Chandrasekhar's belated b'day gift

Press Trust of India

New Delhi, April 19: Two days after the gala celebration of his 75th birthday, the Supreme Court on Friday directed a trust headed by former prime minister Chandrasekhar to hand over a sprawling 51-acres of land around his famous ashram on the outskirts of the capital to the Haryana government within two months.

Imposing a cost of Rs 25,000 on the Bharat Yatra Kendra Trust for illegally occupying village land and directing the government to take back the land, a bench comprising Justice R P Sethi and Justice K G balakrishanan severely criticised the roles of Chandrasekhar, Haryana government and the Bhondsi village panchayat.

"The manner in which the gram panchayat and the state government have dealt with the matter shows that they were overshadowed by the towering personality of Chandrasekhar, chairman of the trust," it said while delivering its verdict in the PIL filed by Dr B L Wadhera alleging irregularities in the manner in which gifts were made to the trust.

Justice Sethi, writing the judgement for the bench, said, "His giant stature, hovering over the officer bearers of the gram panchayat and officials of the state government appears to have factually immobilised them in the discharge of their duties which resulted in their succumbing to the heavy weight of the influential respondent."

Justice Sethi said, "The land, which was intended to be used for the Scheduled Castes and backward classes, admittedly, the oppressed section of the society apparently appears to have been usurped by the trust under the shadow of the politically influential personality and stature of its chairman."

Forest land measuring 33 acres was gifted to Chandrasekhar's ashram for the purpose of construction of a civil dispensary and another piece of land measuring 18 acres was gifted to the ashram for construction of a college and ploytechnic.

The bench said neither the state government nor the ashram could satisfy it "regarding the legality and validity of the gift deeds" which were made without compliance of condition made in the government order granting approval to the gift.

"The gram panchayat has dealt with property of its inhabitants in a reckless manner with the object of depriving the people of the area, the user of the land under the village common land act and rules made there under," Justice Sethi said.

Quashing the gifts made to the trust by the Bhondsi panchayat, the apex court directed the trust to handover the land to the state government "who shall thereafter deliver it to the gram panchayat with specific directions for utilisation of the land in the manner prescribed."

The court directed constitution of a committed headed by the state chief secretary within 15 days, with representative of the Ministry of Home Affairs in it as a member, to formulate a scheme for the utilisation of the land taken from the trust.

To assess the cost of constructions made on the gifted land, the bench directed constitution of another committee headed by the Haryana finance secretary.

Of the Rs 25,000 cost imposed on the trust, the bench said Rs 20,000 would be paid to advocate Uday Umesh Lalit, who assisted the court as amicus curiae. Balance Rs 5,000 would be paid to the petitioner, it added.

Holding that the Bhondsi gram panchayat had "no power, no right or jurisdiction to transfer land measuring 33 acres by way of gift", Justice Sethi said, "The gram panchayat is not a commercial institution and has no right to deal with the property of the people in the manner they have done, apparently for appeasing Chandrasekhar."v "When millions of landless labourers are struggling to get some land for feeding their families and protecting their lives, Chandrasekhar has manoeuvred to usurp about 600 acres of land, apparently for not any public purpose," the apex court said.

Taking serious objection to the manner in which forestland had been gifted away illegally by the gram panchayat, the apex court said the gifting of the land in the instant case could not be in any way termed to be for a forest purpose.

Justice Sethi said the court could not remain a silent spectator where people's property is being usurped for the personal leisure and pleasure of some individuals under the self-created legal, protective umbrella and the name of a trust.

"A politician of the stature of Chandrasekhar cannot claim to minimise the sufferings of the people by constituting the trust and utilising the lands taken by it allegedly for the upliftment of the poor and oppressed," he said. Press Trust of India

Implications of BSP-BJP Alliance

Manu Sharanam Gachchhami

Ram Puniyani

The latest alliance between BSP and BJP for sharing of power comes as one more nail in the coffin of the efforts towards social justice. It is not that this alliance is taking place for the first time; it is not that these parties do not know the agenda of each other, but despite that we find two polar opposites sharing power. BJP cornered due to Gujarat carnage is out to make use of new alliances and anyway it has been a major beneficiary of the alliances it has struck to hold power at the center. But what about the upholders of the values of Babasaheb Ambedkar, Rammanohar Lohia etc. what are they doing sitting in the lap of the Neo Brahminical party, which is the progeny of RSS; the vehicle for Hindu Rashtra? Can any party wedded to the interests of backward castes, Dalit-bahujans ally with a party whose hidden (now open) agenda is Hindu Rashtra? Whose avowed goal is to abolish democracy and the constitution in India?

Today Dalit-bahujan are facing the major brunt of the adverse impact of globalization. The land reforms have long been forgotten. The anti-Dalit atrocities are aplenty. The carnages of the type of Laxamnpur Bathe are not much far behind. The plight of Dalit women is too painful to be recalled. Pain and misery all around in the outskirts of villages and the slums of cities where most of the dalits are huddled. After Independence the industrialization, especially of public sector gave a large space for the aspirations of dalits for social justice. The limited land reforms also changed the situation a bit. The reservation in jobs and educational institutions ensured that a positive attitude towards education is imbibed by the Dalit masses as a whole.

By 1980s the situation started changing. The first indication of this came in the form of Anti-Dalit riots in Gujarat on the issue of reservation. The clever change in the target from Dalits to Muslims paid rich dividends to the upper caste class party; BJP and it cleverly manipulated the anti-Dalit aggression of upper caste/class into anti-Minorities tirade. This anti-Minority tirade served the purpose of distracting the attention from social affairs to the so called religious issues and to bring to a close, to a total halt, to the slow growing process of social transformation towards social and gender justice. The game was cleverly played by the upper caste formations. BJP started building social bridges to different sections of Hindu Samaj and kept co-opting sections of Dalits and OBCs. Section of Dalit-bahujan, which benefited from the reservations etc. was aping to the upper caste and adopting the upper caste mores. The Sanskritization process, adoption of upper caste culture by lower castes, was in full swing.

Still large sections of the deprived were denied the fruits of democracy. Mandal commission, which aimed at alleviating the lot of Dalit-bahujan, was in the deep freeze till V.P.Singh brought it out as a political ploy to placate the clout of Devilal. The whole hell broke loose. The ascendant polarization of upper caste/class occurring around Ram Janmbhumi assumed a new aggressive tone after the Mandal. In the after math of Mandal the polarization got razor sharp with the response to Advanis clever Rath Yatra becoming more and more menacing. At one level BJP was caught in a pincer. If it supports Mandal in the real sense its vote bank of upper caste will not be able to be consolidate. If it rejects Mandal its cooption of Dalits will suffer a jolt. The clever ploy of Ram Temple lies here. It gave a message to the elite to come around BJP at the same time BJP paid lip sympathy to Mandal, and so it did leave its options of incorporating Dalit-Adivasis in its ambit open. By and by it went from strength to strength, riding on the chariot of Ram lalla.

By this time the Dalit leadership was totally rudderless. Gone were the days of Ambedkars Independent Labor Party, gone were the days of Dada Saheb Giakwad launching a massive agitation for land rights. In hindsight one can recognize the wisdom of Babasaheb many times over. He not only took up the issues related to Dalit self respect (Chavdar Talao, Kalaram Temple, Manusmriti Dahan) but also focused on the material uplift of the dalits, Labor party, education and other facilities for them. In true mould of Babasahed, Dadasaheb went up to take up the land issues in a serious way. Further down one sees the serious attempt by Dalit Panther to give verbal expression to the thoughts and struggles of Dr. Ambedkar in the form of definition of Dalits as all the exploited and oppressed, taking it beyond the birth based definition. Unfortunately the challenge of Panthers could be co-opted by the system in no time. With the prominent leaders getting nominated on Govt. bodies and getting awards for their heart rending writings, many of them chose their mentors from different sections of ruling political parties and parted company to get lost in anonymity over a period of time. Deeply entrenched in the cushy positions and parroting the reservation mantra, the dalit movement broke in to as many pieces as was the number of leaders. These mentors were from Congress and BJP. The most striking example is that of the radical Namdeo Dhasal singing peens to Hindu Hriday Samrat (Balasaheb Thackeray)

In this backdrop emergence of Kanshi Ram as a leader of Bahujans was a landmark. But marred by his underestimation of the threats of BJP-RSS, he thought this is just another Manuwadi party. His party could not and does not see that this is a Manuwadi party with a difference. It is qualitatively a different formation; it is the one capable of abolishing the democratic space in the deepest possible sense. It is the one whos farther RSS is totally opposed to the Indian constitution. It is the one committed for Hindu Rashtra, the nationhood totally opposed to the interests of dalitbahujans. So while democracy means affirmative action and so the reservations for Dalits, the pioneers of Hindu Rashtra assert it is and injustice to the deserving Hindu children and their merit. While secularism means that minorities be protected and given situations to keep their identity for a period of time, the Gurus of Hindu Rashtra cry foul at this and raise the hue and cry of minority appeasement, projecting it as an injustice to Hindus. The aims and agenda of RSS-BJP are crystal clear without any ambiguity, Hindu Rashtra, a la the German Nation of Hitler. It is here that one has to see the decision of Kanshiram-Mayawati to ally with BJP and give support to its agenda, which is unfolding bit by bit. Now there are contrasting goals, on one hand to do away with democratic constitution, affirmative action for weaker sections of society, protective clauses for minorities and the like (BJP), and on other hand, a longing for social economic and gender justice, an absolute and non-negotiable need to preserve the Indian constitution, and to promote the Dalits and minorities. How can these go together? During last three years more than ever before Sangh Parivars different wings have been co-opting different social groups in its ambit. It is Dalits and adivais who have become the storm troopers of the parivar. While those sitting in Keshav baliram Hedgewar Bhavan (RSS head office) make the strategy the section of dalitbahujan spill their blood to achieve their goals. While the parivar elite plan the roads to Hindu Rashtra, dalitbahujans dirty their hands to make these roads which have to be sprinkled with the blood of minorities and other weaker sections of society for curing of these constructions. BJP has been successfully using the ex-socialists and the opportunists of various hues, DMK, Mamatas, and Ajit Singhs etc for furtherance of the agenda of Hindu Rashtra. Kanshiram-Mayawati cannot be exception to the guiles of Parivar. They will be helping the Hindutva agenda in more ways than one.

While castism was used by upper caste to keep the lower caste out of the gambit of social benefits of development, the low caste had to use this weapon to improve their own lot. The two are not the same. Todays elite politics looks down upon caste politics because it demands and tries to get concessions for the Children of Lesser Gods (we are all aware about the caste specific Gods which we have). The things are all messed up between the real politic and the long-term directions. We have no Ambedkar today, when he is so much needed, to steer clear of falling in the trap and lap of Hindu Rashtra politics. When disgusted and frustrated by the grip of Brahmanism as an escape he chanted, Buddham Sharanma Gacchhami, today those who claim to be his followers are chanting Manu Sharanma Gacchhmai, same Manu to burn whose edicts Babasaheb burnt Manusmriti.

(Writer works with EKTA, Committee for Communal Amity, Mumbai)

Disinvestment law to protect SC/STs

Deccanherald

NEW DELHI, Apr 15 (UNI)

In a bid to safeguard the interests of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes after disinvestment in Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), a `best endeavour' clause is being incorporated in the agreement signed with the new management, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Dr Satyanarayan Jatiya today told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

To another query, the minister said the matter regarding studies on the impact of such privatisation on SC/ST candidates in securing professional opportunities was being reviewed in consultation with the concerned departments.

Mr Jatiya also informed that reservation in the private sector had been examined with the representatives of the private sector like FICCI and ASSOCHAM.

"While they are not in favour of reservation in the private sector, they have indicated support for empowerment of disadvantaged groups by way of promoting human capital formation and entrepreneurship," the minister added.

Mentally Retarded Persons: Mr Jatiya said the Government was supporting various schemes and programmes for education, vocational training, employment, rehabilitation and other socio-economic activities for empowerment of persons with disabilities, including mental retardation.

The amounts allocated in the disability sector during the last three years are : Rs 203.99 crore in 1999-2000, Rs 261.15 crore in 2000- 2001 and Rs 260.54 crore in 2001-2002, he added.

Muslims in OBC List: Muslim sub-castes and communities fulfilling the norms had been included in the Central list of Backward Classes and notified through Gazette notifications, Dr Jatiya said.

They were entitled to get benefits as admissible to OBCs under various schemes being implemented by the Central Government, including the benefits of reservation in recruitment for civil posts and services under the Centre, he added.

Assistance to NGOs: The Minister also informed that NGOs were being assisted in running Old Age Homes. Mr Jatiya also furnished state- wise details of the aid provided by the Government during the last three years.

To another question on whether his Ministry had supported NGOs in Assam working for the welfare of women, he replied in the negative. "There is no specific scheme exclusively for the welfare of women in the Ministry for which NGOs are given grant-in- aid. However, a total of nine NGOs had been provided Rs 40.83 lakh for the empowerment of SCs in Assam, benefiting 1430 people during 2001-2002," the minister added.

Special Scheme for Widows: The Minister also informed that there were no special social schemes in the country for widows belonging to the weaker sections of society. Existing schemes cover all the underprivileged and disadvantaged sections of society, including widows, he explained.

'No' to quota for SC/STs in higher judiciary

http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/2002/04/19/stories/200204190174130 0.htm

By J. Venkatesan

NEW DELHI APRIL 18. The Centre has rejected the proposal of the Parliamentary Committee on Welfare of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes to provide for quota for these communities and women in the higher judiciary.

According to Law Ministry sources, the Centre feels that appointment of judges to the High Courts and the

Supreme Court is governed by Articles 124 and 217 of the Constitution, which do not provide for reservation for any caste or class of persons.

As a result, the Government is not maintaining a list of judges separately on caste or class basis.

The Centre is of the view that amending the provisions of the Constitution to provide for quota for judges belonging to the SC/ST communities will send wrong signals to the judiciary and hence rejected the committee's recommendations.

But the Centre recently wrote to the High Court Chief Justices and the Chief Ministers requesting them to locate suitable persons from the Bar belonging to the SCs/STs, Other Backward Classes and the Minorities and Women for appointment as judges so that their representation in higher judiciary could be increased.

In its recommendations to the Government, the committee had expressed serious concern over the "dismal representation of SCs/STs in the higher judiciary".

The committee had said that out of about 490 High Court Judges only about 20 were from the SCs/STs and only one Supreme Court judge belonged to the SC. Some 157 posts of High Court judges were vacant.

Voicing concern over the "inaction" of the States in increasing the representation, the committee recommended that the Centre take "concrete" steps, if need be, to amend the Constitution.

It said that there was no legal or constitutional bar for providing reservation in the judiciary.

"What is apparently lacking is political will and sincerity to do the needful. The provision of Article 15 (4), as interpreted by the Supreme Court, should be applied to the appointment of Supreme Court and High Court judges without any further loss of time."

No Deputy CM under Mayawati: Kanshi Ram

New Delhi,Monday, April 22, 2002: Bahujan Samaj Party leader Kanshi Ram today ruled out any Deputy Chief Minister under Mayawati to avoid parallel power centre but expressed confidence that the new UP Government will be formed within a week.

"The new Government in UP will be formed in a week. The Chief Minister will be Mayawati. There will be no Deputy CM," he told reporters adding that this was to avert a parallel power centre in the State like in 1997.

There has been widespread speculation that in the ongoing BJP-BSP talks for formation of the new UP Government, BJP has asked for posts of Deputy CM and Home.

Meanwhile, the BJP Parliamentary Board is likely to meet in another two days to give a formal approval to the proposal.

The Board had at its meeting immediately after the elections and decided that the party would sit in Opposition as the party had not been given the mandate.

Subsequently, when the exercise for government formation began and the moves for a coalition with BSP was mooted, a meeting between Central and state BJP leaders decided that the Board decision could be reversed.

BJP President Jana Krishnamurthy, who returned from Chennai this morning, remained non-committal on when the Board would be meeting.

"I have returned only this morning. Let me see the developments. The date has not yet been decided for the Board meeting," he said.

(PTI)

Mayawati plays hardball in UP power game

http://www.hindustantimes.com/nonfram/230402/detfro01.asp

Shekhar Iyer

(New Delhi, April 22)

BSP chief Kanshi Ram may have claimed that a coalition government led by the BSP and the BJP will be in place in Uttar Pradesh within a week, but all that was apparent on Monday were multiple points of friction in the combine.

While giving up the UP chief ministership to Mayawati, the BJP has insisted on the creation of the post of a deputy chief minister. But both Kanshi Ram and Mayawati have summarily rejected the proposal to avoid creating another power centre in the government.

Senior BJP leader Lalji Tandon, who was in the race for such a post, has taken exception to this, especially because the coalition negotiations are at such a crucial stage.

The deputy chief ministership is only one of the several problems the coalition faces:

Mayawati wants to retain total control of the administration. She insists that she keep key portfolios like general administration, home and power. But crucially, she also wants that the transfers and postings of bureaucrats be her sole prerogative. Given the whimsical manner in which IAS and IPS officers were transferred during her last stint as chief minister, UP's bureaucrats are a worried lot.

Although smaller allies like Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal and Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Jan Shakti are critical for the coalition to get the 202 MLAs required to come to power, Mayawati doesn't want an inclusive, NDA-style coordination committee where all allies have a say to set the agenda for the UP Government. She prefers "personalised coordination" and says that she will consult the BJP before major decisions.

Mayawati probably fears that someone like former chief minister Rajnath Singh, a sworn opponent, will head such a body and make life difficult for her. But allies like Ajit Singh have made it clear that a coordination committee is essential for the smooth functioning of the government.

While BJP leaders, including Home Minister L.K. Advani, have tried to coax Mayawati into retaining outgoing Speaker Kesari Nath Tripathi for the post, Mayawati will have none of it. Tripathi had earlier legitimised splits in the BSP and Mayawati doesn't seem to have forgiven him.

According to BJP leaders, Mayawati refuses to look beyond her pro-Dalit agenda in UP. They have tried to convince her that a trust-based BJP-BSP arrangement will stand both parties in good stead, not just in UP but in other states where elections are due over the next 24 months. But for the moment, Mayawati isn't listening. She wants to keep everything-including a common minimum programme-informal, leaving herself a lot of room to manouevre.


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Published on:April 22, 2002
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