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EDITORIAL

Dowry menace

In a Public Interest Litigation case seeking implementation of the Dowry Restrained Act 1960 in its letter and spirit and also formulate rules for the purpose so that proper enforcement of the Act could be ensured has been heard by the J&K High Court. The Divisional Bench issued notice to the State and others which was accepted by Advocate General. Divisional Board also directed to file objections in the PIL within four weeks.
Dowry system has been one of the scourges of the society since long. Social reformers in our country, one and all, strongly pleaded putting an end to this despised system. The foremost among great social reformers was Raja Ram Mohan Roy. Subsequent social reformers and public men also carried forward the campaign of eradicating dowry menace. Gandhi ji also exhorted his countrymen to reject this social evil eating into its vitals. But as the things are, though there has been some impact of the teachings of social reformers on the masses of people but there is still a very large number of people both in rural and urban India who observe the system knowing that it is of great detriment to the nation.
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On PRA

Police reform has been one of the hotly debated subjects in the State. Apart from civil society, the Government, too, has been expressing eagerness to introduce Police Reform Act in order to make police services more effective. The State police have been under much pressure owing to the rise of militancy and separatism. The department has made many sacrifices while serving the state. Experience gained from meeting the militantancy challenge .....more

Teaching is a Mission

By Dr (Mrs) Vishiesh Verma

Can anyone who has been fortunate enough to have a good teacher, deny the sweetness, tenderness, sense of divine blessedness in human relationship between the teacher and the taught. It in no way binds or seeks to possess. Its nature is to give without seeking return. When Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Principal Scientific Advisor to Govt of India was interviewed by Doordarshan soon after he was conferred the coveted honor of Bharat Ratna, . .. . ...more

Build more power centers

By Dr Bharat Jhunjhunwala

The disconnect between the people and their representatives has become clearly visible, thanks to Anna Hazare's movement. People were on the streets demanding action. The MPs, on the other hand, were holed into their homes crying hoarse about supremacy of the Parliament. Needless to say, people were not convinced.
The fundamental basis of Parliamentary Democracy is that the MPs will work in the .
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Implement Police Reforms

By Joginder Singh

Whenever something goes wrong in life, we look for scapegoats. Depending upon a given situation, there is no dearth of scapegoats, which could be our friends, parents, government, teachers, or colleagues, or sheer bad luck. If nothing works, then we always can blame Providence. Everybody looks for, scapegoat. But the biggest scapegoat seeker unfortunately, in our country is the .. ....more

EDITORIAL

Dowry menace

In a Public Interest Litigation case seeking implementation of the Dowry Restrained Act 1960 in its letter and spirit and also formulate rules for the purpose so that proper enforcement of the Act could be ensured has been heard by the J&K High Court. The Divisional Bench issued notice to the State and others which was accepted by Advocate General. Divisional Board also directed to file objections in the PIL within four weeks.
Dowry system has been one of the scourges of the society since long. Social reformers in our country, one and all, strongly pleaded putting an end to this despised system. The foremost among great social reformers was Raja Ram Mohan Roy. Subsequent social reformers and public men also carried forward the campaign of eradicating dowry menace. Gandhi ji also exhorted his countrymen to reject this social evil eating into its vitals. But as the things are, though there has been some impact of the teachings of social reformers on the masses of people but there is still a very large number of people both in rural and urban India who observe the system knowing that it is of great detriment to the nation. Apart from the fact that most of the parents of girls getting married cannot afford the big dowry expected by the other party, they have to incur loans or cut short their urgent day to day needs to raise funds and manage the dowry for their daughter. This leaves a psychological scar on the mind of would be daughter-in-law and she is made a victim of bad treatment by her in-laws. Day in and day out, there are news of burning the daughter-in-law or abusing and maltreating her because she could not bring with her handsome dowry for her in-laws. There are innumerable cases of divorce on account of ill treatment of daughters-in-law. And more sadly, a large number of girls of marriageable age commit suicide because their parents cannot afford a big dowry for them.
This social evil has to be tackled through the force of law. The PIL case filed by a philanthropist is a timely service to the society in our state. There is a Dowry Restraint Act of 1960 which was passed keeping in mind the ramifications of the evil of dowry. But as we see, the enforcement of the law is too weak and almost non-existent. The brunt of dowry is generally borne by the poor and deprived segments of the society. Enforcement of the Act in letter and spirit would bring great relief to middle and lower classes of society and at the same time, it would save many precious lives from wanton destruction. The petitioner has submitted that he is a social worker and was highly influenced from the dowry deaths taking place throughout 0the State for the non-fulfillment of dowry demand. Obviously, the State is under an obligation to formulate rules for the implementation of Dowry Restrained Act in order to punish or panelize the persons who were abetting or committing the offences under the said Act. The non-implementation of Dowry Restrained Act and non-framing of Rules is violation of the legal, statutory and fundamental rights of the women, as they are facing gender inequality. The Government should waste no time in framing the rules for the purpose of Dowry Restrained Act so that proper enforcement of the Act becomes possible.

On PRA

Police reform has been one of the hotly debated subjects in the State. Apart from civil society, the Government, too, has been expressing eagerness to introduce Police Reform Act in order to make police services more effective. The State police have been under much pressure owing to the rise of militancy and separatism. The department has made many sacrifices while serving the state. Experience gained from meeting the militantancy challenge has further reinforced the need for bringing in substantial reforms in police. A bill has been drafted which among other things, proposes to have two Police Commissioners for the two cities of Srinagar and Jammu because the population of both the cities has crossed ten lakh which is the criteria set forth for shift to Commissioners. The PRA was supposed to be tabled in March session of the Legislative Assembly but has been deferred till next session. The Government has a good reason to defer it. It would like to study the position of PRA in other states and obtain the feedback before it decides to table the bill. This is a sound decision because it will give a wider vision of the reforms intended to be proposed. At the same time the draft reforms have to be put on the police website for obtaining public opinion. That stage has not come as yet. In all probability the Government would make partial amendments to the proposed Act keeping in mind special situation of the State.
Apart from structural changes which the Act would envisage, the more important aspect of the reforms has to be the acknowledgement of the sacrifices of police personnel while tackling militancy, hooliganism or politically motivated public demonstrations which usually culminate in destruction of public property, vandalism and disruption of law and order. PRA shall have to take into account the aspects of relief and rehabilitation of the martyred police personnel in fight against militancy and separatism.
An important feature of the Act could be the question of whether more powers be given to the police or not in view of new forms of insurgency and mechanisms of forging disturbances. This is a critical legal question and shall have to be opened up for proper legal debate. We know that extra powers are given to police in case the Government declares a particular area as "disturbed". In normal course of things the police do not enjoy such powers as are conferred by "disturbed area" situation. Hence the PRA shall have to make the position clear on that count.

Teaching is a Mission

By Dr (Mrs) Vishiesh Verma

Can anyone who has been fortunate enough to have a good teacher, deny the sweetness, tenderness, sense of divine blessedness in human relationship between the teacher and the taught. It in no way binds or seeks to possess. Its nature is to give without seeking return. When Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Principal Scientific Advisor to Govt of India was interviewed by Doordarshan soon after he was conferred the coveted honor of Bharat Ratna, he only recollected his humble teacher, Sri Sivasubramania Iyar, who taught him in elementary school in the third standard. This teacher instilled in young boy of seven years, the quest for scientific temper that catapulted him to the pinnacle as great scientist.
Since 1962, we in India, celebrate 5th September as Teacher's Day, the birthday of Dr Radhakrishnan a renowned Scholar, Orator, Philosopher, Teacher who was also President of India from 1962 to 1967. He said, "Education is a real glow and beauty of a person, it is the greatest hidden bank account fulfilling the needs of body, mind and spirit".
What illuminates education is character, which expresses itself through a virtuous life and upright conduct. The moral influence which builds up character is best communicated by the teacher through the persistent example of proper attitudes and conduct that he places before the young. Virtues are developed not just by knowledge of them on the academic plane but by a diligent practice of them. In this direction the teacher's guidance is absolutely necessary. Every culture in the world stresses the special relationship between the teacher and student, Socrates was loved by the youth of ancient Greece because he was a wonderful teacher. His disciple Plato described him "Wisest of men". 'Guru' the Sanskrit name for the teacher means the remover of darkness.
The teacher plays a significant role in education. Every country developed its system of education to express and promote its unique and socio cultural identity and to meet the challenges of time. There are moments in history when a new direction has to be given to the age old process. It is here that a teacher steps in. Whether one likes or not, teachers create future societies. The fiber of young individuals who shall become the citizens of tomorrow directly depends on the level of capability of their teachers. H.G Wells aptly said that the teacher is the zeal maker of history.
Dr Radhakrishanan said, "Until and unless we have dedicated and committed teachers who take to teaching as a mission in their lives, we can't have a good education system. Teachers should be best minds of the country. They should not merely instruct but gain true love of their pupils".
To him: …… the right kind of teacher is one who possesses a vivid awareness of his mission. He not only loves his subject, he loves all those whom he teaches. His success will not be measured in terms of percentage of pass students, not even by quantity of original contribution of knowledge- but equally through quality of life and character of men and women he has taught. Teachers have always to play a larger than life role in society because of their proximity to younger generation. The ABCD of a good teacher can broadly be classified into; accessibility, brilliance, communication skill and devotion to duty.
To Radhakrishanan, "A teacher must enter his classroom with the mind of a student eager to learn more and more, day by day." Hence everyday should be a day of learning for him. Besides, he said, "acquiring and imparting knowledge are two eyes for a teacher. His heart should be a lamp of knowledge, burning bright all the time; his conduct should be simple and his ambitions noble."
He adds, "Teacher's river of wisdom should flow like pure rain water. He should work hard, be broad minded and innovative". These were the ideals which the great philosopher suggested the teachers to follow.
A teacher has a most powerful influence on the lives of his students- more than parents. A teacher should not only love his students but his students should feel it in their hearts that their teacher loves them. A loving teacher will never feel any problem with students. Students learn much more by examples of their teachers than by any moral education lesson they may be given. A teacher need not be very poor he need not be very rich either. But he must be poor in wasting time and very rich in earnestness. He must combine the character with learning and conduct with personality.
In fact teaching is a noblest profession but a sorriest trade. It is a road that leads to the progress of the individual and to the society ultimately. A teacher is involved in personality building. A good teacher will make good student but it is the good student who becomes a good teacher. Teaching is not simply a profession or a vocation, but for some of the teachers, it is a rich source of satisfaction that not only joins under compulsion of circumstances but by thoughtful choice. A teacher finds peace in a classroom. The thrill in sharing the knowledge and wisdom one gains with those, who wish to gain, can't be described adequately. Teaching ceases to be a mechanical transfer of knowledge and turns into an experience of joy when teacher loses himself in the act of teaching and communicates his own zest and curiosity to his students, who are his alter-ego. The core of the process of one lamp lighting another, comes from the fact that teaching is in essence an act of joy. It is not chore imposed upon, on the contrary it is liberating and creative act, it releases something within the teacher and gives him feeling that nothing is more rewarding than to be able to give.
The present day portrayal of contemporary teacher is in stark contrast that Radhakrishanan had suggested. Where does the teaching profession stand today? Why have the teachers disappointed the society? On the occasion of Teacher's Day the teachers all over the country should sit and analyze the state of affairs of education prevailing in India and find the way out. Whenever the muscle power lakes the contrast of the situation, it is for the teacher to volunteer for bringing brain power. The mechanical equipment for teaching is incapable of adding sense of humor, witty behavior, and facial expressions in the classroom. As a result the students face psychological collapse due to the breakdown of the bicameral mind through the negligence of inner spiritual culture, which can be imparted only through the presence of an elevated teacher.
(The writer is a former Reader Coordinator of University of Jammu.)

Build more power centers

By Dr Bharat Jhunjhunwala

The disconnect between the people and their representatives has become clearly visible, thanks to Anna Hazare's movement. People were on the streets demanding action. The MPs, on the other hand, were holed into their homes crying hoarse about supremacy of the Parliament. Needless to say, people were not convinced.
The fundamental basis of Parliamentary Democracy is that the MPs will work in the interests of the voters. In the present system, however, the MPs vote more on the basis of interests of leaders of their party. The great political thinker of seventeenth century Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote: ""It is the best and most natural arrangement that the wisest should govern the many, when it is assured that they will govern for its profit, and not for their own." Problem is that MPs are governing for their personal profit and not for profit of the people. They, therefore, lost people's sanction.
Supremacy of the MPs on the basis of the Constitution is meaningless. The Constitution, at best, reflects the will of the people at the time of Independence. Times have changed and the Constitutional arrangements have clearly failed to deliver. This great civilization has seen many constitutions come and go during the more than 5,000 years of its journey. This one too will pass. Crying hoarse about the Constitution is like a young man today demanding his rights as Zamindar on the basis of will of his Late Father.
The Constitutional system has deprived the people of their voice by instituting the system of whip. Leaders of a political party can require its MPs to vote in favour- or against a particular motion in the Parliament by issuing a whip. MPs who do not vote in accordance with the whip are disqualified and thrown out of the Parliament. The vote cast by the MP, therefore, is not according to the will of his voters or even according to his own conscience. The vote is cast according to the interests of the leaders. The voter can only determine who will cast the vote as directed by the leaders of the Party. They can elect Mr Ram Bharosey or Mr Mohammed Ishfaq. But whomsoever they elect will have to cast vote as per will of the leaders. Even otherwise the voter is irrelevant. MPs voluntarily toe line of the leaders in order to get the Ticket in the next elections. The people can vote one party in and throw another party out. But that is like choosing between the dacoit and the thief.
This disconnect between the people and the Parliament is not solved by the enactment of the Jan Lokpal Bill. The MPs will continue to enact anti-people and anti-nation laws. Land of the poor farmers will continue to be forcibly acquired so that big land sharks can make huge profits. Poor Indian citizens will continue to die in clinical trials done by Multinational drug companies. People's health will continue to be compromised in order to provide profits to McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Rivers will continue to be killed to provide electricity for running air-conditioners of the rich. The country's sovereignty will continue to be pawned to provide profits to American nuclear goods suppliers. The Jan Lokpal Bill may somewhat reduce the bribes collected by the Ministers in enacting these policies, but the Bill cannot stop enactment of these anti-people policies.
It is also doubtful whether the Jan Lokpal Bill will actually be enacted in the form demanded by Anna. Government is hugely skilled in breaking the back of people's movements. My assessment is that the Government will not enact the Jan Lokpal Bill even after Lok Sabha has passed resolution in its favour. There will be another one- or two fasts. Ultimately, people will get tired and give in. Couple of years ago Dr Guru Dass Agarwal had to go on hunger strike thrice to save the Ganga from hydropower dams. Twice the Government went back on its assurance. Third time the Government scrapped the Loharinagpala hydroelectric project. But again it has gone back on its promise. Now it has come up with a scheme to kill the Ganga by making large number of small dams instead of Loharinagpala. The Government most likely will break Anna's movement by such stratagems. The Government will repeatedly agree to Anna's demands and then go back on them.
We need deeper strategies to overcome the basic problem of anti-people governance. It is seen that all governments exploit and tyrannize the people. This is common to India's Princely States, Arab monarchies, Communist Russia and modern Parliamentary Democracy. There is no difference among the two major parties either.
Prof Ila Ghosh, giving examples from the Ramayana, says that Kalidasa holds that the teacher, family priest, ministers and the public are various checks on the unrighteous ruler. One, these may censure the king. Public accusation unleashes a great power and keeps the king under check. Sri Rama, for example, had to expel Sita because of fear of public censure. Two, these may criticize the king. The people could express their anger and disagreement. Three, public can engage in picketing and protest. In the Ramayana a Brahmin whose only son had met an untimely death took the corpse and placed it on the ground before the doors of the palace. He started shouting laying the blame on Rama. That propelled Rama into action. Four, the public can pronounce a curse. Crying at the death of his son at the hands of king Dasaratha, Andh Muni hurled a curse on the king. This curse led to the disintegration of Ayodhya. Five, the fire of the ascetic can be unleashed. Peace loving ascetics are said to have all-consuming energy and fire just as the children of King Sagar were consumed by fire. Six, public can distrust the king. Sri Rama had to ask Sita to undergo fire trial again because the people of Ayodhya did not recognize the fire-test that she underwent at Lanka.
We need to invigorate these many systems of check on the government. Rousseau wrote it is best not to have interest groups. But, if they should exist, "it is best to have as many as possible and to prevent them from being unequal ..." This should be our mantra for securing good governance. Let us build many centers of power that continually censure, criticize, picket and protest, curse, unleash fire of the ascetic and distrust the Parliament. Only then the inherently anti-people character of the government can be kept in check. The fight between devas and asuras, or good and evil, is perpetual. There will be no quick solutions.

Implement Police Reforms

By Joginder Singh

Whenever something goes wrong in life, we look for scapegoats. Depending upon a given situation, there is no dearth of scapegoats, which could be our friends, parents, government, teachers, or colleagues, or sheer bad luck. If nothing works, then we always can blame Providence. Everybody looks for, scapegoat. But the biggest scapegoat seeker unfortunately, in our country is the Government. It is a fact that scapegoats are handy, to cover a multitude, of its acts of omission and commission.
The Supreme Court on 12th July questioned the circumstances leading to the June 4, 2012 police action to evict people, who had thronged the Ramlila grounds to support yoga guru Ramdev pressing for action against black money.
Delhi Police's affidavit had justified the action, saying Ramdev breached rules by taking permission to conduct a yoga camp and then converting it to a satyagraha. It also, added, perhaps as an after thought, there were intelligence inputs about a threat to the yoga guru. Incidentally, all the papers filed in the Court are vetted by the Government, through its law officers.
The court also asked the Union home secretary and the Delhi chief secretary to file their affidavits explaining the reason behind the police action.
In a second incident, the police arrested a former assistant of an Influential MP in the cash for vote scam, The three MPs, Ashok Argal (Morena), Fagan Singh Kulaste (Mandla) and Mahavir Bhagora (Salumber), had alleged that they were offered Rs 1 crore to abstain from the 2008 trust vote. They had carried into Parliament wads of notes on July 22, 2008. During police interrogation, the PA admitted, that the money he passed on to three BJP MPs came from his boss, a former SP leader, and now a member of Rajya Sabha.
Even otherwise, it stands to no logic or reason, as to, why a PA or Private Secretary should be in interested in passing one Crores of Rupees, even assuming that he or she has it, to some persons, whom he did not know in the past.
Along with the PA, another conduit was arrested. However, the Police obviously delayed action against the MP, who provided Rs 1 Crores on the ostensible ground that Delhi police needed the permission of the Union Home Ministry.
However, the Home Ministry has clarified that no permission is needed to interrogate anybody. Even under the law, for arresting anybody for any cognisable offence, no permission of any authority is required. It is a strange logic that those on the periphery and at the best support staff, have been arrested, but not the source of money or the main actor. He might ultimately face the music.
The MPs had alleged that they were offered money to abstain from voting. A seven-member Parliamentary Committee, was constituted to probe the allegations. After the inquiry, the committee had asked Delhi Police Crime Branch to investigate the role of three persons. Nothing was done almost for three years, till the Supreme Court pulled up the local police, for its inaction.
The constitution enjoins on the Government to ensure justice for all. But the fact remains, that no political party, or Government, in power, wants to give even a modicum of independence to the Police in its functioning. There is a tendency in all parties, when in power, to use it, to further their interests.
Instead of reforming the criminal justice system, so that every body's case is decided within six months to one year, the Government seems, to be selective, in pleading the hopeless cases of the high profile accused politicians, sending a wrong message that if you have political clout, you will find supporters.
But for the monitoring of the 2G Scam case, by the Apex Court, it would not have even seen the light of the day. Incidentally, the case was registered in October 2009 and when left with no alternative the accused Minister, was forced to resign and was arrested after 14th months and a lady MP. After 17 months.
The Apex Court had appointed a committee, headed by a former Supreme Court Judge to review the State of Police Reforms in India, ordered in its judgement, dated 22nd September, 2006. It says in findings, there was a near uniformity among all the States in not following the Directive, which relates to provision for a fixed tenure for certain categories of police officers including DG, IGP, SP and SHO.
These findings suggest that the reform of the police is not a top priority for state governments. It is because, they are unwilling to relinquish the control they have over the state police in the normal course of governance. Bureaucrats also raise huge obstacles, as they too are averse, to let the police out from under their thumbs.
Professor David H Bailey, a British Expert On Police observed as under regarding the prevailing situation in India : "In India today, a dual system of criminal justice has grown up-- the one of law and other of politics. With respect at least to the Police, decisions made by the Police Officials about the application of law, are frequently subject to partisan review, or direction by the elected representatives.
The autonomy of the Police officials in specific and routine application of laws has been severely curtailed. This is not only true of law and order situation. People accused of crime have got into the habit of appealing to political figures for remissions from the sanctions of law. Police officials throughout India, have grown accustomed, to calculating, the likely political effect to any enforcement action, they contemplate.
The result of partisan interference is often reflected, in lawless enforcement of laws, inferior service and in the general decline, of police prestige followed by irresponsible criticism and consequent widening, of the cleavage between the police and the public in the integrity and the objective of the police force."
It is not something creditable to the rulers, that justice is sleighted in favour of the rich and powerful. The Government should remember, that where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be greater.



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