Month: December 2011

Lokpal Search Committee

The standing committee on Lokpal bill has recommended that the search committee for Lokpal shall comprise at least seven members and shall ensure 50% representation to SCs and/or STs and/or OBCs and/or minorities and/or women. Parliament should not accept this recommendation.

In India any person can reach any position. Dalits have held positions of President and Vice President of India, CJI and Speaker of Lok Sabha. If a Dalit woman can become chief minister of Uttar Pradesh any Dalit can reach any position. Historical marginalization is not a reason for reservations.

There are various groups within communities. Among Dalits some claim to be Mahadalits and demand reservations within reservations. Many communities who are not OBCs want to be OBCs. Uttar Pradesh elections are coming near and there is talk of giving reservation for Muslims in OBC category.

There are many religious communities that come under minorities. Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Bahais can demand representation for their respective communities. Within women there can be demand for quotas for SCs, STs, OBCs and minorities.

If demand for reservation in search committee is granted there will be demand of reservation in selection committee and in Lokpal which is expected to be a nine member body. Supreme Court began with eight judges and over the years the number increased to 26. That should not happen to Lokpal.

For selection of Lokpal members there should be advertisements on government web sites, All India Radio and Doordarshan. There should be no advertisements in newspapers and magazines. That will save money. Only those who apply should be called for interview. Among other things Lokpal members shall be less than 60 years of age when they apply and retirement age should be 65. It is not necessary that they should have been judges or lawyers. Criminologists may be preferred. Lokpal should formulate its procedure. There need not be prosecution and defence lawyers. Lokpal can question the accused and deliver judgment. There should be no appeal on Lokpal judgment.

Dow Row

Dow is a sponsor of London Olympics. Some people want India to boycott London Olympics if Dow continues to be the sponsor because Dow bought Union Carbide which was responsible for Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984. IOC has said Dow is not responsible for Bhopal gas tragedy and Dow sponsorship for Olympics will continue till 2020.

India has not boycotted Olympics any time. In 1980 USA and many countries boycotted Moscow Olympics. In 1984 USSR and some countries boycotted Los Angeles Olympics. In 1976, 22 African countries boycotted Montreal Olympics.

In 1974 India refused to play South Africa in Davis Cup final due to South Africa’s apartheid policy. In 1986 India boycotted Commonwealth Games in UK because UK had refused to put sanctions against South Africa. In 1974 Italy had refused to play South Africa in Davis Cup semi-final. In 1986 Nigeria, Kenya and many other countries had boycotted Commonwealth Games.

If India boycotts London Olympics due to Dow sponsorship it is likely to be alone. In 2008 India won one gold medal and two bronze medals in Beijing Olympics. India’s participation or absence will not make much difference to London Olympics. Besides, India will have to boycott Olympics in 2016 and 2020.

The victims of Bhopal gas tragedy should have been left to pursue cases of compensation in American courts where the compensation amounts could have been higher. The victims did not have to pay the lawyers if they did not win the cases and if they won they had to pay a percentage of compensation amounts as fees. The Government of India bungled by taking up all cases and clubbed them together and they were fought in India. Then the Supreme Court should have left the cases to proceed. Instead in February 1989 it got into arbitration and fixed the compensation amount at 470 million dollars and all civil and criminal liabilities were waived off. Those who did not want arbitration kept quiet after the emotional outburst of the CJI. The compensation should have been to victims alone but all residents of Bhopal got compensation thus diluting the claim of victims.

It is a different matter that after some years criminal liabilities were brought back and some Union Carbide officials were prosecuted and found guilty. That raises the question of finality of Supreme Court judgment. If liabilities waived off by Supreme Court are restored after some years where is the certainty of the closure?

There is a question of genuineness of protests on 3/12/2011. Some leaders had used a manual and a video to train protesters. The training was for over a month.

Sports Minister Ajay Maken has written to IOA to take up the matter of Dow sponsorship with IOC. There is no love lost between Ajay Maken and IOA. IOA derives its powers from IOC and has used it to fight against the government.

Milkha Singh and some other people want Indian athletes to participate in London Olympics. Boycott means many athletes will miss the chance of a lifetime to participate in Olympics and win a medal. If Bhopal victims did not get justice it is not entirely due to Union Carbide.

Criminally Insane

Two psychiatrists in Norway have concluded that the terrorist Anders Behring Breivik who murdered 77 people is criminally insane which means he may be sent to lunatic asylum than to jail. This is strange. The terrorist knew what he was doing. He had planned in advance. The bomb blast he caused in Norway could have killed more people including Norway’s prime minister. He wore police uniform to deceive people. That is criminal planning. What is criminally insane? Either one is insane or not insane. The place of the terrorist is jail and punishment should be death. The psychiatrists who said he is criminally insane should be sent to a lunatic asylum.

Many criminals have got away from punishment on the ground that they were insane. Some have committed crimes and got away on the ground of temporary insanity. One of them was John Wayne Bobbitt’s wife who castrated her husband. When people are angry they say or do things which they normally do not. Murder and mutilation are crimes and letting off people on the ground of temporary insanity is not right.

If a person is insane and he kills people he should be shot dead. Lives of other people should not be risked to keep killers alive.