Spreading the light of humanity & freedom
- Mahatma Gandhi
The need for a Judges Accountability Bill
By Vicky Nanjappa
Off late there have been reports galore regarding judges being offered sites or houses under the discretionary quota of the Chief Minister. Recently there was an expose at the Orissa High Court. Prior to this there were reports from Karnataka and also another report which spoke about how the Narendra Modi government had offered prime lands to judges of the High Court.
The big question is whether judges deserve such treatment from the state government considering the fact that the government is the biggest litigant before any court in the country? Is this an illegality or is it corruption?
Justice Santhosh Hegde, former judge of the Supreme Court of India says it is illegal to accept sites under the discretionary quota. Judges ought to know that while accepting such sites they are succumbing to temptation. They have to examine any such offer and find out properly whether it is in accordance with law or not. It is very dangerous to accept such favours since in the days to come it would hold against themselves.
Speaking of a judges accountability bill, well there is one but it has not come out as yet. This has been loitering around for some years now and it is time that something is done about it. In fact while we were discussing the Lokpal bill this was one of the primary contentions during the debate. Either the government had to include it into the Lokpal Bill or make functional the judges accountability bill. However there was a lot of misunderstanding regarding this. All I said was it was not right to leave out the judges when we are fighting corruption. They should include this portion into the Lokpal bill. However once the Judges Accountability Bill is made functional then it could be deleted out of the Lokpal bill. There was no need to keep this in abeyance until that happened. When this issue is being argued and fought for the past 44 years then it is impertive for the government to include it.
Senior Advocate in the Karnataka High Court, Navkesh Batra is of the view that taking sites under the discretionary quota is nothing but corruption. First and foremost Judges are not entitled for a site under this quota. This quota is meant for poor people, outstanding people including judges. It cannot be given as a bul allotment as it amounts to nothing but a sop. When the government is the biggest litigant before any court in India then such a sop does not instill confidence in the public and it would be better if both the government and the judiciary abstains from such an act. Here I would like to quote the incident involving the great Justice R A Jagirdhar of the Bombay High Court. In fact he was the only judge who refused to apply for a site despite a request by the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra. He even went one step further and at a public function when the CM sought to shake his hand he publicly rebuked him by saying, ” Mr CM your cases are pending before the high court. As a high court judge I refuse to shake your hand.”
PHOTOS: THE HINDU, JEEMON JACOB
Who can refuse a good piece of land in Chennai city? It’s a way of rewarding people for good work done. No inquiry has been conducted in this matter so far. Discretionary quota is the prerogative of the government. After RTI came into existence, several activists are taking up the matter in court. Basically, there is no control mechanism or checks and balances. There is little transparency while awarding the GDQ — the plots are allotted without formal applications.
Yes, I was allotted a plot in Thiruvanmiyur Extension. Initial payment for the plot was Rs. 25 lakh. I never had that much money. So I requested the government to reduce the price. But there was no response. I did not want a house to compromise my integrity. So I never took possession. Later, in 2009, the government ordered a vigilance inquiry against me and cancelled the allotment. Frankly, I was not aware about the TNHB rules that bars a person having a plot, a flat or a house from claiming another plot.
Yes, it is a way of making you a part of the syndicate. Plots or flats are given to those civil servants, judges or relatives of the bureaucrats or politicians for complying with certain requirements. There is no procedure for IAS or IPS officers to get a land or plot or flat in a transparent manner. So everybody uses short cuts.
By Madhu Chandra
The Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 (AFSPA) is a draconian and xenophobic law. It is draconian law because section 4 (a) of the AFSPA gives power to armed forces personnel to shoot at anyone suspicious, section 4 (b) to destroy the shelter of the armed rebels and section 4 (c) to search and arrest without warrant. This means that any army personnel can shoot at anyone suspected to have a gun. The section 6 of the AFSPA protects armed force personnel who carry out such actions from prosecution, suit or legal proceedings unless there is previous sanction from the Central Government.
After theThangjamManoram case in 2004, over 100 Manipuri women protested by stripping themselves naked in front of Kangla Fort Assam Rifle camp in order to challenge this section of the Act. Thereafter, the Central Government of India granted permission to prosecute army personnel involved in raping and killing. However, there is not even a single case where prosecution was carried out against any armed forces personnel under AFSPAwithout somewhat of a public outcry.
AFSPA is a xenophobic law because it is selectively imposed upon seven North East Indian states - Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura and extended to Jammu and Kashmir, but does not apply to the rest of the country.
There is no need to repeat the debate that AFSPA has failed to solve insurgency challenges; rather, it has only intensified the problem. Not much ideological debateis possible on the subject of why youngsters take up arms. How can we solve the problem without using armed violence? It will be worth focusing on other alternative to solve the five decades old socio-political crisis of North East India region.
The nation observed the 27th anniversary of India’s Prime Minister - Indira Gandhi’s assassination on October 31. The Ministry of Development for North East Region (DoNER) had an advertisement in The Times of India about the message of development initiated by Indira Gandhi in North East India!
Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi initiated the negotiation between Government of India with Mizoram’s separatist insurgents in 1971. Indira Gandhi was assassinated in 1984 before she could present a solution to the problem. Thereafter, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi carried on the negotiations and achieved a solution in 1986.
The chapter of insurgency in Mizoram finally came to an end on June 30, 1986 with the signing of the Mizoram Peace Accord between the underground government of the Mizo National Front and the Government of India. Under the terms of the peace accord, Mizoram was granted statehood in February 1987.
The continuous negotiations and honest initiative from the Central Government of India brought a solution to the insurgencies in Mizoram, which lasted for 25 years from 1961 to 1986.
In dealing with the challenges of insurgency in North East India, could adopting the solutions that the Government of India arrived at with the insurgents of Mizoram be a means of solving insurgency problems in North East India as a whole?
Mizoram’s Problem Solved, AFSPA NOT Lifted
The problem of insurgency in Mizoram came to the end after singing the Mizoram Peace Accord in 1986. Since then Mizoram has been a peaceful state. Mizoram has highest literacy rate in whole of India today and it would have never been possible without solving the insurgency problem. It was not guns but honest, on-the-table negotiations that made this possible.
Interestingly, there was no attempt from the Government of India to lift AFSPA from Mizoram after the end of insurgency! Such a move might have conveyed to the whole region the message that AFSPA is not a permanent law and it will not remain in effect once the states become normal.
Winning people’sconfidence is the need of hour. So the best gesture at this moment could be lifting AFSPA from those states which have returned to normal life.
My Personal Observation
The people of Mizoram have returned to a peaceful life, but they are still under this draconian law. I have recently travelled from Aizwal, the state capital, to Champhai, a small town at Indo-Burma boarder. In all honesty, I did not see a single armed forces personnel except one or two police officers in uniform at check posts. Peaceful life has returned to Mizoram, but the shadow of AFSPA still hangs over the state.
The Mizoram State Assembly must pass a resolution to recommend to the Government of India to lift the AFSPA from entire territory of Mizoram. Once AFSPA isremovedfrom Mizoram, it will send out a message to the region that negotiations initiated by Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi led to a permanent and long lasting solution in Mizoram.
Last but not the least, after the fake encounter killings at Imphal on July 23, 2009,Tehelka exposed the dictatorial nature of Manipur police commandos in the state of Manipur. The state kept burning for months; the Central Governmenttook notice, and gave strict orders to law-enforcing agencies to refrain from any form of human rights violation. Since then, the killing has abated in Manipur and AFSPA has been lifted partially from the Great Imphal areas. But it still remains for the Union Home ministry to monitor the situation and consider the sentiment of the people of this peaceful state in favor of lifting the AFSPA from the entire state.
Madhu Chandra is a research scholar and social activist based in New Delhi. He works as Spokesperson of North East Support Centre & Helpline (www.nehelpline.net).
Thousands of cases of atrocities against the Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes are found to be unreported & unregistered due to political clot of the upper caste Brahmins who exercise money power as well muscle power to nip such cases in the bud In the existing atmosphere of deep rooted prejudice I am of the opinion that even a Dalit Prime Minister can not prevent atrocities against the Dalits in India unless or until mentality of the larger section of the people is not changed in favour of the Dalits in India . The Dalits have rightly nursed serious apprehensions and insist that Hinduism played a role in their social oppression. Sections of the secular lobby have rejected Hinduism as irrational and unscientific. The cultural nationalists have given it a bad image through their strident advocacy of a militant and aggressive Hindutva. Many feminists are shocked by patriarchal texts like the Manu Shastras. These are enough reasons for the liberal intellectual to consider throwing the baby out with the bath water. With all these serious anomalies would it not be better that Hinduism is at least ignored, insofar as that is possible, since it is unlikely to die a natural death in the near future ? Dr Ambedkar embraced Buddhism ,a religion of peace and p rosperity and adviced millions of so called Dalits to follow suit to lead a dignified life .
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date : 12/11/2011…………………………..your's sincerely,
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