Naxals in Judicial Wisdom

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

“The poor and the deprived people revolt” when “manifest injustices of all forms perpetrated against the weak”, the Supreme Court of India had observed in what is famous as “Salwa Judam” judgment. It had held, “People do not take up arms, in an organized fashion, against the might of the State, or against fellow human beings without rhyme or reason. Guided by an instinct for survival, and according to Thomas Hobbes, a fear of lawlessness that is encoded in our collective conscience, we seek an order. However, when that order comes with the price of dehumanization, of manifest injustices of all forms perpetrated against the weak, the poor and the deprived people revolt… … …”

But the very same fellows who have never condemned Nathuram Godse for having cold-bloodedly murdered Mahatma Gandhi, while demanding death for killers of so-called Swami and Saraswati Laxmananand, whose acts of religious revivalism had breached communal harmony in Kandhamal in such acrimonious velocity that a mayhem had to get rid of him at the cost of peace and tranquility in that beloved land of tribal magnanimity, have been condemning the “the poor and the deprived people” when they “revolt’, their leadership that the Naxals/Maoists constitute.

Laxmananand’s extinguishment forms the crux of a Judicial Enquiry headed presently by a former Judge of Orissa High Court, Justice Naidu. Yet, the Godse admirers and their allies in the pro-rich administration – always eager to perpetrate State-terrorism on progressive people – are one in condemning the opponents of caste-divide in Hindu society in general and Orissa’s icon of modern revolution Sabyasachi Panda in particular, for the homicidal death of the Hindu sectarian leader who was executing a mission of conversion of vulnerable people from other religions to Hindu, oblivious of how Indian Constitution was being denuded of its spirit thereby, even though the commission of enquiry is yet to find out who really was responsible for the death of Laxmananand.
It may so happen, if the Commission of Enquiry acts without any bias, Justice Naidu, who has wanted Sabysachi Panda to be produced before him for study of his role, if any, in the murder and its environment he is inquiring into, may held Laxmananand responsible for his own death.

But, the Godseites have been trying to obstruct the process of free thinking of Justice Naidu by shrouding the Judicial Commission with clouds of libretto that the Naxala/Maoists are criminals.

Had it been so, people would never have punished Manmohan Singh

There was a Prime Minister of India in Manmohan Singh whose Americanism was so shamelessly anti-Nasxals that the people of India have avenged their ruin by throwing his party to such filthy depth of the dustbin of electoral politics that the Congress, despite all its cries before its party-planted President, has been rightly found too stoutly rejected by the people to claim the post of the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, had described the left revolutionaries as “left viruses”. People have punished him and the Congress for this nasty conduct, though in their anxiety to get rid of the Congress they had become so rash that they are yet to extricate themselves from another set-up of supporters of FDI in India, which the middleclass opportunists and ultra-high-rich combine, has brought into power in a climate of conglomeration of rich media and religious revivalism. Lest the Supreme Judiciary, known for its free thinking so far, becomes a hurdle, the new set-up has already taken steps to make it easier for the pro-rich elements entering into the high benches. Yet, it looks pertinent to see what the Naxals are in the wisdom of the supreme Judiciary.

In the eyes of the Supreme Judiciary

In trying to locate the reasons of the growth of Naxal movement, wherein tribal youths are conspicuous by their participation, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, in ‘Nandini Sundar v. State of Chhattisgarh’ (AIR 2011 SC 2839), have noted: “Many of these tribal youngsters, on account of the violence perpetrated against them, or their kith and kin and others in the society in which they live, have already been dehumanized. To have feelings of deep rage, and hatred, and to suffer from the same is a continuation of the condition of dehumanization. The role of a responsible society, and those who claim to be concerned of their welfare, which the State is expected to under our Constitution, ought to be one of creating circumstances in which they could come back or at least tread the path towards normalcy, and a mitigation of their rage, hurt, and desires for vengeance” (Para 52).

At Para 71 the Court further observed, “As we remarked earlier, the fight against Maoist/Naxalite violence cannot be conducted purely as a mere law and order problem to be confronted by whatever means the State can muster. The primordial problem lies deep within the socio-economic policies pursued by the State on a society that was already endemically, and horrifically, suffering from gross inequalities”.

In the eyes of the Father of Indian Constitution

“We must remove the contradiction (this gross inequality) at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which this Assembly has so laboriously built up”, Dr. Ambedkar, father of the Constitution had warned while replying to the last debates on the draft Constitution (Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume 8, p.279).

The Supreme Court, in their observation quoted above had to so observe, as the gross inequality between the Indians divided in two parts – the meager numbers of the rich and the massive numbers of the poor – instead of being removed, has become more savagely severe.

As Naxal/Maoist movement has grown against this background, agents of imperialism in power have made rigorous laws like Act No 15 of 2002 that equates the Naxal/Maoists with terrorist and applies the Act to them with retrospective effect.

But, by enactment of this act, the Supreme Court verdict cited supra is not denuded of its wisdom and Dr. Ambedkar’s words of their wise relevance.

Human conscience cannot be suppressed by Laws of Intimidation, whosoever in power frames and enforces them.

Revolutionaries were there, who brought us freedom.

Revolutionaries are there who dare State-terror to bring us emancipation.

Revolutionaries will be there, on whom shall depend people’s liberation from the yokes of exploitation.

And, in true judicial wisdom, not the exploiters, but the ones suffering for saving the people from exploitation, shall always have the right place of importance.

Therefore, despite draconian Laws equating politico-economic revolutionaries with cross-border and communal terrorists, in Judicial wisdom, as per Justice K. S. Ahluwallia of Calcutta High Court. “Naxalism or Maoism is a political movement wedded to violence and the participants thereof are political offenders”, not criminals.

Interpretation of Laws in various Courts by various Judges may differ, but judicial wisdom uttered in cases of politico-economic relevance, such as the ‘Salwa Judam’ and ‘Political prisoners’ cases, cannot be viewed as anything but expressed wisdom in matter of social and politico-economic developmental perspective.

One is to decide how to read between the lines.

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Oath is co-terminus: Orissa Governor in illegal incumbency

Subhas chandra Pattanayak

assemblyThe budget session of Orissa Assembly commenced on the Valentine’s Day with M. C. Bhandare reading out his customary address as Governor of Orissa.

As he started addressing the House, he faced protests from the Opposition that culminated into a boycott.
The boycott by the Congress party proceeded from its protest against the insipid address of the Governor, as to it, that was nothing but vomit of the State Government’s vapid versions, aimed at reducing the House podium to a medium of its political propaganda.

But the BJP boycott was against misuse of the Assembly by Bhandare who has lost his legitimacy to address the Assembly.

Bhandare is discernibly the most controversial Governor the state has ever had. When he has failed to act as expected of a Governor in times of need of democracy, he has made mockery of the role of Chancellor of Universities to the detriment of education and embarrassment of educationists.

However, by not leaving the Raj Bhawan on completion of his term in August 2012, he has belittled the dignity of the post of Governor.

He has invoked Art.156 (4) of the Constitution of India which is a proviso to Clause 3 of the Article. It allows the Governor to “continue to hold office until his successor enters upon his office”. Bhandari is not entitled to take advantage of this proviso.

From the scheme of this proviso, it is clear that a person may continue in the office of the Governor till his “successor” enters upon his office. This means, when somebody is appointed to become the “successor”, but under certain circumstances he/she is taking time to join, the outgoing person shall continue to hold office during that transit period only. Otherwise, the Governor is to relinquish office at the end of stipulated term of five years, by handing over the charge to the Chief Justice of the State, from whom he/she had taken the oath of office under Art.159.

Both the Articles read together make it unambiguously clear that the Oath of Office a Governor is bound to be administered with at the time joining, is co-terminus with the term of his/her tenure of five years.

It is shocking that Bhandare is continuing as Governor sans a valid oath of office. And, the government of Naveen Patnaik, known for inability to understand the laws and ability to violate the laws, has allowed him to address the Assembly on commencement of its budget session.

Sad, the Legislative Assembly has been used by the State government as a slaughter house of Law relating to the Governor by allowing Bhandare to address it as the Governor when clearly he is in illegal incumbency.

It is Time, Congress Should Change the Prime Minister

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It is good that the people of Goa, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh have thrown the party of Sonia family factotums into the dustbin of democracy, giving it also a severe test of public wrath at Uttarakhand.

But, it is bad that in all these provinces, communal factors have gained.

If non-muslim communalism has gained in Goa, Punjab and Uttarakhand, in Uttar Pradesh pro-muslim communalism has given the strength to the winner Samajvadi Party.

Manipur, the only state where Congress has won, is in a continuous confused condition. Communal conflicts between Hindu Meities of Manipur valley and the Christian Tribes of its hill areas has not only paralyzed political thinking power of the people, but also, by contributing to emergence of incendiary ethnic insurgency, has helped political mafia to rise high through criminalization of insurgent groups – 24 active groups as per ‘Insurgency or Ethnic Conflict‘ by S.C.Sharma, Magnum, 2000 (page 217-18) , that help the mafia grab power by fetching their support in drug trafficking and contract orders. As such, Manipur has become a state where politicians in power have metamorphosed from “penniless to millionaires”, as a media has captioned. In such a state, the Congress victory looks not like a political victory, but like a victory of corruption, communalization, criminalization and oppression.

So, in reality, communalism has gained ground in the Assembly elections in five provinces. Democracy, as provided for in the Constitution of India, has failed.

The Assembly poll results portend that, when the country goes to the general election for Parliament, the Congress may not be able to fetch a fresh mandate.

And, that would be most unfortunate for India.

With the mainstream Communists in disarray and the real left activists yet not strong enough to occupy power, the Congress is the only platform to save India from communalists, religious revivalists, regional chauvinists, caste supremacists, caste addicts, societal separatists and economic parasites.

But with agents of imperialism, with protectors of the black-money stashed in foreign banks, with collaborators of commission agents, with factotums of Nehru clan attired as politicians, the Congress will never gain back people’s confidence.

Instead of rallying around Rahul despite the debacle precipitated by him, it would be proper for Congress to correct the wrongs it has been rejected for.

It can begin with by changing the Prime Minister who primarily is responsible for all that has destroyed India’s national resolve for socialism and distanced the Congress from the people.

Dismissal of Former IIC of Pipili PS is a Classic Instance of How Naveen is Hoodwinking the People

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Director General of Orissa Police has dismissed the former Inspector-In-Charge of Pipili Police Station, Amulya Champatiray, for serious dereliction in duty that has endangered the life of a Dalit girl and ruined her family. The order is being used to hoodwink the people.

The guilt of Champatiray is discernible to naked eyes. So, people are happy over his dismissal. But the dismissal is discernibly farcical, because it is not legal and cannot survive the test of law.

Champatiray had protected the alleged rapists of Pipili by not registering FIR on receipt of the allegation of gang rape and of attempt to murder that has sent the victim into coma.

So, he deserves the severest of punishment and deserves no sympathy.

But, with the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik as the Police (Home) Minister, his dismissal is crafted so cunningly that despite his offenses, he shall get back his service by challenging the order of dismissal in appropriate Court of law; because no Court will allow rape of the Constitution by any Governmental authority. Then, the present mass demand for action against him shall stand defeated.

Let us see how.

The DGP has dismissed Champatiray under Article 311 (2) (b) of the Constitution of India. But in doing so, the DGP has gone against this provision.

Willfully?

If yes, then certainly under instruction of the Chief Minister, for it is he, who was eager to hoodwink the people in Panchayat polls, in this matter.

Let us take a cursory look at the scenario before looking at this constitutional provision.

The media exposed the Pipili felony and then only the shocked family members of the victim could resurrect their shattered courage to disclose the names of the rapists, pointing out how the police has protected them because of their area MLA Pradip Maharathi.

Maharathi tried to intimidate the media, threatening media persons for having relied upon the victim’s family members to link his name to the crime.

This threat instantly ignited an unprecedented public rallying with the media, spearheaded by Media Unity for Freedom of Press (MUFP).

Maharathi had to resign from ministership and to beg apology to media, as people of Orissa, through non-BJD political parties, civil societies, NGOs, trade unions et al had woke up to form, for the first time in the history of Orissa, a platform of solidarity, which they named ‘Orissa Gana Samaj’ against the unprecedented misrule.

This mass awakening fidgeted the CM, specifically as he was to face the people in Panchayat electioneering, like never before.

He was eager to show that the fellows involved with the felony were punished.

Champatiray was transferred from the Pipili Police Station and as that was not enough to assuage public wrath, was put under suspension.

Maharathi was asked to resign and his resignation was accepted, keeping the public in dark about the reason of his resignation while allowing him to boast of having taken moral responsibility for the wrong done to the dalit girl in his constituency.

The layer of protection thus shattered, the gang-rapists, whom the police had known from the beginning, were arrested one after another.

Added to the judicial inquiry invented earlier to hoodwink the people, Maharathi’s resignation, arrest of the rapists and Champatiray’s suspension should have pain-killing effect on mass psyche, the Chief Minister must have thought. But pain in mass mind was becoming more acute.

It was urgent for the CM to dazzle the Panchayat voters with a blaze of severe action against officials but for whose protection the criminals could never have escaped the law for so long a time.

Therefore, the government has transferred Puri district Superintendent of Police Amitendranath Sinha and dismissed the then Pipili IIC, Champatiray from service.

No better cover could have been invented to hide the misrule as exposed in Pipili gang rape case. The CM is now equipped with new arsenals to save himself from public wrath in Pipili context. His mouthpieces have already started saying that Naveen’s administration is so clean that provisions of instant dismissal under Article 311 (2) (b) have, for the first time, been used against an IIC of Police for dereliction in duty. A pro-Naveen TV channel was used last evening for this purpose where majority of time was devoted to bit the BJD drums that by dismissing Champatiray the message has been given to salaried employees that whosoever of them neglects implementation of laws would not be spared in the government that Naveen runs.

But the Government knows, so also Champatiray, that the dismissal order is too week an order to survive a legal challenge and by challenging it in an appropriate Court, without prejudice to any other action that future may think prudent, Champatiray will certainly be reinstated in service, as the said article used in his dismissal is misused.

Let us see what is provided for under this Article.

Article 311

(1) No person who is a member of a civil service of the Union or an all-India service or a civil service of a State or holds a civil post under the Union or a State shall be dismissed or removed by an authority subordinate to that by which he was appointed.

(2) No such person as aforesaid shall be dismissed or removed or reduced in rank except after an inquiry in which he has been informed of the charges against him
and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges.

Provided that where it is proposed after such inquiry, to impose upon him any such penalty, such penalty may be imposed on the basis of the evidence adduced during such inquiry and it shall not be necessary to give such person any opportunity of making representation on the penalty proposed:

Provided further that this clause shall not apply—

(b) where the authority empowered to dismiss or remove a person or to reduce him in rank is satisfied that for some reason, to be recorded by that authority in writing, it is not reasonably practicable to hold such inquiry.

So, the stress of this provision is irrevocably concentrated on the opportunity of self-defense to be given to the officer in course of inquiry on the anvil of dismissal.

Avoidance of inquiry is not permissible except where “it is not reasonably practicable to hold such inquiry”.

Champatiray has not absconded and was never beyond the reach of the police for inquiry. It was never therefore “not reasonably practicable to hold the inquiry” against him. The DGP has not recorded in writing the reason of why it was “not reasonable practicable” to hold the inquiry.

It is noteworthy that simultaneously with dismissal of Champatiray, the Puri SP has been transferred on the same ground of dereliction of duty in Piplili gang rape context. So it is confirmed by the Government that Champatiray was not alone in protecting the criminals. Had there been the inquiry as contemplated in the Constitutional provision cited supra, the SP’s role in keeping the culprits out of police reach could have come to light. Then the IPS officer must have been forced to face the charges of protecting the criminals and for whatever damage has been done to the gang rape victim. And, it would have embarrassed the IPS circle. Probably this is why the inquiry needed under Article 311 (2) (b) of the constitution has been ignored.

This willful conduct of the DGP of Orissa in keeping an IPS officer of national cadre safe from prosecution while dismissing a lower officer of State cadre is a game that the government should have foiled. But,no such step is taken.

It is clear, therefore, that the constitution is raped in dismissing Champatiray and knowingly so.

No court shall approve this rape of Indian Constitution by the DGP of Orissa.

And, by publicly endorsing the action of the DGP in this matter, the executive government including the Home Secretary and the Chief Secretary as well as the political government headed by Naveen Patnaik, and Naveen Patnaik himself, have individually and collectively committed the rape on the Constitution of India having full knowledge of the mischief they have resorted to.

In doing this, they have ensured that Champatiray’s stage-managed dismissal would be nullified by the appropriate court in course of time; and therefore, it is not out of context to suspect that the oder of this illegal dismissal might have been passed in connivance with Champatiray himself.

It certainly is a well planned order – because it certainly is not believable that the DGP as well as the functionaries named above have not understood the language of Article 311 (2) (b) of the Constitution – to provide Champatiray with the environment of service-safety that certainly would come to him as and when he challenges the order and therefore, is not meant for punishing the offender; but is contrived to hoodwink the people at the moment when Panchayat elections are a challenge to the Chief Minister.

AMA ODISHA Makes a New Milestone: Commences Cast-Your-Vote Campaign

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

AMA ODISHA, Orissa’s frontline civil organization, founded by Sambad editor Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, had made the first milestone in social service sector by starting up, sticking to and constantly enhancing blood donation campaign, so essential for saving life in this State that the politico-executive government has reduced to a land of malnutrition. Its story is a success story of humanitarian activities with, I may say, no comparison. Another milestone it has established in matter of the mother-tongue by enkindling unprecedented zeal amongst students and general public for writing fault free Oriya with meticulous care. Remarkable is its consistency in steering these campaigns ahead with devotion.

The new milestone it has now founded is its campaign for conscious casting of votes by all of the voters.


In a unique congregation convened at Sahid Bhawan, Cuttack, on 23 January, the birthday of two most revered icons of patriotism, Veer Surendra Sai and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, whom the soil of this magnificent State had given birth to, founder President of Ama Odisha – Editor of Sambad – Soumya Ranjan Patnaik urged upon all of the voters to cast their votes certainly in every election to the body of representatives, as thereby only, Indian democracy can be saved from derailment. About 35 % of the voters are abstaining from casting their votes and these 35 % are those that are educated and informed. As inflow of fresh water into ponds is essential to cleanse out the putrified stock of stagnet water, so also active participation of educated and informed citizens in enfranchisement is essential for cleansing the filth from politics, he argued. He stressed on cent per cent voting in elections and declared that Ama Odisha will untiringly conduct the campaign with utmost commitment. An oath to this effect was administered on all who participated.

We entirely endorse this campaign, though to us, conscious casting of votes without distinctly defined determination to oust the saboteurs of the Preamble of Indian Constitution where was laid down the National Resolve for building the country up on the basis of socialism, from office and to bring in such a government that would transport the country from the present pernicious prison of inequality to the real sovereign reign of political economy of equality, the exercise will be futile.

To us, Indian democracy has been transformed into a plutocracy by its political rulers simply because the most conscious segment of voters are abstaining from voting. Only the conscious citizens know that unless the country is put on the track of economy of equality, it can never be saved from vested interest mafia and whatever little semblance of democracy is still in existence will eventually give way to the nastiest of plutocracies. We are sure, if the abstaining-from-vote citizens, basically belong as they to the educated and informed segment of society, decide to actively participate in vote casting, the traitors, that, despite small numbers of vote casted in their favor, have been running the political governments, will be thrown into the trash of time and a new epoch of equality and patriotism that equality alone generates, will emerge.

Therefore, to us, Ama Odisha’s cast-your-vote campaign is the last hope for revival of democracy and survival of India.

We, with this hope, wish all success to the campaign.

GENDER RESERVATION IS THE GREATEST DANGER TO INDIAN DEMOCRACY

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Patriotism has no gender. Concern for fellow beings has no gender. Ability to grasp a public problem has no gender. Ability to speak on issues of public importance has no gender. Debates in public forums have no gender. Parliamentary practices have no gender. Legislation has no gender. Democracy has no gender.

But Indian Parliament is besieged with a Bill that wants the Houses of Representatives to be based on gender.

It is to be noted that ever since we formed our Republic some of the foreign countries, specifically the architects of Baghdad Pact, have always tried to subjugate India. Taking advantage of our gullible voters’ confused support to their planted Gorbachevs, they are now active in driving in deterioration to Indian democracy. The Bill in question that wants to vitiate Indian Parliament with gender reservation is the most dangerous blow from their veiled villainy that makes our democracy punch-drunk like never before. Otherwise collective wisdom would never have allowed the Bill to cross the Rajyasabha.

Denigration of the dignity of the Chair while opposing the Bill by more than half a dozen of State representatives in the Rajyasabha and the Government taking a backtrack in placing it for adoption in the Loksabha is indicative of the fact that the Bill is not at all above controversy.

We have earlier shown on the basis of observations of some of our founding fathers during and beyond debates in the Constituent Assembly as to how our Country is by birth a Country of contradictions. There are a handful of Indians who are beneficiaries of this contradiction and the rest are the victims.

Our Constitution made by the rich on basis of their overwhelming presence in the Constituent Assembly has made India a Country of inequality because of which emancipation for massive majority of Indians has remained a distant dream.

The beneficiaries of inequality, though small in number, have been ruling the country, where the victims, comprising the massive majority, thrive on distress sale of anything they produce and/or possess.

Farmers are distress-selling their paddy, nubile girls are distress-selling their bodies, helpless mothers are distress-selling their babies, electors are distress-selling their votes.

Why the massive majority that such pathetically suffers doesn’t outvote the tormentors? This is because; it is divided into rival groups on basis of reservation.

It is astonishing, but true, that Indians in reserved categories are fighting amongst themselves on sharing job-reservation benefits at the cost of efficiency in administration. This division, as we have discussed on February 28 under the caption ‘How Long Reservation?’ is helping imperialists transforming India into a land of opportunism and with the help of the opportunists, occupying and exploiting Indian markets.

When there is no reprieve from it, the agents of Globalization are now trying to divide the entire Indian population on the issue of gender-reservation in Parliamentary forums.

The Bill in question, claimed as a “historic step forward toward emancipation of Indian womanhood” by the PM on its adoption in the Rajyasabha, is not in reality aimed at emancipation of Indian Women. If that were the real intention, reservation should not have been proposed to be limited to mere 33 percent. Reservation for women should have been proposed to be proportional to their numbers or at least broadly to 5o percent. So emancipation of women is not the purpose of reservation by gender. The purpose is creation of a wedge between men and women in the matter of democracy. It will further weaken democracy.

The agents of globalization are using every possible trick to keep the Country under their grip. One of their tricks is reservation. Reservation doesn’t challenge anybody’s superior position; but it makes the victim of inequality acquiesce into lower position and to ascribe whatsoever benefit comes on the way to the mercy of the architects of reservation. Now this act is designed to affect at least half of India’s population.

Reservation on gender basis will perpetuate reservation on caste basis and reservation being a machination of pampering the deficient against the efficient; our parliamentary forums will have more numbers of deficient persons. In the present environment of politics sans principles, it would be disastrous to our democracy if all beneficiaries of reservation, oblivious of party links, emerge as a class by themselves.

Democracy must be saved from this danger.

On the other hand, we have the experience that politicians have no principle. Lack of political principle and flood of thirst for power has given birth to the most shameless shape of opportunism called coalition politics and contemporary Indian political leaders have no qualms in saying that this is the reality, even though thereby they admit that in the eyes of the people they have no political credibility.

Such fellows, notwithstanding differences in their stands on political economy, have put India to a fresh predicament over the gender reservation Bill. This Bill is a creation of political confusion that the imperialists eager to weaken India have used their yes-men to proceed with.

The political confusion that the Government is bent upon to further push us into, is spelt out in postponement of placing the Bill before the Loksabha. They have no shame in saying that they will place the Bill in the Loksabha after tackling its opponents.

Yes, they have to tackle the opponents of the present Bill, if they will have to pass it in the Loksabha. This is because they cannot change the Bill, as its opponents prefer, after the same is passed in the Rajyasabha. The Bill is a Constitution amendment Bill and after adoption in the Upper House, it has entered into a phase where the Government has no power to tamper with it. So there cannot be any correction from official side on the body of the Bill before it is moved for adoption in the Loksabha. On the other hand, no amendment on it in the Loksabha to suite the Yadavs and Mamata Banerjees and others of their type is permissible as the Bill in its present form has already been passed in the Rajyasabha. In the circumstances, the opponents of the Bill are bound to accept the present form if the Bill will have to be passed in the Loksabha. And it is not possible if they are not tackled.

Is it proper for democracy that a government tackles the opponents of a Bill that aims at infesting Indian Parliament with gender components?

Should a Government be allowed to commit a wrong to justify a wrong?

SPIRIT OF DEMOCRACY IS IN DANGER AT ATHGARH: EC MUST IMMEDIATELY INTERFERE

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

A section of voters belonging to the Athgarh Assembly Constituency in the District of Cuttack are subjected to a situation where they cannot vote for the candidate of their choice in election 2009. The Returning Officer has virtually preempted their democratic participation by rejecting the nomination papers of BJD candidate Ranendra Pratap Swain on technical ground. But the ground is very flimsy and in fact mischievous enough to render voting right of those citizens inconsequential.

The Returning Officer believes that he is right in rejecting the nomination papers of Sri Swain. He cites election guidelines in support of the action he has taken. The guidelines say that a candidate of a political party shall have to annex the party ticket to the nomination papers. In Swain’s case, at the time of scrutiny on April 6 it was found that only the Xerox copy of his party ticket was annexed, not the original. Hence, his nomination papers were rejected.

This technicality kills the spirit of democracy.

Democracy is a moving political system. It cannot be stymied with misconceived guidelines of the Election Commission or by bureaucratic blunt heads.

The EC is created under the Constitution of India to conduct the elections on which democracy stands.

The right vested in the EC to conduct the election cannot be conducted into denial of conductance of elections in respect of any section of voters in any constituency.

In Athgarh, this denial is discernible.

Admittedly Sri Swain is a candidate of a political party and the political party that has set him as the candidate is BJD.

Therefore he is admittedly the candidate of a combine of citizens who collectively have formed a political party called BJD with a common purpose and collective allegiance and committed organizational presence in all the constituencies within the limits of Orissa.

EC has registered it as a political party, which means, the EC has approved the common purpose and collective allegiance of the citizens who have constituted the political party called BJD.

It is imperative for democracy that the citizens, who form a political party, must remain loyal and committed to the decisions of the party.

Commitment and loyalty to their respective political party is so unavoidably a must for members and supporters that recognition of a party by the EC depends upon the strength of membership and support it exhibits in general elections.

This phenomenon makes it unambiguously clear that every political party shall have loyal members who should be duty-bound to vote for their party candidates in general elections.

Therefore it is clear that every member or supporter of a political party is ethically and morally required to cast his or her vote for the candidate his or her party plants in elections and not to any other.

This being the democratic duty vested in the citizens as well as their recognized responsibility, the rejection of the nomination papers of the BJD candidate for election in Athgarh constituency tantamount to denial of voting rights to those citizens who are members and supporters of BJD in that constituency.

The members and supporters of BJD cannot be forced to vote for candidates of their rival political parties. The EC cannot either expect that the citizens of Athgarh who belong to BJD by membership / allegiance would vote for candidates of their rival political parties.

So, obliteration of BJD candidate from the election scenario in Athgarh on flimsy / misconceived / misconstrued technical grounds is nothing but denial of voting rights to the voters who should, as members and supporters of BJD, have certainly voted for Sri Swain. This is nothing but a bureaucratic assault on democracy.

EC is empowered to conduct the election. He is not empowered to conduct non-election of any candidate by his party members and supporters. In rejecting Ranendra Pratap’s nomination papers the Returning Officer acting on behalf of the EC has tried to play exactly this mischief.

The EC should intervene and allow the nomination papers. The Xerox copy of BJD party ticket should be accepted as genuine as the BJD party has not disowned the ticket.

The EC must appreciate that it is its own fault that has lead to this impasse.

The BJD has issued the ticket rightly in favor of its candidate addressed to the R.O. The members and supporters of BJD have, on behalf of BJD, proposed and supported the nomination of their party candidate, in this case Ranendra Pratap Swain, mentioning that he is the BJD candidate vide ticket addressed to the R.O. to which Swain has given his consent.

It is, ethically therefore, the R.O.’s duty to collect the ticket from BJD or to ascertain the correctness of the Xeroxed ticket placed before him. Or, in honoring the spirit of democracy, to accept the nomination papers by matching the original with the Xerox copy of the ticket. But the R.O. has failed to do this and instead has created a severe dislocation in peoples’ duty to elect their preferred representative.

Rejection of party candidates not by the peoples but by a Returning Officer on technical ground would make a farce of our democracy.

The Constitution of India has defined disqualifications of voters as well as of candidates.

Whosoever is not legally disqualified to vote or to contest, is legally qualified to vote and to contest.

Members and supporters of BJD in Athgarh are not disqualified to vote. Hence they are qualified to vote. But they cannot to be compelled to vote for candidates of their rival parties. Hence they are entitled to vote for their candidate Ranendra Pratap Swain, which they are now denied to do.

On the other hand, Swain is not legally disqualified to contest as a candidate. Hence he is legally qualified to contest on political grounds that democracy entails. But he is disallowed.

The EC should appreciate that his guidelines cannot have over-riding effect over the provisions of the Constitution of India and should immediately intervene in the impasse created by the R.O. at Athgarh and allow the spirit of democracy to prevail by causing acceptance of Swain’s nomination.

If the EC fails to remove the wrong being done to democracy, the Supreme Court of India should take up the issue and ensure that the Controller of elections does no more make a farce of our democracy.