Month: March 2012

Forgery is not a joke

Bombay High Court Justice A. V. Nirgude dismissing a case of forgery and cheating saying police officers have lost their sense of humour could have been dismissed as a bad joke but is not a laughing matter and has serious implications and grave consequences. Versova police had registered a case on 1/3/2012 against Sanjay Gupta, Balaji Motion Pictures and for forging the summons from Police Commissioner’s office to promote the film Shootout at Lokhandawala. The forged summons had the subject, “Briefing on the current crime scenario in Bombay.” It had stated “This is to inform you that the Commissioner of Police requests your presence on the 29th of February at 3.15 pm on stage No 2 of Mehboob Studio to address the sudden and dangerous rise of organised crime in the city.” When the journalists landed at the place they realized it was an invitation for press conference. The journalists were not amused. The police were not amused. The sessions court rejected Sanjay Gupta’s anticipatory bail plea. Sanjay Gupta had moved the High Court. A. V. Nirgude heard the case.

Sanjay Gupta’s contention that there was a disclaimer at the back of the invitation card was not a proper defence. If at all there was a disclaimer it should have been on the same page and not at the back.

“This is an innovative invitation. That’s it.” “The police officers who registered the offence have lost their sense of humour.” “And what happened to the sense of humour of the sessions judge?” These are some of the things the judge said or wrote. Use of national emblem on invitation card was too much even for the judge but he accepted the contention that it was done on an impulse.

Whether the police could not prove wrongful gain or loss on the part of producers of movie is a matter of interpretation. There was wrongful gain for producers by way of publicity for the film. There was wrongful loss for journalists as it was loss of time, money and labour.

Producers do many things for publicity. Once a headline appeared; Manisha Koirala murdered, Criminal at large. It was publicity for the film Criminal.

April 1 is All Fool’s Day. Fooling is tolerated on that day. Sometimes newspapers and magazines come up with reports that shock people.

This judgment can be used by criminals to justify their actions. All who commit forgery or cheating when caught can claim their targets or victims do not have the sense of humour. Those who forge bank drafts, cheques, pay orders, letterheads of President or Vice President of India or Governors or ministers, court summons or orders or judgments etc. can claim they were joking and get away with it. Many people have used forged court orders to get prisoners released. There are criminals who impersonate CBI or police officers and cheat people. Many years back one claimed to be a CBI officer, carried out a raid on jewellers and disappeared with jewellery. Bandits have used police uniform. Terrorists have used army or police uniform.

Bombay Police should appeal against the judgment.

Uttar Pradesh and other elections

The results of elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur are out. In UP, SP got absolute majority. In Uttarakhand out of 70 seats Congress got 32, BJP got 31. In Punjab, SAD-BJP coalition retained power. In Goa, BJP displaced Congress. In Manipur, Congress retained power.

Most pollsters had predicted hung assembly in UP. CNN-IBN had predicted SP will get 34% of votes, BSP will get 24%. Headlines Today had predicted 203 seats for SP. SP got 29% votes and 225 seats. BSP got 26% votes and 79 seats. BJP got 47 seats. Congress-RLD got 37 seats. Peace Party got 4 seats, Apna Dal 1, Qaumi Ekta Dal 2 and Ittehad-e-Millat Council 1. CPI, CPI(M), JD(U), TMC and some other parties did not win any seat.

Congress lost in all five constituencies that make up Rae Bareli parliamentary constituency and in three constituencies out of five that make up Amethi parliamentary constituency. Priyanka Gandhi had campaigned in the ten constituencies. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi cannot take their constituencies for granted.

Congress had come out with 4.5% minority quota but that did not help it get Muslim votes. Nor did it polarize voters and help BJP get Hindu votes. Many Muslims voted for Peace Party, Qaumi Ekta Dal and Ittehad-e-Millat. SP fielded 78 Muslim candidates and 43 won. BSP fielded 85 Muslim candidates and 16 won.

Mayawati sacked many of her ministers and more than 100 sitting MLAs did not get tickets but that did not help her. She said Muslims were afraid of BJP and 70% of them voted for SP. BSP did not do well in reserved constituencies. Out of 85, BSP won 15, SP 56. Reserved constituencies should be abolished. All constituencies should be open constituencies.

When elections began many changed their parties. Kazim Ali Khan switched from BSP to Congress. Shahid Siddiqui switched from RLD to SP. Rasheed Masood switched from SP to Congress. Having defectors from other parties did not help Congress. Many Congress members who were in the party for many years were upset when new entrants got tickets. Calculations based on caste and religion did not work.

SP with 29% votes got 56% (55.83%) seats while BSP with 26% votes got 20% (19.60%) seats. A difference of 3% votes made a difference of 36% seats.

BJP’s tally came down by 4 seats. Many national leaders did not campaign in UP. Some blame Nitin Gadkari’s appointment of Sanjay Joshi as election-in-charge of UP for the debacle. Varun Gandhi said BJP has 55 CM candidates. Its MLAs are less than CM candidates.

In Punjab out of 117 seats SAD+BJP got 68 seats and Congress 46. CNN-IBN had predicted 57 seats for SAD+BJP and 54 seats for Congress. Other pollsters had predicted 52 or less seats for SAD+BJP and 60 or more seats for Congress. Manpreet Badal’s People’s Party of Punjab drew a blank. SAD tally went up from 48 to 56, BJP’s came down from 19 to 12. SAD+BJP with 41.88% votes got 58.12% seats. Congress with 40.11% votes got 39.32% seats.

In Uttarakhand out of 70 seats Congress got 32, BJP 31, BSP 3, UKD 1 and independents 3. B. C. Khanduri lost. BJP said in UP they will not go with BSP. In Uttarakhand, BJP cannot form government without BSP and two more MLAs.

In Manipur out of 60 seats Congress got 42, TMC 7, NPF 4, NCP 1, LJP 1 and others 5. CPI, CPI(M), BJP and Manipur People’s Party did not win any seat.

In Goa out of 40 seats BJP got 21, its ally MGP 3, Congress 9, GVP 2 and independents 5. Churchill Alemao, his brother, son and daughter lost.

In elections victories and defeats happen due to a combination of factors. In West Bengal last year Left Front got 41% of votes and 10% of seats. In UP every constituency had at least four candidates of major political parties, so 29% was a winning percentage. In Punjab it was mainly Congress vs SAD+BJP so 40% was not a winning percentage.

Sonia Gandhi said in UP Congress fielded wrong candidates and had plenty of leaders. In Punjab, PPP took away Congress votes in 23 constituencies. If Congress could not hold on to its votes it was its fault and there is no point in blaming PPP. In 2009 Lok Sabha elections Shiv Sena-BJP claimed they lost 11 seats because of MNS.

Some say it was anti-Congress vote. In Goa it was. In Manipur Congress retained power. Congress was not in power in Punjab, UP and Uttarakhand. In Punjab it was not anti-Congress vote. In UP it was anti-BSP vote and in Uttarakhand it was anti-BJP vote because BJP being the ruling party lost three seats and Congress won 11 seats more compared to last time.

In Manipur, Punjab and Uttarakhand EVMs had to be guarded for more than a month. In UP it was a seven phase election and EVMs had to be guarded for varying number of days. It was waste of manpower and unnecessary expense. UP’s Legislative Assembly had two months and two weeks time left and Goa’s Legislative Assembly had three months time left. Election Commission should hold state elections when the term of a Legislative Assembly is about to expire and should not club state elections together.