Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Editorial, "69 YEARS SINCE TRANSFER OF POWER," in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 15 August 2016, Vol. 12, Part 2, No. 15 issue


The so-called Independence Day celebrations fervor was agog again. In the background of the recent imbroglio in Kashmir, the BJP Premier Modi was expected to declare some harsh restrictive measures, coupled with any socio-economic concessions even. However, he chose to ignore the pressing need to tackle this burning issue but just poked Pakistan by referring to the reverent thanks being rendered to him by the people of Sindh, Balochistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. He fell very much short of extending open support to the justified struggle for national self-determination by the Balochs, but yet this is sufficient and sure to create bouts of wrath in the neighboring country. And this once again brings to fore the question whether what was effected in August 1947 can be deemed real liberation for the people of India or were they duped with a transfer of power to some elitist leaders both sides of the border and trapped into endless quarrels and fights with each other over irrational communal and ethnic issues that could have been well tackled in a united India but for the nefarious British intervention. The unparalleled carnage of the partition days and history’s perhaps the biggest exodus of refugees both ways smeared with the most vengeful gory orgies and ethnic cleansings is time and again brought to the mind on this accursed day, fixed not even at the wish of the British Cabinet but solely at the whim and fancy of the sole dictator of the day – Lord Mountbatten, to whose tunes most of the then Congress and Muslim League leaders sang and danced, more with craze for power and perks than for the welfare and interests of the people at large. This editor has always pointed out that Kashmir is one crucial, and international, dispute, burning like the mythical pyre of Ravanasura, which has to be dealt with much tact and a flexible, give and take, approach. Coming to the domestic front, the socio-economic scenario is nothing exhilarating though much boasting of sound growth, controlled inflation and spread of broader national unity climate etc. is being made. What the common man experiences is the enormous increase in prices of food-grains, pulses, edible oils etc. and a sort of dismantling of the protective welfare measures that earlier used to mollify the rigors to some extent, and introduction of naked and merciless market economy measures. Further, anti-labor amendments in law are being made to facilitate the super-rich and multinationals and all this does not augur well for any purportedly democratic government. It is quite sad and shameful that in all these years of ‘freedom’ we have not progressed anywhere near the rate or state of our larger neighbor China or the smaller ASEAN countries even, either in economic growth or in social amelioration or in common civic sense. §§§

Editorial, "KEEP OUR ROADS CLEAN AND GREEN," in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 31 July 2016, Vol. 12: Part 2, No. 14 issue


and statues- and obstacles- free as far as possible, with wide and beautiful junctions of refreshing greenery with blooming flowers and necessary side roads and comfortable pavements – that is the least we can demand and expect of any governance system. In this context the removal of the YSR statue at the entrance of a flyover in Vijayawada, a big traffic obstruction, is a welcome measure though this process has to be extended to remove/shift all such statues and memorials erected in supposed veneration of various personalities cutting across any parties – be those of Gandhi or Nehru or Ambedkar or even NTR, etc. Likewise all temples and mosques/dargas standing as traffic obstructions have to be removed/shifted to nearby/distant vacant places. Perhaps India is the only country which allows its road spaces to be made ugly and crammed by such encroachments and, even if such temples/mosques pre-date the roads, public interest requires that those be shown a respectful place ‘far from the madding crowds’. More important is providing safe side-roads wherever possible, and good pavements to walk invariably, for every road - pedestrians should have the first right to use the roads and not any other vehicles or machines. Further, at least at every 300 meters intervals free and clean public toilets have to be provided to the people and also all shops/hotels/institutions, public or private, etc. be compelled to keep clean and comfortable rest rooms for use by general public and paying for pissing should be totally eliminated. This money spinning culture has ruined our ethos and our environment. At least two to three decades back there were some public urinals on the roads however shabby and dirty they might be, but now all those are gone; and for women it had been and is always an ordeal. Whatever narrow pavements were there, those also removed or arrogantly encroached on. One feels like crying when walking on these roads, but what can ordinary people do? Judges, ministers, political leaders, bureaucrats rarely walk for their chores, they get air-conditioned cars with free fuel and other facilities, even helicopters at public cost, and further, adding insult to injury, blame the general public for dirtying the roads and environs! True, civic sense and culture is very less in our country, but that defect not limited to the ordinary people but extends to, or more so lies in, the elite. On all cross-roads instead of commercial complexes beautiful parks and wide parking spaces have to come up and has the great Hyderabad Municipal Corporation built any parking complexes after the lone initiative at Abids launched by NTR in the 1980s? Where there is a will there is a way, it is often asserted, and it is for all, whose will influences and matters, to quickly intervene and mend/end this dirty situation in our country.  §§§

Editorial, "KASHMIR BURNING," in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 15 July 2016, Vol. 12: Part 2, No. 13 issue


like Ravanasura Kashta (the mythical pyre of Ravana, the king of Lanka) it seems. The recent killing of Burhan Wani, ‘commander’ of the dreaded terrorist [or revolutionary – it depends on which side of the conflict the observer is – per the famous saying, ‘One’s terrorist - another’s freedom fighter’] organization ‘Hizb-ul-Mujahideen’ on 8 July 2016 at village BEMDURU (strangely sounds a Telugu/ Dravidian name, perhaps suggesting some ancient links with Dravidian culture?), some 80 Kms from Srinagar,  in a well-informed and quickly executed attack by the armed police aided by the Army, has ignited huge flames of protest all over the valley [Jammu and Ladakh are not concerned, the people there largely desire total integration with India and if necessary separation from Kashmir], despite the unholy PDP-BJP alliance running the show of a state government there. Misinformed/misguided, or deliberately truth-suppressing vested interested, ‘secular’, ‘leftist’ and ‘liberal’ persons/parties/groups have taken this up as a golden opportunity to corner the pro-Hindu Central Government of Modi, whereas the extremists on the other side are vying for heavy repression and integration of the valley by any means. Saner counsels would suggest a golden mean. First of all, it has to be kept in mind that neither Wani nor his organization was fighting for Kashmir’s ‘azadi’. Their marching song is: Hizb ul Mujahideen kay jawan hain hum / Syed Ali Geelani kaa Aelaan hain hum / Takbeeron kea naaron kaa tuufaan hain hum / Hindi fauzon sun lo Pakistan hain hum, Allah ho Akbar… (We soldiers of the ‘party of holy warriors’ / actors per declaration of Syed Ali Geelani (separatist Hurriyat leader) / storm-troopers with the slogans of takbeer (Allah is the Greatest) / Hear Indian armies we are Pakistan) etc. So, Wani had nothing to do with Azadi in the sense of liberty, equality and fraternity for Kashmiris as an independent state, but was just fighting for Pakistan and the ideals of Mohammed bin Qasim and Ghazni Mahmud! The security forces made a huge mistake in handing over the dead bodies and then not properly managing the funeral procession, etc., which was calculatedly converted into violent rioting. This editor feels that Kashmir issue is a pre-partition problem still unsolved, and the remedy is to, if possible, come to some tacit understanding with Pakistan and China, and conduct a region-wise referendum after carving out a separate Amarnath Temple district contiguous to, and joining it in, Jammu – with the only option fixed by the United Nations long back in this India-Pakistan Dispute.  §§§

Editorial, "INTER-STATE WATER DISPUTES," in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 30 June 2016, Vol. 12: Part 1, No. 12 issue


have been, and are always, a serious headache in our country, at times giving rise to violent conflagrations between the ill-informed peoples of different provinces too [like the unfortunate Cauvery River Waters Disputes between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka], and have to be solved with utmost wisdom and delicate treatment. Now a disturbing situation may emerge in the two Telugu States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana over the several new irrigation projects announced by the power and publicity crazy TRS government without even information to, let alone consultation with, the neighboring AP, apart from in instances like the proposed Mallanna Sagar project, giving rise to intense agitation in Telangana itself. As Wikipedia reports, “Contrary to the political belief [“and chauvinist propaganda” – one may add], Telangana … the Land of Dams, Reservoirs, Lakes, Tanks and Canals … has the most number of Dams, Reservoirs, Lakes, Tanks and Canals than any other South Indian state.” The National Register of Large Dams India, updated 2014-2015, gives the figures of 182 dams in Telangana (with 20 still under construction) compared to 151 in Andhra Pradesh (24 still under construction). This is sought to be augmented by a spate of fresh projects, even without any Draft Project Reports prepared, and without even seeking the consent of the Central Water Commission, etc. That A.P. has commenced and is continuing certain projects in a like undesirable manner is no answer since a lower riparian State generally poses no or insignificant risk to water usages in upper riparian states. The AP Reorganization Act, 2014, [S. 84], moreover, makes it incumbent on the Union Government to constitute an Apex Council with Minister of Water Resources as Chairman and both the CMs as members, to consider and resolve any such water disputes, which [seems to have] not been formed so far. Anyway, two wrongs cannot right a thing and one has to mind that water, a ‘commodity’ becoming ‘scarcer’ with every passing day, has to be handled and shared in a tactful, democratic and consensual manner between different states of India, a quasi-federal polity, in which water sharing is generally viewed and judged in terms of international water disputes resolution treaties/norms, among which the relatively recent UN Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses 1997, sadly not accepted by India so far, can serve as an essential beacon-light.  §§§

Editorial, "Self-hatred and faux pas," in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 15 June 2016, Vol. 12: Part 1, No. 11 issue

Self-hatred and faux pas

seem to characterize the conduct of our Bar Council of India. Otherwise it is hard to understand the many false steps it had taken and yet taking. If not be humble and helpful and stoop to serve the lowly and the needy, at least they should care for the weal and woe of their own ilk. But it seems this ‘management committee’ of Indian advocates falls too short of such high expectations. Created by the Parliament to regulate the Indian bar” which it claims to do by prescribing standards of professional conduct and etiquette and by exercising disciplinary jurisdiction over the bar, setting standards etc., and to represent the bar which they claim to discharge by “by protecting the rights, privileges and interests of advocates and through the creation of funds for providing financial assistance to organise welfare schemes for them”, is this institution discharging its functions in a sensible manner, one wonders. Are there good libraries built or decent legal education and training classes, etc. held by this body or the state bodies under its control? Its steering committee seems to be too divorced from the real conditions and often overstepping its jurisdiction and mandate. Prior to 1960, there was a system of apprentice training for debut advocates as a condition for practicing, but that it did not find place in the Advocates Act should be sufficient to gauge that such provision was deemed onerous. However, our esteemed BCI reintroduced it for a few years and put to burden thousands of upcoming advocates only later for that to be struck down by the Supreme Court. Then another eccentric measure – of barring practice by retired employees, etc. – introduced, which too was quashed by the Apex Court. One wonders if the likes of Babu Rajendra Prasad could have come up if they were to suffer such provision in the past. And now they have come up with this crazy scheme of verification of practice rules, putting to unnecessary toil and torment lakhs of advocates for undergoing tedious processes including loss of some moneys, for no reason at all except the BCI’s self-hatred, a sort of masochist mindset. arae Baba [O Dad!], just see the preface called statement of objects and reasons, so full of invectives and allegations against their own ilk, the advocate community, without a single piece of sound evidence! Truly, advocates of India must have been very much blessed to have to live under its umbrella!

Editorial, "NO DEARTH OF DUMBHEADS," in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 31 May 2016, Vol. 12: Part 1, No. 10 issue


seems to be there at least in our country, as also in the lawyers’ community – which includes judiciary – a la Galib’s punching remark: ‘kami nahin Galib is duniya mein chutiyon kii, ek doondhe to sow miltea hain(O Galib, no shortage of dumbheads in this world; search for one, you get a hundred). Long back when this editor remarked on this to a senior advocate friend that ‘Sir, we are getting thousands such even without searching,’ he immediately responded, ‘O bhai, I am saying you can find such chutiyea on every branch and every leaf of a tree you can see’! Something of this sort should have enveloped our Bar Council of India and apex judiciary; otherwise one cannot see any reason in the so-called practice verification rules framed by the former and not forthwith stayed by the latter. The same applies to the Madras High Court which recently usurped drastic disciplinary powers over the ‘erring advocates’, with powers to immediately stop their right to practice even as an interim measure though there is contempt jurisdiction to deal with emergent situations and also such thing as a State Bar Council to look into complaints against ‘erring’ advocates and the Court could have been wiser and more tolerant to act as a forum of appeal/supervision in such matters. The former this editor holds a more drastic curtailment of the rights of advocates, with unwarranted, humiliating restrictions imposed, right in the face of law and with ridiculous treatment of unexplained classes of advocates. E.g., an advocate enrolled after 2010 would be able to flaunt his state bar council enrollment certificate as his ‘practice verification certificate’ but all other long-standing members of the same fraternity – even if they be enrolled in the 1950s but not fortunate enough to have been designated senior advocates or were more self-respecting and dignified to refuse to apply for such honorary slots which should invariably be awarded by the superior Courts suo motu or on recommendation of Bar Councils or Advocates Associations but never on application by individual lawyers – have to undergo all the embarrassing process of compulsory application, payment of Rs. 250/- to 500/- fee, etc. to get a certificate of verification of practice which appears nowhere in the Advocates Act even. These Black Rules framed by the Bar Council of India, by no means an adequately representative body in a federal polity, should be thrown out lock, stock and barrel and this editor suggests the advocate community should seriously protest and agitate to that end. §§§