THE LAWFILE

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Hazare’s detention: SC agrees to examine violation of right

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The writ petition was filed by Singh challenging the detention and arrest of Hazare on August 16 hours before he was to launch his fast against corruption.Singh, in his petition, had sought notices to Chidambaram and Sibal besides the Union Home Secretary and the Delhi Police Commissioner.In his petition, Singh has alleged that the Centre and Delhi Police had “acted in a malafide manner” to arrest and detain Hazare and stifling his fundamental right to free speech and liberty guaranteed under Articles 19, 21 and 22.He has accused the police of invoking CrPC provisions of 107/151 to detain Hazare for merely espousing the cause of a strong Jan Lokpal Bill and weeding out corruption from the country.He urged the court to declare Hazare’s detention as “unconstitutional” and “violative of his fundamental rights” guaranteed under the relevant provisions of the Constitution.Singh, who had filed the petition at the time of Hazare’s August 16 arrest, had also sought physical production of the Gandhian through the habeas corpus (production) plea.But since Hazare was released by the Government subsequently, the plea for his production has now become infructous.

COURTESY: IBN Live

Anna Hazare leaves Tihar, vows ‘Our fight has just begun’

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Cheers rang out as Anna Hazare emerged from Tihar Jail a little before noon, 45 minutes later than promised by his team.  The steady drizzle all morning did not dampen the enthusiasm of the 2000 people who had gathered with flags to catch a glimpse of the anti-corruption activist who launches a 15-day mass protest today at Ramlila Maidan in Central Delhi.
It was near impossible to hear Anna’s short speech.  He referred to the campaign against corruption -as he has so often in the last few months- to “a second freedom struggle.”   Now on the fourth day of his fast, he seemed strong.  “Whether I am there or not, this fight will continue,” he said to a huge roar of applause. His close associate, Arvind Kejriwal, who has spent three nights in Tihar with Anna, stood behind him. After his address, Anna was seen waving the national flag.  Hundreds of smaller flags fluttered in response in the crowd that chanted “Anna zindabad (long live Anna).”

Anna will head in a truck to Ramlila Maidan. En route, he will stop at India Gate and visit Mahatma Gandhi‘s memorial at Rajghat.  The Delhi Police has asked commuters to avoid roads near Ramlila Maidan.  Anna’s close aide and former cop Kiran Bedi  has asked his supporters to let him travel alone to Rajghat and then onto Ramlila Maidan to avoid causing traffic jams.

Anna has been fasting since Tuesday, when he was arrested and taken to Tihar.  Doctors have been examining him regularly in prison. They will check on him thrice a day once he moves to Ramlila Maidan, the large grounds in Central Delhi that have been granted to Anna’s team as a base-camp.  About 1000 people have gathered there already, despite rain all morning.

Though Anna was told he could leave Tihar on Tuesday night, hours after he was arrested, he refused, launching a complex and extensive negotiation with the Delhi Police.  What Team Anna wanted- and won after 24 hours of talks – was permission to hold a huge demonstration that would not restrict either the length of Anna’s fast, or the number of people that could join the protest.  In a matter of huge relief for the government, Team Anna has said his fast is “not a fast unto death but an indefinite fast.” A set of conditions imposed upon the mass-protest mandate that Anna will allow doctors from both a private and government hospital to examine him.

Since Anna was arrested on Tuesday morning, the country has responded with huge marches and candlelight vigils.  The government has finally accepted that the 74-year-old Gandhian has been nominated by the country as the icon of the war against corruption.  So the government will work behind-the-scenes to persuade Anna to cut short his fast. It will also try and engage with Anna’s close aides, some of them from his home turf of Maharashtra, in new discussions.

What Anna has been pushing is his team’s version of a new anti-corruption law that Parliament plans to debate during its current session.  Team Anna says that the Lokpal Bill which provides for an independent investigating agency to handle charges of corruption – an ombudsman committee-   is weak.    Team Anna has developed a parallel version of the Lokpal Bill and wants the government to circulate this draft in Parliament too.

As a possible compromise, the government may request Anna to appear before a Parliamentary committee that’s studying the Lokpal Bill.

Link : http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/lokpal-bill-row-anna-hazare-leaves-tihar-heads-to-ramlila-maidan-127564

Hectic preparations at Ramlila Maidan

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People Supporting Anna Hazare's Fast

With social activist Anna Hazare all set to move to the Ramlila Maidan here on Friday, hectic preparations were under way on Thursday with members and volunteers associated with main organiser ‘India Against Corruption’, along with the Delhi Police and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), all pitching in to do their bit to get the show rolling.

The police had, however, cordoned off all entry points on Thursday to prevent protesters from moving into the ground while it was still being prepared. Apart from a huge shamiana to cover one-third of the ground, facilities such as fans, lights, loudspeakers and security arrangements were on the agenda of the organisers. Arrangements also include a two-level special stage. While Mr. Hazare would sit on the top level provided with a mattress, the stage below has been earmarked for singing and discourse. Other arrangements include mats to cover the floor and provide seating space and a separate enclosure for VIP guests including two VIP toilets.

The MCD is ensuring that the ground is completely cleaned, dried and levelled, given the slush following the recent heavy rain. The organisers are arranging for tents, food, water and toilet facilities, either by roping in contractor agencies or seeking help from volunteering organisations who have offered free assistance to Mr. Hazare’s supporters till the hunger protest ends.

Deputy Mayor Anil Sharma, who visited the ground to take stock of the arrangements and discuss preparations with Team Anna, said that over half of the ground had been cleaned and the civic body officials and employees would work overnight to complete as much work as possible. “It was only on Thursday morning that the MCD came to know about the approval given to Team Anna for holding the protest at Ramlila Maidan. On reaching the ground, the officials noticed [that] the heavy rain during the past few days had made the ground muddy, requiring co-ordination of different departments including engineering, horticulture, and sanitation to take up the cleaning, drying, and levelling process of the venue by putting additional malba and soft earth at the ground,” he said.

Hazare supporter-cum-volunteer Gulab Singh, 41, said: “After having participated in the Ramlila during Navratri at this very ground for the past 20 years, I consider it my good fortune to be getting a chance to serve my part in Anna Hazare’s protest that is being organised here. I have taken a week-long leave from office to come here and extend my support to the cause of ending corruption in India.”

The Bharatiya Janata Party would also be providing one lakh water pouches daily for the participants, according to the Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta who was present at the ground.

Undertaking fumigation

According to the civic body, it is also undertaking fumigation at the ground premises and providing medical aid facilities including two ambulances and three mobile dispensary units. About 30 to 40 dustbins are also being provided by the MCD.

About 200 to 300 loudspeakers, 20 to 25 speaker boxes, and 15 mikes are being installed for the programme though television screens have been ruled out owing to the possibility of rain. In addition, eight to 10 mobile toilet facility units are also being sponsored free of cost by the Slum Department of the Delhi government.

Arvind Kejriwal, who was overseeing arrangements, expressed concern over the possibility of rain and its impact on the arrangements. Mr. Kejriwal said free food and water was being arranged through a voluntary organisation. “The bhandara people who provide food and water during the Amarnath Yatra have pledged to help us by providing free food and water till the duration of the protest at Ramlila Maidan.”

Judiciary out of Lokpal? Team Anna softens stand

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Arvind Kejriwal

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The 40-hour standoff between Anna Hazare and the government ended on Thursday, with the Gandhian leader agreeing that his fast would not exceed 15 days. The Hazare group also clearly indicated that it is ready to drop its insistence over a key sticking point on inclusion of the higher judiciary within the ambit of the proposed Lokpal law.

Team Anna might consider dropping the contentious demand to bring the judiciary in the anti-corruption ombudsman’s jurisdiction if the government delivers on a strong judicial accountability bill. The inclusion of higher judiciary has been opposed by both the government and main opposition party BJP on the ground that it would affect the independence of the courts.

There is also a possibility that the Hazare group and the government might be able to find middle ground on another important demand relating to including the prime minister in the law’s jurisdiction.

If the government’s plans for a Judicial Accountability and Standards Bill meet the expectations of the activists, judicial probity need not be addressed by the Lokpal, said Anna’s associate Arvind Kejriwal. “If a strong judicial accountability bill is brought to Parliament, we are open to excluding this from the Lokpal,” he said.

Hazare’s associates sealed a deal with Delhi police early on Thursday morning and Kejriwal said Anna’s fast would not continue beyond 15 days. “It depends on how the government responds to the demands put before it,” he said. This was echoed by another key member of Team Anna, Kiran Bedi, who said the Gandhian would fast as long as his medical examiners, including Dr Naresh Trehan, felt he should.

Clauses of the undertaking that Team Anna has agreed to and which were part of the original terms include – no damage to public property; gathering will not exceed the limit of the ground; the crowd will not spill over to nearby roads; protesters will cooperate with traffic police; loud speaker use within the ambit of a Supreme Court order setting a 10 pm limit.

Team Anna, however, is insistent that the Lokpal must be able to probe the Prime Minister. “The PM has to be in the ambit of the Lokpal,” Kejriwal said. There is a possibility of this demand being conceded as unlike in the case of higher judiciary, BJP and Left parties differ with the government with the Opposition backing the activists.

Government sources felt the inclusion of the PM’s office with riders like excluding decisions relating to national security and foreign policy can be considered by the standing committee examining the Lokpal bill. It is a bargaining chip the government can use. At the Cabinet meeting that cleared the bill, four ministers supported Prime Minister Manmohan Singh‘s view that examination of an incumbent PM is better than an inquiry after he demits office.

Indications from both camps point to the likelihood of another round of negotiations or at least exchange of proposals with the government still opposed to Team Anna’s demand for a large bureaucratic structure and inclusion of lower-level officials in the law’s ambit. The government sees Lokpal as an institution to specifically combat corruption in high places.

Speaking to TOI, lawyer Prashant Bhushan said the core committee of India against Corruption was meeting on Friday to discuss the demands. “The matter will be discussed in the core committee then.” Sources said while the group has been militant about its demands, it would soon decide on the inclusion of judiciary.

Team Anna’s statements gain significance as they come at a time when they have won a battle of wills with the Centre after a 40-hour standoff. The breakthrough came in the small hours on Thursday after Anna associates met Delhi Police commissioner B K Gupta, and reached an agreement.

The other clauses are arrangements for drinking water, medical aid, mobile toilets, proper lighting; no carrying of lathis or weapons; no provocative slogans or speeches; no inflammatory slogans within 200 meters of religious or worship places; care to be taken of public safety and no use of crackers.

Medical examination of Anna and those who will keep fast along with him will be conducted by government doctors thrice a day, while Team Anna promised to abide by the April 16, 2009, order of the Supreme Court which stipulated rules and regulations for public protests.

Fast and furious

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The Indian Constitution preamble

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P.P. Rao in the DECCAN CHRONICLE

Anna Hazare’s crusade against corruption has gathered momentum. Arousing the conscience of the nation on the issue augurs well. But the spontaneous response of people to his detention and fast needs to be guided in the right direction. Peaceful protest is permissible and Mr Hazare’s motive in undertaking the fast is laudable, but compelling Parliament to enact his Jan Lokpal Bill is not constitutionally permissible. Even the Supreme Court of India cannot dictate to Parliament. Mr Hazare should immediately defuse the mounting tension, pause and consider a few legal aspects and direct his attention and energies towards a more constructive path for achieving the object, instead of continuing with his fast.

Assuming that Mr Hazare’s Jan Lokpal Bill becomes a law, will it eradicate corruption? The Lokpal Act will only provide yet another mechanism to bring some corrupt public servants in high positions to book. The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947, and its successor act of 1988 have not succeeded in preventing corruption. Only one Lokayukta, Justice Santosh Hegde in Karnataka, has shown courage of conviction and submitted a report holding a senior politician, former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, guilty of corruption. Punitive measures are necessary, but their effect is limited. The Jan Lokpal Bill will neither prevent appointment of corrupt officials to public offices nor facilitate immediate suspension or removal of public servants of doubtful integrity, essential steps for checking corruption.

Also, is the insistence on bringing the office of the Prime Minister and the senior judiciary within the purview of Lokpal proper when opinion is divided among experts on the issue? Judicial luminiaries, like former Chief Justices M.N. Venkatachaliah and J.S. Verma, have advised against inclusion of the Prime Minister and judges for sound reasons. There are reservations among leaders of political parties as well on this issue. Inclusion of judges may make the judicial process vulnerable because of interference with the independence of the judiciary, a basic feature of the Constitution.

Is it right to bring moral pressure on Parliament through a fast to enact a particular bill? Would such fast be consistent with the ethos of parliamentary democracy which is another basic feature of the Constitution? Dr B.R. Ambedkar, in his last speech in the Constituent Assembly, said, “We must abandon the method of civil disobedience, non-cooperation and satyagraha. When there was no way left for constitutional methods to achieve economic and social objectives, there was a great deal of justification for unconstitutional methods. But where constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for these unconstitutional methods. These methods are nothing but the grammar of anarchy and the sooner they are abandoned, the better for us.” According to this view, Mr Hazare’s fast is unconstitutional.

Over the years almost all institutions of self-governance have been losing their credibility and efficacy due to a faulty electoral system that permits undesirable elements to get elected with money power, muscle power and caste and community backing. Those who invest heavily in elections tend to make hay while the sun shines. In his 13th Desraj Chaudhary Memorial Lecture, Atal Behari Vajpayee said, “The electoral system has been almost totally subverted by money power, muscle power and votebank considerations of castes and communities…” In 1922, C. Rajagopalachari predicted in his prison diary, “Elections and their corruption, injustice and the power and tyranny of wealth and inefficiency of administration will make life hell as soon as freedom is given to us. Men will look regretfully back to the old regime of comparative justice, and efficient, peaceful, more or less honest administration…”

It is, therefore, necessary to purify the system by summary removal of public servants of doubtful integrity, including judges, MPs, MLAs, MLCs and civil servants, and simultaneously bar the entry of such persons into Parliament, state legislatures, the judiciary and public services throughout the country. Mr Hazare should concentrate on this aspect.

Dark deeds are never done in broad daylight. Providing foolproof evidence in corruption cases to a court of law or for a departmental inquiry is difficult and time consuming, as the culprits try to thwart every attempt to bring them to book. Therefore, a provision needs to be inserted in the Indian Constitution for constant evaluation of the integrity of all public servants — complaints that raise doubts about the integrity of any official should be considered and if there is even prima facie suggestion that the complaint is legitimate, “shady characters” should be removed forthwith, if need be on payment of some compensation.

A political fast-unto-death amounts to an offence under the Indian Penal Code, if it reaches a stage when there is imminent danger to life. The right to life guaranteed by the Constitution does not include the right to die. A legal duty is cast on the state to protect the life of every person. The state cannot remain complacent as people’s emotions in India rise high when a leader goes on a fast for a public cause. The widespread reaction to Mr Hazare’s detention and remand to judicial custody casts on him the responsibility to ensure that his followers do not indulge in violence. Instead of allowing unsuccessful politicians to fish in troubled waters and try to destabilise the lawfully established government, Mr Hazare should demand a meeting of all leaders in Parliament for a dialogue on the issue and to decide on ways and means of tackling corruption quickly.

The government needs to respect Mr Hazare’s right to protest peacefully and, at the same time, take every step to maintain peace. The government should invite the leaders of all parliamentary parties, government representatives, Mr Hazare and his aides for a round-table meeting to review the situation and arrive at a consensus within the framework of the Constitution. A joint appeal to people by all of them to remain calm will be timely.

India against corruption: If government falls, we don’t care, says Anna

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Expressing his desire that the Lokpal bill will be a reality soon, social activist Anna Hazare said, “We are not interested in pulling down the government but during our fight for change, if it falls, we don’t care.”

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Sunday, he said, “there has to be a mass uprising to bring about a change.” He also said that he will live and die for the country.

He reiterated that he will be starting his fast from tomorrow. He also called for a revolution to “fight against the government and change the system”. He added that he has faith in the country’s parliament but the government was not producing the correct version of the Lokpal bill before it.

“We believe completely in the country’s parliament but the government is producing the flawed version of the bill before it,” said Hazare reacting to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh‘s statement that the Lokpal bill had been introduced in parliament.

Hazare further said that the fight for a stringent Lokpal bill is fine, but there is a need for a revolution to change the prevalent system in the country.

“A revolution on a much larger scale is the need of the hour to fight against the government and change the system,” he said.

“This is a fight for change and till the time our system doesn’t change we won’t progress. Even after 64 years there is corruption and scams, what is the use of this Independence? This freedom is not right,” said Hazare.

“The government is only concerned about power and money,” he added.

Hazare is scheduled to begin a hunger strike to press for a stronger Lokpal bill from Tuesday but has been denied permission by the Delhi Police to do so.

Centre won’t interfere

The Centre has decided not to interfere with the decision of Delhi Police’s refusal of permission to Anna Hazare to hold his protest fast, saying the force has taken the stand on its own and it was fully capable of dealing with any situation.

“The home ministry will not interfere in the decision of Delhi Police. We have nothing to do with it,” the official said.

A home ministry official said the Delhi Police took the decision of denying permission to Team Anna to stage the protest since they refused to comply with its set conditions which are applicable to any group which wanted to stage any protest in the national capital.

The Centre also thinks that Delhi Police are capable of dealing with any situation arising out of Hazare’s announcement that he would go ahead with the protest despite the refusal of the permission.

“If they (Team Anna) decide to go ahead with their programme defying the order, law will take its own course,” the official said.

Written by THE LAWFILE

August 16, 2011 at 12:14 am

Delhi police impose Section 144 at Jai Prakash Narain park

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Delhi government on Monday night has decided to allow use of Chhatrasal Stadium in Model Town in North Delhi for keeping the supporters of Anna Hazare in the event of their arrest.

“We have decided that people of Anna Hazare team and his followers will be kept in the Chhatrasal stadium in case they are arrested,” Delhi Home Secretary Arvind Ray told PTI. The stadium belongs to the Delhi Government.

Delhi Chief Secretary P K Tripathi held a meeting with top officials this evening to deal with the situation that may arise following team Anna’s arrest if they go ahead with the protest despite Delhi police refusal of permission to the Gandhian to hold his fast at Jai Prakash Narayan Park.

Ray said Delhi government received a communication from the Delhi police to deploy magistrates along with police to tackle any untoward incident. He said the Delhi Law Secretary has already taken up the issue with judges of Delhi high Court in this regard.

“The magistrates will be deployed by the High Court and that is why the Law Secretary has taken up the issue with the High Court”, Ray added.

Delhi Police has also sought the services of two magistrates ahead of the protest by Team Anna which stuck to its stand of going ahead with their fast against corruption despite denial of permission for the agitation.

The Delhi police has also imposed prohibitory orders at several places in central Delhi in view of Anna’s Hazare indefinite fast starting on Tuesday. The prohibitory orders include JP Park, Rajghat, Dilli Gate. Anna Hazare and his team are expected to start their march from 7:30 am from Anna’s residence at Supreme Enclave, Gate 2, Mayur Vihar-1.

Sources said the prohibitory orders are likely to be clamped soon around the park near Ferozshah Kotla stadium to ensure that no untoward incident happens. They said the Delhi Police will also be deploying a large number of women personnel around the park. Delhi Police is deploying a large contingent, including women personnel, around Jai Prakash Narain Park where Anna Hazare and his supporters propose to court arrest.

Meanwhile, yoga guru Baba Ramdev, who along with his supporters faced a police crackdown during their agitation at Ramlila Maidan, wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, asking him to exercise “self restraint” and ensure that similar action was not taken against Anna Hazare and his team.

Earlier the government justified  the Delhi Police rejecting permission for Anna Hazare’s planned fast, saying a major gathering cannot be allowed in present day circumstances if it is “uncontrolled”. Earlier Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had affirmed his commitment to rooting out corruption but said there was no magic wand to do so. He decried hunger strikes saying, they were not the correct means by which achieve the objective.