GOA, SATURDAY, 11 SEPTEMBER 2010
OPinionatEd How to protest & fight injustice BY AIRES RODRIGUES
In the 1970s, bandhs, morchas, stoning government vehicles and deflating tyres was a common mode of agitation to build momentum on an issue. Public meetings and hunger strikes now have no effect on authorities, as they have become insensitive to people’s concerns. However, today there are many alternatives to highlight issues and seek redress. To ensure good governance and proper administration, the Right to Information (RTI) is not the only tool available to vigilant citizens. RTI is one of the many potent weapons for demanding proper implementation of laws and rules. In challenging established ways of doing things and for unleashing community forces for change to alter bureaucratic perception and behaviour on various issues, it is not just a matter of filing a single RTI application. It involves developing and using a wide variety of lawful and non-violent tools for getting action on issues concerned. These are powerful tools, which must become part of every thought-process seeking changes in governance and administration. In taking up any issue, one has to do groundwork by gathering documentation backed by data. It is necessary to collect the necessary documents, facts and figures, to get a solid understanding of the problem from different angles, and to also build credibility before the authorities and the public at large. Every demand and allegation made should be backed up with facts and figures, and supported by relevant laws and rules. For gathering documents and data, RTI is one way. Newspapers are an important source of information, as is networking with other concerned citizens and internet-based research. It is very important to study the relevant laws, rules, guidelines and departmental circulars, and cite them in correspondence and meetings. Writing representations and filing formal complaints is a foundation step for a citizen to seek change or action from government departments. It is important to write a factual statement outlining issues in a very clear manner. A brief of not more than two pages dealing directly with the subject using factual precision always helps. Endorsing a copy of the complaint to higher authorities is a good way of bringing pressure from above. Complaints can be filed against the wrongdoers, as well as authorities that deliberately ignore wrong doing. After writing letters, it is often necessary to build up pressure on the authorities by meeting them armed with all the previous correspondence, as well as a fresh letter stating the main problem in a few lines. Meetings are also to be gradually escalated to higher levels if the desired progress does not happen. A formal written commitment must be sought at each meeting. The commitment should ideally have target dates for clear actions to be performed. It is important to create records of every meeting and every communication with the concerned authorities. Issuing a legal notice helps in establishing locus standi, in case the matter is taken to court. It also forcefully conveys to the authorities that you are willing and able to take the matter to court if necessary. Approaching like-minded organisations working on the same issue or similar issues can result in pooling of energies. Various issues can be publicised and public-support can be garnered by distributing pamphlets. Posters can also be used to spread awareness on an issue and bring together like-minded people for joint action. Signature campaigns can be undertaken to make large numbers of individuals commit to a certain stand on an issue. To convince the authorities, it is good to have a number of photographs taken from different angles and at different times that clearly show the problems and the people affected. In fighting against injustice, photos, videos and audio recordings of wrongdoers in action are invaluable. The use of personal cell phone cameras to photograph the collection of ‘hafta’ by government officers and posting those photos on the internet may act as a strong deterrent. One could also approach the Anti Corruption Bureau and set a trap for corrupt officials and wrongdoers. An FIR can also be lodged with proper evidence under the Prevention of Corruption Act and other relevant Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections. If any government official’s inaction or wrong action falls within the ambit of criminal law, a police complaint can be made and an FIR registered through the police station. Redress can be sought through a magistrate if the police refuse to act. Organising seminars and workshops, and inviting officials, ministers and political leaders to speak on the issue and make public commitments can be useful. Conducting Social Audits could help mobilise public opinion, by gathering information and creating pressure on authorities to act. Approaching the High Court through a Writ Petition or a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is also an option. It is, however, a last resort, as it is necessary to prove to the court that you have exhausted all other available remedies. It involves technical and legal inputs, a lot of preparation and very high legal costs. At times, getting results of any kind in Courts could take years. Besides, dismissal of a petition could invite imposition of heavy costs on the petitioner. So, it is a path that one has to tread carefully. In conclusion, there are many ways to fight against injustice and undo wrongs committed by the authorities. The fight can be cumbersome. We would have fewer battles to wage if we had elected the right persons as our panchas, councillors, MLAs and MPs. As long as that does not happen, we are holed up for a long battle for justice. Having to risk your fingers and even your neck from being chopped should not deter your spirit to fight for what is right. (The writer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 9822684372)
Mallika Sherawat moves HC PTI NAGPUR, SEPT 10
Bollywood actor Mallika Sherawat has approached the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court here to withdraw criminal cases filed against her by a social worker. Rajnikant Borile had filed an application before the Judicial Magistrate First Class at Pandharkawda in Yavatmal district, seeking registration of offences under IPC Section 291 (continuance of nuisance after injunction to discontinue) against Mallika on April 8, 2009. The same court issued summons to Mallika on April 3, 2010 but she failed to appear before it. Borile had alleged that the actress had performed “obscene acts” in films like ‘Shaadi Ke Pehle’, ‘Murder’ and ‘Maan Gaya Mughal-e-Azam’ which were affecting the society and younger generation in particular, he said. Since the actor was performing for gaining money, she should be booked under IPC Section 291, he contended. Mallika was accordingly booked. Justice P D Kode, Judge at the HC Bench here yesterday, while declining to postpone the hearing, issued notices to State Government and the respondent Borile, asking them to file reply by September 23.
Police officer killed in Maoist encounter
Less rains hit fish seeds production PTI BERHAMPUR, SEPT 10
PTI DUMKA, SEPT 10
A police officer was killed while two of his colleagues were injured in a fierce encounter with Maoists in the hilly jungles of Jama block in Jharkhand’s Dumka district today. “The officer-in-charge of Jama police station Satanand Singh died on the spot when a bullet hit him in the head during the gunfight,” Deputy Inspector General of Police B K Pandey told PTI here. Two others, including a constable of Special Task Force, Ravi Shankar, were injured in the gunbattle and have been airlifted to Ranchi for treatment. The gunfight began at about 5 am when the police went to the spot after getting a tip-off that Maoists were in the jungles, Inspector General of Police (Operation) R K Malik told reporters in Dumka. Jharkhand police Chief Neyaz Ahmed, Inspector General of Police (Operation) R K Malik and IG D K Pandey flew to Dumka and held a meeting with the deputy commissioner and the police officers to discuss the Maoist presence in the Santhal Pargana districts. “Anti-Naxal operations will continue in the areas of Amrapara, Litpara (Pakur district), Kathikund and Gopikandar (Dumka) until all the Maoists are dead or leave the place. Two or three additional companies of forces will be involved in the operation,” Malik said.
Many claimants for berths in Munda cabinet PTI RANCHI, SEPT 10
BJP’s Arjun Munda will take over the reins of Jharkhand for the third time when he is sworn in as Chief Minister tomorrow to head the eighth government in 10 years and leaders of two alliance parties are also expected to take oath along with him. “The oath-taking at 11:00 am is restricted to two leaders besides Munda as there are too many claimants for ministerial berths,” a senior coalition leader, who did not want to be named, told PTI here today. The leader mentioned the names of AJSU chief Sudesh Mahto and JMM leader Hemant Soren—son of JMM supremo and former chief minister Shibu Soren. Mahto and Soren are tipped to be deputy chief ministers. With Governor M O H Farooq having directed Munda to prove his majority in the 81-member assembly within a week after being sworn in, the leader said the Cabinet may be expanded after the floor test, which might take place on September 14. Munda, who will become chief minister of the mineralrich state for a third time, can have a maximum of 12 ministers in his cabinet including himself.
Renowed film director Maniratnam who received 'Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award ' in Venice, Italy, being felicitated by his fellow director Vikraman at a function, in Chennai on Friday.
SC stays HC order in Rizwanur case
PTI NEW DELHI, SEPT 10
The Supreme Court today stayed the Calcutta High Court order for a fresh probe by the CBI in the sensational Rizwanur Rahman murder case. A bench of Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan also stayed all consequential proceedings arising out of the order of the High Court which had also directed CBI to register a murder case against Rahman’s fatherin-law and prominent businessman Ashok Kumar Todi in connection with the case. The apex court asked Todi and others to file fresh bail bonds before the trial judge and posted the matter for final disposal to October 5. The court passed the order on an appeal filed by the CBI challenging the High Court order directing it to conduct fresh investigation and registering a FIR against Todi. Appearing for the CBI, Solicitor General, Gopal Subramanium said the High Court order
was unheard of and in blatant contravention of the Criminal Procedure Code since the agency had already filed the chargesheet in the matter. He submitted that High Court’s direction had consequential effects as the trial had come to a stand still and all the accused were discharged. The apex court said that it will hear CBI’s appeal along with the appeal filed by Todi, who has also challenged the division’s bench direction. Todi had on May 28 moved the Supreme Court challenging the High Court order. The division bench of the Calcutta High Court had on May 18 directed the CBI to treat as an FIR the complaint filed by Rukbanur Rahman, elder brother of Rizwanur, on September 21, 2007. The bench had observed that Justice Soumitra Pal in his earlier order had only directed the CBI to investigate the cause of the death and file a report to it and had not authorised the agency to investigate the alleged crime.
Haryana slammed for delay in nabbing Hissar culprits PTI NEW DELHI, SEPT 10
The Supreme Court today slammed Haryana government for delay in arresting 60 accused in the killing of two Dalits and torching of houses allegedly by upper caste people at Mirchpur village of Hissar district and said the authorities will have to answer more questions. “We will ask you (state government) more questions on the issue,” a Bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly said when Haryana
government said it has arrested all the accused in compliance with its August 26 order. The Bench said it will ask questions to authorities as they swung into action only after the intervention of the apex court. “Why did you arrest the culprits pursuant to the order of this court and not before,?” the Bench said adding it would like to know from where the accused persons were arrested. “From where did you arrest the accused? From their village
MP sets 24-hr power supply target by 2013 PTI BHOPAL, SEPT 10
The Madhya Pradesh government has inked MOUs with as many as 28 major private power companies with an aim to supply 24-hour electricity to rural areas in the state by 2013. “The government has set a target of 24-hour power supply to rural areas by 2013 and for this purpose it has already signed agreements with 28 private power producers for the generation of 40,000 MW of electricity,” Energy Department Secretary, Mohammad Suleman told PTI. The government has also formulated a new Madhya Pradesh (Investment in Power Generation Projects) Policy, 2010 for the purpose and assigned the job of moni t o r i n g t h e p ro g re s s o f implementing the MOUs to the State Energy Secretary, he said. The new policy will be applicable to Independent Power Projects (IPPs) with whom MOUs have been signed and also the future IPPs, he said. It has also set a timeline (612 months) for submitting Detailed Project Report (DPR)
The CBI had then in its report concluded that Rizwanur’s death was a case of suicide and recommended initiation of an abetment to suicide case under Section 306 of the IPC. Rizwanur, a computer graphics teacher was found dead near railway tracks in Dumdum area of Kolkata on September 21, 2007, just a month after his marriage on August 18, 2007, to Priyanka Todi, daughter of industrialist Todi. Todi, owner of the Rs 200crore Lux Cozi hosiery brand, his brother Pradip and brother in-law Anil Sarogi are accused in the case along with senior IPS officers then serving in the Kolkata Police. The GRP was first entrusted with the investigations following which the state government ordered a CID probe. After this, the state instituted a judicial probe by a retired high court judge, which was withdrawn after the CBI probe was ordered by the Calcutta High Court on October 16, 2007.
comprising technical and commercial feasibility studies, water allocation, land acquisition and environment impact details, the Secretary said. Currently, the power projects in Madhya Pradesh which are in different stages of implementation are : Bina Power Supply Company, Bina (Sagar district), Essar Power, Baidhan (Singrauli district), Jaiprakash Power Ventures, Nigri (Singrauli) and BLA Power (Narsinghpur district), department sources said. The Madhya Pradesh Power Generating Company has also commenced work on 1200 MW Singaji Thermal Power Plant in Khandwa district for which Rs 292 crore has been allocated during the current fiscal. Work on 500 MW Satpura Thermal Power Plant at Sarni has also got underway. Madhya Pradesh will get 242 MW power from National Thermal Power Company (NTPC) Seepat plant in Chhattisgarh and 150 MW power from the unit at Moda, sources said adding an agreement has also been signed with West Bengal-based Damodar Valley Corporation for 300 MW power.
The state will get 400 MW of power by December from the Maheshwar Hydro Power project, work on which re-started recently after a long gap. An MoU has been signed with BHEL for establishing a 1600 MW thermal power plant in Khandwa district, they said. NTPC has signed an MoU for setting up a 2640 MW power plant at Gadarwara in Narsinghpur district and the state has urged the Centre to allot 80 per cent quota of power from this plant to Madhya Pradesh, the sources said. The NTPC is also setting up a 1320 MW power plant in Khargone district for which the state government has agreed in principle to provide 1750 acres of land and 55 cusec water, they said. Besides, it is also setting up a 4000 MW thermal power plant in the Bundelkhand region of MP, sources said. Since power was a major issue during polls in 2003 and 2007, the BJP-ruled government is not taking any chances on this in 2013, which is an election year, the sources added.
or from your own state or from Rajasthan or Punjab”, the Bench said when the state government counsel submitted that all the 60 accused have been arrested and it has taken necessary steps to supply two quintals of rice to the affected family in compliance with its orders. While concluding the hearing, the Bench said “these are ageold problems prevalent in large areas of the country and it will take time to change”. It asked the counsel for victims Collin Gonsalves to respond to the report of Harayana government. The Bench wanted to fix an early hearing but the state government’s counsel sought eight weeks time as a cooling up period. However, the Bench said all the required replies and rejoinders have to be completed within four weeks and posted the matter for October 25.
Deficient rainfall is not only affecting agricultural operation in Orissa but has also hit fish seeds production. The spawn production in the state is likely to drop by about 25 per cent due to the deficient and erratic rain falls during the monsoon. Spawn is the early stage of the fish-seed. “Erratic rainfall is having an adverse impact on fish seed production which is likely to fall by around 25 per cent this year,” secretary-cum-commissioner of Fishery and Animal Resources department Satyabrata Sahu said here. Worried over the development, he asked the fishery officers to maintain quality of fish seeds in stock in the reservoirs, so that fish production in the state would not be affected due to deficient and erratic rainfalls.
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