PRESS RELEASE- A Crusade for Creativity- BOL KE LAB AAZAD HAI TERE @26Jan #Mumbai #Foe #Republicday


freedom_of_speech
PRESS RELEASE

Bol ke lab azaad hain tere…….

History has been witness to the systematic deprivation of the oppressed. Right from their attempts to acquire knowledge and make it a vehicle of their liberation, to the production and expression of critical thought and action, the atrocities against the edict of equality enshrined in the constitution have been manifold. Even though the titles and identities of oppressors seem to have changed, the nature of oppression remains identifiably similar; the practice of slavery keeps resurfacing in one form or the other.

Yet, the history of the struggles of the subalterns against such tyranny is just as rich and rousing. We seek to stand up to the tall legacy of these struggles and continue the fight against the dilution of our Constitutional Rights and Freedoms. We denounce the Corporate Media that is all money and no soul, no courage, no character. The media not only manufactures consent but systematically marginalizes subaltern movements by consistently turning a blind eye towards them and privileging middle and upper class rage and issues above all else.

We condemn the State agencies and fascist forces that seek to gag the crusaders of truth and justice. The clamp down on people’s movements against nuclear plants in Koodankulam and Jaitapur, frequent Zillabandi, police firing and lathicharge incidents in response to people’s protests, the landgrab of mining and industrial capitalists in adivasi areas, the moral policing and vandalism of despotical forces, as well as the arrests of cultural revolutionaries like Sudhir Dhawale and members of Kabir Kala Manch who sought to write and sing about the gaffes, among others, must stop.  These are blatant violations of our fundamental Right to Freedom of Expression orchestrated by the State and powerful non-State actors.

To register our protest, we have organised a Cultural Protest Programme in opposition to the atrocities against the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression in our country.

Event:  Srujanacha Algaar- A Crusade for Creativity

Time & Date: 5:00 – 9:00 pm, Saturday, 26 January 2013
Venue: Dr. Ambedkar Bhavan, Gokulpasta lane, behind Chitra Cinema, Dadar (W), Mumbai.
Programme: Revolutionary Cultural Gala to be presented by a new vibrant team of performers

Music (Hindustani Classical, Ghazals, Vidrohi Shahiri, Parivartanachya Ovya, Global Gondhal, Laavani, Rap, Rock) Poetry recitation, Dance performances,  Song of Kabir by Niraj Arya,  Rap Performances – MC Manmeet Kaur and Ashwini Mishra of Alistrap

Short Plays to be presented entirely by new and young performers and cultural activists.

An invitation extended by Sambhaji Bhagat, Ramu Ramanathan, Anand Patwardhan, Kamayani Bali Mahabal and other supporters of the Freedom of Speech and Expression

 

THE FACEBOOK EVENT HERE-https://www.facebook.com/events/401313879956734/

Media Contact:

Anisha George                                           Sambhaji Bhagat

Tel: 9820171019                                       Tel: 9323801194

Email: anishage@gmail.com

 

#India-The police are outdoing the Taliban #Vaw #moralpolicing


TNN | Jan 16, 2013,

MUMBAI: The Bombay Police Act (BPA) of 1951, with its outdated provisions still intact, is now also being used outside the city to rein in citizens in a manner that tramples upon personal liberty and fundamental rights. Legal experts expressed shock that police in Thane district were using Section 110 of the BPA — which prohibits “indecent, riotous or disorderly behaviour in public” — against couples and individuals found in public places after sunset or in “isolated spots” or lonely stretches. The intention is to fight sexual harassment and make the streets safer for women, but experts said the cops are only targeting innocent people and not the criminals.

Police in the Kalyan-Dombivli area recently began stopping couples and lecturing them about the benefits of staying indoors at night, one of which apparently is that they wouldn’t be fined Rs 1,200 under the BPA. Over 90 people have been fined. Criminal law counsel Shrikant Bhat said that under the law the police have no power to even impose such a fine. They are only authorized to investigate.

“The policemen are acting like tyrants. Instead of doing their duty to protect people and women, they seem to have lost all sense of policing,” said Colin Gonsalves, a civil rights lawyer who has moved to Delhi from Mumbai and now practises in the Supreme Court. “My advice to the womenis to identify these police officers who prevent them from being out and then move the police chief or Bombay high court to have such officers removed from service,” he said.

Senior counsel and criminal law expert from Mumbai, Shirish Gupte, added, “The police have absolutely no power to stop anyone from being outside unless the person is soliciting a customer. The police are overreaching the law.” The police also have no power to ask college principals to ensure that students display their college identity cards at all times, even outside college premises.

Apparently, the police move came after a circular was sent to the force in Thane asking it to act against sexual harassment. “The police move, an outcome of a well-intentioned circular to form squads across police stations to tackle sexual harassment, is being misdirected and enforced by overzealous cops without application of mind,” said one lawyer.

“I think the problem is not with the law. The police are targeting law-abiding citizens by grossly misunderstanding the provisions of the law,” said former chief information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi. “Instead of providing security to citizens, they are harassing them to cover their own failure. The police must stop this immediately and apologize to the innocent citizens.”

“A couple or a single girl, irrespective of the time of day, is not exposing her person in an indecent manner by merely walking on the road or sitting in a corner. The police have absolutely no justification to fine young couples Rs 1,200 and lecture them on morality,” said Bhat. He added, “The police also can’t ask a couple or single girl to stay indoors after 8pm or 10pm. By doing this, they are outdoing the Taliban. Article 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India enshrine personal liberty and freedom of movement. Undoubtedly, neither freedom nor personal liberty is unconditional or absolute. However, a couple moving at night is not indulging in indecent behavior. There is nothing to show that the women who have been attacked by rapists and goons were indulging in indecent behavior or ‘exposing’ themselves.” Only the charge of indecent, riotous or disorderly behavior would justify police intervention, says the law.

Bhat added, “The police must be taught a lesson by being taken to court and fined, which should be recovered from their salaries and not taxpayer money. Departmental action should also be taken against them.”

The policemen are acting like tyrants. Instead of doing their duty to protect people and women, they seem to have lost all sense of policing

— Colin Gonsalves, civil rights lawyer practicing in the Supreme Court

The police also can’t ask a couple or single girl to stay indoors after 8pm or 10pm. By doing this, they are outdoing the Taliban

— Shrikant Bhat, criminal law counsel

Fighting back

The police are only authorized to investigate. They have no legal right to punish a citizen. The fines collected by the Thane police are subject to the approval of a magistrate. The fined individuals can visit the magistrate’s court the next day, engage a lawyer, plead not guilty and fight a case. Their lawyer would have the right to cross-examine the police. The magistrate can then give a judgment. Alternatively, and depending on the case, the aggrieved party can file a writ petition in the high court for quashing proceedings and return of fine, said advocate Shrikant Bhat.

 

P Rajeeve’S motion in #Rajyasabha asking the amendment of #66A #ITact


P Rajeeve MP Rajya Sabha who has earlier moved the annulment montion in the Rajya Sabha is now moving a Private member motion today in the RS demanding the ammendment of IT act. The text of his speech is as follows:

1. SHRI P. RAJEEVE to move the following Resolution: –
“Having regard to the fact that –
(i) the Internet, an international network of interconnected computers that enables millions of people to communicate with one another incyberspace and to access vast amounts of information from around the world has provided an unprecedented platform for citizens to exercise their fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression, the freedom to create and innovate, to organize and influence, to speak and be heard;

(ii) in the last few months, a number of cases have come to light on how section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (herein after referred to as Act) is being arbitrarily used by the law enforcement agencies to arrest citizens in various parts of the country for posting comments on internet and social networking websites;

(iii) although the offense is bailable, the citizens are being detained without being granted bail and various countries have criticized these incidents as a slap on India‘s democracy;

(iv) the language and scope of legal terms used under section 66A of the Act are very wide and capable of distinctive varied interpretations with extremely wide parameters which have not been given any specific definitions under the law;

(v) clause (a) of section 66A of the Act uses expressions such as ‘grossly offensive’ and ‘menacing character’ which are not defined anywhere and are subject to discretionary interpretations;

(vi) clause (b) of section 66 A prescribes an imprisonment term up to three years for information that can cause annoyance, inconvenience, insult, criminal intimidation, thereby bundling disparate terms and providing similar punishment for criminal intimidation and causing inconvenience;

(vii) clause (c) of the same section although intended to handle spam nowhere defines it and makes every kind of spam a criminally punishable act, which is also against the world-wide norms;

(viii) the offence under section 66A of the Act is cognizable, and has made it possible for police to arrest citizens at odd times for example arresting two 21 years old women in Mumbai after sunset and a businessman at 5.00 a.m. in Puducherry;
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(ix) right to freedom of speech and expression is the foundation of all democratic countries and is essential for the proper functioning of the process of democracy;
(x) only very narrow and stringent limits have been set to permit legislative abridgment of the right of freedom of speech and expression;
(xi) the Supreme Court has given a broad dimension to Article 19 (1)(a) by laying down that freedom of speech under Article 19 (1)(a) not only guarantees freedom of speech and expression, it also ensures the right of the citizen to know and the right to receive information regarding matters of public concern;
(xii) in interpreting the Constitution we must keep in mind the social setting of the country so as to show a complete consciousness and deep awareness of the growing requirements of the society and the increasing needs of the nation and for this, the approach should be dynamic, pragmatic and elastic rather than static, pedantic or rigid;

(xiii) there are tremendous problems in the way section 66A of the amended Act has been drafted as this provision though inspired by the noble objectives of protecting reputations and preventing misuse of networks, has not been able to achieve its goals;

(xiv) the language of section 66A of the amended Act goes far beyond the reasonable restrictions on freedom of speech, as mandated under Article 19 (2) of the Constitution of India;

(xv) India, being the world’s largest vibrant democracy, reasonable restrictions on freedom of speech need to be very strictly construed and section 66A of the amended Act, needs to be amended to make the Indian Cyber law in sync with the principles enshrined in the Constitution of India and also with the existing realities of social media and digital platforms today;

(xvi) it has been pointed out that section 66A of the Act has been based on United States Code, Title V (Sections 501 & 502) of Telecommunication Act titled Communications Decency Act (CDA), it must be brought to the notice of this House that the United States Supreme Court has held that the CDA’s “indecent transmission” and “patently offensive display” provisions which abridge “the freedom of speech” protected by the First Amendment and thus unconstitutional, for instance, its use of the undefined terms like “indecent” and “patently offensive” provoke uncertainty among speakers about how the two standards relate to each other and just what they mean;

(xvii) the vagueness of such a content-based regulation, coupled with its increased deterrent effect as a criminal statute, raises Special First Amendment concerns because of its obvious chilling effect on free speech; and

(xviii) it has also been stated that section 66A of the Act has been based on United Kingdom’s section 127 of the Communication Act, 2003 which addresses improper use of public electronic communication network but the application of that section is restricted to a communication between two persons using public electronic communications network, i.e., mails written persistently to harass someone and not “tweets” or “status updates” that are available for public consumptions and which are not intended for harassment, also, the intention or mens rea element is crucial in it and further, the maximum punishment has been only up to six months in contrast to the three years mandated by Section 66A of the Act,

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this House urges upon the Government to –
(a) amend section 66A of the IT Act, 2000 in line with the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India;
(b) restrict the application of section 66A of the Act to communication between two persons;
(c) precisely define the offense covered by Section 66A of the Act;
(d) reduce the penalty imposed by section 66A of the Act; and
(e) make the offense under section 66A of the Act a noncognizable
offence.

 

Natural resources cannot be dissipated as charity: SC #goodnews


by  Sep 27, 2012, Firstpost

 

Natural resources cannot be dissipated as charity: SC judgeThe Supreme Court of India. Reuters.

Does coalgate qualify as a scandal of 2G proportions?

Yes, if the government has given away coal mines as a matter of largess, charity, donation or endowment for private exploitation. Yes, if the government has allowed one set of citizens prosper at the cost of another set of citizens. And yes, if the coal mines are not allocated to best serve the common good.

Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, one of the five Supreme Court judges who delivered their unanimous opinion on the Presidential reference on Thursday, made it amply clear in an addendum as to what makes a scam in a given situation.

And for this, Justice Khehar took coal sector as a hypothetical illustration to explain where it might lead the government to arbitrariness and be unfair in disbursement of natural resources.

The Supreme Court.

“One is compelled to take judicial notice of the fact that allotment of natural resources is an issue of extensive debate in the country, so much so, that the issue of allocation of such resources had recently resulted in a washout of two sessions of Parliament. The current debate on allotment of material resources has been prompted by a report submitted by the Comptroller and Auditor General, asserting extensive loss in revenue based on inappropriate allocations. The report it is alleged, points out that private and public sector companies had made windfall gains because the process of competitive bidding had not been adopted. The country witnessed a similar political spat a little while earlier, based on the allocation of the 2G spectrum,’’ says Justice Khehar.

By picking up coal sector as a hypothetical situation, Justice Khehar explicitly demonstrates how “a forthright legitimate legislative policy may take the shape of an illegitimate stratagem.’’

Let’s assume that the government decides to allocate coal lots without any reciprocal favour or monetary gain or any other consideration from a private player engaged in power generation. The law of the land allows it only when the private player is awarded the power project on the basis of ‘competitive bids for tariffs’.

Elaborating the same situation further, Justice Khehar says: “If the bidding process to determine the lowest tariff (of power) has been held, and the said bidding process has taken place without the knowledge that a coal mining lease would be allotted to the successful bidder, yet the successful bidder is awarded a coal mining lease. Would such a grant be valid?… Grant of a mining lease for coal in this situation would therefore be a windfall, without any nexus to the object sought to be achieved.’’

When the government makes such discretions or grants, such grants will stand to the test of being fair, reasonable equitable and impartial, Justice Khehar argues.

“No part of the natural resource can be dissipated as a matter of largess, charity, donation or endowment, for private exploitation. Each bit of natural resource expended must bring back a reciprocal consideration,’’ concludes Justice Khehar.

This is one clear reason why the Central Government, especially Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, should not go gaga over the Supreme Court’s opinion that ‘auction’ does not have a Constitutional mandate as the only method for disbursement of natural resources.

Justice Khehar warns that the government should not be under erroneous impression that it is ‘not’ necessary to dispose of natural resources by way of auction. “Surely, the Presidential reference has not been made to seek such an innocuous advice,’’ Justice Khehar says.

Quoting and adding special emphasis to the cases cited by respective lawyers during the debate, Justice Khehar sums up some cardinal rules that any public authority or the government should follow while disbursing natural resources.

· Government should remain alive to the fact that disposal of some natural resources have to be made only by auction.

· A rightful choice, would assure maximization of revenue returns. The term “auction” may therefore be read as a means to maximize revenue returns.

· For a country like India, the pendulum must be understood to balance the rights of one citizen on the one side, and 124,14,91,960 (the present estimated population of India) citizens of the country on the other. An individual citizen cannot be a beneficiary, at the cost of the country (the remaining 124,14,91,960 citizens) i.e., the plurality.

· The man on the street should know why the decision has been taken in favour of a particular party.

· The Government must act as a prudent businessman, and that, the profit earned should be for public benefit and not for private gains.

· The State has the right to trade. In executing public contracts in its trading activity the State must be guided by relevant principles, and not by extraneous or irrelevant consideration.

· Every holder of public office is accountable to the people in whom the sovereignty vests.

· But where the public functionary exercises his discretion capriciously, or for considerations, which are mala fide, the public functionary himself must shoulder the burden of compensation held as payable. This Court felt that when a court directs payment of damages or compensation against the State, the ultimate sufferer is the common man, because it is tax payers money out of which damages and costs are paid.

· Article 14 of the Constitution of India applies also to matters of governmental policy even in contractual matters, and if the policy or any action of the government fails to satisfy the test of reasonableness, the same would be unconstitutional.

· The wealth of nation slips away every time when the assets belonging to the citizens are given at a discount.

· Every limb of the government is required to be oriented to public good. Thus, the question of unfettered discretion in an executive authority, just does not arise.

Justice Khehar hopes that the Presidential reference was made to iron out the creases so that such controversies are avoided in future.

Justice Katju Arresting cartoonist for #sedition is illegal #FOE #FOS #Aseem


PTI PHOTO/SANTOSH HIRLEKAR

 

 

PIT, NEW  ELHI, SEPT 10, 2012

Justice Markandey Katju, Press Council of India chairman, today defended Aseem Trivedi, who was arrestedfor allegedly posting seditious content on his web portal, saying the cartoonist has done nothing illegal.”My opinion is that the cartoonist did nothing illegal. In a democracy many things are said, some truthful and others false,” Katju said in a statement.

Trivedi was arrested yesterday and produced in a Mumbai court which sent him to police custody till September 16. He was arrested following a complaint that he had put up banners mocking the Indian Constitution during the Anna Hazare rally held last year in Mumbai.

To drive home his point, Katju recalled his own words as a judge and said he used to often say in court that people can call him a fool or crook inside the court or outside but he will never initiate contempt of court proceedings, because either the allegation is true, “in which case I deserve it, or it is false, in which case I will ignore it”.

“These are occupational hazards, and politicians, like judges, must learn to put up with them,” Katju said.

He maintained that arresting a cartoonist or any other person who has not committed a crime is itself a crime under the Indian Penal Code as it is a wrongful arrest and wrongful confinement.

“So policemen, who make such illegal arrests, cannot take the plea that they were obeying orders of political superiors,” he said.

Citing another example, he said, “During the Nuremberg trials, the Nazi war criminals took the plea that orders are orders, and that they were only obeying the orders of their political superior Hitler. But this plea was rejected by the International Tribunal which held that illegal orders should be disobeyed.”

Karnataka Women Groups write to CJ Karnataka #Bhaktavasala


 

 

To

The Hon’ble Chief Justice

High Court of Karnataka

 

 

Hon’ble Chief Justice Shri Vikramjit Sen,

 

We are writing to you in the context of the recent media reports regarding Hon’ble Justice Bhaktavatsala’s verbal comments in open Court. We are bringing these comments to your notice because they do not seem to be in consonance with the oath Justice Bhaktavatsala has taken under Article 219 to ‘bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India and to duly and faithfully and to the best of my ability, knowledge, and judgment perform the duties of my office without fear and favour, affection or ill-will and to uphold the Constitution and the laws.’ The comments attributed to J. Bhaktavatsala are deeply offensive to all right thinking people, lower the dignity and agency of women who constitute literally half the population of this country and betray animus towards women.

 

It has been reported that J. Bhaktavatsala in open court has observed as follwos:

 

1) According to media reports on August 31 2012 Justice Bhaktavatsala stated to a woman litigant in a divorce matter, “Women suffer in all marriages. You are married with two children, and know what it means to suffer as a woman. Yesterday, there was a techie couple who reconciled for the sake of their child. Your husband is doing good business, he will take care of you. Why are you still talking about his beatings? I know you have undergone pain. But that is nothing in front of what you undergo as a woman. I have not undergone such pain. But Madam (Justice BS Indrakala) has.”

The Court asked the woman if her parents were present, at which her father walked up to the bench. The judge was reported to have remarked in open court, “Ask your father if he has never beaten your mother!” When the woman said her husband would beat her in the open, in front of everyone, Justice Bhaktavatsala remarked that it was she who was bringing it out in the open. The court was told that the husband would beat her in the middle of the night and had thrown her out of the house.

When the woman’s advocate produced photographs showing her swollen face after the beatings, the court said, “You have to adjust. Are you just behind money? There is nothing in your case to argue on merits. You have to give him a divorce or go with him. Have you read about actor Darshan. He spent 30 days in jail after beating his wife. But they are living together now. What is on your mind and what is on your agenda?” The court directed the couple to go out and talk to each other. (Bangalore Mirror, August 31,2012)

 

2) In another case, a young  female advocate was citing the allegations against the husband, Justice Bhaktavatsala stopped her midway and asked, “Are you married?” When she replied in the negative, the judge said, “You are unfit to argue this case. You do not know real life. Why are you arguing like this? He is your (client’s) partner, not a stranger. Family matters should be argued only by married people, not spinsters. You should only watch. Bachelors and spinsters watching family court proceedings will start thinking if there is any need to marry at all. Marriage is not like a public transport system. You better get married and you will get very good experience to argue such cases.”

(Bangalore Mirror,  August 10, 2012)

 

Our concern is that these comments apart from lowering the dignity of the High Court of Karnataka are also indicative of a judicial mindset which leads to judicial pronouncements which are not in keeping with the Constitution. In particular, the Constitution protects intimate choices with respect to one’s partner transcending barriers of caste, class and religion, regardless of parental opposition. In Writ Petition (HC) No.67/2011, Avinash v. State of Karnataka, J. Bhaktavatsala has expressed his strong opinion against love marriages and by extension the choices made by young women about whom to marry are summarily brushed aside as choices made because of ‘hormonal imbalances’. To quote from the judgment;

In our opinion, the girls below the age of 21 years are not capable of forming a rational judgment as to suitability of the boy, who is in love. It is relevant to mention that those girls, who are suffering from harmonal imbalance easily fall prey to the boys and fall in love, marry and repent at leisure. The parents of the girl are interested in selecting a suitable boy and see that the girl leads a happy married life. Since the Hindu Marriage Act does not deal with love marriages, in our view, it is a high time that the Parliament shall take note of the sufferings and turmoil of such girls and their parents and amend the law suitably. We perpetuate our memory as to the episode of the famous Telugu Cine actor Sri Chiranjivi’s daughter’s love marriage. Hence, we suggest that in the case of love affair of a girl, who is below the age of 21 years, there shall be a condition that the parents of the girl should approve the marriage, otherwise such marriages shall be declared void or voidable.”

In particular, Justice Bhaktavatsala’s above mentioned judicial pronouncement undermines the very idea of India as a nation in which all persons are free to form consensual intimate relationships with others of their choice regardless of narrow considerations of gender, caste, religion and class. If India is to indeed move beyond being a society riven by sharp divisions of caste and religion, the antidote lies in the choices made by young people to love across these narrow domestic walls, regardless of parental opposition.

As Dr. Ambedkar noted:

I am convinced that the real remedy is inter-marriage. Fusion of blood can alone create the feeling of being kith and kin, and unless this feeling of kinship, of being kindred, becomes paramount, the separatist feeling- the feeling of being aliens- created by Caste will not vanish.

(Annihilation of Caste)

 

The citizens of India look to the Court to protect their right to equality, dignity and liberty. Judges must keep this constitutional mandate in mind of being the protectors of the Constitution, even as they perform their duty  to interpret the law. Thus judges do not have a free reign to give expression to their own private morality or even the morality of the wider public, but rather have a duty to interpret the law in the light of the Constitution. Judges are bound by what the Founding Father of the Indian Constitution, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar describes as constitutional morality.  Dr. Ambedkar quoted Grote, the historian of Greece, who had said:

The diffusion of constitutional morality, not merely among the majority of any community but throughout the whole, is an indispensable condition of government at once free and peaceable; since even any powerful and obstinate minority may render the working of a free institution impracticable without being strong enough to conquer the ascendancy for themselves.”

After quoting Grote, Dr. Ambedkar added:

While everybody recognised the necessity of diffusion of constitutional morality for the peaceful working of the democratic constitution, there are two things interconnected with it which are not, unfortunately, generally recognised. One is that the form of administration must be appropriate to and in the same sense as the form of the Constitution. The other is that it is perfectly possible to pervert the Constitution, without changing its form by merely changing its form of administration and to make it inconsistent and opposed to the spirit of the Constitution. ……The question is, can we presume such a diffusion of constitutional morality? Constitutional morality is not a natural sentiment. It has to be cultivated. We must realise that our people have yet to learn it. Democracy in India is only a top dressing on an Indian soil which is essentially undemocratic.

[Constitutional Assembly Debates: Official Reports Vol.VII: November 4, 1948, page 38],

 

J. Bhaktavatsala in making those above statements, has clearly overstepped the bounds and limits of constitutional morality as described by Dr. Ambedkar. We are extraordinarily disappointed and let down by the fact that a high constitutional functionary has through his reported comments and judicial pronouncements betrayed the enormous trust vested in him. There are serious apprehensions that in the constitutionally mandated area of non-discrimination on grounds of gender, J. Bhaktavatsala will not decide in accordance with the constitution but rather in accordance with his private morality.

 

We ask that you consider strong action in your capacity as a Chief Justice to send out the message that no Judge can so easily betray the mandate of the Constitution to ensure equality of gender. Judges have a duty to protect the mandate of Article 14 of the constitution which guarantees equality and non-discrimination and Article 15 which guarantees that there shall be no discrimination on the basis of gender. Justice Bhaktavatsala’s comments and action in court in condoning violence against women, in requiring that unmarried women are not capable of arguing matrimonial cases and comments even about Justice Indrakala, his sister Judge are extremely gender biased and discriminating against women. This bias against women is reflected not only in his statements in court but also in his judgments. Gender bias is ordinarily defined as a tendency to think about people primarily on the basis of their sex. In the judicial system, gender bias results in decisions or actions that are based upon preconceived notions of sexual roles rather than on fair and impartial appraisals of any situation. Gender bias must be eliminated in the judicial system not only because it influences the perception of women in the courtroom, but also because it undermines the manner in which courts apply the law and thus affects the substantive rights of the parties.

 

In the interest of upholding the principles of our Constitution, we would request the following:

  1. That J. Bhaktavatsala issue an unconditional public apology for his gender biased and offensive remarks.
  2. That the all appeals from the judgments of the Family Court classified as MFA(FC) are removed from J. Bhaktavatsala’s docket.
  3. Set up a Commission to look at gender bias within the judiciary in Karnataka

 

We would also request you to take serious note of these comments and ensure that in your capacity as the Chief Justice, no judge of the Karnataka High Court again gives any room for such gross insensitivity to all forms of discrimination based on gender.

 

Karnataka HC Judge Finds Wife Bashing Acceptable; Draws Flak


By IBTimes Staff Reporter | September 6, 2012

In an outlandish opinion of domestic violence in India, a Karnataka High Court judge reportedly said that a husband bashing the wife is acceptable as long as he takes good care of her.

Justice Bhaktavatsala has come under intense criticism for his so-called sexist remarks in a divorce case. An online campaign has been launched against him and online protesters have sought the Chief Justice of Karnataka to take serious action against Bhaktavatsala besides having him removed from his post.

More than 500 people have signed an online petition supporting the activists demand for striping Bhaktavatsala off his Justice position. An activists in their petition said, “The comments made by Justice Bhaktavatsala in various domestic violence and divorce court proceedings  recently are perpetuating the myth of patriarchy and his opinions going beyond the legal scope..”

“The judges are supposed to protect and enforce human rights of the citizens, but here we have a judge who is against women rights and even encouraging them to continue to stay in a violent relationship. Such views are retrograde and against the tenets of the Constitution of India,” the petition read.

The High Court judge reportedly made it worse by suggesting the woman to ask whether her father didn’t resort to beating her mother. “Ask your father if he has never beaten your mother!”

Each blow from Bhaktavatsala was painful than the other, until he concluded by asking the woman petitioner to “adjust” to her condition keeping her children’s future in mind.

Going by the content in online petition, Bhaktavatsala seems to have had allegedly given similar advices to couples who seek divorce for several reasons.

According to the activists, when a woman sought divorce from her husband on grounds of domestic violence, Justice Bhaktavatsala counsels the petitioner to endure the barbaric treatment in a bid to keep the family intact.

“Women suffer in all marriages. You are married with two children, and know what it means to suffer as a woman. Yesterday, there was a techie couple who reconciled for the sake of their child. Your husband is doing good business, he will take care of you. Why are you still talking about his beatings? I know you have undergone pain. But that is nothing in front of what you undergo as a woman. I have not undergone such pain. But madam (Justice BS Indrakala) has,” the online petition explained Justice Bhaktavatsala suggestion.

Immediate Release- Freedom Fast- 4th day- Theatre artistes join the protest for internet freedom


May5, 2012- New Delhi

Aseem Trivedi and Alok Dixit from Save Your Voice are continuing with the fourth day of their hunger strike to support annulment motion against IT Rules-2011in the Rajya Sabha. Ongoing from the 2nd of May, they will carry on with their hunger strike until any satisfactory response from the government is received regarding the opposition of the annulment of IT Rules-2011. Today they were visited by Arvind Gaur, Director of Asmita Theatre (New Delhi) and a few of his associates. Arvind, who is known for his work in innovative socially and politically relevant theatre, has given his word that he will extend his support for the fight for Freedom of Speech & Expression in a full fledged manner. He is also against the implementation of the IT Act and says that internet should be provided ‘free’ and not brought under any rules. The activists were grateful for his encouraging visit.

Government has enacted laws that give it a free pass to censor our Facebook posts, listen to every Skype conversation we have, monitor our tweets or blogs or access private photographs and documents we store online, or track our location using our mobile phones or surveil all of our online activity. The campaigners want to convey to the government that they cannot use vaguely defined laws and loopholes to take away our freedom of speech and expression.

IT Acts are unconstitutional: On 11th April 2011, the Government notified the new Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 prescribing various guiding principles to be observed by all internet related companies. These rules will:

1. Lead to a clamp down on the freedom of speech and expression enshrined in the Constitution of India by providing for a system of censorship/self-censorship by private parties;

2. Adversely affect the right to privacy of citizens by allowing Government agencies to access their information;

3. Will severely hamper the growth of internet penetration in India, and consequently lead to a slowdown of economic growth;

4. Limit the growth of various IT related industries and services (in particular cyber cafes, search engines and bloggers).

In addition, mandatory data retention would force the Internet Service Provider (ISP) to create vast and expensive new databases of sensitive information about an individual. That information would then be available to the government, in secret and without any court oversight.

Annulment Motion in Rajya Sabha: Sh. P. Rajeev, Hon’ble Member of the Rajya sabha has moved an ANNULMENT MOTION to get these rules abolished and the motion has been admitted and is expected to come up in this budget session. Bangalore MP- Rajeev Chandrashekar has spoken in the Parliament in support of this motion. It’s also interesting to note that a professor of chemistry of the Jadavpur University was arrested recently along with his neighbour for allegedly posting a cartoon on a popular social networking site and forwarding emails, cases were booked under the IT ACT as well.
During the last three days, people from various streams and in favour of this cause have visited the campaigning activists at Jantar Mantar, and helped to keep their motive intact.

Thanks,
Save Your Voice Team,
http://www.saveyourvoice.in,
http://www.facebook.com/saveyourvoice
Contact no: 09717900302, 09810659060, 09336505530, 07499219770

Press Release
फ्रीडम फास्ट (चौथा दिन): इंटरनेट फ्रीडम के समर्थन में टीम अन्ना के सदस्य अरविन्द गौर और उनकी थिएटर टीम भी पहुची जंतर मंतर

इंटरनेट सेंसरशिप के खिलाफ सेव योर वॉयस की भूख हड़ताल ‘फ्रीडम फास्ट’ का आज चौथा दिन था. फ्रीडम फास्ट का उद्देश्य है तमाम राजनीतिक दलों से आई टी रूल्स के खिलाफ राज्यसभा में आ रहे एनलमेंट मोशन के पक्ष में वोट करने की अपील करना. आज अनशन के चौथे दिन टीम अन्ना के सदस्य और वरिष्ठ रंगकर्मी अरविन्द गौर अपनी थिएटर टीम के साथ जंतर मंतर पहुचे और इंटरनेट की आज़ादी की वकालत की. अरविन्द गौर ने कहा कि इंटरनेट एक आम आदमी की अभिव्यक्ति का माध्यम है इसलिए इंटरनेट की आज़ादी लोकतंत्र के लिए बहुत ज़रूरी है. अरविन्द जी ने माना कि आज के समय अभिव्यक्ति की आज़ादी पर सबसे बड़ा ख़तरा इंटरनेट सेंसरशिप की ओर से ही आ रहा है.

सेव योर वॉयस की ओर से असीम त्रिवेदी और आलोक दीक्षित भूख हड़ताल पर हैं. इंटरनेट की आज़ादी के लिए ये अपनी तरह की पहली भूख हड़ताल है. ये पहला मौक़ा है जब देश के इंटरनेट यूज़र्स और ब्लोगर्स अपनी अधिकारों के लिए वर्चुअल वर्ल्ड से निकलकर ज़मीन पर उतरे हैं इंटरनेट को सेंसर करने की तानाशाही कोशिशों की खिलाफत कर रहे हैं.

अनशनकारी सरकार से मांग कर रहे हैं कि आईटी एक्ट २०११ को हटाया जाए और इनकी जगह कुछ मजबूत कानूनों को लाकर इंटरनेट को मजबूती प्रदान की जाए. केरल के एक एमपी पी राजीव इस कानून को हटाने के लिये राज्य सभा में एक एनलमेंट मोशन लाए हैं जिस पर पार्टी सांसदों को वोट करना है. अब तक किसी भी पार्टी ने इस मोशन पर वोट करने के लिये हामी नहीं भरी है. अगर यह कानून इस सत्र में खत्म नहीं होता है तो हमें इस हटवाने में कई साल लग जाएंगे.

सेव योर वॉयस टीम
09717900302, 09810659060
http://www.saveyourvoice.in
http://www.facebook.com/saveyourvoice

Immediate Release- Freedom Fast: Third day of hunger strike for internet freedom


Press Release

Freedom Fast: Third day of hunger strike for internet freedom

Aseem Trivedi and Alok Dixit from Save Your Voice completed the third day of their hunger strike to support annulment motion against IT Rules-2011 in Rajya Sabha. We started this hunger strike on 2nd May and we will carry on until we get any satisfactory response from the government and the opposition regarding the annulment of IT Rules-2011.

Government has enacted laws that give it a free pass to censor our Facebook posts, listen to every Skype conversation we have, monitor our tweets or blogs oraccess private photographs and documents we store online, or track our location using our mobile phones or surveil all of your online activity. We want to tell our government that they cannot use vaguely defined laws and loopholes to take away our freedom of speech and expression.

IT Acts are unconstitutional: On 11th April 2011, the Government notified the new Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 prescribing various guiding principles to be observed by all internet related companies. These rules will:

1. Lead to a clamp down on the freedom of speech and expression enshrined in the Constitution of India by providing for a system of censorship/self-censorship by private parties;

2. Adversely affect the right to privacy of citizens by allowing Government agencies to access their information;

3. Will severely hamper the growth of internet penetration in India, and consequently lead to a slowdown of economic growth;

4. Limit the growth of various IT related industries and services (in particular cyber cafes, search engines and bloggers).

In addition, mandatory data retention would force the Internet Service Provider to create vast and expensive new databases of sensitive information about an individual. That information would then be available to the government, in secret and without any court oversight.

Annulment Motion in Rajya Sabha: Sh. P. Rajeev, Hon’ble Member of the Rajya sabha has moved an annulment motion to get these rules abolished and the motion has been admitted and is expected to come up in this budget session. The Bangalore MP Rajeev Chandrashekar has spoken in Parliament in support.  It’s also interesting to note that a professor of chemistry of the Jadavpur University was arrested recently along with his neighbour for allegedly posting a cartoon on a popular social networking site and forwarding emails, cases were booked under the IT ACT as well.

Thanks,

Save Your Voice Team,

www.saveyourvoice.in,

www.facebook.com/saveyourvoice

Contact no: 09717900302, 09810659060, 09336505530, 07499219770

 

Press Release

 

फ्रीडम फास्ट: इंटरनेट की आज़ादी के लिए जंतर मंतर पर जारी रहेगी अनिश्चित कालीन भूख हड़ताल

 

इंटरनेट सेंसरशिप के खिलाफ सेव योर वॉयस की भूख हड़ताल ‘फ्रीडम फास्ट’ का आज तीसरा दिन था. हम फ्री इंटरनेट और आजाद लबों की मांग को लेकर दो मई से अनशन पर बैठे हैं. हमें जन्तर मन्तर पर केवल ३ दिनो की ही अनुमति दी गई थी और सरकार इसे आगे बढ़ाने को राजी नही थी. पर यहाँ से पीछे हटना का विकल्प हमें पसंद नहीं आया और इसलिए हमने तय किया है कि हम बिना सरकारी मंजूरी के भी जंतर मंतर पर अपनी भूख हड़ताल तब तक जारी रखेंगे जब तक हमें सरकार और पालिटिकल पार्टियों से इस बारे में कोई ठोस जवाब नहीं मिलता.

 

हम सरकार से मांग कर रहे हैं कि आईटी एक्ट २०११ को हटाया जाए और इनकी जगह कुछ मजबूत कानूनों को लाकर इंटरनेट को मजबूती प्रदान की जाए. केरल के एक एमपी पी राजीव इस कानून को हटाने के लिये राज्य सभा में एक एनलमेंट मोशन लाए हैं जिस पर पार्टी सांसदों को वोट करना है. अब तक किसी भी पार्टी ने इस मोशन पर वोट करने के लिये हामी नहीं भरी है. अगर यह कानून इस सत्र में खत्म नहीं होता है तो हमें इस हटवाने में कई साल लग जाएंगे.

 

सेव योर वॉयस टीम

09717900302, 09810659060

www.saveyourvoice.in

www.facebook.com/saveyourvoice

 

The Left’s Untouchable


Why was Ambedkar’s critique of caste anathema for Indian Marxists?
MANASH BHATTACHARJEE, in Outlook Magazine
It’s an abiding mystery of Indian politics: why the Left has consistently shown an uneasy reluctance to seriously engage with B.R. Ambedkar’s thoughts. When Ambedkar pushed for the Poona Pact in 1932, demanding separate electorates for Dalits, the Indian Left kept its distance from the issue. Symptomatically, E.M.S. Namboodiripad wrote: “This was a great blow to the freedom movement. For this led to the diversion of people’s attention from the objective of full independence to the mundane cause of the upliftment of the Harijans.”

EMS’s reaction to the Poona Pact was in consonance with his reading of Indian history in Marxist terms. Borrowing crudely from Marx’s understanding of the history of slavery, EMS found the caste system, despite its exploitative structure, to be “a superior economic organisation”, which facilitated organised production through a systematic allocation of labour. He didn’t note Ambedkar’s sophisticated distinction between “division of labour” and “division of the labourer” (including the hierarchy within that division) in the casteist relations of production. The eternal fixedness of the labourer with regard to his birth (as the “subject” who “will bear its Father’s name”), and the religious sanction behind such an identity, were deemed unimportant. Being mostly from the upper castes, Left scholars avoided examining the assumptions of caste.

Since before Independence, the mainstream Left framed the class question safely within the nationalist question; for EMS and his comrades, this issue was not a diversion.

Ambedkar had the courage to push for a radical division within the framework of nationalist politics, by asking for separate electorates. By calling Ambedkar’s cause “mundane”, EMS drew a specious distinction between the working class and Dalits, holding the former to be “superior”. Through this, EMS betrayed his predominantly upper-caste mindset. He is an exemplar of progressive casteism in the history of Left politics and thinking in India. This led to lower castes and Dalits not finding a place in the party hierarchy.

The most insidious form of caste solidarity ignores and hides the stark fact that caste is part of what Althusser calls the “apparatus” of ideology and is based in material existence. Every form of social practice (and exploitation) in India is contextually casteist. It creates conditions of multiple prejudice between the bourgeois and the working class (where the scavenging class/caste goes unnamed). And this prejudice becomes part of the relations of production as caste introduces elements of segregation and humiliation within those relations. In the case of untouchables, one might in fact call it relations of waste, where the disposing of sewage, etc, is not accorded even the minimum standard of dignified working conditions.

Ambedkar pointed out how the class system had an “open-door character”, whereas castes were “self-enclosed units”. He gave a brilliant explanation of caste’s forced endogamy: “Some closed the door: others found it closed against them.” The image throws up a phenomenon opposite to the Kafkan idea of law: the (Hindu) gatekeeper of law, in Ambedkar’s explanation, is also the lawgiver, and he allows entry by birth, but no exit. Once entry has been secured in Hindu society, as Ambedkar argued, everyone who is not a Brahmin is an other. Hinduism is a uniquely self-othering social system, whose (touchable) norms are secured by declaring a brutal exception: untouchability.

In his comparison of Buddha and Marx, Ambedkar bypasses Marx’s idea of private property and keeps out the question of capital ownership. He also does not complicate the relation between ‘law’ and ‘government’. These appear to be limitations of the historical conjuncture of Dalit politics. But Ambedkar finds the materialist and non-violent character of Buddhism to be evoking another thinkable historical version of a Marxist society.

Some critics in the Indian Left see the Dalit movement as being merely a ‘politics of recognition’ and having no revolutionary potential. It is a shallow view of the movement against segregated exploitation that seeks to penetrate entrenched hegemony. The politics against untouchability demands more than good wages and working conditions: it asks for a reconfiguration of the socio-cultural space and the elimination of a violated and untouchable ‘bare life’.

Ambedkar had warned that the Indian socialist would have to “take account of caste after the revolution, if he does not take account of it before the revolution”.

In a discussion after the screening of his film, Jai Bhim Comrade, Anand Patwardhan said that even though Gandhi erred on the caste system, he did more against untouchability than the Left. Under the stark light of this observation, the Left must rethink its ideological history. Or else, the crisis of its political legitimacy may not outlive the warnings.

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