Tuesday, July 31, 2007

US non-proliferation policy with India

Let facts speak for themselves

By Brahma Chellaney


US non-proliferation policy, with its export controls and sanctions approach, was fashioned largely in response to India’s 1974 nuclear test. More than 33 years later, that policy has come full circle, with the United States reaching agreement with India to resume civil nuclear cooperation. Yet, US and Indian official statements on the still-undisclosed text of the so-called 123 agreement have brought out in sharp relief the onerous conditions New Delhi has been made to accept.

The deal’s raison d’être is spot on: a new strategic partnership. Yet, on issues from reprocessing to assured fuel supply, the US has sought to accommodate India’s concerns more through symbolism than policy modification. America, for instance, has kept a veto on Indian reprocessing until such time it can negotiate follow-up "arrangements and procedures" — that too after India has completed a new "state-of-the-art" facility. On other key issues, including a unilateral test ban on India, the US "right to return" and centrality of the Hyde Act, there hasn’t been a change even in nuance. Even before the fine print has been released, the writing on the wall has become clear.

* First is the primacy of the Hyde Act, which defines India-specific terms and conditions over 41 pages.

According to undersecretary Nicholas Burns, "we kept reminding the Indian side, and they were good enough to negotiate on this basis that anything we did had to fall within, and respect, the legal guidelines that Congress had set forth." For his part, national security adviser M.K. Narayanan has conceded: "The PM had always taken the view that if you have a legal problem, we will not try to ask you to break the law, but we should find the language that would meet the obligations of both sides." Semantic lollypops indeed are what India has been left holding.

If anything, the 123 agreement expressly reinforces the Hyde Act by citing the applicability of national laws to govern cooperation.

Contrast that with what Parliament was told last December after the Hyde Act’s enactment: the government has "taken note of certain extraneous and prescriptive provisions in the legislation," and that "there are areas which continue to be a cause for concern, and we will need to discuss them with the US administration before the bilateral cooperation agreement can be finalised."

* Second is a permanent test ban on India, with the cooperation arrangements stacked against Indian testing through overt punitive elements.

According to Burns, the proposed cooperation is premised on the US "hope and trust that it won’t be necessary for India to test in the future." India is being dragged through the backdoor into the CTBT, which the US has failed to ratify.

Not only does the Hyde Act go beyond other US laws to remove executive flexibility and require automatic termination of waiver in case of an Indian test, but also New Delhi has itself acquiesced to cooperation on the basis of the test prohibition in the Act’s Section 106. India thus will have no case in international law if the US terminated all cooperation in response to an Indian test. Yet, the Prime Minister is quoted as telling the CWC that, "India retains the right to test, while the US retains the right to react."

* Third is the US right to seek the return of all nuclear items and materials if India were to breach any of the prescribed conditions, including the test prohibition and a bar on any entity or individual "under India’s jurisdiction" making an export in violation of NSG or MTCR guidelines.

As Burns has put it, "That right-of-return has been, of course, preserved as it must be under our law, and there has been no change in how we understand the rights of the American President and the American government." By acquiescing to the US "right to return," India is accepting that the supplier is at liberty to lawfully terminate cooperation retroactively.

* Fourth is New Delhi’s grudging acceptance that despite America’s July 18, 2005 promise of "full civil nuclear cooperation and trade," India will face a continued embargo on importing equipment and components related to enrichment, reprocessing and heavy-water production, even when such activities are under IAEA inspections and for peaceful purposes.

Burns has cited "major restrictions in American law" to justify such continued sanctions. The Indian fact-sheet released last weekend says the "purpose" of the 123 agreement is to enable "full" cooperation, without admitting that the US reluctance to adjust its laws in that respect defeats the cited purpose.

Not only does the Hyde Act debar transfer to India of any "sensitive" civil nuclear equipment or technology, but also its Section 105(a)(5) directs Washington to "work with members of the NSG, individually and collectively, to further restrict the transfers" of reprocessing, enrichment and heavy-water technologies to India. Yet the Act demands that the target country, India, actively work with the US to prevent the spread of enrichment and reprocessing technologies to third countries.

* Fifth is that the American assurance of uninterrupted fuel supply for safeguarded reactors covers only disruption due to market failure or technical or logistical difficulties, but not sanctions arising from India’s non-compliance with the US-prescribed non-proliferation conditions.

So, despite fuel assurances having been written into the 123-agreement text, Burns has made it clear that "none of that contradicts or conflicts with the legal right of any American President" to terminate supply or invoke the right to demand the return of stockpiled fuel if India, in "the worst-case hypothetical event in the future," breached the stipulated non-proliferation conditions.

It would actually defeat the very objective of the Hyde Act — to hold India on a non-proliferation leash — if New Delhi were guaranteed permanent fuel supply in all circumstances. The Act indeed decrees that India be prevented from building any fuel stockpile of a size that would permit its "riding out any sanctions that might be imposed" by the US in the future. The only fuel stocks it permits India to build are merely to "minimise down time when reactor cores are removed."

Given that the Hyde Act serves as the legal framework for cooperation, the US fuel assurances in the 123 agreement are subordinate to the legislative conditions. These assurances, including a notional right for India to take corrective measures, are really intended to help New Delhi save face at home.

With the latest 123 agreement, America now has 24 such bilateral agreements, none of which guarantees what the Prime Minister had sought — lifetime fuel supply. The one accord that did — the 1963 agreement with New Delhi, which guaranteed fuel "as needed" by India — the US broke with impunity, despite the absence of an overarching law like the Hyde Act. Now, India will accept perpetual IAEA inspections on its entire civil nuclear programme without an unequivocal guarantee of perpetual fuel supply.

* Sixth is that India has agreed, according to Burns, that "all future breeder reactors will come under safeguards."

That will leave out only the tiny experimental breeder and the under-construction prototype breeder (which together, according to US national security adviser Stephen Hadley, have "very limited capability"). And although both sides admit the Indian strategic programme would not be directly affected, the deal’s embedded qualitative and quantitative checks would "limit the size and sophistication of India’s nuclear-weapons programme," in the earlier words of Joseph R. Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

* Seventh is that despite the hoopla about a supposed major American concession, the US will keep a prior-consent veto on Indian reprocessing until New Delhi in the years ahead has negotiated with it "arrangements and procedures" that pass muster with Congress.

To help the Indian government save face domestically, Washington has indeed conceded a theoretical right to New Delhi to reprocess, but preserved its veto until such time that India, on its own cost, has built, in Burns’ words, a "new state-of-the-art" reprocessing facility under IAEA safeguards, and only "then the subsequent arrangements and procedures will be agreed to by the US and India."

So the practical right to reprocess would not form part of the agreement under Section 123 of the US Atomic Energy Act, but is to be worked out in the future under Section 131, titled "Subsequent Arrangements." Securing the practical right would thus entail a second round of congressional scrutiny and approval.

The accompanying table on reprocessing shows how history is repeating itself. By agreeing to reprocessing-related terms that are tougher than those in the earlier 123 agreement signed in 1963, India risks sliding deeper into the same trap from which it wishes to extricate itself.

Just as it built a special facility at Tarapur to reprocess spent fuel under the safeguards-related terms of the 1963 accord, it has pledged to construct a new reprocessing facility under the latest agreement. But even though the PREFRE facility at Tarapur passed muster with the IAEA, and India reprocessed spent fuel from RAPS I & II there under IAEA inspections, the US refused until the very end of that 123 agreement to jointly determine with New Delhi the facility’s safeguards-related adequacy.

The US did not have any prior-consent veto in the 1963 agreement, yet it breached its terms by continuously refusing to either exercise its first option to buy Tarapur spent fuel in excess of India’s needs or to carry out a safeguards-related "joint determination" of the PREFRE facility. What gives New Delhi confidence that when the US shunned a simple "joint determination" of an IAEA-certified reprocessing facility, it would be willing to work out, to India’s satisfaction, complex "arrangements and procedures" under Section 131 in the years ahead?

India’s last reprocessing facility at Kalpakkam took five years to complete. The new "start-of-the-art" facility could take longer, given that the US would have a say in its design. Only thereafter, as Burns has repeatedly clarified, would the US negotiate with India reprocessing-related "arrangements and procedures" needing congressional approval.

Contrast that statement with the claim in the Indian fact-sheet that to give "effect" to the Indian right to reprocess, "India will establish a national reprocessing facility to reprocess IAEA safeguarded nuclear material, and the parties will agree on arrangements and procedures within one year." No sooner had this claim been made than the NSA conceded in a newspaper interview that "I don’t think the whole thing will be decided in one year." He raised the spectre of "spoilers" nitpicking on the facility design.

Even before the reprocessing issue is operationally resolved, Burns foresees that "American companies will be able to go in (for reactor contracts), and we’re very anxious to have that happen" as soon as Congress is able to pass the 123 agreement.

* In addition, there are other conditions, spelled out in the Hyde Act.

Among them are US end-use monitoring (which the government says is unavoidable, given the bilateral end-use verification agreement governing high-tech exports), New Delhi’s "unilateral adherence" to US-led regimes unrelated to the nuclear field, and an annual presidential certification of India’s "full compliance" with the congressionally imposed conditions.

Eager to underpin the assorted congressional conditions, America negotiated the 123-agreement text by relying on a battery of lawyers, who have given India only a fig leaf to comply with the new US-set non-proliferation obligations. Burns referred to "legions of lawyers on both sides of the table." But there was no lawyer on the Indian side, as the NSA has admitted. According to the NSA, "our country is not litigious like that" and "I must say God played his role in this" agreement. Having fashioned diplomacy on hope, the government wants the country to repose its faith in God, too. Personalised policymaking, wishful thinking and a disinclination to learn from the past, sadly, remain India’s curse.

Courtesy_
Deccan Chronicle

http://www.deccan.com/Columnists/Columnists.asp#Let%20facts%20speak%20for%20themselves

Constitutional fraud in Goa

Constitutional fraud in Goa

By making a mockery of the confidence vote in the Assembly, the Congress-led regime in Goa has committed a brazen fraud on the Constitution. The straightforward way out of this crisis is for Governor S.C. Jamir to dismiss the illegitimate government of Chief Minister Digambar Kamat immediately — and invite the Leader of the Opposition, Manohar Parrikar of the Bharatiya Janata Party, to take his turn. After seeing its majority melt away, the Congress relied on Speaker Pratapsinh Rane to manipulate the floor test by preventing three members of the House from casting their vote. One of them, Victoria Fernandes, was a Congress dissident who submitted her resignation but failed to comply with the Assembly rule that required her to convince the Speaker that her resignation was ‘voluntary’ and ‘genuine.’ But no law or rulebook can justify the manner in which Mr. Rane prevented the two members of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Sudin Dhavalikar and Dipak Dhavalikar, from voting. These legislators, who had extended support to the Congress-led alliance after last month’s Assembly election, were well within their rights in withdrawing support to the government. A section of the MGP top rung was in favour of continuance of support, but the two MLAs who comprise the MGP legislature party are not legally bound by any decision of the organisational leadership. The Speaker compounded the flagrant illegality of his actions by casting his vote in favour of the government — even though there was no tie.

The BJP clearly has the numbers in its favour. So what the Speaker did was to cynically rob Mr. Parrikar of the opportunity to prove the numerical superiority of the opposition in the House. It was no surprise that Mr. Parrikar led a walkout of the members of the newly formed Goa Democratic Alliance ahead of the confidence vote, which was then deemed to have been passed by a voice vote. The Governor, who asked for an early floor test and sent in his observer to oversee it, is himself on test. He needs to demonstrate that he has no role whatsoever in the anti-constitutional game played by the Speaker and the Congress party. He must act decisively to undo the constitutional mischief by dismissing the Kamat regime, invite Mr. Parrikar to form his government, and ask him to prove his majority in the House as early as possible. It is the democratic responsibility of the Congress high command to ensure that the Speaker does not persevere in a course that is guaranteed to bring more infamy and chaos to the governance of the State — and invite judicial intervention once again in what used to be zealously considered a purely legislative domain.

© Copyright 2000 - 2006 The Hindu

Courtesy_
THE HINDU

http://www.thehindu.com/2007/07/31/stories/2007073160831200.htm

Courtesy_
THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS ePaper

Monday, July 30, 2007

Justice Sathasivam elevates to Supreme Court

Justice Sathasivam cleared for elevation to Supreme Court

Legal Correspondent

No consensus on filling three other vacancies in the apex court



Justice P. Sathasivam

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court collegium has cleared the elevation of Justice P. Sathasivam of the Punjab and Haryana High Court as a Supreme Court judge. The total strength of judges in the Supreme Court is 26. The collegium of five seniormost judges including Chief Justice K. G. Balakrishnan, which met for recommending names to fill four vacancies, could decide only on Justice Sathasivam, according to authoritative sources.

Though the names of Justice A. P. Shah, Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, Justice M. Karpagavinayagam, Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court, and Justice T. Meena Kumari, Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, were considered, there was no consensus.

At present, there is no woman judge in the Supreme Court.

Sources say the recommendation in favour of Justice Sathasivam has been sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and from him the file will go to President Pratibha Patil. The appointment is expected within a fortnight.

The 58-year-old Mr. Justice Sathasivam, No. 2 judge in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, will on elevation have a tenure of about seven years in the Supreme Court. He is likely to be the Chief Justice of India for over a year from 2013 onward.

Mr. Justice Sathasivam, who was initially appointed a permanent judge of the Madras High Court in January 1996, was shifted to the Punjab and Haryana High Court in April this year. In the Supreme Court, he will represent Tamil Nadu after Justice A. R. Lakshmanan, who retired in March this year and who has since been appointed Chairman of the Law Commission.

Normally the Chief Justice of a High Court is considered for elevation to the Supreme Court.

However, in exceptional cases even the seniormost judges there are considered for appointment as Supreme Court judges.

The collegium has time and again made it clear that seniority is not the only criterion and other factors also go into its recommendations.

© Copyright 2000 - 2006 The Hindu

Courtesy_
THE HINDU

http://www.thehindu.com/2007/07/29/stories/2007072958380100.htm

Saturday, July 28, 2007

CJI unveiled Puducherry New Court Complex


Be more concerned about litigant public: Chief Justice

Staff Reporter

Inaugurates new court complex in Puducherry

— Photo: T. Singaravelou

new opening: Justice P.D. Dinakaran of the Madras High Court welcoming Chief Justice of the Supreme Court K.G. Balakrishnan into the new court building in Puducherry on Sunday. Chief Justice of the Madras High Court A.P. Shah and Chief Minister N. Rangasamy are in the picture.

PUDUCHERRY: Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Justice K.G. Balakrishnan has appealed to lawyers to be more concerned about the litigant public.

Speaking after inaugurating a new court building and laying the foundation stone for additional court blocks in Puducherry on Sunday, Mr. Justice Balakrishnan said that personal difficulties such as these involved in shifting from one place to another should not stand in the way of creating better facilities for the public.

In his presidential address, Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, Justice A.P. Shah said there were 12 courts in Puducherry, three in Karaikal and one each in Mahe and Yanam. Chief Minister N. Rangasamy said that within a year’s time the criminal court building would be completed. He urged the judiciary to take steps for speedy disposal of cases.

© Copyright 2000 - 2006 The Hindu

Courtesy_
THE HINDU

http://www.thehindu.com/2007/07/30/stories/2007073059360900.htm


CJI to unveil new court complex

Staff Reporter

PUDUCHERRY: Chief Justice of Supreme Court K.G. Balakrishnan will declare open the new court complex, constructed at a cost of Rs.25 crore, on Cuddalore Road at 11 a.m. on Sunday in the presence of Justice Markandey Katju and Justice V.S. Sirpurkar, judges of the Supreme Court.

Puducherry Chief Judge D. Krishnaraja told presspersons here on Friday that the CJ would lay the foundation stone for constructing additional blocks, which include blocks for criminal court, Legal Services Authority, Bar Association, and a utility block. Lt. Governor Mukut Mithi will be the chief guest.

Chief Minister N. Rangasamy and Law Minister E Valsaraj will grace the occasion. Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, A.P. Shah and judges of the Madras High Court, Justice P. K. Misra, Justice P.D. Dinakaran and Justice R. Balasubramanian will participate.

Mr. Krishnaraja said that initially the civil courts, the family court and three criminal courts of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Judicial Magistrate -I and Judicial Magistrate-II will be shifted there. The criminal courts will be shifted to the second block, which will be ready within a year.

The building will have rooms for judicial officers, bar association, women advocates, senior advocates, clerks of advocates and a pressroom. The family court will have facilities such as a crèche, rest room and also a counselling room. A rest room would be provided to prisoners, who are brought to the courts.

© Copyright 2000 - 2006 The Hindu

Courtesy_
THE HINDU

http://www.thehindu.com/2007/07/28/stories/2007072851790300.htm

Courtesy_
Dinamalar ePaper

Thursday, July 19, 2007

EC Press Note on Right to vote or not to vote

ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA

Nirvachan Sadan, Ashoka Road, New Delhi – 110001.

No.ECI/PN/32/2007 Dated: 17th July, 2007.

PRESS NOTE

Subject: Presidential Election, 2007 – Right to vote or not to vote – Clarification - regarding.

Certain doubts have arisen in the minds of some of the electors at the current Presidential Election, 2007 and also in the minds of some political parties supporting one or the other candidate at the election, in the wake of a decision stated to have been taken by a group of political parties that the members of Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies belonging to their parties will abstain from voting at the said election. The doubts that have been raised are to the effect whether a member of a political party voting in defiance of the political party’s decision would attract the disqualification on the ground of defection under the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution of India or the political party taking such decision would be liable to any penalty for asking their members to vote in a particular manner or not to vote at all.

The Commission would like to clarify in this context that the voting at election to the Office of President of India is not compulsory, like the voting at elections to the House of the People and State Legislatures where also there is no compulsion to vote. The ‘electoral right’ of a voter is defined in Section 171A (b) of the Indian Penal Code to ‘mean the right of a person to stand, or not to stand as, or to withdraw from being, a candidate or to vote or refrain from voting at election’. Thus, every elector at the Presidential election has the freedom of making a choice to vote for any of the candidates or not to vote at the election, as per his free will and choice. This will equally apply to the political parties and they are free to canvas or seek votes of electors for any candidate or requesting or appealing to them to refrain from voting. However, the political parties cannot issue any direction or whip to their members to vote in a particular manner or not to vote at the election leaving them with no choice, as that would tantamount to the offence of undue influence within the meaning of Section 171C of the IPC.

The Commission may also like to further clarify that voting at election to the office of President is different from voting by a member of Parliament or State Legislature inside the House and that, as held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the provisions of the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution of India may not apply to the voting at the Presidential election.

A question arose before the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Kuldip Nayar v Union of India (AIR 2006 SC 3127) whether the provisions of Tenth Schedule to the Constitution would be attracted in the case of the election to the Rajya Sabha if a member of a State Legislative Assembly votes for a candidate in defiance the party’s directions, where the votes are now given by the system of open voting. The Hon’ble Supreme Court held that an elector would not attract the penal provisions of the Tenth Schedule for having so voted at the Rajya Sabha election.

Attention may be invited to the following observations of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in that case:-

( 183 ) It is the contention of the petitioners that the fact that election to fill the seats in the Council of States by the legislative assembly of the State involves 'voting', the principles of Tenth Schedule are attracted. They argue that the application of the Tenth Schedule itself shows that open ballot system tends to frustrate the entire election process, as also its sanctity, besides the provisions of the Constitution and the RP Act. They submit that the open ballot system, coupled with the looming threat of disqualification under the Tenth Schedule reduces the election to a political party issuing a whip and the candidate being elected by a show of strength……..

…… in view of the law laid down in Kihoto Hollohan v. Zachillhu (supra), it is not correct to contend that the open ballot system tends to expose the members of the Legislative Assembly to disqualification under the Tenth Schedule since that part of the Constitution is meant for different purposes.

Earlier also, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has observed in Pashupati Nath Sukul v Nem Chandra Jain (AIR 1984 SC 399) that elections to the Rajya Sabha by members of the State Legislative Assemblies are a non-legislative activity and not a proceeding within the State Legislature.

The election to the Office of the President is also held by an electoral college which consists of elected members of both House of Parliament and elected members of the State Legislative Assemblies (Article 54 of the Constitution). The electors of this Electoral College vote at the Presidential election as members of the said Electoral College and the voting at such election is outside the House concerned and not a part of the proceeding of the House.

Therefore, the above quoted observations of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Kuldip Nayar (Supra) and Pashupati Nath Sukul (Supra), will apply with equal force at the Presidential election as well. Accordingly, in the Commission’s opinion, the voting or not voting as per his/her own free will at the Presidential election will not come within the ambit of disqualification under the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution of India and the electors are at liberty to vote or not to vote at the Presidential election as per their own free will and choice.

(A.K. MAJUMDAR)

PRINCIPAL SECRETARY

Courtesy_

http://www.eci.gov.in/press/current/PN_17072007.PDF

Comments on Pratiba

Comments
Pratibha Patil should herself withdraw if she has self dignity.
Posted by: shruti on 3 Jul, 07
It is shameful to all political parties those are supporting such a candidate for the Highest Post of the country against whome such comments are coming in the various News papers and I am unable to understand how a candidate who is interested to get this post is not taking her name out of the race. It is really shamful for such a big country Like India- It is also shameful that these politicians are not supporting Dr. Kalaam who is very much liked by everyone since he is Honest and educated..So Think Politicians
Posted by: shiv on 28 Jun, 07
Those farmers who have air-conditioned bungalows and four-wheelers, default bank loans, they are subsidised with write-off facilities. If the defaulter happens to be a politician and the defaulted amount runs into crores, the defaulter is eligible to become President. Social justice with a difference!
Posted by: R.Subramanian on 27 Jun, 07
what a shame on UPA government and specially on Sonia Gandhi that they have backed "Pratiba Patil" who is involved into so many SCAMS. Entire country should oppose this decision and the government should declare a fresh name for the presidents post. Infact they should now keep mum and back our present president Mr. Abdul kalam. How can we allow somebody to be the president of our country who is involved in misusing the public money..??? cases should be framed against her and a proper inquiry should be done...the selection of president should be made public and public poll should also be considered for the same...it will be really shameful for the entire country if Pratiba Patil is made the president.she doesnt deserve that post....
Posted by: Aman on 27 Jun, 07
TV Channels, Mobile Operators and new papers carried out opinion polls, APJK got 80%plus, Pratiba got 10% still we are going to have Pratiba as President. Is it not a crude joke on the real will of the people. Lastly, Sharad Pawar ( in cricket language ) and Lalu,.the saviour of Indian railways commented about APJK. This hurt people more. There is board displaying a statement of Jawaharlal Nehru in Trichy Airport. You get what you deserve. We do not deserve APJK to be our President. APJK, Sir, You are still great to us. You have enhanced the stature of Indian President to himalyan heights, by your immaculate approach. Pratibha will take it to the bottom of Bay of Bengal.( But it may help us to find out the availability of Oil, which will be more interesting to Italian.
Posted by: M Sankar on 26 Jun, 07
If Congress really wants a woman to head this country then there are more many womens in India are eligible with background of international stature.Secondly Pratibha Patil should have been first choice from congress not third or forth after rejection of their earlier candidates Shivraj Patil,Shushilkumar Shinde,Dr.Karan sinh.Womens in india must realise the game plan played by Congress and playing with hearts of Indian Women.For them Womanhood is tool to master stroke the opponant.
Posted by: Ajay Gajaria on 26 Jun, 07
I can understand Congress selecting Mrs. Prathibha Patil as they cannot find another honest person in present italian lady congress. But the Communists who shouted full throat and beating their chests the criteria for the Presidential candidate. Now it has became clear that their candidate supports his brother who was involved in a murder of congress person and swallowed poor farmers money , who Communists claim and swear by farmers , crores of Rs , distribution of farmers money among the kin etc. etc.If really they have honor and credit it is not too late to change the candidate or abstain from voting or vote for independent supported by NDA. Otherwise communists as usual bark but not bite or follow their own words.
Posted by: CRS Gupta on 25 Jun, 07
Worse is yet to come.
Posted by: Ramachandra on 25 Jun, 07
Even we should have a open debate among the contestant, shown live (just as they do in USA). Kalam did which no other president did in past and its a pity that we cant do anything to re-elect him. Our will be unique nation! Lady president, Communist VP, Sardar PM and an Italian (now more indian) running the country! We sure live in a blessed nation!
Posted by: Jajoo on 25 Jun, 07
Tai of Frauds to be First citizen of us. What a joke. Teh chair which can boast of presidents such as Dr Abdul Kalam Saheb, Dr. Radha Krishnan and above all Dr. Rajendra Prasad is being sold for the benefit of Congress dynasty.
Posted by: indra on 25 Jun, 07
It is for this very reason she was chosen by Sonia, so that she can be black mailed and derive higher devidends. Next time, if chance comes, Sonia will not sacrifice PM post. That is why there is no place for Honest and Clean people in CONGRESS. By the way what would the Hindi belt people call her if she becomes Rashtra-Pati.
Posted by: Prabhakar Rao on 25 Jun, 07
congress is the of cunning people ,so no surprise . People should be blammed for bringing congress into power .
Posted by: mahesh on 25 Jun, 07
All these stories shows that she is not a capable candidate for the highest post of India. And the only person want to keep Mrs Patil to this post is Sonia and she want another popet like our PM to the top post. This is the biggest shame to India and All Indians.
Posted by: Lokesh on 25 Jun, 07
These are perhaps tip of the ice berg !!!
Posted by: S Dasgupta on 25 Jun, 07
What a Shame....
Posted by: Akshay Pant on 25 Jun, 07
This Prez candidate is capable of selling the Rashtrapathi Bhavan. Folks, Watch out!
Posted by: Ravi Ranganathan on 25 Jun, 07
Its called politics........ The art of making the unacceptable the Most probable....... I don’t know her background neither do i care but if this is a glimpse of her Past You can Guess whats to come ........ We have people on one side vouching for her cause she might be the first lady Prez..... one the other side people are asking for explanations . but no one is asking the right question ....... Leave Patil aside ..... What did Kalam do wrong .... If you look at his tenure he has made a ceremonial position into a very effective one... May be that’s his fault .......
Posted by: Rahul on 25 Jun, 07
I wish the president was elected by the people, not the peoples representative who play politics and a convenient person becomes the president.
Posted by: Akz on 25 Jun, 07
please dont make her our President, we all saw her glib comments regarding burkha, and now this. She proved herself incapable to be the President of India, what more proof these politician needs backing her?
Posted by: Rahul Rattan on 25 Jun, 07
It is not a surprise considering the calibre of those who support the candidate. One of the present senior cabinet ministers from a regional party which had shared power for the last ten years had challenged the constitutionality of the Debt Recovery Tribunal Act brought for speedy recovery of Bank Loans.
Posted by: G. Vijayaraghavan on 25 Jun, 07
It should be checked how much money she made from the college she runs in Jalgaon. According to information, once it was most natorious college of Maharastra in terms of capitation fees.
Posted by: Sunil Kumar on 25 Jun, 07
Cool...This should be shown to those politicians who are backing this candidate for the President of India post or may be they have choosen this canditate for this background, ironically, political background claimed by many famous readors.
Posted by: nanban on 25 Jun, 07

Courtesy_
NDTV

http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/postcomments.aspx?id=NEWEN20070016622

See also: Legal challenges to Pratiba:
http://archivenews.blogspot.com/2007/07/legal-challenges-to-pratiba.html

How to elect President?




Courtesy_
Dinamalar ePaper

Legal challenges to Pratiba

Legal challenges to candidature

An advocate Manohar Lal Sharma has filed a Public Interest Litigation before a bench of Supreme Court of India comprising Justice Tarun Chatterjee and Justice P K Balasubramanyan challenging her nomination for the presidential election 2007. The advocate has referred to the various allegations against Patil and her family members and sought the cancellation of her nomination papers on the ground of her being an undischarged insolvent. The petitioner raised legal and constitutional questions on whether a person declared to be an 'undischarged insolvent', for not clearing a debt to the public exchequer and others, was eligible to be elected president.

The apex court however observed that it could not act on mere allegations, and rejected the petition at the admission stage itself. The court said there was no merit in the petition as there was no document to substantiate the allegations and raised doubts about the petitioners real intention adding it was more of a "private interest litigation". The court ruled:

This petition is filed under Article 32 of the Constitution. We find no ground to interfere and exercise our jurisdiction. However, this will not prevent the petitioner from approaching appropriate authorities for redressal of his grievances.

The advocate then approached the Election Commission of India seeking her disqualification. The Election Commission, through an order, replied:

The question whether a person has become insolvent and whether he/she is still an undischarged insolvent has to be decided by the competent insolvency court under the provisions of the Provincial Insolvency Act, 1920, and not by the Commission. The Commission is not the appropriate forum. No action is called for on the part of the Commission on your representation.

Following this, the advocate again approached the court and filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) before a bench comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice R.V. Raveendran. He contended that the Election Commission had not applied it's mind to the matter, and sought quashing of the commission's order.

In another case a Delhi-based NGO has also filed a petition before the Delhi High Court alleging that Patil being Managing Trustee of Mumbai-based Shram Sadhana Bombay Trust, which is under the control of state government, was holding the office of profit making her ineligible to contest the President's election. The High Court has deferred the hearing until after election.

Controversies

Since Ms. Pratibha Patil's nomination as a presidential candidate, the media savvy BJP has been highlighting various issues with regard to her past activities and recent comments as part of their political campaign against her:

"Our media strategists are on the job. The BJP has launched a vigorous campaign against Patil, but the fact is that this is not a direct election in which people participate. Whether this media campaign will be able to win support from parties that do not want to associate themselves in any way with us is yet unclear," a senior BJP leader said.

The campaign successfully generated a lot of media attention on Ms. Pratibha Patil as a controversial and unworthy presidential candidate.

Defending itself on charges of "mud slinging" and spreading unsubstantiated rumours, the BJP emphasised that the allegations highlighted by it are not 'manufactured' or 'concoted' but derived from records available in the public domain - past and present media reports, statements of employees union, bank statements, RBI notices, payment notices from lenders, police and court enquiries etc.

The allegations have led to further petitions being filed in the courts for disqualifying her from contesting, which were either dismissed or are sill pending hearing (See the "Legal Challenges" section). While the BJP has been trying to build a strong public opinion against her, they clarified that they were not challenging her nomination on legal grounds:

The issue is actually moral, not so much legal.

Reacting to allegations UNPA leader Dr. Jayalalithaa asked the UPA to withdraw Ms.Pratibha patil and is quoted to have said:

"It is distressing to see that the highest constitutional office in the country had been subjected to mudslinging ... The nation has been embarrassed in the eyes of the world, because UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi wants a President who will be pliable".

Her supporters, the UPA, say that these "facts" highlighted are a clever mixture of truth, half-truths and exaggerations. They have also pointed out that these issues have never been raised in the past while she was a deputy chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, or during her tenure as a governor. They accused the BJP of launching a "malicious, unsubstantiated and deliberate" slanderous campaign just to damage her reputation. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh defended Ms. Pratibha patil and dismissed the charges as "mud-slinging". On Monday 2 July 2007 breaking her long silence Pritibha Patil described the allegations leveled against her as "false, malicious and baseless".

Prominent allegations against her that have been controversial are:

Allegations of Shielding her Brother on a Murder Charge

On June 22, 2007, a press conference was organised at the residence of Sukhbir Singh Dhindsa, a leader of the Akali Dal which is member of the BJP led NDA coalitio.

The Hindu reported:

At the press conference, Rajni Patil alleged that Ms. Pratibha Patil's brother was in some way involved in the murder of her (Ms. Rajni Patil's) husband several years ago. The suggestion was that Ms. Pratibha Patil had used her political influence to protect her brother. Copies of her memorandum to the President on this issue were distributed to the press by Mr. Sudheendra Kulkarni, an aide of Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani.

She further said that she had written to Sonia Gandhi and President Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam giving details about the allegation. BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad later told reporters:

These are all stark, important and disturbing facts much in existence even before she was considered as a candidate for the highest constitutional office of the country ... Therefore, consistent with the norms of dignity, transparency and constitutional propriety relating to such a high office, the BJP would like Pratibha Patil herself to satisfactorily reply to some of the most disturbing questions that have emerged from Rajni Patil's revelations

The same day, Mr. Sharad Pawar and Mr. Dasmunsi of the UPA refuted the allegations. Nagaland Post reported:

"It is a matter that the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) is probing. Anyway, her brother's name was not in the FIR (first information report) nor in the charge sheet," said Pawar, former Maharashtra chief minister. Both ministers blamed the opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA), of which the Akali Dal is a constituent, for the slur campaign against the presidential candidate. "I met Dhindsa in the morning and he said he did not have any idea about the press conference. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was shocked to see how his colleague's house was being used for dirty politics," Pawar remarked. Referring to reports that Sudheendra Kulkarni, a former Prime Minister's Office (PMO) official, had brought the woman to the national capital, Pawar said: "It looks like NDA was behind it." Dasmunsi added: "The malign campaign by an ex-PMO official close to the former prime minister (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) is most unfortunate. It reflects their frustration and desperation and is a sign of their losing the election."

Sushma Swaraj, NDA spokesperson and BJP leader Sushma Swaraj clarified:

No one in the NDA knows who this Rajni Patil is who is reported to have made some allegation against Ms. Pratibha Patil.

On July 13, 2007 Rajani Patil moved the Bombay High Court demanding that the CBI "interrogate" Ms. Pratibha Patil and her brother in connection with her husband's murder case before the presidential poll. Rajni Patil's petition requested that the CBI, which was directed by the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court to probe the case in February, must question Pratibha before July 19 (the date of voting for the presidential election) because she might get "presidential immunity" if she wins the poll.

Pratibha Women Cooperative Bank

Pratibha Mahila Sahakari Bank, a cooperative bank set up by Pratibha Patil in 1973 in her name, to empower women, had its license revoked in 2003 by the Reserve Bank of India for alleged financial irregularities. Among the reasons listed by the RBI for cancellation of the license was the faulty loan policy of the bank and loan interest waivers given, among others, to Pratibha Patil’s relatives. Pratibha Patil was one of the chairperson of the Bank and along with a number of her relatives, was one of its Directors. She is currently one of the 34 respondents in an ongoing case in the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court on the subject of mismanagement of the bank and misappropriation of funds by its Managing Directors.

In her defence, her supporters point out that she was not the founding president of the bank and that she held the job of the chairperson for only a month and eight days. They also point out that the RBI has never mentioned Patil's name in the report, and the court has not charge-sheeted her. Communist leader A.B. Bardhan cast doubts on the credibility of the the official employees union of the bank, which has been highlighting the issue of the banks mismanagement since 2002, drawing attention to the fact that it is associated with the BMS. union led by the BJP

Sant Muktabai Cooperative Sugar Factory

A cooperative sugar factory - Sant Muktabai Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana - of which Pratibha is a founder member, was declared a defaulter for failing to repay a Rs. 17.5 crore bank loan. Ms. Patil had been its chairperson and director till she became the Governor of Rajasthan. The loan was taken in 1994 when Pratibha was its chairperson but the factory has failed to repay the full amount. The bank sealed the factory on January 23, 2007 after issuing many reminders. This was the second occasion when the mill had been sealed. Earlier, it was sealed in January 2006, but was reopened after the board of directors headed by G. N. Patil - younger brother of Pratibha Patil requested for an opportunity to improve the performance of the mill.

In 2002 the chief commissioner of central excise and customs, Pune, issued notice to the factory for evading excise duty resulting from diversion of export-oriented sugar by the factory into domestic market.

Dubbing as "malign campaign" the allegations, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar defended her and noted that there was never any enquiry under Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act against her. He also pointed out that as many as 74 mills were issued notices in December 2006 and it was "unfortunate that only one particular case has been brought up in the media". Pawar said most of the mills had failed to repay the loans because of persistent drought affecting sugarcane production, leading these mills to go sick.

Polytechnic scam

According to the Economic Times the Shrama Sadhna Trust, a charitable trust in Mumbai of which Ms Patil is the managing trustee, is alleged to have siphoned funds totaling Rs 4.16 crore between 2001 and 2003 from an engineering polytechnic run by it in Jalgaon.

MPLADS scam

As Member of Parliament from Amravati between 1991 and 1996 Pratibha Patil had diverted Rs 36 lakh from her MPLADS fund to a trust run by her husband Devisingh Shekhawat. This was in violation of Government rules which barred MPs from providing funds to organisation run by their relatives.

Views on sterilisation

On 10 December 1975 when she was the Health Minister of Maharashtra Pratibha Patil advocated in Maharashtra Assembly that people with hereditary diseases should be compulsorily sterilised.

Purdah remarks

On June 17, 2007, Pratibha Patil made controversial remarks on the Purdah system, while addressing a congregation of Rajputs in Udaipur:

Women have always been respected in the Indian culture. The purdah system was introduced to protect them from the Muslim invaders. However, times have changed. India is now independent and hence, the systems should also change. Now that women are progressing in every field, we should morally support and encourage them by leaving such practices behind.

She was criticized by Islamic theologians connected with the Muslim Personal Law Board, for saying that the purdah system was introduced to protect women from Muslim cultural practices. Maulana Rashid said:

The statement is a clear reflection of Pratibha's mindset about Islam and Muslims. It is better the UPA should change its presidential candidate and opt for a more secular person for this post.

Divine indication

Patil claims to have spoken to the spirit of the deceased leader (Baba Lekhraj) of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University at their headquarters in Mount Abu, Rajasthan.

"Dadiji ke shareer mein Baba aye ... Maine unse baat ki (Baba entered Devi’s body and he communicated to me through her)," she said on TV camera. Reporters began to report on the message she received of a “divine indication“ of great responsibility coming her way.

Patil claims to have received the mediumistic message during the last season in which the spirits they call "Bapdada" communicated with the faithful of the Brahma Kumaris sect. She had gone to seek the blessings of Hirday Mohini, also known as Dadi Gulzar or Dadiji.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratibha_Patil

See also: Comments on Pratiba:

http://archivenews.blogspot.com/2007/07/comments-on-pratiba.html

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