Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Elections, judges etc.

Elections in India should be held on a single day. Bihar elections are held in four phases. First polling is on 18/10/2005 and last polling is on 19/11/2005. Paramilitary forces could have been used for maintenance of law and order. Election Commissioners want to extend their importance and do unjustified things. Reasons given for such a long duration are unjustified. If security forces can be moved from one place to another during different phases, so also booth capturers. Polling boxes need to be guarded for a long time and it is an avoidable expenditure.

CPI and RJD have criticized the long duration of Bihar elections. CPI’s objections are strange as it objected on the basis of Ramzan. Communism is against religion. Karl Marx said, “Religion is the opium of the masses”. Once Somnath Chatterjee had thrown an iftar party where no Muslim was present.

Sania Mirza reached where no Indian woman reached before; fourth round of US Open a grand slam event. Indian Express did not report her match with Maria Sharapova.

Judges in USA should have retirement age. Nomination of John Roberts, who was under consideration as Justice, as Chief Justice is not right. One of the serving Justices should have been nominated as Chief Justice.

The constitution of India does not give the power of amendment to the judges. The Judges of Supreme Court amended the constitution when they said that consultation with the Chief Justice meant consent and it should be with a college of five judges including Chief Justice and four other seniormost Justices.

Hurricane Katrina caused immense damage. Criminals added to the misery by loot, rape and murder. Calamities bring out various sides of persons ranging from best to worst.

Schemes like National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme cause lot of money and do not benefit people much. In Solapur a scam of Rs.9.1 crore has come to light and Maharashtra Government is trying to hush up the matter.

No to reservations

There shall be no reservations in legislatures. To argue that women are 50% of the population and are underrepresented in Parliament and Legislative Assemblies is wrong. Women are free to contest 100% seats and win. If they do not do so it is their wish. Many political parties have opposed reservation for women on various grounds like backward class women should have reservation within these reservations.

Women can become Prime Ministers and Chief Ministers on their on strength. Many are undisputed leaders of their parties.

Reservation in panchayats and municipalities has resulted in proxy rule.

Similarly reservations for SCs and STs should go.

All political parties must have the courage to say reservations in legislatures are wrong in principle.

Political parties should not try to nullify the judgment that abolishes reservations in private unaided colleges. Let not justice be diluted in the name of social justice. There are colleges by various communities including Dalits.

If politicians think pleasing people on the basis of community and sex will get them more votes they are mistaken. V. P. Singh when he was Prime Minister announced reservations for backward classes (52% of the population), conferred Bharat Ratna on B. R. Ambedkar as a representative of Dalits (15%) and declared Mohammed’s birthday a holiday to please Muslims (12%). He did not win the next elections.

Thoughts on 20/8/2005

Today (20/8/2005) is Parsi New Year. Some years ago Indian Express had almanac section. In that it used to give dates according to three Parsi calendars. I suppose today is New Year according to the calendar followed by largest number of Parsis. I wish Parsis a Happy New Year.

Judge Laxmi Rao who allowed rapists to go free is transferred. That is not enough. She should be dismissed and made to undergo the punishment she did not impose on the rapists. On August 6 & 8 sentenced two men for seven years RI each and let them on probation. On August 12 only till the rising of the court. Maximum punishment is life imprisonment. So the punishment to her should be seven years + seven years + life imprisonment. Life imprisonment shall mean for life. The sentences shall run consecutively.

Laxmi Rao, perhaps for the first time in Indian history, convicted a woman of 35 years for five years RI for kidnapping a boy of 16 years and having sex with him. Indian Penal Code does not provide for women to be convicted for rape or illicit sex.

Government of India should not go for World Bank loans. We have 142 billion dollar foreign exchange reserves. Use them.

Speakers have been partial in deciding anti-defection cases. Shivraj Patil, Madhukar Chowdhury and many others have acted partially to suit their parties. Recently in Goa Speaker Francisco Sardinha disqualified Cortalim MLA Mathany Saldanha on a petition by Philip Neri Rodrigues who did not belong to the same party and who was disqualified by former Speaker Vishwas Satarkar. Mathany Saldanha was disqualified on 9/8/2005 and election for his seat was declared on 18/8/2005. Philip Neri Rodrigues was disqualified earlier but no election was declared for his Velim constituency. Election Commission has been unfair several times. In 1991 T. N. Seshan postponed Punjab Elections for 12 Punjab Lok Sabha by three months and three days as Congress was in a minority and it had not put up candidates for these seats. This allowed Congress to frame a new law that allowed cancellation of elections. T. N. Seshan and M. S. Gill later joined Congress. Speakers should not decide on anti-defections and there should be fixed dates for elections.

In KBC 2 on 19/8/2005 Amitabh Bachchan while introducing Preity Zinta’s cousin said “cousin brother” which is wrong. “Cousin” is correct. Similarly “cousin sister” is wrong.

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