Tamil Nadu : Future Judges with past criminal Records?

15 names for judge posts withheld


     Chennai:The names of 15 of the 185 candidates provisionally selected for appointment as judicial magistrate/district munsif have been withheld by the state government since criminal cases are pending against them.

    A September 10 government order contains 185 serial numbers but only 170 names. The numbers of the 15 candidates facing criminal cases have the ‘X’ mark printed by the side.

    The decision to leave out these candidates followed a consultation with the higher judiciary, officials said. “Since they could not clear the mandatory police and intelligence verification, the GO contained the ‘X’ mark against their names,” said an official.

    With 184 civil judge (junior division) posts, lowest rung in the judicial ladder, lying vacant, the high court in association with the TNPSC notified 185 vacancies for appointment through written examinations and viva voce. More than 8,000 law graduates and practising lawyers appeared on March 23 and 24.

    After the court authorities short-listed 560 successful candidates, they sent it to the government to finalise the selection list by applying the rule of reservation and other such criteria. The present list is the provisionally selected candidates.

Mumbai Police officer Run Over By Car Thieves

Policeman hit by car thieves dies in hosp

Vijay V Singh TNN

Mumbai: An assistant sub-inspector attached to the Kherwadi police, who had been knocked down last month by car thieves while he attempted to nab them, died in a hospital on Saturday.

       The victim, Dutta Sanobat, was admitted to a private hospital in critical condition.

      On August 31, the accused who had stolen an Indica from Dharavi were searching for a place to hide the vehicle. Around 3.30am, the car developed a snag in Bandra, when they spotted a tourist vehicle.

    The tourist vehicle’s driver, Kaushik Tiwari, had stopped by to answer nature’s call. In a bid to hijack the tourist vehicle, the accused threatened Tiwari with a chopper.

      Sanobat, who was part of a police patrol team that was passing by at that time, stepped out of his police vehicle and asked the thieves not to start the car. But the accused didn’t pay heed and rammed the vehicle into him.

     Sanobat was dragged along for 20 ft before being thrown off the vehicle.

     Tiwari alerted the police control room and the two constables on night patrol rushed Sanobat to a hospital.

Bandra Fair:Mount Mary Basiica


Bandra Fair ends on spectacular note

Bella Jaisinghani TNN

     Mumbai: In a spectacular finale, nearly one lakh devotees offered prayers and thanksgiving on the last day of Bandra Fair at Mount Mary Basilica on Sunday. The week-long celebrations, marking the nativity of Mother Mary, began on September 8.

     Fr Aniceto Pereira of the church was at once “relieved and sad” that the festival was at an end. “It has been a spiritually exciting period for me to see so many people arrive for darshan in an expression of faith. We had large crowds for morning services and the church was filled up for evening mass as well,” he said.

      Old-time residents of the area recall how the Feast of Mother Mary was a big household celebration just like Christmas until the 1980s. Children would wear new clothes through the eight days of the festival while their families hosted relatives, who would arrive for darshan from all parts of the city. Sweetmeats were prepared as part of the festive menu.

      Recalling the link that Mother Mary as Our Lady of Good Health bears to the concurrent celebration of Velankanni, social activist Daphne Warapen says that people arrive to seek the Mother’s intercession to cure them of sickness and disease. “Mother Mary is not treated as God but as intercessor. So many people, including the handicapped, come to seek favours, others travel to offer thanksgiving,” she says.

       It is a testimony to the efficiency of the police, BMC and traffic authorities that autorickshaw drivers no longer refuse to ply to the area. Fr Aniceto appreciated the cooperation the church received from every quarter and the residents agreed.

     Daphne has noticed the sea change that has swept the festival over the years, particularly the commercialization and traffic jams that residents complain about. She said, “However, large crowds gather only on the weekend.

     To those who suggest that the fair be discontinued, I would say that one does tolerate similar inconvenience during other festivals as well. In fact, Bandra Fair is a localized event unlike bigger festivals that are celebrated citywide.”

Sea of faithful expected today as Bandra Fair comes to an end

Bella Jaisinghani TNN

Mumbai: Sunday marks the end of the week-long Bandra Fair that surrounds the celebration of Our Lady of the Mount in Bandra. More than 1 lakh people are expected to throng the hill-top shrine and fill the seafront promenade on Sunday.
Each day, thousands of devotees from all parts of the city have been converging at the Mount Mary Basilica for ‘darshan’ of Mother Mary since her birthday celebrations began on September 8. Special Novena prayers were held across this and other churches across the city in the run-up to the festival.
Cecilia Rodrigues, a senior citizen who lives in the neighbouring Mount Unique Apartment, cannot help being amazed at the faith that drives lakhs of devotees up the mount each year. “The numbers are only increasing. We watch them come from all parts of the world, some senior citizens, some young couples, others carrying babies in arms, and we pray that Mother Mary grants their wishes,” she says.
However, the overwhelming “ocean of people”, as she calls it, does deter residents from stepping out during the last three or four days of the fair. “I do visit the basilica for the Novena but not after the fair starts. We are given car passes but the sight of the entire road filled with an unending procession of people precludes the possibility of going out,” she laughs.
Arup Sarbadhikary, who heads a local residents’ association, says he has offered to design proper hawking spaces for vendors selling eatables along the seafront in a garden nearby. “We have offered to seek funds to design not just stalls but also toilets and drinking water amenities. But the authorities are not sure if they can allow a public garden to be used for this, even if it be temporary,” he says.
“I must say the traffic is extremely well managed. There was a time I would leave town during the fair, but this year I stayed back. The BMC, police and traffic department are doing a wonderful job,” he says.

FOR ALL AGES: Devotees at Mount Mary Basilica on Saturday

Indian Jews To Celebrate New Year

Jews to ring in their new year today


      Mumbai: The small but proud Jewish community of Mumbai will celebrate its new year Rosh Hashannah on Monday at a feast laden with sweet food items led by apple and honey.
Special prayers will be organized at all synagogues in the city, including Keneseth Eliyahoo at Kala Ghoda and Magen David in Byculla.

       Israeli consul general Orna Sagiv says there are 5,000 Jews in India, of which more than half are in Mumbai, 40% in Thane and the rest scattered in Ahmedabad and Cochin. “The
celebrations began on Sunday afternoon and although the main festival falls on Monday, the Israeli consulate and embassy will remain closed until Wednesday owing to Ganesh Chaturthi,” she says.

     Sagiv said the Jewish community lays out an elaborate feast comprising only sweet itemsto hold out promise for the new year. “Because ours is a small community, we consume pomegranate seeds and fish, items that symbolize abundance and fertility. Also there is the spirally round Challah bread whose shape conveys the cycle of life,” she says.

Cartoonist Jailed by Congress Govt in Maharashtra

Maharashtra Government  drags its feet over Aseem sedition charge

Sanjeev Shivadekar TNN

Mumbai: Nearly a week after its announcement to seek legal opinion on whether sedition charges should be maintained or withdrawn against cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, the home department is yet to forward a formal proposal to the law department.

      According to senior Mantralaya official, the law and judiciary department till Saturday had not received any formal communication from the home department on the Trivedi row. “Our department does not give verbal opinion. We give opinion only when we receive any proposal from the government,” a senior official attached to law and judiciary department said.

      “In such a crucial matter too, the government has not moved a proposal within a week. This shows how government’s approach is in on the entire Trivedi issue,” the official added.

     Following the controversy over the cartoons drawn by Trivedi and the police slapping sedition charges against him, state home minister R R Patil on September 11 stated that his department is reviewing the case and legal opinion from the law and judiciary department is being sought.

        When asked about the law and judiciary department’s opinion on the controversy, the official said, “We have not received the file asking for legal opinion, hence it would not be appropriate to comment on the issue. If the proposal comes to the department, then one will have to see the intention of individual for his/her involvement in the “crime”.”

      He added, “In this case it seems that Aseem was expressing his anger against corruption through cartoons and had no intention to wage a war against the country. Taking all this into consideration it would not be appropriate to frame sedition charges against him.”

      Patil had ordered a probe against the official who registered FIR (sedition charges) against the cartoonist.HC slams ‘frivolous’ Aseem arrest

Rosy Sequeira TNN

Mumbai: “We live in a free society,’’ reminded the Bombay high court on Friday even as it lambasted the state for “arbitrary’’ and “frivolous” arrest of political cartoonist Aseem Trivedi for sedition under the Indian Penal Code’s Section 124A.
The court said, “Parameters need to be laid down for application of sedition, otherwise there will be serious encroachment of a person’s liberty guaranteed to him in a civil society.”
“Today you attacked a cartoonist. Tomorrow it could be a filmmaker and then a screenplay writer. We are living in a free society. Everybody has freedom of speech and expression,” said a division bench of Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud and Justice Amjad Sayed. The court was hearing a public interest litigation urging the court to declare Trivedi’s arrest as illegal and bad in law. On September 11, 2012, the high court directed the release of Trivedi on a personal bond.
When the matter came up for hearing, additional public prosecutor Jayesh Yagnik objected to the “maintainability” of the PIL. Justice Chandrachud snapped, “Don’t take such frivolous objections. First you arrested him on such frivolous grounds. Stop these things. You have arrested a cartoonist on charges of sedition and breached his liberty to freedom of speech and expression.” He further said, “We have one Aseem Trivedi who is courageous enough to stand against this action. But what about several others whose voices are shut by the police?” said Justice Chandrachud.
The judges sought to know what the state has to say. “What is the state’s stand? Does the government intend to drop the charge? Someone has to take political responsibility for this. Why didn’t the police apply its mind before charging him with sedition?” asked Justice Chandrachud. Yagnik replied that he has to take instructions and added the assistant commissioner of police investigating the case is consulting Mantralaya to ascertain the maintainability of the sedition charge.
The judges pointed out that Section 124A (sedition) is a pre-Independence provision included in the statute books. “In that era, the government wanted protection from citizens. In the constitutional era, citizens need safeguards against the government,” said Justice Chandrachud. The judges said in foreign countries, the sedition charge is applied only if someone attempts to topple the government by using undemocratic means. Trivedi’s advocate Mihir Desai said, “In fact, in USA, there is a concept called ‘fighting words’, which says that unless there is a clear and present danger of violence because of the words, a person cannot be stopped from saying those.” The judges said from the arrest of Trivedi “ìt is prima facie evident that there is arbitrariness with which the matter was handled by the police”.
The judges directed Trivedi to be made a party in the PIL. “We shall file an affidavit substantiating why sedition charges cannot be levelled in such cases,” said Desai. Directing the state to file a comprehensive affidavit explaining reasons for applying the sedition charge against Trivedi, they posted the hearing to October 12, 2012.

Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi was recently arrested on charge of sedition under IPC’s Section 124A


Overvaluing the symbolic

Santosh Desai

A cartoon that got its  maker locked up on charges of sedition. A crudely provocative film that has set off riots in several parts of the world; this coming on the back of a doctored video alleging atrocities in Assam that triggered another violent riot. Go back a few months and rewind to another cartoon that made a chief minister jail a professor. And another one about a revered Dalit figure, excavated after 60 years, that created a storm of protest.

      Something significant is afoot. A new touchiness seems to be visible across the world; lines are getting blurred between the symbolic and the real, the abstract intent and the concrete action. Take the instance of the anti-Islam video that has sparked such a violent reaction in parts of the Muslim world. It is an obscure, tacky production that does not carry the support of any identifiable religious or political group and its current prominence is almost entirely a product of the protests against it, a pattern that is a recurring one–— even the anti-corruption and Mamata Banerjee cartoons would have died in obscurity had it not been for the action taken against their makers. What explains this inclination to look for disrespect, and then to explode with anger upon finding it and attributing it falsely to one’s perceived enemies? Why is it that outbreaks of anger have much more to do with perceived representational infractions than substantive behaviour in the real world?
In the case of the anti-Islam video, it is difficult to understand what is the source of the outrage. Given that one of the functions of the internet is to enable lunatics to have their say in the medium and font of their choice, reacting to such a crude attempt at incitement by getting incited seems like a remarkably short-sighted reaction. Apart from the fact that it is technologically infeasible to do too much about such attempts, it is a invitation to every other fringe group to gain easy notoriety on the cheap. No religion or political formation can believe that it does not have its share of people who dislike it, and in some cases hate it with a venomous passion. The desire to eradicate the world of any sign of this hatred is a fantasy; what most groups settle for is to keep
reasonable boundaries that prevent the faithful from being involuntarily exposed to views that they would find offensive and insulting.
In an earlier world, it could be argued that the device of blasphemy and the consequences it invited had its uses. It cordoned off the touchy areas of our life by keeping adherents in check and creating well demarcated boundaries between one social group and another. Today the operating conditions have changed substantially. Due to the enormously inter-connected nature of our existence, whatever we feel about others is now easy to broadcast to everyone else at little cost, both material and otherwise. The ordered nature of social groups with a few ports of communication have dissolved in a cacophony of individual untamed voices. In such a situation, a device like blasphemy needs to be invoked with restraint, for it is in danger of expending itself otherwise.
There is another factor at work too. In an earlier world, important people and lofty ideas enjoyed a natural protection from too much intemperate criticism. One lived in a smaller, self-contained and largely homogenous world under a canopy of exaggerated respect. Truly public platforms were rare, and could in most cases be managed. For the important, the exposure to such volumes of vituperation is an unfamiliar and deeply disorienting experience. It is also why the current touchiness is shown most by groups that have enjoyed unchallenged power—the state, powerful leaders in all facets of public life and religious and quasi-religious groups. The desire seems to be to protect themselves by retreating into an enclave of guaranteed respect.
If we think about it, what Aseem Trivedi was really accused of was not sedition but blasphemy. In a lot of the cases, the reactions to criticism have followed the codes of blasphemy, rather than any other label that might have been used. In an ironical way, the role of religion is increasing in our life not only through its organized form, but also by way of treating other arenas of our life as if they were religion. When Mamata reacts to a cartoon, or a book is banned because it contains something unpalatable, it is not because these are threats to the public but because they are seen to be blasphemous in nature. The reason why cartoons feature in so many of the issues of the day is because they are by definition rooted in the notion of blasphemy—they make the lofty and sacred look ridiculous. The touchiness about things symbolic is a sign that more subjects are asking to be treated with reverence rather than real respect; the problem is not with a specific criticism but with the very idea of criticism.
Attempts to understand these reactions by invoking notions of taste and historical injustice are misguided, particularly given the new context in which we all operate. If we start legitimising extreme reactions to any and every provocation, a swift descent to medievalism seems unavoidable. On the other hand, It is also true that the easy circulation of such material, available in such volume, is not easy to adjust to. The volume and velocity of hate are going up dramatically while the capacity to handle the same has not grown significantly. The process of negotiating with the changed conditions is not going to be easy, but a retreat into the past is not an option. We will be living in a world with greater knowledge of who hates us and why, and reacting to every perceived slight with brute force will be an exercise in self-defeating futility.