Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Tag: lok sabha

Anna and Arvind part ways

Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal have parted ways. The issue was political formation. Many in IAC wanted to form a political party to fight corruption. Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi and some others were opposed to it. The meeting on 19/9/2012 lasted nine hours. Yogendra Yadav was the moderator. Anna Hazare said those who want to form a political party can go ahead with it but should not use his name or photograph. Arvind Kejriwal said Anna Hazare’s decision was shocking, unbelievable and sad.

Baba Ramdev and some other people wanted a split between Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal. Arvind Kejriwal was opposed to all political parties. Kiran Bedi was in favour of BJP. Arvind Kejriwal did not want to join with Baba Ramdev as there were tax evasion cases against him. RSS people wanted to use IAC against Congress. Industrialist Sitaram Jindal had a role in arranging meetings of Anna Hazare with people opposed to Arvind Kejriwal.

IAC had made corruption an issue and had raised hopes of corruption-free India. Jan Lokpal Bill was its demand. Congress came with a Lopkpal Bill that was not acceptable to IAC but was passed in Lok Sabha. Anna Hazare’s fast at MMRDA Grounds did not have expected crowds. The fast was to last three days. He called off his fast on second day. Congress managed to disrupt Rajya Sabha and the Lokpal Bill was not passed. Chairman Hamid Ansari played a role in allowing discussion till midnight and sabotaging the bill.

IAC demanded resignation of 15 ministers for corruption. The ministers did not oblige. Anna Hazare had a secret meeting with Salman Khurshid. IAC members were surprised when they came to know about it. Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai held fast at Jantar Mantar. Anna Hazare joined a few days later. The fast was called off on appeal by 22 persons. On the last day there was a decision to go political based on an SMS poll. Anna Hazare did not oppose it then.

Corruption is an issue. Congress is doing its best to divert attention from corruption. Coalgate became too hot to handle. Congress came with “reforms”. Soon coalgate was forgotten. TMC issued 72 hours deadline for rollback. Many parties opposed Congress and called for Bharat Bandh. After the deadline expired TMC announced withdrawal of support to UPA.

Fight against corruption is continuous process. Sometimes new challenges develop. Arvind Kejriwal was an RTI activist. RTI was instrumental in exposing corruption. Now two judges of the Supreme Court have made a mess of RTI by their verdict that only retired or serving justices of Supreme Court or chief justices of High Courts can head information commissions and half of the information commissioners should be judicial members. This verdict will create problems in fight against corruption.

Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal may fight against corruption separately but it is not clear how effective they will be. It is time for Kumar Vishwas, Shazia Ilmi, Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan, Manish Sisodia, Gopal Rai and other prominent IAC members to take sides. Shanti Bhushan is optimistic that they can win 2014 election. Yogendra Yadav thinks first election is to be lost, second election is to defeat, third election is to form government. In 2009 many people like Gopinath and Meera Sanyal contested as independents and lost.

To form government at centre, Arvind Kejriwal and others need to field 543 candidates and win 272 seats. Without 272 seats they will have to depend on others and make compromises. They should beware of moles who will pass on information and scuttle programmes. They should form a shadow cabinet and decide who will hold which portfolio if elected. Legislative Assembly elections are due in Gujarat and some other states before 2014. IAC members can test their strength during those elections. They need to take a stand against corporate debt restructuring. They need not take a stand against any issue unless it has something to do with corruption. They may take a stand against reservations in legislatures, government jobs and government-run educational institutions or avoid it.

Justice International

I announce the founding of Justice International. I am the founder and president.

The aim is to get justice to victims and their families. Those who wish to join can write to vincent@go4quiz.com

We will fight for death penalty in all countries for all cases of murder, attempted murder, abduction, acid throwing, hijacking, kidnapping, piracy and such high crimes. Death penalty should not be restricted to rarest of rare cases. It is immaterial how much time has passed after the crime. It is ridiculous to say a murderer should be hanged within one year but should not be hanged if a long time has passed. It is immaterial whether the criminal has reformed or not. We will see that death penalty is restored in Canada, European Union, Russia, Mexico, South Africa and such countries.

We will fight for consecutive sentences for crimes instead of concurrent sentences. If a person had committed ten murders the punishment should be ten death sentences. It is immaterial that a criminal can be hanged only once. If punishment for one case of cheating is one year imprisonment, for ten cases of cheating it should be ten years imprisonment, for 180 cases of cheating it should be 180 years imprisonment. If punishment for one rape is 25 years, punishment for 10 rapes should be 250 years.

We will fight for proportional punishment for crimes. If punishment for taking a bribe of 100 rupees is one day, punishment for taking a bribe of one crore rupees should be one lakh days.

We will fight for quick justice.

We will fight for abolition of parole and furlough. Many criminals who come out on parole and furlough do not return to prisons.

Courts are for justice. We will fight for punishment to lawyers who know their clients have committed crimes but try to prove otherwise.

It is a shame that victims cry and criminals laugh. It is a shame that Pratibha Patil commuted death sentences of 35 murderers to life. Her excuse that the decisions were of government does not work because when the home ministry wanted her to reject mercy petitions she refused to do so and home ministry agreed to commutation. It was well known long back and I had written to many MPs to impeach her but I did not have any success. She even refused to reject mercy petition of Afzal Guru. Now she should reverse her decisions or her successor should reverse her decisions. Rajendra Prasad had reversed a decision to grant clemency and the murderer was hanged.

It is a shame that journalists like Barkha Dutt manipulate TV programmes to oppose death penalty. The discussions have a large number of people who oppose death penalty and token presence of those who favour death penalty. May be she acts at the behest of Nira Radia or some other lobbyist.

Victims like Manish Tewari, Neelam Katara, Sangeeta Khanna, Ritu Mathur and Chamanlal Mattoo should speak in favour of death penalty. Manish Tewari should move a bill in Lok Sabha making death penalty obligatory in all cases of murder.

Meenakshi Lekhi should expose lobbyists who oppose death penalty. Pinky Anand should continue to defend death penalty. Arnab Goswami has defended death penalty.

When mercy petitions are decided family members of all who were murdered be asked their views. In Sriperumbadur blast 16 people died including Rajiv Gandhi. When deciding on Nalini’s mercy petition, Sonia Gandhi’s view was considered and death sentence was commuted to life but members of other 15 people were not consulted. This is against equality before law.

We will take on abolitionists and self-styled human rights activists who oppose death penalty. For them murderers are human beings, victims and their family members are not human beings. We will refute their arguments. We will refute their argument that life sentence is a greater punishment than death sentence. We will refute their argument that state has no right to take life.

There are different categories among people who oppose death penalty. Some do it because they think it is fashionable or politically correct. Some have heard others to say that so they repeat. Some are evil and we will unmask them.

No Lokpal

On 29/12/2011 Rajya Sabha was to vote on the Lokpal and the Lokayuktas Bill, 2011. It was adjourned sine die without vote. Parliament was called to sit on 27, 28 and 29 of December 2011 to pass Lokpal Bill. Lok Sabha passed it. Rajya Sabha did not.

Winter session was supposed to end on 22/12/2011. Anna Hazare had announced his three days fast beginning on 27/12/2011 if the bill had not been passed by then and thereafter three days of jail bharo andolan. If the Parliament passed Lokpal Bill by 22/12/2011 India Against Corruption would have observed gratitude day and held thanksgiving party on 27/12/2011. Winter session saw many disruptions and waste of many days. Many parties changed their positions on Lokpal Bill. There were 17 dissent notes in the standing committee report. There was all party meeting.

Anna Hazare’s fast was supposed to take place at Azad Maidan. It was shifted to MMRDA Grounds. Three government agencies had objected to fast at Azad Maidan. Anna Hazare’s health was not good. He had fever. India Against Corruption expected large crowds on 27/12/2011. That did not take place and many people called it flop show. Azad Maidan would have been a better place. Being close to Churchgate station many people would have come there during the day.

Lok Sabha passed Lokpal Bill as the government wanted and not as Anna Hazare Group wanted. Lok Sabha did not pass constitution amendment bill giving constitutional status to Lokpal as the votes in favour of amendment did not reach the half way mark. Congress blamed BJP. BJP said Congress should look within itself and 16 Congress MPs were absent. Sushma Swaraj said it was not for BJP to fulfil Rahul Gandhi’s dream of constitutional status to Lokpal.

On 28/12/2012 at 6 p.m. Anna Hazare called off his fast and jail bharo andolan. Around two lakh people had registered to go to jail. The MPs were jubilant. They were under no pressure.

Now TMC changed course. It had voted for the bill in Lok Sabha. It now wanted amendments to the bill. It wanted references to Lokayuktas deleted. It claimed it did not know about Lokayuktas. The bill was the Lokpal and the Lokayuktas Bill, 2011. TMC had a member in the standing committee. It had a cabinet minister and the bill was discussed in cabinet. The bill was given to MPs on 22/12/2011. It was discussed in all party meeting. To say TMC members did not know about references to Lokayuktas in the bill is not credible. TMC moved amendments in Rajya Sabha.

As per one report there were 203 amendments, another report said 187. Suddenly there was lot of talk of federalism. There was not much talk of ending corruption. The government did not have the numbers to pass the bill in Rajya Sabha. It did not agree to extend the session beyond midnight. The house adjourned. The purpose of extension of winter session was not served.

Pawan Kumar Bansal said the government wanted time to go through 187 amendments. That was misleading as some amendments were counted multiple times as for example “Delete clauses 66-97” was considered 32 amendments. Congress should have put the bill to vote. It did not have the numbers and it would not have been blamed for failure. The government would not have fallen if the bill was defeated.

Hamid Ansari was guilty of allowing the debate to drag on. He did not answer when Sitaram Yechury asked when the voting would take place. He should have stopped discussion at 11 p.m. and put the bill to vote.

Fight against corruption is tough and long. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. There are many vested interests, some of them journalists, who do not want corruption to end. MPs behave the way the nobles behaved in France before French Revolution.

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