Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: India

Travesty of justice

Two recent judgments in cases of rape have found the accused guilty yet there are not punished.

1) Parmaram Sharan (27) was found guilty of rape and kidnapping. He was convicted of 10 years of rigorous imprisonment but not to go to jail. He had to pay a compensation of Rs.50,000/- to the victim. “The court has given Sharan a probation of three years on personal bond of Rs.10,000 on the ground that he is the sole earning member of his family and he has dependents two young children and ailing parents.” said public prosecutor Lata Cheda. (Indian Express 9/8/2005)

2) Suresh Vanse (34) was accused of raping a 14 year old in 2002. There was no 10 years rigorous imprisonment for him. He was to pay compensation of Rs.50,000/- and imprisonment for one day i.e., till the rising of the court which meant till 5.00 p.m. The ground for non-punishment – He has a wife, four children and mother. (Indian Express 12/8/2005)

Laxmi Rao was the judge in both cases.

This is perversion of justice. It is immaterial whether the guilty person is the sole breadwinner of his family and has dependents. The only thing that matters is that a crime is committed. Money cannot compensate for what a rape victim undergoes and Rs.50,000/- is a small amount. Besides members of rape victims family also suffer. Where is the provision for monetary compensation in Indian Penal Code? Public prosecutors must appeal against these verdicts. The Governor, the Chief Minister, the Law Minister and Advocate General of Maharashtra and the President, the Prime Minister, the Law Minister and Attorney General of India must act swiftly to nullify the damage done by these verdicts and also such judgments do not come in future.

It is good that some citizens have come forward to act against these judgments.

Some years ago KPS Gill was convicted of bottom slapping by a Sessions Court. He was to undergo imprisonment. He appealed and the High Court turned imprisonment into fine/compensation of Rs.2,00,000/-. Supreme Court upheld the High Court judgment. Why no imprisonment for KPS Gill?

In another case on 12/8/2005 Mohammed Yakub was acquitted of rape, as the victim did not want to pursue the case as she had got engaged. Mohammed Yakub had taken the then 15 year old girl on 25/12/1999. The mother of the girl had registered a police complaint and both were found after 4 days. It took 5 years, 7 months and 18 days for the case to come up and victim to be asked. Justice delayed and justice denied. Someone who raped a girl in a local train much after that was convicted. Was it because media pressure?

Sunil More is still not convicted. R. R. Patil, Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister of Maharashtra should get him convicted him by 31/8/2005 or quit. One girl was murdered at Gateway of India in broad daylight. The murderer shall be sentenced to death.

Salaries of MPs

Rajeev Shukla feels MPs have notional perks. (Indian Express DT. 6/8/2005) He wants their salaries to be increased and they should be allowed to hold offices of profit. There was a discussion about this in We the people on NDTV 24X7 on 7/8/2005. I agree with what Gurudas Dasgupta said on that day. He was opposed to increase. Other MPs who took part were Lalit Suri, Ashwini Kumar and Shahid Siddiqui. Shahid Siddique was opposed to increase. Lalit Suri was in favour of it. Ashwini Kumar was not opposed to increase.

Arguments for increase:
1) MPs draw a salary of Rs.12,000/-. It is less than that of secretaries.
2) They have to give gifts during weddings – Rs.501/- at one time.
3) They have to entertain people who come to their homes.

I am opposed to increase.
Arguments against increase:
1) Rs.12,000/- is not a small amount. At 48, and after 20 years of service I don’t get that much. Let MPs not compare themselves to secretaries or other posts. Other posts have qualifications. MPs need not be qualified.
2) Giving gifts is their personal choice.
3) Everybody who comes to meet need not be offered tea. Besides, how much they spend on entertainment?
4) Rajeev Shukla does not mention constituency allowance, daily allowance of Rs.500/- while the Parliament is session and various other benefits.
5) MPs position is not a job. They are to represent people.

Besides MPs have got pensions for themselves when they are out of power. Even if a person is MP for one day he gets life term pension. Now they want to extend it to spouses and children. Pensions also should be abolished.
Rajeev Shukla wanted office of profit. He said there is not enough work when the Parliament is not in session. Shahid Siddiqui said 24 hours are not enough for the work.

Madhu Limaye got his salary as MP. Why his earnings from writings were mentioned as his only income?
People like N. G. Ranga are exception. Even though he had no private vehicle he could have taken Parliament bus. He preferred to walk.

What work MPs do? Many are absent. Many times there are disruptions. Several times bills are passed without quoram. President must take note of this. He has taken the oath to uphold the constitution.

There is misuse of MP Local Area Development Fund.

Expenses for educating the children were mentioned in the debate. Obviously they don’t want to send their children to government schools. Who is responsible for the condition of government schools?

Dilip Cherian pointed out that MPs say their salary is not enough and living conditions are intoleable and yet when it is times for election there are ten people vying for one seat spending one crore rupees. There is a huge disconnect there.

People become MPs voluntarily. If they are not happy they can quit.

Rajeev Shukla was a television journalist. He knew politicians. He became member of BCCI and during a tour of India’s cricket team he became manager depriving a cricketer his rightful chance.

Many MPs hold positions and sports bodies and deprive right persons their chance. Sharad Pawar deprived Ajit Wadekar his chance of becoming President of MCA.

Let not MPs whine about their salary and living conditions. You cannot fool all the people all the time.
Rajeev Shukla, you can go back to television journalism.

Bombay on the brink

Since 26/7/2005 Bombay has neven been the same again. Suburbs received 944 mm rain. Many areas were flooded. Most of the phones were dead. Electricity was cut off. Once again on 1/8/2005 and 2/8/2005 there were heavy rains, though not in the city. Train services are not yet normal. Many people have died of diseases. Hospitals are full. Whether it is leptospirosis or dengue is not clear. Stray dogs are said to be cause of spreading leptospirosis. There is a ban on killing stray dogs. What animal lovers have to say about this?

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