Tag: constitution of india

BEING RULED IN A FREE STATE

The ongoing year has been saddening and have arisen this fear of living in a country I always appreciated for the fundamental rights we as a citizens have been given under the Constitution  of this so called great country. I have always been one of the foremost promoter of India knowing that what we have as a citizen of this nation is ahead of any other country in the world. The freedom of speech of all has been the most important right I have always been proud of and relished so far. Its this right that has so far made me express myself and not feel strangled in a free nation. Being an active member of the system as a lawyer I have always believed our laws are made in such a way that doesn’t just makes us free people but also gives us the sense and feel of freedom and not feel feared and scared.

When we chose non violence it was the resilience and freedom of speech that brought us the independence. The fundamental right of freedom of speech is not something they inculcated today in our constitution but it has been from the very first day. Back in the 50’s also it was thought that it is the freedom of speech which will make us a nation of above others and make us strong to accept criticism and evolve from it.

I got a message today from Nabeel (@softykid) saying that he was scared he might be also a victim one day as he is on the more.  This got me to introspect the past year and its shocking to rewind back to incidents when a businessman is arrested for a tweet on a politician’s son or a man being arrested for taking a picture of a minister and young girls being arrested for expressing their views. Where are we heading to??? Is this acceptable?

Most of these recent incidents had been contentious for the reason of an amendment to the IT Act wherein Section 66A was inserted. On a plain reading of Section 66A it sounds strangely drafted. Things have been left for the interpretation of the complainant and weirdly our enforcement agencies are not competent enough to interpret it in consonance with Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution. So if things are taken on the wordings of the Section 66A which says a mail message sent for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience to a person can lead to an imprisonment of upto 3 years with fine, how is the annoyance and inconvenience to be measured? If someone calls me a liar as I am a lawyer, it can be annoying for me, but then does my annoyance means a person be sent behind bars and ripped off his liberty and freedom? The interpretation of a Section has to be in consonance with the Constitution and nowhere violative of the basic rights and freedom provided to us under the Constitution.

I believe if the interpretation of a Section cant be done accurately and in the spirit, it is for our legislature to bring clarity to it. For me Section 66A is beyond the spirit of the Constitution and it will be a fit case for the courts to struck it down. I was reading the letter written by Justice Katju to the CM of Maharashtra and I totally agree with him that we are living in an arbitrary State where the entire system, be it the government or the opponent are hand in hand. I, at the end feel helpless that we are reaching a state of anarchy and justified violence and power. As always I still believe that we are the biggest fools living in this paradise who actually give power to these people who try to rule us in a free country. This way the time isn’t far when I will feel weak to call myself an Indian.

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Killing “We the people”

The Indian Constitution preamble
Image via Wikipedia

I had been in total support of Anna Hazare and his campaign against corruption, went to Jantar Mantar to show my support, shouted slogans – Anna tum sangharsh karo, hum tumhare saath hain. Yes I was with him till the blindfold was opened. Felt I had been with a few good men in a dark room, a room where you cant see the difference in good and bad, its all good.

Corruption, a cause which is probably the most vulnerable to us, something we have made a part of our life as we were left with no option.

I think Anna Hazare is a great man who took the courage to raise his voice in a nation which gives us the freedom to speak but has also empowered those who can shut our voice. He made us to believe that we can be one when its needed.

We are proud of being the foremost democracy in the world but to fight corruption we decided to kill the democracy we are proud of. We all know that there is a bunch of wrong people sitting on the top and ruling us, but then we are the one who made them sit there. It is these people who by good or bad, wrong or right, has taken us to a distinct position in the world. We stand in a respectable position in the world only because of our democracy. We don’t feel it but the inherent rights we get from our constitution is what makes us live comfortably.

So the agitation was to form a joint committee to draft the Jan Lokpal Bill, the base draft to be taken is the one which has been drafted by some of the agitators. The draft talks of forming a collegium consisting of noble laureates and other award winners who are Indian nationals, ex judges and of one representative of people. We are supporting a system which is non democratic and are agreeing to the judgment and integrity of a few persons who have achieved something in their field of expertise with almost no representation of people. So who are the people? Its us, ‘We the people’ is what the preamble of our constitution starts with. So we the people are those who have supported something which kills the very phrase ‘we the people’.

We agitated for public participation in the drafting of the bill. Public participation to my knowledge means participation of we the people. So it was a bunch of persons who started the agitation, we the people supported them and then was conveniently made to consent for their participation in the joint committee. None of us knew who they were before the agitation started, most of us still don’t know who they are. Yet we agreed to them representing us.

The Joint committee now has 10 people, 5 politicians and 5 representative of the civil society. 5 politicians who were elected by the mandate of more than a million Indians and 5 people who self elected themselves. So who among these 10 represent the civil society? I was thinking out of the 2 groups whom would I support if I had to. I could not think of reasons to support the 5 so called civil society representatives. To think of it, the 5 politicians sitting there are not only more capable of drafting a better bill but they also have support of more people than all of us who agitated put together. Strange they are not a representative of the civil society.

If an important bill is drafted then before being placed before the parliament it is put before the public inviting their comments and objections. These comments and objections are reviewed by the drafting committee and then incorporated. Thereafter the parliament discusses the bill and make changes and pass the final bill. After being passed by both the houses it is assented by the President and then becomes an Act. The public participation is there throughout from the drafting till it is becomes an Act, beauty of Democracy. So I fail to understand what will be benefitted by having the 5 good men in the drafting committee?

I did agitate for corruption because we deserve to live free from it, I agitated to show that we know how to come together for a cause, I agitated for my self conscience. I did not agitate to change the meaning of democracy, I did not agitate to disbelieve the decision made by a billion people, I did not agitate to kill democracy. If I had to make a committee of 5 people out of the 10 in the joint committee I would had chosen the 5 politicians as I feel they hold the consent of more people than the 5 who self elected themselves. I do support the agitation, but I don’t support the outcome of the agitation. I had thought of it to be a revolution but it turned out to be just an agitation. I know, I was fooled to be a part of something that killed ‘We the people’.