It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow human beings: M. K. Gandhi / People all seek to know what they do not know yet; They ought rather seek to know what they know already-Zhuang Zhou / If a person ain't careful; they can make a profession out of revenge: Godless, TV serial
NB: Explore my blog by clicking'LABELS' & 'ARCHIVE' on the top LEFT PANEL. You can also use the SEARCH function on top.
Soutik Biswas - A bad seven days for Indian justice
It's been a bleak seven days for justice in India.
In three separate cases, high profile and influential
individuals - a Bollywood star, a powerful politician, and a former business
baron - were allowed to walk free by appeals court despite being found guilty
by lower courts. The actor was found guilty of running a vehicle over people
sleeping on the street, the politician of amassing unaccounted wealth and the
former business baron of corporate fraud. The wheels of justice grind slowly in India - more than 30
million cases are pending in its courts and more than a quarter of them have
been unresolved for at least five years. Snail justice ends up benefitting the
rich as witnesses can be intimidated and bought and political pressure and
money power can be used to influence and subdue prosecutors and sometimes
The case was moved from Tamil Nadu to neighbouring Karnataka
to ensure a fair trial, but that doesn't appear to have helped matters. As
Supreme Court lawyer Karuna Nundy pointed out, the high court in Karnataka
examined the same evidence and said in its 919-page
ruling "repeatedly that the acquittal
was a failure of the prosecution".
To be sure, the three rulings really do not mark any sea
change and have just happened to come around the same time. It is also true
that India's higher courts routinely revoke orders of lower trial courts. For
years politicians have evaded corruption charges and the rich and famous have
escaped criminal liability through "high-priced lawyering".
At the same time, many believe, the recent rulings are -
again - an indictment of India's ailing and unfair justice system which is
heavily loaded against the poor, and shabby investigation by the police. Thousands of undertrials languish in Indian prisons for lesser
offences unable to afford bail. Judges are also often blamed for being
anti-poor. After the Supreme Court granted bail to Jayalalitha last year,
Supreme Court lawyer Rajeev Dhavan wrote
tellingly about bail discrimination: "Bail for as many is good,
but applying it differentially is not. We do not have clear principles to guide
bail decisions - especially in post-conviction cases, where judges look at the
crime and behave totally with subjective arbitrariness against the poor."
The recent rulings reminded me of a highly acclaimed recent indie
film called Court - possibly the best Indian film of the year so
far - which astutely skewers the country's discriminatory and outdated justice
system. A part-time teacher and social activist is hauled to a court on trumped
up charges of instigating a sewage worker to kill himself after listening to
one of the activist's incendiary songs. The case grinds on in drab courtrooms
with no end in sight, and effectively destroys the activist.
Of course, as Nick Robinson, a fellow at the Harvard Law
School's Program on the Legal Profession and at Delhi's Centre for Policy
Research, tells me, there are often good judges trying to do the right thing.
"But politics and money is so embedded in the system that it clearly tilts
the deck in favour of the powerful," he says. "I also think some
judges worry that if they are seen as overly-punitive on those with power, then
there might be a backlash against them impacting their careers or the authority
of the judiciary."
India needs more judges, more and better educated lawyers
and a thorough repair of what academics Devesh Kapur and Milan Vaishnav call
the "dilapidated and clogged" plumbing of its courts. Otherwise, as
they warn, the judicial process itself will remain the punishment, an enduring
shame for the world's biggest democracy.
The People’s Union for Democratic Rights on Tuesday alleged that third degree torture methods were used by the Gurgaon Criminal Investigation Agency while interrogating workers of Maruti Suzuki India Limited’s Manesar plant who are accused of involvement in the killing of an HR manager and the violent attack at the plant on July 18. The PUDR alleged that the Gurgaon CIA investigation “did not seem” to be directed at solving the crime or probing the involvement of the arrested workers in the incidents and crimes recorded in the FIR but instead was based on their involvement in trade union activities. Grave doubts “The use of third degree torture in police custody, and the securing of arrestees’ signatures on blank papers by the police, gives rise to grave doubts regarding the ability of such an investigation in effectively identifying or arresting those guilty. The police and the State seem keener to reassure Maruti Suzuki Ltd. and ensure that production continues,” the PUDR stat
According to Murakami, “1Q84” is just an amplification of one of his most popular short stories, which (in its English version) is five pages long. “Basically, it’s the same,” he told me. “A boy meets a girl. They have separated and are looking for each other. It’s a simple story. I just made it long.” One beautiful April morning, on a narrow side street in Tokyo's fashionable Harujuku neighborhood, I walked past the 100% perfect girl. Tell you the truth, she's not that good-looking. She doesn't stand out in any way. Her clothes are nothing special. The back of her hair is still bent out of shape from sleep. She isn't young, either - must be near thirty, not even close to a "girl," properly speaking. But still, I know from fifty yards away: She's the 100% perfect girl for me. The moment I see her, there's a rumbling in my chest, and my mouth is as dry as a desert..." read the story: http://www.youmightfindyourself.com/post/22131227
'Do you know', Napoleon once said to Fontanes, 'what astounds me most about the world? The impotence of force to establish anything. There are only two powers in the world: the sword and the mind. In the end, the sword is always conquered by the mind' Conquerors, you see, are sometimes melancholy. They have to pay some price for so much vainglory. But what a hundred years ago was true of the sword is no longer true today of the tank. Conquerors have made progress, and the dismal silence of places without intelligence has been established for years at a time in a lacerated Europe. At the time of the hideous wars of Flanders, Dutch painters could still perhaps paint the cockerels in their farmyards. The Hundred Years War has likewise been forgotten, and yet the prayers of Silesian mystics still linger in some hearts. But today, things have changed; the painter and the monk have been drafted - we are one with the world. The mind has lost that regal certainty which a c
NB: This is the text of my address to the Eighth East-West Inter-cultural Relations Conference held at Ramjas College, the University of Delhi, on March 17. The details of the conference may be read here . A pdf file of the address is downloadable here - DS Satyagraha - An answer to modern nihilism Dilip Simeon Keynote address to the Eighth East-West Inter-cultural Relations Conference Ramjas College, March 17-18 2016 Zilu stopped for the night at Stone Gate. The gatekeeper said, Where are you from? Zilu said, From the household of Confucius. The gatekeeper said, The one who knows there’s nothing that can be done but keeps on trying? - from the Analects of Confucius (14:40) What is truth? asked jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer – Francis Bacon In fact it is more correct to say Truth is God than to say God is Truth – Mohandas Gandhi Introduction: The human being is the speaking animal, the discerner of good and evil. This featur
Mother of Cities to me, For I was born in her gate, Between the palms and the sea, Where the world-end steamers wait Rudyard Kipling , To the City of Bombay "Few people who have criticized England from the inside have said bitterer things about her than this gutter patriot" : George Orwell IT WAS a pity that Mr. Eliot should be so much on the defensive in the long essay with which he prefaces this selection of Kipling's poetry, but it was not to be avoided, because before one can even speak about Kipling one has to clear away a legend that has been created by two sets of people who have not read his works. Kipling is in the peculiar position of having been a byword for fifty years. During five literary generations every enlightened person has despised him, and at the end of that time nine-tenths of those enlightened persons are forgotten and Kipling is in some sense still there. Mr. Eliot never satisfactorily explains this fact, because in answering the shal
In Asia Minor or in Alexandria, in the second century of our faith (when Basilides was announcing that the cosmos was a rash and malevolent improvisation engineered by defective angels), Nils Runeberg might have directed, with a singular intellectual passion, one of the Gnostic monasteries. Dante would have destined him, perhaps, for a fiery sepulcher; his name might have augmented the catalogues of heresiarchs, between Satornibus and Carpocrates; some fragment of his preaching, embellished with invective, might have been preserved in the apocryphal Liber adversus omnes haereses or might have perished when the firing of a monastic library consumed the last example of the Syntagma . Instead, God assigned him to the twentieth century, and to the university city of Lund. There, in 1904, he published the first edition of Kristus och Judas ; there, in 1909, his masterpiece Dem hemlige Frälsaren appeared. (Of this last mentioned work there exists a German version, Der heimliche Heilan
NB: An interesting obituary to a great intellectual. My knowledge of the situation is limited, but as regards this article, I'm uncomfortable with the argument that there should be no objection to the participation of communal parties in a democratic alliance. My views on this are conditioned by the history of religion-based mobilisations in India, where the communist movement has from time to time allied with communal groups of all colours, with disastrous consequences. Some material on this theme may be read here . Nor can I agree that Islamists, Hindutva groups or Khalistanis etc. can be described as 'religious parties'. I do not mean to justify alliances with 'secular' tyrants, but to remind anyone who cares to listen, that communalism is also an expression of tyranny. Communalists proceed on the assumption that membership of a religious community automatically produces a political interest, and strive to create that interest. They enter democratic move