How to make India post-colonial, the Supreme Court way – Madhav Nalapat

Prof M.D. Nalapat“It is a burst of fresh air that the Supreme Court has warned the authorities against reflexively sending to jail those accused of crimes against women, such as dowry harassment. Because of the North Korea-style laws that have been passed by the NAC-certified “liberal” Manmohan Singh regime, almost the first action taken by the police is to lock up the presumed offenders, who frequently remain in jail for extended periods of time, while their innocence gets argued in court after court. The liberty of a citizen is a right which ought to be taken away only in rare circumstances, rather than routinely. Indeed, such is the case in any genuine post-colonial society.” – Prof  Madhav Nalapat

Supreme Court of IndiaThe psychic benefits of having a life partner are so varied and immense that it would be churlish to seek to get financially compensated for the privilege. The taking of dowry as a condition for marriage is a vile act, but clearly one which does not lend itself to extinction merely by the passing of legislation. Lawyers are known to bequeath lucrative cases to their offspring, after decades of having shepherded the same through the labyrinth of courts which together constitute India’s legal system. The drain on time, effort and money is relentless, and very often destroys a life.

Sadly, although in a technical sense the people of India became free on 15 August 1947, in reality, practically the entirety of the legal shackles used by Britain to ensure the servitude of the population of India has been retained. Indeed, since 2004, the two legal eagles of the UPA, Palaniappan Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal have got passed (with the sometimes tacit, often overt, acquiescence, it needs to be said, of the principal opposition party) a shipload of laws which collectively transfer huge chunks of additional authority to the state, thereby denuding the citizen of what little increments there were in his rights during the attempts at liberalisation by P.V. Narasimha Rao and Atal Behari Vajpayee.

As the jurist Aryama Sundaram said on NewsX, jail has become the rule and bail the exception. Circa UPA, the courts in several instances and the police almost invariably (except, of course, where high dignitaries are involved) consider it a bagatelle to deprive a citizen of the Republic of India of his or her liberty. The prisons of India are full of individuals who have been tossed in through dodgy evidence, which eventually may be shown to be so in a higher court. That is, if the concerned convict has the money needed to make appeal after appeal to the higher judiciary, and to afford lawyers capable of collating and exhibiting evidence ignored earlier while passing a verdict of “guilty”.

The UPA specialised in asking for more and more legislation, each framed in such a way as to give near-unlimited discretion to the arresting officer. In today’s India, a citizen can get arrested (on the basis of mere accusations) for a plethora of charges, most of which would be non-cognizable in a more fully-fleshed democracy. Once imprisoned, the effort of the authorities is to ensure that skills and knowledge get erased, for example by the denial of internet. The entire process is calculated to de-humanize the convict, so that at the end of his or her term, all that the released prisoner would be capable of would be to push around a vegetable cart. After the Emergency, and the consequent jailing of dozens of political leaders, a few efforts were made to improve prison conditions, but this impetus for reform petered out quickly. Interestingly, despite spending many years in jail, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru declined to ensure an overhaul of the prison system, which in its essentials continues much the way it was in the 1930s. Indeed, recent pronouncements are reported to have averred even that “Life Imprisonment” should mean precisely that, incarceration for the entire remaining period of a human life. What the effect of such a hope-devoid destiny would be on an individual is not difficult to imagine. Clearly, punishment rather than reform remains the objective of India’s penal system.

In such a dismal context, it is a burst of fresh air that the Supreme Court has warned the authorities against reflexively sending to jail those accused of crimes against women, such as dowry harassment. Because of the North Korea-style laws that have been passed by the NAC-certified “liberal” Manmohan Singh regime, almost the first action taken by the police is to lock up the presumed offenders, who frequently remain in jail for extended periods of time, while their innocence gets argued in court after court. The liberty of a citizen is a right which ought to be taken away only in rare circumstances, rather than routinely. Indeed, such is the case in any genuine post-colonial society.

Although its verdicts in matters such as homosexuality have dismayed those wishing to ensure for citizens of this country the same freedoms enjoyed by their counterparts in other countries where tens of millions speak the English language, such as the UK or Australia, in this matter the Supreme Court has come on the side of individual freedom, correctly decreeing that it ought not to be extinguished without clear and good cause. Hopefully, the Supreme Court will follow this verdict with others which enshrine the principles and values of the 21st century post-colonial society that India needs to be. To succeed in the global Knowledge Economy, what is needed is an atmosphere of freedom rather than the restrictive system left behind by the British and preserved rather than eliminated. Jail ought to become the exception rather than the first and often only recourse of the minions of the law. – The Sunday Guardian, 6 July 2014

» Prof. Madhav Das Nalapat, holds the UNESCO Peace Chair and is Director of the Department of Geopolitics at Manipal University, India. A former Coordinating Editor of the Times of India, he writes extensively on security, policy and international affairs. Prof. Nalapat has no formal role in government, although he is said to influence policy at the highest levels. He is currently the Editorial Director of The Sunday Guardian and tweets at @MDNapalat.

 Tihar Jail

Need to overhaul our justice delivery system – P.M. Ravindran

R.M. Lodha

Major P.M. Ravindran“I had been shocked earlier when the CJI, R. M. Lodha, castigated the Government headed by you, in the matter of not recommending the name of a tainted advocate for appointment as a judge of the apex court. To say the least, it was unbecoming conduct on the part of the CJI. In fact, specifically about R. M. Lodha, people like me are shocked how such people, without apparently even the basic knowledge of law, forget the bigger issue of justice, have been appointed as judges in our courts!” – Major (Retd) P. M. Ravindran

Dear Mr Prime Minister,

There goes Mr Lodha, CJI, again! And now he is exposing his ignorance and incompetence by simply blaming you for not providing adequate infrastructure and number of judges which are apparently the only reasons, according to him, why the judiciary is drawing flake from the public for the preposterous delays and all around failure in delivering justice!

I had been shocked earlier when he castigated the Government headed by you, in the matter of not recommending the name of a tainted advocate for appointment as a judge of the apex court. To say the least, it was unbecoming conduct on the part of the CJI. In fact, specifically about R. M. Lodha, people like me are shocked how such people, without apparently even the basic knowledge of law, forget the bigger issue of justice, have been appointed as judges in our courts! It was a bench, of which he was a member, that put a big question mark on the competence of our apex court judges by not delivering justice even in the matter of a simple case like that of the date of birth. This bench of judges even forgot that the petitioner being a Chief of Army Staff  the whole nation was looking out for the final verdict!

Of course you will be getting the best possible legal advice available in the country but ordinary folks like me who are adequately literate are also competent to read and understand the provisions of the Constitution. Art 124(2) of the Constitution is reproduced below:

(2) Every Judge of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal after consultation with such of the Judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts in the States as the President may deem necessary for the purpose and shall hold office until he attains the age of sixty-five years:

Provided that in the case of appointment of a Judge other than the Chief Justice, the Chief Justice of India shall always be consulted. 

Now where does the Collegium come in? It has even been made out in the media that had the ‘Government’ returned the recommendation to the Collegium and the Collegium stuck by its earlier recommendation the ‘Government’ had no choice but to accept it! It is true that the appointing authority of the Executive had at some point of time been usurped by the apex court. It is time that the Parliament restored it to the rightful authority.

Strongly disapproving the all-judge composition of the National Judicial Commission, a Parliamentary Standing Committee of the Ministry of Law and Justice, headed by Rajya Sabha member E.M.S Natchiappan, had said ‘Judges appointing judges is bad enough in itself; judges judging judges is worse.’

And that brings us to the efficacy and accountability of the judiciary.

That our judiciary is an outright failure is evident when we consider the fact that justice delayed is justice denied. And when you look at the final judgements and see that justice is not delivered even after the preposterous delays the very need to sustain such an establishment becomes questionable. Here are two relevant quotes:

Justice is an intrinsic human need. We suffer much privation but we cannot suffer being wronged. Absence of justice, we must not forget, is one of the causes of crime.

  • ‘Needed high speed legal redressal’ – Aravind Kumar, Jurist and lawyer, Pioneer, Kochi, 01 Aug 2006

When we transformed from subjects to citizens, we forfeited our rights it seems, since what happens in our country now in the name of law is often rank injustice.

  • ‘Human rights, the genesis of justice is from religion’ under ‘faith line’ by Renuka Narayanan, The New Indian Express of 20 Dec 2004.

And if you want it from better authorities here is what the National Commission to Review the working of the Constitution has stated in its report, submitted to the then government in 2002:

  • ‘Judicial system has not been able to meet even the modest expectations of the society.  Its delays and costs are frustrating, its processes slow and uncertain.  People are pushed to seek recourse to extra-legal methods for relief.  Trial system both on the civil and criminal side has utterly broken down.’ Also, ‘Thus we have arrived at a situation in the judicial administration where courts are deemed to exist for judges and lawyers and not for the public seeking justice’

Why I said better authority is because the 11 member Commission, was headed by a former Chief Justice of India, M.N. Venkatachaliah, and of the remaining ten  3 (B.P. Jeevan Reddy, R.S. Sarkaria and Kottapalli Punnayya) were judges of the Supreme Court/High Courts and 2 (Soli J. Sorabjee and K. Parasaran) were lawyers! Only 2 (P.A.Sangma and Sumitra G. Kulkarni) were political nominees and 2 (Dr. Subhash C. Kashyap and Dr. Abid Hussain) were bureaucrats. Just one (C.R. Irani) represented the masses from the media!

Even Prashant Bhushan who has alleged that eight of the earlier 16 Chief Justices of India were corrupt holds Mr Venkatachaliah in high esteem. After indicting the very system which he himself had headed one might tend to agree with Prashant Bhushan. But the fact again lies elsewhere. In his notes to the Report, Dr. Subhash C. Kashyap has mentioned the following: ‘The Chapter 7 of the Report is titled ‘The Judiciary’.  This chapter particularly is seriously flawed and distorted. The much-needed Judicial Reform issues have not been even touched or these got deleted in the final draft.’

Finally, it was left to Ms Kulkarni to drive-in the last nails, thus:

  1. I believe in a Unified and truly Secular India. However, the Commission debates seemed often to reduce the Constitution to being a platform for divisiveness and not unification.
  2. The Commission did not initiate or promote sincere debate in the public with regards to the issues that it was contemplating. The effort was more to “evade and defer” instead of to “identify issues, table them for debate and to deal with them”.

Why I have quoted these is because my observation tells me that this Report is very much like a court order: high moral standing through eloquent quotes, reasonably correct recording of facts, shaky deductions and outrageously wrong decisions!

I am among those who are convinced that this nation cannot develop peacefully unless the judiciary is overhauled lock, stock and barrel.

The judiciary has been complaining about lack of adequate infrastructure and shortage of judges for the high pendency and delays. While it looks true on the face of it the fact is otherwise. To begin at the lower court, most of the time of the court is wasted in a process called mustering where hundreds of cases listed for the day are called out, the presence of the parties ascertained and the cases are adjourned. 30 to 50 percent of the time is wasted in this. It is not the judge‘s or advocate’s time that is wasted. While one is paid by the tax payer, the other is paid by the litigant! Now this is what HD Shourie wrote in ‘How long before justice comes?’ (The New Indian Express of 04 Dec 2004) : ‘It is not possible for a judge to seriously hear and decide more than two or three cases a day….no judge should have more than 30 matters listed before him/her on a given day.’ And, ‘Lawyers are accused of employing delaying methods, but no lawyer can succeed if the court refuses an adjournment.’ 

Regarding the judge to population ratio, another distorted logic not applicable in the Indian context (for reasons that shall be clarified), Senior Advocate K.T.S. Tulsi has reportedly revealed the following statistics:

Cases filed in one year (1999):

India : 13.6 Million (1,36,68,073); USA: 93.81 Million.

Docket’s per Judge: India : 987; USA: 3235.

Now considering that the population of India 4 to 5 times that of the US of A and the cases filed there is seven times that filed in India, how does the judge to population ratio apply here? If the CJI is not aware of these hard facts, again it can only be considered gross incompetence on his part!

Why judiciary alone? Even the quasi-judicial organisations – the consumer ‘courts‘, ombudsmen, commissions like the information commissions – have taken the wrong example of the judiciary and are harassing the day lights out of justice seekers! Here are some statistics of a complaint decided by the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Palakkad, Kerala:

In OP 282/1999 (OP No 85/1995 transferred from Malappuram), the opposite party had produced interim stay order on 28/10/1999 and the stay was vacated only  on 8/6/2005 but through out this period the case was listed 58 times and adjourned! It was finally posted for orders on 6/7/2007 but was opened for re-hearing suo moto on 15/2/2008 and went on an adjournment spree from 3/3/2008 to 31/5/2010. During this spree it was adjourned 17 times, including 5 times for want of members/President and 10 times for orders only! It was dismissed when an application was submitted under the RTI Act to find out the status!

This and other complaints against the Forum and State Commission, to the Minister for Consumer Affairs and the Chief Minister of Kerala have not produced any desired changes. Copy of the complaint submitted to the CM during his Public Contact Program is available here and the response of the President, Consumer Forum is here .

To cut the complaint short, I shall list out certain mandatory changes needed in our justice delivery system.

  1. The judiciary should be reorganised like the medical profession – private practitioners/small clinics/primary health centers, referral centres, tertiary care, super speciality centres. These could be comparable with arbitrators, lower courts, high courts and apex court.
  2. No lawyers in courts. It will ensure that the playing field is level at least to some extent. This is what eminent jurist Fali S. Nariman wrote in his book ‘India’s Legal system: Can it be saved?': For more years than I can imagine we lawyers have been using our lawyering skills not in a profession but in a game, in which the more skilful (which tends to become also the more costly), will invariably win.
  3. Like general and specialist doctors practising independently, all the lawyers should be classified based on their qualifications and specialisation and their fees regulated through a regulator headed by a human rights activist, supported by a legal advisor and a finance advisor. A data base of such legal practitioners should be maintained by the regulator and the regulator should be able to update the status of the legal practitioner based on litigant feedback.
  4. Aggrieved parties should approach a proper arbitrator who should be empowered to summon respondent(s) and advise them on a solution. At the end of the day, whether the problem is solved or not, both the parties should send a feedback, including a grading on a 10 point scale, to the regulator.
  5. If any of the parties are not happy then they can appeal to a lower court. The decision of the lower court should be final. If both the parties are unhappy and file appeals with different courts a designated court should be empowered to transfer both the cases to a third court convenient to both parties. Again appropriate feedback should be provided to the regulator.
  6. Serious crimes like murder, rape, corruption, complaints against public servants should be heard initially itself by the lower courts and the appellate authority should be the high court. As usual feedback from both parties should be provided to the regulator.
  7. The apex court should only take up interstate disputes and issues involving interpretation of the Constitution.
  8. All orders, without exception, of high courts and the Supreme Court should be published in a centralised website which can be searched based on court, judge, petitioner, respondent, subject, law and section under which charged (example Sec 217 of the IPC), punishment awarded, compensation awarded to aggrieved party (could be the petitioner or the respondent who has been acquitted!). (I have highlighted without exception because right now it is the judge who decides whether an order has to be uploaded/published and there is obvious shortcoming in this process!)
  9. Follow up data-like date and place of commencement of imprisonment, payment of cost/compensation etc- should also be updated against the same case, based on mandatory inputs to be provided by the authority implementing the order to the authority responsible for updating the data (should be under the same regulator compiling feedbacks and grading advocates, judges).
  10. Cases involving public servants should be contested by the concerned public servant in his own capacity and at his own cost. Compensation/punishment should follow as for any ordinary litigant.
  11. All quasi-judicial organisations should be discontinued.
  12. A Contempt of Citizen (Prevention of ) Act should be enacted and even judges summoning litigants and adjourning without conducting any hearing effectively, should be under it purview.

While the foregoing suggestions would apply to long-term reforms, for the immediate future the following should be taken up on war footing:

  1. No judge should list more than two times the cases s/he can effectively hear in a day. And these also should be divided into forenoon and afternoon sessions, necessitating litigants to spare time only in the forenoon or afternoon.
  2. The list of cases taken up for the day should be displayed on a notice board and the serial number of the case in progress should be displayed on a counter or a TV screen.
  3. No litigant should be required to appear in a case on more than three occasions in minor cases, six times in somewhat serious cases and 12 times in very serious cases.
  4. An attendance slip should be provided to every litigant, who has been summoned and attended court, as proof of attendance.
  5. Minor cases should be disposed of within 3 months and very serious cases within one year.
  6. Contempt of court cases should be restricted to cases where those responsible for complying with the orders fail to do so.
  7. In every case the ‘victim‘ (whether it is the complainant or the acquitted accused) should be compensated appropriately by the other party.
  8. Public servants involved in cases even in their official capacity should be considered as ordinary litigants without the support of the official machinery and should initiate / contest cases on their own. While the punishment/compensation will also be suffered/ enjoyed by them as ordinary citizens, they can be given additional incentives by the government if there is some gain accrued to the public.

Hope this long letter will of help in appreciating the frustration and disgust of the public with the present justice delivery system. You, being in the driver‘s seat of the national bus and empowered to take it to its destination, are expected to do the needful. After the power of the vote it is now the power of our prayers that we hope will help you steer right to the correct destination!

Yours truly,

P. M. Ravindran

Sent to:

Sri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister – through e-mail, pmindia@pmindia.nic.in

Copy to:

Mr R. M. Lodha, CJI – through e-mail, supremecourt@nic.in

Sonia & Rahul summoned in National Herald newspaper case – IANS

Copy of the National Herald

Subramanian Swamy“The judge … added that the complainant had established a prime facie case of dishonest misappropriation of property, criminal breach of trust, cheating and criminal conspiracy.” – IANS

A court here Thursday issued summons to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi on charges of misappropriating funds of a company that used to publish the now-defunct National Herald newspaper.

In response to a private complaint filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy, Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha said: “I have found prima facie evidence against all the accused.”

The court directed them to appear before it Aug 7.

The Congress called it “a motivated complaint”. “The allegations are baseless,” said party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

A party statement added: “All the people named in the National Herald matter will seek legal advice and do the needful.”

Apart from the Gandhis, the court also summoned Congress leaders Motilal Vora and Oscar Fernandes, Sam Pitroda, who was an advisor to former prime minister Manmohan Singh, and former journalist Suman Dubey, who is close to the Gandhi family.

The complaint alleged that the Gandhis formed a company, Young Indian, in 2010 with 38 percent share each to take control of Rs. 2,000 crore worth of assets of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), which published the National Herald.

The National Herald was started in 1938 by Jawaharlal Nehru. Over the decades, it lost circulation and ran into major financial losses, leading to its closure in 2008.

“Since all the accused persons have allegedly acted in consortium with each other to achieve the said nefarious purpose/design, there are sufficient grounds for proceedings against all of them,” the court said.

However, the judge added in a 20-page order that “it goes without saying that guilt of an accused is determined after trial when the burden of proof is discharged beyond reasonable doubt.

Sonia Gandhi + Rahul Gandhi“This is only the stage of summoning of the accused. When the accused appear before the court they shall be at liberty to refute the allegations of (Swamy), cross examine the witnesses.”

The judge, however, added that the complainant had established a prime facie case of dishonest misappropriation of property, criminal breach of trust, cheating and criminal conspiracy.

The summons were also served on Young Indian.

“The chain of circumstance appears to give rise to a conclusive or irresistible inference of an agreement between the accused to commit the offences as alleged in a pre-planned manner,” the court observed.

It noted that “though the language in the documents is shrouded in ambiguity, it is not difficult to understand that the control over public money/assets appear to have been cleverly transferred to the hands of the few by creating a company (Young Indian) for this purpose”.

Speaking to reporters, Swamy said: “This is a fraud, criminal breach of trust as they have managed to misappropriate the fund of Rs. 2,000 crore.

“It is important for the court to take away the passports of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi so that they do not run away from the country.”

Rebutting the charges, Singhvi accused Swamy of running a “motivated campaign” against the Congress.

“This is a stale complaint made some time in 2013. About a year later, we heard in the press that a summons is being issued. We have not even received it yet. You can rest assured that a fitting response will be given after we receive the papers,” Singhvi said.

“Dr. Swamy is known for his motivated campaign against the Congress,” he added.

“Allegations made over a year ago lead to only a process. Issuance of process on a stale complain over a year ago is not something we are excited about. Let us receive the paper which we have not received and seek comprehensive legal advice and you will see how all allegations in this respect are going to be legally demolished.”

Herald House LucknowHe said the offence was made possible because of the Gandhis’ “crony control over the Congress party and AJL”.

He alleged that they closed AJL in 2008 due to financial crisis and stopped printing the National Herald and sister publications Navjivan (Hindi) and Qaumi Awaz (Urdu), which were saddled with huge debts.

To resolve the financial crisis, AJL transferred the share equity to Young Indian by payment of a mere Rs. 50 lakh without taking any reference from the shareholders.

Young Indian thus acquired the complete ownership of AJL real estate assets of at least Rs. 2,000 crore, including a multi-storeyed building in a prime location in Delhi.

The court observed that the office bearers of Congress by advancing interest-free loan to the AJL, a public limited company involved in commercial activities, appeared to have defrauded a large number of persons who contributed to the political party by way of donation.

The court observed that the revenue generated by the properties belonging to AJL is being dishonestly misappropriated by the directors of Young Indian. – Business Standard, 28 June 2014

See also

Hotel Tihar

VIDEOS: I agree with Dina Nath Batra – Abhinandan Sekhri

Dina Nath Batra & Abhinandan Sekhri

Bina Nath Batra is an old time school master who founded the Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti  and uses the courts to get books banned. Abhinandan Sekhri works in TV and film and is a founding partner of Small Screen and Newslaundry

Part I

Part II

Narendra Modi: Exalted planet in our horoscope – Ram Jethmalani

Ram Jethmalani“I believe it was Narendra Modi alone, and none of the other distinguished Party leaders, who was responsible for including the issue of recovery of black money stashed away in foreign banks, in the BJP election manifesto. Narendra Modi is aware of my five years of legal battle in the Supreme Court to have a Special Investigation Team supervised by two ex-judges of the Supreme Court to carry out the task of recovering our stolen money.” – Ram Jethmalani

PM-Designate Narendra ModiIt is about 10 o’clock in the morning of 16 May 2014, as I write this piece after my badminton game. Before starting I turned on the television to hear the election trends. 16 May 2014 will go down as a momentous Victory Day in India’s history. The day the nation broke its shackles and attained deliverance from the corrupt, communal and colonial UPA government headed by the Italian branch of the Nehru-Gandhi family, which has bled our country by several thousands of crores during the last decade. This has been the mother of all victories, stunning the Congress into a deathly silence. With their miserable tally of 44 seats, they cannot even aspire to lead the Opposition.

The UPA ensured the unity of their coalition through their adharma of corruption. By allocating spheres of corruption to each constituent, they ensured their continuity, confident also that religious division and vote banks that they engineered would blot out their plunder at the next election. They couldn’t have been more misguided. The entire nation rejoices and salutes India’s new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who after a tireless and gruelling campaign of almost two years has received an unprecedented, historic mandate from the people of India to lead our country.

I must also congratulate every columnist of The Sunday Guardian for giving a near accurate assessment of the election result. The Sunday Guardian, right from the start has consistently supported Narendra Modi for Prime Ministership. And it has happened just as we forecast and hoped, and Narendra Modi will be Prime Minister of the country, despite the hatred, calumny and lies that was disseminated about him in the most diabolical and calculated manner. But he fought them all and won. Additionally, I congratulate M.J. Akbar, Editorial Director of The Sunday Guardian for joining the BJP, and as a spokesman now, leading the path for other secular enlightened Muslims of India.

As for me personally, I was both overjoyed and proud. Overjoyed, because the person whom I had been fighting for as most qualified and deserving for Prime Ministership of India, was miles ahead of his non-existent competitors. And proud, because my prediction made many months ago, based on my rudimentary knowledge of astrology corroborated by intuition, that Narendra Modi would be a glorious Prime Minister proved to be accurate.

 Arun Jaitley & Sushma Swaraj Let me, however, assure my readers that I have no plans to change my profession of law for one of a soothsayer. Nor is it my intention to seek some grateful reward from Narendra Modi. But today, I feel totally free to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, unrestrained by any adverse impact it might have on the electoral prospects of the BJP or any of its candidates, including Arun Jaitley. Everyone including Narendra Modi knows that I ceaselessly campaigned for him and the BJP, despite my expulsion from the party, chiefly manipulated by the notorious members of the 160 Club. My assistance during the election campaign was offered without distinction or discrimination, but about Arun Jaitley, I had written to Narendra Modi a long time ago, that his defeat was more or less certain, even without my campaigning for or against him. Apart from his humiliating electoral defeat, now that the 160 Club has also come a cropper, his attempts to flood important decision making platforms of Narendra Modi’s government with his associates is not going to do him or the new government much good, except perhaps inviting his own quarantine in the party.

I believe it was Narendra Modi alone, and none of the other distinguished Party leaders, who was responsible for including the issue of recovery of black money stashed away in foreign banks, in the BJP election manifesto. Narendra Modi is aware of my five years of legal battle in the Supreme Court to have a Special Investigation Team supervised by two ex-judges of the Supreme Court to carry out the task of recovering our stolen money. The Manmohan Singh government, under orders of Sonia Gandhi and her son managed to frustrate the Supreme Court judgement of July 2011 constituting an SIT for this purpose. This corrupt action was rejected as vexatious by the new three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Dattu on 26 March 2014. But what is most shameful is that even as election results were coming in on 16 May, Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra moved the Supreme Court for relief in the shape of stay of the constitution of the SIT, which P. Chidambaram badly wants. The Hon’ble Judges summarily rejected the frivolous and dishonest request. What Indian Black Moneyemerges crystal clear is the desperation that even as their party was being pulverised at the polls, the infamous looter trio of Sonia, Rahul and Chidambaram were trying their utmost to stall the Supreme Court directions.

In this context, I would like to ask the mother and son one question: the nation should be informed of which foreign country Rahul was sent to by his mother, even as she was dining out the Prime Minister, and what the purpose of this unusual visit was. Incidentally, I have repeatedly stated in public and to the press that Sonia and her family are the chief beneficiaries of the plunder of US $1,500 billion, equivalent to Rs 90 lakh crore.

I look forward to informing Narendra Modi, after he settles down as Prime Minister, about a few significant events that have taken place regarding disclosure about the black money holders, during March this year when I visited Germany. The German authorities required a request with signatures from the political opposition asking for disclosure of the names. On my return, I informed L.K. Advani and requested him to initiate action regarding obtaining the necessary signatures to a three-line letter (also provided to him by me), addressed to the German authorities requesting disclosure. Well, Advani did nothing; when reminded, he referred me to another BJP leader and lastly to my own son.

It would clearly appear that any aspirant for office, whether from the 160 Club or Parliamentary Board who does not act in accordance with the commitment of repatriating black money must be viewed as anti-national and anti-party, and would greatly compromise Narendra Modi and the new government. They would be seen as part of the same criminal conspiracy which includes Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, some Cabinet ministers and associates, obstructing the repatriation of our stolen wealth. A Cabinet of impeccable integrity is the only way Narendra Modi must start with.

Anti-Modi campaign from USNarendra Modi is completely aware of the test through fire that awaits him. He has so many priorities to attend to — reducing prices, creating jobs, revving up the economy, development, finding ways of uprooting the deep tendrils of corruption. But one of his first acts after becoming Prime Minister must be to specifically and categorically assure the minorities that he is not their enemy and they have nothing to fear from him. He must take them into confidence and explain to them how the hate campaign against him was systematically orchestrated and sustained by the enemies of India. This is important, for he must start peeling off the layers of lies that have been perpetrated around him in India and abroad, through hired mercenaries and intellectuals, including Nobel Laureates. These lies need to be demolished as systematically as they were constructed, and the best way to start is through such an assurance to all minorities that they will be protected, and treated as equal citizens of India in the same manner as the rest, and that their religious freedom will not be touched. Sab ka saath, sab ka vikaas. In this respect, Narendra Modi’s words must be matched by actions, to prove his detractors and accusers as complete liars who misled vast sections of the people of India. The undesirable fringe elements who act rabidly against Hindu principles of tolerance and in the past have attacked churches have been responsible for giving the BJP a bad name. These fringe elements must be controlled and disowned, and a strong diktat must be issued against invoking religion in national policies, where all citizens are treated equally, or in making communal hate speeches. The Inter Faith Committee, which is part of the BJP Election Manifesto, must be established immediately, and a special vigil should be kept to ensure that no anti national mischief makers engineer any communal riots in the country just to malign Narendra Modi.

Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is a law that grants special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir.Another important issue regarding which well intentioned but misinformed advice is being rendered by several of Narendra Modi’s colleagues is regarding Article 370 of the Constitution of India. The ramifications of this issue are complex, and I look forward to discussing them with the Prime Minister, and fully informing him, particularly in the background of the negotiations that took place by the Kashmir Committee chaired by me during the Vajpayee regime, which I continued thereafter.

As for me, I continue to remain in the departure lounge of God’s airport, with no desire for office or political ambition, except to return at least a part of the debt which I owe to my country. – The Sunday Guardian, 18 May 2014

 

The Nehru family fight – Madhav Nalapat

M.D. Nalapat“Because of the fall in popularity of the Congress Party and a rise in popularity of the BJP, there seems to be rising panic within the ruling party’s ranks. In order to ensure that Maneka and Varun are not seen as what they are, full members of the Nehru family, a diatribe has been launched against them, including by Sonia and her two children.” – Prof Madhav Nalapat

Feroze Jehangir GandhiEvery family is subject to its feuds and tensions, and the Nehru family is no exception. Because the husband of Jawaharlal Nehru’s only child, Indira Priyadarshini, was re-named “Feroze Gandhi” by Mahatma Gandhi himself, the Nehru family has usually (and inaccurately) been referred to as the “Gandhi family” when in fact there is no blood tie between any of them and any member of Mahatma Gandhi’s family. Indeed, the latter have been conspicuous in the way in which they have declined to take advantage of their world-famous ancestor.

Whether it be Gopal Gandhi, the soft-spoken diplomat who was also Governor of West Bengal, or any of the other descendants of the Mahatma, each has shown a modesty and a dignity that has remained immune to the lure of either power or money. In contrast, Sonia Gandhi has adopted a leading role in the country’s politics, and uses such perquisites of high office as corporate jets while staying in a huge mansion that would cost about $150 million if placed on the open market. Of course, she gets it virtually rent-free from the Government of India, which also takes care of much of the travel and other costs incurred by her and her family members. Interestingly, both son Rahul as well as daughter Priyanka have their own state-provided mansions in Delhi, even while their mother stays in a dwelling that is by any standard palatial, and which has more than enough room to accommodate the two children. There has always been tension between Sonia Gandhi, the wife of elder son of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, and Maneka Gandhi, the Sikh bride of younger son Sanjay. During the period from the Congress defeat at the 1977 polls to Indira Gandhi’s victory in the 1980 polls, it was Sanjay and Maneka who gave courage to Indira Gandhi, and who carelessly worked towards a political comeback. During this entire period, Rajiv And Sonia were abroad for extended lengths of time, or spending time away from Indira Gandhi and Sanjay.

Indira Gandhi & Sanjay GandhiIndeed, it was no secret that Rajiv and Sonia regarded Sanjay Gandhi as responsible for the downfall of Indira Gandhi, or that Sonia Gandhi had the same feelings towards the younger and attractive Maneka as have been immortalised in “Bahu versus Bahu” soap operas throughout the subcontinent, whether in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka or Bangladesh. After the death of Sanjay Gandhi in 1980, which occurred soon after Indira Gandhi returned to power and Sanjay emerged as the second-most powerful person in the country, reports have it that Sonia worked ceaselessly to poison the mind of Indira Gandhi against the young widow, Maneka Gandhi, such that the latter was forced to leave the Prime Ministers House along with her infant son. Since then, Maneka has followed a political career entirely independent of the Nehru family, unlike family of Rajiv Gandhi, which has enjoyed the privileges of state patronage ever since.

How did Sanjay Gandhi die? It was in an air crash, when the small aircraft flown by him crashed. But Sanjay was an excellent pilot, and there is talk that the aileron wires were filed in such a way that a few hard tugs on the joystick would have resulted in their fraying and breaking away, thereby sending the aircraft into a fatal dive, which is exactly what happened. There have been whispers that the incident was arranged by local agents of the intelligence agency of a huge country that Sanjay was open in his dislike of. This was the USSR, now defunct. Moscow saw Delhi as its most important strategic partner in Asia, and was apprehensive that Sanjay Gandhi would persuade his mother to move away from the USSR to get closer to Washington, the way Anwar Sadat had in Egypt.

Pope John Paul II with Rajiv & Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi in 1986. Rajiv & Sonia were good Catholics and very good friends of Moscow (who paid Rajiv large amounts of money).Certainly Sanjay Gandhi was an individual of firm views, and he was never afraid to express them. Such transparency may have been his undoing. Certainly, with the death of Sanjay Gandhi, all expectations of a geopolitical shift from Moscow to Washington disappeared. Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were very respectful of the USSR and it needs to be mentioned that this loyalty by a Congress Party dominated by them continued to the very last hours of the USSR. Of course, much of the cause was the approach of Washington towards Delhi, with successive US administrations looking not for the crafting of a fair bargain but a surrender by India to the dictates of the US. Sonia Gandhi has several admirers in the Indian media, among which is Vir Sanghvi, who lost his temper at this columnist on a television show some days ago. This was because Vir (who is ordinarily very pleasant and well-mannered) mentioned that Sanjay Gandhi’s widow Maneka “was not a Gandhi”. Such a view is in sync with that of much of the media, which forgets that Indira Gandhi had two sons, and that both families have the same right to legacy of the family.Indeed, out of fear or respect for Sonia, a conscious effort has been made to airbrush Maneka and her son Varun (who is also an MP in the BJP) from any discussion of the Nehru family.

Maneka & Varun GandhiHowever, because of the fall in popularity of the Congress Party and a rise in popularity of the BJP, there seems to be rising panic within the ruling party’s ranks. In order to ensure that Maneka and Varun are not seen as what they are, full members of the Nehru family, a diatribe has been launched against them, including by Sonia and her two children. This is unfortunate. Family is family, and civilities need to be maintained untainted by politics.No more can the fiction be maintained that Indira Gandhi had in effect only a single son, Rajiv, and that other son, Sanjay (and his wife and son) are seen as unpersons. The more Sonia and her children rail against Maneka and her son,the faster will be the loss of their public support and popularity. The people of India respect family ties,and those that uphold them. – Pakistan Observer, 18 April 2014

» Prof M.D. Nalapat is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Karnataka State, India.

Shahzada on the blink!

Indian Politicians: If they spoke their minds – Virendra Parekh

PVirendra Parekholiticians, we are told, use words to conceal their thoughts and not to express them as we ordinary people do. That art blossoms to its best during the election season — also known as the silly season or ‘mat’wali mausam. All leaders try to be all things to all people. Just try to imagine, what would these leaders say if they were really to speak up their minds? Let’s have a go at it — in good humour and without offence. – Virendra Parekh

Narendra Modi Narendra Modi

I had left clear instructions for that rally. Yet they goofed up some of the things. It shows that Advani still has some pockets of influence in the party. How can the country be run like this? Whenever I talk about the country, some people whisper behind my back that “Saheb, you have not become prime minister as yet.” My sources dutifully report such malicious whispers to me. Let the time come.

Some people say I am contesting from two places because I am not sure of winning. They do not know even ABC of politics, especially politics in the BJP. You have to displace some people from the place they want to stand from; you have to force some people to stand from a place they do not want to stand from; and you have to prevent some people from standing altogether. For that you have to do many things which will not be readily intelligible to all people. Only about one thing there should be no doubt in anybody’s mind: who is the boss.

Arvind KejriwalArvind Kejariwal

Ambani’s agents are everywhere in the media. They are asking all sorts of questions to me, forgetting that asking questions and making allegations is my monopoly. I can question Narendra Modi’s record on economic development, I can accuse Delhi’s Lt. Governor of being a Congress agent and I can doubt the need for Army’s presence in J & K. Proof? My word is enough.

Unfortunately, media has lost the plot. Instead of reporting and amplifying my questions and allegations targeting others, they are now carrying reports that popular support for me and my party is eroding fast, that I have still not vacated the two spacious bungalows allotted to me as Delhi’s chief minister and that I have forgotten all about Congress’s corruption. They must have been bribed by Modi’s corporate backers. They will come to their senses once we win 100 seats and play kingmakers in Delhi. I have already hinted what is in store for them. I heard cricket boss Srinivasan is planning to join AAP to acquire a lily-white image. Great!

Sharad PawarSharad Pawar

Sometimes I really wonder whether our people are fit for democracy. Recently, at a public meeting I told my supporters that they should vote twice: once while in their native places which they visit every summer and then again in Mumbai where they stay and work. You know the art of removing the ink mark from the finger, I gently reminded them.

And lo and behold! All hell broke loose as if I was inciting them to do something terrible. Election Commission and police were dragged in. Nobody appreciated that I was only trying to strengthen democracy by increasing people’s participation in it. For that we need to work at grassroots level in a manner that is readily understood by people, which is what I have been doing all these years. Instead of getting any appreciation for my work, I was made to do lot of explaining. Phew!

Sonia GandhiSonia Gandhi

People of India may or may not get bread, but me and my family will never run short of butter. Soon after Raul’s interview on TV, poor boy was butt of cruel jokes on social media and these Congressmen met me with big bouquets to congratulate me for Raul’s performance in the interview. Even now, some of them assure me that Congress will get around 300 seats. When I ask them sternly which seats they are talking about, they stammer for a while before clarifying that it was about group booking in the multiplex. I often ask them to tell me the truth, even if it is unpalatable. But they keep saying that Modi fears our family, which is why he is not contesting from Rae Bareli or Amethi.

Rahul GandhiRahul Gandhi

My name is Rahul Gandhi. I am … Congress candidate for prime ministership … no, I am not … I mean I am …

It is a bit embarrassing, but nobody talks about me these days. Everywhere it is either dadhee or muffler. It is not that I did not try. I grew beard, cried hoarse, made aggressive statements … but nothing seems to work. The media is no longer interested in me.

A wag told me he had a grand idea. “Boss, I suggest you file your nomination papers from Amethi and then withdraw your candidature on the last day. Then see the media attention you will get. You will be all over TV channels and newspapers. Your family has a glorious tradition of making sacrifices for the country. This is the best sacrifice you can make for the country. It will create a great sympathy wave in favour of Congress.” Really? Or is someone pulling up a fast one on me? Have to ask Diggi uncle.    

»  Virendra Parekh is the executive editor of Corporate India magazine and lives in Mumbai.

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