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Archives for : Arun Jaitley

O FM! Please bear with me; I reserve my right to disagree with you #Poem

ramu

A gentle reply to the Honourable FM

The evil that politics does would not have lived If not for these wretched writers who are so naive

 

BY- RAMU RAMANATHAN

Friends, Indians, countrymen, lend me your likes;
I come to defend a few writers, not to praise them.
The evil that politics does would not have lived
If not for these wretched writers who are so naive

FM Sir! He is so right –
Why should we talk about Mr D or Comrade P
When Hindustan has such a high single digit GDP
Plus everybody knows what happened to Mr K
He was shot, for having a tinge of reddish grey
It is the fault of the writer, the FM tells
These social socialists, behaving like pest
Constantly, manufacturing some protest
They don’t have a single paise to pay their rent
All they know is their -isms,
The honourable FM reasons
Writers of this land are: ideologically intolerant

Now
The FM, he is an honourable man;
The Culture Minister, too, is even more honourable–
In fact all of them are very honourable
So I must not speak aloud and in public
Even if a writer is my friend, fair and brave
Our national motto is: Bhayamev Jayate

Now
The FM says, writers are propagandists
And the FM and his boss are honourable men.
His boss hath brought many a selfie, home to Dilli
But have the RBI coffers with black money been filled?
Alas no! If a writer points this out
Then he is worse than a lout
When the humble dal is Rs 200 a kilo, the poor do cry
Tell me, at such times, should the writer tell a lie

Yet
The FM says writers lack national conscience
And the FM is a very honourable-learned lawyer.
You see everything he says, has a precedence …
Nayantara is a Nehru
– Salman is a pagan
– G Devy is an academic
– Amitav wrote only one book about the Delhi riots
– Ghulam Nabi Khayal is an intellectual
Srinath is a secularist
– Pragnya and Urmilla are feminists
– Pragnya and Urmilla are also Ambedkarites
Sambhaji is worse, a Marxist-Ambedkarite
Rajeev is an extinct species, a playwright

The above have fought many an ideological battle
Against all types of tyrannical talk and tattle
They been whipped, they been jailed
With their verse, the mighty have been nailed
Yet the FM says they are villains;
And knows, cause the FM is an honourable man.

I speak not to disprove what the FM spoke
But
Rajeev did distribute pamphlets in public loos
During the Emergency when he decided to do
Sambhaji still sings those people’s songs
Perhaps the FM feels, the tune is wrong
So some are labelled, green and budhi-heen
Others ain’t Right, cause they are Left
Words are typecast as Kannada, Gujarati, Punjabi, Konkani
If you don’t toe the line, then you become a Pakistani

It is this which causes me to mourn for the writer
O Art! Are you being fed to brutish beasts
O FM! Please bear with me;
I reserve my right to disagree with you
No doubt, your North Block is very powerful
Beware: The people of this land are no fools

  • See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/blogs/a-gentle-reply-to-the-honourable-fm/#sthash.Xv9abJQ7.dpuf

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#India – Whose budget is it anyway?

 

Brinda Karat

INADEQUATE ALLOCATION: Reduced plan expenditure directly hits funds for sectors which require a big increase in allocation, such as drinking water and sanitation.

PTI INADEQUATE ALLOCATION: Reduced plan expenditure directly hits funds for sectors which require a big increase in allocation, such as drinking water and sanitation.

The budget presented by Arun Jaitley is a continuation from where P. Chidambaram left off, both in its fundamental policy thrust and in its skewed priority in allocations

Modi Sarkar’s first budget offered the Prime Minister the opportunity to spell out his government’s priorities and take steps towards delivering the promises he made during his election campaign. But it was clear from Narendra Modi’s ‘Congress-free India’ slogan during the budget that he was interested only in the removal of individuals, not in a reversal of the economic policies followed by his predecessor.

Fiscal fundamentalism

This budget makes a mockery of the slogan sab ka saath sab ka vikas (with everyone, for everyone). Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said as much when he decried “populism”, which in the dictionary of the corporate world means any scheme which directs national resources towards fulfilling the needs of the poor. The budget presented by Mr. Jaitley is a continuation from where former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram left off, both in its fundamental policy thrust and in its skewed priority in allocations.

Mr. Chidambaram had also adopted the deceitful practice of not spending even the inadequate allocations he made. The gap between allocation and actual expenditure became an instrument to control deficit, while permitting the announcement of grandiose schemes. To illustrate, a sum of Rs.1,000 crore had been allocated for the Nirbhaya fund, but there was zero expenditure. Mr. Jaitley has conveniently used the lower revised estimates to conceal his own woefully inadequate allocations. It is to be seen whether even this lowered amount allocated is actually spent at the end of this fiscal.

This feature of fiscal fundamentalism adopted by the United Progressive Alliance government remains the cornerstone of National Democratic Alliance’s policy. Translated into the everyday experience of people, this basically means that the government will not expand its expenditure to meet their needs because it claims it cannot spend more than its revenue. However, it does not want to take the logical step of increasing its revenue by raising the tax rates for the rich, therefore trapping the country in its circular argument.

The total plan expenditure in this budget is Rs.5.75 lakh crore compared to the budget estimate of 2013-14 of Rs.5.55 lakh crore. Factoring in an inflation rate of seven per cent, this constitutes a cut of four per cent in real terms.

There are two aspects to the impact of reduced plan expenditure. The first is that it directly hits funds for rural housing, provision of drinking water and sanitation — sectors which require a big increase in allocation. It is unbelievable but true that the Rs.15,266.85 crore allocation made by Mr. Jaitley for provision of drinking water and sanitation has increased only marginally since the 2013-2014 budget. Obviously drinking water and sanitation are less of a priority than the statue of Sardar Patel for which the Finance Minister has generously allotted Rs.200 crore.

Equally disturbing is the denial of any increased expenditure for the MGNREGA programme. The budget has reduced the funds available in real terms. With a drought being predicted, a huge expansion of the programme to provide drought relief to the 60 per cent agriculture-dependent working population of our country was essential. But the Rs.33,000 crore allocation made by Mr. Chidambaram — which itself was a reduced allocation — has been essentially repeated by this budget. This means that instead of creating jobs, we are destroying them.

The government is also the largest employer of women. Today more than Rs.50 lakh scheme workers, mainly women, fulfil responsibilities equal to those of government employees, but for a pittance. Shamefully, the budget does not have anything for them. How can you have a slogan of beti bachao, beti padhao (save your daughter, educate your daughter) when the basic unit responsible for looking after the girl child in the under-five age group, the anganwadi centre, is being starved of funds?

The Finance Minister received loud applause when he stated his aim to fulfil the Prime Minister’s dream of developing infrastructure, especially road connectivity throughout the country. He announced Rs.37,880 crore for the National Highway Authority of India and State Roads, including Rs.3,000 crore for the Northeast. A closer look at the figures reveals that far from an improvement, these represent a cut in allocations from earlier.

The second aspect is that fiscal policies, obsessed with maintaining an arbitrarily decided lakshman rekha for deficit, in this case the Chidambaram-determined 4.1 per cent, will deprive the economy to be kick-started through massive public investment for employment-led growth. The approach to resource mobilisation is to open up every sector — from defence to highways to real estate — to foreign investors and domestic corporates. The plan to push FDI in insurance to 49 per cent from the present 26 per cent will actualise the Indo-U.S. Forum demand, which was resisted by vast sections of the working people.

The pro-business bias has to be seen in conjunction with the stated moves to dilute the already weak Land Acquisition Act to make takeover of land easier for industry. The emphasis on expanding industrial corridors, many of which will go through tribal and Fifth Schedule areas to benefit mining companies, will lead to large-scale displacement and elimination of tribal rights. These are the hidden costs of the budget.

No change in direction

The other big promise was to control prices but the budget will actually increase them. The cuts in fuel subsidies by about Rs.22,000 crore means that the prices of petrol and diesel will increase, leading to a cascading impact on other essential commodities. At the same time, the allocations for the food subsidy are not adequate to cover implementation of the new food security law.

There was an alternative but that would have meant a radical change in direction. That path lay in raising taxes of the corporates and the rich. But Mr. Modi has not raised tax on their profits at all. The revenue from direct taxes is slated to decrease by Rs.22,000 crore. This at a time when India has one of the lowest tax-GDP ratios of 10.6 per cent among the G20 countries.

Instead, for revenue mobilisation, Mr. Jaitley also targets disinvestment in PSUs at Rs.55,000 crore. The target for Mr. Chidambaram’s disinvestment was around Rs.40,000 crore, of which he could collect about Rs.21,000 crore because the corporates wanted the price of the shares they were buying in the PSUs to be even lower. These policies are disastrous for the economy.

The Prime Minister has described the budget as new hope for the poor. If producing a budget that is based on liberalisation and privatisation provides hope for the poor in Mr. Modi’s understanding, then the question clearly is: have burre din (bad days) arrived?

(Brinda Karat is a CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and former member of the Rajya Sabha.)

 

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#Budget2014 – Some Keywords in the Finance Minister’s Speech

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Keyword
Number of citations
Details
Investment
34
Growth
31
Children
0
(“girl child” is mentioned, and even gets Rs 100 cores!)
Integrated Child Development Services
0
Midday meals/school meals/MDM
0
Maternity/maternity entitlements
0
National Rural Health Mission
0
National food security act
0
Pensions (other than organized sector)
0
Social security
1
“Government is fully committed to the social security and welfare of
employees serving in the organized sector.”
Food security
2
“Food Security: 91. Government is committed to reforms in the food sector. Restructuring FCI, reducing transportation and distribution losses and efficacy of PDS would be taken up on priority. 92. Government is also committed to provide wheat and rice at reasonable prices to the weaker sections of the society. Even if due to inadequate rainfall there is a marginal decline in agriculture production, stocks in the Central pool are adequate to meet any exigency. Government shall, when required, undertake open market sales to keep prices under control.”
Nutrition
2
“Malnutrition: 72. A national programme in Mission Mode is urgently required to halt the deteriorating malnutrition situation in India, as present interventions are not adequate. A comprehensive strategy including detailed methodology, costing,
time lines and monitorable targets will be put in place within six months.”
NREGA/employment guarantee
2
“MGNREGA: 47. The Government is committed to providing wage and self-employment opportunities in rural areas. However, wage employment would be provided under MGNREGA through works that are more productive, asset creating and substantially linked to agriculture and allied activities.”
Sanitation
3
30. The need for sanitation is of utmost importance. Although the Central Government is providing resources within its means, the task of total sanitation cannot be achieved without the support of all. The Government intends to cover every household by total sanitation by the year 2019… through Swatchh Bharat Abhiyan.”

 

compiled by Jean Dreze 

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#Budget2014 – Farewell to Welfare – Patch work schemes for Rural Development

Farewell to welfare

Posted on: 10 Jul, 2014

The budget is a patch work of abandoned schemes revived or existing ones being re-named. This is all for rural development

“One fails only when one stops trying.” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley rose to present his budget with these profound words. After more than two hours of speech—the budget speech comprised 16,536 words, one of the highest in recent past—with a highly unusual five-minute break, specially requested by him, Jaitley appeared to have failed as he simply “stopped trying”. The budget, the first for the new government, looks like a standard company account with debit and credit entries. Except for the revival of some controversial projects taken up during the NDA government 10 years ago – the Special Economic Zones and the River inter-linking project – and renaming a few ongoing programmes, the budget doesn’t have anything new to offer, either in the form of policy or by way of practices involving governance.

First, let’s look at the rural development programmes. The employment guarantee scheme, MGNREGA, that always accounts for a major chunk of the central budget, got a mention in four lines with the absurd articulation that government will use the labour under the scheme only for creating productive assets. The law already has “non-negotiable” provisions for the same since its inception. Is it a deliberate attempt of the finance minister to give a political message that the earlier government’s programme, however important or critical it may be, needs to be ignored? The suspicion got stronger as one waited for the budget speech to mention other similar flagship programmes of the earlier UPA government. Jaitley didn’t mention the Food Security Act, there was no mention of the rural health mission, no mention of the conditional cash transfer programme like the Janani Suraksha Yojana. There was also no mention of the Direct Benefit Transfer programme.

If the core programmes of the earlier government didn’t get any political weightage in his speech, what new thing did he suggest for the rural development sector? Before the budget he said in public interactions that mindless populism is to be avoided. But let’s have a quick look at some of his new programmes.

He made 13 specific allocations for programmes targeted at the rural population, besides many more policy and intent expressions. Out of the 13, all are either re-orientation of existing programmes into schemes with names of BJP-related personalities or revival of a few programmes taken up during the last NDA government (1998-2004). Take for example, the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana. With Rs1,000 crore allocation to  aid access to irrigation in rainfed areas, this is just a reframing of the much maligned Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Scheme already in existence. Similarly, the Kisan Vikas Patra, a definitely popular investment bond, has been revived to fund public agriculture investment.

The other flagship idea of Modi, “Skill India”, is no different from the ongoing National Skill Development Mission initiated by the former prime minister, Manomohan Singh. It does talk about the enhancement of traditional skills. Similarly, the Swatchh Bharat Abhiyan, the mission to help India achieve total sanitation by 2019, is a just a renaming of the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan.

Poor get the short shrift

On the specific issue of better targeting of subsidies to the beneficiaries, the budget makes just a passing remark—that there will be a review—even though this is an issue that needs urgent attention. Due to lack of proper targeting and identification of beneficiaries, huge public investment for the poor have gone wasted. But we didn’t get a ring side view of the government’s vision on this.

Read more here-  http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/farewell-welfare#.

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Arun Jaitley had advised Dow Chemicals that it had no liability #WTFnews

 

 

Arun Jaitley - India Economic Summit 2010

Arun Jaitley – India Economic Summit 2010 (Photo credit: World Economic Forum)

 

Arun Jaitley may not have provided legal advise to Dow Jones but he certainly has provided legal advise to the Dow Chemical Company (TDCC) by supporting Dow’s claim that it has no legal obligation to take on the liability of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), the absconding accused in the Bhopal disaster criminal case and which is wholly owned by Dow since 2001.

 

Jaitley had even argued said that since it was a different company, Dow Chemicals did not have to inherit the liabilities of Union Carbide after acquiring it.

 

In his 15-page advice, Jaitely wrote, “It can be concluded in the light of above factual matrix, the Querist (Dow) cannot be treated as responsible or liable directly or indirectly or under civil or criminal proceedings for the Bhopal gas tragedy.”

He noted that the “SC Monitoring Committee (on hazardous waste) and apex court are fully seized of the mater of the plan site remediation in respect of Bhopal. Hence the querist is entitled to content that unless the SC gives a categorical direction on the plant site remediation at Bhopal in respect to the queriest (Dow), the querist cannot be made liable in any manner”.

 

 

 

Please find

 

Mr.Jaitley’s opinion in this regard in the attached file.

 

Opinion-Arun+Jaitley

 

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Will disability rights bill get passed by Parliament ?

Date:Feb 21, 2014

Activists divided over provisions of the bill

The ongoing session of the Parliament was the last hope for all those who have been demanding the enactment of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill that seeks to broaden the definition of disability. This is the last Parliament session of the Congress-led UPA II government, with Friday as its last day, and the house has not been able to pass the bill.

When the bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha on February 7, one section of the civil society did not wish not to pass the bill while another wanted it to be made into a law at the earliest. The first group is not satisfied with the provisions of the bill; they term it ‘retrograde’ and want it withdrawn. The second section wanted the bill passed as it had taken many years to reach this stage.

Javed Abidi of Disabled Rights Group said, “We are trying hard to get the bill passed. We met UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, vice-president of All India Congress Committee Rahul Gandhi, leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha and BJP leader Arun Jaitley”. He added, “They all were willing to pass the bill. Though there is a change in Arun Jaitley’s stance after opposition from one section of people which finds problem in the existing legislation.”

The activist also said that the bill was being opposed because of its flaws. But it is wrong to expect any law or bill to be perfect. Talking about positive aspects, he said that the bill has extended the list of diseases from seven to 19 and now includes cerebral palsy, chronic neurological conditions, mental illness, sickle cell disease, thalassemia and muscular dystrophy besides autism spectrum disorder and blindness.

The bill has also proposed reservation for disabled in public sector and higher education. Reservations in public sector will increase from the existing three per cent to five per cent.

However, those who are opposing the bill are not satisfied with the logic.  According to them, the bill should not be hurried as there is no need for an act which does not fulfill the needs of disabled persons.

On February 18, various organisations engaged in the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities, announced the formation of an All India Disability Alliance to ask for a better bill.

“We are criticising UPA government for its lack of seriousness towards millions of disabled across the country. We have reservation against the manner in which the government intends to pass the important legislation,” said Amba Salelkar from Inclusive Planet Centre for Disability Law and Policy, a non-profit working for India’s compliance with UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

She said that the bill, in its present form, “threatens the rights of persons with disabilities” and will undo the support given by Supreme Court. Last year, in October, the apex court had directed central and state government to provide at least three per cent reservation in government’s job for disabled persons. But, the judgement also offered leverage to the government for selecting job profiles especially suitable to the disabled. It means the discrimination will exist even after the bill turns into law. According to the alliance, Section 3 (3) of the bill says that the right against discrimination exists “unless it can be shown that the impugned act or omission is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”. The terms “proportionate means” and “legitimate aim” are highly subjective, which can further fuel discrimination.

Need a bill that overrides other discriminatory laws

The alliance pointed out that the bill fails to minimise or repeal the provisions of other existing laws which discriminate against persons with disabilities. All those laws contain applicability clause like a blind person can or cannot do certain jobs. The new bill allows for these legislation to prevail (as they do at present), including involuntary institutionalisation of persons with disabilities and denial of legal capacity to persons with disabilities.

The alliance also alleged that this is the ‘charity model’ of UPA government and is contrary to country’s obligations under UNCRPD.

It was lack of government’s commitment which resulted in tabling an older version of Rights of the Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014, because the amendments approved by the Union Cabinet were not printed in time. Citing these facts, the alliance demanded that Parliament should refer the bill to an appropriate parliamentary committee and a discussion and consultation should take place.

P Muralidharan of National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD), a collaboration of many NGOs fighting for rights of the disabled, said that the earlier version of the bill (2011-12) was better than the bill that has been tabled now. The activist also alleged that the government has not done anything. The first draft bill of rights for disabled was finalised in 2011. After some issues raised by civil society, the ministry released a draft bill in 2012. It was not as comprehensive as earlier one and it again was opposed by various stakeholders.

Following this, the new draft was circulated to various ministries and states. When it was brought before Parliament in this session, people found many undesired changes had been made.

The process of drafting the new law started over four years back in 2009 when a committee was set up by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. A committee was then mandated to draft a bill for rights of the disabled.

“With election approaching, the government seems in hurry to pass all the bills. Though there is a slight possibility that the bill will get passed amid the chaos, but, if passed, it will not serve the purpose,” he added.

Abidi, however, did not agree, saying identification of jobs has been happening for years now. “I support their demands but it will take time as no miracle is going to happen. SC/STs have not been able to get reservation in private sector after years of demand, so how will the disabled get it. I am saying this is not the end of the road,” he said. Highlighting a positive aspect of the bill, he explained that after 1995, when the first Act on the subject materialised, it was the first phase of our fight, and now the campaign will enter its second phase.

All organizations fighting for jobs for disabled argue that India ratified the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in 2007. With this, it was expected that all the four disability specific legislation—the Mental Health Act 1987, Rehabilitation Council of India Act 1992, Persons with Disability (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995 and the National Trust Act 1999 would be made into law by incorporating provisions of UNCRPD.

Though, the government tabled few bills like Mental Health Care Bill, this bill, which was supposed to replace the 1995 Disability Act, was delayed continuously for six years. Despite facing hurdles, the mental health care bill was finally sent to a parliamentary committee.

 

Read more here — http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/will-disability-rights-bill-get-passed-parliament-session

 

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Somnath Bharti fails to appear before Delhi’s Commission for Women, flies kite at an event

TNN | Jan 24, 2014, 07.59 PM IST

 
Somnath Bharti fails to appear before Delhi's Commission for Women, flies kite at an event
Somnath Bharti inaugurated the 3rd International Kite Festival near old Yamuna Bridge in Delhi on Friday.
NEW DELHI: Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti on Friday failed to appear before the Delhi Commission for Women, but did attend a kite flying festival in the national capital.

Somnath Bharti who sent his lawyers to represent him in the commission was seen flying kites at the 3rd International Kite Festival, near old Yamuna Bridge, in the city.

Somnath Bharti inaugurated the festival.

Meanwhile, at the Delhi Commission for Women’s office his lawyers had a public spat with panel chief Barkha Singh after she refused to entertain them.

One of Bharti’s lawyers Rishikesh Kumar told the women’s panel chief that the minister may not be able to attend Friday’s meeting due to some emergencies and hence had sent the lawyers.

“I have been asked by Somnath Bharti to represent him in today’s proceeding. I came here at 3pm and as I entered inside I saw many camerapersons were already present there. So I said that it’s already 3 o’clock and we have been sent by Bharti to represent him,” he said.

“We were told lawyers cannot represent. I said I have got the instructions. I have got the authorization and can you please let me speak? Then she said no, you are a lawyer. But I kept saying that we have a humble submission. I told her that because of some urgencies Bharti might not be able to attend today’s hearing,” Kumar said.

DCW had summoned Bharti following allegations that the Delhi minister led a group of AAP workers who misbehaved with a number of African women on the pretext of a raid on an alleged drug and prostitution ring in south Delhi last week.

The law minister was asked to depose before the commission on Friday afternoon to explain the charges against him but he sent his lawyers, who said he was absent due to “some urgencies”.

DCW chief Barkha Singh said the commission had asked the minister to depose before it and would not accept explanation of his lawyers.

The AAP had on Thursday decided to back Bharti and to await the findings of a judicial inquiry before any action can be taken against him. However, the political affairs committee (PAC) of the party chaired by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal disapproved of the language used by Bharti against senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley and noted lawyer Harish Salve and asked him not to use foul language in public discourse.

Kumar said Bharti will file a written reply as the minister had received four separate compliants by four different women. “We are going through the letters of complaints and will soon file a written reply because we have got the notice and we don’t want to evade the due process of law and duly authorised representative can speak on behalf of the law minister. That’s what we are trying do but there was already a lot of chaos,” he said.

(With inputs from PTI)

 Read more— http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Somnath-Bharti-fails-to-appear-before-Delhis-Commission-for-Women-flies-kite-at-an-event/articleshow/29313114.cms?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
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#India – Dream Team “Nation’s Cyclone of Change” or, Who’s Who in the Pantheon of Indian Fascism

Amit Shah: Alias Mr Amnesia Shah, his standard response to all questions asked about his role in the carefully-planned encounter killings of 2003–2006 was ‘I don’t remember’; charged with extortion, murder and criminal conspiracy (in chargesheets filed between 2010 and 2012) and currently out on bail, Shah was even banned by the Supreme Court from entering Gujarat. In an interview to Headlines Today dated 21 Oct., 2013 he defended all the Gujarat encounter killings as directed at ‘anti-nationals’ and simultaneously disclaimed any prior knowledge of them. You can’t have it both ways, Amitbhai! What else was Vanzara saying to you?
Narendra Modi: Puffed up monster, constructed by the RSS and the media to win the hearts and minds of ‘the youth’. And why is he a youth icon? Because he was in charge when over 2000 Indians were slaughtered in Gujarat in 2002 and did nothing to stop the slaughter; because he spent crores of rupees to make sure Gujarat doesn’t have an independent lokayukta; ask yourself why he moves heaven and hell to make sure no independent authority can investigate potential charges of corruption in his state. The man comes across as neanderthal and monosyllabic, but there are powerful forces at work to make everyone believe he is the most ‘popular’ politician India has ever had…ever…Adept at body language, Modi has made it abundantly clear that he enjoys a specially close relationship with Mukesh Ambani. ‘Sarkaar garibon ke liye hoti hai’, indeed!
Yashwant Sinha: Walking economic disaster; both occasions when he was Finance Minister India’s economy saw severe economic downturns! In 1990 all the gold in the RBI’s vaults was shipped off to the Bank of England as collateral for a loan, and in March 2001, ‘soon after Sinha presented his Budget, India experienced one of its worst market crashes: about $32 billion worth of market capitalisation was wiped out that month’. Nor was his grasp of principle any stronger. In December 1992 he had publicly denounced the RSS/BJP as ‘obscurantist, fundamentalist and fascist’ only to join the BJP nine months later.

Uma Bharati: Firebrand demolisher of the temples of other communities; famous recently for her shameless public defense of the rapist godman Asaram whose empire of crime is matched only by the extent of Bharati’s own moksha from hatred and desire.

Arun Jaitley: The urbane face of a sordid underbelly; has spearheaded a rowdy parliamentary opposition that has systematically deranged the functioning of parliament for over 2 years, with huge benefits to the country of course; a strong supporter of Modi, Jaitley recently wrote a letter to the PM that is replete with deliberate distortions to create the impression that Amit Shah is being made the subject of dastardly persecution by the Central Government. ‘The CBI arrested Amit Shah with no prosecutable evidence against him’ (!!) says the letter, and this in the face of a 30,000-page chargesheet filed by the CBI!

Nitin Gadkari: Recently shown to be a model of corporate governance; has concocted boards of directors with as much imagination as his chauffeur shows at the red light. Widely acknowledged as the country’s leading authority on fake investing companies and fictitious addresses – Gadkari would be better off writing scripts for Bollywood but is crucial to the RSS money laundering machine. When his son Nikhil got married 3 years ago, the food alone is said to have cost Rs 5 crores. That is roughly equivalent to half a million white-collar lunches if each lunch costs, say, Rs 100/-. But don’t forget, ‘Sarkaar garibon ke liye hoti hai’, as Modi said in Kanpur.

 
Sushma Swaraj: Official leader of her parliamentary stormtroopers; as a woman, deeply committed to the emancipation of women in India – e.g. she recently described any woman who has been raped as a ‘living corpse’(!)
Mohan Bhagwat: RSS chief; such a sharp observer of his own country that he astonished many with his insight that rural India is free of sexual violence because of the high regard for women in traditional Indian culture; so now we know…(Bhagwat made his statement after extensive interviews with Dalit women. And what happened in the villages of Gujarat in 2002?)
B. S. Yeddyurappa: The notoriously corrupt former Chief Minister of Karnataka who was hung out to dry by the party’s central command, then split to form his own largely caste-based party and is now desperate to rejoin an alliance with the BJP, since he sees Modi as India’s salvation – from independent Lokayuktas no doubt. (BSY was arrested in October 2011 following a warrant issued by the Lokayukta court. Modi is keen to have Yeddyurapa’s backing in Karnataka. What unites them of course is the high level of integrity each of them has shown with respect to independent Lokayuktas and their investigations!)
 
Meenakshi Lekhi: Another SC lawyer (like Jaitley) but much less sophisticated and part of the BJP’s media mob; no one symbolises the crass combination of the hatred of India’s upper classes for the mass of their own population with repulsive communal views better than Ms Lekhi; this cocktail of class and communal bigotry was spewed forth with remarkable candour when she described Ishrat Jahan (murdered in Shah’s crusade against ‘anti-nationals’) as a ‘fit case’ for being a terrorist since she came from a ‘deprived background’. Well, then, Ms Lekhi, you and the Bharatiya Jihadi Party have your work cut out for you, with some 900 million ‘fit cases’ round the corner.
Now, seriously, who can ask for a better team than this? 

 

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Why is BJP afraid of CBI? Jaitely’s Letter to PM exposes Modi’s lurking fear

 October 5, 2013 | 

On 1st October, 2013, the leader of the opposition Shri Arun Jaitely, who is also an established lawyer, wrote a seven page long letter to the Prime Minister bitterly complaining against CBI conducting the investigations of the fake encounters in Gujarat.the grievance of Jaitely is that the CBI was trying to politically victimize Modi. This is what Jaitely said:

The CBI targeted Shri Amit Shah, the then Home Minister and also the Minister of Law, Transport & Parliamentary Affairs of the State of Gujarat with the ultimate desire of implicating Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

The entire letter of Jaitley is nothing but a frivolous and misconceived presentation of false allegations to mislead the Prime Minister as well as the nation and therefore requires to be countered publicly. As Dr Mukul Sinha, appears as the Advocate of Rubabuddin Sheikh, Brother of deceased Sohrabuddin Sheikh, Narmadabai, Mother of deceased Tulsi Prajapati and Gopinath Pillai, Father of deceased Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh, he has sent a detailed rejoinder to the letter of Jaitley to the Prime Minister to counter the lies.

We are reproducing a concise summary of the rejoinder herein below for understanding why BJP is resorting to such lies and subterfuge to derail the CBI enquiry. Another issue that has been raised by Jaitely is the murder of the former Home Minister of Gujarat Shri Haren Pandya on 26.3.2003. The High Court has acquitted all the accused and Ms Jagruti Pandya is seeking the reopening of the case to find out who had actually murdered her husband. The demand of the wife has unnerved the BJP leaders and to pre-empt the reinvestigation they have started making the allegation of political malafides against the Congress which has nothing to do with the issue.

We have summarised the counter to Jaitely by reproducing Jaitely’s allegations in itallics as follows:

 

12 Q AND A

1. The vast contemporaneous record shows that Shri R.K.Pandian, IPS had been regularly in telephonic contact of Shri Amit Shah much before and after the incident as a part of his official duty since he was also heading the charge of SP, IB(Intelligence) of the State Police looking after political agitations and political activities

 

Ans 1: RK Pandian was not the SP, IB (intelligence) of Gujarat State policewhen Tulsiram Prajapati was killed by Gujarat Police on December 28th 2006. In fact,RK Pandian was transferred to the post of IB Intelligence on 23rd March 2007, much after Tulsi was murdered. The periods of phone calls are in between these two murders and peaked around the date of murder of Tulsi).

2. The encounter in which one Sohrabuddin Sheikh was killed was an operation allegedly directed by the Intelligence Bureau of the Central Government.
3. After his encounter on 24/25-11-2005 his brother filed a Writ Petition in the Supreme Court.

Ans2-3 Both the assertions 2 and 3 are patently false. On the basis of a letter written by Rubabuddin Sheikh dated 6th January 2006 Supreme Courtdirected Gujarat Government to do a preliminary inquiry which was entrusted to VL Solanki who had conducted the preliminary inquiry PE No 66/2006 and the complaint was filed against Special Task Force Rajasthan and Anti Terrorist Squad Gujarat. There was no mention whatsoever of either IB Central or SIB Gujarat or any intelligence input received from these intelligence organizations.

In the ATR filed before the Suprme Court, Gujarat Police (and not CBI) admitted that there were reasons to believe that Sohrabuddin and Kausarbi were adbucted and Sohrabuddin was killed by Gujarat Police on 26th November 2006 in Ahmedabad. Rubabuddin Sheikh had filed a habeas corpous petition on 19th January 2007.Supreme Court had ordered the Gujarat Police to start the investigation of the fake encounter and Shri Rajnish Rai IPS, DIG CID Crime Gujarat Police arrested DG Vanzara IPS, Rajkumar Pandian IPS and Dinesh MN IPS were arrested by Rajnish Rai of Gujarat Police on 24th April 2007. The first charge sheet was filed by Geeta Johri.

 

More here- http://www.truthofgujarat.com/bjp-afraid-cbi-jaitelys-letter-pm-exposes-modis-lurking-fear/

 

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#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.

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