Thursday, June 16, 2011

Editorial, 'THEY NEED ALL PROTECTION' in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 15 June 2011 issue

They need all protection
possible; this, of course, doesn’t mean that other citizens do not. But whistleblowers who take much pains and run great risks in exposing various scams, oppressions and atrocities, etc. in public interest are in real danger of their lives and limbs from the corrupt and cruel lawbreakers and anti-social elements within or outside the government. Perhaps the life of Satyendra Kumar Dubey, a conscientious engineer, could have been saved if there were to be some legal mechanism at the relevant point of time to protect his anonymity and provide security. Likewise the precious life of a Satish Shetty would also not have been lost if the police were to be alert to the dangers posed to him by his land scams-exposures. More recently, Ramesh Agarwal, a social activist advocate of Chattisgarh, would not be suffering arrest, handcuffing and continuance in custody, were his revelations in a public hearing not to carry any legal risk of incrimination. Scores of RTI activists all over the country, several investigative journalists, and umpteen citizens from various walks of life fighting against corruption and malpractices are today facing grave dangers to their lives, and murders of intrepid and outspoken citizens and journalists are not infrequent either. Former Central Vigilance Commissioner, Sri N. Vittal, reveals that Satyendra Dubey’s murder and subsequent proceedings to bring the murderers to book had resulted in the Supreme Court issuing a directive to CVC to take necessary action to protect whistleblowers whereupon he had moved the Law Commission of India in the matter, which drafted a Public Interest Disclosures (Protection of Informers) Bill, 2002, but it never saw the light. And now, the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons making the disclosure Bill, 2010, reported to have been cleared by the Cabinet in August 2010 itself, has also not been moved in the parliament so far. Statutorily guaranteed effective protection for whistleblowers is certainly the desideratum and so a good beginning needs to be made by getting it enacted forthwith §§§

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Editorial "Ati Sarvatra Varjayet" in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 31 May 2011 [Vol. 7, Part 1, No. 10] issue

Ati Sarvatra Varjayet
is a golden axiom of Hindu philosophy applicable to all human streams, which applies to the strivings for good and noble ends too. In an exquisite verse attributed to Chanakya we are enlightened: Ati daanaat Balirbaddhoh - atimaanaat Suyodhanah, vinashto Ravano laulyat - Ati sarvatra varjayet{Excess of giving tied up Bali; excess of pride hurt Duryodhana; excess of lust (for women) destroyed Ravana; [hence] excess everywhere is [bad and is] to be discarded}. Unfortunately what we are witnessing today in our country is an excess of excesses of various sorts. We have seen and are yet able to see poverty and destitution in excess, corruption in utmost excess, social repression and police atrocities in excess, various types of governmental excesses and what not. Add to that, we have counter movements in excess, pressure groups, caste and religious and, in some spheres, regional and local chauvinistic movements all leading to anarchy in excess, etc. And sadly it seems even the anti-corruption movements are flowing into an excess. May be the Jan Lok Pal desired by social reformists like Anna Hazare is different from the various ombudsmen in developed democracies but then there is no point in stretching its powers or jurisdiction to an excess (while, strangely, not vesting in it any adjudicatory powers which we feel to be a default in excess). If the government at the helm has come down to include parliament members and ministers also in its compass, then, we feel there is no need to go on pressurizing for inclusion of the Prime Minister too. After all, in our setup, it is the Prime Minister who acts as the real head of state though not so designated in the constitution, and his privileged position ought not to be disturbed too easily. Also we see the strange spectacle of a modern yoga guru, selling that art/skill to gullible persons at high prices, jumping into the fray to bring another wave of popular rising with excessive demands like ‘hang the corrupt!’ – more easily said than ever can or ought to be done. We also see money in excess spent in such a spree, know not from where accessed. And, as usual, the government applies its lathi yoga in excess and we know not what next will be the reaction in excess §§§