‘Judicial activism bypassed Dalits’


TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ MONDAY, MAY 13, 2002 4:20:23 AM ]

NEW DELHI: During the three decades of judicial activism, as some may call it, certain significant achievements are believed to have been made in the fields of environment, corruption and public health.

And it is because of Article 32 of the Constitution that the judiciary has been intervening in cases where, due to the executive’s inertia, a ‘‘class’’ of deprived citizens was made to suffer.

However, going by the contention of the Parliamentary committee for the welfare of SCs and STs, the radical judicial intervention has not helped in improving the lot of a particular class of citizens, known as the ‘Dalits’.

The committee, headed by Kariya Munda, said social background was never a consideration in appointment of judges. ‘‘In fact, there is no dearth of evidence of the fact that communal bias has been visible in judiciary up to the highest level’’.

The committee quoted former chief justice P N Bhagwati, saying ‘‘since the judges are drawn from the class of well-to-do lawyers, they unwittingly develop certain biases’’.

The Dalits are yet to get relief through Article 32 or Article 226, which empowers the apex court and high courts to issue mandamus and writ to the state concerned to restore the fundamental rights to the deprived class.

Engaged in projects to empower the Dalits for about four decades now, BJP stalwart and founder of the All India Ambedkar Mission Trust Suraj Bhan feels that certain schemes for the Dalits could not yield the desired results, for, they fell in the state list instead of Union list.

Being a member of the Governors Committee set up to suggest ways to alleviate the sufferings of the Dalits, Suraj Bhan had identified the grassroot problems. He found that the reservation policy could help only 50 lakh Dalits against their population of 25 crore.

Reservation in jobs might help a section of the deprived class, he said, but they should be made self-sufficient. In this regard, the Governors Committee’s recommendation to distribute 45 crore acres of wasteland, of which 25 crore acres could be made cultivable, among the Dalits, was yet to be considered by the Centre.

Bhan’s suggestions, based on an expert committee report, surely needs judicial intervention either under Article 32 or 226 in the interest of 25 crore unorganised and impoverished citizens.

Maharashtra's Nandurbar Town Placed Under Curfew

By Our Special Correspondent


Mumbai, May 13

Two persons were killed, one of them in police firing, and 53 others injured when clashes broke out in Maharashtra's tribal-dominated Nandurbar town on Monday morning, forcing the authorities to impose curfew there.

The injured included a police officer and two journalists. The police later arrested 83 persons in connection with the violence. Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh told reporters in Mumbai on Monday evening that a minor tiff during a game of cards in the town's Kali Kasjid locality near Chandsavli Dargah on Sunday night had sparked off the violence between two communities on Monday morning. He said there was no indication so far that the outbreak in Nandurbar was a fallout of the recent incidents in Gujarat.

The tribal-dominated Nandurbar district borders Gujarat's Dangs district, which has witnessed considerable violence over the past few months. The chief minister described the situation as "tense, but under control," and said curfew had been clamped in the area. Two companies of the State Reserve Police have been posted there to prevent any untoward incident, he added.

Seven hutments were set on fire during the violence, and several shops and vehicles damaged.

According to the police, an altercation between Bhim Singh Ratan Bhil and his friend with Salaudding Sheikh while playing cards was the immediate cause of the riots. At around 10 am on Monday a mob gathered in the area and indulged in heavy stonethrowing and arson.

One person, identified as Subhash Agrawal, was hacked to death and later torched. The police, which rushed to the spot, became targets of the rioting mob. Another person was killed when the police opened fire to disperse the mob. This person was identified as Yogesh Rathod.

While Mr Deshmukh claimed that only 16 persons had been injured in the clashes, unconfirmed reports said at least 53 persons had been injured, including 18 police personnel. District superintendent of police C. Kumbhar, who was also among the injured, had to be rushed to Dhule for treatment.

Maharashtra's minister of state for home Manikrao Thane, local MLA and minister of state for general administration Vijay Kumar Gavit and state DGP Subhash Malhotra have rushed to the spot.


18 tribal villages ban naxals' entry

By Our Staff Reporter

NIZAMABAD MAY 13. In a significant development, which should bring relief to the Adilabad police, elders of 18 tribal villages in Asifabad police station limits have passed a resolution banning the entry of the outlawed People's War Group naxals into the villages. The important development comes in the wake of the successful counselling sessions held by the district police, more particularly the Kagaznagar sub-division police officials, after visiting the naxal stronghold villages and interact with them. On Sunday, the tribal elders of these villages sat down, held a meeting and decided to prevent the entry of the naxals into their villages. The locals were directed not to provide food or shelter to extremists as they had used the tribals for their selfish ends.

The elders who held the meeting took an oath in front of the tribal deity to ban naxals as they were responsible for the backwardness of the remote hamlets and villages. The tribals were unanimous in their opinion that because of the frequent movement of naxals the police and Government officials never ventured into the interior villages. Thereafter, a resolution was passed in each of the 18 villages and copies of the resolution passed by tribals leaders were forwarded to the Asifabad police on Monday.

The villages which passed the resolution were Nagulagondi, Balanpur, Bandguda, Chopanguda, Chilkaguda, Konanmovad, Chintaguda, Suddaghat, Vadiloddi, Aliguda, Goganmovad, Movad, Siryanmovad, Santulagundam, Tokkiguda, Toyaguda, Tiryanmovad and Nayakapuguda.

The 18 villages which took the extreme step had been in the grip of the naxals of the Mangi squad area, which was later bifurcated into the Jodeghat and Gopera Local Guerrilla squads.


Parliament passes SC/ST Orders Bill

NEW DELHI MAY 13. Parliament today passed the Constitution (SC/ST) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2002, with the Rajya Sabha approving the legislation by a voice vote.

The Bill, which envisages the inclusion of SCs/STs of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra displaced due to the Sardar Sarovar Dam project on the list of SC/ST in Gujarat, received the support of all sections of the House. As many as 14 members participated in the debate.

Replying to the debate on the Bill, the Social Welfare Minister, Satyanarain Jatiya, said the Government was committed to protecting the rights of SCs and STs. Earlier, resuming the debate, Raju Bhai Parmar (Cong.) said the reservation quota for SCs/STs in Gujarat be increased in view of the growth in their population. He alleged that some influential people were misusing the reservation quota. — UNI

Dalit hanged for having illicit ties


M.K.Mittal (Ghaziabad, May 14)

A Dalit young man has been allegedly hanged by three persons because he had illicit relations with a married woman of their family. The incident occurred in village Haiderpur under Garhmukteshwar police station. The police have recovered the dead body of the young man hanging from a neem tree on Monday. According to reports, Anand alias Babboo had sexual relations with Geeta, a married woman. When Fakir Chand, Geeta's brother-in-law and Mukesh, his nephew came to know about their affair, they opposed and threatened Anand, but the latter ignored their threats and continued his liaison with Geeta.

Fakir Chand, Dali and Mukesh hatched a plan to eliminate Anand. Somehow or the other Fakir Chand called Anand through Geeta's daughter on the pretext that Geeta was waiting for him at her home.

When Anand was on his way to Geeta's home Fakir Chand, Mukesh and Dali caught hold of the young man and strangulated him with a dupatta and thereafter they hanged Anand to a tree. The culprits are absconding but Geeta has been taken into custody.

Dalit Rights in India - Indigenous Rights in Asia

Asia Society, New York Upcoming event on Dalit Rights - Indigenous Peoples Rights in Asia.

Complimentary tickets available.

Defining their Future: Indigenous Peoples in Asia

Thursday, May 16, 2002
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street, New York, NY 10021

For decades indigenous peoples all over the world have been calling for meaningful recognition and the support from the international community. Despite the UN Declaration on the International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples (1995-2004), there has been not one international agency with adequate mandate and power to address indigenous peoples' rights and their cultural survival. The challenge also remains in the legal arena where indigenous rights are now assuming an increasing important place in international human rights law.

The panelists will address the issues central to indigenous peoples' rights such as: the economic, cultural and human rights issues that are at stake, the existing international human rights laws, the challenges for the NGO and international community in responding to indigenous issues, how indigenous traditional knowledge and intellectual property is linked to the larger issue of globalization, and the lessons that emerge from Asia, home to several indigenous communities.

Invited speakers:

Jawahar Nesan, Founder, Educated Chamber (EC), India, Malaysia and USA
Yogesh Varhade, Founder,Ambedkar Centre for Justice and Peace,
Julian Burger, Senior Human Rights Officer, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Executive Director, Tebtebba Foundation (Indigenous Peoples' International Centre for Policy Research and Education)
Parshuram Tamang, Chairman, Nepal Tamang Ghedung
Stella Tamang, Nepal Federation of Nationalities

Moderator: Roberto Borrero, Chairperson of the NGO Committee on the U.N.

International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples

Co-sponsor: NGO Committee on the U.N. International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples

Please register in advance. $5 students w/ID; $7 for members/NGOs; $10 for nonmembers. To register with a Credit Card, please call the Box Office at (212) 517-ASIA, or send complete information by fax at (212) 517) 8315, or email: boxoffice@asiasoc.org

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Published on: May 15, 2002
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