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April 30, 2010

Sick lawyers

The president,
Dist Bar Association,

With reference to your show cause notice dated 17.4.2010 , ref no -260(5) which I received on 21/04/2010 at 12.15 pm,I would like to show cause as follows :-

1. That I with great pain need to make my stand transparent on the incident occurred on 8/4/2010 at around 10.30 am with mr aswini kumar padhee my senior and with me.

2. That it a fact while Mr. Aswini kumar padhee while clearing the path leading to the library being encroached by a juice vendor was being involved in a heated argument and also being blatantly attacked by a huge mob of “ Highly Distinguished Lawyers”. He was bleeding from his nose.

3. That when I came to know about it , I along with Mr Padhee and his son Mr. Bhishnu Prasad padhee went to Mr. Pradeep Bohidar,i.e the ex-president of D.B.A. Sambalpur to enquire about the uproar.

4. That without paying a heed to us we were jostled by the angry group of lawyers leading by Mr. Suren Mohanty and Mr. Atanu Ghosh.

5. That I tried my best to protect Mr. Aswini Padhee and took him to the Advocate’s clerks room.

6. That suddenly I saw a huge mob of lawyers leading by Mr. Suren Mohanty and Mr. Atanu Ghosh approaching towards us, however it was pacified.

7. That after having a glass of water I came outside and was moving towards Mohapatra coffee shop. Suddenly I heard a voice calling me from behind. It was Mr. Pradeep Bohidar. We had some exchange of words. He turned back. Again while going towards the coffee shop I was chased like an animal as if a big price was put on over my head by a huge mob of lawyers leading by Mr. Suren Mohanty and Mr. Atanu Ghosh and Mr Mukesh using some abusive words. I was virtually dragged on the path by Mr. Suren Mohanty holding one of my legs and facing the kicks and blows of our learned and great advocates who were acted like a moral police. Their manners were abysmal. However I was saved by Mr. Sangram panda, Mr. Dash and few genuine lawyers. I really thanks them from the core of my heart.
8. Rather I would say it was their personal grudge on me for the reason best known. I have done my duty and obligation towards my Guru as a disciple. Hence no regrets. Decency, decorum, discipline has no value at all. It was a sheer mockery at our highly esteemed Bar association.. Such outrageous activities and moral turpitude must not be tolerated.

In the view of above , I would request your best self to be pleased to consider the above written statement as my defense in the disciplinary proceeding and allow me for an oral submission.

Conclusion :- More importantly ,it offers a lesson that those we humiliate are human beings. They deserve to be treated with dignity. Some of them , after all, may be exceptional. Some may even possess genius.

Where The Mind is Without Fear

WHERE the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Rabindranath Tagore Yours Faithfully,
Siddhartha shankar Mishra,
Thanking You Legal Practitioner,
Mob- +919937965779

April 15, 2010

Incredible India - The hub of child prostitution?

‘INCREDIBLE INDIA,’ is the name given to the land of my birth, because everything here is incredible - the wide variety of people, culture, arts, monuments, and architecture. In a country as diverse and complex as India, with 5,000 years of recorded history, it is not surprising to find that the people reflect the rich glories of the past, the culture, traditions and values relative to geographic locations and the numerous distinctive manners, habits and food that will always remain truly Indian.

From the eternal snows of the Himalayas to the cultivated peninsula of the far South, from the deserts of the West to the humid deltas of the East, from the dry heat and cold of the Central Plateau to the cool forest foothills, Indian lifestyles clearly glorify the geography. But sadly, India has a dark secret which was recently revealed on January 29, 2010, when the Supreme Court of India said, ‘India is becoming a hub for large-scale child prostitution rackets.’

The Court suggested the need to set up a ‘special investigating agency’ to tackle this menace in the world’s second most densely inhabited nation. The World Bank, World Development Indicators say that in 2008 the country had a population of 1,139,964,932, so by now it is probably way above that. According to the BBC, India is set to overtake China as the world's most populous nation by 2050, while some countries will shrink by nearly 40%, according to new research.

Sadly, despite all the incredible growth of the Indian economy, prostitution is currently a contentious issue in the country with child trafficking and prostitution rampant throughout the land. In 2007, the Ministry of Women and Child Development reported presence of 2.8 million sex workers in India, with 35.47 percent of them entering the trade before the age of 18 years. The number of prostitutes has also doubled in the recent decade. More recent figures have reported that sex workers in India are now around 15 million, with Mumbai alone, being home to 100,000 sex workers, the largest sex industry center in Asia.

Some infamous red light centers in India are Sonagachi in Kolkata (Calcutta), West Bengal; Kamathipura in Mumbai (Bombay), Maharastra; G. B. Road in the capital city of New Delhi, Reshampura in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh; and Budhwar Peth in Pune, Maharastra, where often minors ply their trade. The majority of sex workers in India do so because they are lacking resources to support themselves or their children.

Most do not choose this profession out of preference, but out of necessity, often after the breakup of a marriage or after being disowned and thrown out of their homes by their families. The children of sex workers are much more likely to get involved in this kind of work as well. A survey completed in 1988 by the All Bengal Women's Union interviewed a random sample of 160 sex workers in Kolkata and of those, 23 claimed that they had come of their own accord, whereas the remaining 137 women claimed to have been introduced into the sex trade by pimps or agents of various sorts.

A surprising breakdown of the agents by sex, were as follows: 76% were female and only 24% were males. Over 80% of the agents had brought young women into the profession were known people and not traffickers: neighbors, relatives, etc. Over 40% of 484 prostitute girls rescued during major raids of brothels in Mumbai in 1996 were from Nepal. In India as many as 200,000 Nepalese girls, many under the age of 14, have been sold into sexual slavery.

Nepalese women and girls, especially virgins, are favored in India. According to a 1994 report in the newspaper Asian Age, 30 per cent of these women are under 20 years of age, 40 per cent are 20-30 years of age, and approximately 15 per cent of them became prostitutes as children under the age of 12.

In its recent report, the Indian Supreme Court said, “Child prostitution is happening because of abject poverty in the country. This is also because of the very high large-scale unemployment. Our entire cultural ethos is going down the drain.”

The Court also wanted to know why the government is not “invoking rape cases against those exploiting the children in such prostitution rackets.” Working in this field, I realize that the Government of India is taking every step to curb and eliminate prostitution in India, but definitely somewhere down the line, they are not able to implement these actions strictly in many of these cases. Somewhere along the way there appears to be a loophole.

I run an organization in my homeland called the Indian Rescue Mission and already we have rescued hundreds of girls, may of them minors, from forced prostitution. I have found out that a huge demand for sex and a relaxed law enforcement system has resulted in the thriving trade of buying and selling women and girls.

Young girls from poor areas are particularly vulnerable and are often lured, kidnapped, or tricked into prostitution. Once the girl is sold to a particular brothel keeper, she becomes a virtual slave of the industry. She is beaten, threatened, verbally abused, and forced to sleep with many men every day. She will remain a slave until she is able to pay back the money the brothel keeper paid for her.

I have personally gone on several raids on these brothels and am convinced that an axe needs to be laid at the root of this problem.

Many of the organizations, including mine, that work for the rescue and rehabilitation of these victims are only trying to arrest the brothel keepers or managers of the brothels who are the last players of the whole trafficking game.

But I also feel that organizations need to trace the locations of the main pimps and traffickers and then they should be arrested and be put behind bars and that’s how we can bring an end to this issue. Child prostitution is growing so rapidly that all the efforts made by different organizations, play just a very small part.

Increasing suicide cases in Orissa

AGRICULTURE IS the chief occupation in Orissa. Seventy five per cent of the total working population engaged in agriculture and agriculture related industries. The principal problem that agriculture in Orissa faces is the shortage of water in many areas. Orrisa is the Indian state which is most affected by climate change.

Many farmers have allegedly committed suicide in Orissa who totally depend on the mercy of rain. In Orissa, farmers engaged in rain fed farming and many farmers ended their lives because of total crop loss due to bad monsoon.

The frequency at which farmers are killing themselves in Orissa is appalling. Small farmers of Orissa borrow loans from micro-finance NGO’s whose rate of interest is incredibly high. Banks give up loans on five per cent rate of interest but it is unable to access this which requires lot of documentation process and this make rural farmer attract towards micro-finance NGO’s where disbursal process is quick and easy but the rate of interest is almost 24 per cent to 50 per cent.

Farmers who took loan from these micro-finance NGO’s were trapped into life long process of death. This is clearly being seen that these NGO’s are exploiting small farmers of Orissa.

Fear of not being able to pay the amount of loan which they have took from micro-finance NGO’s drove the farmers to commit suicide. Now loans have become a fear for every farmer of Orissa.

Government takes the pride in having comprehensive agricultural policy but fails to provide good irrigation facilities and insurance cover to protect farmers. This shows that our government fails to stop suicide cases in Orissa.

Sexual abuse in school, high time to relook at the programs

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION of girl students in a residential school at Badaambada village in Nabarangpur district has became an important issue and now such issues have been reported from several parts of Orissa, particularly in tribal areas. The headmaster of the school, Pradipta Sahu, a contractual teacher Iswar Bhatra and Padman Bhatra, the husband of the cook of the school and later on the male cook of the residential school, Raju Bhatra have been taken into custody by the police in relation to this case.

Several visits were made by different government officers, political parties and dignitaries that forced the government to take disciplinary action and ultimately few officials (Welfare Extension Officer and Block Development Officer) were sacked from the job.

Now all the responsible persons of the government departments, political parties, and Panchayat leaders visit different schools at regular intervals. I must thank the person who brought this incidence into notice. Here a simple question arises that why the political parties/leaders realised so late that they should visit such institutions and that too after the occurrence of such a shameless incident in one such school? If they would have done this earlier such cases might not have taken place in other schools. I would like to request them not to visit the school now at all as it simply proves they want to get some political mileage.

After this incident the State government declared that only women headmasters would be posted in residential schools for girls. The schools are asked to accommodate students double its capacity, without proper place to sleep, eat, and bathe. And on the other hand the teachers stay on the same campus with their own families.

The concerned authority of the state government needs to check the quality of the dress material supplied to the girl students.

Sex is a biological need and it is difficult for an unethical person to abstain himself from it. And the tribal way of life which is generally featured by early sex, early marriage and elopement makes it easier for the people to exploit the girls. Many may not accept this logic out of mere hypocrisy .

Sexual abuse can lead to corporal punishment. . While signing the CRC the Indian government had promised to look after the matters pertaining to child rights and protection. Designing plans and making laws never solve the problems at all..

I want to raise a question on the working of the district level Child Well being Committees, and why they were not treated as the group which did not perform its duty perfectly. Why only the Welfare and Block Development officer were identified for negligence of their duty, why not the collector, the Minister for Tribal Welfare and Education and above all the Chief Minister of the state that is another big question for me. One can say the degree of negligence may be at the bottom. But the other duty bearers have failed to perform their duty and there is no confusion on this. Yes, I must say the real culprits need to be punished severely, but more than that the Government should take this as a lesson and plan accordingly so that such incidents do not happen at all.

April 14, 2010

License to Live-in: Bin phere hum tere

I AGREE with the fact that it is the personal decision for a man and a woman, who are in love whether to live together or not. It is part of their Right to life, and not a criminal sin. But this is acceptable only for adults and not for adolescents. Our society, traditional values and morals are joining hands with modernization and making it more flexible society.

Supreme Court's verdict on live-in relationships has been welcomed by the couples, who are living-in, but people who have high respect for traditions will still remain on the other side.

Talking about Prostitution, it is illegal in India, but do we see a reduction in the number of brothels in the country? Can we legalize this practice in India, which prevailing for decades now? Same holds for the live-in relationships.

One big question is that if a living-in couple want same rights as married couples, why not they get married then? There are many grey areas. Will the law treat single, married men cohabiting with a woman and married women cohabiting with a man in the same way? How long the woman or man have to be in live-in to qualify for maintenance? If a live-in couple has a child and later decide to part ways, what will be the future of child? Why an innocent child will suffer without any mistake?

India still survives and prospers on her traditions and values. Supreme Court's recent verdict on live-in relationship between two adults seems to overlook traditional Indian values. India is developing with each day technically, scientifically and in many more areas but here the Supreme Court judgement went wrong.

India - A land of hypocrites?

The word hypocrisy is no foreigner to the Indian political scenario. The passing of the Women's Reservation Bill has once again brought this aspect of our leaders to debate. Suddenly Muslim women's representation is being championed by random people.

THE WORD ‘hypocrite’ can never be erased from dictionaries, not because of its indepth meaning, but owing to the fact that it plays a very important role in determining a remarkable trait that is always associated with the complicated human nature.

Hypocrisy, in simple terms, refers to the inconsistency between action and words. This is prominent in all fields, be it politics, personal commitments, debates or baseless discussions. Time and again, one can see changes made in well crafted words spoken by top notch public figures depending on the situation and the context. Now, one has to analyse to what extent this term can be associated with an ordinary Indian citizen.

There have been numerous reports on the Yadav troika of Mulayam Singh, Laloo and Sharad aiming at reservation within reservation for Muslim community in the Women’s Reservation Bill. However, the question yet to be answered is what they have done for the Muslim community so far.

Talking about the common man, if one goes back a few years in history, it would be impossible not to come across the objections raised against the idea of ‘Democratic India’ being ruled by a personality like Sonia Gandhi, thanks to her origin and not her skills. There were widespread discussions among all the sections of the society with every individual, right from the ‘responsible future citizens’ of the country, to the older age groups. Even women who always felt oppressed would not miss an opportunity to discuss this in detail, be it a kitty party or a serious debate.

However, with the passing of the Women’s Reservation Bill, things have taken a drastic turn and Sonia Gandhi is treated as a Demi God by all women and of course the husbands and near and dear ones of future political wannabes. Is this because she has proved her mettle or more for the fact that this decision is seen as a boon by many? Only time will tell.

There has been an unprecedented rise in hatred against Australian racists. However, it is not difficult to guess that these are the same people who dedicate some part of their life to ensure that caste discrimination still remains an unresolved part in the Indian society.

In the field of cricket, we have heard a few celebrities claiming Sachin Tendulkar to be ahead of Don Bradman, thus leading to the confusion if this is out of obsession or has embedded traces of hypocrisy.

Many people project the image of a philanthropist working for the cause of mankind but their charitable works take a backseat when they fail to get media attention that profits them in some issues of ‘greater significance’ to them.

Discussion on judicial legacy of Justice A P Shah held

It is in these dark judicial times for the poor that Justice A.P. Shah's judicial legacy stands out by contrast and comes as a breath of fresh air. Throughout his career as a Judge, Justice Shah has delivered several landmark judgements.

MARKING THE retirement of Justice A.P. Shah as Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court and recognizing his judicial legacy characterized by his consistent sympathy for the rights of the poor, the weak and the marginalized, an umbrella of 15 human rights organizations, people’s movements and academic/cultural institutions (listed below) organised a Panel address on the issue of Sensitizing the Judiciary to the Rights of the Poor – The Judicial Legacy of Justice A.P. Shah.

The Panel address was held at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (Main Auditorium), Teen Murti House, New Delhi on the 6th of April 2010 at from 4:30p.m. – 7:30p.m.

The address was an occasion to focus on the judicial responses towards the poor spanning the 70s and the 80s when liberal judges in the Supreme Court like Justice Krishna Iyer, Justice P.N. Bhagwati and Justice Chinappa Reddy et al. expanded the rights of the poor by liberally interpreting the fundamental rights to bring them in tune with the other guiding principles of the Constitution, namely, the directive principles of state policy.

Thus Article 21 of the Constitution was interpreted to include the right to food, the right to health care, the right to shelter, the right to education, the right to a healthy environment, etc. Beginning with the 90s however, one began to see a reversal of this trend, not so much by way of overruling the previous judgements by giving a more conservative interpretation of rights, but by way of refusing to implement these rights as declared by the court itself.

Thus, workers rights liberally interpreted in the 70s and 80s were rendered nugatory by the Supreme Court refusing to implement the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act and the Industrial Disputes Act in dozens of cases. One began to see the High Courts and the Supreme Court itself ordering demolition of jhuggis without rehabilitation, removal of hawkers from streets without an alternative space for hawking, removal of rickshaw pullers from the streets without an alternative livelihood option – and thus violating their Article 21 rights.

All this was usually done on the ostensive basis of a clean and health environment. Thus the homes of more than a 100, 000 people were ordered to be demolished on the Yamuna Pushta on the basis that they were polluting the Yamuna which was an eco fragile zone.

It is in these dark judicial times for the poor that Justice A.P. Shah’s judicial legacy stands out by contrast and comes as a breath of fresh air. Throughout his career as a Judge, Justice Shah has delivered several landmark and progressive judgements. However what sets him apart is his consistent sensitivity to the rights of the poor, the weak and the marginalised.

Eminent panelists for the day, who have been involved in and have been speaking out on these issues included Anil Divan (Senior Advocate), Shanti Bhushan (Senior Advocate), Swami Agnivesh (Human Rights Activist), Prof. Upendra Baxi (former VC, Delhi University), Shekhar Singh (RTI Activist), Madhu Kishwar (Prof. CSDS and founder Manushi), Prof. Babu Mathew (Director, Action Aid), Miloon Kothari (Former UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing), Prashant Bhushan (Advocate), Dunu Roy (Director , Hazard Centre) and Gautam Bhan (Sexuality Rights Activist). The address was attended by over 200 people including social activists, academicians, people’s movement’s representatives, lawyers, students, etc.

Senior advocate and former law minister, Shanti Bhushan, set the tone for the discussion by highlighting the four qualities of a good judge, all of which he stated were present in full measure in Justice A.P. Shah, namely, integrity, knowledge of the law, sensitivity towards the poor and basic courtesy. Justice Shah with his extraordinary sensitivity towards the poor stands out as an exception to the rather callous attitude of the judiciary towards the rights of the weak and marginalised.

Renowned human rights activist Swami Agnivesh reiterated Justice Shah’s exceptional sensitivity towards the poor but cautioned that an exception like Justice Shah did not clear the judiciary of its tarnished reputation as being unaccountable and unresponsive to the common segment of society.

Senior advocate Anil Divan emphasised the need to keep up the fight against judicial corruption and unaccountability and highlighted the failure in the system of judicial appointments, citing as example the case of the appointment of Justice Ashok Kumar as permanent judge of the Madras High Court in Febuary 2007, without any consultation with the collegium of judges as required by the law laid down by the Supreme court and despite his not being confirmed earlier on grounds of integrity.

He also referred to the murky Ghaziabad Provident Fund scam where several judges of the High Court and a Supreme Court judge were named as beneficiaries of the illegal withdrawals. He emphasised the importance of the pressure of public opinion in the fight towards reclaiming the judiciary for the people in a democratic state like India.

Madhu Kishwar, Prof CSDS and founder Manushi, demonstrated the depth of Justice Shah’s understanding of the needs of the common citizen by citing his exceptional judgment in the rickshaw pullers case in which he not only held as unconstitutional the licence quota on rickshaw plying but also de-legitimised the owner-puller policy, which in the garb of being pro-poor played much to the detriment of the average rickshaw puller.

The judgement further ordered the Chief Secretary of Delhi to constitute a task force to review the cycle rickshaw policy as well as equitable road space sharing, all of which is to be monitored by the Hon’ble court itself.

Miloon Kothari, former UN Special Rappoteur on Adequate housing, detailed Justice Shah’s judgements which came as a breather for the mass slum dwellers in the city as he order the right to humane relocation in case their lands are required for public purposes and the rights of the homeless to night shelters.

RTI activist Shekhar Singh highlighted the absurdity of the whole judges’ assets controversy with the Supreme Court now in appeal before itself from the full Bench decision of the Delhi High Court as well as the judiciary’s constant struggle to shield itself from the full application of the Right to Information law.

Prof. Upendra Baxi, former Vice Chancellor Delhi University, defined Justice Shah and those who honour his legacy today as “Part IV A citizens” of the country emphasising the need for all to focus on their fundamental duties as embodied in the Constitution of India. Justice Shah redefined “dignity” in many of his judgments with his humane understanding of the plight of the weaker and poorer sections of Indian society.

Developing “Citizen Justices” like Justice Shah with an equally responsible “Citizen Bar” would pave the way towards a systematic renovation of the judicial system.

Drawing a parallel with the creeping in of neo liberalism in the 1990s with the peaking of the tremendous process of social exclusion, Prof. Babu Mathew brought out a realistic picture as he stated that there has now been increasing consensus among the academic and social thinkers that nearly half of India’s population falls within this excluded category.

He pointed towards the need to draw lessons from Justice Shah’s legacy that used law as an appropriate means of social change. His judgments came as a moral booster that further enables people to better rally and organise themselves with this new ray of hope.

Gautam Bhan, sexuality rights activist, brought forward Justice Shah’s inclusive understanding of the rights of every citizens as was reflected in his courageous and reasoned S. 377 judgment upholding the rights of sexual minorities and his interpretation of “constitutional morality”. From the decline in the attitude of the Judiciary towards the rights of the poor in the 90s, panellists took note that with exceptions like Justice AP Shah becoming a role model for the judiciary to emulate, we may begin to see a reversal of this declining trend in the years ahead.

Justice Shah’s retirement from the judiciary marked an important occasion to focus on the role of the judiciary as protectors of the rights of the weak and marginalized section of Indian society and the panellists were unanimous in emphasising the importance of a Judiciary that is a truly people’s judiciary, responsible and accountable to the people of this country. The panel concluded with the hope that Justice Shah’s legacy will become a beacon for the judiciary in this country to emulate so that we can again reclaim this republic for the common people of this country.

JNU: An oasis for Maoists and Naxalites!

Jawaharlal Nehru University has been a progressive and inclusive campus, but in recent years all public space is taken over by Naxalites-Maoists and their supporters. In name of communist agenda they openly perform anti-Indian activities.

NAXALITES, THE most deadly terrorists of our time have staunch supporters in India’s most famous university Jawahar Lal Nehru University. Though these pro-Maoist students are a small section of student community, but they manage to express their viewpoint very widely as they get very strong support from media, administration and political leaders.

They also get support of some students vouching for caste based politics, their small numbers get presented in a big way in media as they are well known to media houses. All this supports is exploited by them when it comes to defend the killings of poor Adivasis and poor security personnel who thrive their families on mere few thousands of salaries.

These Maoist-Naxalites students’ wings are comprised of two main organizations: AISA (All India Student Associations) and DSU (Democratic Students Union). AISA says, ‘Naxalbari lal Salam’ (Naxalbari Red Salute) while DSU says, ‘Naxalbari ek Hi Rasta’ (Naxalbari the only way). This is the reason they are well known as Naxalites among common students. Most of the time they are supporters of each other and often they violently oppose nationalist student organizations like YFE (Youth For Equality), AVBP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad), NSUI (National Student Union of India).

The barbaric killing of 76 CRPF personnel was mourned by YFE, ABVP and NSUI. YFE is still lighting candles in each hostel to pay homage to the souls of our security forces, who died for our national integrity. However, Dantewara attack was vindicated by DSU and AISA and a celebration was organized in form of a movie show on the next night. It was an open support to naxalites, this act irked most of the students and the programmed was opposed. Due to large participation in anti-naxalite procession AISA came with mild words against the ‘killings’ still their pamphlet was more against government and less against killer Maoists.

It is strange to see that AISA and DSU, openly support Maoists and Islamic Terrorists, SAR Gilani and all possible insurgents from North East. Maoist poets and thinkers are openly called and honoured by them within JNU premises and JNU administration silently support such acts. The Batla House encounter was held ‘fake’ by DSU and AISA, Kashmiri separatists are praised by them… but still with administration’s passive support they are able to retain JNUSU funds, offices for three years. The various clubs are also with them and administration has still to say anything on fund’s misappropriation by these naxalites.

Despite memorandums, letters to VC, requests and warnings by YFE, ABVP, NSUI and many common students, these Maoists are performing well and smoothly with JNU administration’s permissive attitude towards them.

The deadliest attack of Dantewara is not just an attack against India but also a hideous act against human rights. All concerned students have formed an organization to combat the naxal menace in JNU campus in name of ‘Student Against Naxalism’. On 11th April a huge solidarity march was organized by Student Against Naxalim, and they are also called a protest against administration on 12th April for allowing Naxalites activities in campus.

The presence of Naxalites in campus has not only promoted anti-national environment but also spread bitter division among students on caste and religion lines. The divisive students group are trapped by these naxalites on some caste issues but implicated that support for their main business of Naxal terrorism.

DDon't make Sikkim dumping ground for tainted judges

It refers to justified protests by Sikkim lawyers on transferring Justice P D Dinakaran to Sikkim High Court. It is insulting for Sikkim that this Indian state is recognised by Indian Judicial System as kaala paani for penal-transfers.

IT REFERS to justified protests by Sikkim lawyers on transferring Justice P D Dinakaran to Sikkim High Court. It is insulting for Sikkim that this Indian state is recognised by Indian Judicial System as kaala paani for penal-transfer of High Court judges. If a judge is found guilty, he/she should be removed from the post rather than punishing Sikkim with tainted judges.

According to reports, out of total about 2.5 crore criminal cases pending in trial courts of the country with UP leading with 48 lakh cases, Sikkim has just about 800 criminal cases pending in trial courts.

Likewise out of total about 75 lakh civil cases pending in country’s trial courts with UP again leading with 13 lakh pending cases, Sikkim is the most fortunate state to have just about 30 pending civil cases in trial courts.

Low figures of court-cases in Sikkim make Sikkim High Court to be country’s least burdened High Court with negligible work-load as compared to all other High Courts. It is better to merge Sikkim High Court with a High Court in some neighbouring state rather than making Sikkim High Court as dumping ground for tainted judges. However a single-judge bench of the High Court of merger can be kept in capital city of Sikkim initially.

On Arundhati Roy's 'Walking with the Comrades'

Change is an inevitable part of life. However for social activists and writers trans formative political alteration in their stand must be judged by its consequences. A critical analysis of Arundati Roy's 'Walking with the Comrades'.

I HAD never read any award winning work of Arundati Roy, so I bought the latest issue of Outlook, and read the article ‘Walking with the Comrades’. I was also intrigued by the fact that a supporter of Gandhi’s principles was advocating the cause of the Naxals. Change is an inevitable part of life, and it is necessary. However every change has to be evaluated in the terms of its relevance. For social activists and writers transformative political alteration in their stand must be judged by its consequences.

The debate must start from officials and ministers proudly claiming that we are the largest growing economy of the world with the GDP in the last one decade remaining above six percent. Their claim is purposely forgetful of the fact that during the last one decade the position of India in Human Development Index has not improved at all.

Whatever be the official argument, certainly majority of the Indian population suffered an economic crunch in the neo-liberal era and there is no respite for them even after some pro-people policies introduced by the last UPA government. Anyone who praises this model of growth must have some vested interest or agenda. When the entire nation is facing the crisis one can estimate its impact on the deprived section of the Indian population.

Since ages Dalits and Adivasis have always remained at the bottom of every social and economic indicator. The caste system of Hindu religion blocked the path of progress for Dalits and even for Adivasis the things are not much different, although there is no religious issue. It is also true that in the recent past big companies have turned their eyes on forests and want to exploit the minerals for their own richness.

As a matter of fact out of 52 types of important minerals found in India, 46 are in the areas inhabited by Adivasis. More than 300 mines are located in the Adivasis’ landscape. Governments have always remained indifferent towards the welfare of more than eight percent of population (8.2 percent is the total population of STs in India, according to 2001 census).

The development activities rarely reached their place and no doubts the state and its subsidiary machinery like police, forest department, contractors and landlords exploited Adivasis in all possible ways. It is damming that in many parts of India the original inhabitants were not allowed even to plough their fields by the forest department till the forest right act was enacted. It is also true that Adivasis women are subjected to sexual harassments of worst forms.

No one can deny the fact that in the present context, when the corporate and big industries are committed to grab the mineral wealth of India, the Adivasis are going to face further tribulations. In the absence of any proper vision of development the problems will become more acute. It is a right of Adivasis to resist and they should do it and it should not be a passive resistance. Here the question comes that has Maoism helped the cause of Adivasis and on this basis I will judge the love of Ms. Arundati for the Naxals.

Very well Ms. Roy justified the armed struggle of Naxals [she presented them as Adivasis]; she elaborated how the naxals first tried to win over the confidence of the Adivasis by uniting them and lodging protest against the exploitative methods of local contractors. The successful strikes led to increase in money paid to the Adivasis. That is the first part, but later the same naxal handed arms to the Adivasis. Thus, they organised the adivasis for a right cause and by a right method but later made them rebellions.

Did it help the cause of Adivasis, is a million dollar question. Although, Ms. Arundati Roy tried to give the impression that the entire tribal movement is a naxal movement, which is far from reality. One cannot forget the fact that Adivasis successfully struggled for land rights and they finally achieved it. There was no role of Naxals in that fight and it was a democratic movement. Today, the entire adivasis movement is depicted as naxal movement, and the big issues involved into the question of land and livelihood have taken a back seat.

The Naxals had done a good job by organizing the Adivasis [as claimed in the article] but they completely destroyed their movement and are very much responsible for the present state. The pertinent questions of development, displacement, livelihood, rehabilitation, etc, have not been the central question but government due to the opportunity given by Naxals has turned the entire debate on national security.

The Adivasis are sandwiched between the government and Naxals and ultimately it is the big industries, which are gaining ground in mineral rich India. Comrade Lenin termed it as infantile disorder sorry; but the favourites of Arundati Roy are suffering form infantile disorder. They are guilty of single handedly destroying the possibility of a untied resistance which could have made Adivasis victorious. Let me give an example.

The activists who are working in Gujarat brought Narendra Modi to Court, just by adapting democratic modes. I have no idea how to revert the damage done by the Naxal to the cause of Adivassis, but I believe the mainstream left should take this struggle in a more concerted way. There is imperative role of civil society which unfortuantely is not ready to read between the lines as how the Naxals had committed big mistake by ruining the possibility of organizing and leading one of the biggest movements.

There is an immense potential in the Adivasis movement if it is organized in a democratic manner. The change in Arundati Roy’s position on Hunger Strike is not going to be useful tactics for the Adivasis. We need support from all over India; this is a time to demonize the state for its failures. The Naxals are doing exactly opposite of what they intend, by their misadventures giving chance to the government to label everyone as internal security threat. Let us hope that section of civil society, academicians and activists will change but for better.

Honesty: A difficult path to walk

Being honest is the perpetual fight between mind and soul. Inner self forbids doing what is not good, mind looks into the practical aspect of life. In most cases mind wins. Perhaps present day materialistic life justifies such issues.

HONESTY IS defined as a state or quality of being honest (free from fraud, upright, just, sincere, candid, virtuous) integrity, candor, truth. While describing someone or ourselves as honest we forget that it is rather impossible to be truly honest.

One of my friend, a chartered accountant, once told me that he keeps some cash in the open drawers or in kitchen self which is not only handy while paying certain bills or asking the servant to get something from the market but also for testing the integrity of the servant. It may be difficult for a person to break open a locker but it will be quite easy for him to pinch some money or jewellery lying unguarded. Honest people do not take advantage of situations whatever may be the gains.

The issue is the perpetual fight between mind and soul. Inner self forbids doing what is not good, mind looks into the practical aspect of life. In most cases mind wins. Perhaps present day materialistic life justifies such issues. May be these are not the issues at all.

Let us start from the beginning of our adulthood as the childhood can be spared for reasons of lack of experience or understanding of various aspects of honest life. Grabbing out of turn or unjustified benefits be it not standing in the queue or backdoor entries for our personal or official gains, being part of some fraud, reaching office late or leaving early on false pretexts, remaining politically correct in the face of injustice to a fellow worker, pinching office stationary, submitting inflated tour bills, accepting or expecting gifts from suppliers, bribing the system for speeding up our official work in order to gain a few points of performance awards. There can be hundreds of examples of our working life when we did not really look honest.

Outside our working life, situation is no better. We do not follow the traffic rules, do not pay our taxes and become a part of the corrupt system. The glaring example is the avoidance of stamp duty by undervaluing the property purchased. It is well known that the builders ask for 50 per cent cash. Many a time receipt is not taken for purchases to avoid sales tax. Every time the excuse is ‘others too are doing it and if we do not fall in line we will not survive’.

Is it that remaining honest in present day society really impossible? Should we therefore, change the definition of honesty? Should bribery be legalised? Should some premium be charged legally on out of turn allotment of tickets, passports and many other such things in the same way as tatkal railway ticket or passport or cooking gas connection?

Is it rather true that we are dishonest because we are human? I do not think animals have the concept of honesty. They have only one rule, might is right. Since physical might be able to have started street violence we invented financial or intellectual might to score over others. With the process of time people with financial or intellectual might got their tools sharpened and became more and more successful.

It looks honesty is for preaching others and not for self practicing. It seems true because in spite of centuries of preaching society is struggling with fraud, untruths, and injustice. It is something like a notice board in front a juice center proclaiming ‘drinking strictly prohibited’ but you can find people mixing their drinks with the juice supplied by the center right in front of the shop and enjoying in full glare of all standing around. The notice board is more of an invitation to buy juice to mix with drinks. By describing what is considered dishonest and stay away from such practices, the opposite seems to be happening. People are learning more tricks to be smart.

April 12, 2010

Murder of Dignity

The President,
Sambalpur Bar Association.

Subject – Murder of Dignity

I with great displeasure need to make my stand clear on the incident occurred on 8th April 12, 2010 with Mr. Aswini Padhee and myself.

As you know that Mr. Padhee while clearing the path leading to the library being encroached by a juice vendor was being blatantly attacked by a huge mob of “ Highly dignified and incredible Lawyers”. While protecting my maternal uncle and senior Mr. Aswini padhee I was also targeted and faced the kicks and blows of the huge mob and dragged on the road leading by Mr. Atanu Ghosh ( Adv) , Mr. Shuren Mohanty ( Adv) , Mr. Mukesh ( Adv) along with their Associates.

Rather I would say that it was a personal grudge on me for the reason best known. I have done my best to protect my Guru as a disciple. Decency, decorum and sobriety is murdered on the street. It is a sheer mockery at our Highly esteemed Bar Association.

“ Trickery and Treachery is the practice of the Fools that don’t have brains enough to be honest.” Hence no regrets. I need protection and immediate measures should be taken against them.”

April 08, 2010


“Men feel that cruelty to the poor is a kind of cruelty to animals. They never feel that it is an injustice to equals; nay it is treachery to comrades.”

“Trickery and treachery are the practices of fools that have not the wits enough to be honest”

“The mind is engrossed in deception, treachery and duality. Whatever the Immortal Lord does, comes to pass.”

“Lack of faith, treachery, arguments and animosity only breed malevolence. It is in the best interest of all to avoid this and tread on the path of progress.”

“There is no act of treachery or meanness of which a political party is not capable; for in politics there is no honour.”

April 01, 2010

Respect, protection must be ensured for girl child

As our society is struggling with mounds of burning issues, it is the duty of government and judiciary to observe keenly the issues and facts related to molestation, rape and domestic violence and give them first priority.

BEING A citizen of democratic India every person has his/her own right to fulfill his/her wish without harming others. A good judgment was delivered by the Supreme Court regarding premarital sex, stating that it is not an offence but it is sad that the judiciary had to take example from mythology for the judgment of a case.

In India, when we are in the process of accepting gay rights openly then why to interfere into one’s personal life. As our society is struggling with mounds of burning issues, it is the duty of government and judiciary to observe keenly the issues and facts related to molestation, rape and domestic violence and give them first priority. These are such issues which are polluting our society silently from the root.

Women and girl child need protection, respect and a strong administration to live a healthy life. Priority should be given to the cases related to rape and domestic violence just to save life of a distress woman, a victimised child.

Right to Education: Gateway to educational transformation

The historic law - Right to Education (RTE) Act will be implemented on 1st April 2010 with an address to the nation by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The move will provide a much needed boost to the country's education sector.

MORE THAN six decades after Independence, the Indian government has cleared the Right to Education Act that makes free and compulsory education a fundamental right for all children between the ages of 6 and 14 (up to Class 8) and specially focuses on bringing back 8.1 million children of this age group back to the classrooms.

This historic law - Right to Education (RTE) Act will be implemented on 1st April 2010 with an address to the nation by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The move will provide a much needed boost to the country’s education sector.

Key provisions of the Bill include: 25% reservation in private schools for disadvantaged children from the neighbourhood, at the entry level. The government will reimburse expenditure incurred by schools; no donation or capitation fee on admission; and no interviewing the child or parents as part of the screening process.

The act also prohibits physical punishment, expulsion or detention of a child and deployment of teachers for non-educational purposes other than census or election duty and disaster relief. Running a school without recognition will attract penal action. The reservation will be implemented from 2011-12. It will not be implemented in the classes in one go. It will be implemented over a period of 12 years.

The RTE Act promises to create conducive educational atmosphere for physically handicapped children also. It also seeks to make learning student-oriented rather than teacher- and classroom-oriented.

There are however several question that come to mind concerning this great step forward – Why have children below six years and above 14 years not been given a chance at education under this law.

The government has also not addressed the issue of shortage of teachers, low skill levels of many teachers, and lack of educational infrastructure in existing schools let alone the new ones that will have to be built and equipped.


A High Powered Committee (HPC) under the Chairmanship of Union Home Secretary was set up to examine the issues relating to “Review of Rape Laws”. The suggestions made by the HPC have been formulated into The Criminal Law(Amendment) Bill, 2010. The draft Bill has been uploaded on the MHA’s website for information and comments from the general public. Ministry of Home Affairs has also invited views/comments and suggestions of the States and UTs on the draft Bill. The response can be sent by 15th May, 2010.

Right to Education Act comes into force today- Becomes a Fundamental Right

The Right to Education Act came into force today with Doordarshan telecasting the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's address to the nation announcing the operationalisation of the Act. The law envisions to provide free and compulsory education for all children between 6 and 14 years of age. In his address to the nation Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced the Right to Education becoming a fundamental right. He said that the Government of India pledges to provide education to every child in India. The PM said, "Right to Education Act will realize the dreams of many children across the nation." Adding that education is the key to progress and will empower children to become better citizens of the nation. Manmohan Singh called upon state governments and teachers to join the effort, adding that parents and guardians have a major role to play too. He said, "Centre and the States wll work to make this Act a success."

There are approximately 92 lakh out of school children in the country.


“About a hundred years ago a great son of India, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, urged the Imperial Legislative Assembly to confer on the Indian people the Right to Education. About ninety years later the Constitution of India was amended to enshrine the Right to Education as a fundamental right. Today, our Government comes before you to redeem the pledge of giving all our children the right to elementary education. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, enacted by Parliament in August 2009, has come into force today. The Fundamental Right to Education, as incorporated in our Constitution under Article 21 A, has also become operative from today. This demonstrates our national commitment to the education of our children and to the future of India. We are a Nation of young people. The health, education and creative abilities of our children and young people will determine the wellbeing and strength of our Nation.

Education is the key to progress. It empowers the individual. It enables a nation. It is the belief of our government that if we nurture our children and young people with the right education, India's future as a strong and prosperous country is secure. We are committed to ensuring that all children, irrespective of gender and social category, have access to education. An education that enables them to acquire the skills, knowledge, values and attitudes necessary to become responsible and active citizens of India. To realise the Right to Education the government at the Centre, in the States and Union Territories, and at the district and village level must work together as part of a common national endeavour. I call upon all the State Governments to join in this national effort with full resolve and determination. Our government, in partnership with the State governments will ensure that financial constraints do not hamper the implementation of the Right to Education Act.

The success of any educational endeavour is based on the ability and motivation of teachers. The implementation of the Right to Education is no exception. I call upon all our teachers across the country to become partners in this effort. It is also incumbent upon all of us to work together to improve the working conditions of our teachers and enable them to teach with dignity, giving full expression to their talent and creativity. Parents and guardians too have a critical role to play having been assigned school management responsibilities under the Act. The needs of every disadvantaged section of our society, particularly girls, dalits, adivasis and minorities must be of particular focus as we implement this Act. I was born to a family of modest means. In my childhood I had to walk a long distance to go to school. I read under the dim light of a kerosene lamp. I am what I am today because of education. I want every Indian child, girl and boy, to be so touched by the light of education. I want every Indian to dream of a better future and live that dream. Let us together pledge this Act to the children of India. To our young men and women. To the future of our Nation.”

Can a woman rape a man?

The government recently decided to amend the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and replace the word “rape” with “sexual assault’’. The proposal would make the offence of rape gender-neutral. But can a government change the meaning of the word “rape”? Can a man rape a man? Can a woman rape a woman? And finally, unimaginably, can a woman rape a man? Even dictionaries offer gender-specific meanings for rape. So, does that make a nonsense of the amended IPC? Flavia Agnes, Mumbai-based lawyer and activist, says it is certainly far-fetched. “To presume that women can rape men is rather outrageous,” says Agnes. “While women can sexually harass men, they can’t sexually assault them. There have been no such cases anywhere.” In fact, rape is a “deeply gendered construction”, with several social implications for women such as stigma, she adds. One rape case is registered every 54 minutes somewhere in India. Many more incidents go unreported. Take the case of 19-year-old Sulabha Rani* from Uttarakhand’s Chamoli village. In 2004, her uncle took her to Dehradun to work as a domestic help. He sold her to two men who raped her in a moving car. The next morning, she found herself lying half-naked and bruised on a sidewalk. Back with her parents now, and with her uncle absconding, Sulabha reportedly hasn’t been able to leave her bed or utter a word since that day.

Then there is Radha, an Agra college student, who tried to take on a bunch of rowdy goons making lewd remarks about passing girls. One evening, as she returned from college, Radha was raped by the goons, who said they were punishing her for her ‘bravery’.

So, can a woman ever do the same to a man? Agnes says rape is not just a physical assault, but an expression of power and control by men over women. “As we do not live in a gender-neutral society, having a gender-neutral rape law will only make the situation worse for women, as many may get accused of rape,” she says. Legal experts are apprehensive the IPC amendment will open the floodgates for other gender-neutral laws, such as those governing domestic violence, dowry death, cruelty to wives or even maintenance to women after a divorce. But some aspects of the proposed amendment are being welcomed. Sexual assault is to cover crimes such as sodomy, insertion of a foreign object and other offences that are not currently covered by the legal definition of rape. The rape law was amended in 1983 and ever since, women’s groups have campaigned for a law on sexual assault, which would cover issues of incest and non-penetrative child sexual abuse. Author-activist Pinki Virani, who filed a plea for the mercy killing of Aruna Shanbaug, a paralysed and brain-dead Mumbai nurse who was attacked and raped in 1973, says, “The amendment may not help women too much but it will help minor victims. I’m glad boys will be included in the category of victims who can be sexually preyed upon by older men without sodomy being the only criteria of boy-rape.” The provisions can also help in cases such as that of Ruchika Girhotra, who was sexually molested by Haryana DIG, SPS Rathore as a teenager, 19 years ago. Aradhna Gupta, who fought for justice for her dead friend, says this is a commendable move. Speaking to STOI from Sydney, Gupta says: “Now, more culprits can be booked for committing heinous sexual crimes. Had it happened two decades back, Ruchika would have been alive.”

Virani says the amendment raises questions about whether cases pertaining to children can be clubbed with adults. What about incest, arguably more traumatic than a single assault by a total stranger? Agnes says the government must take these complexities into account before amending the law of the land governing rape. *The names of victims have been changed