Category: India

Right to Internet

Supreme Court on 10/1/2020 ruled that access to internet is constitutionally protected under Article 19 of the Constitution which deals with Fundamental Right for protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech etc. The judgement was in response to two petitions against Union of India. One was by Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor of Kashmir Times. Another was by Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress leader. Justice Nutalapati Venkata Ramana is the author of the judgment. Justices Ramayyagari Subhash Reddy and Bhushan Ramakrishna Gavai were other justices of the bench.
The judgment begins with an introduction which has a quotation from Charles Dickens novel A Tale of Two Cities.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,… in short the period was so much like present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
Internet in Kashmir was discontinued on 4/8/2019. It was expected to be restored after a few days. That did not happen. Months passed.
After that there was internet suspension in some parts of India due to anti-CAA protests. This did not last beyond a few days.
In Western countries there was concern about internet suspension and other restrictions in Kashmir. China was happy and sided with India saying this is what sovereign countries do.
Internet is a tool for speech and expression and for trade and commerce. Internet shutdown affects communication and business. Terrorists also use internet. Banning internet to prevent terrorists from using it affects large number of innocent people.
Supreme Court has ruled that an order suspending internet services indefinitely is impermissible under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Service) Rules, 2017. Suspension can be utilized for temporary duration only.

CAA 2019

Law of averages catches up some times and nullifies previous unmerited advantages and benefits.
Law of unintended consequences brings about events not foreseen which may be good or bad.
Remonetisation, wrongly known as demonetisation, and introduction of GST without proper preparation caused hardship to people but did not cause loss in popularity or votes to Narendra Modi. Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 was expected to further Modi’s popularity but the opposite happened.
CAA gives citizenship to Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh and Parsi immigrants or refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh which are officially Muslim countries. Cut-off date is 31/12/2014. Muslims are excluded. In Afghanistan there is death penalty for conversion from Islam to another religion. In Pakistan Non-Muslims are targets of Blasphemy law. There are reports of abduction and forcible conversion and marriages of Non-Muslim brides in Pakistan.
CAA does not deprive Indian Muslims of their citizenship. Wrong to say CAA divides Indian citizens in two categories.
Unforeseen protests erupted in Assam, West Bengal, Delhi and other parts of India. CAA was mainly to give citizenship to Bengali Hindu immigrants from Bangladesh. Assamese people don’t want Bengali Hindus in their midst. They say they are a minority in their state and citizenship to Bengali Hindus threatens their language and culture. Many voters say Modi betrayed them. Previous cut-off date for Bangladeshi immigrants was 31/12/1971.
West Bengal has many Muslims who have come from Bangladesh. Mamata Banerjee supports them.
Shinzo Abe’s visit to Guwahati was cancelled. Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Kalam Abdul Momen cancelled Delhi visit.
Strange is the stand of USA. It is concerned about religious freedom in India. In 2016 Donald Trump talked of Muslim ban. India’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar should remind USA’s Ambassador at Large Sam Brownback about that.
Some CMs have said they will not implement CAA in their states. It is not for them to do that. States have no authority to overrule Centre or Union for India is officially a Union of States.
Modi said Congress and allies are behind violent protests against CAA. No surprise in doing politicians doing such things.
Now onwards it is damage control for Modi and Amit Shah. In August central government was ready for events after bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir. In December it expected positive response in Assam. That did not happen.

Justice for Priyanka Reddy

Justice for Priyanka Reddy was quick. She was a Hyderabad veterinarian who was raped and murdered by four criminals on 27/11/2019. On 6/12/2019 they were killed in an encounter. Cyberabad Police Commissioner Vishwanath Sajjanar headed the police team.
Priyanka Reddy’s rape and murder had caused national outrage. Jaya Bachchan in Rajya Sabha had said about criminals “These types of people need to be brought out and lynched. I think it is time… the people want the government to give a proper and definite answer.” After the encounter she said “Better late than never.”
Venkaiah Naidu questioned mercy to rapists and murderers. He said “We need to think about changes in the legal judicial system… why look at age when a person has done such a crime and say he is a juvenile… What has age got to do with such a heinous crime?… In my opinion we need to revisit the law.”
Cases of rape and murder drag on for years. Even after death sentence and rejection of mercy petition there is appeal against rejection and Supreme Court reduces death sentence to life sentence and criminals are out. When lawyers like Abhishek Manu Singhvi approach Supreme Court in a political case judges hear cases after midnight or on Sundays. People have lost faith in judiciary. Cases drag on for years. It is date after date. It is close to seven years after gang rape and murder of Jyoti Singh Pandey and criminals are yet to be hanged. One criminal got away because he was juvenile.
There was joy all over the country. People of Hyderabad were happy and showered rose petals on police. Women distributed sweets. Priyanka Reddy’s father said “It has been 10 days to the day my daughter died. I express my gratitude towards the police and government for this. My daughter’s soul must be at peace now.”
Jyoti’s mother said she was happy the parents did not have to wait for seven year for justice. Olympic silver medallist and former minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore tweeted: “I congratulate the Hyderabad police and the leadership that allows the police to act like police…” Meenakshi Lekhi said the police are not given weapons for show and that it is a case of reaping what one sows.
Mayawati said “Police should not treat people accused of such crimes like government guests. Instead, like the Hyderabad police has done, they should face strict legal action and this will lead to considerable control of such crimes.”
Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij said “Hyderabad gang rape accused killed. Whatever happened, howsoever it happened, but the right thing happened.”
Saina Nehwal tweeted “Great work #hyderabadpolice.. we salute u”.
P. V. Sindhu tweeted “Justice has been served! @TelanganaPolice.”