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The law on impeachment of judge

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The law on impeachment of judge

As many as 75 members of the Rajya Sabha, from BJP, Left Front, Samajwadi Party, JD(U), BJD, Shiv Sena, AGP and AIADMK, notwithstanding their political differences, submitted a joint notice of motion for the removal of Dinakaran. Justice Dinakaran is charged with possessing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income, acquisition of five housing board plots in favour of his wife and two daughters, benami transactions, possession of agricultural holdings in excess of the ceiling limit, illegal encroachment of public property “to deprive Dalits and poor of their right to livelihood”, “violation of human rights of Dalits and the poor”, destruction of evidence during underevaluation of properties” and illegal construction. The notice also charges him with “misuse of official position to unlawfully secure property and to facilitate other illegal acts for personal gain”. The Rajya Sabha Secretariat confirmed the receipt of the notice under Article 217 read with 124 (4) of the Constitution.

A member of the higher judiciary, which means the Judges and Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of India and the state High Courts, can be removed from service only through the process of impeachment under Article 124 (4) of the Constitution on grounds of proven misbehaviour or incapacity. In India, there is no other process by which a Judge can be removed from office before his term comes to an end. However, the process is very cumbersome. As per the Judges Inquiry Act, 1968, a complaint against a Judge has to be made through a resolution either by 100 members of the Lok Sabha or 50 Rajya Sabha members. After the MPs submit a duly signed motion to this effect to their respective presiding officers — Chairman of the Rajya Sabha or Speaker of the Lok Sabha — the presiding officer constitutes a three-member committee comprising two Judges — one from the Supreme Court and one Chief Justice of a High Court if the complaint is against a HC Judge; and two Supreme Court Judges if the complaint is against a sitting Judge of the apex court — and a jurist to probe the complaint and determine if it is a case fit for initiating the process of impeachment. Some Congress MPs belonging to the Dalit community have alleged ‘caste bias’ behind the move to impeach Karnataka High Court Chief Justice P D Dinakaran and are planning to mobilise Dalit MPs against the impeachment motion. They also plan to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi on this issue, even as the ruling party remains non-committal on its stance.

Look East and Look West Policy

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Major feature of the post-cold war India’s foreign policy is the so called “Look East” policy in which SE  Asia and East Asia, especially the regional organisation, ASEAN, has been identified as central to India’s policy in the Asia Pacific. The policy is seen as a fallout of the Indian economic reforms, end of the cold war era and expansion of globalisation.  This policy is a manifestation of India’s desire to build a strong relations with South East Asian countries and also with China, Japan, Korea, Australia and N. Zealand.
India has been adopting a three pronged approach in its Look East Policy, which are as follows:

  1. To renew political contacts with the ASEAN member nations.
  2. To increase economic interaction with S.E. Asia (trade, investment, science and technology, tourism, etc.);
  3. To forge defence links with several countries of this region as a means to strengthen political understanding and reviving the cultural past.

The 'Look East Policy' of the Government of India has been evolving since early 1990s with inputs from different Departments of the Government and we have been able to significantly deepen our engagement with ASEAN and other countries of South and East Asia. Exchange of high level visits and enhanced levels of bilateral trade and investment give frequent opportunities to upgrade the framework and content of the Look East Policy on a regular basis. The 'Look East Policy' of India, launched in 1992 also referred in 1990, has started to yield results. Two major developments are bound to affect the economic scenario in India. The two important developments may be enumerated as: (A) A Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) signed with South Korea, in the next five years economic exchange with Korea is expected to grow at a rate of more than 35 percent a year, taking the total trade between the two countries to more than $30 billion. (B) The India-ASEAN free trade agreement (FTA) signed with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (though only relating to goods at this stage) is expected to boost economic exchange with the trade block, with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of over $2 trillion.

With the Look East Policy in operation, India has emerged as the largest export market for Myanmar because it has the potential for meeting our ever-increasing need for items like pulses and beans.

Role of North east region (NER)

Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) has stressed to make northeast the centre of country’s Look East policy (LEP). The External Ministry has emphasised that Look East Policy has to stay as global cooperation has accelerated. But unless the northeast and the country in general ‘gears up’ for this it will ‘get swept aside or away’ by the forces of global trade to which India has already committed itself. The Ministry has coined a new term called public diplomacy.  With every physical operational part of LEP such as roads, telecommunication centres, transit, for facilitating trans-border trade having to pass through the region, understandably a problem for the LEP if the northeast does not play ball for whatever reasons.  Therefore, for the success of LEP, better cooperation and participation of North-East is needed.

Impact of Look East Policy on North-East Region of India:

The NER shares border with Nepal, China, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar and has less than 1 per cent land contiguity with the rest of India through a 22 km wide Siliguri corridor often referred to as India's 'Mongoloid fringe' or more commonly as the 'chicken's neck'. 'NER comprises about 8 per cent of the land area and 3 percent of the population of the country. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh referred to India's northeast as the gateway to the 'Asian Century'. India's Look East Policy was a significant shift in India's policy prioritization because hitherto India did not have any concrete strategy to create an economic hub in its North Eastern Region by exploring the trade and commerce potential with its ASEAN neighbours. Since 1992, the government - especially the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region - DoNER - has made some fast track initiatives to reinvent NER economy to make it more sustainable and self-sufficient. One can recollect that the economy of north-east heavily depends on the central funding. In this process, both BIMSTEC and SAARC have made a number of programmes and projects to promote trade and investment in the region.

At the same time, the integration of existing diverse groups could be done through communication and contacts and in this respect LEP may provide them that opportunity wherein they may find roots in their past while at the same time assimilating with their present weaving a tapestry of growth and affluence for the future. India is today ASEAN's seventh largest trading partner and sixth largest investor with trade of over US$60 billion with ASEAN countries.
A 31-member delegation from Laos, headed by its industry and commerce minister Nam Viaketh, urged the Assam government to improve road connectivity between India and Laos for better business growth between the neighbouring countries. Emphasizing the formulation of a Laos-India business forum, the delegation announced to create a fresh investment law to promote business between the northeast and Laos. The delegation said “Laos investors see huge potential in the northeast's tourism and agricultural sectors. Moreover, here the water resource and mining has a wide scope. We hope that the Indian government will take our proposals seriously and create better road and infrastructure to promote business among the countries”. The delgation further said "India has a market share of 2.21 per cent in Laos, the seventh in our investors list. Thailand is the topper, which invests the most in Laos. We believe there is a lot of scope of improving business prospects between Laos and India. We have good resources of copper and gold and India can invest in it. We are presently doing business with 60 countries”.

Visas on arrival (VoA): A total of 770 visas on arrival (VoA) were issued to foreign tourists of 10 countries in June, 2011. According to the statement, of the 770 visas on arrival, 205 were issued to tourists from Indonesia , 146 to those from Singapore, 133 from Philippines, 128 from New Zealand, 93 from Japan, 38 from Finland, 13 from Vietnam, nine from Myanmar, three from Luxembourg and two from Cambodia. It can be referred that the VoA scheme of the government was launched in January 2010 for citizens of five countries - Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zea-land and Singapore. The scheme was further extended to citizens of six more countries, namely, Cambodia , Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Laos and Myanmar in January, 2011.
Suggestion to improve Look East Policy:

  1. In order to further promote trade and investment India should formulate a roadmap for economic and cultural relationships with the ASEAN members in pursuance of its “Look East Policy” and thereby give a real fillip to it. In the absence of any roadmap, it becomes difficult to integrate with not only ASEAN members but also with India’s immediate neighbours. The Planning Commission has indicated that the 12th Five-Year Plan would focus on better connectivity in the Northeast coupled with emphasis on developing better linkages to the neighbouring countries.
  2. North Eastern states have stressed on development of infrastructure for improved connectivity and rural transformation for development. This would enable them to play a more effective role in ensuring the goals of Look East Policy. The connectivity with the neighbouring countries would help in forging better trade ties.
  3. The cultural aspect of Indian society must be fully utilised in bringing the factors of cultural uniformity within the region with India, It can be recalled that for 2,000 years Indian culture has had a profound impact on South and Southeast Asia. In this regard, the ICCR’s role should be further streamlined. The overseas cells facilitate cultural exchange by hosting Festivals of India and festivals of the respective host nations in India, teaching of yoga as well as conducting Hindi classes.

India’s “Look West” Policy

Why Central Asia Matters: -India has had its eye on Central Asia for a long time. Its primary interests there are in energy, minimizing Pakistan’s influence, and establishing itself as a significant player in the interplay of outside powers that is taking shape. The main difficulties lie in connecting Central Asian resources to the Indian market. (a) Economic Interests and Geo-strategic Importance: Central Asia’s abundant energy resources and India’s relentless energy needs, combined with India’s aspirations to be a major regional and global player, have been the key driving forces behind India’s growing presence in the region. Central Asia is also important as an avenue for access to Afghanistan, where India wants to be a significant player and to blunt Pakistan’s influence. India’s involvement in Central Asia includes energy ties, trade and investment, and the beginnings of a military relationship. (b) Energy first: Diversifying and expanding its international sources of energy has been a major Indian policy thrust for the past decade, so it is no surprise that energy co-operation is at the heart of India’s engagement of Central Asia. Kazakhstanhas substantial oil; Turkmenistan has gas; Uzbekistan has more modest hydrocarbon resources; and Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have surplus hydro power. The big challenge that remains unresolved, however, is how to get Central Asian energy resources to the Indian market. (c) Infrastructure Needed: Outside the energy area,transportation infrastructure is a major focus, since poor transport links are a major impediment to expanded economic ties. India has made substantial contributions to the trans-Afghan roadway and railroad. India is also interested in the proposed North-South trade corridor, which if it is completed would build road linkages from the Iranian port of Chabahar through Afghanistan into Tajikistan. It has also signed a deal to fund an Iran-Turkmenistan-India roadway. (d) Modest trade and investment: India’s trade with Central Asia is to the tune of approximately US $200 million, a negligible portion of India’s overall international trade. India is also trying to foster bilateral economic relations with several Central Asian states; it has extended lines of credit to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and has supplied 30 percent of Kazakhstan’s pharmaceutical needs.

 

The Road Ahead: The potential is there for an expanded Indian role in Central Asia that would increase the economic and political options for Central Asians without coming into direct conflict with the interests of Russia or China or Pakistan.

RTI Act doesn’t apply tojudgments

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A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice B S Chauhan firmly said that a judge speaks through his judgments and he could not be made to answer questions relating to his verdict in a case. “A judge speaks through his judgments and he is not answerable to anyone as to why he wrote a judgment in a particular manner,” the Bench said dismissing an appeal filed by one Khanapuram Gandaiah, who had not even challenged the verdict in his case before an appellate forum.

Gandaiah had made an appliaction under Section 6 of RTI Act, which provides that any information possessed by a public authority under the Act has to be given to an applicant on such a request made either electronically or in writing. The  District Judge had rejected his RTI plea..

Do Mont Blanc and Mahatma

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A Bench comprising Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justices AK Ganguly and BS Chauhan had some reservations in entertaining the PIL filed by Harsh Vardhan Surna and Sandeep Singh, it issued notices to the Centre and Mont Blanc Boutique after they pointed out that use of Mahatma Gandhi’s pictures was in violation of Emblem Act. However, the Bench declined to issue notice to Mahatma Gandhi Foundation. The petitioners had alleged that Tushar Gandhi, the greatgrandson of the Father of the Nation, had accepted a cheque of Rs 70-75 lakh to lend the name of the organisation to the foreign pen brand. Associating Mahatma Gandhi’s name with the expensive pen rebelled against the values and ideals in which the Father of the Nation believed in and fought for throughout his life, the petitioners said.

Legalize prostitution?

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Immediately after becoming a Republic, one of the first things India did in 1950 was to put its signature on the International Convention for the Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Persons and Exploitation of Prostitution.

Enactment of Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, followed ratification of the convention. After more than half-a-century of enforcement of the penal law, the Supreme Court has virtually damned the effectiveness of the legislation. The suggestion to legalise prostitution from the apex court appeared rather out of place. According to the Bench Like in the case of prostitution, the law — Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 — has miserably failed to curb corruption, which has merrily spread to almost all spheres of life. Its telling effects on the nation was lucidly illustrated by the Supreme Court in its judgment in the case K C Sareen vs CBI, Chandigarh [2001 (6) SCC 584]. Corruption has not shown any declining trend, despite the 20-yearold stringent law. “When you say it is the world’s oldest profession and when you are not able to curb it by laws, why don’t you legalise it?”

1. There are about 3 million prostitutes in India of which 40 per cent are children. So, the child prostitute population is close to 1.2 million.

2. At least 100 million people are involved in human trafficking in India and 90 per cent of human trafficking is intra-country.

Problems before the legalizing prostitution:

1. Is it be still prudent to harbour thoughts of legalising 1.2 million child prostitutes, who have been deprived of their basic fundamental right — that of childhood — even if one discounts their right to education, life and their entitlement to love and affection?

2. A constitution Bench judgment in Olga Tellis vs Bombay Municipal Corporation [1985 SCC (3) 545] where the Supreme Court had said, “Under the Constitution, no person can claim the right to livelihood by the pursuit of an opprobrious occupation or a nefarious trade or business, like gambling or living on the gains of prostitution.”

President wants woman judge in Supreme Court

The absence of a woman judge in the Supreme Court, having a sanctioned strength of 30 judges, may end soon. For, President Pratibha Patil has argued strongly in favour of appointment of a woman judge to the apex court. Hiding her apparent concern over non-representation of a woman in the Bench for a long time, Patil recently made a polite noting in the file for the Collegium headed by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan suggesting that it was time a woman judge was appointed to the SC.  It is to be noted that the SC till date has had only three women judges. Justice Fathima Beevi was the first woman to be appointed judge of the SC in 1989. She retired on April 29, 1992. Two years later, Justice Sujata V Manohar was elevated to the Supreme Court and she retired in August 1999. The last woman judge in the SC was Justice Ruma Pal, who was appointed on the Golden Jubilee day of SC on January 28, 2000. She retired on June 3, 2006. They are Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court Gyan Sudha Mishra (made permanent judge in 1994), Justice Rekha Doshit of Gujarat HC (made permanent judge in 1997), Justice Ranjana P Desai of Bombay HC (made permanent judge in 1998) and Justice T Meena Kumari (made permanent judge in 1999).

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