Vedanta mining: Government seeks Judicial Officer from HC


By Express News Service – BHUBANESWAR

27th May 2013 12:28 PM

The State Government has requested Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court to nominate a judicial officer of the rank of district judge as observer for the proposed gram sabhas to be conducted for deciding grant of mining lease to Vedanta Group for bauxite mining.

In an official communique to the Registrar General of the High Court, Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes Development Secretary Santosh Sarangi said the Supreme Court has directed that the proceedings of the grama sabha should be attended by a judicial officer of the rank of district judge who will sign the minutes of the proceedings.

In its April 18 judgment, the Supreme Court said grant of mining lease to Vedanta Group for bauxite mining in Niyamgiri hills will be subjected to clearance by gram sabhas on the cultural and religious claims of the tribes and forest-dwellers of Rayagada and Kalahandi districts.

The apex court has directed the State Government to place issues concerning individual, community, cultural and religious claims of Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Traditional Forest Dwellers (TFDs) before the gram sabha which would decide the same in three months.

The court also directed that the proceedings of the gram sabha shall be attended as an observer by a judicial officer of the rank of the District Judge nominated by the Chief Justice of the High Court of Orissa.

“The judicial officer shall have to sign the minutes of the proceedings, certifying that the proceedings of the gram sabha took place independently and completely uninfluenced either by the project proponents or the Central Government or the State Government,” a three-member bench comprising Justices Aftab Alam, KS Radhakrishnan and Ranjan Gogoi said.

The Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) had recently asked the State Government to ensure that the entire proceedings are held in an independent manner, uninfluenced by any vested interests and without coercion.

Governor SC Jamir recently summoned three senior officers of the State Government to apprise him of the steps taken on the directive of the Supreme Court.

Principal Secretary, Steel and Mines Rajesh Verma, Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes Development Secretary Santosh Sarangi and Chairman and Managing Director of Odisha Mining Corporation Saswata Mishra reportedly told the Governor that instructions have been issued to district collectors of Kalahandi and Rayagada for conducting gram sabhas in 12 villages as per the apex court guidelines.

 

#India – Dalit headmistress alleges caste discrimination in Mangalore


STAFF CORRESPONDENT, The Hindu

A Dalit headmistress in a government school, who claimed to have been harassed by upper-caste teachers on the basis of caste, alleged that the police inaction led to the case being closed due to “lack of evidence”.

Airing her grievance at the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes meet held at the Police Commissioner’s office here on Sunday, Kamalakshi, who is the headmistress of Government Higher Primary School in Panelabarike near Konaje, said there was discrimination and harassment by a Brahmin couple, who teach at the school.

“They have shouted swear words at me several times. They do not cooperate in the decisions I take. They have even said that because the government gives us Dalits so many schemes and provisions that we have become arrogant. The two have also pressured the SDMC (School Development and Monitoring Committee) to expel me, so they could drive me out of the village,” she claimed.

Though she has been working in the school for six years, the harassment started after the husband-wife duo joined the school in 2011.

After entreaties to the Block Education Officer went in vain, Ms. Kamalakshi filed a complaint against the two at the Konaje Police Station on February 22. However, a week ago, the police eventually filed a B-report in the case. “How can there be no evidence when the SDMC can testify to the insults and threats?” she asked Police Commissioner Manish Kharbikar who chaired the meet.

Though Mr. Kharbikar said there “could be no wrongdoing” on the part of the police in closing the case, he assured the headmistress that the case would be looked into again.

Another allegation of the police bucking to bribes and pressures from influential persons came from Dalit leader Srinivas Shetty, who said the Bajpe police had done little to arrest the main accused in a reportedly illegal sand-mining case.

The accused, who is the president of the Gram Panchayat Chandrahas Shetty, is alleged to have abused fellow member Hariyappa Muthoor, who is Dalit, for having opposed the sand mining.

“Chandrahas Shetty used foul language and even threatened to kill Hariyappa. We filed a complaint with the police on May 18, and an atrocities case was filed. But there have been no arrests. In fact, we hear that the police are in constant touch with the accused,” said Mr. Srinivas Shetty. Mr. Kharbikar assured a “detailed probe” into the matter.

 

Activists probing Maoists’ deaths detained #WTFnews


Ranchi, May 26, 2013

 

 

Anumeha Yadav

  
 
 
 
 
 
 
Activists of the Coordinationof Democratic Rights Organisations at a Ranchi police station on Sunday. Photo: Manob Chowdhury
  Activists of the Coordinationof Democratic Rights Organisations at a Ranchi police station on Sunday. Photo: Manob Chowdhury
 

Jharkhand on high-alert following Maoists attack on Congress rally in Chhattisgarh

A team of activists from Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations (CDRO), an alliance of 20 human rights advocacy bodies, was detained for questioning at a police station in Ranchi for over three hours on Sunday evening.

The activists said they had visited Jharkhand to do an independent fact-finding into the killing of 10 Maoists by the banned Tritiya Prastuti Committee, a breakaway faction of Maoists, in Kunda panchayat in Chatra district on March 29 this year.

The TPC had allegedly killed 10 Maoists in Lakarmanda village and taken 25 hostage for four days. Eye-witnesses in the village had at the time reported that they seen the TPC hand over the bodies of the Maoists to security personnel from the Central Reserve Police Force, who reached the site the next day but did not attempt to arrest any of the TPC cadre.

“We were talking to journalists at Albert Ekka Chowk in the city when policemen called [us] aside for questioning. [They] insisted we accompany them to the police station,” said Shashi Bhushan Pathak, a Ranchi-based CDRO activist.

Chatra Superintendent of Police Anoop Birtharay said the district police had informed Ranchi police to probe the team after local intelligence inputs from Kunda. “[The activists] spoke to the villagers portraying Maoist leader Laleshji, who was killed by the TPC in the encounter, as a “people’s protector”,” said Mr. Birtharay.

Jharkhand Director-General of Police Rajeev Kumar said his state’s police were on high alert following Saturday’s Maoist attack on a Congress motorcade in Chhattisgarh in which over 27 were killed.

 

#India – Anti-nuke activists urge PM not to sign Nuclear Agreement with Japan


By Newzfirst Bureau5/27/13

New Delhi – In the wake of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Japan, hundreds of people from across the globe have appealed him not to sign the IndiaJapan Nuclear Agreement.

Singh will be visiting Tokyo on Monday, 27th May in a trip that was scrapped last year after a general election was called in Japan.

With an aim to expand the partnership by discussing a wide range of issues including politics and the economy, it is expected to include the signing of infrastructure projects deals worth $15 billion, say reports.

“We stand in complete opposition to the India-Japan nuclear cooperation agreement that is currently under intense negotiation. The governments of both countries must refrain from promoting nuclear commerce, jeopardizing the health and safety of their people and environments.” reads the petition addressed to the both Indian and Japanese authorities.

Referring the Fukushima accident and post-accident impacts, the petition further reads thatIndia must behave responsibly and should rethink its use of nuclear energy.

Nuclear energy currently provides less than 3% of its total electricity and can be easily replaced, freeing the country to embrace renewable and sustainable alternatives, it adds.

Petitioners have also appealed the Government of Japan to desist the Nuclear Export Policy, through which it exports nuclear technology to other countries.

“The current policy option of exporting nuclear energy to countries like India, Vietnam, Jordan etc… are totally unjust while Japan is reeling under the huge financial losses posed by the Fukushima accident and its citizens are observing massive protests to demand a nuclear-free future and the victims of the triple meltdowns remain uncompensated.” the petition says.

(IANS)

 

The Curious Case of Lecturer arrested in Dubai for blogging in India #Censorship


Mani-SF

Express news service : New Delhi, Wed May 22 2013,

A journalism lecturer, S Manikandan, employed with the Dubai campus of Manipal University till January 2012 was recently arrested by the Dubai police for blogging defamatory content against the institution after he was asked to leave the job. The arrest was made based on a complaint by another employee of the institute. Manikandan was arrested on May 5 when he flew to Dubai on a business visa. He was kept in police custody for over 15 hours.”He was granted bail and his passport, which was earlier held back, was returned after the Indian Consulate intervened. He will have to deal with the case here now. The institution is trying to force him to withdraw the case he has filed against them in India,” said Manikandan’s wife Salome from Dubai.

Manikandan had joined the Dubai Campus as a senior lecturer in the Department of Media & Communication in August 2008. He was suddenly asked to leave in January 2012 by the institute’s director Dr B Ramjee. Manikandan claims in his blog that his employer had renewed his visa for three years in October 2011.

In the termination letter dated January 31, 2012, after praising Manikandan’s scholarship, Ramjee cited “structural reorganisation” and said that his services would not be required. Manikandan contested the termination in a Dubai court that rules in his favour, granting him end of service benefits.

The lecturer returned to India and posted his version of events that led to his termination of service on his blog. He took up the matter with the Union HRD ministry and the UGC and questioned the legal basis of Manipal Academy of Higher Education, a deemed varsity in Karnataka, setting up an offshore campus. He also filed a writ petition against the institute in the Karnataka High Court last year.

The corporate communications officials at Manipal said that they were unable to reach the Dubai campus authorities for comment.

 

TIMELINE OF THE CASE : January 31 – July 31, 2012 

As I have taken the Oath to seek justice at any cost and bring the corrupt to bow down under the law, the only option available with me is to expose everything. When you dig a graveyard, obviously more skeletons will come out and the surprise for the public………..

UGC Website information: Manipal University Dubai Campus do not have approval for the abroad (Off-shore) Campus from the Government of India, Ministry of Human Resource Developement and University Grants Commission.

I am no more surprised as it is clear now after digging and finding out the character of the individuals who were responsible for the inhuman attitude and behavior. The Government authorities and the institutions responsible to take action will be exposed soon if they refuse to act on the complaints. The individuals who are in the position and have the power should know how to be responsible or else someone has to pay the price.

Read more on his blog 

Of the four videos three have been deleted and only one is now for view below

The  various levels of institutional manipulation of attendance records, have been mentioned in his blog.

To quote him

The next rule which is regularly violated is the attendance. As per the college rules and guidelines provided in the document, every student must have 80% attendance in each course paper. But every semester, we decide in the department meeting to reduce the cut-off to 70% or even less than 65% and further to the height of it, every student will bring in different influences to allow them with lesser attendance % than on what was decided. Those individual cases will be decided by the Chairperson and often they force us to allow and change the internal marks. Here is one more sample document to show how every time after giving final internal marks it is changed by putting whitener and counter signing by the faculties. Zero marks will be changed to 25 to 35 immediately without any reason. It is a standard procedure and the protocol is often followed by the great Sabir and Joseph. It was very funny, I don’t know how to laugh? When many of the students having less than 60% attendance were allowed to write examination and why is that some of them were targeted and stopped from writing the external examination.”
And also from this post let me quote: “All that I have seen, heard and done was nothing but a corrupt practices by changing the attendance percentage, giving unacceptable marks and grades without any work and logic in it. I was taught not to get emotional on the issues of spoiling the student’s life. The parents send their ward to college in a stage were they hope their children will be moulded into a proper adult to hold responsibility and become a good citizen to lead a dignified life.
All those students who come with fresh hopes to grow and eager to learn ends up in a bad shape by seeing the wrong practices and improper guidance by the selfish persons (teachers and management) who destroys not only the values and morals but literally affect the entire perception of the students for the rest of their life. Without attending classes properly and not doing any assignments you can get away by paying fees and fines, write the examination to get the degree. When it comes to examination, even blank empty papers get marks. Students are surprised and happy to know that without writing anything you get 70 or 80 marks. Even if you score less than 60 marks it can be graded as ‘A’ – surprise, Isn’t it? Again, I am not making any wild allegations. I worked here and I have seen enough of it. I will prove it with records and let the people understand and explain it.”
And I have to give this guy some credit, he has some guts! Look at what he says here:
“The Director said, “I don’t like threats”, Yes, I do….. but as he tried to threaten me, now it is my turn. Let me put it straight and clear. What can you do if I campaign against your University for the rest of my life? Nothing…..You may not give a damn about me. You might think, I am Mad, I can not do anything. But you are wrong.”

Read more – WAKE UP KNOW YOUR RIGHTS BLOG POST  http://www.smanikandan76.com/wordpress/?p=270

The Students in Manipal and in the Media department are affected by the arbitrary decisions made by different people. The management do not care for any quality in education. They just need more money (income) from the abroad campuses.

Q&A: Anand Sudarshan, CEO, Manipal Education
’60% of our revenue comes from abroad’
Praveen Bose / Jan 10, 2011, 00:22 IST

This is not targeted towards Anand Sudarshan but i would like to know from him. As a MD & CEO of Manipal Education Group, How do you justify the act of my termination? I am going to write to each and everyone with regard to my case.  I will fight for the justice till the end.  I was asking for an answer from him through social media and posting comments on the articles related to the business of Manipal. Of course, he can not answer because Manipal is now caught red hand in corruption and not able to accept the reality. Careers 360

Read this article – Just a sample to show how the corporate world type of business in education is leading us into disaster.  Profit is the only motive or mantra to attract the investors and stakeholders.  Even in the corporate type of companies, talented, intelligent and hard-working people are retained and merit is given priority and not reservation and recommendation. But here, I really wonder how do they justify the act of retaining scumbag and then calling everyone as donkeys and asses? When there is a shortage in quality of faculties, infrastructure and sub-standard procedure and evaluation system, why this show business? One day or the other you all will pay for your crimes. Till then enjoy it.

Let me go ahead with the story of what happened during the last year and how the students were cheated and management also ended up loosing money and business.

June 2011: We were informed about the entire course syllabus being changed. From September 2011 new syllabus for Bachelor Degree in Media & Communication is going to be introduced and visual communication specialization is completely removed with a new one Graphics & Animation. I was told that I have a big role to play since no one else can handle that specialization except me.  I was forced to suggest course papers and approve his decision as if I am an expert in the field.  When there was no need to completely restructure the syllabus (since it was done only few years ago) and I saw a clear sign of destruction in it.  Even with regard to the earlier syllabus which had too many discrepancies and errors in the course division of theory and practical part. It took a long time to correct the errors and fix it in the main document.  No one ever cared or bothered about it in the department.  I kept pointing it out from the beginning and I asked the previous Chair to rectify it as and when possible and for that itself it took almost two years to set it right of the minor restructuring of old syllabus which was done in the year 2008.  I was not even there in the scene at that time.  For all those errors those who worked in the department from the beginning should be held responsible.  So, It looked as if I alone care for the quality education system in the department and everyone is busy in their own interest.

Now, the entire course has been tarnished by jumbling the papers to different semesters, removing certain core papers, changing the credits, increasing and decreasing the credits in each semester destroying the uniformity and cross linking main course papers and setting mandatory requirements.  Apart from the entire course revision, there is no syllabus brief and course outline, no textbook and reference material provided to the courses.  All this was done without any opinion and suggestion from subject experts or panel member consultation.  He is a real smart guy in taking revenge. He planned it in such a way that no one will doubt his integrity and commitment towards the work.  When all of them remained silent, I asked him, right in front of everyone in the department. Why do you want to change the entire syllabus? and What if the new Chair doesn’t like the changes you want to make since you are not going to be here?

He smiled and said, No one can change it for the next three years since I got the Board of Studies approval from Manipal in India.  I was informed and advised by my two elder (sister) colleagues in the department to remain silent and not to create any further problem and fight with him.  I was indirectly threatened and advised by the colleagues to keep my mouth shut.  Everyone in the department know that he is going to Canada on Immigration and not going to come back. I know, why restructuring the course syllabus is going to affect the department. According to KHDA instructions and requirements, branch campus can not run the courses in their own way. They have to follow the Main Campus course structure and there should not be huge difference and deviation in it.  If any course is not offered in India it should not be conducted over here. Hence, the Fashion department which was considered as a flagship program of Manipal Dubai Campus has been forced to close down the business. It is going to happen to the Media & Communication Department as well in a short period. Congratulations! Great to know that and happy to hear it. Let us wait for that day.

May 2011: The Students got confused and many of them were targeted by the Chair who went on an ego trip without understanding the procedure and structure of the evaluation system. First, he got confused on what he was saying and then started to confuse others and the students. For the first time, the final year students were totally upset to hear it and they don’t know what to do? Some of them came to me worried and asked whether they will be able to graduate.  As RNS said to them, those who have D+ or D grade in any of the course papers will not be able to qualify for graduation and they have to improve the grade to C by reappearing for the particular papers.  Then he went on to say, You all need to get a pass mark in the internal assessment. Those who have less than 25 out of 50 marks will not be able to clear the paper. It may sound correct but there is no logic in it.  For these many years students who were getting less than 20 easily cleared the paper successfully with C and C+ grade.  One example, to show how arrogant and stupid he was in denying the facts and what he was doing these many years? being a senior most faculty. His own property specialization of Television students final internal marks is provided here to show to everyone how these students cleared the course papers and got their degrees.  Later on, he tried to argue and order me to follow his stupid orders without questioning.  As if I was not aware of the internal and external evaluation, he gave me instructions about what should I do? and how to evaluate and run the course by involving in corrupt practices? I don’t listen to any idiots and I ignored his ramblings, for which I was taken to the Director (ginger eaten monkey) who doesn’t know (pretends to be aware of everything) what is happening?

Let the great RNS or the Director explain how these students who got less than 25 marks in different course papers passed. I tried to explain and show all the facts and he was not ready to listen anything from me. Just like that ignored me and went on to question about my integrity and how can I fail so many students. When I asked who said, they are failed. First let him allow the students to write the examination.  I said, if this is how you want me to work, fine go ahead let him add more marks to all the students.  For that again, the ginger eaten monkey refused to agree saying, How can you justify? (What moral is there to justify in this college) RNS went ahead to defend himself by blaming me since I strip teased him right there by saying, You were in the department from the beginning and you don’t know the procedure and you want me to show the records. Can you explain how students who got less internal marks were able to pass in the past.  I can show you the records in our department, students who got zero internal marks have cleared the paper. He got frustrated and upset, started to shout and lost control so the ginger eaten monkey told me to make a decision right there and I said, I will stick to my position and I am not willing to manipulate anything.  Both of them were disturbed by my firm stand and the meeting ended with an indirect warning message saying, I appointed him as the Chair, so you better learn to listen and obey his order to remain in the department.  He said, I know you can understand my statement if you wish to stay and look forward. I will accept only his evaluation and report on the performance appraisal.

I was so sure that even this time (as it was the third time in a short period of three months) he is going to listen to me and most probably going to dismiss me from the services.  I didn’t reacted initially but later I went on to point my finger towards the Director and said, even if you scream at me like how RNS did with me in front of the students, I will not tolerate and no body has any right to do that. When I am doing my job properly and with utmost care, I don’t have to listen to anyone for any suggestion.  I remained silent when RNS shouted at me since I never wanted to disrespect him in front of the students and I understood his psychic very well and I was able to handle the situation by making him more upset.

I  know my position and about what I am doing in my course and no body has to teach me how to run the courses?  What ever I did was part of a proper course evaluation and assessment. It is for the betterment of the students and of the Institution.  So, they have to learn to respect and earn the degree.  Not by any other means and I often use to strongly criticize some of the students who never attend the class but at the end come and ask for attendance % to write the exam.  Without doing any work or taking any test, how can I give internal marks? and what are you trying to say? Are we selling degrees? In that case, why don’t you go and ask the accounts department to issue a Degree Certificate when you pay the fees.

The argument was because I failed more than 20 students in the Internal marks. i.e. I gave less than 25 marks out of 50 in the Principles of Media Management subject handled by me for the fourth semester students.  The total number of students in the Class were more than 55 and almost all those who did the assignments, presentations and class test scored good marks.  It was those students who had less attendance percentage and those who skipped the test and assignment got lesser marks.  And the beauty in this, there is no rule or process to declare those who got less marks in the internal evaluation are considered fail. They have the external examination and of course all the students who got lesser marks can pass the examination without any problem. All students have to sign and accept the internal marks before external examination. When no students, came to me complaining about it and those who tried with RNS wanted to get some marks in the internal so that they can justify they can appear for examination in spite of having less attendance percentage. (Almost 98% of the students passed in this subject)

The next rule which is regularly violated is the attendance. As per the college rules and guidelines provided in the document, every student must have 80% attendance in each course paper. But every semester, we decide in the department meeting to reduce the cut-off to 70% or even less than 65% and further to the height of it, every student will bring in different influences to allow them with lesser attendance % than on what was decided.  Those individual cases will be decided by the Chairperson and often they force us to allow and change the internal marks. Here is one more sample document to show how every time after giving final internal marks it is changed by putting whitener and counter signing by the faculties. Zero marks will be changed to 25 to 35 immediately without any reason. It is a standard procedure and the protocol is often followed by the great Sabir and Joseph. It was very funny, I don’t know how to laugh? When many of the students having less than 60% attendance were allowed to write examination and why is that some of them were targeted and stopped from writing the external examination.

This is why I get upset when different rule and yardstick is applied in discriminating the students? For all those students who want to know their rights and fight for justice, it is time to question the authorities. Some of the students were stopped in my course paper also giving reason of less attendance % by RNS.  I made it very clear to him. If you are going to stop those who have less attendance it should be applied across the board and no selective targeting.  I have no reservation and let all the students appear irrespective of attendance since we are not in any way following the rules and regulations. But, what he did was …….. I don’t know how to say that? If those students who come to know this will definitely get very angry for being exploited and asked to pay more fees again.

They were not actually stopped from writing the examination. But instead of it, they were registered for the examination without their knowledge for which they have to pay the fees later on. They were given Hall ticket in which it was mentioned as “Not Eligible” to write the paper. This means, they have to repeat the course by paying the full course fees (AED 5000) and attend the class as a regular student and get fresh Internal Marks to appear for the examination next year when the semester is on.  In this manner, more students were targeted and I came to know about it through one of the final year student who came to me crying that he was stopped from writing the final semester by RNS. Though he tried is level best by bringing his father to ask him to allow to write the examination. (Poor guy, he didn’t know that bringing his mother would have solved the problem) As some of the students managed to get away some got trapped. I was not able to believe it since we never use to stop any final semester students irrespective of their attendance % and the records will speak how low standard Manipal has and in terms of providing quality education.  Those who have not attended even 30% of the class were also allowed in the past and this time, the student was not allowed for reason known to him alone.  When I cross-checked with the examination cell and the records submitted, I was totally taken back to know that everyone is registered for the exam but in their Hall-Ticket it was mentioned as ‘Not Eligible’. In one way, management also lose money when every other student is allowed to register.

When I asked about this to RNS after openly stating it to all in the ‘Thanks giving’ meeting as ‘Sir, I know What you did? But I am not going to say it’.  As I know it will not have any impact and reaction at that time. He was still justifying it saying, It is my prerogative, you better mind your job and I know what I am doing? When I asked him, If the Controller of Examination knows about it, what will you do? He said, who is that? I was puzzled and said, I mean Dr.Shahul Hameed for which he laughed and gave a sarcastic comment. He is just a ……… and real COE is some name who is in Manipal India.  [I didn’t know that for such a long time] Then, I realized my mistake of asking about it to him and then decided not to do anything expect revealing the fact to the final year student and I asked him to write the exam to get the Degree along with his classmates. He was afraid to take the risk since it was mentioned in the hall-ticket as Not Eligible and during the examination if RNS knows about it then I will not be able to get the degree. So, he skipped the end semester exam in June 2011 but appeared in the supplementary October 2011 by paying just AED 250 and cleared the paper with high score of above 70% marks and cleared the paper to get his degree.  When RNS justified his stand to the students father saying he can not clear the paper even if he allow him since the internal mark is less than 15.  Now, How come that is made possible? Mr. Joseph John, the new Chair has to give an explanation to it. Of course, anything is possible in Manipal. He is now busy calling all those students who were stopped and failed during the past years and offering them the opportunity to complete the formalities and get the Degree without coming to college and attending the classes. Students can stay in different country like Oman, Nigeria or any where and still can register for the examination. They just have to come on the day of exam to appear and all other things will be taken care. When that is the case, why to attend class and those who were stopped in my course paper “Principles of Media Management” in June 2011 kindly take note of it and wake up before it is too late. Know your rights and fight for it. Don’t pay extra money to get a worthless Degree from Manipal and you all have the right to complain it to TECOM through Voice it !

source- http://www.smanikandan76.com/wordpress/

India jail-born man earns bail money, for release of his mother after 19 years #WTF


 

By Sanjoy Majumder BBC News, Kanpur

Vijay Kumari was unable to post the necessary bail amount of about £120

In a dusty tenement in a crowded neighbourhood in the Indian city of Kanpur, a young man takes out a bright yellow sari from a shopping bag and presents it to his mother.

“Do you like it?” he asks her. “Yes,” is her reply.

It is an innocuous scene, except that the young man, Kanhaiya, has waited a long time to give his mother a gift.

Nineteen years ago, his mother Vijai Kumari was convicted of murder – wrongfully she claimed.

She was granted bail on appeal but she did not have the 10,000 rupees ($180; £119) she needed to post bail. Her husband abandoned her and no-one else came forward to help her.

“I thought I’d die in prison,” she says. “They told me in there that no one ever gets out.”

She was pregnant when she went to jail. Four months later, Kanhaiya was born.

“I sent him away when he got a bit older. It was hard but I was determined. Prison is no place for a young child,” she says.

So she stayed in prison all these years, lost in the system and forgotten.

All she had to keep her going was a passport-size photograph of her son and his visits to her every three months.

‘Think of her and cry’

Kanhaiya spent most of his childhood growing up at various juvenile homes. And he never forgot his mother.

“I would think of her and cry,” he says, speaking softly and with a lisp.

“She was in prison, all alone. No-one else ever visited her. And my father turned his back on her.”

Kanhaiya's mother Vijai Kumari only had a photo of her son in jail Vijai Kumari only had a small photograph of her son Kanhaiya

As soon as he turned 18, he was trained to work in a garment factory. And he began saving up to get his mother out.

Eventually, he hired a lawyer.

“Someone told me about him. He was surprised to hear about my mother’s case.”

The lawyer took on his case and earlier this month, his mother was freed from prison.

Judges expressed their shock at her situation and the “callous and careless” behaviour of the authorities.

They have now ordered a sweep of all the prisons in the state to see if there are others like Vijai Kumari.

The reality is that hers is not an isolated case.

There are an estimated 300,000 inmates in India‘s prisons, 70% of whom are yet to face trial. And many of them have spent a long time in custody.

It is a reflection of India’s shambolic and sluggish legal system where it can often take years for a case to be heard and a trial to be concluded.

But, for the moment, mother and son are reunited and anxious about their future.

“All I want is for my son to be settled,” Vijai Kumari says, her voice breaking and her eyes moist.

“He’s all I have in this world.”

Kanhaiya and his mother plan to approach his estranged father and fight for their rights, including a share of the family property.

But for now, they are taking in the present and trying to make up for all the time they have lost.

#Mumbai Three-yr-old raped by uncle in theatre #childabuse #WTFnews


CHILDRAPE

The accused was caught in the act by other movie goers when the girl started crying; in another incident, a 10-year-old boy was sodomised by an acquaintance

May 27, 2013
MUMBAI
Sagar Rajput, mID DAY

With one case of rape and another of sodomy reported in the city on Saturday, the city does not seem to be getting any safer for children.

In the first case, a three-year-old girl was raped by her uncle in a movie theatre on Saturday. The accused identified as Mohammad Israel had told the victim’s mother that he would take her for a movie.

As the girl kept crying throughout the movie, an alert member of the audience asked the watchman at Kalpana theatre to find out what the matter was. Deputy Commissioner of Police Dhananjay Kulkarni (zone 5) said, “When the watchman went to inquire, he saw that the crying girl was on Israel’s lap. He felt something was amiss and gathered a crowd following which Israel was taken to Kurla police station.”

After interrogations the accused confessed to raping his niece and was booked under section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code.

10-yr-old sodomised
In another incident, a 10-year-old boy was sodomised in a madrassa, where the 60-year-old accused worked as a secretary. According to police officials, the accused identified as Mohammad Hanif Noor Mohammad sodomised the victim after taking him away under the pretext of some work.

According to the police, after the accused sodomised him on May 8, the victim was not in a state to go to the madrassa. “The victim’s uncle asked him to go to the madrassa to study, but on May 10, the boy panicked. When his uncle started questioning him, he came to know about the incident,” said an officer from Dharavi police station.

Family members then filed a complaint with the madrassa authorities following which the accused was suspended.
DCP Dhananjay Kulkarni said, “The boy was sodomised on two occasions in the course of the last two weeks.

The first was on May 8 in a madrassa, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Dharavi police. We are yet to find out when the second incident took place. The father of the victim finally filed a complaint with the Dharavi police station on Saturday.”

The accused was arrested under section 377 (unnatural offence) of the Indian Penal Code. Investigations are on to ascertain when the second incident took place.

 

Socioeconomic Inequality in Disability – A Multi Country Study


 

A Multicountry Study Using the World Health Survey.
disability-discrimination1

 

Ahmad R. Hosseinpoor, Alana Officer, Emese Verdes, Nenad Kostanjsek, and Somnath Chatterji are with the World Health Organization, Geneva,Switzerland. Jennifer A. Stewart Williams is with the University of NewcastleNewcastle, New South Wales, Australia. Jeny Gautam is with Dianella Community Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Aleksandra Posarac is with the World Bank, Washington, DC.

 

“……We compared national prevalence and wealth-related inequality in disability across a large number of countries from all income groups.

Methods. Data on 218737 respondents participating in the World Health Survey 2002–2004 were analyzed.
A composite disability score (0–100) identified respondents who experienced significant disability in physical, mental, and social functioning irrespective of their underlying health condition. Disabled persons had disability composite scores above 40. Wealth was evaluated using an index of economic status in households based on ownership of selected assets. Socioeconomic inequalities were measured using the slope index of inequality and the relative index of inequality.

Results.
Median age-standardized disability prevalence was higher in the low- and lower middle-income countries. In all the study countries, disability was more prevalent in the poorest than in the richest wealth quintiles. Pro-rich inequality was statistically significant in 43 of 49 countries, with disability prevalence higher among populations with lower wealth. Median relative inequality was higher in the high- and upper middle-income countries.

Conclusions.
Integrating equity components into the monitoring of disability trends would help ensure that interventions reach and benefit populations with greatest need. …”

DOWNLOAD FULL STUDY HERE

(Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print May 16, 2013: e1–e9. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.301115)

Pope Francis Says Athiests are O.K.


It’s not about being right, it’s about being loving, the unusually tolerant Pontiff tells his flock.

Photo Credit: Emipress/Shutterstock.com

May 23, 2013  |

 

It likely doesn’t matter much to the atheists of the world that — of all people — Pope Francis is on their side. But he is. And that’s a cool thing for all of us.

In a message delivered Wednesday via Vatican Radio, the new pontiff distinguished himself with a call for tolerance and a message of support – and even admiration – toward nonbelievers.

Naturally, a guy whose job it is to lead the world’s largest Christian faith is still going to come at his flock with a Jesus-centric message. But he’s taking it in an encouraging new direction. In his message, Francis dissed the apostles for being “a little intolerant” and said, “All of us have this commandment at heart: Do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not (a) Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must.”

And the pope spoke of the need to meet each other somewhere on our on common ground. “This commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: We need that so much. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.” It was a deeper affirmation of his comments back in March, when he declared that the faithful and atheists can be “precious allies… to defend the dignity of man, in the building of a peaceful coexistence between peoples and in the careful protection of creation.”

That’s a message that’s vastly different from Catholicism’s traditional “We’re number one!” dogma. Six years ago, the Vatican reasserted the church’s stance that while there may be“elements of sanctification and truth” in other faiths, “that fullness of grace and of truth… has been entrusted to the Catholic Church.” In other words, close but no cigar, everybody else.

The pope was not, of course, addressing the non-believers of the world in his Wednesday sermon, or trying to win them over. Instead, he was telling his Catholics about the importance of cutting outsiders slack. And it’s a hugely important message for Christians to hear. It’s not about being right. It’s about being loving. And it’s a necessary concept, one that needs to be expressed again and again, in a world in which the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor  in Virginia is justifying his repulsive hate speech against gays and lesbians because “I’m a Christian, not because I hate anybody, but because I have religious values that matter to me.” Coming within a week when atheists have been stepping into the spotlighthere in America with their own messages of live-and-let-live tolerance, it’s downright refreshing to get a similar message from the biggest Christian in the world.

There are plenty of atheists out there who will no doubt take the pope’s message with a grain of salt or even flat-out disdain. The last thing somebody who doesn’t believe in heaven could possibly need is some guy in a funny hat telling them that they’re okay in God’s eyes anyway. But maybe, whatever we believe or don’t believe, we can consider that the man is on to something when he speaks about “the culture of encounter.”

Francis notes that the apostles were “closed off by the idea of possessing the truth,” an arrogant certainty that no one group currently has a monopoly on. Where we find each other is in practicing tolerance for our differences, and in finding the commonality of our values. “Doing good,” Francis says, “is not a matter of faith.”

It’s not that faith, for the faithful, doesn’t matter. It’s that belonging to a church isn’t what saves us. It’s belonging to each other.

 

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of “Gimme Shelter: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream.” Follow her on Twitter:@embeedub.

 

#India – Judges have to watch their scorecard


V. VENKATESAN

The deplorably small number of judgments by Justice Cyriac Joseph, especially when courts have a huge backlog of cases, is valid enough reason for concern at his suitability for the National Human Rights Commission

The Indian Supreme Court is an extraordinarily powerful institution in the world. It can make and unmake laws; it can keep the executive accountable, and seek to ensure the autonomy of institutions. It can rewrite the Constitution the way it wants, through its creative interpretation yet remain largely unaccountable for its omissions and commissions. Its collegium has the responsibility to choose judges to fill its own vacancies, but it sees little merit in adopting an open and transparent process while exercising it.

As a result, very little is known about the merits of a judge, before he or she is appointed to the Supreme Court, unless there are serious allegations damaging to the judge’s integrity. There is a vast pool of post-retirement jobs that awaits a retiring judge from the Supreme Court, in the form of membership of statutory tribunals and commissions, yet there is no mechanism to evaluate the suitability of former judges to these bodies.

The Government’s proposal to nominate the former judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Cyriac Joseph, to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has brought into focus the issue of performance-evaluation of a judge.

While the members representing the Government on the NHRC selection committee appear to have favoured his nomination, the two members belonging to the Opposition, Ms Sushma Swaraj and Mr. Arun Jaitley, have submitted dissenting notes pointing to an adverse report of an intelligence agency about the unsuitability of the proposed nominee on the basis of his tenure at the Supreme Court.

Facts

The facts regarding Justice Joseph can be gathered from the Supreme Court’s website.

He authored exactly seven judgments during his tenure, from July 7, 2008 to January 27, 2012. However, he was a signatory to as many as 309 judgments, and 135 orders, all authored by his colleagues on the Bench. The website lists the judgments and the orders authored and/or signed by a judge together, and it requires considerable effort to identify those which were authored and not merely signed by a judge, as the author’s name is affixed on the top of a judgment.

Thus, Justice Joseph authored concurring judgments in two cases, namely, Action Committee, Unaided Private Schools & Ors v. Director of Education & Ors (August 7, 2009), and Haryana State Warehousing Corporation v. Jagat Ram (February 23, 2011). His judgment in the Action Committee, Unaided Private Schools seems to have been necessitated because of the compulsion to resolve the disagreement between the other two judges on the Bench, Justices S.B. Sinha and S.H. Kapadia. Justice Joseph opted to agree with Justice Kapadia in order to help arrive at the ratio of the judgment.

The website also shows that Justice Joseph wrote judgments in Safiya Bee v. Mohd. Vajahath Hussain @ Fasi (December 16, 2010), State of Haryana & Ors v. M/s Malik Traders (August 17, 2011), Deepa Thomas & Others v. Medical Council of India & Others (January 25, 2012), Mohd.Asif v. State of Maharashtra (January 27, 2012), and A.V. Padma v. R.Venugopal (January 27, 2012).

Evaluation

Critics of the Government’s efforts to nominate Justice Joseph to the NHRC have pointed to the number of judgments authored and delivered by him as the factor weighing against him.

While they have a case against him, it has to be admitted that the number of judgments written by a judge alone cannot be a determining factor about his or her competence. As the Supreme Court mostly sits in benches of two or three judges, the senior-most on a bench decides once the hearing is complete, who among them will write the judgment, depending on the interest of the judge. The judge writing the judgment, then circulates the draft for the perusal of the other judge/s, who are then free to agree, or write concurring judgments, or dissents. Superfluous, concurring judgments can make the process of arriving at the ratio of a judgment challenging, and leave the litigants confused. But that cannot be an excuse for a judge to avoid judgment-writing altogether.

Scholars of the Supreme Court have never attempted to evaluate the performance of each judge, on the basis of the number of judgments and orders authored by him or her. It is probably because such a study is likely to lead to comparison, and the drawing of inferences regarding the competence of a judge, which may invite the charge of contempt of court.

George H. Gadbois Jr., who made a seminal contribution compiling the biography of the judges in his recent book, Judges of the Supreme Court of India, 1950-1989, is also silent on this aspect. He perhaps thought that compiling such data could only aim at evaluating the importance or contributions of a judge, which he has consciously avoided.

What data shows

When Justice Joseph joined the Supreme Court in 2008, the strength of the Court rose from 26 to 31, following a Constitutional amendment. Based on the number of judges, the average number of judgments and orders written by each judge could be easily arrived at, given the total number of judgments and orders in a calendar year.

Thus between 2008 and 2012, the average number of judgments and orders per judge varied from 88 (2008) to 27 (2012). The average was just nine in 1955, 14 in 1959, 25 in 1969, 17 in 1977, 15 in 1987 and 71 in 1996. During this period, the strength of the Supreme Court kept on increasing from: eight to 11 (1956), 14 (1960), 18 (1978), and 26 (1986).

Based on this data, it would be hazardous to infer the competence of a judge/judges in a particular year or era. As Gadbois would put it, some of those judges were giants who will be remembered a century from now. Others, to quote Gadbois again, are blips on the radar screen, sidebars to the history of the Supreme Court, likely to be recalled only by the closest of court watchers. In the history of the Supreme Court, some judges are celebrated merely because of their salient contributions to the interpretation of the law and the Constitution, and not because they wrote more judgments than their colleagues.

Yet, the number of judgments written by a judge cannot be dismissed as being irrelevant, especially in the context of the Court’s efforts to limit its own backlog of cases. If the number of judgments authored by a judge is deplorably and consistently below average, then it is an important factor in the evaluation of a judge. The concerns that such a judge may prove to be unequal to the demands of an institution like the NHRC are valid.

A test for government

The Supreme Court, in its March 3, 2011 judgment, set aside the appointment of Mr. P.J. Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner, even though the majority in the selection committee had recommended him. The Court quashed his appointment by emphasising the concept of institutional integrity. The key test for institutional integrity, it said, is to ask whether the incumbent would or would not be able to function and whether the working of the institution would suffer following the appointment. This test is as relevant in the appointment of Justice Joseph, as it was in the case of Mr. Thomas.

The Supreme Court held in the same judgment that if the selection committee decides to overrule any dissent while recommending a person for the appointment, it should record clear and cogent reasons for doing so.

In April, the Government appointed Mr. S.C. Sinha, Director of the National Investigation Agency to the NHRC, overruling dissent within the selection committee, pointing out that he did not have the knowledge, or practical experience in matters relating to human rights, as required under the Human Rights Act.

The reasons why the majority in the selection committee overruled the dissent have not been made public, and it is not known whether the Supreme Court’s directive has been complied with.

The appointment of Justice Joseph will constitute another test of legitimacy for the Government.

venkatesan.v@thehindu.co.in

 

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