An open letter to Justice Markandey Katju


Apr 3, 2013, Fisrpost

Dear Justice Katju,

We have been learning to live with your preachy and highfalutin’ commentaries for some time now. We also tolerate the preachy and abominable drivel of a suitably unenlightened Asaram Bapu and his PR officer occasionally.

However, allow us to pick your scientific brains on a few issues and questions which, given your professional background and the current sinecure, should be a walk in the Lutyens’ park for you when it comes to addressing these queries. We urge you to  take advantage of the authority conferred by your experience, age and current station in life – and the wisdom that is supposed to emanate thereof – and pitchfork us all out of the cesspool of ignorance that we have been wallowing in thus far.

Here are 7 issues that have been bothering us. None of these have anything to do with malnutrition, Jurassic Park, Congress and secularism, I assure you. We wish to stick to your knitting – the Press and the Criminal Justice System.

First. We find it alarming that a person of your stature – and one who is fearless to boot – advocates such a defeatist attitude on the issue of voting. (Indians vote like cattle)

You have been quoted as  saying, “I won’t vote because my vote is meaningless. Votes are cast in the name of Jats, Muslims, Yadavs or Harijans. Democracy is not meant to be run like this. Why should I waste my time in joining the cattle queue?”

PTI

PTI

Truth be told, we find your argument in support of your stated stance terribly odious, and one that is repugnant in its elegant sophistry. Instead, would empowering the citizens of the country with information so that they vote responsibly, be a better way to deal with this quagmire? For instance, there are about 900 million citizens who own a cellphone – and by sending a text they can access some vital details about the candidates contesting from their respective constituencies. Have you tried it Justice Katju? I urge you to click here to know more about this tool. It just might compel you to vote in future. While I am at it, I might as well ask for a pony for my birthday – could you, Justice Katju, request the Mainstream Media to highlight this simple sms tool when the hustings draw nigh?

I also bring to your attention this report titled “Do informed voters make better choices? Experimental Evidence from Urban India”. For a brief outline, click here. Once you have read it, I am sanguine that instead of advising us not to vote, you will start focusing on how to leverage your current position as Chief of the Press Council to herd us all [the great unwashed, the sheeple] towards much-needed information on candidates before we vote. It could be a game-changer, Justice Katju. Do run it by Rahul Gandhi if you happen to meet him.

Second. You say we have criminals lodged in the dark underbelly of the temples of democracy. Correct. So what have you done about it? Taken any initiatives to stem the rot while you were a part of the Criminal Justice System? Written any detailed papers on how to address this malaise ever? Filed any PILs lately? If not, then have you at least read and fully understood what Vohra Committee, Gupta Committee, Goswami Committe and a few others had to say on this and pushed for the implementation of those recommendations? Have you examined the fineprint of Section 8(4) of the Representation of People Act? There are a couple of PILs in the Delhi HC and the SC related to these issues – could you tell the nation on National TV what these are about, without resorting to a farrago of legalese?

Third. Why does the State deny us our right to punch None of the Above [NOTA] on the EVM? Why are legal luminaries like you not standing up for our rights? I suspect you will now throw form 17(A) under Rule 49(0) at me – which then begs the question: why is there such a stunning silence by all concerned on this important choice that is available to a voter?

Fourth. I now turn my attention to Perjury. How seriously do the constituent elements of the Criminal Justice System take this offence? What happens when elected representatives indulge in perjury – does the Judiciary interact with other constitutional bodies like the EC to suitably punish such violations? For instance, let me draw your attention to the self-declared sworn affidavits submitted by a certain Mr. Anil Kumar, MLA [Himachal Pradesh]. Click here for more details. Do you see what I see, Justice Katju? You are a man of science and scientific thinking, as you tirelessly remind us; could you please use your analytical mind, check the affidavits and let us know if there is, prima facie, a case of perjury and/or misrepresentation of facts. Hint: Immovable Assets.

Fifth. Let us now turn our attention to the plight of the Judiciary. Is it not true that there are only 13.5 Judges for every 1 million citizens in India, against the global norm being approximately 70? Furthermore, did the SC [in 2002] direct all parties concerned to improve this ratio to 50 per million in 5 years? Could you take us through the steps taken by the Judiciary and the Government to achieve this goal? Your sincerity of purpose, and adequacy of aim – that is what this country needs, Justice Katju. Not the aimless psychobabble that you normally indulge in.

Also, while we are on systemic problems that beset the Criminal Justice System, is it not true that various state governments presently stand in contempt of court with respect to the seven binding directions that the apex court spelled out in 2006 on the important issue of Police Reforms?

Sixth. You, who are the PCI chairperson, have expressed some trenchant views in the past on how the media revels in the trivial and the silly. No disagreements there. There is also the issue of paid news and soap operas like Radiagate.  However, carping is for us citizens – on the other hand powerful people like you who are utterly non-idiotic, should be doing something about it. Hence I draw your attention to the Leveson Inquiry and humbly ask you if there is any such panel that has been instituted in India to examine the issue holistically? Who are the panel members? By when can the nation expect a set of guidelines and recommendations – as against the usual gobbledygook and poppycock – on this critical issue?

Seventh. As I understand, Prisons and reformation form the final link of the Criminal Justice System. While we have taken note of your bleeding heart, on the issue of Sanjay Dutt’s pardon [by the way, we did notice that your graceful gesture towards Zaibunissa Kazi was a reaction to the brouhaha AFTER the stuff hit the fan], could you share with us some possible solutions that can be deployed to ameliorate the plight of the under-trials in Indian jails? During your tenure as a HC and SC Judge, did you pursue this matter with anyone of any importance? What came out of those discussions? What is the total capacity of all the prisons in India and how many people are actually lodged in those jails? Are the under-trials housed with the general population of convicts, Justice Katju?

You usually have an opinion on almost all issues; yet I notice that you have maintained a studied silence on the matters highlighted above. Why is that Justice Katju? Has sticking to one’s knitting gone completely out of fashion?

On a lighter note, we are quite saddened by the fact that you have not watched any movie for over 40 years. However, I strongly recommend that you take some time out to watch one particular movie; in fact, you ought to invite Dr. Subramanian Swamy and the two of you could watch it together. The lead actor is of Italian descent – as was Al Capone. These Italians, I tell ya!

The Untouchables – that’s the name of the movie. May we Flipkart you a copy?

shining.path.notperu@gmail.com

Should malnourished children of Gujarat eat Modi’s roads and factories? #JusticeKatju


(Left) Markandey Katju and Narendra Modi(Left) Markandey Katju and Narendra Modi
(Left) PCI Chairman Markandey Katju and Gujarat CM Narendra Modi
 Two weeks after stirring controversy over his remarks

Two weeks into controversy over his remarks in his blog against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the Press Council of India (PCI) chairman, Justice (retired) Markandey Katju, has targeted the BJP heavyweight once again.
In his latest attack on Modi, Katju has written in a Pakistani newspaper, criticising the Gujarat chief minister, holding him responsible for the 2002 riots in the state.

The BJP hit out at the former Supreme Court judge over his latest article “Should malnourished children of Gujarat eat roads, electricity and factories, which Modi has created?”

Gujarat BJP leader Jay Narayan Vyas said, “I am not surprised with this. Justice Katju is a retired justice. They (people in Pakistan) would try to establish a relation similar to Nazism. It proves that it is an irresponsible statement. There are some reasonable restrictions also. The enemy country uses it for making a case at international level.”

“We can’t expect them to leave such an opportunity. They have related the Nazi massacre with the Gujarat case. Justice Katju should follow the reasonable restrictions. The government has acquired a soft status on the cross-border terrorism. The UPA government is divided in many segments. It think the government has failed in this aspect also like in economic aspect,” Vyas said holding the UPA government responsible for the PCI chief’s attack on Modi.

BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said, “What Justice Katju writes is not taken seriously by anyone. But if someone writes about internal Indian politics in Pakistan, then an issue rises that if a judge can get involved in internal politics. He mentioned that he wrote so as an independent citizen. If Katjuji wants to do politics, then he should do politics.”

“Everybody has a freedom to write and express. He says he is writing in his capacity as a citizen… He is an active member of ‘hate Modi campaign’. He is doing politics. He cannot separate his two roles when he is already heading a constitutional body,” he said.

Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid, however, defended the PCI chief and the UPA government in the latest controversy.

“Justice Katju is a retired officer. In our nation, everyone has a right to put forth his/her views. Where does it get published, we cannot have a control over that,” the minister said.

 

Markandey Katju calls Mamata Banerjee ‘dictatorial, intolerant, whimsical’


 

PTI | Aug 12, 2012, 09.50PM IST

Markandey Katju calls Mamata Banerjee 'dictatorial, intolerant, whimsical'
Katju said the arrest of Siladitya Chowdhury, who was dubbed as a Maoist by Mamata Banerjee at a rally after he asked what steps she was taking to help farmers, amounted to “blatant misuse” of state machinery and “flagrant violation” of constitutional and human rights.
NEW DELHI: Accusing Mamata Banerjee of being “totally dictatorial, intolerant and whimsical”, Press Council of India chiefMarkandey Katju, who had once praised her,today unleashed stinging criticism of West Bengalchief minister over arrest of a man who asked her a question during a rally.Katju said the arrest of Siladitya Chowdhury, who was dubbed as a Maoist by the West Bengal chief minister at a rally after he asked what steps she was taking to help farmers, amounted to “blatant misuse” of state machinery and “flagrant violation” of constitutional and human rights.

“Her action is most undemocratic to say the least,” he said in a statement today, holding that she is totally undeserving to be a political leader in a democratic country.

The former Supreme Court judge cautioned the administrative and police authorities there against taking her “illegal orders”, warning that they could suffer the same fate as Nazi criminals did for acting on Hitler’s directions.

“I had earlier given a statement in favour of Mamata Banerjee because I thought one should see good points in a person’s personality also.

“But now I have changed my opinion and believe that she is totally undeserving to be a political leader in a democratic country like India since she has no respect for constitutional and civil rights of citizens and is totally dictatorial, intolerant, and whimsical in her behaviour,” he said.

Expressing his “shock” over the arrest of the man, Katju said earlier also she has behaved in a high handed and dictatorial manner.

She had branded a college student Taniya Bharadwaj during a TV programme as a Maoist merely because she had asked an innocuous question. She had also got one Jadavpur University professor arrested, Katju said.

The former Supreme Court judge warned the administrative and police authorities that they could face criminal proceedings for taking “illegal orders”.

“At the Nuremburg Trials the Nazi war criminals took the plea that orders were orders and they were only carrying out the orders of Hitler, their superior, but this plea was rejected and they were hanged. The West Bengal officials should take a lesson from the Nuremburg verdict if they do not wish to suffer a similar fate,” he said.

Farmer  arrested for ‘daring to question’ Mamata Banerjee

Agencies : Midnapore (WB), Sat Aug 11 2012, 17:33 hrs
Mamata Banerjee

A man who asked West Bengal Chief MinisterMamata Banerjee at a public meeting what steps she was taking to help farmers has been arrested by the police.The man Siladitya Chowdhury had told the chief minister at her public meeting at the former Maoist stronghold of Belpahari on August 8 that farmers were dying and asked what steps her government were taking since ‘empty promises were not enough’.The chief minister had been taken aback and claimed that the man was a Maoist. She had asked the police to arrest the man.

The police had detained Chowdhury, a resident of Noawa village under Binpur police station, but had let him go after questioning.

He was arrested last night from his home, police sources said.

Chowdhury was produced in the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Priyajit Chatterjee’s court today and remanded to 14 days in judicial custody.

He was charged under sections 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant in discharge of duty), 333 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt to deter public servant in discharging public duty), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharging duty), 447 (criminal trespass) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC.

Earlier this year on May 19, the chief minister had accused a student on a TV talk show of being a Maoist, when questioned about what she was doing about the security of women after the Park Street rape of an Anglo-Indian woman.