Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Criminal Justice System - Collapse.

It takes NDTV to exhort the Legal System to do justice. This is the job of the police. A top celebrated lawyer R.K.Anand - who is a defence lawyer in the BMW case - is actively involved in cohorting with the Prime Witness of the Prosecution !! And Prosecution is more than happy to actually drop this prime witness itself (as it had merrily done earlier)! What is gpoing on?

This is not strange - if you consider that:
  • It is common knowledge that legal system has turned into a vicious game. How can i twist this law to do that?
  • A recent report cited: Rs 2630-crore bribe paid yearly to judiciary in India
  • Magistrates do not hesitate to issue arrest warrants/summons against well-known people/celebrities in frivolous of cases - but its extremely rare to see same posture being adopted towards Politicians. When there are lakhs of court cases rotting across India - does it make sense when courts waste there time in frivolous/attention-grabbing cases.
  • Police should be involved in doing solid investigation, being a partner of the ordinary citizen in maintaing law and order. But what do we find? A Lathi Charging, Trigger-Happy Police - happy to kill its own citizens. And investigation - now whats that?
  • And about deaths in police custody every-year - its hard to believe. Read this. No wonder, approaching police to seek help - is not a practice widely followed in India.
  • 'Tareekh pe Tareekh' - this is one of the very telling dialogues from the movie Damini. It shows how 'delaying' tactics in courts can kill cases. Indian judicial system must be one of the 'slowest' in the world. Most likely - The Slowest.

As for Police Reforms - Supreme Court directed the State Govts to implement it. But - no surprise there - state govts - are not interested. Judicial Reforms - we need them now - not later. Is this the land of Harashavardhana, Ashoka, Mahatma Gandhi?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Is Indian Democracy a Farce?

It all depends on how you define Democracy.

Lets try our hand at various definitions.
Democracy is where people vote, and elect a government.
By this definition we are a resounding success.

Democracy is where people vote without fear, and elect a government.
By this definition we are a reasonable success.

Democracy is where people vote without fear, with knowledge - to elect a government.
By this definition we are at best satisfactory.

Democracy is where people vote without fear, with knowledge, for collective development - to elect a government.
By this definition we are are a failure. (vote for development..? now whats that).

Ok... lets leave this line of argument aside. And flip the question to ask -
What exactly happens in Indian Democracy?

  • Elections are announced routinely (Good!)
  • Political parties field candidates (In UP Elections upward of 20% candidates had criminal backgrounds)
  • People vote and elect govt. - based on what - most recognizable face, caste, whatever? (The present UP Legislative assembly has substantial number of - upward of 40% MLAs - according to some media) with criminal antecedents - this is 'twice' the percentage of Indian Parliament. Media analyses and tells us - the Muslim, Dalit, Brahmin combination worked for the winiing party. Ah!).
  • The ougoing govt. relinquishes control (destory files - all there is to hide in govt. departments - yes thats what a SP minister in outgoing UP govt. was doing)
  • Chief Minister is sworn and Administration Begins (100 Bureaucrats are transferred within hours of swearing in ceremony - yes thats what Mayawati did. Cabinet berths are alloted .. no not to the most deserving.. but to balance the caste equations).
So what important questions never come up in most Elections?
  • Why do the city Roads look like the surface of the moon?
  • Why does India have one of the highest taxes in the world, and poorest infrastrcture?
  • Where will the power requirements of coming years be met from?
  • Why is it that 1/5th of humanity, satisfied with 0 Gold, 0 Silver, 0 Bronze at Olympics.
  • Why Corrupt/Criminal Candidates are standing in the elections?
  • Why is Primary Education so bad in our country?
  • Why do most Govt. Hospitals stink - and it is often considered even dangerous to go there?
  • Why is it that Indian Police perceived to be among the most corrupt in the world?
So, Indian Democracy has all the trappings of a functional Democracy. But just scratch the surface - and what you see is a big charade or a pseudo-democracy.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Ugly Interest Litigations

As soon as the following was on television, the wait began for somebody to file a PIL, and the judge to act on it and make a mockery of justice in the process....

  • Richard Gere Kisses Shilpa Shetty at an AIDS awareness campaign.
  • Mandira Bedi wears a sari with Indian Flag showing up below her knees.
  • Arun Nayar and Liz Hurley wedding in India

And yes true to style, lawyers in Jaipur filed the cases against individuals (all celebreties) in the above events citing various moralistic phrases like 'sensibilities getting hurt', 'in the public interest' etc ! And wow, they were accepted by the judge as legitimate cases. (Have you noticed Madurai, Jaipur and other smaller towns are especially notorious in this regard!)

The case of Mandira Bedi, may still make some sense. But what is going on here with a Arrest Warrant against Richard Gere, and summons to Shilpa Shetty, because a silly lawyer decided to waste everyones time, get his name in newspapers, and the Judge above all acting extremely strangely and without hesitating issuing arrest warrant while describing the video footage of the kiss as 'highly sexually erotic'! Well....

Why is such alacrity, promptness not shown by the Legal Luminaries when Politicians are involved in Killings, Eating away Public Funds, and running extortion rackets. Why is such promptness not shown when there are riots and looting in the cities - just because a Filmstar died Or because the govt. of the day decided to go to sleep while its citizens are murdered by rioters.

The first half of the previous post was referring to exactly this kind of silliness that prevails in legal circles in a country where approximately 300 years worth of court cases are pending. Ah ! These days its easier to drag celebrities to courts than get a ration card!

If there is such arbitrariness in simple cases, what happens in serious complex cases where life and property is at stake?