Saturday, June 24, 2017

Sedition charges for supporting Pakistan in a match

It's a tricky situation, and the local police departments know how to handle it well. A cricket match between India and Pakistan, and you have people cheering Pakistan while living in India. There is some outrage among the other people there, and the media and social media hype up the outrage to a drastic degree. The police then take the expected action, charging the people with sedition. What happens to the case much later is not known, although I really have not read anybody being prosecuted seriously or sentenced for such a matter.
It satisfies the craving in people for some sort of punishment for those who support Pakistan while being based in India, and who 'obviously' are not patriotic. Pakistan is responsible for a wide variety of problems in India. Because of its active and prolific support to the terrorist cause in Jammu and Kashmir and the attack by these terrorists in other parts of India, the vast majority of Indians have an abhorrence of Pakistan and its policies. However India has diplomatic relations with Pakistan, and we even have sporting and cultural relationships with the country (there are innumerable Pakistani artists who work in Bollywood in different manners). Pakistani diplomats are still invited for parties by the high and mighty.
However, while I am not a lawyer, it would seem weird to apply sedition charges for supporting Pakistan in a cricket match. Sedition is typically defined as working against the Government and is typically meant for those who indulge in espionage or try to work up people against the Government (and not even for cases where they have a grievance against the Government). Applying sedition charges for rooting against your country in a cricket match is a bit too match. And it seems like this has sunk into the police force as well, given that the recent charges on sedition were withdrawn.
And it seems very much like older situation. There was the position in England in the 1960's when a rabble rousing politician tried to use this as a litmus test - if an immigrant from South Asia continued to root for his Asian team rather than for England, it showed a lack of patriotism. That was widely condemned, and Indians would have also condemned it, but a lot of us are perfectly fine to use it as a test here in India. This is rank hyporocisy.
It is something common now - there are a huge number of Indian immigrants in Australia, New Zealand, the USA or the UK. If they were asked to choose their host countries rather than India while rooting for a team during a match, or even more, if they were charged with treason by the police for such an action, there will be an outrage. We would also be outraged, but are not outraged when police arrest people here in India for the same purpose.  

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 1:35 AM    

Friday, June 19, 2015

Woman fined for misusing domestic violence law

It is not the case that the country is safe for woman. India is notorious for the bad condition of its woman. The problems are many - the country is highly patriarchal, woman's rights are more in theory, education for woman does not follow the same sense of rights as that for men, violence in the household is at an uncomfortable level for woman. Over the years, there has been a sustained push for ensuring that woman get more rights and a concept of equality in the household - this has been done through education and through laws that are aimed at protection for woman.
And this is where some of the problems are coming up. The laws are meant to ensure that woman can use the force of these laws to protect themselves - so for example, anti-dowry laws were meant to punish those members of the groom's family and the groom who demanded dowry for the marriage. Similarly, the laws for domestic protection were meant to protect women who were living in a household where they were being tormented, and the punishments and police investigation against the accused would bring back the confidence that the woman would have lost because of the harassment that they were facing.
However, like the anti-dowry law, where there are many examples of it being wrongly used, the same is getting true for the domestic violence laws, Consider the case of a woman who is in a dispute with her husband, and has either been advised or has figured out on her own that the use of these laws would ensure that her husband's family and him would come under tremendous pressure, maybe even jailed for some time, and hence would quickly come to an agreement with her. The disincentive for filing a false case did not exist and hence there was no problem is using these cases.
As a result of some of these false cases, courts are much more sensitive, and indeed, even the Supreme Court has been forced to provide some sort of safeguards before the law could act. Now, it would seem that courts are having to come into action for false cases under the domestic violence act (and because the Government of the day does not seem to have any mind to provide some of these safeguards for these laws). In this case, the court has applied a fine on the woman who had filed the case (link to article):
A court here has dismissed a woman's complaint of domestic violence against her husband and in-laws, noting that she misused legal provisions as a tool to extort unjustified money from him for unjustified personal gain, and imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh on her. Metropolitan magistrate Shivani Chauhan dismissed the complaint of the woman, a south Delhi resident, saying that she had falsified and concocted various allegations and suppressed important facts in order to harass her in-laws.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 10:54 AM    

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Divorce case, if women wealthy, not entitled to maintenance

Typically, divorce cases in India take a long time to settle; at the same time, as a reaction over the years to the country's social environment being strongly patriarchal, in favor of men, the laws that have evolved over the years to handle problems related to divorce and the economic needs of women who have separated from their husbands are more in favor of women. Women in divorce cases, or even in the case of separation are entitled to maintenance from their husbands. The man in such cases is also expected to pay for the expenses of growing up of children from such a marriage,
Now, this is perfectly fine. When you are in a marriage and are parents, there are some responsibilities and there are some duties both as a father and husband that have to be incurred. This is even more so in the case of a significant portion of Indian households where the wife is a housewife and the husband was the one who is working, and hence most of the assets and the income is in the name of the husband. But there are problems in this arrangement as well. The law and the judiciary do not seem to recognize some problems in this scenario - especially where the wife is capable of earning as well as the husband, or where she has a lot of assets. The law tends to be a bit blind in this area, and can be seen as not balanced. The argument is that women typically tend to be weaker economically and hence the reason for the bias in law, but weaker women would not suffer if the law took an equal position, and if the wife is capable of getting a good salary or already is rich / well-off and the husband equal or in a lower financial position, then it does not make sense to still award an alimony to her (in fact, all things being equal, as per an equal basis, the husband should be getting alimony). In this case (if it does not get over-turned on appeal), the court has given a ruling in favor of the husband and could be used as a precedent for cases such as these (link to article):
The Bombay high court has ruled that a woman is not entitled to claim maintenance in divorce cases if she is wealthy herself and is able to maintain her lifestyle despite the estrangement. The recent judgment was awarded by a division bench comprising justice AK Menon and justice AS Oka, while rejecting an application filed by a resident of Nariman Point, seeking enhancement of the alimony granted to her by a family court. The high court ruled that even after her divorce, there was no visible change in the woman’s lifestyle and she “continued to go on regular holidays abroad.” The division bench said this made her “ineligible for seeking any alimony, let alone an enhancement.” However, the bench decided not to interfere with the family court’s decision of awarding her the alimony of Rs25,000 each month.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 1:01 AM    

Friday, June 21, 2013

The rudeness shown in the Kent water purifier advertisement ..

I was shocked the first time I saw the advertisement; it takes the concept of safety to a paranoid level and showcases a very rude behavior. For those who have not seen the ad, it shows Hema Malini and girls in somebody's else house, being served tea (remember that tea is boiled, which means that the water is also boiled). Hema Malini asks about where the water was taken, and when she heard that the water was taken from the water purifier of another brand, she refused to take the tea. This would be so humiliating for the person doing the inviting, and the gesture seems so rude on behalf of Hema Malini that it seems odd that somebody from the product company approved this advertisement, and how Hema Malini actually did this advertisement.
The concept of this advertisement was that the purifier from other companies could remove part of the impurities, but not all of them, and it is only Kent that could remove every form of impurity. Seems very prim and proper, but the utter rudeness of the behavior in the advertisement put me off the product. And this could be a big problem, since although not everybody would feel the same way, there would be enough people who would not like the advertisement, and hence would not buy the product. This is a fundamental problem with advertising, knowing where to draw the line between trying to push the product and evoking a negative reaction from a potential consumer.
The other problem of course is that it is pushing consumers towards an era where they would like water to be 100% pure. You might be able to do this at home, but what about when you travel somewhere or go to some restaurant, or travel in a train, or are served tea / coffee / some refreshment at somebody's house. Not everybody uses filtered water, there might be people who are just using tap water which is certainly not going to be as clean or pure as water that comes from a highly efficient water cleaning system. Even the bottled water you get when you travel on a train will not be so pure; and when you make your body such that it only gets used to very pure water, it will not be able to digest water from elsewhere.
I realize that the company is in the business of selling products, and for that, it needs to do everything, but consumers need to have an overall realization of their health. For most people in middle age, they certainly did not grow up by filtering their water or even boiling it, what to talk about using reverse osmosis filtering mechanism, and everything seemed fine. We were not sicker than people are now, and so I wonder about this mania right now for ensuring that everything is super-clean. 

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 2:37 AM    

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Weird judgments - Madras High court judge rules that sexual relations means instant marriage

What kind of judgment is this ? Seems like an incredibly repressive judgment, and one wonders whether there will be any efforts made to overturn this judgment ? What is this judgment ? Well, a judge of the Madras High Court gave a judgment which effectively turned over years and centuries of liberalization, and said that if a man and woman had sexual relations, then in effect this meant that they intended to marry and hence should be treated as married. And if they had a sexual relationship, then this meant that they were married for all practical purposes and could approach the family court and get such a declaration (read more about this judgment):

In a ruling which might have a far reaching impact, Madras High Court has said if a couple in the right legal age indulge in sexual gratification, it will be considered a valid marriage and they could be termed as husband and wife. "..if any couple choose to consummate their sexual cravings, then that act becomes a total commitment with adherence to all consequences that may follow, except on certain exceptional considerations," Justice C S Karnan said in his order. He said that marriage formalities of tying a mangalsutra, garlands and rings were only for the satisfaction of society. Either party could approach a family court for declaration of marital status by producing documentary proof for a sexual relationship.
There are numerous implications of such a judgment. One of the biggest one is that there will be a large number of people who will want to use this judgment to apply for marriage, and there could be a number of such court cases getting filed.
And what happens when somebody has a sexual relationship with more than 1 person, it is considered that the person is at liberty to decide which one of the persons to be deemed to be married to, or is bigamy (with multiple wives or multiple husbands) permissible.
What is the kind of proof that is permissible in the court to prove that a relationship like this happens ? 3D video proof along with semen and DNA proof ? Other than this, there are no clear confirmatory ways that the relationship to be proved in a sexual way.
What gives a judge the right to set their own policies as legal policies ? So far, even the Supreme Court has not gone this far in setting a sexual relationship to be a total life-changing event in the lives of 2 people. So how can a court go this far ? Further, the concept of having a willing and short-term sexual relationship is part of the essential right of an individual, to be governed more by social norms than by a legal context. We are not living in a harsh puritan country and do not need such laws.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 9:23 AM    

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Congress campaign for austerity

This must have been the shortest austerity campaign in recent times; the Congress Government, in a measure to try to get some political points, decided to try and make a show of an austerity program. Hence, 2 ministers were evicted from their hotels (even though they were apparently paying for their stay out of their pocket) and told to stay in the State Guest houses, ministers were told to fly economy (and the whole country had fun when the apparent discussion inside the cabinet where many opposed this campaign was exposed); then you had the spectacle whereby Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi went by mass consumer transport - Sonia Gandhi by an economy ticket, and Rahul Gandhi by train. It was soon that the press highlighted the costs, with many more tickets booked inside the plane and train for security reasons. Further, there was grumbling about how SPG security is based on surprise trips where no one knows the exact transport, and here there were press people along with Rahul Gandhi.
The press took up this campaign in right earnest, with the first fun involving a Congress MP on the same flight as Sonia Gandhi, who had to give up his first class seat in order to come back to economy. And then the press took up the actual costs that politicians spend on their office, on their vehicles, and so on, to the extent that the Government would have regretted going on such a campaign. None of our politicians of the day are the renunciation type, the saint type, and all of them like their luxuries.
In some cases, it is downright foolhardiness. When a Minister goes abroad for a conference or a discussion, you need the Minister to be rested and relaxed, now bone-weary after multiple flights cramped in economy.
The biggest problem is that instead of focusing on areas where the Government can really save money, it is looking at cosmetic show effects. If the Government were to focus on leakages in social sector programs such as the Employment Scheme, the PDS, do project completion in time and without cost over-run and try to reduce the corruption endemic in the Government, it could save incredible amounts of money. But there is no gain in taking such an effort, that removes money from middlemen down the line.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 11:59 AM