LEGAL NEWS 09.12.2008

Snag in new phone, bill the company
http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1212172
MS Kamath
Monday, December 08, 2008 03:16 IST
A mobile phone which gives rise to complaints in the warranty period is presumed to have manufacturing defects and must be set right immediately at the cost of the manufacturer or dealer. This order was passed by the West Bengal State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission in Bengal Tracom (P) Ltd, vs Prasant Mukherjee.
Mukherjee purchased a mobile phone on payment of Rs6,000. The phone was not functioning properly from the start. Mukherjee went back to the dealer and asked him to repair it. However, the consumer had to make repeated trips to have the phone repaired.
The consumer ultimately filed a complaint in the Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum at Kolkata, which issued a notice to the opposite party to give its say. The company paid no heed to the notice, which led to the passing of an ex-parte order against it in which the Forum ordered the company to repair the phone within 30 days and to pay him Rs1,000 as compensation.
The company appealed against the order in the State Commission. It contended that the consumer had filed the complaint after the statutory period of two years and that it had given a good piece to him. Also, there was no record of the phone having been serviced and the consumer did not have original warranty card.
The commission noted that the mobile phone had been repaired within three months of being purchased without any charge. So, the non-existence of a warranty card would not affect the merits of the consumer’s case.
Upholding the Forum’s order, the Commission asked for the phone to be repaired within forty days but it set aside the order asking for payment of compensation.

If your bankers do not know, tell them that the entire pension of gallantry awardees is exempted from Income Tax
http://indianmilitarybenefits.blogspot.com/2008/12/if-your-bankers-do-not-know-tell-them.html
Monday, December 8, 2008
A Gallantry awardee retired Lieutenant General recently wrote to me that his bank was deducting Income Tax from his pension, he also enquired if gallantry awardees were indeed exempted from payment of Income Tax on their pensions.The answer is in the positive. Income Tax is not to be paid on the entire pension of personnel who are recipients of “Param Vir Chakra”, “Maha Vir Chakra”, “Vir Chakra” or such other gallantry awards as the Central Government may specify by notification in the Official Gazette. Even family pension paid to the family of such gallantry awardees is exempted from IT. As earlier published in this blog, the entire pension of disability pensioners is also exempted from IT and more on it can be seen by clicking here.Exemption of IT on pension and family pension of gallantry awardees was introduced by the Central Govt with effect from 1st of April 1999 by inserting a new sub-clause (18) to Section 10 of the Income Tax Act. The said amendment / insertion was introduced through the ‘Finance Act, 1999’.Besides PVC, MVC and VrC, the following awards are also covered under IT Exemption as per Govt of India SRO 1048(E) 1 dated 24-11-2000 when awarded for gallantry :Ashok ChakraKirti ChakraShaurya ChakraSarvottam Jeevan Raksha PadakUttam Jeevan Raksha PadakJeevan Raksha PadakPresident’s Police Medal for GallantryPolice Medal for GallantrySena / Nao Sena / Vayu Sena MedalPresident’s Police and Fire Services Medal for GallantryPresident’s Fire Services Medal for GallantryFire Services Medal for GallantryPresident’s Home Guards and Civil Defence Medal for GallantryHome Guards and Civil Defence Medal for GallantryTHE COMPLETE NOTIFICATION LISTING ALL AWARDS EXEMPTED FROM INCOME TAX CAN BE SEEN BY CLICKING HEREPlease inform your bank about Section 10(18) of the IT Act and the above mentioned notification by the Central Govt if you are a gallantry awardee pensioner / family pensioner and if still your bank is deducting IT from pension. If the bank does not cease and desist from deducting IT, then please inform the IT department and also file a Consumer Complaint in the District Consumer Redressal Forum of your district. In case IT has been deducted from your pension or you have paid IT on your pension any time after 2000, you may contact the IT department or your CA for initiating refund of the same.-
Posted by Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh at 6:14 PM

HC dismisses writ against UP cane support price
http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2008/12/09/stories/2008120950781700.htm
Our Bureau
Chennai, Dec. 8 The Allahabad High Court on Monday dismissed a writ petition that challenged the state advised price (SAP) fixed by the Uttar Pradesh Government for purchase of sugarcane from the growers during the current crop year that began in October.
A division bench comprising Mr Justice Arun Tandon and Mr Justice Dilip Gupta said it was the prerogative of the State Government to fix SAP.
It also said the Western UP Mills Association, which filed the writ, had failed to prove that the State had fixed the price “arbitrarily”.
On October 18, the Uttar Pradesh Government raised SAP by Rs 15 a quintal from last season’s price. SAP for common variety sugarcane was fixed at Rs 140 a quintal, while for the early variety sugarcane it was Rs 145 and for rejected variety, it was Rs 137.50 a quintal.
Tackling issue
The price was fixed after the Government held consultations with the industry, cooperatives and growers. This was seen as a way to overcome the issue of mills challenging the price fixation in the court. SAP fixed by Uttar Pradesh during 2006-07 and 2007-08 has run into problems and the cases are currently pending in the Supreme Court.
During the hearing, private sugar mills offered to pay Rs 125 a quintal. The offer was the same as fixed by the State last season. It was made response to a query from the bench, which asked them how much they were ready to pay to the growers.
The SAP issue also has seen the mills split ranks with at least a couple of mills beginning crushing on the understanding that the growers would be paid SAP if the High Court rules in favour of the State. If the case goes to the apex court, then growers are assured of Rs 125/quintal pending the final outcome.

Lanco Infratech updates on Vizhinjam Seaport contract
http://www.equitybulls.com/admin/news2006/news_det.asp?id=42793
LANCO Kondapalli Power Pvt. Ltd in consortium with Lanco Infratech Ltd and Pembinaan Redzai Sdn. Bhd. Malaysia (Lanco Consortium) were declared as the successful bidder by the Government of Kerala (GOK) for ‘Development of International Deepwater Seaport and Container Transshipment Terminal at Vizhinjam, Trivandrum, and Kerala”.One of the disqualified bidders (Zoom Developers Pvt. Ltd.) filed a writ petition before the High Court of Kerala, challenging its disqualification. The Writ Petition was dismissed by the Hon. Single Judge on July 03, 2008.Against the order of the Hon’ble Single Judge, the said disqualified bidder filed a Writ Appeal before a Division Bench of Kerala High Court. The Division Bench on December 04, 2008 had pronounced the Judgment in the Writ Appeal declaring the “Qualification Bid” of Zoom Developers Pvt. Ltd. as responsive and that the Technical and Financial proposals submitted by them are to be considered by the Government of Kerala within fifteen days.The Lanco Consortium is evaluating all options for future course of action, including filing of review Petition in the appropriate Courts.The stock was trading at Rs.127.70, up by Rs.10.90 or 9.33%. The stock hit an intraday high of Rs.127.80 and low of Rs.119.95.The total traded quantity was 509474 compared to 2 week average of 882771.
Source: Equity Bulls
Posted On: 12/8/2008 12:58:52 AM

CJI inaugurates course for legal correspondents
http://www.indlawnews.com/newsdisplay.aspx?1d532247-9832-4d58-a592-0053d4d5e488
12/8/2008
With the increasing activism of the judiciary and the role of media in reporting the court proceedings, Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishan has taken an initiative to make the legal correspondents aware of their responsibilities while performing their job.Justice Balakrishnan inaugurated a five-day free of cost residential programme. The programme was jointly organised by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) and Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) with the help of Press Council of India and Editors Guild of India. Fifty journalists from across the country have been selected to participate in it.The Chief Justice said the aim of the judiciary and the media is to improve the system but the latter should take care of the rights of the accused before passing any advance judgements. The media is doing a commendable job but rights of privacy should not be infringed by them. Media should take care to report the sub judice matters in such a manner as not to give an impression of a favouring any one side, he said. He emphasised the need of self regulation while reporting cases concerning security matters. Justice G N Ray, chairman of the Press Council said media and judiciary are the natural allies and have stood side by side and complimented each other. Upholding the freedom of Press as supreme, he said,’ the Constitution has given us freedom of speech under Article 19(a) but the Supreme Court has widened the scope to freedom of Press.’ Referring to the many instances when Courts have upheld the Freedom of Press, he said this Course will enable both media and the judiciary to understand each other better.UNI

CJI announces Free Legal Aid
http://thesocialblog.wordpress.com/2008/12/08/cj-announces-free-legal-aid/
December 8, 2008 — Aditya
The Chief Justice, KG Balakrishnan announced today that free legal aid would be given to all the victims of the terrorist attacks on 26/11. This has come as a welcome move from the president of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).
We know that the Indian Constitution under article 39 A guarantees the right to free legal aid to all citizens of the country and this recent act by the Chief justice is another step towards achieving that goal. Now the NALSA will provide all sorts of help to the victims and their families to get compensation, medical treatment, death certificates, Legal heir certificates, identity of missing people, insurance claims, workman compensation, recovering of movable and immovable properties and other benefit schemes from state or central governments.
While I praise this recent move, hysterical that I am, I would have been more impressed if the Chief Justice had announced and declared that there shall be no encumberances to an accused terrorist getting legal aid too. I write this because about precisely a year ago, in Afzal Guru’s case, the issue of legal aid was brought up and statements were made to the effect that ‘he is a terrorist and thus the fact of legal aid not being given to him does not matter’. That is not true; he was an ‘alleged terrorist’ and by virtue of being an Indian citizen he should have got legal aid.
I might have raised quite a few eyebrows by what I’ve said above. But I’d like the readers to fathom the facts that the foundations of our democracy rest of the principles of equality and non-discrimination and merely denying someone legal aid on the charge of being accused as a terrorist is not in consonance with that foundation. I wrote earlier that democracy biggest failure would be it succumbing to the threat of terrorism and modifying its actions based on that threat. That should not be the case.
It would thus have been a pleasure to here the Supreme Court declaring free legal aid even to one accused of terrorism if he cannot find the finances for himself.

Bail or no bail? HC Bench split on Todi plea
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Kolkata_/Bail_or_no_bail_HC_Bench_split_on_Todi_plea/articleshow/3812010.cms
9 Dec 2008, 1119 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: There was yet another court drama in the Rizwanur Rahman death case on Monday, this time over the bail plea of the prime accused and Rizwan’s father-in-law, Ashok Todi. Justices Amit Talukdar and P S Banerjee could not agree on whether the industrialist should be given bail and the matter was referred to a third Bench. Todi has to stay behind bars for a few more days before the third Bench hears out his plea. His brother Pradip and cousin Anil Saraogi joined him in Presidency jail on Monday. They followed the Supreme Court directive and appeared before a metropolitan magistrate court, which remanded them in judicial custody till December 12. Ashok Todi’s counsel has been arguing that he is unwell and should be granted bail. This plea was turned down by the 14th metropolitan magistrate’s court after which he moved high court. On Monday, the Presidency jail superintendent submitted a report to the division Bench, saying Todi, though not bed-ridden, was ailing and needed medical attention. Todi, who got a 12-day judicial remand on December 1, has been in jail hospital since. Rahmans’ counsel Kalyan Banerjee strongly opposed the bail plea, arguing that Todi could tamper with evidence. Justice Talukdar was reportedly of the view that Todi could be granted bail but Justice Banerjee thought otherwise. Talukdar observed that there was no evidence to show that Todi had tampered with evidence during the probe. Banerjee, however, pointed out that Todi was the prime accused and money was exchanged to separate the couple, so he couldn’t be granted bail. The judges failed to agree. Meanwhile, the hearing on Pradip Todi and Saraogi had started at the 17th metropolitan magistrate court. Defence counsels Amit Bhattacharya and Shishir Ghosh moved the bail petition, claiming neither Pradip nor Anil had any role in the case. They said Anil had to go to Lalbazar to bring Priyanka as both Ashok and Pradip were hospitalized. They even claimed police had instructed Anil to sign the agreement to allow Priyanka to return to Rizwan in seven days. The counsels raised queries about Rizwan’s “relationships with other girls”. None of this could sway the magistrate and the duo was sent to jail custody.

Policemen did not go to Batla House to shoot themselves: SC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Policemen_did_not_go_to_Batla_House_to_shoot_themselves_SC_/articleshow/3809926.cms
9 Dec 2008, 0244 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: If generous praise was showered on commandos who fought back terrorists in Mumbai, then the Supreme Court on Monday appeared to do justice to Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma who laid down his life in the Batla House encounter in Delhi on September 19. A PIL in the Supreme Court, filed by a person who runs an NGO while being in the business of providing security guards, sought CBI probe into the Batla House encounter claiming it to be fake. “I was an eye-witness to the encounter. It was fake. I had approached the National Human Rights Commission. Notice was issued to Delhi Police but nothing happened thereafter,” the petitioner said, seeking CBI probe into the encounter in which Sharma was killed. A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam asked the petitioner, “So you say that policemen went there to shoot themselves?” It added, “Go and tell the police if you have information about the encounter.” Before dismissing the PIL, the Bench also said it suspected that the PIL might have been “put up” by somebody with a vested interest.

PIL demands removal of country’s images from Google Earth
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/PIL_demands_removal_of_countrys_images_from_Google_Earth/articleshow/3814679.cms
9 Dec 2008, 2045 hrs IST, PTI
MUMBAI: A PIL filed in the Bombay High Court has taken exception to easy access to satellite images of the vital installations in the country through Google Earth. The petition, filed by Mumbai-based lawyer Amit Karkhanis, has demanded removal of images of the country from Google Earth. “In the alternative, I have demanded that at least the images of vital installations in the country be blocked,” said Karkhanis. “The petition is filed against the backdrop of terror attacks in Mumbai,” he said. “Even images of nuclear plants and defence establishments are available on this site. It is a security hazard,” he added. The petition is likely to come up for hearing on December 18. Google Earth, subsidiary of popular search website Google, is a US-based company. Google Earth provides satellite images of any location on the globe through its website.

India ranks third in rape cases
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/India_ranks_third_in_rape_cases/articleshow/3813759.cms
9 Dec 2008, 1646 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: India stands third, leaving behind countries like Sri Lanka, Jordan and Argentina, when it comes to rape cases, latest data of the home ministry suggests. Ahead of India are only the United States and South Africa. According to the data, 18,359 rape cases were registered in India in the first three quarters of this year while in the US, 93,934 and in South Africa 54,926 rape cases were registered respectively. The lowest number of rape cases were registered in Jordan (78), Latvia (260), Bulgaria (403) and Finland (596). Some of the other countries where a large number of rape cases were reported include Germany (8,133), Thailand (5,060), Sweden (3,787) and Argentian (3,447). Altogether 44,159 cases of different sex offences were registered across India in the said period. In such cases too, India stands third after England and Germany where 62,100 and 47,070 cases were registered respectively. Four other countries where the numbers of sex offences were high include Canada (26,044), Australia (17,516), Sweden (7,924) and Argentina (3,473). According to the data, the incidence of various crime per one lakh population in India are — murder (3), sex offences (4), rape (1.7), serious assault (24.6) robbery and violent theft (2.1), breaking and entering (8.2) and theft of motor cars (7.8).

Calls made to police control room are public documents: CIC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Calls_made_to_police_control_room_are_public_documents_CIC/articleshow/3813629.cms
9 Dec 2008, 1600 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: The records of calls made to Police Control Room — on 100 — are “public documents” details of which should be provided under the RTI Act, even if an accused wants to use it for defence in a Court, Central Information Commission has directed. “Records of calls received in PCR are, in fact, public documents. Their disclosure is incumbent unless that have been made in confidence in which case such a condition will require to be recorded,” Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said. “Unless it is clearly established that such a disclosure would impede the process of investigation or prosecution and not simply that the record will be used in defence by an accused,” he said. The case relates to one Ram Lal who sought details of a call made to the police control room on January 19 and 20, 2007 from Model Town police station. A similar application was moved by one Asha Devi seeking same call details. The Delhi police refused to give information saying that it “could not be acceded to under section 8(1)(h) of the RTI Act.” Not satisfied with the reply, Asha filed an appeal with the police claiming that the calls were made by her and it was her right to know what she informed police. “There is nothing secret or any such thing which relates to you or any investigation or any third party related matter,” she pleaded. Delhi police again rejected the appeal saying that it will impede the prosecution of an accused. Asha reached the Central Information Commission with the prayer to direct the officer concern to provide the required information and take action against the official responsible for it.

No record of corruption cases against Central Police Organisations’ officers
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/No_record_of_corruption_cases_against_Central_Police_Organisations_officers/articleshow/3813291.cms
9 Dec 2008, 1519 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: Believe it or not! The Union Home Ministry says it does not maintain a count of corruption cases against officers from different Central Police Organisations (CPOs) and Intelligence Bureau under its control. This admission came in reply to an RTI query, which sought the information on the number of corruption complaints received against officers of Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, National Security Guard, Assam Rifles, Sashastra Seema Bal and IB during last five years. The ministry said it attended to the complaints on a “case-to-case” basis and decisions were taken at various levels. “Depending on the nature of the complaint and the rank of the officer against whom allegations are made, decisions are taken and processed at various levels. This ministry does not maintain a count of complaints received at various levels,” it said. When contacted, Director (Personnel) and CPIO Barun Kumar Sahu said he could not share more information on the reply. The ministry cited sections 2(f) and 2 (j) of Right to Information Act and said the information sought by the applicant “is beyond information” and “require huge work and resources not envisaged under RTI Act”.

Orissa police seeks I-D parade date in nun rape case
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Orissa_police_seeks_I-D_parade_date_in_nun_rape_case/articleshow/3810454.cms
9 Dec 2008, 0431 hrs IST, TNN
BHUBANESWAR: The Orissa police crime branch would soon file a petition in a lower court seeking date for identification parade in the Kandhmal nun rape case, official sources said on Monday. The crime branch move comes within days of the Orissa High Court verdict to hold the parade in Cuttack following the request of the 29-year-old victim who has not returned to Orissa since the incident during the communal violence. “We will file a petition with the sub-divisional judicial magistrate, Baliguda in Kandhmal, most likely on Wednesday asking for a parade date,” a source said. The crime branch, which is investigating the case, wants to complete the probe and file the chargesheet before January 28, (within 120 days of the date of arrest of the accused), sources said. So far the police have arrested 10 people in connection with the rape that took place at K Nuagaon on August 25, two days after VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati was murdered in Kandhmal. The accused are lodged in a jail at Baliguda and the local court has to order their shifting for the identification parade, sources said, adding, they could be housed at Choudwar Circle Jail for the parade. The nun’s lawyer, Manas Ranjan Singh, had last week, in the wake of the high court ruling, said the victim would attend the parade in Cuttack after the date is announced. The nun had earlier on November 10 and 19 failed to appear before the court of SDJM, Baliguda, for the parade citing health reasons and mental trauma.

Madras HC directs law college student to approach commission
http://www.indlawnews.com/newsdisplay.aspx?392fcec2-ad6a-4efd-a46f-8058df10aa02
12/9/2008
The Madras High Court directed a girl student of the Dr Ambedkar Government Law College to make a representation to Justice K Sivasubramaniam Commission, inquiring into the group clash in Chennai on November 12, to extend time to submit her views before the Commission.Disposing a petition filed by Ms D Asenthamani, a fifth-year student of the Law College, the First Bench, comprising Chief Justice A K Ganguly and Mr Justice K Chandru, said under section eight of the inquiry Act-1952, the Commission has the power to regulate its own procedure. It is for the Commission to take up the petitioner’s application or the representation for the grant of extension of time, Bench observed.‘We therefore do not exercise our jurisdiction in the matter of extension of the time. The Commission may take steps in accordance with law,’ the Bench said and disposed off the petition.In her petition, Asenthamani submitted that the Commission on its notification through newspapers on November 22 called upon all people having information and materials on the group clash to submit their views before December eight.De to the closer of the college as well as the hostel, students were not immediately available to file their affidavits. Many students are under judicial custody and others are staying in their respective native places. Hence, the petitioner sought the court to direct the Commission to extend the time to file their views.UNI

Australian national moves Madras HC against validity of court order
http://www.indlawnews.com/Newsdisplay.aspx?5853d24e-7342-423d-b7b7-58debb654c39
12/9/2008
An Australian national has moved the Madras High Court, challenging the validity of the jurisdiction of a Magistrate court in trying a criminal case, involving foreign nationals, without the consent of the Centre.Petitioner Kamakshidasan submitted that the Metropolitan Magistrate Court, Saidapet, without trying the jurisdiction issue, had passed an interim order, directing him to pay Rs 30,000 as a compensation to his wife, though both of them and their two children are Australian nationals.‘Being Australian nationals, the petitioner and respondent can be covered only under the Australian laws as applicable and hence the Magistrate in India has no jurisdiction to try any matter,’ he submitted.Assuming that the court could try the case on the ground that the alleged crime took place in India, the court has to necessarily obtain the consent of the Central government to try any matter against foreign nationals, he contended.Without ascertaining the facts, the Magistrate court, on a complaint by his wife Sripriya, under the domestic violence Act, directed the petitioner to pay Rs 20,000 for the maintenance of two children and Rs 10,000 towards rent.Admitting the petition, Mr Justice K Mohan Ram ordered issue of notice to Ms Sripriya. The matter is likely to come up for hearing on December 10.UNI

HC sets aside dismissal of 23,000 UP cops
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/HC_sets_aside_dismissal_of_23000_UP_cops/articleshow/3809971.cms
9 Dec 2008, 0322 hrs IST, TNN
ALLAHABAD: In a setback to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati, Allahabad High Court on Monday admitted a bunch of writ petitions and quashed the state government’s order sacking 23,000 constables recruited by the previous Samajwadi Party government. The court disagreed with the reason given by the Mayawati government for their dismissal that higher marks were awarded in interview to candidates who had secured less marks in physical test and vice-versa, suggesting it was a predetermined exercise. The court also quashed the orders, passed by various recruitment boards, terminating the appointment of the constables. The government’s chief standing counsel M C Chaturvedi said a special appeal would be filed against the single-judge order. “I am studying the judgment and will file the special appeal before a division bench of the Allahabad High Court,” said Chaturvedi. Justice D P Singh said there was no need of testing the administrative or managerial skills of constables as the candidates were only required to clear “physical and fitness” tests. Services of the constables were dismissed by three government orders on September 11, 18 and 30, 2007. The court observed, “The requirement of fairness demanded that the body, which has to inquire or decide on a issue which may affect individual rights, the character of such body should be above board.
Official bias is likely to arise when the person inquiring into a matter has a previous or personal knowledge of the material facts of the case before him by virtue of his dealing with those facts in some other capacity or context. The possibility of predisposition or prior inclinations hovering over the mind of such a person into the matter, cannot always be ruled out.”

Allahabad HC reinstates 18,000 sacked cops
http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=2&theme=&usrsess=1&id=234929
Statesman News ServiceLUCKNOW, Dec. 8: In a major setback to the Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh, the Allahabad High Court today reinstated 18,000 policemen who were sacked by the state government on grounds of alleged irregularities. The order was passed by Justice Mr DP Singh, who allowed a writ petition filed by Mr Pawan Kumar and others, challenging their dismissal on various grounds.Chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Miss Mayawati had sacked the policemen because she had found the selection process of these constables “highly objectionable”. She reached this decision after a high-level inquiry was conducted by ADG Mr SK Misra soon after the Bahujan Samaj Party government came to power April last year. Nearly a dozen policemen had committed suicide after Miss Mayawati’s decision to sack them, as most of the policemen were left without any means of income. The High Court decision may bring back cheer to the disgruntled constables who had been agitating on the streets demanding their reinstatement because the “inquiry conducted was malafide”, but their joy may be short-lived. The Mayawati government may appeal before the apex court against today’s order. The police constables had taken an examination and been given training before being posted at police stations all over the state during the tenure of the Mulayam Singh Yadav government. Soon after she came to power in the state, however, Miss Mayawati ordered an inquiry into the selection process. She later cancelled the appointments on grounds of alleged irregularities in the conduct of tests, forgery of examination records, political interference and corruption. The Court noted that “none of the petitioners were served notice, nor were they involved in an inquiry conducted by the government or heard at any time before their appointments were cancelled”. It was submitted by the petitioners that the irregularities or discrepancies found in various recruitments were a “handful”, and no effort was made to separate the genuine ones from the fake.

Tardy investigation: HC asks cops to pay compensation to victim of fraud
http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/tardy-investigation-hc-asks-cops-to-pay-compensation-to-victim-of-fraud/396080/
Express News Service
Posted: Dec 09, 2008 at 0219 hrs IST
Rajkot In a remarkable judgment, the Gujarat High Court has ordered the Rajkot police to pay a compensation of Rs 50,000 for a delay in investigation in a loan fraud case filed by an NRI woman.
In his order, High Court judge D H Waghela also asked each of the six accused to pay the victim, Kusumgauri Doshi from Rajkot, Rs 10,000 for trouble and loss caused in the three-year long legal battle.
The High Court came down heavily on the accused — Bharat Unadkat, Hasmukh Unadkat, Champaklal Unadkat, Kirit Tanna, Mangala Unadkat and Hasmukh Kotak — who forged documents and signature to take a bank loan to the tune of Rs 97 lakh in the name of Doshi. The High Court also criticised the Pradhyumnanagar police station in Rajkot for tardy investigations in the case that was filed in 2005.
“The HC has ordered the Home Department to pay a sum of Rs 50,000 to Doshi and recover the amount from the concerned investigating team,” said Rajkot Commissioner of Police Sudhir Sinha, who received a copy of the judgment on Sunday. He added, “Each of the accused has also been ordered to pay a sum of Rs 10,000 to Doshi.”
Doshi had filed a complaint with the Rajkot Chief Judicial court against the six accused, co-partners in Ameera Exports, for forging her identity, signature and documents for committing the fraud. The court had asked Pradhyumanagar police to conduct a probe in this regard.
After little progress was made in the investigation, Doshi approached the HC at the end of December, which was followed by a dramatic turns of events. Even as the police began procedure to arrest the accused in February 2008, the latter got a stay in investigation from the HC. Soon, they paid the original loan amount to the bank and moved the court to quash the FIR.
The HC, however, castigated the police for doing little investigation during 2006-2007, and the accused for causing trouble to the NRI woman.
On his part, Sinha said: “During the said period, the police kept on writing to the bank to provide documents to produce evidences in the case, but the bank’s response was very slow.” Sinha, however, maintained that many policemen had worked on the case during the course of the three-year investigation. “It is a matter of inquiry for the department to find out who all were responsible for tardy investigation,” said Sinha.

HC order flouted on road: ESG
http://bangalorebuzz.blogspot.com/2008/12/hc-order-flouted-on-road-esg.html
BENGALURUBoth widening of the city’s roads and the Metro Rail project are being carried out in violation of the high court’s orders, an NGO, Environment Support Group (ESG) , claimed on Monday.Leo Saldanha, coordinator of ESG, said the high court had ordered the formation of an Empowered Committee under the chairmanship of noted environmentalist A.N. Yellappa Reddy to review road widening and related transport projects in Bengaluru. Its order was based on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by ESG, he said.“The committee was directed to consult the public before implementing any project and ensure that the objectives of sustainable development were kept in mind,” Mr Saldanha added.But despite the proactive efforts of various groups and affected communities, the committee had not paid any attention to them. It had also denied the ESG and members of the public the right to participate in and observe its proceedings, he alleged.The matter was taken to the Lok Adalat which had now ordered that all work being carried out in the city should have the prior sanction of the committee.The Lok Adalat comprising Justice K L Manjunath, chairman of the Karnataka Legal Aid Services Authority and Dr. H. C. Sharatchandra, member and chairman of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board had also directed the committee to hear all pending applications filed before it, Mr Saldanha said. Some had in their applications to the committee suggested alternatives to road widening as it was resulting in displacement of homes and business establishments.Others had expressed apprehension that projects in the city were eating into public spaces and inconveniencing pedestrians, senior citizens and the differently abled. “It has been suggested that authorities take the Metro project underground so as to not inconvenience the public,” he added.
posted by The Bangalorean @ 12/09/2008 08:46:00 AM

PIL demands removal of ‘sensitive’ images from Google Earth
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/PIL-demands-removal-of–sensitive–images-from-Google-Earth/396216
Agencies Posted: Dec 09, 2008 at 1253 hrs IST
Mumbai: A PIL filed in the Bombay High Court has taken exception to easy access to satellite images of the vital installations in the country through Google Earth.
The petition filed by Mumbai-based lawyer Amit Karkhanis has demanded removal of images of the country from Google Earth.
“In the alternative, I have demanded that at least the images of vital installations in the country be blocked,” said Karkhanis.
“The petition is filed against the backdrop of Terror attacks in Mumbai,” he said. “Even images of nuclear plants and defence establishments are available on this site. It is a security hazard,” he added.
The petition is likely to come up for hearing on December 18.
Google Earth, a subsidiary of popular search website Google, is a US-based company. It has been made a party, along with Ministries of Defence, Science and Technology and Information Technology.
Google Earth provides satellite images of any location on the globe through its website.

Rally calls for better infrastructure to combat terrorism
http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/rally-calls-for-better-infrastructure-to-combat-terrorism/396164/
Express News Service
Posted: Dec 09, 2008 at 0413 hrs IST
Pune Over 400 people gathered on MG Road on Sunday for a rally to protest against the Mumbai terror attack and to demand concrete action to prevent any such happenings in the future.
There were banners everywhere urging people to join in the battle against terrorism. ‘Corruption is the root of terror’, ‘do not pass the baton to the cops, march with us to fight off terror’ and ‘take back your city and your life’ read some of the banners.
The rally called for signatures from people, which will be sent to a group of lawyers in Mumbai who have filed a PIL seeking better infrastructure to combat terrorism.
The rally also called for better infrastructure in security systems, intelligence with proper coordination, more NSG units, better pay packages for the police and the defence forces.

Govt justifies spectrum allocation
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Govt-justifies-spectrum-allocation/395961
ENS Economic Bureau Posted: Dec 09, 2008 at 0115 hrs IST
New Delhi: Explaining its decision to apportion spectrum among Telecom companies on a first-come-first-served basis, the Government on Monday claimed before the Delhi High Court that the policy was for the benefits of the consumers, whose interests would be jeopardized if there was open bidding for the resource allocation.
“If the spectrum was to be auctioned to the highest bidder for an upfront payment, such a bidder would pass on the cost to the customer or would go bankrupt. The cost of running the services can become so high that nobody would be really interested in applying for the licence,” the 48-page affidavit by the Government read.
Furnishing its response over a public interest litigation (PIL), the affidavit contended that the policy was followed to encourage competition and to provide a level playing field to the newcomers in the Telecom sector.
It said the spectrum fee was not necessarily a sale of Government property that the highest amount should be realized immediately. “This is a case of authorising of a set up of services to benefit the consumer. Completely different considerations prevail,” the government contended.
The court is hearing a PIL filed by Arvind Gupta, who has averred the communications ministry acted in conflict with TRAI recommendations.

Once upton a time…THIS WAS A LAKE!
http://www.deccanherald.com/Content/Dec92008/spectrum20081208105451.asp
The halubidda kere is a familiar landmark in most of our villages. It is important that our tanks and lakes are revived, points out S V Upendra Charya
Janagere, Arishinakunte, Challakere, Nagarabhavi, Bheemasamudra, Chamarajasagara (TG Halli), all have the lake or tank connection. The state is dotted with hundreds of such namesake tanks and lakes. A whopping 1233 villages were named after a kere (tank) or kunte, (pond) according to the revenue transactions of the year 1854, as per the erstwhile Revenue Department of the Govt of Mysore.Village tanks in those times were considered sacred and therefore well-maintained. To them, dirtying the Oora kere was sacrilege.“Our forefathers built bhavi, kere, kunte as dharmakarya (for philanthropy). They also usually built temples adjacent to the tanks or ponds. “It’s time we saved these tanks, not only to save the environment, but also in memory of our ancestors who built them,” points out Patel Rangappa from a village near Tumkur.
Rangappa is right. A village tank is important for rural ecology. But the ubiquitous halubidda kere (a tank in ruins) is a familiar landmark in any village. This, despite the efforts of the Gram Panchayats to restore such tanks.The management and maintenance of Oora kere by villagers themselves is not a new concept and goes by the name of Kere Panchayat. It was aimed at motivating people in villages to preserve their tanks and ponds through community participation. However, the system that has been in place from the last 70 years, stopped being that crucial when the water management priority shifted to mega irrigation projects. Despite the existence of many big dams and large reservoirs in the state, there are still dry regions where people are indeed dependent on their keres and kuntes. There are more than 30,000 tanks and lakes in Karnataka. The Gram Panchayats concerned are in charge of most of these water bodies.The case of lakes in trouble is not limited to villages. Towns and cities in the state are in a similar position, if not worse.Bangalore lakesBangalore was once the city of lakes. Oldtimers remember landmarks such as City Market (once Siddikatte lake), Gandhi Bazaar (Karanji Lake) and Kempegowda bus-stand (Dharmambhudi Kere). In the records of the early 1960s, Bangalore had 260 water bodies.Of the 260 water bodies that existed then, now there are hardly 100 lakes. In 1988, the Lakshman Rau Committee recommended that 115 lakes (which existed then) located in Bangalore be taken care of by the forest department.Most of the 100-odd lakes are full of weeds and are shrinking due to endless urbanisation and encroachments.The Ramaswamy Committee constituted in 2006 said the land encroached upon the city’s lakes ran into thousands of acres.“We are not in a position to take appropriate action against the encroachers as these lakes have not been brought under the Forest Conservation Act . This is badly needed to ensure better control over the lakes under our jurisdiction. Now the department has to function under rseversl limitations. Because of this handicap we cannot deal with encroachments with an iron hand,” explains an official from the forest department.Lake lovers and environmentalists, however, feel that the condition of water bodies in Bangalore and elsewhere is getting worse largely because of indifferent officials and lack of public concern towards preservation of precious lakes.“Dumping garbage and letting sewage into the lakes eventually helps land grabbers to encroach upon public lakes. We do nothing about it. Housing layouts are formed on dried-up lakes, but we are not bothered. Without public awareness and initiative, the revival of dying lakes is simply impossible,” points out a resident of Bangalore’s Padmanabhanagara.The Lake Development Authority, an autonomous agency, was established in 2002 by the state government for overall development of lakes. Though the LDA has been doing its bit for restoration and preservation of Bangalore lakes in particular, its plans to privatise lakes have come under the scanner.After several protests, candle-light vigils, and an eventual PIL, the Karnataka High Court has recently put the brakes on lake privatisation.Lake revival measures are vital from the point of view of maintaining an ecological balance and preserving aquatic life. The environmentalists are of the view that focus should be on ecological aspects of lake restoration. The serene and natural lake environments must not be spoiled by constructing footpaths, parks, playgrounds, tea stalls etc. in and around the lake spots.“Lake revival is basically to preserve the precious water source and its natural surroundings. More than engineering skills, the in-depth understanding of the ecological aspects of the lake restoration is what matters,” points out Krishnamurthy, an environmental activist.

PIL on Jamia Nagar shootout shot down
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Delhi/PIL_on_Jamia_Nagar_shootout_shot_down_/articleshow/3810257.cms
8 Dec 2008, 2341 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: If generous praise was showered on commandos who fought back terrorists in Mumbai, then the SC on Monday appeared to do justice to Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma who laid down his life in the Batla House encounter in Delhi on September 19. A PIL in the SC, filed by a person who runs an NGO while being in the business of providing security guards, sought CBI probe into the Batla House encounter claiming it to be fake. “I was an eye-witness to the encounter. It was fake. I had approached the National Human Rights Commission. Notice was issued to Delhi Police but nothing happened thereafter,” the petitioner said, seeking CBI probe into the encounter in which Sharma was killed. A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam asked the petitioner, “So you say that policemen went there to shoot themselves?” It added, “Go and tell the police if you have information about the encounter.” Before dismissing the PIL, the Bench also said it suspected that the PIL might have been “put up” by somebody with a vested interest.

Eagle’s Eye: TV channels should be more responsible
http://www.centralchronicle.com/20081209/0912303.htm
The manner in which the electronic TV News media were covering with no holds barred the tragic Mumbai terror happenings should be introspected within themselves-KC Mouli
Long back the Kargil war was on the live coverage of many of our TV News Channels including some foreign TV News Channels. The war strategy of our defence forces went off well and India had won the Kargil war. But Kargil war’s live coverage by the TV News channels had its share of adventurism fraught with danger like putting ones head into the lion’s mouth. This may sound exaggerating but this is not just metaphoric. It is a truth realized later by the media, the Army as well as the protagonists of transparency in the ruling dispensation. It is only just a lucky coincidence that nothing adverse had happened after the Kargil war either to the detriment of the Nation or to the Army. Electronic media would otherwise have lived for long with guilt of having jeopardized national interests and damaged the reputation of the Indian Army.
TV News Channels have however not learnt a lesion. They have repeated the same performance during the Mumbai’s Taj, Oberai-Trident, Nariman House terror attack. Freedom of media and freedom of expression should definitely be respected but when national interests are in clash and human lives are endangered the media channels who are covering live from the field of operation should exercise restraint in their own wisdom rather than any authority regulating them. But if media fail to do so the competent authority should regulate them and there is no reason why media should feel offended. Neither media are above the law nor are they above the Nation.
Some recent observations by the first bench of the Madras High Court comprising Chief Justice AK Ganguly and Justice FM Ibrahim Kaifulla on a PIL are quite analogical and of relevance here. In their observations the learned judges recorded that the Court (society too) respects both the freedom of the Press and freedom of electronic media but the said freedom must be exercised with due caution and public interest. The PIL alleged that live reporting of some localized brutal incidents of violence by national channels had escalated the violence throughout the State of Tamil Nadu and its neighbouring states. The media could have restricted its coverage to the area of occurrence in which only locals were involved and has no relevance beyond that area.
The manner in which the electronic TV News media were covering with no holds barred the tragic Mumbai terror happenings should be introspected within themselves. Was it right to show the commandos landing? It was not a demonstration or training session. The commandos were there to combat a group of well-entrenched, well-armed, well-trained, motivated and committed jehadi elements. Was it right to discuss and explain through graphics and animation the probable location and movement of commandos, army personnel and other security staff engaged in flushing out the terrorists? Was it proper to explain the strategy either casually or in depth even if the media knew because of their contacts and relations with security top brass? Who was responsible for the martyrdom of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan who was to have token the toll of terrorists and who was not visible to the terrorists till his movements and location were visualized by media?
It is very difficult to challenge media, specially the TV News Channels for their follies and failures because their egos come into clash. I remember a prestigious Indore Hindi daily’s Delhi-based bureau chief arguing with me that news alone was of importance to him, not its adverse impact and repercussions which were of no concern to him I failed to convince him that his first accountability is to the Nation and humanity as a respectable civilized citizen. Not much has changed since then. There is already a media war of words on what Navy Chief Admiral Suresh Mehta had said about the irresponsible performance by a reputed TV News channel in the recent Mumbai terror strike.
The Society of Media Initiative for Values does not believe in any war of words or witch-hunting. It firmly believes that media is a very responsible section of the Society and by and large the media practitioners are sensible, responsive, sensitive and accountable in their performance both towards their respective managements and the Society. The Society of Media Initiative for Values only time and again reminds media about these inherent values and qualities facilitating their manifestation in media practices. The Society is assured that Media would revert back to these value-based responsible media practices soon.
(The author is the State Coordinator of the Society of Media Initiative for Values, MP) accessible at kcmouli37@gmail.com

Voters send clear message to Naxals
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/PoliticsNation/Voters_send_clear_message_to_Naxals/articleshow/3811181.cms
9 Dec 2008, 0449 hrs IST, Bharti Jain, ET Bureau
The nearly 55% voter turnout recorded in Naxalite-infested pockets on November 14 is an indication of the electorate’s defiance of the CPI(Maoist)’s
poll boycott call and the comfortable victory of the Raman Singh government here cocks a snook at allegations by rights activists that the BJP regime was using Salwa Judum to create a private army of local tribals against Naxalites. Dantewada, the district where Salwa Judum is concentrated, returned BJP candidates from two of its three assembly segments. So much so, even the original brain behind Salwa Judum, Congress leader Mahendra Karma, lost to the BJP in Dantewada. The tally of BJP in Naxalite-infested Bastar region improved from nine to 10 seats, with adversaries managing only the remaining two of the 12 seats in the region. In the other tribal belt of Ambikapur and Surguja, the BJP walked away with 12 of the total 14 assembly seats. The impressive show by the BJP in the Naxal belt is a signal to the state Congress that its attempts at painting Salwa Judum as an anti-tribal, rather than an anti-Naxal campaign, has not gone down well with the electorate. Incidentally, a recent NHRC inquiry into alleged excesses by Salwa Judum activists, including killings and rape, had failed to substantiate the charges. The NHRC report said: “Allegations against Salwa Judum of killings are not true. During the inquiry of some specific allegations, the inquiry team also did not come across any case of rape which could be substantiated. “On the other hand, Naxalites (Maoists) have not only selectively killed Salwa Judum leaders and supporters, but they are also responsible for indiscriminate killing of many tribals and security personnel.” For the Raman Singh government, credited with several surgical strikes on Naxal hideouts across south Chhattisgarh, its tough approach against red terror seems to have reaped electoral dividends. Incidents relating to Left-wing extremism have come down in the state since 2007, as have killings of civilians and security forces. Incidents were down from 436 between January and August 2007 to 363 until August this year. Fatal casualties among security forces fell from 148 in the corresponding period of 2007 to 49 this year, as did civilian killings from 139 to 95.

Kandhmal victims recount their tales of horror
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Bangalore/Kandhmal_victims_recount_their_tales_of_horror/articleshow/3810374.cms
9 Dec 2008, 0027 hrs IST, TNN
Bangalore: Twenty-four women from Kandhmal, Orissa, who lost their spouses in the recent attacks on Christians, came to Bangalore on Monday to spread the message of peace and love. They were brought here from relief camps in Orissa by the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). GCIC hopes the women will be able to celebrate Christmas in Bangalore. They also presented a song and dance programme in their native language. Despite their loss, they prayed for forgiveness to the attackers. Among them was Namrata, 10, who suffered 40% burn injuries in a bomb attack during the communal clashes. The women shared their experience and narrated the incidents, such as how they lost their loved ones. Asmitha Digal said the attackers entered her house and poured kerosene on her mother-in-law before alighting the place. “Then they turned to my husband and asked if he would convert to Hinduism. He refused and had to face the wrath,” she said. Another woman Kadamphul Nayak said her family was attacked in a church. “They torched our houses. We fled and many ran to the safety of the forest. My husband too tried to escape and hid in a field. But the attackers found him and killed him,” she said. National president of GCIC, Sajan K George, said the women have lost many things in life but they have not tried to retaliate. “Others should draw examples from them,” George said. He said the women did not get any compensation from the government as they have lost their identity documents when their houses were burned down. Their children also do not attend schools. They stay at relief camps now. GCIC aims to voice the difficulties faced by the citizens who try to practice a faith of their choice. It also tries to uphold and implement Constitutional guarantees and the universal declaration of human rights. George said GCIC has moved the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on this matter. A total of 106 complaints from Karnataka since January, 2008 have been submitted to NHRC.

India, Nepal and law and order
http://universityandstate.wordpress.com/2008/12/09/india-nepal-and-law-and-order/
By elewien
Although it left most front pages, thought we might as well continue on this topic. A great background on report on Terror Groups in India from the Council of Foreign Relations, ties in nicely with some of the discussion from posts below about the Mumbai situation, one & two. Provides information on the Indian security situation and how India has handled past situations. If you follow the link, notice it’s not Kashmir based groups, but the communist Naxalite groups of northeastern India (who have important ties Nepal’s communist movement) that are – noted before the most recent attacks – considered the biggest threat to India’s security. Found this of particular interest:
… experts credit New Delhi’s historical stance for effectively dealing with extremists through a combination of deploying heavy military force and addressing grievances through negotiations.
Human Rights Watch reports that Indian security forces operating in Kashmir abuse state laws allowing lethal force and details multiple cases where police or the military killed innocent civilians. The report calls torture in India “endemic” and quotes an Indian lawyer who calls the practice “routine” but says “most people are so glad to be out of interrogation alive, they don’t really complain.”
I know no equation for calculating the amount of force needed to maintain law and order in India (who does?). The state held together when it was not expected by the greatest of minds (if you have an hour to spare, read Moore’s chapter on India). There were tough times and great losses. I’ll venture to say that the price of maintaining democracy has outweighed the sometimes violent alternatives. Nevertheless, there is definitely room for India to improve it human rights conditions. How Indian decides to act concerning the Kashmir situation, and Pakistani relations, will definitely be a test for the ability of the government to continue providing the benefits that supposedly come with living under the auspices of a democracy. I am not one, in any way, to promote violence. Yet, I believe a solid line must be drawn when particular groups threaten the well being of a majority that promotes a democratic government. With well-defined and followed rules, some state force must be used. After all, the working definition of a state is an entity that has a “monopoly on the legitimate use of violence.”
To tie this to Nepal (as l probably with all my posts), the government is dealing with similar problems as India, trying to maintain law and order in the face of multiple groups that have resorted to the use of violence. The situation outside of the Kathmandu Valley, where 93% of the population lives, has been frequently described as anarchic by leading papers and politicians. After 100 days of Maoist rule, the number one issue on citizens’ minds is, you guessed it, law and order. Abductions, bombings, murders and bandhs (large strikes that shut down the country) are daily occurrences that have led many to seriously question the ability of the CPN-M to rule, scared away much needed foreign direct investment, and increased skepticism about the idea of democracy itself. Today, many of the current criminals are former Maoist guerillas that have not benefitted in the post-war situation. Most are jobless, with no near hope of employment. Others are still bent on moving the Peoples’ War to its conclusion – communism (more on this in my next post). Early in the week, the chairman of the National Human Rights Commission condemned the political parties for providing protection to criminals linked with their youth wings, who the NHRC blame as responsible for the country’s poor human rights record. Youth wings of numerous parties sweep the countryside with no respect for the legal institution. Parties talk about disbanding their violent youth wings, but take little action. No plans have been created to incorporate the massive number of disenfranchised unemployed youth into society. Armed political parties in the Terai (southern region of Nepal) have turned to violence in order to capture the government’s attention, shutting down entire villages and districts with their tactics. When a pedestrian is killed in a vehicle accident, in many incidents the vehicle is torched and the driver beaten. Eye for an eye justice is not the way most legal systems in liberal democracies work, but today no viable justice system exists in Nepal, leaving people to angrily take justice, sometimes in very unjust manner, into their own hands.
In response to troubles faced, the residents of my neighborhood are testing their own siren security system in order to prevent prevalent crime. If an incident occurs at a particular neighbor’s house, the owner text messages the siren system and it sounds for other neighbors to rush to the scene. “Why don’t you wait for the police?” I asked my landlord. ”Because the police take a long come,” he answered. Ironically, we live less than a minute from police headquarters. Many in my neighborhood feel they were safer with the king in power.
Assessing the lack of law and order in Nepal, there are several factors that contribute to the situation. First, the government is composed of former rebels who applied many of the same tactics as the current illegal groups are. Nobody is exactly sure, but it seems like the Maoist led government is afraid to apply too much force in fear of being called hypocrites, of bad PR. Second, there is also a split within the Maoist central leadership committee that has some leaders pushing for an agenda of revolution while Prime Minister Prachanda fights for the consolidation of democracy. After having employed revolutionary rhetoric to wage his People’s War, Prachanda is now praising the benefits of democracy, foreign direct investment and cooperation – his old worst ideological rivals. Many of his comrades are not stomaching his new moderate policy easily, especially in the countryside where there are rumors of men training for another insurgency. Prachanda has spend a lot of time justifying his ideological positions to his old comrades and convincing his new colleagues of his moderate approach. All this political wrangling has left little time for discussion on governance related issues within the party. Third, the use of the army to institute order is also an extremely sensitive issue given the political debate surrounding the incorporation of former rebels into the corps that once fought them. Fourth, there is an enormous lack of organization in the ruling CPN-M, and between CPN-M and other parties. Nepal Congress, the old ruling party is supposedly playing responsible opposition, but is being more difficult than responsible when demands are not met. Unwilling to join numerous committees until their demands have been met, the government has been unable to make important decisions on security matters without their members present. Concurrently, much criticism has been aimed at the government for wasting time cracking down on light Kathmanducentric crimes, like the operation of dance bars and casinos, when the more serious and difficult to tackle issues have been left on the back burner. Government ministries have not been formed, while human rights and abuse investigative committees’ recommendations remaining nothing more than words on paper. In end, political bickering has won out over the more important responsibilities of the caretaker government: drafting the constitution (which has been delayed over 8 months) and maintaining law and order.
The next weeks and months will be telling for the future of Nepal if conditions do not improve. I have the hope that, like what has happened in many other democratizing countries, that the early period during the transition will be confusing (as it has been) and that the situation will better as the constitution is drafted and the rookie government has more time to work out problems they have only recently inherited (if they are given the time/don’t revert again to civil war). 100 days is only a short period of time to drastically change the living conditions in a country that were next to the worst in the world during 100s of years of autocratic rule. Expectations amongst the people were extremely high that democracy would lift them quickly from poverty and make everything better. This certainly was a nice but unrealistic expectation that has resulted in a fair amount of disdain for the Maoist leadership who won their campaign on such high promises. The Maoists need a reality check, and need to begin to truthfully explain their predicament to their constituents – soon. Speaking with a Nepali friend that works at the UN the other evening, he was quite skeptical about the future of the constitution drafting process, but was certain the country could not go back to authoritarian rule. When I asked what he though the solution was, he frankly said, ” I have no clue.”

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One Response

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