Mangalore vigilantes at it again, #Bajrang Dal #durga vahini #moralpolicing


Mangalore Bureau, The Hindu

ONE MORE INCIDENT: The open terrace at Roxx from where the seven-member group was bundled off to the police station. Photo: R.Eswarraj
ONE MORE INCIDENT: The open terrace at Roxx from where the seven-member group was bundled off to the police station. Photo: R.Eswarraj

Students at lounge harassed by Bajrang Dal activists

Vigilantism raised its ugly head again in Mangalore when members of the Bajrang Dal and its women’s wing, Durga Vahini — accompanied by the police — traumatised a group of seven young people meeting at an ice-cream lounge here Wednesday evening.

The group, all undergraduate students, were hauled off to the Pandeshwar police station after the vigilantes accused them of ‘immoral’ activities. At the station, they were made to wait for 45 minutes before being sent away without being charged.

Open terrace

According to the manager of Roxx, on Attavar Main Road, some 10 Bajrang Dal activists, with two policemen in tow, marched up to the smoking area on the open terrace leading from second floor where the four girls and three boys were, around 5.30 p.m., and asked them to come to the police station for their “immoral” and “uncultured” behaviour. When the young group protested, one of the intruders used foul language against a girl, the manager said, adding that the group were regulars there.

At the police station, the vigilantes, who said they were from the Bajrang Dal and Durga Vahini, told reporters there were complaints from neighbours that young people smoked cannabis at the lounge.

No case booked

Commissioner of Police Manish Karbikar said the police went to the spot to defuse the situation. “As smoking on the terrace was not an offence, the police have not booked any case,” he said

To this, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee secretary Ivan D’Souza, who visited the police station, countered: “If no case was booked, why bring the students to the police station?”

A constable who accompanied the vigilantes said a Bajrang Dal activist had called the police station about “immoral activities on the terrace”. He said that of the seven young people, three were found smoking while the rest were having soft drinks.

‘A family joint’

B.M. Ashraf, managing director of Roxx, who spoke to the The Hindu on the phone from New Delhi, described the lounge as “an ice-cream parlour, a family joint, a clean place… there is no liquor, nothing of that sort.” He said he was surprised and saddened by the incident. “We don’t know why they had to do that.”

He said he would not take any action or follow up with the police and he didn’t “want to make it an issue”.

 

Mangalore: Bajrang Dal raids ice cream parlour, hands over youngsters to police #WTFnews #moralploicing #Vaw


Jan 30, 67 pm
Mangalore: Bajrang Dal raids ice cream parlour, hands over youngsters to police

Pics: Brijesh Garodi
Daijiworld Media Network – Mangalore (BG)

Mangalore, Jan 30: Activists of Bajrang Dal on Wednesday January 30 barged into an ice cream parlour at Attavar here, and handed over three boys and four girls to the police.

The activists alleged that ‘immoral activities’ had been going on at the parlour, and claimed that they had acted on a ‘public complaint’ in this regard.

It is said that the youngsters were in the music lounge on the top floor of the parlour. Some people noticed them from the outside and complained to Bajrang Dal.

The Bajrang Dal activists called Pandeshwar police who arrived at the spot. The boys and girls were taken to Pandeshwar police station for questioning.

More details awaited.

 

Kamal Haasan- If there is no secural state, I will leave the country #Vishwaroopam #FOE #Censorship


Kamal Haasan

Kamal Haasan

Twelve hours was enough for veteran actor Kamal Haasan to lose all hope (or whatever was left of it) in India’s political structures. Last night, the Madras High Court had lifted the ban by the Tamil Nadu government on Hassan’s film Vishwaroopam. However, in the morning, police halted screening across Chennai.

Frustrated and fed up, Haasan held a press conference in Chennai this morning where he said, “If there is no secular state in India, I would go overseas. I think Tamil Nadu wants me out.”

There was a depressing sense of déjà vu both for the citizens of this country and Kamal Haasan when he recalled M F Husain’s exit from the country after the painter’s freedom of experssion was trampled upon. Certain Hindu groups protested against Husain’s nude paintings of a certain Hindu goddess.

Hassan’s frustration was evident on his face when he said that he had pledged all his property on this film and had nothing more to lose, he would leave the country freely.

The 58-year-old Padma Shri awardee has starred in the largest number of films submitted by India in contest for the Academy Award, for Best Foreign Language Film.

Indian democracy started it’s descent towards intolerance when Prof Ashis Nandy’s comments were stifled under the garb of being divisive a few days ago, and reached the peak today when Haasan’s film is being used as a political tool.

What right does the government of Tamil Nadu have to stall a film when the Censor Board has given it a go ahead? What right do they have to stop the screening when the courts have given it a clean chit? What is the politics behind the fringe Muslim groups that have claimed that the movie is offensive? How long will artists have to suffer in the hands of politicians?

In 1989, the landmark Supreme Court judgment in the S. Rangarajan v/s P. Jagajivan Ram case held “freedom of expression cannot be suppressed on account of threat of demonstrations and processions and threat of violence”. The Tamil Nadu Government was not only being severely intolerant but also unconstitutional in deciding to impose a ban on the film.

Haasan said in the press conference that he thinks in Tamil, writes in Tamil and that his poems are in Tamil. If Kamal Hassan is forced to move out of the state in the quest for his uncompromising freedom of expression, the citizens of Tamil Nadu will face a loss they will never make up for.

 

 

Invitation-International Uranium Film Festival, Chennai @5feb




ENTRY FREE

WHAT: Festival of international documentaries, short films and
animation filmcovering uranium mining, nuclear researchweapons,
and power plants
 and nuclear waste. Discussions led by feature
filmmakers and prominent intellectuals.

WHEN: Film Fest on February 5-6, 2013.
9.30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Workshop on documentary
film-making
 led by Alphonse Roy and R. Revathi
on 7 February
(9.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.)


WHERE: Asian College of Journalism
2nd Main Road, Taramani (Near Indira Nagar MRTS
Behind MS Swaminathan Research Foundation)

Organised by:
Chennai Solidarity Group for Koodankulam Struggle
 &
Poovulagin Nanbargal


Background
Curated by two Brazilian film makers, the widely travelled international film festival, explores the entire nuclear life cycle — from the mining of uranium to disposal of radioactive wastes. Choosing from more than 50 documentaries and animation films, the Chennai festival brings to viewers 20 films over a two-day period. Thefestival is geared towards engendering a more informed debate on these issues.

Contact:
9444689572
www.uraniumfilmfestival.org

 

#India- Draft approval for new Indian nuclear site #WTFnews


 

28 January 2013

A new six-unit nuclear power plant at Mithi Virdi in Gujarat will be “environmentally benign and sustainable” while benefitting the region both economically and socially, said a draft assessment on behalf of the proposing company.

The study was carried out for Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) by Engineers India Ltd. (EIL), itself an Indian government-led organisation, to set out to establish baseline environmental data for the project to build up to six imported 1000 MWe light water reactors at the coastal site 40 kilometers from Bhavnagar. It also evaluated potential impacts of the project and formulated environmental management plans for both the construction and operation phase. EIL collected data within a ten-kilometer radius of the site over three seasons (summer, post-monsoon and winter) from December 2010 to November 2011 to prepare its report.

Mithi Virdi received approval in principle from the Indian government as a site for up to six imported 1000 MWe light water reactors in 2009. In 2012 US reactor vendor Westinghouse signed a memorandum of understanding with NPCIL agreeing to negotiate an early works agreement for the construction of up to six AP1000 units at the site. According to the preliminary environmental impact assesment (EIA), the project is not anticipated to have any significant impact on local flora, fauna or human activities. The report details the planned systems to manage gaseous, liquid and solid radioactive wastes and keep discharges below the required limits in normal operation as well as the passive safety design and engineered safety features of the plant.

Based on its findings, the report concluded that the planned Mithi Virdi project would be “environmentally benign and sustainable” and would provide “much needed electricity with minimal environmental impact”. It noted that the project will benefit the region generally and contribute to improved social conditions, with NPCIL contributing towards “uplifting” of the surrounding areas and positive impacts including employment, better transport facilities, and improvements to basic education, health and infrastructure in the area.

The power plant project is expected to be completed in three stages, with the first two units pencilled in for completion in 2019-2020, the second two units in 2021-2022 and the final stage completed in 2023-24. The cost is still under negotiation.

Mithi Virdi is one of four sites for which NPCIL is currently involved in pre-project activities. The others are Gorakhpur (Haryana), earmarked for four Indian-designed 700 MWe pressurized heavy-water reactors (PHWRs); Kovvada (Andhra Pradesh), where six GE-Hitachi ESBWR units are planned; and Chutaka (Madhya Pradesh), earmarked for two indigenous 700 MWe PHWRs. A final EIA for the Gorakhpur plant has been submitted to India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests for appraisal, while preliminary EIAs are still in preparation for Kovvada and Chutaka.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

 

#India-Court orders probe into ‘cheating’ charges against Chidambaram, Shinde


 

 

Palaniappan Chidambaram (1)

Palaniappan Chidambaram (1) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

P Pavan, Bangalore Mirror

Posted On Monday, January 28, 2013

 

A local court on Monday directed police to probe allegations that Union Ministers Sushilkumar Shinde and P Chidambaram had “cheated” the people of Telangana region by their statements on the statehood issue.

The move was based on a complaint by Naresh Kumar, president of the Telangana Junior Advocates’ Association, who filed a petition in LB Nagar court complaining that the ministers had cheated the people of Telangana by going back on their word to announce the decision on the demand for a separate Telangana state.
In his petition, Kumar sought the court’s directions to refer the matter to police under section 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code. “As evidence to substantiate my charge, I have attached the official statements made by P Chidambaram and Sushilkumar Shinde. I also attached the statement of AICC general secretary-in-charge of Andhra Pradesh, Ghulam Nabi Azad of January 27, 2013 that one month does not mean 30 days,” said Pradeep.
A month ago, Shinde had said the Telangana issue would be resolved within a month. On December 9, 2009, then Home Minister Chidambaram had made an announcement to initiate the process to create Telangana state. However, he modified the statement on December 23, 2009.
Second Metropolitan Magistrate Court directed the L B Nagar Police to file a status report by February 14.
7 CONG MPS TO RESIGN FOR TELANGANA
Furious with the delay in formation of a separate Telangana state, seven Congress MPs from the region on Monday decided to resign both from parliament and the party.
After a meeting, the MPs said they would send their resignation letters to party president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday. They said they would ask the party leadership to take a decision to carve out a separate state in a week or forward their resignations to the speaker. The MPs who attended the meeting are K Rajagopal Reddy, Ponnam Prabhakar, Madhu Yaskhi, S Rajaiah, G Vivekanand, Gutha Sukender Reddy and Manda Jaganath.
 
‘Sonia is torturing the people of !Telangana’: trs chief
!For the first time, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) president K Chandrasekhara Rao directly criticised Congress President Sonia Gandhi and the Gandhi family on the Telangana issue. “Sonia is torturing the people of Telangana. Congress has been cheating them for three generations from Nehru to Indira to Sonia. They have become a curse for Telangana,” he said, at a Samara Deeksha held by Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC).
Rao had once referred to Sonia Gandhi as ‘goddess’ who would give them Telangana. TJAC has announced a social boycott of Congress leaders in the region.

 

 

#India -The great card trick #UID #Aadhaar


Another much-touted card that we have to chase and woo!

 

Gouri Dange, Pune Mirror

 

Posted On Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 08:20:48 AM

 

 

The aadhaar card is another addition to the many official documents we are forced to make

It’s not easy, remaining a card-carrying citizen of planet India. Let’s see now — how many cards have I, over the years, have to get for myself? Each time being told that this is THE card, and after you get a hold of this one, there is NO other card that you will have to furnish to prove that you are a bonafide citizen of this great land, and entitled to all the wonderful goodies that it has to offer. So there was long ago the ration card.

Your parents carefully, oh so carefully, got theirs, held on to it, and when you grew up, you were handed a precious grubby note that said that your name had been cut from their card and you were now eligible to have your own ration card.

Living in peace time, and in that very fortunate strata of society that never had to stand in line for substandard foodgrains and kerosene, that ration card served me only ever to prove I was me, and to get that other Holy Grail, the gas card.

Then along came that other much-touted thing, the election card. And no, your passport, which you had acquired determinedly without the help of a tout, was not enough to establish your bona fides for your election card.

You had to pull out that birth cert and school leaving cert and ‘light bill’ for where you lived, and go do that whole thing. That was circa 1992 —at that time, we were also asked to hand in our old ration cards, because the whole system was to be revamped and us haves were going to have a different coloured one, and the have-nots another coloured ones and the have-nothings would get a third colour. That is the last I ever saw of my haloed ration card, and thank god I was never ever asked for it again.

As for the election card, that too was never required of me ever anywhere, and it sits patiently in my filing cabinet in a file importantly marked Important Documents. Somewhere along the way, I made a passport, and now, I was told, I had THE document of all documents in my hand, never ever needing anything else. Then came the PAN card. At last, we were told, this PAN card will be THE final card you will need for anything, ever.

And it was so important that even if you lived without one, you could not die without one or your relatives would have to feed you to the maggots in a jungle or something and so people ran around like headless chicken for this PAN card — which of course again needed at least 3 documents to procure. Well, here I exaggerate — because mine came without much ado, on the basis of my passport.

When the new kid-on-the-block, the aadhaar card, began to shimmer on the horizon, I decided to play ostrich. I just put my head in the sand and let all the commotion simply happen around me.

Itold myself that this was really for the have-nots, and I would never really need to use one, as I was a have-everything, given that I could buy food in the market, cook it on a gas cylinder connection that I legitimately owned, had a PAN card, passport, election card (on which instead of d.o.b they had my age — which instantly made it a non-proof of age, by the way).

Then I saw that people around me, other have-everythings, and not just the have-nots, were marching off and getting their aadhaar card done. So I reluctantly pulled my head out of the sand, and enviously heard stories of people’s residential societies or organisations simply calling the aadhaar card maker with his magic machine come to their doorstep.

Since I live in a place that goes by the ‘every man for himself’ principle, I went to the office of a local nagar sevak who advertised on giant posters that we could apply for our card there. What I encountered there, on four different abortive trips, was that his pals and kith and kin had set up some kind of mini-power-centre there.

People were being shouted at, herded, turned back, and hissed at. We were to take a token number, to come back another day. But that token number was available only between 10 and 11 in the morning and on many days the office shutter was firmly down, because it was the main-man’s kid’s birthday or something.

Those who did manage to get fingerprinted, etc were told rudely — ok now your card can come to you in two months or two years — don’t bug us here asking for it. On my third trip there, some good tired Samaritan standing around suggested we go to a big housing complex near by, where it was being done.

By this time, me, four army jawans who had missed their big day back at their base and were hence running pillar to post, and a bunch of people wanting help to fill the form (which had deliciously unintelligible acronyms like p.o.i, p.o.r, etc – and a couple of questions that needed yes-no answers, but were worded in that ‘Have you stopped beating your wife?’ cryptic way) had become quite a rag-tag team, wandering around in search of some logic and kindness.

The big housing complex that we went to simply sneered at us, all puffed up by the presence of the aadhaar machine in their society, and firmly clanged the gates on us.

Just when I was all set to do my ostrich act again, another giant poster came up in my area, and yet another nagar sevak was advertising that he was saving or sevaing us by providing the aadhaar card set up too.

And wonder of wonders, we were treated politely, asked the right questions, our papers were checked, and we did not even have to make an appointment to come again another day.

Never mind that the fingerprinting machines look like they were thrown away by some First World nation, and I almost had to make a handstand on one of them for my prints to appear clearly, but if all goes well, in three months I will be in possession of yet another hard-won card.

 

#India- Court issues order on right of pregnant prisoners to access MTP #womenrights #reproductiverights


MADHYA PRADESH HIGH COURT AT INDORE ISSUES ORDER ON THE RIGHT OF PREGNANT PRISONERS TO ACCESS MEDICAL TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY

 

INDORE - The High Court of Madhya Pradesh at Indore issued an order allowing Hallo Bi, a pregnant female prisoner, to exercise her reproductive rights under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (Act). Hallo Bi had been sold into prostitution by her husband and after months of continuous instances of rape, she became pregnant.

In the order, the Court wrote, “We cannot force a victim of violent rape/forced sex to give birth to a child of a rapist. The anguish and the humiliation which the petitioner is suffering daily, will certainly cause a grave injury to her mental health.” This is a positive development for Hallo Bi and sets an important precedent for similar circumstances by affirming rape victims’ right to lawful termination of pregnancy under the 1971 Act. Unsafe abortions are one of the leading causes of maternal mortality in India with approximately 6.7 million abortions performed every year at unregulated facilities, often by medical practitioners untrained in abortion services.

In early December 2012, Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) Reproductive Rights Unit Assistant Director, Ms. Karla Torres, read an article in the Times of India about a pregnant woman who was in prison for murdering her husband and had been ordered to make a written application to the High Court for a termination of pregnancy. After communicating with HRLN advocate Mrs. Shanno Shagufta Khan in Indore and meeting with Hallo Bi, HRLN filed a petition requesting the High Court to allow for a medical termination of pregnancy.

The petition also stressed the Act’s silence on this issue and asked the High Court to issue guiding directions. As both the Act and the jail manual are silent on this aspect, the High Court had requested Hallo Bi to submit a written application for a medical termination of pregnancy. The High Court subsequently denied Hallo Bi’s application. HRLN’s petition stressed that the High Court had erred in not allowing Hallo Bi’s application as the power to refuse the same did not lie with the High Court.

Under the Act, the decision to terminate a pregnancy is between a woman and her doctor(s). As such, once a medical practitioner is of the opinion that the pregnant woman falls within the conditions laid down in the Act, a medical termination of pregnancy can take place. A court, therefore, does not have authority to determine whether a woman can or cannot terminate her pregnancy. Instead, a court can ensure that a woman who requests a medical termination of pregnancy under circumstances that satisfy the Act is provided with adequate medical care and services to fulfil her right to a termination of pregnancy.

Although the High Court found that Hallo Bi’s circumstances satisfied the MTP Act, the Court did not include guiding directions. Notwithstanding, HRLN plans to request a review of the petition so that this issue is taken up afresh and guiding directions are issued.

Download the full order here

 

#India- A step backwards-send your comments on – The indecent representation of women (PROHIBITION) amendment bill 2012 #FOE #censorship


Her is new discomforting Amendment bill to an already problematically titled Act. The Amendment as well as the title of the Bill “Indecent Representation” could penalise any artistic, erotic, scientific or real-violence depictions. We know the furore over sex-education already – anyone could challenge representations of anatomy, condoms or desire, saying that they offend public morality. Terms such as ‘public morality’ , ‘outrage’ and ‘indecent’ are being used in the same breath as ‘representation of women’. I’m not sure what words one should use – ‘dignity’ could be one term, only if it is disassociated from terms such as ‘morality’. Unless the term is phrased in conjunction with violation of human rights of women, and the overall bill seeks to enhance women’s rights rather than encourage moral panics, we will be going back in time.

 

The Parliamentary Standing Committee invites comments on the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2012. You can find the Press Release here http://164.100.47.5/newcommittee/press_release/press/Committee%20on%20HRD/IRW%20Bill.pdf

fem

 

Short title and commencement.

THE INDECENT REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN (PROHIBITION) AMENDMENT BILL, 2012

 

A BILL further to amend the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986. BE it enacted by Parliament in the Sixty-third Year of the Republic of India as follows:— 1. (1) This Act may be called the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2012. (2) It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint. 2. In the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 (hereinafter referred to as the principal Act), in section 2,— (i) for clause (a), the following clause shall be substituted, namely:— ‘(a) “advertisement” includes any notice, circular, label, wrapper or other document or any audio or visual representation made by means of any light, laser light, sound, smoke, gas or electric form or through any other media, for the purpose of promotion of any goods, service, place, person, event or organisation;’;

Amendment of section 2. (ii) after clause (a), the following clause shall be inserted, namely:— ‘(aa) “electronic form” shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in clause (r) of section 2 of the Information Technology Act, 2000;’; (iii) for clause (b), the following clause shall be substituted, namely:— ‘(b) “distribution” includes all method of distribution, either by way of samples or making available for public access through broadcast, transmission or uploading on website or in any other printed or electronic form, whether for profit or otherwise;’; (iv) for clause (c), the following clause shall be substituted, namely:— ‘(c) “indecent representation of women” means— (i) publication or distribution in any manner, of any material depicting women as a sexual object or which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interests; or (ii) depiction, publication or distribution in any manner, of the figure of a woman, her form or body or any part thereof in such a way as to have the effect of being indecent or derogatory to or denigrating women or which is likely to deprave, corrupt or injure the public morality or morals;’; (v) after clause (d), the following clause shall be inserted, namely:— ‘(da) “material” includes any book, pamphlet, paper, slide, film, writing, drawing, painting, photograph, representation in any form, figure or any other content in printed, audio, visual or electronic form;’; (vi) after clause (f), the following clause shall be inserted, namely:— ‘(g) “publish” includes— (i) to prepare or print in any book, newspaper, magazine, poster, graffiti, periodicals or any form of printed matter, digital or in any other format; or (ii) to distribute or broadcast through audio-visual media including cable, computer, broadband satellite transmission or any other form, to any person so as to communicate or make it available to the public;’.

3. For section 4 of the principal Act, the following section shall be substituted, namely:—

“4. No person shall publish or distribute or cause to be published or cause to be distributed by any means any material which contains indecent representation of women in any form: Provided that nothing in this section shall apply to— (a) any material,— (i) the publication of which is proved to be justified as being for the public good on the ground that such material is in the interest of science, literature, art or learning or other objects of general concern; or (ii) which is kept or used for bona fide religious purposes; or (b) any representation sculptured, engraved, painted or otherwise represented on or in—

(i) any ancient monument within the meaning of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958; or 21 of 2000.Substitution of new section for section 4. (ii) any temple, or any car used for the conveyance of idols, or kept or used for any religious purpose; or (c) any film in respect of which the provisions of Part II of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 will be applicable.”.

Amendment of section 5.

4. In section 5 of the principal Act, in sub-section (1),— (i) in the opening portion, for the words beginning with “Subject to such rules” and ending with “for which he is so authorised”, the following shall be substituted, namely:— “Notwithstanding anything in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, any police officer not below the rank of Inspector, or any other officer of the Central Government or a State Government authorised by the Central Government or the State Government may”; (ii) in clause (b), for the words “seize any advertisement or any book, pamphlet, paper, slide, film, writing, drawing, painting, photograph, representation or figure”, the words “seize any advertisement or material” shall be substituted.

Substitution of new section for section 6. 5. For section 6 of the principal Act, the following section shall be substituted, namely:— “6. Any person who contravenes the provisions of section 3 or section 4 shall be punishable on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and also with fine not less than fifty thousand rupees but which may extend to one lakh rupees; and in the event of a second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment for a term of not less than two years but which may extend to seven years and also with a fine not less than one lakh rupees but which may extend to five lakh rupees.”.

Penalty. Insertion of new sections 11 and 12

. 6. After section 10 of the principal Act, the following sections shall be inserted, namely:— “11. The provisions of this Act shall be in addition to, and not in derogation of, any other law for the time being in force. Application of other laws not barred. Officers to be public servants. 12. The officers authorised under section 5 shall be deemed, while acting or purporting to act in pursuance of any of the provisions of this Act, to be public servants within the meaning of section 21 of the Indian Penal Code.”. .

STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS

The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 (the Act) was enacted to prohibit indecent representation of women through advertisements or in publications, writings, paintings, figures or in any other manner. However, the Act in its present form relates primarily to the print media. Since the enactment of the Act, technological revolution has resulted in development of new forms of communication, such as, internet and satellite based communication, multi-media messaging, cable television, etc. It has , thus, become necessary to widen the scope of the Act so as to cover the above forms of media. Further, considering that the National Crimes Records Bureau recorded a total number of 845, 895 and 453 cases of violation of the provisions of the Act in the years 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively, for the law to be more effective, stringent punishment which acts as deterrent also becomes essential. It is also felt that the power to enter any premises and conduct search and seizure of any material, if there is reason to believe that an offence under the Act has been committed, should be made more effective and the officers conducting such searches are given sufficient protection while carrying out their duties under the Act. 2.

It is, therefore, proposed to amend the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 to ensure more effective protection to women against their indecent representation. The Bill, inter alia, provides to—

(a) define the “indecent represenation of women” to mean the depiction of the figure or form or body or any part thereof, of a woman in such a way as to have the effect of being indecent or derogatory to or denigrating women or is likely to deprave, corrupt or injure public morality;

(b) amend the definitions of “advertisement” and “distribution” and also to define “electronic form”, “material” and “publish”;

(c) prohibit the publication or distribution of any material, by any means, which contains indecent representation of women in any form;

(d) increase the maximum imprisonment from two years to three years and fine from two thousand rupees to a fine of not less than fifty thousand rupees which may be extended to one lakh rupees for first offence; and increase the minimum imprisonment for second or subsequent offence from six months to two years and maximum imprisonment from five years to seven years and minimum fine from ten thousand rupees to one lakh rupees and maximum fine from one lakh rupees to five lakh rupees;

(e) amend section 5 of the Act so as to authorise any police officer not below the rank of Inspector to make investigation of offences under the Act. 3. The Bill seeks to achieve the above objectives.

NEW DELHI; KRISHNA TIRATH The 30th November, 2012. 4

 

ANNEXURE EXTRACTS FROM THE INDECENT REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN (PROHIBITION) ACT, 1986 (60 OF 1986) * * * * * 2.

 

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,— (a) “advertisement” includes any notice, circular, label, wrapper or other document and also includes any visible representation made by means of any light, sound, smoke or gas; (b) “distribution” includes distribution by way of samples whether free or otherwise; (c) “indecent representation of women” means the depiction in any manner of the figure of a woman, her form or body or any part thereof in such a way as to have the effect of being indecent, or derogatory to, or denigrating, women, or is likely to deprave, corrupt or injure the public morality or morals;   * * * *

Definitions.Prohibition of publication or sending by post of books, pamphlets, etc., containing indecent representation of women. 4. No person shall produce or cause to be produced, sell, let to hire, distribute, circulate or send by post any book, pamphlet, paper, slide, film, writing, drawing, painting, photograph, representation or figure which contains indecent representation of women in any form:

Provided that nothing in this section shall apply to— (a) any book, pamphlet, paper, slide, film, writing, drawing, painting, photograph, representation or figure— (i) the publication of which is proved to be justified as being for the public good on the ground that such book, pamphlet, paper, slide, film, writing, drawing, painting, photograph, representation or figure is in the interest of science, literature, art, or learning or other objects of general concern; or (ii) which is kept or used bona fide for religious purposes; (b) any representation sculptured, engraved, painted or otherwise represented on or in— (i) any ancient monument within the meaning of the Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958; or (ii) any temple, or on any car used for the conveyance of idols, or kept or used for any religious purpose; (c) any film in respect of which the provisions of Part II of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 will be applicable.

Powers to enter and search. 5. (1) Subject to such rules as may be prescribed, any Gazetted Officer authorised by the State Government may, within the local limits of the area for which he is so authorised,— * * * * * (b) seize any advertisement or any book, pamphlet, paper, slide, film, writing, drawing, painting, photograph, representation or figure which he has reason to believe contravenes any of the provisions of this Act; * * * * *

Penalty.   6. Any person who contravenes the provisions of section 3 or section 4 shall be punishable on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, and with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, and in the event of a second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment for a term of not less than six months but which may extend to five years and also with a fine not less than ten thousand rupees but which may extend to one lakh rupees. * * * * *

Lokayukta’s appointment in Gujarat-beyond BJP versus Congress


Garga Chatterjee | Agency: DNA |

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a memorial event of the inimitable and now forgotten Rajnarain. It was socialists like him, communists and a whole plethora of ‘regional’ political formations, whose opposition to the Indira Congress led to the suspended animation of Article 356. This draconian Act was used primarily by the Congress (I) to dismiss insubordinate state governments. Just when you thought that conspiratorial centres in governor houses across state capitals had folded up, filling empty time cutting ribbons and enjoying largely undeserved chancellorships of universities, the old disease has found a new victim. This time it is Gujarat.

Gujarat governor Kamla Beniwal appointed RA Mehta as the Lokayukta of Gujarat, despite protests from the state government. The appointment was challenged in court. On January 2, the Supreme Court upheld the appointment. Predictably, the BJP has reacted strongly to the verdict. Kamla Beniwal is a former Rajasthan unit leader of the Congress (I). The relationship between governors and opposition-ruled states has never been rosy. But, beyond the obvious Congress (I)-BJP rivalry, this appointment and its subsequent legitimisation by the Supreme Court has far-reaching implications.

The problem is not whether RA Mehta is actually fit for the position. He possibly is. Neither is it about the embarrassment that an upright Lokayukta may cause to the Gujarat state government. The question is: Who will decide this fitness? In effect, an unelected person who is a former member of the party in power in Delhi (a party not famous for incorruptibility) has unilaterally chosen who would be the chief anti-corruption ombudsman in Gujarat, ignoring the popularly elected state government. Another unelected institution, the Supreme Court, has upheld this decision. So, an essentially political dispute has been brought into the purview of the judiciary. This is an insidious encroachment into the powers of the legislature. This cannot be a happy development for democracy.

There has been another encroachment. Neutrality and independence should be important characteristics of any Lokayukta. But, where did we get the ridiculous idea that anything that is ‘central’ is also neutral? Who says the government in Delhi can select better specimens of humanity than Gujarat?

As I said, in this case, an unelected body is endorsing the unilateralism of another unelected person over a whole elected assembly. More importantly, for all practical purposes, the governor is the thekadar of Delhi to keep opposition-ruled states in check. This thekadari system has colonial roots – an extractive colonial system that wanted to retain the right to meddle into democratic political expression of people. In the post-partition subcontinent, governors represent just that – a person who is answerable to Delhi over the heads of the people in a state. During the heyday of the Congress (I), the dismissal ofelected state governments using Article 356 happened through the connivance of the Delhi agent in a state — the governor. Now, due to the demise of the ‘Congress system’, the usage of this undemocratic tool has become politically unviable. However, the ideological framework in which the states are considered fiefs of the Centre has not died. It has, in fact, strengthened as the Centre launches frequent schemes to encroach on the few rights the states have – the NCTC scheme and the recent plans to make water a central subject — are of this nature. The present impasse in Gujarat is yet another attack on the federal structure of the Indian Union.

Going back to the Rajnarain memorial event, there I saw that giant, the former Supreme Court judge Rajinder Sachar. People of this generation, whose baptism happened in politics before they became judges, had an intimate understanding and respect for democracy. They have also seen Delhi usurp powers from the provinces over the decades. In contrast, latter generations (and judges are not outside it) have increasingly grown up with an ‘idea of India’ that is same as a Delhi lording over the states. This ‘new normal’ no doubt makes people less sensitive to violation of states’ rights. All institutions that are dominated by the elite come with a certain ideology about nationhood, development, future, the ‘idea of India’ and other such things. This results in larger problems, especially when judiciary starts arbitrating political disputes.

The BJP has been livid over this issue and it should be. However, its sensitivity on the curbing of federal structure should go beyond Gujarat. If it comes to power in Delhi, it owes to the people, steps on the implementation of the Sarkaria commission’s recommendations that sought to strengthen India’s federal structure. Otherwise, the BJP’s should not subject people to opportunist theatrics on federalism. People deserve action, not actors.

Garga Chatterjee is a postdoctoral scholar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.