Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Tag: Uttar Pradesh government

Telangana and small states

Telangana is back in news. TRS, BJP and CPI want statehood for Telangana. Congress is divided. TDP, PRP and CPM are opposed to statehood for Telangana.

Many times politicians make promises they do not intend to keep. They have to pay the price. Congress had promised statehood for Telangana in 2004 and 2009. In Telangana all MPs and MLAs had promised statehood for Telangana in 2009. When the process for initiation of the formation of Telangana began in December 2009 many politicians went back on their word and opposed Telangana.

Appointing Srikrishna Commission was meant to buy time. That did not serve the purpose. The commission gave six options. For people of Telangana the only option acceptable is formation of Telangana with Hyderabad as capital.

Congress did not want TRS to get credit for the formation of Telangana. There was the farce of Congress MPs fasting for withdrawal of cases against people booked for arson and other offences during the agitation for Telangana. On the second day of fast their demand was granted. Though there was no demand for withdrawal of cases against people from Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra, cases against them were also withdrawn.

Congress had a chance to appoint someone from Telangana as chief minister and all ministers from Telangana when K. Roasaiah was asked to quit. It did not do. Kiran Kumar Reddy is opposed to Telangana. As Speaker in December 2009 when Andhra and Rayalaseema MLAs resigned he did not accept their resignations and the problem worsened.

Some oppose statehood for Telangana saying it will give rise to similar demands elsewhere. There is nothing wrong in demanding statehood. They remain part of India. In 2000 Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh were formed. That did not give rise to many demands. Paramilitary forces that should have been in North-East India are deployed in Telangana and there is no one to check violence in parts of Assam and Meghalaya.

A referendum is being held in South Sudan to decide on the demand of the people there to secede from Sudan. Demand for statehood is not secession.

Uttar Pradesh government is not opposed to its division. UP Legislative Assembly has passed resolutions favouring division. West Bengal government is opposed to formation of Gorkhaland. BJP is in favour of Vidarbha, Shiv Sena is against it. There has not been much popular demand for Vidarbha. Demand for Coorg occasionally crops up. In Rajasthan some people want division.

Narasimha Rao once said I have decided not to decide. He hoped the problem will go away. The problems remained. He lost power. If Congress thinks it can delay the matters and not to come to a decision it has to be ready to lose power.

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.

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