Pending Determination of Unsound Mind, Singhvi Should Quit Parliament

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

“Assuming them(the contents of the CD) to be true, (which they certainly are not), would disclose only something private and consensual giving a cause of action only to aggrieved family members (who have stood completely by me) and to no one else” (Abhishek Manu Shinghvi when resigning from the Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Law & Justice ).

If his carnal conduct “assuming” to be true, as he says, was “private and consensual giving a cause of action only to aggrieved family members” is worth legality, Singhvi is certainly not qualified to claim that “no one else” has any right to find therein any “cause of action”.

He is a member of India’s Parliament in the Rajyasabha and that gives every citizen of India the right to be worried if his “private” conduct dismantles the discipline and probity expected of him.

The video in question displays indecent scenes of sex indulged into by a male who looks like him when he was still the head of the Parliament’s Standing Committee on personnel, law and justice and a female whom a lady lawyer of Delhi has identified as a lady lawyer she knows.

Before the general public could know of this video, Singhvi, an astute lawyer well versed in the tricks of law, succeeded in putting a judicial injunction on media organizations, which, to his information, were in possession of the CD carrying video records of his “certainly not true” extramarital sex. The court was shown that the video in question was a morphed one inasmuch as his driver, who, Singhvi had alleged, was threatening to tarnish his public image for settling a personal grudge as he had refused to enhance his salary, has confessed to have fabricated the video. And, then he has taken steps to keep the driver’s version beyond judicial test of reliability thereof by informing the court of a settlement, arrived at out-of-court with the driver.

But, if the lady who features in the sex video, which, as per Singhvi’s statement was “consensual”, is truly a high profile lawyer of Delhi High Court with practice also in the Supreme Court as claimed, the matter cannot and must not end with the driver’s driven confession in the court or Singhvi’s information to the court of out-of-the-court settlement with the said driver; because, as innuendoes wallop, the lady was caught in the act of bartering the pleasure with Singhvi for help in elevation to the bench from the bar, as he, heading both the Standing Committee of Parliament on Personnel, Law and Justice as well as the Law and Justice Department of the Congress party that rules India through Sonia Gandhi as UPA Chairperson and Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister, was in the position to help her fulfill her ambition.

The court injunction has failed to obstruct circulation of the video and / or the news.

As people are increasingly being conscious of how heinous crimes in India are not being readily remedied because of availability of judicial cold-storage facilities to crime-based litigations in form of stay and injunctions, they have used social media to see and discuss the video.

Going by the number of hits the video has obtained in course of its circulation in social and online medias, several lakhs of viewers have already watched it.

Presumably, all the people connected with Singhvi – in the circle of his relations, in his profession, in his party and in the Parliament – have seen the video.

Social media being internet media, I have been trying all these days to find out if any of them comes out in the internet with reason to report that the male satyr displayed in the sex video is not Singhvi. But, I have not seen any. This makes me inclined to assume that almost all that know Singhvi personally, are believing that he is the male satyr in action in the sex video.

When thus the assumption tilts towards Singhvi, the lady in the nasty act is also named by people who know her. Surprisingly she stays conspicuous by her silence. On the other hand, suspecting that she was partnering with Singhvi with an eye on an superior judiciary position, one Sarbajit Roy, residing at B-59 Defense Colony, New Delhi 110024, has already made an application under RTI to the Central Public Information Officer, Supreme Court of India, to locate if she has any mention anywhere in relevant records that can justify the suspicion.

Singhvi resigning from the Parliamentary Standing Committee sans any disapproval thereof by the Congress party that had given him that position and getting dropped from party positions such as the party chief in its department of law and justice and party spokesmanship, has given the public clear indication that his close colleagues in the Congress do not accept his claim that the “contents of the CD” are “certainly not” true.

In the circumstances, it is essential for Singhvi to come out of the cocoon of out-of-court settlement that he has weaved with his driver projected as the manufacturer of the video and convince the country that he does not know the lady in the said video and in reality the male satyr therein is not he.

The matter getting murkier everyday with serious implications for body politic as well as for judiciary, it is essential for the Court to elicit from the driver the details of how he morphed Singhvi into the sexual act and to test his version on the matrix of science in different labs including foreign labs within its discretion and under secrecy to be disclosed along with the final verdict.

Appropriate examination of the video can also determine if it is morphed or genuine.

These are urgent and unavoidably essential necessities.

Pending this essential, it is urgent for the Congress to ask Singhvi to resign from the Rajyasabha or else, for the parliament to refer him to a competent court to know if he is not of “unsound mind”.

Satyriasis as viewable in the video is a mental disorder and the shenanigans so far observed are indicative of abnormal developments. Both the phenomena may be interpreted as effects of unsound mind.

The Constitution of India under Article 102 (1) (b) has stipulated that “a person shall be disqualified for being chosen as, and for being, a member of either House of Parliament – if he is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent court”.

The development, when the person is already a member, protected under parliamentary privileges, makes it necessary for the Parliament to test whether or not the person is of “unsound mind”, so that, democracy, of which the Parliament is the protector, does not go haywire.

Pending this determination, Singhvi should be made to quit the Parliament till at least it is proved that the male satyr in the sex video is not he.

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How Does the Chief Information Commissioner Function? See an Instance

– Pradip Pradhan*

If you seek information on liquor trade, you may be thrashed by excise officials and smashed by Information Commissions. See an instance.

On 21.10.08, Mr. Himanshu Tripathy, a journalist based at Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district had applied to the PIO, Office of Superintendent of Excise, Bhawanipatna for information on liquor shops as well as production and consumption etc. of liquor, in Junagarh area of Kalahandi district. Getting no information, Mr. Tripathy filed a complaint petition before Orissa Information Commission on 1 February 2009. It took around nine months to be heard!

On 20 October 2009, the case was heard by Mr. D. N. Padhi, State Chief Information Commissioner (SCIC).

During the hearing, the PIO submitted that he had supplied the information in two installments on 19 and 25 November 2008 consecutively.

The complainant alleged that the PIO had given a wrong statement inasmuch as he had not supplied the information as requisitioned in his application, and the so-called information provided to him were false and fabricated. After hearing the case, the Commission directed the PIO to allow the complainant to verify and inspect the documents and records available in his office and provide him the requisite information by 15 November 2009 free of cost.

As per the direction of the Commission, the complainant visited the office of Superintendent of Excise, Bhawanipatna on 27 October 2009. He was shown some files which were not at all relevant. As he objected, the PIO and his staff hurled obnoxious language and manhandled him. They also threatened him with more brute action if he does not desist from insisting upon the information. After he returned empty handed, the PIO sent a constable to his residence in the night around 11 PM obviously to intimidate him.

In the second hearing held on 14 December 2009, the complainant explained in detail the humiliating incident that took place in the office of the Superintendent of Excise on 27 October 2009.

Mr. D.N. Padhi , SCIC hearing the case ordered the PIO to provide the information on the spot.

The PIO agreed to give him information after the hearing is over. The SCIC decided to close the case. But the complainant made a request to the Commission not to close the case as the PIO used repeatedly to serve false and misleading information. The complainant also demanded penalty against the PIO under Section 20 of the Act as he had made a long delay in providing the information over and above the acts of intimidation he has committed. The Commission fixed 2nd March 2010 as the next and final hearing of the case.

But, the complainant was smashed by the Commission as he was served with an order telling him of the disposal of the case on 14 December 2009. Neither the Complainant, Mr. Tripathy got the information applied for nor was the PIO penalized for his defiance of RTI Act and use of muscles and other means of intimidation against the RTI applicant.

This is how Orissa’s Chief Information Commissioner, who is paid approximately a sum of 1, 30,000 INR per month is delivering justice in RTI-Cases.

* Sri Pradhan is a prominent RTI Activist of Orissa.

JUDGES ARE NOT LORDS OVER THE REPUBLIC

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Every Indian is proud of the fact that he / she belongs to the Republic of India. But every patriotic Indian is embarrassed over the fact that this Republic stands synonymous with contradiction and corruption. This is because; post-independence India has failed to honor the wishes of its founding fathers.

The father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, had expressly wished that in free India, the Governments must keep in mind the poorest person while drafting the Plans for the country. His followers reduced his wishes to mere wishful thinking. When Congressmen are busy in competition to become factotums of Sonia Gandhi, why should we think that they could at any point of time have given importance to Mahatma Gandhi? History cannot but say that the Congress Government that stepped into power immediately after independence would be remembered for two things: one, for failure to save Gandhiji from the assassin and two, for declaring the Communist Party of India illegal so that in Constitution making, the propertied class should face no problem in safe guarding its own interest.

Giving vent to his deep dissatisfaction over failure to protect poor peoples’ interest in the Constitution, in his concluding address to the Constituent Assembly, Dr. B.R.Ambedkar had noted, “On 26th January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradiction. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic rights, we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognizing the principle of one man and one vote, one value. In our social and economic rights we shall by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny one man, one value.” (Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol.XI, p.979)

This inequality, as analyzed by Shibanikinkar Chaube in ‘Constituent Assembly of India’ (PPH, 1973), was caused by “the pressure of the propertied class”.

When President Rajendra Prasad was to admit that “the defects are inherent in the situation in the country”(Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol.XI, p.993), Dr. Ambedkar had expressed serious doubts over longevity of the Republic. “We must remove this contradiction 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”, he had warned.

But Governments of India have never heeded to his warning as a result of which India has already become two Indias.

Political equality has kept the geographical India in tact, but economic inequality has brought majority of Indians look at a handful of Indians as of a different India, best captioned in apolitical popular slogans like “Tere India mahan, mere Bharat pareshan”, which roughly means, your India may be great, but my Bharat is in turmoil.

We must try to stop this rising feeling of two Indias. We must cast off hypocrisy to admit that Ambedkar’s warning not heeded to, the victims of inequality have started to “blow up the structure of political democracy” that the founding fathers of Indian Republic had “so laboriously built up”. Terminating Naxals by military guns or using State terror to silent the oppressed poor will not close up the gap between these two Indias. Elimination of economic inequality will do.

But how has economic inequality become so massive? A man who was working for a paltry sum of Rs.300/- only per month three decades prior to his death died as the owner of around Rs.70,000 Crores and the luminaries of this country beginning from the Prime Minister to newspaper editors, instead of telling the nation as to where from and how he earned this massive money, cried over his death like widows cry over the pyres of their husbands!

This syndrome has encouraged the mafia. And, in our country, where Laws are so rampant, no mafia could have grown without backing of the Law Enforcement Authorities (LEA).

This gives us a sad feeling of black sheep presence in our LEAs that includes also the Judiciary.

It is not for nothing that a demand for disclosure of properties of Judges is so constant.

Many a judges even of higher judiciary have exhibited such conduct that not only the Chief Justice or Collegiums of Judges have felt the need for action against them, but also the general public has started looking at Judges askance. Peoples have started believing the Cinema depictions that behind every high profile mafia, there must be a Judge!

In such circumstances, it is better for the republic if property-list of every public functionary including the members of Judiciary, whosoever draws salary from taxpayer’s money is disclosed.

To avoid embarrassment over disclosure on demand, the property list of every public functionary should be authentically posted in the Internet in the portals of the institution he or she works with.

The Chief Justice of India Hon’ble Justice K G Balakrishnan in a recent response has disapproved the necessity of property disclosure in respect of senor Judges.

It is really indecent to ask the Judges to disclose their properties list. It connotes to expressing no confidence on Judges. Ethically it is not proper.

Personally I may stand with the views of the CJI as to me, Judiciary being the last refuge of our peoples, Judges should never be subjected to peoples asking for their properties list.

But as India is crumbling into two Indias, as observed supra, it is imperative that to equip peoples for defeating plutocracy and for putting leash on corruption that has so far served plutocracy and savagely widened the gap between economically unequal peoples of the country and to save the motherland from the “contradiction” so correctly pointed out by Dr. Ambedkar, the Judges should post their properties list in the respective portals of the High Courts and the Supreme Court for anybody to see that without indulging in demands to know of their properties under the Right To Information Act.

It should be appropriate for the Judges to appreciate that notwithstanding all the respects, we the general public of India unambiguously pay them, they are not and cannot be the Lords over the Republic.