Month: January 2018

Padmavati released

Padmavati which should have been released on 1/12/2017 is now running in theatres after deletion of ‘I” from its name and some modifications. The shows began at 6 p.m. on 24/1/2018 in some theatres. Some states banned the film and after Supreme Court overturned the ban they did not provide security to theatres while goons resorted to violence and damaged public and private property. While there is officially no ban against the film in any state it is not shown in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. Theatre owners are afraid to show the film in those states.
Criminals have a field day when state governments are hand in glove with them. The film is out. Pirated DVDs will be out soon. Some sites also may show the film. It is just a matter of time before the people in four states watch the film, perhaps free of charge.
What can one do when fence eats crop? State governments should maintain law and order. Instead they give criminals a free run. Breakdown of law and order is a fit case for imposition of President’s Rule under Article 356 of the Constitution.
There is one contempt petition in Supreme Court against Karni Sena for violence against release of the film. Tehseen Poonawalla has filed a petition in Supreme Court for action against governments of Haryana, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh. Both petitions are scheduled for hearing on 29/1/2018. In Haryana there was an attack on a school bus.
Harish Salve who represented the producers in Supreme Court got death threat. He is the one who had suggested India go to International Court of Justice in Kulbhushan Jadhav case. He represented India in ICJ. He took as his fee just one rupee. Prasoon Joshi got death threat though as CBFC chairperson he delayed the certification of the film. There are threats against Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Deepika Padukone. No action is taken against criminals who announce bounty for beheading or mutilation.
When Pahlaj Nihalani was CBFC chairperson there was constant criticism of him on TV channels. Udta Punjab got cleared by Bombay High Court and CBFC certified it under the names of judges. Things are not better under Prasoon Joshi but there is no constant criticism of him. Chandraprakash Dwivedi’s Mohalla Assi did not get CBFC certificate. He went to Delhi High Court which cleared it. Even after that there was no CBFC certificate for about two months. Then there was contempt petition in Delhi High Court. After that CBFC certified it under the names of judges. Chandraprakash Dwivedi is a member of CBFC.
It is time for Republic Day. Ten ASEAN leaders are in India as chief guests for Republic Day. Normal practice is to have one chief guest for Republic Day. It is bad publicity for India when ten foreign leaders witness mobocracy in India.

Judges versus CJI

On 12/1/2018 four Supreme Court judges, Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan Lokur, held a press conference and spoke against CJI Dipak Misra. Later they made public a letter they had written to CJI around two months back. Judges holding a press conference is unknown. I do not know any country where judges have held a press conference. In this case not only was a press conference held, it was against their Seniormost colleague. That day there was an article in The Indian Express by Dushyant Dave. I wondered whether Dushyant Dave will get a notice for contempt of court. That did not happen. The four judges validated Dushyant Dave’s writing. There was a report that CJI Dipak Misra will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. Attorney General K. K. Venugopal was to be with him. It was not to be.
Opinions differ about four judges. Some praise them. Some are neutral. Some are against them. Those who praise them said the judges did the right thing. Desperate times need desperate measures. Those who are neutral say the judges would not have come into the open unless it was necessary. Those who are against say the judges have resorted to trade unionism, they have demeaned the Supreme Court; they should quit or be removed. It is judicial misconduct. They claim CJI is first among equals but do not consider other judges equal to them.
Some see it as a clash of egos. The judges did not get the cases they wanted to hear. Junior judges got them. The quartet accepts CJI is master of roster but claims convention should be followed while allocating cases to judges and benches. On 10/11/2017 the Constitution Bench head by CJI Dipak Misra and comprising of Justices Rajesh Kumar Agrawal, Arun Mishra, Amitava Roy and Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar had declared it was the prerogative of the CJI to decide which case was heard by which judge. This verdict overruled the decision of two-judge Bench led by Justice Jasti Chelameswar and comprised of Justice S. Abdul Nazeer who had assigned a medical college case to five-judge Bench. CJI Dipak Misra constituted a new five-judge Bench.
On 11/1/2018 CJI had assigned two petitions regarding the death of judge B. H. Loya, who was presiding over Sohrabuddin Sheikh case, on 1/12/2014 to the Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Mohan Shantanagoudar. On 12/1/2018 the quarter had met the CJI for change of Bench of B. H. Loya case. CJI did not oblige. Soon press conference followed.
Congress members have supported the judges. D. Raja met Chelameswar. His party CPI distanced itself from him.
On 14/1/2018 Bar Council of India delegation met most Supreme Court judges to resolve the issue. The delegation consisted of Madam Kumar Mishra, S. Prabhakaran, Apurba Kumar Sharma, Satish Deshmukh, Pratap Mehta, Rameshchandra Shah and T. S. Ajith. Supreme Court Bar Association president Vikas Singh met CJI and handed over a resolution on the rift.
Anuj Loya, son of Special CBI Court Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya, said in a press conference “We have no suspicion over father’s death. I had suspicions earlier but now it is over.” Ameer Naik representing the Loyas said “There is no controversy. No need of politicising the issue. This is a tragic event. We do not want to be victims of politicisation. Let it remain the way it is. Non-controversial.”
People openly do not talk about corruption in judiciary due to fear of going to jail for contempt of court. Now that four judges have spoken out about some issues, other judges should come out and talk about corruption in judiciary. They should mention cases where bribes were paid or something else was offered to settle cases one way or another. They should mention cases where ministers or others met judges to influence cases. They should mention how some Law Ministers managed judiciary. They should mention how some undeserving persons became judges of High Courts or Supreme Court and deserving persons did not become judges of High Courts or Supreme Court. Such revelations will cleanse judiciary.

Sati and Jauhar

It is reported that CBFC has decided to certify Padmavati UA after five modifications. One of them is to change the name to Padmavat. Another is to have a disclaimer stating the film does not subscribe to the practice of Sati or seek to glorify it.

There is difference between Sati and Jauhar. Sati is committed by widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. Jauhar is committed by married women as a group when their husbands are alive. It is during war. It is done to avoid capture by enemies. There is no hope of winning the war and defeat is certain. After women die, men go to war and fight till death. Some say Jauhar was the prerogative of Rajput women while Sati was for all Hindu women. It does not seem all Hindu widows committed Sati. Some lived with heads shaven and clothes that identified as widows.

Padmavati or Padmini and other women committed Jauhar, not Sati. The disclaimer against Sati is meaningless. It is said three Jauhars took place in Chittor. One was during Padmavati’s time. Second one was during Karnavati’s time in 1535. Bahadur Shah had surrounded the fort. Third one was in 1568. Akbar killed Jaimal and conquered Chittor.

The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act bans glorification of Sati. There is no law that bans glorification of Jauhar.

Dropping the last letter to change the name of the film from Padmavati to Padmavat ostensibly because the film is based on poem Padmavat by Malik Muhammad Jayasi has led to some jokes. The film is directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansal, starring Deepka Padukone, Shahd Kapur and Ranveer Sngh.