ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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India s Report to UN on Human Rights

India's Report to UN on Human Rights A G Noorani The proposed National Human Rights Commission will have no jurisdiction over paramilitary forces and will have no power to hold any inquiries on complaints against the army. It also restricts the definition of 'human rights' to rights enforceable under Indian law. Can such a body be effective in containing human rights violations?

Co-Operation in Protecting Liberty

Co-Operation in Protecting Liberty A G Noorani It would be well worth the while of Indian civil libertarians to draw on research undertaken elsewhere, especially by organisations such as Britain's National Council for Civil Liberties, now better known as Liberty INDIA'S civil liberties movement has had a chequered past. It barely existed in the days of British rule. Civil liberties were trampled upon. Protests were voiced. But a civil liberties movement as such was not very evident. There were some fine writings. A distinguished Calcutta barrister Akshaya K Chose published in 1921 a compilation of Indian statutes since 1780 along with British proclamations on liberty in India and the Great Charters in Britain. It had a stirring Introduction by an English barrister who practised in Madras and Calcutta and was a staunch supporter of Indian freedom, though he was prosecuting counsel in Aurobindo Ghose's trial. It is a pity that Eardley Norton is so little remembered today. The compilation was entitled Laws Affecting the Rights and Liberties of the Indian People and was published by Mohun Brothers in Calcutta. The price was Rs 7 and 8 annas.

Pakistans Civil Liberties Watch-Dog

Pakistan's Civil Liberties Watch-Dog The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has done extensive and courageous work in defending civil liberties in the country. The task of protecting civil liberties in India and Pakistan offers scope for committed organisations of both countries to work together.

Magisterial Bans on Journals

them. He remained too stupefied to take any action for more than 48 hours. Later, after unconstitutionally dismissing the BJP governments in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Hiraachal Pradesh, he stood by watching the worst ever carnage in Bombay city and in Surat and Ahmedabad. Having banned a number of sectarian agencies, his home minister keeps repeating ad nauseum that the government has not ruled out the banning of the Shiv Sena which let loose the worst ever rioting, arson and killing in Bombay since independence.

Censoring Video Magazines

Censoring Video Magazines A G Noorani The news-stands are stacked with periodicals containing colour photos of the demolition of Babri Masjid and the riots that followed. Yet, the December issue of Newstrack carrying a similar story was refused certification initially. This calls for an urgent review of the antiquated notions governing censorship of video magazines.

Hate Speech and Free Speech

Hate Speech and Free Speech A G Noorani In regard to the law against hate speech responsible for inciting communal passions, the central reality in India is not abuse of the law, but persistent refusal to enforce it.

Foreign Comment on Human Rights in India

Foreign Comment on Human Rights in India A G Noorani BY now S B Chavan, the union home minister, has acquired an unenviable record for gaffes and volte faces. On September 21 in London he invited Amnesty International to send a delegation to New Delhi for meaningful discussions, specifically, "within the next few weeks". Amnesty, he said, had, been in touch with the Indian High Commission there "for a constructive dialogue which would include under their enlarged mandate the problem posed to us by terrorism". Amnesty welcomed this decision instantly.

Secrecy and Judicial Proceedings

Secrecy and Judicial Proceedings A G Noorani The public and the press have a right to attend criminal courts unless there is an overriding public interest which requires that the proceedings be in camera.

Minority Rights and Human Rights

Minority Rights and Human Rights A G Noorani It might interest our anti-minorities BJP and its fellow-travellers in the media and academia to know that the world over there is growing concern over the treatment of minorities. The UN itself has moved far towards adopting a Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National, Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.

Media and Terrorism

European country for the purchase of either crude oil or oil products or for the construction of a refinery. That the Shell, Stanvac and Caltex refineries were forced to renegotiate the 'refinery agreements' and to bring down oil products prices substantially after Indian imports of oil from the USSR is also interesting. That all these companies refused to accept the Ankleshwar crude oil (before the Koyali refinery was constructed) is even more interesting. That Shell came out with a proposal to build a refinery at Haldia at nearly half the price of the proposed Barauni refinery (to forestall the construction of the latter) is another important aspect of the story.

Free Speech and Meetings

Free Speech and Meetings A G Noorani In Tamil Nadu it is not only the freedom of the press which is in peril The right to hold public meetings has also come under a cloud as result of orders by police authorities. The right to freedom of expression and the right to assemble peaceably and without arms are closely intertwined. A recent case decided by the Madras high court in this regard causes some disquiet IT is high time that civil liberties organisations conducted a review of the state of civil liberties in Tamil Nadu in a careful, thorough and objective manner. It is not only the freedom of the press which ; in peril but the right to hold public meetings has also come under a cloud as a result of orders by police authorities. The two rights

Manifesto for Federal Debate

and Delhi, there is every reason to suppose that similar debates should have taken place in Bengal also. Take for example smallpox. The municipal commissioners in Madras by the turn of the century faced enormous dif- fkultics in building an isolation hospital for treating smallpox patients. The problem was not just one of finding sufficient funds for constructing the hospital but it was also one of convincing themselves about the usefulness of such a hospital. Take as another example the discovery of anopheles mosquito by Ronald Ross as the malaria-carrying vector. Not only among the policy-makers in the Madras government, but even among the medical authorities in Britain, there was an intense debate on the usefulness of adopting measures suggested by Ross based on his ex periments in Africa. The details of such debates as they took place in Bengal will throw a lot of light on disease-specific policies and why the public health policy in Bengal was not a success. To put it differently, we would like to know more about specific ideas and perceptions of the policymakers in the Bengal government and how they contributed to the development of western medicine in Bengal. It is not clear as to why the author (having stayed in England during the period of her research) has not used the material available at the India Office Records (at London) and the private papers of eminent medical men like Ronald Ross who in many ways shaped the medical policy in colonial India, The value of the book would have been enhanced had the author devoted some space on the following points which have great relevance to the nature of medical policy in colonial India: (a) A b, icf analysis of the financial allocation for medical care in Bengal, since the author cites the lack of funds as an important constraint for the slow diffusion Of western medicine. The reader also does not get a picture of the growth of hospitals and the policies that governedd them with respect to admission of patients, fee for various services they offered, populations they covered, etc. In a study of this nature, it is also necessary to give a picture of the history of the health department in Bengal and the distribution of responsibilities and decision-making power within the department. It would be interesting to know in what way the priorities of the department were influenced as a result of the increasing representation of Indians in the Indian Medical Service, (b) What was the role of traditional midwives and the government's attempts to organise the profession of nursing? As early as 1829, the Hospital Nurses institute was formed in Calcutta, and by the end of the century efforts were made in different parts of India to train nurses and midwives with the help of Lady Duffrin's Fund and the Association of Hospital Matrons, (c) Bengal of the 19th century (particularly Calcutta city and its neighbourhood) had perhaps the largest number of followers of homoeopathic medicine, and it also saw a large number of converts from other systems of medicine. It is claimed that Bengali physicians espoused homoeopathy with remarkable zeal and that by the middle of 19th century "homoeopathy passed through a process of naturalisation in the Indian socio-economic milieu.. ."[1]. How did that happen? How did the state react to it? How is it that by the turn of the century homoeopathy lost its appeal and waned? It is necessary to discuss these issues in order to understand better "the competition and accommodation'' between various medical groups.

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