Saturday, 24 February 2018

Survival by blackmail or art of governance


An anecdote goes like this: a benign king decided to teach his subjects the value of co operation. He invited them all for a lunch and had them seated in two rows facing each other. He did one more thing before serving the food, he tied stilts to their arms so that they could not bend them. And when the food was served the people obviously could not eat what was served. It was then that the king came and asked them why they were not eating. One getting no response he said: it is true that none of you can eat yourself but why don’t you try feeding the person in front of you? And the story ended happily. And when people started co operating like this but in negative ways somebody coined the phrase ‘you scratch my back, I shall scratch yours’. But in Kalyug, even this phrase doesn’t adequately express the extent to which criminals co-operate. Hence the new expression: survival by blackmail! And if you look at how public servants get away with their acts of omissions and commissions one may not be wrong in asking if it is also the art of governance!

Jacob Thomas, IPS, was handpicked by the Pinarayi led government in Kerala to head the Vigilance Department with the ostensible aim of cleansing the administration of corruption. Now, there had been two allegations that had come out in public domain against Jacob Thomas himself. One, while working with the Department of Ports at Kochi he had caused a loss of Rs 15 crores to the exchequer by buying equipments without following the prescribed procedure. Two, after taking leave he had worked for a college and got additional remuneration. The latter when detected and objected to he had repaid the amount so received and all seemed well after that. 

Meanwhile an MLA had sought information under the RTI Act and failed to get any though cases of corruption are not exempted from disclosure. Though the dates of the application, first appeal and second appeal are not known it has been reported (Mathrubhumi, 10 Feb 2018) that the Chief Information Commissioner, Kerala State Information Commission is going to conduct hearing on the appeal on 12 Feb 2018. (About how this is irrelevant and how the information commissioners have murdered the RTI Act is a matter of independent study, or more precisely, a case study sufficient to expose how the public servants can be the biggest traitors in this country!)

Once at the top of the Vigilance Department, Jacob Thomas went about his job like no other Vigilance Director before him. Unfortunately for him, he literally opened a Pandora’s box by investigating allegations of corruption and disproportionate assets cases against some senior members of the IAS. And this most powerful lobby in the state retaliated by planning a mass leave as a mark of protest. The Chief Minister stood his ground and listed the instances when he had supported the secretaries against whom vigilance had recommended prosecution. As per a report in the Mathrubhumi of 10 Jan 2017, Pinarayi Vijayan had named K M Abraham, Tom Jose and hinted at Paul Antony, (without actually naming him, and all were additional chief secretaries then with Paul Antony being the Chief Secretary now!) and how he had not proceeded with the action recommended by the Vigilance Department against any of them! In fact, while examining a petition alleging that then Chief Secretary, S M Vijayanand, had put in cold storage a vigilance report against Tom Jose, the High Court had also reportedly (Mathrubhumi, 28 Jan 2017) asked if Tom Jose should be allowed to continue in the civil service itself! The same newspaper had other two serious reports too. One was about the Special Vigilance Court directing that once prima facie charge has been established through a quick enquiry there was no need for waiting for clearance from the court to register an FIR and proceed with further investigations. The other was about how a petitioner alleged that the Additional Chief Secretary, Home, Ms Nalini Netto, had ‘created’ a false file to successfully remove the then DGP (Law and Order) Senkumar from his post.

But the IAS lobby proved its strangle hold on government when shortly Jacob Thomas was relieved from the high profile job of Vigilance Director.  One of the arm twisting tactics adopted was not to honour personal recommendations of the ministers for making appointments to various posts, including those where political nominations were in vogue!(Mathrubhumi, 15 Jan 2017)

Cut to end of 2017. There had been a lot of hue and cry in the aftermath of the typhoon Ockhi which ravaged the coastal areas of Kerala. In one instance the victims did not even allow the CM to get into his car after visiting them! And while being the Director of the Institute of Management in Government, he invited suspension by echoing, during a public function, popular sentiments about the failure of the government in warning the coastal folks and the lackadaisical rescue and rehabilitation efforts. And now, hardening their stand against him, the Chief Secretary, Paul Antony, has issued him a show cause notice for his prosecution too. They have also alleged that his writing a book while in service and without taking permission amounted to gross illegality!

It is believed that when misfortune strikes, it pours! Now the High Court of Kerala, while quashing an FIR registered by the Vigilance Department, in what is popularly known as the Patoor land scam, has criticized Jacob Thomas and even remarked that he needs to be disciplined! The case, in a nut shell is like this. A private party had wanted the Kerala Water Authority to remove a pipeline passing through a piece of land, allegedly encroached by the party. The Authority refused claiming it was their land. The matter was taken up with then Chief Secretary who recommended the removal of the pipes and it was accepted by then Chief Minister, Ommen Chandy. Typical of Kerala, allegations of corruption surfaced and Jacob Thomas, as Additional Vigilance Director, had conducted an inquiry and submitted a report to the Lokayukta who was hearing a complaint on the issue. The then Opposition Leader, V S Achuthanandan, came down heavily on the Lokayukta alleging that he had locked up the report and had also directed Jacob Thomas not to give any copies of that report to anybody else! (Malayala Manorama, 11 Feb 2016) Interestingly another report in the Malayala Manorama, of 01 April 2016, gives the following details, quoting the Lokayukta: the land belonged to the private party who had not given any permission for laying the sewage pipes through its property (!). It had applied for removal of the pipes on 03 July 2008 and had deposited Rs 14,80,000/- on 25 Aug 2008 towards the cost. There was nothing wrong in giving permission to the private party to shift the pipes at their cost (!) However, the investigations had also revealed that the private party had encroached on 12.279 cents of land and the District Collector had been directed to take possession of it immediately. Also revealed were the manipulations at the revenue offices and the City Corporation office, including pages torn off the relevant registers!

For me the following questions beg answers.

One, could the Water Authority have laid a pipe line through a private property without even the owner’s permission?

Two, how long back was the pipe line laid?

Three, if the pipeline had been laid by the Water Authority without the owner’s permission and the owner now wanted it to be removed should the owner have approached a court of law?

Four, for what purpose, on what basis of calculation and on whose instruction was Rs 14,80,000/- deposited on 25 Aug 2008?

Five, when was the permission granted for shifting and when was the shifting completed?

Six, what all actions had been taken by the owner/public servants between 25 Aug 2008 and the date of grant of permission? (It needs to be remembered that during 2008 it was V S Achuthanandan who was the Chief Minister and the permission was given after Ommen Chandy, who was one of the accused, became Chief Minister in 2011!)

While, the whole series of reports indicate that none of the public servants have been convicted for their alleged crimes the fact also remains that in most of the cases there have been no honourable acquittals either! Jacob Thomas, who is a DGP under suspension, has reportedly approached the Central Government for a posting, preferably somewhere outside the country, expressing fear for his life! 

Well, that is how democracy is working in India’s first fully literate state which is also acclaimed as God’s own country!

Two updates: one, Sen Kumar went to Supreme Court and got himself reinstated as DGP (Law and Order) one month prior to his retirement(!); and two, as on 24 Feb 2018 when I checked the website of the Kerala State Information Commission- not only did I not ( repeat NOT) find the decision  on the appeal under the RTI Act, which was to be heard by the CIC, Vinson M Paul, on 12 Feb 2018, but was shocked to see that the site does not have any relevant information, not even the proactive disclosures mandated under Sec 4(10(b) of the RTI Act!

Wednesday, 31 January 2018



“To allow the chief justice practically a veto upon the appointment of judges is really to transfer the authority to the chief justice which we are not prepared to vest in the President or the government of the day. I, therefore, think that is also a dangerous proposition,“- Dr B R Ambedkar,  Constituent Assembly debates

"The justice delivery system has reached its nadir"- Y. K. Sabharwal, former CJI

We urgently need three Judicial Commissions at the national and provincial levels: an Appointments Commission, a Performance Commission and a Punitive Scrutiny       Commission. They should have the power even to terminate services in cases of gross judicial misconduct.- V R Krishna Iyer, former judge, Supreme Court of India, ‘The patchy Indian judicial record’ , The Hindu, 06 Sep, 2007

'Judges appointing judges is bad enough in itself; judges judging judges is worse.'- E.M.S Natchiappan, heading the Parliamentary Standing Committee of the Ministry of Law and Justice

To answer the question, can our judiciary be saved?, Texas style: no! Definitely not the way things are at present. Just imagine the audacity (and equally probable brainlessness!) of Kurian Joseph, one to the four judges who held the press conference to cast aspersions on the CJI, going back to the press the next day and stating ‘we do not want any external interventions’! Of course, the immediate need to retain that iota of credibility that the judiciary has been enjoying for a long time now is to prosecute these four judges and send them to jail, a la Karnan. 

Having said that, one can only analyse what all are needed to have a justice delivery system that works to deliver what it is expected to deliver-justice! Here there are two options: one, to go on a quoting spree that implicitly suggests some of the remedies. For example, Natchiappan’s observation, quoted above, readily suggests that there should be a body not having judges as members, to judge judges. In fact an online petition, initiated on 31 May 2005 and posted at, appealing to the President and PM of India to constitute a National Judicial Commission to try and punish judges as per laws applicable to citizens, had been signed by 429 citizens, none with vested interests but all stakeholders, nonetheless! (The PetitionOnline site has subsequently gone off cyberspace but the contents of the petition and the comments of the supporters are posted at and ) And Krishna Iyer has suggested how many bodies are required for dealing with the various aspects involving judges.

The other option is straight forward and based on first principles. For example, if there is delay, is it only due to deficiency in the number of judges? If yes, then certainly there is a case for increasing the number of judges. But what about other obvious reasons like less dockets per judge (compared to the US of A, for details see Part 1 of this series of critiques ‘JUDGES REVOLT-the last nail on the coffin of judicial credibility-190118 available at, the preposterously large number of cases listed per day, the unwarranted adjournments etc wasting much of the precious time of our courts and worse, judges going on vacation as in colonial times? As per reports appearing in media/social networks, the higher courts work only for around half the number of days in a year!

To begin with, all quasi judicial organizations should be converted to regular courts with specialization and should be headed by appropriately qualified citizens and definitely not by retired judges or bureaucrats. (Isn’t it obnoxious that the apex court that rubbished the National Judicial Appointment Act has not found anything wrong with re employment of retired judges in quasi judicial organizations like human rights commissions and consumer ‘courts’ when Article 124 (7) of the Constitution of India states that: "No person who has held office as a Judge of the Supreme Court shall plead or act in any court or before any authority within the territory of India." Similarly, Article 220 for permanent judges of high courts not to plead or act in any court or before any authority except before the Supreme Court and other high courts.)
And when bureaucrats, who are required to do much more routine and mundane jobs have to retire at 60 there is no reason why judges, at all levels, should not be retired at this age if not lesser, given that the mental prowess required to analyze complicated cases would certainly require a young and more dynamic brain.
The above two suggestions together would at once remove dead wood and apple polishers while blunting the virtual judge to population ratio argument.

Then, if a judge can hear only 5 to 10 cases in a day there should be only maximum 15 cases listed. And these cases should be continuously listed till they are disposed off one by one, adding as many cases to the list as are disposed off the previous day. Even while listing these cases, they should be divided into four parts-fore noon 1st half and 2nd half and afternoon 1st half and 2nd half- so that litigants are required to be present only for those durations and do not have to waste their complete days for each attendance. The argument that the time of the judge will be wasted is baseless as the judge can easily use the intervening breaks, if any, as per the dictates of the cases pending before him.

The limits of adjournment are specified in most laws but are not followed. They should be enforced ruthlessly. The penalty imposed on the defaulting party should be deterrent.

Ideally advocates should not represent any party in any courts and affected parties should be encouraged to argue their cases in person. This will put an end to the games played by advocates at the cost of litigants. Fali S Nariman, in his book 'India's Legal system: Can it be saved? , had asserted thus: For more years than I can imagine we lawyers have been using our lawyering skills not in a profession but in a game, in which the more skilful (which tends to become also the more costly), will invariably win. (Incidentally, the illustrious lawyer has not given any suggestions what so ever for saving India’s Legal System. His book concludes with the following poser: In this country of ours, the Judiciary is the salt of the earth. My wish for the third millennium is that if it please God, there be no occasion when it is said that the salt has lost its flavour, because as the Bible warns us: if the salt ever loses its flavour, then wherewith shall it be salted?)

To allay the fears of all the advocates being jobless and more importantly to make the first level of grievance redressal available at the door step what can and needs to be done is that every advocate should be given licence as an arbitrator and allowed to hear disputes between aggrieved parties and give decision. The licence should include their subject of specialisation and an accreditation status provided by the bar council. Their fees should be regulated like that of doctors. Only if the decision of this first level redressal system is not acceptable should the matter go to a formal court. The decision as well as the satisfaction level of the parties concerned should be communicated to the bar council for compiling the performance profile of the advocate.

The party aggrieved by the decision may consult any other advocate and get a formal petition prepared including the charge sheet but the filing in the court has to be done by the party only and not the advocate, though the details of the advocate preparing the petition should be on record to enable assessment of his competence later (this concept, in a very rudimentary form,  is already followed by the Income Tax Department which tracks the tax practitioners filing IT returns on behalf of third parties.) But no advocate should be allowed to appear in any court representing any of the parties. This court may summon the parties or witnesses who had deposed before the advocate during the 1st stage. This may be done only once and in very rare cases twice. The court's decision should be communicated not only to the parties but also to the bar council which should use the data to grade the judge as well as the advocates-both the one who had acted as arbitrator and the one who had prepared the petition. This grading should be reflected in the accreditation status and the fees payable to the advocate and they should be renewed every three years. This certificate should be displayed in the office of every advocate in a manner that it will be visible to every visitor.

The final appeal, except in cases where the punishment is death or life imprisonment, should be to a bench of two judges at the district level.

The high court should take the final call in cases of death and life imprisonment sentences. Otherwise it should deal with issues of law referred to it by the district courts and intra-govt disputes. The quality of the references from district judges should be evaluated to grade and appraise them and their compensation including scope for continued employment and promotion, should also be linked to this.

The apex court should only be involved in vetting the laws made by the parliament and the state legislative assemblies and enforcing correction.

A website, having all case laws related to specific crimes should be maintained by the bar council and monitored by the high courts and apex court. It should be accessible to all. It may be necessary at this juncture to hold as void all case laws older than, say, 25 years.

Delivering the keynote address on ‘The Case for Delivering Better Justice to Women: A view from the Judge’s Chair’ at the 4th annual Women’s Day event organized by Moneylife Foundation, Sujata Manohar, former judge of the Supreme Court, said: “The first problem with the Indian justice system is that the laws can’t be properly understood. We need laws that take into account the needs of society. Once this is done, they need to be implemented. There are several other things we need. Just punishing wrongdoers, giving jail-time isn’t enough. We need community service provisions, we need compensatory provisions.”
Have you ever thought why all the under trials are poor and languishing in jail for the best part of their lives, if not their whole lives, when the likes of Kanimozhi and D Raja could approach the apex court repeatedly for bail even during their short term in jail, pending framing of charges? The condition for granting bail is simple- the surety must produce the latest receipt for having paid land tax!

And do you know that in our courts, a copy of the order is issued to the accused only if he is convicted and not if he is acquitted? If acquitted, he has to apply for a copy of the order for his records! (Providing another opportunity for the advocate to fleece him!)

Can’t a judiciary that could trash the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act amend these, considering how far it will go to undo the injustice to the poor under trials? Or to the citizens who have been viciously dragged through preposterous court procedures due to the malevolence of some public servants?

And that brings me to the last two, though not the least in importance, suggestions for making the judiciary more effective. One, amend the provisions of the Constitution and laws dealing with contempt of court to make contempt of court applicable only in cases of non compliance with their orders. Enacting a Contempt of Citizen (Prevention of) Act would also be necessary as a follow up. The other is, in cases involving government as a petitioner/respondent the concerned public servants should be made party to the case and they should be required to go through the procedure as any ordinary citizen who is a complainant or defender is required to go through. The number of cases can then be seen tumbling down along with unwarranted egos!

Thursday, 25 January 2018



In a democracy, the people are supreme, and therefore they are the superior entity, while all State authorities (including Judges) are inferior entities, being the servants of the people.-  Markandey Katju, former judge of the Supreme Court of India

If anybody asked me what is wrong with our judiciary I wouldn’t reply with ‘please do not ask me what is wrong, ask me what is right; it will be a shorter list’. Because, in both the cases I can reply with single words: everything and nothing!

The problems start with articles 129 and 215 of the Constitution which empower the apex court and high courts to punish for contempt of those courts and subordinate courts. These, no doubt, are provisions anathema in a democratic society where the sovereign power rests with the people. And all functionaries of the government, and let us have no doubt that judges are also part of the government, are public servants with clearly identifiable tasks and empowered and equipped to fulfill those tasks and appropriately compensated for accepting and fulfilling those tasks.

We are well aware that our Constitution has divided these functions of government into three parts- the law making, the law enforcing and law interpreting. While all three are supposed to be independent in their own areas of jurisdiction, there are supposed to be checks and balances also between all three. As far as the citizen is concerned his liberty is circumscribed by the quip ‘your liberty ends where my nose begins’. And we also know that the ultimate refuge of a citizen seeking justice is the judiciary. So the responsibility for the ultimate denial of justice should also lie at the door steps of none other than the judiciary.

Writing in the New Indian Express of 20 Dec 2004 ('Human rights, the genesis of justice is from religion’), columnist Renuka Narayan stated that when we transformed from subjects to citizens, we forfeited our rights it seems, since what happens in our country now in the name of law is often rank injustice! And Aravind Kumar, Jurist and lawyer, writing in the Pioneer, Kochi, of 01 Aug 2006 ('Needed high speed legal redressal') had stated ‘Justice is an intrinsic human need. We suffer much privation but we cannot suffer being wronged. Absence of justice, we must not forget, is one of the causes of crime.’

And to quote myself from an article (‘Democracy? East is East and West is West…!’) written in 2002 and available at

 Judiciary. But even the administration is a shade better when compared to our judiciary! Justice delayed is justice denied is a maxim that one learnt in the primary school. So imagine the state of affairs when even under-trials are left languishing in jails for 30 or more years. When even a life-convict is expected to be kept in jail for only 14 years or less, just imagine the horror of spending so many years in jail as an under-trial in a case where the maximum punishment could be just a few months! Here is a report by Swaminathan A Aiyer. Three liquidation cases in the Calcutta High Court remained pending for more than 50 years. And India can boast of the longest legal dispute in history- a land dispute in Maharashtra lasted 650 years! If no new case at all is registered, says Debroy, the courts will take 324 years to dispose of the backlog at the current rate of clearance. And this, when only 50 percent of the population is literate and the majority of the population is simply worried where their next meal is going to come from! Agreed that, as usual, resources needed are far more than what is available. But to accept that and rest the case would be nothing but a fraud. And this is what Justice V R Krishna Iyer has written in Justice and Beyond: Why, in Gandhian India, are sentencing provisions and practices sadistic and retributive, judges and administrators dismissing as hawkish muck therapeutic and corrective alternatives? When do we hope to modernize, humanise and democratise our legal system and tune it upto to Third World conditions?

Rule of Law not Rule of Judges. The mainstay of any civilized society, leave alone a democracy, is the rule of the law. For any law to be effective it should, first of all, be simple, clear and unambiguous. The affected people should understand it and imbibe it in letter and spirit. The need to go to courts to get interpretations for each and every clause certainly doesn’t speak well of the competence of our legislators. And worse, when the judiciary interprets the same law to mean different, sometimes even contradictory, things under different contexts, the public can only get confused and confounded, as they are now. In this context it would be worth recalling that confusion had prevailed even in recognising the preamble of our Constitution as an integral part of it! In 1961, the Supreme Court had observed that the preamble is not part of the Constitution, but in 1973, it held that the preamble of the Constitution was part of the Constitution and the observations to the contrary in Berubari Union case were not correct! Our present Union Minister for Disinvestment, Mr Arun Shourie, has done yeomen service in compiling a number of intriguing cases in a book titled Courts and their judgments. At the function held to release the book he also made a tongue-in-cheek suggestion: that there should be a group of scholars reviewing all sensitive rulings of the higher courts so that the judges were also careful that their judgments were subjects to scrutiny! And this is what Ms Arundhati Roy, Booker-prize winner, has said: the process of the trial and all that it entails, is as much, if not more of a punishment than the sentence itself.

People who do not understand even the relevance of the Preamble of the Constitution are not only bound to create such faux pauses but should be viewed as dangerous enough to subvert the laws themselves. For the benefit of those who may find it difficult to understand this logic here are some illustrations.

In Ittavira Vs Varkey (A 1964 SC 907) the apex court had ruled that 'courts have jurisdiction to decide right or to decide wrong and even though they decide wrong, the decrees rendered by them cannot be treated as nullities'.

Subsequently, in Misrilal Vs Sadasiviah (A 1965 SC 553) the apex court had ruled that 'there can be no interference in revision merely because the decision is erroneous in law or in fact where there is no error pertaining to jurisdiction'.

Now what does a combined reading of these two judgments mean? A court with jurisdiction can pass any absurd, patently unfair, unjust order and the litigant will have to lump it? And mind you, these case laws were quoted by some eminent lawyers while defending an appeal under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986!

Similarly, in Jancy Joseph Vs Union of India (1999 (1) KLT 422), the question of applicability of Section 56 of the Civil Procedure Code while ordering arrests under the provisions of Section 27 of the Consumer Protection Act was considered by the Kerala High Court. Under Section 56 of the CPC, 'the court shall not order arrest or detention in the civil prison of a woman in execution of a decree for payment of money; regarding recovery of money from others, arrest can be ordered if it is found that the person concerned have means to pay'.

The judge had ruled that ‘ woman cannot be arrested for recovery of money under Sec 27 of the (Consumer Protection) Act but the means of judgement debtor need not be considered when the power under S 27 is exercised for recovery of money'.

In other words, the judge not only exempted 50 percent of the population from the penal provisions of a period legislation on the grounds of sex which is illegal as per the preamble of the Constitution but also aggravated the discrimination by ruling that judgment debtors, other than women, could be arrested even if they did not have means to pay!

But the sordid saga didn’t end there. in Mary Chacko vs Jancy Joseph (2005 (3) KLT 925), a division bench headed by the then CJ of Kerala considered the issue of the applicability of the same Sec 56 of CPC while enforcing the orders under Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act 1993 and ordered that women CAN be arrested because 'there is a clear basis for treating the public dues different from the purely private'. Now this raises a genuine doubt whether the Constitution of India, by which all these luminaries swear by, mention anywhere that justice could/should be denied to individual citizens? As I see it, or as any man in his senses would see it, it is a big NO! Doesn't it suggest that these people read the Preamble to the Constitution, as well as the Gandhi Talisman for added effect,
every time they opened a case file? (For more reading go to

It is presumed that the above examples prove sufficiently how wayward and whimsical the decisions of our ‘learned’ judges are. But to cut the story short let me quote V R Krishna Iyer, a former judge of the apex court held in great esteem by the legal fraternity, from his article ‘The patchy Indian judicial record’ in the Hindu of 06 Sep 2007:

The tricolour flies high, but today the Indian judicial culture flags. …The British Crown had jettisoned India from the Empire, but colonial law and feudal justice has not been replaced or displaced by dynamic principles of socialist, secular, democratic justice meeting the raw realities of Indian life. Judicial jurisprudence has not possessed a       progressive √©lan or innovative and creative national commitment one would have expected from a system that was to administer social and economic justice in the context of penurious humanity, reflecting the preambular objectives….Litigation is now a terror and horror. It is never final and is ever perennial. It bankrupts both sides, shocks and shames socio-economic egalite….  
There are several thousand cases where judgments have not been delivered long years after arguments are over. Judicial officers adopt cover-up devices to hide this truth from the people. Sometimes judges of superior courts retire or secure transfers without pronouncing pending judgments. Thus the backlog may be partly blamed on the judges themselves who listlessly listen to hours of arguments, allow months and years of adjournments, on matters that would be disposed of in a fraction of that time period in the U.S. and the U.K. There are subordinate courts where adjournments are liberal and there are no cases to hear in the afternoons. On the contrary, I have seen in Delhi courts where a presiding judge hears two or three cases simultaneously, making the public trial of cases a farce or a scandal….We only hear about the clamour for the appointment of more judges, which can have negative results if Parkinson’s Law and the Peter Principle are true….We urgently need three Judicial Commissions at the national and provincial levels: an Appointments Commission, a Performance Commission and a Punitive Scrutiny Commission. They should have the power even to terminate services in cases of gross judicial misconduct.’

Cut to the implementation of the Right to Information Act. Immediately on its enactment judges could be heard speaking from every platform that the judiciary had always upheld this right as part of freedom of speech and expression. But on ground they started with subverting the Act by misusing the power under Sec 28 of the Act, in total negation of the proviso to Sec 7(5) of the Act, by demanding exorbitant fees towards application and cost. And they even introduced a fee for the 1st appeal which is intended to only provide an authority superior to the Public Information Officer of the public authority to correct any shortcomings in the responses of the PIO. And of course the case of the then CJI, K G Balakrishnan, claiming his office to be out of purview of the RTI Act is too well known to need a repetition here. But what has not been discussed by anybody so far is the fact that in that case, decided by all the information commissioners of the Central Information Commission sitting as one bench, the information commissioners had refrained from imposing the mandatory penalty under Sec 20 of the RTI Act on the CJI who was the de facto custodian of the information sought!

It may not be that the information commissioners had refrained from imposing the penalty on the CJI due to any reverence or extraneous considerations. But the fact remains that these extraneous considerations cannot be ruled out in other cases. And if you look at the cumulative loss to the exchequer due to failure of the information commissioners to impose the lawfully mandated penalty it may be more than the loss due to 2G and Coalgate scams put together. And worse, it has also resulted in the law itself being subverted with impunity! The same can be said of other quasi judicial organizations too.

To conclude, there is no denying the fact that the failure of the judiciary has resulted in the deterioration of law and order of the society and there are more criminals in our offices of governance than in our prisons!

Thursday, 18 January 2018



Law makers without any prescribed qualities, qualifications or experience, their men Fridays (popularly known as bureaucrats, who are required to help them in decision making by collecting and collating data and maintaining records)  without any accountability and a judiciary which has the scope for the most whimsical decision making being held not only without accountability and beyond criticism but also protected by a totally illogical and weird armor called contempt of court, are the essential features of our Constitution, the Bible for our governance!

Amoung the three organs of our Constitution the law-makers are controlled by the people, bureaucracy (yes, bureaucracy, because without the active support of the bureaucracy no politician can do any wrong!) and finally the judiciary; the law-enforcers are also controlled by the law-makers and the judiciary. And then there are the ears and eyes of the people- the media waiting to sensationalise every news involving the misdemeanor of these authorities. In spite of such strict supervision and control all that we can hear these days are about politician-bureaucrat-underworld nexus even though the fact remains that none, worth the name, from this unholy nexus have ever been punished by the holier-than-thou judiciary.So now think how bad a system can be which is not only NOT subject to supervision but also kept beyond critical observation. Well isn’t our judiciary is just that? And do I need to recapitulate that quip: power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely?

First things first. So the answer to that question in the title is a big NO. The judges revolt is only the last but one nail on that coffin. So what will be the last nail? Just wait to read through this whole critique.

Even as a child one had heard elders exclaiming that it is a blessing to pass through this life without entering a police station or a court. Though one was too young then to understand what it meant it was in the first decade of this millennium that Transparency International came out with their survey results which clearly indicted the police and judiciary to be the most corrupt institutions in India. And I understand that TI is facing contempt of court proceedings for publishing that report!

Even by its own admission the judiciary is a failure in our country based on the principle of justice delayed is justice denied. And the only reason the ‘learned’ judges are seen suggesting is the poor judge to population ratio which any rational human being can see is meaningless. The population figures, particularly in our country where a significant percentage is living below poverty line and are even illiterate, are irrelevant and what matters is the number of cases filed and this is significantly low leading to a fairly high judge to docket ratio. Sample data for U S of A vis a vis India is as follows:

Cases filed in one year (1999):           India - 13.6 Million;    USA- 93.81 Million
Dockets per judge:                              India - 987;                  USA- 3235

One doesn’t need these statistics to prove this point. One needs to just visit any court to see how poor the docket management is, leading to criminal waste of time in everyday functioning of the courts. Almost half the time is wasted in a process called mustering where hundreds of cases listed for the day are called out and, after ensuring that the concerned parties are present, most of them are adjourned without even being taken up for any hearing! Here are two observations by H D Shourie ('How long before justice comes?' The New Indian Express of 04 Dec 2004)

'It is not possible for a judge to seriously hear and decide more than two or three cases a judge should have more than 30 matters listed before him/her on a given day.'

'Lawyers are accused of employing delaying methods, but no lawyer can succeed if the court refuses an adjournment.'

In this context it needs to be highlighted that no institution treats the free citizens so shabbily like our judges because they summon you, even under threat of arrest, and then order you to come back on a later date without progressing your case even by a minute step! Taareeq pe taareeq is the hall mark of our judicial process!

Even at the end of preposterous delays do the justice seeker get justice? Even here the answer is a big NO, when whetted on the touchstone of ‘justice should not only be done but seen to be done’! And this is what the National Commission to review the working of the Constitution, a judiciary-headed, judiciary-heavy body, has stated in its Report submitted in 2002:

'Judicial system has not been able to meet even the modest expectations of the society.  Its delays and costs are frustrating, its processes slow and uncertain.  People are pushed to seek recourse to extra-legal methods for relief.  Trial system both on the civil and criminal side has utterly broken down.'

Also, 'Thus we have arrived at a situation in the judicial administration where courts are deemed to exist for judges and lawyers and not for the public seeking justice'.

The Supreme Court itself had admitted in 2009 that it had wrongly sentenced 15 people to death in 15 years! In 2012, 14 retired judges had reportedly written to the President, pointing out that since 1996 the Supreme Court had erroneously given the death penalty to 15 people, of whom two were hanged! –‘You were wrong, My Lords’

And if this is the case in the matter of capital punishments where it is awarded in the rarest of rarest cases in a country which unequivocally states that even if a thousand criminals escape one innocent shall not be punished, does one need to elaborate further?

The judiciary always has the following specious logic to justify its wayward decisions:

One, they can decide only on the facts and laws brought on record in the circumstances of the case; and

Two, since there are two contenders in any case and the verdict will be in favour of only one the other party will of course feel discontented!

I would like to counter this by highlighting the following issues.

In the Right to Information case involving judges’ assets, where the then Chief Justice of India had claimed that his office was out of purview of the RTI Act, what were the facts and laws that were needed to be brought on record? The law has been and is absolutely clear that the office of the Chief Justice is very much within the ambit of the law. And it has been upheld not only by all the information commissioners of the Central Information Commission but also by a single judge and division bench of the Delhi High Court! And why is the apex court sitting on this appeal for so long?

And even while claiming to be transparent in its functions merely because of the open court hearings it conducts why have the courts excluded the judicial functions of the courts from the purview of the RTI Act?

There are many cases reported in the media of serious crimes by judges (Mysore sex scandal, Rajasthan sex for favourable verdict, Non-bailable warrant against the then President and CJI etc) where not only the alleged offenders where not punished but the journalists had been hauled up for contempt of court! It is impossible for a rational citizen to believe that national media would publish such reports without any basis and with clear intention or even conspiracy to defame the judiciary. And what has happened to the case of illegal encroachment of land which led to P D Dinakaran being almost impeached? Of course he resigned at the last moment but was that sufficient punishment, if at all it could be considered punishment? Atleast has the encroached land been retrieved? Or should one presume that the judiciary has no responsibility to ensure that public trust is protected?

There are judges who while holding the office of the CJI or on retirement from that office have gone public with observations that 20 pc of judges are corrupt or even reportedly advised foreign governments not to file cases in India because it will take an unduly long time to get a verdict. Did they not amount to contempt of court?

Isn’t it also a fact that advocates who take to streets to protest are also proclaiming only one thing unambiguously: their lack of faith in the judiciary itself?

We, the people, are also aware of a senior advocate having submitted a list of 16 former CJsI, 8 of whom were allegedly ‘definitely corrupt’!

While a citizen like me has been holding the Contempt of Court provisions of the Constitution and the laws made under it to be totally anti democratic and the only context that justifies them to be cases where the orders of the courts are not complied with, what one has been noticing is the brazenness with which real contempt of court cases are not pursued, leading to litigants who have favourable decrees running from pillar to post to get them executed, and those who criticize the judiciary for genuine reasons being hauled up and dragged over the coals!

It was also appalling that a constitutionally enacted legislation like the National Judicial Appointments Commission has been arbitrarily thrown out by the apex court. The judges seem to forget that we, the people, the only sovereign entities in a democracy, have shared part of the sovereign powers-that of law making- only with our political representatives and the process laid down is fairly broad based to ensure objectivity that a few judges dumping it like so much trash can only be considered preposterous, to say the least! While checks and balances is a much bandied term what we see on the ground is the judiciary behaving like it is a god sent, or in other words god’s only gift, to the rest of the population!

So we come back to the four judges who have revolted against the person holding the highest office in the judiciary of the land. Obviously, it falls in the category of crime under the Contempt of Court Act, as it stands now. While judge Karnan’s case had merits in the allegations because they were more substantial and specific these judges have cast aspersions on the Chief Justice of India merely on perceived wrong doings. Do they mean to say that the CJI is so incompetent that he cannot even assign cases to the appropriate benches or are they alleging that he has biases and vested interests? As an ordinary human being with rationality still intact, I find their claim that the the CJI is only first amoung equals contradicting their own claim to decide certain cases simply because they are senior to the others!

And since judge Karnan’s case has set the precedence in that it is not only impeachment that is possible with judges of courts of records for their deviant behavior, there is the urgent need for the CJI to constitute a bench consisting of himself and any 6 judges of his choice to try these judges for criminal contempt. And the last nail on the coffin of judicial credibility will be the one if they are allowed to go scot free!

'The highest office in our democracy is the office of citizen; this is not only a platitude, it must translate into reality.’- National Commission to review the working of the Constitution

Saturday, 6 January 2018


Veteran Major P M Ravindran

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN, SOCIALIST, SECULAR, DEMOCRATIC, REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens: -
JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all;
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation;
- The Preamble, Constitution of India


Equality, liberty and fraternity- three terms made popular by the French Revolution are now recognised the world over as the touchstones of a welfare society. They have of necessity found their place in our Constitution also though only in its preamble. On 2nd September 1953, while making a statement in the Rajya Sabha (Parliament) Dr. Ambedkar gave this following clarification: “People always keep on saying to me, so you are the maker of the Constitution. My answer is I was a hack. What I was asked to, I did much against my will. I am quite prepared to say that I shall be the first person to burn it. It does not suit anybody.” Earlier, on 19 November 1949, Seth Damodar Swarup had said in the Constituent Assembly of India itself that 'this Constitution … may be heaven for the lawyers, and may even be the Magna Carta for the capitalists of India, but so far as the poor and the tens of millions of toiling, starving and naked masses of India are concerned, there is nothing in it for them.'
Almost 70 years down the road, does anybody need any validation for Seth Damodar Swarup’s assertion?

Interestingly, the Preamble of the Constitution is considered only as a legitimate aid in the construction of the provisions of the Constitution. And, rightly so! But those who have been given the authority to interpret the laws, to be specific, our judges, had introduced ambiguity even in the interpretation of this simple concept. Two factors have been introduced: one, that if an enactment is itself clear and unambiguous, no preamble can
qualify or cut down the enactment*1 and two, the Preamble of an Act, is not recognized as part of the Act because it is not enacted and adopted by the enacting body in the same manner as the enacting provisions. The second factor was wrongly applied to hold that the Preamble of the Constitution was not part of the Constitution by our apex court in the Berubari Union case in 1960*2.  But in 1973, when the constituent history of the Preamble was brought to the notice of the court in the Kesavananda Bharati case *3 it held that the preamble to the Constitution was part of the Constitution and the observations to the contrary in Berubari Union case was not correct!

The Part and the Whole

Equality, liberty and fraternity being the objectives of governance in any and every welfare society, its analysis in the context of a limited sphere of activity- Indian University Education System- can be considered as an effort to understand only a part of the whole. And it cannot be done without at least conceptualizing the whole.

Equality, liberty and fraternity in the Society.

To understand to what extent the concepts of equality, liberty and fraternity have taken roots in our society let us start from where Seth Damodar Swarup left.

Human Development Index (HDI) is a comparative index for measuring the state of development in a country. It combines factors like life expectancy, literacy, education and standard of living. India stands at 133rd place amongst 195 countries as per the list published in 2008 based on data of 2006. In comparison China is at 90th place, Sri Lanka at 104th, Iran at 84th place, Egypt at 116th place and Congo at 130th place.  As per 2016 HDR

*1. Powell v Kempton Park Race Course Co and Attorney General V HRH Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover ([1899] AC 143 at 153 and [1957] AC 436, 467-68)

*2. Berubari Union and exchange of Enclaves, AIR 1960 SC 845, 856

*3. Kesavananda Bharati v State of Kerala, (1973) 4 SCC 225; AIR 1973 SC 1461
(Page 200) India stands at 131 with medium human development. In comparison Vietnam is at 115, Iraq at 121, Bangladesh at 139 and Pakistan at 147*4.

 We are told that we are the third largest economy in the world (behind the US of A and China). What we were not told is that our per capita GDP (PPP) is only $1709.4 per year against the world average of $10,150.8. In comparison the U S of A has $ 57,466.8, China has $ 8,123.2, Vietnam has $2,185.7, Iraq has $4,609.6, Bangladesh has $1,358.8 and Pakistan has $1,468.2*5. Interestingly, as per a similar report by IMF *6 India does not figure in the list of first 50 either in the nominal or PPP rankings for 2016 or the projected figures for 2020. Luxembourg and Qatar are at the top positions on nominal and PPP basis, respectively in 2016. With per capita income of $105,829 Luxembourg is 10.26 times richer than world's $10,313. But in PPP terms, Luxembourg is only 6.24 times richer than world's $16,329. In PPP terms, Qatar has GDP per capita of 129,727, 7.94 times higher than world. It is at 6th position in nominal ranking.

Our infant mortality rate is 55 per 1000 live births. In comparison the rate is 23 for China, 11 for Sri Lanka and 53 in Nepal. The world average is 48.8 per 1000.

Our literacy rate is 65.2% and places us at 159th out of 195 countries. The rate is 93% for China, 90.8% in Sri Lanka and 71% in Egypt.

As per UNDP list India has 28.5% people below the poverty line. In comparison, China has 4.6%, Egypt has 16.7%, Malaysia has 15.5% and Sri Lanka 25%.

Is there anything in the above figures for us to be proud of?

*4. Human Development Report 2016, United Nations Development Programme

*5. World Bank national accounts data, and OECD National Accounts data files accessed at

India became independent in 1947. No doubt the colonizers had looted us thoroughly before they left and to be sure they did not leave us in any better shape than when they had come as is touted by some quarters. China became independent in 1950. China had been devastated by Japanese occupation from 1935 to 1945 and 38 years of civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists. Yet China is far ahead of us in every sphere. Why is it so? The answer is simple. China has had more effective governance than what we have had. The Chinese leaders were more nationalist than ours. Our people in government have rarely been able to put the interest of the nation above that of self, dynasty or the party. My interventions using the Right to Information Act have convinced me sufficiently to assert that all our public servants are idiots or traitors unless proved otherwise!

To quote theirreverent1 *7 ‘We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, our banks destroy our economy, our citizens live in willful ignorance and reek of cowardice.’

Justice gone missing.

Of all coincidences, this is one coincidence-‘Justice’ missing from the subject here and in real life too (as I believe and can vouch for)- that caught my attention right from the word go. Yes, that’s right. Justice, ensuring which is the fundamental duty of any government, is really missing in our society. While equality, liberty and fraternity go hand in hand, they can do so if and only if they are founded on the factors that can be identified as social, economic and political justice. What prevails in our country is only a shadow of political justice in that the electorate gets to vote periodically for a candidate of their choice, to represent them in the government. However, after the vote is cast whether any of these representatives really represent the interests of those who elected them is a big question. If I were to answer that question honestly, it would be a big NO!

*7. Comment at
Of social and economic justice one would be justified in doubting if they exist at all. Even in a fully literate and politically conscious state like Kerala where the Communist Party of India (Marxist) have led the government every alternate 5 years, reports have appeared in the media of certain sections of the society being treated as untouchables even as late as in the last six months!

On the economic front, there have been reports that in India more than half of its GDP is with less than 1 percent of the population!

Aravind Kumar, Jurist and lawyer, rightly wrote*8 thatJustice is an intrinsic human need. We suffer much privation but we cannot suffer being wronged. Absence of justice, we must not forget, is one of the causes of crime.’

And Renuka Narayanan, journalist, wrote*9 that ‘When we transformed from subjects to citizens, we forfeited our rights it seems, since what happens in our country now in the name of law is often rank injustice.’

The National Commission to review the working of the Constitution, a judiciary-headed, judiciary-heavy body*10, which submitted its report in 2002, has stated that 'Judicial system has not been able to meet even the modest expectations of the society.  Its delays and costs are frustrating, its processes slow and uncertain.  People are pushed to seek recourse to extra-legal methods for relief.  Trial system both on the civil and criminal side has utterly

*8. 'Needed high speed legal redressal'-Aravind Kumar, Jurist and lawyer, Pioneer, Kochi,01 Aug 2006

*9. 'Human rights, the genesis of justice is from religion' under 'Faith Line' by Renuka Narayanan, The New Indian Express of 20 Dec 2004

*10. A 11 member Commission (including the chairman) of whom 4 (M.N. Venkatachaliah, the Chairman, B.P. Jeevan Reddy, R.S. Sarkaria and Kottapalli Punnayya) were judges of the Supreme Court/High Courts, 2 (Soli J. Sorabjee and K. Parasaran) were advocates, 2 (P.A.Sangma and Sumitra G. Kulkarni) were political nominees, 2 (Dr.Subhash C. Kashyap and Dr. Abid Hussain) were bureaucrats and just one (C.R. Irani) was a representative from the media!  A citizen’s review of the Report is available at
broken down.' Also, 'Thus we have arrived at a situation in the judicial administration where courts are deemed to exist for judges and lawyers and not for the public seeking justice'.

The above quote would be incomplete without reproducing here what Dr.Subhash C Kashyap has written in his Notes to the above Report: 'The Chapter 7 of the Report is titled 'The Judiciary'.  This chapter particularly is seriously flawed and distorted. The much needed Judicial Reform issues have not been even touched or these got deleted in the final draft.'

Thus, ‘the whole’ can be summarized in the following words:

Law makers without any prescribed qualities, qualifications or experience, their men Fridays (popularly known as bureaucrats, who are required to help them in decision making by collecting and collating data and maintaining records)  without any accountability and a judiciary which has the scope for the most whimsical decision making being held not only without accountability and beyond criticism but also protected by a totally illogical and weird armor called contempt of court, are the essential features of our Constitution, the Bible for our governance!

The Educational System Muddle

Muddle? It is certainly not an approved manner of approaching the main topic. But then why should one beat around the bush? Apart from enforcing law and order, health and education are the only services that the government of a welfare state should have taken upon itself to deliver directly to the people. But how has it been India? Right from telephone and gas connections to road, rail and air transportation the government has had its fingers in every possible commercial activity and, I may add, with disastrous consequences!
There are, or may be there should be, three objectives to higher education: one, fine tuning the art of learning (by self and as a continuous process), fine tuning social skills and acquiring competence needed to earn ones living, or in other words, finding a job. And in the context of the subject being discussed, there is a need to ensure that there is equality of opportunity to access higher education, the liberty to choose any subjects of one’s choice and to interact freely with each other as members of a fraternity.

Education as a Right.

It was only 62 years after independence that this country got its Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act. The Act, notified in the Gazette of India on 27 Aug 2009, provides for free and compulsory education for all children in the age group 6 to 14 years. The National Education Policy is still in embryonic state. While the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) was set up by the UGC in 1994 to accredit universities and institutions of general higher education as well as to certify for educational quality and the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) was established by the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) in 1994 to accredit programmes and institutions, themes and questions for Policy Consultation on Higher Education were released only on 21 Mar 2015*11. But while we wait for policies let us look at what has been happening on the ground in the past.
Access to Higher Education- the admission process
National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) was made compulsory for admission to MBBS and BDS courses with effect from academic year 2016. This was a step in the right direction but due to the last minute promulgation of the orders resulting in opposition from various quarters it was made mandatory only from the academic year 2017 with the final seal of approval coming from the apex court. But in Tamil Nadu, a student, S Anitha, who had got 1176 marks out of 1200 in the Plus 12 committed suicide because her dream of becoming a doctor had been dashed to the ground. Tamil Nadu had been using the marks of Plus 12 as the only yardstick for MBBS admissions. But in neighbouring Kerala the problems arose from a different source- the apex court decision empowering private medical college managements to charge Rs 11 lakhs as fees per year for 85 percent of the seats and Rs 20

*11.  Annexure –II, Themes and questions for Policy Consultation on Higher Education,
 Consultation Process for New Education Policy, Departments of School Education & Literacy and Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development. Can be accessed at the website of MHRD
lakhs for the remaining 15 percent seats reserved for NRI students! But that is not the only issue. There are confusions galore there. But it is nothing new because ever since self financing colleges were introduced in 2002-2003 by the AK Antony led UDF government admission time has been harrowing for both the students and their parents. Antony had permitted such colleges with the promise that two self financing college will be equal to one government college, implying that 50 percent seats in each college will admit students with fees as in government colleges. But the managements of such colleges renegaded quoting apex court orders that there cannot be two different fess structures in the same college as it would amount to cross subsidy! Soon a Committee was constituted with a retired judge of the high court heading it, to fix the fees and monitor the admission process. Now there were four different fees- General merit quota, General non-merit quota, management quota and NRI quota in the same college and not a murmur of protest has been heard. The disputes at every admission stage thereafter have been on the distribution of seats and rate of fees.  And here, since we are on the topic of equality, freedom and fraternity in Indian University Education System there are two questions that need to be addressed- why have AIIMS and JIPMER been excluded from NEET? And why have similar common entrance examinations not been introduced for other professional courses?

Quality of higher education- Ranking institutions and disciplines.

After entrance examinations comes the quality of education in our institutions of higher learning. A 16-member Core Committee, appointed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, under the chairmanship of Secretary (HE), evolved the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) over a period of one year during 2014-15. And the Department of Higher Education under MHRD has come out with their rankings for 2017. Prakash Jawedkar, Minister for HRD has expressed the intention of the government to divide the universities in three categories - A, B and C -on the basis of various criteria including their NIRF rankings’*12. NIRF however covers not merely universities but also colleges and

*12. India Rankings 2017, National Institutional Ranking Framework, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.
even discipline wise ranking is provided. Right now getting the ranking is a voluntary process and hopefully it will be a necessary factor for educational institutions to even survive in the competitive world of commercialized education.

Cost of higher education-prohibitive.

While standardizing admission criteria and ranking of institutions/disciplines provide a level playing field as far as having access to education of one’s choice is concerned, the issue of affordable cost remains to be addressed. In this context the decision of the apex court to allow private medical colleges to charge Rs 11 lakhs per annum as fees is a blow to the aspirations of students hailing from amoung more than 90 percent of the population. At the same time it has been reported in the media that amoung the top 20 rank holders in the All India Civil Services Examination of 2017 nineteen are engineers and also that engineers constitute half of all those who cleared the exam*13! While there may be nothing objectionable in individuals changing tracks but the current figures really question the logic of selecting the right person for the right.  The skill set required for pursuing a profession like engineering and conducting the business of administration are definitely not comparable. So the present situation offers a new perspective on our education system and available job opportunities. One perspective is that for engineers the available job opportunities in the field of their expertise are less lucrative than being a administrator with the government. But think of the administration in government and the skill set required for it and one feels compelled to question the selection process and the compensation offered. Suffice to say that the babus in government, led by the members of the Indian Administrative Service, primarily need a skill set- making briefs and answering comprehension questions that one acquires in the high school- to enable decision makers to make the right decisions with the least effort. And the cost to the exchequer for such a mundane job should be definitely enviable to make engineers opt for it ditching their first love!

*13. 19 of 20 UPSC toppers engineers, constitute half of those who cleared exam: Govt, India TV, 3rd Aug, 2017.
Reservations- murdering equality, liberty and fraternity in one stroke.

I have read reports about foreigners mocking India for its Hindu rate of growth and now we ourselves are acknowledging that we have become a country where everyone is competing to be backward. Whether politically correct or not there is no gainsaying that reservations only breed incompetence. In a fast and competitive society it would be fatal to compromise on competence to perform whatever one is required to perform. Equally true is the fact that there is a need to provide support to those who had been on the fringes of the society in the past and need to be brought into the mainstream. And the only way of doing it is by helping them acquire the competence they need to perform the tasks they would like to perform. To illustrate, if an adivasi boy or girl wants to become the Collector of his/her district, train him/her to qualify in the Civil Services Exams on his/her own steam. Reserving a few posts of District Collector for an incompetent person will be a sure shot way of ruining not merely the district administration but the whole district!

Campus Politics or breeding ground for criminals for political parties?

Campus politics is sought to be encouraged with the view of grooming the future citizens for fulfilling their responsibilities in a democratic society. But on ground it can be seen to have got reduced to a recruiting ground for criminals in political parties. The destruction of public property can alone suffice to brand the campus politics as an irresponsible and anti social activity and ban them. Students can b seen going on rampage for reasons like increase in concessional bus fare, tuition fees and of late even for their right to destroy the country! How many times has anyone seen or heard students protesting vehemently for regular updating of syllabus, better libraries and facilities for extracurricular activities, regular classes and timely conduct of exams and announcement of results?

Education vs Employment Opportunities.

As per a report*14 13.3 per cent of India’s population in the age group of 15-29 years were unemployed. Yet, as our unemployment figures continue to rise, almost every industry, be it manufacturing, technology, hospitality or corporate, is facing a shortage of skilled workforce. The same report continues: 47 per cent of Indian graduates are not qualified for any industry job and more than 70 per cent of our engineering graduates are not employable! According to Aspiring Minds National Employability Report, which is based on a study of more than 1,50,000 engineering students who graduated in 2015 from over 650 colleges, 80% of the them are unemployable.

Interestingly, Kerala, with it’s higher than national average literacy rate, has an unemployment rate of 7.4 per cent, which is much higher than the national average of 2.3 per cent. According to Labour Bureau's "Third Annual Employment & Unemployment Survey 2012-13" released on 29 November 2013, unemployment rate amongst illiterate youth is lower than educated youth.

3 Reasons Employers Say They Don’t Hire Youth. *15

Youth Seem Too Entitled. Employers frequently say that whether they’re high school dropouts or college graduates, youth today seem too entitled. No matter their station in life, they think they should have rewarding work, ideal workplaces, fair pay, good benefits, and substantive advancement opportunities. In return, they don’t want to work as hard, as long, or as meaninglessly as their parents or grandparents did.

*14. Unemployed or unemployable? By Ketan Kapoor in the Hindu dated 22 Dec 2013 at!
*15. Why Youth Are Unemployable   Posted by Adam at
Adam Fletcher is a speaker on engaging young people in business, education, and communities. He is also the author of several books, including Ending Discrimination Against Young People. Learn more about him by visiting
Youth Are Too Apathetic. With their obsessive amount of piercings, tattoos, and poor clothing, employers say youth constantly show that they are indifferent to common workplace expectations for appearance. Reflecting that indifference, youth today don’t respect the predominant Protestant Work Ethic that has dominated successful businesses around the world for more than 400 years. Many bosses say that young workers’ apathy shows in monumental ways when they simply don’t exert the energy needed to get the job done.

Youth Just Aren’t Ready. Despite all their education and education reform, tutoring, youth programs, and other entitlements youth enjoy today, employers consistently report that youth aren’t showing up for work ready to get the jobs done. Instead, they’re under-skilled and less-than-willing to learn what they need to in order to perform the most menial labor.

Learning to Earning…

In order to create employment opportunities for blue-collar jobs, to begin with, the National Skill Development Council (NSDC) has planned to target 25 million youth for training in various skill-based jobs over the next 10 years*14.

While government still needs to work out to remove hurdles to economic activity by not only merely simplifying regulations but going for smart regulations, the quality of public education must be enhanced and licence raj should be totally dismantled to enable entrepreneurs exploit fleeting opportunities that they come by. The increase in wages in China had opened the door for export-led garment industry and other labour intensive industries of India to generate millions of jobs. According to a report of World Bank “Stitches to Riches?” even a 10% growth in garment price of China will create 1.2 million jobs in the Indian garment industry*16.

*16. Youth want jobs not quota, it will not remove frustration of unemployed people

8 Steps to Youth Employability*15

Accept Responsibility. If you actually believe youth are unemployable, you are actually responsible for that condition, as well as for addressing it. If just 10% of all adults everywhere accepted responsibility for doing something different, youth unemployment would become rare around the world. No matter if you are a parent, a teacher, a police officer, business owner, politician, store manager, or simply a neighbor, you have a role to play. Read on to learn what that is.

Teach Young People About Mindsets. From birth, teach all young people everywhere to be willing to learn. Build lessons in how we think into early childhood development programs, and mandate all educators teach about learning styles and mindsets, and more.
Promote Practical Hopefulness. Many adults have largely given up on young people today, whether they recognize it or not. Instead of piping false hope across social media and television, we have to promote practical hopefulness that engenders real action.
Create Partnerships. As they enter their teen years, actively engage every young person in every community in an equitable partnership with an adult, whether as a mentor, in an apprenticeship, or otherwise.

Build Connectivity. Throughout their youth, continuously connect and reconnect every young person throughout their community through active learning, volunteerism, and otherwise.

Redo Education. Re-envision the core curriculum of schools to focus on practical, applicable skill-based and knowledge-building learning, rather than large topical swaths that are seemingly devoid of practical applications to students themselves. Student voice should be at the center of ALL education.

Promote In-person Internet. Weave together online identities with in-person identities. With the ubiquity of the Internet today, its increasingly vital that young people move seamlessly within their social networks, whether on the Internet or in real time.

Foster Entrepreneurial Lifestyles. Entrepreneurship is about more than work; its about life. More commonly than ever, society accepts that change is the only constant. Teaching young people to make the most of that is one of the best ways to make youth employable.

Stop Fighting Change. There’s so much resistance to diversity, to people who aren’t white or wealthy or male or straight or educated or accessible to the mainstream. We must stop fighting the impending changes our world inevitably holds for all of us, and instead embrace them ALL. We can guide and move some change, but at the least, we must simply accept it.

Make Lifelong Learning An Accessible Expectation. There is a lot of value to teaching oneself and learning what you want to, when you want to. However, in our increasingly commodified societies we’re making lifelong learning more and more expensive and inaccessible. We should throw the doors everywhere open for everyone, all the day. Andrew Carnegie knew the value of this; we should acknowledge that’s more important today than ever.

Perhaps the most important thing we can do is the first thing on this list: Accept responsibility, because from that place we can change the world.


Equality, freedom and fraternity are not merely some ideals to be touted by opportunists when it suits their convenience. They are mindsets to be imbibed from the day one starts interacting with the society. We are not living in an ideal world and that is why we have set up a system of governance with well defined tasks and empowered and equipped to fulfill those tasks. The cost to the citizen for sustaining the government is considerable. The accountability and transparency required in government functions are practically nonexistent. The subversion of the Right to Information Act, the only pro-democracy, citizen friendly law of the country, could be a case study for how every public servant in this country continue to treat the citizens as subjects, quite often worse than the way they were treated even by the colonists! The youth of today, in our educational institutions, have the onus of retrieving the situation for themselves. Ramdhari Singh Dinkar*17, Hindi poet, essayist, patriot and academic, had once said that when youth walk, the ground beneath should tremble.  But it would be important for them to also understand that everyone’s freedom ends where the other man’s nose begins. And also about what Jesus Christ said about doing unto others what you expect others to do unto you! And lastly, lest one is totally mistaken for a pacifist, here is our poet laureate Rabindranath Tagore guiding us through an exhortation: "Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it. Let me not look for allies in life's battlefield but to my own strength. Let me not cave in."

(4996 words)

*17. His poem ‘Singhasan Khaali Karo Ke Janata Aaati Hai’ (Vacate the throne, for the people are coming) was used by Jayaprakash Narayan to inspire the people during his fight against the Emergency.