Sunday, September 23, 2018

Editorial, "WHY THE ASSEMBLY WAS DISSOLVED," LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 15 September 2018, Vol. 14, Part 2, No. 17 issue


prematurely in Telangana, when there is still about 9 months time for the existing Assembly to continue and the general elections are anyhow due in about six months, at the mere whim and fancy of the corrupt and cantankerous Chief Minister and why the Governor of the State, without batting an eyelid, put his rubber stamp of approval within minutes of the decision conveyed to him – is the baffling question rankling in the minds of all lovers of and sticklers to democracy. A real doubt arises as to whether we have bred, and are nurturing, an array of naya nawabs acting despotically in the guise of democracy, watching the autocratic style, callous conduct and colossal cupidity of the many rogues in power in the country. True, several Assemblies in India were dissolved prematurely earlier too and the elections were conducted with much effort in such instances within six months of dissolution but then there were some valid reasons or situations calling for the same. But the present one seems to be entirely due to the will and pleasure of a chief minister blindly approved by a constitutional head of the province, expected to exercise his own discretion in such matters. This also dissolves the many complaints in and out of Courts regarding the corrupt practices of this Chief Minister in enticing and recruiting several defector MLAs and even bestowing ministerial post on a chief defector in blatant violation of all the norms and provisions of the Constitution in league with the Speaker of the Assembly [who continues as the ruling party Polit Bureau member all along]. Sadly the Constitutional Courts also abdicate their powers and duties, pleading inability to intervene in such matters in the name of ‘respecting the separation of powers’ as if the basic democratic structure can be undermined nonetheless; and in that case why not the Xth Schedule of the Constitution, which is read to vest more powers on the Speaker than elsewhere in the Constitution on the President of India, be altogether deleted? Discerning people only think that all this is done due to and based on a secret deal between the ruling parties at the state and the Centre with understanding to free the hands of the current Chief Minister, who feels sure to get elected again, for a future alliance with the current ruling party in the 2019 General Elections to the Lok Sabha and divide the spoils; but no public purpose is involved in nor any good to the people will accrue by this decision. However, this editor wishes, and hopes, the Telangana people strike back to reject such despotic chief minister at the coming polls. §§§

Editorial, "SONS OF THE ZONES! – UGLY CHAUVINISM," in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 31 August 2018 issue, Vol. 14, Part 2, No. 16 issue


The disease of regional chauvinism, which, of course, always manifests through ‘popular’ sentiments, and which in case of Telangana resulted in the undermining of some constitutional provisions/conventions even, to create a separate state by bifurcating a well-developing first post-independence linguistic state of Andhra Pradesh, that without any wide discussion on the generally accepted linguistic reorganization of the country, let alone any consensus to upset the same, mainly to further the narrow partisan interests of the then and the now ruling parties – has not died down but the madness has reached to its peaks as manifested in the recently passed Telangana Public Employment (Organisation of Local Cadres and Regulation of Direct Recruitment) Order, 2018, obtained by the clever manipulations of the opportunistic chief minister of Telangana, perhaps through a secret deal with the ruling party at the centre. Strangely, this is achieved through a Presidential Order – and not any statute passed after any debates in the Parliament – issued by the powers given to the President under Article 371D, which in fact was a contrivance made as an exceptional measure to keep up and promote the unity of the [undivided] State of Andhra Pradesh! So now, 95% of all government employment except in some state headquarters offices are reserved for the sons of zones created by KCR, after earlier dividing Telangana into some 31 districts in the name of administrative convenience – but which in fact leads to more of an administrative mess. Actually, how far the bifurcation of the State of AP itself is constitutionally valid – that too without a constitutional amendment either removing or materially altering this Article 371D - is yet to be decided by the Apex Court which is still sitting pretty on several 2014 writ petitions filed challenging the same. This openly flies in the face of Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution which basically assert the fundamental rights of non-discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth and of equality of opportunity in matters of public employment, through a presidential fiat under Article 371D - an exception carved out for a very different purpose. Well, then, India can/may also be divided into hundreds of zones by such exceptional measures overriding the basic provisions, and a multi-zone India, with no linguistic/ethnic community-wise provincial autonomy, may be the dream come true of the religious fanatic unitary state-mongers ruling the country now. Well, let all progressive, democratic, and the left and liberal sections too applaud such moves as the necessary and proper means to establish ‘political correctness’ and promote ‘multiculturalism’! §§§

Editorial, "CORRUPTION, FAVORITISM, BLACK MARKET," in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 15 August 2018 issue, Vol. 14, Part 2, No. 15 issue

ruling the roost, whither will your country degenerate? – cried in anguish the great Telugu poet Sri Sri some five decades back. The situation has deteriorated fast since then and now there is nothing but these three evils to talk about in the society. Every political party comes to fore shouting rosy promises to eliminate these and construct a dream society of honesty, truth and progress but when come to power always reneges and succeeds in excelling the predecessors in these qualities! The recent Rafale fighter planes deal struck with a most corrupt French aviation company Dassault – whose inheritor and till recently Chairman-CEO [Senator] Serge Dassault was fined two million euros for tax fraud, barred from holding elected office for 5 years and spared jail only because of his advanced age, and quite recently kicked the bucket too – is the biggest defence scam in the country recently committed by the current government headed by our loquacious Prime Minister. The Ambanis, Adanis, Nirav Modis and Vijay Mallyas are flourishing at the expense of crores of people languishing in misery, left only with empty assuaging words of sab ka saath sab ka vikas (together with all, developing all) and the like promises – given a new meaning and twist by the ruling party president, who should have been actually in jail for his direction of and involvement in a false encounter case, but for the suspicious death decried as deliberate murder of Judge Loya, as Jumlas (empty words of promise meant not to be fulfilled)! The rejection of Ambanis in this deal by the previous Manmohan Government and fixing HAL, a famous public sector company, as the partner of Dassault with 70% of the contract terms allotted to it for a total of 124 planes – not confirmed then only in view of the forthcoming elections, has been completely overturned to award an excess of about one thousand crores for each plane, and reduced to 36 planes in a take-away condition with no technology transfer but inclusion of the upstart and inefficient Ambani company as a partner, as a bhagidar (sharer) in the big corruption. Add to this the hiring away of the historic Red Fort to the Dalmias and the lynching sprees by the so-called gau and Hindu Dharma rakshaks, e.g. the recent murderous attacks on the revered human rights leader Swami Agnivesh, to get at the eerily awkward picture of governance in the country. As Arun Shourie is so painfully emphasizing everywhere, the next elections may be the last occasion for the people of the country to change for a better, a secular, at least less-communal and less-corrupt ruling clique – a lesser evil – or else perhaps the Orwellian Big Brother nightmare may become a reality in our country. §§§

Editorial, "ILLEGAL IMMIGRATIONS SHOULD BE BARRED," in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 31 July 2018, Vol. 14, Part 2, No. 14 issue


and totally at that; and the already entered and settled illegal immigrants, especially in the eastern part of our country, should be immediately disenfranchised and treated as foreigners cum temporary refugees to be deported at the earliest. The present central government, in its own interests, has taken or is taking some solid steps in that direction, but unfortunately the misguided opposition and left parties including other opportunist or fanatic parties and groups are raising a hue and cry on it, forgetting or deliberately evading the facts that it was during and by the previous regimes that the Assam Accord was struck and later developments occurred which intended to curb and streamline such immigrations into the country. It sounds very impressive to talk about a ‘World Without Borders’, and this editor too is a votary of that ideal, but that is well-neigh an Utopian ideal for the present, for the achievement of which gradual, meaningful and practical measures on many fronts, in many fields world-wide are needed. We must remember that this land is traditionally called Hindustan and the majority of people living here identify with a religion or way of life called, rightly or wrongly, Hinduism, which is basically nature-worshipping, polytheistic (including atheist), and at the same time adheres to some monotheistic ideals too – a very peculiar ancient way of life, assailed from all quarters, but continuing since centuries. It is one big and strong bulwark against intolerant creeds, or the fanatic and aggressive sections of those, of the world so rampant nowadays, and any whittling down of its strength and population in face of the campaigns/orgies of the ever-proselytizing religious communities, will not do any good but only much harm not only to our country but also to the world community at large. We must also notice that since independence the proportions of population of Hindus in [West] Pakistan and Bangladesh [East Pakistan] have been deliberately and drastically reduced but the proportion of Muslims, the major minority community, has increased rapidly outpacing the rate of growth of the majority and other communities here; and in Kashmir valley an ethnic cleansing has taken place driving out almost all the Kashmiri Pandits with violence and atrocities. As such the large numbers of illegal migrants, mainly from Bangladesh, not only in Assam but also in West Bengal and perhaps in some other states too, also pose an existential threat to our polity, especially if we notice the phenomenon of the much-dreaded and the world-over-reviled fanatic terrorist ISIS having its strong presence in Bangladesh and also in Kashmir valley to an extent. §§§

Editorial, "FREE SPEECH, INTOLERANCE & STATE EXCESSES," in 15 July 2018 issue of LAW ANIMATED WORLD, Vol. 14, Part 2, No. 13 issue


Recent developments in India bringing to fore many undesirable instances of intolerance, mob/gang vandalism and violence, targeted/lynching attacks/killings, as also undue police/state excesses and sanctions against free speech are quite deplorable, and have to be condemned seriously by all democratic minded citizens of any political persuasion. In the columns of this journal we have earlier traced the history of creation of legal hurdles to the exercise of free speech even from colonial times; as to how the once freer atmosphere of religious debates was curtailed by bringing Section 153A into the Indian Penal Code, which penalizes any trenchant criticism of religious theories/practices of one community by another, or even by a radical member of that same community, castigating it as promoting ‘disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different reli­gious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communi­ties’, or committing ‘any act which is prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities… etc. The introduction of this section was due to the notorious Rangila Rasool case in which an illiterate religious fanatic was hanged for killing the publisher of that book on mere hearsay that it consisted of objectionable materials against their religious prophet – and at that time even Jinnah was not so happy with its introduction. Likewise the notorious sedition clause, Section 124A, is still there in the statute book, though all the national leaders of the time demanded, and promised to do themselves on achieving freedom, its repeal. Over and above that, post-independence, countless repressive Acts have been brought into statute books by the Central and State Governments, gradually driving India towards a police state. Another 153-B was introduced, for punishment of those who propagate against ‘national integrity’, as if India has ever been or is a cohesive one nation and though there are doctrines galore on the various phases of nation-building, and one very famous theory is that India is still “a nation in the making”. The federal ideal has been given a go-by long back, but even the quasi-federal arrangements are in grave danger by such repressive laws and attitudes – even counselling moderation in relations with neighbouring countries and suggesting a ‘give and take’ approach to solve border problems/left over partition issues can be penalized by a repressive government. In this fearsome background, externment of journalists and religious leaders by the police, castigating them as or akin to ‘goondas’, comes as no surprise. §§§