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We shall reach greater and greater platitudes of achievement. – Richard J Daley.
Sachin Tendulkar brought joy to India and the cricketing world when he finally made his 100th international century on March 16, 2012 in an Asia Cup match against Bangladesh. India went euphoric spewing competitive platitudes. But, Tendulkar himself put his triumph in proper perspective when he admitted to the pressure of scoring the 100th century. “The toughest hundred was obviously the 100th one. During the world cup, I got the 99th but nobody noticed it as the focus was on the tournament. Once it was over, the focus shifted to my hundred”.
Should that have been so? One columnist, Anuja Chauhan, writing in The Week (25-3-12) decries the chase as needless. She asks: “Can somebody tell me again why it is so important that Sachin Tendulkar makes a hundred hundreds? Hasn’t he already got about 30 more centuries than the next guy? And as the next guy has more or less retired, the chances of anybody coming along and breaking Sachin’s record anytime soon are pretty remote. So why can’t we all stop being such a bunch of pushy, demanding I-want-my-child-to-get-into-SRCC Indian mummies, who say, ‘You don’t win 99, you lose 100.’ “
If homosexuality is a disease, let’s call in queer to work: “Hellow. Can’t work today, still queer”. – Robin Tyler.
In India homosexuals enjoy freedom from punishment since the Delhi High Court ruled, on July 2, 2009, that sex between consenting adults of the same sex in privaate is not a crime. It said that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which denied queers the right to love violated the fundamental right of equality as guaranteed in the Constitution. It brought the gay community out of the underground where it operated in secrecy. In fact, in July 2011 the gay community celebrated, with their supporters and sympathisers the second anniversary of the landmark judgment.
Will they have similar celebration in July 2012? That depends on the outcome of an appeal in the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court judgment which is in the midst of arguments by the rival parties which will be resumed on March 13 after the Holi holidays. This is a ring-side view of the developing situation in the Supreme Court as excerpted from the comprehensive coverage by J Venkatesan, Delhi-based Legal Correspondent of The Hindu and publised in that paper.
With one hand he put
A penny in the urn of poverty
And with the other took a shilling out.
- Robert Pollock.
When the Bible said that the right hand should not know what the left hand dis when it came to giving charity, it didn’t suggest what Robert Pollock describes in the above lines. On the other hand, these days, especially in the context of corporate charity, it helps to publicise the good work to gain goodwill and induce others to do likewise. Two outstanding examples in this respect are Bill gates of Microsoft fame and warren buffet, the investment guru. Against this background it is interesting to note that more young Indians are joining the philanthropy bandwagon. But, first the facts.
I thank God I am not a woman, to be touched with so many giddy offences as He hath generally taxed their sex withal. – William Shakespeare, English dramatic poet (1564-1616) in As You Like It.
Whether you like it or not marriage involves conjugal love which is the foundation of procreation and continuity of families and communities. It is against this background that the higher judiciary in India has ruled that conjugal union is so important that its denial can be a ground for granting divorce. But, first the facts.
Willful denial of sex, including that on the first night after wedding, by either of the spouse amounts to cruelty and can be a ground for dissolution of the marriage, the Delhi high court has ruled. .Justice Kailash Gambhir gave the verdict, upholding the lower court’s decree of
divorce to a man having a "sex-starved marriage" as his wife refused to have sexual intercourse with him on the wedding night and making him long for it for the subsequent five months, left her matrimonial home.
"In the present case, the testimony of the husband that the wife was never responsive and was like a dead wood when he had sexual intercourse with her remained unrebutted. "It is not that the husband had sex with his wife only about 10-15 times from the date of his marriage within a period of five months, but the wife’s cruel act of denying sex to the husband especially on the very first night and then not to actively participate in it even for the said limited period for which no contrary suggestion was given by the wife," the court said.
It cited various Supreme Court judgments on the issue and said "it is evident that willful denial of sexual intercourse without reasonable cause would amount to cruelty."
Written laws are like spiders’ webs, and will like them entangle and kold the poor and weak, while the rich and powerful will easily break through them. –Anacharsis, Seythian philosopher to Solon when writing his laws.
This 2500 yers old statement holds good even today. When the rich and powerful are involved the investigators and prosecutors present poor case and the judges, sometimes also in collusion, dismiss the case as not proved. Thus, we end up with a poor conviction percentage, specially in corruption cases. There are high-powerd battery of lawyers to argue cases involving rich and powerful and the corporates. One such case was won by Vodaphone resulting in the Supreme Court giving that a Rs. 11, 000 crore tax relif on a transnational transaction. To overcome the effects of such judgments, the latest Union Budget has introduced an amendment giving retrospective effect to tackle such cases. The retrospective aspect has generated controversy, with some opinions on the subject projected by J Venkatesan and published in The Hindu (19-3-12) – and excerpted here.
The only thing that saves us from bureaucracy is its inefficiency. –Eugene McCarthy.
If McCarthy was talking of inefficiency in service delivery to the citizens, he never reckoned with their super-efficiency in corruption. And the citizenry has to helplessly watch looting of public funds for private gain. The New Testament of the Bible says: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God”. – Mathew XIC- 24. Applied to bureaucracy, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than to dismiss or get rid of a bureaucrat or babu for Indians – however inefficient or corrupt he may be.
There is now some promising news on this front. Prabha Jagannathan, writing in The Week (25-3-12) under the title “Babu’s Day Out” says that the UPA government’s amendment of the All India Services Rules, 1958, did not raise the expected storm. The amendment notification dated January 31, 2012, from the ministry of personnel, pensions and public grievances allows a career review of bureaucrats with 15 years of service. There will be a repeat review when the babu turns 50 or completes 25 years of service, whichever comes first. The review is supposed to help the government dump “inept and unproductive” officers. Normally, civil servants retire at 60 years, with pension for life.
A judge’s duty is to grant justice, but his practice is to delay it: even those judges who know their duty adhere to the general practice. – Jean de La Bruyere, French moralist (1664-1696).
The record of indian judiciary is no better than what La Bruyere described over 400 years ago as far as justice delivery is concerned. In addition, some in the higher judiciary seem to be tempted to extend their role and encroach on the spheres of the executive and legislature under what is described as judicial activism. One of the recent examples is direction given by the Supreme Court on the ten-year-old proposal to link rivers.That intervention has attracted widespead adverse reaction. Perhaps the court has got the message because in its more recent judgment it has sharply defined the scope of its intervention. But, first the facts as reported by J Venkatesan and published in The Hindu (17-3-12).
The Supreme Court will examine the constitutional validity of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010, which limits the liability of an operator in the event of a nuclear disaster to Rs. 1,500 crore. A Bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia and Justices A.K. Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar on March 16, 20012 issued notice to the Centre on a writ petition filed jointly by Common Cause; the Centre for Public Interest Litigation; former bureaucrats, including T.S.R. Subramanian; the former Chief Election Commissioner, N. Gopalaswami; and university professors, challenging the vires of the Act, and seeking a re-assessment of the safety of all nuclear facilities and a comprehensive long-term cost-benefit analysis of the nuclear plants.
Cruel and cold is the judgment of man,
Cruel as winter, and cold as the snow;
But by-and-by will the deed and the plan
Be judged by the motive that lieth below.
- James J. Bates.
Judging what lieth below on suspicion or motive alone alone is not enough to condemn a man, as the Supreme Court observed in a recent judgment – reported by J Venkatesh and published in The Hindu (8-3-12) and excerpted here.
In a case based only on circumstantial evidence, motive cannot take the place of conclusive proof that the person concerned was the author of the crime, warranting his conviction, the Supreme Court has held.“Motive alone can hardly be a ground for conviction. On the materials on record, there may be some suspicion against the accused, but as is often said suspicion, howsoever strong, cannot take the place of proof,” a Bench of Justices T.S. Thakur and Gyan Sudha Misra ruled.
Pythagorus used to say life resembles the Olympic Games; a few men strain their muscles to carry off the prize; others bring trinkets to sell to the crowd for a profit…” – Michel-Eygquem de Montaigne.
Olympics is no more a venue for selling trinkets for a profit but a platform for high politics and finance. The latest politics and finance involes the sponsoring of the forthcoming Games in England by Dow Chemicals which is successor to Union Carbide, the author of the world’s worst industrial disaster. The victims of that tragedy have been waiting for fair compensation and rehabilitation, apart from cleaning up the disaster site. The latest chapter on this controversy is tracked by Mahim Pratap Sing in The Hindu (8-3-12) and excerpted here.
Four things belong to the judge: to hear courteously, , to answer wisely, to consider soberly, and to decide impartially. – Socrates, Greek philosopher (Circa BC 470-399).
It doth appear you are a worthy judge;
You know the law and your exposition
Hath been most sound.
- William Shakespeare, English dramatic poet (1564-1616) in Merchant of Venice.
Now judges seem to stray away from their traditional role of interpreting the law and establishing the truth. Judicial activism, which encroaches into the legislative and executive realms is becoming common, instead of what Edmund Burke said in another context, rare medicine, daily bread. The latest instance concerns The Supreme Court’s recent direction to the government on pan-Indian river-linking. It hurts the finality/ infallibility associated with the Supreme Court judgments. This is highlighted by Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer, himself a retired Supreme Court judge, in an article entitled “River-engineering and the courts” in The Hindu (12-3-12) and excerpted here.
Certainly this is a duty, not a sin. ‘Cleanliness is next to godliness”. – John Wesley.
Not being a sin should not make us complecent in providing captive toilets for our people because, besides environmental pollution, it also involves degrading work to clear night soil. Viewd agaist this, the Indian situation is far from satisfactory. But, first the facts.
Though half of all Indians do not have a toilet at home, well over half own a telephone, new census data released on March 13, 2012 show. These and many other contrasting facts of life have come out in Census 2011. The data on housing, household amenities and assets cast new light on a country in the throes of a complex transition, where millions have access to state-of-the-art technologies and consumer goods — but a larger number lacks access to the most rudimentary facilities.