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With Supreme Court quashing NJAC, battle between judiciary and executive resumes

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By Harshmeet Singh

The Supreme Court’s decision declaring the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) as ‘unconstitutional’ drew contrasting reactions from different corners. While the telecom minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad termed it as ‘an attack on the Parliament’s sovereignty’, senior SC lawyer Ram Jethmalani hailed the judgment, calling it a ‘great success for the Indian Democracy’.

Ever since the idea of NJAC was floated, the judiciary seemed averse to the thought of giving away its prerogative of appointing judges to the High Courts and the Supreme Court. Until now, the appointment of judges was done by the Collegium system. Under this system, a collegium consisting of the Chief Justice of India and the 4 senior most judges of the Supreme Court recommended the transfer and appointment of the judges. This system came into being as a result of the famous ‘Three Judges Case’ of 1998. In the recent years, the collegium system has come under heavy criticism with judges being accused of abusing their power, nepotism and giving birth to a ‘give & take’ culture. Also, this collegium system doesn’t find any mention in the constitution. The article 124 of the constitution says that ‘the President should appoint Supreme Court judges after consultation with such judges of High Courts and the Supreme Court as he/she may deem necessary. The Chief Justice of India is to be consulted in all appointments barring his/her own.’

The proposed NJAC was to be comprised of the Chief Justice, two senior most judges of the SC, the Union Law Minister and two eminent personalities, thereby taking away Judiciary’s exclusive right to appoint judges. Many experts termed Government’s plans of introducing the NJAC as an attempt to take away the independence of the judiciary, which is the 3rd pillar of our democracy. Interestingly, the NJAC bill turned out to be one of the very few bills which got multi party support at the centre as well as in the states.

This isn’t the first time when the NDA government tried to alter the collegium system. When Atal Bihari Vajpayee was at the helm, the NDA government set up the Justice MN Ventakachaliah commission to study if the current system of appointment of judges needed any changes. The Commission recommended the formation of NJAC which was almost similar to the current form of NJAC, but it couldn’t materialize then.

Though the collegium system seems far from perfect, SC’s concerns over involvement of politicians in the appointment of judges are completely justified. The appointment of Justice AN Ray as the Chief Justice of India, superseding 3 senior judges, at the behest of Indira Gandhi is still considered as one of the darkest chapters in the history of Indian Judicial system. With the judiciary being given the power of ‘judicial review’ by the constitution to keep a check on the Parliament’s law making prerogative, parliament’s control over the judges would destroy the delicate balance between the two arms of Indian democracy.

While the SC completely dismissed the constitutional validity of the NJAC, it humbly accepted that the collegium system can be made better and asked for further discussions on the same. Let us hope that a common ground is found between the two parties with none considering it as a matter of personal pride!

 

The author is a Freelance writer. This article was written exclusively for NewsGram.

6 COMMENTS

  1. READERS IN GENERAL KNOW THAT Decisions are taken at various levels, in all spheres of our lives. “Judiciary” is left to take wise precarious sensitive decisions on issues of the common people, IF in the real interest of the people of the country, with national interest. It is all, in the way we all look at, since applies to personalities with related relevant subjective knowledge. Every knowledge is superior in its relevant place, which should not be forgotten, the subject and time of its occurrence. It is our vision and thoughtful-mind that makes it, of the variations in varying perceptions of each personalities. While considering the subject of LAW and Justice, proximity, vicinity and concern to our people with a broader perspective on humanity, we also come to know that “The UK does not have a constitution per se, certainly not in the same way that the US or Germany does. Instead we have a series of rules and guidelines, powers and laws which govern how the country is run and where power lies. This area of law, primarily to make sure that ‘power is not abused’ and that it is used in an appropriate manner. Someone has to keep a check on the government, to the changing times and that is where this area of LAW steps up to the plate. Constitutional or Administrative Law is arguably the most important in existence; without it there could be no other laws and the state would not be able to function. It
    holds our country together. Practising administrative or constitutional law means you will either be employed by the state in the Government Legal Service (GLS), or in a private practice. Incidentally, the GLS is the largest employer of lawyers in the UK. As a honest, qualified and enlightened lawyer, if to serve efficiently to his/her best should keep abreast with the updates, with the changing situations, managerially, technologically as well, in the surroundings and working professional arena. to ensure that our government bodies and agencies are acting in the public interest. Therefore, the need for working alongside the NHS, your local council or the police. Sometimes the state does not follow the interests of the public, or works in contra-vention of its obligations under national and international law. For example, if a local councillor has ten parking permits and gives them all to their friends and family for no other reason than because they are related to them, then this is clearly unfair and
    administrative law can be applied to make sure they does not abuse their position.

    Similarly, if the police torture, whilst in custody, then there will have been a breach of
    the European Convention of Human Rights (Art. 3) and your action against the
    state will be pursued through this constitutional or administrative law. Hence, the Constitutional
    and Administrative law is a stimulating and exciting option, which one has to consider, IF implemented, unbiased, in the right good spirit. WHILE there are crying needs of the people for years and decades in INDIA, going neglected with discrimination, not valuing the precious TIME of the People’s limited life-span, after 68 years of Indian Independence, all owing to “JUDGES SELECTING THEIR OWN JUDGES” without considering on their true credibility. BETTER JUDICIARY MUST FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

  2. Any learned and enlightened person need to know as to what he is doing, more particularly while in public services, more to be in duty-consciousness, when came forward to serve all the people alike unbiased. Hence, he or she in PUBLIC SERVICES ought to be committed , accountable and responsible OR-ELSE he/she should quit the public chair of authority, which the “People’s Government” should ensure to the common people. IMAGE OF THE JUDICIARY ” Known as the face of Justice, DETERIORATING, IN THE PUBLIC EYES ON ACCOUNT OF THEY NOT LOOKING BACK SERIOUSLY, DESPITE FEEDBACKS IN PUBLIC DOMAIN IN THE GOOD SPIRIT OF SERVICE TO THE PEOPLE, IN QUALITY OF PUBLIC SERVICES RENDERED, OWING TO, UN-MONITORED CONDITION IN REALITY, TO THE PEOPLES WELFARE, AS “ PUBLIC SERVICES ” BUT INSTEAD, AGGRAVATING ONE JUDGE PRONOUNCEMENTS with ill-conceived knowledge without a holistic view which jeopardises the productivity and economy of the country holding up active working youths by the Mobile Courts (for Non Helmet wearing instead prioritising action on the erring speedster and drunken driving)OF PUBLIC ORDER FROM H.C. instead of a collective DIRECTIVE from SC or HC. View also many Administrative Lapses, going uncorrected for e.g. during this innovative age. The lawyers and advocates are the face and mirror of the litigants ‘ Case Status’, for Litigant’ s grievances. Litigants pay their respect or curse, for their attitude and services not when goes hand in gloves with their counterpart and cause damage to their clients case. Duty, Dignity and discipline be in place, in respecting the sacred Courts. The present day lawyers and advocates need to be more knowledgeable, than before with the flooding and explosion of valuable Information. Be well disciplined, during this innovative age and put forth professional challenges of competence, thereby competent Judges be in practice as well, maintaining the decency and decorum, of the office in Court, being held very high in human society. They should learn to command respect in the most dignified manner, caution before pronouncing judgement and or for public instructions, as single Judge, than hurting the sentiments of the individual litigants/public, having fear and love to God the almighty irrespective of religion, one above all, the creator of all. This will boost/enhance the due high respect for the JUDGES in Toto of JUDICIAL CLASS and the image of the judiciary in the eyes of the public.

    Peechulli Krishnan Chandran, General Secretary, Chennai Society For Fast Justice.

  3. Calls for structural integrity in our Armed Forces Tribunal, under so-called Indian Judiciary. Qualified Lawyers representing from JAG Dept. (rank of Capt. or Major) has no say(voice) when the Admn.Bench Member(Lt.Gen by rank) *though not a qualified lawyer dismisses the case out of EGO and ARROGANCE. This is the state of Judiciary after 68 years of Indian Independence. Neglection of discharge by a constituted Indian Army Medical Board belonging to the Government of India. Soldiers are therefore looked down upon by such high-ranking officers, placed with political influence, not on their suitability, but at random, leaving the soldiers at their mercy. Ill conceived Judges are therefore being judged for their unfairness and poor standards of professional competence, hence the litigants live with silent deaths of injustice.
    The need to follow “Code of Professional Ethics” applies to all professionals alike, to maintain the decency and decorum of office held. Why be scared of watch-dog when we do things right to our conscience and fear of the almighty god. No human has fallen from the sky. To err is human.

  4. Judicial process should not be used to harass litigants: HC – The Economic Times
    economictimes.indiatimes.com
    NOT BY JUST WORDS BUT IN ACTION FOR THE JUDICIARY TO BE RESPECTED BY THE ENTIRE COMMUN ITY OF INDIA. PLEASE GIVE JUSTICE TO WP2989/14 FOLLOWING THE UNFAIR DISMISSAL IN ARMED FORCES TRIBUNAL, CHENNAI BENCH. Attitude of JUDGES, also matters to command respect from good HUMANS. PLEASE commit and participate for National Building.
    General Secretary, Chennai Society for Fast Justice (Regd.).

  5. The JAG Officer, on representation in courts and tribunals, needs to feel the pulse of the aggrieved litigant soldier, by understanding the realities ie. the pulse of the aggrieved soldier and be fair enough to CARE with human touch and not be carried away by rank of the presiding officer or the honourable bench members of he tribunal by their Ego or arrogance BUT to instil fair and fast justice.
    The Courts are made for the people at large and for the redressal of their disputes. It is also expected that the justice delivery system should be easily accessible to the citizens and justice should be delivered at the lowest possible cost. Therefore, the easy access, cheaper justice system and speedy decision are the best factors of any judicial system from the view point of the citizen”.2009 (4) Mh. L.J. 242. A single dishonest judge not only dishonors’ himself and disgraces his office but jeopardizes the integrity of the entire judicial system ” (Supreme Court of India). ”
    Judiciary is respected not on account of its power to legalize injustice on technical grounds, but because it is capable of removing injustice and is expected to do so.” A.I.R. 1987 SC 1353. Where rule of law is strong, people uphold the law not out of fear but because they have a stake in its effectiveness”.
    Dr.Chandran Peechulli, Ph.D., F.I.E.(India), C.Eng., LLB., PgDLL., LL.M., **** Speciaised in Labour, Industrial Relations and Administrative Law. General Secretary, Chennai Society for Fast Justice. Registered.

  6. Hence, one cannot digest “Judicial-Power” – be said as “Judge as God” but expected to be a Divine Structure.

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Was the Ban on Sale of Firecrackers in Delhi Successful? Data on Pollution Levels in Delhi Say Otherwise

Despite the much talked about cracker-ban, pollution monitoring stations placed the capital in the ‘red zone’, indicating ‘very poor’ air quality.

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pollution levels
While the ban on crackers imposed by the Supreme Court aimed to reduce pollution levels in Delhi, figures from pollution monitoring system paint an unhealthy picture with amplified levels of air pollution. (Representative image) Pixabay

New Delhi, October 20, 2017: The Supreme Court had on October 9 banned the sale of firecrackers in Delhi during Diwali in order to counter the pollution, deteriorating air quality and smog-like conditions that have come to be associated with the festival in recent times.

While a radical change was not expected following the ban on firecrackers, a humble and promising beginning could be witnessed on Diwali with majority areas in Delhi reporting much lesser noise and smoke till 6 PM, compared to previous years.

However, as the festive spirit picked up from 7 PM onwards, the hopes for a pollution-free Diwali got lost behind the growing echo of the crackers.

Pollution Levels on Diwali

Despite the much talked about the ban on firecrackers, pollution monitoring stations placed the capital in the ‘red zone’, indicating ‘very poor’ air quality. According to the stats available, on Diwali day around 7 pm, online indicators showed a rising trend in the volume of cancer-causing ultra-fine particulates PM2.5 and PM10 that are capable of entering the respiratory system and reach the bloodstream.

PM2.5 and PM10 are the extremely fine particulate matter with the digits representing their diameter in micrometers. They are a major component of air pollutants that threaten both, our health and the environment at large.

ALSO READ 10 Quick Facts About Delhi Pollution Problem

However, data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) suggested that the air quality in Delhi on Diwali was better than last year.

On Thursday, the Air Quality Index (AQI) value was 319 which placed the city in the ‘very poor’ category. However, the AQI value on Diwali last year was 431 and the city was placed in the ‘severe’ category.

According to data from SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research), the 24-hour rolling average at around 11 PM was revealed as 154 and 256 micrograms per cubic meter for PM2.5 and PM10 respectively.

According to SAFAR data, pollution levels were expected to soar between 11 PM and 3 AM.

Pollution Levels in the Morning after Diwali

As the night progressed, PM2.5 levels recorded a sharp rise in multiple areas in and around Delhi, with 15 times increase in areas like India Gate

As per data from Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), PM2.5 levels at 6 AM in,

India Gate – 911 microns (Normal level – 60 microns)

RK Puram – 776 microns (13 times more than usual)

Ashoka Vihar – 820 microns (14 times more than normal)

Anand Vihar – 617 microns (10 times more than normal)

A sharp rise was observed in the PM10 levels in the early hours of the morning after Diwali which suggest hazardous pollution levels in Delhi.

As per data from Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), PM10 levels at 6 AM in,

India Gate – 985 microns

RK Puram – 1083 (11 times more than usual)

Anand Vihar – 2402 microns (24 times more than normal. Normal level is considered around 100 microns)

While the ban on firecrackers imposed by the Supreme Court aimed to reduce pollution levels in Delhi, figures from pollution monitoring system paint an unhealthy picture with amplified levels of air pollution.

Official figures from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) are yet to be announced today. However, judging from the data available, it won’t be wrong to say that pollution levels in Delhi have increased post-Diwali.

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Indian Muslim Should Embrace The Triple Talaq Verdict, As It Outlaws the Radical Religious Side

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Triple Talaq
End of Triple Talaq. IANS

by Frank F. Islam

Sep 21, 2017 (IANS): On August 22, the Supreme Court ruled that triple talaq — the practice which allows a man to divorce his wife instantly by saying the word talaq thrice — is unconstitutional. Predictably, the ruling was denounced by a number of Muslim leaders and organisations. Some interpreted it as an attack on their religion and way of life. Others saw a conspiracy angle in the importance given to an issue.

This perspective is desperate and distorted. This perspective is not only wrong but also wrong-headed, misplaced and misguided.

I applaud this judgement because I strongly believe that Muslim instant divorce is illegal and incorrect in many ways. Instant divorce is deplorable, disgraceful and shameful. In addition, it is demeaning, demonising, disheartening and demoralising to Indian Muslim women.

Most importantly, as one of the judges pointed out, triple talaq is against the basic tenets of the Quran. Recognising this, many Islamic countries, including two of India’s large Muslim neighbours — Pakistan and Bangladesh — have abolished the practice.

In addition, it is unconscionable to think that a man should be allowed to banish a woman to whom he is married — who is also the mother of his child or children, in many cases — by uttering a word three times, with no consequences. Triple talaq is also inherently discriminatory in that only a man has that “right” — a Muslim woman cannot end the marriage in a similar way.

Also Read: One India, One Law: End of Triple Talaq 

Over the years, some Muslim organisations have rationalised triple talaq by arguing that divorce rates within their community are quite low compared to other religious groups. It affects less than a third of a per cent of Muslim women, they argue. This is neither a sound legal nor moral argument. Even if one concedes that instant divorce affects only a minuscule population, injustice should never have legal sanction, regardless of how many people are affected.

The triple talaq ruling, the result of a decades-long campaign by women’s rights groups, was a historic verdict. With the stroke of a pen, the judges made illegal a practice that over the decades has ruined the lives of countless Indian Muslim women.

In the absence of a comprehensive study among Indian Muslim women, it is not known how many of them have been divorced in this manner. A 2013 survey of Muslim women in 10 Indian states by the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, an advocacy group that fights for the rights of Indian Muslims, found that triple talaq was the most common mode of divorce among those surveyed.

Of the 4,710 women sampled in the survey, 525 were divorcees. Of them, 404 were victims of triple talaq. More than 80 per cent of them did not receive any compensation at the time of divorce.

Two of the five judges that delivered the triple talaq judgment differed on the constitutionality of practice. The bench was in unanimous agreement, however, in asking the government to enact within six months legislation to govern Muslim marriages and divorces.

India’s justice system has numerous drawbacks. It often takes decades for courts to deliver justice. In this instance, the Supreme Court should be applauded for delivering a correct judgment in a timely manner.

The ball is now in the government’s court. It is up to people’s representatives to come up with policies that will change the lives of Muslim women for the better.

Equitable legislation on Muslim marriages and divorces should be just the starting point. The central and state governments must craft policies that empower women belonging to all castes, creeds and religions. Such policies should focus on educating women, developing their skills and making them part of the work force. Empowerment of this type will allow them to pursue and create their own destiny. It will lead to financial independence. In addition, it will promote the security and stability of women and will build their self-esteem and confidence.

India’s Muslim community should embrace the Supreme Court verdict. They should join together to say: End triple talaq. End triple talaq. End triple talaq. They should leverage the verdict as an opportunity to advocate for and bring about much-needed reforms related to women’s rights. (IANS)

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Listening for Well-being : Arun Maira Talks About a Democracy in Crisis, Unsafe Social Media and More in his Latest Book

Maira asserts that we must learn to listen more deeply to 'people who are not like us' in our country because of their history, their culture, their religion, or their race.

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Arun Maira
Arun Maira (extreme left), during a public event in 2009. Wikimedia
  • Former Planning Commission member Arun Maira’s latest book is titled ‘Listening for Well-Being’
  • Maira observes that physical and verbal violence in the world and on social media is continuously growing
  • He also highlights the importance of ‘hearing each other’ in order to create truly inclusive and democratic societies

New Delhi, September 5, 2017 : Former Planning Commission member Arun Maira contends that “physical violence” in the real world and “verbal violence” on social media against people whom “we do not approve of” are increasing today. With such trends on the rise, the very idea of democracy finds itself in a crisis.

The solution?

“We need to listen more deeply to people who are not like us,” said the much-respected management consultant, talking of his latest book, “Listening for Well-Being”, and sharing his perspective on a wide range of issues that he deals with.

“Violence by people against those they dislike, for whatever reason, is increasing. It has become dangerous to post a personal view on any matter on social media. Responses are abusive. There is no respect for another’s dignity. People are also repeatedly threatened with physical violence.”

He said that gangs of trolls go after their victims viciously. “Social media has become a very violent space. Like the streets of a run-down city at night… not a safe space to roam around in.”

At the same time, streets in the physical world are becoming less safe too. “Any car or truck on the road can suddenly become a weapon of mass destruction in a ‘civilised’ country: in London, Berlin, Nice, or Barcelona,” Maira told IANS in an interview.

Maira said that with the rise of right-wing parties that are racist and anti-immigrant, there is great concern in the Western democratic world — in the US, the UK and Europe — that democracy is in a crisis.

In the US, for example, supporters of Donald Trump, Maira said, believe only what Trump says and watch only the news channels that share a similar ideology. On the other side are large numbers of US citizens who don’t believe what Trump says but they too have their own preferred news sources.

“They should listen to each other, and understand each other’s concerns. Only then can the country be inclusive. And also truly democratic — which means that everyone has an equal stake and an equal voice,” he noted.

In “Listening for Well-Being” (Rupa/Rs 500/182 Pages), Arun Maira shows his readers ways to use the power of listening. He analyses the causes for the decline in listening and proposes solutions to increase its depth in private and public discourse.

Drawing from his extensive experience as a leading strategist, he emphasises that by listening deeply, especially to people who are not like us, we can create a more inclusive, just, harmonious and sustainable world for everyone.

But it would be wrong to say that the decline in listening is only restricted to the Western world.

“We have the same issues in India too. We are a country with many diverse people. We are proud of our diversity. However, for our country to be truly democratic, all people must feel they are equal citizens.

“The need for citizens to listen to each other is much greater in India than in any other country because we are the most diverse country, and we want to be democratic. So, we must learn to listen more deeply to ‘people who are not like us’ in our country because of their history, their culture, their religion, or their race,” he maintained.

Maira also said that India is a country with a very long and rich history. And within the present boundaries of India are diverse people, with different cultures, different religions, and of different races.

“So, we cannot put too sharp a definition on who is an ‘Indian’ — the language they must speak, the religion they must follow, or the customs they must adopt. Because, then we will exclude many who do not have the same profiles, and say they are not Indians. Thus we can falsely, and dangerously, divide the country into ‘real Indians’ and those who are supposedly non-Indians. Indeed, such forces are rising in India,” he added.

Maira, 74, hoped that all his readers will appreciate that listening is essential to improve the world for everyone. He also maintained that it is not a complete solution to any of the world’s complex problems but by listening to other points of view, we can prevent conflict and also devise better solutions.

Born in Lahore, Arun Maira received his M.Sc. and B.Sc. in Physics from Delhi University’s St Stephen’s College. He has also authored two bestselling books previously, “Aeroplane While Flying: Reforming Institutions” and “Upstart in Government: Journeys of Change and Learning”. (IANS)