Tag Archive | A P Shah

Spread Word About Legal Aid – Apex Court Judge – By Mukesh Jhangiani

                                                                                                     October 19, 2008

Spread Word About Legal Aid – Apex Court Judge*

By Mukesh Jhangiani
United News of India

New Delhi (UNI) – Hoping to serve ”global legal community’s interest in India more effectively,” a New Delhi-based law publisher has been reminded of tasks at home– spreading word about legal aid, for one.

The suggestion from Supreme Court Judge Altamas Kabir came at a function this week celebrating the 4-month-old merger of Britain’s LexisNexis Butterworths with Indian law book publisher Wadhwa Nagpur.

A lot of people in India are not aware of the existence of legal aid cells in the country, said Justice Kabir, citing an instance of information people ought to have.
He said with the development of information technology industry and globalisation of laws, the legal and judicial fraternity in India frequently refer to legal developments and literature from abroad.
Justice Kabir touched on changes with which the Indian legal system must cope– and the consequent demands they pose, voicing hope that the company’s content suite will aid in the process.
The event was attended among others by Law Commission of India Chairman A R Lakshmanan, Delhi High Court Chief Justice A P Shah and Senior Advocate K K Venugopal.
India has some 14,000 judicial officers presiding in courts and almost a million lawyers enrolled with the nation’s statutory Bar Councils.
Dr Justice Lakshmanan hailed the merger, saying the new entity would provide the best local and global content to Indian legal industry.
Justice Shah emphasised the need for easy access to information from various sources for providing litigants speedy justice given the rapidly growing volume of cases as well as arrears.
Noting the importance Indian courts give precedents, Justice Shah said systematic and comprehensive online databases and efficient law reporting would help lawyers and the judiciary serve people better.
Venugopal said a comprehensive database as a ‘readyreckoner’ was imperative for Indian lawyers and law students– given the value of knowledge and the high costs of journals or classics.
He suggested that the publishers focus on producing quality legal journals that can generate discussions on Indian laws, judiciary and the legal system.
The event marked the launch of DD Basu’s Shorter Constitution of India by Justice Kabir, first anniversary issue of Halsbury’s Law Monthly by Justice Shah and an Online LexisNexis Bookstore by Dr Justice Lakshmanan.
LexisNexis Group’s New York-based Senior Vice President Robert Rigby-Hall– the new company’s Managing Director– promised ”richer, more comprehensive solutions to the Indian legal industry.”
These, he said, would include integrated content from key markets such as the United States, Britain and Australia and could play a crucial role in such reforms as digitisation of courts and bringing efficiency into the Indian legal profession.
A statement by the Wadhwa Brothers of Wadhwa Nagpur said ”The merger will add significant value to the Indian legal market and enable us to serve the global legal community’s interest in India more effectively.
”With increased global demand for Indian legal content, and emergence of the Legal Process Outsourcing industry, it is an exciting opportunity to make Wadhwa Nagpur content available to the worldwide marketplace,” it said.
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Jailing Corrupt Politician, Officer Or Judge ! – By Mukesh Jhangiani

                                                                                                   April 9, 2011

English: Hon. Anna Hazare in Nanded , Maharastra .

Anna Hazare (Photo: Wikipedia)

Jailing Corrupt Politician, Officer Or Judge !

By Mukesh Jhangiani
United News of India
New Delhi (UNI) – With a 72-year-old fasting for five days, the government today announced a panel to draft within 83 days a Bill for Lok Pal– 45 years after it was conceived to regulate Indian governance.

Anna Hazare broke his fast amid euphoria at authorities yielding on an issue government after government has dodged for decades without discarding the idea outright.

The announcement listed ten members, five each representing the United Progressive Alliance government and the activists, with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee as chairman and former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan, as co-chairman.
”The Joint Drafting Committee shall complete its work latest by 30th June, 2011,” the announcement by the Law and Justice Ministry said.
The members include Home Minister P Chidambaram, Law and Justice Minister M Veerappa Moily, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal and Water Resources and Minority Minister Salman Khursheed on one hand, and septuagenarian Hazare, Justice N Santosh Hedge, advocate Prashant Bhushan and activist Arvind Kejriwal on the other.
Dr Moily has been named convenor.
Experts hailed the development but were cautious about expectations.
”What we have witnessed over the past week is anger, real anger of people, reflecting injustices that have been building and must be redressed and the guilty punished,” said former Delhi High Court Chief Justice A P Shah. ”This anger must be properly channelised for national and public good.”
A document titled Salient Features of Jan Lok Pal Bill circulated by activists who pitched their camp at Jantar Mantar on Tuesday spelt out some of the ideas they brought to root out corrupt.
— Creating an institution called Lok Pal at the centre and Lokayukta in each State so ”completely transparent” that any complaint against even its own members is investigated and a guilty ”officer dismissed within two months;”
— ”Like Supreme Court and Election Commission, they will be completely independent of the governments” so that ”no minister or bureaucrat will be able to influence their investigations;”
— Giving Lok Pal complete powers and machinery to independently investigate and prosecute any officer, judge or politician;
— Recovering any public exchequer or government loss caused by a corrupt act from the perpetrator at the time of conviction;
— Imposing financial penalty on officers guilty of not doing ”any work” of a citizen in prescribed time and giving it to complainant as compensation;
— Ensuring cases against corrupt do not linger– giving a year for investgation and another year for trial– so that ”corrupt politician, officer or judge is sent to jail within two years;”
— Lok Pal members to be selected by citizens, besides judges and constitutional authorities– not politicians– through ”a completely transparent and participatory process” to preclude induction of corrupt or weak individuals;
— Merging anti-corruption agencies– vigilance commissioners and anti-corrupt investigators– into Lok Pal;
— Requiring Lok Pal to provide protection to those victimized for raising their voice against corruption.
Activists say citizens denied ration or voter cards or passports could turn to a Lok Pal as could those having difficulty lodging complaints with police, for instance.
Anyone with complaints about, say, the quality of roads or abuse of public parks or other works could also request investigation into possible corruption by elected  or other officials. ”The guilty will go to jail within two years.”
Although Lok Pal, as a political ombudsman was conceived 45 years ago, it is still nowhere around.
”We have been misled completely,” Gandhian Satyagraha Brigade spokesman Shambhu Dutta Sharma, who, too, has been campaigning for a Lok Pal said of government failure to pass a law. ”We cannot trust any longer.”
The concept of Lok Pal– inspired by Sweden’s ombudsman– grew out of an interim report on redressal of citizens’ grievances submitted in 1966 by the Administrative Reforms Commission headed by Morarji Desai.
Two years later, the Lok Pal and the Lok Ayuktas Bill, 1968 was introduced in the 4th Lok Sabha, when late Mrs Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister.
It was considered by a joint committee of the two Houses of Parliament and passed by the Lok Sabha in 1969. It was pending in the Rajya Sabha when the Lok Sabha was dissolved. The bill lapsed.
Resistance to the bill appears manifest in the fact that even after being tabled seven more times– in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998 and 2001– it has never again been put to vote.
While authorities did not enact a Lok Pal they certainly did not reject it– possibly because doing so might have placed on them the onus to find a substitute.
Indeed, in 2007, a second Administrative Reforms Commission recommended appointing a national ombudsman called Rashtriya Lok Ayukta instead of Lok Pal.
Critics say corruption in public life has been sinking lower and lower, compounded by a virtually unaccountable governance.
Agencies or institutions once created in public interest appear to have become part of the problem instead of being instrumental in finding solutions.
The past year or so has seen unprecedented– in sheer size– allegations of financial irregularities levelled at the UPA government.
Public mind has been disillusioned by one scam after another whether it is 2G– underselling mobile phone licences at public cost notionally estimated at Rs 1.75 lakh crores– or Rs 70,000 crore extravagance in organising Commonwealth games.
”Hopefully,” Justice Shah said, ”there will be a proper bill. But at the same time before any Bill is put to vote there must be a thorough public debate about it in which citizens not just experts or authoritative figures should be heard on their opinions, questions, concerns and suggestions. No doubt we need a strong Lok Pal, but we also need a strong executive, legislature and judiciary.”
For rule of law to find a sound footing in India, the nation must attend to a lot more legislative reform, experts acknowledge.
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