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14 April 2011
News and current affairs

As India goes crazy about Anna Hazare, a small reminder.
In Manipur, a woman called irom Sharmila has been on a hunger strike for 10 years because Media does not highlight that.
Let's now do something for Sharmila.........

09 April 2011
News and current affairs

We won!!! After a massive and unprecedented outpouring of public pressure,the government has given in and met all of Anna Hazare's demands!! 

Over 500,000 of us signed the petition - at one point 30,000 people per hour! The petition was widely covered in the national press as evidence that the anti-corruption movement was growing like wildfire across the nation -- ramping up the pressure on the government. 

This is just the beginning -- there will be more chances for corrupt politicians to stop this bill -- but if we stick together, we can make this the beginning of the end for the poisonous culture of corruption that stifles this nation. Let's take this moment to celebrate together, thank each other, and share thoughts for all the possibilities of the road ahead. Click below to join a live chat of our entire community:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/anna_hazare_victory/?vl 

The government delivered a signed commitment to Hazare this morning at 10am, promising to accept a committee to finalize the drafting of the jan lokpal bill that is 50% composed and led by civil society. PM Singh further promised to table this bill for a vote by the next parliamentary session. In response, Hazare has declared an end to his fast. 

The country is buzzing with excitement and optimism at this tremendous victory. We've received a flood of emails of enthusiasm and support. Everyone is saying that this is like the return of the satyagraha movement - to liberate India once again from a new kind of tyranny. But this time Satyagraha has a powerful ally in technology and the way citizens can rapidly mobilize online to join and strengthen the call for change.

Jan Lokpal will set up a truly independent body that investigate and charge corruption anywhere in the government, even the PM's office. It is a dagger aimed at the heart of corruption. Many politicians will do everything they can to stop it, and it will take all of our vigilance and commitment to make sure it becomes law. But it will become law, because today showed that people power is stronger than any corrupt politicians, and now that we know that, there's no going back. A new India is being born, let's build it together.

08 April 2011
News and current affairs

 

Right now, Anna Hazare, a 73-year-old Gandhian, sits fasting in the burning sun, and he will stay until death -- unless the government agrees to consider a powerful law that could rid Indian politics of the scourge of corruption. 

This “Modern Mahatma” is taking the utmost act of courage and determination to push through a bill that would give an independent body the power to punish corruption -- even in the Prime Minister’s office. Across the country a movement has exploded, driving a media storm of pressure that’s engulfing Singh. But dirty politicians are desperately trying to water down or kill the law.

For the first time in forty three years, we have the chance to change the way politics is done. Let's join together and stand with Anna Hazare to tackle corruption and clean up Indian politics. We have no time to lose -- sign the petition to be delivered directly to Prime Minister Singh and reported to the media, and spread the word to everyone:

Click here to sign the petition!--http://www.avaaz.org/en/stand_with_anna_hazare/?slideshow#top

Hazare is championing a citizen-developed bill called “Jan” Lokpal that will create an independent body, selected by judges, citizens and constitutional authorities, with enough power to investigate and punish all politicians. No minister or bureaucrat will be able to influence its investigations.

Since 1968, when this bill was first introduced, greedy politicians have thwarted its passing. Now the government is pushing for a watered down Lokpal with no hope of ending fraud, vice and dishonesty -- it gives politicians overriding power to decide who will be investigated, and is a complete sellout. 

Pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Singh to endorse the "Jan" Lokpal. Members of the opposition party have begun to make the right noises in support of Anna Hazare. And even the National Advisory Council, a powerful advisory body to Sonia Gandhi have come out in favour of the bill. But corrupt politicians and vested interests are doing all they can to kill it. 

Anna Hazare has set the example. But only a national citizens movement can ramp up the pressure to get Singh to endorse “Jan” Lokpal and save Hazare's life.

Click here to sign the petition!__http://www.avaaz.org/en/stand_with_anna_hazare/?slideshow#top

Corruption in politics has become a plague across our country, it is draining our resources and demoralizing our nation. This bill would go a long way to deterring those that steal and undermine the public good. Last year, the Avaaz community in Brazil won an important victory -- against the odds millions of people came together and pushed through a historic anti-corruption law. India has a proud history of people power overcoming oppression -- today if we all stand with one voice we can fight this corruption that is poisoning our political system.

03 April 2011
News and current affairs

The budget of 2011 presented on 28th February of this year by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was reflection of the economy being back to pre crisis trajectory, marking the growth at 8.6% for 2010-11 and provided blueprint for 9% growth rate in the coming fiscal year.

 

Merits: The Government efforts of debt management and effective control of fiscal deficit are noteworthy, the roadmap laid to bring down government deficit from existing 5.1% to 4.1% for 2011-12 against 13 Finance Commission’s mandate for 4.8% shows the fiscal prudence of the Government of India. The initiatives of fiscal consolidation, rolling out Direct Tax Code and Goods & Services Tax will provide for Simplification of laws, improvement in collection mechanisms and uniformity in tax structure. The government efforts to concentrate this budget on often neglected sectors, provides this budget to be socially concerned especially in areas such as Microfinance , women self help group, rural infrastructure, self employment and Small Industries. The urban assistance in the form of extending priority sector lending to Rs.25Lacs for housing loans will boost the growth of infrastructure, along with increase in FII for infrastructure bonds are positive factors. The inflationary pressure continues to be troublesome to the Government, the reasons assigned by Finance Minister was perishable goods which constitute 70% of the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), allocation of Rs. 7850 crore under Rashtriya Kisi Vikas Yojna and licensing 30 Mega Food Parks will lead to a new era in Indian Agriculture. The extension of Green Revolution to North – eastern States and allocation of funds for this region are praiseworthy. This budget also provided for doubling the salary of existing Anganwadi workers from Rs.1500 to Rs. 3000. Reaffirming the goal of universalisation of secondary education appears to be effective strategies for the Indian development Mission.

 

Demerits: This budget provided for the control of fiscal deficit but the governance deficit still remains a concern, the number of central government schemes stand at 200, no efforts are taken to consolidate these schemes for effective implementation and control. Secondly, the transfer of subsidies after the awaited recommendation of Nandan Neilkani’s report will be done only at the end of this fiscal year; therefore it will have no implications in this Fiscal year. Thirdly, No administrative and technical platform was provided for DTC and GST rollout and this budget appears to be only a futuristic budget with all promises and no rewards. 

 

 

Budget's effect on legal Industry :

This budget expanded the scope of legal services to include services provided by business entities to individuals as well as representational and arbitration services by individuals to business entities.However, there is no taxation on services by individuals to other individuals. For Legal Consulting firms, the code is that they will have to pay service tax even when the clients are individuals. Invitation to taxation also comes from the Arbitrations.The Service tax will be levied on the tribunal arbitrating for a business entity.

 


02 April 2011
News and current affairs

You can sign the petition here http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/rti-in-schools/

 

It reads:

 

School children in India should be taught on how to draft an RTI (Right to Information) application as a part of their school curricullum.


Just as students learn 'letter writing'  in English, Hindi or other language courses, they should learn 'writing RTI Applications'. Not only the students, but teachers as well as parents will thus become aware of this tool.


Policy makers of our leading education boards viz. CBSE, ICSE and other State Boards should include this as a part of Class 10 syllabus.


General information about the RTI Act is already there in the Civics course which the school students are taught. This petition wants that the language courses viz. English, Hindi and other vernacular languages should have a chapter on 'drafting RTI applications'.

 

Very little is achieved when a student get to know just that a Right to Information Act exists through a small description in the civics course. When he/she actually writes to an RTI application in class and for his exams, we believe, he/she is doubly empowered and enabled to use the tool to fight corruption.

 

While the civics course tells the student that a tool called the RTI Act exsits; the RTI application writing helps him/her actually learn to use the tool.


If you want every literate Indian to be able to fight corruption, please do sign this petition. The future participants in our democracy will thus be able to fight corruption with information!

 

---

See our website at www.infocracyindia.org


30 March 2011
News and current affairs

 

Just take a look around in your friend circle or anywhere else you want to and I am sure you will be easily able to find "I don't have Facebook" kind of people. I know its difficult but it's not that hard to spot such odd entities. It's really strange for someone to not have a Facebook and yes FYI, I don't have a Facebook. The only reason I don't have a Facebook is that it's insignificant and boring, except for the chatting part.


Like the whole world is on Facebook: your friends, teachers, neighbors, your maid, everyone. People who love Facebook including my viral struck friend Aadil do not have a reason for such a liking but since it's the in-thing, they all want to be a part of it. In real life Aadil might not want people to pass comments on him but when it comes to Facebook he wants all his updates to be commented by most of the people in his friend list and this is what makes him happy.


There are myriad features and applications that this website offers. You can establish and like communities, pages and causes. 'Like' feature is quite prominent and you click on like to get connected to anything you want to on Facebook. Well I am not interested in dedicating this post to Facebook but what I really want to do is share one of my experiences with this portal.


So I was just going through Aadil’s page on facebook and I came across Mahatma Ghandi’s page which had 90 k likes to it. Something was strange but I had to leave as Aadil was coming and I knew he wouldn't appreciate the fact that I was accessing his account [my friend Aadil thinks he alone uses his Facebook, he-he]. I clicked on like, that’s it, logged out and left. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with Ghandi page and this uncanny vibe got ingrained until I logged in through Aadil’s account again in the evening...

   


 

... and I was like what is Ghandi? As a matter of fact what has happened to Wikipedia and 90,000 people who have liked the page? It's not like that I am a big Gandhi fan but still there is a reason why he is on the Indian currency. So the misspelled page of Gandhi I feel is not a regular typo but a blunder on the part of Wikipedia and approbation of 90 k people is a travesty of what these freedom fighters stood for. 



As for me a moments back I have unliked this page. I am not trying to be a patriot and no I have not made a new "I love Gandhi" page but still wanted to share something which Wikipedia and 90,000 people blatantly dodged. 


Websites like Wikipedia are a source of great information and most of the people including myself depend on it for most of the stuff, but then seeing this makes me apprehensive about whether the information delivered by it is worth relying? 


This brings me to our very own LegallyIndia.com. It's informational, has blog, has chat thing to it and even has a very adorable Legallypedia with all its terms and conditions for us. Till now it seems to be doing good, actually great; but who knows after some time when maybe the layout of Legallyindia changes and it gets bigger and better, it might follow the steps of  Wikipedia. I wish I am wrong and I hope you didn't find this post mind-numbing.


P.S. When I wrote this post few days back, only 90 k people had liked the page of Ghandi, but as I complete the remaining part of it, another 14,000 people have joined the suck fest.



Click to visit the page of Mahatma Ghandi



Read: "A Conspicuous Yet Nascent Debate on Euthanasia in Our Country".



Scarecrow

 

 

 

 

 

30 March 2011
News and current affairs

By introducing all india bar exam no useful purpose has been served in the field of legal reform  answer to many question are not correct according to legal india  . Many intelligent students did not appear in bar exam due to their family circumstances   . a large number of candidates  who are said to have clear the the bar exam still do not know the basic of law i wonder what is the testing stone of evaluating there knowledge . You cannot judge the legal knowledge of a person by mere  putting right tick mark on the answers. in orrisa only only 18 students appear in bar exam what about the rest who not appear in exam are they still practicing? you must think positively and closely to assess the legal aptitude of a candidate otherwise bar exm will prove unluck game not a step towards legal reform 

 

28 March 2011
News and current affairs

 

        

 Corruption has never been an “alien” for millions of Indians. It has crept so comfortably in our life that we no longer consider it as a major topic to discuss over. Admission of wards into schools and colleges, getting a railway berth, getting a passport, getting a stamp paper, these are very few out of a long list of our daily life activities where corruption has taken an indelible position. We really don’t care about it these days as we have become so used to it.

But can corruption threaten our nation internally as well as externally?? Does corruption have the potential to choke the very survival of our country??

Corruption is a cancer which loathes breathing within a boundary. First it spreads internally and then its symptoms begin to appear externally. Huge Corruption in implementing government policies lead to wide scale economic disparity in the society. When this gap pushes extreme poverty, the illiterate and starved population fell prey to the mature exploitation of callous politicians and anti-national elements. The stolid poverty and indifferent government wean people from the moral standards of society and pillars of democracy at last.

Supply of food, money and arms give them power to tackle the system embroiled in layers of corruption. After some period of time, they are compelled to follow the path chosen by their suppliers. That path can lead them to part time burglars to full time naxalites or terrorists. Rotten branches are always easier to sever from the tree than a firm one. Voices of separation and overhaul of India’s rule have already started to rise from different corners of India. And there are many corners of the country sitting on the bed of dynamite just waiting for the slight lit of a lighter. This is how corruption dilapidates our country internally.

India is the second fastest growing economy in the world. India’s rise put some fine lines of wrinkles on the faces of statesmen of the so called ‘friendly’ countries. Ironically their concerns are eased by none other than India herself. A recent article, published in “The Hindu” newspaper, put some light on this diplomatic resolution of ‘wrinkles’. U.S offers scholarships to broods of top bureaucrats, diplomats, military officers and potential politicians based in New Delhi.

The relaxation in Visa norms, extension of Visas and ease in grant of green cards are some of the small favours, U.S is already offering to please our policy makers. All of us know these favours are not token of friendship or selfless act of diplomacy. Getting huge arms deal, power projects and heavy infrastructure projects of the budding economy at huge cost are some of these exchanges in lieu of those ‘Coveted’ green cards for the broods.

This is one of the many ways; corruption exposes India’s vulnerability externally and establishes India as a soft state on the world map. Five years back, the topic of my article was ‘Will India ever get rid of corruption?’ I am still guessing. And you?

27 March 2011
News and current affairs

Who indiscriminatley kills hundreds with a bomb we call Terrorist 
and who indiscriminatley kills thousands with a TSunami we call God......
Amazing na........

16 March 2011
News and current affairs

Note: The only reason I post this is because plagiarism has become a habit most law schoolites have become unnervingly comfortable with; this is the only nexus the topic has to law in general. Hopefully it will remind all of us that we were not brought up to respect copycats. I do not aim to offend, but if you are offended, you should know that it's probably for very good reason. I really do believe everything I've said here, but differing opinions are fine, at least they're evidence you're thinking. ;-)


 Let me be the first to point out that I'm one of those despicable hypocrites (is there any other kind?), one who regularly allows terrible work to be credited to her name, work that can't really even be called 'hers' unless you subscribe to the notion that research equals copying on a mass scale, which I don't.

 

I often allow myself to submit shitty work because I am stupendously, flagrantly lazy, but I can still argue for myself that the words, the construction and the conclusion are all mine, which is unhappily more than I can say for a lot of people. Is that enough? Absolutely not. does it bother me? Yes, as it should bother all of us. We need a good amount of discomfort to shake up this self-congratulatory stupor we're all asleep in.

 

Some of my friends and I were having a discussion the other day on plagiarism and why it's wrong, if it's wrong at all. We've all heard that utterly depressing monkeys-with-typewriter analogy, and some of us have on occasion cracked that particularly infuriating joke about research being copying from ten people rather than one. As much as you'd like to believe it, monkeys will not ever, in any number, write anything of note during our lifetimes, and neither will you, if you seriously believe that 'research' equals 'copying'.

 

By 'originality' in this context, I mean simply that the one who claims credit for an idea should have come to it by aid of his own thought process, regardless of whether somebody else had thought of the same thing at any other point in history (copyright jurisprudence uses a similar measure of 'originality' I think).

 

We must be original. Even when faculty can't tell the difference, the college doesn't care and our post-lunch nap is calling to us, we must fight the urge to download+print, and we must be original.

 

Why must we be original?

 

Because ideas are our only real wealth. Ideas are the only thing of any value, and I'm not referring to an airily vague abstraction of some distant moral 'good'-ness, i'm referring to cold-hard-cash-notes-in-your-butt-pocket value. Ideas are the little golden flares of magic thought sparked off your skull when the world collides with you everyday. Ideas are our closest shot to the fame, power and Russian-starlet-wife ideal we lust after collectively. There is probably only one really good idea for every thousand bad ones, which makes it even more important to stay within the habit of thinking, to have those terrible ideas so you can find that elusive good one.

 

Consider this - we lie in beds someone else made, eat food someone else grew, wear clothes someone else made, read books other people wrote, watch news about other people. We talk to, think about, even frame our public opinions carefully around the sensibilities of the people we care about. What do we have left if we outsource even our thoughts to other people? That is really the last frontier, so when we allow it to fall, what claim to individuality, to sentience, to humanity do we have left?

 

Ideas can, if you look at the far end of the scale, spark revolutions; but what use is a revolution to that creature of comforts, a corporate lawyer? So consider instead that ideas can also start companies, or firms. Ideas can start firms, create policy, invent concepts, sell those concepts, push legislation, repeal legislation, shut firms down and start other ones.

 

Those of us who've done our litigation internships are only too aware that litigation does not stop with blind reliance on caselaw, even though that's the best that most of us are capable of. Law schools teach us economics, political theory, sociology and jurisprudence so that we are never lost for an argument or an idea, and after years of absorbing all of that, if we find ourselves incapable of creating a simple argument from first-principles on demand, say for an assignment or a project, we should be ashamed of ourselves and of a permissive system that lets us operate consistently at a level that is beneath our intelligence and should be beneath our contempt.

 

It's easy to dismiss all of this as the ranting of an ideologue, but I am not an ideologue. the assessment system of my college is very tough on us, and given the nature of the course we study, sometimes we could be forgiven for thinking that ideas are a dime a dozen and have no real value at all. But cynicism aside, ideas cannot be undervalued.

 

Globalisation has shown us that we have choices beyond what our parents ever dreamt of at our ages, and the recession has shown us that blind belief in concepts we've always pictured as 'safe' - houses and banks - can destroy us. With only the slightest exaggeration I can say this is in many ways a post-apocalyptic world, and I believe that entrepreneurs are the only people who will survive it. Ideas have always been important, but they will never be more important for us as a young nation, than right now.

 

Isaac Newton once claimed that in his work, he was standing on the shoulders of giants. We, on the other hand, are snoring at their feet. It's time to wake up, shake off the laziness and self pity and change that, at the risk of becoming - as a generation of lawyers - first wrong, next incompetent, and finally –

 

Irrelevant.

 

16 March 2011
News and current affairs


Legal Research has always been one of the most important activities in the life of a law student. It would not be wrong to say that these are the law students who are most capable in analyzing a topic in the legal context. Everyday several incidents take place in the society and sometimes there come certain questions in our minds i.e. “Was that the Right thing?”, “Was not there any legal provision which could have been applied in that particular scenario?” etc. The next question which comes in our mind is that what we can do in that particular scenario. The basic step which should be taken is to analyze that particular topic, but how would it be possible to analyze it is the next question. And here lies the need of doing a research on that particular topic, not analyzing it in the social context but in the legal context. And for this purpose, the idea of creating a blog i.e. “The Legal Junction” originated which can serve as a platform for legal information not briefly but thoroughly. This blog would enable one to get information of each and every aspect of several topic related to legal issues, sometimes social issues which are to be analyzed in the legal context.

 

When someone starts searching information about a particular topic, sometimes he gets confused as to which place he should go to. And it might have happened with you also, and this is one of the main reasons for creating this blog. But it is not possible to covert an idea into reality without a team. It has always been argued that it is always better to have a team rather performing a task alone.  And for this reason, we invite applications from you, the law students, so that you and we and work together and make this initiative a success.

 

Why Law Students?

As law students, it is very important for us to indulge in the activities related to legal research. It not only enhances our research ability, but it also strengthens our analytical skill. We make ourselves busy in several activities like mooting, academics, debate etc. But it is also our task to analyze a legal topic which is of some social and legal relevance. Take for example, the recent decision delivered by the Supreme Court on ‘Euthanasia’ or ‘Mercy Killing’. Now what we can do as law students is to review that particular judgment, indulge in research which relates to the origin of euthanasia, its applicability in the international scenario, euthanasia and Indian Law, case laws related to it and whatever we can do. Moreover, it would enhance the legal knowledge which would surely help a student. Academic study is what everyone indulges in, even if he doesn’t want he has to but this blog will provide you a platform to express your views. Sometimes, we think of doing something but we remain confused as to what should be the platform through which we can do such activity.

 

It is true that life in a law college is quite tough with number of cases, projects, tutorials, presentations, seminars, mooting etc. But, this work won’t take much time from your daily routine. Even if you are able to spend half an hour each on this, it would suffice. Applications for the membership of this blog are invited only from those students, who think that they would be able to write researched articles on a regular basis. We write articles for law journals, law reviews and for many other publications, but that is done once or twice in a year. Through this blog you can write an article on any legal issue which you are interested in, and whenever you want. It can be constitutional, criminal, commercial or any other topic which you think fits you. There are no hard and fast rules in choosing topics only from a particular area, that would make your task easier.

 

 

YOU and “THE LEGAL JUNCTION”

 

 There are several articles which are available in various law journals, law reviews but again the question is “Are these law reviews and journals available to every person through a simple means?” The answer to this question would be ‘No’, as these law journals are either available at a slightly high cost or most of the persons (exclude law students) are not aware of these publications. Through this blog, a well researched article would be available to everyone through a simple means. If you think it is a waste of time, then surely there is no need to apply. But in case you are confident that you would be able to write articles on legal and socio-legal topics, then it would be great pleasure for us in working with you. There must be quite a few law students who would be interested in writing articles on these topics on a regular basis, and if you are one of them then please feel free to apply

 

Our aim is to make this blog as a platform for everyone related to legal field. Moreover, we are aiming to make it as a platform which would be visited by a person whenever he would think of searching a legal article or some information on legal topic. Our aim is to provide comprehensive legal researched articles based on contemporary issues or issues of socio-legal importance. It would serve as a place where thorough information on legal issues could be collected and that is why we have termed it as “The Legal Junction”. It has made us to think a lot before terming it, and if we get your support then it would not be difficult to make it as one of the best place for legal information. In case you want to express your views through the means of a Legal Fiction, then also your contribution would be highly appreciated.

 

 WHEN ARE WE STARTING?

 

The blog has been created to make sure that that domain name would not be reserved by anyone else. But it would come into existence once we have enough posts from our permanent members and some guest posts. We are planning to start this blog in the mid of May, 2011(Date would be notified later). As it would be started in the month of May, there is an ample time for you think whether you want to join us or not. Moreover, there would be ample time for you to write article/s. To make this effort a reality, we desperately need your support.

 

Suggestions of the members to make this platform better would be of utmost importance.

 

MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION –

 

Number of Members/Authors whose names would be listed on the Blog Page – Seven to Ten

 

A member would be able to post articles on his own; he would not have to ask anyone before publishing an article. Moreover, he would be able to post the articles written by any law student as ‘Guest Post’.

 

Names of the law students would also be listed in the Blog who want to contribution through guest posts, but they would not have any right to publish their article on their own. They have to contact any of the members in order to get their article published. 

 

Interested law students from any Law University should send their names to “” as soon as possible in order to finalize the names of the members. We are considering it a hard task to search the persons who can serve as members for this blog. Moreover, it is a huge challenge in front of us to make this blog a happening place in front of the legal fraternity. The 1st deadline for receiving the applications would ne 1st April, 2011. Thereafter, next deadline would be declared in case of insufficient applications. The membership would not remain permanent and it would cease in case author fails to write an article for a long period of time.

 

We are in an initial stage and your support would always be welcomed from our side. And if you want to contribute a guest post, then you can send your article/review/Legal Fiction to 

 

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES –

 

The selected  members/authors would be required to send their articles by 4th may, 2011.

 

There is no particular topic as such, but is should reflect the thorough analysis and the views presented should be clear. Moreover, it must be your own work.

 

Citation is discouraged, instead of that authors would be required to mention the references which he/she has used while writing the article.

 

Word Limit –

Articles – 3500 – 4000 words

Legal Fiction – More than 2000 words

Review – 2500-3000 words.

 

Font style – Garamond

 

Font Size – 13

 

Waiting for you contribution eagerly.

 

Regards,

Abhinav Shrivastava (Founder, The Legal Junction)

1st Year,

WBNUJS, Kolkata

 

PS : Our Team is forming well and we are going to do lots of work soon!

 

15 March 2011
News and current affairs

What is DNA TEST?

DNA test or ‘DNA Profiling’ as popularly known is a technique in which a sample of DNA is run through a laboratory assay to generate information about it, looking specifically for DNA which could identify the source of the sample, or be used as a base of comparison between two samples. This technique is used at various places for different purposes ranging from law enforcement to Medical Treatment. The technology of DNA Test was first reported in the year 1984 by Sir Alec Jeffrey at the University of Leicester in England. Soon after this incident, it became one of the most important technologies to be used in the Forensic Science. In the publications in 1985 by Jeffery and his colleagues, the term ‘DNA Fingerprint’ carried the connotation of absolute identification. Forensic DNA typing which was first used in the year 1985 in casework in United Kingdom was initiated in the United States in the late 1986 by the Commercial Laboratories and in 1988 by The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is now used in a number of cases relating to crime, divorce, adultery etc. In forensic application, minutiae in the fingerprint patterns, not ridge counts, are used for personal identification.

The test for the admissibility of scientific technique enunciated in Fyre v. United States has been the most frequently invoked one in American case law. But in practice, the court is much more involved in applying the law which was enunciated in Fyre case, there are various factors which are being determined by the court which includes the identification of the authenticity of the evidence. Its applicability has been varied from case to case in the United States, but the principle evolved in the Fyre’s case soon became quite helpful in solving many cases relating to various issues with the help of DNA Technology.

DNA Test and the Indian Legal System

The application of DNA testing has been used in India for a long period of time. Sometimes, it has been used to resolve certain question which sometimes becomes very difficult to resolve such as “Has the crime been committed?”, “How and when was the crime committed?”, “Who committed the crime?”. You must be aware of the incidents of the movies when an inspector finds something at the crime spot i.e. blood, hair etc. Now what is the use of these material evidences in the investigation? The answer is very simple, that these material evidences help them in determining as to who was actually present at the place where the incident happened. DNA technology has also been used in the civil cases, to determine the biological relationship between a two or sometimes three individual. Usually, it has been used to determine the paternity of a person, where a person denies being the biological parent of a person. DNA parentage testing may help a person in absolving him from the charge of being the biological parent of a person, but it cannot be trusted to prove absolutely that a person is the child’s biological parent; however it can provide a probability.

The admissibility of the DNA evidence before the court always depends on its accurate and proper collection, preservation and documentation which can satisfy the court that the evidence which has been put in front it is reliable. There is no specific legislation which is present in Indian which can provide specific guidelines to the investigating agencies and the court, and the procedure to be adopted in the cases involving DNA as its evidence. Moreover, there is no such specific provision under Indian Evidence Act, 1872 and Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 to manage science and technology issues. Due to lack of having any such provision, an investigation officer has to face much trouble in collecting evidences which involves modern mechanism to prove the accused person guilty.

Section 53 of Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 authorizes a police officer to get the assistance of a medical practitioner in good faith for the purpose of the investigation. But, it doesn’t enable a complainant to collect blood, semen etc for bringing the criminal charges against the accused. The amendment of CrPC by the CrPC (Amendment) Act, 2005 has brought two new sections which authorizes the investigating officer to collect DNA sample from the body of the accused and the victim with the help of medical practitioner. These sections allow examination of person accused of rape by medical practitioner and the medical examination of the rape victim respectively. But the admissibility of these evidences has remained in a state of doubt as the opinion of the Supreme Court and various High Courts in various decisions remained conflicting. Judges do not deny the scientific accuracy and conclusiveness of DNA testing, but in some cases they do not admit these evidences on the ground of legal or Constitutional Prohibition and sometimes for the public policy. There is an urgent need to re-examine these sections and laws as there is no rule present in the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 and Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 to manage science and technology issues.

Many developed countries have been forced to change their legislations after the introduction of the DNA testing in the legal system. There are certain provisions which are present in the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 such as section 112 which determine child’s parentage and states that a child born in a valid marriage between a mother and a man within 280 days of the dissolution of the marriage, and the mother remaining unmarried shows that the child belongs to the man, unless proved otherwise but again no specific provision which would cover modern scientific techniques. DNA analysis is of utmost importance in determining the paternity of a child in the cases of civil disputes. Need of this evidence is most significant in the criminal cases, civil cases, and in the maintenance proceeding in the criminal courts under section 125 of thr CrPC.

The introduction of the DNA Technology has posed serious challenge to some legal and fundamental rights of an individual such as ‘Right to Privacy’, ‘Right against self-incrimination’. And this is the most important reason why courts sometimes are reluctant in accepting the evidences based on DNA Technology. Right to Privacy has been included under Right to Life and Personal Liberty or Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, and Article 20(3) provides Right against Self-Incrimination which protects an accused person in criminal cases from providing evidence against himself or evidences which can make him guilty. But it has been held by the Supreme Court on several occasions that Right to Life and Personal Liberty is not an absolute Right. In Govid Singh v. State of Madhya Pradhes, Supreme Court held that a fundamental right must be subject to restriction on the basis of compelling public interest. In another case Kharak Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh, Supreme held that Right to Privacy is not a guaranteed right under our Constitution. It is clear from various decisions which have been delivered by the Supreme Court from time to time that the Right to Life and Personal Liberty which has been guaranteed under our Indian Constitution is not an absolute one and it can be subject to some restrictions. And it is on this basis that the constitutionality of the laws affecting Right to Life and Personal Liberty are upheld by the Supreme Court which includes medical examination. And it is on this basis that various courts in the Country have allowed DNA technology to be used in the investigation and in producing evidence. To make sure that modern technologies can be used effectively, there is an urgent need of a specific legislation which would provide the guidelines regulating DNA Testing in India.

The use of DNA Technology is very frequent in the cases related to paternity issues. It was the Delhi High Court which set the precedent in 2008 for determining paternity in the case of child maintenance suit. In this case a man filed a suit claiming that he was not the father of the child for whom his wife was maintenance (Ravindra v. Sonam – Names have been kept anonymous by the court due to privacy reasons). The suit was dismissed by the Trial Court, but it was allowed by the High Court and held that The parentage of the child can only be determined by a DNA test. The liability to pay maintenance under section 125 CrPC can be avoided by the petitioner with respect to this child only if it is established that he is not the biological son of the petitioner”The decision was on the one hand was criticized by one group of the society stating that it would harm the child in the question psychologically, while on the other hand it has been supported by other group of the society stating that DNA Testing should be allowed in the cases involving child maintenance. Admissibility of DNA technology in civil or criminal suit would remain in question and these evidences should be examined by the courts very carefully.

The recent refusal of the Supreme Court to dismiss the Delhi High Court’s decision ordering Veteran Congress Leader N.D. Tiwari to undergo the DNA test is very important from the viewpoint of the admissibility of such evidence. In this case, Rohit Shekar has claimed to be the biological son of N.D. Tiwari, but N.D. Tiwari is reluctant to undergo such test stating that it would be the violation of his Right to Privacy and it would cause him public humiliation. But Supreme Court rejected this point stating when the result of the test would not be revealed to anyone and it would under a sealed envelope, there is no point of getting humiliated. Supreme Court further stated that we want young man to get justice; he should not left without any remedy. It would be very interesting to see that how courts in India would allow the admissibility of DNA technology in the future.

 

07 March 2011
News and current affairs

 

  JUSTICE” is one thing that everyone whether rich or poor profoundly yearns for besides requisite ROTI, KAPRA AND MAKAN in life for soulful enjoyment of one’s all mundane gains and acquisitions. No wonder taking cue of this vital human need our constitution framers accorded due primacy to this noble aspect of human life while framing our constitution as would be evident from the opening recital of the preamble of our constitution which while elucidating the broad contours of the basic objectives of our constitution assigned top most position to justice in the tally of all objectives that WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA resolved to provide to our people while adopting , enacting and giving to ourselves this CONSTITUTION. The preamble reads as follows:-

“WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;

And to promote among them all

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the [unity and integrity of the Nation];

IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION”

A bare perusal of our preamble thus suggests that securing JUSTICE to all the citizens is the foremost important task of the STATE. In the parliamentary system of democracy in our country, each organ of the state viz. legislature, executive and Judiciary has been assigned important but distinct role to play to achieve the aforesaid objectives, working in tandem and harmony with each other while working within their constitutional limits and competence. Broadly speaking, while legislature frames the laws to achieve the objective of democratic socialism, executive implements such laws for the welfare of the people and judiciary plays the role of a watchdog to see the validity or otherwise of the enactments passed by the legislature on the touch stone of our constitution and also to see if such public interest serving enactments passed by our legislature have been properly executed/ implemented by executive in letter and spirit or not. Thus it is clear no amount of laws framed by the legislature under the garb of public welfare could serve the cause of the people in real sense unless these are found to be in conformity with the constitution by the Judiciary. Similarly no legislation howsoever well intended in nature and character it may be would serve the intended purpose of public welfare unless it is implemented and executed with equally benevolent zeal and earnestness by the executive. This makes the role of JUDICIARY all the more paramount to achieve the real objectives of our CONSTITUTION in real sense of the term.

But no organ or institution howsoever great or important it may be, could work properly and deliver goods unless adequately equipped and strengthened, commensurate with the mandate assigned to it under constitution. An ailing institution itself ridden with a host of impediments and constraints and scrambling hard to get rid of such hindrances obviously cannot discharge its functions properly howsoever laudable its role may be and howsoever well intended efforts it may clamor to make in the name of public welfare.

In this backdrop of scheme of things, if we examine the state of affairs with regard to JUDICIARY in our country, let us first focus our attention to the function of subordinate judiciary in the matrix of three tier justice delivery system of our country. This is apt and important so to do because the journey of the long torturous road to justice actually begins from the portals of lower courts euphemistically called as the FIRST TEMPLES OF JUSTICE in the common parlance or the very threshold of the huge edifice of the judiciary in our country.

1.            PERIPHERAL VIEW:-

A visit to any lower court in any part of the country (exception being made to newly constructed courts) would be a revealing pointer to the grim ground realities obtaining in our country about this august institution. This would enlighten us about the pathetic conditions in which the courts function and help us dispel much of our misgivings we often harbor about this premier oracle of our justice delivery system. A multitude of people thronging the campus in the quest of justice, a cacophony of sound often subsumed by the shrill voice of the court staff calling out the case, a bevy of tormenting touts chivvying you to the point of harassment and irritation is the common sight of any subordinate court anywhere in the country. With no clear signages provided conspicuously at appropriate places indicating the location of a particular court even if one succeeds locating the desired court after great deal of hustling – bustling in the huge crowd of the people one is appalled to see the old dilapidated structure of the building housing the court and its staff. On the way one comes across the shabby treatment meted out to the under trials brought from the jail for the hearing of their cases that day. The under trials are herded like sardines into a dingy, unkempt, stinking small enclosure called LOCKUP. The LOCKUP has no provision of adequate ventilation or fans etc. Even if by some altruistic gesture fans are provided, the same remain unused either for want of power supply for most time of the day or want of necessary repairs causing the conditions of the under trials all the more pathetic and revolting. One would also notice lack of adequate facilities like toilets and drinking water especially for women folk, senior citizens and children etc. on the campus. What is all the more deplorable is that in most of the subordinate courts across the country there is no provision for the litigants sheds or lawyer’s chambers in adequate numbers. LITIGANTS are the species to cater to whose needs primarily these courts owe their existence to and if they are denied such basic facilities on the campus it multiplies their plight and misery rather than alleviate the same even after reaching so close within the embrace of their saviours. In other words, the whole scene is so chaotic and pathetic that one often wonders if he has landed up in the portals of Justice or in the stock market. One remarkable similarity between the two however is the dominant role played by luck and speculation. In the case of the court also a litigant often treads with a sense of trepidation whether his case would be heard that day at all or not and would not be tossed up to some next date for reasons beyond his comprehension.

 

2.         INSIDE VIEW:-

A long CAUSE LIST normally hung on the notice board outside every court room is no guarantee that all cases listed therein would eventually find the gracious favour of the Judge’s kind attention on that day as there are myriad grounds for adjourning the same to some other date which causes great deal of consternation and bewilderment to the indigent litigants who come from far off places leaving their work in the vain hope of to get prompt justice in their matter. Most common grounds responsible for such dismal affairs are vacancy of the judge for want of posting / appointment, flash or prolonged strike of lawyers or the staff of court, declaration of holiday by the government in the event of some festival or contingency having arisen all of a sudden necessitating declaration of a holiday on that day. While these are some of the common features which often cripple working of the courts to the detriment of indigent litigant , the poor litigant still has no reason to feel relieved and hopeful to get a patient hearing in his case even if no such grounds exist to force an adjournment of his case. There are other factors also which can belie his hope for an early justice. The Judge may be on leave on that day or lengthy arguments in some important case may be robbing him of a chance to take up any other case for hearing despite his best intention to exhaust the whole cause list of that day. So the chance of a hapless litigant getting a hearing of his matter largely depends upon his sheer luck. Instances are not few where everything being in order i.e. Judge being very much present, none gone on strike, no case of lengthy arguments or grilling cross examination of witnesses being there still the case could be adjourned if the Judge is busy dictating some important urgent orders or judgments in his chamber leaving him with no choice but to adjourn rest of the cases to some other day. This situation normally arises when the concerned Judge is saddled with the task of looking after the work of some other courts also besides his own court or during the closing days of a particular month or quarter of the year where the Judge is under a tremendous pressure to complete his mandatory quota of work.

 

3.           MALPRACTICES GALORE:-

It is not that this state of dismal affairs hurts and adversely affects everybody. In fact there is a tribe of people whom this kind of situation suits best to serve their vested interest. While the poor litigant who has been wronged wishes to seek speedy justice, the other side which is on the wrong side of the law always wishes to be off the dragnet of law for as long as possible it could be managed and welcomes every single cause or reason that retards the movement of chariot of justice as far as possible. This party and its lawyer join hands to adopt all machinations of dilatory tactics to delay the process of justice by seeking adjournment on sundry grounds. This tribe of people has no canons of justice and no commitment to the society and ruthlessly feast on the plight and miseries of the people. What is shocking and surprising is that such people succeed in making an almost impregnable network of likeminded unscrupulous people including the court staff and work in such a well orchestrated manner that the system is geared to serve their vested interest to the detriment of needy poor litigants waiting desperately to get justice at an early date. Such people adopt all nefarious means and acts of malfeasance to delay the justice or defeat the ends of justice with great sense of impunity and unfortunately there is none to check them from doing so. The whole system seems to have become hostage to the whims and fancies of such type of people. Obviously the brunt of this menace is mostly borne by the under trials whose miseries or tale or woes get further compounded every time their cases get adjourned to next day. Then again there is none to assure them that the system would not be allowed to be smitten by the bug of STRIKES OR CONTINGENCIES evolving in conflict with their right to speedy justice next time also and they stand cheated again & again by the vagaries of their hard luck. This on the one hand erodes the faith of honest, right thinking people from the system and causes them untold sense of harassment and desperation, emboldens the wrong doers to further perpetuate their wrong doings with greater ease and flourish fearlessly on the other hand. The lot of poor innocent litigants is thus left to fall a prey to money and muscle power practiced on them by the people on the wrong side of the law. No wonder there  is no dearth of cases where under trials have languished in jail longer than the period of punishment they would have suffered if ever found guilty and convicted in due course of trial. There have been instances where a convict had remained in jail even after having long suffered the period of sentence pronounced against him owing to sheer apathy and negligence on the part of the justice dispensing authorities owing to ulterior motives. Once you step into any subordinate court room you can find TWO OR MORE witnesses being simultaneously examined in the different corners of the court room, while the judge seems engaged hearing arguments in some case. This makes the mockery of the whole system and gives rise to a lot of malpractices breeding corruption in the view & presence of the judge himself. In such cases the judge does not supervise or oversee the recording of the statements of the witnesses and does not know if the statements are being recorded strictly in conformity with the provisions of the Evidence Act and judgment based on such statements would not lead to injustice to the person who did not deserve it. The judge in his haste to dispose of lot many cases himself thus becomes the author and perpetrator of such gross injustice and is blissfully unaware of what transpires just below his own nose and how the canons of justice are being trampled with his unwitting connivance in such a despicable manner.

4.   VITAL STATISTICS :-

There are roughly more than 16000 trial courts in our country struggling hard to cope with a huge pile of over 3 crore cases to be disposed of. Unfortunately there is no TIME BOUND SYSTEM to fill the vacant posts of judges and staff much before the vacancy occurs or is likely to occur. The system of recruitment and appointment of staff & judges is so arduous and lengthy that it takes too long to serve the desired purpose as a result of which the courts remain vacant for a pretty long time adding to the woes of the poor litigants and increasing the pendency of cases many folds. To tide over the situation, a single judge is often assigned the charge of two or more courts besides his own court which indubitably gives rise to such obnoxious situations as result into corrupting the whole system to a large extent. The blitz crazing impact of scientific and technological development on our society has given rise to an altogether new species of crime i.e. CYBER CRIME. But we have yet to develop adequate infrastructure to deal with such crimes. Our existing forensic laboratories are awfully inadequate in number even to deal with conventional crimes and also lack adequate means, resources and manpower to deal with the rush of cases which again causes delay in disposal of cases and for which the subordinate judiciary often unreasonably has to face the flak for non performance or tardy performance.

There is no provision to recruit officers in a systematic time bound manner. The prevailing practice is akin to measures often adopted to meet the contingencies of draughts or floods by the govt. The process to set up a new court initiates much longer after the need arises and the process to recruit officers also takes place in a majestically slow pace thus defeating the very purpose for which the whole exercise was undertaken. There is also no adequate provision of training of judges in the realm of fast changing crime scenario and there is no provision for research to develop and spruce up the decaying system. As a result of which the modern look of judiciary especially the subordinate judiciary appears to be archaic in the perspective of fast changing world. This shows utter apathy and callousness on the part of the Govt. towards the organ of the democracy which in real sense is the bed rock of democracy & true sustainer of democracy. Though under Article 227 & 235 of Constitution, the high courts are vested with power & authority to supervise the working of all courts subordinate there to, no notice is taken of pitiable conditions under which the subordinate courts work. The  most these high courts do to discharge their constitutional obligation towards subordinate courts is often to indulge in high sounding rhetorics  to exhort subordinate courts to dispose of cases expeditiously without paying any heed to their ground realities & cases of individual predicaments such as non posting/sanctioning of adequate supporting staff by the Govt., non provision of adequate budget in time, non provision of computer in a particular court for a long time or such sundry difficulties blighting their spirit & zeal to work hard. The preachings unrelated to the ground realities often fall on deaf ears & sound more didactic in nature rather than inspiring one to spur one to action and hence fail to have any impact whatsoever in sprucing up the system.

 

The recent statement of Hon’ble the Union minister of Law to disband existing FAST TRACK COURTS and not to sanction any budget for any more FASTTRACK COURTS to be set up is a grave pointer to the scant regard Govt. has for this institution and for the welfare of the people at large. Though legislature has passed the amendment to Article 39A of our Constitution to secure equal justice & free legal aid to the poor litigants, the purpose of this noble provision however seems to be defeating for want of adequate number of courts, infrastructure like police stations, forensic labs, other necessary wherewithals to secure speedy justice, time bound system of appointment, promotion of judges & supporting staff, machines, libraries & chambers of the lawyers as also for want of provision of litigant’s sheds with facilities of toilets & drinking water etc. etc.

 

5.   DEFICIT SELF GOVERNANCE (INSTITUTIONAL FLAWS)

   While Governmental apathy & neglect is arguably the most damning cause for the dismal state in which the subordinate judiciary in our country finds itself embroiled  today, it would however be too presumplious & ludicrous to hold it alone squarely responsible for the messy situation and say otherwise everything is hunky dory in the subordinate Judiciary.

A close & dispassionate peep into the working mechanism of subordinate judiciary would reveal that it is deeply shackled within a mesh of its own self designed cobwebs that gives it a countenance of over burdened slow moving institution rather than a vibrant dynamic institution. There appears to be a dire need of harnessing modern techniques and procedures to keep the great institution in fine fettle to meet the growing challenges of modern times. A slew of suggestions given below, if taken care of, could give it a smart make over by bringing it out from the morass it is in today:-

·         “CONCILIATION AND NOT LITIGATION” should be adopted as the working MOTTO and judges must exert themselves to impress upon the litigants the virtue & merit of the provision of ALTERNATIVE RESOLUTION OF DISPUTES mechanism. While this would lessen the pendency of cases in courts, it would provide speedy justice to the parties too to their entire satisfaction.

·         The time worn practice of preparing DAILY CAUSE LIST should be thoroughly revisited to make it more practical & viable one. Instead of listing too many cases only to be adjourned to some next day ultimately serves no purpose. Neither the parties get fairly good time to present their cases nor the judges seem adequately poised to give proper attention to such cases. Only as many cases should be listed as are feasible to be taken up for hearing and are not fated to be adjourned ultimately owing to paucity of time, care should be taken to ensure equitable time slot to each case listed for hearing. While doing so due priority be accorded to older or serious cases over and above relatively newer simpler cases.

·         Judges should personally supervise the working, conduct and integrity of the subordinate staff especially those dealing with the issuance of processes, copies etc so that SUMMONS, WARRANTS, NOTICES, ORDERS etc are issued with desired promptitude as per the directions of the court and are not unduly delayed. It would be appropriate to take the party to task found wanting in carrying out the directions of the court without any good reason simply to delay the proceedings. Similarly member of the staff found guilty of not carrying out the direction without any reasonable cause/reason should also be severely censured to mend his ways. There should be some mechanism to reward good performers also to boost up their morale and encourage others also to follow suit.

·         The practice of hearing lengthy arguments should be shunned and filing of WRITTEN ARGUMENTS should be strictly enforced. ORAL ARGUMENTS could be permitted only for the purpose CLARIFICATIONS or for rounding off the opponents arguments.  

·         The Examination of witnesses should also be properly watched by the judges to see it remained focused to the issues at hand and does not prolong unreasonably long simply to harass the witnesses.

·         Judges should cultivate a habit to write brief, concise but fully reasoned judgments which not only betray their judicious approach and legal acumen but also reflect their analytical bent of mind.

 

These steps though seem to be too small in nature, if taken sincerely, it is hoped, would prove to be great leaps in the progressive saga of subordinate judiciary to help sustain the faith of the public in the INSTITUTION and savage the situation to a considerable extent.

 

SYNOPSIS:-

The dismal state of affairs could improve if and only if there is a strong will power of the Govt. to address to the aforesaid problems of the subordinate judiciary in right earnest & take prompt & adequate realistic measure to revamp the whole system from the grass root level to enable the subordinate judiciary to successfully combat with the mighty monster of ever growing backlog of cases so that it could come up to the hopes, aspirations & legitimate expectations of the people in real sense. It is indeed regrettable that Hon’ble the Supreme Court while expressing its anguish on the prevailing dismal state of affairs was rsather impelled to bemoan the other day (11.02.11) that no Govt. wants a strong judiciary. If no timely measures were taken to improve the decaying situation and no adequate budgetary provision was made for the judiciary which at present is awfully low (less than 1% of total budget) we are destined to be doomed sooner than later. And people would hold the Govt.’s apathy & nonchalance responsible for this if God forbid, it ever so occurred. Let us hope Govt. takes this to be a clarion call to immediately mend affairs before everything goes haywires.

 

06 March 2011
News and current affairs

What is meant by Navratna Status?

Historically, an ornament composed of nine precious gems was referred as ‘Navratna’. This term was also used to refer nine extraordinary ministers/clerks in the court of ‘Akbar’. It is evident from the available statistics that whenever the term ‘Navratna’ has come into the picture, it has denoted the existence of nine valuable things under a common set. The same term i.e. ‘Navratna’ was used by the Indian Government in the year 1997 to describe its most prestigious Public Sector Undertakings. At that point of time, the number of PSEs (Public Sector Enterprises) over whom this status was conferred was nine. 'Navratna' status provided these PSEs a greater autonomy under in order to compete in the global market. Moreover, through this status it was assured that these PSEs would have the freedom to enter into the joint venture, form alliances etc. Initially, there were only nine companies under the category of ‘Navratna’, and this status was extended to other companies from time to time as soon as they were able to fulfil the criteria to become a ‘Navratna’ PSE. To be qualified as a Navratna, a company must be a ‘Miniratna’ with four independent directors. Moreover, it must obtain a score of 60 (out of 100). The score is based on six parameters which include net profit to net worth, total manpower cost to total cost of production or cost of services, PBDIT (Profit Before Depreciation, Interest and Taxes) to capital employed, PBDIT to turnover, EPS (Earning Per Share) and inter-sectoral performance.

Initially, companies which were categorised under ‘Navratna’ in the year 1997 are  ECIL, BHEL, BPCL, HPCL, IOC, IPCL, NTPC, ONGC, SAIL and VSNL. But this figure has been changed over a period of time, and presently, the number of companies which are categorised under ‘Navratna’ Category are as follows –

       Bharat Electronics Limited 
       BHEL
Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited
Coal India Limited
GAIL (India) Limited
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited
Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited
National Aluminium Company Limited
NMDC Limited
Oil India Limited
Power Finance Corporation Limited
Power Grid Corporation of India Limited
Rural Electrification Corporation Limited
Shipping Corporation of India Limited
Vishakapatnam Steel Plant


Now one might be thinking as to why the name of ONGC is missing from the list of ‘Navratna Companies’ mentioned above. In the year 2009, ‘Maharatna Status’ was introduced by the Government of India, which consist of four companies : IOC, NTPC, ONGC ans SAIL. Introduction of ‘Maharatns Status’ has raised a company’s investment ceiling to 5,000 crore, unlike 1000 crore in case of ‘Navaratna’ Companies. Moreover, these companies would now be free to decide on investments up to 15 per cent of their net worth in a project. In order to qualify for ‘Maharatna’, a company has to pass certain criteria which includes a) Having Navratna status; b) Listed on Indian stock exchange with minimum prescribed public shareholding under SEBI regulations; c) An average annual turnover of more than Rs.25,000 crore during the last 3 years etc.  Moreover, the lowest employee should be proud of the company which he is working for.

Even after getting ‘Maharatna Status’, ONGC has remained a company categorized under ‘Navratna’ status. The reason why ONGC is still a 'Navratna' PSE is that it could never exercise this status as it did not meet the requirement of having equal number of executive and non-executive directors on its board.

Why ONGC is  Loosing ‘Navratna’ Status ?

ONGC is the most profitable firm in India, which would lose ‘Navratna Status soon. This is due to its rush to the Rs 11,500 crore share sale scheduled next month.  The Indian Government has decided to withdraw both of its directors who are currently present on the ONGC Board. This move has been made so that ONGC would be able meet the SEBI norms of having equal number of functional and independent directors to allow Rs 11,500 crore public offering (FPO) on April 5. Unfortunately, this move would remove ONGC from list of the companies mentioned under ‘Navratna Status’. ONGC has six functional directors, besides the chairman. It also has two government-appointed nominee directors, taking the total strength of functional/promoter directors to nine. Against this, it has four independent directors and needs five more to meet the SEBI's listing norm.

It has been reported in several newspapers that former Oil and Petroleum Minister Murli Deora had selected five persons to be included in ONGC board. But before these names could go to the Cabinet Committee on Appointment, Deora was replaced by S. Jaipal Reddy as the minister, who didn’t send these names to the Cabinet Committee on Appointment. Later on, he sent only two names to the committee and before it could get approved by the committee; S V Rao was appointed Director (Exploration) of ONGC whose appoint was invalid as a serving executive cannot be appointed as an independent director on a PSU board. The other person chosen by the Oil Ministry also failed to meet the guidelines in order to get appointed as directors, which has come out as the main cause of this situation. It would be quite unfortunate to see ONGC loosing ‘Navratna’ Status

 

06 March 2011
News and current affairs

Euthanasia has assumed phenomenal importance of late, in fact a debate whether it should be recognized as a right or not has been going on for quite sometime in India, some organizational moves and legislative measures are also in this regard. There isn't one dimension to this debate behind euthanasia or mercy killing as it is popularly called. Sociological, religious and practical issues cripple a proper addressing to its cause. Thus its legal response presupposes a broad categorization of such issues affecting its understanding.


Euthanasia is not something new or unknown to mankind. In ancient Greece and Rome, helping others to put end to their lives was permitted in certain situations. Ancient Indian philosophical tradition also justifies the idea of a man willing his own death. As per Hindu mythology Lord Rama and his brothers took 'jal samadhi' in River Saryu near Ayodhya. Ancient Indian history also tells that Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavir attained death by seeking it. At present we do not have a particular legislation w.r.t. euthanasia but sooner or later we will face cases of people demanding euthanasia.

     

  


Aruna Shanbaug has been in coma for years now. The doctors have said there is no chance of recovery at all. In such circumstances it is justifiable to permit euthanasia for the patient. Here, it is not about prolonging life but prolonging death.


Although I believe that if a life of a person has reached a point such that the quality of life has been compromised beyond an acceptable level for them, then they ought to be allowed to end their life in whatever manner they prefer so as to mitigate their sufferings. But in a country like ours, where we do not have a particular legislation on euthanasia, and where the debate on euthanasia in in nascent stage, legalization of euthanasia would not really be a good idea because of following reasons:


1) Indian society which is driven by religion will not accept the concept of euthanasia as the religious scriptures defy the very concept of it.

2) On the day-to-day basis we get to hear truckloads of cases relating to matrimonial and property disputes, so if euthanasia is granted it could become a tool to attain insignificant needs.

3) The problem of abject poverty which is prevailing in India would force the people to resort to euthanasia and escape from pecuniary difficulties of medication. 

4) Commercialization of euthanasia may take place as in the case of abortion.

5) In some cases old and the destitute are considered as burden and if euthanasia is legalized, then people may misuse this concept to shove off their responsibilities towards their family member.


So even if in near future we get to have an appropriate legislation on euthanasia then stringent laws should be framed so that euthanasia does not become a substitute for suicide or murder.


Read: "My Trip To The Oldest Democracy Of The World- Malana"


scarecrow

 

05 March 2011
News and current affairs

Informal Discussion Group, which can also be termed as a platform through which students can discuss general issues with eminent personalities not only from legal sector, but also from other areas such as  arts, sports, literature etc. For the first time Informal Discussion Group  was started in St. Stephen's College, New Delhi which has now become one of the most respected societies of the college. Eminent personalities like P.V. Narshima Rao, Aruna Roy, F.S. Nariman etc have already been its part by making their appearance in this initiative.

 

Moreover, NALSAR University Of Law, Hyderabad is also following this platform and it has been able to attract eminent personalities including J.M. Lyngdoh , Ramachandra Guha and many more. The question which might be coming into your mind would be  "What is the need of this kind of activity?". It has been generally conceived that discussions, debates etc form an integral part of the life in a law school. And for this purpose, Informal Discussion Group provides an opportunity  for law students to share their views with eminent personalties, who have already achieved a respectable position in their respective areas. Moreover, it provides an opportunity for the law students to ask certain questions which remain in their mind regarding a particular issue. 

 

The Same initiative has been started by three 1st year students, Jay Sayta, Abhilaksh Gaind and Bedavyasa Mohanty, of National University Of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata ( NUJS ) in their 1st semester. It came as a proposal in front of the administration and the Student Juridical Association ( SJA). At that particular point of time, no one could have thought that it would become a huge success. This initiative received immense support both from the faculty members, their batch-mates, seniors and from wherever they could get support. Soon after  the proposal, they started working on making their initiative a real thing. And it would not be wrong to say that this initiative is a great success.

The IDG in NUJS has been started on the lines of IDG which was started in St. Stephen's College and followed by NALSAR University of Law. In NUJS, there are around 35 students who are selected to take part in this discussion, and for that purpose they have to go through a rigorous selection process which includes debate, discussion etc. It was 1st March, 2011 when first session of Informal Discussion Group was held in NUJS when M.K. Naryanan, Hon'ble Governor of West Bengal reached NUJS to inaugurate the 1st session of IDG, and it was followed by a series of discussions, debates between students and him. This opportunity is open to any student irrespective of the year in which he is studying, but he has to go through the selection process. Informal Discussion Group provides an opportunity to interact with eminent personalties and to discuss the contemporary issues with them , indeed it is a very brilliant initiative.