The Kinship Of Impunity #justice #Law


By Mukul Dube

02 October, 2012
Countercurrents.org

A Supreme Court decision of 26 September 2012 was reported in the newspapers in a manner that suggested wishful thinking. Headlines are necessarily abbreviated, and those in this instance said that the SC had sent a message to “the police” about branding people on the basis of religion. The message, in fact, was specifically to the Gujarat Police: “District Superintendent of Police and Inspector General of Police and all others entrusted with the task of operating the law must not do anything which allows its misuse and abuse and [must] ensure that no innocent person has the feeling of sufferance only because ‘My name is Khan, but I am not a terrorist.’”

It could be argued that the message should have been sent out explicitly to all the police forces in the country, because there is probably no part of India in which Muslims are not automatically and unthinkingly treated as terrorists. The SC bench may well have decided not to make general its specific injunction because that could have invited the accusation that it had over-stepped its bounds.

It is, however, impossible for anyone connected with the application of the laws to be unaware of the noise that has recently been made about the targeting of Muslims in India in matters related to terrorism. Report after report from citizens’ groups has spoken of the indefensible and arguably motivated phenomenon, and there have been public meetings about it in many cities across the land. It is high on the agendas of those concerned with civil rights.

The SC was dealing with appeals related to a January 2002 judgment of a Designated Court in Gujarat in TADA cases from 1994, 1995 and 1996. The matter hinged on whether or not the necessary permission had been obtained from specified officials before the accused were charged under TADA.

The SC did not accept the prosecution’s contention that A.K. Suroliya, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch, had given the necessary permission. Among other things, it found the tale of lost documents too tall to swallow. However, it did not speak of penalising any of the persons involved in dishing out falsehoods to cover up the illegality of their action.

The realist will ask, of course, what good that would have done. We know that nearly all the enquiries into religious violence – I hold the expression “communal riot” to be a lie – starting with that into the Jabalpur violence of 1961, have pinned down responsibility and have spoken of officials’ dereliction of duty or worse. No punishment worth the name followed.

Recent judgments of many courts in cases related to terrorism which have exonerated the innocent individuals who were arrested and then incarcerated and tortured for long periods, in the process destroying their lives and those of their families, have also censured members of the police force and have recommended departmental action against them. Here too, no action other than the white-wash kind was taken.

Indeed, the report on the Special Cell of the Delhi Police released recently by the Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association gives examples of the absurdity of police functionaries actually being promoted and rewarded despite having had strictures passed against them by courts of law.

Do our country’s police forces function in circumstances of impunity? Are there means and mechanisms by which it can be ensured that the “upholders of the law” do not themselves go against the law in their actions? Or are the law-men to be always a law unto themselves?

Certainly there are rules within the police bureaucracy. The repeated recommendations by courts of departmental action call for these rules to be applied. However, there seems to be in the police bureaucracy – as in other bureaucracies which, coexisting with one another and also ranged against one another, go to make up the government – what might be called a culture of impunity or a kinship of impunity.

Every policeman, from constable to Inspector General or Commissioner, belongs to the same “family”: and while an unruly youngster may have his wrist slapped, he will not be expelled from the collectivity or have serious action taken against him. Every policeman is, after all, dependent on every other policeman. If one is harmed, all are harmed.

The courts are held to be supreme in matters to do with the law. But they are no more than another bureaucracy – the babudom of justice – and they cannot realistically be expected to apply to the police the laws which they apply to ordinary people. Thus the recommendation of departmental action, despite it being common knowledge that that is little more than a matter of going through the motions, appearing to impose discipline while merely covering up errors and crimes and warding off disgrace.

I see no reason why the courts must limit themselves to making recommendations. When they have taken independent action in many other circumstances, why should they be essentially toothless when the police are involved?

Mr “Money doesn’t grow on trees” spends Rs 7721 per head on dinner #Manmohansingh


 

image, courtesy -pagall patrakar at fakingnews.com

By Shankkar Aiyar

30th September 2012 , new indian express

History, they say, repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce. In India’s political economy, it is increasingly difficult to distinguish the tragedy from farce. Last Friday, the Prime Minister told the nation that money doesn’t grow on trees. This Saturday, the nation woke up to a new chapter in Manmohanomics. The country has been informed—thanks to an RTI query by Hissar-based Ramesh Verma—that the government spent Rs 28.95 lakh on the third anniversary celebrations of UPA II.

In a country where anyone earning Rs 22 per day (in rural India) is ineligible to be poor, the government spent Rs 7,721 per person on a dinner. By its own calculation that amount would have paid for a family’s annual consumption of cooking gas. The Prime Minister also said that the UPA has “been voted to office twice to protect the interests of the aam aadmi” but that didn’t stop the splurging of Rs 14 lakh on just the tent for the event. Isn’t it incumbent on a government that caps the number of cylinders per family—ostensibly to bring down subsidies and deficit —to observe a cap on what is a justifiable level of expenditure! Indeed, in keeping with the government’s inability to budget expenditure, of the 603 invited to the event, only 375 came.

The question that begs to be asked is not what the UPA II was celebrating but whether the UPA can choose to celebrate given the state of the economy. The question being asked is how did the economy reach where it has and who will be held accountable for this mess. This Friday, the Committee on Roadmap for Fiscal Consolidation submitted its report to the Ministry of Finance. The committee, led by the brilliant Vijay Kelkar, has minced no words in its assessment. More importantly, unlike most sarkari committees, it has eschewed the need for political correctness.

In its opening sentence, the report has declared that “the Indian economy is presently poised on the edge of a fiscal precipice”. It observes that fiscal deficit is likely to be 6.1 per cent, that current account deficit currently at 4.2 per cent could worsen and “sovereign credit downgrade and flight of foreign capital” are likely unless corrective steps are taken. The committee has warned against the classic “do-nothing approach” and emphasised that “growth slowdown is inefficient, inequitable, and potentially politically destabilising”.

The genesis of the crisis stems from profligacy and pathetic budget management. It is true that mandarins and ministers in the past have got away with numerical calisthenics. The budget of 2012-13 presented in March though takes the cake. Fudge is probably the most charitable description for what has been presented to the nation. Budget 2012-13 underestimates expenditure, borrowings and subsidies and overestimates revenues and growth.

Pranab Mukherjee’s budget for 2012-13 estimated that the government would borrow Rs 1,500 crore every day for the full year. The trend of the first half of the year shows the government has borrowed over Rs 2,000 crore every day between April and September. Subsidies rose from Rs 1.7 lakh crore in 2010-11 to Rs 2.16 lakh crore in 2011-12—for fertilisers, the government provided Rs 49,997 crore and spent Rs 67,198 crore; for food, it provided Rs 60,572 crore and spent Rs 72,823 crore; and on fuel, it provided Rs 23,640 crore and spent Rs 68,481 crore. Yet in its wisdom, total subsidies were capped at Rs 1.9 lakh crore. Indeed, the Rs 43,000 crore provided for fuel subsidies for this year was exhausted by August and even after the hike in diesel prices, fuel subsidies are expected to touch Rs 1 lakh crore.

The budget also overestimates tax revenues despite the previous year’s performance. In 2011-12, collections of corporation tax, income tax and central excise were less than estimated. Total tax collected in 2011-12 was Rs 31,000 crore less than estimated at Rs 9 lakh crore. That didn’t stop budget-makers from estimating tax collection at Rs 10.7 lakh crore. Every year since 2008, the Reserve Bank has been forced to accommodate the government through a multiplicity of instruments. Reserve money has shot up and so has net credit to government. The inflationary character of successive budgets could not have been a secret. The tradition is that every budget—at least the broad outline—is presented before the Cabinet and every finance minister takes the okay of the prime minister on details. It is inconceivable that the underestimation of reality and overestimation of fantastic hope were not noticed. Why didn’t the economist prime minister react?

Last week, Raghuram Rajan, the new chief economic adviser, declared confidently, “I don’t think we are anywhere near the 1991 crisis.” The confidence is obviously not shared by many. Not in the absence of political will. The Kelkar Committee Report observes that the economy is headed for a “perfect storm”—simply put, is teetering on the brink of a crisis. The do-nothing approach will result in high fiscal and current account deficits. High borrowings will crowd out investment. Given the uncertainty in global marts, foreign capital flows are fragile. Foreign exchange reserves are falling and the currency is especially vulnerable. “The combination,” the committee says, “is reminiscent of the situation last seen in 1990-91.”

Unless the government wakes up to the enormity of the crisis faced by India, the Rs 7,721 per UPA-person dinner could well be the last supper.

Shankkar Aiyar is the author of  Accidental India: A History of the Nation’s Passage through Crisis and Change

shankkar.aiyar@gmail.com

 

Suspension of IPS Sanjiv Bhatt revoked #goodnews


PTI, OCT 1, 2012

AHMEDABAD: On the recommendation of the Union home ministry, the Gujarat government on Monday revoked suspension of IPS officerSanjiv Bhatt in one of three cases against him.

“However, as Bhatt has also been put under suspension in two other cases, he will remain under suspension till those cases are pending,” said state’s principal secretary (Home) S K Nanda.

Bhatt, who alleged complicity of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots, was placed under suspension by the Home Department in exercise of powers conferred by Rule 3(1) of All India Services (Discipline and Appeals) Rules, 1969 on August 8, 2011.

The specific reasons cited against him were unauthorised absence from duty, non-appearance before a departmental panel and alleged misuse of official vehicle while he was posted as SRP training school principal in Junagadh district.

“His suspension has been revoked in this particular case,” Nanda said.

“The central review committee which had met on August 6, 2012 was of the opinion that the proposal of the state government for further extension of Bhatt’s suspension beyond one year may be rejected,” a ministry of home affairs communication sent to Bhatt by the state home department said.

“The state government has considered the recommendations of central review committee carefully and decided to accept the same and revoke suspension of Bhatt with effect from August 8 this year,” Nanda said.

However, he remains suspended from the service in a criminal case where he has been accused for forcing his former constable to file a forged affidavit in which he had spend six days in police custody.

India- Dalit students being discriminated, served left over mid-day meals


Headlines Today Bureau  Harda (MP), October 1, 2012

Tags: Dalit students | Harda | Bhopal
Young Dalit students of a government school in Madhya Pradesh‘s Harda district, around 120 km from state capital Bhopal, have accused the school authorities of humiliation and discriminationbecause of their castes.These children alleged that they were facing injustice in their school everyday as they were being served tiny portions of leftover food even though they are entitled to proper mealsunder the midday meal scheme. On the other hand, the other students of the school were given proper food, they claimed.The students alleged that to humiliate them the person who served the food would literally throw it at them to avoid any physical contact. Their demand for a second helping would often make the attendants see red, they alleged.

The students were even forced to wash their own dishes after the meals, while the practice was not same for the remaining students of the school, they added.

“They discriminate against us and make us sit separately. They throw the food at us. They call us Dalits and refuse to wash our utensils, alleged a student.

Even the sitting arrangement for Dalit students has been separate, both during classes and mealtimes.

Another student said, “I am a student of fourth grade. They make us sit separately. The other kids are asked to sit at a distance from us.”

Though the students have repeatedly complained to their parents about the mistreatment and humiliation they face in the school, the latter had no courage to demand justice.

However, the school management rubbished the students’ allegations. Even the district administration denied any discrimination.

“There has never been any discrimination as such in my tenure. But our cook, who is an ST, is too scared to cook meals for everyone. We requested her. She has decided to quit the job,” the principal said.

“Every student is fed together. There is no discrimination. If an SC/ST cook prepares meal, General and OBC students would refuse to eat,” claimed a teacher.

The sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) of Harda said, “People had gone there to investigate. But reports can only be filed when the real situation of midday meal is seen there. Only then can we say what the truth is. For the time being, there is nothing as such.”

#RIP Eric Hobsbawm: a talented historian who outshone his Marxist ideology


 

 

 

Oliver Kamm

Eric Hobsbawm, the Marxist historian, died this morning, aged 95. I’ve written critically in the past about Hobsbawm’s politics and their influence on his writings about the 20th century. In the last conversation I had with Christopher Hitchens, we touched on the issue. Hitch was scathing that Hobsbawm’s eventual parting from Communism was due to a simple failure, at the end of the catastrophic history of the USSR, to renew his subscription.

It was an extraordinary failure of imagination that caused Hobsbawm to write, with Raymond Williams, a notorious Cambridge pamphlet supporting the Soviet invasion of Finland in 1939-40. As Williams later recalled (in Politics and Letters, 1981, p.43), without shame: “We were given the job as people who could write quickly, from historical materials supplied for us. You were often in there writing about topics you did not know very much about, as a professional with words.”

Hobsbawm was a young man at the outbreak of the Second World War, but as far as I know he never expressed contrition for this act of intellectual prostitution in the service of totalitarianism. (In his memoirs, by the way, Hobsbawm claims that the pamphlet has been lost. It hasn’t: I have a copy.)

I mention this, because you can’t understand Hobsbawm without grasping his commitment to what came to be known as Eurocommunism – an adherence to Marxist theory allied with an acceptance of Western parliamentary democracy. And Eurocommunism, despite its ideological compromises, was deeply implicated in associating with Soviet Communism.

Hobsbawm was also an outstanding historian – and you can’t understand him, either, without having read his three-volume account of England in the 19th century. He was a superb economic historian who, in spite of his Marxism, never underestimated the role of the individual in historical change (as assessed in his book Primitive Rebels, among others). On my only meeting with him, I found him a man of deep intellect, humility and charm. It was one of the ironies of his generation that ideology could seize some of its most talented figures. The talent, in Hobsbawm’s case, superseded it, even so.

@oliverkamm

Read The Times obituary for Eric Hobsbawm

 

In Rape cases-vaginal swabs need to be taken within 72 hours,Kalina #Forensic Lab gets it 3 months later


 


FSL says its overburdened,mostly with pointless tasks

Stop this stupidity,pleads desperate Kalina forensic lab 

In a case where a man got electrocuted,FSL got his viscera samples.Viscera tests are used to detect poison

In rape cases,vaginal swabs need to be taken within 72 hours.FSL routinely gets swabs taken over three months later

In one case,instead of clothes the victim was wearing when she was assaulted,FSL received five sets of saris she owned

 Oct 1, Mumbai Mirror Lata Mishra and Yogesh Sadhwani mirrorfeedback@indiatimes.com 

Experts from the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Kalina allege that a lack of understanding of forensics,and mindless application of rules,is hampering the pace of crime investigations in Mumbai.
They alleged that policemen and doctors who conduct post-mortems often send unnecessary samples for testing,which ends up delaying investigations.

This became a heated topic of discussion at a medical conference at Sion hospital on Sunday,where experts from FSL levelled charges against policemen and doctors.
Doctors vehemently refuted the allegations,and organisers had to step in to calm tempers.
Assistant director of FSL,Dr Vijay Thakre,said,There are several instances in which the viscera of a victim has been sent to us,despite it being case of burns,electrocution,hanging or snake bite.If the police and medical examiner conducting the post-mortem is aware of the cause of death,why take a viscera sample and send it to us for examination when it is not required Because of such unnecessary work,several other cases suffer.”
Other experts pointed to several similar cases where samples are thoughtlessly sent for tests that aren’t required or even applicable.One of the many cases pointed out was of a pregnant woman alleging rape.

The woman,who was one month pregnant,complained that she had been raped.She came to us a month after the alleged offence,but the medical examiner still sent us a vaginal swab for testing.It is well known that sperm die within 72 hours.In such a case there is no point in taking vaginal or other swabs, said another expert.

In several cases of rape or sexual assault,cops and medical examiners have sent mulptiple items of the victim’s clothing to FSL for DNA sampling.”Only the clothes that the person was wearing at the time of offence need to be examined.But in most cases we are sent five to six sarees and other garments,”said an expert.And in murder cases where a weapon was used,police do not think twice before sending bloood samples of all the accused arrested in the case.
FSL experts pointed out during the debate at Sion hospital that such “stupid” sampling leads to lengthy delays in their work.Such samples only keep us busy for no reason for days.The end result is that a lot of cases get delayed and it takes months for us to deliver reports, the expert added.Over 30,000 samples are still pending.
Dr MK Mavle,medical director of FSL,said that there is tremendous load on FSL at any point of time.If the doctor uses his discretion while sending samples,it will it reduce the work load at FSL and help us deliver results faster, he said.
A whole lot of experts from FSl pointed out taht due to such random samples,genuine cases suffer a lot.They pointed out samples sent for two important cases Cuffe Parade serial murders (1,100 samples) and Kurla Nehru Nagar rape and murder cases (1,300 samples),which ended up keeping them busy for days.
Nisar Tamboli,a spokeperson for the Mumbai police,said,”Yes it’s true that FSL has a tremendous load,but our job is to investigate the matter from all points of view.For the Kurla and Cuffe Parade cases we sent thousands of blood samples as we can only interrogate a suspect if his report comes back positive.”
Some doctors agree that samples are often sent without reason.This is very common at peripheral and rural hospitals.Doctors conducting post-mortems need to be trained in these aspects, said Dr Dr Shailesh Mohite,head of the forensics department at Nair Hospital.He added that apart from using their discretion,doctors should try and get samples tested within their hospitals first.Blood samples and swabs can be tested in-house.They need not be sent to FSL, he said.
Dr Rajesh Dere,a professor at Sion hospital and organiser of the conference,said that doctors often draw samples for fear that they may get pulled up later on.Take the case of Versova deaths (Rameez and Rehab),in which the expert did not feel the need to draw viscera samples.Later,when the investigation reveald foul play,he was pulled up.It is because of such cases that forensic doctors prefer to send all possible samples insead of using their discretion.”

 

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