Man held for trying to molest woman in Noida #Vaw


Published: Sunday, Feb 24, 2013, 14:01 IST
Place: Noida | Agency: IANS

The son of a retired IAS officer has been arrested on charges of attempting to sexually assault a young woman who had come to a hotel to learn yoga, police said Sunday.

“We have arrested the accused, whose conduct has been most shameful,” Superintendent of Police Yogesh Singh said.

Police sources identified the young man as Vivek Sharma, son of Deo Dutt Sharma.

In her complaint, the victim alleged that the drunk man tried to force her into his car at a luxury hotel here. When she screamed for help, the hotel staff telephoned the police.

Protest against Narendra Modi grows – PrintWeek India officially withdraws #mustshare



This email received states

 that PrintWeek India officially withdraws as a media partner for Romancing Print 2013.
The reason is: We do not agree with the content of your seminar and invitation of Narendra Modi as a chief guest. 
Plus, an EDM about Romancing Print was sent on 20 February to the PrintWeek India database. This gave the impression to a large number of our readers that we are sponsoring the show; and have curated its content; plus the fact that PrintWeek India and I are endorsing your invitation to Narendra Modi.
As a magazine and as a publishing house in India with more than 12 years of standing, we stand by the principles of good taste, decency, progressive values, democratic principles and above all, the Constitution of India.

As editor of PrintWeek India, I don’t think Narendra Modi stands by these values; and hence the withdrawal of support.

Unfortunately, I was busy at In Store Asia for the past two days / nights and have been unable to write this note. But I had sms-ed the message to Jacob George of Press Ideas.
In the meantime, I must also mention, I’ve received calls /sms from leading members of the AIFMP; with both covert and overt threats.
This is a bit unbecoming when as a magazine we’ve partnered the AIFMP (and its key print associations) in the past, and supported Pamex and pan-India print seminars in every nook and corner of the country.
But this is the second time such a thing has happened. A few months ago, I had objected to the glorification of the Late Bal Thackeray by one of the 50 print associations of the AIFMP in their monthly print journal. 
I had sought to understand what the contribution of Bal Thackeray was to the welfare and growth of the Indian print industry; and no answer was given by the said association; except I was told, “we know best.”
This time we beg to disagree; and as a mark of our protest we withdraw our support to your event.
Thank you,
With kind regards
Ramu Ramanathan,
Group Editor,
PrintWeek India and Campaign IndiaCellphone: (0) 9821291368

 

Constitutionally incorrect to hang the three, says judge who confirmed death for Rajiv killers #deathpenalty


By, TNN | Feb 24, 2013

Constitutionally incorrect to hang the three, says judge who confirmed death for Rajiv killers
Justice Thomas said the judgment itself had ‘errors’ as the death sentences had not considered the antecedents, nature and character of the accused.
CHENNAI: It would be ‘constitutionally incorrect’ now to hang the three people sentenced to death in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, said Justice K T Thomas, who headed the Supreme Court bench that confirmed the death sentences. “It was my misfortune to have presided over that bench,” he told TOI.

More than 13 years ago, it was a three-judge bench headed by Justice Thomas that confirmed death sentence for Nalini Sriharan, Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan. Nalini’s death penalty was commuted to imprisonment for life by Tamil Nadu governor in April 2000 on the basis of a recommendation of the state cabinet and a public appeal by Sonia Gandhi. The TADA had originally awarded death sentence to all the 26 accused persons. When the matter reached the Supreme Court, which was the only appellate forum under theRajiv Gan as a referred trial, capital punishment was confirmed only for four.

In an interview, Justice Thomas said the judgment itself had ‘errors’ as the death sentences had not considered the antecedents, nature and character of the accused. Hence any decision to hang the three could now be termed as ‘constitutionally incorrect’ and a violation of Article 21 of the Constitution, he told TOI. Going a step further, the judge said case deserved a review, considering the antecedents and character of Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan.

“At a time when the Supreme Court bench headed by me pronounced judgments in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, apparently, we did not consider the nature and character of the accused who were sentenced to death penalty by us. It was only many years thereafter a bench headed by Justice S B Sinha pointed out that without considering the nature and character of accused, a death sentence should never be awarded. His judgments mentioned errors in previous SC judgments and that applies to Rajiv Gandhi assassination case,” he said.

Also, he pointed out the three have been in prison for 22 years. “For any life imprisonment, every prisoner is entitled to have a right to get his case reviewed by the jail authorities (to determine) whether remission can be announced or not. Since the accused in Rajiv Gandhi case were death convicts, they underwent a long period of imprisonment without even having the benefit of life imprisonment,” he said. “This appears to be a third type of sentence, something which is unheard and constitutionally incorrect. If they are hanged today or tomorrow, they will be subjected to two penalties for one offense.”

In 1999, Justice Thomas had agreed with two others on the bench in respect of death penalty for only Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan. As for Murugan’s wife Nalini, he gave a dissenting, but minority, verdict preferring imprisonment for life.

When TOI contacted Justice V R Krishna Iyer, former judge of the Supreme Court, he said death penalty could not be considered as a punishment. “It is just another act of murder, a judicial murder, by the state. It is high time for India to abolish death penalty and India has not gained anything from death penalties in the past,” he said.

The three death convicts have completed almost 22 years of imprisonment. Their execution, which was scheduled to be held on September 9, 2011, was stayed by the Madras high court for six weeks in August that year. The case has since been transferred to the Supreme Court, to be decided after the Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar case verdict is delivered.

 

Why socialists need feminism #womenrights #sundayreading


Published on Friday, 22 February 2013 15:21

By David Camfield

The relationship between socialism and feminism has been getting more attention in online discussions recently. This is both for good reasons — such as the article by Sharon Smith of the International Socialist Organization in the US that looks critically at how the Socialist Workers Party in Britain, which greatly influenced the ISO’s politics, has dealt with feminism — and bad, above all the current crisis in the SWP set off by the disgraceful waythat allegations of rape by a leading member were handled.

The idea that socialists should be feminists too is uncontroversial to many revolutionary socialists. But why socialism needs feminism is still worth spelling out.

Every society in the world today is shaped by the oppression of women on the basis of their gender (patriarchy/sexism). There are, of course, importance differences in what form this oppression takes because gender relations are always interwoven with class, race, sexuality and other social relations, which vary (for example, patriarchy in Canada isn’t identical to patriarchy in Cuba).

Around the world, women taking action to challenge sexism commonly (thought not always) identify themselves as feminists. If we define feminism in its widest sense as opposition to sexism — which is what it means in everyday speech today — it should be obvious why socialists should be feminists.

However, some socialists who are dedicated supporters of women’s liberation don’t consider themselves feminists. As Smith notes, some Marxists including some in her own political current haven’t “understood the need to defend feminism, and to appreciate the enormous accomplishments of the women’s movement, even after the 1960s era gave way to the backlash” against feminism and other movements of oppressed people.

But some socialists who have defended and appreciated feminism and been active in struggles against gender oppression have still insisted that socialism doesn’t need feminism and so they’re not feminists (this is what I was taught in my early years as a socialist, in the late 1980s as a member of the International Socialists — some of whose members had the kind of really sectarian anti-feminist stance that Smith criticizes). Why?

The best case for this position is that revolutionary socialist politics are deeply committed to liberation from all forms of oppression, including gender oppression, and therefore don’t need feminism. This often goes along with the belief that socialist-feminism is flawed because it advocates both united working-class struggle against exploitation and all forms of oppression (seen as the correct orientation) and autonomous (women-only) organizing against patriarchy. Women-only organizing is seen as undermining working-class politics because it allegedly means cross-class politics that don’t recognize that the interests of working-class women aren’t the same as those of middle-class or ruling-class women.

But even at its best this “socialist, not feminist” approach won’t do. Its claim that because socialism is about universal human emancipation it doesn’t need feminism evades a real problem: actually-existing socialist organizing and politics aren’t the ideal that these socialists talk about. They exist within patriarchal societies. As a result, the actions and thinking of socialists will inevitably be limited and deformed by the patriarchal gender relations that we’re committed to uprooting. So socialists need to develop our politics by learning from the actually-existing struggle against patriarchy (as well as learning from history). To do this we need feminism.

It’s feminists who are shedding light on how women are oppressed and grappling with how to challenge various manifestations of oppression, from violence against women including sexual assault to eating disorders to how families, workplaces, schools and other institutions pressure women to conduct themselves in particular ways to sexism in contemporary science and many more. Not all feminists equally, of course. Feminist politics range from revolutionary socialist-feminism all the way to pro-imperialist liberalism, and there are lively debates within feminism.

But it’s feminists who are on the cutting edge of whatever progress is being made in understanding and fighting patriarchy. Socialists should be part of that action. Socialists need to learn from the best feminisms (both socialist-feminism and others) to deepen our understanding of oppression and how to fight for liberation. The “socialist, not feminist” approach is a barrier to doing this.

“Socialist, not feminist” politics downplay the reality that patriarchy has its own dynamics. These aren’t separate from capitalism and class, but they can’t be reduced to them either. Marx’s theory of capitalism has been developed by Marxist-feminism to explain why specific features of the system perpetuate gender oppression.This is extremely important. However, it doesn’t fully explain patriarchy. To do that we also need to draw on — and develop — feminist theory in a historical and materialist way.

Socialist opposition to combining mixed-gender and autonomous women’s organizing is a mistake. Far from detracting from united working-class struggles, women-only organizing can be an effective tactic for making them possible. In patriarchal societies, mixed-gender organizing is never a level playing field for women. Organizing independently can help women to identify and tackle sexism in mixed-gender activism and make mixed-gender organizing more anti-sexist. It can be a way for women to take initiatives without having to wait for men to catch up with them. And there’s no reason that it inevitably sacrifices the interests of working-class women to those of middle-class or ruling-class women.

Another problem with the “socialist, not feminist” approach is that it tends to promote a culture among socialists in which sexism isn’t challenged as vigorously as it needs to be. To the extent that it insulates socialists from feminism, it makes it easier for socialist men to avoid dealing with tough questions about our own behaviour. Insulation from feminism can also make it harder for socialist women to challenge sexism among socialists.

Socialists worthy of the name are committed to universal human emancipation. But there’s a big difference between proclaiming a commitment and making it real. To make our politics more truly what we say we want them to be, socialists need feminism. We should be feminist socialists, and proud of it.

David Camfield is one of the editors of New Socialist Webzine.

 

Maharashtra -Ready to risk anything for water #mustread


Swatee Kher : Osmanabad, Wed Feb 20 2013, 11:57 hrs

Sitting beside a well in Pimpri village, a metal pot at his feet, 70-year-old Vaman Bidbaug hopes he will meet a passerby willing to climb down the well’s 110 steps and fetch him a potful of water. Bidbaug, a farmer, owns about four acres, but hasn’t sown for two seasons.

Nearly 1,500 villagers of Pimpri, 18 km from Osmanabad city, climb down the steep steps along the walls every morning and evening to fill two pots. With two consecutively poor monsoons, it is the only well in the village still left with any water. Villagers often trip on the steps and injure themselves, but that is a small price to pay.

“We don’t expect good rainfall here, but through my life I have never seen rivers and wells going dry as they are now. We had water in the other wells even when it did not rain in 2002, and earlier,” says Bidbaug.

The drought across the state has hit 7,064 villages, with 11 of 35 districts having received less than 75 per cent of normal rainfall.

Bidbaug’s two sons gave up on farming years ago and migrated to cities, a trend in the perenially parched Osmanabad, Beed and Jalna regions. In Gandhora of Osmanabad district, Dasu Parshuram Ade, 23, is preparing to move to Pune or Satara, having sold his two bullocks at Rs 30,000 each. He had bought each at Rs 1 lakh in 2009, after a good sugarcane crop.

“I could not have borne to see them die, so I sold them. Now I’m free to go,” he says. “I hope to earn enough there so that my family can buy water from tankers here.”

Water is disappearing from the rivers, wells and reservoirs of Maharashtra‘s heartland, 13 districts across Marathwada, parts of Western Maharashtra and Khandesh. Jayakwadi, the largest dam in Maharashtra, has no live storage. Put together, reservoirs in Maharashtra are just 40 per cent full now with levels expected to keep falling.

The state has drawn extreme plans for the extreme crisis, including transporting water through rail wagons or shifting entire villages in Jalna, the district worst hit with rainfall less than 25 per cent of normal. The crisis there extends beyond the rural interiors and up to Jalna city. The city has 45 water supply zones, and one, two or three of these (depending on size) are supplied municipal council water on any day. “This effectively means that people get water in their taps once every 20 days, for not more than an hour. People hoard up as much water as they can and, once that runs out, turn to private tankers,” says Rajesh More, engineer in the Jalna Municipal Council’s water supply department. He too depends on private tankers at home.

Tankers provided by the government visit Walki and Gunavadi villages in Ahmadnagar, the state’s largest district, once every four days and pour water into the village wells. Valmik Nagavade, sarpanch of Gunavdi, says the allotment is based on the 2001 census. “We get 20 litres per person based on the 2001 census but our families have grown in those 12 years,” he says. “We bathe on alternate days with just two litres.”

 

Rain check

7,064 of 43,722 villages declared drought-hit

Less than 25% rainfall: 5 talukas out of 355, including those in Jalna district

25-50%: 50 talukas

50-75%: 136 talukas, including those in Dhule, Jalgaon, Ahmadnagar, Pune, Solapur, Sangli, Aurangabad, Beed, Osmanabad, Nanded districts

5-year low: Storage levels in reservoirs

 

After Indian student’s death in UK, university warns students against weight-loss pills


Edited by Amit Chaturvedi | Updated: February 24, 2013 , NDTV

After Indian student's death in UK, university warns students against weight-loss pills

Photo credit: from the Facebook page of Sarmad Alladin

London: The death of 18-year-old student from Hyderabad has shocked many in the UK. Reports say that Sarmad Alladin died after apparently taking ‘lethal’ bodybuilding pills to help him lose weight.

Known as ‘Mr Muscles’, Alladin was living in university accommodation in Epsom, Surrey, while attending the specialist art and design university in nearby Farnham University. He was taken to hospital hours after taking tablets which contained the drug Dinitrophenol (DNP), which has been linked to several deaths.

His parents arrived in the UK on Friday to take the body home. As they and his friends deal with the tragedy, a very personal loss, tributes have been pouring in on the social networking site Facebook.

Fitness fanatic Alladin was taken to hospital just hours after praising the fat-burning DNP tablets on Facebook. He had also posted snaps of his new muscles online.

“Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident. At this stage the death is being treated as unexplained,” a statement from the police said.

A friend of the family told NDTV that the parents were still very shocked and shaken. They are now awaiting the post-mortem report.

For Manjit Thandi, a school teacher who taught the boy a few years ago this was devastating news. Ms Thandi taught Sarmad when he first arrived in the UK and has fond memories of the time he was in her class.

“He had a lovely sense of humour. And it would be just innocent things that would make him laugh and keep the others amused. And what I always find touching is that whenever we find students coming from India – how polite they are. it’s always while answering a question, “yes ma’am” – and I would always point out to the rest of the students that those days have gone in this country and a teacher’s position is not what it used to be.”

She also remembers the time when he wanted to share sweets from India with her and the entire class.

The “devastated” university he attended warned all its students. “If you have bought or obtained Dinitrophenol (DNP) or Dymetadrinetablets online or anywhere else, please stop using them immediately. The drugs are potentially lethal.”

University Vice-Chancellor Dr Simon Ofield-Kerr said, “As a university we are devastated by the untimely and tragic passing of one of our students, Sarmad Alladin. Our sympathies are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

While the university has called DNP potentially lethal, the drug is sold mostly over the Internet under a number of different names but contains 2, 4-Dinitrophenol. Online pharmacies promise to deliver these pills for less than 25 pounds. And with the click of a mouse these drugs can reach you within days. Some websites do list the dangers of DNP but still sell the pill.

Officers are now waiting for a report from the Coroner’s Office.

Agency which carried out Environmental Impact Assessment of Nuclear plant not accredited: Environmentalists


Trupti Shah

By Our Representative, http://www.counterview.net/

Rohit Prajapati

In a glaring revelation, senior environmentalists Rohit Prajapati and Trupti Shah, from Vadodara, Gujarat, have brought to fore a top document which says that though environment public hearing (EPH) for 6000 MW Mithi Virdi Nuclear Power Plant is proposed for March 5, 2013 at Navagam (Nana) village, Taluka Ghogha, Bhavnagar, Gujarat, the agency which prepared environment impact assessment has till date not got any accreditation by the top Central authority, National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NABET) for nuclear projects.
In a letter to Union environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan, other senior government officials of the Central government and state government, the environmentalists says, “It is really shocking that an establishment like Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, claiming to be taking utmost care for safety measures has nominated Engineers India Limited (EIL), Delhi, as consultant for preparing Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report for proposed 6000 MW Nuclear Power Plant at Mithi Virdi area of Bhavnagar district, Gujarat. The said agency, EIL, does not have necessary accreditation to conduct EIA for Nuclear Power Plants.”
The letter says, “This has been mentioned in the EIA report itself on page Nos 387-389, volume I.” The environmentalists quote The EIA report as stating:
“12.0 DISCLOSURE OF CONSULTANTS 
“… The division is assisted by a multi-disciplinary team with engineers and scientists with experience ranging from seven to thirty years or more and equipped with the latest computer software and hardware. It is capable of providing the entire range of services related to environmental pollution assessment, control and management to the following major sectors of industry in India and abroad: 
· Petroleum Refining 
· Petrochemicals 
· Oil and Gas Processing 
· Metallurgy 
· Chemicals 
· Food Processing and Dairy 
· Distillery 
· Fertilizers 
· Thermal Power Plants 
EIL is also capable of providing environment related services for various other industries like textile, eather, pulp and paper etc. besides the different industries mentioned above… 
“…National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NABET) – under the Accreditation Scheme for EIA Consultant Organisations has accredited EIL as EIA consultant for 9 EIA Sectors, vide NABET notification dated 14.09.10. The list of sectors for which the accreditation has been accorded by NABET is given in Fig. 13.1. The same can be referred from the NABET websitewww.qcin.org/nabet/about.php.” 
“… For “Nuclear Power projects and processing of nuclear fuel” sector EIL’s application along with other consultants are still pending at NABET. However, till date NABET has not cleared any application related to nuclear sector.” 
The environmentalists, for ready reference of state and Central officials, have attached the relevant pages of the EIA report, pointing out, “Facts on pages 387-389 of Volume – I of EIA for Mithi Virdi Nuclear Power Plant by EIL invites strict action against NPCIL and the EIL also. We are really shocked that how come the concerned authority has given clearance for conducting EPH in such a matter of grave concern involving security of the lakhs of people.

In their demand, they state that:
1. The concerned authority should immediately reject the EIA of Mithi Virdi Nuclear Power Plant of NPCIL prepared by EIL.
2. The concerned authority should immediately cancel the public hearing.
3. The concerned authority should apologise to the people of Gujarat for such a grave mistake allowing the public hearing on an illegal EIA.
4. The concerned authority should pass stricture against NPCIL and consultant EIL for such an illegal action on their part.

 

‘I would have lodged an FIR against Narendra Modi on charges of genocide and manslaughter’ #JusticeKatju


Editor’s Note: Justice Markandey Katju, former Judge in the Supreme Court, is not really off the mark on Narendra Modi, especially on his role in the Gujarat carnage of 2002. We reproduce an interview with former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, VN Khare who makes equally scathing observations. This interview was carried in print edition of Hardnews, March 2012.

Sadiq Naqvi Delhi 

More and more issues are going to the courts. Is it a failure of the other institutions of our system? 

No, it will be wrong to say that. With economic progress and development, all these things are bound to come. It is human nature and there will be disputes. It is part of the system. You can’t visualize a society without the judiciary. You can’t imagine a democracy minus the judiciary. You can as well go to China then. Once I was in Beijing and I happened to meet the Chief Justice of China. I asked him, “What do you do if your prime minister or other top officials don’t follow your order?” He said nothing. He asked me, instead, so what would you do? I told him that I can send them to jail for six months if they don’t follow the court verdict. He was surprised. So, if you have a democracy, you have to have a judiciary.

Do you see any flaws in the current judicial set-up? 

You can’t say that any institution is flawless. There is a difference between the judges and the judiciary. Some judges may be proper, some may be corrupt. Judges come from the same society from where you come. He must be having someone in the family who is a politician or a bureaucrat. We don’t import judges. So the aberrations we are seeing are a reflection of the society. It’s not a failure of the institution. If you compare the judiciary with other institutions, then I can very proudly say that it is much better. People still have confidence and faith in the judiciary. They have not started saying that going to the court is going to be useless. So, till the time people have this confidence, I feel we need not worry much. The only thing we should be worried about is this: whatever corruption has seeped into the judiciary, as a reflection of the degeneration of the society, the judiciary as an institution should try to rectify it.

          ‘I would have lodged an FIR against Narendra Modi on charges of genocide and manslaughter. I said it in the open court’

 

What are your observations on recent judgements on PILs, like the one on 2G? 

I have entertained so many PILs during my tenure. I started doing it after the Gujarat riots in 2002. A State-sponsored genocide was on, and nobody had the courage to speak against it. The prime minister was quiet, the deputy prime minister did not utter a word, the president also did not say a thing even after so many people had been killed. All the accused were being let off. It was then that I took it up. There were 400 cases and I read the FIR. I am amazed that even after carrying out such a big investigation, they did not find anything. I just read the FIR and concluded that it was a State-sponsored genocide.

I will tell you two cases. Best Bakery was set on fire at 6:45pm. There was a thousand-strong mob which had surrounded Best Bakery and set it on fire. Understand the topography and you can easily conclude that it is a State-sponsored genocide. At a furlong a police patrol van is stationed, it is also mentioned in the FIR. One-and-a-half-kilometre away is the police station. An ACP is sitting there, according to the FIR. Then it goes on to say that at 11:45pm the fire recedes on its own. These are the broad facts. Now, tell me, a fire brigade could have gone and doused the fire? Some lives could have been saved. Why didn’t that patrol police van go and intervene? I read the FIR and concluded that it is a State-sponsored genocide. I said, had I been in a position, I would have lodged an FIR against Narendra Modi on charges of genocide and manslaughter. I said it in the open court. So, in such circumstances, what inquiry do you need – when even one fire extinguisher couldn’t come, nobody could even throw a bucket of water!

Now, see the Gulbarga society case. Ehsan Jafri calls the police and an ACP comes. Jafri is not the only one there; there are many more people in his house. The ACP tells Jafri, I can take you from here. He refused and said, how can I go alone when there are so many others? He said, I will go only if you take the others. The ACP just refused. The moment this ACP leaves, Jafri’s house is set on fire. Why didn’t any fire extinguisher come to this society which is in the heart of Ahmedabad? Scores of people were charred to death.

So, at this stage, I took the PILs. If democracy has to function, then it is the duty of the majority to protect the minority. Who constitutes the government? It is the majority. And when they failed in this duty, that is when I took up theGujaratcase. So, when you see the system has failed, then you have to take up such causes.

Some recent judgements have faced a lot of criticism. Top legal luminaries have termed as ‘hyper-activism’ the way in which the judiciary is intervening in policy-making. What do you think? 

I, too, believe that in a couple of cases they went too far. They should not push their ideology in deciding cases. They should not colour the judgements with their ideology. It is going too far. It may sometimes rebound. But in their wisdom they have done it.

What about the 2G case, the way licences have been cancelled? 

In the 2G case, you can’t say that all the private firms bribed their way in. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure the trust of investors, that their investments are safe. But when you engage in misappropriation, then it reflects on other clean deals as well. This has very bad implications on investments coming into the country. Firms from Norway and other countries have started to show their apprehensions already.

How does one maintain checks and balances? 

Everyone has to work on his own turf. There should be no intrusion. Only in cases where there is inaction, if the executive is not enforcing law, or not fulfilling its duty, then the judiciary can step in and direct it to enforce the law.

The way they have done in the black money case, by laying down a policy… 

Black money and all, you can’t lay down a policy. You can direct them to change the policy. But even that is going too far, stretching it too far. Judiciary is not supposed to run the government. They could have checked whether the government is acting upon it, they could have asked them to submit progress reports to the court. But what manner it is to be done, the policy matters, are to be decided by the government.

Again, in the 2G case, the court said only auction should be done… 

It is all right, when there is so much corruption, then auction seems to be the only viable option. In the auction system, it is to be seen whether it (auction) is for everything, and then, how will the poor cope up with it in front of the moneybags…

Don’t you think that instead of directing for an auction, in this case where a national resource is involved, the court could have left the decision to the government? 

Yes, I too feel it should have been a little flexible. Suppose you want to part with government resources to develop weaker sections of the people, the minorities etc, there you can’t impose this system, this won’t work. Suppose you have to give houses to the poor, you can’t auction them.

In the 2G case, one of the defences was that this has made mobile telephony cheaper for the masses… 

There, you see, the corruption is so apparent. Some hundreds of crores have been transferred in the accounts. Had all this not happened, then I think the court would have been lenient. The court, perhaps, took all that into consideration. And it is not final, it can be reviewed sometime later.

You think it should be reviewed? 

I wouldn’t say it should be. A case can be reviewed on the basis of the circumstances prevailing in that particular period of time.

There is a larger belief that the powerful get away easily even in the judicial system. However, we saw in recent cases that many powerful people were kept in pre-trial detention for a long period. Do you agree that the courts got influenced by public pressure?

(Laughs) You must never say that. I think they act on the content of law rather than public pressure. I never got swayed by public pressure. You have to give justice based on the law.

Do you think they should have got bail? 

Yes, because, normally, in economic offences people get bail. But, as I told you, the reflection of society can be seen on the courts as well. There was a wave against corruption, this scam, that scam, and then, as you said, the feeling that the powerful get away easily. Sometimes the powerful don’t get bail, like in this case. All these contradictions are there. These are all opinions of society. The best way is to act according to the law.

Do you feel that many of the judgements are politically coloured? 

I wouldn’t call it political. They are perhaps coloured by public opinion.

What about the Ayodhya judgement? 

(Laughs) The original suit was a civil suit and they partitioned it. Partition suit is different. Where did the question of partition arise? But, then, as I said, they must have, perhaps, acted as per public opinion and gave something to all the aggrieved parties. Legally, it is not correct.

Then there is this whole debate on frivolous PILs… 

Yes, it is very rampant. During my tenure, I even constituted a committee to scrutinize and look into the merits of a PIL, and whether it is fit for consideration. We made some norms. The committee of judges was to decide if the PIL has merits for the benefit of society, for people of the country. Otherwise, it was rejected.

There are allegations that some lawyers act at the behest of corporates… We have seen allegations against people like Subramanian Swamy that they are targeting one political party. Does any such thing exist? 

It may be. Because even I used to get a lot of complaints that there are certain lawyers who are sponsored by corporate houses. Some corporate house gets a licence, and then the other party takes recourse to PIL. And the lawyers make a lot of money. I got many such complaints. But I did not have the power to investigate lawyers on any such complaint. I could have investigated the judges, but I could not investigate the lawyers.

How does one deal with this menace? 

Actually, it is because the Bar Council is weak. The disciplinary authority in this case is the Bar Council, and it doesn’t do anything. What does a judge know if the lawyer has taken money? And then, even the media highlights (some cases).

What about the 2G case, the way licences have been cancelled? 

In the 2G case, you can’t say that all the private firms bribed their way in. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure the trust of investors, that their investments are safe. But when you engage in misappropriation, then it reflects on other clean deals as well. This has very bad implications on investments coming into the country. Firms from Norway and other countries have started to show their apprehensions already.

How does one maintain checks and balances? 

Everyone has to work on his own turf. There should be no intrusion. Only in cases where there is inaction, if the executive is not enforcing law, or not fulfilling its duty, then the judiciary can step in and direct it to enforce the law.

The way they have done in the black money case, by laying down a policy… 

Black money and all, you can’t lay down a policy. You can direct them to change the policy. But even that is going too far, stretching it too far. Judiciary is not supposed to run the government. They could have checked whether the government is acting upon it, they could have asked them to submit progress reports to the court. But what manner it is to be done, the policy matters, are to be decided by the government.

Again, in the 2G case, the court said only auction should be done… 

It is all right, when there is so much corruption, then auction seems to be the only viable option. In the auction system, it is to be seen whether it (auction) is for everything, and then, how will the poor cope up with it in front of the moneybags…

Don’t you think that instead of directing for an auction, in this case where a national resource is involved, the court could have left the decision to the government? 

Yes, I too feel it should have been a little flexible. Suppose you want to part with government resources to develop weaker sections of the people, the minorities etc, there you can’t impose this system, this won’t work. Suppose you have to give houses to the poor, you can’t auction them.

In the 2G case, one of the defences was that this has made mobile telephony cheaper for the masses… 

There, you see, the corruption is so apparent. Some hundreds of crores have been transferred in the accounts. Had all this not happened, then I think the court would have been lenient. The court, perhaps, took all that into consideration. And it is not final, it can be reviewed sometime later.

You think it should be reviewed? 

I wouldn’t say it should be. A case can be reviewed on the basis of the circumstances prevailing in that particular period of time.

There is a larger belief that the powerful get away easily even in the judicial system. However, we saw in recent cases that many powerful people were kept in pre-trial detention for a long period. Do you agree that the courts got influenced by public pressure?

(Laughs) You must never say that. I think they act on the content of law rather than public pressure. I never got swayed by public pressure. You have to give justice based on the law.

Do you think they should have got bail? 

Yes, because, normally, in economic offences people get bail. But, as I told you, the reflection of society can be seen on the courts as well. There was a wave against corruption, this scam, that scam, and then, as you said, the feeling that the powerful get away easily. Sometimes the powerful don’t get bail, like in this case. All these contradictions are there. These are all opinions of society. The best way is to act according to the law.

Do you feel that many of the judgements are politically coloured? 

I wouldn’t call it political. They are perhaps coloured by public opinion.

What about the Ayodhya judgement? 

(Laughs) The original suit was a civil suit and they partitioned it. Partition suit is different. Where did the question of partition arise? But, then, as I said, they must have, perhaps, acted as per public opinion and gave something to all the aggrieved parties. Legally, it is not correct.

Then there is this whole debate on frivolous PILs… 

Yes, it is very rampant. During my tenure, I even constituted a committee to scrutinize and look into the merits of a PIL, and whether it is fit for consideration. We made some norms. The committee of judges was to decide if the PIL has merits for the benefit of society, for people of the country. Otherwise, it was rejected.

There are allegations that some lawyers act at the behest of corporates… We have seen allegations against people like Subramanian Swamy that they are targeting one political party. Does any such thing exist? 

It may be. Because even I used to get a lot of complaints that there are certain lawyers who are sponsored by corporate houses. Some corporate house gets a licence, and then the other party takes recourse to PIL. And the lawyers make a lot of money. I got many such complaints. But I did not have the power to investigate lawyers on any such complaint. I could have investigated the judges, but I could not investigate the lawyers.

How does one deal with this menace? 

Actually, it is because the Bar Council is weak. The disciplinary authority in this case is the Bar Council, and it doesn’t do anything. What does a judge know if the lawyer has taken money? And then, even the media highlights (some cases).

What about the long list of pending cases? Even in the riots cases, the victims still await justice. Be it the 1984 riots, the 1992 riots in Mumbai, or even theGujaratgenocide of 2002… 

This is a blot on the judiciary. But what can the judiciary do? In our country, the ratio is 13.5 judges for one million people. In the developed countries, we have 130-135 judges for every one million people. A judge has to go into the facts, the evidence, the law, before deciding a case. I even put this question to the then president, APJ Abdul Kalam. I asked him, “People say that there has been so much modernization and computerization, but can the computer decide a case on the merits of it?” No! Each fact in each case differs from the others. So, if in our country the ratio is increased to even 40 judges per million people, then things can improve a lot.

We have no infrastructure. You go to a court, you have all kinds of people roaming freely. From booksellers to the ones selling tea. Some lawyer is sitting under a tree, some others in a tea shop. You have dogs and stray cows roaming freely. Have you ever gone to the Tees Hazari Court (in Delhi) and seen how hundreds of people pile up in the court room?

I did talk to many former prime ministers, including Mrs Indira Gandhi, in this regard. But they don’t have the finances to do it. Every year there are as many as 30 lakh cases of bouncing cheques. Every year 10 lakh people die in road accidents. Each accident makes two cases. One civil and one criminal. Then, you have dacoity, murder and rape cases. And you know the kind of police we have in this country.

What are your views on the reported corruption in sections of the lower judiciary, the high courts and the Supreme Court? We have seen affidavits filed in court which accused even some former Chief Justices ofIndiaof corruption. 

There is corruption. But judges come from the same society which is corrupt. It is not institutionalized. Some judges may be engaging in corrupt practices. But it is very less in high courts, and I did not see any corruption in the Supreme Court. At least till the time I was there, I did not see any case. What happened after that, I do not know. They may be giving judgements according to their ideological beliefs, some judge may be pro-tenant, some may be pro-labour, but I don’t think they are involved in any monetary corruption. After I retired, there were all these cases of corruption on Justice YK Sabharwal, Justice RC Lahoti.

Coming to the subordinate courts, it is the Chief Justice of the state’s high court who has been delegated with powers to deal with corruption. If you see states like UP, it is so big, how much work can one Chief Justice do? The moment you enter a subordinate court, you have the clerk asking for money. I have information that even some judges are corrupt. To deal with it, the institution has to come up with some mechanism. A Chief Justice can’t deal with so much work.

We have judges who suffer from all kinds of weaknesses. You give them any power and they start feeling as if they are king. And it is the subordinate courts where a common man goes. How many people are able to come to the Supreme Court or high court? A mechanism to deal with corruption in the lower judiciary is very important.

Judicial Accountability Bill also doesn’t address it… 

There is no provision for the lower judiciary since it is a state subject. If you bring it under this, then the states will say it is an attack on the federal structure.

Coming back to the Supreme Court, there are allegations on former Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan? Do you think he should have resigned? 

I have not seen the facts, so I can’t say much. If there is any substance in the allegations, then he should have resigned.

Now we see that even petitions are loaded with the opinions of former judges. Don’t you feel that judges, once they retire, should not give such opinions? 

What will the judge do then, once he retires? The retirement age is 65. What does he do after that? He can’t practise. How can you stop him from giving opinions? It is for the courts to tell the petitioner to not get such opinions. Yes, a judge should not take up any government assignment post-retirement.

Any concluding remarks… 

There is need for a code of conduct for judges. There should be an element of restraint. They should exhibit honesty, impartiality and fairness, and should strive for the promotion of the weaker sections of society.

The way the situation is currently unfolding inPakistan, with the Supreme Court indicting the democratically elected prime minister – will it have any repercussions here?

No, I don’t think so. The courts here debarred Indira Gandhi from contesting elections. It is not bigger than that.

From the print issue of Hardnews :

MARCH 2012

#Pakistan-To Fight India, We Fought Ourselves


By MOHSIN HAMID, NYtimes
LAHORE, Pakistan

Owen Freeman

ON Monday, my mother’s and sister’s eye doctor was assassinated. He was a Shiite. He was shot six times while driving to drop his son off at school. His son, age 12, was executed with a single shot to the head.

Tuesday, I attended a protest in front of the Governor’s House in Lahore demanding that more be done to protect Pakistan’s Shiites from sectarian extremists. These extremists are responsible for increasingly frequent attacks, including bombings this year that killed more than 200 people, most of them Hazara Shiites, in the city of Quetta.

As I stood in the anguished crowd in Lahore, similar protests were being held throughout Pakistan. Roads were shut. Demonstrators blocked access to airports. My father was trapped in one for the evening, yet he said most of his fellow travelers bore the delay without anger. They sympathized with the protesters’ objectives.

Minority persecution is a common notion around the world, bringing to mind the treatment of African-Americans in the United States, for example, or Arab immigrants in Europe. In Pakistan, though, the situation is more unusual: those persecuted as minorities collectively constitute a vast majority.

A filmmaker I know who has relatives in the Ahmadi sect told me that her family’s graves in Lahore had been defaced, because Ahmadis are regarded as apostates. A Baluch friend said it was difficult to take Punjabi visitors with him to Baluchistan, because there is so much local anger there at violence toward the Baluch. An acquaintance of mine, a Pakistani Hindu, once got angry when I answered the question “how are things?” with the word “fine” — because things so obviously aren’t. And Pakistani Christians have borne the brunt of arrests under the country’s blasphemy law; a governor of my province was assassinated for trying to repeal it.

What then is the status of the country’s majority? In Pakistan, there is no such thing. Punjab is the most populous province, but its roughly 100 million people are divided by language, religious sect, outlook and gender. Sunni Muslims represent Pakistan’s most populous faith, but it’s dangerous to be the wrong kind of Sunni. Sunnis are regularly killed for being open to the new ways of the West, or for adhering to the old traditions of the Indian subcontinent, for being liberal, for being mystical, for being in politics, the army or the police, or for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

At the heart of Pakistan’s troubles is the celebration of the militant. Whether fighting in Afghanistan, or Kashmir, or at home, this deadly figure has been elevated to heroic status: willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, able to win the ultimate victory, selfless, noble. Yet as tens of thousands of Pakistanis die at the hands of such heroes, as tens of millions of Pakistanis go about their lives in daily fear of them, a recalibration is being demanded. The need of the hour, of the year, of the generation, is peace.

Pakistan is in the grips of militancy because of its fraught relationship with India, with which it has fought three wars and innumerable skirmishes since the countries separated in 1947. Militants were cultivated as an equalizer, to make Pakistan safer against a much larger foe. But they have done the opposite, killing Pakistanis at home and increasing the likelihood of catastrophic conflicts abroad.

Normalizing relations with India could help starve Pakistani militancy of oxygen. So it is significant that the prospects for peace between the two nuclear-armed countries look better than they have in some time.

India and Pakistan share a lengthy land border, but they might as well be on separate continents, so limited is their trade with each other and the commingling of their people. Visas, traditionally hard to get, restricted to specific cities and burdened with onerous requirements to report to the local police, are becoming more flexible for business travelers and older citizens. Trade is also picking up. A pulp manufacturer in Pakistani Punjab, for example, told me he had identified a paper mill in Indian Punjab that could purchase his factory’s entire output.

These openings could be the first cracks in a dam that holds back a flood of interaction. Whenever I go to New Delhi, many I meet are eager to visit Lahore. Home to roughly a combined 25 million people, the cities are not much more than half an hour apart by plane, and yet they are linked by only two flights a week.

Sex worker saves girl from getting into flesh trade #goodnews #Vaw


 

23 Feb 13
Nashik (Maha), Feb 23, 2013 (PTI): \

A 14-year-old girl was rescued by police from a red light area here, thanks to a sex worker.

According to police, the girl’s “uncle”, identified as Vjay Bhika Dive, brought her to the city by promising to buy her new clothes and tried to sell her to a pimp.

But the women who he had approached for selling the girl, instead tipped off the Bhadrakali police, which rushed to the spot, and called the girl’s parents, who are residents of nearby Dindori town.

While the girl was handed over to her parents, Dive was handed over Dindori police for further action.

 

 

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