International Scholarly Open Access Research (ISOAR)

Leave a Comment

International Scholarly Open Access Research (ISOAR)

Link to ISOAR - International Scholarly Open Access Reseach

Sustainable Development Strategies and Approaches

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 01:54 AM PST

Community Planning Principles and Guidelines

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 01:54 AM PST

Attacks By Cow Vigilantes Must Stop: SC Tells States

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 01:54 AM PST

To begin with, the Supreme Court on September 6 made it clear in no uncertain terms that attacks on innocents by cow vigilantes must stop. It took a great step towards preventing crimes and violence committed by cow vigilante groups by directing States to appoint a senior cop as nodal officer in each district to monitor such incidents and ensure that culprits are nabbed promptly and punished swiftly. It is really a very good step which shall go a long way in checking attacks and violence by cow vigilantes which till now largely went unhindered and unabated.

                                             While craving for the exclusive indulgence of my esteemed readers, let me inform them that a group of petitioners led by Congress spokesperson Tehseen Poonawala and Tushar Gandhi who is the great grandson of the legendary Mahatma Gandhi gave instances where persons were lynched, minors tortured and women raped by men claiming to be part of cow-protecting army. According to senior advocate and former Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising, representing Gandhi, the crimes mostly occurred on mere suspicion that the victims were transporting cows for slaughter or had consumed beef. Jaising pointed out that most of the violent incidents had occurred on highways.
                        Protect highways

                                        For my esteemed readers exclusive indulgence, let me also inform them that the Supreme Court directed the Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Police to take steps to protect the highways from vigilante mobs. The Court directed the Centre to respond to a submission by senior advocate Indira Jaising for Tushar Gandhi, that the government cannot wash its hands of its constitutional responsibility under Article 256. The Centre should reply to this argument in the spirit of "cooperative federalism".
                                              For the uninitiated, let me inform them that a three-Judge Bench of Supreme Court comprising of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices Amitava Roy and AM Khanwilkar was hearing an intervention by Mahatma Gandhi's grandson, Tushar Gandhi, about the lack of responsibility and accountability shown by the Centre and State administrations as vigilante groups wreaked havoc and resorted to murder in broad daylight in the name of the cow. This is completely unacceptable! How can a human being be murdered in the name of cow?
                           According to senior advocate Indira Jaising, the crimes mostly occurred on mere suspicion that the victims were transporting cows for slaughter or had consumed beef! Jaising and another senior, eminent advocate and former Law Minister Kapil Sibal also very vigorously raised the cases of Pehlu Khan who was assaulted onApril 1 and who died 3 days later in Alwar in Rajasthan in most dastardly manner by vigilantes over suspicion of cow smuggling and said that far from getting justice, the kin of the victims were being harassed through counter-cases. This is certainly most reprehensible and calls for strictest action against those guilty of perpetrating such heinous crimes! Under no circumstances can this allowed to go unchecked and unpunished! Most importantly, the counter-cases should be removed immediately against the kin of the victims by the police.
                                   Truly speaking, Indira Jaising was at pains to point out that, "Non-violence is the founding faith of this country. The Centre cannot turn its back on the violence. The States have the responsibility to lodge FIRs against these vigilantes." She is absolutely right. It is both the moral and legal obligation of Centre to ensure that violence does not happen and also of States to ensure that FIR is promptly lodged against these vigilantes and they are arrested and put behind bars as early as possible.
                             Before proceeding ahead, let me give a short brief on the major incidents that happened this year in 2017 alone till now. They are as follows: -
Aug 27: Villagers beat to death two Muslim men transporting cattle in West Bengal's Jalpaiguri district.
June 22: Hafiz Junaid, a 16-year-old boy is stabbed to death and four others are injured on board at Mathura-bound train by attackers who call them "anti-nationals" and "beef eaters".
May 30: A group of students at IIT Madras allegedly thrash PhD scholar R Sooraj for participating in a beef festival.
April 22: Three men are beaten up by a group of men in south Delhi's Kalkaji for transporting buffaloes in a 'cruel' manner.
April 1: Dairy farmer Pehlu Khan is assaulted by vigilantes over suspicion of cow smuggling in Alwar. He dies three days later.
Apart from this, there are many more cases of violence which largely go unreported as the victim prefer to suffer violence quietly instead of complaining to the police and this holds true especially when the victim are poor and underprivileged! We all know how Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched two years ago on allegations of beef eating and cow slaughter. We all also know how in July 2016 cow vigilantes publicly flogged a Dalit family for skinning a dead cow in Una of Gir Somnath district in Gujarat. All this has to end if we are to really pride in calling ourselves a true democratic country.

                       Centre's responsibility
                                  It may be recalled that onJuly 21, when the matter was last taken up, the Centre had given a statement that it did not support such violence perpetrated by so-called cow vigilante groups. However, the Government placed the blame squarely on States claiming law and order is a State subject. Jaisingh suggested that it was high time for the Centre to step in and exercise its Constitutional power under Article 256 by passing executive instructions to States for curbing such violence.
                                    To say the least, Article 256 which deals with obligation of States and the Union very clearly stipulates that – 1. The executive power of every State shall be so exercised as to ensure compliance with the laws made by Parliament and any existing laws which apply in that State. 2. The executive power of the Union shall extend to the giving of such directions to a State Government of India to be necessary for that purpose.   
                                    To put things in perspective, Jaising also pleaded that it was high time the Supreme Court stepped in to frame a national policy against cow vigilantism to prevent violence in the name of cow protection. She said that, "Please direct the Centre to come out with a scheme for prevention of such violence." The Bench said that there was a practical difficulty in asking for a national policy on what was primarily a law and order issue, falling squarely in the domain of states. The CJI Dipak Misra headed Bench said that, "We do not want to pass such an order. It is constitutionally not permissible to order the Centre to frame a national policy". The Bench refused to be drawn into specific instances of violence by cow vigilante groups while dealing with the larger issue. It said that, "On the Faridabad incident, you must approach the high court concerned. We do not want to mix this incident with the real issue (petitioner) are espousing."

                                      Needless to say, Dalits and Muslims have reportedly been the prime targets and at the receiving end of unabashed violence unleashed by lynch mobs, especially in the four northern States. They must be protected just like any other citizen without any discrimination whatsoever! The Apex Court exhorted the Centre to uphold its Constitutional mandate under Article 256 and direct the States to act against the groups. It said the Centre could not remain silent leaving everything to the States.
                                             It must be brought out here that BJP-ruled Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat accepted the Apex Court's suggestion to appoint dedicated officers in the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police to prevent "gau rakshaks" as they call themselves, from taking the law into their own hands or becoming a law unto themselves. Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta representing Maharashtra, Haryana and Rajasthan pleaded with the court not to pass any directions and assured that law will take its own course.
                                        It must also be brought out here that another petition being argued by senior advocate Colin Gonsalves pointed out that leaders of political parties were openly exhorting such groups to lynch people in the name of protecting cows and a State's Chief Minister publicly revoked criminal cases against persons who indulged in crimes related to this cause. This is most reprehensible and can never be justified under any circumstances! Those who commit such heinous crimes deserve to be punished most strictly because if they are let off that would only abet them to indulge in more such dastardly attacks!
                                         Taking a grim view of the facts pointed out to it, the Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices Amitava Roy and AM Khanwilkar said unequivocally that, "This must stop. If there is law in place, there has to be some kind of curbs so that people don't take laws into their own hands. It is a group action and some kind of planned action is to be taken by States so that such kind of vigilantism does not grow in any sphere". One can only hope that the concerned States where such reprehensible violence takes place pay heed to what the Apex Court has said. It must be ensured that they are never repeated again in the future.
                                              To put it simply, such incidents are a shameful blot on our democracy  which under no circumstances can ever be justified! The Bench directed States to nominate a senior police officer as a nodal officer to stop such acts and directed Chief Secretaries to coordinate with Director General of Police (DGP) to take steps to prevent incidents of cow vigilantism. The Bench directed that, "The senior police officer shall take prompt action and ensure (that) vigilante groups and such people are prosecuted with quite promptitude".
                                                           Let me hasten to add here that each State was asked to apprise about steps taken in an affidavit to be field in two weeks. The Bench also asked the Centre to take instructions on whether directions under Article 256 needed to be issued to all State Governments. The Apex Court further directed States to be vigilant to ensure such incidents do not take place on highways. 
                                        Be it noted, the Apex Court posted the case for further hearing on September 22. It must be noted here that Justice AM Khanwilkar wondered why no one had field PIL pleas against the carcasses of slaughtered animals found strewn on roads and public places. CJI Dipak Misra also made it very clear to Centre who was represented by Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who appeared for the four northern States that, "The Centre cannot remain silent, leaving everything to the States. You have to stop it [the violence]".
                              Briefly stated, the Apex Court asked the counsel for 22 states to file compliance reports by October 13 and fixed October 31 as the date for hearing the PILs. It also made it clear that, "Let the compliance reports be filed…nobody can wash off their hands (from their duty). We will give directions to all the states". The direction came after the Bench was informed that only five states – Rajasthan, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat – have carried out the order so far and that Bihar and Maharashtra would be filing it during the day. The Apex Court also asked States and Union Territories to comply with its September 6 order to appoint nodal officers byOctober 31 to deal with cow vigilantism.
                                  To put it succinctly, the Apex Court while proposing measures to stem what it called growing violence by so-called cow protection groups, had said that the nodal officers would have to ensure that vigilantes do not become a law unto themselves. It had given states a week time to comply with the order. The court had also asked states to list steps they would take to step up security on highways, where cow vigilantes have stopped vehicles carrying cattle and attacked people.
                                     All said and done, Centre and all States must take all steps to comply with what the Supreme Court has said. It must be ensured that no human being is ever killed or even attacked by vigilantes under the garb of cow protection. Vigilantes are nobody and it is police who is entrusted with the task of ensuring that cows are not killed ruthlessly by anyone. It has been noticed that mostly these vigilantes are anti-social elements who in the garb of gau raksha resort to violence to create disharmony and communal violence also. Their nefarious designs have to be thwarted under any circumstances well in time. It is a matter of grave concern that the senior counsel Indira Jaising had submitted that there had been 66 incidents of mob lynching and assault since July. In response, the Bench had rightly ruled that, "Steps have to be taken to stop this…Some kind of planned action is required so that vigilantism does not grow. Efforts have to be made to stop such vigilantism. How they (states) will do it, is their business but this must stop."
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.

Why Can’t J&K Be Fully Integrated With India?

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 01:54 AM PST

What has India gained by conferring special status to Jammu and Kashmir? What has India gained by conferring separate laws, separate Constitution and separate flag to Jammu and Kashmir? What has India gained by not allowing people from other parts of the country to come and settle in Jammu and Kashmir? It is separatists and anti-Indian forces who have gained by all this!

                                       Why when late Maharaja Hari Singh had unconditionally acceded to India did Centre at that time not allow Jammu and Kashmir to be fully merged with India? Why do we keep treating Jammu and Kashmir as special and different from the rest of India? Why politicians claim Jammu and Kashmir to be the head of India and yet never ensured that this head is fully attached with the rest of the body by merging it completely with India with no ifs and buts? Why Centre fails to realize that this separate head would be just reduced to nothing?
                                      Why Centre allowed discriminatory provisions like Article 370 and Article 35A to be incorporated in our Constitution? Why all this was done through a Presidential order way back in 1954? Why it was not revoked later? Due to sheer lack of political will!
                                          Why can't Centre amend Constitution to merge Jammu and Kashmir fully with India? Why Centre inspite of majority in both the houses of Parliament is not taking any step in this direction? Why Centre fails to appreciate that so many concessions given to Jammu and Kashmir has only served to further alienate the people of Jammu and Kashmir from India? It has encouraged separatists to wave Pakistani flags, flags of dreaded global terror groups like ISIS among others and still get security from Centre worth crores of rupees! This must stop forthwith! NIA raids on Hurriyat leaders and their probe into their funding and nexus with terror leaders in Pakistan is welcome but just house arrest will not do! They must be put behind bars because that is their right place! Anyone who hobnobs with Pakistan and puts our soldiers and national security in grave peril don't deserve freedom of any kind! Their case must be pursued with full vigour and taken to its logical conclusion!
                                        Why can't Centre rescind Article 35A that empowers the state's legislature to define Jammu and Kashmir residents and accord citizenship rights to them? Why can't Centre rescind Article 35A which bars non-residents from buying property in the state, applying for government jobs, voting in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections? Why can't Centre actively argue in favour of its abrogation in the Supreme Court where it is currently being debated as it has been challenged?
                              Truth be told, a five-Judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court is examining a law which denies Kashmiri women and their descendants of their property rights should they marry anyone outside the state and bars them from applying for local jobs. What nonsense! Why  should a Kashmiri women be barred from property rights or any other rights just because she marries someone from outside the state? This alone explains why Article 35A has been challenged many times in the past.
                                          Before proceeding ahead, it is imperative to first understand what Article 35A is all about and how it crept inside our Constitution. The President while invoking the powers vested in him under Article 370 clause (d) issued "The Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order 1954 on May 14, 1954 (C.O. 48)" where under many provisions of Constitution and entries of Schedules were made applicable to J&K. The order, inter alia, states, "After Article 35, the following new Article shall be added, namely:
"35A. Saving of laws with respect to permanent residents and their rights- Notwithstanding anything contained in this Constitution, no existing law in force in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and no law hereafter enacted by the Legislature of the State: (a) defining the classes or persons who are, or shall be, permanent residents of the State of Jammu and Kashmir; or (b) conferring on such permanent residents any restrictions as respects: (i) employment under the State Government; (ii) acquisition of immovable property in the State; (iii) settlement in the State; or (iv ) right to scholarships and such other forms of aid as the State Government may provide, shall be void on the ground that it is inconsistent with or takes away or abridges any rights conferred on the other citizens of India by any provision of this Part."

                                               While craving for the exclusive indulgence of my esteemed readers, let me inform them that a Kashmiri woman Charu Wali Khanna has challenged Article 35A of the Indian Constitution to make special laws regarding the state. Another state law which bars outsiders from picking up property or jobs in the state is already under challenge. All such raw discrimination must end forthwith once and for all! The 1954 order which ushered in Article 35A was only supposed to be a temporary provision and same is the case with Article 370 but why it is that even after 70 years of independence they have still not been scrapped?
                                             For my esteemed readers exclusive indulgence, let me also inform them that the top court is also examining a challenge to the special status guaranteed to the state under Article 370 of the Constitution. In its preliminary observations, a Bench led by Chief Justice-designate Dipak Misra said the law seemed to be violative of the right to equality guaranteed under the Indian Constitution. Very rightly so! He said that this may have to be examined by a Bench comprising five Benches. Even former CJI JS Khehar had raised the question while he was CJI that, "How can one country have two Constitutions and two flags and two laws? This disgrace must be set right by a Constitutional amendment and Jammu and Kashmir must be merged fully with India! Why when Pakistan can merge PoK with Pakistan can we not do the same with J&K?
                                      To put things in perspective, the Supreme Court is hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition by Seema Razdan Bhargav and Charu Wali Khanna thereby challenging the Constitutional validity of Article 35A, which prohibits a non-Jammu and Kashmir resident from buying property in the State and ensures job reservation for residents. It came up before a Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and AM Khanwilkar, was tagged along with another petition challenging the Constitutional validity of Article 35A which has already been referred to a three-Judge Bench. Discrimination between citizens of one state as compared to that of another cannot be justified under any circumstances!    
                                       A bare reading of Article 370 (1) (d) of the Constitution of India would show that there is no power conferred to the President of India to amend the Constitution by adding any new Article by himself. It also states that Article 368(1) empowers the Parliament to amend, vary and repeal any provision of the Constitution and states that it is beyond the power and jurisdiction of the President to inculcate any Article to the Constitution. Therefore, it is unconstitutional for the President to drive a new Article by himself.
                                               Not stopping here, it is further contended that this Article is violative of fundamental rights which are Article 14, 21 and 19 of the Constitution as it creates a difference among people of the rest of India and Jammu and Kashmir. It was prayed in the petition that a declaration be made that Constitution can be amended only by Article 368. It was also demanded in the petition that the Article 35A be held "unconstitutional" as the President could not have "amended the Constitution" by way of the 1954 order, and that it was only supposed to be a "temporary provision".   

                                        Truth be told, the Centre is likely to take a divergent opinion from that of the Jammu and Kashmir government on Article 35A, on the ground that it discriminates against women who marry outside the State from applying for jobs or buying property which is in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution. Article 14 stipulates that, "The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India." It is beyond a straw of doubt that Article 35A falls foul of the direction laid down in Article 14 of the Constitution.
                             In all fairness, Article 35A and 370 must be scrapped and Jammu and Kashmir must be integrated with the rest of India. As far as protests in J&K are concerned, that has been happening since 1947, nothing new. Kashmir Valley cannot alone be allowed to hold the whole State of Jammu and Kashmir to ransom!
                                     When India always maintain J&K as an integral part of India, it is high time and now it must be fully integrated with the rest of India so that it becomes an inseparable part of India in reality and not just on papers or on lips alone! Too much importance should not be attached to what Mehbooba says or what Abdullahs says or what Hurriyat says who love chanting anti-Indian slogans! Unity and integrity of India is more important and not their petty vested interests!
                                   One can only laugh when Mehbooba says that "Any attempt to tinker with Article 35A would have repercussions, and India will not get a shoulder to carry its national flag in J&K." This is certainly not a laughing matter. J&K is the head of India and we have lost countless soldiers to ensure that it remains with India! No force not even God can ever snatch away J&K from India! Mehbooba must know this fully well that India has not sacrificed more than one lakh soldiers in J&K just for gifting it to Pakistan or anyone else! Centre is quite capable to deal sternly and strongly with the anti-national forces that don't want the full and final merger of J&K with India!
                                      Why those Indians who settled in Jammu are still treated as refugees and why they are not allowed to become owner of the land they cultivate even though they can build houses on the allotted land nor can they sell or dispose the land? Why they are even denied jobs, admissions in higher educational institutions, and worst of all even denied the right to vote in elections for panchayats, local bodies and State legislature and cannot avail of any scholarships like Prime Minister Special Scholarship Scheme for J&K and any other benefit as this can be achieved only by the production of Permanent Resident Certificate which is mandatory and which is again denied to them? Why the people who migrated from West Pakistan at the time of partition or those migrants from Nepal who were brought to serve in the Maharaja's Army before partition and about 200 odd Valmiki families who migrated from Punjab in late fifties and were mostly employed as safai karamcharis are still discriminated against due to this shameful "Special Status" enjoyed by J&K by virtue of Article 35A and 370? But in contrast, Muslim families who migrated to Pakistan and became Pakistani citizens are allowed to return even today and claim their property in accordance with Section 6(2) of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir amended vide 6th Amendment enacted in 1965. This is beyond absurdity and discrimination of the highest order!
                                            One fervently hopes that the Constitution Bench will act decisively so that merger of J&K becomes complete and final with India! Two wrongs can never make a right. Just because Article 35A and Article 370 have existed for 70 years it does not mean that they can never be abrogated! I am sure that the Supreme Court will keep the larger picture in mind and render a landmark decision on this very soon! Centre must also immediately amend Constitution to allow the complete assimilation of J&K into India! All citizens of India must back Centre in doing so because this alone can wipe out the sense of alienation and separatism that has been cultivated by anti-Indian forces assiduously since 1947 and complete the full and final merger of J&K with India! But the billion dollar question is: Will Centre ever do this? I have serious doubts!    
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.

Safety And Security Must Be Given The Top Priority

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 01:54 AM PST

Let me begin by first and foremost expressing my profound sorrow and grief for the lives of all those who have died in Mumbai on September 29 because of poor infrastructure in our railway stations. Those who have lost their near and dear ones are very angry and very rightly so! Safety norms are accorded the last priority in our country.
Safety And Security Must Be Given The Top Priority

                                    Instead Swachh Abhiyan is accorded the first priority which can only ensure cleanliness but not safety and security of citizens. PM Narendra Modi has made it very clear time and again which he keeps repeating every now and then that Swachh Abhiyan is his top priority and all citizens must contribute. Why so casual and disingenuous approach towards security and safety of people?
                                       No one can disagree with the PM that Swachh Abhiyan should be accorded importance but I strongly disagree that it should be given top priority. I also very strongly believe that cleanliness is next to Godliness but hell to cleanliness or Swachh Abhiyan if safety and security is not provided. People will be killed  in large numbers as we are seeing right now before our eyes how so many precious people have died. This keeps happening time and again yet no lesson is learnt and once again Swachh Abhiyan which is PM Modi's pet project starts capturing all headlines in all news channels and at other places.  
                                          What is the point of Swachh Abhiyan if people are not safe and they can get killed anywhere because of total criminal apathy of officials in maintaining bridges, rail bridges, platforms, roads, flyovers etc? To hell with it! People want safety first. People want security first.
                                       Why when our soldiers are daily getting killed since last many decades on borders as also other places and so are the people at the hands of Pakistani soldiers and terrorists sent after fully training and arming them by Pakistani Army and ISI is our political establishment not ready to nuke all relations with Pakistan? Why India is not ready to revoke the unilateral Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to Pakistan which we had wrongly conferred on them way back in 1996? Why trade and commerce with a country that exports death, terrorists, terror and havoc in India?
                                             Why Centre is ready to deport Rohingyas who illegally entered India but not those Pakistanis who keep shouting slogans in support of Pakistan and keep waving Pakistani flags and keep burning Indian flags and want India to become Pakistan? Why Rohingyas were allowed to go as far as Jammu and Kashmir and settle there which can disturb the extremely hostile atmosphere much more and worsen the already complicated situation there? Why were they allowed inside India at the first place?
                                         Why so negligence towards the safety and security of people? Why even the slaughtered bodies of more than 45 Hindus at the hands of Rohingyas is not forcing politicians to become more security conscious? Why are States being allowed to play vote-bank politics?
                                            Why terrorists are repeatedly killing our soldiers as happened with Lt Umar Fayyaz and now with Mohammad Ramzan Parray but Centre is refusing to arm them with weapons by which they can defend themselves and their family? Parray was shot dead and 4 of his relatives were injured including one women relative. But still Modi keeps talking Swachh Abhiyaan! Why is safety and security relegated to second place when it comes to people but accorded highest priority when it comes to politicians especially those who are Ministers or Chief Ministers or Prime Minister?
                                            Safety and security of people must come first, always and every time. Everything else later! Why those who attack our soldiers are not treated as Pakistanis and enemy soldiers? Why are they dealt with soft cushion? Why no hard line policy is followed in dealing with them?
                                      Why no surgical strike against traitors sitting in India who keep inciting violence and keep attacking our soldiers with stones, grenades and other weapons? Why are they allowed to roam free? Why security is provided from taxpayers money for separatists Hurriyat leaders who keep ranting against India and why even when police officer deployed for their security is killed most brutally by their followers publicly does Centre not withdraw all security to them?
                                        Why even Supreme Court Judge Anil Dave too had said that he too was concerned about security worth crores being spent on Hurriyat leaders? Do they really deserve it? Why are they not sent behind bars and why only house arrest for them even when their hand is explicit in so many terror cases?
                                    Why when Kuwait can severe all ties with Pakistan and order all Pakistanis to leave their country as they keep encouraging terror activities is the same policy not followed in India even though it is India and not Kuwait which has lost more than lakh soldiers to proxy war sponsored by Pakistan? Why can't all Pakistanis be told to leave India? Why we allow security breach by permitting all kinds of people like Pakistanis in India?
                                          Why MFN status for Pakistan? Do they deserve it? How long will appeasement policy continue and that too not of Indian Muslims but of Pakistan which is our sworn enemy? Why the huge army of Pakistani diplomats not reduced to the minimum? Why they are allowed to meet Hurriyat leaders and spread hatred and conspire to harm India in the worst manner?
                                        Why those corrupt officials, babus and netas who mint money and compromise on safety and security of citizens by making third rated bridges, roads, rail platforms not punished most severely? Why Prevention of Corruption Act is not amended to mandate compulsory death penalty for those indulging in corruption and due to which people lose their precious lives? Why just keep talking only about Swachh Abhiyaan and caring a damn for security and safety?
                                           Why Citizenship Act is not amended to ensure that those who burn Indian flags, chant pro freedom slogans and abuse India are deprived of citizenship and sent to the country in whose support they raise flags and shout slogans as we keep seeing in the case of Pakistanis? Why Centre is not enacting a Uniform Criminal Code or Uniform National Code to ensure this? Why should sedition be applied on those who don't consider themselves Indians?
                                          Why they should not be deported to the country which they like? Why is citizenship being forced on Pakistanis who hate India? Why should they be given the benefits of Indian citizenship? Why should they not be treated like foreigners and Pakistanis who have just no right in India? Why no surgical strike here?
                                        Why when Centre can spend lakhs and crores on bullet trains is it unable to spend  few crores on the safety and security of citizens? Why the lives of ordinary man in India considered so cheap that every year we hear thousands losing their life in one tragedy or the other and most of them due to lack of safety and security measures like rail tracks not being repaired in time etc yet Centre accords top priority to Swachh Abhiyaan and not to safety and security of citizens?           
                                      It is high time and now Centre must take suggestions and constructive criticism in the right spirit and implement them earnestly. Centre must always espouse Swachh Abhiyaan as PM desires but not at the cost of safety and security of citizens which has to come above everything else! No compromise should be made on it even if UN criticizes us or UK based human right organizations like Amnesty International criticizes us or anyone else as we see in China which alone explains that why it is treated with awe and respect!
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.    

Reveal Action Taken Against MPs Whose Assets Shot Up: SC

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 01:54 AM PST

Coming straight to the nub of the matter, let me start by first and foremost pointing out that with the income and assets of 11 Rajya Sabha and 26 Lok Sabha MPs showing a phenomenal jump, in some cases even more than 800 percent, the Supreme Court on September 6 asked the Centre to reveal what action was taken by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) against the high profile elected representatives after this list was submitted to the agency by a NGO way back in June 2015. Why no strict action against them? Why has a long rope been extended to them?
Reveal Action Taken Against MPs Whose Assets Shot Up: SC

                                        While craving for the exclusive indulgence of my esteemed readers, let me inform them that since the list included party bigwigs, several Ministers in the Central Cabinet and former Ministers, the Court gave CBDT the choice to submit action taken information to Court by September 12 either by way of affidavit or in sealed cover. This is a very serious issue as it concerns the integrity of our MPs who are the lawmakers of our nation. The Apex Court was hearing a petition by NGO Lok Prahari represented by former bureaucrat SN Shukla seeking transparency in disclosure of source of income of assets of candidates, their families and dependents in the nomination form. Shukla rightly demanded that such investigation must be time-bound and the names be revealed in public interest.
                                         For my esteemed readers exclusive indulgence, let me also inform them that the list of Rajya Sabha MPs whose income showed a phenomenal rise in five years period included Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Rout (841 percent increase), BSP's Satish Chandra Mishra (698 percent), Congress's Jairam Ramesh (659 percent), Congress Ambika Soni (501 percent), BJP's Piyush Vedprakash Goel (214 percent), BJP's Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (154 percent), Samajwadi Party's Amar Singh (138 percent) and RJD's Ram Jethmalani (119 percent) among others. I very strongly feel that they must be asked to explain how their income showed a meteoric risein five years period. I also am of the firm opinion that if they are unable to satisfactorily explain why their income showed such a meteoric increase then that should be seized away from them.
                             No doubt, if this is done so, it will send a right, loud and clear message to all that MPs too are not above the law. They too will have to face the axe if they dared to violate the provisions of any law. They will not be treated as being above law just because they are MPs.
                                    Let me submit here that the increase was measured by comparing their affidavit submitted in 2016 with the assets declared in the previous election. The Lok Sabha list of reelected MPs whose income and assets between 2009 and 2014 grew by over 500 percent included Congress chief Sonia Gandhi (537 percent), BJP's DV Sadananda Gowda (588 percent), BJP's Arjun Ram Meghwal (608 percent), SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav (613 percent), BJP's Varun Gandhi (625 percent), BJP's Shatrughan Sinha (778 percent), AIADMK's P Venugopal (1281 percent), Trinamool Congress's Sisir Kumar Adhikari (1700 percent), Muslim League's ET Mohammad Basheer (2081 percent) and BJP's Kamlesh Paswan (5649 percent) among others. This merits a serious and impartial probe.
                                             Let me hasten to add here that the CBDT received this list from Lok Prahari on June 30, 2015. The CBDT in an earlier affidavit had revealed that the list was forwarded for action to the Director General Income-Tax [DGIT] (Investigation). The Bench of Justices J Chelameswar and S  Abdul Nazeer of the Apex Court found the affidavit vague and sought details of action taken against persons named in the list.
                                 Needless to say, it is most unfortunate that the Apex Court found the affidavit vague. It should have been very clear right at the first instance. But the CBDT failed to do its homework properly on this which caused the Supreme Court to raise its eyebrows!
                                      What is most concerning to note is that the Supreme Court observed on September 12 that, "MLAs and MPs who face investigation for possessing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income, always tend to bounce back to power. This is a phenomenon seen in the past 25 to 30 years." The hearing on a petition filed by Lok Prahari seeking a mechanism to investigate the source of income of politicians, saw the Centre give details of a probe into the assets given by Lok Prahari of 26 Lok Sabha members, 11 Rajya Sabha members and 257 MLAs in a sealed cover.
                                          To put things in perspective, a Bench of Justices J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazeer asked if this phenomenon of returning to power, coupled with the mercurial rise in the assets of politicians just within a span of five years between two successive elections, was a product of ineffective investigation or of some "immunity" provided to them. Justice Chelameswar addressed the government saying that, "If an MLA's or MP's assets have seen a 10X [10 times] rise in 2019 from what he revealed in 2014 should you not conduct an inquiry into the very propriety of a person holding public office enjoying such phenomenal rise in his assets… The moment a candidate has shown 1,000% increase in his income in the past five years, please have a mechanism to conduct an enquiry."
                                           Not stopping here Justice Chelameswar also held that, "Income under each head should be probed. All these should be inquired. The public needs an answer. The people should get to know the state of affairs. It is not enough that a legislator discloses a legitimate source of income. It is important to inquire that how did the person get in that position to earn that income."
                                        As it turned out, the Supreme Court on Septemebr 12 asked the government to consider legislating on setting up of new fast track courts to expedite criminal case trials against parliamentarians and legislators. The Apex Court Bench which was given the names of seven Lok Sabha MPs and 98 MLAs across the country by the CBDT whose assets had seen a substantial hike in between two elections, also said it had perused the names of these politicians and will examine the issue. The verification is pending against 9 Rajya Sabha MPs and 42 MLAs. It said Parliament had the competence to come up with a law and create necessary infrastructure for setting up of such courts for speedy disposal of cases against lawmakers.
                                      Be it noted, the Bench said that, "With regard to MPs and MLAs, it falls under the domain of Parliament. It has the necessary competence to come up with a law. Make law and create necessary infrastructure. Except for some specific tribunals, no new courts have come up. You (Centre) should create new courts and infrastructure as at present, the Government of India is spending only one or two percent of the budget (judicial system). This would also reduce the huge pendency." It also pulled back no punches in pointing out that inadequate infrastructure in the courts was resulting in pendency and said that Parliament should pass laws and create fast-track courts for speedy disposal of such cases against the lawmakers. Attorney General KK Venugopal agreed that fast track courts were the need of the hour and said that some such courts have in the past done an excellent job and several people, especially those in jails, were benefitted by the system.   
                                         To put it bluntly, taking a strong exception to the Centre's failure in disclosing action taken against politicians whose assets have jumped manifold between two elections, the Supreme Court on September 6 ordered the government to place the necessary information before it within seven days. The court pulled up the government after its counsel failed to provide data on how many enquiries has the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) initiated against politicians whose assets have seen a massive jump, in some cases up to 500%, after their elections. It said that, "Why can't you (central government) provide basic data? You are not averse to electoral reforms but have not placed any necessary details. Is this the attitude of the government of India? What have you done till now?"
                                           Truth be told, Centre said it was not averse to the prayers made in the PIL but the directions sought did not lie within the judicial domain. The counsel argued that  an elaborative consultation process has to be undertaken to amend the law. He said that, "All stakeholders need to be taken on board. Data needs to be elicited before we can suggest the changes". He cited the Centre's flagship project – Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and said "It is not about cleaning of garbage only".
                                        It is a no-brainer that the lawyer's eloquence failed to cut ice with the Bench. It said that, "You better file a detailed affidavit. This affidavit which you have filed is nothing but typed papers. Do not make vague statements. If the CBDT has taken some action, please disclose what action has been taken". The Bench, however, gave liberty to the government to furnish the data in a sealed cover and also told the lawyer that give reasons if you do not want the information to be made public.
                              Truly speaking, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) which is an NGO working in the area of political and electoral reforms too has moved an intervention application in the case. It has claimed that assets of 4 current Lok Sabha MPs have increased by 1200%. 22 MPs have declared an asset increase of over 500%. One newly elected Rajya Sabha MP Anil Madhav Dave has declared an asset growth of over 100% since he last filed his affidavit. It also said that seven other newly elected Rajya Sabha MPs have declared increase of over 200%.
                                      On the face of it, the CBDT in its affidavit had indicated prima facie discrepancy with known sources of income in the case of 7 Lok Sabha MPs and 98 MLAs but on the disclosure of names, the affidavit stated that investigation report by DGIT is exempt under Section 24 of the Right to Information Act 2005. Hence these reports cannot be shared in public. But the CBDT added, "The certified true copy of the reports received from DGIT (Investigation) will be submitted separately in sealed cover for the perusal of the Supreme Court."  
                                       It must be added here that the Attorney General KK Venugopal pointed out that the right to privacy now declared a fundamental right, the returns filed by individual candidates is part of his/her privacy that needs to be protected. The Bench said it will have to be balanced against the citizen's right to know under Article 19(1)(a) for determining which interest is superior. Although Centre refused to disclose details claiming immunity available to DGIT investigation under Right to Information Act, the Bench wondered whether such immunity can exist for lawmakers when people have a Constitutional right to know details of their elected representatives. Justice Chelameswar quoted the Vohra Committee report pertaining to nexus between politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats and said nothing has changed since then! Absolutely right!
                             "What happened after that? Is it not high time we did something about it?" the Apex Court asked Venugopal as it reserved its order on a PIL that wants it mandatory for politicians to declare their and their family members sources of income at the time of filling up nomination papers. The department court felt, should ascertain the factors that lead an MLA and MP to amass huge wealth within a short span of time.          

                                    All said and done, Centre must come clean on it. When PM Narendra Modi wants highest transparency from the people by giving the detailed account of each and every source of income then why should MPs and MLAs be exempted from it? Why should political parties be exempted from it? Why Modi has never spoken on this? Why even no explanation has been sought leave alone action from those MPs and MLAs whose assets have shot up immensely in a very short span of time?
                                         Let me be direct in asking: Why BJP and Congress got 77% donations from unknown sources in 2016? Even Delhi High Court had recently expressed its anger over BJP and Congress getting foreign funds which they were unable to explain the sources from which they got! Supreme Court is absolutely right that Centre must reveal what action it has taken against MPs whose assets have shot up disproportionately! Centre just cannot afford to be a silent spectator as by doing so it will only invite the ire of the highest court of India – Supreme Court! When Centre wants people to give their account of each and every rupee then why MPs and MLAs should at all be exempted? Why Centre allowed a former Rajya Sabha MP and a big business tycoon Vijay Mallya to escape very conveniently to England even after he owed Rs 9000 crore to various banks and had not paid salary to his employees for a long period? Why among the unknown sources of funding, maximum funds were collected under "voluntary contributions" by the BJP, which amounted to Rs 459.56 crore in fiscal 2016 as was revealed by Association for Democratic Reforms? Why rules and regulations only for common man? Why not for MPs, MLAs, political parties and powerful?
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.  
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home