Month: October 2010

Karnataka vote of confidence

On 11/10/2010 Karnataka Legislative Assembly witnessed some unusual scenes and BJP government survived. Congress and JD(S) screamed murder of democracy.

The Speaker had disqualified 11 BJP and 5 independent MLAs before the vote. He did what a Congress Speaker had done in Maharashtra some years back when Shiv Sena had support of some Congress MLAs. That time the Speaker had disqualified the Congress MLAs who were to vote with Shiv Sena. Now for Congress to claim BJP acted unconstitutionally does not make sense. Congress must remember the role its Speakers like Shivraj Patil, Madhukarrao Chowdhury, Pratapsingh Rane have played. What is sauce for goose is sauce for gander. However the Speaker disqualifying 5 independent MLAs is not justified though V. S. Acharya said that Supreme Court in its judgment in 2005 said independent MLAs could be disqualified.

Speaking of constitution, there is no provision for vote of confidence in constitution. There is provision for vote of no confidence. The Speaker is a constitutional authority and the Governor has no authority to tell him not to disqualify members. The disqualified MLAs have gone to High Court. The constitution had barred court jurisdiction in disqualification matters and Supreme Court had struck down that section.

Hans Raj Bharadwaj, Governor of Karnataka, has acted as a Congressman. He was Law Minister. Veerappa Moily, Law Minister of India, has history of trying to dislodge non-Congress governments and other Congress Chief Ministers. He had tried to bring down the government headed by Ramakrishna Hegde. He had offered two lakh rupees to Byre Gowda. The tape of the conversation was public. S. K. Desai, the judge who headed the Inquiry Commission on the tape and said the voice of not Moily’s, was later caught in a corruption scam. When Veerappa Moily was Chief Minister, S. M. Krisha was Deputy Chief Minister and one Congress meeting ended in vandalism and there was a cartoon that said if Krishna had wished Mahabharata could have been avoided.

BJP government in Karnataka is riven with disunity. Once Reddy Brothers created problems. Now others have created problems. Congress should not have joined with JD(S) to bring down BJP government. It should remember what Kumaraswamy did to them. BJP in Karnataka is destroying itself, it does not need enemies.

Death penalty in all cases of murder

Judgments in cases of Priyadarshini Mattoo and Pratibha have raised questions about what is a rarest of rare case. Supreme Court in 1980 restricted death penalty to rarest of rare cases. It usurped the function of legislature.

The government must act and bring a law that makes death penalty mandatory in all cases of murder, attempted murder, abduction, hijacking, kidnapping and other such high crimes.

In Priyadarshini’s cases the criminal had committed house breaking, rape and murder. High Court had awarded death penalty. Supreme Court reduced it life imprisonment. As Adiya Nath Kaul said on CNN-IBN on 8/10/2010 life sentence in India is a joke. He gave the example of Manu Sharma.

In Pratibha’s case fast track court took five years. It awarded life sentence for rape and murder. Pratibha’s mother and family members wanted death penalty to the murderer.

There is no good reason not to have death penalty for murder. One bogus argument is life sentence is worse than death sentence. Criminals value their lives. When someone is hanged for murders that has a deterrent effect. Those who undergo life sentence can come out on parole. If they disappear it is difficult to find them. In Bombay 14,870 accused have jumped bail and 717 criminals have jumped parole.

Someone asked whether hanging Dhananjay Chatterjee stopped rapes and murders? If more rapists and murderers had been hanged there would have been less rapes and murders. Pratibha could have been alive. One swallow does not make a summer. After Dhananjay Chatterjee no one sentenced to death was hanged. Crimes are few in Saudi Arabia. In USA there were many kidnappings and abductions which came down after death penalty became punishment for kidnappings and abductions.

Singhvi silenced

Congress member Abhishek Manu Singhvi has been silenced as Congress spokesperson.

There are many politicians who are lawyers. They make a distinction between personal life and professional life, between personal view and party view. Sometimes they represent companies or persons who are criticised by their parties.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi had taken up the case of Samuel Martin of Megha Distributors dealing in lotteries of Sikkim and Bhutan and Kerala. Congress leaders in Kerala had accused LDF government of corruption in lottery and Abhishek Manu Singhvi’s appearance on behalf of the lottery company undermined Congress efforts. Kerala has local body elections.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Arun Jaitley have appeared for Dow Chemicals, the company that took over Union Carbide. Mahesh Jethmalani appears for Malegaon blasts accused. BJP is not against Malegaon blasts accused. It is against Germany Bakery blasts accused and does not want any lawyer to take up their case.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi, like many other politicians, was generous in giving his personal opinion on TV channels. Sometimes he would say “I can only give my personal opinion.” And the anchor would say “Yes. Yes. Give it.” P. Chidambaram would refuse to share his personal view saying “I am here as Home Minister.”

After Abhishek Manu Singhvi gave up representing the lottery company P. S. Raman, Advocate General of Tamil Nadu, took up the case. Kerala’s chief minister V. S. Achutanandan has protested to Tamil Nadu’s chief minister M. Karunanidhi. When Soli Sorabjee was Attorney General he had filed a petition in personal capacity to allow pooja in Ayodhya’s disputed place. Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi had questioned that act saying Soli Sorabjee is a Parsi and he does not have to perform pooja. There has to be ban on Attorney General, Solicitor General, Additional Solicitors General and Advocates General appearing in personal capacity unless it is a personal case.