Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Animal Rights

Love for animals is inversely proportional to love for humans.
There are people who talk of animal rights. Some of them oppose cruelty to animals but are not opposed to slaughter of animals for food. Some are in favour of scientific experiments on animals. Some are vegetarians and oppose killing of animals in all cases.
Some say animals have as many rights as men. All living creatures have equal rights. This goes beyond cruelty or killing. It means no man should own any animal or plant. Man includes woman and child. Animal includes bird, fish, reptile etc. Plants and trees are living creatures. If this is carried to logical conclusion all animals will be free. They will multiply and there will be no space to move around. All eggs will be hatched and chicken will be all over roads and other places. There will not be pruning of any plant. Goats will multiply and not much vegetation will be left.
Sniffer dogs cannot be used by police to solve crimes or to find living persons in debris due to earthquake or other reasons.
Once Australia banned killing of kangaroos. Kangaroos multiplied and played havoc. Australia lifted the ban.
Use of animals in circus was banned. If it is wrong to use animals in circus, it is wrong to keep animals in zoo.
Big fish eats small fish. Lions and tigers eat deer. Snakes eat frogs.
Ban on killing endangered species is justified.
There is controversy about Jallikattu. It is popular in parts of Tamil Nadu. Supreme Court had upheld the ban in May 2014. Its judgment said “Bulls are beaten, poked, prodded, harassed and jumped on by numerous people. They have their tails bitten and twisted and their eyes and noses filled with irritating chemicals.” On 7/1/2016 Government of India permitted Jallikattu under certain conditions. On 12/1/2016 Supreme Court stayed the Executive Order permitting Jallikattu. Jayalalitha wanted central government to issue an ordinance permitting Jallikattu. That did not happen. Many Tamilians were sad. Some shaved their heads. Some did not celebrate Pongal.
Bull fight is prevalent in Spain and some other countries. There are proponents and opponents of bull fight.
Cock fight is banned. Some in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh want ban to be lifted.
Bulbul fight was practised in Assam. It is banned.
Bullock cart race is banned but there is no ban on horse race where betting is involved. People have gone to court for ban on horse-drawn carriages known as victorias but not for ban on horse race.
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) was founded in England in 1824. It has branches in India and other countries.
Animal Welfare Board of India was set up on 19 March 1962 as per Section 4 of Prevention of Cruelty Animals Act 1960. It wanted ban on Jallikattu. Occasionally it create problems for films using animals.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) was founded in 1980. It has used violent and illegal methods. It has killed around 85% of animals in its shelters and has called the killings euthanasia.
Ivory trade is banned in most countries. Elephant poaching and illegal trade continues.
Some people oppose killing of animals for religious reasons. Many Hindus, Buddhists and Jains are vegetarians. For Jews and Muslims some animals are unclean. For Christians no animal is unclean. Man has dominion over living. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (KJV Gen 1/27-28).
People who say all living creatures have equal rights should not own or hire animals and plants. They should not have dogs or cats. They should not ride horses.
Once there was a film to show how a man exploited a monkey. The film was made by exploiting the monkey.

New Parliament Building

India needs a New Parliament Building and that does mean demolishing the present Parliament House. New Parliament Building can be next to the present Parliament House or somewhere in Delhi or outside Delhi.
Lok Sabha should have at least one representative for a million people. As per census of 2011 India’s population was 121 crore. India should have at least 1210 members in Lok Sabha. The present building is not adequate to house them.
The present Parliament House was built by the British. It was designed by Herbert Baker in 1912. Construction began in 1921. Foundation stone was laid on 12 February 1921. It was known as Central Legislative Assembly. Edward Frederick Lindley Wood, Viceroy and Governor General of India, better known as Lord Irwin, inaugurated the building on 18 January 1927. It had separate halls for Chamber of Princes, State Council, and Central Legislative Assembly. It was built for Colonial India and not Independent India. State Council (Council of States) was created by the Government of India Act 1919. It had 26 nominated members and 34 elected members. The number was increased to 260 in 1937. 156 were from provinces and 104 from princely states. Chamber of Princes was established in 1920. It lasted till 1947. Central Legislative Assembly was created by the Government of India Act 1919. It had 144 members, 103 elected, 41 nominated. The Government of India Act 1935 increased the number of seats but elections to them did not take place. Constituent Assembly dissolved Central Legislative Assembly on 14 August 1947.
When Meira Kumar was the Speaker she had set up a committee to suggest alternatives to the current building. Some MPs opposed change of building.
Now Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has suggested construction of new building saying the present structure shows signs of distress and not able to meet demand for space needed for MPs and staff. Once again there is opposition mainly because Constituent Assembly met in the Central Hall from 9 December 1946 to 26 November 1949 and Independent India’s first cabinet took oath of office in the Central Hall. Sumitra Mahajan should say the present structure will remain as it is and a new structure will be built for Parliament. That will satisfy most MPs. Present structure can be a museum and people can visit and see different halls.
At present there are 543 elected members in Lok Sabha and two nominated members. As per original Constitution constituencies or sears were to be revised after every census. In 1951-52 there were 489 seats. In 1957 and 1962 there were 494 seats. In 1967 and 1971 there were 520 seats. In 1977 there were 543 seats. In 1976 the Constitution was amended to freeze the number of constituencies till 2000 and in 2001 it was amended to freeze the number of constituencies till 2026. In 1971 India’s population was 54.7 crore. It was 68 crore in 1981, 85 crore in 1991, 102 crore in 2001 and 121 crore in 2011. Population has more than doubles. Number of constituencies also should have more than doubled. Parliament House not having enough space is the wrong reason for restricting number of constituencies. People are deprived of adequate representation.
It is time for MPs to get real and not be sentimental. The new Parliament building should provide for at least 1600 Lok Sabha members so that population growth in subsequent years is taken care of.

DDCA corruption

On 15/12/2015 CBI raided Delhi CM’s office.  It was officially or ostensibly regarding principal secretary Rajendra Kumar.  It was the first time a CM’s office was raided in India.  Arvind Kejriwal tweeted about the raid.  He said Narendra Modi was a coward and psychopath.  Some non-BJP politicians including Mamata Banerjee and Nitish Kumar condemned the raid.  In the evening Kejriwal said CBI wanted DDCA file and the raid was protect Arun Jaitley.

BJP MP Kirti Azad, Bishen Singh Bedi and Sameer Bahadur talked about corruption in DDCA.  Opposition parties demanded Jaitley’s resignation.  AAP held press conferences against Jaitley.  Kejriwal announced Inquiry Commission to look into DDCA misdeeds.  Congress demanded Joint Parliamentary Committee to investigate DDCA.  Bedi said cricket associations in North India are companies and they want to make profit.   Cricket associations in South India are societies.

On 20/12/2015 at 4 p.m. there was a press conference officially by Wikileaks4India and Sun Star newspaper.  Kirti Azad, Bishen Singh Bedi, Surinder Khanna and Sameer Bahadur were present.  There was a video presentation regarding payment to fake companies.  One part showed Kirti Azad arguing with Arun Jaitley about financial manual, bogus members, forged signatures and so on.  Parliament session was going on.  Kirti Azad had 52 questions for Jaitley.  It was embarrassing for BJP because its own MP was accusing its Finance Minister.

On 21/12/2015 Jaitley filed civil and criminal defamation cases.  The civil case was against Kejriwal for 10 crore rupees in Delhi High Court.  The criminal case was against Kejriwal, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Kumar Vishwas, Raghav Chaddha and Deepak Bajpai under sections 499-502 of IPC in the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate.   Ram Jethmalani said he will fight for Kejriwal.  There was a question whether poor AAP can afford Jethmalani’s charge of 22 lakh rupees.  Jethmalani replied he charges in 10% cases and 90% cases he fights free.

There was demand for Jaitley’s resignation in Parliament.  Some said “Caesar’s wife should be above suspicion.”  Jaitley had said the same thing about Manmohan Singh.

On 22/12/2015 at a meeting of BJP parliamentary party Modi said Jaitley is as pure as Advani.  He referred to Advani’s acquittal in Jain Hawala case.  Delhi Legislative Assembly had a session on DDCA.  Kejriwal demanded Modi’s resignation for ordering CBI raid to protect Jaitley.

On 23/12/2015 Parliament session got over and BJP suspended Kirti Azad for anti-party activities.  Azad asked how can fighting against corruption can be anti-party activity.  He had become member of BJP in 1992 when nobody wanted to touch it with a bargepole.  He said he will continue his crusade against corruption in sports and sports bodies.  Subramanian Swamy said he will help Kirti Azad to draft reply to the notice.

There was also talk of Jaitley’s association with Hockey India and his family benefitting from it.  It became known that Jaitley’s daughter Sonali was on two committees of Hockey India and his son-in-law was on two committees.

  1. P. S. Gill said Arun Jaitely being an advisor to Hockey India got his daughter appointed to legal committee and Hockey India paid an exorbitant amount to Sonali Jaitley towards retainership fee. The amount is said to be five and half crore rupees.

On 25/12/2015 Kirti Azad wrote to Amit Shah and demanded to know the instances of anti-party activities and proof.

For long Jaitley had defended other BJP members accused of corruption or impropriety.  Now he was at the receiving end.  BJP spokespersons and some BJP leaders defended him.

Jaitley is responsible for the files he signed when he was DDCA president.  The argument that he was not involved in day-to-day affairs and general secretary and treasurer carried out the functions is not good to absolve him of his responsibility.

DDCA was in a mess for a long time.  It was Delhi High Court that saved DDCA from forfeiting Test against South Africa.  Delhi High Court had appointed former Punjab and Haryana High Court judge Mukul Mudgal to supervise the functioning of DDCA.  He has been quiet.

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