Social Domain




India Transformed Social Domain:

India’s transformation is reflected in the social domain also. The government is actively trying to reduce the social disparity and to bring all classes in the society into the mainstream of economic development. In this regard, the ‘Human Rights Protection Act - 1993’ is important. ‘National Human Rights Commission’ was established under this act. Its objective is to protect fundamental human rights, like the right to life, equality, etc., and to see that nobody is deprived of these rights. According to this Act, the Commission can act on the basis of a report of a case of deprivation of fundamental human rights, published in a newspaper or other media (‘Sui Moto Cognisance’). A complaint can be lodged by a social activist or a social institute on behalf of the victim. In 2005, the ‘Domestic Violence Act’ was passed. This Act was formed to provide protection to women from domestic violence. The most important provision in this Act is the right of a woman on the house where she has been residing, even if she doesn’t own the house.

A Suo Moto cognizance is a Latin term which means an action taken by a government agency, court or other central authority on their own apprehension. A court takes a Suo Moto Cognizance of a legal matter when it receives information about the violation of rights or breach of duty through media or a third party’s notification. In India, Article 32 of the Indian Constitution and Article 226 of the Indian Constitution lay down the provisions for filing Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in India in Supreme Court and High Courts respectively. This has given rise to the court's’ power to initiate legal action on their cognizance of a matter. Suo Moto’s actions by Indian courts are a reflection of activism by the judiciary and captivated the general public with the speedy delivery of justice by the courts. Suo Moto cases in India are generally taken up by the Supreme Court. The Indian Judiciary has been undoubtedly holding the baton for democracy for the past few years. In numerous instances, different High Courts and the Supreme Court have risen to the occasion by taking cognizance of a legal issue on their own and provided swift justice. Various courts in India have initiated legal proceedings on their own based on media reports, telegrams and letters received by aggrieved people, taking a Suo Moto cognizance of the issue. Suo Moto action is when a High Court or Supreme Court on its own take control over the matter or the case.

The Indian courts have taken Suo Moto cognizance in the following instances:

Contempt of Court:  Contempt of court means disobedience towards the court and ignorance of rules and regulations, code of conduct and ethics followed in a court. The court generally initiates a case for Suo Moto contempt against an officer who prevents the delivery of justice or challenges the dignity of the court.

Reopen Old Cases:  If some new and substantial evidence is discovered after a case is closed, the courts have the power to take Suo Moto action and reopen the case to try it again.

Order probe for a New Case:  If any court is of the opinion that some injustice is being done to an aggrieved person or a section of people, the court can order probe at any level by any government authority, police department, the CBI, etc. The court may also take such action after receiving a letter from the affected section of people or on the basis of any news, documentary or media source.

If you would like to contribute notes or other learning material, please submit them using the button below.

      Forgot password?
Use app×