Indian Parliament showed no concern for the soul of India; President should refuse assent to the Juvenile Justice Bill 2015

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Majority of the members of Indian Parliament have shown no concern for the soul of India, as has been established by passing of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2015 on 22nd December in the Rajya Sabha completing its parliamentary course that had got the stamp of adoption in the Lok Sabha on 7th May. It is such a mockery of legislation, having not paid any heed to cries of India for justice to its soul – Nirbhaya, that, the President should do good by refusing the Bill his assent.

Had Jyoti Singh of New Delhi not been brutalized by a gang of satyrs in December 2012, too savage and severe for medical science to save her life, this Bill would not have been generated at all. Her indomitable will to live to see the bruits punished by her motherland had kept her alive till in utter despair she allowed her breathe to pass away. Her desire to see the criminals punished did not die with her death. We the People of India took her to be the symbol of our tortured yet courageous entity by calling her Nirbhaya, the soul of India.

It was soon found that the youngest of the criminals that brutalized Nirbhaya was juvenile, four months to cross the age of 18 years.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000 (as amended in 2006) was protecting him from punishment applicable to adult criminals. Hence, as demanded by whole of India, the Bill in question was conceived to reduce this age limit to 16 from 18 to give justice to Nirbhaya by punishing the youngest and yet the severest savage.

When the Bill was drafted it was inherently defective meant as if to ensure escapement to this young bruit. It was a haphazard draft very much in need of vetting in a Parliamentary Select Committee. The age factor was creating confusion. The approach was not based on criminology of rape. Before leaving the House in protest, Sitaram Yechury, leader of CPI (M), had rightly asked, “Today you are demanding the juvenile age to be reduced from 18 to 16 ; what if tomorrow a 15-year old commits a horrendous crime?” Members, who passed the Bill, did not bother about the question. Had the Bill been sent to Select Committee, members thereof might have stumbled upon the angle I am pointing to. But that did not happen.

The members did not bother to make the new law applicable to the juvenile criminal because of whose savagery Nirbhaya had lost her life. Minister-in-charge Maneka Gandhi had made it clear in the House that the Bill won’t be retrospective. Sad, the members could not catch even then that the main purpose of going for the new law was going to be defeated. They did not bother about this mischief.

The Supreme Court refused to intervene, because, by applying the old law of 2000 to set free the criminal in absence of any law to keep him under the Court’s clutch any further, the High Court had committed no illegality.

Before passing the Bill, the Rajya Sabha was aware of this. It was aware of the fact that unless given retrospective effect, the core purpose of engagement with the Bill before it was to be lost. It should have woken to the occasion and made the Bill retrospective. Had it acted diligently and passed the Bill in time with retrospective effect, at least from December 16, 2012 the day on which the horrendous crime having shocked the country had necessitated this new Law, the bruit that according to government has not reformed, could not have been put back in the society, to the panic of the society, as has been done.

It is better for the President, in the circumstances, to refuse his assent to this Bill, so that legislative wisdom may get a new chance to do away with the wrong the lawmakers have committed in this case in the aspect as discussed above.

Advertisements

Justice Pasayat’s conduct questioned

Justice Arijit Pasayat’s assertion that terrorists have no entitlement to human rights is condemned by human-right-activists.

Golak Bihari Nath of Gatantrik Adhikar Surakha Sangathan and Pramodini Pradhan of People’s Union for Civil Liberties in a Press realease on 14th December have questioned the motive of the former judge of the Supreme Court of India.

We publish here the contents of the Press Release with the hope that Justice Pasayat would explain his position, as his reported remark has serious ramifications.

Here is what the two have said:

The former Supreme Court Judge Justice Arijit Pashayat’s statement that terrorists and notorious criminals should not be given any human rights consideration, as reported in various newspapers, is unacceptable.

It is shocking when a former judge of the Supreme Court carries such an attitude.

His comments are in disagreement with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which India is a signatory. The Declaration clearly states that “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence” (Article-11).

Right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial judiciary is also guaranteed by the Constitution of India.

In view of this, the comment of Justice Pasayat that ‘the terrorists and notorious criminals are not entitled to any human rights consideration’ is completely against the accepted values and principles of Indian Constitution as well as the United Nations’ Charter of Human Rights.

What is worrying is when a person with such prejudice about ‘terrorists’ and ‘criminals ’occupied a position in the highest judiciary of the country, what kind of justice would have been delivered to people presumed as ‘terrorists’ and ‘criminals ’by that person.

Acquittal of Salman Khan makes people look askance at Judiciary: Supreme Court should take note of it

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

A man died and four persons were fatally injured under the wheels of actor Salman Khan’s uncontrolled car while sleeping on a footpath of Mumbai in the night of 27 September 2002, according to what the area magistrate had recorded the eye-witness accounts of Khan’s bodyguard Ravindra Patil. He was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment by the Sessions Court. But a single judge bench of the Bombay High Court has quashed that order and acquitted him completely of all the charges. This has shocked the people.

What was the eye-witness account? What had Patil deposed before the Magistrate?

According to him, Salman Khan and actor Kamaal Khan had gone to hotel (JW Marriott) when Patil was waiting in Salman’s Land Cruiser. They returned at about 2.15 am. Salman drove the car despite Patil’s advice that he should not drive when drunk. “He was drunk and was driving … at the speed of 90 to 100 kilometers per hour. Before coming to the junction of Hill Road, I told Salman to lower the speed”, Patil had stated under oath before the Magistrate. He had further stated, “He could not control his motor car while taking the right turn and it went on the footpath. The people were sleeping on the footpath. The motor car ran over (them)”.

This was almost the same as Salman’s friend and companion Kamaal Khan had told the Police on October 4, 2002. He had stated: “On the night of September 27, 2002, I went to meet Salman at his residence and we planned to have dinner outside. Salman, his bodyguard and I went out in a Land Cruiser to Rain Hotel at Juhu. His brother Sohail and his bodyguard came in a different vehicle. We had reached the hotel around 11 pm and it was very crowded.

Salman, Sohail and I had snacks at the service counter. After about an hour or two, we left for JW Marriott Hotel in the white Land Cruiser. After spending some time there, we left.

Salman sat to drive the vehicle, while his bodyguard sat next to him. I was behind the driver’s seat…Salman was driving and we started to head to his house. We were heading from St Andrew’s Road to Hill Road. While taking a right turn, Salman lost control of the car and it went on the steps of a building and crashed into a shutter. I heard shouts and people gathered around the car. The crowd was shouting ‘Salman come out’. Some were trying to help the injured. When we got down, people pushed us. Salman’s bodyguard told the people he was a policeman, which calmed down the crowd.”

When Police did not produce Kamaal Khan as witness in the Sessions Court, Patil met death in a pathetic condition during pendency of the case.

Now the High Court has concluded that the prosecution has failed to establish the guilt of Salman.

In its words, “For the reasons separately recorded in the judgment and order the following operative order is passed:

ORDER:
1) Criminal Appeal No.572 of 2015 preferred by appellant Salman Salim Khan is allowed;
2) The impugned judgment and order dated 6th may, 2015 passed in Sessions case No. 240 of 2013 is hereby quashed and set aside;
3) The appellant-accused Salman Salim Khan is acquitted of all the charges. The bail bonds of the accused shall stand cancelled;
4) If the fine amounts which are imposed in view of the impugned judgment and order, are already paid, the same shall be refunded back to him……….”

Of what value then are the eye-witness Statements of Salman’s body guard Patil before the Magistrate and of Salman’s friend and companion Kamaal Khan before the Police?

The High Court has of course directed Salman to execute a PR.bond under Section 437-A of Cr.PC. This Section requires the accused, before conclusion of the trial and before disposal of the appeal, to execute bail bonds with sureties, to appear before the higher Court as and when such court issues notice in respect of any appeal or petition filed against the judgment of the respective Court and such bail bonds shall be in force for “six” months.

What shall happen if the State of Maharastra does not prefer any appeal in the Supreme Court?

The very question is tormenting.

The matter looks like using law for covering up a very serious instance of illegality. Looking at askance the judiciary in such a situation would not be unnatural. Whether or not the State of Maharastra prefers appeal against the High Court order, the Supreme Court should do justice to the people of this dazzled country by instituting a special investigation into this case from its beginning to end and passing necessary orders after such investigation.

Justice should appear justified.

Let the Supreme Court ensure this.

Religious Terror is created by Religions and Weapon-manufacturing Lobbyists: Saswat Pattanayak

Twelve hours ago journalist Saswat Pattanayak in a note shared in social media had written:

“Whereas Islamic terrorism is a reality, let’s not forget that the “War on Terror” is also a religious war. Islamic terrorism may have little to gain other than causing emotional havoc. But the War on Terror, in our names, is a profiteering agenda that causes fear among the victims, unites the jingoists, and financially enriches the weapons-manufacturing lobbyists. In fact, the seeds for terrors have been planted by those very folks who are today implementing the “War on Terror” as a way to viciously perpetuate the cycle while they continue to profit from military-industrial complex and increase defense budgets with a scared citizenry meekly consenting to nationalist rhetorics”.

For whosoever shudders to see the unilateral extinguishment of hundreds of innocent civilians of Paris by a religious terrorist body that shamelessly claims credit for the brutality, in the night of Friday, I post here Saswat’s Face Book Posting:

Terrorists killed 26 and wounded 60 in Iraq yesterday. They killed 43 and injured 181 in Lebanon the day before. They killed 66 and injured 107 in Pakistan last month. And last month alone, 56 Palestinians were killed by Israeli terrorists.

Let’s stand in solidarity with Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan and Palestine too and change our grieving profile pictures across social media accordingly. Let’s hope that Facebook also activates “Safety Check” button for relatives of victims and potential victims of terrorist attacks in each of these regions. Not just for the folks who have relatives in France.

Sadly, this is a wishful thinking. What will happen is branding of those who are condemning selective outrage, as inhuman creatures lacking empathy. The truth is, when people are killed by terrorists in the global South, those are matter-of-factly dismissed as suicide bombings. When NATO terrorists sanction killings of innocent people, they are justified and glorified as a “Global War on Terror” instead – which is now going to be expedited in the wake of Paris, even as it has already killed well over 4 million Muslims so far.

Whereas Islamic terrorism is a reality, let’s not forget that the “War on Terror” is also a religious war. Islamic terrorism may have little to gain other than causing emotional havoc. But the War on Terror, in our names, is a profiteering agenda that causes fear among the victims, unites the jingoists, and financially enriches the weapons-manufacturing lobbyists. In fact, the seeds for terrors have been planted by those very folks who are today implementing the “War on Terror” as a way to viciously perpetuate the cycle while they continue to profit from military-industrial complex and increase defense budgets with a scared citizenry meekly consenting to nationalist rhetorics.

The need in our times is to not “other” people or to isolate “them” as suspects. The need is to come forward as one human race to combat the grounds that facilitate terrorism; to end the growing militarization that romanticizes violence as a tool of justice; to stop revenge politics which promotes retaliation across ideological spectrum.

Contrary to mainstream media claims, Paris did not happen after 9/11 – and neither of those two incidents were attacks on “western values of freedom and liberty”. Paris happened after Baghdad, which happened after Beirut, which happened after Sindh and Baluchistan. Likewise, 9/11 had happened after various militarist interventions in regions that were challenging a unipolar world order following dissolution of Soviet Union.

Yet, the righteous tears are suddenly flowing now and they were not flowing last week, because whether or not we agree, its only White Lives that Matter in the world that is still very much Eurocentric. This is yet another RIP Princess Diana moment – a fetishization of equating race with aspiration for freedom, and the selective emotions associated with such assumption. A convenient alibi to discard the reality that countries in the global South also aspire for freedom from occupation, from the hooliganism of the NATO member states that has not stopped even as there is no Warsaw today.

A historical blunder it would be to forget that it is the United States under Ronald Reagan which funded the Taliban/ Mujahidins so they could destroy a secular Afghanistan under Dr. Najibullah. An egregious oversight it would be to not hold the NATO powers accountable for the birth, rise and sustenance of ISIS – a threat from which the refugees are fleeing for safety, in a region systematically marked by political uncertainties to benefit Israeli hegemony. It was Hillary Clinton’s State Department under Obama administration that refused to brand Boko Haram as a terrorist group because the US was funding it. To kill a leader of Gaddafi’s stature, it was the NATO again which funded Al-Qaeda. In so many ways, ISIS is a direct consequence and is a beneficiary of the funding of hate, instituted by Obama administration and its Saudi allies – in Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, and well beyond.

To imagine that there will be no backlash at all, despite us thriving in moral and financial superiority at the expense of the wars of our own creations, is to simply dwell in fairy tales. Except, unlike the stories, there are possibly no happy endings in sight.

Oriyas! Wake up: Paradip Port is being pushed into ruins

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It is time for Orissa to wake up. Paradip Port is being pushed into ruins because of Adani’s Modi link and Jindal’s foul motive.

Cabinet heavyweight Dr. Damodar Raut is right in his observation (The Sanchar, 20 September 2015) that the two political parties – BJP and the Congress – are precipitating the situation, without mentioning the name of Adani and Jindal, known in the context of both the parties respectively, to whose trap Paradip is being shepherded by the non-Oriya Chairman-in-charge of the Port Sri M. T. Krishna Babu.

As far as Jindal is concerned, his design to occupy the Gopalpur Port through the back door having failed, he has a grudge against Sri Mahimanand Mishra whom the port has been legally allotted. Under the leadership of the same Mahimanand Mishra, stevedoring being most trade-friendly in Paradip Port since at least 1984, it has emerged as the second best major port of India. Jindal wants this reputation to be ruined and trade-friendly image of Mahimanand be damaged in the eyes of the global exporters and importers to checkmate his prospects at Gopalpur. The recent stoppage of stevedoring in Paradip Port is considered to have been provoked by Jindal-Krushna Babu nexus.

This evil development is designed to add strength to a maneuvered branding of Paradip Port as “not trade-friendly” by a notorious report of an appointed agent – Port of Antwerp International (PAI), Belgium, in order to show it sick, so that Adani being the nearest Dhamara port owner, can acquire it too by using Modi government’s policy of privatization.

Every debacle Paradip would face from now  would increase advantage for Adani.

This is why, as Dr. Raut has written in the front page of his paper mentioned supra, both the Congress and the BJP have extended their support to the troublemakers for pushing Paradip Port into unrest and loss.

Property of the people of Orissa

Paradip is Orissa’s port of pride, for which, the people of Orissa have sacrificed their land and life. I was in an informal Press meet when Biju Patnaik, sans any qualms, had revealed how he had directed the Police not to take cognizance of accidental deaths when anybody was getting crushed under the wheels of speeding trucks engaged in construction of the highway from Daitari to Paradip.

Anybody may visit the old pages of newspapers of those days to locate how frequently human casualties were taking place under the speeding trucks without any police action.

Over and above this, had the land parcels of marginal farmers not been snatched away for the purpose of the said road, Paradip could not have survived as a port. So, this Port is the outcome of supreme sacrifice of the people of Orissa. Despite this huge loss of life and farming lands, people of Orissa pride over Biju Patnaik for having build up this port and to them, the port is their property.

PPT Chairman acts the villain

Yet, now, as the same Biju Patnaik’s son Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is mysteriously silent, a non-Oriya officer chairing Paradip Port Trust, is creating a climate of contradictions and confrontation in the so far peaceful and perfectly working operational sphere of cargo handling, oblivious of the fact that, behind the Port’s evolution as the second best Port of India, peaceful loading and unloading of the vessels is the only factor, not the officialdom.

Any clerk can act as chairman to sign a paper to show perfect functioning of the port, if stevedores act peacefully. But any chairman can ruin the port by mishandling the stevedores. The incumbent chairman  is doing exactly this; and unless people of Orissa wake up to foil this evil design, the sacrifice they have made for Paradip would be of no value and the port would soon be lost in the labyrinth of foul play being perpetrated by and through the non-Oriya Krishna Babu.

Khanna commission Recommendations

In the year 1984, mismanagement of the Port had ignited such severe infighting between different groups engaged in stevedoring that the Inspector-in-Charge of Paradeep Police Station and his associates together with four laborers on records had lost their lives. Because of the fast by the revered Communist leader Loknath Chowdhury, the operating stevedores had formed an Association styled ‘The Paradip Port Stevedores Association’ (PPSA) and had signed an undertaking to the effect that “no Stevedore shall try to take away the work of another Stevedore so long as NOC is not obtained“. Whosoever was to join the Association was to abide by this undertaking and this was the cause of peaceful cargo handling so far, despite three-fold rise of the licensed bodies of stevedores.

Yet, to ensure fair pay and employment, in Civil Appeal No.1422 of 1990, the Supreme Court of India had, on 15.03.1990, directed to constitute a High Powered Committee under Chairmanship of Mr. H.R. Khanna, to decide the question of listing the unlisted laborers and their welfare measures at Paradeep Port Trust.

Justice Khanna had recommended for a Management Committee (CFH) comprising all “Stevedores”, “Senior Officials of Paradeep Port Trust” and “Labour Representatives from different labour Unions” to manage the matter in a collective process so as to eliminate the possibility of unrest in future.

Khanna Commission extractFrom the above extract of Justice Khanna’s binding recommendation, it is clear that cargo handling and Stevedores’ amicability shall be ensured by a “whole time chairman”. But in blatant disregard to this emphasis, the central government has posted Sri Krishna Babu as a part-time chairman, whose motive seems malicious in matter of Paradip.

Further provocation

It seems Mr. Krishna Babu is determined to kill the peaceful climate of Paradip. He has ushered in unrest by encouraging troublemakers to contravene the 1984 norms.

Despite end of a port-provoked stoppage of work on September 22 on the basis of a collective decision to resume work, another organization styled ‘Utkal Stevedores Association’ has been registered the same day, the PPT and the Collector of Jagatsinghpur having kept it hidden from PPSA. This is nothing if not further provocation to precipitate confrontation amongst the Stevedores. This provocation is suspected to be in consonance with the design to demolish Paradip’s image as a peaceful port.

Jindal design

Let us revisit the design to know the reality. When stevedoring was running smoothly, the Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) quashed its stevedoring assignment given to Orissa Stevedores Ltd of Sri Mahimanand Mishra on 14 April 2015 in apparent reaction to Jindal’s failure to grab the Gopalpur port from the back door. JSPL informed the PPT that its cargo would be handled by Sahara Engineering Pvt Ltd (SEPL) instead of OSL. Though as per the 1984 terms and norms, no Stevedore should have tried “to take away the work of another Stevedore”, OSL ignored the mischief and issued ‘No Objection Certificate’ (NOC) in favor of SEPL. When this stevedore was continuing the work, JSPL made three companies – M/s Swastik Stevedores Pvt.Ltd (SSPL), M/s Seaways Shipping and Logistic Ltd (SSLL), and M/s Sahara Engineering Pvt Ltd (SEPL),– sign letters of intent with it on 08 June, 09 June and 10 June 2015 respectively to handle its cargo. Yet again, when SEPL was working on JSPL assignment, SSLL, which is not a member of PPSA, snatched away business of SEPL in blatant contravention of the 1984 norms that provoked the unrest.

PPT chairman should have taken responsible role in ensuring that neither JSPL nor SSLL violate the established norm; but he deliberately stayed nonchalant.

From confession of SSLL on 14 August 2015 it transpires that it had to handover the work back to SEPL under instruction of the Additional District Magistrate, even though JSPL had assigned the work to it and PPT had given the permission. This makes it clear that even though handling of cargo by SSLL was impermissible, PPT chairman had allowed that for the sole purpose of provoking unrest, hand-in-glove with Jindal.

The conspiracy is deep-rooted.

Attempt to intimidate genuine Stevedores

JSPL had no grievance against its previous handler. It had never explained to the PPT as to why it wanted to appoint new handlers. When, as such, there was no reason to change the contract, PPT – whose reputation and credibility rest on peaceful handling of the cargo, and in fact for which Paradip has emerged as the second best major port – should have taken all steps to prevail upon JSPL not to appoint new agents so arbitrarily to handle its cargo. If rate of the service or any other issues were behind the dislocation, the PPT chairman should have encouraged conciliation between the parties in real interest of the Port. Instead of doing that, he tried to intimidate the stevedores in the meeting he took on 14 August 2015.

Ignoring the reality that Paradip has emerged as the 2nd best major port of India due only to the most peaceful and disciplined stevedoring, Krushna Babu threatened them with stern action if stoppage of work irritates any outside customer. As per the minutes of the meeting held on 14 August 2015, he wanted them “to allow operations by any Stevedore”. This is a clear disrespect to the undertaking of 1984 that has stipulated that no Stevedore shall try to take away the work of another Stevedore so long as NOC is not obtained.

I quote from the said minutes to show how the peaceful members of the PPSA, because of whom alone the Port has been recognized as the 2nd best major Port of India, were subjected to intimidation by the authorities.

Adherence to the undertaking of 1984 “shall not be tolerated”, Krushna Babu had roared.

To add force to this mischief, the Superintendent of Police threatened that, “the authorities will be forced to take strictest action” if the members of PPSA insist upon adherence to the 1984 undertaking.

Discernibly malicious

Despite such naked attempts of PPT Chairman and Jagatsinghpor SP to intimidate the stakeholders (members of PPSA), the hard reality that the conduct of Jindal and his agent Seaways (SSLL) was malicious, the first resolution of the meeting was worded cautiously. To quote it, “JSPL and Seaways should make sincere efforts to coordinate with other stakeholders to do their business in a peaceful atmosphere in Paradip Port. It was advised that they should make sincere efforts in this regard before arrival of the next vessel”.

This resolution makes it clear that JSPL and its agent Seaways were ruining the “peaceful atmosphere in Paradip Port”. They were, therefore, “advised” to “make sincere efforts” to “coordinate with other stakeholders” meaning the members of the PPSA, “before arrival of the next vessel”.

Strange, despite such assault on “peaceful atmosphere in Paradip Port” by Jindal and his agent, instead of subjecting them to discipline, the PPT chairman had instigated the police to act against the peaceful members of PPSA under the influence of Jindal and had threatened them with dire consequences if they insist upon adherence to the 1984 undertaking.

The matter is more intricate.

Hand-in-glove with Jindal

The non-Oriya chairman of PPT is hand-in-glove with Jindal to destroy the “peaceful atmosphere” prevalent so far in Paradip.

When in the meeting held on 14 August 2015, “It was agreed further that representatives of Seaways, JSPL and other stakeholders will meet for an amicable solution before the arrival of next vessel to be handled by Seaways”, and further when on the basis of this agreement, the Traffic Manager of the Paradip Port had written Letter No. 3496 to JSPL on 26 August 2015 that it should take “an appropriate decision for allocation of a ship to SSPL” only “after the scheduled discussion with the other stakeholders as per Minutes of the Meeting (dated 15 August 2015)”, the Port Chairman (in-charge) Krushna Babu berthed the vessel HARM carrying JSPL cargo at Central Quay I on 16 September 2015 and allowed its handling by the controversial SSLL, which forced the shocked stevedores to stop work.

Krushna Babu be taken to task

For this dislocation in Paradip, one person is squarely responsible. He is M.T.Krushna Babu, the in-charge Chairman of PPT. He has acted against the interest of the Port hand-in-glove with Jindal and ruined the “peaceful atmosphere” of Paradip, the end beneficiary of which will be Adani as the “dent on image of Paradip Port” may eventually prompt vessels to prefer the nearby port of Dhamara that Adani has acquired with Prime Minister Modi at his back.

If Krushna Babu is not playing the game on behalf of Adani, the Modi government should investigate into the provocation he created for stoppage of work at the Port and initiate exemplary action against him sans any delay.

Paradip is certainly rushing into ruins under non-Oriya conspiracies. As the people of Orissa have sacrificed their lands and lives for this Port, let Modi government be notified that this State shall not tolerate this foul play.

EPILOGUE

Dominated by non-Oriyas, a pack of stevedores have floated, as noted supra, a new body styled Utkal Stevedores Association. We have reasons to suspect that this new outfit is created to precipitate the ruin of Paradip, in which, Krushna Babu has secret hands. If not, let him not allow this new association to operate in Paradip Port, without approval of the existing and excellently working Paradip Port Stevedores Association.

The port cannot be allowed to be pushed into ruins by the non-Oriyas, and their political godfathers in the BJP and the Congress.

Dr. Raut

The Dengue Menace: Chief Minister should explain why his Govt. has kept the 2003 Act inconsequential

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Nothing new I am going to say. I am going to repeat what I have said repeatedly earlier.

To save the city’s inhabitants and visitors from mosquito menace and from pernicious pollution, Orissa Legislature had stipulated in the Orissa Municipal Corporation Act, 2003 that cowsheds must stand obliterated within the limits of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) with immediate effect.

Most of government lands in important areas of Bhubaneswar are illegally occupied by the milkmen who do lucrative business by keeping hundreds of cows in sheds erected on the encroached lands. The 2003 Act was to clear the encroachments and free the capital city of pollution and mosquito menace.

They formed an organization styled ‘Orissa Milk Producers Association’ and moved the Orissa High Court against this new Law, praying for its nullification or in the alternative, direction to the Government to rehabilitate them in suitable places in the city before eviction and not to impose prohibition on running of cowsheds. Orissa High Court rejected their plea.

They went to the Supreme Court of India against the order of the High Court. There they also failed.

The Supreme Court, in deciding Civil Appeal No.940 of 2006 arising out of SLP (C) Nos. 16362-16363 of 2004, made it absolutely clear that the milkmen must be evicted from the limits of BMC and must not be rehabilitated anywhere in the City and its periphery, as “Right to environment being a fundamental right, it is the duty of the State to make it sure that people get a pollution free surrounding”.

The milkmen had pleaded that the present Chief Minister’s father had assured them with rehabilitation and hence they should be given plots in substitute to run their business. Rejecting this plea, the Supreme Court had declared, “In view of the 2003 Act, even the doctrine of Promissory Estoppels will have no application”.

It had further ordered that the milkmen cannot even be allowed to put up cowsheds in villages bordering Bhubaneswar. “As by reason of the Orissa Municipal Corporation Act, within the periphery of the town, dairies or cowsheds cannot be maintained, the State cannot be entitled to adhere to its earlier plan of rehabilitating them in villages mentioned therein”, the Supreme Court had said while observing, “Not only filth, stench and unhealthy places have to be eliminated, but the (town planning) would be such that it helps in achieving family values, youth values, seclusion and clean air to make the locality a better place to live

Thus the Supreme Court has not only rejected the plea of milkmen to have cow-buffalo-swine-sheds in Bhubaneswar, but also has fortified the provisions laid down under Sections 409, 543 and 548 of The Orissa Municipal Corporation Act, 2003, which prohibit keeping animals of cow category anywhere within and around the city limits.

The judgment delivered on February 2, 2006 is published in (2006) 3 Supreme Court Cases 229.

So, there was no legal problem at all over demolition of cowsheds and eviction of milkmen with their herds of animals to free the city from stench and flies and mosquitoes and malaria and filariasis and dengue and threats of cancer and tuberculosis.(ORISSA MATTERS, January 7, 2009).

But, for reasons best known to the Chief Minister, the milkmen, instead of getting evicted, are protected by the department directly under his charge.

Another Severe danger to human health

As the corrupt government has protected this menacing danger to human health, the city of Bhubaneswar has become a den of nitrous oxide, methane and other greenhouse gases as well as noxious stinks produced by these illegal cowsheds.

It is established that ammonia (NH3) evaporating from cow dung and urine play havoc with environment. An adult cow emits 80 to 110 kilograms of methane gas over its lifetime. Four thousand illegal cowsheds in Bhubaneswar harbor at least 4,00,000 adult cows at the rate of 100 per shed in the average. So, one fears, Bubaneswar is forced to face 400, 000, 00 kg methane gas menace, because Naveen Patnaik’s government is in nexus with the milkmen.

The whole city is under layers of arsenic gas generated by burning of cow dung cakes by the milkmen for cooking and for repelling mosquitoes from their cowsheds and attached huts where they live. Arsenic is slow-poisoning the people residing near the cowsheds and specifically, the children. Cases of TB, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases and Pneumonia, Lung Cancer are increasingly hitting the Bhubaneswar Hospitals. Malaria, Filarial infection, Dengue and such other diseases caused by mosquitoes, various allergies, skin diseases, and cardiac problems are in the rise in the obstinately unhygienic environment the milkmen have created.

Offense against the Assembly

To save Bhubaneswar from this monstrous danger, the Assembly had laid down under Sections 409, 543 and 548 of The Orissa Municipal Corporation Act, 2003 that the city must be immediately made free of Milkmen. Their association, as already shown supra, had challenged it up to the Supreme Court and failed. Yet it is not implemented. If anything, it is a naked offense against the Orissa Legislative Assembly.

 Scam that possibly funds the CM

As my sources say, the milkmen were paying Rs.300/- as protection money to GA department Officials which after enactment of the Act of 2003 had reached Rs.2000/- per cowshed. After the Supreme Court rejected the milkmen’s case and fully endorsed the Act of 2003, giving a direction to the State government to oust the milkmen forthwith from the city limits and periphery of Bhubaneswar, the protection money has been increased from Rs.2000/- to Rs.4000/- well within the knowledge of the Chief Minister.

If Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is not involved with this scam, he should come forward to clear the doubts by explaining as to why his administration has not taken any step to demolish the cowsheds and to evict the cowherds and to free the government plots from their encroachments and to save Bhubaneswar from mosquito menace, from mosquito induced calamities like dengue, pollution, from the hazards of nitrous gases, from arsenic poison, from ammonia, from filth of cow dung and stench and from abnormal rise of temperature and collapse of its habitable climate under impact thereof.

Supreme Court verdict goes barren

The most beneficial Act has most brazenly been rendered inconsequential by Naveen Patnaik. And in this, we see, the Supreme Court verdict has gone barren.

It is time, the Supreme Court should ask the CBI or appoint a special Commission to conduct an in-depth investigation into why the State Government has slept over its order passed in Civil Appeal No.940 of 2006 arising out of SLP (C) Nos. 16362-16363 of 2004, published in (2006) 3 Supreme Court Cases 229.

We may remind the Supreme Court that in the said order it had mandated that “Right to environment being a fundamental right it is the duty of the State to make it sure that people get a pollution free surrounding”.

We may further remind the Supreme Court that in the said order, it had emphasized that. “Not only filth, stench and unhealthy places have to be eliminated, but the (town planning) would be such that it helps in achieving family values, youth values, seclusion and clean air to make the locality a better place to live”.

3 ft high cow dung on the road, the cow shed behind the green fense4 to 5 ft high heap of cow dung on western main road to Capital HospitalThe pictures of filth  given here are captured with the camera near about the State Secretariat. Minister Sanjay Das Burma is staying about 50 meters from this spot. many ruling-party heavyweights and IAS officers are living around this spot. This is the picture of a very important nerve center of  Bhubaneswar. What is happening in the interior of the City can easily be imagined.  As already said, there are 4000 such spots where cowherds are keeping hundreds of cows in illegally built up sheds, filling the entire area with filth. The Supreme Court as well as you dear visitors may please appreciate that no camera can capture the stench. Just imagine, how is Naveen Patnaik managing the affairs.

I call upon every responsible person, who peruses this posting, to ask the Chief Minister of Orissa to explain as to why he has kept the 2003 Act inconsequential if he is not involved with the Rs.1.6 crores monthly scam generated by his perceivable nexus with the milkmen.

demolition of temples_threedemolition of shopsThese pictures would show how slums and kiosks, even temples are razed down in course of retrieving public premises from encroachments. But, despite the specific Act of 2003 and  orders  of the Orissa High Court and the Supreme Court of India  no cowshed has ever faced the eviction crew.
Dengue is taking heavy tolls of human life and all other hazards as noted above are pushing people into death’s pernicious grip. But the milkmen are protected, possibly because around 4000 milkmen are greasing the palms of fellows empowered to implement the Act and the verdicts with at least Rs.4000/- per month. Shame!

Apartment Bill should be improved upon in the Assembly before being passed

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

A few days ago, while talking with a top functionary. I had mentioned of Prava Apartment situated in Unit IV, Bhubaneswar, where my Samudi Dr. Asoka Mishra resides. I am unable to go to his house since around three months as the ‘Lift’ is not working. Nobody knows whether it is really damaged or rendered defunct. But, according to the belief of my Samudi, it is damaged, because that is what he has been informed by the Association they have formed.
Non-functioning of the Lift for months together is drastically hampering human rights of the legitimate residents of Prava Apartment, as aging or senior residents of upper floors are unable to come out even for medical checkups. Their regular life is severely affected because of non-functioning of the lift.

“What do you mean by legitimate residents?” he had asked me. I had explained that apartment owners are giving outsiders, unknown to all owners, their houses on rent and these people having no concern for safety of the Apartment building, are misusing the lift that is precipitating its malfunctioning, pushing it often and finally to collapse, as has happened in the Prava Apartment.

“The owners must have formed a society to manage the common utilities and to maintain the structure. What that society is doing?” he had queried. I confessed that I had no knowledge, except knowing that my Samuduni is leading almost an incarcerated life in her own house, because only of the non-functioning of the Lift. She is unable to come out for daily walking, marketing or meeting the relations for months together, because the society has failed to repair the lift promptly, when the apartment is fitted with only one lift by the builder.

I am glad to note that, the executive government has formulated legal provisions to save such disadvantaged residents of multi-storied apartment houses. A new Bill, named and styled as ‘The Odisha Apartment Ownership (Amendment) Bill, 2015’ has been moved in the Orissa Legislative Assembly. It aims to amend the Act of 1982.

In proposing an amendment in section 14 (1) of the Act, it wants the Competent Authority to be empowered to “direct the Association of Apartment Owners to repair or replace damaged property within such period as may be specified in such direction failing which the Competent Authority may undertake the said work and expenses incurred for undertaking such work shall be recovered from the Association of Apartment Owners”.

If the Assembly adopts the Bill, a great relief to residents like that of Prava Apartment would surely come.

But I feel that the draft Bill has areas to be improved upon by the Assembly while adopting it. I suggest the following improvements:

1. there should be blatant ban on letting out of apartments by their respective owners to any outsider to eliminate misuse of utilities and threat to common safety. Suppose an unsocial element occupies an apartment on rent and indulges in secret making of bombs and during the manufacturing process, a bomb accidentally blasts and destroys the entire structure over and above damage to and loss of life. In the prevailing environment of criminality, such apprehension cannot be ruled out. The authorities know of the misuse of an apartment in Krishna Towers for women trafficking involving even IAS and IIS officers. Laxity of law in allowing renting out of apartments to outsiders is the cause of such illegalities. Therefore, the proposed amendment Bill should be improved upon by the Assembly to provide for a total ban on renting out of any apartment by any owner without express agreement of all the owners as all of them co-possess the entire building and surrounding free space within the compound, subject to police verification by the Competent Authority on the person or persons to be accommodated on rent;

2. the residents of upper floors of Prava Apartment are suffering, because the Lift, which is the single Lift, has become defunct. The law makers should get educated from this experience and proceed to provide that every apartment building must be equipped with at least two Lifts before the builder is allowed to sell any apartment. The proposed Bill should be improved upon in this respect before adoption.

3. A case study of Prava Apartment shows that there is a sort of mafia raj in action through the owners association. As for example, the association has rented out the roof of the building to a mobile phone company that has erected its heavyweight tower directly on the apartment of an owner who is a lone and senior lady. Under impact of the tower, her roof is cracking and leaking. She is feeling unsafe and her protests are not heeded to. It is suspected that, the association has deliberately kept the Lift defunct to teach her a lesson, as it is most unbearable for her to entirely depend daily on stairs of the five floors. Keeping this in view, the tabled Bill should be improved upon to the extent of banning any such construction on any roof top of any apartment building and demolition of any and all such constructions prior to enactment of the introduced Bill.

But this depends upon legislative environment of the house and individual and collective concern of our MLAs for the people.