Category: India

Kashmiris and India

Farooq Abdullah in an interview to Karan Thapar on The Wire on 23/9/2020 said Kashmiris do not feel Indian. They prefer Chinese rule. He wants restoration of Articles 370 and 35A and statehood. Kashmiris are angry about new domicile law which they think is intended to create Hindu majority in Kashmir. Kashmiris are treated like second class citizens.
There were union territories which became states. Jammu & Kashmir was a state which was made a union territory. This happened for the first time. Ladakh was separated from it. Statehood may be restored when the Government of India decides the situation is suitable. Repeal of Article 370 was part of BJP manifesto. There is no hope of its restoration.
Kashmiris had many restrictions from 5/8/2019 onwards. There was no internet and mobile telephone service. Businesses suffered. When things were getting normal Corona lockdowns followed.
India had many separatist movements. In Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram they were brought under control. In Punjab there was demand for Khalistan. For years terrorists created havoc. That too passed. There is Naxal movement which wants to overthrow elected central and state governments. They killed many policepersons. They abducted for ransom. Some of them appeared on national television and said there is no revolution without violence. Now many Naxal leaders are in jail.
Chinese soldiers are at LAC. They have usurped Indian territory. In recent days there was firing at LAC. In Battle of Galwan 20 Indian soldiers died. We do not know how many Chinese soldiers died.
Elections will bring back normalcy in Jammu & Kashmir. Army presence is necessary to stop terrorists coming from Pakistan. If some Kashmiri politicians boycott elections it is their loss. Fear of getting killed by terrorists keeps many politicians from contesting. Many politicians who were arrested are free. Some like Saifuddin Soz are officially free and unofficially under house arrest. Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed is in detention under Public Safety Act. Omar Abdullah has said he will not contest election if Jammu & Kashmir continues as Union Territory. Farooq Abdullah said National Conference will decide on contesting elections. Omar Abdullah is free not to contest.
Farooq Abdullah said he wanted to raise issue of Kashmiris in Parliament. He along with some MPs had met Speaker Om Birla who had assured him time for discussion. That did not happen. Parliament session ended on 23/9/2020, eight days ahead of scheduled date of 1/10/2020.

Corona Parliament

Parliament is in session. Rajya Sabha meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lok Sabha meets from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Members wear masks and observe social distancing.

As per Article 85 of the Constitution six months shall not intervene between its last sitting in one session and the date appointed for its first sitting in the next session. Last sitting of budget session was on 23/3/2020. So Parliament had to meet on or before 22/9/2020.

Some MPs tested positive for Corona and they could not attend Parliament. Some took leave. One MP questioned the accuracy of tests. He said he tested negative in Jaipur and positive in Delhi.

For the first time in India’s history, MPs agreed for salary cut which was 30%. They wanted restoration of MPLADS.

It seems this time MPs will not rush to the well of the house and disrupt Parliament. Opposition is divided. TMC and seven other parties held a protest outside Parliament House demanding Centre give GST to states. Congress was not invited. TMC and Congress are rivals in West Bengal. Congress and four other parties met President Ram Nath Kovind and conveyed their concerns about police investigations of Delhi riots.

SAD member Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned as Food Processing Industries Minister against two farm bills. She said her party can not support anti-farmer legislation. Farmers in Punjab and Haryana have protested against the bills. No news of farmer protest anywhere else.

Centre banned onion export as price went up. Sharad Pawar wants lifting of the ban. He wants farmers to make profit. He is not concerned with losing votes. There are people who do not use onion, garlic, potato, tomato, ginger, honey and so on. For such people onion price going up does not make difference.

I hope MPs will demand end of lockdown and resumption of normal life. Local trains should run. Without them people have to spend more time and lot of money to reach place of work. Lockdown has caused lot of misery.

Government wants to save money. It has no money for GST. However Sports Ministry seems to think otherwise. As per rules in a year one Khel Ratna, 15 Arjuna and 16 other awards, total 32, may be given. The rules may be relaxed in special cases like Asian or Olympic Games. This time it was not special cases. Sports Ministry announced 74 awards. Of them five were Khel Rata and 27 were Arjuna Awards. Prize money went up from 7.5 lakhs to 25 lakhs for Khel Ratna, from 5 lakhs to 15 laks to Arjuna and Dronacharya (Lifetime) and from 5 lakhs to 10 lakhs Dronacharya and Dhyan Chand Awards. No MP has spoken about it.

Prashant Bhushan Guilty

On 14/8/2020 Supreme Court declared Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt of court for his two tweets; first about CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde and second about last 4 CJIs. The Bench consisted of Justices Arun Mishra, Bhushan Ramkrishna Gavai and Krishna Murari.
First tweet was on 29/6/2020. “CJI rides a 50 Lakh motorcycle belonging to a BJP leader at Raj Bhavan Nagpur, without a mask or helmet, at a time when he keeps the SC in Lockdown mode denying citizens their fundamental right to access justice!”

Second tweet was on 27/6/2020. “When historians in future look back at the last 6 years to see how democracy has been destoryed in India even without formal Emergency, they will particulary mark the role of the Supreme Court in this destruction, & more particulary the role of the last 4 CJIs.”
Three other of last four CJIs are Ranjan Gogoi, Dipak Misra and Jagdish Singh Khehar. There were three other CJIs during the last six years: Rajendra Mal Lodha, Handyala Laxminarayanaswamy Dattu and Tirath Singh Thakur.
Supreme Court was on vacation from 22/6/2020. Lockdown in Delhi was by Central Government and Delhi Government. There were vacation benches to conduct hearings through video conferencing and tele conferencing. Prashant Bhushan should have known that.
About second tweet Prashant Bhushan submitted that it was his expression of opinion however outspoken, disagreeable and unpalatable to some cannot constitute contempt of court. Supreme Court cannot be equated with a CJI or even a succession of four CJIs. Dushyant Dave represented Prashant Bhushan.
Prashant Bhushan was held guilty under Article 129 of the Constitution and Contempt of Courts Act 1971.
Article 129 – Supreme Court to be a court of record – The Supreme Court shall be a court of record and shall have all the powers of such a court including the power to punish for contempt of itself.
Section 2(1)(c) of Contempt of Courts Act 1971 – “criminal contempt” means the publication (whether by words, spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representations, or otherwise) of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever which –
(i) scandalises or tends to scandalise, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of any court;…
Supreme Court held that the tweets are based on distorted facts and amount to committing criminal contempt.
Punishment for contempt is jail up to six months, fine up to 2,000 rupees or both. Hearing for quantum of punishment is on 20/8/2020.
Prashant Bhushan further faces contempt charge in a 2009 case where he had said eight of 16 former CJIs were corrupt. The case was dormant for eight years. It has come back to life. Supreme Court on 10/8/2020 rejcted Prashant Bhushan’s regret.
Democracy is reflected through will of people’s representatives who legislate. Judges by their verdicts have assumed powers not given to them. They have amended Constitution, struck down amendments to Constitution. They established collegium to appoint judges. They struck down amendment establishing National Judicial Appointments Commission. Prashant Bhushan and many others were happy that Supreme Court struck down 99th amendment and NJAC on 16/10/2015. They did not see that as destruction of democracy. He and lawyers like him approach courts to undo democracy. When they don’t get what they wanted they speak against courts.
On 9/5/2017 Supreme Court had sentenced Justice Chinnaswamy Swaminathan Karnan to six months jail for his claim that 33 judges of Supreme Court/Madras/Sikkim/Jammu & Kashmir/Hyderabad High Court were corrupt. Prashant Bhushan had tweeted in support of judgment – “Glad SC finally jailed Karnan for gross contempt of court. He made reckless charges on judges & then passed absurd ‘orders’ against SC judges!” Prashant Bushan had two standards; one for himself another for others. In Nira Radia tapes case he said his tape was tampered with and Vir Sanghvi’s tape was genuine.