Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Month – September 2010

Judgment delayed is justice denied

Justice delayed is justice denied. Judgment delayed is justice delayed. Therefore, judgment delayed is justice denied.

Judgment on Babri Mosque land was due on 24/9/2010. Uttar Pradesh government had made arrangements for maintaining law and order. Leaves of police personnel were cancelled. I&B Minister Ambika Soni and PM Manmohan Singh had appealed for calm. There were advertisements in newspapers appealing to maintain calm. Suddenly someone filed a petition that judgment be deferred to bring reconciliation. On 17/9/2010 the petition was dismissed and petitioner was fined Rs.50,000/-. TV channels first reported that the fine was Rs.10,00,000/-. How the figure came down from Rs.10,00,000/- to Rs.50,000/- is not known.

The matter should have ended with dismissal and fine on 17/9/2010. Then on 20/9/2010 one judge came with a dissent note. He said he was not consulted by the other two judges and disagreed with the decision to reject the plea to defer the judgment. He should have been with them when they heard the case and delivered judgment. To come with a dissent note after three days was not proper.

On 22/9/2010 the petitioner approached the Supreme Court. One judge said it was a civil matter and he had no jurisdiction to hear the case. On 23/9/2010 two judges heard the case. Justice R. V. Raveendran wanted to dismiss the petition. Justice H. L. Gokhale said even if there is 1% chance of reconciliation it should be tried. Allahabad High Court was to defer judgement. He made the central government a party to the dispute. Notices are to be issued to central government and some other parties. Hearing was to be on 28/9/2010.

The arguments that judgment must be deferred because there are Commonwealth Games, Barack Obama is to visit India, floods, Jammu & Kashmir problem, Bihar elections etc. are not valid.

The dispute has been pending in the court since 1949. That is 61 years. One judge of the Special Bench, Dharam Veer Sharma who did adharma by writing dissent note, retires on 1/10/2010. That will further delay the judgment. How long the Supreme Court judgment will delay the land dispute judgment is anybody’s guess. If the judgment had come within a few years the dispute would not have assumed large proportions and led to riots. A stitch in time saves nine.

Who is the petitioner? How did he suddenly appear? How did he hire an expensive lawyer like Mukul Rohatgi? How did the petition that was not in the morning list appear in the afternoon list? Some say there is hidden hand of Congress behind him as it does not want judgment to come out.

Some say India has moved on. Young people do not care. That is oversimplification. Some young people are more fundamentalist than people of previous generation. In West Bengal some Muslim students wanted their female teachers to wear burkha.

This reminds me of the film Damini. Sunny Deol plays a lawyer and he argues against delay in judgment. He says people come to court and all they get is date.

This also raises the question whether the Supreme Court has the authority to tell a High Court not to deliver judgment when the date has been set. This is for the first time a judge of the Supreme Court decided to tell the High Court to defer the judgment and another judge disagreed with him. There is no reason why one view should prevail on other. In future to avoid such things all benches should have at least three judges and in case of more than three judges the number should be odd.

Cases come to courts because people are unable to resolve disputes. It is not proper to ask the parties to settle the dispute out of court. In Babri Mosque land dispute there was no possibility of reconciliation. High Court judgment would not have been the end of judicial process. The losers would have appealed to the Supreme Court. After Supreme Court judgment there would have been review petition and curative petition.

H. L. Gokhale gave two excuses for delaying the judgment. First excuse, the Supreme Court would the first to be blamed if passions arise after the verdict. Supreme Court would not have been blamed for anything after the verdict. Now it is blamed for delaying judgment.

Second excuse, consequences of verdict will be felt by ordinary people and he was treating the application as of an ordinary person. It is common people who suffer from delays in judgment. If people feel the case may drag on to another 61 years some of them will do whatever they want and consequences will be disastrous.

In one divorce case the judge asked the couple to reconcile. After sometime the husband murdered the wife. If the judge had not asked them to reconcile the woman would have lived.

Once a High Court judge said CJI is not the boss of High Court judges. The judgment in the land case was ready. Justices S. U. Khan and Sudhir Agarwal should deliver the judgment without waiting for 28/9/2010, whether Dharam Veer Sharma agrees or not. Their act will not be defiance of Supreme Court, it may be defiance of H. L. Gokhale. If S. U. Khan and Sudhir Agarwal deliver the judgment the country will be grateful to them and they will create history.

Iran and USA

Iran has its nuclear programme. USA says Iran is developing nuclear weapons and there are American, EU and UN sanctions against Iran.

USA’s stand that Iran has violated NPT shows its duplicity. USA, UK, Norway and France helped Israel become a nuclear power by breaking NPT. USA supplied nuclear fuel to Israel to make nuclear bombs. Israel has more than nuclear bombs.

Israel is capable of defending itself against Iran. It can bomb Iran’s nuclear reactors. If Iran attacks Israel it can counterattack and obliterate Iran. American intervention is not required.

American military industry holds sway whether the president is Republican or Democratic. They want to sell their weapons of mass destruction so that their business may prosper. For them the mass destruction that takes place is collateral damage. USA is in war with five countries. For the American merchants of death that is not enough.

Hillary Clinton called on Iranians to depose Ahmedinejad when he is in USA for UN session saying Iranian election in 2009 was rigged. She should have made such a call to Americans when Al Gore was deprived of presidency in 2000.

Iran was an excuse for deploying missiles in Poland and Czech Republic. Russia protested as it felt it was the target of missiles.

China has concluded a nuclear treaty with Pakistan. If USA gets aggressive Iran may enter into a treaty with China and USA will not be able to do much.

Commonwealth Games falling apart

Commonwealth Games are falling apart.

Commonwealth Games Village are filthy. Electrical appliances are unsafe. Doors do not close. Bathrooms fixtures do not work. Stray dogs and faeces are everywhere. Canada, New Zealand, England, Scotland and Wales delegates have told their athletes will not stay in the Village. They want hotel accommodation. Foot over bridge at Jawaharlal Nehru has collapsed and 23 labourers injured.

The mayor of the Village blamed MCD for the dogs. It was mayor’s responsibility to see that the Village was safe and secure.

Jaipal Reddy, Urban Development Minister and in-charge of the Games, said the bridge collapse is a minor incident. For him lives of labourers do not matter. The bridge was not for athletes or officials. Delhi’s PWD minister said the bridge is not necessary and it does not matter if the bridge is not ready for the Games. People can use the road.

Mohinder Singh Gill and others had compared the Games to big fat Indian wedding. Everything will fall in place at the end. That was a wrong analogy. At weddings groom and bride can keep the people waiting. That is not the case for the Games.

Suresh Kalmadi did not address the media. Lalit Bhanot said hygiene standards of some countries are different from hygiene standards of India. That statement was disgusting.

Some days back reporters had a tour of the Commonwealth Games Village Kitchen and they found it state of the art. They were not shown the living rooms. There was no investigative journalism by TV channels to find out the truth about the Village being ready.

Security is an issue. Shooting outside Gate No. 3 of Jama Masjid on 19/9/2010 was cited as a reason by an Australian athlete for pulling out of Commonwealth Games.

When the first report of corruption in Commonwealth Games was out some said the amount was just one crore rupees or at the most two crore rupees. Now it is known that the magnitude of corruption is thousands of crores of rupees. Those who spoke of ignoring corruption are silent.

There is no time for cover-ups. Whatever is wrong will be known soon and no excuse will do.

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