentiful, Ample

Antonyms: Scarce, Sparse

35) Disruption

Meaning: Disturbance or problems which interrupt an event, activity, or process.

Example: “the scheme was planned to minimize disruption”

Synonyms: Disturbance, Confusion

36) Distortions

Meaning: The action of giving a misleading account or impression.

Example: “we’re fed up with the media’s continuing distortion of our issues”

Synonyms: Perversion, Manipulation

37) Reckoning

Meaning: The action or process of calculating or estimating something.

Example: “the sixth, or by another reckoning eleventh, Earl of Mar”

Synonyms: Calculation, Estimation

38) Dovish

Meaning: Supporting discussion or other peaceful solutions in political relationships rather than the use of force.

Example: He is a dovish politican who was one of the signers of a model peace treaty.

39) Stance

Meaning: The attitude of a person or organization towards something; a standpoint.

Example: “the party is changing its stance on Europe”

Synonyms: Attitude, Stand

40) Rosy

Meaning: Promising or suggesting good fortune or happiness; hopeful.

Example: “the strategy has produced results beyond the most rosy forecasts”

Synonyms: Promising, Optimistic

Antonyms: Bleak, Dismal

Other Important THE HINDU EDITORIALS for the month of December , 2017 :


Other Important THE HINDU EDITORIALS for the month of January , 2018 :