Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Editorial, 'RIGHTS OF MOTHER EARTH', in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, Vol. 8, Part 1, No. 4, 29 February 2012 issue

can never be, ought never to be, compromised. If for any reasons that happens, it will be a catastrophe for human society. Our much-vaunted ages-old anthropocentric approach, particularly the individual-greed-fosters-social-progress theories and practices of rabid exploitative and capitalist cultures, has only spelt doom and spread environmental degradation, fall in quality of life of the overwhelming majority of the human species amidst the luxuries and orgies of an insignificant minority of exploiters and parasites – involving extinction of numerous bio-species, nasty pollution, climate change and other calamitous consequences. However, rays of hope were not failing even in such gloom and a sort of relief could be and is felt by the sprouting and strengthening of green groups and communities all over the world, committed to restoring and enriching the eco-balance, especially in Latin America with what Ecuador enshrining ‘Panchmama’ Rights in its constitution and Bolivia hosting a world peoples’ conference resolving for a Universal Declaration of Rights of Mother Earth and taking that cause onto the United Nations. Now that a global campaign for getting such Universal Declaration of Nature Rights passed, and implemented in earnest, is picking up momentum, eco-lovers everywhere, including people like us in India, were also quite happy that at last satyameva jayate (truth will prevail). But now we are all aghast at the stupendous stupidity of our Supreme Court in not only putting its stamp of approval to the ‘millennial folly’ of the wild and pernicious scheme of interlinking of Indian rivers but also giving certain directions to monitor its implementation! Not only the Apex Court seems to be unaware of the eco-destruction already caused by some such projects the world over, also of the several eco-protective international developments and the persistent campaigns of the United Nations, but also brusquely brushing aside such considerations, being itself swept off by the nasty gales of capitalist globalization now causing havoc in human conditions and relations. Truly, the Court is overstepping its limits and acting à la King Canute! §§§

Editorial, 'TORTURE REPREHENSIBLE', in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, Vol. 8, Part 1, No. 3, 15 February 2012 issue

is allegedly widely used in our governments’ campaigns against armed opposition groups, especially against those of Naxalite/Maoist type. Then, there are counter allegations too of the terrific torture/violence indulged in by many such opposition groups, as per the well-compiled work of Kathrin Wessendorf (The Indigenous World 2009, Copenhagen, 2009). In the crossfire even innocent citizens, particularly tribals – men, women and children – are caught and suffer enormously. The case of Soni Sori, a latest icon of victims of police torture for human rights activists, is one such matter of which the highest court of our country is now ‘in seisin’. But then there are murmurings about the callous approach in this matter of that Court even, since no quick relief is dispensed despite sure indications of torture of the tribal woman given out in the Court-solicited medical examination report, and several prominent citizens and scores of civil society groups have come out with an open letter to the Apex Court voicing their anguish over this issue. At this point it is not necessary to deeply go into the truth or not of the allegations that Soni Sori, daughter of Mudra Ram Sori – a State-identified and compensated naxalite victim, is herself a Maoist activist/ supporter, or just a socially conscious teacher or a clever person in conduit for illicit (protection) money transactions between the Maoists and Corporate bodies (the Essars here), etc., but if the torture element in her interrogation is proved to any credible degree, it is certainly very sad that the police/administrative authorities in our country - which is a state party, though not so far completed the ratification/accession process, of the UN Convention Against Torture – should indulge in such socially undesirable, harmful and counter-productive practices seriously infringing people’s rights to life and liberty. As rightly enjoined by the Convention (Article 2), no exceptional circumstances whatever, whether a state of war or threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, nor an order from a superior officer or a public authority, may be invoked as a justification for torture, because it is basically wrong, unjust and violates the inherent dignity of human person §§§