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

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CIVIL LIBERTIES-Freedom from Exploitation

CIVIL LIBERTIES Freedom from Exploitation A G Noorani THE judgment delivered on September 17 by a Division Bench of the Supreme Court consisting of Justice P N Bhag- wati and Justice Baharul Aslam deserves properly to be evaluated. Unfortunately judgments of the Supreme Court are either denounced or applauded, seldom criticised in the proper sense of the word. This judgment has been uncritically applauded. In very many ways it deserves praise. But there are a couple of aspects which are disturbing, both in themselves and in the trend in the Court which they reflect.

CIVIL LIBERTIES-Mail Interception

Rs 789 crore larger than the increase last year. In the result, the marginal investment-deposit ratio stood as high as 98 per cent as against 62 per cent in April-July 1982. The average ratio as at the end of July 1982 was 38.1 per cent which too was significantly higher than 36.6 per cent a year ago. The bill market scheme, which had been inactive for some time, seems to have altogether ceased to function. Bilk rediscounted with the Reserve Bank under the scheme, which had been introduced in November 1970, were a paltry Rs 3 crore at the end of July 1981. The amount has been nil since September 4, 1981. The decline of bills of exchange as an effective instrument of credit designed to even out liquidity in the banking system as also to monitor the end- use of bank credit is attributable to misuse by the instrument by the concerned parties and to the Reserve Bank's own apathy in devising measures to plug the various loopholes in the scheme.

CIVIL LIBERTIES-Use of Section 151 Cr PC for Curbing Protests

Use of Section 151 Cr PC for Curbing Protests HOW many remember today that only in December 1980 none other than Yeshwantrao B Chavan was arrested by the Maharashtra police under Section 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973? This was to prevent him from proceeding with the 'long march' in support of peasants

CIVIL LIBERTIES-Death Penalty and the Constitution

CIVIL LIBERTIES Death Penalty and the Constitution A G Noorani IT is doubtful if in the annals of judicial decision-making there is any precedent for a dissenting Judgment being delivered two years after the majority judgment. But this is precisely what happened on August 16, 1982, when Mr Justice P N Bhagwati delivered his dissenting judgment in Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab. The majority judgment was delivered on May 9, 1980 by Mr Justice R S Sarkaria on behalf of himself and Chief Justice Y V Chandrachud, A C Gupta and N L Untwalia J J. Since then Gupta, Untwalia and Sarkaria have retired. As it is, the majority took about six months to deliver its judgment. That should have sufficed for Mr Justice Bhagwati also. The issue was of the highest importance


no longer adequate and likely further to shrink, it is not commercial borrowing in the conventional sense of the term which is expected to bale out the large industrial and infrastructural projects. The more feasible and preferred way is to attract foreign interests to undertake these projects under turnkey construction which includes foreign consultancy and design services as well as equipment supplies against credits with back-up by the foreign suppliers' governments. This type of financing arrangement is being commended to the private business sector also.

CIVIL LIBERTIES- Accounting to Parliament

of unequal or unbalanced regional development, both because the state would like to Improve its own position in national ranking and because within the state interregional disparities have been the source of serious political and cultural tensions. However planning itself has not made a significant impact in rectifying these imbalances, and planning in India too has more often adjusted to the realities and logic of capitalist development rather than try to alter this logic in any important way. Seminars, such as the present one, place far too much emphasis on the role of planning in which econo- mists, technocrats and bureaucrats have an exaggerated notion of their impact and control on the course of events. The problem of growth is particularly tricky for the so-called 'agricultural states', such as Andhra Pradesh, which have not benefited from the 'industrialisation' of the 1950s and the 1960s. Having concentrated on agriculture at the time when industrial growth was of a high order, they want to diversify into industry now at a time when both nationally and globally capitalist industrialisation is passing through a recessionary phase. Thus, while the excessive reliance on agriculture has made diversification imperative, the possibilities for such diversification are limited in the present phase of 'inflationary contraction', In practice, this has has led over the last few years to desperate attempts by 8tate governments to corner the few new investments being made, vying with one another to offer all manner of concessions to private capital. Big business houses have made good use of these concessions.

CIVIL LIBERTIES-Shadowing Political Opponents

Shadowing Political Opponents A G Noorani MANEKA GANDHI'S and Akbar Ahmed's complaint that they were shadowed by men of the Intelligence Bureau openly, crudely and throughout their stay in Bombay on June 21 has a familiar ring of truth about it. It forms part of a pattern of surveillance over political opponents which "has come to be a normal feature of our public life. It happened recently in Haryana when the local IB men tried to .spy on Devi Lai's supporters. Last year, Svinivas Tiwari, a former Minister of Madhya Pradesh, complained that the local intelligence men came all the way to Delhi to keep a watch on him after his resignation from the state government. A G Kulkarni, MP, revealed in Rajya Sabha how an intelligence officer went .so far as to visit bus house in his, absence and make inquiries concerning him.

CIVIL LIBERTIES-Compensation for Police Outrages

CIVIL LIBERTIES Compensation for Police Outrages A G Noorani THE cynical Machiavelli Remarked that, a man will sooner forget the death of his beloved than the confiscation of his property. One would think that the best remedy against police outrages, fast on the increase, is to make the wrong-door personally liable in a civil suit to damages to the victim of the wrong as well as liable at his instance to prosecution in a criminal court.

CIVIL LIBERTIES-Telephone Tapping

 CIVIL LIBERTIES Telephone Tapping THE recent disclosures in Britain about the prevalence of telephone tapping should prompt us to reflect on the law and practice in India of this vicious intrusion into privacy and individual liberty, Our standards in these matters are, of course, more lax. On May 19, Lord Gardiner, Lord Chancellor in the Labour Government from 1964 to 1970, said during the committee stage of the British Telecommunications Bill that on several occasions he decided that secret service agents might be taking an unhealthy interest in his private conversations.

CIVIL LIBERTIES- A Journalist and His Sources

embodied in the First Amendment It said, "without some protection for seeking out the news, freedom of the press would be eviscerated. The core of the majority's ruling is that pressmen have no special privileges which other citizens do not enjoy. It noted that the press claim was first made as recently as 1958 and the great weight of lower court rulings wag against it.

CIVIL LIBERTIES-Justice in Secrecy

 CIVIL LIBERTIES Justice in Secrecy? ON March 4, the Chief Justice of India, Mr Justice Y V Chandrachud, rang down the curtain on the episode arising out of the contemptible statement of five lawyers. He, however, lifted at the same time the veil of secrecy in which he had made that document to lie shrouded for a whole week; though its ugly features were covered, its stench spread freely. An issue concerning the freedom of the press was promptly raised and was resolved along with the main crisis but only momentarily. It can arise again and it is but right that this issue, which is of capital importance, is debated and resolved finally and satisfactorily, quite irrespective of the facts of the recent case. The Chief Justice was undoubtedly inspired throughout by a most laudable motive, namely, to uphold the dignity of the court; certainly by no desire to curtail the freedom of the press. It was, as he said, an "extempore direction" and was couched in terms that freely won rather than commanded compliance

CIVIL LIBERTIES-Suppression of Right to Local Self- Government

Suppression of Right to Local SelfGovernment A G Noorani INDIA has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, but it continues to flout one of its important provisions. Article 25 of the Covenant lays down that: "every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity,., without unreasonable restrictions (a) to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives...". The next clause refers to national elections. But public affairs are conducted at the local level, in addition to the national level. In a federation there is also the intermediate tier of the state unit. In any case, all constitutions


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